The best HR and People Analytics articles of 2020

Original Article: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/best-hr-people-analytics-articles-2020-david-green/

2020 taught us a number of important lessons not least that the field of Human Resources is even more important than we thought it was. We also found out that people analytics can save lives, that employee wellbeing comes first in a crisis and that humans (and the organisations they work for) can adapt in even the most trying of circumstances.

For the last seven years I have collated and published a collection of the ‘best’ articles of the preceding 12 months – see 201420152016 20172018 and 2019 and following herein are my choices for the 60 best articles of 2020.

Those of you who have read the collections in previous years may note that the number of articles that make the cut has steadily risen. As I wrote last year, this is partly down to my inability to prune down to 30 or 20 – although it was hard enough to get it down to 60! Mainly though this recognises the increased number, variety and quality of people analytics and data-driven HR material now being published.

I have assembled the 60 articles here into ten sections: i) creating value with People Analytics, ii) examples of work from HR and People Analytics leaders, iii) ethics, trust and technology, iv) the Future of Work, v) collaboration and remote/hybrid work, vi) the evolution of the HR function, vii) leadership, culture, inclusion and equity, viii) employee experience, ix) learning and creating a data-driven culture, and; x) workforce planning, skills and internal mobility.

I hope you enjoy the articles selected, and if you do, please subscribe to my weekly Digital HR Leaders newsletter, which is published every Tuesday via myHRfuture.

I) CREATING VALUE WITH PEOPLE ANALYTICS

A thriving people analytics function is an absolute must-have for any CHRO intent on delivering value for their business and workforce. In the work we do at Insight222, we see at first-hand the growth of people analytics in over 70 global companies – and the pivotal role these functions played during the crises of 2020. The six resources that follow highlight the increasing importance of people analytics and provide guidance on how to create more value.

JONATHAN FERRAR, CAROLINE STYR & ANASTASIA KTENA – How a New Operating Model for People Analytics will help Deliver Value at Scale (Executive Article) | Delivering Value at Scale: A New Operating Model for People Analytics (Report)

In the work we do at Insight222, we are often asked by HR leaders: How can I create more value from people analytics? How big should my people analytics team be? What is the right structure and operating model for people analytics to thrive? In our research published in November 2020, which was conducted with 60 global organisations during the pandemic, we find that people analytics continues to grow, investment in analytics technology is increasing and leading people analytics teams are evolving to focus on business challenges. The report then outlines a new way to run people analytics, focused on business demand, value and outcomes, based on an operating model (see FIG 1) designed to deliver value at scale. If you are a member of the Insight222 People Analytics Program, you can also access additional findings here.

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FIG 1: The Insight222 Operating Model for People Analytics (Source: Delivering Value at Scale: A New Operating Model for People Analytics, Insight222, 2020)

STACIA GARR & PRIYANKA MEHROTRA – The 5 Pillars of Business-Aligned People Analytics – For COVID-19 and Beyond | The “Now” of Work & People Analytics: Lessons from an Octopus | People Analytics Tech 2020 Article | Report

A really well-researched two-part study by Stacia Sherman Garr and Priyanka Mehrotra of RedThread Research. The first part covers the rising importance of people analytics and identifies five pillars (see FIG 2) to align the work with the needs of the business. Part 2 makes the case for organisations to become more responsive and highlights four lenses to implement people practices, processes and technology: Respect, Distributed Authority, Transparency & Growth and Trust. Both parts of the study feature insights from a host of people analytics leaders and CHROs including: Tanuj Kapilashrami, Greg Pryor, Marilyn Becker, Michael Arena, Blair Hopkins, RJ Milnor, Dawn Klinghoffer, Serena Huang, Alexis Saussinan, David Shontz, Thomas Rasmussen, Sally Smith, Patrick Coolen and Guru Sethupathy. To round off a stellar year of research, Stacia and Priyanka delivered their second annual study of the People Analytics Technology Market. Together these three resources provide a veritable feast of analysis on the field and the technology that helps enable it.

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FIG 2: The five pillars of business-value people analytics (Source: RedThread Research, 2020)

ELIZABETH LEDET, KEITH MCNULTY, DANIEL MORALES & MARISSA SHANDELL – How to be Great at People Analytics | KEITH MCNULTY – Handbook of Regression Modeling in People Analytics

This article presents the findings of a study by McKinsey’s People Analytics team of 12 of their peers in global organisations across different industries “to try to understand what teams are doing, the impact they are having, and how they are doing it.” The result is the ‘Stairway to Impact’ for People Analytics (see FIG 3), which ranges from poor data to strong data, through advanced analytics to reliable predictions. This article is an important step to drive maturity and advancement in the field and has received a steady stream of positive feedback from practitioners since it was published in October 2020. I’ve also included ‘The Handbook of Regression Modeling in People Analytics,’ which Keith McNulty has created “to give others working in my increasingly growing field of people analytics a starting point for a practical learning of regression methods, with the hope that they will see immediate applications to their work and take advantage of a much-underused toolkit that provides strong support for evidence-based practice.” Keith has certainly achieved his objective with the e-book, which also contains a foreword by Alexis Fink.

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FIG 3: The People Analytics ‘Stairway to Impact’ (Source: McKinsey)

RICHARD ROSENOW – People Analytics: Platform Operating Model

Richard Rosenow is one of the most talented, collaborative and connected people in our space, and he may well have produced a masterpiece with this article that outlines his vision for a future people analytics platform operating model (see FIG 4). In what is a long but ultimately rewarding piece, Richard looks at the evolution of the traditional operating model many organisations have adopted before laying out his framework for the next phase, which Richard terms the ‘Platform Operating Model’. With people analytics being further elevated in the pandemic, Richard’s vision is likely to be envisioned sooner rather than later in many leading organisations around the world.

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FIG 4: Envisioning a People Analytics Platform Operating Model (Source: Richard Rosenow)

MAX BLUMBERG – Increasing People Analytics business impact: A simple core capabilities strategy

In times of great change, how should People Analytics prioritise its activities to maximise impact? The irrepressible Max Blumberg offers a number of thought-provoking ideas in his article on how to ensure you align people analytics to corporate (as opposed to HR) strategy. Max draws upon the highly regarded Prahalad & Hamel core capabilities model to illustrate this.

