Lyssa Test

Lyssa Test

Lyssa Test is a Sr. Content Specialist at Namely, the HR, payroll, and benefits platform built for today's employees. Connect with Lyssa and the Namely team on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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HR Conference Checklist: Getting Your Money’s Worth

HR conferences provide a great opportunity to meet like-minded professionals, learn new skills, hear expert advice, and stay up to date on industry trends and compliance changes. Attending an industry conference can be an investment in yourself, your career, and your current company.

With HR Redefined 2019 just around the corner, we wanted to share a few expert tips on how to get the most out of your experience. Here’s your HR conference checklist to make sure you get the most bang for your buck.


1. Download the Conference Mobile App

Conference mobile apps act as your personal assistant for the event. They help you navigate the conference space and stay up to date on any last minute changes or special offers. They usually have the full conference schedule, descriptions and bios of sessions and speakers, a map of the conference and expo hall, a list of sponsors and their booths, and more.

2. Get Social

You don't have to wait until the first day of the conference to start networking. Let your existing network know you'll be attending by sharing your plans on social media. Be sure to tag the conference organizers and use the conference hashtags, like #HRRedefined2019, so fellow attendees can view your post too. You never know who could find your post and reach out! Once you're at the conference, be sure to tweet, post, share, and tag to share your conference experience with your network, followers, and new friends.

3. Divide and Conquer

You can’t be in two places at once—or can you? If you’re attending the conference with colleagues, split up so you can cover sessions occurring simultaneously and then compare notes afterward. You’ll maximize your time at the conference and the number of ideas and takeaways you bring back to your company. Don't worry if you're attending HR Redefined alone, we'll be sharing detailed session recaps on the Namely Blog in the weeks following the conference so you can catch up on anything you missed at the conference.

4. Take Notes

You may be tempted to sit back and just take it all in, but be sure to jot down a few notes to remember key ideas and insights during conference sessions and keynote addresses. Even if the conference organizers plan to send out presentation decks after the conference, you don’t want to lose your train of thought. You never know when inspiration will strike—so come prepared with a notepad or laptop to save your ideas for later.  

5. Meet Someone New

Don’t forget to pack your business cards! HR conferences bring together a diverse group of passionate payroll, talent, and people professionals from all over the country. Don’t let the opportunity to grow your network and meet new people pass you by. Set a personal goal to meet a certain number of people and establish meaningful connections. Take advantage of coffee breaks, meal times, and happy hours to step outside of your comfort zone and meet someone new.

Tip: The HR Redefined 2019 mobile app has a “community” feature, which lets you search, find, and message fellow conference attendees. It’s a great way to connect with HR professionals in your industry, from similar-sized companies, or in interesting roles. Drop someone a message through the app and meet up for coffee during the conference! Click here to download the app

6. Connect with Speakers

Don’t be starstruck—reach out to the wealth of knowledge and expertise you have at your fingertips. Don’t be afraid to approach speakers after their session or panel, strike up a conversation at a happy hour or networking event, or connect with them on LinkedIn or social media.

7. Try a New Technology

Conferences are a great time to try something new. Be sure to stop by the expo hall to watch product demos, learn more about exhibitors’ products or services, ask questions, and speak with current clients. Even if you aren’t currently considering new HR software, it’s always a good idea to explore your options, so you’re a more informed buyer when your company is ready to take that next step.

8. Follow Up

Set a reminder a week after the conference to touch base will all the great individuals you met at the conference. Send them a personalized note, follow up on a conversation you had, or share an interesting article to keep you top of mind and maintain your relationship beyond the conference.

9. Schedule a Debrief

Don’t forget to spread the wealth, especially if you were the only one on your team to attend the conference. In the days following the conference, organize your notes and whip up a quick presentation to share conference highlights and key takeaways with your team, department, and manager. Showing the value of the conference and how you plan to implement these ideas at your own company helps prove the worth of your experience and hopefully increases the odds you or someone else on your team will have the opportunity to attend a conference in the future.

Lastly, don’t forget to think about what you want to get out of the conference. This checklist is a great way to get you started, but be sure to set some personal goals and add them to the list. That way you can hold yourself accountable and ensure you capitalize on all the opportunities your next HR conference has to offer. Good luck checking things off your list and don’t forget the most important task of them all: have fun!  




Meet HR Redefined Speakers: Ashley V.-R., Khalilah O., and Jacqueline L.

We’re so excited to host an all-star lineup of motivational speakers, thought leaders, and industry experts at HR Redefined 2019. With the conference right around the corner, we wanted to showcase a few of the HR experts you’ll soon see on the HR Redefined stage.

We sat down with three of our speakers, Ashley Valenzuela-Ruesgen of White Construction Group, Khalilah Olokunola of TRU Colors Brewing, and Jacqueline Loeb of Scouted, to learn more about their careers and upcoming panel, “Untapped: Sourcing Underserved and Diverse Talent.” Here’s how they found their way to a career in HR and why they love the industry.


How did you fall into HR?

Ashley Valenzuela-Ruesgen Headshot

HR Director,
White Construction Group

My father is also in human resources. I grew up assisting him with employee training and union avoidance workshops and often tagged along to HR and legal conferences. In high school, I took a career assessment and it told me human resources would be an excellent career fit. I resisted my HR calling early in my career, but frequently found myself having an affinity for leadership development, coaching, and employment law.


After some self-reflection, I made the conscious decision to pursue a career in HR. Now, I’m the human resources director for a commercial general contractor and I look forward to one day serving as a chief human resources officer!

