Can Trainers Guarantee Results?

This has been a hotly debated issue among those of us who work in the so-called "soft skills" area. Our clients, understandably so, want a high degree of certainty that their investment in training will generate certain outcomes. In particular, that their trainees will learn and successfully apply the skills taught. And they would prefer the results be promised in the form of solid metrics.   And so would I…if t'were possible to guarantee. The fact is that management development is … [Read more...]

Interesting Things Google Does re Its People

I recently attended a presentation by Shannon Deegan, Google's Director of People. Now, a lot has been written about this company and how it is up there in the stratosphere of "best places to work," as decreed by Fortune magazine and others. Not surprisingly, Google received around 2 million resumés last year and filled 5000 positions. And growth? They have grown from zero to 25,000 employees in just eight years. Here are a few points, in no particular order, that stood out for me from … [Read more...]

Did You Ever Try to Climb a Lattice?

For at least 40 years we have had the idea of "lattice" organization as an alternative design to the traditional hierarchy which assumes employees all want to climb up the ladder. In lattice organizations (and, beyond W.L. Gore & Associates, there weren't many of them out there back then), you could go in any direction–up, sideways, and even down–to keep your learning, development, and capacity growing.   Well, the lattice concept is back with a vengeance. Deloitte includes the … [Read more...]

Look Beyond the Money for their True Motivators

In PwC Saratoga's latest Global CEO Survey, 65% of CEO's report that they intend to use more non-financial rewards to motivate their staff. This is an admission that the a motivation strategy full of mostly financial reward "carrots" is not enough, especially for their highly skilled and high potential employees. We so easily forget the fact that people are looking for at least some measure of fulfillment from the time they spend on the job. "Fulfillment," of course, can take many forms: … [Read more...]

Does Job Satisfaction Lead to Better Results?

This question has been studied for decades and no direct relationship has been established. Despite what would seem to be a slam-dunk connection, happier workers don't necessarily result in a bumped up bottom line. A recent study by researchers at Cornell, however, has mapped a path between the two. It is not a direct route. There are three intervening variables:   Keep in mind, this was done in a U.S. nation-wide retail company with close to 800 stores. As the researchers admit, … [Read more...]

Keep (Career) Development on the Table

In the hurly burly of meeting deadlines, doing more with less, and achieving performance goals, it is easy to forget to keep up the dialogue with each of your staff about: How they are doing vis-à-vis their performance How they are doing vis-à-vis their well-being Their continuing development and growth And, if  we do manage to carve out the time to talk about any of the above, it's usually about performance. Heck, we can leave the "softer stuff" for year-end performance review … [Read more...]

The Four Strategic HR Challenges for the Upcoming Decade

Boston Consulting Group, in conjunction with an association of people management associations worldwide, completed a comprehensive on-line + live interviews study on how they are approaching strategic human capital development for the next decade. It's called "Creating People Advantage 2010" and worth downloading if you are concerned with the strategic element of human resources in your organization. Among a wide-ranging group of topics, their results address how human resources challenges … [Read more...]

Latest Findings around Performance Goals and Competencies

Hewitt Associates have come out with another informative study, called The Current State of Performance Management and Career Development 2010. They surveyed HR professionals from 193 employers.   On the performance side, it looks at how companies are using performance goals (the "what") and behavioral competencies (the "how") in their year end performance assessment process. Here are several key findings: While 15% said that their employees' individual performance goals were very … [Read more...]

Trust, Communications, Leadership…and Retention

I've been approached by a prospective client who wants a workshop as part of an internal strategic initiative around communications between the levels. They want to focus on: 2-way communication, down to the employee and upward to the manager what should be communicated and when obstacles to communicating more openly how to solicit communication from staff listening creating a climate where it's safe to speak your mind This stuff just doesn't go away as an issue, does it? I … [Read more...]

It’s Not Too Late to Attend to Your Talented Employees

Right Management, in a recent newsletter, The Shrinking Talent Pool, laid out four pieces of data that managers would do well to take note of: (late 2009) 60% of employees planned to pursue new job opportunities as the economy improves in 2010. 54% of companies report having lost top talent during the first half of 2010. 54% of employees have been approached by outside organizations in the last 12 months to discuss job opportunities. 80% of employees say their workloads have grown in … [Read more...]