Thursday, 16 February 2017

Going Live!

Recently I've noticed a number of incidents in my personal, professional and sporting lives linked to live video. In all the cases it was Facebook Live but the principle applies across all social media. In this blog I'll discuss my observations and the implications I see for the workplace. 

The only one of the events to get national media coverage was the Antonio Brown incident HERE. Brown went Live at a half time team talk and got into trouble for it. He apologised and said he let his emotions get the better of him and didn't think, and was trying to share a moment with fans. In this case he was sharing a video of what was his own workplace, an American Football team, and so breached all kinds of privacy rules. 

The other incidents are closer to home for me. Two are sport related. Both of these involved drunken groups of players and fans celebrating well earned victories but in both cases someone on the live video, not the person filming and whose account it was broadcast from, said some very offensive and discriminatory remarks. Both live streams were stopped and the post deleted, and the account holder apologised in both cases. In one case, the person who made the remark was banned by the sports governing body. In the other case both the person who made the remark AND the account holder / filmer were both banned by the governing body. The account holder is particularly aggrieved because they had nothing to do with the remark, deleted the post and apologised immediately, but they've been banned for bringing the sport into disrepute by even going Live in the first place because of the potential risks. 

The third case is a more personal one where a friend got into trouble for repeatedly going live on nights out and getting some of his other friends into trouble with their respective partners, having caught them chatting away to other women. In this case there is very much a blurred line and I think all parties are in the wrong but it opens up a can of worms about the use of Live video in the workplace.  

I've only ever gone live twice, both times at conferences where I was blogging but couldn't capture the intensity of the speech I was listening to. The first time a man fainted as I pressed Live so I stopped, not wanting to be live for such an event. The second time passed without incident but I felt guilty that I was broadcasting, for free, something the organisers had rightly wanted people to pay to attend. So I stopped. Although I don't mind anyone live streaming any talk I do, it hasn't happened yet as far as I know. 

This has major implications for the workplace though. What would you do if an employee went Live during a meeting? It could potentially breach all kinds of privacy rules and confidential information so you can rely upon that, but what if no confidential information is being broadcast? What if it's something like an away day or a whole company briefing by the Chief Executive like a rallying cry? 

The employee may be sharing it for those other employees not present and to give an insight into the company they work for. It may even help the employer brand that they do so. But it might not. Would the people speaking behave differently if they thought they were being broadcast? I'd hope not as authenticity is very important no matter what the context. And you shouldn't say or do anything to any group that you wouldn't be comfortable being broadcast to a wider audience, so most leaders will be OK in that regard. 

But what if the broadcast reveals something unsightly about the workplace, it's culture and its leaders? I can imagine it could just do that. 

What if a site like Glassdoor suddenly offers the ability for employees at a company to go live anonymously? 

I think they should. 

Live video offers no hiding place for anyone. But if you've got something to hide, that says more about you than it does live video. 

I can see usage becoming widespread in sport both from fans and players. I can also see it becoming more common, if not quite widespread, in employment. 

Consider a Live broadcast by an employee secretly filming a manager bullying a colleague.  Who is in the wrong here?  The filmer by breaching workplace rules and privacy?  The manager for bullying?  Or the organisation for allowing this to take place?  Who gets disciplined?  Who suffers?

Of course, some things HAVE to be confidential but if no statement has been made about that then is the subsequent discussion fair game? I think it probably is. 

It means the lines between what happens in the workplace and what is seen by the outside world will become very blurred indeed. 

Is that a good thing? If you're a great employer with fantastic leaders in an amazing workplace, yes it is. If you're not, be prepared for more people to find out about that. 

What issues do you see? Do you see it as a good thing or not? And can we do anything about it, even if we wanted to? 

Till next time… 


PS in other news, my son (15) has his first girlfriend and bought his first valentines present this week. I suddenly felt very old and am not quite sure what, if anything, to do.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

#hrdsummit17 blog 6

And so I've done my own talk now. It seemed to go down very well indeed and I had a blast doing it. There were a LOT of people there and everyone said such lovely things. 

My energy levels have seriously dipped now. 

To those who are interested though, there is a Pinned Tweet on my page @Gary_Cookson with a link to a 10 minute version of today's talk. Today I added 5 minutes of new material and haven't (yet) recorded this but watch this space. 

But enough of me. 

I'm back in another session now, this time by Jeff Birk from OC Tanner on building a culture of recognition and appreciation. This is something all workplaces should strive to have. 

Recognition, says Jeff, is partly about encouraging effort. This can be done by communicating that someone is on track and in good standing, but has the impact of improving manager/employee relationships and improves employee confidence in their own skills. 

He asked when the last time anyone had this at work. Pleasingly, lots said within the last week but for many it was a year or more. 

Recognition is also about rewarding results. This encourages improvement, customer satisfaction and helps employees feel they are making a difference. Jeff made a comment that we need to have this continually, like the crowd during a football match, and not save our recognition or feedback until the end result or end of the match. 

Jeff's style of delivery was really engaging and I enjoyed listening to him. 

He said recognition is also about celebrating careers. He gave some good examples of how we can appreciate career choices by individuals, choices of coming to work for our organisations and choices to stay, particularly those who stay a long long time. This is about showing that the company cares and that the employee fits in (something I blogged about last week) and improves relationships amongst co workers. 

His advice about recognition was that it should be:
- in the moment
- inclusive
- performance based
- conscious of cultural differences between countries

Really good advice here and strikingly simple but sadly not always followed in many organisations. 

He challenged us not only about when we last received recognition, but when we last gave it. 

