Why this HR pro decided to start a consulting biz for growing startups - Technical.ly Philly

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Feb. 14, 2020 11:50 am

Why this HR pro decided to start a consulting biz for growing startups

Talia Edmundson spent nearly eight years helping build RevZilla's culture. Here's why she wants to help other startups do the same.
HR pro Talia Edmundson.

HR pro Talia Edmundson.

(Courtesy photo)

Human resources professional Talia Edmundson spent the last eight years or so helping one of Philly’s ecommerce staples, RevZilla, build its team from a handful of employees to a few hundred.

Edmundson got in at the company early, where she said its three cofounders cared a lot about creating company culture and had already started doing so before she arrived.

“They had this sense of conviction about what they wanted to do, and they just needed someone to help,” she said. 

After nearly eight years in the role, and a lot of change over at the Navy Yard company (the creation of a holdings company, change in leadership), Edmundson decided at the end of 2019 to look for a new opportunity.

She told Technical.ly that after a handful of interviews with area startups, she decided that in-house wasn’t the direction she needed to go at the moment.

“It happened maybe four or five times where a call would end and I would kind of say to them, ‘You don’t need me right now, I’m a little too much for you right now,'” Edmundson said.

Instead, she decided, it was time to take her expertise and ability to a contract position and start her own business — HRnB Consulting (a nod to her love of ’90s R&B music). Now, Edmundson will provide the resources for, train and execute human resources and culture strategy to companies growing and needing HR assistance.

We talked with Edmundson about what’s new in human resources, current hiring trends and what it’s like to get hired for a job that hires other people. This interview was edited for clarity and length.

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Technical.ly: What’s changed since the last time you took on a new role in HR?

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Culture creation at companies is much more prevalent now than I think eight or 10 years ago. I think there’s founders who are starting companies now and are realizing they have an opportunity to say, “This is how I want to treat people.” They’re set on getting it right at the start. There’s this amazing opportunity coming up in Philly right now for HR people to meet these cofounders, and to kind of guide them through this culture build that they’re going to do. 

What’s a current hiring trend you’re seeing that’s attractive to potential employees?

The benefit of time. Not just work from home, because there’s still a lot of people that want to come into the office, but there’s still tangible, nontraditional benefits of time that you can offer. If there’s a time-crunch problem that you can solve for them, that offers a lot. It can be as simple as bringing an in-network doctor in who will give your employees a physical, or someone from On the Goga to teach some mindfulness techniques.

You can eliminate some burnout by solving some of the problems people face. If you encourage people to be well at work, you’re saving a lot of time, which is one of the large asks out there. 

You’re focusing now on helping companies with around 50 employees. Why?

Well, 50 people is the number that you’re responsible for following compliance — like healthcare, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and state laws. Basically a lot of people who are growing realize it’s too much, so they need someone to kind of take care of those aspects. 

I’ll be offering various stages of assistance for clients depending on what they need, either going into the office, creating a plan for them, talking through options. I’m kind of filling in that knowledge gap.

What is it like to get hired as someone who’s responsible for hiring others? 

You need a deep understanding of how to communicate culture. If you’re brought in, you have to be on board with that company or you’re going to sound like you’re not telling the truth about it. To get hired, you have to be able to work in a place where you trust your leaders. 

You don’t have to spill all the details, but you sure as hell need a sense of conviction that you’re OK telling the story of the company you’re hiring for.

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