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Book Review of People and Transformational HR

Robert Jeffery on Perry’s First Book

HR professionals have little difficulty articulating the difference they make. In some parts of the business world, however, HR has a ‘reputational deficit’ it struggles to overcome. Which is why blogger and consultant (and social media stalwart) Perry Timms asks everyone – HR professionals, executives and employees – to think again about what HR is and what it can do, to make it a truly disruptive force fit for the 21st century.

That’s quite a task. Fortunately, Timms is up to it. At its heart, Transformational HR is a call for the profession to prioritise and organise, to find a mission that will elevate it beyond being merely reactive and make it as indispensable to organisations as marketing or finance at a time when the relevance of people to business has never been greater.

“To Timms, creating a ‘just’ business is HR’s ultimate purpose, and he shows us powerfully how the function can increase both obvious and less tangible measures of fairness: by removing barriers to optimal performance to enable true agility, deploying data and science to make better decisions, and acting as a futurologist to create a more capable workforce.

The result is at times a ragbag of ideas – most from Timms, some co-opted from a small army of expert contributors – that straddles everything from the Ulrich model to employer brand, and at first feels overwhelming. But delved into more deeply, it reveals itself as a passionate, expert and credible endorsement by an author who realises HR’s unique capacity for self-doubt sometimes holds it back, and who retains an eternally optimistic outlook on its capabilities. As he puts it: “Those very conditions that tarnish HR’s reputation are the very things that may cause its renaissance or even metamorphosis.”

– Robert Jeffery

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