Meet the new CALSHRM State Director…

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ImageNew Year, new Human Resource leaders. The New Year is a time for embracing change—from simple things such as changing your diet to grandeur aspects such as electing new leaders. None is different for CalSHRM, the California State Council for the Society of Human Resource Management. As a full service human resource consulting company, we live and breathe HR; we take pride in assisting organizations with any of their HR needs, while still maintaining the human connection. With the HR profession growing tremendously as well as technology, what is the outlook for HR in 2014? Michael Letizia, PHR-CA, the new State Director of CalSHRM for 2014 and 2015 shares his insights and goals for CalSHRM and the overall profession.

Having been a member of SHRM since 2000 and serving on the board in various roles until 2013, Michael’s role as State Director is to primarily oversee the functions of the Council and to bring the SHRM affiliates together in the state to solidify initiatives. The Council consists of solely volunteers that Michael will manage, which he deems as a daunting task especially in such a large organization (SHRM is prevalent in California compared to other states).

In terms of goals for CalSHRM, Michael continues to strive for the plans and goals the past President and he created a few years ago, where they envisioned what they believed the California Council should look like. Michael, whose leadership style has always been collaborative, also set some personal goals for himself; he would like volunteers to feel they are part of a larger purpose and that they receive the intrinsic value they sought. One of Michael’s main focus is to ensure the volunteers understand the time, skills, and efforts they put forth into the State are truly making a difference, and that they feel they are part of an organization that is making a difference in California.

Michael hopes to educate California employers and to bring advocacy to businesses and to HR people—professionals and those who are responsible for running HR in their organizations who are not deemed as professionals. Although SHRM caters to HR professionals, Michael believes it is very important that the Council support the individuals who are responsible for HR that may not have the opportunity at this time to call themselves HR professionals.

As such, CalSHRM is partnering with SHRM to be the HR advocate for the employee and the employer. Michael believes education about HR tactics and strategies must be brought to Sacramento to bring the HR voice to the legislature in assisting the government craft ideas that will benefit both California employees and employers.

Michael finds the progression of HR to be very exciting, stating that when he first began his career in the field, he was a Personnel Clerk. Now, as the profession has gained momentum and recognition, HR is being seen as a Strategic Partner and in many companies, a member of the Executive Team. Companies are learning that if they do not direct, assess, and manage their talent, they are not going to achieve the results they hoped. They need people in order to be successful and if they fail to bring in a professional that can help them manage individuals to their fullest potential, then they are not going to get to the place they envisioned. Many Executives are not interested in developing plans for people; they are looking at it from the business perspective. Having that voice at the table talking about human talent to achieve the organization’s goals and the process to make that happen is crucial. Individuals working in HR need to articulate and demonstrate why they are essential to an organization.

Michael stresses that HR individuals and small business owners must be experts in California (and Federal) labor law compliance and understand litigation risks. With California State laws changing at an alarming rate, employers must be updated with compliance and be prepared for consequences if they come; after all, one lawsuit can close a small business.

Advice for individuals currently working in HR is that they must be realistic about the advancements of technology and its impact on society. Michael stresses that California and its employers need to change their views of the traditional work structure in regards to the younger generation entering the workforce: they have to allow workers to be flexible in their schedule in order to reach optimal results. The younger generation is not afraid to say the traditional norm is outdated and antique. Michael praises companies such as Google, who allow their employees to work wherever they can as long as they deliver and meet the company’s expectations. He believes Google and other companies embracing work flexibility are successful because they are managing their talent very strategically. Michael believes that other organizations could reach the same potential if they embrace new ideas and concepts that are shaping our society.

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