HR exec Sharon Armstrong

Who she is: Owner of Sharon Armstrong & Associates, a HR consulting/training firm and referral network; author of The Essential HR Handbook, and new this spring, “The Essential Performance Review Handbook.”

What she does: In addition to completing HR projects, facilitating training, and providing career transition services, through her books, she works to teach managers the tricks of the HR trade.

Why she does it: “Human resources professionals are not only charged with resolving labor issues, we also help acquire, train, appraise, and make sure employees are fairly compensated, while attending to their concerns about labor relations, health and safety, and fairness,” Sharon says. “It’s a big job, and I love doing it.”

KNOWING WHAT IS ESSENTIAL

By Hope Katz Gibbs

In 14th-century England, masons, carpenters, leather workers, and other skilled craftsmen organized themselves into guilds—the first unions that were used to improve their work conditions. With the Industrial Revolution came divisions of labor, negotiable wages and hours, and challenging work conditions, and the owner was replaced by a new character, the boss, who was solely focused on getting the job done fast and right.

Conflict ensued—and so the human resources industry was born to help set things straight, explain authors Sharon Armstrong and Barbara Mitchell in their new book, The Essential HR Handbook: A Quick and Handy Resource for Any Manager or HR Professional.

This quick-reference guide, published in the fall of 2008 by Career Press, sheds light on the issues that keep managers up at night, says Mitchell, who for a decade worked for Marriott Corporation and several technology firms in the Washington DC area before launching her own company—The Millennium Group International—in 1998.

“Human resource professionals are not only charged with resolving labor issues,” explains Sharon, who began her career in human resources in 1985 as a recruiter/trainer in a large Manhattan law firm before launching her own company, Armstrong and Associates, in 1997. “We also help acquire, train, appraise, and make sure employees are fairly compensated, while attending to their concerns about labor relations, health and safety, and fairness.”

“It’s a big job, but we make it easier by outlining guidelines and best practice recommendations in the 12 chapters of our book,” she adds. “Whether you are a newly promoted manager, a seasoned business owner, or a human resources professional, knowing the ins and outs of dealing with HR issues is critical to your success.”

How she got here

Sharon began her career in human resources in 1985 as a recruiter/trainer in a large Manhattan law firm. She took over as Director of HR at the DC firm Shaw, Pittman, Potts & Trowbridge in 1991, and in 1994 became the Director of HR and Administration at the Association of Trial Lawyers of America.

In 2000, she opened her own firm, Sharon Armstrong & Associates, and since has provided training and completed HR projects for hundreds of clients. Her firm also serves as a brokerage house for other HR professionals. In 1998 she co-wrote her first book, “Healing the Canine Within: A Dog’s Self-Help Companion,” a humor book about her dog Scooter, and in 2003 she penned, “Stress-free Performance Appraisals,” with co-author Madelyn Appelbaum.

Inside The Essential HR Handbook

With this easy-to-read 250-page paperback, you’ll learn how to effectively and efficiently:

• Individually manage each employee, starting on his or her first day.
• Manage a multi-generational workforce.
• Appraise job performance.
• Coach and counsel.
• Provide equitable pay, benefits, and total rewards strategies.
• Minimize legal risk.

What the critics are saying

HR professionals have raved about this book—mostly because it gives sound ideas that are simple to put into practice, says Stephen J. O’Connor, senior director of staffing, ESPN Inc. “This book is easy to use, and full of solid advice and information from diversity to interviews to legal issues. If you are an HR professional, you should have this book at the ready every day.”

Joe Calloway, author of Work Like You’re Showing Off adds: “Finally, a complete, clear, and concise book that covers every essential element of that mix of art and science we call HR,” “It’s 100% applicable to the real-world challenges faced by today’s HR manager or business owner.”

For more visit www.theessentialhrhandbook.com and www.sharonarmstrongandassociates.com.


The Women