Thursday, September 30, 2010

Dresses, Briefcases and The Paycheck Fairness Act

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

10 Reasons Why Accountability is so Hard

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

Measuring Impact: HR Shared Services

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
9) ROI
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

Ramblings from the Road: HR Metrics Summit

The message is crystal clear to me regarding HR Metrics after I have attended two events on HR Metrics in the last two weeks. 


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

Can You Measure Employee Attitude?

A few weeks ago I co-presented a webinar for 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

Ramblings from the Road

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!