New Millennium HR

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Challenging Changes In the HR Functions

I am amazed at how information technology greatly influenced the way things are done. When I started my HR career, more than two decades ago (please don't call me Senior HR, and never ever call me senior citizen) . . . I only have my old reliable "pica" typewriter. Perhaps some of the younger generation HR today don't know what a "pica" is, and I bet some don't even know what the QWERTY Method is. Well, you can research in the internet if you want . . .

Along with my typewriter are two other indispensables – the carbon paper and the liquid eraser (commonly known as the "white ink"). Reports are generated from these utilities, meticulously typewritten, making sure that the copies are perfectly aligned. Of course, there are no printers and ink cartridges to worry about . . .
Life was so simple then, and yet very difficult. One spelling mistake, with one very exacting boss, is more than enough to break your heart . . . as well as your fingers.

In today's era of hi-tech everything, life becomes so easy yet very complicated. It is not enough that you have a typing speed of 60 wpm (with 50% accuracy), you must learn (first and foremost) how to operate these things! The usual reports are still there, plus a ton of new requirements which we sometimes refuse as related to HR job. At the end of the day, we wish . . . "Bring back the good ol' days."

Challenging Changes In the HR Functions

We used to be content and focus ourselves only in the traditional HR activities (perhaps, we still are), like Hiring and Recruitment, Compensation and Benefits, Employee Relations, Administration, Training and Development, and a lot of other things. I'm not saying that these things aren't important – just look at companies who try to ignore these functions and see for yourself. What I'm trying to say is; these activities, while necessary, are not anymore enough in today's highly competitive, fast-paced environment. HR should make a difference, and the only way to do it is to do things differently.

But How?

Of course, by learning new things. Today, things can be learned at the speed (of your internet connection). Just type the things you want to know, click a button and presto – it magically opens in a new window! What does this mean? It means there's no excuse for us not to upgrade our skills and become a strategic business partner of our respective companies.

I'm not saying this to impress you, but to impress upon you the importance of acknowledging the need for change in our HR profession. "Is it that easy?" you ask. No it's not. In fact, it is so difficult that a lot prefer to stay where they are now. That's why only very few HR practitioners are considered as business partners, and the vast majority are looked upon only as paper-pushers and executioners.

Pity me, but I still remember during my time when we (during meetings attended by HR practitioners) used to console each other by telling all present that "HR is a thankless job." Yes, it was (and still is for some).

So How Do We Learn These Things?

That's why I'm opening up this special section – for this purpose. I'm not saying that I'm better than you. But for almost a decade outside the confines of corporate HR office, I have learned lots of new things I shouldn't even care to discover during my stint as HR Manager. With the eyes of an outsider-looking-in, carrying the discipline of an insider-looking-out, I can see things in different perspectives.

I understand I don't have the monopoly of all knowledge there is. In fact, I'm still learning and will continue to do so. I also understand the power of the collective mind, and would want to harness its tremendous potential. In this forum we learn together by sharing thoughts and ideas, personal experiences, and lessons learned from others – making this exercise beneficial to all who want to participate.

Marching To the Same Drumbeat

We want to be in tune with the rest of the critical components of the organization and contribute. We want to be considered as 'profit-center," not cost-center. We want to be recognized as having made a difference!

Let's begin our journey.

We will talk about critical competencies we need to develop, while maintaining what we're currently doing. It takes time, patience and a lot of courage to know and accept that we don't know, and change for the better.

For those who know that they already know, please don't stay. This area could be a little boring for you.

I want to end today's forum with this piece of wisdom:

"People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care."

God bless and Godspeed!

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