How you can make engagement surveys work

By Dirk Verburg

Despite the importance of employee engagement, more and more organizations decide to cancel their employee engagement surveys due to a perceived lack of ROI. Leaders can make engagement surveys work however, by applying three simple principles. Continue reading

When do you need to think different?

By Dirk Verburg

One of the most inspirational videos I have ever seen is the Apple commercial ‘Think Different’. This video shows footage of several leaders from the worlds of business, arts, politics, sports and science, such as Richard Branson, Pablo Picasso, Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King, Mohammed Ali and Mahatma Ghandi. The key message of the commercial is that these people were able to change the world, because they were thinking differently. The suggestion is, of course, that people who purchase Apple products also ‘Think Different’.

The ability to ‘Think different’ is extremely important, but unfortunately not something that comes ‘naturally’ to us as human beings. There are several reasons for this. The most important ones are our ‘Bounded Rationality’, reliance on ‘Heuristics’ and ‘Theory-Induced Blindness’. Continue reading

The Fear Factor

Why a sense of belonging is crucial for a healthy corporate culture

By Dirk Verburg

According to Professor of Psychology Kip Williams, the human race ows its success to the fact that we learned to collaborate in groups. We learned that through organizing ourselves in tribes, we hugely increased our chances to survive in a hostile environment. The tribe enabled us to protect ourselves from wild animals, other tribes and food shortages.

The prospect of people who were being ‘ostracized’ (forced to leave the tribe) looked bleak. In pre-historic times, ostracism did not only result in social, but also in a certain physical death. People, who were kicked out of their ‘tribe’ and left to their own devices, were doomed to die, because they could not defend themselves effectively against predators, other tribes and could no longer collect sufficient food.

Because of the latent fears of ostracism that human beings have, managing human behavior by using this threat requires surprisingly little effort. Setting an example by ostracizing just a handful of individuals in a visible manner is enough to instill a sense of fear in a complete community. Continue reading

Why we need to have a new discussion about HR

Why the current debate about the ‘HR’ function is superfluous and why a new one should start to take place

By Dirk Verburg

It seems like the Human Resources function attracts more and more criticism over the years. This criticism was initiated by a few articles in high profile publications. The most important are: ‘Why we hate HR’ by Keith H. Hammonds in Fast company,‘It’s Time to Split HR’ by Ram Charan in the Harvard Business review, ‘Why We Love to Hate HR and What HR Can Do About It’ by Peter Capelli in the Harvard Business Review and ‘Companies Say No to Having an HR Department’ by Lauren Weber and Rachel Feintzeig in the Wall Street Journal.

These articles had a lot of impact and resulted in a great deal of soul-searching by HR leaders and HR practitioners. Although critical self-reflection is usually a good thing, the question is whether this is justified merely on the basis of these articles. The second question is whether or not this is the most important debate to have about the HR function now – or are there more important issues for HR to focus on. Continue reading

Unlock the full value of your HR Shared Service Centre!

By Dirk Verburg

 A number of organizations have not yet unlocked the full value of their HR Shared Service centres due to compromises made at the time they were created. By reviewing and undoing these compromises, companies can unlock the full value of their SSC’s, thereby achieving lower costs and a higher quality level. Continue reading

Overqualified and bitter

By Dirk Verburg

As a result of the current economic crisis, a number of people need to take a step back in their career and accept smaller roles than they were used to or hoping for. These people face a choice between accepting this new reality with a positive mindset, or rejecting it and become bitter. Continue reading

Less is more: The hidden costs of change in organizations

By Dirk Verburg

A number of change initiatives in organizations do not add, but rather destroy value. In this article the reasons for this are explained and recommendations are given on how to prevent the launch of such initiatives. Concrete examples are provided to illustrate the issues.

Continue reading