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”
“healthier firms have a shareholder return that is 19% higher”
All possibly true, but the question for me is, is the shareholder return higher because of higher engagement or is higher engagement just correlated with higher shareholder returns?
Of course successful organisations have higher engagement levels, profit margin and productivity.  They are possibly healthier and more intelligent too.  In these organisations, The Executive is getting something right on strategy and management.
I do vaguely remember torturous statistics modules at University – and it was drummed into our heads by exasperated Psychology Professors that  Correlation does not imply Causation
Making the assumption that higher employee engagement improves shareholder value is a bit like saying that
"Sleeping with one's shoes on is strongly correlated with waking up with a headache.
Therefore, sleeping with one's shoes on causes headache."

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

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

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

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

The Future of HR & Competencies

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

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

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

Some other great articles from November

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

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

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

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

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

The Amazonification of Recruiting

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

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

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

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

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

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Top HR Transformation Articles from October 2012

The HR Transformer Blog is back – we have been trawling the web to pull out the best HR Transformation related articles from October 2012.
There have been two big HR Technology Conferences either side of the Atlantic this month, filled with talk of ‘big mobile gamification in the data cloud’, or something similar.  After being initially dazzled for a moment, I rubbed my eyes and remembered, “It’s all about the People” and found some great articles on managing change.  I’ve taken a brief look at HR’s past and it’s future, finishing with some useful tips from HR Metrics to running your HR Shared Service centre like a Gordon Ramsay restaurant (but obviously without the expletives!).
Big mobile gamification in the data cloud  – and other disruptions at the HR Technology Conferences
The HR Technology Conferences in Chicago and Amsterdam made a big splash online. The jargon can get a bit confusing, so XpertHR have provided a very helpful guide for those who only dabble in HR Technology. The industry is buoyant after record conference turnouts, the successful Workday IPO and a flurry of takeovers including; SuccessFactors, Taleo and Kenexa. According to the press releases, new services in SaaS, mobile and big data will transform the way we manage people in organisations. The fact is many large scale HR Technology programmes do not always deliver intended goals. At a Technology Conference, funded by the technology companies – this is unlikely to be a theme with the speakers and bloggers.
Which begs the question, where are the unbiased, independent voices to support HR buyers of technology and services?
It is well known, that some analysts work for both the buyers and the vendors. According to an article by analyst, Mark Smith, Industry Exposé: Technology Vendors Skew Analysts and Influencers
“The dirty secret is that some of the largest technology vendors have forced industry analyst firms to contractually agree to the right to review, edit and approve any written research that references their name or products before it is published.”
With nearly two out of every three IT projects failing, I think there should be more focus on good governance, solid requirements and the people elements involved in change. See our article on How to avoid HR Technology Bogeys, inspired by the Ryder Cup.
“Nice interface, it even looks a bit like Facebook! Great, I can view on my phone. But how will this really help my organisation achieve its goals?”
Charlie Judy reminds us that “it ain’t a HR Strategy without technology” in a good post with some useful tips. HR Strategy should determine your HR Tech requirements, not the other way round, so don’t let the Tail wag the Dog.
A development I think will make a big impact is Salesforce’s entry into the market, with 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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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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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 September

As October swings into action with Europe pitched against the US in Golf’s Ryder Cup, read the latest and greatest array of articles – find out who we think has scored a birdie, eagle, albatross or even a bogey!
Dan Pink illustrates his arguments for ‘what motivates us’ by using an innovative animation.  Two academics give very different and extreme views about the ‘one thing that they would change in HR’. We also have some more top tips for designing HR organisations from the ‘20 second rule’ to 13 lessons learned from HR Shared Services implementations, all useful stuff. And finally if you do find yourself on the road a lot with work or in unusual environment we have 37 productivity tips for working anywhere. 
Don’t forget we are delivering a HR Transformation MasterClass in Budapest on November 9/10 so if you are interested then please do get in touch – we are looking forward to a great conference with some tasty goulash washed down with a glass of Bulls Blood!
Here are 10 of the best HR Transformation articles from September.  Thanks to everyone who has sent their Top 10 ideas, this is much appreciated –  @AndySpence on Twitter.

1.  The surprising truth about what motivates us – Daniel Pink presentation for the RSA

Do the structures, policies and processes in your organisation produce motivated people? 
This is a lively presentation by Dan Pink author of the book,  Drive – The Suprising Truth about What Motivates Us. Pink challenges some workplace and academic assumptions about human behaviour in the workplace, for example “if you reward something do you get more of something you want?”
The topics themselves are intrinsically interesting, especially for anyone involved in leading or designing organisations, or are grappling with the issues of reward and motivation.
One of the features of this presentation commissioned by the RSA is its innovative use of animation. We highly recommend you view this 10 minutes clip which can be found on You Tube.

