Tuesday 31 May 2011

Busy June (and Economist Talent Summit)


  June’s another very busy month for events, which probably means a very heavy month for blogging too.

This includes:

  • Social Business Forum, Milan, Wednesday 8th
  • Talent Summit, Economist Group, Thursday 9th
  • Social Unconference, Mavencast, Tuesday 14th
  • Employee Engagement, Westminster Briefing, Wednesday 22nd
  • HR Transformation, SAP, Thursday 23rd


Out of these, it’s the Economist’s conference which should generate the most blogs – I’m particularly looking forward to sessions from:

  • Susan Peters, Vice-president, Executive Development and Chief Learning Officer, GE
  • Roger Cude, Senior Vice-president, Global Talent Management, Walmart
  • Hugh Mitchell, Chief Human Resources and Corporate Officer, Royal Dutch Shell
  • Gareth Williams, Human Resources Director, Diageo
  • Bob Bennett, Vice-president and Chief Learning Officer, Global Organisational Learning, Development and Safety, FedEx Expres


Keep tuned for posts on the above conferences and more.


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Monday 30 May 2011

Lumesse blogathon


  I’m one of three UK bloggers (with Bill Boorman and Peter Gold) invited to participate in a ‘blogathon’ supporting what was Stepstone’s recent rebranding.

We’ve been asked to write blog posts and other things based upon content supplied by them and interviews with their people etc - and the blogger with the most points from the following activity wins an ipad 2:

  • Own Blog post (4 points)
  • Guest blog post (4 points)
  • Tweets using hashtag (2 points)
  • Retweets (3 points)
  • YouTube video interview ( 5 points)
  • Presentations e.g. slideshare, screenr, prezi
  • Linkedin updates (2 points)
  • Linkedin discussions (3 points)
  • Linkedin discussion comments (2 points).


It’s an interesting idea, but I’m not participating – largely because I’ve been busy posting on other things over the last few weeks, meaning that I’m already well behind in the points ranking (Peter’s even written a book for them – I can’t even begin to guess how many points he’s earned for that!).

So this post is simply to note that I think it’s an interesting idea –and one that I hope catches on with other companies.

I also think it reinforces what I see as the shift in influence to the social world (see my last but one post).

So I’m sure it won’t take too long for someone to figure out a way of giving me an ipad!



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Friday 27 May 2011

Social payroll?


   In my various presentations around HR 2.0 I try to stress that just about any people management process can be social-ified.  But I usually explain that in some areas, eg in reward, the change may be more about using social approaches, eg pay transparency, rather than social media.

So I was excited recently by the challenge of contributing to an article on using social media in payroll.  But as I said:

“Payroll isn’t the most obvious example for the use of social media tools. The issue is that social tools are designed to enable sharing and in the payroll area, sharing (for example of individual salaries) is the last thing organisations want to see.”


There is more, but you’ll have to see whether you can get hold of a copy of Scott Beagrie’s article in the May edition of Payroll World to have a look (I’ve not managed to do so yet).


And do let me know if you know of any good examples of social media being used within payroll – I’d love to know more about them.




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Thursday 26 May 2011

Influence! (?)


   It never seems to go away!  In fact it’s speeding up – almost every week I see something new about influence using social media and / or through social connections (vs through authority).

A lot of the blog posts I see are fairly anti this trend, see for instance these posts if you’ve not already read them:


But then these challenges doesn’t stop the proliferation of tools.  One of the most interesting is the new Social List from the Sunday Times:



Unlike a lot of my social media counterparts, I’m generally in favour of these systems.  Why?, well I tend to agree with commentators who suggest that social connecting and media use are increasingly important.  For example, I recently input into some research on the future of HR conducted by Rohit Talwar and Fast Future.  This is one of their slides outlining the early findings of the research:


I think the suggestion is right, and this has two important consequences:

  1. We, all of us, need to understand how to maximise our own influence, in both the web and physical worlds.
  2. We as HR (and certainly leadership development) practitioners need to understand how we can help people increase their influence.


So yes, I am pleased when I receive another update suggesting I am an influencer – eg this one from HRexaminer placing me 9th in their list of online talent management influencers (though down from the #1 spot last year).


(And it’s interesting to see HRexaminer speeding up the production of their lists – now coming out monthly: “that’s the pace of change in social media”.)


