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Rebranding Human Resources. Let’s Get Real

Sep 02, 2015
Rebranding Human Resources. Let’s Get Real
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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!

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What are other names for Human Resources? Looking at Some Examples

As a result of this, over the past decade or so, we’ve witnessed numerous CHRO’s assuming the title Chief People Officer. It's been announced that Mark Levy, the HR Leader at Airbnb, would be assuming the title Global Head of Employee Experience, along with a rebrand of the entire HR Department.

There are companies that have taken this out to every level imaginable. Many organizations are using or considering some of the following names for their HR function:

Human Capital Management

• Employee Management Care Unit

• People Resource Center

• Talent Management

• People and Development

• Human Relations

• Employee Support

• Talent Resources

• People Operations

• Team Member Services

Let’s just stop.

A New Name Doesn't Mean A New Identity

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. 

Tweet: Changing the name of HR w/out making changes to what HR does won’t make a bit of difference. @HRCloud

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.

Over the past century, we’ve made some dynamic shifts in this name game. Starting off as Industrial and Labor Relations, we’ve since been called things ranging from the Pay Office to the Personnel Department before we latched onto the name Human Resources Department in the 1980s

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Is a Name Really What Defines Us?

Is the most important thing deciding what we call ourselves? While I agree that language is important, the deeper issue is what we stand for, and how we demonstrate value to internal and external customers through our behaviors and actions. Are we providing a great experience for our candidates and our employees, from the best onboarding process to a cutting-edge employee engagement platform? Are we connecting their capabilities to the goals and strategies of the organization to bring about success for both individual employees and the company? Do we support and empower our employees? Do we offer an employee rewards system? Do we care?

Are we, no matter what we call ourselves, being human?

Those, in my estimation, are the questions to which we need to seek answers.

Author Bio:

This article is written by a marketing team member at HR Cloud. HR Cloud is a leading provider of proven HR solutions, including recruiting, onboarding, employee communications & engagement, and rewards & recognition. Our user-friendly software increases employee productivity, delivers time and cost savings, and minimizes compliance risk.

 

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

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Why is rebranding important for Human Resources?
Rebranding in Human Resources is crucial to reflect evolving organizational cultures, attract top talent, and align with changing industry dynamics. It helps HR departments stay relevant, innovative, and competitive in today's dynamic business landscape.
What are the common signs that indicate a need for HR rebranding?
Signs that signal the necessity for HR rebranding include outdated employer branding, low employee engagement, difficulty in attracting top talent, inconsistent messaging, and a disconnect between organizational values and HR practices.
How can HR professionals measure the success of their rebranding efforts?
HR professionals can measure the success of their rebranding efforts through metrics such as employee satisfaction and engagement scores, recruitment and retention rates, employer brand perception surveys, social media engagement, and qualitative feedback from employees and candidates.
How can HR departments effectively navigate the rebranding process?
HR departments can navigate the rebranding process effectively by conducting thorough research, gaining buy-in from key stakeholders, defining clear objectives and target audience, crafting a compelling brand narrative, ensuring consistency across all touchpoints, and soliciting feedback for continuous improvement.
What are old names for human resources?
These terms were commonly used in the past to refer to the function now known as Human Resources (HR):
-Personnel Department
-Personnel Management
-Personnel Administration
-Manpower Management
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