SHRM Europe
iStock_000023346718_Small.jpg

blog

Thinking HR
Blog Burst

Are you wasting your time? Transactional vs Transformational HR

Have you ever thought your wasting your time? Many of us have, when we've hit our heads repeatedly against some seemingly impenetrable brick wall.

get results


Despite desperate attempts and a great intention...we sometimes don't see where the most valuable projects lay.

We get fascinated with particular HR initiatives because of the challenge or our experience and we enjoy them.

Have we lost our real sense of purpose? Have we simply become transactional because of circumstances and not by design? Our real msision in HR is solving organisational problems through people and making a trackable difference - IS THAT WHERE YOU ARE AT?

So how do we really know if what we are doing is TRANSFORMATIONAL or simply treading water as TRANSACTIONAL and not really adding major value to the organisation?

 

I often ask this question in our masterclasses and after making various lists we realise that actually ANY HR activity can be either...depending on how you approach it. Certainly there are 4 or 5 critical areas where HR and HRD should be making a difference (such as leadership and management quality) but what makes something TRANSFORMATIONAL vs transactional?

It's in the process of REVIEWING it, to see whether it's fit for purpose by it's users and using feedback to ensure it is getting the desired results, that helps it makes the shift. That's a key part of it but not the only thing. Choosing areas that can add real value at this moment in time, is another, they really contribute to organisational development, productivity, absence unfortunately is usually a bad example, why I hear you, because if you equate the spend on tracking it, dealing with it etc and how much you actually save in financial terms you may well find it's not a lot.

Let us look at what could be more Transformational.

For example, Transactional Engagement would be to respond to a survey with list of action points and then hope next year it all works out. Transformational engagement is when the idea of integrating people's feedback into the design of an inititative or review of it, at all levels in the organisation (business as usual activity) makes it Transformational, it's not an add on, it's part of the process of design and build.

To shift to a more 'Analysis' type approach, you can ask yourself these sometimes challenges quesitons as a way to initiative a more complex way to review what you are working on:

Q1 - IS THIS GETTING THE RESULTS WE NEED NOW (AND FOR THE FUTURE)?

Q2 - DO THE USERS/STAKEHOLDERS THINK IT'S GREAT?

Q3 - WHAT AREAS ARE OBVIOUS FOR CHANGE AND WHAT ARE OTHER ORGANISATIONS DOING?

Q4 - WHAT HARD DATA CAN WE FIND TO BACK A CHANGE AND HOW CAN WE MEASURE THE RESULTS OF THAT CHANGE?

Fundamental questions that can turn any HR or L&D activity into something of value...providing it meets this fundamental piece of judgement (and it's a tough one)

DOES THIS INITIATIVE BOOST ORGANISATIONAL PERFORMANCE?

It cuts to the heart of what we are trying to achieve here, solve organisational problems and improve performance, HR has the people agenda which is delivered through line managers and leaders - they are your biggest blocker or supporter. Very little can be achieved without their support and many HR initiatives fail when their engagement is not sought or won over.

 

JOHN | THINKING HR