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May 15, 2017

Join Us at the 2017 India Perspectives


Stepping into the Future of Learning and Talent is the theme of our 2017 Perspectives conference this year.

What does that mean and why did we choose it?

Arguably, it could mean many things. But for us, as the leading provider of eLearning, we feel it is our duty to ensure our customers are prepared. Now while we can’t prepare you for absolutely everything, we can prepare you for the future workplace, the future worker, the future learner.

Let me assure you that the future looks different. Change is happening on every front: from consumer-led content and personalised technology, to gamification, virtual reality, and the arrival of Gen Z.

It is a future that will present people working in L&D and talent management with challenges, but challenges that can be easily met – if you’re prepared.

To ensure you are prepared, we’ve put together an agenda that encompasses all these areas and is filled with expert thought and insight into not only what to expect, but how to meet these expectations.

For starters, our Executive Chairman, Bill Donoghue, will give an overview of the changes we have made to our content, systems, and platforms over the past 12 months and how we plan to continue this growth in the future.

He will be followed by Apratim Purakayastha (AP), our CTO, who will discuss in greater detail our technology. Potoula Chresomales, SVP Product, will unveil Percipio, our new and exciting learning experience, while Bill Docherty, SVP Product, will talk everyone through the new SumTotal Future Roadmap.

Then, we will have a panel discussion moderated by Melissa Ries, VP & GM, APAC on Is Your Talent Future Ready and include Damodar Padhi, VP & Global Head – L&D, TCS, and Prithvi Shergill, ex-CHRO, HCL.

Lastly, from Skillsoft I’ll give you quick overview on all the fabulous new content we have completed and what else will soon be making its way to your systems.

Next, we’ll turn the day over to three of our customers – Tata Communications, Landmark Group, and Sun Pharma to show case their success stories.

Ester Martinez, Editor-in-Chief of People Matters will then host a lively and energetic debate on looking at the organizational learning with two lenses – HR and Business. This will be followed by the Keynote Address by Ashish Vidyarthi, National Award Winning Actor, Speaker, and Founder of AVID MINER.

To end, we will announce the winners of our 2017 India Innovation Awards.

We look forward to see you at 2017 India Perspectives on Thursday, May 18 at The Oberoi Mumbai.

Join us. Register here!

March 15, 2017

Three Steps to Maximize Your HCM System ROI

“Exceptional ROI is the norm, not the exception”


I was in line the other morning waiting for my usual—double shot Americano with room for cream—when I overheard a conversation between the two young women who were directly behind me.

And no, it wasn’t a juicy conversation about personal matters…it was a work matter. One of them, not sure which one, as it would have been impolite to keep turning around—was under a lot of pressure from her boss to select a new HCM system for their organization. Her friend was trying to give her advice. I emphasize trying because in truth, not a lot of what she said either made sense or was even accurate. Back in the day, this would have been point when I would have handed her my card. Today we write a blog about it. SO, this is for you White Chocolate Mocha and Chai Tea.

Choosing the technology for human capital management is a big deal. There are a ton of vendors out there and each promises the world. In truth, few deliver and no one wants to be the person who recommended a particular system only for it to fail to deliver on its promises.

Let’s boil this dilemma down and solve it with three simple steps.

Step 1 Identify the wish list

Compile a list of your requirements: what you want/need/would like to see done with the new HCM. Analyze your talent, learning, and workforce management strategies. Assume that you don’t need to live without anything on your wish list, because chances are, your requirements are more attainable than you might think. We know that you’re hearing from other vendors that you may need a fully customized (read: costly) solution or try to squeeze your organization into a one-size-fits-all box. If that happens to you, see the red flag and find a vendor who doesn’t shy away from complex requirements. The cloud is fantastic, but in some cases, on-premise may be exactly what you need. The point is not to sell yourself short.

We’re hosting a webinar on vetting requirements—specifically for Workforce Management—on April 18. Check it out and register: Four Things To Do Before Signing Your WFM Provider Contract.  

Step 2 See the whole picture

To begin you might only need a small number of modules… to do things such as solving your employee retention problem, doing a better job at onboarding, or even optimizing self-service with shift trading. I caution you not to fall into the trap of thinking short-term and focusing on only your immediate need. We see many prospective customers come running to us as needs emerge and they’re overwhelmed with disparate HR systems. Not all HCMs are created equal, and some have the capability to expand as needed without additional costs or customization.

It’s also important to fully realize your potential ROI from your HCM investment. In a recent Nucleus Research report, Four HCM Mistakes to Avoid, it discusses that decision-makers often overlook that “modern technology for HCM costs less to implement and operate,” thereby yielding “major gains in productivity…[and] a significant ROI.”

