Ask Tom!

Ask Tom!

Regularly I receive questions, via e-mail or LinkedIn. Sometimes I answer. Some of my answers I will collect in this post. The answers will be edited a little bit, to make sure organisations and people cannot be recognised. Questions can be asked via LinkedIn or e-mail.

1. We need an engagement survey, quick

The Question:

One of our consultants is doing some work at a mid-size client. She is looking for someone who can help with design and execution of an engagement survey. Do you know somebody/ Do you have some quick advice?

Tom’s answer:

Some quick thoughts:

  1. Some time ago, I published an article about Trends in employee mood measurement.
  2. The trend is from from the traditional annual or bi-annual survey to real time mood measurement.
    employee surveys
    Many organisations are introducing pulse surveys, often with questions that change per round (weekly, monthly, quarterly). There are many tools available that do a good job (as Impraise, TruQu, Peakon, CultureAmp, Peddy and Effectory). If the organisation uses Slack, you can use one of the Slack plugins (like Polly and Captain Feedback).
  3. Do-It-Yourself might seem attractive, but I think this is generally a bad choice. You lose a lot of time, and the effort is often greater than you think. Of course, you can build a quick survey with Google Forms or SurveyMonkey. Using one of the above mentioned tools might cost a little more set-up time, but you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, and you have a more sustainable solution.
  4. Response bias has to be taken into account. There seems to be a natural order of subjects, if you arrange them from positive to negative. Employees are most of the time relatively unhappy about their packages and the internal communications (especially from top management). Of course they are happier about their own contribution and their immediate colleagues. Far away is more negative than close to home. If you just start working on the aspects that come out of the survey as most negative (pay, communication), you might be wrong. Benchmarking helps, even if it is only internal.
  5. The responses also vary greatly per nationality. People from Japan and UK are on average a lot more negative than people from Mexico or Italy. Also here, it helps to have good benchmarks.
  6. Jacob Morgan is an employee experience guru. He has developed a nice short questionnaire you can use to calculate the Employee Experience Index. It is available on his website.

Added April 23, 2018

 

2. How does individualisation work in teams?

The question:

A question was asked in relation to the infographic 15 HR Trends.

“How do machines and chatbots make things more human? How does individualisation work in teams? How do you improve internal performance when your getting your talent everywhere and how does HR become strategic when there are all these contradicting trends?”

Tom’s answer:

We can learn a lot from dilemma reconciliation. You view some things as contradicting, but maybe they are not. Focusing on the needs and wishes of individuals, for example, can help us to create better teams.

Many people who apply for a job, get an e-mail like  “Thank you, we have received your application and you will get a reaction within two weeks“. And then they never hear again. Maybe it is more human, to be contacted by a friendly chatbot. “My name is Jack, I am the recruitment chatbot of company X. We have received your application, and hope to finalise the first selection within two weeks. Do you have any questions for me? You cal always contact me, I am available 24/7. If I do not know the answer to a question, I will find someone who can”. 

Maybe you can improve performance a lot, if you have access to a wider pool of people to staff your projects, not just the internal pool.

Added April 23, 2018

3. How to organise content?

The question:

Hi Tom! How are you ? I have  very simple question for you…
I’m trying to find a good way to organise inputs and contents. By process, technology ? I don’t know… I have an email folder structure and use pocket with categorised articles …
I like the Bersin frameworks or categories… but I haven’t found the best “container” or tag list.

Tom’s answer:

Some remarks on organising content.

  1. The best advice is: do not organise, but trust on your search engine. Just throw all the content in one big basket, and if you are looking for something, just search. It requires some discipline and trust, but I think it can work.
  2. I am a big fan of Evernote. I use it both mobile and on my desktop. If I see something interesting, I put it on Evernote. If I am at a conference, I make notes on Evernote. If you want, you can tag and put information in different notebooks. I started to do that, but now I just rely on the search capabilities of Evernote (which are good).
  3. To put HR Tech solutions is a basket, we use the employee journey as a guiding principle. Have a look at https://hrtech.community to get a view.

Added April 23, 2018

4. Stopping with performance management?

The question:

Tom, do you know organisations that have stopped with performance management? We want to start with a pilot, but first I would like to gather some more information.

Tom’s answer:

I do not know organisations that have stopped. Many organisations are redesigning the performance management process. Below two slides I recently used in a presentation about “Performance Management in agile organisations”.

performance management

performance management 2

Some more information in the links below; my personal view is captured in the first three articles:

 Added on April 25, 2018

5. What is the alternative for job descriptions?

The question:

Dear Tom,

My colleague and I attended the HRcoreLab in Barcelona. I have followed a lot of presentations in the HR Agility stream, and one of the topics in your keynote has been particularly memorable.

For our organisation, we are working on a new structure and we are establishing new job descriptions. During your keynote,  you mentioned that many of the standard HR instruments are no longer suitable, and that we need to develop new approaches.  I am all for, however, I find it difficult to achieve this. Could you perhaps indicate what criteria a job description ‘new style’ should meet,  in order to continue to be useful as a tool in HR Management?

Tom’s answer:

Hi, nice that you were in Barcelona!

Some quick thoughts:

1. I wrote an article: The end of static jobs. There are also a few references at the end of the article.
2. It is certainly not easy!
3. Question is,  what you will use the job descriptions for. Often it is mainly for the link to pay, and here I have not seen many innovative concepts.
4. The type of organisation is certainly important, and also the way in which work is done (self-managing teams require different tools than a more hierarchical organisation).
5. ‘Keep it simple’ is always good advice! Better a few very wide profiles, than than a very granular structure.
6. This also applies to reward: broad branding and not too many scales.
7. One of the challenges is, to deconstruct individuals into the different capabilities they have, with an indication of the level. Function profiles could then be a cluster of capabilities, that are often required together. A company that is developing tools in this domain is Blue Carpet.
8. I certainly know innovative consultancy companies that can help. Just let me know. One of my favourites in The Netherlands is Focus Orange (also of course because if the name).

Success, let me know if you need more, an hour of brainstorming via Skype is always possible!

Added on April 25, 2018

6. What are the latest crisp training methods?

The question:

Hello Tom… Could you please let me know what are the latest crisp training methods being used in the industry to train employees like bite sized learning nuggets, just in time content, etc…Would love to know and use them in my college assignment.

Tom’s answer:

Please have a look at:

Movement in this area is slow. In the consumer domain you can find some examples (Duolingo). Applying these techniques in the healthcare domain (hospitals) is also starting. Success, there is a lot to find online.

Added on May 1, 2018

7. Capability frameworks for Leadership

The question:

I would be very grateful if you could provide me any link/online material on “capability frameworks” for leadership and how to create one. I am pursuing my MBA in HR now and need the information for my assignment. It would be very helpful if you could give me any contacts whom i can reach out to.

Tom’s answer:

Thank you for your question. This is a very broad subject and loads of literature has been published. My advice would be to get more focus in the subject, otherwise it is easy to drown. The subject has many angles. Leadership is always contextual. It is about an individual, the team, their organisation and the environment they are working in. If you google on ‘leaderhip + competencies’ you will get a lot of hits. Some examples:

Some quick thoughts on more focus: What kind of leadership is required in flat organisations? Is there a relation between Big 5 personality profile and suitability for leadership positions? What er effective measures to increase the number of women in leadership positions?

Added on May 1, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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