Khalilah Olokunola Headshot
Khalilah Olokunola
VP of HR,
TRU Colors Brewing

I fell into it accidentally. I’ve always been in the “building” business. I like to train and develop people by helping them build their core competencies. If you help your employees grow in their careers, they will help build your business. I was offered in-house opportunity and I never looked back.

Jacqueline Loeb Headshot
Jacqueline Loeb

I’ve always loved people—working with them, trying to understand what makes different people tick—and yet getting into HR was more happenstance than deliberate. Out of college, I worked at a hedge fund as a management associate. It was a rotational program and my first assignment was to be the CFO’s chief of staff. I was charged with doubling the size of the department from 30 to 60 people and that was really my first foray into recruiting and HR. After that, I ended up working with my co-founder running Bridgewater’s campus recruiting program. And, well, the rest is history.


What most excites you about the field of HR?

Ashley Valenzuela-Ruesgen Headshot

The complexity, chaos and unrealized potential. I believe the field of human resources is undergoing a metamorphosis of sorts. HR professionals are shifting from “chiefs of fun” to broad-based strategic business partners. We are no longer “a necessary evil” or “the personnel office.” I see boundless opportunities associated with this shift as it presents the chance to innovate, inspire, and pioneer a new frontier.

Khalilah Olokunola Headshot
Khalilah Olokunola

It’s always the people. Helping strategically align human capital to the vision, mission, and culture of a company is what motivates me to do what I do.

Jacqueline Loeb Headshot
Jacqueline Loeb

I like the way that HR feels personal and global at the same time. I also get excited by HR’s potential to drive impact across the board. Specifically, the ability to impact individuals, companies, and by extension the economy and society overall. At the individual level, the right job can change someone’s entire career trajectory, bringing significant fulfillment and happiness. At the company level, talent is the key to winning.



If you weren’t in your current role, what would you be doing?

Ashley Valenzuela-Ruesgen Headshot

I would be teaching leadership and human resources courses at a university, volunteering on numerous community boards, and running my own non-profit.

Khalilah Olokunola Headshot
Khalilah Olokunola

I would be a freelancer training and developing people...with a part-time gig as a fried chicken whisperer.

Jacqueline Loeb Headshot
Jacqueline Loeb

If I wasn’t running Scouted, I think I might be doing something completely different—maybe running a summer camp, working for a non-profit focused on outdoor education for underprivileged youth, handling sales or marketing at an awesome outdoor gear company, or running political campaigns. Regardless of what it would be, I know it would be a job that is heavily people-oriented with a strong operational bent.


What do you like to do outside of work?

Ashley Valenzuela-Ruesgen Headshot

I enjoy hiking, traveling, family time, and cooking. My husband and I try to travel somewhere internationally once per year, and I have a running family recipe book that we are frequently adding to. My father and I have been typing up my great-grandma’s homemade cookie and holiday bar recipes. Some of the recipes date back to the 1920s! I am also an avid reader and user of Goodreads. There never seems to be enough time to read everything that catches my eye, but I try.

Khalilah Olokunola Headshot
Khalilah Olokunola

When I’m not working, I love spending time with my family and serving in church. I enjoy writing (I’m an author), public speaking, and coaching other women. Jumping out of planes and ziplining are fun too!

Jacqueline Loeb Headshot
Jacqueline Loeb

I’m an adrenaline junkie who loves adventure and anything that pushes me out of my comfort zone, exposes me to new experiences, or gives me a new perspective. I love meeting new people, listening to live music, skiing, biking, and rock-climbing. My indoor-kid side has a slight obsession with knitting brightly colored winter hats and scarves, and my extreme guilty pleasure is watching Hallmark Christmas movies.


HR Redefined is quickly approaching! What are you most excited for?

Ashley Valenzuela-Ruesgen Headshot

I am looking forward to connecting with other engaged, motivated, and innovative HR leaders. I am a member of the Namely HR Reads book club, so I am excited to see what is on the docket for this year. I am also excited to serve as a panelist this year! Being a part of the narrative about how HR is changing is a fantastic and exciting opportunity.

Khalilah Olokunola Headshot
Khalilah Olokunola

Talking to people, meeting people, learning from people, and doing it all in NYC. I’m from Canarsie, Brooklyn so I’m excited to be close to home!

Jacqueline Loeb Headshot
Jacqueline Loeb

I am most excited to meet interesting people with a passion for HR and talent and learn about new and creative technologies that are driving innovation. There are so many of us all doing disparate things, yet we share common goals and passions. I think HR Redefined is a great opportunity to connect with new people and identify ways to collaborate and partner together. We’re all stronger together.


What’s your favorite thing to do/eat in NYC?

Ashley Valenzuela-Ruesgen Headshot

I recently took up photography and New York has a plethora of photography opportunities. From the diverse people to the unique cityscapes, I love to explore the city every chance I get. I plan to stay a couple of extra days to do some sightseeing and adventure out to some of New York’s best tourist spots. My suggestion is to eat all the food and talk to as many people as possible!

Khalilah Olokunola Headshot
Khalilah Olokunola

There is nothing like an off-broadway play! I remember seeing Cats as a kid (super scary) and Blue Man group as an adult (not as scary). I also love street food—there’s no way you can come to NY and not grab a “dirty dog” or kabob!

