Future of HR: Tools That Are Making Workplaces More Pleasant

HR (Human Resources) is a vital department in companies and organizations responsible for managing the employees, starting from recruiting, then hiring, onboarding and training, and in the end, firing.

While the HR office manages functions like recruiting and payroll, it is also responsible for creating a positive and pleasant work environment.

Before the pandemic of 2020, people had discussions around questions like:

· Is sitting in the office essential to work better?

· Would it be better if employees worked remotely?

The lockdowns worldwide during pandemics put an end to such questions. It proved companies can survive and thrive by working from home.

HR role has changed

Almost 50% of HR professionals think their role has changed because of the pandemic. The majority of those say their job has become much more challenging. 

HR is now playing a strategic role in dealing with sustainability concerns, and the capital challenges pandemic caused.

Reports claim that 70% of people rank work social relationships as valuable as getting their work done. Working from home minimizes social interactions.

All this leads to problems when sharing information. This is especially hard for the newbies because even the simple question becomes turmoil and creates difficult situations. 

Daily tasks performed by HRs have gone through severe changes. 

HR professionals had to guide their employees through the transition to a digital work environment and to deal with remote teams productivity. To work with remote development teams isn’t just a trend or the ‘future of work.’ It is the present and persistent reality.

HR professionals had to learn new skills and complete tasks they were not prepared to confront. Still, they had to learn how to be more productive and successful while working from home.

Virtual Recruiting

Many companies have already moved to virtual recruiting, but the pandemic forced all the other organizations to make this transition as fast as they could. 

HR teams now manage the whole recruitment process from planning to selecting and hiring in a virtual environment.

Candidate experience has a significant influence on satisfaction and employer branding. Candidates who had a pleasant experience with a particular organization accept a job offer and refer others to your company.

Managing Remote Teams

Managing remote teams is a task many HR teams weren’t prepared for at the beginning of the pandemic, but that is exactly what happened to most of them. They had to learn how to manage remote teams when the support systems and the infrastructure weren’t there to support a smooth transition. 

So to manage remote teams effectively, HR needs to:

· Put employee well-being in the first place.

· Reward people from the team.

· Balance visibility and flexibility.

· Stay connected.

· Create a happier workplace.

The happier employee is a better employee

Numerous research studies made the connection between employee happiness, engagement, and performance. How HR teams can make the best of the worst times is the right question.  

The happier employee is more engaged. An engaged employee shows increased productivity and a lower rate of absenteeism from work.

A healthy work environment is what matters. A positive work culture improves personal well-being, encourages employee friendships. It also expands employee skills and resources through enhanced relationships with coworkers, increasing worker problem-solving abilities and creativity.

A sense of community at work is one of the most important things. Feeling that their fellow managers care about them helps employees be more resilient when facing challenges and stressful situations —both in their personal lives and at work.

A happy employee is less stressed. High stress leads to physiological and emotional problems that will probably result in higher employee absenteeism. 

L&D leads to better employee engagement

If an employee has a sense of purpose at the job, he may experience a positive presence in the workplace every day.

The responsibility of HR is to create compelling role descriptions, which tell the employee what and why they are doing and how these roles fit into the organization’s overall plan. L&D also leads to better employee engagement.

What is L&D?

Have you heard of L&D before? L&D means learning and development and is a work process that develops employees’ skills to benefit both the company they work for and the individual.

The benefits of L&D are talent retention and attraction, improved employee performance, and higher employee engagement.

Upskilling your employees to meet your business’s demands and fill skills gaps can have an impact in other ways. Learning and development also position people to find out the latest in their fields, what’s trending, and how they can level up in their role to help move the business forward.

Organizations that focus on L&D can make an essential step in supporting company growth and higher employee engagement at the same time. According to a study, 80 percent of employees said that learning and development opportunities helped them feel more engaged at the workplace.

Video calling apps for more accessible communication

If you have a team you work with, you’ll probably need a video calling app, the one that will connect you all.

We have all heard of Zoom. Although it was launched in 2013, it has reached its peak during the pandemic, with around 300 million daily users. 

Zoom is easy to use – all you need to do is download the Zoom installer and start the app. Anyone can join in the call with a single link, and you don’t have to create an account. As a platform, Zoom is supporting up to 1000 participants. 

Google Hangouts is a communication app that allows you to start free video calls, send messages and join a conversation with a person or a group.

Google Hangouts requires a Google email address and a smart device to be used.

Google hangouts can include all your contacts with group chats – up to 150 people. It can also turn any group conversation into a video call – up to 10 people.

Chanty – its free version lets you have 1-on-1 audio calls, and group audio and video calls are also available in the business plan. 

Chanty is supporting up to 30 participants on the group video call. It is also possible to do screen sharing while presenting. In addition, all files and messages are saved in the chat, and you can always come back to them.

Chanty is a powerful alternative to Slack and other collaboration platforms. 

A platform for better managing mentorship programs

Have you already heard of Together Platform? It is a tool for enterprises to manage employee mentoring programs. With Together platform, you will be able to: 

  • Make the program your own.
  • Customize skills and goals relevant to your program. 
  • White-label & brand your program.
  • Write your content, or rewrite it from scratch.
  • Watch your registrations roll in.
  • Analyze your registration process.
  • Send emails with the invitations tool.
  • Set a deadline.

