Category Archives: workforce analytics

Temp Jobs: 3 Million and Counting

New research from CareerBuilder and Emsi (Economic Modeling Specialist Intl.) shows more companies will be tapping into the temporary labor segment of the labor pool, with temporary employment expected to add 173,478 jobs from 2016 to 2018 – an increase of 5.9 percent.

The analysis was reportedly based on data pulled from more 100 national and state employment resources.

“Today, nearly 3 million people are employed in temporary jobs, and that number will continue to grow at a healthy pace over the next few years as companies strive to keep agile in the midst of changing market needs,” said Kyle Braun, President of CareerBuilder’s Staffing and Recruiting Group:

“Opportunities are opening up in a variety of occupations and pay levels, and this is a trend we’re seeing in a wide range of industries and company sizes.”

Click here to see CareerBuilder’s list of fast-growing occupations for temporary employment from 2016 to 2018.

To further bolster the claim that temp jobs are here to stay, in a Harris Poll study commissioned by CareerBuilder and completed in December 2015, 47 percent of employers reported that they plan to hire temporary or contract workers in 2016, up slightly from 46 percent last year. Of these employers, more than half (58 percent) plan to transition some temporary or contract workers into full-time, permanent roles.

“Temporary employment benefits both sides of the labor market. Hiring temporary and contract workers helps companies stay flexible and adapt quickly to changing market demands,” Braun said. “For workers, it opens doors for those who want to utilize various skills, build relationships with different organizations and explore career options.”

More proof that temporary jobs are now a permanent fixture in the labor landscape. Is your organization ready to embrace the temp trend?

Report: HR Really Is Becoming More Strategic

Back view of businessman
Back view of businessman

We’ve all been hearing and talking about HR professionals becoming better strategic leaders and business partners for years, so there’s no real surprise here.

But in this report from the Cranfield Network on International Human Resource management, in collaboration with the Society for Human Resource Management and the Center for International HR Studies in the School of Labor Employment Relations at Penn State University, we do have new numbers. And they’re worth noting.

The report, Human Resource Management Policies and Practices in the United States, outlines the results of a survey of almost 700 senior-level HR practitioners in organizations with 200 or more employees.

It finds HR is more often on an organization’s board of directors or executive team and taking sole responsibility for major policy decisions than in years past.

Specifically, in terms of leadership, 70 percent of responding organizations said HR has a place on the board now, compared to 63 percent in 2009 and 41 percent in 2004. Also, two-thirds of responding organizations (66 percent) said they have a written HR-management strategy. As the report states:

“The HR department appears to be moving away from working jointly with line management in terms of where the responsibility lies for major policy decisions across a whole range of HRM activities such as pay and benefits, recruitment and selection, training and development, industrial relations and workforce expansion/reduction.

“In most cases, there has been an increase in either the HR department taking sole responsibility for these activities or line management taking responsibility (but at a much lower absolute level), with a concurrent reduction in the number of cases where both parties collaborated on the activity led either by HR or by line management. On average, line management is most active in the area of training and development, and least active in establishing pay and benefits policies.

“This trend implies that HR and line management roles may be becoming institutionalized, with each party focusing on its own responsibilities. The increasing regulatory environment may be playing a part here, with firms needing clear guidelines around responsibilities to ensure compliance with regulations and standards.”

This last sentence certainly underscores what we’ve been hearing lately as well!

The report also confirms the use of technology as a foundation for increased strategic HR leadership, with 83 percent of organizations using HR-information systems or electronic HR-management systems and 67 percent using employee self-service options.

Interestingly, according to the report, HR departments remain involved in the development of business strategy, either from the outset or through consultation, although their involvement has declined slightly (ranging from 80 percent in 2004 to 78 percent in 2009 to 76 percent in 2014/15).

Also, interestingly (and it’s hard to pinpoint what’s behind this), there was a decrease in the percentage of HR departments not consulted when the organization was going through a merger, relocation or acquisition between 2004 and 2009 (8 percent in 2004 and 4 percent in 2009); however, in 2014/15 the percentage returned to 9 percent, a level similar to that reported in 2004.

On a more positive note, though, the report states …

” … more than one half of HR departments report that they are consulted from the outset in such situations, which has remained stable since 2004 at 54 percent to 61 percent (depending on the type of organizational change), an indication that HR continues to be involved in processes vital to the success of organizations.”


Gazing Into the Crystal Ball

As 2014 draws to a close, folks — as you might expect — now have their eyes set on 2015, and are figuring out what might be in store for their organizations as far as HR and the workplace are concerned. For this final post of the year, I did a quick search of the web to see what  people are predicting for next year. For your reading pleasure, here are a few of the things I stumbled upon. (Feel free, of course, to click on any of the links to see the sources’ full list of predictions.)

