And Now About the People Factor

Joan Marques - Ed.D., MBA.
Burbank, California

Here are some points to ponder regarding people at work:

Q: Why are Human Resource Departments in today's organizations increasingly important?

A: Because the people factor is finally earning the place it deserves in organizations, and leaders realize that if they want to have the right people in the right places, the HR department will need to know in what direction the leader wants the company to develop. This makes involvement of HR departments a must in the outlining of the company’s strategies.

Q: Why should every working person have a mentor?

A: Because a mentor can teach you the things you will not learn right away on the job. A mentor should therefore be an experienced person in the field of your interest. Your mentor does not necessarily have to be employed in the same workplace. And moreover, your mentor does not have to be somebody who resembles you. Women can (or maybe even should) have male mentors, and a minority member can have a non-minority mentor. And don't think that the mentee is the only one benefiting from this relationship. The mentor will experience some advantages too: the mentee is usually a devoted person who will make him- or herself available to-, and speak highly of the mentor. And what is better for one's reputation and self-esteem than a walking advertisement?

Q: Why should recruiters of job applicants contemplate more intensively on the appropriate application strategy?

A: Because we all know by now that résumé's can be grossly overstated or even unrealistic, and references may be afraid to tell the truth for some reason. That places a heavy toll on the interview process: unstructured job interviews should be minimized, because they can become prone to the recruiters biases. Structured interviews enable the recruiter better to ask questions that are more tailored toward the need, and to compare the various applicants' qualities.

Q: What are some of the pro's and con's of internal versus external hiring?

A: Internal hiring gives current workers the positive insight that advancing within the organization is possible for all of them. It also eliminates lengthy application processes and training periods. But it may mean that the job will be filled by a person who is not entirely appropriate for it, while another, lower ranked position falls open anyway. On the other hand: external hiring brings in specialized people with fresh insights, but it requires a more costly recruitment process and the admission of a person who may turn out to be a major disappointment.

Q: What are some entrepreneurial characteristics that every working person should have?

A: How about these:

  • Admit that you don't know everything, and thus: keep your ears open.

  • Practice endurance, even when times are rough. Sometimes the solution lies in hanging on a little longer.

  • Realize that every aspect of life has ups and downs: enjoy the ups, and learn from the downs.

  • Develop a career plan, but don't be glued to it: flexibility is the key to survival and, even better, staying ahead of others.

  • Be passionate about what you're doing, otherwise you won't be in it for the long run.

  • Dare to take risks, but know the line between audacity and recklessness.