Amy Schabacker Dufrane, Ed.D, SPHR, CAE, is CEO of the HR Certification Institute, where she focuses on developing collaborative long-term partnerships with individuals and organizations looking to create and deliver change around human resources. Before joining HRCI, she spent more than 25 years in leading human resources functions within nonprofit and for-profit organizations.
HR practiced well – which is what HRCI is all about – ensures that organizations hire the best, support employees to perform their best, and align their human capital with the organization’s business goals.
I wanted to hear Amy’s thoughts on the present and future role of HR and how HRCI is raising the bar on how HR leads business.
What does a 21st-century HR organization look like? What skills beyond traditional HR subject matter knowledge do HR professionals need if they are to be successful?
The most important resource of any organization – and in fact, business as a whole – is its people. The most powerful way an organization can differentiate itself is through its people – because people are what’s behind every product and service. To be successful, today’s HR professionals must understand the business they work for. They need to understand what they are selling, what their organization’s challenges are, and what their customers and employees are saying. In short, we need to be business leaders who can think and strategize.
We can no longer just be the “rules and tools” people.
We need to be able to look at data from finance and marketing and think about HR from the perspective of how do we hire the right people and how do retool the people we have.
We need to be able to ask, and answer, the right questions: What do we need to do from a strategy perspective? Who do we need to be here to make the changes we need to make, not tomorrow, but five years from now? How are we going to get there? Do we work with colleges and universities to identify the talent we need so we can put the right training and education in place? It’s about being able to make recommendations about what the future looks like from a human capital standpoint.
We also need to think about how we brand our company. It used to be “come and work for us, we have great benefits and we will pay you well.” Now, to entice people to come work for you, you have to clearly differentiate your workforce and your workplace and your products or services as something that that’s interesting and appealing to be a part of.
What would you say to a CEO about the importance of the HR function in their company?
HR’s role in business is so fundamental. Never before have we seen this necessity for HR and anything that is going on in business to be 100% in alignment. Good HR people who have earned accredited professional credentials perform better and are more invested in their career and their profession. And there’s large-scale research that proves that. Professionally credentialed HR pros are in it for the long haul. They are committed to making sure they understand the fundamental elements of HR and how to protect their organization and move it forward. This requires competencies in leadership and development and analytical thinking, all of which are elements of being certified at a more senior level.
What do you think about the notion that with all this automation and artificial intelligence, robots will replace HR?
I think that technology and innovation are presenting opportunities that greatly enhance HR. Think about how we used to do performance evaluations. It was paper-driven, once-a-year conversation whose impact was pretty much limited to the sphere of the supervisor and their direct report. Today, we have a rapidly growing array of technologies that allow supervisors and staff to deliver, receive and integrate feedback continuously and across entire organizations, enabling managers, employees, teams, departments and entire companies to learn, adapt, evolve and perform at the highest levels. While automation has reshaped and eliminated certain jobs and technology can be expensive, even the smallest companies are becoming more and more sophisticated. Automation and AI are allowing us to work smarter. With AI we now have technology that helps us figure out how work gets done and who is involved. It’s HR’s job to figure out how to put that technology to work for us. This is very exciting, and I see this as HR’s challenge in the digital age – how to put technology to work for us to help our employees work smarter.
To learn more about HRCI, got to: www.hrci.org
Follow (HRCI) on:
LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/company/hr-certification-institute
Twitter – https://twitter.com/HRCertInstitute
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/hrcertificationinstitute
YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/user/HRCertInstitute?feature=guide
Connect with Amy:
Twitter – @HRCI_CEO
LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/amydufrane
Greg Morton is a corporate strategy and growth development specialist and Chief Executive Officer of the Northern California HR Association.
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