159188661Establishing a “chief of work.” Peter Andrew, workplace strategy director for Asia at real-estate company CBRE, predicts in Fortune the addition of a new position: chief of work. Most C-suites have not added new roles since the chief-information-officer title took hold about 20 years ago, but CBRE’s research suggests that’s about to change. For one thing, Andrew writes, companies today have human resources, IT and real-estate all acting separately and, often, unwittingly working against each other. He suggests that a chief of work would coordinate all that, with an eye toward building a culture that attracts top talent. Finding the most efficient balance between full-time employees and a growing army of independent contractors, he adds, will also be in that individual’s wheelhouse.

The rise of mobile assessments. From website CPA Practice Advisor: Mobile assessments will be increasingly tapped for selection, performance management, and training and development decisions. Technology, including social media and social collaboration, is changing the science and practice of selection, recruitment, performance management, engagement and learning, the article says. And I-O psychologists, it continues, will work to design assessments that are valid and reliable, regardless of how and where they are delivered.

Every child born in the next 12 months will learn coding as a core subject. Increasingly, Samsung writes, governments are recognizing that computer literacy is a fundamental, basic skill and are incorporate coding into their curriculums. For example, the UK, it says, launched a new computing curriculum during the current academic year, in which children as young as five are taught programming skills. In 2015 and beyond, Samsung predicts, such education innovations will gradually become the norm, with businesses, educators and governments working together to raise skills across Europe. Longer-term, it says, this trend will help spur the use of internships, as businesses recognize that they can benefit from welcoming young, computer-literate people into their organizations. “The need for employees to be computer literate,” Samsung says, will result in a wave of coding schools that will help longtime employees learn coding quickly.

Honesty will become a revered leadership trait. In a Forbes article, contributor Dan Schawbel predicts that “companies are going to start embracing transparency more next year as younger generations are demanding it.” Leaders, Schawbel writes, won’t just have to be good at inspiring and educating; they will have to be able to instill trust through honesty. “It’s only natural that people would want to work under leaders who are open about what the company is doing [and] where it’s heading in the future, and give honest feedback regularly,” he writes.

Niche becomes the norm. Korn Ferry’s Futurestep unit predicts “niche will become the norm” in talent acquisition.Now that organizations grasp the power of data,” Futurestep says, “next year, the challenge will be to prove ROI on all activities using analytics.” Organizations, it notes, need to be clear on the touch points that fit best with the types of candidates they are looking to attract. To that end, it says, interest and demand in creating functional talent communities is becoming top of mind as businesses strive to target hard to reach groups.

“Niche talent requires niche strategies,” says Chong Ng, president of Futurestep’s Asia- Pacific operation. “Whether it is businesses seeking high-demand talent such as STEM candidates, or organizations located in high-potential growth locations looking to specifically attract local talent back in the country, employers need to be more sophisticated in their attraction and retention methodologies in order to find and keep candidates.”

Companies will set new hiring priorities. Website Customer Think predicts employers will pay a lot closer attention to soft skills in 2015. “In the past,” writes Marcelo Brahimllari, “candidates were hired for open positions based primarily on their skills and experience. The ability to ‘do the work’ was traditionally valued over other skills.” But with more competition for jobs and deeper talent pools today, Brahimllari says, many employers are considering candidates’ so-called “soft” skills just as much, if not more, than education and experience. Employers, he writes, want to hire applicants who fit with the culture of the organization and share in its values. Traits such as honesty, flexibility, positive mind-set, creativity and leadership skills, he says, are being looked upon as being just as important as the ability to crunch numbers or write code.

Look forward to seeing you back here in 2015! Happy New Year!

New Workforce Data Explored at HR Tech

Based on new research released Wednesday at the 17th Annual HR Technology® Conference and discussed in Thursday’s opening 174186913 (1)general session, employers and HR leaders seem to have some exciting new arsenal for recreating, reshaping and sustaining their workforces of tomorrow.

The research, to be released in quarterly reports as part of an ongoing ADP Workforce Vitality Report, measures the total real wages paid to the U.S. private-sector workforce based on a number of metrics, including job holders’ wages, job holders’ hours worked, job switchers’ wages and total employment. Although this index, at 110.6 in the third quarter of 2014, is considered the report’s baseline, it did show 0.77 percent growth from the previous quarter.

So job growth, as measured by this new combination of statistics, is, essentially, going up.