But I’m also pleased to see these lists because they are also emphasising that social influence is becoming increasingly important compared to the traditional kind.  I think this is an important shift and so it’s important that we acknowledge it.

So I’m also hoping that I will be included in this year’s list of influencers from Human Resources magazine (UK) too – and yes, please do vote for me if you get a chance (ie if you’re a reader of the magazine)!


Of course getting on the final list will be nice on a personal level but in addition, as the sole representative of the social media using / social influencer community on the shortlist of HR thinkers, your vote will be not just for me, but the importance of social influencing as well – and let’s hope we see plenty more bloggers, tweeters and unconference-rs on the short- and final lists next year.


Also see:



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Wednesday 25 May 2011

The What do We Do All Day? HR Carnival


   Time for the Carny to put down for its fifth stop at Strategic HCM.  This one’s not themed officially as the spate of these seem to have worn people out (or perhaps it was just the dancing?).  But as with my original sexy one, I thought I’d pick a theme from my favourite post anyway.

And for this edition, that’s going to have to be Robin Schooling’s post at HR Schoolhouse reflecting on Just a Coupla Chicks Having an HR Conversation.  ‘What is it we DO?’ one of them asks.  Robin provides her answer in the post but here are a few more posts shining light into different aspects of the job:



Suzanne Lucas, Evil HR Lady asks Is the Resume Dead?

Marsha Keeffer, Mint Resumes (so begging to differ, I presume) discusses Job Search Win: Be Relevant (not something I remember discussing in my book, but hey, no worries).


Talent management

Warren Heaps, International HR Forum reviews 2011 Global Talent Index

Andrew McIlvaine, HREOnline's The Leader Board posts on Rethinking Talent Management

Cathy Missildine-Martin, Profitability Through Human Capital discusses High Potentials vs. High Performers

Mike Haberman, Omega HR is a bit taken aback by the suggestion Having HR Involved in Succession Planning is a Cardinal Sin.


Change management and Communication

Mark Stelzner, Inflexion Advisors provides 4 Reasons Change Is So Damn Hard

Gautam Ghosh, Building Social Business posts on Connecting, Sharing and Collaborating

Dwane Lay, Lean HR, discusses Customer Surveys and Diminishing Returns.


Tree hugging (or Leadership I suppose)

John Hunter, Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog suggests Respect People by Creating a Climate for Joy in Work

Jennifer V. Miller, The People Equation posts on Thank You. 4 Ways to Make Those Two Words Count

Wally Bock, Three Star leadership posts If at first they don't succeed.


All that other stuff which is why I personally no longer work in HR

Susan Heathfield, About.com Human Resources asks Does Panty Hose Matter?

Lynn Dessert, Elephants at Work cautions Beware: Is your doctor charging you fairly?.


Then there are a few other posts generally reviewing HR’s role and making suggestions for its improvement:


HR’s role

Ian Welsh, HR Toolbox Employee Relations blogs discusses Human Resources Professionals of the Future - HR Big Brother!

Laura Schroeder, Working Girl asks Is Your Desire to Help Others Holding You Back?

Amy Wilson , Shiny & Useful provides 8 Recommendations: Leveraging Analytics to Bridge the HR/Business Divide

Naomi Bloom, In Full Bloom asks To Outsource Or Not To Outsource, These Are The Questions

Peter Hros, HR Beginner discusses one HR professional moving From HR Toddler to Here and Now (V).


Sounds fun, hey?  However, if the role is no longer your cup of tea you might like to check out our last post from Christine Livingstone at A Different Kind of Work who offers 3 Little-Known Factors That Could Ease Your Transition From Corporate Job To Solopreneurs.


That’s your lot.  The carny’s next stop will be with the Women of HR (all of them?) on 8th June.  Check it out again then.


Picture credit: BArchBot

Theme credit: Robin Schooling (thanks!)

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Tuesday 24 May 2011

#ASTD2011: Learning and Integrated Talent Management


   I’ve been enjoying the tweets from the ASTD’s International Conference – definitely one I want to attend one year.  Unfortunately there haven’t been that many updates on one of my favourite topics – integrated talent management* - being discussed there.  But I’ve been reviewing and thought I’d post on some of the ASTD’s research on this anyway.

This goes back to a 2008 ASTD/I4CP study, Talent Management Practices and Opportunities, which showed that there is considerable room for improvement in the degree to which organizations effectively manage talent and integrate different components of talent management.  For example, one key opportunity is to develop unifying organisational cultures which engage workers.

