Tuesday, 30 November 2010



  The last presentation today (just before a Bill Boorman panel) is with Colin Minto, Global Head of Resourcing at G4S.  I’ve been following the progress of G4S’ new system since meeting Colin at a Connecting HR tweet-up earlier this year.  And the system’s now been live for one week and one day.

For G4S, social recruiting is an aspect of their direct resourcing strategy which supports their EVP / employer brand (on the slide).  It has the widest reach for the biggest gains – but also the biggest threats – in terms of perception, bad behaviour and bad experience.  They therefore have developed a strategic, managed and engaged approach – moving slowly and communicating to the business.  They’ve seen some of their competitors engage in discussions and leave them open – Colin wanted to avoid this at G4S.

So they’re on Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook but the key thing they’re doing is listening. 

They’re looking at social media to solve some major challenges – one is scale – as the world’s second largest private sector employer.  The division of the organisation into businesses, countries, divisions etc doesn’t make things any easier, particularly in a decentralised organisation.  And its multilingual – including 30 different languages across their recruitment site properties.

So they needed technologies to be able to handle all this complexity.  To do this , they got their A team of technology vendors in the same room to design an approach

  • Talent on View providing the front end / gateway
  • Kaonix / Burning Glass providing CV parsing technology to ensure the best candidate experience, even across different ATS’s
  • One of preferred the preferred ATS’s, RecruitActive
  • Monster TMS


  So the new careers site includes video, pictures, tweets etc all integrated in the same place and based as much as possible on user generated content.

It’s supported by AI and semantic matching for job seekers and hiring managers.  Behavioural matching from Talent on View’s community technology enables some behavioural sorting as well.


  And a dashboard to catch metrics about candidates.  However, a lot of the benefits are qualitative (from comments).  Eg they feel they have more control because the fact users are job seekers limits bad behaviour on the site.

During 2011 they’re looking at

  • Crowdsourcing developments through user suggestions
  • Creating a separate environment with clients and peer group companies which they can use to assist job seekers even if the job isn’t with them.


Neat.  Well done, Colin and Matt.


Please note, this was a live blog, so apologies if it’s a bit ropey!


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Relationships in social recruiting


  There have been some fairly consistent views about social recruiting expressed this morning at Alan Whitford and Vic Okezie’s social recruiting conference…  Views which I think contrast to the way many if not most organisations looking at social recruiting are trying to do it, and to those expressed in a few different articles recently, eg this one from John Sumser.

Basically, it IS all about relationships.

The first presentation which reinforced this fact was given by Matthew Jeffery at Electronics Arts (pictured rather fuzzily above).  Matthew emphasised the need for recruiters to move from a 1.0, post and pay approach to one based on 2.0, social media and relationships.


  But we had more detail provided a bit later from Jennifer Candee from SABMiller.

Jennifer spends 50% of her time on ‘talent interviews’ with future talent who are top notch, usually senior level, people but for whom SABMiller don’t have a current position (sort of like an agency meeting someone of the side when they’ve not got a role).  But often she’s kept up a conversation and two, three or four years later she’s placed them.  Job postings are still a part of the mix but Jennifer’s not hired from them for the last four years.  As a result of this, the company has saved between £1.2-£1.8m.

One of the interesting things SABMiller is looking at is a CRM type tool to manage the relationships with their future talent (Avature CRM).


I’ve posted before about the head farming (vs head hunting) approach used by Ernst & Young while I was an HR Director there.  This was in 2000 and no other organisations seemed interested in this approach at the time.

And I wrote about this too in my book during 2005.  And when this was published, the approach still didn’t resonate that well.

Moving ahead to 2010, and as shown by the two case studies above, it’s become an increasingly popular strategy.  The difference of course is social media and perhaps also recruiting CRM.

So I still maintain social recruiting is about relationships, not about technology, but the technology certainly does help!


Online CRM from Sherweb



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People first, social second


  So I’m at another social recruiting conference today where I was chairing a panel on engaging employees through and with social media, with Charlie Elise, Heather Taylor and Doug Shaw.

I was trying to keep an eye on the twitter stream behind me (and on my iphone), but didn’t manage to catch them all.  Eg this tweet from Peter Massey:

#SRConf Do u think companies' values more impt than social media? If they are transparent and open, social media will work in rec 4 them


This is the key point to me.  Social businesses, social recruiting, whatever you want to add here, and whether you’re thinking about social media or broader use of social approaches, aren’t going to work unless you’ve got the right values (or mojo) too.

You need to trust your people, and assume they’re not going to abuse your brand.  Yes, there’ll be a penalty if they do, but it’ll be no worse than the penalty of not trusting them, and not enabling them to communicate or collaborate etc.

You need to invest in your human capital – which is about helping your people be everything they can be – before you’re able to maximise your social capital – ie the relationships between them.

Strategic HCM – then Social Advantage.  And values / mojo underpin them both.


Also see the live stream.


