Featured Q & A with David Green | The HR Tech Weekly®

People Analytics Is Core to the Future of the HR Function: Q&A with David Green

People Analytics Is Core to the Future of the HR Function

Today our guest is David Green, a true globally respected and award winning writer, speaker, conference chair and executive consultant on people analytics, data-driven HR and the future of work.

David is the Global Director, People Analytics Solutions at IBM Watson Talent. He is also the longstanding Chair, of the Tucana People Analytics conference series, the next edition of which – the People Analytics Forum, takes place in London on 29-30 November.

David has spoken at conferences and/or worked with people analytics leaders in over 20 cities in the past year including San Francisco, Sydney, London, Paris, Singapore, New York, Amsterdam, Moscow and Berlin. This affords David with a unique perspective and insight into what’s working, what’s not, and what’s forthcoming in the field of people analytics.

The interview is hosted by Alexey Mitkin, Founder, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, The HR Tech Weekly® Online Media Co.

1. Hi David, and first of all thank you very much for this interview with The HR Tech Weekly®. The year of 2017 is approaching its end. What made a difference this year in the field of people management and HR technologies?

Thanks Alexey, it is a pleasure to speak with you. For me, 2017 has been a pivotal year in the field as the realisation that people analytics is core to the future of the HR function has become far more widespread. In one of his recent articles (see here), Josh Bersin described people analytics “as the lynchpin of success for HR in the next few years”, and I have to say I completely agree – although that probably doesn’t surprise you!

We still have some way to go in terms of widespread adoption and just as importantly in embedding analytics and data-driven decision making within organisational culture, but the acceptance that this is core rather than peripheral is a welcome momentum shift.

Elsewhere, the move from many companies to develop programs and technologies that personalise the candidate/employee experience in areas such as talent acquisition, onboarding, learning and mobility is also positive. It’s about time that we have rich and personalised experiences at work similar to those we already enjoy as consumers. Data and analytics plays a foundational role in this.

2. People analytics is an area of profound interest to business leaders. What do you see as the main trends in the people analytics space?

You are right to highlight the heightened interest levels in people analytics Alexey. I’d summarise the main trends as follows:

  • More and more organisations getting started with people analytics – 2017 seems to have been the year that the talking about when to start analytics stopped and the actual hard work in creating capability began for many organisations. So, the number of organisations in the early stages of their people analytics journeys is on the increase and many will face similar challenges in terms of data quality, skills and capabilities, stakeholder management/education and project prioritisation. Our recent IBM Smarter Workforce Institute research on HR Analytics Readiness in Europe demonstrated though that most organisations still have a long way to go.
  • Developing an analytical culture: this is key for organisations that want to develop sustainable capability in people analytics. This means exciting, equipping and enabling HR Business Partners, and clearly demonstrating and communicating the impact of people analytics initiatives within the organisation. This is the focus of many companies that have built initial capability and success in people analytics.
  • Ethics and privacy concerns: this continues to be the most important and challenging aspect for practitioners. Research from Insight222 reveals that 81% of people analytics projects are jeopardised by ethical and privacy concerns. With the EU GDPR legislation coming into effect in May 2018 and the emergence of new employee data sources, focus on this area will continue to be high.
  • The consumerisation of HR – as per my earlier point, many organisations that have developed people analytics capability are looking at ways to understand and improve the employee experience. In addition to the personalised machine-learning based technologies referenced earlier, this includes efforts to understand and analyse employee sentiment. You can’t do either of these things without analytics so those organisations that have already developed people analytics capability are in pole position to take advantage here.
  • Organisational network analysis (ONA) – interest in ONA has exploded in 2017 as organisations seek to better understand team effectiveness and productivity. Practitioners interested in this burgeoning area of people analytics should check out the work of Rob Cross, recent articles by Josh Bersin and vendors like TrustSphere, Humanyze and Worklytics. Expect interest in this area to continue to soar in 2018.

3. On the eve of People Analytics Forum 2017 could you slightly open the curtain on what makes an ideal agenda in modern HR analytics, workforce planning and employees insights then?

I always enjoy chairing the Tucana People Analytics World and People Analytics Forum events as the agenda is always cognisant of the fact that the diversity of delegates in terms of where they are with analytics varies widely. As such, the three tracks: Start (for those getting started), Grow (for those building capability and looking for deeper insight) and Advance (for advanced practitioners and those exploring new data sources) means there is something for everyone. This is hugely important as in my experience the people analytics community is highly collaborative and there is a mutual desire amongst practitioners for shared learning. The Tucana events provide this in spades.

