Following the invention of Farming, ‘Agriculture’ became the first Business model wherein the smart man figured out the ways to earn profit by selling the surplus farm produce after fulfilling his domestic needs. The animal husbandry and poultry proved to be the subsidiary income sources in difficult times. Till this point there was no conflict or imbalance as such in the transactions as everybody was getting along in a peaceful and complimenting co-existence without any jeopardy of power, wealth or influence. This was the most peaceful, beautiful and plentiful ‘Green Era’ in its truest sense for Earth and her ecosystem(s).
The Business started its journey with ‘trade’ being introduced in the human interactions and this trade, on its way forward, evolved from Mercantilism to Capitalism with a major boost of Industrialization. This era of machines, besides being efficiently productive, introduced monstrous machines that would handle a job of 1000 people at a time. This transformation in the production line reduced an individual that had a potential to develop as an independent intelligent and conscious being, to a mere resource and just to differentiate it, awarded the degree of ‘Human’ [just like ‘Sire’] making it ‘Human Resource’!
As a department of a pre-management-boom corporation, HR in its nascent stages was more of a Labor Welfare or Health and Safety type of function that the top bosses always considered unproductive hence useless and therefore a overhead, if not a liability! It took decades for the capitalists to discover a fact that if a human brain had the capacity to bring all this development, it sure could handle the resources in an organized and efficient manner, if developed. Thus was borne the faculty called ‘Management’ that realized in the form of Business Administration with basic specializations of Marketing, Finance and HR.
Human Resource Management is an epic in itself and can’t be covered fully even in a 1000 pages volume dedicated to it. However it seems to be underestimated, if not ignored, when it comes to strategic functions of any corporation. The focus of HR has always been cost-cutting and down-sizing with a spice of fashionable training and development initiatives at ‘cool’ locations. It’s another story that the objective of any HR Activity boils down to increased productivity and seldom holistic well-being, let alone Sustainable Development of People, Planet or even Profit. I have elucidated on what it means by sustainable business or profit in my previous posts hence no point in repeating it here. As the HR was always tied to Performance Management and Remuneration Allowances, mostly being the reason of conflict owing to the disagreement between two sides, it was generally hated by the non-HR workforce and considered as overhead by the management and neither adored by it except for the downsizing.
On the other hand, Workforce or Staff that used to get daily wages or a monthly salary with additional benefits like paid leaves, loan advances, provident fund and gratuity, suddenly became the ‘TEAM’ in the wake of liberalization and globalization as India opened the gates to free economy around nineties. The TEAM Members were lured with Packages, Incentives and even stock options that combined as CTC, to win their loyalty and long term commitment. Young generation around the millennium started their career with 6 figure package that their parents couldn’t manage to get even in their late fifties. As a person deprived of food for months is least bothered about the nutritional values of the food he could get hold of to feed his hunger, it was not a wonder that the generations those were favored with such a fortune of packages that enabled them to have their own house, four wheeler and many more things before reaching even Thirty and their parents were fulfilled to see their labor bearing fruits! Everything was as close as to a fairy tale and nobody seemed to bother about ‘from where is all this coming’ or ‘at the cost of what?’ as everybody was busy in… ‘Aur dikhao…’ [Show me some more].
Come the millennial generation and this most evolved generation of human species was not only the smartest but had something in their DNA that came with an inbuilt practical awareness and productive concern for their environment and eco-system. For them Package was only important if they were offered a job / profession that could make a positive difference in other’s lives in the most eco-friendly way! They had the guts to turn anything down that won’t fit their bill and go on to have their own enterprise with a start-up supporting environment all around.
In modern economy, human (intellectual) capital is the only competitive advantage as everything else could be matched in the open market. Branding and Brand value have taken a complete new form and shape in the changed world economy and it has become imperative to position your brand image to attract both, customer loyalty as well as talent pool. Berthon, Ewing and Hah define employer attractiveness as the envisioned benefits that a potential employee sees in working for a specific organization. The construct may be thought of as an antecedent of the more general concept of employer brand equity. In other words, the more attractive an employer is perceived to be by potential employees, the stronger that particular organization’s employer brand equity. HR plays an instrumental and strategic role in this and it’s high time for HR to rise above Payrolls and KPI and PLVR… seriously!
There is a research on Corporate Social Responsibility Orientation with quite interesting insights like – ‘This shows that organizations which have economic power and which act according to ethical values in society can be found attractive even though they are not focused on social responsibility…’ All such outcomes and conclusions of any study and research points to a single factor that needs to be paramount in this journey of CSR – We need to understand the Core of CSR first, everything else is a check-box activity otherwise that is good enough for GRI reporting and CSR Awards!
Definitely, [a long] Way to go…!