Originally posted on stuff.co.nz written by Tao Lin

Younger generations of workers are putting greater value on an organisation’s purpose, with a significant number refusing to work for companies based on its values.

This is a finding from the 2016 Deloitte Millennial survey, which took into account 7700 responses from 29 countries.

Nine out of 10 millennials surveyed believed the success of a business should be measured in more terms that just financial performance.

The old Telecom brand was revamped into Spark in 2014 to reflect a more modern, tech-savvy company.

SUPPLIED. The old Telecom brand was revamped into Spark in 2014 to reflect a more modern, tech-savvy company.

More than 50 per cent of respondents said they ruled out working for organisations based on company values.

Deloitte manager in human capital Dan Howell says this may make millennials seem entitled, which is a common criticism of that generation, but they are just asking for what they think the market is ready to give.

“They’re a generation with opportunities and with opportunity comes the greater ability to be a bit more opinionated and a bit more pushy.”

Just because millennials are saying they want something doesn’t mean some businesses aren’t already providing it.

Almost 60 per cent of survey respondents said they had an improved view of business ethics and 73 per cent believed companies provided good to the wider society.

The limitation with the survey is that New Zealand was not included in the pool of respondents, although Australia was.

However, from human resources (HR) expert Samantha Gadd’s experience, Kiwis aren’t that different.

Gadd recently rebranded her HR consultancy from HR Shop to Humankind to better represent the organisation as purpose-led, human, kind and not fixated on transactional, dated HR practices.

Humankind’s mission is to help people love what they do and do what they love, she says.

“Having a really clear vision and purpose means everyone organises themselves around those things. People aren’t just driven by making more money. People want to know how they’re making a difference,” she says.

Her aim is to help build the best New Zealand workplaces and to do that, she needed a clear purpose to underpin everything the company did, from attracting the best talent to the services offered.

More familiar to Kiwis is Spark’s rebrand from Telecom to position the company as a digital services provider for the future.

Human resources general manager Dani George says the 2014 rebrand was about becoming more relevant to New Zealanders, to move beyond the Telecom legacy and reflect the huge technological changes happening in the industry and in the world.

She says attracting younger digital talent is a key focus for Spark and the company has a number of young people working for it, including teenagers in coding.

“There is a marked difference in how younger people want to make their mark on the world, rather than just taking on a job.”

They are looking for companies that will foster and embrace their talent and offer ongoing development opportunities, which Spark does through its graduate programmes, George says.

Deloitte’s Howell says companies should be more aware of what’s important to workers and for millennials, culture is obviously important.

As part of that culture, companies should think about its values and ethics and how that is communicated to the workforce.

He says it is about taking a people-centric focus and understanding how staff values fit in with the work they are doing.

“The number one thing [about retaining talent] is organisations need to understand people’s values, they need to satisfy demand and support ambitions.”

However, just because there is a focus on millennials, does not mean there is not a place in the workforce for other generations.

Millennials are hungry for mentors and older works can provide that knowledge.

“In this world now, the best leadership team is a mixed leadership with that diversity of thought with both generations,” Howell says.

August 1st, 2016

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Originally posted on stuff.co.nz written by Tao Lin

Last year, Wellington business owner Samantha Gadd made the toughest decision in her business career so far.

Lying in bed with the flu, the founder of HR Shop realised her firm’s strategy, brand and proposition to the market had changed over the past four years and the “nice cosy club” she had created no longer cut it.

The company, which was named in last year’s Deloitte’s list of the country’s fastest growing companies, was still growing but it lacked the right roles and expertise at the right levels for a high performing business.

So, she led a restructure that ultimately meant some staff had to go.

“It was really hard on the team because we’re quite a small business.”

“I had a significant amount of feedback. Everyone had strong opinions and of course, I took it all incredibly personally. I took on-board the feedback, amended the proposal and at the end of the day made some changes. It wasn’t easy.”

Gadd also rebranded her company, from HR Shop to Humankind, a decision that was met with some negativity.

Ultimately, she said it was about trusting her gut and doing what was best to take the company forward.

