Brenda McChriston


Brenda McChriston
CEO and Principal Productivity Partner
Spectrum HR Solutions

The race to recruit and retain the best talent continues to heat up. Are you doing everything you can to make sure your company’s biggest investment — employees — is paying off? Brenda McChriston, CEO of Spectrum HR Solutions and human resources expert, talks about why it’s crucial to share your power and focus on the development of your people.

Q: Why did you choose to found an HR company?

A: Founding my company has been a life-long goal. I knew I had something valuable to offer other businesses when it came to getting the most from people while controlling expenses. Businesses often put the largest part of their budget — employees — in the hands of well-meaning administrators and novice HR practitioners. That’s like hiring a non-financial employee in the role of CFO and expecting them to learn on the job. Employing individuals in key roles without the proper education, training and experience is just asking for trouble — not to mention playing Russian roulette with the law.

Q: Staff retention is an important consideration for any business. As a business leader and HR expert, what do you do to keep your employees happy at Spectrum HR Solutions?

A: We embrace servant leadership principles. A servant-leader focuses on the growth and wellbeing of people and the communities to which they belong. The servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first, and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible. I have learned that companies who share this view outperform those that do not. When basic values are shared between service providers and the clients we serve, the work results overwhelmingly have led to better outcomes.

According to the principles of servant leadership, every team member embraces the opportunity to help ensure that our clients’ needs are met. Communication is open and honest. Everyone is encouraged to create and come up with ideas, many of which are adopted. As a result, we have very little turnover. I am grateful for each person’s work, time and genuine concern for the future of our clients’ businesses.

Q: In the age of social media, companies are facing ever-mounting productivity issues. How does Spectrum HR Solutions help companies identify and solve productivity problems?

A: Social media certainly can be distractions to productivity. They have also served as one of our greatest business tools. Our motto is “how may we lighten your workload?” We begin with an assessment of “what is,” then make recommendations for what “should be,” keeping legal compliance, budget and the company’s culture as anchors for the “to be.” In other words, we examine the analytics of productivity, risks, and how financial statements are affected by the variables.

Q: As a leader, what advice do you have for other entrepreneurs?

A: Be patient with yourself and others. Always bring your “A” game in all that you do and remember to persevere, because you’re in it for the long haul. Finally, form lasting relationships through servant leadership standards.

Q: You faced the significant challenge of running a business while also being a single parent. How did you balance the time you spent with your family and your business?

A: Balancing work and family, especially growing a business — which is like raising a child — it is important to prioritize and organize. As such, I have never missed a back-to-school night, a parent-teacher conference, a birthday party or a sporting event. Believe me, sometimes there were competing priorities. I put my children first because they are our future CEOs, professionals, teachers and leaders. As any CEO of a growing company, it’s difficult to find the time that running a company requires. Like so many other CEOs, I don’t get much sleep, which is not a good thing. The one difference is that I positively love what I do, so it doesn’t feel like work.

Q: What sets Spectrum HR Solutions apart from other businesses in the industry?

A: We are teaching consultants — good listeners and client-focused. That means we don’t just perform the task for which we are hired; it means we impart the knowledge it takes to maintain the process and/or program.

I have come to rely on my entire team and their expertise to help me navigate contracts and business, the result of which has been growth in revenue streams. We as a team went through corporate rebranding two years ago. We hired a wonderful marketing consultant who strategically guided the company through the development of an entirely new logo and identity package. We collaborated on the creation of a new, interactive website that is a spot-on reflection of the Spectrum HR Solutions core brand promise, while presenting a fresh, updated look and feel to help us stand out in the marketplace. We also partnered with an HR technology company that adds to our menu of HR services, such as improved analytics and tracking of employee life from orientation to retirement

Q: Your business benefited from a rebranding effort. What made you decide it was the right move for your company, and what results did it help you achieve?

A: There comes a time when you know it’s time for the next evolution based on driving financials and reaching your business plan objectives. Perhaps the most valuable role that our marketing consultant played has been as a much-needed sounding board for me, the multi-tasking CEO of a growing company. It has been refreshing to be able to strategize with a true partner who took the time to understand my business, help me understand my competitive landscape, and clarify the optimal course of action to enable business growth — despite a down economy.

Q: What is your vision for the future of Spectrum HR Solutions? In other words, where do you see the business in five years?

A: In the next five years, I envision our HR company as the premier go-to national organization for HR practices and expertise.

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