The June 2019 Next Concept HR Association Member Spotlight is on…
Yvette Wagner, SPHR
HR Director, Kelly-Moore Paints, Inc.
What led you to Human Resources as a profession/How did you get into your current role?
I believe we are a sum of all our experiences, and I was fortunate to have worked for a company that had a “promote from within” environment, which probably speaks to why I spent 20 years with them. Because I was successful in one role, they encouraged me to try different aspects of the business. I had successfully tried many roles within the organization, and I learned that my natural talent was “people operations.”
I knew I could increase value through people because I had proved it time and time again. I was already successful at identifying top talent, recruiting, developing, training and improving workplace productivity. I found interest in Human Resources when I was seeking a new challenge and I had engaged with someone I worked with in a previous role. She was now an HR Manager and told me that because of my success in previous roles, I would be able to translate the WIFM to a new audience.
I was up for the challenge; however, I must admit, I truly thought the role was going to be a lot easier than I initially thought it to be. For the first time in a long time, I felt like a fish out of water. However, I quickly realized that I was growing because when you live out of your comfort zone, I believe you can grow. I became a student of labor laws, performance management, labor cost, and so much more. I can honestly say that I’ve never been bored in Human Resources and I truly feel that I make a difference and serve my company best by being in this field. My biggest success is when I see others succeed and if I can have a hand in this, I feel I have successfully achieved my goal.
In your opinion, what is the future of HR? How do you see it changing over the next few years, especially in terms of HR innovation?
I think that our future will continue to find engagement through technology. Technology has streamlined our businesses and I know in our HR office everything has been digitized vs. paper. It’s much more efficient and it will be important to continue to lead our companies in a direction that doesn’t leave us behind. Our newer college graduates get this more than anyone and we are now working with a workforce that has a wide span of familiarity and comfort with technology. I think it’s hysterical when my mom says she’s going to use her “googler” to find something. Then, you see me my daughter who just graduated from college click around faster than the eye can keep track of. I guess it depends on what industry you are working in, but I would imagine that it will boil down to keeping steady with change but never forgetting it’s truly about people at the end of the day.
What do you find is the greatest reward working in HR?
The biggest reward for me is being able to provide the type of service to my employees that mirrors what I expect them to deliver to our customers. I know that my customer is the face of the company and it’s so important to engage them, provide them with the right tools to do their job, listen to them, keep them motivated because my reward is seeing our employees successful. Ultimately, this will translate into better productivity and drive results. I love being that business partner that makes a difference!
What role has Next Concept HR Association played in your career?
I’m so thankful that I became a member of Next Concept HR Association. I originally became a member because I wanted to take my SPHR test. After going to the classes, I was introduced to some of the instructors that really took time to ensure that I had the tools to pass my test. After attending a few events, the Next Concept HR team knew me by name, and I felt like they were an extension of my development. They have provided me with networking opportunities to meet other professionals in my field and keeping me up to date with relevant topics. I know that if I want to be an expert in my field, I need to keep up with the future of HR and I feel like this platform allows me to do that.
What is something people might not know about you?
I have found hiking to be therapeutic for my soul. HR can be a mentally challenging field sometimes and terminations are one of my least favorite parts of the job. I regularly find positive outlets so I can be the best person, I can be. I found that I bring myself back to center by being in nature and hiking helps me work it all out!
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