How Digital is your HR?


How Digital is your HR?

I must confess that a few weeks ago I told me son to put a 'cork in it'.

He had overstepped the mark and I thought it was time to make it clear that what he had said was not on.

But he laughed and asked me what a cork was!

HR is being disrupted globally by digital and some businesses are still using corks to solve new problems.

We work with clients around Australia helping them to define their Digital HR strategy and roll out their Digital HR roadmap.

It does surprise us how often client think that Digital is technology and that is only an enabler for HR. Actually, that approach is the old cork.

Digital HR is transforming the traditional model of HR and no longer playing a subordinate role.


The role of Digital HR for workers

Digital is about driving the whole worker experience and driving engagement. The consumerisation of HR. Digital is really an extension of our arm (much like Apple marketing told us with the original iPod) and we want the experience of HR to be at our fingertips, anywhere and anytime.


The role of Digital HR for management

From a management perspective, Digital HR is about helping their business move through the Digital HR maturity model to achieve Digital HR actualisation. The benefits to the business with greater maturity include:

  1. Driving employee engagement
  2. Gains in efficiency through automation
  3. Gains in data management for better compliance and business storytelling
  4. Gains in predictive analytics and reporting
  5. Potential for driving business innovation
Digital HR Maturity Model.png


Digital HR maturity model

In helping clients understand their Digital HR maturity we help them plot their HR domains on a heat map.

Digital HR Maturity Heat Map.png


Digital HR maturity heat map

After plotting the current state HR domains we then develop a future state and a strategy to achieve Digital HR maturity that will achieve the intended benefits.

FK is a leader in Digital HR that can help companies HR become truly digital


What can help or hinder Digital transformation?


What can help or hinder Digital transformation?

Here's a great read for those who seek to become digital ready.

This article raises the following key obstacles that can hinder effective Digital HR transformation in businesses, and inform some of the challenges we face on client sites. A greater awareness and stock take of these prior to our work commencing on client sites informs and enables us to adapt our approach.


  • Slow or stalled decision-making caused by internal politics, competing priorities, or attempting to reach consensus.
  • Inability to prove business value of digital through traditional ROI calculations, resulting in lack of senior management sponsorship.
  • Too much focus on technology rather than willingness to address deep change and rethink how people work.
  • Lack of understanding operational issues at the decision-making level and difficulties when going from theory to practice.
  • Fear of losing control by management or central functions, and fears that employees will waste time on social platforms.

Work culture

Work cultures can either accentuate or alleviate the above obstacles. Of these the following were identified in the article:

  • Strong, shared sense of purpose vs. weak, inconsistent sense of purpose
  • Freedom to experiment vs. absolute compliance to rules and processes
  • Distributed decision-making vs. centralized, hierarchical decision-making
  • Open to the influence of the external world vs. internally focused and closed to the external world

Not surprisingly, of the above cultures the article identified that a strong, shared sense of purpose alleviates many obstacles, especially those of internal politics. 

A strong sense of purpose alleviates political resistance: people are moving in the same direction driven by shared values. A low sense of purpose makes it difficult for people to come to agreements and decisions. They are five times more likely to face obstacles from internal politics, five times more likely to be concerned about employees wasting time and three times more likely to suffer from lack of senior management sponsorship than organizations where there is a strong, shared sense of purpose.

This is one of the biggest cultural challenges we face.

We continue to challenge our teams on how we can best assess obstacles and organisational culture readiness for the digital HR projects we engage on a weekly basis.

View the full article on HBR here:


Port Stephen's Council on their Award Winning HRS Implementation

Port Stephen's Council on their Award Winning HRS Implementation

Recently at HR Tech Fest in Melbourne, we hosted a series of podcasts live, and caught up with a client of ours, Melissa Rodway, HR Manager at Port Stephen's Council. They have recently won a stack of awards for their implementation of their HRS programme and have been around the conference circuit talking and it.

Port Stephen’s Council is very proud of it says Melissa. It's a fabulous story, and we have been able to receive a few accolades in our industry which has been great. Who would have thought we would have won a technology award! We certainly didn't think we'd be in that space five years ago.

What were 2 or 3 things that have made it a success for you? How did you end up where you are now, what's made the difference?

The first thing would be implementing Australian business excellence framework as the way that we do business. The organisation really helped us to understand our people and our processes and the way that we do business. The second thing is around the preparation and taking our time to really understand what we needed. When we started out, what we actually thought we wanted wasn't actually what we needed in the end. That preparation was really the key. Thirdly it was having the right people in our team to be able to fulfil that project and get the business to where it is today, it was really important to have key players as part of that process.

It was all about preparation, getting our business process sorted in order to allow for a successful implementation and documenting all of those processes and identifying those accompanying guides. This took us 12 months. It wasn't something we just did overnight, it was something that we had to implement as part of our day to day operations and find the time to do it.

Future Knowledge was involved in the implementation of part of Cornerstone OnDemand and we had a great experience working with the Port Stephen’s Council team on this project.

Daniel (Future Knowledge Consultant) shares that the team was really good to work with because they were very receptive to changing ideas, very innovative. So if you came up with bit of a radical approach to a problem that they had, they weren't too concerned to go down that path. They were willing to try it out and give things a go, and I think that's part of their success that they just really worked well with us as a team.

Melissa talks about how we also had teams spread across Sydney and Melbourne. Varying locations are not always the easiest to work around however we were able to make the remote working model work really well. Everybody was dedicated and committed to that process, and we had buy in and commitment up front from the senior leadership team and also the people that were involved in that project to say that if we're going to make this work, then we need to make sure that we're available every week to speak to our partners in Future Knowledge to make sure that we're able to troubleshoot any issues and talk about any of those radical changes that we're able to implement.

Now 18 months down the track, the honeymoon period is over and the implementation buzz has happened. We're starting to repeat things and also refine them too. We’ve got a much better handle on the system and the way that it's being implemented and used in the organisation, I know I'll be able to sit back and go, "Oh okay, that works really great, but how about if we try this, or something different moving forward to make life a little bit easier for our managers." We're certainly going through that second cycle and being able to make improvements moving forward.

Melissa, have you seen any benefits down the track that maybe you weren't expecting?

I wasn’t sure if everyone would have buy in, I've got such a diverse workforce. We've got lots of professional positions at the council but then we've got lots of operational positions as well that don't typically have access to computers on a day to day basis. So ownership from them has been a nice surprise, about coming in and spending the time, about using the system and trying to make their day to day lives a little bit easier. We hoped for the best, but they are actually using it and really enjoying it, so it's great.

That's excellent to see there was a good result for the users, but how about HR's? Is there a perception of HR change, do people look at you guys like you're the innovators now almost like you're the apple of your place?

It would be nice to think that everybody thinks of us like that, probably not. But we've probably got a lot of respect from the senior leadership team and our executives around those business improvements that we've been able to make. We've delivered on our promises and are being able to prove to them the results we said we would be able to achieve up front. That has certainly been a really positive impact on the organisation.

And what’s outstanding is that you’ve already achieved your internal investment payback period. Most organisations would be looking at a 3 to 5 year payback period, this makes you a market leader in our opinion.

Yes, we have done it in 18 months. It was such a cumbersome, manual, ad hoc, hodge podge approach to how we did our business before that it's changed our whole world, it's been fabulous.

In terms of user adoption, how do you measure whether people are using your product or not? How do you know whether it's been adopted?

Part of our performance management process is that all users have to have what we call an individual work and development plan. We don't use the performance review type terminology. So every individual in the organisation has to have an individual work and development plan in place which is like their work plan for a 12 month period. And then we measure their success and how well they're tracking every 6 months and 12 months. So every user has to come in contact with the system at some point through that process. It also has the learning and development needs that feed into that process as well. So everybody has to take ownership around their learning and also that review process.

And we know that managers form such a critical part of the conversation around development and performance. How are your frontline leaders finding using this tool to help with that conversation?

