Friday, 27 November 2009

What's Latin for 'Suck this?"...

Yet more trouser shenanigans going on in the financial world I see! Overweight and oversexed old city boy sexually harasses attractive female employee - it's an all too common and depressing story.

A couple of things really stand out for me though in this one.  Firstly, the shameless way Mr Lowe is defending his actions as if they were entirely normal.  Cute Asian hookers in hot pants at meetings? Of course, someone's got to take notes and make the tea!

Sending an employee a note ending with a piece of 'Latin poetry' that roughly translates thus: 'I will fuck you in the ass and mouth'? Why, it's merely poetry! He's only trying to educate the woman!"

Money, or too much of it it at least, seems to remove all sense reality from some people, which is probably why we have heard nothing but total garbage from finance industry leaders and the government in the last 12 months or so.

The second thing that occurs though, is just how obscenely overpaid this young lady appears to be. Reports vary, and we should be careful not to believe too much of the bollocks we read in the press obviously, but most put her 'salary' at £500k for the job of 'marketing executive'. This guy wants me to put my money in his fund to manage when he's going to be spanking huge chunks of it on people like her to take notes at meetings? Not bloody likely.

I have a tip for Miss Wimmer. Before she complains about her boss paying for talentless totty, dressed to please and hang around meetings for the viewing pleasure of his fellow city types, she should take a long, hard look in the mirror. Because from where I'm standing I'm struggling to see the difference between her and the ladies he paid by the hour.

"HR?! Get me more whiskey.  And be quick about it.  Nice arse by the way..."

Saturday, 24 October 2009

The Aviva Triangle

So Andrew Moss, CEO of Aviva has been caught up to his nuts in one of his collegues?! The affair, Dubbed The Aviva Triangle (an apt title given that's such a great name for where he appears to have been hiding the sausage) screamed out at me from the Standard last last Thursday.  However my excitement turned to pure joy when I read that the lady in question, the lovely Deirdre Moffatt, was his HR lacky!  How I roared.

No wait, it gets better.  Unbelievably, Mrs Moffatt's husband is none other than Andrew Moffatt, Aviva's European HR Director.  How frustrating for Mr Moffatt - most senior HR execs would give their right arm for a chance to appear in the mainstream media, ala David (Fit to burst) Fairhurst.  And when he does finally get his 15 minutes of fame, sadly its not celebrating his impressive European talant management strategy.  Oh no.  He gets his mug in the papar because his boss is banging his wife.  Ouch!

Now on the face of it, I've never really had a problem with internal affairs.  Yes I know there is the usual protest that two people indulging carnally, particular senior bods, can conspire and confer and get up to all sorts of nastiness but get real people. If you think only those with their hands in each others underwear are guilty of that then you are living on another planet. It goes on all the time, regardless of who is knobbing who.

But wait a minute? What's this?! A company source said "All three decided she had to go". Did they really? Of course they did, she didn't really have a choice. Apparently Andrew wasn't going to resign and if had done it wouldn't have been accepted.

Why not? Because the chairman has a cock that's why.

Given I can't afford to lose my job I won't be blowing my chief exec any time soon.

Apologies for my absence folks.

Apologies for my absence folks. As I said in my recent tweet, my workload in the last 5 months or so seemed inversely proportional to my organisations' revenues. Who said HR are not needed in a downturn - Rubbish!

There are people to fire - sorry, 'rightsize' as we now call it - the survivors need serious stroking and of course there is all the internal comms to manage. And I'm not talking about official lines of communication, briefings and the like. No. I'm talking about keeping on top of all the watercooler gossip that's been keeping the grapevine smoking.

It's not easy trying to justify a Bonus AND pay rise for the top team when everyone else is on an indefinite pay cut. However given the amount of internal PR work I have to put in on this issue alone I feel justified when I look around the table at my fellow leaders that I, out of all of them, have earned mine.

And so it is a rich landscape of all matters People to which I return!  The Royal Mail, Aviva - see post - to name but a few.

I do hope to manage my time better so I can keep this blog up because HR is suddenly looking like a great place to be for once!

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Let he who is without sin....

