Q&A with NSHSS Fellows Board Member Morgan Vazquez

Thursday, August 13, 2015
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Q. What is the most difficult or least glamorous part of your job as an HR professional?

The most difficult part of being an HR professional is that things are never simply black and white when it comes to dealing with people. The primary focus of any human resources position is people, and as I’m sure you know, people are typically complicated and complex beings. Unlike operating a business, which is pretty straightforward and transparent, there is much more grey area in HR since you have to deal with multifaceted issues that are influenced by human emotions. It’s also challenging to attract, develop and retain top talent across all different levels while still being able to actively identify core leadership competencies for all employees across the firm. 

Q.What is the typical career path of someone working in HR?

There is no typical career path within human resources. I personally think that any individual interested in working in human resources should take the time to specialize in one specific area of the HR function. Instead of stretching too thin and trying to learn all aspects of HR all at once, focus on a particular core competency (ex: recruiting, diversity, compensation, talent management, etc.) that you want to continuously develop. It is helpful to build up your knowledge in one specific HR function before you begin to broaden/diversify your skill set in other HR areas. In order to get a diverse experience, you can also rotate in different HR functions and support different business areas, but regardless of what path you choose, there’s no clear-cut way to become a successful HR professional.

Q.What do you think is the most important role(s) of the HR function in an organization?

First and foremost, the most important role of HR is to deliver the talent that’s going to drive your core business strategy. HR professionals must focus on ensuring that the right people are placed in the right roles/jobs that will drive forward the company’s competitive advantage. Talent management is a key HR responsibility, as we aim to ensure the business and our clients are receiving the human capital and support necessary for the company’s continued success.

Q.What is one characteristic that you believe every HR professional should possess?

Without a doubt, integrity. Regardless of the industry you work in, having integrity is essential in gaining trust with your colleagues and your clients. Especially in Corporate America, which is surrounded by all types of risks (financial, operational, reputational, etc.), it is important to preserve integrity at all times. All HR leaders should continuously hold themselves to high standards, as the character of an HR professional can ultimately influence the character of the entire organization.

Q.What is the biggest challenge facing leaders today?

The biggest challenge of today’s society, especially in the business world, is vast global expansion. We have become so global that our businesses have increased in complexity, and therefore, both employees and managers must work harder to keep up with their industries across the globe. Different markets are impacting each other more than ever, and we are responsible for keeping up with the changing conditions in various markets. For example, a CEO of a particular business must understand how things that are done in NY will affect business on the other side of the world, such as in the APAC region. Leaders must know how to resourcefully organize their firm to meet global complex challenges, and must expansively organize its people, systems, processes, and procedures to effectively face such challenges.