GE a Trailblazer in HR Development

By Patrick Kiger

Jul. 11, 2007

General Electric’s 50-year-old Human Resources Leadership Program is perhaps the seminal program for developing future HR executives. As manager of HR development programs, Andrea Nunes says the program has produced at least half of the HR executives in the company’s six business divisions.

Most of the candidates entering the HRLP are straight out of graduate school in business or human resources. A minority are early-career transfers from another business function, such as the legal department or customer service. About half of HRLP candidates come from outside the U.S., reflecting the increasingly global nature of GE’s business.

“In interviews for the program, we’re looking for a certain profile in terms of leadership,” Nunes says. That profile includes “the ability to implement and drive a project, innovative abilities, problem solving [and] the ability to energize teams.”

The HRLP’s core is a series of three eight-month rotations, including one in a job outside the HR field, such as working on the corporate audit staff or managing a shop floor. But the HRLP’s most distinctive feature is the emphasis on networking. Twice annually, all the participants from around the world gather in one location for a week of training, workshops, presentations, and lunches and dinners with GE senior executives.

“There’s a strong correlation between your experience with the program and your success in the company,” says Nunes, a graduate of the program. “Five years later, most of my networking is still with people I met through the HRLP.”

Workforce Management, June 25, 2007, p. 35Subscribe Now!

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