Thinking differently

HR Consulting: What Works (And What Doesn’t)

Over the past 6 months I’ve been talking to a few friends and colleagues who have moved (or in the process of moving) from internal permanent HR positions to the exciting world of consulting.
I must admit, there is a part of me that’s pretty jealous – I’m risk adverse in nature and love the idea of being able to stick with my employer for a long period of time. It does help of course that I have a great employer, but to be fair, a lot of these friends have come from really positive work environments as well and have still wanted to spread their wings.
It used to be there was some stigma around self employed consultants in the HR space – this largely wasn’t helped by (hopefully, now outdated) sales methods of trying to convince every potential client that they needed the package with all the bells and whistles coming to 3x the amount of budget available per year for such services.
The recent change towards conscious consulting – ethical consultants who are genuinely fantastic at what they do and are eager to make life better for the people that make up organisations – has meant a rapid change in the way I, as a permanent employee in a relatively small People & Culture team, engage with consultants.
No longer do I feel the need to decline every invite for coffee, terrified of being hounded for months on end for business that I genuinely don’t have the budget to purchase. I am lucky enough to deal with a variety of consultants who I can call on with a quick question, who value the relationship, and who – when I have a piece of work – I don’t hesitate in getting in touch and completely trusting their judgement as to the best solution for the issue I have.
It’s these types of consultants in the L&D, HR, Project Management and Change Management spaces that I hope signify a shift in the way that the industry is headed. I love the trait that so many of these people share which is a genuine desire to see people, and organisations, succeed and grow. Rather than being concerned with ‘filling time’ or ‘seeming busy’ they are results oriented – which can be a change from stagnant HR teams which seem to be focused on the rules and putting blocks in the business’s way.
I’m lucky to work in a dynamic People & Culture team with great people – but many HR roles do not operate in this environment. Some people (who are incredible operators) really flourish with the freedom (and associated risk) which comes from the nature of a consultancy role. The ability of great consultants to give difficult advice, effectively manage really difficult change process and focus on their real strengths means that those of us in internal roles can bring in a pair of fresh eyes when needed and target people with the specialist skills when required.
I can’t say I’ve got a desire to become one of these fantastic people – but it is time that those of us in internal roles really embrace the conscious consultant, and in doing so, ensure that the values our organisations live by are reflected the people that we do business with.
Thinking differently

Your Fuel Tank: Efficiency & Replenishment

Fuel Tank Empty?

On Friday I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to hear Denni Francisco (CEO of The Energy Project) at the first Vecci Breakfast seminar of the year.

Things started well – it was a breakfast seminar, and dammit, I love breakfast. What really made me excited though was the topic of discussion: energy and our capacity to manage our energy in work and life.

Since the industrial revolution everything has been about more/bigger/faster, and with the recent explosion in connectivity aided by the internet and mobile technology we are always ‘on’.

This is a topic many of us hear talked to death but The Energy Project’s unique take on things really resonated with me. I think the way this message was delivered would be a welcome change for executives who are often bombarded with these ideas, but often without real scientific backing and subsequently a lack of actionable items that are easy to embed into your life, or your business.

Instead of recapping all of Denni’s excellent points (of which there were many), I want to ask you to ponder just this:

You have an internal fuel tank. How efficiently are you using your energy?

Energy isn’t finite, it’s replenishable. What are you doing to consciously replenish yours?

 

I highly recommend checking out The Energy Project if you’re interested in exploring these ideas further – I will certainly be reflecting on how I can better manage my ‘fuel tank’ and encouraging myself to be purposeful with how I spend my energy – just like I am with how I spend my money and how I spend my time.

Thinking differently

Thinking about learning in organisations differently

So you’re in Learning & Development, or training, or Training and Development, or you are a proactive manager, business owner or a consultant… in fact, you could be just about anybody because that is who there are benefits for in understanding and taking control of you and your team’s learning in the workplace.

If you want to move away from ‘tick and flick’ learning and drive ROI (and ROE – Return on Expectation – as the knowledgeable Con Sotidis @LearnKotch puts it) then you need to start thinking about learning as an organic, ongoing, personal process that can help organisations get more out of their people (and have happier people).

Organisations that take a holistic approach not only get the feel-good-vibes associated with actually caring about their people, but they also have more committed, happier, more productive employees than other organisations. Increasing your organisation’s feel-good-vibes (and you know, that important thing that’s called your Employer Value Proposition) shouldn’t be the only thing that convinces you of this though, how about the fact that:

  • 40% of employees who receive poor job training leave their positions within the first year, that costs big bucks 1
  • Organisations in the USA that invest in learning outperform the market by more than 45% – 45%!!!!! 2
  • Your competitors are doing it – businesses increased training budgets by an average of 15% in 2013 3

Ok, so I make a pretty good case – but what does this mean for you?  

I’m all about evidence-backed change. There is no point jumping on the latest bandwagon in the interests of being seen to be doing the in thing, if that in thing doesn’t bloody work! A pet hate of mine is the overuse of the concept of ‘learning styles’ – yes learning should be enjoyable but I’ve yet to see any convincing research proving that learners playing with play-doh or throwing squishee balls at each other during a face-to-face training sessions helps ANYBODY!

Well it doesn’t have to equal a whole lot of effort. Advances in technology and the way people are using it mean that more and more there are cheap (and often free) solutions to problems that are pretty consistent across most organisations. What it does mean is that you and the decision makers that you work with, may have to readjust some assumptions you hold about learning in the workplace and how it happens.

Refs:

1 https://www.go2hr.ca/articles/employee-training-worth-investment

2 http://www.astd.org/Publications/Magazines/TD/TD-Archive/2012/11/ASTD-2012-State-of-the-Industry-Report

3 http://www.tlnt.com/2014/02/19/investing-in-employees-smart-companies-are-increasing-their-ld-budgets/