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    The Trends Shaping Global People Management, and One That Isn't

    Recently the Boston Consulting Group published a report and research study titled 'Creating People Advantage 2012: Mastering HR Challenges in a Two-Speed World', a look at the most pressing and important trends and issues in Human Capital Management gleaned from their survey and interviews with over 4,000 HR and Business Executives from over 100 countries. You can access the full 59-page PDF report here.

    Take a look at the summary chart below - you probably won't be too surprised by the three most important HCM topics as defined by 'High' Future Importance to the organizations, coupled with 'Low' Current Capability in that discipline. 

    In case you can't figure out the chart, (it took me a minute), the three topics that fell in the red or 'Strong Need to Act' zone were:

    Managing Talent - Ok, kind of generic, but I guess it makes sense

    Improving Leadership Development - Sort of a perennial issue in most organizations, but as the report details, becoming more acute due to demographic reasons, (the aging workforce, mainly)

    Strategic Workforce Planning - Most organizations reporting ongoing difficulty in adequately forecasting short and long-term talent needs

    So taken together, not all that surprising I guess, we have been hearing and reading about these trends and critical areas of focus for HR and Talent professionals for some time now. We need to get smarter at understanding our people, at developing them for future leadership roles, and more precisely planning for our future talent needs.  

    Basically, we need to just get better at our jobs. Sounds like a sound bite from the press conference of every losing football coach ever.

    But what stood out to me from the report was not the three 'red' items, but rather the one topic out of 22 that registered on the opposite end of the scale - at the bottom of the scale in capability but also rated as least important in the long term, namely 'Actively Using Web 2.0 for HR.'


    Applying the latest in social, particiapatory, collaborative, and modern technology to improve HR and Talent Management rated dead last?

    Even 'Improving Employer Branding' (which hardly anyone even understands), rated more important?

    I have to say even though I would not have expected a really geeky, technical sounding function or topic like 'Web 2.0' (and please, BCG can you drop that term, it fell out of fashion in 2009), to register above most of the more traditional and familiar HR and Talent focus areas, to see it rank last in future importance by so many Global HR leaders is a little concerning and sad.

    As a proponent of workforce technologies and as someone who knows the impact that the application of collaborative and social technologies can have to help address almost ANY of the topics on the BCG survey, I hope that these results are not truly indicative of how HR pros see these tools and their potential.  

    What are you seeing in your organization - are the new tools and technologies on your radar in HR?


    #HRHappyHour Tonight - 'The 8 Man Rotation NBA Preview'

    This week the HR Happy Hour Show is back live - and we are back with my favorite show of the year - the Annual NBA Season Preview brought to you by your friends from The 8 Man Rotation.
    You know you love sports, you love the NBA, and you love nothing better than five frustrated short (except for KD), white dudes talk about basketball.


    Here are the details you need to know to catch the show tonight, and hopefully join in on the fun:


    Thursday November 8, 2012 - 8:00PM ET
    Sponsored by Aquire
    Call in on 646-378-1086
    Follow the backchannel onTwitter - hashtag #HRHappyHour


    You can listen live on the show page here - also on the widget player below (email and RSS subscribers click through)
    Listen to internet radio with Steve Boese on Blog Talk Radio


    Not familiar with The 8 Man Rotation?
    The 8 Man Rotation are your pals in the HR/Talent/Recruiting world that are just a little too obsessed with sports, pop culture, and trying to convince you that you can understand work, talent, HR, and the world in general by seeing things through the lens of sports, movies, hip-hop, and comic books.
    This week on the show some or all of The 8 Man Rotation - Kris DunnTim SackettLance HaunMatt 'akaBruno' Stollak, and Steve Boese will be in the house to talk NBA, and maybe sprinkle in some politics, movies, TV, and music as well.
    We also plan on talking politics, the election, whether or not a new set of Star Wars movies makes sense and more.


    I hope you can join us for what should be a fun and entertaining show!



    Why everything takes longer than we think it will

    Think about the countless times that you've been wrong about estimating the length of time it would take to do something, to get somewhere, or complete some type of task or project.

    Something always goes wrong along the way, some unforeseen circumstance puts you or the people and systems you are counting on behind schedule, or we simply, (and fairly consistently), are overconfident in our own ability to gets things done in a given amount of time.

    Why is that the case so often, why do is seem like we are constantly explaining away missed deadlines, or alternatively, griping about the inconvenience that other people's missed deadlines have on us? Well, it turns out there might be a (sort of seems fake but I am going to pretend it is scientific), law that will help us to explain this all-too-frequent phenomenon.

    It's a simple little observation that is called 'Hofstadter's Law', named after American professor and author Douglas Hofstadter and it reads as follows:

    It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter's Law.

    Even the more famous and fictional Hofstadter is in on the game:



    The 'law' tries to describe and help us understand just how difficult it is to accurately estimate the time it will take to complete tasks of any meaningful complexity. And the kicker is the law is recursive in nature - even taking the law into account doesn't prevent us from failing to underestimate the time needed to complete complex tasks.

    It is a kind of cruel equation - we think task 'A' will take four hours - we take into account Hofstadter's Law and add a couple of hours to the estimate - but Hofstadter's Law itself kicks in AGAIN, to remind us it will STILL take longer than we estimate.

