Who could have guessed, not only that I would have a blog, but also that I would be celebrating its 2nd anniversary and scoping out the topics for year 3? It’s been a wonderful two years, and I can’t thank my readers enough for investing their time with me.
If only blogging (and much of social tech) had been available to me — to all of us — as I migrated from being a physics major to English lit in the early 60’s. Imagine how much easier it would have been to organize those anti-Vietnam protests that really did bring an end to that misguided “police action (did you know that it was never called a war?)? Imagine what I could have tweeted from my jail cell when so many of us were arrested (just overnight, and no record that I know of) for what we thought were entirely legal, non-violent expressions of civil disobedience but which bollixed up traffic, class schedules, and local merchants? Imagine the pictures of me in my hippy prime that would still be circulating on YouTube?
So much has happened in my increasingly intertwined (which is a major byproduct of living your life online) professional and personal lives over the last two years, and I’ve derived great satisfaction from writing about at least some of it here. As I look forward to many more years of blogging (not to mention tweeting, LinkedIning, and living large both IRL as well as online), I thought I’d start my 3rd blog year by reviewing what I wrote at the very beginning — and haven’t changed since: About Naomi Bloom, in which I tell my (probably only of interest to me) life story; and About In Full Bloom, which explains why I’m doing this.
And while it may not seem to be the case for most blogs, I really did lay out a story told in chapters for these first two years. I hope that those of you who are new to my blog will go back to some of those early posts when you have time. To get you started, here’s where it all began:
Drum Roll Please! Da Da Da DAH!
Welcome to InFullBloom. I’ve been agonizing over this initial post for weeks, and I’m still no closer to knowing what to write than when I started. I so wanted to grab everyone’s interest and immediate respect by saying something really profound about improving the practice of HRM, the use of HR technology, achieving organizational outcomes, life, the universe and everything. Perhaps I used up my best opening lines in About In Full Bloom and About Naomi Bloom. In any case, it’s not happening here, so I think I’ll just move on — to my 2nd post.
What And Why Are Human Resource Management?
If I’m going to use this blog for its intended purpose, then I’d better get right to work on a core, perhaps the core, issue that lurks, quietly but dangerously, waiting to sabotage our best efforts to achieve improved organizational outcomes through improved workforce performance. The villain of this piece is the sloppy, inconsistent, ill-defined and rampant misuse of terminology.
The English major/natural science minor within me screams every time I hear/read someone who fails to use the subjunctive properly. But my psyche screams even louder when colleagues who should know better use talent management or SaaS to describe whatever ill-conceived idea or product they’ve got on offer this week.
But where to start? The colloquial vocabulary for many to most of the important concepts at the intersection of human resource management (HRM) and information technology (IT) is so imprecise that I could make myself and you totally crazy trying to unravel that muddle. No entirely sane person is going to read the 3,000+ pages it has taken me to do so in my magnum opus, although some of you — and you know who you are — have already done/are doing this.
Perhaps the best place to start, as always, is with the results we’re trying to achieve, working backwards from there to figure what must get done, how, when and by whom, in order to achieve those results. In my professional life, the results we’re trying to achieve are specific organizational outcomes through improved human resource management (HRM). But what is HRM?
HRM is a business domain, a collection of processes and business rules whose purpose is to help ensure long-term business and organizational success. HRM is about planning for, organizing, acquiring, deploying, assessing, rewarding, leading, coaching, supporting, informing, equipping, retaining, and developing a high performance, cost-effective workforce. It is also about nurturing the growth, usage and value of the organization’s intellectual capital and personal networks.
What a mouth full, and there’s more. HRM isn’t just the work of a central/local/3rd party HR department. While an HR department and HR professionals may still control the strategy and design of HRM, HRM execution is increasingly in the hands of managers and leaders at every level and the increasingly technology-enabled, self-sufficient workforce.
The bottom line? The purpose — the expected organizational results — of HRM are to maximize the performance of the organization’s workforce and the leverage from its intellectual capital and personal networks toward achieving the organization’s stated business outcomes. If we could get all of the organization’s work done and results achieved without any workforce, we wouldn’t need HRM. But we can’t, so we do.