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Goodbye “HR”, Hello “People and Brand”

September 16, 2009

A friend sent me this link today: about an organization that has dumped their Human Resources department and replaced it with a multi-functional department which includes marketing, corp comm, culture, talent management among other areas that they are calling People and Brand.   I actually think this might be a good idea. 

Here’s why:

  • Corporate communications and HR (particularly training) are often confused over who actually does what.  This has gotten worse with Web 2.0.  When a business analyst once asked me “when is it communication and when is it training?”, I knew that we aren’t really helping our internal clients, we are creating bureaucracy.
  • Customer Value Proposition and Employee Value Proposition – shouldn’t they be connected somehow?  Recently I watched this video at TED, on motivation.  If marketing and HR aren’t talking about the same thing, then cusotmers or employees (or both) will be disappointed and gone, a costly loss on either account.
  • Talent Management needs to be driven by future needs, and shouldn’t marketing help us define this?  Vice versa, couldn’t marketing tap into the existing talents as a way to identify marketspace that is underserviced? 
  • Technology is forcing us to consider networks for working relationships, not clinging to hierarchies and functional silos.
  • Customers should be more important than employees.  This is the classic mistake that HR makes, just because you advocate for employees and “manage” them, doesn’t mean that they are the end-all, be-all.  Without customers, what exactly would the organization do? 

What are your thoughts?  Do you think this is a good thing for organizations (someone else might:, is this another GM, or does this represent another knock against HR?  Do we take up the challenge or shout down the opposition?

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