    What can we do about this seemingly irrational but often true observation about our weakness in estimating the time required to complete tasks?

    Maybe we should think first about the available time we have, and what realistically, and based on past experience we can reasonably expect to accomplish in that time. Rather than looking at a complex project, or even a series of tasks and trying to count up how much time they will take, (and inevitably underestimating), thinking about the available time first, will force us to think more critically and probably come up with more reasonable expectations of what can be accomplished. 'What can you get done in three hours?' is a much easier question to answer than 'How long will it take you to write this article?'

    So the next time you are faced with the prospect of estimating how long it will take to complete a complex undertaking remember the wise words of our friend Hofstadter, and do your best to not fall into the trap of thinking 'This time it will be different', because it never is.


    Mapping the ideal candidate

    Don't worry - this isn't a political post...  

    Just a quick take for one for an Election Day, then we can get back to riling each other up on Facebook.

    I wanted to share this excellent mind map found on the Nordstrom Innovation Lab careers page.  Titled ''What We Want in a Teammate", the mind map is an interesting and novel way for an organization to attempt to communicate what they see are the important traits, characteristics, and behaviors in theor organization.

    Pretty cool, right?  And while I admit to not actually visiting the careers page of every organization in the world, I will state unequivocally that this is the first 'Candidate Profile Mind Map' I have ever seen.

    The Nordstrom Innovation Lab describes itself as "a lean startup operating inside of Nordstrom" and as a place where "We move through ideas quickly, using whichever technologies make sense. Our process incorporates methodologies and practices from Design Thinking, Lean Startup, agile, and lean thinking."

    I don't know much else about the Innovation Lab, including if indeed they are very innovative at all, but I do think it is a smart idea for an older organization in a seemingly un-sexy industry, (retailing), to try and position themselves on their careers site as a place not at all like most potential candidates would expect.

    What do you think - is creating a Mind Map of the ideal candidate a good idea?

    Could you create one for your organization if you tried?

    Note: This Lifehacker piece from a couple of years back has links to several free Mind Mapping tools in case you are interested in playing around with these ideas.


    The Last HR Pro not on LinkedIn

    Last week I had a chance to present to a great group of about 100 or so HR, Talent, and Recruiting professionals at a local SHRM event in Virginia. I like getting to these kinds of local HR gatherings - they provide a much better view into the real concerns and challenges in the HR trenches, and usually are bereft of the collection of often jaded and a little too smug and ironically detached, 'professional' conference attendees. Sure, I get it, you are sick of hearing the 71st talk on 'Why Social Media is Important for HR', but in case you have not realized it, actually attending the same presentation dozens of times at events all over the country make you the one who is a little weird and out of the mainstream, not the HR pro at a 300-person company that is trying to figure out how, if at all, having a Twitter account will help her get her job done.

    But back to the point - at the session where I was talking to the group about changes and trends in workforce technologies, naturally the use of the public, or consumer social networking sites was brought up, I think in the expected context of how they are being used for various aspects of the talent acquisition function. I asked the attendees to share some examples of how they are incorporating these networks in their organizations, and a few folks shared what they were doing to share job openings and company information on Facebook and source candidates on LinkedIn. Nothing unusual here, a few attendees, (maybe 10% of the group), had some 'active', (not just trolling for candidates), activity on social networks, but what was interesting to me was as the conversation continued, one audience member told the group she had never created a personal LinkedIn profile. I pressed her as to why she was not on LinkedIn, and she promptly replied, 'I just don't have time for it. I'm busy'. I jokingly suggested she was the last HR pro not on LinkedIn.

    The group continued to discuss both social networking and other kinds of new technologies that are impacting the workplace and the practice of HR, but I could not get out of my head that in late 2012, there was still one smart, engaged, (she took the time to attend a professional development and networking event), and experienced HR/Talent pro that had not found her way to LinkedIn, if nothing else to set up a shell profile on the site. I even came back to her a couple of times later in the session when the conversation shifted to mobile technology, and how the usage patterns in consumer tech are effecting enterprise tech, I think my comment was 'You are all on your iPhones, updating your Facebook and checking out who has viewed your LinkedIn page, well except for you, (giving a mock-disgusted look towards the one LinkedIn holdout).'

    The point of all this? 

    I guess a couple of things stood out after thinking about it a little longer.  One, there still exists a pretty significant knowledge and value perception gap between most of the front line, working HR professionals and those of us that think about and use new technologies every day.  There are really still very few 'real' HR pros out there that are as obsessed with this stuff, as it just does not move the needle for them on their day-to-day. Two, while participation and use of these social technologies might level the playing field to some extent between larger and better-financed organizations and smaller ones, that effect is limited. A couple of audience members from very large organizations shared what they are doing with social and branded talent communities, a level of commitment and effort that simply can't be approached by smaller companies.

    Last, and maybe the only fascinating part of this entire post, is that after taking some good-natured ribbing from me, (and even the presenter that followed me), the HR pro who had been the one LinkedIn holdout approached me at the end of the day to let me know that she would be, after all, setting up a LinkedIn profile when she got home.

    Good for her!

    And bad for you, the 'savvy' HR pro who is all over social media and social networking - that is one more competitor for talent that you have to worry about.

    Have a Great Week!