SumTotal Blog

Return to Blog Index →

Liam Butler (16 Posts)

Liam Butler

Liam Butler is VP of Sales for SumTotal EMEA and has over 15 years’ experience in the Learning and Talent Management sector. His experience encompasses working with SMEs through to leading FTSE 100 organizations. His specialist domain expertise includes Extended Enterprise, Aviation, Manufacturing and other highly regulated businesses including 21 CFR Part 11 and EU GMP.

October 28, 2016

The City of Light Shines on HR

I have just arrived home from Paris for the HR Tech World Congress, an event that has grown exponentially in both size and significance since the first one back in 2011. It has been a busy affair, with lots of great speakers, and tons of companies using the shared venue and opportunity to demonstrate and showcase all manner of HR solutions, applications and platforms.

HR Tech World Paris

When I come to these types of events I am always curious about two things – the takeaways and the food. Thankfully—this being Paris—I am happy to report that the food has all been excellent. The content of the conference was equally good, and I’m pleased to bring so many gems, nuggets of brilliance, and insight back to the office.

So, what is on everyone’s lips – apart from crumbly, flaky, buttered-to-perfection croissants?

  • Employee engagement: We still have not comprehensively or conclusively solved this challenge, and it continues to be a growing concern and priority for everyone.
  • Staying power: Since employees  now average 2.75 years in one job, companies need to up the ante to do everything they can to retain staff and prevent both talent and investment walking away to a competitor.
  • Analytics: Lots and lots of talk around this, particularly surrounding output of your LMS.
  • On the go: Everyone wants to reassure everyone else that all their solutions and platforms are mobile-friendly.

SumTotal Demo at HR Tech World

In truth, anyone in HR is already very familiar with these issues, and there was a slight sense of déjà vu about some of the presentations.

Seeking out something new, I attended the Women in HR Tech session, presented by Pascale van Damme, Managing Director, Dell Benelux; Naomi Bloom, Managing Partner, Bloom and Wallace; Kim Wylie, Change and Transformation Lead, Google for Work and Leighanne Levensaler, Senior VP, Workday.

When it comes women in the workplace I like to hear practical, pragmatic, constructive advice. I want to know what we can do to make changes. With this in mind, here are the top 5 takeaways I gathered from this session:

  • Women are still underrepresented in tech. To redress this you must actively pursue and recruit women. How? By offering a workplace that works with women, not against them. By using language in job specs that women connect with, by offering flexible work schedules and by providing defined career paths and opportunities.
  • Hire a diverse team. To do this you need a diverse hiring team. Both men and women are more likely to hire a man over a woman, so ensure your team has undergone conscious bias training, to prevent (or at least highlight) bias.
  • Review current practice. Kim explained how Google has changed the way the company promotes internally. The old method was based on self-nomination and since very few women actually do this, fewer women were promoted; but once they changed the process, the numbers evened out.
  • Start benchmarking. How can we determine if progress is being made if we do not have the data to measure it?
  • Network, network, network. Find a mentor or a sponsor and keep learning. In short – stay involved.

If you attended HR Tech Paris this year, I’d love to know what you thought—share your comments below.

October 25, 2016

Making the ROI of L&D Count – A CFO’s Perspective

The role of the CFO has changed dramatically in recent years. Now they are responsible for not only financial reporting, but also for performance acceleration; for driving analysis and providing the perspective and insights needed to link corporate strategy to execution.

SumTotal Blog ROI of Learning

As a result, CFOs must demonstrate a deep understanding of how their organisations invest their resources to achieve business goals, improve organisational capabilities and drive performance. Given that human capital represents a company’s biggest investment, it comes as no surprise that increasingly CFOs are finding themselves having to not only quantify what’s being spent on training, development and talent management, but also assess how that translates into value for the enterprise.

To further complicate this predicament, too often money spent on training and development is not reported in financial statements. As a result, it does not get the attention it warrants. Despite an average company spend of 36% of revenue on human capital expenses, only 16% say they have anything more than a moderate understanding of the return on human capital investments. This dearth of information is problematic for everyone, but for the CFO it presents a colossal challenge.

