The future of HR? Is Human.

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been reasoning (again I would say) on the role of HR. I’ve been especially challenged by the idea that “HR is a job for losers“. I have tried to understand where we can still make the difference, which around (re)taking ownership of the relationship between the “work” and the way the organisation uses it.  I think I’ve now come to an (initial) conclusion, and this is probably going to be the area in which I will be reasoning most in the future. I genuinely think some part of our profession has moved in the wrong direction in the past two decades, chasing a path that has derailed us from the real objective of our job. And in a moment where technology becomes even more present, we must take an entirely new different approach. The future of HR is Human. I know I’m not the first using this concept. The first article I could trace dated back to 2012 and was focused on Diversity. But it is in last months that I’ve heard this …

How do we get sh*t done. The Future of Work and a new paradigm for HR.

Too many HR professionals still consider traditional employees to be their only “customer”. Companies today however have redefined the concept of work by interacting with multiple types of talents. If this is clearly defining a new future of work, it also impacts how we define the role of HR. Since the beginning of organisational theories, social scientists and managers kept struggling on how much operations should be centralised or decentralised. This topic has been the big conundrum of most of the organisational theories for a lot of time. It is in this period that the role of HR has been framed to manage labour or work within the organisation. At the beginning of the seventies, the above discussion has added a new aspect: that of delocalisation. Through off-shoring of some production activities, the traditional organisation was effectively carving out some activities it would typically manage, attributing these to entities which were not just part of a conventional sourcing relationship.  With the mid of the eighties, a new cost-cutting exercise meant that more functions were being outsourced, giving a path to …

«HR is a job for losers»

I’m working out of the Denver office this week. Yesterday evening I was sitting at the bar of the hotel pub, sipping a pint of local pale ale, when I accidentally overheard a conversation a lady was having via FaceTime (considering the high tone of voice, I guess everybody listened…). What? HR? Come on, that is a job for losers. Only people that are sure they will never an impact in their life, would choose such a job. What worried the most was that the gentleman that was sitting on my other side, who looked at me and told me “she’s right, my daughter wanted to do the same studying some kind of behavioral stuff, but know luckily she’s doing Business Administration, so she can do something productive“. I wasn’t really sure what to answer, so I finished the beer, nodded to the gentleman and left, not necessarily in a good mood. Luckily I’m not the type of person that has self-esteem issues. But these remarks hit an open nerve: how is our professional family …

Book Review: Drive, by Daniel Pink

Drive, the surprising truth of what motivates us by Daniel Pink, is a book published already 10 years ago, but that still scores high on Amazon’s bestsellers. It was suggested to me by a colleague, and thus my recent reading. The book key idea focuses on the gap existing between how Motivation is treated in the workplace, and the results of social science research that shows that instead most assumptions are seriously flawed. Much of what we (assume) we know around motivation as managers, is therefore wrong. Part of this is because we assume all tasks at work are the same. There’s instead a difference, the author states, between the way we approach these. Tasks are either: (1) Algorithmic—you pretty much do the same thing over and over in a certain way, or (2) Heuristic—you have to come up with something new every time because there are no set instructions to follow. Understanding the nature of the task is the first step to understand what motivates us. The best use of money as a motivator …

Should we kill the OrgChart?

All HR professionals know that one of the biggest struggle in Organisational Design, is to get managers to move away from simply reasoning in terms of “Organizational Charts”. I guess you all have faced the common scenario in which a manager involves you in the need of an organisational change, and starts the discussion… with an already drafted Organisation Chart. What should be the last step in a articulated process, becomes instead an assumption, which too often ends being a self-fulfilling prophecy, where change is often just a way to achieve other goals. Probably this is one of the main reason why some authors have already started wondering if we should definitely kill the OrgChart, also as a tool to simply guarantee compliance, or at least just write it in pencil. In a very interesting post about the Five Myths of Organisational Design, Naomi Stanford goes to the origin of the word myth to explain the one she has selected first: Design is about the organisation chart. “The myth arises from thinking that the formal …