Monday, December 27, 2010
Ok, it's my LAST post of the year. It's time for me to ponder and think about what all I have learned in 2010 and try to see what 2011 brings in the world of HR Analytics.
I was so fortunate to have been invited to speak and blog on the subject this past year. I learned a lot from speakers and attendees.
My partner and I are writing our first book on the subject of Human Capital Analytics which HR should be heavily involved in.
All these experiences haven given me a lot to think about analytics and ponder what's next.
So here it goes....my list of 12 predictions for next year:
1) HR will continue to struggle to find their role in HR Analytics, it should be in the drivers seat
2) CEO's will get MORE demanding in their need for fact based decision making
3) Data analysis tools are no longer just for statisticians. The tools are now available for end users right on their desktops. (Excel, SPSS, etc.)
4) HR Departments will hire data analysis talent to get the data that CEO's need to work within HR.
5) Metrics are yesterday.....(tracking). Analytics are today and tomorrow (insight based decision making)
6) Collaboration will be needed across functions to make sure the RIGHT analytics are being used to measure and test the RIGHT things. Who drives this? (my thought...HR)
7) I believe reporting will become more and more simplified due to #3. Data and insight will be cascaded down to the end user level.
8) The HR person that has business acumen, statistical skills and HR generalist knowledge will be a very popular person in 2011!
9) Small to medium sized business will continue to adapt Analytics as they can't afford not to. Insight leads to competitive advantage.
10) Companies that use analytics to predict, measure, and make decisions will be those that beat their competition and adjust their strategies based on insight and experience.
What are your thoughts on HR Analytics? Let's add to this list of predictions!
Monday, December 20, 2010
When I ask my readers for questions they never let me down! This week I received a great question from across the pond from Ade Adetukasi (@adetukasi on Twitter). His question to me is below:
How do you introduce Analytics to an organisation where the leadership has a "personnel management" mindset of HR.
Well, that is a great question and one that I have been asked many times. I think it is definitely a hard sale but it is not impossible. Before I answer the question I want to clear up some terminology first. Metrics and Analytics are used interchangeably a lot. I happen to think there is a difference. Someone summed it up really well for me this year.....Metrics are like accounting and Analytics are like finance. To me metrics are those measures we track in HR that tells us how we are doing as far as efficiency and effectiveness. Hopefully they are closely linked to the strategy but in order to really PROVE impact on results, you must use analytics. In other words take all the data in the organization HR metrics, Customer metrics, Financial metrics and use statistics to get to insight and impact.
So back to the question with your leader with his head stuck in the sand.....in this situation I believe you would start with metrics so that the leader can see what is possible. Starting with Analytics would probably be too much for the non-strategic leader.
Here are some ideas to help with that situation:
1) Find out what is important to the leader and see if you can't help him solve a problem using data you already have. Maybe he wants to grow market share. Maybe you can talk about retention of your top sales people. Looking at sales data with turnover data would be a great place to start.
2) Start educating your leader on the strategic value of HR by sending him articles, blog links, etc.
3) Work with other functional areas like sales, marketing, finance and accounting to see if you can partner with those areas and come up with metrics that are meaningful to your business.
4) Start with the low hanging fruit like tracking common metrics and see what emerges from there. (time to fill, training spend per employee, turnover by department, and by manager)
5) Demonstrate that HR is dedicated to providing the right people, at the right time that perform well. Make sure HR understands the business and the strategy so that you can talk your leaders language.
If all else fails....you may have to find a place that values the contributions HR can make!
Any other ideas for Ade on how to introduce metrics into the organization?
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Have you ever worked on a very difficult project?
Have you ever been in a challenging brainstorming session?
Have you ever embarked on a piece of work, that you knew at the end was going to be GREAT, but right now it is hard?
Well, I have to answer YES to all three of the questions above. Over the last few weeks my business partner, Barbara Hughes and I have embarked on one of the most challenging, interesting, and coolest projects ever.
We are working on writing our first book. There. It's out there. We have to deliver.
But, as we go through our thinking process, our methodology, our voice....we have moments that we land at the same concept in very different ways. Barbara is super smart and super strategic. I am very, very process-oriented, experiential and detailed-driven. I will get there...but I need to touch it, feel it, and see it before I can completely grasp the idea and run with it. I need a method to all the madness and she loves the madness. It's a great combo for an awesome end result!
We recognize our different thinking styles thanks to HBDI and when we get to a place of "stuckness" we just go shopping! LOL. Or we just do something else. But we recognize it, and it DOES NOT HINDER OUR GOAL.
I say all of this as I started thinking about how this plays out in organizations. What happens when people get stuck on a difficult project? I have been on teams previously where this has happened. Either the project gets stalled or the team members shut down and no one can figure out how to move forward.
How do you get UNSTUCK? Tell me more...
Friday, December 3, 2010
Sometimes you take a risk when you ask your audience for questions that will be answered on your blog. I have been asking my readers over the last few weeks to send me questions that they have about HR Metrics and Analytics.
Well Ben Eubanks, @beneubanks (on twitter) and who writes the UpstartHR blog sent me the question, "What are the 3 most important HR Metrics?'
Wow, thanks Ben for such an easy question...NOT!
First, I would say that the metrics that will make my top 3 list have to be those that demonstrate they measure impact and/or results for the organization based on their own strategic outcomes. . So, you won't see metrics like these on my top 3 list:
1) time to fill
2) cost per hire
3) overall turnover (the more granular this number is the better, turnover by performance, by generation, by engagement level is a better measure)
4) Training investment/per employee
5) HR staff/headcount
While the above metrics may be good tracking measures, they really don't give me the insight I need to understand if:
1) The human capital in the organization is performing at it's best and highest level AND IF
2) The HR department is providing the right services and right people to get #1 accomplished.
So, if I am limited to 3 measures only, here are the ones I would choose: (drum roll, please!)
1) Percentage improvement in workforce productivity. This relates to #1 above. I would need to see improvement for what I am spending on people (cost)/ to what they are bringing in ($ generated). I would like to see this tracked on monthly, quarterly and yearly intervals and compared to previous years.
2) Dollars spent on HR costs for every dollar of revenue generated. This metric relates to #2 above regarding efficiency of providing HR Services.
