Tag Archives: C-suite

Business Depends on Learning

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Every year, the Deloitte Human Capital Trends report is a treasure trove of insight into organization behavior and opportunities for success. You can go back to it multiple times and get something new each time. This is true for the 2016 report as it was for previous reports.

I was re-reading the chapter on Learning:  Employees Take Charge, and was taken, again, with the evaluation of where organizations are today and where they will have to be in the short term in order to attract, retain and deploy the talent they need.

This chart says it all, and should be required reading – not just for HR, but all leaders who hope to hang on to their team long enough to develop them!

deloitte-learning-trends-2016

Deloitte believes that the C-suite really does understand that in order to execute their business plans they need to constantly upgrade skills and focus on quickly developing leaders. I wish I had their faith in the C-suite!

This chapter in the larger trends reports ends with recommended starting points for organizations:

  • Recognize that employee-learners are in the driver’s seat
  • Become comfortable with the shift from push to pull
  • Use design thinking
  • Use technology to drive employee-centric learning
  • Realign and reengage
  • Adopt a learning architecture that supports an expanded vision for development
  • Adopt a learning architecture that supports continuous learning

If you haven’t downloaded the full report yet, do it now. You don’t have to read the whole thing in one sitting. Take it in bite sized pieces. You’ll be glad you did.

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Filed under C-suite, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Deloitte, Employee Development Program, Global Human Capital, Learning/Development

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

How About a Seat at the Spreadsheet?

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HR professionals worry a lot about whether their CEO thinks they are strategic business leaders. Turns out it isn’t the CEO that HR professionals need to worry about. It’s the CFO.

This is according to global survey data collected from three Oracle/IBM sponsored research reports produced by the Economist Intelligence Unit in April and May 2012. CEOs made up 57% and CFOs made up 43% of the 235 respondents.

The resulting infographic is one of the more readable and useful ones of its type that I’ve seen. Among the data points:

  • 80% of CEOs and CFOs want the head of HR to be key in their company’s strategy planning
  • Only 38% of those CEOs and CFOS say that is currently the case
  • Only 10% say the head of HR is “extremely” key in strategic planning right now
  • Only 37% of CEOs and CFOs say their relationship with the head of HR is “close and trustful”
  • Just 28% of CEOs and CFOs say their relationship with the head of HR is among their “most valued” professional relationships

But here are the real zingers:

Oracle Driving HR Forward Infographic March 2013

Ouch!

But here’s the real irony:  CFOs are more confident about HR’s understanding the needs of the business than they are about the business of HR! Low confidence by CFOs that HR can lead the HR function, can evaluate employee performance or can identify and recruit key talent.

That’s not good news – especially since CFOs spend significantly more time with CEOs than CHROs do. I wonder what the CFO and CEO are talking about with regard to HR? Is the CFO supporting the CHRO? Given this survey data, I wonder.

Maybe CEOs aren’t HR’s biggest challenge after all. Maybe CFOs are the ones toward whom HR professionals should be aiming their strategic attention. Maybe instead of pining after furniture HR should be pining after spreadsheets!

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Filed under C-suite, CEOs, China Gorman, CHROs, Data Point Tuesday, IBM, Oracle

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

CHROs: the Sally Field* of the C-suite

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The report of a global CEO survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit sponsored by IBM and Oracle (an interesting pairing) just crossed my desk.  The CEO Perspectives Economist Intelligence Unitreport, CEO perspectives: How HR can take a on a bigger role in driving growth, is not very encouraging.  Either CEOs are talking out of both sides of their mouths (HR’s choice, I’m sure) or global CHROs are in bigger trouble than we thought.

The survey – conducted in May 2012 – included 235 C-level executives, 134 of whom are CEOs.  A total of 38 countries were represented from North America (47%), Western Europe (40%), Eastern Europe (8%) and the Middle East (4%).  A range of industries were included and half of the companies had $500 million or more in annual revenues.  Additionally, 6 in-depth interviews were conducted with 4 CEOs and 2 respected academics.

While the Economist Intelligence Unit authors tried to spin the results in a positive way, there’s just no getting around the conclusion that even big company CHROs are having a hard time getting access to the strategic business discussions at the top of their organizations. While 76% of the surveyed CEOs say their relationship with the head of HR is close and trustful, only 55% report that the head of HR is a key player in strategic planning.

CHRO at the table EIU

What I found really interesting was the perception by the authors that the way to greater inclusion in strategic decision making is to become “a confidante and informal executive coach” to the CEO.  “If the CEO has repeatedly relied on the head of HR for certain important matters, and they still see eye to eye, he or she is more likely to invite the HR head to participate in other areas as a matter of course.”  So, developing a personal, “therapeutic” relationship with the CEO is the first best practice the report’s authors recommend.  But you’re doomed, I guess, if you don’t see eye to eye.

Becoming liked and trusted by the CEO is the way forward to weighing in on strategic business decisions.  This, despite the finding that 50% of the surveyed CEOs spend 5 hours or less a month – in either one-on-one or group settings – with their head of HR. I wonder how you figure out if you even see eye-to-eye in less than 5 hours a month.

