Is HR dead?

Is HR dead?

Is HR dead?

In a post on LinkedIn, author and enterprise performance expert Bernard Marr has claimed that HR departments should “call it a day”.

Marr’s criticisms of the department comes primarily from a semantic view, arguing that the term ‘human resources’ is outdated and signals a top-down management style that lumps humans in with finance, property and machines. “If departments can’t see that this is sending out the wrong messages, then they don’t deserve to be there anyway,” he writes.

Additionally, Marr views HR as having a conflict of interest in that they must support employees while also helping senior management manage, monitor, discipline and appraise employees. As such, he feels that HR will generally opt for one or the other, failing to address both.

“We can argue about whether the name is right or wrong, or whether the focus should be on the company or on the employees, but what really matters is whether HR delivers value,” Marr wrote, adding that organizations have outsourced the function completely or reduced it to a minimum without suffering “any significant throw-back”, due to HR not delivering any real value.

One solution suggested by Marr is the creation of two separate teams: a ‘people analytics team’ to examine people in a scientific manner and provide insights and analytics, and a ‘people support team’ to help employees with development, ensure staff engagement, and identify morale and cultural issues.

Josh Bersin, principal and founder of Bersin by Deloitte, shot back in his own LinkedIn post, arguing that the ability to hire and develop leaders, as well as the growing talent shortage, are areas that can only be addressed by strategic, well trained HR professionals.

“Yes, HR could often be more strategic and more efficient - and certainly more data-driven (only 4% of organizations can do any level of predictive planning), but that's all coming and I for one am rooting for HR to help us transform our businesses for many years to come,” he wrote.


  • Chris 2013-11-20 8:28:16 AM
    The HR department described by Bernard Marr is of an outdated "personnel office". The HR of today does exactly what Marr says it should: "people analytics" and "people support". However, contemporary HR teams provide these services in a holistic manner which is much more effective when working with humans.
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  • Joanne 2013-11-20 9:01:07 AM
    What an idiot. With the amount of legislation around employment and health and safety there has to be someone designated to ensure the company is compliant at all times. What about the minefields associated with Unions - I rest my case.
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  • Orlando Morante 2013-11-25 3:17:14 PM
    I am just new in this undustry. I totaly agree with this article. is not just how we how this profession is being training. 4% og predicting planing in a era where Computer, Internet, Analitics are that important. I was just surprise when I attande my last HR Meeting in Toronto and 80% of the professional that I ask about what an ATS is..dont have a clue..When I review HR programs at schools..NO technology courses ...So..Make sense? Is time to rmake some changes
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