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Feb 16

Evolving Human Resources Using Adaptive Case Management

peoplemanagementA key part of my new organization model is a new evolution of human resources management. I prefer Josh Bersin’s term, people management, because “human resources” reminds me too much of the 1950’s organizational man model. Another concept that shaped my thinking along with Bersin’s people management model is the Alliance Model.

The Alliance, co-written by the founder of LinkedIn and two entrepreneurs, describes a new type of employer-employee contract. As the authors argue, the old unspoken compact between employer and employee was built on stability. You work for the company, and you will have lifelong employment as long as you do a good job and obey orders. The company will develop you and move you up the ladder to an eventual good retirement. That does not work anymore.

In the Alliance model, employers and employees negotiate “tours of duty.” Employees are encouraged to think of themselves as free agents who spend time developing their skills and looking for opportunities. Employers hire for specific skills to help fulfill the strategic mission. The contract is explicit and agreed upon by all parties. Tours of duty can be short-time or open-ended depending upon need.

What I like about tours of duty is that they are mutually-satisfying and that the relationship is equal between employer and employee. Tours of duty also make sure that the employee’s interests are aligned with the organization’s interest. When the interests no longer serve each other, the employee and employer make an amicable break. Employees then join the organization’s alumni network and could be rehired when circumstances change.

To implement a tour of duty people management system will require more flexibility and responsiveness than current HR processes. That is why I propose using adaptive case management (ACM) as the platform for the new organizational model’s people management processes. ACM provides just enough structure to ensure that organization’s people management processes are in compliance but is flexible enough handle the uniqueness of each tour of duty. I am currently working on a book chapter that will specifically describe how to replace current commonly-accepted HR processes with ACM.

I had previously argued that organizations should combine HR and IT into one organization-wide function. I believe that when HR has transformed into “People Management” through adopting adaptive case management, HR will be ready to manage IT successfully. Then, organizations will have the talent they will need while the talent will have the tools they need to make the tour of duty successful for both the employee and the organization.

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