Educating HR on metrics & technology

As I mentioned a few days ago I have been asked to help re-write a topic in AHRI’s Professional Diploma of HR looking at measuring and reporting on the effectiveness of HR and selection and implementation of HRIS systems. Over the last few days I have been re-reading lots of books and articles I have floating around to develop the content.

One of the first areas I have begun looking at is Return on Investment, or ROI. ROI is critical for both understanding the effectiveness of an HR organisation/program and critical to justifying expense on an HRIS system.

This lead me to dig out an old book of mine, “Third Wave Project Management” by Rob Thomsett, written in the early 1990’s much of the content is a bit dated but still a very good read. I was looking for references to Gane & Sarsen’s software development methods from the late 70’s. In the book Rob works through how to use Cost Avoidance, Improve Service and Increased Revenue to measure value when building business cases.

By the way Improving Service, which is what lots of HRIS business cases are built on, should always have a secondary benefit of  avoiding costs or increasing revenue.

Blasts from the Past

Over the last couple of days I have been looking for inspiration on what to blog about, so I started researching a couple of topics on communication, collaboration and employee engagement. Funny enough I found some of my old posts, so I thought instead of writing something new I would give you “5 Blasts from the Past“.

  1. Into the Grey Zone
  2. A culture for collaboration
  3. Corporate Communications
  4. Corporate Blogging and Knowledge
  5. Find, Use, Share, Expand

I hope you enjoy.

Always on connectivity and management

I wrote about hyperconnectivity a few days ago which is essentially a technology trend, but it is and will continue to have a profound impact on management both professional and personal. The basic issue is with everything always connected and communicating where does one draw the line?

Let’s take the obvious examples, BlackBerry’s and personal email.

I walk around the office these days and people seem to be always checking personal web based email during work hours. 10-15 years ago back in the days when personal phone calls were monitored, this would be unacceptable. But today management in most “knowledge worker” organisations seem to have accepted that personal email will get checked.

A side note IT organisations have a paradox to manage, they don’t want the work email system filled with personal emails, however personal web based emails allow for virus ladened files to be easily deposited into the corporation.

The BlackBerry and other push email devices have taken over our personal lives. I walk around shopping centres, restaurants, parks etc and there we have people checking work emails. Spouses, kids and friends are ignored while the process takes place. Again a portion of society now seems to accept that this will take place.

I haven’t even begun to touch on RSS readers, SMS messages, blogs, mobile phones but the same is true for all.

It is only going to get worse.

Over the last few weeks Microsoft in the UK set up a tree house in a park in down town London to show that with all this great new technology people can work anywhere, at anytime. They even have a new name for this type of work Moof, “Mobile out of office” with a blog. Where is the balance?

Web Worker Daily wrote about Busy vs Burst working styles back in April, based on James Governor’s post , a FastForward post, and a post from Harvard Business School professor Andrew McAfee. The basic idea across all posts is that we have a clash of cultures brewing around how work actually gets done in the workplace. Web Worker Daily summed it up nicely:-

Busy: Show your face during all standard working hours.
Burst: If you produce what you need to, we don’t care when you do it or how long it takes.

The bursty style can only succeed when you have an always on environment.

Here are a few questions I think we need to explore.

  1. As a manager how do you control both, personal and professional so one doesn’t take over the other?
  2. How do we manage the “social/knowledge/collaboration tool junkies” James Governor talks about?
  3. How do we measure productivity of the “social/knowledge/collaboration tool junkies”?
  4. Do we need to change the definition of productivity?
  5. How do you recruit a “social/knowledge/collaboration tool junkie”, what would the job description look like?
  6. How do we explain to the Busy people that the Burst people are actually getting their work done?
  7. If Bursty people can, or are perceived to, get their jobs done so quickly, should we expect more productivity out of them during 9 to 5?

There are some easy answers to some of the questions but I feel once we add everything together management is going to get very interesting.


Nigel James reflects on 20 years since he left school with an invitation to his 20 year reunion back in Australia. Yes I agree Nigel a 13 hour flight is shorter than 26, but when you are in the middle of a 9 hour flight anything over 2 hours makes you feel like a sardine! :-)James’s last paragraph made me think, very soon it will be 20 years since I left high school as well, what have I done?

