Managing Attrition – Are You Looking Backwards or Forwards?

Glass Bead Consulting - Attrition

How do you manage attrition?

Most companies will review last month’s attrition figures, long after the star employees have had their farewell leaving do. This is the equivalent to looking behind in the rear-view mirror, whilst travelling at speed – you may know what’s behind you but it’s too late to do anything about it.   Or do you look forward, anticipating trends of employee flight risk and making small adjustments as you travel down the road?  After all, if you can see the possible obstacle ahead you have a better chance to avoid it.

As wages continue to rise, we see more employees dipping their toes in the welcoming water of the job market.  Keeping our best employees with us on our journey is going to be hard and managing the cost of unwanted employee turnover is going to be even harder.

Marc Andreessen, co-founder of Netscape and early Facebook investor, has said,

“Five great programmers can completely outperform 1,000 mediocre programmers.”

So how do we quantify the cost of losing our best employee? 

The calculation for the cost of losing an employee varies from one organisation to another, but typically includes hiring, on-boarding, training and ramp-up time to peak productivity. Other costs that need to be factored are loss of morale due to high turnover, higher business error rates, and a possible impact on a company’s culture and customer reputation.

Deloitte estimate the cost of losing an employee can range up to two times the employee’s annual salary.  Given the significant financial impact, it is surprising that 40.7% of UK organisations do not measure the cost of attrition, according to XpertHR.

This prompts some basic questions organisations should be asking about attrition such as:

  • Do you have a good idea of what your attrition levels will be over the next few quarters?
  • Do you calculate the probability and the impact of losing an employee?
  • Do you know the actual cost of attrition in your business?
  • Can you prove which factors cause unwanted attrition in your organisation?
  • Do you know which interventions are more likely to keep the higher performers (the five great programmers) and let the laggards leave?

Looking at attrition in the rear-view mirror

Many HR teams measure who has left the company in the last period, in which division, and what type of role as a way of broadly measuring attrition.  However, looking in the rear-view mirror only describes what’s behind us, it doesn’t tell us what is coming up, which makes it harder to prepare for unexpected change.   By the time we have realised it is too late.

Looking forward using predictive analytics

What we really need is to manage attrition more proactively by understanding who is more likely to leave and what the impact of them leaving would be on the business.  In a smallish company this is straightforward, but where you have larger teams, spans of control and distributed teams this becomes much more difficult.

Credit Suisse found that a one-point reduction in regretted attrition saved the bank $75 million to $100 million a year.  So building an attrition prediction model is one way for HR to make a substantial impact on the bottom-line.  See “The Algorithm that tells the boss who might quit”.

For those interested in more People Analytic case studies, including attrition, go to David Green’s excellent summary “20 People Analytics Case Studies

Using an evidence-based approach, we need to critically assess different sources of evidence.  Building your own predictive model is one way of building up a reasonably strong source of organisational evidence.  It is also worth reviewing the scientific research as another source of evidence, see this meta-analysis for example and reference below.  

Tej Mehta from Owen Analytics, explains the benefits of using predictive analytics,

“A typical approach will brainstorm all the potential factors that might cause an individual to leave. These are then used as inputs into machine learning algorithms that can predict flight risk with a high degree of accuracy which is often over 80%.”

The attrition landscape needs to be revisited if organisations are to remain competitive as they make their respective journeys.  Predictive analytics can be a step change for the HR community, at the very least providing some useful dashboard controls to enable better decision making.

I hope this article has given you some useful ideas and maybe some inspiration.  As always I would be interested in hearing about your examples using predictive analytics to better manage retention and attrition.    In response to our clients’ request to provide this service, are delighted to announce that we have launched a new service “Managing Attrition using Predictive Analytics”.

Some other useful resources to improve attrition management

Why Do Workers Quit? The Factors That Predict Employee Turnover (19 page PDF from Glassdoor)

Turnover: Predicting Attrition – A great free training resources from University of Pennsylvania | Coursera

Whether your company has 500 or 120,000 employees, there are many things you can do to improve retention and manage attrition, see Managing attrition using simple analytics

Meta-Analytic Review of Employee Turnover as a Predictor of Firm Performance (2011)    Julie I. Hancock, David G. Allen, Frank A. Bosco, Karen R. McDaniel, Charles A. Pierce

 

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7 Challenges that People Analytics Must Overcome

People Analytics - Glass Bead Consulting

7 Challenges that People Analytics Must Overcome

I am excited about the role People Analytics will play in transforming organisations.  I have seen some real success stories where organisations have incorporated more data-driven decisions about people and work. 

David Green highlights some great case-studies in his article, 20 People Analytics case-studies, which includes, Virgin Media, who reduced sickness absence rates from 9% to 4% saving the business £750,000.

There is clearly a journey to be taken where we move from our current starting point, where we often distrust the data we have on employees, to a place where we can better predict sickness absence, attrition and productivity.

Most organisations are already on this journey to some degree. The percentage of companies that believe they are fully capable of developing predictive models doubled this year, from 4% in 2015 to 8% in 2016, according to research by Deloitte, “Global Human Capital Trends 2016”.   However this journey will have some challenges that we will need to overcome.

People Analytics can play a key role in reinventing organisations.  However we need to resolve some of the structural challenges to truly succeed.  I covered some of these themes in my recent presentation, The Role of HR in Reinventing Organisations: Embracing People Analytics, at the Workforce Analytics Summit in Sydney.

Despite the hype, there is low adoption of People Analytics at the moment – here are some of the challenges that I think we need to address and also some suggestions of how WE (in the broadest sense) can overcome these challenges.

As always, I would welcome your views on the challenges, and especially ideas, and examples of how to overcome them.

Challenge 1 – We prefer ‘gut feelings’ to make people-based decisions

"80% of HR practitioners say their company leaders still rely on 'gut feelings' to make people-based decisions"  according to a survey of Human Capital Institute members in partnership with Oracle.

What’s wrong with using ‘gut-feelings’ to make people-based decision?

Professor Rob Briner from Bath University explains in his article What’s the evidence for…Evidence-Based HR?  that “our intuition is a valid source of evidence, albeit a weak source.” 

Daniel Kahneman, in his book – Thinking, Fast and Slow described two main types of thinking well with their inherent biases.

When you are under time pressure for a decision, you need to follow intuition. There is nothing wrong with using our intuition or gut feeling, but as Kahneman has said “you should not take your intuitions at face value”

So back to the challenge for those with skills in People Analytics, if your business customers do not believe that data is useful then they will not ask for it, or use it, or believe in it.  Which is a fairly big challenge!

So how do we overcome this challenge? Maybe there is a middle way between the fast and slow lane?

What you can do:

Make sure the boss ‘gets’ using evidence-based data.  If you are the boss, then make sure your new hires also ‘get’ it.  

Make intuitive decisions more data-based AND our data-based decisions more intuitive

 

Challenge 2 – The Peak of Inflated Expectations

Emerging Technology Hype Cycle - Gartner Emerging Technology Hype Cycle – Gartner

In HR we have always had business problems, statistical knowledge and access to piles of data, so why the hype around People Analytics now?  Well the Cloud and Big Data sales machine is probably talking to your boss right now.  You know the pitch, “Analytics pays $13.01 for every dollar spent”.