Jacqueline Loeb Headshot
Jacqueline Loeb

I love biking to Coney Island or the Rockaways and then chilling on the beach with a well-deserved, cold beer (and then taking the subway back home). One of my favorite ways to spend a lazy weekend afternoon is to eat lobster rolls from Luke’s Lobster in Brooklyn Bridge Park on a bench overlooking the water and then stop at Almondine bakery for what I swear is the best chocolate chip cookie in all the five boroughs.



With HR Redefined 2019 just around the corner, don’t forget to buy your ticket and secure your spot! Stay tuned for even more HR Redefined 2019 speaker spotlights on the Namely blog, or check out a full list of HRR speakers and sessions here.


Day in the Life of a People Analyst: Sarah Mann

 What does an HR person do all day? Every HR professional knows there’s no such thing as a “typical” day at work. In our Day in the Life series, we speak with pros from a variety of cities and industries to get a snapshot of their work lives.



Meet Sarah Mann

Title: Sr. Manager, Analytics & People OperationsSarah Mann headshot

Company: Namely

Location: New York, NY 

Industry: HR Technology

Number of Employees: 550

HR Team Size: 23

Years of Experience: 10

College Major: Spanish and Psychology

Favorite Part of People Analytics and Operations: “I love how we get to be the glue that keeps our people operations moving. We get to deal with all things ops, tech, and data, so no day is ever the same!”

Sarah Mann is serious HR operations, technology, and data. She leads Namely’s new people analytics and operations team, which gathers metrics and data for the HR team and company executives, ensuring they have the data they need to make important people and business decisions. When she’s not pulling reports or drawing insights, Sarah assists her team with larger projects, like streamlining processes and ensuring Namely’s employee lifecycle is setting people up for success.

Here she gives us a look at a typical day in the life of a people analytics manager:

5:00 - 5:30 a.m.: I’m an early bird, so I’m usually up around 5 a.m. I like to get going in the morning, so I’ll get ready and out the door shortly after that.

6:15 - 7:00 a.m.: My commute is my “me-time.” I take two subway trains to get to work, so I usually use the time to listen to music, check the news, and mentally get ready for the day.

7:00 - 8:30 a.m.: I normally get into the office around 7 a.m. I love getting there early—I usually get the most work done when the office is quiet. I’ll usually beeline it for the coffee. That early, caffeine is a must. When I sit down at my desk, I’ll go through my emails, check the Namely feed, and reply to any new posts in the Data Collective. Then, I try to tackle work that requires more thinking, like better ways to use Namely or using my morning freshness to tackle some data work.

8:30 - 9:30 a.m.: This is usually when the rest of my team trickles into the office. Usually, we start seeing an uptick in employee inquiries around this time, so I’ll help the team as needed.

9:30 - 10:00 a.m.: I’ll take care of any day-to-day responsibilities, like making sure any employee lifecycle changes are up to date in Namely. I’ll touch base with my team and get a feel for what they’re working on so we can get prepped for the day.

10:00 - 12:00 p.m.: Right now, my team and I are doing reporting on Q1 performance. I’m pulling reports on attrition, termination reasons, new hires, etc. for our teams. We can now compare our company data to benchmarking data directly within Namely on the company insights dashboard. That’s been super helpful come reporting time. We’re drawing some key insights and noting areas of growth to help inform business decisions this quarter and beyond.

12:00 p.m.: I try to step out for some air, especially when the weather is nice. I go for a quick walk, listen to some music, catch up with colleagues, and pick up lunch.

12:45 p.m.: After lunch, I usually have quite a few meetings. Lately, we’ve been reviewing our current company policies and proposing new ones we want to establish, as well as discussing the best way to leverage Namely to communicate and implement them.

1:30 p.m.: This is usually when I sit down to handle the day-to-day management of our other HR technology and tools. Right now we’re working to introduce a new pre-hire assessment tool, so I’ve been scheduling vendor calls during this time too.

Thursdays at 2:00 p.m.: We have our weekly team meeting on Thursdays. We update each other on what we’re working on and put our heads together to brainstorm collectively. Since we’re still a new team, we’ve had internal speakers come in and talk about their role and experience at Namely. It helps us build relationships across teams, as well as learn more about other departments.

3:00 - 4:30 p.m.: My afternoons vary by day, but my team usually has a weekly sync with our product team to go over any upcoming releases and provide feedback. We help test out new features, share our experience with the product and how we use it, and then let them know what we think of the new tools and designs.

We also have a biweekly department meeting, where we share a list of all our projects across operations, process, tech, people programs, and data. It helps us stay up to date on how projects are progressing and make sure we’re working on the right things. Right now, my team is working on enhancing our new hire onboarding program and making sure the transition from candidate to employee is as smooth as possible and sets people up for success.

4:30 - 5:00 p.m.: I like to take the last part of my day to prep for the day after. I like to make sure I’m set up for success and have everything I need to hit the ground running the next morning.

5:30 p.m.: Some nights I like to treat myself to a spin class after work. I love Soul Cycle!

7:15 p.m.: When I get home, I’ll either be lazy and order dinner in or I’ll make a simple meal. If I don’t go to spin class, I might meet up with friends for a quick dinner, but I like to keep my weeknights pretty quiet.

8:00 p.m.: I try not to watch too much tv, but after dinner I like to give myself time to catch up on a Netflix show.

8:30 pm: I try to video chat with my 18-month-old niece who lives on the west coast a few nights a week. It’s great to see her grow up and still be a part of her life even though she’s on the other side of the country.

