Where Do Candidates Come From?

data point tuesday_500 There is a robust conversation in the talent arena about “candidate experience” led largely by Gerry Crispin and Elaine Orler, founders of the Talent Board and the Candidate Experience Awards (#CandE). There are lots of opinions about whether ensuring that candidates for hire have a high quality experience is meaningful. Some think the juice isn’t worth the squeeze. But I think most believe treating candidates like consumers is smart business. Two new vendor publications discuss aspects of candidate experience:

  1. Creating a 21st Century Application Process from RolePoint, and
  2. Beyond Employees: Employee Referral Programs Redefined from Smashfly

Both reports were published within the last month and contain analysis of current data. The Rolepoint whitepaper was written by global recruiting legend Bill Boorman. It highlights Intuit’s approach to embracing a social approach to the apply process, with a particular focus on making the application process streamlined and device agnostic “with equal attention paid to user experience and interface on both desktop and mobile.” Bill is a legend for a reason and his approach to this topic in the whitepaper is compelling. The Smashfly presentation provides insight into the employee/candidate referral landscape with some interesting data:

  • 77% of organizations currently have a formal referral program

  • 32% of new hires come from referrals on average, and rate highest in quality among sources of hire

  • 57% of organizations limit their referral program to employees only

  • 43% extend their program beyond employees to include alumni, contractors, customers, vendors and/or partners

  • Analysis shows those that reach beyond employees get 28% more hires from referrals and 8% better quality candidates

This survey data is interesting, and I key in on the 4th bullet. Extending referrals into other stakeholder groups makes a great deal of sense – and correlates to higher quality candidates. Take a look below: Smashfly May 19 2015 If you’re in the 23% of employers without a candidate referral program, this might be a wake up and smell the coffee moment. If you’re in the 57% of organizations limiting referrals to employees only, this might be a pedal to the metal moment. Either way, whether you’re recruiting programmers, developers, customer service agents, nurses, marketers, HR professionals or executives, approaching your trusted partners – including employees – for referrals makes good, logical sense. And treating potential candidates like consumers, that is, making it as easy for them to press the “apply” button as it is to press the “buy” button seems like a tenant from Econ 101. Check out these reports from Rolepoint and Smashfly.

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Filed under Bill Boorman, Candidate Experience, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Elaine Orler, Employee Referrals, Gerry Crispin, Rolepoint, Smashfly, Talent Acquisition

HR Tech Implementations or Business Tech Implementations?

data point tuesday_500Last month I wrote about the inaugural report issued by the analysts at KeyInterval Research. (You know them as John Sumser and William Tincup.) They have an ambitious research publication agenda – one report a month. And here’s why I like what John and William are doing:

KeyInterval is an experiment. It is our goal to stay experimental for the life of the company. With each new report, we’re experimenting with survey methodology, data sourcing, data screening, the mix of qualitative and quantitative information, and the edges of HR Technology practice. It is a search for standard practices. We are more interested in what practitioners do than what some self-appointed guru thinks they should do. Our goal is to understand the actual experience of the people who use HR Technology.”

There is little independent information about what actually works in the HR tech space outside of vendor sponsored information, that I find their approach refreshing and really useful. Their second report has just been released and it’s another really interesting look, this time at how organizations successfully implement HR technology. The report, Successful Implementations, reveals exactly how successful HR technology implementations happen. If you’ve got an implementation in your future, these findings would be a wise investment.

As with their previous report, Successful Implementations is organized in a way that makes the findings practical and easy to consume. It defines what an implementation is, gives an overview of the important insights and major findings, analyzes qualitative conversations with HR leaders, picks the right data points to share, exposes commonly held myths, identifies notable vendors and shares the study’s methodology. The piece de resistance is the quick Pocket Guide: Successful Implementation Checklist.

