Announcing Next Steps 2014

May 4th, 2014 by Alex Poulos No comments »

Right after wrapping up Next Steps 2013, our annual user conference, we were already well into planning Next Steps 2014 (if you are curious, find out what happened at Next Steps 2013).  The overwhelmingly positive & exciting input from our clients, partners, and colleagues who attended last year’s conference in London, Chicago, or Shanghai, has reinforced our decision to keep investing in this event in terms of continued variety of what we add to the agenda, more interactivity in all our sessions, and ample opportunities for networking.

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We are very proud of what we’ve planned for next year. Here are some things to look forward to.
 
» Read more: Announcing Next Steps 2014

The End of the Annual Performance Review

April 1st, 2014 by Administrator No comments »

Ruth-Thomas-200x200Guest post by Ruth Thomas, Founder and Senior Consultant at Curo Compensation

Ruth has over 20 years of international experience in the management of compensation processes and the design of pay and benefit structures, salary progression systems, and management incentive plans. Her corporate experience includes Lloyds TSB Group, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Dow Jones Group and Credit Suisse.

If this is the end of the annual performance review what happens to pay for performance? 

An emerging theme amongst the various analyst predictions for HR trends in 2014 is the belief that the traditional annual performance management cycle is no longer fit for purpose. The forecast is that forward thinking organisations are now looking at moving from an annual evaluation-only approach to performance management that is achieved through on-going feedback and coaching designed to promote continuous development.  This is in response to a number of factors including the increasingly dynamic business environment that has emerged where business goals and strategies are changing at a rate that outpaces an annual setting and assessment of performance goals.  Similarly forced ranking or competitive calibration is generally seen as counterproductive in the drive for high performance and engagement. Organisations are also trying to consider how to engage and motivate the growing workforce population of millennials who are characterised by their need for more regular feedback and reinforcement.

So does this also mean the end of the annual compensation review as well?

I think this is unlikely; many organisations have strived to move away from the ad hoc or anniversary based review approach with its inherent problems of budget creep and limited ability for peer/market ranking.  This combined with the reality that many organisations still struggle to manage a single annual review cycle in a way that prevents it from being anything other than a challenging administrative exercise.

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A better approach is to extend the range of factors that drive effective compensation decisions, to include:

  • Individual performance will move to be assessed more regularly but still provide input into variable pay decisions annually.
  • Annual business outcomes will continue to drive variable pay outcomes, particularly at more senior levels.
  • An assessment of an employee’s talent potential and leadership capabilities should influence compensation decisions, particularly salary in order to retain and motivate high potential employees.
  • More focus on recognising those employees with critical skills or indeed business relationships and networks required to support future business strategy should influence salary decisions.
  • Fairness and equity and market competitiveness will remain overriding principals for all compensation decisions.

Presenting the data on this broader range of factors to Line Managers to enable them to make informed compensation decisions will be a challenge for many organisations that are struggling to effectively access and calibrate HR and talent data.  Now is the time to start adapting reward policies for the new post-recession landscape and preparing yourselves for the data management and analytics required to support these changes.

 

Home schooling, home college, company college

March 1st, 2014 by Jay Shaw 1 comment »

Peabody Institute Chair Hollis Robbins at Johns Hopkins University just wrote a provocative piece in The Chronicle Of Higher Education on an idea so simple and so intuitively right that it feels like it should already be in wide use. Dr. Robbins looks at the broad skill sets of multi-discipline PhDs and asks why one or some of them banded together couldn’t offer the equivalent of at least the first year of a liberal arts university education on a home schooling basis — and do so with better outcomes (and at lower cost) than the students would likely get at a good private liberal arts college or university; the idea being for the students to earn home college credits and transfer in to “formal” programs after they’ve done the first year or two with the private providers.

As you would expect from a humanities professor, the piece is balanced, subtle and eminently reasonable.

You can read the article here.

It got me thinking. The home college idea begs the question — Why couldn’t companies do the same thing? What a perk it would be for employees to be able to get, on a part-time basis, a top-flight liberal arts education through work. For companies of a certain size, hiring three or four full-time PhDs is a small cost. The professors might easily handle up to 100 company students a year. Smaller companies could band together to share costs.

Though such a program could easily be run by a corporate university, this idea is nothing like traditional corporate universities, which are generally driven by line-of-business needs and are vocational in purpose rather than about explicitly building employees’ personal capabilities.

It’s a radical and I think powerful idea. It’s kind of an anti-MOOC (though there’s nothing stopping any such program from incorporating MOOCs into the curriculum). It could also turn out to be cheaper (and a lot better) than sending an equivalent number of staff to community college.

The benefits to the business of setting up a company college might include:

  • An increase in employee engagement (and thus higher employee retention rates)
  • A reputation boost for the company in its industry and communities
  • A smarter workforce (hat tip to IBM) — let’s be honest, though humanities training does not easily translate into job-specific skill-set libraries, the general truth is clear — over the long run, better people means better business

On that last point, one of the downsides of doing what everybody else is doing is that there’s no strategic competitive advantage to be had in the process: your best outcome is to not fall behind your peers. The upside of doing something different, something like Dr. Robbins’ suggests for example, is that, if it works, you’re in blue water.

