So today in the quite marvellous #nzlead Kiwi-based twitter chat on all things HR; Work and People at work we are taken over by a Scot. On the ironic occasion of a vote to decide on decoupling or retaining Scotland’s connection to the United Kingdom.
The topic “Is HR dead…” perhaps symbolises another decoupling. From old organisational and management orthodoxies.
Or a strengthening, reinvention of a corporate profession that has the focus on work’s most amazing, most unpredictable and most baffling entity: Human Beings (aka Resources).
Questions being asked and my thoughts are
Q1) What is the state that we (HR) are in?
A somewhat confused, underpowered function lost in its own identity crisis yet coupled with a passion and an ability in places which is unrivalled. HR often compares itself to other functions and comes up short. Yet I recall IT, Finance, Marketing, Change, Projects even operations and customer service having similar crises.
What IS evident is some tired models, some low adaptability and under whelming approaches taken which hold the professions reputation in check and have it ritually questioned by harder edged functions.
In its defence I feel it has spent too much time focusing on fixing and not enough on its own capability to really drive business, people and organisation change and success.
Its time to sharpen our axe so we can better secure the woodcutters and crafts people needed for a modern work proposition. People matter. Resources count. We have been too intent of resourcefulness and less intent on people powered brilliance.
Q2) Do you worry about the prognosis for HR and it’s future?
I worry about work’s future full stop. We see too much old orthodoxy still at play. Like trying to fuel an eco-diesel car with leaded petroleum.
HR has an unbelievable gift of an opportunity to show its merit and deliver success with the changes we are seeing in society, wealth, expectation and even meaning.
In its current guise HR is not adequately stocked or equipped to deliver the newer and needed working propositions.
Q3) Can the profession truly embrace multi-disciplinarity ? (See Neil’s logasphere concept)
In patches yes. Generally not. The lack of research gives some people a chance to hide away from experimentation, discovery and iteration. Technology advances not on the back of research but on science applied, product and service build, iteration and fix and release and deploy. We in HR need more experimental, iterative and success I deployable ways to get the best from people at work. For them and for the business they serve.
Q4) If we organised a small global summit to re-think HR, who should be involved?I think it takes a mixture of a series of divergent and convergent groups made of interested practitioners and wider interested groups to work with bigger more established institutes and academia along with entrepreneur types, researchers and businesses of all types and sizes. Think big: act small: do well. It is - overall - down to us to put petty squabbles, turf wars and mistaken loyalties to factions within out profession and pull us up by our bootstraps and kick down some doors of misconception. Yes. We. Can.