Let’s kill HR

Thomas Juli
4 min readJun 14, 2021
Image by John Hain from Pixabay

Let’s kill HR. We don’t need it. It is outdated. It is not up to for today’s challenges in the digital world. Indeed, unless we get rid of it, we could very well lead us all to a dead end. I doubt it that anyone would want this to happen. Ever. For it is not about HR, it is about us. ‘Us’ as in people, human beings. We don’t need HR. What we really need is to reclaim our humanity.

Taylor (1911): “The system must be first”

HR — or human resources — stems from an age shaped by the Tayloristic paradigm where the system is more important than humans. Granted, this worked for more than a decade and lay ground for a business revolution, management and engineering. Back in 1911, when The U.S. American Frederick Winslow Taylor explained that “in the past, man has been first. In future, the system must be first.” the working population was not as skilled as it is today. Back then technology was not as prevalent as it is today, the world was not as intertwined and interdependent, the world did not face global challenges such as climate change. This has changed.

In the Tayloristic business world it was and still is all about the firm. Yes, people are valued; but primarily only as input, as human resources, for the machinery of business. The focus is on making money for the firm and satisfying the expectations of shareholders.

The social market economy in Germany differs from this extreme somewhat and eases the pain. It aims to balance business and societal well-being. And yet it still is first and foremost about business and how people can contribute to it. Government and bureaucracy serve as regulatory powers securing internal and external security in the business world and society. Whether or not this form of a social market economy is up to for today’s challenges is up to the beholder. I do have doubts. For even in this “social” market economy we are still talking about HR, human resources.

The questions we need to ask today

Let’s face it. Digitalization is increasingly shaping our daily life. Some may even say that digitalization is taking over our life. This is scary. Because, what happens to us? What will the future look like?

Thomas Juli

Helping businesses become and be human in the digital age. Author, Agile coach, speaker, Yogi, Tanguero, outdoor lover.