With Charlie Rose Out, Here’s How HR Departments Must Step Up

The industry is beyond ripe for improvement.

Employee handbook. designer491 | iStock

Though too many CEOs have cast off the Human Resources Department as a “cost center” or the “department of feelings,” there’s clearly an urgent need for industry. CBS News fired journalist Charlie Rose on Tuesday over multiple allegations of sexual harassment. Many of the women who came forward unfortunately had no human resources department to turn to. Moving ahead, CBS News president David Rhodes told his staff, “we will have human resource support going forward today and every day, and we are organizing more personal and direct training which you will hear about from senior management shortly.”

HR leaders are becoming more strategic, tech savvy, and data-driven to address these big problems and push back on ridiculous stereotypes about their futility. As the co-founder and CEO of the Philly-based HR metrics dashboard Employee Cycle, I get a front row seat to the bad and the ugly that HR leaders face nationwide, and I’ve also witnessed the solutions that these forward-thinking professionals are implementing to push the boundaries of their roles. Below are just a few ways local HR leaders are redefining the sector. And for those companies with departments that are far behind or even non-existent, take notes.

Disrupting Their Own Function

There’s a long history behind the idea of “human resources.” Before this title even came about, workers dealing with “employee stuff,” were lumped into departments called Personnel Administration. And now, the idea of “HR” is evolving into “People Operations.” The industry has historically been siloed but innovation-focused events like Philly’s DisruptHR, which gathers professionals in the field for lightning talks about how to advance the industry with data and tech, speaks volumes to how much HR professionals want to redefine their roles as true business partners.

Putting Their Employees First

For too long, many organizations have been putting their “profit-at-all-cost” mentality over the well-being of their employees, causing loss in revenue, lawsuits, and sometimes forcing them out-of-business. I’ve come across many HR leaders that are taking this problem head on by making sure they’re not only providing a safe, engaging, and productive environment, but also strategically thinking about the financial and physical well-being of their employees. They’re now testing innovative ideas such as unlimited PTO (paid time off), working with organizations like PeopleJoy to make sure employees can pay off their student loans in a timely fashion, or On The Goga to provide yoga and mindfulness sessions to reduce employee stress and fatigue. The current HR leaders understand that keeping employees happy, healthy, and fulfilled is not only the right thing to do, but actually increases performance and revenue.  

Building a Digital and Data-Driven HR Function

Providing companies with a centralized and real-time HR dashboard has given our team at Employee Cycle a unique perspective on how hungry HR is for data. Like their generally more data-driven peers in the marketing and sales departments, HR is now equally as interested in using data to tell a better story to their CEO, identify workforce trends faster, proactively solve workforce problems, better support HR budget requests, and ultimately better measure the ROI of their efforts. This disruption has not only driven HR leaders to purchase many best-in-breed solutions to manage core HR functions (recruiting, performance, etc) that provide extensive reporting, but also work with companies like Employee Cycle to aggregate all of that data in an at-a-glance dashboard to stay updated with all of their most important metrics from their disconnected systems and spreadsheets.

Solving Real-Time Business Problems

Deloitte’s survey-based Reinventing HR report found that only five percent of the participating CEOs rated their organization’s HR performance as excellent. That’s absolutely terrible. But many HR leaders are not standing for that rating and are working to show how their strategy can positively affect all aspects of the business. I’ve seen this in many forms. Some have reshaped team dynamics to break down communication barriers and drive innovation, and others have created more flexible and remote work policies to attract the best talent. And some are creating more personalized learning and development plans (based on role, department, etc) to increase performance.     

These are just a few ways HR is changing the perception of their department from “cost center” to “success center.” Let’s just hope HR continues to be as fearless about disrupting their role, department, and organization since employee well-being depends on it.


Bruce Marable is Co-Founder and CEO of Employee Cycle, the goal-oriented and centralized HR dashboard providing HR leaders an at-a-glance view of their most important workforce metrics from all their disconnected HR systems and spreadsheets.