HR-The New Cool Kids

Recently, I came across an article from Fast Company written in 2007 entitled “Why We Hate HR” stating many reasons why Human Resources functions are ineffective at driving ethics, business strategy and the culture of an organization. Some points raised that were proof of this: HR people, at a Las Vegas HR conference, held education in communication at a higher value then Law, Business and Strategy. Even stating that the function did what was organizationally expedient rather then what actions were more valuable to the business. While there were many statements that were listed, one quote summarized many of the points in the article best by saying, most HR organizations have ghettoized themselves literally to the brink of obsolescence… ouch. A Big Lebowski ouch.

So here we are almost three years later and what has changed about the function or the people within it. I think a lot. At least from what I am seeing. While this article and those within other areas of business may find HR obsolete. I believe that this is a time where HR, HRD, OD and all the other acronyms you can list has started to see a rise in the times. In my personal opinion, I feel that HR has never been given it’s just do. But you have to get over that and suck it up because; as Tom Hanks would say there’s no crying in baseball.

Even while many of us within are doing what is needed to provide value and access, I believe that in the past, the business world has never allowed or given permission for us to be effective. It may be as if it has subconsciously set HR up for failure. Even with this past, I feel that we have the potential to be needed now more than ever. Here are some of the reasons why:

  1. Building the Company Brand – An employee experiences all of HR. They are often interviewed, on-boarded; take part in performance reviews and disciplinary hearings with us present. There is no doubt that with as many people that are unemployed there will be damage to a company’s brand during the off-boarding process as well. You see this person being let go is not just an employee but may have been customer and referrer of your products and services. The negative feelings at departure could turn into negativity towards the company and a severely bad attitude toward its reputation as well. When I hear negative comments about a company, I most often times hear it in context or in direct connection to HR. While HR may not have been the cause of that employee’s unemployment, they are definitely a part of that employees experience at departure. We can be the next big game-changer of the perception of that employee and all in the future. If anything, there is a possibility that we can help turn around that person’s idea and perception of the company.
  2. Re-Acquisition and Retention of Talent – “Gatekeeper” is often a word closely associated with HR. Within the recruiting cycle we source, attract and can even grant entrance to key positions within the company. With the unemployment rate reaching 9.5% as of October 2009 there are more people, talented and educated, that have been downsized. Many of these individuals are not only looking for security, but also the opportunity to help create value to the bottom line within the company. Regardless of industry, we are positioned to help the business and its managers understand who is out there and how to attract them. We, as HR, also have the potential to help management understand what it takes to develop and retain this talent so they can become a dedicated force that helps to build commitment to the company and marketers of its products and services.
  3. Strategy, New Ideas and Approaches – Just under the surface, a new crop of HR professionals are molding and changing the landscape as we know it. All across the landscape in articles, un-conferences, on internet radio, blogs, tweets and in the marketing of HR, professionals are speaking up, being open and honest about the direction of the field and where we need to be as it relates to the effectiveness of the employees.
  4. Law and Benefits – Let’s face it, who knows better about how new employment law, benefits and legislation changes affect the employee and business. They need us in order to assess and evaluate what options are best available. Well maybe they don’t but maybe they do!
  5. Good HR can improve performance – Read the article!



With the economics of today, more candidates understand the importance of contributing to a company. Yet at the same time more and more individuals are not only wanting a great career with growth opportunities, but also a work life balance with the knowledge that a company will not only let them be a functioning employee but also a fully functioning individual. When it comes down to it, good HR is good business. These are just a few of the many reasons why I know Human Resource people are the new cool kids in town. Let’s not just show everyone how cool we are; let’s make them all see just how cool of an asset have been and will be in the future.

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