Midterm Essay

Rethinking Human Resources

“Why We Love to Hate HR…and What HR Can Do About It” is an articulate article that challenges the structure of Human Resources (HR), labor and management (Cappelli, 2015). It examines why it seems that there is a continuous and infinite dislike for the Human Resource. The question is whether the challenges have been triggered by poor management, job security, inadequate compensation, poor decisions, or lack of communication? Even though in most cases a combination of these factors is responsible for the prevailing negativity in HR, I have observed a salient trend responsible for this drift, characterized predominantly by human conflicts, insecurities among members of an organization, communication problems, and challenges in terms of employees’ response to authority. The inability to overcome these human barriers leads to complex challenges that have over time led to the devaluation and dysfunction of HR.

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Generally, I identify and agree with the link drawn between the economy and the labor market in relation to HR. In periods of slow economic development, the labor market tends to be negatively affected and by extension, HR is undervalued. As the economy adjusts positively to recovery efforts, the labor market follows suit, leading to a growing need for and a newly-identified sense of the importance of HR for overall economic success (Biech, 2008).

In agreement with the article, I believe that the HR sector must become less dependent on market and economic shifts (Cappelli, 2015). The business scene has evolved and the HR sector is now capable of attaining sustainability and a permanent position (Cooper & Burke, 2005). Undoubtedly, to improve HR, companies must design specific talent and performance management plans, build knowledge on business and workplace dynamics and only concentrate on programs that prove to be beneficial to their HR functions.

In an attempt to find a permanent solution to this HR dilemma, the most commonly used strategies revolve around bridging the gap between the long execution of HR and the dynamic business environment (Kamoche, 2001). This translates to changing business strategies and goals over short-term timeframes and long-term HR focus in terms of the goals set. Unfortunately, managers normally fail to give employees adequate time to roll out the HR strategies, only for them to dismiss them later on as underperforming. I think that this approach greatly contributes to the perceived failure of HR. In truth, the cause of this imbalance is the lack of commitment to the full timelines allocated for the implementation of the HR strategies.

I personally find it very useful for the HR department to focus on internal restructuring and development of its own talent as opposed to consistently outsourcing it. A strengthened and fortified HR system is able to acquire talent efficiently, train these individuals and ensure their performance and alignment with the company’s core or long-term goals (Sims, 2002). Moreover, the HR function must adapt to the rapidly changing business space if it is to carve out its own position in the corporate world. In this way, it will cease being regarded as a damage control tool for use at the convenience of the prevailing market trends (Biech, 2008). Indeed, it is true that previous historical economic developments such as the major recessions have played a major role in casting HR in a negative light.

Overall, after reading the article, I get the sense that it may be extremely difficult to get to a single and unified position on the role of HR in business. This problem is common in various sectors of organizational operations, and this is due to similarities in market factors and dynamics. To define HR roles explicitly, each individual company should be focused on improving the efficiency of activities related to human resources across all departments. The introduction of an education and training system should be geared towards integrating practical learning before job placement. The crisis should not be perceived as a necessity in HR. Instead, the focus should be on diligence in developing talent that is ultimately put at the forefront of all HR and labor relations undertakings.

References

Biech, E. (2008). ASTD Handbook for Workplace Learning Professionals. Alexandria, VA: Association for Talent Development.

Cappelli, P. (2015). Why we love to Hate HR… and What HR can do about it. Harvard Business Review.

Cooper,  C & Burke,  R. (2005). Reinventing Human Resources Management: Challenges and New Directions. London: Routledge.

Kamoche, K. (2001). Understanding Human Resource Management. Buckingham: Open University Press.

Sims, R. (2002). Organizational Success through Effective Human Resources Management. Westport, CT: Quorum Books.

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