Explain complicated topics in seconds

Instead of spending too much time on chat and email, try to send instant screenshots and video messages with ScreenRec. You will save precious hours and get your point across faster.

ScreenRec is an excellent solution for developers, sales, designers, customer support, onboarding, business communication.

This is a fantastic way to explain complicated topics in seconds instead of losing hours. All you have to do is to capture your desktop and send the shareable link. Visuals are making messages more clear, and people better follow visual instructions to plain text.

By avoiding interruptions, team members can review messages you sent in their own time.

All-In-One tool for HR

Document management, employee onboarding, performance tracking, and more are all within ClickUp. This is an all-in-one tool for HR. You can build templates with employee requirements and individualized tasks to streamline training.

Using ClickUp, HR can create a centralized collection of company documents from handbooks to new remote working policies.

HR documentation software

The best way to transform HR teams to manage crucial documents is by using HR documentation software. With ProProfs, HR can search for information right away and track employees’ data from their day of joining. HR operations will become more simple when keeping documents well-organized, sorting and reviewing data. 

This is a great tool for HR to provide instant access to information and improve their productivity.

Future of HR

HR will have to find ways to support their business leaders in restructuring during and after the pandemic.

HR will use artificial intelligence to recruit employees. Recruiters will implement AI to examine the voice and facial expressions of the applicant in more than a hundred different parameters. Businesses are looking to adopt flexible working arrangements, so re-establishing organizational culture is becoming a top priority for HR teams.HR will have to evolve across each element of the HR lifecycle to meet a new set of company’s and employee’s needs.

Benefits of Using Videos for Training and Onboarding

Today’s hiring climate is more than competitive, so creating an attractive training and development program in your company can set you apart from the competition. Training and development are crucial for hiring, but that’s not all—they are great for retention and improvement of your profit. Developing employees is one of the executive team’s top priorities, yet learning and development professionals are constantly facing budget issues and the lack of staff. So for the L&D professionals and HR experts to demonstrate business impact, train employees and welcome them to the company successfully, they are using videos. 

Training videos are a great way to develop any team, and here are just some of the reasons you need to use them to train and onboard your employees. 

They provide flexibility

It’s easy to customize your training video so it fits your company culture and training program. It’s flexible when it comes to concepts it can present, so no matter if you’re teaching the basics of using a program or welcoming your latest employees, a training video can help. 

Video is a medium that can also accommodate various types of learners—some people are readers, some listeners and some visual learners. The video blends all of these learning styles and provides a smooth learning experience for every employee. 

They can be interactive

Interactive videos are really popular today, with the number of marketers and instructors using them rising every day. The interactive option is perfect for training and onboarding because it can be tailored to the individual watcher. For instance, senior managers don’t have to watch the same training as interns. 

They boost retention

Since you already have to invest money and time into training and onboarding, you want your team to actually learn something from the material you provide. Unfortunately, according to research, most employees forget over 60% of the training material after just a week. However, when we’re talking about video training, retention increases. Video is proven to be easier to retain than any other material. People tend to remember 20% of reading materials and almost 80% of visual material, so the difference is significant. 

It’s more engaging

Once upon a time, the video was used primarily as an entertainment tool, and was soon accused of killing radio and newspaper. Many people don’t understand why would anyone read a book when they can watch a movie. For average people, videos are more engaging, and according to research by Forrester, employees feel better after watching a video than reading articles and emails. So, simply put, if you want to have teams that enjoy their training, you must make sure it’s engaging like videos. Besides providing better retention, videos are more attractive and fun. 

They are cost and time effective

Money and time are two of the most important factors for most companies, and training videos can save both. Instructor-based training takes time, money and resource, most of which are spent on travel instead of training. On the other hand, video training doesn’t require extra costs of instructors, only a venue where the employees can watch and listen to the footage. Video training only requires a one-time expense required to create your video and you can use it for many years. In some cases, you don’t even require this initial expense thanks to easy access to the online video editor for free that allows you to create HD videos free of charge. They also provide users with filters, tools, effects, templates and stickers for the ultimate experience. 

It’s easy to measure

With written training and onboarding materials, there’s no way to be sure that your staff read them or studied them carefully. On the other hand, video is easy to track and measure because through your video hosting provider, you can access various metrics like the number of views, addresses and whether or not a particular user watched the video from start to finish. 

It does not discriminate

If you decide to hold classroom training, no two groups will have the same experience. The team having their training on Monday might be too sleepy to focus, the Tuesday team might include the office clown who distracts everyone, Wednesday might have a different coach, and Friday might be too occupied by the thoughts of the weekend—the list of different circumstances is practically endless. If you want to ensure everyone gets the same training (or as close as possible to that), video training will come to your rescue. It will cover all training points, development topics and onboarding practices, in the same way, every time. 

They are always available

Training videos can be accessed by your employees anytime and anywhere, it just depends on the content, your storage abilities and distribution strategy. When your staff can’t rely on help from colleagues and managers, they can return to their training video and solve the issue. And many times, people feel more comfortable consulting a video than ask someone else for help, so this might minimize mistakes and idle time in employees. 

They are easy to share

Videos are both easy to deliver and share. In case that the video is engaging, fun and full of useful information, employees will gladly share them with colleagues and friends, and your videos might reach people outside of your company. So they will not only help your employees, but also other people, and provide you with free marketing. 

