Wednesday, December 16, 2009

HR's Mantra for 2010 - HR as a Business Resource

What a year!  I would have never believed it if someone said that in 2009 the following would occur:
1) Big named companies like Lehman Brothers and Circuit City would be no more
2) Companies would cut benefits, paychecks and staff to the bone
3) The ratio of qualified applicants to the number of jobs available would be 6:1, unemployment would be over 10%

So as an HR professional I think about what have we learned through this and what can we do differently.  Our profession has been the brunt of negative press for years but with a renewed focus on engagement and productivity I believe we are well-positioned to turn the negative press into a more positive discussion.

So first question, what have we as HR professionals learned through these unprecedented times?
1) HR is resilient.  We have had to conduct layoffs, slash paychecks and be the bearer of bad news.  We have had to listen to countless employee personal stories.  This takes a huge toll.  We have done allthose things and have done it professionally.
2) HR is still a very needed service.  Companies have learned that in down times you depend on fewer people to get the job done.  HR has been instrumental in identifying those people and keeping the remaining staff motivated and informed on how things are going.
3) Employee engagement is important.  Engagement is everyone's job and keeping people engaged in good times and bad is critical.
4) HR needs to be in the business not outside the business. Recession impacts all aspects of the business.  HR needs to be present and engaged in all business issues and problems because the people have deliver on the solutions. 

Now for the second question, what has to be done differently?  I don't have a crystal ball, but just like with other departments there will be a NEW NORMAL.

1) I am not sure there will be as many top level HR jobs after recovery.  It seems that many SVP's and VP's have been let go and that work has been trickled down to Managers and Directors.  Will SVP's be replaced or will Managers and Directors now be promoted? 
2) What will HR keep inside and what tasks will be outsourced? Will functions continue to be outsourced and what will remain with HR?
3) I believe this recession has forced some HR professionals to understand that their survival depends on how they impact business results.  I believe the smart, savvy HR professional that really has a business slant will be the ones to be successful in 2010 and beyond.
4) I believe HR needs to focus on productivity and talent acquisition, retention and development.  Those areas add value to the organization. 
5) Compliance is always important and will be over the next few years as new legislation is added in the area of unions and pay practices. 

What are your thoughts for HR in 2010?

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