HR Excellence: Huntington HR team is 225 strong and serving 16,000

Lin Rice
Raj Syal

Some jobs are just too big for one person alone. And at a place like Huntington National Bank, where that job is providing human resources support for more than 16,000 employees, it takes a special team to accomplish it.

Headquartered in Columbus, Huntington operates nearly a thousand branches, primarily in the Midwest.

The HR team tasked with supporting those employees has about 225 people, first organized in 2015 with the purpose of “making lives better, helping businesses thrive, and strengthening the communities Huntington serves” by focusing on “engaging, developing, retaining and attracting the best people,” according to information provided by Huntington. And in the past four years, the team has instituted a number of new policies and programs to support the company's employees.

In an effort to better engage with all of the company's employees, the HR group created a cross-functional team in 2018 that met with hundreds of their colleagues to get a sense for what areas they could improve. Much of that information was shared through the bank's annual Voice initiative.

These discussions landed on the topics of race, gender parity and generational differences in the workplace, as well as general employee well-being. As a result, Huntington created new diversity and inclusion training and provided employees with additional benefits across the board.

“We are on a journey to build a special culture at Huntington—one we collectively feel very proud of,” says Raj Syal, senior executive vice president and chief human resources officer. Syal's team addresses six areas within the company: employee relations and HR business partners, compensation and benefits, colleague service delivery, segment risk, diversity and inclusion, and talent acquisition and management.

Some of the new benefits identified by the HR team included a reduction in medical plan premiums for employees making less than $100,000 a year, a group that represents about 85 percent of the company. Other additions included an additional day off, a minimum wage increase, an increased 401(k) company match, and installing fitness centers in some of the bank's most largely-populated offices. Huntington also added a number of “collaborative HR workspaces” with dedicated interview rooms, hotel spaces for colleagues visiting from out of town, and other amenities.

Syal says that being selected for Columbus CEO's HR Excellence Awards is an affirmation that the company is moving in the right direction.

Stephen Steinour, CEO of Huntington Bancshares Inc., says having an exceptional HR team leads to numerous benefits, including bringing new talent into the company.

“The HR team adds special value to our entire organization because they're passionate about making Huntington a great place to work—and that passion is felt throughout our footprint, attracting talented individuals to grow their career at Huntington,” Steinour says. “HR's strong leadership and dynamic programs have enabled us to engage, develop, retain and attract the best, most talented colleagues to deliver on our purpose. To have the team honored publicly for their outstanding efforts is particularly meaningful and well-deserved.”

Steinour says Huntington's HR team keeps the bank's focus on its most important asset.

“Colleagues are our most valuable asset,” Steinour says. “Through integrated talent planning and strategic conversations, our HR team helps them become the best version of themselves.”

Team Excellence recognizes a department, team or group of individuals that has achieved excellent results by working together to advance their company or organization.

Lin Rice is a freelance writer.

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