Photo credit: Lucian Tarnowski


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Friday, 26 November 2010

Thoughts on the HRO Europe Summit: Social Outsourcing?


  So as I wrote on Friday, last week I was in Amsterdam for the HR Outsourcing (HRO) Europe conference.

I was there mainly to catch up with people and see how the outsourcing market had changed since my last involvement in it (working on GSK’s HR outsourcing to ACS).

But I also caught some of the sessions, and was on a panel together with:

  • Consultants Andy Spence and Jane Owen Jones
  • Nigel Perks from one of my old clients, BT Global Services
  • Peter Cappelli from Wharton.


I’ll come back and write this up later on.

But next week I’m chairing another panel, this time at Social Recruiting, talking about social media and employee engagement.

So I had social recruiting in the back of mind when attending the Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) summit within a summit at HRO.  After all, if you believe, as I do, that social recruiting, as just about the most significant new driver changing the recruitment industry right now, then one of the key questions must be is how is it changing RPO.

What then did I hear about it at the RPO Summit? Largely, nothing. The chair talked about it a few times, and encouraged people to tweet, but none of them did, even though I was challenging them to do so via my tweets displayed on the backchannel projected behind the speakers.

For example, Zurich Insurance did a presentation about their outsourcing deal with Alexander Mann Solution, and showed us some slick videos, but didn’t mention social once. Now I know AMS do have an angle in this area (they were down to speak at the other Social Media conference I was due to chair next week). But for whatever reason, it didn’t feature in this case study.

And I started to think further about the impact of social on outsourcing (and in learning, if not in payroll too). Is there such a thing as social outsourcing, or are social sourcing and out sourcing two different and exclusive things? How does an outsourcing provider participate in, contribute to, and even facilitate a conversation between internal employees and external targets and candidates, when they’re not within the conversation – ie not part of the organisation (other than providing the technology). Can they do this? And if they can’t, does it reduce the organisation’s incentive to be social?

Perhaps a topic for HRO next year… And before then, your comments please…



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Wednesday, 24 November 2010

A Royal Revolution


  No, I’m not quite proposing that!

But Will and Kate haven’t left me much time to escape from the UK before the royal wedding!

So, either I just try to bring forward my plans (a bit of pressure can be a good thing, after all).  Or perhaps I just try to arrange a short project or speaking engagement at the time the wedding’s on.

One option is HRevolution on 29-30 April (tickets here).  Now I only normally attend conferences when I’m being paid to speak; or I can arrange some paid work around the conference, or it’s just really easy to do (like Social Recruiting in London next week).

Unconferences like Connecting HR and HRevolution are an exception, but as an independent consultant working in a difficult economy, I still need to be careful about expenses.  So – anyone have work in the US for me around then?  Or would like to sponsor me my flights (I’m sure we could work out a good deal)?


Picture credit: Rioters Attack the Royal Palace during the French Revolution (unknown artist)


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Tuesday, 23 November 2010



  Spurred on from successes with our tweet-ups and unconference, Connecting HR has now launched a series of weekly Twitter chats when we tweet about a particular topic linked to the key themes we identified at the unconference, ie:

  • General HR Knowledge Share
  • HR in the Age of Austerity
  • HR in the Social World
  • HR supporting the Social Business (enterprise 2.0)
  • HR 2.0 (web 2.0 / social media within HR)
  • Use of social media.


So far, we’ve had three very successful chats on:


Tomorrow’s chat (at 1.00pm GMT) takes up back to the Social Business theme, noting that if organisations are to capitalise on Social Media they must first be social entities by habit.  So how do they do this?

For answers, look up the hashtag #cHRchat (Connecting HR chat) at or after 1.00 today.  The chat is going to be hosted by Will Cleare, HR Business Partner at figleaves.com:


Will Cleare  WillCleare Will Cleare

6/6 #cHRchat 24/11 1300h GMT Q4 Who currently drives collaboration in your organisation & why? #hr #cipd#connectinghr

5/6 #cHRchat 24/11 0800h EST Q3. What are the benefits to other areas of HR to HR championing a collaborative approach?#connectinghr #hcm

4/6 #cHRchat 24/11 0800h EST Q2. How can HR generate a true culture of collaboration "within" their organisation? #hr #cipd

3/6 #cHRchat 24/11 1400h CET Q1. What are the best strategies for helping organisations become more social?#in #hr#cipd

2/6 #cHRchat 24/11 1300h GMT If organisations are to capitalise on Social Media they must first be social entities by habit.#in #hr #cipd

1/6 This week's #cHRchat "#In Pursuit of the Social Organisation" 24/11 1400h CET; 1300h GMT; 0800h EST #hr#ConnectingHR #cipd


For more answers, see on this blog (eg my posts on Enterprise 2.0), or over at Social Advantage (or contact me!).


If you want to know more about the Connecting HR community, see over at the website, or request an invite to join our Yammer group.

Or just look out for our Yammer chat every Wednesday (times and possibly days of the week may vary – check on twitter first).



