Congratulations—you received approval on your HR business case and budget. Now what? What if I told you that you have less than a 50% chance of achieving what you got approved? Would you feel good about going back to your executive team in one, two or three years and asking for the same budget again? In my humble opinion, I would say "No," but then again, I’m not much of a gambler with delivering on a commitment.
According to a recent PwC HR Tech Survey, less than half of all respondents said they achieved 76% or more of what went into their HR Cloud business case. This is not an encouraging result when you are competing for budget or trying to expand it.
With our problem in front of us, I offer these ideas as a starting point for overcoming the odds and achieving the goals you set in your business case:
1) Baseline, Baseline, Baseline
As anyone who has bought or sold a home knows: "Location, location, location." The same logic applies to baselining—sometimes it matters more than the business case itself. Often, however, we pay so much attention to what goes into a business case, that there’s not enough focus on establishing and documenting a pre-change starting point.
Instead, you should leverage the critical thinking you put into your business case and baseline the data that supported your pre-change estimates before any change occurs. I would suggest making whether or not you can baseline a criterion for determining if a calculation goes into your business case at all. If you cannot defend your estimated improvements, savings and revenue, you are setting yourself up for an uphill battle when it comes time to maintain or expand your budget.
Further, by baselining and measuring against your baseline, you speed up responsiveness to lagging indicators that are important to your talent processes, and to the business. For those interested in learning more about the role of lagging (and leading) indicators on value measures in HR, there is a great piece written by Dr. Tom Tonkin, principal, thought leadership & advisory services at Cornerstone OnDemand, that goes deeper on that point.
Why is speeding up responsiveness important? It is better to know early in the process that you are behind where you thought you would be. It provides you with time to reflect and gauge what may be the cause. Often, for example, the problem is that there hasn’t been enough time allotted for change management or user adoption.
2) Crawl, Walk, Run
HR and talent teams struggle to leap immediately to effectiveness measures such as "Productivity or Revenue by Employee" or "CSAT/NPS Improvement." (There is a difference between efficiency and effectiveness measures that I cover in this post for those who are interested in learning more). My quick and simple recommendation is to start small (efficiency) and build to strategic actions (effectiveness). Turnover is an excellent example and a measure that is frequently scrutinized. Turnover, by itself, is something most companies measure, but what about turnover of your highest performing employees?
To begin baselining the effectiveness of improving high performer turnover, start by identifying turnover data in critical areas of the business where this might be a problem. Then drill down and ask if you can segment that by low/medium/high performers. (The cost to replace a high performing employee can be 90-200% of their annual salary according to SHRM’s "A Guide to Analyzing and Managing Employee Turnover.") With that information baselined, you can begin working to track and measure uplift in other more strategic measures.
3) Don’t Wait to Align With the Business—Start Early
There is plenty of research out there that supports the importance of HR/Talent being aligned to the business, but I point you to this blog post if this is an area of particular interest.
But simply put, illustrating the connectedness between Business and HR/Talent Priorities requires a) an understanding of business priorities and b) insight into how HR initiatives support them.
When you think about turnover, for example, there’s rarely just one initiative that can improve it. Rather, it is typically a combination of efforts. The point is to work early to think about what measures and data are required to build your HR/Talent value story so that when it comes time to present what you’ve done, you have both a strong qualitative story and a very authoritative quantitative impact story to tell. For a visual on how to consider structuring your HR/Talent Value Story, see the third part of my three-part blog series on the topic.
With these points in mind, I offer two closing questions to reflect on:
Do you know the impact your HR/Talent practices are delivering for your business?
Are you prepared to defend your investment when asked?
