Ever had a near death experience? You might soon if you work in HR. Well, the death knell seems to have been sounding louder than ever this year. There has been a lot written recently of the “why I hate HR” and “scrap the HR department” variety.
Just this month, the latest issue of New Zealand’s Employment Today suggests that many HR roles will be computerised over the next decade, that we aren’t thinking enough about where to from here, that we need to stop self sabotaging and naval gazing and we probably don’t have the right people working in HR.
So is the death of HR imminent? Will anyone mourn our passing?
Are we walking towards the light? On this evidence we’re bloody sprinting towards it with arms open shouting “take me, take me.”
Meanwhile there are small but expanding pockets of resistance. Growing groups of disaffected, disruptive voices who are finding strength in finding each other, who believe the C-suite stands for collaboration, connectivity, challenge, community and communication. Those who want the forward focused HR – the game changed, unfurled, full of colour model not the stagnant, bureaucratic, ingrained, reactive, barren, competency driven model. These are people who recognise people management is a broad church and that we need to embrace it in all its forms, not seek to compartmentalize, label, marginalize, ignore or attack that which is different or doesn’t fit neatly into a little box.
If you currently feel HR is ready for the last rites, then allow me a brief indulgence and do me a little favour. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that people management is not and never will be all about policies, bottom lines, patch protection, returns on investment, business drivers, institutes, form filling, quotas, grades, ratings and labels or any of that other cliched corporate nonsense. It is actually about people, people and believe it or not, people.
When you remind yourself of that, the bright light you can see in the distance is not the end of life as we know it or an express train hurtling towards you. More than likely, it’s the light at the end of the tunnel.