Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Reviewing 70-20-10 at HCI Learning and Leadership Development conference


   One of the things I’ve suggested adding to my client’s learning strategy is the 70-20-10 approach. I use the form of this developed by Morgan McCall, Robert Eichinger and Michael Lombardo at CLC and popularised by Jay Cross, Charles Jennings and others in which 70% of development is provided through on-the-job experience, 20% through others including informal mentoring and coaching, and just 10% through traditional, formal training.



This version of the model was included in a slide presented by Robert Vulpis from Morgan Stanley at the HCI Learning and Leadership Development conference - the other recent partly virtual conference I’ve been reviewing:


There are also similar models which push the shift even further, for example at the HCI conference, Bob Cancalosi from GE Healthcare suggested these three amendments to the model:




There’s also this one shown by Carie Blum at the CLO Symposium:


Here social takes the top 70% (rather than the middle 20%) of learning.

Which ever model is used, I think it’s important that it is only ever seen as an indication or provocation of what a company should do  - and not as a rule! (or as an objective to be achieved).

(Slide presented by Joe Garcia from Home Depot at the HCI conference)


I guess David Forman from the HCI was making a similar point in emphasising the need to think about 70-20-10 as a portfolio rather than percentages:


Well, I did write that the model has been popularised – and I’m sure that after all of this repetition that attendees at the HCI conference (and now you, I guess) must surely be able to remember it!


By the way, if you’re not sure what types of learning go in each separate category, I recommend Dan Pontefract’s schematic:




More tomorrow…



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Monday, 28 November 2011

Measurement by Belief (Liberty Mutual at CLO Symposium)


   There’s so much going on in the UK at the moment, with tomorrow’s Spending Review and Wednesday’s public sector pensions strike.  And I still haven’t got around to posting on last week’s report from the High Pay Commission.  But I’m out in South Africa at the moment and feel a bit cut off from these issues.

But today, as well as a couple of meetings, and a bit of time by the pool, I’ve been finishing off on an input to a UK client’s learning strategy, and have been reading some research and watching a couple of webinars as input to this.

One of these has been the CLO’S Virtual Fall Symposium which took place live back in October.  (Quick reporting isn’t something I always do well eg I’ll probably only get round to posting on cuts, strikes and exec pay in 2012!).

There were a few interesting sessions at this, including:


However, the one which most interested me was by Larry Israelite from Liberty Mutual.  This suggested that measurement can (I would say should) be based on an organisation’s beliefs, not just on data or current goals:

  • The data based approach is based on a cycle of data – information – judgements – actions.  As well as being HR driven, focused on the current state and reactive, the main problem with this approach is that there’s a disconnect between actions and data – you can take actions but don’t know what led to the data in the first place.
  • The goal based approach is based on a cycle of goals – measures – results – actions.  It’s still HR driven, but focuses on refining the current state, defining outcomes and being more proactive.  You’re looking for the impact of what people do but you still don’t know what these things are and they’re difficult to control so your ability to influence them is severely compromised.
  • A cycle of beliefs informing behaviours followed by measures – results – actions addresses these issues because you can influence the behaviours, and if necessary revise the beliefs.  It’s also business driven, focused on achieving the desired state and much more proactive.


It’s about faith – a firm belief in something for which there is no proof, and something that is believed with especially strong conviction.  Eg Liberty Mutual’s beliefs include hiring the right people.  Their talent management measurement reports focus on 34 measures which reflect these beliefs.  Tracking against these strategic measures means they don’t have to prove how HR impacts the business: “We believe we’re effective and successful because the CEO believes we’re effective and successful.”


There were some good points in this – I agree that data without a strategic backdrop to underpin it is often valueless – which is why I am a firmer supporter of ‘big strategy’ than I am of the opportunities of big data.

And I also agree with the importance of beliefs, though I think we can push deeper and get to more unique needs than just something like recruiting the best people.   It’s why I like Gary Hamel’s focus on ideology (definition taken from Hamel’s forthcoming book, What Matters Now):

“Here's a word that probably doesn't get much airtime in your organization: ideology. Do a search of your company's internal website and I'm willing to bet you won't find a single reference. That's a problem. As managers, it's our creedal beliefs that prevent our institutions from being more adaptable, more innovative, more inspiring, and more noble-minded. We are limited by our management ideology.”


