Wednesday, 29 February 2012

HR Analytics – Calculating Success


   I’ve been re-reading a couple of books in preparation for another workshop on HR Metrics.  One of these has been Calculating Success by Carl Hoffmann, Eric Lesser and Tim Ringo.

It’s a pretty turgid book, but then it does focus on measurement, which isn’t the most naturally entertaining topic area (I always struggle slightly to make my measurement workshops as stimulating as my other trainings).

But there are also a few other things which really irritate me about the book, for example I think the authors define analytics a bit too widely: “We see workforce analytics as a set of quantitative approaches that answer a simple, yet often overlooked question: what do we need to know about our organisation and workforce to run the company more effectively and (perhaps most importantly) how do we turn this knowledge into action?”

This definition leads the authors to including things like engagement surveys as example of analytics whereas to me, these are clearly measurement approaches rather than analytical ones (the analytics then follows the measurement of engagement).  And scenario planning?  It’s certainly a way of better understanding strategy, but its not an analytical approach!

Perhaps a better definition would be the process of asking and answering questions, to gain a better understanding of an organisation (ie being about the question, not the approach used to answer this)?  Like these asked within the book:

  • Based on the organisation’s strategy, what is the work that needs to be done, and are the processes, structures and roles designed to efficiently and effectively accomplish it?
  • Is the human capital supply chain filling those roles with people capable of doing the work at the quantity, quality and cost required of the business model?
  • Once in place, is the workforce fully engaged and motivated to meet or exceed performance standards?
  • Finally, since change is ubiquitous, how can we detect the need for change, test innovations in the organisation and workforce, and disseminate those throughout the organisation?


I also dislike the complete absence of any focus on people strategy in the book. For me, analytics isn’t simply about developing insight into how people support a business, but how they support the people strategy which supports a business – a small but crucial difference.  So analytics is about asking questions which provide a better insight into how people strategy leads to better business results.

And I’m largely unimpressed by the book’s case studies.  Many of these are really about things completely unconnected with analytics, eg:

  • Strategy (eg Circuit City –which really shouldn’t have needed to do any analytics to know that laying off 34,000 of its highest paid people wouldn’t be a good idea, Qantas, which also didn’t need analytics, just a little more ambition and determination to change, Sunglass Hut which was just about experimentation, and IBM which was about the need for a common language)
  • Process and job design (ABC, the community college)
  • Change management (the oil company).


However, there are some good examples too, eg I liked the CORP case study which concerns a case where measures showed a negative relationship between performance of the supervisors and the sales of a team, and a positive correlation between sales and team turnover.  But ever here, the organisation only used surveys and focus groups to get a better understanding of the causes of these findings – not really something I would call an analytics based approach.  The PHARMA case study is better – again involving an interesting situation in which some of the best people were being lost but also involving the use of regression analysis and stochastic modelling to gain a better understanding of the situation.  This is the only example of what I would call a true analytics based approach in the whole book, but it is a good case study, so the book may be worth reading just for this (it’s in chapter six).


And then one of the most interesting aspects of the book, to me, is its discussions on people as widgets which concerns the importance, but yet also the perhaps over-hyped perception of importance, of this whole field:

“Other companies have a cultural bias against adopting a disciplined analytics approach to people, believing that people are not inanimate parts.


The authors quote from Boudreau’s Retooling HR:

“Is it because people are not widgets, and out of respect for their free will and humanity it’s unfair or wrong to use the same logic for workforce decisions as we use for decisions about more inanimate objectives like inventories and machines?  No.

In fact, it’s arguable more unfair and disrespectful to employees and job applicants to make important decisions about where to invest in their development, performance and careers in less rigorous ways that those applied to more traditional resources.”


I don’t disagree with this, but I also think it misses the point.  The reason why we don’t want to treat people as widgets isn’t about humanity and fairness, it’s about practicality.  People are different to widgets.  We talk to each other creating a complex and messy system in which it’s often difficult to disentangle cause and effect and in which a small change in inputs can have a large impact on outputs.  It’s why HR analytics are so useful, but also why we must not overestimate their usefulness.  We should never say this investment will result in this, just that it may…

So I dislike examples in which organisations seem to think they’re developed a full understanding of something which is actually impossible to wrap up this way.  For example, an Asian airline apparently managed to develop a ‘clear picture’ of where instant messaging and other forms of social networking could have a significant impact on productivity.  Well, I’m not so sure they did.  There’s nothing wrong in trying to predict where the best use will be, but that’s very different to believing you’ve got the whole thing sewn up.  Particularly with social networking, most case studies show that organisations will find a whole slew of emergent benefits that their people make up which they hadn’t thought about before.


