We recently welcomed Brett Pugliesi as ARM's SVP of HR and sat down with him to discuss ARM's next step in cultivating the best place to work.

What role do you see HR playing in this post-pandemic hybrid work environment?

I see HR as being more important than ever in this current post-pandemic environment. There are a whole host of new challenges, some of which we’ve never seen before–at least on this scale–and HR needs to be able to pivot to meet them.

Keeping teams connected while they work in hybrid environments, more dispersed than ever, is going to have the largest impact on Human Resources. It will be more important than ever to provide guidance and resources to department leaders so that they can bring their teams together virtually. This includes virtual team building, virtual wellness initiatives, and virtual fun events that benefit the culture of the organization. Being hybrid presents a lot of opportunities for better mental health and work-life balance, but it’s a two-edged sword: working from home gives you more time with family, but it also makes it harder to unplug from work; Finding the right mix of providing great service to our clients while maintaining a positive balance of home and work life will be paramount.

We also need to spend more time on acclimating employees into the culture of the company. It used to be that if you had a question, you could just turn your chair around and ask the person behind you a question. We need to be able to facilitate this type of “buddy” atmosphere from a virtual environment. Likewise, managers need to have effective check-ins with their staff, including 1:1’s to create connections and get feedback; 30-, 60-, and 90-day check-ins for new hires; and skip level 1:1’s with staff and higher levels of leadership to give new employees access to other leaders and people than their immediate coworkers.

How will the workforce be reimagined with HR’s digital transformation?

The digital transformation isn’t anything new. We’ve been seeing a digital transformation for at least fifteen years when HR Information Systems (HRIS) started to become necessary to running a growing organization. But with the meteoric rise of HRIS in the past five years we now have the ability to choose the best system that suits our needs at any given time.

With true all-in-one HR systems, our workforce has everything that they need at their fingertips. Employees have all their paperless onboarding documents (I-9, tax documents, policy reviews, and signature) plus they have access to view payroll data and make adjustments at any time. Goals are recorded in the systems, both company and personal. For employers, they can manage the entire cycle of an employee’s career from application to onboarding to performance review.

Of course, all of that is standard and available with a host of HR systems, but what is new is the emphasis on AI, predictive analytics, and machine learning developments. It’s all about data, data, and more data. Data for employees to use to accelerate and organize their own careers, but also data for the organization to make informed decisions.

What are your plans for authentically approaching DE&I within ARM as an organization?

It all starts with benchmarking our current diversity level, understanding our industry, and focusing on hiring from a diverse range of backgrounds. We want to create an inclusive work environment that allows all employees to feel welcome and to bring their true authentic selves to work, creating a feeling of belonging across the organization.

We want our DE&I initiatives from a cultural perspective to be employee-driven, not HR-driven. HR provides support for the initiatives, but for it to truly be inclusive and welcoming it has to come from fellow employees, not from management. As such, we have a DE&I committee that meets regularly to discuss opportunities to provide education and to highlight different aspects of backgrounds and cultures. Subcommittees work on specific projects so that the DE&I committee isn’t overwhelmed.

However, while it is important that the cultural groundswell for the DE&I initiatives needs to come from the employees, having support from the top down, especially the executive team, is essential to making sure that there is buy in and a recognition that this is company-wide, not an employee afterthought.

How have you seen the role of HR evolve within business organizations?

I have seen a major shift in HR in the past 20 years. When I first entered the world of HR, it was mostly focused mostly on the administrative, though there was a shift happening to be more strategically and operationally focused. However, in recent years the focus of HR is on the mindset of the employee–what attracts and retains good employees.

There is also an important shift where HR now has a place at the “C-Suite Table”, involved more in overall strategy of growing business and developing leaders that will lead the company not just in the here and now, but in the long term. We focus on tech, analytics, and using these tools for employee retention, recruitment strategies, and measuring engagement.

How do you feel HR’s reliance on authentic innovation is expected to increase moving forward?

Now more so than ever it’s important for HR to remain in the forefront when it comes to innovation. With the “Great Resignation/Great Realization”, employees are making big decisions about their long-term career goals and how they affect their mental and physical well-being. Companies that are not able to be flexible with the change in the workforce zeitgeist are going to be left without the best talent, while companies that can adjust and adapt are going to thrive.

We need to focus on the overall wellness of our employees, not just on delivering them a paycheck and a lunch break, but on giving them the kinds of benefits that they truly want. I think that there needs to be less focus on providing stocked snacks in the break room and ping-pong tables but to focus more on a holistically balanced realm of mind and body wellness.

DE&I is also going to play an important part in this shift, especially as we are looking to hire new candidates and bring them into the company.


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