Learning

Drivers for WLM Solutions

How workforce realignment forces strategic thinking in HR organizations.

by Phil Fersht, Jason Corsello

The massive workforce expansion of the 90s has dramatically reversed with the combined forces of economic recession and global outsourcing. HR leaders are challenged to ensure that the workforce delivers on the corporate business strategy. At the same time, the dynamic economic environment is constantly forcing organizations to reshape the workforce. Many organizations that have traditionally focused on driving down costs by automating or outsourcing non-strategic, transaction processes are now looking at new approaches to create a flexible, sustainable workforce. Workforce lifecycle management (WLM) solutions are being deployed to extend internal mobility, improve the quality and timeliness of new hires, and increase the performance of the workforce.

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BECOMING PERFORMANCE-DRIVEN 

With workforce reductions in place, leading organizations are creating a performance-driven culture based on measurable results that are aligned with corporate goals. The aggressive recruitment of high-performing talent will intensify, making competition tough for organizations that dont excel in WLM. Key areas of interest for performance- driven organizations include pay-for-performance programs and succession planning initiatives that accelerate the performance and growth of employees. Organizations are migrating HR BPO vendors in pursuit of cost reduction and to enable HR to think more strategically about their human capital. Recent case studies show that high-performance organizations consistently outsource administrative HR functions. Organizations of all sizes have adopted global outsourcing strategies to maintain initiatives in cost reduction and margin improvement. Self-service is a key enabler driving WLM adoption. As workforce mobility increases, organizations are empowering employees to be more self-sufficient. Using employee selfservice applications has lessened dependency on HR to provide administrative support. Self-service applications provide a single destination for all HR issues, consequently increasing the use of WLM solutions. In addition, self-service applications enable employees and managers to track career development and progress, further enhancing the performance of the organization. As M&A activity continues to pick up, organizations continue to implement processes that accelerate integration. WLM solutions can help organizations define their internal hierarchy, making it easier to analyze workforce requirements. WLM solutions can also enable integration by quickly identifying the right candidates for the merged entity. In addition, WLM can rapidly eliminate redundancy in the workforce and create a more cohesive and progressive organization.

 

ACHIEVING SUCCESSFUL WLM

 

Understand your organizations key performance indicators (KPIs).

Organizations must understand the key attributes that drive their financial success and link those drivers with their WLM strategy. For example, highturnover organizations should define a strategy for talent management and improving workforce quality. Lowturnover organizations should center on performance management and improving employee development, pay-for-performance, and succession planning.

 

Assign an executive sponsor.

A vision for human capital that is sponsored from the highest levels within an organization is key to transformation and leading strategic initiatives. Take inventory of past technology investments in workforce and learning management and identify the future strategic fit toward a closely aligned, integrated approach. Build integrated WLM capabilities incrementally.

 

Combine your WLM strategy with your HR BPO strategy.

If your organization is currently considering HR BPO or is an early adopter, this is an opportunity to establish a WLM solution with minimal or no additional cash investment. Todays leading providers offer WLM functionality within their platforms. Some are building their own proprietary tools, whereas others are offering best-ofbreed solutions integrated with their own platform. Ensure the BPO supplier can establish an effective program that provides you with the tools and support you need to manage these solutions.

 

Get started.

Adopting a WLM solution will not cure bad internal processes. Start by getting executive sponsorship that will spearhead the transformation process. Then begin due diligence immediately. Best-practice methodologies from HR service providers must be combined with technology and business transformation expertise. A WLM strategy should consider where an organization would like to be in several years. Although the integrated WLM approach is still in the development stage, it provides a great opportunity to create a leadership position for workforce excellence. [HRO]   

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Human Capital Institute and MENTTIUM Corporation Announce Agreement

Washington D.C. – May 26, 2005 – The Human Capital Institute (HCI), a non-profit think tank, association, and educator in talent management strategies, and MENTTIUM Corporation, the global leader in corporate mentoring, announced today that MENTTIUM will sponsor HCI’s Mentorship Strategies learning and research track.

