Stop Telling People You Work In HR

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Aug 16, 2016

You will no longer identify yourself as, “Oh, I work in human resources.”

You are now a human capital strategist. When someone asks what you do, that will be your response.

That was my last thought of the day when I conducted a Human Capital Strategist certification course this past week in New York for the Human Capital Institute. My reason was that when we meet people and say that I work in HR, we always get that look.

A Rorschach test is the perfect analogy for this, since mentioning HR gets you all sorts of reactions, many of them not at all positive. I was even told onetime that HR was useless, after mentioning my credentials.

Rebrand that sucker

The word “Personnel” from years ago would never be used in the context of modern HR. Just as that word has passed its prime, it is time for “HR” to go. It has outlived its usefulness. The name needs to change and the sooner the better. Branding plays such an integral role in everything we do or experience; now is the perfect time for us to rebrand.

Just recently someone shared an article concerning Airbnb and how the head of HR is now the Chief Employee Experience officer. Their thought in changing the title was to apply the same philosophy of creating memorable customer experiences to keep their own employees engaged and happy. The essence of the “workplace as an experience” in their thinking is where all the elements of work — the physical, the emotional, the intellectual, the virtual, and the aspirational — are all orchestrated to inspire employees.

The article was so inspiring, and synced perfectly with my thoughts. This is our space and we must move into the new era of change; HR as we know it is done, finito. The transition to the next stage is in progress, moving from the transactional to the strategic. That alone is enough for a name change.

Competencies makeover

When you compare the competencies of the new HR with the old, the change is 180 degrees. The new list of competencies shows us that the required skills, along with the job, have changed. Even if you are in a transactional focused role or office, be prepared because it is only a matter of time before you’ll need those new skills.

According to SHRM the list of competencies is comprised of the following

  • Business acumen
  • Relationship management
  • Consultation
  • Critical evaluation
  • Global and cultural effectiveness
  • Ethical practice
  • Leadership & navigation
  • Communication
  • HR expertise

Hire for future state

This list reads more like a consultant’s skill set, which is the point. This skill set, based on the new dynamics of the organization, demonstrates pretty clearly how much the role has changed. So if you have open requisitions for roles within your department, it behooves you to make the adjustment and start hiring for the future department. In other words, hire for future state.

Organizations and businesses today are looking to human resources leaders as consulting professionals who are very creative about helping them evolve. That need is for what I refer to as the “consultant within.” In highly competitive workplace environments, employers who are the most successful are often viewed as an” employer of choice.” That branding is worth its weight in gold.

HR as a competitive advantage

With increasing global competition, that is the kind of employer businesses and organizations should strive to be. Today’s employers do not want to leave any stone unturned in trying to get a competitive advantage. The organization that stocks the most talent and cultivates it will win in a landslide. I call this the greenhouse effect. You run a controlled environment, you water, fertilize as needed and when harvest time comes, you reap.

Now is the time to begin the makeover process. It is a new day and organizations need so much more from us. That first step is to change the brand name. It has been sullied, drug through the mud, beaten up and misused. Rebranding along with upgrading the skills within will begin the process of moving into the new space.