EddyHR’s Leader Lounge With Craig Beirdneau

We got to sit down with the one and only Craig Beirdneau to talk about creating a great workplace experience, HR tech’s role in business, and top HR priorities.
EddyHR’s Leader Lounge With Craig Beirdneau
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We had the opportunity to visit with Craig Beirdneau over at EddyHR for an interview with our CEO, Travis Hansen. Here’s a summary of what they talked about, but keep scrolling for the full transcript.

First, Craig introduced himself and his family before diving right into where his passion for improving work experience came from. 

As a college student, he wanted to go into business but didn’t know what discipline to pursue. When he saw his dad’s “bush-league” work situation compared with what some forward-thinking companies offered, he got hooked on how to create a good situation for people at work. 

Then Travis and Craig dove into their interview.

  1. What are you grateful for?
  2. What changes in HR have you seen on the rise?
  3. How does technology allow people to have better lifestyles?
  4. What are a few things you have to focus on to get HR done right from the beginning?

Q1: What are you grateful for?

Craig is very grateful for his relationship with a higher power. It keeps him centered and focused on what’s important to him and his family. 

Q2: What changes in HR have you seen on the rise?

Craig believes that the perception of what HR is will continue to change. More and more of the basis of what human resources used to be can and should be automated. Company safeguards can easily be set up, so businesses don’t need as much human involvement in those processes. 

HR’s emphasis is creating an environment that allows people to grow, develop, and be fully ingrained in the vision of what the company can accomplish. HR will focus on turning work from a nine to five obligation into a meaningful part of life.

"More and more of the basis of what human resources used to be can and should be automated."

Q3: How does technology allow people to have better lifestyles?

"[Technology] pushes the menial tasks aside to allow you to focus on the most important things, which are the people."

By giving HR the bandwidth to help people have better lifestyles. What used to take hours on spreadsheets, can pretty much be done automatically. For one thing, this allows the work that used to take a team of five to be done by a team of one or two. 

“[Technology] pushes the menial tasks aside to allow you to focus on the most important things, which are the people.”

Q4: What makes a great employee?

There’s obviously a list of things that every company wants out of their employees, but Craig makes sure to screen for culture fit with every hire. 

A lot of companies have very similar values that they claim, but Craig looks for evidence of how an employee is already living those values. If an employee genuinely fits the culture and values of a company, the rest can be trained, and they’ll be a versatile asset to the company.

Q5: What should you focus on to do HR right from the beginning?

The first thing Craig would do is be sure about the company’s purpose and tying every responsibility to that. It gives direction and purpose to daily tasks.

From an HR perspective, Craig would find the right technology partners. Technology and business needs change so fast that when looking for a technology tool, Craig looks to see if it will do what the company will need over the next two to four years.

"Technology and business needs change so fast that when looking for a technology tool, Craig looks to see if it will do what the company will need over the next two to four years."

Finding the right partner is important because there are so many of them out there, and they don’t all align with a company’s goals and trajectory. If you’re going to grow slow and steady, that’s great. There are tons of tools for that. If you’re going to grow like crazy, awesome, find a system that works for you and will give you room to grow.

Conclusion

Craig is a big proponent of nailing HR basics, so for a more thorough dive into how to do that, check out the full video or transcript. Also, make sure you subscribe to be notified whenever we launch a new episode of EddyHR’s Leader Lounge.

Travis: Happy to have you, Craig Beirdneau, come visit us at EddyHR, he’s been a good friend of mine for a long time. Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

Craig: Um, well I love sports, I love cooking, BBQ, smoking, I have a wife and two daughters that make up everything, you know, who I am. And then professionally, so you know I was in college and I was like okay, I know I’m going into business, but should I go into business, or should I do something else with my undergrad, so I did American studies at BYU. It was awesome, but then I was like okay what area of business should I be thinking about. I just thought my dad, who is like a CIO and CTO of a collection agency, just the way that he gets treated at work. I was like, this is like bush-league you know?

This is the old-school way of thinking about you know our employees come in they’re like cogs, we treat them however the freak we want, and, you know, if they don’t like it, that’s their fault you know? 

And it was bizarre to me and so I was like if this is how people treat people at work, I don’t want to work. You know, I’m like, this is crap. So I got pushed to the opposite of looking at companies you know, looking at Google, Lazlo Bock was coming out with, you know, work matters, or Work Rules, I mean, sorry. I just saw the things that they were doing, all the things that these companies are trying to aspire to be like and I got hooked on it.

I was like, I want to create that for an organization. I think it adds so much value. And then I was like at what level do I want to be doing this? And got sucked into a Ph.D. and then sucked out of a Ph.D. after a year. I was like this is too much. I want to be like doing it you know? So then I just went and started doing it. And that’s what I’m trying to do now.

Travis: Change people’s lives, change Culture.

Craig: Ya, ya. 

Travis: That’s super cool. What are you most grateful for? You kinda mentioned it with your wife and kids.

Craig: Yeah obviously family, but I feel like that can be like a cop-out answer. I just think, you know, my relationship with a higher power. I think it provides stability. It provides a foundation for who you are. I mean without it I would fall back on, who knows.

