Tuesday 22 December 2009

One more for 2010 - TRU London


TRU I enjoyed speaking with Bill Boorman and his other guests yesterday.

And I also look forward to speaking to many of them again at Bill’s second HR and recruitment unconference, TRU London 2, where I’ll be one of Bill’s track leaders, early next year.

Bill describes the format of the unconference as:

“An unconference is an event that has no fixed structure and only two rules, no power point and no presentations. The day is split in to sessions during which a series of ‘tracks’ run on a theme with a track leader hosting the discussion, debate and learning. The discussion takes a life of its own with attendees bringing their own views, questions and opinions as well as debate. This takes many directions and concludes with real learning and opinion forming. The track leaders have been carefully chosen from their areas of experience and knowledge and the value they can bring to the ‘track’ and have been drawn from across the globe giving a real global view. We will be adding to the list of track leaders right up to the day of the event (and even during it.)

You are actively encouraged to disagree, argue, debate and question, all we ask is that you respect one another. In addition to the published tracks we will be adding to the list by request right up to the day. If you want to add a track just contact us and we will set it up. We will also be encouraging impromptu tracks throughout the day whenever a new subject comes up. An unconference is about what you want to discuss and is not restricted by any fixed agenda.”


I’m particularly pleased to be participating after deciding, maybe incorrectly, that travel time and costs would make attending last year’s HRevolution event in Louisville, Kentucky unproductive, and missing TRU London 1 while I was up at the CIPD conference.


You can learn more at some of the reviews of TRU London 1 earlier this year – eg this blog post and this podcast (although if you listen to the podcast please note there weren’t hundreds of us tweeting from the CIPD conference – only about 8 of us really – we just did a lot of it; we did have fun there too; and this blog was included in several of FOT’s power rankings well before Andy Headworth!).

And you can buy tickets for TRU London 2 here.  Note that ticket prices are well below those of a traditional conference. 

If you don’t think travelling to London for this would be productive, I can understand, but you might be wrong (as I think I was about HRevolution).  But no worries, as Bill plans on taking TRU on a world tour as well.


So there you go.  That also wraps up all I have to share with you about my current plans for January and February 2010 too.

A reminder:


There’ll be a few other things too – including trips to Nigeria, Bahrain and back to the UAE (as well as quite a bit of client work coming up), but I’ll let you know about these additional activities next year.

In the meantime, stay tuned for more HCM and HR 2.0 related posts over Christmas and New Year as I’m going to be trying to catch up with some of the things I’ve not managed to post on earlier on.





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Monday 21 December 2009

Talking Blogtalk


      You’ll have hopefully listened to some of my Talking HR podcast shows, broadcast on Blogtalk radio:



Well later today (6.00pm GMT), I’ll be talking to some hosts of other Blogtakradio HR and recruiting shows about podcasting / the use of Blogtalkradio:


We’ll be addressing:

“Why do they do it? what makes a good show? What shows are memorable from 2009? What works & what doesn't? Call in and ask the hosts anything you want to know about podcasts, radio shows or the subject of their show. Should be lots of talk as the hosts turn guests.”


Do join us if you can (call +1 646 727 3988 - open invite).  Or as per Talking HR, you can listen to the archive after the show:




You can also check out some other great HR and recruitment shows here.




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Friday 18 December 2009

European HR Directors Business Summit, January 2010


   I’m also going to be doing more conference blogging in 2010.

On 19th and 20th January, I’ll be attending WTG’s European HR Directors Business Summit.  I’m looking forward to posting and tweeting on sessions from:


  • Tom Stewart, authority on intellectual capital and knowledge management
  • David Ulrich, who?
  • Liane Hornsey, HR Director EMEA, Google
  • Julian Birkinshaw, co-founder of the Management Lab (MLab)
  • David Fairhurst, SVP and Chief People Officer, McDonald's
  • Matthew Brearley, HR Director, Vodafone
  • Martin Tiplady, Director of HR, Metropolitan Police Service
  • Vance Kearney, VP HR (EMEA), Oracle
  • Andy Doyle, Group HR Director, ITV
  • Christopher McLaverty, VP Global Leadership Development and Learning, BP
  • Danny Kalman, HR Director Europe, Panasonic
  • Marc Weedon, Senior Director, HR, EMEA, Polycom
  • Michele Owens, Head of Organisational Development, Olympic Delivery Authority
  • Liz Barrett, SVP HR, EMEA/APAC, Sungard
  • Misty Reich, VP of HR UK and Ireland, KFC
  • Jonathan Ferrar, Director of HR, UK and Ireland, IBM
  • Mark Wakefield, Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs Manager, IBM
  • Jo Mullis, UK Workforce Lifecycle Programs(WLP) Manager, IBM
  • Ian Iceton, Director, HR Operations, Skanska
  • Therese Proctor, HR Director, Tesco
  • Diane Tomlinson, HR Director Organisation Effectiveness Britain & Ireland, Cadbury's
  • Kate Griffiths-Lambeth, Director of HR, White & Case LLP
  • Kate Coulson, Senior HR Manager – Management Information and Reward, White & Case LLP
  • Sian Thomas, Director, NHS Employers
  • Cheryl Lee, Director of HR, Medway NHS Foundation Trust
  • Hugh Hood, HR Director, BT Wholesale
  • Tanya Channing, HR Director, Burger King
  • Fernando Garcia Ferreiro, Head of HRM development unit, European Commission, Spain
  • Ravi Chand, Head of Equality & Diversity Directorate, Home Office
  • Melanie Flogdell, Head of Policy, Centrica Plc
  • Rob Cook, Head of Business Solutions, Centrica Plc
  • Ed Sweeney, Chairman, Acas
  • Annemie Ress, Senior Director (HR), eBay Marketplaces & PayPal Europe
  • Jeff Bakes, Reward and Recognition Director, Europe, PricewaterhouseCoopers
  • Paul Kennedy, HR Director, New Balance
  • Jacqui Summons, Group HR Director, Intec
  • Andy Gillham, International HR Director, 3Com
  • Richard Lowther, VP HR, TomTom
  • Stefan Tonnon, Director Human Resource EMEA, Progress Software, Netherlands
  • Tim Taylor, Head of Reward and Recognition, TUI Travel UK & Ireland
  • Liz Cook, HR Director, Sega
  • Clare Mitchell, NHS Lorenzo Delivery Director
  • Christoffer Ellehuus, Practice Lead Europe, Corporate Leadership Council
  • Clare Moncrieff, Senior Research Director, Corporate Leadership Council
  • And others.



