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The Shift to People-Centric HR: Understanding the Trend

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Human resources was originally an HR department that focused on transactional HR activities and acted in the interests of the employer rather than the employee. All they had to do was hire workers, provide training, monitor performance, enforce rules, and pay them accordingly.
Over the course of the 20th century, human resources evolved and gradually moved to putting people at the center. Today, companies are expected to offer flexibility, a good corporate culture and a positive work environment. In this article, we will discuss why HR needs to focus more on people.

The role of HR in the past, which was more task-oriented

Previously, the activities of the human resources department were carried out by the human resources administration. They hired employees, set workplace rules, processed and distributed paychecks, enrolled employees in benefit plans, and suspended or fired employees. In the past, HR was simply an administrative function that managed all aspects of an employee's journey. They also had to train new employees, develop and revise policies, and investigate workplace problems. Companies were less concerned about employee well-being or that their work procedures might be too strict for the average person.

How has HR evolved over time and does it take a people-centric approach?

In the pre-industrial era, HR practices did not exist and workers were exploited primarily for their time and efforts. The industrial era saw hiring and training practices, and unions were formed to protect workers' rights and advocate for better working conditions. However, these matters were not assigned to a department.

At the beginning of the 20th century, companies realized that they needed a structured approach to easily manage their employees. They created the human resources department and tasked it with administrative and legal tasks. The team looked after the welfare of employees and ensured that the company complied with labor laws and regulations.

The human relations era introduced the "human-centered" approach and enabled better communication between employees and managers. They also conveyed the idea of training and development programs. Strategic human capital management (SHRM) emerged as companies discovered that human capital was critical to their growth.

The SHRM focused on developing HR practices that are aligned with the company's strategy. They began implementing talent acquisition and management programs and developing strategies to ensure long-term success. Finally, globalization of human resources enables understanding cultural differences and adapting human resources policies and practices to a diverse workforce. This also makes compliance with local labor laws in different countries more important.

Why is HR focusing more on people?

A human-centered HR department cares about employee well-being. She develops policies and practices that promote employee motivation, engagement and satisfaction. This allows employees to communicate with the company and understand that their efforts are valuable and valued.

A people-centered culture has several benefits. It is easier for employees to get involved and share their opinions with the company. It helps retain more employees, increase productivity and also attract talented or qualified people to the company.

How can technology improve the employee experience?

HR systems help eliminate repetitive tasks and endless paperwork. They enable companies to maintain accurate employee data and automate HR processes. Human resources departments need software and tools to manage hiring and training, evaluate performance, track employee performance, etc. Technologies include talent management software, employee experience platforms, learning management systems, payroll systems, etc.

Employee experience software is one example of this and can help improve the overall employee experience within a company. It can be used to manage company-to-employee (B2E) relationships and provide support or self-service to employees. Such platforms can collect data about employee experiences to monitor HR performance and identify areas for improvement. Features include an omnichannel ticketing system, AI bots, knowledge base, integrations, intelligent workflows, etc.

How HR can build an employee-centered HR model and organizational culture.

HR must put people first and treat employees as humanely as possible. You should be aware that employees come from different backgrounds, require different resources and are motivated differently. An HR department that cares about employees will be able to encourage them to work harder and achieve company goals more easily. Below are some ways to create an employee-centric HR department:

  • Revision of personnel policy.

When creating human resources policies, you must consider employees' physical, mental, emotional and financial well-being. A good work-life balance is also important to increase productivity, efficiency and engagement.

  • Implement a diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) program.

Human resources policies and programs should take into account the different needs of employees of different nationalities and educational backgrounds. They need to develop a sense of belonging, foster a growth mindset, and enable seamless collaboration between different types of employees.

  • Training of executives and middle management

Leaders should learn to prioritize good communication and behavior in the workplace. They should be more empathetic towards employees, provide assistance when needed, and build good relationships with employees.

  • Putting in place the right platforms, systems and processes that support a positive employee experience.

With the help of tools like employee experience management software, HR can put people first. You can train and upskill employees, provide sufficient resources, and enable greater flexibility through remote or hybrid work.

  • Extending the employee experience to temporary or contract workers.

Corporate staff leasing allows companies to outsource tasks to temporary or contract workers. These can be administrative tasks, customer service or technical tasks. Many contract workers feel excluded, so HR must ensure they benefit from employees' experiences.

  • Using people analytics for improvement

The HR department should be prepared to collect employee feedback on a regular basis. You can analyze employee data to measure employee satisfaction and adjust HR strategies to further improve employee satisfaction.


The world of work is becoming increasingly global and employees want fair treatment and better experiences. Human resources evolved from a transactional to a people-centered department and then became strategic and global. HR should use technology, training and efficient procedures to make the workplace more pleasant for all employees.

Embrace a people-centric HR model with tools like IceHrm to enhance employee experiences and organizational outcomes.

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