Reinventing HR #1
reinvent - /riːɪnˈvɛnt/
verb - change (something) so much that it appears to be entirely new. Yes, change something so much it appears to be new. Especially HR transformation.
As many HR professionals looks for breakthrough in analytics and strategies to throw out the old and create the new. It is imperative to never forget about the human element in HR. Its about People before strategy.
In fact, the first HR transformation that I research started in 361 BC. In his time Shang Yang was a statesman and reformer of the State of Qin during the Warring States period. His policies laid the administrative and political foundations that would enable Qin to conquer all of China and unite the country for the first time.
Compensation & benefits
Shang Yang did away the traditional package, created a anti nepotism policy and replaced it with a performance based culture, that boosted the soldiers to outperformed each other during battle to claim rewards. In your current HR practices, a certain level of role should have a salary band tied down to it and benchmark against your competitors. This is to ensure internal pay equity and prevention of morale issues among staff who are of the same level but on a different pay package.
Moreover, a salary band system, prevents the HR from running back and forth to the finance department each time the salary package needs to be adjusted. It is also a headache during budgeting forecast where salary x is a constant fluctuating variable. Its bad for staff and morale and business costs.
Driving Corporate vision & team huddle
Before battle, soldiers are clear about their own roles and KPIs. Which in 341 BC, Shang Yang lead the soldiers into the battle himself after communicating the vision and consequences of attacking the state of Wei. In the corporate world today, how many of your staff understands your company vision and CEO strategy in your current company?
As manpower was short in Qin relative to the other states at the time, Yang enacted policies to increase its manpower. Encouraging active migration of peasants with rewards and culture. In today's HR context, HR no longer plays the role as a desk jockey, processing paper work. But an important role as a advisor to the top management. Do know why your current employees choose you?
Why your longest serving employees are still with you? What was their satisfaction component?
If you have high attrition, what was the main issue? Have you taken the pulse of your workforce?
I believe these are the questions any HR looking into change management , would want to start looking for answers. As employer branding to attract talents is not about nice videos and happy looking pictures. Good Culture drives people in, bad culture drives people out. Culture is top down, as the workforce looks at how the top management behaves.
To sum it all.
Shang Yang's reforms was based on 2 important values.
1. fixing the standards" (Chinese: 定法)
2. "treating the people as one" (Chinese: 一民)
So go back to basics, when you reinvent HR.
"Human beings have likes and dislikes; hence, the people can be ruled. The ruler must investigate likes and dislikes. Likes and dislikes are the root of rewards and penalties. The disposition of the people is to like ranks and emoluments and to dislike punishments and penalties. The ruler sets up the two in order to guide the people’s will and to establish whatever he desires. - Shang Yang ( c. 390 – 338 BCE)
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