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Abstract Departments are the entities organizations form to organize people, reporting relationships, and work in a way that

best supports the accomplishment of the organizations goals. Departments are usually organized by functions such as human resources, marketing, administration, and sales.

But, a department can be organized in any way that makes sense for the customer. Departments can also be organized by customer, by product, or by region of the world.

Contents Abstract Introduction Key functions Positive aspects of roles and functions of human resource Department Negative aspects of roles and functions of human resource Department Management Trends and influences Strategies to improve Human Resource Departments value to the organisation Evolution of HR department

Introduction

The Human Resource Department deals with management of people within the organisation. There are a number of responsibilities that come with this title. First of all, the Department is responsible for hiring members of staff; this will involve attracting employees, keeping them in their positions and ensuring that they perform to expectation. Besides, the Human Resource Department also clarifies and sets day to day goals for the organisation. It is responsible for organisation of people in the entire Company and plans for future ventures and objectives involving people in the Company.

Research has shown that the human aspect of resources within an organisation contributes approximately eighty percent of the organisations value. This implies that if people are not managed properly, the organisation faces a serious chance of falling apart. The Human Resource Departments main objective is to bring out the best in their employees and thus contribute to the success of the Company.

These roles come with certain positive and negative aspects. However, the negative aspects can be minimised by improvements to their roles and functions. These issues shall be examined in detail in the subsequent sections of the essay with reference to case examples of businesses in current operation.

Key functions

Human Resources may set strategies and develop policies, standards, systems, and processes that implement these strategies in a whole range of areas. The following are typical of a wide range of organizations:

Maintaining awareness of and compliance with local, state and federal labour laws

Recruitment, selection, and on boarding (resourcing)

Employee record-keeping and confidentiality

Organizational design and development

Business transformation and change management

Performance, conduct and behaviour management

Industrial and employee relations

Human resources (workforce) analysis and workforce personnel data management

Compensation and employee benefit management

Training and development (learning management)

Employee motivation and morale-building (employee retention and loyalty)Implementation of such policies, processes or standards may be directly managed by the HR function itself, or the function may indirectly supervise the implementation of such activities by managers, other business functions or via third-party external partner organizations. Applicable legal issues, such as the potential for treatment and disparate impact, are also extremely important to HR managers.

Positive aspects of Roles and Functions of the Human Resource Department

Recruitment of Employees This is one of the most fundamental roles of the HR department. This is because this function ensures that the Company under consideration selects the most skilful and competent person from a sea of applicants at that time. This function involves evaluation of ability and competency of potential employees in relation to what the Company needs. This role falls under the Staffing role of management. If this function is performed well, then the organisation will increase value consequently being on the right pathway to achieve its organisational and departmental goals and objectives. Effective recruitment can be done through a number of ways. First of all the Company can conduct educational and psychological measurements. This task will involve assessment of abilities, skills and character evaluation of applicants. Through psychometric evaluation, the Company can ensure that employees have the right attitude necessary to fit into the organisation. Another method Companies use to recruit members of staff is through interviews. Here, the Human Resource Department can ask applicants questions that evaluate their decision making abilities and how they would deal with certain situations if presented with them. The Department can also employ the use of written interviews where applicants answer questions addressing key issues in the organisation. Through these channels, the Department contributes towards organisational performance. An example of a Company that performs this role well is Tesco Ireland. The Company notifies the public about vacancies. It then posts a questionnaire online and interested parties fill it at that time. This is then evaluated and those who fall within their minimum requirements are invited for an interview. In the interview, applicants are asked a number of questions and those who did extremely well are further analysed and retained. Those who did moderately well are not immediately eliminated; instead, their interview questions are kept on file then these are reviewed after six months. By so doing, the Tesco Ireland makes sure that its employees are highly capable and that they will enrich the organisation.

