HR Is NOT a 47 Year Old White Woman!

This was originally published in October of 2012. I think it’s still relevant. And I’m on vacation.

Last year the folks at HRxAnalysts published a fascinating psychometric report about HR.  Who works in HR; what’s the education level of HR professionals; do they get certifications; do they go to industry trade shows; what industry publications do they read; do they like to be wined and dined. It is a fascinating read. The title of the report is What HR Thinks and Feels: The 2011 HRxAnalysts Psychographic Survey of HR Professionals; The Demographics, Behaviors, Attitudes and Beliefs of HR Professionals

Without being overly simplistic, the bottoms line is that the average HR professional is a 47 year old white woman with a college degree, two kids, pretty middle-of-the-road politically who isn’t into team sports and likes music.

It’s good and useful information – especially if you want to sell stuff to HR.

However, based on a new survey published in Human Resource Executive, the title really should have been HR is a 47 Year Old White Woman – Unless They’re the CHRO of a Major Employer.

In the September 16, 2012 edition of the magazine, on line here, the editors published the yearly list of HR’s Elite:  the 50 highest paid HR executives “culled from a universe of about 227 former and current HR executives at Russell 3000 companies who were among the five most highly compensated officers in their companies and were, therefore, included in those organizations’ filings.”

Ten of the 50 top compensated CHROs were women.  Ten.  That’s 20%.  And that’s down from 43% in 2011.  Now I’m not assuming that only 20% of all large employers have female CHROs – HRE says its 43% of the nation’s 100 largest employers – but that’s not as high as the 67% as the HRxAnalyst research highlights. Not even close.  And I’m pretty sure that the reason more female CHROs don’t show up in the top 50 highest paid HR executives is the still prevalent truth that in general men still make more than women.

The concern to me is that if it is true, as HRxAnalysts published, that 67% of all HR professionals are women, then why aren’t more of them moving into the top job? The hard question is that if 55% of HR Managers are female, and 64% of HR Directors are female, and 69% of HR Vice Presidents are female, then why, practically speaking, are we not seeing those percentages hold true in the top HR jobs?

I get it:  HR is a 47 year old white woman.  Unless we’re talking the CHRO job.  Then, HR is a guy.  Interesting, huh?

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Filed under China Gorman, Connecting Dots, Demographics, HR, HR Executive Magazine, HRxAnalysts

CEOs and Talent: Only a Risk

data point tuesday_500Wait. What?

I’m looking at a survey analysis/report from KPMG, Setting the course for growth: CEO perspectives. Unlike every other CEO survey I’ve looked at, people, talent and culture are barely addressed in the survey results at all, but rather in sidebars by the good consultants at KPMG. The only places talent shows up are in the first and last areas of key findings: “confident on economic outlook, hiring,” and “risk management not regularly discussed.”

According to the report, the areas that 400 surveyed U.S. CEOs are most concerned about are:

  • Confident on economic outlook, hiring (55%)
  • Optimistic about business prospects (62%)
  • Strong focus on growth (72%)
  • Product relevance as a top concern (72%)
  • Surge in Operating Model Transformations (76%)
  • Adapting to government regulation a high priority (34%)
  • Risk management not regularly discussed (27%)

Contrasted with the pwc CEO survey I wrote about earlier, talent issues don’t seem to be top of mind for the CEOs in KPMG’s survey pool. I think this is pretty interesting.

Of course, surveys are all about the questions asked and the answer choices provided. If talent, people and culture aren’t part of the answer or topic choices, then they won’t show up in the results. If KPMG didn’t put them in and pwc did. I think that’s pretty interesting, too.

Back to the KPMG report, headcount growth projections are significant from the surveyed CEOs, but a concern about any skills or talent shortage that would provide headwind to this growth isn’t mentioned. Even though 216 of 400 CEOs say that they expect to grow their headcount 6% or more during the next three years. Interesting.

Aug 18 2015 KPMG

Here’s where people do show up in the survey: as one of 5 “top concerns about my company:”

  • Financial performance
  • Risk management concerns
  • Workforce issues
  • Operational issues
  • Ability to innovate

These “workforce issues” show up in the risk management section, but there is no description of what those issues are and how they show up as risks. Or how to mitigate them. Interesting.

