I am struck by the contradiction between how businesses run their business and how those same businesses run their HR organization.

The product development teams operate in an Agile fashion, embracing a requirements change and constantly learning. They deploy incremental features, observe how customers engage with those features, and then refine them. They test marketing messages with A|B testing features built in to their marketing automation tools, and refine the customer experience to the finest detail.

Yes, I do see HR embracing a focus on the employee experience. But that’s largely become a new way of talking about engagement. What I don’t see as consistently is a commitment to learn and change incrementally, nor do I see as much openness to objectively testing new ideas.

I can think of one organization where employees bemoan how the compensation process “changes every year.” In my consulting days, particularly when working on sales incentive plans, clients would worry that “we just changed the plan last year.” I also recall proposing a pilot where a program would roll out to one region only, and was told “we can’t have different experiences for employees.”

I’m not advocating change for change sake. But I am advocating for embedding learning into how we work. And if we learn something, we should use it. We learn, therefore we change. If we aren’t changing, we aren’t learning. And if you aren’t learning… well, look out for the robots.