interview that they conducted with Labor Relations Ms. Sheila Brown, a Labor Relations Specialist who works with the U.S. government in Columbia, SC. The interview paper involved an interview where she answered questions and answers about her job so that the author could get a better understanding of her type of work. In addition to the interview, the project essay will begin with a literature review that will relate labor relations theory application that links to the actual job processes and/or functions. Then, we will relate the results of Ms. Brown's interview to gain real world insights into her profession and how it functions in the U.S. government. The literature review will give us an idea of how the discipline is different in the private sector.
Ms. Brown is officially known as a Labor Relations Officer/Manager (LROs) or Chief Human Relations Officer (CHRO). These terms can and are usually used interchangeably. A CHRO head is usually a corporate officer who is the over all the other departments for human relations and industrial relations operations for a corporation. CHROs may also be involved in the final selection of board members, employee compensation and the planning of succession in organizations. In addition, such functions as communications, public relations and other related areas may come within the scope of the CHROs role. Increasingly, the CHRO reports directly to the Chief Executive Officer and is a member of the top senior-level committees of the corporation (Ciccarelli, 2011) .
Based upon a corporation's strategy, goals and overall objectives, the CHRO functions will help the organization to ensure that there is a continual pipeline of available talent to continue to meet its corporate performance and growth objectives. This requires that the employee turnover is managed effectively. Also, the HR is responsible to make sure that there is a broad pool of potential external candidates to fill the position openings. Another responsibility that human resources many times heads up programs that are established to develop the organization's internal pool of talent to fill broader and more successively responsible positions. Additionally, the human resources function must help ensure that the corporation retains high performing and high potential talent through the proper management of training and development opportunities, mentoring, coaching and the allocation of rewards ("The 21st century," 2006) .
The human resources department effort usually includes recruiting, hiring, organizational staffing and training and development. This is accomplished organization-wide with regard to the integration, assessment, motivation and retention of skilled talent. Human resources responsibilities also can include employee management as well as executive development that is in concert with succession planning in the organization. The CHRO is the most important individual resource in terms of working with the board on the succession of CEOs and senior managers. Successful corporations are highly selective in their hiring of source candidates from a broad pool of applicants. They invest in the development of all employees and invest in high performing, high potential candidates that can develop and grow with the organization long-term (ibid).
A leading book in the field of human resources management, The Chief Human Resource Officer, Defining the Role of Human Resource Leaders offers some very pointed insights into the profession. The authors focus on what the feel is the continuing top priority for CHROs, that is, the management of talent and retention. The book quotes Gap CHRO Eva Sage-Gavin, CHRO who says that "... At the end of the day, you and your team are the experts at talent management and must be able to understand and identify good vs. great talent… Identifying critical positions, the great attributes needed to fill them, and prioritizing recruiting strategies accordingly was the key to success...(Wright, Boudreau, Pace, McKinnon & Antoine, 2011, 26) ." In other words, CHROs are charged with identifying, recruiting, training and retaining key personnel for their organizations.
The CHRO heads up the corporation's effort to build sustainable a competitive advantage via the selection and development of that top talent that possesses capabilities that make the organization differentiate itself from its competitors. Bill Conaty and Ram Charan emphasize just this point in Talent Masters. The claim that only one competency lasts. In their analysis, this is the ability to create a steady and self-renewing leadership stream of individuals. In the end, money is just another commodity. The edge is supplied by talent. Talent development is the bottomline for the corporation when everything else is considered and done. They are a perishable commodity. If well managed, there will continue to be a pool of institutional learning, skill development and capabilities in the people that make up the corporation (Conaty & Charan, 2010, 2) . Later in the book, the authors quote other leading CHROs on their emphasis of additional aspects of human resources leadership. These include delivering results with a global team. Further, they quote Hugh Mitchell who is CHRO for Royal Dutch Shell who identifies team playing in a global economy as a major challenge. Another key issue that Conaty and Charan identify as important is General Mills CHRO Michael Davis' emphasis upon developing and communicating employee values that will differentiate a corporation in its attempts to attract and retain high quality talent that is needed to help achieve the organization's business objectives, as emphasized by Michael Davis, CHRO for General Mills (ibid, 226).
However, as important as people are, selecting them first may be putting the proverbial cart before the horse. According to an article in the Harvard Business Review, the identification of exactly what the key jobs are is the first priority. In the article, the author's maintain that a single-minded focus on finding and developing the proper players misses the point. If the strategically important jobs are not identified, then the organization can invest
in the time needed to make sure that right are in those
positions (Huselid, Beatty & Becker, 2005, 1-2). Unfortunately such an approach can be difficult for human resources personnel. Usually, they have gotten into the discipline favor the equal treatment of employees. However, today's competitive environment requires a shift from such an approach to treating or rewarding everyone according to the value of his or her contribution. This approach is value driven and powered by the bottom line (ibid, 7).
With this methodology in mind, we can now review the results of Ms Brown's interview. Fortunately, working for the U.S. government is not quite as competitive as in the private sector. She can focus more in a typical day on her main duties which involve recruiting, hiring and training employees for work in her agency.
Some of these duties are unpleasant, especially when dealing with problems of harassment in the workplace. Fortunately, most of rest of job is much more pleasant. Ms Brown is responsible for providing support in a number of various human resource functions including recruitment, staffing and training and development. Also, she conducts performance monitoring as well as employee counseling.
The Human Resource Officer in the U.S. government provides both advice and assistance to supervisors and staff. Such advice may include information on departmental training needs, job opportunities, job descriptions and performance reviews
. Her position coordinates the staff recruitment process for her department and provides support and advice to supervisors and staff selection committees. In addition, she ensures that these people have accurate and timely information in to make effective decisions. Essentially, the time is divided pretty equally between these core duties. In terms of problems, Ms Brown rates harassment on the job as an unfortunate problem that she has to deal with. Equal employment opportunity is a serious business. Unfortunately, such issues (even in the U.S. government consume about a quarter of her time.
Ms. Brown graduated from the University of Maryland-Baltimore County in 2006. She interned in the agency and then took a job as a file clerk to get in on the ground level and to work her way up. Ms Brown got into this type of work because she was a people person. She did not start in the position but was promoted from within from a clerical position after she saw an advertisement on the human resources bulletin board. She had interned as a student in and HR environment and suggested that this might be a good way to get such a position. She likes the rewards of dealing with people and making them happy, but dislikes having to discipline or fire people. This was the most challenging and dislikeable part of the job. She said that she liked working for the government because she could concentrate on people and not profits.
Ms Brown is under some pressure now because the U.S. government is not hiring as many people and she is now taking on responsibilities that were once delegated to others. She thinks that the position will eventually look more similar to that in the private sector. For this reason, she talked about related jobs as well. Employment and placement. Employment and placement managers supervise the…