I know that many businesses are resistant to changing their HR processes because it’s the only department that doesn’t bring in any revenue and reducing paperwork seems too small a change to make that big of an impact company-wide.
One of the leading causes of death to sailors in the 1700s was scurvy – a wasting disease that we now know is caused by a lack of vitamin C. Therefore, in 1795, when it was mandatory for all naval vessels to include lemon or lime juice in the grog, incidences of scurvy reduced dramatically. So as the British sailors’ resistance to scurvy was increasing and making them far healthier overall, the French sailors’ for instance were weakened by scurvy .So much so that one of the Royal Navy’s physicians claimed this ability to stave off scurvy led to double the sailors’ and thus the Royal Navy’s performance and eventually led to the defeat of the French and Spanish fleets at Trafalgar in 1805.
Forty years before this small change that had a significant impact, a British naval surgeon published a book that stated that scurvy could be eliminated just by supplying sailors with lemon or lime juice. James Lind, the naval surgeon, cited several cases from his experience at sea as a surgeon. Even with his proof, Lind was ridiculed and ignored by colleagues and the navy.In time many well-educated men and women, who had been unwilling to change their minds could no longer dismissed James Lind’s solution. These people believed it was too simple or too small a change to make an impact.
However, just like the healthier sailors were able to focus on their primary jobs and dramatically contribute to building an empire, so too can businesses eliminate those things that sidetrack their employees from focusing on their vital priorities.
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