4. It was heard that some attendees of conferences recently formed a viewpoint that the slow adoption of analytics has been because of a lack of practical cases delivered by speakers. Your point of view on the problem will be of great influence.

I haven’t really heard this viewpoint from many. I would argue the contrary in fact that most of the conferences I attend feature numerous and diverse case studies from practitioners. I think you need a balance of speakers from the practitioner, consultant, vendor and analyst communities as each provides a slightly different perspective – indeed much of the innovation in the space is coming from the vendor community. As such, at the conferences I chair, speak and attaned there is normally much to inspire delegates whatever their maturity level when it comes to people analytics. Of course, there is a distinction between being inspired and immitation as each organisation faces different business challenges and has unique cultures. If I could offer one piece of advice to practitioners, whatever their maturity level, it is to channel their efforts on the key business challenges that have the biggest impact within their organisations.

5. What new data-driven HR solutions are on your watchlist and why?

As I mentioned before much of the innovation in the people analytics space is coming from the vendor community and I always recommend to practitioners to keep abreast of the latest developments here. Data-driven companies to look at include: TrustSphere, Alderbrooke Group, Aspirant, Glint, Visier, Crunchr, Workometry, Peakon, OrgVue, Headstart, Worklytics, Humanyze, Qlearsite, One Model, hiQ Labs, Cultivate and StarLinks; and those are just the ones I can remember off the top of my head!

If you’ll forvive the self-promotion, I would like to add that IBM is also doing some groundbreaking work in this space through bringing Watson to HR, particularly in the talent acquisition and the employee experience areas – see more here.

6. What advice would you give to HR professionals looking to boost their careers within the people analytics space?

Well, firstly you should get yourself along to the People Analytics Forum and read my articles on LinkedIn!

Seriously, analytics is a core capability for the future HR practitioner and it won’t be long before the likes of CIPD and SHRM build this into their educational programs. Until then, find some courses (like the Wharton School course on Coursera), attend some conferences, read some books (like The Power of People and the Basic Principles of People Analytics), and seek to learn from analytics professionals both in and outside of HR.

For me, HR is one of the most exciting places in business to work in at the moment and the increased use of analytics and data-driven decision making is one of the reasons why I believe this to be the case.

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What Makes an Impressive Business Leader?

Before a business can reach its organizational goals, there must be someone at the helm guiding them to that finish line. If a team is without a leader, things can fall into chaos quickly – people don’t know who’s in charge (and then suddenly everyone is), what needs to be done, what has been done, what deadlines must be met, who should be talked to, who should do what, etc. Total chaos will reign over a team and a business that does not know who’s at the head of things.

But with a leader – and an effective one at that, things operate better, smoother, more efficiently, and within schedule. There is someone who is on top of everything and is making sure that things that need to be done are being worked on, tasks are delegated properly and to the right people, deadlines are reminded often, etc. There is organization when someone is spearheading things along.

Being able to control the flow of work is not the only thing that a good business leader should be able to do. Many people can lead others to an organized workflow, but only an impressive business leader can take a step further for the team. An impressive business leader can initiate action, motivate employees, provide guidance, create confidence in others, boost the morale, and gets everyone involved in the task at hand.

To truly understand what is it that makes an impressive business leader, check out this infographic by Healthy Business Builder.

How to find the right candidate for a job?

Finding the right job candidates is one of the biggest recruiting challenges. Recruiters and other HR professionals that don’t use best recruiting strategies are often unable to find high-quality job applicants. With all the changes and advances in HR technologies, new recruiting and hiring solutions have emerged. Many recruiters are now implementing these new solutions to become more effective and productive in their jobs.

According to Recruitment strategies report 2017 done by GetApp, the biggest recruiting challenge in 2017 was the shortage of skilled candidates.

The process of finding job candidates has changed significantly since few years ago. Back then, it was enough to post a job on job boards and wait for candidates to apply. Also called “post and pray” strategy.

Today, it is more about building a strong Employer Branding strategy that attracts high quality applicants for hard-to-fill roles. Today, it is more about building a strong Employer Branding strategy that attracts high quality applicants for hard-to-fill roles.

Steps for finding the right job candidates

1. Define your ideal candidate a.k.a candidate persona 

Not knowing who your ideal candidate, or candidate persona, is, will make finding one impossible. To be able to attract and hire them, you need to know their characteristics, motivations, skills and preferences.

