If you understand the myriad details of your paystub, had a question answered about the attendance policy, made changes to your US Bank pay card or participated in the SYKES Global Survey, chances are you are benefitting from the work of Jen Harrielson.
Jen is a six-year veteran of SYKES and part of the North American communications team, and the HR communications team before that. She views her job as essentially that of a teacher, a role suited to her background as someone who taught school and tutored privately before coming to SYKES.
“The teaching I do now is from a content-creation standpoint,” she explains. Jen works on a daily basis to create content for flyers, posters, PowerPoint decks, memos and other internal communications that puts know-how into the hands of the people of SYKES.
“One of the reasons I’m always happy at work is because I have so many friends.”
Keeping employees informed is more than just issuing cut and dried instructions, Jen says. Context is key. “You can’t just say, ‘oh, everyone needs to change their pay card,’” she offers as an example. “You have to explain, here’s what’s better, here’s what’s in it for you, why we’re making the change, and here’s what you need to do. And explain that in a way that is creative and fun.”
The mix of talent and training that helps Jen be successful comes from her teaching and tutoring background, and training at SYKES in Project and Change Management. But more than any formal background it’s Jen’s knowledge of the people of SYKES that makes her effective. As a self-professed “people-person,” Jen has made many friends from her time in HR working with others around the globe.
“I can Skype someone with a question, from Canada to Cebu, Philippines, in any department. In Malvern, I can’t go to Walmart without running into friends from SYKES and we always stop and catch up.” Jen says this is the secret of her success – and why she is so happy at work. “Studies have shown that happiness at work is related to your relationships, and one of the reasons I’m always happy at work is because I have so many friends.”
Jen may have her hands in myriad HR communication projects today, but when she started at SYKES working in the Malvern center her hands were engaged in more mundane tasks. She cleaned toilets.
“I was called a maintenance assistant, but it was really just cleaning. Cleaning bathrooms, the break room, everything.”
One advantage to the position was that Jen got to meet a lot of people. “One day there was a lady visiting from corporate. I was taking her trash out and we started talking. I told her I was interested in a career, a desk job, something different.”
That conversation led to change. Soon Jen was helping on the site’s front desk, then recruitment, eventually becoming an HR assistant. Her natural affinity for math and detail-oriented tasks made her adept at managing HR IS systems and she became the first member of a newly created HR Service Center. Jen flourished in the role but eventually wanted to stretch her wings again, which led her into HR communications. It was a great match.
“I love my job” says Jen. “It combines the two things I love – I love to teach people, and I love to help.”