How Bad is Your Succession Management?

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84% of organizations report having a lack of candidates in the pipeline ready to assume open and critical positions.

That’s not good, folks. As we wring our hands on the lack of talent in the external pipeline, perhaps we should be spending more time attending to the skills and development of the folks already in the organization!

Laci Loew, Vice President and Principal Analyst at Brandon Hall Group, recently published their State of Succession Management 2015. If your organization is in the 84% of organizations above, this report will be helpful in laying out the challenge, what and how high performing organizations in this regard are executing differently, and how to think about the first steps of moving your succession planning needs forward. The report is a great read and has some pretty terrific content and data included.

This graph gives you a taste of what you can expect in terms of getting started as well as what successful outcomes are from both succession management and business focus perspectives.

Brandon Hall Succession Mgmt 1

The report outlines 7 critical findings of Brandon Hall’s research on this topic:

  1. Talent pipeline health continues to threaten leadership continuity.

  2. Succession management commitment is on the rise with prioritization for a formal strategy for all parts of the organization.

  3. Technology is under-utilized, hindering efficiency of succession management.

  4. Successor development as a critical component of succession management is improving.

  5. Lateral mobility takes center stage as a critical successor development strategy.

  6. Using predictive analytics to proactively plan for critical position vacancies will separate organizations with effective succession management from less effective organizations.

  7. Today’s succession management budgets are modest at best, but expected to expand significantly over the next 12 months.

The insights fleshed out in each of these key findings are critical reading for any talent management professional. And you’ll also get some useful data to use in building the ROI for succession management investment in next year’s budget.

The report is published by Skillsoft and can be accessed here. At 34 pages, this is a solid piece of analysis and a useful and highly practical read.

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Filed under Brandon Hall Group, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Laci Loew, Skillsoft, Succession Planning, Talent Management, Talent pipeline

Today’s Frontier is NOT Technology

data point tuesday_500I’m not sure where I ran across this report from Interact Authentically, Disengagement and Separation of the Virtual Worker. But I’m glad I found it. What actually caught my eye as I was reading it, were the last two sentences:

“We cannot forget our most basic core goal in business: to create connections and relationships. Today’s frontier is not the technology required to run a global company – it is applying technology while bringing along the nurturing, engaging aspect of human communication.”

That really resonates with my work on the WorkHuman project with the Globoforce folks.

The report, published in January, analyzes a survey conducted by Harris Interactive among 2,026 adults over 17 years old in the United States. Here’s an interesting data point that may interest you: nearly two-thirds (63%) of U.S. employees report that they ever work virtually. Surprised? I was. Given the heated discussions about the lack of workplace flexibility and work/life integration, that’s a lot of people with at least some flexibility. And over two-thirds of those folks think their management needs to communicate better in order to keep them engaged.

Other findings of note:

Interact Sept 29 2015The message seems clear – flexibility to work from home isn’t enough for employees. They still need to feel the love from their bosses. In fact, working from home requires managers to do more to keep their employees feeling engaged and that they have a human, real relationship with the organization, their work, and their boss.

Certainly not rocket science. But a good reminder that the big challenge isn’t finding the right technology to enable more flexible work arrangements. The big challenge is keeping the humanity flowing when employees are isolated from their colleagues and bosses.

Here’s a thought: maybe Marissa Mayer wasn’t crazy after all!


Filed under China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, HR Data, Interact Authentically, Work Life Balance, Workflex

It’s All About the Recruiters

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Jobvite’s annual Recruiter Nation Survey is out today. In its eighth year, the survey was conducted in July 2015 and completed by 1,404 recruiting and human resources professionals in a wide range of industries.

Much of the survey data is not surprising: use of social media tools by recruiters is strong and growing; referrals are still the most effective source of quality hires; hiring activity is up; the hunt for talent will remain or get more competitive in the next 12 months. No surprises here.

Here’s a surprise, though: only 4% of recruiters DON’T use social media tools in the recruiting process. But the tools used go way beyond Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter.

Jobvite 1 Sept 2015

While referrals continue to be the most effective source of good hires, the frequency that other sources provide similar results is interesting. It looks like job boards are the Scott Walker of candidate sources – they started out strong (57% of recruiters reported using them in the 2009 report) but are fading as time passes.

Jobvite 2 Sept 2015Buried on the last page of the survey analysis is some data that I found interesting having to do with what recruiters are putting in their budgets. With the rise of the RPO sector, and a seemingly robust executive search/staffing sector, only 13% of recruiters are increasing their spend in the use of outside agencies. That seems counterintuitive to me. Employment branding is the other category surprise with fully 46% of internal recruiters increasing their spend. That verifies that employment branding is a thing.

Jobvite 3 Sept 2015There are lots of vendor whitepapers out there. Many do a good job of sharing useful data and analysis that prove to be useful at the practitioner level while burnishing their corporate brand. This one does both. It also has some pretty terrific graphics and the visual style is engaging. It’s 16 pages long and is a quick read. Download it here.


Filed under China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Employee Referrals, JobVite, Recruiting, Recruiting Technology, Social Media, Social Recruiting

Watson Says Multiple Channels of Recognition Mean Higher Engagement

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Here’s what I like about whitepapers from IBM’s Smarter Workforce Institute: they are short in length and long on data and context. I appreciate that they share the underlying scientific concepts within their analyses of the data from their massive WorkTrends™ survey. 19,000 workers in 26 countries, a cross-section of industries, all major job families, and thousands of organizations responded to the 2013/2014 survey. Watson is all about slicing and dicing data and he came up with some interesting, although not surprising, conclusions about the impact of multiple channels of employee recognition.

