Octiavia Ortiz is a seasoned HR Manager at the internationally known beauty brand, Malin + Goetz. Our interview revealed that her role is filled with often unexpected challenges and the need to adapt quickly to tasks that may not always be on the calendar. Early in here career Ortiz learned that she is passionate about helping people and that HR was the perfect fit for her personality. We sat down to get more details about her workload, any advice she has for newcomers into the HR world and how she sets goals for her and the company:
How did you become an HR Manager?
It took a long time growing in my career. I started in 2010 as an HR assistant but not in the beauty industry. I realized I enjoyed it so I stuck with it. I worked for Sweet n Low for four years and was laid off when the manufacturing site closed. Then I started working with a recruitment agency and that’s how I landed in the beauty industry.
Did you understand what the role would be like when you applied? Did you have any idea what an HR Manager actually does?
Yes, because I worked with the CEO before. When the job details were laid out for me all the responsibilities were pretty much things that I was already comfortable doing, just at a different level. So I was well acquainted with payroll, office management, conflict resolution, helping with recruiting, etc...
What does a typical day look like for you?
No two days are the same! My days are different everyday which is why I love what I do. It includes meeting employees, answering inquiries, sometimes I feel like I’m doing payroll every week because we have another office in the UK and I've been handling payroll for both locations. In the U.S. we have 92 employees and in the UK office there's about 36! My daily tasks are just meeting with employees and conflict resolution.
What's the most important thing to know for someone on an operations team?
You have to be someone who is flexible because things are constantly changing. If you don't like change, anything to do with office operations is not going to be a good fit. For example, last minute meetings, conflict resolution situations, someone leaving the team and needing to recruit at the last minute. We do keep a talent pool so I’m the one who handles it if we need to recruit someone unexpectedly.
How do you establish goals for yourself and the company?
I assess where we need to improve by meeting individually with all the employees and finding out what their needs are, and then evaluating the company. I like to see where we are in terms of benefits, culture, salary, etc... and then compare where we are to other companies. For example, right now I’m in charge of expanding the benefits package but I have to weigh the costs. I report directly to the CEO and discuss findings with him and then we take it from there. We’ve been in business for 15 years but we don’t have a set of official values or culture yet. So researching and defining that is really fun! Part of it is my own knowledge and also researching what other companies offer.
What do you love about your job?
I love working with people, being able to support the employees, and making situations better.
If you could give advice to yourself before you started what would it be?
Don’t rush! I have so many changes that I made in the beginning because I was so enthusiastic and now I’m dealing with a lot of transitions at the same time.
What’s the hardest part about being an HR manager?
Everyone looks to you for answers even if its not relative to what you do. It seems like you have to have all the answers always.
What are you most proud of in your role?
I get to have an impact on major decisions that can help elevate the company.
How do you communicate with remote employees?
We have employees on the West coast and in the UK as well as New York, so I communicate with remote people all the time. I travel quarterly, about every 2-3 months. My rule when communicating with remote people is to always have a call and follow up with email.
What software or project management tool does your company rely on the most?
We mostly use G Suite. I think Slack was too distracting in the workplace. We used it before but we got rid of it.