There’s so many things you could fall back on that may not keep you centered, but for me it just keeps me centered, and focused, and provides so much in my life that I mean it is first and foremost. Then obviously wrapped up in that is family and health, you know, I’ve been thinking a lot about that lately. So there’s a lot of really good answers to that.

Travis: That’s cool. Those are great answers. Uh, what’s a change in HR coming do you feel like has been on the rise?

Craig: You know, I think people look at HR and they’re starting to change or adopt a different feel of it you know? You hear like people ops, or people operations, or human resources what that really means. I think we’re going to see less and less human resources, ‘cause really the basic of it is I feel like should be automated and can be automated. Keeping your company protected, right? It’s easy to set up safeguards, or it should be easy to set up safeguards. I think we make it a lot more difficult that it needs to be. 

So I think shifting the focus on making work something that is not like, “aah, I have to go into work today.” It’s just a part of like who you are right? Changing the focus from policies and procedures which, you know, there are still important aspects of that, but changing it to living and creating an atmosphere in a place where people can grow and develop and live and be so ingrained with the purpose that, like I said, it’s just now I’m doing some amazing things today. It’s not work. Changing the focus of work I think is going to be a big thing. 

Travis: What is it about technology that allows, the automation side, that allows for cultures to now, you know, come into the modern era, and allow for employees to have better lifestyles.

Craig: Technology allows tasks that took forever in Excel if you weren’t like an advanced user. You know, having to run payroll and having to go through stacks and stacks of resumes now can be done so quickly and efficiently. It’s just making everything so much easier. It allows you to do more. You know, instead of having a team of five necessarily in the beginning to having a team of one or two. 

It pushes the menial tasks aside to allow you to focus on the most important things, which are the people. It just has a funny way of doing that. It opens up everything. I have like a supercomputer in my phone in my pocket, you know what I mean? The first computer could barely do calculations, right? And now you have a scientific calculator in your phone, and you’re one step away from doing the craziest things. 

It’s surprising how slow we are to adopt in so many areas, but I think like human resources and people specifically were slow to adopt it. It’s crazy. It’s still mind-boggling. 

Travis: Ya, that’s one of the reasons we started EddyHR because it’s so frustrating to see HR admins and departments get the cool tools last.

Craig: Oh ya.

Travis: It’s always sales and marketing or anything that provides revenue, but the culture, people that we’ve talked about, they really need that technology and that automation.

So what makes a great employee? Talking about people, what makes a really good human to work with?

Craig: I don’t know, I mean I think to different companies that looks different. Some companies want people to be able to move fast and move agile and be very quick. Then there are other companies that need somebody to be more organized right? So I think the best employee… that’s a hard question. 

For me, when I’m looking at people, no matter what position, we screen for culture. We make sure that they’re going to be able to come in and grow and thrive, but also that they’re going to come in and add something that we maybe don’t have. So we look for skills that can add to our repertoire. We also specifically look at, you know, do they live our values? Are they living our values right now? 

Hopefully, most company’s values are very similar in “We want you to have integrity we want you to be a team player we want you to do all these things,” but I think that you have to push all that crap aside and really just focus like how are you living it in your life. 

We don’t want it to be something that you just talk about we want you to be able to show you’re actually like living and doing it. Everything else adds on to that, but that’s like the basic of what we look for and what makes a really good employee. ‘Cuz if they have those, everything else I feel can be added and they can be moved around if it’s the right person they can be moved around to any role.

Travis: Ya, we talked a lot about values and skills and we have a saying here at EddyHR that we say, “hire diverse talents but not verse values.” Kinda goes with that.

Craig: That’s cool, I like that.

Travis: Not bad huh?

When building a company from start, what are a few essential things that you have to do, HR-wise, in order to get it done right from the very beginning?

Craig: You know I think, again, I’m big about foundations. I’m big about basics. So starting A company for me, the first thing even if I was in the CEO role if I was in the people role, HR role doesn’t matter. It would be about our purpose and the basic of who we are and what we are trying to do. 

You know, as you move into what an HR person would be looking at and doing obviously, for me I’m really big on technology. Getting the right system for the right company for, you know, the next two to four years.

Technology changes so fast. If your company’s not keeping up with it, I’m maybe in that millenial mindset of ditch them and go with a company that’s working. So, finding the right technology partner I think is really big.

That’s gonna allow you to scale and grow. If it’s going to be slow growth, great! There’s a lot of great technology companies that that gear towards that. If you’re going to be growing like super fast you just need to make sure you have a system that’s going to work with you so that you can be the one-man band for as long as possible, or one-woman band for s long as possible. 

Again I’m big on foundations and basics and so that purpose I think would be the next thing I would do if I wasn’t the CEO if I was the people ops or the HR person I’d say, “This is extremely important to connect everybody’s work back to the purpose and keep them engaged and focused on the most important things always.” And how do we make it visible and how are we going to actually do it and not just talk about it? Those would be the main things I’d focus on.

Travis: That’s awesome. Thanks for coming in. We love you, we look up to you. It’s been fabulous to watch you and all you’ve achieved in your career, and thanks for supporting EddyHR.

Craig: Love it. Love what you guys are doing.

Travis: Alright brother. Thanks, man!

Craig: Peace!

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