HR Trends

Human Resource Tips at your doorstep…

HR continues to leap out of the old school

HR evolution
Some call it an evolution and others a paradigm shift. I will be trendy and call it HR trends.

Some of us have seen it all, coming from being personnel officers through to human resource officers. The Human Resource Management profession has evolved over the years. Here is a sneak peek.

Before the 1930’s, there was no personnel department. Factory Managers were the intermediaries between workers and management. Focus was on dealing with working conditions and wages.

In came Personnel management which was more administrative in nature focusing on day to day tasks. Initially, the Owner of the company or Managing Director or any other like the Finance Director were in charge of managing the personnel department. Systems were manual maintaining loads of paper work that entailed all employee records. Focus was on payroll, leave and attendance, industrial and labour relations and compliance. Once Personnel Officers gradually Personnel Managers were put in place, they lacked authority and were more administrative and operational, than strategic. Labour unions were the order of the day solving industrial disputes through collective bargaining.

In came the evolution to human resource management in the later part of the 20th century. Human resources were now viewed as the “most valuable asset”. At the time, the human resource function was advocating for a place at the round table i.e. being part of senior management or the executive committee. Nearing the 21st century, HR professionals were reporting to Chief Executive Officers’ and participating in strategic planning and implementation with an impact on the bottom line. Strategic human resource management more specifically is about the integration or aligning of HRM strategies into the corporate/business strategies’. Also key is cohering HR activities as a process towards achieving the set HR strategies. Recruitment, performance management, training and development and rewards management have been viewed as the key HR activities during this era.

It is sad to note that in some organizations, HR visibility is minimal as some HR Managers are still trying to get to the strategic decision making level. And for others that have a place at the table, it is surprising that they are still trying to get a grip on how to link HR and Corporate strategies meaning there impact has not yet been felt by their peers. HR Managers need to self-develop and keep abreast with new trends in the profession.

When PM drifted into HRM, critics did what they do best – Is HRM old wine in a new bottle? Is HRM a case of the wolf in sheep’s clothing? As they continue to ask themselves these questions, we HR professionals are moving on.

While SHRM in the recent past has impacted on the bottom line with a more operational and transactional approach through HR business partnering with line managers, today HR practitioners should act as internal consultants with more focus on their strategic and transformational tasks. In comes the newest trends which entail first and foremost Talent management which is simply the systematic attraction, identification, development, engagement, retention and deployment of those individuals who are of particular value to an organisation, either in view of their ‘high potential’ for the future or because they are fulfilling business/operation-critical roles.

Trending concepts that will enable talent management include;

Outsourcing transactions – Relinquish administrative roles. Do you have the ability to develop Service Level Agreements?

Insourcing transformations – Do you have skills in emotional intelligence and advocacy? What are your HR accountabilities? Are you measuring your returns on investment (ROI)?

Employer branding – Do you have the ability to develop HR policies and practices that differentiate you from your competitors making you the employer of choice?

Employer/employee value proposition (EVP) – Do you have the ability to conclude a win-win solution at the time of contractual agreement between the employer and employee? Do you have the skills to instill a work culture that attracts and retains talent while contributing to positive business growth and performance?

Employee engagement – Do you have the ability to carry out employee related surveys that inform your strategies that develop loyal and committed employees that focus on the intrinsic –for personal growth NOT extrinsic – for pay and reward?

HR Shared services – Do you have the ability to develop low-cost, effective HR administration strategies?

Centers of excellence – Do you have the ability to determine whether you require specialists or generalist in your HR function?

Boardroom Influence – Do you have the ability to develop human resource analytics, metrics, statistics and trends as this is all the board wants to see and its impact on the business’ performance? Do you have an HR dashboard to inform you periodically?

Workplace wellness – Do you have the ability to develop and implement meaningful workplace wellness programs that look at the holistic well-being of your employees. Visit this page for details;

Have you decided on the HR career you want to pursue; generalist, specialist or consultant? And the journey goes on…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on 03/05/2013 by .