Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Data Driven Approach to Culture Change

I have had the pleasure of contributing to Halogen's Software's TalentSpace blog for the last few years.  They are nice to still ask me to write!

Check out how YOU can take a data driven approach to culture change here.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

5 Ways to Deliver HR Services at Lightening Speed

I have noticed over the last year that expectations for speedy HR delivery has increased.  In past years, it was ok to say that an HRIS implementation will take 18 months and a compensation review would take 6 months.  I have been involved with both projects recently and the expectation has been cut in half.  As a consultant, my client feels these pressures, which for me, becomes hard to strike a balance between what the customer wants and how to best deliver a quality project on time and on budget.

The drivers behind these expectations seem to be born out of the organization's business needs.  The business has to deliver quicker, smarter and on time and so should HR.  Another source that impacts the expectation around HR service delivery is our own profession telling us to "be more strategic."  Its hard to be strategic when you are mired in inefficient processes and legacy technology.

As I look back over the last year's worth of projects and customers, I have noticed five common themes in terms of making sure HR service delivery is successful:

1) Does leadership support HR's vision for effectiveness and efficiency?  Business leaders just want things done correctly and timely.  Timely usually means today or even yesterday.  HR must be able to articulate the value of improving service delivery and WHY it matters to the business.  A business case is the best tool for this type of communication.

2) What is the current state of HR delivery?  Be careful what you ask your customers.  A simple survey regarding performance and importance of HR services can be a huge eye-opener.  For example, you ask managers what they value most from HR, and they respond management training but give HR a needs improvement.  What do you do?

3) Is there opportunity for process improvement BEFORE any technology solution is considered?  Do not automate bad processes.  If you have a recruiting process that is cumbersome and paper intensive, automating that process to "paperless" won't make it a better process.  If you automate multiple approvals with complicated routing, you will be at the same exact place you started, minus a huge stack of requisitions.

4) What is the impact to employees?  If any HR process changes, HR needs to explain the WIIFM clearly to employees.  When you announce an Employee Self Service approach, do you think employees think that benefits them or HR?  I have heard comments like, "what is HR doing now, that they aren't processing my W-4's?

5) How will I know HR is successful?  Calculate the ROI.  Period.  End of story.  In addition to ROI make sure you have a very good set of HR metrics coupled with analytics that point to HR efficiency, effectiveness and HR IMPACT!!!!

I believe my job is to be able to support HR leadership in the five areas above.  Its difficult to manage all of these balls in the air, but I love it.  I enjoy working in this profession that is changing rapidly both in terms of expectations but also skills sets and definitions for success.  I say, "Let's be more than an HR business partner, Lets be a BUSINESS LEADER, that just happens to get HR!"

Monday, January 18, 2016

Creating Performance Metrics is Just the Beginning

Many times over the last two years I have worked with clients that wanted to create performance metrics for their organizations.  The clients have often thought that once you have these metrics the skies are blue and everything is done.  Well, unfortunately that can’t be farther from the truth.  Once performance metrics are created, organizations automatically set the expectation that “things are different” and we are now “accountable.”  What if the culture is one where metrics have not been important and performance is not a top priority?  The next issue after metrics are created becomes that of the potential of uncovering inefficient processes.  Now what? Who is in charge of re-engineering that process?  Who is going to make sure our culture is performance based?

The key is to make sure when you are considering creating performance metrics whether in HR or any other function in the organization that you use the best practice of including change management and process improvement in the initiative.  All three parts are essential for metrics to be successful. 

I had the honor of discussing this three-pronged approach with two very smart colleagues of mine, SusanHagood, Evolution Management, Inc. and AliciaButler Pierre, Equilibria, Inc.    Susan is a subject matter expert in the area of Change Management and Alicia in the area of process improvement.  Below are some of their observations regarding the need to take a more holistic approach when creating performance metrics.

Change Management
In todays ever changing business environment change is becoming the norm for most organizations.  I think about my clients and it’s easier to count the ones that DON’T have a change in progress. 

When embarking on establishing performance metrics organizations are best served when changes to people, process and practices are considered and acted upon.  .  Metrics can uncover inefficiencies, skill gaps and production issues.  With this in mind, employees need to understand WHY the organization is moving in a direction of higher performance.  The need for clarity is probably the one of the most basic components of change.  Explaining the WHY behind the WHAT goes a long way with employees.  This message needs to come from the top down and not be in “consultant speak”, but in words that employees can relate to. 

In order to get buy in from employees on the upcoming change Ms. Hagood suggests:

“From a change management perspective, it’s important to invite the employee to share their ideas about the efficiencies and continuous improvement of their roles and responsibilities.   They are on the front line – what does it take to be successful? What would make the work easier, faster, and more customer-focused?  It’s very important with any personal change that is going to be required of an employee that they understand why the change is necessary and that they have a voice in what that change will look like.  Encouraging the dialogue and planning that supports change planning can be very motivating and exciting to the employee – just the type of engagement the employer is looking for”

Ms. Hagood, discusses the importance of communications throughout the change initiative:

“During times of change – remember to communicate as frequently as possible through as many avenues as possible, since employees may not be exposed to certain messages.   You can’t communicate too much.”

To read more from Debbie King also from Evolution Management and Susan on change click here. 

Process Improvement

Many times as organizations will measure cycle times, backlogs, quality and customer service, which can point to a need for process improvement.   When this is the case it’s important to keep in mind, the process owner. 

According to Alicia Butler Pierre, “Process owners have the responsibility of ensuring that: 1) the process works, 2) people know the process and how to follow it, and 3) the right metrics are being used to track performance. “

When asked, “How would you ensure that the metrics are used to actually improve the process?” Ms. Pierre offered this insight:

“Processes and metrics go hand-in-hand and both should be tied to performance evaluation.  Otherwise, they will simply sit on the shelf and collect dust.  Processes are intended to be fluid, not static.  In fact, the lack of change usually means the lack of innovation and growth for the organization.  If you aren’t measuring, then you aren’t improving and if you aren’t changing, then you aren’t growing.”

“The Six Sigma methodology offers a proven formula to ensure processes and their associated metrics are used for continuous improvement.  It includes using historical data to first define a baseline or expected level of performance of a process.  Afterwards, you can measure and track metrics on a graph to monitor upward or downward trends.    Upward trends could indicate a rock-star performer.  Downward trends could indicate that either the process needs to be improved or the performer may need additional training."

Using the right metrics along with a solid change management plan allows Process Owners to identify when poor performance is the result of a process or people-related problem.  To read more about this, click here.

Metrics are designed with continuous improvement in mind, whether it is people, process or practice related.  Having sound change management and process improvement principles will ensure successful measurement outcomes.