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Chevron VP Rhonda Morris on leading with heart

Making a corporation of nearly 52,000 people spread across more than 80 countries feel like family is a pretty tough task, but that’s the one Rhonda Morris (MBA’91) has set for herself. Morris, vice president and chief human resources officer at Chevron, says the energy company aims to hire “people you’d want to hang out with” and has an employee turnover rate under 5 percent per year. To help keep it low, her emphasis is on building community, creating connections among colleagues to encourage long-term employment: at holiday parties, staff share what they’re thankful for; if an employee in one of the 600 Chevron couples—where both partners are at the company—moves for work, Morris’ team will try to relocate their partner, too.

Morris has been with Chevron for 25 years in various positions, working in HR, acquisitions, and divestments—she once even managed the company’s European fuel business. Chevron’s diversity and inclusion efforts also fall under her current purview. If you want her job, you’ll have to:

USE YOUR VOICE. “You are the owner of effective communication. It doesn’t matter how smart you are or how great your idea is. If you can’t communicate and sell your idea effectively, you’ll always sell yourself short.”

BE HUMAN. “I make it a priority to dedicate time and attention to my team. I meet with each of them at least once a month for a check-in, and I make sure to come to these discussions prepared to give and receive feedback. It’s imperative to care about your team as human beings, not just as workers.”

REMEMBER THE MAGIC WORDS. “I always tell employees in this company that the magic words are, ‘I need your help.’ I have never, in 25 years, asked someone for help and they haven’t stopped what they were doing and helped me. Never.”

CHECK THAT YOU’VE BEEN UNDERSTOOD. “I’ve learned to create space for people to tell me if I’m not being clear, and they certainly let me know. I never want to assume.”