"Unboxing" Company Culture

with Caroo's Director of HR, Gabrielle Turner

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We chatted with Gabrielle Turner of Caroo today, a modern corporate gift-giving company based in Los Angeles, CA. Gabrielle is a natural-born people leader and someone who is instantly committed to the people she works with, coming in ready to take action with a list of new initiatives! Interestingly, Gabrielle never meant to take an HR role when applying for her first executive position. But by interviewing with a company that focuses on placing people in departments based on her soft skills, her career trajectory was set in motion.

Rooted in creating inclusive, rewarding employee experiences, Gabrielle discusses how she keeps her 100% remote team engaged through innovative new programs like Caroo Unboxed. Her work is focused on building community and connection, so whether you have a non-existent or large empowerment budget, this is the episode for you!

  • How Gabrielle got started in Human Resources at Target
  • Her biggest takeaway from her time at Target
  • Why it's ok, from her perspective, to make jumps from companies and HR functions
  • What is Caroo?
  • How Gabrielle quickly adopted new open enrollment strategies during lockdown
  • Where do HR leaders find the budget for employee gifts? 
  • Gabrielle's new initiatives at Caroo
  • How HR works in Start-ups
  • Gabrielle's "Year One" plan in her new role
  • Most difficult about being in HR today
  • Advice for employees looking for better work cultures
  • What's next for Gabrielle?

[Tom Finn]    00:00:02    Hello, and welcome to the Talent Empowerment podcast, where we lift up people leaders so they can lift up their organizations. I'm your host, Tom Finn, co-founder and CEO of LeggUP. Together. We'll learn how to drive people innovation, how to transform HR into people ops, and how to secure buy-in to disrupt the status quo. And as I like to say, it's finally time to stop smoking on airplanes and update your people strategy. Let's transform your organization and move from a culture of talent management to talent empowerment. 

This week's episode of the talent empowerment podcast is brought to you by LeggUP’s Talent insurance, an inclusive people development platform designed to help HR leaders empower their people through one-on-one professional coaching with results like a 66% improvement in avoiding burnout, a 54% jump in leadership skills and a 73% increase in job satisfaction. LeggUP guarantees improved employee wellbeing, productivity, and retention. In fact, they ensure it, your people stay or they pay! Visit LeggUP, that's L E G G up.com, to learn more. And without further ado, this is Talent Empowerment

Welcome to the talent empowerment podcast where we lift up people leaders. So you can lift up your organization. I am your host, Tom Finn. And today we have a high-energy innovative guest Gabrielle Turner. Gabrielle, welcome to the show!

[Gabrielle Turner]    00:01:34    Hi Tom. So happy to be here. <laugh> 

[Tom Finn]    00:01:37    Well, we are thrilled to have you, and if you don't know Gabrielle, she is currently the Director of HR at an amazing company named Caroo in Los Angeles. She's really someone, from my experience, who is a natural-born people leader. She has experience at large companies like Target and Tillies and currently Caroo, but she is instantly committed to the people she works with coming in, ready to take action with a list of new initiatives. She does not sit down and accept the status quo. She has spent her career in HR, and you are going to love hearing what her initiatives are at Caroo. But before we get to Caroo, I know that you started your career at a small company named target. How does one get started at such an amazing and iconic brand? 

[Gabrielle Turner]    00:02:25    Well, let me share this story. It's actually one of my favorites because it tells anyone and everyone that you never know where your career path can take you. So back in the day, I don't wanna date myself, so let's say many, many years ago, Target used to go through a hiring process much different than today. And when you apply for an executive team leader role, which was a store-level position, there were multiple departments that you could oversee. You go through the interview and Target really focused on soft skills and really placing candidates in roles that match their soft skills. And with that, I was actually placed into the executive team leader of human resources role, and it was the first time I really even considered going down the human resource path. I'd been in retail, been a store manager, and really had a lot of experience from that perspective. However, coming into this role, it really opened me up to new ideas, and a new career. And instantly I felt like this was a direction I wanted to continue to grow in because it allowed me to focus on people and being a partner, not only to the employees but to the leaders that I worked with. And it taught me about compliance and best practices and processes, and really being able to create a company culture that really supported the HR processes.  

