I have a problem that I’d like to share with you. If you’ve followed my blog, you know that I truly believe that people and culture are your only differentiators and your biggest competitive advantage. I refuse to look at people like a commodity or resource. People are the collection of hopes, dreams, ambitions and passions; not a widget to be bought and sold.
This is why I despise the word human resources (HR) and am proud to announce the death of HR here at Roma Moulding. We’ve closed our HR department; don’t try to email firstname.lastname@example.org, it no longer exists, instead send your inquiries to email@example.com.
First off, let me profess my respect and admiration for the creative, hard working HR professionals that care for and develop the people they work with. I recognize the unique skillset and potential they bring to any organization. Having said that, the presence of HR is often synonymous with policies, procedures and being reprimanded. Being pulled into a meeting with your company’s HR leader will recall memories of being sent to the Principal’s office during adolescence.
At the core, HR is the department that makes sure people don’t make errors. They create policies and procedures based on precedent in order to make people or situations easier to manage. What happens when you work in an unprecedented space and use unconventional methods to achieve extraordinary results? In my humble opinion, I believe that HR just impedes creativity by putting restrictions on what you can do and how you can achieve it. It forces otherwise ambitious people to follow a rulebook rather than do what is needed to achieve a goal.
Innovation only exists in environments that promote freedom and coloring outside the lines. It’s difficult to do things differently when there’s an entire department dedicated to maintaining the status quo. Simply put, HR are the rule keepers and could just be called the C.Y.A. department.
What does the death of HR mean to us here at Roma Moulding? Well, it’s symbolic, we’re going to have guidelines and we’re going to encourage our team members to think within them but are here to support when conventional thinking or techniques won’t work. Out of the death of HR, we’ve created two new teams to Move, Inspire and WOW our team members and partners. Moving forward, the newly formed Talent Team and Culture Team will resume the majority of HR’s new responsibilities. Things like payroll and benefits will shift to our Finance Team.
We’ve changed the title of our HR leader to Culture and Talent Leader because the term human resources is offensive and antiquated.
So what does our Talent Leader think about the death of traditional HR here at Roma?
“The death of HR here at Roma is in line with our culture of openness and fostering learning and development,” said Aman Randhawa. “A traditional HR department set up does not work for where we want Roma to be because it carries the perception of rigid rules like policies and procedures and at times seen as the Police department of a company.”
But how are people going to know what to do? When can they travel, what will be reimbursed and should they proceed with a project or initiative? Our guidelines are pretty loose but we’re fortunate that we have smart people to live them. Additionally, guidelines aren’t the only support our team members have. We have Roma Family Core Values that guide us and are our ultimate guidelines. Does an initiative live within our Roma Family Core Values? Yes, then go for it.
Traditional HR is an extension of people management, something that we decided we don’t need at Roma a while ago. As Jim Collins says, “The best people don’t need to be managed. Guided, taught, led – yes. But not tightly managed.”
We’re all about tearing down barriers and increasing freedom for our team members. The most passionate and creative people in the world crave and thrive in environments that foster innovation. Richard Branson, Steve Jobs and Tony Hsieh are all amazing examples of what can be achieved when restrictions are replaced with freedom and innovation.
I was wondering if this mentality could be adopted across all Roma teams so I posed the question, “how do you know if you’re doing the right thing?” to Gordon Thain, our Commander of Communications. I chose Gordon out of a bunch of qualified applicants to join our Roma team about a year ago, so I know he’s the A player I need him to be. He’s a good example as he often has to think on his feet to quickly answer questions and represent our brand. His answer is below.
“How do I know what to do or if what I am doing is right?” said Thain. “Well, if I’m ever in doubt I just refer to our Mission, Vision and Roma Family Core Values. If my course of action conflicts with any of those I know I need to revise my plan.”
Give this a try: go ask some of your team members how they know if they’re doing the right thing? Their answers may shock you!
We held a funeral for our HR department at our thirteenth All Hands Meeting. Check out the video below or watch a recorded version of the entire show, here!