Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Going the extra mile

This company went the extra mile to document trouble-shooting tips for their appliance.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Who's right?

Two compelling sides of the AIG bonus story:

Focus on pay for company performance: If I Were CEO

Focus on breach of trust and unfair accusations: I Quit

Food for thought:

Is Talent Management about sticking up for your people, honoring commitments and rewarding people for doing their jobs?

Or is it about rewarding based on how a company performs?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Fact or Myth: HR professionals lack financial expertise

Do I really need to say it? Probably not but I will anyway: Talent management is about business results. Period. If you aren’t getting good business results from your talent management strategy you’re wasting money. Managing talent is the means to an end, and therefore needs to be done well in order to achieve results, but it is not the end in itself.

It’s the same old story: Human resources professionals stress the importance of talent management strategies without being able to demonstrate clear financial benefits. Citing HR’s inability to produce convincing financial data, financial executives push back on the additional expense. A clear illustration of this can be found in David McCann’s ‘Memo to CFOs: Don’t Trust HR’* and the conclusion seems to be that HR isn’t good enough at numbers to make their case.

Maybe that’s true. After all, we don’t find that many MBAs working in human resources, although I question whether it really takes an MBA to get that talent management is about business. If we take a deeper look at companies and how they track and manage their revenues and costs, we find two things that give financial professionals a clear edge over their HR colleagues when it comes to getting executive attention:

1) all financial numbers feed centrally into a general ledger system because consolidation of data is required for financial reporting (and therefore the CFO makes sure this happens); and

2) people are reported as costs in these systems because financial systems can’t measure their intrinsic value.

Human resources professionals may well lack the analytical skills needed to justify talent management investments. But more importantly, they lack the tools to do so.

Not for lack of trying. Many HR departments have persuaded their CFOs to invest in talent management solutions, reasoning that this will help them roll out strategic talent management strategies that in turn justify the investment.

Unfortunately most of these solutions tend to be separate from core business data and therefore lack the ability to perform meaningful financial analysis without significant additional investment. Therefore, many companies have implemented standalone talent management solutions only to find that getting the value out of the solution requires expensive integration to core business applications and workforce analytics platforms. It can be made to work, but it’s difficult and expensive.

And the irony is that after making the initial investment in talent management solutions, HR still lacks the tools to justify additional investment.

Talent Management is about business but by and large talent management solutions are not business applications. So instead of blaming HR for lacking analytical skills - although this may be fair criticism - maybe it’s time to give HR the right tools.

I'm just saying.

*‘Memo to CFOs: Don’t Trust HR,’ McCann, David, CFO.com.
**Also worth reading is Jim Holincheck’s commentary on this article.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

HR strikes back!

When I read the '10 Tenets of the New HR' from Frank Roche I get the impression that HR is kind of tired of not getting funding for real analytical tools while at the same time being accused of not understanding financial data.

1. HR has one job: business success. Anything else is useless and a waste of air. If it doesn’t have to do with business, we’re not doing it.

2. HR isn’t the Complaint Department or your Kindergarten teacher. We’re going to teach people to grow up and stop wasting our time like they’re 5-year-olds who can’t share their toys.

3. We won’t accept mediocrity in HR. Human resources cannot be where people go when they can’t find meaningful employment. We’re going to cowboy up our talent. We want — we demand — the best and the brightest.

4. Nothing is sacred. We’re going to critically think about everything we do. And if we hear people saying “That’s the way we’ve always done it.” Well…don’t make me come over there.

5. We’re not in charge of the holiday party anymore. Yeah, that’s right. We aren’t the social secretaries. We have real jobs to do. See #1.

6. Business is gonna want a seat at our table. The time of putting HR at the kid’s table is over. You said, “Our business is about our people.” Now, with way fewer of them, it’s going to be true. Like scary true. Take a number.

7. Rules are for fools. We’re tossing out the rule book. We’re not hall monitors anymore. We’re going to expect grownups to behave like grownups. Or they’re gone. Any questions?

8. We’re going to make pay-for-performance work. It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission. So forgive us if we insist that the best people make the most money. It’s not a rule — it’s a fact.

9. No more workarounds to make up for weak managers. Please see #1. Our job is to make our company work most efficiently. We won’t be making up policies to make up for bad managers. It’s either up or out.

10. We’re going to put the “human” back in Human Resources. They’re not numbers on a spreadsheet or “human capital” that can be traded like a commodity. They’re people, with fears and hopes and dreams. And for a few hours a day, they come to our place. We’ll make sure that (along with #1) we remind ourselves every day that what we do is about people. Mediocre people = mediocre business. Great people = great business.

I love #8. And #9. And #10.

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