Tending the HR Garden

By Donna J. Bear

HR takes seriously its responsibilities to ensure that the workforce receives appropriate training and development and that managers learn how to coach and engage their staff members. But is HR adequately looking closely at its own needs?

The increased intensity of focus on accountability, measurement and alignment has placed all human capital under the microscope. If HR is to acquire and groom the talent that will produce and sustain organizational performance, its own talent group will need to be able to pass muster as well.

Planting the seeds

The newest crop of HR talent – those currently enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs – is being exposed to far broader curriculath an HR professionals of the past. Today’s academic preparation for HR is likely to include courses in finance, operations, strategic thinking, planning, data segmentation and more. Lisa Harris, senior VP at HR service provider Gevity, says, “The function is now attracting people who want to be seen as business people first, HR experts second.” Future additions to HR curricula may include such topics as outsourcing, vendor relations, globalization, technology and regulations. These subjects will better prepare graduates to function as internal consultants and business partners who can also perform in other areas of the organization (Rodriguez, 2006b).


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