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Paul Sykes, Prinicipal Presentation Coach at The Speakers Friend Ltd recently asked a thought provoking question in LinkedIn. He asked: What should the HR function be re-named? There were many suggestions in this debate. I recommended it be called the “Organizational Effectiveness” function. Let me explain why.

“HR” as a title speaks of what the function deals with -Human Resources. The title is suggestive of input and efforts – of Human Resources- but does not cover the outcomes expected of the function.

In the early years, dealing with people was seen purely as labor relations. Later on, the function came to be known as the Personnel function as it primarily dealt with the personnel who made up the organization. Much later, when thinking emerged that people were indeed the organization’s greatest assets, we moved to calling the function ” Human Resources”. This was done to differentiate this important resource from other equally important -though inanimate -resources such as Materials or Finance.

I recommend ” Organizational Effectiveness” because the role of the function is to hire talent and keep them motivated to deliver top quality performance which results in organizational effectiveness. Hiring, compensation planning, learning & development etc are but sub-systems of a larger effort channelized to attain organizational effectiveness.

What are your views?

I do know that the function has been called – the “People” function,