3) Engagement Index-I think this number is a leading indicator to customer behavior which directly impacts revenue and profits. So, this number is critical not only to understand how engaged your workforce is, but it is an important metric when you take the leap to HR Analytics.
Ok, so those are my top 3, what are yours? Challenge me on these, let's chat!
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
I am asked questions on a daily basis from my clients, my colleagues, my students and my 17 year old son ("Mom, can I ___fill in this blank_________?").
Today, I was actually rendered speechless during a conversation with an individual about the economy and how she is seeing a pick up in hires in the Atlanta area. She went on to discuss a situation where she had a position to fill and her #1 candidate wasn't a cultural fit. I said, "Why is that?" She told me, "He has a tattoo on his wrist, I really thought he was so smart until I saw that." She went on to say that she was going to have to come up with a reason not to hire him and wished that she could have a side conversation with him about covering up his tattoo with makeup.
Really? Are we in 1950?
She then continued to rant about the younger generation and their need to express themselves using tattoos. "Didn't they understand how that ruins their job search?"
I had to ask her a question: "Why is the wrist tattoo a barrier to entry in your organization?"
Are you ready for this answer, from an experienced HR professional?
'You know how people are that get tattoos, they aren't serious about work, and they probably drink and do drugs." I was hoping for the usual, mantra about being a traditional firm and we don't want to offend our customers, blah blah...That would have been more palatable, even though I don't agree. I couldn't believe what I just heard.
I am speechless....crickets are chirping.
I asked her if she considered me smart. She said she had looked up to me for years and that I am an expert in my field. I asked her did she think I am serious about my work. Yes...she said.
She asked me, "Why do you ask?"
I raised my pants and showed her this:
I pulled my hair up and showed her this:
If I could have taken my shirt off to show her my back....I would have.
Now, she was speechless....and I walked out.
I can't believe this really happens. Am I naive or do hiring professionals really still bring this much bias to the process?
It's enough to make a girl with tattoos drink and do drugs...LOL
Sunday, November 28, 2010
In most of my teaching and consulting in the area of Strategic HR, I discuss the importance of HR having or obtaining analytical skills as I truly believe we are moving to an HR model that will look much different in the next few years. (HR 2.0)
I always get the question, "What skills do I need and where do I get those?"
First, I will talk about "what skills." I think basic statistics is necessary in HR to analyze all the diverse data sets in organizations as the data relates to human capital. Here are the must haves:
1) Correlations-are used to understand how data sets are related. In other words, if variable A changes does variable Y change? There are about a million ways this can be used in HR alone. If engagement goes up, does turnover go down? (negative correlation). But in a broader sense, you can analyze the relationship between employee behaviors and customer behaviors. If employees are knowledgeable regarding our products, do sales go up? Correlations can be calculated very simply in Excel or SPSS.
2) Regressions-Regression analysis is widely used for prediction and forecasting. Regression is also used to understand which among the independent variables are related to the dependent variable, and to explore the forms of these relationships. In restricted circumstances, regression analysis can be used to infer causal relationships between the independent and dependent variables. So, correlation tells you if a relationship exists, regression tells you which variables have the most impact on the dependent variable. So, in an example from our work, we look at engagement data to find out what variables have the MOST impact on employee engagement for a particular company. As these variables can be different from company to company it is important to know what drives engagement so you can keep doing the right things. Regressions can also be calculated in Excel and SPSS.
Where can you get these skills?
I am living proof, it can be done. My analytical journey started in 1995 when I reported to the CFO. My days were over when I could embark on the HR program of the week without a business case for why I wanted to create this program and WHAT the expected impact would be.
Fast forward, to stating our own business and working with our client's multiple data sets. We had some very interesting questions that needed statistics to answer properly. So, I enrolled in statistics classes at Georgia State University, where I made the highest grade in a class comprised of math majors. (my business partner was 2nd!) I don't tell you this to brag (well maybe) but to say, we had a distinct advantage over the math majors. We knew how to talk the language of the business and how to tell a story with data...they did not.
Now, back to HR 2.0 that will require analytical skills. It can be TAUGHT IF YOU WANT TO LEARN. But, they can be BOUGHT if you don't want to learn as well.
Bottom line....learn them or buy them....you needed these skills yesterday.
Monday, November 22, 2010
I asked my Twitter followers last week for questions on the topic of HR Metrics and Analytics. I received a great question from Traci Cuthbertson, (@tracicuth):
Marketing uses metrics/analytics to measure/segment/target customers. Why is HR so reluctant to do similar w/ Employees?
What a fantastic question! And one that I would love to know the answer to. I can discuss what I think are the barriers to segmentation, and what I have seen in my experience. I hope that we get many comments on this topic so we can really discuss this. (hint: please comment)
Here are some reasons I have found why HR does not segment its employee base:
1) I believe there is that lingering concern about "we have to treat employees fairly." And I agree wholeheartedly. But, with many deliverables that HR executes, a one size approach is not going to work. Case in point, rewards and recognition. What motivates me is not necessarily going to motivate my co-worker.
2) I believe that many HR professionals do not have that skill set and/or do not approach their employee base as a diverse group with varying and different needs in an employment experience.
3) I have seen larger organizations taking a "marketing" and "branding" approach to recruiting, targeting different types of recruits using different messages. Why would we not use this approach to our current employees targeting, let's say, generations in the workplace and use different retention campaigns? (probably is related to number 1 above)
4) HR does not see the benefit of such an approach. As in the consumer world, we have all seen the switch from marketing to the masses to marketing to one. I know when I get a personalized ad, using my preferences and past buying behavior.....I am interested. Why would that be different in the employment experience? Using career development as an example, can the organization take the approach that your career preferences are important to us, and we want to align those with the organization's goals?
As many of you know, I spent the last few months going to many conferences on the subject of metrics and analytics. I saw many examples of employee segmentation. It is here, smart companies use this technique. I don't want marketing to do this for us....what are your thoughts? Can HR use a little lesson from marketing?
Think about an example I have used in the past regarding turnover. I really don't care about an overall turnover %. What I want to know is who is leaving and why. Think about segmenting your employees this way:
1) Segment by performance scores
2) Segment by engagement scores
Then look at turnover scores for your highly engaged and high performers and for your low performers and non-engaged, you will be shocked when you look at turnover this way....