Do let me know if there’s someone in this list you think I should particularly try to see.  And if you’re attending (particularly if you’re one of the people in the list above), do let me know and let’s meet up.





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Thursday 17 December 2009

Top online HR influencers


I've been following John Sumser’s developing list of top 100 HR influencers with much interest.

There are some great stories in here – some about people I feel I know quite well, but quite a few of people I’ve never come across as well.

However, in the spirit of authenticity, I’ll admit that my interest is partly to see if my own name comes up.  I don't actually think it will, partly because the list is rather US-focused (where are the UK's David Fairhurst, Angela O'Connor, and other usual suspects from the UK conference circuit for example) and also recruitment-centric (it is supported by Recruitingblogs.com).  And it's also, I'll admit reluctantly, because I probably don't yet have that much influence!

In addition, as Sumser notes, people who have great influence online are rarely seen as influential offline - which I think is interesting, but means this list probably doesn't play to the way I spend my time.  Still, I'm vain enough to think I might squeeze in at #99.


Anyway, Sumser has now published a new list which has used algorithms to rank online footpints and identify the top 25 online HR influencers - and I'm on this one (at #20, but one of only 3 people outside of the US, and the single person on the list from the UK).


The top 5 influencers are:


Check the HRExaminer site for info on the other influencers.


The ranking is a combination of three different percentages:

Reach (I score 45%)

-   This score (a percentile) is an estimate of the number of people who see the material. It’s a measure of the eyeballs or audience size.

Resonance (50%)

-   This is a measure of the number of inbound links, mentions, blogroll listings, community participation

Relevance (53%)

-   This score describes the fit of the persons work with a cloud of keywords.


Of course, people only establish significant internet footprints when other people read and link to what they have to say.  So thanks to the other influencers, and other social media contributors, for linking here.  And thanks to you for reading!





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Wednesday 16 December 2009

Talent Retention (Bahrain, 2010)


   I’ll also be delivering the talent retention workshop in Bahrain.

I’ve not been to Bahrain either but I have at least had some exposure to the country (see for example this case study from Batelco).

I’m also planning to stay in Bahrain for some meetings on 10 and 11 February – so let me know if you’re there and you’d like to meet up.



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Talent Retention (Doha, February 2010)


   The retention of talent seems to be becoming more and more urgent as the economy (outside the UK at least) starts to slowly motor forward again.

There’s a good summary of the requirement and some of the things employers can do to increase retention on Harvard’s Management Essentials, ‘Retaining Star Performers in Trying Times’

This article suggests that  organisations need to ‘find the levers where the value to the individual is greater than the cost to the company’.

This includes:

  • Praise for good work
  • Challenging projects and assignments
  • Development opportunities
  • Non-monetary perks.


Companies also need to:

  • Manage anxieties and frustration
  • Over-communicate.

And culture matters more than ever. 

In summary, the article encourages managers to -


  • Find out what benefits matter most to your employees
  • Communicate more than you think you need to
  • Be realistic about people's anxieties and frustrations.



  • Forget that satisfaction with an immediate boss factors heavily into people's decisions to stay with a company
  • Assume that a bad economy guarantees that your star employees won't leave
  • Think that money is your only tool to motivate your employees.


The article includes a nice couple of vignettes supporting these suggestions too.


Anyway, the point of this post is that early next year I’ll be looking at these and other aspects of retention in a series of three-day workshops for senior HR practitioners and other business leaders responsible for talent management in financial services firms operating in the Middle East.

We kick off on 2-4 February in Doha and I’m really excited about this as I’ve not managed to visit Qatar on any of my assignments in the region to date.  If you’d like to attend the workshop, contact Daniel Jackson at Fleming Gulf (email: daniel [dot] jackson [at] fleminggulf [dot] com, tel: + 91 99 00388 366).  You can also get a 10% discount through to 22 December.


I’m also planning to be in Qatar for some meetings on Sunday 31 January and Monday 1 February – so let me know if you’re there and you’d like to meet up (you don’t need to be in financial services for this!).



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Tuesday 15 December 2009

More on Next Generation HR (Talking HR 022)


CIPD Sustainable Organisational Performance   Tonight’s Talking HR show (#022) took the CIPD’s New Generation HR research that I’ve discussed before for a deeper and fuller review.

However, although I tried to be positive, my reactions to the research report remained largely the same.  Krishna seemed to think very much the same as me as well.  And it looks as if you agree with us too – 24 of you have responded to my survey asking about what you believe provides the basis for Next Generation HR in your organisation.  These are the results with 20 hours to go:


  • Sustainable Organisational Performance (CIPD)  4 (16%)
  • Human Capital Management  9 (37%)
  • The Social Business  5 (20%)
  • Behavioural HR  4 (16%)
  • Externally Focused HR  3 (12%)
  • Green HR  2 (8%)
  • HR 2.0  6 (25%)
  • Imagination Based HR  4 (16%)
  • Evidence Based HR  4 (16%)
  • Strengths Based HR  2 (8%)
  • Other  1 (4%)



I’m really interested and impressed that Human Capital Management and HR 2.0 top your votes (have you see these two things mentioned anywhere else recently??? – perhaps at the top of this blog for instance?), with both these options, and the Social Business scoring more highly than the CIPD’s suggestion, Sustainable Organisational Performance.


