What if HR set itself the challenge of making the biggest difference to our people – and just for today?
In The Book of Yo!
(Capstone), Simon Woodroffe, founder of Yo! Sushi and ‘dragon’ on the first series of the BBC’s Dragons’ Den, writes about the mindset he adopted when facing the challenge of creating the world’s largest chain of sushi bars.
Instead of thinking, "I am going to create the world's largest chain of sushi bars", he simply thought, "I am going to act as if I am someone who is going to do that… No pressure, just an enjoyable, fantasising game – and just for today."
And that got me thinking. What if the HR profession set itself the challenge of making the biggest possible difference to our organisations and our people – just for today – how would we act?
I came up with a list of 10 things: 1. We would be positive.
For every challenge, there's an opportunity – and HR would invest as much time and energy in seizing opportunities as it did in tackling negatives. 2. We would understand how our people drove performance
and what our people valued about working for the organisation – because knowing these is key to developing an HR strategy that makes a difference. 3. We would be collaborating internally and externally.
Today's opportunities require multi-disciplinary responses that traditional, siloed approaches are unable to deliver. 4. We would invest in education of our people.
Aligning business-as-usual training to nationally recognised qualifications is good for organisational performance, for employees and for the economy as a whole. This should be on the agenda of every organisation, regardless of size or sector. 5. We would be celebrating diversity.
Diverse teams are more engaging, more creative, more effective and more fun. If more firms looked at diversity as a driver of engagement and productivity rather than as a box-ticking exercise, the economic and social wellbeing of the country would benefit hugely. 6. We'd measure outcomes rather than inputs.
Who cares how busy HR teams are? Organisations want to know the impact HR is making. What we measure speaks volumes about where our attention is focused and all too often it is focused on HR, rather than the organisation. 7. We would embrace technology.
Not only can digital technology deliver a range of HR initiatives more quickly and cost-effectively, it can also deliver them in a way that is engaging and effective. 8. We would be ensuring we only reward behaviours that enhance long-term sustainability.
HR can only achieve this if it has a detailed understanding of the organisation at an operational level, which means applying the 'GOYA' principle – Get off your 'backside' – and get out onto the shop floor. 9. We would have talent management processes that mapped current organisational capability against future need.
If HR doesn't have a detailed understanding of the organisation's five-year plan – apply a bit of GOYA, break down a silo and get collaborative with the business strategy team. 10. We would all be using a brilliant idea from The Book of Yo!
- picturing the future and then looking back at the present with imagined hindsight. For example, can you believe there was a time when HR departments gathered masses of valuable data, but failed to mine it for insights?
What makes me excited about this list is: most HR practitioners can achieve everything on it today. What Woodroffe found is that after "three months of 'todays', I had my brain convinced that not only was I going to do this, but it would be an enormous success".
In other words, the enjoyable fantasising, acting game had become a whole new way of working, that actually did create the world's largest chain of sushi bars. And that might help HR make the biggest possible difference to our organisations and people. Today.
Yo! to that.