The Comp Chick, aka, Jennifer Peacock has more than 25 years of diverse experience in human resources ranging from consulting to corporate HR leadership. She started The Comp Chick blog as a way to show her peers that Compensation doesn't have to be boring or difficult.
This season of thanksgiving has me doing a great deal of reflection on what I appreciate – particularly in my professional life. If I could boil it down to one word, it would be relationships. During our careers, so much emphasis is put on networking and many of us get so involved in our work that it is difficult to find the time to maintain relationships as we move through our career. However, those connections that you have made through the years are the key to your success.
I began my career working for a defense contractor during my senior year of college – a job shared with another student. I interviewed for an HR job not even understanding what HR really did, but the hourly rate looked really good! I was a Communications major specializing in Public Relations. I realized that in many ways HR was internal PR. The field was a good fit for me. I was fortunate to be part of an HR and management team that embraced my youth and willingness to learn. That experience taught me so much more than just the role of an HR Generalist. More than what they taught me was how they treated me with respect as a co-worker and colleague and never minimized my lack of experience. This was the foundation of how I would network and build relationships throughout my career. While there, I developed good relationships with external recruiters that led me to my next role. Over the next several years, I had a couple more HR Generalist roles, each increasing in responsibility, when I realized my preference for the more analytical pieces of HR (compensation, benefits, HCM systems).
After working my way up through the HR ranks for a credit insurance company, my boss left and took a promotion with a regional bank. He offered me a position managing the Compensation, Benefits, and HRIS team for his new employer. I quickly accepted that role and worked hard to prove he made the right decision in giving me that opportunity. That relationship formed in 1997 has led me to every opportunity since in both corporate roles and consulting. Over 20 years of work!
Not only have I found my network to be important in my own career, but I have also found it to be important in accomplishing my day-to-day work. I communicate to my clients that IT and Finance are instrumental in getting things done in corporate HR. Finance (particularly if Payroll is in that department) has a great deal of overlap with HR and can provide critical data to create the full picture when analyzing compensation-related issues. IT is a great partner with HCM implementations and it is always nice to have a resource in your back pocket when your laptop is on the fritz!
Those relationships take time to build via the development of trust, respect, and mutual benefit. It doesn’t happen overnight and every relationship can be unique. You have to work at them and let them grow, but the benefits far outweigh the exerted effort.
I would like to thank my network for believing in me and being great partners (and friends) throughout my career: Bob Laggini; John Reing; Anne O’Connor; Don Berman and the HRTMS team; Melissa Gray, Rachel Herrera, and Will Evans at ADP; and Lyn Harper at Mercer. All of you have believed in me/ICS and have supported me through references, referrals, and overall support. I appreciate all of you!