As an organizational business tool, “departments” are pretty much unavoidable. They’re a semi-logical way to categorize people by functionality and focus. But an unintended consequence of departments is that they tend to isolate people from the rest of the business. Categorization puts metaphorical blinders on people that, while helping them focus on their primary tasks and objectives, also prevents people from knowing what else is going on in other areas and needlessly limits their potential contributions.
Take Human Resources, as an example. Typically, HR people play three critical roles, that of administrative expert, employee advocate, and change agent. Yet, in recent Harvard Business Review blog post, “It’s Time to Split HR,” a business advisor/author argues that Human Resource’s skills and knowledge should benefit other areas of the business, too.
Is your HR department all up in your business?
The author, Ram Charan, believes HR should be more involved in the business, specifically in the business strategy:
I talk with CEOs across the globe who … would like to be able to use their chief human resource officers (CHROs) the way they use their CFOs — as sounding boards and trusted partners — and rely on their skills in linking people and numbers to diagnose weaknesses and strengths in the organization, find the right fit between employees and jobs, and advise on the talent implications of the company’s strategy.
Essentially, his point is that HR professionals are too single-focused and should have more visibility into other areas of the business, not just those that are HR-related. That way they could better understand the business strategy and better help achieve it.
It’s an excellent point, but one that stops short of its full potential.
It’s not just HR that’s single-focused.
Frankly, any employee with knowledge of other departments or lines of business is more helpful to the business. Obviously, HR people who fully understand the company’s new business strategy can find and hire better prospects. Likewise, Sales people who know what’s happening in Marketing can offer real-world insights that could improve results. And PR people who are current with Product developments can more easily identify promotional opportunities — the possibilities are endless.
Between departments, more communication and collaboration is almost always better. So how can you get people in one department more involved with others (and the business as a whole)? Deploy tibbr.
Get more visibility across all your departments.
As a leading Enterprise Social Network, tibbr involves all your people — in every department — in the business of your business. The company Activity Stream opens a window into parts of the company many people would otherwise never see. And that transparency allows for input and involvement that can help your company be more collaborative, productive, and innovative.