Category Archives: Connecting Dots

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

CEO Insights: The Bumpy Road to ALWAYS ON

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PWC’s 17th annual global CEO report “Good to Grow: 2014 US CEO Survey”, provides a thorough snapshot of executive leadership perspectives and approaches at the current moment. PWC’s report includes perspectives from over 1,300 CEOs from 68 countries, including 162 CEOs with US-headquartered organizations. It’s clear from the responses that, globally, CEOs are making many changes within their organizations. For example, 86% of CEOs stated that advancing technologies are going to transform their businesses over the next five years. Positively, PWC’s data also suggests that CEOs are finding reasons to be more confident in many places (89% of US CEOs are fairly sure their companies will deliver revenue growth this year). In this period of rapid change though, what approaches are CEOs taking, and what insights can they offer?

The majority of CEO’s interviewed reported that “five great forces of transformation” are reshaping business as we know it:

  • Technology is making an impact across the whole enterprise.
  • CEOs are reinventing the operating model towards an “always on customer experience.”
  • CEOs are seeking new ways to work together in joint ventures and alliances to capture disruptive technologies faster.
  • In some cases, the business model is being innovated.
  • There are rising concerns about talent.

As organizations undeniably shift into a period of growth (62% expect to hire more people this year, the highest level of anticipated headcount expansion in the past five years for this survey), how do these five great forces of transformation come into play?

All CEOs seem to agree, that technology is what propels business, and will continue to do so. PWC states that, in part, “Technology” is a watchword for 2014 because CEOs use it when talking about both core innovation and information technology (IT). Technology has become an essential part of strategy in all areas – for organizations pursuing new business models, meeting new customer expectations, remaking their operating model, forging new alliances, or tackling talent challenges.

pwc-Technology

 

CEOs are reshaping business models though innovation. They are taking cues from the technology industry that has paved the way by creating value for customers in a multitude of new ways. Organizations are looking to create increased profit for what they offer beyond step-by-step product innovation, and they are stepping out of the box to innovate in ways such as turning a product into a service, or vice versa. New approaches to innovation and R&D are part of an increased strategy by many US CEOs in 2014. For example, some organizations report funding innovation incubators to foster rapid prototyping of new ideas, while others report wanting to join up with emerging market innovators who are developing low-cost products.

PWC’s survey also indicates that customer strategies will get a serious makeover in 2014, with 52% of CEOs reporting that they are planning to change their customer growth and retention strategies. As creating a positive and personal customer experience only continues to increase in value (and as a standard of expectation) more organizations will see CEOs leading them toward a strategy of customer interaction. This will move away from stand-alone transactions to a sustainable “always on” relationship with customers. While CEOs plan out such new strategies, they are also discovering that most current capabilities are “fair game for reinvention.” The vast majority of CEOs are already debuting a fair number of change initiatives with a focus on moving away from rigid structures towards more nimble, adaptable operations.

pwc-reinventing-operations

Business alliances and joint ventures also appear as a CEO noted trend for 2014 – within the U.S. and globally. 42% of CEOs surveyed report that they plan to enter a business alliance/joint venture this year while only 4% expect they’ll exit an existing relationship. CEOs are also looking at acquisitions, with 39% of US CEOs planning to complete a domestic acquisition in 2014 and 28% planning on a cross-border deal.

A last trend to note from this survey is in regards to talent. I’ve talked about the talent acquisition “crisis” or “war on talent” in past posts, and unfortunately, PWC’s CEO survey does nothing to dispel this issue. 70% of US business leaders report being concerned about the availability of key skills. This compares to 54% that said so in 2013.

pwc-skill gaps

Despite continued economic uncertainty both within the U.S and globally, PWC reports that the number of US CEOs who believe that global growth is returning has more than doubled since last year, perhaps indicating that organizations are successfully finding a path forward. It is also clear from the research though, that this is a time of intense transformation, which encompasses a wide range of organizational areas and strategies. The ability to navigate such transformational trends is vital for organizational success. So while the overall sentiment is positive for growth, the ride to get there is going to bumpy. Are you and your teams ready to be “always on?”

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Filed under 100 Best Companies to Work For, Business Success, China Gorman, Connecting Dots, Data Point Tuesday, Engagement, HR, HR Data, Information Technology, Talent pipeline

From the Archives: In support of Marissa Mayer and Jackie Reses

This was the most popular of my blog posts so far in 2013. I was one of few bloggers in the HR space supporting Marissa Mayer and Jackie Reses when they eliminated telecommuting at Yahoo! Well, it’s 7 months later and guess what? Yahoo! is performing better on a whole host of KPIs. The Workflex movement is still alive and Mayer was just named #1 on FORTUNE’s 40 Under 40 list. Hmmm…

 

Freud with cigarSometimes a cigar is just a cigar and sometimes a policy change is just a policy change.  And to attribute larger societal meaning is misguided and, well, you know, not smart.

