Bye bye HR, welcome “People Operations” (Thought experiment: redesigning HR)

I started playing with the idea of a clean table in HR. A fun thought experiment. What kind of competences might future HR need? First of all, I’d not call it Human Resources anymore. People are not resources. They are people. With all the lovely, kind, difficult, crazy baggage attached to them.

Naturally, my aim is to raise more questions than give answers. You get the point, though. For a midsized, international company’s people operations: Here are a bunch of the people who’d I’d snatch from the market any day. Meet my colleagues at the future People Operations!

The digital animal with simplicity as a guiding principle

Your presence is as strong digitally as face-to-face. You feel at home with any digital people-tools; you monitor this field closely to know what is out there, maybe even speak at conferences yourself as a professional in this field. You are eager to try and fail fast, to find great, working solutions for people to use in their daily communication, collaboration and business. You hate dysfunctional bureaucracy, and want to create amazing UX. You can pick up any service and drive the digitalization of it with great partners. You trust people to do the right things, but understand that bad UX amplifies the mistakes downstream.

The creative administrative rock

You’ve been around. You know the legal stuff like a rock. Your specialism is valued because that gives us boundaries for our creativity with people stuff. You are both-and-person, not an either-or-person. Your have a mindset of finding creative solutions for admin needs, because you hate unnecessary non-value-adding work. Even if there might be a small bureaucrat living inside of you, you are extremely talented in knowing when to unleash it and when not to. You trust people to do the right things, and approve that sometimes there are mistakes, which needs extra attention from you. You look at admin problems as our responsibility to do a better job/easier to use tools /better UX/better communication, rather than blame people for not following your instructions.

The genius, ever-curious data analyst who wants to work with people data

You have a mind for crunching data in the most creative ways. Your mind works brightly and you like to proactively play around with numbers. You quickly get familiar with any kind of IT system, and find your ways to master searches, cause-effect relations, patterns, and predictive analytics. You don’t expect others to understand what you do, because it is pure brilliance, but you are skilled at communicating the implications, predictions, and evaluations coming out of your mojo. You trust people to do the right things.

The rising star-assistant/s

You are young and hungry. You want to land a job where you will fast track people operations learning. You are a social and communicative person, who likes to get things done. Deep down you know it is the assistants who really run any company  and you do this with pride and integrity. You walk around daily to talk with people in the business. Together with the internal coaches you seek out people ops issues and help the people deal with them on the spot, before they grow into problems. You eat tasks for breakfast and learn for lunch. We will coach you, support you, and help you land your next people ops job within our broad network, when you feel you want to move on. Before that you will recruit and train the next rising star/s. This is not a job for life. It is a job for growth. You trust people to do the right things.

The agile and focused leader (My dream objective, …anyone out there with a job like this?)

You are there to help your team deliver and work towards what is the most important and value adding work. You are a people professional, keeping focus on the big picture and business, but not afraid to dig in yourself either. You know agile & coaching methodologies, and you help your team do PDCA cycles, reiterations, learning, and coach them to become the persons want to be. You understand that the world cannot be planned, and work in your executive team with some level of agility, too. Getting shit done together with people is in your DNA. Your main task is to communicate both within the organization and network outside the organization with clients, competitors and the hard core professionals within our business. You reiterate the business view with your team from a people perspective, according to the market. The team’s  ability to translate and co-create around the business requirements and customer moves, turning them into internal incremental adjustments of talent, resourcing or skills is the real value adding part. You coach business leaders with ongoing development of the business, and don’t shy away from tackling problems together, before they escalate or aggregate. You trust people, and know how to handle all kind of people situations with moral and ethical standards.

*Organizational coaches – business role (not people ops)

You are a people-person within the business. You have a parallel professional role and a coach role. You are part of our company’s internal coach pool, which, as a community, is equipped to help develop the organization, teams and leadership. Human nature is an ever-intriguing quest for you. You use your professional coaching and facilitation skills every day to make all collaboration easier within the organization. You network with agile and lean coaches globally to constantly stay on track of the groove. You blog, tweet, maybe run your own website, maybe talk at conferences, because you crave learning and personal development in your combined area of expertise and people-skills. You are a trusted colleague of the business leader, who you work with closely concerning people issues. You trust people to do the right things.

* Staffing wizard (freelancer or outsourced partnership)

You are the wizard of recruitment, search and selection, exits and re-hires. Identifying talent through social media channels is old news for you. You and recruitment tech develop together, you are standing on the brink of the newest ways to use tech to find talent. You keep an eye on possible candidates, and know when they are on the move. You or your partners are amazing with the applicant experience, helping the company to really stand out to the talented possible hires. You keep constant dialogue with the leader about strategic people moves, about stars entering the market, and also about weak signals from the recruitment market mirroring the overall business situation.

* Commercial marketing and communication specialist (shared, freelancer or outsourced partner)

You know your way with creating communication that talks to people’s hearts and gets them moving. You combine your creativity and visual skills with understanding the power of words. Your communication spans all channels, and though you are a bit of an artist, you follow the “good enough” –principle, getting this done rather than perfect. You are interested in company internal marketing and can use crowdsourcing- and social marketing techniques and tools to help the company communicate internally and externally, transparently and ethically.

Is this realistic? Depends on the company, I’d say. I think this kind of a team would create so much more and quick value, than people sitting “owning processes”, though.

Thanks for reading! I hope this created bits of sweet confusion and cognitive dissonance in your brain. Hopefully also a bit of energy and inspiration?

/Riina