Data, data everywhere – but what data should I do something about?

Data, particularly “big data”, seems to be constantly in the headlines – whether it be because data has been lost (the TalkTalk hacking incident) or because it’s being used for something that’s perceived to be intrusive (adjusting insurance premiums or the monitoring of emails by the NSA).  For some people and organisations data is a fundamental part of what they do, but for the rest of us – should we be taking more notice of our data?  Are we missing a trick?

Depending on what type of organisation you currently work for, then you may find that you are already required to report on and publish some key data.  If you work in an organisation that is classed as a “public body” under the Equalities Act 2010   definition (for example the BBC, a local Council or the Police) then you already need to publish data about your workforce.  Specifically data that relates to how your workforce is made up relating to “protected characteristics” and other equality data – for example the percentage of your workforce who are disabled, the age profile of your workforce and the gender split. If you work in local or central government then you already have to publish data about the remuneration of your senior / executive managers.

Even if there is no statutory requirement for you to report and publish the sort of employee data highlighted above, could you find this information useful?  Certainly if you do any form of workforce planning for your business then you probably already look at and use key employee data such as salaries, length of service, duration that people have been in role, employment status (temporary or permanent) and key skills / competencies.  If you don’t currently do any workforce planning, should you think about doing some to help your business to be ready for the future? (hint – we recommend you do!)

If you are struggling to recruit to a certain role then looking at the data could help you come up with a solution. Filling some roles takes more than an advert on your website and Totaljobs etc…..  Looking at your recruitment and candidate data may help you to tap in to a new pool of potential candidates who you’ve previously overlooked or help to identify a different, more effective recruitment channel.

Even if you don’t want to go on a data journey yet, you will find that going forward more and more businesses are going to have to start reporting on and publishing key employee data.  Hopefully you are aware of the gender pay reporting requirements (The Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017) that are due to come in to force some time in 2017?  If you employ more than 250 staff, then these regulations will apply to you so you need to start preparing now.

There are also discussions about whether businesses need to do more to be transparent about what they pay their senior staff (eg. Directors and Chief Executives).  After all, the public sector already has to report on what they pay their senior staff.  The government has just issued a “Green Paper” to consult on whether businesses must report on the pay of their most senior staff compared to the pay of their average employee. The consultation is open until 17 February 2017 if you want to contribute.  Should the consultation end up being translated in to new legislation, then you’ll need to get to grips on your data again – so watch this space.

If you’re struggling to get to grips on your employee data then we can help…Consider having an audit of your organisation’s HR systems and procedures which can examine what data you hold and why and provide you with an overview of your obligations and how compliant you are.

Equally commissioning a gender pay audit to enable you to address any issues before the data becomes public could be helpful.

www.amelore.com

Key predictions for HR in 2016

Amelore comment on the key predictions for HR made by Bersin of Deloitte. Here is the first part of two blogs with a summary of Bersin’s predictions and our observations.

  1. wheel_of_fortuneDigital HR arrives – we are not talking employee databases here. 8 million have smart phones, 3 billion use internet. Deloitte research says people check their phones 8 billion times a day!

The trend predicted is a design centric digital focus within HR. Apps will become king.  Clouds sit behind scenes. Traditional software will start to fade out. Any new technology need to be as easy as Facebook or Instagram to use.
Organisations are building HR platforms to allow rapidly built solutions, collect data and people and business process – easily. So they can quickly iterate & improve employee digital experience. Eg 2015 Sidekick Commonwealth Bank of Australia – brings together employees HR, collaboration, admin & support apps to their phones. 20,000 users in 2 weeks of roll out. V successful launch.

Think all my HR programs are apps…

“Of course the actual reality in many organisations is no HR database or something clunky that produces data that has inaccuracies.  When we talk to HR leaders about what technology they are investing in, it tends to be an HR system.

Because of poor organisational experience in the past there can be a reluctance to invest. Cross corridors into the Marketing department and you may see a very different picture.  Employees just like consumers are critical to the success of the business.”

  1. Rush to replace outdated HR systems

Why? To improve employee experience.  Harness people data. 60% of large companies are replacing software. Workday, SAP, Oracle, ADP, Ultimate Software, Cornerstone OnDemand, Ceridan etc are popular choices.

Offering solutions for recruitment, on-boarding, learning, performance, talent management compensation, succession, talent analytics.

The global trend is reduction of HR systems (average is 7) modernising with cloud technology sitting behind.

