Why it’s time for HR to use sound judgement

HR departments tend to be criticized by the business for not understanding their true needs. From their own perspective, HR feels they are able to bring order and fairness to the business by developing policies and procedures that ensure a like-for-like treatment of its workforce. A deviation from the rules means that discretion is being applied, creating a precedent to others. And this is a fair point, as managers are strict on reimbursements to their staff but not themselves, or provide salary increases and promotions based on personal preferences rather than professional performance.

Using sound judgement in a structured system

Still, the criticism has some value, and is even recognized by HR departments themselves. For example: Last week I was with a company where a high potential left the firm as she was frustrated by the policy which limited the speed of career progression. The responsible HR business partner suggested that HR should do a better job of explaining why the policy is as it is. At that point, the HR director intervened and said: ‘what we do is unfair’. Unfortunately, she did not feel she was capable of developing an alternative without jeopardizing the consistent system they had built over the years.

This is the main problem for HR: how to use sound judgement in an otherwise structured system. The main reason for this is that if policies and consistency prevails, any deviation needs to have a very decent business case. And yet typical HR departments lack insight in the information needed to justify such deviation. It is a huge opportunity for HR to create ownership for their workforce instead of their policies by simply embracing the data that is already there. It would bring the policies to where they are: as an instrument to support the business, not as an objective in itself.

Supporting the business

It is not difficult to start making a shift in mindset. It’s a very simple question that any HR professional can use: What information do I need to justify a deviation from our policy? In other words, what would be the objective business case that allows to use judgement rather than policy. What would be the difference between an overly enthusiastic manager and a true business need in promoting that talent faster than the policy allows?

Using this question as a starting point, will help to identify the output that is expected from HR to truly support the business. This would mean a tremendous upgrade of the function of HR itself.

As for the challenge at the company I mentioned, the employee had a couple of unique traits. It was a consistently high performer (3-years in a row), in two different functional areas, with her age lower than those of her direct peers, and, as a bonus, a female in a male dominated workforce. Having done this simple math would have kept the employee.

Any feedback on this post is very much welcomed, curious to see if my observations are being recognized.

Original article from crunchrapps

Learning And Development Not Valued By Organizations


Two-fifths of international organizations don’t have a global strategy for learning, according to recent survey of 200 learning and development (L&D) senior decision makers by Open University Business School.

The Challenges of Global L&D survey also revealed that half of L&D decision-makers think learning is not seen as important and 42% lack direction from the top. “L &D is often seen as a ‘token’ activity and that is the underlying philosophy that top managers have about it,” commented Bernd Vogel, director of Henley Centre for Leadership at Henley Business School. Vogel urged senior L&D decision-makers to step up to the plate and outlined reasons why the function wasn’t valued by leadership. “The L&D function needs to be seen as a senior partner. L&D people often lack confidence and clarity about what they contribute to the business and it’s not always about retention and investment. The second issue is there are not enough entrepreneurial individuals in the L&D teams to carry out an agenda. The third reason is that L&D is often treated as just a delivery entity for training.”

If you’re a global organization, then learning and development really has a commercial impact and businesses are demanding much more from their L&D function, remarked Penny Asher, director of executive education at Open University Business School. “Business wants to reduce costs but there is a greater commercial impact if you don’t get L&D right. Organizations then work in silos and the impact on performance is much reduced and you’re failing to realize some of the synergies.”

A strategy for developing workforce skills for organizations that work across economies and sectors is fundamental, argues Laura Harrison, strategy and transformation, director at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. “There is a tactical point about language. If you’re talking about skills then that sits in a silo of L&D so the function needs to talk the language of business. At a more strategic level, the challenge is that it’s easy to cut L&D budgets in less financially benign times but that is a short-term perspective. We would argue that development needs to be about capabilities needed to deliver your business strategy and that is about either acquiring new talent or developing your existing workforce.”

Two thirds of respondents believe organizations with a learning culture will be the most successful over the coming years, and a similar proportion see global learning programs as the future. Indeed, 60% think highly effective learning is ‘critical’ to organizational success, helping companies to adapt quickly to market need and effectively to disruption and uncertainty. Over half of L&D decision-makers stated that there would be a significant commercial impact if their L&D teams collaborated across the world.

Despite the commercial imperative, currently only a fifth of businesses very consistently share learning across the geographies in which they have offices. In nearly half of the organizations surveyed, the learning architecture is ‘decades’ out of date.  “The barriers to sharing learning are often practical such as different time zones and people prefer face-to-face to build relationships and there are also barriers around language.”

The report also highlighted that lack of leadership support was a key issue for L&D professionals. Forty-two percent of L&D decision makers voiced concerns that they lack direction from the top and the leadership team does not value learning. Local resistance is an issue affecting two fifths of organizations. Outdated technology is cited as another barrier: in nearly two fifths of companies the L&D team believe they do not have the technology to coordinate learning globally.

Technology has had a tremendous impact on L&D, remarked Ms Asher. “Five years ago, the technology was still developing but now the technology developed in social management systems means that people can curate information and you can access information much more easily. Peer to peer learning enables sharing of information and problem-solving and the linking of expertise.”