Also see my post on HR scorecarding – an approach which combines some of the aspects of Israelite’s goal and belief based approaches, without restricting focus to behaviours, and which also makes the data which is collected make more sense.

The separation between outcomes and business impacts in my model is why I also don’t support Israelite’s suggestion that a business has to be performing in order to be a good case study.  An organisation can have well developed behaviours and other human capital which, for a number of reasons, don’t result in the business benefits which are intended.



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Thursday, 24 November 2011

Jack Dee on HR (or, “the comedian and the HR practitioner walked into a bar and…”)


    As a judge of the Personnel Today Awards, I get invited to their swanky black tie event on Park Lane.  Last night’s ceremony was another excellent event, unaffected by snow as was last year’s do, and only let down, from my perspective, by the failure of my iphone’s batteries meaning I couldn’t tweet.  Given this, I promised to blog on the event…

I suppose this was largely as I expected some deep insights (or at least sharp observations) on HR from MC Jack Dee.  And we started with something about the HR professional being 80% female and him and David Williams, and then the average age of the audience being 39 meaning that with him, it fell down to about 36.  You probably had to be there… although actually, I don’t think he lived up to Marcus Brigstocke last year.  And anyway, that was about it.

So, what else can I post on?

How about the social media crew at the event?  As well as me and Rob Jones (missing from the photo of our parties meeting outside the hotel) and (who else do I need to add?) there was Doug Shaw, Gareth Jones, Neil Morrison, David Heny, Mervyn Dinnen, Steve (Rick) Toft and Kevin Ball (so doing our best to equalise the gender ratio):



And the awards?  Well, you can see my pics of these here:



Special mention perhaps to Sue Ryder which won the Corporate Social Responsibility Award but needs an extra £50k GBP to continue their work over the next year and are looking for an individual or organisation to sponsor them.  I actually visited one of their homes when I was at school in Leeds (a long, long time ago) and have kept an eye on them since then, so I know this would be a great value investment – if not to your own bottom line.



But congratulations to all the winners.  And if you didn’t win (or even if you did), well perhaps you need to develop some even better HR practices next year!

(And if you need help to do this, well, give me a call - on +44 (0)7904 185134…)



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Friday, 18 November 2011

#CRSS2011 CERN social recruiting: social not just social media


   I’m at CERN today for a session that their head of recruitment, James Purvis (in the picture, sitting in the middle) has put together.  The session is on recruitment and sourcing, not just on social recruiting, but that’s been the main focus this morning.  There’s over 50 people here (over 30 who didn’t get squeezed in) and more people (from over 40 countries) watching on live streaming.

There are a couple of different reasons why I think the event has proved so popular but one is the tour round CERN that we’ll be going on shortly (looking for higgs bosons), and the introductory keynote from Dr Robert Cailliau (in the picture, standing), who together with Tim Berners Lee developed the world wide web (the set of conventions and standards for delivering over the internet).  This was a great session, particularly for someone who used to be an engineer, but it’s not the focus of this blog, so I’m not going to go into here.  However, I did want to comment on Robert Cailliau’s closing statement:

“Let’s share what we know, not hide it away – that’s how we’ll save the planet.”


I really like this.  Robert Cailliau and CERN both deserve huge amounts of kudos for giving the www away free, but both realised that it would have no value if kept as a proprietary tool.

And I especially like the fact that this has become a key principle of social media and social recruiting – that organisations are increasingly realising that they need to invest time in relationships, with an understanding that this may (but may not) result in returns later on.

In fact this applies more broadly to recruitment in general of course.  I had a very small role in helping get one of James’ team a job here (not that this was particularly altruistic – I was simply trying to get a Geneva tweet-up group established – a need that Etienne Besson has now filled).  And this was done over social media (Twitter) – but – the intervention had the outcome it had because it was social, not just because it used social media.  I was talking to both people and thought that they should be talking between themselves (I shared what I knew, not hid it away).

I was tweeting about the same thing with Gary Franklin this morning.  Yes, of course, if you’re job hunting, you’ve got to go to job interviews (though using Sonru night help?).  But if I was job hunting head of recruiting, I’d want to be right here – putting myself in an environment where I could be socially recruited….



