HR Tech Congress kicked off with a resounding message this morning – let’s stop pandering to complexity and cut through it instead.
The first keynote from Yves Morieux, author of Six Simple Rules set out the stakes of the game to the 3,000 strong audience – “In HR you have a fundamental responsibility for the future of our organisations, companies and societies”.
He threw down the challenge that we are dramatically failing in this responsibility. Between 1950 and 2015 our annual productivity gains have dropped from as high as 8% (Japan, 1950) to an all time low of 1% (Europe, 2015). The result is that everything from the way we work, to healthcare services and our own well being suffers.
Technology versus productivity
Despite the growth of technology, productivity is not going up. Productivity only grows when you combine it with organisational innovation. When we use technology without organisational innovation such as new ways of working and collaboration the impact on productivity is negative and vice versa. It is here where HR must take responsibility – to combine the maths of technology and data analytics with the social element of organisational work.
Morieux highlighted that while organisational work has become more complex, we have not innovated, only automated. Organisations have simply thrown in more functions, more committees and more KPIs, increasing rather than curing complexity.
The result? Managers spend 40% of their time writing reports and 30% in meetings. So at best, managers spend only 30% of their time managing, coaching and communicating with their teams. At this point he revealed that employees in these organisations spend between 40 – 80% wasting time which means long, harder hours and loss of engagement, productivity and meaning.
And this is where the familiar org chart took centre stage. The focus on structure which holds companies back. Yes, we need structure but it’s what’s in the box which counts. We have to find ways of liberating and innovating in the way we organise the work that needs to be done and uses people’s time in the most valuable way – both for themselves and the organisation. Here Yves looked at 3 pillars:
Leadership: The primary role of the manager is to help people achieve and do what they otherwise would or could not. Specifically what does this mean? The goals of a manager need to be tailored to their function and organisation to help people perform. This means giving people the information they need, the skills they need and the autonomy to make informed choices.
Co-operation: Where do people add value to each other? This is not about creating interfaces but spending more time face-to-face. Do away with middle functions and simply connect people directly. Otherwise, what we have done in the past is simply create more work.
Engagement: Engagement does not mean a score on a survey. It means having the freedom and inclination to provide judgement when making decisions. If people simply adhere to the rules things do not get done.
So what’s the answer?
Yves drew on the example of the Women’s World Championship 100 metre relay race in 2003. He highlighted the difference the 3rd of 4 runners made to help France win against the odds. The fact Sylviane Félix sacrificed her personal speed to ensure she passed the baton in the best way and with the most communication helped 4th runner Christine Arron take the race against the odds.
And herein lies the conundrum. How do you report on co-operation? What makes something world class often means sacrificing personal performance. When you co-operate you take a risk. So how can you recognise this contribution with no matrix, no KPIs?
Observe and Communicate
The question left to all the attendees – what can you do using digital to foster communication needed to increase co-operation? How can you use technology to cut through the bureaucracy which holds organisations back? How can you bring judgement, engagement and fulfilment to individuals and organisations?
He left us on a great quote: “What get measured gets done but at the expense of what doesn’t get done”
So there are six simple rules:
- Understand what people really do
- Reinforce integrators
- Increase total quantity of power
- Increase reciprocity
- Expand the shadow of the future
- Reward those who co-operate
It is the challenge of every vendor to show how they are cutting through, not pandering to complexity, and every HR leader’s responsibility to seek those solutions which help them transform how they work to achieve this simple goal.
See us at OrgVue stand 310 where we can show you how we cut through complexity.
Latest posts by Will Sheldon (see all)
- HR Tech Congress: Workforce Analytics – Paving the way to Innovation, Elpida Ormanidou - October 29, 2015
- HR Tech Congress: Smart Simplicity in a Complex World, Yves Morieux - October 27, 2015
- OrgVue’s 2015 trends for HR Analytics - January 15, 2015