How engaged are your employees??

Last night I had the privilege  to see François-Frédéric Guy perform in his Sydney debut as part of the Sydney Symphony’s International Pianists in Recital Series. François-Frédéric performed three Chopin and three Beethoven pieces to a packed crowd of piano lovers. In particular he performed:

CHOPIN 
Nocturne in C minor, Op.48 No.1 
Nocturne in E, Op.62 No.2 
Polonaise-fantaisie, Op.61 
BEETHOVEN 
Sonata No.31 in A flat, Op.110 
‘Tempest’ Sonata, Op.31 No.2 
‘Moonlight’ Sonata, Op.27 No.2

I was lucky enough to be in the front row, just out of hand sight but still awesome seats, essentially I was able to get up close and personal with François-Frédéric during his performance. I could see the emotion in his body, the sweat dripping from his face, the frantic movement of the pedals and hammers in the amazing Steinway concert grand. The music was awe inspiring.FRANCOIS-FREDERIC GUY

In recognition of how much he had put into his performance the audience responded with round after round of applause, resulting in 2 encore performances.

I could not help but reflect on how engaged François-Frédéric was; the emotion, the love, the sweat he poured into his work, and how if organisation could replicate this then they would succeed beyond the expectations of any board directors or group of shareholders.

Each note he played must of been practiced thousands and thousands of times. But every note he played had passion and feeling to ensure that his customers had the best possible experience he could deliver.

Now he was not perfect, he made several errors most undetectable to to the average listener but they were there. However none of the experts (my mother is a piano teacher and musical educator) in the auditorium said anything, they all came back from the interval and continued to enjoy the performance.

So let’s contrast this with the average companies talent management practices. How many organisation’s employees are so engaged that they would give everything into every single transaction they perform? How many managers would still provide a stand ovation to their employees for a fantastic job, even if there were a few hiccups along the way? How many organisations would give prizes (François-Frédéric received flowers) every time an employee completes their daily job?

All of these things took place last night during François-Frédéric’s performance.

So I ask what are you doing to make your employees want to work as tirelessly to succeed as François-Frédéric did? What are you doing to have policies and procedures to enable such a performer? How can your performance review processes be enhanced so that a meaningful standing ovation can be provided for outstanding work?

Finally how are you providing a meaningful and supportive environment?

What do executives in Australia want?

On Monday my colleague Philip Tusing, co-author of the Sources of Talent Report, released his latest report, Executive Monitor. An eye opening look at what 1,332 executives are thinking in Australia about all sorts of different topics from compensation, education, recruiters and personal branding.

Philip gives a great run down on the key findings on his site, so go read them there as I do not plan to reproduce them here. Instead I wanted to look at what the results mean to me.

I see the key issues from the report being how do employers keep their senior employees both engaged, motivated and working towards the goals of the organisation, instead of just their own personal goals.

Another message from the report I found was that Australian executives are motivated primarily by money and their own success. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, and nor is it limited just to the executive ranks, I think some of the key findings show us a fairly dangerous future.

The number one trigger for a change in job is not growth, development, experience, cultural fit or anything that a majority of HR interventions focus on it is money at 30%. With almost 80% of these employees expecting yearly pay rises between 6 – 10%, way above inflation, and almost 70% see salary as the primary reason to do a good job.

Further concerns are found in the expectations and intentions of these executives. Work life balance while a stated value by the survey respondents was not a primary driving factor when undertaking a job search, money was still number one. All is not good on the branding side either with 90% of executives felt that personal branding was more important than developing that of their employers.

So where do I think this leaves HR? With massive opportunity.

What are your thoughts?

Unpaid Internships: Fast Track to your Dream Job or Glorified Slave Labor?

This guest post is contributed by Katheryn Rivas.

So after getting being accepted to your Dream University–after painstakingly editing college applications, obsessing over grades, finding extra-curricular activities that sparked your interest AND would somehow impress a college admissions committee–you thought it was all over, right? Once accepted, you’d think the next logical step is to finish your degree and get a job.

But, especially in today’s economic climate, in which employers are consistently scaling down their college grad hires, a full-time job is one more step away. Welcome to the world of internships.