These are just some of the reasons why you might consider creating training and onboarding videos for your company. If better retention and job satisfaction don’t spark your interest, money and time savings will—the benefits are countless.

How to Optimize Your Website for a Better Candidate Experience

Image source

On one hand, it makes perfect sense that brands are doing everything they can to target customers and attract buyers with their digital outlets.

As a business, you need to make the most of your website when it comes to customer acquisition and retention, so you naturally post customer-focused content, reviews, and create pages that appeal to your target audience.

What about the potential employees? Where can they find useful information about a potential position with your business? 

A Careers page shouldn’t be the one and only candidate-centric page on your entire website. You need to optimize your site in such a way that it serves a double purpose: attracting customers, but also appealing to potential employees. To do that, you should focus on improving the overall candidate experience linked to your website! 

As much as you invest in creating dedicated social media pages for your potential employees and posting on recruiting sites to push your brand’s job ads to the forefront, your site should be employee-centric, too. Here are a few candidate experience ideas you can introduce into your strategy to make every step of the candidate journey, from a job through to an offer letter, easier for you and the applicants from day one! 

Live chat support for applicants

Your site likely offers chat support for customers and users, right? Whether you have chatbots or actual people handling these conversations, more often than not, such interactions will determine whether or not a person will buy from you. 

The same applies to your potential employees. Chatbots can enhance the candidate experience immensely because they’ll feel much more comfortable knowing they can turn to chat for help if they come across an issue during the application process. This is also another opportunity for your business to collect invaluable data from employees and to make smarter recruiting decisions in the future. 

A personalized website 

Whether you work as a recruiter or you’re an entrepreneur building a personal brand and in need of employees – personalization can truly save the day. Your website doesn’t have to be yet another generic .com domain that will hardly inspire action or tell a story about your business. For people who have a personal brand and depend on it to attract valid customers, you can do the same to attract valid employees.

For starters, you can choose a personal domain name that pairs with a .me extension for added value and relevance for your potential employees. You can pair a keyword from your expertise with your own first/last name or nickname to immediately show what your business is about. As soon as a potential candidate spots your domain name, they’ll know what your brand has to offer.

Personalization helps build trust as well as brand recognition, which in turn helps you with the entire recruiting process. Make sure your website is technically sound, loads quickly, and offers a great user experience as well as having an attractive design.

Employee-generated content

Every single business in existence uses customer or user-generated content as well as influencer marketing to make an impactful statement about the business itself. Have you been doing the same for your applicants and wannabe-candidates? Future employees want to see what it’s like to work with your organization. Your own job ads won’t suffice. 

  • Encourage employees to write blogs for your website and promote that content on social media, too. 
  • Entice employees to write their own reviews and experiences on your website. 
  • Publish “behind the scenes” videos at the office to show your candidate pool what it means to work with your brand. 

When your candidates get to see your employees’ perspectives and experiences, they’ll be much more likely to apply, evaluate if you’re a good match, and reach out if they have any questions. Not to mention the SEO value of such content for your website when someone is searching for the specific position that you’re offering!

Integrate social media with your site

Be where your candidates are. Just like your customers, your future employees are spending time on Facebook and Instagram. As much as you’d like to limit yourself to LinkedIn, you should understand that many successful and in-demand workers don’t really spend that much time on this professional network. 

They prefer the casual and relaxed environment on Facebook, so that’s where you need to be, too. In fact, this is one of the best recruitment tactics modern businesses should use, but that doesn’t mean that it exists separately from the rest of your recruiting methods, like your site.

  • Add clickable buttons to take your website visitors to your social media pages that are employee-focused. 
  • Make sure that you share blogs, articles, employer branding videos, and other content on social media that is relevant for your candidates, not just customers. 
  • Show screenshots of your finest social media moments (employee-centric ones) on your website, too. 
  • Add original hashtags that will be part of your recruiting campaigns, and link them throughout your website back to your social media pages.
  • Invest in Social Media Advertising on Instagram and Facebook.

Just like you actively try to simplify your customers’ lives and minimize their efforts, you should strive to do the same for potential employees. If they have managed to come across your website, it’s up to you to improve the site in its entirety to match their needs, exceed their expectations, and deliver the right content that matches their purpose. 

Wrapping up

It takes time to refine your website, and you’ll always need to revisit your content, add more relevant information, and get creative, but you already do the same for customers. Continuous growth is what your website should be all about.

Make sure that your site reflects your candidate’s values and that you can use your site to portray your brand in the best possible light whenever you’re about to search for that ideal person to join your team!

5 Ways Blockchain Technology Can Revolutionize HR Management

Blockchain technology has transformed many industries and processes, and it’s about to impact human resources management in the nearest future too! It has the power to alter the way HR experts approach their everyday tasks.

Demand for this innovative technology in HR departments is on the rise as its capabilities can be extended to various sectors to simplify and improve its operations.

Read on to learn more about five ways blockchain technology can revolutionize human resources management!

  1. Enhanced data security and protection from cybercriminals

HR departments typically handle vast amounts of sensitive information like personal and financial data on employees. Information relating to pay, health insurance, finance and banking, and performance records can be stored, and therefore exposed to a certain risk.

Blockchain technology can elevate managing confidential data. It can transform data security as the information stored on the blockchain is decentralized and secured through cryptography. 

