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Tag: hr

How To Change Organisational Culture In 3 Easy Steps

OK, I’m sorry, you can’t. If it was that easy, we wouldn’t be struggling so much with transforming organisations. Now, I assume that if you read this post, you probably are interested in changing the course of your organisation, division, team or whatever structure you’re part of. If so, read on about my ideas on how to approach this complex problem.

Why Would We Like To Change The Culture?

Imagine Chris. Chris is not living a healthy life. He smokes, drinks 3-4 beers each evening in front of the sports channel. He is a white-collar worker, and commutes to the office by car. He likes it that way and thinks that he doesn’t need a change.

By accident, our Chris has met a sports coach, Anna, who told him, that if he’s going to live his life like that any longer, he will soon get himself into health troubles. Anna started to persuade Chris to exercise, to change his evening habits, to use a bicycle to commute to work. And Chris eventually started to do those things. The coach was happy and fulfilled. There was no more work for her to do. So she left.

Do you know what happened next? Yes. The same thing that happened the last time your organisation (or your friend’s organisation) tried to transform into an agile one. Agile coaches came in, people were sent to training courses, Scrum Masters were selected and… Done.

What we really should be after is something deeper than just some practices. Changing the mindset of Chris would result in a much more sticky lifestyle change. The same applies for organisations. Continue reading How To Change Organisational Culture In 3 Easy Steps

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My Year in Books – 2015

An end of a year is always the best moment for reflection on how the whole year was. I’ve decided to take part in this global movement by summarising the best books I read in 2015. This list contains books that help me in my job in one way or the other, so they should be helpful for managers, product managers, HR professionals and agile coaches. The order is random! If you’re interested in the whole 2015 reading list, take a look at my profile at Goodreads here.

the_goal-goldrattThe Goal by Eliyahu M. Goldratt

This is an absolute classic. The book was published in 1984 and is actually a… novel. The plot is about a manager Alex Rogo, who tries to make his unprofitable production plant  successful in just three months. The narrative makes the book very easy to read, but it’s the theory, gradually revealed while reading, which is interesting. The book is famous for introducing a management philosophy called Theory of Constraints (ToC). Although not always directly applicable in software development (it seems that in manufacturing the process is much more stable, therefore constraints are not changing as fast as may be the case in software development) it was good for me to understand the principles of ToC and it’s approach to improving the process.
Continue reading My Year in Books – 2015

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The Importance of Recruitment

Currently I’m highly involved in shaping the recruitment process in my company. To be frank, before joining Ocado Technology I didn’t realise the importance of this process. I treated recruitment as something that stands in the way of my work. But I was wrong. Now I believe that recruitment is one of the most important things a company should be focused on.

“Work Rules!” by Laszlo Bock changed my perspective dramatically. The book is about how Google’s People Operations (it’s basically Human Resources on steroids) work and why. This book changed my view on importance of HR, especially recruitment. Let me share my arguments for why you should also care about hiring.

The High Cost of a Bad Hire

There are costs related to a bad hiring decision. Some of these costs are relatively easy to measure, like sourcing, interview time or salary that was paid during the tenure. But there are also other, hidden costs that are hard or impossible to estimate:

  • Decreased morale in affected team. A low performer may negatively influence people around him/her. Subsequently firing them may cause a further nosedive in morale. Sometimes, however, it may have a positive impact – the team may be grateful that the constraint has been removed.
  • Negative effect on productivity. I have experienced situations where a team member’s code quality was so poor that the rest of the team felt it necessary to replace their code. Naturally, the team then became more productive once that person had been released.
  • Opportunity cost. What would it look like if we hired an “A player” instead? Where would we be?

Some organisations have tried to estimate the financial cost of a bad hire, taking into account all the above factors. $250k, £335k or even $884k are examples of their findings. It is probably different in your case, but it’s essential to realise that the costs may be higher than you think. Continue reading The Importance of Recruitment