Article: Will HR become redundant, asks Elango R.

Strategic HR

Will HR become redundant, asks Elango R.

Is it time to cast the pompous keeper of the people flame through the window?
Will HR become redundant, asks Elango R.

For a business to succeed and I am talking about wild success here, HR must NOT be around


 Now with a provocative title like that I am hoping I will still have my job by the time this sees print, is passed around and hopefully commented on! So let me say it again and really loud - HR MUST BE REDUNDANT!

Have you ever thought of outsourcing the whole parenting activity? If you find that thought outrageous, you mustn’t find my statement “HR MUST BE REDUNDANT” out of step. As leaders, our success depends on our people and the results they produce! But yet, we want HR to manage our people and tell us how to rank them, promote them, fire them and reward them. Wow! This is almost like getting an expert to manage your children’s upbringing while taking care of the more important tasks of earning, paying the bills and providing for your children!

I know I’m exaggerating a bit but hopefully that serves to bring the anachronism to the fore.

For a business to succeed and I am talking about wild success here, HR must NOT be around. The HR role must be performed by line managers who are equipped with a strong framework to operate from within. The HR heads’ success should be measured by their ability to set the framework, only intervening to help make course corrections in its evolution to meet changing business needs. Managers ought to manage their employees. Period!

It is time to cast the gatekeeper, policeman, policy custodian, pompous keeper of the people flame through the window! That is what I mean by HR will be redundant and I hope it happens quickly.


HR Shared Services/Operations: No longer an HR responsibility. This is an operational function that can be an outsourced BPO outfit or an insourced team held accountable by metrics. This will become an indispensable part of the business operations team as organisations become larger and complex. HR teams have no role in running this and will only intervene in the design and implementation phase.

Staffing: Becomes a fulfillment function that is a part of a larger Resource Management Group focused on the complete supply chain – both internal and external. This is best suited under a COO who controls the food chain and has the influence to force internal rotations and resource skill upgradations. HR should be exclusively focused on assessment and bringing in the right folks in. HR should be measured on the quality of hires, the tenure in the organisation and the cultural fit!

Performance Management:  HR has a large role to play in this much reviled process. I am yet to meet someone who loves this process but we don’t have an alternative. There are many experiments but none that have gained the critical momentum required to gain mass adoption. It is difficult to see how this will pan out, but HR can take the time saved from the above in helping bring about a more effective, humane way of enhancing performance!


Organisation Design: Savvy HR professionals who have had an immersion in business and understand the dynamics of people and business are best suited to drive this. Currently, very little time is spent on this aspect.

Leadership Culture: That ephemeral “thing” that makes organisations different. Why are some companies so good at innovation while others make a mark servicing their clients? This is a part of the culture – difficult to define but a definite part of the DNA. Can HR professionals un-code this genome sequence and allow for designing desired culture! Like we have Behavioural Economics, we may need a new stream that is Behavioural Genetics. This will be a game changer as the market place gets more complex and challenging!

Success Coaches: HR is seen as an enabler of success through the immense influence they enjoy at both the individual and unit level. We must constantly be looking at processes and ecosystems that enable success.

Potential Assessment and Right fit of Employees: Can we turn our promotion practices on their head and see how to help with potential assessment, capability match and aspiration calibration.

Sigh! I know that seems like a lot of bunkum but I am hoping this future becomes a reality. It is tough and even to me, seems very spaced out, but this is my attempt to step out of the box- Only; I seemed to have moved into another orbit!

It will take a lot for us HR satellites to move to this orbit and I am hoping some galactic disturbance in the force will make shift happen! As always I look forward to your comments and hopefully some debate; even if it is to debunk my ranting.

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Topics: Strategic HR, C-Suite, Leadership, #ChangeManagement, #HRInsights, #HRIndustry, #ExpertViews

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