COEUR d’ALENE - Wanting a job where she can serve the community every day, Skye Reynolds became Kootenai County’s human resources director in September.
“Each day, I get the opportunity to serve the county employees and the public,” Reynolds said.
Her goal is to develop and implement efficient human resources programs that “enhance the employee experience while being mindful of cost,” she said.
“Last fall, I worked with the HR team to coordinate an employee benefits and wellness fair,” she said. “We had almost 300 attendees and it was time well spent.”
Vendors were available to educate employees on their benefits and offer wellness opportunities, she said.
“I think what I know is honestly what most citizens know about our county employees,” Reynolds said. “The county employees are extremely hard-working. Efficiency and customer service seem to be on everyone’s minds and it shows.”
County Commissioner Jai Nelson said Reynolds has spent several months getting up to speed on the nature and complexities of county government, including the role of human resources in relation to the various elected officials.
Nelson said the board has asked Reynolds to focus on two priorities.
“First, the Employee Opinion Survey conducted last summer and address the concerns and recommendations made by our employees,” Nelson said. “Secondly, her primary task has been to conduct a complete analysis of our compensation practices to ensure market competitiveness.”
Additionally, Reynolds is implementing enhancements of human-resources-related processes, reviewing compliance requirements and looking into the effects of the Affordable Care Act on the county.
“Skye has time building relationships in the county and is becoming a valuable team member,” Nelson said.
What’s a day on the job like?
For example, one day I might be delivering a leadership training (today) and the next I might be setting strategic wellness program goals (tomorrow). That’s just one example of variety from this week. I change gears many times during the day and I enjoy the challenge that variety brings. From working with an employee on an employee relations issue to providing advice to a leader on FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act), to talking with a candidate about employment at Kootenai County, I get the opportunity to impact the organization at multiple levels, and to work with members of the community (applicants).
Where have you worked in the past? Places you’ve lived? How long have you been in Kootenai County?
Working at US Airways was very exciting. I joined after the America West/US Airways merger. I traveled a lot on the job, working mainly in employee and labor relations, and later overseeing the employee travel benefits program. I worked there when Sully landed the plane on the Hudson River. My team helped to book non-revenue travel so that crew members’ families could get to New York quickly. I have a picture in my office of the plane sitting on the water. It’s signed by the crew of that flight.
YWCA Clark County is an absolutely amazing organization. As the HR manager there, I had the opportunity to do such a variety of things, including strategic planning, wellness (self-care) program development, and diversity and inclusion work.
I’ve lived in Kootenai County for going on two years now. My family has lived here for over 10 years. I’ve lived in Washington, Arizona, and Oregon, and am happy to be settling down in Idaho.
What sort of education and training have you acquired? From where?
I graduated from Western Washington University with a bachelor’s degree in business-human resources and a minor in Spanish, and later obtained an MBA from Arizona State University. I am a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) through the HR Certification Institute (HRCI).
What does the county’s human resources director do? What are your responsibilities?
As human resources director, I’m responsible for partnering with elected officials and department heads to deliver HR services including: Benefits and compensation administration; recruitment and on-boarding; employee relations; compliance; and training and development. I could not accomplish any of this though without the Kootenai County HR team: Dorothy Cross, Kim Buffin, and CK Kirkpatrick.
They are all very talented, experienced HR professionals.
If you had to take another career path, what would it have been? Why? How did you end up on your current path?
It’s hard for me to pick just one other career path. There are several careers that would interest me, including research psychology, international business, adult education, sociology, history and economics.
Have you watched the TV show “The Office,” and seen the human resources employee in the show, Toby?
I think the public perception of HR is evolving and increasingly positive. Many organizations have caught on to the fact that employee engagement enhances productivity.
I did used to watch The Office and found it very funny. My hope is that I don’t have a lot in common Toby.
What do you do when you’re not working?
I am a huge music fan. One may find me perusing the racks at the Long Ear or at a live music show in Spokane. I also love to hike, kayak, volunteer, read, and spend time with friends and family.
What are your goals? Where do you want to be in five or 10 years?
Professionally, my goal is to finish my career in public service and/or the nonprofit sector. Personally, I’d like to continue my world travels with my husband.
Where are some places in the world you would like to travel? What would you want to see there?
I would love to travel to Peru and Chile. It’s been a dream of mine to see Machu Picchu. Also, I am fascinated by Chilean history and economics.
My husband, parents, sister, grandparents and in-laws are very important to me. As is my cat, Cheeto.
Where did you grow up?
The Puget Sound area.
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Skye Reynolds: Enhancing the employee experience
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