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Cribsheet for HR Planning & Design

Global Warming Ice Cream Van queue at Studland by Watt_Dabney via FlickrBasics of HR Planning & Design

I am tidying up (again) and I thought I would post a revision crib sheet that I made for students of HRM.

HR Planning & Design of HR System

What is HR planning? (mention supply, demand and matching actions)

Demand

How do we understand and project demand for HR? (pattern of sales, technology)

Is demand for HR a fixed number (such as 3 engineers)?

Supply

How can we understand and project supply of HR? (internally and externally)

Is supply of HR a fixed number?

Match demand & supply

How do we match demand for HR that we are pretty certain about?

How can we match demand for HR that is volatile/that we are uncertain about?

How else can we improve the match of supply and demand of HR?

Metrics: How well do we match supply & demand?

What metrics doe we use to monitor our success in matching supply and demand in HR? (think HR Costs and Sales Revenue)

UPDATE: If you need an example, here is a link to planning for surgeons in the NHS.

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Designers teach work psychologists 3 questions to ask about work or any plan or bossiness about people

Mood hoovering work

I am a work psychologist and we design work.  We are brought up on a diet of (ersatz) experiments and (dated) statistics.  That’s not all bad. We are good at operationalizing – taking an idea and saying “what exactly are we going to do“?  We find Google Analytics easy to understand.

But we become very bad at people.  We even joke that is why we become psychologists.  Because people mystify us.

So we set out to learn from people who are good with people.

Psychologists learn from designers

Here are three questions that were blogged as a summary of Bantjes  (see that training, pedantically precise!). If we are going to set up mock experiments and tiresome evaluations, I suggest we hold ourselves accountable to these.

Three questions to ask about work or any plan or bossiness about people

Does it bring joy?

Is there a sense of wonder?

Does it evoke curiosity?

Failed at the off

My rendition does none of these things.  I can feel the energy hoovered out of me.   So do look up Bantjes when the videos on TED Global 2010 come out.  And let’s put the fun back into life.  Being orderly is good.  But being dispiriting is not.

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My customers come to me to interact with other customers. Yes they do!

The Dummies’ Guide to Social Interaction Design (SxD)

A few months ago, Adrian Chan of Gravity 7 explain Social Interaction Design in simple terms.  Here it is again. But even simpler.  Gen X and Baby Boomers like to begin with an overview. Once we have got the outline, we can drill down to the finer technical details.  This is for view.

Hopefully, Adrian will correct what I have got wrong.  When you have an outline, head over to Adrian for details.

1.  Who is the user?

Basic Idea: Don’t think about your product or your website, your mission or your purpose: simply describe your user.

Basic Technique: It’s tough to write a persona. You want to say what the user looks like, where they’ve come from, and most importantly, what they are looking for when the arrive with you. Think socially. Who were they hoping to talk to and why?

Advanced Techniques: Each user arrives with skills, social competencies and understandings about the way things will be done (variously called scripts and frames). What are people able to do easily when they first arrive? What do they expect?

We want to be predictable and make it easy for them to find their place on our territory

More Stuff You’ll Add After You Have Answered The Other Questions: Personas for other users: rich descriptions of various users in they many shapes and forms.

2.Who are the other users?

Basic Idea: Your visitor didn’t arrive to be lonely. Or to talk to you! Who else will they meet here? And what will they do together? And what about the reverse -who are they trying to get away from?

Basic Techniques: More personas, concentrating on how different everyone is not how much the same they are. Forget averages and typical. Think diversity and difference.

Advanced Techniques: Now describe how the users interact with each other. What do they say? How do they respond to each other? How do they encourage each other? How do they learn from each other? What scenarios are taken for granted by the locals that are not at all obvious to an outsider? When we are locals describing our own space, it is hard to describe what we take for granted. Ask what annoys people? What makes them contemptuous of other people? That’s a sure-fire indication of a norm being broken.

More Stuff You’ll Add After You Have Answered The Last Question: What is the difference between a gathering of users that is successful and one that is a flop? What is the feeling that people have when they say a gathering is fabulous?

3.   What social outcomes happen because the users are interacting with each other?

Basic Idea: Our actions come together to create something over and above our own wishes and desires, intentions and actions.

Basic Technique: What happens that cannot happen by one person alone? For example, we can sit at home and talk to ourselves about Coca-cola. That’s interesting. It probably prompts us to put Coca-cola on the shopping list. But so too is it interesting when one user talks to another user about Coca-cola. The conversation about a brand, and any downstream effects, becomes possible because of the interaction. If you get stuck, list all the interactions that people fear and turn these on their head.

