Beth Giglio is a master of languages. Not the ones that might come to mind first, like Spanish or French—she’s fluent in the language of business across a wide range of industries. “I’ve worked in pretty much every major industry as well several functions,” she notes. From operations and R&D to sales and marketing, she has learned to speak the “native tongue.” This understanding enables her to translate business strategy into HR strategy in a different way from most HR professionals.
Giglio is the chief human resources officer for the Gorilla Glue Company. Although her undergraduate degree was in HR, she spent the first half of her thirty-year career in non-HR positions. After college she worked for Deloitte Consulting as a management consultant and while there, she says, “I learned that to execute any kind of change you have to bring people along and speak their language.”
Realizing that her goal was to solve people issues through a business lens, Giglio earned an MBA to learn the language of her business partners. “If I frame what needs to be done in HR from a P&L perspective—i.e., will it help increase revenue, reduce cycle time for new product launches, or improve margins—it helps me justify investments in a new system, training, or diversity and inclusion work,” she explains.
In her ten years with Deloitte, she learned that to implement successful transformations, change management is required. People must be ready, willing, and able to learn and sustain change. Learning the change dialect helps her in all her work as an HR leader today.
Giglio eventually moved to Johnson & Johnson, where she spent nearly six years in operations, R&D, and commercial roles before transitioning to HR. In her roles at J&J, she was able to influence business leaders by engaging them in the change process and by speaking their language. “It was easier to talk to engineers if I knew six sigma, and sales if I knew the sales process, so that’s what I did,” she says.
Once in HR, she used her process improvement and change management skills to drive change in HR systems, culture, performance management and diversity and inclusion. “As an example, at J&J, we learned that if we wanted more diversity in engineering, we needed to redefine the experiences we were seeking,” she says. “If we required medical device experience we found white men, whereas other regulated industries had a broader talent pool.”
The solution, Giglio explains, was reframing requirements to focus on regulated industry experience rather than medical device experience—and the company’s talent pool expanded dramatically. “You have to ask, ‘Am I willing to flex on industry or on experiences?’” To improve diversity, she also helped revamp job descriptions and screening questions to help reduce bias and attract a wider variety of people.
Giglio is also focused on promoting diversity and inclusion at Gorilla Glue. She recently had Gorilla Glue’s leadership go through a poverty simulation to help the team learn about the implications of living in poverty and how it might affect someone’s ability to live and work. The simulation demonstrated the difficulty that dedicated employees at or near the poverty line may have physically getting to work—something many take for granted.
“If you’re a second-chance employer, like Gorilla, that means [employees] can have commitments around parole or court dates or limited access to transportation. Those kinds of things keep you, potentially, from being at work at the same pattern as others,” Giglio says.
After the poverty simulation, “we started digging into policies, procedures, and expectations to really understand what it takes to get somebody to work. I’m super excited about that,” she says. Giglio explains that it’s important to know whether the issue is really attendance, or if the company’s policies and procedures create barriers that contribute to turnover and shrink its talent pool.
Giglio is a big believer in using data to solve problems, and she utilizes it in her daily work. She connects performance data, potential data, and compensation data to ensure that leadership rewards top talent.
Additionally, “I look at the results of engagement surveys in the context of where the business is going to determine what action plans need to be put in place to enable future business strategies, rather than just taking the survey results at face value,” Giglio says.
Recruiting and retaining employees through the COVID pandemic, for example, was a challenge. Salaried employees were reevaluating their work lives based on any number of personal preferences, while hourly employees were willing to jump ship for incremental raises. Giglio turned to data to help her with recruitment and retention.
Most companies employ total rewards statements, which rarely reflect an employee’s actual total rewards. Giglio uses an employee value proposition strategy that paints a comprehensive picture of employee compensation. “We monetized everything: the benefits, our quarterly awards, and several benefits employees don’t pay for,” she says.
Her strategy demonstrates that an employee’s hourly wage represents only part of their total compensation. When employees view their benefits as a monetary gain, they realize they earn more at Gorilla Glue.
Giglio’s colleagues outside the company have taken note of her accomplishments. “Beth has a wealth of experience leading top-notch teams across all areas of human resources, and that knowledge drives her to think in new and innovative ways for Gorilla Glue,” says Frank Bloomquist, regional vice president for Medical Mutual. “She brings energy and vision to everything she does. People around her can’t help but be inspired to think creatively and really strive to reach new heights.”
Giglio leads from a business- and data-driven lens, but never forgets why she is there. “I want to put the human back into human resources, so people feel comfortable coming to [us] and they know we’re going to help them,” she says.
Some need to hear the unvarnished truth, while others require a lighter touch. “The reason I’m in HR is to enable people to reach their full potential,” Giglio says. “That’s what I stand for. It’s kind of my brand.”
Beth is a forward-thinking strategic leader and tremendous partner. She has a strong pulse on the needs of today’s diverse workforce while proactively planning for the future. She is a true strategist who pushes to move the needle forward to meet the needs of her business and her employees.
–Valerie Bogdan-Powers, President
Impact Human Performance (IHP) congratulates Beth Giglio on this well-deserved recognition! Beth is a world class people leader. IHP partners with organizations to provide training solutions that elevate human performance by helping people recover from stress and manage their energy more effectively. For more information visit impacthumanperformance.com.