The mindshift to tackle Failure Demand in HR
How to stop wasting time on work you don’t want.
Failure demand is everywhere, clogging up your team’s schedule, getting in the way of value-driving activity and impacting user experience whenever your people interact with HR.
In these instances, it’s not the people who create failure demand, but the system. In order to learn how to identify and tackle failure demand, we need to start thinking differently. We need systems thinking.
It’s not often you get to quote Aristotle in an article about HR, but here he is: “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”
The old philosopher probably didn’t know it at the time, but he was neatly describing the essence of systems thinking; the view that all tasks and processes are part of a larger ecosystem, sustained by how well its parts fit together and support their shared purpose.
In HR, incorporating systems thinking to tackle failure demand involves flipping the way processes are designed.
In traditional businesses, processes are designed from the top, or from the outcome. This is a hangover from the industrial age where command and control management delivered effective economies of scale, in an environment where rigid systems enabled efficient mass production.
Failure demand is endemic in HR because this top down mindset doesn’t allow for the variety of human demand. People have complex needs and dealing with them is completely unlike manufacturing paperclips.
Failure demand is created where the system is unable to meet these complex requirements. It’s created where smooth running breaks down, broken forms, overly complex processes, ineffective self-service - parts of your carefully honed HR machine that should be simple, but instead regularly generate more work. “Work you don’t want.”
It’s how teams can be furiously busy and utterly ineffective at the same time. And if it sounds worryingly familiar, don’t worry, you’re not alone.
Helping HR leaders learn to identify and address failure demand is the key objective of our upcoming webinar on 16 October 2019.
Featuring Simon Fowler, XCD CEO, Mandy Chapman, General Manager of HRCubed and Matthew Blair, Process & Change Consultant at HRCubed, the webinar will provide examples and strategies to incorporate systems thinking into your HR process design so you can stop doing work you don’t want.
To find out more and register your place, click here.
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As a journalist, Matt covered business and people management for over ten years. Today, he writes about how technology is making life simpler for organisations and their employees.