We’ve moved to a higher level of accountability models, so I think that it's helping them to keep them honest. It adds that layer of transparency. If we know that somebody's not performing but their reviews are coming back to say that they’re outstanding then we can start to have some of those conversations with what's happened to that authentic conversation. So I think that it definitely adds a layer of transparency, which means that they're having to have those authentic conversations with their staff. And because it just isn't about their behaviours or their performances, it's actually about what they're achieving in their work plans. I think that also aids in them being able to have those real discussions with the staff.

You've implemented four modules of Cornerstone OnDemand. Performance, learning, succession, connect. So you've been about with a unified talent management suite, are you thinking of looking at other parts of it?

Yes, we've already commenced those discussions that will obviously be reliant on funding for the organisation but we'd love to be able to implement the recruitment at the on-boarding modules as the next step for us in our organisation so that we've got that whole suite of programmes that's totally reliant on Cornerstone.

And that decision to go ‘suite over best’ you could have ended up in a position where you went out and bought a learning tool, and a succession tool, and a recruitment tool. You could have ended up with 5 or 7 or whatever, and at this point in time you've ended up with 1 vendor. Was that a hard decision to come to?

Well actually, we've got well, emulation to that talent space we've got one, but we do have a separate vendor for the recruitment. But I think it was more around the business need. So as long as we're achieving what we set out to do, and given that Cornerstone has been able to provide us with a whole suite in relation to that talent management that links and is relevant and produces results, that was really key for us.

It’s a strong value proposition isn't it?

Most definitely. And that partnering and relationship was imperative as part of that whole process.

Thank you Melissa for sharing this great story of success around HRS at Port Stephen's Council.

Listen to other great conversations on our podcast here.

How Atlassian attracts the best talent with high touch candidate experiences

How Atlassian attracts the best talent with high touch candidate experiences

Atlassian is one of Sydney’s greatest success stories to date. An enterprise software company that develops products for software developers, project managers, and content management, best known for its issue tracking application, Jira. Atlassian is also well known for its quirky and down to earth style and has been named as Australia’s Best Employer.

Since its conception in 2002, Atlassian has grown to serve over 60,000 customers globally, including 85 of the Fortune 100, and many million users worldwide. 

Recently at HR Tech Fest in Melbourne, we hosted a series of podcasts live, and caught up with Caitriona Staunton, Head of Recruitment at Atlassian. We were interested to find out how Atlassian manages to attract the very best talent and how they create high touch candidate experiences in their recruiting strategy.

Embed company values into the hiring experience.

One of the key takeaways was to think beyond the individual, think beyond the candidate that you're interviewing and think about everyone that's impacted by the candidates’ decision to join your company. Atlassian always try to think about the full picture, including the partner and family.

But despite their strong brand presence with engineering talent in Australia, Atlassian doesn’t just hire engineers.  When they look at all the different geographies around the world that they hire from, they are a bit more of a developing brand, particularly amongst the designer and product manager skillsets, so they need to work a bit harder on this. 

This is compounded by the fact that the technology industry today is full of great people who work in the industry who have endless options available to them when it comes to their next employer, so it’s important to never getting complacent.

"We never let ourselves forget that there are lots of awesome employers out there and great people want to work for them, so despite Atlassian’s strong brand presence, we need to work pretty hard to attract people too."

So what’s the secret to finding exceptional employees?

Regardless of what skill set they’re looking for, Atlassian wants to find people that will resonate with their company values. Atlassian places huge importance on their company values and they’re very confident that they are the secret sauce to finding great employees. For every single candidate that they hire into the company, they make sure that they have a dedicated interview based solely on the candidate’s suitability to Atassian’s values. This is the one thing that really drives quality across every discipline they hire for.

5 core values that guide Atlassian’s business  

Open company, no BS / Build with heart & balance / Don’t #@!% the Customer / Play, as a team / Be the change you seek.

They were created way back when the two CEO's posed a challenge to a group of employees: ‘You are going to Mars, you're going to create a brand new society there, which colleagues will you bring and what characteristics will those employees share.?”
They came up with 5 values that were essentially an affirmation of what the company was already living and breathing. To this day, these values have never changed. 

Company culture should evolve and change with every new person brought on board, but a company’s values should remain true.

The original idea was that no matter how big they got, they would ensure that these values held true. This is a real testament to what Atlassian has done from the very early days. Everyone who has come in has had to take forward and infuse their own DNA and create an ongoing culture. When you go from 5 people to 2000 globally, and you’re able to retain consistency with culture and respect the same values, it’s a real testament to the strength of Atlassian’s vision in the first place. 

How do you keep the values at the forefront?

Caitriona believes that the dedicated interview helps. And from the first day the employee starts at Atlassian, they spend a lot of time ensuring that everyone really understands the core of those values and what they mean. Employees also talk about these values a lot, they have fostered a blogging culture internally where employees blog about what they’re thinking and engage in open debates.

People challenge and debate the values of how they work together, and there is collaboration going on which is quite outstanding. That's a sign of a very healthy culture. Toxic cultures result in people going at each other rather than being able to critique and ensure that people are lifting themselves. 

Atlassian also has a pure awards system which is called Kudos. The idea is to empower employees to decide who they should reward, and for what. Rather than requiring a manager sign off for who you can give a Kudos voucher to, employees can directly reward a colleague. Atlassian allow employees to make that decision themselves and interestingly it is self-policed. As a result, Atlassian has rarely had to step in and get too involved. That is a really strong sign of a good culture.

Does Atlassian talk about these things when they go out hunting for talent?

100%. It starts with recruitment where they really spend the time to get to know their target audience and to understand what they care about. It would be really easy to put their cool office spaces and parks at the centre of their advertising, but that’s not what they default to. 

The 3 things that matter most to Atlassian candidates are:

1.    company culture and values
2.    the people that they're working with
3.    their ability to have impact on the world. 

Knowing this about their candidates, they choose to put these drivers at the forefront of their branding, their advertising and their entire candidate experience from when they first reach out to a candidate, all the way through to when the candidate starts with them. 

"It’s about taking culture and values and making sure its front and centre of what we do."

What channels do Atlassian use for finding these people?

•    Referrals play a key role. As Atlassian’s employees love working there, they are very quick to refer great people who are well aligned to Atlassian’s values.
•    Highly targeted advertising to the audience they want vs trying to attract as many people as possible to apply. 
•    Big budget and highly creative campaigns which they have become known for. These are usually used when they’re trying to break into a new market with new talent pools but where their brand is still developing.

Recruitment is marketing and the organisations that get that are the ones that are really starting to thrive in attracting quality candidates. 

A lot of organisations see recruitment as a process, i.e. ‘I’ve got a vacancy, and I go through a process of sourcing and hiring’. But Atlassian’s vision is different, their recruitment team see themselves as product marketers. What’s also different is that it’s all about getting that message out to their audience. They don’t have a sales team, rather it's a unique concept of enterprise software. So their recruiters really are their only sales people.

New technology is on the cusp of being launched to give high touch candidate experiences

One of Atlassian’s challenges is that they have candidates all around the world, yet one of their recruiters most effective tools is giving candidates an office tour to show them all of the awesome spaces and the people they would work with. So they are about to leverage new technology to be able to give that same experience to candidates, regardless of where they are, in the form of a virtual reality office tour. 

Candidates can choose their own adventure as they walk through the office, for example ask employees about how they build products or explore daily rituals, perks and of course their values. It’s about using technology to bring the office to candidates all over the world, giving a sense of what life would be like at Atlassian and what their view from their desk looks like.

Thanks to Caitriona for sharing this great journey of talent expedition at Atlassian. Listen to other great conversations on our podcast here.

We attended: HR Tech Fest 2016

We attended: HR Tech Fest 2016

Key highlights from HR Tech Fest Melbourne

I recently attended the HR Tech Fest at Crown in Melbourne. Designed to be something like a corporate version of the Royal Melbourne Show, the vendors with resplendent Vegas like stands utilised technology to attract potential clients. I was offered ‘show bags’ and prizes using QR codes to enter into draws to win, in the meanwhile providing the vendors with ‘big data’ contact information.