On a more positive note, 94% of L&D departments are planning to increase investment in international learning programmes over the next year. The report outlined the workplace trends that are driving this investment in international learning programmes. More than half of L&D professionals see that employees increasingly want access to market-leading learning programmes, and nearly half worry they risk losing talent to competitors because their company does not share learning effectively. Two fifths of businesses are already losing talented employees because they are not constantly being developed. Ms Asher added that L&D was often viewed as a ‘value/cost’ piece. “Learning is looked at as a cost and although there is often an investment in top talent that is not necessarily throughout the organization. These days, employees are demanding continuous learning and an investment in all the employee population rather than just picking up on the top tier of management.”

Ms Asher warned that this was a pivotal time for organizations when it came to L&D. “We are experiencing a fundamental shift that will affect every L&D department. Tighter margins and the increasing expectations of candidates and employees mean there has never been such pressure to get it right; those that do so stand to make great global gains.”

This article originally appeared in Forbes and was written by Karen Higginbottom @KarenHigWork


Artificial Intelligence Looms Larger in the Corporate World


AIG’s corporate headquarters at 175 Water Street in Manhattan, NYC. PHOTO: MICAH B. RUBIN FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNA

Spending on AI technologies by companies is expected to grow to $47 billion in 2020 from a projected $8 billion in 2016, according to IDC

Artificial intelligence, long a subject of fanciful forecasts, is starting to enter the corporate world in a much bigger way, as costs decline and the need increases to identify patterns within ever-growing troves of business data.

Once a mainstay of startups and big-tech firms such as International Business Machines Corp. and Alphabet Inc., technologies such as machine learning are taking a larger role inside corporate giants including American International Group and Fannie Mae, which are deploying AI to automate and augment tasks previously done by humans alone.

Chief information officers say the technology helps them complete routine tasks faster and often without human help, saving money while freeing their employees to focus on value-added activities.

But as the technology becomes both less expensive and smarter, and more advanced technologies continue to emerge, companies will extend AI use beyond routine jobs to aid in decision making and spot trends and patterns that wouldn’t be evident to the sharpest data scientist.

Spending on AI technologies by companies is expected to grow to $47 billion in 2020 from a projected $8 billion in 2016, according to market-research firm International Data Corp.

CIO Explainer: What Is Artificial Intelligence?

“We’re at a point where artificial intelligence has finally come of age,” said Philip Fasano, executive vice president and chief information officer at AIG. “Any CIO (Chief Information Officer)…has to be considering what AI and knowledge-based systems mean to their business.”

AIG launched a number of AI projects in 2016 and will continue to invest in the technology, Mr. Fasano said. He has cut spending on outsourced projects, allowing the company to redirect money to AI initiatives, and plans to hire more programmers with AI development skills.

Less expensive, more abundant data storage, increased processing power and advances in deep-learning technology could lower the cost of artificial intelligence and make it possible for machines to learn with minimal programming from humans.

One common deep-learning tool, the neural network, uses layers of interconnected nodes to roughly mimic the operations of the human brain.

Nova Spivack, founder of AI startup Bottlenose, said the latest versions of deep learning employ hundreds of layers of neural networks. That power can be used in areas such as weak-signal detection, or the ability to spot trends more quickly.

Artificial intelligence has grown in fits and starts since the 1950s, but has become more viable as less costly and faster computers have made it possible to store and analyze massive data sets. Cheaper computing power also means companies can direct more money toward developing algorithms and acquiring new data.

Any CIO has to be considering what AI and knowledge-based systems mean to their business

—AIG CIO Philip Fasano

In broad terms, artificial intelligence encompasses the techniques used to teach computers how to learn, reason, communicate and make decisions. Its applications span technologies that can recognize images and process human speech, to name a few.

Applications range from practical, highly targeted virtual assistants to broad-based artificial intelligence such as IBM’s Watson system. Facebook Inc.’s Messenger service supports at least 33,000 chatbots, including one from Mastercard Inc. that allows Messenger users to check activity on their credit, debit and loan accounts.

New applications across industries continue to crop up. Massachusetts General Hospital plans to use a system that draws on a database of 10 billion images to identify anomalies on CT scans and other medical images. Industrial conglomerate General Electric Co. uses computer-vision systems to quickly identify cracks in jet engine blades.

AIG said it recently deployed five “virtual engineers” inside its IT infrastructure that work 24 hours a day collecting and analyzing system performance data and spotting network device outages. They work alongside human engineers to learn patterns in the network data and eventually act on their own to solve technical problems.

A network device outage, for example, typically would go to a queue and take human engineers about 3½ hours to address, an AIG spokeswoman said. Using the virtual assistants, nicknamed “co-bots,” there is no queue and most incidents can be fixed within 10 minutes, she said. If a machine can’t solve a problem on its own, it is kicked back to a human engineer.

The ability to automate routine tasks and quickly analyze larger data sets has allowed human employees to do their work faster and focus their energy on activities that computers can’t do on their own, CIOs say.

Mortgage giant Fannie Mae employs a team of analysts who crunch data and write industry reports about the credit standing of individual companies. With limited people and mountains of SEC filings and other published data, Fannie Mae analysts only had time to write reports for their 100 most important customers, said Bruce Lee, senior vice president and head of operations and technology.

The company now uses technology called natural-language processing to electronically “read” those documents, find relevant information and create reports for more than 6,000 potential customers. Many analyses that happened once a year now occur every quarter.

“The AI is doing all of the heavy lifting and is able to cover all companies,” Mr. Lee said. “It also freed up our analysts to perform in-depth assessments where they could add the most value.”

CIOs say artificial intelligence is in the experimental phase inside many companies, but they envision the technology playing a larger role over time.

