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HR’s So Hot Right Now. Just Not Here.

| February 17, 2017 11:23 am

Why We Love to Hate HR…and What HR Can Do About It – it’s behind a paywall but you do get 4 free articles a month.

The July-August 2015 edition of the Harvard Business Review did a deep dive into the dismantling and recreation of HR. Now a lot of water has passed under the preverbal bridge since then but while leafing through it today I reread a nested column within the larger article titled, “Why HR Is Still Hot Everywhere but in the U.S.” Ostensibly, the author, Peter Cappelli, argues that the challenges faced by businesses in the rest of the world, “Aggressive government regulation of the workplace, strong unions, political support for workers’ interests, and often a real shortage of people who can even be trained for key jobs,” are best addressed by putting greater organizational power in the hands of HR. Whereas in the U.S., business leaders are, “disproportionately from financial backgrounds, whose model of governance—maximizing shareholder value—awards no special role to the interests of employees.” A result of shifting organizational power, Cappelli suggests, is that leadership tracks move in tandem with these shifts. Where the power goes so does the future of the C-suite. In Japan, India, and Southeast Asia where HR still controls more vital power HR can be a favored career track. In the U.S. it tends to move through other departments.

Almost as an aside, Cappelli, notes only two periods in U.S. history when the HR had been a preferred track, the 1950’s and late 90’s. Could we be heading into another period of shifting organizational power now as labor markets tighten up and business promote their “social awareness” as an attempt to be the “employer of choice” for millennials? How would knowing that effect your career track decision making? Sometimes it’s just interesting to reflect on how the role of history, policy, and ideology effect the direction of organization power and the career path to leadership.

John Rice is the Director of Business Development at NSS RPO, a consulting firm that provides on-site and virtual recruiting professionals. Contact NSS RPO to learn about how we can help your organization meet and exceed it’s hiring goals.