Friday, October 22, 2010

HR Skills Upgrade Trumps the Table

For those of you that have been reading my blog over the last 8 weeks, you know that I have been to four major conferences. I have attended:

I was able to meet and chat with two of my HR heroes. I spoke with Dave Ulrich at HR Florida and Jac Fitz-Enz at The Conference Board. I had one thing on my mind when I listened to their presentations and then asked questions afterwards.
What is the future for my profession?
As I synthesize everything I have heard over the last 8 weeks, it is crystal clear to me that HR needs a skill set overhaul. Here are some of my observations:

1) Dave Ulrich is writing a new book about the additional competencies that HR needs as an update to his book HR Competencies, that had been our go to book on HR competencies. He did say relationship building skills and analytical skills would be added. I am sure there are others, but these two we definitely mentioned.

2) Jac Fitz-Enz and others at The Conference Board believe that if HR doesn't start obtaining statistical capabilities or recruit that talent to perform predictive analytics, another function will. That worries me. Google already have their 3/3 model which confirms this statement. I wrote about this model a few weeks ago. Basically Google has 1/3 of it's HR staff specializing in HR, 1/3 are statisticians an 1/3 are business consultants.

3) I think HR professionals get it now that they need business acumen. The Business Acumen track at SHRM Atlanta had standing room only for all of its sessions. Here is my concern with business acumen; it is harder for HR to learn the business than it is for other functional specialist to learn HR. I see many operational, financial, and accounting professionals come through my HR classes to learn HR because the business sees value in their business experience in HR. Sound familiar, back to the 3/3 model.

So let's lay the current environment on my observations:
1) Our country is crawling out of a recession
2) Companies are doing more with less both as a company and HR
3) HR still has not proven value (in general)
4) HR as a profession got hit hard by layoffs during recession
5) The business is more demanding now in terms of showing impact and insight with HR investments.
6) HR outsourcing is growing and will continue to grow

So, we have companies that are looking outside HR to get expertise and we have HR jobs being outsourced and eliminated...what do we do?

I don't mean to be a downer, I want to be a motivator. I love this profession, I want us to be business leaders. I want us to be able to work hand in hand with the CEO providing him/her with valuable insights and impact data so that the company can grow and kick their competition's butt. I want HR leaders to be a talent pool for the CEO position.

I want us to ACT and ACT's not about the table's about a fundamental shift in HR's value proposition.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Conference Final Day:10 insights on HR Metrics Execution

Today we have heard a lot of discussion round the execution of an effective HR Measurement Strategy. What has been confirmed for me and/or things that I have learned are:

1. The goal of measurement is to see how the investment of people leads to reaching strategic goals. (Gene Peese, CEO Capital Analytics)
2. Some companies both large and small report measurement is sometimes difficult but always worth it.
3. HR Departments need to utilize statistical talent in order to provide the organization insight and determine impact.
4. A company's metrics strategy is very dependent on company culture. (i.e. cultures that are highly technical tend measure more, others are razor focused on strategic outcomes)
5. Fancy technology is not necessarily needed especially to get started.
6. Data is universally hard to get, due to many reasons: silos, politics, disparate systems, access, etc. Again, not impossible, just have to navigate the issues.
7. One big lesson learned for many companies is the issue of how to present the data back to the organization. Many speakers and practitioners talked about "story telling" with the data.
8. It is important to bring multiple sources of data together to look at the complete data story.
9. The data questions are getting more sophisticated (What is the business impact for this new Performance Management System?)
10. Using linkage analysis to determine root cause leading to predictability and eventually to optimization is the common model used by many speakers today.
10.5 You don't have to have Ph.D. to do this stuff...just an inquisitive mind!
10.75 Involving key stakeholders on the front end is essential to get the customer perspective (Dr. Jac Fitz-Enz)

Some examples of what companies are finding out though using metrics:
1) Mentoring Program actually had a huge impact on turnover. Cost savings an estimated $7M
2) Predicting turnover within specific departments and using proactive interventions to PREVENT that turnover.
3) A tuition reimbursement program was studied to determine that participants were promoted and retained at a rate of 2x of those that did not participate. The company decided NOT to cut this benefit during the recession.

And I have many more examples.

My next blog will discuss what I believe the impact is on all that I have learned on the HR profession. What do you think about this week's debriefs from the conference? Helpful?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Conference Day Two: Hey HR Get on The Metrics Train

This morning's opening remarks by Dr. Jac Fitz Enz made me think about HR Metrics and where we currently stand. He said, "I conducted my first conference on metrics in 1978." Amazing...and sad.

Fast forward, 30+ years and I ask myself, why aren't we further along? There were about 5% of the attendees self reporting that they are not using HR metrics at all with 47% saying they have just started, 40% have been using metrics awhile and only 7% reporting an advanced use of analytics.

Ken Currig, EVP of HR from Comcast said this AM, "CEO's are looking for some department (if not HR, then another one) to provide INSIGHT on employee contributions." That statement makes me nervous. With HR's transactional jobs being outsourced at lightening speeds, what is left for HR to lead? I believe it is about strategy, productivity and providing INSIGHT to the business on people related issues/challenges.