Your employer is watching

February 17th, 2014 by Jay Shaw No comments »

And listening, and applying predictive analytics at the same time.

Excellent shout-out in Marginal Revolution (a blog by a couple of award-winning economists, not rebel types) on an FT piece (gated for most of us, unfortunately) on how some employers are improving productivity by measuring employee interactions with each other (interestingly not with clients) and noting employee tone of voice in the process.

It seems talking things through with your peers really does make things better. It also turns out that a sustained spike in dulcet tones while mixing it up on break is in fact highly correlated with productivity improvement.

Employers take note: this kind of experiment is the tip of the iceberg and only goes to prove the old saw, “What get measured gets improved.”

Read it here.

A spoonful of sugar . . .

February 15th, 2014 by Jay Shaw No comments »

A nice note on how both casual and formal recognition, as long as it’s sincere and relevant, drives group and individual performance, loyalty and engagement:

Mooconomics

February 12th, 2014 by Jay Shaw No comments »

An excellent post from John Cochrane (The Grumpy Economist) on what works about online learning.

Read it here.

The flipped classroom discussion is particularly good and has implications for corporate training strategies.

Worth a look.

 

Take no prisoners HR

January 23rd, 2014 by Jay Shaw No comments »

The Harvard Business Review just published an article on human resource practices at Netflix.

You can find the article here.

It’s not for the faint of heart. The key question? Which members of your team, if they got offers somewhere else, would you fight to keep? Okay now, let’s talk about everybody else on your team — if you wouldn’t fight to keep them, why are they still here?

The article includes a slideshare presentation. It’s worth reading.

Rx — Medical Predictions

January 19th, 2014 by Jay Shaw No comments »

 

Voted this week’s best on Slideshere:

 

Next Steps 2013

November 26th, 2013 by Alex Poulos No comments »

October, what a month!! We just wrapped up Next Steps 2013 (#nextsteps13), our global user conference, and it was quite a cross-continent run.  We gathered with our clients in three locations – Chicago, Shanghai & London – with more participants than ever before representing over 120 organizations worldwide.

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Next Steps is focused on creating value for our clients, but it’s always a tremendous learning experience for us too.  Year after year, I come out of Next Steps inspired by the level of innovation our clients are demonstrating on how they use our software in demanding, results-driven environments.

This year was no different …

» Read more: Next Steps 2013

Improving Performance Locally in a Global Market

September 26th, 2013 by Administrator No comments »

stacey-harrisGuest post by Stacey Harris, VP of Research and Advisory Services at Brandon Hall Group. Stacey Harris oversees Brandon Hall Group’s research strategy and agenda, solution provider relations, and advisory services.

More than 83% of organizations with a skilled labor workforce state that it’s difficult to find employees capable of addressing their organizations’ hiring needs. By 2020, global workforce shortages are predicted for critical skilled roles in healthcare, high-tech, and manufacturing.

Yet unemployment in 2012 increased by more than 4.2 million people, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO), jumping to 197 million people globally. “Many of the new jobs require skills that jobseekers do not have,” said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder. That is especially true for 74 million next-generation workers between the ages of 15- to 24-years-old who are currently unemployed.

Businesses and governments alike are quickly realizing that long-term strategies for performance improvement, growth, innovation, and market share must include a workforce strategy focused on developing critical skills inside their organizations.

On  Oct. 23, at NetDimensions Next Steps 2013 in London, I’m looking forward to addressing these topics and sharing global data from Brandon Hall Group on:

  • Managing global talent scarcity
  • Embracing our changing world: getting on board
  • Creating strategic connections between performance and learning
  • Developing a learning environment to build the workforce of tomorrow

The Skills Gap concerns may very well be global issues – with real business impact:

  • More than 55% of manufacturing organizations say a lack of skilled labor impacts their ability to grow the business.
  • More than 35% of high-tech organizations say a lack of skilled labor impacts their ability manage costs and grow the business.
  • 33% of healthcare organizations say that a lack of skilled labor impacts their ability to comply with external quality standards and regulations.

But the answer to these challenges is more likely a local answer. Those organizations that ranked themselves as first-rate in managing community and educational relationships were 50% more likely to have all of their Key Performance Indicators moving in a positive direction.

Organizations that hired employees expecting to provide continuous development were correlated with the highest levels of ongoing business performance compared to those that hired people with the expectation of providing just onboarding development.

We’ll be holding several discussions throughout the day Oct. 23 about the role of learning, talent, and HR leaders in preparing their organizations to compete in a new world where performance and talent are tightly connected.

Next Steps London
Keynote: Improving Performance Locally in a Global Market

Stacey Harris will share hot-off-the-press global research on how organizations are addressing talent scarcity issues while developing the next generation workforce. 

Click here for more information on Next Steps 2013.