Artificial Intelligence trends become today’s HR realities

The emergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies in the past years has profoundly impacted a tremendous number of companies and sectors. Take the example of supply chain functions – these have been completely reshaped and fully robotized warehouses are now the new standard. In parallel, other support or corporate functions have also caught this technological wave, but not with the same speed and pace. Human Resources today are the perfect illustration: the shift towards Digital HR has started for pioneer organizations, but the majority of companies are still in the reflection and conceptualization stages. On one hand, there is an overwhelming feeling related to the immensity of ‘the possible’ in terms of HR technology offerings, and on the other hand, there is a need to answer growing expectations from an evolving workforce.

Today, HR C-levels are facing a common main equation: Ensuring that HR roadmaps will become even more relevant in the C-suite and help streamlining organizations while improving the employee’s experience.

But how are AI technologies concretely impacting the HR community?

Beyond the reflection and conceptualization stages mentioned earlier, AI is clearly acknowledged as a critical component of the future HR service delivery model. Most of discussions today are about how to incorporate chatbots, robots or other cognitive solutions within Human Resources departments.

Just to name a few examples:

  • Robotic process automation (RPA) is a new norm today. Any process optimization exercise almost always considers robotic automation as a solution. In this context, almost all HR processes are subject to automation. The main recurring ones that we observe are related to recruitment, core HR administration, compensation, payroll and performance, but all HR processes that require significant manual input are candidates for automation.
  • Chatbots are also getting a lot of traction. For example, in the HR space, chatbots are replacing traditional FAQs. Cognitive chatbots can also be trained by humans in order to improve their correct answer rate. This is a real game changer and robust accelerator to change the employee experience.
  • Robots are less and less considered as exhibition gadgets and can now be found in some HR front office departments.
  • Voice assistants on mobile for any employee, anytime, anywhere are becoming more common – say hello to the new HR ‘Siri’. A vacation request for example can then be part of a quick phone conversation, instead of several less efficient transactions involving HR systems and emails.
Gartner Emerging technologies 2017

What we are observing, is that AI technologies are becoming fully embedded within the HR community. The initial doubts and fears have been overcome by most HR professionals and AI is recognized as a real added value to the employee. The HR operating model shift is ongoing and we are only at the early stages as the technological change is evolving at an exponential speed. Tomorrow new Artificial Intelligence offerings will emerge and will continue to reshape HR departments.

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The Majority of Americans Believe Their Workspace Negatively Impacts Their Well-being. Here’s How To Fix It.

From the worsening obesity epidemic to stress levels continuing to rise, American employees are struggling with their wellbeing. New research shows that a shocking 64% of American workers believe that their employer and workplace are having a negative or very negative impact on their wellbeing. But what’s behind this alarming statistic? And what can businesses do about it?

When it comes to employee wellness and the employee experience, we found that forward-thinking organizations are recognizing their employees’ needs and addressing them through dynamic benefits programs that support them in and outside of the workplace. Research shows that they’re reaping rewards for this. Bersin by Deloitte finds that organizations focused on creating a flexible and empowering workplace experience are five times more effective at improving employee engagement and retention than their peers. Meanwhile, businesses that do not tailor the employee experience to support their workers will find themselves left behind. Companies that do want to gain a competitive advantage should focus on establishing a wellness program, looking for ways to go beyond traditional benefits, and digitizing the HR process.

Establish a wellness program

Wellbeing initiatives can take many forms, but flexible wellness pots, which enable employees to spend a wellbeing allowance in a way that suits them, are gaining in popularity. In a world where employees increasingly wish to be recognized as individuals, this approach enables organizations to cater for their personal preferences, be they for a diet program or meditation class. Surveying employees can also help to determine which wellness benefits they would value most, gym memberships for example, or counseling services to support them in times of need.

Nick Lawry, Reward Manager at Virgin Management, believes that benefits have never been more vital in ensuring the wellbeing and peace of mind of employees, notably as part of offering a fantastic employee experience. From offering financial education through to super flexible working and unlimited annual leave, they try to give people the benefits and the flexibility that allow them to take control and make the choices that are best for them.

Go beyond traditional

Promoting holistic employee wellness demands going beyond just health and fitness benefits. Financial concerns can have a significant negative impact on the mental health of employees – one Harris poll found that 82% of employees are under financial stress. Our research also indicates that they would appreciate having personal goals in this area of their lives supported by their employers. Outside of salary and retirement plans, employees would like employers to support broader financial needs, such as saving to buy a home or debt management. When we consider that over half of US employees aspire to buy a home, but less than one in twenty benefits programs cater for this life goal, the opportunity for employers to seize the initiative and support this need is clear.

