ARTICLES

The Social Motive Theory of Everything

David McClelland’s social motive theory was pre-reading for a train-the-trainer program I did in the 1990s. It struck me as mildly interesting but overly simplistic. In fact, I remember thinking of his attempt to explain human behaviour at work on the basis of just three motives as dubious. Achievement, affiliation and power seemed important to […]

Read More



The Devalued Currency of Competencies

Years ago I heard about a study of call center operators in mainland USA. The aim of the study was to understand how the very best operators behave and turn these insights into selection criteria for hiring. I remember the study for one unexpected insight. The best operators didn’t try and emulate the regional accent […]

Read More

Is Job Evaluation Dead?

Many organizations have moved away from job evaluation as a foundation of their remuneration arrangements. They see it as too time consuming or otherwise constraining in a rapidly changing job market. So they job match against best fit survey categories. No doubt this works well for the CEO of a listed entity – where remuneration […]

Read More

Does HR Need Big Data?

Big data in the context of workforce analytics rose to prominence in 2014 and gives little sign of abating any time soon.  The volume of data that is now available and the sophistication of the analytics seem to have taken centre stage. Masses of data have been collected, cleaned, analysed according to a list of […]

Read More

The Never-ending Story of HR Transformation

Organizations have been transforming their HR functions for nearly 20 years, and yet there is even more focus on it today. HR remains under the microscope for lots of reasons: • Globalization and the need to drive efficient standard HR processes; • New cloud-based technologies that are mobile and social; • The consumerisation of HR […]

Read More

The Trouble with HR

My experience of HR is that it generally comprises smart, hard-working professionals; and yet a recent Mercer survey indicates that only about 4% of HR professionals reported that HR is viewed as a strategic business partner in their organizations. No doubt there are many reasons for this, but one may be that HR is sometimes […]

Read More

To Rate or not to Rate

I reported in an earlier blog that Mercer’s 2016 Talent Trends survey found that 50% of companies are planning to reduce the linkage between performance management and reward. There is a movement afoot to replace measurement and ranking with conversation and better tools for career building. While ratings remain an important part of the performance […]

Read More

Personality Conflict or Role Confusion

My recent posts have focused on what’s changing in HR, so I thought its time to look at something that has stayed the same. So much has been written about organisational effectiveness, but there remains one constant: role clarity is its foundation. Common sense dictates that seeing the goal posts is essential for adding to […]

Read More