Monthly Archives: November 2012

2 Final Reasons Why Human Resources Must Become the Control Center for any Social Business Enterprise 2.0 Transformation (Part 3)

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.

Follow Bruno Gebarski on: 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BrunoGebarski@brunogebarski or on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/brunogebarski

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
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4 More Reasons Why Human Resources Must Become the Control Center for any Social Business Enterprise 2.0 Transformation (Part2)

In the previous article, we discussed 4 reasons why HR needs to abandon its traditional administrative role and become the company cultural citadel and flagship. We could compare HR to the helm of an “Enterprise Culture” ship, with its crew steering the company towards its “cultural destination” and in this way, having much more leverage than a mere rule enforcer. In order to become the motivational driving force of the business overall, HR must learn to meld together different mentalities, cultural tribes and department units. HR must also foster the collective mission of an employee-centric company’s vision and values, i.e. culture. But what are some of the technological, digital and disruptive challenges our traditional personnel management is faced with when bringing the Millennial Generation (Generation Y) onto the company’s payroll?

1. HR must understand and accept the rich & ubiquitous nature of Digital Communication

Broadband connectivity has changed the way we work and communicate. Tablets, phablets and smartphones are found and used everywhere, and recent statistics estimate there are already 2.5 billion mobile social accounts worldwide! As if this deluge of portably-connected devices (also known as “Bring Your Own Device”) was not enough, our traditional 20th century “Dr. Prof. Expert” has transformed himself into a powerful, multi-faceted big-data information giant. This new 21st century digital expert has granted himself a previously unknown crown of knowledge: the hyperlink. This invisible digital inline link can display remote content without displaying the content; it is to be found in many e-articles and has become the new punctuation sign you and I have to contend with!

The hyperlink is the hidden command which has literally transformed our traditional book (with its attached footnotes) into a never-ending reading ordeal! Watch out, while e-reading, that you do not get “hyperlinked-away” and end up wondering where your reading actually started! This new punctuation sign has now given us the technological agility to research any topic at scale. It is the reason why (after roughly two hundred fifty years) Encyclopædia Britannica went out of print, and 300 years later Internet overtook newspapers ad revenues.  How will HR undertake the transformation of this well known archaic enterprise legacy and adapt it to our “hyper-linked”, 21st century digital and highly-connected workplace or wirearchy without losing the necessary line of command?

2. HR TO BECOME THE TRANSFORMATIONAL DIGITAL ZEITGEIST OF LAST CENTURY’S HIERARCHICAL BUSINESS LEGACY

Complete removal of the hierarchical legacy from a company’s organigram seems highly impossible. Every enterprise needs a boss, a visionary, a strategist who guides the mission, inspires the ranks and carries the overall corporate social responsibility vis-à-vis the owner or the company shareholders. But here are examples of quite a different approach. IIya Pozin, writing about his company Ciplex, says: “There is no such thing as ‘management’. There are no departments. Those fancy job titles, like VP, executive, and manager are gone”.  What is worth noticing here is Illy Pozin’s completely different view on company hierarchy.  He continues: “I recently inverted our organizational chart.  Our clients are now positioned up at the top, while our employees make up teams stationed in the middle, and our higher-ups are no longer higher-ups — they are now known as ‘team support’ and they reside at the bottom of the chart.”! IIya Pozin genuinely promotes team culture.  He goes on to write: “You need self-motivated, self-sustaining teams, instead of individual employees below your clients. This fosters a culture in which teams are motivated to succeed together, rather than individuals. It creates a shared sense of responsibility throughout the company. At Ciplex, we create team goals to measure and improve upon every two weeks. This way, everyone becomes a valuable asset.”

Claire Suddath, reporter for Bloomberg Businessweek, wrote an enlightening article about the company Valve Software.  In “Why There Are No Bosses at Valve” (Valve Software company handbook), co-founder Gabe Newell states: “Of all the people at this company who aren’t your boss, Gabe is the MOST not your boss, if you get what were saying,” the handbook says.  Claire Suddath goes on to write:  “Every Valve employee has hiring capabilities, as well as the power to green-light an idea.  It’s basically the Montessori version of running a company. Somehow this results in completed projects and top-notch video games.”

