If I Was Running A Company…The Grim Reaper

This week is Halloween and the Grim Reaper is approaching the human resources department according to all these articles here. Apparently the HR bloggers are recreating an episode of Touched By An Angel.  Seriously, is HR one foot near the grave?

Let’s be clear about one thing: the concept of HR is going to be there. Even if there is no HR, people within the organization must recruit, hire, train, negotiate, give orientation, write their own policies, explain benefits, budget, and all the other goodies they have to do.  I could mention the organizations can outsource HR, but what would be the fun of that?

Which leads me to why people are discussing HR’s fate.  The problem with HR is they have too many definitions. While some organizations view HR as tactical, strategic, and proactive;  most organizations, employees, and HR professionals themselves view it as administration, office, and (at times) legal work.  This is where the disconnect is with HR and their employees.  To show you the disconnect, here’s an audio clip of an employee who is upset at HR. Let’s call him Mr. Tony:

Also, I had a discussion with my friends about HR and here are the responses (Of note: my username there is pudgeyt). The perception is there that HR professionals are bad people.  Is there a way to change that?  There are several answers I heard from:

  • Change the department name to “Talent Management”
  • Outsource HR
  • Make it into Marketing
  • Put it under the Legal team
  • Just put it out of its misery

All of the selections are reasonable, but one thing that struck me the past month was Steve Boese’s tweet to one of the speakers at the WTPF SOARS event and one of the tweets said (and I’m paraphrasing), “People should not be HR Managers…they should be General Managers.”  As Sherman Lewis would like to say…BINGO! 

To me, HR is a war room for organizations.  They plan, recruit, and discuss what are the organization’s and employee’s strengths and what needs to improve.  HR creates the working environment for organizations.  The problem is most organizations don’t realize it.  Departments need to realize what value HR has, but on the flip side, HR professionals need to know how the industry and organization is structured and be democratic about the process.  Basically…it’s a two-way communication.

In all honesty, I don’t care how organizations view HR.  If organizations vision for HR is admin or legal purposes, that’s fine. If they vision HR for branding or strategy, that’s fine as well.  Just find the right HR professionals who want to share how organizations view HR. 

To answer the question, is HR dead?  No…HR has a concussion.

By the way, if I would replace the name “Human Resources”, here would be my answers:

  1. War Room
  2. Romper Room
  3. Situation Room
  4. My favorite: The Norris Department

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