Managing expectations on people performance with the CEO should be your job and as mentioned, People Analytics has delivered some good early results, but one of the biggest dangers right now is far too much hype.

Since 1995 Gartner has been measuring The Hype Cycle, the promise of emerging technologies, and shows five key phases of a technology’s life cycle.  Is People Analytics in danger of succumbing to the hype before it delivers benefits?

Peak of Inflated Expectations -> “Early publicity produces a number of success stories – often accompanied by scores of failures. Some companies take action; many do not”

Trough of Disillusionment -> “Interest wanes as experiments and implementations fail to deliver.”

So what if the CEO gets excited about HR once in a generation you might say?  What happens if we set expectations too high for People Analytics and do not deliver?  It will not be the first time that HR has over-promised and under-delivered based on “best-practice”.  At some point you will need new recruits in a competitive market which needs new software, but there’s only  so many times you submit a business case with a decent ROI.  What you really need is some early positive results.

What you can do:

Set realistic expectations on people analytics – aim low  and over-deliver.

Start with a specific business problem

Learn from the early adopters

 

Challenge 3 – HR doesn’t need Big Data, it needs Big Questions

“Without data you are just another person with an opinion” W.Edwards Deming

But, “Without questions, you are just another person with data”

There is a danger that People Analytics is a solution looking for a problem and in the “scientific method as an ongoing process”, the generation of interesting questions is a key step. 

To do this we need to know the business.

I had a client a few years ago, who trained a group of HR Business Partners as 6-Sigma Black Belts.  After the training, they demanded a data dump from Peoplesoft.  "What problem are you trying to solve?” and the reply was “We don’t know yet until we see the data…”.

The example highlights the need to solve business problems not analyse data.  Strategy is all about making choices, so if you run an analytics team, generate as many questions and hypotheses around a particular problem area as you can by casting the net widely.  

What you can do:

Generate many wide ranging questions and hypotheses which solves business problems

Coach Business Partners and HR into developing hypotheses and sharing the insights back to the business

 

Challenge 4 – We need the right tools to do the job

This paper is worth reading, “HR and Analytics: why HR is set to fail the big data challenge”  (Angrave et al, 2016)  published in Human Resource Management Journal. 

As you might expect from the provocative title, they don’t hold back :-

“the HR analytics industry, which is largely based around products and services, which too often fail to provide the tools for HR to create and capture the strategic value of HR data.”

In other words, our HR Systems, data and reporting tools might not help us answer the business questions we have.  Many HR operational systems were simply not designed for analytics, and although they are improving, I expect to see more sophisticated analytics functionality in subsequent software releases.

What you can do:

Keep discussing your needs with your Technology Partners

Collaborate with others in the industry to source great tools

 

Challenge 5 – No confidence in the underlying frameworks

To use a house analogy, there is no point having cameras & sensors, unless the house is structurally sound in the first place.  We need to have a roof, secure doors and running water before we can add sensors that optimise our heating, detect poisonous gas, detect intruders etc

As Max Blumberg says in his article, People Analytics: Who’s fooling who?   “if like most people you don’t believe in your organisation’s competency and performance management frameworks, then you certainly aren’t in a position to believe in the results of statistical analysis based on data generated by these frameworks. As the old acronym GIGO says, Garbage In, Garbage Out.”

What we are crying out for is a theoretical framework to test our hypotheses about people, behaviour, productivity and organisations.  We are not there yet, but I am optimistic that over the next few years we can develop the skills and knowledge to increase our confidence levels in people management.

What you can do:

Stop doing people analytics until you’ve fixed your frameworks.

Collaborate with academia and peers in other organisations

 

Challenge 6 – Show me the Money

The problem is, you can show the C-Suite pretty data visualisations of their organisation showing attrition, gender balance,  and average commuting time, but the hard truth is the CEO will only really listen when you link it to Revenue and Profits.  When it comes to employees, the holy-grail is increasing employee productivity.  We need to link as much as possible to employee Productivity to get ‘buy-in’.

What you can do:

Develop your own internal measures for employee productivity

Try and link your initiatives to improving employee productivity

 

Challenge 7 – Structural issues with HR Operating Models

I have been speaking and writing about some of the structural issues with HR Operating Models for many years (see for instance, Is your HR Operating Model Fit for the Future?  If the supporting structures for HR analytics are not in place, then the probability of success is lower.

A couple of structural issues with HR Operating models that many orgs sill grapple with are:

Working in silos.  In HR we have developed some great experts over the last few years (e.g. talent, learning, reward etc) yet we have also become a function of specialists creating more silos which makes it harder (not impossible) to work together as a whole to deliver HR (Business) strategy.

The role of HR Business Partner.  The role was introduced as a strategic partner and account manager for HR Services, however there have been challenges.  Many orgs are on their 3rd or 4th revisions of this role and HR BPs are key to solving business problems as key customers for an analytics service.   However we are in a transition phase, as described by “Most HR BPs won’t cut it…”   from Luc Smeyers and “Stop Hiring Data Scientists if you’re not ready for Data Science” from Greta Roberts.

We will never have the optimal HR Operating Model with managers, systems, HR experts working seamlessly together.  However we can strive to continually improve the model using People Analytics to help rethink many of our HR programmes and influencing how we deliver our people management.

What you can do:

Learn some of the lessons from others in HR Transformations over the last few years

Ensure Business Partners have good analytical skills and are inquisitive about the business. Provide coaching on basic statistics and people analytics where needed.

Continually evaluate the efficacy of our HR and Management initiatives

My “gut-feeling” is that People Analytics will help reinvent organisations.  We are in the early stages of a journey and we can all help by sharing methods, learnings and positive results.  We need to keep an eye on some of the near-term challenges as we move forward.   One key action within our control is to set realistic expectations and solve specific business problems.  This can get our business partners more interested into a different way of working.  The technology industry will probably evolve to roll-out improved offerings with time.  And our evidence base should get better as we improve data quality and start to ask better informed questions.  Although the ecosystem I refer to is complex, with diverse vested interests, we should continue to encourage sharing and collaboration as much as possible.  

Here is a presentation on "7 Challenges that People Analytics Must Overcome" I gave at HR Congress Amsterdam in November 2016.

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Is your HR Operating Model Fit for the Future ?

HR Strategy Glue - Glass Bead Consulting
 
 
Current HR Operating Models are not fit for the future.  The implementation of the Ulrich model in the 1990s was driven by changes in technology, the need to demonstrate value for money, development of the HR Services landscape and a focus on more HR Strategy.  Ulrich’s research was built on trends which were transforming the IT and Finance sector at the time; including shared services, outsourcing,  manager self-service, and ERP technology enablement.  The ultimate goal was to spend a higher proportion of HR resources on delivering HR Strategy, and less on HR administration.
 
