A Glance into the Past of HR: The Reactive Model

When I was a kid I remember my dad taking me to school every day in his 1989 Cadillac Seville. Thinking back to those days I can’t help but laugh at the fact I loved that Cadillac so much. Reflecting back on the days of my youth I am baffled at how far the world has come in such a short period of time.

Take a minute to think about this, a 1989 Cadillac Seville with an 8 cylinder engine only had an average of 18 miles per gallon. Can you imagine if cars today were still made the way they were in 1989? With the steep increase in the price of gas since the early 2000’s we’d all be working to simply put gas in our cars. As gas prices increased, we’ve perfected the art of building fuel efficient cars in order to absorb the shock of ever increasing fuel prices.

This brings me to my main point, the world is changing and because of that we are constantly forced to change with it. As Tony Robbins said, “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.” As businesses grow and change, we as businesspeople need to change accordingly.

Being Reactive is Retro

HR is the go-to department when a problem arises internally, but is there a way to prevent complaints from being filed in the first place? In the past the HR department has tackled issues in a very reactive fashion, waiting for claims to be filed so common ground can be found between the two parties involved. Not to mention updating employee records as requests come in.

Remember that co-worker that just got married?

What about the co-worker who just had a baby?

And did Dan just move?

Now you’re faced with the task of updating numerous employee records in order to reflect their most current situation. This solution certainly gets the job done, but at what cost? As requests come in the HR department has to delegate time to make sure each appeal is handled and taken care of appropriately. As you can imagine this can get extremely time consuming and ultimately very expensive.


In the past many businesses only recruited talent when there was an opening in the company. Again, this relies heavily on the reactive model I spoke on earlier. If you wait until something happens to respond then you’re already putting yourself at a disadvantage. Many successful businesses today accept resumes on a continual basis to prepare for unexpected circumstances. One thing we can be sure of is the unexpected will happen and so it is best to be prepared for such occurrences.

Culture, it’s all around you

The average American adult spends between 8 and 9 hours a day at work. If you have a 5 day work week that time quickly adds up equaling between 2,080 and 2,295 hours spent at work each year. If you’re spending that much time at work hopefully the environment is one where you feel empowered and able to do your job. Too often in the past company culture has been an afterthought and employees suffer as a direct result. Take the healthcare field for example; doctors, nurses, and other healthcare personnel are expected to be on their feet for countless hours of the day. I cannot stress enough how important it is to provide a comfortable atmosphere to relax when employees have down time. Providing the right culture can quite frankly make or break your staff. If you neglect to provide the proper resources for employees to recharge you end up producing a staff that is tired and burnt out at the end of the workday.

So Where Does This Leave Us?

If your company still employs some of the practices I mentioned above don’t worry, it is not the end. Next week we will post some of the most effective HR practices that are in place today and how those are benefiting the companies who use them.