How beneficial would this exercise be to your company?
Monday, November 15, 2010
As many of my long time readers know I base my posts on questions I get from readers and students, projects I am working on, or conferences I have gone to. I am a very experiential writer. I use the term writer very loosely....as I write just like I talk.
Over the last week, I haven't been asked any great questions, no conferences were attended and my projects are moving right along.
But, I have had some life experiences this week, which I do think are important. So, I will share those.
My 85 year old grandmother fell and broke her foot. She is confined to a wheelchair for 6 weeks. Where most of us, would be mad and frustrated, she is continuously looking for work arounds and ways to go about her normal life. Her main concern has been how she would get to Church. The lesson here for me is "in the face of adversity, keep going, be creative and have an awesome attitude."
One of my dear "bestest" friend's mother has lung cancer. She is in her final days. I have gone over to their house where Kathy has decided to spend her final days. She is surrounded by love and kindness. Her friends and family are sharing wonderful stories on how Kathy has impacted their lives in a positive manner. She is a strong woman who is showing that strength up until the last day of her life. The lesson here for me, "live my life so that in my final days, people share stories of how I affected their lives."
And finally, I have a story that gets to me every year. Our company has organized donations for the last 3 years for the homeless here in Atlanta, through the Atlanta Center for Self Sufficiency (formerly Samaritan House of Atlanta). Each year, at this time, we send out emails to our contact list to ask for scarves, hats, gloves, toiletries, and underwear for 250 of Atlanta's homeless. We stuff 250 bags so that each client will have a Christmas gift. Each year, especially the last few, I think we may not make our big 250 bag goal. And every year, I have been proven wrong. I sent the email last week, and I had a donation of 100 men's boxers, 50 men's hats, and several checks to buy what we need. Every year, I receive these and I just sit in my office overwhelmed and grateful for the kindness. The lesson for me, "people are kind and they care about others, even in difficult times."
Sometimes, it is important to get off topic, and look for lessons in our everyday lives. I know these spill over to our work lives, if we pay attention when they happen. I know I don't do this enough, last week, was just one of those extraordinary weeks, where it couldn't really be helped. I would have to be in a coma not to notice...
Monday, November 8, 2010
I read a great blog post last week by the HR Bartender that has really made me think. That is what great blogs, do...make you think. Sharlyn Lauby discussed the fact that strategic thinking and creating a strategy are 2 different but interrelated competencies.
As a teacher/facilitator/participant in both of these subjects, I began to think, where do these skills sets come from?
Are you born strategic or can you learn to be strategic? (focusing on the HR profession)
Before I attempt to answer that question let's think about the human brain for a moment. My business partner, Barbara Hughes is a licensed facilitator of the HBDI instrument which assesses our thinking styles or preferences. I will attempt to use some of the HBDI methodology to understand and answer the question above.
We all know the discussion around right brained people being the "creative" types and left brained people being the "number crunching" types.
The HBDI model divides the brain into 4 quadrants (see picture above) with the right side being your creative, people oriented side and the left being your planning, organizational analytical side.
I would like to compare strategic thinking and strategic planning as those are the two skills sets I hear about most often in my work.
So, strategic thinking is all about the right side of the brain which includes, thinking about the future, innovation, new ideas, etc.
Strategic planning to me, takes on some of the left side as you are planning, setting goals, and formulating action plans. Also, a big part of strategic planning is obviously about the people which is part of the right side of the brain.
Fast forward to today and HR's dilemma to become strategic...(whatever that means to the profession). Given the above information on our brains and how we are wired, it would seem that we as HR professionals should be awesome at the planning part. Where we may need some help is in the "strategic thinking" area as typical HR professionals do not have a preference for that type of exercise.
Can we learn, you betcha! But not with any typical school curriculum. Sure, we can get the basics and read theory. Thinking strategically requires practice, practice, and more practice.
The first step is, assessing your preferences and becoming aware of what you naturally prefer to do and those areas that you don't show a strong preference.
Back to my question, Are you born strategic or can you learn to be strategic? What do you think, let's get this discussion started....
Monday, November 1, 2010
Many times when we are working on metrics projects, we are asked the question, "Which metrics should we be focusing on?" In other words which metrics are the ones that are tightly linked to measuring the desired business results? It is a valid question, but a difficult one.
I have a passion around HR Metrics but this discussion can apply to any organizational metrics, as I have had conversations with marketing, operations and sales professionals that struggle with WHAT to measure.
Below is a list of questions we have asked in the quest for making metrics matter:
1) Did you start your metrics journey by mapping your organizational strategy?
2) Do you use value metrics that are tightly linked to profits, revenue, cost or budget?
3) Is it a metric that is near and dear to your CEO's heart?
4) Does the metric stand the test of time? (it is used to gain valuable trending information)
5) Is it a metric that you take action on when it changes?
6) Is it a metric that can be used to be predictive?
7) Does the metric measure efficiency or effectiveness? Do you need both to tell the whole story?
After the questions above are answered, you can usually get a really good first "draft" of metrics that are candidates for the "ones that matter most."
I have been in many meetings where we started out with hundreds, yes I did say hundreds of metrics and reduced those to less than half...because they really didn't matter.
If I have learned one thing this year it is the importance to tell a story with your data. Context is crucial when you are reporting data. Data is just data until you tell a compelling story. Then data becomes insight which leads to better decision, better results, and a competitive advantage for your organization.
Ask yourself the questions above...how many of your metrics truly matter? I bet it's not 100!
Friday, October 22, 2010
For those of you that have been reading my blog over the last 8 weeks, you know that I have been to four major conferences. I have attended:
3. SHRM-Atlanta's Fall Conference (#shrmatl10)
4. HR Florida's State Conference (#hrfl10)
I was able to meet and chat with two of my HR heroes. I spoke with Dave Ulrich at HR Florida and Jac Fitz-Enz at The Conference Board. I had one thing on my mind when I listened to their presentations and then asked questions afterwards.
What is the future for my profession?As I synthesize everything I have heard over the last 8 weeks, it is crystal clear to me that HR needs a skill set overhaul. Here are some of my observations:
1) Dave Ulrich is writing a new book about the additional competencies that HR needs as an update to his book HR Competencies, that had been our go to book on HR competencies. He did say relationship building skills and analytical skills would be added. I am sure there are others, but these two we definitely mentioned.
