Is it time to shake up and break up the HR profession? The global changes that are affecting organizations have major talent implications for strategy and operations. Today’s turbulent economic environment requires HR professionals who understand business issues and who have the ability to create high-impact solutions.
In a recent Harvard Business Review blog post, Ram Charan claims that while HR performs useful tasks, “the department per se must go.” Why? He argues that while human resource professionals are great at handling engagement, empowerment and cultural issues, they don’t know how to relate HR to real-world business needs. His proposal? Split HR into two separate functions—administration (HR-A), which would manage compensation and benefits and report to the CFO, and leadership/organization (HR-LO), which would focus on talent development and performance and report to the CEO.
Others feel that HR should transition into a Strategic Business Partner (SBP) role. In the report Strategic Business Partner Role: Definition, Knowledge, Skills & Operating Tensions, authors David Jamieson, Sue Eklund and Bob Meekin reason that “due to the turbulent nature of the business world today and the resulting demands on human capital, the SBP role can be a highly valuable solution in organizations.”
Bill Taylor, co-founder of Fast Company magazine, thinks HR at any organization has only as much strategic value as the CEO thinks it has. In the blog post “Why We (Shouldn’t) Hate HR,” he states that “If companies and their CEOs aren’t serious about the people side of their organizations, how can we expect HR people in those organizations to play as a serious a role as we (and they) want them to play?”
Do you think HR is strategically evolving with economic, technological and societal changes, or are radical modifications in order?
Q1. What economic trends are forcing the restructuring and evolution of HR?
Q2. What factors contribute to HR’s perceived lack of strategic value?
Q3. Should HR be split into admin/transactional (CFO) and strategy (CEO) roles? Why or why not?
Q4. What skills must an HR Strategic Business Partner possess to be effective?
Q5. What steps should an HR pro take to transition from a transactional to a Strategic Business Partner role?
Q6. What challenges do HR pros face as they transition from a transactional to a Strategic Business Partner role?
Q7. How do you transform HR in an organization whose CEO doesn’t see HR’s strategic value?
Q8. Is the term “human resources” still applicable to the profession? If not, what should it be?