Time to make HR accountable! The rise of Human Capital professionals.

HR, as a profession, is on its way out. Those who claim to be “good old school HR professionals,” should start looking for a new career or drastically change their thinking. In contrast, Human Capital professionals who “get it” are on the rise. Companies are no longer willing to pay for simple paper pushers or resume screeners in HR – they want results.

I started my career in the entertainment industry. “HR” in that industry consists of A&R (artists and repertoire) professionals. Because their success depended solely on the revenue the artists they discovered or poached from another label produced, all of them were in tune with both the needs of their companies and the market. Retention of talent was also part of the equation. One notable example that the general public would recognize is Clive Davis, who discovered Alicia Keys and Whitney Houston, among other talented individuals. Mr. Davis is directly responsible for the millions of dollars these artists are still producing for their labels. Do you think he would still be in the business, if he did the job like so many people in HR?

I have met and worked with many leaders who no longer want HR in their companies. They want Human Capital, people who keep turnover rates down, sell the organization to every candidate, and help to shape the corporate culture and improve profitability. They want “Clive Davis types”, not someone who likes to have lots of certification abbreviations after their name. FMLA, EEOC, and the other alphabet soup components of compliance can be done by anyone who can read. I worked with several administrative assistants who handled it just fine with only minor guidance and supervision. Avoiding legal liabilities associated with employees is a corporate culture issue – if you need HR to “protect” your organization, it’s time to institute some drastic changes. Employees, who are treated like adults, with fairness and respect, don’t sue companies.

It is time to shake HR off their pedestal, institute accountability, and help the talented ones adapt and become Human Capital professionals. Here are the top 3 changes needed to bring accountability:

  1. Every person in charge of finding talent for the organization (including recruiters, HC associates, and hiring managers) must be judged on the revenue attributed to each employee they brought in. Every job has a quantifiable impact on the bottom line, therefore accountability will lead to better ROI.
  2. These same people also need to be held accountable for turnover rates. Recruiting new talent is expensive. It is much cheaper to keep good employees.
  3. Human Capital professionals should not be isolated from the rest of the company.  They should be in the trenches and front lines, and listening to the customers, so they know what real issues face the organization.

Many blogs and forums are abuzz about the poor experiences people have with HR departments. Next to attorneys and debt collectors, HR has developed one of the worst reputations out there. The current economy is not helping, because a plethora of candidates have made recruiters and HR personnel feel like they are gods, rockstars, or geniuses. This has gotten to their heads and many are getting lazy, looking for shortcuts, and missing great candidates. Time for a reality check!

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