Based on the survey analysis, the report’s conclusion gives these final recommendations to CEOs:

  • Transform or wither
  • Stay relevant
  • Become an information-driven organization
  • View everything through the lens of efficient growth

Not what I expected based on almost every other CEO survey report I’ve seen this year. But if I step back a minute and forget that this report is focused on the CEO, wouldn’t these four recommendations work just as well for the CHRO and the HR Department as a whole? Yes. Yes they would.

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Financial Wellness is Officially a Thing

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If you’ve ever had an employee lose their home to foreclosure, if you’ve ever had an employee lose everything in a fire, if you’ve ever had an employee deal with the costs of catastrophic medical bills, then you know that personal financial pressures are not good for your workplace. The personal financial pressures beating down on one employee impact the whole workgroup. Everyone’s productivity drops. And how an employer responds (or doesn’t respond) tells a lot about the values of the organization.

There are the “social” responses: let’s raise money so Sue can pay for her husband’s medical bills not covered by our health insurance; let’s donate clothes and furniture for Bob and his family whose house burned down; or, does anyone know of a house that Beth and Mary Ellen can rent till they get on their feet?

On the surface, these are all caring and supportive organizational responses that are frequently organized by the HR Department. But let’s step back for a minute.

What if Sue and her husband had attended financial planning seminars that had delved into how to be prepared for unexpected medical costs? What if Bob had spent time one-on-one with a financial planner every year and had an emergency fund ready to go when his family lost its house? What if Beth and Mary Ellen together had spent time with an investment advisor and as a result never bought the house they gave back to the bank because they couldn’t afford it?

Financial wellness – an emerging recognition that health is about more than the physical body – is becoming more than a topic of conversation. It’s becoming a subcategory of services and benefits that employers are deploying within their total rewards packages. It used to be that only the C-Suite got financial planning support as part of their compensation. But more and more employers are recognizing that personal financial stress can be as negative in relation to employee productivity and engagement as other types of stress. And they are stepping up by providing access to apps like HelloWallet, as well as services like annual financial planning seminars and access to financial counselors all year long.

In a recent white paper, Financial Wellness, The Future of Work, Matt Fellowes and Jake Spiegel give an overview of the rise of financial wellness as an employer concern and describe the historical macro-economic context within which employers are paying attention to the financial health of their employees. It’s an interesting read and some of the data involve huge sums of money. It does an excellent job of connecting the macro (the economic trends) with the micro (your individual employees).

It’s interesting to note the birth of the Financial Wellness category as shown in the chart below:

Aug 11 2015 Hello Wallet

Born in the Great Depression (2007-2009), the steady rise of interest in this category can be understood as chronicled through media attention.

Many employers are looking for cost effective solutions that will help their employees avert personal financial disaster. Many old school benefits providers are adding programs and a great many start-ups are tackling this need as well.

Helping Sue, Bob, Beth and Mary Ellen – and their colleagues – before personal financial disaster strikes may not be just a “nice to have” in today’s complex economic environment. It might be one of the benefits features that makes your organization more attractive to prospective employees and that makes your organization more sticky for existing employees.

Join me tomorrow at 11:00amPDT/2:00pmEDT for a webinar in which we’ll take a look at the cultural values that make this kind of benefit make sense. You may register here:  http://info.hellowallet.com/2015.08Webinar.ChinaGorman.html.

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Filed under C-suite, China Gorman, Company Culture, Data Point Tuesday, Financial Wellness, HelloWallet, Total Rewards

What’s Financial Wellness Got To Do With It?

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pwc has been surveying full-time employed adults in the U.S. nationwide about their financial wellbeing for several years. The 2015 survey analysis and report was published in April and it’s a fascinating read. If you, like I, believe that dealing with employees as complete humans – not just 9:00-5:00 skill resources – is a foundational cultural value, then you’ll find real insight in Employee Financial Wellness Survey 2015 Results.

