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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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.

Subscribe now and get the latest and greatest independent views on HR Transformation direct to your inbox.

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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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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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Top 10 HR Transformation Articles in April

April has been a bumper month for a good selection of HR Transformation related articles, from using 6 Sigma in recruitment, optimising your HR Shared Services, to how the iPad can help HR.
Here is a a leading question, 'Are Performance Management appraisals the Great Evil?'  Election fever is gripping the UK and the main political parties are locking horns in a final show down.  The last three articles here deal with UK Government policies including a comparison of the main parties manifestos on skills and training.

1.  6 Sigma Recruiting – from Jason Buss, The Talent Buzz

6-Sigma can work in HR when used in the right context, with the right skills. It works really well with higher volume for repeatable processes like recruitment. In the right hands, the results are dramatic and can pay for your Black Belt many times over.  This article also includes a useful slide deck.

2.  HR Shared Services Optimisation: Attaining the full potential of HR Shared Services – from Outsourcing World

This is a good post about how to get the most out of HR Shared Services. You have gone through the blood, sweat and tears of getting the model working, so what do you do next? Here are 10 excellent ideas and suggested initiatives. Find out more about “leaner, not meaner HR” and “HR orphans”.

3.  5 ways to torpedo your next HR sale – from Mark Stelzner, Inflexion Advisors
We often facilitate vendor evaluations for HR Services and we've seen lots of pitches over the years ranging from the incredible to the incredulous, to the downright dreadful. This is a candid post which outlines the ways HR vendors can “fail spectacularly”.   Do you recognise any of these “torpedos” ? We do too.

4.  Workday and the unspoken benefits of SaaS – from Phil Wainewright, ZDNet
This is a good article about Software as a Service (SaaS).

“Our estimate is Workday is at least 25%, perhaps 50% cheaper than on-premise competitors Oracle or SAP, mainly due to the simpler implementation and process configuration of the Workday solution.” according to Aviva.

Cost is one of many issues when considering future HR Tech options, but the above statement is a powerful claim.  What does your IT Director think about SaaS ?

5.  How the iPad Can Change HR – from Jason Corsello, KI OnDemand
Is an iPad a big iPod or a laptop with a big screen? I am not sure because I am still waiting for my evaluation copy. (subtle hint to Apple)

Large proportions of the workforce in retail & manufacturing industries have limited access to PCs.  In the design of HR Operating models a big challenge is how to get these employees to access HR service channels, including self-service HR applications and tools to manage vacancies, book courses and update personal info. 

We need to use all the ‘pull factors’ we can to get employees to use HR services and providing a few iPads could be worth considering for certain groups of.  Jason outlines examples from streamlining mundane and repetitive forms, interactive training, performance management and perhaps the area with most potential ‘mobilising HR’.

6.  Performance Evaluations: "The Great Evil"? – from Mike Haberman, HR Observations Blog
Is Performance Management The Great Evil? Systems Thinkers think so and it would seem that many employees think so too. Does the effort pay off and should HR focus their efforts on other initiatives to improve employee performance?

"This corporate sham is one of the most insidious, most damaging, and yet most ubiquitous of corporate activities. Everybody does it, and almost everyone who's evaluated hates it. It's a pretentious, bogus practice that produces absolutely nothing that any thinking executive should call a corporate plus." Quoted in the article from authors Samual A. Culbert and Lawerence Rout.

Strong words indeed, but a thought provoking article and interesting discussion which represents different views on the subject.

7.  If eLearning is still not seen as effective – how will social learning take off?- from Martin Couzins, XpertHR
eLearning has proven to be a cost-effective way to deliver training in  certain areas and the potential for Social Learning is great given the tools, connectivity and knowledge we now have at our fingertips.

However a recent survey by CIPD, on UK Training methods, found that eLearning was floundering at the bottom of the pile on 12% (it was 7% in 2009).  Martin asks a really good question, if eLearning is still not seen as effective – how will social learning take off?
Another question for us is :- if eLearning is a cost-effective way to deliver training, why isn't it used more by organisations?

8.  Election 2010 Briefing – skills and training – from CIPD
The UK election is on May 6th, but when choosing which party to vote for, how important are their policies on Skills and Training?

To grow the economy, enabling the workforce with the right skills and training is absolutely key.   This is a useful three page summary of the main parties manifestos on skills and training. It includes apprenticeships, youth unemployment and internships.

9.  Don’t bank on efficiency savings – from Flip Chart Fairy Tales
The Conservatives say they can get £12 billion more efficiency savings out of the UK public sector than the government has claimed.    “Back-office efficiencies” are proposed by all politicians to reduce the deficit to a more manageable level.  Rick points out the problem with efficiency savings is that they are "probably unachievable".  Developing a realistic business case is difficult work but Rick suggsts the politicians need a reality check.  For more on HR efficiencies in the public sector, see our article about Government Benchmarks – a Government Health Warning.