All this sort of stuff can tend to make you a bit reflective and could tip one into a mid-life crisis if you let it! It certainly drags some of the memories back and makes you think about the next 20 years. This is a good thing. I certainly have lot to be thankful for and while there are good memories back there and it would be great to catch up with all the guys 20 years on, I am focusing on the next 20. There is far too much going on at the moment to be pining for the good-old-days. The future is bright…

Stop and reflect on the last 20 years give yourself a quick performance review.


Rating 1 to 5

where 1 is poor & 5 is great


How did you go? I have put this reflection on the list to do during my upcoming weekly review.

Did You Know video follow up post

A couple of weeks I posted about a video called “Did You Know“, the video has done the rounds on blogs but few people (that I have seen) been able to point out the source.

Today via SoulSoup I found the source of the video, the original presentation and the source documents for the statistics.

The original presentation came from Karl Fisch, he provides some background on how the presentation came to life.

Karl has also posted the sources, note in his original post he makes updates to some of the content based on not being able to find an independent source.

Scott Mcleod put the video together that many of us have seen, and in the process making some changes from the original presentation.

You can also find 2 other presentations done by Karl “What If” and “2020 Vision” along with the profound posts that go with, What If and 2020 Vision.What If covers the age old question of back in my day…, and how all this new technology is ruining our children 😉

2020 Vision looks back at our future from the year 2020, it is fictional and contains predictions. Some great food for thought for all educators, parents, training professionals and even IT managers.

Oh and I really want an eyeMAGINE!

The 9 year old and the future

Over the weekend our 9 year old expressed an interesting in getting Google Reader setup on his PC as he wanted to read stuff like Dad. This got me thinking again about what he and his generation will expect in a technology sense from their employers when he enters the workforce in 10-12 years.

His world today:-

  • He has had broadband Internet in his bedroom since he was 5. I know some people are against PC’s in kids bedrooms but I feel with the right controls and open communication there are no issues.
  • Doesn’t know what a modem is, or care
  • Has multiple domain’s
  • Knows how to do a podcast, in fact he even has his own favourite
  • Is beginning to understand how to produce online video
  • Prepares PowerPoint presentations at school
  • Love seeing pictures on Flickr
  • Thinks the answer to all of life’s questions can by found through Google, if only it was that simple 🙂
  • Thinks and believes the internet should be accessible everywhere
  • Has used email to communicate with friends and family for 4 years, admittedly he
  • Uses Google Docs, Spreadsheets, GMail and GTalk to collaborate at school and be able to work on school projects at home
  • Thinks Twitter is cool and wants to participate, Dad won’t let him 🙂
  • Loves watching online video, almost as much as regular TV, if only the Simpsons were still on YouTube

In 10 years what will his expectations be? How will an employer be able to entice him to work for them? What work/cultural environment will he want? Will he even work for a single employer?

The answers to these questions should concern employers of all sizes.

Recruiting is marketing. Try jobcasting.

The growth of our planet and it’s impact

Just watched an eye opening video called “Did you Know“, thanks to Des Paroz for the link.  Not sure who put it together, what it is for or even if all the statistics are right but worth a watch even so.  I suspect the information is fairly accurate and most would be accepted as common knowledge.
Implications of the content are fairly huge, so snippits:-

  • if you are 1 in a million in China there are 1,300 others just like you
  • the 25% of China population with the highest IQ is larger than the total population of North America
  • US Dept of Labor estimates that today average learner will have 10 to 14 jobs by the time they are 38
  • 1 out of 4 workers today have worked for their current employers for less than 1 year
  • More than 1 in 2 have worked there for less than 5 years
  • By 2010 the most in demand jobs did not exist in 2004.
  • and I love this out is MySpace were a country it would be the worlds 11th largest!

Profound impacts on education, management and recruitment.

What is a good presentation?

I subscribe to Presentation Zen to find the latest and greatest trends in presentations. Some of the presentations they reference are fantastic others I don’t really relate to but I still stay subscribed. So today when I saw a couple of people referring to the Top 10 Presentations I was interested.

KnowHR have pulled together a great list of their top 10 presentations. If you don’t subscribe to Presentation Zen you definitely need to review these 10 (and even if you do).

(You still should subscribe to Presentation Zen 🙂 )

Using Second Life for training

I have been following Second Life for awhile now just watching what happens.  Personally I feel the potential for the environment is huge we just need to get over the gambling and sex that currently occupies a majority of Second Life.

This is changing, there has been several conference run in Second Life, Cory Doctorow has done a book reading, people are even conducting business within the environment.

Today I noticed Robert Scoble posting about using Second Life for corporate training, an interesting use of the environment.