What does HR do in a world without managers?
Morningstar Farms, Sun Hydraulics, Valve, Medium, W.L. Gore, Zappos, Treehouse, Crisp: what do all these companies have in common? It is hard to guess, but all the above organizations have done away with traditional management. Crisp, a Swedish company, even axed its CEO.
In 2011, Gary Hamel wrote an article called, “First lets’ fire all the Managers.” This was published in the Harvard Business Review (HBR).
Now, in his new book (2016) Under New Management, David Burkus is saying“fire all managers.”
Is this a real trend or a fleeting notion? Organizations have been downsizing and flattening hierarchies for decades. Has the time come to really eliminate managers? If managers are gone what is the role of an HR department? Traditional HR spends a lot if its time on supporting managers. If managers are gone is HR next, or does the opposite happen and more HR resources are required to support employees?
Is it an interesting thought? Is getting rid of managers the Ouroboros of HR (the Greek mythological symbol of the snake devouring itself)?
This will be an interesting HR trend to watch; will manager-less companies become the norm or not?
- Your CEO has asked you to prepare a business case outlining the benefits of eliminating managers in your organizations. Develop a 10-minute presentation.
- Your VP of HR has asked to develop a list of recommendation on what would the role of HR be in an organization with no managers.