Who Ate All The Pies founder Steven Turner said one of his biggest challenges has been managing cashflow.

A problem with manufacturing was that the supply often had to be there before approaching stockists, creating the big risk of: what if nobody wants to sell the product?

Turner said because of this, he started his business in the weak position of having to scale without an order book.

But, things were looking up now. His accounts were growing every month and he can accurately forecast who will buy what from him each week.

Another challenge Turner came up against was funding and he said he was “staggered” at how hard it was for small businesses to get funding from investment companies.

Turner is fully automating his production line and he has a goal of increasing production by 400 per cent.

With that in mind, he said the only thing to do in the face of impossible challenges was to just keep going.

“You’ve got a plan, you know what you want to do, just keep pushing towards that plan.”

Deloitte private partner Mike Horne said a lack of the right resources, skills and funding were common challenges faced by fast-growing businesses.

Something that could help, and something Kiwis were not always great at, was collaborating with others, Horne said.

Business owners often did not want to share information with others out of fear of losing their competitive advantage.

“Actually, sharing information and understanding how others are doing things can be really important,” Horne said.

July 11th, 2016

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It’s been over a year since we last covered the topic of flexible working and after attending a Future of Work conference recently, I came away with some new perspectives and insights to add to the conversation.

I love flexible working – at Humankind flexibility is a huge part of our culture and vision, and helps us work efficiently, attract a high performing team, and deliver awesome results for our clients. If it’s a choice employees are consciously making because it fits in with their lifestyle, personality and current time in their career/life – great. With rapid advances in technology and tools that enable us to work in multiple locations and stay connected with colleagues, it’s inevitable this way of working will grow, whether we like it or not. However not all of society wants, or is prepared for a lifestyle like this and for the majority, this is still the case.

As business owners and managers, I believe it’s our job to be aware that not everyone is able, or wants to work in this way.

Recently we have seen a number of successful companies like Uber and AirBnb use the sharing economy business model. This means the core structure of their business uses independent contractors over employees – giving the drivers or house hostess’ large amounts of freedom and the employer much less responsibility such as paying taxes, holiday pay and sick leave. While this might be a great option for some people, Uber and AirBnB take next to no responsibility and ownership of their workers while they watch their profits grow by the minute. This poses an important question for any business owner – Is this morally right?

Looking to the future of flexible workplaces, I think we have two challenges:

  1. Flexible working arrangements are not for everyone – there are many employees who need full time and permanent work, providing stable and certain income and no stress around individual tax obligations.
  2. Not everyone has the skills to quickly adapt to a flexible working environment – many employees have only experienced working environments where they have been micro-managed and given very little autonomy. These employees will need support with skills such as planning and time management to ensure they are adequately prepared.

I am still hugely passionate about this modern business practise. These new ways of working afforded to us largely by technological advances are awesome for the likes of tech start-ups and forward thinking innovative companies that place value on a creative environment. But it isn’t a one size fits all, and it will be interesting to see how these practices impact other industries that don’t naturally fit into this category in the future.

As an employer in New Zealand, I feel a responsibility to take a wider look at the changing work environment, and acknowledge that these trends are not desired or easy for everyone. At the end of the day, flexible workplaces are hugely reliant on a high trust environment, and the buy in of the staff it impacts – we should be asking not only ‘will flexible work styles add value to my business?’ but ‘will my team value working flexibly?’

What do you think about flexibility in the workplace? Is it something for the masses or just a portion of society? Let us know below we would love to hear your thoughts.

June 30th, 2016

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Everywhere we look we are experiencing hyper-personalisation. When we log into Facebook, Instagram or YouTube we see advertising and content specifically targeted to us, sometimes it’s so accurate, it’s scary – these platforms seem to know us very well!

The ability to offer hyper-personalised experiences is certainly a big focus for many organisations, particularly in retail and other consumer focused industries. Idealog recently published a great read on hyper-personalisation and the new world of digital DNA – we are becoming much better at using consumer data to improve the experience of our customers.