Casting the stone is a somewhat topical notion given that a few of them ended up in 'Fred the shred's' front room via a closed window recently. And only a few weeks ago, as i mooched around our great capital city i had met several people who had avoided wearing a 'suit' for fear of being mistaken for a banker and run the risk being stoned to death. Me, I'm not a banker. And, along with my 'wheat and dairy intolerance' I have a 'suit intolerance' also so I passed by unnoticed.

But as I'm basking in the post 'G20' experience and wondering what impact it will have longer term, I cant help feeling that its all a bit of the pot calling the kettle black. Don't get me wrong, like many of you, I'm as appalled at the next person at the situation regarding 'C' level remuneration, and there are posts here on this blog stating so. I mean, I did my very best to fail this year and did I get a penny in bonus and shares? Did I fuck.

However, there is no demand without supply as they say. Similarly there is not action without consequence. And we are all, in a small, but not insignificant way, guilty of having our noses in the trough too. I cant look at a sequinned top without getting an image of a 5 year old boy in India, sewing sequins onto that very garment, 12 hours a day for a wage of 50 pence or something similar. Computers now come free with other things. That, if you think about it, is not right. Things have to be paid for, and complicated financial and risk models are created to pay for them. Money is lent and borrowed, to have today what we used to wait until tomorrow for.

"Not me" I hear you say. Well I beg to differ. You have a discounted mortgage? Guilty. Waited until the sale to buy that item you wanted? Guilty. Picked a John Lewis salesman's brains for 45 minutes then promptly went and shopped on-line for his recommendation, denying him the sale? Guilty as charged.

A long time ago many of our global partners would cynically refer to us as a 'nation of shopkeepers' and in the years since we have puffed out our national chest and done everything we can to change from shopkeeper to international player. But where has it got us? At least back then we owned the shops and had cash stashed under the mattress to boot. Now, we are a nation of shoppers and home-owners who, ironically have no cash to shop with and who don't actually own our own homes.

The Jury is in, the verdict is guilty. I sentence you to 10 years hard labour.

Friday, 3 April 2009

Burn them at the steak!

Well bugger me! Hot on the heels of my ramblings about our bigoted society comes the 'revelation' that nearly 20% of the professional therapists responsible for treating mental health issues think that being 'gay' is a disease to be 'cured'.

Actually, on a purely physical and scientific level they are probably right. No, no, stay with me here. You see, your brain is nothing more than a blob of physical matter, suspended in a hot chemically charged soup. That's it. Nothing more. Think of it like a wet cell battery, much like the one you have in your car. Somehow, the lump inside your skull combines with its broth and, magically, from nowhere, springs a whole host of unexplained things including your spirit, personality, imagination and desires.

So at a very simplistic level, according to behavioural averages and norms, some people's head broth hasn't quite mixed up into the expected soup of heterosexuality and that if we can just pop a bit of 'seasoning' in there somehow we can adjust the recipe and get you back to 'normal'. Get the neurons to behave differently.

Quite how they think they can address this issue though is beyond me. I imagine the scenario:

Therapist to male 'patient': "OK, men's bottoms equals baaaad, very bad. Womens vagina's gooood, very good."

Male 'Patient' to therapist: "What about women's bottoms?"

Therapist to patient:" Er..............."

I can't see it working can you? Clearly these taxpayer funded fatheads have a chemical brain imbalance of their own. The magic of the human being, for better or worse, is that we are one of the few examples where you can see the notion of 'greater than the sum of its parts' in action. Granted, we often abuse that gift, but in the main, we are quite literally a miracle to behold. But the fact that we turn out in a variety of shapes and sizes, thought patterns and preferences (including sexual) should be celebrated, not calibrated. Unfortunately, the worst aspect of human evolution is that some of us feel we know better than others.

Rather unwittingly, the NHS is clearly suffering from something that its been bleating on to the rest of us about for some time - morbid obesity. Time the NHS went on a controlled diet and got rid of its 'fat belly' of bigoted thinkers.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Stale, Male and Pale...

Diversity and Inclusion, now there's a contradiction in terms. Thanks to Tony Blair and his henchmen we have seen an avalanche of legislation on this subject in recent years and a matching explosion in 'professionals' to manage it within organisations. Another great opportunity for the function to build its part. But what now? The market is shrinking faster than a lambswool sweater in a boil wash and all of a sudden (some public sector organisations aside) the opportunity to meet diversity 'targets' in terms of appointees is looking rather bleak. In the boom time of 'jobs a plenty' even the most ignorant of employers begrudgingly made some effort to extend the makeup of the workforce beyond stale male and pale because there was opportunity all round.