And as an added layer of security, every change that’s being made requires authorization and verification. This is especially important when it comes to delicate information like medical conditions or disciplinary records.

The adoption of this technology significantly reduces the ability of cybercriminals to gain access to sensitive data, making it extremely difficult to tamper with. Organizations from all industries could take advantage of blockchain to secure employees’ data and identify potential data breaches. 

  1. Transformation of recruiting and hiring process

Recruitment requires significant time and resources like financial investment within the HR department. Many companies turn to third-party agencies or recruiters for this reason, but their services usually come with a substantial fee.

Blockchain technology can help organizations streamline sourcing and managing talent. Instead of going through dozens of resumes, it would enable employers with access to verified data stored on the blockchain including grades, degrees, work history, certificates, and experience. 

Applicants could acquire virtual credentials in a distributed blockchain network and provide potential employers with permission to access their records. Unalterable records of their work histories would eradicate the chances of inaccuracy and fraudulent applications.

With this innovative technology in place, the verifying process would be more efficient and secure as the need for third-party background and employment history checks would be eliminated. 

This way, it would be easier for HR managers to find the right talent for the right role. 

Advanced tech solutions like blockchain could enable the building of the next generation work platforms, eliminating bias, spam, third-parties and their fees, and lack of visibility of available workers. 

  1. Paying workers in cryptocurrency

Blockchain is widely associated with Bitcoin and its mining. With the right hardware, bitcoin mining is a profitable business, and as a result, it got mainstream attention. And since Bitcoin hit its all-time high in 2021, it’s no wonder more and more people are exploring mining cryptocurrencies as an income source. 

But blockchain isn’t confined to this use only. There are other advantages to this technology that can make HR processes more efficient. Facilitating payments to the workforce is one of them. 

Employees want to access their money as soon as possible and move it with ease, and that’s where blockchain technology comes in. With cryptocurrency payrolls, there is no need for intermediaries to process the payments. 

Also, the transactions on the blockchain are encrypted and unalterable, and therefore more reliable.

This is especially important when doing business with underdeveloped nations where banking systems aren’t trustworthy, and the currency is devalued. Crypto-based payroll systems could provide a competitive edge to companies looking to attract more skilled workers across the globe.

  1. Introduction of smart contracts

Smart contracts between the employer and employees would enable instant payments for the workers. And what’s even better, the risk of delay or fraud during transactions would be eliminated. This has particular importance for gig and contract workers, as their work and invoices are usually manually verified, so they have to wait to be paid.

The use of blockchain and smart contracts can automate this process, so payments can be distributed instantly when the criteria for which the wages are earned are met. 

Once the worker completes the assigned task (e.g. deliver cargo safely at its destination), the payment is released automatically. Without uploading workers onto the payroll system, HR teams will have more time for more important tasks.

The gig economy is on the rise, so the adoption of blockchain and smart contracts could help companies attract more talent and expand their business. 

  1. Simplifying international payroll

The world is becoming increasingly globalized, and the remote workforce is growing. For this reason, cross-border payments are an important topic in HR departments. Due to multiple intermediary banks, currency fluctuations, and third-party vendors, paying international employees is time-consuming and expensive.

The international business would benefit greatly from blockchain technology, as it simplifies this process and eliminates the need for intermediaries. As a result, the cost of cross-border payments is reduced, and they are completed almost immediately. 

The introduction of blockchain-based corporate cryptocurrencies would only ease this process further for the HR and finance departments. And of course, the employees would benefit from faster, more secure payments with no changes in exchange rates.

5 Ways HR Teams Can Take Advantage of VoIP to Take the Company Forward

In many ways, the HR department influences the growth and long-term success of a modern brand. Whether it’s through building a thriving employee collective and workplace culture, or helping the company attract top talent in the field, or any number of mission-critical processes, there is no denying that investing in HR should be your top priority. Specifically, your priority should be to focus on digital transformation within HR and invest in tech solutions that will maximize productivity, efficiency, and HR success in general.

Why is digital transformation so important, you ask? Simply put, technology is the way of the future even without a global pandemic forcing you to adopt a remote work business model. However, during the COVID-19 crisis and especially in the new normal, relying on cloud-based tech like VoIP will prove paramount to long-term survival and growth. That’s why today we are taking a closer look at VoIP (voice over internet protocol) and how this cloud-based phone system can revolutionize your HR department – and consequently, your business. 

Facilitating seamless collaboration

If there is a challenge that all business leaders are facing right now, it’s how they’re going to maintain the same level of collaboration and productivity through remote work. Now, to facilitate remote work and prevent setbacks, you need two things: good communication and a collaboration tool. Luckily, VoIP provides you with both, plus a few fancy features that will allow your teams to communicate and collaborate however they want, whenever they want. That said, one of the features that HR professionals should be most excited about is the built-in analytics and reporting tools that allow them to gather valuable insights.

Everyone knows that good HR decisions are made on relevant data, and VoIP allows you to use call analytics to gather as much information as possible before turning it into an actionable report. On the other hand, the built-in collaboration tools can replace any PM software you might be using, which is a great way to save money while preserving productivity.

Cultivating a thriving workplace culture

If you think that ensuring collaboration between remote teams is a challenge, try preserving a positive culture when your employees are working from home. Now that your team members aren’t at the office to socialize and communicate face-to-face, they might start drifting apart, and your HR managers might find it difficult to preserve the usual level of employee happiness and satisfaction. To do that, they need to communicate with remote employees regularly, both one-on-one and via team video chats.

