Blog: The obituary of Human Resources

Life @ Work

The obituary of Human Resources

The new normal of COVID-19 had brought many obscure heroes at a time and have risen above illustrious heroes. These are people who have believed themselves, these homophones belief and believe would sound similar but later is a verb & practiced thoroughly.
The obituary of Human Resources

The obituary of Human Resources has been written multiple times over the past decades, but at the time of publishing this article, HR is still alive. Are our Human Resources people started wearing their backbone where it ought to be or is it still a wishbone where backbone needs to be? That particular strain of fascism was endemic at all time, it has manifested in myriad guises countless times before and since. The human resources department is doomed. This article lays out what will change and why, as well as how HR professionals can prepare; here is my feeble attempt to clarify what is a pretty murky area.

The new normal of COVID-19 had brought many obscure heroes at a time and have risen above illustrious heroes. These are people who have believed themselves, these homophones belief and believe would sound similar but later is a verb & practiced thoroughly. Human Resources professionals who have been able to unleash their beliefs, backed by data are the winner of this format, twenty-twenty match-turing test match.  The rules of the game have turned overnight, and this situation can remain irrational longer than we can tolerate solvency. Believe me, this is not a temporary rupture, we are writing a history that can be well understood but unrehearsed as a capability.

HR departments have seen many seasons, war & pandemics. They are often considered the shepherds of the culture of their organizations, Human Resources function has evolved being called as a welfare officer in the year 1890 - 1915, Labor Manager at the time of world war 1 & II 1914 -1939  Personnel management1945 – 1979 to Human Resources 1980 – 1990,  & now Strategic Human Resources 2000 onwards… today we know this function by many names ie. People and culture, people analytics, People operations, Human Capital so hence and so forth.  

It’s a reality that many even would not know the purpose and why these titles are offered to them. Many still live and earn their livelihood understanding it’s a transactional Job. I feel pity about their poverty of knowledge about Human Resources and expectations. It isn’t that the evil thing wins — it never will — but that it doesn’t die. That s the major problem and it would take ages to clear this now. 

HR is not a function - it is a way, it is an art as well as science, and unfortunately, most of the times it is hit by OK plateau. HR needs to crack open the vault of their unconscious and explore the darkest elements of their noble job, from overcoming idea-stagnation to dealing with both self-criticism and external/internal naysayers.  If HR is designed to be the preferred interface between companies and employees — to protect them and help them manage their careers in what can be complex ecosystems — it seems to be falling short

We all HR crew have been doing good and great thus far for the organization as per expectation set. I am not sure how many CEOs are clear of their expectation from HR as a function. Most of them contemplate HR as support functions. Hence the role remains defined more or less the same: Recruitment, Performance Management, Attrition Management, Talent Management & L&D.  

The problem is all about “Expectation”, some HR Leaders would have seemed to only want to parrot happy by willfully ignoring problems and the people who raise them. They Just cram what leaders speak, even if they know it is wrong for an organization in the long run.  Some are blind to cultural signals and ignore employee concerns.  These acts of ours have disempowered the self-image of the Human Resources function. In reality, we have misplaced our understanding of the need, read, essence, buy-in, and respect within the culture of the organization, and hence most of HR’s have been tested positive with hubris syndrome.   

Human Resources function is busy digging its grave for a while by using its quick-fix approach. Most of the time Human Resources are caught in knuckles solving their own problem which is self-created. Human Resources are still into those bad old days, we still take the decision based on emotions, instinct, politics to take organization decisions. Human Resources' ability to take transactional queries and solving it has long been a staple diet of their professional life. Human Resources function is the first function that needs to deduct its biases and check their acts, for long we have been misled by tattoos, torn jeans, tilaks, hairstyles & pluralism, and diversity of religion, colour, sex and language. It does not end here Human Resources has also acted as police function, keeping eye on people through a camera, checking to time, measuring cup of tea consumed, and how much time people spend in the loo. 

Also, HR was once hit by the most fashioned word ‘Best practice' policies and procedures. 'Best practice' wrongly assumes that all firms and organizations are the same. It is not one fit for all organization, each organization is wired distinctly. Each action must instead embrace appropriate practice based on what the organization is trying to achieve after clearly defining the problem areas. Each HR practice must be based on evidence & data of what works for that firm and its objectives.

Human Resources as a function and being an HR professional is a noble Job. Human Resources need to handle critic and handle their self-worth. Many of us just show up and get to work. Boundaries are left un cordon, this function needs to have guts, moral courage, and data to make a decision. Last year we saw the HR department of one of the top Search Engines being put on PIP by employees. “ It seems to have lost its anchorage, and trust between people and the company. It did lose its position on various levels of the organization. One the understanding of their function is not clear and so as an expectation from Human Resources

The most immortal mix would be if HR Traits acquires to practice change management and Organization Development.  It is an intimidating reality that the business landscape is constantly emergent; to meet these challenges effectively, businesses need to learn the changes of geodetic datum. HR surrenders to the time & lacks discipline, OD is a disciplined illustrated compendium at once very different in spirit and sufficiently different in execution. Both (HR &OD) as a  function deal with people, but yet there are more differences than similarities.

Organization Development is concerned with facilitating change in organizations through a more holistic and humanistic approach that puts people at the heart of the process. Organizational development is more a disciplined & ethical approach created as a way of applying behavioral science to help organizations to improve individuals and systems. It is a process of facilitating, making better use of self, in incessant diagnosis, action planning, implementation and evaluation. It helps improve the organization's capabilities and capacity to solve the problem and manage future change better.  

OD helps you navigate through unchartered territory, OD is about System, Values, Proven theories, Ethics, aligning, process and system and reality and results. Being OD practitioner If we are successful in integrating all these, we will get the ship and the needed shift. Competitions have the undesirable quality of being a “zero-sum” today, the bottom line of organization rest in the culture of an organization. Most of the organization today has many subcultures within a culture. It is in varying degrees and some conflict with each other.  OD plays a vital role to stitch and align these cultures to organization purpose. 

Organizational culture can be known, read, felt & changed. HR needs to look for an opportunity to develop their cultural intelligence. This shall help them overcome conflict on a team where cultural norms differ, HR needs to build a culture that aligns with people's values. Great culture should provide continuous alignment to the vision, purpose, and goals of the organization. A recent LinkedIn survey found that people would rather put up with lower pay (65%) and forego a fancy title (26%) than deal with a bad workplace environment.

I see this evolution has been a long slow dance; I see a second soul for Human Resources in Change Management & Organization Development approach and reimagined if it is to survive.Be an artist who is never pleased, let your curious self & curiosity rule. Let a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”  Again, it doesn’t come with a promise that you can please everyone — people will have art & heart that they like and dislike — the main thing is that you as an artist are happy with your work. From an in the construable beginning comes reincarnation. 

A beginning point is not evident, let see which way the pendulum swings. You've got to keep exploring, experimenting and be on the adventitious ride. You'll have new competitors. You'll have all generation customers around you be the change agent with a purpose who can envision plausible downside scenarios and test resilience under these circumstances. 

Working in HR takes courage, there are so many possible points of entry, walk through the fractal path, be the genuine, authentic, caring human being who consciously makes a positive contribution to the future of work & workplace in the HR world. HR can’t be everything for everybody. HR needs to stop being apologetic for what we do and stop taking permissions, we just need to own it. Be the forces of that chance that chisel reality out of the bedrock of possibility in this improbable HR world and for once the dice that has fallen in favor of existence. 

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Topics: Life @ Work, #GuestArticle, #HRIndustry

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