However, in these challenged times the pressure is on to fill those limited vacancies with 'only the best' and, for some, I’m afraid, that doesn't include you. There is hope though. If you are not of English origin or you have a sexual orientation that is anything but industry standard heterosexual, you are far less likely to suffer the public hand of discrimination. Despite fairly rampant levels of bigotry in our corporate society you won’t hear anyone say "No spooks or fags on my manor" in a public setting. Well, maybe in construction... but nowhere else. Ok, ok maybe the legal profession as well. But in the main, racial, and more recently, sexual orientation discrimination are pretty much more taboo in professional circles. It does go on as we know, but mainly behind closed doors.

Gender and age seem to be fair game however. Over 50 and male, or female in the wrong environment and you’re stuffed. The odds, as they say, are well and truly stacked against you. I suspect that there are many men out there in their early to mid 50's, at the mid level in management or professional careers who are shitting themselves right now. Unless they are at the top of their game or have been exceptionally wise financially, a lost job could see their worlds implode. And it’s ugly out there in the world of the great unwashed. The recruiters and head-hunters - many of whom know only the boom era - have no perception of the 'on the shelf' phenomenon and they really couldn’t care. Weeks away from their own demise, they are ruthlessly cutting out anyone that doesn’t fit the bill exactly.

And whilst women are less likely to fall victim to the age issue its no better for them. "Look, no women ok? It’s a tough environment and a woman wouldn’t be able to stand the pressure." or "Can't really see a woman here - too much male banter, before you know it we'd be at a tribunal" or "Let's avoid women of child bearing age can we, we can’t afford for the person in this job to go off and start dropping babies all over the place right when we need them focussed on the job". I could go on but you get the picture.

And where is HR in all this? Ironically those who have spent many months and years producing policies and guidelines and spouting chapter and verse on discrimination are guilty, albeit somewhat indirectly in most cases, of perpetuating the situation. Powerless to challenge the line, they are often left to try and translate their requirements, without giving the game away, into a candidate brief. Do they push back and insist on an inclusive and diverse shortlist? Don’t be stupid, to the back of the class with you. No. Be it subtle or overt, where it exists they chose in the main to let it happen.

But for all you old bags out there, there is hope. The blunt knife of diversity and inclusion might be proving ineffective, but there is a social revolution coming that might just be about to re stack the deck. Watch this space. But only if you are young, dynamic with great academics with blue chip experience and can survive in a challenging predominantly male environment obviously. Pigs need not apply.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

HR bog roll

Due to the vast amounts of UK wealth being swallowed up by 'Fred the Shreds' pension pot and the inevitable strain that has put on the Ballbag household coffers, we have introduced a 'just in time' system for our grocery requirements. Consequently we no longer keep sufficient inventory in the house to ensure survival come a nuclear winter.

"We are out of toilet roll" my somewhat better half remarked.

"No we're not" I responded, holding up my latest copy of People Management Magazine.

But just as I was reaching for the scissors to cut the satin sheen pages into handy sized squares, I flipped open the magazine and cast my eye over the news items in the first few pages. "What's this?" I thought to myself. "A topical headling? In the News section of PM?" Shurely shome mishtake.

Astonished that it wasn't to do with some public sector, competency based, health and safety policy legal amendment implication, it caught my eye.

"Ineffective non-exec directors cited as factor in bank crisis." it said.

Mildly encouraged and perusing the thought that there must be a new editor in town, I read on to find it was regarding a recent round table discussion on the subject, held by the CIPD at the RSA.

Now, personally I try to avoid 'round tables' and the such like as, more often than not, the journo's always seem to take my sharp, witty and insightful pearls of wisdom and slap them carelessly into the article out of context, thus making me sound like a complete arse.

It appears this fate befell David (Fit To Burst) Fairhurst during the discussion. Unfortunately for David, someone asked him for his opinion on why Ned's (You are thinking 'Nerds' aren't you?! I was) are ineffective and published his response thus:

"Effective dialogue is the biggest generator of additional value, but its been deficient in too many businesses, whether from employee representatives, managers or leaders. Proper two-way conversations of a high quality are not happening."

