ANOTHER YEAR HAS PASSED for the global human resources community, now interconnected via the internet, conferences and expatriation of roles in all four corners of the world. The result is that in today’s world, the function of managing and retaining true talent has moved from water-cooler conversations to board room debates. And there is no indication that 2014 will be any different.
But what about 100 years ago, when ‘Human Resources’, as a function, was still in its infancy. In 1914, one of the oldest known professional HR associations – the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development – celebrated its first birthday in England as the Welfare Workers’ Association. That same year Ford Motor Co created shock waves when the company more than doubled the daily wages of their men on the factory floor from $2.40 to $5.00, while at the same time reducing the work day from nine hours to the new ubiquitous eight. And globally, women began to enter the workplace en mass , triggered by the beginning of World War I, and the absence of male workers who had been drafted as soldiers. In Britain, in 1914, nearly 5.09 million out of the 23.8 million women in Britain were working.
So, on Tuesday night, as you sip your champagne, look heavenly at the fireworks and make outrageous new years resolutions, think upon these founding men and women of HR, our “auld acquaintance” and bring them to mind, as you welcome in the new year to the song Auld Lang Syne.