Yesterday I had the honor of sitting down with former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder during this year’s SHRM Employment Law & Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. It was a unique opportunity to hear his thoughts on some of the most pressing issues that matter today, from immigration to the Affordable Care Act to terrorism.
We also covered matters of great importance to the HR community, such as the need for a continued conversation and action on diversity, the potential precedents that could be set by new data security decisions, and both the pros and cons of initiatives such as “ban the box” on employment applications.
We spoke at length about how critical talent is to the success of any organization. Having served as the leader of the U.S. Department of Justice, an agency with over 100,000 employees, Mr. Holder believes that you must infuse your workforce with a sense of mission. He shared that one of the greatest ways to motivate employees is to show confidence and trust in them and their ability to work purposefully toward the vision of the organization.
According t Mr. Holder, this is where human resource management professionals play a critical roleo. He described HR as the “backbone” and “lifeblood” of organizations. Because of HR’s ability to affect the lives of millions of people, he called it “one of the most consequential jobs in this country.” I couldn't agree more.
I often say that in business, this is the decade of human capital and the top issues facing organizations are HR issues. I will add to that, these are also the top issues for our country and society.
The conversation with former Attorney General Holder reminds us that HR has an important job, and much more work to do to help our organizations—and nation—live up to their full potential.