Find the show here

And the show notes here (including all the resources mentioned on the show).





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Monday 14 December 2009

HR and Innovation (Talking HR 021)


   Just time to get the show notes out from the last episode of Talking HR before we do the next show (#022, on Next Generation HR) tonight.


For #021, I was joined by a guest host, MOK, from the Innovation Beehive.

We discussed the importance of innovation during, and helping to exit from, the recession. And also HR's role supporting innovation - creating an innovative culture etc.

We also reviewed a new book - The Silver Lining by Scott Anthony.




Listen to the podcast: you can download the podcast to your hard drive or play it streaming from the web.  You can also subscribe to the show at itunes.


Talking HR is hosted by Krishna De and Jon Ingham and you can contact us with your thoughts and feedback about the show at talkinghrpodcast(at)gmail.com.



Picture credit: إبن البيطار 


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Thursday 10 December 2009

Helping you have more impact


   I want to wrap up my series of posts on planning for 2010 (before 2010 actually starts in a couple of weeks time!) by writing about what I could / would do to help you plan effectively for next year in order to have more impact / create Next Generation HR / change to a New Leadership Paradigm etc.

Having said that, the post isn’t so much about me (although it would be nice to help you raise your impact too), but about what I’d advise you to do to go about creating this sort of impact – and approaching this subject in a bit more of a practical way than I’ve posted on it before.

The key to creating this higher level of impact is, I think, to ask the right questions.  And then to think, deeply, about your answers, and not to be limited by what’s happening today.  (It’s for this reason that I believe measurement has a limited role in HCM, and why I believe in Imagination Based HR – even if you, my readers don’t*).

These are some of the questions I’d want to ask you (and help you answer):

  • What’s your organisation about / what’s going to make the difference to its future?  (what’s your mojo?)
  • Who are the people who will sustain this mojo?  (who are your talent?)
  • What will they be thinking, feeling and doing? (what are your competencies?)
  • What unique value do these people provide?, and how to they provide competitive advantage? (what are your capabilities – your human and social capital?)
  • What do these people want you to do to support them? (what’s your EVP?)
  • What form of organisation structure is best able to support your mojo and your people? (your organisation capital)
  • What specific processes will you need to develop, and other interventions to make, to create the capabilities you require as well as the offer your people desire?  (what best fit processes do you need?)
  • Therefore what role does HR need to play in supporting all of this (what’s your view of Next Generation HR)?
  • And of your leaders and managers?


Oh, and really at the top of the list, who needs to be involved in answering these questions (hint: everyone would be wonderful - whether this be through social media or a large scale event).



* As Imagination Based HR has only received one vote in the quiz on my blog so far – and with just 4 days left for you to vote).


Picture credit: Don Davis/NASA

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Friday 4 December 2009

Are you ready for the HR roller coaster?


    I’ve already posted on the drivers of change discussed in the CBI’s recent report, The Next 10 years. And here is my summary of the section on businesses’ responses.  Hold onto your hats – it looks like it’s going to be a thrilling ride!


The business response

The changes I described in my last post are leading many businesses to reassess their purpose, structure and organisation, and what they need to do to ensure sustainable business success. For most, there will be a movement away from ‘business as usual’ towards a more flexible, collaborative and leaner model. This will include the following actions:


Bend 1. Building workforce skills

Businesses will have to build, retain and make the most of knowledge and experience in the workforce while finances for training are restricted, there are major changes in the make-up of the population available for work and individuals’ expectations of work continue to evolve.

Businesses will become much more proactive in their approach to talent management, placing greater focus on skill development. Many businesses will develop detailed skill roadmaps for their organisations.

However, businesses will also focus on enhancing business productivity and achieving a greater return on investment in training. More training will be delivered online, or through other virtual learning environments, and in-house, rather than being provided face to face and outside of the workplace.

Funding for ‘non-essential’ training and general career development training not directly aligned with corporate goals will be scaled down substantially or even stopped. (I think businesses will find doing this clashes with the changed workforce expectations that the report mentioned earlier on, and with increasing needs for smarter management in a more collaborative environment that is mentioned later. As the report notes, it will also provide a challenge in building management and leadership skills with longer timeframes for development.)

There will also be a trend to select and develop employees for a career within organisations rather than for a specific job, reflecting businesses’ preference for staff to be multi-skilled.  (Not sure about this – it certainly goes against existing trends in organisations.)

Development will increasingly be provided through collaboration with schools, colleges, universities and other education and training institutions. To avoid organisational rationalisation closing down career paths, businesses will also collaborate with each other (particularly supply chain partners and customer organisations) to provide staff with secondments and other opportunities to gain skills and experience that cannot be found in one organisation. Employees will take a bit of the company ethos with them with each move, cementing relationships and building trust. (I have always thought this to be a good idea, and write about it in my HCM book.)

Bend 2. Developing a new employment model

New forms of partnership and collaboration, and new contractual relationships between employees and employers, are already emerging and will become more extensive.

Changes in employment legislation over the past decade have allowed many employees to ask for flexible working (eg to manage family, health or educational needs) and Generation Y employees have also sought greater flexibility to meet their own ambitions. But now employers will also increasingly ask for flexibility and will use this as a core part of their business model. For some sectors – eg in manufacturing – annualised hours contracts will become standard. In retail, zero-based hours (essentially call-up contracts with trusted individuals) will be used more extensively to manage peaks and troughs in workload. Payment in time – eg time off for sabbaticals or charity work – is likely to become the new bonus in place of money.

