Corporations are always searching for better ways to produce goods and services. When new technological developments give some organizations a competitive advantage, their rivals try to catch up by adopting and improving on the new technologies. Ford has put many of Toyota’s technical advances to work in its own plants, and General Motors has spent over $50 billion in the last decade to modernize its production facilities to develop skills in flexible manufacturing. A large part of this growth is the Human Resources department of these companies, who are responsible for hiring the people with the knowledge to bring new technology into a company. To be successful in the automotive market, these companies needs a highly skilled, flexible and committed work force, a flexible and innovative management, the ability to retain developed talent, and a strong partnership between management and labor unions. To achieve these goals, the company needs a talented HR department.
Besides hiring the right people to manage and perform specific jobs, HR managers have to build up commitment and loyalty among the workforce by keeping them up to date about company plans, and laying out the implications for job security and working conditions. Such was the case when I worked at Velco. From the interview process to my exit interview at the end of the summer, the HR department was every employees main connection between the production floor and the upper management. The HR department kept us informed via bi-weekly meetings, a company newsletter, and bulletin-board postings throughout the plant. Whenever a question arose, instead of asking middle-management, an employee could go straight to the HR rep they were assigned to. From my experiences, it seemed like the HR reps knew everything there was to know about the company and how it is run.
And I found that to be a very valuable asset. I imagine the same takes place at large corporations around the world, be it Velcro or General Motors. The backbone of any successful company is the HR department, and without a talented group of people to hire, culture, and inform employees, the company is doomed for failure.