What’s wrong with “Human Resources”?

Recently I read an article on McKinsey about the future of HR (link). Even though I agree with most of their observations and suggestions, I think there are additional points worth mentioning.

These are based on my experiences as someone who hires and works with software developers, cloud engineers, and other highly technical roles.

  1. Let’s start with the name. For some time already we’ve known that it should no longer be called Human Resources. In our age, it’s a disastrous mistake to perceive people simply as resources. You work with talented individuals. In search for a better term I came up with Talent Operations. When I searched online, I noticed Google is calling it People Operations (link). I’d like to be bold and emphasise Talent because it’s the reason you (want to) hire those people in the first place.
  2. This is one of the points I agree with the article mentioned above. Talent Operations should be an integral part of your strategy. For a very long time it has been seen as a centralised function that cleans up after business executed. Let’s be honest and accept if people are your most important assets (link) your Talent Operations can no longer be an afterthought. It’s where employee lifecycle begins.
  3. Talent Operations should get closer to where talent is. Career progression policies and procedures developed in vacuum, in an HR department far away from the actual work always fail to reflect reality. Talent management should be decentralised and located closer to individuals.
  4. Data-driven: Like any other part of a modern organisation, Talent Operations should focus on collecting, processing and interpreting data to improve processes and decision making.
  5. Design thinking: Embrace widely available methods of design thinking to put employees in the centre of all processes you design (link). This is where I disagreed with the McKinsey article, where data-driven and experience-driven thinking are seemingly positioned as mutually exclusive.

Resources

The CEO’s guide to competing through HR http://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/the-ceos-guide-to-competing-through-hr

Google POps
https://careers.google.com/fields-of-work/people/

Valuing Your Most Valuable Assets 
https://hbr.org/2011/10/valuing-your-most-valuable

Design thinking: Crafting the employee experience https://dupress.deloitte.com/dup-us-en/focus/human-capital-trends/2016/employee-experience-management-design-thinking.html