Day two, and the first official full day of the Brandon Hall 2015 HCM Excellence Conference, was one jam-packed with content, research, innovation, and knowledge.
The day kicked off with Brandon Hall’s CEO Mike Cooke’s overview of HCM strategies and priorities for the coming year, which will include a focus on attracting and retaining talent, succession management and leadership development, team development, employee engagement, a stronger link between learning and performance, and compliance training.
Project, Prepare, Persevere
Susan Erschler then gave the opening keynote. I’ll admit, I had not heard of Susan prior to this event, but after hearing her speak, I’d encourage everyone to look her up and read about her journey. Susan, who is a business woman (and self professed to NOT be a professional mountain climber), set out on a quest with her mountain climber husband to scale the Seven Summits – the highest mountains on each of the seven continents, a goal achieved in 2002. Her graphic description of the experience climbing Mt. Everest had me sitting there and wondering why anyone would want to put themselves through that ordeal, but at the same time her compelling story provided inspiration for business leaders. Her trademarked approach of “Project, Prepare, Persevere” is a framework applicable to achieving any major goal or objective:
- Project: Have a vision, commit to it, put it in writing, and then let the vision drive your actions.
- Prepare: Just as there’s no big mountain you can scale in one day, no major business objectives you can be achieved that quickly either. Break it down into bite sized, manageable pieces, realizing that sometimes you have to climb up, then back down, then up again to get to the top.
- Persevere: How much time and effort are you willing to put in to achieve your goals? How many times are you willing to be knocked down and still go back again? You can’t lower the mountain to match yourself, so you have to figure out a way to elevate yourself to match the mountain. And most importantly, surround yourself with people who won’t let you quit.
High Performance Leadership Development
Madeline Laurano, Brandon Hall VP and Principal Analyst facilitated this panel which included Meribeth Germino of Genetech, Steven Smith of Capgemini, and David Wright of CIBC. Madeline kicked off this panel of Excellence Award winners with the startling statistics that 60% companies have leadership development programs in place, 82% of them for over 3 years, but yet 75% feel they are ineffective. The panel then shared highlights of their own programs and the keys to their success. Though all three had unique and different element to their programs, some common themes emerged:
- It’s not a one-time event – leadership development needs to be a process that provides ongoing support and coaching
- Focus on personal transformation – leadership is very personal, and a self-discovery component is critical
- Focus on business issues – connecting to the real problems the business needs to solve will reinforce the program’s relevance
- Consistency – programs need structure, but also allow for flexibility and adaptability
- Measurement – have a method in place to measure how effective your efforts are; how are you impacting business performance?
High Performance Onboarding
A recent Brandon Hall survey indicated that 75% of companies surveyed felt that their onboarding programs were than moderately effective. Kyle Lagunas, Brandon Hall’s Talent Acquisition Analyst led a panel of experts, including Amanda Reynolds (CareerBuilder), Bud Blom (MUFG), and Emily Cates (Zebra Technologies) in discussing some of their best practices in using onboarding to drive employee engagement and retention. Some of the key takeaways:
- Onboarding begins before the first day; leverage the momentum from the recruitment process using “pre-boarding” elements; engage as early as the offer
- Move from “single day class” mentality and repeatedly connect with new employees over the course of the first several months; use tools such as “welcome websites” to provide resources before and after first day, new hire communities, and automated reminders for key actions
- Use new hire and manager guides; ensure new hires understand what they need to do to achieve proficiency, and ensure managers have the right coaching tools to get them there
- Develop a customized and interactive orientation experience that center on the specific class of new hires and get the leadership team involved in the process
HCM Measurement and Analytics
The final panel of the day was facilitated by Trish McFarlane (VP of Human Resource Practice, Principal Analyst) and included Steve Boese (HR Technology Conference and LRP Productions), Mike Psenka (Equifax), and Edward Pertwee (BT). The panelists aimed to answer the questions what is big data, how are companies using it, and what are the pitfalls of misusing it? Some of the recurring themes were:
- Consolidating data into one place is a challenge, and existing systems often make it difficult to obtain useful information. However, more providers are investing in the ability to provide better reporting and dashboards. Some of the trends to look towards are role based, in-process, decision support, and predictive analytics.
- One of the biggest challenges in analytics is that HR metrics are not defined and standardized; all organizations have data problems, and we need to learn to manage that expectation in ours.
- Measure things that impact or drive the business, are observable, and are actionable. Less is more; pick one thing that matters and run with it, and learn how to market results and answers to the organization in a way that makes it easy to visualize and tells a story. It’s all about facilitating better business decision-making.