Defining a candidate persona requires planning and evaluation. The best way is to start from your current talent starts or your best employees. Learn more about their personalities, preferences, motivations and characteristics. Use these findings to find similar people for your current and future job openings.

Not sure how to do this? Here’s our free guide for defining your candidate persona.

2. Engage your current employees

You probably already know that your current employees are your best brand ambassadors. Same as current product users are best ambassadors for product brands. Their word of mouth means more than anyone else’s. Encourage their engagement and let them communicate their positive experiences to the outside. Remember, your employees are your best ambassadors, and people trust people more than brands, CEO and other C-level executives.

Involving your current employees can not only help you build a strong Employer Branding strategy, but it can also help your employees feel more engaged and satisfied with their jobs.

3. Write a clear job descriptions

Even though many recruiters underestimate this step, it is extremely important to do it right! Writing a clear and detailed job description plays a huge role in finding and attracting candidates with a good fit. Don’t only list duties, responsibilities and requirements, but talk about your company’s culture and Employee Value Proposition.

To save time, here are our free job description templates.

4. Streamline your efforts with a Recruitment Marketing tool

If you have right tools, finding the right job candidates is much easier and faster than without them. Solutions offered by recruitment marketing software are various, and with them you can build innovative recruiting strategies such as Inbound Recruiting and Candidate Relationship Management to improve Candidate Experience and encourage Candidate Engagement.

Sending useful, timely and relevant information to the candidates from your talent pool is a great way for strengthening your Employer Brand and communicating your Employee Value Proposition.

5. Optimize your career site to invite visitors to apply

When candidates want to learn about you, they go to your career site. Don-t loose this opportunity to impress them. Create content and look that reflects your company’s culture, mission and vision. Tell visitors about other employees success and career stories.

You can start by adding employee testimonials, fun videos, introduce your team, and write about cool project that your company is working on.

Don’t let visitors leave before hitting “Apply Now” button.

6. Use a recruiting software with a powerful sourcing tool

Today, there are powerful sourcing tools that find and extract candidates profiles. They also add them directly to your talent pool. Manual search takes a lot of time and effort, and is often very inefficient. With a powerful sourcing tool, you can make this process much faster, easier and more productive. These tools help you find candidates that match both the position and company culture.

7. Use an Applicant Tracking System

Solutions offered by applicant tracking systems are various, but their main purpose is to fasten and streamline the selections and hiring processes. By fastening the hiring and selection process, you can significantly improve Candidate Experience. With this, you can increase your application and hire rate for hard-to-fill roles. Did you know that top talent stays available on the market for only 10 days?

8. Implement and use employee referral programs

Referrals are proven to be best employees! Referrals can improve your time, cost and quality of hire, and make your hiring strategy much more productive. Yet, many companies still don’t have developed strategies for employee referrals.This is another great way to use your current employee to help you find the best people. To start, use these referral email templates for recruiters, and start engaging your employees today!

GetApp‘s survey has proven that employee referrals take shortest to hire, and bring the highest quality job applicants.

If you don’t have ideas about how to reward good referrals, here’s our favorite list of ideas for employee referral rewards.

For more details about finding the right candidates, here is our 2018 guide for finding high-quality talent.

4 Traits of Today’s Successful Tech Leaders

In the last few years, the IT industry has been changing at an astonishing rate. With its evolution, the role of tech leaders has also changed. Namely, being an IT leader today is different from what it was about a decade ago. It’s no longer about having a superior aptitude for tech and focusing on end-user needs only. There is a plethora of attributes every successful tech leader should possess and here are some of them.

To Understand your Team, you need to Understand Yourself

There is a thin line between an average business owner and an exceptional leader. Overconfident and close-minded entrepreneurs that don’t take their employees’ advice into consideration usually stay mediocre or even end up failing. Of course, this is something you want to avoid. To succeed, you need to know what your strengths, weaknesses and emotional triggers are. Only by constantly investing in your self-awareness will you be able to leverage your strengths as much as possible and surround yourself with the right people with complementary skills. Most importantly, by investing in your emotional intelligence, you will manage to focus on the people you communicate with, recognize their problems and adapt your interactions based on their emotions and expectations.

An amazing example of the importance of self-awareness for one’s entrepreneurial success is Mark Zuckerberg. Even though he was just a teenager when he launched Facebook, he hired experienced advisors who helped him make the right decisions and, over time, he has become a well-rounded leader.

Make Quality and Timely Decisions

“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing,” Roosevelt once said. The tech industry is moving at an astonishing pace and, to keep pace with it, you need to be capable of making the right decisions fast and taking risks when the need arises. If you are sitting on the fence all the time, not being able to find quality answers to your employees’ questions and problems, they might consider you incapable of leading them. Even worse, this might heavily affect your company’s growth.

