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Comment on Harmon on BPM: BPM and Employment by Jerry

Blog: BPTrends - Harmon on BPM

I think this issue reveals an unconscious perspective within the BPM community. Process improvement initially tried to empower the front line worker, since they typically knew more about the work than their supervisor. Now we characterize workers as an expense to be minimized. Companies are designed to produce valuable products at a minimal cost; companies are also communities that provide meaning and connection to people. Our focus — even as companies — should be on maximizing the quality of life, both in terms of affordable goods & services as well as meaningful work. The pursuit of profit cannot completely eclipse the concern for the engagement of workers. If companies are profitable but employees are dis-engaged and beaten down, we have failed in the most fundamental way.

I am not advocating that we keep people employed even if there is no work for them to do. I am advocating for looking at the overall subjective experience of employees beyond their role in a particular work process. Process improvement should free up people for more meaningful activities rather than simply justify their dismissal. Paul seems to suggest “society” needs to take up those issues (training, minimum income, transition services). I think we should incorporate them into BPM work rather than externalize yet one more corporate responsibility.

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