Friday, 16 June 2017

The HR, L&D, OD relationship at it's best is...

Salad, not soup!

I once heard this analogy for explaining isolation, diversity and inclusion and equality, but it strikes me it's quite apt to explain how HR, L&D and OD should interact also.

I follow the hashtag, #ldinsights on a Friday morning and the question this morning was...

"Can we still look at L&D in isolation instead of as part of systemic change?"

And there was, as always, a brilliant on-line discussion.

The immediate follow-ups for me were: "Did we ever?" and "How could you?". However, another part of me also gets quite frustrated that we try and either justify the distinctions or 'mush it all up', and that's when I was reminded of the 'salad not soup' (or stir fry, not soup) analogy, because actually the straight answer to 'can we look at x in isolation' is actually always: yes... yes, we could. But the real question is 'what's the value-add of that?'

I don't think L&D should be looked at in isolation, but to let it morph into OD or remain (as it's sometimes seen) in HR's shadow aren't the only options.

So, yes by all means chew on a cucumber or bite into a tomoto on their own but, better still, why not mix them up to make a vibrant salad and experience a variety of flavour and colour that just works so damn well together.

On the other hand, lets not go too far and mush it all up - yes, soup is lovely but many of the ingredients can lose their distinctiveness and we certainly don't see them stand out in any way.
In a work place, the dominant function will become what we see. Too much of one ingredient consistently isn't as beneficial as a balance/the right thing dominating for the relevant situation.

Neither the stand-alone approach nor the soup scenario help people to see the benefit of working collaboratively or adapting the balance, though they'll both suit some in certain circumstance. So my thinking is that making like salad (sliced or diced!) is, for the most part, the best of both worlds.

So, that's my two pence worth!



Find me on/at:

  • Twitter: @DamsonHR
  • LinkedIn: Denise Sanderson-Estcourt, FCIPD

Monday, 5 June 2017

Turnover is not your biggest problem...

...But why not?

To give this blog some context, this blog comes at a time when I've just focused on exit interview data and before I dig deep into the results of a recent pulse survey.

However, let me be upfront, this blog is not about providing answers but about seeking them!

I will though, answer it in part.

The thing I feel makes turnover a comparatively small problem is because it falls into the 'you can't do anything about it' box. Once someone has gone, they're well, gone. The question 'why?' at this point is usually too little, too late.

Yes, it's important to understand why and to try and stem the loss of too many good staff (however you define them in your organisation), but I see so much energy focussed on wondering why people leave an organisations that is wasted because it could be spent focussing on the people who remain...
...In fact, had that have been done, we often wouldn't be in the position of losing (usually/often the good!) people in the first place.

I don't know about your experience, but in mine, exit interviews are often full of examples of people who mentally and emotionally checked out long before they resigned because when we did have them they didn't feel heard, valued, sufficiently rewarded and so on.

Image result for exit interviews

It's as much a problem, when people are asked to/need to leave (re redundancies for example), as it is when people chose to. We focus on the leaver with outplacement, meetings, consultation and more and not the impact on the 'remainers' (Yes, I know that links to another issue but let's not go there!)

Either way, I don't believe organisations do enough to focus on staff who stay and especially those who stay (for now) and are disgruntled, disengaged, cruising, just doing enough, adding little value, bring no fresh thinking, quiet, staid and so on.

Turnover is, in many ways, a good thing. It can mean you've done a lot right (eg trained someone so they're attractive to someone else), it can mean that you've handled what's not right (enabling someone who doesn't fit to move on), it can lead to fresh thinking, give you a chance to restructure a team, or promote others for example.

Even if turnover is a problem for you, it's a great trigger for reflection, understanding and action (if you use it as such).

But there isn't much of an upside, if any, to those stayers who feel and/act as previously mentioned  - the disgruntled, disengaged, cruising-kind etc.

Whilst I appreciate this may not be a large group in your organisation, I can bet you they're the ones that keep you up at night. And let me be clear, they're not always a/the problem either...
...Imagine if we could harness their frustrations and the ideas they have to make things better?
If you've ever seen "Undercover boss" you'll know the type of thing I mean.

So, here's the question - if I've got a point (and feel free to challenge me if this isn't your experience), why do organisations get dragged into understanding turnover more than paying genuine, regular, hard, consistent, high value focus on those employees we have?

Note: I am not saying no attention is paid to an existing workforce, rather than we just let employee life tick along more often than not. Nor is this a reflection on my workplace as opposed to some general curiosity!

Discussion trigger - Thoughts welcome,