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Alexander Mann Solutions wins Cornerstone OnDemands sponsored categories at the TIARA 2020 Talent Solutions Awards
Here at Cornerstone, we absolutely love to hear inspiring stories and share them far and wide, especially when they are about talent management! We were recently headline sponsors of the TIARA 2020 Talent Solutions Awards. These annual awards, hosted by TALiNT International, celebrate excellence across the RPO, MSP and Talent Solutions marketplace, and recognise the wonderful ways companies are demonstrating exemplary growth, innovation and leadership. For 2020, it was the usual great awards with a bit of a difference. As we know, everything has now moved online – even this year’s Convergence! But this didn’t seem to impact the TIARA Talent Solution Awards at all. Despite not being able to celebrate face-to-face, the event was filled with laughter, engagement, and most of all, lots of fun! This year, we also supported the Best Use of Technology Award as well as the Overall Winner. The winner – triumphing in both categories – could not be more deserving, and so we duly wanted to pass on our huge congratulations to Alexander Mann Solutions! Alexander Mann was awarded the Cornerstone OnDemand Best Use of Technology Award for their brilliant ‘Find Your Fit’ technology solution. The platform offers users personal preferences and assisted future growth through interactive videos, personalised one-to-one calls, and a dedicated platform to match skills with current roles within the organisation. The solution had 1,200 employees enrolling within just six months of implementation and is continuing to improve every day. Find Your Fit helps employees to understand how their organisation functions better, including the areas that are growing the most rapidly. In turn, this helps employees to develop the skills they need in order to take advantage of these developments to enhance not only their personal career progression, but overall business performance. After all, businesses don’t innovate, people do! The judges commended this entry for “the clear way in which an innovative technology solution clearly delivered in results”. The judges also applauded Alexander Mann for demonstrating customer care by really listening to client’s individual challenges and using inventive technology solutions to help design a custom built solution that helps to support the overall internal career options and pathways available to each organisation. The award was accepted virtually by Stephen Gordon, Recruitment Tech Lead at Talent Collective/AMS. In addition to being awarded Best Use of Technology, Alexander Mann was also recognised as this year’s overall winner of the Talent Solutions Awards. Chair of Judges, Jim Richardson highlighted that “the overall winner is based on the organisation that consistently demonstrates excellence and innovation across all of its activities”. Both Peoplescout and Guidant Global were highly commended by the judges for their brilliant work, but ultimately, Alexander Mann took home the award for demonstrating consistently high standards across all areas. Jim Richardson added that although Alexander Mann has the resources to support many initiatives, it has still managed to deliver consistently on large scale and complex global projects. This is a phenomenally impressive achievement that all of us at Cornerstone also wish to say a huge congratulations for! The other winners and nominees from this year’s TIARA Talent Solutions Awards have highlighted more excellent work and brilliant stories across the recruiting sector and HR community. For the full list of winners, check out the TALiNT International’s September/October 2020 edition here.
Blog: Why HR need to lead the agile change journey
It's been going on for a while now - the shift towards more agile and flexible companies that quickly can adapt to the fast-changing times of today. Organisations that are unable to make this move are gradually losing competitiveness and finding it more difficult to prove themselves against smaller and faster players. Those who recognise the need and are able to create new conditions for the business, in the form of new structures, will survive and flourish in tomorrow's economic reality. Agile HR can be viewed from two different angles; How HR should work together within the HR team and what / how HR should deliver value to the business for which they exist. All HR processes that are part of Talent and People Management will be different when you start working agile, and each of the processes have their specific tools and working methods. Here we will look at HR from a more general perspective, to get an overall understanding of how the HR role, and the corresponding deliverables, change in a company that wants to increase its business agility. The goal is to focus on creating better workplaces through the development of teams and individuals, throughout the whole organisation. Small and medium-sized companies are easier to change, as they have less hierarchical structures, and often a more decentralised business, where everyone has an ability to make the decisions that need to be made, locally rather than centrally. The larger and more complex a company is, the more systems, processes, and structures there are that cannot be easily and quickly changed. Although it is possible to change a department in the organisation, some issues might remain that forces the department back into the central structures. This happens because it is not possible to isolate a specific part of the business. You can compare it to an attempt to change a rubber ball. It changes when it is being squeezed, but when you let go, it quickly returns to its old shape. However, there is one functional department in most large organisations that can influence all the other parts at once – HR. In many large companies, HR controls; ● Leadership programs and development ● Change management ● Organisational development ● Employee engagement ● Employee training and skills development ● Rewards and bonuses ● Recruitment ● Goal setting and performance reviews ● Long term mix of employees All these processes or areas flow through the entire organisation. These are the structures that can support, or prevent, a more radical change towards a more agile company. It all depends on HOW we work with processes and programs. They can be developed in a way that, paradoxically, prevents performance and commitment. Or they can optimise performance and employee satisfaction. HR struggles with criticisms, it is accused of being some kind of "organisational police", which hinders performance and commitment by implementing Talent management processes in a way that was intended to increase the same. This needs to change. HR has been in the back seat for too long and now it is time to take responsibility for a change in how to support the organisation. Because it is about people, and relationships between people, this is the key to how the company performs as a whole. It is the system that fundamentally needs to change, not the people. We do not need to do more things or implement complicated frameworks and methods. Instead, we need to understand how we can make it easier for people to make their best contribution to the company, by providing supportive structures, instead of hindering structures. It is through more experiments and by trying different working methods, that one can find the best path for each organisation, and each team/individual. Here, the agile principles and the agile mindset serve as a guide. Agile tools and frameworks work sometimes, but not always. The only way to continually improve is through constant learning, which also means that we sometimes fail. Companies that learn faster than others, and turn that knowledge into new ways of working for employees, but also new products and services for external customers, gain a competitive advantage and will be the winner of the future. HR has the power and the ability to design the structures that aim to either support or make it harder for employees to contribute in creative and innovative ways. If HR sticks to the old, traditional ways of working, the consequence will be rigid and non-agile organisations that use inefficient systems and processes. HR can either hinder or support the change, so HR must show the way. By providing opportunities for alternative and more agile working methods, and by focusing on value creation and value flows for the internal and by extension also external customers, HR can lead companies through changes that no other department is capable of. The next blog chapter will dive into HR's changing role.