When did you?

Off to another session now on creating a coaching and mentoring culture with Claire Vaughan and James Moore from the Welsh Ambulance Service Trust. 

Claire talked about the poor culture at WAST 3-4 years ago and it's clear they were in a bad place both from an employee and customer perspective, and outlined some of the improvements that had been made. 

She pointed out that their new CEO has an HR background and therefore "gets" engagement. I'm sure this must help. 

Interestingly, the service began focusing on relationships and behaviours, not actions and outcomes. This appears to be a running theme both in this conference and in my own personal development recently. It is neatly summarised by the photo below. 

James mentioned that they are trying to break the Drama Triangle in the interventions they are doing, and got us to try this out via some paired coaching conversations which proved surprisingly effective at creating a sense of dignity and engagement. 

Well done WAST. 

Lunchtime beckons. 

Till next time...


#hrdsummit17 blog 7 (final one)

I'm in a session by Rob Jones from Crossrail. I missed the afternoon opening keynote as I was having a late lunch, having missed lunch because of arranging to meet people at that time. 

Robs session is about transitioning from operational to strategic HR and the key building blocks of doing so. His style was brilliant, and he was an engaging and funny speaker. 

He talked at first about what he had noticed in his career that are operational. Lots of things may appear operational, but they can also be strategic. He refreshingly talked a lot about the mistakes he had made, but also how some of these had helped him to learn more about how people operate and how they improve. 

His point was that you can only learn certain things from a report, but you learn much more from getting out and about and talking to people - not in a staged way, but when they relax and open up to you. 

He also talked about his time at Mothercare, where he figured out that the leaders viewed anything that put cash in the till as strategic, and anything that didn't as operational. 

His experience of being at Crossrail was a true initiation into the world of Organisational Effectiveness. His role was to examine barriers and blockages in the organisation, help to remove them and then get out of the way. That often involved HR work but was about understanding people, systems and processes just as much. 

He realised that he was better at his job, and could win, was by doing problem solving and getting into the detail of it. Not by delivering an HR service although that does need to happen too. But also try to be three or four moves ahead of the rest of the organisation and plan for different eventualities. 

This was a tour de force talk on how HR can reimagine itself as organisational effectiveness professionals and Rob made a passionate and entertaining case for that happening. Well done. 

And that, I think, is me done for today. It's been a long and tiring two days and I'm glad to be headed home but I've enjoyed this event more than in previous years. Next year I can see that it's going back to three days which I am concerned may be a mistake but we shall see. 

I hope to be here again anyway. 

Till next time...


#hrdsummit17 blog 5

So I'm back at #hrdsummit17 for the second day, and the crowd is noticeably smaller despite the later start. Possibly this is because many delegates are nursing hangovers from a late night at the awards ceremony last night, and it will be interesting to see how many people sneak in throughout the morning. 

We are starting off with a talk from Cisco's Jill Larsen, on reimagining and transforming HR. 

She began by sharing many of the contextual statistics that other speakers had shared that highlight how work is changing. The relevance here is that Cisco had been thinking about this earlier than many organisations and decided to transform their HR offer and service to prepare for this future. 

She talked about their People Deal. It helped engage all employees by talking not so much about HR stuff and focusing on the employee and customer experience. This started out small and cost very little as it was mainly about conversations and ideas. 

This then began to involve rethinking what HR needed to be based on what employees felt they and customers wanted to experience. This is a novel approach and one I'll be thinking about a lot in the coming weeks. 

They also then began to individualise the employee experience, starting with pay and rewards, allowing each employee to completely customise their total reward package. They then began to rethink their talent brand and began to make it more human, recognising their employees are their best ambassadors. This latter project is something I'm very keen on in my current organisation and have started to work on, so it will be interesting to see the outcomes. 

The way Cisco measure their talent brand impact was startling in that I don't think many organisations will even be considering the things Cisco are doing, let alone aim to compete with Cisco. And yet that says more about them than it does Cisco. 

She went on to talk about their Talent Cloud, which looked fairly complicated but also quite effective, and I suppose for an organisation whose HR team alone numbers 900 then they need something of this level of complexity to manage their talent and workforce planning.

She left us with a few challenges that she feels would help HR to transform. Determine your value proposition. Rotate talent. Focus on the experience. Go digital / vertical. And find champions. To be honest though these could be considered good change management practice in general. 

This was an interesting talk and whilst a lot would be more relevant to multinational organisations, the principles were helpful for anyone thinking about HR transformation. 

The next slot was a panel discussion on digital HR transformation, moderated by Richard Doherty from Workday, with contributions from HR leaders in Rolls Royce and AstraZeneca. 

Both organisations faced considerable challenges in terms of transforming their HR services. One point that stood out at the start was how both organisations had lots of disparate systems in place to manage aspects of their HR service, and there was an overall lack of integration and joined up thinking.

Clearly both organisations had chosen Workday as their preferred solution in terms of integrating their different HR services, and it's a product I'm not familiar with although I have, in my time, implemented two different full HR systems in two different organisations so I know how important it is to get the right system. 

One thought that occurred to me was that these two HR leaders were very pleased with Workday but what if we asked front line staff and line managers, what would they say about it? I just wonder if the viewpoint of HR leaders (including myself) is perhaps too blinkered to see whether technological changes in HR have a positive effect across the entire business, not just in HR. 

And now it's break time. 

At least until I do my own talk at 10:55. 15 minutes, 30 slides auto advancing every 30 seconds, on the concept of the Amazing Workplace. 

Let's see how that goes. 

See you on the other side. 

Till next time...