Having flexible benefits that are customized to employee life goals sets companies apart and transforms them into great places to work. Pharmaceutical innovators Mundipharma recognized this, and in addition to its core benefits, launched a new range aligned to its employees’ lifestyles and designed to give them more choice. This additional selection ‘pot’ of benefits, called “Flex”, achieved staggering results. Since the rollout of Flex, 96% of employees have ‘flexed’ their benefits and employee turnover has reduced by 45% within 18 months. Meanwhile, the time to fill job openings has reduced from 50-days on average to just 28. Perhaps most importantly, engagement also improved and 90% of those who flexed their benefits regularly said they’d still “be working here in a year’s time.”

Digitize the benefits process

Employees are looking for an employer who will make a positive impact on their day-to-day lives. For companies to accomplish this, HR departments need to spend more time on transformational activities that focus on culture, engagement and employer brand. HR can free up time for this by automating and digitizing more processes. This is one of the reasons adoption of global and regional shared service centers as well as global human capital management (HCM) and global benefits technology are all on the rise. Working with top companies around the globe, I’ve seen firsthand what having a more digitized, globally-driven strategy that’s better aligned with people and business strategy can do. Achieve this, and organizations won’t just reduce admin and improve compliance – they’ll see an increase in benefits engagement, which will domino into workplace engagement, and have a positive impact on how employees feel about their organizations.

Companies with an established global benefits strategy and technology that supports the implementation of this are three times more likely to see a reduction in administration errors and twice as likely to see a reduction in benefits overcharges. The implementation of those benefits further help the company’s bottom line by creating a positive, supportive working environment that reduces the current disconnect between employers and employees around the workplace experience, attracting and retaining staff for the long haul.

Ultimately, the best companies are creating amazing global strategies and have the technology in place to deliver these so that employees really feel the benefits. They’re happier and healthier and they enjoy being at work. This is what will keep them an engaged and productive member of your organization.

5 Things to Watch Out For in Preparing For Your Employee Central Project

Written by Randy Stenberg, HCM Consultant at Hula Partners.

Now that your company has decided to implement Employee Central, it is time to prep for your implementation. Based on my personal experiences, here are 5 areas to consider focusing one during your project preparation. Focusing on these will help to smooth out your Employee Central journey.

1.     Get ready, get set; I didn’t say get comfortable.

The journey you are about to embark on takes longer and will be considerably more difficult than you first considered. Being prepared and flexible is key to your success.

Some may believe that an EC implementation is easy. A sales person’s pitch may have swayed you, or the notion of no hardware to set up, and no software to install; Easy Street, right? Beware! Don’t fall into that trap. Sure, some aspects of EC configuration are simple as compare to SAP on-premise. However, the underlying business processes remain the same. These processes can be overly complex due to piling on additional requirements over the years enabled by a customizable on-premise system. Untangling and simplifying these processes can be enticing and can certainly provide benefit but be aware of the cost; process redesign and optimization have costs in terms of project resources and project timeline. Plan accordingly and make sure the ROI will justify the additional demands on your project’s resources.

2.     Project Management Office (PMO) is very important.

Completing a proper project planning exercise is key. For example, include a detailed project plan. Your resources should be identified and freed up to work as appropriate, as soon as possible. This plan should set the expectations for your resources and should be realistic based on budget and timeline with built-in contingencies as a buffer.

Tip #1: Be certain that your partner resources are experienced and certified so that they are properly trained for your project. If not, this could affect your timeline and plan as a whole.

Tip #2: Include plenty of contingency into the project plan – you will use it.

Governance and controls are important pieces of PMO.  This includes handling scope creep. Ding ding ding! This is one of the biggest areas that can lead to a project getting off the rails. Based on my experience, scope is something that must be managed very closely and have a clearly defined escalation path determined early on during the project so that during a crisis everyone knows what to do with new items.  These items can include defects, missed requirements, and gaps in processes. Clients and partners must realize that scope creep is something that should be recognized, reported and avoided.

Your implementation partner should provide you with a project manager that is 100% dedicated to your project. This may add some cost; think of it as relatively cheap insurance. As the client, you should make sure that your internal project manager is at least 50% focused on the implementation. Your PM is critical in navigating through company bureaucracies and working with internal audit departments as needed.

3.     IT is critical.

Make sure key IT resources are fully engaged stakeholders on the project.  From what I have seen, this is sometimes not the case.  IT is generally an afterthought, but should be an equal party to the project.

