Building a Human Resources Department for any business is an important and challenging job, especially when you’re operating in two steadily growing offices that are 2,300 miles apart. At Netrush, we are lucky to have Hailey Orosco handling this. In less than a year, she has established the type of HR platform that provides our team with an open, transparent, and friendly line of communication to all things Netrush. While she is always working on matters that pertain to our well-being, we decided to flip the script and ask Hailey a few questions about her time here.
Tell us a bit about your role as HR Manager at Netrush and what you’re working on currently?
I’m a one-person department for Netrush in Washington and Kentucky, and I cover everything from assisting with the employment cycle (hiring, etc.), to coordinating training, organizing company events, and facilitating cultural activities.
Right now, I’m working on reformatting the employee review process. We’re trying to transform it into an opportunity to discuss long-term goals and personal growth opportunities, rather than your traditional “looking back on your performance” process.
Outside of that, our Netrush U program is a big project. This is a series of events aimed at providing personal as well as professional growth to our employees. For example, we started our 3 Part Mortgage Series that offers advice and resources to employees thinking about buying or refinancing a property. It’s not work-related or even professional, but we really want to find ways to invest in the lives of our people. That’s a big project for anyone and if we can help our employees reach milestones outside of work, they’ll be happier here.
How do you manage that in two locations (Washington and Kentucky), and what is that process like?
I’m based here in Vancouver, managing the day-to-day responsibilities of the department. We’ve been growing, so it has been busy.
As far as Kentucky goes, I‘ve made three weeklong visits in the last six months. The first time I went, it was really just to be a sponge and get to know everyone, meet with people on the floor. It was an opportunity to learn more about current processes down there, and to plan for the future.
My second and third visits have been a bit more action-packed. I went with an agenda, unpacked a few pallets, and was able to announce some new benefits and processes. I was also there a few days to get feedback and hear more about how things are going, and to offer support where needed. Last month, I got to enjoy a potluck lunch with everyone, which was a fun experience.
What’s your biggest challenge at the moment?
Figuring out a digestible training program that covers that broad landscape of our company, from policies and culture, to the Amazon ecosystem, to our various departments and how they’re run on SalesForce — the highly customizable software we use to manage the business. These are all critical components of working at Netrush, and it’s a lot to take in at once.
We’re big on empowering our people, so it’s important that we make the information available and easy to process without it being overwhelming. Between all our departments, our specialized roles, and the constant change our industry pivots around, it’s a challenge to find the sweet spot between working with individuals personally and standardizing things that don’t change over time.
You’ve accomplished a lot at Netrush in a short period of time. What has been the biggest win since coming aboard?
I would say for me, just getting feedback that people are glad that there is an HR person in town is a big win. From a hiring standpoint, I know how time-consuming it can be to go through resumes, conduct the phone screenings, then set up interviews. It can be a long process when you’re looking for specific individuals who fit the role and the company. It can take a long time to hire a single person. Being able to truly take things off of other people’s plates, so that they can keep running their departments, I think is one of the biggest wins because it’s pushing the company forward.
Tell us a bit about your road to Netrush?
I’ve been in the Pacific Northwest since 3rd grade. I went to the University of Portland and I studied abroad in my sophomore year — in Salzburg, Austria. At my last job, where I also built an HR department, the role really fell into my lap at the time and it provided me with the experience to re-create this at Netrush.
What’s the best thing about coming to work?
The open work environment is a big part of what I love about my job. I can be sitting at my desk and roll over to Chris, Chelsea, or anyone else to ask a question. This kind of open-door behavior can be tricky to manage as an organization grows because barriers tend to go up, departments become siloed, and workloads limit our interaction.
If you look around you now, we’re all sitting at eye level. I think it’s important that we don’t have offices and walls separating everyone. Keeping a flat organization is intentional, and I love that a stranger could walk into Netrush and they wouldn’t know who Brian and Chris are — not unless they’d done some research about what they look like.
I also like that it’s so collaborative and supportive. People with ideas are encouraged to pursue them. If you have a great idea and a plan to execute it, you’re really backed to make it happen.
From a culture standpoint, our challenge is making sure we maintain this spirit of innovation through growth. We’ve had a big bump in numbers over the last six months, so we’re being cognizant of how we keep the family-feel as our family grows.
Name someone who inspires you.
My parents. They’ve always put my brother and me first, no matter what, and that means the world to me. They were at every game, every event, always there and supportive.
What’s your favorite thing about living in Vancouver?
The lack of traffic is one. Just in general, Vancouver is big enough where you have everything you could possibly want from a city, including all the restaurants, breweries, and downtown features, without it being too busy. We’re also only two hours away from the beach, twenty minutes from the Columbia River Gorge, across the bridge from Portland, and close to world-class hiking, biking, and camping.