Wtf?? That's what he said according to the article, I kid you not.

Worse still, he 'added' that firms were not giving proper induction training to Neds who were simply "left to get on with it". Great. I now have a vision of said 'Fred the Shred', when he gets his next Ned post (Inevitable I'm afraid) sitting with Kirsty from accounts and Bob from the warehouse, in front of Brian from HR, learning where the bogs are and when they can use the subsidised canteen. "Corporate greed eliminated by Induction programe". Thanks for that David.

I sometimes suspect that David suffers from SCA - Speaker Circuit Amnesia. Doesn't know where he is, doesn't care where he is and trots out another bit of jargon when prodded before tucking into another pie.

The only sensible comment on the matter came, surprisingly, from one of the CIPD bods, Laura Holbeche who commented that directors hired people in their own image for the job and the crop of headhunters they used to find them habitually fished in the same 'gene pool' for these overpaid part timers.

After a desperate flip through a few following pages I'm sad to report that the rag slipped back into expected territory with a piece entitled 'Let your employees take you higher'. No it was not about recreational drugs, more's the pity. It would seem that a couple of intellectual types have invested an awful lot of time and money in coming up with a new title for all employee meetings and offsite jollies - wait for it - Large Group Methods.

Christ on a bike. I think I'm losing the will to live. Incredibly, it's listed under the 'Most Popular' section of the website.

So, quite by accident I find that, for the first time ever, I'm in a position to recommend People Management magazine. It's not quite as soft and absorbant as your usual brand im sure, but it beats the cheap stuff from the corner shop.

Monday, 23 February 2009

Toxic Twats, HR dogs and the lovely Jackie Orme

Following my post at the HR Carnival, I was pleased to have been picked up by Rick, an HR guy of sorts who is responsible for the Flip Chart Fairy Tales Blog. Not 100% sure about the reference connecting me to Mr Ed Balls, but I will let him off. No publicity is bad publicity right?

Anyway, having satisfied myself that I wasnt being insulted I had a good poke around Ricks virtual house and I have to say it's rather good. Lots to get your teeth into and I know I'm going to be adding a comment or two to some of the more interesting entries. Quite how he finds the time to contribute so much prose is not clear - as a corporate suit I can only summise that he has such a big job and delegates so well that the only things on his desk are his feet.

No matter. Suffice to say I decided to drop him I quick line but in doing so I ended up writing a rather longer winded email than intended, thus eating into my own posting time. Given that I too have an enormous corporate suit job, but much poorer delegation skills than Rick, I have decide to post the email instead, saving me lots of time and providing something for you folks to read in one hit. Just how I like it. Check out some of the links to his stuff. Enjoy.

Rick. Many thanks for the mention on your blog. As a relative newcomer to blogging it's been quite a week what with getting top billing on both HR Carnival and your blog. Not sure I understood the Ed Balls connection and assuming you don't think I know sod all about HR. I like the blog and feel somewhat envious that you have been blogging for so long and have so much on there to review. I have no doubt at all that I will be wasting countless corporate hours over the next few weeks digesting some of your output and commenting accordingly.

I realise that its old news on your blog now, but I did particularly like the Toxic Talent Piece. We do seem to have similar profiles you and I, and I did empathise with your comment - "When someone in academia says what I’ve been saying for years and turns it into a “breakthrough idea”, I feel partly vindicated but also a bit hacked off that I didn’t think of writing the article and marketing the idea sooner". I don't think you have exclusive rights to those thoughts Rick. I think that many normal people in our line of work, with half an ounce of common sense share the same views.

Back in the good old days of my first job in the late 80's we referred to the cost issues you identify of having such arseholes about the place as the 'cost of quality'. Of course in those days it was referring to the 'invisible' cost of poor processes and waste in an organisation. No one mentioned the toxic twat syndrome then (Sorry, cant bring myself to call them talented) but I could see it. And one or two others too. In those days though it was tolerated as we knew no different. But it struck me that it was not good for anyone to have these wankers around.

