HR Elements Newest Team Member: Renee Hahn

While I was working on my MBA, several people asked me why I choose to specialize in the field of Human Resources.

It was such an easy answer for me: what other function gets to touch every part of the business and make positive contributions through the most valued of all resources! Mark Salsbury said it perfectly in his book Leveraging Your Workforce for a Competitive Advantage.

“…while extraordinary products and unique services still afford a competitive advantage,  the one advantage that stands the test of time…is people.”


When performed the way it is intended, Human Resources can be a valued partner in truly solving business challenges, providing creative solutions and contributing to the bottom line. During my 20 year HR career in Corporate America, 15 of those as an executive leader in GE, I made it my professional mission to strike that sensitive balance to being an HR leader that managers and employees respected and trusted. All while earning a seat at the Leadership table for my strategic and impactful contributions.

It doesn’t mean I got it right every time. However, with this goal in mind, it kept me grounded in asking a short list of 5 key questions to guide my approach.

Question #1

What problem am I really trying to solve? … Too often we take it at face value and miss the real issue. Typically, the issue is a couple of layers deeper and not easily articulated.

Question #2

Is the problem worth the time and resources to solve? … Just because a challenge or problem exists, doesn’t mean it is always worthy of a solution; especially, if the ROI (Return on Investment) is compelling.

Question #3

What are the trade-offs for all the possible solutions? … Business is like a chess game and every play has broader, wider reaching implications that have to be carefully considered and assessed. By addressing, do I solve one challenge by introducing two or more new issues?

Question #4

Is the solution simple and sustainable? … Smart people have the tendency to implement complex solutions that can fall flat. If an organization is expected to adopt a HR solution, it must be simple, adaptive and embraced.

Question #5

Even if the solution is great, is it the right time to introduce it? … Timing is everything especially in organizations where there has been a significant amount of change in a short period of time. When a new business strategy or idea is suggested following several recent changes, I often challenge leaders to wait unless it is absolutely unavoidable. Great ideas at the wrong time may be Good at best.

I am honored to have the opportunity to join HR Elements to help organizations of all shapes and sizes effectively manage their workforce to create a competitive advantage.

When I am not spending my time on solving the business world’s toughest challenges, I enjoy spending time outdoors with my husband, three daughters, husband and wheaten terrier.


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Special thanks to Renee Hahn, HR Elements Business Advisor and author of this blog post. 

This blog is a product of HR Elements where we tailor our Human Resources Solutions to fit your Company needs.