It is imperative that your HR staff is able to nurture a thriving culture in the digital workplace, and make your employees feel valued while being treated equally and fairly. VoIP allows your HR staff to communicate with all remote employees via different channels, whether it be phone, video, texting, or email, to easily check in on them and address their needs. 

Managing remote teams on the go

Speaking of communicating with employees easily, it’s important to note that just because people are working remotely now, that doesn’t mean that they are stationary. You can’t expect your employees to work from home all the time, otherwise they might start seeing prancing unicorns on the walls from spending too much time indoors. Instead, chances are that they are working from coffee shops, somewhere in the countryside, the local park, or even while doing chores around town.

Whatever it may be, you need to ensure seamless communication on the go for all employees, allowing your HR staff to stay in touch with them via mobile. That’s something that the leading VoIP provider Nextiva offers as a standard feature in its business VoIP plans, as they realize that having a dedicated app along with various mobile features is essential for managing remote teams. When researching VoIP plans, make sure that you and your HR department get full mobile functionality.

Organizing digital team building events

Another cumbersome challenge, one that can directly impact the team’s culture, is how to organize team building events now that everyone supposed to uphold the social distancing rules. Given the fact that VoIP offers numerous ways to communicate, this challenge suddenly becomes a little less daunting, though. Your HR staff can use its scheduling tool to pick dates and times that fit into everyone’s schedule, and then choose the team building games and activities everyone can enjoy via video. Easy as that.

Making the onboarding process more efficient

Lastly, your HR staff is almost definitely struggling to optimize its onboarding processes for a remote workforce, but VoIP allows them to overcome the challenge. Onboarding remote employees can be a difficult task, however, if your HR professionals use VoIP to establish clear lines of communication and welcome the newcomers into the team, they should have no problem ensuring productivity from day one. What’s more, onboarding is a continuous process, and VoIP allows HR to stay in touch with the new team members on a regular basis to address their every need and help them settle in quickly. 

Wrapping up

Voice over internet protocol is one of those tech investments that help companies reach new heights, but when it comes to HR, VoIP can prove invaluable for long-term growth and success. Now that you know this piece of tech can help your HR department, be sure to use it to take your business forward in the new normal.

What Are the Best Team Collaboration Tools?

Everyone has heard of Slack and Zoom. You probably use them both every day.
But what are the other, lesser known — but as equally effective — team collaboration tools?

And, more importantly, how do they help?

Notion

We’re big fans of Notion at Cronofy. It allows us to collaborate on all kinds of documents in real time.

We can create Kanban boards, tables, to-do lists…you name it, Notion can do it. You can set pages to public, company-wide, team-wide, or keep them private.

Having a centralized tool like Notion means that all information is stored in one place and we can collaborate easily on things like copy, or see what each other is working on. It’s also been invaluable for me in the learning phase of my onboarding.  — Laura, Product Marketer

It’s completely flexible, which makes it super useful. We’ve been using it for a few months now, and we have no idea how we coped without it.
As our CTO Garry puts it:

If you’re not in the same office you have to be able to look at the same thing, even with a basic tool you’d be able to share documents, source code, etc.

It also has a desktop version, which means you can even use it offline.

Calendars

We’re all about calendars and connectivity here at Cronofy.

We can all see each others’ calendars, which makes it easier for us to know who’s in the office and who isn’t.

It reinforces our culture of transparency while also making it easier to schedule meetings with each other.

Calendars can be taken to the next level when they connect to the software we use every day:

It’s useful when our calendars connect with the software we use such as Slack and Zoom. We can schedule meetings with each other without flitting between multiple programs. — Kristina, Content Marketer

The time spent flitting between programs when scheduling meetings is time that gets wasted. Syncing calendars with software we use every day saves us hours every week.

GIT

As our Senior Developer Tom puts it:

Solid version control is a key part of any code-based workflow, but we literally could not be as effective team without being able to branch and merge our code. It allows us to work independently and safely combine all our efforts. As a bonus, the ability to review works-in-progress and collaborate on the same code at the same time makes all our work better.

Laptop

This one seems obvious, but you don’t realize just how important it is until yours breaks. This happened to one of our team members a couple of weeks ago.

Luckily we had a spare that she could use while hers was being repaired, but what if we hadn’t? It would’ve made it difficult for her to get her work done. We’re so reliant on the hardware that we use that we often forget how important it is to our day-to-day activities.

You should also ensure that the laptop you use is fit for the job. A salesperson will need something portable, for example, while a developer needs something with more processing power.

The right laptop means that you can connect with your coworkers easily, wherever you are in the world.

Of course, a good laptop is nothing without an internet connection when you’re talking to your colleagues, so make sure you have a speed that can handle video conferencing, too.

Conclusion

Giving your team the right tools to collaborate with is vital to their success in their role. It also plays a major role in the success of your company.

The easier it is for employees to connect and collaborate, the more likely they are to do so. This improves communication between teams, which can be reflected in communication with customers, and therefore their experience and opinion of your brand.

Better communication also leads to happier employees and a more productive working environment.

Find out more about our favorite team collaboration tools over on the Cronofy blog.

What Technologies Might Replace Human Resource Professionals?

