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We asked HR professionals to tell us about their time in HR. Here are their stories.
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Where to Rotate?
When seeking to gain knowledge and experience from other fields, the first question HR professionals must ask is: To whom should I look? What functional areas outside HR provide the best preparation and insights?
“If I could choose only one, it would be whatever functional arm I’m supporting,” says Christopher Collins, assistant professor at the Department of Human Resource Studies, School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University. “If I’m supporting the finance group, I’d go there. If I’m supporting manufacturing, that would be my choice.”
“I’d pick the manager with the toughest department from an HR perspective, or the one bringing in the most money,” says Todd Sperl, an organizational effectiveness staffer at St. John Health in Warren, Mich., who asked to partner with line managers to better understand how hospitals work. “Ask a key person in finance, operations and marketing.”
Whatever you do, push for some outside experience, urges Dave Hilborn, Midwest unit practice leader for HR operations consulting at Mercer HR Consulting in Chicago. “Without it, it’s like inbreeding. Unless you infuse some diversity and new experiences into your development, how can you expect to become knowledgeable about business operations?”
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