There are few, if any, corporate functions that discuss changing their name as frequently as human resources. Even those functions that decide to undergo this transformative process usually do so for just a subset of their team.
Where Names Are Changing:
In marketing, for example, some departments dumped the term "market research" and have instead begun to use consumer/customer insights. We’ve done this dance within HR as well. Recruiting has become Talent Acquisition and Compensation & Benefits has morphed into Total Rewards.
Yet, despite taking these steps to clarify responsibilities and accountabilities for specific functional areas by renaming them, many HR leaders and teams still struggle with continuing to use the moniker Human Resources as the descriptor for the entire department. This is nothing new. We’ve been having this conversation for years. Years!
Changing the name of HR without making fundamental changes to what HR does or how we do it won’t make a single bit of difference. We can call ourselves the "Happy Magic Bean Fairy Tale Factory" (HMBFTF!), but that doesn’t mean we’ll supply magic beans or ensure happy fairy tale endings.
And sometimes, here’s the reality: our employees are over in another part of the building rolling their eyes and snickering at these name changes. It appears to be all flash and no substance. I had a recent conversation with an IT professional whose company’s HR department, with much fanfare, announced a name change from Human Resources to Human Capital Management.
Employees were inundated with memo after memo. A rebranded intranet page was launched. Employee meetings were held to communicate the concept: “We ‘invest’ in capital whereas resources are merely used.” The cynicism among the employees was high. “They can call themselves whatever they want, but HR still seems to stand for Human Roadblock.” Ouch.