How to earn your HR Cloud Tattoo

HR in the Cloud Tattoo - Copyright Glass Bead Consulting

The relentless move of HR to the cloud is ongoing, with over 2000 organisations now using or moving to the Big 3 software providers.

And HR software in the cloud is not just for larger organisations, for example in the UK, Moorepay currently serves over 8,000 SMB businesses in the cloud for payroll, HR and compliance services.

The good news for HR is that the HR technology industry has accumulated a useful body of knowledge for those about to embark on this journey.

From my perspective having worked on over 20 different HR change programmes, HR in the Cloud, is a major catalyst for transforming HR.

Organisations have been forced to standardise their processes and procedures so they can use the software, as there is no customisation with SaaS (Software as a Service).  This brings simplification and focus on more valuable HR services.  Also, making the case to the Board for investment in HR software requires a well thought through business case, and gives confidence that the HR Operating Model is fit for the future.

So if software is forcing HR to rethink how it operates (the tail wags the dog) – who cares if we get positive outcomes?

It is crucial for HR to get this transition right, collectively we have plenty of scars to show after some painful ERP implementations in the last 20 years.

As an industry we need to ensure we pass on our learning and experience to others, and conferences like the HR Tech World Congress, this year in Paris, provide a good forum to do that.

With organisations moving to the cloud we should learn from those who have “been there, done that, got the Cloud Tattoo”.

If you are a HR leader, thinking about moving or in the process of moving to the cloud, then this article is meant for you.

Once you have selected the software, now comes the hard bit – planning a successful cloud technology implementation.

Here are some tips that you might not hear at the vendor pitch.

1 – It’s the people, stupid…

You might be putting in a new system, but to be successful you will need people to work in a different way.  The more thought you can put into the project  team, future HR team, new skills and relationships the better.  Sounds obvious, but it’s easy to lose focus with contracts, Board presentations and enthusiastic account managers to deal with.

The project team needs to have a good mix of people who understand the new technology, those with a vested interest in a successful implementation, and those who have a good understanding of business needs and nuances.

Do you have the right skills required for the project and if not, how will you fill the gaps?

The skills needed to manage HR are different to the skills needed to transform HR.

You will need storytellers, analysts, designers, trainers, pragmatists and optimists (contact me for this job description!)

Work out how you will facilitate knowledge transfer between the technologists and your operational team.

Ensure that when you set the budget and select the programme team, there are enough resources allocated to communications, change and training expertise – but you work in HR, so you know this right?

Do you have a business sponsor?

This is essential to provide guidance, support and credibility to the changes you are making.  Preferably the business sponsor is someone who stands to benefit from the change, and doesn’t work in HR.

William Tincup and Jeremy Ames, give some advice  “Catalog the ways in which your users will “love” the new software”

Do you have a group of fans who “love” the proposed changes?

These people will be crucial, so nurture their enthusiasm and lavish them with early reviews, and benefits.  Customer user groups should be established up front and this will help you with #2 Decisions, Decisions, Decisions (see below).

One tip from Michael Custers, SVP Strategy & Marketing at NGA Human Resources,

“apply some design thinking around ’employee experience’ – the cloud greatly improves the user experience of HR self-service applications. This is an opportunity to improve the touch points between employee and employer and puts the user/employee at the heart of your HR service delivery ‘engine’.”

You may have selected and costed the software, but have you done the same for your implementation partner?

Make sure you check out suitable partners before you select the software as this will significantly influence the pricing for your project.

With system integrators, insist on meeting the team who are being proposed for the project. Having worked on both sides of the client/vendor fence, I know scheduling pre-contract is tricky.  It is sometimes very difficult to say which of your team will be working for which client before the contract has been signed.     However, your project should not be a glorified training course for expensive ‘green-beans’ !

Have you taken the IT Director out to dinner yet?