And in fact the authors seem to come round to this perspective later in the book (in a chapter perhaps written by a different author?):

“However, we also believe that organisations sometimes take an overtly simplistic view of the complexities and interdependencies inherent in developing an ‘on demand’ workforce.  People are not widgets; they cannot be comprehensively described within a ‘bill of materials’ or an ‘ingredient list’.  Individuals come with a set of distinctive skills, preferences and requirements that motivate them to achieve well beyond their ‘specifications’ or that hinder achievement of their potential…. Given these differences, organisations should be wary of claims that they can manage the supply and demand for talent with the same precision as other commodities.”


Well quite, and in other areas of analytics too.  This is all useful stuff, but let’s keep it in perspective – it’s the development and then implementation of a creating value people strategy that’s the most important – as well as difficult - thing, not the measurement of this, and not the analytics which may play a role in the strategy’s formation.

I like the point where the authors write “The value to the organisation and workforce of the access to these networks cannot be underestimated”.  Right, and if that’s the case, let’s not go to the bother of estimating or analysing it.  If it can be underestimated, you may need to use some analytical tools, but I’m afraid you probably won’t find them in this book.



Also see: The Five Most Important HR Analytics 


  • Consulting - Research - Speaking  - Training -  Writing
  • Strategy  -  Talent  -  Engagement  -  Change and OD
  • Contact  me to  create more  value for  your business
  • jon  [dot] ingham [at] strategic [dash] hcm [dot] com


Sunday, 26 February 2012

The Five Most Important HR Analytics


   I’ve been down in Johannesburg for a few days, delivering a workshop on HR metrics and analytics. And it was analytics, not too surprisingly (as this is such a rapidly becoming an extremely important and popular topic), which gave rise to the most interesting discussion in the workshop.

For me, both HR metrics and analytics need to cascade from a company’s HR strategy / strategic risk assessment. The analytics a particular company will want to use will therefore depend upon its context and strategy, and in particular on what questions about how HR impacts the business will be most useful for it to answer.

I think that this is actually a fairly common view held by a good proportion of commentators in this area. And I think most of the participants on my workshop understood this too, but I was still pushed to provide a list of best practice analytics.

I’m not keen to do this, as I worry that many companies will simply add to their lists of generic metrics with these generic analytics and hence completely miss the opportunity to align with their business and HR strategy and therefore to maximise their impact on the business.

However, I like to do what my clients, and workshop attendees, want, and this is such a rapidly developing area, I don’t think any of us have a fully developed understanding of how this field will evolve. So here you go:

Oh, one more thing. I’d already explained that I think the most important metrics, and therefore analytics too, are those focused on the outcomes created in the human capital value chain. And they obviously need to be focused on the higher levels of value in the value triangle (I’ve written about these models before). Therefore the ‘best’ analytics will most likely be those focused on these areas highlighted above.

Let’s start at the very stop in the ‘creating value’ space:


1. Creating value in human capital

Many organisations will have some element of human capital, probably around engagement / passion / pride / wellness (/ love?) that they know they need to develop, not just to meet short-term business needs but to support their ongoing success.

The most useful question to ask about these capabilities will relate to how they can best be further developed, and because the drivers of engagement can vary significantly within any one organisation, should be analysed by segmented groups. However, the important thing to note is that to create value through engagement, rather than simply to use it to support business needs, the segmentation shouldn’t be about organisational unit / level etc, but type of individual, ie using a range of demographic or sociographic factors to identify groups of individuals with similar –graphics who can therefore be engaged in a similar way. Doing this will help a company target its engagement activities much more effectively.


2. Also social capital – the greatest new opportunity

I had already explained in the workshop why I think social capital is often one of the greatest opportunities for developing new organisational capability in a business (because in most organisations, how people work together is more important than the quality of the individual involved; and also because this area receives so little attention in many organisations).

