The Employee Engagement Network

Why is HR rarely mentioned when the continuous improvement/Lean community writes or discusses topics concerning people development, employee engagement, or cultural
transformation?


What’s the disconnection?

My guest blog post on the 7 Wastes of Human Resources.  http://www.shmula.com/3045/the-seven-wastes-of-human-resources-hr

Views: 31

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Jim,
Great title. That does seem like a waste when it occurs. I think ultimately HR will need to morph into community mobilizers and mobilize a community (organization) around results. That's my two cents worth. I will close this off and read what you wrote. You can always post the full blog here as you may lose about 50 to 80% of people who won't "go the extra click."
David
David, I took that as a challenge and immediately clicked. Mighty glad I did--good stuff, Jim! My favorite HR Waste you noted:

Inventory: How many HR people does it take to change a light bulb? In non lean organizations it requires an army. One to evaluate the job, another to determine how much to pay the bulb changer, another to evaluate their attitude and performance,....etc (ouch...too true)

Who was it that added an eighth Waste to the traditional lean Dirty Seven...Wasted human potential?

Lean is an "every process" proposition, including people processes. Same as an ISO-based "quality management system" goes way beyond product quality and production processes.

Not long ago I was an HR manager at a 1400-person facility, pretty much OD stuff--culture change, communication, all the T & D, performance management etc. We broke the mold with the corporate home office and aligned me under the Continuous Improvement Office umbrella. Solid line, not dotted. The idea: people need continuous improvement too. That, and we felt we needed to bypass the typically negative connotations behind being "that HR guy". And, my "other" background for years was TQM, leansigma, ISO, Baldrige--an Operations guy in sheep's clothing.

Especially with the stuff I was involved in, the tighter the alignment with operations, the more credibility.
As update, I attempted twice to post this question on LinkedIn - "Largest HR Group". Gazillion HR folks. I was interested in their opinion on this question:

Why is HR rarely mentioned when the continuous improvement/Lean community writes or discusses topics concerning people development, employee engagement, or cultural transformation?

Pet Abilla asked me to guest post on his Shmula blog about waste in HR. I’ve worked in both disciplines. Writing the post got me thinking more about the disconnect between HR and Lean. I’ve talked with thousands of lean leaders over the years. Consensus is that HR is a non-factor in lean transformation. There is not much written about the two groups working together. I'd be interested in knowing more about the experience of other HR Group members with lean and HR where you work.

Twice it was rejected by HR Group Moderators. Rejection reason was the question had nothing to do with HR issues. Huh?

Thing is ... I really did want thought and opinion. I used to work in HR. I've talked with many HR folks over the years who can climb out of the status quo. I also talk with many Lean/CI leaders. Both groups are often divided. Both share in the consequences of disengaged employees. My ambition is to get both groups in dialog and explore differences.

Any suggestions?

PS Thanks for reading my post Craig and David. Craig, you're experiences in HR/CI are unique and the exception. Sadly, when I get a search for a lean inspired HR person, I cringe - definitely a needle in a haystack recruiting assignment.

Thanks all!

Jim Baran
I guess the big assumption inherent in the question is that somehow H.R should be mentioned. Why?

Best,

Rob
www.engagingideas.co.uk
Breathing deeply, chewing my tongue, counting to ten, thinking of my happy place.....

None of it worked!

Jim, those HR group moderators are doing an incredible disservice to their profession.

Rob, thinking (hoping?) your comment was that old devil's advocate thing. But it still got me going, as I've felt forever that this is one of the key reasons HR's credibility is so low in many organizations. How many times have we heard that HR must become a value-adding strategic partner? As opposed, I suppose, to being policy pushers adn administrators and the dreaded keepers of that NVA performance management system.

To improve process, you must work through people and the inherent issues too. Engagement, involvement, education, skills development, change management...all are critical to executing and gettingthe right results. HR needs to get out of the tower and the fancy clothes, get their hands dirty and eyes and ears full of life in the real world.