A refreshing and inspiring bit of communication is summed up as  “Our motivations are unbelievably interesting” – we couldn’t agree more.


2. If I could change one thing about HR – Guest posts on XpertHR from "Grumpy Lecturer" and Dr Anne Marie McEwan

Not another thing to change about HR I hear you call!
This series been one of the most interesting series in the online HR space…here we have two rather contrasting academic views.
“There is nothing wrong with the current version of Human Resources Management (HRM) – it has achieved mass levels of false consciousness about employment.”
In this view, many in HR have lost sight of the fact that the employer controls the employment relationship and that HR is merely complicit in social-engineering and a ‘managerial sleight of hand’.
From an anonymous academic to the views of Dr Anne Marie McEwan – who would completely abolish HR.
Dr McEwan reminds us that serendipity works – and cites some inspiration from Brian Eno and Stafford Beer. Our organisations structures do not seem to support serendipity. If you think of the large silos between IT, HR and Finance – you can relate to this point.   Read more about the suggestions to design organisations to support serendipity and bring together experts in HR, IT and FM.

Well done to Michael Carty et al at XpertHR for this stimulating series of articles.  

3. 13 Lessons from HR Shared Services Implementations  – from Human Resources IQ

Implementing HR Shared Services is hard work. However this model does work and for many organisations is a key enabler to HR Transformation. 
Here are 13 lessons learned from successful implementations that will help steer you down the right path when establishing your own HR shared services.
We have seen all of these, so well worth reading along with some excellent suggestions.


4.  37 productivity tip for working from anywhere – from Mashable

Some useful productivity tips here for Nomadic types. In the last 3 years I have worked in some diverse places in addition to the usual planes, trains and automobiles….an 18th Century Psychiatric Hospital, comfy amongst the curtains and soft furnishings of a large retailers HQ, under trains and trams in an enormous train repair depots and have found a favourite quiet spot to work in the inspirational British Library in London (keep it quiet though).  So for all those who send emails from airports, trains and coffee shops typing into the palm of your hand or with a laptop perched on your lap – this one’s for you!


5. The 20 second rule – from Charlie Judy at HRFishbowl Blog

A useful anecdote from Charlie Judy, and a good tip for anyone designing for any HR Operating Model Design.
“Just focus on making every transaction as crisp and clean as possible. Recognize the person on the receiving end of your services has a finite number of seconds in their lifetime. Stop screwing around with those seconds and take only what you really need.”
Don’t forget the customer – who will ultimately make or break your HR operating model design.


6. Management Methods, Models and Theories – from Value Based Management

This web-site is a useful resource for an outline of management theories, models and methods. If you would like to refresh your knowledge, looking for inspiration or simply want to keep up with the newly qualified MBAs – you know where to go.

7. IT and HR: should they merge? – from Dan Pontefract at TrainingWreck blog

A thought provoking article from Dan Pontefract on opportunities for HR and IT to work more closely together and sit under the same structures. 
One of the goals of HR Transformation is to provide the workforce with the best tools to manage and this requires specialists who understand both workforce demands and HR technology. Having nimble, specialist teams and applying them to business problems works for some organisations. Why not throw in Finance and Facilities Management as well and develop responsive teams…see Dr McEwan’s article above.


8. Does your HR function complicate things? – from Ron Ashkenas at Harvard Business Review

Ron Ashkenas gives a couple of examples of overly complex HR processes.

It was probably a lot worse when there were multiple organisations all managing complicated processes. HR Transformation does deliver benefits and cost savings by standardising and simplifying processes – see our recent article on HR Transformation delivers solid savings of 25% according to survey. This article comes up with some useful advice for those transforming their HR functions.




9. Naomi's Questions For Oracle OpenWorld 2010 – from Naomi Bloom at In Full Bloom

For those who didn’t get to Oracle Open World in sunny San Francisco last week, our analysts online have kept us up to date.
Just in case Oracle are feeling too comfortable, Naomi Bloom poses some challenging questions, actually the first 21 look hard enough but wait till you get to the ‘toughies’ which start after question 22. We hope these were answered by Oracle at Open World, if not then Naomi will keep us informed.

10.  Hey, aren’t I the customer here? – from 1.00 FTE

We have sat through quite a few vendor presentations recently with clients and on the whole, they were better for the fact that we told the vendor exactly what was required. 
No more than 5 minutes on your corporate history please and we would like to meet the consultants who will actually be on the project (the smooth tongued Account Executive is still invited, but we really want to meet the earnest project manager who we will be working with).

This cartoon rang a bell – tell the vendors what you want to hear in the presentation…

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Top 10 HR Transformation Articles in August

“There are more questions than answers” as the old song goes, and in some philosophical circles you can’t get the debate going until you have agreed on the question you are attempting to answer.  In August, we ponder some powerful questions asked by some of the most perceptive HR analysts, consultants, gurus and futurists. 

