31 July 2014

Creating the Perfect Line Manager

LUM_Photography_Human_2007_120I spend a lot of time talking to Lumesse customers about their line manager populations. Seems like all the issues in the daily life of a recruiter come down to managers, suppliers and processes (not necessarily in that order).

Now, I cannot claim expertise on making the perfect line manager - there are guides and books aplenty to help you in your management coaching programme - but maybe we can think through the effect of HR change on this audience and identify a common cause and effect?


1. Do you know what your line manager is going through?

Now, I don’t necessarily mean “in their personal life” although for sure there is a connection between ability to adapt to change and personal circumstances and happiness but perhaps we as change-instigators should be more aware of the internal pressures on our line management population, particularly in that middle layer that carries most of the transactions we’re focused on.

Last year the Wall Street Journal ran an article titled ‘What it's like being a middle manager today’  that wrote “… companies are leaner than ever, placing greater demands on staff even as they invest in technology that threatens to eliminate many jobs. Companies are asking managers to do more, challenging them to create and innovate while still developing talent and meeting deadlines.”

Before we start any new transactional initiative perhaps we need to take stock of this and prepare an impact analysis?

Some questions for you:

  • Have you truly optimised your process or are you going to simply ask them to do HR work for you?
  • What other systems do they use, are you connected to them?


2.   Are you implementing a technology change AND recruitment service change together?

One of most common combinations I see a result of demands for budget reduction or drive for efficiency is the implementation of new systems whilst at the same time seeing a drive to push more transactional activity to the line manager, the perennial centralise / de-centralise cycle.

Now every line manager cares about recruiting, we rely on our teams for our collective success after all. Perhaps though this need to successfully recruit and manage talent is not the same as seeing the value in the “HR-isation” of the process?

In a search for efficiency, technology can play an enormous part and often allows organisations to adapt but it must be HR’s job to fully define value and benefit so that the line manager knows why good data is going to be of value to them later.

Some questions for you:

  • Do you use cost data daily to redefine sourcing strategies and show managers that you’re doing this?
  • Do you regularly review process data to create efficiencies and feed these back into the manager experience?


3.   Line manager experiences should be different from HR ones

You cannot expect a manager to perform the tasks of a whole function. So before you run a change project and add tasks to the line you must have an in-depth review of the most optimal strategy which will allow you to catch the information you need.

We know that we have compliance and legal reasons that make some transactions non-negotiable – but can this be manually captured another way? Are your systems connected to really work hard at removing double entry? (Seriously... nothing annoys a busy employee more when they see how their Twitter profile can allow them to register in multiple phone apps - they simply expect data re-use as standard these days).

All good managers know that trust is a powerful tool – so build trust by showing that you have optimised the tasks being pushed to line managers as much as possible. Make the lessons you have learned and the changes you have made as much a part of the manager induction program as the functional or process training.

Some questions for you:

  • Is there any element of double entry in your entire transaction life cycle? Can you remove it?
  • Did you ever run a lessons learnt session on a process you are about to hand to the line?

Whatever you do, the relationship between manager and HR team is the same as all other human relationships, built on trust, responding differently to pressure and valuing collaboration and success.

I wish you success with your middle layer.

29 July 2014

All About High Potential Employees

Womanleader_FBcropLearn the what, why, who, where and how of high potential employees.

In a nutshell, what are high potential employees?

High potential employees are those who have the ability to successfully perform more complex roles, the aspiration to take on greater responsibility, and the engagement to put first concern for the organization and its members’ well-being. They are the employees who will have the greatest impact on an organization’s future success.

Why does this concept matter?

Developing talent requires a substantial commitment of organizational time and resources. It is important to identify employees who have the ability and desire to develop their skills and talents, and to make sure that the organization is allocating precious development resources appropriately.

Who are examples of companies making the most of high potential employees?

Beginning in the 1950’s, AT&T was a pioneer of using assessment centers and other psychometric tools to identify talent early, and they were able to predict the success of employees 20 years or more in to the future. Organizations today are aiming to do just this type of work; predict the long-term career potential of employees in order to make sound investment decisions in talent. Beyond identification, GE has long been viewed as a premier source for leadership talent, as talented individuals are quickly placed in challenging, high-impact roles to accelerate their development.

