Behold ... the Age of H.R.
The Age of HR
is coming to an agency near you! Public sector human resources is in
the midst of a revolution no less important and full of opportunity
than when civil service began to replace the spoils system four
There is no
choice about participating in this revolution. Its effects are
inevitable. The choices facing administrators are to embrace the
trends coming our way and make the most of them, or resist and cling
to the processes and approaches of a fading model.
option is to consider the advantages of early retirement. The
retirement option will be very attractive to many since it is often
thought of as a means of escape from the discomfort which can
In many places,
when the agency called Personnel or HR is mentioned, eyes glaze over
with thoughts of a paper-intensive, plodding organization, which may
not understand the needs and interests of the client-agencies.
unjustly, HR is often accused of pouring epoxy into the wheels of
government. The layer upon layer of entitlements, process
restrictions, and bureaucracy which can be found in many agencies,
especially large ones, retards the governments ability to react to
changing circumstances and to be nimble in a world where movement at
the speed of a banana slug is not going to help meet service
expectations and urgent situations.
Past HR Doctor
articles have focused on the need for change in the civil service
paradigm and the need for the simple gift of exceptional customer
service. Getting to nimble and exceeding expectation is what the Age
of HR is all about.
firm estimates that the number of HR transactions will increase by
224 percent over the next five years. That increase in pace reflects
the complexity of doing modern public service business.
Will the number
of staff members, or the budgets of HR operations increase by
anything like 224 percent? Unlikely is the short and polite
The real answer
is to participate in the HR revolution. In fact, the business of
being an HR revolutionary is not monopolized by the HR staff! All
managers and supervisors are HR professionals. All elected officials
have a stake in the success of the HR functions. Imagine trying to
operate an efficient and successful sheriffs office, mental health
agency, public works or parks department, finance operations any
public agency today if the human resources components are failing!
The liabilities are simply too many and too serious.
the HR revolution features ample opportunity to improve processes,
harness technologies and change attitudes to an extent which will
benefit an entire organization! What does the uniform of an HR
revolutionary look like?
It features a
proactive advocacy for ethics and service. The HR revolutionary also
takes a daily dose of innovation and develops a positive vision of
the future to articulate and share with others. This is a vision of
what could be rather than what is or what was. Add a strong mixture
of the philosophy of Dont walk by something wrong and stir in the
ingredients of recognition and appreciation of the efforts of
revolutionary helps develop the next generation of colleagues,
engages in active community service and involvements and believes
fun is the most important discipline of all.
The world of HR
change reflects the greater mobility of the workforce, its growing
technological power, the competition faced by agencies to attract
and retain the best and the brightest, and changing demographics.
The latter will feature an aging workforce, the departure of the
current generation of administrators, and concern about workforce
skills and work habits.
HR has a
critical role in representing the agency in meeting every one of
these challenges. That role can be successful and the revolution can
be won if Seven HR Essentials are fostered. They begin with reducing
the risks of acute HR liabilities, such as workplace violence,
sexual harassment and race and gender discrimination. Second,
recruitment and retention success must be increased by applying
tools such as the Internet, creating a career center, using imaging
technologies and even outsourcing certain services.
A third step in
the new HR is really a very ancient one serve the client at the
clients convenience in a timely manner. This can be facilitated if
we understand that not all HR issues conveniently arise between 8
a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
HR in a public
agency must have a 24/7 capability to respond to problems and
opportunities. Automation can help, but so can human availability,
such as in an HR ER (see the HR Doctors article of the same name
skills, knowledge and confidence must be enhanced through on-going
learning opportunities, succession planning, staff development and
networking. This applies to the HR staff members themselves. In
short, learning must be an honored organizational imperative. It
should not be the first casualty in a short sighted budget battle.
forms, timetables and methods can be improved and enhanced.
Decentralizing to a clients work site with an outstationed HR
officer, online forms and imaged records, a classification
management plan, and rapid reward recognition authority for
managers are some of the tools available in this part of the
essential is to enhance the variety and availability of benefits.
This is necessary as life stages change and recruitment success in
an increasingly diverse applicant pool is recognized. The HR
revolutionary will be well positioned to meet the need to deal with
the super-star, free agent applicant.
perhaps most critical to a successful revolution, besides the vision
of an efficient, innovative and human HR operation, is the
integration of HR into top management decision-making.
The head of HR
will occupy a place at the table of the top management cabinet,
every bit as important as the chairs already occupied by legal and
financial advisors. This is not a role to be well played out if the
HR function is warehoused in the basement of the finance department
or in a general services organization. Increasingly, the
organizations that use the HR storage model will be less well served
than those that allow, encourage, and, yes, demand HR service
Are we as
public administrators up to the challenge of a successful
revolution? The optimistic HR Doctor says absolutely! Just as the
great World War II poster on the theme of the contribution of
American women to the war effort reminded us
We Can Do It! We
can do it by a combination of creating a vision, providing the
leadership and something hard for any of us to do often whether as
parents or as administrators get out of the way and let great
staff members excel!
The HR Doctor
hopes your revolution will be a great success, with zero
The HR Doctor http://www.hrdr.net/