To be sure, many companies are puzzling over how artificial intelligence technologies might impact their workforce and operations. As AI advances, firms may face tough questions about when humans do or don’t need to be involved in decision-making.

This article originally appeared in The Wall Street Journal and was writeen by Steven Norton

10 HR Trends for 2017


The last two years we published an overview of the HR trends of which we expected that they would have an impact on HR in the coming year (“9 emerging HR trends for 2015” and “11 HR trends for 2016“). Number one on the 2016 was “HR embrace agile”. Although we have seen this topic appearing on the agenda of many conferences, the reality is that many HR teams have great difficulty to work in an agile way. Here we present the 10 trends we think (and partly hope) that will be important for HR in 2017. The list could have been longer, but this year we stick to the magical number 10.

1. Consumerisation

In her excellent article “Consumerization of HR: 10 trends companies will follow in 2016” Jeanne Meister captured all the trends she describes under the label “Consumerisation”. People are more and more expecting an experience at work that is comparable to the experience they have at home. Netflix knows their movie taste and makes good recommendations. With the help of Tinder they are able to find new partners, and all their devices at home are connected through the internet. What most people experience at the workplace is still far from ideal. The percentage of people who are not very happy at work is still remarkable high. Where is the algorithm that has suggestions for new opportunities? (“You like these type of assignments, you might also like …..”). The “Employee Experience” is very much related to this trend. The organisations that consciously design a positive employee experience, for the complete life cycle of an employee, are still scarce.

2. Performance Consulting

Redesigning the performance management cycle was high on the agenda of many organisations in 2016. Earlier we made a plea (“HR: don’t kill performance measurement!“) not to stop with performance measurement. It is positive that we get rid of the traditional paternalistic process, where a boss who had limited observations has to give feedback to her employees. It is positive that we are getting rid of labelling people with performance ratings (“You are a 3.5…”). 2017 can be the year with more focus on performance consulting: how can we help good people to become better, by providing very concrete feedback and very concrete suggestions on how to improve performance. Most people want to improve their performance, and frequent relevant feedback from various sources is an important element of performance improvement.

3. From individuals teams to networks of teams

In their article “Organizational Design: the rise of teams” McDowell et. al. describe how new shapes of organisations are emerging. From static hierarchical organisations to networks of teams that are able to adapt to the continuously changing environment. Traditionally the focus of HR has been on individuals. Many of todays HR practices (as recruitment and performance management) take the individual employee as the starting point. The view of HR is also often limited to the people on the payroll of an organisation, with less or no focus on people and teams who are important for the organisation but not on the payroll. The focus of HR is slowly shifting, from individuals to teams. Looking at networks of teams and how to improve the way teams are working together still gets less attention.

4. Man Machine collaboration

The notion that it is less about man (woman) versus machine than about how men and women can benefit from machines is slowly gaining ground. Dirk Jonker of Crunchr told me about a recent experiment in the area of succession management. The MD officers of a multinational were asked to take a pile of cv’s of employees and rate them to what extend they were considered to be candidates for certain positions (1=highly unlikely, 5=highly likely). The results were fed into the computer. The next step: the computer was asked to look into  the HR information system, and suggest candidates that were not in the initial pile, but were comparable to the profiles of the people with high ratings. MD Officers and machine working together to crate a richer succession bench. It is still early days, but the signs are there that artificial intelligence will enable HR to increase their impact in various areas.

5. Algorithm Aversion

Alas. Even when an algorithm beats human judgment, people tend to trust human judgment (especially their own judgment) better. When you sat next to the driver in a Tesla, you have probably experienced the feeling. You prefer the driver to keep his/her hands on the steering wheel, above trusting the Tesla technology. Algorithm aversion is also one of the obstacles in the use of people analytics. If HR provides solid insights, many managers still tend to rely on their own judgement. How to overcome algorithm aversion is an important topic for 2017. Additional reading: Walter Frick in HBR: “Here’s why people trust human judgment over algorithms”.

6. HR Operations

HR operations has been highly undervalued. Of Ulrich’s HR roles “Administrative Expert” certainly got the lowest ratings. All the HR professionals wanted to be a strategic business partner, the role with the most positive connotation. The last years we have seen an upgrade of HR Operations that will continue in 2017. Most likely HR can add most value in the HR operations area. The requirements for the people in HR operations are different though, and probably we need a new breed of HR professionals who can run HR as a service organisation. Read: 6 major trends in HR Shared Services

7. Data ownership

In 2014 we wrote (“9 emerging trends for 2015“) that privacy seems to be less of an issue. For 2017 our prediction is that there will be more discussions about privacy and data ownership. As part of their effort to improve people analytics, organisations are capturing more and more data of their employees. There are numerous new instruments available that can capture people data realtime, and use it to give an indication of the mood in various parts of the organisation. In the discussions about people analytics we sense a growing resistance. Employees are starting to wonder what is in it for them. Who is the owner of the people data? This trends is clearly related to trend number 1 (“Consumerisation”). People are willing to share data, if the benefits are clear. You don’t mind Netflix to measure what series you are watching, if they use the data to give you good suggestions.

8. The end of Open Space

In 2015 we mentioned as trend for 2016 “Back to the Office”. If people return to the office, they do not want to work in open space. They prefer an individual approach, where they are able to choose their working location in line with their individual preferences and personal needs. Not one-size-fits all. and this will require more creativity and flexibility of the office designers. Tech can help to make the best match between current needs and available space. Generally individualisation continues to be an important trend, and HR has difficulty to cope. HR likes equality, transparency and neatness, and these values do not always fit well with an individual approach.