All of this has me thinking though, why is this trend barely seen when it comes to the employee experience? I recently listened to an amazing podcast where Jacob Morgan interviewed Ellyn Shook. Ellyn Shook talked about how Accenture used ‘crowd sourcing’ of ideas from the organisation to develop people and culture initiatives, a far cry from how HR has traditionally developed ideas in a small room with the doors closed. Ellyn also touched on why we should focus on hyper-personalised employee experiences, as the modern workforce is used to hyper-personalised experiences in every other area of their lives. This has stuck with me and I would love to know what other organisations are doing in this space.

Although understanding your employee data is very important, I believe we can all get started today, and very simply.

Listen generously.

Listening generously means to be present. Put down your iPhone and close your laptop. It is more than just not speaking. Listen without judging. Listening generously is listening with care and empathy.

I regularly sit down with members of my team and listen to understand the experiences they want from work. I try to gain insights into what type of projects would see them highly engaged, and also what their broader learning/development and career goals are. When I have these insights I can do my very best to make it happen, and this will be different for each person. In these conversations I also gain an understanding of the leadership style which suits them best, how they like to receive feedback and more.

As we grow, other leaders within my business will seek to gain the same insights, so that even as a much larger organisation we can offer hyper-personalised experiences.

Larger organisations may have the advantage of data and the incredible insights this data gives us to develop engaging experiences for their teams. As smaller organisations, we have the advantage of starting being as easy as listening generously.

What are others doing around improving the employee experience? We would love to hear your insights and ideas!

June 30th, 2016

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The traditional way of doing performance management in organisations hasn’t changed for decades – the standard being to set goals at the start of the year, with a review maybe 6 months in, if not a full year later. Often in between these reviews there is very little discussion to be had around the goals themselves, unless someone has negative feedback to give, and the reviews themselves are painful for all involved – with the employee potentially receiving feedback that they haven’t heard anything about up until now, and managers generally finding the process time consuming and stressful. In larger organisations the pain is multiplied by a moderation process since everyone is being in essence ranked and rated and relativity checking becomes a necessary extra step.

So the question becomes why do we choose to carry on like this – acknowledging that feedback and goal setting is an integral part of any business, but the way in which you do it is largely up to you. In the last year or so there have been a handful of big name companies like IBMAccenture and Deloitte all announcing a move away from their current performance management systems, and we are noticing more and more of our clients wanting to manage performance without the cumbersome traditional processes.

We held a meetup in our space recently around a case study from a relatively small organisation who had worked with an HR consultant to put together a process that was all about discussion, development, goal setting, without the standard performance review mindset. One of the key take aways was as simple as changing the language to shift the perception. Much of the language of performance management — and even the term itself — is mechanistic, officious and as far from endearing/inspiring as possible. Not calling it a review and not talking about ratings can make a big difference in getting people to think differently and shake negative associations with performance review. But changing the name isn’t going to make any meaningful difference if the process doesn’t follow suit. Some of the ways you can put your money where your mouth is include:

Approaching reviewing performance as an ongoing conversationrather than 6 monthly ‘out of sight out of mind’ sessions. As a manager you should be having a 1 to 1 with your direct reports at least once a fortnight and this is a great time to give feedback and have performance discussions. There is more about how we do things at HR Shop when it comes to building an informal, regular, accountable performance management process here.

Use the OKR framework (Objectives, Key Results) to hone in on focused goals with measurable outcomes. We see plenty of clients with 8 or 9 key goals to achieve over the next 12 months which often end up buried out of sight and mind until the next performance review. Some of the key aspects of this framework are that you set a maximum of 3 to work on at any given time, they are intrinsically linked with measures for success, and they are always visible to you and the rest of your organisation so that they drive every action of the business.

Breaking large long term goals into smaller ones. The pace of change seems to be increasingly exponentially and 12 month goals can become outdated quickly. Breaking them into smaller 3 month timelines will keep them relevant and front of mind – OKRs can help solve this problem too, as they exist to provide clarity of purpose and manageable steps forward. There’s more on long term vs short term and aligning long term vision with actionable tasks here.