“This alliance is the first step to building a panel of thought leaders for this key track within HCI’s Talent Development community,” said Allan Schweyer, HCI’s Executive Director, “Mentorship, while not a new concept, is becoming a talent management strategy for which organizations are seeking new approaches and technologies

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Duke Energy Inks HRO Contract with Hewitt

< ?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Duke Energy today announced that Hewitt Associates, a global human resources services firm, has been selected to provide comprehensive HR back-office administrative services to the companys U

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HRO and the Coming Labor Shortage

The time to think about the future is now.

by Matt DeLuca

Hype or dire prediction, HR professionals everywhere should always be on the lookout for state-of-the-art opportunities to find great employees not only for the HR department but also for the entire organization. You may recall a reference in previous columns to HR Management in the Knowledge Economy and its identification of the four major roles of the HR professional. Here I will ask you to keep two rolesrelationship builder and rapid deployment specialistin mind.  

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Robert J. Grossman, a professor at Marist College (a bastion of quantitative research), published an article in the March 2005 issue of HR Magazine that separates the hype from the dire predictions of the looming disparity between the demand and supply of the U.S. workforce. The research concludes that the media hype asserting that by 2012 there will be 10 million more jobs than people to fill them should not be a concern. Although he does conclude with a hypothesis that has already been haunting usdo we have enough talent for an increasingly demanding workplace? The answer is a resounding NO!

 

Do you recall how, during the late 1990s, people were hired by all kinds of fast-growth firms just because we need bodies? I do. I witnessed unsolicited resumes without interviews turned into hires just because they need to be hired now. I also recall organizations unable to get products to market because they could not find people with the skills required. After reading Grossmans article and reviewing the Bureau of Labor Statistics research upon which that article heavily relied, I am convinced that the talent pool respite we have had of late is sooner or later going to be replaced by a long brutal global war for talent. There is already pressure on the lowest level jobs.

 

The Wall Street Journal recently had a front page article about lettuce pickers in < ?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Arizonathere arent any. For one simple reason: The workers who used to do it have moved on to better paying jobs. This, to me, is a first link in the food chain (no pun intended). The ripple effect has already started.

 

So what does this have to do with HRO? As a relationship builder and rapid deployment specialist, the HR professional should be anticipating the scarcity of talentnot only in HR but also in the rest of the organization. Ongoing review of core versus commoditized activities should become part of the organizations DNA. External alternative sources to accomplish tasks, activities, and even entire functions should be on your radar screen so that they are continuously being evaluated in light of your organizations current and anticipated demands. Internally, you need to work closely with various key players to determine the climate and readiness for moving one or more additional activities to outside providers (or alternatively, determining if any should be brought back in-house.)

 

To test any and all assumptions, HR needs to be ever vigilant for opportunities to do the following:

* Enhance current service levels and relationships

*Identify additional potential avenues, including offshoring, for further exploration

*Ensure comprehensive due diligence and demonstrate your state-of-the-art knowledge about todays products and services

*Build a familiarity of best practices

*Identify the leading buyers and players (as well as those less so) in this ever-changing marketplace to determine who is doing what. Compare this years leading deals with last years. Recall last years players and major buyers. How are those deals doing? What has been learned? Are there any warning signs?

 

If we don’t find out what is and what isnt working, we are more likely to repeat the problems of these earlier adaptersbuyers and providers alike. If you spent some time at the 2005 HRO World conference in New York, you were able, in just a few hours, to test and update your knowledge base. Dont stop there. Feel guilty if you arent spending time weekly surveying the internal and external marketplace for contacts, information, relationships, and solutions. As Grossman warns, this process is not a quick turnaround andlet me addthe process is as important, if not more so, than any future, specific result. Besides, it is much more exciting to be part of the process, so why delay? Your organizations very survival is at stake.  