4.     Change management is important throughout the entire project and after go-live.

Consider bringing on Change Management experts. Your EC partner is probably not an expert in this field, so consider someone or a team that is focused on just this.

Your communication should have consistent cadence and message to the stakeholder community during the project and after go-live. As for training, it is best to have both online and in-person classes, as well as quick reference guides for continued learning.

5.     Do NOT underestimate testing. You will always need more time, so build in contingency.

Your implementation partner should manage the initial test phases such as integration testing, end-to-end process testing and payroll parallel if required. As the project progresses through the test phases expect your participation to scale up. You should assume complete responsibility for UAT (User Acceptance Test). This is your chance to confirm that the application is working as per your business requirements.  You will most likely need some help since you are not certified professionals, as your consultants should be, in using the system. You may find it difficult to write test scripts from scratch so ask your partner to provide a library of scripts that you can pick from and customize as needed.

Tip #3:  UAT is the time where gaps in processes, defects, and new requirements may surface. Make sure that you handle these swiftly per your defined PMO process so as not to derail your project.

Preparing for a project can be a daunting task. But, if you take these considerations in to your planning, you will have a much easier and smoother implementation.

If you have any further questions or would like to discuss further, you can contact me at randy.stenberg@hulapartners.com.


This blog was also posted on hulaparters.com

Real-life Employer Branding Ideas

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Employer Branding ideas are essential for building a strong and attractive employer brand. Many firms have started investing more in their employer branding strategy so I decided write about some real-life employer branding ideas and strategies. HubSpot and Facebook have mastered their employer branding and recruitment marketing efforts, and here is how!

Why is employer branding important?

The concept of employer branding has become one of the most popular topics in the world of Talent Acquisition. Demand for talent is getting bigger, and supply is getting smaller every day. Naturally, the market is suffering from a big talent shortage, which has resulted in the “War for Talent”.

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Because all the changes in the HR and tech industries, the way we recruit has changed. Still, many companies are still sitting steal thinking that there is nothing to be done to attract talent.

Wrong!

Employer branding ideas and methods

To make employer branding as a recruiting strategy clearer, I decided to give you some real-life examples and ideas from the industry leaders. Use these brilliant employer branding ideas, and try them out in your own recruiting strategies.

Employer branding through social media

Social Media is a simple, fast and affordable way to target the right people and spread the word out. Similarly to product and service marketing efforts, social media can be used in Employer Branding and Recruitment Marketing strategies.

HubSpot on Instagram

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This is Hubspot’s post that grabbed people’s attention just a few hours after it was posted. Why is this post so special? Why is it considered a part of their Employer Branding and Recruitment Marketing strategy?

First of all, right below the business name, there is a tag line “My Happy Place” that immediately sends a positive message about the workplace. If you read what the post is about, you will find out that it is all about making their employees feel better.

Looking at their hashtags, you can see that they really made sure that this post gets to the right people- sales people and marketers. Finally, they encourage other candidates to engage and give them tips for staying motivated. In just one post, HubSpot used some of the best recruitment marketing strategies.

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Look at this post!

I know that not all of you have games and beer at work! However, many modern workplaces encourage fun times and games at work.

Even though you may not offer the same thing, I believe, and hope that, there is something your employees love doing besides sitting at the table and working. If so, capture the moment and share it on social media. Don’t forget to encourage your employees to do the same. They are your best brand ambassadors.

When promoting on social media, it is important to know who your candidate persona is. This way, you can make vetz targeted messages towards your ideal candidates.

Need help defining your ideal candidate, here is our guide to define a candidate persona.

Employer branding through Glassdoor

Websites such as Glassdoor are a great source of information about employers from all over the world. People go there to learn more about companies, their cultures, pay, positions, job descriptions, and most importantly, current employees’ opinions and reviews.

If you are struggling to find the right candidates, get a listing on websites such as Glassdoor and encourage your employees to write about you. At the end of the day, your current employees are your best brand advocates!

To understand the importantce of employer branding on Glassdoor, let me share a few stats from surveys done by Glassdoor and Allegis Group:

  • 69% are likely to apply to a job if the employer actively manages its employer brand (e.g., responds to reviews, updates their profile, shares updates on the culture and work environment). -Glassdoor
  • 76% want details on what makes the company an attractive place to work. -Glassdoor
  • Top five pieces of information job seekers want employers to provide as they research where to work: 1) Salary/compensation, 2) Benefits, 3) Basic company information, 4) What makes it an attractive place to work, 5) Company mission, vision, values. -Glassdoor
  • 69% would not take a job with a company that had a bad reputation, even if they were unemployed! -Allegis Group Services Study
  • 84% would consider leaving their current jobs if offered another role with a company that had an excellent corporate reputation. And most in $75-100K salary range would only require a 1-10% salary increase to consider such a move -Allegis Group Services Study
  • 84% of companies believe a clearly defined strategy is key to achieving employer branding objectives -Employer Brand International Global Research Study

Facebook on Glassdoor

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What is great about this job ad is that candidates can find tons of useful information about the company and position. This is one of their current employee’s testimonials. It is completely transparent. This is important because, to find the perfect job candidate, both pros and cons should be disclosed.

