CEBMa Newsletter Fall 2016

Dear reader

Welcome to our Fall 2016 newsletter. Yes, we know…we have seriously neglected you – for which our apologies. But the good news is that evidence-based management is really catching on, especially in HR, so we have been extremely busy. In this issue we celebrate Rob Briner being voted 2016’s most influential HR thinker by HR magazine, we introduce CEBMa’s ASK app, we announce our open courses, and we report on all kinds of activities. In addition, our regular column writers take you to the fascinating world of narratives and performance management, plus we have a CAT of the month.

Happy reading!

Eric Barends, Managing Director

Denise Rousseau, Chair, Academic Board

CEBMa’s New App: The ASK Manager!

Asking questions to identify uncertainties – or the need for evidence – is the first step of evidence-based practice. But what questions should you ask? CEBMa has developed the ASK Manager app to help managers, leaders and policymakers to identify the need for evidence by providing an interactive checklist of critical questions to ask before making an important decision.

The app is freely available for iPhoneand a version for Android will be available at the end of this year.


Rob Briner Voted Most Influential HR Thinker!

Rob Briner, CEBMa’s Scientific Director topped HR magazine’s “Most Influential Thinkers” list. One member of the judging panel said: “That Rob is committing himself and his time to helping the HR profession to be better is a contribution I think we should be truly grateful for.”

As expected, Rob questioned the rigour of the judging process last year, when he came second, but this year he was convinced of its integrity. “But can I believe in this award?” he joked.

Of the importance of evidence-based practice, he added: “I hope I’ve suggested that this can be useful in any profession...and HR needs it. They have tons of answers but what they don’t have is very good questions, or always think about whether what HR does works or not.”

Still not convinced? Watch Rob explaining the importance of EBMgt here >>

Supportive Words For CEBMa From The FCA’s Chief Economist.

In a speech to the Westminster Business Forum, Peter Andrews, Chief Economist at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) talked about the work CEBMa has been doing in banking.

"The Centre for Evidence-Based Management is not as well-known as the excellent consultancy I mentioned earlier. It is a not-for-profit, multi-disciplinary network of researchers and others that aims to help managers and organisations make better decisions. Its approach certainly aligns with my theme that broad, new thinking about culture can be valuable. It has carried out at least one very interesting and original project on culture with a major UK bank, and perhaps it can help others take a fresh look at this challenging issue. Needless to say, I am not giving advice!"

The full speech can be found here >>

CEBMa Conducts REAs, Commissioned By CIPD, On Performance Appraisal And Goal Setting.

Despite the relevance of performance ratings within the domain of HR management, both academics and practitioners have always had a somewhat uneasy relationship with them. Some academics question whether performance appraisals provide meaningful information, whereas others have even suggested that undertaking such reviews should be discontinued entirely.

Given the widespread use of performance appraisals within management practice, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) approached CEBMa to undertake a Rapid Evidence Assessment (REA) of the scientific literature about the reliability and validity of performance appraisal and the way in which this may impact on workplace performance. A second REA will be conducted on the impact of goal setting on workplace performance.

Both REAs will be published in December.

What You Can Do To Help Us: Give A Talk On EBP!

We are frequently asked “Is there anything I can do to help CEBMa?” Well, there are lots of things you could do (as you can see here), but we feel that you would help us most by giving a talk to promote EBP in management (EBP: What is it, why do we need it and what does it look like in practice?).

If you have a good understanding of what EBP entails and aspire to give a talk during a certain event – or maybe within your own company – please get in touch with us. We have several PowerPoint presentations that you could use, and we will coach you to make sure your that talk will be a success. CEBMa members give many presentations on EBP all over the world.

Here is a picture of Anuparma Sharma giving a talk to 100 students at a university in Delhi, and Lorenzo Galli speaking on EBP at the Decision Making School in Rome.

The Huffington Post: Evidence-Based Happiness, Starting Small

Yes, EBP is definitely catching on in management. How do we know? Well, even The Huffington Post is writing about it. In fact, they do a pretty good job of explaining what evidence-based management is – probably because Neil Walshe, a member of CEBMa's academic board, made a contribution to the article.

Evidence-based Management tries to place a value on the quality of evidence and encourages managers to look not only at what research says about a given topic but also what their own organizational data suggests. Neil Walshe: “It is common for managers to assume a problem exists (e.g. absenteeism, low morale, limited employee-engagement etc.) when they have absolutely no internal evidence to support this. When challenged on this, the rationalization often centers on their own experience of a given phenomenon and little else.”

You can read the whole article here >> 

Open Courses on Evidence Based HR and Change Management In 2017

Over the past decade the responsibilities of HR and Change Management professionals have changed significantly: they are frequently invited to take a seat at the executive table because they are in charge of solving complex organizational problems. At the same time, most traditional models and new “cutting-edge” solutions, such as Talent Management, Agile, Autonomous Teams, and Diversity Management fail to deliver on what they promise. This leaves the HR and Change professionals with a profound challenge: how can we stay away from fads and quick fixes and instead use evidence-based practices?