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FIG 5: A strategy for prioritising People Analytics investments (Source: Max Blumberg)

RAVIN JESUTHASAN & QUEENIE CHAN – What Talent Means in the Post-COVID-19 Workplace | IAN COOK – What the new SEC disclosure rules mean for the CHRO | WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM – Measuring Stakeholder Capitalism: Towards Common Metrics and Consistent Reporting of Sustainable Value Creation

In 2019, the ISO (International Standards Organization) published their first set of human capital Metrics standards (ISO30414) and the Business Roundtable redefined its purpose from a sole focus on shareholders to one that serves all stakeholders (consumers, employees, suppliers and communities – as well as shareholders). The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted once again the value of talent – or human capital – to an organisation. These three resources all shine a light on moves to better measure (and disclose) the value of talent and the return on investment in employees. First, Ravin Jesuthasan and Queenie Chan lay out seven principles as well as a three-step framework to help shift thinking in how talent is valued (see FIG 6). Then Ian Cook analyses the recent move by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to adopt a broader set of human capital disclosure requirements, and what this means for Chief HR Officers and People Analytics teams. Finally, the WEF report outlines 21 metrics for measuring and reporting on the workforce, many broken down by workforce composition and category – thanks to Jeff Higgins for highlighting this resource. Collectively, these all potentially raise the importance of people analytics even further.

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FIG 6: Seven guiding principles to shift how human capital is valued (Source: Willis Towers Watson and the World Economic Forum)

II) EXAMPLES OF WORK FROM HR AND PEOPLE ANALYTICS LEADERS

Perhaps the best way of highlighting the benefits of people analytics is to highlight examples of work from practitioners themselves. The eight powerful examples that follow not only demonstrate the value of people analytics but that the field is in very capable hands.

CHASE ROWBOTHAM & JAMIE OSTHEIMER – How to Start a People Analytics Organization

Pure gold as Chase and Jamie share the story of how they built a flourishing people analytics team at Genentech. The article is full of tips on a range of topics including: the key ingredients of success, the capabilities of the team (see FIG 7), the data sets that inform insights, how to operationalise sprints and prioritise the work, the technology stack required and much more. This is an invaluable resource and compulsory reading for anyone looking to build or scale their people analytics function. 

The three success-levers (for people analytics) are: (1) Executive sponsorship; (2) Talent; (3) Infrastructure…in that order

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FIG 7: The capabilities required of a successful People Analytics team (Source: Chase Rowbotham, Jamie Ostheimer and Ian O’Keefe)

SAMANTHA McLAREN, REBECCA WHITE & KATIE SITTLER – How the IMPACT Framework Can Help You Solve Your Company’s Toughest Business Problems

Another People Analytics team – this time LinkedIn’s, share the framework that they follow to structure their workflow. Learn how the team break each project down into six stages: Identify, Measure, Plan, Analyse, Communicate, Track (or IMPACT for short – see FIG 8), The framework helps in making people analytics work more manageable and ensures that the right people are asking the right questions along the way.

 If you can’t define the business problem, you’ll have a much harder time trying to solve it

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FIG 8: The IMPACT Framework for People Analytics (Source: LinkedIn)

SHERRY XIE & DAVID GREEN – How People Analytics is Supporting Merck’s Growth in China

Sherry Xie, from Merck’s Global People Analytics and Strategic Workforce Planning team, who is based in Shanghai explains to me why People Analytics and Digital HR is growing so fast in China, and how Merck has organised people analytics in the world’s largest economy. Sherry then outlines two case studies: i) MIA Analytics, which combines HR and business data and uses machine learning to support scenario planning and redeployment of sales professionals in China (see FIG 9), and ii) predictive attrition.

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FIG 9: My Intelligent Analytics (MIA) – Source: Sherry Xie, Merck China

ETHAN BURRIS, ELIZABETH McCUNE & DAWN KLINGHOFFER – When Employees Speak Up, Companies Win

Employee voice should not be restricted to complaints but should provide the platform for employees to speak up about opportunities for improvement. Not only does research show that this can drive greater engagement, better customer service, reduced employee turnover and improved operational efficiencies, but a multitude of positive employee behaviours too. In this article, Ethan Burris, Elizabeth McCune and Dawn Klinghoffer reveal the findings of a study at Microsoft and explain why and how you should encourage employees to speak out about issues beyond their own jobs. The section on four factors that encourage more expansive voice behaviours: status, managerial behaviours, team climate and connectedness are particularly revealing.

The more well connected an employee is to the rest of the organization, the more likely that person is to speak up across all topics

PATRICK COOLEN, JAAP VELDKAMP, ANOUK BREUGELMANS & SABRINA KORTEMAN – Visualizing the voice of the employee

Listening to our workforce and acting on what we learn has never been so important, so this article highlighting how ABN AMRO is combining continuous listening, employee experience and people analytics is extremely timely. The bank’s Continuous Listening Framework (see FIG 10) is presented together with insights on how people analytics is deployed to understand what is on the minds of employees. The article also includes how the People Analytics team is using text analytics, and how insights are visualised and shared every month with executives, managers and the workforce to create transparency and drive action.

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FIG 10: ABN AMRO’s Continuous Employee Listening Framework (Source: Patrick Coolen et al)

ALEXANDRA KEUNEN, TERTIA WIEDENHOF & MARTIJN WIERTZ – How Rabobank Uses Continuous Listening to Understand Employee Sentiment During COVID-19

As we hear regularly at Insight222 from our clients, the primary focus of people analytics functions during the crisis has been to support organisational efforts to maximise employee wellness and safety. In this article, Alexandra, Tertia and Martijn from Rabobank’s People Analytics team share seven insights they’ve learned on how to create a healthy balance between sending information and surveys to employees, listening to what they say and making fast improvements based on employee feedback.

Open text analysis reveals a lot about what employees appreciate in this situation and gives glimpses of what we should keep in the future

MICHAEL HOFFMAN & CLINT KOFFORD – How Johnson & Johnson is Applying Data Science to Unlock Human Potential

As their CHRO Peter Fasolo has written previously, data science is transforming Johnson & Johnson’s approach across HR including in career growth and development. This article highlights an ongoing study that has identified that employees with a greater diversity of experience (such as experience working across sectors, functions or regions) are promoted with greater frequency at J&J than their more stationary peers. The findings of the study are being used to better understand the drivers of career advancement at the company, what is needed to accelerate career velocity and personalise development. This is the type of work the more advanced people analytics teams such as the one led at J&J by Piyush Mathur and Geetanjali Gamel are doing. To learn more about how J&J uses people analytics, tune into my podcast episode with Piyush: How J&J Uses People Analytics to Drive Business Outcomes.

The big-picture goal is to understand what drives career advancement at Johnson & Johnson. If we know that, we use our knowledge of those drivers to help employees reach their career goals faster

PHIL MERCY & MARK HAYTON – How can “Customer Perceived Value” (CPV) Inform the Customer Experience of HR?

Net Promoter Score (NPS) has established itself as a leading measure of the customer experience and is one that has been adopted by many companies. In this revealing article Mark Hayton and Phil Mercy examine Nokia’s customer experience metric “Customer Perceived Value” and how it can be used to inform the customer experience of HR.

