Monday 29 February 2016

Top Employers and other benchmarks

One of things I've been meaning to post about is Top Employers and other forms of benchmarking.

Top Employers released their 2016 lists of certified organisations a few weeks back and invited me to their swanky dinner at London's Guildhall which was good fun (I'm sitting behind the table sign in the pic above).  

Best Companies have recently released their lists too.  Then there's Great Places to Work - their list's out in April.  Investors in People have their awards in March.  And the lists go on.

So what do companies get from appearing in these lists - other than the engagement benefits of a nice dinner and the recruitment and retention benefits arising from the social proof that you're looking after your people well?

I tried to talk to quite a few of the certificated attendees (let's just call them winners) at the Top Employers do and the main thing I picked up was that it's seen as an opportunity to validate that they're as good as they think they are.

But this only applies if you're sure you want to manage your people in the same way as the awards suggest.  That's not always easy to do - it's easy to develop a standard which is so loose it's no use to anyone (valid but not reliable), or to make it so tight that it's not seen as relevant by many firms (reliable but not valid) or worse, that it encourages them to do things they shouldn't be doing.  That's a particular risk when you apply the same standard globally even though differences in national cultures mean you really need to do different things.

I talked about this with some of the winners at Top Employers too.  They seemed happy that they could tell Top Employers which things they didn't see as relevant and just be assessed on the things which are.  I'm not sure quite how this works, but if it's the case, that seems a good way to square the circle.

Other employers will be happy with the trade-off in validity vs reliability and they might want to engage in process benchmarking ie going to and studying one organisation in-depth.  Or other organisations will trade off reliability vs validity and use something like PwC Saratoga's benchmark dataset to compare their data against lots of other organisations.

There are also other ways to deliver high levels of validity / meaning and the reliability provided by comparing your data with lots of other organisations.  For example Glassdoor's newish Employee Choice Awards (and last year's) provides both high validity and high reliability by enabling a comparison of employees own comments about their employer, without the intervention of an assessor in the process.

Picture credit: Changeboard

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Friday 26 February 2016

HR Analytics training in Australia

I've been touring through Australia delivering HR analytics training with Clariden for the last few weeks so have got a bit behind with a few things, including blogging, so I'll be making a quick attempt at catching up over the next few days.

But first a few thoughts on my four two-day sessions in Australia.  Firstly it was great to be there.  It was my first trip back since speaking at AHRI's national convention last August and the Summer is even nicer than the Winter.  I got to spend quite a bit of time outside and was particularly pleased to get an opportunity in Perth to walk a mile in the shoes of a shark attack survivor courtesy of Roman Krznaric's Empathy Museum (see my post on Roman's session at HRPA in Toronto last year). 

But other than the weather it was great to hear everyone (Perth excluded) talking about growth in their businesses and corresponding opportunities in HR.  I sometimes forget that the ongoing tentative approach to investment so prevalent in the UK isn't the global norm.  Australia is helped by its closeness to Asia rather than the EU but I think their generally more sunny disposition is part of their advantage as well.

Secondly I was pleased that my Aussie participants weren't as wedded to a hard HR measurement approach as is often the case in the UK (that measurement always needs to be quantitive and ideally financial, that more analytics means dispensing with intuition, etc).  The Australian perspective on this seemed much more open to recognising and tolerating the squishy nature of HR outcomes and the qualitative and subjective response to HR analytics this implies.  I normally manage to convince UK participants of the need for this perspective but it was nice in Australia to have this understood without having to sell it.

I'm aware that other HR analytics commentators may feel the difference in perspective means that Australia is further back in their development of analytical approaches but to me it means they're more mature and will be able to make more progress in their use of measures and analytics too.

Reflecting back on the trip I'm also wondering if my two insights are partly connected.  Is the more positive economic environment connected to the more mature analytical perspective too?  I wouldn't suggest that the two things are causally related any more than I'd suggest a real link between shark attacks and ice cream sales but there might be a real causal factor underpinning the two - for example a less US oriented focus on short-term earnings?

Anyway, I look forward to going back again soon.

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Friday 5 February 2016

Speaking at Tech HR in India

I'm delighted to confirm that I'll be speaking at Tech HR 16 in Gurgaon, outside Delhi, India in August.

Although I've not spoken at / chaired HR Technology in Las Vegas or HR Tech Europe / World in London / Amsterdam / Paris for a few years I continue to do a lot of work in the technology space and as well as sharing some of my own ideas and perspectives I look forward to catching up with Holger, Josh, Johnny, Gerry and Laurie, and all of the Indian speakers and attendees.

And if you're attending, let me know if you'd like to meet up whilst I'm there.

For more information:
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