Hacking HR to Build an Adaptability Advantage

kev-wyke's picture

Trust people and be helpful

By Kev Wyke on June 18, 2022

Here's a challenge!!!

What about hiring some ace people (isn't that what our recruitment processes always do?) and then what about letting them get on and do it??

I mean really, just trust them and let them get on and do it.

Don't fuss around, don't look over their shoulders, don't check their work (like you know better), don't pretend you want to help when really you are trying to criticise, don't do performance reviews, don't ask for milestone/interim/stage reports, don't arrange 1:1s to make you feel like you are busy.

Just tell 'em why they are there and let them get on with it!

OK, that's ridiculous...tell you what, you can ask them if they need help, you can ask them what you can do for them, you can ask them how you can make their job easier, you can ask them what needs sorting out and you can ask it often. But only if you make yourself useful and do something about it...otherwise butt out and let them get on with what they are there to do!

The hack for HR - Trust people and be helpful

HR process being hacked:Learning and Development

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andy-lippok's picture

In my experience of undertaking interventions within organisations, the key element is to get the senior management to show they trust the people who do the work delivering service to the customers to actually do the right things. People want to do a good job, but only if they have a good job to do. Many people now don't truly have good jobs. Much of that isthe fault of HR in my opinion. Time for a change.
In my view HR and people practitioners should start to become the change it and they want the organisation to be, and I reckon the key area would be around the systems thinking as espoused and demonstrated both academically and eminently practically by Deming, John Seddon in Vanguard, Senge, Ackoff, Scholtes, and countless others.

All change beings at the thinking level and not the doing level, yet the result of the change in thinking then delivers change at the doing level. Great intentions, motivation and competencies underpinned by the wrong thinking changes little.

Managers need to recognise the organisation as a system, it’s their job to remove the obstacles within the organisation. They also need to understand human motivation (Dan Pink, Alfie Kohn, etc.). Design of the work from the outside in, and focus on what is the real purpose what matters to the customer. Then, analyse the demand, design measures for what matters, then when you understand the systems thinking that determines the current way of doing things, you simply get the people who do the work to re-design the work in order to achieve purpose and what really matters, and what happens is almost magical! Service improves, costs reduce, morale increases, and the culture change happens for free. At no time do we do anything to the people, we simply get the people to work on the work. That's the systems thinking at the practical and yet quite profound level that I believe HR could help to make organisations more adaptable and adept.
If you want to work more on the Systems Thinking hack, please join the team on page 2!

gemma-reucroft's picture

I'm in!

perry-timms_1's picture

Kev - hi and thanks for joining in again with a hack - very much in line with your "purpose" barrier and the subject of your blog.

I think this is just what is needed and flies contrary to the overly processed mechanics of joining and starting a new role. It will take a lot to move the sceptical people along however that doesn't mean we shouldn't start from this point ALWAYS.

I have seen some forward thinking HR folks using short, plain, concise language in policies as an example where the responsibility is clear and the guidance low so people think. Hark back to the story I often tell about the Drachen traffic signals/lines experiment in the Netherlands. Remove the lines, people think more about driving and pedestrian ways.

Give people back thinking space don't prescribe and regulate their every move.

Thanks for the hack.