Saturday, March 21, 2015

Changing face of HR

I had been at SCMHRD, Pune as a key note speaker in “the International Conference on Contemporary Trends in Managing Modern Workforce on 28th Feb 2015. ( I spoke on "Changing Face of HR". I also spoke on “HR in 2020” in the HR conference at Sinhgad Business School on the same day. It was great interaction with the students and other industry professionals. For the summary, please view the presentation.    

Saturday, March 14, 2015

HR: be the physician…

Organization Development: HR agenda with OD mindset.

ne of the important area HR professionals miss is the organizational development. Sometimes it is pushed from top management to the HR and then HR re-actively engages OD professionals. The question is when you need a OD intervention. It is always what we sense and what to correct in the organization. I personally think that OD intervention is like diagnosing the real problem in the organization, finding the solution and administrating the solutions in the organization. HR professionals also needs to have the mindset like OD professionals.  

Right diagnosis if the key in OD
I would like to use the metaphor of patient and doctor. When you sense (proactively) the problem, you need to really look into and start fixing it. Let’s take an simple example of attrition in the organization. You find that the employee attrition is very high. Now you have to really define what “very high” means for you. Perhaps market benchmark may be good indicator to decide, but the percentage may be misleading. If your organization is small, then even small percentage may also have the adverse impact on the business. In such situation, it the wisdom of HR and business leader to decide what indicator they would like to work on. For example, the attrition in market is 15%. Your attrition is 20%. Definitely you need to work on. At the other hand you decide that you would like to reduce the attrition upto 15% as per the market benchmark. Here you need to do something. You administered employee engagement survey. You do the analysis and in the analysis, you find that people leave because they feel that they are not treated well by their supervisors and line managers. And everybody thinks same. Finally you brainstorm with the management, team members and employees. From the discussion you come to know that the treatment by the line manager actually is not the issue. The issue is stress on the supervisors and line managers. They are forced to react on employees because business stress is cascaded down from the top.  Now it is the time to actually work out on the solution with the management. You  have to first address the top management and then plan actions for educating & training supervisors and line managers. Probably you may think to roll out some leadership programme and also decide if you need further diagnosis.

Organization development is not the rocket science. You need to understand that the solution should be situation specific. You need to customized it as per your organizational context. The end purpose is to increase the effectiveness of the process, organization, people and business.    

Today's organizations are dynamic. They operate in a rapidly changing environment. Consequently, one of the most important requirement for an organization is the ability to manage change -- and for people to be agile and flexible.

And hence the meaning and definition of OD has been changed to different understanding. Now Organization Development is the attempt to influence the members of an organization to expand their candidness with each other about their views of the organization and their experience in it, and to take greater responsibility for their own actions as organization members. The assumption behind OD is that when people pursue both of these objectives simultaneously, they are likely to discover new ways of working together that they experience as more effective for achieving their own and their shared (organizational) goals. And that when this does not happen, such activity helps them to understand why and to make meaningful choices about what to do in light of this understanding. (ref Neilsen, “Becoming an OD Practitioner”, Englewood Cliffs, CA: Prentice-Hall, 1984, pp. 2-3.)

As a HR professional you also need to have a focus on OD. HR professional may have to work like a doctor. Few points:  
  1. Networking with key people in the organization;
  2. Understanding the business, evaluating systems in the organization to understand dysfunctions and/or goals of the systems in the organization;
  3. Keeping eyes and ear open to understand what is going in the organization. Remember that you should be the first person to know what is going right & wrong;
  4. Identifying approaches (or "interventions") to improve effectiveness of the organization and its people;
  5. Applying approaches to improve effectiveness (methods of "planned change" in the organization);
  6. Evaluating the ongoing effectiveness of the approaches and their results.     
For point 4,5,6 you may take the help of professional practitioner. Sometimes you may have to go to the MD or MS doctor.  

But first be the physician.. 

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