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2009 Large Business HR Director Of The Year Honoree

Anna HaugenName: Anna Haugen
Title: Manager of Human Capital
Company: Direct Alliance Corporation

Years with city: 6
Years in current position: 4
Year incorporated: 1993
Employees in AZ: 650
Employees in HR dept.: 9
www.directalliance.com

At Tempe-based Direct Alliance Corporation, talent acquisition and retention are more than just important — they are a top priority.

Manager of Human Capital Anna Haugen and her staff are responsible for attracting new employees to Direct Alliance, and helping to craft a corporate culture in which staff members want to work. Under her leadership, Haugen’s team has filled more than 400 sales positions while holding attrition levels to half the industry norm. Direct Alliance is a provider of outsourced sales and marketing solutions for Fortune 500 companies.

Haugen relies on a variety of tools to recruit new employees — advertising, employee referrals, early-career college talent pools, internal and external networking, the Internet, and onsite and off-site job fairs. She also employs job-candidate assessment tools that evaluate skills critical to various roles within the company, as well as workplace behavior and motivation. Nearly three-quarters of job applicants pass the screening process, but only 18 percent are hired. Average employee tenure is three years, a direct result of hard work by Haugen and her team.

Leadership development is important to employee retention and it’s Haugen’s philosophy that this function should not stand alone. She integrates it into such talent-management practices as recruitment, selection, promotion and compensation. Working in concert with other departments, Haugen provides a variety of training and leadership-development programs that utilize real-time practices and real-life situations.

Numerous learning techniques are used to accommodate employees at all levels of the company and their learning styles, including classrooms, action-learning projects, rotational assignments and Web-based modules. Compensation is expanded beyond salary to include sales commissions, bonuses, retention bonuses, monetary and non-monetary sales contests, and incentive programs.
retention.

Employee relations also are important to Haugen. She believes strong employee relations can give staff members a feeling of ownership in the company. To Haugen, employee relations involve effective communication between managers and employees under fair and flexible rules that aim to get the job done efficiently and profitably. To that end, she helps develop programs that foster a productive and innovative culture, including a company Intranet to communicate information, e-mail, bulletin boards and posters, an open-door policy, resolution processes, and recognition programs.

Haugen supports diversity at Direct Alliance through strategies that include community relationships, diversity job fairs, an apprentice program with the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, and advertising with ethnic associations and clubs, colleges and universities, AARP, the Arizona Department of Economic Security and Arizona Workforce Connection.

At Direct Alliance, a balanced life is expected and supported. Haugen and employees from other departments work together to make the work-life balance easier through telecommuting, flexible work schedules, a wellness program, an employee assistance program and a concierge service that offers discounts at local businesses such as restaurants, dry cleaners and gymnasiums. There also is an employee activity committee that coordinates such employee events as holiday parties, company contests and a holiday shopping boutique. Haugen believes that a healthy work-life balance requires a daily effort to make time for family, friends, the community, personal growth and self-care. She tries to lead by example.