Shift your discussions to looking forward rather than looking back.One of our favourite learnings from the HR Welly meetup case study was about focussing on looking forward rather than looking back – a preview rather than a review. You need to be focussing on the here and now, not what will you be doing 6 months from now, and not what you did 6 months ago. Like Accenture CEO Pierre Nanterme has said: “It’s no longer about performance comparisons but about the individual. Stop trying to measure the value of employees’ contribution after the fact and regularly support and position workers to perform better in the future.”

In essence businesses need to identify what key information they are trying to collect through traditional performance reviews and decide whether those current processes are the most effective and empowering way to drive results. Breaking big hairy goals down into manageable chunks over smaller time periods, tracking them in a visible, informal way and ensuring results and learnings feed into actionable change will all be core aspects of making performance (p)reviews an asset rather than a burden when it comes to engaging your team and delivering success.

June 30th, 2016

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This post is the third instalment in our Holacracy journey – with the first explaining what Holacracy is, and the second digging into why we chose it and how we are implementing it.

It’s been 6 months since our last Holacracy post and a lot has happened in the interim, including essentially putting our Holacracy inspired structure on hold for the time being. It is really scary to try something new and take a risk, and it is even scarier to admit when it doesn’t quite go to plan. The purpose of this post is to be really transparent about where we are at, in order to shed some light on the sticking points when implementing a totally new structure. Hopefully it gives you some honest insight on how to navigate the blurred lines when implementing brand new HR practices within your own organisation.

Coming off the back of a few years of really fast growth has its own set of challenges – a big growth spike in Auckland and changing requirements from our Wellington clients meant a real need for reorganisation arose, and going through a restructure under Holacracy is definitely what I would call a grey area! Some of the challenges I have found with these more ‘teal’ (this is a really good article explaining what a teal organisation is) ways of working like Holacracy, is that it can be really difficult to find a middle ground when it comes to more traditional HR functions like restructuring.

So the hypocrisy was a real challenge for me when I made the decision to effectively put our Holacracy structure on hold in order to go through a restructure process, reallocate some of our FTE’s, and further define the roles within the team (which is pretty antithetical to Holacracy’s ‘removing soul from role’ approach).

I spoke to one of the only Holacracy trained coaches in New Zealand who agreed it is difficult to operate in a dynamic, flat structure like Holacracy, and at the same time facilitate more traditional HR practices when they are needed. The simple question was, if Holacracy revolves around self-managing circles with no bosses to speak of, who makes the tough decisions in a restructure situation? He was upfront with me about the fact that there is no magic bullet when it comes to trying to blend traditional HR functions with the Holacracy model and that it is really challenging – especially when you take into account your legal obligations as a part of NZ employment law as well. When done right, you can think of Holacracy as a system, with traditional HR pieces like remuneration, performance reviews or restructures, sitting on the top of the system, like how apps are individual functions that sit on top of IOS or Android.

Holocracy is just one system in the wider evolution to becoming a teal organisation. The tension I felt when facing real commercial realities and ensuring we were best organized to achieve our strategy and also trying to lead a future focused ‘teal’ organisation was difficult and real. I would like to think when we are further down the path with our teal journey i.e. a more mature teal organization, we will find new ways to solve these commercial challenges and to meet our constantly evolving strategy.

Despite the hiccups, I still feel that moving to a Holacracy structure has a lot of potential as a worthwhile investment in the long term. This comes from taking into account what a big upheaval reimagining how you work together as a team is, and offsetting it against the benefits Holacracy can provide – an agile, flexible structure that allows your team to respond to market changes efficiently and implement innovative new ideas far more easily. This is a really awesome inside experience to how hard Holacracy can be to adjust to, as well as the benefits it can ultimately provide. There are plenty of awesome examples of organisations engraining self-management throughout their teams as a competitive advantage within their respective industries like Yammer and Medium.

But it definitely isn’t the only option available to us or other businesses looking to walk the talk as far as operating under a flexible and future focused structure – Holacracy is only one system in the whole teal movement, and I am doing lots of research around what other options may also work. As a business we are still committed to a flat, dynamic organisational design that works for us – one that allows us to share power and decision making, and enables flexibility, open/transparent work styles, trying new things and wellness principles like bringing your whole self to work. Our entire culture and reason for being revolves around that future focused, teal workplace goal. What that looks like, and how that manifests for HR Shop is definitely still a work in progress!