[Tom Finn]    00:03:56    Yeah. Wow. So you were basically touched by the Target angel and anointed into the HR role. Yes. Now you, I guess you could have gone a bunch of other different directions, right? You could have gone into other departments in Target.  

[Gabrielle Turner]    00:04:11    Absolutely. I could have been in soft lines or hard lines or back then we had like the back room, which is like the logistics process. So I could have been anywhere today. So it's always one of those things. You kind of wonder what could have happened back then if that didn't happen. So yeah.  

[Tom Finn]    00:04:28    <laugh> well, well, I think that's great. And being in HR and starting at Target gave you a lot of diverse sort of core fundamental skills, um, that led to some other things that you're doing. What was the one thing that you took away from Target that was your sort of guiding light or guiding principle that was, that was really important to you?  

[Gabrielle Turner]    00:04:48    Whew. Um, I would say the one thing that I felt was really taught well to not only myself but to all leaders, was the focus on people and the importance of having a positive culture. Also allowing your employees to really feel that you're invested in, in them that you care about them, and then that you value them. And they gave us the tools to be able to do that but also allowed us to get creative in a sense to really be more specific to our stores and the demographics and the culture that may exist within our four walls. 

[Tom Finn]    00:05:23    Wow. That's great. I mean, I love it when people get back to culture and humans and people and uh, <laugh>, you know, I always get a little scared when people start talking about compliance and learning management and, uh, I start to feel like we're gonna go back to top-down management and, uh, somebody's gonna wave their finger at me. And, and it sort of makes me a little uncomfortable, uh, exactly. 

[Gabrielle Turner]    00:05:46    <laugh> 

[Tom Finn]    00:05:48    So, so now you've, you've taken this sort of people idea that from Target and, and you're off to your next location. Like how, how did you go through that process to start climbing the ladder in HR? When I look at your, your background, you just, you haven't been afraid to make a move. 

[Gabrielle Turner]    00:06:09    No, I haven't. It's kind of funny, cuz some might see that as a challenge but I really see that as an opportunity where I had the opportunity to actually learn about different roles, learn about different companies and really learn about their processes internally. Um, so I think with every opportunity I've had, it's been so different and different in a, in good ways. And for example, I was in recruiter roles. I was in generalist roles. I was in a coordinator role, as well. And I think being able to handle all tasks and understanding the importance of like every step of the way has really given me a great understanding of what is fully encompassed in an HR role in that generalist aspect. And I think even being a generalist in HR today is a little bit rare because there are a lot more specialties. 

[Gabrielle Turner]    00:07:03    Like you'll have your benefits manager, you have your compliance focus, you have like your people operations even have like your DEI, um, initiatives roles. Now I think through all my experience, I've been able to touch and be involved in every single one of those. And it really helped me create a more broad understanding of, okay, we need to have DEI initiatives, but also how do our best practices ensure we are considering like for example, diverse candidates through our recruiting, um, best practices or are our policies very inclusive of our, the cultures that are represented within our company. Um, so it really allows me to ensure that I include all aspects and all thoughts through all that I do. 

[Tom Finn]    00:07:47    Well, it's, it's a really important point because if somebody's, uh, starting their career in HR or going through this process or looking for a role in HR, maybe their career changing mid-career into this space, understanding all of the different touchpoints is so important, um, that you understand that it all ties together. And at the end of the day, it all comes back to people and how we're supporting the right culture within an organization. So it makes all sense in the world. So maybe let's jump to, um, let's jump to Caroo and talk about this really cool company. So tell us what Caroo does for those that haven't heard of this really innovative, uh, space and give us a little background. 

[Gabrielle Turner]    00:08:28    Well, so Caroo is actually a newer company. We're quite young. We're about two years young now and we are a company full of very passionate people. And, um, I think this is one of my greatest pleasures of working here is getting to see how passionate each and every one of my employees are about the roles and their contributions to the overall product that we create. Um, so if you haven't checked us out yet, Caroo is your HR dream come true. Basically. Let me tell you <laugh> it, it reminds me I'm gonna just kind of divert for a second here, but it reminds me of like back in the days where, oh, it sounds like back in days, actually like two years ago, right. When COVID hit, I remember I was sitting and I was going okay, open enrollment starting, and then boom, we go into lockdown and I had this huge wellbeing, fair planned. We had all these in-person sessions scheduled, like, and then I was like, oh, okay. Now we need to pivot so quickly. And I had an idea come to mind and my idea was, let's create boxes of like many wellness fairs or ways we can send snacks to our employees. And hence we had about 5,000 employees. So this was going to be a large task to take on. 

