Valentine’s Day 2019: Why we love solving employee challenges

Hanging pink shiney love heart decoration among other smaller hanging love heart decorations

Tomorrow millions of people across the world will open heart-adorned cards and exchange sweet nothings across candlelit dinner tables in celebration of Valentine’s Day.

Hanging pink shiney love heart decoration among other smaller hanging love heart decorations
Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

Whether you’re celebrating with your special someone or engaging in some self-love practices, it’s hard to deny the good feeling that comes from being in love. Whether that’s with another human, your pet, your ‘rare’ keyring collection (just me then!) or your career.

My love for studying human behaviour in the workplace led me to internal communications (IC). But this isn’t solely IC’s domain. Like it or not, we’re part of a wider community of professionals who, like us, love solving employee-related challenges.

To celebrate the Day of Love, I spoke to three fellow People-focused professionals – working in IC in the US, work psychology and HR – to learn more about what they do and why they love it so.

Dania Frink, Internal Communications Manager based in the United States

Meet Nikita Mikhailov, Psychometrician

Meet Natalie Ellis, HR Consultant


Dania Frink – Internal Communications Manager, Adecco Staffing, US (a subsidiary of The Adecco Group)

Dania Frink Internal Communications Manager, Adecco Staffing U.S.
Dania Frink (IC in United States)

Tell me about your current role

I’m primarily responsible for informing and empowering our almost-1,700 employees. This can include anything from advising senior leaders on their internal and external communication strategies, to designing professional development resources to partnering with HR on our talent acquisition strategy. The list is truly endless!

What do you love most about your role? 

I get to touch every aspect of our business – from executive leadership to field sales and everything in between. This gives me a comprehensive view of the business and means I’m learning new things every day. Being a natural storyteller, I love the fact that I get to tell Adecco Staffing’s story and amplify the diverse voices of our employees. I also like the unpredictability of my role.  No two days are the same which keeps things exciting!

What fascinates you about humans in the workplace?

The notion of work/life balance really interests me. Although I understand why people choose to separate their work persona from their ‘true self’, I’m a strong believer that our personal motivations and passions outside of work can enhance what we do on the job.

Take the accountant who uses the communication skills gained from writing science fiction in her spare time to come up with a clever solution to communicate a complex budget formula to her team. Or the executive assistant who through his work as a youth basketball coach is able to resolve conflict in the office and on the court.

Multidimensional employees who feel able to bring their whole selves to work are an invaluable asset to the business and are a key component of an authentic and positive company culture.

What advice would you give to someone who wanted a job in your field?

  1. Listen more than you speak
  2. Write often, even if it’s short journal entries

By practicing these two tasks in tandem, you’ll learn how to synthesise important information and communicate it clearly and concisely to your audience.

  1. Be flexible.

Technology is constantly evolving the way that people communicate. Mastery in this profession is possible, but you must commit to being a lifelong learner.

Self-portrait by Dania Frink using watercolours
Self-portrait by Dania Frink using watercolours

What do you like to do when you’re not working? 

I’m a visual artist [Dania studied Animation & Studio Arts at university] so enjoy making things. Painting, drawing, graphic design, animation – I love it all and wish I had more time for these things. I also like spending time with my loved ones, travelling, learning more about the African Diaspora, listening to live music and cooking.

Connect with Dania:


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Nikita Mikhailov – Psychometrician and Explorer of the Human Condition

Nikita Mikhailov
Nikita Mikhailov (Work Psychology)

Tell me about your current role

I apply psychometrics* in an occupational setting with a special focus on Personality Dynamics. I work with individuals and teams across various industries, including the financial sector, charities and start-ups.

*Psychometrics is “the branch of psychology focusing on the design, administration and interpretation of qualitative tests for measurement of psychological variables such as intelligence, aptitude and personality tests.” (

What do you love most about your role? 

I love how through my knowledge of psychology, I’m able to identify areas of leverage that my clients can use to help overcome their challenges. I also love the variety that comes from working with people – everyone is different and sees things in a unique way. Hence, a little bit of psychological insight can be very valuable. It can help organisations select better talent and help individuals better understand themselves and better navigate their world.

What fascinates you about humans in the workplace? 

It’s ‘human’ which means everyone has their own take on reality. Leadership, stress, the workplace – we think these are objective concepts experienced in the same way but they’re very subjective. Once we bring people’s subjective realities to the fore, we can have better conversations about where we are currently and where we want to get to in say 6 or 12 months’ time. This is particularly true when thinking about company culture.

What advice would you give to someone who wanted a job in your field?

Organisational psychology is very broad – it covers anything from employee engagement to recruitment. Identify and explore key areas that interest you. Be as specific as you like. For example, you may be interested in the stress levels of ambulance drivers, or you may want to know more about employee engagement levels among professional services employees. Just take your time to explore.

Once you know your areas of interest, use relevant keywords to find people already doing what you find interesting and reach out to them on LinkedIn. You’ll most likely strike up a bond based on this shared interest – which is much better than sending them a cover letter or CV.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

I don’t see what I do as work. I’ve always followed my interests and whatever I find intrinsically meaningful. Getting paid simply allows me to do this.

Connect with Nikita:


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Natalie Ellis – HR Consultant, AHR Consultants

Natalie Ellis HR Consultant
Natalie Ellis (HR)

Tell me about your current role

It’s different every day. I can be advising on anything related to employment relations one day and then giving our clients strategic support the next.  It all depends on what the client needs. I’ve no idea what I’m walking in to when I arrive at the office – and I love that!

What do you love most about your role?

I love the variety of my role. I’m really lucky that I can advise clients in different industries and environments, so there’s never a dull moment.

What fascinates you about humans in the workplace?

When you’re involved in working with and managing people, it presents many challenges and that’s what fascinates me and keeps me interested in my career. Most HR professionals would probably agree with that. It’s great to figure out solutions to complex challenges which help employees and their employers.

What advice would you give to someone who wanted a job in your field?

Make sure you’re certain that a career in HR is what you want. It takes a lot of hard work, focus and commitment to succeed in the field. Also, HR isn’t all cozy chats and cups of tea (sadly!). We face some incredibly difficult situations at times so you need to be resilient and remember to not take things too personally!

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

I blog, blog and blog some more! I also love to help inspire others to build a career in HR – I’m speaking at a few events this year to do just that. I’d like to speak at more conferences in the near future and, of course, continue to spread more HR acts of kindness!

Connect with Natalie:

Her Twitter: @natalieellishr

Her blog:


Thank you DaniaNikita, Natalie and for sharing your career love stories with me.

If your work focuses on People, I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or connect with me on LinkedIn or Twitter.

Wishing you a lovetastic Valentine’s Day – whatever you do!

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