HR Could Become Irrelevant …If It Does Not Embrace The Global Economy

Old Human Resources and Employee Relations (HR/ER) is dead. Modern HR/ER has become the front-line global HR/ER practice. HR/ER encompass all people business related procedures from hiring to retirement. However, this great profession might continue to be marginalized in more organizations, unless the new scientific HR/ER processes are embraced by more HR/ER departments. It is a new global era, and every profession has been impacted by the effects of technology, global competition and the redefinition of work. HR/ER is no exception to the continued evolution enhanced by technological advancement. Successful HR/ER departments are expected to create measurable financial profit and growth for organizations and employees. Transformative HR/ER principles are a vital part for becoming a high performing HR department in this era.(For more information, See video clip at the end of Article)

There are numerous HR tools and systems with valid algorithms to show the nexus between HR/ER functions and organizational success. The assertion that HR/ER departments are mere support departments, continues to lose credibility among successful and dynamic companies. There are many organizations in which their HR/ER departments are a key part of creating and executing successful organizational goals. Therefore, the argument for HR/ER departments to remain in a support and non contributory financial role continues to falter, and will probably be resoundingly rejected by more global leaders– as the corporate evolution and definiton of “work” continues to grow.

The repeated and odd request by some HR/ER executives to be provided “a seat at the table” is an empty one for the most part. The reason it continues to be ignored by boards of organizations is because most of these requests for relevance, are typically unsupported by vigorous evidence based outcomes.When a valid case for HR/ER inclusion is made about the strategic role of HR/ER to dynamic organizational leaders, they typically grasp the critical function of the department. HR/ER departments provide the needed connection for execution of corporate goals, through the use of scientific methods.

HR/ER executives that successfully communicate the role of HR/ER in the global economy, and the manner in which the department is used by progressive organizations, are usually given flexibility to restructure their departments. Such departments hire HR/ER staff with muscular disciplines in Law, Psychology, Finance and Economics. In my work as a Corporate Performance Improvement HR/ER professional, it is sometimes challenging for our organization to convince senior executives and boards to retain their HR/ER staffers in the event of corporate restructure or a financial downturn—-if the HR/ER department is engaged in performing purely anachronistic/reactive HR functions.

At other times so much harm has been done, that HR/ER employee roles are considered almost toxic, and unwanted by the executives and employees too. In those instances, such organizations tend to outsource their HR/ER functions– especially their Recruitment/Talent Acquisition function. It is refreshing to know that HR/ER departments can be restructured by changing the qualifications required for their employees, and the methods they utilize for organizational effectiveness and success.

To create a successful and profit generating HR/ER department, two critical policies and processes should be implemented:

  • Hire HR/ER professionals who have strong backgrounds and experience in muscular disciplines such as Law, Finance, Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Economics etc. Such professionals must also be experienced in scientific and data driven HR/ER processes. In addition, it is mandatory to provide consistent training for existing HR/ER employees within your department– especially for those employees who do not have a foundation or experience in the needed muscular disciplines. All progressive HR/ER professionals must understand and interpret HR/ER analytics, and be able to connect them to the people business processes required for organizational and employee success.
  • HR/ER must execute and provide measurable and tangible financial growth and returns for organizations and employees. It is an expected deliverable by dynamic and high performing organizations– such as Google and Starbucks. Progressive organizations of all sizes, expect measurable financial profit and growth from their HR/ER departments. Google continues to succeed in employee engagement, healthy cultural initiatives and employee satisfaction using modern algorithms, within a potent and well staffed HR department. The Google HR/ER (People Operations) mantra is:

All people decisions at Google are based on data and analytics.” Their goal says Google is to “bring the same level of rigor to people-decisions that we do to engineering decisions.”

The HR/ER profession has come too far, and professionals have worked to hard and must remain relevant in the fast changing global economy. The changes required to create success within organizations, have been achieved by many HR/ER professionals. These committed, knowledgeable and experienced HR/ER professionals are an asset to the HR profession, and we applaud their hard work and successes. The work of such professionals, no matter their level within HR departments, continues to enhance the gravitas of HR/ER work.

Consistent learning, change management, and a strong shift from a continued reactive HR/ER function, continue to support the advancement of 21st century HR/ER professionals– in this new and competitive global economy. We believe that more HR/ER departments will continue to embrace the new global expectations of the profession. Only the use of modern and scientific 21st century HR/ER practices will prevent the marginalization of the vital role of Human Resources to employee and organizational competitive advantage, growth and success.

I wish you well.