7 Questions with… Patty Hobel, Global Vice President, People

Q. Welcome to GALE! Can you tell us more about your role as Global Vice President, People?  

I’m here to continue to build a best-in-class People & Culture team that is aligned with GALE’s core values and goals. Given our employees are critical to the success of our business, we want to improve the Employee Experience, collaboratively drive our People Strategy, and play a part in creating a positive and inspiring global team culture while working with a variety of global leaders within the organization. Our goal is to build a People framework that helps cultivate our workplaces and build employee engaged cultures which are diverse in representation.

Q. Having spent the majority of your career working at media companies, what do you feel is a skill that is often overlooked?  

Empathy. It has always been a critical skill for managers, but it is taking on a new level of meaning and priority. Far from a soft approach, it can drive significant business results. We always knew demonstrating empathy is positive for people, but its importance stretches from innovation to retention. In today’s climate, empathy is more important than ever. We want to create a workplace where our employees can understand and learn from one another’s experiences in a way that propels our agency forward.

Q. With a career spanning over two decades in HR what would you say is the most important quality you look for in a potential candidate?   

I have two important qualities I look for in an HR candidate, one being passion and the other emotional intelligence. Passion isn’t something that can be taught. It drives us forward and opens us up for new possibilities. I love seeing someone’s passion; it is infectious. I want to work with passionate people. The other – emotional intelligence,  how we respond and interact with others can make a huge difference in someone’s life – both personal and professional. Creating a culture where emotional intelligence is valued can contribute to why people choose GALE initially, but more importantly, the reason why they stay.  As an HR professional, we work with many different types of people, and as our company continues to evolve and expand, so do our agency roles and needs. With agency growth, we need to continue to remember that our people are the core of our business and by considering passion and emotional intelligence, we can move our agency forward in a way that maintains our core values. 

Q. How did the COVID-19 pandemic affect hiring practices and decision making?  

The pandemic accelerated everything from virtual interviews to remote work. Hiring decisions were also streamlined to allow more flexibility for people to work wherever they chose. We value work that gets done remotely and the flexibility this brings our employees. We also understand that there is a difference between having a conversation with a coworker over Zoom, to working side-by-side to develop a deep relationship of mentorship and growth. The pandemic impacted people’s physical and mental health where some individuals struggled with social isolation. With this in mind, we evolved our agency requirements to a hybrid model that we feel best fits the needs of our people and clients.

Q. What advice would you give to someone looking to get into marketing or advertising?

Marketing and advertising are exciting industries and professions to be involved with; they allow for creativity, analytics, and psychology. Even within these industries, there are a growing number of disciplines depending on your interest and skill set. If you are a professional preparing to graduate, internships are invaluable. You will have a chance to see all the different types of roles and learn what taps into your potential. If you are a working professional, analyze your skills and determine what your passion is. Chances are there is a role that can leverage both. And of course, use your network, take online courses, perhaps do volunteer marketing work for your favorite nonprofit to increase your exposure. 

I also recommend finding ways to show us what you bring to the table as a human being. We are interested in how you evoke our core values such as: Master of our Craft, No Silos, Friends Collaborating, Passion is not Optional, Build a Legacy and Everyone Matters.

Q. What do you think sets GALE apart from other companies?

I know you may hear this from many other HR leaders, but I truly believe it is our people. We not only have the best talent, but people who support our core values. Everyone at GALE is incredibly talented, bright and determined, but what makes them shine is their ability to bring their skill sets to the table for others to learn and grow from. By combining our core values of Masters of our Craft with No Silos, GALE creates opportunities for dialogue that further strengthen our people and our culture.

Q. There’s a lot of buzz around “quiet quitting.” What’s your view?

Quiet quitting has different connotations for people. Some people believe it is an individual being lazy, trying to skate by doing the bare minimum while they get a paycheck and look for something else. Others look at it as employees seeking boundaries and greater work/life balance in response to feeling burnt out. I look at the term “quiet quitting” as the latter of the two options. Employees seeking a work/life balance is an age-old challenge that we largely haven't solved yet as a society. It shouldn't be seen as only a negative. Instead, it reflects an employee's ambition to take control of their employment and set boundaries around what works for them.

Knowing and finding your personal boundaries is super important, not only for your well-being, growth, and happiness but also for the company where you work. People who are passionate, and in a positive frame of mind perform better. At GALE, we had values before we had a website. They’re not just words on a page. Culture is a huge priority for us. It’s something we guard carefully. With that, we support all our employees when it comes to making space for mental health and achieving work/life balance. But the truth is that the responsibility also falls on the individual. If a company is not right for you, you have the power to do something about it. I respect the focus and emphasis on re-evaluating work and the rejection of hustle and burnout culture. But please, don’t quit quietly. Turn up the volume. Do it loudly and proudly. There’s enough opportunity to find what’s right for you.