At least that's what our Day in the Life of HR survey suggests. On the pages that follow you'll find much of the human drama played out in all its anguish, nobility, stupidity, and intelligence. The statistical results indicate a profession on the bubble: a tight labor market has pushed recruitment and retention to the top of most corporate agendas, and HR is expected to deliver answers while tending to the nagging chores that must be managed with fewer resources.
The best HR will deliver on these challenges and help shape corporate culture so employees want to stay and recruits line up at the door. But there are plenty of ladders to climb from the engine room to the bridge of the corporate juggernaut our numbers show, and judging by anecdotal testimony, there are plenty of skippers whose eyes aren't always focused on the horizon. You'll also get a real-world glimpse of the daily lives of five HR executives in settings that range from the Colorado penal system to Harvard University, Eastman Kodak, the city of Vancouver, British Columbia, and television broadcaster CBS.
Woven throughout this special section are the transcripts of your collective visit to the HR confessional. Here you gave voice to those tales from the trenches that defy metrics or reason. It's just another day at the office.