23 October 2014

Company Glue

Professional-connectionsWhen thinking of talent management, it is common practice for organisations to focus on their high performers and high potentials when conducting talent management. These are the employees to keep abroad and will contribute to the future direction of the organisation. There is nothing new in this statement. Naturally there is also a need for a foundation, a steady group of employees who have the task of carrying out the day-to-day business. These employees are often referred to as ‘Core Employees’ and they usually make up the majority of the organisation. Tools for calibrating and reviewing the workforce in terms of talent provide a great insight in how talent is distributed. Talent grids, for example, provide a valuable insight on how employees are doing in terms of performance, potential and/or retention.

In the following case the organisation has played by the book. It has identified its talent, its core employees and has dealt with underperformers. This led to a restructuring of the organisation to ensure a focus on its top strength. The surprising outcome was that the performance of certain business units dropped dramatically. And after reviewing the performance of individual employees, it was noticed that the performance of some of the high performers had dropped dramatically too. Employees who were steadily exceeding performance in the past, were now performing below average. There was no easy way of identifying the cause of this decrease. Initially, it was assumed that the restructuring process  (which involved having to let employees go) affected the company moral, but as times passed, there seemed to be no improvement. Multiple talent reviews were held, but each resulting in the same outcome: the right distribution was applied; there was a steady base of core employees, a right amount of high performers and sufficient potentials.

So what has led to this unexpected result?
The company decided to consult an expert in group dynamics to see what other causes could be identified for the drop in performance; this has led to a remarkable outcome. It seemed that employees who were not performing up to par, or didn’t show lots of potential were actually contributing to the team effort. It was not shown in measurable results, but they seemed to be the glue holding the group together. It is known that high performers need other high performers to encourage each other, but this case showed that they also require colleagues who contribute to the team spirit.

At first glance it might not be the easiest task to identify these team contributors as it is not measurable in terms of individual results. However, a good practice is actually having a talent meeting when discussing the employee review. This will allow having a conversation not only about tangible results of the staff, but also discussing the individual contribution to the team and the necessity of keeping these employees onboard.

20 October 2014

The Key to Success

12The discussion around HR technology tends to focus on usability, flexibility, mobile enablement, and lots of other “adoption” type issues. Adoption is important, but the key to success is aligning HR technology to the strategic goals of the business and the personal goals of the user.

If HR technology does not simultaneously support both, the overall business and the individual employee, it doesn’t reach its full potential. That’s a pretty tall order and by this definition there are lots of HR technology implementations that are under-performing.

Those of us in the HR technology business, both vendors and customers, tend to get wrapped up in the urgent everyday issues that come with complex processes and problems. Sometimes it’s valuable to take a step back and look at the big picture. Here are three questions about corporate strategy and three questions about employees that can help you reset, reframe and reflect on your alignment.

Three Corporate Questions:

  • What are the strategic objectives of your organization?
  • What are the top internal factors that will impact those objectives?
  • What are the external factors that will impact those objectives?

 Three Employee Questions:

  • What are the personal goals of our employees?
  • How can the organization help employees achieve those goals?
  • What is the organization doing that prevents employees from reaching those goals?

By taking a few minutes on a regular basis to review these questions, you may be able to get yourself and your organization much more aligned with your strategic goals.

17 October 2014

Achieving the Right Learning Mix

1How do L&D professionals interpret the learning mix across their workforce? And what training activities do they focus on in order to best support the workforce?

Well, this is one of the things our research programme attempts to discover by taking the learning mix established by 70:20:10  and asking L&D professionals to estimate what this mix looks like in their organisation today. Later in the survey we ask the same people to estimate the amount of time they think that their training department spends supporting specific parts of the mix (formal, informal/on the job).


The final numbers from our collaborative research programme indicate that 49:26:25 is the average learning mix that most L&D professionals think exists across the workforce they support today. When the same people are asked to estimate the amount of time they think their HR department spends, supporting on the job, informal and formal learning initiatives, their answers are weighted 39:24:37.

