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  • Mark Shaw

Humanising HR

Humanising is to make something less unpleasant and more suitable to people.

Yet I would argue that in many workplaces, HR policies and processes are dehumanising as they are often more unpleasant and less suitable to people.


If you agree, your reason for doing something about it is simple. By adopting a more humanised approach to HR, everybody wins!

1. Employees win because they can minimise the time and effort on risk-mitigating, box-ticking activities and focus their efforts on finding what Dan Pink calls ‘Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose’.

·2. HR Practitioners win because they can spend more of their valuable time concentrating on the higher-order value-adding activities rather than the more administrative compliance activities.

·3 Line managers win because they can complete essential compliance activities in less time allowing them to spend more time concentrating on delivering core business outcomes.

4. The business wins because the time and cost of non-productive activity is reduced and therefore the business will achieve higher value for the same cost.


But how should you start your journey?


I’d suggest you take Albert Einstein’s advice when he said ‘any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex. It takes a touch of genius and a whole lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.’


In my experience start by shifting the focus of your policies and procedures from trying to stop small percentage of people who break the rules to those who never break the rules.


This is simple, and many examples exist. Consider a Corporate Dress Code policy as an example. It can be a simple as “Dress professionally” or “Business attire must be worn.” 98% of your employees will understand this and dress appropriately.


That leaves the 2%-ers who will always break the rule. More detailed policies or procedures will not stop them breaking the rules. Instead, when they start to break the rules, ensure you take reasonable management action in a reasonable way to resolve the problems they cause.


For almost 20 years, I have adopted and implemented this approach. And the results confirm that everyone wins. If I can do it so can you.

Let’s all take practical steps to humanise our HR policies and processes for everyone’s benefit.

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