Take a look at all the things that people are arguing about in the world of HR and you’ll have some interesting topics to think about. For example, Yahoo banned working from home last year which many felt was a step backwards for flexible work policies. Then there’s the debate on whether performance appraisals are on their death beds and the discussion revolving around whether it’s time to split the HR department or not.

There’s really no right or wrong answer to any of these. It all depends on where your organization (and HR department) is in it’s level of maturity. You also have to consider what kind of industry you work in – it’s a balancing game you have play to keep employees happy while maximizing productivity.

So, here’s my take on 3 of the main controversial HR topics happening around all of us.

Flexible Work Options

Whether it be telecommuting, work from home, flexi-hours or remote locations most HR professionals struggle with the concept of flexible work options. It’s a mixture of getting the policies right and trusting people to complete tasks without being in the office during set hours.

I do think a flexible work environment can be created and successful. Of course I think much of it depends on the criteria considered in the performance appraisals and how well structured goal setting is. If you’re measuring people based on achievements rather than attendance then it’s not hard to filter out people who aren’t working. So yes, it can work but the entire system has to be examined, not just work timings.

The Death of the Performance Appraisal

Those who think it’s time to change standard performance appraisal practices feel that rather than being appraised once a year, employees and businesses thrive when managers regularly communicate with their team on performance. So it’s not entirely the death of the performance appraisal, just a change in frequency and style of review.

For most of us in HR, performance appraisals are a “business as usual” time of year. There’s the process, the forms and the people. We know the Conversations We need to Have and unless changes are being made it’s a well oiled machined. To create a year long process which initially would require documentation of the conversations would require a very dedicated change agent. It’s definitely not for everyone.

Dividing HR

Ram Charan created waves when he said “It’s time to say goodbye to the Department of Human Resources”. According to him, HR professionals are too internally focused and don’t understand the bigger picture of the business. To overcome this challenge he feels that HR should be divided – one for Administration and the other for Leadership and Organization.

Now this controversy, well this just begs for a debate over a cup of strong coffee. It’s definitely just at a theoretical stage and the changes that it comes with are so drastic that there would be very few companies willing to take them on. Like Dave Ulrich says on HBR, dividing HR into two groups is not a holistic solution. One needs to look at strategy, outcomes, organization design, competencies and analytics.

So what’s your take? Would you implement any of these pretty drastic changes? I think that most Asian companies are not ready for them. Drastic statement perhaps but most likely true.

Photo Credit: delegate.zero via Compfight cc

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