When HR takes its own medicine

By Brenda G. Hebert
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 04/29/2002

HR organizations seemed to escape the major downsizings of the ‘90s relatively unscathed, at least in my area of familiarity, the federal government. After all, HR was needed in order to help employees to transition into their new jobs or to exit their employment. To my knowledge, most or all of those in HR who left during program review did so voluntarily and with a sizable financial incentive in hand.

At the time, I naively assumed that we were there to shut off the lights and lock the doors. Once the general reductions had been completed, I thought that proportionate downsizing in HR would logically follow. This proved to be a false prediction. Rather, in the years that followed, the HR program base seemed to expand in breadth and sophistication to accommodate a larger HR-to-employee ratio than had previously been the case.

Although I always believed I was making an important contribution to my department, that belief is now being shaken. Today, I find myself on the pointed end of a restructuring exercise. The HR function is not downsizing, but there are plans to dramatically change how HR services will be provided.