First Order Blog

HR Business Intelligence

Oracle President Mark Hurd said that executives can use HR-related intelligence to:

  • help make better business decisions,
  • shape the future of their organization, and
  • improve the bottom line.

He said we need to use data to make fact-based decisions about hiring, talent management and succession to drive strategic growth. Essentially, effective organizations provide leaders with people facts and insights in order to base management practices.

Does your company use HR business intelligence?

Standardization vs. Customization

Customization results in variability, which is wasteful and time consuming.

Standardized processes accomplish:

Compliance: protect your company and your people globally and locally
Consistency: cut costs as efficiency and mobility improve
Capability: improve workforce performance

Complementing a standardized process is a comprehensive technology solution. This provides system-wide efficiencies by sharing common data across every part of an organization. However, what commonly happens [but is wrong] is “software is greater than processes.”

Distributed Processes

Companies are operationalizing global distributed processes -- which involves breaking up and distributing across nations and locations what were once tightly integrated tasks. The new operating model is to conduct the work where the best expertise exists at the lowest possible costs.

By doing this, a company can:
a) exploit time zone variations to operate 24/7 (3x faster),
b) mitigate risks by building redundancies across locations.

So, the next decisions are:
a) Which processes to distribute?
b) Where to relocate?

Emerging Markets

A few years ago, the popular term was that BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) was where the future growth opportunities were.

Today, most of the popular press is only focused on two of these: India and China. China grew 10% annually the last 4 years. India’s real GDP grew 8% annually; however, Brazil is only at half that….same as the Middle East and Africa. All of this happened during the Western world economic turbulence.

Culture of Yum!

Most companies give lip service re: the importance of good employees, but they don’t act on that by treating them as though they are important. I visited Yum! (Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut) in Louisville recently, and they literally walk the talk.

Join Up

A colleague of mine just joined Proctor & Gamble. One of the great cultural activities there is something called a “Join Up.” Before two people conduct a business meeting 1:1, it is important that each colleague knows a little about the other. So, every employee has a 1-sheet summary of who they are as a person: their education, career, family, hobbies, etc. Whenever they meet someone new at the company, they share their individual “Join Up” sheets before conducting their business meetings.

Protectionist vs. Opportunistic

One health care system just laid off 25% of their workforce in order to find hundreds of millions of dollars in savings to comply with the recent regulation and legislation. The loss of jobs is staggering, and the expectation for the surviving employees--to maintain the same level of service with much lower headcount--is demoralizing.


27 years ago…..on January 28, 1986, Roger Boisjoly, an engineer at Morton Thiokol, warned his bosses that the frigid conditions would endanger NASA’s space shuttle voyage. 73 seconds after launch, and after his bosses rebuffed his concern, his warning materialized with an explosion that killed astronauts.

How do you escalate effectively?

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No Easy Day

A friend recommended the Navy Seal book on the firsthand account of killing Osama Bin Laden. In reading the book from a human capital perspective, it highlighted the Navy’s:

  • Selection Process - a rigorous program to find candidates who had what it took (aligned knowledge, skill and aptitude with the job requirements);
  • Learning & Development - a thorough preparation and training before going to the battlefield (simulations to mimic real life scenarios);

Show Me the Money!

  • The average family’s net worth dropped 40% between 2007 and 2010, wiping out 18 years of savings and investments (Source: Federal Reserve).
  • The average college-educated man’s annual salary maxes out at age 48 and $95,000.
  • People with incomes from $50-99K give 6% to charity, while incomes greater than $200K give 4.2%.
  • Households with less than $13K spend 9% of their income on lottery tickets (Source:
  • April’s $640 Million Mega Millions lottery jackpot, the largest in history, sold tickets at one million/hour in the 2 days preceeding the drawing.