Bill Brennan, Principal Officer of WH Brennan Consulting and former Vice President-Global Labor/Employee Relations with PepsiCo, was the final speaker of the 2017 HR Summit. His session focused on global and domestic labor relations from an HR generalist perspective. He started his talk with the challenges companies face in the global and domestic labor market, followed by stories and strategies learned during his career, and finally his advice for all HR generalists.
To start, he delivered an overview of changes in global and domestic labor relations, focusing on unions. This area has evolved significantly since 1989, notably with Eastern Europe’s switch to the west and the rise of China. These changes also corresponded with the increasing emphasis on human rights, particularly the right of freedom of association and collective bargaining. When creating a strategy for global labor relations, Mr. Brennan emphasized the need to have a good understanding of both Global Union Federations and the complex climates of each involved country.
Regardless of company size or location, Mr. Brennan outlined essential roles HR generalists should adopt to have a seat at the table in their companies and to make a difference. HR generalists should be technical experts, business partners, and change agents. His session concluded with the question, “When someone says, ‘do they have it?’, how do you define ‘it’?” From over 30 years of professional experience, Mr. Brennan defines “it” as a combination of intuition, courage, and wisdom. As students, we will take Mr. Brennan’s advice with us as we go into our summer internships and full time positions.