9:00 pm: Since I wake up so early, I try to head off to bed pretty early. I might sneak in a quick scroll through social media, but try to relax and nod off pretty quickly!


Stay tuned for more in our Day in the Life series, where we showcase the minute-by-minute responsibilities of real HR professionals.


Small HR Team? Don’t Miss These HR Redefined Sessions

Never judge an HR team by its size—small teams can still yield big results. Regardless of headcount, lean HR teams are uniquely positioned to leave a lasting impact on their organizations. These HR Redefined 2019 sessions will show you how to leverage your team’s talent and resources and drive business results. Here are must-see HRR sessions for small but mighty HR teams:


1. Navigating HR Challenges at High Growth Companies

Richard Dec of Vega Factor, Meredith Haberfeld of ThinkHuman, Kristin Langdon of BounceX, & Ryan Sandler of TrueWork

What to Expect: Whether your HR team is small or large, managing HR is never easy. It takes a rare breed of professional to handle the cultural, performance, and recruiting challenges found in high growth environments. That’s especially true when your HR team isn’t scaling at the same rate. Panelists will share the surprising challenges they’ve faced and continue to face at their high growth companies.

Why Attend: Hear the challenges four experienced HR professionals have dealt with at their current and past companies and what they discovered along the way. Learn what growing pains you should look out for at your own organization and leave knowing that even small HR teams can influence culture.


2. HR Software: From Purchase to Adoption

George LaRocque of HRWins, Erika McGrath of The Channel Company, Amanda Townsend of Fivetran, & Robin Schooling of Strio Consulting

What to Expect: While cutting-edge HR technology might be a game changer for your small HR team, it does little good if employees aren’t using it. So, how do you get everyone else to get on board? Just like any other major company initiative or roll out, implementing HR software requires a little communications savvy and a whole lot of creativity.

Why Attend: Who better to ask than those who have been there, done that? These expert panelists will share the tips and tricks they used to encourage employee adoption and to get the most out of their HR technology stack.


3. HR Employee, No. 1

Danielle Schlar of LRN

What to Expect: We’ve all heard about those scrappy HR “teams of one,” and for good reason. Managing even a small business’s people issues single-handedly is no small feat. But what about the even bolder souls who represent their company’s first-ever HR hire? Danielle Schlar, the Global Head of People at LRN, shares on how she convinced her bosses that HR wasn’t just relevant, but critical to business success.

Why Attend: Learn how to address years of “HR neglect” and use technology to alleviate the administrative burden of starting from square one. Whether you’re an HR department of one or many, you’ll leave feeling inspired to prove your department’s worth and leave a lasting impact on your organization.

Ready to bring back actionable insights to your company? Don’t miss the above sessions (and many more) at HR Redefined 2019 and help build the future of HR.


Your Complete Guide to HR Metrics and Formulas

As HR professionals become more metrics-driven, it’s important to be familiar with all the different ways to leverage your people data and measure your team’s impact on the broader organization. Learning new metrics can inspire you to look at your company data in new ways and help you discover powerful insights about your people and organization. From absenteeism to time-to-hire, here’s a glossary of the most popular HR metrics you can use at your company:

A | B | C | G | H | N | O | P | Q | R | T



Absenteeism is the rate at which employees take unplanned, unexcused absences from work. Increased absenteeism is typically an indicator of unhappy, disengaged employees and could eventually lead to higher turnover. That said, you may see some seasonality with this metric, especially during cold and flu season, so be sure to keep that in mind when drawing insights.


Number of Days Absent  ÷  Total Scheduled Work Days


Benefits Enrollment Rate

Your benefits enrollment rate evaluates how many eligible employees are enrolling in your benefits. Low enrollment rates could suggest costs are too high or your options aren’t appealing to your employees. You can also calculate this for specific voluntary benefits to gauge employee interest in your offerings.


Number of Employees Enrolled in Company Benefits  ÷  All Eligible Employees


Career Path Ratio

Career path ratio shows you how people are moving in your organization, or how many internal moves are promotions versus lateral transfers. Before calculating, you need to establish what it means to be promoted or transferred at your company. Distinct roles and title hierarchy will make this step easier. The ratio will tell you how much upward movement there has been in your company in a given time frame. If the ratio is too high, your organization may be top-heavy. If it’s too small, you may not be investing enough in your employees.


# of Promotions  ÷  (Total Promotions + Total Transfers)


Compa-ratio, or compensation ratio, measures how an individual employee’s salary compares to the midpoint salary range for their position. A compa-ratio around 100 percent means an employee’s salary is in line with the industry average and they should be performing their job as is expected of them. A ratio well below 100 percent indicates an employee is either new, inexperienced, or underpaid, while a ratio well above 100 percent suggests the employee is a top performer who consistently performs above expectations. Many companies use compa-ratios during performance reviews to dictate salary increases.


( Employee Salary ÷  Midpoint Salary Range for that Position ) x 100

Cost per Hire

Cost per hire measures how much money your company spends on recruiting and HR to hire a new employee. It considers a recruiter’s time and salary, job board fees, applicant tracking software costs, staffing agency costs, and more. SHRM estimates companies spend an average of $4,129 to hire a new employee.


Total Recruiting and HR Costs  ÷  Number of New Hires



This spooky phenomenon has been frightening recruiters recently. Employee ghosting is when an employee accepts your job offer, but fails to show up on their first day.


