5 Questions for Harri's Quincy Valencia

  • HR Tech Profiles
  • By Chris Russell
  • Published on December 21, 2023

Employee Experience platform Harri which serves the hospitality industry has recently named Quincy Valencia as Senior Vice President, Innovation. 

Valencia is a veteran of the HR tech world. Before becoming an HCM analyst at Ventana Research, she spent four years at AMS, where she assumed the role of Vice President – Product Innovation. She also worked at Cielo Talent as Senior Director – Solution Design and ADP, starting as an Implementation Consultant before joining as Director, RPO Implementation. 

We caught up with Quincy over email to find out more about her new role at Harri.

Q. Why did you want to join Harri?

A. I've spent a good amount of my career invested in that frontline worker. How to find them, how to best serve them, and how to engage and retain them. The work they do impacts all of us in some way or another every single day. Our encounters with the people in these roles can be the deciding point of whether or not our day is good.

So if they get us through the checkout line at the grocery store faster, walk us directly to that one tiny screw at the hardware store that we never would have found otherwise, make our burger the way the picture looks on the sign, or welcome us to our stay at their hotel...if they're having a good day, then they make ours better, too, and vice versa.

And yet this segment of the workforce has historically been completely neglected in the HR tech space, as we all know. Harri is laser focused on this part of the workforce. If there is $1 to invest, that $1 will always be invested in something for them, and the businesses that employ them, specifically. It may be TA, or workforce management, or core HR, or engagement, or something else, but all of it goes toward the frontline worker.

The depth and breadth of products that Harri offers here is really unparalleled, and that was compelling to me. Combined with Harri's upward trajectory and where the company is in its business lifecycle (meaning, early enough to still have that start-up energy, but seasoned enough to have customers and experience under its belt), was just a perfect fit for me.

Q. How does the employee experience affect the recruiting/talent acquisition process?

A. Experience is everything when recruiting the frontline workforce. That's true for candidates as well as the managers who have to recruit them. As an applicant, it is imperative that you can apply for a job, know right away if you're qualified, and schedule an interview in a single session. If it's ugly or confusing, if you're made to wait for a response, if you're required to have an email....all of these are frustrating barriers to employment and you'll most likely abandon the application and go work somewhere else.

That is not an over-simplification. On the flip side...you're a manager of a fast food restaurant. You don't hang out in an office all day. If it feels like it takes an advanced degree, 50 steps, days of email(!!) tag, and if it can't be done on your phone or tablet, you are going to dread the recruiting process, and it will have a negative impact on your operations because it takes your time away from day-to-day operations.

Technology should support better business operations, as opposed to operations having to be adjusted because the tech someone bought and made you use is too rigid. And let's be honest....applying for a job sucks. For all of us. If you can go through the application, interview and hiring process and actually be a bit delighted...? Can you even imagine how that could impact your attitude and speed to productivity when joining a company? The right technology paired with the right business practices can deliver that.

Q. What is a ‘day in the life’ like for you as the SVP of Innovation?

A. Every day is a bit different. My mission here is to find new ways of applying existing and road mapped Harri tech to benefit those frontline workers and the companies that employ them, so first I have to become an expert on the entire Harri tech suite. I'm working on that every day. And then I'm spending time talking to existing and potential customers about their business challenges so that Harri is best positioned to address those with them.

The good news for the market at large is that more and more really good tech has been entering this space in recent years, but there are still challenges to be tackled that no one has quite figured out how to address just yet, and that's where my energy lives. Ideas can come from anywhere...customers, my colleagues serving those customers, prospects, candidates, the person taking my order at the drive-through....my days are spent listening, learning, and then donning my mad scientist lab coat to distill all of that information into nuggets of goodness that can be transformed into products and services that can produce better business outcomes in the hospitality space.

Notably, I'm also working to launch a pilot of a new concept in January that Harri is uniquely positioned to deliver on (and I know everyone says they're "uniquely positioned" and generally aren't, but in this case it's totally true), but that's all I can say about that right now. 

Q. Why is the HR tech industry so interesting to you?

A. It's all very cliché, really, but people make the world go 'round, and technology has the ability to make people's lives easier and better. HR tech, specifically, has so many variables and components to consider. The UX needs to be stellar, for all stakeholders. It has to comply with global, federal, state and local laws and regulations, but don't forget that those change every day, so it also has to be flexible. It has to easily gather data, but then that data has to be extractable and analyzed to provide insights into behaviors and likely outcomes based on behaviors of human beings, who are notoriously fickle.

At the end of the day, good HR tech can make the workplace a better place to be for humans, when properly implemented. It's a really simple concept, with wickedly complex components. It's fun.

Q. What advice do you have for anyone seeking work in the HR tech industry?

A. Immerse yourself in your business. Not just HR or TA (if that's separate), but in the business at large. People drive business outcomes, and understanding what those outcomes should be can help draw the line directly back to the HR-related solutions that can make the business better. At the same time, get educated on tech.

That doesn't mean go learn how to code, necessarily (I know I can't), but at least be able to speak the language and stay on top of emerging trends. And finally, seek out opportunities, internally and externally, that will bring you closer to the tech decision-makers. If you are a recruiter and your company is looking to find new recruiting software, volunteer to be part of the evaluation team.

Know who the players are for your industry, learn about them, and talk about them. Most of all, make it known that it's an area of interest for you and that you bring something to the table that adds value to the project.