The way we deliver HR is being revolutionised, and it’s similar in IT.  With SaaS, we might not have to worry so much about the hardware, but it does throw up a whole load of other technology issues e.g. data security, existing infrastructure, mobile access and support that will require you to have IT on your side.  The relationship between HR and IT is changing, but working together you can be even more effective in instigating change.

2 – Decisions, decisions, decisions….

You have made THE big decision – which software to buy. Now you now need to create the right environment to be a ‘decision-making factory’.

As Peter Drucker said, “making good decisions is a crucial skill at every level”.

Why? At this point the last thing you need is any delay, with deployment consultants on the project – every delayed day burns money.

As you get into delivery, you will have to make a number of decisions along the classic project management triangle of ‘Time vs Scope vs Cost’.

For example what happens if the implementation budget is cut or there are time delays?   Ensure you have a robust governance framework agreed from the onset with a Business Sponsor to help iron out issues, decide who will be on your Governance Board and what their role will be.

In my experience, the big time consumers are not always the big technology decisions, but changing the working practices, rules and processes and the hundreds of smaller decisions, such as ;

– How will recruitment approvals be made in different parts of the business ?

– How will workplan harmonisation work?

– The finer details of the revamped intranet design?

The list goes on…..it’s worth keeping some kind of decision log so you can go back to the original vision and review design principles if needed (see #4 below Is your operating model fit for the future?).

3 – Don’t let the software sales team pitch to YOUR customers

Well of course they will, but you need to be very clear about the expectations that are being set with your internal business customers – this is your job, not theirs.

Worst case scenario? A demo with a short film showing smiling, happy software users – like a scene from the “Truman Show”.  What the software vendors say will of course be true, but they might not (have time to) explain the effort, broken bones and cost to get to that dream state!

Make sure you manage YOUR customers expectations NOT the software account manager.

4 – Is your HR Operating Model fit for the future?

Make sure everyone is clear on why you are making this change, and how it supports your organisation vision. If it doesn’t – then STOP.

HR Operating Models are developing rapidly driven by technology, changing workforce demographics plus the insight that moving to a pre-defined model will not work. See these articles for more context Is Your Operating Model Fit for the Future?.

We need to apply our OD skills to deliver a HR model that works for our organisation, the system should support this.

Ensure the Board approve the vision and a simple set of design principles.

Develop the elevator pitch, to motivate and train up new team members.    Unfortunately, for large global projects, by the time the system is fully operational, the HR Strategy, and HR Operating required to support it might have changed anyway.  The new system will need to support future workforce needs and future HR structures whether you have Business Partners, Shared Services or use outsourced providers.

In this article from Diginomica, Gerard Hussey, VP HR Transformation at pharmaceuticals giant GSK (GlaxoSmithKline), mentions,

All the issues we had post go-live were around the end-to-end service model. So if you only focus on the technology, you’re dead.” 

 

5 – Build out your road map

By now you will have your trusty project plan, but you will also need something that moves beyond the duration of the project. When the project is over, the transformation is only in the early stages, how will you embed the changes into ‘business as usual’?

Jeremy Josephs, Sales Executive at HP for Workday and Outsourcing, gives some advice, “it’s essential to keep the momentum going after the first 90 days post go-live, make sure you have a plan in place to manage ongoing support and to reinforce the transformation goals.”

You will need the planners to be aware of the bigger picture, such as what other projects/programmes are going on that might impact your change?  What are the ongoing activities you need to plan around, for example, operational peaks and troughs, holidays?

The IT team will focus on the technology change, but how will old processes be phased out, as you introduce new HR services?

With cloud technology you can implement more quickly than in the past, sometimes the pace is above your organisations ability to change.  Try and factor this into your planning and expectation management.  Make sure you control the pace of change, not the technology provider.

Understand the known barriers before you start, there are plenty of lessons learned out there so make sure you can reel off the obvious ones and find a friend who has gone through the pain and earned their “Cloud Tattoo”.