9. The battle of the Apps

The amount of clever HR Tech solutions is increasing rapidly. The list of successful HR Tech companies is not so long yet. The big HR systems have not lived up to the promises. Implementation is expensive and takes a long time. If you have the money and a relatively stable organisation, the investment in one of the big core HR systems can certainly be worthwhile. The providers of the neat modern HR solutions are struggling to convince HR to add their solution to the mix. HR does not want to take risks, and the IT department still does not like to have too many providers. But increasingly HR gets the notion that currently a good mix between a solid core HR system, payroll solutions and focused innovative HR solutions might be most effective. This leads to the questions: which solutions to choose, and how to capture the data from the different systems for your people analytics?

10. Choose your own

Many more trends are emerging. Add your own, or choose on of the list below, to make this a list of 10 HR Trends for 2017.

  • From vacancies to opportunities
  • Selecting on value fit
  • The end of classroom training
  • No more leadership journeys
  • Purpose, purpose, purpose….
  • Less multitasking
  • Working from 9-5
  • …………………………….

This article was written by Tom Haak and originally posted in HR Trend Institute Blog.

Developing Leaders using Virtual Reality


2016 has been heralded as the the year of VR. After a few high profile flops in the ´80s and ´90s when the term virtual reality was first coined, VR is back in the headlines with the Spring launch of two high-end VR headsets: The Oculus Rift (launched on 28 March and acquired by Facebook) and HTC Vive (developed by HTC and Value Corporation and released 5 April). Sony will launch PlayStation VR later this year. It has sparked predicable discussions in the global press concerning the application of VR. A recent study predicts that gaming, football and porn will make up the main VR content. Daniel Terdiman writing in Fast Company says, for now, it’s likely that games will make up the bulk of what people do with systems like the Vive and Raymond Wong writes an unnerving piece in Mashable about VR porn:

I found myself transported into a bedroom. Kneeling before me was a female porn star who was seductively talking dirty to me. I looked down and saw some guy’s muscular body. Well, that’s not mine, I thought to myself. I was confused. Whose body was this? Then I realized, was now this guy.,, I dropped into a female body, a male porn star who was thrusting into “me” was so up in my personal space, I swear I smelled his armpits.

Surely there is more to VR than gaming and simulated armpit smelling? Knvul Sheikh writing in Live Science thinks outside of the box headset by exploring applications for military, healthcare, manufacturing, crime scenes and education; others see applications for advertising and marketing.

As someone who works in the field of leadership development, I see some tremendous opportunities to use VR to develop and train leaders. Here are a few ideas:

Crisis management. When I was a young and keen first-time manager I was invited to become a crisis management rep. for my department which I thought was a great accolade until I realised that nobody else wanted to do it; and I´m not surprised – the training was dull. We spent one day a month locked in a crisis management room in a basement reading scenarios from scraps of paper and making pretend telephone calls. There is a saying that you don´t know the strength of a tea bag until you pour hot water on it but the problem with traditional crisis management exercises are that you never feel the hot water. With VR, the possibility to create a programme with a real-life crisis scenario adapted to individual business reality where facilitators monitor a leader´s decision-making and stress levels in a simulated crisis is immense. I dug a little further and discovered that two or three visionary companies are already using virtual reality in crisis management training. There goes my multimillion-dollar idea.

Role-Playing. How many of us have looked awkwardly at each other in resident leadership programmes as the facilitator announces a role-playing exercise where we are required to act out various characters (underperforming team member, angry customer, disengaged stakeholder and the like) for the benefit of our equally chagrined co-participant play-acting the leader. Some companies have experimented using trained actors playing the roles which is very effective but involves high costs in hiring, prepping and accommodating the actors. Virtual reality could be an excellent substitute where participants engage in a virtual scenario and are observed by co-participants providing feedback. Such programmes could be standard or tailored to the participant´s reality.

Simulations. No leadership training programme is complete without a business simulation exercise. The problem is that so many of these simulations use duplos, blindfolds, ropes and balls that often fail to create a realistic business challenge and require a pretty sharp facilitator to draw connections back to the business and business leadership. A decent VR programme could create a realistic business challenge where participants are stretched and monitored. Such an approach could still retain the all-important group debrief.

Psychometrics. Most psychometrics are scenario based with multiple choice responses. For example: you are at a party do you mingle or stand at the side? Logistically, traditional paper-based psychometrics are cumbersome to administer: taking up a lot of time in set-up, assessment and scoring. Computer-based psychometrics are usually done as pre-work but are not facilitated. Such instruments require the participant to simulate scenarios in their mind and record preferences; wouldn´t it be more effective to do this in a simulated VR environment? With the party example, you could have a simulation of a party and the participant´s body language and reactions can be measured and instantly scored. Imagine it: no messy scoring, more data points and no word-based language barriers. VR psychometrics? Now that could be a money spinner.

Virtual leadership programme. Experts will tell you that e-learning is effective for building skills whereas face-to-face learning is effective for building behaviours (the latter usually facilitated by a qualified behavioural developmentalist). The problem with face-to-face training is the high cost (Deloitte costed global training in 2013 at $24 billion) and the time away from the office. I can imagine a future where leadership programmes are fully VR based, where the participant collects the headset, goes into a small meeting room and participates in virtual leadership training with VR psychometrics, simulations, role playing and knowledge building designed around key competences that have been programmed to suit the organisation. Such an intervention will be learner-paced, cost effective, measurable and consistent across the organisation. If this is the future, I guess I need to look for another job.