Anyway, what I really liked about today was that this wasn’t just a demonstration of social media, or even social recruiting, but that it was, in itself, a demonstration of being social.

Yes, Robert Cailliau and the higgs bosson were both a big draw.  But actually, I think most people came here because of James Purvis being so social – being prepared to ask people to come along and find out what CERN have been doing and exchange some experiences and views.  It may not be quite as big an output as the world wide web, but I still think it’s a great credit to James, and CERN, that they’ve been so happy to share what they know.



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Thursday, 17 November 2011

Youth Unemployment, #CIPD11 and #ConnectingHR


   My favourite post from CIPD11 was probably this one from Graham Salisbury: Executive Pay: The Subject Which Must Not Be Named in which Graham questions the absence of discussion on today’s absurd levels of executive reward and obscene differentials between the highest and lowest paid in UK society from the CIPD conference’s agenda (possibly due to the CIPD’s own differentials perhaps?).

But for me, the other even bigger issue that was missing from the conference, not unlinked to the above is the truly dreadful level of youth unemployment which reached 1 million yesterday.  And it doesn’t look like things are going to get any better – the CIPD’s labour market outlook suggests that employers are continuing to hedge their bets on all employment related decisions leading to a slow, painful contraction in the jobs market.  It’s even leading to concern about creating a permanent underclass excluded from the prospect of employment.

This also came up at a session organised by Demos (and supported by the CIPD) on youth mobility which I attended yesterday morning (you can see my write up of this at Social Advantage).

Well even if the CIPD aren’t going to do anything about (though they have published some useful insights youth employment here), ConnectingHR will!  Following the community’s focus on graduate unemployment at our last unconference, we’re now planning a more serious intervention to help a number of grads get jobs, or at least get more prepared to be part of the workforce,  My own hope for this is that these largely individual actions will lead to some great community-wide conclusions, and we can perhaps put together our first ‘research’ report half-way through next year – and therefore have an even bigger impact outside of the community as well.

If you want to know (or do) more, particularly if you’re in London / the UK, check out connectinghr.org over the next few days, and join us there as a member too.


Picture credit: The Telegraph


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Saturday, 12 November 2011

Blogger blogging #CIPD11


     Just four years ago there was hardly any focus on social media on the CIPD conference’s agenda, and only a few of us blogging and tweeting from the conference.  This year, the CIPD invited a sizeable blogsquad (‘blogger-bloggers’) to attend, and there were a number of other people blogging and tweeting too – making quite a loud backchannel (on Twitter at least).

Here are all the blog posts I’ve been able to find.

On social media:








The conference:


The CIPD also has some blog posts here.

Plus there’s also the blog we set up in the ‘how to blog’ session (pictured).  Perhaps next year some of these attendees will be blogger bloggers too?


If you want more traditional reporting, check out People Management (including day 1 and day 2 live blogs), HR Magazine, XpertHR and HR Zone.

Thanks to Martin for the prompt to do this post.  And most importantly to Tony Chapman and Rob Blevin for their invites to the conference.



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Friday, 11 November 2011

The human and the machine


   The best session at CIPD11 by far was on efficiency and performance and was delivered by John Greatrex, Group HR Director at Unipart, and Franceso Mereu, Director, HR, Corporate Planning and CSR at Toyota Motor Europe.

For Greatrex there is a growing perspective that there needs to be more of the Human in HR.  He described the need not just to be lean and efficient, but for this to be combined with employee engagement too.  These are both central to the Unipart Way which includes beliefs about there always being a better way, that no problem is a problem etc, but also that engagement drives performance.

Unipart have some great approaches to support this, eg the communication cell providing a framework for daily 10-15 minute briefings ensuring that structured communication takes place every day.

I also liked the way their engagement survey is dealt with in work teams with the results only being passed up to group level if the team can’t deal with them, or the survey process needs to be improved.

More generally, they attempt to measure the process, not the score.  Eg they don’t compare everyone’s engagement score but look for and spread best practice.  The objective is to identify problems – they don’t want people to disguise them.

For Greatrex, all this is about combining lean tools with an engagement philosophy.

In a similar manner, the Toyota Way is based on continuous improvement and a respect for people with a big focus on teamwork.  This needs mutual trust and respect:

  • Setting goals together
  • Involving in decision making
  • On-going sharing of information.