What have we learnt along the way? That in hindsight our ‘Holacracy inspired’ approach fed into the problem – Holacracy is quite prescriptive and a dipping your toes in approach might have felt less scary but ultimately made it harder to implement in a holistic way. Advice I would give to a business looking at implementing Holacracy would be that if you really want to do it, you need to commit whole heartedly to it and you will most likely need to enlist the help of a Holacracy coach to guide you through the steps of what is a fundamental change to the way your organisation will operate. While we certainly didn’t undertake Holacracy lightly, I definitely underestimated just how much time and effort that we would need to commit – especially as lean business moving at speed.

I look forward to sharing our progress towards truly being a teal organisation and tackling commercial challenges in a way that fits with our desire to be a truly future focused workplace.

I am really happy to answer any questions you might have about our experience and I look forward to hearing from others taking a risk and moving away from tried and tested hierarchy and traditional management!

 

June 30th, 2016

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Earlier this year Humankind (previously HR Shop) posted about two current major trends; workplace flexibility and remote working. In this post we continue exploring HR trends – the rise of analytics, the downfall of engagement surveys, changes in professional development and learning, and the switch to digital tools in performance management.

‘What gets measured gets done’ – analytics

We’ve noticed that HR is becoming more focused on analytics but without a purpose or context this information usually offers little of value. Metrics may not measure the most important factors. Success in recruitment may be measured by ‘time to hire’. But it’s really the ‘quality of hire’ that counts. Nobody cares if it takes 20 or 30 days to get a new employee through the door; as long as you have the right outcome for your organisation.

Information may be collected but not analysed. Extrapolating data, then feeding in environmental and economic factors can give insights into what sort of workforce and skills may be required in the future. But don’t get too caught up in the numbers – HR is about people, making your business better, and often just doing the right thing; all difficult things to quantify. Remember H is for human!

Un-engaging from engagement surveys

The tide has turned on engagement surveys, many have decided they don’t work, and this year a report by Deloitte declared them obsolete. Traditional staff engagement surveys are too narrow, often nothing is done with the results, and some feature loaded questions skewed to one outcome – we’ve seen genuinely happy workplaces with dismal engagement scores due to questions skewed towards low scores. Join us in putting the humanity back into HR. If you want to know what your staff think why not strike up a conversation with them.

New school Vs. Old school – professional development

With the explosion of online learning tools in the previous three years, it’s no wonder that employees are becoming more self-directed in their learning and development. The mindset of who’s responsible for professional development has also changed; shifting from the expectation that employers will ‘develop employees’; towards supporting employees to initiate this learning and development themselves.

Learning and development should be incorporated into the workspace and employees supported with integrating it into their day-to-day routines.

Performance management goes digital

The floodgates have opened and torrents of organisations are ditching traditional performance management in favour of digital tools. 89 percent of those surveyed in the Global Human Capital Trends 2015 survey recently changed their performance management process or plan to change it within 18 months.

Performance management online tools – they’re new, exciting, and it seems like everyone else is using them.

But before buying any tools it pays to work out exactly what your organisation needs. Design the process you will use, this should be used as your criteria when choosing a tool. If nothing fits your process you may have to build something yourself – or perhaps you don’t need a tool? Maybe traditional performance management still works for your business.

Takeaways

  • Make sure data you’re collecting has a purpose and is analysed.
  • If you want to know what your staff think talk to them rather than sending them a survey.
  • Integrate professional development into the workspace and support employees to make it part of their routine.
  • Design your process before buying performance management tools.

How does your workplace incorporate professional development into the workplace? How have these trends affected your workplace? Let me know in the comments below.

June 30th, 2016

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One thing we have noticed over the last few years is a steady increase in candidates looking for a sense of purpose in their work. They want to know how what they are doing, and what their company is going to make a difference in the world.  A purpose for existing is something that should show through in a business’ vision and should serve not just as a road map for the business itself but also to help employees see the bigger picture. And we aren’t the only ones that seem to think so: check out # 6 on this list of 7 signs your company isn’t cool enough to work for.