Even though internships are largely unpaid, applications for what are considered absolutely necessary precursors to scarce jobs are on the rise. That means more competition for positions that will force you to pay for work, and not the other way around.

A recent Chicago Tribune article describes students struggling to raise funds for their internships, sometimes with the help of their parents.  Two internship placement services, The University of Dreams and The Washington Center, are charging as much as $9000 just to help students FIND internships. That, and the cost of living, means some students–who have traditionally worked service related jobs as waiters during summer months– will now be forced to run into serious debt, or miss out on ostensible opportunities.

The value of an unpaid internship, however, goes without saying. Even though we’re all familiar with the coffee-fetching, copy-machine-running clichés, many internships do provide some real, hands-on experience in fields as varied as publishing, marketing, software engineering, and teaching.

An internship gives students the opportunity to get a taste of a prospective career before they dive head-first into a full-time job they may not enjoy.  Since internal hiring is a favored practice among employers, the only way for a recent college grad to work for certain companies is to have worked within the company first. So even if you are fetching coffee, you’ll benefit from being considered an “internal” hire. In fact, an acquaintance of mine did just that–after two unpaid summer internships with Sports Illustrated magazine, he now has full-time job as a sports reporter in SI’s New York City office.

Although unpaid internships seem like an inherently unfair practice, universities often offer stipends to fund internships, and internship placement services do have a variety of need- and merit-based scholarships. What’s more, unpaid internships can offer students an opportunity to learn the difficult lesson of budgeting and living independently.

To get a better idea of what it’s like to be an intern, read former college student Steve Kent’s harrowing but entertaining account of his unpaid internship experience.

Tips on managing social media in the workplace

Last week I did a short podcast with Nick McCormick, author of Lead Well and Prosper, looking at tips for managing social media in the workplace.

We spoke about implementing guidelines/policies within the workplace along with some of the potential issues and how to manage them.  However given the short format of the podcast, it is only 8 minutes,  it is hard to cover everything but makes the podcast very easy to listen too.

I thought it would be good to also cover some of the tips for creating guidelines/policies here to help you out. The resulting document, in whatever format, needs to achieve five major things:

  1. Have people stop and think before posting, both professionally and personally.
  2. Focus people on thinking about what they are doing and the implications.
  3. Highlight that while disclaimers are good, you cannot hide behind them.
  4. Remind people to keep their online interactions real and authentic.
  5. Ensure people respect the culture of the tools and services you are using.

If you want to learn more about social media in the workplace you can watch my presentation from RecruitTECH 2009 over on Inspecht TV or contact me for more information.

Given the press coverage we have had in Australia, and overseas, this week I would suggest everyone needs to implement these five tips when online.

Australian Vendor PeopleStreme – 30% increase in Revenue

Many companies during the last 12 months have experienced either a reduction or at best no growth in revenue, not local vendor PeopleStreme . PeopleStreme, who sell talent management solutions recorded a 30% increase in revenue.

According to Lyle Potgieter CEO of PeopleStreme:

“Organisations have got two problems, the first being getting their people productive, the second looking after their top talent. Both needs require systems and know how and industrial age paper shuffling systems don’t cut it anymore.”

These challenges have fueling their growth over the last 12 months and I would suspect this growth will continue into the next year or so.

I was lucky enough to spend a couple of hours with Lyle and his Principal Software Architect Dale Smalley to review their product line. Overall PeopleStreme provide a comprehensive, fully integrated, toolset for the management of people within your organisation. Their product line covers:

  • Talent Management
  • Performance Management
  • Recruitment Software and Applicant Tracking
  • Employee Engagement Survey
  • Workforce Planning
  • Employee Recognition
  • Exit Survey
  • eLearning Management
  • Succession Planning
  • Organisation Charting
  • Position Description Software
  • Human Resources Metrics

They also happen to have based a vast majority of the product features on their research work that they undertake jointly with the Performance Management Institute, RMIT and La Trobe University.

PeopleStreme also happen to be the producers of some of the recent videos over on Inspecht TV.

10 things to do in 2010

While we are still in the first few weeks of the new year I through it would be good to look at come of the things you should focus on during 2010 to.

