Google ask their employees what policies frustrate them the most; Netflix’s expense policy is ‘act in Netflix’s best interest’ full-stop; Omelet staff spend 2 hours a week doing something ‘they feel passionate about’, client related or not; Intuit gives a special award for best project failure and LinkedIn have introduced an unlimited holiday entitlement – what happens when the rulebook is tossed away? Does anarchy prevail or do most people use their judgement and ultimately be more creative Lucy Adams asks. The author’s number one HR Bestseller HR disrupted – it is time for something different is ambitious but like with all good business gurus. The extent to which you take on the proposals is down to you.
I liken it to haute couture and the high street really- the direction is right but you may need to tweak it.
I thought it was a really intriguing and attractive style of writing. I never, for example thought, in my life I’d hear HR being compared to Amsterdam.
However, in respect of the abandonment of road signs, her point is everyone in the absence of rules generally uses their common sense, well in the main, and those that don’t deal with them – don’t write policy exceptions.
Adams calls to an end to ‘Caring mum’ and ‘Disciplinary Dad’ in HR; where we drift from overly nurturing staff (told when to go home in inclement weather for example) or inviting to ‘dress down days’ (I actually like those?) to the other extreme of having policies and procedures that focus very little on the 99% of people that don’t do anything wrong and every eventuality for the one rogue who just needs to go.
The EACH model is her mantra for every HR decision, policy or strategy. Ask yourself are you treating Employees as Adults, Consumers and Human Beings. If you don’t, she argues, we may well be left with a workforce avoiding challenge, afraid to speak up and perhaps most fatally not encouraged to try something new.
Don’t you think this ties in nicely with the 21st Century public servant work and the need to be ‘entrepreneurial’? think of the flexi time system and how difficult we managed to make that back in the day in an effort to be more flexible versus agile working now.
In Adam’s view, we should look at our policies from the perspective of ‘are they there to protect the organisation’ or ‘help people do a better job’? If we are patronising or trying to deal with the 1% who let the company down we frustrate the 99% in doing so and therefore we should be more enabling.
Trust is everything and the things she argues we often do last minute or in some cases badly (inductions for example) are arguably the things that count
Packed with tips from the SCARF MODEL of motivation and references to Dan Pink’s Drive it may save you some time reading around as well as it covers some good practice around what some of the best organisations do.
I also saw some useful ties with our aspire programme www.aspirehrbp.org.uk project around the death of the appraisal and the need for more continuous feedback which was good to see – our aspire delegates are on point!
I finish on the 5 things that Google HR sends out to Managers on their first day
- We want you to have a discussion about roles and responsibilities
- Match them up with a buddy (someone to ask where things are)
- Build their social network within the organisation
- Check in every month for six months
- Encourage open discussion from day one
That’s it ….refreshing, brief and does the job I think.
(This review and other exciting activities WME are involved in can be found in our newsletter www.wmemployers.org.uk)
Article by Michelle Harte – Head of HR, West Midlands Employers