When we pause to consider all we’ve learned, we realise something quite profound: All perceived experience is relative

III) ETHICS, TRUST & TECHNOLOGY

Ethics continues to be one of the most critical elements of people analytics – a fact that has been further highlighted during the crises of 2020. There should be a fair exchange of value whereby employees gain personal benefit in exchange for sharing their data with their employers. Five articles covering the value of trust, ethics, technology and data governance follow.

ELLYN SHOOK, DAVID RODRIGUEZ, EVA SAGE-GAVIN & KELLY MONAHAN – Care to Do Better: Building trust to enhance employee potential and leave your people and your business Net Better Off

According to this extensive global study by Accenture of 3,200 senior executives (50 per cent HR leaders, 50 per cent other CXOs) and 15,600 workers, trust is the new currency at work. To help firms capture this opportunity, the authors have developed a framework (“Net Better Off”) to meet six fundamental human needs through work. Accenture’s research finds that 64 per cent of a person’s potential is influenced by whether or not they feel better off across these six dimensions. The report then provides guidance for CHROs and their teams on how to realise this opportunity including ‘sweet spot’ practices and the key questions to tackle (see FIG 11) – which look perfect for a people analytics team to investigate.

 The CHRO has never been better positioned to be the catalyst for such meaningful change—not only for their people, but also their organizations and communities

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FIG 11: What to ask today to be better off tomorrow (Source: Accenture)

TOMAS CHAMORRO-PREMUZIC & IAN BAILIE – Tech Is Transforming People Analytics. Is That a Good Thing?

The prolific Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic together with my Insight222 colleague, Ian Bailie, examine how technology continues to help advance people analytics. They highlight the good (e.g. how companies are using active and passive listening to support employees during the crisis and their preferences for returning to the office) and the bad (e.g. how other companies are considering the use of intrusive monitoring software that can take screenshots and track people’s movements). Without sufficient governance such as an ethics charter for people analytics in place, people analytics is at risk not just of unethical practice, but of less success in driving business value.

It’s not enough to hope that ethics are at the forefront when companies are considering new technology or people analytics projects. In our view, companies need to adopt an ethics charter for people analytics that helps them to clearly govern what they should or shouldn’t do.

JOHN SUMSER – Predictions Everywhere – 9 Trends that are Shaping AI and Intelligent Tools in HR Tech Part 1 and Part 2

John Sumser’s prolific output of thoughtful content reached new heights in 2020. His two-part series on nine trends shaping AI and intelligent tools in HR Tech is a prime example. As John says most of what we talk about in HR Tech as ‘AI’ isn’t really AI. Instead, he prefers to classify it as ‘intelligent tools’. Many of the trends John highlights e.g. Skills Shortages Understated, A New Type of Management and The Next Layer of Bias are all topics organisations we work with at Insight222 are grappling with.

The proliferation of intelligent tools will give every decision maker at every level a range of conflicting inputs from which a decision must be made

KENNETH LIM, MATTHEW YERBURY & NICHOLAS BILLER – Data in the iron mask: How to protect important and sensitive information

Starting with an analogy to the film The Man in The Iron Mask, Kenneth Lim combines forces with Matthew Yerbury and Nicholas Biller from HSBC’s People Data Science team to explain the concept of data masking, where original data is replaced with scrambled copy to ensure privacy and ethics. The article also provides frequently used data masking techniques and a simple flow chart (FIG 12) to help practitioners consider when and what masking techniques may be needed. Thanks to Eden Britt for highlighting this really insightful read.

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 FIG 12: Flowchart to help decide when to mask data and which techniques to apply (Source: Kenneth Lim)

 

ELIAS BALTASSIS, ANTOINE GOURÉVITCH & LUCAS QUARTA – Good Data Starts with Great Governance | ALEXANDRE ARACTINGI, ELIAS BALTASSIS, YASSINE KHENDEK & LUCAS QUARTA – A Show-Don’t-Tell Approach to Data Governance

As part of the Nine Dimensions for Excellence In People Analytics model we use to help clients at Insight222, we believe that having the right governance structures in place to help with data standards, ethics and privacy and the selection of projects and analytics work will lead to companies having a greater chance of being successful with people analytics. However, we also find that too many people analytics teams get bogged down in efforts to develop the perfect analytics engine (skills, technology and above all data) at the expense of identifying and delivering ‘quick win’ work that can drive momentum – and lead to greater investment in people analytics and more visibility. As such, this pair of articles from BCG provide a helpful overview on the topic with part 1 providing a comprehensive guide on the building blocks of good data governance. The advice offered in part 2 that “by focusing on the necessary data quality for a few initial use cases, companies can achieve results fast while building the expertise, accountability, and foundations (both technical and organizational) that help them scale” really resonates as does the three-point plan laid out in FIG 13.

To win in the data race, companies need focused data structures, policies, and tools and a target operating model

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FIG 13: A use case approach builds data governance capabilities while delivering value (Source: BCG Analysis)

IV) THE FUTURE OF WORK

As I pondered in my Predictions for HR in 2021 piece, there’s a strong argument that the events of 2020 mean that the ‘future of work’ has been fast-forwarded by five to ten years. Certainly, HR and People Analytics teams are at the forefront of work in organisations to envisage ways of working and workplace design post-pandemic. Six articles covering different but related aspects of the ‘future of work’ follow.

LINKEDIN (GREG LEWIS, ANNE McSILVER, KATE REILLY, MARIA IGNATOVA) – Global Talent Trends 2020

When LinkedIn published its annual Global Talent Trends report in early January 2020 not many would have predicted that what at the time were reports of a new coronavirus in Wuhan, China would develop into the biggest global pandemic for a century. Despite this, the four trends identified (see FIG 14) proved to be extremely prescient with, in particular, the crises of 2020 seeing a huge focus on employee experience and wellbeing along with internal recruiting – with both being hugely underpinned by people analytics. The report outlines each of the four trends and offers supporting guidance and case studies on each.

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FIG 14: Source: LinkedIn Global Talent Trends 2020

HEATHER McGOWAN & CHRIS SHIPLEY- The Coronavirus Ushers In The Human Capital Era

“We may not yet know what the next new normal will look like, but it is clear that we can’t go back.” In their thoughtful and inspiring article, Heather McGowan and Chris Shipley make a compelling argument that the pandemic will usher us into the ‘human capital era’, where workers will evolve from a cost to contain to an asset to develop. This means going beyond reskilling: “We need to go beyond reskilling to invest in the learning and experiences that unleash human potential beyond the edge of known knowledge.” To hear more on this topic, please check out Heather’s discussion with me on the Digital HR Leaders Podcast: How COVID-19 is acting as a Catalyst to Accelerate the Future of Work.