Outside the glamour of the stands were topical sessions designed to build HR insights through thought leaders such as Jason Averbrook and HR professionals from various industries. In all I attended four sessions, and here were the 4 key highlights:


  • Make values personal

  • Make HR all about the business

  • HR Tech is an enabler of business outcomes

  • Transformation must align with a deep story


Make values personal

Atlassian is an innovative Australian company which promotes its values based culture as a core approach to attract and retain the best talent. Its non-conventional approach to values and their rigorous application and integration of values at a personal value has seen Atlassian become a destination company for many. Rather than opting for the typical ‘excellence’, ‘innovation’, and ‘integrity’ values they have successfully built a strong values culture that people identify with. "We don’t X#$%^% the customer', "No BullS#T", and "Be the Change you seek" have made Atlassian a destination for great talent.

No doubt this highlights that values more than a pay check attract and motivate people to join an organisation. This aligns well with marketing guru Kotler who contends that we are in the age of marketing 3.0 where people are attracted to organisations due to causes that align with their values. Strong values can enable companies to attract and keep the best talent.

                                                                                 Listen here for an interview with the Head of Recruiting of Atlassian, on the values that                                                                                  drive their organisation.

Make HR all about business

HR functions can tend to build technologies and solve problems that are HR related but this diminishes their overall priority to enable the achievement of business outcomes. Jason Averbrook in his session contended that business plans from HR should be focused on the governance framework of 30% HR, 30% IT, and 40% on the business.

This is the balance that business often gets wrong. HR must work more effectively to understand the overall strategic priorities of the business to ensure that the C level gets interested. This means that mapping benefits to end user customers is critical in building the business case.

As a result, Averbrook contends that both efficiency (cost savings) and effectiveness (increase in ROI & value creation) need to be captured in the business case. Certainly making HR about business outcomes is at the core of any technology transformation project.

Are you ready for the Future of Work? For more from Jason, listen here.



"Business plans from HR should be focused on the governance framework of 30% HR, 30% IT, and 40% on the business."

HR Tech is an enabler of business outcomes

With the challenges of maintaining and scaling a workforce to the seasonal demands of retail, the traditional approach of creating a job advert on Seek and asking people to apply with a resume are highly ineffective. Not only is this approach costly (up to $4,000 per staff member), it takes a significant amount of time to recruit the right staff to manage the contingent challenges of the retail industry. Welcome LiveHire.

LiveHire is built on the notion of an online talent community. As such presenter General Pants Co GM of HR said that there are over 40,000 people in their talent community. The use of videos and accessibility of key information captured by the LiveHire tool have enabled General Pants Co to quickly adapt to the market needs and ensure that demands are met. The recent batch recruitment of 500 staff has been effectively supported by LiveHire, reducing the time to hire from 68 to 24 days.

No doubt HR technology can be a strong enabler of business outcomes.

Hear more about how General Pants Co is tackling the season recruitment demand with Live Hire.

Transformation must align with a deep story

Flavia D’Alo from Deloitte, unpacked a number of gems in relation to organisational transformation projects. Using the example of a caterpillar she contended that a butterfly grows from the evolution of its DNA rather than a step change transformation. The implication for transformation projects is that the journey of change needs to have clear threads related to a deep story that people and organisations have in response to their values. As a result Flavia contends that the key questions that must be asked in any transformation/evolution project are:

  • Why? Why are we doing this project again? How does it relate with where we have been and where we are going?
  • Do we have the capability (can a butterfly result from the caterpillar?)?
  • Do we have the capacity? 
  • Yes, but? What does this mean for the individual who agrees with the project but must see part of themselves in the intended outcomes?

Flavia spoke about the need to release the mythology of consensus thinking on transformation. She contended that ‘buy in’ is never really attainable and is only a myth. What is most important is getting the disruptors and innovators on-board.

In closing

The HR Tech Fest was a great opportunity to connect with vendors and HR professionals. It was great to be inspired and to learn how companies are addressing business problems by developing effective HR strategies and utilising technology as a strong enabler.


James is passionate about helping people and companies innovate and transform to achieve better business outcomes. He has been involved in a number of culture and business transformation projects over the past decade and in a variety of industries.

Are you making the most of the power of video?

Are you making the most of the power of video?

A 1 minute video is worth 1.8 million words

Whether you're marketing a new learning offering, encouraging social learning or you need to explain a complex new process, there are a number of ways using video can help.

Video is here to stay and has many useful and proven applications. Optimising how you use video to connect with your employees through Cornerstone is an important step to keeping your users engaged and providing fresh and innovative content.
Join Claudia Wentworth & Daniel Basile, Consultants at Future Knowledge, in this 30 minute masterclass webinar which introduces what makes video great and how you can get creative and keep things interesting for your employees, including:
-Why video works
-The many types of video
-What makes a video appealing & engaging
-Using videos in Cornerstone

Is video killing the face-to-face star?

Is video killing the face-to-face star?

Goldman Sachs deal with some pretty large numbers in their recruiting process. Each year, the US investment bank hires over 2,500 students as analysts; some as a part of their summer program, but that figure also includes full time positions. The company hires from around 225 colleges and universities across the United States alone.
But Goldman Sachs are doing something incredible with their recruiting process. They have scrapped face-to-face campus interviews for first-round undergraduate candidates and have replaced them with video interviews. This isn’t a case of a few face-to-face interviews being scrapped; Goldman Sachs receive thousands of submissions every year.
For a company of that size and stature to throw away their traditional process of phone interviews followed by face to face interviews, this should be a watershed moment for recruitment… right?
For the moment, that doesn’t seem to be the case in Australia, even though the technology has been around for a while. The way we interact with people in an everyday sense has changed forever. Video calling is now a mainstream asset; thanks to Facetime and Skype; and companies have leveraged this technology for recruiting on occasion.
For example; if you needed to interview someone for a role in Melbourne but the candidate was based in Sydney, it would make a lot of sense to hold an initial interview over Skype, rather than having the candidate travel all the way to you. It makes sense, but it isn’t as widespread as it perhaps should be.
Hirevue, for example, specialise in video interviewing, but also use predictive analytics and data points from interviews to build an ideal candidate profile. It can then use that profile to align potential candidates with you. Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) have been around for a long time and many large businesses use them. Most ATS providers would have some form of partnership with video interviewing companies. The technology is there and is accessible. It shouldn’t be difficult for companies to use it.
It would make sense, for example, for a company with multiple stores around Australia to send a list of questions to candidates for them to respond to. As a recruiter, you can immediately get a feel for whether or not they might be a good fit for your culture even before you have met face-to-face.
So why are Australian companies not embracing video interviews? 

There are a few limitations, the obvious ones include poor internet connections. But the key issue may lie with a traditional Australian market. The technology is there to be used, but it is such a big change from the normal process.

When you think about it, the current recruitment process is almost ingrained in us. You submit a form online, you may then have a phone interview, and you definitely have a face to face interview. Australia has just accepted that it has always been the way of doing things. So surely, there is no hope for video interviewing when we are just too stubborn about change? The best example is performance reviews. The traditional performance review process seemed to be standing the test of time; but what we are now seeing is a gradual shift away from that process.
There is still hope for video interviews. Just a few years ago, people didn’t seem to have the right tools. Phones didn’t have cameras and computers didn’t have webcams, but now everyone has become used to streaming videos and watching videos on their phones. 
There is also a benefit for candidates. You can attend the interview from any location you want; just set up the camera, wear a suit on the top half and wear your pyjama pants out of view!
There is a role for video interviewing in Australian businesses. 
Video interviews are great for high volume roles. They can be integrated with your Applicant Tracking System. Potential candidates can go right through the process and submit the video interview ahead of time. Video interviews could definitely quickly replace phone or face-to-face interviews
For recruiters; it would save a huge amount of time. The amount of work involved with telephone interviews can’t be underestimated. Frantically writing notes during a call is one thing, but having to work your day around a scheduled call can be frustrating.
That being said, if you are recruiting for a senior position with more than one round of interviews, you would need a face-to-face session at some stage. The process may require a presentation and it isn’t feasible for the candidate or the recruiter to present over video.
While video interviews would be able to tell recruiters more than a phone interview, you really can’t beat the human interaction you get from being in a room with someone. Face-to-face interviews can give a really good read on whether or not the candidate could fit into your culture and that can be lost through video. A combination of both video interviews and face-to-face interviews across various stages of the recruitment process could be the best way to go.
The benefits are clearly there and video interviews could fit into most, if not all, interview processes at some stage.
But the major resistance to video interviewing stems from one simple fact. 
It’s a disruption to the normal process. It’s a massive shift from what has always been done. Perhaps businesses are hesitant to adopt it because they feel it will take some time to learn the new process.
But the next time you are on a train, look at the amount of people who are using smartphones. People are uploading videos to Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram and are using Facetime and Skype to connect remotely. 

