Jeffrey S. Shuman, vice president and chief human resource officer at Harris Corp., was named Human Resource Executive®‘s 2011 HR Executive of the Year Tuesday night in a black-tie dinner and award ceremony at the Four Seasons Hotel in Las Vegas.
Honored for his service both within the HR function and beyond (he’s chief administrative officer and lobbyist for the Melbourne, Fla.-based international communications-equipment company as well), Shuman was recognized for shoring up alignment between HR and his company’s business units, perfecting the way Harris identifies and nurtures its high-potentials, and even helping his company seek out new business and steer strategic decisions.
“Not often does a CEO get to see someone come on and effect such change,” said Howard Lance, Harris’ president, chairman and CEO, who attended the dinner to commend and introduce his CHRO. “He is the quintessential partner to the CEO.”
In accepting his award, Shuman acknowledged the challenges facing today’s business community and his profession “in a world order that has changed … and in a world where social media has completely changed the way we communicate.” Despite the impressive odds for all HR leaders, he said, “don’t underestimate the impact you can have in your own organization. Act as business leaders in human capital management and learn to speak the language of your customers.”
Then, taking a quote from former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Shuman shared a parting note of advice: “The day you stop having people bringing you problems is the day you stop leading them.”
Also honored were the magazine’s four 2011 HR Honor Roll inductees:
– William S. Allen, group senior vice president of human resources at Copenhagen, Denmark-based A.P. Moller-Maersk, for turning a global HR function seen by many line HR and business leaders as redundant and invasive into a model of efficiency and effectiveness, and adding much-needed developmental and assessment processes to hold people accountable;
– William J. Colbourne, senior vice president of human resources and administrative services at the Chicago-based Blue Cross/Blue Shield Association, for introducing programs to ensure older employees feel respected and valued, and retirees feel welcome to return in consulting and knowledge-sharing roles;
– Gayle Satchwell, director of human resources for the Government of Nevada County, California, for weathering shrinking revenues, tighter budgets and significant forced staff reductions by convincing all but one of her organization’s unions to sit down at the contract-renegotiation table, thereby saving millions of dollars and avoiding even-more-painful workforce reductions; and
– Victor V. Buzachero, corporate senior vice president for innovation, human resources and performance management at Scripps Health in San Diego, for joining a company that was facing significant operating losses, labor shortages, high turnover and ineffective HR practices, and turning both his function and his organization around the old-fashioned way — by meeting with leaders to develop solutions, including more effective compensation and communication strategies.