This week on My Job Story, we hear from Shannon Lynch, Human Resources Director at SmartZip Analytics. Shannon has worked in Human Resources and Recruiting for 18 years and at SmartZip Analytics since 2009. SmartZip Analytics is a technology company that specializes in predictive marketing solutions for the real estate industry.
High Demand, Low Supply: How do you describe your job?
Shannon Lynch: I run human resources for a pre-IPO software company in Pleasanton. My team is responsible for the entire employee lifecycle from recruiting, new hire on-boarding, benefits management, payroll, training, employee relations to off-boarding an employee.
HDLS: How did you get this job?
Shannon: I was recruited by SmartZip’s previous CEO. He was the CEO at Xign Corporation and I worked for him there for 2 years before Xign was acquired by JP Morgan Chase in 2008. He was recruited to SmartZip in 2009 and reached out to me shortly after to help with recruiting and general HR duties such as setting up benefits/401k, creating an employee handbook.
HDLS: What is a typical day like for you in your role?
Shannon: Every day is an adventure and never the same. SmartZip currently has 175 employees, so any one of them can reach out to me and my team at any time with any question or concern. I spend a big chunk of my day coaching employees and managers to navigate various challenges. I partner with the executive team as well as managers to advise on best practices and policy requirements to ensure we are compliant and have a fun working environment!
HDLS: What are the best parts of your job?
Shannon: I love to recruit new employees that are so excited and thankful to work at SmartZip. Our recruiting process is quick, yet selective, so I love when we find the perfect candidate!
HDLS: What was your first job?
Shannon: I was a waitress all through college and loved the fast paced environment which I think is why I have enjoyed working at start-ups. My first job after college was at Adecco Staffing Agency. I was responsible for recruiting temporary employees for various businesses in Pleasanton and Livermore (PeopleSoft was one of our biggest clients). Adecco is where I started running into employee relation issues - unhappy employees, unhappy managers, harassment issues, theft. I realized that I loved that part of my job and wanted to continue a career in HR, not just recruiting.
HDLS: When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Shannon: I wanted to be a teacher. I love children (have 3 of my own) and volunteered at several elementary schools in college.
HDLS: How did you get where you are now?
Shannon: I graduated from University of Oregon and decided to move back to California, where I was raised, shortly after college. I have always been a hard worker and liked earning my own money. I picked up a waitressing job at the same chain restaurant that I worked at in college. I wasn’t ready to go back to school to get my California teaching credentials but knew that I wanted to find a career. My brother’s friend worked at Adecco and recommended I go through them to find a temporary job. When I met with the recruiter at Adecco, she commented how she thought I’d be a great fit there. They had an opening and hired me that week! I worked both jobs for a year and then continued with just Adecco after I got married 2 years after I graduated college. At Adecco, I was placed onsite at PeopleSoft for 6 months to recruit their temporary help. I absolute loved their culture and knew that I was ready to leave the agency world. Several PeopleSoft employees were being recruiting by a recent IPO company called Commerce One and they ended up recruiting me as well. I was hired as a Contingent Workforce Manager (managing their temporary workforce) and also recruited for general and administrative positions (Admin, Finance and HR). While I was there, Commerce One grew from 2,000 to 5,000 workers and then the dot-com bust happened. I was a member of the team that managed all of the reductions in force including when it was my time to eliminate my own job. I moved on to an HR Generalist role and then as an HR Business Partner with various companies (Plexus, Providian/Washington Mutual). I left WaMu to join Xign and was soon promoted to HR Manager. When Xign was acquired by JP Morgan Chase (yes, 2 companies I worked for were acquired by JPMC!), the Xign CEO recruited me to SmartZip where I have helped grow the company from 10 to 175+ employees.
HDLS: Can you tell me about an interesting or exceptional day you’ve as an HR leader?
Shannon: Every day is an interesting day when working with employees. In my career, I‘ve had employees come to work under the influence, steal, fight, and refuse to leave the office after a termination. And on the flip side, I’ve loved to see employees get promoted, win awards, meet their spouses at work, and even start their own companies.
HDLS: What is the best career advice you have ever received?
Shannon: My Dad is the President and CEO of a company. He taught me to always work hard and ask for more work. Whether waiting tables or working the corporate role, hard work and dedication will pay off in the long run.
HDLS: What is the worst career advice you have ever received?
Shannon: I love to work. I have 3 kids and after taking maternity leave, I always went back to work. I was told by many people that I would regret not staying home or I couldn’t do both well. They thought I should take a few years off. It has definitely been challenging, but my family is number one and I have been able to balance my career and family despite those that thought I wouldn’t be able to.
HDLS: What career advice would you give your younger self?
Shannon: Don’t be so hard on yourself. It is OK to make a mistake. We learn from our mistakes and grow from them… plus, nobody will remember them a year from now.
Shannon and I worked together years ago. While she was an HR Business Partner, she supported my organization and really taught me a great deal about Human Resources. As Shannon progressed through her career she learned more about what it was she enjoyed doing. That, along with staying in contact with her former CEO helped pave the way to her current role. Thank you Shannon for sharing your job story.
Shannon and her husband, Kelly, live in Dublin, California and are the busy parents of three young children.