YourForce: The Optimas Edition

wf_1116_optimas_button_300pxIn a business world chock-full of data, numbers take center stage. That’s increasingly true in HR, too, where numbers take many shapes: revenue per employee, time to fill jobs and cost of attrition to name a few.

Here’s another important number: 21. That’s how many companies we’re recognizing this month as winners of the 2016 Workforce Optimas Awards.

Since 1991, the Optimas have recognized the best and brightest in human resources. In this issue, you’ll see how this year’s award winners are driving results. More importantly, you’ll see the story behind the numbers.

Take biopharmaceutical company AbbVie for example. Here are the numbers on this year’s General Excellence award winner: three years into a spinoff from a 125-year-old parent company, 28,000 employees in 175 countries, 2015 revenue of $22 billion. In HR, AbbVie delivered a robust employee engagement rate of 81 percent and remarkable 96 percent retention of top talent.

I hope you’ll enjoy reading how AbbVie delivered those numbers along with all the inspiring stories of this year’s Optimas winners.

[Read about our 2016 Optimas Awards winners]



Stephen G. Largy offered his thoughts on the online story titled, “Banking on Diversity to Fill the Talent Pipeline”:

A very good article with a very good approach to diversity hiring. It sounds as though U.S. Bank and Wallin Education Partners will end up with good candidates. However, it is also important to note that they will end up with “good candidates” because of a well thought out, well implemented program of mentor-like support for education; and good hiring practices. The 10 annual Wallin Scholars mentioned are very likely well researched, well, interviewed, and well vetted. In other words, “ … the cream of the crop.” The one major disservice in this article is the suggestion that a degree will guarantee an additional $1million in earnings over your lifetime. Assuming that a graduate finishes a four-year college/university at 22 years of age and works until they are 65 – these assumptions maximizing the number of years in the workplace – the calculations suggest an average $23,000 per year over the course of your work life. That might be possible for the cream of the crop, the top 5 percent, however, I seriously question those numbers when employers are regularly reporting that a BA is today’s high school diploma. Granted, it’s an arguable point; however, the statement related to the extra $1million earnings potential are the kind of statements that spawn unreasonable or uninformed expectations in today’s graduates. 


Luke Bradley responded to Kris Dunn’s September/October column titled, “Blame the User, not the Technology”:

I have personally used several of the larger, mainstream HRIS and ATS systems and I can attest that, for the most part, both – especially the latter – are big old piles of dog ****. Too strong? OK, how about a pig wearing lipstick? My biggest beef with recruiters and other HR professionals who use HR technology is that they are either too ignorant of IT or too reticent for whatever reason to push back with their own IT departments who themselves are painfully ignorant of what their HR customers want and need, and far too likely to side with HR IT vendors when disputes or questions arise. In short, HR technology is an IT- and vendor-centric mess. Blame the user? Spoken like someone who obviously is not a user of HR technology. Blame the technology? Well, that would be equally absurd, as technology is just a thing and has no inherent power to do anything for which it might be blamed. Blame the technology developers, adopters (corporate IT departments), and vendors? Damned right, but blaming the users is a deplorable and laughable conclusion for anyone to reach


glcsprince responded to Susana Rinderle’s blog post titled, “The Problem With You vs. Them”:

This is one of those feel-good articles that can have little to do with reality. Inclusiveness is the new buzzword now being used in connection with diversity. Just what are the definitions of inclusiveness and diversity? Who is going to define the parameters of what behavior should be included as inclusive or diverse? Should we accept the behavior of murderers, rapists, pedophiles, etc. in order to be inclusive or diverse? Of course not! The reality is that the definitions of inclusiveness and diversity are continually changing based on society’s and individuals’ changing morals and principles. These terms are used in the same manner that the term “fair” is used.

There are objective and measurable ways to determine an employee’s worth to an organization. It is important to have processes in place to clearly communicate how performance is measured and acceptable performance is defined. Nonperforming employees should receive the appropriate warnings and should be terminated if they do not meet minimum expectations. Efficiency, creativity and productivity are measurable. Key performance ratios can be defined and used in almost every situation to objectively measure employees’ contribution to the organization. We need to demote the importance of these terms (inclusiveness, diversity, fairness, social injustice, etc.) in the scheme of running a business. Again, there are plenty of logical, consistent and measurable ways to determine an employee’s worth to an organization.

 We welcome your comments on these stories and others on our website. Be sure to follow us and give us a shout on Twitter at @Workforcenews, too. Hope to hear from you!

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