Uber is just one of numerous examples showing how important bias for action is. Namely, when Lyft, their competitor, started offering scheduled rides, Uber’s executives decided to release the same feature within weeks. In this case, they didn’t have the luxury of doing a detailed research and debating the benefits of the product features. They simply built it and launched it.

Create Safe Work Environment

It’s your responsibility as an employer to provide your employees with pleasant, productive and, above all, safe work environment. Even though you cannot prevent all the incidents from happening, you can at least reduce the risk of workplace injury by developing a strict protocol, including safety education, offering adequate resources, and monitoring potential problem areas.  Most importantly, if the incident has already occurred, you need to know how you respond to such a situation. According to Bordas & Bordas personal injury lawyers, in such cases, employees are likely to hire an attorney to help them protect their right to compensation. As they will ask for all sorts of files and documentation on the employee, and you should cooperate with them and hand this information over.

Recognize your Employees’ Efforts

Steve Jobs believed that “great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.” This is exactly why every great leader understands and values their team’s efforts and hard work. By proving that you care about the employee behind the work as the work itself, you will be able to boost your employees’ satisfaction and, most importantly, improve their engagement and retention.

For example, you could develop an incentive program. The studies show that 71% of employees would rather stay with a company that offers rewards than switch to one that offers higher pay. Most importantly, apart from being brilliant motivation boosters, incentives don’t require you to have Google’s budget. Young and small businesses in IT could offer a wide range of affordable and yet highly effective incentives, such as in-house skill-building opportunities, certificates of achievement, flexible work arrangement, gift cards, paid time off, and happy hours.

Conclusions

Never try hard to become the next Steve Jobs or Bill Gates. You’re simply not them. Instead, you need to know what it is that makes you authentic. Only by establishing recognizable leadership traits and staying true to them will you be able to build a powerful brand that stands out.

Which are some additional traits of distinguished entrepreneurs? Share your favorite ones with us.

Remote Work Is Changing the Way We Lead

Remote Work Is Changing the Way We Lead

Written by Georgiana Beech, specially for The HR Tech Weekly®

Vintage Workplace

It goes without saying that businesses must adapt to changing employment trends or risk becoming obsolete. In order to recruit top talent and build an innovative, valuable workforce, companies must offer environments and perks that are attractive — that is, they must be modern and malleable.

With technology becoming entrenched in all aspects of the modern office, opportunities for remote work are abundant. According to the University of Alabama, 20 to 25 percent of American workers currently telecommute in some way, though up to 90 percent would like to. Slowly, the traditional office is fading.

Employees can now be scattered not only across the county, but across continents. With a multitude of business applications available, managing projects at a distance has never been easier. Communication between multiple departments (or even cooperating companies) streamlines the workflow and ups efficiency.

However, management across teams comes with a new set of challenges. Leaders need to switch up their style as much as employees do. Previously, American attitudes toward business have endorsed an every-person-for-themselves school of thought, encouraging workers to worry only about their personal progress.

Now, distance has forced a more group-minded approach. Employee development must be focused on critical thinking and problem solving. When working remotely, even though technology provides abundant connection, there is less immediate support available. Therefore, employees must be capable of higher-level assessment and problem management.

Managing employees equipped with more abstract skill sets may be challenging for some leaders. Your team may become noticeably self-sufficient, solving more problems on their own. This can be challenging to cope with if you’re used to leading with a very assignment-driven agenda.

You may also see your team diversify as you take on members from other companies or countries. Working with employees from different cultural backgrounds can create barriers to effective communication. You may have to contend with factors such as power distance, communication expectations, and conflict management styles.

Even if you feel comfortable navigating intercultural communication, your employees may not. With communication being a fundamental tenet of successful telecommuting, it is important to make sure that your employees feel prepared and empowered to tackle these challenges.

It can seem overwhelming to adopt a management style that’s appropriate to remote workers. It may even seem overwhelming to implement the technology necessary to make remote work possible. Based on the economic trade-off, though, the learning curve is worth it. Employees are happier and often more productive, in-office business costs lower, and you keep your business on the forefront of trends.

The infographic below, provided by the University of Alabama, details the current attitude towards remote work, as well as some of the implications for leaders as their offices make the switch.

Virtual Team Leadership: The Highs & Lows of Leading a Team Remotely
Source: Virtual Team Leadership: The Highs & Lows of Leading a Team Remotely | UAB Online Degrees
How Easy Is It for Your Employees to Be Employees?

