In my work, I have discovered that the first obstacle for many organizations is the lack of a clear aim. Without an aim, an organization does not exist. Without an aim there is no purpose for existence. Likewise, without an aim for an HR system, there is no understanding of how HR can support the business. There must be a vision or pathway for articulating what you hope to achieve in the long run through your Human Resources. Dr. Deming, the guru of systems thinking, counseled that every system must have an aim and that aim should be a value judgment and must include the future in its scope. He also said that to get there, you must first understand the business that you’re in. If you build cars, you are in the transportation system. If you milk cows, you are in the food system.
Given the many unstable and unpredictable issues within the food system – and especially the average age of farmers — I contend that the aim of any AgHR system must be to identify a successor. The job of the people managing the HR system is to always hire the best, but additionally, they should be looking for an opportunity to transition the business to an employee or family member at some point in the future. Recruiting and hiring are only preparatory steps in that process. With a heightened understanding of how a system performs, talent development, mentoring, and performance coaching evolve per the progression of steps as depicted in the flowchart of my HR System.
When all the connections and interactions are working together to accomplish a shared aim, a business can achieve measurable and shared results—from improving the quality of its products and services, to reducing turnover, to securing a long-term future for the business. Succession planning must be included in an AgHR system.
Ultimately, the aim in any organization is for everybody to gain – owner, employees, suppliers, customers, community – over the long term. Thinking about HR as a system helps you analyze how things work, and prompts you to reflect on how the relationships between the individual pieces add up to the whole. From that perspective you can clearly see how everyone gains in the long run.