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… 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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What Next for HR? Connecting HR at HRO Europe

From Rangoon to London to the canals of Amsterdam, the smell of transformational change is in the air.
I will be at the HR Outsourcing Europe Summit (Twitter hashtag #HROEurope or follow @HROEurope ) in Amsterdam this week discussing topics in HR Transformation and HR Outsourcing.
I will also be joining a distinguished Plenary Panel discussing, “What next for HR ?  How HR leaders should be confronting the coming decade.” This will be hosted by Dirk Olin, Editor of HRO Today and HRO Europe
The panellists will include :-

– Peter Cappelli, Director of the Centre for Human Resources, The Wharton School

– Nigel Perks, Chief Human Resources Officer, BT Global Services

– Jane Owen Jones, Founder, Lloyds Masters

– Andrew Spence, Founder, Glass Bead Consulting

– Jon Ingham, Executive Consultant, Strategic HCM

One of themes of the discussion will probably be the impact of Social Media on HR. Rather than talk about how Social Media will change our workplaces, here is an opportunity to join in. I will be chairing (@AndySpence on Twitter) the 3rd Connecting HR Chat, #cHRChat, with Jon Ingham, @JonIngham, at the conference.
Connecting HR is an online community “getting more HR people involved in social media since 2010". 
Here are the details, we look forward to continuing the discussion!
Date – Wednesday 17th November
Time – 4pm GMT, 5pm CET, 11am EST
Twitter HashTag – #cHRChat and for those at the conference #HROEurope
What to do – just join in and remember to use the hashtag #CHRChat with every Tweet!
Still not sure?
Here’s a couple of articles to get you go going :- Still a HR Twitter Virgin ? or still need some inspiration?  HR Transformers on Twitter
Here are some questions to get the #cHRChat started :-
1.       What are the current drivers for HR Transformation?
2.       What role does outsourcing play in HR Transformation?
3.       Will social media transform HR?
4.       Also which will be more influential on transforming HR in the next 5 years (1) Social Media (2) Outsourcing (3) Oracle Fusion ?
Looking forward to some great transformational discussions on Wednesday!
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Top 10 HR Transformation Articles in October

Hopefully everyone survived Halloween, this month we see who is giving a ‘HR trick’ or a ‘HR treat’. The clocks may have gone back here, but this month we have some forward thinking articles on topics such as;  the evolution of HR systems, how L&D and HR should be more intimate, some ‘fear and loathing’ on LinkedIn, “100 is the answer, now what is the question?” with more on HR ratios and benchmarks.
Finally some tips from a ‘poacher turned gamekeeper’ on how to manage consultants effectively and we’ve offered our own insiders tips.

Here are 10 of the best HR Transformation articles from October.  Thanks to everyone who has sent their Top 10 ideas, this is much appreciated –  @AndySpence on Twitter.

1.  The end of “here’s one I prepared earlier” – from the HR Maverick Blog, aka Glyn Lumley

“We (HR) no longer create value by just serving employees, but by making sure that services we offer inside the company align to expectations outside the company”  argues Dave Ulrich – Professor of Business Administration at the University of Michigan.
Our HR Maverick develops this, and says “HR needs to work alongside those who understand what drives customer behaviour” and highlights the importance of ‘feedback loops’ from the customer – a key source of information about external business conditions.  Glyn continues to use ideas from Systems Thinking to “help us develop HR practices able to respond to the world outside.” A great post.

2. The evolution of HR Systems – from Josh Bersin

Josh Bersin highlights his findings about HR Technology from the recent HR Tech conferences. "Integrated Talent Management" is officially the new product category and in this article Josh outlines trends in the emerging Next Generation HRMS Market. The Bottom line according to him is “industry consolidation, continuous innovation, and SaaS together are continuing to change the market for core HR and talent systems.”

3. If I could change one thing about HR – from Nick Shackleton-Jones, BBC's manager of online and informal learning – Guest Post on XpertHR

If I could change one thing about HR.…Nick Shackleton Jones’ wish list includes a more coherent relationship between HR and Learning & Development (L&D).
Nick pinpoints specific areas which would benefit from a more joined-up approach including on-boarding, performance development and mandatory training.   “Successful organisations will depend to a much greater degree on their ability to share what their employees already know.”
We completely agree, L&D interventions need to be completely aligned with the HR Strategy and overall organisation goals.   The strategy needs to answer current questions such as:
·         What does our workforce need to deliver?
·         What skills do we need, where are the gaps?
·         How do we embed this into our organisation?
·         How do we link skills with performance and the recruitment of new talent?