Ending telecommuting at Yahoo! isn’t a new skirmish in the “mommy war” as USA Today proclaims.

Ending telecommuting at Yahoo! isn’t a frontal attack on GenX and GenY as countless bloggers are screaming.

Ending telecommuting at Yahoo! isn’t a stake in the heart of workplace flexibility as SHRM believes.

Ending telecommuting at Yahoo! is a bold decision by a bold CEO trying to turn her business around.

I’m a business leader.  I get it.

I get it that when you’re turning around a business you frequently have to make decisions that are unpopular.

I get it that when you make decisions to support your strategic plan others will assign meaning that was never intended.

I get it that you may have to make decisions that will change the culture in big ways.Yahoo!

I get the panic stress you feel when you decide to that cultural change is required and that decision will potentially put good people at risk.

I’m a business leader. I get it.

Turning around a business isn’t for sissies of either sex.  Ask Carly Fiorina and Mark Hurd and Meg Whitman.

The current brouhaha over Yahoo!’s decision to bring the field back home and end telecommuting is out of control.  The HR community, in particular, is totally wound around the crankshaft over this decision.  The cries of “foul!” are everywhere in the Twitterverse, the Blogosphere, old media and new media, radio and television.

And I understand the concern, although some of the hysteria is a little hard to take.  Workflex, as SHRM and the Families and Work Institute call it, is a boon for working mothers and fathers, a requirement – we’re told – for hiring and retaining GenX and GenY, and a central plank in improving engagement.  Their data is solid.  I get it.

Except when it isn’t working.  Except when management has lost line of sight into employee productivity.  Except when the culture of work and communication has gotten inefficient and lost its discipline and rigor. Except when out of sight truly is out of mind.

Marissa MayerI give Mayer and Reses big time credit for stepping up to the plate and swinging for the fences.  I saw the memo.  It said that the time for focusing on speed, communication, collaboration and quality is at hand. And in the CEO’s judgment, that means being physically together in hallways, work spaces and cafeterias.

They’re turning a business around, people!  And that’s intense work.  It requires all hands on deck.  I think Mayer and Reses Jackie Reseswant – and need – to harness the talent in Yahoo! in ways that keep the focus and intensity high.  In an environment where leaders can be hands-on and where communication isn’t delayed one second by distance and physical separation.

Say what you will about the value of engaging your workforce by allowing flexible work arrangements:  doing things the way you’ve always done them and expecting a different outcome is, well, you know, not smart.  And no one ever called Mayer that.

Saving a business isn’t about comfort and preferences. It’s about rolling up sleeves and doing whatever it takes to emerge triumphant.  And if that means some long-term, previously engaged colleagues decide that the new requirements don’t fit their lifestyle, then they’ll make other plans.  That’s tough, for sure.  But it’s how things work sometimes.  Everyone has choices to make and consequences to manage. I think Mayer is making tough choices and I think she’s prepared for the consequences.

Is this a referendum on workflex? No

Is this an assault on working parents? No

Is Mayer betraying her gender and her generation? No

Will this change the talent management landscape overnight and around the world? No

Is this one CEO and CHRO working together to change a culture’s priorities and save a business?  Yes

I get it.  So should you.

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Filed under China Gorman, Connecting Dots, Families and Work Institute, FORTUNE Magazine, Jackie Reses, Marissa Mayer, SHRM, Telecommuting, Yahoo!

Background Screening: Not So Fast

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Well, not so fast, my friend, as Lee Corso likes to say. A new survey results report from EmployeeScreenIQ, Employment Screening Practices & Trends: Not so fast, my friend (Lee Corso)The Era of Heightened Care and Diligence, brings up some important issues and is interesting on several fronts.

First, from a regulatory perspective, it would seem that employers aren’t paying a lot of attention to the relatively new EEOC guidance on criminal background checks that was released in April 2012.  According to the survey, of the almost 70% of respondents who said that their organizations have reviewed the EEOC guidance, only a little more than half of them have not made changes to their screening policies as a result. More interesting, though, is the 32% of respondents who either weren’t familiar with or haven’t reviewed the guidance. Huh.

Second, more than half the respondents report that only 15% or less of job candidates distort their resumes to the extent that they aren’t hired. This is surprising given the perception that distorting resume claims is the best way to be disqualified from employment opportunities. Surprisingly, these survey results may reflect that employers see resume distortion as a minor factor in the screening process. Huh.

