Saturday, August 18, 2018

The HR Journey from Productivity to Purpose

My last post Is HR Stuck in a Rut? asked whether HR can evolve beyond process efficiency and employee satisfaction surveys to take the lead on offering an inspiring employee experience.  Here are a few suggestions to get started:

Know Your Personas: Some HR solutions support tailored talent management practices, but what matters is in how you personalize.  If you do it strictly by job or employee category, you’ll miss important nuances like seniority, extroversion v. introversion, or individual goals and not surprisingly, the process will work better for some than others.  Like marketers, HR should view employees as customers and personas to be served up a tailored and personal experience. 

Design Thinking: HR people love to talk to other HR people and that’s awesome because it marks them as curious, friendly, and open.  However, it’s also important to get out there and talk to your internal customers about how you can better serve them.  If you got out there more, you might have dodged the open office bullet.  Stop falling for fads and best practices and go talk to people!

Playfulness: Gamification utilizes well-understood principles to motivate people to do more of what you want them to do and have fun while they’re doing it.  It introduces a spirit of friendly play and – depending on what is more appropriate – facilitates cooperation or competition.  It’s a topic by itself that you can read more about here.

Mastery and Progress: On demand learning is a great time and money saver and quite a few organizations have done an amazing job implementing creative and engaging modules.  Yay!  But now that you’ve made it possible for employees to learn in 5-minute intervals between meetings, it’s worth exploring the benefits of allowing dedicated time for coaching, mentoring, knowledge sharing and professional development.

Trust: No matter what you say, people will look at what you do.  If your organization fails to pay out bonuses, if your leaders exclude or attack people, if new ideas fall on deaf ears, or if people feel taken for granted or stuck in place, you won’t have an environment where people want to bring their most creative selves to work. 

Joyful Workspace: It’s been proven that bright colours and feelings of abundance can create feelings of joy and endless possibility, so why do so many workspaces look like this?  I’ll just leave that out there.

Experience Design:  We know in our hearts that employee surveys are blunt instruments at best, and that satisfaction is a poor predictor of performance.  Maybe it’s time to shift focus to creating purpose and opportunity at work so people want to be there, feel connected to their work, and believe their contributions matter and will help them achieve their personal goals.

Note that none of these suggestions require high tech solutions to get started. The HR journey begins – like any journey of discovery – not at a conference but with a piece of paper, a sharp pencil, a pack of sticky notes if you’re feeling agile, and your customers.

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