What’s especially exciting, though, seems to be the potential future indicators that so much data can provide the employment sector, when you consider it’s depth — based on the wages and employment profiles of ADP’s more than 50 million (one in six) paycheck recipients.

Segments of the U.S. workforce and the growth of wages and hours worked in any industry in any state are now tangible, or at least potentially tangible, showing where growth is strongest and weakest, and perhaps why. Segments “by age, by income, by full-time and part-time status, and even by gender” will also be available, “the latter of which is especially exciting to me,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, head of the ADP Research Institute, at the panel discussion.

Here, for more, is a recent CNBC televised discussion about the new research and another report from MarketWatch.

The session — moderated by David Gergen, senior political analyst at CNN, and including panelists John Boudreau, professor and research director at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business; Steven Cochrane managing director at Moody’s Analytics; Steven Rice, executive vice president of HR for Juniper Networks; and Yildirmaz — took in differing perspectives on just what all this data might mean.

Although the report indicates the South is leading the Northeast in job creation, and low-wage jobs — as in trade, transportation and retail — are leading over higher-income positions, questions still loom over whether this retail boom “is driven by higher wages or higher numbers of jobs” since the data combines all factors into one vitality — or growth — index, said Boudreau.

Moreover, “HR folks today can think of [where to find, place and develop talent] like a chess game, playing it in a more nuanced way,” he said. For instance, the index looks at four types of workers in the labor market: those who stay with the same firm (job holders), those who change jobs (job switchers), those newly hired (entrants) and those who left the firm either voluntarily or involuntarily (leavers).

Where index indicators show higher numbers of “leavers” or “entrants” — be they by industry or region — or higher-level jobs unfilled, “HR folks can be asking, ‘What would it take to make [a particular] pocket of folks who aren’t ready to fill this new talent need more ready for this need as opposed to [having to] seek talent outside the organization?’ ” said Boudreau.

The dynamics of the numeric indications, said Cochrane, actually show “economic growth happening everywhere … we have moved through the downturn, albeit in  the context of a slow-growing economy … but the gap is widening between the South and West, and the Northeast and Midwest” … and this could be indicative of growth in general in the South, as in Texas oil and energy, and the “structure of the economy changing.”

Rice left attendees with an important reminder as the sole HR practitioner on the panel; that being that, while the ADP data is a start and a helpful tool, the main goal for all HR leaders using it will be to “build the best workforce to build our companies of the future.”

Looking at organizations, he said, “has completely changed for heads of HR [in terms of] where talent is located, where it’s leaving, cost of labor, etc.” It’s far more of a global challenge now.

“We need to be able to tap into that new talent pool,” said Rice. “There’s a lot of shifting, too, in terms of skill sets and teaching of skill sets to tie into that changing talent pool.”

HR leaders are also grappling with when it makes sense to bring talent together under one roof versus allowing for more virtual project work and collaboration.

“We all need to be asking, ‘What are the areas where we can drive the talent for our ideal workforce?’ ” said Rice. “This kind of data can help.”


Intuition vs. Analytics

executive thinkingFor all the talk about data and analytics driving big business decisions, it seems most executives still rely primarily on their guts (and the guts of those around them) when it comes to crunch time.

That’s according to a new survey report by the Economist Intelligence Unit, sponsored by PwC, which found 58 percent of 1,135 senior executives from around the world saying that intuition or experience, and the advice and experience of others, were their decision-making modes of choice.

In addition, the study saw 94 percent of respondents saying management is prepared to make significant decisions about the strategic direction of the business, but just one third said they relied mainly on data and analytics in making their last big decision. (Incidentally, the 43 percent of executives who said their companies are highly data-driven also reported the biggest improvements in decision making over the last two years.)

All of this isn’t to say that leadership is completely dismissive of data and analytics as decision-making tools, of course.

“While executives say they continue to rely on experience, advice or their own gut instinct, they also see investment in data and analytics as critical to success,” says Dan DiFilippo, global and U.S. data and analytics leader at PwC, in a statement. “The challenge is how to marry the two.”

Nearly two-thirds of survey respondents indicated their companies are taking on that challenge, with 63 percent saying the use of data has already changed how their company makes decisions, and will likely have an even greater impact in the future.

The top three adjustments senior executives anticipate making in terms of their organizations’ approach to decisions include evaluating the number of people involved in making a decision, relying more on specialized and enhanced analytics and data analysis, and using dedicated data teams to inform strategic decisions.

“Experience and intuition and the use of data and analytics are not mutually exclusive,” says DiFilippo. “Executives know the right questions to ask. Now they need to know how to get the right answers from external and internal data they’ve used over the last two years.”