One recurring concern surrounding technology in the workplace is the potential replacement of living workers. In fact, this concern has been with us since the industrial revolution, with the introduction of factory machinery even prompting the formation of Luddite groups in opposition. Today we’re unlikely to respond in quite the same violent manner, but we are nonetheless wary of how machinery might make us obsolete.

Over the past few decades, we have witnessed a steep uptick in technological advancement and its introduction into the workplace, from robotics in manufacturing to artificial intelligence (AI) in diagnostic medicine. However, while some traditional tasks have been replaced by technological methods, machines are more likely to be used to support human talent rather than replace it. New technology has also shown potential for creating roles in entirely new industries.

The ebb and flow of labor due to change is well understood by those who specialize in human resource departments. But how could greater reliance upon tech impact the careers of HR professionals, themselves? Is there any cause for concern, and what opportunities might be presented?

Remote Teams

Remote work has proven something of a double-edged sword for some businesses. On one hand, technology has advanced to the point where we can employ a worldwide talent pool, yet we can’t always replicate the benefits evident in physical teams. While the trends lean toward remote workers primarily being used for project teams, 52% of companies that use virtual teams use this method in employing upper management, too. This tech advancement presents challenges for HR.

In this example, there is not a huge concern that remote technology might replace HR professionals. Rather, it is more likely to result in shifts in what is required and expected of those who take on these roles. There will be a need for HR professionals to understand how technology can enhance the hiring process — from utilizing artificial intelligence to narrow down potential candidates, to how best to use video conferencing during the interview process. What’s more, there may be an increased reliance on cloud services to track data and forms for all the remote employees, leading to a higher likelihood of data loss if members of HR are not up-to-date on their tech training.

It could also become necessary for HR professionals to gain a deeper understanding of company projects in order to best understand how to support individual teams and team members, especially when it comes to the nuances of hiring remote employees. In essence, this is an issue of leadership.

Nursing in the healthcare industry provides a useful illustration on this subject. Specifically, there is an emphasis on the need for transformational leaders who understand the technology being utilized and how it affects the holistic operation within work environments. Similarly, HR professionals need to grasp how remote employees best operate in order to provide services which have a beneficial impact on the entire company.

Training and Development

It is perhaps more helpful to look at the implementation of HR technology as a way to lighten the load of day-to-day duties, rather than a threat to the sector. One of the ways in which we are already starting to see digital platforms becoming useful is in learning and development. This is particularly important in businesses where L&D and HR roles are combined.

Educational technology (EdTech) has been useful in reducing the need for a dedicated staff member to be present during every aspect of training, for example. While HR and L&D professionals may need to become savvier in the initial building and ongoing maintenance of training programs to be delivered via EdTech platforms, once designed, there is relatively little need for supervision, and the in-person aspects of the course can be scheduled for convenience.

Thankfully, this is already in line with how most employees prefer to work. Millennial HR professionals will likely already be comfortable utilizing technology in various aspects of their work, and studies show that employees, in general, are keen to improve their digital skills. This bodes well for advanced technology that HR workers may need to introduce into training scenarios, including the rising popularity of virtual reality (VR) in corporate learning spaces.

Closer Human and Technology Relationship

One of the ways in which it’s important to look at technology’s role in any industry is through the lens of collaboration. Rather than simple replacement, elements of technology could prove to boost HR professionals in their daily responsibilities — enhancements that allow them to work smarter, faster, and more efficiently.

Combining technology with our bodies might seem like a drastic step straight out of a sci-fi novel, but it may also hold the key to more efficient working practices. Biohacking is, in essence, a method through which we can use scientific knowledge and equipment to better understand and utilize our bodily processes, including augmentation to optimize our bodies and brains in order to achieve our full potential. The success of any business often relies upon the productivity of its staff members, after all — so is it beyond the realm of possibility that HR professionals could develop expertise in this area which could help make themselves and staff more effective in their roles?

We’re not quite at the stage where chips are being implanted into brains, but biohacking isn’t just about hardware. Technology could be implemented to keep HR professionals and staff in routines that are beneficial to their health and productivity, too. Sensors connected through the internet of things could monitor life signs and activities, and recommendations could be made for supplements, or Nootropics, which could enhance cognitive performance. This combination of analysis, scientific knowledge, and augmentation may become part of the HR landscape as part of a generalized employee wellness plan, ensuring not only day-to-day productivity, but also minimizing areas of inefficiency such as sick days.

Conclusion

It may be time to ask fewer questions about whether machines will replace workers, and spend more time discovering how technology can evolve the roles already being performed. For HR professionals, there are exciting opportunities being presented by our rising digital landscape. By understanding how they can best form a collaborative relationship with technology, human resources departments can help give their companies a competitive edge in a constantly changing labor environment.

Image Source: Pexels

Tech-Savvy Hiring for a Remote World

There’s no denying the business world is going remote.

Over time, advancements in technology have grown to such an extent that the need to drive back and forth from an office is quickly becoming a thing of the past. In fact, some reports state that 70% of people around the world work from home at least one day per week.

Luckily, this revolution has provided human resource teams with a slew of new tools that make acquiring the best remote talent easier than ever. Video software, translation services, and applicant tracking systems are all helping companies around the world find the top talent, and the businesses that utilize them the best may come out ahead.

