Spotlight: Leaders in Human Resources

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 BeckerAutodesk111McInnis Pkwy., San Rafael 94903,, 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.

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