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Evergreen native brings human resources consulting skills back home

by TAYLOR INMAN
Daily Inter Lake | November 19, 2023 12:00 AM

Sophie Joern understands local businesses and sees offering her human resources expertise as a way to ease the burden of navigating a rapidly changing job market. 

Joern founded Mountain HR Consulting bringing a wide array of human resources services to both small and large companies in Northwest Montana. 

Born and raised in Evergreen, Joern moved to Minnesota for a few years after college. She started applying for a few jobs and was offered a human resources position with a company that thought she had the right traits to move into the profession. 

“I had that business mindset and I'm able to deal with people, things like that, and I just grew to love it … I've worked with various different industries; in manufacturing, healthcare, mortgage lending, different types of construction companies. From small companies with 10 employees all the way up to a very large employer of 4,000 plus employees,” Joern said. 

Human resources personnel oversee various aspects of employment, typically the hiring and firing of employees. But, Joern said it’s much more than that, particularly in today’s world. In terms of an “employee life cycle,” she said her services run the gamut. 

Businesses spend a lot of energy on recruitment during a time where jobs are plentiful, Joern said. She pointed to a recent post by Job Service Kalispell, where the organization advertised nearly 900 job openings within 25 miles of Kalispell. Just as important as attracting talent is keeping them, so Joern said she wants to ensure that an employee’s first 90 days with a company make a good impression. 

She said it’s a misconception that human resource personnel are only there to serve management, she said she’s there just as much for the employees. 

“It really does pay to keep somebody on and developing in your workforce. There's always going to be things that correlate with it, like adjusting to hybrid and remote work environments and keeping up with inflation, not just business costs, but employee salaries and what their needs are,” Joern said. 

Retention meets employees in the middle of their time with a business, so human resources can work with them to develop further with the company, through other employment opportunities or job training. Then she’s there to help take care of disciplinary actions, like suspensions and firings, helping business owners wade through issues and conflicts. 

Joern said her business model is fractional, meaning companies can contract with her for certain human resources services on a by-need basis

“Instead of feeling the strain of having to try to navigate those HR waters without that expertise, you can work with somebody who does it on a very part-time, as needed basis like myself, and we can still accomplish the same things,” Joern said. 

She holds a Certified Professional certification from the Society for Human Resource Management and serves as the Foundation Chair on the board of the Flathead Valley chapter of the SHRM. She has access to many benefits through the organization, including continuing education, which is necessary to keep her certification. 

She said it’s also beneficial to be able to touch base with other human resource professionals in the area. 

“Our workforce has changed so dramatically in a way that some of my more seasoned HR colleagues have just never seen before. It's just a whole new way of thinking and of adapting— it's really an employee market,” Joern said. 

In human resources, Joern said everyday is something different. There’s a problem solving aspect to her job she enjoys, trying to come up with the best solution for both employees and employers. 

“There's always some nuance and that's what makes it interesting, it's never the same … The components I really like to focus on are those employee relational issues. Really just being able to problem solve with all the business owners, the managers and employees,” Joern said. “Everyone is kind of involved when it comes to HR. We play a very crucial role of being both employer and employee focused, we want to be able to find the win-win for everybody involved.”

For more information, visit www.mountainhrconsulting.com.

Reporter Taylor Inman can be reached at 406-758-4433 or by emailing tinman@dailyinterlake.com.