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HR Time Travel Part 1 (by Tim O’Rourke, Crowne Finch)


Imagine this scenario. You’re a few years retired from your role as HRD of the ACME company. You’re enjoying the fruits of your labours, perhaps sipping on an Elderflower cordial whilst sitting in your favourite chair and bouncing your grandchild on your knee. She looks up at you and says, “When you had a job, what were you famous for?” Like many children, there may be some confusion between work and celebrity, but let’s keep going!

So you share your reflections on what HR became famous for when you were “in-charge”. You start to tell her a story that begins “A long time ago, in a company far, far away, there was an HR department that…”.

A few weeks ago we posed a similar challenge (although perhaps a little less eloquently!) to a group of 26 HRDs, representing 12 different nationalities, from 11 different countries, separated by 12 time-zones . The completion of these statements generated an interesting insight into the World of HR, from around the World. It provided a glimpse into the aspirations of the function’s future and some exasperation at their current reality. Interestingly there weren’t clearly identifiable “regional  or cultural” differences - there was a lot of commonality across the group. (By the way, in case there’s any misunderstanding, this wasn’t the most scientific data gathering or research exercise and it’s not intended to be interpreted as such!)

Two of the themes that emerged from the 30 or so statements could be described as follows:

  1. The reduction or removal of HR headcount and replaced by technology or transferred to line-manager/employee.
  2. HR changed to more futuristic, integrated business support from “traditional” service provider of resourcing, training, ER, comp and ben, employee surveys and so on.

So, how do you complete this sentence? What do you say to your grandchild?

Next week, we’ll reveal what we were told ….

Have a great week!

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