· 4 min read
A group of people pros-slash-social media content creators have the latest HR gossip for you.
Jamie Jackson, Leigh Henderson, and Ashley Herd are offering listeners of their podcast, HR Besties, a peek behind the HR curtain in a weekly conversation about all things work, all while trying to change how the function is perceived.
“There’s just such a common misconception about HR. And we want to flip it upside-down, and I think we’ve done a pretty good job so far,” Jackson said.
The group of women are well credentialed, but it’s their prowess for viral social content, signature snark, and unpolished, no-nonsense approach to talking about work that made this combo’s chemistry.
The besties. Jackson, Henderson, and Herd report a combined 3.5 million followers across their social media accounts.
Jackson is a self-proclaimed chief meme officer, and creator of the social media accounts Humorous Resources, Millennial Misery, and Horrendous HR, where she draws from her experience as an HR manager.
Henderson, an HR executive with companies including Caterpillar, GE, and Lockheed Martin on her résumé, is penning a book on toxic workplaces (after her own experience working for one) and first gained recognition on her HRManifesto TikTok account.
Rounding out the trio is Herd, who coaches managers. She runs her Manager Method TikTok account after more than a decade in legal and HR departments at companies including McKinsey & Company, KFC, and Cumulus Media.
“We were all about changing the face of HR, and being there as a support for HR, but also employees who feel like there’s nobody that has my interest,” Herd said.
The origin. It all started with a LinkedIn message.
Herd is credited with getting the gang together. She messaged Henderson on the social networking site and the pair shared a delightfully copacetic video call that spawned a virtual friendship. They invited Jackson to join the podcast endeavor, and HR Besties was born.
Herd described the podcast as “that long group chat you have” with your coworkers, speaking about work in an insightful but often irreverent way in the same breath. (We’ve all had one.)
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“We’d never met each other in person until when we recorded the podcast,” Herd said of their instant in-person rapport. “It was like long-lost colleagues.”
The podcast. The podcast debuted at number six on Apple’s podcast charts for business when it was released in October, Henderson said. She described it as a significantly different business podcast than the “white men trying to sell you crypto.”
It’s structured as a “recurring meeting,” complete with an agenda and a “hard stop.”
The besties start with a story (sometimes shockingly weird, sometimes about Miley Cyrus-themed pumpkins, sometimes about how HR aided in preserving a marriage), then a segment on “cringey corporate speak,” followed by hot topics, and the meeting wraps with “Qs and Cs” (questions and comments).
“It’s amazing how many people in HR relate to these crazy stories or like having a laugh,” Herd said of the show’s reception so far. It’s that combination of insight and humor that make it work, she added.
“Besties is…a transparent community, a community that shares, that’s vulnerable,” Henderson said. “Because that is HR, because HR is people. It’s this intersection of all those things, and it’s pretty exciting to see the response to it.”
Henderson said her HR Manifesto content and the new podcast allow her to engage with more people and have a bigger reach than she could as an HR executive at just one company.
“What I recognized really quickly is that as an HR exec, here I am coaching executives one-by-one not to be assholes…imagine the impact now of 100+ million of reach monthly across my accounts,” she said.
The podcast—like HR pros at the office—is trying to create positive work experiences, and is released each Wednesday.
“This is my career highlight,” Herd said. “It finally feels like it doesn’t matter. I don’t have to worry about fitting in, because I feel like I fit in with this group, and there’s a lot of other people that I think we fit in with.”