Stop Fretting over Talent-Management ROI Already

Pretty funny — yet telling — assessment in the latest HRExaminer report by Marc Effron of the current state of human resource leaders’ abilities to determine and defend talent management’s return-on-investment.

Dollar GatheringI was hooked into reading it — with a slight grin on my face — by the title alone: Talent Management ROI (Ridiculously Overwrought Insecurity).

Effron — an HRExaminer editorial advisory board member; president of The Talent Strategy Group, based in New York; author of One Page Talent Management; and overall well-respected HR expert — starts his treatise (I guess a better description would be his “sad chuckle”) by taking the reader to a recent breakfast, focused on talent management in the financial-services industry, where one participant said having better ROI would help prove talent management’s value.

“Unfortunately,” writes Effron, “my literal response was, ‘Those who worry about talent management ROI are insecure HR leaders who feel the need to justify their existence.’ ”

Pretty hard-hitting. So are his reasons for blasting “any concerns over a lack of ROI diminishing our ability to prove talent management’s value: 1) your CEO either gets it or s/he doesn’t, 2) your CFO won’t believe you anyway, 3) HR’s ROI calculations are often laughable and 4) broad claims [i.e., the ‘generalized research findings’ often used by HR] don’t yield company-specific benefits.”

And those reasons are almost as hard-hitting as his descriptions of the last two on the list, taking aim (for No. 3) at an ROI calculation he says he found on the Society for Human Resource Management’s website (“You can pass a solar system through the holes in this logic, yet it’s not unusual math in many HR departments”) and finding fault with a “Watson Wyatt” finding (for No. 4).

OK, I’ll admit, citing something from Watson Wyatt long after its merger with Towers Perrin to become Towers Watson seems a bit dated, but who amongst you can poke a single hole in what Effron concludes?

If you question the value-add of talent-management activities at your company, answer these questions:

  • Do you thoroughly understand your company’s business strategy?
  • Do you understand how your senior team wants talent managed?
  • Have you created talent processes that are being executed and that reflect the two questions above?

If you can respond affirmatively to those three, it’s likely that your talent-management activities will have a positive return on investment. That should help sooth any lingering insecurity.”


What’s the Big HR Analytics Holdup Here?

134209528--analyticsYet more concerning news on the HR analytics front. This time in a recent survey from ACT Bridge (free with registration) finding 56 percent of employers are still failing to measure the return they’re receiving on their talent investments.

Equally troubling, its release states — is that, among those employers who do measure the ROI of their talent invesments (they call it RTI to account for the specificity), “only 42 percent measure the RTI of their education and training programs, 32 percent measure the RTI of their HR information management tools and systems, and 25 percent or less measure the RTI of the recruiting firms, job boards, social media sites and other key resources they use.

As Kurt Ballard, ACT Bridge principal and chief marketing officer, puts it:

These findings are disconcerting for two reasons. First, organizations that actively measure RTI gain a quantifiable metric that can be tracked and used to establish critical performance benchmarks that are instrumental in making decisions that produce desired results. Second, measuring RTI is a powerful way to establish and reinforce the strategic value of HR to senior management — which is especially meaningful in today’s data-driven, cost-conscious business environment.”

This is certainly not the first time we’ve caught wind of a troubling hesitancy — or inability — on the parts of employers and their HR leaders to accurately track and analyze all the data they’re now collecting — talent management and otherwise.

Our most recent look on our magazine’s website, HREOnline, comes in this December news analysis by Senior Editor Andrew R. McIlvaine concerning a KPMG survey that shows all the specific analytical merits of tapping into a centralized data source, yet also shows the continuing foot-dragging by most organizations’ top leaders.

Much earlier in the year, in April, Web Editor Michael J. O’Brien wrote about this survey by Taleo and the Human Capital Institute showing only 43 percent of about 600 polled employers believe they’re adept at analyzing workforce data.

Here’s another interesting piece we ran on our website from A.T. Kearney, likening the mistakes of baseball talent managers of years past to employers’ current mistakes in using the talent-management data they’re collecting correctly.

This Leader Board blog has been frequented by similar findings as well: in this May post by Editor David Shadovitz about compensation professionals’ apparent lack of skills in analyzing data for their function, and in this post — also in May —  from O’Brien on the need for HR professionals to learn how to better “tell the story” of the HR analytics they’re collecting.

There’ve been other reports through the years (I recall writing a few clarion calls for better HR analytic skills myself). Just can’t figure out what the real holdup is, with so many experts calling for this change.

CEB Expands Its Footprint

After a bit of a lull in M&A activity, two major vendors kicked off this holiday week by announcing they will be joining forces.

