I am CEO

HR Consultant Helps Businesses Excel in Managing their Human Resources

Full Episode from I AM CEO Podcast - IAM2029

In this episode, we have Jason Walker, the co-founder of Thrive HR Consulting who shares his thoughts on effective leadership, the importance of honesty and transparency, and the role of HR in a rapidly changing work environment.

He discusses the inception of his HR consulting firm and the unique strategic and operational solutions it provides to its clients. Jason also highlights the importance of resilience and the ability to move forward no matter the circumstances.

Thrive HR Consulting, is revolutionizing how organizations approach their people practices and policies. With a focus on delivering transparent communication, strategic guidance, and operational efficiency,

Thrive HR Consulting helps businesses thrive in a rapidly changing world. By embodying values such as honesty, integrity, and resilience, Jason sets a remarkable example for aspiring CEOs.

Their commitment to excellence and their ability to deliver impactful results make them a valuable partner for any organization looking to transform their HR practices.

Website: thrivehrconsulting.com

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Full Interview:


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Jason Walker Teaser 00:00

When I talk to leaders or I talk to an organization about a problem, I'm not direct and difficult to listen to, but I am very clear about what are your issues?

What are your problems? What do we need to fix? And I feel like the fastest way to move forward. Fix any issues or to deal with any problems is to be really clear and to deliver a very transparent message.

Intro 00:27

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Gresham Harkless 00:56

Hello. Hello. Hello. This is Gresh from the I Am CEO podcast. And I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Jason Walker. Jason, excited to have you on the show.

Jason Walker 01:04

Thanks Gresh. I'm excited to be here today.

Gresham Harkless 01:05

Yes, absolutely. And Jason is doing so many phenomenal things. But before we jumped into talking with Jason, I wanted to read a little bit more so you can hear about some of those awesome things.

Jason is an HR industry veteran, talent advisor, and global speaker helping businesses transform their people practices and policies in the rapidly changing world of work.

In 2020, Jason and his partner Ray Ramirez founded Thrive HR Consulting an Austin, Texas, and Denver, Colorado-based HR advisory firm that seeks to augment HR needs for organizations, provide fractional HR services for leading, managing or providing guidance in all facets of H. R.

Jason has over 15 years of experience running all phases of successful human resource operation. His specialties include selecting and retaining top talent, building high-performing teams and consistently meeting and exceeding external customers expectations.

Jason has exceptional interpersonal skills and ability to communicate powerfully to all levels of the organization and position and feature HR as an integral part of a successful and profitable company.

He also has experience in reengineering workforces, planning for growth and contraction through the last couple of decades. The dot com bus, the second economic downturn, the 2008 Great Recession and currently assisting companies with Covid 19 efforts.

And I absolutely love having Jason on the show. There's so much change. I'm sure we'll probably touch on it in this interview. But the best thing I say is usually if you aren't sure what's going on, not sure what to do. You want to make sure that you have people that are experts around and super excited to have you on Jason.

And I listened to one of this interviews he had on, I believe, South by Southwest, where he basically told people to make sure not to underestimate your value.

And he said something, reiterated something that he said before, that when you see organizations that are not doing what they said that they're going to do, not being consistent, make sure that you hold them accountable.

So I love people that are able to tell the truth and keep it how it is and say it how it needs to be said. So Jason, excited to have you on. Are you ready to speak to the I Am CEO community?

Jason Walker 03:05

I am ready. Let's do it.

Gresham Harkless 03:08

Let's get it started then. So to kick everything off, let's rewind the clock a little bit, hear a little bit more on how you got started what I call your CEO story.

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Jason Walker 03:14

We got started right during, right as the pandemic was beginning and I had been in corporate human resources, my entire career working at VP level a C. H. R. O. and I decided it was time to transition out and do my own piece of work, do my own business and see what that felt like to be the, in charge of my own destiny.

And probably was a really bad time to do it. You would say, oh, gosh, the pandemic was happening businesses were closing down. Everybody was inside, but we went forward and it worked out really well.

Now. Thankfully, I had done a lot of pre-work on making sure. That this is the thing that I wanted to do. I spent a lot of time interviewing Bain consultants and McKinsey consultants, asking them about how would they start a new consulting business if they had to go out and start one.

And they gave me a lot of great useful information. And so I took that information to launch our consulting company.

So basically. I didn't get any interviews and I had to start all on my own, which ended up being okay. But when you look at it, I probably didn't really have, any business, like I said, starting my own firm, considering that everything that was being said and telling me to not do it, but, I forged ahead and did it.

Gresham Harkless 04:36

Yeah, absolutely. I appreciate you sharing that so much. Could you take us through a little bit more on how you're fighting for your clients, how you're making the world a better place with Thrive HR consulting.

