Human Resources: A People or Process Department

I believe the role of human resources is changing. And I’m not talking about the transactional versus transformational conversation (also known as the tactical versus strategic discussion).

I’m wondering if the role of human resources is moving from a people department to a process function.

For decades, HR has been the people department. In fact, some companies actually call it the “people” department. Rightly or wrongly, many people entering human resources say the reason is because “they like people”.

But after hearing Dan Pink speak recently, I walked away wondering if the role of HR is process oriented. Specifically, to create processes that allow employees to become autonomous. True, people and process are related. But the focus is on process.

If this is the case, then the challenge for human resources is making sure process does not turn into policy and procedure. HR is well-known for its policy and procedure creating skills. (Please note the slight bit of sarcasm in the last sentence.)

Process can and should be a positive thing. It’s like creating a road map for getting from Point A to Point B. In order for processes to be valuable, they must be designed to empower people not restrict them. A couple things to remember when designing a process:

  • Determine the goal. Like most things, it’s valuable to decide the goal before starting work.
  • Solicit feedback from stakeholders. Get the people who will benefit involved in the discussion.
  • Regularly evaluate and modify the process. A process is a living thing. It shouldn’t be set in stone.

Human resources can bring value by playing the role of facilitator in process discussions. They aren’t necessarily the creator or designer (which is often the case with a policy or procedure). HR helps the company create processes that ultimately will move the organization forward.

via Human Resources: A People or Process Department.

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