Evil HR lady nails it. Bring on the math(s) and stats.

cross posted on my Gartner blog.

I read many HR blogs, and one of my favourites is the Evil HR lady. She blogs a much of her HR stuff on the BNET site.

I have been speaking to a lot of HR audiences lately, and sometimes they get a little uncomfortable when I bring up the analytics topic. Most HR departments don’t do a good job at analytics, and then they wonder why they don’t get the budgets to make an impact on the business.

One of my suggestions to HR is to hire a good numbers person, someone with strong undergraduate or preferably graduate statistics.

Looks like this is exactly how the Evil HR lady got her start.

I had a master’s degree in political science, with a strong emphasis in statistics.  Since you never see a “Help wanted:  Political Scientist” sign in the window, I knew I needed to look outside my field of study.  What I really wanted to be was a trainer.  I knew that trainers often work in Human Resources departments, but how in in the heck was I going to get a job in HR?

Well, first, I went to a temp agency and asked to work in an HR department.  “I’ll do anything!” I said, and I meant it.  If the temp agency had sent me to wash windows in an HR department, I would have done it.  Instead, they placed me as an admin (I can type!), and for 6 months in a couple of different assignments I worked as an HR admin.  Then, I saw a job posting.  Job title?  HR Metrics Specialist.

What on earth does an HR Metrics Specialist do?  Well, I didn’t know, but one of the qualifications was the ability to do statistics.  That, I had.  So, I applied, interviewed and was hired.  My boss told me flat out that the only reason they had hired me is that I appeared to be the only person in the universe with a modicum of HR experience and the ability to do statistics.

I’ve been ranting on about this topic for ages, here are a few.

http://blogs.gartner.com/thomas_otter/2009/09/07/scrabble-and-hr/

http://blogs.gartner.com/thomas_otter/2009/06/08/via-a-comment-via-a-link-the-three-sexy-skills-of-data-geeks/

http://blogs.gartner.com/thomas_otter/2009/02/23/accountings-big-problem-according-to-archibald/

http://blogs.gartner.com/thomas_otter/2009/02/19/banging-on-about-hr-analytics/

http://blogs.gartner.com/thomas_otter/2008/12/06/measuring-twice-cutting-once/

so it is nice to see some validation…

Mathematics is a beautiful thing. Spend 20 minutes in the company of Benoit Mandelbrot. (click here if you can’t see the video)

 

If Hans Rosling can do this with demographics on a global scale, why can’t HR do it with their data? (click here if you can’t see the video)

 

By the way: Jim Holincheck and I recently published quite a bit of research on workforce analytics, and there is buckets of cool stuff on pattern based strategy on Gartner.com

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HR Tech: Chicago.

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image via OzinOH, thanks!

I’m looking forward to this event. Most of the events I go to are single vendor events, but this one is different. It is the event that brings most of the HR technology community together. Bill runs an excellent show.  I’ll get to see Jason, Steve , Phil and Naomi, and I’ll be on a panel discussion about global HR trends with Karen.  I also hope to meet many of the clients and vendors that I talk to on the phone.

There are a couple of things I’m keen to really dig into.

1. use cases of social software and HCM technology working together.

2. HCM analytics that are actually used by leaders beyond HR to make business decisions.

3. Mobile scenarios that create new ways of working rather than simply rendering existing transactions in a different form factor.

4. Integration, HR MDM and the cloud.

5. Do you really need a traditional HR system of record?

If you want to chat when I’m there, drop me a tweet or an email. I plan to blog a bit when I’m there, and I’ll be tweeting a storm too.

Industrial action impacts high tech companies too

Thinking of strikes, it is easy to imagine coal miners, railway workers and automobile assemblers with shop stewards quoting Trotsky, Gramsci and Marcuse, and brandishing a well worn copy of the Ragged Trousered Philanthropists. This is a naive and foolish stereotype. As this example from Yahoo! shows,  industrial action is alive and well in the high tech industry. Valleywag reported on a strike at Yahoo in France.

[YOUTUBE=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kulOZowv0Qc]

(watch the video here if you dont see the embedded player)

Carol Bartz‘s lacerating eccentricity may captivate Silicon Valley, where she’s cutting costs left and right. Not so in Europe: When Yahoo tried to shut down operations in France, workers made this surreal, defiant video. And went on strike, naturally.Their point: Yahoo made about 1 million euros per worker from Yahoo France alone last year, and used to hype how “it’s important to have [locally] concentrated engineering activities… to innovate” in France, where it would base “one of [its] most important centers in Europe.” Yahoo France’s engineers will now stop working until Yahoo agrees that they shouldn’t have to stop working. At least they’re fact checking the internet company’s hype along the way.

