Tag Archives: CEO’s Letter

CEO’s Letter: Serious Issues Require Serious Debate

HRO Today

By Elliot H. Clark

I have been waxing philosophical as I ponder the upcoming HRO Today Forum North America to be held at the MGM Resort in National Harbor, Md., from May 6th to 8th. Mostly, I have been thinking about people.

People are messy. People are complex, occasionally conflicted, fallible, and emotional. But managing people is the business of HR. And the practice of HR is evolving rapidly. Do you know who has the right answers about the ultimate future of HR? No one. We are all on the same roller coaster ride trying to see over the next rise because what follows may be a big stomach-churning turn. So everyone is trying to peer into the future because the only thing we are certain of is that the speed of this ride is accelerating.

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CEO’s Letter: Never Say Goodbye

HRO Today

By Elliot H. Clark

Or should I begin with “never say never again?” This will be the last print edition of HRO Today Global. But it is not goodbye; it’s more of an “au revoir” or until we meet again. HRO Today Global has existed as a magazine since it was founded as HRO Today Europe more than a dozen years ago. Originally, it was supposed to cover the HRO industry in Europe, but, in truth, it included quite a bit of re-purposed North America content. It was sort of good, but not really local. It was sort of global, but not really.

But, HRO Today was globalising. Our readership in both print and digital formats was rapidly expanding and our digital offerings were doing very well. We considered going digital, but our reader surveys indicated that our subscribers still wanted the tactile experience of the printed book. We were limited to four editions per year in that format. We moved into APAC about a decade ago. We then morphed HRO Today Europe into a print edition in Europe and a digital edition in Asia rebadged as HRO Today Global. We split content in the new edition between APAC and EMEA, so… it was half as good for everyone. We offered content on EMEA that did not resonate with our APAC readers and vice versa. After years of commenting on how other companies were globalising, we went ahead and made the same mistakes ourselves. Being a critic is really easy unless you own mirrors.

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CEO’s Letter: Shopping in the HR Supermarket

HRO Today

By Elliot H. Clark

Because of our HRO Today Baker’s Dozen customer satisfaction survey franchise, many companies will seek us out for advice on further interpretation of the data or for help leveraging it in a procurement process. One of my most vivid memories of working with a practitioner on vendor selection was from one of world’s largest banks on a large RPO deal. One of the vendors bidding on the RPO contract was already delivering MSP services to the organization and felt certain they would win. The two met at the HRO Today Forum in Las Vegas about seven years ago. The client had several meetings at the Forum with prospective RPO firms and first eliminated the provider holding the MSP deal because they “didn’t want to put too many eggs in one basket.” Today that mentality seems silly. Now, the trend in HR and procurement is to look for companies that can provide a more comprehensive solution set—not less.

Indeed, the emergence of total workforce solutions—the combining of RPO and MSP services to subsume permanent and contingent hiring—is only one example of this phenomenon. At the Forum mentioned above, the head of HR operations for a big box retailer in the electronics industry was touting that her group managed 73 vendors including multiple RPO, MSP, background screening, relocation, and learning outsourcing providers. I remember wondering how they could celebrate what, frankly, sounded like an inefficient mess. But that same phrase about putting eggs in baskets was used. Imagine how inefficient a dairy farm would be if they shipped only one egg per outbound truck?

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CEO’s Letter: Beware of the Total Work “Farce” Solution

HRO Today

By Elliot H. Clark

This year, we introduce our first-ever HRO Today Baker’s Dozen Customer Satisfaction Ratings for total workforce solutions (TWS). The companies listed are the absolute best providers in the TWS market. We believe this is a representative list of the HR service providers that can manage the large, complex, integrated programs necessary to service global companies. HRO Today defines TWS as the combination of RPO and MSP services into a seamless platform. Prior to the release of this Baker’s Dozen, we discovered through research that hundreds of companies claim to be “leading providers of global total workforce solutions.” However, after reviewing our data sets on clients that leverage both RPO and MSP products from a single provider in multiple regions, there seems to be only a handful of firms that can provide the integrated service offering.

There are some very good HR service partner companies in the enterprise and mid-market sectors offering a total workforce solution and the number of organizations looking for the combined solution is also growing rapidly. And there lies the problem: Market demand leads less capable companies to claim capabilities that they don’t actually have. This month’s cover story focuses on global technology leader DXC Technology and its innovative view of the workforce. One aspect of the company’s talent approach is what CHRO Jo Mason calls the “unincorporated workforce,” which supports candidates who don’t want to be traditionally employed. DXC partners with Allegis Global Solutions for this, as well as the sourcing and hiring of full-time employees. Given the scale and complexity, it’s hard to imagine that many HR service partners could accomplish the program objectives. And, in fact, there aren’t many—and we list most of them on the Baker’s Dozen this month. So, the overwhelming message of this column if you remember nothing else is “Caveat Emptor.”

