From The 50: Vane Macatangay of ZEN Rooms

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“People avoided us,” she said with a laugh. “Before I became the HR Director of ZEN Rooms and moved from one company to the next, my first job was in a manufacturing company. And it was so bizarre that whenever my supervisor and I came down to the manufacturing-assembly department, people would look at us in a certain way and I would just simply think, ‘why—did I do something? Did someone do something?’”

Macatangay felt such avoidance was natural because whenever an employee would have interactions with anyone from HR, it would always be one of two things: employee grievances or labor disputes. When they were not interacting with them however, they would be seen as just someone who processes their payroll and droned on about internal policies and compliance. 

Thankfully, she learned about Laszlo Bock, the former Senior Vice President of People Operations at Google, and the man that coined the term “people operations.” Inspired by Bock, Macatangay learned that HR was always viewed as administrative and bureaucratic. She learned that the way to shift this view was to transform HR to people operations as it was perceived more credible and trustworthy. 

Because before Bock coined the term in 2006, most executives and employees would simply view the human resources as an enemy to avoid or just as an administrative function: Here’s the payroll, review and sign it. Here’s the employee benefits, handle it. Here’s a person we do not need anymore, fire them. Sounds familiar? You bet.

However, HR should not limit their role to that of an administration. This is why Macatangay thanked people who think like Bock. As the future draws closer, more and more organizations, especially those in technology, are putting the focus on HR as more of a strategic business partner. 

“More than a decade ago, Bock started this whole ‘people operations’ movement, and people are coming to realize it now more than ever. Thanks to technology as well, organizations are becoming more collaborative both internally and externally, and it’s really shaping the way HR worked with all levels of an organization” she said. 

You can read the rest of the feature by pre-ordering The 50 here:

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