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Changing Face of Human Resources (HR)

When most non HR people think about this function, it’s typically not with a feeling of endearment.  If you go back a number of years when it was more commonly known as the Personnel Department, the perception was even worse.   However, in successful organizations today, the Human Resources function is redefining its role and in many cases being greeted with open arms and even sought after.  What has happened to cause this shift?

In truth, the modern HR function is adopting a much more “proactive developmental” role, versus the traditional “reactive remedial”.  The latter was very much associated with problem employees, policing the rules and administering policies that really didn’t add any value.  However today HR is truly stepping up and is gaining a place at the table purely on the merits of providing value add systems and support to the organization.  This is being accomplished on three fronts.

1. Professional Development

The HR function is now the facilitator of performance growth or Organizational Development (OD).  The emphasis is on assessing the individual relative to the job requirement and ensuring they have the skills / knowledge and most importantly the support to bring about significant performance improvements.  There is ongoing monitoring of this rather than the traditional Annual Review that everybody hated and quite frankly did very little to improve performance.

2. Coach Approach

The modern HR professional also has a new set of knowledge and skills.  They are now utilizing the methodologies of Coaching and this is building credibility and sustainability into the professional development mentioned above.  It is also modeling a set of behaviors that are essential to leadership.  This is about being able to have the impactful conversations that get to the root causes in an empowering way and that ultimately leads to positive motivation and sustainable results.

3. Leadership

Because of HR’s new modus operandi, high potential professionals are now being drawn to this particular discipline of the business rather than the heretofore attraction of sales, operations and finance.  HR is now playing a significant leadership role and is seen to be a significant cog in the potential success of the business.  There are no longer on the periphery and so the credibility of HR continues to grow.

Many organizations claim their greatest asset is their people but are not quite sure how to go about this.  The reality is that people drive an enterprise; they are both the engine and the fuel.   We are also dealing with a new more challenging type of people through the influences of technology and generational issues.  A progressive and fully functioning HR function is now essential to serve the organization’s evolving needs.

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