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HR is dead: Marr

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HC Online | 20 Nov 2013, 12:00 AM Agree 0
Much to the chagrin of HR professionals everywhere, one expert claims the department is obsolete.
  • RivercityIR | 20 Nov 2013, 01:13 PM Agree 0
    It was an excellent article and hit the nail right on the head. HR has to evolve or get left behind, if they haven't already.
  • Amanda | 20 Nov 2013, 02:50 PM Agree 0
    I found the comment about HR not being able to adequately support employees and the organisation really frustrating. This can be done exceedingly well provided you have good HR professionals. Agree that HR needs to be proactive in adding strategic value - but where is the responsibility of the organisation to support and guide them to deliver the business needs? Also the name 'people support' completely contradicts the idea of a strategic, proactive department and highlights the transactional service provider a lot of people equate HR to be. #endrant
  • Sylvia Massara | 20 Nov 2013, 02:55 PM Agree 0
    I actually freelance for a group of companies as a HR Consultant, and my focus is mainly on compliance. Many a time, I got either the company, or the employee, out of "hot water" by being able to guide them through the somewhat complex world of legislative requirements and compliance.

    As far as I'm concerned, HR contributes greatly to any organisation if they know their compliance, and how to stay neutral between the employee and employer. Amazing how many thousands of dollars I've been able to save companies, and also benefit the employee at the same time, merely because I can work with both sides on a consultative/advisory basis.

    Call it what you will, but HR definitely has a role within the labour market, and whoever disagrees should revisit the complex area of industrial relations and have another think.
  • ParraHR | 20 Nov 2013, 02:57 PM Agree 0
    Only problem with this view is that another function of HR is taking pressure off managers and doing the tough stuff for them. That is the reason HR will always exist. Narrow view probably, but true yesterday, today and tomorrow!
  • Grant | 20 Nov 2013, 03:00 PM Agree 0
    I do not believe that employers are so generous as to have a department that has provided them with no value. The reason they have existed and will continue to exist is to meet business need. The role has and will continue to change but I believe there is expertise required to do it well. So the organisations who truly wish to succeed will continue to have a department that addresses its people needs.
  • JoW | 20 Nov 2013, 03:14 PM Agree 0
    This is all well and good, but senior management has to support HR to become relevant and to support innovations that deliver value to business. The number of times I've gone to senior management/Executive groups with innovative ideas that have been stifled is disheartening. The blame is always laid at HR's door, and I'm also the first to admit that many of my colleagues fit the description above, but it's a two-way street.
  • Michael C | 20 Nov 2013, 03:21 PM Agree 0
    This article was more about creating readership to his blog, than a quality article. I would also challenge the “expert” tag.
  • Kevin | 20 Nov 2013, 03:58 PM Agree 0
    @Michael C - couldn't agree more!
    Write a controversial post, then reel in the outraged readers. AKA Trolling
  • Cameron | 20 Nov 2013, 04:26 PM Agree 0
    Thank you for your comments on here so far everyone, I was certainly hoping to generate some interesting discussion around this topic.

    Obviously, as someone who works so closely with HR every day, it would be foolish of me to believe that it is an obsolete term or obsolete role - the innovations I have seen in my time at the company alone is testament that if HR is going anywhere, it is up.

    What I find most interesting about Marr's post is the emphasis on the use of the word 'Resource'. It would be interesting to get everyone's thoughts on this, especially from organisations who are opting to use different terms in their company.
  • BML | 20 Nov 2013, 04:45 PM Agree 0
    I agree completely Michael C. Any organisation needs to effectively manage its finances, capital assets and people effectively to be viable. Referring to people as a resource does not devalue them when it is built on a premise of respect, trust and integrity by both employers and employees and there are few organisations out there who would not espouse these as cornerstone values. For those not doing this we are talking about performance issues of a different kind that have nothing to do with what the HR function is called. Use of universal, emotive language and sensationalised headlines will always garner a reaction but add nothing of positive value to the discussion so not really worthy of the self-titled ‘expert’ who has a vested interest as an external consultant in seeing the demise of Human Resource departments.
  • Mimi | 20 Nov 2013, 04:54 PM Agree 0
    Ha! Anyone who believes H.R. ever work for the good of the employee is kidding themselves. H.R. staff get paid by the company, work for the company. H.R. are there to save the company money.
  • Marc | 20 Nov 2013, 05:39 PM Agree 0
    Interesting article & certainly a discussion worth having. I think the name HR itself is actually quite outdated now as most organisations I deal with it is in the minority - People & Development, People & Capability seem to be the favorites which reflects the changing emphasis of these departments now as is touched on in some of the comments. I think it is a challenge for every HR (or whatever they are called!) practitioner to balance the 'H' -human side & the 'R" - resources or business side. This aspect of the role often needs a very strong resilient individual to do so!
  • Phillip | 21 Nov 2013, 08:36 AM Agree 0
    Mimi is absolutely right. I have worked in HR for ten years, I work for the benefit of the organisation, as do finance, IT, marketing, sales, R&D etc. Many times the good of the company and the general staff are as one, but where they are not the company comes first. To expect anything else is naive in the extreme. Also I would suggest that for many organisations the term human resources is exactly how staff should be viewed. Indeed the world of 'Personnel Economics' allows those dealing with normal 'HR issues' to approach them in a similar way that you would other resources. Much better than all this occupational psychology, sociology, industrial relations theory etc which underpins most of the HR discussions currently taking place.
  • Tony B | 21 Nov 2013, 09:24 AM Agree 0
    A strong Oragnisational Development group (whether inside HR or separate) usually does the heavy lifting on the strategic, culture, leadership development, employee engagement, etc matters.

    There are too many transactional HR 'professionals' in my opinion. Perhaps that's because they get caught up with operational matters and enjoy fire-fighting. By the way, I'm an AHRI member.
  • Mimi | 21 Nov 2013, 09:45 AM Agree 0
    H.R. departments are now being viewed for what they really are. I am always careful and guarded about what I tell any H.R. personnel as I know where their loyalty lies.
    I like being a member of a professional organisation that supports my industry so I can get independant advice on compliance issues.
    H.R. departments are becoming unnecessary in many companies.
  • Cameron | 21 Nov 2013, 11:14 AM Agree 0
    Don't forget to weigh-in on our new poll inspired by this article and discussion!
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