There are a number of interesting findings to which we should pay attention:

  • Fewer employees are having difficulty meeting household expenses.

pwc 2 Aug 4 2015

  • Fewer employees are carrying balances on credit cards but it’s still high at almost 50%.pwc 3 Aug 4 2015
  • Of those who carry balances, 26% still find it difficult to meet their minimum payments each month.pwc 4 Aug 4 2015

This looks like a whole lot of financial stress to me. And while progress has been reported between 2012 and 2015, it’s hard to imagine that we’re getting the best from our employees when burdened by these concerns for their families and their futures. And sure enough, one in five employees report that their work is impacted by their personal financial situations and 37% report that they spend 3 hours or more at work each week dealing with their personal finances.

pwc Finances at Work Aug 4 2015

Employers focused on creating more human cultures are starting to pay attention to this dynamic. Certainly it started to gain traction during and immediately following the recent Great Recession as the personal financial stress of most employees rose through the roof. Employers began providing more personal financial education and expanding services offered through their EAPs. These together with a slowly improving economy have resulted in some stress reduction as noted above, however, we ought to watch those Baby Boomer numbers closely in the coming years.

This report will give you some interesting and potentially actionable insights about the pressure your employees are feeling about their personal finances. It doesn’t take a Ph.D. data scientist to draw the conclusion that personal financial pressures impact the productivity of our employees.

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Filed under China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Employee Stress, Financial Wellness, pwc

HR Delegation to Cuba

data point tuesday_500Want to be among the first U.S. HR professionals to see how HR is practiced in Cuba? Then join me and co-leader Gerry Crispin on an 8 day study tour in November! Check it out here: http://citizens.peopletopeople.com/OurPrograms/CAP/Pages/2015-Citizens-GormanCrispin-Cuba.aspx

For 50 years, People to People Ambassador Programs has provided educational travel for professionals and students across the globe. With more than 20,000 Ambassadors traveling annually, People to People Ambassador Programs is one P2P Logoof the world’s most recognized and respected educational travel providers and plays a significant role in increasing global awareness. I became aware of People to People as the Chief Operating Officer of SHRM as I led delegations of senior HR professionals to India and China under their auspices. They provide a first class environment for significant learning and handle the travel logistics in an incredibly high quality way.

Gerry Crispin got the ball rolling in organizing a delegation of senior HR professionals to Cuba last month and asked me to join him as co-leader. Because of my previous experience, I leapt at the chance and am pleased to officially announce that a People to People Citizen Ambassador HR Program to Cuba is open for enrollment! Gerry and I are working together to lead what will be an incredible first-in experience in the senior HR community.

Human resource and talent management professionals are educated and trained to assist organizations with how they lead and support workers’ motivation, skills, knowledge and experience in the pursuit of individual and organizational goals.

Our delegation will interact with our Cuban counterparts during a series of meetings and site visits. We plan to meet with government officials, HR and other leaders in a variety of settings to learn and discuss:

  • How individuals entering the workforce in Cuba are prepared through training and education
  • How individuals find work and how the needs of the society, their organizations and institutions find workers
  • How Cuba’s planned economy conducts its workforce planning activities
  • How Cuba is evolving in each of the above areas given their unique situation in the global economy

In addition to the professional visits, our delegation will enjoy authentic and immersive cultural activities with the aid of an expert guide. We will meet in Miami on November 13, 2015 andl depart for Cuba early the next morning to visit Havana, Regla, and Las Terrazas. We will return to Miami on November 21.

The cost per delegate is $4,899.00 USD (based on double occupancy). This includes the overnight in Miami, round-trip international airfare from Miami, transportation within Cuba, all meetings and group cultural activities, first-class hotel accommodations, most meals, professional guides and interpreters, most tips and taxes, Cuban visa, 24 hour emergency support during travel, and essentially all other costs associated with participation.

We currently have 22 colleagues registered – which means there are only 3 spots left (a deposit of $500.00 will hold your place). If you would like to secure your spot on the delegation or if you have questions, I encourage you to contact People to People Citizen Ambassador Programs at 877-787-2000. The email address is citizens@peopletopeople.com . Enrollments will be accepted on a first-come first-served basis.

