Wanted: Strategic VP HR

There is a vacant spot waiting to be filled on the executive team at the rapidly growing Research In Motion.

Growing faster than the speed of light, the wireless communications firm is looking to hire its first vice-president of HR and the job description includes a strategic position on the team.

“It’s an absolutely critical part of our success, for going forward,” said Don Morrison, chief operating officer at the Waterloo, Ont.-based RIM.

Morrison said the company’s 12-member HR department has done exceptional work, but the organization needs the leadership and expertise to bring it to another level.

“In all well-run companies this is done. All of these organizations spend a lot of time on (HR policies). We need a leader who can direct. They contribute to the business strategy,” said Morrison.

Firms like RIM, and in particular executive teams, are beginning to realize the possibilities in forging greater relationships with their HR departments. Economic growth and HR expertise have earned them an invitation — permanent seat — to the boardroom.

“We want someone who has individually done something transformative with an organization,” said Morrison.

RIM, the innovative brains behind BlackBerry, the handheld e-mail device, has grown exponentially in the last year, from 200 employees to about a thousand.

While recruitment remains high on the to-do list, the organization now wants to focus on keeping staff. The new HR role will run the gamet of HR skills, including implementing career development strategies, performance management, succession planning and compensation.

Bringing continuity and a framework to HR practices will be the new hiree’s first order of business. Ultimately, said Morrsion, the department will help bring structure to the maturing RIM.

“It will bring better alignment.”

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