Improvement of Compensation Packages


One of the major functions of the HR department is to motivate employees. This cane done through rewards especially for those who have done well. The HR department needs to evaluate performance of employees and those who have exceeded expectations should be compensated for their actions. Research has shown that rewarding employees for good performance is the number one incentive for keeping up this trend. These compensation packages can come in the following ways; - Holiday Offers- End of Year Bonuses- Equities-

Awards- Salary Increments- Provision of Flexible Working Hours- Straight forward Promotion Schemes and Career Developments If the HR department includes these incentives, then it will ensure that employees are satisfied with the Company. It will also contribute towards good staff retention rates. This is especially crucial in increasing stability within the organisation. It also makes employees identify with the firm and instils a sense of loyalty. Planning in the Organisation The Human Resource Department is placed with the responsibility of ensuring that it plans adequately for all the organisations future engagements that will involve people. One important aspect of this is planning for employees in the organisation. It is important that the organisation ensures that all the employees under its wing are just enough to increase value to the organisation. The Department must ensure that staff members are not too many because if they exceed this amount, then the organisation stands to lose. It must plan adequately to ensure that staff members are not too few either, otherwise they will be overworking those who are already in place. Consequently, there will be poor motivation resulting from fatigue. The HR department is also bestowed with the responsibility of planning future organisational goal in relation to people or clarifying these same goals to staff members. This function of the department ensures that people in the organisation have a general direction which they are working towards. Organisations that have a clear direction are always more effective; those members of staff will be more result oriented rather than just working for the sake of it. The Department is also responsible for setting day to day objectives necessary for streamlining activities within the organisation and thus ensuring that work is not just done haphazardly.

Negative Aspects of Functions and Roles of the Human Resource Department

There are a number of problems that arise as the department goes about its activities Problems in Recruitment The department may sometimes be unable to adequately coordinate and incorporate all the employees needed in the Companys operations. One such example is the NHS. In the year 2004, the organisation was found to be wanting in its human resource departments functions. The Company was recruiting a large proportion ofits employees; 40% from Asian and African countries. This means that the organisation was draining medical personnel from those needy countries and using them for themselves. Such a practice showed that the HR department had exercised bad judgement in its staffing function. Instead, it could have used these foreign nurses as temporary measure and put in place a strategy to train local nurses such that it could stop depending on those poor countries for supply of nurses. Problems in Remuneration In the process of trying to motivate members of staff to perform better, the Human Resource may make deals that eventually cause problems. A case in point is the Home Depot. This Company has an employee Compensation policy that requires that one should be rewarded for the time they have served the Company. The Home Depot Company offers an end of year bonus, basic salary and grant on stock shares as an incentive for some of its employees The CEO of the Company Robert Marcella lost his job in the year 2007. This was because thecompany has experienced a lot of losses under his leadership; its shares fell by eightpercent in the stock exchange and he deserved to leave the Company. However, because the Human Resource Department had put in place a policy that requires all members of staff to be given the incentive mentioned above, he left with a lot of money. It was reported that he had with him about two hundred and ten million dollars. The Company had no way out of this payment because HR had already passed that policy and they were bound by the law. This goes to show that sometimes policies made by the HR department do not benefit the Company especially if the parties involved are considered as losses to the Company. Problems in Planning Sometimes the HR Department can employ people who may not contribute towards organisational principles. A classic example is the Arthur Andersen Company that fell apart in the year 2002. This was an American Company that dealt with audits. It was

Initially very successful in its operations prior to that fateful year. But in the latter years of its operations, the Company was involved in two accounting scandals that tarnished its name and subsequently caused failure. The Company failed to plan well for the kind of employees it recruited. This was witnessed when one of its employees in the Legal Department called Nancy Temple was fined in the Court of law for non adherence to accounting laws. This problem could have been prevented if the HR department had evaluated this employee before hiring her and also evaluation should have been done during her performance. If HR had been extremely critical, then they would have realised that the employee did not adhere to Company principles and would therefore have terminated her employment. Beside this, the Arthur Andersen Human Resource department also failed in its communication function to employees. The department should have ensured that they constantly communicate to members of staff about the goals and objectives of the Company on a day to day basis. This would have made them very clear in the minds of employees and would have prevented the downfall of the Company.

