Should We Change Our Name?
Perhaps a few of you reading this have recently changed the name of your HR operation. Some 20 years ago, we began to see a few new monikers like the People Department and other people-centric designators. Recently, however, there has been an acceleration of name changes in the HR world.
Why might that be? Is it an effort to disassociate from the negative accusations that HR is no longer relevant, that HR is nothing but a bunch of policing bureaucrats or that everyone hates HR? Perhaps there is an element of truth in those comments in some venues, but perhaps the name changes are reflective of a new emphasis, a new direction in HR administration, a rebranding or makeover.
Are we talking about HR transformation? In some instances, yes. Are we redefining HR — even dropping the old-school term “human resources?” Southwest Airlines, CISCO, Google and other companies known to be on the forefront of innovation in the workplace have reimagined HR and have dropped the term. Our higher ed HR niche has been challenged in years past to get leadership to see our work as an investment in the capital asset of the human resource, despite the fact that in colleges and universities faculty, in particular, are seen as the greatest and most important institutional asset.
Changing a name can communicate a rebranding, but that must be substantiated with action. Such is a great topic for a discussion among our peers and definitely a call to increased awareness of the current thinking of HR gurus such as Dave Ulrich and his associates at the RBL Group as well as Jacob Morgan who authored The Future of Work.
Higher Ed Symposium: Why Blowing Up HR Isn’t the Answer, February 28-March 1, 2016, Tempe, Arizona
HR Organizational Design Toolkit
HR Transformation Toolkit