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FIG 15: Moving beyond reskilling to the human capital Era where reskilling is a norm but deeper investments (Source: Heather McGowan)

LEENA NAIR – This is how to empower the workforce to shape the future of work

In October, the World Economic Forum launched their 2020 Future of Jobs Report, mapping the jobs and skills of the future and tracking the pace of change. In her article, Leena Nair, CHRO at Unilever and a previous guest on the Digital HR Leaders Podcast, explores how businesses must ensure that human capital is treated as an asset – not a burden – so that the economic recovery is fuelled by people thriving, adapting, growing and proactively shaping the future of work.

To imagine the future of work, we must start with defining how human beings can adapt and grow

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FIG 16: Source: Future of Jobs Report, 2020, World Economic Forum

ERICA VOLINI, JEFF SCHWARTZ, KRAIG EATON, DAVID MALLON, YVES VAN DURME, MAREN HAUPTMANN, ROB SCOTT and SHANNON POYNTON – Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends 2021: The social enterprise in a world disrupted

Deloitte’s annual Global Human Capital Trends report is always eagerly awaited, and the 2021 edition was published in December 2020 at the culmination an especially disruptive year. The key headline is that “it’s time for organizations to shift from a survive to a thrive mindset.” The report outlines five workforce strategies to watch in 2021 (see FIG 17 below).

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FIG 17: The 2021 Global Human Capital Trends (Source: Deloitte)

RIGAS HADZILACOS, AIDAN MANKTELOW, TILL ALEXANDER LEOPOLD, SAAIDA ZAHIDI, SARA TIEW, CLADIA UKONU, MILAN TAYLOR & KATE BRAVERY – Resetting the future of work: Disruption and renewal in a post-COVID world

This collaboration between Mercer and the World Economic Forum shares critical insights and lessons learned so far from the COVID-19 pandemic response, including workforce-related best practices from more than 80 CHROs at leading global employers. The report provides organisations with an overarching view to addressing the future of work through the five imperatives illustrated below in FIG 18.

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FIG 18: Five imperatives for resetting the future of work agenda (Source: World Economic Forum & Mercer)

BERNARD MARR – Future Of People Analytics: What Lies Ahead For Data-Driven HR?

Bernard Marr is usually a couple of years ahead of most people when it comes to understanding how technology and analytics will help shape the future, so this article looking at what lies ahead for people analytics caught my eye. Bernard’s assertions that HR has a unique role to play, must lead the way when it comes to automation and that the future for people analytics “intelligent, data-driven HR” all auger well – particularly if HR is able to direct its efforts to the business challenges that matter most in their organisation.

Demonstrating that you can use data in original ways to solve key problems is a sure-fire path to success in the information age

JOHN BOUDREAU – Looking Beyond the Novelty to the Future of Work

Boudreau asks four questions to help navigate what he sees as the paradox of this time: effectively managing the crisis and looking beyond today’s accomplishments to take action for the future now. Could it be that we’re celebrating our successes too soon?

Now is when HR can draw attention to the key lessons and insist that the organization establish the frameworks, values, decision rules and working relationships that will allow today’s lessons to be sustained.

V) COLLABORATION, REMOTE/HYBRID WORKING

The pandemic has forced the biggest remote working experiment in history and precipitated countless articles espousing the positives and negatives of working from home for individuals and the organisations they work for. The six articles that follow examine the impact of remote/hybrid working on areas such as collaboration, wellness and innovation. Much more will be studied and written on this topic as we progress through 2021.

ETHAN BERNSTEIN, HAYLEY BLUNDEN, ANDREW BRODSKY, WONBIN SOHN & BEN WABER – The implications of working without an office

What impact has working from home had on productivity and creativity?” That was the question, Ethan Bernstein and his team sought to understand in their study for Harvard Business Review. Findings include that whilst most white-collar workers made the transition to virtual work well: work days are 10-20% longer, communication went up 40% with strong ties but down 10% with weak ties, and underlying concerns remain on areas like onboarding new employees and fostering relationships. The article concludes by examining what work may look like after the pandemic and highlights what organisations that are shifting towards hybrid models are doing including helping employees to “build both work-from-home and work-from-office muscles” and “share the realities — the advantages and disadvantages — of each.” A fascinating and absorbing read.

Since all-virtual work began, employee stress, negative emotions, and task-related conflict have all been steadily falling; each is down at least 10%

MICHAEL ARENA – Innovation Erosion in a Virtual Working Environment

With a number of studies finding that productivity levels have increased as a result of the shift to virtual working, it would be easy to leap to the conclusion that we are ushering in a new work-from-home model. However, according to network science, as Michael Arena highlights in his excellent article, this could be a mistake. Creativity and innovation are stymied with virtual working as bridge connections are rapidly eroded (see FIG 19 for the impact on the network where 30 bridge connections are removed). This is especially pertinent when it comes to generating new ideas and then scaling these innovations across organisations to gain broader support. As Michael concludes: “As HR professionals, we have a responsibility to help our organizations see the whole picture. We need to help them resist the temptation to leap into a new normal of working-from-home without first considering the downside risks to long-term innovations.” For more on this topic, tune in to Michael’s discussion with me on the Digital HR Leaders Podcast: What is the Impact of Virtual and Hybrid Working on Innovation?

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FIG 19: Example of how removing 30 bridge connections causes a healthy network to decay and become fragmented (Source: Michael Arena)

MANISH GOEL & DAVID GREEN – The Role of Network Analytics (ONA) in Ensuring Team Collaboration and Well Being

Whenever I speak to a Head of People Analytics, the topic of Organisational Network Analysis (ONA) invariably comes up. The crisis has spiked further interest in this technique as companies seek to understand the ramifications of the biggest remote working experiment in history. Many companies we work with at Insight222 are using ONA to answer questions such as the ones Manish Goel highlights in the article (see also FIG 20). The article also examines other typical use cases for Relationship Analytics (including around topics such as organisational effectiveness, diversity and inclusion and internal mobility), how to get started and also tips around privacy and ethics.

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FIG 20: ONA – A real-time network view on how an organisation is collaborating (Source: TrustSphere)

LYNDA GRATTON – Four Principles to Ensure Hybrid Work Is Productive Work

The pandemic has forced companies to become more flexible about where and when employees work. Now they need to be more intentional about their choices and trade-offs. With productivity being the ultimate goal, Lynda Gratton recommends how organisations should rethink the axes of hybrid work (space and time) around four principles – two with regards to place (design the office for cooperation, make working from home a source of energy) and two for time (let asynchronous time boost focus and enable synchronised time to be the basis of coordination). If you like the article, do listen to my podcast conversation with Lynda where we discuss the importance of serendipity to innovation and creativity.

Every organization will have to brainstorm how to heighten energy, focus, coordination, and cooperation to make hybrid work productive work. Be wary of making early decisions that will have long-term effects — leave your options open.

