Drops from the Fire Hose – October 9, 2012

They Work Long Hours, but What About Results? — New York Times

It’s an unfortunate reality that efficiency often goes unrewarded in the workplace. I had that feeling a lot when I was a partner in a Washington law firm. Because of my expertise, I could often answer a client’s questions quickly, saving both of us time. But because my firm billed by the hour, as most law firms do, my efficiency worked against me.

From the law firm’s perspective, billing by the hour has a certain appeal: it shifts risk from the firm to the client in case the work takes longer than expected. But from a client’s perspective, it doesn’t work so well. It gives lawyers an incentive to overstaff and to overresearch cases. And for me, hourly billing was a raw deal. I ran the risk of being underpaid because I answered questions too quickly and billed a smaller number of hours.

Let’s Make Workforce Flexibility Work — HR Professionals Magazine

The workplace is also undergoing important transformations. The global marketplace runs on a 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week economy, and technology has enabled greater mobility for organizations. The current economic situation has increased employee stress levels, and surveys suggest turnover is set to increase as the economy improves. For far too long, however, a structural mismatch between the needs of the 21st century workforce and the norms of the 20th century workplace has prevailed. Now more than ever, it is important for HR professionals and their organizations to identify strategies to support the work-life needs of employees to improve engagement and morale, increase productivity, retain top performers and, ultimately, improve business performance.

4 Steps To Advancing Your Career Via HR’s Myopic Bizarro World — Fast Company

The problem with HR’s standard approaches to talent management and succession planning is that they start from the false assumption that the relationship between employers and employees is relatively simple. Identifying talent is simply a matter of applying a set of measures, based on definable, fixed and generic leadership competences. Developing talent is about helping people to tick more of the boxes defined in those competency frameworks. Succession planning is about having people lined up to fit into key roles as they become vacant. This simple, linear systems approach has a lot of attractions, not least that it provides a sense of being in control of the talent process–a key element in earning HR a seat at the top table. Simplistic measures complete the illusion. If the people who have been identified as talented get promoted, this is not evidence that the selection process works–it is simply a reflection that they have had more development opportunities than “less talented” peers and that the line managers, who designated them as talented, have a greater emotional investment in ensuring their success.

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