Human Resource Professional Day 2019 | Spotlight: Jeff Palkowski


September 26 is #HumanResourceProfessionalDay. 

Every day, HR professionals positively impact the lives of employees in workplaces around the world and contribute to the business strategy that allows their organizations to compete, grow and thrive. 

We asked our bloggers to share their HR stories.

Why did you choose a career in HR?

With a hat tip to my friend Steve Browne I chose “HR on Purpose!” After spending about a decade after college working in management roles within the financial services industry, I reflected on how much the human resources professionals that I worked with were so important to my success as a manager. As I began to realize how much I enjoyed the HR tasks in my work, I made a decision to complete a graduate degree in HR management, pass my HR certification exam, and start my HR career in my late 30’s. It has been an interesting journey starting in an entry-level staffing role and then progressing to various positions within HR over the past 15 years. I would not change a thing!

What has been the most rewarding part of your HR career?

Probably the most rewarding part about working in HR is the daily successes. Almost everything that we do affects one or more employees. Being able to help employees navigate through complex workplace issues, mentor managers and supervisors with challenges, and see tangible results from ideas and actions that I’ve implemented in my various HR roles continues to reward me on a daily basis. Knowing that what I do makes a difference is extremely motivating and fulfilling.

Why would you recommend a career in HR to students or those looking to transfer into the HR profession from another field?

From a practical standpoint, HR is a career that is not bound by industry nor location. Every organization has some form of human resources, which allows a person to have a great deal of flexibility in choosing where to work. From a professional standpoint, few careers allow an individual to have an impact upon each employee in their organization by the work that a human resources professional provides. Personally, I enjoy the fact that I am able to see the direct impact of my work on my employees on a daily basis. I believe that these are all great reasons to consider a career in HR.

What advice can you share with others who are planning a career in HR?

One piece of advice that I would give is to be flexible in your interests. Most individuals in HR tend to gravitate to a specific discipline such as talent acquisition, compensation, payroll, etc. You will likely find areas in HR that you like more than others, but I think that it is important to be open to all areas of the profession. If you strive to be a generalist, business partner, or even one day a Chief Human Resources Officer, having broad knowledge, experience and skills in many areas of HR will make you more marketable and a stronger HR professional.



The SHRM Blog does not accept solicitation for guest posts.

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