Jacqueline Kuhn is the Executive Vice President of HCM Strategic Consulting Services at HRchitect. Since 2008, she’s been helping organizations around the world create HR technology strategies and evaluate and select the best HR systems for their unique business. Get to know more about Jacqueline, including her career trajectory, her hobbies, and her favorite HRchitect perk in this month’s employee spotlight.
Hometown: Barrington, Illinois
Alma Mater: Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa
Favorite type of food: That’s a toss up between Italian and Mexican.
Last book you read: What Have You Done which is a mystery/thriller by Matthew Farrell.
Favorite vacation destination: It changes every year, but right now I’d say somewhere quiet where I can hike, commune with nature, and just relax.
Hobbies: I’m a certified dog trainer, so I spend time doing things like helping train shelter dogs and work on behaviors that help make them more adoptable. I’m also very active in my church and do a lot of volunteer work there. I also love to shop! Soft Surroundings, J. Jill, and Anthropologie are my three favorite stores.
What did your career path look like before joining HRchitect? I had a very traditional HR / HR technology career path working for organizations as well as in consulting. I typically worked as a practitioner and gained experience with whichever technology platforms that company was using, and then went into consulting around those platforms. After doing that for around 20 years, I started my own business focused on strategic consulting services, which is what I now do for HRchitect. When I joined HRchitect, I brought my business and methodology to HRchitect to help grow strategic services within our firm
How did you find out about HRchitect? I had known of HRchitect since the late 1990s through the IHRIM organization and through one of our retired management team members, John Hinojos. When I had my own business, I subcontracted to HRchitect. The right opportunity at HRchitect opened up, and I joined the company full time.
In your own words, what do you do at HRchitect? I help clients create strategies to purchase people tools for managing the business.
Tell me about a recent project that you worked on that you’re particularly proud of. One project that comes to mind is a recent engagement with a transportation and logistics company. The client initially came to us because they were not happy with the use of their existing HRIS system. The client partnered with us to work through a traditional RFP process to look at the marketplace and understand if what they have is truly what they need right now. We did a full RFP process and took a very in depth look at a number of vendors, including their incumbent vendor. In the process, we learned that the client, who had been on their current system for over ten years, was not using the system in the way it was designed to be used. Through the process, we were able to educate the client on the market, on internal process improvements, and on best practices for their company given what line of business they are in. After our initial research was done, and our recommendation was made, the client went out to Gartner to see if Gartner would recommend anything different. Gartner provided the exact same recommendation that we did. I felt proud of this because it continues to validate that our methodology truly results in the best fit for our clients and that our level of advisory services to our clients are on the same level as Gartner, a very reputable analyst firm.
What are the biggest challenges, now and in the near future, that organizations need to be addressing through their HCM technology? Communication to employees is essential. Everyone is bombarded by email today, so communications sent via email tend to get lost. Having tools or a platform that enable companies to have communication options outside of email are important. Some examples of this are the ability to send a text message out to employee groups when something is happening or a message on the portal page when employees go to clock in our out, or a pop up on their mobile app that employees use to view their pay statements. Being able to incorporate messaging into the tools that people are already using every day is something organizations need to address as emails get lost in today’s overcrowded inboxes. Mobile functionality and mobile enabled communication tools are also something today’s employee expects from their employer.
Sensible incorporation of AI and Machine Learning is another. By sensible, I mean that organizations don’t want to roll out these technologies at the expense of what makes the organization, its culture and its business propositions unique. You need to define what kind of culture you want to have from an HR service delivery perspective, and then incorporate those kinds of technology to fit your culture; not just doing so because the technology is there. Every organization seems to be jumping on the AI bandwagon, a lot of which is chat bots, but they aren’t always taking a deliberate approach in determining if the shiny new technology will actually make a difference for their employees and how they interact with HR.
You travel for client site visits and speaking engagements a LOT. Do you have a pre-flight or in-flight routine? Yes! If I have a morning flight, I get a Starbucks cold brew coffee before boarding the plane. If I have an afternoon flight, my pre-flight routine is just making sure I get a bottle of SmartWater to bring on board with me to stay hydrated. For my in-flight routine, if I don’t have something pressing that I’m working on, I’ve begun to leverage my Amazon Prime Video app more. I’ve downloaded the whole series of a show that I find hysterical, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”, and I only watch it while I’m on a flight.
Which employee benefit or perk that HRchitect offers do you enjoy the most? Why? The monthly home office allowance! If I have to go get something for my home office, I can just go and get it. Most consulting firms don’t offer a home office allowance, so having one is a huge plus. In addition, I submit receipts and expense reports when traveling for business and since I’m always on the go, it can be hard to find the time to sit down and organize, scan and submit all that documentation for client travel. With the home office allowance, I don’t have to worry about submitting my receipts, so it saves me a lot of time and simplifies my life.
What else should people know about HRchitect?
We’re very fortunate, as a consulting firm, to have very low overhead and bureaucracy. One of the things I really enjoy about HRchitect there is always someone willing to listen to what you have to say. That example is set from the top down, by Matt Lafata. I’ve been working for many years and a culture where people are willing to listen doesn’t exist in most organizations. It’s so refreshing to have that ingrained in HRchitect’s culture.
Learn more about Jacqueline Kuhn