This particular employee says: “If you don’t like data, don’t come here!” If you are looking for a perfect match for your company and job opening, let the candidates know what would make them your candidate persona.

Employer branding through referrals

When looking for good employer branding and recruitment marketing ideas, always start with your own employees. Employee referrals are structured programs in which companies use existing employees’ talent networks.  

Research has proved many times that employee referral programs help improve many recruiting KPIs.

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But why is a referral program considered employer branding and recruitment marketing method?

The answer is simple- they strengthen your employer brand and reputation. When your employee wants to recommend someone for an open position, they talk to those candidates first. Trust me, these are mostly nice words about you as an employer and your Employee Value Proposition.

On their ‘Refer a Dev‘ webpage, HubSpot explains how much they love and need awesome software developers. If you refer such a developer to them, and HubSpot ends up hiring them, you’ll be rewarded with a paycheck or some other type of referral bonuses.

Already have a referral program? Check out these referral reward ideas!

Employer branding through inbound recruiting

Inbound recruiting is one of the newest HR strategies used to attract talented people. The main purpose of an inbound recruiting strategy is to, through relevant and useful content, get to the people that would best fit your company’s jobs and culture.

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Inbound strategy is a long-term solution for filling hard-to-fill roles. In the example below, you can see a blog post of an interview with 3 data scientists at Facebook. This blog is posted in Facebook’s career site, and it talks about their personal experiences as data scientists at Facebook.

Do you have interesting projects your company is working on? If so, these are likely to attract passionate and motivated people who want to grow their careers. You just have to have a strategic way to communicate your story with them.

Employer branding through career site

Your career page isn’t just a place to post your jobs – it is a place to attract high-quality applicants and sell them your job opportunities.

Candidates don’t apply immediately after hearing about a job. Instead, 59% look up the company’s website. Sixty six percent want to know about your company’s culture and values, 54% about perks and benefits, and 50% about mission and vision. -2016 Global Talent Trends

Check out Facebook’s career site.

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Do you see how their career site is used to attract ambitious people who want to make a difference? They really make their site a goldmine of meaningful content attractive to many job seekers.

Here are some more ideas for career site optimization.

Employer branding through video advertising

As video is the best way for delivering messages in marketing, it is now also widely used in recruitment marketing. Social media and internet users are just more likely to watch videos than read. Use video to record employee testimonials, and put them on your career site.

Make a video of your workplace, and share it on social media. Include videos on your job ads and on job boards. Since Google likes videos, these will reach much more audience than images and plain text.

I know this post is about Facebook and HubSpot, but I had to include this video from Dropbox!

Employer branding through job descriptions

There are no words to explain how important your job descriptions are for attracting high-quality job applicants. The goal of every job description is to mirror your candidate personas’ dream jobs, cultures and workplaces.

Same as you want to attract people with best fit, candidates want to find their perfect jobs. Explaining your company culture, EVP should be part of every job description. Precise requirement, duties, skills and characteristics should be listed.

Before writing a job description, do a research on which keywords people are using when looking for job opportunities. Use these keywords and include them in your job descriptions as Google will award you for that by ranking you higher on job search results.

To save time, we have made some editable job description templates for you.

Employer branding through talent community and recruiting events

Another great way for building your talent pool with high-quality job candidates is through talent community and recruiting events. Many employers have found this one of the best ways for finding people with the perfect match for their companies.

In a recent conversation with a few HR managers from fast growing companies, I found out about a few interesting ways to organize talent community events.

If you, for example, struggle to hire people with certain IT skills, think about creating a workshop where your IT professionals will educate students or anyone else interested in this area. Share your event on social media platforms, your career sites, do some paid advertising to increase your ad impressions and do a highly-targeted campaign.

HubSpot has a great strategy for building their talent community. For example, they have live online webinars about New Hire Training at HubSpot. Anyone can join the live event, and learn about how does the onboarding and training look at HubSpot. They are well known for having great training programs, and this is what attracts people.

