Search This Blog

CCE in brief

My photo
Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Monday 18 November 2013

Mapping Out Human Resources and the Knowledge Economy

I cannot belabour this point (pun intended) enough.  By and large, we suck at doing HR.  

This is painfully true for policy-making bodies; as both staff and bosses (elected officials) are transitory in nature, no central body has ever seen value in creating a proper, value-added support structure.

As we enter the Knowledge Economy, smart business leaders are recognizing that the model of employee management that worked well enough during the Industrial Age isn't going to work now - different approaches are needed to maximize the potential of our cognitive labour.  These leaders are starting to think differently, basing their new approaches on new understandings of how to motivate knowledge-based productivity.

And here's the real kicker - as our social model is fraying due to its inadequacy for modern demographic needs, frustrated people seeing their savings and opportunities shrink are increasingly supporting populist leaders.  Those leaders are sticking to typical populist fare - tough-on-crime, best social program is a job, cutting is better than integrating and a laissez-faire approach to economic growth puts most of our eggs in the natural resource basket.

Don't try and tell the confident, competitive people leading the charge backwards that they're missing the trend-lines.  As far as they're concerned, they have all the answers that matter; if an idea doesn't make sense to them or isn't being communicated in a form they don't need to strain to understand, it wasn't worth their time in the first place.

There is an increased amount of pressure being put on human resources, particularly youth entering the workplace, to be leaders (craft the vision, make the pitch, manage the project).  This pressure is counter-intuitive, making it that much harder for the disruptive talent who can break a company's functional fixedness and help it adapt to current realities to get a toe-hold.

Meanwhile, how many comfortable, well-heeled folk see the social change that's remodelling everything as an economic storm, not cultural climate change?  How many capital holders are choosing not to take risks on untested but creative talent or invest in R&D?  Enough, apparently, that federal and provincial governments (plus a think tank or two) are trying to find ways to shake that capital loose.

There are moves to break the silos and build a system, with lots of focus on open data, user-friendly one-stop-shop portals and engaging the public in conversations, which is important.  Similarly, there are steps being taken in the direction of social service delivery reform, with an emphasis on building programs that put the person first, rather than relying on a bucket-funding model that puts end users at the bottom.

This is huge.  People are co-morbid; we're not just a doctor's visit or a school curriculum or a traffic ticket, we're connected.  Our services need to be connected, too.  They need to be mapped out and that map needs to be placed in our hand, via smart-phone Apps - this way we can navigate the path to sustainability that works for our individual needs.

Which brings us back to Human Resources.  We've gotten into the habit of putting The Economy first; that's putting the cart before the horse.  It's people that must come first, for if they aren't in good shape, how can the economy possibly be healthy?

We suck at doing human resources, primarily because we've forgotten the human part.  That sort of thinking can't last, because society has evolved beyond it.

If our labours are to produce sustainable results, we have to become conscious of this oversight and catalyze change.

Let's get passed fearing seas of troubles lapping at our shores - there's an ocean of opportunity and beyond, undiscovered countries waiting for us to explore.

1 comment:

  1. > These leaders are starting to think differently, basing their new approaches on new understandings of how to motivate knowledge-based productivity.

    Some things that might contribute to this understanding are:
    - A concept of cognitive productivity that distinguishes it from other forms of productivity ;
    - A concept of knowledge (how objective knowledge differs from subjective knowledge) ;
    - A model of the structure and processes underlying motivation (i.e., an architecture of the human mind);

    These things are rarely discussed together, but compare the book Cognitive Productivity on