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Monday, 22 November 2010

Catch-up with Workday


  I’ve had a couple of interesting conversations about developments in HR technologies recently.

For example, at one of the panels at Enterprise 2.0, I was asked about to what extent HR systems limit HR’s ability to rise above compliance activities.  I suggested that this was largely an echo of the past – that technology shouldn’t be a a barrier to performance as it was maybe just ten years ago.

And then last week in Amsterdam, one of the other speakers suggested new technologies are forming one of the key new inputs in the outsourcing sector.  And in the Connecting HR twitter chat later that day, when the conversation moved on to the inability of HR technology to inform broader transformation, I referred to some examples where I thought it was having this sort of impact.

Lastly, I’m working with a client which is thinking about making some major investments in technology during the new year.  And I’ve been helping them think through some options for this.

All of these conversations have included a reference to Workday.  So I was pleased on Friday to have a call with some of their staff (following my recent attendance at Workday Rising) to discuss the recently released version 12.  And I was even more pleased to see that the updates to the system support the points I’ve been making.

Firstly, there are some great features under talent management – see for example what Steve Boese (who was also on the call) has posted about their faceted search.  And I also like the various ways that the system allow businesses to analyse work, and to link talent to work.

There’s so much here that for most businesses, there’s going to be more opportunity here than they currently allow their people.  The issue is no longer just about technology catching up with business needs.  It’s also increasingly going to be about businesses given the freedom to their people to take advantage of the technology.

There are going to be some exciting times ahead.



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Friday, 19 November 2010

I’m an HR Consultant, get me out of here!


  I’ve been feeling a bit down in the dumps after returning from my second trip to California in one month and with no other trips to sunnier climes coming up till next year. 

The rain and fog in Amsterdam over the last couple of days hasn’t really helped – just another case of seasonal affective disorder I guess.

I’m also not a supporter of the Age or Austerity.  What we Brits need right now is a bit of optimism to stimulate more investment.

And I don’t think the prospect of a royal wedding next year is going to make up for the general slash and burn of the economy.  In fact, it’s probably the wedding that’s got me feeling most fed up.

To an extent, my irritation with this about having to fork out for the costs of the Windsor’s security.  But it’s also the expectation of ever greater toadiness from the BBC right through to the wedding, and the prospect of more general Dianamania too.

I also can’t see how the selling of more crappy plates and other chintz (the production of which obviously isn’t going to be done in the UK) is going to stimulate the economy.

So I really don’t understand the delight that some of the queen’s subjects clearly feel.  And I’m not a naturally grumpy or cynical person.  But I don’t like the monarchy.  And I definitely don’t like being a subject of it.  (“long to reign over us”?  Humbug!).

It’s probably time to make a move.  I think I’ve probably posted this before as well.  But if I’m still living in the UK next July (or whenever the wedding is) I’m going to be even grouchier than I am now.

What I’d really like is a long-term consulting project, doing what I’m doing now (ie working with organisations to create new capabilities through their people – whether these are based on individual employees [human capital] – or the connections and relationships between them [ie social capital] – or simply working with them find more innovative and value-creating ways of doing HR), but:

  • longer-term, eg around 18 months – 2 years minimum, which is what my projects really need to be in any case in order to make real change
  • not in the UK!


Any offers?


(Of course, what I also really need to do is to emigrate, but for now, I’ll just make do with joining Republic!)


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Monday, 15 November 2010

HR and Enterprise 2.0 Happy Hour


  I also managed to speak about HR’s role in Enterprise 2.0 on last week’s HR Happy Hour with Steve Boese, Shaua Moerke and Matt Wilkinson from Socialcast.

Do take a listen – and it’s well worth paying particular attention to the part where Matt describes the Socialcast product – I do think this systems’ security and integration features does generally make it a more compelling proposition for intra-organisational use than Yammer (which we’re using inter-organisationally for Connecting HR).

As well as the technologies and processes aspect of Enterprise 2.0, we also talked about the culture component – which was the subject of my presentation with Margaret Schweer, and which I still need to review on my Social Advantage blog

I will just say that I thought Matt and I were talking about two slightly different things – ie his interactions vs my relationships, his talking to staff about how they connect today, my focus on supporting strategic objectives etc.  I’m going to come back to this on Social Advantage too.


Also see:



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Friday, 12 November 2010

HR, Collaboration and Analytics


  The other panel at the Enterprise 2.0 conference, also chaired by Oliver Marks (pictured with me) focused on measures.  We noted that because of the complexity surrounding HR and collaboration, many of the things we wish to measure are intangible.  I suggested that participating in conversation may often be a better way to measure Enterprise 2.0 initiatives than trying to calculate ROI and noted Jay Cross’ comments on Jack Phillips ROI methodology as an example of this difficulty.

However, the ROI of incorporating social tools within HR may be intangible but it’s also, in Joshn Bersin’s words, ‘really big’.  We talked about some social learning and social recruiting examples of this.