The vast majority of CFOs view human capital as a key value driver and a central factor in their company’s ability to achieve outcomes that drive shareholder value,  in the UK alone businesses currently invest over £40 billion a year on formal training, and that’s without taking into account the considerable amount of additional time and resources UK firms commit to addressing the skills challenge that lies ahead. So the big question becomes how best to support workforce development and achieve the best return on your organisation’s investment in L&D?

SumTotal decided to answer this. After extensive research into the area we have produced a white paper, “The Hidden Cost of Talent — A CFO guide to maximising the ROI of Learning & Development,” which examines the most pressing issues around talent management, exposes those areas most prone to financial leakage and calculates the cost of talent management.

Our insights will help you understand how your organisation should invest its resources to improve organisational capabilities and achieve business goals – and the value creation that generates.

Download your copy of the paper now.


October 20, 2016

DP World’s search for an LMS Uncovers a Talent Management Solution

DP World is a key player in the global supply chain, with 77 marine and inland terminals across 6 continents. To maintain a competitive positon and continue providing clients with the service that has earned DP World a great reputation internationally, the company relies on its 37,000 employees. Employees who have chosen DP World because they understand that the company ethos, “Creating the Future Now,” applies as much to how the organization operates as a business, as to how managers treat their talent. With DP World, staff can expect personal development and career opportunities that guarantee an enriching and rewarding future.

SumTotal at CLO Symposium

Ensuring that DP World’s professional development programs met such expectations was beginning to prove challenging. Geographical, language and time barriers meant traditionally delivered methods such as face-to-face training were no longer viable options.

After reviewing the situation, DP World decided that the best resolution was to introduce an LMS into the company. But it wasn’t as simple as that. They wanted a LMS that not only looked good, was cost effective, and could be easily customised to reflect the DP World brand, but—perhaps most importantly—the company was in search of one all-encompassing learning and talent solution.

DP World soon discovered SumTotal could provide this unified solution. The two partnered on what became DP World’s “single biggest IT project in terms of numbers using the system.” Known internally as iLearn, the system incorporates iPerform and iCareer, allowing DP World to offer over 100 courses and manage everything from professional development to end of year bonuses and complete succession planning. All with one easy to use system.

Once introduced, the results were phenomenal. DP World realized an immediate 80% increase in course completion rate. HR staff now plan to roll out iLearn to even bigger numbers.

DP World staff were also impressed with the connection they established with SumTotal. In an interview, Shanavas Koya, Head of Human Capital Projects, DP World, acknowledged the relationship with SumTotal as “a true partnership” and a huge contributing factor in the success of the programme.

Watch this video to learn more about the partnership and DP World’s great results.

October 5, 2016

Dawn of the Digital Generation: A Roundtable with Fosway Group’s David Wilson

SumTotal recently had the opportunity to host a roundtable discussion with David Wilson, Founder and CEO of Fosway Group, on new approaches to HR and talent strategy. Here are some of the highlights from the discussion, which included a variety of HR practitioners from financial, retail, hospitality, media and commodities. The result was the template for what will become a regular industry forum, giving people the chance to help build white papers, research reports and implement real change in the workplace.

Roundtable Discussion

So tell me about your problems….

It didn’t take much coaxing to get those in attendance sharing their challenges and frustrations. Agility was one of the key themes raised, with everyone calling for a transformation to further spur this in their organisations. Others feared they were still in the early stages of recruitment and struggling to embrace digital disruption.

Another common problem, especially for those with global organisations, is having a jumble of HR systems in place, leading to disjointed and frustrating user experiences. One attendee even went as far as saying he was fed up with seeing the same problems coming up all the time, because people were too obsessed with following the next trend rather than dealing with the here and now!

Here’s a magic wand, what you going to do with it?

  • Instant access to learning modules on mobile
  • Buy in from everyone on the learning team
  • Mobile and the time for this
  • Intuitive employee ability
  • Embracing tech on a global basis
  • Analytics!
  • Make it easier for talent to work around the world

So what now?