Where should I start on using this concept at my office?

Organizations should integrate indicators of potential into the core talent review processes. Create a common framework of what constitutes potential across functions and begin with managerial ratings along these structured dimensions. This will ingrain a common standard for potential, which can be employed to guide managerial nominations for accelerated talent and leadership development programs.

How can I learn more?

Watch the on-demand webinar “Recruiting and Retaining High Potential Employees” from HR.com and featuring CEB SHL, Lumesse and other expert panelists.


Jarrett_Shalhoop 300dpiJarrett Shalhoop is a Managing Consultant in the Client Solutions practice at SHL, the world’s leading talent measurement solution provider. In this role Jarrett blends leading-edge science in the talent management field with practical solutions that help companies select, develop, and grow people.

28 July 2014

How Rich is Your API?

ToolNo technology vendor can pretend to have all of the functionality you need, across all the sub-processes that are required in order to efficiently manage an organisation. Some firms claim to have mastered this, but no company has actually pulled it off.

Among other reasons, this is why it is critical to invest in an open platform in the future that can be extended with best-of-breed point solutions, be used to feed another system or even one that allows you to re-build your own user experience, with a mix of functionality coming from various solutions.

Most – if not all - software providers offer a set of API that supports all of these capabilities (on paper at least). However, the reality is, that for all these platform-extension abilities to really work, those APIs need to cover ALL of the functionality that is provided by the technology vendor.

More often than not, the APIs that are available only cover the most critical or most basic scenarios. While this is fine for your basic integration needs, it doesn’t allow you to truly extend the functionality that is available on your platform.

At Lumesse, we aim at delivering an open platform in the future. How this translates in practice, is by progressively offering the same functionality through our API as through our own user-interface. (There are other facets of an open platform we are working on of course, but for the purposes of this post we are focusing on API).

For instance, the upcoming 14.0 release of our recruiting platform TalentLink further deepens the Talent Portal functionality that is available through API and Web Services. For our customers that have their career site built by a design agency, it means they will be able to enrich the candidate experience (and maybe win an award) with additional functionality that was previously only available through our own components until now.

There are of course many other aspects that are involved in making a platform open, but a rich set of APIs, delivering all of the functionality, with all of its depth, is a key building block.

25 July 2014

What's New in HR

What drives you? What are you passionate about? What do you envision yourself doing in five years? As HR professionals, you likely ask a lot of candidates and employees these questions daily. But, how often do you reflect on these types of questions yourself? Have your aspirations changed? Does each day bring you new challenges or the same old issues?

This week’s “What’s New in HR” may spark a new idea, inspiration or even calling. I hope you find the collection of articles intriguing within the context of your current organization or your next endeavor, whether that’s onboarding a new hire or taking a space flight. Enjoy the ride either way!

We’re taking a summer break and will be back with a weekly post sometime in September, so have a safe and fun rest of July and August!

24 July 2014

3 Tips for Living In a Mobile World

Woman-mobile-worldMadonna watch out!  We aren’t just living in a material world anymore; we are living in a mobile world. The song is playing out in my head. I interchange material with mobile and then I laugh at myself in my office.  It’s ok, I know you are trying it right now too!

We are literally inundated with tweets, articles, posts and statistics on mobile technology, mobile trends, mobile access, mobile optimization and the list goes on and on. There are roughly 1.8 billion people actively using SMS text messaging today; that’s two times more than the number of people who actively use email!

Right now and going forward, the workforce of tomorrow will expect communication that is accessible on their mobile phones.  This is excellent news for recruiters because mobile technology provides a major opportunity for employers to connect with and engage the next generation of talent.  For the greatest mobile success, make sure that your organization has a well thought-out plan.

Use these three tips to effectively recruit talent in a mobile world:

  • Make it easy.
  • Be able to respond to candidates quickly.
  • Onboard and engage with new hires immediately.

Get more how-to on all three in our “How to Go Mobile” guide.

Because, as Madonna says, you know that we are living in a material mobile world.