Late this afternoon member-based advisory firm Corporate Executive Board Co. (NYSE: EXBD) said it had signed a definitive agreement to acquire U.K.-headquartered SHL, a leader in assessments for pre-hire and leadership assessments, for $600 million.

SHL, which purchased assessment provider PreVisor in 2011, currently has operations in Europe, Asia and the U.S.  and serves more than 10,000 clients in 111 countries.

Here’s what Tom Monahan, chairman and CEO of CEB, said about the acquisition:

 “The combination of these enterprises creates a uniquely valuable resource to help executives apply predictive analysis to the selection, development and management of talent. SHL’s established global customer base and rich talent analytics, its leadership position in corporate talent measurement and its proven business model … make it a compelling strategic and financial fit for CEB.”

Analyst Josh Bersin of Bersin & Associates (who admittedly also competes, in certain respects, with CEB) described the move as the latest in a series by CEB to become more of a data-driven provider of HR services. “It’s similar to what it did earlier in the year with its purchase of Valtera,” a workforce engagement firm.

Like it did Valtera, Bersin expected CEB to keep the SHL brand independent.

Bersin added that CEB picks up a “very profitable, high-margin business” at a time when its stock price has been struggling.


Making Metrics Matter

As it’s done the past few years, The Conference Board again held its Human Capital Metrics Conference in Manhattan during the first week of November, as marathon runners began to overtake the city in advance of the big race on Sunday.

Because of a conflict, I was only able to catch the tail end of the two-day conference, which attracted roughly 150 attendees. But judging from the feedback I heard and sessions I did sit in on, the conference (chaired by the measurement guru Jac Fitz-enz) offered some excellent insights and ideas on this increasingly important topic.

Certainly that was more than apparent during the conference’s concluding panel, moderated by Row Henson, HCM Fellow at Oracle and a regular presenter at our own HR Technology® Conference. The panelists didn’t agree on everything, but there was some consensus on the core competencies HR leaders need in order to have an impact on their businesses. In the words of one panelist, no competency matters more than understanding how your organizations—and their various operating groups—make money.

Brian Kelly, a partner at Mercer, pointed out that 75 percent of what companies measure are same. “So the key is what you are doing about the 25 percent that’s relevant to your organization?” he said. “That’s where your effort should be focused to maximize your return. That’s what your senior executives want to hear.”

HR leaders can’t say they’re “ ‘at the table’ if they’re not involved in setting the agenda for the meeting,” said Kelly, adding that the surest way to have an impact once you’re there is by “telling compelling stories” about issues that are “relevant”—and putting everything in “the context of how your business makes money.”

Lexy Martin, director of research and analytics at CedarCrestone, shared the results of her latest HR technology survey (which was first unveiled at the HR Technology® Conference in early October). Martin’s research found that companies that roll out technology capabilities—especially to managers—perform at a much higher level financially than those that don’t.

But that doesn’t mean HR leaders at companies with limited technology resources can’t make a difference.

Stacy Chapman, a senior fellow at the Conference Board, noted that “you have to play the cards you’ve been dealt.” Whether you’re technology rich or not, “find a business problem with those cards and solve it,” she said. “You can’t use the lack of technology as an excuse for not moving forward.”

Four Trends and Opportunities

Between sessions at the HR Technology® Conference, Josh Bersin, CEO of Bersin & Associates in Oakland,Calif., shared his take on four of the more important trends he sees happening in HR technology today.

First on his list is the migration to mobile devices. Why does this matter? “By the middle of this decade,” Bersin says, “the number of people with mobile devices will be 10 Xs more than those with computers.”

Not surprisingly, Bersin explains, talent-management-software vendors have recognized the opportunity, with suppliers such as Kronos, Peoplefluent, Cornerstone and Workday releasing first generation mobile apps.

Today, many of the features found on “traditional” iPad apps, such as pinching, swiping and videos, are finding their way onto some of the HR offerings.

Second on Bersin’s list is the emergence of tools for mining and analyzing data. Companies are looking to vendors for tools that enable them to interpret the data, Bersin says.

Bersin cites a recent McKinsey report that estimates there’s a shortage of 180,000 workers who have the right skills to analyze data in business. “Anyone who knows analytics can get a job today,” he says.

Third is the “consumerization” of the tools. Ease of use is being taken to a new level, thanks to companies such as Facebook and Apple, he says.

Finally, Bersin believes HR system providers such as Oracle, SAP, Workday and Lawson (which now have talent-management capabilities) are starting to have an affect on the growth rate of talent-management-suite vendors.