Interviewing The Buzz on HR (Sarah Williams)

As of today, we’re only a month away from Louisiana SHRM Conference! What better way to start getting the “buzz” out there than to interview a fellow HR colleague and speaker of the conference, our good friend “The Buzz on HR” or Sarah Williams. Sarah will be speaking on “How to Be an HR Super Sleuth” which will give lessons on practical ways to m handle investigations and resolution of workplace conflicts. So without further ado…


What made you decide to be in HR?
My mother is an HR pro. I grew up watching her work and wanted to be like her. I didn’t know what all that meant until I was a senior in college. I was pre-law but after interning for a summer, I knew that wasn’t going to be the path for me. So I started talking to my mom and other people about what it would take to work in HR. When Then I looked for entry-level HR roles. I ended up in light-industrial staffing. I loved it instantly. The rest is pretty much history.

What keeps you in this field?
I stay in it because I love what I do and I know I am good at it. The work I do to develop our staff and keep the work flowing and protect my company is important and it matters. HR touches every piece of the organization — operations, accounting, marketing, IT, etc. I don’t think I would get the opportunity to do that in any other area. So I stay put. I try to broaden myself through writing and speaking and teaching — but I love “working a desk” and I don’t see myself giving that up any time soon.

What challenges do you face?
I don’t think I face any challenges that are especially unique in my work or my life. Like most, I struggle with finding time and resources to accomplish all the tasks in front of me. Figuring out the priorities when everything is a priority is not easy. That’s the grind. That’s HR. But those are good problems to have in the grand scheme of things.

Your session is on investigation tactics, what made you decide to present on this topic?
I can’t think of anything more important that we do in HR than investigate and resolve employee issues. Yet I’ve found it is one of the things we are the least prepared for coming into the field and I haven’t found a lot of training on it once we’re in it. That is so not good! I wanted to fill that void a little. I enjoy investigating and I’m pretty good at it. My “win” percentages on separation litigation claims is in the 90s over my career. I’m serious about it but I don’t take it too seriously. So I am looking forward to sharing some of the best practices I’ve learned in my session — and having a little fun in the process.

What session/speaker/event are you looking most forward to for LA SHRM 2013?
All of them!! I almost wish I wasn’t speaking so I could just sit back and breathe in and enjoy what everyone else is doing. The sessions all look fantastic. The LA SHRM team has outdone themselves again with the speakers. I’m so glad I get to come back and honored to be speaking here. I’m mostly just looking forward to spending time with the HR pros that I already know and meeting even more great people at this years event. These conferences are like a revival for me — they always inspire me and encourage me and remind me why I do this work. And going to Baton Rouge — I’ve never been! I can’t wait to see what the Red Stick has in store!

Sarah Williams began blogging under the pen name “Buzz Rooney” in 2011. After 2 years, she made the decision to retire the nickname and cartoon avatar to write and speak under her real name. Sarah is a practicing HR Professional with over 10 years experience in the light industrial and retail industries. She currently works as the Director of Human Resources for a large retail franchise. She has Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Studies with a focus on Organizational Communication and Leadership as well as a Master’s Degree in Human Resources Management. When not working or writing, Sarah is a single mom with 2 children living in Raleigh, North Carolina. She enjoys mindlessly watching television, spending time with friends and family, reading, eating and sleeping. Read her writings, connect and contact her through her website, The Buzz on HR.  
We look forward to seeing Sarah at Louisiana SHRM Conference on April 8th – 9th in Baton Rouge! Read more about the conference here and more of Sarah’s guest posts here

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