HR Saskatchewan - Spring/Summer 2016 - (Page 9)
Building an Accountable
and Self-Directed Workforce
By CK Tan
n this knowledge-driven age, HR has
become the strategic enabler to build the
foundation for the workforce to thrive, to
take ownership over their own work and to
continuously engage others.
This requires change. Changing behaviours
or cultures takes determination and willpower.
The "we've-always-done-it-this-way" and "it'sbeen-working-so-why-change" are comments
that many of us have heard far too many times,
and unfortunately still prevalent today.
This article explores five approaches important
for HR Professionals so they grow and develop the
talent pool within their organization.*
1. Linking Personal Values to
One of the most important pre-requisites for
a productive knowledge workforce is to have a
clear line-of-sight between values and vision.
Vision provides the end-in-mind, a goal that
we work towards, while values provide us the
fuel necessary for our journey. Reflect on these
* Do I feel energized by the vision?
* Do I feel related to the vision?
* Am I excited to make a difference at the workplace and for the people with whom I work?
If your answer is "no" to the questions posed,
it may mean you are following someone else's
vision. The only vision that motivates us is our
own. It is important, therefore, to identify our
personal vision. Where do we see ourselves in
three years? Five years? It may seem like a nobrainer, but putting these thoughts on paper is
harder than it seems, but once itis done, it is
something that will propel us forward.
What about values? Values shape our behaviours; they are the principles upon which we act,
form relationships and define us as a person.
* Based on "The Invisible Assembly Line: Boosting
White-Collar Productivity in the New Economy (1995)"
by Daniel Stamp, Founder of the Priority Management
System with Peter Honey, an internationally recognized
Again, writing our values is easier said than done.
We may also find that what we wrote down may
not exactly align with who we are. That will then
become a "challenge-statement" for us - to close
the gap between our stated desired values and
how we are acting them out today.
Now, try putting your personal values and
vision with that of the organization. How do they
align/misalign? How does this affect you and
2. Keeping Focus While
Doing more with less is the new normal. We
are continuously asked to deliver more, better and
with fewer resources. This increases stress on the
workforce and results in unhealthy workplaces.
Technology and digital tools are now more
pervasive than ever. However, instead of becoming the enablers of efficiency they are blocking
productive behaviour. Take emails for an example.
On average, each of us receive 50 - 100 emails
per day and we touch them about eight times in
a day. We may also receive an average of five
voicemails per day, which take a slightly longer
time to process. These numbers increase the
higher you are in management. Add to that equation, colleagues who pop by to request for help
or just to visit, and our need to check the most
recent news updates. A University of California
study in 2008 stated that we are interrupted every
11 minutes and it takes us about 25 minutes to
return to our original tasks.** It also estimated
that one hour of productive work is equivalent to
3-4 hours of unproductive time.
Have we asked ourselves how much productive
time we have in a day?
* My most productive hours are before 8:00 am
and after 5:00 pm
** Mark, Gloria, 2008 "The Cost of Interrupted Work:
More Speed and Stress", CHI 2008 Proceedings -
Don't Interrupt Me, and "Worker Interrupted: The Cost
of Task Switching", Fast Company, 28 July 2008" with
Gloria Mark (http://www.fastcompany.com/944128/
* I consider myself to be well organized, but why
can't I get to my important stuff?
* It seems like my work day is about moving from
one crisis to another
* I'm continually stressed out, missing critical
deadlines, even my kid's baseball game
* I have copies of emails and documents everywhere that I don't remember where they are
Everyone, from professionals, executives and
managers can relate to at least one of the quoted
statements above. Too much to do, too little time
to do it. How do we stay balanced and sane at the
same time? How do we get things done? How do
we manage our day effectively, putting the focus
where it should be, following the plan, and yet
making time for the unexpected? How can we keep
our mind focused on work and not having the urge
to check airfares to Havana every 15 minutes?
There is plenty of literature in the marketplace
on time and workload management. The basic
principle for us is to find ways to get back in control
of our day and manage all those daily distractions
we face, many of which are self-inflicted.
3. Managing Priorities and Developing
Personal and Team Ownership
Many of us get caught in the "busy-ness"
trap performing non-important activities. We
need to think in terms of adding value, not just
activities. Do these comments sound familiar?
* I've been really busy today, but I don't think I've
* It's been a really busy year, but I seem to have
trouble listing down the value that I've created
for the organization and for myself.
* I attend meetings all day long, but nothing comes
out of it, and we talk about the same things
Saskatchewan * #HRSKMagazine 9
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of HR Saskatchewan - Spring/Summer 2016
Letter to the Editor
From the Editor
Leadership Styles: Helping or Hindering Engagement?
Building an Accountable and Self-Directed Workforce
Is Distance Learning Meeting Your Training Needs?
Advancing Women in Leadership
Spotlight: Stan Slap – the King of Culture
Saskatchewan HR Trends Report, Spring 2016
Legal Corner: The Use of Contract Workers Can Create Hidden Liabilities for Employers
The Resource Room
HR Saskatchewan - Spring/Summer 2016