HR Is Dead: Long Live HR (For the times they are a-changin')

Every few months for the past few years, somebody writes about the death and destruction of HR. HR is dead they cry! The days of HR are over! [Cue Tony Soprano Impression] “Eh, take the function out back, and me and Jimmy will put them out of their misery”. But really, I can’t even recall how many blogs I’ve read using this very title.
I agree with the thrust of many of these articles; HR needs to change.  The big issue is can this change happen fast enough to suit the business and the CEO’s needs?  So what is holding this process up? Why the delays when the people are calling for HR’s head?
The key issues that I see holding this process up are:

Technology

Whether or not the current technology provides talent management information required to support the HRD in helping the CEO.

HR Value

The ability to change HR value. Can the HRD review the current HR interface with the business and the value it provides and do stop, start and continue exercise.  Importantly, would the business support these endevours?

Investment and value in HR

This is a vicious circle. You cannot get funds to provide the advice and you cannot provide advice without the funds. It takes investment to gain a HR service advisor that adds value to the bottom line.  In the past, HR has been notoriously bad at gaining investment and preparing ROI’s for technology and new services.
Managing transactional services as part of HR such as payroll, HR records, employee entitlements etc do detract from being strategic.  HR needs to separate these services by;

  • Outsourcing non critical services that are tangible is hard if for some HRDs.
  •  Recognition is also an issue.  HR does not have a profile so its some times means it needs to be created and break the norms.  This needs support from the C-Suite.  Take a look at an Annual Report and see the percentage devoted to Finance versus HR

Finally I think HR must  change to survive despite the issues. As the great  Bob Dylan says:

Come gather ’round people

Wherever you roam

And admit that the waters

Around you have grown

And accept it that soon

You’ll be drenched to the bone.

If your time to you

Is worth savin’

Then you better start swimmin’

Or you’ll sink like a stone

For the times they are a-changin’.

Image credit here

Trevor will be facilitating the World Cafe at #CWF2014. This session provides an open forum for delegates to have their say, share their ideas and gain a practical understanding of the subject matter via a series of intimate round table discussions.  You can find out more about this year’s agenda, here. If you wish to participate in a discussion on diversity and contingent, please let us know.

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