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Showing posts from August, 2011

HR Metrics: Tracking vs. Insight

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HR Metrics have been a passion of mine for several years now. It seems that HR Metrics have gained a lot of momentum in the last 2 years. I get many requests to speak on the subject and our company has increased projects and workshops in this area.

What bugs me the most, is the same issue I observed 5 years ago...

HR departments are not providing insight to leadership they provide tracking to leadership.

Yes, leadership wants to know something that impacts results or something they didn't already know. Here are some examples of things leadership is not (typically) waiting on pins and needles to see:

1) days to fill 2) # open reqs 3) # of training participants 4) turnover % for entire organization 5) hiring ratios from recruiting sources

But give leadership some insight, and you will be a rockstar:

1) turnover % of high performers with reasons for turn and an action plan to improve 2) HR forecast with new hires projected over next 12 months with staffing plans attached 3) ROI of recent tra…

Life - by Steve Jobs

Sometimes people say great things and they should be spread around the world. This I thought was brilliant.

“Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” --- Steve Jobs


The Phantom Has Returned!!!

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Phantom stock – it's alive! 

There are signs of a spectre walking the halls of Corporate America. A tool which has languished in obscurity at public companies – phantom stock – recently has shown signs of emerging. While the reasons for turning to phantom stock are varied – uncertainties in the financial markets and insufficient authorized shares for actual stock awards are two for public companies – we believe that the compensation device deserves more consideration. Phantom stock can provide valuable attributes of equity and can help with motivation, focus, and retention of recipients.

What is phantom stock?The basic concept of a phantom stock program involves a company's agreement or promise to pay a recipient of an award an amount equal to the value of a certain number (or percentage) of shares of the company's stock. Commonly structured through the award of units, a phantom stock program enables a company to make an award that tracks the economic benefits …

Post-Crisis Strategy Moves

U.S. business leaders, and HR recognize the increased volatility associated with the post-crisis economy and are approaching their companies’ most strategic initiatives with more caution than ever before. Risk aversion still dominates corporate psyche especially HR, but concerns over risk are shifting from avoidance to successful management. Executives, reflecting on lessons learned in the downturn, are concerned about the impact of failure as never before. As a result, many are assuming a corporate strategy of “perfection,” tightly scrutinizing how capital is being spent.

It is no wonder three quarters of companies have changed their approach to strategic initiatives in the past year, according to the latest FD/Forbes Insights Strategic Initiatives survey of 180 C-level executives, senior strategists, and communications professionals. The study, done with the Council of Public Relations Firms and the Association for Strategic Planning, also uncovers overall optimism that well-conside…

Are Your Skills Really Transferable?

If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times. You, the job seeker, announce with confidence: “I can do the job. I know I can. I just need someone to give me a chance.”


But in a tough economy full of qualified job seekers, skills don’t need to transfer. That’s because there are plenty of well-trained people with the right company background, certifications, and experience to meet and exceed the job requirements.


Those candidates don’t need training. There’s no delay in the new person’s affect on the department, and no risk for the hiring manager.



That makes it an easy decision for the hiring company.


• Are your skills transferable? Probably.
• Can you do the job if given the chance? Likely.
• Will you be given the chance? Unlikely.


So, if your skills are not transferable in a tough job market, what can you do?
Pursue jobs in your field, at your level, and in your function


While it’s exciting to try something new, in a tough job market you need to stay focused on where you …

To Coach or NOT to Coach

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I had the pleasure of speaking at a lunch and learn last week at one of my favorite company's headquarters here in Atlanta. The topic was coaching and the audience consisted of HR Managers and Directors.

Most of the discussion centered around how HR can influence managers to use coaching to increase performance.

After reading a lot of material on the subject and a really good recent blogpost from Kris Dunn, I have decided there are 2 camps on this subject:

1) Get rid of the performance review and replace it with coaching sessions 2) FORCE managers to coach in the current performance management process

I think there is a happy medium that uses coaching skills to produce RESULTS. Really? Coaching can impact results and that is how HR can influence managers to be coaches. I think HR managers must educate line managers on the benefits of coaching employees:

1) Employees have cited the need for feedback as an engagement driver. X'ers and Y'ers have come into the workplace …

Who Is that Leader in the Mirror?

"Mirror, mirror, on the wall," asked the Queen in Snow White, "who is the fairest of them all?"
Things got sticky when the Queen got the answer she didn't want to hear, but at least her mirror was honest. Too many bosses are looking in the mirror and being told that they're doing just fine, despite evidence to the contrary.


An article in Training Magazine titled "The Blind Leading the Company" reported on research into manager confidence in their skills and the accuracy of their self-perception. Here's the money quote.
"97 percent of the managers who think they are “good” or “excellent” also believe they know their strengths and development areas. Compare this to only 63 percent of the managers who think they are “fair” or “poor.” Data reveals the managers most confident in their skills are also most confident that they see themselves."


I don't find this surprising at all. Study after study shows people in all kinds of situations are…

Have You Addressed the Digital Skills Inventory of Your Employees?

Since it seems forever HR has touted, or should I say professed, the need for skills inventory and training to keep employees competitive. Surely, you have addressed this over the years and even with the extreme cutbacks over the last 2 years you have continued to develop your people either with a decent training and development budget or one that may be something less than a shoestring.

