Take no prisoners HR

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.

Improving Performance Locally in a Global Market

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.

Learning and Talent in Europe

David-Wilson-photoGuest post by David Wilson, founder and Managing Director of Elearnity, Europe’s leading independent learning and talent analyst.

A major commentator on the learning & talent technology industry since its inception, David is the author of over 140 papers/articles on learning & talent technology innovation and a strategic advisor to many major organisations in the UK and Europe.

Whether it’s a talent strategy, management process or a solution, what does cross-European or global deployment really mean?

Does it mean responding to the diversity of peoples and cultures in different countries and businesses or the imposition of a single overarching and mandated approach for all? Does it mean single, homogenous processes or the provision of frameworks that allow local organisations to flourish? And what is the fine line that separates them? And makes them efficient and effective?

The sad fact for many strategic Learning and Talent initiatives is that they are focused on homogenised, mono cultures and standardised approaches rather than the realities and needs or different geographies and market maturities. The common response to diversity is not differentiation – but to drive conformity. The problem is that this conformity may not just be inappropriate, it may be illegal – for example if it breaks German Workers Council rules or French regulatory reporting requirements.

Also, do you really need mature bureaucratic processes, when part of the company you are servicing is effectively a “start-up”? Whilst they might be right for a mature business, they could just be the thing that stifles growth for an embryonic new part of your business. This is one of the biggest challenges for the delivery of cross-organisational talent strategies.

How do you enable businesses in a way that is focussed on their operating realities, but get the efficiencies of a standardised approach? How do you impose symmetry and consistency onto an inconsistent and asymmetrical world? Even though HR often tries, is it even possible?

A good example, of this is the instigation of a global, HR shared services operations as part of the Ulrich Model. Many global HR operations use this model as their foundation and the creation of central, single processing model for HR transactions – serviced within a global HR shared services group.

Whilst this may be all well and good for controlling the costs associated with managing HR, and be the dominant received wisdom for how HR operates; blindly following this approach, especially on a cross-European or global basis can drive some very dubious decisions. Top of the tree for this is Performance Management. HR frequently instigates annual appraisal processes that feed bonus payments and compensation and rewards. A standardised approach, with one size fits all. But the nature of those processes is often frequently at odds with the speed of business – you only have to look at sales targets and structures needed to support dynamic and fast moving sales cycles.

So why wouldn’t you look to create differentiated approaches for other groups too? The answer has been partly because the service model and supporting systems are unable to support the necessary diversity of process and approach.

In recent years things have changed significantly. Solutions have become much more configurable and more flexible – without needing high costs of external consultants to set things up for you. But the legacy view of ERP-style HR systems runs deep reinforcing the desire from some (often IT) for mono-answers to Talent and Learning questions, deployed globally. Whilst these stagnant approaches are deeply entrenched in the corporate psyche, we will continue to need to ask:

  • Why do pan-European projects fail to engage local audiences effectively?
  • Why do so few global companies really build effective cross-geography learning and talent deployment strategies that can deal with multiple languages, legal and cultural differences?
  • How can local business driven and the centralised learning and talent needs really be accommodated by philosophies and systems that champion cost efficiency at the cost of effectiveness?
  • Where the answers to these questions remain unsatisfactorily, the proliferation of local or departmental solutions rather than true cross-organisational solutions will continue to be a huge issue?
NetDimensions-logoElearnity-logo
Webinar invitation

David Wilson, Elearnity’s founder and Managing Director, will be discussing Elearnity’s research on the realities and strategies for cross-European Talent and Learning at a webinar with NetDimensions on June 26th at 2pm BST / 9am EDT.

Click here for registration.

Technology and the future of our business

I just read an article on Forbes magazine online about IBM CEO Ginni Rometty predicting three ways that technology will change the way we do business. The Forbes article was based on Ms Rometty’s speech at the Corporate Conference of the nonprofit Council on Foreign Relations. There is a video recording of this session here.

I couldn’t agree more with all the three ways that Ms Rometty analyses, and I believe all three of these ways profoundly affect the business we are in: human capital management.  Here’s how:

  1. Analytics – data analytics are coming to HR and the ability to harness talent-related data affects every talent-related function from hiring, to training, to engagement, to career development, to succession planning, to retention, to compensation, to dismissal.  Moreover, talent analytics provides the link between talent management processes, business metrics, and value creation.
  2. Social – it may sound like a cliché, but the new fabric of the enterprise is social and it is strategic.  Social technologies are enabling employee collaboration, knowledge and expertise sharing, people search and team formation, informal learning, continuous coaching and mentoring, and peer recognition models in a way that transcends formal organizational structures and redefines strict HR transactional processes.
  3. Personalization – we see personalization into the talent management as targeted recruitment, personalized learning and development plans, on-demand performance support, workplace technology consumerization, and individualized career paths. This is the point when talent management is transformed from an HR-driven process to a business-driven one.

These three ways are not predictions into the future, but instead they are changing our business today. Thoughts?