Human Resources Employment

Trends In Human Resources

The role of the Human Resources Department has changed dramatically over the past 30 years and will become increasingly more strategic in nature in the future, said a leading light of the HR community in the recent 2006 Annual Conference and Exposition of HR practitioners in Washington, DC.

Rita Craig, president of the Craig Group and a long-time professional HR consultant, said the role of HR has changed from a primarily administrative position to one that is more strategic. Times certainly have change from those days when the HR department was called the "smile and file" department since in that era, the primary qualifications for HR were simply a friendly disposition and an ability to file.

She said that the emerging trends in HR call for HR professionals to take the lead in planning for the future and becoming strategic business partners in their organizations. She identified several other trends in the industry, as follows: (1) a shrinking talent pool, (2) An increase in outsourcing, (3) A more intense focus on work/life balance; (4) Changing workplace demographics, (5) Greater need for talent management, (6) Ethics requirements, and (6) Globalization.

But the key appears to be strategic planning. With the changing landscape of Human Resources management in the years to come, strategic planning will be the key for HR to meet those needs and to succeed. The key to HR planning for the future begins with one simple question that HR professionals have to ask themselves, says Craig: "If we are successful in the years to come, what will our customers and competitors be saying about us?" With the answers to this question, HR practitioners can formulate a clear, shared vision and a sense of direction for the organization.

As a possible starting point in providing answers to the key question, Craig suggested the following: Focus resources on key goals and strategic measures, create and sustain long-term performance, and create a living document that can change when necessary.

In closing, Craig warned against "powerful and pervasive barriers" that prevent HR professionals from being effective in their roles. She pinpointed these as resistance to change, failure to implement plans, the wounds of past strategic planning failures, and failure to anticipate the impact on people, process and organizational structure.

About the author: Kadence Buchanan writes articles on many topics including Employment, Consumer Information, and Education


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