The broadly equivalent tool to the engagement survey is a social network analysis, However, once again to make this an ‘analytic’ rather than simply a measurement, I suggest that this needs to be used together with other measures of activity to understand correlations and ideally causations between these.

Doing this can help answer questions such as what type of people are most able to be effective facilitators of a community, and also what else makes communities and networks work effectively.


3. Sources of performance

Moving down to ‘adding value’, the next main opportunity is probably to better understand what leads to good performance – looking at how a range of actors from leadership, organisation design including length of management spans, competencies and general career factors eg tenure, numbers of promotions etc, impact upon employees’ performance. A good example of this in a retail environment would be modelling an onboarding programme against impact on sales per square foot.


4. Leadership performance

A build on this could be analysis of what makes the leaders of an organisation effective, and also perhaps of what effective leadership looks like in the first place.


5. Human capital supply chain

Widening this out, many organisations will want to review how they are doing in providing the right people with the right competencies at the right time in the right place, eg whether they are optimising their selection of the 5 or 6 Bs (buy, build, borrow, balance, bind, bounce) appropriately and integrating across the approaches that they use.

Note this analysis will link to an organisation’s workforce planning, but I also think it takes place at a bigger and broader level than this.


Even with this focus, there are still a broad range of analytical approaches available to organisations (from correlation and causation analysis to complex models of organisational dynamics) and it’s even more difficult than the above to recommend the particular tools an organisation should use. My advice would simply be to probe as deep as you need to go to answer the question you’ve defined based upon the above.




  • Consulting - Research - Speaking  - Training -  Writing
  • Strategy  -  Talent  -  Engagement  -  Change and OD
  • Contact  me to  create more  value for  your business
  • jon  [dot] ingham [at] strategic [dash] hcm [dot] com


Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Personnel Today webinar: Social Media at Work

   I’m going to be speaking on this Personnel Today webinar next month:


Our next webinar is on the hot topic of social media in the workplace. Not only will we look at the ubiquitous question of whether HR should control employees’ use of social media, but we will also focus on increasingly social ways of working and the impact these will have on organisations. Our expert panel will look at how companies are using emerging social tools and will examine the numerous ways they can benefit HR.

Our expert panel will look at how companies are using social tools and will examine the numerous ways they can benefit HR.

Stay informed with this FREE webinar, register here

Our discussion will include:

  • How much trust should you put in your employees?
  • What are the ramifications of banning social media?
  • How are social tools changing the business landscape?
  • Why social media can boost recruitment, retention, L&D, engagement and more…

Personnel Today editor Rob Moss hosts the discussion and is joined by Matthew Hanwell, HR director, communities and social media at Nokia; Jon Ingham, HR consultant, author and blogger; and Ofir Guetta, social collaboration leader for IBM.

Register for the FREE webinar here to find out how social media can work for your company.



  • Consulting - Research - Speaking  - Training -  Writing
  • Strategy  -  Talent  -  Engagement  -  Change and OD
  • Contact  me to  create more  value for  your business
  • jon  [dot] ingham [at] strategic [dash] hcm [dot] com


Wednesday, 15 February 2012

#SMWLdn Like Minds and Social Business


   It’s social media week this week, and I’m presenting at two events with Like Minds on social business today.

I’ve attended a few other events already and social business has already had a significant focus.  For example, yesterday I was at Edelman where Euan Semple was talking about enabling people and changing culture to be able to say (and tweet) what they think.

David Armano from Edelman was then speaking about the importance of the employee within a social business (building upon the results of their recent Trust Barometer, that whereas trust in CEOs has fallen, trust in technical experts, regular employees, and particularly ‘people like me’ has been maintained).  However, I agreed with whoever asked a question, suggesting that despite this mention, the agenda was very much focused on marketing and PR.

I’ve tried to re-tilt the balance at the event today.

I was second, after JP Rangaswami from Salesforce who suggested that companies are sometimes antisocial because they have a level of fear in being open with their customers.  There’s also a deepening connection between employees and customers.  Eg Cluetrain made a case that there were different external and internal conversations.  Nowadays, these are both and across.  People are used to connecting with each other and having conversations with each other inside and outside of their firms.  This is going to mean a change in the nature of the firm.  Absolutely – though I still think organisations can focus social first - and I think the same point applies to internal antisocialness too.

