Hands-on human resources

Kim Records knows modern human resources professionals don’t just shuffle time sheets, update medical insurance brochures and file performance assessments. Far from it.

Today, human resources departments play a central role in ensuring their company’s success. They guide hiring decisions. They advise on the most efficient reporting structures. Most important, they help employees become all they can be.

“Making sure every employee is in the right place, and productive, and personally balanced is very important,” Records explains.

At a young age, this business administration major is already passionate about exploring the creative, interpersonal side of business. That’s not surprising: Her father is a human resources executive himself.

But Records is definitely charting her own path to professional success, first with a challenging triple concentration in human resources, marketing and management, then with an impressively varied array of co-op jobs and experiential opportunities.

In fact, the senior’s dedication to her field has earned her the 2009 Northeast Human Resources Association’s John D. Erdlen Scholarship Award, part of the organization’s Future Stars in HR program.

Recently, Records studied in France at the Centre D’Etudes Franco Americain de Management, working as a consultant for Festé Tiles, an artisanal tile-making start-up in Villefranche-sur-Saône, north of Lyon. She helped revamp the company’s organizational structure, a change that made it easier for the business to keep track of orders and deadlines.

“We saw the workshop was very unorganized and thought things could be done faster if it were more clearly organized,” she says.

Even before she left for France, a Northeastern course on the cultural aspects of international business taught her to navigate business etiquette in a foreign country. One difference she noted right away: When conversing, French businesspeople stand much closer to one another than Americans do.

Her earlier co-ops had introduced her to a range of experiences. As a sophomore, she worked as an employee-recruiting coordinator in talent acquisition at Gillette, helping to find and hire candidates for technical roles.

The following year, she did a co-op at Wellington Management Company, acting as the primary contact when any of the nearly 1,900 employees had a question about benefits or 401(k) plans. She also helped develop an employment wellness initiative, starting a newsletter that offered healthful lifestyle tips.

Nor is the Lafayette, Calif., native’s enthusiasm for helping others confined to co-op. Records has played an active role in the Boston community as a member of Strong Women, Strong Girls, a nonprofit organization that seeks to nurture the self-esteem and leadership skills of young girls.

Through Strong Women, Strong Girls, Records coached a group of 8- to 10-year-olds as they created a mural depicting the importance of healthy lifestyle choices.

“I decided when I returned from study abroad that I wanted to make a difference in the community,” Records says. “I love interacting with the girls. When they unveiled their mural, they were just so proud and really excited.”

The project improved the children’s interpersonal relationships with peers, teachers and community members, helping them lay valuable groundwork for becoming all they can be, Records says.