Chad has twenty years of experience in Human Capital Management, first as a practitioner, then as a consultant and now a product strategy leader for Oracle’s HCM Cloud.
In his most recent role prior to joining Oracle in 2012, Chad worked with Taleo’s Business Transformation Practice, helping to build compelling business cases for HCM technology. Chad also spent seven years as a HCM Solutions Leader with Aon Hewitt.
Chad is a long-time member of WorldatWork and was invited to join their faculty in January 2008. He holds both Certified Compensation Professional (CCP) and Global Remuneration Professional (GRP) certifications. He also serves on the board of WorkLife Partnership, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to creating socially sustainable communities and thriving workplaces in Colorado.
Chad earned a B.S. in business administration and an M.S. in management and organization from the University of Colorado.
1. Most job postings cite “X” years of relevant work experience and specific education criteria as requirements to be considered for the position. With this in mind, what prior work experiences and degrees/certifications/training helped prepare you for your current role?
My practitioner experience in HR has been extremely valuable to my work as a consultant and now as a technology strategist at Oracle. The customers I work with are very often Compensation directors and their teams, and I sat on that side of the table for nearly a decade. I understand the pressures on these teams, what they want to do and what they end up doing. It gives me a lot of pleasure to know the products I represent help give them the opportunity to make a bigger impact on their organizations.
My master’s degree and WorldatWork certifications have also helped. There weren’t a ton of Certified Compensation Professionals when I first started out, so that certification really helped me job-hop my way into a variety of different industries and companies. I absolutely had to deliver once I landed a job, but the certification very often helped open the door.
1B. What (if any) additional knowledge or skills that you don’t currently have would make you even better at your job?
You’d think it might be programming languages like SQL and Java, but it’s not. The one thing I would really love is to live abroad. I’ve been extremely fortunate to live and work in Colorado my entire life. I started working from home when many of my friends were being told their corporate HR roles were moving elsewhere. I’ve also been fortunate to travel, see different parts of the world and still come home to one of the most beautiful places on earth. That said, I think there is another level of expertise one can achieve by being immersed in another part of the world for an extended period of time.
2. Some jobs require the incumbent to be very analytical. Others require one to be a strong communicator, and others still require traits like patience, the ability to multitask, self-directedness, comfort with ambiguity, and exceptional attention to detail. Are there any behaviors and/or attributes that you would say are essential to performing the work that you do?
There are some strategists who are very analytical, and there are some who are more creative, design-oriented. Your expertise in a particular area is what’s important. Having a great team of other experts in their own areas (i.e., development, Q/A and testing, etc.) is eventually how a new feature arrives in the market. All strategists absolutely have to be able to influence others and communicate their vision both inside and outside the company. That doesn’t mean you have to be the most elegant and inspiring speaker in the world, but you must have passion and a clear vision of what the future holds for HR Technology.
3. Jobs guru Lou Adler says there are only 4 job types of jobs in the world (producers, improvers, builders, and thinkers). Which type of job are you in?
This reminds me of Edward Murphy’s (Murphy’s Law creator) quote, “There are two kinds of people in this world… those who divide people into two types, and those who don’t.” If I had to choose one, I would go with improver. My dad was a machinist and an all-around tinkerer, so I grew up watching him modify machines and tools. My sister followed in his footsteps a bit more closely and became an engineer with a Six Sigma Black Belt. I went into HR as a profession, because I wanted to optimize how work was performed and how businesses achieved results. That continued through my work as a consultant and definitely with my role at Oracle, but I’m more of a thinker now. There are a lot of problems being faced by reward professionals, and I hope my ideas help generate some of the solutions.
4. Does your job involve either directly or indirectly supervising or managing people? If so, how many direct (or indirect) reports do you have?
I’ve only had a few direct reports in my career. I think that’s due to the “do more with less” mantras and flat organizational structures where I’ve worked. I certainly coordinate with a number of different teams in my current role. Once I’ve developed and documented a new idea for a feature, I work with Product Managers and Development teams to help them understand the business problem and how this new feature solves it. Then we get into the weeds and start looking at the particular boundaries of what the feature will or won’t do. They are eventually responsible for the testing and release planning, and I have to stay in close contact with them to make sure our customers understand when to expect the new feature to be generally available.
5. How does what you do impact the business? Think complexity (different types of impacts) and scale (degree of impact). Put another way: Who and what would be impacted if your job wasn’t being done well, and why would it matter that they were impacted?
My role definitely has an impact inside Oracle and on the acceptance of our HCM technology in the market, but I’d rather talk about how I hope I’m impacting our customers’ businesses. A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting in a conference room at the headquarters of a very well known company. They had assembled leaders and teams from Compensation and HRIT to evaluate our technology against their own homegrown Excel-based tools. Yes, that’s meant to be plural. Each of their different business units had their own compensation team with their own custom solution to manage their various pay processes.
Sometimes I get resistance from potential customers, because they think their custom system is just better than anything a vendor can provide. That’s not what I felt at this meeting. I felt fear. Fear of losing control and not being able to customize their system (yet again) to meet the demands of their business units. I also felt pressure from them. Many on the Compensation teams talked about the hours and hours of work that went into supporting their current tools that even their immediate managers weren’t aware of. Late-night number crunching to ensure every point of data on a chart was correct before it was sent to an executive the next day.
At the end of the day, I want to help those teams understand there’s a better way. I want them to step back and see the impact they could have by collaborating and consulting with their business leaders instead of being data jockeys and spreadsheet gurus.
6. Is your job safe? Rate its safety on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being “seated all day in an air conditioned vault” and 10 being “I’m an astronaut going into space”. If your job isn’t safe, what working conditions specifically make it hazardous?
Aside from the occasional flight cancellation due to tornadoes at Denver International Airport, yes my job is pretty safe. I’d say a 1 or 2.
7. Is there anything I missed that people should know about your job? Is there anything else you want to say about what you do?
This might rock the boat a little, but I think it’s worth mentioning. The best product people don’t just take what the customers want and create it. It’s very easy to paint yourself into a corner by adding a feature that meets the need of one customer but isn’t useful for anyone else. You have to have a criteria or a filter for something to pass through before it gets a green light for development. That requires seeing trends and putting some big bets on where the future of work is going. Yes, every enhancement needs to meet the needs of various customers, but the overarching direction of your products need to be about a vision yet realized.