To answer this requires the full suite of tools from both HR & L&D.   In this context, any silos between HR and L&D does not make sense.


4.  The HR Ratio Or "How Many Employees Does It Take to Screw Up an HR Department?" – Mike Haberman, HR Observations

This does sound like the beginning of a dodgy joke involving a ‘light-bulb’, but Mike makes a serious point. The answer of course is “it depends”. Mike outlines the factors that influence the answer.
In our view, when assessing a HR function against its organisational goals, it is crucial to ask the right questions.   Simply asking “what is our HR Ratio?” and how does it compare to others will not help achieve organisational goals.
Too often organisations start with the answer
 “100 employees to 1 HR FTE”
rather than obsess about asking the right questions.


5. Is Benchmarking Destructive? – in Consulting Magazine, reporting on a Booz & Company article

In the same vein as the previous post, Paul Leinwand and Cesare Mainardi from Booz and Company think that benchmarking encourages organisations to focus on what their competitors are doing, rather than their own capabilities.

We couldn’t agree more with this view as too often we find organisations worrying about external benchmarks when it is not clear why their HR Ratio is much bigger in a particular region or business.  

For more on UK Government HR Benchmarks, see our post –  "HR Benchmarks – A Government Health Warning"

6. What we teach, How we learn – A Guide for Workplace Learning and Engagement – From Benjamin McCall and others at RestartHR

This free PDF download from Benjamin McCall and various HR superstars is all about ‘learning’ and comes highly recommended. Some great questions and learning points for those involved in training and development as their day job, or those that rely on L&D outcomes.

7. Fear and Loathing on LinkedIn – from Steve Boese on Fistful of Talent

Steve Boese highlights a new tool on LinkedIn, called the “LinkedIn Career Explorer” to help users visualise potential career paths for college students.
LinkedIn has already been a revelation in terms of networking, but eventually its real power might be enabling a more efficient matching process between talent demand and supply. If most of your current and future talent pool is publically available in one place, then the only people with “Fear and loathing” will be the traditional recruiters.
We also like this article from Sharyln Lauby aka the HR Bartender, on Mashable.


8. What future for the NHS staff record – from Vince Lammas at Attractor Consulting

Vince Lammas poses a good question about the future of the UK NHS HR System called Employee Staff Record (ESR).   This is possibly the largest HR and Payroll system in the Word serving 1.3 million employees (however, if any of our HR Transformer Blog readers happens to work for the Chinese Army, Wal Mart or Indian Railways, let us know if you have a system to compare to the NHS)
The ESR system was implemented over the best part of a decade and is now in place in all NHS Trusts in England and Wales.  The original strategy had ambitious plans to use a common platform to deliver shared services, however this was not fully realised and we now have a situation where we have about 600 Trusts all delivering HR processes in 600 slightly different ways, each with their own Payroll, L&D & Workforce Planning managers and teams.
On top of a government spending freeze (real time cut) there will be pressure to transform the NHS workforce to do more with less, and HR needs to be well positioned to delivery this. A well planned programme to provide more effective HR services using HR Service hubs could be helpful.  So there is a burning platform for change, but do we have the political will to allocate more resources to front-line service and provide better value for the taxpayer?

9. Central Government is rubbish at managing Management Consultants – Flip Chart Fairy Tales

According to Rick, public sector organisations, especially central government bodies, are often hopeless at defining what they want consultants to do. Rick has used his experience working as a consultant to share some lessons learnt with working with public sector buyers. 
We have worked on both sides of the fence, and here are three tips for managing consultants :-
1.       Only engage when you know exactly what you want and how it fits with your overall strategy
2.       Always look for opportunities to train and develop your staff with new skills
3.       Define your outcomes from the start, and consider packaging up deliverables into phases so you can agree scope ‘step-by-step’

10.  Recapping the Not-so-Dog-Days of HRO’s 2010 Summer – from HRO Insights

Lynda Merritt from analysts Nelson Hall offers a summary of the key deals in the HR Outsourcing market in 2010 so far this year. Three big acquisitions have recently closed – ACS and ExcellerateHRO, ADP and Workscape, and Aon and Hewitt.