[Tom Finn]    00:09:43    Yeah. 

[Gabrielle Turner]    00:09:44    When you think about the cost and your time, we were like, well, that's not gonna work. So let's think of other ideas. Well, Caroo is a, is a solution for this. And I think that's, what's really cool is like Caroo really empowers employers, HR teams to really support their culture initiatives. So we have a wonderful team. We have our merchandisers, our, um, brand partners that really take time and thought into sourcing products, whether they're snacks or hard goods and it can even be swag. And we really focus on what the needs of that company are. And we will source these items and we curate what we call the perfect gift and it can be for any occasion, it can be for new hire orientation. It can be for black history month. It can be for, um, milestones like anniversaries, birthdays, the birth of a child, um, for someone that joined your team. 

[Gabrielle Turner]    00:10:42    So there's, we make sure that we cover every occasion, but it's something our product is continuing to grow. And I actually had the honor two weeks ago now of attending our leadership offsite and getting to meet many of these wonderful leaders that are a part of Caru and hearing the direction the product is going in. And they truly think about how to empower. And I, I love that. I keep saying empower, cuz I keep looking at the sign behind your head <laugh> but we're truly focused on talent empowerment and helping employers empower, um, their employees to really make them feel like they're cared for and valued and recognized. So yeah, 

[Tom Finn]    00:11:22    <laugh> and, and you, and you care and value and recognize in Caroo’s space through gifts and merchandise and snacks, as you said, and this comes in, this comes in pre-packaged boxes. Is that right? 

[Gabrielle Turner]    00:11:36    It does. I actually wish I had a box to show you. I got one yesterday and I actually snapped a photo it's on my LinkedIn. So you can check it out. 

[Tom Finn]    00:11:44    <laugh> yeah. Well, we'll check you out on LinkedIn and, and take a look that photo for sure. I think, um, this, this is really great, but if I'm out there and I'm a leader in a company, um, I might say, well, that's great Gabrielle. I mean, I probably can't afford it. I don't have a budget for boxes and gifts and employee empowerment tools. Where's the budget on my line? You know, where's the line item on my budget for that? Uh, how, how expensive does this get 

[Gabrielle Turner]    00:12:13    That's up to you, you can create and curate whatever box you want based on a budget. Our sales team and our customer service team will work alongside you. Um, I think the coolest thing is, is you can actually use your wellness dollars from your medical carriers to purchase these. Um, so I know that's something that can always be negotiated when you go through strategy sessions during open enrollment. So I think it also kind of spins the question back, like how important is it that your employees feel cared for and valued? And this is one of the ways you can do that and accomplish it in such an easy way. 

[Tom Finn]    00:12:50    Yeah. Amazing. I, I think it's an amazing company and it's a great idea for anybody that's run teams, uh, or divisions in organizations or, uh, small and medium size businesses. I mean, you're always looking for ways to lift up your team, be a little different, uh, do something, uh, thoughtful and kind, and, uh, and it's really hard to do on your own. So to be able to outsource that to a, to a competent company that can put, uh, all of this together for you, I think, uh, is just, just a lovely 

[Gabrielle Turner]    00:13:22    Idea. <laugh>,  

[Tom Finn]    00:13:23    Let's talk about you a little bit in the HR space. So you're doing some things at the career you're, you're not the one building the boxes, you're the one using the HR, uh, organization. So talk to me about sort of your initiatives at Caroo. You know, we set in your opening that you're innovative. Uh, so let's get right to it. What are you doing that's unique and different, uh, on your agenda?  

[Gabrielle Turner]    00:13:48    Ooh. Um, this is a loaded question. First of all, I wish I was building boxes cuz then you get to see all the cool products. Um, but I'll take the HR seat for now. <laugh> should have gone in the logistics direction, probably would target if I wanted that. Um, but in regards to initiatives, I think one thing I really value about Caroo and coming to this company is I work really closely with Sean Kelly. Who's our CEO and co-founder, and he's very passionate about ensuring our employees feel recognized and valued and it's very much in line with our mission, but he wants to make sure that our programs we're creating our moments for us to connect and get to know each other and we're a hundred percent remote. So it's that much more challenging I think. And I know a lot of you that are probably gonna listen to this podcast are like saying girl, we are a hundred percent remote.  

