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Book: HR Disrupted

Author:  Lucy Adams

Purchase:  Print | eBook

Citation:  Adams, L. (2017). HR disrupted : it's time for something different. Great Britain: Practical Inspiration Publishing.

Three Big Takeaways:
  1. I'm often asked, "What about the people who do something wrong? If we don't have rules around behavior then how do we discipline them fairly?" Of course we have to come down hard on people who act against the best interests of their organization. But remember, 99% of people aren't going to do anything seriously wrong. We don't need more rules and procedures. We must deal with the one individual as opposed to patronizing, annoying, and frustrating all of our sensible employees. Therefore, it's perfectly possible to create simple policies laying out the expectation that employees behave in accordance with the company's values and approach, without nailing every potential scenario down to the last letter. Of course, this isn't easy, but it's so much more empowering and productive. (pg. 33)

  2. People don't like working rigid hours. Consider extending the core hours between 5:00am and 10:00pm. Employees could work within this time frame as long as they agreed between themselves how the office was covered. Furthermore, consider banishing the traditional signing in and out procedure that makes employees "prove" they'd been there. The result can be a huge uplift in morale and a retention of their best people. When we trust our employee's they're more likely to behave responsibly and productive, creative, and forward thinking. (pg. 35)

  3. Try answering this question about each of your policies: does this rule exist because we don't trust some of our people to do it properly? If your answer is yes, then the chances are you're patronizing and annoying a large number of valuable people in order to stop the odd rogue from doing something wrong. Organizations often say they have rule books because a certain person overstepped the line once, or because they predicted it would be an area people would slip up on. This is like treating employees like children; we put in place safeguards to forestall any possible problem rather than robustly tackling the individual who's actually causing the issue. This, of course, involves having a difficult conversation with the person, so the temptation is to write a policy as a way of abdicating that responsibility. (pg. 95)


Other Key Ideas:

Multi-generational work teams are a new challenge. People retire later than they used to, which can mean teams with up to five generations having to rub along together. Each has a different set of expectations about pay, contribution, and treatment. For example, older staff may want a traditional performance review whereas younger workers are more interested in what their peers think of them. (pg. 13)​

Doing a grand survey once a year isn't enough, but doing a complete survey of all staff more often isn't practical either. Some companies do regular pulse surveys with small sample sizes using the plethora of online tools that are now available to us. One company sends a weekly text message to a sample of their employees asking the question, "How was work for you this week?" The company can then respond to issues immediately as they arise. (pg. 43)

I got bad with emails - I made them so rigid and professional, I'd stripped them of all humility and humor, leaving them pompous and sterile. I'd adopted the royal "we" and, in an effort to be accurate, had "lawyered out" any trace of my individual personality. No wonder my emails were bad; who wants to read news from someone who doesn't even seem to care? (pg. 50)

If you only search for employees when you need someone, it doesn't encourage your candidates to feel terribly warm toward you. On the other hand, if potential employees are already aware of your company as being a fantastic place to work, they're more likely to want to put their best efforts into your recruitment process. This also attracts the best employees to you - flexible, enthusiastic, committed people. No matter what the size of your business, you can still proactively connect with potential employees and develop your employer brand. If your company has a great story to tell and you put it across in an engaging way, you don't need a recruitment budget. Too many companies see recruitment in a transactional way instead of building relationships and communities in advance of needing new staff. (pg. 67)

Smart recruiters proactively target the talent they want, rather than wait for it to come to them. They also build long term communities of potential recruits, to which interested people can invite themselves. In the traditional world, candidates are invited to apply for a rule and if they are not suitable they're rejected, never to be seen again. In this new world, companies are recognizing they need to build long-term relationships with the people who might one day work for them. (pg. 72)

At one company, the mentor sends an email to the entire company introducing each new employee. This includes a brief biography and a photo. It means a lot to new recruits to be actively welcomed into the organization; in the company it isn't on the new employee to find out who everyone is, but rather for everyone else to find out about them. Another company has a "connections coach." The coach is an experienced employee who's there to help them settle in, and is also the person to whom the recruits can direct the questions they don't want to both their managers with. (pg. 87)

In 2008 strategy consultancy White Water Strategies found being praised can have the same impact on job satisfaction as being awarded a 1% pay rise. This isn't surprising when you consider the Japanese National Institute for Physiological Sciences investigated the neurological impact of praise, and discovered that being paid a compliment activates the same part of our brain as receiving cash. (pg. 130)

We're more ready than ever to place our faith in those leaders who show us their fallibility and humility, who care, and who give us the freedom to be ourselves and allow us to challenge them. That demands a low-ego kind of leader: someone who spends his time thinking about how we can enable his team to do their best work, rather than on whether he looks good on the stage. (pg. 161)

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