The more recent recent survey focuses on the role of L&D within integrated talent management.  This research finds that high performing organisations tend to integrate talent management components more than low performing organisations (which are not likely to integrate certain components at all).  But many of the most effective integrated talent management practices are not widely used:



Barriers to effective integrated talent management efforts include conflicting priorities, limited resources, non-supportive corporate cultures, incompatible organisational processes, and senior leaders who undervalue integrated talent management.

In terms of the L&D role, learning practitioners their own components but also play a vital role in partnering with other groups and facilitating integrative activities.


* Integrated talent management is also the title of the ASTD & I4CP’s new book which includes chapters from Dave Ulrich, Marshall Goldsmith and a few others (including me).



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Sunday 22 May 2011

Westminster Briefing: Taking the ‘Engaging For Success’ report forward


  I’ll also be speaking at this Westminster Briefing event looking at the role of the Employee Engagement Task Force announced recently to build on the role of the last government’s Engaging for Success report:


With the economy still weak, public and private sector organisations face financial and human resources challenges for the foreseeable future. Consequently, the need to support growth and employee wellbeing is of huge importance.

Building on and taking forward the recommendations outlined in the report ‘Engaging for Success’ the Government has commissioned a new Employee Engagement Task Force. This new body will ensure that a range of practical opportunities are made available for organisations wanting to learn about employee engagement and spearhead the drive to improve their performance, productivity, and worker wellbeing.

However, significant challenges and questions remain over not only what constitutes employee engagement but how to implement it and also its practical benefits.

Speakers include:

  • David Macleod, Chair, Employment Engagement Task Force & Co-Author, "Engaging for Success" Report
  • Nita Clarke, Co-Author "Engaging for Success" Report & Director, IPA Involve
  • Helen Giles, Human Resources Director, Broadway Homelessness and Support
  • Elizabeth Theobald, Employee Engagement Project Manager at London Borough of Lewisham
  • Raffaela Goodby, Employee Engagement Manager, Birmingham City Council
  • Senior representative, Workforce Strategy, Local Government Improvement and Development
  • (Chair)Professor Katie Truss, Professor of Management & Head, Kent Business School, University of Kent



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Saturday 21 May 2011

SAP HR Transformation Summit


  I’ll also be presenting at this event on Thursday 23rd June organised by SAP:


No-one knows better than HR professionals that it's people, not organisations, that make business happen. HR is shifting from an employee management cost centre to a highly strategic business function.

The question is, how can you equip yourself to handle the challenges and opportunities this transformation entails?
Now's your chance to find out.

Join us for our inaugural HR Transformation Summit. With the feature-packed agenda, delivered by a stellar line-up of HR visionaries and people-process experts, attendees can expect to receive thought leadership on the following topics and more:

  • The People Management view – Rob MacLachlan, Editor, People Management Magazine shares the results on their latest poll and its latest insights in HR
  • The changing face of HR – how the macroeconomic climate is influencing HR strategies with Dr Anthony Hesketh
  • Social media in modern HR – managing social technologies to enhance recruiting practices and employee collaboration with Jon Ingham
  • Interactive panel sessions with customers, HR gurus and Partners – discussing how HR departments can: provide the Business with necessary tools in order to be agile and flexible, demonstrate effective Talent Management and utilise HR data to contribute directly to the business
  • Compliance in a changing workplace – keeping pace with the legislative landscape in HR with Kemp Little LLP


PLUS hear first-hand how to solve an HR challenge like the Olympics and discover how SAP's own People Agenda Journey is impacting directly on the business.

Visit the event website to register early to avoid missing out on this essential free of charge event as places are limited! Also click to view the full agenda and speaker biographies.

Alternatively, if you wish to register now, please submit your details here.



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Friday 20 May 2011

Unsocial: the Unconference


  And I’ve also got another unconference focusing on social media, this one organised by Mavencast and being held on 14th June at the Imagination Gallery. There are actually two parts:

-   A more traditional workshop on HR and social media:

From recruiting and learning to internal communications and managing teams, social media presents a range of opportunities for improving the effectiveness of your organization.
This workshop provides an introduction to the technologies, applications and value of social media to internal communications and HR. You will gain insights into the principles that underpin successful social media strategies as well as the potential benefits and risks.

