Friday, February 21, 2014

Some Friday Inpsiration

So why am I posting two Tweets from 2009 (H/T to George Takai) Because that same guy who didn't get hired by Twitter or Facebook didn't give up. He decided that he was going to do something on his own and do it big. And this week, almost exactly four years after his rejection from the social media giants began, Brian Acton sold his company, WhatsApp, to Facebook for $19 billion.

I think that's probably going to net him a bit more than any of those jobs would have in the past four years (or four millenia). The lesson: turn a rejection into a stepping stone, instead of a tumbling block.

And to get your start on that path, here is The Daily Muse's list of the 50 best conferences to attend this year. Find your passion and your talent and go find a way to get that turned into something amazing. We may not all be able to sell our companies for $19 billion--but we can all be like Brian Acton and turn rejection into success.

Have a great (and inspired) weekend!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

CHROs…How Is Your Role Evolving?

Initially, the responsibilities of the Chief Human Resource Officer (CHRO) were clear-cut. Similar to a General Manager, and focused on the HR area of an organization, CHROs traditionally dealt with organizational design, talent management, recruitment, and rewards systems. Today, the CHRO role has evolved drastically and it continues to change.  How has your role as a CHRO evolved?

A Deloitte Strategist and Steward report groups the current CHRO roles and responsibilities into four major categories:

Workforce strategist: “Business strategy is increasingly a function of the workforce itself. Although CHROs continue to support and implement the overall direction, they now play a key role in steering and informing that direction – helping the CEO and other leaders craft strategies that make sense in light of global labor trends and available talent.”

Organizational performance conductor: “Companies today face an overwhelming number of choices, from boundary-less organizations, virtual teams, contingent workforces, telecommuting, and job sharing, to flexible hours, workforce diversity and more. CHROs help navigate all those options – creating value in the “white space” that other companies take for granted.”

HR service delivery owner: “Although CHROs are becoming increasingly strategic, they still need to deliver the goods of the day to day HR administration and operations…Today’s CHROs spend a lot less time overseeing their own systems, processes and transactions and a lot more time juggling a complex mix of in-house resources, employee self-service, and external vendors - doing their best to serve as the company’s HR market maker…”

Compliance and governance regulator: “CHROs have begun working directly with the board on workforce issues that are particularly critical or high risk; they also assist with a wide range of board related issues, from member selection and orientation to executive compensation and succession planning.”

To further validate the importance of the Chief Human Resource Officer’s evolving position in an organization, Dr. Karie Willyerd, SuccessFactors’ VP of Social Adoption, analyzed the financial performance of Fortune 500 companies with and without a CHRO as part of the C-Suite, or team of top senior executives.  Her key findings include the following:

1. Companies with both a higher percentage of goals aligned with corporate objectives and identified HR risks have better financial and market performance.

2. Companies that have a higher percentage of completed goals are more profitable, delivering higher EPS growth and better PE ratios than their industry peers.

Now that we know the lay of the land, it’s time to explore further.  What challenges can be expected for those in the growing and evolving role of CHRO?

Deloitte indicates that the following should be on the radar screen of all current and future CHROS:
  • Addressing talent gaps
  • Orchestrating learning, skills and career development
  • Providing executive coaching for senior leaders
  • Overseeing leadership development programs
  • Developing cross-functional teams
  • Overseeing an organization’s major change initiatives
  • Defining organizational culture and values
  • Defining diversity strategy programs
  • Overseeing and managing compensation and benefits
  • Formulating, executing, and managing HR policies / compliance
  • Managing Human Capital risks
  • Supporting the compensation committee of the Board 
“While all of the above are critical to the HR function, and the CHRO role, we find that understanding executive compensation’s legal constraints and nuances, and supporting the organization’s Board, is a key area of development for potential CHROs,” explains Michael Maciekowich, Astron Solutions’ National Director.  “If you are planning for a career path culminating in a CHRO role, take the time now to learn about executive compensation, rather than experiencing a ‘trial by fire’ years down the road.” 

