Being a chief diversity officer would be Brian Steen's career choice if he couldn't work in the human resources field. "I believe that when organizations are able to realize the value in what each person brings to the table they are able to leverage great business solutions and problem solving through their workforce."
I think the question becomes, why not UNLV? This university is already well established, and doesn't appear to be slowing down growth anytime soon. Working here during this time allows employees a chance to be part of something major! With all the growth, Top Tier initiatives, Maryland Parkway revitalization, and land acquisition on Tropicana, it feels like you are part of something that will be bigger than what we are all imagining at this point.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up here in Las Vegas. Although not born in Las Vegas, I moved here in kindergarten, and finished high school here, graduating from Cheyenne.
What is your title and what do you do?
My official title is senior human resources generalist. As many on the campus know, NSHE is bringing on Workday, a comprehensive human capital information system. As our team dedicates time to this project, it is expected that my role support any gaps in the office and aide in any functional area that requires an extra pair of hands. Not only is it exciting because my day-to-day can be so different, but it serves as a great way to understand our processes and functions from several vantage points. My job is exciting in that my duties are often times a result of what is currently taking place around the campus and our office. Most days I get deeply involved in our compensation studies and also see efforts toward compliance review, policy development, and some training. Other days I am working toward building out performance-related metrics, survey workflows, or helping to address data clean up and consistency checks for Workday.
What’s the biggest challenge in your field?
The biggest challenge facing public sector human resources is being able to proactively develop strategies that engage our largest asset, the employee. Having worked in the hospitality industry, I have seen first-hand how these companies work to engage their workforce, as it drives customer satisfaction. HR professionals in the public sector, higher education specifically, are faced with coming up with creative engagement techniques that don't involve direct monetary compensation. This obstacle is not limited to HR but spans across the entire institution. From the top down and bottom up we have to realize tangible ways to drive employee engagement up — consistently.
Proudest moment in your life?
The proudest moment in my life has to be the birth of my girls. I could have never imagined 10 years ago that I would be spending my hours after work having tea parties, practicing ballet pointes (which I am horrible at), and painting toenails, but these girls require it! I can't recall any greater joy than the day each of my two girls were born. The pride I have in being their father is unmatched by any other life experience or accomplishment. I am most proud after a long day at work when my girls cuddle on my lap and want nothing more that to be with me! And for the record, although my ballet skills are questionable, I believe that I am their favorite tea party guest and make superior imaginary pastries.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
People are often surprised to learn about my insane sock and tie collection. I have over 100 neckties and bow ties and an equal amount of dress socks.
Tell us about an object in your office that has significance for you.
On a bookshelf in my office is a golden microphone. During my time in hospitality and gaming I worked in a training capacity and served as a service leader. At one particular property I had the awesome assignment of emceeing our customer service rallies (these insanely fun gatherings of employees on Friday afternoons designed to get them pumped for the weekend). When I left that property I was given a golden microphone as a farewell gift, and it is an awesome reminder of the fun I had and my obligation as an HR professional to seek out ways to make the workplace exciting.
Who was your favorite professor or teacher and why?
My favorite teacher was my 12th grade government teacher. Mr. Armstrong was approachable, caring, stern, and motivating ALWAYS. He forced me to push hard in everything that I did, and was never hesitant to remind me of how important it was for me to succeed. He not only required excellence in the classroom, but also required that his students carry themselves with class, integrity, and respect outside of his classroom. When I got in trouble in school, I was more worried about Mr. Armstrong finding out than my own mother. He was an amazing educator, and one of the many people that forced me to think of life differently.
Who is your hero?
As cheesy as it sounds, my wife is my hero. We have been married for 10 years, and she has been my biggest cheerleader through everything. Watching her interact with our children, take care of our home, complete courses toward her degree, and tolerate me reminds me every day that with the right amount of patience, passion, and strategy, there is no obstacle too big.
Pastime or hobbies
My hobbies include working with the youth at my church, watching football (Go Cowboys!), hanging out with my ladies (wife and daughters), and most recently, graduate school.There is little time left for extra-curricular activities as of late due to graduate school, but it will all be worth it.