““Airline companies are sending a lot of tweets. They sent over 25,000 in July alone, but users only tweet at these companies for a few reasons. Largely, users want customer service €” 86.2 percent of users follow airlines for that reason. Only .02 percent want a social conversation and only 1.6 percent tweet about airline food and entertainment.””
“I was mulling over this when I was invited by Hindustan Times to speak at Dialogues on the topic: €˜Are employees invisible to the HR? Rethinking tomorrow’s organization!’
I could not disagree more, I thought. I strongly believe that employees can never be invisible to human resource professionals. They are, in fact, the very raison de être of HR. But I also could not help thinking: Perhaps it is time for HR to become invisible.”
I believe that it is high time that line managers assumed responsibility for their team members to become the interface between the employee and the organization. HR, in turn, should step aside and wear the “invisibility cloak”.
In other words, I am not suggesting that the HR become inconsequential. Instead, that is stands as a shadow, providing invisible support to the line manager.
As I understand it, the problem is related to the fact that, with nearly 50 per cent of the world population under 25 years of age, we are seeing an increasing number of Gen Y employees in our workforces. On the other hand, our organizational structures represent another era.
en Y cannot operate under strait jacketed hierarchies. Trying to fit Gen Y into autocratic structures is like fitting square pegs into round holes.
Generation Y works well in communities of mutual interest and passion. Yet, organizations are still stuck in traditional autocratic hierarchies.
I truly believe that the next wave of business transformation rests on behavioural change. And as we build tomorrow’s organization we need to deconstruct the increasing complexity €“ or “dehumanization” €“ of the HR function.
What is needed is a new culture. As businesses aggressively chase stretch targets to overcome the recent slowdown, it is critical to build an environment that is conducive. We need to rethink archaic structures so that the human is once again seen as taking the centre seat at the heart of business.
Audits of HR and L&D are inadequate and illogical |
“HR and learning and development (L&D) have come in for some serious criticism over the years, in terms of value for money. If I felt they needed defending I would suggest that managing people in organisations is a much more complex affair than most operational managers realise or are prepared to admit. Certainly HR administration can become very costly if not managed well.”
Trying to apply these principles in a world where €˜intangibles’ are now accepted as having a significant, albeit indeterminate, value is proving to be a real auditing challenge.
Unfortunately many accountants have not been trained in the setting of non-financial objectives and are used to defining objectives in qualitative rather than quantitative terms, e.g. the best xxx, the biggest yyy, more effective zzz, etc.
It can take several cycles of the planning process before the setting of quantitative objectives becomes the accepted norm.
Auditing bodies, such as the UK’s National Audit Office, still try to shoehorn HR €˜auditing’ into their traditional methods by measuring what they can, activity and inputs, rather than what matters €“ value added.
This inevitably produces meaningless numbers such as €˜the number of HR people per 100 FTE’s’, €˜the number of training days per year’ or €˜the average cost of training’.
If spending = commitment then why not seek 100%commitment by spending 100% of employee time on training?
This leads them to develop at once both a fallacious and contradictory view of HR and L&D €“ as a €˜necessary evil’ cost that is also a positive sign of commitment: they cannot be both at the same time.
“Interesting stat in The Telegraph about how employees are more productive if they use their own gadgets:
According to a YouGov survey, businesses who let employees use their own technology see productivity increases of up to 30 per cent.
That makes it more important than ever that technology is as good for the home as it is for the office €“ with 45 per cent of businesses already allowing employees to use their own computer equipment, the number of reasons to put up with poor kit are diminishing. [€¦] in 50 per cent of cases, a personal device offers greater functionality or flexibility than the one provided by the employer.”
Single purpose devices for work vs. play are starting to make less sense as well. But for CIOs, deciding whether to relinquish control of devices has more to it than just ignoring Dell or Apple’s sales call.
Consumer device proliferation has far exceeded the pace of enterprise software design for the most part and so, expect the opposite problem where its our software that can’t handle our hardware. Using our personal hardware is really going to expose how terrible our interfaces are in the enterpris
This is far more critical. Historically, enterprise software has focused on a) Executive benefit and b) Manager benefit. This translated to: Get the right input forms and workflows in place with a database at the backend so you can control execution and monitor progress.
But we’ve ignored a third wheel and that’s helping employees, customers and partners get-work-done, by focusing on their needs.
In many cases, the get-work-done factor for employee/customer/partner hasn’t really been addressed in a meaningful way. That comes from a) re-thinking the process or activity from the end users perspective, b) a more balanced approach to catering to the needs of managers, executives and end users and c) leveraging state of the art hardware and software design innovation to make it happen.
And I can tell you that increasingly, customers expect get-work-done facilities not only from stand alone social software vendors or start ups. But because the benefit comes from so much more than just collaboration or €˜social’, customers expect to see it from their CRM and HR and even ERP vendors.
This third wheel in the enterprise software stack that delivers on the get-work-done promise is going to be the most compelling benefit that your organizations realize as you democratize the value of your technology investments beyond just the bean counters, LOB heads and line managers, and on to the do-ers.
Here is a new report on 2011 enterprise search trends from Forrester, Enterprise Search: Six Key Trends to Watch by Leslie Owens with Stephen Powers and Anjali Yakkundi. The report indicates that despite the fact that only 10% of IT leaders will upgrade or expand their information access implementations this year, search experts are optimistic about their ability to deliver search solutions that are both usable and useful.”