But alas, the powers that be would make excuses and in turn I would live with it. That was partly the reason I left the profession after a double digit stint, thinking that I must be missing something. That if only I crossed over to the dark side, where people had 'real' jobs in line management I would suddenly understand the need to tolerate a toxic twat and their impact on the organisation. And now, after spending some 10 years in consulting, marketing IT and general management I can honestly say I wasn't missing anything. Once a twat always a twat and there is still no justification for their presence. Although I have to say having one or two around just so I could hit them with the 'Arsehole Tax' sounds like a cracking idea.

It's that general kind of issue that has led me to blog, as I see it as a great medium to challenge the status quo, be a little provocative and to expose the shite. Or 'business bullshit and corporate crap' as you so eloquently put it.

I also warmed to the other comment you made having listened to Jackie Orme at the CIPD. We do have a great ability to re invent in HR, but sadly seem to forget that we have to put the same old dogs into the new roles, post invention. You know what they say about old dogs. And there are plenty of them in our profession lets face it. That said, I do like Jackie. I know her personally quite well and rate her. She is commercial and smart and I wish her well.

Unlike some of her peers who seemed to be bitterly disappointed that an HR 'personality' wasnt' appointed to the role. Personally, I think the last thing the CIPD needs is some god awful, over exposed, speaker circuit fuckwit spouting their wisdom. It needs change, and someone like that would only use it to build their image further. Whether she can slap enough sense into the chops of the institutes inmates is yet to be seen but if anyone has a chance I think it could be her.

Finally I see you picked up on blunterheadhunter. For my sins I also know the search and recruitment industry well and this chap had me laughing out loud, something the majority of the blogging dross in our field rarely does.

Oh, and just to say I wasn't really picking a fight with Nick. It's just that this whole measurement thing and 'value added HR' leaves me cold. If I was an actuary I might get a stiffy if I looked at his website, but I'm not. Thank the Lord. It's time we stopped measuring Human Capital and just engaged with people. I don't need a gaggle of consultants, a collection of x and y charts and spreadsheets up to me arse cheeks to convince me of the value I can get from treating people like people. Save that for the non believers.

Now look, I've gone and spent my blogging allowance writing to you instead of creating some meaningful piece of prose for my own blog. Time to go then. Thanks once again for the mention.


Saturday, 21 February 2009

Its Party time!

...well Carnival anyway. The good Mr Ingham of Strategic HMC blog very kindly put me onto the HR Carnival and was even kinder to provide a link to my own ever so small but perfectly formed blog offering. Many thanks to you Sir.

Excellent idea to bring so much gaggle into one place. Saved me a lot of time and put me onto some interesting blogs and comments I had not yet come across. Particularly liked the comments from Nick Jefferson and David Wentworth on Exec comp. My thoughts entirely.

Some other thought proviking stuff there including Mr Inghams on comment on Sexism in the City - should we hand it all over to women? Personally speaking, the fewer cocks in the executive board room the better. I also had to chuckle at Lisa Rosendahl's entry - Getting the Job Offer - a great snippet for those who have recently joined the great unwashed. The internet is a great thing, except when it comes to looking for work. Its created a 'click and send' mentality in job seekers, most of whom put as much effort into getting a job these days as they do putting the bins out at night it seems.

Plenty more there so take a look. Also made me realise that being self employed gives you way more time to blog. Must work on that one...

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Is Talent a Bonus?

I nearly choked on my evening meal when I heard the news tonight that the bonus trough at RBS is to be 'significantly reduced'. Just how much of the swill is to be held back is proving hard to pin down however. As I go to virtual press, Mr Darling is being cagey about this small issue but I guess we can be grateful that finally, after significant public outrage, something is being done.

I personally have found it hard to read the media coverage on this whole issue of pay and bonus payments over the last few weeks. From Lloyds TSB CEO Eric Daniels' comment that he is on a 'relatively modest salary' to RBS CEO Stephen Hester trying to justify bonus payments because without them he wont be able to 'replace the staff that got us into this mess', I find the vast majority of commentary from those at the heart of the problems hard to stomach. How they can make these statements and keep a straight face is beyond me. As is their ability to sleep at night.

Not withstanding of course that we are actually all to blame (Ill save that for another post) and we can't simply point the finger of blame at a small number of high profile figures, there are a few points that I feel the need to take issue with.