Jason Walker 04:44

I've always been a person that believes in speaking the truth about things and being honest about things. And so For good or bad, and it's been both good and bad, is that when I talk to leaders or I talk to an organization about a problem, I'm not direct and difficult to listen to, but I am very clear about what are your issues?

What are your problems? What do we need to fix? And I feel like the fastest way to move forward. Fix any issues or to deal with any problems is to be really clear and to deliver a very transparent message.

And so, for me, that's always how I've operated. And as we started our consulting firm, that's how I've operated because you don't want a lot of.

Basically, H. R. speaks about what the issue is. And the person ends up walking away going, what does that guy really say? I don't know what he talked to me about. He charged me a lot of money. So we always want to be really clear about how do we fix the issues and how do we move ahead? And, sometimes people respond really well to that.

And then sometimes people don't want to hear you say your baby's ugly. But in the spirit of getting to where you need to go. Being transparent is always what I was, what I always defer to.

Gresham Harkless 06:03

Yeah, I love that. It's so funny you say that. I always usually say that I really want to be around the people that tell me I have food in my teeth while I'm talking.

And those people that don't tell you that's what I don't want to be around because you want to know exactly what it is because that's I think as well too. how you get to solve the problem, how you get to make that impact and do the things that you ultimately want to do.

Jason Walker 06:25

You want to develop. You always want to be developing. You want to be developing as a person. You want to be developing as an organization.

Gresham Harkless 06:31

So could you take us through like the different ways that you work with your clients, how you're serving them, how you're making that impact and what that looks like?

Jason Walker 06:37

One of the things that I also said at South by Southwest last year, and I'll just mention that for a second, as I said to the folks that were there, companies don't always tell the truth and companies don't really have to be truthful all the time. And that sort of stunned people when I told them that, but I didn't say that to be dramatic.

I just told them that, many times you might hear things that aren't true. And if you do hear things that aren't true, you need to make some. Decisions about what you want to do with that company. And so how are we making a difference with the companies that we work with? I think we're bringing to them.

Really good and high-level world-class experience that allows them to make decisions. I view us as like the Bain or McKinsey without the Bain or McKinsey prices, and so you're getting some significant experience from all the things that myself on my team have done over the years. And what we're doing is we're.

Putting them and packaging to you in a pragmatic way, a lot of consulting firms, they spend a lot of time putting together really fancy PowerPoints and presentations and, showing you process flows and telling you what to do. And you get this huge deck and you walk away and you have to implement it.

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We are also implementers, so we'll tell you what the problem is. We'll provide you a deck, but we will also do the work that will actually fix your problem. And so for us, that's super important that we can fix your problem. And that's 1 of the things that. Keeps our clients coming back to us over and over and over again for repeat business.

So we have clients that have used us for 10, 15, 20 different projects because we keep fixing their issue solving their product problem and they keep coming back to us. And so, for me, that's really important to be both, so being a strategically sound and then operationally efficient to be able to solve the company's issues.

Gresham Harkless 08:49

Yeah, and I imagine that's extremely, impactful, of course, for the clients as well, too, which is why they're coming back, project after project. I almost wonder if your ability to do that and awareness of that is part of what I would call either yourself or the organization or a combination of both the secret sauce.

The thing you feel sets you apart and makes you unique. Is it that ability to understand the industry, how it's changing and be able to being an expert, be able to speak to that those things and listen.

Jason Walker 09:15

I think that is a really good point. I think we have basically. Shown our value of being strategically aware and helping our clients be strategically aware of what's going on and thinking about things.

Sometimes HR is more about keeping the lights on and doing those things that are necessary as opposed to doing proactive thinking. And so we are in a position where we can do some of that proactive thinking in advance for organizations and then help them get there based upon our research and based upon what we're doing.

1 of the things that we looked at, in the 1st, half of 2023 was crypto. We really felt like crypto had a chance to be a real differentiator for companies that used crypto as potentially the signing bonus or use crypto as part of their pay strategy.

Now, crypto has had a lot of issues since then. I don't necessarily think that it's taking everything away from crypto that we talked about. I do think that crypto will be an important element in how companies do things going forward, but that's an example of us being, being out leading for change and talking about some things that are going to happen.

I still believe that's going to happen. Maybe we were a little bit too out in front on that 1, but I think that that's not bad. I think if you're leading the way and as a company right now, you're leading the way. That's where you want. That's where you want to be.

Gresham Harkless 10:43

Yeah, I would definitely echo that as well, too. So I wanted to switch gears a little bit and I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO hack.

So this could be like an Apple book or even a habit that you have, but what's something that makes you more effective and efficient?