Here’s a quick overview of one of the data sets that might be interesting to you:

KeyInterval May 12 2015

I’m interested in all these points, but the first really speaks volumes to me. HR leaders who have sponsored successful HR technology implementations prioritize the fundamental aspects of the projects as:

  1. Quality (user satisfaction)
  2. Cost
  3. Speed

I like the order of these priorities. Putting the user (employee) experience first is just where I’d want HR to be. Putting cost second, means that fiscal responsibility is critical. Ranking time to completion third shows an operational understanding that I like. Together these show enormous business acumen. Perhaps one of the reasons their HR tech implementations have been successful is that the HR leaders on point are really business leaders first and HR leaders second. Perhaps these were more Business Tech than HR Tech. I wonder if John and William could shed light on that hypothesis…

Again, Successful Implementations contains great data, analysis and insight that would be valuable to any organization contemplating an HR technology implementation. Here’s where you can buy a copy.

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Filed under China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, HR Technology, John Sumser, KeyInterval, Technology Implementation

Let’s Go to Cuba and Learn!

Want 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!

P2P LogoFor 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 of 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.

Without any serious communication we already have 8 colleagues registered (a deposit of $500.00 will hold your place) – with several more planning to enroll. With a maximum delegation of 25, the spots will fill up quickly. 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, Gerry Crispin, Human Resources in Cuba, People to People

Improve Corporate Performance: Invest in Leadership/Talent Development

data point tuesday_500The relationship between talent and financial performance has been an “intuitive” given to enlightened leaders for a long time.

“Top executives intuitively understand that they cannot win without the right people and the right skills.”

Thanks to recent work by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) it’s no longer intuitive. The data are in and they are convincing. BCG fielded its Global Leadership and Talent Index survey of 1,263 CEOs and HR directors of global companies in 85 countries. The results are compelling to say the least.

The high level findings include:

  • Leadership and talent management capabilities have a surprisingly strong correlation with financial performance. “Talent Magnets” – those companies that rated themselves strongest on 20 leadership and talent management capabilities – increased their revenues 2.2 times as fast and their profits 1.5 times afast than “talent laggards,” or those companies that rated themselves the weakest.
  • The performance spread on leadership and talent management capabilities was wide. The talent magnets had an average capability score of 2.5 (on a scale of -3 to 3), while the talent laggards had an average score of -2.2.
  • Companies – even talent laggards – that move up just one level will experience a distinct, measurable, and meaningful business performance return.

With organizations spending an estimated $40 Billion (yes, Billion!) worldwide on leadership and talent development, these findings may enable leaders all over the world to re-orient their priorities, investmemts and behavior on talent/leadership development and gain the critical involvement and support with all the members of the C-suite.

Through their research BCG divided leadership/talent management capabilities into six categories:

  • Strategy
  • Leadership and talent model
  • Talent sourcing
  • People development
  • Engagement
  • Culture

And it’s interesting to note their definitions require a great deal of accountability from leaders. This is a differentiated approach and one that should spur some thoughtful analysis by HR leaders. The chart below lays out the performance differences between the lowest organization performers – Talent Laggards and the highest organization performers – Talent Magnets and the average performers in between.

BCG May 5 2015 3Interesting, yes? What’s even more interesting, then, are the data connecting these leadership/talent management performance levels with business outcomes. Take a look:

BCG May 5 2015 2In addition to proving the real correlation between leadership/talent management performance and financial performance, a valuable take away from this data is BCG’s conclusion that

“The companies that excel at leadership and talent management have figured out how to involve their leaders, not just the HR team, meaningfully and regularly in people development. “

The one-two punch of investment in leadership/talent development and significant accountability of senior leaders should help HR leaders around the world create successful business cases for moving leadership/talent development investments forward. Let’s get ready to rumble…

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Filed under China Gorman, Talent development, HR Data, HR Analytics, Boston Consulting Group, Data Point Tuesday, Leadership Development

The Win-Win of Leveraging Baby Boomers

data point tuesdayI’m a Baby Boomer, born smack-dab in the middle of my generation. And I’m beginning to concretely think about the answers to questions like:

  • What is the legacy that my career will leave behind?
  • What kinds of work do I really want to do going forward?
  • What will retirement look like for me?
  • When will I want to retire (because it certainly is the last thing on my mind now…)?

Just as I wrestle with these questions, organizations are facing stiff headwinds on the talent pipeline front making workers like me critical components in workforce planning activities. We all know that workforce demographics are changing rapidly and many organizations are flummoxed when they try to get a picture of how to respond to this critical talent dynamic. Say what we will about the criticality of Millennial employees, many organizations are starting to pay equal attention to retaining the backbones of their organizations: Baby Boomers.

