What was the brief?
‘We’d like you to assess whether our human resources department could work as a self-steering team. And also see whether, as a unit, we could systematically improve our collaboration with the management.’
What were the key features of the context?
Kennemerland Safety Region is a service organisation that combines firefighting, ambulance and municipal health services. Collaboration between the management and HR department had run into trouble. They had repeatedly failed to meet each other’s expectations. At HR, excessive planning for the year ahead meant that new and ad hoc issues were making it difficult to set priorities. Everyone was getting stressed out. Changes in the HR leadership team did not help, either. So, when the head of HR left, the time seemed ripe to experiment with self-organisation.
How did Innova transform the situation?
We spent over a year working systematically with the management on building a new work situation. We did this in three sets of workshops, peer supervision and dialogues.
- The first step was to develop a new collaborative approach at HR, strongly focused on serving the primary process.
- In consultation with the management, the new working method was discussed and adopted.
What has changed?
- Working without a manager gave the team an incentive. The HR department became a self-organising team that developed its own new roles and working methods.
- HR now functions as a stable self-organising team. Staff have a growing sense of ownership, control over their own work situation and general satisfaction.
- All the parties involved are pleased with the new way of working and HR’s improved standing within Kennemerland Safety Region. The management and HR people now find each other much more approachable and easier to talk to.
- There has also been a noticeable improvement within Kennemerland Safety Region as a whole because the HR team now focuses more on the various target groups. Their new motto is ‘Doing whatever works.’