3. HR TO HIRE TALENT MATCHING COMPANY CULTURE, & SECURE PERSONNEL EXPANSION

HR should hire first for passion and second for skills! What would be the outcome if a multi-talented hiree happened to “row in the opposite direction” of the company culture?  Some of my readers may think that I am on a cultural bandwagon or crusade, but please bear with me, and let’s look at a cultural misfit example we’ve all read and heard about: The Hewlett-Packard/ Compaq merger case:

In 2001 the Hewlett-Packard computer giant acquired Compaq for US$ 24 billion — the largest IT deal ever made!  Combining workforces and operations in more than 150 countries (with roughly 150,000 employees) must have been a daunting task to undertake, but particularly so for HR. Restructuring both businesses was an intimidating challenge that turned out to be a disastrous cultural match. HP originated mostly from an engineering background, while Compaq from a “door-to-door” sales mentality.  This merger was considered a failure and HP was forced to make dramatic leadership and cultural changes to make things work. Could it be that the results of the consequences of that merger are still evident even to this day?   CEO Meg Whitman recently pointed to a lack of clarity around the company’s strategy as well as heavy executive turnover.  Who knows?

HR now has a golden opportunity to start molding and shaping Generation Y hirees (soon to replace baby boomers), to bestow upon them crystal clear cultural beliefs and values, impart the necessary ethics, and to finally turn them into real company spokespeople and brand evangelists.  And even more so, HR has the responsibility to set up the right working environment and transform the attitudes of the workforce into a highly motivated group of engaged employees. It is crucial that co-workers possess the inner satisfaction of having a clear mission, of serving a purpose and delivering outstanding products or services. When HR Daily Advisor SPHR, MBA Kojo Amissah was asked to define HR he gave this most unusual and amazing reply:  “HR is about the business to the extent to which you can utilize people to obtain business goals.”  Some of the structural challenges HR is facing nowadays in modern companies could be perfectly summed up by Dan Pontefract: “Our organizations are built on 19th century learning styles, coupled by 20th century leadership models fused with 21st century technology.”

4. HR TO BECOME THE PROMOTIONAL ENGINE OF SUSTAINABLE EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT

A recent Towers Watson Global 2012 Workforce Study reveals how the views of employees directly shape their engagement in their work, commitment to their employers, and ultimately their behavior and performance on the job. The study reflects the attitudes and concerns of workers around the world. It also points out that the traditional definition for engagement is shifting and reshaping itself into a 21st century “dernier cri” term of “sustainable engagement”. As we read above, companies are running 21st century businesses in 20th century workplaces. The resulting lack of employee engagement is staggering to say the least:
– 35% employees are highly engaged
– 22% employees are unsupportive
– 17% employees are detached
– 26% employees are disengaged
 
Don’t you think it is time for companies to start attracting, motivating and retaining the right cadre of employees     – those who will best benefit the corporate business identity? What will be the mid and long-term consequences of HR developing a “sustainable engagement” environment for its workers? The Tower Watson study quantifies the direct relationship between employee output, engagement and motivation on the job, and the level of operating margin an enterprise is able to record. It also shows that the higher the level of engagement, the higher the average operating profit will be: 
– Companies with low engagement scores have an average operating margin of 10%
– Companies with high traditional engagement an average margin of 14%
– Companies with the highest level of “sustainable engagement” an average of 27%
 
What is the line of attack your company is applying in order to reverse those trends? How is your HR department raising the employee level of engagement?
 
Follow Bruno Gebarski on Twitter: https://twitter.com/BrunoGebarski@brunogebarski or on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/brunogebarski
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)
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

4 Reasons Why Human Resources Must Become the Control Center for any Social Business Enterprise 2.0 Transformation (Part 1)

HR has traditionally been a business department silo, and I have to admit that I still somewhat associate these folks with hiring, firing and conflict management – not the team I would expect to inspire in me the feelings of exuberance and enthusiasm about company cultural changes to come. Also, not where I would personally seek contact when in need of emotional guidance or motivational leadership! Here is the transformation HR needs to go through:

1. HR to abandon its traditional administrative role and become the company’s cultural citadel and spokesman

HR’s role needs to be transformed by moving from a territorial administrative role, to becoming the strategic people-headquarters of an organization; the human resources catalyst and employee-propeller a company requires if a people-centric company culture is ever to be developed. Nowadays, the HR team needs to be highly motivated, maneuvering adroitly between departments while building bridges, removing silos and evangelizing the mission, vision and values of a 21st century social business Enterprise 2.0. It is crucial for enterprises not only to offer newer employees the connectivity they require, but to transform mentalities and relentlessly foster cooperation between business units. In our hyper-connected world it is vital for HR to revitalize its responsibilities and become cooperator, coordinator, collaborator, and thus a powerful company spokesman and communicator.