Step 3 Set the Right time

The point-of-need for upgrading or deploying a new HCM is before there’s a problem. If you’re starting to see that your system is becoming unworkable—start comparing vendors now. The Nucleus report also states that many SMBs in particular wait too long. Don’t do that! Plus, the sooner you get started, the sooner you will experience the ROI which will simply increase as time passes and your company grows.

To my colleagues in the coffee shop and everywhere else, I hope this helps.

For information about our HCM and what it can do for you, schedule a demo. For additional reading, check out the research note that I referenced above “Four HCM Mistakes to Avoid.”

February 22, 2017

Be Bold for Change

This year’s International Women’s Day falls on the 8th of March and the theme is #BeBoldforChange, with the hope and aim for a more gender inclusive world. Did you know that the current gender pay gap is not estimated to close until 2186?

Women in Business

Recently in America, a GOP official sent a letter to two newspapers titled “Equal Pay for Women Has Consequences.”  In this letter, he said:

“Traditionally men have earned more than women in the workplace because they are considered the primary breadwinners for families. They need to make enough to support their families and allow the Mother to remain in the home to raise and nurture the children.”

Really? In 2017?

I must admit that in the early days of my career, I perhaps hadn’t been the biggest advocate for gender equality only because it had never seemingly affected me so it took some time to see the scale of the issue. In both my personal life and my career, I’ve always felt I have been equal to men; however, through the years I’ve experienced situations where others have not had the same opinion and learnt quite quickly that there is a very good reason why we need to be bold and help accelerate gender parity.

If you are career minded like me, then money is a motivator. It shocks me that where I live and work in the UK (south-east) men are paid 30% more than women! Does that allow me to put in 30% less effort in my job? Crazy talk! Businesses with a strong gender diversity strategy have been shown time and time again to outperform their peers. In the United Kingdom alone, senior executive teams proved that a mere 10% increase in gender diversity results in a 3.5% increase in earnings before interest and taxes.

As employers increase to fight over top talent it might also be worth noting that according to recent PwC research which involved over 40,000 Millennials, representing 18 countries, 82% of female Millennials identified an employers’ policy on diversity, inclusion and gender equality as an important factor when deciding whether or not to work for an organisation.

It’s clear that change is needed, in some instances it almost seems as if we are going backwards. In 2015, 22% of senior roles were held by women, compared to 21% in 2016.

But making this happen isn’t without challenges.

Do we sit around complaining about how unfair the disparity between pay and the lack of females in leadership roles? Or do we be bold?

While there is still a lot to be done, International Women’s Day is a vehicle for change so here are some real #BeBoldForChange, positive, pragmatic examples as food for thought:

  • The Intel Women in Technology scholarship programme has been running for more than 10 years and a total of almost €1,000,000 has been invested in the initiative to date. The scholarships are applicable to a wide variety of courses offered at third level institutions across Ireland. The programme offers a monetary grant valued at €3,000 per annum as well as opportunities for work placements at one of Intel’s Ireland locations in Leixlip, Shannon and Cork. Each scholar is also assigned a mentor who is an Intel employee to assist and provide advice on managing their academic career.
  • Some companies are urging their suppliers to adopt gender-specific policies. British designer, Tamara Mellon, said she would ensure all of her suppliers had senior women within the business.
  • Salesforce implemented their version of the Rooney Rule. The Rooney Rule is a National Football League policy that requires league teams to at least interview minority candidates for head coaching and senior football operation jobs. They also recently assessed the compensation of more than 17,000 employees and spent $3 million to equalise the pay between female and male employees of similar tenure, levels, and performance.
  • Quotas for women on boards is a topic that tends to cause fierce debate. In 2003 Norway passed a law that requires companies to have at least 40% of company board members to be women. As a result, today Norway has the highest proportion of women on boards globally (36%).
  • Make leadership attractive – to women and men. In some European Intel offices, they offer a bigger referral bonus to employees if candidate is female.
  • Dean’s Beans Organic Coffee – a North American Coffee company, initiated CHICA Comunidad de Hermanas Inteligentes con Corazones Abiertos (Community of Intelligent Sisters with Open Hearts), a community based program in Guatemala. The program aims to raise self-esteem, gender awareness, and create educational and economic opportunities for indigenous teenaged girls in rural Guatemalan coffee villages.
  • Pax World Investments is a leading sustainable investment firm based in the U.S., which votes against all-male slates of directors at company annual meetings and against male nominees on slates with only one woman. They also file shareholder proposals asking companies to make diversity part of every director search. Pax World launched the Pax Global Women’s Leadership Index and Pax Ellevate Global Women’s Index Fund based on the Index, investing in companies that invest in women. In 2016 they expanded their gender engagement to include pay equity initiatives.
  • Symantec implemented the Gender Equity Image Project to promote gender equality within the company. The goal is to work toward the ongoing improvement of gender representation and the reduction of the use of stereotyping imagery wherever possible.