Led by Jon Ingham, an authority on social media, consultant, author and former HR director, this is an ideal opportunity to get up to speed with the application of social media to HR.


-   The unconference, focusing on the social business:

By attending ‘Socialising the workplace’ you can discuss issues and share ideas with some of the best minds and leading practitioners of social media solutions, collaborating on best practice and implementation such as:

  • Technology trends from workplace applications to analytics
  • The principles of successful implementation
  • How social computing is being applied


Use discount code SD-10 for 10% of the booking price for the workshop.



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Thursday 19 May 2011

Social Business Forum, Milan


Social Business Forum Milan  Then on Wednesday 8th June, I’ll be presenting on HR 2.0 at the Social Business Forum in Milan – Europe’s main enterprise 2.0 / social business event:

Over the past three years the International Forum on Enterprise 2.0 has been recognized as the main event on collaboration and cooperative business approaches in Europe. In 2011 the Social Business Forum will take this further by expanding the conversation to focus on the most critical organizational, economic and business challenges and opportunities social media in the business environment is creating for companies.

With the help of experts, international speakers and successful case studies, the event will show how a deeper engagement with an entire company’s ecosystem (employees, customers, partners and stakeholders), can revolutionize collaboration, marketing, services and innovation and thus provide a strategic lever for improving productivity, efficiency, responsiveness, and competitiveness.

The program will address collaboration, communication and innovation in the social media era with a strong focus on the following themes:

  • Evolution of organizational, leadership and management models
  • Definition of strategies which connect new ways of interaction enabled by social media
  • Increasing agility and flexibility by connecting customer communities and participative initiatives with employees
  • Engagement with and transformation of individuals into change agents
  • Socialization of customer management, innovation and product development processes
  • Sustainable approaches to the cultivation of communities and customer engagement
  • Frameworks for measuring the return on investment and the vitality of communities
  • Intranet evolution using collaborative tools
  • Tools and methodologies for the analysis of informal exchanges and collaborative networks
  • Improving the efficiency of knowledge work and knowledge sharing
  • Sharing best practices and success stories
  • The integration of social software within the flow of existing applications and practices


Among others on the stage the experiences of Nokia, Webank, Scottish Water, Toshiba and Fujitsu will be presented.

More than 25 speakers already confirmed including Sameer Patel, Keith Swenson, Stefan Lindegaard, Esteban Kolsky, Mark Tamis, Bertrand Duperrin, Andrew Gilboy, George Siemens, Mitch Lieberman, Craig Hepburn, Roberto Masiero, Fiorello Cortiana, Arrigo Andreoni, Massimo Paoli, Norman Lewis, Laurence Lock Lee, Emanuele Quintarelli, Emanuele Scotti, Rosario Sica and many others.

Register Now


Let me know if you’re going to be at the summit – it would be great to meet.  Or you can follow the tweets at #sbf11.



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Wednesday 18 May 2011

Symposium Training: HR 2.0 (HR in the Social Media Age)


Symposium social  I’ve got quite a few social media oriented events coming up next month, including this training session on HR and social media on 7th June:


HR 2.0 (HR in the Social Media Age)

Social media or web 2.0 technologies have already had a profound effect on many peoples’ lives and are starting to make more impact within our organisations too.  However, this impact is not just down to new technology.  Technology has changed the way that people think (or possibly changing thinking has led to the development of new technology) and the new attitudes and behaviours arising from this is what is causing the most change.

The combination of new technology and new behaviours is leading to rapid changes in the way organisations work.  HR needs to understand and intervene within these changes, as they involve people at least as much as they do technology, and also because of the people challenges involved in managing change.

However, HR also needs to understand the changes which are starting to happen within the HR function too.  HR teams are also starting to use social technologies and more social or community based approaches to achieve HR objectives too.


  • 7 June 2011 – London
  • 17 October 2011 – Birmingham


You can book here.



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Tuesday 17 May 2011

What’s the HR Buzz?


    You may have received a new email from Keith Robinson (founder of Personnel Today) called HR Buzz.  This is an update on the best HR related content from the web and is provided in partnership with Connecting HR.  Apologies if you’ve received update this and you don’t want it (you are given the option to unsubscribe) but I hope you will as there’s plenty of good information in there – including

  • Connecting HR
  • Points of interest
  • HR talk
  • Social HR
  • Engagement
  • Learning in action
  • The workplace
  • Upcoming events
  • HR technology
  • HR debates to follow
  • The legal links
  • Management and leadership
  • Slideshows to share.