Some of the tweets:

joningham: With Richard Chong NetApp @cameranh @josh_bersin @olivermarks on HR measurement #e2conf #e2conf-8 #cipd10

mikegotta: @dahowlett I don't think we have the right metrics for assessing the value of better relationships, better sharing, better cultures #e2conf

jonhusband: @josh_bersin says the ROI is intangible, but really really big (of e2.0 tools) #e2conf (via @gordonr)

SameerPatel: #e2conf #HR 'within a year NetApp got $2 million back in cost savings from their Saba enabled program" #e20

tdoyon: Kudos being incorporated into performance management but get culture right first and the use data #e2conf

jholston: social ROI: reduces time-to-relationship #e2conf


Picture credit: Alex Dunne (me and Oliver Marks)


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Thursday, 11 November 2010

HR: beyond Compliance through Collaboration


  One of my E2.0 sessions was a panel looking a how HR can move out of its compliance role through the use of collaborative / 2.0 technologies.

I thought this was a good panel session, and was pleased that we seemed to come to the conclusion that HR is complex, not simple, and that getting beyond compliance means accepting, tolerating, and navigating through this complexity.

It’s a conclusion that is very different from that generated by many HR conferences at the moment – which is maybe down to this conference’s focus on collaboration, and the additional complexity inherent in dealing with teams, networks and communities rather than just the traditional focus of HR ie the individual employee.  Also see Rawn Shah’s summary on this:

“Mr. Ingham described another dynamic that HR is not yet ready for: the shift of emphasis from interactions between two individuals, to interaction in collaborative groups. I readily agree that this makes things much more complex. In fact, I would point out that there is a basic lack of understanding in what constitutes collaborating groups. More simply, there is a lot of talk about working in a ‘community’ but little agreement on what constitutes a community.”


This is why I do rather disagree with my co-panellist, Danny Portillo (from Rypple)’s suggestion that we drill down, using analysis, to identify simple HR actions we can take.

To me, strategic people management, particularly of the collaborative kind, requires synthesis (understanding of the system – the people, and particularly the relationships between people) rather than it does analysis.


Some of the tweets:

joningham: @dporillo (Rypple) @joshbersin Michelle Johnston @olivermarks on HR beyond Compliance #e2conf #e2conf-11 #cipd10

rypple: Rypple is a great social tool to help development, it supports diff org structures and lets people choose coaches #e2conf

swylie650: I've never met a company that failed because their employees were over-empowered @Josh_Bersin HR track at #e2conf

MeganMurray: Getting into the guts of human issues, HR and collaboration in M1. #e2conf

ryanvesely: #e2conf collaboration is impactful when HR processes and org culture are aligned. Think about how you bring collab to performance


Picture credit: Alex Dunne (Josh Bersin, me, Michelle Johnston CPP, Oliver Marks – sorry Danny Portillo Rypple’s been cut off)


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Wednesday, 10 November 2010

HR Collaboration Strategies at E2.0 Conference


  After this Summer’s E2.0 conference in Boston, where I suggested that people were trying to develop something that was basically designed to develop collaboration in a fairly non-collaborative sort of way – eg without much input from the HR profession – I proposed to speak on HR at the follow-up conference in Santa Clara.

I didn’t expect much of a positive response, and certainly didn’t expect to see HR turning into a track of its own at the West coast conference, so full credit to TechWeb for listening and having the imagination to try something new.

I ended up being on two panels and will post on these shortly, and I  also presented on Culture (I’ll put my notes on this up at Social Advantage).

But first, I just wanted to make a hat tip to the opening keynote, and the session on real-world HR problems I didn’t participate on.  Here are some of the tweets from these:

joningham: @billmcnee @olivermarks @ciaramsmyth Tony Treglia HR meets E2.0 and the Cloud #e2conf starting next http://tv.e2conf.com #cipd10

joningham: @petefields @bethrivera @leighlevensaler Lisa Ackerman @olivermarks on real world HR problems #e2conf-14 #e2conf #cipd10

mikegotta: When HR groups see themselves in a strategic (vs. admin) role - they can be a key champion and sponsor of E2.0 initiatives #e2conf

joningham: Needs to be included RT@MikeGotta E2.0 enables workers to gain reputation score/rank/rating - impact performance reviews? Risk item? #e2conf

joningham: @ciaramsmyth HR professionals need to be capable in explaining how 2.0 supports productivity etc #e2conf #cipd10 #connectinghr #chrchat

joningham: ciaramsmyth HMH piloting E2.0 = "Executive 2.0" - reverse mentoring programme! #e2conf #cipd10

cflanagan: RT @gialyons: #e2conf Houghton-Mifflin is implementing reverse mentoring for their execs this year <-- GREAT #e20 tactic 4 trad'l cultures!

mikegotta: Interesting session some of the "behavioral" discussion calls out the need perhaps for orgs to have people versed in sociology etc #e2conf

cflanagan: Some co's use social tools to promote brand, yet block employee access. Must match action. Move beyond fear. Trust employees #e2conf

mikegotta: "relationship onboarding" - we need to get employees connected more effectively to peers, teams, communities, etc - E2.0 helps #e2conf

TylerCagni: Collaboration platform must answer THE question 'does this help ME do my job better?' HR track #e2conf


All the conference tweets are available here.  Also see David Sparks’ write-up on the keynote.  And Rawn Shah’s summary of this and the track sesions in Forbes.  Or this list of all the blog posts from the conference.

