“The HR function will have to change because it’s
heading towards a precipice.” Ed Lawler
A recent survey undertaken in the United Kingdom by the
Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development titled ‘Where
we are, where we’re heading’ revealed that significant
transformation is facing the practice of human resources. As
the profession increases its role as strategic business partner
and agents of change, many are realising that they aren’t
sure just what this will mean for them and wonder if they
will be ready. 88% of respondents to this survey said that
strategy and goals would be a very important driver of change
in people management policies and practices in their organisations
in the next three years.
Are these lines straight or curved?
The situation is
no different in New Zealand, though some might say that we reached
this thinking a while ago. The HRINZ Conference
2004 will be focusing on the challenges facing the profession,
but more importantly on the need to change the thinking of those
driving the beast. Reinventing the profession and ourselves; the
hybrid approach of looking at broader professional disciplines
and different perspectives on the increasingly complex environment;
and taking stock of where we’re starting from and where we
want to be are all issues we will hear about.
One thing is certain - the only constant is change.
The three concurrent streams are Change, Creativity, Certainty - turbulent C’s?
The “Change” stream will look at why some change management
initiatives work well and why others just don’t meet their
objectives. Change is seen as intrusive, disruptive and scary for
many people who are often less than enthusiastic at the thought
of having to rethink how they behave and constantly adapt in order
to survive. How does an organisation move forward to become or
remain competitive when some employees resist at every turn? The
time it takes to introduce change can sometimes be financially
crippling, but the cost of the emotional upheaval to those involved
can be fatal if the change isn’t managed well.
“Creativity” will be the key to success, as the turbulence
we’ve learned to live with over the past few years becomes
the norm. In order for organisations to harness this vital ingredient
the culture has to be conducive – it must embrace wild ideas,
freedom, experimentation and risk taking whilst allowing for the
occasional miscalculation or failure. Creativity alone is not enough – being
able to release or unleash it in a supportive and flexible environment
is where the value really gets added. Problem solving, innovation
and paradigm flexibility are all important capabilities that will
be addressed in this stream.
The “Certainty” stream takes the position that economic
and technological change means that some things are never going
to be the same again and will look at how these things will need
to be done differently to ensure a sustainable future. Jim Collins
says that if we get the ‘who’ right first then the ‘what’ should
follow; that it’s not about having a place at the table,
HR is the table and the others have a place. Roger Collins says
we need to reinvent ourselves individually and as a profession
if we are to flourish. We want this stream to explore the concept
that HR may be operating in a strategic vacuum – do we need
to play yesterday’s game differently or better, or should
we be playing an entirely new game?
We don’t have all the answers but we can provide a great
platform for discussion and debate and this conference will be
our most interactive yet. It will also be the scariest and rattle
lots of cages, but isn’t that what a great conference does?
Be seeing you…
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