“I don’t know much about HR, but if you’re willing to teach me, I’m willing to learn!”
The famous first words of then “up and coming” retail leader turned HR business partner and Kohler leading lady Hayley Pace.
From her early days in retail management to her “uncommon” pivot to human resources, Hayley’s willingness to learn and grow has established her as a key and strategic leader within the world of HR at Kohler Co. today.
How’d she do it? Hayley’s openness and desire for personal growth set her on a path to develop her expertise the day she began her journey in HR – from talent acquisition, to process improvement, and organizational design. She quickly made an impact in HR roles of increasing responsibility, never saying no to new opportunities to grow in her skillset and develop as an expert in her field. When she made the leap to her current director-level position, she stepped into, what she calls, “the largest and most complex role I have held but also one of the most rewarding. Working with Kohler has helped broaden my perspective not only as an HR leader but, more importantly, as a business leader.”
Hayley says her career at Kohler also given her the opportunity to learn about parts of the business she didn’t fully understand before, like the manufacturing teams and plant operations. “I have a whole new appreciation for how hard these teams work to delight our customers every single day,” she notes. “I’ve really had to push myself to learn about the business quickly, ruthlessly prioritize my time, and quickly pivot when something urgent comes up, which is often!”
When Kohler Co. embarked upon one of the largest operating model resets in its history in 2020 transforming the organization into a more customer-focused company – Hayley played a key leadership role and was also heavily involved in the change management, communications, and organizational design aspects of the project. “At times the project was extremely challenging, and I constantly felt stretched to my limits,” she admits. “But I walked away with a once-in-a-career experience, some incredible learnings, and lifelong relationships.”
What keeps Hayley at Kohler? She says the talent, opportunity for career advancement, and growth mindset really set Kohler Co. apart from other places she has worked. “I love the appetite this company has for change. The evolution I have seen in the culture, processes, and mindset in my short tenure is pretty astounding.”
“No matter the business, function or geographical location, I am constantly surrounded by intelligent, dedicated people,” she adds. “They inspire me every day to push myself harder.”