The questions in the first section of the survey were designed to better understand the demographic characteristics of HR practitioners, their roles and responsibilities, the characteristics of the organizations for which they work, and the career development strategies of HR practitioners. This section of the survey plays an extremely important role in determining who is practicing HR, where HR practitioners fit into contemporary organizations, and the strategies used by HR practitioners and their organizational sponsors to develop and advance individual careers and the profession as a whole.
The second section of the survey sought practitioners’ perspectives on the HR profession in Canada. It included questions about the extent to which the HR function shapes organizations’ strategic directions, the importance of various activities to the HR function, practitioners’ involvement in the same activities, the knowledge and skills required by practitioners, the HR challenges facing organizations, practitioners’ outlook on the future of HR in Canada, and organizational HR priorities. This section included both qualitative and quantitative questions. This mixed methodology is important in understanding the broader trends and challenges facing HR practitioners and the profession as a whole.
Grow Your HR Career by Helping to Grow Your Organization
Sandi Cardillo, Queen’s IRC Facilitator, 2015
“Argh… it’s frustrating,” said Jennifer, taking another bite of her kale and apple salad. “He drops these articles in my inbox as part of our new mentoring agreement. I’m not sure how to think about it.”
“What is it this time?” Nicole, Jennifer’s friend in marketing communications, replied. “I think it’s cool you have a mentor. Not only do you get to assist your VP in running the talent management program for the company, you’ve been chosen for the ‘Rising Stars’ program.”
“I know,” said Jennifer. “It’s just frustrating to get articles about the future of HR and how senior leaders don’t always value what we do in an organization. I love HR. I love having a degree in HR. I worked hard for my credentials. I just don’t get it.”
“Why don’t you ask him?” Nicole retorted, as she dashed off to her appointment with the company webmaster. “He’s got his reasons. Ask him.”
In my teaching and consulting practice, HR professionals often recount stories like this. Someone, somewhere, makes a disparaging remark about human resources as a “dead end,” “non-value add” or “being the department that just gets in the way.”
Here’s the news. This is no longer truth. This is a wonderful time to be an HR professional. It’s time to grow into a true business partner. It’s time to be seen as someone who “gets it.” In the same way that the finance and technology functions have moved from the “number crunchers” and the “geek squad” to strategic business partners, it is time for HR professionals to step into strategic human capital management roles with a full understanding of what that means to their organization. In a recent Harvard Business Review article, Ram Charon and others (Ram Charon, 2015, p. 63) write that “it’s time for HR to make the same leap that the finance function has made in recent decades and become a true partner to the CEO.”
The How of Change
Dr. Carol A. Beatty, Queen’s IRC, 2015
After you know who will lead a change initiative, why the change is necessary and what future you are trying to create, you come to the “how”—the activities you must plan to implement the change successfully. This is tough work because of the countless details that must be thought through and included in a change rollout plan. Forget something crucial here, and your change may be in jeopardy, as is highlighted in the following case study.
Case Study: Bad Form? The Introduction of a New Client Assessment Technology
To policymakers at the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC), introducing a common computerized form to assess people for long-term health care services must have seemed relatively straightforward. After all, there was widespread agreement about the need for a tool to standardize case management and assessment practices and to promote information-sharing as a way of reducing inefficiencies, duplication and regional disparities.
Further, homecare workers had become experts at managing change: Since Ontario’s Community Care Access Centres (CCACs) were created in 1995, employees had weathered years of ongoing public reforms, culminating in the Community Care Access Corporations Act.
The Act, passed in December 2001, radically altered the focus and administration of community healthcare services. When the first wave of reforms began to flow out of the new law in April 2002, the Resident Assessment Instrument-Home Care (RAI-HC) tool was among them. The MOHLTC, expecting smooth sailing and that CCACs would easily adapt, decided that within the year all case managers would be using the new tool to assess their clients for long-term care health services.
To Ontario’s CCAC managers and employees—practised navigators of change—however, this prospect was overwhelming.