A colleague recently forwarded to me an article written by Dr. Jac Fitz-enz on the rebranding of human resources. I'm a fan of Dr. Jac and recommend his book, "How to Measure Human Resource Management" to everyone I know. So naturally, I was interested in what he had to say.
While I enjoyed reading the white paper, I thought the last thing Dr. Jac said should have been the first thing he pointed out to make his case. It reads:
"The HR function has no inherent right to exist. It serves at the pleasure of its customers. Managers and employees are not fools. Rebranding must go beyond the 1970s relabeling of personnel as human resources. The change must be substantive and aligned to the interconnected revolution taking place amongst employees, customers, regulators and competitors."
Wow. Very powerful. I couldn't think of another department that doesn't have the inherent right to exist. Marketing and sales - can't survive without 'em. Technology - yeah you can outsource but it still exists in a different form. Accounting - gotta have it.
If human resources has no inherent right to exist, does this mean that HR Pros could become extinct in our lifetime? Maybe we're on the endangered species list right now.
Our current economic crisis is making one thing perfectly clear...human resources must demonstrate value.
They need to walk the talk, be a business partner, get a seat at the table...whatever cliché you want to use. If you're talking about it, just stop and start doing it. I've written before about the things we need to do - check them out here, here, here, here and here.
Do I expect HR to go the way of the 8-track, typewriter, and Mastodon? I certainly hope not. But the only way we'll continue to exist as a profession is to learn more and invest in own development. We need to change with our businesses and our workforce. If we don't want to be left behind, we need to make it a priority to move forward.