A conversation with Kate Immordino
Dr. Kate Immordino is a part-time lecturer in management and human resources at the Rutgers University Camden School of Business, an advisor/instructor in the Executive Education Human Resources Certificate Program, and the host of the “Ten Minute Manager Podcast” for the Caterpillar/Rutgers Alumni Network. She also teaches in the Executive Masters in Public Administration program and the Mini-MPA program for the Center for Executive Leadership in Government.
She joined Rutgers in 2007 as Director of Organizational Research and Assessment for the University Center for Organizational Development and Leadership and subsequently served as Executive Director of Talent Management for the university. Prior to that she was a career public sector professional with over 28 years of experience in state government.
Dr. Immordino is a past president of the New Jersey chapter of the American Society for Public Administration. She is the author of two books on organizational assessment in the public sector and provides consulting services in the areas of leadership, professional development, strategic planning and organizational development.
In addition to a Bachelor of Arts from Dickinson College, Dr. Immordino holds a Master in Administration from Rider University and Ph.D. in organizational communication from Rutgers University.
If you were giving a TED Talk, what would the title of it be?
HR for the Smart Heart. In their struggle to keep up with the changing workplace and ever increasing compliance requirements, HR professionals tend to focus on process and forget that they are dealing with real people with real emotions. We need to be reminded that without people, there is no process; that not everyone will fit the same mold – which is a good thing. And ,we need to teach the next generation of HR professionals how they can look at the big picture without losing sight of what individuals bring to the workplace.
What are the key concepts you cover in your course and why is each important in today’s business environment?
HR consists of two elements: transactions/compliance, and transformational HR. Completing transactions and ensuring compliance are critical activities, and will never go away, but they are the processes that keep the organization moving in the same direction. Transformational HR calls on us to constantly reimagine the workplace of the future and consider how we adapt current talent to future needs and how we create the new jobs that haven’t been thought of yet. That’s where the fun is – and the true value of HR.
Understanding the context in which you work is critically important to success in the world of HR. We aren’t just in the HR business – everything we do depends on the needs and priorities of the particular industry in which we work. Context is the differentiating factor that drives success for our efforts, and those of our organization.
How does your course help participants to address these challenges?
The course helps them understand the role of HR and to frame themselves as the kind of HR professional needed in today’s workforce. That includes knowing the motivations that bring people to the workplace and how they impact the way they behave. The diversity of the modules that make up the program ensure that they get a sense of every area of HR. If they understand how all the parts of HR, including the transformational aspects fit together, they can better anticipate the challenges and design meaningful solutions.
What do you think is the most important thing you do as an instructor advisor at Rutgers Exec Ed?
It’s definitely the interaction. Our calls cover a big range of topics – what’s interesting to them, what isn’t quite clear – and I try to use my experience to illustrate how those topics and questions work in real life situations. I tell participants up front that I’ll try to customize this to their interests as much as possible while still making sure they get a thorough overview.
What can participants expect when they take your course?
For those who are new to the field, they will learn a lot of information about HR and how it works. For those who are already in HR, they can expect to have their views challenged, but they will have a much greater understanding of the field when we are done. The written assignments can be challenging, but we discuss them thoroughly to make sure participants understand the fundamental concepts that come out of them.
The Rutgers online HR Certificate Program includes two courses designed for different skill levels. HR Essentials Certificate Program is for entry-level to mid-level managers and provides exposure to all key areas in the Human Resources discipline. Professional HR Management Certificate Program is designed for mid-level to senior-level HR professionals that want to advance and enhance their careers. Add Rutgers to your resume with an HR certificate.
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