In no particular order here is my list of 10 things to do in 2010:

  1. Have an HR/Talent Management/Recruiting application blueprint
  2. The IT environment in many organisations is complex and needs constant management, even in the smallest of organisations. To help with managing the complexity ensure you have a strategy/roadmap/blueprint to follow.

  3. Learn about Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  4. It seems finally organisations are starting to take note of the value that can be achieved from a decent career’s web site. While content and design are critical understanding a bit about SEO can help your jobs appear in the elusive number 1 spot of search results. Even if you do not have a career’s web site having your personal brand appear in search results can be a great thing.

  5. Implement a workforce planning program, with a foundation around competencies
  6. The recent CedarCrestone HR Technology survey found that organisations who were using workforce planning and competency management tools had significantly higher sales growth than those that did not. While they say they are not suggesting causality but over the last few years there has been stronger linkage between sales growth and these areas.

  7. Think beyond Facebook and Twitter when looking at social media
  8. With so much talk about Facebook and Twitter I feel people have forgotten that social media is more than just these two sites. Remember social media is about user generated content, including blogs, images, video, audio, ratings, reviews etc.

  9. Focus on high quality hires, never settle for less
  10. This should always be the best line of your hiring decisions. Period.

  11. Ensure your HR/Recruiting function is metrics driven
  12. Related to workforce planning is being metrics driven and I am not talking just about lists of headcount either. Gaining a deep understanding of your business and it’s drivers is critical to success. Do you know the best performing source of talent? What about the performance of your succession plans? But do not create an environment where you have an over reliance on benchmark based data as this basically turns the measures in to commodities by assuming what works for one organisation will work for yours.

  13. Don’t be afraid to experiment
  14. This one is for the Australian’s out there, experiment and fail!! As a population we tend to be afraid of failure. Do not be afraid. Organisations that experiment and fail regularly then to succeed.

  15. Learn about Web Squared
  16. You might be asking web what? Web Squared is the next evolution of the whole Web 2.0 idea. Web Squared builds on the idea that everything and everyone in the world cast “information shadows” or data. This data when leveraged provides extraordinary opportunities to organisations.

  17. Begin to think how you can bring real time into your operations
  18. The first part of web squared that you can bring into your organisation today is leveraging real time data. Look at real time data as key signals that form part of your business processes.

  19. Never ever forget about change management
  20. One of the biggest reasons for projects, of any sort, to fail is a lack of acceptance in the final outcomes being sort by the project. This can be alleviated through an effective change management program.

Thoughts on the Peopleclick Authoria merger

On 5 January 2010 Authoria and Peopleclick combined to form the largest privately owned company in the Talent Management marketplace. The new company, Peopleclick Authoria, claims to serve almost 60% of the Fortune 100 organisations. The new CEO will be Charles S. Jones, Managing Partner of Bedford Funding, the private equity firm undertaking the deal.

Some of my initial thoughts:

  • The merger will form the largest privately owned company in the Talent Management marketplace.
  • Both existing solutions will continue to be sold for the foreseeable future, with the addition of a combine suite offering.
  • The newly formed company leverages the best attributes of both vendors, Peopleclick’s recruitment offering and Authoria’s deep talent management features.
  • Technically both solutions are similar and offered as multi-tenant SaaS solutions, although Authoria’s use of single tenant for select larger clients may cause some integration issues.
  • Update: There is some debate around if Peopleclick have moved fully from their .NET platform to J2EE

  • As separate organisations both appeared in the recent Gartner eRecruitment 2009 Magic Quadrant report, with Peopleclick placed in the leaders category.
  • The combined organisation has the potential to move further into the leaders quadrant to provide a challenge to Taleo as the market leader.

More information is available to Inspecht members.

Is your HR Strategy ready for the intention economy?

I sit here typing this post during the first week of the second decade in the 21st century however some many organisation’s HR strategies are still stuck in the 20th century.

Let me explain.

Today most organisational HR strategy is based on a asynchronous model where the organisation does something and at a later time employees react. For example a new performance management policy is released, at a later point in time employees execute the performance review process. From an alternate direction an employee’s productivity begins to drop over time this becomes an issue so the organisation executes the performance improvement process.

Many organisations are aiming to move to a more synchronous environment, or real time. Here we have live chats on the career pages, real time updates on recruitment processes and continuous learning and performance management. In practical terms this can be thought of as HR dashboards and score cards that are updated live during the business day.

