Annie Rosencrans is the Director of People & Culture, US, at Hibob. She’s led People Operations for several high growth organizations including NY-based startups, Namely and Knotel. She brings a breadth of experience across the HR field with a specific focus on HR transformation and change management.
5 Questions With Annie Rosencrans, Director of People & Culture, Hibob
Q: Can you tell us about your career trajectory and what led you to HR?
My path into HR was very much a happy accident. I spent my first couple years out of college working in event marketing, and later doing inside sales at an early stage startup. I realized pretty quickly that sales wasn’t for me, so I approached my manager at the time and offered to do something – really anything – else. Luckily, the company was willing to take a chance on me, and they offered me the opportunity to shift into recruiting. I eventually took on other HR responsibilities like writing the company handbook and implementing a performance review process. I also used this time to network with HR leaders, and the more I learned about HR, the more I liked it.
I was later hired as a recruiter, turned HR generalist at a NY-based HR tech company. We were growing insanely fast at the time, so every day was a crash course in HR for me. Over my three years there, I learned about everything from comp and benefits, to performance management, HR operations, and employee experience. I later moved to another high growth startup – one with a global presence, which was another amazing learning experience for me. I now find myself back in HR tech, this time with some solid experience under my belt. I feel like my career has come full circle, and I can’t wait to see what’s next.
Q: What is one thing you’re the most proud of since you joined Hibob?
I’ve only been at Hibob for a short time, but one of things I’m most proud of happened during my first month here. The day I joined Hibob, I was told that one of my first projects would be to throw a party to celebrate the Company’s 6th anniversary and series C fundraise. We had just 30 days to plan and execute the event, and expectations were high since it was the first major US event since before the pandemic began. To add to the challenge, more than half the attendees had been at Hibob for just a few months, so the party needed to be fun and welcoming for the newbies, while preserving and honoring Hibob’s existing culture.
In just four weeks, we had arranged travel and accommodations for our remote team members, secured a venue and band, and held a full week of programming for almost 60 people. The part that I’m most proud of though was the amazing energy that was generated from the week. The team chemistry was so strong, an outsider never would have guessed that most of us had been strangers just a few days earlier. (You’d have to see the video footage from the dancefloor to understand what I mean). Everyone left the week feeling energized, connected, and enthusiastic about the future of the company.
Q: How does your role support Hibob’s organizational goals?
As an HR tech company, Hibob’s entire mission is centered on creating a best-in-class employee experience. We built a platform designed to make the employee experience better by enabling team collaboration, recognition, and transparency, and by helping HR professionals be more strategic partners to their businesses.
We can’t achieve any of these goals without having great people to execute them. So my job is to onboard, develop, and retain the talent that makes the business run. As we quickly scale our workforce, my team is on the front lines making sure that every new hire is set up for success from day one. Not only that they have the tools and information they need to do their jobs, but that they’re aligned with and bought into the company’s mission and vision. Once new hires are onboarded, my role is to oversee and support all people-facing activities – things like change management, leadership development, and anything else that touches the employee journey.
Q: What is the most critical thing employers should know about employee engagement?
A common misconception about employee engagement is that it’s driven by perks and social activities. While happy hours, swag, and free snacks are great, they’re not the reasons why people stay at companies. The things that employees care about most today are connection, growth, and purpose: Connection to their team, growth in their career, and a strong sense that the work they do matters. And all of these qualities start with transparent, empathetic leadership. At the end of the day, when employees feel sincerely cared for, both personally and professionally, engagement naturally follows.
Q: How can investing in career development and growth help employers retain their best employees?
The highest performers at any company are oftentimes also the most ambitious. If you want to keep your best talent engaged and retained, you’ll need to invest in career development. A good first step is to establish functional career ladders so employees understand the opportunities available to them both within and across departments. You should also consider outsourcing professional development programs like leadership training courses and one-on-one coaching. While these initiatives can be pricey, the cost of losing top talent is far greater. But before making a big investment, talk to your employees to understand what’s important to them. Then implement a development plan that meets their needs.
Learn more about Hibob here.
Connect with Annie Rosencrans on LinkedIn