Businesses will continue to emphasise flexibility and a significant number will move to a new employment model where the core of permanent staff is smaller and a greater number of freelancers, consultants and temporary workers are used. The move to such a model accelerates an existing trend in the increase of freelancers. (Meaning that HR has to move its focus from just employees to everybody who provides the business with human capital.)

Bend 3. Rationalising the organisation

The recession has accelerated the need to address inefficiencies and non-core activities across the enterprise. It has also provided the stimulus for companies to re-think themselves and re-evaluate their future – allowing them to make organisational changes that will position them for the upturn and beyond, while building-in resilience and flexibility.

Businesses will continue to focus on reducing their costs, shifting the balance between fixed and variable costs to improve flexibility.

More significantly, businesses will seek to ‘simplify’ their operations in order to gain greater control of the complexities and interdependencies in their operations. This rationalisation will create new organisational structures built around a core of permanent employees and unique business propositions, with a much larger group of activities and people outsourced and offshored to and beyond the periphery of the organisation. (The report suggests this might include HR but I can’t see it – change of this magnitude will require HR to be right at the centre of organisations, managing it and then making it work.)

Bend 4. Moving to a more (externally) collaborative business model

The need to share risk, invest effectively in developing new innovations, and access finance and competencies will drive businesses to a more collaborative business model. The shift from transactional to collaborative relationships will bring about new alliances with a wide range of partners, including customers, universities, suppliers and, in some cases, competitors. Businesses will also work with the supply chain to improve supplier performance and efficiency (a clear opportunity for externally focused HR.)

The trends in the location of the supply chain for intangibles will also become more complex. Communications technology now allows the supply of knowledge based services to be based anywhere in the world and businesses will move more of their process-driven intangible supply chain abroad to take advantage of lower costs.

Collaboration is not without risk - establishing and maintaining trust will be critical. So businesses will invest in new management skills to deal with the risks and challenges accompanying collaborative working. (More great work for HR.)

Bend 5. Emphasising governance and sustainability

(This is the only one of my five areas that is clearly driven by the change drivers I reviewed in my last post, ie trust, social / demographic change and technology, rather than the recession and what is predicted will be a harder decade.

It is also the only section where I detect clear CBI spin. I’ve rewritten the next paragraph more extensively than other areas to bring it closer to the truth as I see it.)

Businesses are starting to recognise that demonstrating accountability will be part of the new ‘licence to operate’. Some businesses already invest significantly in governance and sustainability. This will become much more extensive and central to business with actions taken across all parts of the organisation and beyond.

There will be more investment in business continuity, risk analysis and mitigation, scenario planning etc and greater controls will need to be put in place. Monitoring by business of their internet – and in particular their on-line social network – presence will increase. (I agree with the need for scenario – for me this report outlines just one scenario – there will be others. I don’t agree quite so much with the need for more monitoring of social networks. I think the key here, again, is workforce skills, and trust.)

More senior management jobs will be dedicated to compliance, governance and risk management. But other managers and employees will need to support governance too.

The transition to more extensive governance will be difficult and the result will be less flexible, more rigid organisations at a time when businesses are trying to become more flexible. With these changes it will be difficult for companies to retain their agility and focus and there will be increased tension between delivering on governance and conducting core business. (I think the way to resolve this dilemma is through culture – meaning that less control is required.)

The implementation of a ‘no blame’ culture will be used by organisations to ensure mistakes are quickly uncovered and lessons can be learned. Leadership in businesses will be key to developing new cultures.

(HR doesn’t tend to get than involved in governance currently – with the part exception of the remuneration area. This report implies a much greater focus here.)


At the finish 

It’s all highly interesting stuff. If you agree with the picture it describes, it provides some big, big challenges for the next 5 – 10 years. And if you don’t, do you have a different picture you can use?  (Let me know if you want me to draw one for you.)



Photo credit: Andrew Waite


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  • Wednesday 2 December 2009

    Business changes and HR plans


       I’ve just got a few more posts to do on human capital / talent / workforce planning for 2010.

    However, even though I promote the view that the energy for HCM should come from within the organisation (an inside-out perspective), organisations clearly need to take account of the broader and longer-term context too.

    One of the inputs that organisations (at least those based in, or with operations in, the UK) may want to use is the CBI’s latest report: ‘The Shape of Business – The Next 10 Years’ (thanks to Alice Snell for highlighting this on Taleo’s blog).

    The first part of the report focuses on the reset in the business environment and the effect of the financial crisis and the recession on three existing drivers of change. Here’s my summary (focusing on the themes which are of most interest to me / this blog, and which does not cover the whole report):


    1. Increasing importance of, and declining levels of trust

    Our expectations of businesses are increasing, and the internet gives us the power to ensure that businesses live up to these expectations, Businesses are under the spotlight and need the trust of their stakeholders to retain current degrees of freedom to operate.

    However trust in businesses and the profit motive have declined and are at risk of remaining depressed.

    • 79% of UK respondents said they don’t trust business leaders to put the interests of their employees and shareholders ahead of their own personal interests (Edelman Trust Barometer - supplementary survey)
    • 51% of respondents said UK businesses behave ethically - compared to 58% in 2006 (Institute of Business Ethics, 2008).


    To redevelop trust, businesses will need to demonstrate their ethical credentials. This relates in particular to executive pay, environmental responsibility and openness with information (I’m going to have to come back to this with another post).