1) Capping CEO Salaries. As recently reported in the US, CEO's of those organisations queuing up for government help in the next round of bail outs will have their salaries limited to $500k. This caused some level of outrage with many saying it is totally unworkable and will lead to either 'an exodus' of or difficulty in hiring talent. This implies that the 'talent' resides in the executive team when actually there is more talent in the rank and file of an average organisation than in the boardroom.

Whilst I'm sure living on a $500k base is a hardship for your average Captain - see this article from the New York Times - the issue is not the fixed base pay, it's in the variable element. Those in the spotlight have remuneration packages that consist of an 80% or more variable element that is based on 'performance' or achieving agreed objectives, many of which we now know were totally counter productive.

A base salary that makes up 10-20% of your take home? Sound familiar? Of course! Just look at your average shiny suited sales person and you see it in action. Many CEO's have remuneration packages structured like the most aggressive sales people and their behaviour patterns as we now see are almost identical. Leading experts on the meltdown in the US have identified this as one of the major contributory factors.

2) Attracting/retaining talent without bonus payments. Many, including Mr Hestor have commented on the importance of bonus payments in keeping and attracting the talented. Whilst its important to reward people accordingly, and I do have an empathy with people at the bottom of the employment food chain, I also think this justification is misguided.

To say talented people are attracted to roles, or stay in them largely because of the bonus on offer is arrogant. The wrong type of 'talent' maybe.

3) Getting rid of those that 'got us into this mess'. I laughed uncontrollably when I read that. Not only does it stink of blaming the lower ranks, but it begs the question: What are they going to do differently in their recruitment process to filter out the naughty boys and girls? Bugger all i suspect. Clear out a few sacrificial lambs and backfill with some new cannon fodder. Can i suggest culling of the top 50 in all our major banks instead.

Personally, this kind of justification is a sure sign of underlying guilt and a realisation that they got it wrong. We have all seen it before - when the guilty are well and truly caught out they have a tendency to spout the most ridiculous excuses to justify their behaviour and that is just what is happening here.

Quite where we will end up I don't know, but a part of me just wishes that those in the hot seat would just give up and come clean. Every single one of the leading bank CEO's had it within their gift to say enough is enough and to take make the decision that the government has made for them.

Imagine the PR bonus for RBS if they had come out and said that they can't justify paying £1bn in bonus and incentives when they have just put hard-working staff into the nightmare scenario of unemployment to save a paltry £65m. Unfortunately, they chose not to. What kind of example does that set for the rest of the us? Answers on a £50 note please.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Decentralising the CEO

I responded to a post in a forum recently about the use and 'abuse' of social networking tools within organisations. The common theme in all these discussions from our HR brethren seemed to be a mass concern at the 'time wasted' using web 2.0 tools and the sheer audacity of the workforce in spending more than a nano second on anything other than work. As I said in a recent post here, if this is your attitude you are missing the point.

When someone asked how we can address the issue my response was to encourage more internal use of the tools, embrace them and recognise the power of them. I'm sure it fell on deaf ears but I'm hoping more people will get to see this excellent article about Cisco that a fellow Twit, (or should that be Tweep?) put me onto. Check it out - I love the concept of decentralising the CEO – after years of successive CEO's decentralising then recentralising their organisations it's about time someone did it to their role. How I chuckled. Justice.

But joking aside, it is the way forward and you should read this article and pass it on. And not just because you might learn something about the way these tools are bringing so much value to the organisation, which they are. More important, and nothing to do with technology, is the social and structural change that is going on inside Cisco.

One of the commenter's refers to the king of corporate democracy, Ricardo Semler of Semco and he is right to draw comparisons. Our organisation structures are based on ridiculously complex and completely outdated concepts and our current situation is testament to that. For many years those that should know better have been poo pooing the notion of shared leadership and devolving decision making, saying it 'just won't work – there will be anarchy'. Such arrogance astounds me.

Semco goes from strength to strength and I'm hoping that Cisco and many others will too. Its a creeping phenomenon that deserves way more air time.

Of course, there are many that will continue to resist, including many from the HR community who I suspect feel threatened by it. After all, in a company that has an ethos of collaboration and support rather than competition and confrontation do we really need such a large HR presence?

Friday, 6 February 2009

Stop shouting already....

