Illuminate with Statistics…

One of my all-time favorite quotes from Andrew Lang (1844-1912), a poet, novelist, literary critic and anthropologist:

“He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts…for support rather than illumination.”

I think the reason I like this quote so much (besides the wonderful visual analogy this provides) is that it reinforces what I have always believed – that any metric or measure you can come up with is simply a tool for exploration and discussion. (more…)

Connecting an (HR) Disconnect

Back in the 1980s, I thought HR was disconnected. At that time, I was starting out in compensation, writing job descriptions (yippee). This was back in the days of point-factor evaluation plans where details of what the job did, what/who it was responsible for and how it influenced in the organization determined the salary grade and pay level.  Job descriptions were pretty standard, and a quick look at says they haven’t changed much….identification data, general purpose, duties, tasks, functions, qualifications/KSAs, special requirements, ADA information.

I didn’t quite “get” the purpose of job descriptions back then (it may have been because I really didn’t like to write them). But it seemed that they were written, graded and stuffed in a drawer never to be looked at again until someone wanted the job upgraded. (more…)

Whose job is it to develop talent?

We all know the research.  Gallup says that people leave their leader, not the organization.  Harvard Business Review says that, above all, top talent wants the opportunity to grow.  The American Society for Training & Development estimates that U.S. organizations spent about $171.5 billion on employee learning and development in 2010.

Learning drives performance in innumerable ways.  Employees are better skilled to do their jobs.  They are more committed because they are more productive and engaged.  So how do employees really learn?

Attending a class to learn important content is a good way to learn a new skill or gain knowledge.  (more…)