Tom LaMarre is a consultant at HRchitect with over 20 years of experience with talent acquisition, talent management, core HR and payroll expertise. Get to know Tom LaMarre, the last book he has read, and how his team functions 100% virtually in this month’s HRchitect spotlight.
Hometown: Urbandale, Iowa
Alma Mater: University of Iowa
All-time favorite restaurant: Chewies
One song you could listen to on repeat: “Mr. Jones” by Counting Crows
What do you do when you’re not working? I like to spend time with the family. We love to go camping. I also enjoy working in my yard.
In your own words, what do you do at HRchitect? I work with clients to implement their HCM products, fitting the company’s needs and making sure my client’s systems are set up in a way that allows them to best utilize the system that they just purchased.
How did you find out about HRchitect, and what made you join the company? Starting off, I was actually on the client side. The company I had worked for was implementing Taleo and the consulting firm that ran that project was HRchitect. I worked hand in hand with an HRchitect consultant, to implement the project. About a year later I started to think about transitioning into consulting and at around the same time, the consultant that I had worked closely with called to ask if I knew anybody who might be interested consulting for HRchitect. I said I was interested, and it went from there.
What’s a typical workday like for you? Lots of meetings. All day I meet with my varied client base, who are working on implementations for various products all over the world. In between meetings, I work on configuration, documentation, and those types of things. Usually I’ll stop for dinner and then have some additional work at night. It’s always important for me to have family time in between.
Tell me about a project you’ve worked on that you’re particularly proud of. I’m really proud of a global Talent Acquisition system implementation that I led with Mary Kay, a large enterprise client. I was able to implement and roll out Taleo in waves, through implementation in China, Brazil, and Mexico. I led the project through each of these phases, and with each passing phase, I developed a better understanding of what worked and didn’t work based on the client’s culture and the geographical region I was working in. The project involved three different languages and widely-varied business cultures, but it went off seamlessly and was delivered on time and within budget.
Of all of the places you have gotten to go for client site visits, what has been the coolest destination?
I think it would be Shanghai. Outside of working hours, I had the opportunity to check out lots of markets, and from a cultural point of view, seeing life in Shanghai was really cool. Brazil was also neat from a culture standpoint, but I wasn’t able to do as much exploring while I was working in Brazil.
What sort of major changes have you seen in the talent acquisition / talent management space since you started consulting?
I’ve seen a significant shift toward full-suite HCM systems, and a shift away from best of breed technology. When I started consulting in 2008, it was common to have a system like Taleo that was a standalone system, but integrated with other HCM systems. Over the past few years, it has been a trend to move to a single source full suite solution, where all aspects of HR technology are under one umbrella. There are pros and cons to full suite HCM solutions – pros being that the integration is much easier and cons being that the recruiting talent acquisition product might not be as robust as the standalone recruiting systems. This shift in the marketplace has created challenges for organizations shopping for HR technology. There’s more complexity in the decision making process and organizations sometimes need to make technology compromises.
As part of a team that works 100% virtually, what technology or collaboration tools do you use to make your work life easier?
Mainly, I use various online meeting platforms such as GoToMeeting, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams to name a few. We work with many different clients, so any given day I can use 3-4 different versions of an online meeting platform. As an internal team, we have been using Slack, which has been great for keeping the team engaged, especially during the pandemic. Slack allows our team to stay connected whether it’s for work-related questions, bouncing an idea off a colleague, or some comedic relief via gifs or funny videos.
What motivates you to wake up and go to work every day?
It is really the projects I get to work on and my accountability to the client that motivates me every day. It is very important to me that my projects are executed successfully and the clients are happy with with our consulting services and the outcomes from their systems. I put in the extra work to deliver whatever we need to deliver and to make sure to help the client through the entire process.
Which employee benefit or perk that HRchitect offers do you enjoy the most and why?
I would have to say the flexibility of the job and the ability to manage my own schedule. If you need to cut out for a few hours to run an errand or my child has an afternoon recital, I can accommodate those things without feeling like the company is Big Brother who needs to know where I am at all times. At HRchitect, no one is worried about what times you’re working, but rather measure success by whether you’re getting done what you need to get done, and whether you’re there for your clients. I really like the ownership and accountability of my own schedule.
Learn more about Tom LaMarre here