Navigating HR Horizons: Insights from Mallory Herrin

Mallory Herrin, CEO of HerrinHR, a Texas-based HR outsourcing and consulting firm, boasts a rich background in HR spanning over two decades. She initially honed her expertise within various HR specializations such as compensation, talent acquisition, and employee relations while working internally within organizations. Mallory holds dual certifications from both SHRM and HRCI and is recognized internationally as an author and speaker on HR and leadership topics, notably for her book “Intentional HR: A Revolution in Strategic Thinking.”

Her journey into HR was sparked by a deep-rooted passion for aiding others and fostering positive workplace environments. Mallory firmly believes in the transformative power of supportive workplaces, where individuals can thrive and develop their skills, regardless of personal challenges they may face. This conviction, cultivated early in her career, fuels her dedication to HR, seeing it not only as a means for businesses to achieve their objectives but also as a catalyst for personal growth and empowerment. We, at EliteX, are honored to introduce Mallory Herrin as one of the 10 Extraordinary HR Leaders to Watch in 2024.

“As HR evolves, the greatest opportunities lie in embracing technology to enhance employee experiences while staying grounded in empathy and inclusivity.”

When asked about what distinguishes her as an HR leader, Mallory humbly attributes her approach to leadership to one of service and support. She emphasizes the importance of treating people well, pushing them beyond their comfort zones, and aligning people-related strategies with broader business goals to drive competitive advantage for clients. Remaining abreast of the latest trends and developments in HR comes naturally to Mallory, who describes herself as a lifelong learner committed to continuous improvement. Through a multifaceted approach involving reading, attending conferences, listening to podcasts, and engaging in discussions with peers, Mallory ensures she stays ahead in the ever-evolving HR landscape.

Reflecting on recent achievements, Mallory takes pride in the impactful projects completed for her clients. One notable success includes the implementation of a leadership training series for a small business grappling with change management issues. The training equipped the management team with essential skills, resulting in a significant improvement in company culture, employee engagement, and job satisfaction.

In navigating the challenges of HR, Mallory acknowledges the complexities of managing organizational change and overcoming employee resistance. By prioritizing effective communication, transparency, and stakeholder engagement, Mallory mitigates resistance and facilitates smooth transitions, ultimately fostering an environment where employees embrace change and drive organizational success. Within her own organization, Mallory Herrin practices what she preaches when it comes to fostering a positive workplace culture. She believes in the constant monitoring and development of culture to prevent toxicity. Mallory emphasizes the importance of building a community where everyone feels valued and cared for beyond just competitive rewards. This includes offering support for personal needs like flexible work arrangements and taking the time to understand and engage with team members on a personal level. This approach has led to a highly engaged team and a positive culture where everyone looks out for one another.

“Continuous learning isn’t just a recommendation for HR professionals; it’s the key to unlocking new perspectives and driving meaningful change.”

In terms of employee engagement and retention strategies, Mallory goes beyond traditional methods. She focuses on employee development, not just for their time with her organization but for their entire career. Mallory encourages employees to explore new interests and provides resources for cross-training or pursuing additional education. This investment in employees not only drives retention but also benefits the company as a whole by expanding the team’s skills and knowledge. When asked about the role of HR in driving organizational success, Mallory emphasizes its critical importance. HR is responsible for attracting, developing, and retaining top talent, fostering a positive workplace culture, and aligning HR strategies with business objectives. Mallory highlights the fundamental role of people in organizations and stresses the need for solid HR strategies to keep employees connected, engaged, and productive.

Regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, Mallory takes a proactive and holistic approach within her organization. She implements policies and practices that promote diversity and inclusion, provides training and education programs, fosters a culture of belonging, and regularly assesses and addresses any barriers to equity and inclusion. As for the future of work, Mallory acknowledges its rapid evolution driven by technological advancements and changing workforce dynamics. In response, HR must adapt by embracing remote and flexible work arrangements, leveraging data and analytics, and prioritizing employee well-being and work-life balance.

“In HR, fostering a positive workplace culture isn’t just a strategy, it’s a commitment to valuing every individual’s contribution.”

Balancing the needs of employees with the goals of the organization requires a strategic and empathetic approach, according to Mallory. She prioritizes open communication and collaboration to ensure that both employee needs and organizational objectives are met. By fostering a culture of mutual respect and understanding, Mallory strives to create win-win situations where both employees and the organization can thrive. One challenging HR situation Mallory faced involved managing a workforce reduction for a client due to budget constraints. To navigate this, she prioritized transparency and empathy, ensuring affected employees were treated with dignity and provided support to transition smoothly. Mallory recognized the impact on individuals and worked to minimize the burden on them.

To aspiring HR professionals, Mallory advises continual learning and growth. Seek out professional development opportunities, build relationships with mentors, and stay updated with industry trends. Understanding the business alongside HR is crucial, and she encourages taking risks, advocating for oneself, and embracing challenges for growth. Looking ahead, Mallory envisions HR becoming more strategic, data-driven, and employee-centric. Leveraging technology and analytics will drive insights, while a focus on exceptional employee experiences and inclusive cultures will remain vital. Adapting to technological advancements, demographic shifts, and regulatory requirements presents challenges and opportunities for HR to promote innovation and agility within organizations.