EmployeeScreenIQ Resume Distortion Impact

Third, and most interesting to me, is the impact of the legal uncertainty for using social media as a source of background screening information. This uncertainty appears to have scared the you-know-what out of employers. Huh.

Actually, I’m not sure I believe the data here. Or rather, the survey questions may not have been posed to the right people.

EmployeeScreenIQ Social Networking Sites

Really? Only 36% of employers always or sometimes check social networking sites for background information? Huh. Here’s what I think is happening. Those corporate folks responsible for filling out surveys like this – in the recruiting function – know the legal quicksand that is forming around the use of social media for employment screening and are clear that their formal guidelines restrict the use of Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, blogs, etc. in this way. This doesn’t mean that hiring managers aren’t doing it anyway. In fact, I think it’s a fair bet that although many employers are specific in excluding social networking sites for candidate background screening, as reported in this report, hiring managers do it anyway. All. The. Time.

That’s why the next survey question’s answers seem highly suspect to me.

EmployeeScreenIQ Why Not Social

Don’t have time? Right.  Not relevant? Please.

I guarantee that hiring managers make the time because they think checking out “social” behavior is extremely relevant.

This report brings up some great questions for recruiters and hiring managers and shows the need, I think, for greater communication between these two groups. Staying on top of EEOC guidance is, of course, a critical part of HR’s regulatory and risk mitigation obligations. Evaluating the impact of resume distortion is part of the recruiters’ responsibility. And staying current on the evolving legal decisions in the employment/social media space is a critical new high impact area of contribution for the HR and recruiting functions.

One might not think that the arcane world of background screening would present such an interesting opportunity for HR pros. Think again.

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Filed under Background checks, Candidate Experience, China Gorman, Connecting Dots, Data Point Tuesday, EEOC, EmployeeScreenIQ, Employment Screening, HR Credibility, Talent Acquisition

Is Talentism the New Capitalism?

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“Is talentism the new capitalism?”

Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, thinks so and said as much as he opened this year’s event in Davos.

Mercer chose this quote to open the executive summary of its new report, Talent Rising:  High-impact Accelerators to Global Growth. It includes some great survey data from more than 1,250 HR and talent management executives in 65 countries around the world. It includes important and useful data about how organizations are or are not expanding their definition of capital to include talent.

Forever, it seems, organizations’ primary sources of value and competitive advantage have been financial in nature:  money, lands, buildings and machines – all the values carried on the balance sheet. Mercer’s observation that with human capital being the main determinant of success today, it is troubling that so many organizations leave the development of their talent “largely to external systems and forces, with resulting gaps in their talent portfolios.”

(One could also position that if, indeed, human capital is the main determinant of organization success today, then there should be an entry on the balance sheet to capture its importance. But that’s for another day.)

This report is a huge call to action – not just for HR, but for the entire C-suite. And it is a great roadmap for HR to initiate the discussion of talent as capital.

Central to this discussion is the definition of strategic workforce planning. We hear about this all the time in HR. And BCG, funded by the World Federation of Personnel Management Associations together with SHRM, has observed that there is low current capability worldwide in strategic workforce planning. Perhaps that’s because we know it when we see it, but we can’t really define it.

Mercer’s done a great job of defining strategic workforce planning and published a great infographic along with the Talent Rising executive summary.

Mercer Strategic Workforce Planning Infographic

This 7 step virtuous circle seems simple enough, but I think we all know that sometimes the most simple things are the hardest to achieve. And that certainly would be true for strategic workforce planning. Identifying accelerators on which to focus might help organizations begin to break the process down into manageable chunks.  Just knowing where to begin will undoubtedly help some make progress.

“Talentism is the new capitalism.” Well, maybe in 5-10 years. When HR is seen as a business function and not an overhead function.  And human capital is valued on the balance sheet.

We can dream, can’t we?

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Filed under Boston Consulting Group, C-suite, CEOs, China Gorman, Connecting Dots, HR Credibility, Human Capital, Mercer, SHRM, Strategic Workforce Planning, Talentism, World Economic Forum

Sources of Hire: Is Perception Reality?

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Along with Quality of Hire, Source of Hire is starting to take center stage in the talent acquisition world. The annual report tracking and analyzing Source of Hire from CareerXroads is out today.  Sources of Hire 2013:  Perception is Reality contains truly interesting data – understandable and actionable.  And the authors ask some really important questions about B2D (Big Bad Data) and how to measure the pre-application talent supply chain.

Early in the whitepaper, Gerry Crispin and Mark Mehler, the principals at CareerXroads, show the following chart of source of hire data from 1997 – collected by SHRM and EMA (now part of SHRM).

