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Out With the Old, In With the New: A New Wave of HR

Human resources has developed quite a negative reputation over the years. HR professionals have been seen as paper pushers, policy enforcers, and other bland purveyors of “bureaucratic fairness.” This can leave a bad taste in the mouths of employees. That being said, in light of all the changes we are seeing in HR, and the new roles these professionals are taking on, it should not come as a surprise that an important cultural change should ensue to adapt to the new realities of the profession. As the roles and responsibilities of the HR professional continue to shift, organizations must consider all of the challenges and opportunities that are likely to influence their ability to manage, engage, and empower their workforce.

As 21st century HR teams take on a more strategic and prominent role, we’re looking for individuals who fit the ‘new’ HR mould. It is only natural that the profile of those high-performing professionals would shift as the profession itself evolves. So, what are we looking for, exactly?

A solid foundation

By that, we mean professionals who are competent, credible, who can maintain healthy relationships, and who get things done. While this may seem obvious, there is no denying that these are the core traits we should seek in all new employees.

A strategic player

Although the term ‘strategic’ can be used in a variety of contexts, today’s HR professionals must understand the global business context of a given organization and help develop the relevant organizational capabilities around it. This approach allows businesses to more accurately reflect the needs and wants of employees and customers alike, and allows for a more competitive approach to business in general. Hint: a dose of innovation and integration is likely to yield the best results!

A change champion

Change is a given; it happens everywhere, all the time. That being said, HR professionals worldwide must now be able to help an organization implement change and identify events that are likely to shake up the organizational context. This will help employers become more adaptable to the world at large. They must themselves be open to change – flexible, adaptable, and perseverant.

The tech-literate

In case you haven’t already noticed, technology is an unavoidable part of modern life. Using technology to stay connected with colleagues and clients is key; as is the importance of managing information and turning it into useable knowledge. There’s no limit to what we can do with all of the tools that are available to us, but it is important to select those tools which work best for the business and its people.

Ashley BourqueWith that in mind, the “evolution” of internal culture should now focus on talent acquisition (finding the right people for the organization), leadership development, personal development, environment and facilities, and the implementation and communication of the overall strategy to all stakeholders. It all comes down to creating a new state of mind within the organization! What we’re really aiming for is teams with good rapport, a balance of talents, a good attitude, and a thorough understanding of their respective roles and responsibilities.

We have seen a number of organizations try to ‘fix’ their internal HR challenges without actually identifying what the source of the problem is. Needless to say, it’s always good to start by sitting down, determining where you stand, laying out the direction you want to take in the short and long run, and establishing a course of action that is likely to generate the desired results. With the right team in place, you can multiply your efforts and really help bring your organization’s operations to the next level.

As always, it brings me great pleasure to discuss any and all matters of HR with you, our readers. If you have any valuable input you would like to share, please do.


Ashley Bourque

Assessment and Evaluation Consultant