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Talent communities and events are great ways to meet people interested in your company. This way you can find out about their skills, personalities and knowledge.

Employer branding through Candidate Relationship Management

Connecting with candidates at the point when you have a new job opening is an old an inefficient recruiting strategy. Today, it is necessary to engage with talent way before that.

This is one of the most productive ways for building your talent pool with high-quality job candidates. Companies that use this approach are much more successful in reducing their time and cost per hire, improving quality of hire and reducing employee turnover rates.

Why?

Talent that ends up in your talent pool through candidate relationship management and inbound recruiting methods, are candidates with the best cultural fit. They are your ideal candidates or candidate personas.

If you have a career blog, don’t just finish there. Allow your readers to opt in to a newsletter. Share useful tips and stories from your company through targeted email campaigns. Even if they are not ready to apply yet, you have the opportunity to connect with them and convert them into applicants later.

Remember, candidates are like customers. It takes as much research and touch-point for candidates to apply as it takes for customers to purchase. You need to make sure that you are delivering an exceptional and unique experience through all these touch-points.

Using a recruitment marketing platform for employer branding

All these steps seem complicated and very time consuming. They are, if you are not using the right tools. Recruitment marketing tools such as TalentLyft can help you implement your recruitment marketing and employer branding strategies.

With tools like this, you can easily create a well optimized career site, optimize your job descriptions, streamline your referral programs, and significantly improve relationships with candidates and improve candidate experience and candidate engagement.

If you are not sure if you need a tool like this, here’s our guide for buying a recruiting tool.

4 Ways to Improve the Quality of Work for Your Employees

While most employers are usually focused on how to increase the productivity of their employees, they usually fail to realize that their productivity level is closely tied to the quality of life they’re having in a company. Recent studies have shown that companies that provide a better quality of work to their employees have much better retention rates, while they also have an easier time hiring top people in their field. Studies have also shown that happier employees are less likely to take a sick leave, which basically means that happier workers are also healthier workers. Whether it’s a team activity outside of work or a fun zone at the office, there are many ways in which you can increase employee’s happiness.

Show Trust Instead of Micromanaging Everything

Trust me, no one really enjoys doing a job where they’re told what to do all the time. While it’s perfectly fine for you to manage and supervise their work, micromanaging is something that rarely has a positive impact on your staff. Instead, try to build your relationship on trust – where you as an employer delegate tasks that require high responsibility, or at least make it seem that way. Let them make some decisions and all of the sudden you’ll have employers who are actually committed to what they’re doing.

Reward Good Work

Constant recognition is something that employers have found to be of vital importance when it comes to quality of work for your employees. Whether it’s a simple recognition, or a reward (a raise, bonus, or an additional day off), employees feel much better when their effort is noticed. Many employers avoid even complimenting their workers because they feel that they may ask for a raise if they do. But if a certain individual is doing more work than average, wouldn’t you say that they deserve to be paid for the extra work? This is also one of the reasons why more and more young people start freelancing – because they actually get paid for the work they do, not the time spent in an office.

Customizable Workspace

People love customizing their workspace, and when it comes to their desks there are almost no reasons to be opposed to it. While some people like having their favorite posters on the wall behind their monitor, other people might want to bring a plant from home. I’ve even seen people who prefer to work on a desktop while standing in order to improve posture. Some of the top performers I’ve seen love working in a messy environment, which required us to hire a commercial cleaning company at the end of each week.  Allowing your employees a certain amount of freedom when it comes to customizing their workspace will positively impact productivity, while they’ll also be happier to work for you.

Set Clear Goals

The best way to improve the efficiency of your employees is by setting up clear goals for them to aim for. Without clear goals, productivity will drop considerably, but also their overall happiness. This is why it’s important to give clear assignments and expected results to the people who work for you. Setting these goals should be taken seriously because if they’re unrealistic or generic they won’t have as much power. Probably the best way to approach this issue is to set individual goals for the people who work for you. If you employ a lot of people, delegate this task to supervisors and make it a part of their job. The more these goals are realistic and attainable the better results you’ll have and thus improve your employees’ loyalty.

Final Thoughts

The most important thing when it comes to improving quality of work is to have your employees feel like a part of the team. Having a company where everyone wants to progress to a certain point is completely different from having a company where people just work their shifts. If the end results don’t matter to you enough, they won’t matter to them at all. So try to set an example and be a driving force for your employees as you all push towards a single goal.

How to Onboard Your Remote Staff

Every new hire, whether on-site or remote, should involve a formal onboarding process. Virtual employees are an increasingly popular staffing option. An appropriate onboarding program is needed to ensure that remote workers are productive and content in their role.

