A dynamic and empowering consultative leader, and a futurist skilled at helping organizations to meet their strategic objectives, Nicole Martin is an internationally renowned speaker and an author. Nicole is Chief Empowerment Officer and Founder of HRBoost®, LLC a Shared Services Consulting firm based in the north suburbs of Chicago.
As a highly regarded and sought-after expert, her knowledge and advice have been featured in newspapers and magazines throughout the country. Recent publications in which she has been seen include Forbes.com, the Daily Herald Business Ledger, and Fast Company. She is the author of the books The Talent Emergency, The Human Side of Profitability, No Fear Negotiation for Women (August 2019), and The Power of Joy and Purpose. She is also the author of the chapter “Emotionally Speaking” in the book titled Leading from the Heart. In addition, Nicole is the host of the internet show, HR in the Fast Lane.
In recognition of her complete commitment to professional excellence as well as her community, Nicole has been honored by multiple organizations, most recently as a 2016 Enterprising Women of the Year Champion by Enterprising Women Magazine, a 2017 Excellence in Business Award winner, and a Mirror Review enlistee of 20 Impeccable Women in Business recognition in 2017.
The Journey of Becoming a Renowned Leader
Nicole was also lucky to have a great mentor early in life: her mom. “My mother is highly spiritual, and she raised me with the philosophy of being happy,” said Nicole. “She always believed that you are a special person—she ingrained that in me—and you are capable of anything.” At the age of 18, Nicole was ready to start proving her mom right. She left Montana and moved in with her godmother in Libertyville, Illinois. Right out of high school, Nicole got a job as a receptionist at a pre-Y2K firm where she found her passion quite by accident. “They were hiring all these computer experts from overseas, but when they arrived, the company just put them in the reception area because they didn’t know what to do with them,” recalled Nicole. “It was just inhumane.”
In 2010, Nicole left her corporate career to establish HRBoost®, LLC. Her initial vision was to find leaders who wanted to be the next Best & Brightest® employer while providing support to growing businesses facing a myriad of workforce challenges. By 2012, she realized she needed a team. With 50% growth year over year, it became clear that HR outsourcing was not HR as she knew it and HRBoost® had found a niche. She asserts, “By 2013, my company had a solid team and when I looked across a table to see all those that worked for me, I became the Chief Empowerment Officer.”
The Challenges before Success
According to Nicole, it is very common to face a lot of challenges, criticism, hurdles, and failure in any business. However, every business organization should be very careful to listen to its clients, their experience, and ways they can better serve them. As a CEO, one needs human and financial capital to scale and grow the business. She describes that HRBoost®’s biggest challenge has been access to capital, both financial and human. She says, “You must trust the people you hire and the process to work together to create a strong bench of talent. The flexibility and custom approach to how we work with clients has fueled our growth and success. “
In the early years, Nicole was reacting to her business, and balancing work and family life may have been difficult as a mother and wife. When she set down a process, hired qualified personnel, and then withdrew to let them work, the method proved to be successful; and now the team can repeat the process again, and again, and again. She opines, “When it is time to take a calculated risk, you invest and do what you can to increase the odds.”
HRBoost® specialises in delivering value to small and midsized businesses, who, unlike their larger counterparts, typically lack the time and resources to develop infrastructure and procedures that go beyond essential business goals. In today’s environment, every firm must have a competitive advantage. Small and big businesses alike must attract, develop, and keep the finest employees while adhering to the ever-changing maze of state and federal laws. Compensation, benefits, training, employee retention, talent recruitment, and generational adaptability are all challenges that must be addressed by all businesses.
HRBoost® has developed a reputation for working with company leaders to achieve corporate objectives while preserving integrity and delivering exceptional outcomes. Professional services, non-profit organisations, high-tech, manufacturing, staffing firms, hospitality, and healthcare are just a few of the industries it supports. Nicole says, “Our clients are typically high-growth businesses with 50-250 employees. Our model is to meet the clients wherever they are, thus we provide full-service embedded HR support, project to project support, culture design and management training, employee programs and assessments, virtual support, and phone support. ”
Nicole feels honored to lead a high performance team of HR leaders who partner with business clients to meet them wherever they are on their journey, to being the best place to work. The company has experienced tremendous growth and, proudly, nearly every client has been sourced through word of mouth. Nicole says, “Our appeal and success is due to our personal dedication to each and every client.”
Bringing JOY, PURPOSE and PEOPLE together
In today’s competitive world, only a few companies offer the best Human Resources Management System available, and HRBoost® LLC is one of them. At HRBoost®, the management focused on bringing JOY and PURPOSE to PEOPLE through their work. It is similar to how it serves its clients and the people that choose to join up with their visions. The management states, “We live it at HRBoost® and believe everyone deserves the same opportunity.”
Living a Balanced Life
Nicole feels it is imperative to get hands on experience doing what one seeks to learn. She says, “Make sure it brings you joy before investing time, energy, and dedicating your life to it. Enjoy the journey and be prepared to learn, unlearn, and relearn. Surround yourself with people who inspire and support you, but also don’t patronize you. Remember, even if it gets harder, or takes longer, stay diligent. Anything you love will be worth it. “
Nicole prioritized her family throughout her life. She also understands what she needs in order to feel well and perform at her best. She doesn’t work on weekends. She says, “I am never gone from the dinner table with my family for more than 2 nights a week. I live in the present moment and commit it with intention daily. It’s an intentional practice. I work out regularly and love to fish, go boating, hiking, and explore with my family. I enjoy nature and try to simply be with it whenever possible. I also believe in peer groups. I have a CEO peer group that keeps me laser focused and inspired. I have a women’s CEO group that keeps me feeling synergy and sisterhood. I also love my husband dearly and work date nights as often as we can swing it. As my mother taught me long ago, work hard, play hard. ”
HRBoost® recently engaged a partner to be the HR Expert on Demand and this truly takes the bench strength to small businesses across the country via phone. While they prefer in person, like everyone these days, the company has gone digital. Nicole opines, “Thus, our borders are expanding too. I hire from other states and our clients in Chicago have taken us with them to other states.“