Videos of all the keynotes are available at http://tv.e2conf.com.

The track whitepaper is at http://www.e2conf.com/whitepaper/HR.


Picture credit: Alex Dunne (Oliver Marks, Eric Lane (Intuit), Ciaram Smyth (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt / HMH), Tony Treglia (Aviva), Bill McNee (Saugatuck Technology)


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Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Socialising the CIPD Annual Conference


  I’m not at the CIPD annual conference today as I’m presenting tonight at the HR 2.0 track at the Enterprise 2.0 conference in San Francisco.

But I sent the CIPD some inputs on the conference this Summer and thought it might be worth reviewing how things have progressed in the conference this year.

So, I wrote:

1.   You could do with social media being on the conference agenda.  This is one of the biggest trends impacting organisations now and HR / the CIPD are still well behind the curve.  Ideally you'd have one or more sessions on quite early, followed by the tweet-up etc to drive interest in this.

-   Social recruiting / social learning

-   HR supporting social media in the business

-   Another opportunity would be a session with a bloggers panel, like SHRM did in 2009 when they woke up to social media.

How have they done?  Well, they’ve got Charlie Johnston from Cisco presenting what should be a great session, and CIPD  staff are talking about 2.0 in the exhibition but that’s it.

And yes they are following up with an event on ‘web 2.0 recruitment’ shortly afterwards, but this agenda needs to be included in the main event as well.


2.   And you could have some practical workshops on using social media as well as sessions during the exhibition - how to use Twitter etc

Not included.


3.   You might want to proactively invite some more bloggers to attend as press rather than waiting for them to apply (and feeling that you probably won't be interested).

I did get a press invite to the conference this year – the first time I’ve not had to push for one – so a big tick for this one.


4.   The tweet-ups have been fine, they'll continue to grow.

… as you can see from the booking list… (I think there were only about ten of us last year).


5.   You could have some twitter stream displays up - like you did at HRD a few years ago (I don't think this was very successful then but there are more people tweeting now).  And perhaps even some displays up as a backchannel during sessions, particularly those on social media.

Don’t know – hopefully someone will comment and let me know…


6.   If you see the conferences as a way to engage with your membership rather than a revenue generator (which is what most of your members think you this of it as!), you want to live broadcast some of the sessions too eg the keynotes, particularly those presented by Jackie et al, and any focusing on social media again.  Don't charge for access!

Not being done (but perhaps it was asking a lot!)


7.   You need to do something to get the conference attendee community sites working better.

Don’t know…


8.   Use interactive devices to involve the audience - eg Spotme / Crystal Interactive.  What are those devices people can wear which ping when you get close to someone with similar interests to you.  Some of those.

Doubt it!


9.   You need more CIPD people to sponsor use of social media too.  You've got a lot of people blogging and tweeting but they're not doing it at the conference.  They should be.  And listening to what other people are blogging and tweeting.  And responding to their tweets.

The CIPD has got its fair share of bloggers, although I think including all their blogs at cipd.co.uk limits their creativity.  And there are some ‘meet the CIPD blogger’ sessions in the exhibition (a bit of a strange combination of meet the CIPD, and a meet the bloggers panel).  But I doubt they’ll be doing much blogging or tweeting at the conference.


10.  Building on this point, can't you get CIPD people to actually look at and talk to delegates as they're walking around instead of looking like they're far too busy to do anything as menial as actually talk to their members!  And not hiding away in the speakers lounge.

I’ll need some comments on this…


11.   And this is nothing about social media but all about being social also basic conference design.  Don't allow your speakers, particularly CIPD people (eg your Next Generation HR session) to run out of time for questions!  Nothing turns an audience off like it.

We’ll see whether there’s an improvement here compared to last year….


If you’re not at the conference either and in the absence of video streaming still want to follow proceedings from afar, the best people to follow will probably be Mike Morrison @rapidbi and Charlie Elise @charlie-elise.  The hashtag is #CIPD10.


For more about socialising conferences, see this recent post from Andy Headworth at Sirona Says.



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Saturday, 6 November 2010

Why I support Influencer lists


  I particularly enjoyed this post from ‘TheHRD’ earlier this week.  But I’ve already commented to say that I don’t totally agree with him.

Given my connection to this topic (having just been blogging on it quite extensively, and being one of the people on one of the lists as well) I wanted to expand on my reasoning for suggesting it’s important.



HR is now obsessed (I’d suggest too obsessed) with measurement.  And we know we should be measuring more of what’s important.

So are we saying influence isn’t important?  That would be dumb.  It is and it always will be – it’s just the way influence is exerted that’s changing.

