Are you being served?

The new brave HR world is defined by dynamic, agile, business integration.  HR professionals focus on the few critical things that enhance the economic value of the organisation. They improve revenue, profit and market share through people actions. They are few but master data, productivity, engagement and culture. All with a long-term view Finance and Marketing are jealous of. In short, the new world HR has transformed into a business function centred around making money, just like Sales and Marketing.

In the process, HR has reinvented performance management, shaken up the redundant hierarchical structure, thrown away the rule book, diversified talent in all its facets, mastered agile learning and deciphered the engagement enigma.

Shutting down all distractors, like the yearly merit and bonus cycle, HR has understood how to reward performance in a holistic, transparent, creative and flexible way, individually recognizing skills, varied life stages, preferences and market pressure. Learning and development is recalibrated in the same way, demonstrating real value gained for the individual and the organization. HR has also redesigned the way everybody works, maximizing individual solutions, prolonging everybody’s productive life and wellbeing. Yes. Wellbeing is at the heart of any HR action. Wellbeing for the individual, wellbeing for the organization.

Can wellbeing prosper in today’s competitive business environment? Can it be the driver of a business-focused HR department?

I don’t think there’s a choice. Every company will have to work out what it means for them, like every HR department will have to reinvent and redefine itself.

What stops HR organizations today to perform at this level? Business acumen? Administrative burden? Legacy? Lack of talent? The immense drag boomers cause on innovation?

Probably all of this in some shape or form. But the root cause is HR’s service attitude. HR can only succeed if it refuses to be a service organization. HR can only start adding value if it stops taking orders, starts to reflect, challenges and provides sound business solutions. It needs to run the people function from a business standpoint, short- and long-term, not in a solely cold and calculated way but in a positive, appreciative, creative manner, having both the individual and organizational wellbeing in mind. One size fits all and we’ve always done it this way are HR’s biggest but very well-known enemies. Still these 2 old school dogmata are traceable in most programs, processes and initiatives to this day.

Are you being served was a BBC television series running from 1972 till 1985. The glory days  of HR as a service organization ended around the same time.

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