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CEO’s Letter: Presumption Versus Investigation and the Role of HR

HRO Today

By Elliot H. Clark

Here I go again writing about the impact of political culture on the life of HR. And I hope the hate mail I get is not too hateful in these overwrought times. But there is an important cultural moment at hand and depending on how social views become ingrained, it may impact the practice of HR.

By the time you read this, the U.S. mid-term elections will be over and the impact of the so-called “Kavanaugh effect” will be clear. The question of whether it galvanized the political right or energized the political left will be answered. But the divisions will remain, and the question of how a process could become so flawed may never be understood.

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CEO’s Letter: HR and Corporate Responsibility—Perfect Together

HRO Today

By Elliot H. Clark

In this month’s cover story, we profile one of our CHRO of the Year Award winners Kevin Silva of Voya Financial. Kevin Silva is an extraordinary example of a CHRO who owns responsibilities beyond the HR suite and who drives the Voya culture in a unique way. By culture I mean not only HR programming, but also the company’s entire corporate responsibility (CR) program. At HRO Today, we love that idea.

Last year, we divested our ownership of Corporate Responsibility Magazine to a friendly rival, 3BL Media, with whom we had areas of competition and partnership. It was the right decision for the shareholders of SharedXpertise Media LLC, the parent company of HRO Today. However, this transaction did not fundamentally signal a change in our philosophy. There are so many synergies between CR and HR, it is unfortunate that more organizations do not combine these executive roles.

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Protecting HR Investments in Services and Technology

HRO Today

By Elliot H. Clark

For many years, HRO Today has provided numerous customer satisfaction based rankings of providers through the HRO Today Magazine Baker’s Dozen Customer Satisfaction surveys. We appreciate the notoriety and respect the practitioner community has placed in the methodology of the ranking. However, we only perform this kind of study in up to 10 areas of technology or service. This leaves many categories that are not covered or fall neatly into the Baker’s Dozen programme.

Juxtaposed to these needs is another disturbing trend. As workforce issues heat up with the global economy, there is a greater demand for HR services and new technology solutions. This causes new providers to flood the space—which can be both good and bad for the market. New providers can bring new approaches and innovations. But when a new provider fails to perform, word can spread through the HR community and raise concerns in the entire industry. I have long referred to unqualified providers that claim to have capabilities beyond the scope of their experience as “Faux POs.” There needs to be a way to protect unwitting clients from the lure of a Faux PO provider. A more comprehensive system is necessary to help identify the best providers.

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My Bad: An Apology

HRO Today

By Elliot H. Clark

I try to teach my children that when you cause offense to be the first to apologize and give an apology before it’s requested. I need to practice what I preach. I made a mistake in the delivery of a message, but I want to explain that I feel the message has some merit and fits within the mission of HRO Today.

First, the mistake. I was trying—in an entertaining way—to review the HR angle of some social, political, and international issues. I knew before the event that it was a difficult tightrope to walk. I wanted to get the audience to think about controversial issues, but to communicate with humor. It backfired.

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CEO’s Letter: Engaging Your Engine

HRO Today

By Elliot H. Clark

I can remember as a young geek watching episodes of the science fiction series Star Trek. Captain Kirk and his series successor Captain Picard would gesture with their hands and say the word “engage,” and the warp engines would magically whisk the starship to light-speed. Unfortunately for HR professionals—who are not in the Starfleet—we have to deal with warp engines made of people. We have talked so much about talent acquisition the past few years, but now, as the labour markets heat up, organisations need to be laser-focused on retention and engagement. Most companies already are. But how are industry providers of engagement surveys and consulting services faring? This year, HRO Today Global will launch a Baker’s Dozen Customer Satisfaction survey for Employee Engagement Survey Services to find out just that.

Employee engagement is one of the most esoteric areas of HR and one of the most important. It is similar to the search for perfection and organisations will not achieve good outcomes without moving the bar further. It is like the old religious paradox: Is God so powerful that he/she can create a rock that even God cannot lift? The answer is yes— create the rock then will more power to lift it. This way, the clergy even got the Lord on a treadmill of constant striving that requires at least one day a week of personal time to recover from. I do not know a single CHRO who is not focused on employee engagement or who is completely happy with their result. Even if someone ever got a 100 per cent rating, HR would re-evaluate the process because they couldn’t accept the possibility of a perfect result.

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CEO Letter: Ours is Not to Reason Why

clarkBy Elliot H. Clark

Seven years ago I was given the privilege to lead HRO Today and since then many people have asked me questions about the Baker’s Dozen programs that we run each year. Most of the questions are about how we do it and a few on why we do it. I was reminded of the why this year when we had two providers tell us they wanted to opt out of their participation.

I want to be clear. This program is not “optional” based on a provider’s choice.

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