In my session, I talked about five things:

  • How HR activities are changing (social recruiting, social learning etc – but other areas too eg social performance management using Rypple / Success Force from Salesforce).  This provides benefits for efficiency, effectiveness and transformation but needs a high level of trust.
  • Transformational benefits depend on focusing on outcomes rather than activities.  These can include human capital, eg engagement, but social (internal) and relationship (external) capital too.  I talked about the Visa case study you’ll find here as an example of a social / 2.0 organisation which doesn’t use social media at all (though a guy from Detica in the audience suggests that they are now moving this way).
  • Out of these forms of capital, it’s social capital which is most important.  Eg see Hamel’s / Birkinshaw’s stuff on management / organisation (internal) vs leadership / business (external).
  • Because of this, each organisation’s journey in social business will be different – as we discussed in the Enterprise 2.0 Summit last week, there are no best practices.  An organisation focusing on social innovation will need to take different actions to one focusing on social execution, including in their use of social media tools.
  • However, the other enablers need to be tailored to the relevant outcomes as well.  These can include social leadership; social approaches eg open space / unconferencing; social facilitation / community management; social HR practices – and also social values.  I talked about the need for ‘love’ (in Euan’s book), or a high level of mutual regard, again here.


Later sessions reinforced some of the same points, eg:

  • Euan talked about the way the language of business has been desanitised and depersonalised and that we need to talk more normally, ie be more human.
  • Joanne Jacobs talked about community, suggesting the people can flock together but won’t want to be part of a borg collective.  They’re still a group of individuals, just working together.
  • Neville Hobson also talked about how social business is a bigger agenda than social media, though mainly from an external communication perspective, and demands trust.
  • Delphine Remy-Boutang talked about IBM’s social business journey, which has been about leadership, technology and process (but people are the most important) and started internally with things like Beehive (IBM’s internal Facebook) before they allowed it to take place externally too.  Last year, new developments included:
    • Social Business @ IBM tool providing guidance on using social media and including Foursquare type badges
    • The formation of their Social Business Management Council
    • A Social Business Jam.
  • Lee Provoost also emphasises the need for social to solve business problems (or boost opportunities?).


Of course there were a few disagreements too, which will hopefully become clearer in this afternoon’s panel (I think people learn best by considering disagreements between people rather than listening to everyone violently but maybe superficially agreeing).

For example I suspect I see a need for greater teaming than Joanne. Love may be the wrong word but for me, a social business has to have a strong sense of social identity.  And whereas Lee emphasised the need to understand individual people’s selfish behaviour which may not fit into a company’s plan, I’d suggest what’s even more important is encouraging selflessness.  I’m not a believer in a unitary agenda between organisation and employees, but I do believe that social depends largely on a strong consensus about what’s really important, and a shared commitment to making this work.


Also see Live Minds’ live blog.



  • Consulting - Research - Speaking  - Training -  Writing
  • Strategy  -  Talent  -  Engagement  -  Change and OD
  • Contact  me to  create more  value for  your business
  • jon  [dot] ingham [at] strategic [dash] hcm [dot] com


Friday, 10 February 2012

A Friday Rantorama… Responsible Capitalism and the £££££ Culture


   ‘Responsible capitalism’ seems to be generating more widespread support across the UK.  For example although Ed Miliband, who I think was the first to initially popularise the idea, was initially criticised for suggesting things need to change (I supported him), similar ideas are now being brought forward across the political spectrum.  And this isn’t about politicians acting in a leadership role, it’s just a sign of them catching up with the mood of the nation.

So I completely understand the rise of initiatives like the Move Your Money campaign promoting consumer activism against Barclays’ bonus payments today (and of the the broader Occupy movement too).  Bankers’ bonuses are currently at odds with the idea of a fairer and more just society, which is what responsible capitalism is all about, and they need to be reformed.  Unfortunately, politicians are still playing catch-up on this one too.

