The Secret to Being a Better Boss

Jill Yarberry-Laybourn Human Resources, Issue 08 - Nov/Dec 2013 Leave a Comment

Be genuine, advises CareerBuilder Global Vice President of HR Rosemary Haefner.

By Jill Laybourn

She is everywhere: television, radio, newspapers and the web. She advises everyone, from individuals seeking career advice to Fortune 500 companies looking for the best talent. Not that she would ever say so, but she is the premier aficionado on all things related to human capital. Along with analyzing data on the state of the job market and managing a plethora of workplace challenges, she effectively juggles leading CareerBuilder’s human resources (HR) group and working with the Product Development team to design and test new products.

CareerBuilder’s Rosemary Haefner, Global Vice President (VP) of HR, is not only an important asset to her organization but also to anyone seeking employment as well as companies seeking employees.

haefner_quoteSolutions for a Complex World

The complexity of a world and people who are in constant flux creates an HR conundrum for most. To Haefner, it is just another day at the office. Finding human capital solutions for CareerBuilder and for other organizations and millions of job seekers, is what she does—and does well.

From “hour one of the first day” at the company, Haefner has utilized her years of experience as a senior HR consultant to stimulate change. She and other executives knew that as a company they could do more and do better.

“It has been a very dynamic environment,” Haefner said. “There are plenty of moving parts all at once.”

The changes continue and come “in a lot of facets,” including growth, globalization and diversification of products.

A One-of-a-Kind Role

Because of Haefner’s background and CareerBuilder’s trade, Haefner’s role as an HR leader is unique. Most often, HR managers focus mostly on the internal needs of a company; Haefner’s role, however, is equally focused externally.

“My position is a bit unconventional,” Haefner acknowledged. “There is part of it that is as conventional as it can get: oversight of global HR team, initiatives, internal focus on environment and culture. But because of the nature of the industry we are in, we sell to a number of HR leaders. The products we sell and provide to an organization really do help further the HR initiatives of a business.”

Therefore, Haefner spends a good deal of time interacting with external HR professionals around the world to gather feedback on the challenges they are facing and to shape and share the effectiveness of CareerBuilder products.

Coffee breakGuinea Pigs

External feedback is not Haefner’s only source of feedback. Her internal HR team often serves as the guinea pig for new products and services.

“It’s a bit of a lab experiment in terms of the HR team,” Haefner said.

Fortunately, the Global VP of HR at a company, whose business is HR, has the best tools in the trade; Haefner will be the first to admit it.

“We are very fortunate—spoiled—to have a whole array of products that will help me with my talent initiatives, my employment branding and a whole host of products that have made us a great place to work,” she said.

Along with product testing in real time, Haefner has had a hand in developing cutting-edge products that not only help her team, but help thousands of companies and job seekers alike. One of the many products she has had a hand in is a talent network design, via which individuals who are interested in CareerBuilder as a company are kept continually in the know. Likewise, the HR team at CareerBuilder is in regular contact with potential professionals who might be a good fit for future positions or who might know someone who is a good fit. In other words, companies can have highly qualified professionals within easy reach when openings arise.

haefner_Q&ABeing Genuine

When professionals join the HR team at CareerBuilder, they will know exactly what to expect. Haefner has analyzed significant amounts of data regarding what makes a workplace desirable, and she advises that a company is best served in creating a culture and structure that fit itself rather than a trend. Haefner has heeded her own advice and developed a structure and culture for her team that is, top of all aspects, genuine.

“Genuine is,” Haefner said, “here is the message, here is what we can offer you and this is what we expect in return.”

Clearly, genuine is good. When Haefner started at CareerBuilder, her HR team comprised just three employees. Today, the team has grown to 40 individuals across the globe. Further proof that being genuine is advantageous, Haefner and CareerBuilder have been awarded numerous employment-focused awards, including a Top 25 Best Places to Work honor.

Being genuine also is at the heart of Haefner’s style of leadership and hiring practices. Rather than a prescribed plan of action, mentorship is authentic; Haefner wants her mentees to help design the type of mentorship that will help them best. Being genuine also means having opinions and a willingness to express them.

“I like a good debate. I want people who look at an issue in different ways,” Haefner said. Furthermore, she appreciates someone who does not mind “kicking the tires.” Likewise, status quo fails to cut it for Haefner and the professionals she hires. The people on her team must demonstrate a genuine propensity for learning and growing. “For somebody to be successful and really happy and enjoy their time at my organization,” she said, “they definitely have to have some curiosity.”

Whether she is off at a speaking engagement advising companies on effective hiring practices, leading a team in a debate about latest developments or writing an article about what employers want in their employees, Haefner is affecting genuine and positive change in this fast-paced world. She is everywhere, literally and figuratively, and that is a fortunate thing for everyone involved.

Jill Laybourn is a freelance writer based in Colorado

Rosemary's Key Partners:
Strategic Talent Solutions (Management Consulting: Org/Talent) | Workday (Human Capital Management)

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