2) Jac Fitz-Enz and others at The Conference Board believe that if HR doesn't start obtaining statistical capabilities or recruit that talent to perform predictive analytics, another function will. That worries me. Google already have their 3/3 model which confirms this statement. I wrote about this model a few weeks ago. Basically Google has 1/3 of it's HR staff specializing in HR, 1/3 are statisticians an 1/3 are business consultants.
3) I think HR professionals get it now that they need business acumen. The Business Acumen track at SHRM Atlanta had standing room only for all of its sessions. Here is my concern with business acumen; it is harder for HR to learn the business than it is for other functional specialist to learn HR. I see many operational, financial, and accounting professionals come through my HR classes to learn HR because the business sees value in their business experience in HR. Sound familiar, back to the 3/3 model.
So let's lay the current environment on my observations:
1) Our country is crawling out of a recession
2) Companies are doing more with less both as a company and HR
3) HR still has not proven value (in general)
4) HR as a profession got hit hard by layoffs during recession
5) The business is more demanding now in terms of showing impact and insight with HR investments.
6) HR outsourcing is growing and will continue to grow
So, we have companies that are looking outside HR to get expertise and we have HR jobs being outsourced and eliminated...what do we do?
I don't mean to be a downer, I want to be a motivator. I love this profession, I want us to be business leaders. I want us to be able to work hand in hand with the CEO providing him/her with valuable insights and impact data so that the company can grow and kick their competition's butt. I want HR leaders to be a talent pool for the CEO position.
I want us to ACT and ACT now....it's not about the table anymore....it's about a fundamental shift in HR's value proposition.
Friday, October 15, 2010
Today we have heard a lot of discussion round the execution of an effective HR Measurement Strategy. What has been confirmed for me and/or things that I have learned are:
1. The goal of measurement is to see how the investment of people leads to reaching strategic goals. (Gene Peese, CEO Capital Analytics)
2. Some companies both large and small report measurement is sometimes difficult but always worth it.
3. HR Departments need to utilize statistical talent in order to provide the organization insight and determine impact.
4. A company's metrics strategy is very dependent on company culture. (i.e. cultures that are highly technical tend measure more, others are razor focused on strategic outcomes)
5. Fancy technology is not necessarily needed especially to get started.
6. Data is universally hard to get, due to many reasons: silos, politics, disparate systems, access, etc. Again, not impossible, just have to navigate the issues.
7. One big lesson learned for many companies is the issue of how to present the data back to the organization. Many speakers and practitioners talked about "story telling" with the data.
8. It is important to bring multiple sources of data together to look at the complete data story.
9. The data questions are getting more sophisticated (What is the business impact for this new Performance Management System?)
10. Using linkage analysis to determine root cause leading to predictability and eventually to optimization is the common model used by many speakers today.
10.5 You don't have to have Ph.D. to do this stuff...just an inquisitive mind!
10.75 Involving key stakeholders on the front end is essential to get the customer perspective (Dr. Jac Fitz-Enz)
Some examples of what companies are finding out though using metrics:
1) Mentoring Program actually had a huge impact on turnover. Cost savings an estimated $7M
2) Predicting turnover within specific departments and using proactive interventions to PREVENT that turnover.
3) A tuition reimbursement program was studied to determine that participants were promoted and retained at a rate of 2x of those that did not participate. The company decided NOT to cut this benefit during the recession.
And I have many more examples.
My next blog will discuss what I believe the impact is on all that I have learned on the HR profession. What do you think about this week's debriefs from the conference? Helpful?
Thursday, October 14, 2010
This morning's opening remarks by Dr. Jac Fitz Enz made me think about HR Metrics and where we currently stand. He said, "I conducted my first conference on metrics in 1978." Amazing...and sad.
Fast forward, 30+ years and I ask myself, why aren't we further along? There were about 5% of the attendees self reporting that they are not using HR metrics at all with 47% saying they have just started, 40% have been using metrics awhile and only 7% reporting an advanced use of analytics.
Ken Currig, EVP of HR from Comcast said this AM, "CEO's are looking for some department (if not HR, then another one) to provide INSIGHT on employee contributions." That statement makes me nervous. With HR's transactional jobs being outsourced at lightening speeds, what is left for HR to lead? I believe it is about strategy, productivity and providing INSIGHT to the business on people related issues/challenges.
Mike Echols CEO, Human Capital Lab, stated, "Human Capital is the competitive advantage for companies in the 21st century."
So, putting this all together: In thirty years we haven't made much progress in the HR Metrics arena, HR's function is changing, and our people are our competitive advantage.
HR must participate in the new normal. CEO's aren't going to get less demanding regarding insight they are getting more demanding. HR has been shouting from the rooftops about being more strategic. Guess what? Here is your opportunity....
Please ask me how to do this.....
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
As discussed earlier today, sometimes there are objections to starting a measurement process or it may be hard to "sell" to upper management in order to obtain resources. This afternoon we have been focusing on a "process" for measuring "fuzzy" tangibles as these are hard to measure and hard to get buy-in for.
The first step is to get a meeting with all key stakeholders and find out what is "keeping them up at night." By understanding stakeholder goals and objectives, you then can create a "measurement map" that visually links strategic goals, business results, performance outcomes/indicators, performance objectives and then finally the intervention/program. I believe this measurement map is a great tool for any metrics both tangible and intangible. It also great for all functions not just for HR as other departments need to understand how their initiatives tie to goals. It definitely is a great visual that keeps you focused on the desired outcomes.
In our group we discussed market share as a strategic goal and we wanted to link a Leadership Development program to that goal to see what measurements would be important. The interesting part of this exercise was that is made us think very hard, and it was difficult, but it is not impossible. So, I can't dispel the "difficult objection", but I believe the effort is worth it.
By linking interventions to strategic goals you can mitigate "analysis paralysis" and "time consuming" by focusing on what is important. This focus keeps you from analyzing unnecessary data which saves time. My gut says if you spend time on the front end with these critical linkages, that time is money, so that will help with the "expensive" objection.
So net, net...start with strategy...link what you do to that strategy and then develop the success measures! The C-Suite will love you!!