How Easy Is It for Your Employees to Be Employees?

Author: Jen Stroud, HR Evangelist & Transformation Leader, ServiceNow

How Easy Is It for Your Employees to Be Employees?

I once worked for organization where most employees exiting said their reason for leaving was because it was just too difficult to be an employee there. Wow! Too difficult to be an employee? As HR professionals, we hear concerns about managers, pay, or even leadership as reasons people leave. Those are big challenges most organizations face at one time or another, and they are not easy to solve. But when an employee says it’s too hard to be an employee, that should get your attention quickly.

Jen Stroud, HR Evangelist & Transformation Leader, ServiceNow
Jen Stroud, ServiceNow

An HR leader told me that making work life easier for their employees is vitally important. This leader works for a company that is in the business of saving lives every day. They want their employees focused on this critical mission rather than on who can answer their benefits question or what process they need to follow to be reimbursed for a course they’ve taken. And they’re not alone. All executives want their employees focused on their mission, whether it’s creating innovative products, building a sales pipeline, or servicing customers. Organizations hire employees to perform a role that is vital to a company’s growth and stability. Any obstacle that gets in the way of that mission should be removed. Yet, the challenges often remain because some people view change as difficult and too disruptive or we have bought into the belief that one system can solve all our HR technology needs. It’s also possible that no one is asking employees what they think or ignoring the signs of frustration until it’s too late.

The good news is that with the technology solutions available today, HR leaders can dramatically impact the employee service experience in a positive way. But you have to be willing to look at your employee service experience and your HR technology landscape in a new way. You have to be willing to imagine the art of the possible and be ready to disrupt the status quo. I have met with several HR execs over the past few years who cannot acknowledge the need to disrupt their HR service landscape. Instead they trust that the investments they’ve made in the past will pay off one day. HR has been a laggard department when it comes to innovation and change. The good news is that this doesn’t have to be your reality.

Your Employee Service Experience

First, ask the simple question, “Is it easy for employees to take care of their basic HR needs and be productive in their jobs?” Are you providing your employees with a service experience at work that resembles their service experiences outside of work? Employees bring expectations to work every day. If they use an app in their personal lives that makes it easy to get something done, that is the type of experience they expect at work. And while no two organizations are alike and employee expectations vary, it is safe to say that most organizations face the same challenge—the majority of employees have high expectations for their employee service experience. Consider the following when assessing your current state:

  • Do you provide a one-stop shop for all HR questions and requests?
  • Are employees able to view their submitted requests at any time?
  • Are you keeping employees notified on the status of their requests in the manner they most desire (via text for example)?
  • Can employees easily find information pertinent to them and quickly submit requests to HR?
  • Can employees do all of this from their mobile device?

Your HR Technology Landscape

Digital Employee Experience

In most organizations, HR teams spend more than 30 percent of their days repeating the same information to employees over and over again and doing other repetitive work. Unfortunately, the information is not always consistent and correct. Often, response times are long leading to frustrated employees. In addition to preventing HR teams from focusing on more strategic initiatives, old school work environments that rely heavily on email communication and lack automated workflows are encouraging attrition as employees make the decision to move on to other organizations where they feel more valued… where it’s easier to be an employee. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How much time is your HR team spending on the daily administrative minutia of answering the same questions over and over again whether by email, phone or in person?
  • Are they still manually updating systems and processing paperwork?
  • Are employee needs being anticipated? Are their expectations being managed?

Are the HR systems in use at your company fit for purpose or are there gaps that prevent you from providing a service experience to your employees that will make them feel valued and prepared to fully contribute to your mission? Most companies have invested in technology designed to manage employee information and transactions. The missing link is often the “interaction” component. Consider the following questions:

  • How is email used in your company to manage employee questions and requests?
  • Can you easily determine how many and what type of requests are coming into HR or your employee information needs?
  • Do employees have access 24/7 to a knowledge base that will inform their decisions about benefits?
  • Can your HR team easily and independently make modifications to workflows and forms without having to engage with IT or professional services?

There are great HCM solutions available in the market today though I have yet to see one that alone can truly accomplish all of these. Email continues to be used in most organizations to manage interactions with employees even though it provides no visibility into request status and no structure or metrics for HR. The good news is that service management technology exists that integrates with existing HR technology to fill in these gaps allowing organizations to streamline and modernize the entire employee life cycle.