Having a very open dialogue is a great place to start – as a SME I really like to involve the staff in meetings about strategy and finances for example so that everyone is on the same page and understands where the business is going. People like being part of a growing business because they feel the challenges of it and they feel involved –  if we are having a great month I like to share that, but I will also share when we are going into a tough period and I don’t want anyone to be under any illusion that it isn’t tough – January for example only has three working weeks and is generally really tight for a services business like us.

People aren’t interested in working just to earn the business money. They want to know how their work, and by proxy their business is going to make the world a better place. Involving your team in figuring out what that purpose is and what it means your business looks like is really important. We had a great session where we talked about our vision which had been a collaborative effort to get to and then talked about how we as a team are going to get there? What does our culture need to be and what do we as a business need to be and that helps the team to buy into the vision – they get to create the workplace that they want to be in to achieve that. As a business owner you’re like ‘awesome all these people are talking about how they are going to get themselves organised to achieve the purpose, they all feel really included and engaged’. I think people do actually appreciate the honesty and we’ve seen the same thing for clients. The employees of businesses that have really open communication channels feel much more engaged because they feel part of something bigger and they can see how their bit in particular makes a difference.

Inviting all your staff to every meeting is obviously not going to work for huge multinationals –  the takeaway here is how leaders can make small changes to the way they operate and communicate to ensure staff can be sure of (and proud of) the business purpose.

 

June 30th, 2016

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Our last blog post covered the core reasons why we have moved to a ‘Holacracy inspired’ structure at Humankind. But it definitely isn’t as simple as that – the following is a little more detail around why we looked for a new structure and how we are going.

Our Holacracy journey started towards the end of last year when Humankind went through some really steep growth and I was becoming a serious bottleneck – I realised that in order for us to achieve our business objectives more people needed to be able to make decisions than just myself. I had started doing some digging around alternative business structures with a focus around how we could do a better job of sharing decision-making and authority, especially given the awesome self starting attitudes of our team.

I also really liked the concept of everyone in the business contributing to the growth of the business – not just in sales but everybody having a say in the evolution and improvement of Humankind as a whole – easier said than done, especially when you have flexible work arrangements and remote working in the equation.

The last factor was that it had to be scalable – this came out of a growth problem, how was the way we structure our business going to help or hinder us as we continued to grow into the future.

What was important for us was to work to our strengths – we have a whole team of super smart people; we shouldn’t need to be managing people on operational tasks so traditional management styles are an awkward fit. Through the research I did, I read about Zappos using Holacracy to move towards everyone in the organisation being able to act like an entrepreneur, which really jumped out at me. Holacracy is a way of working with a focus on relevant skills and collaboration rather than levels of seniority. Everyone and no one is in charge, and everyone in the business is able to process tensions and therefore improve the business incrementally.

The real benefits of running a business in this way is the ability to share leadership and responsibility across the business, providing an opportunity for everyone in the business to contribute across the different business functions, allowing for a high level of agility and efficiency.

Holacracy is a relatively new concept in New Zealand so it was hard to reach out to businesses currently putting it in practise in our specific context, but when I had researched to the point that I was confident that it was feasible for us both in how it would be beneficial and how we could implement it, I basically went into a consultation period with my team. I structured a document covering where we had come from and our key achievements over the last 2.5 years, what were the reasons we were looking to change and then what were the benefits I was hoping to gain from Holacracy.

Being an HR business, everyone had very strong views on how it should work because they all do this for a living, it was really important to talk through all possible outcomes and agree as a team that Holacracy was right for us.

We ended up decided a Holacracy inspired model would be the best fit for our flexible working environment and organisation values than a more traditional hierarchal structure, finding a balance between our current format and the standard Holacracy format. We run the business using circles, and every person within the organisation has the opportunity to self nominate in and out of circles, as they desire. This is a new way of working and we are calling it HR Shop 2.0.

The fundamental principles behind the changes were organising a business around functions and not people, distributing decision making, and allowing individuals to contribute across the business. Traditionally in a services business you would have people contributing solely to their client work, whereas I wanted people to be able to do client work as well as contribute to what is going on within HR Shop and traditional hierarchy structures wouldn’t have accommodated that as easily.