Everyone has access to this technology and are able to use it in their everyday life. Why can’t recruiting do the same?

Are recruiters even reading resumes anymore?

Are recruiters even reading resumes anymore?

Resumes are bias.

They change from job to job; the language is slightly altered to meet the relevant company’s key messages and language. The selection of references are always bias; why would a candidate nominate a manager that they didn’t get on well with? There are even companies, like CV Check, that offer a service that assesses resumes and calls out any fabrications. Should recruiters trust the information they get from candidates?

You can find out so much more about people in an age of Facebook and Twitter. Many job applications can come through LinkedIn or Seek profiles. However, online profiles like LinkedIn are fundamentally flawed because candidates still write it themselves. Why should recruiters trust resumes and LinkedIn profiles? Instead, shouldn’t recruiters be placing their trust in their own rigorous recruitment process?

Many businesses still ask for resumes, but instead run them through resume parsing tools within their Applicant Tracking System. Generally, the only information taken from the resume is the candidate previous work history and their education. Recruiters aren’t necessarily interested in a second place finish in the high school javelin competition. That information may be important later on in the process, but initially, recruiters will only take the work experience and education details from the resume.

When it comes to the selection process, resumes and LinkedIn profiles should have no bearing.  
In particular, LinkedIn should only be used for candidate identification; the selection process should be testing if the candidate has the suitable skills.

Recruiters are moving away from the ‘Upload resume and submit’ process to asking some pre-screening questions. For example: “Have you ever worked in retail?” in a retail position. It might seem obvious, but it can cut down the number of suitable candidates. Companies are able to remove applications that aren’t relevant to them based on specific pre-screening questions and begin to schedule face-to-face sessions to with candidates who have the relevant experience or education. It’s in these sessions where recruiters can begin to see whether or not the candidate would be a good cultural fit. With a slim candidate list, recruiters can begin to explore the rest of the resume and judge if it is bullet proof.

This is resulting in interview questions being asked up front, instead of what would generally be asked in a phone interview. Questions around salary expectations and travel requirements can now be asked in the online application form, instead of being asked much later down the track.

Many have proclaimed the resume to be dead.
Are uploaded resumes even relevant anymore? It has been a process that so many businesses have followed for a long time, but now there is so much information recruiters can find out about candidates before they even walk through the door.

On the other hand, candidates also have access to information about recruiters to get an understanding of what they might be looking for in interviews. Candidates would definitely visit LinkedIn profiles and possibly even social media profiles to find any advantage they can.

Aside from education and previous work experience, everything a company needs to know can be found on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other social media forums.
Only two components are being taken from resumes; and combined with pre-screen questions, specific application questions and a rigorous process, companies are able to build detailed profiles of candidates. We are also beginning to see a rise of video interviewing in Australia and companies are now able to get a better feel for candidates earlier in the process.

Companies shouldn’t need to trust a resume to understand whether or not a candidate would be a good for the job. Instead, they would be better placed to trust their own recruitment process to find the right person.

Companies need to be viewing recruitment and onboarding as the same process, not separate ones. The process should start with recruitment, but continue through onboarding and all the way to probation. Once hired, the candidate has proven they should have the skills for the job. The first three months before their probation should confirm if they can do the job; exposing them to feedback and giving them the opportunity to learn.

The resume only plays a small part in this whole process.

Why the traditional training approach doesn’t cut it in today’s aggressive implementation projects.

Why the traditional training approach doesn’t cut it in today’s aggressive implementation projects.

Organisations are seeking ways to refine budgets for digital transformation programs, and are seeking ways to accelerate the time it takes to implement or upgrade systems compared to what was typically set out for projects five years ago.

This is increasing the prevalence of two things:

1.  Vanilla implementations.
2.  Aggressive program timelines.

So how does this change the way we roll out technology to our people?

The combination of these two factors puts huge pressure on user adoption programs, which need to be looked at differently. 

Firstly, an out-of-the-box vanilla system will always require an organisation to change the way they operate more than if a significant system customisation program is undertaken. From an end-user perspective there is no such thing as a vanilla system. It’s just the system.

This means that there is more onus on business process design and user adoption, which need more consideration, but equally these programs reduce the technical effort required – thus shortening the time frames of the project.

Which leads us to point two.

There has been a conscious and significant reduction in the timelines planned to undertake digital transformation programs over the past five years. This aggressive approach can pay off by costing down projects and stopping the bleed of project overruns, but it can also impact the organisation’s ability to be fully prepared for the change and take full advantage of the benefits.

In some cases, the desire to ‘chase a date’ can override the desire for a perfect solution. We are seeing business process design happening later and later in project cycles - and in the case of ‘chase the date’ scenarios – we have even seen projects go live with no detailed business process design or documentation at all.

The issue is that the process design is the most integral part of any adoption program and is the foundation from which the organisation can actually embed the change. 

As a result of these current trends, there are more and more immature processes and immature system builds compared to what we were seeing five years ago.

From a user adoption perspective, traditionally we have tried to comprehensively prepare people for a go-live by providing information and training around the future state. We would look at what the change would mean for people, how their work would change from a process perspective and how they would use the system in the future state.

Typically, in the lead up to go-live, time would be spent preparing and deploying learning that supported the change, whether it was classroom-based training, eLearning, or any other form of training. By the time go-live came around, people would be well prepared to do their job in the future state. There would then be some support and transition to BAU activities, to make sure the business is up and running, with backup from user support material developed in the lead up to go-live.

However, there are a number of critical dependencies to enable this to happen, including system readiness, business process design and understanding of who will do what (largely driven from process design).

Consequently, it is impractical to use this strategy on most current digital transformation projects and, to be honest, it can become a bit of a waste of money. New ways of approaching user adoption need to be undertaken and, on the most part, a drive towards learning being embedded through various strategies after go-live is the way to go.

This is part I of a two-part blog post. Part II looks at developing effective user adoption strategies. 

Brave new world for HR

Brave new world for HR

Its time to move HR to the digital world.

The increasing digitisation of the world is changing how we live and work, and how business is organised and conducted. HR has a role in supporting organisations through this transformation from two key perspectives.

1.       HR can help business leaders and employees shift to a digital mind-set, a digital way of managing, organising, and leading change.

2.       HR has the opportunity to revolutionise the entire employee experience by reimagining HR processes, systems, and the HR organisation via new digital platforms, apps, and ways of delivering HR services.  

In this brave new world of work, HR will become smaller. 

New organizational structures will emerge to help HR professionals collaborate closely with other business functions and HR will begin to behave more like marketing—analysing employee data, creating customized talent offerings, and marketing and branding talent and HR processes. Talent management will become an everyday activity for employees, part and parcel of what they do in their roles.  Employees themselves will increasingly take more responsibility for their own careers and will seek to partner with their employers in order to grow and develop both professionally and personally.  Leaders and managers will also seek more proactive ways to manage talent in order to build and engage high performing teams and provide an environment where individuals will be self-motivated to contribute.  This is a continued evolution of the “employer-of-choice” imperative of the past decade.

HR will also play a bigger role evaluating external technologies, and building interfaces between them and the organization’s own data and systems.  

