Human Resources is invaluable when it comes to creating an adaptive, Lean workplace. By virtue of its connection to all levels of a business, Human Resources has the ability to shift the work culture zeitgeist in very specific ways.
Human Resources and Professional Development need to be almost prescient in identifying the current status of the organisation and anticipate new demands. It is also up to these entities to ensure a Lean purpose in all training courses is offered, be it soft skills courses, management courses or technical courses. However, it is not enough simply to fulfil the basic Human Resources infrastructure, like training and workshops, but also to develop supporting structures and support groups.
Firstly, supporting structures provide an educational framework that unfolds alongside the overall development and keeps pace with newly-identified requirements. Knowledge centres are ideal as they can be a repository for scenario-based material, for example podcasts, videos, eLearning modules, documents and reading recommendations. All employees in the organisation will be able to access material based on their demands and requirements and have an opportunity to see what is going on in other parts of the business.
Secondly, support groups should be headed up by key players who support and drive change through their contributions. Most important are internal coach-mentors, consultants and trainers who sustain change and achievement after external consultants are no longer connected to the organisation.
If those contributing factors are not aligned by Human Resources to the demands of ongoing change, the overall success will be jeopardised as the old-world tools, processes and behaviours help to preserve the old organisational norms.
It is imperative that Human Resources observe and support the transition from old-style hierarchical thinking to the newly defined freedom and working possibilities and demands of an adaptive, Lean organisation.
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