The professional world used to be a lot simpler. You had a neatly delineated task, and you performed that task until the close of business and then went home. Nowadays, things are a little more blended, with areas of overlap everywhere.
The same is true for HR professionals. The job is more complex than ever before, meaning that we have to adapt to new situations all the time. On the flip side, there are also new tools to use. Benefits tracking software, and other similar gadgets, really do help!
Part of how HR has changed is in the approach. Where before there was more of an enforcement ethos, the mode now is much more centered around guidance for individual employees.
It’s a lot gentler now, and from the statistical point of view, it really is an effective model to follow. Folks respond well to the less rigid take on things, so it genuinely pays the HR professional to adopt a guidance mentality over a stricter practice.
Instead of enforcing or policing company policy, many HR managers have opted for the empowerment approach instead. The idea here is that instead of punitive policing, we can instill a practice of encouraging people.
So, empowering employees to the point where they can adopt best practices is seen as the superior method. Indeed, the disciplinary practices of the past were at best hit and miss, given how different people can be and how differently we each absorb lessons.
Another very significant change lies in how employees perceive HR. Before, it could often seem that there was a parochial relation in place, whereas now, the emphasis is on a guidance role.
The modern HR professional has to adapt to taking on more of the counseling responsibility than ever before, providing a listening ear and a compassionate attitude. This is a significant shift in how the role is being enacted within businesses today.
Given that modern employees have such different attitudes to the very nature of employment itself, it’s unsurprising that HR has had to adapt. Younger people simply don’t have the same views as previous generations did.
For this reason, part of the modern HR professional’s role is to retain employee engagement in a totally new way. This is a rapidly evolving area, for sure, and will take more and more of the HR day as time goes by.
In the past, a large part of the task of HR was around fairly rigid and strict kinds of judgment. This is now less about judging and more evaluative. The distinction lies in the amount of nuance that needs to be in place in the modern context.
A modern evaluative approach needs to be very subtle, so the discretionary elements come much more sharply into play. Where before it was about codification and adherence, today it has much more to do with evaluation over multiple domains.
Some Final Thoughts
As societies change and adapt, business practices must keep up with their contexts or fade into obsolescence. There’s no other way. Business, after all, doesn’t operate in a vacuum but has the wider society as a context.
This cuts both ways, too. It means that the role of the HR professional is more complex than before, but it also means that the role can be much more flexible and rewarding. It may mean that certain kinds of people who were suited to the role no longer are.
It’s very much a case of expanding the perspectives and requirements of the modern HR profession as a whole.