CEO CHRO monthly time spent Economist Intelligence Unit

The report has lots of interesting – and depressing – data, and you should probably take a look.  But I think this gets filed under: Duh!

The Economist Intelligence Unit’s bottom line appears to be that CHROs whose CEOs like them get more involvement in the business. I hope IBM and Oracle didn’t spend big bucks on this research.

*Here’s Sally Field’s famous Oscar acceptance speech:

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Filed under C-suite, CEOs, China Gorman, CHROs, Connecting Dots, Economist Intelliegence Unit, IBM, Oracle

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the C-Suite…

The Career Engagement Group from New Zealand recently conducted  an online survey of over 1,000 employed people ages 18-65.  The focus of the survey was to understand the career aspirations, agility and drivers of the current workforce across key demographics such as gender, age and career stage.

Maybe because the survey originated in New Zealand, some different questions were asked than the usual employee engagement surveys we see so routinely today.  It’s always good to get a different take on what’s important.

One of the subjects covered that seemed out of the ordinary was Leadership Aspiration.  Now that I think about it, I’m not sure I’ve ever been asked – in the many engagement and career development surveys I’ve taken – if I wanted to lead at the most senior level in an organization.  It’s a great question.  And the answers surprised me.  How about you?

Leadership Aspirations & Gender & Generations

  • Only 11% of all respondents want to lead at the most senior level in an organization.
  • Women report lower leadership aspirations than men – 15% of all males aspire to senior leadership positions, while only 9% of all females had similar aspirations.
  • Younger people have higher leadership aspirations overall.

Hmmm.  Only 11% of all respondents want to lead at the most senior level in an organization!  That surprises me.  A lot.  I would have loved to have seen the breakdown in responses by age group as well as gender.  Because I might have thought that the younger generations might be less interested in the stress and costs of leadership at the top than their older colleagues, but the results say otherwise according to the Career Engagement Group.

And women being less interested in leadership at the top than men?  That’s kind of a show stopper, don’t you think?  With more and more women entering the workforce around the world, this finding should be concerning.  Many industry-leading organizations are working hard to keep women in their organizations – maybe they should also be more encouraging about the value and rewards of life at the top.  According to this survey, there aren’t a lot of people — male or female –dreaming about being the CEO and making plans to get to the top.

When the demographics are already working against us (see my posts here and here) and the C-Suite is justifiably concerned about where the next generation of leaders is coming from, perhaps what’s needed is a marketing campaign to encourage workers to reach for the top.

What do you think?

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Filed under C-suite, Career Development, Career Planning, CEOs, China Gorman, Connecting Dots, Demographics, Engagement, HR Data, Leadership Aspiration, Talent development, Talent pipeline

A Whole Lotta Business Going On!

Last year I wrote about the HR Technology Conference and titled my post “HR people doing business. Wait.  What?”  I attended this event for the first time last year and was struck by the business activity going on at the conference.  It wasn’t about swag; it wasn’t about recertification credits; it wasn’t about getting autographed books.  Some of it was attendees really having buying conversations with vendors; some of it was vendors doing business with other vendors; and some of it was organizations having hiring discussions with candidates who happened to be attendees, vendor employees, speakers, etc.  And all that was happening this year as well.  You just can’t escape the feeling that business is going on when you walk the halls and floor of this conference.

There was an added dimension to the floor this year.  And maybe it was there previously and I just wasn’t aware.  But there was lots of money at this conference looking for investment opportunities.  I talked with a number of VC and other investors who came to see what was new and to make relationships for investment purposes!

There’s a lot of money flowing into the HCM space these days – untold numbers of VC outfits; strategic buyers like IBM, Oracle, Salesforce; the public markets with IPO offerings like Workday.  With talent issues being top of mind for every business leader with a Chief in their title, it’s no wonder that money is seeking opportunity in this field.

And you could absolutely feel it at HR Tech which concluded in Chicago yesterday.  Investments were being poised to happen in start-ups as angel investments, start-up investments, series A, B and C investments as well as outright purchases.  The talent management issues of organizations all over the world are creating opportunities for innovative solutions that will help us get better talent more efficiently with a great likelihood of longevity.  That’s what we want as business leaders.  And money was there looking for opportunities to make that happen.

As Mark Hurd, President of Oracle, told the conference attendees, “I want the best people at the lowest cost that I can get them.”  Exactly.  As an organization leader who “gets” HCM’s value, Hurd is no longer in the minority of C-suite leaders.  And that means greater emphasis on productivity and efficiency and cost.  And that opens the door wide to innovation and investment.

The HR Technology Conference is the one conference to attend to find out how to make your HCM infrastructure more productive, more efficient, more cost effective and more future oriented.  It’s the one conference to attend to meet senior business leaders who are focused on winning through talent and systems to manage that talent.  It’s the one conference to attend to get a glimpse of what will be possible in the future to ensure organization success.  If it isn’t on your agenda for next year, it should be.

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Filed under C-suite, Conferences, HR Conferences, HR Executive Magazine, HR Technology Conference, IBM, Oracle, Salesforce, Talent Management, Workday