10.  HR Transformation in Local Government - from Nicola Grimshaw, director at Digby Morgan writing in Changeboard
This is a good article about HR Transformation trends in UK Local Government.  It picks up on trends in collaborative working, headcount freezes and outsourcing.  Nicola reckons that 75% of all local authorities are in the process of adopting an Ulrich style HR Operating Model.

We hope you enjoyed our latest and greatest HR Transformation Articles for April.

Many thanks for the feedback for our Top 10 HR Transformation Articles from March, as always we would welcome any suggested articles, or follow us on Twitter @AndySpence.

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Stop, Start, Continue – A Guide for HR Transformers

We are officially in Spring and in this part of the Northern Hemisphere we have heard the sound of bleating lambs and seen the yellow blaze of cheery daffodils.  It is also a traditional time to blow out the cobwebs, air the mattress and perhaps get round to doing an organisational spring-clean.

Over time every department picks up activities that were meant to be ‘temporary’, done as a ‘workaround’ or done as part of an agreement between people who left years ago. These tasks still get done but we overlook the original purpose and value to the organisation. This stops us from doing tasks that are more productive or useful.

Stop, Start, Continue Guide for HR Transformers

An exercise we find useful is a Stop, Start & Continue review.

 

- Simply list all the activities you do in a particular area, department or role.

- Decide which activities you will now STOP as they are no longer useful or add little value

- Determine which activities you just have to CONTINUE, as they keep the show on the road

- And then having created some spare capacity, ADD those activities that have been on the To Do list for much too long that you plan to START.

We have found this spring clean useful at an individual level, for a role e.g. HR Business Partner or for a function, e.g. Human Resources. In the context of HR Transformation, we often use this technique as a preliminary step before allocating HR activities to a part of the new organisation structure or in designing new roles. This exercise works well as a facilitated session with small groups. It sounds obvious but it is important to eliminate redundant activities before designing a new organisation.

Download our Stop, Start, Continue Worksheet below:

Here are some examples of Stop, Start, Continue activities that have come out of similar sessions with HR :-

Stop

 

Doing line managers work with employee performance issues

Organising the Christmas Party

Creating manual reports every month without automating

Renewing contracts without assessing the market

Manually entering data into a system because of that temporary system workaround from the upgrade in 2004

Continue

Delivering excellent employment advice

To work with business leaders to plan future scenarios

To coach teams on improving performance

Start

Investigate how social media tools can reduce the cost of recruitment

Determine and measure HR cost drivers

Find out what Managers really think about HR service

Develop a HR Monthly Dashboard

Reviewing contracts with HR suppliers

Let us know, what will you Stop, Start and Continue in 2010?

 

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Top 10 HR Transformation Articles of the Month

Spring is in the air and the forces of nature are unstoppable, perhaps inspired, some of our favourite bloggers, analysts and writers are in great form.  With talk of revolutions in HR, some systems thinking, the economics of Software as a Service (SaaS) and the use of artificial intelligence in HR.  In March there was also some big news in the HR Outsourcing industry, with Northgate Arinso acquiring Convergys HRO business. It’s always useful to have a peek over our shoulder at what the Finance community are up to. And while we are thinking of numbers (sort of), we get an economists ‘dismal’ view of management.

1 – The Evolution Debate and HR, from Andy Gebavi – Infusion Nation

Any transformation of an organization takes time, but which is better, a revolution in HR practices or a more evolutionary approach? It depends on the context, but Andy outlines the pros and cons of each approach. Our take is that systems and processes can be changed relatively quickly, but genuine transformation involves changing behaviours which generally evolves in step-changes over time.

2 – Some Days are Better than Others, from Glyn Lumley – The HR Maverick

Why are some days better than others? Glyn observes that when things go wrong “Most of the blame seems to be laid at the door of individual employees”.  But organisations are a complex interaction between people, processes, technology and the environment. Could it be something in the system?

3 – CFO = Value Integrator…CHCO = ?,  from J.Keith Dunbar – The DNA of Human Capital

Ulrich and colleagues have often explained that the change imperative in HR is also happening to different degrees in Finance and other functions.  Keith looks over the fence at the finance community with reference to an IBM Global Chief Financial Officer CFO study. The report refers to the CFO as a Value Integrator, so what does this make our Chief Human Capital Officer CHCO (not a title we like) or HR Director?

4 – Building the Perfect HR Team, from Trish McFarlane – HR Ringleader

Do you need a HR background to be in HR? We had a similar debate last year, with Do You Need a HR Background To Be a Successful HR Director. Trish, who during the day works as a HR Business Partner, asks the question, but goes further.  If you were a ‘fantasy HR Manager’, who would you have in your team? A view on HR skills that will be in demand in the future.