Change can be driven by yourself as an individual or by organisations but it starts by being aware of the need and being bold. Challenge conscious or unconscious bias, encourage gender-balanced leadership and ensure women and men’s contributions are valued equally.


October 16, 2014

6 Traits of Exceptional Managers

It’s true, if it wasn’t for Facebook or Hallmark (or my colleague who asked me if I was doing anything special for my manager) I would not have known that October 16, 2014 is National Boss’s Day in the United States. It looks like this holiday wasn’t on my radar. That being said, I am sure many of us out there are left scratching our heads thinking, “What?! Does my boss really need a day?”


Exceptional managers and truly great leaders share many common similarities. As Ronald Reagan once said, “The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.”

In celebration of National Boss’ Day, here are 6 traits of exceptional managers:

  1. Motivators: “Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them.” John C. Maxwell
    Great leaders don’t suck the energy away from others. They put people first and find new and interesting ways to energize and motivate their team. They are relatable. They are passionate. They know that acknowledgement for a job well done is more than just a pat on the back.
  2. Mentors“A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.” – Rosalynn Carter
    Great leaders are mentors who are not afraid to push people outside their comfort zone. They are open, honest and invested in your potential and future. Having a manger that doubles as a mentor will boost your confidence and help shape your professional (and maybe even personal) development. If you don’t have a good mentor, I urge you to go out and look for one. My colleague, Jody, has some good advice on mentors in this blog post.
  3. Assertive“The art of leadership is saying no, not yes. It is very easy to say yes.”  Tony Blair
    Often it is difficult to say no. It’s even more difficult to be assertive without being aggressive. Great leaders understand the difference between the two. They are able to overcome adversary and resistance without ruffling too many feathers.
  4. Trustworthy“There is a difference between being a leader and being a boss. Both are based on authority. A boss demands blind obedience; a leader earns his authority through understanding and trust.” Klaus Balkenhol
    When I imagine a boss, I think of Gary Cole’s character, Bill Lumbergh, from Office Space. The term “boss” gets a bad rap. Probably because it’s associated with distrust, micromanagement and bad communication. It’s easier to trust an exceptional leader because they are transparent and they care. They hold themselves accountable to the same standards and expectations they set for their employees.
  5. Passionate“You have to be burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right. If you’re not passionate enough from the start, you’ll never stick it out.” – Steve Jobs
    Passion is contagious, disinterest is destructive. It is painfully obvious when leaders do not stand behind their organization or its goals. Great leaders have a desire to continuously cultivate creativity, change, innovation and collaboration across their teams and organization.
  6. Not Sociopaths“The internal management application of this is that it’s always a bad idea to set one’s employees too much against one another. You want to find ways to differentiate people’s roles. Frame it this way: If you were a sociopathic boss who wanted to create trouble for your employees, the formula you would follow would be to tell two people to do the exact same thing. That’s a guaranteed formula for creating conflict. If you’re not a sociopath, you want to be very careful to avoid this.” Peter Thiel
    Peter’s quote from a recent WSJ article pretty much speaks for itself. Creating conflict in the workplace isn’t going to get you anywhere in life. Great managers know how to avoid and resolve frustration. Conflict resolution is a simple concept that sadly enough, is not at the forefront of every ordinary manager’s mind.

What do you think? Do you have any to add? Leave a comment below!



September 25, 2014

HR Lessons: What we can learn from The Mafia

When searching for leadership and management tips, it may seem counter intuitive to look at organized crime for inspiration. But, if we look past the immoral, high-risk crime the mafia is known for, there are a few fundamental things we can learn.

The Godfather, Goodfellas and The Sopranos all have underlying characteristics that help strengthen their organization – unconditional loyalty, respect and accountability to name a few.

Who wouldn’t want those traits to be the foundation of their HR team and organization?

This week we sat down with the folks over at Fistful of Talent to identify some of the greatest elements at the core of the mafia’s organization that can be used in more legitimate business ventures.

Take a 20 minute break from your day and listen as Cara Lucas, Paul Hebert, and Dawn Hrdlica-Burke identify what makes a tight-knit organization like the mob function and elements that you can take back to your workplace.

(Note: We do NOT recommend redefining employee ‘termination’.)

Have anything to add? Leave a comment below or tweet us using the hashtag #HRHangout!

Also – don’t forget to tune into next week’s #HRHangout – The Great FOT Turnover Predictor on Wednesday, October 1st at 2:00 p.m. ET.