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peoplesignals vs processsingals – the future of the people business

What will HR look like in 2015? Recently, I came across a small scenario exercise that predicted the future of HR will be determined by the combination of two factors:

  • Dollars or people
  • Outsourcing or not

With these two trends the authors sketched 4 scenarios for HR in 2015:

Scenario One: Say It with Numbers
Assumptions: Organizations are ruthless about demanding a return on their human capital investments. Only the most repetitive, non-value-added transactions are outsourced.

Scenario Two: The Ambassador
Assumptions: Organizations recognize relationships as critical to success. The company holds the reins of most HR functions, and outsourcing is minimal.

Scenario Three: Two Heads Are Better Than One
Assumptions: HR is under pressure to ensure that human capital investments provide a solid return. The use of HR outsourcing has risen significantly.

Scenario Four: Relationships Are a Risky Business
Assumptions: Organizations renew their efforts to capitalize on relationships, both within and external to the business. HR outsourcing is used widely to deliver HR services.

Now, all that sounds to me like a decision whether HR will be a champion of people or process. The processsignal-approach to HR is in search of The Mighty Dashboard, squeezes the dollar on human-ROI and centralizes as much as possible. Low costs are certainly a plus. The question is whether growth can be gained by minimizing costs. The peoplesignal-approach realizes the we live in a liquid world where the best solutions are local and growth is fueled by strategic people investments. It seems that in the last years there was a big emphasize on the process quality of HR. The problem with the Big Master Plan approach to HR was nicely put in a recent study on how to measure an HR strategy:

Every business has its own strategic priorities, with unique HR implications and requirements; we could not identify a meaningful universal “template” for measuring HR’s business contributions.

Why is there no meaningful universal template? Maybe because there can’t be one. HR played too long on the wrong side of the field, the field in search of universal solutions. If Talent Management is mainly seen as a process instead of a relationship then it is no wonder that companies get into a war for talent and can’t control their people costs. Maybe we listened too much to the wrong signals. Maybe it’s time to tune in to more peoplesignals.

Filed under: HR, HR Business Partner