5 – The Management Con, from Chris Dillow – Stumbling and Mumbling

What are we doing highlighting articles from the ‘dismal science’ on the HR Transformer Blog. Well, everyone is interested in economics now aren’t they? Stumbling and Mumbling is a good read and Chris Dillow is a financial writer with attitude, who asks the question, What do Bosses Do? A good question, we may not agree with his answer, but always enjoy some NHS number crunching which he uses to illustrate his view.

6 – Top Reasons for ERP Project Delays –from ERPKO

Unclear critical paths, indecisive decision making and unrealistic expectations – sound familiar?   Most HR Transformation programmes involve getting the most out of HR Technology, including ERP systems such as Oracle or SAP. Delays in the roll-out of new systems are a big problem for HR. Loss of credibility, budget over-run, service delivery issues – the list goes on.  By now, we have seen them all, but do we know what causes them and how to prevent them happening? Sufficient planning, right skills at the right time and a robust governance model all help in our experience. (Thanks to @DougLubin and @rfsilva123 on Twitter for this article.)

7 – How SaaS makes a good free option, from Dennis Howlett, AccMan

Fed up with ERP delays? It might be worth reading more about SaaS. More and more  HR organizations are buying Software as a Service solutions such as SuccessFactors and Workday. Dennis considers the economic model and psychological appeal.  You need to understand the different commercial models as well as the fit with your business requirements. Some conversational topics to bring up with the IT Director when you meet her in the lift!  This article was spotted in our HR-Transformers-Techies Twitter Group.

8 – Employee self-service – Can HR keep up with the pace of self-service technology?, from David Woods at HR Magazine.      

All the evidence points to self-service saving time and money yet take-up remains low and the technology is becoming ever more advanced. David Woods looks at why HR is dragging its feet. There is also evidence that self-service does not always save time and money but what caught our eye, was that Self-service is moving into artificial intelligence. Early adopter Aviva took the decision to launch an automated Ask HR response service for its 23,500 employees back in 2006.  Aviva employees type in a question and with the help of the language search engine, suitable answers are brought up instantly from the web-based knowledge base. Since installing Ask HR, 69% of all HR enquiries are now handled through the system, reducing telephone calls and allowing HR staff to focus on more complex queries.

9 – Northgate Arinso Buys its way to top spot in enterprise HRO and it only cost them 100m
, from Horses for Sources

This was big news for the industry in March. By acquiring Convergys HRO business, Northgate Arinso have acquired US HR Service Centre Capability and ready made clients for its HRIS team. The news shakes up the HR Outsourcing industry and creates a Global Leader in an expanding industry with Headquarters in the UK. This was also covered on the day by the HR Transformer Blog – in HR Outsourcing – The Challenge of Picking Winners.   On the subject of industry news, you might already be familiar with the Horses for Sources blog, this has now spawned a new analyst firm, Horses for Sources. We are looking forward to reading the same quality of thinking on outsourcing trends in HR.

10 – Does HR Outsourcing Really Work? From Deloitte

Before we get too excited about HR Outsourcing, does HRO really work? Our friends at Deloitte say HR Outsourcing works when you do it right. The same answer would also apply if you replaced ‘HRO’ with any complex change programme such as a new IT system or move to HR Shared Services. However HRO has had some mixed results for a variety of reasons. The good news is that in 2010 we have over 10 years of lessons learned, case studies and battle scars to learn from….worth reading if you are considering outsourcing HR functions.
We hope you enjoyed our HR Transformation Articles for March.
 
Please suggest articles and HR Transformers worth following on Twitter @AndySpence.
 
And finally, Happy Easter!

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HR Survey Highlights Skills Gap in HR

The biggest barrier to transforming Human Resources is the lack of appropriate skills in HR, according to the 2008 Global HR Transformation Report (conducted by HROA in association with ADP).  This is the 5th annual survey with 129 executives around the globe in varying stages of HR Transformation.    DOWNLOAD 2008 GLOBAL HR TRANSFORMATION REPORT HERE

The survey defines HR Transformation as – “any concerted effort to change and improve HR operations, whether through outsourcing, shared services, internal reengineering, or a combination of these strategies”.