The Ulrich model delivered some benefits, but patchy implementation gave mixed results.  So after all the effort, the question remains – why is HR no more strategic now than in 1995?
 
The HR Business Partner (BP) role was introduced as a strategic partner and account manager for HR Services, however there have been challenges with the timing of the introduction of the role.  Launching BPs before HR Shared Service Centres have started leaves them with an impossible task of balancing transactional workload with the strategic expectations of customers.  In my experience of training BPs, I observed the ‘rule of thirds’ in larger organisations; a third are excellent, a third would be excellent with time and development, and a third will never be ‘strategic’ BPs.     The Business Partner is stuck between a rock and a hard place in a mismatch of expectations. 
 
In my view the great promise of HR ERP Technology has not delivered. Most organisations do not have one interconnected system for HR records, recruitment, learning, payroll, compensation management, succession planning tools and performance management.  Many multi-million dollar transformation initiatives based on HR Technology, have not delivered their goals, been late or over budget damaging the credibility of HR to transform organisations. 
 
HR has built a set of specialist functions that work well in silos, for example in Talent, Learning, Reward, Recruitment, Employee Relations, but don’t often work together as a whole to deliver HR Strategy.  There is evidence that we are not spending a higher proportion of our time on delivering HR Strategy as we did in the 1990s, from research carried out by Professor Edward Lawler of the University of Southern California. We have not made progress in improving the productivity of managers through enabling self-service tools. According to Towers Watson, 56% of organisations now require HR to approve transactions, which was certainly not the original vision of the Ulrich model.
 
The Ulrich model was developed from external drivers relevant in the 1990s but we now have a different set of drivers in place, and should re-evaluate our current structures.  Now is a good time to review our HR Operating Model, with over 50% of organisations with more than 5,000 employees in the process of re-organising their HR department from bringing in a new leadership team to redesigning HR services from the bottom-up. 
 
Technological innovation has provided big changes in the workforce.  It has also provided more opportunities to deliver better HR Services to a mobile, and more global workforce.  McKinsey estimate that the automation of knowledge work will have an economic impact of $5-7 trillion dollars, displacing workers with technology.  Workforce changes mean we have high youth unemployment in some areas, a jobless recovery, an ageing workforce that will need to work into its 60s and 70s and localised skill shortages, for example in science and engineering.  The demand for Talent is constant.
 
So where do we locate our businesses in an economy with high unemployment? Do we need a core set of employees on permanent contracts and flexible contractors who provide the right skills at the right time? Which employee services can we deliver through mobile devices?
 
HR is becoming increasingly fragmented and hived off into HR Services and specialist advice.  There is a growing need for more HR Strategy, yet there is less capability to deliver it.  There is a demand for support to transform organisations, yet HR has struggled with change management, technology deployment and Organisation Design required to transform itself.  The HR Services market is moving every quarter with new entrants, mergers and acquisitions.  New skills are required in analytics, influencing behaviour change, vendor management, and for HR to be workforce technology 'evangelists'.
 
So what can we do?  We can learn from the experiences of implementing the Ulrich model, but challenge parts of the model that are no longer applicable. 
 
1. Understand the changes in your workforce now and in the future, and assess the likely impact on your organisation
2. Challenge current and future HR skills you have and will need in the future 
3. Review technology innovations and partner with organisations that have a passion for improving workforce productivity
 
By focusing on the journey and not the end destination, you can move towards a HR model that will provide the 'HR Strategy Glue' enabling you to adapt and respond to future drivers of change. 
 
Join in the discussion on HR Transformer Blog or at the Tucana HR Change & Transformation Conference where Andy Spence is delivering his keynote speech on Future Trends in HR Operating Models.
 
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What will you Stop, Start and Continue in 2013 ?

 

This is the time of year when the turkey is a recent plump memory, the mince pies are all gone, the Christmas recycling is on an industrial-scale, and the champagne is in the fridge ready to bring in the New Year.  

A question I usually ask myself is What will I Stop, Start and Continue doing the following year?

I find this is a useful exercise to carry out both personally and professionally.

So why not get some of that old Christmas present wrapping paper out, write down those activities and ask yourself the following :
 

What activities will I Stop doing ?

By this, I don’t mean the post-Christmas detox activities, like drinking horrible tea and running round the block.  In a work context, list the activities and ask yourself – what would happen if you stopped doing this?  

This is your New Year spring clean, clearing out the clutter to free up space to focus on better things.

So once you have done this, and crossed out a chunk of activities, (you will still need to pay people, so payroll stays on the Continue list, nice try!).  Of course, most of what you do is valuable so will stay on the Continue list.

Now the fun bit, you have now created some space and energy, so think about What are the activities that you will Start doing in 2013 ?

Download our Stop, Start, Continue Worksheet below:

 

Here are some of our HR candidates to consider Stop and Start doing in 2013, we look forward to hearing yours.

HR Candidates to STOP
1.    The Annual Performance review – is this a meaningless paper chain, with low-value conversations with no discernible increase in productivity? If so, then dump it.
2.    Engagement Survey and Action Plan.  Can you really demonstrate that this activity improves productivity, happiness or just improves the survey results every year?  Cause and effect is too difficult to discern, so is time to do something more effective instead?
3.    Doing ‘line-managers work’ with basic employee performance issues. You have rolled out the training, had a ‘hand-holding period’ of 6 months to help less confident managers.  Is now the time to take the hard decision and ask yourselves, if a Line Manager can’t do this now, then do they need to move on?
4.    Creating reports that add no value whatsoever. Unless there is a business reason, stop producing them and see what happens…

HR Candidates to START
1.    Conduct a “meaningful work” review.  Ensure every employee understands how their work fits into the "Why" of your organisation.  Get this right and you will have much more productivity, satisfaction and better results than putting free fresh fruit in the canteen!
2.    Review your HR Strategy to ensure it aligns with the latest Organisation Strategy (which has the habit of changing every quarter)
3.    Conduct a HR Assessment – do you know how much it costs to delivery your HR Services, compared to leading outsourcers or even your competitors?
4.    Check the HR Technology market for Talent Management tools and ditch those awful spreadsheets.
5.    Make more of an effort with Finance and IT…you will always need them, they will always need you…..surprise the CFO and take them out to dinner.
6.    Find out what your Managers really think about HR service – conduct a HR Importance vs Effectiveness Survey to help you hone in on what the priorities should be in 2013.
7.    Ring up your HR Transformation Consultant to help you set-up a successful HR Change Programme in 2013

Whatever you Stop, Start and Continue in 2013, I hope it is a happy and prosperous year for you professionally and personally.

 

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Top HR Transformation Articles from November 2012

In November we found out who will be the leaders of the United States and China for the next few years.  In the world of HR Transformation, we start with two articles which slay two old HR dragons, Performance Reviews and Employee Engagement.  We highlight the most important HR outsourcing contracts of the last couple of years, and finish with a book recommendation on Negotiation.  A skill we all need to be very good at in HR!

