(this blog is a advice for a business leader of a medium sized organisation for attending SuccessConnect. However, I guess many corporate leaders and most notably HR people could do with some down to earth thinking about business value and most of the reasoning will still be good food for thought long after SuccessConncect 2015 in Rome)

Having one focus on medium sized organisations to get business value from the right HCM systems, and realising this requires convincing owner-managers and other business leaders more than HR directors, I looked at the SuccessConnect agenda and thought:

Which sessions would I recommend to a business leader, who doesn’t primarily aim at improving HR process efficiency, but wants to see business value?

Of course, businesses in different contexts would set different priorities. E.g. an organisation growing fast in an area with a tight labour market would probably look at recruiting first, whilst others would prioritise Performance&Goals. But instead of giving myself the answer we consultants are supposed to give (“it depends”), I built The Business Leader’s Agenda and I’m sharing it here.

Honestly: it wasn’t easy at all. A lot of the sessions, where you’d expect to learn about down to earth business value (rather than IT or HR playing with each other or amongst themselves) run in parallel and in some time slots there were only second choices available.

So, albeit this decision is too late now: if you are  an owner-manager of a 500 employees organisation, who has been convinced that people management capability is their barrier to growth (possible after a conversation with me 😉 ), would I recommend you to attend? Yes: there is still a lot of good content and whilst we can’t know yet whether you’ll get enough out of the key note sessions, you’ll benefit from talking to your peers and get some free consultancy from all the experts (best to pick the right people to talk to before the event or very early).

Themes you’ll be looking for, whether in sessions or in conversations:

  • empowering managers and making them, rather than HR responsible for people performance
  • empowering employees to own their own data and their own career
  • overcoming barriers to growth
  • staying in control without administering a straight jacket
  • making learning simple and relevant
  • supporting the right image and the right underlying culture – you are 55 now and many of the brightest and most engaged your professionals won’t play by the same rules you did back in your days (sorry: seems I missed that lesson in my early consultant training saying inconvenient truths should remain unspoken…)

Anyway – your agenda:

Tuesday


08:30 – Keynotes. Sorry, but it’s a really good way for setting the scene and giving you the right context. And they guys are usually really good at creating that clear line of sight between HCM systems and business strategy, albeit they may be talking a bit too long for your taste. If there are any boring bits, you can still use the conference app to connect to the right experts to bag some free consultancy – I bet you haven’t done this before the conference, right?


11:45 – Performance, Compensation and Succession: Introduction and Overview.
Performance Management is THE one tool to align what your people do with what you want to achieve as a business. So, this is the one piece, where you should really understand how it works.


14:00 – The Simple Truth About Talent Management.

Sounds great: no management fads, just a straight way to make sure you develop the right talent, keep it engaged and retain it. If this session does, what it says on the tin, you’ll be very happy.


15:30 – SuccessFactors Mobile: Overview and Roadmap.

Sounds like a very technical topic? Nope. If you want to beat the big corporates, you’ll want an agile workforce and you’ll want them out there, where your customers need them, where production happens, where they can innovate without being constraint by a cubicle. And even as and when you want them in an office: do you want them to arrive there weary from 70 minutes in traffic jam and dreading their way back or in their back garden, where they can study that court case, design that movie animation or develop that marketing plan, whenever immediate team interaction isn’t necessary. So, supporting your workforce to be mobile, can be a real boost for efficiency as well as creativity. And if you don’t trust your people to work outside the office: bad hiring decision 🙁


17:00 – SuccessFactors Analytics: Roadmap and Direction

I know: you want business value here and now, so why bothering about solution roadmaps. Isn’t that like listening to politicians election speeches and then hoping it will actually happen? Well, to begin with, SAP has been quite good so far delivering on their roadmaps. But there is a reason I picked “roadmap” for Analytics. The endgame for any word class HCM system will have to include a world class analytics solution including embedded analytics ate your fingertips, big data capabilities and predictive analytics. However: you are not there yet. Yes. Sorry. our systems and the way you are using are not good enough yet for you to benefit from very powerful analytics solutions – and compared to the big corporates, your decision making probably isn’t bad enough yet, so you’d need it now. Therefore, this is your visionary session. This is where you want your people management capability to be in a couple of years’ time.


18:30 – Networking Reception:

Nope – not the time to go back to your room and do that sales forecast. Get the most out of this event. Find some learning experts and find our how you can get to demand driven, mobile, agile learning to make sure your people are always up to the job!


19:30 – Free Night

Well done! Come on. I buy you dinner and a good bottle of wine and we can discuss your innovation process, or marketing strategy – just taking a break from HR


Wednesday


8:30 – Keynotes

I know. Again. Well, check what’s on the menu and if it’s not inspiring you, feel free to wonder around the exhibition hall to grab some more experts for free consultancy. No! Not me again: I gave you a whole free workshop on the people element of Innovation Strategy over dinner last night…


10:45 – The Future of Performance Ratings: Identifying Winners Without Creating Losers

No surprise here. Of course we pick another performance management session. It’s at the heart of aligning people management with your business objectives. You think the “not creating losers” stuff is just fluffy softy talk? If you have 2 machines, one creating 2 million profit per year and another one creating 1 million, but you can’t have a second machine of type one: will you throw the second one away? If your performance process has to create losers, one of 3 things has happened:

  • you’ve made bad hiring decisions
  • you are managing your people very poorly, destroying value as you go along
  • you’ve read an outdated management book (or a current book written by an outdated manager)

Attend this session and find out how you can get the best out of every single one of your employees and make sure they are in it for the long run

13:00 – The Evolution of Recruiting While Maintaining Your Culture

If you want to grow, you need more people. As you decided to be in the top cluster of your industry, the labour market isn’t your friend. So, you need any help you can get to attract and hire the right talent. However: as a medium sized player, much of your advantage against the corporate competition is probably ingrained in your culture. Growing your workforce without destroying that culture is paramount.

14:45 – Pirelli Aligning Human Capital Management and Business Needs with the SAP SuccessFactors HCM Suite

Yes, Pirelli is a large corporate. But many of the challenges they are discussing here and offering solutions apply to medium sized businesses and can be transferred. Data quality, data driven decision making, lean HR,… Sorry? Know, I don’t think they’ll be giving away calendars…

Thursday

Management meeting in the office. Start making changes.

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