2. HR to proactively destroy company silos

One of the most difficult tasks for a company to address is the imperative need for silo-dismantling and final eradication.  A sure sign that identifies a silo is resistance to change. Silos isolate, destroy productivity, stifle initiative, decrease motivation and diminish enthusiasm overall, thus affecting worker engagement as a whole. The classic example is that between sales and production. Sales does not sell what production manufactures, and production does not manufacture what sales needs to sell! Silos are extremely detrimental to the success of an enterprise because a silo does what’s best for itself, instead of what is actually best for the company.

3. HR to clearly spell out company mission, vision and shared values

One of the best examples that I have ever seen of a display of company culture, was from Tim Cook, Steve Jobs’ successor, when he was asked how Apple would function without Jobs! It was a spur-of-the-moment question about a difficult act to follow. Tim Cook gave this eloquent, passionate and typically powerful Apple reply:

“We believe that we are on the face of the earth to make great products and that’s not changing. We are constantly focusing on innovating. We believe in the simple not the complex. We believe that we need to own and control the primary technologies behind the products that we make, and participate only in markets where we can make a significant contribution. We believe in saying no to thousands of projects, so that we can really focus on the few that are truly important and meaningful to us. We believe in deep collaboration and cross-pollination of our groups, which allow us to innovate in a way that others cannot. And frankly, we don’t settle for anything less than excellence in every group in the company, and we have the self-honesty to admit when we’re wrong and the courage to change. And I think regardless of who is in what job those values are so embedded in this company that Apple will do extremely well.” — Tim Cook January 2009

4. HR to become the Enterprise Social Networks (ESN) driving force

Broadband connectivity is the driving technological force mainly responsible for the consumerization of IT and all the portable devices attached to it. The bandwidth developments have been dramatic and the results are significant.

For example, being trilingual it is inconceivable for me nowadays to rely upon a traditional dictionary when looking up a word for translation! This, now archaic, way of translating has been replaced by online Editorial Dictionaries such as “Linguee”, which provide contextual translations with full sentences and respective hyperlinks for further study or inquiry if needed. How about researching a particular topic and coming across additional information not relevant at that moment, but of considerable value? Thanks to cloud tools, such as Diigo or Evernote, it is easier than ever to click and save for future reference. These tools help to find information faster and easier, and thereby increase productivity.

Knowledge of such tools, are nuggets of gold HR should encourage employees to share with one another, e.g. via intranet. It is well worth reflecting upon the fact that the ESN (Enterprise Social Network) industry will have an estimated worth of €5.2 billion (US$6.4) by 2017. Needless to say, the way we are communicating within companies is shifting. Collaborating tools are becoming necessary if companies wish to survive the huge data onslaught we are experiencing in the 21st century

How is HR experiencing the changes in your enterprise? What are some of the challenges you are faced with, and how is your business adapting?

Follow Bruno Gebarski on Twitter: https://twitter.com/BrunoGebarski@brunogebarski or on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/brunogebarski

Related posts to Social Business i.e. Enterprise 2.0:
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

4 More Ways for Leaders to Promote Personnel Engagement in Social Business Enterprise 2.0

Employee attitude is an intrinsic and direct human reaction resulting from the work environment any management establishes in its enterprise.  Attitude (good or bad) and its attached emotions significantly shape the “work ethic” barometer any employee will display before, during or after work hours.  It is the hidden and powerful emotional drive, or lack thereof, which determines the level of “engagement” a co-worker will display.  Employee engagement will never be an action verb with an expected code of co-worker behavior automatically triggered by company compensation and perks.

Enterprises in possession of well defined mission, vision and values are in a much better position to transport their philosophy and credo to employees, suppliers, partners and customers alike. Company culture (mission + vision + values) is the fundamental prerequisite if a workforce is to positively engage with both customers and prospects.  A company workforce cannot and will not confidently connect with its customers if an enterprise has failed to establish first a clear code of ethics, business principles and policies.

1. Workforce should fulfill job requirements with limited hierarchical where and when

I remember a € 80 million (US$100 M) manufacturing company led by a Managing Director who micro-managed.  Every morning he would pick up the mail from the local post office himself, open up every single piece of correspondence and distribute it to the appropriate company employees. His reasons? “I want to know what is happening”, he once told me! We are living in the broadband communication era where consumers decide the way they wish to communicate with their brand. Thanks to hyper-connected mobile devices we are now en route to a people-centric, convenience marketing superhighway, where consumers exclusively select when, where and what sort of information they wish to obtain.  Cell phone subscriptions have overtaken landlines. People in the UK are now more likely to text than to make a phone call according to a recent research from Ofcom.  “In the past, cooperation was a kind of dream, an ideal. Today it is a requirement for survival” says Nicholas Roberts.