I think we are doomed. At least if this kind of thing is the pinnacle of the people profession, we are. Check out the blog entry - and the website -

I'm afraid I lost patience with this blog entry immediately. First I'm being patronised because 'Evidence Based HR' is in fact Evidence based Management. I said it was? Then there is the totally surplus to requirements "(also note: 'Evidence-based HR' is grammatically incorrect.)". I want to stab him already.

And come on, get some web etiquette and STOP SHOUTING! I imagine Mr Higgins delivering a lecture on evidence based HR or management or medicine or whatever it is or isn't and shouting every time he mentions the phrase. A sort of intellectual Dom Jolly springs to mind. Its like we are so thick that if he shouts loud enough we might just understand it.

Well pardon me but I don't need this kind of cobblers to 'get' people or to understand the value of them or the HR function thank you, evidence based or not. Sure, science over style if you must, but at the most this is a social science, not a physical or mathematical one. Research shmeesearch. Formula's and endless data streams we don't really need to be honest. There is so much of that out there and has it made a jot of difference?? Has it fuck.

If we are saying we have to do this kind of stuff and invest in this approach to produce the data that gives us the 'hard evidence' necessary to prove to the value of people and HR to my fellow suits then I'm afraid we are flogging the arse of a dead horse. There are much better things to spend the corporate dollars on.

I really don't get this whole agenda? Why do we have to continue to re invent and create new acronyms and 'high falutin' names for this very basic and fundamental part of the work dynamic? It doesn't matter how many times we come up with something different in a desperate attempt to make it sound more credible and relevant to corporate leaders, because fundamentally it doesn't matter to them and it never will. As someone said to me, 'they just don't get it, they don't believe' Hallelujah!

One day, if the planet survives long enough, my children will grow up and enter the world of 'commerce' (yuck) and you never know they might even go into the world of HR, or whatever it will be called then. And I can tell you with absolute certainty that if either comes home one day and says "Hey I'm researching this Evidenced based HR stuff" I promise you all I will shoot them. It would be the humane option.

And, Mr Higgins, forgive me but, next time someone mentions 'Evidence Based HR' to me I wont "Just ask them where did it emanate from" for two reasons:
  1. I don't want to look like a smart arse.
Sorry for shouting. I'm off to my anger management class. Or is that Evidence Based Anger Management?

Finally if you find anything equally as bad on the poeple front, send me the link. I need pushing over the edge.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

What are they Twittering on about....?

It would appear that the HR profession needs to get out more. Browsing through a crop of HR blogs I came across a recent poll of HR professionals asking if they had heard of Twitter - see the link - - nice find Mr Ingham. Now wait for it. 90% had never heard of Twitter. I practically choked on my slice of banana and walnut cake. (home made, delicious) 90%! Ill say that again, 90%! What the fuck?! And there's more - 0% think its useful for business comms! Zero, none, no one, nada. Not one person in the poll thought it useful for business comms. Well not surprising given that no one knew what it was I suppose.

Duh! It's how most of your younger generation workforce (And many of the not so young) are communicating!! Hello!! This cant be true! If I had a £ for every talent specialist who has waxed lyrical in recent times about 'the millennials, gen Y' etc etc like they were some sort of expert in the field I wouldnt be listening to corporate types spouting bollocks for a day job that's for sure. If they know so much about them, how can they be so ignorant about the way they communicate?

But then again, that's where our function leads the way - ignorance. Most have been so busy working up policies to outlaw most social networking tools in the workplace they have missed the obvious - this is human communication in the noughties. Social networking tools are as fundamental to business and personal communication today as the letter (Paper, real paper, sometimes even hand written - remember that?!!) and the phone (With a wire attached and most definitely not mobile) were to me then back when my body hair grew only where it was supposed to. I'm showing my age - shut up already.

If your employees are spending all day on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or any other site then banning them or restricting them will have no impact whatsoever, except a negative one. If, in the old days I was spending too much time on the phone to my mates, or spending all day writing them letters, they didn't take my phone away did they? No, they kicked my arse and made sure I was busy!

And of course there is that old chestnut engagement. If they were truly engaged, committed and culturally well aligned employees, if they believed that the organisation had their best interests at heart, they wouldn't be taking the piss in the first place.

Anyway, I'm off to check out my twatter. Sorry, Twitter.


Monday, 2 February 2009

Tesco Losing Face..?