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Management trends and influences


In organizations, it is important to determine both current and future organizational requirements for both core employees and the contingent workforce in terms of their skills/technical abilities, competencies, flexibility etc. The analysis requires consideration of the internal and external factors that can have an effect on the resourcing, development, motivation and retention of employees and other workers. External factors are those largely outside the control of the organization. These include issues such as economic climate and current and future labour market trends (e.g., skills, education level, government investment into industries etc.). On the other hand, internal influences are broadly controlled by the organization to predict, determine, and monitor

For example The organizational culture, underpinned by management style, environmental climate, and the approach to ethical and corporate social responsibilities. Major trends To know the business environment an organization operates in, three major trends must be considered: 1. Demographics: the characteristics of a population/workforce, for example, age, gender or social class. This type of trend may have an effect in relation to pension offerings, insurance packages etc. 2. Diversity: the variation within the population/workplace. Changes in society now mean that a larger proportion of organizations are made up of "baby-boomers" or older employees in comparison to thirty years ago. Advocates of workplace diversity" advocate an employee base that is a mirror reflection of the make-up of society insofar as race, gender, sexual orientation etc. 3. Skills and qualifications: as industries move from manual to more managerial professions so does the need for more highly skilled graduates. If the markets "tight" (i.e. not enough staff for the jobs), employers must compete for employees by offering financial rewards, community investment, etc.

Individual responses
In regard to how individuals respond to the changes in a labour market, the following must be understood:

Geographical spread: how far is the job from the individual? The distance to travel to work should be in line with the pay offered, and the transportation and infrastructure of the area also influence who applies for a post.

Occupational structure: the norms and values of the different careers within an organization. Mahoney 1989 developed 3 different types of occupational structure, namely, craft (loyalty to the profession), organization career (promotion through the firm) and unstructured (lower/unskilled workers who work when needed).

Generational difference: different age categories of employees have certain characteristics, for example, their behaviour and their expectations of the organization.

Framework
Human Resources Development is a framework for the expansion of human capital within an organization or (in new approaches) a municipality, region, or nation. Human Resources Development is a combination of training and education, in abroad context of adequate health and employment policies that ensures the continual improvement and growth of the individual, the organization, and the National human resourcefulness. Adam Smith states, The capacities of individuals depended on their access to education. Human Resources Development is the medium that drives the process between training and learning in a broadly fostering environment. Human Resources Development is not a defined object, but a series of organised processes, with a specific learning objective (Nadler, 1984) within a national context, it becomes a strategic approach to inter sect oral linkages between health, education and employment.

Structure
Human resources development is the structure that allows for individual development, potentially satisfying the organizations, or the nation's goals. Development of the individual benefits the individual, the organization - and the nation and its citizens. In the corporate vision, the Human Resources Development framework views employees as an asset to the enterprise, whose value is enhanced by development, "Its primary focus is on growth and employee development it emphasizes developing individual potential and skills" (Elwood, Olton and Trot1996)Human Resources Development in this treatment can be in-room group training, tertiary or vocational courses or mentoring and coaching by senior employees with the aim for a desired outcome that develops the individuals performance. At the level of a national strategy, it can be a broad inter-sect oral approach to fostering creative contributions to national productivity.

Training and development


At the organizational level, a successful Human Resources Development program prepares the individual to undertake a higher level of work, "organized learning over given period of time, to provide the possibility of performance change" (Nadler1984). In these settings, Human Resources Development is the framework that focuses on the organization's competencies at the first stage, training, and then developing the employee, through education, to satisfy the organization's long-term needs and the individual's career goals and employee value to their present and future employers. Human Resources Development can be defined simply as developing the most important section of any business, its human resource, by attaining or upgrading employee skills and attitudes at all levels to maximize enterprise effectiveness. The people within an organization are its human resource. Human Resources Development from a business perspective is not entirely focused on the individual's growth and development; "development occurs to enhance the organizations value, not solely for individual improvement. Individual education and development is a tool and a means to an end, not the end goal itself" (Elwood F.Holton II, James W. Trot Jar). The broader concept of national and more strategic attention to the development of human resources is beginning to emerge as newly independent countries face strong competition for their skilled professionals and the accompanying brain-drain they experience. Recruitment and selection Applicant recruitment and employee selection form a major part of an organizations overall resourcing strategies, which identify and secure people needed for the organization to survive

