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Is HR function transitioning towards the Plug and Play Model?
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As the global labor market has undergone some changes in the last few years, the traditional role played by the erstwhile HR professional too has evolved. You will find that companies these days have an extremely diversified base of customers, investors, and employees, and are on the look out to distribute smaller jobs (which are chunks of a larger job) to the best people around the world. As geographical boundaries blur and companies move to tap into a global talent base, the need has emerged to have HR personnel who can deliver on pay-as-you-go model. This is what has become popular as the Plug and Play Model in the HR domain.

As organizations are broadening their cultural awareness, rethinking about what management skills to integrate in various business processes, and put in place systems to handle different time zones, the traditional role of HR departments have been replaced by a new model where the stress is to consider HR personnel as business partners. However, SMEs  often find themselves in a tight spot as they are unable to fund an extensive HR department and yet need HR professionals to take their business to the next level. Starting from finding talent, encouraging flexibility to handle a rapidly increasing workload, and managing a global talent base, to accepting and benefiting from the power of diversity, collaborating for innovation, ensuring gender equality in the workplace and helping employees maintain work-life balance, a lot needs to be done which can be handled with precision only by HR professionals. That is where plug-and-play HR professionals can help. By helping organizations find their own unique way of dealing with these matters, and yet not strain their finances, these professionals ensure a healthy, happy, and efficient workplace, which gives productivity a boost.

Some SMEs may often need HR professionals to manage various aspects on an activity/project basis. Since such organizations don’t need an HR department otherwise, it becomes a prudent choice to hire HR practitioners on a ‘what is needed, that’s paid for’ model. By hiring such professionals and asking them to plan strategies in alignment with their business, these organizations are in a better position to focus on strategic business decisions that add value to the business, and speed up tactical implementation plans to achieve their desired goals. What’s more, they can integrate and operationalize sound HR practices by hiring plug-and-play HR professionals and pay them based on the services they need rather than establish an extensive HR department, which sits idle for most of the time and drains the coffers.

Today, some of the leading plug-and-play HR professionals come from diverse backgrounds like finance, journalism, and technology. This clearly shows how the role of HR is evolving. No wonder that the HR leaders today don’t always need to come from an HR background. By having a vast pool of talents to scout at their disposal, organizations can find a professional to suit their needs and budget much faster and in an easier way than if they were to limit their search to hiring people with a traditional HR background.

As SMEs from radically different economies and local conditions compete in an increasingly competitive global environment to capture a sizable chunk of the global trade pie, this trend of hiring plug-and-play HR professionals is only set to increase. After all, how can organizations ignore such a win-win model?  

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