Bye, bye, human resources? Welcome employee experience!

Linkedinpost van Ben Whitter, juli 2016. De next level voor HR: van HR naar de beste ‘Employee Experience’ op het werk! Meer weten over ‘van HR naar Employee Experience’? Zie de agenda en workshops & opleidingen voor de mogelijkheden of browse door de website voor handige artikelen en nieuws.

Bye, Bye, Human Resources?

The never-ending debate about the future of Human Resources took another major twist as Airbnb, a company valued at $25.5 billion dollars based in the shared economy space, recently announced that they are redefining their HR function in terms of what it is and what it does with the appointment of a new Global Head of Employee Experience to oversee and connect everything to do with their “workplace as an experience” vision, which is central to their culture and customer-centric approach.

You know better than I that debate is not new within HR as a profession. It seems like one epic rap battle between those on one side, those on another, and then there are the observers in the middle who are simply waiting for a seminal moment or announcement on who won and then they can quickly go about implementing the next model immediately once they have attended the relevant conference or workshop. Others though, don’t wait. They get on with creating a brand of HR suited to and built within their business and context, and it makes a huge difference to business performance.

This is also reflected across the business World with HR being elevated to the top table within some organisations, the CEO’s No2 in some cases, whilst at the same time, other companies are busy downgrading HR to an administration function with organisational development in its own right taking the strategic spot or being fused with HR in some fashion. Training and L&D also come into play in what is a mixed bag of approaches. The range of titles, services and functions vary but it is all chipping away at the same challenge. The desire then, presented by Ram Charan, in his proposal on splitting HR and the subsequent response by Josh Bersin indicates partially what’s been playing out in the profession for way too long- although both colleagues present good and valid points within their respective articles.

Quite frankly, the debate has tended to be a circular argument in that it just keeps going round and around, and what’s more interesting is the extent to which it has and continues to be driven from within the profession, which has only made the very real gripes against HR stronger. Does this suggest an identity crisis within HR? Perhaps, but perhaps the field is also getting restless as our many practitioners and colleagues know they are ready to play more instrumental roles within organisations in what is quickly becoming a more meaningful economy.

The best people and HR leaders I know have been labeled maverick at one time or another because they build something that goes against the norm, they challenge the status quo, and they see beyond the perceived limitations of their function and therefore extend well beyond it. They bring meaning to the workplace and it runs through everything that affects people. The other thing they do get is a clear mandate from the top to create the best employee experience possible, which is a big advantage as people like Laszlo Bock (VP, People Operations, Google), Libby Sartain (Former Yahoo/Southwest Airlines, VP People) and others like Airbnb’s Mark Levy would vouch for.

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