If you’re a Chief People Officer or just someone interested in HR, you may have noticed a trend of companies using the term “People” instead of “HR” to describe their HR department. But is this just a trendy new name, or is there something deeper going on here? Let’s dive into the pros and cons of calling HR “People”.
The human resources department is an essential part of any organisation, responsible for managing the workforce and ensuring that employees are satisfied and productive. However, the terminology used to describe this department has been a matter of debate for some time.
The term “human resources” has been in use for several decades and has become widely accepted as a way of describing the department responsible for managing a companies workforce. However, some have argued that the term can be dehumanising and reduces employees to the status of a resource or commodity.
In contrast, the term “People” is seen as more inclusive and humanising, acknowledging the unique needs and aspirations of the individual employees.
Arguments for “HR”
One of the primary arguments in favour of using “HR” is that it is a well-established term that is widely recognised in the business world.
According to data from Google Trends, searches for the term “HR” have been consistently higher than searches for “People” over the past five years, indicating that the term is more commonly used and understood.
Another argument for “HR” is that it accurately reflects the department’s role in managing the workforce as a resource. This can be especially important in industries such as retail, manufacturing or construction, where labour is a critical input and needs to be managed efficiently to ensure productivity.
According to a survey of HR professionals conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 62% of respondents felt that the term “HR” accurately reflected their department’s role in managing human capital.
Finally, a number of people argue that “HR” is a more professional-sounding term that may help to establish the department’s credibility and authority within the organisation. This can be important when dealing with senior management or other stakeholders who may be sceptical of the department’s role or importance.
According to a survey of HR professionals conducted by the HR Certification Institute (HRCI), 82% of respondents felt that the term “HR” conveyed a sense of professionalism and expertise.
Arguments for “People”
One of the main arguments in favour of using “People” is that it is a more inclusive term that acknowledges the individuality of employees.
According to a survey conducted by the software company BambooHR, 70% of employees felt that the term “People” was more humanising than “HR.”
Another argument for “People” is that it is less objectifying than “HR” and may help to create a more collaborative and cooperative relationship between the department and employees.
According to a survey conducted by the consulting firm Deloitte, 73% of employees felt that the term “People” conveyed a sense of partnership and collaboration.
By the same token, a final argument for “People” is that it reflects the changing nature of work and the role of employees in the organisation. As more companies embrace flexible work arrangements and remote work, the role of the HR department is evolving to focus more on supporting the needs and aspirations of individual employees.
According to a survey conducted by the consulting firm McKinsey & Company, 67% of employees felt that the term “People” was more aligned with their own values and priorities than “HR.”
Based on the data presented and out own personal experiences, we recommend using the term “People” to describe the HR department.
While “HR” may be more well-established and specific, we believe that “People” better reflects the changing nature of work and the importance of creating a supportive and inclusive culture.
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