I am here at The Conference Board's Human Capital Metrics Conference in NYC. We have kicked off the conference by discussing, "How to Demonstrate Business Impact of Fuzzy Variables."
The presenters, Dr. Jennifer Murnane and Dr. Jennifer Moss both from Bellevue University are delivering and excellent presentation on the "How to." I find the "how to" is often missing from most presentations I attend. I like practical take-aways that I can use later.
Intangible measures are those hard to measure activities in organizations, like training, leadership development, inclusion and diversity, and employee satisfaction. Today we are focused in the training and development area.
The topic is one that has drawn HR professionals from companies like IBM, Phillip Morris and KPMG just to name a few.
The question "What are the positives and negative of measuring intangibles?"
Some positives include:
1) Gives focus and priority of resources
2) Better decision making
3) Can be predictive
4) What gets measured gets done
5) Allows for focused investment
Some negatives include:
3) Unsophisticated users
4) Analysis paralysis-too many measures
5) Time consuming
I think the business case made by Dr. Moss and Dr. Murnane is very powerful in the specific area of the intangible learning and development activity.
-US organizations spend approximately $150 billion on employee learning and development (ASTD 2008)
-Average direct learning expenditure per employee was $1103 in 2007 (Approx $460 in 2009)
-Learning leaders are expected to articulate the benefits of learning and quantify if possible
-Less than 5% of organizations actually measure learning effectiveness
The Jennifer's have also updated the Kirkpatrick's 4 model into a Level 6 model adding ROI and business impact. The new model really demonstrates where measuring training and learning has been and where it is going.
I look forward to the rest of the day and will comment further later this afternoon. Looking forward to see how to overcome the negatives above.
Monday, October 11, 2010
I am preparing to go to New York City to attend The Conference Board's Human Capital Metrics Conference. I was asked to come and blog about their conference. I am very excited about this, because metrics are near and dear to my heart, I love to blog and hey...it's in New York City.
This is my second HR Metrics Conference in the last two months. I wrote about the first experience a few weeks ago. What has become crystal clear to me is that HR Metrics are at an interesting place. I see most HR professionals in one of the following situations:
1) Infancy phase of metrics-have just started measuring tracking metrics
2) Measuring for awhile-this group has been measuring HR effectiveness and efficiency for some time, but are not sure which metrics are important.
3) Predictive analytics-This group is making the leap from tracking and managing metrics to really proving impact by predicting HR and people related outcomes.
In my informal research and just plain gut feel, I think the percentages for the above is 45%, 45% 10%, respectively. So that begs the question, why so few HR professionals make the leap to Predictive Analytics?
Well, this is one of the questions I hope to answer this week while in NYC. I plan to blog everyday beginning on Wednesday. I would like to keep my posts relevant to my readers. So, please comment below with any questions you have about HR metrics and I will be sure to get those answered as the guru of metrics will be there...Dr. Jac-Fitz-Enz.
I will be using hashtag #TCBHCM on Twitter for those of you that would like to follow what is happening at the conference.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
There has been a lot written about the pending Paycheck Fairness Act. My good friend and fellow Blogger Mike Haberman has written many blogs on the subject. This subject also came up in one of my classes last week as well. So, when this happens I must blog about it.
The discussion has centered around if the Paycheck Fairness Act is needed to make sure men and women are paid for equal work. Some people feel it is necessary and others do not. My first reaction was, "No, this isn't necessary as women are catching up, women are graduating from college more than men, and there are more women in the workplace." So, my theory is that the market will prevail and the disparity will correct itself. I also feel there is so much compensation data available, you can find out what you are worth pretty easily. So, why would a person settle for less? (except in times like these of course)
But then, I thought to myself...'Self, why do you think this way?"
And then I figured it out. It is the way I was raised and the fact that I use my own experiential lens when discussing this subject. Here are a couple of my childhood experiences that have shaped my opinion:
1) As a little girl growing up in the south, I was definitely a girlie-girl tom boy. I loved to play outside with all the boys, but I did so in my frilly dresses and matching shoes. I remember one day I dashed outside to climb trees with the boys and they toldl me I can't climb a tree, because I have on a dress. So, I ran to the house and put on my shorts under the dress, ran back to my friends, climbed the tree all the way to the top while the boys stood on the ground in amazement.
2) A few years later, I watched my Dad take his briefcase to work every day and I wondered what he did. He was a businessman and I became intrigued. I went to work with him, I asked questions, I was hooked. I wanted to be a businesswoman. I had no idea that girls were not businesswomen. So, for Christmas one year I got my own briefcase and the rest is history.
My point is that I never let it cross my mind that I wouldn't or shouldn't be paid the same because I was always told I was as good or better than anyone else in my profession. Not ANY male in my profession, but ANYONE else. Not ANY white person but ANYONE else. So, I never considered gender, race, sexual preference, origin etc. I was always competing on skills. (back to climbing trees)
But, not everyone has my lens and experiences in the workplace and as a kid growing up. Not everyone is as assertive (ok aggressive) as I am. So, perhaps I have to rethink my position on this....maybe.
Or...maybe some women need to just climb a few trees......
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Over the last several years we have had the pleasure of working with awesome clients. As I think about common themes and challenges over the last year, accountability keeps coming to mind. Whether it is a matter of changing from a culture of entitlement to high performance or the task of setting goals so that everyone understands what is expected, accountability seems to be hard.
So, I ask myself, why is accountability so hard for managers and HR professionals? Here are some of my lessons and observations from the past several years:
1) Accountability means having tough conversations sometimes. Some managers are not comfortable in this area.
2) Goal setting is difficult if done correctly. Goals have to cascade from top to bottom; sometimes this gets stuck in the middle.
3) Follow-up on goals is hard if no one leads the effort
4) No one is holding managers accountable for accountability
5) Isn't accounting supposed to do that? LOL
6) The culture does not support accountability.
7) There aren't any consequences for non-performance. This one is really bothersome, as there are goals, and objectives, but poor performers are treated the same as high performers.
8) Entitlement over performance: We can't fire him/her they only have 5 years to pension. Really?
9) The lack of a performance appraisal is no excuse. Goals can be written and tracked in any format.
10) My manager doesn't hold me accountable, so why should I hold my employees accountable?
Here is the good news....I do see a lot of companies getting very serious about goals, performance and metrics. I think companies are forced to pay attention to these items in order to remain competitive and keep efficiency and effectiveness in line.