If you’ve not received the first update, you can request a subscription here.



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Friday 6 May 2011

More unconference loviness


  Well, we did it again!  CHRU-2 was just as successful as CHRU-1, and just as lovey (not just lovely) as HRevolution.

So I’ve been been thinking further about the success of these events.  And I still think the ‘getting the presentations out of the way’ that I referred to in my last post is a big part of what’s going on.

But I’ve also been thinking that there is something else important that I missed out in my earlier post – the events’ success is also (in fact is mainly) about the people who attended them.  And this is partly about a lot of the people knowing each other before the event (even if many have only connected virtually but never met IRL before – and there is always something special in that first face-to-face connection).

But I think it is also just about the type of people who are using social media, which we used to promote the event – and their understanding of the value of social learning. This is important firstly because this is the direction of HR evolution.  And secondly because it means these people are more open to the potential of connection.  So you get these people together and you’re almost bound to have a great time.

For other un- and conferences copying our success, or organisations wanting to create the same passion and love between their employees there are maybe a few lessons to learn as well.

I suppose the first of these has to be about getting more employees using social media as this often opens a window on a new way of behaving.

But I also think there’s more too it than this.  The people who attended both HRevolution and CHRU use social media because they’re social people (as in people who understand the benefit of relationships, not just of socialising - though there was plenty of that going on too), they’re not social people because they use social media.

So the secret isn’t really about getting people to use social media, but getting people to understand how to be more social (again, in its relationship sense) – or just recruiting those who are.

For example Liz Gottung talked about recruiting from GE and other ‘best practice’ HR organisations. I think she’d do better looking at the people who gathered at the Georgia Tech in Atlanta and more recently in the Spring.  These to me are the people who are going to be driving the future of (a more social) HR.



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Thursday 5 May 2011

CHRU - 2


Today was the second time we’ve run CHRU, Connecting HR’s Unconference.

Unlike last time, when I did a fair amount of the design, all of the shopping and most of the delivery, this time I chose to focus on participation, which made it a very different, but just as enjoyable, experience.



This was partly because I wanted to focus on the social connecting that the unconference is designed to be about.  And also because Connecting HR is designed to be a community, not just a series of events, and it won’t be that as long as these remain a Gareth and Jon show.


I’ll post more shortly, but will note that one of the things I really liked about it was our artist, Tim Caswell’s summary of the aura we’d created in the room:



I certainly felt it there.


Thanks so much to everyone who attended the event.  I love y’all:

  • Charlie Duff, Editor, HRzone.co.uk
    Twitter handle: charlie_elise
  • Ella Overshott, Fucntion Leader, CFS
  • Sara Wyke, HR Generalist, Looking for ...
    Twitter handle: @TeenyTinyBean
  • Ailsa Suttie, Group HR Director, The Panther Group
    Twitter handle: Ailsa Suttie
  • charlotte glynn, Head of People , JustGiving
  • Hilary Jeanes, Director, PurpleLine Consulting Limited
  • Andrea Martin, OH Manager, Health In Action
  • Sukhvinder Pabial, L&D Business Partner, LBi Ltd
    Twitter handle: @naturalgrump
  • Klothilde Ganzer, HR Consultant, Goodwille Ltd
    Twitter handle: @kganzer
  • Patsy Mills, HR Adviser, Wellcome Trust
  • Michael Silverman, Director, Silverman Research
    Twitter handle: mikepinions
  • Lynne Donaldson, Associate Consultant, LINK Associates International
    Twitter handle: lindonaldson
  • Will Cleare, HR Business Partner, figleaves.com
    Twitter handle: willcleare
  • Alexandra Protts, Team Leader, NPIA
  • Gavin Jones, Head of Immigration, Blake Lapthorn
    Twitter handle: #gpjoneslaw
  • Cathy Webster, Head of HR, GSM Association
  • Anthony Allinson, Head of Operations, Thomson Reuters (GRC)
    Twitter handle: @allinsona
  • Sara Gilmore, Conference Manager, CIPD Enterprises Ltd
  • Holly St Clair Moor, Conference Research Excutive, CIPD Enterprises Ltd
  • Alison Chisnell, Group HR Director, Informa Business Information
  • Steve Bridger, Builder of Bridges / Digital Communities Manager, Consultant / CIPD
    Blog: http://www.stevebridger.com
    Twitter handle: stevebridger
  • Katie Davis, HR Advisor, WhiteConcierge
    Twitter handle: HRHopeful
  • Beth Mayes, Writer, HKB Social
    Twitter handle: @kbmayes
  • Claire Walsh, Partner, Learning Consultancy Partnership
    Blog: http://lcp.org.uk/blog
    Twitter handle: clairewalshlcp
  • Flora Marriott, Learning & Development Manager, Yell Adworks
    Twitter handle: @FloraMarriott
  • Jonathan Wilson, Consultant, Humap UK
  • Helen Goss, Partner, Boyes Turner
    Twitter handle: twitter.com/boyesturner