 

 

Before we put on the armour and go HR dragon slaying, we have been looking at the best way to share our favourite HR Transformation articles with you, so its worth checking out our new HR Transformation Magazine format below.   All our recent articles are featured here in addition to the HR Transformer Blog.  Bookmark this for your daily scoops on HR Strategy, Recruitment, HR Shared Services, Change Management, Business Transformation, Leadership, Learning, HR Outsourcing, HR Technology and other randomness.
 

 
 
We are now getting towards the end of the year, so it is a good time to look at what we should Stop, Start and Continue in 2013 both personally and professionally.  At the top of our STOP list are the dreaded annual Performance Reviews……
 
Why Performance Reviews Don't Improve Performance

You know we like to peek at what our Academic siblings are up to, and Ray Williams has written a good article in Psychology Today, Why Performance Reviews Don't Improve Performance. (incidently Ray has also written a novel called Dragon Tamer)
 
When we hear the phrase "would you mind if I give you some feedback?" what that actually means to most of us is "would you mind if I gave you some negative feedback?" wrapped up in the guise of constructive criticism, whether you want it or not. According to Williams,
 
“constructive feedback, which is usually critical, rarely helps anyone, and certainly rarely improves employee performance on the job.”
 
The prevailing theory is that criticism, which invariably is part of the performance review, will improve the employee's performance, and in addition the employee will positively welcome it. Nothing can be further from the truth.
 
The reality is that the traditional performance appraisal as practiced in the majority of organisations today is often incongruent with our values-based, vision-driven and collaborative work environments,yet Performance reviews have become institutionalised.
 
Samuel Culbert, a professor at the UCLA Anderson School of Management "this corporate sham is one of the most insidious, most damaging and yet most ubiquitous of corporate activities."
 
If you can look your Executive in the eye and tell them that the annual performance review is worth the effort, then fine.  However, if you have ever wondered whether they really do increase the performance levels in your organisation – then read this article for a different perspective.
 
Our view is, If your appraisal doesn’t improve performance then do something else with the time and energy this will free up.

 
The second HR dragon to be slayed this month is the Employee Engagement Survey. This article was written by Jacque Vilet at TLNT.  Most people recognise that engaged and motivated employees are more productive, however are we getting the murky lines between correlation and causation mixed up?
 
A typical quote from the those selling the merits of Engagement Surveys is :
 
“high engagement firms have a shareholder return that is 19% higher”
 
But isn't this a bit like saying :-
“more intelligent firms have a shareholder return that is 19% higher”
OR
“healthier firms have a shareholder return that is 19% higher”
 
All possibly true, but the question for me is, is the shareholder return higher because of higher engagement or is higher engagement just correlated with higher shareholder returns?
 
Of course successful organisations have higher engagement levels, profit margin and productivity.  They are possibly healthier and more intelligent too.  In these organisations, The Executive is getting something right on strategy and management.
 
I do vaguely remember torturous statistics modules at University – and it was drummed into our heads by exasperated Psychology Professors that  Correlation does not imply Causation
 
Making the assumption that higher employee engagement improves shareholder value is a bit like saying that
 
"Sleeping with one's shoes on is strongly correlated with waking up with a headache.
Therefore, sleeping with one's shoes on causes headache."

As Vilet explains “Every HR department wants to believe that high employee engagement causes company performance. But that is not true. Many in HR mistake correlation with causality and therefore don’t understand what drives what.”

We just do not know enough about the specific causes of high employee engagement.

Again if the activity conducting Engagement Surveys and associated reporting is only neutral on productivity, then it is not worth doing. You could be doing something better instead – like analysing specific performance issues.
 
So, why are engagement surveys so fashionable ?  This is another topic for another day, but a quick answer is (1) they are much easier than doing a proper root cause analysis  (2) they are pushed by a powerful sales effort.  Enough said for now.
 
To some, HR Outsourcing is another dragon that should be slayed, but we think there is still some puff in this dragon for the time being….

Our latest HR Transformer Blog article has a look at the The Most important HR outsourcing contracts from last 2 years.   Although there have not been too many blockbuster deals, there has been plenty of HR Outsourcing activity in smaller deals and single process outsourcing.  Find out which company has created an "HR Ice-Cream Sundae" by mixing up its HR vendors.

The Future of HR & Competencies

The new HR Competencies, have been issued from SHRM and highlighted by Cathy Missildine. You might remember from last year, Professor Ulrich's  What's next for HR? The six competencies HR needs for today's challenges which are:-

Capability Builder, Change Champion, HR Innovator/Integrator, Technology Proponent, Credible Activist and Strategic Positioner. 

We would both be interested to know which set do you prefer and why ?

 
Some other great articles from November

A Revolutionary Approach to Strategic Change  In this hour long Harvard Business Review webinar, John Kotter, foremost expert on leadership and transformation discusses a new approach to accelerate the achievement of their strategic initiatives in a rapidly changing environment.

BigData in HR: Why it's Here and What it Means

Given the global recession and talent imbalances in the world, companies are focusing on replacing their legacy HR systems to help apply analytics reasoning to HR and talent.  Josh Bersin provides his analysis, and for the visual thinkers provides a useful diagrammatic history in The inevitable Shift to HR and Analytics.

9 Ways HR & Recruiting Technology Will Evolve in Next 4 Years

"Most of the 10 million Millennials entering the job market during the next three years will expect a far better candidate experience than today’s." An interesting article on TLNT, from Heather Huhman.

The Amazonification of Recruiting

Bob Corlett creates a new word AND provides insight into current recruitment trends.

"The Amazonification of recruiting is accelerating. Sites like Yelp and Glassdoor are pulling back the curtain on candidate experience. LinkedIn has found a way to rapidly accelerate the endorsement process, and apparently will start to weigh your endorsements in their search results.  It’s a brave new world of accountability coming. Are your recruiting practices ready for it? "

Negotiate your L&D budget successfully  Why do people buy ? Apparently, there are 'good' reasons vs the 'real' reasons.  If you like what Simon has to say, we recommend his new book,  Negotiation Mastery: Tools for the 21st Century Negotiator. This might make a good Christmas gift for that special HR Business Partner in your life.

And finally, What Colours mean in different Cultures, with thanks to Tom @TomWHaak for this link.

We hope you have enjoyed our latest HR Transformation articles, a big thank you to those who contribute with fresh ideas and suggestions to share with the HR community. Do keep in touch with any of your future articles and suggestions @AndySpence on Twitter.

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Top HR Transformation Articles from October 2012

The HR Transformer Blog is back – we have been trawling the web to pull out the best HR Transformation related articles from October 2012.
 
There have been two big HR Technology Conferences either side of the Atlantic this month, filled with talk of ‘big mobile gamification in the data cloud’, or something similar.  After being initially dazzled for a moment, I rubbed my eyes and remembered, “It’s all about the People” and found some great articles on managing change.  I’ve taken a brief look at HR’s past and it’s future, finishing with some useful tips from HR Metrics to running your HR Shared Service centre like a Gordon Ramsay restaurant (but obviously without the expletives!).
 
