The more we have tried to take the “human” out of “human resources” over the previous (modern) era, the less efficient we actually became. Certainly, the work itself became less satisfying. Fortunately for us, machines have arrived to perform many routine functions, yet it seems that we’ve forgotten how to engage and enable employees in the workplace. Thus, we have an entire “system” of management that is focused on the wrong measures.
What WE suggest is to re-orient HR to support employee enablement. WE suggest the re-orientation comprises four essential elements:
- Alignment – leadership needs to clearly articulate the expectations for the corporate process: what are the goals of the organization and what are the basic routes that will be pursued to get there?
- Enablement – within a defined scope of authority, employees need the freedom (and accountability) to act, always keeping in mind the goals set by the organizational leadership.
- Actionable information – employees at all levels in most every company are now “knowledge workers,” and they need to have systems and tools that will deliver the information they need to perform their jobs well.
- Competency – The turnover in effective skills is currently somewhere around 2-4 years; that means that competencies need constant refresh, and employees require access to formal and informal learning activities that will keep pace with that rate of change.
This proposal does not negate the need for good basic pay, benefits, healthy workplaces, rewards and recognition programs, and casual Fridays – or innovative approaches like 20% time allocated to special, creative projects. Those comprise the platform – you can build an enabled, post-modern organization from there!
Larry Hiner, PsyD
Partner, Workforce Equanimity