Changes in ownership are peaking, work forces are nervous
and the human-resources professionals at the core of coping with it all are headed for New
Consolidations will be topic A for members of the Cable and
Telecommunications Human Resources Association Sept. 17 and 18, as part of "Diversity
Week" in the Big Apple.
"Human-resources people are under more pressure than
ever to show bottom-line results," said Chuck Morris of executive-search firm Warren,
Morris & Madison, president of the trade association. Registration is up to 125 for
the conference -- a statistic that he attributed to the challenge of consolidation issues.
Among the recent moves toward consolidation that executives
will provide guidance on are: the folding of Marcus Cable Co. L.P. into Charter
Communications Inc.; completing the severance of employees from the closure of Your Choice
TV; Comcast Corp.'s acquisition of Jones Intercable Inc.; and Tele-Communications
Inc.'s merger with AT&T Corp.
Keynoting the conference will be Judith McHale, Discovery
Communications Inc.'s president and chief operating officer.
Experts said manpower professionals in the involved
companies will be torn during the next few months because they serve many masters.
Resource staffers will have to answer to top management, while advocating for the
lowest-level employees. And they need to make sure that company policies comply with
government regulation, in addition to serving as teachers to middle management.
Another keynoter is Bob Rosen, a business psychologist and
president of Healthy Company Group, which helps firms to build stronger corporate cultures
and leadership teams. His clients include Discovery Networks U.S. and AT&T.
One message that Rosen will deliver is a recommendation
that human-resources executives facing downsizing or mergers create employee teams to
distribute the workload of coordinating benefits and reviewing personnel. In his judgment,
most downsizing is done unintelligently.
"The most successful companies involve their people in
the process," he said.
Other sessions will delve into the changing relationships
and expectations between employees and employers. The CTHRA will also release its latest
compensation survey and market-trends report.