Gerry and I are pleased to be involved in this exciting opportunity and hope you will strongly consider participating along with us. Please feel free to connect with me if you’d like to discuss this experience. It will be one of the most unique and meaningful professional experiences of your life!

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Filed under China Gorman, Cuba, Data Point Tuesday, Gerry Crispin, Global HR

Skills?

data point tuesday_500

I’m traveling this week and am sharing one of my most popular posts from 2013. Might be worth a re-visit!

Skills shortages in 2020 will rise to an entirely new level. And I’m not talking about STEM skills, although they’re critical. Or the ability to speak multiple parched earthlanguages, which needs to be more common in the U.S. Or even the readiness of college graduates to take a place in the economy, which a majority of employers report is lacking.

I’m talking about the skills that the globally-connected, superstructured, computationally focused, smart-machine powered organizations of the future staffed by longer living and working, new media using employees will require.

We’re all thinking about that right? We’re re-writing job descriptions and re-wording job postings to incorporate the emerging skills we know we’ll need. Aren’t we? Well, maybe not. We know the names of the skills we can’t get today – those STEM, analytical thinking, communication and personal responsibility/accountability skills we’re sure our young people don’t have.

But really. What about the skills for the future?  I’m not sure what we’ll call those skills. I’m not even sure they’re skills, to be honest, but here’s what I do know:

  • People are living longer and will want/need to have longer careers
  • Smart machines are taking over the most routine workplace tasks
  • Data – big, medium and small – are changing the way decisions are being made at every organizational level
  • Text isn’t the only way we communicate any more
  • Organization structures and behaviors are changing due to social technologies
  • We say “Global” but what that really mean is that innovation and growth will be primarily driven through the integration of differing cultural norms and diversity

IFTF LogoThe Institute for the Future’s Future Work Skills 2020 highlights recent research that predicts the kinds of skills for which we’ll be recruiting in 2020 (which is only 6 and-a-half years away). Trust me when I write that the majority of HR/recruiting professionals are not ready for this. ATSs aren’t ready for this. LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter aren’t ready for this. And clearly, our education infrastructure isn’t ready for this. And yet, here we are.

The IFTF identifies and defines ten skills that we need to begin to teach now so we can deploy them in six-and-a-half-years.  They are:

  1. Sense-making:  the ability to determine the deeper meaning or significance of what is being expressed
  2. Social Intelligence:  the ability to connect to others in a deep and direct way, to sense and stimulate reactions and desired interactions
  3. Novel & Adaptive Thinking:  proficiency at thinking and coming up with solutions and responses beyond that which is rote or rule-based
  4. Cross-cultural Competency:  ability to operate in different cultural settings
  5. Computational Thinking:  the ability to translate vast amounts of data into abstract concepts and to understand data-based reasoning
  6. New-media Literacy:  the ability to critically assess and develop content that uses new media forms, and to leverage these media for persuasive communication
  7. Transdisciplinarity:  literacy in and ability to understand concepts across multiple disciplines
  8. Design Mindset:  the ability to represent and develop tasks and work processes for desired outcomes
  9. Cognitive Load Management:  the ability to discriminate and filter information for importance, and to understand how to maximize cognitive functioning using a variety of tools and techniques
  10. 10.   Virtual Collaboration:  the ability to work productively, drive engagement, and demonstrate presence as a member of a virtual teaSocial intelligence (we call it EQ today, I think) and Cross-cultural Competency are certainly emerging in more sophisticated and global organizations currently. Perhaps we have a leg up with these two.

But have you ever seen a job description requiring Transdisciplinarity and a Design Mindset?

What kind of behavioral interview questions would you use to determine if a candidate has Cognitive Load Management and Novel/Adaptive Thinking Skills?

How would you Tweet those jobs? How would your careers page change?

And once onboard, how would you manage the performance of employees’ Virtual Collaboration and Sense-making?

And speaking of job descriptions and performance management, how will New-media Literacy and Social Intelligence change the very nature of these processes?