         If you could change one thing about HR, what would it be?

         What will managing tomorrow’s people will be like in 2020?

         With large change programmes, should we “transform” or “tweak”?

         Is SaaS in HCM all that it is cracked up to be?

         Finally, if management consultants are so bad, why are they still around?

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

1.  Managing Tomorrow’s People. The future of Work to 2020 – from PwC

This article delves into the drivers that will shape our future working lives. With refreshing insight, it develops three possible Worlds as a context to understanding future organisations. Find out whether the future really is Orange, Blue or Green. 
A great article which highlights some of the challenges of people management in the future, and some opportunities for HR.

2.  Debunking Some HCM SaaS Myths – from Jim Holincheck @ Gartner

In this article, Jim Holincheck, managing VP at Gartner Research, debunks some prevalent HCM SaaS myths.   Propositions such as  “SaaS is only for less complex problems”, and interestingly, “Saas is less expensive” are analysed with Jim’s usual clarity.
His perspective on SaaS in HCM is not negative, “I actually do believe that it is the future in HCM solutions. However, it is a not a panacea.”

For those interested in this subject, check out “HRO SaaS Uptake – What, How Much and Where?” making the link to HR Outsourcing, from Gary Bragar at HRO insights.

3. If I could change one thing about HR – Guest post from Glyn Lumley on XpertHR

What would you change about HR? This is a great ‘guest post’ on XpertHR from Glyn Lumley, otherwise known as the writer of the HR Maverick Blog. There have been lots of interesting responses, but this was our favourite so far. Find out “Why” we think this was a thought provoking article. 

Well done to the XpertHR team for posing this great question and opening it up to Guest Bloggers Contact Michael Carty if you would like to contribute your response.


4.  Turn Your HR Audit into a Strategic Audit – from Cathy Missildine-Martin at Profitability through Human Capital blog

Cathy poses 6 questions that are fruitful to ask at any time, but particularly before embarking on a HR Transformation programme.


5.  The Future of HR – Mark Stelzner at Inflexion Advisors

According to Mark, HR has 3 paths to choose from : “do nothing”, “break it apart” or “radically transform”.   Read the 20 page slide deck and decide which option makes most sense for your organisation.

6. Your Workplace in 2020: Gartner's Predictions – from the New York Times

How will people work 10 years from now? Gartner outlines 10 major changes that will occur during the next 10 years.
"People will swarm more often and work solo less.”  Find out if swarming is as unpleasant as it sounds.

7. Think Big, Act Smart Reducing Uncertainty in Transformational Change – from Booz & Co

Do you “transform” or deliver change through continuous improvement initiatives? This 12 page pdf from Booz & Co does not offer anything particularly new, but this subject is definitely worth thinking about before embarking on critical (and expensive) change programmes.
Many thanks to Dave Millner at Kenexa,  @Kenexa_HR_Inst on Twitter, who passed on this article, Dave consistently provides the best HR Transformation, HCM and leadership articles through his tweets.
If this article gave you a headache, we can rely on Dilbert to provide some light relief from Transformation!


8. In The Know v1.29 Transformation in HR – from John Sumser from Two color Hat

Three links to HR Transformation videos here from John Sumser, with perspectives from Bayer, Jack Welch and Mercer’s Karen Piercy.
Also, check out our HR Transformation Knowledge Bank which includes some more videos.

9. Importance versus Effectiveness Gap…Closing…Slowly – from Keith Dunbar – The DNA of Human Capital

Assessing the difference in perception between “importance vs effectiveness” for areas in HR is an excellent tool in our experience. Keith Dunbar used this to great effect at a recent conference. The No.1 human capital challenge was “Defining skills, knowledge and capabilities to execute business strategy.” My concerns continue that there is such a wide gap between importance and effectiveness – find out Keith’s views on how to bridge the gap.

10.  If management consultants are so bad, why are they still around?  – from Rick at Flip Chart Fairy Tales

Finally, a question we ask ourselves every morning on our way to work!  Who better to address it than Rick from Flip Chart Fairy Tales. 

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Top 10 HR Transformation Articles in July

Here is our pick of the HR Transformation articles in July, many thanks to all the writers, analysts and bloggers included.
The World Cup is over and congratulations to our Spanish friends!  In the duller moments of the World Cup, some of us started to extrapolate wildly from sport to matters of leadership, talent and the nations’ emotions. AON bought Hewitt, a significant move in the rapidly developing HR Outsourcing Monopoly Board  as the industry continues its consolidation. In HR Technology, find out who is the 800lb Gorilla in the corner and when will it start swinging it’s weight around? The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is a key relationship for HR, and Charlie Judy outlines useful tips for maintaining and nurturing this relationship. And making a tenuous link from Finance to Math(s), the analyst, Thomas Otter, provides a career tip and calls for more maths skills in HR. And finally, we always like to look into our HR crystal ball, and Graeme Codrington outlines 9 workforce trends for the coming decade.
Thanks to everyone who has sent their Top 10 ideas, this is much appreciated –  @AndySpence on Twitter.

