Sunday, January 29, 2006

The End of An Era...Part 1

As you can tell from my first post, I feel that HR is long overdue for some major overhauling. As someone with a business school background, I look at the HR function and see a department that in some ways has lost touch with the rest of the business world.

While the majority of the business world has changed with the times, it seems HR has been stuck in a rut for the last decade (or even longer). What do I mean by this? If you look at other business functions like marketing, manufacturing, IT, or management (among a slew of others), they have evolved as the market has demanded. More than ever, organizations are focused on solutions…experiences…”dream fulfillment”…brands that inspiredesign…and WOW projects.

As a result, there is more and more press on how organizations are “thinking outside the box.” The way I translate this: more than ever, organizations are willing to take risks on the intellectual capital (read: Talented people) within their walls. In the past, large corporate entities were hesitant to hand over anything significant to the risk takers” who wanted to go against the grain. It was “safer” to instead make incremental improvements that management teams suggested after thorough “analysis.”

But times have changed. As I said in my previous post, we live in an Age of Talent. But the catalyst to this age has been disruption in the business world. Organizations find themselves having to compete in a global landscape against competitors that didn’t even exist six months ago. Witnessing the quick rise of Google should tell you that this disruption is a new reality…a new constant in this age.

Now organizations are finding themselves becoming more and more reliant on the group of people they once ignored. It’s the creative, the nutty, and the risk taking individuals who are helping to push organizations ahead of their competitors. In short, it’s a new breed of intellectual capital that’s helping to open up new markets for these large firms. The “White-Collar Revolution (as Tom Peters calls it) has officially begun.

Tom Kelley, founder of the acclaimed design firm IDEO, addressed the new collective spirit of this movement fittingly when he said, “weed out the dullards, nurture the nuts.”

This is where the staid HR department comes in.

HR needs more nuts. It’s the only way we can survive in an era when change and disruption are the constant. It’s the only way we can finally begin to pay Talent its due, rather than giving it lip service.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Let's get it started...

This marks my inaugural post here on Beyond HR. What is Beyond HR? It's a space that is dedicated to revolutionizing the human resources industry. In addition, I'll do my best to convey the latest HR trends, ideas, technologies, and tactics through as unique a lens as possible.

So what do I mean by "revolutionize HR?" It means...

...coming up with a new name for human resources. Some of you may say it's just semantics, but to me the "human resources department" just does not inspire. When's the last time you heard HR and excitement in the same sentence from someone OUTside the HR department? Changing the status quo sometimes means using different words to begin shifting people's perspective away from the old, and on to the new.

...destroying the way corporations think about HR. Rather than make HR into a paper pushing department concerned with tasks like benefits and payroll, I want to start seeing organizations utilize HR to "quarterback" the War for Talent.

...taking the War for Talent seriously. This phenomenon has been paid so much lip service over the last couple of years, but I have yet to see more than a handful of organizations put the money where their mouth is. We're witnessing a shift towards a New Age right now. What is it? The Age of Talent. I'm convinced that old tactics such as TQM (total quality management), CI (continuous improvement), and the balanced scorecard (as well as many others) will not be enough to help organizations thrive in the coming years. What does that mean? The sole differentiator between excellence and mediocrity in an industry will be Talent.

...redefining job descriptions and job requisitions. I hate both of them. The reason I hate both of them is the same reason I hate the "human resources" name. They don't inspire. They don't excite. They don't evoke passion. When's the last time that you met a Talented person who doesn't exhibit these three qualities? Then why do we insist on using tools that don't speak the same language?

...changing the way the HR industry "views" Talent. Some recruiters don't think every person has Talent. Some recruiters believe everyone has some ounce of Talent. At the very root of the issue is: WE HAVE NO CLUE WHAT TALENT IS. And it scares us as HR professionals. So we avoid the issue by concentrating on stuff like years of experience, knowledge acquired, and educational background. I want to see this industry begin taking measures to define what Talent Talent will elevate your firm to unprecedented you will attract you will develop Talent in-house...and most importantly, how you will retain Talent.

I could go on and on about what a revolution means. But I think you get the point. Besides, if I included everything from the get go, I'd have nothing to write about in the future. ;)

My hope is that some of the things I have just written resonated within you. And if they have...join me in trying to change the status quo...and start a revolution. It all starts here.