    2. Social and demographic change

    Businesses will be challenged to manage four different generations of employees, each with different motivations and expectations.

    In addition, although pension problems will force some older employees to work longer, businesses will still need to take action to address gaps in critical skills (including science, technology, engineering, maths and project management).

    Businesses will need to capture the knowledge and experience of individuals before they retire –and to retrain other employees, and/or seek new skills from elsewhere.

    Businesses will also need to adapt if they are to attract, retain and get the most out of the new generation of employees (an important point and again, the subject of a future post).


    3. Further technology change

    Digital technologies are fundamentally changing business. Personalised web-based applications, cloud computing, real-time interaction and always-on web features are likely to become commonplace within 5-10 year years. Teleconferences, videoconferencing, webinars and remote working systems are all improving. Generation Y use these technologies in a different way and will expect increased technological capability at work.

    Businesses will need to increase their use of Facebook, Twitter and other web 2.0 and social networking applications.

    Businesses will also need to invest more in building their corporate cultures as a higher proportion of employees work away from central offices and/or reside in the periphery to the core of permanent staff.

    The report also suggests that businesses are concerned about the impact of technology on work / life balance (though this wasn’t seen as a major issue in a recent Google Wave on the area).



    More on the business response to these challenges shortly.  But perhaps you’d like to think about how you’re going to respond to them first?


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    Tuesday 1 December 2009

    Dubai’s out, who’s in?


       Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water!

    I’ve had some more work in the UAE cancelled as an indirect impact of the current debt problems there (although I hope that other work I’m planning will continue).

    So I’ve got some time over the next couple of months.

    Want to ramp up your HR team’s contribution to your business:


    • 2010 Planning (HCM, talent strategy, workforce planning etc)
    • Measures, metrics, scorecards, evaluation, ROI
    • HR Capability development
    • Social business (enterprise 2.0) / HR2.0
    • etc…



    Or just need some help at the moment? (I’ve got senior line and consulting experience across the full spectrum of HR activities).  Give me a call.

    +44 (0) 7904 185 134

    jon  [dot] ingham [at] strategic [dash] hcm [dot] com



    Picture credit: FT.com


    Helping you create Next Generation HR


       In my last post, I described my ‘ideal’ process for human capital / talent / workforce / HR planning.  I also explained that the actual process I would hope to use with a client would depend upon their particular situation: strategy, context, challenges and opportunities etc.

    I think it also depends upon their views about Next Generation HR, which I’d define as the way in which they believe HR can best create value for their organisation.

    As I explained in my review of the CIPD’s session on Next Generation HR, I think there’s a variety of options available to organisations here.  To me, Next Generation HR is about continuing the movement towards best fit, so whereas the current generation of HR practice is about all moving together towards one view about effective HR practice, the next generation will be more differentiated – and more focused on the particular ways that HR can add and create most value in your particular organisation.

    So I’ve put up a quiz on my blog to get more input on which of these you think will be the basis for Next Generation HR for you and your organisation.  These are the results so far:


    Option Response

    Sustainable Organisational Performance (from the CIPD’s Next Gen HR research)

      2 (28%)

    Human Capital Management (accumulating human capital)

      4 (57%)

    The Social Business (accumulating social capital, including through the use of social media)

      2 (28%)

    Behavioural HR - using the insights of neuroscience to change HR’s, managers’ and employees’ decision making processes and activities

      2 (28%)

    Externally focused HR - developing a role outside the organisation

      1 (14%)

    Green HR- developing a tie-in with ethics and CSR

      1 (14%)

    HR 2.0 - the use of social media tools within HR (social recruitment, social learning etc)

      1 (14%)

    Imagination based HR

      0 (0%)

    Evidence (measurements and analytics) based HR

      3 (42%)

    Strengths Based HR - a focus on talents and appreciation etc.

      2 (28%)


      1 (14%)


    I’m obviously pleased to see HCM taking an early lead, but disappointed to see imagination based HR, one of my personal favourites, falling behind already!.  However, I’m after your views here – you’ve probably had enough of mine.

    So please do select your personal favourite option(s) from the list – and if you’re voting for the ‘other’ category, perhaps add a comment to this post and let me know what you think I’ve missed.


    Human Capital Planning

    Reviewing which of these options make best sense for you is part of my Human Capital Planning process too.

    I’ll describe more about this process, and how I can support it, in my next post.





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    Did you miss? (On Social Advantage during November)


    Social Advantage box






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  • Monday 30 November 2009

    Developing your 2010 Human Capital / Talent / Workforce / HR Strategy & Plan


    I’ve previously posted on my Human Capital Management Strategy, Talent Management Strategy and Workforce Planning processes, but I haven’t written about how these processes can be combined.  This is partly because doing so may seem a little nit picking (these terms are generally used indistinguishibly).  But I believe the differences are important (according to Peter Cheese’ data, organisations that score in the top quartile of business results score an average of 3.4 for maturity of Human Capital Strategy, compared to just 1.8 for those organisations in the bottom quartile).

    And although I have a lot of time for InfoHRM and their Workforce Planning process that I described in my last but one post (remember that I tend to be most critical over areas that I largely agree with), I think HCM Strategy involves more – and provides more benefit.

    For InfoHRM, WFP is the maths behind Demand –Supply = Gap.   And HCM Strategy is about the actions taken to deal with the gap:



    It’s all very well thought through.  But for me,  HCM Strategy is about the type of place an organisation wants to become.  It’s a higher level of strategy / planning than WFP and needs to come first if an organisation is going to maximise the value it gains from its people:


    Human Capital Planning

    This is about choosing the sort of human capital or organisational capability that’s going to make a difference to a particular organisation; doing a diagnosis of the current level of capital; working out how it can be best created and setting objectives for this (in the top row in the HCM Value Matrix).