Advanced Techniques: What are memes, tropes, fashions, fads, myths, and beliefs that seems to prevail among your users when they are together? How do they pick up on these norms? How quickly do the norms change and how do they change?

More Stuff That You Will Add After You Have Answered The Last Question: How many interactions happen before this new sense emerges? How can we prompt people to ask questions and to listen to each other? How can we prompt them to reflect their outside world in our world? How can we encourage an attention to positive processes? How can we learn to interpret the less positive interactions in the positive sense of seasons?

How do we add value to businesses, communities and organizations?

~ Trust, belonging & confidence are the foundation of action & initiative

4.  Beginning with Question 3, we have some understanding of the social outcomes that emerge from interaction. These are phenomena like belonging, trust and confidence. Hard-headed business men and women might scoff at these but the scoffing, the negativity, demonstrates the point. There is something they are looking for in the interaction must happen before the abandon their skepticism and react with trust and enthusiasm. What is it the business people need so badly before they will trust other people? When we can put our finger on that bruise, we may have identified the essence of our business.

~ We love our differences and riff them like mad

5. Question 2. We have some understanding of how people interact with each other in our community, in related communities, and in whichever context is our specialty. We learn fast about interaction because we pay attention to interaction. We are never ‘foreigners’ for long and even if we are marked out as different by our physical characteristics, accent or professional qualifications, we understand how people expect to behave and how they expect others to behave. We mix and match those expectations to help them ‘mod’ and ‘riff’ and have fun with each other.

~ We love our guests and find it easy to be kind

6. Question 1. We understand the diversity of people who arrive and the range of their social competence. What do they find easy to do? How can we help them find their feet in a gathering? How can we help them settle down, yet meet more people, and expand their horizons. How quickly do our wall flowers and the rambling roses become a magical bouquet?

Ready now for more details? Head over to Adrian Chan at Gravity 7. He’s the expert!

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Ergonomics 101

Ergonomics

Ergonomics – the efficiency of work.  Can we design work and procedures that are useable? Or somehow does the way we do things create more work, wasted steps, irritation, boredom or fatigue.

Clearly some basic ergonomics is a basic requirement for every manager and geek in this computer world of ours.

Hootsuite

I use Hootsuite as my Twitter interface.  I like the white layout.  I like my stream in three columns – combined, mentions and dm’s.  I like the button to shorten urls. I like the stats.

Over complicating upgrade

But they upgraded recently.  Big fail in my opinion.  We now have to select a social network for our message.  I know they are trying to increase functionality (getting greedy?).  The trouble is they left the send button next to the status update.

So we type a message, press send and go on to the next task.  Hours later we find an error message saying choose a network.  Blah.  Why can’t you remember.  Why can’t I have a default?

Solve a problem by thinking about what users do

This problem could be solved by moving the send button to the right of the social network choice.

This problem could have been avoided by making changes slowly and waiting for feedback to pick up what does and doesn’t work.

Ruin a good design

This overcomplication has changed a good service into a failing service.

For people looking for an Ergonomics 101 project: do an A B test with the button in two places.  Then sell  the results!

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3 Easy Sunday Ways to Master the 3 Principles of Design

It is Sunday today, and I want you to do three things for me.

1    Watch Dan Pink’s TED lecture on Motivation

2    Flick through Jane McGonigal’s slides for SXSW 2008 or  fixing reality.

If you have seen them before, remind yourself of slides 22 through 24.

3    Login in to Facebook and play FarmVille.

Why?

First, today is Sunday. I know you want to catch up with your reading but you should also be having fun.

Dan Pink, former speech writer, speaks good too.  Jane McGonigal’s Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) is to win a Nobel prize for games design and she designs games that ‘give a damn’.  And FarmVille, though childish looking, is actually fun, and will probably get you chatting with a couple of old friends over your farmyard gate.

Learn about the Ryan and Deci (2000) 3 principles of design (ARC) in an enjoyable way

But mainly, because if your goal today was to keep up-to-date with what the gurus are saying, you should know that leading gurus are popularizing the research results of Ryan & Deci (2000).

Ryan & Deci boiled down the principles for designing for work, games and events that are compelling, engaging and ‘moreish’ to

Autonomy.     Can we make our decisions in this place?

Competence. Does the game, work, or event help us learn, and do the conditions keep pace with our growing ability?

Relatedness.  Can we play with others? Is this event socially-rewarding?

Dan Pink and Jane McGonigal may use slightly different terms, but these are the 3 attributes that are being described.

