Evolution of Human Resources

Human Resources has not always been the bright and shining spot in the organization (also can happen today). In the past, it was the administrative unit, that was not contributing to any strategic decisions. It was fulfilling orders, and protecting the business against any employment law vulnerabilities.

Even today, many people in organizations do not like how their Human Resources Departments (HR) operate. Some argue that HR is at best a necessary evil—at worst a bureaucratic force that routinely enforces additional detailed rules. It resists creativity and impedes needed changes.

Employees complain about many HR policies and practices. They can still find many of them rigid and being old fashioned. The most common criticisms include:

  • Why are performance appraisals so useless?
  • Why is HR always involved in cutting payroll and benefits?
  • Does Human Resources realize that leads to higher employee turnover rates?

However, do you know what Dis the story of Human Resources? Do you know how Human Resources evolved from the service organization into a modern business partnering department?

What was the role of Human Resources in the past?

The HR Department was always known as the place where you can find all the funniest and rigid policies and practices. Employees there usually had no sense of humor. They were focused on the critical “stuff.” They were always busy, reactive and being disconnected from the rest of the business. It was not a home of innovative ideas.

Human Resources was:

  • highly formal and focused on the administrative processes and perfectionism;
  • supported the line management in using employees as the resource;
  • almost missing any strategic and value adding processes and procedures;
  • valuing formal approaches, administrative perfection and it was not driven by strategic goals and objectives;
  • never been a core member of the key project or innovative initiative.

The HR team was not an attractive place to be employed. Most bright job candidates never accepted a job in Human Resources, because the career in Human Resources was not attractive enough.

The leadership team never thought about Human Resources as a source of the competitive advantage. They usually saw HR Managers as providers of useful services, but they were not adding any extra. They just did the job. No issues meant that the department runs perfectly and the organization cannot gain any extra benefits.

Human Resources was not changing corporate culture. Nor it was not cultivating corporate values. The HR Managers were happy that they just provide excellent quality services to others. Having all papers in the perfect order was a sign of the efficient business unit. It was the aim of most HR Managers.

Most leaders knew that the HR department will keep the status quo. HR employees will never challenge, and they will provide services to meet the order.

Current Role of Human Resources in Organizations

Most leaders go to the Human Resources Department if they want to destroy the Status Quo. Most HR leaders lead important change management initiatives. They cultivate corporate culture, and they grow corporate values. They act on managers that do not follow and live the most important competencies of the company. They understand that employees are the only source of the competitive advantage.

Human Resources innovates and brings the agile project management into the company. It demonstrates that the company can be the winner. It hires best talents and helps managers to retain critical resources in the firm.

Also, the HR Department changes its policies and procedures to improve the overall employee experience. It is the umbrella for all HR activities, and it aims to provide the excellent experience in the organization, from the beginning till the end.


Source: Jacob Morgan/The Future Organization

Evolution of Human Resources
Evolution of Human Resources

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