When you take general work tasks out of the equation (most L&D professionals say they spend about 10% of their time doing general admin or reporting tasks), today’s typical L&D professional expects to spend 37% of the working week on activities that support the supply of formal training and 63% on activities that help facilitate informal/on the job learning.

It’s not about the numbers

Let’s be clear, we’re not trying to explain 70:20:10 (or any parts of the learning mix)tothe average L&D professional, we’re trying to work out how L&D professionals define 70:20:10 for themselves. From what we’ve discovered so far, many L&D experts get the numbers more than they get the idea (People Alchemy’s Paul Mathews makes this point too, in his recent blog).

The big picture that’s evolving from our study is one where L&D professionals seem to unanimously agree with the learning mix that underpins 70:20:10, but are much less sure about what they should be doing to achieve this.

  • They’re not sure that 70:20:10 is the optimum mix for everyone, regardless of the circumstances.
  • They’d like pragmatic guidance as they evolve and adapt their formal learning resources for the new “informal” ecosystem.
  • They want help clarifying their own role, in a business environment where the traditional L&D function is increasingly partnering and sharing learning responsibilities across departments, stakeholders and workers.

No single survey is ever going to address all of these difficult issues, but for the moment, we’re happy that our latest collaborative research project has raised them.

The final report will be released soon.

15 October 2014

Elevators, HR and the Butterfly Effect

Paternoster_kartouzska_empty1Why does Spain have more elevators per person than anywhere else in the world? And what has this got to do with HR?

The result of separate policies of the Franco administration post the Spanish civil war in the 1940’s onwards created the current conditions for apartment building, dwelling and home ownership. Lots of apartments equals lots of elevators. An outstanding 65% of Spaniards live in apartments and 80% own their home. In the EU, only Ireland has even slightly comparable rates of home ownership, but only 5% live in apartments, so not many elevators. The link between Spanish history and the current amount of elevators in the country was explored in this article on Quartz.com.

A high rate of home ownership has been shown, by a study referenced in the same article, to  have a negative effect on the labour markets, making them less flexible. Home ownership lowers labour mobility, increases commute times and reduces the number of new businesses; there was a significant time lag between the changes and their ultimate effects.

Spanish government policies, unrelated to the labour market, introduced external factors that prevented the supply and demand of labour to bring the right employees to the right jobs. The Spanish labour market has suffered rigidity from external factors and heavy labour market regulation. The Spanish economy has struggled to recover quickly from the 2008 economic crisis, in part, due to labour market rigidity.

A small, initial change within a system, such as the economy, that eventually leads to one outcome rather than another is popularly known as the 'butterfly effect'. It took decades for the policies of the Franco administration to affect the labour market.

In modern times, technology is the foundation of a large part of our lives, organisations and economies; labour markets are both linked to and involved in technology. The rate of technological change is constantly increasing (exponentially according to some), the time lag between a change and its effects is reduced.

Technology will bring significant change to HR but who knows what the ultimate result will be? Those who predict the future with certainty could be reminded of the incidence of elevators in Spain.

07 October 2014

Deloitte and Lumesse Talk Human Capital Trends

LUM_366_eDM_250x150_v01  LA BANNERThe Lumesse Talent Akademie offers industry professionals and interested parties a series of monthly webinars covering all aspects of talent management.

For these webinars Lumesse has teamed up with Deloitte to address the question ‘What top issues are HR facing?’ This is an important topic in modern times as companies who are looking to acquire and recruit new talent are faced with a battlefield which is shaped by global talent networks and social media. Employees with sought after skills now often have more of a choice in their employment than the hiring managers themselves. With instant access to the internet, candidates can now learn about companies instantly and decide whether the company deserves to employ them.

