My reflection on the Deloitte HCM 2015 trend report 7 : simplification of work & the coming revolution

Deloitte chapter 7 brings all the current challenges for HR and the organisation into one big soup of overwhelmed employees. This has been identified in earlier Deloitte reports over the years.

“74 % of respondent think their workplace is complex or very complex” – Deloitte

No-one is surprised, or? The way we work is changing dramatically, all the time. The service industry is global whether you are global or not, as most services are available in a globally distributed eco-system of what we call the “workplace” today. Cross border management of companies in consistent post M&A situation, manual processes that can’t keep up and increasingly compliance to be adhered to builds up. It’s not a sustainable situation for the individual who mentally is 20 years behind and / or lack sufficient structures, systems and behavior. Many does not have a proper role description, goals nor a tool to assess if they need development to manage the role.  It’s sad that school does not teach student to learn and drive projects the same way. Cross border. Unknown project peers. World of Warcraft is closer to current collaboration across borders than school is.

I can’t resist to bring back a favorite illustration by Heskett : The Service-Profit (value) Chain from 1994. It has served it’s pedagogic value many times for me (even though the box called Employee Satisfaction should be replace by Employee Engagement to fit the reality of 2015, irrelevant if you are an innovator or a doer):

0 heskett

Anyway, Heskett was a sort of pioneer to identify what drives what in service. Since 1994 we have learned that a client can be loyal even if they are dissatisfied or unhappy. So with employees.

To solve all the lack of clarity leading to stress, box 1 – workplace design, today should be all about simplification, focus, automation and using smart services instead of being a slave under the same technology. You need to be able to focus and make own sensible decisions given your mandate, assuming it’s clear. If not, the system should know if you have the mandate, given your current role, etc.

For strategic HR it’s not very hard to make a business case with a strong ROI by assessing the manual time spent on keeping inconsistent (or even non-existing but still very relevant) processes alive and replace the same with a service/or outsource it using an out-of-box solution/service. Even a good enough solution/service may be way better than as-is for many companies whom have “no clarity at all”. Create a culture of change. Starting small is likely better than status quo.

Then also add the business value of having non-obsolete, nor redundant, real time data captured using e-forms with embedded rules, policies and mandates for all transactional master-data along the Employment Life Cycle.

So the Deloitte four ingredient-recipe in this chapter is a major relevant step back to basics in order to fit with our new reality:

1. Make simplification a business and HR priority

  • simplify the work environment
  • acknowledge that there is a problem
  • eliminate time-wasting and complex processes
  • develop a business case to justify redesign

(This is to a great extent Heskett box 1, bullet  1, but it is a process now, a LEAN approach to improve, adjust and learn) 

2. Get email and unproductive meetings under control

(No comments. Heskett box 1, bullet 2,  job design, what is my role, what is my objective and my focus, how do I close my capability gap => leading to what meetings/communication are relevant and my own ability to focus on what matters and say no)

3. Invest in more integrated, simpler technology

(Shop some leading edge software/service and start using it, learn from it, fail and improve, succeed. No SW or service company can survive today without simplicity and best practice propositions. Personally I am very impressed by the openness and integration of SAP HANA to leverage and combine relevant HR data and other data from other ERP systems). 

4. Implement design thinking and process simplification within HR

“Design thinking is a new process that brings user interface designers, process experts, and graphics  people together to make work systems more functional and easier to use. HR teams should serve as an organizational role model by removing steps and using design thinking to implement “just enough” process and technology to help people get the job done” – Deloitte

(Comment. Maybe HR needs to think like service product development company? There are a lot of good content out there in the subject of service design to consider for Heskett box 1) 

Personally I think the coming revolution is already here with its multiple generational workforce to work together on selected processes and projects in a globally distributed eco system of temporary peers chasing innovation together for whatever reason. Let’s assume it good for mankind.

Designing Heskett box 1 seems to be a futile attempt to be in control of people that can’t be controlled in a more and more project driven society. Nevertheless, whoever is to do anything needs to have the right tools. HR owns this box and needs to show leadership. It’s easier than ever. Excellence in core  HR is a necessity but is not a money making machine unless it’s what you do for a living, like I do.

So HR, are you up for it? As Ted Turner said. “Lead, follow or get out of the way”

Read the full and good report from Deloitte at

Please comment or reach out for a 1:1 to discuss this topic and share your own view.

Sven Hultin – Business Development Director at Zalaris, Sweden

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Twitter: @klingerii
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