Share This Page

What CEOs want in new hires

| Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2012, 8:56 p.m.

What kind of employees are employers looking for?

And how can human resource officials help?

Those two questions were chewed on along with the chicken at a recent Society for Human Resource Management chapter meeting.

The answers came from a panel of four Kansas City-area CEOs who represent a hospital, a bank, a manufacturer and a marketing agency.

In answer to the first question, the CEOs said they want:

• “Key people” who share their philosophies about managing and growing their operations.

• “Rainmakers” who produce revenue.

• “Workers who are willing to work” and show up every day.

• “People who are willing to change” and be flexible.

• “Nice people, because you can't train nice.”

• “Bright people.”

• “Team-oriented people.”

The executives answered the second question by telling the human resources professionals that it's their job to find and hire employees with those traits — and to put them in jobs that are the right fit.

The CEOs said HR departments also should provide training that “increases the value of the people we have.”

They told the HR folk to avoid getting bogged down in administrative details, that they have lawyers and accountants “to keep them out of trouble.” Rather, they said, their HR experts should understand their businesses and bring “operational value to the table.”

Those are tall orders. In the real world, HR departments get consumed with administrative details. There are plenty.

It's also true that many HR departments — not a revenue-producing unit — are understaffed for the company's payroll size. Many lack time or expertise to provide the ideal training or emotional hand-holding that some workers need to be productive.

CEOs rightly can expect HR professionals to be their “people people.” But there's a problem if CEOs cavalierly tell HR to handle their people issues without adequate funds or staffing to do it right.

Diane Stafford is the workplace and careers columnist at The Kansas City Star. Email dstafford@kcstar.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.