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RWD Technologies and SkillsNET Form Partnership

Human Performance Solutions Weds Ability Expertise

BALTIMORE, MD April 26, 2005 RWD Technologies, Inc. (RWD), a Company that develops, implements, and supports products and services in the areas of training, consulting, and organizational performance, announced today that it has formed a partnership with  SkillsNET, a consulting company that identifies the best qualities of top workers and advises companies about ways to replicate those qualities throughout their supply chain

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NY HR Week 2005 Trumps Expectations – Up 32% to 3710 Registered Attendees

HR Executives In Record Numbers Attend HR Conference —

Top Issues Include Outsourcing, Diversity, Benefits & Technology

Milford, CT,April 20, 2005 NY HR Weeks conference directors today released recordattendee totals for the 2005 NY HR Week held April 12-14, 2005 at the New YorkHilton, making it the nations second largest HR event. Registered attendeestotaled 3,710, with conference attendees numbering 706.  The totals represented a 32% increase overthe 2004 totals, and included a record 106 media attendees.

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PwC: Almost All Fast-Growth Companies Outsourcing HR Functions

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PricewaterhouseCoopers Trendsetter Barometer interviewed CEOs of 360 privately held product and service companies identified in the media as being among the fastest growing < ?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />U

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Hewitt Associates to Provide HR BPO Services to PepsiCo

Firm Continues Growth of HR BPO Business, Signing Eighth Deal Since Close of Hewitt and Exult Merger

LINCOLNSHIRE, Ill. — Hewitt Associates (NYSE: HEW), a global human resources services firm, announced today that it will provide comprehensive HR business process outsourcing (BPO) services to PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP), a world leader in convenient foods and beverages. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Under a ten-year agreement, Hewitt will provide HR BPO services in the U

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Orientation–Not Just a Once-Over-Lightly Anymore

If your new hires are falling asleep during orientation, it may be time to revamp your program.

by Matt DeLuca

One word that makes everyone in HR a subject matter expert is orientation. This termcurrently part of the onboarding processmeans a lot of things to everyone. The last time I checked, orientation to Disney meant a required four-day (4-day!) session for its theme park employees. At the other end of the spectrum are those brief, 45-minute orientations, where the subject matter expert (or a small team of experts) races through a catalog of details concerning the minutiae of the different prices for lost limbs according to the rate chart for the organizations up-to-date accidental death-and-dismemberment coverage. Then there are those orientation programs that cover retirement in a lengthy session, despite the fact that the person just started and may not even be eligible for retirement benefits.

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And dont forget the HR professionals who love one-on-one orientation sessions, all the while complaining that they have too much work and too little time. This situation always grows heated when, in an effort to reduce the demands on HR, the one activity they really love doing (the orientation sessions) is often the first to be cut.

 

It is important to remember, though, that none of the various orientation options above take into account the most important factor: Extensive research has shown that a new employee would much rather be starting his or her on-the-job responsibilities than sitting through an orientation.

 

Despite the challenges of orientation programs, however, research conducted by industrial psychologists consistently shows that an effective orientation program has staying power. Results have shown that an effective orientation program has a direct impact on employee turnoverwith those undergoing orientation more likely to stay with an organization longer than one year (usually the most difficult period for the new employee).

 

The question you should be asking is whether it makes more sense to use an outside provider for this all-important activity. How do you determine if entrusting this function to outsiders is important to your effectiveness in this activity?

 

As Stephen Covey, author of the enormously popular The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, says begin with the end in mind. Do you recognize what constitutes an effective orientation program? Many believe the process is so important that organizations should really have a series of orientation programs. There are two reasons for this: First, intermittent training works best, and second, many successful training efforts have shown that less is more. With more than one session, you dont have to worry that everything will be covered. If it werent so sad to see how often well intentioned HR professionals insist on piling a ton of information on new employees, it would really be comical.

 

Your next step should be to employ gap analysis. What would effective orientation training look like? What would the results include? What would the results be immediately after training? How about three and six months later? Also consider your current new employee turnover. If there were a better orientation program, how do you forecast turnover levels decreasing for new employees? What other metrics should you consider that could be tied to effective orientation?

 

 Next, see what best practices employers are doing. Then network with vendors to see who offers what. When you learn of a program that you want to explore further, request the opportunity to witness it firsthand and ask how its effectivenes is measured.