For example, business planning is based on the concept of ‘nemawashi’ or consensus building.  Toyota seek to prepare the ground gradually, building opportunities to work as a team through 20 group discussions with 50 managers walking about – looking at documents, asking clarification questions.  If someone doesn’t feel involved properly they can register their desire to be consulted.  It’s then the relevant department’s responsibility to do this.  This encourages the mindset for people to be involved from the beginning.

Also middle and senior managers’ ratings are aligned across the organisation, ensuring that rewards are based on company-wide vs just departmental interactions and ending a clear message that managers are part of a wider team.


I loved the way that people were so central to business strategy in these two examples.

The point came up again later in a session on leadership for the future with John Burgoyne who suggested that leadership shouldn’t be either human relations or management science but a mixture of both - the human and the machine.

And it’s what Marcus Buckingham was talking about in his point about organisational leaders’ challenge being to take what is unique in their people, and themselves, and make it useful (he’s been reading Strategic HCM!).


I also thought it was interesting to see this today as well: How social media can make your organization stronger:

“For centuries, we have been intentionally creating organizations that are machinelike — rigid departmental silos, detailed policies and procedures, strict roles and responsibilities, detailed strategic plans, etc.

Becoming a human organization is hard mostly because you’re going against centuries of tradition that have a track record of success. We accomplished amazing things in our mechanically inclined organizations, yet becoming more human requires that we change the way we have been doing things.”



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Thursday, 10 November 2011

No innovation from asking customers


   I guess I should really be posting on the rest of the CIPD conference, not just my own interactive sessions (1,2).  There are a couple of reasons that I’ve not been doing so – firstly I was really struggling to find anything to blog on during the first day of the conference (I think I would have liked Robert Potter’s stuff on Individual Career Equations if I hadn’t tuned up late), and then secondly, I heard so much I could blog on during the second day that I didn’t get any time to post (ie this was a much better day).  And today…. well that will probably be the hangover.

Once of the best sessions yesterday, or one of those that sparked the most controversy was the keynote panel with Vance Kearney from Oracle (and Heather Corby from BT, Jane Marsh from IBM and Samantha Austin-May from ESO – but we’re going to focus on Vance).

And the piece that I want to pick up on from a fairly wide-ranging discussion on innovation was Vance’s comments that you can’t (radically) innovate by asking customers, but instead need to step back and think things through yourself (not through individual brainstorming, but by connection people with different perspectives together – so there was a social media aspect to this conversation too).

This comment seemed to produce a fairly shocked reaction, which I must say surprised me, as I’ve always worked on this basis, and it’s not as if it’s not come up at conferences before.  Anyone most people did seem to accept the point, being unable to think of any innovations which had resulted from talking to customers.  Vance did get challenged by one man, resulting in what some people thought was the first CIPD conference on-stage use of the word ********  - sorry for the deletion, but it would have been the first time I’d have used the word on my blog too (anyway, Vance says he didn’t say it).

Why I thought this was interesting was that it connected, for me, with the point made by Natalie Woodford at GSK on the previous day: that HR’s got too close to its customers and needs to step back in order to be more strategic.

Because maybe this is one big reason that HR’s not having the impact it would like - we’re too busy understanding the business, talking the language of the business, etc, etc, that we’ve lost the ability to innovate.  And hence why all organisations end up following the same ‘best’ practices, and then have to deal with the consequent low levels of engagement.

And actually this was the main thing that was missing from the whole session for me – there was a lot of sound advice on developing a culture of innovation across the business, but hardly anything on innovation within HR.  Yet if you believe the stuff coming out of the MIX, one of the main opportunities for innovation lies in HR.

To capture this opportunity we need to step back, reflect, connect, discuss and create some new approaches.  I’m not suggesting not asking your customers what they want – of course you’ve got to do this.  But that’s not where radically better processes and engagement (which I what I think we need) are going to come from.

No innovation ever came from that.


Henry Ford quote picture credit: Vovici


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#CIPD11 Bloggerversity


   There was much more on social media at the CIPD conference yesterday.

Eg Matthew Hanwell and Neil Morrison did a session on social media and Sarah Beauerle from KFC an interesting one on social recruiting at the same time.

