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Valerie S. - Senior HR Operations Specialist

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Title: Senior HR Operations Specialist
Location: Chicago, IL 
Joined: 2014 
Preferred Pronouns: She/Her/Hers 

If public speaking is the #1 fear in the world, consider Valerie the world’s bravest woman. 

Tell us about your job! What do you do?

I am a Senior HR Operations Specialist and I streamline HR processes to make the work easier for HR and non-HR employees. I am transacting and problem-solving through Zendesk and Workday, on a daily basis. I facilitate and conduct New Hire Orientation on Monday that is very engaging to new hires at Groupon. I love being a subject matter expert in solving problems efficiently and assisting employees with questions.

What does a typical day look like?

  • Prioritizing my workflow to the most important to the least important.
  • Monday and Tuesday are HR Operations, busiest days: conducting new hire orientation, approving new hires, and creating a new position for contractors.
  • Most of HR Operations is transactional tasks to assist managers and employees with their requests within Workday and Zendesk.
  • Manage the North America HR Operations Skynet page.
  • Manage and distribute the 8yr Anniversary Beats Headphones!

How have you grown in your career since joining Groupon? 

I’ve grown by adapting to the changes, learning how to solve problems creatively, and meeting/learning from Groupon employees throughout different lines of businesses. I am an advocate for lifelong learning and knowledge sharing with my teams and others. Growth is key, meaning you have to own your career growth with continuous learning!

Talk about something challenging you worked on here. How did it turn out?

Planning and coordinating a large new hire orientation of over 100 new hires, for July 8, 2019! I had started planning at the beginning of May, compiling names and departments, and who I knew would execute tasks in order to get the job done. The most important attributes to have running a smooth orientation: great teamwork, great communication skills, and strong time management skills!

What do you love about your job?

Solving problems in a creative and empathetic fashion, effectively and in a timely manner.  When I can create a process around the problem, this can help my team members solve their problems quickly and efficiently.

Who or what inspires you?

Watching others grow as a speaker and leader within my Mentoring Development Program and within my Toastmasters Club.

Can you talk about the roles you’ve had in your time at Groupon, if you’ve had more than one?

  1. Customer Support
  2. Specialize Customer Support
  3. Local Resolutions Team
  4. HR Representative

The Customer Support and Specialize Customer Support roles were similar; however, the Specialize Customer Support role was part of a pilot team, testing platforms such as, the Pizza App (chat app), Multi-Touch, Beauty Now, and Groupon+. This position gave me the opportunity to suggest best practices to streamline processes which I really enjoyed. I was also appointed to the Costco team due to having the highest CSAT score to assist Cotsco customers via phone and email. My success solving over 3000+ tickets/year, maintaining QA scoring of 96%+ and CSAT scores consistently exceeding the overall team scores is what lead me to the role in HR Operations, and I was recently promoted to a Senior Specialist in September!

What’s your favorite local business?

Shaw Academy! This company is based in Ireland! Yes, Ireland! The classes are live on Mondays and Wednesdays and if you miss your session, the recording is available in 24 hrs! You are assigned a mentor who will call you to see how everything is going with the class.

How does your work impact Groupon’s mission of building the daily habit in local commerce?

My work impacts Groupon’s mission, making Groupon The Best Place To Work, making the employees feel engaged, making work more efficient and easier, and being able to assist in solving problems by listening and providing an effective solution.

Describe the proudest moment you’ve had at Groupon. Go ahead, brag a little. (Or a lot.)

Being promoted to HR Operations after coming from Customer Support. I had been networking with many people in the HR department since 2015, and in 2018 I asked Marlo Gaal to be my Mentor and she said YES!!!! To go back to memory lane, in 2015, I remember sitting down with Sam Israel and Kristen O’Brien (Kristen was new in her role at that time) and expressing my interest, because of my previous four years experience in HR with my previous employer. Sam stated to me, “I see you working in HR Operations.” Loz and behold on October 15, 2018 I started my new role as a HR Operation Representative!

Have you won any awards? Groupon Green awards?

Yes! In Customer Support, I was nominated for the Customer Service Cult Award and was a CSAT winner for giving exceptional customer service in November 2016, December 2016 and February 2017.

What piece of career advice would you give candidates looking to join Groupon?

Candidates need to be fast and nimble, because Groupon changes quickly and learning different technology processes is fun, however, master the style of learning quick to be ready for anything.

Where were you before you joined Groupon? What brought you here?

I was working at a credit union as an HR Representative. What brought me to Groupon was a previous employee, who sent me an email in 2014 that Groupon was hiring seasonal employees, including Customer Support Representatives for the holiday season. Came in for the interview one time and was HIRED!!!!!!

What’s the most interesting thing about you?

I like to TALK! Talk to you one on one and present presentations in front of an audience to help others grow!

If you could do another job for just one day, what would it be and why?

Talent Development, because I like to see employees grow and to have their voices heard to build initiatives, within the Groupon Culture.

How has your experience in other roles helped you in your current position?

I started working at Groupon in November of 2014 in Customer Service, where the phone line was live with over 1000 customers in a queue. To work this kind of call center position, you had to bring strong attributes, from empathy, patience, strong customer service skills, effective communications and effective problem solving skills. Accuracy was key to writing notes clearly in a customer’s Zendesk ticket. My customer satisfaction score was always 98%+, which I'm proud to say I've continued in my current role with my CSAT scoring at 100%+!

You’ve been at Groupon for 7 years. What about the company has kept you here?

The people who work at Groupon make the culture rich and fun! I cannot wait to see everyone again in the office -- going to meetings, eating lunch together, going to ERG events, attending the All Hands meetings in person, and much more. I’ve seen the changes within Groupon since 2014 and I’m forever grateful to be an employee of Groupon for 7 years and next year will be my 8 year Anniversary MILESTONE!

What advice do you have for someone interested in joining Groupon?

Be able to adjust to change quickly!

Rapid Fire Questions

What do you do to relax?

I love to reflect on my life on Sundays and watch Oprah's 'Super Soul Sunday!'.

#1 on your bucket list?

Is to visit Fiji and go to the Namale Spa Resort.

Favorite Quote?

"The best way to predict the future is to create it."  - Peter Drucker 

What is your hidden talent?

Design Thinking - to solve everyday problems and to bring solutions for the user. Another talent is getting the word out to the public through social media channels, and that is Public Relations. I'm the PR Manager for District 103 Toastmasters and I love it!

What series are you currently binging?

'Tidying Up,' with Marie Kondo on Netflix.

#1 on your bucket list?

To create a podcast.

Book or Podcast? Got a Favorite?

The 'Power of Positive Thinking,' by Norman Vincent Peale.


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