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    Friday
    Feb162018

    PODCAST: #HRHappyHour 311 - Creating a Culture of Performance Based on Feedback

    HR Happy Hour 311 - Creating a Culture of Performance Based on Feedback

    Host: Steve Boese

    Guest: Marie-Claire Barker, Global Chief Talent Officer, Wavemaker

    Listen to the show HERE

    This week on the HR Happy Hour Show, Steve is joined by Marie-Claire Barker, Global Chief Talent Officer at Wavemaker. a  global media, content, and technology agency to talk about modern approaches to performance management and creating a culture of feedback.

    Wavemaker is a 8,500 person strong, global organization serving many of the world's leading brands, and recruits and develops talented people across many domains - creative, technical, and people who can envision and develop a shared future with their clients. 

    On the show, Marie-Claire shared how at Wavemaker they have developed and implemented an intentional, performance-driven culture, where organizational and individual goals are visible and shared, feedback (both public and private), is a point of emphasis and leveraged for professional measurement as well as personal growth, and how this culture of feedback and transparency contributes to organizational and client success. This is one of the best examples of how a traditional 'HR' process like performance management has been re-imagined and turned into not just an 'HR' program, but rather a key driver of business and operational success. 

    Marie-Claire shared how this culture has and is impacting the organization positively, as well as some advice for HR leaders who want to re-invent performance management too.

    You can listen to the show on the show page HERE, or by using the widget player below:

    This was an interesting and informative show - thanks Marie-Claire for joining us.

    And thanks to HR Happy Hour Show sponsor Virgin Pulse - www.virginpulse.com.

    Reminder to subscribe to the HR Happy Hour on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher Radio, or wherver you get your podcasts - just search for 'HR Happy Hour'.

     

    Postscript: On the show, Marie-Claire mentioned Reflextive, the software tool they use at Wavemaker for employee goals and feedback. Refelktive has been an HR tech startup success story and just announced new funding this week.

    Thursday
    Feb152018

    The changing mix of employee compensation increases

    TL:DR - More and higher one-time bonuses, fewer and less annual salary/wage increases

    In the aftermath of the recent tax reform legislation passed by the US Congress and signed by the President, you certainly must have noticed a pretty long list of major organizations who reacted to the reduction in the US corporate tax rate by (among other things), awarding bonuses (oddly, almost all exactly in the amount of $1,000) to their employees.

    Here is just a short list of select companies who have shared this windfall with their employees in the form of one-time bonuses:

    Alaska Air, American Airlines, AT&T, Bank of America, Comcast, Disney, Home Depot, Lowe's, Southwest Air, Walmart, Waste Management - and there are lots more.

    The companies above, (and plenty others) have directed the employee rewards portion of their expected tax cut windfall to these one-time bonuses, while a few others (Aflac, Boeing, Cigna, FedEx, Honeywell, UPS, Visa), have either supplemented these one-time bonuses with other employee rewards improvements - increases hourly wages, 401(k) contribution enhancements, and/or stock-based rewards.

    But the vast majority of publicly announced employee rewards increases as a result of the corporate tax cut have been these seemingly ubiquitous one-time $1,000 bonuses. It is almost odd, (and if you are a conspiracy lover, curious), that so many companies in different industries all settled on this same bonus amount. Weird...

    But these tax cut bonuses also draw our attention to a larger trend in employee compensation increases, one that pre-dates the recent surge in one-time tax cut bonuses - the trend of companies allocating more payroll budget towards one-time and variable awards, and relatively less budget to annual (and in theory, recurring), salary/wage increases. Said differently, more and more of the compensation increase that an average worker might see is tied up in discretionary and variable methods, like one-time bonuses. Check out this chart from a piece in the NY Times, reporting on an Aon Hewitt study of the topic:

    Back in 1991, for example, variable pay (like one-time bonuses) took up about 3% of total compensation budgets, while the budget for annual salary increases was 5%.

    Fast forward to 2017 and the amount of budget allocated to one-time bonuses has risen to 12.7% while the amount earmarked for annual salary increases has fallen to 2.9% (the 'getting 3%'ed to death phenomenon).

    A closer look at the data shows that after taking an expected financial crisis/recession dive in 2008/2009, compensation budget allocations have not really recovered to their pre-recession levels, while the budget for one-time bonuses and awards has continued on a slow and steady climb. This makes sense for a few reasons. The harsh economic environment from the recession era is still on many CEO's minds, and the need to be more flexible and adaptable, (especially when it comes to employee compensation), has become standard operating procedure and many companies. E

    Given these recent tax cut bonuses play into that line of thinking - CEOs can't be sure these tax cuts will be permanent, a change in control or philosophy of Congress could alter the landscape at almost any time. Giving one-time bonuses instead of 'permanent' salary/wage increases allows companies to respond to market, competitive, and economic conditions in almost real-time, whereas granting (and potentially removing), salary/wage increases is a much more difficult challenge to manage. Have you ever known any worker who will accept a salary or wage cut cheerfully?

