“For those looking to figure out solutions to the problems facing their respective organizations or careers, learn to develop, refine, and trust your gut. ” - Victorio Milian
Photo by Ana Paula Nardini from Pexels

Like many New Yorkers, I use public transportation to commute to and from work. While it’s a great system, it’s far from perfect. I’m also not very patient. I hate to wait, particularly for a bus. Because of where I live, I use one to get to the nearest subway station. However, when I feel as if it’s not worth the wait, I’ll just go ahead and walk to the station. It saves me a headache, and I get a bit of exercise out of it!

Over time I developed a reasonably well-tuned sense for the local bus traffic. It started by observing how many passengers were waiting at the bus stop. The more passengers, the more likely it was that the bus would arrive soon. I also noted whether was rush hour, or if it was a weekend or weekday. The bus schedule is different depending on the day and time of day, which affected my wait time.

And I would test my observation. Whether I decided to wait or to walk, I would note the time. When I waited, how long would it take for the bus to arrive, and how did that compare to the time it would take to walk? If I walked, how often (or not) would I reach the train station before the bus? Through observation, notation, as well as trial and error, I developed a sense for whether or not to walk instead of waiting. And recently I discovered that my gut wasn’t so far off.

About a year ago a neighbor of mine showed me something nifty. At each bus stop the NYC MTA (Mass Transit Authority) added QR codes and a text message code. These features are part of the authority’s Bus Time program. Using this service gives passengers a way to find out how far away the bus or buses may be. The great part is that it’s easy to use and oftentimes quite accurate.

November 2013 photo of Victorio Milian

Victorio Milian, HRExaminer Editorial Advisory Board Contributor

Through utilizing this system I also discovered that my previous intuition regarding bus departures wasn’t much different from what the electronic system told me. In certain respects, I was utilizing my own organic version of Bus Time. And because I had already developed a good internal system, utilizing the Bus Time one didn’t conflict with it. I can use either one, with similar results.

Where it’s helped me is when I’m with my kids and I have to explain why we’re choosing to walk instead of waiting for the bus! They tend not to believe me. However, they’re more accepting of my decision when I have them give me the QR code and I show them how far away the bus is. The technology and more important, the accuracy of it, makes it more legitimate than their old man’s gut. And that’s okay, so long as the results are the same, in this case, less unnecessary waiting!

In Human Resources the big push, for as long as I can remember, is for legitimacy of our profession. We have to “prove our value” in order to earn “a seat at the table.” Often this means that we need to embrace technological solutions to organizational concerns. Through the purchase, implementation and deployment of people focused software solutions (for example, to automate functions such as time and attendance or payroll) HR practitioners can gain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

There are legitimate reasons for Human Resources professionals to consider this and other potential tools to improve workplace functions. As someone who’s been involved in a few software implementations, I can say that systems are only as good as those involved in its design, creation, and upkeep.

What I have found, through my own experience and observing others, is that the implementation of a solution is when “functional self-awareness” tends to occur. It’s only when you’re sitting down with a consultant outlining your business process do you recall what your process is. And whether or not it makes sense. In other words, your organizational “gut” feeling, not having been developed, is now being used to design a system meant to improve business processes. Much like bad data, this is not a good way to introduce a “solution” to an organization.

For those looking to figure out solutions to the problems facing their respective organizations or careers, learn to develop, refine, and trust your gut. Like most tools, the technology you may choose should be used to enhance that which you already do well, not to add further dysfunction.

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