 

Finally, clear your diary

You will have a project team and leader in place, but given that you are the HR Director, and know a lot about #1 “the people”, your expertise will be in demand.

You will have thought about how your organisation will make decisions effectively, but this will introduce just a little bit of process, meetings and review time.  Your management of the change will require you to sell the change to your managers, so if you are the evangelistic type of leader, you will be on the road a lot.  So clear the diary in the usual way.

Remember the 4 Ds – Drop, Delay, Delegate & Do

Finally, I hate to break it to you but even on successful implementation things will go wrong, sometimes really wrong.

So build up as much emotional and mental resilience as you can – you will need it!

As some old hands will realise, many of the considerations mentioned are not to do with Cloud models per se.   My point is that we should not forget the collective lessons learned and wisdom of past technology implementations.

For those who have been there, please share your tips and experience!

Tap me on the shoulder at HR Tech World Congress and I will show you my scars if you show me your cloud tattoo ðŸ˜‰

This article was originally published on the HR Tech World blog as a guest post.

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HR Tech Europe 2013 – Big Data, Robots and Cycle Paths

 
Andy Spence discusses Future of HR with a Robot at HR Tech Europe 2013
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I have always found Amsterdam an inspiring place to be.   As you walk by the canals you experience the artistic and technological ambition of its residents with its rich history as the hub of a global trading empire.
 
The reason Amsterdam is still a thriving global hub in oil, diamonds, flowers and ideas is not because of its location or wealth but to it's engineering excellence and vision.  
 
Nearly one-third of the Netherlands is below sea level and prone to floods. In the 1950s, a series of dams, sluices, locks, dikes, levees and storm surge barriers were constructed to radically reduce the change of flooding. The American Society of Civil Engineers called it one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.
 
Just like the engineers who enabled Amsterdam to survive, and flourish, many delegates at the HR Technology Europe Conference have goals to provide the technology infrastructure required for their organisations to thrive.  They provide the right technology and tools in candidate selection, training, collaboration, productivity or basic workforce management.
 
The conference chatter and tweets was about psychopaths, psychos on cycle-paths (a hazard in Holland!), robots, the jargon of behavioural science, big data and predictions about the future of work.
 
Some facts and figures :-
 
• 1439 delegates attended
• 42 nations were represented
• 1 cute robot attended
• 8,245 tweets using hashtag  #HRTechEurope
82 tweets by myself plus 125 mentions – not bad as I was in listening mode this year – thanks to HRMarketer for the analysis
• 57%  of male vendors wore brown shoes (Thanks to @AndyHeadworth but you should always check your data source!).
 
Whether you were there or not, Download Presentations from HR Tech Europe 2013 and View some fantastic photos from Heather Bussing and others.
 
As I have written before, in Why HR Need to be Technology Champions, this is an exciting time to be working in HR, Technology and Org Development.  There are some important strategic choices to be made about the future of technology in our organisations.
 
Here are some themes for buyers and vendors of HR Technology that emerged for me in conferences sessions, conversations and tweets.
 
Its all about the strategy 
In Professor Costas Markides session, “Make your Strategy process democratic” he demonstrated why the first stage of the development of ideas needs to be democratic.
A question for HR Directors, is how widely did you cast your net for ideas into your HR Strategy ?
As Naomi Bloom outlined in her keynote,"Poirot's Order And Method: Making the business case for HR Technology" the starting point for any business case should be “what is the vision, metrics, value targets that matter?”
 
There is no point buying HR Systems that do not support the HR Strategy that in turn does not support your business strategy and goals.  Naomi in a later session also provided some useful historical context of HR systems and data requirements which have changed completely over the years. Put bluntly, the code and data structures that supported our organisations yesterday will not do so in the future.
 
The end of the HR enterprise software era
John Sumser took the historical perspective further in his session, "Re-engineering The Human Resources Function" in his view we are at the end of the HR enterprise software era, in terms of maturity.  The HR Technology industry has done its job well and provided automated solutions for most HR processes and in John’s view we should not expect much innovation at this phase.
 
