Friday, 21 September 2012

HR at crossroads- A new path, a new way is the need of the hour

As a practicing HR  professional for over 30 years with exposure to both public and private sector industries in India, the single most factor that I have noticed and it has not changed much over the years, is that the  other disciplines do not see HR as  meaningfully contributing to the 'real needs' of the organization or the needs of   internal customers. The feeling is more about HR engaging in activities to justify its existence rather than on the real needs.
It is not so much about wanting to have a place at the table of the  board of directors but the fact that all exercises seem without meaning when your customers do not see it as of much value, How do we show that our learning & development initiatives can really make a difference ? How to demonstrate that  each aspect of HR whether it is recruitment,career planning, policies  or employee relation initiatives are crucial to the success of the organization? This is the challenge
When  I read the comments of HR professionals the world over on the internet, I find that the situation is not very different in other parts of the world..
Time has come for us to do a rethink on the approaches in HR which is generally modeled on the management education of the west. The approach has been deficit based- To keep looking for the areas that are falling short. Point out the wrong or find out who is responsible and punish them and reward others who seem to do better than the standard The carrot  and stick method  has served its time and it is no longer useful for retaining   interest and motivation of employees in their work in the long run.
I think that the responsibility for the positivity, motivation , interest and drive  in work and life in general has to be with the employee himself / herself. As HR professionals we can show new paths on which they can travel to achieve this. Instead of of claiming or believing that we have pressed this switch and the the light has come on, what we can actually claim is that we have shown new alternative ways and many of them chose to take them and benefited themselves and the organization.
What are these new ways  that can be attempted?Actually these are not strictly new and they have been around for some time.It is only that  we HRDians have tended to be generally conservative and not been open to its potential. One of the concepts that immediately come to mind is 'appreciative inquiry' first explained by David Cooper rider and his research guide Suresh Srivastava, which can be a powerful means to remove the weeds lying around in the industrial scenario by focusing totally on the good things and appreciating them. I will discuss in a future article my own experience of using to advantage 'appreciation' as an idea. We can also look at mind programming for long time benefits wherein positive ideas are embedded into the minds of employees in a an alpha state. NLP Co founded by Richard Bandler and John Grinder has been beckoning us to come and benefit from it since decades. We could also look at how we can use the guidelines in the 'Law of Attraction' to our advantage.
Time has come to enhance the prestige of our HR function . As the old ways have not worked in the long run, it is only natural that we look at new ways to contribute and make a mark.Let us willingly and happily embrace new paths that can move us from the cross road to the road of success.

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