1.  HRO’s Summer Gets Hotter – Aon to Acquire Hewitt –  from Linda Merritt, Nelson Hall

There has been further movement in the HR Outsourcing and HR Consulting industries with AON buying Hewitt.  The industry analysts have been busy, but we don’t believe this is ”a sad, bad day for HR Outsourcing?”, as Horses for Sources report. Linda Merritt at Nelson Hall reports this deal is about growth, at Glass Bead Consulting we also see this market growing in the coming years.

The global HRO market now has five major global HRO providers – IBM, Northgate Arinso, Xerox/ACS, ADP and Accenture.    We also expect to see some of the Indian based providers up there in the next couple of years (HCL, Wipro, TCS, Infosys and Caliber Point)

So all is not lost, this market is developing and this should ultimately be good news for buyers – watch this space as the HRO Monopoly game continues….

2.  The Care and Feeding of Your CFO – from Charlie Judy, at HR Fishbowl

According to Charlie, if there’s one position in the organisation that most HR leaders have trouble connecting with, it’s the Chief Finance Officer (CFO).

Charlie outlines some useful suggestions for maintaining a good relationship with the Finance community. One of our favourites is to create an “HR Dashboard” that you share with the CFO and their team monthly. Include turnover, headcount, FTEs, cost of benefits, payroll, hiring statistics.


3.  Reading Oracle's tea leaves from Bill Kutik, HR Executive Online

In HR Technology,

“The 800-lb. gorilla of HR technology sits where it wants to, talks when it wants to and, certainly, only to whom it wants to. “

Find out more about Oracle’s Fusion plans from the man in the know, Bill Kutik. Bill also gathers the opinions of other leading industry analysts.


4.  Nine key workforce trends for the next decade – from Graeme Codrington, Tomorrows Today Blog

Working out future workforce trends is important in designing HR Operating Models and HR Strategies. Graeme Codrington outlines some key changes including more older workers, more women in the workplace, unprecedented youth unemployment and generational conflict.

5.  Talent Management systems – Market update – from Josh Bersin

This is a useful overview of developments in the Talent Management Systems from Josh Bersin. This includes ADP’s acquisition of Workscape. Taleo introduces its Talent Intelligence Strategy and Saba introduces Saba Live.

6.   Bring on the math(s) and stats – from Thomas Otter, Gartner

Some Math(s) love in HR from Thomas Otter and Evil HR Lady.
“One of my suggestions to HR is to hire a good numbers person, someone with strong undergraduate or preferably graduate statistics.”

We couldn’t agree more, HR needs more number crunchers and not just to keep in with the CFO. HR Analytics is essential as our businesses, workforce and economies change.


7. When is a strategy not a strategy? – from Jocelyn R. Davis, Edwin H. Boswell and Henry M. Frechetter, Jr. at

Even as the business environment has become increasingly complex, many strategies have become increasingly simplistic. Some have become so abbreviated that they’re little more than catchy phrases.
This is an interesting article, which poses the questions, is it time to review the HR Strategy?
By the way, check out – the business of HR – a useful source of HR related articles.

8. Beginners guide to using social media for HR – Guest post from Natasha Stone on Steve Boese's excellent HR Technology Blog

Some useful and relevant advice from Natasha from Silicon Beach Training which covers Recruitment, Communications &  Social media policy. 
On the subject of Social Media, see our article “Are you a HR Twitter Virgin?”, and for those who are not, (ahem) see also our “HR Transformers on Twitter”.

9. World Cup Leadership Lessons – Rosabeth Moss Kanter – Harvard Business Review

As well as Leadership Lessons, the World Cup also stimulated some thinking about slightly less important matters, such as :-
·         Are there any Talent Management Insights from Football? – from the HR Transformer Blog
·         Why Sport is crucial for managing the nations’ emotions  – with Professor Cary Cooper quoting the great Bill Shankly.
If you think we were getting carried away making some wild extrapolations from kicking a ball around a pitch, then Laurie Ruettiman, from Punk Rock HR, brings us back down to earth,
“I don’t mean to break the hearts of HR and career bloggers out there, but the World Cup has nothing to do with work.”

So back to work it is, unless that is, you do actually work in Football.

10.  Government Cuts: A view from the inside – from Karen Wise's HR Blog

Karen writes about HR in the NHS, and gives some interesting perspectives from the inside. The UK Government is planning to make up to 40% cuts to budgets. Karen outlines some of the challenges including demographics of the workforce and attitudes of the senior team.

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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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