The drive to simulate reality has had a long and checkered history dating back to the panoramic paintings and stereoscopic photo viewers of the mid-nineteenth century. A new report suggests VR is still 6-8 years shy of becoming mainstream; but if and when VR does finally come of age in this second VR wave, let´s hope it finds useful applications beyond the predicted gaming, football and porn. Without doubt, it could revolutionise education, particular in the area of developing individual leadership skills and behaviours.

Article writen by Ric Kelly PhD. in leadershipissues.com Click here to see the original article.

If HR analytics are the answer, what are the questions?


More and more organisations are taking their first steps with HR analytics. A recent panel debate hosted by the London HR Connection looked at where they should set their priorities and the key issues that need to be addressed as HR builds its competence in this area.

Every HR professional knows that analytics are becoming must-have capabilities – helping the function to do anything from identifying employees at risk of quitting to detecting potential fraud. A recent survey by Deloitte found that 36% of companies are now using people data to predict business performance.

At this month’s London HR Connection debate: If HR analytics are the answer, what are the questions?, a panel of HR professionals at different stages of the HR analytics journey debated how HR can up its game even further in analytics, and what should be measured.

Dr Martin Edwards, author of Predictive HR Analytics and a statistics lecturer at King’s College London, challenged the frequently cited view that HR lacks the capability to exploit analytics.

He said: “If we look at the research that has been published in recent years, the perspective is that HR will fail to rise to the analytics challenge, that it will be a fad that passes us by. I personally don’t agree – it’s a developing field.”

Edwards pointed to an innovative project at pharmaceutical company Astra Zeneca, which has mined thousands of pieces of historical data to predict the likelihood of someone resigning.

The company has also used data to discover that in one area of the business, external candidates were more likely to be shortlisted for a vacancy, but if an internal applicant was interviewed, they were far more likely to be offered that role.

Christian Cormack, head of HR analytics at AstraZeneca, explained how this has begun to change hiring managers’ perceptions: “We’re not trying to turn HR professionals into statisticians, what’s important is to get HR to understand the nuances of the metrics, to interpret them correctly to start a conversation.”

How effectively the data insights will be used can depend on how well they are explained and communicated, he added: “You really have to know the data to be credible and to tell the story with confidence.

“[When presenting data], we try to make the title of each slide a bold statement that connects with the business narrative and tells people what’s going on in the business – it takes bravery to put an opinion in the title.”

Small beginnings

Nathan Adams, HR director, partnering global risk and audit at insurance company Aviva, said the best advice is to start out small.

“Perhaps surprisingly, for an analytical and risk driven organisation, we are only just starting out on the analytics journey in HR.

“Don’t try to rule the world and say you’ll pick everything and anything to analyse. Make sure there is a business problem to solve.

“You could end up spending a lot of time trying to work something out, so make sure it’s a priority to sort and you can actually implement something off the back of the analytics. We use this as a provocation – if we found something, could we actually do something about it?”

At Aviva, using analytics has helped to challenge assumptions. Data insights revealed, for example, that the highest performing employees in its life insurance business were not older workers – who you would assume would be able to understand and empathise with the customers better – but 20- to 30-year-olds.

While the panellists agreed that it was useful to recruit data analysts to help crunch the data, it was up to HR to know how to ask the questions, and ultimately have a sense of what to do with the answers.

Mark Sheridan, global head of HR for HSBC Commercial Banking, said: “You don’t need to be a data analyst to be curious, you just need that human urge to explore what goes on around you. Or, if you’re presented with incongruity, can you use the data to try and explain?”

He conceded, however, that the quality of data could often get in the way. “You might have multiple reporting tools from different sources, systems might have a different definition of ‘surname’, and information that you acquired during the recruitment process might end up being corrupted.”

One solution might be to drop data into an operational data store, he added, rather than trying to get every system to talk to each other.

Degree of control

Edwards warned that HR should not get too constrained by trying to find tangible evidence when so much of the people function is subjective.

“When you do a business case, you can say you can reduce turnover by x% if we invest £y, but the degree over which HR has control over certain metrics can be hard to predict,” he added.

“Income generation is not the only thing to measure; there are so many things HR does that have an impact on the business.”

And with good data and the appropriate skills and tools to analyse it, the potential insights HR can derive seem infinite. But just because you can ask a question, does that mean you should? Where should HR stand on the ethical use of employees’ data?

“I think we should learn about this from customer organisations,” said Aviva’s Adams. “We all know that there are elements of personalisation that annoy us or switch us off, but we can also personalise an experience for someone’s benefit.

“There are several pros and cons that organisations need to consider, but I think it’s important to draw a line and be clear up front about what you’ll do with the data, looking at it in aggregate rather than on an individual level.”

As with everything in the fast-growing field of analytics, getting to grips with the ethical implications will be as much of a learning curve as refining and crunching the data.

Article taken from Personel Today

HR in 2020: From closed hierarchies to open networks


It is 2020. The role of HR has changed considerably in recent years. We have seen many organizations changing from tight, closed hierarchies into more open networked organizations. The place and the role of the flexible workforce has also changed. Where flexible workers were previously seen (and treated) as second rate, they are now considered an important part of the organization.