[Gabrielle Turner]    00:14:37    We're trying to think of new ways to get and create engagement. And so what I actually did is I did a spin on our boxes and I've called our, I created a program, which I'm very excited about and our employees are very excited about and excited to be a part of. And it's called career unboxed. So it really talks about like that moment you get a box like even an Amazon box, any box and you go to open it and you really take time to think about that product. You explore it. Like either you open it, you feel it, you read the labels, you read the directions and the current box is similar to that. So we're gonna unbox the various cultures that exist within our company. We're gonna learn about our cultures. We're gonna learn about our employees while also incorporating wellbeing, like the dimensions.  

[Gabrielle Turner]    00:15:27    So this quarter we're focusing on professional development and I think it's so great cuz it ties in so much to what you, your, um, platform off offers as well. And so we're doing, we're doing that. We've celebrated black history month, but before we even celebrated, we educated ourselves, um, through various, um, tips that have been provided through flyers. Um, one thing I'm really excited about is women's history month. I think it's so important to really uplift and empower the women that represent KA and we're gonna have a week full of fun events. We're one thing we're doing that's really great is we're creating a Spotify playlist of all our favorite female artists and wow, we're gonna rock out to it all week. Um, and then we're just gonna send positive messages to each other. But I think through all that I do, I'm really trying to build that community and connection, but I think even more importantly, um, Tom as well as I'm really empowering my leaders to build a culture within their own teams.  

[Gabrielle Turner]    00:16:29    Cuz it's important to recognize that while we can have a culture that's truly positive and everyone has like those great feelings and loves being here that really begins at the individual team levels. So it does. And it's important to make sure my leaders feel like they can create that successful culture and help their employees feel valued by even beginning with like, okay, are you spending time giving them feedback? What does your one-on-one time look with, look like with them? Like, do they even have a job description? Like I think that's so huge, especially in a startup world is like, do they know their roles and responsibilities? Like, so it's brilliant. Yeah.  

[Tom Finn]    00:17:11    For somebody that, for somebody that works in a large organization, that might sound crazy. I know what is going on over there at Caroo  

[Gabrielle Turner]    00:17:18    Putting no, we have them, we have them. Let me tell you 

[Tom Finn]    00:17:21    <laugh> in startup organizations, uh, a lot of times you're creating jobs on the fly to meet the demand of your customer. And uh, you may, you may not have the job description at hand because you just didn't need it six months ago and you're growing so darn fast that you, uh, you're making it up, uh, you know, after work that job description. So you can post it the next day and get somebody hired, which is really what really what you were saying. <laugh> um, and so as, as you're thinking about this, um, and you're thinking about your, your unboxed Caru unboxed initiative, mm-hmm <affirmative>, these are, these are things that can be done in a remote environment. So you mentioned your Spotify playlist, which is fun. Um, you mentioned wellbeing, um, you were mentioning sort of multicultural engagement. I mean, what, what are some of the actions that you that are really taking place? Spotify is a great example, but are there others? Yeah, 

[Gabrielle Turner]    00:18:11 There are a lot of others. Um, <laugh> I don't wanna spill all my secrets to you in one day. Um, so I think what we're really focused on in year one and what I've communicated through the year, one planning of crew and boxes year, one's really about educating. Um, so how are we educating ourselves about the cultures that exist? And one thing we actually just recently held was called a career unboxed moment together. And what we did during this time is I actually had an employee who celebrates the lunar new year and she created the most beautiful PowerPoint presentation and she shared her family traditions around the celebrations, um, which she does with her family and a little about the history and the superstitions and to have someone else come in and share is exactly the main goal of my program is I I'm gonna share something with you for a second, but I always say, I don't wanna be the person leading this and I don't wanna be the person following. 

[Gabrielle Turner]    00:19:16    It's very similar to that. Um, the ride at Disney, it's a small world in the song where they all stand in a circle and they're like holding hands, singing the same song with such joy and pride. This is what I hope to accomplish through my program because at the end of the day, we all make up a diverse workforce at Caroo, and being able to recognize that celebrate with each other, and get to know each other will just make us all much happier, but also in a way it pays back to KA and makes us much more successful as a company. 

