Simple is hard. A blog we ran across this morning verified our belief in this. This has been a long-standing passion of mine based on working with and for HR and operational functions across large organizations. HR practices, processes, systems, and messages (especially messages!) generally are anything but simple. HR can get in their own way with convoluted messages and complex processes, oftentimes making themselves looks less powerful and less important to the business than they really are.

So, we took a cue from the book Simple: Conquering the Crisis of Complexity and are sharing some “guard rails”, so to speak. Think of these as checklist items to reference when implementing anything new that will impact our employees so we don’t make things more complex than needed (and create distance between ourselves and the team).

  • Empathize: Empathy is something we all think we have, but the way we communicate and deploy new programs proves we can all stand to brush up on our ability to empathize and understand the fundamental needs of others. What is it that employees want? Do they want a new 12-step process or do they just want to be recognized? Do they want a formal training program that takes time away from their core goals at work, or do they want an impactful and engaged mentor? Make sure you connect and understand what is really being asked for so you don’t miss the mark.
  • Distill: As the authors put it, boil down and customize. We love this one. When deploying new training, programs, or a new process, question every barrier, approval point, or process step to ensure its necessity for effectiveness. If it causes one second of pause or confusion, rethink it or remove it. Additionally, the best programs are the ones that offer a framework within which to operate, but allow for customization where it counts. This is how you win the hearts of your employees.
  • Clarify: In plain speak, explain: how do I participate? What’s in it for me? Why should I participate? What does an effective outcome look like? Why are we doing this? Communicate this over and over. And over. And over.

Simple is hard. Sometimes lots of details and processes make us feel smart or important, but we challenge you to put your smarts out there by simplifying your message and deploying things that have a real impact.