    But beyond that, companies still need to keep worker's desires in mind, after all the labor market remains extremely tight. The Times reports that a second Aon Hewitt survey showed that when asked what they wanted their companies to do with their tax cut windfall 65% of them said they wanted a pay raise, far more than other options like a bonus or an increase to the 401(K) contribution. Interesting stuff for sure.

    Compensation is a tough job for sure. And oddly, it doesn't get that much easier when there are more dollars to spread around.

    Have a great day! 

    Wednesday
    Feb142018

    Are HR's diversity and inclusion strategies proprietary information?

    Companies suing each other after an employee leaves one company to join another, especially when the companies are competitors, over the details in the employee's non-compete agreement is not all that uncommon. Particularly in the tech industry when many rival companies are chasing many of the same kinds of tech-driven breakthrough projects like AI, self-driving vehicles, robotics, and more - the loss of a key employee or two to a rival can have significant competitive consequences and impact.

    A debate can be had whether or not the entire idea of employee non-compete agreements are beneficial or necessary (or enforceable), but for the purposes of what I wanted to call to your attention today, let's all accept that for the moment such agreements do exist, and from time to time, are actively enforced by companies trying to protect their IP from escaping to a competitor, (along with the employee).

    The story I wanted to highlight is about a big tech company fight over an employee non-compete, but not one of the ones we expect - surrounding some star engineer working on the latest VR or AI tech - it centers around HR, more specifically, around a Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer heading to Microsoft from IBM.

    Here are some details and context from coverage in Business Insider - Microsoft just hired a chief diversity officer - and IBM is suing them over it:

    Tech companies have a less than stellar record hiring women and minorities. But these companies will apparently do whatever it takes — including launching a legal fight — to hire one type of person: a Chief Diversity Officer.

    IBM is suing Microsoft for poaching its top diversity officer, Lindsay-Rae McIntyre in a case that could prove just how important diversity, recruitment, and retention has become for tech companies.

    McIntyre, who joined IBM in 2006, was named chief diversity officer of Microsoft on Sunday, after serving in the same role and as VP of human resources at IBM. IBM, in its complaint, argues that McIntyre had access to diversity data, strategies, methodologies and initiatives that are confidential, and that she "will use, rely on or divulge" these strategies in her new role.

    On Monday, IBM was granted a temporary restraining order in New York federal court, which prevents McIntyre from working for Microsoft until the court decides otherwise.

    "McIntyre was at the center of highly confidential and competitively sensitive information that has fueled IBM's success in these areas," a representative for IBM said in a statement. "While we understand Microsoft's need to deal with mounting criticism of its record on diversity, IBM intends to fully enforce Ms. McIntyre's non-compete agreement to protect our competitive information."

    A really interesting case it seems to me. I admit to not following the ebbs and flows and latest cases in employment law all that closely, but I do follow lots of news and I don't recall seeing a major non-compete case with this kind of profile that focuses specifically on an HR executive, and perhaps more interestingly, on specific human capital management strategies. Whatever specific policies, programs, maybe even some technology applications too that IBM, under Ms. McIntyre's leadership were employing to improve diversity, IBM is contending that these combined represent IP that is not just company confidential, but also represents relevant and demonstrable competitive advantage.

    It probably matters that IBM and Microsoft are highly likely to be competing for many of the same kinds of talented people across a wide spectrum of roles. And it also probably matters that (as I have pointed out on the blog for a couple of years on the CHART OF THE DAY series), that labor markets in general are really tight, and for certain 'hard-to-find' roles are incredibly tight. Recruiting and retention ratchets up the CEO's list of priorities when the people the company needs are in high demand and when your competitors are willing to go really far to beat you in the talent game - whether recruiting new grads or poaching your top execs - like Ms. McIntyre.

    The diversity angle here is interesting and timely,  and probably contributed to why this was a story coverred in the general tech press. But what would be more interesting to me is to see a major non-compete battle be launched over say a CHRO or a VP of Talent, or even a Global Leader of Talent Acquisition. I'd like to see a major, Fortune 50 or so company go to battle over an HR/TA leader, contending that their particular insights, and their specific talent strategies are so important, in fact just as important as the knowledge of the latest AI hotshot, that the company is willing to battle in court to keep that HR knowledge in-house.

    This is a really intriguing case, I will keep an eye on it for sure. It would be interesting and validating too, if IBM wins in this case, and HR programs and strategies are shown to be true (at least in the court's view), completive advantage. And it would be pretty cool for HR to have some more over the top recruiting and retention fights go on over HR people for once.