A terrific source of practical and actionable research based information is the SHRM Foundation’s recently published Effective Practice Guideline: The Aging Workforce: Leveraging the Talents of Mature Employees. As with all the reports in this series, it takes a rigorous approach to discovering what the research says and what organizations are actually doing in the topic area. If you haven’t discovered the SHRM Foundation’s EPGs, you’ll thank me after you download and read this free report. Not just because the data are useful and the examples practical, but because it is written for practitioners not academics and is super easy to consume.

“Mature workers will be a firm’s largest source of talent in the next two decades. There will not be enough younger workers for all the positions an organization needs to fill, particularly those requiring advanced manufacturing skills or advanced education in science, technology engineering and math.”

We all know this. The real question is what do we do about it? And this report lays out a roadmap for data gathering within your organization, a planning outline, successful examples from other organizations, and strategies for moving your plan forward.

EPG April 28 2015This chart lays out the challenge well. What follows is a trove of information about mature workers. What they want, what they can do, and the inordinate benefits of keeping them engaged in the workforce. Here are several benefits outlined in the report:

EPG 2 April 28 2015The real meat of the report are the 15 strategies for engaging and retaining mature workers that are based on both research and real organization practice. There are mini-case studies from 30 employers sprinkled throughout the strategies that share effective practices. Perhaps the most impactful sentence in the entire report is in the introduction to the 15 strategies: “The best way to engage and retain workers of any age is to provide a strong vision at the executive level, fair compensation and competent, respectful supervisors.” While the focus is clearly on the acquisition and retention of mature workers, every age demographic benefits from these strategies.

15 Strategies for engaging and retaining mature workers:

  1. Acknowledge Work Contributions
  2. Offer Flexible Work Arrangements
  3. Offer Bridge Employment
  4. Support Health and Wellness
  5. Provide Caregiver Support
  6. Offer Skills Training
  7. Provide Career and Personal Growth Opportunities
  8. Use Mixed-Age Workgroups
  9. (Re)Design Work to Match Worker Capabilities
  10. Train Managers and Supervisors
  11. Provide Support for Retirement Planning
  12. Address Age Discrimination (Real and Perceived)
  13. Foster an Age-Positive Organizational Culture
  14. Foster Job and Career Embeddedness
  15. Facilitate Critical Knowledge Transfer

It’s obvious that none of these strategies are rocket science. In fact, as you look at the list you might think, “well, these are just common sense practices that will support the engagement and retention of ALL of our workers.” And that’s the point. We can’t focus our workforce planning activities on one generation alone. And ensuring that we Baby Boomers remain engaged and valued will make the demographic transition that is looming just over the horizon more effectively managed for organizations, for workers and their families, and for society. I call that a win-win!

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Filed under Baby Boomers, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Effective Practice Guidelines, SHRM Foundation, Workforce Demographics, Workforce Planning

Big HR Data By Any Other Name

data point tuesday_500I’m mindful of Laurie Ruettimann’s blog post from a couple of weeks ago wherein she put it straight out: HR Research Isn’t Research, It’s Marketing. She ends her post with this: Remember — today’s HR research is marketing, wrapped up in survey data, presented for consumption as sales collateral. And, of course, she’s right. Lots and lots of surveys are fielded in the HR space by consulting firms, service and products providers, professional associations, academics, writers – heck, by anyone who wants to sell something to HR professionals. And many of those surveys are biased, have no real hypotheses, and the resulting white papers are designed to create the case for you want to buy whatever the sponsor is selling.

But this isn’t news. We all know this. HR professionals all over the world know this. And probably none of these white papers with their biased surveys ever propelled a sale. I think we can agree on this.

But I still find value in these so-called research papers because they raise questions, spur investigation, create doubt and motivate thinking. Not a bad thing for HR professionals. Asking questions, investigating additional data, analysis and research, creating doubt about the effectiveness of current practice and motivating thought to consider other ways of creating value for the business – these are all very good things.