It’s no use just taking all of the points discussed and keeping them locked away in the room. We want to build on these and look at ways in which we can use them to implement real change. This means involving more people, so please comment below if you have any questions, or let us know if would like to be involved with future roundtables.

September 14, 2016

Tackling HR challenges the best way; The Fosway

An exclusive webinar with David Wilson, Founder and CEO of Fosway Group, Europe’s #1 HR Analyst

David WilsonThe Romans were expert strategists, builders and entertainers – or at least experts at organising the entertainment. Today, over 1500 years later, we are still influenced by their aptitude for finding the best, most direct route between two points. The significance of this was not lost on David Wilson when he rebranded his company (formerly Elearnity) as Fosway Group. The analyst firm’s name is inspired by the Fosse Way, one of the many roads built by the Romans which despite cutting across hundreds of miles in the UK, never veers more than 6 miles (10 km) from a straight line. It’s unusually direct. The Romans deemed the straight path the best way, and David agrees.

HR Challenges

The analysts at Fosway help organisations navigate the ever-changing and challenging landscape that is HR today with insight and advice that, like its name, is unusually direct. So we’re thrilled to welcome David as host of our next webinar. He is the author of over 150 papers and articles on talent strategy and innovation and a strategic advisor to a number of major organisations across Europe. His knowledge, expertise and his straight talking will provide you with the tools to carve a path, a roadmap for your company that will help you manage your workforce in the most efficient and effective way.

Join us on Wednesday, 28th September, 11 – 12 p.m. BST | 12 – 1 p.m. CST.

Topics covered will include:

  • The impact of changing demographics -  Baby boomers and the Millennial invasion
  • The implications for HR, Talent and L&D of modern workforce management
  • How processes need to change to respond to these challenges in the UK/Europe
  • The role of technology – changing the 9-5 to 0-24

The webinar session will be moderated, ensuring David has time to answer questions.

Join us to hear the straight talk, straight from David! Register here.

August 4, 2015

The UK Apprenticeship Levy: Treating the Symptom

How UK businesses are investing in the shortage of skilled workers

For businesses, the shortage of skilled workers is not a new problem, but the rapid advance of technology has made the scenario more painful than ever. In the UK, recent years saw the skills gap issue placed on the back-burner, though, as the region recovered from economic crisis. Now that things seem to be improving, the nagging reality of the skills shortage has returned, and firms are beginning to focus (and panic) once again in the face of the unarguable lack of skilled talent available to fill the jobs that our modern world demands.

With the introduction of the new ‘Apprenticeship Levy’ in the UK Budget, the government has taken a step in the right direction, and highlighted the importance of investing in fresh talent. However, how the government intends to implement this new initiative is causing trepidation and discontent within the industry. The fact remains that not only will it take time for the new tax to be instigated, the program appears to adopt a largely generic ‘one size fits all’ approach.

A huge oversight from the government on their part is that they seem to have forgotten there is no blueprint for training. Learning & development (L&D) needs to be tailored to suit the individual needs of the workforce and not simply just a way to herd sheep. An icon_PersonKnowledge_Video_rgbunderlying problem with the new levy is that it will not provide employees with the correct, bespoke training required to create high skilled works.

Booming industries such as technology and engineering require a specific skill-set, and whilst employees with a certain set of skills will produced, the danger here is that these will not be right skills. The CBI has argued the new scheme is unlikely to deliver the high-quality level of workers that the economy is currently crying out for. The devil here will be in the detail – the government needs to keep in mind that training in greater numbers does not necessarily guarantee quality and success.

In order to be truly effective, L&D initiatives need to be aligned to specific business goals and ambitions. Otherwise, you’re just training people for the sake of training without any real aspirations and nobody wins. The importance of the government finally sitting up and taking action against a skills starved economy should not be an understatement. But then again, covering bullet holes with band aids won’t necessarily stop the bleeding.

Plugin by Social Author Bio