Here comes my big question for you....How do we inject accountability into our workplaces? What has been your experience with keeping managers and employees accountable?
Please comment I would love to hear from you on this topic!!
Monday, September 20, 2010
As I think about the last few weeks I have had the pleasure of interacting with many HR professionals regarding HR Metrics. Last week, I discussed the Evolution of HR Metrics and this week I would like to chat about Shared Services and HR Metrics.
In my workshop at the HR Metrics Summit hosted by IQPC, I asked where people were in their HR journey and about 30% were in infancy or just starting, about 30% had metrics but weren't sure if they were they right ones and about 30% were looking for metrics for a Shared Services model for HR. This made me stop and think.
For shared services to be effective, most people think about cost savings to operate HR, headcount reduction, and customer service effectiveness. So you may have metrics that look something like this:
1) HR cost per employee
2) HR staff/FTE ratios
3) Customer satisfaction scores
4) Problem resolution metrics
5) Time to solve problem
6) Average time on call
7) Calls per CSR
8) Calls resolved on first call
10) Service Level Agreement measures (SLA's)
So, by definition we are measuring a transactional function that handles functions like payroll, benefits, and record keeping, policies and procedures, etc.
My question is this...what metrics can we use that points to the strategic impact an HR Shared Services model can provide?
After all, if HR moves to this model, doesn't that free up some time for top HR professionals to be strategic. (that is the theory). A recent article in SHRM's HR Magazine discusses the shared services model and lessons learned to date. (have to be a national SHRM member to view).
According to the HR Magazine's Article, Saving Share Services, the size of companies that are moving to shared services are smaller. In other words, shared services aren't just for the larger companies. So, with this model looking better and better as companies are trying every way to save pennies, we need to figure out how to show impact especially in the strategic area.
Do we need to make sure that HR Shared Services and the HR Department collaborate on these metrics as you can't be effective in one area without the other? (Transactional and Strategic)
I have some ideas about metrics for HR shared services that point to impact, but I would love to hear from you to see what has worked for you and how you have handled these metrics.
Monday, September 13, 2010
The message is crystal clear to me regarding HR Metrics after I have attended two events on HR Metrics in the last two weeks.
HR PROFESSIONALS HAVE TO GET ON THE METRICS TRAIN.
Because the train has left the station. (better run!)
As I sat in an SPSS briefing last week regarding their new software suite of products the message was clear that we have graduated from metrics to predictive analytics. The evolution of HR Metrics goes something like this:
1) Efficiency measures-measuring activity
2) Effectiveness measures-measuring quality
3) Value Metrics-metrics that are tied to organizational strategy
4) Predictive Analytics-using analytics to predict certain organizational situations
Predictive analytics is a tool that HR (and other business units) can use to provide INSIGHT so that better decisions can be made. Here are some decision examples from clients, colleagues and from conferences I attended in the last few weeks:
- One company is using PA to profile successful candidates using engagement, performance, educational, tenure, and certification data so that this profile can be used on the front end during recruiting so candidates stay longer and perform better.
- Another company is using PA to predict turnover using historical, demographic, engagement and performance data so that succession planning can be customized and so that retention strategies can be revamped and/or created.
- Another company is using workforce predictive analytics to be able to perform “just in time” hiring. In other words, being able to predict what skills sets will be needed, how many and when.
Think about the examples above, how would the C-Suite react if HR brought this insight to the conversation?
Would HR have to worry about that table we have been yacking about for 20 years if we could provide insight?
Keep the conversation going give me your thoughts….
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
A few weeks ago I co-presented a webinar for HR.com entitled, "Performance Appraisals Your Managers Will Love." I made a statement that went something like this:
Remove the word ATTITUDE from your performance appraisal.Well, I got a lot of feedback from those 8 words. Most of the feedback was around, "We need employees that have a good attitude towards their jobs and customers." I don't disagree. However, you have to define attitude so that everyone understands it. Also, it is a very subjective term, because what I think is a good attitude is totally different from what my co-workers define as a good attitude.
I googled attitude and I read many definitions, but here is a good representation of what I found:
Attitude: a complex mental state involving beliefs and feelings and values and dispositions to act in certain ways; "he had the attitude that work was fun"
So, I don't know about you but I don't want to get into feelings and beliefs at work. What I want at work is behaviors that lead to desired outcomes. What we need to do is think of ATTITUDE in terms of behaviors. What are the desired behaviors that support a "good attitude?"
Think about these behaviors:
- Is responsive to clients needs
- Responds to requests in a timely manner
- Serves customers in a friendly manner
- Completes assignments and asks for extra assignments
- Shares best practices with co-workers
- Receives positive feedback from customers
- Goes above and beyond to satisfy customers
All of the above are behaviors that are outcomes of positive attitude. Aren't those examples a lot clearer and easier to rate, train to, and explain than "have a good attitude?"
I did have someone ask me if MOOD was a better word than attitude. That question put me in a bad mood coming from an experienced HR professional. It took all I had to say, "I don't think so." Mood has the same issue: what does a good mood or bad mood look like. And, I can be in a bad mood and still be productive. Perhaps we should just buy our employees some MOOD rings. :)
What is your experience with rating attitude and how have you handled that on performance appraisals?
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Well, I am sitting at the Orlando Airport after attending the HR Florida conference for the second year in a row. My head is stuffed full of ideas, energy and renewed passion for the HR profession. I will be writing on these learnings/lessons over the next few weeks.
It was great to meet all of my fellow bloggers and Tweeps! I big shout out to Laurie Ruettimann, Franny Oxford, China Gorman, Mike VanDervort, Kathy O'Reilly, Trish McFarlane, William Tincup, Sean Conrad, Steve Boese, Mark Stelzner and Jennifer McClure (CincyRecruiter). It is so important to connect and be a part of your profession. Whether you are an internal HR professional or an external HR consultant...a network is a terrible thing to waste.
I have been intellectually challenged over the last few days, here are some interesting observations/learnings/lessons from the conference:
1) Laurie Ruettimann posed the question about, "Why don't we have better leaders today, in the 50's and 60's we had a command and control type of leadership and we were a growing nation. Now, we have focused on different leadership development programs and we are no better off...what's up with that? Click here for discussion on the subject here.
