When People Are the Bottom Line: No Longer a Place for Has-Beens, Human Resources Moves to the Cutting Edge of Strategic Business Planning

By Solomon, Charlene Marmer | Black Enterprise, February 1994 | Go to article overview

When People Are the Bottom Line: No Longer a Place for Has-Beens, Human Resources Moves to the Cutting Edge of Strategic Business Planning


Solomon, Charlene Marmer, Black Enterprise


No longer a place for has-beens, human resources moves to the cutting edge of strategic business planning.

ALFRED LITTLE JR. TAKES A DEEP breath and looks out his 27th floor window of Sun Company. He's done so much, it's hard to remember sometimes all that he's accomplished since the morning. Oh, yes. First, there was the departmental meeting to discuss staffing a reorganized department--who to promote, who to move. Later, a working lunch to solve some people problems as Sun Company, the $10 billion petroleum products corporation, is divesting one of its businesses. His job: Put together a compensation package to encourage the head of that business to dismantle it quickly and judiciously.

Between juggling phone calls and answering voice-mail messages, Little checks his schedule for tomorrow. He'll start with a breakfast for the Board of Directors of Philadelphia's Urban League and end with a scheduled four-hour meeting on diversity. Together, a cross-section of top executives and middle-level employees--both staff and line, minority and non-minority--will devise ways to manage diversity within the company. The goal is to increase minority representation and help promote a positive image in the community in order to continue to attract and promote minorities and women.

It's a typical 10-hour day for Little, Sun's vice president, human resources. Quite a change from the human resources field most people remember--when HR was considered a soft, cuddly place for people who couldn't crunch numbers or understand business strategy. Maybe even a place for has-beens.

Not so anymore. Ask Al Little, and he'll tell you that human resources has finally been invited into corporate America's inner sanctum. "The human resources profession has come of age," he says. "We've moved from an administrative department--hiring, firing, benefits processing--into an arena where we're able to be major players in the business enterprise as a whole."

Thanks to downsizing, fierce global competition, and the volatility of U.S. business, corporate America finally recognizes that managing human capital is as important as managing financial capital. HR has become the front line for strategic business decisions. Increasingly, executives from other divisions move through the HR area, and management trainees armed with MBAs look for opportunities there. It is also a place that career-savvy people consider if they want to make a real impact.

Estimates of the percentage of HR personnel who are black ranges from 5% to 10.5%. Executives like Little have proven that human resource generalists can be strategic business partners, helping make it a solid profession--with a range of opportunities and credible salaries to boot. Mid-career pay hovers around $50,000 and moves up to $250,000 for the highest paid executives.

Consequently, HR is no longer the touchy-feely career it once was when psychology backgrounds reigned. Indeed, count Human Resources among the corporate functions that have been reengineered. Today, HR people should have an understanding of compensation, benefits, employee relations, and organizational planning and development. In addition, corporate HR practitioners are expected to have a strong command of business practices, to understand financials, to be able to quantify the effects of their programs on the bottom line and to sell their programs to management.

Clearly, human resource departments, which have long been hospitable places for African-Americans as well as other minorities and women, now offer a wealth of career opportunities. Of course, the very fact that HR has long been an area where blacks could make a mark leads some HR executives to caution that your opportunities in some companies could top out. That's why it's important to take a close look at the career paths of other African-Americans within the company you're targeting. Be sure to look at the executive track record of those who are currently in the HR department of that company, as well as those in other departments who have had HR experience during their careers. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

When People Are the Bottom Line: No Longer a Place for Has-Beens, Human Resources Moves to the Cutting Edge of Strategic Business Planning
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.