Tempus fugit

On the eve of Human Resources magazine’s 100th issue, I cast my mind back to the magazine’s early days. Human Resources has come along way in just over five years, but sadly, the same can’t be said for most of the HR profession

By Craig Donaldson

Human Resources magazine – shortly to publish its 100th issue – has come a long way in just over five years. Sadly, the same cannot be said for most of the HR profession.

The issues HR professionals deal with are, by and large, not that different from HR issues they were facing ten or more years ago. It all comes down to how HR professionals handle those issues and the understanding they bring to the table in the context of the broader business.

A majority of enlightened business and HR executives believe HR still has a long way to go if it is to ever secure that long sought credibility that their business peers enjoy among executive circles.

There are probably a few HR professionals jumping up and down at this suggestion, and for some, probably rightfully so. There are a few that ’get it’, and they are well placed to assist their organisations over the coming years.

Times are a changing. Challenges such as the ageing workforce and skills shortages will hit organisations hard over the next five years, and only then will most CEOs ‘get it’.

Those who don’t get it now will pay a high price for their short-term approach to doing business and looking after their people. They will find themselves stuck between a rock of demands for higher productivity and cost efficiencies, and the hard place of not having enough skilled people to do the work.

The CEOs who get it will be better prepared to ride out the storm, because they have taken the time and care to hire HR professionals who understand their businesses, and can make sure they have the culture, people, workforce strategy and numbers right to handle future business needs.

All too often, business executives forget that it’s actually the people who do the work, who generate the profits, who keep the organisation running. It’s not rocket science to make the connection between having better people and as a result, a better business.

But the reality for many organisations is that it will be too late by the time they do get it.

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