Nikki Broderick has always been a knowledge seeker. And, that unending curiosity has led her to a successful HR consulting career.
Even as a high schooler, Nikki was already feeling out her career aspirations. Eventually, she chose HR. It didn’t take long before Nikki’s insatiable curiosity and quick-study attitude acquired a reputation as a go-to problem-solver.
That led her to work for Best Buy for 12 years in a variety of functional areas, then moved into a global HR operations role at St. Jude Medical, standardizing and harmonizing programs and processes in HR.
A love of learning leads to valuable experience across HR functions
“A lot of HR pros move up within a vertical space and specialize in one area,” she explains. Instead, she decided to spend her time going across all the functional areas to get a depth of knowledge across the whole of human resources.
“I love to learn, I’m a sponge, and the best way to do that is to get in and do things—get that experience in all the different areas,” she says.
That somewhat unorthodox approach set her up for her next step, whether she realized it or not.
“When I left St. Jude, I left with the idea that I’d move into a HR business partner role, or go into consulting, bringing all my experience to bear for clients,” she says.
Breadth of knowledge makes her a multitasking master
It didn’t take long before Nikki’s insatiable curiosity and quick-study attitude acquired a reputation as a go-to problem-solver. She’s now managing seven different projects, all in various stages of support.
“Some need a weekly check-in and directions. Some I spend 10-15 hours a week with them, really digging deep in working sessions, drafting content, and having conversations. There’s an ebb and flow across those projects.” It’s no exaggeration to say that Nikki’s eyes glow and she starts to lean forward in her chair when she starts talking about helping her clients. But that’s not all she does.
By design, Nikki’s ’s role is slightly different at Salo: While she manages plenty of client projects, some of her work is for Salo. She helps scope projects and assists BDDs in matching consultants to potential projects. She also maintains relationships with the HR tech vendor community so she can help match tech vendors to clients, when appropriate.
“Some of my successes come in being curious: Finding out what problems people are trying to solve and wanting to help solve those problems. Wanting to ask questions and help people through your own knowledge or skills—or connecting them with other people who have the skills that they need.”
Curiosity + control = the best parts of consulting
One of the most important aspects of consulting—what keeps her going at such a varied workload—is having the choice and power to choose the projects she’s most interested in.
“Everybody, at some point, has experienced a soul-sucking job and wondered, ‘How much longer do I have to do this before my manager moves or direction of company changes or something about my job changes?’ In this role, I don’t feel like I’ve ever experienced that because I’m in control.”
What makes her love her job even more is that she can make a greater impact as a consultant than if she was filling just one role at one organization. “At any given time, I could be helping seven instead, and leaving behind the knowledge and experiences I have, so that the teams also grow from it.”
Curious about a consulting career?
If you’re considering a career as a consultant, Nikki advises doing some soul searching to get really clear on what’s important to you. The questions she would ask to turn up some insights:
- What do you value?
- What are you looking for in a job?
- What’s important to you in work/life balance?
- What’s important to you in a project?
“Be really open and honest with yourself and with anybody you’re talking to about what you’re looking for,” she advises. “And know those things change! Revisiting what’s important to you from time to time is also important.”