If you provide virtual employees with the right tools and communication platform, you can keep them engaged and accountable. Learning from the experience makes onboarding remote workers easier.

Why Is It Vital

New hires adjust more quickly with a well-planned onboarding strategy. The process should introduce new employees to their coworkers, the company mission, and the technologies they’ll be working with. This includes any documentation they’ll need to know, such as organizational charts and policies.

A thorough and welcoming onboarding process helps to build personal relationships and define expectations. New employees must be made comfortable with their coworkers and engaged with their jobs as early as possible.

Remote workers are more likely to feel isolated and unappreciated without a positive orientation strategy. If workers feel less involved their performance will suffer. An onboarding strategy that makes them a familiar and vital part of the team is crucial to integrating them into the company culture and forging bonds with colleagues.

Onboarding

Local employees have the opportunity to meet coworkers and managers face-to-face. They’re typically introduced to the other members of the team and have the opportunity to ask and answer questions. Observing reactions can also tell you a lot about how those relationships may progress.

Geographic distance and time zones can make relationship building a challenge for remote workers. They are less likely to understand the atmosphere and culture if they can’t be there in person. Normally, the best you can do is introduce them via scheduled video chat or conferencing.

When preparing to onboard remote workers, define the job description, responsibilities, and skillsets you need. Your onboarding program should incorporate necessary steps but still be tailored to each individual.

Here are some best practices to follow as you start taking on virtual employees.

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Direct Communication

Human nature is such that putting faces to names is important in making personal connections. If time and budget allow, bring remote workers to headquarters for face-to-face orientation and introductions. If not, daily connections via video conferencing can get them involved with the team.

New employees should be made to feel welcome so that they can be relaxed and feel free to ask questions. Mentoring with different employees can also help them build relationships. You and your employees, both in-house and remote, are also able to observe facial reactions and body language to provide more context.

Streaming video will give you a chance to take remote workers on a tour of your facilities without the need for travel. They should be introduced to their team members and other key players in the company. Virtual employees should also be involved in meetings so that they have a chance to give opinions and make suggestions as part of the team.

You might also suggest to other team members that they make the effort to welcome and get to know their new coworker.

Setting Expectations

Ensuring that your new worker is able to become productive from day one requires explaining your expectations providing direction. A few days beforehand, make sure you’ve provided them with a course of action. Keeping your remote hires engaged with their new role is the key to successful onboarding.

Your new hire should understand the timeframes you’ve set for getting them up to speed, team goals, company’s telecommuting policy, and personal responsibility. Make sure they have access to resources like HR policies, tutorials, schedules, and the various forms and procedures they’ll use. The more information you can provide, the more comfortable the remote worker will be.

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Make Your Hires Feel Welcome

Introducing a remote team member can also be quite an adjustment for on-site employees, especially if the new team member is from a different culture. It’s important for building a good relationship that both the remote hire and in-house employees ask questions. Before the new hire starts work, be sure to explain to the team what the virtual employee’s duties and responsibilities are, and workarounds for obstacles such as time zones.

At the same time, you should pay attention to the remote hire’s behavior and dialogs. It’s important that the remote worker feels comfortable functioning within your corporate culture and following team procedures. Virtual employees will be more productive if they feel welcomed and respected as a team member.

A good strategy to accelerate the process is to set up a mentorship program for the first week. Have the virtual employee work closely with your senior team members. This way they’ll retain knowledge better through direct experience and quickly develop a few strong relationships.

Assess and Evaluate

When you’re developing a process, it’s important to measure its effectiveness to make improvements. Collect feedback from your team, both individually and as a group throughout the onboarding experience. They may point out things that were missed or make suggestions to make the next onboarding experience go more smoothly.

It’s also crucial to get the reaction of the new remote hire, both during the process and after they seem settled into their role. Document what you’ve planned and assess the feedback you’ve received to refine the process. In time you’ll figure out what works best for the new hire, your team, and the company.

In summary, hiring remote workers is becoming a more common way to onboard new talent. They can provide your team with a fresh perspective as well as excellent skills. You should develop an effective onboarding process to make the transition easier.

It’s important to ensure that remote hires are comfortable, well-informed, and made to feel welcome. Document and improve your onboarding process as you move forward. Your new hires will be happier, more engaged, and more likely to remain with the company.

Effective onboarding practices will be a more productive experience for your company and your virtual employees.

4 Things You Need to Know If You Want to Do Business in Asia

Ever since we entered the 21st century a lot of things have changed rapidly in business. The advancement of technology and the global use of the internet has created many opportunities around the globe. Today there are fewer business barriers than ever before as the whole world is completely connected.