Eight aspects of the role of HR in 2020 we have seen changing:

1. HR focuses on a broader group

Previously, the focus of HR was on staff with a permanent contract. Today HR focuses on a much broader and more diverse group. The distinction between temporary employees and employees with a permanent employment has faded. The contract format is not important; it is about the contribution that someone can make to the organization, today or in the future.

2. HR masters workforce planning

Workforce planning has become increasingly important, and HR plays an important role. HR sits in the middle of the business, and therefore has good understanding of the strategic plans. What kind of people do we need? What are the critical capabilities we need to strengthen? Where can we find the people with the necessary skills?

3. HR focuses less on positions, and more jobs to be done

HR previously spent much time formulating comprehensive job profiles. Fortunately, those times are gone. It is now much more about jobs: what do we need to accomplish for our customer? What capabilities do we have in the house and which do we have to find elsewhere?

4. HR has become faster and more agile

If in the past you wanted something to happen fast, you did not involve HR. This would delay the process, as HR had the tendency to hide behind rules and procedures. Today this is different. HR is like a spider in the web. If you need help in strengthening your team and you can not find the solution, then HR is the right partner to involve. HR is firmly rooted in various relevant communities. Therefore, HR has quick access to ideas and suggestions from others.

5. HR makes creative use of technology

Technology is deployed on several fronts. High-speed mobile communication with management and staff. To provide real-time feedback. To facilitate training on the job. To measure and improve the performance of employees. HR has developed into HR Tech.

6. HR has access to a larger talent pool

If you limit yourself to the talent that you already have in your organization, you do not always get the best. Many top talent is no longer looking for a permanent contract, but wants to do interesting and challenging assignments for (various) organizations. In recent years, HR started looking more at external talent pools. Not only in their own country, but also increasingly international. Organizations are also much more willing to share their own talent pool. Employees are not always properly challenged, and can learn a lot by working temporarily for another organization.

7. HR relies on facts, not opinions

HR has learned from marketing. Measuring is knowing. By clever techniques the preferences of (potential) employees can be identified and organizations can respond better to the individual wishes and needs. HR has learned a lot in the field of people analytics, and regularly comes with surprising insights. HR knows what motivates people.

8. HR no longer needs to pamper management

The number of layers is reduced in organizations. With fewer managers life is easier. Many HR processes are automated and managers and employees love it. HR can focus more on core tasks, such as selecting talent and finding creative ways to increase productivity.

The role of HR will widen in the coming years. A key question is how HR and the organizations they are part of can play a role to reduce the gap between people who have work and those who don’t.

This article is a translation of an article published on the website of “Eerlijke Flex”, http://www.eerlijkeflex.nl and taken from the HR Trend Institute Blog. http://hrtrendinstitute.com/

Success Story – 4th HRcoreLAB

At Teneo Meetings we believe that the fundamental keys to success are the sharing of experiences and learning from others. We dedicate our efforts towards the bringing together of key movers and shakers within the HR industry to do exactly that and although we focus on HR, our primary goal is the organisation of fantastic corporate events. During our 10 years in this business we have learned to rely on client feedback in order to continuously improve with every conference.


The HRcoreLAB4 is a great example of our success story and was a perfect combination of case studies from large-­scale organisations and fast-­growth companies such as Airbnb, Uber and Spotify; interspersed with Q&A, networking and interactive sessions. 343 HR executives attended from 27 countries representing 169 companies to discuss topics ranging from Employer Branding and Talent Acquisition to Leadership Development, Talent Analytics, Agile HR and almost everything in-­between.

Don’t take our word for it though. Below you can see what our clients are saying:

‘’It was a joy to see how much Teneo has grown over time in professionalism, depth and scale. Something to be proud off!’’Global Executive VP HR, Shell

“Excellent programme and great networking. The caliber of the speakers was really good this year. Great job!”  – Global Head of Leadership Development, Learning & Diversity, ING Bank

 “The event was also very inspiring and had a very good level of interactions and quality questions. Congrats to you and great job there! Always pleasure to work with you” –HR SVP Energy Business, Schneider Electric 

 “In general all of the event organization was just impeccable!” – Chief HR Innovation & Delivery, AXA

We would like to thank everyone who joined us for this 2 day conference in Barcelona; without whom we would have been unable to create the fantastic learning experience that it was.

We look forward to seeing everyone again next year!

Greg Miller
Senior Key Account Manager

For more information on our upcoming events, meetings and team building experiences please visit our website www.teneoevents.eu.


Upcoming Events:

HRcoreACADEMY³ – 19th & 20th October – Brussels 2016

Learning & Development 4.0

10th annual “Talent Trends”


2016 to welcome the acceleration of agile adoption outside IT

2016 to welcome the acceleration of agile adoption outside IT

For many large organisations 2015 was the year of paradigm shift for agile, moving from a buzzword to implementation. In fact, research from Forrester found that since 2013, twice as many companies are now using agile techniques to accelerate value delivery for their business.

By using an agile approach, organisations can respond to market changes faster, deliver higher-quality products, and gain a significant competitive edge.

Agility is mission-critical to a company’s success today as businesses are challenged by nimble competitors, consumer demand and faster time to market than ever before. Additionally, with confidence in the economy continuing to grow, organisations and their CEOs have realised the need to shift their focus away from efficiencies and savings towards innovation.