Jason Walker 10:58

I've never been a person. That likes to spend a lot of time talking about something. Sometimes we spend so many cycles at work talking about things.

We talk ourselves into a circle. And for me, that's always really driven me crazy. At some point. We need to decide and we need to move forward. And so, to me, making some decision is always better than making no decision. I've always been very much against over-talking an issue and not operationalizing it and moving forward and.

That has really given me a reputation in my career. Somebody who is a doer and gets things done, which is really important. And I think that's really important for everyone is to be able to move projects and work, work forward.

Gresham Harkless 11:50

Yeah, I love that. So I wanted to ask you now for what I call a CEO nugget, a little bit more word of wisdom or piece of advice. It might be something you would tell your favorite client, or if you were to happen to a time machine, you might tell your younger business self.

Jason Walker 12:05

I would say, being a person that is always very honest and has a lot of integrity is really important. If you have honesty, integrity and all your dealings and you're in whatever position you are in, people are always going to believe you for the most part, and they're going to respect what you have to say, and they're not going to question you.

So for me, honesty, integrity buys you a lot. In an organization when they can say, oh, my God, he's that person here. She is so trustworthy that, they're saying that we know that's going to work. We know that's the right thing to do.

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And I think that the other thing that you have to be able to do is you have to be resilient. I talk a lot about resiliency. These jobs that we have, no matter what the job is, whether you're an entrepreneur, whether you work in a company, whether you're an HR person, whether you're an operations person, things are going to go wrong. Things are going to happen.

And you have to have the ability to be resilient, you have to have the ability to say, okay, I'm going to be really upset about this for an hour, or I'm going to go home tonight.

I'm going to be really upset about this and I'm going to go and I'm going to have a couple of beers and a pizza on my couch, watch TV and be really irritated and then I'm going to get up tomorrow morning and I'm going to let it go and I'm going to start fresh.

Those people that just sit there and they obsess on something, they're the ones that always end up taking the brunt of things poorly in an organization because they can't let it go.

You need to let it go and you need to move on. And that's being resilient.

Gresham Harkless 13:43

Yeah, I love that.

So what would you consider to be what I call your answer to my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And our goal is to have different quote-unquote CEOs on the show. So Jason, what does being a CEO mean to you?

Jason Walker 13:56

This may sound really silly, but it hit me last night. So I was watching that new Eddie Murphy, Christmas movie on on prime on Amazon Prime. I don't know if you've seen it. Candy Cane Lane. I have no spoilers. No, it was like really, it was really good. It was like one of Eddie's really, really good movies as of light. It was really good. And I love Eddie Murphy.

And so there was a scene where he got laid off right before Christmas and he felt really, really bad because he was going to, ruin his wife and his kids Christmas. And so when I watched that scene, I got that kind of pit in my stomach just stinks when you get laid off or you have somebody that you're going to have to lay off.

And I thought myself getting a little bit actually, like physically sick about it, and then I said to myself, I really like the fact that nobody can walk up to be right now, or nobody can give me a call and say, you're going to be laid off. You don't have a job tomorrow. Now, granted, I can have a bunch of customers that decide not to work with me.

I can have a bunch of things happen like that. But at the end of the day, I can still work really, really hard and I can get new business and I can go in a new direction, or I can make things happen. I really like the fact that I have the ability to manage my own situation. And to me, that's what being a CEO is all about CEO in your own business is what it's all about.

And I like being able to have that autonomy and that freedom to be creative and to create new business and to create things that will happen and be responsible for myself.

Gresham Harkless 15:36

Yeah, I appreciate you sharing that definition. And of course, I appreciate your time even more. So what I wanted to do now was pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional that you can let our readers and listeners know. And of course, how best they can get a review and your team and all the other things that you're working on.

Jason Walker 15:51

You can find us on LinkedIn. You can look up Jason Walker on LinkedIn. You could reach us at thrivehrconsulting.com, or you can email me at Jason@thrivehrconsulting.com, and I'll get back to you right away. I'm always available for questions, or if you need to run something by me, or you want to talk through an idea.

I'm always available and ready to help.

Gresham Harkless 16:15

Absolutely. And of course, to make that even easier, we're gonna have the links and information that shown us as well, too, so that everybody can follow up with you so thank you so much, my friend. And I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

Jason Walker 16:25

Thanks Gresh thank you so much. Thanks everyone.

Outro 16:28

Thank you for listening to the, I Am CEO podcast powered by CB Nation and Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co. I Am CEO is not just a phrase. It's a community.

Don't forget to schedule your complimentary digital marketing consultation at blue16media.com This has been the I Am CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless, Jr. Thank you for listening.


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