Ex Uno Plures. Out of One, Many

On July 20, 2017, in HRExaminer, John Sumser, by John Sumser


“Ex Uno Plures means ‘out of one, many’. It’s the inverse of the phrase on American currency ‘e pluribus unum’ – out of many, one. The trend we see on the national level towards Balkanization (the breakup of nations) is echoed in the business world.” – John Sumser


I was asked about my forecasts for 2018. I thought that the splintering of HR was an interesting place to start. Rather than becoming a unified profession, it’s becoming a mosaic of niches.
The most interesting thing that’s happening in HRTechnology is that the old silos are merging and reshaping. The underlying cause is that data is now flowing at an incredible volume by historical standards.
It used to be okay that Talent Acquisition, Learning, Performance Management, Onboarding, Internal Mobility and Succession Planning were little islands unto themselves.
While it won’t happen overnight, the next years will show decided movement towards a revision in our thinking about what’s what. For instance, we should see growth in the notion that the time to hire needs to be viewed from the hiring manager’s perspective (it takes years) instead of the recruiter’s (where it takes months).


We will also see real erosion in the idea that learning is separate from Recruiting. It’s easiest to start to think of employment branding as the first steps towards productivity. And, that the learning people in the pipeline do should be tested.

That should give you a sense. I don’t really believe in predictions for the coming year. Things don’t happen that way. But, there are deep underlying trends that will move forward.
HR is not one thing and it doesn’t move evenly. It’s more like a watershed of ideas that move independently of each other on their way to the river. They don’t even really move in the same direction necessarily.
What’s happening in the massive telecom call centers is almost impossible to relate to the HR in Silicon Valley start-ups. Neither really resemble HR in high tech manufacturing or pharma. As technology percolates into local cultures, it takes on the characteristics and challenges of those cultures and industries.
The best HR conforms to the needs of its organization and not to some set of HR ideals.


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