What it’s really like working in HR at a Boston tech company

by Justine Hofherr
April 24, 2017

Working in HR doesn't always sound glamorous.

It means dealing with employee relations, payroll and benefits, sure, but in tech it can mean a whole lot more. HR has become synonymous with establishing a company’s culture and hiring passionate employees who will bring an organization’s values to life. We caught up with three Boston tech employees who found their niche in HR.

 

 

PatientPing connects health care providers across the country with real-time notifications and care guidelines whenever and wherever their patients receive care. 

Responses via Catherine Jussel, People Operations Lead at PatientPing 

Where did you go to school/ what did you study?

I went to Boston University (Go Terriers!). I majored in public relations and minored in psychology.

How long have you been at PatientPing? How long have you worked in HR?

I have been working at PatientPing for two and half years. I started out by doing Administrative HR, Office Management and Executive Assistance work, and recently fully transitioned over to People Ops.

What is your favorite thing about working in HR?

My favorite aspect of HR is having the ability to build long-term relationships with employees and building out our company culture.

What is the biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge, especially at a startup, is ensuring that HR policies and procedures will scale as we grow. Sometimes, particularly during periods of extreme growth, finding the right program models can be difficult!

What do you do for fun? 

I love to play with my dog Mojo (he's a Chihuahua and pit bull mix!) and experiment with fun DIY home improvement projects. I also love watching TV with friends; right now my favorite is The Bachelor. We have a pool going in the office on who will win! It is hysterical, we love to come in on Tuesdays and debrief.

Can job seekers contact you if they have any questions about PatientPing or a specific position?

Absolutely!

Anything else to add?

I do have some advice I'd like to pass on to anyone considering HR at a startup – Always consult the experts! Find connections through board members, investors and advisors. Their advice will be invaluable.

 

 

 

Catalant Technologies provides global enterprises with software solutions to access business expertise on demand.

Responses via Michele Spitzer, People Growth at Catalant 

How long have you been at Catalant? How long have you worked in HR?

I joined Catalant in August 2016 to start the People Growth team. Prior to joining, I was a consultant with McKinsey for three years, where I discovered my passion for talent management. At McKinsey, I worked on a wide range of projects but most enjoyed those where I was helping clients think about their people strategy — org structure, learning and development, lean management, etc. People Growth at Catalant is my first dedicated people-focused role.

Where did you go to school/ what did you study?

I went to Barnard College, where I studied Psychology, Economics and Leadership Studies.

What is your favorite thing about working in HR?

I hadn’t always intended to wind up in the HR space but I’m passionate about culture and people development and I was deeply excited about the Catalant team and mission. Making this a great place for people requires understanding what people care about and want to learn. I love — and feel fortunate to have — the opportunity to spend so much time getting to know my coworkers.

What is the biggest challenge?

Maintaining our culture while we go through hyper-growth.

What do you do for fun?

I’m quite new to Boston so I’ve been enjoying exploring the area. It’s a lot of fun to discover new restaurants, museums and neighborhoods. In particular, I love how quickly and easily I can get out of the city and into nature.

Can job seekers contact you if they have any questions about Catalant or a specific position?

Please do!

 

 

 

Jobcase connects people in the workforce to vocational, professional and volunteering pursuits.

Responses via Mark Bryan, Senior Talent Acquisition Manager, Engineering & Analytics at Jobcase 

Where did you go to school/ what did you study?

I graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 2010 with a BA in Political Science.

How long have you been at Jobcase? How long have you worked in HR?

I joined Jobcase in July of 2015 as the 55th employee and we’ve grown to over 115 employees as of April 2017. I started working in the Recruitment/Talent Acquisition space in 2011 as a Search Advisor for a smaller staffing firm named Groe Advisors based out of Waltham. Coming out of school, I knew that I wanted to do something where I could build long lasting relationships and make an impact but I wasn’t sure where that would be. I somewhat stumbled into that first position but immediately knew I found an industry that I had a strong passion for and could not be happier with my choice.

What is your favorite thing about working in HR?

Honestly, I don’t consider myself to work within HR at the moment. I know a lot of companies list Recruiting and Talent Acquisition as being under the HR umbrella but that’s not the way we see it. There is always going to be some crossover but we’ve done a very good job of keeping them separate. My main focus has always been to acquire the best talent in our space but what I love about Jobcase is that our highest priority is on the retention of our talent. We are accomplishing amazing things as a company and that is a direct correlation to the team we’ve been able to put together and keep together. With that, I would say my favorite part of what I do is being able to see the positive impact a TA team can make on a company.

What is the biggest challenge?

I feel the biggest challenge is also one that we really embrace here. We all know that the talent pool in the Boston area is second to none, especially in the engineering, product and analytics space. With the growing number of incredible startups and tech giants here, it has become so competitive to attract and retain that top talent. This is most definitely a challenge but also one that you need to embrace in order to come out on top.

What do you do for fun? 

I played four years of Division I Lacrosse at Johns Hopkins and it’s continued to be a major passion of mine. I was fortunate to be a part of the 2007 National Championship team and it’s remarkable how the ups and downs of college athletics can prepare you for life after graduation. Today, I continue to play competitively while also coaching for Brookline Youth Lacrosse and 3D Lacrosse here in the New England Area.

Can job seekers contact you if they have any questions about Jobcase or a specific position?

Absolutely. If you are a creative, high achieving and mission oriented thinker who is looking to solve big challenges and help empower real people, then this is a place where you can succeed and have an enormous impact. We are always looking for great talent and you can find our open jobs on our careers page. If you don’t see a perfect fit but think you can make a difference, you can reach out to me directly at [email protected] 

Anything else to add?

Jobcase is a social media platform that is community focused. If you are looking for advice around your work-life or have useful advice that others could benefit from, please create a profile and join Jobcase. It’s astounding to see the impact you can have on someone’s life with a few words of encouragement or guidance. With over 70 million members in the Jobcase network, there is always someone you can help or that can help you.

 

 

Photos via companies

Know an HR superstar? Let us know or tweet us @BuiltInBOS

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