Drew Simmons is a Senior Consultant and Project Manager at HRchitect based in Atlanta. Get to know Drew, his favorite vacation destination, and what he’d say to someone considering joining the HRchitect team in this month’s consultant spotlight.
Hometown: My hometown is New York City. For the past 14 years I’ve been living in Atlanta, Georgia.
Alma Mater: Temple University – go Owls!
Favorite type of food: That’s a hard question. I’d say New York style pizza, Thai or Chinese food.
Favorite vacation destination: London is my favorite, although Hawaii was also amazing.
One song you could listen to on repeat: It changes often, but right now I’d choose “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Diana Ross.
What are your hobbies? I love to travel. I also enjoy playing cards, particularly whist and pinochle, spending time with family, cooking, and binge-watching certain TV shows.
How did you find out about HRchitect, and what made you join the company? I first became familiar with HRchitect when I had my own consulting practice. I was active in several LinkedIn groups where Matt Lafata was also active. He and I discussed opportunities to work together, although there wasn’t an opportunity at that time. Then I went to work for an Ultimate Software customer and attended Ultimate’s annual customer conference. Each year at that conference, I’d stop by the HRchitect booth. I was always impressed with HRchitect’s presentation and brand compared to the other vendors at the conference. It seemed like HRchitect had the most professional presentation, the most well put together business cases and case studies highlighting how they solved customer’s issues, and a very personable team. I could tell that the HRchitect consultants who I spoke with could really relate to their clients. That’s more important to me than anything else, because if consultants are not able to build rapport and earn client’s trust, they can’t do the work and produce the results that their clients deserve and expect. I’ve always felt that trust and rapport in Matt’s presence, and those who surrounded him, so when the right opportunity arose for me to move back into consulting, HRchitect was the first company that I reached out to.
In your own words, what do you do at HRchitect? I advise clients and lead them through their HR technology implementation projects in a number of different roles. Depending on the project I may be acting as an implementation manager, or a system consultant from end to end. I coach clients through their requirements gathering phase to prepare for analysis and also make sure they have a clear understanding of what their new system can and cannot do from a functionality perspective and make sure they don’t go down any rabbit holes with business process design. After analysis I actually build the core HR system for them and either facilitate or guide the client through the subsequent testing process. Then I take the steps needed to bring the system live and make sure that launch is successful. I also work with clients on the client-side as an advisor. When clients are engaged with a vendor’s services/implementation/launch team, I act as a translator of sorts, putting the implementation team’s technical requirements in layman’s terms for the client and help them through gathering those materials. I also provide process documentation and do a great deal of work in business analytics and business intelligence for our clients, which is something I thoroughly enjoy. If the client has additional modules to implement, such as performance management, compensation management, succession management, recruiting or onboarding, I implement those modules as well.
Tell me about a recent project that you worked on that you’re particularly proud of. I’m so proud of the work that we did on a core HR and payroll implementation for a very large enterprise organization with extremely complex employee population with high turnover and a lot of M&A activity. I was the Project Manager on this engagement, and I was able to successfully lead the project with no delays, and the client’s go-live date did not get pushed. The team that I worked with had a very strong collaborative nature, despite there being significant project challenges, and that helped to ensure our success. This engagement was a great opportunity to showcase my leadership skills.
What motivates you to wake up and go to work every day? I am motivated by the fact that I can provide the kinds of answers and solutions that clients are looking for. I live to see clients have that “a-ha” moment. I have clients who have almost broken out in tears of joy when we come up with a fresh perspective and provide solutions for problems that they weren’t able to find a way out of on their own. It is so rewarding to see them light up and see their stress levels visibly decrease. That’s exciting because it means that we’re adding the value that we’re supposed to be adding as consultants.
What’s been the most interesting destination you have traveled to for a client site visit? I don’t often have down time to sight see on client visits, but in January I arrived early to Detroit and was able to visit the Motown Museum. I’m a huge Motown fan, so to be able to see where these songs, known worldwide, were recorded was fun.
Which employee perk that HRchitect offers do you enjoy the most? Working from home! I live in Atlanta, where traffic can be crazy. Not having to commute into the city has given me the opportunity to have much more flexibility in my schedule. Now, if I need to work early, work late, or run a few errands during the day, I’m able to do so at my discretion, and I’m trusted to get my work done. There’s none of that looking over your shoulder to make sure work is getting done while someone is working at home, like you might find at other organizations. This has been an incredible benefit for me.
What would you say to someone who is considering joining the HRchitect team? I think that our company has wonderful people who care about their clients and will go the extra mile. In this industry where some firms do things just to check a box and say that something is done, I work with people who will still get the box checked, but are bothered if that solution is not the right solution for their client and will work to find the right solution for the client. Because I am that way, I want to work with other people who share that perspective. I think I get to work with one of the best teams I’ve worked with in my entire career. I truly mean that.
Learn more about Drew Simmons