Big mobile gamification in the data cloud  – and other disruptions at the HR Technology Conferences
The HR Technology Conferences in Chicago and Amsterdam made a big splash online. The jargon can get a bit confusing, so XpertHR have provided a very helpful guide for those who only dabble in HR Technology. The industry is buoyant after record conference turnouts, the successful Workday IPO and a flurry of takeovers including; SuccessFactors, Taleo and Kenexa. According to the press releases, new services in SaaS, mobile and big data will transform the way we manage people in organisations. The fact is many large scale HR Technology programmes do not always deliver intended goals. At a Technology Conference, funded by the technology companies – this is unlikely to be a theme with the speakers and bloggers.
 
Which begs the question, where are the unbiased, independent voices to support HR buyers of technology and services?
 
It is well known, that some analysts work for both the buyers and the vendors. According to an article by analyst, Mark Smith, Industry Exposé: Technology Vendors Skew Analysts and Influencers
“The dirty secret is that some of the largest technology vendors have forced industry analyst firms to contractually agree to the right to review, edit and approve any written research that references their name or products before it is published.”
 
With nearly two out of every three IT projects failing, I think there should be more focus on good governance, solid requirements and the people elements involved in change. See our article on How to avoid HR Technology Bogeys, inspired by the Ryder Cup.
 
“Nice interface, it even looks a bit like Facebook! Great, I can view on my phone. But how will this really help my organisation achieve its goals?”
 
Charlie Judy reminds us that “it ain’t a HR Strategy without technology” in a good post with some useful tips. HR Strategy should determine your HR Tech requirements, not the other way round, so don’t let the Tail wag the Dog.
 
A development I think will make a big impact is Salesforce’s entry into the market, with Work.com. If this sounds strange, read this excellent article by Appirio The Future of Work : Employees as Customers showing the parallels between HR and Marketing. I will be watching this develop with interest over the coming months.
 
For the visual thinkers, this caught my eye, HR technology on Pinterest from Deb Maher, spotted on #HRTech hashtag on Twitter.
 
Talking of Twitter, we have recently updated our lists of HR Transformers on Twitter for you to use, so let us know if we have missed anyone, and connect with me @AndySpence
 
People first
One of my mantras is that for technology investment to be worthwhile, we need to focus more on the people who will use it, these two articles on Change Management were clear and insightful.  Ten Reasons People Resist Change from a true teacher, Rosabeth Moss Kanter, and a golden oldie with some useful lessons, from Harvard Business Review – The Hard Side of Change Management.
 
HR Operating Models – Ulrich Model 2012
The evolution of HR operating models over the past two decades has been slow in some areas.  In the article, HR's Future Looks Strategic—or Does It?  University of Southern California professor Edward Lawler has tracked the amount of time HR managers spent on working as a strategic partner since 1995. He recently released the results of his latest research, from 2010, and found nothing has changed.

"When we ask them: 'What is their role in developing business strategy for their companies?' we're getting the same answers as we've always gotten," Lawler says.

Why is HR no less strategic than in 1995?

My view is the move to a simpler Ulrich model has generally aligned HR better to organisational goals, focused more on the customer, enabling economies of scale and economies of skill.  However the transition to this model has not always been successful and the interpretation of HR roles such as the Business Partner have not been wholly successful. 

Which leads me to an interesting article Has the Ulrich model narrowed HR career paths?   
 
My observation is that we have some great HR Specialists in Reward, Pensions, OD, Learning – however we are slowly losing those who have the big picture of the HR Strategy.  This is retained with those with more of a generalist background – currently in leadership positions, but I have concerns about succession when they retire. 
 
Another question for HR Operating models related to demographics,   in 2020, one third of workers will be over 50, so how will this impact HR?  We ask the question of the Impact of the Ageing Workforce on HR.
 
Ulrich’s original work on HR Operating Models was influenced by what was going on in other functions such as Finance and IT.  I was interested to read that there are similarities between HR and IT in the challenges the leaders face. (e.g. struggles for the CIO to become a true partner to their business  –  sound familiar?).  Time for the CIO to jump on the wave of change from Outsourcing Magazine.
 
Some other useful articles for HR Transformers
HR Shared Services: What works well for a restaurant could help HR Shared Services function. Simon Brown, writing in SSON, suggests Restaurant-style Service (Tier-0 and Tier-1) “Tier 0 – to ensure your menu is well laid out, easy to search, navigate and read.” Great article, but be careful with following Gordon Ramsay’s style too closely!
 
HR Metrics of Note: Revenue Per Employee VS. Profit Per Employee  A good example of using HR Metrics that matter, in this case to the investor community, who use Revenue per Employee to analyse retail giant Amazon. Who else could this come from but the HR Capitalist?
 
Powerpoint use and abuse – Few pieces of office software have simultaneously been so used and abused even causing ‘death by PowerPoint’. Find out about Cognitive Dissonance, Noise & Overload from Donald Clark.
 
The Top Social Tools For 21st-Century HR Humans, communication, work etc, makes HR the ideal spot from which to harness changes in work habits for the benefit of the company – good read from FastCompany.
 
And finally, Live language translation. Now this is a disruptive technology! Remember Babel Fish from Hitch hickers Guide the Galaxy.  I did a Masters in Cognitive Science in the mid-90s and some of these technologies are starting to emerge – very exciting developments indeed! Hat-tip to Graeme Codrington for this link on Twitter.
 
We hope you enjoy our latest HR Transformation articles, a big thank you to those who contribute with fresh ideas and suggestions to share with the HR community. Do keep in touch with any of your future articles and suggestions @AndySpence on Twitter.

 
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Impact of an Ageing Workforce on HR

In our article on Working Late – The Impact of an Ageing Workforce we highlighted some research initiatives in this area.

A key question for us is:

“What is the future impact of an ageing workforce on HR?”

For HR departments, the ageing workforce is a very current topic with a focus on developing retirement policy in line with regulations, pay and pension reviews and recruitment policy to avoid complex age discrimination cases. This research on the ageing workforce also raises longer-term questions for future HR Operating Models.  In HR, how do we ensure structures, services and tools are reasonably future proof to deliver organisational goals today and in the future?

An ageing workforce will impact current Talent Strategy, for example attracting applications from older workers and supporting recruiters to change their perception of older workers.  A clear theme from the Working Late interviews was “homeostasis of career” – workers happy to do their role with no prospect of promotion.  It is a challenge for organisations to manage the uncertainty around the end of employees working lives.  What will be the impact on the Talent pool?  Line Managers need support in managing performance and improving productivity of older workers to build diverse inter-generational teams.

Our view is we need to rethink our change management approach when dealing with different generations of workers. Even though the change management principles may remain the same, it is clear that different tactics are required with older workers than when dealing with Generation Y.

Some challenging questions for HR professionals are “How do we ensure we have a good understanding of our own workforce, so we can anticipate changes?”, “How robust is your HR data, are you able to conduct analysis on your workforce, including age and skills profiling?”  For some, this puts an uncomfortable spotlight on current HR Systems.

