HR carnival is being hosted by Mark Stelzner at Inflexion Point. I hope you enjoy it.
Photo credit: Roberta Vicario
HR carnival is being hosted by Mark Stelzner at Inflexion Point. I hope you enjoy it.
Photo credit: Roberta Vicario
“Errol, can you please send me the template as well...”
I’ve been keeping myself entertained over the last week by keeping an eye on the developing list of people asking for a copy of an ‘HR business plan template’ on HR Toolbox (over 60 requests in 2 threads so far).
I just really don’t understand what these people think they’re going to get, or how they think they’re going to benefit from having it.
The key to developing a ‘HR business plan’, by which I presume they mean a people management strategy, or possibly, the HR function plan that supports this, is understanding the process involved in creating this document effectively, including involving the right people in developing it, planning for the change management requirements etc, etc.
Simply looking at a list of headings and sub-headings tells you very little. If anything. Unless they are clear about the strategy development process first.
I’ve had the same issue a couple of times in my wider consulting when clients have asked for an example or template of a report or something I’ve developed before. Well, yes, I have, and if that’s what my client wants, that’s what I’ll give them, but I don’t honestly think it’s going to be of any use. And I don’t use templates myself as I think they limit rather than support my thinking. I’d much rather just develop something bespoke for the particular project that I’m working on.
I think it’s something about wanting to short-cut their thinking – and hoping that having a template will save them from having to do any further work. I don’t think it will.
If people / organisations want to develop sound, valuable people management strategies there are no short-cuts, and if they don’t know how to do it, I’d recommend, that when the opportunity is provided, they take the opportunity to work with other practitioners / consultant who’ve done this sort of thing before, and in the meantime, attend courses*, and read books and blogs such as this one, focusing on strategic HR.
I think they’ll find these much more valuable inputs.
* A good example is the Human Capital Institute (HCI)’s Human Capital Strategist (HCS) programme, which I deliver for them in the UK and Europe. In the Master HCS programme, we do give people a copy of a template – but it’s only useful because they’ve attended three days of training, looking at how a human capital plan is developed, first.
Social Recruiting summit at Google HQ earlier this week. There were some really good presentations, especially from Laurie Ruettimann of the Punk Rock HR blog, who I met face-to-face at Kennedy’s Recruitment conference last year.
Some other presentations missed the point a little though I thought. For example, although it was hard for Linkedin’s founder to say anything anything other than what he did say of course, I think social recruiting needs to be defined much more broadly than just using Linkedin like a glorified job board – to me, there isn’t actually much that is that social about doing this.
So – I thoughts there could have been some more useful presentations. I also thought it unfortunate that one of my favourite bloggers, Kris Dunn of the HR Capitalist / Fistful of Talent couldn’t attend, as I think he would have been able to raise the quality of the insights that were offered.
Oh – and it would have been really nice to get a virtual tour of the Googleplex as well, but I understand why this wasn’t possible.
But my main criticism was that there didn’t seem to be that much in what was presented that referred to what I would suggest are truly social approaches – for example, about setting up company owned communities to really establish deep and meaningful relationships with highly talented individuals as potential recruits (despite there having previously been a very good post about managing social communities for recruitment on the summit blog – although this may just have been something to do with the sessions which were broadcast).
And I thought there was a rather unnecessary focus on technology too. For me, social recruiting isn’t just about the use of social media. It’s about an approach that uses peoples’ social relationships between each other and with people in a firm as the basis for their recruitment activities. And this can be done in the real world as well as the virtual one, ie by ‘analogue’ as well as digital means.
I’ve made the same point about HR 2.0 recently.
I think this other, analogue, side has been described well in the HBR article I wrote about in my last post, in connection with the need to ‘develop the pool’:
“The most effective strategy for sourcing is to think not only about candidates themselves but also about people who may know the best ones. Rather than waste your time calling too many irrelevant prospects, talk to individuals who are likely to suggest several high-quality candidates right off the bat. The best leads will come from suppliers, customers, board members, professional service providers, and the like.
