Dysfunctional work silos

Here are some of the observations and insights that were shared via social media this past week.

I am only highlighting one post I came across this week, as I think it is extremely important as an indicator of how work is changing.

Bersin.com: Performance Management As a Part of Daily Life: Work.com Changes the Game – via @C4LPT

But Work.com is more than a performance management system.  It is an integrated part of the Salesforce platform, and as such is located where many employees actually do their work.  Critically, there is no separate system to access.  There is no need for HR to entice employees to use the performance management system.   This is not “performance management” software – it is “work software” – a tool which Salesforce.com hopes will help people work together better.

My Comments: This should be a wake-up call to work support specialists (L&D, OD, HR) that “net work” has to be integrated. For vendors, the days of stand-alone learning, talent, or performance management systems are numbered. It should also be a clear indication that industrial/information age work structures, and the disciplines they begat, are losing. relevance.

If systems like Work.com are integrated with the lines of business, there may be less need for specialized HR practitioners or at least fewer of them. Managers may begin to ask why they need HR, when they can manage 80% of performance management themselves. And PM is just the start. Why not learning management, when the vast majority of learning happens on the job?

We are moving toward a unified performer-facing work support model, one that does not differentiate between HR, OD or L&D. The only differentiation is between those doing the valued work, and those supporting it. With integrated software systems, we can now see who is doing what and how much value they add. Work is becoming transparent, and highlighting the dysfunction of our work function silos, created in a time when information was scarce and connections were few. That time has come to pass.

7 Responses to “Dysfunctional work silos”

  1. JJ

    After leading business teams for many years I have seen the “performance management” process get so in the way of its intent so I agree with much of what is said. Not only does the process (time and effort to “check the boxes” and create reports is consuming and draining), it often leads ie the tail wags the dog !

  2. Jon Husband

    Mi>This should be a wake-up call to work support specialists (L&D, OD, HR) that “net work” has to be integrated.

    How many times has the Snooze button on the alarm clock been pressed by now ?

  3. Brad Palmer

    Interesting perspective Harold. I see this the other way around — that as enterprise platforms advance, point solutions (and point expertise) become more valuable and more important. A well designed platform frees the speciallists to focus on exactly what they do well, to deliver their value in the full context of the greater organization. This allows each individual and team to choose the advice and tools that work best for them, yet still be part of a closely knit organization. (But as the CEO of Jostle that provides a people-connecting, expertise-revealing, tool-gluing platform I do have a strong bias here.)

    • Harold Jarche

      I think this observation of yours is critical, Brad: “yet still be part of a closely knit organization”. What used to be only several areas of point expertise in a company is now becoming many areas of point expertise. Expertise is fragmenting, so organizations need to be able to group expertise on the fly, in order to address new types of problems. This requires some type of unified collaboration/cooperation system, and I believe Jostle does enable that as well.

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