ROB CROSS & INGA CARBONI – When Collaboration Fails and How to Fix It | ROB CROSS, AMY EDMONDSON & WENDY MURPHY – A Noble Purpose Alone Won’t Transform Your Company

A pair of articles co-authored by the brilliant Rob Cross. In the first, Rob and Inga Carboni present findings of a decade’s worth of organisational network analysis (ONA) studies, which sought to understand patterns of collaboration that undermine team and business unit success in companies. Their research identifies six types of collaborative dysfunction (see FIG 21), and what the authors learnt about each dysfunction, the drivers that create them and some remedies to address them. In the second article, Rob joins forces with Amy Edmondson and Wendy Murphy to present the findings of 20 years of research into over 300 companies that reveals that purpose is only one contributing factor to engaging employees (contrary to what is espoused in countless management articles and books). Instead, the research finds that the level and quality of interpersonal collaboration actually has the greatest impact on employee engagement. The article explores why collaboration has that effect and which behaviours should be adopted to nurture it. Features Case Studies from Greg Pryor at Workday, David Sylvester from Amazon Web Services and Kate O’Brien from The Broad Institute.

Leadership behaviours that nurture interpersonal collaboration are the true drivers of change

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FIG 21: Why is your organization struggling to collaborate (Source: Rob Cross and Inga Carboni)

ANDREA ALEXANDER, AARON DE SMET, SARAH KLEINMAN & MARINO MUGAYAR-BALDOCCHI – To weather a crisis, build a network of teams 

A practical guide from McKinsey on four steps companies can take to build a dynamic and collaborative team structure to help tackle the significant challenges presented by a crisis such as the pandemic (see FIG 22). Perhaps one bittersweet aspect of the crisis is that it may spur leaders to reflect on what kind of organisation, culture, and operating model they want to put in place, so they can avoid returning to previous patterns of behaviour and instead embrace a more effective employee-centric way of working as we enter the post-Covid world.

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FIG 22: Four steps to creating a network of teams (Source: McKinsey)

VI) THE FUTURE OF HR

The pandemic has thrust the human resources function into the spotlight. The pivotal role played by the CHRO in this crisis has been likened to that of the CFO during the Global Financial Crisis. HR has thrived during this difficult time in organisations where the function is well led, has strong senior stakeholder equity, has prioritised employee wellbeing and has robust capability in people analytics. If anything, this has raised expectations on HR even further from leaders and workers. Can HR evolve at the pace necessary to deliver? Five resources that highlight the intensity of focus and that also provide guidance follow.

KATARINA BERG – All eyes on HR | Spotify’s People Strategy | GARY MUNRO – Disco: A place where data comes to dance

Katarina Berg, who leads HR at Spotify, is the epitome of the modern, business focused, data driven Chief People Officer. In her ‘All Eyes on HR’ article, Katarina highlights that HR’s role has never been so important and why that means the profession needs to pressure test the four dimensions of learning agility: i) People agility; ii) Mental agility; iii) Change and results agility; and, iv) Self-awareness. If you enjoy this article, I also recommend checking out Katarina’s second article outlining Spotify’s People Strategy (see FIG 23). In addition, Gary Munro, Spotify’s People Analytics leader, provides an overview of a cleverly scaled solution Spotify’s HR team has built called ‘Disco’, which emulates what Spotify does for consumers in terms of curation and recommendations

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FIG 23: Spotify’s People Strategy (Source: Katarina Berg, Spotify HR Blog)

BRYAN HANCOCK & BILL SCHANINGER – HR says talent is crucial for performance—and the pandemic proves it

According to McKinsey, the crisis has witnessed ‘HR’s finest hour’ as the function has successfully managed the radical shifts facing workforces in the pandemic. The article outlines five practices for HR to help steer organisations through new ways of working and into the eventual post-Covid era including reskilling, tailoring the employee experience (see FIG 24) and optimising workforce planning.

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FIG 24: Communicating change in a remote workplace (Source: McKinsey)

AMY WRIGHT, JANET MERTENS, DIANE GHERSON & JOSH BERSIN – Accelerating the journey to HR 3.0 

Humanity, employee experience and skills are the central tenets of a two-year study by IBM, which identifies ten action areas (see FIG 25) critical to the radical redefining of HR. The findings presented in the study make an irrevocable case that the overhaul of HR is a business imperative, and that the guiding principles for this transformation are personalisation, skills at the core, data-driven decision making, transparency and agility. The paper features guidance and case studies for each of the ten action areas.

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FIG 25: Ten action areas critical to HR 3.0 (Source: IBM Institute for Business Value)

DAVID REIMER & ADAM BRYANT – Superhuman resources: How HR leaders have redefined their C-suite role

The immense challenges of 2020 have thrust the human resources function into the spotlight. In their article, which is based on interviews with over 500 Chief HR Officers around the world, David Reimer and Adam Bryant distil five priorities for a CHRO to maximise their contribution to the business (see FIG 26). Features insights from several stellar CHROs including Kathleen Hogan, Donna Morris, Diane Gherson, Susan Podlogar, Tanuj Kapilashrami Kevin Cox, Amy Capellanti-Wolf, Ellyn Shook, Jorge Figueredo and many more.

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FIG 26: Five priorities of exceptional human resources leaders (Source: strategy-business.com/CHRO)

DAVE ULRICH – HR’s Ever-Evolving Contribution | What if…The Value of an Organization Guidance System

If there was an award for the best writer in our field for 2020 (and perhaps there should be) then my vote would unquestionably go to Dave Ulrich. His writing on the crises of the past 12 months and what it means for leaders, HR an organisational culture is both inspiring and practical – and markedly difference from the hyperbole of others. Picking just one article from Dave’s stellar output is impossible, so I’m going to pick two. There’s no doubt that the past year has seen HR shift from being encouraged to adapt to the ‘future of work’ to actually playing a central role in organisational response to the crises of 2020. As Dave explains in his first article, this means that HR is tasked with reinventing ‘today’s and tomorrow’s work’ and adapting to multiple challenges that profoundly impact people and organisations – not just the pandemic but also social tensions, economic adversity and personal emotional malaise too. Dave suggests that to turn these challenges into opportunities, HR professionals should creatively answer this question: “What are HR’s unique contributions to business success?” and also presents FIG 27 – a model that illustrates the waves of HR Evolution, highlighting that the outside-in wave sees a shift from value creation to value delivery as: “HR is now about delivering value to customers, investors, and communities outside the organization.” Dave’s second article outlines the main focus of his current work: an Organization Guidance System designed to help guide HR leaders on the combination of 180 possible areas of investment that will deliver the most optimal results for their specific company. Dave publishes an article every fortnight via his LinkedIn account – if you don’t already follow Dave, I highly recommend you do.