 

At this point, you will have an understanding of what the marketplace has to offer. Compare those results with your current internal program. If you have a strong program, then you could do two things: First, see if there is anything else you want to offer or anything you want to change to make your program even stronger; second, consider (if your program is so effective) whether it is a core competency for your organizations HR program. If this is so, that fact should be shared not only as part of your internal branding initiatives but also with the outside world. When you become a provider of orientation programs elsewhere, as Disney has so successfully done in partnership with SHRM, generating revenue is certainly achievablethough hopefully it wont result in four-day orientation programs!

 

Regardless of the outcome, examining the effectiveness of orientation efforts is a valuable exercise to undertake periodically. You avoid doing so at your own peril.

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Running Training Like Business

Dont get phased out of the big picture.

by Ed Trolley

 

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Listen to that faint, distant rhythm. What youre hearing is the sound of impatienceexecutive impatience. Leather soles pacing on hardwood. Fingertips drumming on desk. Pencils tapping on coffee cups. And, its getting louder. Corporate executives from < ?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Sydney to Syracuse are looking at traditional training organizations with crossed arms and raised eyebrows. They want results. They want the same kind of productivity and performance gains from their investment in training and development that they see from information technology, research and development, manufacturing, and sales. They want results and they want them yesterday.

 

Executives tell us, and prove through their continual support of training, that they believe in the value of learning. They believe committed and capable employees drive the results that shareholders demand. Executives want training to work. But theyre not convinced that their training organizations are delivering the goods. They are right to be skeptical.

 

Businesses spend billions on training, but what is the tangible return on that investment. Do we have anything more than neatly framed certificates that prove we attended a Sales Strategy class? More competitive wins? A better close rate? Improved customer retention? More revenue? Somethinganythingthat flows to the bottom line? No? Listen to that tapping!

 

In companies around the world, the timer is expiring on trainings feel-good charter, measuring success by how training participants feel when they complete a class. Theres a brave new world of expectations taking root these days, where training can and will be measured on real business results, and where training is expected to deliver economic and strategic value on every investment.

 

Meeting these new expectations requires much more than producing better training courses. It requires transforming the traditional training operation into a customer- driven, results-hungry, value-producing machine. It requires dramatic changes in the way training interacts with the rest of the business. I call this new modus operandi running training like a business, but whatever we call it, it changes the training game forever. Training will transform from a backroom support function to a strategic tool, fully aligned with the companys central business plans. Running training like a business produces training that is more effective in driving the desired business results with more cost-and-time-efficiency. In short, it quiets the sounds of impatience that ring in the ears of training leaders.

 

Because of continuing changes in business itself, the need for change in training has never been more urgent. The rate of change in business accelerates every year, yet in recent decades, training has evolved only in small ways. It is worrisome in itself that many in the training and development world consider the philosophy of running training like a business a radical one. This perception indicates that the training and development sector is lagging behind the rest of business, where the demand for results has driven efficiencies and innovations that energize the bottom line. Technology, having revolutionized virtually all other business functions, is altering fundamentally how training is designed and delivered. Business leaders, encouraged by technologys impact in other areas of their companies, have higher and often unmet expectations for trainings marriage with technology.

 

Pushed by its customers and pulled by technology, training needs to take bigger, bolder stepseven experimental onesto keep up with the business at large. Relentless improvement must become the battle cry for training, because ultimately much more is at stake than the patience of company executives. Training organizations that fail to keep up with business face a battle for survival, and companies that cant deliver valuable training to employees may in turn find themselves fighting for survival in the markets they serve.

 

Making the transition to running training like a business is a formidable undertaking. The planning is intricate; the implementation is exacting. In many ways, it is as challenging as opening a new business, because that is essentially what is involved. The transition demands hard work and total commitment.

 

These challenges notwithstanding, I can say unequivocally that running training like a business can silence the rhythmic tapping of executive impatience. No approach responds so directly to the interests and expectations of senior management, line managers, and shareholders. Training organizations fully aligned with corporate strategy and consistently delivering tangible value on every investment can inspire a great deal of peace and quiet.  

 

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