And despite everything that has happened over the last couple of years, bankers still don’t seem to understand how much things still need to change.  You can see the extent of this in Stephen Hester’s reflections on having to turn down his £1m bonus last week.  Whilst Hester deserves a large amount of credit and respect for taking this decision, his actions were somewhat tarnished by his later comments that RBS executives do still deserve multi-million pound bonuses.  After all, he said, they have been doing a “jolly good job”.  I suspect that the general population, many of whom consider themselves to be doing a pretty good job as well, will feel largely unimpressed.

It’s now over a year since Bob Diamond suggested that the age of contrition needed to come to an end.  Unfortunately I don’t think that’s going to happen until bankers’ behaviour – and attitudes – change as well.

But for me, the issue isn’t absolute levels of pay.  I can understand and have some sympathy for the general reaction to the RBS and Barclays bonuses but be less fussed when Goldman Sachs announce their next round of bonuses, as from what I understand, at least these are more widely shared – eg a secretary at Goldmans does quite well from these payouts as well.  That doesn’t apply to Barclays or RBS cashiers.  There’s still an issue from a societal perspective, but from a pure organisational / HR viewpoint, there’s nothing wrong in what they do.

And I don’t begrudge new start-ups earning enhanced returns (though isn’t it about time that Google is treated as a global utility company and is globally-nationalised? hmm, back to the point…).

But for mature organisations paying people on near the national minimum wage, I don’t personally believe its helpful to provide people at the top with such vastly differentiated pay.  Why?  Because it demotivates 90% of the people in the organisation and doesn’t actually even motivate the 1% at the top.  Result: the organisation fails.

You can see evidence for this in England’s football team (yes, you know where I’m going with this).  Despite paying vast salaries for our last two international coaches (£6m a year for Fabio Capello with a potential £1.5m reward for failure bonus on top), England still lies well outside the premier league of international teams.

What’s happened here?  The extra payment hasn’t motivated extra performance (eg learning the language or culture) and the appointment of a manager who clearly doesn’t have rapport with the team he is supposedly leading has meant that he’s been largely unable to lead.

What’s important in all these cases isn’t the appointment of individualistic masters of the universe but people who are able to inspire the people in their teams.  Vast reward differentials don’t help the social connection which is needed to support this type of rapport.

You see exactly the same thing more generally in business too.  The new mood is about achievement and contribution to society not just fattening up shareholder returns.  And this is even less compelling for many people when the shareholders who benefit most are those they perceive as the super privileged cadre of ‘fat cats’ at the top.

It’s why, that whilst Vince Cable remains my favourite politician, I’m disappointed that the coalition decided not to accept the conclusions of the High Pay Commission and tackle pay differentials in their recent review.

And why I’d like to see more action from the CIPD too.  I wasn’t being completely serious in my recent post on the new CEO for the CIPD, but I would like to see the institute appoint someone who understands the new pay agenda (and gets paid a fair bit less themselves as well).

Sorry for the rant!  Now, about this young couple who have just won £45m….


More on the same theme.

Photo credit: Move Your Money


  • Consulting - Research - Speaking  - Training -  Writing
  • Strategy  -  Talent  -  Engagement  -  Change and OD
  • Contact  me to  create more  value for  your business
  • jon  [dot] ingham [at] strategic [dash] hcm [dot] com


Thursday, 9 February 2012

More HR 2.0 at HR Technology Europe


   My next big HR conference which will include a big focus on social technology will be HR Technology Europe in Amsterdam on 25th and 26th October.

As last year, I will be chairing the conference and will be blogging about it here too.

However, the conference now also has a blog, of which I am one of several contributors (along with Naomi Bloom, William Tincup and others).

You might want to check my first two posts there too:



  • Consulting - Research - Speaking  - Training -  Writing
  • Strategy  -  Talent  -  Engagement  -  Change and OD
  • Contact  me to  create more  value for  your business
  • jon  [dot] ingham [at] strategic [dash] hcm [dot] com


Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Bizarre Blogging: the Bahamas and the Billionaire


   Blogging does get your name into some strange places at times, but this must count for my most bizarre name check yet:

From the Caribbean News Now:

NASSAU, Bahamas -- According to Human Capital Management expert Jon Ingham’s survey, the following were the key business challenges for 2011: Dealing with the recession, revenue growth, profitability, understanding customer needs, ensuring performance, dealing with the uncertain economy, dealing with market turmoil and globalization.

