'HR is dead and hooray for that'

'HR is dead and hooray for that'

The HR function is evolving away from the concept of humans as capital, according to a leading HR professional.

Laurent Sylvestre, who works at consultancy and engineering company Beca and was named HR Generalist of the Year by the Human Resources Institute of New Zealand, has claimed HR as we know it is at the end of an era.

“I think HR is dead and hooray for that,” he said.

“HR is dead for something more people-centric.”

Sylvestre says the human resources moniker is a leftover from now outdated attitudes, according to HRM New Zealand.

“When personnel moved into human resources it was late 80s early 90s and we were at the peak of capitalism,” he said.

“It was all about resources and what type of resources you had, so part of HR was management of those resources, but very much at the core there was still compliance, administration, making sure the contract would be okay, industrial relations – things like that.”

Now, Sylvestre says the industry is seeing a significant shift.

“We’re moving out of that and I think that shouldn’t be done by an HR professional,” he said.

“That should be done by the leader or the manager themselves – it should be the manager that is going to do that job.

“We’re not talking about a resource, a machine is a resource; a human is not a resource. A human is a human and, as part of their life, a human being is going to work so it’s about asking how you make that experience enjoyable?”

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