If employees are not giving you direct feedback as they leave your company, they may be posting their thoughts on sites such as Glassdoor or otherwise letting potential applicants know about their experience. Don’t wait for disaster to strike or be overwhelmed by the challenges in front of you. All great journeys begin with one bold step. The first step in your transformation journey could be a matter of adding structure and visibility to your employee request and information processes. Seize the opportunity to make a difference—a difference that will have a long term impact on the viability of your company. Invest in your employee service experience and you may reap the rewards of higher employee engagement and longer employee tenure. At the very least, you will have far fewer complaints about the ease of working in your organization.

A man at the glass-desk with laptop. An image from kaboompics.com.

5 Ways Outsourcing Your Payroll Can Improve Work-Life Balance

Written by Jan Van Mol, Head of Global Alliances at SD Worx.

Outsourcing Payroll

There are plenty of reasons why outsourcing payroll strategies can be hugely beneficial to your company. Typically, it is the financial arguments that are used, not the emotional ones. However, there are many ways in which outsourcing your payroll can improve the wellbeing of your employees and can restore their work-life balance.

It’s well known that happier employees are much more likely to commit themselves fully whilst at work, bringing increased employee retention rates. Yet, many employers don’t realise that changing your payroll strategy can have an incredibly positive effect on the happiness of your employees. Here’s five reasons why:

1. Reduced workload

If your team is overworked and understaffed, an outsourced payroll strategy is the perfect way to get things back on track. An outsourced payroll strategy takes away the need to recruit and train an additional team member, and can dramatically reduce the workload of your staff much more quickly than getting a new member of staff.

Reducing this workload will make your employees instantly happier as the amount of potential overtime required will fall. Working fewer extra hours will allow employees to improve their work-life balance and will free up time for them to do the things they really love outside of work.

2. Reassuring the workforce

Payroll duties are sometimes given to members of staff who already have packed schedules with their own duties and responsibilities, which can lead to an anxious workforce.

Some employees may also feel concerned about other staff members having full access to their salary details. Moreover, relying on an over-tasked employee to process payroll can create tension for employees who expect to be paid accurately and on time each month.

By outsourcing payroll, an impartial person has access to salary details, which will eliminate any personal tensions surrounding payroll. Knowing that an outside specialist has sole responsibility will also reassure employees that their payroll matters are being taken care of, leading to a more relaxed workforce, a better work-life balance, and a better company culture.

3. No delays

Internal payroll managers are subject to the same demands on their time as everyone else in your company. If a company is going through a busy period where everybody’s help is required to solve an urgent issue or meet an external deadline, those members of your team responsible for payroll are no exception to this.

By outsourcing your payroll to specialist company, you hand over a big responsibility that would require lots of time, money and pressure on payroll employees. The payroll process becomes the outsourcing company’s top priority, so the internal team can focus on other tasks. There are few things which disgruntle an employee more than delayed pay, so offer your employees guaranteed on time payment by using an outsourcing partner to handle your payroll.

4. Lifting the pressure

Managing payroll is a huge responsibility, since you are personally responsible for the livelihoods of everyone in the company, many of which will be close personal friends and colleagues. This can put a lot of moral burden on an employee.

Outsourcing your payroll removes the personal element, as the person making sure that everybody is paid each month won’t individually know the people whom they are paying. Taking this emotional burden away from one of the members of your staff will relieve them of a huge weight, meaning that they are less likely to have to put in long hours to get the payroll sorted in time and will be able to regain a much better work-life balance.

5. Lead by example

Making a positive action such as changing the way you run your payroll will have a trickle-down effect throughout the business. Firstly, it will show employees that their payroll is an essential part of the business, and will lead the way for other changes in different areas and departments.

Many workplaces suffer by not adapting their strategies as the business grows and develops. Outsourcing your payroll strategy is a great example to show your teams of how to be proactive about making changes for the better that will set the business up well for its next phase. You’ll be amazed at how influential such a decision can be, and how large an impact it can have on the mindset of your workers.


If you want to share this article the reference to Jan Van Mol and The HR Tech Weekly® is obligatory.

Engaging Executives: HR’s Responsibility to the Higher Levels

Engaging Executives: HR’s Responsibility to the Higher Levels

Engaging Executives

When experts talk about employee engagement, most people imagine lower-level employees and middle managers. These workers have minimal authority over their daily tasks, they are the least job-secure, and they tend to receive the lowest pay and worst benefits packages, meaning they are most likely to be disengaged from their work. As a result, the web is filled with engagement solutions to keep lower-level employees around.

