My work in Lean HR over the last few years has focused on the concept of “People Value Streams.” 

The value stream model looks at an organization on two parallel paths: what the organization does, and the people within the organization. 

What is the “People Value Stream”?

For most of my career, I thought the people value stream referred to typical HR processes, such as hiring and training, but recently I’ve experienced a shift in paradigm and now view the people value stream more from a team member’s point of view. Team members bring their own experiences and have their own needs, and people value streams focus on the inherent need for personal meaning and self-reliance.

The idea that people strive for, and need self-fulfillment is not a new concept and is not limited to the field of HR. According to psychologist Henry Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, people cannot reach their true growth potential until their basic needs are met. If you’re wondering what this means for business, it’s this: as organizations optimize team member’s experiences, they optimize what they deliver, resulting in optimal business results.

Personal experience includes experiences that people create for themselves rather than those created for them. 


What Influences “People Value Stream?”

There are many factors that impact people’s personal experiences and viewpoints throughout their working years. For example, people learn and develop skills over their working life, and often have what is referred to as role progression. This means that they’ve had different jobs or roles throughout their working careers, which contributes to their sense of self-fulfillment, and also plays a role in how they experience and view things.

Another factor that affects people’s viewpoint is how closely their personal values connect to their company’s values. People-centric organizations have clearly-stated values, and by aligning their values with their team members’ personal values, they can help them create strong connections to the company and its culture.

People also have their own personal definitions of success, and how they hold themselves accountable for achieving that success. Leadership can assist them and help create opportunities for success, but every team member must have their own personal roadmap for success.

Teamwork and Community in “People Value Stream”

In addition, teamwork plays an important role in personal experience and the people value stream model. Over the past few years, I’ve helped leaders develop coaching-style leadership skills and discovered that leadership training was most effective when leaders connected and joined together as a team.

It is also important to think about how people participate in a community. One of the best examples of community I’ve experienced was early in my career at a food plant where there were women working at near-freezing temperatures making sandwiches all day. Even in these difficult conditions, they would stay in this role for many years, and I found that the reason they stayed was the sense of community they built during their break times. During their short breaks, these women became like family and connected to one another as they did life together day after day, year after year. 

Building connections through community is an intrinsic need, and it is important that leadership teams provide opportunities for their team members to connect and function as a community.

Physical and mental well being certainly contribute to people’s personal experiences, so it is important to be aware that people have both physical and mental health needs that must be met. Although these needs are not always met at the workplace during working hours, they play a large role in team members’ personal experiences and the lens through which they view life. 

People Value Stream Goals

The overall goal of leadership when designing “People Value Streams” is to be more oriented towards individual needs and leveraging personal fulfillment, in order to achieve optimal results for team members, leaders, and shareholders alike. “People Value Streams” help companies strategically develop their people resulting in a workforce that understands how the work they are doing aligns with providing value to the customers and the organization’s larger mission, and most importantly, how to implement changes that address waste and other problems. To learn more about how to measure the “People Value Stream” and practical methods for implementing it, make sure to check out my next blog.

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