Human Resources is an important function of an organization today. Like before, it's no more all about recruitment and people management but a complete paradigm shift on People Development. Today's organizations are more knowledge workers and hence they are no more looking out for jobs but are aspiring for long lasting and rewarding careers.
However, HR practices that are followed today are many a times still primitive and not updated to match with the aspirations of today's players. A shift in mind set and practices are very much the need of the day if an organization truly wants to develop its people and create a knowledge organization.
Kanban is an extremely effective way to bring in Resilience into the HR practices. This paper will walkthrough the case study of how HR has been implemented successfully in my client organization to keep up with both the speed and the development aspects of the organization.
We used most of the key Kanban principles while applying Kanban for the HR team. Here is an example for one of the HR teams – Talent Acquisition – on how Kanban was implemented: I will have multiple examples in the ppt.
- Visualize the workflow - we used this specifically in the talent acquisition teams to track the number of applications, applications selected, interviews lined up, offers rolled out and candidate joining. These were the columns we used in our Kanban board and each item was tracked and during the daily stand up, if any of the line item was in the same column for more than 3 working days. Each column was further split into – To Do, WIP and Completed (refer to the ppt for the visual of the board)
- Applying WIP Limits – We had a two –way limit to the WIP – one at the time level with a 3 working day limit for completing the pending work and second – not having more than 3 work items on the board
- Manage flow – since the requests for hire come from all over the organization, managing flow and identifying a point of contact for the business units was critical and helped manage the flow and predict the flow for the future as well
- Make process and policies explicit – since all of the business units are the customers, being transparent with them on making the hiring process explicit and bringing them into the Kanban fold was essential
- Feedback – As all the business units are the customers, taking a monthly feedback on the talent acquisition process and a retrospection on the feedback for continuous improvement was essential
- Improve and Evolve – Improving on the feedback as well as inspections within the team and evolving as an efficient lean team was not just a principle for us but it was our Goal!
The key problem we were trying to solve were:
1. Agility in IT only can only bring that much change and will continue to be constrained on human factors. Hence agility should go beyond software development and we started with HR to begin with.
2. Agile is a team and people focused philosophy. If these are ignored, the initial improvements we will see in IT will stagnate without able support from the HR function over a period of time. So to sustain the IT agility, it's essential we go beyond to bring in enterprise agility
The key measures that helped us to tell that we are in the right direction were:
1. Frequent feedback - from teams, managers, stakeholders on any new changes / processes we introduce (e.g.: managing recruitment pipeline for various business units - current # of days vs post Kanban implementation days etc)
2. Feedback from candidates on recruitment experience
3. Learning & Development progress - participation, applying the learning
4. Feedback on new performance / talent development process
All changes were introduced gradually and frequent inspect and adapt helped in streamlining the gaps. We looked not only at Kanban principles but also the 4 values and 12 principles of agile manifesto to see and measure our progress.