Rochester, New York, has a rich history of professional awards honoring individuals and organizations that emulate excellence. It seems as though every month there is another awards luncheon or dinner to celebrate emerging leaders, distinguished innovators or lifetime achievers. There is, however, at least one important area that often seems to be overlooked. That is, until this year.
Human resources executives are typically the ones who ask the intangible questions that most do not want to ask. The questions they ask and the answers they receive are different in every organization so understanding the strategic goals of an organization is instrumental in their success. HR executives work every day to develop strategic initiatives and plans to promote the goals of the company.
These initiatives are not just focused on the HR team; they affect every department and individual in the organization on a personal level. The questions they ask can make or break a company’s long-term success. For example: Do we have a feasible succession plan in place for our top executives? What benefits changes will we need to attract and retain our key employees, while balancing profitability? How are the new laws and mandates going to affect all levels of the organization now and in the future? The list goes on and on. What does not, however, are the ways in which these leaders are recognized for the key role they play in the organization’s success.
Through the achieved contributions offered by Human Resources executives, most CEOs, presidents and owners now recognize and understand the value of human resources. This has made it possible for human resources executives to earn the right to have a seat at the strategic planning table. Some may argue there isn’t always a way to measure the success of human resources as clearly as other areas. It’s hard to put a dollar value on how much of an economic impact employee relations and employee satisfaction really have. Many know of traditional HR measures, such as turnover, time to fill and cost to hire. Few, however, understand how difficult it can be to quantify the true cost of a key employee leaving the company because of an inexperienced manager or leader.
No matter the size of the company, successful HR executives can direct key initiatives without a tangible figure to prove what they have done. Whether the HR team consists of one individual or over 1,000 team members spanning the globe, the successful leader understands the strategic objectives of the organization and develops solutions to attain those objectives. That leader is critical to any company’s success; either handling the day-to-day work directly or hiring the right staff to do just that. That leader is the person that the Rochester Affiliate of National Human Resources Association wants to recognize as our 2014 HR Executive of the Year.
The National Human Resources Association was established in 1951 and is focused on advancing the individual career development, planning and leadership of human resource professionals. The Rochester Affiliate is a 200-member organization that is focused on helping individuals in the HR profession to “Connect, Excel, Lead.” The National Human Resources Association – Rochester Affiliate and the HR Executive of the Year Committee decided it was important to recognize the top in their field for outstanding contributions and leadership. HR executives have struggled to prove their worth at the strategic planning table and they deserve recognition for the unique and irreplaceable talent they bring.
The Rochester Affiliate officially announced the award program to the local community in October and the nominations started flowing. It is clear that our community is hungry to recognize the achievements of these great leaders. We expected to get nominations from CEOs, but in actuality we are getting nominations from subordinates, colleagues and senior leaders. This unique showing of support will enable us to recognize someone truly deserving of this honor.
The first annual Rochester HR Executive of the Year Award will be presented on April 29, 2014, at Oak Hill Country Club. More information can be found at www.humanresources.org on the Rochester Affiliate news page.
Jennifer Garigen is a placement director with AP Professionals and has been a board member of National Human Resources Association — Rochester Affiliate since 2005. This article is brought to you by the Rochester affiliate of the National HR Association, a local professional HR organization focused on advancing the career development, planning and leadership of HR professionals. Visit www.humanresources.org for more information.