An overview of the tensions and dynamics HR leaders face due to structural and systemic factors.

The function exists in a schism between helping people and maintaining compliance.

It makes little sense that the same person vying for trust is also the disciplinarian. Extending one hand to give and using the other one to slap.

In the spirit of solutions and brainstorming...


Human Resources deserves to be two separate functions once more.

▶ Place all compliance related issues under the legal function (including compensation & benefits, RIFs, employee grievances, employee misconduct)

▶ Place all people-growth related topics under a new people function (including hiring & retention, DEI, training, leadership development, health & wellness)

The new “People Compliance” function is there to protect the organization. It is a necessary component to running a successful business. It reports to and works with the legal department, which gives it more resources to do its job within the law.

The new “People & Culture” function is SOLELY dedicated to empowering and growing employees. Its unwavering mission is to support each employee to reach their full, holistic potential.

Incentives are now aligned, streamlined, and better yet… not confusing.

When an employee works with People Compliance, they know they are speaking with the company’s legal representatives. 👩‍⚖️

When an employee works with People & Culture, they know they are speaking with someone solely responsible for their growth and development. 💜

You respect People Compliance. You trust People & Culture.

While we see more and more companies moving towards an empowered, strategic Human Resources department, we have yet to see one that truly separates these two sub-functions.


  • In Part 1, we explore the contradictions in HR's mandate.
  • In Part 2, we explore the tensions between HR and the core business.
  • In Part 3, we explore the history and origins of HR.
  • In Part 4, we explore the underlying root issues using our Functional Human-Systems Method®️.