The Center for Human Resources is a hub for academics and practitioners interested in human capital issues including the practice of human resources as well as vendors in the human capital industry. Access the most current thinking on talent management, workforce training and education, diversity and more through our faculty research and our networking opportunities with fellow HR executives from around the world.
The Center hosts membership groups composed of senior human resources executives who participate in regular meetings and programs developed by the Center. The Center co-hosts the annual Wharton Leadership Conference each June and hosts an annual People & Organizations academic conference in the fall.
The Center also provides funding for faculty and doctoral students to pursue their research agendas in the HR and management-related fields.
Our History: First Research Center
The Center for Human Resources was founded in 1921 as the Wharton School’s Industrial Research Unit (the first research center ever established at a business school) to study the economic and social problems of business. Under the direction of Professors Anne Bezanson, the first female member of the standing faculty of Penn’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and Joseph Willits, a Wharton dean, the Unit began its growth into worldwide attention for its pioneering studies of industrial relations; for its analysis of the problems and economics of specific industries; for its entrepreneurial histories; and, later, for its research into pricing history, labor migration and mobility, and productivity. A major grant from the Ford Foundation in the 1960s and 1970s funded a groundbreaking series of studies on the status of black workers industry by industry which collectively became known as the Negro Employment in American Industry series and which had enormous impact on government policy and employment policy.
The direction of the Center has changed considerably over the years to reflect changing issues in the workplace. The interest in unions and industrial relations gave way to broader concerns around hiring, retention, new employee relations issues associated with new legislation and regulations, and much greater focus on white collar and executive jobs. A five-year research program with the U.S. Department of Education advanced the idea of improving the connection between school and work, and collaborative work with the National Planning Association was the first to document the shift of business risk onto employees. The research supported by the Center now follows very closely contemporary issues in the business community where, for example, talent management is often rated as the biggest challenge, and in the press where labor market outcomes (e.g., who gets jobs and who doesn’t) continue to be a hot topic.
In 1990, the Unit was renamed the Center for Human Resources to reflect these shifts, but its focus on undertaking hands-on, cutting edge research continues. The Center’s mission remains to promote the exchange of ideas between executives in the human resources and employee relations fields and the faculty who teach and research in these fields and to disseminate research findings through an active program of conferences, interactive meetings and seminars, and publications.
The HR Industry Advisory Board
Chairman and CEO
SharedXpertise Media, LLC
Chair, HR Industry Advisory Board
Elliot Clark is the Chairman and CEO of SharedXpertise Media, LLC which he founded in 2006. Elliot oversees company management and the publication of HRO Today, HRO Today Global Edition and Corporate Responsibility Magazine the related global HRO Today conference series and the Commit!Forum. Prior to founding SharedXpertise Media, LLC, Elliot was the Chief Operating Officer of Kenexa Corporation, a leading provider of HR software and services from 1991 until 2006, and served on the Board of Directors of Kenexa until 2006. Elliot is a graduate of the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce of the University of Pennsylvania earning a B.S. Economics where he majored in Human Resources and he currently serves as a Senior Fellow for the Wharton Center for HR Studies, Wharton School of Finance and Commerce, University of Pennsylvania.
President and CEO
Ray Bixler has been SkillSurvey’s President and CEO since 2006. During his tenure over the past 10+ years, SkillSurvey’s been recognized multiple times as one of the fastest growing companies by both Inc. 500/5000 and Deloitte Technology Fast 500. In 2016, SkillSurvey was a Finalist Emerging Technology Company for the Enterprise Awards presented by the Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technologies. The company has been featured in Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Fortune, Fast Company and Ray is a regular contributor with a monthly column in US News and World report.
Prior to SkillSurvey, Ray spent over 20 years in sales leadership and senior management positions for both small and large companies. Most of this experience focused on building and leading go-to-market sales, marketing and new business development strategies for early-stage companies. Most recently, Ray spent 3 years as a Regional and Senior Vice President with Caliper, an organizational development consulting firm. While there, Ray consulted with hundreds of small and mid-size businesses and several F500 organizations in developing better hiring, development, performance management and succession planning strategies. Before joining Caliper, Ray’s management experience included senior level sales management positions at RCN Corporation and WorldCom/MCI.
Ray’s education includes Materials Engineering at Drexel University and Business Management at Immaculata University. Ray currently serves on the board of directors of the National Association of Healthcare Recruiters.