Yet, while HR professionals devote the bulk of their energy to engaging this portion of the workforce, executives are suffering. Though they have greater responsibility and greater remuneration for their efforts, executives can still disengage from their work, lowering their productivity, and endangering the entire business – including those workers at lower levels. However, the engagement solutions that work for lower-level employees rarely apply to higher-level business leaders. Therefore, HR professionals need an entirely different strategy for executive engagement.

Understanding Executives

HR typically doesn’t pay much attention to executives for a couple reasons:

  1. Executives already earn high salaries, and they generally have more control over their schedules and tasks. Therefore, the monetary rewards and engagement strategies HR is most familiar with don’t work.
  2. Most HR reps can’t relate to executives.

Most HR professionals have more in common with low-level employees than upper-echelon executives. Most HR reps earn respectable salaries and average benefits; they complete daily tasks that have little bearing on the greater goals and direction of the company; and only the CHRO and similar top-tier HR workers ever interact with executives. Thus, few members of HR comprehend the lifestyle and struggles of working in the higher levels of an organization.

The first step to engaging executives is understanding executives. It is important to consider that although executives might boast different responsibilities, they are still human. As such, they experience stress and concern for their jobs, their subordinates’ jobs, and their families’ well-being. Further, executives have interests and hobbies, they consume media, and they take pleasure in small joys like the rest of us. Remembering this, HR reps should find it easier to empathize with higher-level workers.

It might also be useful to know what executives discuss with one another – which is not nearly as disparate from the lower-levels as HR reps might expect. Alongside infrequent discussions about business direction and organization design, executives lament their full schedules and intrusive meetings, gossip and chat about mutual acquaintances and people within the organization, and generally talk about what work needs to be done. A savvy HR professional will note that their discussions are nearly identical to those of lower-level workers.

HR’s Responsibility to the Higher Levels

Engaging Executives

Aside from their wealth and authority, executives aren’t terribly different than anyone else within a business. Therefore, HR reps only need to determine what motivates individual executives to develop effective engagement tactics for the upper echelon. Some common higher-level motivators are:

  • Need. Executives have finely honed talents, and they want to know their talents are integral for business success.
  • Passion. Like everyone else, executives want to like what they do.
  • Chemistry. Workplace culture is important; even executives want to like the people they work with.
  • Challenge. Executives tend to be competitive. If a job isn’t challenging enough, most will disengage.

It isn’t difficult to develop engagement programs around executives knowing how simple and common their needs and wants truly are. To stimulate their need motivation, HR reps can institute a “thank your boss” day, where higher-level employees receive executive gifts. To improve chemistry around the office, HR can organize team-building exercises that are mandatory for the C-suite.

Another useful tactic for engaging executives is to connect them more closely with their subordinates. While some high-level managers are naturally proficient at seeking out and befriending low-level employees, most executives maintain a boundary between themselves and the grunts. HR should strive to coach executives in their behavior toward lower levels, revealing their blind spots when it comes to leadership methods and results. HR should lead by example, placing people first and exemplifying how executives should interact with other members of the organization.

If necessary, HR should encourage executives to enroll in leadership training courses; just because they’ve reached the higher levels doesn’t mean they can’t acquire new skills and knowledge. If an organization invests in its people, its people will invest in the business – even executives understand the value of that.

About the Author:

Tiffany Rowe

Tiffany Rowe is a leader in marketing authority, she assists Seek Visibility and our clients in contributing resourceful content throughout the web. Tiffany prides herself in her ability to create and provide high quality content that audiences find valuable. She also enjoys connecting with other bloggers and collaborating for exclusive content in various niches. With many years of experience, Tiffany has found herself more passionate than ever to continue developing content and relationship across multiple platforms and audiences.


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CEO’s Corner: Charlene Li on Technology and Employee Experience

Charlene Li

In the end of June 2017 CEO’s Corner post put a spotlight on Charlene Li, Principal Analyst at Altimeter (a Prophet Company) and keynote at this year’s HR TechXpo. Li supports leaders to thrive with disruption, primarily focusing on creating business strategies and developing leadership around digital, social, and emerging technologies. An analyst since 1999, and having seen business, society, and the world undergo seismic changes over the last 18 years, she’s driven to create research and thought leadership that helps to bring greater clarity and inspire audacious actions.

The interview is hosted by Greg Mortona corporate strategy and growth development specialist and Chief Executive Officer of the Northern California HR Association.

Q: You talk about the seismic changes that have recently occurred in the workplace. Besides the obvious impacts of technology, virtual work, and social media, what’s a change you are observing that most people are underestimating? 

