Another controversial post
In my opinion, Laurie Ruettimann is one of the most influential and disruptive thought leaders in human resources. She wrote yet another thought provoking blog post this week on the topic of whether or not HR is a dying field.
Update: Check out all the rest of the discussion on the “Death of HR” here! http://bit.ly/2DhxaL
HR is a dying field
JD asks, “Honestly, is this site still Punk HR or just Anti HR now?”
I think HR is dying — and JD thinks it’s being embraced by Corporate America. Who’s right?
Here’s my take.
- Recruiters constantly undermine it,
- job seekers avoid it whenever possible,
- and employees dread their interactions with any member of a Human Resources team.
HR is not dying.
I would agree it is bifurcating to a certain extent, from a blended generalist type function into several smaller more specialized areas, like talent management, etc,. But there is still a need for someone to do the shit work that line managers hate when it comes to dealing with people. There is also a need to ensure that the bad managers out there be required stick to some form of cultural consistency and conformity.
I think too many HR people hunker down and develop a reactive mentality to issues. We need to stop trying to avoid disasters and litigation.
HR peeps need to step out and make shit happen.
When you do that, you are at the table, whether you got invited or not.
BTW – the invites are not coming any time soon. You have to create the opportunity. Same holds true for authority and respect. And you have to work to hold on to them once you have them. They are pesky and disappear quickly.
The great companies out there typically have great HR departments under the hood somewhere. But there is also a lot of “What have you done for me lately?”
Do the work.
Make shit happen.
HR rocks anywhere that happens.
What kind of HR are you?
Before this intensive dialogue commenced on Punk Rock HR, I had been working all week on a thought inspired by my attendance at the ERE Expo last week. I had been writing about the growing differentiation I see in the way HR generalists and recruiters approach their work. I was trying to develop some typologies that I see in HR. I was struggling with the idea, and then Laurie’s post changed my mind some more. Here is a very shortened take on what I had been trying to get.
Seven types of Human Resources Practitioner
- Rockstar – drives their organization to new heights. Visible leadership with positive impact on culture and business bottom-line.
- Expert – brings a new level of knowledge and success to an existing organization. Leads incremental improvement of already successful business practices and culture. Helps the organization strive for the next level.
- Specialist – helps a successful organization stay that way through a very specialized knowledge base. Drives improvements in a small portion of the business or the HR function. (Many Recruiters fall into this grouping! – the good ones that is…)
- Professional – competently ensures the business stays on track. Does little to provoke change or drive incremental improvements, but keeps the organization on an even keel.
- Preventer – the shadowy version of the Professional. Believes role is to keep the business on track by preventing anything bad from take place. Spends so much time being reactive and living in fear of disaster that eventually the organization declines and becomes unhealthy.
- Placeholder – keeps a chair warm for as long as possible. We all know one.
- Victim – accepts the traditional view of HR as a lesser function wholeheartedly and remains steadfastly ineffective in their role due to “circumstances beyond their control”.
Where HR needs to go
Coming back around to the discussion over on Punk Rock HR, after following all day through the more than 80 comments, I read an observation by Beth Carvin that really resonated with me. It was:
You’re worrying about the wrong people when you say that recruiters, job seekers and employees don’t like HR. The people that need to like HR are the senior execs and other Managers.
Great HR people make a difference in how well the company is managed. There’s not a lot of fanfare in HR because the assistance HR provides is given quietly. Great HR people are working day-in-and-day-out helping and advising about the people side of the business equation to help make the execs/mgrs look good.
When it’s time to pass out credit, everyone forgets that it was advice or actions or discussions with Great HR that helped the organization make or take the right decisions/actions.
I completely agree that HR needs a major PR overhaul. It should absolutely be one of SHRM’s highest priority action items. One starting place would be with the top MBA programs.
and was followed by:
When you think about it, the work that HR leadership provides (guidance on the people issues) is really one of the most important BUSINESS roles in running a successful company. If the people issues are f-ed up, the Sales department is going to suck and not make sales, the Operations people are going to be lazy and unproductive, and on and on.
In order for any large company to be successful, they have to get the people issues right. Every single time. Why do you think every article in Harvard Business Magazine has so many articles on the people issues? They just don’t call them HR issues.
If HR is the most strategic business function (which I believe it is) then every MBA program should be focusing heavily on the people issues. HR should be the COOLEST profession for business people. Only the brightest, most intuitive, sharpest, entrepreneurial, kick-ass punk rock people need apply.
All of this led me to ponder what suddenly struck me as a really obvious and dumb question.
Why aren’t those of us who are perhaps on the leading edge of HR thought and social media doing more to use our bad ass blogs and communities and all the other forums that we have at our fingertips to tell the world just how kick ass HR can be?
Are we too busy being a different sort of victim? Should we be spending far less time bemoaning the state of the HR profession, and putting that same energy into lifting HR ?
Maybe we are. The bigger question is, how to do go about changing it?
What would you do?
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- HR is Dying: Yes? No? (punkrockhr.com)