Blog: Posts by Lois Melbourne

Lois is Aquire’s market and product “co-visionary,” along with her husband and co-founder, Ross Melbourne.

Since the genesis of Aquire in 1994, Lois’ industry expertise and strategic direction have helped transform the company from a fledgling innovator in basic org charts into the leader in workforce planning and analytics solutions. Currently, more than 2,700 organizations in 125 countries rely on Aquire solutions to manage data for 10 million working professionals.

Today, Lois dedicates her focus to furthering the Aquire vision — supporting customers with HR solutions in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, workforce integration, succession planning and replacement, organizational design planning, workforce structure management, compensation planning and workforce analytics. She also drives the industry business development and public recognition for the firm.

To this end, she is continually broadening her knowledge of the HR industry and expanding her own personal and professional network of HR colleagues. She is one of an elite group of HR professionals from around the world who are Global Professional in Human Resources certified by The Human Resource Certification Institute, the leading independent, internationally recognized certifying body for the HR profession. Her GPHR certification reflects the assistance she provides to customers worldwide through Aquire's product direction. Lois has also served on the Board of Directors for the International Association for Human Resource Information Management (IHRIM).

Lois maintains a strong personal commitment to career education and small business development, as well as a dedication to corporate responsibility as the co-founder of Aquire. She is a member of the National Association of Women Business Owners, Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and IHRIM. She has also served as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Dallas as part of the pioneering PRAXIS program.

She is a regular blogger on industry issues, frequently speaks at industry and professional events, and has authored articles related to trends in corporate governance, strategic organizational management and many other issues concerning human resource data integrity and management.

The term ‘Big Data’ has taken the business world by storm. With so many integrated systems and the presence of cloud-based technologies, we are able to generate, access and view data that was not possible before. So, what is HR doing with all this data? According to Bersin, the majority of HR organizations are not prepared for workforce analytics and measurement. Over 60% of HR organization self-identified themselves as “poor” or “behind” in workforce analytics. And, only 6% identified themselves as excellent. 

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Human resources is a balancing act. It’s a discipline that’s always teetering between hiring the best skill set and delivering opportunities within the current talent pool.

And now we’re faced with another imbalance – that of high unemployment rates yet companies not finding the talent with the right skill set. We’re faced with a talent gap. According to a recent report by the consulting firm Bersin & Associates, 51% of companies struggle to hire the right talent despite high unemployment.

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Are we prepared enough to face greater competition?

How will we foster the next generation of leaders in our company?

Do we have the right talent in place to support our strategic goals?

Are these the questions that keep you up at night? They are for the CEOs and senior management teams looking for growth opportunities in 2013.

As we all know, CEOs are tasked with steering the ship and building the bottom line. They can do this either through capturing more share in existing markets, or growth into new markets through new products, acquisitions or strategic alliances.

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At Aquire we develop technology that gives the boardroom the analytics necessary to make fact-based decisions. But, the information in ERP systems and data warehouses do not always tell the whole story. The oftentimes unheard or unspoken wisdom from  talent management and human resources professionals should influence the strategic direction of an organization. 

So, we dared you to speak up! For this month's Carnival of HR, we asked, "What would you tell your boardroom, if you could say anything?" And, you delivered! 

From the serious to hilarious, thought-leaders from across the industry provided posts that any executive or board member should read. 

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013 ByLois Melbourne

What are the most critical topics in human capital management that should be on your radar? Topic #1: A More Agile HR.

Agile development has been a trending topic in the world of IT software development for several years, pushing the envelope with development teams to remove wasted time in the development cycle and optimize the ability to get solutions to market faster. These Agile organizations are defined by speed, deftness and flexibility.

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Data is being produced everywhere we turn in the digital world. Just think about it for one minute. Well, in the one minute that just passed, Google received over 2 million searches, YouTube users uploaded 48 hours of video and Facebook users share over 684,000 pieces of content.

Human resources metrics is no different. In the midst of this data deluge, we rely on cost per hire, absentee rate and revenue per employee and other reporting metrics to make decisions and perform our jobs more effectively. Depending on your role within the organization, whether it is operational or strategic, you need to know the most important data report on and leverage for decision-making purposes.

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Wednesday, January 2, 2013 ByLois Melbourne

Even though talent management is one of the hottest buzz terms in the HR industry right now, the practice of succession planning is really new to many HR professionals. With succession planning so often kept only in the executive suite and the top management of an organization, the average HR person doesn't get to practice the art of succession planning.

Now the trend is moving toward succession planning or replacement planning for the entire organization. This means we need to become familiar with the terms and tools available. One of the more common questions I get asked is "What is a 9-Box that I keep hearing about?" A 9-Box is a grid with which you plot employees based on their performance ranking and their potential for advancement (see graphic). It is a little like the magic quadrant that analysts use to illustrate different rankings for comparison.

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If you work in a marketing department surrounded by 20-something year old professionals, you may form a lot of assumptions about the staff of your company hailing from the 20’s generation.  If the department you support is filled with long term engineers reaching retirement, you may feel like the rest of the company outside of your department fits that profile better.  People jump to conclusions very quickly― it allows us to “get to results” quicker.  Often, demographics are averaged or assumed while further distorted or watered down by the ‘bubble’ we work within.

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Oh the joy of measuring headcount.  Sadly, it is one of the hottest contested HR metrics to be trusted in companies without a concentrated analytics initiative. (Source: Thousands of conversations with HR and HRIT professionals around the world).  Interestingly, the disputes are often around the definition of head to count.  In most cases, once attention has been given to the matter, a head is counted if they are an employee of the company at the time the data being evaluated is measured.  Any other definition of a head should likely require a qualifier be attached to the term headcount.

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Much of Talent Management can be summed up by paraphrasing Jim Collins in “Good To Great”.  It’s about getting the right people on the bus and in the right seats on the bus. It is paramount that you build the right paths for your talent pool to ensure that critical roles in the company stay filled and filled with the right people. Here are two  key hr metrics to help you get there:

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