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BY KEVIN MOE

In today’s business world, human resources and industrial relations are more crucial than ever in driving organizational performance through effective people management. “Today’s businesses need to be nimble and strategic, and must be able to engage suppliers and customers from around the globe,” says Associate Professor and Carlson School Professor of Human Resources and Industrial Relations (HRIR) Theresa Glomb. “All of these elements require having the right people with the right skills in carefully designed jobs and effective teams.”
        HRIR professionals bring the knowledge and the tools to make this happen. “HRIR plays a critical role in organizations, managing several functions related to human capital, including workforce planning, recruiting, selection, performance, management, training, compensation, benefits, and labor relations,” says Professor and Industrial Relations Faculty Excellence Chair Connie Wanberg.
        At the Carlson School, faculty are committed to making sure the next generation of HRIR leaders is well equipped to handle the business challenges of the future. “We want our students to develop a rigorous framework for understanding the employment relationship through the lenses of multiple disciplines so they can be effective business partners in a dynamic global economy,” Glomb says. “They should understand that there are not simple solutions to complex problems and, instead, must appreciate the importance of economic, psychological, business, technological, ethical, political, global, and cultural factors.”
        Overall, Glomb says, the goal is for students to put theory into practice by developing analytical skills, deep knowledge, teamwork, and systems thinking. The Carlson School’s HRIR program also focuses on relationship building. “We help students develop their social skills, enabling them to create trusting relationships, influence others, and lead change, as well as create and sustain work environments where employees thrive,” says Associate Professor Joyce Bono.
        Students also learn that HRIR is not a static discipline and must continually adapt to new situations. “The HRIR discipline continually evolves in response to new business challenges, demographic and technological changes, legal developments, and other shifts,” says Industrial Relations Land Grant Professor John Budd, chair of the HRIR department. “This type of constant evolution will continue and our students are well prepared to take on these challenges and help steer the course of HRIR into the future.”

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