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Barbara Mitchell and Sharon Armstrong: The Essential HR Handbook [Truly Amazing Women]

Blog entry by Hope Katz Gibbs
Truly Amazing Women interviews
Barbara Mitchell and Sharon Armstrong
Authors, “The Essential HR Handbook”
September 8, 2008

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,” Mitchell explains. “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,” adds Armstrong, 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. “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.”

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.

HR professionals have raved about this 250-page paperback—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 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.”

About the Authors

Sharon Armstrong 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.

Barbara Mitchell is a human resources and organization development consultant who is widely known as an expert in the areas of recruitment and retention. She has experience in both for-profit and not-for-profit sectors and has consulted to a variety of organizations around the world.

She served in senior human resources leadership positions with Marriott International and several technology firms in the Washington DC area before co-founding the Millennium Group International, LLC (TMG) in 1998. She recently served on the Society of Human Resource Management’s Special Expert Panel on Consulting and Outsourcing in recognition of her expertise and long service to the HR profession. Barbara is a graduate of North Park University, Chicago, IL, with a degree in history and political science and has taken graduate level courses at UCLA.

Both authors live in the Washington, D.C. area.


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