Hacking HR to Build an Adaptability Advantage

A series of on-line conversations on hacking HR to create an adaptability advantage

Session 4:  Hacker’s Hangout with Hackathon Guides John McGurk and Perry Timms

Tuesday July 9, 2013  7am PT / 10am ET / 3pm GMT

A conversation with hacking team contributors Sean Schofield, Bruce Lewin, Gemma Reucroft, Harrison Withers, and David D’Souza.

Tweet your questions for John and Perry here:

As we move into the next phase of our CIPD/MIX Hackathon, we’re delighted to host our next Hackathon Hangout with some of you—members of our hacking community. 

Our hackers are based in HR and OD roles in the UK, Mainland Europe, and the US. The CIPD Hackathon Guides John McGurk and Perry Timms will facilitate an open chat with these hackers; exploring in more detail their thoughts and hacks around HR metrics, performance management, and reward mechanics. There is no script, so this could cover a range other topics depending on what the hackers inspire in each other. 

Please share any questions you have for the hackers in the comment field below. We’ll present as many questions/comments from the audience as possible during the session.

You can also join the chat via Twitter using #CIPDHack and John and Perry will do their best to put tweeted comments and questions to the Hackers.

How to Participate

To watch the live Hangout, please bookmark this page and return to it on July 9 at 7am PT; 10am ET; 3pm GMT (if you miss the live session, you’ll also find the recorded version here).

More about the Hackers

Bruce Lewin is co-founder of Four Groups Ltd, a London, UK based software and consulting firm. He works with major companies to help enhance the relationship between HR and the business with particular focus on relationships, behaviours and culture. Having helped developed Four Groups' model for this purpose (4G) Bruce helps clients benefit from a new method to optimise people-based issues in a systematic and structured manner.

Harrison Withers has spent his entire career helping companies achieve higher performance by helping them bridge performance gaps through measurement, professional development, and learning solutions. He believes that in many companies there is a lack of trust between business operations, the c-suite, and HR. And that lack of trust is a major barrier to HR functions providing true, meaningful, and recognized value to the business. 

David D’Souza is a Strategic HR professional, formerly Head of People Development at MetroBank. He is constantly bewitched by the opportunities that metrics provide to enhance people's ways of working - and consequently business performance. He is passionate about companies' work practices being designed around people - rather than attempting the more challenging feat of redesigning people around work practices. 

Gemma Reucroft is UK and Ireland HR Director for Tunstall Healthcare. Previously Gemma has held HR roles in telecommunications, logistics and utilities, including working leading teams in ER, Shared Service, Business Partnering, and Resourcing. Gemma is a coach and a member of the HR Director Magazines editorial panel.

Sean Schofield is a Talent Management Consultant at CBC. His specialties include applying creative, critical, and analytical talents and SME to inform thought leadership on organizational development challenges and solutions.

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heidi-de-wolf's picture

Having just watched the Hack and the thought that sprang to mind was are we thinking wide and longer-term enough? We need to look more carefully at the future of work which suggests a less permanent workforce. Performance Management solutions are the result of hierarchichal thinking and focussing on role design suggests that someone somewhere will still be designing roles. This is where we need a change in mindset from PUSH to PULL.

HR, along with many other delivers of services, have based their offerings on the principal of Push, suggesting that people need to be 'pushed' towards work through managing and 'stick & carrot' approaches. What about self-motivation and self-directness? We are all adults who have the ability to motivate ourselves towards what we really, really want.

Unfortunately however the rise of organisations with ever-growing compensation packages up steep hierarchies are pushing us into the wrong jobs that don't match our natural strengths.

What would happen if a CEO was paid the same/similar as a frontline member of staff? People would naturally be pulled by their strengths and passions rather than monetary reward. The person who is great at looking after a person with learning disabilities would not feel the need to climb the ladder and chase a management position.

Let's change our mindset, stop tweaking solutions and start from a blank sheet of paper, let technology help us to flatten the world and the organisation, and stop encouraging 'learned dependency' on money and celebrate our 'interdependencies'!

Anyone else care to join the PUSH vs PULL Hacking Team?

marc-hurwitz's picture

Demming was solving different types of problems. We have largely moved from an industrial or post-industrial economy to a service and knowledge-driven one. Why would any 20th century metric (even were it true at one time) still be considered relevant?

marc-hurwitz's picture

Why not contribution and progress reports rather than performance reviews? We've tried them... they work much better. It's more of a strength-based approach, less stressful, and more effective.

doug-shaw's picture

Contribution and progress - sounds good to me Marc - fancy expanding on this for us please? And yep - to your point about the world changing and work failing to keep up - I agree w you.

marc-hurwitz's picture

Hey Doug, sure. First, we know PAs don't work (however you define 'work'). Over 80% of orgs are dissatisfied with their PAs... you'd think if it was fixable we'd have done so by now.

The idea of a P&C report is that, Instead of measuring people against some set of criteria developed a year earlier (a long time in today's biz world anyway), start asking people what they have contributed to the organization during the year, and what progress they have made or hope to make in the future. This is more of a strengths-based approach. People prefer talking about their strengths, but it is just as revealing as the typical PA, maybe more so. It allows for discussion on how you have helped teammates, your boss, developed a new skill, done something exceptional, done your job, made the biz look good through charitable work, whatever.

The idea of progress is also more aligned with organizational needs. After all, most orgs are looking for progress in their bottom line, customer development, products & services, etc. This is a better way of measuring against that. As Sean mentioned in the Hackathon, progress is also strongly linked to employee engagement and happiness at work so why not ask about it directly (I wonder why Amabile and Kramer didn't put this in their book?).

On a final note, there's quite a bit of research (Thacker & Wayne, for example) suggesting that current Perf Apps are based more on org cit behaviours (OCBs), followership, and other non-quantitative measures. A contribution and progress report captures those non-quant aspects and is therefore a better way of thinking about value.

Hope I haven't rambled too much? And that this is useful? --Cheers, Marc

marc-hurwitz's picture


stephanie-sharma's picture

It would be great to hear examples of how work has been/could be designed around people (vs. processes/systems/archaic methods), with the design part also by those same people so that we allow for ownershp of the design to work environment. How could we create this so that this would be 'how' we engage in organizations? More organic, adaptive, inclusive, empowered, but still strategic, still measurable.

What implications are there for these designs as we consider intergenerational dynamics (i.e. Millennials working with/for/managing Boomers.)

Thank you for leading our discussion and sharing expertise!

nicola-barber's picture

Fantastic - really looking forward to this today!

tim-scott's picture

Looking forward to this later on! Thinking about HR metrics, I'd be interested to know to what extent the panel agree with the time-honoured management cliche "What can't be measured, can't be managed", especially in an organisation which is trying to be adaptable.

tim-scott's picture

I should of course have added "...and why?"