Young Alumni: Heather Crothers
Heather Crothers ’09 is Vice President and Human Resources Innovation Manager at South State Bank and holds SHRM-SCP, senior certified professional status. She and her husband, fellow 2009 CSU alum Scott Crothers, have two children, a 3-year-old son and an 18-month-old daughter. Scott is an athletic trainer with the Clemson University football team and is a CSU Alumni Association board member.
Human Resources Innovation
HR Innovation is a unique area of Human Resources focused on developing creative solutions to ensure HR is operating as effectively and efficiently as possible. We accomplish this through HR technology, project management, process improvement, and HR communications. Currently, my team is comprised of two HR Technology Analysts and an HR Project Manager.
In the role of HR Innovation Manager, I have the opportunity to constantly ask the question “How can we do this better?” I then coordinate a team to creatively solution the issue and lead the implementation of the project plan. These solutions are fueled with the purpose of improving our applicant and employee experience at South State. It’s challenging and fulfilling work.
“Don’t forget your why.” It seems so simple and yet is somehow so easy to forget in the midst of the bustle of daily life. Remembering your why challenges you to take a step back and consider how each of your demands and focuses align with God’s will in your life. This ultimately has the power to change your attitude towards your daily responsibilities and will drive and inspire you to keep moving forward on the good days and bad.
You Never Stop Learning
As quickly as industries are evolving today, taking ownership of expanding your professional knowledge is critical to a successful career. I originally joined the bank as an Intern recruited by Jerry Gazes, an adjunct professor in the CSU School of Business. When my internship ended, the bank created a new role for me in the Human Resources department. One of my first projects was to help the bank find and implement a new HR Information System. HRIS systems are used to recruit new employees, process payroll, facilitate benefits enrollment and performance reviews, etc. At that time, HR Technology was still a somewhat new concept to the industry. Needless to say, the project required me to complete extensive research and self-initiated learning. It has been a nonstop, self-learning journey ever since as we continue to expand the HR Innovation area.
Keeping Your Team Focused During a Pandemic
Maintaining connectedness and placing additional focus on clear and frequent communication has been key. My team and I meet as a group and within one-on-one meetings several times a week. In these meetings we not only discuss key initiatives and status updates but also connect on how everyone is doing personally.
As a manager during this time, it is important to remain compassionate and flexible to the needs of your team members. Making a cognizant effort to work with your employees to afford work flexibility and support during these unprecedented times is incredibly important. It is my experience that when you go the extra mile to display genuine care for your team members, it creates a level of trust, engagement and loyalty that results in a healthy, productive team.
Positioning for the Future
Interestingly, our company, South State Bank, announced a merger with CenterState Bank just weeks before the COVID outbreak. This merger is the largest in our history, doubling our employee population to 5,400 employees. In order for the HR Innovation team to be prepared for this extremely rapid growth, we must be in a constant state of evolution through continuously expanding our knowledge and skill sets.
My team is passionate about continuous learning through the means of training/certifications, maintaining awareness of external developments in our field and the industry, asking questions and sharing creative solutions, and working closely with individuals who are willing to share their knowledge and wisdom. This helps to ensure that my team is not only aware of future trends but also that they possess the skills needed to support a growing company.
Advice for Your Younger Self
Like many, I face a daily struggle to balance work and family. With this in mind, my advice would be to give yourself grace, live a life with limited regrets, and step back and let God take control. We live in a society where we receive heavy demands from every direction. We are then challenged with prioritizing and responding to these demands. Pressure to be the perfect employee, spouse, friend, parent…I would encourage myself to take time to frequently evaluate the demands of others and those you place on yourself. To consider these demands prayerfully, and understand that there may be days when you may botch a presentation at work or that you’ve had to feed your children pizza three nights in a row, and that’s ok. You don’t have to be perfect! The important thing is that you continue to place your primary focus on fulfilling the demands that best align with God’s purpose in your life.
First published in CSU Magazine, Fall 2020.