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Tuesday 3 May 2011

HR Blog Carnivals to read–and enter


Pre CHRU blog post  With CHRU just days away, we’re hosting a special pre-unconference blog carnival at connectinghr.org.  Do take a look.


The next HR carnival will be held at Upstart HR on May 18th and will be all about HRevolution.  Which of my posts from there do you think I should submit?


Then on May 25th, I’ll be hosting the next regular carnival here.  I did think about making this one all about CHRU, but since we have a smaller number of people attending this event than at HRevolution (though a bigger attendance in proportion to the size of our countries) and given that most people who normally participate in the carnivals are from the US, I don’t think that would work. 

But both events are ultimately about connection and I thought it’d be fun to focus on this.  So I’m going to be looking for blogs about or at least mentioning other bloggers (not the author of the post!) for my carnival.

If you want to submit a post you can do so by emailing me at info [at] strategic [dash] hcm [dot] com.



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Monday 2 May 2011

Recruitment and Onboarding, Barcelona


  May already!  I’ve posted previously on some of the things I’ll be doing during May and June (see my posts in early April), but can now add this workshop in Barcelona in June to the list:


Recruitment & Onboarding Workshop

Recruitment is going through a major shift at the moment, responding to the already somewhat more positive economic environment and the renewed focus on the war for talent, but also in taking advantage of new opportunities and meeting new requirements for looking for the best candidates in different sources and using different approaches.

In the backdrop of this new changing environment, onboarding is more important than ever before. Realising that to achieve employee satisfaction, commitment and immediate productivity should start at the beginning of the recruitment process. Therefore, is vital to integrate onboarding within the Recruitment strategy and design a process to engage new employees within the organisation and develop them from the day one.

This workshop will review the major inputs to the shift in recruitment, using research, case examples, and the trainer’s and participants’ own experiences. This will include the role of employer branding, of direct sourcing to identify appropriate people rather than simply generate CVs, and the increasingly central role of new technology.

In addition, participants will consider the impacts of the shift on their own recruitment processes, recruiter capabilities and their recruitment functions, including those operating on a global or regional basis.


Dates: 16-17 June.




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Social Business webinar tomorrow


  My next webinar, looking at the development of the Social Business, will be held tomorrow, Tuesday 3rd May.

“The social business is often defined as one that uses social media or Enterprise 2.0 technology.  However, it's much more useful to define it by outcome rather than activity.  So Jon Ingham's definition of it is an organisation in which social relationships between employees and with others are valued and accumulated.  In this webinar, Jon will describe the range of tools, technologies and other activities - face-to-face and virtual, which are available to organisations to develop their peoples' relationships.”


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Sunday 1 May 2011

More people focused language: equality


  As well as love, I’d already posted on my other blog about equality (another of Gary Hamel’s examples of a more people focused language).

Actually, the post was mainly about John Lewis, and the British royal wedding last week – no, not the shop’s chintzy plates, but the link between co-ownership and republicanism.  But equality was the fundamental point behind these things.

I think equality is another really important word / concept in organisations, and central to both love and trust.  I commented on social slights in my recent HR 2.0 webinar and linked this to the problems of high pay differentials and exclusive talent management models (it was interesting to listen to the streaming of Bersin’s Impact conference focusing on HR in a more borderless and social world last week and hear a presenter talk about pivotal talent as if nothing had changed – and I’m not sure how much it has – but I don’t think we should accept the continuance of pivotal individuals without some deep questioning).


