Lean HR

Lean HR is the application of Lean Thinking and Operations to Human Resource Management.

HR is struggling to demonstrate its value contribution to the enterprise. Strategies, tools and techniques of Human Capital Management such as competency development, talent management, performance management, performance appraisals, engagement & motivational programs come up short, frustrating HR professionals and the organisation alike.

What organizational leaders like Toyota know, is that this approach is backwards. Human Capital Management, and everything that flows from it, starts from the false assumption that people can be separated from the processes and systems in which they work. It’s just an extension of Command and Control that makes every problem a people problem.

All the empowered, motivated, teamed up, self directed, incentivized, accountable, reengineered and reinvented people you can muster cannot compensate for a dysfunctional system. When a system is functioning well, these other things are just foofraw. When the system is not functioning well, these things are still only empty meaningless twaddle.  —Peter Scholtes

People aren’t the problem, organizational systems are. The competencies are already in your people, so is the motivation, the engagement, all waiting to be released. Lean HR builds better systems and processes allowing our people to shine.

Building Better, More Productive Workplaces

The secret to building better more productive workplaces is to stop acting on the people and start acting on the system; specifically those components of the organization that hold people back, wasting their talents, constraining innovation and destroying engagement. By attacking the waste,  HR adds value and earns its seat on the executive leadership team.

The Root Causes of Waste in HR

1. Command and control management philosophy.

2. Limited work roles in organisation design.

3. Limited responsibility assignment to people and roles.

4. Reward systems constraining innovation and experimentation.

5. Performance measures that reward, punish and report.

6. Process complexity, including an over-reliance on technology.

7. Misunderstanding of feedback information/data (evidence-based HR).

A Lean approach means attacking these seven wastes as the secret to organisational efficiency and effectiveness.