We encourage the periodic review of HR tools and technology to support a productive workforce, but before we “bet the farm” on our new HR Technology Mobile strategy, we need to assess whether this will be successful for all our categories of workers or is a different approach needed.

There is evidence that there is discrimination against both younger and older workers, for example research by the UK Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), Attitudes to Age in Britain 2010.

One issue for HR is how to best fight discrimination and negative attitudes to older workers. Any attempt to change attitudes is complex and part of the solution should be to highlight the benefits of employing older workers.  These include retention of key organisational knowledge and skills, and opportunities for coaching and mentoring.

In summary, the ageing workforce is one factor of many influencing future HR Operating Models, however we do need to think about:

1.    Clarity in roles around what we expect HR and Line Managers to do around key organisational activities such as improving performance and productivity.

2.    Choosing the right tools and technology to enable us to manage our workforce, from excellent analytics, to skills tracking and performance management.

3.    Deciding as an organisation, how you will deliver excellent change management.

We would be very interested to hear examples of how your organisation is dealing with some of these challenges? 


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Working Late – The Impact of an Ageing Workforce

When I get older losing my hair,
Many years from now,
Will you still be sending me a payslip,
Performance review and benefits plan?

*Loosely based on the work of Sir Paul McCartney

In 2020, nearly a third of the UK workforce will be over 50.

The idea of working into our later years is not a new one, but it has significant knock on effects for the future of work.

The UK is not alone – this pattern also continues across much of Europe.  This means that HR Directors and other leaders must recognise the need to explore the challenge of the ageing workforce.

Sir Paul McCartney celebrated his 64th birthday 8 years ago and shows no signs of slowing down.  For every millionaire, there will be millions of workers who are eligible to retire but will not necessarily be financially able to do so.  The number of older workers will only increase as time goes on as retirement age steadily creeps up.

To this end a research project has been created at Loughborough University called simply
Working Late. It aims to explore the various issues and concerns around older workers and develop strategies to ensure we have productive and healthy environments for the older workforce, and is funded by the New Dynamics of Ageing Programme.  The research project is led by Professor Cheryl Haslam, Director of the Work and Health Research Centre.

Since the number of older workers above the age of 50 is more than double the number of younger workers under the age of 25, it’s clear that this research has come at an opportune time.

Aunty Doris attends “Back to Work Training”
Aunty Doris attends “Back to Work Training”

Working Late takes a pro-active view to establishing connections with workers and various other agencies including The Age and Employment Network. Working Late held a series of expert panels involving a range of experts from HR management, employment law, occupational health, transport and academia.  Glass Bead Consulting was invited to provide a perspective on the impact of demographic changes on the design of future HR organisations.

Working Late’s research ranges from influencing government policies to more practical solutions.  For example, one study highlighted that UK workers spend an average of five hours and 41 minutes at their desk in a work day. Dr Myanna Duncan, from Loughborough University, warned that office workers literally “forget to stand” spending nearly as long at their desks as they were sleeping in bed!  Given the musculo-skeletal problems in the workforce, this is a clear warning that we need to get out of our chairs more and talk face-to-face instead of using email.

The researchers from the Working Late Research Group looked into some of the challenges of later life working, and conducted 108 semi-structured interviews with employers, employees, job seekers and recently retired.  Here is a copy of the presentation which formed the basis of discussion at the expert panels, Working Late – Dynamics of Later-Life Working. The quotes from participants make for interesting reading:

“..It’s kind of awful to think that people are going to end their careers going down a capability route of disciplinary because they are no longer capable of doing the role that’s required of them because they are older. No one wants to performance manage out an older worker as they’re reaching the end of their career […] regardless of legislation everyone wants careers to end with dignity.
(Employer, 42)

“They [older workers] tend to stay with us for a longer period of time. So they’ve got to a stage often in their career where the content of their role is just as important as actually being promoted.”
(Employer, 48)

The themes emerging from the interviews included career development, homeostasis of career, new identities of ageing in relation to retirement, pensions, job-seeking and economic outlook.  All of which will eventually have a profound impact on us all.

What does this mean for HR?

For HR, the ageing workforce is a current issue with much on-going work on developing retirement policy in line with regulations, pay and pension reviews and recruitment policy.  In addition, many HR departments are dealing with complex age discrimination cases, see for example this article in Personnel Today, “Cases in point: guidance on retiring employees”.

Managing an ageing workforce is one factor of many influencing future HR Operating Models. It is important to understand your workforce profile now and against where it will be in 5 years’ time against your organisation needs, and also reviewing HR Strategy through the lens of each customer group; from Generation Y to older workers.

Also, read our follow-up article The Impact of an Ageing Workforce on HR.

What you can do

– Follow Working Late on Twitter @workhealth
– Visit www.workinglate.org for more detailed updates
– Get Aunty Doris to update her profile on LinkedIn…?
– Subscribe by email to the HR Transformer Blog
to ensure you read future articles which will look at the changing workforce on HR

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How to Avoid HR Technology Bogeys

It’s only a week after we were gripped by a great sporting comeback in the Ryder Cup in Medinah, Illinois and once again our focus is back in Chicago, this time for the HR Technology Conference and Expo, which starts on Monday 8thOctober.

There is talk of “disruption” in the way we manage the people in our organisations led by new tools and technologies. Plus there are exciting developments with HR in the cloud, Social in the Enterprise, Analytics (including Big Data) and of course, Mobile Technology.

The HR Technology industry is in ebullient mood after some big trophies have changed hands in the Wall Street clubhouses. These include :-

SAP purchasing Success Factors
Oracle buying Taleo
IBM procuring Kenexa
Plus of course, Workday launching its IPO

But back on the fairway, away from the conferences, the analysts, and the business press – implementing HR Technology successfully does have its challenges. Selecting the right technology platform with the right functionality is hard enough. Guessing where your business and your workforce will be in the next 5 years and then persuading your sceptical Line Managers that this will help them in their job is even harder. If in doubt, see how well you get on with this useful list of HR Technology Questions from Naomi Bloom.

But, for every perfect delivery there is a bogey.

It is all too easy to get bedazzled by exciting innovations and disruptions taking place, whether in the clouds or by ‘belly putters’. The fact that 68% of technology projects fail, because companies forget their ‘basic swing’ hitting a few unexpected Bogeys along the way! The good news is that HR have crucial skills to bring on the people side of the project that are so critical to success.  HR can lead projects with confidence, avoid the bunkers, and ultimately become Technology Champions. (see article on Why HR Need to be Technology Champions)

Although I can’t make the HR Technology Conference Expo this year, we here at Glass Bead Consulting, have played a few tough rounds over the years in the HR Transformation Cup. Here are some reflections from the HR Clubhouse we have come up with to help with your handicap and ensure project success.

1  Agree how decisions will be made during the technology implementation

So the first big decision went OK.  At the beauty parade, the software company wheeled in their best salesperson and your Finance Director and Technology Director were impressed enough with the pitch to go with your recommendation for Fusion/SAP/Workday/other. You didn’t really have to revert to your evaluation criteria and weightings, but they still gave the right answer. First job done – now comes the hard bit…

As you get into delivery, you will have to make a number of decisions along the classic project management triangle of ‘Time vs Scope vs Cost’. Often there will be competing demands on your budget, resistance in unplanned areas and resourcing conflicts. At this point the last thing you need is any delay, with 10 expensive Fusion/SAP/Workday consultants on the project, you’ve calculated their burn rate on the train to work (but didn’t tell anyone).