I’d better first explain a bit more about what I mean.  Equality has been defined in many different ways in different times and situations, but probably the main two definitions are equality of treatment (which I’d suggest is a very ‘personnel’ oriented definition) and equality of outcome (which is more ‘human resource’ oriented – extending the market economy from outside business into the organisation too).

Well I don’t mean either of these.  To me, the most important aspect of equality is equality of relationship.  Simply about people treating each other fairly and appropriately.  As someone of equal worth.  (Which is why I see the UK’s monarchy as fundamentally unequal).


I did some work on equality (not that we called it that) when I was an HRD at Ernst & Young.  We implemented a number of changes to reduce the focus on grading and increase that on people, or at least on roles, to get teams working more effectively.

More recently I’ve worked with one organisation to combine SNA data which Josh Letourneau talked so powerfully about at HRevolution) with performance competency date to help demonstrate to managers the power of behaving in a more equal way.


Actually, equality is another reason why I think HRevolution worked so well, and why I expect similarly great things from ConnectingHR’s second unconference on Thursday.  You take hierarchy and inequality out of the way – and people just get on with being people – and love, trust – and performance – result.


More on the language of people:



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Love in HR (and at #HRevolution)


  I’ve posted previously about my intent to blog on each of the words Gary Hamel suggests distinguish the more people focused language and behaviour we need to encourage in our organisations (see this post on trust – including Hay’s Trust conference).

I had planned to start with some of the easier words such as equality, wisdom and justice, but there were a couple of things come up at HRevolution which made me think about love, so I’ve decided to start here.

So, for one thing, there was the general lovey-doveyness of the thing whole (nothing wrong with that) as in Trish’s tweet here.  But the real driver for this post was Paul Hebert’s session on incentives and recognition, as well as a general frustration in this and other sessions with a**holes.

Paul talked about the common problem in organisations where managers want to hold their best people back and suggested we need something more like love from our managers – a bit more like the way parents feel about our children – wanting the best for them rather than ensuring they don’t get paid more than the manager etc.

Somebody (I lost track of who, sorry) suggested a boss had explained to them that he did his job in the same way that he looked after his kids: ‘I love them and look after them’.  This took us into a not particularly valuable loop about parenting as an analogy for management – and a chance for Laurie Ruettimann to present her proposal for a loveless model where work is just a contract.


But I still think the original point was spot on.  I think we do need love in our organisations.  (And there are lots of other ways of loving people than in parenting of course - Trish’s love for her attendees is probably a more apt example.)  I do think we need more love in our organisations to make them into more compelling places to be.

I didn’t always think so – and remember challenging someone else about this on some site somewhere once.  But the more I’ve thought about it, and worked with organisations to bring about deep change, the more convinced I’ve become that we can’t ignore those things we think are important, even if they makes people cringe at first.


So how do we bring more love into our organisations?  Well, I don’t think moving towards more love needs to be that hard.  Paul’s group came up with the ides of a crappy manager policy, which whilst not stimulating real love would remove a lot of the present distaste.

But policies (even those emphasising what you do want rather than what you don’t) act a little like employee recognition as per Paul’s presentation (he suggested that recognition can generate slight changes in behaviour, like altering the course of a ball rolling downhill by a couple of degrees, but you need incentives to get bigger change / start the ball rolling in a different direction).  I think you need something bigger to get real love.


To an extent, I think the something bigger needs to be a culture which emphasises the importance of personal relationships for their own sake, rather than as things which need to be manipulated to do a job.  And I think creating this culture is partly about freeing people up to have more time for these relationships, as well as educating people about social intelligence (building on the points Kevin Grossman made about emotional intelligence) to help them appreciate the importance of these relationships – to them as well as the other people, and the organisation they’re working within.


Yet there’s got to be more to it than this as well.  The key enabler I think must be more of a sense of pitching in together.  Would Trish have felt the same sense of love for her attendees if she’d been organising a standard SHRM conference?  Actually, Trish probably would!, but I think the general sense of love-in would have been much reduced.

So the traditional family may have been the wrong metaphor for organisations, but perhaps the model of a commune could work (for at least some aspects of organisational life)?


So there you go.  I’m not sure I’ve got to the answer on this, and I knew it wouldn’t be an easy post to write.  But I do agree with Gary Hamel that love is something we should be thinking about – and working towards.

What about you?  Do you want to see more love in your organisation, and how would you go about creating it?



  • 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