Sources of Hire 1997

Talk about a blast from the past! Newspaper ads generated the most hires at 28.7% of hires and Agencies – both contingent and executive search – generated 12.5% of hires. My how the world has changed.  Here’s the 2012 data:

2012 Sources of Hire

Print has fallen from a combined (newspaper and trade journals) 32.9% to 2.3%!  “Internet” has grown from 2.1% (had Al Gore even invented the internet in 1997?) to a combined (career site, job boards and social media) 44.4%!

There is a lot in which to be interested in comparing these two charts, so have fun.

There nuggets of pure gold in this whitepaper.  Two in particular stood out to me. The first is the expectation for increased hiring in 2013.

Total Hires 2013 Source of Hire

If true, we’re about to see a whole lot of domestic hiring!  The national hiring figures are trending slowly upward, but at the same time we read in the press that the implementation of the new health care rules is retarding hiring in the small business sector, the sector credited with being the job creation “engine.” This will be interesting to watch. Will the need for growth overcome the risk and costs associated with that growth?

The second nugget is the reminder that the source of the majority of hires is the pool of existing employees.

Internal Movement Source of Hire

The whitepaper accurately points out that internal movement and promotion are higher during difficult economic periods – and this is evident in the graph above.  However, a steady increase in this category may also be due to the perception of a growing skills scarcity in the outside talent market.

Enjoy the whitepaper. And begin to ask yourself some of the questions posed by Gerry and Mark.  Questions like…

  • How comfortable are you defending the 2013 plan for your budget, recruiters, technology tools, partners, vendors, training and your sources to your peers and colleagues?

  • How much should your 2013 recruiting strategy include improving your collection and analysis methods?

  • Are referrals the best source of hire?

  • What “Sources” interact with each other the most?

  • How can I collect Source of Hire data?

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Filed under CareerXroads, China Gorman, Connecting Dots, Data Point Tuesday, Gerry Crispin, Hiring, Hiring Difficulty, HR Data, Mark Mehler, Quality of Hire, SHRM, Source of Hire, Talent Acquisition

The Tip of the Engagement Spear

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BlessingWhite’s Employee Engagement Research Update has recently been released.  It’s an update to their massive research published in 2011. Measuring engagement is tricky – from gaining consensus on terms and definitions, to crafting survey questions that generate useful answers, to identifying key findings, to agreeing on recommendations – it’s all very tricky.

BlessingWhite does a good job managing the trickiness.  But truthfully, there’s not a lot of difference in engagement scores globally since their 2011 findings.

Here’s what caught my attention, though, as it did 2 years ago, as I read through the report:  a greater percentage of the workforce trust their managers more than they trust the executives in their organizations.

This makes sense, right? Managers have day-to-day interaction with their colleagues and can get to know them in personal ways. Executives, on the other hand, rarely have one-to-one interaction with the majority of the employees their organization. And the survey results show the difference in trust levels.

I trust my manager BW 2013

I trust senior leaders BW 2013

It’s a good thing that employees in North America trust their managers more than they trust their senior leaders because there’s a high correlation between engagement and trust in managers. Or maybe it’s the other way around.  Either way, BlessingWhite points out that while engaged employees have other factors that motivate them – like interesting work, a sense of contribution and career aspirations – less-engaged employees are far more dependent on knowing their manager personally to reach higher levels of engagement.

This makes managers the tip of the engagement spear. And why we spend so much time focused on managerial effectiveness in almost every category of performance.

Not so with senior leaders, which is understandable because they don’t have the ability to interact personally with every employee, as BlessingWhite points out.  But they do have the responsibility to set the direction of the culture, communicate that direction with a “clear line-of-sight” throughout the organization, and create a culture that fuels engagement and business results. In other words, set the managers up for success in engaging their teams in more personal ways.

The CASE model, reviewed briefly at the end of the report, focuses senior leaders to fulfill four key workforce needs in building and leading their cultures:

  • Community for a sense of belonging and purpose
  • Authenticity  as a basis for trust and inspiration
  • Significance to recognize individuals’ contributions
  • Excitement to constantly encourage – and raise the bar on – high performance

It’s a good message for executives. It’s a great message for managers. It’s a call-to-action message for HR to know how to help executives drive performance and grow their culture while supporting managers to make more personal connections.

Engagement isn’t the answer to every organizational challenge. But it does seem clear that highly engaged workplaces are more productive than less engaged workforces. And almost every organizational challenge I can think of gets solved more effectively and faster with an engaged workforce working the solution and being led by managers who are personally leading the way.

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Filed under BlessingWhite, China Gorman, Connecting Dots, Data Point Tuesday, Engagement, HR Data, Managerial Effectiveness, Workforce Management