and succeed in the short- to medium-term. Recruitment activities need to be responsive to the increasingly competitive market to secure suitably qualified and capable recruits at all levels. To be effective, these initiatives need to include how and when to source the best recruits, internally or externally. Common to the success of either are: well-defined organizational structures with sound job design, robust task and person specification and versatile selection processes, reward, employment and human resource policies, underpinned by commitment for strong employer branding and employee engagement and on-boarding strategies. Internal recruitment can provide the most cost-effective source for recruits if the potential of the existing pool of employees has been enhanced through training, development and other performance-enhancing activities such as performance appraisal, succession planning and development centres to review performance and assess employee development needs and promotional potential. For many organizations, securing the best quality candidates requires external recruitment methods. Rapidly changing business models demand skill and experience that cannot be sourced or rapidly enough developed from the existing employee base. It would be unusual for an organization to undertake all aspects of the recruitment process without support from third-party dedicated recruitment firms. This may involve a range of support services, such as: provision of CVs or resumes, identifying recruitment media, advertisement design and media placement for job vacancies, candidate response handling, and short listing, conducting aptitude test, preliminary interviews or reference and qualification verification. Typically, small organizations may not have in-house resources or, in common with larger organizations, may not possess the particular skill-set required to undertake a specific recruitment assignment. Where requirements arise, these are referred on and HOC basis to government job centres or commercially-run employment. Except in sectors where high-volume recruitment is the norm, an organization facedwith sudden, unexpected requirement for an unusually large number of new recruits often delegate the task to a specialist external recruiter. Sourcing executive-level and senior management as well as the acquisition of scarce or high potential recruits has been a longestablished market serviced by a wide range of search andselection or headhunting consultancies, which typically form long -standingrelationships with their client organizations. Finally, certain organizationspractice outsourcing complete responsibility for all workforce procurement to one ormore third-party recruitment agencies or consultancies. In the most complex of thesearrangements, the external recruitment services provider may not only physically

locate, or embed, their resourcin g team(s) in the client organization's offices, butwork in tandem with the senior human resource management team in developing thelonger-term HR resourcing strategy and plan.

Evolution of HR: is the profession on the verge of dramatic transformation or extinction?


David Woods , 01 May 2012

The myth of the axolotl is one of natures most fascinating. Genetically speaking, it is the larvae of the salamander. It has gills and lives in water where, if it remains, it will stay in a juvenile form until it dies. It can regenerate its damaged limbs, even eyes and brain. A very few axolotls metamorphose naturally in the wild. But given the right environment and careful conditions, scientists have discovered if the water is gradually removed from the axolotl's tank, it can transform into a land-walking salamander and leave the life aquatic behind. If this process is not managed meticulously, the axolotl will die. Never mind that metamorphosis shortens the ex-axolotl's life considerably and removes its regenerative capacity. The myth is that the creature has a choice: live underwater in a state less developed as what it is capable of and face extinction in its polluted natural habitat in the Gulf of Mexico; or risk death in a bid to walk on land as something transformed. And so the axolotl becomes a symbol of the challenges to humanity in general and HR in particular. 'HR' is a fascinating creature as well - it is less than 30 years old in its latest incarnation and has reached a junction in its own life span similar to that of the axolotl. Given the term 'human resources' was unheard of in 1980, HR has already evolved at a meteoric rate from a personnel function to a strategic and influential department, and it has moved out of its silo into the business. But if this process is not managed meticulously, HR could be on the verge of extinction.