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FIG 27: Waves of HR Evolution or Maturity (Source: Dave Ulrich)

VII LEADERSHIP, CULTURE AND INCLUSION

The crises of 2020 provided a stark reminder that leaders that are vulnerable, empathetic, inclusive, data-driven, honest, collaborative and prepared to listen leave citizens and employees better off, as well as helping foster healthier and more inclusive cultures. HR has a pivotal role to play in how leaders are identified, developed, rewarded and held accountable for their behaviour. Eight resources covering a gamut of areas on this topic including but not limited to diversity and inclusion, empathy, mental health and culture follow.

AMY EDMONDSON & TOMAS CHAMORRO-PREMUZIC – Today’s Leaders Need Vulnerability, Not Bravado

The pandemic has shown that the political leaders that embrace data, display candour and adopt an empathetic approach are the ones who have mitigated the health and economic damage to their countries. As Amy Edmondson and Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic explain in their article: “People in organizations of all types are better off when their leaders are smart, honest, and caring when taking bold, potentially unpopular actions — when their focus is on helping the organization move forward, not on how they look and certainly not on creating a false sense of invincibility that actually harms people.” Their article provides guidance on what you can do to cultivate a more vulnerable style of leadership. Let’s hope the likes of Boris Johnson take on board the first tip: “Start by telling the truth.” It would certainly make a refreshing change. If you want to hear more from the authors, please tune in to the Digital HR Leaders Podcasts episodes with Amy on how to create psychological safety at work and Tomas on the role of leadership in crisis.

SATYA NADELLA & JOE WHITTINGHILL – Success at Microsoft Grows Out of Organizational Culture 

Satya Nadella is rightly extolled as the epitome of the empathetic and purposeful leader required in today’s world. In an illuminating interview with Joe Whittinghill, who leads Talent, Learning and Insights at Microsoft, Nadella highlights two impacts of the pandemic on future ways of working: flexibility (“Instead of becoming very dogmatic about some new paradigm, the key is to enable flexibility”) and social capital (“how do we maintain the social capital that comes from being together in the workplace?”) – witness the announcement a few months ago by Kathleen Hogan, Microsoft’s Chief People Officer on how Microsoft is embracing a flexible workplace. Nadella also outlines how Microsoft sees productivity in an organisation moving forward being comprised of three things: collaboration (“every organization will need a system of collaboration to support how work gets done” [see FIG 28]), learning (“every organization will require a system of learning—a continuous feedback loop between the work, skills and learning required to succeed at the task at hand”), and wellbeing (“organizations will need a system of well-being to support the health of employees as they adapt to new work norms”).

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FIG 28: Remote work success is aided by relationships formed in person – “cognitive load is much higher when you first collaborate remotely instead of in person” (Source: Microsoft)

DION HINCHCLIFFE – The Most Vital Digital Management Skill: Network Leadership

Dion Hinchcliffe cites the loss of real connection due to the mass remote working forced by the pandemic in his excellent article examining the very different skills required to lead digital organisations. His article outlines the differences between traditional and network leadership (FIG 29) and then provides guidance on five facets of what the best leaders do to cultivate and exert effective network leadership both within and beyond their organisations e.g. building reach, being transparent and communicative and orchestrating at scale. A fascinating read.

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FIG 29: Comparing traditional leadership with network leadership (Source: Dion Hinchcliffe)

ADAM GRANT – How Jobs, Bosses and Firms May Improve After the Crisis | Why White People Stay Silent on Racism, and What to Read First

Adam Grant’s new book THINK AGAIN: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know on rethinking our opinions and opening other people’s minds, which is published in February, promises to be one of the first highlights of 2021. As he typically does, Adam captured the mood perfectly in two articles relating to the twin crises of 2020. In the first article for The Economist, Adam offers a vision of greater job satisfaction, more ethical leadership, a deeper sense of trust and the holy grail of shorter working days: “We can be every bit as creative and productive in six focused hours a day as in twice as many distracted hours.” In the second article, Adam takes a cue from the incomparable Martin Luther King (“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”) to highlight the importance of amplifying the voices of those with the deeper understanding and broader data to help us all do more to understand and combat racism.

Research has repeatedly shown that when majority groups stay quiet, they inadvertently license the oppression of marginalized groups

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ENRICA N. RUGGS & DEREK R. AVERY – Organisations Cannot Afford to Stay Silent on Racial Injustice

As Enrica Ruggs and Derek Avery perfectly articulate in their powerful article: “It is critical for leaders to engage with the issue of racism and discrimination, both because of its effect on employees and in order to demonstrate their genuine commitment to diversity and human rights.” They then outline five actions organisations can take to both help employees cope and contribute to dismantling the systems of racism.

While speaking up and acknowledging injustice is important, leaders must go beyond this to engage in behaviors that substantiate their words.

McKINSEY, SUNDIATU DIXON-FYLE, KEVIN DOLAN, VIVIAN HUNT & SARA PRINCE – Diversity Wins: How Inclusion Matters

The third report in a McKinsey series investigating the business case for diversity finds that the relationship between diversity on executive teams and the likelihood of financial outperformance has strengthened over time (see FIG 30). By incorporating a “social listening” analysis of employee sentiment in online reviews, the report also provides new insights into the critical role of inclusion. It shows that companies should pay much greater attention to inclusion, even when they are relatively diverse, and provides guidance into how this can be achieved.

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FIG 30: The business case for gender and ethnically diverse executive teams (Source: McKinsey)

DAVID PEDULLA – Diversity and Inclusion Efforts That Really Work

Programs designed to increase diversity and inclusion in the workplace often fail. Stanford sociologist David Pedulla highlights five pointers to help your next D&I initiative succeed, based on brand new research from the What Works? Evidence-Based Ideas to Increase Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace report. The report is certainly worth a read, and features essays from the likes of Frida Polli, Kelly Trindel and Kate Glazebook on how technology can improve fairness in hiring as well as Iris Bohnet and Siri Chilazi on how to overcome the small-n problem.

Companies need to proactively test new technologies for disparate impacts on workers before they go in the field and need to audit their procedures after implementation to ensure that biases are not creeping in

JEFFERY PFEFFER & LEANNE WILLIAMS – Mental health in the workplace: The coming revolution

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that prioritising wellbeing in the workplace is not only the right thing to but it has a positive impact on company performance too. Jeffery Pfeffer, who has written extensively on this topic, and his Stanford colleague Leanne Williams, highlight how employees need, and increasingly demand, resources to help them cope with mental health problems. They make a compelling case that: “If companies make mental health services more accessible and intervene in the workplace in ways that improve well-being, they will simultaneously make investments that will provide real improvements in employee outcomes and consequently in company performance.

The pandemic has made painfully clear that our collective emotional health is in jeopardy, and many employers are scrambling to meet burgeoning demands

VIII EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE

At the start of 2020, Employee Experience was already pretty much the biggest thing in HR – a sentiment confirmed in the LinkedIn Global Talent Trends highlighted earlier in this collection. Then the pandemic happened and the vast majority of organisations we work with at Insight222 made employee wellbeing and experience their top priority. One can only hope that this focus will continue whenever we emerge into the post-pandemic world. Seven resources on Employee Experience follow.

