Get to Know Michael Hagdorn

Why did you choose HR as your field?

I began my undergraduate program with a strong drive towards business, but unfortunately without a clear focus on my “end game”. After some great, hands-on work experience and coursework in the social sciences, it became quite clear to me that HR was my home.

What is your current job or role?

I currently serve as the dedicated HR Business Partner to the Engineering & Technology, Manufacturing, and Regulatory Affairs discipline of Arkema’s North American operations. My responsibilities include: recruitment, training, compensation and benefits, performance management, employee relations and retention. Arkema is a global chemical company with operations in more than 40 countries and roughly 14,000 employees.

In your current job, what gives you the greatest sense of reward and accomplishment?

Although I’m sure it’s an expected answer, what I love most is the opportunity to work with and help others. In fact, I particularly love this time of year (University Recruitment season) when I have the privilege of interviewing highly intelligent, early-in-career Chemical Engineers to join our organization, and better yet, when I have the pleasure of extending a formal offer of employment.   There is no greater joy for an HR professional than the influence and impact that we can bring to our employees, be it employee engagement, retention, or development.

What is your greatest personal or professional accomplishment?

Without a doubt, one of my greatest professional accomplishments is the attainment of my PHR certification. The body of knowledge that is expected of us HR Professionals is quite extensive and requires a high degree of passion and dedication.

What words of wisdom would you offer to someone entering the HR field?

Businesses today hold HR in high regard! We are sought after and consulted on a variety of topics. While all of this is great news, what this also means is that the expectation of us and our capabilities has grown quite high. From recruiter to training facilitator to change agent, we are expected to wear many hats and do so with grace and ease.

To best arm yourself for success, I offer 3 pieces of advice:

  • Remain committed to continuing your education! Laws, regulations and HR practices/technology are constantly changing. Stay informed and ahead of the curve.
  • Find a mentor! Better yet, aim to establish a network of multiple mentors.
  • Network, network, network! People love to talk about what they do for a living, and HR people are no different.

What have you found most valuable about being a member of PSHRM?

Philadelphia is home to many brilliant HR leaders. With Philly SHRM serving as “the hub” to this community, I have found great value in being a part of this chapter. PSHRM hosts an array of training and development opportunities, along with a number of networking/social activities.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

As a Center City resident, you will typically find me exploring the city with my partner. We love to dine out so there is a good shot that you will find us enjoying a meal at whatever new restaurant opens up nearby. Additionally, I love to travel and am eagerly awaiting my first visit to Las Vegas later this month!

If given an opportunity to do something really extraordinary or adventurous, what would it be and why?

As mentioned previously, I love to travel. While I’ve seen a handful of great places so far, I believe my next big adventure lies overseas in either Italy or Australia. Better yet, why not give both a try.

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