As we already covered in Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, management, at the highest level, needs to seriously review the role and responsibilities of Human Resources. Both shareholders and company leaders must demand HR to thoroughly scrutinize personnel policies built on “19th century learning styles, coupled by 20th century leadership models fused with 21st century technology” – Dan Pontefract, and to thoroughly revolutionize the entire organizational approach of their company. This has to be done if a company is to digitally survive, humanly thrive and finally bring the coveted ROI (return on investment). Sir Ken Robinson’s insightful presentation: “Changing Education Paradigms” can also apply to the “baby-boomer” HR leaders who received an education designed, conceived and structured for an intellectual culture of “enlightenment”. Today HR still operates in a societal system, born during the industrial revolution, which is modeled on the capitalistic foundation of gain only, regardless of how people are treated to acquire it. Think of the term GDP as irrefutable evidence!
1. HR to foster Divergent Thinking in order to promote creativity
Divergent thinking is a thought process or method used to generate creative ideas by exploring a variety of possible solutions. Sir Ken Robinson defines divergent thinking as: “The process of having original ideas that have value… divergent thinking is not a synonym but an essential capacity for creativity.” It gives a person the ability to search out different answers when faced with a challenging assignment. Lateral or divergent thinking requires an “out-of-the-box” sort of reasoning which is not immediately obvious. It involves ideas that are not obtainable by using traditional step-by-step logic. For example: an average person will find 10 ways to use a paper clip but a top “divergent thinker” will come up with 200 or more!
Now let’s apply this divergent thinking approach to our 21st century business model and start identifying company “divergent thinkers”. Give them the space and freedom they require, and watch them come up with different ways, for example, on how to solve the boredom of repetitive tasks. Make the challenge accessible via the Enterprise Social Network (ESN) and not only involve employees, but also partners and clients. How about posting all suggestions and recommendations on a visible company Wikipage? Don’t all companies wish they had more employees thriving with engagement and creativity? Has your HR department ever taken the time to find out from its employees what would be the best environment for them to work in? Under what working conditions would they feel their creative juice flow again?Our society is plagued with the carryover of the industrial revolution way of manufacturing, thinking and educating, and it is easily to be found around us. Let us look at a couple of examples: – The traditional office hours are still from 9am to 5pm to this very day. – Our schools have remained “educational manufacturing plants”, whereby knowledge and education have been standardized. Children of a “same manufacturing date” i.e. birth-year are “assembled” together and all taught the same thing regardless of their proclivities, talents, interests but also dislikes and even hatred at times! Patagonia is based in Ventura California and employs roughly 1,500 people. It is known for its flexi-time policies and also its “let my people go surfing” policy! During any work day employees are encouraged to leave their duties and get their creative juice flowing! This policy must be good for CEO Yvon Chouinard since his company finished 2011 with a US$ 400 million turnover compared to US$ 333 million the previous year!
2. HR to improve customer service and loyalty by directly impacting employee engagement
Many companies do not have the position of a Chief Cultural Officer. Those businesses have not taken the time to formalize their company culture. They indirectly leave it up to their workforce to improvise, regardless of the positive or negative consequences this might have on their business.
A lecturer in an education program on leadership once told the following joke: “A CEO was asked how many people work in his company: ‘About half of them,’ he replied”. This, for so many enterprises, is unfortunately very close to reality. All businesses want to achieve the best possible operative results but often forget the financial loss encountered due to lack of employee engagement. Watch out HR! A company meticulously empowering its employees is automatically investing in its brand and consequently reaping the rewards of superior customer service. Remember Zappos? 70-80% of their turnover is repeat business because of the outstanding service all Zaponians are proudly providing!
The attitude of too many employees shows a high level of disengagement caused by submission to avoid “rocking the boat”, and also by a lack of trust towards company leadership. Deference to the authority of a recognized superior doesn’t really foster creativity does it? A client-centric organization will only be created if a company stops doing BAU (Business As Usual) and starts measuring first “loyalty, delight and experience at the employee level” as Frank Palermo states in his CMS WIRE article: “Improve Employee Engagement to Maintain Loyal Customers”.
How could there ever be customer experience (CX) if employees feel partially or completely disconnected from their workplace? A fundamental reason why HR should want its workforce to invest in discretionary effort on the job is the fact that employee engagement will trigger improved customer service, which will consequently promote customer loyalty and drastically prop up bottom line profit.
How is your HR department promoting divergent thinking and creativity? Is HR considering gamification for repetitive tasks? Looking forward to your comments and suggestions.
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Related posts to Social Business i.e. Enterprise 2.0:-4 Reasons Why Human Resources Must Become the Control Center to any Social Business Enterprise 2.0 Transformation (Part 1) -4 More Reasons Why Human Resources Must Become the Control Center to any Social Business Enterprise 2.0 Transformation (Part 2) –3 Ways to Promote Your Employee Engagement and Increase Your Social Business Enterprise 2.0 Productivity –4 More Ways for Leaders to Promote Personnel Engagement in Social Business Enterprise 2.0 –Why Are People, Processes and Platforms the Three Fundamental P’s of Any Social Business Enterprise 2.0 transformation? –Why Company Culture is The Foundation to Any Social Business Enterperise 2.0 –Understanding the 4 Fundamentals of a Social Business Enterprise 2.0