Is HR Management a true system?

In the LinkedIn groups (TLS-TOC Lean & Six Sigma in particular) there has been an ongoing conversation about when you merge the three. In the course of the discussion we posted a comment regarding an output from a seminar we were facilitating which talked about an organization in which the job requisition was reviewed and approved three times by the same person in a hiring effort. One of participants replied that that was an indication of mismanagement not a system problem. He further went on to state that the system represents a bigger picture than the hiring process. It made me wonder whether he was correct.

On page 552 of the Theory of Constraints Handbook edited by James Cox III and John Schleier, Jr they define a system as being made up of inputs, a process of some kind, outputs and the environment in which these components exist. Chip and Dan Heath in their book Switch talks about problems being faced by organizations not being a people problem but rather a “situation”problem.Let me start with the expression of the understanding that most HR executives and in fact many executives do not know how to look at things in a systematic way, but we hope the discussion below will help in that regard. So let’s look at the parts of the definition:

1. A system is comprised of inputs – Talk to your peers and you are bound to hear that the feeling is that everyone is trying to tell us how to do our job. These are inputs. But far from that we have inputs from management as we design job requisitions. We get inputs in the form of candidate credentials. We get inputs from outside sources as we benchmark the best practices within the industry.

2. A system is comprised of a process –  Accept the fact that everything we do is part of a process. The hiring process is a process. The employee complaints is part of a process. The creation of new benefit components and their introduction is a process. Business would not run half s good as they do as a whole if it was not for internal and external processes.

3. A system is comprised of outputs – If everything we do within HR management is based on a process, then the end results of the process constitute an output. We begin the hiring process then the employment offer is the output. If we begin the process of open enrollment, the employee enrolling in your benefit program is an output. We develop new policies and procedures, the document is the output.

4. A system is comprised of the above factors within an environment – John Donne stated that no man is an island, and in this case the previous components of a system do not operate in a vacuum. The environment that is centered around the environment that we call the workplace.

So truly while there maybe some arguments HR management meets all the requirements to be called a system. In recognizing this, we need to clearly consider whether our HR management efforts are centered around how to make the system work to its maximum level of productivity.

How are you ensuring that your HR Management system is running in a top gun direction? Let us know how you are achieving this goal?

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