“Kay, my father’s way of doing things is over, it’s finished,” said Michael Corleone in discussing their business transformation in The Godfather.

Last week, it was announced here that the TLNT Transform conference is scheduled for February 26-28, 2012 in Austin, TX. The phrase that caught my eye was, Share Fresh Ideas at a Different Kind of HR Conference.”

I once worked for a boss who told me that she did not think much of the strategic aspects of HR. To her,  it was the “fancy stuff” and we should all concentrate of the basic tenets of HR.

HR today is not your father’s or mother’s human resources. HR today is on the cusp of changing the entire profession.

Anyone that doubts this should just take a look at the level of articles being shared on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook by HR pros. Take a look at the various conventions held throughout the year and the type seminars being given. Everyone in this profession is at a point that they have to step up their game.

HR is being transformed

This transformation of Human Resources from an administrative function to a high level strategic function has moved at warp speed since this recession took hold. It has pulled the covers back on a function within the organization that, in some cases, was chomping at the bit to move it to the next level.

It also pulled the covers back on a function that was woefully unprepared about what to do. This group saw themselves a lifetime career specialist with little need for knowledge or experience of what the rest of the business was about.

However with the understanding of the value of a company’s human assets, their is a great need to ensure that the talent is not just on board but also properly motivated, developed and engaged. The role has been transformed. The old-style HR that dealt with the administrative aspect was not suited to this task.

Let the transformation begin

I read a book a few years back by Dave Ulrich (Human Resource Champions) that was talking of this transformation back in the late 1990’s. At that time it was seen as the transformation bible.

In 2006, a survey of American companies by Mercer firm stated:

The HR function continues to evolve and transform around the world. In fact, 50 percent of respondents say they are currently in the midst of a transformation process, while another 12 percent have completed an HR transformation within the past year and still another 10 percent plan to begin HR transformation efforts within the next year. Nearly two-thirds of the respondents (63 percent overall, including 58 percent of U.S. respondents and 65 percent of Canadian respondents) reported they have either completed a transformation within the past 12 months or are currently in the midst of a transformation effort.”

Perception is reality

With the transformation process moving along, somebody forgot to tell the C-Suite

According to this study, fewer than 5 percent of executives said they thought that their organization’s management of people was not in need of improvement. So can a traditional HR person all of a sudden become a strategic thinker? I had a COO tell me once that, “people who have never been strategic cannot at the turn of a dime and become more strategic.”

I became somewhat upset when I saw an article a while back that suggested that marketing and PR would do a better job of running certain aspects of HR. In other words, the skill set has evolved into other areas of business expertise.

Some companies have indeed gone outside of HR to find people to run HR. Just this week in New York, Conde Nast, a major publishing company based in New York City, appointed one of their senior executive editors to a high level HR role.

Ready, Set, Go

The transformation has begun and it is gaining speed. There is nothing old school HR can do about. It kind of like looking through a photo album from college days, looking at your style and shaking your head because you can’t believe that you dressed or looked like that. That is how future HR professionals will look through an organization’s photo album in the future and marvel at how dated HR was back then.

It will not be easy, but anything worthwhile never is.

So Michael Corleone’s statement to Kay was on point; HR’s old way of doing business IS over.

The transformation has begun.

See you in Austin next February.

Disclaimer: I will serve as the chairman of the TLNT Transform conference being held Feb. 26-28 in Austin, TX.

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