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Putting the Human Back in Human Resources


Over the last few weeks, I've had the opportunity to have great conversations with some pretty talented human resources leaders. In each conversation, a pattern began to emerge. HR leaders are eager to stop being tactical and are pushing to sit at the table that drives the strategy of their organizations. They all seem poised to put the "human" back in human resources.

During the past few years, it has become clearer that organizations that invest in people and align their people strategy with their business strategy not only survived the great resignation but even thrived in what may likely be viewed as one of the most difficult times in our history.

Traditionally, the human resources function has been one of process and tactical execution. Compliance, cost reductions, and measuring productivity all became the focus of HR departments across the country for decades. The global pandemic showed the cracks in this approach and created an urgency to move to a people-centric approach in the human resources function. HR professionals, your time has come! Not only are you getting a seat at the table, but you've been put center stage to help your organizations navigate the shifts in employee well-being, tighter labor markets, and a workforce that no longer wants to work in the status quo.

So, where do you start? Listening, I mean really listening, to your employees. I can almost guarantee they are not asking for a slushy machine in the breakroom or a ping pong table in the lobby. Turns out, those things don't have an impact on employee wellbeing and do little to nothing to develop company culture. Employees want better pay and benefits (64% said very important), greater work-life balance (61% said very important), the ability to do what they do best (58% said very important), and greater stability and job security (53% said very important).

It's no mystery that there is a shift happening, and for strong human resources professionals, now is the time for you to take your most people-centric and strategic ideas and sit down at the table of strategy with the other leaders of your organization. Truly smart organizations will embrace the opportunity to put people at the heart of their success, and you'll get your chance to put the "human" back in human resources.


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