Both recession in the private sector and reductions to the funding of the public sector have meant issues such as talent management, strategic workforce planning and performance management have risen up the priority lists of executive boards. As people strategy is vital to any canny CEO, the HR departments that do not transform themselves quickly enough to respond to this desire at the top could lose their influence on people strategy to other, more developed functions. Is it time for a more rapid metamorphosis? Christian Horne, HR operations director Western Europe at drinks giant Diageo, thinks so. "Rather than creating a people strategy in isolation, or even a strategy that supports the business strategy, HR directors need to prove the value of HR, by stretching and provoking the business, as well as raising our game considerably in terms of demonstrating the ROI of our interventions," he says. "Do the commercial skills and partnering skills need to evolve? Definitely. We are mid-way through an HR capability programme in Diageo to do just that. "We, as HRDs, do often enact the strategy we have set, but we are not good enough at identifying what success looks like: we need to define 'business SMART' objectives for ourselves and thereby demonstrate the ROI. Causality is often a challenge - to prove the line of sight from a capability intervention, for example, to increased sales and profitability can be very tough, but we need to raise our game here. "In the same way as we are great at holding others to account, we too need to be held to account." But Nick Holley, director of the Centre for HR Excellence at Henley Business School, thinks HR departments concerned about transforming themselves are missing the point of focusing on people strategy. "Where HR departments get it wrong is thinking about transforming their function. This is driven by the need of the HR department rather than the need of the organisation in which it is operating," he says.

"HR departments see themselves as partnering the business rather than part of the business and they focus on an HR strategy to change the function and its 'products', rather than on a people strategy that involves building the organisation's capability for growth and organisational structure. "A common fault is thinking about an HR department as a 'function' and a 'set of activities'. HR directors need to ask themselves if they are coming at people strategy from a leadership perspective - are they looking at 'best practice models' or are they looking at their own business to find out where to adapt?" He summarises: "The core duties of the HR director are simple: run the HR function; be an equal member of the management team and ask insightful questions, bringing emotional intelligence to the board; be a confidante to the CEO; and simplify business complexity. They are not there to represent a single function in the business." Alex Swarbrick, senior consultant at Roffey Park, agrees. He explains: "HR professionals thinking too much about HR strategy are too internally focused. They are looking in a mirror, instead of looking through a window into their business." It is almost 15 years since Dave Ulrich, professor of business at the Ross Business School at the University of Michigan, published his theories on HR business partnering. In a nutshell, Ulrich says HR business partners are HR pros working with line managers and departments to provide relevant HR delivery. By working closely with line managers, Ulrich said, HR people are better able to understand their organisation and the challenges it faces and therefore can deliver people activities that enable the business rather than act as a support function to it. In response, HR directors appointed 'HR business partners' to report to them, but to operate in different functions of the business, to lead HR across the spectrum. But Swarbrick explains: "Ulrich didn't talk about business partnering as a delivery mechanism - he was powerfully inviting HR to move away from the mirror. HRDs have been preoccupied with seeing this as an HR strategy." Dave Millner, consulting director EMEA at Kenexa, agrees the preoccupation with a 'model' for business partnering is holding HR directors back on their evolutionary journey. "I hate the

HR business partner model," he says. "It is not something to be cut and pasted. It was designed to challenge thinking. I hear HR directors telling me 'we have implemented Ulrich', but this has not been done well in their businesses. They are keeping it too nice, too soft and collaborative. HR directors need to be business leaders, not business partners." And this misconception of how to translate Ulrich's thinking into an HR strategy has led to the evolution of definitions and HR jargon that have begun to hold HR directors back in business, as leaders misunderstand it. Finance departments work across the business, in every part of it - both operational and strategic - but have you ever heard of a finance business partner? "The more I work in HR, the more I discover a distinct lack of common definitions," says Diageo's Horne. "People are the human resources of an organisation and thus synonymous. The mistake that is often made is to view the people/HR strategy in isolation, rather than the integrated people element of the overall strategy. "The idea of partnering is perfect, where the partnership involves sharing risks and benefits, challenging and supporting to drive the performance to the next level, rather than a buddy-buddy, walk-in-the-park relationship. 'Business leaders' is a great title, but again it is a question of definitions. A partnership can be a fabulous way to conceptualise a challenge and support collaboration between humans, more focused on outputs than hierarchy and process. If it helps us spin and sell our value better, I could definitely support the 'HR leader' label," says Horne. The view is mirrored by Martin Rayson, HR and OD director at the London Boroughs of Dagenham and Barking. Rayson will, this month, take on the role of president of the Public Sector People Managers Association (PPMA), but previously he was its lead officer on HR transformation. He says: "We are hung up on models and I am frustrated by this - but I agree the crux of this is to ensure HR functions remain close to business and that HR people understand every part of the organisation. It doesn't matter to me what you call this." But, developing this idea further, Brett Walsh, UK HR transformation partner and EMEA human capital leader at auditors, Deloitte, believes the HR director, in developed HR departments, should be in a position to appoint another leader from within the business: "In transformed HR departments [that have a centralised operating model and a shared services

