Denise Hayes has never been one to back away from a challenge.
It’s a trait that serves her well in her current role as
chief human resources officer at Moneris, Canada’s largest
point of sale payment processing firm. With offices across
Canada and the U.S., Hayes is responsible for leading a 40-person
team in delivering the human resources strategy for the company’s
HR Professional caught up with Hayes to discuss some of the
lessons learned during her 26-year career in HR.
When did you decide you wanted a career in human
resources? Describe your first job in the field.
Denise Hayes: I was working in the travel industry, and I had
worked for three different travel organizations. The different
management styles, the leadership and the culture of those organizations
and how they interacted with people intrigued me. It
piqued my curiosity and I ended up going back to school to study
human resources. Ironically, my first HR job was back in the travel
industry. It was a generalist role, but it had a high focus on employee
relations and also analytics.
Describe your current job. What are your
main areas of responsibility?
DH: Moneris is a financial technology company. We are the number
one debit and credit card payment processor in Canada, and
among the top 10 in North America. I have HR responsibility
for North America, and this means having an HR strategy with
a high focus on talent management, which is both attracting and
retaining key talent for the future evolution of the organization. I
also work very closely with our CEO and my peers to ensure our
work is aligned with the business strategy. It’s a broad mandate,
with a broad scope of responsibility.
PICKING UP THE PACE
By Lisa Gordon
What do you love about your job?
DH: I really like that it’s challenging because of the scope and
complexity, and I love having a North American view. It’s a rare
opportunity for a Canadian organization to be the head office,
growing a business in the U.S. That creates a whole different set of
opportunities and learning. It’s very rewarding from that perspective.
I personally need complexity and interesting work to keep me
motivated, and I certainly haven’t been disappointed.
What are the challenges you experience in your job?
DH: The challenge is really driven by the industry – the payments
industry is changing very rapidly. We’ve gone from cash to debit
and credit, and now paying with our phones and mobile wallets.
We need to keep ahead of that trend and how the world is evolving
around the payments industry, and have a lens on the future in
terms of HR impacts and skill sets, and how to change within the
organization to support our merchants. What kind of talent do we
need to recruit, and how do we develop them? The world is moving
faster and so we need to move faster, too.
What’s key to leading HR during a difficult
time for a client organization?
DH: I think focus is very critical and so is staying calm. When
an organization is going through a difficult time, they often look
to HR to set the example. HR is in the role of helping people
through the challenge. For HR to remain focused and empathetic,
and also realistic about the situation, is really critical to success.
What skills are important for success in HR?
DH: Demonstrating broad business acumen is important. I often
read about HR having to struggle to get a seat at the table,
but to me that is a given. Building credibility by knowing the
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