I find myself frustrated because companies and those in the HR Function won’t allow me to help them as much as I can. I’m frustrated when I see the trivial feud of HR Executives truly trying to make a difference and be excellent. I’m frustrated when I speak and exhibit at a conference and the attendees are more interested in getting their CEU credits and whatever you’re handing out at your exhibit than they are truly learning things from the speakers or the vendors. I am frustrated because HR Executives as a group have not exhibited the dedication, vision, nerve, defiance, edginess, etc. that I like to be associated with. And unfortunately, we have relegated the concept of relationships at our companies to these executives.
HR has to take it on the chin and realize that there’s good reason for the harsh criticism. They have to take it as a wakeup call and an opportunity. HR represents an incredible opportunity that few organizations or individuals are committed to. Those who are committed to the process of building human excellence will generate additional values at their companies and in their personal lives. So, there’s a choice, either you kick ass at HR and receive the rewards or you stay in your comfort zone and continue to get run over.
Perhaps the two greatest impacts on HR over the last few decades have been technology and the law. It’s gotten to a point where we can access all levels of data regarding our operations. Human Resource Management System and Human Resources Information Systems have been designed for every level of size and complexity. Technology has also been utilized to organize performance management. Managing a HRIS system is like managing information on steroids. The reality is that while many of these companies pump the time saving advantages of being able to pull various reports, few executives ever find the time or reason to pull them. As a result, the technology is utilized at its lowest common denominator.
The most drastic employment law changes in the workplace have occurred during my career. When I began my legal career in 1983 most of the law was concerning union work. Few people brought sexual harassment, discrimination, or other statutory claims. That was primarily handled by agencies such as the Federal EEOC and the California DFEH. Over the last 30 years, the amount of law that one has to know related to the HR function has easily quadrupled. Go to an HR conference today and you will see at least half of all presentations being related to compliance.
Don Phin, Esq. is VP of Strategic Business Solutions at ThinkHR, which helps companies resolve urgent workforce issues, mitigate risk and ensure HR compliance. Phin has more than three decades of experience as an HR expert, published author and speaker, and spent 17 years in employment practices litigation. For more information, visit www.ThinkHR.com.