    It’s about deciding on the type of place an organisation wants to become; what it wants to provide to its people; what sort of people it needs and what it needs its people to deliver etc.  And it’s a vital step in meeting Richard Boyatzis’ challenge about accumulating rather than liquidating human capital which I think is essential is an organisation is going to create value and provide competitive advantage through their people.

    It doesn’t need to be performed every year necessarily but I’d suggest it should when facing major changes in the environment such as the one we seem to be entering at the moment ie recession to jobless growth.

    Note that I’ve put Human Capital Planning at the same level of business planning in my slide, above to emphasise that the business plan should be informed by the Human Capital Plan as well as the other way around.

    Another important aspect of my approach is that the focus of energy is inside the organisation – on the things the organisation can already do well and can be developed into differentiators (ie its mojo / organisational capability)



    Talent Planning

    This process is about identifying the talent groups that require particular attention within the strategy.   These people may be high performers (‘A’ players), but they may be other people / groups too (see my last post on differentiation).

    One important part of this process is the identification of Employee Value Propositions (EVPs) for each of these groups.

    This is a really vital step in HCM strategy development, and lies at the heart of the Human Capital Strategist programme that I deliver for the Human Capital Institute (in UK and Europe).  I also think Dick Beatty describes its value well.  But I believe it needs to come after Human Capital Planning as the identification of talent groups needs to be informed by organisational capability, not just critical business processes.  But it needs to come before Workforce Planning because the identification of talent is an input, allowing WFP to focus on what’s really important, rather than an output of this process.  (There may however need to be some iteration of this, for example if WFP throws up critical constraints in the supply of various groups which then may also need to be considered to be talent).


    Workforce Planning

    This process is about a more granular level of planning, diagnosis and strategy development, and as much as possible should be data based.  (I don’t believe you need to get into numbers earlier on in the human capital strategy development process, and I’ve been involved in several cases where doing so has obscured rather than clarified strategy making.)



    HR Planning 

    Another input into Workforce Planning is more traditional HR Planning.  This looks at how people can be used as Human Resources to help meet an organisation’s mission, BHAGs, business plans and objectives.  It leads to the setting of objectives in the middle row (adding value) in the HCM Value Matrix.

    It’s it at this level that HR needs to be business first, HR second (at the left-hand side of the slide, I think we need to be HCM professionals first).



    HR Process Planning

    The third level of planning looks at HR processes and how these can be improved, based on best practice, benchmarking etc (rather than how these fit the particular needs of the organisation).  These requirements become objectives in the bottom row (value for money) in the HCM Value Matrix.



    Scorecard Development

    At each level of Human Capital Planning, Talent Planning and Workforce Planning, an organisation should develop then iterate objectives for their HCM Strategy.  Once they’ve completed this analysis it makes sense to develop measures to support these objectives.  This process provides an HCM Scorecard based upon the HCM Value Matrix.




    InfoHRM note that scenarios help manage change and risk by developing alternative views of the future based on events outside the organisation’s control.   This helps the organisation rehearse how it might adapt to future events today (what if?).

    I agree with the importance of scenario planning but believe it needs to start at the beginning of the strategy development process (ie in Human Capital Planning) and be iterated at all three levels




    Note, whenever I work with organisations this process ends up looking very different from the one I’ve described here.  I’m not actually a big supporter of methodologies, at least in this sort of area.

    But the process I’ve described is the ideal one I’ll have at the back of my mind when I’m talking to a potential or new client.  And we’ll then develop something that will work best for the particular client based upon this insight, but also the client’s particular strategies, external environment, internal context etc.






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    Sunday 29 November 2009

    Differentiation for Workforce Planning


       In her session on workforce planning at Starbucks, Lacey All talked about the need to ensure resources are deployed against pivotal roles and key talent segments in order to remain flexible in responding to current and future business innovation demands,

    Well, I’d understand it if you feel I’ve done the these of workforce differentiation to death, but I think it’s one of the most important issues in strategic people management today.  As Row Henson from Oracle mentioned in her session on Measuring Performance (quoting Dave Ulrich) the value of top performers can be 12 times the performance of average employees.  So I hope you’ll let me dwell on it a bit longer.


    I recently wrote my 5th post on Dick Beatty’s Differentiated Workforce (this is my 6th).

    In general, Dick’s presentation made me feel a lot more positive about his approach.

    • Rather than linking strategic / A roles to critical business processes, he focused much more on ‘capabilities’ as the basis for identifying talent groups.  I thought this was much more positive because it means he is putting the overall shape of the organisation ahead of talent by itself.  This is my approach as well – identifying and investing disproportionally in talent is often going to be an important aspect of HCM strategy, but not, in my view, as important as differentiating the organisation as a whole.  [Note however, that although Dick uses the word ‘capabilities’ he says himself that he really means ‘core competencies’.  I believe that 'true ‘organisational capabilities’ provide a much sounder base for HCM strategy so I tend to start with these.]
    • Dick also showed how capabilities and therefore strategic roles differ across organisations within a sector (Nordstrom and CostCo).  This was an omission in Beatty’s book (at least I couldn’t see it) and one of my major concerns, as I couldn’t see how the approach was differentiating if all organisations within a sector had the same strategic roles!


