Some Assembly Required !!

This past weekend I was helping my son get ready for his senior year at Ohio University by moving some of his big items to his new apartment off campus. I’m a proud OU alum and I’m geeked to see my son enter his final year of college, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for him !!

Moving furniture has drastically changed compared to when I went to college. We would either fill a small U-Haul truck or take several cars in a caravan down the highway. We had two cars for this trip, but everything was in boxes. I mean the furniture was in boxes !! You see we went to IKEA to get a bed and a dresser.

I’m a huge fan of IKEA. How cool is it that you can get furniture that is functional and practical all in boxes? Yes, it takes some time to assemble everything, but it’s worth it. You can get every type of furniture as well from beds to sofas to dressers to shelves. One of the very unique aspects of buying furniture from IKEA is the instructions that come with the piece.

The instructions only include pictures. There are no words. None. It’s very strange because if you’ve ever assembled anything else, they seem to be covered with more words than pictures. Also, there are tons of parts involved to make even the most simple box !! As I was assembling the furniture along with my son, I couldn’t help think how these instructions correlate very much with HR.

Some assembly required – We never have a “typical” day in HR despite our best efforts to follow a set pattern or schedule. Distractions are really our norm which causes us to alter our days.

We all need direction – This is more true than we care to admit. We tend to think in terms that leaders and managers direct people. That may be the case, but employees at all levels need directions !! In the IKEA instructions they break it down as to even which way something should be turned in order for the piece to be tightened. The key is that the directions are simplified and given step by step. This is something we should emulate !!

Every step is necessary – Too often in today’s business climate, expediency is valued much more than being thorough. It’s assumed that being thorough will slow down things to a screeching halt. This just isn’t the case. When you’re working with people, you need to make sure that you take time with them and not just rush to the next item that grabs your attention.

HR is heavy !! – Have you ever lifted a box from IKEA? They are crazy heavy when you take on the whole piece and it’s unassembled. You even can get discouraged because when you experience the weight you can’t imagine the final product will every come together. Practicing HR is like this as well. We can get swallowed by the weight of what we do. However, we need to be encouraged and realize that the work that we put in will bring forth a great, completed solution.

You need tools – You can’t assemble any piece of IKEA furniture with instructions alone. You need tools. It’s a solid reminder for HR pros as well. We need to develop and equip others, not just list instructions. When people have context, they know what to do and they can perform even better. Spend more time equipping others !!

The project came together after a mere five hours. We ended up with a great bed and a dresser !! Every item was used and ended up in it’s rightful place. His apartment is going to be great.

This week step back and look at how you’re practicing HR and make sure that you give instructions that are simple, equip others with tools and take the time and patience it needs to “assemble” the people you work beside !!

 

3 thoughts on “Some Assembly Required !!”

  1. I see a correlation to HCM technology, if it’s not incredibly easy to use and simple instructions can’t ensure EVERYONE can use it.. it won’t get used, put together and organization won’t get value. Simple adoption is everything!

  2. While I have built my share of IKEA furniture using a big adjustable wrench because I misplaced my hammer, it didn’t pack the same wallop and added a few dents that didn’t need to be there. So I think we need to equip people with the ‘right’ tools to get the job done right.

  3. Love the IKEA tie to HR. I remember my first visit to the store when I realized I wasn’t following the arrows on the floor that point you in the direction you should go. In HR, sometimes we need to follow certain prescribed paths like following laws and being ethical and respectful and other times we need to go against the flow to be innovative and hashtag#disrupthr.

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