Friday, May 6, 2011

The threat of HR shrinking as a function


Largely HR is considered to be a support function to business or enterprise and has been growing as a function much guided by the business than it's own pattern of evolving as a multi-tier or multi-layer function. I see traditional HR has a definite form of statutory or compliance keeper in forms of maintaining employee records, history of employee life-cycle while following statutory compliance as the rule of the land or state stipulates.
Modern day HR as all of you know is a catalyst to the organization's change management efforts, organisational development planner and agent, people effectiveness coach, coordinator for capability building framework design team, total rewards expert, champions of people issues, aspirations and career progression frame-work builder ; advisor, Leadership pipeline builder, keeper of people's faith in organization's fair and transparent review, reward and recognition system, keeper of people's faith in being heard, taken care of and resolver of issues with a surgeon's precision, excellent trainer and organiser of real stuff in training to ensure people's success in the organisation and beyond, etc, etc..

On top of the list of jobs or roles that HR has added to it's armoury, there are everyday challenges that industry, competion, market and people keep throwing that relates to people comes to HR first, before it gets filtered out or routed to other functions or people, outside HR. Agree to all of the specialist hats that HR can don, but the bigger and little worrying question is: Have we really made it large in HR to establish as HR specialist, as strongly as acadmicians and HR evangelists, great universitty professors and researchers have established these glofiying terms, conceppts and models and matrices? Probably not that much as we would have expected to..
The bigger worry is not there....the bigger worry is for the existence of the HR folks in future with HR professionals in many-many companies have not been able to establish the sense of worth and importance of each lateral function within HR to the company management and it's people, to the extent that each company to get the optimum benefit out of the HR's specialist functions.
Unfortunately, HR people are not able to sell thee specialist functions within HR to their curent company that results in too many HR people doing more of generalist function and not many in specialist functions.
I am not telling generalist is not a great skill, rather it is a great combination called 'Jack of all trades' but equally true is the other part of the adage...
Time to sell more of specialist HR roles within the organisation, so that you get to specislist role or rotate to various specilist roles, by adding key skills required for thoe roles or hire from the market.

If HR people do not do this today, they will always ask, what should be best employee number to HR member ratio?
We need to get ahead from here ASAP and establish HR as a specialist function with great sets of weapons or offerings to organisattion and people. Let's all take a task to grow HR function or else we will keep reading such ideas in HBRs, and great HR books and will hardly know anything beyond a 10 yrs junior HR student who comes out of his college and gets a next seat to us.

More so, for HR's sake and for sake of large pool of HR students at the gates waiting to enter your company..

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