Faces of HR

How One HR Pro is Moving the Needle Forward by Helping People Get to Where They Want to Be

Claudia Ivanova has been involved in the field of human resources (HR) for nearly five years. For our latest Faces of HR profile, we sat down with Claudia to discuss how she got her start in the industry, her biggest influence, as well as her thoughts on trends and best practices for the HR industry, including how company leaders can make HR a value within their organization. According to Ivanova, it all starts with making people feel safe and comfortable.  

claudia ivanova fispan
Claudia Ivanova

I enjoy helping people, making them feel safe and comfortable in their teams, in their jobs, and in the workplace overall,” she recently told HR Daily Advisor. “It’s not easy to work with more than 100 employees because everyone’s needs are different, and that’s where I utilize my critical-thinking skills and good judgment. Something that might make one person feel safe may have an opposite reaction for another.

“That challenge drives me and keeps me on my toes when it comes to helping employees at FISPAN,” she added. “On top of that, it never gets old receiving feedback from your team thanking you for helping them and putting in the time and effort to make them feel better. Those messages and the recognition are always so special to me, and I can’t imagine my days without them.”

Today, Claudia is the Head of Human Resources at FISPAN, the market leader in ERP-banking. She not only oversees hiring and employee relations, but also cultivates growth and transparency in the workplace and plays a key role in developing the company’s organizational culture of celebrating the diversity of people, perspectives, and experiences that drive innovation and elevated thinking.

In our latest Faces of HR profile, meet Claudia Ivanova.

How did you get your start in the field? 

Business was always a default field for me because I was not good at science nor math, and I liked the idea of working in an office environment. Human resources sparked my interest because I always enjoyed being near people and working with them. I consider myself a people person. I was intrigued by solving problems that affected people’s lives and how they worked. I specifically like that humans are constantly changing and as we’ve seen in the past two years, we are repeatedly asked and expected to adapt. I enjoyed helping people get to where they want to be and implementing new initiatives to help them get there. I am fortunate because the position I hold at FISPAN allows me to directly impact the people and team I am surrounded by.

Who is/was your biggest influence in the industry? 

I am lucky to be surrounded by extremely intelligent people. Right from FISPAN’s launch, I connected with professionals who are some of the best in their fields. Often, I have entered a meeting room with them, all the while keeping my mind open to the opportunity to learn a great deal from their experiences and expertise. Listening to these mentors, observing them, and understanding the rationales behind their thought processes have been quite rewarding and valuable to my growth. I’ve also expanded my network, leading to some of the biggest impacts on my personal and professional development. There isn’t just one person that I would pinpoint as my biggest influence, but rather the community of best-in-class industry and HR professionals I have been nurtured by.

What’s your favorite part about working in the industry? What’s your least favorite part, and how would you change it? 

I love how fast paced our industry is. I love the challenges and sudden changes. I am never bored with what I do, and I know there is always something new to both learn and improve upon. On the other hand, constant changes and the fast-paced environment may lead to errors or an incorrect course of action.

How can company leaders make HR a value within their organization? 

For FISPAN, Lisa Shields, then CEO, understood how foundational and strong HR best practices from the company’s inception can bring success in the long run. From day one, Shields made sure FISPAN had an Employee Handbook and proper HR protocols in place. She carried the experience from her previous work and understood the importance of having a dedicated HR department in place, and so far, this has added value to the company over the years.

I believe that leaders can make HR a valuable asset instead of a cost by understanding that people make up the “product” of the organization. A company is nothing without its employees. These people are the primary source of ideas, innovation, and success. Bottom line – investing in HR means investing in your people.

Where do you see the industry heading in five years? Or are you seeing any current trends? 

Circumstances change rapidly in the tech industry. I think the aftermath of the pandemic will undoubtedly leave a significant impact on the industry and most companies in general. I believe there will be a greater need to support different working arrangements, whether it is a balance between in-office work and working from home or giving employees the opportunity to work remotely from different locations. After losing almost two years of international travel opportunities, I believe that there is a strong desire that employees have to explore different countries and communities while working remotely. If employers can support that desire and encourage exploration within their teams and organizations, it will prove beneficial for everyone.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of all that I have learned and how much I have grown since I first began my career in HR. Additionally, an accomplishment I am most proud of includes FISPAN’s onboarding program. My team and I have created a professional, valuable, and easy-to-use onboarding process for all new hires. We constantly receive feedback from employees about how beneficial and streamlined onboarding is, compared to other companies they have worked for in the past.

Another project I am very proud of is our co-op program. The program has grown enormously from being the first co-op to hiring between 15 and 20 students per term. I am always happy to speak to companies about the success and advantages of hiring interns. The process brings value to both the students and the organization.

Do you have any advice for people entering the profession?

What has worked for me has been to say yes more than no. I encourage those entering the field and profession to be open to new possibilities, projects, initiatives, and opportunities. You will find more with your eyes open than with your eyes closed. Say yes to different opportunities, and don’t judge something before you’ve tried it. It’s like wedding dress shopping, you don’t know what you like until you try it on.