Amgen CEO Kevin Sharer puts out an ‘all points bulletin’ whenever he’s looking for senior talent – reaching out to recruiting firms, consultants he has used, industry associates, and board members. This strategy helps him identify great candidates and also find further contacts who can connect him with new prospects. As effective as this approach is, we’ve found few CEOs and senior executives who get as systematically and personally involved as Sharer does in the generation of candidates.”
I think it is this type of behaviour, whether done personally, or via technology, that is the real basis for a more social approach to recruiting the people we still need.
CIPD’s Recruitment conference this week, it was announced that 40% of employers are reducing the number of new recruits they are hiring this year, and most organisations are focusing on retention rather than recruiting talent (no surprise there!). However, 73% of organisations are still facing recruitment challenges in certain areas where specialist skills are necessary (see my previous post on the cold war for talent).
So it’s a worry that only 58% of employers report having a formal resourcing strategy. Those that don’t could do worse than consulting Nitin Nohria’s article in last month’s Harvard Business Review. Supporting the CIPD’s findings, Nohria et al note:
“Most companies react to hiring situations as emergencies; that might explain why so many do it so poorly. When we surveyed 50 CEOs of global companies, along with a pool of executive search consultants who rated about 500 firms, we found hiring practices to be disturbingly vague: Respondents relied heavily on subjective personal preferences or on largely unquestioned organizational traditions, often based on false assumptions.
The executives we surveyed held widely differing views regarding the desirable attributes of new hires. They emphatically disagreed on whether it was best to hire insiders or outsiders, on who should be involved in the recruiting process, on what assessment tools were most suitable, and on what the keys were to successful hiring and retention.”
The authors suggest a seven step process for more effective recruitment:
Not a bad process, but I think we can do better. I’m going to follow up on my recent post about a HR 2.0 strategy by posting my suggested approach for developing an HCM strategy too. And I think this can be used for recruitment needs as well.
Krishna also talks about the new social recruitment site, TribeHQ. And Jon discusses SuccessFactors’ Employee Central application.
And we review a new book, ‘Authentic Conversations’.
Success Factors Employee Central:
Steve Boese contacts:
Some Employer Branding blogs:
Listen to the podcast: you can download the podcast to your hard drive or play it streaming from the web.
debate on CEO pay on Harvard Business Review’s website.
The context for this is the general perception that executive pay played a major role in creating the financial crisis and leading to the current recession by encouraging excessive risk-taking. And more specifically, there’s the US administration’s plan to rein in compensation at publicly traded companies by increasing shareholder and decreasing management influence on pay decisions (a bit like the system we have in the UK in fact - not that this seems to have done us much good!).
The case for leaving executive compensation to Boards and Rem Coms is made by Ira Kay from Watson Wyatt:
“Legislating and regulating executive compensation has the capacity to do real damage.”
Kay’s case is built on two pieces of WW research:
“Our research has shown that the traditional executive pay model using cash and stock incentives continues to work for the vast majority of companies. It motivates leaders to steer their companies toward high performance.”
In general, I agree with this point. Variable pay has an important role to play in any reward strategy. However, Kay should choose his words carefully. We know that pay is a hygiene factor, not a motivator (Herzberg). And it’s interesting to note the recent comments from Shell’s CEO, Jeroen van der Veer, stating that his reward has made no difference to his leadership performance:
“You have to realise if I had been paid 50 per cent more, I would not have done it better. If I had been paid 50 per cent less, then I would not have done it worse.”
"The idea that the incentive needs to be huge to elicit the right kind of behaviour is wrong. Institutional investors have got to get more used to saying 'no'."
Reward is just one element of an employment value proposition, even for a CEO, and we should be careful not to make too much of a meal of it. The danger of doing so is that we create the sort of money motivation in executives that we actually want to avoid (Lynda Gratton wrote an excellent article on this a few years back that I am still attempting to find).
