The Evolving Role of HR and Recruiting


August 5, 2012

Waking up in Chicago at the start of TalentNet Live followed by Illinois SHRM, I am thinking about the messages I am about to deliver.  They are two very different sessions but each ties to the evolving role of HR and recruiting professionals.

As I’ve witnessed in my career, those who seem to get ahead and lead organizations and divisions, the real “on the ground” thought leaders, must take an active role as business leaders and not be solely defined by the HR or recruiting title.  It seems odd that in a relatively short amount of time, less than thirty years, the role of the leader in this industry has taken on such fast evolution.

Gone are the days where we only think of job boards and  compliance.  Gone too are the years where the focus was on the “soft” areas such as performance management and coaching.  Those are all still important areas, but from where I sit, I see leaders with a strong finance focus, those who understand the ebbs and flows of the business, those who help lead the marketing of the employer brand, and those technologically driven as the ones who are advancing.

What are you seeing from your seat?  What direction do you think HR and recruiting leaders are evolving into?


  • I have been practicing employment law for 25 years. For 15 of them, the focus was reactive; i.e., What to do when someone complains, you get sued, have to fire someone, etc. For the next 7 or so years, it was proactive policy-making and setting employee expectations. Policy making led to the proverbial “seat at the table.” In the last 2 or 3 years, the focus has been on what to do with the power. I agree that as HR participates in crafting company goals (with the necessary business acumen, financial background, etc.), we have turned more and more to employee recruitment. In the last year or two, that focus has been on enticement of top candidates through branding. Right now, were seeing only the drum major, the leader of the branding band. The parade, however, is bout to turn the corner onto Main Street. It will be as common as writing a handbook. (Note I said common, not easy.)

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About Trish

A former HR executive and HCM product leader with over 20 years of experience.


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