Today, both on the talent acquisition side or the talent management side you need to take a serious look at the "digital skills" inventory of your new hires, key executives, fast start employees, mid-level management and sales teams. This is not your average skills inventory but one that your company will benefit from for years to come. If you have not looked at this important element then here are a few of the key components of your new "digital skills" inventory checklist:

how to get connected to the Internet, both on the road, in the office and at home. This may seem basic but if …

Telling A Great Strategy Story

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Once upon a time, there was this big company. This company wanted to grow into a bigger company, so it huffed and puffed and blew its competition over...THE END.I wish I had $100 for every time I have heard, "Our organizational strategy is stuck." "We did our planning, but it was just that, planning and no execution."

What we have found, with some of our clients is that strategy gets stalled. And it gets stalled somewhere between the top and the employee, who by the way has to actually execute on that strategy. The problem is, in my opinion that leadership understands the strategy and doesn't do a good job of translating it for the next level. The 3 ring binder with all the initiatives, the vision, the mission, values etc is great. Except....when no one knows what to do differently.

So, why not explain the strategy in a simple, easy to understand way. I know....what a novel idea. Use a story, with a beginning (current state) a plot (what we will do diff…

From Freelancers to Telecommuters: Succeeding in the New World of Solitary Work

As the economy flirts with a double-dip recession and cost-conscious companies hesitate to re-hire, the workplace for many Americans has shifted away from crowded offices to a new world of solitary work. From freelancers to telecommuters to laid-off workers making do with temporary jobs, an increasing number of Americans are reporting to work each day from a corner of their home, a space in the garage, a private office or even a table at the local coffee shop. For some, it's a dream come true. But the transition isn't smooth for everyone. "It's easier to get in the mood to work when everybody else around you is working," saysMaurice Schweitzer, a Wharton professor of operations and information management. Without an office, "you have to create that entire structure yourself." For solitary workers, re-creating the workplace goes beyond buying a phone and a laptop. Lone workers must also take greater responsibility for their own professional image, networkin…

Top 10 Reasons NOT to Measure HR

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I speak and write on the topic of metrics a lot. And I always ask where individuals are on their "metrics journey." I get answers from beginners to "we are using data to be predictive." I also get "we aren't measuring anything." I always ask, "Why not?" Here is my unscientific list of why HR professionals do NOT measure:

1) It's hard 2) Don't know what to measure 3) My leadership doesn't understand why we should 4) Our data is in too many places 5) We do not have anyone analytical in our department 6) We are swamped, don't have the time 7) We used to measure a few things, but no one did anything with the data 8) You can't measure the impact of HR, it's too soft 9) Finance is doing that! 10) We don't have the technology to do that

Ok, now for my answers to the "excuses" above

1) If you can't do basic statistics, or even just formulas, partner with an analyst in your company to mentor you. Take some classes…

Are CIOs Missing the Cloud?

Four disruptive forces are causing executive teams to reconsider how the CIO function will add strategic value in a world where cloud computing, distributed architectures and mobile ubiquity are givens for future competitiveness. ·Rising Server-to-Admin Ratios When 25 physical servers for each IT admin was the norm, CIOs built organizational structures suited to that reality. Hiring, training, reporting lines, compensation, key success factors, annual reviews, career advancement and social norms were all built around that 25:1 ratio. Now, enterprise IT is facing the near-term reality of ratios that are 100:1, 500:1 or even 1,000:1. Google is rumored to be aiming for a 10,000:1 goal. This massive increase in administrative density signals wholesale changes in the enterprise IT org chart. It changes who is hired, what skills they must have, how they will be trained and managed, evaluated and compensated, how they interact with and support business units, and what their long-term career pat…

10 Principals of Employee Engagement

Here are 10 principles of employee engagement that David Zinger outlined as part of his Employee Engagement Network, located in Winnipeg Canada. I encourage you to determine your own or to add yours as you  comment on this post. Employee engagement is a human endeavor. Engagement is depersonalized when we refer to employees as human capital or human resources. I manage capital or resources, I work with people!Employee engagement must create results that matter. This means results that are important to the employee, manager, leaders, organization, and customers.There is little point in having engaged employees if they are not contributing and creating significant results. In addition, if the results only matter to the organization and not the employee – or the employee and not the organization – employee engagement will not be sustained over time.Employee engagement is connection. Connection is the key. Authentic employee engagement involves connection to our work, others, our organizat…

Day 1: HR Strategy and Metrics Recap

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Today I had the pleasure of facilitating a HR Strategy and Metrics workshop for the Performance Institute in Washington DC. I had just over 30 attendees that were eager to learn more about linking HR strategy to organizational strategy and how to measure the execution.
The majority of the day was spent on a tool we use, called the Business Strategy Map. I have written on this topic here.
The participants were engaged as they brought their own strategic outcomes from their companies to gain hands on real time experience with this process.
After we spend the majority of the day on this process I asked the participants what the good, the bad and the ugly was...here is what they said:
1) It's hard, really hard but worth it 2) I can see how this could be a communication tool in the area of strategic execution 3) It can be a collaboration tool between functions as most organizational strategies require interdependency between functions 4) HR coud be instrumental in leading this process (YE…

FCC Moves to Give Viewers Choice and Provide More Competition on Cable Systems

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has adopted rules designed to halt cable system operators from retaliating against independent channels when there are business disputes or discriminating against them in favor of ones in which they ownership stakes.

The rules are intended to ensure that the monopoly power of cable operators is not used to deny viewer choice or harm competition channel providers.

One rule is designed to prohibit systems from dropping channels when there are business disputes with systems that have been taken to the commission for resolution.

Another rule is designed to create a more level playing field for independent channels by making it possible for them to reach more viewers. Comcast Corp., for example, has been accused in recent years of forcing competitors’ sports channels into premium packages that fewer viewers select.

Given that price rises for cable services have far outstripped inflation rates in recent years, that service providers create bundles of …