  1. Global rush to replace and re-engineer Performance Management

This is the hottest and most disruptive area of HR – redesign of performance management. 60% of companies are doing this.

Existing process too complex say 88% of managers.

End to end talent management market fairly mature – core HRMS, payroll with talent management module is a core tool on offer from many.

Trend is around check in’s, feedback, and more focus on development. Followship. Moving away from leaders. Building systems and tools to let people work flexibly and network.

“Many fast growing businesses have been practicing followship for a while. Younger and flatter teams without the traditional hierachy. And checking in with their staff. And with a development led focus which is a core retainer. 

In 2015 Amelore conducted some independent research into the cost and effectiveness of appraisals. Results varied but the core message was that it was a disproportionately costly activity at a time when organisations weren’t investing in staff development and losing them.  If you got rid of your appraisal process tomorrow and replaced it with a career development led focus you’d save money and retain more staff.”

  1. Engagement, Retention and Culture persist as top priorities

The job market is hot, hot, hot. Many scare skills are in scare supply, the economy is growing so the employment experience is highly transparent.

Open feedback is increasingly expected – 80% of millennials want to give their bosses an appraisal!  Employment brand a big thing. Staff engagement once a year surveys is old fashioned. Real time and continuous feedback is king.

There are 5 different types of feedback systems emerging:

Pulse survey tools – managers and HR rapidly take the pulse of the people’s feelings and opinions supplemented by annual survey.

Feedback apps – Employees can randomly provide an open suggestion box of comments that can be analysed, filtered, up-voted, down-voted & evaluated at any time.

Performance feedback systems – Give employees an opportunity to provide team or manager feedback as part of the performance management cycle.

New Work Environments – people work in teams through collaboration with tools (Slack, Workboard, Trello, Impraise) & give feedback immediately on anything.

Social Recognition Tools – Employees can give thanks, points & other forms of positive feedback to others in an open and social way.

Trend is towards letting employees “Like” or “Yelp” things at work which provides valuable data about work practices, safety situations, customer service issues and of course management.

“Some organisations are struggling with this new way of working particularly senior teams who seek to impose something that is more familiar to them. This gives the younger CEO the advantage that experience gives someone older.  Resisting large scale changes in the workplace is like attempting to type better internal memorandums as email emerges.”  

  1. Career and Talent mobility continues – investment in Coaching and Mentoring grow rapidly.

Investment in leadership is inconsistent. At highest level this is only £2,600 per leader per year. This is a very modest investment in great leadership.

Roles of leaders have changed. Spans of control have increased by 11 percent for lower-level leaders.  Todays leaders are ‘team leaders’ more than ‘top down executives’ learning how to lead cross functional global teams.

Approximately 50% of all leaders in every company are first or second line leaders – getting younger each year. Coaching and mentoring are therefore critical for their development.

New leadership model is followship – ability to set an example, empower and encourage others, drive change, alignment and inspiration.

Companies still far too attracted to old models of leadership inc long development times, slow progression & traditional HiPo (high potential) programmes. High performing companies promote young leaders at a highly accelerated rate and enable them to learn on the job.

“The smart money is on those with potential. Whatever their age. One of our clients Monica Vinader, who have trebled their turnover in the last 3 years and grown rapidly, have always identified and backed potential. A hallmark of their success has been the dedicated and hands on approach that both Monica and her sister Gabriela have shown in being very clear what is expected of individuals.  This has enabled a number of talented individuals to thrive and flourish along with the company.”

Summarised from Predictions for 2016 – A bold new world of Talent, Learning, Leadership and HR Technology ahead. Bersin by Deloitte with commentary by Amelore.

 

The future of work – HR implications

Last week it was a pleasure to speak at an event organised by YunoJuno (a freelance resourcing company) about the future of work and HR implications.

It’s a hugely exciting topic and the audience which was predominantly start ups and fast growth businesses were great.

Here are some of the key messages from the night together with a few things I didn’t get time to say.

Conventional HR doesn’t work for dynamic tech companies.

Amelore worked with notonthehighstreet.com in the early days when it was just an amazing idea and later when it was an amazing profitable company and later still as it became a household name. People were a huge issue. Who to hire and occasionally who to fire. What structure, what skill sets were needed as the product range and services grew. When they moved over the rubyonrails that had significant implications for recruitment and how you managed tech folk along side everyone else (answer – you don’t manage them you guide them).

