Magazine article Workforce

Workforce Optimas 2000

Magazine article Workforce

Workforce Optimas 2000

Article excerpt

What a difference a decade makes. Just 10 years ago, HR in most organizations was still an administrative support function. Some went so far as to call it a backwater, where old forms were sent to die and where useless rules were written. But a few visionary souls-within HR and outside it-had seen the future and it looked very different. They saw a world in which HR was a key force in business, a valued player grappling with big challenges and helping to move business forward.

The visionaries faced rampant skepticism and even pockets of open derision. Undaunted, they set about proving they were right. They have succeeded. FIR today is not only a major force in business, it's also the custodian of what we understand more than ever to be our greatest assets: employees.

The story of the trans formation from administrator to strategist is a story we've told through the experiences of the 89 organizations that have received the WORKFORCE Optimas Award. It isn't C a story punctuated by policies, forms or rules. It isn't a story told with the vocabulary of benefit plan enrollment, EEOC compliance or salary grades. It is a story writ large, of rules broken, conventional wisdom shattered and boundaries stretched.

It is, above all, a business story. In it you will find all the buZZwords of the past decade: reengineering, TQM, rightsizing, diversity, globalization. Like it or not, that's what everyone in business was dealing with. But whatever the lingo being slung at any point in time, the real business story of the '90s is that HR was right in the thick of it, working alongside everyone else to make business better.

So the stories of the Optimas Award winners are stories of aging businesses reinventing themselves to compete in a new economy and of record growth in new high technology firms. They are stories of public-sector organizations struggling to compete in unfamiliar ways with the private sector. They are stories of organizations confronting deregulated marketplaces.. a more diverse workforce and global expansion. They are stories of mergers and acquisitions that have reshaped the business landscape. They are, in short, stories of business in the often thrilling and always turbulent '90s.

In that sense, the Optimas Awards have fulfilled our mission. We created them 10 years ago to focus on business issues. …

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