I also did another twitterversity, and by chance, a ‘bloggerversity’ as well… Neil had been a superstar in supporting both of the twitterversities, helping to coach people on their tweeting, so I thought I should support his ‘how to blog’ session.  I turned up 5 minutes late and although there were about 20 people waiting for some inputs, there was no Neil – it turns out that the CIPD hadn’t told him he was supposed to be leading the session!  So Gareth Jones and I ended up taking this one too.

Particularly since we hadn’t prepared anything I thought this worked well.  We answered some of the attendees’ questions then set up a blog – you can see this here.

The key principle for me behind both the twitter and bloggerversities is to get people over that first hurdle of updating.  That once people have done this a few times – tweeted some tweets, posted some blogs, it won’t feel so scary anymore.  Actually, I think it’s a broader habit that social media teaches as well.

I was talking to someone about this last night (drinks, tweet-up, drinks, curry… I can’t quite remember where or who - sorry) and they suggested that tweeting was like putting your hand up to ask a question – that you’ve got to be prepared to do this.  And it’s true – it’s like when I asked for volunteers to do a short video for the blog we were setting up, only one person volunteered.

I think  social media teaches you that it’s OK to put up your hand, and to say what you think  - whether this is in a conference room, on twitter, a blog, a video, or whatever it may be – even stepping in to present a session when someone else hasn’t turned up.

It’s an important requirement that we were talking about at the press dinner on Tuesday night – that HR needs to be prepared to loose their job by standing up for what we believe in.  And Arviunder Dhesi, now with RBS, said something similar on Thursday – suggesting that the original cause of the recession was that we have all been too willing to follow – and that HR needs to be willing to be the lone voice.


And this is why I’m so pleased to see more on social media on the CIPD agenda.  It’s not just that it’s such a big enabler for social recruiting (and social communication, learning, recognition etc etc) or the social business, it’s that it teaches more social behaviour too.

(Not necessarily like this photo from the tweet-up!:



Social media is about social behaviour (a focus on participation and relationships), it’s not about social technology.  And it’s generally HR which is most knowledgeable about changing behaviour – so this is an agenda which HR has got to take on.

Signs are, it’s starting to understand that’s the case as well.



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Wednesday, 9 November 2011

#CIPD11 / #CIPD11Tw Twitterversity / 2


   The most interesting thing at the conference yesterday (of course) was obviously the twitterversity session that Gareth Jones (@garelaos) and I (with help from Rob Jones, Neil Morrison, Natalia Thomson, Laurie Reutimann and others) ran.

We were a bit challenged by the technology (the fail whale made a couple of appearances), but this was probably the best large group twitter training I’ve run (eg vs this) – largely I think because of having pre-prepared some twitter usernames to hand out to people (though twitter had decided to suspend a number of these in advance of the training – grrr!).

Anyway, here’s an overview of the session:



We’re running a Twitterversity again today (1.00pm GMT) and tomorrow (10.15am GMT) so do join us then (at the CIPD exhibition or on the twitter stream - #CIPD11Tw11) if you can.

And I may add some updates from these additional sessions later on too.



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Monday, 7 November 2011

#CIPD11 / #CIPD11Tw Twitterversity


   I’m up at the CIPD conference for the next three days and will be blogging from a few of the conference sessions.  But I’ll also be delivering a Twitterversity session together with Gareth Jones, my co-founder at ConnectingHR.

The Twitterversity sessions are really for HR practitioners who are not yet using Twitter, but we’re also hoping that we’ll be joined by a few Twitter pros – maybe even Laurie Ruettimann who’ll be over from the States, and of course has delivered her own twitterversity sessions in the past (and the slide above is one of hers).  Our twitterversity will be rather different, for example, we won’t be using any slides (it’ll all be on Twitter instead).

So if you’re at the conference, please do pop down to join us at one of these sessions in the Interactive Zone, and help us provide some smaller group coaching to Twitterversity attendees.  Or at least drop into our stream - #CIPD11Tw (we’ll be dropping into yours, ie #CIPD11).

