There are a few workplace topics that are bottomless wells of debate and opinion. Human Resources and what’s wrong with it is one of them. At Fast Company, we first planted our flag in the debate with a 2005 cover story provocatively titled, “Why We Hate HR.” A lot has changed in the past 18 years. That story criticized HR for not attaching the brightest, or most ambitious, people. But now, certain departments have evolved to cover the most critical workplace issues, including diversity, equity, and inclusion goals, remote and hybrid work policies, evolving attitudes, demands around benefits, and more. As a result, some HR teams are attracting creative millennial and Gen Z talent.

In 2017, Fast Company writer Liz Segran laid out expert advice for fixing HR. Two years later, Fast Company contributor and HR expert Lars Schmidt explained how the field of Human Resources was undergoing an identity crisis. And for the past several years, Schmidt has set his predictions for how HR will change. This spring, I spoke with Schmidt on The New Way We Work podcast about how the industry is responding to the fresh workplace demands.In a tech- and AI-driven future of work, the HR industry is uniquely placed to both make use of new technology and leverage the uniquely human skills needed for hiring, motivating, and retaining employees. (All these factors explain why the industry is expected to grow by 10% over the next decade.)Except, only a fraction of companies are taking a modern approach to HR; and at many companies, HR departments remain out of touch with employees’ needs. It may take a while longer for HR to shed its not-so-great reputation, the leading “people teams” are no longer the stodgy out-of-touch departments we identified in 2005.


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