department], the HRD should not be looking after the HR department, but should be strategic," he explains. "There could be an 'HR COO' or an 'HR chief of staff', who looks at how HR can improve its service to the business and would manage shared services and HR operations. "They would be like a 'business partner plus' and would understand how the HR department should deliver value and support the business. This allows the HR director the space and bandwidth not to be operational - but to focus solely on people strategy." But considering HR theorists spent years arguing about what HR departments should be called (human resources, human capital/ people management and personnel have now all become synonymous), the future of where HR is headed is just as debatable. In 46% of UK organisations, according to a survey published in February by Roffey Park, the HR director has a seat at the board table. In some companies, the HR director manages marketing, in some he or she is responsible for facilities, in others customer service has fallen to HR, but in others the HRD has no say over core employee benefits issues such as pensions. Following a restructure of senior management at Lloyds Banking Group (LBG) in February, group chief executive Antnio Horta- Osrio reduced his direct reporting lines from 14 to 10, meaning the heads of HR, legal, audit, Halifax and Lloyds TSB will no longer report directly to him. The company will create a new role of 'group corporate functions director', to whom HR director Angie Risley will report. She will continue to sit on the group executive committee. At the time, LBG told HR that, rather than reducing the influence of people strategy in the business, the changes have been designed to strengthen it. Horta-Osrio said: "By creating the position of group corporate functions director, we will be able to bring better focus on areas such as HR, legal and secretariat and group audit, which are essential to transforming the group." This movement puts pressure on HR directors because, while business leaders are not disputing the value of people strategy and the need for it to exist, the individuals influencing people issues to the board could come from any function. In 20 years from now, will HR directors be a dying breed?

Paul Sparrow, director and professor of international HR management at the Centre for Performance-led HR, Lancaster University, smiles at this question. "I don't think it's as much about the reporting lines as it is about the influence the HR director has. You can fight against change - but you can have a vote. If the function is woven together into other departments, that's not necessarily a bad thing, except for the individuals working in HR. "But in saying that, 20 years ago, I said HR would have become embedded in other functions of the business and today there are more HR professionals than ever before. I just think a more traditional, functional view of HR will be less prevalent." Horne agrees: "Ensuring all agendas are aligned and aimed at the same goals is vital. Both the people and HR strategies need to support the overall agenda. The people strategy is vital to drive sustainable growth - but the wise build their house upon rock rather than sand, so the foundations have to be in place too. "Ensuring there's the correct ownership is also vital in this area - it is much more effective for all leaders to own the culture/engagement agenda, for instance, rather than it just being another 'HR thing'. To restructure an HR department to better serve the overall strategic agenda can also be a great value-add, so it is risky to generalise and dismiss all the elements of HR strategy as without value. The devil remains, as ever, in the detail." Swarbrick believes the rapid evolution of HR, so far, has polarised thinking and practice in the sector, which could lead to a fragmented future for the profession. "Some HR directors have always been focused on the business - others might as well pack up and go home now," he says. But then he adds: "Operations will always need to be done somewhere - finance professionals, for example, have to invoice suppliers and when this happens, the FD is not being accused of lacking a strategic vision. The HR director just as to make sure he or she has the ear of the CEO." Millner disagrees. He explains: "If the CEO 'gets' people strategy, he or she doesn't need to hear the HRD banging on about this. But in saying that, if the HRD doesn't win hearts and minds - whether on or off the board - he or she won't be able to build a business case. The HR director and the finance director, working together can bring both the hard and soft arguments

