Thomas Christopher, chief executive officer and managing partner, and Jeff Wilbanks, recruiting director, are leading the assignment. “We will be focusing on sourcing sitting HR heads, in large academic and non-profit institutions for this search assignment,” said Mr. Christopher.
The incoming executive will report directly to university president Mildred Garcia and will responsible for the development of school-wide human resource strategies that will be implemented through assigned functions, including risk management; workers’ compensation; disability accommodations; talent acquisition & management; diversity, inclusion & equity; compensation & classification; professional & organizational development; employment services; payroll; benefits; retirement; faculty & staff labor and employee relations; and compliance.
He or she will be responsible for providing programs and systems that reflect the university’s commitment to personal and team excellence in support of student achievement, and developing programs that serve to recruit, retain, and support a diverse and highly qualified workforce.
The incumbent will serve as a strategic forward-thinking leader working collaboratively with other campus diversity leaders to create and cultivate a common vision of the institution’s commitment to diversity, inclusion and equity that can be shared among faculty, staff and administrators. They will also oversee the development, implementation and administration of the full range of functions associated with the campus Academic Personnel Office.
Cal State Fullerton has more than 37,000 students and approximately 1,800 full- and part-time faculty members. The University offers 107 degree programs in eight colleges. The school is the fourth in the nation for the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded to minority students and first in California for the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded to Hispanics.
HR as Leading Business Function
Founded in 1998 by Tom and Paula Christopher, The Christopher Group is a boutique HR-focused executive search firm. Its partners have recently filled top HR posts for ProQuest, St. Jude Hospital, Commscope, Syniverse, Cox Enterprises, DISH Networks, Barcodes, Old Dominion Freight Lines, among scores of others.
Mr. Christopher has a personal practice focused primarily at the CHRO, SVP and VP levels. He has completed executive HR searches, with a diverse set of clients, across multiple industry verticals, including Pepsi, Honeywell, Capital One, BP, Kraft, US Foods, Raytheon, Ingersoll-Rand, Vanderbilt University, Delaware North, CDW, Medco, Citigroup, Johns Hopkins University, Eastman Chemical, Comcast, and many others.
“We are consistently told by our CEO clients that the battle for talent is their greatest business challenge,” said Mr. Christopher. “As such, HR is rapidly becoming a leading vs. lagging business function. It is an amazing time for HR and the professionals who practice this valued trade”.
Mr. Christopher noted that HR leaders are “absolutely” being asked to do more than they did just a decade ago. “HR leaders can no longer react to, administer, or caretake their business and functional needs,” Mr. Christopher said. “They must understand the business plan and proactively develop effective HR solutions to real business problems long before they are encountered. The HR game has gotten far more complex and the best HR leaders know it and are rising to the challenge.”
HR Leaders In High Demand
Demand for senior level HR executives, therefore, is rising, according to Mr. Christopher and other recruiters specializing in the function. Hiring forecasts point to a growing sense of urgency within the HR community to prepare and plan for coming talent shortages. Recent hiring trends data show that a full one third of companies polled said their organizations were hiring for HR positions. This number is up from 20 percent just 18 months ago.
Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media