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Do You Really Need an HR Department?

November 18, 2013 HR

Great minds have spent countless hours contemplating how best to establish the right value proposition to wrap around managing HR. A recent article  Why We No Longer Need HR Departments, brings up some interesting points.  While I don’t agree that we no longer need HR departments, I do agree that the time has come to challenge the old conventions of how we structure and operate them.  I chuckle when I read articles like this one, and there have been plenty of them over the years, because there are few organizations that haven’t had some negative experience with their HR department.  HR isn’t easy or simple.  There are many moving parts that play critical roles in every organization empowering them to identify, attract and develop the best people.  Not to mention the complexities of designing effective compensation plans, benefit programs, organizational structures, leadership and succession plans, employee communications, etc.

So, back to the question, “Do we need HR Departments?”  The answer is absolutely, yes.  What they look like and how they are structured is another question.  Technology (payroll systems, benefit systems, applicant tracking systems and general HRIS applications) and new and innovative outsourcing and consulting models, have breathed new life into how to effectively execute in HR.  Call it what you will, goodness knows the name has changed many times over the years, but the important thing to focus on, to this author’s point, is how do we design a value-added function?   Here again, the answer is not simple.  There is no one-size-fits-all relative to HR.  Variables such as company size (in people), industry, organizational structure (centralized vs. distributed), company culture, demographics, etc. and many others, are all important to understand before jumping to any conclusions.  But with the right leadership and partners, and a solid business-driven strategy, you can create an HR structure that really works and brings great value to your organization!


Tom Wimer leads the HR consulting and fractional management practice at FahrenheitHR. During his 30 years as a human resources (HR) professional, he has counseled some of the world’s most respected companies, top federal government agencies and non-profit organizations on a variety of issues including human capital management, organizational effectiveness and learning solutions. READ BIO

Connect with Tom – twimer@fahrenheithr.com

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