HR deals with the impact of market forces, doesn’t it? When the economy rises or falls, the labor market is affected. When educational institutions emphasize finance over engineering or marketing over production, the number of qualified applicants shifts accordingly. Advances in technology, actions of competitors, new government regulations, and markets going global all affect how HR can carry out its responsibility. Too often, HR people look only at the current crop of applicants or employees and fail to recognize those other driving forces. In fact, the pool of applicants is a result of many nonhuman forces acting throughout the world. HR must also pay attention to internal factors that are affecting the company’s ability to be competitive. Issues of CEO vision, the state of corporate finances, culture, leadership capabilities, and even brand affect HR operations.

Often overlooked is the interaction of vision, culture, and brand. If they are not in sync, the organization is suboptimized. If the CEO claims that the organization is to be a model of cooperation, the brand and the culture must show that. A brand is a function of cooperation when a customer has a need or a problem. A cooperative organization does not shove the customer from silo to silo. Rather, whoever fields the call sees to it that the customer is connected with the unit that can and will solve the problem. In a cooperative culture, information and learning are shared, not hoarded. HR ...

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