Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Data Based Decision Making: HR You're Up

I have noticed a by-product of the recession is the way C-Level executives make decisions. The decisions can be about investments, people, markets, pricing, marketing, well just about anything. I believe the reasons for this shift is that the C-Suite is a lot more risk adverse than pre-recession. Gone are the days where decisions are made by "gut-feel" and "by the seat of the pants."

Boards of Director's and consumers have demanded more and more fiscal responsibility and ethical behavior.

What does this shift mean to HR?

1) HR must be able to make a business case for people related investments. Just as marketing outlines it's expected ROI for marketing related spends, HR must do the same thing. For example, if HR proposes organizational wide training, what is the expected return in terms of sales, productivity and performance.

2) HR needs to get its HR data house in order. Historically in HR we have stored data in many disparate systems. I see this issue is changing with talent management systems that integrate many HR functions in one platform. Data also needs to be standardized across platforms so that analysis can be performed. One more issue with the data..it needs to be clean. Data integrity and data entry standards must be addressed.

3) HR must perform analytics on its own data. I know I beat this drum loudly and I know I have a bias to action in this arena. However, we HAVE to provide insight to our C-Suite when it comes to people related data and information. In most service related companies the people spend can be 50-80% of budget. So, understanding how that spend is performing is crucial information our C-Suite needs and wants.

4) HR must make decisions based on data too. HR has been guilty over the last few decades of using gut feel to make HR related decisions. I "feel" like we need a wellness program instead of "if we implement a wellness program it will save $500K in insurance expense per year and only cost us $250k to create."

So, what are you hearing and observing regarding data and decisions? Is your leadership team asking for more or less data? What are you doing about it?

Image source: http://www.funderstanding.com/v2/gurus/decision-making-and-right-brain-left-brain/

Monday, September 19, 2011

Day 1: Halogen Conference Recap

Halogen's User's Conference kicked off last night at the Atlanta Hyatt. With over 300 attendees, the conference was off to a great start.

This morning we heard opening remarks from Paul Loucks, CEO of Halogen. He spoke of his customer focus. Paul was just not saying "nice to hear words." He was actually giving examples of their customer intimacy strategy citing examples of user advisory boards, customer account managers and actually giving customers their product development person's name. It was refreshing. This strategy has certainly paid off as Halogen has been growing at 40% per year.

Paul also discussed Big Picture Talent Management. The idea is that by linking your typically siloed HR functions like compensation, recruiting, onboarding, succession planning, to your organizational strategy you will have the platform to build a world-class workforce. Halogen gets linkage and their software is built in a way that allows their company to leverage talent in a world-class way.

I had the honor of presenting the keynote this morning. My topic was "HR's 5 Most Important Roles in Talent Management." The roles we discussed were:

1) Strategic Role-Be a strategic planner and an executer

2) Performance Manager Role-Pay for performance and mean it

3) Goal Cascader Role-Make sure all employees know what is expected and how they will be measured.

4) Talent Manager-Hire the best, Succession planning is a must to be competitive. Talent mobility allows organizations to be flexible and competitive.

5) Metrics Guru-Tracking measures like cost per hire and days to fill are no longer enough. It's all about being predictive using analytics.

I had the pleasure of attending a Session conducted by Sean Conrad and one of Halogen's customers, Scott Chase, Human Capital Manager at INTRAA. Their session was on goal alignment. My big take-away there was that not only do you cascade goals down from the organizational level to the departmental level but you also need to cascade goals up from employees to managers. The reason for this is so that employees are ENGAGED with their own goals. Makes perfect sense!

To round out the day, I participated on a bloggers panel that included:

1) Kris Dunn from the HR Capitalist

2) Chris Havrilla from Recruiting Chicks

3) Mike Haberman from HR Observations

With Kris as our ring leader discussing "Tools to Attract and Retain Your All-Star Talent Pool." The panel discussed interesting ways to attract and retain talent in a medium sized business environment. Company culture was also discussed as an attraction and retention tool.

"Culture has to be created deliberately or one will be created for you."

I wonder who said that very wise statement....

If you are interested in reading all the tweets, check out the back channel at #HSUC11.

Monday, September 12, 2011

7 Deadliest Sins of HR Metrics

When it comes to HR Metrics these days there is no shortage of information, opinions and blogs like this one. What I have learned after reading, teaching and presenting on the subject for almost 10 years is that in order for HR to be considered a player and a rock star, you must measure your impact. All the other functions measure, so why not HR?

In my travels I have heard many excuses, and even written on that subject here. But, I have also seen some really BAD practices when it comes to HR Metrics. Please don't commit these deadly sins:

1) Thou shall not measure meaningless crap (not measuring what is tied to impact)
2) Thou shall not measure endless crap (measuring too many things that don't matter)
3) Thou shall use valid, reliable and clean data (enough said)
4) Thou shall display the data in a meaningful way to those that use the data (stop with the rows an columns, it's boring)
5) Thou shall tell a compelling data story that leaves managers and leaders wanting more (tell them something they didn't already know, and it's not cost per hire)
6) Thou shall balance your metrics measuring both efficiency and effectiveness
7) Thou shall never start measuring until you map your organizational strategy first.

I am very encouraged to hear so many HR professionals embarking on the metrics journey. I get many questions on how to start (see #7). The point is, HR is at an important juncture, we have been through the personnel phase, the get a seat at the table phase (please say that's over) and now I believe we are at the influence phase.
Influence (transitive verb): to affect or alter by indirect or intangible means
I love that definition as HR has always had the word "intangible" associated with it. Intangible doesn't mean you can't measure it. Indirect doesn't mean you can't measure impact. You just have to know what questions to ask and which connections to make. HR is perfect for this task.

Let's use our influence to make a difference in our organizations...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Unplugged and Loving It!

I went to the beach this past week for Labor Day and I made a conscience decision to leave my work at home. This situation as a business owner is one that is very difficult as you think you (I) must be connected at all times.

I did take my Iphone of course, but I didn't go to my LinkedIn, Twitter, Foursquare or email accounts. I did post some cool places I visited on the beach on my Facebook account so my friends and family knew I was still breathing.

It was by far one of the best, stress free vacations I had been on in a long time and I was in the middle of a hurricane!

Here are the lessons I learned from all of this:

1) I am not that important...and as I watched the other A Types in restaurants on their phones and checking emails it just made me LOL. There was one dude on the beach with his laptop, I am not making this up.

2) If you are good at what you do, it will be there when you get back. No one got mad or upset that it took me 3-4 days to respond...work still went on.

3) Your friends and family appreciate it when you are fully engaged with them and not your social media tools. I mean sometimes....I didn't even know where my phone was. Imagine that.

4) I feel like I actually had a break. I think this one is most important. I feel my battery has been recharged and I am ready to get back to work!

Now, this morning, I had about 450+ emails of those I need to answer maybe 100 or so. I had 45+ Facebook invites, messages etc. Not feeling too inclined to respond to those. I had 50+ Twitter connection requests and several LinkedIn messages. It will probably take me until lunch to get through all of this, but hey I am doing it with a smile and sand still in my shoes.

I have a big presentation to finish today and tomorrow and I feel like my creative juices are flowing once again. So, here is my advice to all you Cathy's out there....

Unplug...it does a body good!