HR Management Twenty Years Later with Facebook

It’s hard to believe, but Carolina HR and Facebook are the same age. Zuck and I both incorporated our respective businesses in early 2004… needless to say, he and I have had different levels of success. While Facebook and other social media companies were busy changing the world, Carolina HR was quietly helping its clients successfully navigate the constantly changing, ever-challenging HR management environment.

Changes impacting HR Management since Zuck and I started in 2004

To say it hasn’t always been easy would be a major understatement. There have been numerous events over the last 20 years that have dramatically changed our culture and expectations: the invention of the iPhone, the Great Recession, the first African American President, and the global pandemic are some of the more obvious events that come to mind. Overall, I believe the events of the last 20 years have had the most significant impacts on HR management since the civil rights movement of the 1960’s.

The traditional HR management challenges from 2004, e.g., labor availability, labor costs, and healthcare costs, still remain, but are now accompanied by changes in employees’ attitudes about their jobs and their employers. I believe these changes primarily come from the influence of social media. Employees are now more informed, more involved, and more vocal than ever before on issues important to them, largely due to their reliance on social media for news, information, and connection. This has carried forward into the workforce and put additional burdens on HR management to keep up. In the past, employees were most concerned about pay, benefits, and working conditions. Now, they also want to know if their beliefs are aligned with the company’s position on social and political issues, like climate, diversity, equity, and inclusion issues. Twenty years ago, employees had a choice of a full-time or part-time position, take it or leave it.  Today, job seekers look and request hybrid/ flexible work hours, remote working, child care, and more work-balance, especially since the pandemic.

TODAY’s HR Management – living with the new norm

Whereas HR management used to be just another business function like operations, accounting, and sales, HR management is now responsible for leading the company’s response to these rapidly evolving cultural issues. For example, in 2004, companies that offered insured benefits for domestic partners were considered cutting edge and a rarity. As evidence, only 0.1% of privately held companies offered insured benefits to domestic partners in 2004. Today, more than one-half of employers with more than 500 employees offer insured benefits to domestic partners. This percentage would likely have been much higher had the Supreme Court not ruled that same sex marriage was legal in 2015. Today’s HR managers must navigate and protect their organizations and employees by staying informed of current legal and employment trends, in addition to day-to-day operations.

So, what’s next?

Great question… if I knew, I would tell you. That’s the interesting thing about HR management, you never know what tomorrow will bring, but based upon two decades of experience, whatever comes next, HR managers must be prepared to adapt and stay current to stay relevant.


Stephen H. Murphy, SPHR, is the president and founder of Carolina HR. He has been active in Human Resource management and consulting for over thirty years and brings his experience in a wide variety of HR situations to his clients.


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