HR had a huge role to play in supporting the founders grow and develop with their business. Everything happened very fast and working in a pacey agile way was key. And always saying yes we can do that.

Workforce is changing, people are working in different ways and value work-life balance. More working longer.

We know that people entering the workforce or at different stages of their careers, want more choice about what they do and when. The removal of statutory retirement means some individuals are thinking actively about careers that they can continue with into their 60’s and beyond. Consultancy and coaching are good examples.

Flexible working is no longer just an option for those with caring responsibilities. More and more people are going freelance.

Technology being used more and more (though not in HR)

Technology is here to stay and is everywhere you look. But most HR departments will focus any effort and budget on HR databases that require lots of feeding. Much documentation is still hard copy and not automated. Identifying and investing in the right systems is important.

Organisations are increasingly using flexible labour

Freelancers are increasingly being used by companies that want to hire specialist skills for a period of time or for a particular project. Peopleperhour estimate that by 2020 upto 50/% of the workforce could be freelance.

Many organisations are paring down or closing their HR departments to use skilled innovative external support when they need it. Many HR professionals traditionally just focus on employees, employment legislation and contractual terms whereas they should be creating an environment and culture that means that is easy for everyone to settle in.

The 5 key things ALL workers need are similar to anyone playing a game.

  1. clear goals
  2. obvious rules
  3. room to manoeuvre
  4. information transparency
  5. real-time feedbackCompany structures are getting flatter

Start ups and growing business tend to have a team with a leader or a few partners and then a workforce. Introducing conventional HR tools like appraisals can create a burden for the 1 or 2 people leading having to appraise everyone.

Our education system is not producing the skills employers need or giving good careers advice

Employers are delighted about the IT skills of those entering the workforce but less so the appitude and attitude of some employees who lack initative. Whilst careers advice can be quite progressive at university level it is severely lacking much earlier on (aged 13/14 yrs) when young people are making important choices and almost exclusively led by educators and not employers.

 Implications for the HR profession

As the world of work changes so must HR.

A venture capitalist shared recently that when she invested in a company, she always advised the CEO that they must spend about 90% of their focus in the first year on people issues. But she said she would never advise them to hire an HR Director because rather than giving them competitive advantage by helping them make quick decisions, she feared they would slow everything down and cripple the business with policies and processes and rules and regulations.

Reward

In a flat structure with a mixture of employees and freelancers, how do you ensure your reward strategy retains all your valuable workers? What else will you offer and will this be available to everyone that works for you or just those with employment contracts? Many companies are still talking about employee engagement which immediately excludes your flexible workforce.

Career progression

In a high tech or fast growing environment flatter structures mean less space for promotion. Even though their remuneration and skill set are progressing, individuals still aspire to that traditional recognition that they are valued. Important to address this with some new and creative thinking unique to your business.

Mindfulness

As we work longer, produce more, expect more – we can burn out. Creating space in your organisation for all your workers to think, to grow, to develop, to innovate and be creative is hugely important for your competitive advantage.

Recruiting & developing the workforce of tomorrow

Careers advice is still led by the educators whose skills set is education. Employers especially smaller ones tend to feel that any activity to guide and develop career choices is wasted however if every employer undertook to influence the careers choice of students in schools or colleges close to them that would have a huge impact on career choices. Corporate career responsibility has a big role to play in inspiring, recruiting and developing the workforce of tomorrow. Who may not all want or need to go to university.

Performance management

At Amelore we have been doing some of our own independent research into the cost and effectiveness of appraisal systems. One organisation with 400 employees is spending approximately 750k on conducting them each year. Hard to quantify the ROI. We think appraisals have had their day for a variety of reasons. They exclude anyone that is not an employee. Most staff don’t value them. Most managers don’t feel they have the times or the skills set to do them properly. If there is an issue people tend not to give honbest feedback or ignore it all together. And most importantly most HR professionals know they don’t work. Many large corporates including Accenture and Deloittes are dropping them in favour of alternatives.

So we firmly recommend you stop appraising and start ameliorating!

And finally

So, be you a business leader or a professional, let me leave you with this thought…

How much of the HR/People related activity in your organisation is focused on things going right rather than things going wrong?

How much of that activity is spent on the majority of your workforce rather than a small minority?

Will that continued focus make you more profitable and competitive? If the answer is no – why are you doing it? Would this focus be acceptable in other departments?

Remember that the definition of madness is continuing the same patterns of behavior but expecting things to turn out differently.