21st Century - Essay

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21st Century adding more responsibility to traditional HR roles | Houston Business Journal Changing and overlapping responsibilities plus diminishing staff have placed a burden on HR departments as they struggle to change with the times. “The traditional role of HR in the 21st century is changing into integrating HR into organizational business planning, which adds another dimension to the delivery of HR services,” says Frank Abbott, a corporate trainer program manager for Houston Community College’s Corporate College. “In this new role, HR professionals who are managers and supervisors must take on the emerging roles of business partner, change agent, and leader in new organizational structures different from the past.” This becomes more challenging, he says, as HR professionals try to meet this challenge while continuing day-to-day operational and political management of HR. These new expectations and demands, combined with a steady decrease in HR staff (one-third of the HR community will be eligible to retire in the next five years, Abbott says), means a once-stable occupation is entering uncharted territory. On top of theses changes, he says, many HR departments must do all of this with a downsized staff that does not have the expertise needed to meet the demands. “The question is: Are HR professionals capable of meeting those challenges and what must they do to meet those challenges?” Abbott asks. “Another question is: How do you prepare existing HR professionals for leadership roles when their current leaders are retiring or moving on?” Among challenges faced in the 21st century for HR professionals are increased outsourcing, downsizing of HR departments, a conflict of 20th century HR functions versus more forward-looking responsibilities, a lack of understanding of “the business” among HR staff that keeps them away from the decision-making table and an increased emphasis on improving efficiency of HR services, among others. “The major role of ‘strategic...
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