The growth in enterprise agile has been supported by the increasing use of agile methodologies – whether it is Scrum or Kanban. However it’s not just within traditional IT departments that agile has been adopted, with highly regulated departments such as healthcare and finance now implementing agile too.

With agile having taken hold in large organisations, what’s next for agile?

The acceleration of agile adoption outside IT

In 2016, we will continue to see the application of agile principles and practices beyond IT, into other areas of the organisation.

Product development – This is one area where we will continue to see growth in 2016 with the application of lean and agile principles to validate market need, iterated MVPs and shortened feedback cycles. This approach allows for faster feedback to ensure an organisation can identify and adapt in order to respond to customer needs. In contrast to more traditional approaches where a large amount of upfront planning occurs, agile approaches make use of continuous planning and prioritisation of requirements.

HR – Beyond this, agile will continue to get a foothold in other departments. In HR, agile will become key to building cross-functional agile teams by looking to hire generalised specialists who are willing to continually challenge processes and norms. There are many agile HR strategies but ultimately its goal is to train managers to become ‘lean leaders’ within organisations, and align everyone with clear customer focused targets to create a working culture that is more engaged and always learning.

Marketing – By the year 2017, it is predicted that CMOs will be spending more on technology than CIOs (Gartner). In fact, through some of the world’s leading organisations, 83 per cent of marketing departments are solely responsible for choosing and managing service providers, with 75 per cent reporting that they also manage decisions on software implementation. As the rate of technology evolves, increased collaboration across enterprises ensures businesses can respond faster to meet demands of stakeholders and customers. Sales and marketing departments will evolve to harness the success experienced by agile teams, in order to improve their ability to respond to changing customer needs and unpredictable markets.

Finance – In addition, finance departments will continue to refine their approaches, ensuring the ability to embrace change and pivot successfully is not hindered by traditional project budgeting. Budgeting models based around funding stable agile teams will ensure that those teams can easily and quickly be re-deployed so they are always delivering the highest priority requirements to maximise customer value.

Developing an agile mindset

Anyone who has been part of an agile transformation knows that in order to be successful there must be support from the leadership and a desire to try a different way of doing things. Changing practice alone is not enough to drive these transformations – they require a change in the organisational culture. Whilst there will be steps towards this in 2016, businesses will take a number of years to move from adopting agile methodologies to more of an emphasis on agility as a mindset. It will take conventional management thinking to adapt and embrace this approach with a greater emphasis on employee engagement, decentralising decision making and continuous improvement in contrast to a command and control approach.

The evolution of organisational models

These trends will lead to the evolution of different organisational models that ensure the behaviours that support agile thinking are firmly rooted in the structure of the company itself. This will involve a flatter reporting structure, shared leadership models and a joint sense of accountability.

Article by: Andrew Sales, Principal Agile Consultant, CA Technologies

Don’t miss the 4th HRcoreLAB  Conference this 8th & 9th of March 2016 in Barcelona.

6th Future of Recruitment Seminar (Part of the HRcoreLAB)

4th Leading With Talent Summit (Part of the HRcoreLAB)

HR Agility (Part of the HRcoreLAB)

Leadership, Analytics, Recruitment, Development, Talent, Talent Management, Big Data, HR tech, Talent Acquisition, Employer Branding, HR Agility, Agile HR, Agility.

10 predictions for HR in 2016

Yes, it’s that time of year again when Santa is readying his reindeer, Fairytale of New York is on the radio and the foolhardy amongst us start making wildly optimistic predictions for the year ahead.

The famous Danish physicist and Nobel Prize winner Niels Bohr once warned “prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future”. Whilst I fully concur with that sentiment, like an inebriated lemming being merrily edged towards the precipice of a cliff, it’s time to take the plunge and give my ten predictions for HR in 2016:

  1. People Analytics (finally) goes into orbit

Okay, you’ve got me. I also predicted this in 2014 and 2015 and it didn’t exactly come to pass. Guilty as charged, but maybe it will be third time lucky? All the conversations I am having with HR leaders suggest that we are on the precipice of exponential growth in this area. The evidence to do so is compelling. Research from Bersin by Deloitte (as reported in the Wall Street Journal) into the benefits enjoyed by the 14% of companies who have already developed mature people analytics capabilities demonstrates they generate better talent outcomes in terms of leadership pipelines, cost reduction, efficiency gains and talent mobility. However, perhaps even more tellingly, the share prices of these pioneering 14% outpaced the S&P 500 by an average 30% from 2011-14. Hence my confidence in predicting that 2016 will be the year that HR stops just talking about analytics but actually embraces it like its cousins in Finance and Marketing; not necessarily to replace traditional intuition but to validate it by making decisions that are based on insights derived from data.

  1. HR embraces an Open Source approach

Many of us realise that we are living in a time of unprecedented change. The world of work is set to experience a transformation not seen since the days of the industrial revolution and the pace of change will never be as slow as it is today. That’s quite a sobering thought especially as HR will be in the vanguard of this new age. Traditionally, HR and recruiting functions have worked in splendid isolation, but that will not suffice in the 21st Century when collaboration, co-creation and ‘open-source’ are key ingredients. The recent #HROS concept of Ambrosia Vertesi of Hootsuite and Lars Schmidt of Amplify Talent has deservedly garnered a lot of attention and momentum. Google too has opened up its HR black box in the form of the re:Work initiative. In 2016, look for initiatives like these to grow and new ones to emerge as HR leaders realise they are stronger together than alone.

