I’m a New Mom and HR Leader: Here’s How My Company Supports Me and Recognizes Achievements

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Laura Jones. Photo courtesy of General Motors.

Laura Jones. Photo courtesy of General Motors.

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“Be kind to yourself, don’t expect perfection — try, learn, and pivot.” 

That’s Laura Jones’ top piece of advice for new moms who are balancing working and parenthood. Jones is the Executive Director of Global Talent and Corporate Staffs HR at General Motors (GM). In short, she works to “help create the environment that supports GM’s biggest asset — our people,” Jones explains. 

As a new mom herself, Jones has firsthand knowledge on what it’s like to be a working parent in the modern workforce — in fact, she just returned from a 20-week maternity leave! At GM, they offer extensive support for new parents, including paid family leave, short-term disability, and up to 20 uses of subsidized back-up care per year.

And, Jones tells us that GM’s great policies are amplified thanks to the supportive company culture and teams. “GM and my team made me feel like I could truly focus on this new chapter in my life instead of work, and that was the biggest feeling of support I could have asked for,” emphasizes Jones.

This support continued after she returned to the workplace, with her manager frequently checking in to see how she was doing with her transition. “This type of support made all the difference,” shares Jones.

This level of support is no surprise — since Jones has noted that she has felt empowered by GM throughout her time at the company. “GM has been a part of the various chapters of my life for the past sixteen years, including the birth of my child,” Jones tells us. “And, throughout these chapters, I have truly felt like I can be my whole self at work.” In this way, she’s been able to grow and thrive as an employee in an empathetic and flexible environment.

Here, Jones took the time to tell us more about how GM supports working mothers, how to grow a career in HR, the importance of recognition, and more!

To start, can we talk a little about HR? What tips do you have for women who are considering a career change and want to break into HR? What skills and traits are helpful to have? 

Start by developing and knowing what your career story is thus far. When you’re crafting this story, focus on experiences, not titles — and especially focus on experiences that can translate and transfer to other parts of the business. HR is an entire business unit, it’s less about one particular skill or trait and more about aligning your unique experiences to vast roles and business needs. Make sure that you know and understand the competencies your organization sees as the most important for each role. 

As part of your HR role, you're also involved in the GM Recognition program, which celebrated its five-year anniversary on August 24. Congratulations! Could you tell us what this program involves and what its goals are?

Our GM Recognition system is a global program that connects employees all around the world. Using GM Recognition, employees can recognize others and be recognized for living our GM behaviors. Leaders are also given points to award each month and, most importantly, continue to use this platform as an opportunity to give feedback and engage with their teams and others. 

How has this program positively impacted the GM culture? And how has it impacted you personally?

The program serves as a connection point and opportunity for team members to showcase and witness what great work and behaviors look like. That positive momentum is an undeniable component of our culture and helps us all set the bar for ourselves

Personally, throughout my career, receiving recognition has always been motivating for me. Now, as a leader, I love having the opportunity to pay that forward and recognize my team and reward them for a job well done. I also enjoy seeing how others within the function are being recognized for their contributions and behaviors and being able to engage with their recognition moments by commenting and linking. 

As you can see, GM is a great place to work. If you’re looking for a supportive environment that will recognize your achievements, it’s an ideal fit for you. Want to learn more about the company and browse open jobs? Click the link below!

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