A #SHRM18 Interview with Jennifer Currence


I had the opportunity to connect with Jennifer Currence in preparation for #SHRM18 about her session, The Year's Top 5 Priorities for a Department of One on Sunday, June 17 from 12:30 PM - 02:00 PM.

As an HR Department of One, I am so excited about this session to learn the top five priorities for HR in small business as well as practical, inexpensive solutions to address these priorities. 

In small businesses, HR is often pulled in so many different directions that it's easy to lose sight of the new priorities facing our profession. Based on a survey of actual small business HR professionals, this session is a collection of HR voices bringing to light the issues you face. You will learn:

  • The top five priorities facing HR in small businesses.
  • Why these are the priorities; including changes in laws, business environment, and economic drivers.
  • Practical and inexpensive (even free!) solutions to these prorities that you can use right away.

Q: One of the responsibilities for a Department of One is compliance. Small businesses have limited resources and very likely do not have internal legal department. How do you recommend we stay informed of changes in laws?  

A: Yes, it’s tough to stay on top of the ever-changing laws. One way that I keep up on them is to subscribe to three emails: SHRM’s HR Daily e-newsletter (https://www.shrm.org/hr-today/news/hr-news/pages/default.aspx), the daily SmartBrief on Workforce (http://www.smartbrief.com/subscribe), and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/index.cfm). You can even follow the EEOC on Twitter. I don’t always have time to read every article every day, but I do always have time to scan the headlines and see if anything urgent is happening that will affect my business or clients.

Q.  In your book, "Developing Business Acumen: Making an Impact in Small Business HR" - what would you say is one way for HR Department of One practioners to influence and impact business results?

A: Research has shown time and again that the one skill CEO’s want their HR leads to develop is their business acumen – particularly in how they can affect the business financially. Each chapter of my book concludes with practical tasks that HR professionals can do to enhance their business acumen. I’d say that one big way to influence business results is to start proposing HR programs using executive language: What’s the return on investment (ROI) of your program? What is the operational expense of NOT taking action? What is the effect your program will have on the bottom line?

Q.  You talk about the "TEA" principle? Can you share with us and elaborate? How do we activate the TEA principle in our daily work life?

A: I’m so glad you asked this question. I get really passionate about the TEA principle, because it can make such a difference, even if it is difficult to do consistently (I’m still working on it). TEA stands for Thoughts, Emotions, and Actions. It’s a coaching guideline that reminds us that when we act in a certain way, it is because our emotions cause us to behave that way (i.e., when I slam the door it’s because I’m mad). That one is fairly easy to embrace. The emotional awareness comes in when we are able to stop and ask ourselves why we have that emotion (i.e., I’m mad because I think my boss doesn’t appreciate me). Once we uncover the thoughts behind our emotions and our actions, we’re able to dig a little deeper. To follow this example, an HR professional could further probe an employee, “Why do you think your boss doesn’t appreciate you?” …because I stayed late last night to finish that Murphy project and he didn’t say anything to me when I walked in this morning. “Yes, that could mean he doesn’t appreciate you. What else could it mean?” HR can walk an employee through various options, making generous assumptions along the way. When an employee gets stuck in his own pre-conceived notions, HR can ask “How would you coach an employee around this?” or “How do you want to feel?” or “Have you ever not greeted someone in the morning? If so, why was that?” When we are emotionally aware enough to examine our thought process, we can often see that there are other alternatives that could be true outside of the story we’re telling ourselves. It can go a long way towards creating a healthier, more open, more understanding, culture. (It’s also a great employee satisfaction and risk mitigation tool!)

Q.  Another objective in small business is employee retention - with our limited resources, recruitment takes a lot of resources - how do we retain employees once we have them? Does effective onboarding help with this? Why is this important?

A: Effective onboarding has been proven to aid retention significantly. One study states that employees who participated in an effective onboarding program were 69% more likely to be employed with the organization three years later. That’s a huge financial savings for the organization! (And HR’s time!) I talk more about the four components to an effective Onboarding program in my SmartStage presentation on Monday at 12:40 pm.

Jennifer is offering readers an opportunity to share their experiences with her via this year’s survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SHRM18. She will tabulate the results and share them with the audience in her Mega Session Sunday, June 17 at 12:30pm - The Top 5 Priorities of an HR Department of One.

Jennifer Currence is the president of OnCore Management Solutions in Tampa Bay, Florida, where she advises business leaders in implementing strategic and tactical HR solutions that make a positive impact on their bottom line. Additionally, she works one-on-one with individuals and employees as a corporate transition coach.

Jennifer has 20 years of experience in Human Resources, earned her MBA with an emphasis in management, and holds SPHR and SHRM-SCP certifications. She is a professor of management at the University of Tampa, and served as Project Editor for the Society of Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) new 2016 Learning System. Jennifer is a national speaker. Her book, “Developing Business Acumen,” is expected in the summer of 2016. It is the first in a series of eight books for “Making an Impact in Small Business HR” published by SHRM.


Originally published on Linkedin.



The SHRM Blog does not accept solicitation for guest posts.

Add new comment

Please enter the text you see in the image below: