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Backward thinking. Don't you make the same mistake!

Yesterday Sainsbury announced the replacing of their “Customer Service and Colleague Director” with “HR Director.” Perhaps it is only to saving printing costs and make business cards easier to read, and it may be a case of a rose by any other name smelling as sweet, but somehow I could not help feeling that it was a retrograde step.

And that is not just because the term HR is more frequently being disparaged because it should be about people and not resources. The term “Customer Services and Colleague Director” may be a little unwieldy but at least it highlights the key fact that good customer service is dependent on people. As such it considerably more appropriate, progressive and forward thinking. Indeed, I cannot help asking myself if it partly explains Sainsbury’s resurgence in the industry and the company’s climb back towards the top spot after falling to fourth.    

Ideas Action Success 000020359758XSmall-1As the picture shows, you cannot move from an idea to successful implementation without action. And action requires human intervention. Business is conducted through organisations to fulfil a defined purpose (a specific idea) which makes it impossible without people. Thus the idea of pulling colleagues together to provide customer service, while stating the obvious, seems far more appropriate and wide-reaching than “HR Director.”  

If Sainsbury’s now consider the term to be too clumsy perhaps they could have rather thought of something different: something more succinct that retained the progressive thinking that had gone into that other title. If it had been up to me I might have suggested something along the lines of “Communication Director.”

After all, effective human collaboration demands good communication, and by pooling PR, marketing, customer service and people all together under one umbrella called communications, you would be able to ensure the organisational integrity and teamwork that would flow from a single, cohesive corporate message that would ensure everyone sings from the same song sheet. Apart from anything else, it would help ensure that people are properly represented in the C-suite and embed employee voice and greater employee engagement.      

Sounds like a good idea to me. What do you think?


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