Industry expert and thought leader, Josh Bersin, describes a “bold HR” that has an approach that encourages talent and learning leaders to think differently, innovate with new and simpler solutions and leverage data and analytics to deliver the recruiting, engagement, retention, learning, talent and technology strategies and solutions that drive business value.  The pervasiveness of technology is pushing HR to become expert at mobile applications, analytics, video learning and the implementation of talent management software.

Digital disruption promises to have significant implications for business and HR strategy in today’s organisations. 

HR departments need to focus on transforming their own function so as to lead the change that will be required in order to adapt to the new way of working. 

Digital HR: the connection between people and tech

Digital HR: the connection between people and tech

What is Digital HR all about? Its not just the systems that we use to manage information around employees and to deliver the different types of services (be it learning, performance management or career planning), but it’s really about the intersection of technology and people in organisations, and having a focus on a broader frame of reference around this connection.

Here are some of the key trends we're seeing:

Apps are king; mobile-first

Realistically if we look at what we do in our daily lives, we don’t really like logging into systems anymore to get the information we need. Those databases and systems are moving into the background and that has got to happen in organisations too. That layer of interaction and engagement between people and technology has to be around apps and be driven from mobile devices first, and other modes such as desktops secondly.

Cloud-based systems move to the background

We need to be framing our thinking and decisions around the mobile first mindset, as we’re continuing to move systems (whether they’re cloud based systems or traditional client server on premise style solutions), into the background. It’s really important to have those systems doing their thing but it’s actually how to get interactions with those systems, and do it with ease.

Ease of use – Buy vs Build

We have to build interfaces that are much more like Facebook or Whatsapp, the prevailing solutions that people use in their personal lives. Increasingly we are going to see a buy vs build discussion coming back in. And this started because the appetite in organisations for particular and differentiated ways to leverage technology is taking us away from the off the shelf models and the one size fits all mindset that perhaps the SAS solutions dictated.

These last 3 points are really critical in terms of how you prepare yourself to become a truly digital HR function:

Need for enterprise architecture and roadmap

We can’t overlook our friends in IT and the need for a true enterprise architecture framework into which we can plug in these different apps and solutions and have them support and be accessible where they need to be. This is really where IT has to move into being the facilitators and enablers. We have to partner up with IT stakeholders and the business itself, to develop a roadmap of how we are going to adapt technology in the future. This is something we spend a lot of time helping our clients to frame.

Choose your providers wisely

It is also critically important to choose your providers wisely. There are a lot of vendors in the HR technology space, it is massively invested in, there is a lot of venture capital money going in and there are some vendors that aren’t keeping up. But there are also some vendors that are paving the way. It’s really important to choose suppliers that can move with the times, innovate at the right pace and are willing to form partnerships with their customers as well. We cannot stress enough how important it is to make great judgements not just of the solutions of the technology, but of the vendor itself.

Programs not Projects

No longer are we setting up a HR systems project that’s a one off activity with a kick off at the start and a go live at the finish which leads to 5 -10 years of pain before we can upgrade or move to another technology. We’ve got to be moving away from that paradigm to more agile modes of implementation, into a truly programmised model that is about continuous improvement and is about continuous adoption solutions as they come along. It’s about being comfortable living in a world of perpetual beta where you will try some things, some will work, some will not but you’ve got the ability to adapt and flick the switch off and on and quickly adjust to the times. That’s the core of what we talk about when we consider Digital HR, it’s exciting and it’s a very important time to be in HR.

We are technologists

As HR people, we can no longer be luddites, when it comes to technology. We are technologists. We have to be able to understand how technology allows us to deliver the service and how it enables people in our organisation to support the business effectively. We’ve got to be leaders in that. We can’t just let others take the lead in technology. It’s really important that we understand the business challenges and the outcomes of those. We constantly get asked how HR can be seen at the table. It’s really simple. Understand the broader business challenges and think about how you can align people and technology to support those outcomes. If you can keep that single frame of reference, then we will all do a lot better.

We’re keen for organisations to get away from this notion of adopting best practice. What we’re challenging you with is to focus on what differentiates. To think about the scenarios or the idiosyncratic things in the organisation, that are differentiators. Not idiosyncratic because they’re poor practice of poor ways of doing things. Seek to understand what it is that makes you special, what’s the special sauce or DNA that makes your organisation what it is? And build solutions around those points of differentiation. Don’t just adopt the most common practice which is what best practice means. Don’t take the vendors lead on just adopting modules of software, because that’s their language. Focus on the process, focus on the value stream and the value chain that supports the business challenge or outcome. Seek to adopt technology to address that process level, not at a module by module basis.

Don’t dwell on what is the best way to do things. Don’t seek perfection. Look for some problems to fix today and get stuck into it. It’s an exciting time. 

HR Technology: What lies ahead?

HR Technology: What lies ahead?

We often have the opportunity to meet and discuss with a variety of people from university professors to business thinkers, futurists and analysts in our space and it’s very exciting to see how workforces are going to interact in this digital world that is upon us. Here are some of the megatrends.


Addressing the megatrends: think futurist.

Bring your own Data

This will be a big shift over the next 5-10 years. Currently we build HR and payroll systems to record and keep a masterfile of employees and it is very much owned by the organisation and lives as a single frame of reference around your time with an organisation. 

“There is definitely going to be an increasing movement towards the ownership of data going to employees and candidates themselves." David Guazzarotto, CEO of FK

It’s a bit like where Linkedin is today. It will be the standard of what we are looking at in terms of employees profiles and master files. There will be a time not too distant where employees will bring their own master files. They will plug that into your HRS and you will take what you need in your organisation’s context, and you will add to it so that things you provide the employee such as L&D experiences and performance reviews will form a part of not just the file for their time spent with the organisation, but inputs into a dataset that the employee will take elsewhere.

A point we’ve heard numerous analysts talk about is that organisations are very much behind the eight ball already, and that there are third parties like LinkedIn that know more about your employees than you right now. The industry has a lot of work to do to think this through and take a leap forward.

Robots are coming

Yes, Robots ARE coming. Automation is continuing to impact work at all number of levels. And we’re not just seeing that in the obvious places. People think of robots as taking over unskilled jobs on manufacturing lines, but increasingly we are seeing automation of jobs that are higher value and the domain of more highly educated people. Even in fields like customer service where now we can see artificial intelligence like IBMs ‘Watson’ (a question answering platform) that can come into play and actually solve problems for people using artificial intelligence without the intellect, training and experience of an individual human being. That is scary stuff but it also brings opportunity for us to look at our organisation structures, how we define the work and how we start to break down the hierarchical models that are perhaps a bit stuck in a previous industrial age.

We are seeing this particularly with starts up that grow quite quickly, and tend not to have these hierarchical organisational structures that evolve. They tend to become networks of teams centered around a specific collaborative construct that deliver outcomes on a project by project basis.

There is plenty of debate to be had around this topic but this is increasingly a mega trend that if we put our heads in the sand, the opportunity will be missed to take advantage and steer our organisations through the change that is required to support it. 

What’s the value in creating a connected mindset?

What’s the value in creating a connected mindset?

Employee experience has become a critical challenge for today's HR function

One of today’s challenges which is really critical to the HR function and the way we are engaging with people is the Employee Experience.

We are seeing a real movement away from compliant centric HR, which we’ve found has been the predominant mode for the last 20-30 years where HR have played bit of a police officer role. Whilst we might have talked about engagement being one of the key factors, really what we’re trying to aim at is getting employees to feel that they have a great experience being an employee in this organisation.

It is a very strong parallel of what we’ve seen in the world of consumer marketing, where we have seen technology be a real enabler to transition from what was a one to many relationship. When a retailer wanted to engage you, they would send you a catalogue which was sent to thousands of other people. And you would peruse that catalogue (maybe spot an offer that you were interested in) and then go to the store and chase it up to complete the transaction.

Nowadays you are more likely to get a very personalised offer, probably of the electronic nature that is based on data formed by your own preferences. This personalised offer is like a virtual gift wrapped parcel which makes you feel quite special and usually compels you to act. And that is an interesting parallel to draw.

If we as HR people can make the employee feel the same way as we do when we’re having great consumer experiences, then we’re on the right track. 