With this thought in mind, The Phoenix Institute will be presenting a dynamic business success seminar called An Evening with Billionaire Michael V. Roberts of St Louis…


I think I can call myself a ‘most influential’ in relative safety now – there can’t be many HR people who have influenced a billionaire!  (Heads of HR at RBS, Barclays etc excepted of course).



  • Consulting - Research - Speaking  - Training -  Writing
  • Strategy  -  Talent  -  Engagement  -  Change and OD
  • Contact  me to  create more  value for  your business
  • jon  [dot] ingham [at] strategic [dash] hcm [dot] com


Tuesday, 7 February 2012

#E20S: Shouldn’t we talk about HR 2.0 instead of Enterprise 2.0?


   I’m at the Enterprise 2.0 Summit in Paris today – you can see my posts on the conference at Social Advantage, these include, so far:


I’ve been attending some of the most technically oriented sessions rather than the organisational ones, so initially missed one called ‘Maximising Social Work Mindset’.  However, I started to see lots of tweets about HR 2.0, and as I hadn’t been tweeting from my own session (a good sign that I’m not getting much out of it) I decided to move.

Actually, I didn’t find the session itself that exciting, but the twitter stream was particularly good, and included the tweet in the above picture: “shouldn’t we talk about HR 2.0 rather than Enterprise 2.0”.  The basis for this was that if we’re talking about people then HR should have prominence in the move to the social business – obviously something which resonates for me.

Nevertheless, I don’t agree that these are the same thing.  I’ve shown the following slide on here before, taken from a webinar I ran last year:



The diagram attempts to show that there are a number of things we do in an organisation (activities) around managing people, facilitating connection, and developing an enabling organisation – including use of Enterprise 2.0 technology.

From this perspective, HR 2.0 (the use of social media in HR – for recruiting, learning, performance management etc) and Enterprise 2.0 don’t have much to do with each other – other than they use basically the same technologies and approaches (eg the role of communities) and so doing one makes it easier and more appropriate to do the other too.


But there are also three critical capabilities we need to create in an organisation, namely human, social and organisational capital.  Each of these can be supported by the three groups of activities identified above.

Eg I write here mainly about human capital, and although HR – including HR 2.0 - approaches will be the main part of a strategy to create human capital (hence HCM), social and organisational activities will also play a role (eg through creating communities of practice to share knowledge and build capability, or by creating organisational structures which make it easier to contribute and hence raise engagement).

But our focus here is on social capital, or the social business / enterprise (the theme of the Enterprise 2.0 Summit is ‘Designing and the Social Business Excellence’.

Social capital / the social business can also be developed through HR activities (eg managing team performance or introducing pay transparency) and organisational ones (eg creating structures which break down silos and get people collaborating).  So HR and ‘enterprise’ activities are certainly both key parts of a social business strategy.

Both HR 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0 technologies and approaches can also be used to build social capital / the social business, so again, from this angle there is an additional overlap.

However, the most critical enabler for social business are just social activities, whether these are:

  • Face to face – eg just getting people talking to each other, or playing with DUNDU dolls which we’ve just been doing here, or



  • Virtual – eg using a social networking system to support management of a community.


So perhaps, rather than HR 2.0 or Enterprise 2.0, we should talk about Social 2.0 instead?  But I’d prefer us just to focus on the social business / enterprise (outcomes vs activities).

(Actually I think social organisation is the best name for this, but again, that’s another whole other blog post, and I suspect you’ve probably had enough!).



  • Consulting - Research - Speaking  - Training -  Writing
  • Strategy  -  Talent  -  Engagement  -  Change and OD
  • Contact  me to  create more  value for  your business
  • jon  [dot] ingham [at] strategic [dash] hcm [dot] com


Monday, 6 February 2012

HR Metrics and Business Partnering in South Africa


   I’ve just booked my flights back to South Africa where I’ll be delivering a session on HR metrics in a couple of weeks time (22nd & 23rd February).

I’m also back in Johannesberg to to do a repeat session on 23rd and 24th April, then a session on HR business partnering on 25th and 26th April.

If you’re in South Africa, I promise these will be great sessions so why not come along? – or let me know if you’d like to meet up.

And I’ve got another blog post on metrics coming out shortly (hopefully tomorrow!).