PETER W. HART
Chief Executive Officer
With over four decades of service in employee recognition, Peter has been instrumental in Rideau’s rise to becoming a top global provider of employee rewards and recognition strategy. Peter has received many accolades for his charitable contributions and business acumen including being selected as a finalist for Ernst & Young’s 2008 Entrepreneur of the Year. Globally known for his unique thought leadership, Peter currently serves on the board of directors of many organizations including Recognition Professional International and The Incentive Federation – the umbrella organization for the incentive and recognition industry. Peter is listed on both Incentive Magazine’s 2016 inaugural list of the 25 most Influential People in the Incentive Industry and HRO Today’s 2016 HR Superstars for his visionary outlook, global leadership, and decades of industry contributions.
Using his leadership talents for the good of others, Peter currently serves on the board of Accueil Bonneau, a source of meals and other services for over 800 people a day who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
As a globally recognized expert in employee recognition, motivation and rewards, Peter has co-authored two books, written numerous articles on workforce management, and is often called upon to speak at industry events. In his spare time Peter enjoys painting and is an accomplished artist whose works can be found around the world and can be seen at his eponymous gallery in Old Montréal. Appreciating the opportunity social media affords to connect with others, Peter is very active with his personal blog, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook pages. Peter has a handful of children and even more grandchildren who are constantly looking for more recognition from their grandfather!
President, North America
Bob Lopes is President of Randstad Sourceright’s North America operations, including the company’s RPO, MSP and integrated talent solutions lines of business, and also serves on the company’s Global Leadership Team committee. He is a senior executive with experience leading private, mid-stage and public businesses in outsourcing, consulting and HR-related services. Bob has a demonstrated ability to develop strategic direction, deliver measurable and significant revenue growth, drive organizational change on a global scale and focus on topline expansion and operational efficiency.
John has spent more than a decade building WilsonHCG into the premier global talent solutions provider. John continues to redefine the RPO model, with a strong focus on building better companies and improving the bottom line through customizable recruitment solutions and value-add services. This revolutionary approach has allowed John to develop WilsonHCG into a true partner for clients’ talent programs.
John’s hands-on leadership has been instrumental in driving WilsonHCG’s growth every year since its inception. Likewise, his approach has enriched the company’s culture by inspiring employees to harness their own interests. John regularly consults Fortune 500 business leaders on a range of human capital topics, including talent acquisition, diversity recruitment and leadership, employment branding, talent communities, strategic workforce planning, leadership development and succession management.
John is the founder and CEO of WilsonHCG, a top global recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) and talent-consulting firm. He has spent more than a decade building WilsonHCG into the premier global RPO provider. John is redefining the RPO model, with a strong focus on building better companies and improving the bottom line through customizable recruitment services and value-added services. This revolutionary approach has allowed John to develop WilsonHCG into a true partner for clients’ talent acquisition programs.
John’s innovation and extensive experience in the RPO industry has made him a respected authority in the HR community. He consults business leaders on a range of human capital topics, including talent acquisition, diversity recruitment and leadership, employment branding, talent communities, strategic workforce planning, leadership development and succession management strategies. John is also an expert on hiring, motivating and retaining gen Y employees, and has advised Fortune 500 companies on their emergence in the workforce.
John’s hands-on leadership has been instrumental in driving growth every year since the company’s inception. His approach has enriched the company culture by inspiring employees to harness their own interests within the industry. WilsonHCG leads the way through its brand ambassador program, operation transition initiative, university recruiting and diversity subject matter experts (SMEs), the Leadership Exploration and Development program (LEAD) and employee engagement committee. The high level of engagement John sparks at WilsonHCG is one of the primary reasons the company has been named a top employer by multiple publications.
John has been recognized with multiple awards including Profiles in Diversity Journal’s CEO Leadership’s CEO Leadership in Action and HRO Today’s Superstars. He regularly participates in industry conferences and is a featured speaker at industry events. John has appeared on Dr. Drew’s Lifechangers, the CIPD podcast, HR Happy Hour and Drive Thru HR, as well as other programs and podcasts. He has also been featured in many publications, including Staffing Industry Analysts’ The Staffing Stream, and “Staffing Industry Review,” the London Business Journal, the American Management Association, The Global Recruiter, Recruiter Magazine, Workforce, The American Business Journal, CIO, Ere.net and the Human Capital Institute blog.
Center for Human Resources
The Wharton School
University of Pennsylvania
110 Vance Hall
3733 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6301