Monthly Archives: July 2014

Discover the HR gold in Google’s mountains of data

Google, through its unrelenting drive for innovation and improvement in every corner of its business is also pouncing on and producing fascinating people analytics. The latest release from its own analysis and study is in the shape of profiling people’s performance.

Let me cut straight to the chase, and then if you want to understand more about data analytics and the back story, you can do further reading through ERE and Dr John Sullivan.

One example is the value that exceptional technologists deliver over and above an average technologist. Google calculated the performance differential is as much as 300 times.

Not all of us work in high tech sectors, so what really caught my interest was the data they’d dissected and evaluated on Stellar Managers.

I’m always looking for gold amongst the noise of the HR heavy metal. So when Google dished it straight up on a platter I thought you’d also be interested in knowing about it.

Here are Google analytics on the Traits of a Stellar Manager. In order. Go ahead, check with yourself, your own manager and other managers you work with. In fact, it’s probably a great checklist for employees to use when assessing the hiring manager they could end up working for.

  1. Be a good coach
  2. Empower your team and don’t micromanage
  3. Express interest in your team members’ success and well-being
  4. Be productive and results oriented
  5. Be a good communicator and listen to your team
  6. Help your employees with career development
  7. Have a clear vision and strategy for the team
  8. Have the technical skills so you can advise the team

I think it’s gold.

What’s your point of view?

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Has digitisation killed customer service?

I recently telephoned my bank with a query. Well let’s be clear, an automated customer self-service machine. I was connected to someone (a real person) in a call centre who asked me a series of verification questions before transferring me back into a call queue. Repeat of the same and 30 minutes pass without having the opportunity to speak to a qualified staff member. At the end of the call I am asked to complete (you guessed it) an automated survey rating their service.

Personally, I’d much rather talk to someone face to face (and I don’t mean face-time), but who has the time to stand in a bank queue these days? In an era where we live and breathe all things digital, and human contact has perceivably reduced due to the evolution of technology, can we go as far as saying: digitisation has killed customer service?

This got me thinking about the new generation of jobseekers’ experience: You may be happily browsing your favourite news website (the marketers have already identified you as a passive candidate) and a well-targeted online ad appears for your ideal job. You view the information about the job, google the company, read its website and view its staff LinkedIn profiles. You could apply for the job online, receive automatic acknowledgement and communication updates by email. You may then be fortunate enough to be booked into a one-way video interview and presented to a client electronically. Well done!

What’s missing in this amazingly efficient process is we’ve streamlined customer service (as we once knew it) out; the candidate may be devoid of any personal contact at this stage and could be unsuccessful without ever having any.

Put into context with today’s accepted business communication models and our broader communication style outside of work, we’ve become accustomed to email, text messages, LinkedIn, Facebook chats, Skype and a myriad of social networking apps… anything it seems but picking up the phone or actually seeing the person in the flesh.

With the continuing growth of digital, is it possible to create meaningful customer service experiences that are absent of human interaction?

In the contemporary business world, there is increasing pressure to differentiate from competition, but one way to distinguish yourself is to focus on improving all models of customer service.

At Slade Group we take great pride in ensuring open communication with our candidates. Whilst we adopt and embrace new technology to enable more efficient processes, care is taken to continue servicing our candidates and clients, the old-fashioned way.

What’s your Point of View?

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Change, taxes and death – life’s certainties

My high school year book proudly declares “We survived change!” Interstate, international, countless local moves and a couple of career changes later, I still agree.

In business, as in life, we experience highs and lows. Economies fluctuate, people come and go. Through our professional networks we make lasting relationships, others are forgotten, or remembered for all the wrong reasons.

I had the experience of living and working in London almost ten years ago. If moving to another country, finding work in a very different employment market and the cultural differences of one of the most diverse cities in the world were not enough, I took a role in an organisational change team during a period when my employer, Transport for London (TfL), was undergoing a massive internal change. With the Human Resources department where I worked moving to a shared services model that incorporated the previous disparate businesses of rail, road, bus and ferry, it was certainly an exciting time to come on board.

Change is a fact of life. It’s a constant, and once you become aware of it, it never goes away.

One of my earliest memories is moving house. It was a big deal at the time, having lived in the same suburb, grown up with the neighbours, and become familiar with the local street names for about ten years. I had to learn all of these things again. Moving house is a lot like changing jobs. You have to learn the names of your new workmates, find your way around the office, get to know who the go-to people are and absorb the culture of the organisation. Part of the induction process may be to buddy you up with a colleague or involve a mentoring program with a manager. All of which are designed to make the change process easier, but it never really stops.

Not everyone copes well with change. In its Enabling Organizational Change Through Strategic Initiatives, March 2014 PMI reports “the reality is that change is unavoidable, organizations need to resolve how to successfully adapt and sustain change.” It says those companies with the key people strategically aligned to champion the business goals through a period of change will achieve it. To succeed, therefore, a business not only needs buy-in from key stakeholders, but to gather supporters from floor level to the boardroom. In fact the report observe millions (USD $149 per $1B spent, or approximately 15%) are lost on failed or ineffective change initiatives, with 56% due to lack of leadership and 59% owing to poor communication. According to the research, only 18% of organisations are highly effective change managers.

PMI says, “In today’s volatile environment, with the rate of change accelerating, organizations that successfully manage strategic initiatives save more money and are poised to gain an advantage over their competitors.” Putting aside the intended benefits and other motivators for organisational change, contributors to a successful change management program include well-defined milestones, commitment from senior management and executive sponsors, as well as staff having the opportunity to be involved in the process, taking ownership and sharing accountability.

Of course, when my working holiday visa expired and my contract with TfL ended, relocating back to Australia brought a whole new set of challenges, which anyone who has had the good fortune of being an expat will attest to, can be harder than going in the first place.

What’s your experience of change @work?

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Just saying…

Who doesn’t, even the most modest and unassuming, once in a while enjoy a small moment of self-congratulatory gloating. So, here’s our five minutes in the sun, followed by a curly question for which we need your Point of View.

Twice in the last three years we’ve reviewed the CV of a senior executive and worked out within the day that his purported credentials weren’t bona fide. Using two different names and profiles he lodged an expression of interest to advertised roles in two quite different sectors. On both occasions, our two senior consultants, each with deep and longstanding sector experience, raised questions regarding the veracity of his CV, and within two phone calls had the imposter marked as just that.

Indeed weeks before Myer’s troubles of last week, Sandra Brown, one of our principal search consultants used that exact experience as a case study in her blog The Truth is Out There – Google It.

So now that we’ve had our five minutes in the sun, what’s the question and what’s the answer?

Under Privacy laws, we are forbidden to make any personal comments about candidates’ information stored on our database. Well, truth be told, we could, but there’d be a mighty price to pay in time and legal costs if a disheartened jobseeker ever wanted to make a case. So we don’t. Where comments can be made they are kept as ‘the facts’, not impressions.

Wouldn’t it be useful then if there were a national centralised repository where employers, HR practitioners or recruiters could send the details of these rare but crafty impostors, by name and pseudonyms? New candidate data could be washed through and double checked.

It would save a lot of time and embarrassment.

NB. Per chance the very same week as a certain very public exposure into a sham made the media, we received a letter requesting we delete all traces of a certain candidate from our system. We have… unfortunately we know he goes by a number of pseudonyms, so could he send us further instructions?

Ah yes, never a dull day in our world @work.

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