However, very quickly we will move to a new exciting phase which will include integration of new data sets from outside HR from aggregate health care data, labour market data and actual work measures.  This really has the potential to transform workforce management, and provide competitive advantage to organisations who adopt early. Imagine the possibilities of predicting peaks and troughs in employee performance by merging HR and performance data with health indicators?  Of course there would be a few privacy concerns to iron out in this brave new world.
 
Talent minus Big Data = Unsubstantiated Rubbish
On the topic of data, there was lots of talk of Big Data, Nick Holley from Henley Business School gave a very interesting presentation on “Talent minus Big Data = Unsubstantiated Rubbish”  and also won the prize for best session title.  Nick gave good examples of using data analysis to solve business problems and told delegates that one of the most successful talent tactics is to identify and manage out the narcissists & psychopaths in your organisation.
 
Josh Bersin, in his session “The Datafication of HR” also demonstrated how HR Analytics could smash some organisational myths such as “people from top universities with good grades are high performers”.  Josh illustrated how HR has been evolving big data solutions for years and presented some great pointers in building this capability into your HR Operating Model.  We need to look at the current capabilities we have in HR and recruit people who are comfortable with data. 
 
One of the iHR Award 2013 finalists, MacroMicro, showcased a tool that sits on top of your HR data providing visualisations of your organisation (just don’t let the CEO get their hands on it until you have done a bit of data cleansing).
 
Visualising and playing with data is fun but this all needs to link back to your strategy, we need to start with the Business Problem we are trying to solve.
 
HR Technology Buyers are at a crossroads
‘61% of HR Professionals are changing their HR Technology in the next 18 months’ – with all the workforce and technology changes out there, there is understandably some hesitation in making long-term buying commitments.   In his presentation to industry analysts the day before the conference, Adel Al Saleh, the newish CEO at NGA HR (used to be Northgate Arinso)  gave his view that ”More HR Technology options has created inertia as organisations take time to review their technology and services landscape”.
 
I can understand why, and demonstrates why this is a good time to ask yourself, “Is your HR Operating Model Fit for the Future?”.
 
Congratulations to Appical who won the iHR Awards 2013 with a successful product and an innovative pitch.  They made the case for turning onboarding new employees into something much more fun with cutting-edge technology and social media.
 
The industry behemoth, Oracle, intends to continue to invest heavily in HR Solutions according to Mark Hurd at Oracle.  Mark also brought along his robot, Oscar, who is seen in deep conversation with myself about the future of HR.  After a couple of cocktails, Oscar confided that he planned to deliver a session next year on “The new field of Robotic Resources – RR”.
 
Finally, looking into my Google HR Glass (John Sumser predicted 10% of delegates will be wearing these at the Conference in 2014)  there will be lots of HR Tech contracts signed in 2014.  
 
I am looking forward to the HR Technology Europe Conference in 2014 and seeing how this group of  Workforce Visionaries will be building the technology infrastrucure for our future organisations to thrive.  And through my Google HR Glasses, I will also be watching out for less organisational psychopaths, psychos on the cycle paths and robots doing more HR and the odd keynote speech.

 

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Top HR Transformation Articles from October 2012

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

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

Why is HR no less strategic than in 1995?

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

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

 
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How to Avoid HR Technology Bogeys

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

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

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

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

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

But, for every perfect delivery there is a bogey.

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

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

1  Agree how decisions will be made during the technology implementation

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

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

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

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

2  It’s the People, Stupid

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

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

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

3  Agree the goals of the project

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5  Define your HR Operating Model and HR Processes

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your loyal HR Transformation caddy,
@AndySpence

 

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Top 10 HR Transformation Articles in November & December

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

10.  Shared HR services the way forward for local authorities

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

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

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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 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 TLNT.com

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 TLNT.com – 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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