Are HR Practices Still Relevant?

Most HR practices were developed in the 1950’s along with other management practices. This was a time where centrally managed corporations, with rigid rules and regulations, were the norm. Then, the organization gathered information, fed it through the hierarchy to the leadership at the top and they made the decisions. This system worked well during a period of relative stability when the information remained consistent through the “transfer of knowledge and instruction” cycle and employees remained loyal to the organization. Employee turnover was low and systems were designed for the once-a-year assessment, engagement exercise.

Enter now the VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) World and these practices, along with many others don’t seem relevant anymore. Employees are no longer joining to climb the corporate ladder to be showered with rewards and recognition. Employers are also shedding employees at a rapid rate by adopting outsourcing strategies. Young people today have a lot more career choices, from non-profits to taking the startup route – quite different from before when careers were made at the traditional companies.

In 2000, the 5 largest US companies by market capitalization were; Microsoft, Cisco, General Electric, Intel, and Exon-Mobile. Today they are; Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook. Traditional companies are still trying to attract talent with Package and Power (over people), not recognizing the importance of Purpose and Progression (knowledge acquisition or experiences), or that Power is not necessarily over people. Many millennials are driven by a sense of purpose, seek learning experiences (Progression) or want Power to make a better world. As the people mix in the office changes with new hires, how relevant do you think engagement surveys are?

These and other changes need to be made by HR practitioners, else they will only extend the “trust deficit” that exists in many large companies. Join me on 27th February 2018 in a 1-day Masterclass for Leaders and HR practitioners.

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