February 23, 2022

Warning, some of you who keep reading are going to be offended. This post may engender thumbs down, frowny emojis, and even some well-written, policy-like angst. Still with me? OK, I warned you. HR is dead. There, I said it. Hey, hey, hey - lower your middle finger my friends and look at the proof. Toby from The Office. Catbert the Evil HR Director. Count the eye rolls in your next meeting when any of the following words are said, “annual performance appraisals,” “mandatory training,” “employee policy handbook,” “open enrollment,” “organizational chart.” People hate HR. And, well, they should. Having worked in HR for two decades - I hate it too. In fact, I want to destroy it.

If you are still reading and haven’t hit the unsubscribe button, let me explain. When people hear “HR” what they are really hearing is checklists, regulation, bureaucracy, processes, the organization to avoid unless you have no other choice, the department of “NO!” Traditional HR is built on reducing risk. It treats Humans as Resources. It was originally created to protect an organization from the people that work there. We create job descriptions to comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act. We mandate respectful workplace training to limit a claim under Title VII. We require sign-offs on 100 page handbooks so if we fire you for misconduct we can argue you knew the rules. Hey, don’t get me wrong, I respect the regulatory, and frankly all of the above is necessary, but it is not why an HR department should exist.

The Mercer organization released the 2019 Global Talent Trends Report, outlining the shifts in the workplace as reported by 7,300 leaders in organizations throughout the world. First risk - finding people to fill roles. Second highest risk - low or declining employee engagement. Let’s be honest, the traditional field of HR does not drive engagement. Creating purposeful and meaningful work environments based on behavioral science is the ONLY path forward. Creating work environments built on psychological safety instead of rules and procedures are the groups that thrive. It is not surprising that the most compelling leadership books focus on understanding, supporting, and inspiring people based on the brain and human psychology - as opposed to practice or policy. It is critical to have a deliberate people strategy that includes and measures motivating factors such as development, recognition, participation, diversity and inclusion. Yes, we have to pay people correctly, adjudicate benefits, and comply with a myriad of laws, but that is the tail, not the dog.

My last argument of why traditional HR is dead is related to you. I am betting that you enjoy your HR career because you like to help people. You like to counsel an employee in strife. You like to help a supervisor navigate a challenging workgroup. You are concerned and hold the hand of the employee sitting in front of you whose spouse just died. You advocate for better benefits and fair pay. You look for opportunities to promote people who genuinely care about other people. You are a passionate irritant to the organization because you want it to do the right thing by its employees. That is why you are in HR. So, if you think about it, you hate “HR” too. At least yesterday’s version of HR. Like you, I LOVE today’s version of HR - the version that helps people have their BestDay at work.

If you believe like we do, please give us feedback on what we offer. In fact, take a free 30-day tour. We promise you that Toby would hate it - which is exactly why we created it.

Your friends at BestDayHR