Monday 31 March 2014

HR Days - Adageology and why People Leave People

I've been out in Croatia at a conference called HR Days organised by Moj Posao.

My presentation was on a topic which had been occupying me since TENEO's conference earlier this month, where I'd seen a couple of inputs challenging the common adage that people join organisations but leave managers.

It's also a perception that I've long argued against (see 1 and 2).

So I talked in my session about adageology - the tendency to build systems on principles which are completely unsound.  And it's one reason why measurement is important, but I still don't think we need big data (as in the IBM Kenexa report which Clodagh refers to in the tweet above) to tell us the adage is wrong.  It's clear from a strategic perspective and understanding about what's happening in society that people don't look up to authority in the way we used to, ie the death of deference.  So why should we still see managers as so important that retention is all about them?

It looks to me as if the case is now closed - but I've still come across a couple of people trotting out the same old adage just over the last couple of days, so maybe not after all?

By the way, my next trip to Croatia will be for a new global HR conference, Art of HR taking place in November - I hope you might join me there!

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Monday 24 March 2014

TENEO #HRCoreLab2 Performance Management

Earlier this month I co-chaired Teneo's 2 day Performance Management conference as part of HR Core Lab 2 in Barcelona.

It was a great event, as always with TENEO, though I felt we'd failed to really get to grips with the big issues on performance management ie there were quite a few sessions from companies which were in the process of transforming performance management, and a couple from some which were thinking of doing so, but no real evidence of a completely successful change.  Indeed, quite a few of the presenters seemed quite happy with their existing, traditional approaches.

And yet, I think that most people agreed, and as Jerome Sulivan from SuccessFactors suggested, everyone hates performance management.  If this is the case, we surely need to start doing something more radicallly different from how performance management exists today.

It was also interesting that during the two days of the conference, Josh Bersin by Deloitte was also commenting on performance, based on the firm's global human capital trends survey:


But I thought the best evidence against performance management was provided by Jerome, though I think his view was that it supports rather than opposes the case.  63% of higher performing businesses use performance management, and only 22% of lower performing businesses do the same.  But this doesn't mean using performance management helps.  To me, it suggests that even lower performers, which need to improve their performance most, don't see the value in performance management in helping them achieve the improvements they need.

I suggested that one solution is a focus on social performance management - firstly because the team provides a better level of focus for much of HR, and particularly performance management, than the individual; secondly because it can also be a more meaningful way to develop and reward the individual; and thirdly, and most importantly, because by making it social it becomes part of the culture and this makes it more sustainable (ie people will / have to talk about team performance in a way they won't do when it focuses on the individual.)

So I liked Alberto Platz' description of the way that Swarovski has anchored performance management in the culture of their business:


Other good ideas included:
  • Genevieve Guinot from CERN's suggestion that performance management needs to encourage both competition and co-operation or co-opetition, supported by cross fertilisation, excellence as an overarching value, collaborative decision making and a long term focus.
  • Wouter Van Linden from KPMG's description of the value of moving away from forced distribution and a complex 9 box grid to a guided distribution based on a simple 5 point linear rating.
  • Christoph Williams from Sony's use of an internal Net Promoter Score / NPS and Klaus Bodel from BMW's experience of using a balanced scorecard as the basis for training measurement (but note I don't believe Kaplan and Norton's standard perspectives work for HR - see
  • Fiona Whitworth from Rio Tinto's encouragement to align the approach to performance management with the context of the business unit and employee population etc.
I also liked the discussion from Peter Sale at Nokia Siemens Networks about aligning performance management changes with the context and culture of the organisation.  For example, they are currently considering one of:

  • Continue Current +
    • Build on Experience

    • Further enhancement
  • A Holistic Model
    • Broad labeling on talent/performance scenarios rather than ratings
Performance discussion occurs in a broader way

    • Calibration discussions still ensure consistency of criteria and feedback
    • Distribution curve for talent only
  • No Rating
    • Focus on continuous dialog and broader discussions on performance 
    • A minimum of two formal dialog sessions a year, 
    • Calibration still occurs but is a basis for broader discussions on performance 
    • Talent management and succession planning follows existing approach

What transformations are you planning in your own business?

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