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Embrace the pace!

Cultivate your HR to spur Growth

All things People for growing organizations

How We Do It

Embrace What’s Unique

Your mission, goals, values, and competitive context are unique to your company. The tool-sets we apply — recruiting strategies, performance management, culture development, HR administration, compensation design, or org structures — will honor and adapt to that which is special and distinctive to you and your organization.

Build Partnership

We are in it with you. We will share your aspirations, hopes, failures, and triumphs. Yes, we will advise. But we are also there working alongside you to deliver on that advice. We are optimizing operators who partner with you, not consultants who just leave you with a remix of their standard recommendations.

Drive Growth

You face constant, unforeseen challenges while trying to reach your next level of success. Sometimes, required adjustments to your leadership, culture, and strategy can seem overwhelming. We will be there to make sure your people and people-related practices adapt to those emerging challenges and are aligned with your long-term targets.

What We Do

HR Leadership

When your HR organization needs hands-on interim leadership due to an unanticipated exit, the need for department renovation, or new leadership to carry you through a downsizing or growth spurt, we are there. Full or part-time, we can help you bridge the gap.

Turnover Reduction

High turnover can be crippling, even fatal, to organizations. We develop the analysis, planning, and actions that allow you to re-engage the energy and commitment of your people.

HR Policies, Administration, and System Implementation

We make the difficult easy, whether by producing context-sensitive policies, supporting system implementations, refining internal processes, or managing the introduction of new programs — we are there to support your HR operational needs.


Compensation Design

Well-designed pay and incentive programs are critical to retain and motivate your people. We can analyze your market position, reconcile disparate titles, ensure pay equity, and provide a plan for allocating stock options across roles, tenure, and stages of growth. And we can help you communicate the results with empathy and impact.

Talent Acquisition

Hiring quickly, well, and cost-effectively is a competitive advantage. We will review and assess hiring practices, technologies, employment branding, and hiring outcomes to design a talent acquisition engine that can drive growth ahead of the competition.

Coaching for Success

Sometimes leaders need a trusted, confidential resource to advise, reflect, and guide; even to provide an occasional “whup upside the head”. We have been-there-and-done-that and can help your leaders take advantage of our experience without the otherwise-requisite effort and travail.

Enabling HR at every stage of growth

Who We Are


Steve McElfresh

Steve is the principal and founder of HR Futures®. He was recently the SVP/People of Duo Security, managing their integration with Cisco. He was previously the chief HR officer of four companies (including leading through two IPOs), as well as the president and CEO of the international HR consulting firm, Saratoga Institute. 

Steve taught at the Boston College School of Management and the University of Massachusetts.  He has served on the Boards of Directors or Advisory Boards of Palo Alto University, UC Santa Clara HR Management Program, Bay Area HR Executive Council, and Bay Area Organizational Development Network. He was a charter member of the SHRM National Panel for Human Capital Measurement/Metrics, and a member of SHRM’s Investor Metrics Workgroup. Steve earned a Ph.D. in social/organizational psychology from Boston College and a JD from Santa Clara University. 

Program Manager

Shanna Franklin

Shanna has thirteen years of experience in Human Resources in an array of industries. As an HR Consultant for HR Futures, Shanna focuses on supporting clients in a variety of areas ranging from benefits, HR administration, employer compliance, planning, recruiting operations, and more.

Shanna’s ability to communicate and connect with employees at all levels has helped her to gain the trust of her clients and have allowed her to work closely with them to reach their goals. Shanna has been living and working in the Bay Area for over twenty years. She earned a Bachelor’s degree with a concentration in Law and Ethics from Sonoma State University, obtained her PHR, and completed an HR Management Certification from Sonoma State University. Shanna is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Legal Studies from Arizona State University.

Senior Consultant

Jerry McCreary

Jerry is a Senior Consultant at HR Futures®. He was most recently the Senior Director, Human Resources of Ruckus Networks and was the founder of AG-HR, a HR consultancy.  Jerry’s experience includes public companies and start-ups of all stages, seed, Series A through E and one IPO. 

Jerry is an active advisor to early-stage companies.  Jerry is versatile, action-oriented, likes a challenge. He has expertise in core HR, total rewards, talent acquisition and learning and development. He has established himself as a hands-on builder who uses objective data to guide the work.  Jerry earned a B.A. in Psychology and an M.S. in Organizational Psychology from Villanova University.

Senior Consultant

Scott Trossen

Scott has thirty years of experience in Human Resources and after working in six large organizations, he has been consulting for small- and mid-size companies for fourteen years. As an HR Consultant for HR Futures, he concentrates on compensation design and analysis, and on HR compliance. Scott’s experience across multiple business sectors enables him to serve clients with breadth and depth of insight. Scott has lived for two decades in Michigan and, from there has served clients across the country (including several in the Bay Area). He has an MBA from the University of Notre Dame with a concentration in Human Resources and maintains the senior-level certification of SHRM-SCP. Scott’s four young-adult children keep the home busy as they move out, in, and out again. Faith keeps them grounded, lifted, and connected in the community.

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. —John Quincy Adams
A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves. —Lao Tzu
You manage things; you lead people. —Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper
Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others. —Jack Welch

Who We Work With

What They Say

The following is a sample of past and present clients and what they say about working with HRF. 

All organizations are “lengthening shadows of one person”. This is certainly true of HR Futures. This consulting firm will be of remarkable help to developing organizations by assisting them with creating a people first culture. Their CEO, Steve McElfresh Has a PhD in social psychology and a JD in law. This combination along with his commitment to his clients’ success, makes HR Futures a key element In developing a positive trajectory for any developing organization. I recommend, without reservation, the group of dedicated individuals who make up HR Futures!
Allen Calvin

President Emeritus, Palo Alto University

With his wealth of experience and considerable capability, Steve is a rare blend of strategy, execution, and emotional intelligence. He leads from the intersection of business strategy and analytics, providing holistic solutions to the kind of complex people challenges that paralyze many practitioners. A lifelong learner, his thoughtful and consultative approach makes him an asset to any team navigating change or growth in their organization.

Ambrosia Vertesi

Operating Partner, Operator Collective

As an engineering leader, it was great to have Steve as a true partner. He has the rare ability to add value in both the tactical day to day world, right at the intersection of people and technology, as well as a valued voice and thought leader in broader strategic initiatives. I’d be pleased to work with Steve and the HRF team at any point!
Paul Melmon

VP, Engineering, Pure Storage

HR Futures has been a critical partner for me at two companies. I engaged with HR Futures when I transitioned as a new HR leader. I was looking for strategic guidance and Steve provided valuable advice, and mentorship. Later, when I needed direct support, Shanna worked on systems and benefits implementations, and compliance planning and programs. When I transitioned to a new company, I brought in HR Futures to support my team. From top-level executive strategy to HR administrative work, HR Futures is a consistent, responsive, and valuable partner.

- Josh Loehrer

VP People & Strategy, BridgeBio

Let’s climb mountains together!

Tell us how to reach you and we’ll reach out within two business days.

Whether you’re making your first hire, choosing a benefits plan or creating company values, the decisions you make will have a long term impact on your culture and ability to succeed. There’s no need to go it alone. By blending the art and science of HR, we develop the tools and strategies that are right for your company.