Jennifer Currence, MBA, SHRM-SCP, PCC is the president of WithIN Leadership, which specializes in training and coaching to enhance leadership development and management skills. Jennifer is a certified career coach, a professor of management at the University of Tampa, has been recognized as a Thought Leader by the International Society of Performance Improvement, and was named the Tampa Bay HR Consultant of the Year for 2017.
In her work with SHRM, Jennifer has been published and featured in HR Magazine as well as featured in Fast Company magazine, HR.com, and BambooHR. She was an editor for SHRM's 2016 Learning System and a writer of exam questions for the SHRM-SCP exam. In addition, Jennifer was the Knowledge Architect for SHRM's PMQ (People Management Qualification) training program. Jennifer is also a regular speaker at regional, national, and international SHRM events and conferences and is the author of SHRM's business competency book series: Making an Impact in Small Business.
Tell me a little bit about your background and how it led to your decision to champion and support the HR Department of One?
Jennifer: I spent seven years as an HR DOO and understood how taxing – and rewarding – it can be. When I started my own business, I knew I wanted to help small businesses grow through their people operations. I am fortunate to partner with SHRM on several projects for HR DOO and to bring my passion to the stage at the Annual Conference.
Can you give us some insight on what your presentations are all about? Where did the inspiration come from and what do you hope people can take out of it?
Jennifer: I first spoke at the SHRM Annual Conference in 2015. While there, I was able to connect with several people at SHRM who shared with me that they were seeking to create more support for small business HR departments. I immediately expressed my interest in providing support however I could… and the first annual Top 5 HR Priorities Survey was born! I knew from experience (and talking to others) that the HRDOO practitioners experienced unique challenges, and I wanted to be able to capture them real time and offer assistance however I could. In addition to my annual Top 5 HR Priorities talk at the Annual Conference, I’ve also written three books for small businesses, published by SHRM: Developing Business Acumen, Applying Critical Evaluation, and Mastering Consultation as an HR Practitioner.
Check out Jennifer’s session, Top Five Priorities for an HR Department of One - In Person Monday 6/13/2022 at 10:30AM-11:30AM CST.
Be sure to participate inn the survey so YOU can be part of the discussion!
What’s the best advice you’d give someone starting out as an HRDOO?
Jennifer: First, find your tribe. There are literally hundreds of thousands of HR DOO’ers out there! Meet your peeps at local HR meetings, at SHRM conferences, on discussion boards, and via online communities and meetings. You don’t have to do it alone. Second, get a pre-approved budget to speak with a labor attorney whenever you want to reach out. You will learn so much from expert opinions related to your real-life events, and you’ll mitigate risk for yourself and the company in the process. And third, get certified! The SHRM-CP and -SCP programs cover the gamut of the things you need to know in HR, and help prepare you with the knowledge to handle events as the arise, which will aid your career development immensely!
Given this conference is centered around “Cause the Effect,” what about that particularly resonates with you?
Jennifer: I firmly believe that HR is in a unique position to be the “quarterback” of the organization. We should be aware of everything going on in the organization and always be playing a strategic game of how to handle situations before they arise. Proactivity is a key element to developing business acumen and being seen as a leader in your organization. When we are proactive, we are able to cause wonderful things to happen in our organizations!
What should people be thinking about before they come to the conference to ensure get the most out it?
Jennifer: Take this year’s survey! https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NOLA22
After you do that, plan out your conference schedule on the app. I usually choose 2-3 sessions per hour and attend the one that is closest to my last session, or the one that a friend is NOT going to (so we can exchange notes later), or the one that covers an incident that just happened at work last week so I can apply the lessons right away. (And the boss always loves the immediate takeaways and applications you get from a conference!)