    However, I still have concerns, including:

    • I don’t believe differentiation is necessarily the right approach all of the time (eg organisations with a capability of inclusivity).
    • I don’t believe that differentiation always needs to focus on A roles and A people.  Pivotal talent are another quite possible option for example.  [Row Henson again (lifting from John Boudreau this time): "Who's the most pivotal person at a Walt Disney resort?" she asked. "I'd argue it's the man or woman who sweeps the streets at the end of the day. These won't be top performers in the classical sense of the word, but they are pivotal because, if the resort is dirty, customers won't want to return."]
    • I don’t agree that organisations which do differentiate as Dick Beatty suggests should deliberately search out C candidates for C roles.  I’m with Jack Welch – you want to raise the calibre of the whole organisation – including A, B and C roles / people.
    • When you do have people working in C roles (that you’ve not yet made leave the organisation), I’d suggest you still need to focus on raising their capabilities and performance.  I don’t agree that you should deny them feedback or as Row Henson suggested, have ‘a list of people not to develop’.  I don’t believe that doing this would allow you to invest any more time or resources in supporting people in A roles / A people.  It’s just going to mean putting even more time into looking after, correcting the mistakes etc of the C players who don’t know how they can improve.


    So, organisations that want to differentiate themselves (and doing so is pretty fundamental to gaining competitive advantage through human capital), have to ask themselves a number of questions (* although of course they can also ask for my help! *), including:

    • How are they going to differentiate themselves, ie what organisational capabilities are they going to develop?
    • Which talent groups support this differentiation, and how can they best define these?
    • How can they best support each of of these groups differently?
      • See the following slide from Peter Cheese, ex-Accenture, from his presentation on talent management at the CIPD conference:



    In dealing with the second bullet point above, it’s useful to know that talent can be defined in a number of different ways:

    • Key people
    • Key roles
    • Key people in key roles (Beatty)
    • Pivotal talent (Boudreau)
    • Scarce talent (from workforce planning)


    • And based upon a range of other factors, including individual talents’ demographics and perspectives (a true HCM strategy will differentiate according to their talents’ needs, rather than their own) – see another of Peter Cheese’s slides:



    (Note that for Cheese, using Beatty’s approach isn’t pushing the envelope or leading edge, but is merely typical of what happens today (if done in a rather more sophisticated way).


    What do you make of all that?

                Are you differentiating your organisation through your workforce?

                            And are you differentiating it in the most optimal way?





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    Saturday 28 November 2009

    Lacey All, Starbucks on Workforce Planning

       I’m finishing off posting on the CIPD conference with some notes on future human capital / talent / workforce planning.  But before I bring this all together, I want to do a short review of the session on workforce planning from Starbucks’ Lacey All.  Partly because I thought it was an excellent presentation of a great case study (and Lacey hadn’t even had any coffee!), but mainly because workforce planning does fill a central role within human capital planning.

    I think I4CP explained this role quite well in their recent post claiming that workforce planning Is the ‘missing link’ for HR – helping to combine the business strategy and HR strategy:

    “If your bead on the future is looking blurry these days, you're not alone. The global recession has thrown off a lot of organizations' expectations and predictions. So, it's little wonder that many are now striving to do a much better job of strategic planning for the future, especially in the area of talent.”


    And at the conference, Peter Howes from InfoHRM explained how workforce planning can assist organisations to better manage within this new economy:

    • Replaces a reactive approach (reduce headcount across the board, cut labour costs by x%) with more precise interventions
    • Decisions are based on clearer understanding of critical factors and relationships –in effect, a ‘risk audit’
    • Which roles or jobs have biggest business impact?
    • Which will be hardest to fill internally and externally in the future? Which have the steepest or longest learning curve?
    • Which skills and competencies will become increasingly or decreasingly valuable to future performance?
    • Which talent segments need to be protected as feeder pools?
    • Organisations can model alternative scenarios to compare long-term consequences for talent supply.


    In her presentation, All explained that their approach to workforce planning doesn’t attempt to be the same thing for everyone, but consists of a number of activities ranging from operational to more strategic:

    • Retail forecast tools
    • Dashboard analytics
    • Ad-hoc analysis
    • Environmental scanning



    • Talent segments
    • Pivotal roles
    • Planning workshops
    • Action planning and progress monitoring.


    The focus on retail here is about this being the area which will differentiate Starbucks’ brand and create a competitive advantage.


    I thought the most interesting part of the session was the outline of Starbuck’s planning workshops.

    In these sessions, leadership teams consider:

    • The environmental scanning reports shown above (what affects my workforce?)
    • The current state (where am I now?)
    • No change future state (where am I heading if everything remains the same?)
    • Scenario planning (what’s my ideas vision given different operating climates?)
    • Targeted future (what is my targeted or likely future?)
    • Action planning (how do I get there?)
    • Setting up progress monitoring (is my plan right?, am I on track?).


    A key issue at the moment is understanding ghost turnover – and predicting how many people will leave post the recession.

    Some of the external factors the teams look at include:

    • Demise of a Competitor
    • Unionization of Workforce
    • Distribution Optimization
    • Process Teams don’t have the right capabilities
    • Full Automation of Production Lines
    • Failure to open 5th Roasting Plant at 75 mm pounds
    • Store of the future.


    Although workforce planning is often closely linked to workforce analytics (particularly when considering the current state / supply of the workforce), All stressed that lack of data (outside the US) doesn’t stop them doing workforce planning, and that the process is as much art as it is science.

    The outputs of the planning workshops are solutions to close critical gaps in the future workforce.


    All useful stuff – so why aren’t many organisations doing this (and why were so many people walking out during such an excellent presentation?).

    Actually, the situation may not be that bad – I4CP notes that the use of workforce planning is trending upward. About 70% of the respondents to their survey said that they are doing some form of workforce planning in their organisations today, and 43% of those who are not doing it now plan on implementing this process in the future.  But that doesn't mean that most companies are doing it well:

    “There are three types of workforce planning: operational, tactical and strategic. While most organizations with WFP are highly engaged in short-term operational workforce planning - which includes actions such as headcount forecasting and staffing requisitions - relatively few are highly engaged in long-term strategic workforce planning, which includes actions such as business planning, needs assessments and scenario creation.”