22 July 2014

Emotions of Change

We’ve all been there. We have all been the recipients of change as well as the instruments of change. When change is about to happen in our personal or professional lives, for most of us it creates undue amounts of stress and anxiety. At the professional level, change in an organization can be broken down into four segments: 1) pre-change (or what happens before adoption takes place); 2) the process of change; 3) post-change (this where the journey REALLY begins; 4) The emotions connected with change.

The charts below demonstrate the emotions connected with change and provides a few suggestions for dealing with those emotions, based on the Kubler-Ross Change Curve.







Coping Strategy


“You may implement a new system, but it won’t change how things work around here.”

Be firm, communicate a clear message and highlight the business goals.


“Corporate don’t what they are doing, and we’re getting no say I what’s happening.”

Do not ignore. Use champions to filter positive attitudes through the business. Respond sensitively.


“The process will only work if we can continue to use our master datasheet at the same time.”

Provide reassurance to encourage faith. Ensure there is plenty of training and support. Put strategies in place for individuals.


“Nothing works anymore. This whole project is making my job impossible.”

Realize this is about letting go, not about the project. Set up Q&A sessions for employees.


“It looks like this change is going to happen whether I like it or not.”

Reward those showing positive attitudes.


“Now that the system is up and running, I can see the benefits.”

Not everyone will arrive here at the same time. Reward positive attitudes and behavior, and encourage those folks to encourage others.

21 July 2014

Prepared for the Holiday!

LUM_Photography_Atmospheric_2010_019I have had a number of discussions with my peers during the World Cup period about how the tournament has affected a number of different areas including work hours, productivity and team spirit. Although, we still occasionally hear our German friends and colleagues boasting about winning the World Cup, for the rest of us it’s back to normal.

However, since the holiday season has begun, normality is not quite restored for some employees (we’re talking about you guys who are already on the beach). It is a difficult task for a manager to make sure that their employees come back after their summer break with the same can-do attitude and work ethic that they left with.

If you haven’t yet taken your holidays then the following four tips could help your work life run a lot smoother whilst you’re away as well as preventing a buildup of work whilst you’re getting a tan.

1)   Planning

We often let employees hand in their holiday requests separately, without considering the effects on other colleagues such as delayed input, deadlines or lack of handover.

TIP: Make the (summer) holiday planning a part of the team meeting and explain potential consequences that will occur as a result of your leave. If there are challenges to overcome in the planning you will see that most employees are willing and flexible to adjust if they are included in a discussion about it before it happens. I often see one or two employees covering for a bunch of team members and see them stressing out to get things done just before they go on holiday themselves. This is definitely not recommended!

2)   Handover

You will need to schedule a meeting before the holiday of an employee in order to discuss who will take care of the work in his/her absence.

If the employee who covers the absent colleague needs to learn a certain system then make sure there is enough time for questions and training before the employee goes on leave!

TIP: Authorise access to or redirect the e-mail account for a certain period of time. Also, make sure that the right information (i.e. who to contact in your absence) is in your out-of-office reply. This will save a lot of time and effort for the employee who is covering your work as they will be able to complete your work properly and efficiently.

3)    Point of contact:

During your own absence make sure that you appoint a team member or colleague manager to be available for questions and support for your team who also has the power and knowledge to be able to act on urgent matters that can’t wait until your return.

TIP: Make sure that if somebody really needs something urgently, that only the aforementioned person will contact you for these matters. I often see that managers react on e-mails and support their team whilst they’re on vacation. It’s not only your team that needs to take the time off, you as a manager need to lead by example. 

4)    Return to work

Soon after employees come back from holiday it is often the case that their recharged batteries aren’t lasting very long; this is not good and shouldn’t be the case.   

TIP: If the employee who covers the holiday outlines which e-mails have been handled and prepares a structured handover on the first day back while outlining all urgent matters, it is a far better start then going through a bursting e-mail box of all unread messages.

TIP: If possible plan the day longer so you can start with the handover with your colleague, read the e-mails that not have been handled and make a list of priority first before just reaction on everything.

TIP: It may be worth scheduling your out-of-office reply for one day longer so that you can catch up on what has happened whilst you have been on holiday.

What do you do to ensure your holiday is really a holiday from day one? And so your recharged batteries last longer when you return to work?

Enjoy the summer!

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