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Transformative HR: How Great Companies Use Evidence-Based Change for Sustainable Advantage

ISBN: 978-1-118-03604-4
288 pages
September 2011, Jossey-Bass
Transformative HR: How Great Companies Use Evidence-Based Change for Sustainable Advantage (1118036042) cover image


Proven HR strategies that can have a real impact on organizational success

This book demonstrates how some of the world's most admired and prominent organizations are redefining HR leadership by using evidence-based change to inform human capital decisions that optimize efficiency, effectiveness and strategic impact. The authors present the five foundational principles to the new HR decision science: Logic-driven analytics, segmentation, risk leverage, synergy and integration and optimization.

  • Includes practical suggestions and approaches to help executives put the book's principles into action
  • Contains insight based on the experiences of leading global organization such as PNC Bank, CME Group, Royal Bank of Scotland, Deutsche Telekom and Shanda Interactive Entertainment
  • Features in-depth case studies of 6 international companies: Coca-Cola, Khazanah Nasional Berhad, IBM, Ameriprise Financial, Royal Bank of Canada and Royal Bank of Scotland

This groundbreaking book reveals a new approach to deliver sustainable change and business results. It is enhanced with success stories from leading companies that engage leadership and involve employees in ways that make a lasting impact on their companies.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction: The Promise of Evidence-Based Change xi

Part One: The Five Principles of Evidence-Based Change 1

1. Information Overload or Persuasive Analytics? 3

2. Where Are Your Pivotal Talent Segments? 27

3. Risk: Is It Just a Four-Letter Word? 49

4. Your HR Portfolio: Is It Less Than the Sum of Its Parts? 77

5. "Spreading Peanut Butter" or Optimizing Investments? 95

Part Two: Six In-Depth Cases of Evidence-Based Change 113

6. Royal Bank of Canada's HR Partnership 115

7. Coca-Cola Combines Passion and Rigor 135

8. Khazanah Nasional's Pursuit of Nation Building 149

9. IBM's Workforce Management Initiative 169

10. Ameriprise Financial Reinvents Its HR Function 185

11. Royal Bank of Scotland Proves People Matter 203

Conclusion: Refl ections on What We've Learned 221

Appendix: Summary of Lessons Learned 233

References 241

About the Authors 243

Index 245

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Author Information

John Boudreau is professor of Management and Organization at the Marshall School of Business and research director, Center for Effective Organizations, at University of Southern California. He is author of over sixty publications and is featured in Harvard Business Review, The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, and BusinessWeek.

Ravin Jesuthasan, CFA, is managing director and Global Practice Leader for Towers Watson's Talent Management Practice. He was recognized as one of the Top 25 most influential consultants in the world and has been featured extensively in CNN, CNBC, The Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, and Fortune.

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Press Release

September 27, 2011
Transformative HR: How Great Organizations Use Evidence-based Change to Drive Sustainable Advantage

NEW YORK, September 19, 2011 — When it comes to managing people, many organizations have made important HR decisions without any real rigor, often relying on instincts or copying competitors’ practices. Now, a handful of leading-edge global companies are breaking new ground and using evidence-based change to make critical talent management decisions, help their organizations achieve greater success and create a more engaging work environment for their people.

In their new book,Transformative HR: How Great Companies Use Evidence-Based Change for Sustainable Advantage (Jossey-Bass, September 26, 2011), talent management experts Ravin Jesuthasan of global professional services company Towers Watson and John Boudreau of the University of Southern California reveal how prominent global organizations are redefining HR leadership by using this new approach to optimize efficiency and strategic impact. By adopting what they identify as the five key principles of evidence-based change, the authors believe organizations across the globe can make better people decisions that ultimately lead to a sustainable competitive advantage.

“Our thinking behind evidence-based change was inspired partly by the evidence-based medicine movement, which encourages doctors to determine which treatment, based on the evidence, is most effective,” said coauthor Jesuthasan. “It hardly seems like a radical notion, but human nature is such that people, even doctors, do not always behave with scientific rationality, choosing instead to rely on instinct and what might have worked once before. By using evidence-based change, HR is better equipped to make decisions that are based on well-grounded evidence, rather than gut feel.”

Transformative HR is based on collaboration of research from Boudreau and Jesuthasan, who define the five principles of evidence-based change as:

  • Logic-Driven Analytics
  • Segmentation
  • Risk Leverage
  • Integration and Synergy
  • Optimization

Transformative HR provides detail on each of the five guiding principles, and includes practical suggestions and proven approaches that executives can put in place to help deliver sustainable change and business results. It also provides insight based on the real-life experiences of nearly a dozen leading global organizations and features in-depth case studies of six international companies, including Royal Bank of Canada, Coca-Cola, Ameriprise Financial and Royal Bank of Scotland.

“As HR has matured and gained stature within organizations, HR leaders have grown increasingly accustomed to rigorous human capital decision making based on metrics and analytics,” said Boudreau. “However, next-generation HR means going further, to truly embed analytical discipline and sophisticated systems thinking to create the kind of understanding that drives better strategies and better workplace outcomes. We strongly believe that evidence-based change will take HR leaders to that level.”

“This new approach, which we see emerging in our work with leading organizations, reflects the five principles and puts HR where companies need it to be creating strategic organizational success through synergistic human capital decisions and investments that span the employment life cycle and organizational design decisions. These five principles characterize organizations that engage HR leaders and those outside of HR in the vital analytical questions, answers and debates. The experiences of these leading organizations suggest how other companies can have a more robust, integrated system that will allow them to multiply the effects and benefits of their HR strategies,” concludes Jesuthasan.

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