Seems HR gets more than their fair share of abuse. From HBR running their ongoing series on why HR sucks or how HR needs to change to why everyone hates HR. What exactly did HR do to Harvard Business Review? Please apologize so we can get some good press going for HR. HR is the department (and the people in some cases) we all love to hate. For too many, HR people are like politicians. Necessary but not wanted. The blame for every problem – and yet the source of every solution. HR has to be friends with the CEO while still buddying up to the rank and file.

And it is going to be a bigger problem from here on out.

I posted a year ago on HRExaminer that employee engagement is a long-now play. I took the position that employee engagement is built over many interactions and many years. Building trust and engagement with your employees wasn’t something that happens quickly. Time is a necessary ingredient in your engagement recipe.

Yet… time is something HR doesn’t have any more. Time is something most HR people given by their overlords.

I was reminded of this today – while reading Jamie Notter’s post from August of last year where he stated:

The lifespan of the average S&P company was 67 years back in the 1920s. Today it’s 15. And we’re still doing strategic planning?!

And that change curve is getting steeper.

Is it good for business to change that fast? Who knows. But it is what it is and businesses are being born, growing up, dying and pivoting at a rate never before seen. The idea of a “plan” that can extend further than the next quarter is fast becoming a memory. Yet HR is tasked with finding ways to help drive employee engagement when they may not even know what business they will be in six months down the road. How do you create a plan that can be effective over a long time frame in a business environment where the model and structure of the business changes at increasingly smaller increments?

Rock meet Hard Place

2-15-2016 8-03-11 AM

It’s not easy.

It’s not for the faint of heart.

It is something that is easy to second guess (as most gurus and consultants are fast to tell you what you should, woulda and coulda done…without having to stick around to be sure it worked.)

Yes… this is a post that simply describes a problem It isn’t a post that tries to solve it.

This problem will be solved by HR professionals with vision, passion and dedication to the long game. This will be solved by those that understand how the human machine works and can put in place those interventions that build trust and engagement REGARDLESS of the business they’re in and the market they have to deal with. It will be solved by HR pros who can convince their teammates that engagement isn’t really ever really solved as much as it is practiced continuously.

Welcome to the middle of a tough situation.

HR Pros are the toughest people in the company. Don’t mess with them. You don’t want to see them when they’re angry.