And if you’re not at the conference at all, please try to join us on the #CIPD11Tw stream at one of the following times:

  • 1.00pm Tuesday 8th November
  • 1.00pm Wednesday 9th
  • 10.15 Thursday 10th

(all times GMT)



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Julian Birkinshaw on Human Centric Management


   And while I’m on the subject of human centricity, let me point out that I, and ConnectingHR, are not alone in prioritising this.  For example, it’s interesting to see that Julian Birkinshaw’s latest research is on “Employee Centred Management”.  And in a session at MLab recently, Birkinshaw encouraged everyone to see management through the eyes of their employees.

Basically there are two ways of managing people – as a resource to support the business (HR), or as the driver for business success.  This is what I’ve been calling strategic HCM (human capital being based on employees’ latent skills and enthusiasm):


Birkinshaw concludes that to become a better human manager by seeing the world through your employees’ eyes you should

  • Spend time in their shoes, in their space
  • Package work - even routine work - into projects
  • Work yourself out of a job.


You can find further advice on this blog, or my book.



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Sunday, 6 November 2011

#HRTechEurope Human-Centric HR Technology


   My other current interest, other than integrated talent management, is human centricity (see this post on the recent ConnectingHR unconference).

So I had this article published in the HR Technology Europe conference guide:


“One hypothesis that I will be testing out is whether Europe’s generally more progressive approaches to HR (versus the hire and fire culture in the US) results in a different focus for HR technology use.

I believe there are three different ways that organisations can gain value from HR technology. The first, and I think least significant, of these is through the provision of a single (or at least a clearly defined) system of record. This type of technology gives HR robust and accurate data about the people the organisation employees and means that HR can start to take more sensible decisions about the workforce.

The second way that HR technology provides value is by informing the decisions of line managers and business leaders. This value is provided by talent or human capital systems, particularly the new integrated platforms, that allow managers to interrogate data for themselves, to gain better understanding, and as a result of this, better leverage, of the people they employ. I think this is where most HR technology professionals, at least in the US, have been most focused over the last five years.

But the third way that HR technology provides value, which I think often provides the greatest benefit, is by enhancing the productivity and performance of individual employees. This is where office systems have long been focused but it is where some HR systems have acted too. For example, well over a decade ago I was involved in setting up a self-scheduling system for a train operating company. Because this allowed individual employees to enhance their own productivity, it had a much more significant impact on the performance of this business than anything we could have done to give managers more oversight of the way that shifts were being set.

The opportunity to provide HR technology for the workforce is currently being enhanced in two main ways:

  1. Firstly, there is the very rapidly increasing ubiquitousness of mobile devices which are starting to be used by HR system vendors for their applications, and provide a very real opportunity to give employees much more input and control over the way that they work.
  2. Then there is the similarly exponential increase in the use of social media tools, often used by people on their mobile devices, to connect people together and offering a new opportunity to significantly impact the performance of organisational networks, communities and teams.


Why I think this is interesting is that the key to these latter opportunities is an understanding of the people in a particular organisation, and the way they work. This is about HR technology becoming more people-centric in order to find those key needs that technology can support. It is also an almost direct contradiction to much of what is said about HR technology and the need for this to be more business-centric (see for example, this recent article at TLNT, ‘Why HR Technology needs to focus on being more business-centric’).

It will be interesting to see whether this different, people-centric technology approach comes out through the HR Tech Europe conference at all.”


Well, I can’t say it was a huge theme, but again, maybe that’s due to the general lower stage of maturity.  My hope is that the new HR technology conference will help Europe catch up a bit more quickly, and maybe evolve to a different, more human-centric, approach as well.


Also see:



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Saturday, 5 November 2011

#HRTechEurope Integrated Talent Management Technology


   There were a couple of differences between HR Technology Europe and an unconnected US based conference of the same name that I attended recently.  One of these differences was that there was more focus on core HR management systems and less on talent / human capital management and particularly integration between these systems.

I suspect that this was simply due to the lower state of maturity in Europe, shown in the CedarCornerstone research, and not much of a surprise to anyone (I will admit through that one surprise for me was the number of HR technology people who attended this conference – HR Tech is clearly a much more advanced profession in Europe than I had thought).  Eg there was some suggestion that the key need is data integration, not technology integration, which I think reflects this more transactional focus.

I did however want to address integration in talent management technology, simply because I’ve been looking at integration in talent management recently, and technology is obviously yet another aspect within this.