Number of Candidates Who Fail to Show Up On Their First Day  ÷  Total Number of New Hires


High Performer Retention

All HR professionals want to keep their best employees happy. High performer retention measures top performer turnover for a given period. To measure, start by identifying what it means to be a top performer at your company. Then establish standards for what “good retention” means. As a general rule of thumb, top performer retention should be equal to or higher than overall employee retention.


( (Current Number of Top Performers) ÷  (Number of Top Performers at the Start of the Period) ) * 100


New Hire Failure Rate

Not every new hire will be a perfect fit. New hire failure rate measures the percentage of new employees who leave your company within their first year. Higher rates could be caused by inaccurate job descriptions, poor management, lack of training, culture issues, etc.


New Hires Who Left The Company Within Their First 12 Months ÷  Total New Hires During This Period


Offer Acceptance Rate

Your organization’s offer acceptance rate compares the number of job offers you extend to the number of offers your candidates accept. It can be a helpful way to evaluate how competitive your compensation and benefits are and how they compare to your competitors.


Number of Job Offers Accepted  ÷  Number of Job Offers Extended

Overtime Rate

Your company’s overtime rate measures how often your employees work over 40 hours a week. It can be used to indicate scheduling inefficiencies, identify increases in payroll costs, and justify the need for increased headcount.  


(Total Overtime Pay  ÷  Total Payroll Amount) x 100


Promotion Rate

See Career Path Ratio.


Quality of Hire

Quality of hire takes a look at a new hire’s adjustment, acclimation, and performance since joining your company. To start, you’ll need to establish success criteria—this could be how well a new hire fits with your culture, performs, or exhibits the required competencies, for example. Once you choose your criteria, use a rating scale of 1-5 to rate each individual for each criterion. The average will give you their quality of hire measurement and help you see how they stack up to the rest of your recent hires.


(Indicator 1 + Indicator 2 + Indicator 3)  ÷  (Number of Indicators)



(Performance + Productivity + Job Fit + Culture Fit)  ÷  4


Revenue per Employee

Revenue per employee helps you estimate how much money each employee generates for your business. A higher revenue per employees indicates increased employee productivity and optimal use of company resources


Revenue During a Specific Period  ÷  Average Number of Employees During That Period


Time to Fill

Time to fill measures the period of time between when you open a new position and a candidate’s first day on the job. It measures the duration of your hiring process and helps you see if the length of your hiring process could be hurting your hiring efforts. SHRM estimates it takes companies an average of 42 days to fill an open position.


Number of Days Between Posting a New Open Position and a Candidate's First Day

Time to Hire

Time to hire is very similar to time to fill. It measures the number of days between opening a new position and when a candidate accepts your offer, not the employee’s first day.  


Number of Days Between Posting a New Open Position and a Candidate Accepting/Signing an Offer

Top Performer Retention

See High Performer Retention.

Turnover Rate

Turnover measures the rate at which employees voluntarily or involuntarily leave your company. Namely benchmarking data estimates that the average organizational turnover rate is 22 percent, while voluntary and involuntary turnover are 13 percent and 6 percent, respectively. Measuring turnover rate by department, team, ethnicity, etc. can help you isolate areas of concern in your organization and better understand why your employees are leaving.


( Number of Employee Departures ÷  Average Total Employee Headcount ) * 100


Now that you’ve brushed up on your important HR metrics, it’s time to apply them to your own organization. Need help reporting your findings? Download our HR Metrics Reporting Template to help you share progress with leadership and ensure you nail your next HR presentation.


How to Get the Most Out of HRIS Workflows

HR teams have a lot on their plates. That’s why it’s important to get the most out your HR technology and choose a human resources information system (HRIS) that can keep up with your growing company. While implementing an HRIS at your company is a great way to streamline administrative work, there is one tool in particular that can revolutionize how you prioritize your day: workflows. Workflows let employees update their own information, assigning approvers, and notifying anyone affected by the changes, so you can track progress and see changes implemented in real time.

We’ve added a few new features that make using Namely workflows more dynamic than before. Thanks to new role-based approvals and segmentation, your team will have an easier time balancing your never-ending workload and staying on top of your company’s ever-changing work landscape. Here’s what these updates mean for your business.

Role-Based Approvals

Role-based approvals allow you to tie workflow approvals and notifications to specific job titles, rather than designated individuals. For example, you can have an HR coordinator approve title and compensation changes, instead of tying the workflow to a specific employee’s name. Now, if that individual leaves, the workflow will be automatically re-assigned to someone else in the company with the same title. Your workflows will continue to function even if an employee leaves or changes roles.

Screenshot of Namely's Workflow ToolSegmentation

Within your organization, every department, team, and office location is unique. Odds are that a one-size-fits-all approach to workflows isn’t going to cut it. Segmenting allows you to create workflows specific to a department, team, or office so you can designate which employees need to be involved for which segment. That way, your UK-based HR generalist won’t get pestered about approving job title changes for employees in your New York office. They’ll only get notified when an employee in their jurisdiction initiates a change.



Wondering how role-based approvals and segmentation help your company? Here are three ways these updates will improve your team’s day-to-day:

1. They Evolve With Your Ever-Changing Company

Your workflows can now evolve with your business. As employees come and go, your workflows will dynamically change to make sure the right people are notified and prompted for approvals so your team doesn’t miss a beat. You don’t have to worry about manually updating workflows every time an employee quits, takes a leave of absence, or changes roles.

