Extreme Makeover - HR style
Remember the Personnel Department? It was the place people used to go if they needed a new chair, or a P60. Or to complain about Ian from IT.
Personnel doesn’t exist anymore. It morphed into human resources and took on a much more important role in organisations when they started to realise that the better you treat people, the more productive they are likely to be. And that’s where things remained for many years.
Recently, however, there’s been a bit of revolution and HR has changed again because organisations realise now that to really get the best from people you should make them happy and take care of them. This has led to an HR identity crisis. Depending on what office, organisation or sector you are in, HR could go by many names. It could be Human Capital Management, People Operations, Talent Management or Employee Experience. Facebook calls it People @, Salesforce calls it Employee Success and Starbucks calls it Partner (Human) Resources. Definitely in my top five for worst name ever!
Where does that leave the HR officers who work in these newly-branded departments? In some cases, it gives them carte blanche to create their own titles, so we find Chief People Officers (which sound like menacing Orwellian government bureaucrats) or Vibe manager (which sound more like someone in charge of sex aids).
I’ve never been a fan of the term Human Resource
I’ve never been a fan of the term Human Resources. It’s all about the semantics. Human Resources signifies that people are resources and are purely part of an organisational process. Surely people are more than that. We are complex. We are motivated by different feelings and needs and, if we want our people to have the tools to thrive, we need to ask more of HR departments than to simply provide processes to support workers in their functions.
Of course, I recognise that functions, processes and systems are still needed. There are still contracts to write, pay structures to adhere to, legal regulations to enact, but underneath all these, there is a human being. So rethinking HR is a must.
Thankfully, there are some pioneers doing great work in moving the agenda forward. People like David D’souza and Dr. Mee-Yan Cheung Judge are pioneering a new age of people power within organisations and affecting positive change. They put people at the heart of what they do, challenge the status quo and recognise that humans are complex and often don’t fit into a matrix, process or system.
Change is needed more than ever in HR
And change is needed more than ever because the world of work has undergone a fundamental shift. Organisations have decentralised. Work patterns have changed. Digi-working and WFH are becoming standard practice and, even when corona virus is bought under control, these new patterns are likely to persist in some form or another. The world has transformed and will continue to do so. HR needs to adjust with it, and that includes the name.
To debate and talk about this topic even further, we’ve decide to team up with our friends at Lace partners, who like us have been using their skills and experience to help people and organisations negotiate their way through these bewildering times and create better environments for their people; physically, mentally and digitally.
On 8th October between 1-3.3pm we are hosting a free webinar, Virtually Happy HR engagement and motivation in the new digi-world. We will investigate topics such as: using technology for good (rather than spying on people), developing teams to be more flexible, and creating new ways of working that fit around new commitments and circumstances. We’ve invited some of our experts friends such as Andy Scrase, Head of content O2, Anna Rasmussen CEO from Open Blend, Facebook’s workplace experts and Access group experts who will share their expertise through breakout sessions and be able to answer your questions as part of a panel. And yes this is all for FREE. We’ll even ask the question: “What should HR be called now?” My suggestion is ‘Brian’, what do you think?
If you’re a HR or L&D professional register for our Virtually Happy - HR engagement and Motivation in the new Digi-workplace webinar.
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