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Time for HR to shift the Gear!

I have been excited in all my life about human systems and how they create their reality and how they can shift that reality and change their own paradigm. Here is what I have learnt during my 5 years as an enthusiastic solution-focused Organisation Development and Design professional being part of large company’s HR team:

1. We, HR people, can do incredibly lot to support companies to become more adaptive and agile (or even to start thinking about it)

Every company has different realities, but most HR systems (from recruitment, on boarding all the way to performance management to benefits and rewards, workforce management are all built on the power structure- or better known the hierarchy systems of the organization.

If all HR systems would be focusing on reinforcing the ever changing, pulsating value-creating structures, people at companies would experience a lot more flexibility and be acknowledged for the value they are creating instead of the positions they fulfil and for the steps on the carrier leather they have climbed already. I am sure I do not have to argue how the company and the business would benefit from this also, but to be able to do this we would have to re-think almost everything of what and how we do today. This was one of the reasons I always wished all my HR colleagues to have a little bit more Organisation Design knowledge.

2. The design of the company defines how people behave in them- therefore the culture as well as the performance

We can try to enhance performance, change the company culture, make processes leaner – we invest a lot of time and effort for a tiny change- if we do not question the basic design of the organization. In a company where there is no trust, everything is regulated by orders issued every week in bunches- you can be sure people will be more about proving they are visible, follow the rules, and very rarely come up with ideas how things can be done better. So when the management is wishing for an innovative culture, the case might be not that HR has hired people lacking all innovation from their blood, but the design of the organisation is not giving time and space for it.

3. Transformation processes are the biggest killers of Employee Experience

We all know it is difficult to find an keep the right talent, most companies spend waste amount of money on Employer Branding, we are training leaders how to support individual integration and growth and how to motivate their team members- but here comes a change, transformation, reorganization- and everyone goes numb- waiting to see what will be cooked out in a traditional top-down way- and the best talent is the most mobile- they are most likely to leave the ship early. Other run around like ants to stay visible and land a position fro themselves- clearly the company is not busy with its customers, and business can be jeopardised.

4. Transformation and change happens all time at different points especially in the big companies- and they need to be harmonized

Long time ago has the time gone, when we could regulate in a company, that change, re-organisation can only happen 2 times a year, so that then all changes do happen at the same time and there is a chance and time even to harmonise them.

In my last 3 years we have experienced at least quarterly 2-3 reorganisations, re-designs in a company I worked at and they were very difficult to harmonise- sometimes a result was in half a year we had to almost re-do them or having people being shifted around working under 5 different departments in one year.

5. Every change requires re-contracting with the employee

When change becomes so frequent, that job descriptions are constantly being re-written- maybe its time we rethink, if we still need them in the same format as before. Many times the reason why people do not pick up a task that is in front of them, is that they are only contracted – legally by their contract and psychologically by their leader- for a certain task or responsibility. To help companies become more adaptive and agile, and not to loose too many employees just because their job and contract is changing again- think about wider responsibilities. This process is driven by HR and can change mind-sets just by doing in differently.

So what is my advice to you my HR colleagues?

- Become the enabler of adaptability and agility- come and see how just a change of the Performance Management System can change the environment and promote individual responsibility for growth, carrier management, flexibility and adaptability. We have a case that can show you how we did that.

- Understand how your design is limiting your envisioned culture and performance- learn from a case how a company lacked innovation from its employees and was not aware that the time-logging systems and the related expectations are blocking employees even to dare innovating.

- Be aware that as HR you have a saying in the design of the re-organisation, transformation processes- learn from our cases how many different ways there are, where you can involve your best talent, or even all impacted people- and get not just the security of more likely keeping them, but also their knowledge getting into the process- together with their energy and passion

- Check if the company harmonization systems are in place:

a. Do you have a clear Purpose?

b. Are you operating Harmonising Mechanisms?

c. Are you driving the business for global optimum and still have focus on the individual?

Come and see how really flexible organization forms are doing it- and learn from them.

- Do not bind people to their position- re-think and design your contracting and job-responsibility descriptions and if you are interested how, we can show you how in a team’s life everybody having the same title and job description and not individual but team responsibility was a key to self-organisation and adaptivity.

Come and join us and become a Work (r)evolutionist! Let’s make the World of Work a better place! We, HR people can drive and catalyse this evolution.


If you would like to know more about how can you support your company’s evolution and your employees to embark on this evolutionary road- check out our Go Beyond Employer Branding one day workshop and learn from our case-studies and best practices, how HR can support creating real Employee Experience, Business Growth and Evolution.

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