    If you want to gain more of the benefits that Starbucks are clearly getting, you may want to review:





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    Friday 27 November 2009

    Richard Boyatzis on Talent Innovation


       OK, last few posts to wrap up my posting from the CIPD conference (what will I post on without it?).  And all these posts are going to focus on planning for the future.  Some of them are about talent, some about workforce, and I’ll also be throwing human capital into the mix.

    But I want to start this process by looking at the need to bring more innovation into the planning.

    In the CIPD’s introduction to the session ‘Fighting back through Talent Innovation’, Claire McCartney summarised research finding that 26% of organisations have been forced to change their approach to talent management as a result of the downturn (so 74% have not?).

    Some of the positive practices adopted include:

    • Developing more talent in-house (55%)
    • Focusing on essential development (45%)
    • Continuing to recruit key talent (43%)
    • Increased focus on employee retention (35%)
    • Reducing reliance on recruitment agencies (34%)
    • Talent management practices unaffected (30%)
    • Downsizing while preserving key talent (25%)
    • Initiating a recruitment freeze (23%)
    • Use of new media / technology to recruit (22%)
    • Recruiting talent discarded by competitors (11%)
    • Downsizing and having to let key talent go (just 3%).


    The way these practices are being performed has also seen some interesting innovation:

    • Partner with other organisations
    • Increase your profile and brand
    • Keep talent warm for future
    • Where appropriate acquire talent from competitors
    • Set-up leadership exchange groups
    • Build talent assessment capabilities in-house
    • Focus on critical experiential based learning
    • Ask for innovative business suggestions by talent pools
    • Build a sense of community
    • Provide support for stretch assignments
    • Target employees for specific career paths
    • Maximise funding opportunities for skill development
    • Streamline and improve talent schemes
    • Increase focus on talent performance, engagement and retention.


    There are some good ideas in here, although I’m surprised by the ones which are missing.  For example, judging from a recent ITT I received, the CIPD still seems to think that organisations are focusing on an inclusive (everyone is talent) rather than exclusive approach to talent management.  My recent experience suggests the opposite – that organisations are being more exclusive and defining talent groups more tightly (I’m not necessarily sure that’s always the right approach but that’s another thing – see my forthcoming posts on Dick Beatty – again).

    You can read about other innovative suggestions throughout this blog.


    The CIPD concludes that ROI coming under more scrutiny in an economic downturn means that cost-effective talent management becomes more not less important.  This is supported by the session’s case studies, including Stephanie Oerton from National Express who notes that the downturn has provided opportunities to:

    • Get closer to the business
    • Discover talents within the team that may have not been discovered
    • Involve a wider range of people in development
    • Increase appetite for development from within the business
    • Develop stronger relationships with Business Leaders.


    As far as this post is concerned, the important thing is that organisations are going to have to adapt innovatively again as things pick up next year (fingers crossed) – see this slide from Peter Cheese (ex-Accenture):




    And organisations that are going to maximise the opportunities this growth will provide need to plan for this now.


    Boyatzis on Talent Innovtion

    You’ll have probably noticed that I called this post ‘Richard Boyatzis on Talent Innovation’ and I’ve not introduced Boyatzis yet.

    Well, one thing I wanted to note, in connection to the ongoing need to innovate, is that we need to innovate our paradigms as well as our activities.  It’s great to see the innovative practices I’ve described above, but there’s much more we can do.  And it’s much easier to do this if we approach the opportunity with a different, innovated mindset.

    And as I was walking briefly around the exhibition I cam across a new book from Mercer called Creating Value through People (I was attracted to it as this is the sub-title of my own book).  It’s a series of interviews with various leaders and writers, and one of these is with Dr Richard Boyatzis (ah, finally!).

    Explaining the concept of the ‘talent innovator’, Boyatzis notes:

    “The reason we need leaders and managers is to co-ordinate the efforts of others and to use capital in an organisation to achieve the organisation’s objectives and mission. When you take that general concept, you realise that the responsibility of leaders is to utilise and create capital. There are lots of ways to describe that. But the ones I like the best focus on financial, physical, intellectual, human, and social capital.

    Now, I think we would all agree that if executives spent all their money on current performance it would be irresponsible. Organisations have to be concerned with the future. So, we would have to think that the job of an executive is to get current performance and long-term sustainable performance. To do that requires using capital now but also investing it in the future. This applies to human capital, too. The problem is that most of the time when people think about managing talent they immediately go to, how do I motivate people? How do I get the maximum performance from people? That frames the problem in a very short-term context.

    As a result, almost everybody who is trying to manage talent is actually liquidating it. What I mean is that they are expending most of their organisation’s human capital on current performance. Let me give you an example. One of my doctoral students is trying to come up with what I call a human resource profit and loss statement and a human resource balance sheet. The problem with existing measures like the balanced scorecard is that while they are moving in the right direction, they get it wrong because they look at almost everything in terms of financial measures. Human capital shouldn’t be measured in financial terms. It should be measured differently, in human capital terms. My point is that we should approach the management of talent with the notion that you should manage human capital so it is greater at the end of the year than it was at the beginning of the year because you’re investing in it.”


    This strikes me as a very powerful argument for innovating our attitudes – putting long-term talent / human capital needs ahead of, or at least at an equal level of importance to short-term business process / customer / financial needs, and growing out of the recession by growing our talent and human capital.  You’ll see more of this thinking in my suggestions for our talent / workforce / human capital plans.

    (As an aside, you may also be able to see links between the points I’ve put in bold above to other things I’ve been blogging about recently.)





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