Posted: October 18, 2009
Human Resources can be an exec’s best friend
HR can help you land the job -- and make the most of itBy Stephanie Klein
Recently, CoBizmag.com ran an article titled: "Human resources: an exec's worst enemy" by John Heckers. As a CEO, recruiter and president of the Colorado Human Resources Association, I feel qualified to present another perspective.
Proclaiming that all HR people are ineffective, power-hungry and out of touch with the business is like saying all CEOs are crooks and all accountants are unable to interact with people. You can find ineffective people in every organization; but it's misleading and, frankly, career-limiting to tell someone in a career search to always go around HR.
I have worked with many CEOs who value and rely on the insight, direction and impact of their HR leaders. Mr. Heckers appears to be familiar only with those organizations which elect to view their human resource practitioners as a necessary evil, rather than a strategic partner. As Liz Ryan of World @ Work has commented, "Most organizations have the HR department they deserve."
The best HR people I work with - and our firm comes in contact regularly with leading industries in Colorado, such as health care, telecommunications, technology, financial services and the nonprofit sectors - are true business partners and have their finger on the pulse of their business and its culture.
In fact, for the past four years, ColoradoBiz has underwritten and sponsored the Colorado Society of Human Resource Management's Best Companies Event. The companies that are recognized have outstanding business performance, and the CEOs interviewed in each category underscore the value that their HR departments have on their overall success.
These CEOs consistently utilize their HR leaders as essential and effective partners in developing and executing organizational strategy.
There are many laws being passed these days that directly impact employers. That said, there's no doubt that too much of what HR is tasked with is bureaucratic and generally driven by increasingly complex and onerous labor laws.
Most of my HR colleagues, however, continually seek to minimize and balance this administrative detail while ensuring HR still effectively manages the risk and reward inherent in the "people" side of the business.
If you're looking for a new opportunity, do your research, know all the players -- including those in human resources -- and leverage HR to your advantage. HR can help you land a great role within a company and help you get the most out of it.
Stephanie Klein is president of the 1,300-member Colorado Human Resource Association. She is also CEO and founder of The Boomer Group, an employment services firm dedicated to matching Colorado employers with the best and most experienced candidates so that they can achieve results now.