The consumerisation of #HR

We’ve made the world of work far too complicated. We’ve over engineered, over intervened and created a myriad of artificial constructs that add neither value nor protection. Over the years I’ve written time and time again about the need to declutter, to reduce the number of processes and procedures to make it simple.

The brilliant Josh Bersin summarises the arguments better than I can here, making the very important point that simple is actually harder to do than complex. This isn’t about being basic, it is about being sophisticated.

I’d take it one step further, it is about the consumerisation of HR management.

When I speak at conferences and talk about these themes, how we are doing far too much and confusing employees, I regularly get people come up to me afterwards and thank me. Not for enlightening them or teaching them something that blows their socks off, but for reminding them why they came in to the profession and giving them reassurance that they’re not mad.

Reminding them that it is OK to be focussed on the end-user.

You see, too often we praise the complex. We hold it up as an example of the development of the profession to heights before unknown. We litter the pages of our publications, the stages of our conferences with examples of HR interventions that most employees don’t understand, don’t want to be part of and don’t see the point of. And we hold them to high acclaim. Then we talk about how we need to demonstrate the value that HR adds.

We have become the coders of the management world, praising beautiful code over user experience.

But what if we were to focus our efforts on making the end-user, the employee, the primary driver of our interventions, of our services. What if we designed for them, rather than for us? What if we created value by providing products and services that people wanted, rather than they were told they needed.

What if we excited, entertained and enthralled?

I can tell you that any manager, any employee, any human would ask for simple people management processes and practices they could understand, communicate and apply. They’d ask for speed, transparency and accuracy. Like we would too.

If we want to really add value and demonstrate our worth within the organisational framework, we need to work harder on being simpler, not more complex. And focus on delivering what employees really want, not what we think will impress our peers.

Then, maybe then, we’d be seen in a whole different light.