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Showing posts from April, 2011

Learning vs Training

I had lunch with a good friend today who is a consultant focused on leadership and development. We had a great conversation about business, the dynamics of organizations, what they want vs what is finally delivered,  development systems, mentoring, and competencies. At one point when he was talking about training he corrected himself and said learning instead. Well, that was a great time for me to chime in and mention a person I hired in 1994 to be the Director of Training & Development. In the interview process he corrected me by saying don't call it training, call it "learning". That has stuck with me since that time. My luncheon partner also agreed that the correct term in learning not training and that there is a negative connotation to the term. 

Well, I agree 100% and I hope you do as well.

5 HR Metric Pitfalls to Avoid

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Over the last few years, I have seen many dashboards, scorecards and metrics from a wide range of companies. The lessons learned leading up to a dashboard are so valuable. So for those of you that are just starting your metrics journey, I have a list of 5 pitfalls that if avoided can make your journey a lot more successful.
1) TOO Many Metrics 2) Ignoring your metrics 3) Measuring the WRONG things 4) Metrics that are not understandable by Joe Manager 5) No accountability
Let's briefly take a look at these...
Too many metrics: I never will forget asking a HR VP to see her metrics last summer. She in turn handed me an Excel workbook with almost 500 measures. Who can focus on 500 measures at a time? I asked who received these metrics and she told me they went to the Executive team, but they never did anything with them. Shocker! LESSON LEARNED: Make sure your metrics are reasonable in number and are tied to organizational strategy (closely related to point 3 above). I get asked all…

HR Outsourcing

One of the major issues facing HR organizations today is how much should a company outsource. Many large firms have outsourced their HR departments to save money and to expedite services. Deloitte recently prepared a study on trends in the industry and what decisions drive outsourcing.

Here are some issues that are driving these changes. Things are changing on the supplier side:
•Continued provider consolidation
•New providers are entering the marketplace
•More provider-to-provider relationships are being formed
•Providers are scaling back their solutions to focus on what they do well
•Continued addition of value-added and judgment-based services (i.e., workforce analytics, global mobility, and employee relations)
•Increased use of off-shore, lift, and shift-based services
•Integration services that cross-process areas, such as reporting are becoming more prevalent
•More flexibility in number of services/processes included as part of an HRO deal
•Increased use of platform-based solutions (Softw…

Common Sense Management

I had a great discussion with a person that I mentored 30 years ago and who is now a SVP of HR. I guess I was a good mentor in his early HR career. Our discussion was centered around common sense and how managers at times do not exercise common sense in managing their people or projects. Why is that? Well, I guess the stress of producing and balancing work causes some of it but I think there is a deeper issue. Intelligence in knowing what is right and linking that with doing what is right. 


My friend and I cited many example of how managers we have known, who were good mind you, went off and did some of the stupidest things, made bad decisions and then we had to go in and clean up the mess and solve the issues those decisions made. 


We also agreed that if it were not for some of these managers who blew it our companies would not need our resources. Well not to that extreme but close to it. I would like to identify a couple of key factors that drive the best managers at times to make bad…

Don't Ignore Your Engagement Data

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I have just returned from another HR Metrics Summit hosted by ASMI. I had the pleasure to present on the topic of "Using Data to Make the Right HR Investments." This is the second time I have made that presentation and the second time I was asked a question regarding employee engagement and the confidentiality of engagement data.
How can you use employee engagement data when you have said it is confidential/anonymous?
We all know that engagement data is not anonymous due to technology but we do assure our employees that the data is confidential. We tell employees that comments and individual scores will not be revealed. And I agree this is a good best practice. I also think if you have a department or business unit that has less than 10 people, you need to aggregate those scores up to the next level as confidentiality is hard to protect when you have a small report-out group.
With all that said that does not mean you can't use the engagement data while conducting o…

Working Remotely Alleviates More Stress Than It Creates

Employees who spend most of their working week as telecommuters have greater job satisfaction than people who are primarily office workers, according to a study from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM).
Kathryn Fonner and Michael compared the advantages and disadvantages of the two work arrangements and found the main benefit of teleworking for at least three days a week to be decreased work-life conflict. While poor workplace communication is often cited as the biggest disadvantage of telework, respondents reported this as being of minimal importance and, although they exchanged information with others less frequently than office-based workers, they reported similar timely access to important work-related information.
According to Kathryn Fother the results of the study suggest multiple reasons why high job satisfaction and teleworking are linked. Specifically, remote working tends to shield employees from distracting and stressful aspects of the workplace, including office pol…

Cloud Video Startup Zixi Raises $4M

As more and more companies look at cloud computing as the next wave and to save on IT infrastructure costs the cloud is growing in video as well. 