Whew! We think the current skills shortage is frustrating and scary. It could be that the future skills shortage will upend everything!

 

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Filed under China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Demographics, Institute for the Future, Skills Shortage

The Optimal Technical HR Stack

data point tuesday_500I’ve written previously about the new research coming out of KeyInterval Research here and here. The third report from the dynamic duo that is Tincup and Sumser is out now and it’s a blockbuster! Determining the optimal technical HR stack is big. It’s big and expensive. It’s big and expensive and can make or break an HR leader’s career.

But first, you have to know what a technical stack is. I don’t assume that the majority of HR professionals know what this is, so here’s what Wikipedia says:

“A technology stack comprises the layers of components or services that are used to provide a software solution or application. Traditional examples include the OSI seven-layer model, the TCP/IP model, and the W3C technology stack. Technology stacks are often articulated as a list lof technologies, such as “J2EE with Java Server Faces running against a SQL Server database” or as a diagram.”

So a Technical HR Stack would be the collection of technologies/solutions that HR uses to manage all the people processes across an organization. It’s the payroll, recruiting, performance management, total rewards/recognition, learning management systems – all of these and more. And an Optimal Technical HR Stack would be the best collection of technologies/solutions that HR would use to manage the people processes across an organization.

I read some research 3 or 4 years ago that reported that organizations deploy, on average, 18 separate HR technology solutions – many of which are unable to connect with each other. These days the average may well be higher as HR professionals (and their IT partners) turn to technology to provide more efficient outcomes and the HR vendor community continues to innovate the use of SaaS, analytics, mobile and video.

So how can an HR leader or department make sense of the opportunities to apply technology, much less identify the “optimal” vendors and solutions? Well, the first step would be to buy this report. The analyses are practical. The insights are remarkable. This is a sea change in showing how HR technology is working – or not working – and what is actually happening in terms of finding solutions in an existing suite, looking for new providers or developing home grown solutions. The realities will surprise you.

The report delves into thirteen major areas of HR Technology and reveals 8 separate metrics in each area. The metrics include some of these:

  • Market Penetration
  • Net Promoter Score®
  • How long companies keep their software
  • Whether companies outsource, develop internally or use a tool that is part of an existing suite

The areas covered are:

KIR Optimal HR Stack July 14 2015It’s interesting to note that as a result of their research, nine other areas of adoption will be added to their research agenda for 2016. Some of those are Engagement, Collaboration Tools, Video Interviewing, and Assessment.

Without giving away the groceries here, some of the interesting findings include the following;

  • The components (see above) with the highest and lowest NPS® scores are not what you think
  • The replacement cycle (the amount of time between purchases) might be exactly what you would predict
  • The frequency of developing homegrown solutions is pretty low
  • The market penetration of the components is less than you would have predicted
  • The likelihood that a component is outsourced is surprising
  • Vendor brand recall is pretty high

Let’s look at just one of the thirteen solution components:  Recruiting Systems. The analysts at KeyInterval believe that “Recruiting is where innovation happens most frequently in HR.”

“With between 12 and 20 sub-processes, recruiting operations rarely use all of the same tools in the same sequence. Unlike other HR functions recruiting techniques vary by job, industry, region, corporate culture and, business model.” Because of this, the analysis shows that practitioners don’t much like their recruiting systems. The conflict between the required fast action of identifying, recruiting and hiring the right kind of talent, and the legal requirements to collect and retain hiring data often collide. Indeed, the KeyInterval research shows that no other tool in the HR Tech Stack is so conflicted. HR professionals “routinely expect innovative results and performance from a system that is designed to mitigate legal risk.”

If you’re thinking about going to the market for a new HR technology solution, or you’ve finally decided to replace an existing solution, this report should be your first stop. It will help you see what other organizations your size are doing – buying, building or outsourcing. It will provide a road map for how to begin.

Here’s the thing:  it will make you smarter than you already are. You can order it here.

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Filed under #HRTechTrends, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, HR Data, HR Technology, KeyInterval Research, Recruiting