Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Are Organizational Values that Important?

I had a colleague ask me, "Why do we need organizational values? Our employees know what we are about." It did make me stop and think for a minute.

I then ran across this blog on organizational goals and beliefs.

I then realized what my subject was for this week...

I agree that when you enter an organization you can learn by observing. In other words, you can tell what is acceptable and what the company values by watching people's actions. The problem with this is when people DON'T act in a way that benefits the organization. Also, some people just aren't that adept in reading into behaviors and determining what values are being represented.

I really believe that expectations should be very explicit, very clear and known by everyone in the organization. Don't leave anything to guesswork as when people don't have a point of reference, they do what they think is best at the time. (Think Wall Street melt down, Concordia Ship wreck and Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal.)

So, you can probably tell that I feel that is very important to have stated organizational values. Not the ones that are the nice to hear, like integrity, excellence, and customer focused. But the ones that really describe the guts of your organization and why you are special.

If I had to list some for our company they would be:

1) Nimble, can react to needs quickly
2) Flexible, can change on a dime
3) Customized approach to solutions
4) Entrepreneurial, always reinventing ourselves
5) Creative, use newest techniques
6) FUN!

Ok, now I have written them down.

It's important that we select those values that resonate with our employees and customers. It's why I believe we have been successful for almost 15 years and that we have clients that have been with us for 14 years.

So, what do you say? YES to values or NO, don't bother?

Also, what are the implications for HR if values are not stated?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

10 Tips for Building a Rock Star HR Analytics Team

The time has come...your CEO and line management need more than just data. They have that, tons of it. They need insight and they need it yesterday.

What do you, Mr./Ms. HR do now?

You can dust off your old statistics books from college OR you can build your own world class HR analytics team. Even if it is a team of one. Here are some of my tips on building a team that will deliver business insights that lead to better decision making for the organization:

1) Is your business really ready for analytics? If your business doesn't have a clearly stated mission, with a clear a strategic plan with goals, what will you be providing insight on?
2) Define what services you want to provide to the business. Is it tracking data, plus reporting, and analytics?
3) What capabilities do you need to provide #2 and what do you currently have in your department. (analytical skills)
4) Make sure you have C-Level support. If you don't you can measure and provide insight but no ACTION will take place.
5) Become best friends with IT, Finance, Customer Service and any other person that you feel will assist you in your journey. You need access to other functional data to really provide valuable insights.
6) Start with low hanging fruit, solve a business problem with data and gain credibility.
7) Tell the data story in a way that everyone gets it. This will probably mean buying technology if you have a large company with a lot of people that need to see the data. The data also needs to be made available to all that need it.
8) What is the process for analytics? How do managers get problems solved? What is the request process? What is the reporting process?
9) Be an analyst and a consultant. You have to share the data but then be prepared to discuss what the implications of the data are and assist with action planning.
10) Be prepared to make hard decisions based on HR related data. The old adage is true, be careful what you measure. Sometimes, we implement programs that don't work. Learning from this insight is key.

I believe the key for any analytics team is the ability to ask the right questions, understand the organization's business, and be crystal clear on what drives success in the organization.

For those of you that measure, what tips do you have to share?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

HELP! My Strategy is Stuck

I just finished a HR Strategy and Metrics Bootcamp in Washington DC. It was a great experience collaborating with smart, energized HR professionals.

One of my favorite discussions of the 2-day workshop focused on strategy and how to "get it cascaded down to ALL employees."

We discussed the companies that clearly understand the importance of all employees understanding their strategies. Companies like the usual suspects...Apple, Zappo's, Nordstrom's Disney, and the Ritz Carlton. But some others were discussed as well, Chick-Fil-A, Weigman's and the Home Depot. As customers of these companies, you can actually FEEL the connection employees have made to their organization.

The discussion then turned to how strategy gets stuck somewhere between leadership's creation of strategy and the line where strategy is executed. It seems that our middle managers are responsible for the strategy bottleneck. I don't think it's intentional in most cases, but they are busy and they need direction and tools.

We spent some time discussing how HR can assist in this process. Here is what we came up with:

1) HR can assist leadership in keeping the strategy message SIMPLE.

2) HR can lead the strategy mapping exercise so that all FUNCTIONS in the organization understand what they need to do to move the strategy forward.

3) HR can assist leadership in getting the strategy message out to employees in meaningful ways, using multi-media to do so. (or they can hire a great employee communications company like Bernard Hodes)

5) HR can make sure that management tools like performance management, compensation and rewards are aligned to the new strategy.

6) HR can make sure that the strategy has specific goals and objectives and those are trickled down to ALL employees with appropriate accountabilities assigned.

7) HR can also make sure that ALL employees have a "line of sight." In other words, they understand how what they do contributes to the success of the organization.

HR has been wanting to be more strategic. Well here is your chance. Strategy fails because of poor execution. Do something about it!!!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

HR CAN Have a Crystal Ball When it Comes to Turnover

You know just when I think I have nothing to write about, I get a great comment by one of my readers that sparks my creative juices.

This week I would like to thank Micky Jay for his/her (not sure) comment on HR and Predictive Analytics a blog post of mine from last year.

He discussed the possibility of being predictive in the area of "who is at risk for leaving our organization?"

Think about this for a moment. If you, as the HR Rockstar, were able to go to your managers and say; "I have been doing some analysis and we have discovered that your top performers Jane, Joe and Tommy are at risk for leaving the organization." And then, you as the HR Rockstar were able to say to your managers, "I believe we need to do XYZ to retain these employees." WOW, how popular would you be? I am thinking that piece of office furniture that is so near and dear to HR hearts would be no longer an issue.

I know your next question...How do I do this? Well, trust me when I say it is easy. I bet you have the data just laying around in a spreadsheet somewhere.

You need to look at engagement data and performance data and determine ranges for high performance an high engagement. You then analyze employee performance scores with employee engagement scores looking at a few things:

1) Who are my highly engaged and high performing?
2) Who are my non-engaged and high performing?
3) Who are my non-engaged and non performing?
4) Who are my non-engaged and high performing?

You then put the data in a 2x2 that looks something like this:

In the last step, you overlay that data with historical turnover data create a predictive model and then BOOM, you can identify who is at risk. Yes, I have over simplified this as there are statistical tests you must perform at each step of the way, but it is nothing that can't be handled in Excel.

So when you get this data and answer the 4 questions above, you can then take the appropriate actions, which are usually something like this:

1) Who are my highly engaged and high performing? (keep these people, pay close attention to them, and make sure they are rewarded and compensated appropriately)

2) Who are my non-engaged and high performing? (most at risk for leaving, find out why they are non-engaged and do something about it)

3) Who are my non-engaged and non performing? (fire them, assuming all the correct performance management stuff has been done)

4) Who are my highly engaged and non-performing? (either coach them into performance or see above)

Come on get out your crystal balls....be a HR Rockstar!