If you’re a Throner, that’s a Game of Thrones fan, you’ll be all too familiar with the mess that is Westeros. If you’re not, all you need to know is that the world’s biggest fantasy show is the perfect metaphor for poor succession planning, terrible retention strategy, shameless people management, dire career development, and hapless leadership.
We’re into season 6 and, it seems, no closer to resolving this huge HR headache. And as the White Walkers beyond the Wall are massing to invade, the Houses of Westeros really need to get their act together – and fast.
At EmployeeConnect, we think a Human Resource Information System (HRIS) and it’s ability to connect, engage and transform the workplace, could have prevented a whole heap of strife across the Seven Kingdoms. Plus, a HRIS could also be used by some of the current characters to help them achieve their own personal quests, ambitions and even avoid death.
1. The assassination of Jon Snow
Mr “Hold the gate” could have avoided his (brief) death if he’d been more in tune with his colleagues in the Night’s Watch. In fact, a simple pulse engagement survey would have returned a few unhappy faces, giving Jon the data he needed to make more informed decisions regarding his alliance with the Wildlings.
2. Cersei’s walk of shame
Perhaps the High Sparrow could have handled this better. If he’d thought more about his organisational objectives, values, KPIs, goals and competencies, he could have had a more meaningful conversation with Cersei. One that could have improved her performance and skills. More carrot, less stick perhaps?
3. Arya Stark needs a career development plan
You can’t underestimate the power of a mentor. The right mix of formal and informal learning from the Faceless Man, Jaqen H’ghar, in the House of Black & White – along with a personalised development roadmap – would plug Arya’s skills gaps, helping her reach ‘assassin’ level much quicker.
4. Imagine if Varys could act in real-time, any time, from anywhere
The ‘Spider’ has a complex network of spies and informants acting as his eyes and ears across Westeros and beyond. This complex web of “little birds” allows him to gather information from far and wide. Information he analyses and uses to his advantage. But imagine how much more effective this network could be if Varys had access to an integrated workflow system with business rules to verify and validate the whispers. All that power. All that knowledge. All in real-time.
5. No information equals no structure
King Robert Baratheon dies and all the great families of Westeros feel they have a rightful claim to the Iron Throne. However, there are no formalised structures underlying the political processes involved in ascending to the Iron Throne and no clarity of roles. As such, there’s no central repository for policies, procedures or performance-based information. The result? Everyone does what they want, when they feel like it. Chaos ensues.
6. Deanerys needs to work on her recruitment
The Princess of House Targaryen, (aka Khaleesi), has clearly had some recruitment issues… in particular hiring the witch Mirri Maz Duur to treat Drogo, her husband. Had Deanerys used a recruitment module with clearly defined role descriptions, questionnaire and background checks or set-up an employee referral scheme, Drogo could still be alive.
7. Dragons are a WH&S nightmare
Dragons are dangerous and all employers have a duty of care to their employees and site visitors. Of course, dragons are also unpredictable and while it may never be possible to prevent all accidents, a strong workplace health & safety strategy and hazard identification workflow can greatly minimise risks.
8. Give credit where it’s due
With a simple reward and recognition scheme that promoted positive values, Theon may never have felt rejected by his father Balon. Instead, in an effort to make his mark, he betrays his good treatment by Eddard Stark and attacks Winterfell. From then on, there’s very little joy in the life of Theon.
9. The evidence was there for Tywin to see
Tyrion leaving Kings Landing after slaying his own father was a huge shock, but the signs were there. If Tywin had put a simple traffic light system in place, he would have known his son was far from happy and a flight risk. Perhaps Tywin would still be alive today?
10. Success requires long-term planning
It’s a simple fact, but with a proper succession plan in place – supported by a robust talent management strategy – the Lannisters could have avoided almost all of the ensuing feuds and wars.
If only they’d been able to take advantage of HRIS, Westeros will surely have been a safer, happier, and less conflicted place – and everything could have been wrapped up by the end of Season 1.
But let’s be honest – where’s the fun in that?
So, if you want your organization to not only survive, but thrive – and have more time and resources to take on external opportunities and threats, rather than be distracted by inner squabbles or dragon-slaying, now might be the time to look into the HRIS. You don’t need a large, complex kingdom to make the most of its tools. Just a commitment to making every person a priority.
Because no one wants their business to be like Westeros.