The time to think about the future is now.
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.
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
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
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
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.
PricewaterhouseCoopers Trendsetter Barometer interviewed CEOs of 360 privately held product and service companies identified in the media as being among the fastest growing
PricewaterhouseCoopers Trendsetter Barometer interviewed CEOs of 360 privately held product and service companies identified in the media as being among the fastest growing
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
If your new hires are falling asleep during orientation, it may be time to revamp your program.
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.
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.
Dont get phased out of the big picture.
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
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.
Intrepid Learning Solutions, the foremost provider of learning and performance
7 rules to follow when implementing a training and development program. Part II
Last months column initiated a discussion on training and development as one more functional area of HR and as an opportunity to expand an organizations reach and impact by seeking external sources to start or enhance internal training efforts. With the limitless opportunities provided by the Internet as well as an organizations own resources, the possibilities that you as a professional have within your reach are now limited only by your own creativity. This month, we look at where to begin undertaking major initiatives in this state-of-the-art approach to one of the most important aspects of HR and the organizations agenda. Expanding on your training and development outline involves seven simple steps. The goal is to not get complicated.
1. The first rule is to start with the end in mind. Determine where you are today and where you should be in the desired state. Make a list of your current offerings. Include everything orientation, OSHA-mandated programs, everything! Start small with a meaningful timeline for your organization. Then, as you become more confident in your approach, continue to expand your reachone step (and one program) at a time.
2. Look at what you will need to get from here to there. Define the details of successful training in terms of effective business results. Think of your training and development team globallyevery available resource is a potential strategic partner.
3. Look for the low-hanging fruit. Identify where you will be able to quickly demonstrate success with improved performance directly related to a training program. Consider the most effective format, keeping in mind the low cost and fast turnaround that may be available if you are willing to use the Internet (and intranet) for some or all of your program offerings. Eliminate any training where effectiveness cannot be measured. By all means, this is not to suggest the elimination of something as integral as orientation. Instead, use it as an opportunity to determine what an effective program would accomplish.
4. Under-promise and over-deliver. Scan the marketplace for the most effective training for your own environment, keeping your understanding of the ability of your workforce in mind.
5. Network to confirm your preliminary findings while seeing what others are doing. Look at all of your mail to determine who is doing what. Scan the table of contents of professional periodicals (in addition to HRO Today, consider HR Magazine, Training, and HR Executive) as possible sources of vendors and programs. Review your hard-copy junk mail for show and conference information, along with local college and university course offerings. Get on e-mail lists to see what offerings are available over the Internet. Enlist your own team and any others identified as training and development advocates throughout your organization to be on the lookout wherever and whenever a terrific training program appears, regardless of the source. Even television programs feature Tom Peters, Steven Covey, and a variety of other personalities who may be effective for your own organizational needs.
6. Survey your organization. Find out what various managers and employees perceive as important needs for themselves and others in the organization. Include senior management and prowl for sponsors, advocates, potential early adopters, and employees who might serve as subject matter experts, as well as potential nay-sayers.
7. Finalize your approach. When it comes down to the finalists (three is a good number), experience the training for yourself if you havent already. See who you want to facilitate the training modulesconsider the greater impact from internal versus external presenters.
While all this is going on, use whatever you have decided to incorporate as the first steps in the process of building a master training plan.
Next month, I will address the third and last segment on the topic of outsourcing training and development: a training program that all organizations should have without exceptionorientation.
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