“Our research shows that in general, high-performing companies' CEOs get paid a lot, and low-performing companies' CEOs get paid much, much less.”
Oh really? There is, of course, also quite a bit of research that indicates the reverse (see, for example, here).
Given these challenges, I disagree with Kay’s perspective and think that there is a need for a wholesale rethinking of the traditional executive-pay model. I don’t even think it’s an issue about framing, ie about whether we see his debate in practical, economic or moral terms.
There is a very practical problem in the fact that CEOs’ rewards have been increasing at a much faster rate than that of the employees they lead. This sort of differential detracts from organisations’ ability to create inclusive teams, working to a shared agenda.
There is a very practical problem in the fact that money motivated CEOs create a money, rather than a mission, orientation throughout the rest of the organisation too. This makes it harder to gain commitment rather than ensure compliance, from all employees.
There is a very practical problem in that organisations which pay CEOs very large rewards without increasing their motivation (eg Jeroen van der Veer) or influencing their organisation’s performance, are throwing money down the drain.
I’ve got nothing against Boards trying to find the best CEOs they can, and in paying them what their contribution is worth, but perhaps they need to balance the benefits of a less money-motivated, more team oriented leader against a potentially more talented (and therefore more costly) individually-oriented star?
new carnival is up at Rowan Manahan’s Fortify Your Oasis. Do take a look!
Photo credit: Wanblee
I attended a Learning & Skills group conference yesterday. My highlight was a presentation from Tony Buzan (listen to my Audioboo):
And I’ve also had a go using the iMindMap software that was described in the presentation to develop a mind map of the conference:
I used to use mind mapping quite extensively and have included mind mapping on a number of development programmes I’ve run, but have got out of the habit. And I’ve also used a couple of different software systems in the past but none that works quite as easily as this. We’ll have to see whether it encourages me to rediscover the habit.
Strategy and the Fat Smoker, asking ‘are we in this together’? I’m referring to it now as it came back to my mind after reading the recent IES report on fairness and rewards.
Maister stresses (mainly for professional services firms) that the need for people to want to achieve something together is a prerequisite for effective strategy. But the situation is actually fairly scarce and leaders shouldn’t assume that people are ready and willing to work together to get things done.
Maister uses two dimensions of personality / belief: team, and time orientation, to show that most organisations have high levels of ‘biodiversity’. I’d suggest this diversity of preferences is even greater if you look at other traits and attributes as well. This is an important issue for organisations and Maister states: “Whereas there may be some logic and merit in like minded people being together, an organisation made up of an unmanageable mix of types is unlikely to function well.”
Two main approaches (other than spltting up or covering it up) are suggested to deal with this problems:
(This presents an interesting challenges for banks trying to change their compensation systems to focus on long-term success. As Maister notes, “It is really possible to get short-term individuals to do the right thing for companies’ long-term best interests through persuasion or systems? – to set individual goals that will further corporate goals?”)
Maister points out that none of these approaches are very effective, so actually organisations need to look at how they create an organisation of people that have fairly homogeneous attitudes (at least to the things that enable them to work together to support the organisation as a whole) which he also calls the one-firm firm.
I think Maister makes some good points, although I’d also emphasise that organisations need a fair degree of biodiversity for effective innovation and decision making. But I do agree that some degree of commonality around critical factors (eg around whatever is the relevant organisational capability) is required if organisations are going to operate as ‘one church’ in the way that Duncan Brown at the IES describes. So becoming more inclusive needs a bigger focus than just reward strategy (doesn’t everything).
The report builds on the arguments made by Polly Toynbee in her recent book, Unjust Reward (which explains for example that FTSE 100 CEOs’ pay has increased from 17 to 75 that of average employees since 1990), but with a more specific focus on HR / reward management.
Firstly, Brown notes that rewarding high performance and ensuring market competitiveness have been increasing in importance compared to internal equity for some time. This goes back well before the need to differentiate high from low performers started to increase at the beginning of the recession.
