Career Mastered magazine Winter article
By: Nicole Hudson, Career Mastered Magazine Contributor 

Loyalty drives loyalty

As the founder of Hudson Collective, I wear a lot of hats. Part leader, part cheerleader, a builder of teams, a storyteller, and an influencer, I’ve learned that authenticity in both internal and client-facing conversations is the key to my organization’s success and growth.

Did I mention I launched Hudson Collective during the pandemic when many of the well-established rules about work, the workplace, and employees underwent their first radical changes since the Industrial Revolution?

Here’s what I’ve learned and how I’ve applied those learnings.

Developing loyalty

We’ve all heard about the Great Resignation and quiet quitting, trends driven by inflexible workplace rules and rigid management practices that fail to recognize the human factor. I’ve made it my mission to hire talented people who did excellent work at their old jobs but did not have their belief systems, their values, or their basic emotional and psychological needs met. I’ve done that by being flexible, realistic, and vulnerable. I acknowledge employee limitations and parameters as well as my own.

What do I mean by that? I offer intangible benefits, such as flexible work hours, and autonomy to get the task done. 2 PM or 2 AM, makes no difference if the job is completed in a timely manner, to previously agreed upon standards. Obviously, client-facing work needs to be completed during more traditional work hours, but the behind-the-scenes stuff I leave up to my staff’s discretion.

Trust and autonomy go hand in hand. Empowering your staff to succeed goes a long way toward guaranteeing success.

That also means understanding that life and work impose conflicting demands on people. Childcare, eldercare, self-care – having a good EQ is as important as having a good IQ, especially in the post-pandemic world.

Many of Hudson Collective team members, including myself belong to the sandwich generation with both childcare and eldercare responsibilities. Others have special needs children or struggle with the aftereffects of COVID, anxiety disorders, and other mental health issues. Understanding, empathy, and above all, open and honest communication help temper these real-life challenges.

Other voices

In conversations with friends and employees, one mentioned the Golden Rule, how I genuinely treat employees like I want to be treated, and that that is the way I demonstrated vulnerability and authenticity. Another noted that as a small business, I have the flexibility to be more compassionate toward my employee’s needs.

Tina-Marie Wohlfield, a Human Resource professional with over 25 years in the industry and the founder and Chief People Strategist at TIMAWO pointed out that the nature of work has become more people-focused and less task focused since the pandemic. The role of HR has shifted to reflect that and is more about navigating the here and now. Larger organizations are rethinking the role of management and reducing barriers to employee satisfaction. For example, an employee consoling session now is no longer about addressing tardiness, but rather about finding ways to accommodate the root cause of the tardiness and childcare needs, and using hybrid work scenarios to help all parties achieve a positive outcome.

Companies of all sizes are reexamining the importance of authenticity, the value of vulnerability, and the importance of empathy when recruiting, retaining, and inspiring.

The Human Element

Hudson Collective is a blend of creative problem solvers and data-driven analysts. Very diverse skill sets with very different needs. Of course, that means I hire more seasoned people, people on the third, fourth, or eighth jobs. My team established itself as SME prior to joining Hudson Collective, they know how to do the tasks, the pitfalls, and potential problems. What they need beyond paychecks and 401K typically cannot be found in a more traditional corporate structure. I don’t hire skill sets; I hire people I connect with. I try and bring a deeply human element to recruiting and hiring. And Human Resource professionals like Tina-Marie Wohlfield are helping reinforce these kinds of practices at larger organizations, by identifying barriers to employee success, mentorship, employee needs assessment, and implementing more flexible policies.

There’s a meme making the rounds on LinkedIn that sums it up quite nicely:

“Behind every resume is a human being with hopes, dreams, and a family. Never forget that.”

By demonstrating my loyalty to my team, I know I can count on their loyalty. Loyalty, like respect, is earned, and authenticity is the currency of loyalty.

Nicole Hudson Career Mastered Magazine Contributor

Nicole Hudson is the Founder of Hudson Collective, an integrated digital strategy and communications firm creating social impact by activating their communities through branding, storytelling, and expanding their engagement with a robust online presence. Hudson’s strategies are driven to deliver compelling messages and a suite of business tactics that engage, inform and influence audiences to action that creates lasting impact.