And it was addressed at the conference, eg Katherine Jones from Bersin noted their research which found that 33% of organisations would trade functionality for higher integration (but this was 2009, and US data, and will have changed a lot since then, and in Europe).  Katherine also noted the importance of an integrated employee profile as the new employee system of record (ESR) – something that had also come out at the Social Workplace conference – the other conference that I was chairing this week.

Lexy Martin wasn’t able to attend the conference but the CedarCrestone provides good up-to-date and localised findings with sound recommendations:

  • ”In order to use technology to truly optimse  the workforce contribution to the organisation, it is imperative that all functionality needs to be unified end-to-end and integrated within an ecosytem.
  • For the integrated talent management arena, we see two predominant approaches:
    1. European organisataions are utilising the talent management capability provided by their core syste, of record vendor, with PeopleSoft the dominant choice.
    2. The other approach is the use of a best-of-breed integrated talent management solution of multiple talent management components provided by vendors such as Cornerstone On-Demand, Lumesse, and SuccessFactors.


CedarCrestone’s main conclusions are drawn from their worldwide survey report.  These include:

  • Standardise processes where it makes sense
  • Standardise data handling (minimise number of HRMS instances)
  • Adopt an integrated talent management approach
    • In 2011, that need not be an integrated talent management solution built on the same platform as your underlying ERP-based HRMS.  It can be an integrated talent management suite.  But one hallmark of the most successful organisations continues to be pervasive integration among processes, solutions and systems.  So if you choose an integrated talent management suite that is from a vendor other than your HRMS vendor, be prepared for integration activities.


Also see:





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Friday, 4 November 2011

#HRTechEurope – iTalent competition (and congratulations to MIIAtech)


   I think most peoples’ favourite session on the first day of HR Technology Europe, perhaps tied with Thomas Otter’s opening keynote, was the first ever European italent competition run by Jerome Ternynck, CEO or SmartRecruiters (who won the US italent competition at the HRDemo show in the US last year).

This competition is HR’s (or at least emerging recruiting technology’s) version of the X Factor.  Basically, the format of this was that six shortlisted technology start-ups each had five minutes to present their technologies.  We, the judges then voted on these, and the conference participants added their voice, and level of applause, quite literally through a noise meter on Jerome’s phone.

You can watch the process here.

The winner of the competition was MIIAtech with their natural language CV search technology, Goldfish, which closes the gap between structured and unstructured data.  This is something to do with the system’s semantic layer, but I got a bit lost by this (why is why I only gave MIIAtech a 7 out of 10 for my vote).  So here’s the official spiel:

“With MIIAtech’s GoldFish technology, users can phrase their search questions in natural language.  Both the CVs and the job profiles within the database will be analysed and matched.  The result is that the user receives only the best and most relevant matches between candidates and job profiles.  No more mismatches like ‘speaks French’ with ‘worked in France’ and similar classic errors.  With GoldFish, you’re able the find the ideal candidate, much faster and significantly more accurately that with any traditional keyword search.”



Well done, Stephane Lernout.

And well done Jerome – it was a great, fun session with an amazing line-up of judges, which I was honoured to be part of alongside Craig Fisher, William Tincup, Geoff Web, Thomas Otter, Gordon Lokenberg (‘the new Bill Boorman’), Peter Gold, Katherine Jones and Jonathan Campbell:


I voted largely (though not totally) along social lines – though not so much who I know best, but how much effort the founder and their company has been putting into getting to know me.  You’ll probably think that’s a a poor basis for judging, but you’re not going to get me apologising for it.  I think increasingly technology companies are going to succeed or fail based upon their social klout (small k), not just by the ‘quality’ of the functionality itself (eg BeKnown vs BranchOut).

(I also think it’s the way that most people vote – at least I know it!)

These were my top three pitches – with social justifications:


#3.   Stephane Le Viet, Work4Labs: 8

This one is a bit of a cheat as I don’t think Work4Labs have made any efforts to get to know me or win me over, though I did see Stephane present a rather longer overview at Onrec recently, and was suitably impressed.  What I do see though, is a number of Work4Us customers singing the product’s praises, which of course works even better than doing it themselves (which is why customer case studies work better than product demos at conferences!).