Real time is only part of the story the real value comes from understanding intentions. For example knowing that employees with 3 years service in the marketing department who have not changed roles in 6 months are your greatest risk of leaving and therefore Mary needs a role change. Or where a senior top performer plans to travel to a different office location your talent management system automatically suggests potential employees who could benefit from a mentoring session. Another example is where an employee is attending a conference the systems identify other employees, based on internal content, who would benefit from either also attending or receiving a briefing their return.

Intention based HR builds on the idea of predictive analytics but takes things further. Yes this is a long way off but leading organisations will start to experiment with these ideas over the next year or two. For example what could you do with these ideas; people who are looking for work in real time, or who hate their job?

On a side note based on the latest Cedar Crestone HR Technology survey only 10% of organisations have implemented predictive analytics.

(Note: I built on the ideas proposed by Jeremiah Owyang.)

HR 2020 a look into the future

With us rapidly coming to the end of the first decade of the 21st century I thought it might be fun to look forward another 10 years to see what a day in the life of an HR manager might be like.

(First I am not a fiction writer so bear with me. Second while 2020 might seem a long way away, in 2000 so did 2010 so I have not radically changed the overall work undertaken by HR. While this decision might upset some in the HR profession that things have not changed a lot I felt a conservative approach was warranted.)

Our hero today is Paul, Senior HR Manager for a mid sized organisation of about 2,500 employees. Paul has a small team of 3 covering all HR functions. He uses limited external providers for services such as training and recruitment, his team can complete most tasks with the help of their software agents.

On with the story!

Continue reading “HR 2020 a look into the future”

Best places to work as voted by you the employees

For the second year in a row Glassdoor has published their Best Places to Work listing based on votes by the employees of these organisations. Basically wisdom of crowds to determine the 50 best employers in the US. The terms of reference were:

The Top 50 were selected from more than 37,000 companies reviewed by the nearly 100,000 employees who completed a 20-question survey on Glassdoor.com in 2009. To be eligible for the list, a company must have had at least all of the following:

  • 25 reviews from United States-based employees between January 1, 2009 and December 1, 2009,
  • “satisfied” ratings overall and across all categories, and
  • a CEO with at least a 50% approval rating.

The top 10 employers based on the Glassdoor survey are:

  1. Southwest Airlines
  2. General Mills
  3. Slalom Consulting
  4. Bain & Company
  5. McKinsey & Company
  6. MITRE
  7. Boston Consulting
  8. Continential Airlines
  9. Procter & Gamble
  10. Juniper Networks

Which is an interesting list as it looks very little like the Fortune Best Companies to Work For top 10:

  1. NetApp
  2. Edward Jones
  3. Boston Consulting Group
  4. Google
  5. Wemans Food Markets
  6. Cisco Systems
  7. Genetech
  8. Methodist Hospital System
  9. Goldman Sachs
  10. Nugget Market

If we compare the lists side by side you can see how different they are, the numbers in brackets indicate where the company appears on the other list, if at all.

Glassdoor Fortune
  1. Southwest Airlines (-)
  2. General Mills (99)
  3. Slalom Consulting (-)
  4. Bain & Company (-)
  5. McKinsey & Company (-)
  6. MITRE (66)
  7. Boston Consulting (3)
  8. Continential Airlines (-)
  9. Procter & Gamble (-)
  10. Juniper Networks (84)
  1. NetApp (15)
  2. Edward Jones (24)
  3. Boston Consulting Group (7)
  4. Google (14)
  5. Wemans Food Markets (-)
  6. Cisco Systems (-)
  7. Genetech (-)
  8. Methodist Hospital System (-)
  9. Goldman Sachs (16)
  10. Nugget Market

While yes the lists were compiled at different end of the year the Fortune list at the beginning Glassdoor as of December 1, they do should how different two lists can be. Even if you compare the Glassdoor results from 2008 the Fortune list is still rather different. This tells me that just relying on external lists to determine the top employers is dangerous practice.

The key is to know if your employees are engaged and telling others that your company is a great place to work. This is a critical first step in the creation of successful talent management strategies, such as referral programs.