HR ‘should ditch nonsense policies and start again’

Delegates at Agile Business Conference 2018 urged to shake up their thinking

HR ‘should ditch nonsense policies and start again’

HR professionals need to “throw away nonsense policies and start again”, the CIPD’s chief executive (pictured above) told attendees at the Agile Business 2018 conference yesterday. 

Peter Cheese said the world of HR is changing and urged leaders to reassess outdated policies and procedures.

“I’ve been seeing HR leaders saying, ‘Throw away nonsense policies and start again’,” he added. “HR has gone along with management philosophy, and we cannot persist in just teaching people the best process and practices.”

Cheese said HR should put “human in the heart of our thinking” to create engaged and agile cultures at work, but warned the profession could not thrive in the modern working world without being adaptive and agile. 

“If you want to create agility in your business, you have to upskill and reskill,” he said. “Historically, we have not been doing L&D well. We’ve got to teach people to adapt, and the reality is that we also have to teach ourselves to adapt.”

In a separate panel discussing the idea of ‘agile’ within HR, Vikram Jain, founder of agility consultancy JCURV, said HR was an “entry point” to integrating agile into businesses. 

“With large organisations, you can’t say: ‘Now everyone will be more agile’,” Jain explained. “Often, our entry point is HR because lots of clients are feeling frustrated with areas like people management, leadership and stuff like that.”

The panel focused on the challenges and opportunities facing HR to help organisations adapt to the evolving world of work. Experts on the panel gave their perspectives of the shifts happening in HR, and how agile principles and techniques could be applied in organisations. 

Diana Barea, Accenture Strategy’s managing director and leader of its talent and organisation practice, said employers “can look like they have a lot to lose if they act in a new” or agile way.

“The problem with that is people are holding onto knowledge because they think that not acting in that new [agile] way will allow them to keep their job,” Barea said. 

The “better version” would be creating a framework that safely allows people to share knowledge without fear of failure, she said, but warned the “belief in employees which is part of empowering them is not always stated”. 

Liam Russell, staffing business partner at Google, said believing in employees was good but added there was an “element of facilitation” on the employer’s part. 

“All of that is enabling people to become responsible for their roles,” Russell said. “The idea is, ‘You’ve progressed onto something else and allowed yourself to grow’, and it’s about helping them along that self-growth journey.” 

And Genevieve Wastie, head of talent at Backed VC, said: “The more leaders encourage people to be self-aware, what drives their decision-making, the more able they are to align that with what they do in the workplace.”