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HR made simple

HR made simple

This is not a Dummy's guide to HR but to explain what, why and how HR can be made simpler. In recent times, organisations have invested resources to simplify HR with a shared service model, HR information systems and redefining the role of HR through HR Business partnering. With so much put into the HR community, has HR become simpler? What does simple mean? 

To some, simple is an antonym for complex while others may view it as an antonym for complicated but are the two antonyms the same thing? According to a well known Danish designer who was responsible for improving signage in the Copenhagen Airport, this is his definition of complex and complicated. To him complexity is made up of many different elements put together while complication refers to increased difficulty of a particular element. He was responsible for reducing the number of signage at the airport from 1,400 to 1,100 yet increasing the effectiveness of way finding for passengers. With the signs written in English and Danish, someone recommended that he add French and Spanish to make the signs more effective and simple to understand. His reply was that it would make understanding less complicated but make the process more complex. 

This creates a challenge for any HR professional who wants to make HR simpler. How many times have we developed a HR initiative to simplify processes only to have our non-HR colleagues lament how difficult the new process is and how the objective to make things simpler has failed? Moving forward, we have to ask ourselves the fundamental question when working with simplicity. Which facet of simplicity are we working on when we create an initiative to improve HR processes? For example, an organisation brings in a HR information system (HRIS) to simplify HR services and measurement that may inadvertently introduce new procedures and access layers for the end user. Although accessibility to the required information has increased leading to a decrease in complication, it has increased the level of complexity with more steps and layers an employee has to go through.  So has the HRIS made HR processes simpler? It depends on which facet of simplicity you are working on. Sometimes simplicity is not really that simple after all. 

"The simplest solutions require the most complex of thoughts" ~Gary Lee

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