As stated in an earlier blog I have been studying lately about the whole area of socio-technical systems within our organizations as advanced by Larry Miller. It is a very unique way to look at our organizations. In one of the articles I was reading we came across a very profound statement. A statement which, on its face value, would totally reinvent our organization’s both now and in the future.
According to the article in 1975 in a publication called the Quality of Working Life Volume 1, Phil Herbst made the following observation. He stated that “The Product of Work is People, as well as goods and services. A Society is no better than the quality of the people it produces.” Stop and think about that for a minute and consider whether your organization operates from that frame of reference.
As an organization we have two very distinct purposes. The first is that we are trying to ensure that the organization remains in existence for perpetuity. We are not in the business of telling our customers and human capital assets that we are going to be gone tomorrow. The second is that we are charged as an organization to go out and acquire and maintain customers. Neither of those can be accomplished without the assistance of the human capital assets that surround the operation. So if that is true, and I strongly contend it is then what do we have to do to meet Mr. Herbst’s discover that the product of work is people?
In a blog post several years ago entitled Who Am I? we discussed the Quaker Business Model. It is a fulfillment of the findings mentioned above. The Quaker Business Model believed that the responsibility of an organization was to make life better for its human capital assets. It was exemplified by Cadbury Chocolate in the United Kingdom. To create that better quality of employee they were the first organization to raise wages, introducing the concept of pensions, introducing unemployment benefits, and health and wellness programs. Cadbury went on to build the first company town and provide educational assistance to its employees. It was the intent of both the company and its staff to make the necessary changes for the community’s best interests.
Fast forward to today and are we still meeting that model? In many organizations the answer is no. We consider employees to be an expense item and just a number. We look at the ability of the organization to make a profit rather than earning more business by taking care of our employees. We argue that our human capital assets are not engaged, but we do not provide them a reason to be so engaged. We forget that if every individual that you have hired, walked out the door, the organization would cease to function. So it is time we change that focus and return back to the future and provide an engaging environment for the human capital assets. Help them develop their skills. Help them create better lives for them and their families. Provide them access to training and education opportunities to increase their skills. Turn on Undercover Boss in your area and watch the faces when the boss helps the employees reach their goals and dreams. These bosses understand that the product of their work is people. They understand that when we remove the stress that the employee is under and help create that quality worker everyone wins.
Are you walking the walk and talking the talk when it comes to organizational change. Want to find out more about how to introduce an authentic change environment? Join us in in Orlando Sept 25 for a look out how to bring about change in your organizations. For more information visit http://achievinghrexcellence.eventbrite.com. Deadline for registration is August 20th.