HRP: What are the challenges you experience in your job?
CJ: I have only just started this new role, so I am learning all about the
manufacturing processes of the company (I had a similar challenge
with a previous employer when I was asked to take charge of produc-tion).
I do not need to become a subject matter expert, but I need to
learn enough to enable me to work closely with my new colleagues
and establish trust. In many respects, it is not unlike what I have done
throughout my career as an HR business partner – just a lot more in-tense!
But once I’ve achieved that goal, it will be richly rewarding.
HRP: What’s key to leading HR during a difficult time for a cli-ent
CJ: I’m a great believer in energy and energizing other employees and
managers. Arguably, in difficult times this is more important than
ever, but in order to do that you need energy yourself. So, first, do
what you need to do (exercise, diet, relaxation therapy) to maintain
your own energy levels. Second, managers need an HR team they can
count on during difficult times. I have been involved in multiple clo-sures,
downsizing events and restructurings. In all cases, these are the
times when HR can show true leadership. And, I should point out
that it’s not just about managing an event, it is also about managing
the transition (for those remaining employees). Finally, do not under-estimate
how much even the most senior, confident and charismatic
leaders need a trusted advisor – you need to be a good listener!
HRP: What skills do you think are important for success in an
CJ: That depends on what sort of HR career you want. In gener-al
terms, I would say that the skills (if you can call them that) that
have helped me in my career are adaptability; the ability to build
relationships; pragmatism and business focus; and enthusiasm.
HRP: What tips do you have for new grads, or those in entry-level
HR jobs, who want to move up the ladder?
CJ: Have patience with people like me when we offer to give ad-vice!
We mean well, but of course we do not know all the answers.
I can readily admit that I have made mistakes along the way –
sometimes very painful ones! But over time I have dusted myself
off, learned from those mistakes and moved on. My advice would
include these tips:
■■ Make the most of your non-HR experience; you will still be
able to draw upon it in your HR career.
■■ Don’t give up. I don’t envy new grads in 2014. I think it is
incredibly tough for you – but it will get better.
■■ Consider volunteering as a way to get further work-related
■■ Try to maintain an inner confidence and an outer humility
(and if you can figure out the secret, let me know!)
■■ The road to a successful career is never straightforward. Twice
in the last decade, I have taken a significant cut in salary and,
arguably, responsibilities. But within a few years, I had moved
beyond where I had been.
HRP: What is the future of HR?
CJ: I think the introduction of legislation in Ontario (Bill 32
– Registered Human Resources Professionals Association Act) is signif-icant,
and I think HR will increasingly move towards being a true
professional organization. But with that professional status comes
professional responsibility – and it may not be everyone’s “cup of
tea.” As well, the skill of managing others is not intuitive to a great
many managers. HR will continue to provide a key role in guiding
the right people into the right roles and, when necessary, encourag-ing
others to move out of roles that do not fit their abilities. n
“I’M A GREAT
– CHRIS JUDGE, SHRP
HRPATODAY.CA ❚ JULY/AUGUST 2014 ❚ 59