The last few years or so, HR has been talking about its big “HR Transformation.” Changing how HR does work. Mainly by Centers of Excellence (COEs) that separate different HR functions and specialties into different departments.
I remember first hearing about the COE concept, likely on a CEB webinar presentation, and shortly after every company slowly started radically changing the way they “do HR.” They made significant investments in new HRIS systems (some are already on their second investment in this space); call centers; self-service processing; and so on.
For most companies, the change over was rocky – regardless of how much (or little) change management was involved. At the end of the day, the way employees would interact with HR was drastically changed from how it was the day before the flip was switched.
HR people were ecstatic (I mean, at least the ones who weren’t laid off as part of the process – which were many, by the way) – they would finally be able to deliver “strategic” HR value and stop doing the transactional work. Except… it didn’t change all that much.
And now HR people and the employees they partner with are… pissed? Bitter? In other words, it’s unclear if the big “transformation” worked as well as it was touted.
Now we’re hearing all about how it’s not an HR Transformation, but it’s now an “HR Disruption.”
But… is it?
Don’t get me wrong, I love disruption. If you talked to any of my former HR colleagues they will tell you I disrupted the heck out of their departments when I worked there.
But the next phase of HR isn’t disruption. It an H(R)evolution™.
Disruption means the disturbance or problems that interrupt an event, activity, or process.
Changing our broken HR departments can’t result in having additional problems and disturbances. We’ve already provided more than enough of those in the past few years through the first transformation. I understand that the intent behind this new wave, is to get HR professionals (and thereby departments), to stop thinking in the same old HR box. To break out of what they typically do and do something different.
But disruption in the workplace is NOT going to earn HR any favors or positive influence at the company. We cannot lose additional credibility in what we do.
And that’s why it’s time to start the H(R)evolution.
Here’s what I know for sure. Not because I’ve been sitting back and writing about the HR space for the past however many years, but because I have been working IN HR at various companies across the U.S. Because I’ve seen the current state of HR… including the knowledge of our HR professionals, the ways our departments are set-up, what our leaders think of us, how rollouts have actually gone, and what our employees are desperately seeking.
If we don’t drastically change the way we do HR, as a profession we will not be in existence 10 years from now (if it even takes that long).
With the way we are going about being HR professionals, we are quickly working ourselves out of a job/career/profession/passion. Consider that for a moment… we are setting ourselves up for our own demise. For the vast majority of us, while we’re sitting at the table, we are not adding significant incremental value while there. Our leaders are not pleased and definitely not impressed.
And your CEO is about to realize that HR has been holding back. That YOU haven’t been delivering everything that is possible because you’ve been so mired in the “transformation” or the everyday “busy work” of being in HR, that you’ve lost the core value OF HR.
But it’s not inevitable. It’s not something that we can’t change… yet. But a new direction forward is absolutely necessary, and it needs to start now.