[email protected]: HR in the next 60 years
The Personnel Management Association of the Philippines (PMAP) was born when I was a second grade (elementary) pupil walking barefoot two kilometers from a nipa shack to a public school in a town visited more by typhoons than by politicians after elections. At age 60, PMAP has achieved so much to become the country’s premier human resources (HR) organization.
Round pegs and round holes
My earliest recollection of HR was as a messenger in a radiotelegraph company that was using dots and dashes to receive and deliver messages nationwide. The President was a doctor of medicine, and the HR head was an Air Force pilot who shifted careers. There I saw HR was about recruitment, payroll, benefits and union dues. I never experienced classroom training in three years nor understood my career path.
I would overhear the President remind the HR head to “put a square peg in a square hole, a round peg in a round hole.” Later, I realized they were discussing recruitment strategies. Today, the Internet makes recruitment easier through video resumes. In a decade, the norm will be to send resumes, get interviewed and hired using mobile devices. In a few more decades, technology will seamlessly integrate the world as it breaks down traditional information and communication barriers. HR should be able to protect not just company data but those of the employees as well.
Up until the sixties, business competition referred to the corner store in the neighborhood. San Miguel under Andres Soriano, Jr. was probably the first Filipino company to use “internationalization” as a business strategy. Today, no matter the size of a business, it has to operate on a global level, and the world is its playing field – for orders, raw materials, and talents. As we write, not too many companies fully understand the challenges and implications of this reality.
In the future, HR must expand its reach. HR must adapt to the changing demographics and worker profiles. HR must get involved in partnering with government to develop long term and permanent solutions to educate, train, develop, deploy and motivate a highly diversified population with varied interests and expectations. Attracting, retaining and getting ROI from talents will be more difficult as HR must adapt to constantly evolving job roles, customized benefits and incentives, and reinvent retention strategies for employees looking not just for money.
In the future, HR’s most difficult challenge is to create that employee experience that will engender greater commitment, productivity and advocacy, not just satisfaction. But first, HR must learn to shed off its old mindset of a stand-alone function of an administrative expert. HR must be intermeshed with various disciplines and across organizational boundaries in order to deliver amazing, unforgettable, and holistic employee experiences every time, all the time.
Emerging workforce mix
In highly protective work environments, outsourcing and temporary work will rise and fall. But, like it or not, the rest of the world will continue to depend upon a growing ecosystem of independent contractors (organizations or individuals) and outsourcing partners that offer expert, and flexible need-based business functions, including HR functions. In the future, HR departments must redefine and implement new mandates for flexible work arrangements and give them more strategic value beyond cost-effectiveness.
In the near future, economic integration and cross-border migration will add a whole new flavor to HR’s complex problems today. While integration creates work opportunities for skilled Filipinos, brain drain could become a serious unintended consequence. Unless a holistic approach is adopted in continuously training and developing Filipino talents, government and businessmen could wake up one day to see that all the skilled Filipinos have become “contractual” workers abroad, while the untrained Filipinos continue to wallow in low-value, minimum-waged, but regular jobs.
Human resources development continues to be a strategic initiative for the Philippines’ global competitiveness. It’s too serious a job to be left to government. Private sector HR must lend its expertise to ensure a holistic Filipino human development.
Steve Wynn of Wynn Las Vegas said, “HR isn’t a thing we do. It’s the thing that runs our business.”
(Ernie is the 2013 Executive Director and 1999 President of the People Management Association of the Philippines (PMAP); Chair of the AMCHAM Human Capital Committee; and Co-Chair of ECOP’s TWG on Labor and Social Policy Issues. He is President and CEO of EC Business Solutions and Career Center. Contact him at [email protected])
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