Working Wardrobes’ Chief People Officer, Derek Benson, joined the organization back in 2020. For the last 3 years, he has worked on driving efficiency across the HR function, ensuring compliance in organizational hiring and employment practices, rebuilding a reputation as an “employer of choice” in the nonprofit sector, and enhancing the candidate and new hire experience. He embraces the energy of keeping it real, keeping it fun, and keeping the mission alive. 

On April 19, 2023, Working Wardrobes’ CEO, Bonni Pomush, and Chief People Officer, Derek Benson, attended ReInventHR, an event to discuss HR’s Key Role in dismantling barriers to innovation, inclusion, and productivity. They were invited to share the strategy behind Working Wardrobes’ success with their employees and how other companies could follow suit. 

Read below for more information on how CPO Derek Benson envisions HR at Working Wardrobes.  

What is your HR vision for Working Wardrobes? What impact do you hope to make on employees? 

“When I joined Working Wardrobes in July 2020, my goal was for Working Wardrobes to become an Orange County nonprofit employer of choice.  That meant improving the work culture internally and the employer brand externally.  Starting in 2020 and continuing in 2021 we revisited compensation, benefits, professional development, culture, and more.  We made subtle changes all around and in 2021 we were recognized as one of Orange County Business Journal’s Best Places to Work, and again in 2022.  We also worked on our external image and in 2022 we were able to increase our Glassdoor score from 2.5 to 4.3. 

Second was to modernize HR, find ways for technology to do many of the tasks we’ve historically done manually.  In 2021 and 2022, we implemented new technology to manage our employee and volunteer onboarding, training, and data retention.  

We are continually looking for new ways to engage our employees and volunteers and to automate/simplify our daily tasks.” 

What new technologies did you implement to modernize HR at Working Wardrobes? 

“In 2021 we leveraged our former payroll vendor, adding tools which allowed us to digitize our current employee files, post jobs, hire, onboard, and train new employees electronically, with everything backed up in the cloud.  

In 2022 we took it to another level when we purchased Rippling, a customizable, fully integrated HR, Payroll, & IT platform. Rippling is a highly automated cloud-based software that allows us to manage everything related to our workforce and positions us to scale easily.           

Also in 2022, we purchased and rolled out 1) Cause Connect by Galaxy Digital which helps us onboard, engage, and recognize our volunteers, 2) iAuditor by SafetyCulture to manage our safety inspections and protocols, and 3) Envoy Visitor to welcome and track visitors.  All are cloud-based systems.”