After reading Why We Hate HR from Fast Company, I saw all kinds of synergies between HR and meeting planners (I don't think anyone hates planners, though—they just don't know they exist or what they do in all too many cases). And lots of similarities between the two fields.
For example, both want a "seat at the table" but often are left on the sidelines and viewed as people who count coffee cups or track benefits, not as real players when it comes to living out the organization's mission. Anthony J. Rucci, executive vice president at Cardinal Health Inc., says this in the article about HR, but the same holds true for meeting planners, I think:
- As far as Rucci is concerned, there are three questions that any decent HR person in the world should be able to answer. First, who is your company's core customer? "Have you talked to one lately? Do you know what challenges they face?" Second, who is the competition? "What do they do well and not well?" And most important, who are we? "What is a realistic assessment of what we do well and not so well vis a vis the customer and the competition?"
While I by no means think that meeting planners aren't among the best and the brightest, the author's contention that MBAs, often hired for their strategic training, seldom go into HR—or meeting planning—holds true. Like HR folks, planners also have a hard time measuring the results of their actions, especially in dollar terms. And, as the article says, "The corner office doesn't get HR (and vice versa)." I'd say that's a planner problem, too. Then there's the example of Yahoo's top HR person, who is solving HR problems through—what else?—meetings.
With so much in common, and even some overlap when it comes to training sessions, I've never heard a planner talk about working with HR. Why on earth not? It seems like there's much you could accomplish together that you both continue to struggle with apart. Read the article, and let me know what you think. I'm really curious about this one.