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Holly Brandt, Director of HR, featured in Cannata Report

The February 2018 issue No. 377 of the Cannata Report featured a series on From the Streets to the Executive Suite.   Here is Holly’s excerpt from the article.  If you would like to read the entire article go to

Holly Brandt at DBB

HOLLY BRANDT, The Office Manager and Director of HR

Prior to working at Doing Better Business (DBB), Holly was with Van Dyk Business Systems in a human resources role. She started at DBB as an office manager and grew into the HR role as the company expanded, becoming director of HR three years ago. She now handles the HR needs of over 100 employees. Human resources used to be done by all the office managers, so there wasn’t a single point of contact. That changed when I came onboard. I created the role, and it’s been growing since I took over.

First thing I do is I pull up everything I need on my computer, email, e-automate, which is the program we use to process all our service calls. That’s the heart of everything, where our customer information is located. I pull up any spreadsheets that I have been working on, but mainly, what I do next is I go through all my emails. That takes a while. I would say I have 30, and that’s being light.

I check email on the weekends, I do. I’m just so obsessed with it. I don’t want it to pile up because it can get pretty large. When the phones start ringing, I help answer the phones as well—not as much as the other people, but I do help out. Issues come up first thing in the morning from customers looking for product, answering questions about, say, invoicing— that’s my office manager side.

There is a push toward paperless workflows, but I come from the old school, and for me personally, I want to see that piece of paper in front of me. If you were here and saw my desk, you would understand what I’m talking about. I have to have that piece of paper. It’s funny because a few years ago, we changed to an electronic personnel file database—a program called Content Central. All of our personnel files went into this database, and they only wanted me to go through it, and I couldn’t do it. I had to have that backup. I like to write things by hand.

I’m the office manager for the Pittsburgh office and the Greensburg office. We have another office manager in Altoona, and another office manager in Hagerstown. We are constantly on the phone with each other all day long. I’ve known them since I came onboard in 2013, and from day one, it was an instant friendship. It wasn’t awkward or anything.

I think the whole company is very close knit. Recently, I started a new challenge, a “Biggest Loser” challenge. We’ll do a weigh-in on February 9, and the prize is something called YouEarnedIt points. It’s basically internal social media. Employees can recognize each other for helping out. I recognized the office manager in Hagerstown today because she helped me out with this report that I do once a year. It’s very tedious, very complicated, and she helped me out. I posted on YouEarnedIt saying, “Thank you so much for helping me on this report. It was more bearable with your help.” And I gave her 200 points. It’s very positive and everyone loves it. They love it! It’s so much fun. A lot of people cash them in for gift cards. When you cash them in, it pops up, so people know what people are getting. It’s very motivating.

My approach is always to stay positive. Sometimes I have to discipline [another employee], but I try not to do it in a harsh way because I think you get more of a response from people if you’re not nasty. Say, for example, if I have to give a warning or something like that, I spell out exactly what is expected, but at the end or at the bottom, I try to make a statement that’s positive to bring it back full circle. KG


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