“Sometimes there are postings on intranet discussion forums where people say “I’ve been asked to write an intranet strategy and was hoping I could have a look at somebody else’s”.
To me that’s a little like saying “I’m planning to have a really enjoyable holiday and was hoping I could come on yours”. Although seeing what somebody else does can be useful to get ideas, it is unlikely to be a good fit to your particular requirements. “
This innocuous-looking question can be hard to answer, but if you can get all your stakeholders to agree on this, then it stops an intranet programme being pulled in multiple directions.
Many strategies seem to state the blandly obvious, such as “To help Grotco communicate, collaborate and work more effectively”. The acid test is: given two otherwise equal options, does the vision guide you on which route to take?
2.Goals : What are the 4-5 main things that the intranet will do in the future?
This is where the intranet strategy should take a lead from an organisations’ strategy. So if your organisation aims to improve customer satisfaction, then a strong goal would show how the intranet could play a part in that: finding experts to solve problems, better tracking of issues to resolution or providing more accurate information to sales teams, for example.
Some goals may be more inward-looking, such as ensuring 99% of employees can access the intranet. These are worth tracking, but won’t excite anyone, and may be better under “Implementation” (see below)
3.Measures: What indicates that goals are being met?
It is tempting to tie intranet measures to whatever your analytics tool will tell you. €˜Hits’ can be useful, but only if your strategy says what questions you want the data to answer. For a full picture, measure both inputs to the process (e.g. how many sales people use the information on the intranet) and the outcomes that matte
4.Implementation: What will change in the next 1-3 years?
“We’re drowning in email. And the many hours we spend on it are generating ever more work for our friends and colleagues. (Here’s why.) We can reverse this spiral only by mutual agreement. Hence this Charter… “
“Enterprises are adopting social tools like blogs and wikis for use inside their companies, but having a social media style home page for the corporate intranet is still rare, according to a study.
In other words, vendors like Jive Software and Socialtext still have a lot of work to do to convince companies that a Facebook-like experience is the right way to support corporate communication and collaboration.”
-companies with cultures like that are not going to embrace social media and social networking behind the firewall.”
Other companies may also want to project a more task-focused personality to their intranets, as opposed to one focused on open discussion
– 75% have intranet blogs and 26% have them enterprise-wide.
– 65% have intranet discussion forums; 26% enterprise-wide.
– 61% have intranet wikis; 19% enterprise-wide.
– 63% have intranet instant messaging; 44% enterprise-wide.
– 43% have intranet social networking; 19% enterprise-wide.
In contrast, only 3% reported using Jive, while Socialcast and Socialtext were down at 1%. Lotus Connections (now known as IBM Connections) was cited by 9% of those surveyed.
One thing holding back more ambitious use of enterprise social networking is money, Ward said. “The intranet remains the poor stepchild of the corporate website.” While companies often invest millions in a public website, 38% of survey respondents estimated that less than $10,000 had been spent on their current intranet implementations
“In the workplace, a similar transition is taking place with the widespread adoption of information technology. Managers are increasingly taking a back seat as information providers. From the moment employees sign up, organizations direct them to company intranets to understand different aspects of the job, the organization, clients, company policies, and often, the performance development program and its measurement metrics. “
For the first time, perhaps, managers find themselves overshadowed by the net’s omnipresence in answering questions about the what and how. Their authority as information-providers is eroding quickly, putting to rest that once-key role
At a recent meeting with young managers, I asked them what value they felt they added to teams. These smart people recognized the change in their roles. Instead of being controllers or hoarders of knowledge, they viewed themselves as collaborators or mentors, trusted for their experience €” not their gigabytes of memory.
By transferring the ownership of change to team members and assuming the crucial role of empowering the value creators, a manager could end up earning more respect as the navigator who guides the ship to the port of success.
each Technicolor employee had a target of suggesting two process improvements per month. That sounded like a great way to keep a process improvement program going
But there wasn’t much activity until six months later when Mike Karol, vice president of operations, told his managers to make it their responsibility.
In addition, the firm’s new employee orientation program incorporated Lean and the Technicolor Improvement Process, the moniker of the suggestion system.
Three years later, the number was 20,000. Clearly, the Technicolor Improvement Process was critical to getting employees engaged in improving their work.
It made their jobs better, reduced costs, and improved customer satisfaction. Two deeper benefits were even more important: The organization got in the habit of improvement and employee satisfaction went way up. Technicolor had followed the proven path to highly committed, motivated, and productive employees who loved to come to work. Attrition declined, saving on retraining.
After 2006 it reduced its attention and energy on the front-line improvement. It might have been due to getting over the hump of the technology transition from VHS to DVD. Or perhaps it was because key advocates like Chuck Yorke left
The front line always has lots of ideas for improving their work. The critical ingredient for sustaining attention on improvement is managers. A firm depends on managers taking the time to ask front-line employees for their ideas and helping them make the changes they sugges
And managers need to wander around the workplace and ask workers what they can do for them to make their job better. At Technicolor the front-line people loved it, but only a few of the managers felt it was theirs. Many of the managers did it because Mike Kolar had them do it and felt it was extra work.
Therefore, whether front-line improvement sticks depends on what else is competing for managers’ scarce time
Managers were raised as individual contributors, where they added value by solving problems themselves. Most stood out by doing things better and faster than their peers, commanding and controlling, not by coaching and helping others to solve problems.
The natural tendency in the long term is for improvement activities to lose out to the day-to-day pressure for delivering work. To maintain their attention, managers must see the savings and efficiencies that the improvements provide
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