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What’s in a name?


HR professionals believe the HR name debate is nothing more than a distraction, a survey has highlighted.

HR consultancy, HR with Guts, quizzed 250 senior HR professionals about how they felt about adopting a new name to indicate its change in focus. The findings showed that 77 per cent of people felt this was merely a distraction from real issues and did nothing to help the function.

Jan Hills, from HR with Guts, said: “Many HR professionals can remember the pride they felt when the original change from personnel to HR was implemented, which heralded a new era of providing strategic advice on the human assets of their company. However, many people tell us they now remember this with a touch of shame – nothing changed but the name.”

The survey also highlighted feelings surrounding that all important buzz word – ‘strategy’. It found that although strategy is the buzz word in HR, and has been for some time, half of respondents said they still spent less than 30 per cent of their time doing strategic work, while only 21 per cent said that it took up more than 60 per cent of their working day.

Hills added that HR needs to concentrate on working more closely with the businesses it supports: “Instead of worrying about what we’re called, time needs to be spent making real, effective changes to the skills and beliefs of the HR function, with clearly outlined roles and targets – if a name change follows naturally from that, then it will be far less jarring.”

One Response

  1. (Strategic) HR Business Partner – what’s that?
    As with other support functions, such as IT and finance, HR professionals need to align their strategies with those of the organisation.

    By simply adding the term “strategic” to job titles or initiatives, without reflecting the goals and challenges of the wider organisation, HR professionals reinforce their side-line image.

    I also feel that the “HR Business Partner” title sometimes suggests a craving for mystique and professionalism to those outside HR. IT and Finance have usually, by now, reconsidered any hankering after impressive job titles in favour of demonstrated strategic and tactical support, largely forced on them by a more demanding and alert organisation.

    David Chernick
    Reed Screening

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