At Leaf Home, people are our greatest asset. Across the organization, thousands of employees bring personality and passion to the Leaf culture. From LeafFilter to Leaf Home Enhancements and everything in between, one group has done an excellent job in helping the team grow and get better: HR & Recruiting. To learn more about this incredible group, we sat down with Sean Loboda, Chief Human Resources Officer. Sean is enthusiastic about connecting with people, and discussing the human element at Leaf revealed that the future is bright.
Leaf: Thank you so much for chatting today, Sean! To start, can you tell me a little bit about what you do here at Leaf Home.
Sean: My role as the Chief HR Officer here at Leaf Home is comprised of a few key functions to support our most important asset, which is our people. We are truly a people-first business, no matter how you cut it. People are what make our operations tick, right? It’s what keeps the lights on. It’s what satisfies our customers.
My role is comprised of human resources and employee relations, so think about working with employees or managers on, you know, conflict resolution, performance management, training and development, things like that.
Then we have a total rewards group that focuses on compensation benefits. This team asks, “Are we incentivizing people the right way, reflective of their contribution within the organization?”
We have employee engagement as well as another bucket. We also have HRIS. You know that now more than ever, HR relies on technology and data to make decisions. The HRIS team is focused on the system everyone knows and loves, UKG, as well as our people analytics, so how are we looking at productivity, tenure, turnover and retention, and satisfaction to make sure that we continue to be an employer of choice.
And then we also have talent acquisition, or our recruiting department. That is really two different but connected functions, one focusing on shared services — think marketing IT HR roles, finance roles, call center roles — and then you have your field recruiting teams, so that’s your installation, your event, and your sales employees.
Leaf: Wow! Your team sounds like it has really grown in the last few years. How many people would you say are in the HR and recruiting teams overall?
Sean: We started out small when I started my career here in 2019. We were probably no more than about a dozen. We are now — if you include recruiting and the HR team all in one — approaching 80 individuals across the board. It’s pretty amazing to see so much growth.
Leaf: And speaking of growth, can you tell me a little bit about how Leaf has grown and changed since you joined the company back in 2019?
Sean: Yeah, it has been incredible. I remember sitting down in 2019 with Chris Brosch and Rocco Mango, I believe. Rocco, the Leaf Home CFO, introduced Chris and said, hey, this is employee number two, right after Matt Kaulig. It was interesting just to see that even through all our growth, he’s still here.
I guess what I’m getting at is that no matter how big we’ve gotten, we haven’t changed at our core culture or core operating mechanisms. We’re still Leaf to the core, whether we have two employees or now over 3,000, we’ve still stayed true to the TNT culture. Today, not tomorrow. Making sure we make every day a great day.
Leaf: 3,000 employees! Wow. Do you remember how many employees we had back when you started?
Sean: When I got here, we had probably around 1000 employees. So we’ve grown quite a bit.
Leaf: I love that, it has truly been incredible to witness so much growth over the years. You also mentioned that the “TNT mentality” is kind of at the heart of the culture here. Are there any other words that come to mind to describe the Leaf culture?
Sean: Yeah, I would say this goes along with TNT — today and tomorrow — but there’s a sense of transactional or tactical urgency here. I don’t know that you would find another organization in our industry, or really anywhere else, that has the amount of tactical or transactional urgency than we have.
Every single team member here is always worried about what they’re doing today, which makes up the weeks, which make up the months, which make up the years… right? As time goes on, that dedication and urgency builds TNT momentum.
And then I think the other thing is that we’re very supportive of everyone bringing their whole selves to work. We understand that you’re spending more time at work than you typically are at home. You know, if one of us is working from home, we’re bringing the background noise from our pets, or our children, or significant others. Along with that, when you’re in the office, people are bringing their whole selves to work, so I think that’s super important. It builds an authentic workplace where you can be, unabashedly, yourself.
Leaf: You’re right, that type of culture absolutely builds camaraderie and trust. Is your team working from home right now, then? Or is it a hybrid model, with some days in-office and some days at home? I know you just got that beautiful new space over in the former Leaf Home call center building.
Sean: Oh, yes, and it is beautiful. My team is operating in a hybrid environment. We’ve been doing that for the better part of a year. It’s been going pretty well! I think there was a little hesitancy at first. I mean, you haven’t necessarily exercised that muscle of going into the office all the time, but I think by and large our team is very happy they did it.
