HR driving the change within!

By Ron Thomas

As I glanced the lineup of speakers and read through the quick overview of their upcoming presentation a smile began to engulf my face.

This past week I was Conference Chair of an HR Conference in Zagreb, Croatia.  We had such an impressive line of speakers from such brands as BMW, Twitter, Facebook, Unilever, Merck etc.  This all brought me back to a thought of running an HR workshop in Singapore a few years back.  The facilitator in the room next to me asked me over break what kind of workshop we were having.  I told him that it was an HR workshop focusing on a strategic approach.

The new breed of HR Business Leaders

His response was assuring: “Wow, I would have never thought that based on some of what I heard.  HR sure has changed…….”

That was so reassuring to me because I never wanted to be seen as an HR guy.  My choice has always been having the brand of a businessperson with a focus on HR. 

The topics we had on our HR Conference lineup were

  • Employee Experience
  • Strategic Partnerships
  • Happiness at Work
  • People Analytics
  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • Recruiting across Cultures
  • Agile Learning Strategies

A Stellar Line up

Definitely not your run of the mill HR conferences.  The Employee experience used the same methodologies as the Customer Experience.  Strategic Partnerships centered around Stakeholder and Sponsorship Management.  Happiness at Work to Increase Productivity. People Analytics connecting the employee experience and the Future of HR.  Diversity and Inclusion nurturing the work environment.  Global Recruiting across cultures-a “Global” Approach. Agile Learning in an era of complexity and Disruption.

Wow is all I could have said.  As I sat through the presentations, I thought of how this profession has gone through a seismic shift.  A truly business approach to Human Resources.  Every presentation was anchored around organizational impact.  If we tweak this HR Lever, here is the value chain and what this would mean to the organization.

A surgical approach to organizational impact

It was a surgical approach to the organization ills.  It showed that our role is being increasingly viewed as solution providers using evidence-based approach to problem solving with the same rigor that other function has already perfected.

As I have often said of my favorite quote about HR: “It is the best of times and the worst of time”.  The best of time if you feel comfortable in this new approach and the worst of time if you are stuck in a personnel or administrative mindset.

We are no different than other workers in this new dynamic, the HR profession will have to be relearned.  The new approach will be like a diagnostician to the organizations.  The HR verticals such as Engagement, D&I, Leadership Development, Strategic Workforce Planning, Strategic Talent Acquisition, Employer Branding, Succession, Learning & Development etc. all carry potential challenges that impact the organization.

Our new role will allow us to transform and become the integral link from the organization to a real Human Capital Strategy.

Transformation

If the HR function in your organization is not transforming itself to align with forward-thinking practices, executive leadership must ask HR leaders some tough questions. Today’s organizations cannot afford to have an HR department that fails to contribute to lead modern thinking and contribute to enhancing company profitability.

In this environment, our role is transforming. The role of today’s HR Leader must parallel the needs of his or her changing organization. Successful organizations are becoming more adaptive, resilient, quick to change direction and customer centred.

Buckle up because it is the Best of Times.  I hope to see you on the journey

About the Author:

Ron Thomas is the Managing Director of Strategy Focused Group an international consulting firm based in Dubai. He is a visiting executive faculty member at the Global Human Resources Leadership Institute at Howard University School of Business in Washington, DC. He is also a senior faculty member of the Human Capital Institute, covering the MENA/Asia Pacific & Africa Region.