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Top 10 HR Transformation Articles in June

Here are 10 of the best HR Transformation articles from June, we hope you enjoy.
We have “Naomi in a box” and DIY HR Outsourcing – if these ideas do take off we are in trouble!
We peer into the 'crystal ball' and the search for the Holy Grail (but no mention of Monty Python)  from Dr John Sullivan, Naomi Bloom, J. Keith Dunbar and Jon Ingham with a HR 2.0 case study.
The last 3 articles deal with HR in the UK Public Sector – is there an appetite to establish a huge HR back office, and if not, is HR equipped to deliver the proposed 25% cost savings?  We also have the views of the Head of HR for the police in London –  a warning to politicians – never mess with the cops – particularly with their HR ratios.
We hope you enjoy the articles, and get in touch with any Top 10 articles ideas @AndySpence on Twitter.


1.  “The Future of HR” from a shareholders’ perspective –  from Dr John Sullivan

What would HR look like if it were redesigned by shareholders? This is a really interesting perspective on the role of HR from Dr John Sullivan.

2.  The Future Of HRM Software: Embedded Intelligence – from Naomi Bloom, at the In Full Bloom blog

“Meet Naomi, your friendly and very knowledgeable HRM/HRMDS consultant “in a box”. 
The very thought of capturing Naomi Bloom’s knowledge in this way is enough to give MIT sleepless nights for years. 

This provides some great insights into the future of HRM software from one of the most knowledgeable experts in the industry.

3. DIY for HRO – from Mark Stelzner, at Infexion Advisor

For organisations thinking of HR Outsourcing, Mark Stelzner, from Infexion Advisors gives some counter-intuitive advice (from a consultant). "Don’t use a HRO advisor, just do-it-yourself."
We agree with Mark in some situations, but think some conditions need to apply if you are going to try DIY HRO, including :-
– You have good up to date knowledge of all the relevant vendors
– Your organisation is good at managing outsourcing contracts
– You have a clear HR Transformation roadmap with buy-in from business stakeholders
– Your procurement team is comfortable running a vendor evaluation for a contract which usually involves technology, business, change
– You can tap into experience of the HRO lifecycle from conception, contract, transition to ongoing service delivery
The very useful DIY HRO deck illustrates the HRO journey, some great questions and is a good starter pack for those thinking of HRO, but don’t underestimate the complexity.  Maybe we need a “HRO Advisor” in a box?


4.  10 Lessons Learned in the Quest to Become Strategic in HR– from Cathy Missildine Martin at the Profitability Through Human Capital Blog

Here are some of Cathy’s lessons learned over the last several years working with HR Departments that chose to go through a dramatic change by moving to a strategic "Business Partner" approach to HR. This includes, “You can't be strategic if HR is not intimately involved with the organizational strategy.”

Great learnings expressed clearly and without jargon.

5. The Holy Grail…Human Capital Development Aligned to Strategy – from J. Keith Dunbar at the DNA of Human Capital

It’s always great to hear how the US Defence Intelligence Agency deals with people management challenges, and Keith is our man.  We particularly enjoyed this article as it highlighted the results of a very useful tool, assessing the differences between the perceptions of importance vs. effectiveness in people management.
They found a significant gap in Importance vs. Effectiveness (48%) in  "knowledge, skills and capability requirements to execute business strategy."  This indicates that this category is very important to the organisation, but not as effective as it needs to be. This can be useful information in helping to work out where to focus your efforts.
If you are interested in Importance vs Effectiveness tools, check our HR Effectiveness Survey as well as the excellent IBM paper on Workforce Analytics which is downloadable from Keith’s article.


6.  Lynda Tyler Cagni, ex Ermenegildo Zegno on HR 2.0 – from Jon Ingham's Strategic HCM Blog

What is HR 2.0 exactly?  Nobody explains the vision and the practicalities as passionately as Jon Ingham. Here is a case study, which always helps, from the retail group, Ermengegildo Zegno. “It’s about building collaborative enterprises and HR can play a big role in enabling this, and it’s a train that’s already left the station – HR needs to get on board quick.”   

This is a great case study providing useful insights.


7. HR Technology Trends for 2010  – from John Sumser on HR Examiner

This is a useful presentation on HR Technology Trends from John Sumser.  But what on earth is the “Sumser Curve”?


