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To Heck with the H.R. Department

Jennifer Prosek  Follow

I am a voracious reader of management books.  As a true believer that great managers are made, I consider myself a student of management, always striving to be better.  I have been reading Alan Murray's Wall Street Journal Essential Guide to Management.  It is a "core read" and provides critical tips and a terrific reading list (I am happy to report I've read about 80 percent of Murray's recommended management reads).  For avid readers of management books there isn't anything new here, but it’s a great compendium.  One of the best affirmations the book provides is its commentary on Human Resources.  Don’t get me wrong, the book DOES NOT suggest to do away with the HR department.  But what it does say is that employee engagement, and other essential parts of a great company culture, are often delegated to the "HR Shop" when they are really the responsibilities of managers.

What the heck is engagement anyway?  It’s getting employees involved in decision-making, it’s allowing them to voice their views, it’s the feeling that they are doing valuable and meaningful work, and that they understand the link between their contribution and the company's.

This week I will speak to 500 entrepreneurship professors at the USBE conference in Hilton Head.  I have been asked to tell my personal story and discuss CJP's Army of Entrepreneurs Model.  At its core, the AOE model was born out of a belief that employees want more - they want the thrill, freedom and rewards that come with ownership, or at least a version of it.

The PR agency business is rife with less-than-stellar managers and, in my view, outdated hierarchical structures.  Perhaps if there was less reliance on the HR department and more accountability on managers, the industry would benefit. 

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