We use a broader definition. Successful HR Transformation needs to align all the components in the HR operating model including Business Partners, Service Centres, Centres of Excellence, HR Strategy, Managers and Employees.  Sometimes there is too much emphasis on implementing Shared Services or HR Outsourcing at the expense of actually delivering the HR Strategy. (see comments by Jason Geller “HRO does not equal HR Transformation”)

The survey points to some interesting trends in HR Transformation :-

“The biggest ‘chronic hurdle’ that impedes transformation is the skills of existing HR staff.”
This is cited by over 60% of respondents.  The skills needed to manage HR are very different to the skills needed to transform HR.  The survey doesn’t mention which skills, but experience is required in Change Management, Process Design, Organisation Design, Project Management, Business Case Management, and HR Technology.   So what can you do? Consider these steps before starting your HR Transformation project, utilise transformation experience in other areas of your organisation and use HR professionals as ‘content’ owners.

“Most organisations are meeting or exceeding their cost savings targets.”
Sounds impressive, but of course this depends on what the cost savings targets are.  Some projects aim to break even, but allocate a larger proportion of their cost to strategic objectives rather than administration.

“Past HR Transformation lessons don’t appear to filtering out.”
Each organisation will have different goals, a different workforce and different starting points. But there are themes and lessons learned – so why aren’t they being shared in this digital age of collaboration?  Joining networks such as the HROA help.   Conferences are dominated by vendor/sponsors rather than providing HR transformers with real ‘independent’ lessons learned.  With more sharing and online networking things should improve, see for example initiatives such as our own  HR Transformer Blog and DiscussHR.

“Only 48% engage consultants or sourcing advisors.”
Some organisations are getting external support which is an obvious solution to the skills gap. On business cases which involve large IT transformation and cost savings, a review from an experienced, independent consultant can be money well spent.  There are still objections to using consultants who are perceived to push ‘pyramids’ of junior consultants and lack independence.  Do advisors need to up their game or do they need to market their benefits more effectively?

“66% plan to outsource some HR processes.”
Payroll is outsourced in nearly 90% of cases. End-to-end HR Outsouricng contracts are being signed (see recent IBM Unilever deal) , and buyers do see the benefits of HR Outsourcing, however buyers are even more careful in this environment. With major economic change there is less appetite for 10 year contracts and more examples of tactical sourcing.

“Price is most significant in provider selection.”
It is interesting that Financial stability has risen up from 12th most important factor in 2006, to 6th in 2008.  This will be Top 5 next year with much more detailed financial checking of potential vendors.

The ADP/HROA survey has provided a useful barometer of HR Transformation, it will be interesting to see whether more progress has been made on the barriers next year.

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Top 5 Reasons HR Projects Fail

HR Project failure usually means increased cost to implement, reduced quality of final outcome, time delays and often leaves a huge dent in morale. The list below are reasons why HR projects fail based on the number of sleepless nights they have caused HR Execs, and the more scientific approach of research and surveys. The good news is that they are all preventable – by following tried and tested methodologies such as Prince 2, brushing up on your Change Management skills and mixing all of this with a huge dose of common sense. Typical HR projects can include change programmes, implementation of shared services, HR transformation projects, outsourcing and IT projects. Top five reasons why HR projects fail include:

1. Lack of clear executive leadership. Any HR project needs a sponsor to help ensure that it is set up to succeed with the right resources. Having executive leadership comes into its own when the project has to traverse choppy waters. HR projects that have business (non-HR) sponsorship tend do well. Lack of leadership can lead to a lack of vision and people quickly forget why they are working so hard in the first place.

2. Skills of staff. It sounds obvious, but the key skill that is usually lacking is project management. There are simply not enough skilled project managers in HR with experience in successfully delivering complex projects. Many project management problems stem from inexperience, a common example is not breaking up the project into manageable pieces. Another key skill that is required for HR Project Managers is Change Management and unfortunately Project Management methodologies and courses do not emphasise this enough.

3. Governance not set-up properly. If the governance hasn’t been agreed formally at the beginning, it is amazing how initial enthusiasm can disappear when the going gets tough. This comes from not agreeing up-front how decisions will be made during the project. It is well worth investing time early on to establishing project governance. This helps ensure that issues are resolved quickly when they arise.

4. Not managing stakeholders effectively. For most projects, you will need to persuade human beings to change how they do things. This is very difficult and will require diplomatic and sometimes innovative methods to succeed. Not managing stakeholders can lead directly to other classic PM problems like not gaining employee buy-in, dealing with resource cuts, other projects getting priority and not dealing with genuine cultural differences. The key is to identify your stakeholders up front, work out how the project impacts them and what they will need to make the project work. Then ensure that you prioritise your time so you can work through any issues they may have.

5. Project complexity across multiple businesses and geographies. Complexity can be caused by working across different business units and geographies, each with potentially different drivers and cultures. To overcome potential problems, set up the project to gather all requirements, take time to understand your stakeholders and design your Governance to help resolve those tricky issues. Finally, use your sponsor to provide you with guidance where appropriate and watch out for barriers that are perceived rather than real.

 

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