So if it’s important, we should try to measure it.  As I said in my comment to the HRD, I don’t think our current ways of measuring it work that well.

Actually, I was with Sian Harrington from HR Magazine on the day the HRD’s post came out and explained to her that I wasn’t criticising their research methodology.  (I was criticising the nous of HRDs who had unthinkingly selected people who had, for example, left the UK years before (and have no noticeable impact on the global stage).

But I don’t think we should criticise our desire to measure it – within our organsiations – and across our profession as well.



Influence is changing.  It’s becoming more social, and more online as well.

John Sumser is leading the way in new ways of measuring both of these kinds of influence.  His lists are also, and deservedly, criticised – but again, I don’t think we should criticise the attempt.

Yes, there are better ways of measuring influence - I’m a fan of social network analysis for example (and can conduct one in your organisation for you).

But no one has figured out to conduct an SNA across a whole profession, so at the moment, John’s HRExaminer lists are about the best thing that we have (see more on influence in HR Examiner here and here.



The last reason I think we should support HR influencer lists is their connection to talent management.

Linked to my point on social influence, talent is increasingly less about individual ability to have an impact, and much more about having impact through networks and relationships.

Yet in his work on SNAs, Rob Cross suggests just 10-20% of those the most connected, key influencers in most organisations are members of these organisations’ talent pools.

We need to better understand influence, so that we can be sure we’re identifying and measuring talent in the right way.



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Friday, 5 November 2010

CHROs and Collaboration


  I’m in the US for the Enterprise 2.0 conference next week but unfortunately arrived just too late for this week’s HR Happy Hour – Episode 74 – ‘Creativity, Flexibility, and Speed’ (they didn’t get much time for calls anyway).

Steve Boese and Shauna Moerke were interviewing IBM’s Dan Roddy – the study director for IBM’s Chief Human Resource Officer study based on conversations with more than 700 Chief Human Resource Officers (CHROs) worldwide.

The study identifies three areas that are the most important for CHROs and are also most poorly done.


Creative leadership

Dan explained that leaders need more creativity rather than linear thinking.  They have to think differently in order to do something different now that we’re facing higher levels of complexity in business.

I’m pleased IBM have come round to recognising this need which contrasts to the conclusions in some of their previous reports, eg their 2008 human capital study which I also reviewed:

IBM also believe that managing this kind of talent market requires a structured, analytical approach: “A more data-driven, fact-based method to hire, pay and reward top performers”.

“If the workforce is truly to be valued as an asset, much like financial capital or brand equity, the entire C-suite, not just HR, will need more robust and accessible information about current and future talent needs, employee productivity and resource availability.

No matter how much respect the C-suite may have for the CHRO, until the HR organisation has access to workforce data and information with the same level of timliness, consistency and validity as the financial or operational data available to the CFO or the COO, its insights will not hold the same weight.”

This argument doesn’t work for me. Human capital may be just as important as financial or brand capital. But this doesn’t mean that human capital is like financial or brand capital, ie should be treated in just the same way as them. Management of financial management involves cause and effect relationships. Management of human capital requires an understanding of

Again, I’m not against measurement and analytics, but I think these need to be conducted very strategically, and often qualitatively. And I simply don’t believe that more or even better measurement is the difference that will make the difference in HR’s strategic impact. The magic is in truly developing an adaptable workforce (or whatever you decided is going to be your organisational capability, perhaps even something that will make you seem a bit strange?), and using measurement as an enabler to this.


See this post on imagination (vs evidence) based HR.

And this one from J Keith Dunbar arguing that CHROs aren’t as bad at leadership development as they think.


Speed and flexibility in workforce planning

One interesting finding here is that organisations using social media for learning and collaboration are more effective in developing skills to support strategic needs.

I agree with this, although I suspect the more important use of social media is to enable the workforce to align more closely with changing business requirements, rather than just supporting a traditional, command and control focused planning process.

I fully connected, social organisation won’t need workforce planning, as the whole organisation will be much better and sensing and capturing opportunities as they arise.

(However, this is clearly some way off for most organisations, so I accept the need for more rather than less workforce planning in the medium term.  See this post on workforce planning – and on the need for more creativity too).


Collective intelligence

Workforces are becoming more networked and less hierarchical.  This isn’t about replacing hierarchy – you still need control, standardisation, harmonisation etc – but you need to combine this with the ability for people in the field to make decisions.  This means you need to think about replacing the hierarchical information flows that networks have taken the place of.

Organisations need to emphasise collaboration – culturally and technically breaking down silos:

  • providing the infrastructure and technical capabilities for collaboration
  • culturally not rewarding behaviours that limit sharing etc.


Unfortunately, this is the are that CHROs report being least effective – with 78% reporting that they didn’t do anything to support collaboration or weren’t effective in doing it.

But is this really the case – or just a another problem from the research (as in J Keith Dunbar’s post)?  I think the problem may be over-stated.  I suspect that like communication, collaboration is something people will always say they could do more of (even if we know organisations can do too much of it).

