Its time for Amazonification of HR

There is a raging debate on my local Bangalore HR Friends Network on the WhatsApp group and it is very interesting to see how the larger HR Friends (Leaders) Network are taking stands.

The issue is that a very Senior HR Leader accepted an Offer of Employment from a StartUp and then made them wait for two months to join. He didn’t join them nor did he inform them of his decision not join, leave alone why he didn’t want to join and then remained incommunicado.

Frustrated and at a loss, the StartUp Founder posted on Social Networks about this person and also published his communication details on the Social Network Forums. So every one on the Network Forum has come to know of this – a Senior HR Leader’s unprofessional behaviour and the StartUp Founders decision to Name & Shame him in public. He ends his communication with this :

“I hope you treat your current and future organisations with more dignity and respect. God bless and good luck”.

Well every individual has a right of choice. But to accept an offer, make them wait for 2 months and them remain incommunicado is really unprofessional. The StartUp Founder was driven to the wall and perforce had no other option but to take this extreme step of posting on Social Networks.

The debate on the Forum is that was it right on the part of the Founder to have posted on the Social Network Forums. Is it right to Name & Shame HR Leaders in Public. Interesting right ? The whole tribe comes together and demands that the post be removed from the Social Media Forum, takes a stand that the Founder was un-professional, things like this happen every day (Offer Abort) and its not right to Name & Shame any one.

Organisations, products and services are named & shamed in public, sometime rightfully and sometime unjust. Employees can use Glassdoor, Mouthshut, Indeed etc to Name & Shame and Rate organisations in public.

When Politicians can be accused of graft and grave misconduct without being convicted, when Business Leaders can be Named & Shamed in public, when Actors, Singers, Sportspersons & Celebreties can be Named & Shamed in public, why this hue and cry when a HR Leader is targeted. They may be from a different tribe, but they are Leaders like all others. They have to walk the talk, they have to be role models and have to be accountable for their actions.

Hasn’t the time come for the HR Tribe to nip this vexed problem of Offer Aborts and stop employees from fishing and causing untold damages to Hiring Managers & Organisations. Shouldn’t the aggrieved Organisations have a right to retaliate, claim damages and ensure it is not repeated.

There may have been genuine reasons not to accept the Offer and join them, but doesn’t ethical & professional behaviour demand that they communicate their decision to the Hiring Manager & Organisations rather than keeping them in the lurch and ditching them in the nth hour.

On the larger question, why cant HR Leaders take a stand on such issues.

The only way out is – Amazonification of the Recruitment Industry.

Just like how Products & Services are posted on e-Commerce Portals and all information of the Product & Services including Product Details, Seller Details, view Similar Products, Customer Reviews & Ratings, how many people bought etc are provided to the Customer so that they can make an informed decision, cant we have a similar approach to Hiring.

Imagine if a Hiring Manager was provided with the following details :

  • Profile of the Candidate including
    • Basic Details
    • Cost to Company
    • How many companies he has worked for
    • How many times he has Accepted or Rejected the offer
    • Lead time to join
    • Any ethical issues or non-compliance
    • Has he another offer in hand or considering, if so details
    • Recommendations from known people he has worked for &
    • Ratings from Managers, colleagues, peers, customers etc.
  • Similar candidates available and all the above details provided

Then you have delivery options :

  • Same day joining
  • Next day joining
  • Joining in 1 week
  • Joining in 1 month
  • Joining in 2 months

Imagine how transparent the system will be, how easy life will become for Organisations & Hiring Managers to source & hire People. Imagine how informed the Hiring Manager will be, before he takes a hiring decision, just like how informed a candidate is before being hired.

It will eradicate middle-men who are raking a fortune today, eradicate un-ethical practices in Recruitment and also keep employees on their toes to be competitive and ethical in their behaviour.

I know that there will be a furore on this suggestion and people will outright reject this saying that Recruitment decisions are confidential, its illegal, it’s a sensitive matter, will demoralize the individual & the work force, compensation is confidential etc.

Well in any Change Management it will start with denial and over time end up in acceptance. It’s a matter of time. The whole Business Processes are going through Disruption, Digitization has enabled – Amazonification of the Financial Industry, ecommerce, tendering, health & insurance industry, travel industry, automobile industry etc.

Its about time that HR reinvents itself with the Customer being at the Centre of every thing they do and not the other way. If it is going to cause disruption, if laws needs to be changed, policies needs to be tweaked so be it. Its time HR Leaders move away from the Tribe mentality and re-invent themselves or otherwise as cautioned by Vineeth Nair and other Leaders, HR will be Dead sooner than later.

For too long, HR Leaders have remained in cocoon, manipulating systems,organisations & people to keep their importance in tact with the guise that

“these are People Issues and must be handled sensitively” and best handled by People Experts.

Its reverberating across the globe, across industries and academias. Just look around and find out how many Start Ups have a HR Department. Its last in their priority. The number of Students taking up HR in MBA / Business Schools is dwindling. I teach or is associated with some of the leading B Schools in Bangalore and am worried about the number of students taking up HR. There are no takers or a hand full.

Its about time that HR Leaders becomes more transparent, put themselves up for public scrutiny and remain competitive, allow employees & organisations to take informed choices. HR’s credibility is at stake. Its also about time HR Leaders took positions, think out of the box and rest in their comfort zone or just play football passing the buck to someone else to decide. 

It is time for a new era of HR that benefits everyone; it is time to wake up and be the catalyst for change.

Disruption has already started in the HR Industry – eLearning, HRMS, PMS etc.

Amazonification of HR is the only way out, if not the Death of HR is imminent.

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