Don't tell me about those concepts, show me how we can make things run smoother and people get along better.

Until that happens, "I'm from HR, I'm here to help" will remain one of the funniest one-liners in business.

Time to go fishin.....peace!
Rob, I’m not advocating HR deserves to be mentioned. However, I know many good ones who really don't look for recognition. They just do because doing is worth doing. Remember book Up the Organization by Robert Townsend: http://amzn.to/9DQYth.

Quick summary of book content regarding impact of HR courtesy of Skip Corsini, CEO Refresher: http://bit.ly/auo9cP

“…On job descriptions: "To be satisfying a job should have variety, wholeness, autonomy, and feedback. In other words, no job description." On corporate-level departments such as marketing, HR, and PR; "Simply tell them that you respect what they do but it has no place in the company. Instead of HR, hire a person whose job it is to make sure you have the best people working for you and not your competitors…”

Craig, I've noticed many Lean/CI folks earnestly working the concept of continuous improvement basically view HR as a non-factor in culture shaping. Honestly, I feel both groups have lost touch with the engagement issue. Such is replaced with follow-the-leader and Simon Says. Not much original thought coming from either direction. Instead workforces get beat up with competencies and principles.

My point on the blog was to see if ANYONE would see something odd about these two groups not working together. My first post was rejected because I attached a link (Pete Abilla’s blog where I guest posted the blog). I received this note from the HR Group Moderator:

"...Hi Jim,

Most blogs can be "transformed" into pretty interesting discussion items - the key is to actually post a summarized content and ask a clear question inviting participation. What we recommend is that folks go beyond posting content (which is welcome in the Resources area). Instead, we ask that our colleagues post questions and items for discussion. Can you rephrase your posting to inspire a collaborative discussion on HR, lean organizations, and change processes?

Best wishes,
Cris Wildermuth

I thanked Cris. I posted blog post in “Resources Area” as instructed then posted the following discussion question:

Why is HR rarely mentioned when the continuous improvement/Lean community writes or discusses topics concerning people development, employee engagement, or cultural transformation?

Pet Abilla asked me to guest post on his Shmula blog about waste in HR. I’ve worked in both disciplines. Writing the post got me thinking more about the disconnect between HR and Lean. I’ve talked with thousands of lean leaders over the years. Consensus is that HR is a non-factor in lean transformation. There is not much written about the two groups working together. I'd be interested in knowing more about the experience of other HR Group members with lean and HR where you work.

An hour later, I was advised this post was also removed (by another moderator). Reason given was “not a relevant HR topic”.

I followed up with Cris. Kindly said I was dazed and confused. She apologized with a page of rules which she asked me to read and suggest improvements to.

Her final comment was this: “… Without looking at the original posting, I am finding it difficult to help you further - the note below could have been sent for several different reasons. Normally we try to be more specific - but frankly right now the volume of problems is so severe that sometimes we have to send "template general" notes. Do you still by any chance have your original posting? If you do, I'll be happy to check it out and make some suggestions…”

It took a few days, but was satisfied my blog post point was brought to life.

Thanks to all who commented.

Jim Baran
Jim: In many of the organizations I have been a part of, HR plans the picnic, hands out Christmas gifts, and is excellent at doing "stuff", but most of the HR leaders have not had a strategic bone in their body. Good at tactical things but lacking in organizational planning processes. We've just begun a process to change our culture, and HR is not even a part of the discussion process.
That is very sad Bill. How could "continuous improvement" and "respect for people" be so difficult? Wouldn't the Engineering department be better at planning the picnics?
Disconnects? Remember the line from Blazing Saddles: "Badges? We don't need no stinking badges!"

Surprising as well as disappointing is that Deloitte’s Talent Pulse (July 2009) reported that 42% of US HR Execs still have “reducing headcount” as their top priority! “Improving organizational performance” was not even on the list of things to do!

And a Sirota Survey of 2007 found that 85% of employees say their morale declines significantly after spending 6 months on the job. So, there might be a workplace disconnect or two in operation.

