Lisa Smith | Founder & CEO | The Staff Room
The Staff Room is a human resources management company. It began its operations in the year 2000. It is an award winner with many nominees and awards from around the world. It specializes in policies and procedures, WSIB, health and safety, employment and termination packages, recruitment and selection for existing clients, reference checks, onboarding, strategic organization, and restructuring, helping with what they need versus what they want. Advanced HR was launched this year in 2023 which has bundled HR services that help all-sized organizations that know what they want and need pick what is best for them. In an interview with Elite X, Lisa Smith gives us information about how The Staff Room conducts its operations.
Elite X: Can you please give us a brief overview of yourself?
Lisa Smith: My Name is Lisa Smith – I have been involved in HR for over 17 years, I took HRM and my post-grad at Centennial College I also went to Osgood Hall Law for my HR law certificate program, McMaster for infectious Diseases, First Aid in Mental Health certificate from Mental Health Association, COVID certificate from John Hopkins University, plus others as it never ends with me…More education the better.
EX: How are the services provided by your company unique from other HR companies?
LS: We do not just provide you with a service and then go. We help you and continue to maintain the relationship helping as needed, not continually billing the firms. We believe we’re here to help, we’re not here to empty your bank account. We’ll work with you and your budget. We believe in maintaining the relationship means being here, not billing each time you call, email or text. That is what lawyers do. We have also done things pro Bono.
EX: Describe your journey in this field with its high spots and low spots.
LS: When I worked for a firm that something was not right…. found out later he was up on many charges, I was already on course and hoping to advance, but instead, I left the firm and went to another as I knew what was going on…. the one owner went to jail. They inspired me to do more and go the extra mile….so I did. I only left as he was up on many counts of sexual harassment. The next firm I was at for a few years and then went into business for myself.
There is so much that I have experienced, and the challenges do not stop. Being a business owner is not for the light-hearted. You must make split-second life-changing decisions at times. It is challenging to weigh so much in minutes, but when you do and you get it wrong, back to the drawing board. And you WILL get things wrong at times. You learn from that and move on stronger and wiser than before.
I have had to investigate sexual harassment, which is not fun. You must ask for details, figure out if it is possible, weigh the facts, who is lying, and whether they are telling the truth.
A great highlight is when working with a university and helping a group of students in their last semester, they must pass by you and the project you assigned, this is called CAPSTONE project. In my first set of 5 students, I had one in HR that was very shy and reserved, now she looks at all facts and speaks up! They came in first place and achieved a mark of A+.I was immensely proud of them all. It is not all glamour and bliss, there are downsides and upsides. Challenges, failures, and successes, but are all learning curves that either flush you out or make you strong. HR is not for the weak, we hear all kinds of things and see what we hear. We are psychiatrists and fortune tellers at times as well.
– LISA SMITH
EX: You said previously that ‘Being a business owner is not for the light-hearted.’ What are the skills that have helped you stay lion-hearted?
LS: I think watching, listening, and speaking out helped me. I do not believe in taking advantage of others and I will say something. Many turn a blind eye; I will not do that. Asking questions that others will not, experimenting and growing, going forward, and not looking back!
When in the board room, wearing a skirt does not always get you the respect you deserve, wearing a pantsuit will. But when you wear that skirt suit and speak your mind and make valid points, people listen to you. When you point out how to save money using the same technics, people listen to you. When you stand up for yourself in the boardroom, office, or wherever you are, you get more respect, especially when you put someone in their place for being rude to you.
– LISA SMITH
EX: What steps must we take to see that males and females are equal?
LS: COMPASSION, MULTITASKING, and YES equality is important, but not to the point that a female thinks they are a man and capable of doing the exact same things a man can, that is not what I am meaning. The long answer is that in many ways we are equal, but there are other ways that we are not. We are all who we are and who we identify with. People need to see the person for who they are and not what. They need to understand we are ALL different or we would be robots, and we are not. Adam and Eve started it all, learn from them go back to basics and learn before you judge.
RESPECT – many are overlooked as they are not respected. It is getting better, but we still have a long road in front of us.
Many years ago I had the opportunity to spend a day with a woman that is the owner of her firm. Her name is Nancy, and the firm she owns is a successful marketing one. That day with her changed my life. Some things we set out for me are true and came about, and some I am still working on. Time will tell.
– LISA SMITH
EX: What steps are you taking in your organization to achieve gender equality?
LS: In my organization women are the key players in the firm. They have opinions and they make mistakes, but they learn, grow and move forward. I listen, watch and make suggestions. I have not thought about policies, as all are equal here, you are taken as you are. There is no judgement and there is no room for it. So the policy is gasp has no place here and the water cooler does not exist for a reason. It is not tolerated when others judge. So, our equality policy states no judgement we are all equal.
EX: A piece of advice to the women out here.
LS: Dream the impossible dream and go get it! A fence is nothing to go over, the walls you can crumble them, but ALWAYS think outside of the box! The minute you back down and put blinders on your eyes and lose site, stop, think and refresh, do NOT give in and think you can’t do it…YES, YOU CAN! Speak up and show you have a voice and be heard. Fear is only fearful if you let it be, if you chop it down, it is a salad. Break through the walls and tell the world.
EX: A little more info about yourself and your goals.
LS: Lately, my favourite books are from Medical Medium, and I love the author Patrick Lencioni, his best book is the five dysfunctions of a team! Love the movie, Under the Tuscan Sun with Diane Lane.
My current goal is to start authoring a book and my future goal is to start preparing for retirement.