For Jignasha Grooms, chief human resources officer for Austin-based tech firm Epicor Software Corporation, her passion is people and her purpose is service. These values were ingrained in her at an early age. Growing up in India, Grooms learned firsthand the importance of social responsibility and humanitarian work. She credits her family for inspiring her service-first worldview and for demonstrating the importance of leading by example.
Grooms notes that some of her fondest memories as a child center around volunteering with family members. Her grandparents would include her on weekly outreach efforts to fund schools in their community and put kids through schools who couldn’t afford to go otherwise. Similarly, Grooms’s great-aunt, one of the first female attorneys (and female drivers) in Gujarat, India, drove her to different parts of Vadodara to deliver food to impoverished areas of the city. “Volunteerism has been a large part of my family DNA my entire life,” Grooms says.
When deciding a career path, human rights seemed the natural choice for Grooms. She spent four years working in the legal industry after law school before taking her people-first mind-set to the corporate world. She entered human resources for several major tech companies—including Dell and Cisco—and hasn’t looked back. In her words, Grooms is “passionate about the human part of human resources.” That perspective is abundantly clear in the transformative employee culture she initiated at Epicor when she joined in 2016.
In her early days at Epicor, Grooms noticed a lack of cohesive culture at the company, which was formed through several mergers and acquisitions. To address this need, she focused on creating an authentic, inclusive people strategy that centered on the entire employee experience from start to finish. The goal: establishing “One Epicor.”
“I have the privilege of making sure that every employee feels respected and valued, and that we’re creating a level playing field for our 4,000 global employees,” Grooms says.
Her people-first strategy is largely shaped by one of the most important lessons she learned from her legal and global background: the gift of objectivity. Grooms emphasized the importance of not making assumptions and meeting situations for what they are. The first step was listening in order to better understand employees—to understand the concerns, daily challenges, and different cultures that shaped each person. In today’s growing global marketplace, this inclusive global perspective is paramount.
Grooms also prioritized a supportive and transparent work environment with leaders who continuously communicate the purpose of Epicor and how each employee plays a role in helping Epicor achieve its goals. This approach has produced significant results, including an increase of Glassdoor ratings, employee satisfaction scores, a higher customer retention rate, and a deeply engaged employee base.
“I set a high bar, and my team knows what it takes to reach it. They work hard, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun while we do it!”
With a thriving company culture, Epicor is also experiencing a high recruiting demand. But that demand comes with a large hurdle: handling the hundreds of résumés per job that flood into the company’s career site. “There’s no way we’ll ever be able to build an HR team big enough to go through those résumés,” Grooms notes. To meet that need, she introduced tools and technology to help HR source for roles, including artificial intelligence platforms to find the best candidates among those scores of résumés.
In alignment with a people-first strategy, the recruiting team leverages AI, which informs them of the candidate experience and tracks performance metrics to see what works for an Epicor employee. These tools help Grooms and the rest of her HR team hire best-in-class talent (with best-in-class skill sets) who are a strong fit for the corporate culture.
As for Grooms’s own work with her team, her leadership style is very much aligned with her personal values of honesty, integrity, and transparency—and leading by example, just as her family taught her. She sets a high standard of conduct and performance for herself, which translates to her team members. “I set a high bar, and my team knows what it takes to reach it. They work hard, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun while we do it,” Grooms says.
For example, Grooms harkens back to those fond childhood memories. Every quarter, she brings her team together to volunteer for different causes on behalf of the community. This could be doing hospice care in Bangalore or working at the Central Texas Food Bank in Austin. “It’s a great time to give back to others, remember what’s important, and share meaningful time with your work family.”
Bottom line, Grooms says, “When people are at the center of your business value proposition and you’re focused on helping them succeed personally and professionally, your company will also succeed.”