It is critical to spend time up front working through how decisions will be made on the project, who will make them and what the escalation path will be. Governance is key in any substantial project. Make sure a clear governance structure has been agreed up from the onset, and ensure there is a business sponsor to help iron out issues.  Decide who will be on your Governance Board and what their role will be.

When you get going, on occasions you will hit the ball into the rough, and will need to have some difficult conversations on scope, timings, budgets. You will want to remind everyone the terms they agreed at the beginning of the project.

2  It’s the People, Stupid

Start thinking about the change strategy right at the beginning. The Technology Account Manager will make the deployment sound so easy, if mentioned at all. However, think carefully about all your stakeholders, what they need from this change, what their concerns will be, start rehearsing your messages and arguments because you will need to start them soon.

In our experience, to develop an effective change strategy is a canny mix between the high-level, for example, ensuring the change is couched in your organisational goals, and the low-level, getting out a monthly project update, keeping the intranet portal up to date and so on.

Ensure that when you construct your budget and programme team, you have allocated enough resources to communications, change and training expertise – but you work in HR, so you know this right?

3  Agree the goals of the project

Then ‘tattoo’ them somewhere strategic, well at least get them printed on some nice mouse mats or put some posters up. There are many reasons to put in a new HR System and different stakeholders will have diverse drivers and see the benefits in different places. Irrespective if this is to deliver a transformational change in people management, consolidating different systems of records, or to enable employee self-service. Get consensus up front on the goals of the project, show how these goals links to your overall organisational strategy and your HR Strategy.

The new system is ultimately there to delivery HR goals and ultimately make the organisation more successful.

When you get into the project, a few shots will inevitably be hit in the bunker, and there will be crunchy decisions to make, but make sure you can revert to a compelling vision and goals for the project. Also ensure your sponsors agree with these and communicate them widely.

And finally, make sure that ‘the tattoo’ is temporary.

4  It’s still the People, Stupid  – Identify what skills you will require

The skills needed to run HR are not the same as those needed to transform HR. Review how you will get the skills and experience required in programme management, process design, technical skills, support knowledge, change management. Then work out when these will be needed and for how long those skills are needed. Do a skills audit and work out the gaps – but this should be easy as you run HR.

You will need to fill the gaps, identify all the team members, considered the progression of roles, procured any external contractors or consultants and developed training courses.

Remember, your project team capability has the biggest impact on success not necessarily the software.

5  Define your HR Operating Model and HR Processes

It is important to know what flavour of operating model your new technology will be supporting in the future. Will there be changes to what you expect Line Managers, your workforce, your HR Business Partners to do? What is the scope of the HR shared service centre and how much might be delivered by 3rd parties in the future? It is vital that your new system will support this.

At Glass Bead Consulting, we have developed a HR Process Inventory which details every HR service, and who should be doing what in the new operating model. We found this tool really helps our clients stick to what it really needed in terms of requirements. A HR Process Inventory helps flush out ownership and interface issues at a process level, before it becomes a problem for the System Design.

It is easy to forget that typically a new technology system might not deliver real benefits for many months or years, once you have completed an eye-watering amount of data cleansing and trained the Line Managers to use the technology correctly. Unfortunately, for large global projects, by the time the system is fully operational the HR Strategy, and HR Operating required to support it might have changed anyway.

By clearly articulating your HR Operating Model and HR Process Model you can reduce the risk that they system is not fit for the future.

Finally – don’t let the Tail wag the Dog. The biggest mistake of technology projects is to let the system lead the process you will be delivering to your customers!  Our firm belief is HR has valuable skills in Change Management, Training, Communications, sourcing the right people and resources to drive any projects, including IT system implementation. Increasingly, HR also need to be Technology Champions to avoid those expensive bogeys.

It would be great to let us know what you think, or share lessons learned, on the blog or #HRTechConf

Your loyal HR Transformation caddy,
@AndySpence

 

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Top 10 HR Transformation Articles in November & December

 
We start 2011 with a bumper issue of HR Transformation blog articles from the last two months of 2010. In between meeting year end goals and wrapping presents, our HR bloggers, writers and thinkers are in a reflective mood with some thought provoking articles.
 
Out with the old and in with the new, we kick off with a couple of articles which aim to smash some of the myths surrounding ‘best practice’ in HR. Our HR Maverick presents the case on why we should dump the dreaded annual Performance Review, with some help from Mr. Deming.
 
The ‘love/hate’ relationship HR has with Social Media illuminates the dichotomy HR sometimes finds itself in – on the one hand in its traditional role as “enforcer” and on the other side as an “innovator”. We highlight a couple articles that will appeal to both sides, from Malcolm Gladwell to Mashable.
 
At Glass Bead Consulting we are embracing social media in HR. Jon Ingham and myself co-hosted a Connecting HR Twitter chat one foggy evening in Amsterdam, from the HRO Summit Europe Conference  – read more about our discussion.
 
Do you know your “HR Cost per employee”?   Is it $1000 or nearer to $3000 per employee or? Read up on some recent trends before the CFO taps you on the shoulder and asks you…
 
Talking of costs, cost cutting is in at the top of British Government’s agenda, as it looks for ways to allocate more resources to frontline services. We have three insightful articles on the case for HR Shared Services from a UK perspective.
 

Finally, we hope you enjoy our latest 10 of the best HR Transformation articles and a big thank you to all those that come back to us with ideas and suggestions to share with the HR community. Do keep in touch with any of your future Top 10 articles and suggestions –  @AndySpence on Twitter.

 

1. In Search Of HR Tech Best Practices, by Naomi Bloom

In this article Naomi Bloom reflects on the quest for best practice in HR Technology and HR Transformation. 
 
We have all seen the sales pitch of “this system will transform how you deliver HR Management.”   However, in Naomi’s view this won’t happen unless you are willing to redesign your HR processes.  She writes that “If you don’t have proven competency models for your key roles, you won’t get competency-centric HRM, no matter what the software does”.
 
Naomi outlines three types of practices that are amenable to process improvement through automation, outsourcing & process redesign. Read more about her big P processes, little p processes, and business rules in this excellent article.
 
Another person to tackle HR “Best Practices”, is Ron Ashkenas, in the Harvard Business Review. He answers the question “Why Best Practices Are Hard to Practice” and according to Ron, there are two main reasons.   
 
Lack of Adaptation – companies are so different, it is rare that a practice developed in one place can be applied elsewhere without significant customisation.
 
Lack of Adoption – companies that utilize a borrowed process or tool without full leadership support and commitment, think that just having the tool itself will generate the desired results.
 
