10 roles for HR in 2014


In December 2012 I posted an article “13 roles for HR in 2013“. I hope you have been able to play some or most of these roles last year. For 2014 they are all still valid, but to keep you stretched I would like to add another 10.

1. The Cleaner

Your organisation is full with things that are actually no longer needed. Forms. Processes. People. HR can play the role of the cleaner. Start with a clean sheet, and determine what you really need.

2. The Gamer

2014 will be the year of gamification. HR can benefit from gamification. There are many HR processes where gamification can help to improve effectiveness (and attractiveness): recruitment, selection, training, performance management.

3. The Guardian of the Values

Organisations become more and more values driven. In my organisation the published values are integrity, client focus, collaboration and sustainability. Strong values, that need to be nourished and defended. HR leaders should be role models that through their behaviours show that they are living the values.

4. The Story Teller

2014 will also be the year of story telling. Through stories we can learn about the ambitions of the company. Through stories we can learn what living the values really means. Through stories we can connect the organisation to the surrounding world. HR could be the master of story telling.

5. The Challenger

We need people who dare to challenge at the top. Group think is observed too often. The plans are always ambitious and will result in more growth. Nobody wants to be the party pooper. Nobody wants to be perceived as a blocker. This is where HR can show its independency, and challenge where others choose to be followers.

6. The King of Sustainability

Sustainability is still hot. HR can play a leading role. What can HR do to make the organisation more sustainable? Get rid of lease cars. Hire people who live close to the office. Teach people how to manage virtual meetings in an effective way etc. etc.

7. The Breaker

Everything has to go fast fast fast. Tomorrow? No, today! Someone has to use the brakes (now and then), and that is a good role for HR. Not a blocker, but a breaker.

8. The Innovator

HR is not often associated with innovation. Alas. There is much room for renewal and innovation in HR. Are you happy with your selection methods? Are you happy with your development programs and the way you track progress? With your incentive program? Take a step back, put on your hat as innovator and see how you can come up with something new.

9. The Risk Taker

Does HR dare to take some risks? Do you advocate hiring the candidate that does not fit the profile, but brings something extra? Do you propose to give the senior position to the high potential who is not totally ready? Do you develop a training program that is different from what benchmark companies do? Are you happy to pay salaries below the median, because your company has so much else to offer?

10. The Reflector

There is never enough time for reflection. At the end of the annual team session people say “we should do this more often” but back in the office it does not happen. HR can promote reflection. Take daily time for personal reflection; take time for reflection at the beginning and end of your team sessions. Propose time for reflection in the management team, and not just at the end of the meeting when everybody wants to go home.


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