HR Star: Neale Harrison

HR Star: Neale Harrison

Neale Harrison
President and Founder of Talent Matters

Main business
Human Resources Professional Services Firm

Number of employees
Less than 10 employees with an expansive network of professional consultants

Years in HR
Twenty-five years

The worst job you ever had
As a young student, I was a bus boy at a so-called high-end restaurant (fetching freezer-burnt porter house steaks and scraping mold off of places where mold should not be) working for less than minimum wage at the time.  I had had of enough of that after about two weeks and quit!

Your first job in HR
Employee Attitude Survey Administrator

The most outrageous (and best) company perks you’ve experienced
The most outrageous, was receiving an anglers and hunting license!  The best, of course, is always a healthy cash bonus.

Your best candidate interview story
I had an applicant have the Police call me because the applicant was going to be late for their interview with me as a result of being “hog-tied” during a home invasion. And, yes, they did eventually show up for the interview and it was unfortunately a true event, and I did eventually hire this applicant.

Weirdest thing that ever happened to you at work
I walked into a manufacturing facility I was responsible for on a Saturday afternoon to find one of our hourly staff holding a firearm.  As it turned out, they were holding a pellet gun and were attempting to shoot a bird that had flown into the facility.

Your most embarrassing HR faux pas
Thankfully I have not had one or at least one that I’m prepared to admit!  

What inspires you
This may sound cliché, however, I really get inspired by helping people maximize their full professional potential.  I am also continually inspired by my two children – it’s so awesome to see their little accomplishments each and every day.  

The best thing about working in HR
The sheer diversity of issues and professionals you get to deal with and work with over the course of one’s career.

The worst
The sheer diversity of issues and professionals you get to deal with and work with over the course of ones career.

Does HR have a place at the boardroom table
This privilege needs to be earned by human resources practitioners, as this is not an automatic right and only something that will come to those who choose to be business professionals first and human resources professionals second.  How can you expect to add value or provide valued counsel if you do not understand how your business works, what makes it profitable and most importantly, how you can be an enabler to those you support?

What are the biggest challenges facing HR?
The risk of being relegated to the role of back-office bureaucrat because they can not find ways to deliver functional value which is also directly linked to adding organizational value.  

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