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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Is it Time to Reinvent Human Resources?

Did you catch this article in the last issue of Reader's Digest, about the supposed dirty little secrets of the HR profession?

If not, you should read it. As you'll see, the article created a firestorm of comment postings on the Reader's Digest online edition. And in my mind, it brought back to the surface the very mixed feelings I have had over the years toward the human resources function in organizations.

Here is a brief rundown of the points of conflict:

1. On the one hand, I have felt that a good human resources department in a large organization, in which ownership and/or top management is several levels removed from day-to-day operations, provides employees with valuable protections against the kinds of abuses that owner-managers of smaller enterprises can often get away with if they want to.

2. On the other hand, when I have needed to hire people, I have sometimes felt that a human resources operation often simply "gets in the way" of the effort to find a well qualified candidate, and sometimes introduces unnecessary delays with excessive "process."

3. On the one hand, I have experienced the ability of smart human resources professionals to leverage the size and purchasing power of a large organization to negotiate outstanding healthcare benefits packages.

4. On the other hand, I have often wondered how much productive capital could be freed up if a more streamlined, standardized, and sensible healthcare system rendered the incredibly redundant function of "Corporate Benefits Administrator" unnecessary. As someone who has always had serious issues with the basic premise of an employer-based health insurance system, I ask, how can one possibly think that it's efficient to essentially require each employer to structure and administer its own specific healthcare plan? But for now it's a moot point. We had a window of opportunity to work toward finally divorcing the unholy relationship between our employment and our access to healthcare services. And we blew it. Or the Administration and Congress that we elected in 2008 blew it.

Just a few of many issues on a topic that, as anyone who reads the Reader's Digest piece will surely agree, is truly a Pandora's box. We can all take some comfort in the likelihood that the author, for the sake of enticing readers, likely exaggerates a great deal in this dismal presentation of the state of HR by presenting only the most extreme and provocative of comments from her sources.

Nevertheless, if the article motivates senior managers and executives to take a fresh look at the role of HR in their organizations, it will have served a very valuable purpose. Sphere: Related Content

1 comment:

  1. Hey keep posting such good and meaningful articles.

    ReplyDelete

 
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