The process definitely wasn’t without a few hiccups. One mistake I made was taking a punt at what the circles were that we needed and which circles people might end up in, purely in the essence of time, and that was a really bad idea. The team was like, “well you’ve kind of told us where to go and what you think we should do”, when the point of Holacracy is about people getting to self-nominate themselves in and out of different circles. It was quite a mental shift for me – after seeking feedback from the team I realised that even what I thought I had put forward as a Holacracy inspired model still had hierarchy in there and we needed to get rid of that. V2 had all of these left as blank for everyone to self-nominate in to where they felt the best fit – of course this was a much better idea!

I took onboard plenty of other feedback and made adjustments as necessary to build a model that really suited us – the team were happy that I had listened and in the end could understand the vision and how this would enable us to achieve our goals more than a normal structure. By and large the feedback ended up being really positive, and for the last 4 months we have been working within a ‘Holacracy inspired’ structure with 6 key circles and two larger overarching circles, business monitoring where the circle heads meet to ensure synergy across the circles and the the board which is responsible for governance.

Key takeaways for me have been:

  • Holacracy isn’t for everyone and changing your organisational structure is a big job, not to be taken lightly. This seems obvious but needs to be said, especially with the speed at which technology and ideas change – jumping on the bandwagon is not the best reason to adopt a new business model
  • For us it was all about playing to our assets – when we have a huge amount of trust in our team anyway, to use that to our advantage is as much about making good business sense as it is about empowering team members to utilise that trust factor and make measurable impact on the business
  • Trying something new is always going to be a learning curve, and it is up to you to take onboard learnings and adapt for the better – and the result is always better than if it went smoothly from the get go

At the end of the day, the real measure of success is seeing circles radically improving the business without needing to jump through gate keeper hoops, regardless of whether I am involved. It’s kind of every business owner’s dream to have their team as committed and passionate about the business as they are. Its not for everyone, but it’s working for us and I am really excited to see our holacracy model grow and evolve with us as we continue to expand in size and location.

Would Holacracy help or hinder the way you do business? Have you seen any other awesome alternative work structures making a positive impact on an organisation? Let us know in the comments below.

 

June 30th, 2016

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One of the guiding forces of Humankind is to lead by example when it comes to transformative organisational styles and structures. This year we decided that a Holacracy inspired model would be a better fit for our flexible working environment and organisation values than a more traditional hierarchal structure. Holacracy is a way of working with a focus on relevant skills and collaboration rather than levels of seniority, with Zappos and ARCA amongst its followers. We run the business using circles (groups focused on different areas of the business), and every person within the organisation has the opportunity to self nominate in and out of circles, as they desire. This is a new way of working and we are calling it Humankind 2.0.

 

The fundamental principles behind Humankind 2.0 are:

  • Organise the business around functions, not people
  • Distribute decision making
  • Allow individuals to contribute across the business
  • Business success will rely on individual responsibility, accountability and autonomy
  • Trust individuals to act in the best interests of the business, our vision and values

The real benefits of running a business in this way is the ability to share leadership and responsibility across the business, providing an opportunity for everyone in the business to contribute across the different business functions. The structure is designed around business functions, and not around hierarchy, allowing for a high level of agility and efficiency.

Holacracy definitely wont work for everyone or every business (and can have some interesting consequences – here is a great read about Zappos) but the reasons why we decided it was worth implementing at Humankind are:

  1. Improve ability to achieve the objectives in the strategic business plan
  2. Create a structure which will scale easily
  3. Enable individuals in the business to contribute across functions
  4. Provide an environment where each individual has autonomy and ability to contribute to important decisions in the business
  5. To reduce hierarchy and need for traditional management
  6. To try something new and lead by example – and improve culture along the way!

Does your business use Holocracy or an alternative to a more traditional hierarchy? Would it be worth it in the long run if they did? Always interested in hearing both sides of the coin when it comes to how a business is structured to best meet its goals and empower its people!

June 30th, 2016

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