forward. This 'golden triangle' idea (HRD, FD and CEO) can give HR directors a strategic edge." Responding to this challenge, Rayson says: "HR departments will evolve differently in various organisations - but HR directors need to keep doing what they are doing, just with a harder edge. A focus on staff and employee engagement is now seen as a precursor for organisational success, so to support this agenda, HR directors should ideally be on the board, but the evolution is more about their influence rather than their place on the table. I don't believe there is a difference between HR strategy and people strategy. As an HR director, your purpose is to contribute to the organisation you are working in." Horne adds: "An HR COO is an idea to develop the profession, but there are others - the essential thing is to create enough space to be able to reflect on and determine strategy. We have got to be prepared to take risks and be innovative in our own function, in the same way we are when planning change in others. "We need to be organised and without question have a seat at the top table in all cases. 'Chief people officer' isn't right, though, neither is CHRO. 'Chief talent officer in the war for talent' is the way forward. "The role technology plays is growing in all of our lives, so maybe in conclusion a CTTO chief talent and technology officer - is the future. Even the idea scares me, which I take to be a good sign. How should we act? We should be confident and proud of our proven ability to drive sustainable growth," Horne says. Why stay an axolotl when you can turn into a salamander? Ulrich defends business partnering model In 2008, writing exclusively for HR magazine and 10 years after its 1997 unveiling, Dave Ulrich, professor for business at Ross Business School, University of Michigan and his colleague Wayne Brockbank responded to critics who said the business partnering model did not work. Ulrich said: "The inevitable failures in the application of the business partner model may be due to several factors: 20% of HR professionals will probably never be able to adapt to the full business partner role. Asking HR professionals who have focused on policies

and transactions to do talent and organisation audits and make major changes may be too great a shift for some. "Some may not make the shift to business partners because of personal interests that deter them from engaging in the business partner role. Their interests and abilities may make them focus on administrative detail, rather than embrace the larger and more complicated perspective of the business as a whole. "Some practitioners may want to be business partners, but do not know how to proceed. Such individuals need to understand the frameworks, logic, knowledge and skills necessary for them to grow into the business partner role. HR professionals who are provided with such information can quickly apply it in adding greater value to the business. "HR's impact on business may vary, depending on the business setting. There are really few other options. When someone said to us that the business partner model was not working, we asked: 'What would you suggest?' The following are the two responses we received. First, 'Some HR professionals do not know the business well enough to function as business partners'. Second, 'Some are too enmeshed in transactional administrative work to function as business partners'. "The solution to the first response is that HR professionals need to learn the business inside out. They must know it well enough, not only to do better HR work, but also to be able to contribute to the strategic decision-making processes of the senior management team. The solution to the second is that much of the admin work will need to be outsourced - or digitalised for electronic processing. "HR professionals must evolve into being the best thinkers about the human and organisational side of the business. Business is dramatically changing. Changes are occurring in virtually every element of the social, political, and economic environments that affect business. They include technology, globalisation, communications, regulations,

competitiveness, demographics, shareholder demands and a tight market for key talent.

"Under such conditions, the human side of the business emerges as a key source of competitive advantage. Therefore, specialists in the processes of human and organisation

optimisation become central to business success. These specialists should reside in the HR department as business partners." Blast from the past 1990s How HR evolved during my time as editor of HR Morice Mendoza, editor of HR, 1999-2002 One of the first issues of HR I edited came out a year before the Enron scandal, when shareholders lost $11 billion. The cover story in the November 1999 issue of the magazine was drawn from an interview with London Business School professor Sumantra Ghoshal (who died in 2004). One of his seminal articles, published posthumously, analysed the way in which business schools had taken ethics out of their teachings - with disastrous consequences. In our interview, Ghoshal noted how Enron was a favoured destination for MBAs. And he told a story about the company's CEO Kenneth Lay, who "called in his head of HR to ask why the company was not more successful in attracting graduates from the best universities. The answer he gave - its lacklustre reputation - resulted in him being sacked on the spot."