8. Government sets up efficiency hit squad – and warns HR to prepare for a storm – from Rick at Flip Chart Fairy Tales

Governments are planning to transform public services to reduce their cost of delivery to cope with the structural deficits. 
Sir Peter Gershon is now advising the UK Government and says “HR functions will need to be on top form to prepare departments for the ‘shock wave’ of the government’s cost-reduction scheme”.
 With the public-sector pay bill standing at £174 billion in 2008, and procurement costs totalling £220 billion, HR skills will be very much at the forefront of reducing “unsustainable” spending.     This task will be all the tougher as HR functions themselves needing to be simplified, just when their skills are most needed, Gershon said.
Rick, from Flip Chart Fairy Tales sees problems ahead and outlines how HR will have to put their own house in order by shifting transactional activities into shared service functions and reducing the ratios of HR staff to employees.



9. Could the Whitehall reshuffle lead to one massive government back office?  – from Inside Outsourcing at Computer Weekly

Can the government realise the potential of government back office sharing?  If all the government business processing capabilities were brought together you would have a resource bigger and more efficient than any supplier. 
Any move of this nature would probably require a large amount of consulting and supplier support. 
Is there any ambition to creating a world class HR Services in the UK?   Does the Government have the appetite to deliver standardised policies and processes, using common platforms and asking managers to manage their teams?

I am not sure there is much appetite for huge Government investment programmes – but some intriguing questions all the same…

10.  Met chief: HR could be “priced out as an expensive overhead”
– interview with Martin Tiplady, HR Review

During the UK election, David Cameron , now the UK Prime Minister, in a live TV debate mentioned that there were too many police officers working as “form fillers” in HR in London’s police force, the Met.  Read the subsequent debate in Xpert HR  "David Cameron Hits out at Metropolitan "HR Waste" and also see our article about HR ratios "HR Benchmarks : A government health warning"
This article from Martin Tiplady provides some clarification on HR ratios at the Met and his openness is respected.  His message to others in the UK Public Sector is that “HR could be priced out as an expensive overhead".   So HR be warned – you have had your collar felt by the long arm of the Met!

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Top 10 HR Transformation Articles in May

May brought a new coalition government in the UK – will this bring in a new era of collaboration and compromise? And if it does, how will the next generation of social media tools enable us to reach out to a broader and more diverse group of individuals ? Our first link below includes two videos which address this. 
With painful cuts being made to many industry sectors, cost effective recruiting is important. Which poses the question, if you only had one recruiting tool to use, which would it be?  Speaking of questions, one of favourite HR Bloggers, Sharlyn Lauby, aka HR Bartender, recently interviewed one of our favourite academics, Professor David Ulrich. Sharlyn asks Professor Ulrich what his favourite tipple is, with a refreshing response. What question would you ask the guru of HR Transformation?  From academics to the HR bloggers, we’ve listed the best for you, and also cover the rapidly changing HR Outsourcing industry, keeping down the costs of ERP implementation, some career management tips and finally some much needed humour.
We hope you enjoy the articles, and get in touch with any Top 10 articles ideas @AndySpence on Twitter.


1.  Two superb videos charting social change next generation social media –  from Andy Headworth, Sirona Says Blog

Social Media is important in transforming HR and people management. This article has two superb videos on next Generation Media, from an excellent blog. Andy always has a finger on the pulse of new developments in social media and recruitment.

2.  Interview with David Ulrich – from Sharlyn Lauby, HR Bartender

It is great to see Professor David Ulrich using social media with an online Q&A with Sharlyn at the HR Bartender blog. David is promoting his new book written with his wife, Wendy, called the “Why of Work”.

“We almost all seek meaning in one way or another. It is a universal need to have a life worth living. An abundant organization is where meaning is created for the individual, value is created for those the organization serves, and hope is offered to humanity.”
We now have the ultimate HR Transformer to follow on Twitter @Dave_Ulrich (and have updated our lists detailed on HR Transformers on Twitter


3. If you only had one source to find candidates – from Boolean Black Belt

The question is “if you were limited to only 1 method/specific source for identifying candidates to contact, engage and recruit, which would you choose, and why? “ Follow the link to find out the responses which say a lot about how social media is transforming People Management.

4.  Go Lean: Minimize customizations and reduce overall TCO in Oracle ERP implementation (Part 1) – from Infosys Oracle Blog

IT project implementations do not have a good record of delivering on time and to budget. Here are some good tips about minimising ERP customisations and reducing Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). This team are Oracle experts, but the lessons apply to other applications.  Also of interest, check out our Top 5 Reasons HR Projects Fail.