Mike Echols CEO, Human Capital Lab, stated, "Human Capital is the competitive advantage for companies in the 21st century."

So, putting this all together: In thirty years we haven't made much progress in the HR Metrics arena, HR's function is changing, and our people are our competitive advantage.

HR must participate in the new normal. CEO's aren't going to get less demanding regarding insight they are getting more demanding. HR has been shouting from the rooftops about being more strategic. Guess what? Here is your opportunity....

Please ask me how to do this.....

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Conference Day One: How to Overcome Measurement Objections

As discussed earlier today, sometimes there are objections to starting a measurement process or it may be hard to "sell" to upper management in order to obtain resources. This afternoon we have been focusing on a "process" for measuring "fuzzy" tangibles as these are hard to measure and hard to get buy-in for.

The first step is to get a meeting with all key stakeholders and find out what is "keeping them up at night." By understanding stakeholder goals and objectives, you then can create a "measurement map" that visually links strategic goals, business results, performance outcomes/indicators, performance objectives and then finally the intervention/program. I believe this measurement map is a great tool for any metrics both tangible and intangible. It also great for all functions not just for HR as other departments need to understand how their initiatives tie to goals. It definitely is a great visual that keeps you focused on the desired outcomes.

In our group we discussed market share as a strategic goal and we wanted to link a Leadership Development program to that goal to see what measurements would be important. The interesting part of this exercise was that is made us think very hard, and it was difficult, but it is not impossible. So, I can't dispel the "difficult objection", but I believe the effort is worth it.

By linking interventions to strategic goals you can mitigate "analysis paralysis" and "time consuming" by focusing on what is important. This focus keeps you from analyzing unnecessary data which saves time. My gut says if you spend time on the front end with these critical linkages, that time is money, so that will help with the "expensive" objection.

So net, net...start with what you do to that strategy and then develop the success measures! The C-Suite will love you!!

Conference Day One: Don't Forget Your Intangibles!

I am here at The Conference Board's Human Capital Metrics Conference in NYC. We have kicked off the conference by discussing, "How to Demonstrate Business Impact of Fuzzy Variables."

The presenters, Dr. Jennifer Murnane and Dr. Jennifer Moss both from Bellevue University are delivering and excellent presentation on the "How to." I find the "how to" is often missing from most presentations I attend. I like practical take-aways that I can use later.

Intangible measures are those hard to measure activities in organizations, like training, leadership development, inclusion and diversity, and employee satisfaction. Today we are focused in the training and development area.

The topic is one that has drawn HR professionals from companies like IBM, Phillip Morris and KPMG just to name a few.

The question "What are the positives and negative of measuring intangibles?"

Some positives include:
1) Gives focus and priority of resources
2) Better decision making
3) Can be predictive
4) What gets measured gets done
5) Allows for focused investment

Some negatives include:
1) Difficult
2) Expensive
3) Unsophisticated users
4) Analysis paralysis-too many measures
5) Time consuming

I think the business case made by Dr. Moss and Dr. Murnane is very powerful in the specific area of the intangible learning and development activity.

-US organizations spend approximately $150 billion on employee learning and development (ASTD 2008)
-Average direct learning expenditure per employee was $1103 in 2007 (Approx $460 in 2009)
-Learning leaders are expected to articulate the benefits of learning and quantify if possible
-Less than 5% of organizations actually measure learning effectiveness

The Jennifer's have also updated the Kirkpatrick's 4 model into a Level 6 model adding ROI and business impact. The new model really demonstrates where measuring training and learning has been and where it is going.

I look forward to the rest of the day and will comment further later this afternoon. Looking forward to see how to overcome the negatives above.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Taking HR Metrics to the Next Level

I am preparing to go to New York City to attend The Conference Board's Human Capital Metrics Conference. I was asked to come and blog about their conference. I am very excited about this, because metrics are near and dear to my heart, I love to blog and's in New York City.

This is my second HR Metrics Conference in the last two months. I wrote about the first experience a few weeks ago. What has become crystal clear to me is that HR Metrics are at an interesting place. I see most HR professionals in one of the following situations:

1) Infancy phase of metrics-have just started measuring tracking metrics
2) Measuring for awhile-this group has been measuring HR effectiveness and efficiency for some time, but are not sure which metrics are important.
3) Predictive analytics-This group is making the leap from tracking and managing metrics to really proving impact by predicting HR and people related outcomes.

In my informal research and just plain gut feel, I think the percentages for the above is 45%, 45% 10%, respectively. So that begs the question, why so few HR professionals make the leap to Predictive Analytics?

Well, this is one of the questions I hope to answer this week while in NYC. I plan to blog everyday beginning on Wednesday. I would like to keep my posts relevant to my readers. So, please comment below with any questions you have about HR metrics and I will be sure to get those answered as the guru of metrics will be there...Dr. Jac-Fitz-Enz.

I will be using hashtag #TCBHCM on Twitter for those of you that would like to follow what is happening at the conference.