HR Tech Europe was kicked off by Yves Morieux of BCG who gave an interesting presentation on how what we’re seeing in the workplace is, at least partly, due to the increasing complexity of organization structures.
Complex organization structures divert effort of the members of the organizations – the managers and employees – from doing the work to navigating what Yves called the labyrinth.
This barrier to work is one of the key contributors (according to BCG) of the declining engagement that we see in the workforce across most developed nations (and emerging markets if our experience applies). Employees are fighting the organization structure that increasing organizational complexity has created.
Where to go? According to BCG the answer is relieving collaboration. Here is where we diverge in opinion. According to Yves collaboration can’t be measured. Our view is anything that can be observed can be measured. I believe that it only can’t be measured within our existing frame of reference.
Conversations with others after the presenation hinged on the difficulties in measuring collaboration. My own view is that if we store information in a traditional table structure, be that flat tables or a relational database, we encourage our analysis to be an the level of aggregation of the data – ie the row, typically the individual.
If we want to measure collaboration we need to be looking at data which focuses on the relationships between people, not exclusively about the people. This is hard to do in a table, but is natural in a graph-based data structure. We’re letting our tools force our thinking.
BCG had hit on a critical aspect or deficiency in what we as a function are doing. What drives performance is not the individual but the collaborations, the relationships between the poeple.