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North Bay Business Journal

Monday, June 18, 2012, 6:30 am

Spotlight: Leaders in Human Resources

Many major players faring better but challenges remain

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    In an effort to gauge how the region’s major employers are dealing with continued economic uncertainty, the North Bay Business Journal reached out to major companies with a series of employment-related questions, in addition to identifying the top human resources professional at each organization.

    The results, from tech to health care, to hospitality to manufacturing, show that many of the major players are faring better, some even thriving, but challenges nonetheless remain.

    The results are informal and not scientific, but nevertheless offer a glimpse into how such companies are dealing with rising health care costs, finding talent and what their hiring plans are. (Not all companies responded to the questions, but for those that did, their answers are contained within the entry of their top HR representative).

    Major staffing companies were included in the Leaders in HR Spotlight because of the breadth of their services related to the employment field, but were not surveyed.

    Professionals, taken from Business Journal lists of top employers and staffing firms in the region, are listed alphabetically by last name.

    Jan Becker

    Autodesk

    111McInnis Pkwy., San Rafael 94903, autodesk.com, 415-507-5000

    Jan Becker is the senior vice president of human resources for Autodesk, which is the fourth largest employer in Marin County with over 900 employees. In her current role, Ms. Becker is responsible for worldwide human resources, corporate real estate facilities and community relations at the software development company. Previously she was the senior director of human resources for the company’s design solutions division and manager of the “HR Future” team. She joined Autodesk in 1992. She’s held management positions with Sun Microsystems, Activision, Digital Equipment Corp. and Hewlett-Packard. She holds a bachelor of science in business administration from San Jose State University.

    From an employer’s perspective, what would you say is the single-most challenging aspect of HR these days?

    Attracting and retaining key contributors.

    How have you fared on employee benefits? Have you faced significant premium increases? If so, how has the company coped with that?

    We have experienced the same pressures on benefits costs that other companies our size experience. We have a very active “Wellness” program that we use to help keep our workforce healthy (and therefore to help control benefits costs); for example, we have just implemented a program to help keep our workforce exercising and active (“Global Corporate Challenge”) – and over 60 percent of our worldwide 7500+ employee workforce have signed up to participate. The program encourages employees to walk at least 10,000 steps per day.

    What are your plans in terms of hiring this year? How many positions do you have open and how many do you expect to fill?

    We expect to have a couple hundred new hires in the area this year.

    How difficult is it to find qualified talent in your industry?

    Somewhat difficult. We are always looking for the very best, which is never easy; fortunately we have a great reputation as an employer (e.g., on Fortune’s 100 Best Places to Work list.)

    Rudy Collins

    Kaiser Permanente

    401 Bicentennial Way, Santa Rosa 95403, kp.org, 707-571-4000; 99 Montecillo Rd., San Rafael 94903, 415-444-2000

    Rudy Collins serves as the human resources leader for the Kaiser Permanente Marin-Sonoma Area and directs a staff of 22. His primary responsibilities are to serve as consultant to leadership to ensure alignment between business and people strategies, ensure the delivery of all HR services to the area’s two medical centers and take actions to promote an effective partnership between labor and management. His duties include overseeing the areas of employee and labor relations, recruitment, HR compliance, disability management, learning and development and leadership development. He also serves as a member of the Marin County Workforce Investment Board, representing Kaiser Permanente. Mr. Collins has been with Kaiser Permanente for the past seven years and previously held HR management positions with eBay, Charles Schwab, and Levi Strauss. Currently residing in Corte Madera, he received his BA degree in psychology and philosophy from Boston University and his MBA from Golden Gate University.

    From an employer’s perspective, what would you say is the single-most challenging aspect of HR these days?

    From my view, the greatest and most welcome challenge is working with leaders and staff to develop the organization’s ability to be agile, effective and ready to meet the challenges facing our business. 

    How have you fared on employee benefits? Have you faced significant premium increases? If so, how has the company coped with that?

    We have been able to maintain a very competitive level of employee benefits.

    What are your plans in terms of hiring this year? How many positions do you have open and how many do you expect to fill?

    We do not see any significant increase in staffing levels this year, however as a large organization we have a healthy level of turnover which enables us to be continually in the market for qualified candidates to fill positions.

    How difficult is it to find qualified talent in your industry?

    A little difficult. 

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    Comments

    1 Comment

    1. June 18, 2012, 10:53 am

      by Melisa

      I admire companies who knows how to handle their people despite with the economic challenges that they are facing today.


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