Human Resources started out as personnel departments that focused on transactional HR activities and operated in the interest of the employer, rather than the employee. All they had to do was recruit workers, provide training, watch performance, enforce rules, and compensate accordingly.
During the 20th century, human resources began to evolve and gradually adopt the people-centered approach. Now, companies are expected to offer flexibility, good company culture, and a positive work environment. In this article, we’ll discuss why HR needs to be more people-centric.  


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The role of HR in the past, which was more task-driven

Human resources activities were previously carried out by the personnel administration. They would hire workers, set workplace rules, process and distribute paychecks, enroll the staff in benefit plans, and suspend or fire employees. In the past, HR was simply an administrative function that managed all aspects of the employee’s journey. They were also required to instruct new workers, develop and revise policies, and investigate workplace issues. The companies were less concerned about employee welfare or how their operations might be too rigorous for the average person. 

How has HR evolved over time and is embracing a people-centric approach?

There were no HR practices during the pre-industrial era and workers were mostly exploited for their time and effort. During the industrial era, hiring and training practices were available and labor unions were formed to protect workers’ rights as well as advocate for better working conditions. However, such matters weren’t assigned to a department. 

Around the early 20th century, organizations realized that they needed a structured approach to easily manage their workforce. They created the personnel management unit and tasked them with the administrative and legal duties. The team developed employee welfare and ensured that the company complied with labor laws and regulations. 

The Human Relations era presented the “people-centric” approach and allowed for better communication between employees and managers. They also conveyed the idea of training and development programs. Strategic Human Resources Management (SHRM) came when companies discovered that human capital was crucial to their growth. 

The SHRM focused on developing HR practices that are aligned with the organization’s strategy. They started to execute talent acquisition and management programs as well as develop strategies that ensure long-term success. Lastly, the globalization of HRM allows for understanding culture differences and aligning HR policies and practices to fit a diverse workforce. It also places emphasis on the compliance of local labor laws in different countries. 

Why is HR becoming more people-centric?

A people-centric HR department is concerned about the well-being of employees. It creates policies and practices that enhance motivation, engagement. and fulfillment. This allows employees to communicate with the company and understand that their efforts are valuable and appreciated. 

There are several benefits of adopting a people-centric culture. It would be easier for employees to engage with one another and share their opinions with the company. It helps to retain more employees, boost productivity, and also attract talented or skilled individuals to the company. 

How can technology improve the employee experience?

HR systems help to eliminate the need for repetitive tasks and endless paperwork. They allow companies to keep accurate employee records and automate HR processes. HR departments need software and tools to manage recruitment and training, evaluate performance, track employee benefits, etc. Some technologies include talent management software, employee experience platform, learning management system, payroll management systems, etc. 

Employee experience software is one example and can help to improve the overall employee experience in a company. It can be used to manage business-to-employee (B2E) relationships and provide employee support or self-service. Such platforms can collect data on employee experiences to monitor HR performance and identify the areas to improve. The features include an omnichannel ticketing system, AI bots, knowledgebase, integrations, intelligent workflows, etc. 

How HR can build an employee-centric HR model and organizational culture.

Human Resources needs to be people-centric and treat employees in the most humane way possible. They should realize that employees come from different backgrounds,  require diverse resources and are motivated differently. An HR department that cares about employees will be able to encourage more effort and achieve company goals easily. Below are some ways to create an employee-centric HR:

  • Revising HR policies. 

When creating HR policies, you need to consider the physical, mental, emotional, and financial well-being of employees. A great work-life balance is also needed to boost productivity, efficiency, and engagement. 

  • Implementing a diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) program. 

HR policies and programs should represent the diverse needs of employees from different nationalities and educational backgrounds. It needs to develop a sense of belonging, foster a growth mindset and allow for smooth collaboration between different types of employees. 

  • Training executive leadership and middle management 

Leaders should learn to prioritize good communication and good behaviors in the workplace. They should be more empathetic towards employees, provide guidance where necessary and build good relationships with employees.

  • Putting the right platforms, systems and processes in place that will support a positive employee experience. 

HR can become people-centric with the help of tools such as employee experience management software. They can train and upskill employees, provide enough resources, and allow for more flexibility via remote or hybrid work.

  • Extending the employee experience to temporary or contract employees. 

Staff leasing for business allows companies to outsource job roles to temporary/contract employees. This can be administrative tasks, customer service or technical duties. Many contract staff tend to feel left out so HR needs to ensure that they benefit from the employee experience.

  • Using people analytics to improve 

The HR department should be willing to request employee feedback regularly. They can analyze employee data to measure employee satisfaction levels and adjust the HR strategies to continue improving the employee experience. 


The workplace is becoming more global and employees desire reasonable treatment and better experiences. The HR department has evolved from being transactional to people-centric and then became strategic and global. HR should use technology, training, and efficient practices to make the workplace more conducive for all employees.