2. They Are Easier to Use

We’ve also given our workflow builder a facelift so creating workflows is simpler and more straightforward than ever before. The step-by-step guide walks you through naming your workflow, specifying affected fields, and assigning permissions. You’ll be able to see a visual overview of the workflow before you publish it so you can double check your work and ensure the workflow is ready for action.

3. They Grow With Your Company

Opening a new office location or global office no longer means creating a whole new set of workflows. Thanks to segmenting, you can add specific office locations or departments to existing workflows with their own unique role-based approvals. Those requests will always go to the right person, improving your team’s efficiency and productivity.

Interested in learning more about Namely and workflows? Request a demo today to see why thousands of companies and HR practitioners are making the switch to Namely.


Meet Namely: Doug Chiki

Doug Chiki is a payroll consultant at Namely’s Atlanta office. A veteran in the HR technology industry, Doug has worked for three software companies around the country before finding a home in Atlanta and at Namely. When he’s not helping clients process payroll, Doug loves spending time with his dog and attending concerts.

We sat down with Doug to learn more about his role and how he found his way to Namely.

How did you end up in your role at Namely?

My first job after college was teaching English in China, but I knew I would eventually have to move back to the United States. I decided to move to San Francisco on a whim even though I had never been there. My first job was at an HRIS company, where I worked for nearly three years. But San Francisco became a shoe that didn’t fit anymore, so I moved back to Ohio to be near my family and found a job in Cincinnati. I tried my best to make Cincinnati something that it was never going to be, but after a few years I needed a change and decided to move to Atlanta. Serendipitously, the day that I Googled “Atlanta Tech Companies” was the day that Namely had a press release announcing their new Atlanta office. One week later, I was packing up all my stuff to move to Atlanta!

What’s your favorite thing about your role?

It's a puzzle! I really enjoy the problem-solving component of it. If all the pieces aren’t present, then the picture is not complete. You have to make sure you have all the pieces and put everything in the right spot to ensure our clients can successfully process payroll with us.

What makes the Atlanta office unique?

An office can only be as good as the people in it. Our recruiting team did such a great job of hiring people that embody Namely’s values and bring years of industry experience to the table. This is definitely the best office that I’ve ever worked in.

What does your average workweek look like?

That’s the challenge of being in implementation. You always have a certain set of tasks for your projects, but you also have to deal with one-off situations when something goes awry or a client needs extra hand-holding. You have to drive your projects forward, but also make yourself extremely available by building time into your schedule to address any clients needs as they arise.

Is there something that would surprise people about your job?

People are usually surprised to learn how technical my role is and how many different parties I have to work with and collect information from. I have to collect that data from employees and employers and ensure that data is in the right format. Then you have to work with several internal teams and third-party vendors to set up their accounts. I’m always surprised by how many boxes you have to check off before running a successful payroll.

If you weren’t in this role, what would you be doing?

Anything where I could spend a lot of time with my dog. He’s half German shepherd, half white labrador. He’s very beautiful and smart, but has the personality of Mariah Carey sometimes.

What’s your favorite thing about working at Namely?

My co-workers. The people who laugh at my jokes every day. They are the best audience for my newest (and oldest) material.

What’s your favorite office snack?

Aspirational answer: bananas. Realistic answer: grape Airheads.

What's something your co-workers don't know about you?

All I do is spill the secrets of my life, so that’s tricky. I think some people would be surprised to know I’m introverted. I get all my energy from being alone, despite coming off as so gregarious and colorful in the workplace.

Do you have any advice for someone who wants to do your job?

Don’t let your experience cloud your ability to learn something new. You have to let go of the “this is how it should be done” mindset. Learn how it’s done here first and then make recommendations on how to change it. Our company is super open to change, but there’s usually a reason we do things a particular way!

What do you like to do outside of work?

I love going to concerts. I’ve seen all my favorite divas: Dolly Parton, Beyoncé, Barbra Streisand, and Britney Spears!

What was your best day at work?

My best day at work was the day before Atlanta pride weekend. I’m part of Namely’s PrideIn employee resource group and we planned to have a drag queen visit the office for an ice cream party. The drag queen had to cancel last minute so Aaron and I decided to improvise. We did a side-by-side chat in front of all our co-workers about our experiences being gay. People asked a lot of really great questions and it was really well received!

At Namely, our coworkers are one of the top reasons we love what we do. The Meet Namely series spotlights real Namely employees across the company. Stay tuned for more from the series to learn how we put HR for humans into practice.


Meet HR Redefined Speaker Eric Knudsen

With over a decade of experience in people and data analytics, Eric Knudsen, Ph.D. is Namely’s resident data expert. As a manager of people analytics, Eric loves using data to build a happier and healthier workplace at Namely. When Eric’s not busy crunching numbers, you can find him spending time with his wife, exercising on his Peloton bike, enjoying fine bourbon, and speaking at HR Redefined.

This year, Eric will make his triumphant return to the HR Redefined stage with his presentation, “3 Ways You're Not Thinking About Employee Turnover (Yet).” This will be Eric’s third year speaking at HRR and we can’t wait to hear what he has in store for us in May.

We sat down with Eric to learn more about his background, his HRR session, and what he loves to do in New York City.


1. How did you fall into HR?

Back in 2011, an HR career was not on my radar. After finishing my B.A. in psychology, I had just started a Ph.D. program in school psychology and saw myself working in a school setting. But after a year in the program, I realized my interests in education were primarily in its organizational and workplace dynamics. In other words, how do people come together to get things done?