Preparing Your Business for Remote Work

Introducing remote employees into your company is not a process that can be taken lightly. Before you even begin to think about your staffing needs, you first need to ensure that your current systems are properly designed for remote work. It can be quite an undertaking, which can be made easier with professional user testing.

The process usually involves hiring a firm to find individuals with testing experience who will sign onto your systems and perform tasks and tests that you request. One of the most significant advantages of remote user testing is that you can use either local testers or individuals from around the globe. This independent testing will mimic the work environment of your future remote employees and give you validation that your systems are working correctly. Remote testing is also less time consuming, as you are not wasting resources by bringing individuals into your office.

In most cases, HR won’t be able to see the remote tester actually working through the tasks live and will instead get a recording at the end along with any follow up questions. Once findings are recorded and tweaks are made, a second round of testers should come in to ensure that all systems are ready to go. Testing should also be completed down the road as system updates are implemented.

Applicant Tracking Systems

Once your remote operations are up and running, it is time to find your employees. The first step of that process includes sending out a job listing and then receiving applications. When you open the flood gates and hundreds of resumes come flowing in, organization is key. This is where applicant tracking systems can save the day.

When applicants send in their resumes, the tracking system files and sorts the applications in order to present them to HR and the hiring manager in an orderly fashion. The manager can then use the system throughout the rest of the hiring process to set up phone interviews, collect background information, and send out final hiring paperwork.

As technology advances, so do the tracking systems, and current models can compile the resumes as well as “read” and rate them based on how well they match the job description. The significant benefit of using these systems is that they cut down on administrative tasks, and the quicker you can get your remote candidate through the process, the less likely they are to look elsewhere and opt for a different job. If you are looking to expand your remote operations over time, then you want to cultivate this positive candidate experience to create good word of mouth and avoid future turnover.

Advancements in Video Interviews

With the proper candidates selected, the selection process then moves onto the interview phase, and if you are looking outside of the local area, then in-person interviews may not be feasible. Luckily, advancements in video technology are making the process easier and as seamless as if the individual were sitting in the same room. One current trend is providing potential first-round candidates with a “one-way” interview where questions are supplied, and the applicant can answer them via video on their own time. This way, the candidates can feel less nervous and more natural, so that HR can get a better idea of their personality before the face-to-face video interview.

As time goes on, more advanced video interviewing software is coming into the limelight. Video packages, such as that developed by MyInterview, allow you to not only talk to the candidate live, but the software also uses machine learning to analyze the applicant’s answers for professionalism and reasoning skills. Another advanced program is VidCruiter, which offers a suite of tools, including a system that ranks candidates based on qualifications and intuitive filters that specify the candidates that you should interview first.

When reaching out to candidates on an international level, it is important to find the best candidates while keeping expenses in check. There are also potential language barriers to overcome. Calling the applicant with the help of an over-the-phone interpreter could help you to fill in the blanks. The last thing you want to do is miss out on a great employee simply because you can’t communicate properly.

The remote landscape is growing at a steady pace, and if employers want to stay ahead of the pack, they must utilize these remote hiring tools.

Image Source: Pexels

The Role of AI in Human Resources

Author: Kim Coombs, Talent Director, EMEA at Riverbed Technology

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is improving human resources (HR), streamlining processes and empowering employees to perform better. Employee data that was once banished to the archives can now be combined with the huge volume of data running through a business’ network to identify talent gaps, learning and development initiatives and provide recommendations to HR professionals and managers.

It is becoming clear that the future success of businesses will be defined by how well they are able to optimise the combination of human and automated work.

There have been some controversial headlines surrounding automation in the workplace and earlier this year, the World Economic Forum projected that the demand for ‘unique’ human skills will grow. While its research suggests 75 million current jobs will be displaced as artificial intelligence takes over more routine aspects of work, 133 million new jobs will be created. This report concludes that skills in both emotional intelligence and technical intelligence – like technology design and programming – will be essential for the future workforce.

HR needs to help employees strengthen their core skills and capabilities through targeted training or development initiatives. On top of this, they are responsible for proactive candidate selection as part of the recruitment process, which involves an excessive amount of time, resource and admin. AI is opening up new opportunities to enhance the human experience and is expanding the remit of the HR function within a business. It is important for business leaders to consider the introduction of AI-led infrastructure as an opportunity to improve existing, outdated, and sometimes archaic processes and message the benefits of these changes down to their managers and employees.

Kim Coombs photo1
Kim Coombs, Talent Director, EMEA at Riverbed Technology

The human experience

With the introduction of AI, businesses are positioned better than ever to improve their employees’ human experience. In the modern enterprise, AI is already beginning to streamline admin heavy tasks to free up time for employees to focus on adding value to the broader business.

For example, team leaders and middle management are often required to make the same decisions over and over again, including approving time off requests, approving timecard exceptions and scheduling staff. If you speak to managers performing these tasks, you will often find their perspective is the same: they are repetitive, time-consuming, and while relevant, deliver little value. These are precisely the tasks that AI can tackle first —  the routine, daily, difficult processes that will free up the manager to handle more strategic management matters.

With less time spent on the high touch, low value tasks, managers can be far more aligned with their employees’ needs, boosting employee wellbeing and increasing staff retention. In addition to the general alleviation of admin, AI is also making huge strides in the realms of learning and development.