Entrepreneurs and companies can easily get in touch with someone across the globe or acquire information that they need to start their business incentives abroad. Asia is becoming one of the hot markets for business investments, as this region is opening up to the West and offering many opportunities, given the fact that the market is still not saturated.

This is why a lot of people are looking to do some business in the East, no matter if we are talking about finding outsourcing partners or starting up new offices in Asian countries. However, there are certain specifics you need to know about Asia from a business perspective to make sure that everything goes as planned.

1. You will have to connect with locals to help you

A lot of people make a terrible mistake by thinking that they can do everything on their own, without anyone’s help. Even if you travel to the country that you want to do business in, you will never be able to make all the arrangements on your own.

There are many reasons for this. First of all, Asians are unlikely to get into business with a foreigner instantly and give their trust right away. You will need a person that knows the laws, the business environment and has the connections needed to “break into” the market

2.  Understand “the concept of face.”

This is a very important thing when it comes to business in Asia. Simply put, this concept means that you need to avoid shaming anyone with whom you do business and blaming them directly, even if they are the ones responsible for the mistakes that have been made.

When someone “loses face,” it basically means that they lost their reputation as a business person and this might mean the end of your cooperation for good. Be mild when telling someone that they are wrong and always take a part of the blame on yourself as well.

For example, if someone doesn’t understand what you are proposing, excuse yourself and say that you are not clear enough and this is how the whole situation can be resolved without the person losing face.

3. Culture is very important

Bear in mind that Asia is culturally very different than the West and that they pay a lot of attention to things that might not even be considered when doing business in Western countries. In Asia, respect and courtesy matter, so you need to have an open relationship with people.

When someone is aggressive and overly ambitious here, they are considered to be inexperienced. Learn some local expressions if you cannot comprehend the language, as this shows that you respect the country you are in. Also, make sure that your business incentives don’t clash with the religious beliefs in the country you are in.

4. Luxurious brands are well-received in Asia

Luxurious western brands which sell “cool” stuff are usually accepted quite readily by the Asian people. Asia is becoming more and more connected to the West, and people there love adopting Western culture and gadgets, as they find them incredibly cool. Still, it’s important that your products deliver the user experience that is promised or your audience will quickly turn on you.

Remember that Asia is a growing market and that there are many business opportunities lurking in this part of the world. In the end, make sure that you respect the country that you want to do business in, and that you never think of Asia as one big country, as there are many differences between all the different countries.

HR Buzzwords or Actual Recruiting Strategies?

HR and Talent Acquisition (TA) industries have been going through some major changes in the past few years. Following the new trends, people have come up with new terms, HR technology, expressions, as well as new TA strategies.

Some experts believe that these new terms are just buzzwords, while others believe that they have become inevitable strategies of every successful recruiting and hiring strategy.

Here is my list of some of the newly introduced HR expressions.

1. Recruitment Marketing

Recruitment Marketing is an expression used to describe methods used for communicating organization’s Employer Brand and Employee Value Proposition to attract high-quality job candidates to apply for their open positions.

Recruitment Marketing strategies are described as methods with the main goal of improving Candidate Experience and encouraging Candidate Engagement.

Many companies that follow latest trends in the world of HR technology, use features offered by Recruitment Marketing tools to better communicate their Employer Brand and Employee Value Proposition.

2. Inbound Recruiting

Inbound Recruiting is a method of creating targeted and branded content with the purpose of increasing your firm’s popularity and strengthening your Employer Brand.

Inbound Recruiting follows the famous Inbound Marketing strategy; technique for drawing customers to products and services via recruiting content marketing, social media marketing and search engine optimization.

The number one goal of every Inbound Recruiting strategy is to engage qualified candidates and convert them into job applicants to expand talent pools.

3. Candidate Relationship Management

Candidate relationship management (CRM) is a method for managing and improving relationships with current and potential future job candidates. Many companies use CRM technology to automate and ease communication process with the job seekers, encourage their engagement and improve candidate experience.

For example, some Recruitment Marketing tools offer solutions for creating engaging email campaigns to provide highly relevant, educative and interesting content in order to build stronger relationships and expand their talent pools with highly-qualified job candidates.

4. Employer Branding

Employer Branding involves all the activities and tactics used to communicate Employer Brand and Employee Value Proposition to passive and active job seekers.

In today’s “War for Talent” Employer Branding strategies are considered very important when it comes to solving one of the biggest recruiting challenges – attracting high-quality applicants.