5. HRO Market update – from Linda Merritt, HRO Insights – Nelson Hall

Here is a good overview of the HR Outsourcing market from Nelson Hall’s blog, HRO Insights. “The HRO provider financials reporting season for the first quarter of 2010 ended kind of flat”.   As predicted on the HR Transformer Blog, we have had more consolidation in the HRO industry, see the link for the latest acquisition, ACS (now combined with Xerox) buys Excellerate HRO from HP. HP lost their appetite for this market, a shame as the industry could do with HP’s experience of ‘commoditizing’ HR services. It will be interesting to see how ACS develops Excellerate HROs technology platform in the future.


6.  New SaaS/HRO service from Caliber Point – from Information Week

A new SaaS/HRO Service has been launched by the techies at Caliber Point. Rupublic is a multi-tenanted HR Platform, available as Software as a Service (SaaS), based on the latest Oracle HR Software, with a HR Outsourcing service. For some organisations this could be a dream solution – no technology maintenance overheads or systems administrators plus variable costing. Contact us if you want a more detailed view of the pros and cons of this new service.

7.   Top 50 HR Blogs to watch in 2010 – from Evan Carmichael
For those who have read the HR Transformer Blog and still want to read more interesting articles on HR and Talent, we add two links to recent Top HR Bloggers lists, put together by Fistful of Talent and Evan Carmichael – some good reads here including links to our favourite bloggers. Spot any HR Transformers?

8.  Managing Tomorrow Today – from Mary Ann Downey at i4cp

“The Future ain’t what it used to be”.  The trend-watchers at i4cp reviewed one of their original articles from 2000 on the role of futurism in business strategy, in particular HR. Here they note the progress made over the last 10 years, with some useful recommendations.

9.  10 career management tips in the age of job fear – from Lance Haun, Rehaul
Here are 10 Career Management Tips from Lance’s Rehaul blog, it’s always worth reflecting on where we are heading in any economic environment. This includes the intriguing advice "Don’t be a lurker or a slug"

10.  One FTE
And finally – we have to end on a funny one which brightened up our day, thanks to Laurie @PunkRockHR for this tip on Twitter. 1.00 FTE – a very dry look at corporate life, check out their Top 10.


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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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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 Transformers on Twitter

So you are no longer a HR Twitter Virgin, you have got yourself a Twitter username and added your appealing bio.   You may also have found your favourite celebrity tweeter, or your favourite magazines on Twitter.

HRTransformers on Twitter

Now it's time to really dig a bit deeper into your particular 'thing'. At Glass Bead Consulting , our particular 'thing' is HR Transformation , improving people management in organisations by applying various techniques and tools in technology, skills and solutions. This includes a broad group of people including HR professionals, writers, academics, consultants, vendors, technologists and various others who are interested in improving people management.

We have created different lists of 'HR Transformers' using a feature called Twitter Lists, primarily so we can read useful and relevant twitter streams. Many of these people have their own blogs and publications and we thought it might be useful to share these with you, so you can benefit from their views, resources and links. The lists are a starting point and new people are joining Twitter all the time – so please suggest others to follow and we will update.

HR Transformers on Twitter

1. HR Transformers-Bloggers Bloggers with a passion for HR transformation
2. HR Transformers-Analysts Industry analysts who have a focus on HR Technology, Human Capital Management or HR Outsourcing
3. HR Transformers-Writers HR Journalists or writers with an interest for HR Transformation
4. HR Transformers Techies HR Technology experts or suppliers
5. HR Transformers-Consultants HR consultants with a focus on HR Transformation
6. HR Transformers HR Outsourcing HR and BPO outsourcing vendors and commentators
7. HR Transformers Change Experts in managing change
8. HR Transformers OD Experts in Organisational Design
9. HR Publications HR Magazines and journals
10. Leadership Experts in leadership
11. Recruiters Those involved in recruitment with an interest in social media

We have also consolidated all of these lists to our own Listorious HR Transformers List which is a useful Twitter resource.

Please comment below on any other HR Transformers you recommend to follow on Twitter and we will add to the lists. Self-promotion is actively encouraged, especially for the shy and retiring Brits.

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Are you a HR Twitter Virgin?

Apparently, Sarah Jessica Parker is a Twitter Virgin. But, are you a HR Twitter Virgin?

Twitter HR

There is a lot of hype about Twitter, a social networking and micro-blogging service that enables users to send and read messages or Tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters displayed on the authors profile page and delivered to the author's subscribers who are known as followers.

