Is HR in Trouble . . . or just misguided ??

The post that my compatriot and friend Jason Lauritsen put out this week was very timely and thought provoking because he makes some extremely salient points as to why HR is in trouble.  Also, one of the HRevolution co-founders and friend, Trish McFarlane gave a great response on HR Ringleader !!  Now, I’d like to chime in as well . . .

It’s really interesting to me that folks in HR, especially the one’s in this “space,” continue to want to capture HR in certain view points, compartments and methods.  I get that.  It helps people understand things if there is more clarity.  Jason’s point that HR has to influence senior leadership is spot on.  HR without great senior leadership will flounder aimlessly in an organization.  Trish’s point that we should knock compliance out and be seamless about it – also spot on.  One of the most stinging criticisms I heard from senior management in the past is that HR doesn’t know its own field. Ouch !!

 I happen to think that an answer to this situation is honestly simpler than this.  HR lacks consistency.  In our struggle to be everything for everybody, we not only lose any sense of identity, we lack a credible voice.

I just got back from a trip to San Francisco where I met with two great ends of the HR spectrum – lunch on the wharf with Mark Stelzner and coffee withBecky Denniston and Caty Kobe from Focus.com . Mark and I share a lot of common approach to HR and I’ve wanted to connect with him. To spend a great lunch together was a highlight of my trip.  Becky and Caty are “new” to the business world compared to this author and they were fascinating !!  Truly represent a bright future for all of us !!

Because, you see, both of our conversations came back to one topic . . . people.

We talked about the people in our lives, our work, people I encountered during my adventuresome 14 hour plane ride across the country.  The common language of talking about people brought us together.

I don’t mean to sound like a simpleton.  I just believe that HR is in trouble because it continues to focus on everything BUT people !!

In the Sly & the Family Stone classic Everyday People it says:
“I am no better and neither are you
We’re all the same whatever we do
You love me, you hate me, you know me and then
Still can’t figure out the bag I’m in
Cause I am everyday people.”
 
Senior leaders and those who practice compliance – everyday people.  In HR we continue to think systems will make a difference if we just find the right one.  Won’t happen.  People are messy, complex, unique and fabulous.  HR is in trouble if it continues to look past humans in its effort to seem viable in organizations.  When I get to attend HRevolution in a few weeks – I am going to be genuinely excited – but not because I get to meet great “thought leaders,” but because I get to meet Jason and Trish (along with 100+ other great folks).  Get to learn about them, their families,their favorite rock bands/songs (critical).  I get to meet them as people.   I don’t want HR to be any other way . . . .

One thought on “Is HR in Trouble . . . or just misguided ??”

  1. Excellent reflection on the HR field. I agree that for any Human Resources department to be successful you must live up to the name of HR, actually managing the humans or personnel of your organization. For every organization this will mean different things at different times. The ability to define that need at the proper time and carry it out will decide the value of a HR department to an organization. Following your example of networking and learning new methods is an excellent step in “saving” HR.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.