[Tom Finn]    00:19:49    So, well sure, it sure does. You hit the nail on the head. Yeah. I mean the more diverse group and the more, um, interesting and thoughtful backgrounds that we put into one team and one organization, uh, the, the higher the revenue and the studies all show that. And, uh, and, and it just creates a better world. And I love that you're bringing in folks with different backgrounds and explaining sort of the really unique components of what they do and how they do it and what it means to them, um, and how they bring that part of themselves to work, I think is really important, cuz it just creates more understanding, um, and more acceptance, uh, of others and my goodness, this world needs it, uh, right about now. So I'm glad you're, I'm glad you're really doing that, that good work. Um, yeah. So what would, what would you say? It sounds like everything's been super easy, right? I mean, no bumps in the road., What would you say has been the biggest challenge at coming? There are lots of moving parts. What's been the most difficult part for you?  

[Gabrielle Turner]    00:20:47    Um, I think the most difficult, and I wouldn't even say it's just at career. It's been through all my experience and I feel like so many of us can relate to this is having to adapt. I mean, HRS changed so much in the last two years. Like we have now this like woke culture and we have like so much more awareness around DEI and um, also the role of HR is shifting as well. And I think it's, it's been really being able to adapt, but at the same time, ensuring that we're still focused on compliance while creating moments to engage as a company. And I think that's the biggest challenge being able to balance that in a sense is, okay, well we wanna make sure we're thinking about our company and our employees, but how do we merge these two together? Um, and I think it even is like, it's funny, you mentioned like the world today makes things a little bit more challenging and I think that's exactly it.  

[Gabrielle Turner]    00:21:43    It does. And I think one thing I really believe in is like DEI has always existed. Like we're suddenly putting such a focus and emphasis on it. And my question is cultures always existed and why are we now putting such an emphasis on it? If we were truly like people that were genuine and care about the people we work with, we would think about these things in a sense. And I think I even ponder on it myself and think like, what could I have done better? Like why is it now even myself in my role, I have so much more focus on these things. And I think one thing I, I try to do better today and I'm trying to improve on and people say, well, you already do this is listen. And I think when you talk about a world being so much harder, I actually deleted all my social media platforms. I only have LinkedIn for like professional and work reasons, but I deleted Instagram, Facebook. And like, I guess MySpace, if it still counts, but <laugh>, but I deleted 

[Tom Finn]    00:22:43    All's follow that. You say I deleted MySpace. 

[Gabrielle Turner]    00:22:47    I think. Sure. You're still listening to me. Like go on here. <laugh>  

[Tom Finn]    00:22:53    OK. 

[Gabrielle Turner]    00:22:54    I'm like doesn't Justin Timberlake like own that at one point, like total side topic. But I think I remember that for some reason <laugh> 

[Tom Finn]    00:23:03    I, I'm not sure. I just, I mean, I do remember him from the movie faith, the Facebook. Um, yes. I'm not sure. I'm not sure that he, maybe he was an investor in mic who knows? It seems like a long 

[Gabrielle Turner]    00:23:16    I'm Google this,  

[Tom Finn]    00:23:18    Somebody's listening to this saying like, what is MySpace? That's really, really old. Um, which is a, my 

[Gabrielle Turner]    00:23:29    Gosh, we were even talking about the other day, wasn't it like Facebook where you used to have a college, you used to have a college email address to actually sign up for Facebook.  

[Tom Finn]    00:23:39    That's right. You had to have EDU. Yeah, that's how it started. I mean, it, it started, I think Harvard, um, is where it started. Uh, and uh, and then just sort of grew from there, but they've  

[Gabrielle Turner]    00:23:53    So, yeah, but basically back to it, I deleted it because in short, I felt like more opinions were being offered versus the listening that needed to occur. And that's where I really come forward with every one of my employees. And I truly let them know, like this is a safe space. I will listen. And I said at times I may not have anything to say because I haven't experienced this situation, but you can always trust that I will listen to what you have to say and I will be there for you. And that's where I try to do every day. And I'm still learning  

[Tom Finn]    00:24:27    <laugh> yeah, it's it. Look, it's a good place to start. And listening and being, uh, leading with empathy are probably two cornerstones of real HR leadership or, or, or as I like say people leadership, um, because it's really transitioning. The role is transitioning from human resources, which was just very clinical at one point. And there was probably a time in history that we needed that. But today you just need to be a little more human and be empathetic and listen and try to understand what the needs are of the population that you support. There's I also think there's so much pressure on these roles today for, from talent acquisition that has open Rex that needs to fill them to benefit leaders, right. To DEI leaders and everybody's gotta watchful eye and there's a lot of pressure. And so I think, I think just, just, um, giving yourself some grace and, and knowing that the basics of listening and being empathetic are, are gonna win the day are, are probably a good place to start.  