  • Consulting - Research - Speaking  - Training -  Writing
  • Strategy  -  Talent  -  Engagement  -  Change and OD
  • Contact  me to  create more  value for  your business
  • jon  [dot] ingham [at] strategic [dash] hcm [dot] com


Friday, 3 February 2012

Peter Howes, SuccessFactors on Career Management


   I (virtually) attended HCI’s Talent Strategy and Workforce Planning conference this week and will be posting on some of the WFP and data stuff from there over the next few days.

However the most interesting piece for me was Peter Howes’ session which included some insightful inputs on WFP but particularly this slide on career management.

Peter notes that upwards promotion can’t be an effective focus for career management.  So in the data his group at SuccessFactors (previously InfoHRM/Inform) has collected, 50-60% of employees are never promoted and about another 30% will only have a maximum of another two promotions.

We therefore need to think more laterally about careers, including progression horizontally into other roles, but also including projects and placements.  There’s nothing that new about this (see for example Deloitte’s book on Mass Career Customisation, and it was also a key feature of Josh Bersin’s presentation I saw recently) but I did think Peter’s conclusion was very interesting – that the goal for many companies should be four transfers for every promotion (a career path ration of 0.25).

I don’t have the data Peter has but I have to say that this feels about right. 


This post is sponsored by SuccessFactors.

provides Business Execution Software solutions that drive outstanding business results in organisations of every size and category. The insights we've gained serving 3,500+ customers with more than 15 million subscribers in 168 countries and 34 languages helps us better serve and grow companies like yours each and every day.

With a customer-focused ethos as our single most important and recognized quality, we have worked to achieve a growth rate 3x that of our nearest competitor. In fact, we’re one of the fastest growing public software companies in the world.

Simply stated, SuccessFactors works every day to help companies just like yours achieve the best possible business results with Business Execution software solutions that incorporate the latest research, the smartest technology, and the most secure systems on the planet.

Contact SuccessFactors here or call +1 800 809 9920 or in the UK +44 8450 742990.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Who should be the CIPD’s new CEO?


   So the CIPD are searching for a replacement for Jackie Orme.  Or rather a recruitment consultancy are doing the search for them, which seems a rather redundant exercise give that the successful candidate has to (or certainly should) already have a prominent role in the HR community in order to act as a figure head for the profession.  Therefore we already know who they are, or at least we know who the candidates should be.

This is my suggestion for the top 10 (in the order I thought of them):


Duncan Brown Duncan Brown.  One of the most insightful people to have passed through the CIPD, with more recent experience at IES, PwC and Hewitt.  Sensibly intelligent and articulate, with a great understanding of the new reward agenda.  Time for the CIPD to take on bankers’ bonuses?  Too right! 
John Philpott John Philpott. If the CIPD wants to fill the role with an internal candidates, and they should really shouldn’t they, then John Philpott, the CIPD’s Chief Economist is the clear front runner.  Loads of informed insight, respect across the HR community and clout with government.  What’s not to like?
PeterCheese Peter Cheese.  Highly experience and credible consultant, ex Accenture now kicking his heels at the ILM.  Author of a couple of fairly sensible books on strategic HR management and measurement including the Talent Powered Organisation.  Would measuring HR’s contribution get the profession into shape? 
100223_ann_almeida_tn Ann Almeida.  Prefer a practitioner to a consultant?  Yes, probably.  There are a number of senior HR leaders who good do the job – probably from the FTSE100 as they’d carry respect in smaller organisations whilst the reverse isn’t always true (often unfairly).  However, my nomination would be for Ann Almeida at HSBC - probably the deepest thinking HR practitioner I’ve met.
Neil Morrison Neil Morrison.  I’m only half joking here – maybe not even that – what about Neil Morrison?  Board level HR Director at Random House, social media superstar and greatly talented wit.  Not overly into the CIPD which I think is a good thing.  But of course, a big supporter of Connecting HR, which is better still.
Lembit Opik. A real joker in the pack would be
Liberal Democrat politican and general celebrity Lembit Opik.  Ex HR, ex MP with the capability to bring a cheeky grin to all HR professionals.
Julian Birkinshaw. Moving into academia, I’ve needed to have a think.  My favourite UK academic for a long-time has been Lynda Gratton at London Business School, but I’m less into her newer stuff, despite the fact that it’s increasingly closer to my main agenda these days.  So my nomination goes to a non-HR professor who I think speaks the greatest sense about HR: Julian Birkinshaw, also at LBS.  Time to reinvent HR!
Ruth Spellman. What have we got left?  I guess HR types with experience of running other professional institutes must be a good bet. What about poaching Ruth Spellman, ex CEO of CMI and IIP UK before she joins WEA next month?
China Gorman. Or what about China Gorman, ex SHRM hard hitter, heavily engaged in social media too. The American take-over might not go down well with some, but better this than a full take-over of the institute by SHRM!

