Is it time to disrupt HR?

15 Aug 2023

Cavelle Joseph-St Omer

We live in an age of uncertainty and disruption. The problem with uncertainty is that we do not know when and what will happen next. Conventional wisdom and the status quo are challenged.
Business models are overturned and new business models are emerging. The reality of disruption is that it is sometimes planned and sometimes unplanned.

If disruption is better planned than current business, disruption will win. In a disrupted world, traditional HR can lack relevance and impact (a bit too 1980s!) As we navigate this new Digital workspace, we must change outdated people practices for good.
Human resource practitioners and leaders who are truly engaged with their role as people managers will notice a growing and serious movement to redefine how HR leads, enables and supports organisations to deliver purposeful business results.
Indeed, those who are engaged in conversations that matter will recognise that to achieve things in a sustainable way requires more of the business needs to be mobilised to deliver a strong employee experience, and business outcomes to match.
On June 28, 2023—HR professionals gathered to experience a relatively new conference, DisruptHR, to hear about ways to rethink both their profession and their workforces. Attendees heard from 13 speakers, who each had five minutes to get a point across.
The organisation tells its speakers, “teach us something, but make it quick”. The speakers at this event were inspiring, examining the latest trends and challenging HR to do things differently. Unique insights; a wealth of resources and tailored support to find what’s right for you and your organisation was the highlight of this event.

Furthermore, lots of practical ways were explored to make our people practices fit for today, and our future needs.
Ms Julie Turney and her entire team at HR at Heart Consulting Inc must be commended and celebrated for bringing this global franchise to the Caribbean.
DisruptHR is popping up all over the world with each city bringing its own flair, and this was certainly experienced with an emcee like Sunny Bling.
The Board of Directors of HRMATT and HRMATT members were more than willing to support the inaugural edition and will continue to support it as it expands throughout the Caribbean. Plans are already underway for the second Trinidad and Tobago edition in 2024.

The night was billed as a raucous challenge to so many stereotypes of HR professionals. As we seek to make change happen, I must express the pride I felt when I saw our HRMATT members take centre stage: Board Member and Education Officer, Kimberly Chan-Boodram, Board Member and Advocacy Officer Cindy Wilson, Charlene Pedro, Jason Jack, Stacey Ramsamooj, and Akeisha Mc Donald.
They shared genuinely insightful, energetic and thoughtful presentations. Dr Rochelle Haynes, Jarrod Best-Mitchell, Keron Rose, Leah De Souza, Debbie Jollie, Nicole Fisher and Natasha Nunez all delivered great content, and they were pragmatic and definitely provocative.
Thank you to the Ministry of Labour, HIV Unit for capitalising on this initiative and taking the opportunity to raise awareness about HIV in the workplace and advocating for the adoption of a workplace policy. Special commendation to Kurlisha Mc Clean-Robert for braving the stage.
The fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0) is transforming the world of work, creating a technological revolution and reshaping the way organisations do business.
This, coupled with the disruption to the labour market caused by the COVID-19 pandemic paves the way for significant transformation in the way leaders build future-ready organisations.

Many policies and procedures created in times of predictability and stability to optimise long term efficiency and effectiveness are no longer fit for purpose and yet it seems some organisations are determined to get back to ‘normal’ with now outdated operating models, perhaps particularly in the field of Human Resource Management.
In this current era, where people are driving the culture of the organisation, sustainability is integral to business goals, the future of work is uncertain, and organisations are going to have to work that much harder to recruit and retain the best people, and adaptation to new practices has to happen at a much faster pace.
It can even be argued that HRM is stuck in legacy and industrial thinking, driven by a policies and procedures approach when it is dynamism and agility that is required.

Approaches to key aspects of the HRM system, such as recruitment, performance management and learning and development seem stuck in a time warp. This is particularly concerning when we consider how the world of work is changing: remote working, gig working, increasing use of technology and the list goes on.
Because the future of work is uncertain and will be undeniably different from how it is now, a new HRM is needed that fits this changing environment more effectively. So maybe it is time to #DisruptHR!!!!!

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