But I suspect the figure’s probably reasonably accurate all the same.  We may be very poor at leadership development, but at least most of us try to do something about it.  Collaboration is something that most people and organisations (largely just with the exception of those involved in Enterprise 2.0) don’t even try to influence (there’s even a point of view that you shouldn’t try).


Anyway, the point that I really wanted to make is that the key for IBM is integrating social collaboration into the workflow – connecting it directly into business operations and project management activity.

That’s not the key for me – not in most knowledge management roles and organisations any how.  To me, processes need to support (not get in the way of) collaboration, not the other way around.  But collaboration needs to be a strategic focus which permeates everything an organisation does, and the way people behave – naturally, all of the time – not just when they’re following a process.


It’s about Relationships

Like most of IBM’s studies, this is a good report.  But I can’t help feeling they’re missed the central point.  Just as IBM’s focus on technology initially led them to miss the importance of creativity, so it’s now constraining their thinking to a focus on information, rather than relationships.

Collective intelligence isn’t about information flows and processes.  It’s about people and their connections.  Speed and flexibility isn’t about formal planning processes - supported by social tools, it’s about giving people autonomy to make quicker and smarter decisions – supported by social relationships.


And it’s not Simple!

Steve pointed out that most of Dan’s suggestions were pretty simple (so why aren’t people doing them?).

It’s a point that’s often made about HR too and my response to it is the same for CHRO support for collaboration as it is for HR – it’s not all simple, and even the simple stuff takes skill and insight to do well.


I hope I’ll get a chance to come back and review a rethought through IBM survey in another couple of years time!


And if you’re a CHRO who can’t do collaboration, get in touch and I’ll show you how you can!


Other links:



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Thursday, 4 November 2010

How to… Develop an HR 2.0 Strategy

  I’ve got an article on HR 2.0 in the current edition (volume 9 number 6) of Strategic HR Review.
I suggest that HR practitioners wanting to gain benefits from social media need to:

  1. Develop a vision of the future
  2. Take their first steps towards the vision
  3. Provide governance and training
  4. Sponsor HR 2.0 themselves
  5. Monitor and improve.

There are good examples of organisations following this sort of approach in the journal – although it’s a shame that some of them are rather similar to each other eg a US based retailer (presumably Safeway Stores) and a UK / EMEA based retailer, River Island, both introducing social recruiting approaches.
The most interesting article to me are ones on Alfa Laval’s virtual strategy process which describes virtual working and leading as something you need to learn as a new discipline but also notes Ashridge research showing that entirely virtual processes can be extremely effective for team building: “Several participants interviewed afterwards said they that although they originally felt that the face-to-face was needed, they now thought that the process would only work if completely virtual”.
This echoes my own experience – I think we can do a lot more over technology than we often believe we can.
It’s a worry then that a short review of research conducted by Google and the Future Foundation suggests that:
  • Only 12% of employees express satisfaction with the technology available to them at work
  • 44% say the technology they use in their personal lives is better than that available to them in the office.

For more on HR 2.0 strategy, see this previous post.
Or look out for new posts from the HR track at the Enterprise 2.0 conference next week.
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Wednesday, 3 November 2010

HR Metrics for Business Improvement and Strategy Alignment


  I’ll also be delivering this programme on HR Metrics for UMI on 6th and 7th December 2010:

Measurement is an increasingly topical and important field for all HR practitioners to understand. However, the need is not simply to know the measures and metrics which are most commonly used to support different areas, but to understand which metrics can be used to support different business contexts, HR strategies and other requirements. In addition, practitioners need to understand how analytical tools can be used to further support the chosen measures.

This short course considers how HR metrics can be selected to align with strategic needs and drive business performance. The course will include inputson best and emerging practices as well as practice in using the approaches and techniques that are presented. The course leader will discuss various case studies within each section of the course and will encourage participants to share their own experiences and insights into the use of appropriate metrics.



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Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Managing Reorganisations, Restructures and Redundancies


  I mainly only deliver open workshops in Asia and the Middle East, but there are also a couple of UK sessions where you can catch me over the next couple of months.

The first is a workshop on reorganisation and restructuring for JSB on 23rd November:

In an environment where change is the only constant, it is crucial that businesses are designed to respond and accommodate change. And as businesses are under increasing pressure to gain – and maintain – a competitive edge, reorganisations are now more commonplace than ever before. Yet businesses are often not fully equipped to plan, prepare and manage restructurings and reorganisations, potential redundancies, mergers and business transfers.

As well as the legal aspects involved in restructures, it is just as important for HR to understand and be able to implement the critical non-legal aspects of restructurings. Reorganisations are one of the biggest changes a business, and its workforce, can undergo. Dealing with staff morale, motivation, productivity and communication of change initiatives is just as important as legal compliance –effective management of change has shown to affect both the short-term and long-term performance of the business post-restructure. HR professionals must develop the skills and knowledge to successfully manage reorganisations and deal with the associated legal and people challenges.


