Bath author shares insights from career in HR

by Wendy Turrell

Bath human resources consultant John Bernatovicz, founder of Willory consulting services, has recently added author to his list of accomplishments. “HR Like a Boss” is his first book and distills his insights into problems that many businesses have in meaningfully connecting with their employees.

“I felt that HR was in the best position to transform work in a positive way. I wrote ‘HR Like a Boss’ in hopes of inspiring a change and transforming work through the power of HR,” Bernatovicz said.

During his years in HR consulting, the author consistently found only about a third of employees at any organization feel truly engaged in their jobs. “HR Like a Boss” advises the remedy can be found in “owning what you do, having passion for people, and understanding your business.”

Said Bernatovicz, “When you put people first, employees feel it, and the business performs at a higher level.”

Bernatovicz said the title “HR Like a Boss” defines “a courageous business leader who consistently owns their HR responsibility of connecting people to their organization in an amazingly awesome way, while making a positive impact on their employees.” His book outlines strategy and tools to help HR professionals make that positive impact.

At age 10, Bernatovicz was introduced to the HR profession through a story his father, former CEO of Barberton Citizens Hospital, told at the dinner table. Retold in detail in Bernatovicz’s book, the incident involved drug testing, the unforeseen effect of eating poppyseed bagels and the young boy’s perception of the power of the HR professional.

Bernatovicz began his career with ADP Payroll Services, helping clients optimize HR technology and payroll services. In 2005, he joined a search firm that helped HR professionals with talent acquisition and staffing. In 2010, he founded Willory, a staffing and consulting firm focused on supporting the HR and payroll communities.

In his work, Bernatovicz has witnessed understaffed departments whose teams can’t effectively leverage technology and sees these as key reasons for employees’ lack of engagement. He helps companies evaluate and make better use of their technology and find the right employee resources.

“Along the way, we have seen the impact that effective and strategic human resources can have on employees, businesses and communities,” he stated.

Bernatovicz wrote “HR Like a Boss” as a way to honor his parents Mike and Fredreen Bernatovicz, who died in 2019 and 2020. His mother was a designer for ScripType Publishing and The Bath Country Journal in the 1980s and 90s.

“I thought writing this book would be one of my best tributes to my mom, an artist, and my dad, an executive,” he said.

He had never written a book before, so Bernatovicz adopted advice from James Clear’s “Atomic Habits” to incorporate writing as a new habit. He held himself accountable by making his authorship intention public on his social media sites.

Bernatovicz described his writing method: “Ultimately, I spent every Saturday and Sunday morning before my kids got up, for about one year, and committed to writing 1,000 words per weekend. One year later, I completed the first draft of a manuscript with over 70,000 words.”

Bernatovicz has “a few ideas popping around my head” for future book plans, including a book incorporating entrepreneurship or the business of HR. ∞

Photo: Author John Bernatovicz used his background in HR to write a book for professionals in the field. Photo by Craig Gabel.