HR is Changing, but it is Still a Sacred Trust

Author: Ernie O. Cecilia | Date posted; Oct 26, 2016
Ernie Cecilia, DPM
On October 19-21, thousands of human resources (HR) practitioners will converge in the 53rd annual conference of the People Management Association of the Philippines or PMAP.  HR practitioners today hold in their hands much more than they realize. 
Power and responsibility
HR managers have both the power and responsibility over people’s livelihood.  The confidential information they know impacts on the company’s future, growth and position in the market.  More than that, their work affects the lives of individuals.
Whenever they decide to hire one candidate and not the others, HR managers set off a chain of events that determines the rest of the lives of these candidates.  HR managers decide who gets hired, promoted, or fired.  They determine how much pay people should get or how much raise to give. The CEOs confide in them company secrets about expansion, growth, factory transfer, etc. Between them and the CEOs, they chart the careers of key people in a succession plan known only to HR and the CEO.  When foreign investors set up shop here, the HR manager is usually Employee Number One.
HR Trends
Foremost futurist and author of “The Future of Work” Jacob Morgan wrote in March 2016, “I’m very excited and optimistic about the future of HR. This role is undergoing massive transformation both in terms of name and function.”  He said that the most important HR trends in 2016 are about the “employee experience, data and analytics, the gig or freelancer economy, the shift from work-life balance to work-life integration, and HR working closer with IT.”
According to Morgan, employee experience is a “symbiotic relationship that allows employees to get engaged and contribute their best …”  The employee experience is affected by the physical, cultural and technological environments.
Now and in the future, there will be more employee data.  The challenge for HR is how to make sense of these data to understand their people better.  HR needs more science, data and analytics professionals to beef up their HR organization.
Starting in the 1990s, “free agency” became popular with working professionals.  With the entry of the Gen Y and the Millennials in the workplace, freelance work is becoming more acceptable as a non-standard form of employment.  In the USA, more than 60 million have tried freelance work.  Companies don't have to pay permanent wages and benefits, while freelancers set their own schedules and choose the kind of work and employers that best suit their talents and interests.
For quite some time, work-life balance was the battle cry.  With technology, work and personal life can be integrated.  Morgan said, “Instead of work being a place you go, work is now a thing you do. It has become an integrated part of most employees’ lives and personalities. This means that work-life balance is dead and is being replaced by work-life integration. Work equals life and life equals work.”
In the past, HR was mainly concerned with people and technology or IT was concerned with the “plumbing” in the organization.  Today, these two business functions must get married if organizations want to be more globally competitive.  HR must use technology to become more effective in managing people. If your HR is using technology only for data analytics, you’re not fully utilizing technology.  Use technology for more connectivity, with job applicants, employees, customers, government, professional associations, etc., and make HR more relevant today and in the future.
PMAP @60
PMAP (People Management Association of the Philippines) is the premier organization of human resources in the Philippines.  Sixty years ago, a handful of personnel practitioners, led by founding President Perfecto Sison, formed the Personnel Management Association of the Philippines.  As we write, there are six surviving founders, namely: Vicente C. Abella, Reynaldo G. Alejandro, Marinella K. Fabella, Orlando P. Peña, Lilia Q. Ramos, and Aladdin F. Trinidad. 
On October 19-21, PMAP President Jesse Francis Rebustillo will lead the holding of the 53rd PMAP annual conference to discuss current and emerging HR issues.  The main event is David Ulrich, America’s foremost HR guru.  Ulrich has practically set the HR agenda for the 1990s, and enabled HR professionals to become strategic partners in their organizations. In June 2005, Ulrich and Wayne Brockbank published “The HR Value Proposition” and charted “the path HR professionals must take to help lead their organizations into the future.” 
The PMAP’s 53rd annual conference boasts of an unparalleled roster of speakers led by Ulrich, a dynamic learning design, showcase of best practices, and great opportunities for networking.  The conference has five tracks:  HR innovation, HR velocity, HR endurance, HR execution and HR excellence.
Thanks to PMAP, its founding fathers, and its officers for the recognition of HR as the function charged with the human side of the enterprise. 
(Ernie is the 2013 Executive Director and 1999 President of the People Management Association of the Philippines (PMAP); Chair of the AMCHAM Human Capital Committee; and Co-Chair of ECOP’s TWG on Labor and Social Policy Issues. He is President and CEO of EC Business Solutions and Career Center. Contact him at [email protected])