By Chip Ross, Chief Talent Officer, Parker Home®
I've worked in corporate roles for most of the 25 years of my professional life, starting in college in the “personnel” department and now as the Chief Talent Officer for Parker. It's been a very interesting journey to this place. I certainly didn't think I'd end up where I am today.
In the for-profit corporate world, people are considered to be an asset, a commodity, or capital that the company uses to accomplish its end. The heavy emphasis is on pay, rewards, and performance management to ensure that people are doing what the company requires. I was lucky, though, in that I often worked for organizations that thought of their employees as something more than a means to an end- they thought of them as people. I learned the craft of human resources very well- the demands were high and companies needed people practices to survive in tough economies.
For me, something in this equation was always missing. I was certainly rising in my career, taking on more responsibility, and receiving promotions. I traveled a great deal, and was even asked to speak at conferences and seminars. From the outside, my career seemed to be heading in the right direction and without much limit. I began to realize though, that there were organizations that existed with missions that went far beyond profit; they were benefitting society. It was about this time that I lost my great job because the company I was working for was sold to a bigger company. So much for the right direction!
I decided to take a chance. I opted out of the corporate world, took a six-figure pay cut and became a teacher. I enjoyed the work, and realized that I hadn’t enjoyed my work in the last few years. Now, I had the experience of being a corporate HR leader and a teacher, but I still felt that I had more to contribute to society. I thought about the type of organizations that would benefit most from my skills and experiences and realized that working for a non-profit organization was the answer - thereby combining my life's experiences with my life's work. Which brings me to the present...
Parker Home. I hadn't heard of them before but saw an online ad for a head HR role. I did some research, learned more about the company and what they did. I was astonished. I visited the campus and was simply blown away. The grounds and buildings were impressive; it looks more like a 5-star hotel than a long-term care residence. Then I began meeting Parker people: from CEO Roberto Muñiz, to the leadership team and its employees - even to the residents and program participants. I was hooked, and instead of simply wanting a job, I thought of a job at Parker Home as a role in an organization from which I could retire. I never felt that way before.
The simple hook for me is that, at its heart, in all that it does, Parker is its people. And what better job is there as an HR professional than one where the “human” value is already set. Every day, my role is to determine how we can provide the best conditions possible for our employees so that they can, in turn, provide the best care and service to those individuals the organization serves. It's remarkable, astonishing. I work with some of the most talented, caring and capable individuals I've ever worked with, and it's my pleasure to support them.
For me, Parker is that right combination of my skills, experiences, values and competencies. It is an organization whose culture and needs align perfectly. I may make less money, and I don't travel much anymore, but my impact is much greater here. I feel as if I'm contributing far more to this world than I've ever done before.