All posts tagged: featured

Building Digital Transformation: a Role for HR


In a very interesting article just appeared on the McKinsey Quarterly, Tanguy Catlin and his collaborators address four “key fights” that organisations need to address to be able to achieve a real Digital transformation. If there’s one thing a digital strategy can’t be, it’s incremental. The mismatch between most incumbents’ business models and digital futures is too great—and the environment is changing too quickly—for anything but bold, inventive strategic plans to work. And yet seems too many organisations are just focused on short-term incremental approaches. Digital is seems invariably as just “one portion” or “one addition” to elements we already do, not a strategic choice that need to permeate the entire organisation. Which result in Digital being seen just as a “channel“, or as a new “form of communication”, or as a “new ways of servicing”, or just as a way to do product innovation. Often this recalls me a metaphor that my first mentor, Franco D’Egidio, used to recall the attitude of many organisations to just pursue incremental change, often landing on the opposite …

Channels Are For Televisions, Not For Customer Experiences


The title of this post is a direct reference to a few reports from Forrester on the Omnichannel Playbook for 2018 written by Brendan Witcher. Since when I read this the first time, I thought that this provocative sentence really summarises in the best possible way one of the biggest organisational mistakes many companies are still doing: organise themselves by channels. Reality is that this truly “inside-out” perspective misses the real value driver in the new experience economy: customers. While prior economic offerings—commodities, goods, and services—are external to the buyer, experiences are inherently personal, existing only in the mind of an individual who has been engaged on an emotional, physical, intellectual, or even spiritual level. They don’t understand the different business models that companies put together. As a customer, I want to be able to buy a product in one point of sale and return it online. I want to be able to have assistance wherever there is a signage of that brand. I want to be able to exchange and be reimbursed if there …

The Future of Working in Retail


With news titles of “Retail Apocalypse” lingering around in masses, a drop of traffic in many area of retail, that is driving a constant pressure on productivity in store, one of the key question for the professionals working in HR Retail is how can we make Retail attractive for today’s talents? The issue is even more complicated. Many agree now that the future of retail is in delivering experiences. But these don’t come easy, in an industry that for a lot of time has been used to often hire low skilled labor, focusing on basic customer service and “hoping for the best“. In a not so distant past, it was sufficient to have a decent product, and then a script for smile, greet, check the size and process the customer at the till. Sales would come. In the omnichannel reality we live today, things have changed. A sales associate in store is asked to compete with customers that normally have already done all the product comparison at home before coming to store. She’s asked to …

Disrupting HR: start thinking of HR Customer Service


After many years of discussion and implementation of the HR Transformation framework developed by Dave Ulrich, very few organizations have been really “able” to undertake one of the key challenges posed by that concept: evolving into a true service organization. Many organizations declare to have successfully implemented the model. The key is of course how is success measured. Very often the issue is that HR transformation has been solely pursued with a cost-saving goal, and thus success has been eventually measured by the dollars the HR organization has saved. But at what cost? Way too often the result is a service organization that is distant (not only physically) from the needs of the employees. Managers have effectively to undertake too many HR tasks designed by HR for HR, not really having in mind the different approach a line manager would have. HR Business Partners that maintain the HR generalist mindset, not having evolved in terms of competencies through the transformation, and that continue to pursue HR tasks instead of being actor of the business support. Failing to …

A New Paradigm for People Management


HR is fighting a battle for its relevance in tomorrow’s organisation. If it wants to become something more than just an entity dealing with compliance and payroll administration, a serious paradigm shift is needed. Large HR Transformation efforts, based on the so-called Ulrich Model, have tried to bring efficiency into HR organisation, trying also to integrate technology and process automation. But their results have to a large extent failed to reach their goals. Even with the introduction of the so-called HR Business Partner role, in many organisation the satisfaction of business management towards the HR organisation has swiftly declined. The effort of regaining a business relevance by trying to impose a Business agenda through Talent Management, is also failing because it is proving to be the “wrong” answer to the problem. Facing a structural problem one would argue that a structural change would be necessary, not just a simple make-up effort. Is there a solution then? In my opinion yes, and the success that many professionals in this domain endeavor every day shows that a lot can be achieved. What …

Getting rid of the word “Talent” – A Six Post Series on People Management


(This post was modified on March 11th to accomodate links to other post in the series). In the world of Human Resources there are few words to which I have become really allergic. One of them is for sure talent. Why? For a very simple reason: it is usually used as a shortcut, to justify or cover facts that are not always fully understood. This way Talent has been constantly used instead of more “proper” words. Sometime it identifies a set of skills that certain specific have… so why not simply call them competencies? In other cases it is used to identify group of employees that are “gifted” with the prospective of achieving great results in their work. It is therefore a way to refer to People, and btw wasn’t this why they were once defined High Potentials? Sometime the word is used to identify a group of people that share, instead, a common set of competencies, and that are organized into pools to enable succession within the organisation. Yet again I don’t see the …