It is time for an HR revolution. For far too long we have been dismantled and outsourced, denied the respect we so rightly deserve, and suffered an incredible backlash when we try to solve the issues of our constituents.
In my view it’s no longer sufficient to review our organisational models or the sophistication of our systems to solve these problems. It’s much bigger than this. Our very future hangs in the balance.
You have only to read the magazines, blogs, and consultant reports to see how the past three decades have been quite unfair and unkind to our practice. Forbes, Fast Company, The Wall Street Journal, and many more have published articles on our lack of necessity, challenging our very existence. In boardrooms and in employee coffee klatches across the world “HR bashing” is an accepted corporate pastime.
Focus an ear on those gatherings and you’ll hear us described as “antiquated,” “in the way,” filled with “people who can’t cut it in the actual business.” That hurts; we know there’s considerable talent, drive, and determination within our ranks. Some of the brightest individuals who work in the global marketplace today work in the HR and People functions.
There’s no reason the next generation of top Fortune 100 CEOs can’t come from HR. But they won’t if we continue in this manner. Not this way.
HR at the centre
I say all of this because I am one of you. I’m a gold-star HR manager, a career HR expert with 30 years’ experience. I rose through our ranks to the Chief Human Resources Officer position of a Fortune 200 company.
I know how battle weary we are. I know we’re all tired of hearing the complaints no matter how hard we try. But I’m passionate about the solution. I’m not proposing a new model or a new corporate system; I’m proposing a brand new mindset.
We must change the way we think about HR in order to affect the change we so desperately want and need. I believe in the concept so much that I wrote a book about it, Unleashing Capacity: The Hidden Human Resources. But I believe HR needs to centre itself around the fact that it alone holds the key to corporate survival, and that key is Capacity.
Capacity is the only way any of it gets done, and HR owns it.
Capacity is the most important aspect of any business, large or small. Whether you’re a two-man startup or a global giant with a headcount spanning the planet, the ability for those human resources to carry out the vision of the business on a daily basis keeps the company running.
Even though a good amount of the grunt work has been replaced by machines, the future of every business, everywhere, is still entirely determined by proper, timely, trained, and motivated people who carry out the mission. It’s more important than money, time, more even than the machines themselves. Capacity is the only way any of it gets done, and HR owns it.
The CEOs of HR
As the owners of Capacity, we’re no longer replaceable. You can’t give the incredibly complex management of human matters to machines. We are critical to the survival of the corporate world, but to fully grasp this future and ride it to all the way to the CEO chair, we have to change the way we do business.
We cannot continue to use traditional HR processes and tools; it’s time to start our own HR revolution. It’s time to run HR like a business, with Capacity as the main product. We’re the CEOs of HR, and our product is the lifeline of the corporate world. To survive we must act like business owners.
It’s time to run HR like a business, with Capacity as the main product.
In Unleashing Capacity, I explain this change in the HR mindset, away from function and towards business ownership, and introduce a proprietary decision-making tool and accompanying software that I believe will revolutionise HR forever: The Capacity Framework.
The Capacity Framework allows for the aggregation of this data, and for HR business leaders to use it as a means of providing solutions for the strategic business leadership of the company. It allows HR to act as business owners, explaining the corporate significance of capacity-driven decisions such as acquisition and downsizing, but it can also predict potential pitfalls such as downturns in market performance or retention issues.
A new framework
In my view there are four dimensions of the Capacity Framework, which are vital to all decision-making when it comes to corporate capacity: Vision, Strategy, Solutions, and Leadership Brand. With the framework in place, and by utilising these dimension when making analysing data, there is no way for HR to fail. We propel ourselves into the mindset of all our C-suite partners and into the world of business, expanding our decision-making capability to that of not only internal data but market information, delivering solutions that speak to our corporate vision.
The Capacity Framework forever ends that rumour that we don’t understand the business or that we’re merely order-takers. We are the owners of Capacity, and we are the means through which the business will take its place in history…and HR got them there.
Capacity is HR’s ticket to the CEO chair, the boardroom, and into corporate history. It is the key to our future, and I believe the time is right to seize it. Our future hangs in the balance because we are holding onto to the perception of how things were instead of looking at the reality of the power we hold, of how things are. Let Capacity lead the way to a brighter, better future for HR.
About Rita Trehan
Rita Trehan has helped Fortune 200 companies and large corporations worldwide to improve operational efficiency, performance, consistency, and profits, successfully delivering transformation projects for global firms including Honeywell, AES Corporation, Coca-Cola and the World Bank.
A sought-after international speaker on the subjects of business and HR transformation, Rita is also a regular contributor to the Washington Post and numerous journals including Forbes magazine, The Daily Telegraph and the Financial Times.
Her new book - Unleashing Capacity: The Hidden Human Resources - lays out the fundamental disconnects that frequently occurs between the CEO’s vision and an organizations’ capacity to deliver and introduces my proprietary approach to closing the gap, ‘The Capacity Framework’. This tool helps businesses and large organizations to assess their Vision, Strategy, Solutions and Leadership Brand in a new way, and harness the power of HR to expand capacity and drive change.
Rita is also an advisor, investor and member of the Board of Directors of EveryLayer (www.everylayer.com), a new innovative organisation that brings high-quality, affordable broadband to emerging markets in Africa and Asia.