2) Should integrity be an organizational value, competence or just a table stake for organizations, given the failures of leadership over the last few years? China Gorman, Sean Conrad and I discussed this topic and others on HR Happy Hour with Steve Boese and others.
3) I learned that HR leaders have the intellectual muscle to be strategic and they WANT to be strategic. The only piece that is missing is the HOW. Once you start the discussion, the answers and ideas flowed. I was energized by this, because we as HR professionals have struggled in this area for so long. I will be writing on this subject as it is near and dear to my heart.
4) What's Next for HR? China Gorman and Dave Ulrich discussed this topic. Themes like a continued focus on leadership development, begin the rebuilding of the employer brand (even working with marketing to do so), put the customer's perspective in everything we do in HR, like hiring, training, and culture development.
5) Social media is not going away and it is far bigger this year than last year! At last year's conference I believe there was one session on social media and a small tweetup. This year there were many sessions on the topic and we had a large tweet up sponsored by Monster. There are so many applications for HR professionals, embrace it, leverage it...but please don't ignore it.
Thanks HR Florida, I am a very happy customer!
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Throw away your typical HR audit checklists that ask if you have your posters up and your I-9 forms in order. Ok, now that I have your attention...
Yes, those things are still important, but all those issues fall under the big heading of "HR Basics" and let's face it. We have been doing the basics for years....we should know how to make sure time-sheets and applications are in order.
So besides the basics, I am thinking we need to add some strategic components to our HR audits. Here are just a few topics I think should be analyzed during a COMPLETE STRATEGIC HR audit:
1) Is HR linked and aligned to the overall organizational strategy and by the way, did HR participate in the planning portion of the strategy?
2) What does your HR Scorecard look like? Are the metrics balanced using efficiency, effectiveness and value metrics?
3) Does the organizational structure support the delivery of HR services that are linked to the organizational strategy?
4) If a structural redesign is necessary do you have the needed competencies to fill the new "boxes?"
5) What do HR customers think about HR services and delivery?
6) What does the C-Suite think about the way HR solves problems and impacts the strategic plan?
So, if your audit process did not cover the items above...you have some more work to do. What does your audit process look like? Do you have a best audit practice...do tell!
Monday, August 16, 2010
As the economy recovers and companies are examining all areas of the business under an efficiency lens, HR is no exception. There are many blogs, articles and keynotes on the topic of what will HR 2.0 look like. You hear answers from it should be "blown up" to it should "not even exist" and all iterations in between.
I read a really good article by Dave Zielinksi in August 2010 HR Magazine entitled, "Building a Better HR Team." Zielinksi discusses Google's "three-thirds" HR staffing model. Below is the premise for Google's model:
1) 1/3 of the HR team have HR background s and bring expertise in employee relations along with other specialist expertise like benefits and compensation.
2) 1/3 of the HR team has little or no HR background and come from strategic consulting firms or internally from Google's sales and engineering departments. These individuals are embedded in the business as consultants.
3) 1/3 of the HR team are the quant jocks. They are statisticians, PhD's in finance and organizational psychology. Their jib is organizational analytics especially the predictive kind.
Not all organizations have Google's resources and the ability to have PhD's on staff, but the theory behind this model is one that I love. Here is why:
1) It is very strategic by putting consultants in the business that understand business and help solve problems.
2) Subject matter experts in HR are used as specialist in the right way
3) Analytics is given priority as we truly have to work smarter with less, data allows you to make smarter decisions.
I have been telling my students for years that in HR, or whatever we wind up calling the function, that "we are business people first and HR people second." Now, that is often met with some very strong opinions but I believe that it is easier to teach a business person HR than it is to teach an HR person the business. It is not impossible, but as an HR person you have to have that motivation of really wanting to "get how business runs."
Another interesting aspect of Google's model is that you cross-pollinate between each of the 3 areas mentioned above. It makes the transitions from business person to HR person and vice versa much easier when you are learning from peers and real time projects.
What would your HR All-Star team look like? Please give us your feedback on this interesting topic.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
There is a reason why two-thirds of all strategy fails...IT'S EXECUTION.
After the strategic planning session is over and the t-shirts and coffee mugs are passed out, the strategy just gets stuck. In our experience it gets stuck somewhere between Director level and the line level employee. Here are the reasons we find when we do some digging:
1) The strategic plan is so complicated and no one understands it
2) Employees do not know what to do different in their jobs
3) Managers are not given the tools to communicate the strategy
4) Goals and objectives are not cascaded down to the lowest level
5) Rewards and performance measures are not tied to the new strategy
So, since HR is jockeying for strategic partner status, why not figure out this problem with execution and lead the charge!
Here are 7 ways HR can make a difference in strategy execution:
1) Be a part of or lead the strategic planning process so HR is involved at the beginning
2) Assist in the creation of a SIMPLE document that communicates the plan that is easily understandable for ALL employees
3) Align HR strategy to the new strategy so that all HR programs can impact strategy
4) Redo job descriptions updating new behaviors and/or competencies needed to make strategy successful
5) Align all rewards and performance management to desired outcomes
6) Assist departments to develop goals and objectives needed to execute
7) Assist departments in developing metrics to track progress
I am sure there are more than 7 ways HR can impact execution, how have you assisted your organizations in the strategic arena?
Monday, August 2, 2010
As a blogger, I depend on experiences and what I read for many of my topics. Recently, I have had a topic just present itself in so many ways, I have to write about it.
Many times companies want to be something they are not. They want to be customer focused, they want to be #1 in their industry, they want to be innovative, they want to be strategic.
As I look back on my consulting career, the one thing that the companies that want to be something they aren't have in common is this: A PERCEIVED READINESS FOR CHANGE
Either you are going to do what it takes to close the gaps from where you are to where you want to be or you have HOPE as your strategy. I HOPE we can become customer focused, just does not cut it.
Let's just say, you want to move your HR department from transactional to strategic because you truly want to focus on the important people issues turning your talent into a competitive advantage. The first questions you will need to ask yourself are:
1) Are we ready as an organization to put our people strategy first?
2) Are we ready to elevate the TOP HR position to those of equal importance like marketing, operations, R&D etc.
3) Are we ready to make the tough decisions like outsourcing, restructuring, and realigning talent based on our new HR mission?
