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Why I Chose HR 63

I graduated college in 2001 with a Bachelors in Communications Media. I wanted to work in the political world, hopefully one day on campaigns.

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I took a job in the Press Office of the PA Attorney General as a Press Assistant. It took 6 months for me to figure out that everything I thought I wanted was wrong.

I left that job and began a career in Real Estate, this led to a long (and unhappy) career working in real estate advertising, selling real estate, leasing and finally Title Work. I had my son in 2006, and I knew that it was time for a change in my career. I applied for an HR Office Assistant position with a small Non Profit company and I was offered the job at the interview, which I accepted.

Honestly they hadn’t even told me how much it paid when I accepted. So this is where I began my HR Career and I’m thankful that I did.

Career StoryThe company I worked for owned several homes that supported people with developmental disabilities. As the HR Office Assistant my role included supporting the Program Coordinators and assisting them with office duties such as filing. The filing that I was did was all the information on the people we supported in our homes. I started to read their information and learn about them.

Doing this one small thing has made all the difference in my HR Career. As I read about our residents, who often came into our location, I started to get to know them and understand their needs.

This gave me a better understanding of what the staff did. I also took the exact same training as our staff. By reading about our residents and participating in the same training as the staff, I had a very good understanding of how the business worked.

The other part of my role was assisting my supervisor who was the HR Coordinator for the area, basically I ended up doing the tasks she didn’t like. One of those tasks was interviewing.

Because I knew the residents in our houses and I understood duties of the staff, I was able to place new staff very well. After 9 months the HR Coordinator I reported to resigned from the company and I was offered her position. I took her position, but due to funding my role was not backfilled. The knowledge I gained as the assistant was invaluable.

By understanding how the business worked I was able to better partner with my managers in all aspects of HR. 

What I learned from my first HR role I have carried with me to every other company.

  • I take the time to get to know the employees and what they do.
  • I take the trainings that they take to get a better understanding of their roles.
  • I get to know them, and I make sure I can call every employee I support by name.

At my last role I supported close to 200 employees, most of them located remotely.

  • I made monthly trips to visit remote employees.
  • I took the time to get to know what career paths they were interested in and how we could help them develop to reach their goals.

I truly feel these things have made all the difference in my HR Career and have allowed me to build better rapports with the managers and employees I support.

As an HR professional I think we need to remember that we represent our employees.

We need to dig in and get to know them and what they want out of a career. We also should understand the business functions. This way we can support employee growth by matching it with business initiatives and truly creating that partnership for both employees and company.

I encourage any new HR person to take this route. Get to know the business and the employees, it will allow you to create that partnership and build trust, and that will make all the difference in your success.

(c) New To HR.

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Kristin Johnson

Kristin Johnson

Kristin has been a HR Professional for 8 years and currently holds her PHR and SHRM-CP. Her background focuses on hiring, employee relations, policy writing, and FMLA. She is passionate about helping companies attract, develop and retain talent.
Kristin Johnson

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