This month we sat down with Kristie Griffin, Director of Talent Acquisition for our wonderful client, Dignity Health. With a compelling trajectory of moving from big tech to healthcare, Kristie exemplifies a kind of agency that leadership expert and author, Bob Rosen, defines as grounded. Kristie’s drive to balance her personal and professional goals have fostered a flourishing career path that welcomed change. It reminds us of the importance as leaders to look inward as much as outward.
How did you come to working in the “people business”?
Before I knew the people business was my niche, I was a student athlete at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo on a full basketball scholarship. It was a constant balance, competing on the court, leading as a team captain and figuring out what my future held. I knew, since the time I was twelve, that I wanted to be a senior leader of a company. Graduating with a degree in Business, I began my career as a Technical Consultant for Deloitte and then transitioned into my first HR role, as a college recruiter for Stryker Corporation.
After working at tech giants like Google and Microsoft, what brought you to Dignity?
If you look at my career progression, I focused on personal growth, learning and reprioritization when needed. From Google to Dignity, where I now lead a talent acquisition team, I have gone through some major transformations. On the family front, while at Google I
went from having two children to four. This shifted my mindset to a place where I wanted to go from fast track to being present in life as wife, mother and employee in an environment that did not operate at burnout pace. After 5 years I made the very hard decision to leave Google and join Microsoft who provided me the opportunity to work on complex business challenges, manage a large team and work 100% remotely from home.
That was the first big shift and it was amazing. I managed a team of thirty, including three managers, and I expanded my scope to a global reach. As a co-lead for all the staffing managers at Microsoft (over 100 employees), I learned from experts, experienced exciting career growth and most importantly, was able to balance and thrive in my personal and professional life.
The next huge shift was to move our family out of Silicon Valley. After a wonderful move to Sacramento, while at Microsoft, I took the next step towards community involvement and was looking for a work culture of purpose. This led me to Dignity.
Dignity’s core values revolve around ideas of compassion, humankind and advocacy.
How can a company shift their culture to promote a philosophy of compassion that’s not a “nice to have,” but a “must have.”
It has to start at the top. It can’t only be a grassroots effort and happen organically without buy-in from executive leadership first. Creating a very deliberate action plan and communication strategy is essential and hiring practices should engage people authentically. That’s why our function is so critical. We work closely with leaders to ensure that our talent attraction strategies and interview practices focus not only on the technical aspect of a job but also key behavioral attributes. This ensures that every person we hire is aligned to the company’s mission, vision and values.
What are you most proud of accomplishing this past year?
I’m the most proud of defining and building a team that values and operates collaboratively and doesn’t engage in silo mentality. It is about partnership and honest relationships, both professionally and personally. I was just explaining to my daughter the relationship between team sports and work based teams. It’s very clear to me the correlation between team unity, team chemistry, team bonding
and being a leader that motivates your team to peak performance. And that’s not just applicable to athletics. It’s very applicable to professional life. I take that team concept and apply it to my work every day. We’re only as strong as our weakest link. How can we optimize the work we do together and build synergy? What are the steps we need to take to build a world class organization? What can I do different as your leader to help us achieve our collective goals? That’s my biggest accomplishment. Creating a team and helping define how we can win together and support each other.
What is on your challenge for 2016?
What keeps me up at night is working towards, and being a critical voice for shifting culture. It’s something I can’t do by myself. It’s something I can express my passion about and share data to support the notion, but it takes a partnership and a team approach across multiple business functions to really shift the culture. How can we prepare ourselves as a company to be a major competitor in the war for talent? With the looming mass exodus of baby boomers, we have to make sure that in health care, we are completely poised to capture the next generation of talent. We must first engage and acquire the talent and then manage and grow them. The culture of healthcare will continue to shift and it will be an on-going challenge to help shape and define the healthcare workforce of the future.
Any final thoughts?
I love that I work for a company who has a reputation of being a high-quality, values-driven system with a commitment to extending our mission of care and service to those in need.
We keep Hello Humankindess at the forefront and makes coming to work every day extremely enjoyable.
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about Kristie’s mindful navigation as a leader from big tech to healthcare at Dignity. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by big picture planning and small-scaled daily demands, but we must not forget to look inward to ask ourselves if what we do every day is fulfilling what we value the most, not just as a leader, but as a human being.