 

Training talent

There is no “one size fits all” approach to learning and development. As the war on talent grows ever more competitive, organisations that can provide their employees tailored opportunities to grow will set themselves apart. Traditionally doing this has involved significant manual workforce auditing and data analysis before programmes can be put in place. However, with the latest developments in predictive and prescriptive analytics, this heavy lifting no longer falls within the remit of the HR team.

AI has the power to monitor business performance and create bespoke suggestions around talent management and recruitment. This technology feeds off data so unfortunately this is redundant if HR does not engage with the technology and embed AI into the workforce’s natural workflow. The more HR engages with the technology and nourishes it with use cases; the more mature the artificial decision making will become. Supporting use on this scale requires a significant cultural shift. Once this shift occurs, HR can begin to embrace more creative and engaging ways to implement learning and development, with actionable data points already provided for them.

 

Combined intelligence

It will be a combination of human and artificial intelligence that will ultimately drive success for the future enterprise. For an AI implementation to demonstrate its full worth, businesses need to first fully embrace digital change in every aspect of their business. Any system is only as fast as its slowest link, and the goal of using AI to free up managers to solve more substantial organisational challenges will never be achieved if manual, high-touch processes and policies remain.

Staff must be onboarded and reskilled effectively. The IT infrastructure should be able to support higher volumes of data, and senior management needs to ensure digital transformation initiatives are given adequate funding and support.

As AI alleviates admin heavy tasks, roles and responsibilities will begin to shift, enabling the workforce to add a significant layer of additional value to their business. More importantly, workers will be able to focus on tasks that are far more engaging and fulfilling. This can only be achieved if HR teams begin to adopt this technology and implement new processes to support AI adoption in the wider business. The winner in all of this will ultimately prove to be the human experience.

How to Fast Forward your Employee’s Career

Your employees’ professional growth doesn’t happen overnight. Developing people’s skills needs investment of thought, time and love in order to create meaningful change. Ideally a manager becomes a mentor. They provide guidance and coaching to evolve employee skill-sets, knowledge and confidence. With managers acting as the catalyst for progression, we’ve pinpointed five ways to effectively advance your employee’s career path.

Align your business goals

When you’re working closely with your employees, don’t forget to feed back the “bigger picture” to them. You can coach people in leadership qualities all day long but it’s pointless if you’re not communicating why. Employees motivation to excel can diminish if they don’t feel valued or believe they can create an impact for the company. Realistically, how empowered would your employees feel if they’re given the freedom to make smart, informed decisions however they still need to run their ideas by you before making moves? Communicate the objectives and company goals before anything else, and provide freedom for them to actually reach these.

Create a career development plan

Having conversations around career progressions is the first step in gauging employee development, but it’s important to follow up with implementing achievable objectives. This encourages employees to formulate their goals so they can actively execute them. Create a space where you can collaborate openly on short-term and long-term career goals and most importantly how these can be achieved. If you’re not sure where role progression can evolve, check out Search Party’s Career Path Tool to see all possible options.

Articulate expectations

Objectives and Key Results (OKR) is a popular technique to setting and communicating goals and results in organisations. The main purpose for OKRs is to connect the company, team and individual’s personal objectives to measurable results, ensuring everyone is moving in the right direction. The structure is fairly straightforward.

  • Define 3-5 key objectives on company, team or personal levels. These must be qualitative, ambitious and time bound.
  • Under each objective, define 3-4 measurable results based on growth performance, revenue or engagement.

When OKRs are a place and remain transparent across all teams, employees have complete clarity of knowing what’s expected of them and have something to work towards. Defining these can take into account career progressions or onboarding new responsibilities or projects and when you’re able to measure you’re also able to mentor. No wonder OKR’s are loved by tech giants like Google, Twitter, and Oracle. It’s a proven process that genuinely works.

Actively identify new opportunities within the organisation

When employees begin to seek new experiences or want to build their portfolio of skill-sets, 9 times out of 10 they’ll leave their current organisation rather than take on a new role in a different area within their current company. And it’s no surprise that losing talent and re-training new starters is timely and costly for managers. However this behaviour can be avoided if there is real encouragement and facilitation of internal transfers. Speak with the individual about what skills they would like to gain or areas they wish to excel in and then identify all possible new opportunities and paths they can explore within the organisation. Mentors are those who can look beyond their own areas or personal needs for growth opportunities, even if it means they’re losing a great asset.

Encourage developmental assignments

Developmental assignments come from the opportunity to initiate something new that an employee takes the majority of the reigns with. Internal projects, new product lines or championing a change such as adopting new technology or a restructure in workflows are all great ways to allow employees to step outside of their comfort zones. These kind of initiatives are the gateway into harbouring new skill-sets and embracing areas not usual to their daily tasks. Enabling employees to lead or manage side projects or totally new initiatives are the stepping stones into project management fields and opens a huge number of doors into other leadership roles.

Although most CEOs understand the importance of employee development, the sad truth is that they don’t devote the necessary time into excelling them into greater things. But the proof really is in the pudding. The more effort you put into developing employees, the higher the employee retention, productivity, engagement, turnover…the list goes on!

If you’re unsure as to where career progression can take you or your employees, Search Party have developed a nifty Career Path Tool. Simply type in your current role, and see how careers of people who’ve been in your shoes developed. Or, type in your dream job and see which paths can take you there. Check it out and let us know what you think!


Originally published by Search Party on 29 August 2016.