9m people are playing FarmVille (for free) on Facebook

As you play FarmVille, you can admire the ‘assets’ the games have deployed for our leisure and imagination and marvel that 9 million people will seriously attend to their farmyard online and nip over to their neighbours to chase the cows out of the strawberries.

You can also admire the way FarmVille draws you into the game by appealing to your autonomy.   This is your farm and your avatar.   They gently guide you through the possibilities and in a short time, you are as keen as mustard to develop some competence.

FarmVille has levels. I mysteriously found myself at level 3 – possibly it starts at three.   There is clear feedback that tells you how well you are doing and lets you work out the best strategies.   There are rewards that entice you to make an effort.   And there are levels that are both badges of honour and opportunities to try new things.  FarmVille even throws in some random rewards which, of course, are massively reinforcing.

And it is social.  You can see at a glance whom of your friends are playing.  You can send them free gifts.  And they can reciprocate.  You can visit their yards and admire their work (and aspire to catch up.)  You can ask them to be your neighbour.  You can rush over to help on their farm when you they are out and something urgent needs doing.

So a Sunday well spent?

Master the Deci & Ryan model.  When the gurus start propagating a model, you know it will become common knowledge very fast. Everyone will be quoting Autonomy, Competence and Relatedness soon (ARC).

And when we are all talking about the psychology of design and trying and learning to use ARC in our own work, Jane McGonigal will achieve her dream of seeing our ‘broken reality’ fixed and become a lot more like a game.

Will you fix reality with the 3 principles of design?

Will you be up there with the games designers, event managers and entrepreneurs who can design work and play worth living?

Or at least understand why some tasks are tedious beyond belief and others bring a light to your eyes, a bounce to your step, and a gentle smile, if not the singing of your soul?

Have a good Sunday, and if you are in the UK, a good Bank Holiday weekend.

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Chattering classes, professional conferences, blogging, etc.

Alex Deschamps-Sonsino linked yesterday suggesting a degree of jadedness in the design industry.

Rick Poyno wrote this about design conferences.  As most of us discover this after going to one or two professional conferences, I thought it might be worth pasting it in here to reassure ‘newbies’ that they aren’t the only ones who have noticed.

Typical professional conferences are trite and banal

“Only rarely at this kind of event will you encounter strong analysis and original new ideas. “Programmers of design conferences often appear to be unaware of the limits of their world view, uninterested in new thinking and practice, and insufficiently confident to address controversial issues,” says Nico Macdonald, one of the most active conference-goers on the British design scene. “Design conferences tend to be aimed at ‘jobbing’ designers, who the program­mers think want ‘dog and pony’ show-and-tells, maximizing presentation with minimal explanation and little” . . ?

We want our conferences to concentrate thinking and propel discussion to a higher level

“Too many design conferences don’t aim much higher than entertainment, escapism and the vaguest kind of hero-worshipping ‘inspi­ration’ – as in, “I wish I could be a famous designer like you.” What they should provide is unique occasions to concentrate design thinking and propel it to a higher level. discussion.”

Small focused conference are most likely to promote interaction and debate

The most rewarding conferences are those that succeed in promoting interaction and debate.  For that purpose, small and focused is likely to work best.

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HR is Everywhere! Five positive principles of designing those systems we love to hate

Adam Greenfield, author of Everywhere and new Head of Design at Nokia, brought the recent Royal Society meeting on Ubiquitous Computing to a crescendo on Tuesday with a clean, TED style, run through on the pervasive nature of contemporary computers and five principles of design. These are taken from my notes (apologies Adam). As Adam spoke I was trying to relate them to soft systems as well, say HR systems.

Once I got back home, I tried to phrase them positively.

1. At the end of the day, will my client, or my employee regard themselves as better off? And am I willing to be accountable for my impact on them?

2. Am I willing to discuss fully with my client or my employee or a knowledgeable person they select, what we are going to do and what might be the consequences?

3. Does my suggestion honor my client or my employee and bring them esteem and status in the minds of people important to them?

4. Am I aware of the time constraints and rhythms important to my clients and employees and have I entered the rhythm of their activity in a way that is pleasing to them?

5. Is my client and employee in effective control of the process and do they feel that? Are they able to terminate at any time freely and without collateral damage?

Why do we find this so hard to do? I have been following a discussion that the Chief Happiness Officer started on customer service. Why do customer service people hate their customers so much? Quite likely because they have not benefited from these design principles and feel disrespected themselves. Until we, the people who design HR and management systems convey genuine respect towards them, they are not likely to feel well and happy themselves

So while customer service people protest their innocence on CHO, what is our best defence?  Have you designed systems which violated these principles?  Have you had success stories which surprised even you?

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