Friday, April 5, 2019

Yet Realized Workforce Trends

I've been a member of the SHRM Blog Squad for the last 7 SHRM Annual Conferences. Many of the original members of our #HRTribe have moved on to different roles while others continue to brave the bloggers lounge. My intent at any SHRM Annual Conference is fairly straight-forward... find new ideas and figure out how they can be implemented into workforce culture.

Even the most-innovative of Human Resource Professionals have an occupational responsibility to carefully look through the workforce programming lens. Simply put, sponsoring an initiative comes with the appropriate amount of research, testing and proof. As one who watches the workforce develop from a cliff on the hill, there are things I was certain would gather traction that remain unproven.

I was blown away when reading how Jason Stirman had created a program for performance management at Medium. His parameters were two-fold: get rid of managers and scale to employee preference. It was a fresh approach from a young man in the trenches who knew how to turn an idea into a company.

It failed.

Since Stirman's experiment at Medium, Zappos (the once-benchmark for cultural excellence) has gone all-in on Holacracy.... and received their fair share of criticism.

Is it simply too hard for organizations to grasp life without hierarchy to guide progress?


Is adaption to change turning cool ideas into very real chores that don't pay off? 

While Zappos continues to navigate project clusters, Stirman's second contribution to Medium seems to have gathered greater momentum.

The SCARF methodology empowers employees to stack rank their own path to progress. In this system, employees identify five different soft skill functions that are most/least important to them. We all know that management takes two distinct paths:

1. Group Talk
2. Individual Consulting

A manager is then tasked with promoting an overall team mission while supporting individual progress. It's a complex way to marry big ideas with psychology. SCARF may not have cemented it's 5 pillars in performance management but it is a way for any manager with a pen and a napkin to level-set individual goals.

Centralized User Experience 
The third act in our "yet-to-be" showcase, seems closest to reality.

Human Resources serve a technology function. Like it or not, if you are unable to systematically implement theory into practice, you might not be fulfilling your job rec.

The HR Tech space asks humans and robots to arm wrestle.... an unenviable dilemma.

Such is our dissolution, to stop being the policy police and become an engagement function that requires an acute understanding of consultation to breed a roadmap for progress.

It is 2019 and if Human Resources is to be relegated to policy as permission, we'll have no organizational impact other than to observe what didn't work.

As your #SHRM19 adventure begins, be mindful of one ever-present question:

Where Do We Go From Here?


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