Company: Phoenix Suns
Company Established: 1968
Employees in AZ: 200
Employees in HR department: 6
The Phoenix Suns human resources department is known not only as the “go-to” place for a wealth of information, but also as a warm and welcoming office for all employees who walk through the door.
Six people comprise the Suns’ human resources team. Peter Wong is vice president of human resources and Karen Rausch is human resources director. Wong is an adjunct faculty member at Scottsdale Community College and a member of the Corporate Leadership Council and the Sports Network. He is also a board member of the Sports & Entertainment Human Resource Forum and sits on the diversity committee of the Women’s Sports Foundation. Rausch is a member of the Valley of the Sun Human Resource Association and chairs the National Basketball Association’s compensation committee.
The Suns human resources team works in a male-dominated industry, yet its own ranks are half women. It sets an example for the company’s commitment to diversity in another way — half its employees are minorities. In fact, companywide, 38 percent of the people who work for the Suns are women and 37 percent are minorities. Human resources strives for a diverse mix of job candidates by developing outreach programs with Goodwill, Job Corps and the Arizona State University career center.
The Suns’ human resources team has made its mark in a number of ways. It established a leadership group for women in management positions. This year, the leadership group hosted a reception with “Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts, who shared professional and personal experiences as a working woman. Katie Pushor, former president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, recently spoke to the group about leading employee teams.
The human resources team also sponsors a leadership committee, a monthly discussion group that includes the CEO, executive management, managers and supervisors throughout the Suns organization. Coordination of the agenda is rotated among members. Each member has an opportunity to prepare presentations and arrange speakers from the Phoenix business community. Suns players and coaches also speak to the group. The leadership committee provides managers with information about the company and discusses trends and opportunities within the sports industry.
Employee recognition involves a number of programs organized by human resources. The department conducts all-employee meetings in which Suns owners and executives provide business updates and presentations are given by players, industry specialists and sports personalities. There also are service awards and a program for employee of the month.