It’s hardly a tidal wave, but slowly but surely companies are waking up to the merits of having someone with a solid HR background on their board of directors.
The latest example: Manpower. Yesterday, the Milwaukee, Wisc.-based workforce solutions firm named Libby Sartain, former chief human resources officer of Yahoo! Inc. and Southwest Airlines, to its board. (A story on the Milwaukee Business Journal website notes that five of Manpower’s 11 directors are now women or minorities.)
“Libby’s distinguished 30-year career in human resources will be a great asset to our company as we continue to strengthen our position as a multi-faceted provider of HR services that complement and expand upon our roots in the staffing industry,” said Jeffrey A. Joerres, Manpower Inc.’s chairman and CEO.
As the press release goes on to point out, HRE named Libby one of the 25 most powerful women in HR when it last compiled such a list five years ago.
Considering the business Manpower is in, it’s a no-brainer to add a top-notch former HR leader to its board (or that it has decided to assemble a board that is one of the most diverse around). But when you contemplate the kinds of HR-related challenges awaiting companies in the coming years, I would think someone with a strong HR background is going bring a valuable perspective to most boardroom discussions—even if they’re not in the business of providing “workforce solutions.”