Who Moved My HR?

There was a time when Human Resource Development(HRD) was important and respected function in all organizations. In recent time it has been observed that organizations are reducing the focus on HRD or treating it as a secondary function. 

The use of technology has brought about a revolution in the routine activities of HR. This is mainly triggered by the flourishing IT industry since last 20 years. With primary focus being the development and deliveries of the technical solutions, HR function has been silently subdued by interesting hierarchies in these IT organizations. 

Firstly HR function has been split into many sub functions like Recruitment Management, Resource Allocation, Training, Appraisals and these functions directly started working with executives and managers in the company. There were certain reasons for that like project managers having the insight to details about required skills on particular project. Although it started like that eventually HR function got sidelined. For e.g. in the whole recruitment process HR is only summoned to negotiate the compensation and handling the documentation work. There is no say from HR other than that. HR can hardly reject candidates selected by technical team if compensation gets worked out. HR interview has become a tick mark activity. So now there are thousands of people having final say in letting a person into the organization i.e. playing HR role. Why should one wonder what went wrong with my organization's culture over the period? Same has happened in other sub functions.

It was a big mistake from HR-heads\CHROs in the industry to accept and continue working under such jeopardized conditions.    

Once HR was made a toothless function, outsourcing it has become increasingly popular and the back-office functions of HR are now often managed outside the company. The role of the classical HRD was thus be seen as on its way to becoming extinct. This is what has happened in most of the IT sector companies. HR has been reduced to event organizers, documentation managers and place holders. Organizations chose to compromise on culture, ethics and values and these are the things traditional HRD ensures in organizations.

It is irony that we need to call out what is HRD role in the organization but we must do it.

Sustaining Business
Steadfast Principles
Corporate Image
Conflict Resolution
Cost Effectiveness
Employee Satisfaction
Performance Improvement
Training and Development

Many changes in the industry and world have had varying effects on all resources, most so on the human type. If you ask people who has joined industry before 15-20 years they will be able to remember few names from HR team. They will either remember them for the help, guidance or even grooming received from HR back then. Try to do the same thing with recently employed people. There will be very few remembering HR team member names and even if few do check what they remember them for, you will get my point.

Some studies have shown that mergers and acquisitions which have failed have been primarily because of the failure in managing the human resources. Key employees leaving the company, or teams not able to integrate and gel together as planned. Main reason being affected organization's culture. The companies which are growing and take leaps like moving from 3000 employees to 5000 employees the frantic hiring dents the organization culture significantly. This phase is crucial for organizations and this is where HRD function becomes critical as they step into become key decision makers in companies. 

However, there's a bigger issue to be addressed: the lack of enough HR leaders who can make strategies and meet the demands of businesses. Rapid growth, indeed, creates leadership challenges for HR itself as the pool of such leaders is small. And blame again goes collectively to industry who chose to subdue, subjugate, jeopardize, compromise and dilute HR function so thin that real good people started to shy away from this field as any graduation degree holder who can speak commanding English can now do the job of HRD. 

CHRO's role and its nuances keep changing in line with dynamic business realities, changing executive officers into whom they report. It is natural, therefore, for an CHRO's attention to move from some priorities to the others, as the operating and strategic environment change. While a CHRO has the responsibility of setting the HR agenda of the organisation in collaboration with the CEO and the Board, very often the CHRO's role is defined by the expectation set by the company's top leaders. This is against HRD principles and a serious malfunction but surprisingly has been ignored by organizations.

HRD has been completely hijacked by non-HRD executives and managers. And in some organizations has been literally killed. We no longer recognize it as HRD function , 'D' has been dropped somewhere in journey and I am afraid even 'H' is getting threatened. Soon it shall remain purely Resources department. And that will be the day machine and man achieved equality blame it on blooming business and blinded leaders.


Very simple, if someone is really looking for it. 

a) HRD department should be restored back with full authority and dignity in industry. Make it a mandate\law.
b) CHRO has to report into the Board directly and to be explicit, CHRO ought to have the same, if not greater, authority as that of CEO, COO, CFO. 

It is alright to call and treat humans as resources but remember they are the most sophisticated machines on this planet and on top of that they come with a heart


  1. I completely agree with you, I haven't seen HR doing actually their job in my IT career. It managers are always having upper hand in most of the scenarios even in salary negotiations during recruitment.

  2. I don't think HR can be replaced. Yes for some rush time hr let manager handle HR part but it returns on appraisal, conflicts , legalities and still holds the authority when matters.

    1. Of course HR cannot be replaced. But that's what has been ignored by our industry. TATA organizations are far better when it comes to values and ethics and hence they are where they are. However they are not true representatives of the state of HR affairs in industry.

  3. Sounds very familiar to this situation. I like the end...don't kill H and D otherwise it will only be R...which could be Rubbish :)


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