April 1, 2022

As you may have noticed, we are slowly updating our look and feel with new colors and a slightly revamped logo. Tell us what you think at info@decisionwise.com.

Brilliant on the Basics

Up-leveling Corporate Mentorship Program

In HR, we talk about mentorship all the time. The problem is that we frame the need for mentorship in a feel-good-way instead of viewing our mentoring programs for what they should be. Mentoring is not about giving someone a buddy. Instead, mentorship should be viewed as a corporate approach for one-on-one tutoring and instruction.

Mentorship can serve a serious purpose. It’s the way we take experience and competence and pass it down from one generation to another. Consider this statistic:

Tutored students perform “two standard deviations better than students who learn via conventional instruction methods – that is, “the averaged tutored student was above 98% of the students in the control class.”

This fact is hard to ignore, and if we are to make data driven decisions, our mentoring programs should have a lot more rigor and possibly focus less on helping mentees navigate corporate culture, for example. One possible outcome is that our mentoring programs should concentrate more on skill transfers, education, and developing deep expertise.

What do you think? Have you seen mentoring programs focused more on learning and less on relationships? Have we ever asked our mentors to be more of a tutor than a guide?

Can Software Act as a Surrogate for Leadership?


 March 28, 2022

 To:     Our Fellow HR Professionals

 Re:      HR Tech Needs a Time Out

Dear, HR, we love you. Really, we do. For over 25 years, we’ve strived to be a resource that provides HR professionals and business leaders with the data, feedback, and insights they need to help their employees improve and grow. We are still committed to this same mission. We know that an engaged workforce is one of the best investments you can make from an ROI perspective.

 Yet, it might be time to pump the brakes. It seems that everyone is preaching and pronouncing the virtues of HR Tech – software that will change the world, or at least improve the breakroom’s amenities. Soon, ours will be a world where every manager will be loved, every VP will become CEO, and every employee will be above average – all made possible by software.

 Eager to be seen as serious-minded, our collective push within HR to embrace data may have led us to overstate data’s power. Data offers insights, it provides themes, it tells us a story. It doesn’t, even with all the promises of AI, know how to lead and guide others. To be sure, we have been touting the advantages of EX listening and people analytics for years, but we are sensing the need to ensure that we balance these efforts against the power of strong, human leadership.

 Here’s a quick illustration of our point taken to a ridiculous extreme. A newly promoted manager, Sarah, sits down for her first one-one-one meeting with a direct report. Armed with HR dashboards that rival those found in an offshore oil rig, Sarah sits down to work her leadership alchemy. The computer screen goes blank, as it prepares to guide Sarah during her one-on-one session. (Imagine the computer sounding like all computers from the 80s and 90s, and anything in brackets the computer fills in from its Master Control brain.) Sarah sees the screen flicker, and text scrolls across the screen:

 –Welcome {John} to your office and say: “It’s nice to see you, {John}.”

–Ask {John} about his {daughter} {Samantha Jane Rodriguez} she is {0.78563 years} old

–Congratulate {John} on being with the company for {2.4568} years. Tell him he is doing a {above average} job.

–Master Control shows that John has used the bathroom for {13.7} hours this last week. Demonstrate empathy, pause for effect, then ask: “{John}, we noticed you have been using the {bathroom} a lot, are you feeling okay. We want you to feel okay. Okay?”

 … and you can imagine how the rest of the check-in goes.

 As we said, this parody is over the top, and it’s supposed to be. People don’t follow software, they follow leaders! Maybe those of us in the HR Tech world need to take a step back and re-think how we can best help organizations.

 Consider this take from a recent Josh Bersin analysis:

 “…Now, we’re seeing employee solutions that not only provide real-time employee feedback and sentiment analysis, sometimes from multiple sources, but they also “translate” this information into nudges, suggestions, and recommendations for actions and behavior changes for managers.” Link

 On their face, Bersin’s comments seem ideal. Yet, again, we sense that HR Tech is beginning to take issues to the extreme. We love so many things that have been built in the last decade, and much of this software makes our lives better.

 When it comes to the employee experience, however, let’s take a lesson from Google’s project Oxygen.

 “The thing that moves or nudges Googlers is facts; they like information,” says Ms. Donovan…. “They don’t like being told what to do. They’re just, ‘Give me the facts and I’m smart, I’ll decide.’ ” Link

 To recap, we are huge data evangelists here at DecisionWise/Spectiv. We realize that we have yet to fully unleash the power of people analytics; Bersin is right in that regard. But software will never be able to read an employee’s crest-fallen face and actually know what the underlying emotion feels like. No amount of AI and machine learning can teach silicon and circuits what it’s like to make a mistake and have to tell your boss.

 If our goal is to empower people, which we all want, then we need to take care that we don’t cross the line where we eliminate them. The best HR software will strive to enhance leadership, not replace it.

 Respectfully offered,


Matthew Wride, President

What’s Happening at DecisionWise


Join our colleagues at the SIOP Annual Conference April 27-30th in Seattle where our technology brand, Spectiv, will be exhibiting. We look forward to connecting with you there. Check out Spectiv at spectiv.com.


We want to let our readers know that we have an online training that teaches the basics of our Engagement MAGIC® model. “This is another great step forward for DecisionWise,” said Tracy Maylett, Ed.D, CEO of DecisionWise. “Our research is clear that employee engagement is most influential at the team level, and the manager of that team has a significant impact on the engagement levels of the team. We have been successfully providing this world-class training in live workshop settings for several years, and now we are thrilled to offer it in an online format.” 

Learn More


Last week Dave Long and Charles Rogel presented on employee experience trends for 2022 where they presented some compelling insights and data on what to expect in the employee experience space this year. Give it a watch if you missed it live. We also have another webinar coming up this month. Stay tuned for more details!

Watch Here

HR News Roundup 

  • What makes up your core HR technology? Does it start with your payroll system? Josh Bersin argues it should start with your EX platform. Do you agree?
  • Kathleen Hogan is an executive vice president and chief human resources officer at Microsoft and Jared Spataro is corporate vice president of modern work at Microsoft. Read their perspective on the future of work here. They make a strong point that we now have to worry not only about the physical experience but also the digital experience.
  • Here is a Forbes piece that makes the same argument we have made for years here at DecisionWise: EX=CX. In other words, the pathway to a better customer experience is by focusing on building a world-class employee experience. Article
  • ADP published an article, essentially a how-to-guide, on how to use people analytics in your diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. They offer some strong suggestions. Article

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