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INRIX VP of Human Resources Scott Baker.
INRIX VP of Human Resources Scott Baker.

Tech workers are in high demand in the Seattle-area, which makes attracting and retaining talent a tall order. But Scott Baker, INRIX’s VP of Human Resources, is up to the challenge.

“The competitive aspect of recruiting and retaining talent in high-growth companies means that HR must actively seek ways to improve the overall employee experience to drive business objectives,” he said.

INRIX’s tactics include a 22-foot motorboat that employees can check out for meetings, and Teslas and BMW i3s available for test rides.

Beyond the perks, Baker also believes in the importance of collecting feedback from employees and trusting them to manage their own time. For the past five years, he’s managed the employee side of INRIX’s growth periods, international expansion, and acquisitions.

“I am a builder,” he said. “I enjoy building top performing HR Teams, developing and implementing the appropriate HR programs for the specific needs and stage of the company and establishing HR as an integrated strategic role focused on business success.”

We caught up with Baker for this installment of Working Geek, a regular GeekWire feature. Continue reading for his answers to our questionnaire.

Current Location: Kirkland near the 520 and the 108th exit. My office overlooks Lake Washington.

Computer types: I have a HP EliteBook. Nothing fancy. Hey IT, when can I get an upgrade?

Mobile devices: iPhone and Kindle for reading.

Favorite apps, cloud services and software tools: INRIX Traffic App, ParkMe, Uber, LinkedIn, Amazon. INRIX acquired ParkMe last summer, they have developed an app that allows a user to find and pay for parking. Why circle the block ten times looking for parking?

Describe your workspace. Why does it work for you? I have a standing desk which helps me to be more productive, have more energy, and stay focused. Coffee has the same effect but that is a lot of trips to Starbucks.

My office has a beautiful view of Lake Washington with the seaplanes, boats, and bald eagles. I wish I had my own seaplane to commute to the office.

Scott Baker in one of INRIX's BMW i3 test cars.
Scott Baker in one of INRIX’s BMW i3 test cars.

Your best advice for managing everyday work and life? At the beginning of each day, I write down three things that I absolutely want to complete that day – I focus on completing them in the morning when my energy level is higher. I group together all items that take less than 10 minutes and schedule an hour on my calendar to complete them. I find that I can crank through several short tasks if I group them together rather than completing them intermittently throughout the day. I try to only read and respond to emails three times a day. Many of these ideas are from a book titled “The Productivity Project” by Chris Bailey.

My best advice is to surround yourself with a great team. I am blessed to have a great HR Team!

Your preferred social network? How do you use it for business/work? I use LinkedIn every day. I purposely limit Facebook to friends outside of work – I do not want to mix the two.

Current number of unanswered emails in your inbox? I try to respond within 24 hours. I have 4 unanswered emails currently in my work inbox, mostly due to the fact that I responded to several emails earlier this morning. I have 10 unanswered emails in my personal inbox.

Number of appointments/meetings on your calendar this week? I have 12 appointments/meetings on my calendar this week.

How do you run meetings? I keep them short and focused. Frame the topic, discuss and get everybody’s perspectives, and ensure agreement on next-steps. I use a sense of humor to energize the attendees or reduce anxiety if the topic is emotional.

Everyday work uniform? Golf shirts in the summer; dress shirts in the winter. Thank goodness for the person who invented the wrinkle-free shirt!

How do you make time for family? INRX has a flexible vacation policy, not the traditional vacation allotment based on years of service. It is one way that we demonstrate our trust of employees. I never really completely disconnect from my job even when on vacation – I love my job and want to ensure that things are always moving forward. I don’t check email after 7pm when I am home so that I can focus on my family as we wind down our day.

Best stress reliever? How do you unplug? I run in the early morning. In addition to being great exercise, it helps me to clear my head.

What are you listening to? My wife’s or my teenage children’s latest playlists. They are more hip than I am. I couldn’t tell you the artist name or title of many of the songs.

Daily reads? Favorite sites and newsletters? GeekWire is my go-to daily newsletter. It gives me important updates on what is happening in the Seattle hi-tech ecosystem. Seriously, I was not paid a fee to say that.

I am a bit of a news junky and so I regularly check the major news sites. I also enjoy the Harvard Business Review Management Tip of the Day.

Book on your nightstand (or e-reader)? I have three books.

The Bible is my standard go-to book. I always discover words of wisdom as it relates to my life and work.

The second book is “The Productivity Project” by Chris Bailey, which describes proven methods for being more productive. My 19-year-old daughter recommended it to me after she read it.

The third book was given to me by my wife after she read it and it is titled “Spark Joy” by Marie Kondo. The book focuses on how to organize things, mostly from a home and keepsake perspective. My family is moving to Bothell in July so I am sorting through stuff and deciding what to give away.

Night owl or early riser? What are your sleep patterns? Definitely an early riser! I usually rise between 4 and 5 a.m. but in bed by 10 p.m. I love the quiet and peacefulness of the early morning.

Where do you get your best ideas? Everywhere and all the time! I type ideas on my phone or write them on a piece of paper. I often get ideas while running or driving. I keep notepads and pens everywhere. There are times that I will come into work carrying four different pieces of paper with my scribbled ideas and reminders.

Whose work style would you want to learn more about or emulate? John Maxwell, the author of over 70 books, whose leadership philosophy is simply “everything rises and falls on leadership.”

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