Reviewing Predictions for HR

Jon Ingham posted a review of his predictions for 2010. You have to applaud the bravey and transparency, especially when Jon writes;

These [predictions] included this video blog suggesting that HR needs more ambition (a point that I still strongly support) and a podcast suggesting that this would be the year that things would start to change (towards a more people centred approach). Note that I did only suggest ‘start to’ – I didn’t expect to see much progress, but I don’t think I’ve even seen a start, to be frank. In general, I’d give my predictions about a 3 out of 10.

Like Jon, I'd love to see a change towards a more networked and people centred approach. My sense though is that this shift isn't happening as fast as some might wish for for several reasons.

  1. Is it easier to measure and manage tasks and things rather than people. As its easier to manage these things, they combine to create a culture of managing the tangible over the intangible. Today, this is the dominant 'management paradigm' and my sense is that to really succeed, anything needs to either build on this, or distrupt it and building is easier than disrupting.
  2. Looking at business historically, nothing in the history of HR has hit the 5 criteria for transformation. Talent Management might feature, but I'm not convinced. Equally, Social Media may well enable more people-centric organisations, but if it does, HR is highly unlikely to get the credit, or that Social Media will be seen as a HR led initiative in any case.
  3. Don't forget, some people even take the view that training doesn't work and we've had two government sponsored initiatives in recent years, Accounting for People and the MacLeod Review on Engagement.

As above, until there is a scalable HR driven activity that solves (currently unsolved) problems, adds economic value and demonstrates a unique contribution, not much is going to change.

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