How do we do it? Take the lead from marketing:

  • Focus on attachment, not just engagement
  • Create personalised journeys for employees
  • Infuse the organisational DNA (Culture)

Take a look at the type of leads that are being used to create attachment. It’s going beyond engagement which can be done passively, and focusing on attachment which is a very connected mindset leading to a higher level of differentiation and translates from your employees to your customers very tangibly.

One of the ways to do this is by creating personal journeys. We are looking at the whole person and what’s going on in their journey from their early informative experiences in life right through to where they intersect with your organisation. At some point in that journey they’ll eventually leave and go off to do other things outside of the organisation or retire, but we’re aiming to enrich the individuals on that journey and positively infuse them with the culture or organisation DNA while they’re with you. We’re not talking about a Jones Town kind of parallel, but that positive connection and deep loyalty even in the circumstances that the stages of the journey are very short.

The intersections of workplace and personal life

We’re doing a lot of work with clients at the moment where we’re creating personal centric models for HR and learning.

If we look at the journey of an individual through their life and career on a map, it’s fascinating to see that there are so many intersections between what goes on inside the workplace, and outside the workplace and how that all comes together to form a view of the whole person.

If organisations can get more focused on how we personalise that experience, and how to bring in innovations and power the employees to take advantage of these while they are engaged with the organisation, this is what will help us get to a better space overall. 

Organisations that can provide a genuine employee experience and help enrich the journey for an individual will be the ones who profit. They will get the best people. Their people will stay longer. And they will deliver true differentiation to your organisations, above and beyond your competitors. 

What does football and HR have in common?

What does football and HR have in common?

If you’re a sports fanatic like me, this time of year is special. Not only have we had the regular annual feast of football finals, the commencement of cricket season, motor racing and golf, but this year was also a Rugby World Cup year. We’ve hardly had time to take a breath.
When I’m not watching, coaching or playing sport, I spend most of my time thinking about how organizations can improve the attraction, retention and development of their talent.

We can learn a lot from how professional sports organizations tackle these very same HR issues.

If I was to ask you what you thought the core business of, say, the San Francisco 49ers or Manchester United was, you would no doubt tell me it was football or perhaps selling merchandise. Well in my view you would be wrong. They are in the business of managing talent. Everything else is an output or a by-product of this fundamental activity of sourcing, attracting, retaining, developing and off-boarding players (or talent in the truest sense of the word).
With so much at stake in financial terms in this era of professional sports franchises it is no wonder the “football departments” of these organizations are so incredibly well resourced. Consider the sorts of activities that are managed by these departments – from scouting for new young talent, attracting them to the roster, coaching and developing them in team and individual capabilities, managing their health and well-being, team culture and leadership, list management, match day strategy, to name but a few.

“The best franchises in the world are multi-billion dollar businesses due in large part to a consistent targeted approach to identifying and managing their key talent year-in year-out from generation to generation.”

I’ve always thought that successful organizations in the corporate world could do well to align their HR functions along the same lines as the “Football Department” of the very best sports franchises.

What if you re-purposed your Recruitment team to focus on talent sourcing and attraction as if you were looking for the next Lionel Messi?

Why not morph that uninspiring compliance-centric L&D function into a crack team of specialist coaches intent on transforming mediocre midfielders into gun strikers who could make the difference between winning or losing against your competition? Perhaps instead of dealing with the tears and tissues, our HR Business Partners could look out for all of the extra stuff that helps to keep our talent healthy, happy and motivated to bring their A-game every time they enter the park for your firm?

Food for thought I reckon.

Does your HR team operate like this? Love to hear about it.

We attended: HR Tech Fest in Sydney

We attended: HR Tech Fest in Sydney


The FK team are back from attending the HR Tech X conference held at the Australian Technology Park on 27th and 28th November. With two conferences running alongside each other (Learning@Work and HR Tech X), they found a wide range of topics up for discussion ranging from bring your own learning (BYOL), the emotional workforce, the learning ecosystem and enabling change.  

Learning@Work Conference

One speaker who stood out for Cristina Herrera (Learning Consultant at Future Knowledge) was Laura Overton (Managing Director of Towards Maturity, a business transformation and learning innovation company) who very ingeniously stated that ‘Learning is like a fit bit’. Here is what Cristina learnt:

Activity tracking is a craze taking the world by storm, whether they choose to run, walk or skip, every step is proudly acknowledged. Like the fit bit, our L&D teams can leverage many of the same motivators born out of this device

  1. Empower users to be better informed by giving access to meaningful data
  2. Encourage accountability for success
  3. Gamify the experience to make it fun
  4. Encourage social collaboration and personal connections so achievements can be shared
  5. Reward, without the need for monetary offers

When people look at the data their fitbit has recorded, they feel more informed. They feel proud of their achievements and it motivates them to keep going.

So why not start recording the information that matters to our employees so they can feel heard and acknowledged and wake up the next day ready to invest more of their efforts into a company that listens?

In this digital and fast paced world, people have learnt to get the information they need to allow themselves to learn. Whether it be reading articles, attending face to face courses, joining workshops or completing moocs via courser, delving into Wikipedia, or any other online or offline knowledge provider.

But do they have a supportive framework such as the fit bit to capture, collate and acknowledge our learning across these modalities?

The short answer - no.

The long answer – most organisations don’t understand the organic nature of learning taking place outside of its walls and the huge benefits that learning can generate, if only they could capture all of this. Knowledge is power.

What does the ideal fit bit-like L&D framework look like?

  • -Be proactive in understanding how staff are doing their jobs
  • -Understand what they value; get to know your employees, their strengths, weaknesses, motivation and desires.
  • -Get to know them demographically; where they live, do they drive, train or walk to work.
  • -Understand the skills they bring to the table
  • -Find an easy way for employees to provide and update this information, technology can play a big role here

By understanding all of this, you can get a grasp of how you can involve them in designing learning and development programs that leverage their skills and feeds their desires.

In summary, the essence of the talk was to be innovative and proactive in looking at the successful frameworks which exists outside of the companies walls and asking yourself how you leverage these to engage your staff in the way they want to be engaged.  It is the duty of L&D professionals to be innovators, not for our companies but for our people. Joggers will keep jogging and our hoppers will keep hopping, but will you be the fit bit of today?


HR Tech X Conference

One topic which hit home for Anthony Bickerstaff (Senior Technology Consultant at Future Knowledge) was ‘The fine line between change enablement and change avoidance’ which Amy Poynton, Global Lead of HR Transformation at Rio Tinto discussed. Anthony shares his story about what he learnt:

You’re in project land, meeting with stakeholders – trying to help them make a decision so that the business can make a change.

You’re told ‘we need more detail about how all the features work together’. So you give more detail and they realise it’s too much and say, ‘this is too much detail we need a high level overview’.  So again, you give them what they want.  Wash, rinse, repeat. But they delay and the decision never gets made.

You think you’re enabling them to make a change, but you’re not – you’re actually helping them avoid the change.

When you meet with your stakeholders to discuss decisions, you may find that no matter what you try it’s hard to get them to make that decision. But why is that? You think you’ve given them what they need – the design choices, the implications, the nuances. Sometimes, they aren’t ready to make a change. Other times they don’t have enough information or maybe even too much.

What IS happening is that they are avoiding the change, and it’s critical to find out why. What you realise is that you’ve been giving them what they want, which means you still need to figure out what they need.

And that right there is the hard part. They keep telling you what they think they ‘need’, yet how can you find out what your stakeholders actually need in order to make a decision?

Try asking: ‘What do you need in order to make a decision right now?’

  • If they know what they need, then great! Find out how to get it for them and move on.
  • If they don’t know what they need, then work with them to find out what their criteria are for deciding – and hold them to it.

You may find that they need the advice from another stakeholder, or that their business requirements are not clear on the decision they are trying to make.

If you’re smart, try finding out what your stakeholders need to make decisions early on in a project and make sure to remind them of this. This way you can save time when it comes to decision making.

So next time you’re in project land, and your stakeholders can’t seem to make a decision, try to figure out what they need in order to make a decision. This can help you move from change avoidance, to change enablement.

