Is HR Department Dying?

hr_departmentLast month, I got a chance to attend a meet-up of some HR professionals. Fortunately most of the people were from either Start-ups or small companies. Most of the guys were young, meet-up started with small introductory session (I introduced myself as HR guy only) then they started talking about Arvind Kejriwal, Asharam, Cricket, Films etc. but all of them of little hesitant talking about their profession, experience etc. Whenever someone tried conversing about  “how things are going in HR department?”, no one was actually willing to share their experience. None of them were sounding passionate about there role, there was no enthusiasm at all about there work.

While talking to them, I realized that there is a strange change in the thought process of HR professionals. The kind of enthusiasm and proud HR’s used to carry 5-6 years back about their profession and accomplishments, was absolutely missing. Nobody was talking proudly about their work experience, no one was bragging about there achievements and authority. There was some sense of insecurity in every present soul over there.

In terms of age, I was the 2nd eldest in that crowd. I spoken to that lady who was elder to me (was working as HR  head in a Mid size Web dev company), and shared my observation with her and asked if she also realized the same. She was almost in agreement with me. So, we decided to  talk to other people to understand what could be the possible reason of that. We infact decided to provoke some of them so that they can share thier PAIN with us.

This guy (I think his name was Shishir Purohit) almost blasted “Sometime we fill like we are here only for hiring people and if get time (we which are not getting these days) do clerical work. I have been working with my company for last 2 years and I never felt that I have done ANY actual HUMAN resource development work. Since we are not doing anything for our people they give a damn about our existence. We are bound to think from senior management perspective ONLY and as a return we always get a threat of closing the department and outsourcing the hiring work to some HR agencies. When we talk to people for hiring for the requirement, they also don’t talk to us with respect. MAI TO SALA US DIN KO KOS RAHA HU JIS DIN MAIN DECIDE KIYA THAT HR DEPARTMENT JOIN KARNE KE LIYE (I am cursing that day, when I decided to join HR department”.

Some of them were fully in agreement with this guys while some of them were saying that our lives become even easy as responsibility of “Retaining people” is not attached to us, so what is the challenge, people leave, we facilitate the Interviews, fill the requirement, they Join and we are out of that chain for that particular guy and then think about new opening. On parallel keep giving interviews in Big Organization and if got an opportunity then well and good if not life is anyway going smoothly.

After that most of the people shared their experience in their own way. Some of the observations from the conversation.

  1. In start-ups HR department is doing recruitment only most of the times.
  2. They are not encouraged to involve in employee engagement activities.
  3. They are always looking for opportunity in big organizations.
  4. Smaller organizations are outsourcing there recruitment job to Recruitment agencies
  5. Conversation between development team and HR team is either not happening or happening as formality.
  6. HR department doesn’t do anything for Retaining the People in organization.
  7. Energy level in HR department is record low these days.
  8. HR people are moving to administrative jobs.
  9. No rational approach in making policies
  10. In security is growing by every day passes.
  11. Respect for HR department is missing everywhere
  12. Demand for Job Portals subscription is going down

Now up to you to decide whether HR department is dying or things are still in control.

What I belive

Maybe, maybe not, but HR, the Department as we know it will cease to exist. More affordable technology, outsourcing and more HR-capable line managers will change the face of HR Department and render much of the work done by HRD redundant.

Future organizations will evolve with no or very lean HRD. Several things will factor in to that evolution.

Recruitment will be outsourced. Service providers will continue to grow their database and will become more and more efficient in serving their clients. Cost of recruitment service will become more affordable and viable option compared to having their own recruitment department. Recruitment service providers will invest in sharpening their agents’ skills in sourcing and more accurate screening of candidates in order to win the competition among service providers but also to win against internal recruitment teams. They will also do this to increase profitability. Recruitment service providers will go the way of network banking. There will be “coopetion” among recruiters and this will make this industry a formidable force in the business of hiring people. Manpower augmentation companies will take care of project based and seasonal work. I’m hoping that there will be more stringent laws to protect the underprivileged and marginalized workers because the IT, engineering, finance and call center professionals can very well take care of themselves.

Most of HR transactional activities will be outsourced, automated or relegated. Time keeping and benefits administration will be outsourced, performance management will be automated and will become more effective and efficient. Whatever is left will be relegated to another department, maybe admin or finance.