Roots of Success: Joe Scotto

We recently met with Joe Scotto, Equiliem’s V.P. of Human Resources. Scotto shared his secrets of success, his perspective on handling challenges, and how his leadership style has evolved throughout his journey.  

A Resourceful Journey 

Joe Scotto’s career spans a gamut of HR expertise, likely due to his “never say no to a new challenge” mentality. From safety training and risk management to benefits, work policies, performance assessment, talent management, and value-added programs and systems, he’s been there and done that. Scotto’s quest to gain skills always focused on implementing operationally sound and user-friendly solutions. 

He said, “My job is essentially about enabling people to do their best work with the tools and support they need to excel.”  

The best advice Scotto received about success was to embrace challenges as they presented themselves without weighing short-term impacts. “There was never a time I asked for a salary increase as reciprocation for taking on a new responsibility,” Scotto said. “Maybe I’ve been lucky, but I have always worked for employers who recognized my contribution. If you are honest and work hard, most employers will be fair and true to you.” 

Boundaries and Navigating Expectations 

Scotto said that over the course of his career, he’s worked in environments where the expectations have varied. In some cases, employers have had expectations of checking emails late into the evening and being available 24-7. He said those circumstances helped him be more adept at clarifying the urgency of requests. 

He empathizes with those in remote situations with their laptop on the dining room table. “You can burn out if you don’t set boundaries and give yourself a physical break from work. It is usually not an emergency, and some things can wait while you take a day off.” 

Making Friends with Difficult People 

Everyone encounters situations in the workplace when they have to deal with someone “difficult,” and being in HR, the odds are high that you will face issues where people and personalities clash. Scotto is a proponent of focusing on what he can control, and letting the rest go. He said, “In any circumstance, you can only control your response. It is okay to see things differently than another person. If you are at an impasse, it’s good to invite others to provide more input and perhaps a fresh perspective.” He also believes in connecting with people beyond their job titles. If you can connect with people so that they feel they aren’t a nameless person, you can more easily get to the root of problems.” 

Scotto makes it part of his day to spend time with his team individually. “I never want people to feel like a cog in the wheel, and making people feel important and helping them through roadblocks makes a big difference.” 

Career Guidance 

There’s probably not an area of the company that’s the bigger recipient of complaints than Human Resources. Scotto is familiar with how every decision ends up pleasing some, but not all, employees. He said, “When it comes to decisions, I’m logic on steroids. It’s always about serving the greatest common denominator and the best interest of the whole. Most workplace decisions are not personal, and as long as I feel a decision serves the organization as a whole, I put myself behind it.”  

Wearing an HR hat can be like putting up a sign that says “The Doctor Is In.” Scotto often gets asked questions by people wanting to know how they can advance in the company. How he answers the question varies. He said some employees often need more recognition, while other employees have learned to self-identify their wins. His favorite guidance is always to “punch above your weight class” and to keep volunteering for assignments outside your comfort zone. 

Work is an opportunity for personal development. He sees leadership as helping people understand each other and builds upon his expertise with different tools that bring insight, including the Meyers-Briggs Indicator. Scotto said, “I enjoy seeing people light up when they can view their interactions from perspectives that give them the freedom to choose more informed ways of interacting and collaborating.” 

At the End of the Day 

Scotto measures his success by how he has enabled others to do their best work. He gains satisfaction in making people comfortable and gaining their trust. “Even if it is just taking time to answer a short question, I can tell that I have made a difference for someone. Truly enjoying the day-to-day impact of the job can be very satisfying.” 


About Equiliem

Equiliem (www.equiliem.com) believes in empowering success. It’s our job to cultivate relationships that connect people and employers in a way that is inclusive, intelligent, and allows both to thrive. 

Across the U.S., leading companies in healthcare, government, light industrial manufacturing, professional services, and energy rely on us for their workforce solutions. Our recruiting and HR services include contract and direct hire staffing, Payrolling/EOR, Independent Contractor Compliance, and Managed Services.

Since 1995, we’ve helped shape our industry. Today, we continue to research, ask questions, and continuously enhance the candidate journey and client experience.