[Gabrielle Turner]    00:25:34    I love that you say that because HR is generally thought of like the thinkless department. Right. And I think at a moment, like, I, I really want everyone to think like if you're in HR, listening to this, like even you, Tom, like everything we achieve is for our employees. And while we may not get the 80% engagement scores, we're loading looking for like, how are we impacting that one individual it's like that positive, meaningful impact for one individual. And I think, think of that, like use those as your recognition moments, use those as like you're accomplishments. Like, because each and every one of us does make a positive impact. And I think we have to remember that sometimes, and it's been tough, but we're surviving, we're strong. We can do this. Right. Like, I feel like all my peers, I know, I always tell them, like, we all have done so such different things throughout these last years. And like, I always say, I'm proud to know each and every one of them and what they're trying to do and what we're trying to tackle and I appreciate them. So  

[Tom Finn]    00:26:35    Yeah, that's a great way to put it and I'm glad, I'm glad you said it. And this entire podcast is about lifting up people leaders so that you all can lift up your teams because you have such an impactful job. And, and I do hope people recognize in, in large organizations how important these roles are and, uh, and making sure you have the tools and the resources and the budget to, to support, uh, the people that you wanna support within the organization. Absolutely. So very, very important. So, so speaking of culture, um, <laugh> not, not every company has the right culture. There are probably some folks out there that are thinking, man, I do not work in the same culture that Gabrielle does at all. <laugh> my culture is a little stiffer or a little more rigid or perhaps a little more fiscal. Um, uh, everybody's got a different culture that they're, they're working in. How do you know when it's time? How do you know, Hey, I don't fit here. It's I should probably be thinking about making a move.  

[Gabrielle Turner]    00:27:35    So it's funny you use the word fit because it's actually a word I don't really, I don't, I don't like that word fit because I think with culture it's like, how are you adding value? And is your value recognized? And do you feel like that appreciation and care? And I think that's when you really think and stop and pause and you go, okay, first of all, have I communicated and expressed these like feelings to the right person? Do I feel like they've been heard, has action been taken? I think that's something I always say is like, you have to make sure before you leave or exit, and again, back to exit interviews where everyone, all of a sudden feels empowered to share like this and that. And like this happened. And my question back to everyone is how did you communicate this? Who did you communicate it to?  

[Gabrielle Turner]    00:28:21    And like, if that didn't work, did you feel that you had someone else you could go and speak to? And I think give that company a chance, give that person a chance to listen and see what they can do. And if you've done all of that and you still feel, this is not the right place, really think about what you're looking for in your next place and make that decision. But I think it's something I've been through personal personally, and it's not easy. It's not easy being in a place where you sit at the end of the day and you're like, this feels like work more than anything. I'm not enjoying what I'm doing. It seems, seems more like a task than something where I'm actually creating and developing and that my work feels valued or I'm seen as a partner. And that doesn't feel good.  

[Gabrielle Turner]    00:29:06    It truly doesn't feel good for anyone. And that's hard. And sometimes it may not only be from you feeling that can be from the employer feeling that way about you. And I think those are times where you have to really sit down and remember, I know it's so cheesy to say this, but like, everything happens for a reason. And that's when you pick yourself up, brush off your resume and start applying, reach out to your networks, your connections, see like how you can really utilize them to find your next opportunity. But before you start looking for that next opportunity, you need to know what you're looking for and how you're gonna approach the interview process differently. What questions are you gonna ask to really understand the culture, how they value and recognize people. So, 

