Every year my wife and I have a tradition of attending the supposed "final tour" for B.B. King and as usual last night he sang is hit "The Thrill is Gone." In listening to it last night I began, based on some comments from some of my HR peers, to wonder if that is HR's problem. Have the majority of our peers -deep down inside- lost that thrill about the role HR plays within our organizations? Is the change self-inflicted or the response to a changed view of the function by management?

I hear almost everyday that some think we need to return to the days when we were called personnel. Our responsibilities were that of handling the administrative aspects of our human capital needs. as the business world evolved so did the nature of what we do. The problem began when we changed the name from personnel to human resource management. We were neither ready for the change nor asked for it. In our attempts to make the change we began to fall far short of the expectations that management now required from their HR departments. We became the organizational fireman or policeman depending on the circumstance but di not gravitate toward truly managing the human capital assets. this is part of the reason why HR becomes one of the first prts of the organziation to be dismissed when times get tough.

So has the thrill of being the gatekeeper to the human capital assets gone the way of many other things in our lives? I would suggest that the answer is in the negative. The workplace has changed and we need to change with it. We can still find the thrill within our business lives if we follow some simple steps:

  1. Become involved in the understanding of the voice of your customers - Talk with both your internal and exterior customers about the skills, attributes and attitudes they expect from the organizational human capital. Change the job descriptions to reflect these requirements.
  2. Change your perspective from that of policeman to that of a coach - Help your management to understand the new roles that human capital plays within the work environment. They have a key role in the innovation of your organization.
  3. Coach your management to change their direction - Managers can no longer operate from the command and control attitude. They now need to be the human capital coach. Instead of blaming them for the problems that they occur, they need to sit down and help the employee discover what went wrong and why. To help the manager you need to create new training opportunities which will show them how to make the change.
  4. Be an active member of the process improvement efforts organization wide - Become visible through out the organization. Let the various facets of the organization see you involved outside of your cubbyhole called HR. Your involvement has to be absent of rapid decisions of what the organization can and can't do. Be open to working with the organization to find new and unique resolution to the occurrence of non-value added activities.
The thrill might be gone in the careers of many HR professionals but with the right view and the right attitude the thrill can be returned. Are you ready to bring the thrill back?

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