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Generalism: Good When Found in an HR Pro, Lacking When Found in HR Tech...

Talked to a couple of folks today about a variety of things related to HR Tech, including the HR Technology Conference (Chicago, Sept 29 through October 1) and the longing among some HR pros for one system that can do it all: Applicant Tracking, Performance Management, System of Record, Payroll, LMS, etc.  While I'm sure there are enterprise level solutions that can make a claim to do all that, for most HR pros in the field, the following truth is held to be self-evident:

If you want best of breed solutions, small to medium sized players have to buy HR Tech ala carte. 

ATS here, Performance Management there... Buy a suite that claims to do it all and only one thing is likely - that solution will most likely do nothing great.  If you want a great solution, you have to buy a specialist in your area of need - ATS, LMS, etc.  Kind of like bringing in Winston Wolfe in Pulp Fiction.

What's interesting to me is the human side of that equation compared to HR Tech solutions.  While specialists in HR departments do great work, no one has more value to the organization than a generalist.  The generalist is still the line HR pro the plant general manager relies on for all the stuff that goes wrong, and in most cases the HR executive representing the function to the C-suite is more generalist than specialist.   If you're the HR leader at any level supporting line managers, leadership teams, whatever - it pays to know something about everything, then have the ability to think quickly on your feet and figure out what to do next, and when to bring the specialists in.

Long live the HR Generalist.  They're providing a suite of solutions that HR Tech can't provide at this point.



The midsize market is very much undeserved when it comes to pretty much any type of information management system in the HR and benefits realm. Sadly, in an economy where small to midsized firms are slower to add jobs, it can be just as challenging to try and add another body to what might not be a full time job.

Meredith Soleau

A good management system for everything actually comes from our payroll provider, Paycor. They now have a system called HR Performer which can do it all.

Herman Zinkler

Hmmm, maybe I'm on the wrong side of the coin, or my glass is just half empty at the moment. I'm an HR Manager/Generalist with a main love for L&D and with the changes we are going through at the moment I just feel as a generalist, I'm delivering short too often.

Maybe I just need an attitude adjustment.

Love the site!


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