[Tom Finn]    00:29:50    Yeah, I think that's the mistake people make is they, they don't actually do the deep work to understand what about the culture they're not, uh, recognizing or what about the culture? They feel isn't good for them at that time, right? Yeah. And if you don't do that deep work, if you don't really think about it, you're just gonna jump from the frying pan into the fire and you're gonna make, you're gonna make the same decision because you haven't thought about it. You're gonna make that same buying decision essentially for your new employer. And you may end up in the exact same situation. Um, I can tell you, I did that early in my career. Mm-hmm <affirmative> I, I went from one employer to the other thinking it was the employer. Uh, but really it was me. It was absolutely me. I had to work on myself and figure some things out and, uh, and, and had really very little to do with my manager at the time or, or the employer as a whole. So I recognize that in myself, I've done it. Uh, I'm not, uh, I don't have a perfect track record. Right. Um, we all, we all do this,  

[Gabrielle Turner]    00:30:51    But I have to ask Tom, how's your current boss?

[Tom Finn]    00:30:58    Reason for those that don't the reason Gabriel is asking that I lead a company, uh, by the name of LeggUP and we are a professional development platform for HR leaders to support the development of their employees in an inclusive way across all of their employees. And we do that through a product called Talent Insurance which covers every single employee in the company with six sessions of an executive coach, essentially, um, for the time that they're at the employer. And, uh, we've made it very affordable. So my, I guess my, well, my bosses, my are my customers, right? I mean, that, that really is who the boss  

[Gabrielle Turner]    00:31:35    That's true at the end of the day.  

[Tom Finn]    00:31:37    <laugh> and, uh, my, my bosses, I've got hundreds of HR leaders that I report to, uh, and support and make sure they have the data they need and the support they need to, uh, to make good decisions for their own company and their own people.  

[Gabrielle Turner]    00:31:51    So you empower every HR leader you come in contact with as well.


[Tom Finn]    00:31:55    Yeah, well, I, I, I appreciate that. Um, that's very kind of, so, so what's, um, what's on tap for you with Caroo. You've got the unboxed, um, you've got this vision, like where's, where are we going with Caroo?


[Gabrielle Turner]    00:32:12    Where are we going? Um, actually I, I think this is like one of the first times in my career, I actually say, this is like, I am so excited about what's next. And having not only from like my position, but also like, because I get first glanced at the product is like where the product is going, but I know we're talking to HR, so I'm gonna stick to HR, but right now I'm really focusing on developing a strong onboarding experience. And, and that has to be like really tied with that pretty bow at the end of the day. And it's about the whole candidate experience and transitioning over from the recruiter to HR, and then also the orientation. What does orientation look like and how are they getting to learn about our product, our platform, the employees that they will work with, or be proud to work with or know, and even like what HR pieces do they need to know, but not over overdoing it for them on day one.  

[Gabrielle Turner]    00:33:09    And so really creating something that's unique to KA and really elevating my, the team I work with to really be a part of those moments and really celebrate and share their passion. Um, so that's, what's on tap next and I'm hoping it's within the next two weeks, we'll be doing our first trial and yeah, but there's a lot coming down and you never know, I might get an email say, Hey, let's explore this. And that's where I pivot and go get my curiosity on and see what other companies are doing. I explore, I ask and I learn. And I think that's the greatest thing about my role is every day I'm learning and I'm challenged and I'm given that opportunity. And I think I'm thankful for that. 

[Tom Finn]    00:33:54    Well, well, I always look at, uh, the onboarding as sort of the second phase that you mentioned there, the first is recruiting and I kinda see that as the dating phase. So we're kind, we're recruiting, we're kind of dating. And then the onboarding we've, we've kind of committed to each other. We're yep. We're definitely holding hands at this point. Uh, and, and at that point, that has to be smooth, right? Or the relationship is not going to last, right? Whether it's in our personal lives or it's in our professional lives. And I, I, I love that you highlighted, onboarding as being so critically important to, to really clean up that process, because if you don't onboard well, you're really setting that relationship up for a quick end because people, people don't feel like you care about them. If that doesn't go well. And so you've got to, to all of our friends in HR out there, you have got to nail the onboarding.  

[Tom Finn]    00:34:46    And, and the biggest challenge is that it's not always within your control. It may be at the line manager level or the regional manager level. So we have to create those tools, resources, and processes. So they're repeatable, and we can measure them over time. And that's when you get a really smooth onboarding and that leads to right. Drum roll, please. Higher levels of retention, um, down the road. Right. Which is really important. Yes. You know, when we start to think about the company culture and all those things that are tied together, so I couldn't agree absolutely.  