In our view, somewhere along the line someone in the organisation needs to think deeply about how to actually implement organisational strategy. This will nearly always involve the challenging task of asking people to work in a different way. If this change uses tools, theories or methods derived from Systems Thinking, Lean, 6-Sigma or ‘some Blu-Tack, Post-It notes and elastic bands’ then so be it. It doesn’t really matter which tools and methods are used as long as the change works.
 

2. The Future of Human Resources and Social Media, by Sharlyn Lauby, aka HR Bartender, on Mashable

The adoption of social media at home and work seems to pose some problems for HR. The challenge characterises HRs’ struggle to deliver true value in its role as Business Partner. 
 
There is a balancing act; on the one hand HR needs to maintain one of its traditional roles of policing policies and keeping managers’ noses clean. On the other hand, HR is required to improve employee performance, engagement and be Technology Champions looking for new tools that can transform the workforce, help them to be more productive and ensure the ‘stars’ stay at your company. 
 
For sensible tips on Social Media Policy, read The Future of Human Resources and Social Media, from Sharlyn Lauby, aka HR Bartender, via Mashable.
 
For the HR police…
If you are worried about your employees flippantly using Facebook all day, then imagine what the introduction of the telephone must have done to “Staffing Managers” or whatever our HR predecessors were called !  Humorous and thought provoking cartoon here from Competitive Futures,The Telephone – a disruptive technology.
 
For the social media revolutionaries…
Those that get a little carried away, with “vive de revolution” approach when it comes to Social Media will find this article interesting “Small Change – Why the revolution will not be tweeted", by Malcolm Gladwell in the New Yorker.
 

3. HR Costs Rebounding?   from Michael O'Brien in HRE Online  

Do you know your HR Cost per Employee?
 
A new report, from PricewaterhouseCoopers/Saratoga “2010-2011 US Human Capital Effectiveness Report”, finds that this key HR statistic is returning to pre-recession levels.  The report finds that HR costs-per-employee rose in 2009, to $1,569, up from $1,462 per-employee in 2008 and close to the pre-recession average of $1,610 in 2007.
 
In our view, HR cost per employee is a very useful metric – much more useful than the traditional “HR:Employee Ratio”. It takes into account the amount of outsourcing, relative cost of the HR function and is easier to make comparisons.

 

 

4.  Performance management: looking in the wrong place from Glyn Lumley, aka HR Maverick 

Do you currently run an annual performance management process where line Managers sit down with their team members and discuss their performance, sometimes with a link to remuneration and improving contribution? The Systems Thinkers, such as Glyn Lumley, say that this process is not only a complete waste of time, but is also destructive to morale.
 
According to Glyn, Improvements to organisational performance does not happen one employee at a time. The problems are in organisational systems and processes – it’s here that we will find the real opportunities for improvement.
 
An article referring to System Thinking, is not complete without a quote from Dr. W Edwards Deming. “The supposition is prevalent … that there would be no problem in production or in service if only our workers would do their jobs in the way they were taught. Pleasant dreams. The workers are handicapped by the system, and the system belongs to management.”  
 
If you don’t get improvement in performance, then why bother? Wouldn’t it be better to invest time and cash in initiatives that deliver better results?
 

5. Service Levels for HR Services Delivery – An Evolution, from Jim Koenig – Equaterra

So you have an SLA in place, however your managers say that “the service levels are all green but we are still frustrated”.   Jim Koenig from Equaterra show the evolution of service levels along the continuum from tactical to measuring both tactical and strategic health.
 
On too many occasions we see SLAs as a bureaucratic step, rather than as a useful way to manage service relationships.
 

6. A systems thinking guide to outsourcing for the sceptical public sector leader, from the Systems Thinking Review

If you are a public sector leader (Chief Executive, politician, manager), your budget has been obliterated and you know you have to save money. Some of your peers are jumping headfirst into outsourcing and you are considering doing exactly the same. You hesitate. Who hasn’t heard of the outsourcing horror stories? This is a good article with some useful questions if you are thinking of outsourcing, with free PDF attachment.
 

7. Is HR too big to innovate?, from J.Keith Dunbar, from DNA of Human Capital blog

Keith Dunbar asks a good question: “is HR too big to innovate?”
The recent 2010 IBM Chief Human Resource Officer (CHRO) Study identified three key areas requiring attention.
 
1. Cultivating creative leaders
2. Mobilizing for speed and flexibility
3. Capitalizing on collective intelligence
 
All three of these focus areas will rely heavily on the ability of HR to innovate itself at a pace that keeps up with the global changes taking place.
 
A key question for HR is; are we too big to innovate?
 

8. Mobile Apps are Ringing up HRO, Linda Merritt from HRO Insights Blog

What are the killer apps for mobile devices in HR Services?
 
From mobile workers submitting an expense claim, commuters with access to their teams holiday schedule, approving a training request while waiting for the bus, Gary Bragar from Nelson Hall, outlines how Mobile Apps will stimulate the HRO Market.
 
For buyers using SaaS HRO platforms, providers will be developing mobile apps that meet the needs of multiple clients, as well as rolling out applications as they become available by the provider of the underlying HR system (usually Oracle or SAP.)
 

9. What Next for HR, Connecting HR at HRO Europe, from HR Transformer Blog

I enjoyed speaking on the expert panel at the HRO Summit Europe Conference in Amsterdam with Peter Cappelli, Jon Ingham, Nigel Perks, Jane Owen Jones. Jon and myself carried on the conversations from the Plenary Expert Panel and opened up online with a #HRChat – you can read the transcript here…..watch out for other HR Chats, at Connecting HR site.
 

For those at the conference or interested, here are the views of Jon Ingham and Gary Bragar as they give their highlights of the conference themes in HR Transformation and HR Outsourcing.

 

10.  Shared HR services the way forward for local authorities

Here are three different articles on the use of HR Shared Services in UK public sector.
Shared HR services the way forward for local authorities. Two East Midlands authorities in the UK, are to team up the HR services in an effort to cut costs and improve efficiencies. Leicestershire County Council and Nottingham City Council have signed a partnership deal to share HR and other administrative functions in a bid to save more than £2 million per year.
 
HR ‘must lead from front’ on MoD cuts. HR staff numbers in the Ministry of Defence will be reduced by half over the next two-and-a-half years but, at the same time, the austerity measures facing the public sector present the profession with a “phenomenal opportunity”, according to Jonathan Evans, director, civilian personnel.
 
Gus O’Donnell [head of the civil service] described the challenge we face as the leadership challenge of a generation. “I think it is not just a generation but a number of generations,” he said. “It is important that HR leads from the front. HR is uniquely placed to make a difference and we have got to make that difference now.”
There are 85,000 civilians in the MoD but, as announced in last month’s Strategic Defence and Security Review, over the next three to four years this will be reduced by 25,000 – nearly 30 per cent.
 

Shared services ‘not a panacea’ for cost-savings. “Shared services have been heralded as a panacea to solve the [public sector spending] problem,” continued Shoesmith. “It is one option but there are many others. £81 billion is a lot of money to lose out of public services over the next four years, but the cuts can be delivered in a variety of different ways.”

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