I thought about all of this as I read KPMG’s recent white paper, Evidence-based HR: The bridge between your people and delivering business strategy. And as I read it, I thought about whether or not it was useful in creating a case for HR professionals to ask more questions, get a handle on organization data – not just HR data, and think about the future effectiveness of HR in the organization to drive greater business value. And I believe it does. So I recommend that you read it with the understanding that KPMG would like to sell you some consulting services. (With a hat tip to Laurie.)

 The primary points are in no way earth shattering, but the underlying data give some new color to the discussion of HR, Big Data and creating business value:

  • Evidence-based HR is still at the embryonic, pioneering stage

  • The progress of evidence-based HR is hampered by a negative perception of the HR function

  • Evidence threatens the established order, inevitably triggering resistance as a consequence

  • Whatever the obstacles, and whatever the resistance, the growth of evidence-based HR will gain momentum; companies and HR practitioners must respond urgently to avoid losing ground

That third point was particularly interesting to me: “Evidence threatens the established order, inevitably triggering resistance as a consequence.” Evidence threatens the established order in HR for HR professionals who believe the people part of the business is more art than science. Not new. It also threatens the established order in the C-Suite and in other functions where executives have free reign to act on their own experience and perceptions of what works in leading people. And resistance to HR analytics comes from locations in the organization other than HR. New. And also interesting.

“The new era may also endanger the myth of the omnipotent executive, and the massive rewards that flow from it. Decisions based on gut instinct are now becoming exposed to immediate criticism. ‘Evidence suddenly makes people accountable, quite an uncomfortable feeling for some people…’ “

I’m interested that some of those uncomfortable people are other than HR people.

The data in the report are presented appealingly. Here’s one graph:

KPMG April 21 2015 An interesting finding is that the biggest obstacle to the use of evidence in people management is corporate culture. Not HR’s reputation, but corporate culture. Also new and maybe worth considering.

KPMG’s concludes the report with this, “…the days of basing people decisions on the whims or personal motives of one person at the helm are about to end. Organizations that acknowledge that inevitability already have a substantial head start.” That’s more a message to CEOs than it is to CHROs. More a message to the C-Suite than to HR practitioners. I just hope CHROs and HR practitioners are ready when the message is received!

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Filed under Big Data, C-suite, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, HR Analytics, HR Data, KPMG

Starbucks’ Ethical Sourcing: Beans AND Talent

data point tuesday_500I read in the newspaper yesterday morning that Starbucks has achieved an incredible milestone for the ethical sourcing of virtually all its coffee – 99%! This means that more than 400 million pounds of coffee served globally meets really tough economic, environmental and social standards for growers from whom they buy their coffee. According to Starbucks’ website, they take a “comprehensive approach to ethical sourcing, using responsible purchasing practices; farmer support; economic, social and environmental standards; industry collaboration and community development programs.” And it’s all verified by third parties like C.A.F.E. (Coffee and Farmer Equity) Practices, Fairtrade and Certification Global Services. There is much to admire in Starbucks’ commitment to and execution in the ethical sourcing of its primary physical ingredient and I believe this achievement connects to what we could call the ethical sourcing of talent.

Starbucks also recently announced that it is making a full four-year college degree available without cost to all of its more than 140,000 full- and part-time partners (employees) through Arizona State University’s online degree program. Let’s see… Ethical sourcing of coffee beans from farmers all over the world and offering full college tuition coverage to tens of thousands of employees. I see a consistency of approach to trustworthy leadership here that is hard to find today anywhere in the world.

There are thousands of organizations all over the world that are serious about their corporate social responsibility commitments. They have programs that are helping to build communities, reduce environmental impact, improve the public health, educate young people – the list goes on and on. But these are programmatic approaches reliant upon individual leader commitments, not essential strands of the warp and woof of the organization’s foundation. As an observer of corporate culture, I find it rare to observe an organization that sees every aspect of the business as part of the whole cloth of social responsibility. Starbucks certainly sets the bar high in this regard. From a talent acquisition perspective, paying full college tuition for 100% of your employees is the most ethical sourcing strategy imaginable. And it makes sense when it’s lined up next to ethically sourcing 99% of its primary ingredient, coffee beans.

Trustworthy leadership is reliable in its consistency, transparency and ethical behavior. Starbucks is a pretty great example of this.

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Filed under China Gorman, Corporate Social Responsibility, Ethical Sourcing, Starbucks, Talent Acquisition