A European company, I was once associated with, gave its employees only 15 minutes of “flexi-time” for arriving at work in the morning, all the while knowing that some would actually be more productive after sleeping an extra hour or two than arriving on time and lingering around the coffee machine and shooting the breeze. Employees should be compensated for results rather than the numbers of hours they have worked. Results Only Work Environment (ROWE) could easily be promoted thanks to mobile technology Studies made by ROWE with renowned clients such as GAP and BEST BUY have shown  significant savings and increased productivity were registered. BEST BUY applied the following formula:  “Retention + Intrinsic Motivation + Productivity = Increased Capacity” which meant a saving of $2.2 million for their team over the course of two years, an average of 41% increase in productivity on ROWE teams.

2. Management should take control of work, and not of its employees

Looking for an alternative to work? Organize a meeting! Wasted time in meetings costs Business £26 billion (US$ 41.6 B) per annum reported Techradar some months ago. Marcus Austin went on to say: “The average employee wastes two hours and 39 minutes in meetings every week… this would equate to 13 million more productive hours per week and an increase in gross domestic product (GDP) of approximately 1.7 percent…” Wouldn’t it be better to let these employees decide for themselves if their participation in a meeting is mandatory or not? It is now the time for company leaders to start learning to trust their employees and respect their right to exercise sound judgment. Managers also need to delegate. This should be the first step toward transcending the average employee output into something more significant. Extrinsic motivation needs to make room for the intrinsic if companies earnestly want to crowd-source more of their own talent and increase employee engagement.  Around 50% of Google’s products and innovations were found during the 20% period of time where employees are encouraged to work on personal Google projects and not on their core responsibilities. It is evident that a hierarchical boss cannot control how everything is being done so would it not be better if management could find ways and tools for their teams to get the job done themselves?

3.  Employees look beyond payment to non-monetary factors such as advancement and recognition

What are the values of intangible company assets; the ones that cannot be quantified… the ones that are dormant in remote parts of a company because of disuse… the raw diamonds waiting to be polished in order to shine?  In her article “A Zappos Lesson in Customer Service Metrics”, Ashley Furness relates her conversation with Joseph Michelli the author of The Zappos Experience: 5 Principles to Inspire, Engage, and WOW:

“Take a look at your performance metrics. Is time-to-resolution an important indicator? What about call time? While popular, these KPIs are indicative of a very un-Zappos experience. They don’t ‘drive service into your culture,’ as the author of The Zappos Experience, Joseph Michelli, explained to me. Zappos invests in the call center not as cost, but the opportunity to market. Their whole strategy is to create loyalty through ‘wow’ moments and emotional connections.”

4. Leaders should be able to step back and promote others

Put your ego away because it could be one of your biggest obstacles towards team effectiveness! Pride destroys communication, builds silos, isolates and pushes people away! In an employee-centric led environment, it is imperative not to give pride, arrogance, ego and selfish immaturity any room for business. Get rid of it, and get rid of the workers/people who are rowing in the opposite direction, regardless of how high in the hierarchy they are positioned, or how skillful they are. Are you placing self-interest ahead of your enterprise’s interests? Are you concerned about piling up more for yourself while neglecting customers, employees and maybe even board members?  Place the interests of your immediate co-workers and middle management before your own; trust your workforce and give them space to grow. Treasure confrontation, hire employees first for their passion and then for their skills, regardless of the fact that you might not feel personally attracted to them.  Are they a cultural enrichment to your company, department or team?  Would your company consider an international hiree if your most valuable customer is international? Does your team fully understand how different the international community is? Do you give them the chance to learn and grow?

What are you doing to inspire your workforce?  What initiatives are you sponsoring in order to foster creativity and leadership? What are the difficulties you are confronted with?

Follow Bruno Gebarski on Twitter: https://twitter.com/BrunoGebarski@brunogebarski or on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/brunogebarski

Related posts to Social Business i.e. Enterprise 2.0:
3 Ways to Promote Your Employee Engagement and Increase Your Social Business Enterprise 2.0 Productivity
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
Humility, a Core Ingredient For Moving From Hierachy to Social Business Enterprise 2.0 Leadership (Part 1)
Humility, a Core Ingredient For Moving From Hierachy to Social Business Enterprise 2.0 Leadership (Part 2)