#2.   Lisa Scales, Tribepad: 8

I see Lisa around a fair bit (at conferences, and on the twitter stream etc), and like the way she supports their product in the background, eg when Colin Minto presents what G4S have been doing with Tribepad, she’s there, but in the background, looking proud, and maybe doing a bit of tweeting, but that’s about it.



Hey I said this was HR’s version of the X Factor.  You surely don’t think you’re going to find out about (x the x) my winner without a big dramatic pause do you?  Try coming back tomorrow!


Yes, #1 has to be BraveNewTalent (with a vote of 9).  I think the technology is potentially quite neat, though with a couple of 3’s, not all of the judges were convinced.  But from a social influencing perspective, they’re clear winners.  I’d back any team that includes Lucian Tarnowski, Maren Hogan, James Mayes, Jimmy Kyriacou, Charlie Duff and Gautam Ghosh (who am missing?).


Well done guys (even if you didn’t win – it’s the opportunity to contribute to gen y-ers, right?).




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#HRTechEurope – emcee summary


   I’ve just got back from a great two days at HR Technology Europe in Amsterdam this week.  But since I was busy working as Master of Ceremonies, I’m going to struggle for time to get much out on my blog.

Anyway here’s my summary of the key themes for me:

  • HR technology is really important, it’s taking an increasingly central role in HR strategy, and in business strategy too.  So it is a really exciting time to be in HR tech (though I don’t quite agree with Richard Mutter from HSBC that employee and manager self service is the reason why it so exciting!)
  • It’s increasingly complex too – with social, mobile, cloud, SAAS, analytics and big data, contingent workers and changing business requirements, all within an increasingly challenging economy (once again)
  • It’s still the social aspects of this that I think are the biggest changes, which I think came out strongly during the stream on day 2:
    • Brian Jones from Smiths Group referred to the combustible mixture formed from the mix of anarchic gen y and formal gen x - which we also saw in Mark Turrell’s keynote on toppling dictators – and I thought this was a good metaphor for the use of social technology and more traditional HR systems too
    • Eg we saw the potential disconnect between the sessions on recruitment taking place in the two streams when I received a tweet about Jerome Ternyck from SmartRecruiters’ suggestion that recruitment is a social conversation, not a process which can be automated at exactly the point at which Brian Dean from HSBC showed a slide of their automated process supported by Taleo and SHL.
    • But these things can be complementary – there doesn’t need to be a clash.


  • So HR technology strategy is difficult to get it right – but it can be done!  And I thought Andy’s presentation of the Aviva / Workday case study was a wonderful example of a company which has achieved this.


Picture credit: Recruiting Essentials


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Wednesday, 2 November 2011

#HRTechEurope – CedarCrestone survey


   It’s the HR Technology Europe conference in Amsterdam today where I’ll be acting as emcee.

Just in time, Lexy Martin at CedarCrestone have provided a summary of the European data for their global HR Systems Survey I encouraged you to enter earlier this year.

This is the 14th time the company has run this survey which in the past has been mainly focused on North America.  However nine percent of the 727 respondents are now from Europe which provides sound insights for this side of the pond as well.

Key conclusions include:

  • European organisations have lower adoption of almost HR technologies
  • Main areas of focus are HR systems strategy (good news, especially if this is supported by talent management strategy too) and talent management processes and automation
  • European organisations are more focused than their US counterparts on using competency frameworks (supporting Ahmed Limam’s conclusions)
  • There is less focus on the adoption of social media which has yet to enter the CedarCrestone’s list of the top ten activities for Europe (a shame as the company concludes that the outlook for growth of socially enabled HCM processes is ‘stupendous’)
  • European companies aren’t seeing the reduction in HR administrative staff which accompanies the use of HR service delivery applications in the US (because of the additional complexity here?).


There’s a lot of opportunity here, particularly as CedarCrestone find that higher adoption of HR technology leads to (or supports) HR being seen as strategic and improvements in business performance eg in sales per employee, profit per employee and operating income growth – see picture.  So I’m sure those organisations attending today’s conference will gain a lot of benefit from this.


There are some more interesting conclusions in the survey, which I may come back and report on again when I have more time.  But do check out the report yourself at www.cedarcrestone.com/research.



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