In a point in time when organizations are grasping at any reasonable straw to increase engagement, decrease turnover and compete more successfully in the talent market, new approaches to employee recognition appear to be providing significant outcomes and ROI. Legacy recognition programs that attempt to reward employees for sticking around for 3, 5, 10 and 15 years have long ceased to motivate engagement or even longevity. Who would stick around one day longer to ensure they got an ebony clock on their 5 year service anniversary?

This survey analysis, How do I recognize thee, let me count the ways, explains concepts like Reinforcement Theory, ERG Theory and Social Exchange Theory to provide context for these findings that link recognition to engagement:

  • Employees who receive recognition are more likely to be engaged at work. The engagement level of employs who receive recognition is almost three times higher than the engagement level of those who do not.

  • Workers who receive recognition are less likely to quit. Without recognition, about half (51%) of surveyed employees say they intend to leave, with recognition just one quarter (25%) say they intend to leave their organizations.

  • Employees whose organizations use multiple communication channels for recognition are more likely to feel appreciated and show a higher level of employee engagement. The more channels used for recognition, the higher the employee engagement level.

  • The findings imply that technologies such as social and mobile could be strong candidates for the effective delivery of recognition as they offer interactive, frequent and immediate communication via multiple channels.

When voluntary quits in the U.S. are at their highest levels since early 2008, and the number of open jobs are at their highest level since 2000, it’s no wonder that employers are increasingly turning their attention to strategies that encourage employees to engage more and leave less. And because employers spend around 1% of their total payroll on reward/recognition programs, many are beginning to look at the ROI of that spend – and are frankly willing to spend more to increase their ROI. A negative ROI on 1% of payroll isn’t a good investment. But a positive ROI on 2% of payroll? That requires a new context and solid evidence that the investment will pay off. Data analysis like that found in this report, helps organizations create the appropriate business case for moving reward/recognition programs into the 21st century.

The important takeaway from this analysis is that one channel of recognition communication doesn’t cut it anymore (if it ever did). The data clearly suggest that multiple technology-enabled channels including social and mobile increase the financial and engagement ROI of recognition programs. Years of service awards don’t move the needle any more.

IBM SWI Recognition whitepaperAt a point in time where nearly half of employers are considering implementing new or additional recognition programs in the next 12 months, adopting approaches that use multiple technology-enabled channels appear to be the smart way to go. At least that’s what Watson thinks.



Filed under Big Data and HR, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Employee Engagement, Employee Recognition, IBM Smarter Workforce, Watson

Boomerangs Are Coming Back! (See what I did there?)

data point tuesday_500It used to be that being a “job hopper” was a bad thing. Employers wouldn’t touch someone who moved around a lot. And employees almost never wanted to go back to a former employer. They had good reasons for leaving. Today, however, most understand that boomerangs are a fact of life. But what if someone who left your organization in good standing applies for a job and wants to return today? Will you hold his/her decision to leave against them? Or will you think that their pathway to productivity will be shorter because they already know the culture and the ropes?

Workforce Institute LogoThose are among the questions that were asked in a recent survey by the Workforce Institute at Kronos Inc. and More than 1,800 HR professionals, people managers and employees were surveyed and the results show a shift in attitude regarding the desirability of rehiring former employees.

Some of the highlights from the survey results include:

  • Organizations and workers alike are coming around on rehiring former employees.
  • Boomerangs are creating increased – and unexpected – competition for job seekers as the hiring market continues to improve.
  • Familiarity, easier training, and knowledge of the former employer are benefits for boomerangs and organizations – yet some concerns still linger.
  • HR says it has a strategy for maintaining relationships with former employees, but workers and managers disagree.

The first three findings are pretty predictable, I think. But the fourth shows some interesting opportunities for HR to communicate more strategically to their important stakeholders.

The study showed that while organizations appear to more open to hiring boomerangs, 80% of employees report that former employers do not have a strategy in place to encourage them to return. Additionally, 64% believe that there doesn’t appear to be a strategy for maintaining a relationship once they depart. And, finally, nearly half of managers say their organization has no alumni relationship strategy.

Contrast these findings with HR’s report that they use multiple strategies for keeping in touch with former high-performing employees – like email newsletters (45%), recruiters (30%), and alumni groups (27%). A focus on cultivating alumni groups appear to be more common than managers or employees believe, with Facebook as the most favored social platform (42%). Email (39%) and LinkedIn (33%) are also frequently used alumni relationship platform hosts.

HR clearly has an opportunity to engage both the people managers and high performing employees in their organizations around the topic of keeping former employees tethered to the organization through alumni relationship building.

Joyce Maroney, Director of The Workforce Institute at Kronos believes this:

“With this boomerang trend on the rise, it’s more important than ever for organizations to create a culture that engages employees – even long after they’ve gone – and organizations should consider how the boomerang employee factor should affect their off-boarding and alumni communications strategies for top performers.”

Joyce is right. In the increasingly tough talent supply/demand landscape, employers can’t afford to overlook any part of the talent pool when seeking new employees. Boomerangs have a lot going for them and they should be kept top of mind by managers and talent acquisition professionals alike.

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Filed under Boomerangs, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Joyce Maroney, Kronos, Talent Acquisition, Workforce Institute

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?


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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Filed under CEOs, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, KPMG