Chapter 2. A Path to Alignment

Human Resources, as a function, got its start in the personnel departments of corporate organizations in the 1930s and 1940s. The critical functions performed by the personnel department were highly process oriented and involved, for the most part, management of employee paperwork. This responsibility included oversight of a range of processes that span the entire lifecycle of an individual’s employment with the company, such as the creation of job requisitions, recruitment of new hires, tracking of job applicants, orientation of new hires, management of the benefits program, performance tracking, tracking of compensation, dealing with grievances, and employee exit processing. This is just a partial list of the processes historically managed through the personnel department. The emphasis was generally on the creation and management of documentation. Every step along the path from hiring to termination needed to be carefully documented, and this huge mountain of documentation needed to be organized, filed, and tracked. In the age before modern information technology, this cataloging and tracking by itself was a daunting task. As corporations grew more complex, jobs more complicated and specialized, the personnel department continued to fill many roles and those working within the function often wore many hats.

Other functional groups such as Finance and Accounting became more and more focused within their specialty, while at the same time the personnel ...

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