    Have a great day!

    Tuesday
    Feb132018

    HRE Column: Succeeding with HR Tech - Part 1

    Once again, I offer my semi-frequent reminder and pointer for blog readers that I also write a monthly column at Human Resource Executive Online called Inside HR Tech that can be found here.

    This month, I talk a little about the one of the major themes that we will be focusing on for the next HR Technology Conference - the nature of 'success' with your HR technology initiatives, and review some of the key issues, themes, and considerations for HR Tech projects and vendor relationships that are essential, and will be covered in more detail at the Conference this year.

    In the piece, I take a look at some of the issues and considerations that HR leaders should keep in mind as they evaluate potential as well as current HR tech providers in order to have the best chance of making the 'right' HR tech decisions, and ultimately, succeeding with HR tech. This month's column talks about culture alignment, a focus on customer success, measurement and goals and more. Next month, we will take a look at 'success' from the internal point of view, and look at some of the most important organizational factors and decisions that set up your team for success.

    Here's an excerpt from this month's piece in HRE Online:

    Anyone who has had the good fortune to participate in the full cycle of an HR technology-implementation project knows well that such efforts usually consist of numerous milestones, dozens—if not hundreds—of tasks and components, scores of internal and external resources, significant investments of funds and time and myriad opportunities for sub-optimal outcomes or outright failure.

    Choose the “wrong” solution and your HR tech project could flounder. Forget to ensure some critical capabilities will be supported in the new system in time and the “go-live” date could be compromised. Fail to procure the right experts to serve on the project team and progress could languish. Lose control of the project’s scope and end up with delays and cost overruns. And there are a hundred other reasons why well-intentioned HR technology projects fail to deliver.

    With apologies to Tolstoy for paraphrasing his famous line about families, I would argue that successful HR tech projects are all alike; unsuccessful HR tech projects fail in their own way. While understanding why some projects succeed and others fail is important for any organization, it’s even more vital to prepare for and execute HR technology strategies in a manner that maximizes the chance for success.

    As co-chair of the HR Technology® Conference and Expo, I am focusing on developing considerable content around the “Success with HR Technology” theme. With that in mind, I thought it would be helpful to examine the nature of customer success and highlight some considerations that HR and HRIT leaders should keep in mind as they continue with workplace technology planning, purchasing, implementation and post-implementation activities in 2018.

    Creating a culture of customer success

    During some recent research, I was encouraged to find that the concept of customer success has gained strength in recent years as an important measure and barometer for HR and enterprise technology providers.

    While each provider may have its own way of defining customer success, the important thing is that more of them are intentionally making the concept of their customers’ success a fundamental yardstick of self-measurement. Prior to selecting any new HR technology provider, HR leaders will not only want to ensure that customer success is one of the important (if not the most important) ways they self-examine, but you will also want to see demonstrable proof of their customer commitment.

    Read the rest at HR Executive online...

    If you liked the piece you can sign up over at HRE to get the Inside HR Tech Column emailed to you each month. There is no cost to subscribe, in fact, I may even come over and shovel your driveway, take your dog for a walk, or scrape the ice off of your car.

    Have a great day!

    Monday
    Feb122018

    Don't talk to me, don't even look at me - I'm busy over here

    Slapping on a pair of headphones or earbuds while you are work, especially in open plan offices, in order to help yourself to focus on your work, and probably more importantly, to send a 'do not bug me right now' signal to your co-workers has been a pretty common element of work for some time now.

    But what do you do when simply putting on headphones is not enough of a barrier between you and pesky co-workers, their questions, their comings and goings, and other kinds of interruptions or distractions? You could simply accede to your true nature and quit your job and take up permanent hermit status? But let's say you don't want to go that extreme, and simply want to find a way to have a little bit more privacy, focus, and send an even more aggressive 'do not bother me' message to the office?

    Enter the 'FocusCap' which has been described as a kind of 'horse blinder for people'. The idea of the Focus Cap is create a 'moble, distraction-proof fortress' so that a worker can 'fully concentrate on high demanding cognitive tasks'. That sounds pretty good to me. I may even need one of those here at HR Happy Hour HQ.

    Check out the videobelow, (email and RSS subscribers will need to click through).

    Pretty wild, right?

    Are office distractions, and the challenges that are presented by the lack of personal space and lack of privacy that modern, open plan offices generate really driving workers to try and build little personal cocoons to carve out some space and peace among the chaos? Maybe so. I have not worked in an open plan setting for quite some time, but I am pretty sure I would not enjoy it all that much. Maybe with a pair of headphones on and a pair of these horse blinders for people I could make it seem like I was in my own spacious (and private) office, or sitting on the sofa in my PJs. 

    And for the record, I have no relationship at all with the makers of the FocusCap. But I do think it is cool.

    Have a great week!