In the three months from Feb – April 2010, more employees QUIT their jobs than have been laid off. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). And in a poll conducted by human-resources consultant Right Management at the end of 2009, 60% of workers said they intended to leave their jobs when the market got better - so maybe the pin will hit the balloon one of these days, maybe...

In 2009, only 34.6% of workers were satisfied with their wages, down more than 7 percentage points from 1987 and about 51% of people in 2009 said they were interested in their work, down 19%. (Conference Board, 2009)

Dice.com asked tech professionals what could persuade them to stay in their jobs if they found another job - 57% of 1,273 said NOTHING could persuade them. Of those who said they could be persuaded, 42% said they wanted a higher salary and 11% wanted a promotion.

Yeah, we have a few issues around involving and engaging workers for performance improvement. And all this occurs when companies have stashed about One Trillion Dollars in cash, as opposed to hiring new workers to make workloads more equitable. Most workers and middle managers have had an effective pay cut, working for less pay or the same pay with more hours.

And this story looks like one that will continue…

"Engagement? We don't need no stinking engagement!"
Great research and comments Dr. Scott.

The findings are often scary. As Jack Nicholson eloquently said in A Few Good Men…”…Truth! You can't handle the truth!” “Take cover” vs. “take the hill” is often the drama played out engaging those that need to be engaged in engagement work.
Wow, this is getting extremely weighty. So much so that after I post this shorty, I MUST go to my bass pond to ponder the deeper significance. I guess I should thank all y'all.

Jim, you're killing me..."wouldn't engineers be better at planning picnics?" (tears in my eyes)

Dr. Square Wheels, those stats are sobering and I don't even drink. "Houston, we have a problem" ....as long as we're doing movie lines. Beyond the bottom line impact of disengagement, we've all heard about the true cost of attrition, including the transition period for new folks to get up to speed...who the heck is minding the shop?

Something that is very telling to me so far-throughout this discussion there have not been any HR practitioners who have offered much in the way of discrediting the "disconnected" perspective. I tried, by dangling the bait that HR must become truly strategic partners with operations. That has always been my approach at least. Functional mis-alignment--Jim, did that make it on your Seven HR Wastes list? I don't remember.

Scott, you said it on another discussion....."Nuts!"

Monty Python, in the killer rabbit scene and elsewhere..."Run away, run away!"
Jim, I believe that there are several issues that lead to the situation you described.

*HR doesn't have a seat at the executive table
*Department focus is tactical and not strategic
*Lack of competence- for whatever reason, many HR departments are 10-15 years behind in their thinking and practices
*Lack of understanding of how the operations priorities are tied to HR systems and processes

On the people development side of the business, it's much the same:
*Lack of competence in understanding the principles of learning and more importantly measurement
*Tactical focused, deliver workshops but have no strategy in place to ensure the application of the knowledge that was delivered
*Like HR, many of these departments are 10-15 years behind

The other real challenge is helping leaders and executives make a paradigm shift, many still have traditional viewpoints on HR and Learnings functionality or ability to contribute to organizational goals.

RSS

580 Videos Related to Employee Engagement

Click on this eBook listing over 580 videos available on the network. When you open the document up online you can click on the title to go directly to the video. Happy and engaged viewing.

Latest Activity

Robert Morris posted blog posts
15 hours ago
Ryan Scott posted a blog post
21 hours ago
Robert Morris posted blog posts
yesterday
Jim Taggart posted a blog post
Sunday
Robert Morris posted blog posts
Sunday
Robert Morris posted blog posts
Friday
Ryan Scott posted a blog post
Friday
Richard Lock posted a blog post
Dec 11
Robert Morris posted blog posts
Dec 10
Ryan Scott posted a blog post
Dec 10
Stephen Randall posted a blog post
Dec 9
Stephen Randall commented on David Zinger's group Employee Engagement Writers
Dec 9

© 2014   Created by David Zinger.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service