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Nicole Martin | CEO and Founder | HRBoost

Nicole Martin – Empowering Businesses with Talent and Passion

Human life is an intricate web of balancing what one wishes to do and what one actually does. When these two lines confluence in an individual’s life, it creates wonders that not only script their success but also take society forward exponentially.

This is exactly what the Founder and Chief Empowerment Officer of HRBoost® – Nicole Martin has been doing since she finally found her passion at 18. She has evolved from conducting training programs for human resources classes at college to now becoming the foundation that is required in building global businesses.She believes that work and life cannot be compartmentalized, so she drives her company with the same mission to spread joy and purpose through shared work and creation.

Nicole emphasizes a client-centric approach and takes pride in the company’s USP, which is that they meet their clients at their pace and budget. She has developed the HRBoost model in such a way that it actively helps to meet the clients wherever they are in their journey, thus providing full-service embedded HR support, project-to-project support, culture design, and management training, employee programs and assessments, virtual support, and phone support.

Along with catering to clients and driving a seven-figure business from scratch, she strongly believes in the potential of women in the industry. Additionally, she is inspiring women to find their passion as she believes—women are the most valuable investment a company can have, as they foster faster team collaboration.

As a multifaceted leader in the industry, she also serves on the Advisory Board of National Best and Brightest, along with the current chair of the Chicago NAWBO Membership Committee and a Star Conference Global Speaker. Her exceptional attention to talent has gained HRBoost recognition for its commitment to Diversity Excellence by the Daily Herald.

Through the interview highlights below, let us learn more about her vision and about HRBoost!

Nicole, kindly brief our audience about your journey as a Chief Empowerment Officer and Founder. What challenges have you had to overcome to reach where you are today?

At 18 leaving my home and right out of high school, I got a job as a receptionist at a pre-Y2K firm where I found my passion by accident.

During the same time, I was working on a training program for a college human resources class. When I finished my presentation, the director created a human resources department for the site, hired a manager, and moved me from reception to human resources.

Since then, I have been building HR departments from the ground up ever since with the approach of beginning with the business’ vision and creating HR programs that are completely integrated with that vision while supporting employers at every stage of the employee experience and small businesses deserve to compete for talent in today’s market.

Along with this, the Boosters create programs designed to further the business, boost productivity, and help employees understand why and how their contributions are meaningful. I credit my team for all the success the business has accomplished. Today, I am proud that I am a woman who has built a seven-figure business from scratch, and knowing only 2% of women-owned businesses do this is alarming. Women remain an opportunity for business everywhere.

I think the initial challenges of being a CEO are many. One needs human capital and financial capital to scale and grow. Success is relative. Many people would read my resume or some printed article about me, but real success comes in the joy of doing what you love every day. It is amazing however when you turn around and see many others who work for you and source Joy and Purpose through shared work and creation. Work and Life should be integrated, not compartmentalized. I love that there is no real dividing line between work and play for me.

Enlighten us on how you have made an impact in human resources services through your expertise in the industry.

Our Vision is to bring Joy and Purpose to People through their Work.

We have always trended with growth year after year; however, amidst the pandemic, we were hard hit like many. Now, with growth revival, we have revealed some new innovative ways to reach our clients and as talent shifts occur, we are ready to help the businesses that seek to retain talent.

Ironically, the biggest threat to the marketplace is talent, even now. Only truly forward-thinking companies will make winning moves even in the downturn of economy. 

Given we are not your Broker, your Attorney or a 1-800 number. We believe HR expertise is essential to any business as they grow their enterprise. Our Shared Services approach allows businesses to access strategic HR at their pace and budget all while taking a holistic approach to integrating a culture plan that enables their strategic and/or operational plans as a business.

We deliver skilled talent to our clients. We also believe they need both strategic and tactical resources at the same time. One human is not ideal as there are various cognitive abilities to optimize HR strategically. We believe our shared services approach to the middle market is the PEO Alternative. And yes, the middle market needs an alternative.

We serve businesses spanning over multiple sectors; these include Professional Services, Non-Profit Organizations, High Tech, Manufacturing, Staffing firms, Hospitality, and Healthcare. Our clients are typically from high growth businesses with 50-250 employees.

Our model is to meet the clients wherever they are, thus, we provide full-service embedded HR support, project-to-project support, culture design and management training, employee programs and assessments, virtual support, and phone support.

I am honored to lead a high-performance team of HR leaders who partner with our business clients to meet them wherever they are on their journey to be the best workplace. We have experienced tremendous growth, and proudly nearly every client has been sourced through word of mouth.