  1. HR starts to destroy bureaucracy rather than cultivating it

Like those other discredited 20th century doctrines, communism and fascism, bureaucracy is way past its sell by date. Bureaucracy can be more lethal than a particularly virile dose of salmonella and eats away at a company’s very soul. Instead of protecting it and allowing bureaucracy to multiply through mindless process, unnecessary approval flows and the dreaded organisation chart, HR needs to switch camp from gamekeeper to poacher, don its superhero cape and stamp out bureaucracy wherever it finds it. Instead of Rules, Precedent, Hierarchy and Fear, let’s see more Values, Transparency, Aspiration and Peers. (I admit that this ‘prediction’ falls into the ‘wildly optimistic’ category).

  1. Organisation Charts begin to disappear

One of the key tools of the oppressors is the organisation chart, which is arguably just as defunct as bureaucracy itself. How many organisation charts actually reflect reality? As the number of flexible workers grows the ability to capture this in an organisation chart diminishes. Organisation charts also imply that the ability to innovate and make decisions resides only in the upper echelons of the business. It doesn’t. Not anymore. Not in the creative knowledge economy we are now thankfully in. It’s time to send organisation charts the way of the dodo. Again, this falls into the ‘wildly optimistic’ category, but I guess I’m a glass half full kind of guy!

  1. The eradication of the Annual Performance Review continues

Speaking of pointless and outdated tools and practices, hands up who thinks the annual performance review actually has any relevance? Not many hands. Ok, hands up who thinks they are a complete waste of time, money and effort? Nearly unanimous. 2015 has seen the likes of GE, Deloitte and Accenture bin the annual performance review in favour of continuous, real-time programmes underpinned by technology and apps that help the employee, manager and co-workers share feedback. 2016 will see many other organisations follow suit.

  1. The Annual Employee Engagement survey continues to be marginalised

As it is pantomime season, it seems apt to twin the traditional annual employee engagement survey and annual performance review as the ugly stepsisters in our own HR version of Cinderella. Josh Bersin described them as absurd at the recent HR Tech World Congress in Paris. As Bersin went on to explain, the employee feedback and engagement market is undergoing serious disruption at present with the emergence of feedback apps, text analysis and regular sentiment surveys to listen to the pulse of the organisation. Whilst many organisations will continue to run the annual survey for the time being (response rates tend to be higher), 2016 will see them augment this with what Bersin describes as a new category of HR Software. Traditionally strong providers like IBM are doing a lot of work on amplifying the employee voice, and also look out for start-ups such as Workometry too.

  1. Anyone mentioning the ‘War for Talent’ is replaced by a robot

HR is full of lazy and over-used phrases like “seat at the table”, but the vote for the most tired one has to be the “war for talent”. It was first coined by McKinsey all the way back in 1997 when reality TV mercifully didn’t exist, Manchester United actually had a decent football team and yours truly was just embarking on a career as a recruiter. When it comes to marketing slogans, analogies with wars – like sex – sells, but surely when it comes to the war for talent, isn’t it time for a new idiom? Let’s make 2016 the year that anyone in or connected to HR will be ridiculed and replaced by a robot for daring to mention this tedious phrase.

  1. Someone (anyone) gives LinkedIn a run for its money

Whilst I’m a paid up member of the LinkedIn fan club, it’s about time someone took them on before hubris or megalomania sets in (some may argue it already has). Whether it’s sport, politics or business, competition is healthy. It doesn’t matter really if it is Facebook at Work (see recent TechCrunch article), Indeed, Google for Work or some as yet unknown start-up or even better all of them. It will be interesting to see how LinkedIn reacts once someone starts to muscle in on their patch – one suspects that the cycle of spiralling costs may turn full cycle. So come on Zuckerberg et al, get on with it.

  1. I’ll write a blog that doesn’t reference Josh Bersin

Well there has to be one joker in the pack. Of all the analysts out there, Josh and his firm Bersin by Deloitte are the most omnipresent and the purveyors of the best analysis and insight on the HR space. As such, it is extremely challenging to write a blog that doesn’t reference Josh or his firm, but I can confidently predict that at least one blog I write in 2016 will have contain no mention of Bersin whatsoever. I also predict that Liverpool will win the Premier League, Donald Trump will say something sensible and a great band will emerge from one of Simon Cowell’s dreadful television programmes.

  1. HR as agent of change

This could be my most wildly optimistic prediction of all, but as the pace of change intensifies and as the old ponderous bureaucratic ways of doing things continue to fail (why else would over 50% of the Fortune 500 from 2000 no longer be in existence?), HR needs to move from change blocker to change agent. Yes, it needs to consistently talk the language of the business and change its mindset of being a cost centre, but more importantly HR needs to be brave. It needs to embrace the opportunities offered through flux, changing employee attitudes, neuroscience, HR Analytics and technology to create real and lasting change in how talent is identified, recruited, activated and retained. Will this happen in 2016? Probably not but let’s at least start the New Year with a modicum of optimism.

Article by @david_green_uk

Don’t miss the 4th HRcoreLAB  Conference this 8th & 9th of March 2016 in Barcelona.

6th Future of Recruitment Seminar (Part of the HRcoreLAB)

4th Leading With Talent Summit (Part of the HRcoreLAB)

HR Agility (Part of the HRcoreLAB)

Leadership, Analytics, Recruitment, Development, Talent, Talent Management, Big Data, HR tech, Talent Acquisition, Employer Branding, HR Agility, Agile HR, Agility.