Name:  Randy Zimmerman
Title:  Associate HR Director
Company:  Cooper Industries – Wiring Devices division

1.  How many years have you been working in HR? 10

2.  Favorite thing about working in HR? More so than any other function, it lends itself to partnering with leaders from various functional disciplines, learning the business from multiple perspectives, and having a broad impact on the organization.

3.  Best piece of advice you ever received about a career in HR? In order to be successful in HR, especially as you move into larger leadership roles, you have to be comfortable dealing with ambiguity. 

4.  Most important thing on your desk? My telephone!  Most of my client group is located in manufacturing facilities across multiple countries.  The telephone is a really important tool to keep a pulse on the business.

5.  If you weren’t in HR, what would you do? I’d like to follow another passion and be a sports journalist. 

6. One inexpensive, effective way you’ve utilized to improve employee morale? It is tried and true, but a simple handwritten note to an employee on their birthday, anniversary date, or another milestone I have made note of helps employees know they’re appreciated.  I encourage our leaders to do the same and will prompt them when milestones for their direct reports come up.

7. Best employee appreciation gift you’ve ever given or received? When I transferred from Cooper’s Corporate headquarters to a division in Syracuse, NY, my manager had 50+ employees at various levels sign a large plate to thank me for my contributions.  I still have the plate and occasionally look at some of the messages and reflect back on my time in that assignment, the people I met, etc.

8. Best tip for dealing with an angry employee?  I think employees usually come to HR to voice things they don’t feel like they can tell anyone else.  I focus on letting the employee vent, let them know their feelings are valid, and then try to focus the conversation on solving the core issue.

9. Favorite inspirational quote that gets you through your day? “We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit” – Aristotle

10. Favorite website or app that helps you do your job?  LinkedIn.  I use it to collaborate with colleagues in HR on best practices, to source talent, and to gain intelligence and benchmark what competitors are doing strategically.