Our appeal and success are due to our personal dedication to each and every client.

What makes HRBoost a preferred choice among your clientele over other competitors?

We remain client-centric, and our team is truly excited to be recently recognized for our commitment to Diversity Excellence by the Daily Herald. It is recognition like this that keeps us believing in the hands-on contributions every person on our team brings. Boosters know everyone can lead from where they stand and the traditional hierarchy need not be upheld at HRBoost®.

I see it as totally fine. The USP is that we meet our clients at their pace and budget and bring a team with 40 years of aggregate experience.

What, according to you, could be the next big change in your industry?

Investment in women.

The fact that less than two percent of the money invested in the United States in women-owned businesses is disturbing. The bottom line, women remain an opportunity and can develop teams that foster collaboration.

If you do not have a positive work culture, talent will not tolerate it for long. Creating a culture conversation take rigor where two-way exchange is fostered and upheld. We were recognized as a Best & Brightest® company to work for in Chicago before the pandemic. If you do not have a common language for how leadership lives across the organization, morale can suffer. We implemented pulse Covid Surveys in addition to our standard culture surveys and metrics. Anonymous pulse is important, but we also began more company check-ins across peer levels.

We have kept Monday Motivation, Happy Hours, and Wellness Wednesdays with the long term in mind as we feel we created a deeper connection during these tough times. We also had Chaplains in the workplace before Covid-19. I was thrilled to see them working more proactively to connect with our team in a virtual world, and we had high utilization these past 12 months. I feel proudest of what we discussed, exchanged on, and shared. The subject matter has not been around easy subjects.

Where do you envision yourself to be in the long run, and what are your future goals for HRBoost?

We have been able to increase our geographic footprint through our investment in SEO and retargeting. Once, we thought we never get business from our website, but now we proudly have over 1200 new visitors a month and the average time a visitor spends on our website is 8 minutes. 

We are proud to solidify our online presence as a go to resource for professionals in across the USA. In the coming year, our next initiative is to franchise and we look forward to expanding across the top five regions seeking us online this past year.

Spreading the Word with Her Books

I try to lead by example and I also share for the benefit of all. I have published two books that really speak to women, though men have let me know they enjoy them equally as well. The Power of Joy and Purpose is my personal story and I share my 7 Presence Principles as I get asked nearly every day, how do I do it all so joyfully? I don’t do it alone. I also co-authored a book with John Tinghitella last year.

We named it, NO FEAR Negotiation for Women, a book where we set forth a process that women can add to their list of abilities and for the greater benefit of our country. Men are about results and Women are about effort. We need both in business.

  • Nicole Martin

The Dynamic—Nicole Martin

Nicole Martin is Chief Empowerment Officer and Founder of HRBoost, LLC, a HR Shared Services consulting firm based in Chicago, Illinois. In recognition of her professional excellence as well as her community, Nicole has been honored by multiple organizations including the Mirror Review’s 10 Game Changing Women in 2019, Awardee for Business Excellence by the Chicago Daily Herald, and a 2016 Enterprising Women of the Year Champion by Enterprising Women Magazine.

A sought-after expert, her knowledge and advice have been featured in newspapers and magazines throughout the country. In addition, Nicole is the host online of HR in the Fast Lane and contributing writer for the Chicago Business Journal. Nicole has authored, International Literary Award and Amazon Best Seller, The Talent Emergency, the accompanying Talent Emergency Guidebook, The Human Side of Profitability, The Power of Joy & Purpose, and her newly released co-authored book No Fear Negotiation for Women.

Sparkling with Awards

  • Nicole serves on the Chicago NAWBO Membership Committee and a Star Conference Global Speaker (cite all the women’s conferences and came home Best Speaker from Paris 2021. She also mentors some newer female entrepreneurs who reach out to her on an ad hoc basis.
  • Graduated Goldman Sachs 10,000 small businesses Chicago Cohort 9 2014.
  • Chair Chicago Peer Group Best and Brightest Companies to Work For.
  • Advisory Board National Best and Brightest.
  • 3 Years on OMNI Board of Directors, Chair of Governance
  • WBE – Women’s Business Enterprise WBE WBENC Certified (every year)
    • Certified Women Owned Business
    • 1 million bucket – 5 million category
  • Awards and Recognitions: • 2017 Business Excellence Business Leger Award
  • 2021 Star Icon Best Speaker Award
  • 2021 CIO Times: The Spearheads Most Inspiring Leaders of the Year
  • 2020 Chicago’s Best and Brightest Companies to Work For
  • 2020 Innovative Companies to Watch For in 2021