HR Leaders Talk: Kelly Cardwell, CPHR Talks Talent, Tech and Total Rewards

By: Drew Railton, CPHR

In every issue of PeopleTalk magazine we try to speak with an HR leader to get their thoughts on various HR related topics and pick their brain for some advice they may have for the next generation of HR stars who are just starting out in the profession.

In the summer issue, Drew Railton, CPHR caught up with Kelly Cardwell, CPHR.

With more than 20 years of of experience in the HR field, Kelly has served as director of HR for Best Buy and is currently the  vice-president of HR with Bosa Properties.

Here is what Kelly had to say.

Why did you choose HR or how did it choose you?

Ironically for a person who ended up with a career working with people, I have always loved numbers. I started out doing a Bachelor of Commerce at McGill University with a specialization in accounting, intending to write the exam to obtain my Chartered Accountancy designation. I happened to take a couple of HR-related electives and became hooked on pursuing a career in human resources. I found it to be a fairly broad field for individuals with varying talents. I was able to keep “numbers” as a part of my career, finding my first job as a consultant in compensation, which suited me perfectly.

What was the breakout project or thing you did to really accelerate your career?

I believe my breakout project was the development and implementation of total rewards at Best Buy. This involved a massive multi-year undertaking to create a holistic total rewards package for the four very different businesses within the company—Best Buy, Future Shop, Distribution Centres and Head-office — involving an alignment of what employees were looking for and what the business strategy and plans were, along with market pressures.

The project, while incredibly challenging and complex, was extremely rewarding and allowed me to get a much better understanding of developing and implementing large projects involving geographically-dispersed employees in different businesses with very different objectives/needs. It also taught me the importance of communication and ensuring employees understand the rewards being provided.

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