HRHeadStart #1: Operating Models; The Great Disconnect; Slow Thinking; AI 2041
The Talent Agenda
Since this is the inaugral issue of HRHeadStart, I wanted to start by writing about a much used (and abused) term - Operating Model. If you ask different people about what it means, you will likely get very different answers. I feel that, as HR practitioners, if we aim to have a meaningful impact on driving any major organizational transformation work, we need to have our thinking straight. To keep it really uncomplicated and to avoid rambling, here is a simple definition - operating model defines what work is done where in the organization and by whom. There's a ton of materials on the web on this topic, but I really liked this brief.
We live in a world of paradoxes. What do we normally not expect in the aftermath of a crisis? Certainly, not a cocktail of high job vacancies, labour shortage and unemployment - all at the same time! "The Great Resignation" is a phenomenon people started calling out first in the USA, where 15 million (and counting) workers quit their jobs since April 2021. Closer home in Asia, surveys are putting the rates for "intention to quit" in the next 12 months at anywhere between 20-50% across countries. Already vacancy rates in places like Singapore have shot up, with data showing that ther are now 163 jobs available for every 100 uneomployed people. What's even more profound is that a substantial proportion of employees are willing to quit without even having another job in hand! You can dive into this topic here, and my personal takeaway is that the great resignation should be read as the Great Disconnect or the Great Discontent. Employers need to focus on the deeper employee experience and relational factors in the workplace, while treating transactional elements like pay, ad-hoc bonuses, work models as tablestakes. Perhaps, we should revisit Frederick Herzberg's Two-Factor Theory. (P.S. I am also wondering what will be the impact of these trends on the gig economy.)
The world lauds people who are "decisive" and make those decisions fast. But the best thinkers are slow thinkers. While making or recommending a decision, they carefully peel the layers by asking "what happens next" a few times - what happens in 5 days, 5 weeks, 5 months and 5 years of making the decision. That reveals the true nature of the problem, the solution and the stakeholders who are affected by those decisions, thus creating a better path to making progress. Such questioning is a powerful way to peek into the future of your decisions. Good thinking is expensive, but poor thinking costs a fortune.
A Productive Workout
A workout is a great way to create mindspace for processing and learning new ideas. And it primes you for creative thinking. For your next walk, run or workout session, take along Kai-Fu Lee, co-author of the new book, AI 2041, to learn about how might we be using AI in the next 20 years. Podcast links can be found here.
When thinking about our networks, we often think of who do we need to connect with now. Life is ultimately the sum total of all the people around you. Think about who would you need to know 3/5/10 years from now and start working on those relationships today.