ANNA TAVIS – Employee Experience as a Team Sport: Key Lessons from the Pandemic

Anna Tavis highlights how EX has shifted from primarily an HR led initiative to one that thanks to the pandemic is at the centre of organisational strategy. Anna then highlights some powerful examples of how CEOs and other C-Level leaders have played an active role in EX including how a triumvirate of CEO, CFO and CHRO has emerged with a primary purpose of ensuring business continuity with people at the centre. Anna’s article is one of a number collected together on EX here to commemorate the 40th anniversary of International Association for Human Resource Information Management (IHRIM). Other articles worth delving into include those authored by Ravin Jesuthasan, Frida Polli, Eric Bokelberg and Stela Lupushor.

Employee Experience is about business’ resilience and continuity, not a nice to have HR project

LISA MORRIS, VOLKER JACOBS, TI PEOPLE – Advancing the Human Experience of Work

TI People has been at the forefront of work on Employee Experience since they were formed in 2016. Their follow-up to 2019’s excellent State of EX report makes a persuasive case of moving beyond employee experience alone, and instead thinking Human Experience, in order to make meaningful impact for everyone, everywhere. The report is a true practitioner perspective, with insights from over 100 leaders who specifically lead work or are part of a cross-functional effort aimed at directly impacting the human experience of work. Learn about the nine key building blocks essential to impactful experience management (see FIG 31) and how not one surveyed organisation has established practices in place across the board. The report also highlights common challenges including: i) prioritising what to focus on to improve experience at macro and micro levels, and ii) collecting and analysing data to better understand the needs of people at work, to guide this prioritisation.

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FIG 31: The nine key Experience Management building blocks, and percentage of organisations with these established (Source: TI People)

JOSH BERSIN – Employee Experience 4.0: Shortening The Distance From Signal To Action | The Big Reset Revisited: Global Transformation Is Here To Stay

Josh Bersin’s analysis of the EX market is that it is advancing faster than ever due to the pandemic and finds that companies are getting much better at delivering a meaningful, productive employee experience. His analysis complements that of TI People in finding that an agenda that may have started in HR now spans the whole company (think IT, Facilities etc). Josh believes the market is now entering its fourth stage (see FIG 32) of ‘Continuous Response’ where companies collect signals in multiple forms – not just survey. We can certainly see this in public examples of continuous listening from Microsoft and IBM, as well as in companies like Walmart and Johnson & Johnson, which are included in the report highlighted in Josh’s article. One article from Josh is never enough, so I wanted to also include the latest in his series on ‘The Big Reset,’ which he has been writing about since the onset of the pandemic. In this instalment, Josh argues that the transformation brought on by Covid-19 is here to stay and is comprised of three connected transformations: economic, social and cultural.

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FIG 32: Employee Engagement market evolves (Source: Josh Bersin)

SARAH JOHNSON – Measuring Engagement is Not the Same as Listening

Continuous Listening, as Sarah Johnson notes in this article, has become a buzzword in HR circles. Making an analogy with customers, Sarah provides insights on what continuous listening means from an employee perspective and outlines the mistakes organisations need to avoid when implementing these programs. To hear more from Sarah tune in to her podcast conversation with me on how surveys can create strategic value.

Employees don’t become fatigued from answering questions; they become fatigued when they spend all their time responding, but leaders don’t seem to care enough to act

LAURA STEVENS – Continuous Listening in times of crisis

As the pandemic developed and employees have started to en masse work remotely, many companies we work with at Insight222 initiated efforts to understand how this is affecting their people. Laura’s excellent article outlines how the nature and tone of your Continuous Listening efforts should shift from a focus on engagement to one that seeks to better understand wellbeing – particularly in relation to social connectedness and mental health.

Now is the time to listen and put employee wellbeing at the center of your efforts

ANDREW MARRITT – How to gain insight from employee text feedback

In terms of motivating change, executives are more likely to act on text-based employee feedback, but as Andrew Marritt explains it’s what you do with the analysed data that determines success. Further analysis and visualisations are needed to provide context and balance – and these must be aligned to the decisions that executives want to make. Andrew’s article provides some examples of analyses or visualisations you might want to perform once you have coded the data including visualising how the themes are linked (see FIG 33), grouping who said what, understanding how themes are changing over time, linking to other variables and moving towards causality. If you enjoy this article from Andrew, I recommend checking out his numerous other articles such as how to segment employees and personalise experiences, which you can find on his blog as well as subscribing to Andrew’s excellent Empirical HR newsletter.

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FIG 33: Weighted Co-occurrence graph. Edges show the likelihood that the relationship between the themes is unusually strong (Source: Andrew Marritt, Organization View)

AARON DE SMET, CAITLIN HEWES & LEIGH WEISS – For smarter decisions, empower your employees

Taking as its premise that “fully empowered employees make good decisions and resolve problems,” this article from McKinsey presents an ABCD model for categorising decisions (see FIG 34) and then dives deep on the ‘D’ – Delegated decisions, exploring how a variety of leadership and management styles can best support them.

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FIG 34: The ABCDs of categorising decisions (Source: McKinsey)

IX LEARNING AND DATA-DRIVEN CULTURE

Six resources covering the transformation of learning to on-demand, personalised, virtual and multi-format follow below. This shift is seeing barriers of traditional HR siloes such as learning, careers and internal mobility being broken down – and underpinned by technology, data and analytics.

ANDREW DYER, SUSANNE DYRCHS, ALLISON BAILEY, HANS-PAUL BÜRKNER & J.PUCKETT – Why It’s Time to Bring Learning to the C-Suite

A radical report from BCG that recommends company leaders take two urgent actions. First, to rethink the purpose of corporate learning by giving it a new raison d’être—namely, to improve business performance in a way that enlarges its overall contribution to society. Then second to reinvent the organisation of learning within their business by taking five crucial steps. These include making learning a c-suite priority by taking responsibility out of HR and giving the Chief Learning Officer a seat on the executive board, and a new expanded role (see FIG 35).

The new model of corporate learning will depend on highly digitized AI- and machine-learning-based technology platforms

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FIG 35: The new role of the Chief Learning Officer (Source: BCG Henderson Institute)

ABBIE LUNDBERG & GEORGE WESTERMAN – The Transformer Chief Learning Officer

The role of the Chief Learning Officer (CLO) role is also evolving – from just being responsible for training to an enhanced role in which the CLO is reshaping capabilities and organisational culture. The article examines three principal types of change, transformer CLOs are driving around learning goals, learning methods and learning departments. Features great insights from the likes of: Ewan Clark, Julie Dervin, Amelie Villeneuve, David Gledhill, Rahul Varma, Heather Whiteman and Wendi Kennedy with examples from organisations such as: UBS, GE Digital, Telstra and Standard Chartered.

