Do H.R. Departments Create Value in Lean Environments?

The last decade has been a period of incredible change. From the way we listen to music, communicate and transact business. The world is much more connected but much less personal. Watching the transformation of business has been quite fascinating. Practically every department and person is jockeying for relevance in this new world order. Technology has given the user more power rate the level of service provided in the form of customer satisfaction surveys. Sales departments and Information technologies departments are the primary drivers of this form of feedback. While it does become redundant and at times annoying it does serve a purpose providing the customer a voice.

This brings me to the Human Resource departments. Their role has both expanded and diminished during the past few decades. Naturally someone has to be gatekeeper of all regulatory mandates of local, state and federal bodies. The legal mind field for organizations is daunting to navigate. But beyond that does the employee today perceives value?  Do your managers feel their input is valued and have true voice? Do employees perceive HR staff as a knowledgeable group that can speak to benefits, grievances and advancement, honestly and affectingly? Or is it generally felt HR is group that is very skilled in presentation but lacking in substance; relying too much on website FAQ pages and benefit 1-800 numbers as a primary tool to direct employees questions. As a suggestion spend a few moments with employee pull up website help navigate. In short be a human resource to the employees.

When was the last time you let the employees rate Human Resources. What do think the results would be? No other department has more influence over the general mood of employees in an organization. As a lean practitioner you should be well aware of the importance of a capable and motivated workforce. I fully suggest internal organizational surveys to access organizational gaps and problems in HR. Be honest with the results and address the problems forthright.

In lean environments we are constantly taught to bring value or perish through outsourcing or obsolescence. Lean organizations should be reminded that harmony within an organization is not a one-way street. Suspicion need to give way to trust for an organization to truly move forward and support the gains envisioned. I applaud organizations that look inward an access the perception effectiveness of their human resource departments.

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