If all of those answers are yes, then you may be in good shape. Further digging into the following may be required to determine if your infrastructure, leadership and employees are ready:
1) Determine leadership's ability to facilitate change
2) Analyze infrastructure to make sure it can support the change
3) Determine if organization has rewards in place to motivate new behaviors
4) Analyze goal alignment ACROSS the organization.
By looking at the areas above first, you may save yourself time, energy and money due to lack of execution. By analyzing these items on the front end, everyone understands the reasons and the stated direction making change easier to accept and buy into. Not all employees, will be "change ready" as everyone has different "change styles." (Stay tuned for an upcoming blog on change styles). But understanding all of these indicators up front make change less painful.
I have a feeling our organizations will be continuously changing from now on as we continue to figure out the "new normal." I believe HR professionals must get very good at facilitating and leading change efforts. I agree with Dave Ulrich, it is a very important competency for HR professionals to master.
How have you lead successful change? Did you do a change readiness exercise?
Monday, July 26, 2010
I have been working on projects most of my career. As I think back to the ones I most enjoyed, they were the projects that I had a passion for, had great team members, and feedback was continuous.
As I was reading an article, in May 2010 HR Magazine, entitled, Raising Engagement, by Adrienne Fox, I began thinking about the idea of feedback during projects or even just daily work and tasks. Below is an interesting quote from the article:
"Recognizing progress in meaningful ways represents an engagement lever."
As I thought back to my own projects, the continuous feedback is exactly the piece that kept me motivated to finish especially when the project was long and difficult.
I think recognizing progress is going to be very critical with the Millenials/GenYers that are entering and have recently entered the workforce. This generational group has been used to being praised for progress their entire life. I am not saying this is a bad thing. I have done it myself as a Mother of a 17-year old. I think back to his little league baseball games where he received a trophy for almost everything he did on the field. "Yeah, you got on first base." Of course, I am thinking, isn't a home run the goal here. But that recognition going from base to base is motivating and engages the players in the game. Engagement leads to motivation which is that "fire in the belly" (intrinsic factors) which lead to desired results. Whether on the baseball field or in an office recognition for progress is important because:
1) It is reassuring that the employee is on the right track
2) It is a way to make adjustments if needed to resources, deadlines, etc.
3) It engages the employee in his work leading to the desired end result
So what does all of this mean to managers and HR professionals. How can we incorporate "recognition of progress" into the performance management system? How has your company accomplished this type of recognition?
Friday, July 16, 2010
I speak and consult a lot on the topic of HR Metrics and it is one topic that I have been passionate about for a long time. I always begin every one of my discussions with the business case for metrics. Undoubtedly, I still get the question, "Why should I (HR) be concerned about metrics?"
Here are my top 10 reasons to why HR should be using metrics:
10. Because Dave Ulrich and Jac Fitz-Enz says so
9. Measuring stuff is "in" this year
8. My boss is the CFO and he told me to
7. I heard, "what measures gets done" at a conference
6. I like those scorecards with all the pretty graphs and colors
And now, for my serious reasons....
5. Performance is king, using this metric with other data is critical to retention, productivity, and engagement
4. Your C-Suite is much more demanding of data from HR post-recession
3. Your people as a competitive advantage depends on measurements leading to improvements and business results
2. HR has been talking about being strategic, metrics is a tool that allows you to BE strategic
1. If you are not using metrics you are already behind, companies now are moving from metrics to analytics (to be predictive)
And here is reason number 1(A): IF HR DOESN'T OWN HR METRICS SOMEONE ELSE WILL.
I personally prefer to keep HR metrics within HR. So, if you aren't the number crunching type, then go out find yourself a great statistician, teach them the HR technical stuff if they don't know it and start measuring!!!
What are your reasons for measuring HR? Perhaps, we can make this a top 20 list!
Monday, July 12, 2010
My business partner, Barbara Hughes and I were discussing last week's blog topic, "Performance Management is a Tool and not a Chore" when she asked me a very good question:
"How will HR professionals design a performance management system with the changing workforce? Now, that we have more 1099's, project workers, and consultants instead of regular full-time employees.This trend was discussed in a recent BusinessWeek article and one that needs consideration around this performance management topic.
My first reaction was that, with the "flexible" workforce, it would be easy to conduct performance management as it will be the truest form of pay for performance. Either you meet the project deliverables and deliver on-time or you are not renewed, continued or called back. End of story.
Then I thought, well why should that be different from our "regular" workforce? I know what you are going to say, we need to use our progressive discipline program and we need to coach and counsel, we need to do X, Y and Z. But, we don't do that for 1099's or temporary workers. We are very quick to say, "Next" with that group.
I believe we are going to have to get this dichotomy figured out as we are not going to have less temporary, 1099's and consultants in our workforce; we are going to have more.
How do you think we can handle performance with these two different groups in one workforce? Should we have two separate systems? What are your experiences in this situation?
Monday, July 5, 2010
Many times in my career I have had to revamp performance management systems. I have blogged on the topic asking if we should just get rid of appraisals altogether. Last week, I was chatting with a friend, he said, "I am dreading doing all my appraisals next week." I had to find out the reasons for all this dread. He then began his list of reasons why he did not like the process:
1) Nothing is ever done with the information
2) They aren't relevant to his employees jobs
3) They are 8 pages long and it will take all week to do 10 appraisals
WOW, as he kept talking it sounded just like a chore instead of something that could really help this manager out in the long run.
I wanted to know what HR was doing regarding the process. He let me know this was their brand new and improved process. YIKES!
I then began to think about another HR VP I spoke to last month. She said, "I think I am going to change our appraisal form to 3 questions." Of course that piqued my interest. I said. "What are you going to ask?
1) Overall all performance rating _____________
2) Reasons for this rating
3) Areas of further development
Well that does take care of KISS. (keeping it simple). There has to be a happy medium between the 8 pages and just 3 questions.
Then I began to think of my recent travel experiences and I think you could probably get away with just one question:
1) What have you done to exceed customer expectations in the last year?
I know a lot of service employees who would have a hard time answering that question. But at the end of the day, isn't that what we need to know at appraisal time. How we have served our customers and what we need to do to serve them better?
What are your thoughts on appraisals? Friend or foe? How would you improve and KISS?