This Month Only! >> $20 off and a FREE SHRM tote with your membership and code TOTE2018!
Sign up for free email newsletters and get more SHRM content delivered to your inbox.
Is your employee handbook keeping up with the changing world of work? With SHRM's Employee Handbook Builder get peace of mind that your handbook is up-to-date.
Build competencies, establish credibility and advance your career—while earning PDCs—at SHRM Seminars in 12 cities across the U.S. this spring.
#SHRM18 will expand your perspective – on your organization, on your career, and on the way you approach HR. Join us in Chicago June 17-20, 2018
Director, HR customer service, Union Pacific Railroad
Members may download one copy of our sample forms and templates for your personal use within your organization. Please note that all such forms and policies should be reviewed by your legal counsel for compliance with applicable law, and should be modified to suit your organization’s culture, industry, and practices. Neither members nor non-members may reproduce such samples in any other way (e.g., to republish in a book or use for a commercial purpose) without SHRM’s permission. To request permission for specific items, click on the “reuse permissions” button on the page where you find the item.
After working with the Springfield, Mo., Public School District for 11 years, Parker McKenna recently switched tracks to join the Union Pacific Railroad in Omaha, Neb.
“Organizations are only as good as the talent of their workforce will allow them to be, and, ultimately, every organization succeeds or fails because of its people,” he says.
When it comes to his involvement with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), McKenna has been going full throttle. He is a member of SHRM’s Special Expertise Panel on HR disciplines. He previously served on SHRM’s Missouri State Council and was president of the
Springfield, Mo., chapter in 2013. He has also been a member of SHRM’s national advisory team, shaping its young professionals initiative.
What is your greatest accomplishment to date?
When I was at the school district, I helped to transition HR from a transactional role to a strategic partner, adding value to its mission. The school district’s strategic plan now includes three focus areas, and one of those is all about the people and HR’s impact on the organization.
What is your work philosophy?
To be effective, I can’t be seen as “the HR guy.” I need to be viewed as a leader who focuses on talent first and HR second. In other words, I only advocate for the things I believe are in the best interest of the organization as a whole. Sometimes that means HR must take a back seat to another priority. I’ve found that taking this approach has reduced the stigma that can sometimes come with being an HR leader.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Nothing in life is more important than relationships. In the world of HR, it’s easy to tell yourself that the pace of the work won’t allow time to get to know other people or that you have to keep your distance to be effective. I believe that strong relationships build trust. If we start with a human connection, most challenges can be overcome.
Photograph by Sara Rogers for HR Magazine
You have successfully saved this page as a bookmark.
Please confirm that you want to proceed with deleting bookmark.
You have successfully removed bookmark.
Please log in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Please sign in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Please purchase a SHRM membership before saving bookmarks.
An error has occurred
Recommended for you
SHRM Member Discounts Program
SHRM’s HR Vendor Directory contains over 10,000 companies