[Gabrielle Turner]    00:35:17    With  

[Tom Finn]    00:35:17    You anymore. Um, so outside of being, uh, in HR, what do you do for fun outside of your  

[Gabrielle Turner]    00:35:25    Work day? <laugh> outside of my work day. Um, so I have a confession. I am a workaholic. Um, but it's because I love what I do so much, but when I'm not working, I'm actually surprised she has listened to me this whole time. She's actually upstairs. <laugh> I have two little girls. I have a six-year-old and one that's about to turn four and they are my world. Um, I'm a very family-focused, um, individual. I spend a lot of time with my parents and my siblings and whether it's margaritas and homemade guac on the patio on a Sunday afternoon or taking my girls to the zoo or just even to the beach. Um, it's, it's about being together. And I know it's like, trust me, I'm not always rainbows and butterflies. Let me tell you, I truly have my moments. Um, especially yesterday, like I walk upstairs and there's glitter all over the floor of their bedroom. And I, I had to remember to keep calm. Like, what's those little flyers, like, keep calm. Like I don't even know, keep, keep  

[Tom Finn]    00:36:30    keep calm and carry on. Right.  

[Gabrielle Turner]    00:36:34    But I think I I'm, I love to work out working. Out's one of my absolute favorite things. It's my way to find my balance. Um, I also drink wine. I'm a big wine person. My whole family, we're actually really into wine. And my dad like to introduce us to so many cool new brands and types and regions and everything. So I think summing up in one word is like, it's my family. My family means everything to me. And I think that's why I'm so passionate about like caring for the whole human is because I've grown up that way. And it's such a special feeling to know. I can always rely on my parents and my siblings whenever I need them. And it's funny cuz my mom always goes, I never wanna be your, when I was growing up, she goes, I never wanna be your best friend. And I go, my mom and she goes, well, who is your best friend last week? And I'll be like, oh Katie. And I'll be like, who's your best friend today? Oh, Beth. And I'm like, and she likes exactly. And I'm like, yeah, that's true. Like I wouldn't have wanted to be my best friend back then too. Probably. But <laugh> it's family. They're always there for you. So yeah.  

[Tom Finn]    00:37:39    Yeah. I, I, I love that. So, so the word for you is family, and yes. And the reason really, it, it pours out of you when, when we connect and when you talk that you really have this passion and love for others and lifting people up. And, and that's why we had you on the podcast today because thank you. I just think the work that you're doing is fabulous. I love Caru unboxed and the initiatives that you're putting together, but, but mostly you're just a great people leader and a great people person. And, and thank you for doing the hard work that you do. Uh, every day we appreciate it. 

[Gabrielle Turner]    00:38:13    That's so sweet of you to say, I do have to give credit to Caroo, my CEO, Sean Kelly, and even my team, like everyone I get to work with. Like, they're the ones that keep me going and make me wanna be better every day is like, cuz like you said, they're my customers, my employees at the end of the day. And I enjoy being there for them and creating the best programs and processes and everything. 

[Tom Finn]    00:38:36    Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And it's, it's always a team effort. So if, if, uh, folks listening wanted to reach out to you, um, MySpace would not be the place to find  

[Gabrielle Turner]    00:38:46    You <laugh>.  

[Tom Finn]    00:38:47    Uh, but where, where could someone find you if they wanted to connect?  

[Gabrielle Turner]    00:38:52    Oh, um, if you wanna connect, LinkedIn's always a great way, but if you wanna send an email and reach out, you can always reach me at, um, my email. So it's Gabrielle dot Turner career.com and I'd love to get to know you and we can chat and exchange thoughts and there are always great conversations to be had.  

[Tom Finn]    00:39:13    Yeah, absolutely. Gabrielle, thank you so much for joining the show. This was amazing to have you really appreciate.  

[Gabrielle Turner]    00:39:19    Oh, you're so sweet. Thank you for everything. This has been such an amazing opportunity. I appreciate you.  

[Tom Finn]    00:39:24    Yeah. Awesome. Well, thank you all for joining the Talent Empowerment podcast. I hope this conversation lifted you up so you can lift up your teams and organizations. As we always like to say, let's get back to people and culture together. We'll see you on the next episode. Thanks, everybody.  

[Gabrielle Turner]    00:39:41    Bye.  

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