Stepping into the talent management cloud: HR takes the driver's seat

Stepping into the talent management cloud: HR takes the driver's seat

Cloud software has changed the way we implement HR technology. HR is no longer a passenger along for the ride.

Every HR team has been there – a problem exists that technology should be able to solve, it doesn’t look very complicated, let’s just go out and buy the solution. Actually every consumer has been there too, most of us own some technology that looked simple enough but ended up being harder than we expected. Dads love gadgets, like the universal TV remote gifted to us on Father’s Day, often found hiding in a box in the garage after giving up trying to make it drive all of our devices in our living room. How about the trusty old Navman navigation unit, which we proclaimed is no longer needed in favour of our smartphone? – Yet only 41%* of us use maps on our smartphones. We find ourselves in a world where technology is cheap and our options are limitless – so we buy, try, and then move on.

What about technology in the workplace – do we experience the Navman effect?
Technology implementation has typically been a slow moving beast, for example how many people are still using Windows XP in the workplace (released in 2001), or Windows 7 (released in 2009 – 6 years old already)?  This is for good reason, upgrading an operating system has risk written all over it. Usually it would take years to select, plan, implement and embed technology, often resulting in needs changing before the solution arrives. Cloud Software as a Service (SaaS) HR solutions have flipped this on its head. If you do a quick Google search for “task management tools”, you get a list of cloud tools that are ready to go, such as Trello which you can grab a free 30 day trial of and you’re up and running managing your kanban task list in minutes without any software install. We have moved to a world of DIY configuration where it’s all about a quick setup to get up and running, and regular releases of new features.

Technology has traditionally been the domain of IT teams. But this is changing.
Availability of cloud HR solutions have suddenly shifted the focus from technical to functional – from IT to HR. HR have shifted from changing the technology to changing the business – configure instead of customise. Cloud HR projects are more about configuring your business processes and standard integrations, and are less about infrastructure, writing code, and large amounts of testing.
          ‘HR now plays a larger role in technology projects, it’s becoming common place to see HR managers in the driver’s seat.’

Was HR prepared for this shift?
Not at all. From years of drawn out IT programs, we’ve become conditioned to “technology takes time”, and “there’s lots of stakeholders on this project, everything can’t be delivered at once”. Now that there is greater choice and flexibility in the market for HR solutions, HR teams are on the war path to establish a measureable business need to buy and implement cloud HR tools themselves, and IT have become the technical stream on a project. The old rules are out the window, the new rules speak to rapid implementation with constant iterations coming every few months. HR have realised that they need to fight for budgets from CFOs, run their own selection programs, choose how and when to implement, and lead the project too. Then there’s life after implementation, the role of HR is changing too now that HR technology is becoming so widely available to organisations of all sizes.
          ‘If your job description doesn’t include leveraging HR technology for strategic decision making – it will soon.’

How is HR responding to these new expectations?
HR managers deliver some of the most successful projects often as a result of their robust relationships with the business and their deep domain knowledge. Ask an HR manager to put together a leadership development program, or a Wellbeing awareness event – and they will deliver time and time again. It’s their sweet spot, and for good reason, it’s where their experience hails from.

Tackling an IT project in the same way can lead to underestimating some of the challenges you will face:

  • Is technology the right solution, what type of technology do I need, what’s the vendor’s experience in my market?
  • How long does it really take to review and improve a business process?
  • How many people do you need to involve, from what areas of the business, how much time will they need to give up?
  • How will I know if we can actually deliver on the plan?
  • How much testing is enough or too much?
  • Are all of our requirements must haves? At what cost?

Then there’s the unexpected…
IT projects tend to be magnets for scope creep, and can often suffer from iceberg thinking – not doing enough digging to see the full picture. HR teams tend to prefer a light touch (as they often have their day job to manage as well), which results in entire governance layers disappearing – think less project boards, less change control processes, limited project plans with constantly moving dates. There continues to be risk in a cloud project, but it can often arise in different places as a result of the pace of the project.

How do we ensure we get it right?
Interestingly, the basic principles are still the same for the old world and the new world, you just go about them differently.

  1. Know the problem you’re trying to solve: Go exploring, talk to people, look at stats, challenge your thinking – get the problem definition clear.
  2. Set your high level plan, with enough detail to get started: In almost all projects, you will uncover something unexpected and will need to adapt. Be prepared to change the approach.
  3. Get the right players on your team: Find out who stands to gain or lose if you go ahead with your project, they need to have a role somewhere. Get some A players – you don’t need a full team of them, but you need 1 or 2 to lift the game of others.
  4. Get help from industry experts: Think of this like a personal trainer, you need them to plan your training program, keep you motivated and check in to make sure it’s working.

It’s about heart-count, not head-count

It’s about heart-count, not head-count

Leadership... It’s one of the most aspired terms in business but it’s also one of the hardest to put into practise. Ever since the publication of Frederick Winslow Taylor’s scientific management theory, everyone from academics to business leaders have put forward their thinking on what makes ‘good’ leadership.

Recently, Brenda Lee, Practice Director attended the HR Game Changer conference and she shares with us a key leadership topic from the day, ‘Conscious Leadership’.

So what is Conscious Leadership?

To be a conscious leader means that you are actively looking to align people’s hearts and minds with the organisation’s vision and values. It is about caring for people, not just a number and it is about bringing a more humanistic and holistic approach to the forefront in the way which manager’s work with their team to achieve a common goal.

In a world where technologies are heavily relied upon to connect humans together, it is quite ironic that there is such a significant movement towards consciousness and mindfulness in the corporate environment. It is especially interesting when combined with the predicted characteristics of Workforce 2020. Much research has been conducted about the workforce of 2020 and what it is that they value in their work life; a much more balanced approach to work/ life, working for a purpose and less emphasis on traditional top down structures are just some of the key headlines. Being mindful of the types of workers which are joining the workforce tomorrow, a higher emphasis on connectivity, spirituality and personalisation will certainly help with aligning a worker’s personal value with the company’s purpose and cause. It also makes good business sense if this means that it translates to higher staff retention, higher performance and more committed employees.

When is conscious leadership at its most powerful?

There is obviously a strong (and well justified) case for conscious leadership but it only highlights one half of the story. Conscious leadership will be at its most powerful when practised with the support of some of the more traditional management instruments such as data, reporting and strategic planning. Human nature is emotional, subjective and opinion based. Traditional management instruments provide us with data points which enable us to analyse the situation with more objectivity and make much more informed decisions. Conscious leadership, is about leveraging off this information, humanising it for others and ensuring that decisions are made with the emotional wellbeing of your people in the front of mind. The balancing act is delicate but if organisations want to excel in the future, it is a balancing act which all leaders need to strive to perfect.

What do think about ‘conscious leadership’ and whether HR and business leaders should be adopting it?


Related posts: How can we prepare for workforce 2020?

Beyond the Classroom - The Learning Eco System

Beyond the Classroom - The Learning Eco System

We have moved into an era where technology is changing faster than traditional training can support.  We realise that providing a landscape for autonomous development, mastery and innovation is pivotal to organisational success, however training is not enough. We need to provide multiple learning options which move learning and development beyond the classroom.

Join Cameron McOmish, Director of Learning at Future Knowledge for this 45 minute webinar, which will introduce you to the Learning Ecosystem and how it can:

  • Help your organisation or project maximise user adoption
  • Provide multiple learning options instead of a one size fits all approach
  • Help increase user adoption in Agile environments
  • Increase productivity and cater for all levels of proficiency.

Join the webinar: Thursday, 1st October, 11am AEST Register now

Can’t make it? Sign up anyway and we’ll send you the recording afterwards.

Want to read more about this topic?

Cameron explores how to apply the 'Five Moments of Need' model to move your organisation from Competency to Mastery.

What does running a pop-up cafe have to do with implementing HR technology?

What does running a pop-up cafe have to do with implementing HR technology?

Recently I experienced a situation that challenged me professionally and personally at a level that I have seldom encountered.

