Are organisations getting rid of HR departments? If you think the answer is “yes,” I have quite a number of factors to blame. Let us look at what is happening in the corporate world that may question the need for a HR department.
When you plan to recruit staff, it is usually the respective department that knows best what the incumbents are expected to do and what criteria will determine their best fit with the roles. Hence, the responsibility of writing the terms of reference usually falls on the team rather than on HR.
Furthermore, thanks to the boom in online job portals, placing an ad is now so easy that even your average front desk executive can do it. If the criteria are spelled out, anyone can do the sorting and shortlist the CVs received in response to the job ads. Of course, the team management is in the best position to make the selection decision. So, where does one really get so stuck that HR has to step in?
HR for motivation? Well, in theory, maybe this is true. But in practice, the scenario is usually otherwise. “We have six HR staff in our organisation and all they notice is when I am absent or late, but never do they notice when I do overtime and work on the day off,” says Fatima Zohra, a reporter at a national daily.
Though HR is supposed to motivate the staff, traditionally in Bangladesh they have been known for doing things that often spoil the employee morale. And as far as appraisals are concerned, how can HR have a hand in it when they hardly understand the roles of the employees in other departments and what exactly is expected of each employee?
It is again the managers who assess the team members, and often the co-workers and the subordinates, if the organisation follows 360 degree appraisal system.
More importantly, employees usually look up to their manager for a break, be it positive appraisal, salary hike, promotion, or training and development, leaving no room for HR to intervene. Hence, each employee is constantly busy trying to please the manager, and hardly has time for HR.
On top of that, the phenomenon that has put the biggest ax on the HR department is the recent trend of outsourcing. Almost every HR function can easily be outsourced and managed even more effectively and professionally than it is done in-house. If you have watched the movie “Up in the Air” you have no difficulty believing that there can be very specialised firms only for employee terminations.
Even in Bangladesh, many organisations have grown that specialise in the functional areas of HR including recruitment, training, and talent management.
Now that many international and multinational organisations are closing the HR departments, local
organisations might soon follow suit. Given this, what should the HR professionals do?
Well, they can look into their own talent development and explore closely related and emerging areas like organisational development, training and development, and the like.
Many may prefer to stick to their field and join the outsourcing organisations where they can specialise in specific areas of HR. Nevertheless, changes are inevitable in the corporate world and adaptation is the key to success.