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?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