In response to this problem CEBMa will offer open courses that will develop your evidence-based skills and enhance your understanding of how an evidence-based approach can be used to support organizational decision-making and HR practice. In addition, evidence-based insights on relevant HR and Change topics will be provided.

The first courses will be offered early 2017 in the UK, The Netherlands, Belgium and Singapore. Courses in other countries will follow later in 2017.

More information (dates & places) will be provided in our next newsletter.

CEBMa Congratulates A New Group of Associate Members ….

In October 2016, a group of 37 professionals followed an EBP masterclass at ANU’s Research School of Management in Canberra, Australia. This masterclass aimed to develop skills such as critical thinking and reasoning; gathering of the best available evidence; and critical appraisal of evidence. By successfully completing the course they met the requirements for an associate membership of CEBMa. Obviously, we can’t list all your names here, but on behalf of all of us at CEBMa: congratulations!

… And Welcomes A New Group of Soon-To-Be Professional Members.

A few months ago, a group of 23 students started the “Certificate Programme in Evidence-Based Management Practice and Effective Decision-Making” at the University of Malta. The picture on the left is a group photo of all the participants. On behalf of all of us at CEBMa: good luck!

What's The Evidence For ... Performance Management?

Many organizations have aspired to achieve high performance through performance-management practices such as training and development, agile, goal setting and performance appraisal. But what is the evidence for performance management. Read Rob’s column to find out…

Performance management? Sounds great. What’s not to like? So let’s just do it – and to the max! Right?

But like all classic HR ‘no brainers’ it turns out that performance management is a ‘yes brainer’. It’s not rocket science but it isn’t not rocket science either. Mindlessly throwing various performance management techniques of unknown effectiveness at a bunch of undefined performance problems almost guarantees performance mismanagement.

Is this too harsh? Perhaps. But let’s take just one example. It is surely the very bluntest of all the very blunt tools in the HR toolbox. Yet, each year, we drag ourselves through the soul-destroying ritualistic charade that is the annual performance appraisal. This is not thoughtful or considered performance management. Let’s just not do it.

 Continue reading Rob's column here >>


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Evidence Doesn't Matter If You Build A Strong Brand: Lessons From Donald Trump

In his Fortune column Jeffrey Pfeffer, a founding member of CEBMa, takes an evidence-based look at the popularity of Donald Trump. Note that Jeff wrote this column before Trump was elected.

There are many lessons to be gleaned from the Donald Trump phenomenon. This may be one of the most important: perception becomes reality, so you need to tell a convincing narrative persistently, frequently, and well.

Donald Trump is running for president in part on the claim that he’s been a really rich and wildly successful businessperson. But as former Wall Street Journal reporter Neil Barsky, who covered Trump’s business travails between 1985 and 1991, recently wrote, “In reality, Mr. Trump was a walking disaster as a businessman for much of his life.”

Continue reading Jeff's column here >>

What else have we been up to lately?

Well, in the past few months we have given numerous talks, workshops, seminars, key notes, presentations, etc. Here’s a brief overview.

Workshops: CIPD Annual Conference, KPMG UK, HSBC Hong Kong, Her Majesty’s Government Communications Centre, The Irish Management Institute, The European Healthcare Management Association (EHMA) Annual Conference in Porto, and The Leadership Forum at Pittsburgh School of Nursing.

Keynotes: HR Norge (Norwegian CIPD equivalent) 2016 HR Forum in Oslo, University of Greenwich, The Corporate Research Forum in Munich, U of Bradford, Rethink! HR & Technology Minds 2016 in London, The Amsterdam Business School, SAB Miller in London, the Employee Engagement Summit in London, Antwerp Management School, Warwick Business School, and the HR Congress in Amsterdam.

Training: AIMIA, MindGym, Knowledge On The Spot, Science For Work, Australian executives at the Australian National University, the Amsterdam Centre of Vocational Education.

Talks & presentations: Too many too mention! ;-)

CAT Of The Month: What Is The Impact Of Open-Office Layouts On Worker Performance? 

Hoping to imitate the innovative and flexible work environments found at start-ups and organizations such as Google, many organizations are considering the implementation of an open-plan layout in their office spaces. The assumption is that the absence of internal physical barriers will facilitate communication between individuals, groups, and even whole departments, which, consequently, will improve morale and productivity.  However, some people worry that the distractions created by a new, open layout may undermine employees’ ability to focus and be productive. In order to draw a more informed conclusion on the effect of open-plan offices, NYU student Laura Forshay took a look at the scientific evidence.

You can download Laura's CAT here >> 

Missed a past newsletter? Find it here >>


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