Nearly 45% of candidates now apply for jobs via mobile devices and, as a result, most companies are now entering into the world of social networking (i.e. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter) in order to market their companies to passive job candidates. Since the labour market is becoming increasingly in favour of the candidate, there is more pressure on HR managers to make the right decisions. Therefore, in our events, webinars and discussion forums, we cover the entire life cycle of HR from recruiting topics such as on boarding, compensation and performance evaluation through to leadership, leaving the company and succession management. We ran our first webinar on 25 September 2014 in which we covered the top topics from Deloitte’s global research giving fresh insight & practical advice to recruitment & talent management professional across the globe.

The next webinar will take place on Thursday, 16 October 2014 at 2pm (UK time) and the topic will be on Talent Acquisition revisited “Deploy new approaches for the new battlefield” and will last one hour. 

In this webinar you will discover:

  • Why companies that fail to adapt will likely be on the losing end when it comes to attracting and accessing the people and skills they need.
  • How social networks can build talent ‘communities’.
  • Why companies must move from recruiting to marketing.
  • Why big data tools are a must to access talent.

You can register for this complimentary webinar here.

17 September 2014

Stay Curious!

IG_eventWhat's the one competency you are probably not actively seeking in candidates, but could be the most important characteristic for success with your company? Curiosity - according to Neal Bruce, Lumesse's SVP Product. Curiosity is vital because the nature of jobs within organisations is changing more rapidly than ever before. Curious employees are more likely to adapt positively to these changes.

Neal presented his thoughts on curiosity and other recruitment trends at the Lumesse i-GRasp customer event in London on 10th September. Deloitte joined us as well to provide an overview of the key HR trends for 2014. These insights and research are truly 'thought innovation' which is crucial to stay ahead in the 'war for talent'. It's one of the three ways Lumesse provides access to innovation alongside our product development roadmap and through integrated, innovative technology provided by Lumesse partners.

Hollaroo, one of these partners, who builds enterprise social networks, showed the audience the power of harnessing the good elements of social platforms with enterprise level privacy for recruitment and talent management. Their CTO, Hugh Fordham, actively encourages his clients to be curious, to imagine the possibilities enterprise social networking provides. "At workshops you can see their minds whirring!" he said. Customer ideas have led Hollaroo to explore many different uses for networks of referred candidates, contingent workers, alumni and more.

Customer feedback indicated that speakers were the main attraction and 'thought innovation' is absolutely key to future success. Customers I spoke with on the day were also enthusiastic about the idea of being able to access new recruiting technologies, such as Hollaroo, which are already integrated into the Lumesse platforms. Most were speaking to multiple suppliers of niche technology (on-demand video interviewing was mentioned a number of times) and planning to use them within a year.

The three areas of innovation - thought, product and partners - is something that makes sense to everyone I talked to. I'm curious to see where it will take us over the coming months.

10 September 2014

Silver at Brandon Hall Excellence Awards

Learning - Brandon Hall Silver AwardLumesse and Vodafone, with their partner Oxford SM, have been awarded Silver at the Brandon Hall Excellence in Learning Awards 2014 in the category of Best Use of Blended Learning.

The blended programme helped to revolutionise the marketing function at Vodafone, across 21 countries. The project used E-magazine introductions to generate excitement. Workshops and Deep Dive sessions reinforced practical application of the learnings as well as bringing groups of marketers and leaders together. In addition to this, the transfer to work was then supported by a Bespoke Learning portal and webinars. 

Mohsin Ghafoor, group commercial learning lead, Group HR L&CD at Vodafone commented, “This award represents Vodafone’s commitment to empower our marketing community and to ensure that we develop world class marketers who are able to make fantastic connections with our customers.”

Andrea Miles, director of Bespoke Learning content at Lumesse, said “Working with Vodafone globally has been a real privilege. This programme was the result of great collaboration and teamwork, and this award is a great recognition of its impact and magnitude.”


About Brandon Hall Excellence in Learning Awards

Now entering its 20th year, the Brandon Hall Group Excellence Awards Programme is the most prestigious awards programme in the industry. Often times called the “Academy Awards” by Learning, Talent and Business Executives, the programme was one of the first of its kind in the learning industry, which was pioneered in 1994.

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