Industry and Career Outlook

HR's Vital Role for Strategic Success

Outdated assumptions about work. Too much focus on administrative, transactional and policy-based tasks. Bureaucracy.

These are the stumbling blocks of past human resources management practices, writes Dave Ulrich in his book, Human Resource Champions.1

But new frameworks for HR excellence are emerging. In fact, new ways of thinking about human capital management are being demanded by businesses and organizations that now view people as their most valuable sustainable assets in a knowledge-based service economy.

According to Ulrich: "HR departments must be held to a higher standard than they have been up until now. They must move their HR professionals beyond the roles of policy police and regulatory watchdogs to become partners, players and pioneers in delivering value."


A Profession on the Rise

Companies are beginning to recognize the central role that strategic human resources management can and must play in the development of sustainable organizational health and the realization of vital business objectives.

The growing need for capable human resources management practitioners is reflected in the Bureau of Labor Statistics forecast for human resources specialists; demand for HR professionals is projected to grow 21 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations reviewed by the government agency.2

“HR practitioners are being charged to engage more in strategic business issues and are thinking more like corporate executives, moving out of the HR silo and putting themselves in the mind of those who are guiding the organization,” writes Zachary Misko, global director at KellyOCG, for Outsource Magazine.3 “But this strategic shift comes at a price: HR practitioners will need to develop a broader business understanding in areas such as corporate finance, marketing, and strategic management. HR must know business as well as it knows HR.”


HR Professionals as Business Partners

One of the most important attributes of emerging HR leaders, according to industry experts, will be the coupling of core knowledge with solid strategic thinking and analytical skills.

“HR faces a challenge of proving its value in helping to set business priorities,” writes Claire Schooley, a senior analyst with Forrester Research, in her blog, New HR Analytics Research Focuses on Improving the Talent Management Process.4 “Data from technology solutions now give HR the opportunity to become a valued business partner in determining the appropriate metrics to help the executive suite and people in other lines of business make important talent management decisions.”

Michael Armstrong in his book, A Handbook of Human Resource Management, agrees.5 Future business success, he writes, "is most likely to be achieved if the personnel policies and procedures of the enterprise are closely linked with, and make a major contribution to, the achievement of corporate objectives and strategic plans."


The Georgetown Difference

Through expert instruction and hands-on experimentation, Georgetown University students and alumni are stretching the limits of leading human resources practices to make the most of diverse resources, rapidly emerging technologies and new ways of analyzing, modeling and driving more strategic human capital management policies, programs and work environments.

Our program teaches students to take their careers to the next level – as well-rounded, HR business partners.


Employers: Tap into HR’s Best and Brightest

Human resources management departments are confronted with many new challenges. Organizations have a critical need for practitioners who can strategically drive business performance. But often, employers don't have professionals with the business skills needed to move their human capital initiatives forward.

We can help.

In addition to serving students, the Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies can assist employers with their talent needs. We do this in two ways:

  • Connecting employers with work-ready students who are grounded in practical, problem-solving solutions and passionate about becoming change agents for your business.
  • Assisting enterprises with the development of their own employees, including "on-your-campus" instructional options.

Learn more about how to turn your human resources department into a value-added function for your company or organization.

“Having the Georgetown brand and being in D.C. are huge program perks. The program's faculty, staff and students are well connected. Companies often reach out to the program for new ideas and talent.”

- Chandni Patel ('12)




1 Ulrich, D. (1977). Human Resource Champions. Harvard Business School Press

2 Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2012). Occupational Outlook Handbook. Available:

3 Zachary Misko. (2010). Seven Seismic Shifts. Available:

4 Claire Schooley. (2011). New HR Analytics Research Focuses on Improving the Talent Management Process. Available:

5 Armstrong, M. (2003). A Handbook of Human Resource Management Practice. Kogan Page Business Books.

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