All of this may seem overwhelming, or just downright demanding for anyone to add to an already full plate. So how can we make this expanded scope of responsibility more feasible? Sandy Ogg, a senior operating partner at Blackstone, and James Allen, a Senior Partner in Bain & Company’s London office, highlight some steps CEOs can take to change the behaviors of the leadership team…and how a CHRO can help:

-          - Be active in identifying between “doers” and “thinkers.”  “Each of these individuals plays an important organizational role when they are given responsibilities that tap into those strengths,” explains Jennifer Loftus, Astron Solutions’ National Director.  “For the greatest success with lessened stress, know the players on your team before assigning tasks and responsibilities.”

-          - Find and develop the right people with the right capabilities to solve issues, rather than trying to resolve everything yourself.  “Would that we could do everything ourselves!  Since that approach is neither practical nor advisable, teamwork and delegation are essential to success,” notes Jennifer.

Are you a CHRO? How has your role evolved in your organization? Share your story with Astron Solutions today and it could be a guest feature in Astronology!

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Data Analytics – Is Your Organization on Track?

It’s predicted that by 2015 Data Analytics will be responsible for generating $3.7 trillion – that’s right, trillion – in products and services and 4.4 million new jobs. With such high expectations, many have wondered how data analytics can be used within the realm of Human Resources in order to strengthen an organization.
How exactly can data analytics be applied in Human Resources? Josh Bersin mentioned in a Forbes Leadership post that “Companies are loaded with employee, HR and performance data. For the last 30 years we have captured demographic information, performance information, educational history, job location, and many other factors about our employees. Are we using this data scientifically to make people decisions?” A simple question, but truthfully, are we using the information we get from exit interviews and employee satisfaction surveys to better our organizations’ bottom lines? Are we analyzing performance rates of employees and working on improvements? Or are we simply collecting the data in a rote fashion and not doing anything with it? We need to ask ourselves how we can use this wealth of information to better our organizations.

Two case examples are helpful in building the case for data analytics. Bon–Ton, a chain of 280 department stores in the United States, leveraged its data to identify the qualities apparent in their more successful sales reps.  Since reviewing this information, the company now screens potential sales reps by using a test designed around those key traits. Those who score high on this test generally sell 10% more than other reps, and tend to enjoy their work more. Since 2008, the company has seen a $1,400 increase in sales per representative and 25% lower turnover, providing a strong return on investment over the analysis and test development costs.

In 2009, PNC Financial Services recognized that when hiring experienced outsiders over internal candidates, they were unknowingly hurting their organization. PNC partnered with its marketing analytics group to analyze the sales performance over several years of external hires versus people promoted from inside. The results? In some key positions, internal candidates were significantly more productive their first year than experienced external hires. In later years, outsiders did improve…but didn’t match the productivity of the internal candidates. In short, the company was losing money by not recognizing this reality.
So how can you use data analytics right now? Start with these two easy steps:
1. Use the data you have! Study it to identify areas of weakness. Don’t let the data sit dormant in a binder or in your HRIS.  Want to identify the qualities needed for strong employees in specific positions? Use the data from performance reviews to cross-compare with the competencies, repeated behaviors, and consistent actions of these employees. See if you can foster and develop these qualities or habits by training other employees. Want to reduce turnover rates? Examine those employee satisfaction surveys…and actually investigate those concerns and make adjustments.

2. Dig deeper if necessary. Sometimes the data you already have isn’t enough…invent new ways to grab the data needed. Google, for example, did a study on whether good managers matter for their culture. Prasad Setty, Head of Google’s people analytics group, says that “through various methods we found positive relationships between good management and retention and the performance of teams. We then conducted double blind interviews to identify key behaviors exhibited by our best managers. We found eight behaviors that make a good manager and five pitfalls to avoid. These are now incorporated into our manger-training programs and coaching sessions…the vast majority of our lower-rated managers have improved as a result.”

“Data analytics may seem daunting at first, particularly if time pressures or a fear of numbers is present.  Analytics need not require using calculus, however.  Key in data analytics is identifying patterns and relationships,” explains Astron Solutions’ National Director Jennifer Loftus.  “Those relationships can then become the basis for actionable measures that impact your organization’s bottom line.”

Need help setting up an employee satisfaction survey? Do you seek a more effective way to collect and analyze your talent management data to improve your organization? Contact Astron Solutions today to learn how we can help!

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