The Premise of HR Value

A WHILE BACK, the vice president of human resources (HR) of a big consumer product company decided to visit with a few key customers and improve his line of sight with his company’s marketplace. To avoid wasting his customers’ time, he began by reading everything he could—annual reports, 10K reports, product brochures, analysts’ reports. His counterpart in sales was leery of the whole idea, but once the HR VP showed how knowledgeable and thoughtful he was, his sales colleague agreed to set up a meeting with the VP of purchasing at one of their main customers. The moment they walked into the office, however, the customer snapped, “I’m busy today. Why should I spend time with you?”

This short story captures the past, ...

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