I’ll also be delivering another session on HR and social media for JSB on 27th January 2011.



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Monday, 1 November 2010

HR Collaboration Strategies at Enterprise 2.0 conference


   I’ll be presenting in a couple of sessions at this November’s Enterprise 2.0 conference in Santa Clara on Tuesday 9th November:


Human Resources professionals are at the center of managing the most valuable asset a company possesses - its people - and how to get them to interact and collaborate more effectively. Enterprise 2.0 planning typically straddles the intersection between Line of Business needs, Human Resources and Information Technology.

While Line of Business and IT typically have specific and often urgent needs, the realities and complexities of human resources can have longer term implications. And in today's economy, scale is key whether in terms of growth, downsizing, or merger and acquisition strategies. Keeping the nucleus of a business collaborating while blending other cultures into the mix is a challenge often underestimated by strategists who assume the 'boxes are checked' in software solutions.

The HR Collaboration Strategies track will discuss how to ensure the HR voice and perspective is heard in strategic planning, and that the Enterprise 2.0 technology being contemplated is appropriate for your company size and personnel profiles. We will focus on realizing business value from collaboration tools, and how to strategize around building on existing technology foundations—including payroll, comps, benefits, incentives and training/learning—to transition into a more connected and aware culture and organization. The realities of staff types, ages and workflow needs will be addressed, including how to shape them so they evolve over time to meet your business goals.


Keynote - Human Resources Meets Enterprise 2.0 and the Cloud

Human Capital Management is rapidly evolving and broadening its focus. Today’s mission revolves not only around helping shape culture, and managing compensation and benefits, but on acquiring, developing and retaining key talent, aligning employee performance with business results, and supporting organizational innovation and change. In support of this evolving mandate, companies are leveraging a variety of social and collaboration technologies combined with Cloud architectures that are delivering bottom line results. This panel of senior business and IT executives will examine how they are applying and realizing value from the use of modern technologies to solve specific HCM and related problems.

Moderator - Bill McNee, Founder and CEO, Saugatuck Technology

Keynote Panelist - Oliver Marks, Blogger, Sovos Group, ZDNet

Customer - Ciara Smyth, Executive Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company

Customer - Tony Treglia, Senior Vice President, HR Service Delivery, Aviva USA


Measuring HR Performance - What to Apply Analytics & Metrics Against

The strategic design and tactical roll out of HR related collaborative Enterprise 2.0 initiatives requires analytic measurement to justify budget and measure success. This session explores case history examples, insights, and the new analytical measurement tools from which performance and quality of data metrics are extracted.

Moderator - Oliver Marks, Blogger, Sovos Group, ZDNet

Panelist - Jon Ingham, Executive Consultant, Social Advantage

Panelist - Raymond Chong, Director of Learning Systems and Services, NetApp


Getting Beyond Compliance: Elevating HR's Enterprise Wide Strategic Role

Many HR staff are frustrated at never being able to get past core responsibilities: hiring and firing, compliance against governance policy and merger and acquisitions fire drills. This session will explore how to imbue modern Enterprise 2.0 thinking into these core competencies, while leveraging the power of collaborative thinking to accelerate business performance strategically.

Moderator - Oliver Marks, Blogger, Sovos Group, ZDNet

Panelist - Josh Bersin, CEO and President, Bersin and Associates

Panelist - Michelle Johnston, Regional Consultant, CPP

Panelist - Jon Ingham, Executive Consultant, Social Advantage


Common 'Real World' HR Problems

This session will focus on the issues keeping HR experts up at night, and the problems that urgently need solving including:

  • Records management and retention, and the impact of employee online social activities on employment law
  • Privacy and information security
  • Policy strategy: Do you embed 'social' policies into existing policies or create standalone governance?
  • Succession management and recruiting synergies
  • Employee use of external social media and internal business networking, monitoring, remediation, support and training

This 'real world' session will explore the realities of legacy technologies and explore the blending of new and old ideas around HR.

Moderator - Oliver Marks, Blogger, Sovos Group, ZDNet

Panelist - Leighanne Levensaler, VP, Human Capital Management Solutions, Workday

Panelist - Lisa Ackerman, Sr. Director of Human Resources, Saba Software

Customer - Beth Rivera, Senior Vice President, People and Culture, UBM TechWeb

Customer - Pete Fields, Manager, Team Member Portal, Wells Fargo Corporation


People, Culture, Behavior

The most valuable assets a company possesses are its people, but politics and divisions between them significantly weaken many companies over time, particularly at scale. Combining E 2.0 tools with other HR based approaches to create social outcomes, helps define and develop a social approach to collaboration and innovation. This session will explore how to take advantage of the value of E 2.0 tools and craft a more cohesive business entity that encourages interaction and awareness.

Speaker - Jon Ingham, Executive Consultant, Social Advantage

Speaker - Margaret Schweer, Vice President, Insight and Advisory, nGenera


There’s an associated white paper too.




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