It’s a few days a week rather than five. We typically do three days a week to provide some structure, but we’re also retaining flexibility. If someone has something on a Wednesday or a Monday that they need to take care of at home, we give him that flexibility. I think when we start bringing people back to in-person sessions, flexibility is going to be key.
Leaf: It has been great to have flexibility as a Leaf employee, even before the pandemic changed work as we know it. And I love that you guys are kind of dipping your toes into that transitional hybrid situation. I’ve seen on LinkedIn that, across industries, there seem to be a lot of people that are a little bit uncomfortable with the thought of going back to work in-person. It’s really great to see that your team is leading by example.
Sean: You’re right about that hesitancy in the world right now. One thing that we have done and will continue to do is listen to employees. We’ve already done a few surveys, and we will continue to do them to understand and monitor peoples’ appetite for returning to the office.
Leaf: Do you feel like the pandemic and other recent changes in the last few years have shifted your role in HR and recruiting at all?
Sean: I think it has, and likely for the better in the sense that the pandemic has really forced the entire HR profession to really think about the entire employee experience. Not that we weren’t before, but it just put a renewed spotlight on it. There are more considerations about what’s going on in their home life now than there ever have been because of the pandemic and so making sure that we, as HR professionals. are taking that into consideration. That has been a welcome change to my role and to our department overall.
Leaf: What a great change! What other changes or goals can we expect to see your team digging into in 2022?
Sean: We have a ton of objectives this year. Number one is making sure that we are supporting all of the business units in the best way possible from a human capital standpoint. The best thing we can do as an HR organization is continue to support those business units so they can do what they do best.
Some of our other more tangible objectives this year… We know that during the Great Resignation, turnover and retention have been a challenge for many businesses. Making sure we have competitive benefits and compensation, and just overall rewarding employees in non-monetary ways is a priority for us. Making sure we’re doing that and then investing back in the employees to ensure that we have the right tools, resources, and learning and development options for employees is so important.
Last but certainly not least: our diversity and inclusion efforts. That is something that is always at the forefront of our minds. We’ve done a lot this past year that we’re all collectively super proud of and should be as an organization. Bringing to our employees the awareness of what diversity and inclusion is has been a huge win, and I think that’s been really well-received. But we have a lot more work to do there, and fortunately we have the DE&I Committee to keep that momentum going.
Leaf: The future sounds super bright! But let’s dig into the past a bit more to analyze how we got here. Do you have any proudest achievements at Leaf that you’d like to talk about, or any particular initiatives that your team has spearheaded that you feel super proud of?
Sean: Oh, where do I start?
Some of the more recent things include the enhanced performance review cycle. Getting the entire organization to come around to a unified review cycle ensures that everyone is getting objective and timely feedback. Rolling that out across the company in a digital platform has been a huge accomplishment from our team, and it really pulled everyone together.
I also think one of the things that we should collectively be the proudest of is that we set up a HR and talent department that really is going to support the organization, you know, based on our growth over the next few years. We have the structure, the process, and the people in place now to allow us to continue to scale with the organization and support it. We’re able to put people in the right roles for personal and professional success.
Leaf: Amazing! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Sean: I would say thank you to the employees of Leaf. Without you, we certainly don’t have a place to go to work. Day in and day out, we’re certainly not perfect, although we try to be, but you make this workplace feel perfect. We enjoy working with all of you every single day.
Leaf: On that note, do you have any advice to aspiring Leaf Home employees, or people that are about to start with Leaf?
Sean: I would say to spend your first few weeks or months, depending on the role you’re in, just learning. There is a phenomenal level of talent that already exists here that has made this company what it is. It’s worth spending a little while learning about who we are and what we do.
But then, on the flip side of that, don’t be afraid to interject new ideas or processes or thoughts that you have based on your collective experiences at other organizations. Our organization is really made up of a collection of those best thoughts and ideas and practices. Now that you’re a piece of our puzzle, you are going to bring so much to the table.
At Leaf Home, we’re all on one team striving for success. Are you interested in exploring opportunities with our team? Check out the Leaf Home careers page to find opportunities near you.