Learning is no longer just an HR function. It’s a core part of your business

LUC LUTIN – Superlearning: Reskilling, upskilling and outskilling for a future-proof workforce

In a provocative read, Luc Lutin of Deloitte argues that the business value of learning is derived from two forms. The first comes from cost and value, with the second concerned with finding meaning in work, which stems from having a better understanding of the worker. Using these two tenets, Lutin then outlines how to orchestrate a successful transformation in learning including tips on how to build the ecosystem (see FIG 36).

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FIG 36: Building the learning ecosystem (Source: Luc Lutin, Deloitte)

NIGEL GUENOLE & SHERI FEINZIG – Data-Driven Cultures Start at the Top

In this piece for Harvard Business Review, my former IBM Smarter Workforce Institute colleagues Nigel Guenole and Sheri Feinzig find that companies that excel with analytics don’t just rely on data and technology, but also recognise that success requires an analytical mindset amongst its executives coupled with an analytical culture in the business.

Data culture depends in large part on the orientation of senior leaders, and especially the CEO

HEATHER WHITEMAN – 7 Ways HR Can Build a Fairer, Data-Informed Culture

People Analytics, as Heather Whiteman writes in her brilliant article in HBR, “provides opportunities to define fairness for the organization, build a business case for it, and collaborate with groups within and outside the organization to create and maintain it.” Heather provides seven ways to build a fairer, data informed culture with the first (“Develop organization-wide definitions of fairness” and the last (“Keep the H in HR”) especially resonant.

HR data represents real people with real lives, not just numbers to be nalysed without further thought

LEWIS GARRAD – What are the Skills needed to Create a Culture of Lifelong Learning?

As Satya Nadella has said, “the learn-it-all does better than the know-it-all”. For many people, the idea that having the right mindset is central to learning and change, makes sense. In his article for myHRfuture, Lewis explores what organisations really mean when they say they need a ‘growth or agile mindset’ – he proposes the focus should be on teaching a specific set of skills that help people learn and adapt. He shares the work he and Mercer did with the Singapore government, building “skills to build skills” or “critical core skills” (see FIG 37)

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FIG 37: The skills to build skills (Source: Lewis Garrad, Mercer, Skills Future SG)

X) WORKFORCE PLANNING, SKILLS & INTERNAL MOBILITY

There continues to be a shift in emphasis as companies increasingly seek to infer and create value from employee skills data, and build cultures where skills are of central importance. To achieve this, they have brought hitherto siloed HR programs such as learning, career and internal mobility together. With the pandemic increasing the focus even more on internal mobility, the rise of the ‘talent marketplace’. Four articles covering this topic follow.

MARIA M. CAPOZZI, STACEY DIETSCH, DANIEL PACTHOD & MICHAEL PARK – Rethink capabilities to emerge stronger from COVID-19

Research from McKinsey outlining how the pandemic has highlighted that a more capable workforce creates more resilient companies. The article highlights the need to get learning programs right and how leaders can do more to support capability-building efforts especially given the finding (see FIG 38) that 53% of leaders believe that building skills in existing employees is the best way to close their companies’ capability gaps.

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FIG 38: To most leaders, building employee skills is the best way to close their companies’ capability gaps (Source: McKinsey)

ADAM McKINNON & MIKAËL WORNOO – The value of measuring employee skill data | ADAM MCKINNON & ANDRÉ VERMEIJ – How HR can Apply Network Analysis to Open Data

As I wrote just over a year ago, skills are the new currency in organisations, and provide a wonderful opportunity for people analytics to help connect skills, learning, career development and workforce planning together. The challenge for many organisations is that they are unaware of the skills residing within their workforce and lack the know-how or means to unlock the considerable value that this data could bring. In this article, Adam McKinnon and Mikaël Wornoo, Founder & the Chief Product Officer at TechWolf explore the two fundamental considerations when it comes to skills management. First, how do you acquire your employees’ relevant skill data? Second, what practical value can you then generate from this wealth of information (see FIG 39)? This article was one of many gems written or co-written by Adam McKinnon in 2020 – the second included here saw Adam team up with André Vermeij where they highlight three examples of where HR can apply network analysis to open data: i) recruiting through Journal Articles, ii) talent retention during a M&A using Patent Data, and iii) analysing text similarity to drive innovation.

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FIG 39: The areas where skills data can be put to good use for the advantage of the organisation and the advantage of the employee (Adam McKinnon and Mikaël Wornoo)

ALICIA ROACH – Connecting People to Purpose – The Ultimate HR Mission

To truly ensure that your workforce is enabling the achievement of your purpose, it must have the right capacity and capability to do so. Continuing her rich thread of articles on Workforce Planning, Alicia Roach examines how you can connect your people to your organisation’s purpose through strategic workforce planning (see FIG 40).

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FIG 40: Connect your people to purpose through Strategic Workforce Planning (Source: Alicia Roach)

INA GANTCHEVA, ROBIN JONES, DIANA KEARNS-MANOLATOS, JEFF SCHWARTZ, LINNET LEE AND MANU RAWAT – Activating the internal talent marketplace

In what is an absorbing and in-depth article, researchers from Deloitte look at advances in ‘talent marketplaces,’ which have experienced accelerated growth due to the pandemic. They cover iterative talent marketplace design and their “Four Ps” model: Purpose (see FIG 41), plan, program and platform.

The pandemic has accelerated marketplace adoption as organizations have to scale and flex their talent models to meet business and workforce needs

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FIG 41: Strategies for implementing a Talent Marketplace (Source: Deloitte)

THANK YOU

Thanks to all the authors featured here and also across the monthly collections from 2020 – see January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November and December – your passion, knowledge and expertise continues to inspire. Thanks also to my colleagues at Insight222, the guests on the Digital HR Leaders Podcast in 2020 and the great many of you that share and engage with the content I share. It’s much appreciated. I wish you all well for 2021.

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CATCH UP ON THE DIGITAL HR LEADERS PODCAST

If you haven’t listened to all of the episodes of the Digital HR Leaders Podcast, you can catch up now by clicking on the links below.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David is a globally respected writer, speaker, conference chair, and executive consultant on people analytics, data-driven HR and the future of work. As an Executive Director at Insight222, he helps global organisations create more cultural and economic value through the wise and ethical use of people data and analytics. Prior to joining Insight222 and taking up a board advisor role at TrustSphere, David was the Global Director of People Analytics Solutions at IBM Watson Talent. As such, David has extensive experience in helping organisations embark upon and accelerate their people analytics journeys. David also hosts the Digital HR Leaders Podcast on myHRfuture.

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