Why HR Needs to Take Charge of its Career Growth

HR career growth transform

Join my webinar on Feb. 20, 2020 on 5 Secrets to Career Growth in HR” (February 20, 2020). Interested in joining me? Register here.

Last year represented a huge shift for me. It was the year I decided to invest in myself. I decided that I was worth the investment and worthy of my own time, effort, and attention. It was the year I decided that I wanted more out of my business and knew that as an HR leader, manager and business owner, there was more waiting for me. 

I talked about this shift in a recent Workology podcast, Why I’m Going All Marie Kondo…On Myself. In this episode, I go over my own “aha” moment that set off this critical shift in my personal and business life. Transformation is at the heart of my brand, but after some significant changes, including a move to Austin two-and-a-half years ago, opening my coworking space (Duo Works), writing a book, traveling for conferences and client meetings and speaking engagements, it felt like I was pedaling as fast as I could – except it was on a stationary bike. 

So I’m telling other people about how important it is to focus on transformation in HR and disrupting the status quo, yet my own growth had gotten tangled up in managing what I do every day, pivoting from important thing to important thing as quickly as they popped up. Don’t get me wrong, I thrive on the adrenaline high that comes from working with HR leaders, talking to experts about trends and forecasting and the latest tech, from nailing a solution for a client, from staying up into the wee hours just to get to inbox “close enough to” zero. I’m a people pleaser and multi-tasker and both of these things seemed like they were just part of my identity. 

Personal Transformation In Human Resources 


I needed to be better about focusing on me BEFORE I ran out of steam. I know what burnout feels like, I know what apathy looks like, and I also knew that I couldn’t keep going at the same pace and still be the best I could be for the people that matter the most (my family) and the ones I want to help (clients and the leaders in our industry). Was I great at my job last year? Absolutely. Could I sustain the pace forever? Not a chance. In order to avoid burnout, I had to apply a needs analysis to my own life. I took a step back and identified what I could delegate, what I could reprioritize, and (important) what I no longer needed to focus on.

As I was working on this for myself, it made me realize that so many HR leaders and practitioners could be going through exactly what I experienced. That means they may be missing out on opportunities for professional growth and transformation simply because they’re (1) extremely busy, (2) following the needs of their company instead of their own development, and (3) don’t have the luxury of taking the time to find resources for professional growth.

My own shift in thinking led me to a renewed focus on helping other HR leaders grow, develop and transform. HR is in the spotlight. Companies are in desperate need of mentorship, leadership, and development and in order to serve these businesses we need to upskill and grow our own skills. 

I Found My Purpose in Helping to Elevate HR 


We all began our careers in HR with the goal of doing fulfilling work and helping people find their foothold in their own careers. It makes us happy when we work with others to lift them up, coaching and mentoring and giving them the compass that sets them on the path to doing what they love and making a living from it. For me personally, there was a point where I was focused so much on doing this that I forgot why I started it in the first place. This is what is driving this change in me and it’s my purpose to share it with HR and help you do this too – not just in your professional lives, but in your personal lives as well. 

I mention this in the podcast about Kondo-ing myself, but I’m doubling down on my personal transformation. I’m taking more time for myself, and booked my first retreat in May. I’ve made a promise to stay true to myself, scale back, and focus on the things that bring me happiness and joy. That’s what’s working the most and the best for my business, my career, my growth and my work-life balance. I’m attending a May 2020 Retreat by Gabby Bernstein, I’ve hired a virtual assistant, I’m delegating, I’m reading, I’m meditating…and I still have time to focus on my business. I’m planning a new partnership and a Virtual HR summit. The best part? I’m genuinely, ridiculously excited about what I’m working on every day.

HR Leaders of All Sizes Need Career Growth and Support Plans 


There is a huge need for HR pros in organizations of any size but especially the small to medium (under 10,000 employees) to develop, grow, and focus on HR’s own transformational growth. We’re missing some great opportunities because we’ve let busy-ness take over our professional lives. We all need a strategic plan. How many times have you asked other people where they see themselves in five years, in 10 years? Can you still answer those questions yourself? It’s important that we get the tools we need to lead our own growth and development in HR, no matter what the economy looks like. While nothing is ever certain, I believe that taking charge of our professional growth is the first step to future-proofing our careers in HR.

All of this is the reason we have launched the UpSkill HR membership at Workology. It’s the reason I’m investing and sharing what I’ve learned with others. Growth doesn’t happen overnight and while there are internal changes and choices to be made, it really happens with a whole community and network of people. 

This is why Upskill HR is a new focus for my business and why I’m talking about personal career growth secrets in HR in an upcoming webinar, “5 Secrets to Career Growth in HR” (February 20, 2020). Interested in joining me? Register here.

Bonus: This webinar is worth 1.0 HRCI Business and SHRM credit!

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell (@jmillermerrell) is a workplace change agent, author and consultant focused on human resources and talent acquisition living in Austin, TX. Recognized by Forbes as a top 50 social media influencer and is a global speaker. She’s the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource and host of the Workology Podcast.

Reader Interactions


  1. Amar Yadav says

    Very well said. I am an HR manager and found your blog on the search engine. I like your your blog because I know HR is backbone of the company. Interesting and very nice blog.

  2. Prosper Dzitse says

    this is very insightful. Personally, i have taken the decision to develop myself SO that i don’t run out of STEAM IN the long run. Hr PRACTISES keep changing every now and then. I have discovered that, the traditional HR roles, hiring, recruitment, placement among others will soon be so easy for everyone to do. So whether the PERSON is IN marketing, communication, public relations or accounting as many online resources become available, it will make IT easier for them to perform such roles. Hr then must make self development, diversity and multiplicity a priority in order to maintain the relevance in every organisation.


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