Towards the end of that first year, I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to transfer into a new Ph.D. program, this time in industrial-organizational (I-O) psychology, which aligned way better with these emerging interests. I took the leap and never looked back. I-O psychologists are frequently employed by organizations to help embed scientific practices into talent processes (like hiring, career development, learning and development, employee engagement, etc.). To me, there’s nothing cooler than using data and science to improve the workplace, somewhere we spend about half of our waking hours each week.


2. What most excites you about the field of HR?

For a long time, HR was considered a function focused solely on compliance. Over the last several years, the discipline has pivoted in two ways. First, organizations and their HR teams have realized the importance of building great, mission-driven workplaces for their employees. This has shifted the focus of HR from compliance to experience and strategy. The second pivot has been in its growing emphasis on data. The advent of new methodologies in data analytics and data science have enabled HR teams to see views of their workplace they’ve never been able to see before (because they lacked the time, tools, or skills to do so). We have only scratched the surface on what is possible here, but the door to data in HR has swung wide open. Now’s the time for us to learn and act!


3. If you weren’t in your current role, what would you be doing?

The obvious answer is that I’d be doing something else in HR, but that’s no fun. So I’ll answer this as if HR is not an option. I’m very intrigued by narrative journalism—the weaving together of news, experience, and human interest is fascinating to me. I’m an avid consumer of this kind of content, though I’m under no illusion that producing it is different than consuming it. I would love to flex my creative writing muscles again and see if I can tell stories that resonate with people.


4. What do you like to do outside of work?

A couple of times per year I go primitive camping. I use that time to explore my thoughts without the distraction of all the decisions we need to make every day both inside and outside of work. Sometimes we go on vacation to try to get away from those decisions, but then we often find we have other decisions to make: What time should we hit the beach? Where should we eat for lunch? What should we do this afternoon? When you’re in the middle of the wilderness, there are fewer decisions to make and it becomes more natural to focus on yourself and your thoughts. It’s a fantastic time for self-reflection.


5. HR Redefined is quickly approaching! What are you most excited for?

Meeting the people and the community! There’s nothing more fun than getting a bunch of HR geeks like myself in a room and sharing ways we can build better workplaces together. Collectively, we impact the daily lives of so many individuals and their families as well. I think it’s easy to forget how important the work we’re doing is and events like HR Redefined are good reminders.

I also love learning about people’s career paths. Very few people start college saying “I want a career in HR”—many people have taken winding paths like my own. Sharing these stories helps build a stronger HR community because we’ve all walked different paths but bring the same passion for our line of work.


6. What’s your favorite thing to do/eat in NYC?

In the spring and summer, my wife and I walk many of the bridges from New York City into the outer boroughs. It’s a fun (and free) thing to do on a Friday evening after work. Here’s a free summer date itinerary (I’ll charge for the next one!): grab a low-key dinner in the Financial District, walk across the Brooklyn Bridge right before the sun is setting, and catch an outdoor movie in Brooklyn Bridge Park on the other side.

We hope you’ll join us at HR Redefined to hear more from Eric Knudsen and the rest of our all-star speaker lineup! Register now to secure your spot.


The $20,000 Comma: Your Job Title Could Be Costing You Thousands

When it comes to salary negotiations, you might be better off negotiating for a comma in your title rather than just a pay raise. Namely’s HR Careers Report 2019 reveals a surprising salary disparity between two seemingly similar job titles: director, HR, and HR director. While both are director-level titles, employees with the former title earn significantly more than their comma-less counterparts.  

If your title is director, HR, you can expect to collect an average salary of $138,929. Without the comma, just $109,181. Unconvinced? We were surprised to find that HR professionals aren’t the only ones getting short-changed. Namely data from over 1,200 companies reveals that the phenomenon holds just as much weight in other departments.

Here’s a breakdown of similar job titles and their average annual salaries:

Average Annual Salary by Job Title and Department


Department Job Title Avg. Annual Base Salary
Marketing Director of Marketing  $130,825 
Director, Marketing $146,128
Operations Director of Operations $124,668
Director, Operations $144,468
Sales Director of Sales $130,937
Director, Sales $143,758
Engineering Director of Engineering $168,187
Director, Engineering $184,940
Human Resources HR Director $109,181
Director, HR $138,929

While HR departments see the most pronounced comma-salary disparities, other departments see pay differences of $12,000 and up. So what’s the difference between the two titles? In other words, why is a simple comma worth up to $20,000 more?

One possible explanation is that a director, HR often has a larger chain of direct reports, while an HR director may oversee a smaller team and have fewer direct reports. Another possible factor to consider is company size. Titles with commas are more common at larger companies with more hierarchical and defined career ladders.

Job Titles Matter

What’s in a job title? More than you might think. Job titles are a great way to establish hierarchy, define responsibilities, and convey expertise and experience.

When handled improperly, titles can also lead to confusion and inequality in the workplace. If two employees have the same job responsibilities but different job titles, this can lead to internal and external confusion around who is the point person in charge and how their roles differ. Employees might perceive the inconsistent titles to reflect inequalities in pay, responsibility, workload, or authority. While job descriptions list out a role’s skills and responsibilities, job titles should also reflect that information and accurately describe employees’ roles and contributions. While job title standardization can be difficult, some consistency is needed to establish organizational hierarchy and avoid confusion.


Whether you’re comma-less or part of that exclusive “comma club,” it’s always important to know your worth and get the salary you deserve. To see more HR salary information and industry insights, download the full HR Careers Report 2019.


