In her own words: HR executive Karyn Jensen
Northern Nevada Business Weekly: Tell us about The Human Resource Connection and the duties of your position.
Karyn Jensen: We handle all aspects of HR. No two days are ever the same. We provide full-service human resources consulting to clients both large and small in Nevada and California. HRC delivers customized human resources solutions to companies, varying from just a little assistance to on-site day-to-day human resources assistance. We offer training, team development, recruitment, employee relations, compensation and benefits, safety and employment law advice. Often, we help new or growing businesses that need help moving to the next level. Businesses often get started, then ask for help when they become overwhelmed or they encounter their first employee problem or need help expanding. We come in to help out and make sure they are compliant with state and federal laws, have employee guidebooks, everyone has a job description, etc., pretty much anything an employer could need.
NNBW: How did you get into this profession?
Jensen: My love for human resources started in recruiting at my college’s career center. I loved matching employers with great college students and finding people jobs. My first HR job was here in Reno at Fitzgeralds/Harold’s Club/Nevada Club. I was an employment screener making $6.47 per hour! And I loved every minute of it. I owe my career launch to Max Page and Bevin Eagle. They believed in me at a young age and allowed me to promote to employment manager at only age 24.
NNBW: What’s the most important thing you have learned in your career?
Jensen: Three things, actually. To see gray; not everything has a black-and-white answer. (That is especially important for HR professionals.) Progress not Perfection. And, if plan A and plan B don’t work, there are 24 more letters in the alphabet!
NNBW: What new trends do you see in your field? How do you stay current?
Jensen: I see two new trends that are huge. 1, Social media is affecting all aspects of human resources. The obvious is how employers can respect employees’ privacy and still guard their reputations, protect sensitive company data, etc. Companies are updating their policies to have a specific social media section, but with changing technology policies need to be re-done at least every two years. There have been recent rulings in California about what employers can and cannot request and restrict as far as their employees’ social media and online presence. I think we will see every state address this issue in the near future. The flip side of social media for employers is recruiting. Savvy employers are using LinkedIn and even Facebook to search for and reach out to qualified candidates. At HRC, we tweet new job openings, and post them on our Facebook page. It’s an added value for our clients that we are “casting the net” wider to gather all possible candidates for their job openings. 2, This truly is the age of the small business and outsourcing. With the economic changes over the past five years, experienced professionals are re-entering the market due to downsizing and business closures, and many are choosing to start their own businesses or offer their services as consultants. This is a great time for other small business owners to benefit from the expertise and long-term experience of these professionals as consultants or outsourced service providers. For example, rather than hiring an in-house human resource director, a small- to medium-sized company might outsource that function to a firm like HRC.
NNBW: What was your first job?
Jensen: My very first job was as a teenager at Contempo Casuals at the Stanford Mall in Palo Alto, Calif. I sold clothes and did all the tasks that come with retail. (And I got a discount on a killer wardrobe!)
NNBW: What is your dream job? Why aren’t you working it?
Jensen: I am working it! I may have missed my calling as a doctor. Medical science and all the possibilities, along with the great rewards of helping people in what can be the most terrifying, challenging time in their lives really excites me. I would say that I am really drawn to the “helping professions.”
NNBW: What’s your greatest strength as a business owner?
Jensen: My honesty with my clients and employees. I am not afraid to say what needs to be said. Also, my ability to connect with all kinds of people. In my business trust is paramount, and you can’t have trust without a relationship … actually, as I speak, it occurs to me that my No. 1 strength is that I hire great people!
NNBW: What’s the most fun you have had on the job?
Jensen: Every day as owner of HRC. For me, there is nothing like starting a company, watching it grow and seeing my employees and clients progress. We have a great time in our office working together as a team. I also truly enjoy interacting and problem-solving with my clients.
NNBW: What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Jensen: My dad would say, “You can do or be anything you choose to do or be.” I tell my children the same thing. If you believe it, it will happen.
NNBW: What are your favorite hobbies or pastimes? How do you spend time away from work?
Jensen: I love to go camping and boating with my family. I also volunteer in my girls’ school, and do a lot scrapbooking with them, and Friday night dinners with my husband. As often as I can, I like to do spa days with a friend.
NNBW: If you could live your life over again, what one thing would you change?
Jensen: The only thing would be to have had a few more children. They are my everything!
NNBW: What do you consider to be your biggest professional accomplishment?
Jensen: Recognition from my peers and the community has been the most rewarding aspect of my career. In 2010 I won Professional Saleswoman of the Year and NNHRA HR All Star, and in 2013 I was asked to MC the sixth annual Best Places to Work competition — all of which were absolute honors.
NNBW: What did you dream of becoming when you were a kid?
Jensen: I wanted to be the first female Phil Donahue, who ended up being Oprah.
NNBW: Who would you most like to have dinner with? Why?
Jensen: Oprah Winfrey. I admire that she talks about what other people won’t talk about. She brings things forward that we as humans need to face. She is an inspiration.
NNBW: Who is your hero?
NNBW: What are five things you can’t live without?
Jensen: My family, Bible, iPhone, camera/pictures (the memories!) and the view from my back yard.
NNBW: Ten years from now where will you be?
Jensen: Wherever I have decided to be!
NNBW: Why did you choose a career in northern Nevada? What do you like most about working/living here?
Jensen: What’s not to like? I have lived in both northern and southern Nevada and California, and this is by far the most beautiful place. It is my home.
Despite ongoing difficulties, Northern Nevada’s office real estate market will endure, experts predict
IGT’s decision to list its 1.2 million sq. ft. campus for lease this month and the recent $3.8 million sale of Harley Davidson’s 3-story financial services building in Carson City are the latest examples of companies no longer needing larger-scale office properties to maintain productivity levels and meet customer needs.