Laura Hamill’s cool job helping people be happy at work

(Story by The Seattle Times Jobs Staff originally appeared in The Seattle Times)

Laura Engage2018 300x200 - Laura Hamill's cool job helping people be happy at workLaura Hamill (left) discusses Limeade Institute research with CEO Henry Albrecht at the 2018 Limeade Engage Conference. (Courtesy of Bryan Stovall)

The organizational psychologist works for Limeade, an employee-engagement company based in Bellevue.

Laura Hamill

What do you do? I am the chief people officer and chief science officer for Limeade, an employee-engagement company [based in Bellevue]. I am responsible for ensuring that Limeade is a great place to work. This matters a lot to us because we are often telling our customers how to be great places to work — we better be able to do that ourselves! My other role as chief science officer involves responsibility for the Limeade Institute, our internal research function that focuses on studying well-being and employee engagement. I have amazing teams that focus in these areas, as well as the legal function reporting up through me, too.

How did you get started in that field? I have a Ph.D. in organizational psychology — think of it as the study of psychology applied to work. My focus areas with my degree have been topics like employee engagement, organizational culture and employee research methodology. I finished my degree in 1997 and have had some pretty amazing work experiences, including working at Microsoft as the director of people research.

About 12 years ago, I started my own consulting practice and Henry Albrecht, the CEO of Limeade, was my first customer. He and I hit it off and really dug into the idea of creating software that focuses on employee well-being and creating great places to work. We poured over the research and built a model of whole person well-being and our well-being assessment.

At Limeade, we are evidence-based and research driven, so I get to apply my training and experience to the work that I do every day for a company that has an amazing mission of improving well-being in the world. I love my job!

What’s a typical day like? Probably like others with cool jobs, there isn’t much of a typical day. I travel a lot for my work, so on those days, it’s getting up early and booking it to the airport, trying to find some healthy airport food and prepping for a customer, sales or conference presentation. On days when I’m not traveling, I usually have a day full of meetings on a wide variety of topics. [These] can include things like a discussion about a sales prospect, how we are trying to improve a customer’s program, preparation for a webinar, progress on our research agenda or how we want to focus our internal employee-development efforts.

What’s the best part of the job? The best part of my job is that there is so much more to understand — there are research topics and practice challenges everywhere I look. So that means that there are challenges and exciting things to do all around me. The other best part is getting to work with people who love what they do every day — people who care deeply about our mission and each other.

What surprises people about what you do? For some people, it’s a surprise to even know that there are organizational psychologists. The first response is usually “Oh my gosh, you need to come to my company. We really need your help.” For others, they are often surprised to understand that there is a science behind topics like organizational culture, well-being and employee engagement. I highly encourage people who are seeking a career to look into organizational psychology. I feel so grateful that I get to focus my efforts every day on something that is intellectually stimulating and that has so much meaning and purpose!