(thanks Valleywag).

There is a  lesson for all “global” high tech companies. HR practices that work in the US don’t necessarily travel well. I have quite a bit of research in the pipeline on a related topic. I have seen global HR projects derailed because of worker and union opposition, forcing system redesigns and huge delays.

I’ll predict that the software industry will face increasing collective and industrial action. Social software makes it easier to organize and motivate around an issue, and create a strong collective even without the presence of a union. It makes it easy to reach the broader public too.  We have seen the power of the disgruntled customer using social media to mobilise support and opinion. Employees have access to the same tools and media. Executives of global software companies will need to get a lot more savvy about global HR issues. Gosh, that degree I did in Industrial Relations might actually be useful one day.

Linking performance to pay. The G20 and HCM software.

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(photo CC 2.o attribution, thanks to g-hat!)

World leaders are gathering in Pittsburgh to discuss banking reform and other pressing matters. According to the Guardian,  the discussions are likely to be rocky.

European leaders appeared to be on a collision course tonight with Barack Obama and Gordon Brown after Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, warned that the G20 summit must not be diverted from clamping down on bankers’ bonuses and hedge funds.

The article continues.

Sarkozy has suggested that bankers’ pay should be capped at a certain percentage of their institution’s assets or revenue.

Fredrick Reinfeldt, the Swedish prime minister and current president of the European council, promised a “specific discussion” on bonuses including proposals for individual caps on bankers’ bonuses, that bonuses would be linked to achievement and not given if there were losses, and that there would be transparency on precise decisions taken by boards. “We from the EU will ask to be very clear on that” he said.

Putting aside the ethical and political debate, if Fredrick and Nicolas have their way, this would particularly riveting for anyone in the business of HCM software.

It looks to me this is a demand for an integrated employee goals / performance management, compensation and incentive compensation system that also integrates into a corporate performance and risk management system, combined with a significant dose of compliance reporting. 

Learning from Australia.

 

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The best job in the world campaign from the Queensland government has gone brilliantly. It created masses of publicity for the barrier reef, on prime time TV, in the press, and across the full spectrum of social media.  It won best advertising campaign of the year.

According to my favourite newspaper, the Guardian.

A PR coup for Australian tourism, the whole campaign has generated around A$148m (£73m) worth of publicity for northern Queensland. In a clever piece of marketing and timing, they sent out news of the concept on a dreary Sunday afternoon in Britain, and subsequently the idea of a job reclining on a beach in Australia promptly received a prominent news slot in Monday morning’s papers

British Charity worker, Ben Southall landed the job, beating out 35.000 applicants.

There are a number of technical innovations that are worth noting for those of us involved in recruitment and recruitment software. Strong use of video based CV/Resume, Viral campaign, Voting, Community, multiple social media channels, psychometric testing…

I could pick up on those here, but I think there is a more important point here for recruiters and HR folks. Do you align your recruiting strategy with your overall branding strategy? Can you turn your recruiting strategy into a brand advantage? What does your  recruitment process say about your brand?  Do you work closely with marketing to position the employee brand in the broader branding strategy?  Do you measure the impact of your recruiting strategy on your brand?  Can you clearly articulate why someone should want to work for your organization?

If your organisation is skeptical about the power of social software and the web,  then you could do worse than remind them of this campaign.

If anyone has any details on the technology platforms used to manage the application process and the selection, I’d love to hear from you. What innovative recruitment strategies have you seen? Do let me know. please.

The power of being nice.

This made my morning. I’m smiling now. Thanks for blogging it,  Michael.

And speaking of Michael, if you are in Australia and interested in HR and 2.0 stuff, you really  ought to check out his  event.  HR futures conference 2009. Great lineup of speakers, and I’m not just being nice.

Also I think  I need to watch some movies made by Kurt Kuenne. This smiling thing is really rather catchy.

A seat at the table redux

From Claudine’s excellent stream.Thanks

Over on Phil Fersht’s blog the HR navel gazing seat at the table angst session about HR’s role continues, triggered by the inflexion advisors 2008 predictions. Lots of interesting comments. Very similar to the discussion over here last year.

The brilliant Evil HR Lady Nailed it then.

What are models? Crud people, hire yourself some statisticians.

This HR angst about its role and importance, and whether it has, deserves or will ever get a seat at the table or not is rather tiresome. It has been going on ever since I started in the field in the early 1990’s, and it is about time it stopped. If HR is to get a seat at the table, then it needs to get off the therapy couch.

The other predictions from inflexion advisors are a lot more interesting. Subscribed.

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