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“It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, and I’m feeling good”, so say the lines of the song.  It’s a new year, a decade of the new century has passed and we’re into the decade of the twenty-teens.  What surprises and excitement will it bring……….

A nice person pointed out that the last post before Christmas was the first one where I commented on my students’ work. Yes, so it is. In for a cent, in for a euro, here’s some more.

Over Christmas I took the opportunity to read cover-to-cover a dissertation by a master’s supervisee on e-hrm. More specifically, he was considering how “e”-enabling various hrm functions might have a positive knock-on effect on employee productivity.

From the convergence of various published secondary sources he found that a typical employee learns what they need to do their job from 3 sources: 60% of the knowledge comes from on-the-job learning-by-doing, 30% comes from superiors or mentors, 10% comes from formal training / education.  This raises the age old question of what exactly a qualification from a college or university is for. Seemingly, if it is to prepare students for the world of work we are not doing a great job.  There is a risk, however, that the role played by intangible skills acquired in college such as self-confidence, attention to detail, working to deadlines, etc, cannot be adequately captured in these percentages.

E-HRm practices are effective in speeding things up for employees and taking the bureaucracy and tedium out of form filling and paper pushing. But that’s about it. Significant productivity gains were not to be found.

All the “e”-enabling in the world, and to wonderous levels of sophistication and expense, don’t matter a jot if an employee doesn’t fit with the culture of the organisation they are working in.  This is the crunch point.  Finding a match between the job to be done, the organisational “how-we-do-things-around-here unwritten rules, and the individual person is all-important.

Matching the sides of this particular triangle is not easy. E-recruitment is increasingly part of the employee selection process – video-conferenced job interview anyone?  Unfortunately, it is every bit as ineffectual as picking the right person as the non-e variety. Quite simply the interview process often fails to successfully join the sides of the triangle. For example, a self-exaggerator interviewee will make a far better impression than a modest or humble interviewee.  However, the later might be much more capable and a much better fit but being crippled by the normally positive characteristic of modesty lowers their possibilities.

Is it any wonder that employers are googling (or binging) potential candidates?

More creative and innovative organisations are finding ways around the mis-matching risk by tackling the job interview from a different perspective.  One that I came across recently, not in this student’s work, comes from retail group  In order to really access a candidate’s personality, they have thrown standard interview questions out the window and replaced them with seemingly off-the-wall ones aimed at sussing out exactly who Joe Interviewee really is. For example, instead of asking a candidate to talk about themselves, they ask him / her to assess how weird they are.  The interviewee is asked how lucky they are or to draw a picture of their impression of a pig rolling around in the mud.  There isn’t a weirdness or lucky quotient, or a right and wrong way to draw a pig. The questions and tasks are merely novel means of getting to the core of a person without allowing the self-exaggerators to self-exaggerate or the modest to remain modest.

Hmmm, so how weird am I exactly?