A: One of the biggest overlooked opportunities is thinking about the employee experience, as opposed to employee engagement. Employee experience is when you look at a situation through the eyes of the employee, and focus on how the day-to-day experience creates a deeper relationship between the organization and employees. This is a significant shift for HR who must shift from managing transactions (recruiting, hiring, evaluations) and risk mitigation (training and compliance) to nurturing relationships. Technologies makes this easier but it’s only when technology fades into the background, and the relationship work comes forward, that the experience becomes a differentiator to the employee.

Q: What is the biggest takeaway you hope readers get from The Engaged Leader?[i]

A: Relationships form the foundation for leadership and I hope that by reading the book, people understand that digital channels must be part of the repertoire of skills leaders use to develop relationships. My hope is that readers are inspired to hit the pause button on their busy day and take a few minutes to reflect on how they need to be better engaged — even if it means simply listening to the people crucial to the achievement of their goals.

Q: We’re getting ready for our 2nd Annual HR TechXpo which last year was quite an exciting event showcasing the intersection of HR and Technology. You have talked to hundreds of providers, so are probably not easily wowed. What are one or two technological features you have seen in HR solutions that have knocked your socks off?

A: I’m excited to see SaaS-based strategy planning and execution tools getting traction in the market from companies like StrategyBlocks and Cascade. The software makes explicit and transparent the strategic plan of the organization, so that everyone across the organization is connected to the strategy. This means it’s clear how what you do every day impacts the long term strategy. It takes the idea of “connected workforce” and gives it a direction and objective, where the purpose of the connection is a strategic objective. This is exciting for HR because it ties together HR functions (workforce management, performance evaluation) and ties it directly to strategy and business outcomes.

You can find Charlene Li on LinkedIn and on Twitter.

You can find Greg Morton on LinkedIn or on Twitter.

[i] Charlene Li. The Engaged Leader: A Strategy for Your Digital Transformation – Wharton Digital Press, 2015

Banner HR TechXpo 2017

2nd Annual HR TechXpo will take place on August 25, 2017 in Hilton Union Square, San Francisco.

The HR Tech Weekly® readers get a free registration! Enter promo code hrtechweekly at time of checkout when you register here: http://hrtechxpo.com/register.

Please use #HRTechXpo to share the news about this exciting event showcasing the intersection of HR and Technology.

If you’d like to comment or have further questions for Charlene Li or Greg Morton, you are welcome to leave your reply here or post on social media adding #CEOCorner.


Source: CEO’s Corner: Charlene Li on Technology and Employee Experience

Why you should attend the Employee Engagement conference! | The HR Tech Weekly®

Why you should attend the Employee Engagement conference!

Marcus Evans: Employee Engagement | The HR Tech Weekly®

In a world where competitiveness is multiplying, the human factor is now the main differentiating factor. The performance of employees cannot be separated from the company’s.

Otherwise, different factors could turn employees into sources of loss if they are not as involved and especially engaged in their work.

According to the Steel Case and Ipsos study on employee engagement:

“Of the 17 countries studied and the 12,480 participants, 1/3 of the employees are disengaged.”

Germany, UK, the Netherlands, Spain, Belgium and France scored below the world average in terms of the rate of employees being engaged and satisfied with their working environment. Employee disengagement is not limited to a particular industry but affects all businesses. Some companies place more emphasis on employee engagement because they successfully established the link between commitment and performance. This is why they have put in place mechanisms to measure the degree of commitment of employees and try to establish programs enabling the optimization of well-being at work, through various actions targeting motivation, the quality of the working environment, managerial leadership and others, in order to build a culture of sustainable engagement.

There are no sectors that are eradicated or less affected by this scourge. As long as companies work in an environment that is changing constantly, there will always be sources and factors optimizing disengagement. As a result, it will always be necessary to increase the level of vigilance in order to limit the risks of disengagement.

Companies are interested in knowing more about:

  • How to improve the employer branding and communicate about the company’s values to the employees
  • How can we put the company’s culture at the service of employee engagement?
  • The role of leadership in managing employee engagement
  • How to create a sense of belonging among the employees?
  • How to use predictive analytics to improve employee engagement?
  • How to maintain employee engagement after a M&A or a strategic transformation?

Consequently, executives involved in HR, Talent Management, Engagement and Retention, Internal Communication and so on should definitely not miss out on this opportunity to attend the marcus evans‘ Employee Engagement conference taking place on the 27th-29th of September in Amsterdam, Netherlands.