We know HR do use social media , however in a recent study, it was found that UK HR Pros are least likely in the World to use Social Media. HR needs to be all over social media trends to understand how its being used and the transformational impact on our organisations. See for example What a Social Media Policy Looks Like and Social Networking What HR Needs to Know

Many people who are interested in people management and HR use Twitter, however, our feeling is that only a tiny proportion of HR Professionals, Consultants and HRO Vendors that we know, for example on LinkedIn are getting involved. We thought we would try and move things along a bit by explaining why we like Twitter and a few tips on getting started.

We like Twitter because it provides a constant live stream of information including links to articles, blogs, resources and opinions from around the World. Subjects we are interested in such as leadership, HR, talent management, performance management, employee engagement, technology and outsourcing are well represented now on Twitter. Its a bit like having your own 24-7 live, personalised newsfeed. And its free.

In HR for example, some of our favourite twitter feeds include @HRMagazine , @CIPD , @HRBartender (one of our favourite HR Bloggers) or @MartinCouzins (from XpertHR).

We have noticed how ideas that often start as a short 'Tweet', get shaped from feedback and responses, develop into articles and some might even convert into actions in the real world. That is powerful.

It is reassuring in a way, that Twitter behaviour reflects the real-world. Watch out for the brand promoters, the witty, the controversial, the curious and the helpful. See for example The Six Twitter Types . Ignore the bossy Twitter evangelists who shout 'I tweet therefore I am – if you don't have followers you are in the dark ages'. This is just not true. It is a bit like saying you must read a newspaper every day. If you are interested in reading articles on the web or have lots of things to say and are happy to go public then great, if not don't. It's your choice.

Here is our Guide for HR Twitter Virgins with some useful resources to get you started.

1. Get a Twitter account, choose your username and upload your picture from LinkedIn . Add your bio and include words with which you want to be found with. There is no need to reveal who you work if you don't want to. Many people have more than one Twitter account for 'work' and 'personal'.
2. Search for topics you are interested in with keywords, e.g. HR, OD, Change, Leadership, Sarah Jessica Parker and you will see people who are into the same things as you. Follow them and you will see their tweets on your Tweet Stream.
3. The Twitter web-site is fine, but we use HootSuite which is free and allows you to view subject streams or group your followers. It also allows you to shorten web-links which is useful as you only have 140 characters.
4. There is an etiquette and terminology on Twitter, see for example, How to Tweet Politely but you will pick this up soon enough.
5. Finally, follow me @AndySpence and say hello.

If you need any more help to get started, here is the Mashable guide to using Twitter and Twitter Tutorials on You Tube

When you have your Twitter username up and running, why not join the London HR tweet-up and meet other people, in person, discussing topical issues in HR? If interested, register here Connecting HR: the London HR tweet-up.

When you get started, check out our article HR Transformers on Twitter with lots of lists of interesting people to follow.

Whether you are a first-timer on Twitter, or more experienced, please share your thoughts and tips by commenting below.

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HR Social Networks – UK Trends

Are UK HR professionals the ‘social butterflies’ of the online World? Researchers monitored 2000 online conversations in the UK over September and October as part of their research. The conversations included employers, consultancies, and employees discussing HR related topics. The interesting report from CHA, the workplace communications consultancy, was based on research by online specialist Pass It On Media. It found that the tone of conversations was mainly neutral to positive which surprised the researchers who expected more ‘angst’ in the current economic environment. The report is worth a read with innovative research, case-studies from Virgin, E.ON UK and Dell, and some very useful and practical tips for employees and employers alike. Download the PDF "Conversations at your fingertips – How HR professionals score as social networkers"

The findings that stand out for me :-

  1. 1. The key venues for conversation are message boards or forums, which account for 54%, followed by social networks such as LinkedIn (23%) and blogs (23%).
  2. 2. Broadly, the themes covered are: the working environment & friendship at work, salaries & related issues, how people are feeling, and work/life balance & holidays.
  3. 3. The top five are LinkedIn, Facebook, iVillage, Netmums and UK Business Labs.
  4. 4. Busiest day for social networking about employment issues are Thursdays and Fridays.
  5. 5. Social Networks are now more popular than personal emails.
  6. 6. The term ‘human resources’ has been used only 13,000 times on Twitter "HR" has been used a staggering 323,000 times in the life of Twitter.

For trends in UK Social Media usage, the map below comes from Are you LinkedIn in London or Bebo in Belfast? and show the regionalisation of various social networks, as of September 2009. With Facebook and Twitter’s growth leveling off, and Bebo and MySpace continuing to lose audience it will be very interesting to run these again in 2010.

Social Network UK Map

Possible questions for further research is how do other functions compare to HR and what are the trends in other countries?

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