Another aspect is the pay gap between men and women doing similar work. I’ve argued previously that despite the poor timing, the new Equality Bill will hopefully have a positive impact on this. But until it does, all of this has a big negative impact on employee engagement.
So what’s to be done? Brown argues that HR / reward professionals need to follow four main strategies:
Brown argues, quite persuasively I think, that organisations need to treat their people in more similar, inclusive ways:
“In my view, companies should be going further and reversing the trend towards wholly distinctive reward arrangements for executives. It has become fashionable for example, to take senior executives outside of the job evaluation and pay structures applying to other staff. Why should there be different methods of evaluation, particularly when so much of the apparently necessary pay flexibility required for executives comes in the form of variable and not basic pay anyway? How does this help to reassure staff that all employees are being treated fairly and judged equally?…
While bonus opportunities may well differ according to scope for impact on the company results and with shareholder‐related measures emphasised at the top, why shouldn’t all employees have the opportunity to share in the financial success of their employer?
Tesco, our most successful retailer of the last decade, has reported an excellent take‐up of its latest all‐employee share scheme offer, despite the current depressed stock market. Over 165,000 employees own equity in the company and they benefited to the tune of around £181 million in 2007.”
This of course, the absolute opposite to what the Economist is recommending for reward strategies in banks – that they should continue to pay superstars in very similar ways to those they always have, but clamp down on the rewards (including the range of entitlements) enjoyed by the ‘extras’ (eg including HR).
I’m not sure that I’ve got a good answer to this dilemma. Partly because I think that each organisation needs to find their own answer to it themselves. But I think it’s a really important question at the moment, and one that deserves more airtime than it currently seems to get (so well done, IES).
presenting on talent management along with ministers, professors and HR / L&D / other Directors from governments, universities and companies in Africa.
Let me know if you're going to be in Kampala on the 8-10th July and would like to meet.
Still, we can at least take comfort from Human Resources’ report that HR salaries see double digit rises (even if this needs to balanced against People Management’s opposite findings that a quarter of HR and recruitment specialists have had their pay cut).
Also, I believe there is a growing need for all people in business, and particularly in HR, to be more authentic, and I’m trying to role model this approach myself.
After all, the dangers of inauthenticity are increasingly clear. One is the sort of collusion between politicians, regulators, mortgage lenders, estate agents etc that has led to the financial crisis. But HR has also been culpable for much of this muck. As a really interesting report from Duncan Brown, now at the IES, notes:
“Commentators seem to all agree with the
Financial Services Authority chief executive Hector Sants
who wrote in an inquisitorial letter to his banking peers
last October, that ‘there is widespread concern that
inappropriate remuneration schemes have contributed to
the current market crisis’. One recent survey of the HR
executives involved in designing and administering
some of those schemes presents a somewhat spineless
response, along the lines of, ‘we knew there were
problems with the designs, but were afraid to act first in
case we lost our best people to competitors’.”
Spineless indeed. But then I’ve been participating in this collusion too. An example is my concerns about remarks made at a CIPD conference in 2007. Although I thought the approach one of the presenters was describing was a disgrace, as I was sitting in a room of potential clients, I didn’t challenge the speaker at the time – or even in my blog till much later on.
I regret now that I didn’t challenge this more – and I can only hope that readers value my recommitment to authenticity and robustness (you may even want to try doing it yourself? – in your business – and in your comments on this post – authentic and robust comments are always welcome here!).
Photo credit: FIR0002
HR professionals can use the tool to search the top HR blogs (including this one) along with Google, Bing and whatever else you use.
My apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused you, and hope it doesn’t put you off reading Strategic HCM in the future. Just looking at the main page or viewing posts by them (using blog labels) or date (using blog archive) doesn’t seem to give the same problems.
I’ve no idea what’s causing the problem, but rest assured, I’m on the case.
And if you do have any insights yourself, do please let me know!