Gwyn Burr. Errm, I’m running out of ideas now, but, well, I suppose the final opportunity would be a business person who is known as a progressive talent manager.  I’m not a particular fan of the businessisation of HR, but it could go down well across the profession.  A compromise might be someone doing both HR and a business job eg Gwyn Burr, Customer Service and Colleague Director at Sainsbury’s, or possibly Lucy Adams, Business Operations Director (and former Director of People) at the BBC.

Actually, I do like this idea, so there you go: Gwyn Burr is my recommendation for the job.

Who else would you suggest?


A few reflections:

  • I’ve not worried about the job these people are currently doing, or how much they’re currently being paid etc.  Such is the freedom of the blogger vs the recruitment agent!
  • It’s not a very diverse list, and hopefully that’s something that the recruitment agency can improve on.
  • I’ve been a bit ambivalent about HR Magazine’s list of Most Influentials in the past (though obviously a bit less so now that I’m on it!) but based upon the above they do seem to have hit the spot – I had a look through their lists (1,2,3,4) when I got a bit stuck with my #10 and it’s interesting to see most of the people I’ve listed are on their lists already.
  • But no, I’m not putting myself forward – though I’m not saying it wouldn’t be fun – see my next post on this!


And a PS: I’ve never exchanged more than a couple of words with Jackie, and I don’t agree with all her views on HR, or all of what she’s done at the CIPD, but it’s horrible to hear about anyone, particularly someone still relatively early in their career, having cancer, and I wish her the very best for a full and speedy recovery.



  • Consulting - Research - Speaking  - Training -  Writing
  • Strategy  -  Talent  -  Engagement  -  Change and OD
  • Contact  me to  create more  value for  your business
  • jon  [dot] ingham [at] strategic [dash] hcm [dot] com


Wednesday, 1 February 2012

More HR and social media in Asia


   I’ll also be discussing some of these points about social business / enterprise 2.0, but more specifically social HR, and very practically, the social media tools involved in these approaches, within an Asian context during March:

  • Kuala Lumpur 16 & 17 March
  • Singapore 29 & 20 March


I’m sure it’ll be another interesting session, particularly given that the use of social media in Asia is so different to the the UK (I’ve posted on this previously, and also note the differences in social media week – all about change and collaboration in the UK, all about finding love on Facebook in Singapore!).

Anyway, if you’re in Asia I’ll hope you’ll to join me (or at least follow the twitter stream during the four days).

You can find out more from Long Trends Tel: 65-91912218; Fax: 65-64048964; Email:



  • Consulting - Research - Speaking - Training - Writing
  • Strategy - Talent - Engagement - Change and OD
  • Contact me to create more value for your business
  • jon [dot] ingham [at] strategic [dash] hcm [dot] com


Enterprise 2.0 Summit / Social Business Immersive


   I’m attending / blogging from / presenting at some great conferences over the next few months.  Next week, I’ll be an ‘ambassador’ for the Enterprise 2.0 Summit in Paris and will be posting on some of the sessions there, mainly over at Social Advantage.

The social technology theme continues the following week with Social Media Week - London where I’ll be presenting on social business with Like Minds:

“Taking care of your people is taking care of business. Developing and managing a ‘social’ workforce is critical for your future success.”


Hope to see you at one of these events, and if not, do follow their progress here.



  • Consulting - Research - Speaking - Training - Writing
  • Strategy - Talent - Engagement - Change and OD
  • Contact me to create more value for your business
  • jon [dot] ingham [at] strategic [dash] hcm [dot] com