LinkedIn’s research has shown that more than 75% of job seekers research about firm’s reputation before they apply for an open position. Companies that have weak employer brands not only have problems in attracting candidates, but also in retaining employees.

employer-branding-retaining-employees

5. Data-Driven Recruiting and HR Analytics

Data-Driven Recruiting or HR Analytics are two expressions used to demonstrate new recruiting methods in which HR Professionals make hiring decisions based on data gathered through HR technology such as Applicants Tracking Systems and Recruitment Marketing Platforms.

Data-driven recruiting has proven to improve some of the most important hiring metrics such as time to hire, cost to hire and quality of hire.

hr metrics

Question:

If you had data available that proves that referred candidates take shortest to hire, fastest to on-board, require least money and stay longest with your company, would you still waste your money on job boards and job promotions or would you improve your Employee Referral Program?

If you are wondering which HR metrics should you be tracking, here is our checklist of most important HR metrics with tips for improvement.

So are these just buzzwords or actual recruiting trends?

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

6 Tips to Better Manage Your Landscaping Business

Getting into the landscaping business is a truly rewarding experience as the fruits of our labor are actually palpable. However, as our influence reaches more and more people and our business starts to expand – we are faced with a unique transitionary period where we need not only manage ourselves but others under our wing. Despite the number of challenges we are all destined to face, none of these are insurmountable. In reality, most of the pitfalls of expansion can be avoided by utilizing the previous experiences of others and laying out a solid plan. This turns a turbulent period into nothing more than a smooth ride.

Scale accordingly

First and foremost, a business owner has to understand that management systems are an ever-evolving entity and that every company and situation requires a specific approach. What once worked for a one-man operation will most-certainly not be enough to manage five people, let alone fifty. Ignoring this issue is a surefire way to end up in a logistical nightmare with no way of reliably knowing what transpired within the past month, let alone the fiscal year. By figuring out our needs and hiring personnel to manage employees or come up with systems to keep track of everything efficiently – we pay a bit more upfront but save thousands in the long run.

Hire responsibly

There’s no way around it – your employees will be the face of your company, like it or not. They will be the first, and hopefully not last, face they see when procuring a service. Whatever the task might be, it is an absolute necessity that these people are sufficiently trained and upbeat about their job. Nothing breaks a deal like a general unwillingness to do one’s job and a bad attitude towards customers. A bad employee will get rooted out eventually, sure, but the damage they could do to your brand and company isn’t something that will go away as easily. Tread carefully.

Train your people

When you do actually find people worthy of your trust, make sure to train them in the field. Always offer them opportunities to improve upon themselves and rack up those references for their CV down the line. Any form of training can be presented as a bonus to employees as it increases their skill set while also reflecting positively on the company itself as its workers are trained and have a wide variety of skills. This will also allow you to somewhat tweak pricing to reflect the quality and professional help you’re offering to potential clientele.

Motivate

With an increasing workforce, it can get extremely hard to find the right methods to motivate everyone equally. However difficult and time-consuming it might be, it is imperative that every employee feels appreciated and like they have a higher purpose – a reason to work hard. Make sure any company needs are communicated properly and that every worker knows exactly what their job is and when it is complete. Leave no room for misunderstanding and be as transparent as you can afford – this forms bonds akin to a family instead of an office and makes them feel like part of something bigger.

Invest in GPS tracking

More than just a safety net for rogue drivers, GPS tracking allows for drivers to get from point A to point B more efficiently and improves customer support. Installing GPS tracking isn’t a big deal and you have systems like Teletrac which offer real-time tracking with updates every few minutes. This can help give updates to worried customers, help provide an ETA, find out where a driver has been during his shift etc. This also has the Big Brother effect – employees will know that they have a GPS in the truck and will avoid slacking off.

Quality makes a difference

With all of that out of the way, it’s time to focus on what we’re actually offering to our customers. Simply put, quality service only works if complemented by a quality product. Your employees can be experts in the field all they like if they don’t have the right materials to work with. Strike a deal with a trusted local supplier like Sand4U or other trusted companies in your region to guarantee the best materials and even use their own influence to your PR advantage. With quality personnel and a quality selection of materials, the sky is the limit.

The gist

Handling a company is no easy feat and surviving in this dog-eat-dog world is truly an accomplishment. When starting out, it’s important to look ahead without getting ahead of ourselves. This essentially means that we need to anticipate future problems, come what may, without going so far as to lose sight of what’s directly in front of us. By following these steps, we set up a good set of guidelines to make sure we stay our course through and through while allowing us enough flexibility to adapt and overcome any challenges our business is sure to face down the line.