HR Administration

The Last Word Our Mission

By Ronald Alsop

Aug. 13, 2010

Welcome to the start of a new journey for Workforce Management.

I am just settling into my position as Editor, so this issue of the magazine was well under way before I arrived. But even in these pages, I have worked with my staff to shape and fine-tune stories to ensure that they are sharply focused, descriptive and insightful. I plan to build on Workforce Management’s heritage by bringing even more depth, creativity and discipline to the magazine, website and e-newsletters. I want our writers to be enterprising and to report richly detailed, timely stories about trends and innovations that will help you manage your workforce.

In this issue, Ed Frauenheim’s vivid piece on American Express reflects the kind of storytelling you can expect to see regularly. We will show you how companies are managing their workforces, not simply tell you. Ed takes you inside the company’s customer call center in Phoenix and shows how new talent management practices are changing the culture and motivating employees to deliver outstanding customer service.

We also plan to conduct more original research and enhance our website both in content and design. Although I grew up in the newspaper business, I am enthusiastic about new ways to communicate and have avidly participated in podcasts, online videos and webinars, as well as created my own website. Yet even as the publishing world evolves in new directions, I believe content will remain king—whether the medium is print, digital or some as yet unknown technologies. People will always be hungry for illuminating information that puts their world in perspective and provides solutions and best practices.

Now that the economy is slowly reviving, executives and managers face immense challenges in attracting and retaining talent. Among the pressing issues we will regularly address in Workforce Management: how to recruit and manage demanding Millennials as baby boomers walk out the door—or get pushed out; how to groom top performers for leadership roles; how to accelerate the drive toward greater diversity, especially in the upper management ranks; how to re-engage disaffected employees and cultivate at least some degree of loyalty after this bruising recession; how to help employees achieve balance in their work and personal lives, while still minding the store; how new technologies and outsourcing could make HR operations leaner and more agile.

I have been closely following workplace issues since my days at The Wall Street Journal when I interviewed dozens of HR professionals and senior executives about such topics as the challenge of finding candidates with strong communication skills and transforming managers into leaders. While writing my book The 18 Immutable Laws of Corporate Reputation, I learned about the critical role employees play in reputation management and the galvanizing effect of a stellar reputation on workers’ performance. I became even more immersed in workforce issues when I researched my book The Trophy Kids Grow Up: How the Millennial Generation Is Shaking Up the Workplace. I discovered just how daunting the mix of four generations is proving to be and how some companies are creating more harmony between the Millennials and their elders. You will notice that several articles in this issue touch on the Millennial Generation—your future workforce.

Soon after I became editor of Workforce Management, I had dinner at an Asian restaurant in Chicago and found this message in my fortune cookie: “You have a great ability to focus on the big picture and not get lost in the details.” I will indeed keep my eye on the big picture, but in journalism details matter too. So I will also be vigilant about the content of every article and will always strive for accuracy, fairness and balance. We will provide expert interpretation and analysis backed by thorough reporting and will never let personal opinions seep into articles. Finally, I want to hear from you in letters, e-mails and comments on our increasingly interactive website. Throughout my career, I have valued readers’ reactions to my work. In fact, it was the strong reader response to a newspaper column I wrote about the Millennial Generation that inspired me to undertake The Trophy Kids Grow Up. So get in touch—and consider meeting me virtually on September 15 for a webcast about managing the Millennial Generation.

Workforce Management, August 2010, p. 34Subscribe Now!

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