Cloud video startupZixihas raises $4 million in a round of funding for its web video broadcasting business.



The Waltham, Mass.-based company will use the money to build out a worldwide team and complete its infrastructure for delivering high-definition video via the cloud, or web-connected data centers. The company focuses on delivering cloud video with high quality, security, and the ability to make a return on investment. Schooner Capital, a Boston-based private investment firm, led the round. Other investors include Sidney Topol, former chief executive of Scientific Atlanta, and Maurice Schonfeld, former CEO of CNN. Zixi’s chief executive is Israel Drori. He said the company will offer high-quality video over the internet for broadcast, enterprise and video-on-demand services. Potential customers include companies that operate networks, vide…

International Protection for Broadcasts Gaining New Momentum

The proposed international treaty on the protection of broadcasters is inching forward after nearly 10 years of consideration and member states of the World Intellectual Property Organization and other stakeholders are moving toward consensus on the central elements of what it is to do and what is the object of the protection.

Much of the rhetoric of stakeholders—particularly pay TV channels and sports rights organisations—has led many to believe it is about protecting their business models and revenue. They have done the proposed treaty a disservice.

It is about protecting the value creating activities of broadcasters in content selection, packaging and distribution—something that is not protected by copyrights, but can be protected with a neighboring right. What the treaty is intent on doing is protecting the broadcast—in a signal and derivative of the signal—which embodies the broadcasters value creation activities and is the object of the proposed protection.

The result may assist re…

High Velocity Culture Change

Most managers are not good at cultural change especially when they are the front line to lead changes in the organization. Changing the culture in an organization is hard, heavy duty, and battle intensive for those responsible to lead that charge. Most managers do it as well as employees by taking the lead from their managers because the have to. Not that they want to but it is part of the survival process in an organization.

I would recommend the following if you are the person(s)/group(s)/executive team leading this major effort to keep pace with the changing environment, business, and any successors and/or assignees in an acquisition:
Use methods that are not standard operating processes - this will make people operate out of their existing cultural orientation:

Change should be guided by where the organization needs to go rather than laborious cultural analysis and metrics. Make sure that the new highway for change is "clear to all employees" and that managers "get it …

How Do You Measure Quality of Hire?

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I love it when I am asked questions about specific metrics in HR. I was asked two times last week about Quality of Hire. I think this metric is getting more and more momentum as it should. If you think about the QUALITY of your talent...you instantly can make a direct connection to revenue and bottom line results: (Let's define a quality hire is one that is productive, committed, and engaged)
1) The more talented and engaged a person is, the more they will produce adding to the top line 2) The better your hires, the lower your recruiting costs 3) Employees that are more committed, give better customer service leading to increased loyalty, sales and repeat business.
So, with the impacts listed above, it makes sense to keep a pulse on the quality of hires we make. That begs the question...."How do you do that?"
A few months ago, I had a very different opinion on how you measure quality of hire. I thought that measuring performance at certain intervals would give you the d…

Editing, the Richness of Content, and the Current Limits of Web and Social Media

Editors matter.

The March 28-April 4, 2011, edition of the struggling news magazine Newsweek—which I admittedly have not read in years— provides some of the finest articles I have read in many months, illustrates the limits of online and social media, and shows why editors matter.

There is great benefit from both edited and unedited media and I don’t believe they have to be seen in dichotomous choices for the future of media. But I believe those who argue they don’t need to edited media doom themselves to narrowness and ignorance.

If I relied only on the links I receive daily from colleagues on Facebook, my news alerts for topics of interest, or digital listings of stories, I would miss the most important contribution of edited media—the service editors provide by reviewing and thinking about the world and putting journalists to work to provide a coordinated understanding of the available information. This week’s Newsweek epitomises that reality.

Although I often have my attention drawn t…

How Good is Your Performance Data?

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For many of my readers, you know that I am a huge proponent of analyzing performance data combined with other HR and customer data to increase organizational and individual performance.
In the past we have discussed using performance data to:
1) Profile top performers in the organization identifying key knowledge, skills and abilities, producing an A-Player profile used on the front end during the recruiting process to enhance quality hires on the first try.
2) Using performance data along with employee engagement and turnover data to predict those high performers that you are "at risk" of losing
3) Calculating Quality of Hire using 90 day performance rating along with other data to determine success rate of recruiting function.
In the three examples above it is critical that you are using reliable and valid performance data. For reliability, you want to make sure the instrument you use is reliable over time and managers understand how to rate. Validity means that you are mea…