Meet Namely: Miranda Brokenberry

Miranda Brokenberry is one of Namely’s managed services all-stars. When she’s not on the phone helping clients, Miranda loves getting to know her team and helping her coworkers. She’s a people person and works hard behind the scenes to help others succeed. That’s why one day she dreams of being a talent manager in the entertainment industry and discovering the next big star.

We chatted with Miranda about her role and how she found her way to Namely’s managed services team.

How did you end up in your role at Namely?

I first heard of Namely in January of 2018. I interviewed for a position on the implementation team, but I didn’t get the role. I was actually interviewing for a flight attendant job at the same time, too! I’m one of those people who is really good at every single thing. I’ve been a substitute teacher, a personal nanny, and I even worked for Beyoncé’s dad. But when I interviewed for the implementation position, my current manager said they thought I would be a great fit for managed services, which Namely had only just started. That’s how I ended up as a service consultant for managed services!

What’s your favorite thing about your role?

It’s my team. We’re not a team, we’re a family! If one person is not here, the whole vibe is off. When I was on vacation, I missed the job. We love coming to work every day.

What makes the Atlanta office unique?

Definitely the people. We look forward to coming to work every day. We’re building our own culture, but the people and the relationships that we have with each other are what makes the Atlanta office so unique. The people and the culture here are very strong. I genuinely like all the people I work with and to work someplace where you can say that is very rare. Not many people can say that they’ve danced with their CEO at the company holiday party. Not many people have access to company leadership via Slack. Not many people can say that their company has regular all-hands meetings to tell employees what’s going on in the rest of the organization. Namely doesn’t have to do all that, but we have a company that is human. We use our own product and we practice what we preach.

What does your average workweek look like?

An average workweek is responding to client concerns and questions and setting up meetings with clients. I personally don’t like to send emails. It’s a part of my job, so I do it, but I am the first person to ask if we can jump on a quick call. The rest of my time is spent in team meetings, helping my peers, and one-on-ones with my manager.

Is there something that would surprise people about your job?

I’m a service consultant but I work with technology. I make sure our product works for our clients. Yes, I’m client-facing, but I do sort of play an IT role. I make sure the Namely platform works. I think people would be surprised to think about it from that perspective.

If you weren’t in this role, what would you be doing?

At Namely, I would be on the marketing or sales team. I’m very people-oriented, I’m animated, and I love to talk. I’m that type of person. Outside of Namely, my true passion in life is to be a talent manager in the entertainment industry. I want to help make other people's dreams a reality.

What’s your favorite thing about working at Namely?

To be able to work for a company where my voice matters. I could come up with an idea and the whole company could implement it. I have the ability to help shape and change the culture and the product that we build here.

What’s your favorite thing about working in Managed Services?

I enjoy fixing complex issues. I like being an evangelist for our product. Basically, I’m a consultant. I need to tell a client how our product can work best for their company. I love being able to jump on a video call so our clients can see what I’m doing and just show them how our product can serve them. Being able to be that backbone for our client is my favorite.

What’s your favorite office snack?

Ginger ale. I try not to eat a lot of snacks, but I freaking love ginger ale! I do love Honeycrisp apples too!

What's something your co-workers don't know about you?

I feel like they know everything…I’m very into philanthropy. I love giving back. I love helping out in any way that I can. I’m very active in my church. I’m an usher and I love working with children.

Do you have any advice for someone who wants to do your job?

You need to be patient and you need to have a listening ear. Sometimes clients just need to talk and we just need to be able to listen. You have to master the art of listening to be in managed services. You have to have a can-do attitude. Since we’re a new team, you have to be able to raise your hand and say, “I don’t mind taking that on, I can do that for the client.” We’re shaping managed services for the people who come behind us. You have to be a good listener, you have to have a can-do attitude, and you have to be dedicated.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I really enjoy going to the movies. $2 Tuesdays—where the concessions are only $2 and the movie ticket is only $6—are one of my favorite days. I really enjoyed Creed, Wreck it Ralph, the Nutcracker, Halloween, and Venom. I love all the Marvel movies. As far as a favorite genre, I’m all over the place. I’m a chameleon, I can adapt to any environment that I’m in. I don’t like horror movies, but I loved Halloween, so I’m always down to try new things.

What was your best day at work?

I have two! The first was a few months ago, I got my braces taken off. I had been telling my team for weeks about all the candy I wanted to eat when they were finally off. I came into work day after my appointment and my desk was covered in candy. I felt so cared for.

Another day I loved was “Boss’ Day.” Every time my boss came back to his desk, we had a gift for him. He came back from a meeting and there was candy on his desk. He came back from a one-on-one and he had lunch waiting for him. He came back again and there was a bundt cake. Then we left a whole bunch of gifts. Every time he left, we made sure there was another surprise waiting for him when he returned.

Who has inspired you to get to this point in your career?

My grandparents and my mom. My mom wasn’t able to get a great education and she didn’t finish school, so I was very blessed to come down to Atlanta to go to college. She inspires me to keep going. She made do with what she had to make sure I had a good childhood

I’ve always wanted to make my grandparents proud. They’ve both passed away now, but I’ve always lived wanting them to know that I finished college, I have a career, and that I have something that can take me to the next level in life—no matter where they may be.

At Namely, our coworkers are one of the top reasons we love what we do. The Meet Namely series spotlights real Namely employees across the company. Stay tuned for more from the series to learn how we put HR for humans into practice.

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