Julia Hatton is a Senior Strategic Services Consultant, working out of HRchitect’s headquarters backyard – the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex. Since joining the team in 2012, she has helped over 40 clients with various aspects of their HR technology including creating HR technology strategies, system evaluation and selection, implementation, change management, and ongoing support.
Hometown: Beaumont, Texas
Alma Mater: Lamar University
Favorite type of food: Mexican food. I’d probably eat a burrito every day if I could. Things just taste better rolled up in a tortilla!
Last book you read: The Silent Corner by Dean Koontz
Favorite movie: Oh gosh – I’m a movie buff, so I can’t just pick one! Gone with the Wind is a classic. My favorite 80s movie would be Pretty in Pink. Seven, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen and The Princess Bride are all up there as some of my favorites, too.
Do you have any pets? I’m the proud dog mom of Loki and Dakota, my two rescue dogs. I tell everyone my kids have fur.
How did you find out about HRchitect, and what made you join? I was working as an HR practitioner at Texas Instruments. We were implementing Kenexa, and one of the consultants from Kenexa and I stayed in touch after the project was completed. She ended up working at HRchitect. A year or two later, we were catching up, and she knew that I was ready for a change in my professional life. She mentioned that HRchitect was expanding its Kenexa practice and suggested that I apply, since I had both client-side implementation and system administrator experience.
The flexibility and remote work options interested me, as well as the opportunity to spearhead high-visibility projects and help others achieve success with their implementations. That’s a lot of what I was doing internally at TI, so the transition to consulting felt like a natural progression.
In your own words, what do you do at HRchitect? At a high level, I work with our clients who are looking for new HR software to understand what their challenges are and figure out what they really need from a new technology solution. I take clients through our discovery process, which includes benchmarking surveys and discussions, to uncover how they want their HR organization to operate in the future. Then we guide them through a process that helps them find a solution that meets those requirements.
Depending on the scope of a project, I might be running a full evaluation process which includes discovery, writing requirements, creating an RFP, interfacing with vendors, writing summary reports, and taking the client through demos. Or it could be a subset of those items. Other times I might be meeting with vendors to make sure I’m up to date on the features in their latest release.
Every project is different, and through working with our clients, I’m able to see firsthand what organizations really need from their HR technology, the functionality that clients are looking for, and the types of business processes HCM systems need to support. On the flip side, I also get to see and learn about the latest and greatest functionality from the vendors. It’s pretty cool to get a glimpse into the future of HCM technology and how each vendor builds out functionality to support these ever-evolving needs.
Lately you’ve been a bit of a road warrior, spending a lot of time onsite with clients. Do you have a pre-flight or a travel routine? The biggest thing I do that simplifies travel is taking an Uber or Lyft to the airport, instead of driving my own car. Driving yourself adds an extra layer of stress in terms of traffic and parking and lugging suitcases around, especially at an airport as big as DFW. When I take a rideshare, I’m able to relax and catch up on e-mails and other tasks I can do on my phone, during the ride. Usually once I’m on the plane, I’ll listen to an audiobook or watch a movie if available.
What’s been one of your favorite destinations to travel to for a client site visit? I had a trip to Chicago and met up with Jacqueline Kuhn for an onsite visit to a client we were working with on an HR technology strategy. The Chicago area is Jacqueline’s stomping ground, so she spent some time showing me around the city, from the local perspective. Another cool trip was Washington D.C. to visit a non-profit client. I had not been to D.C. before, so we walked around one evening and saw the White House and some other famous landmarks.
Tell me about a recent project that you worked on that you’re particularly proud of.
One evaluation and selection project comes to mind where the project was challenging from the get-go. We had an onsite meeting scheduled to gain alignment on future state requirements and two of my colleagues who were supposed to attend with me both had flights cancelled due to weather. I went onsite solo for that meeting, with my colleagues joining virtually, and we were able to work with the team and successfully manage some of their challenging expectations. In the end, the project was successful and the client selected a solution that they confidently felt would meet their future needs.
I’m especially proud of this one because, after all was said and done, the client project lead shared really great feedback with us. For the project to be as challenging as it was and then hear from the client that they were very happy with our services was great validation of the importance of the work we do on the strategic services team at HRchitect. The client was so pleased, in fact, that they asked for additional help from HRchitect with project management for the subsequent implementation of their newly selected system.
Which employee perk that HRchitect offers do you enjoy the most? Why?
I would say working remotely and the flexibility. Any time I get stuck running an errand during rush hour, I find myself thinking, “Thank goodness I don’t have to do this every day!” I can take my dogs out for a walk during the day, or be home for a delivery that needs a signature – all things you can’t do as easily if you commute to an office every day
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