I know this is technically old news in cyberspace terms but I couldn't resist bringing it up. Apparently the employees of Tesco had set up a group on Facebook, where amongst other things they chose to wade into the customers! Check the link -

Now, on the face of it, laying into the customers is not a good idea, speaking as a Tesco shopper myself. And I really draw the line at criticising old ladies. I mean come on, I'm going to be a "senile old cow" or something similar in a few years and I'm hoping for a bit of sympathy and support, not a tirade of abuse from some fuckwit in a pair of polyester slacks.

But I can see the flip side of this issue, as I suspect can anyone who has worked with Joe Public (Sorry, that should read 'customer facing role') at any time, like I have in my dark and distant past. It's generally hell on earth, with a few highlights. I too have cursed many an innocent customer and many an asshole too. And I've done some terrible things aside. I know, i should hang my head in shame. But at the end of the day, that's retail, or leisure, or whatever other customer intensive sector you may work in. If you don't like it, get out of it! Don't stay in it if the best you can offer the customer is some lame and cynical attitude.

But what of Tesco in all this? Well, I think their attitude to all this is a bit like their overall personality - chilly. Check out Facebook properly and you will find any number of groups relating to other retailers that contain comments of a similar vein. Let's take Wal-Mart as an example. There are several groups on facebook featuring employees or ex employees of the organisation. One, the aptly named 'Disgruntled Wal-Mart Employees Unite' contains a number of choice discussion threads, including 'Stupid Customer Moments' and the delightful 'TOP 13 THINGS I WANT TO SAY TO WAL MART CUSTOMERS'. I may be wrong but I have not seen any action by Wal-Mart towards any of these groups as yet.

Perhaps Tesco should stop obsessing about the use of Facebook by these employee groups and spend a little more time working on their selection criteria and their own cultural messages. Every Little Helps? Not if it's wearing polyester slacks it doesn't.

Would be great to hear the view from anyone at Tesco, assuming they can drag themselves away from slapping up a 'senile old cow'.


Sunday, 1 February 2009

Less is more??!!

As we try to package up 2008 and career into 2009, one wonders what this year has to offer the Human Resources profession and what better time, in my opinion, to start commenting on it. If you have been in HR for longer than 10 years you will have seen the population (if not the popularity) of the profession explode in that time. Where once there were a handful of generalists, sitting in a hierarchy of similar folk, there now stands an army. Alongside the introduction of the much maligned business partner model, the function exploded with specialists popping up all over the place. Nice. But perhaps a tad over the top??

It would be nice to think that during the last 15 years business leaders have finally realised the value of their people and the growth in the function was a result of this great bit of forward thinking and insight by those at the top. But perhaps this is not the reality they would have us believe. The average CEO hasn’t changed, so don’t kid yourself. Most of them don’t have enough emotional intelligence to fill a thimble, let alone get the fact that the employees are the ones that deliver the goods, not their own brilliance as their ego’s often suggest.

No, to a large extent, this dramatic increase was largely fuelled by leaders allocating more and more resources to the function in the name of the ‘war for talent’ amongst other things (Don't get me started). Well why wouldn’t they, some wag at McKinsey said it was a ‘business imperative’ so they all jumped on the bandwagon. (You have to say that with an American accent as it sounds way more impressive.) I wonder how many of those C level execs ACTUALLY read the McKinsey report?!

The game is up though. With a tanking economy, those at the top of the organisation are looking decidedly worried and I suspect their ‘total commitment’ to their people will, in many cases turn out to be lip service. All of a sudden, those ‘critical’ specialists in OD, Resourcing, Talent Management etc to name but a few will start to look like a luxury the organisation can ill afford. Figuring that most people will be ‘grateful to have a job’ they will be keen to put investment in their ‘most important asset’ on the back burner, you mark my words.

Perhaps it will be a good thing. Not necessarily for the people in the organisation, but for the function. No better time to go away and re invent yourself than a recession. And of course the HR function is just so good at re invention don’t you think? Me personally, I can’t wait to see what new job titles we can create for the next wave of people indulgence.

Am I talking bollocks? What say you?


P.S. If you have a CEO with more than their fair share of emotional intelligence do let me know as they are a rare breed and I think we should celebrate them. Oh and you can let me know if you have one that isn’t also! Always good to have a balance.