Having lived to tell the tale, I have reflected on some parallels with the challenges we see frequently in the work that my team does supporting our clients in technology implementation and adoption.

So what was it that caused this challenging scenario I hear you ask? Well, I was asked (volunteered actually, as I was absence from the meeting of the Fathers' Association that allocated roles!) to co-ordinate two “pop-up” cafes for the Spring Festival/Fete at my kids' school, an event that attracts over 20,000 people each year over a weekend period.

What could possibly have made this such a difficult scenario? I mean surely a volunteer-run cafe that puts on a bit of tea and coffee with a pastry or a sandwich would be, well, a piece of cake (groan ) for someone who has wrestled multi-million dollar HR technology programs and dealt with the politics of some of Australia's largest corporates, whilst building a 30-person consulting business? And besides, I drink four cups of coffee a day, undertook a 3-hour barista training course four years ago, and I have Italian heritage – I'm eminently qualified to run a cafe surely.

You know where this story is going to go from here don't you?

Yep, this quaint little cafe concept consumed me in the weeks leading up to the event with planning and negotiating with numerous suppliers, school administrators, volunteer co-ordinators all interlaced with the usual politics that are associated with well-meaning people deftly juggling multiple agendas. Yet, when the show began we were hopelessly under-prepared and rapidly overwhelmed by a caffeine-ravenous hoard of visitors to the event.

We had no milk until 9.30 on the first day having opened for business at 8am with milk scrounged from fridges in staff rooms, praying that the use-by dates wouldn't result in a major food-poisoning scandal for the school. By mid-morning we had realised that our coffee machine was hopelessly inadequate for the task at hand and spent several hours trying to rent another one at short notice. We hadn't sorted out enough fridge space for the amount of food we would be managing over the weekend either. And this is but a snap-shot of what we had to manage over the course of a weekend where we sold 2000 cups of coffee to a discerning and very patient bunch of customers who experienced nothing like the service they should have done.

By 4pm on Sunday we finally had our groove having refined our systems and processes to a point where we were fulfilling coffee orders before they had even been placed. Sadly, an hour later we pulled the shutters down and dismantled our pop-up cafe with only the physical and mental fatigue to remind us of the monumental effort that had produced a tremendous financial result for the school. A financial result, however, that was skewed by unnecessary cost overruns from poor planning and the need to make decisions on the fly.

What would I do differently next time I'm in an equivalent situation?

Seek expert assistance in the planning and execution. Put simply, don't try and do it all yourself! A bitter pill to swallow for someone who has a healthy sense of self-belief and loves the adrenalin rush of flying by the seat of my pants.

Fortunately, my situation was never going to result in anything permanently disruptive nor would it leave anything but a positive legacy given that effort and activity was always going to be the primary determinant of praise and gratitude.

But what if you took the same mindset into a high impact implementation of technology that affected everyone in your business?

Could you reasonably expect to achieve the best possible outcome and deliver the return on investment that you have strived so hard to get from your miserly CFO? Maybe. But I'm not so sure to be honest.

So, why then do so many seemingly sensible and effective executives and practitioners try to take it on themselves? No doubt for the same fundamental reasons that I did.  And inevitably with the same sorts of outcomes that I experienced - high stress, leftfield problems to overcome, cost overruns and a potentially disgruntled end user population. The impact to your reputation and your ongoing job prospects may also be a casualty of this gung-ho mentality.

Now, I run a consultancy that specialises in partnering with organisations to successfully deploy and adopt workforce technology so of course I'm going to purport the need to engage external expertise to support your technology implementation projects.

It's actually a no-brainer. In the same way that you should seek expert medical advice rather than self-diagnosing using Dr. Google, you shouldn't just Google your way out of trouble trying to reduce the perceived costs of engaging external expertise.

We've done it before.  We understand the intricacies better than you could yourself.  But, you know your business better than we ever will. Getting the right sort of expertise that partners effectively to deliver shared business outcomes will always be better than attempting to go it alone.

So, the next time you're sipping on your morning latte, spare a thought for the predicament I found myself in last weekend and make sure you don't fall into the same trap yourself in taking on more than your own experience, capability and resources can handle.

Let me know your own stories of getting in over your head with a DIY project? Did hindsight dictate a different approach would have been better?

Performance management has a performance problem

Performance management has a performance problem

Recent high-profile announcements from the likes of Deloitte, Accenture and NAB scrapping their year-end employee reviews has sparked a growing debate about the effectiveness of traditional performance management approaches in organisations.

Is this the death-knell of traditional performance appraisal processes? And, if so, does that mean we no longer need to put a priority on managing performance?  Does that in turn mean employees no longer need to worry about how well they are doing in the jobs?

I’m confused! Imagine what the average HR person is thinking now that the whole ball game appears to be changing around them.  Not to mention the average employee who, whilst generally hating the annual review process, at least they know what is on the end of it – typically a 1.39% payrise and a pittance of a bonus.

So, let’s delve a little deeper shall we and consider two aspects to this annual performance review debate.

Firstly, what are the factors that are catalysing the shift away from reviews.  Secondly, if we ditch the reviews, what should we be doing instead?

Right, firstly, this is not an overnight seismic shift in thinking from the corporate world.  This little storm has been brewing for the term of my living memory in the HR world – close to 25 years.  Let’s face it, the annual review has been the source of angst, frustration and occasional parody since its very inception.  Why is this? Well, in my view, it’s because it is an artefact – perhaps a relic even – of the very worst aspects of 20th century industrial-era human capital management.  An era when labour was merely an input to production and productivity was measured on the outputs as opposed to outcomes.

Tying compensation to performance reviews became the main instrument to drive motivation and increase individual workers’ productivity.  And for nigh on half a century we have locked and loaded around performance reviews as the primary tool for managing human capital in organisations.  We have spent the last 20 of those years only managing to re-engineer the process by eliminating paper with very little improvement to the data collection nor the impact of the practice itself on the humans involved.

But what the hell is wrong with performance appraisals?

Surely, employers need to be able to hold their employees to account for making a contribution to the business.  We go through our school and university careers being constantly assessed, why not our working lives too?

Well, here’s a snapshot of the latest research that points to the ineffectiveness of performance appraisals.

  1. Alec Bashinsky – the HR Director at Deloitte – compared performance reviews to a drive-by shooting with neither party being clear on their objectives nor how to rate individuals against them.
  2. A recent Harvard Business School report highlighted the “idiosyncratic rater effect” – that the rating given to an employee is a more accurate reflection of the rater themselves than of the person they are rating. Challenging to standardise, pathologically inaccurate and impossible to calibrate, it is therefore a very poor tool to effectively drive better performance.
  3. Jason Averbook has been telling us for a while now that performance reviews are designed to support HR’s needs and that we should instead be focusing on building and supporting better team leaders who in turn will influence positively the effectiveness of their teams and the individuals within them.

Ok, so if we’re willing to accept that performance reviews should be sent the way of the fax machine and the dodo bird, what should we be doing instead?

The answer to that is longer than we can cover in a single post, but here are a few conversation starters that we can pick up on in the next installment.

  1. Organisations are already evolving their performance approaches to encompass more informal and more frequent feedback opportunities between team leaders and team members. This trend will continue to be at the heart of the evolution of performance management in the future.
  2. Increasing investment in talent management platforms is driving a more holistic approach to people management with better tools to support the employee life-cycle resulting in a better data-set to aid team and individual development.
  3. The growing adoption of social collaboration technologies in the enterprise provides increased opportunity for more frequent contextual feedback, social learning and employee engagement.
  4. The transition of a higher proportion of the workforce to contingent or freelancer models will increase the redundancy of traditional employee-centric performance approaches. If it hasn’t already, focusing on engagement will trump a focus on performance in getting the best out of this new generation of workers.
  5. The severance of the umbilical cord that has tethered performance ratings with compensation reviews will accelerate the movement away from formal reviews.

Clearly, I’m only scratching the surface on this, and it deserves further discussion.  Interested to hear what you all think? Is there life left in the Annual Piece of Paper yet? Has your company moved away from the formal review yet?