HR is a Thing of the Past – People & Culture is the Future 

Out with the old, in with the new! We are excited because People and Culture finally revolves around both the team and the environment.  We aren’t kicking Human Resources to the curb here, we value it and everything that goes along with it.  HR is policies, procedures, paperwork – all extremely important.  What is the role of People and Culture all about?   

People & Culture vs Human Resources  

The development of People and Culture is a somewhat new idea.  The types of people tasked for the role are quite different!  People and culture is a more progressive approach to managing people.  In fact, it is people based, not policy based.  Culture has become increasingly important for job seekers as well.  

“Job seekers are most likely to choose one job over another because of the chosen employer’s culture, according to talent acquisition professionals surveyed by the Korn Ferry Institute.” – Ray Maurer, 

Once the employee has been on-boarded (by the fabulous Human Resource team) it is now time to improve their well-being, integrate them into the company and show their value.  This engagement improves productivity, creates a positive environment for the employee to thrive in and generates happiness! Lower turnover, happier employees and better work.   

Empowering your employees is the name of the game, which ultimately makes for a positive work environment that directly benefits the company.   

Who Are the People of P&C? 


According to Rocky Ozaki, Director of People and Culture at Rise, “They are passionate people who take a pragmatic approach to solving problems.”  

We sat down with VIPdesk Connect’s very own, Jen Vinciguerra, VP of People & Culture and asked her all about the evolution of her role.  

How long have you been in the world of People and Culture and what is the #1 thing you have learned? 

I didn’t come to “HR” though a traditional path.  I came from an operations background working in strategy and project management but found I was always drawn towards the projects that focused on helping team members, recruiting, training, and improving on-boarding.  I decided to get my master’s degree in Organization Development and move into HR full time. 

I always hated the term “Human Resources”.  People are people, not resources to be used. It gives me this terrible mental image of mining for human beings.  On top of hating the name it didn’t resonate with the work I was trying to do, at all.  I wanted to create a supportive environment for growth and development. 

Here at VIPdesk Connect, I started in my current role in 2014 and quickly we made the decision to change our department from Human Resources to People and Culture.  I wanted to focus more on creating an amazing environment for our team.  I wanted to make our team’s lives better!  We started by creating wellness programs, through flexibility in their schedules by allowing them to work remotely. 

“The number one thing I have learned is so simple, if you treat people like people, they will be happier.”  

Actually listen to your team, listen to what they want.  You can’t be everything for everyone, some people will just not be a good fit, but it’s important that you listen and understand what your team wants and needs.

How do you implement the “culture” aspect in People and Culture?  

Culture is the unseen way that things work in an organization, so you must be incredibly intentional about creating the culture you want. It’s critical to have support and buy-in from everyone, especially senior leadership. 

If you say you are a company that values health and wellness but then bring in doughnuts every morning there is obviously a disconnect. It’s fine to value doughnuts, who doesn’t love them but it’s not ok when your words don’t match your actions.  It kills the trust you have with your team.

Truly thinking about the culture you want, talking about it and making sure everyone is taking concrete steps to live it is key. 

What types of things do you do that help drive engagement at VIPdesk Connect?

The VIPdesk Connect team is in a bit of a unique situation because most of our team members work remotely.  Not being local is its own exciting challenge!  We always have meetings on video so even though we’re not together we get to see each other face to face. 

We try fun things like virtual happy hours, book clubs, company contests. We have a program called ‘Cheers for Peers’ where team members can nominate one another for exhibiting our company values.  We use Microsoft Teams and each department has their work-related chat rooms, but we also set up fun chat rooms where everyone can hang out virtually. 

We incorporate volunteer activities that people can participate in regardless of where they live as well.  In the past we have collected items for local food banks and send team care packages to communities devastated by natural disasters.  There is a lot you can do even if you have team members all over the country.

What do you see as the future of People and Culture?  

I think the field will continue to move towards a focus on culture.  There is sometimes a tension between the movement towards People and Culture and more traditional “human resources” which is much more compliance focused.

That will most likely resolve itself as more people realize it’s not either or, obviously compliance is critical, you need policies and an employee handbook, however, we can be so much more than the paperwork department.   This is being helped by the fact that there is so much technology that can help make the compliance piece easier, this frees the team up to focus on more strategic things.

We can have a meaningful impact on people’s lives by giving them a working environment where they can be themselves and thrive, who doesn’t want that?

Finding the right Culture 


Jen has a unique job in that she not only oversees people, she is also in charge of helping people to have fun while they work!  It’s pretty much the best job ever.    Creating a positive culture is key to helping people be happy at work.  It is crucial today in our society.  

So how do you find the right culture for your company?  You understand the PEOPLE.  It’s all related and intertwined to make one big happy family.  Is it: bright team colors, themed days, fun IM channels, off-site events, team building activities, coffee dates, colleague contests, what is it that makes your company culture unique?   

Understand and help your team grow together through positive activities and encouragement!  I believe it’s in the job description, right Jen? 😉 


VIPdesk Connect