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Ep 8: Blazing the Trail: Leading HR at Age 23

Looking for advice to start your career in HR? Wondering what HR is really like? At age 23, Cristian shares advice, how to handle resistance to change, new hires quitting and more.

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Meet Cristian Chavez, Head of Human Resources at Mountain Regional Equipment Solutions

Follow Cristian on LinkedIn

Unanimously voted USU’s 2020 Mr. Congeniality, Cristian is the life of the party. At age 21, Cristian finished his Masters of Human Resources from Utah State University within one year of completing his bachelors of Science in Philosophy. Having already managed many critical HR roles at multiple global companies and now at age 23, Cristian leads all HR functions at Mountain Regional Equipment Solutions. He is a loving cat dad to his felines: Gatsby, Iroh and Raven.

Mountain Regional Equipment Solutions

Mountain Regional Equipment Solutions is the leading supplier of Automated Lubrication Systems, Active and Passive Safety Systems, and Maintenance Products for use with Mobile Heavy Equipment, On-Highway and Vocational Transport Equipment, Stationary and Mobile Industrial Equipment, and Cranes.

Since 2004, MRES has served clients in Heavy Construction, Mining, Agriculture and many more industries and is headquartered in West Valley City, UT

Learn more at mountainregionaleq.com

Episode Highlights

How Can Company Culture Drive Greater Profits?

Cristian Chavez: In every organization that I've been in, company culture really is and should be the lifeblood of everything that goes on. You're not going to make any money as a company if you don't have the right people in the right spots with the right talent. You can’t be a profitable organization when you are paying for people that don't really have any room to improve. So, the first step in creating a great company culture is hiring the right people and then creating a culture that makes them excited to stay.

It is hard to find somebody that has the specific expertise we need in order to fit into our company and its existing culture. As a small company, fostering and starting to develop the company culture and reputation that we want is crucial to our growth, and without structure and the proper documentation, or policies, or anything in place, you can't grow substantially and correctly. 

With MRES in such a niche, reputation means everything. I'm 23 years old, running an entire HR department. In attracting younger individuals, we need that reputation of a great culture on social media in order to even get in the door with some of these younger people. And these are the people who are going to be leading the next generation. In order to do that, we need to target more social media-based platforms that show the reputation of our company.

Matt Vance: You just described employer branding perfectly. You're showcasing what your company is all about to job seekers and they need to know not just what you do functionally as a business, but they need to know how you treat your workforce and what the benefits are like. What are all the perks and benefits that you're entitled to transactionally with accepting a job offer, but also those non-transactional benefits that you get from working there like the work environment, the people that you work with, the things that you can learn, the ways that you can grow. All those things are considered by job seekers. But you need to also realize other stakeholders are looking at that as well. And so the way that you're having that open dialogue publicly on the internet with the job seeker, and how you're showcasing your company is also seen by the current employees, the customer, the investor and the local community and is shaping their perceptions.

What advice do you have for young professionals considering a career in HR?

Cristian Chavez: It’s difficult to get your foot in the door because of the perception that you may be too young or you haven’t experienced enough. But when you get there, be an advocate for the employees and also have the business’s best interest in mind. It's not just about getting people to do their job, getting them to come in on time or terminating them. It's about actually engaging with the workforce and changing the perception about HR and earning their trust. Business will go a long way as you gain trust from the people you interact with. Especially the people that you're supposed to be making decisions for. No matter what your age is.

Crista Vance: I agree that individuals have the ability as they enter a profession to change perceptions. And I think that's a great goal to try to just be a more caring individual. As more people latch on to that, it helps shape perceptions that you're there literally to help the individuals and I think that's a really great goal. With your new role, it has helped you to be humble, to listen to the experience of those around you, and find mentors that can help coach you to grow in the right direction.

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