What would a day in the life of an employee look like if there were no HR Department? One company decided to find out, and what they learned may surprise you.
To be or not to be
LRN Corp, an ethics and compliance program management company, was in the midst of a restructuring, when someone had an idea - why not do away with their HR Department entirely? Their company had encountered recruiting and compensation issues in the past, and thought that by moving these HR responsibilities into the middle of the company, they could eliminate many of their management issues, and run a more efficient and effective ship. This decision is not entirely an isolated incident – companies that wish to establish flat management structures with greater employee accountability are beginning to consider becoming HR free organizations. Execs say that the HR department’s traditional tasks – including hiring, firing, and maintaining workplace diversity – stifle innovation and tie up businesses with inefficient policies and processes. Additionally a growing HR software industry has made automation and personnel-related function outsourcing more attractive than ever.
LRN Corp employees said they felt the change rather acutely - the roll that HR holds in any workplace day to day includes a number of strategic high-level tasks, and as the days went on there were large restructuring issues to adjust. But the thing that most employees missed most was the human element of Human Resources – pay problems, employee disputes, safety and security issues, all of these things which many of us take for granted are just some of the day to day activities encountered by HR. On a higher level, companies like Outback Steakhouse found that they needed the specialized strategy and support of an HR team when they came into legal trouble. Up until 2008, Outback did not have an HR department, but created one as a result of an EEOC lawsuit. They needed the human oversight provided by HR to ensure their company remained a viable and respected workplace going forward, one whose safety and standards encouraged recruitment, not discouraged it.
So here is the bottom line – HR is here to stay. They provide a vital service by managing a core company resource – the people that make up an organization. By working with and strategizing around the day to day, HR ensures that a company can run smoothly and securely throughout the years. But there is much HR can do to step up its game, such as taking on new automated systems to remove the stress of administrative work. This leaves HR in the tactical position of managing personnel strategy, and lets a reliable employee performance management system handle the administrative side.