How HR can help create a human potential organisation

Human potential culture strategy

“Human potential organisations” are the ones that will be successful in the future, according to an expert in the area, who explained that HR plays a key role in helping to facilitate and realise human potential for the purposes of business benefit.

“Unlocking human potential will be the ultimate source of competitive advantage in the cyber-physical age and the organisations that flourish in this age will be those that can harness the human potential or their people,” said Anthony Mitchell, chairman & director of consulting firm Bendelta.

“HR will be responsible for removing barriers and encouraging everyone to access that deep well of talent and motivation inside of them to achieve their potential.

“If all employees achieve their full potential at the same time, the organisation can achieve so much more,” said Mitchell, whose company Bendelta is a sponsor at the marcus evans HR Summit 2017 HR Summit 2017, taking place on the Gold Coast from 27-29 March.

Society is fast moving into an era where machine learning and exponential technology are taking organisations forward in ways not seen before, and Mitchell said functions are getting more skilled at using digital data.

“As the service fuelling the organisation, there is a need for HR to employ much more scientific methods, utilise pioneering technologies and high-quality data to build capability,” he said.

The first step for HR in this is to “truly commit to excellence and scientific methods”.

“HR must look at organisational designs that were built up in the industrial age and no longer make any sense because they limit human potential, and remove those barriers to create what I describe as human potential organisations,” said Mitchell.

“Unlocking human potential will be the ultimate source of competitive advantage in the cyber-physical age”

“In these environments, people are more likely to achieve their positive potential.

“When combined with that of their fellow colleagues, it will drive even better business results.”

This means getting rid of the bureaucracies and traditional ways of working, which essentially treat human beings as “unthinking animals” who need to be “stove-piped into obedience”.

“We need the exact opposite now in this age of disruption,” said Mitchell.

“We need a level of agility like never before; we need human beings to use their capacity for creativity and collaboration.”

HR departments should use scientific methods, the leading technology and real-time data to do what works, said Mitchell: “not what looks good, not what defends the spending decisions that have been made, but what genuinely drives improvements and higher capability levels.”

Organisational leaders also play a key role in this process, and Mitchell observed that certain leadership qualities are timeless, such as honesty, being forward-looking and inspiring.

“We single out six key qualities that are important in leaders today: agility, creativity, empathy, collaboration, resilience and decision-making,” he said.

“Organisations can identify which qualities are most important for their organisation, the role or area of business, and focus on those.”

Employee engagement as a concept is also evolving, and Mitchell said that it is important that both HR and organisations move away from the idea that people are best treated as “robots or unthinking machines”.

“People give their most when they are feeling self-determined motivation; they give their all irrespective of how much they are paid,” he said.

“We need a level of agility like never before; we need human beings to use their capacity for creativity and collaboration”

“If we want that, it is important to achieve a sense of autonomy.

“We are most motivated when we have sovereignty over decisions when we feel that we are making meaningful choices.”

This requires the removal of barriers and impediments, according to Mitchell, who said the next step is to help people play to their strengths, but always be stretched.

“People spend too much time in their comfort zone,” he said.

“Nobody achieves their full potential on autopilot.

“People need to do things they are well wired to do, but always moving it to the next level.”

The other part of this equation is connecting people with each other, Mitchell said.

“We are social animals and we are at our best when we are collaborating with others,” he said.

“Finally, human beings are purpose animals, with a desire to do things that give our life meaning. “That is the final ingredient for tapping into someone’s full potential.

“If we join that with the engagement of others, we can multiply all of that potential together for amazing business impact.”

The marcus evans HR Summit 2017 will be held at the RACV Royal Pines Resort on the Gold Coast from 27-29 March. For more information contact or visit the summit website. Image: iStock