By, Cari Desiderio
This week I read an article that some HR practitioners may find a bit frightening. It is an article from WSJ that recounts how some companies are saying no to having a human resources department (http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304819004579489603299910562). The point of the article is that old school human resources departments can actually be more detrimental than beneficial to organizations. Now on this point I would agree. If you think about the trending toward flat and democratic organizational structures, the notion of a team dedicated to policy pushing and uniformity agenda is unappealing. The organizations of tomorrow are companies fueled by flatter structure with higher accountability around performance and entrepreneurial cultures where those who deliver outcomes win. While there will always be a place to manage performance issues and compliance matters, on the whole the flatter structure “self manages” more of the problems via a strong culture of high performance bars and entrepreneurial allowance.
So if writing handbooks can be outsourced, personnel files can be converted to electronic files managed by shared services, and benefits can easily go to third party administrators, should those of us in the HR profession be concerned? For the change averse, absolutely. However, if re branded there is still a need for human resources that is more powerful and strategic than ever before.
The human resources leader of tomorrow is a talent advocate. A change agent of sorts, who is able to facilitate making the most of a company’s human capital. Study upon study reveals that disengagement in companies is toxic. Gallup estimates $360B a year is the cost in America alone (http://www.gallup.com/businessjournal/247/the-high-cost-of-disengaged-employees.aspx ). This is an astounding figure. ROI opportunity for those who can impact the problem of people motivation.
To be corporate partners of tomorrow, the new role of human resources has to be solving the talent problem. Finding talent, and making that talent reach full potential. This requires a move away from the more linear and compliance oriented thinking of yesterday. Find talent. Grow talent. Engage talent. The strategic HR partner of tomorrow is a coach, a mentor, a creative engagement agent of the human spirit!