The topics of human resources and employment law often cross each other borders. The Carnival of HR — which is basically a wrap up of various HR-related blog posts for the prior fortnight — is up today with a very informative series of posts about human resources topics.
One article that caught my eye comes from the Great Leadership blog. In it, the author recounts what he learned from being in a HR Generalist position for nearly two years. Among the insights:
An effective HR pro really needs to understand the business strategy and every function of the business. For me, that was the most developmental part of the experience. It wasn’t learning how to design compensation plans or write a legally defensible restructuring plan. I had the opportunity to learn all about marketing, engineering, research, product development, manufacturing, sales, acquisitions, and strategic planning. I’ve been fortunate to work in companies where HR has a “seat at the table”, and I learned a lot of business acumen from sitting at that damn table.
The author’s observations highlight the subtle shift that has taken place at many corporations in America over the last decade or so. No longer are (some) HR people consigned the just hire and hire people or deal with benefit plans, but they are expected to contribute to the overall business strategy and growth of the company.
From an employment law perspective, why is this important? Because when human resources people are "at the table", they can ensure that whatever business strategy that is conducted will be in compliance with the law. The law doesn’t need to dictate strategy, but a savvy human resources professional can recognize early on when a strategy won’t pass muster under the law. It’s a lot better to build a winning strategy then to have an HR person, or employment law attorney shoot down the strategy on the eve of its implementation.