Client Communication: How to Do It Right

Communication, they say, is the basis for any healthy relationship. Much like in romantic bonds, family relations, and our friendships, transparency and honesty are necessary for all parties involved to feel appreciated and to know each other’s expectations. It’s not much different with professional bonds, isn’t it? The clients that give you the most trouble are the ones that send you lengthy emails with zero useful feedback, the ones that bombard you with information you cannot use, and the ones that don’t know what they want. 

Whether you’re working as a solo freelancer or you’re a part of a larger agency, if your role involves any amount of client interaction, you know that misunderstandings can cause more headaches than any amount of actual work ever could. Implementing certain rules, sticking to specific habits in client communication, and setting boundaries are all very important ways in which you can ease those headaches and make sure that your collaborations are more effective.

Define the process

Some companies and freelancers still assume that every single one of their clients has the same idea of the services they provide. For example, the field of digital marketing is a vast one indeed, and if you haven’t specified which particular areas your expertise covers, you can expect your clients to either come to you with a slew of questions, or to assume that you do exactly what they need and want. In both situations, you’re already in a mess. 

First of all, make sure that every touchpoint of your communication entails clear information. Your website, for starters, should have a clear page explaining your services in full. When someone reaches out to you, before the collaboration even begins, you should make sure that they know exactly what you can do for them, and what your business doesn’t cover. That way, you’ll prevent many misunderstandings and you’ll be able to qualify client leads more efficiently than ever. 

Establish boundaries

We’ve all been there: a client sends you emails in the middle of the night, with no regard for your personal time off, expecting you to reply as soon as yesterday, and constantly in need of changes and alterations to your original service. Some clients are needy, others are borderline certifiable, but sometimes you cannot assess if they are a good match for your business until very late in the collaboration. 

In any scenario, setting those boundaries early on can help you manage those complicated relationships better. For starters, you can emphasize your work hours and when you’re available for communication via chat, phone, or email, and how long it typically takes you to respond. You should also let your clients know that when they need changes to your provided service or product, you have a process to stick to, and explain how long it takes. All of these details could be beneficial for letting your clients know how to get the information they want without disrupting your workflow. 

Embrace discovery

Especially when you’re in a creative industry, delivering something that will be in line with your clients’ expectations and needs can be tricky. Creative work is very individual, although based on expertise, and if you’re running a web design agency, for instance, you can often go through several stages of back-and-forth communication before you actually complete the work at hand, by no one’s fault in particular. Those interactions can still take away a chunk of your valuable time, and preventing that can be beneficial for you and your clients.

You can create and send out a customized web design client questionnaire as a part of your discovery process in an attempt to cover all of your bases and prevent all those changes early on. Of course, it’s always possible for your client to send the design back for tweaks, but you can at the very least prevent major, time-consuming changes that can affect your productivity. This is especially handy if your customers aren’t familiar with the industry and wouldn’t know what kind of details you need to begin with, so some guidance is essential.

Ask for feedback to improve 

Some clients like in-person meetings, some love Skype, while others enjoy the email correspondence that comes with clarity and transparency. In any scenario, you might not be perfectly compatible in terms of those preferences with each and every client, but you can find ways to accommodate their needs without disrupting your own process. A great way to avoid conflicts would be to ask your clients for feedback regarding your performance but also your communication and availability. 

Insights collected in that way could be helpful in defining your future relationships and in redefining expectations in your existing collaborations. In a similar manner, you should feel free to provide your own comments and feedback if you feel that your client should give you more space or that they aren’t available enough to the detriment of the project, causing missed deadlines and the like. Transparency in the form of regular feedback is a healthy way to let your client relationships blossom over time.

 

Although it takes time to evolve as a freelancer or even as a part of a team within an agency, you can certainly find ways to improve how you interact with clients. Take these tips into consideration, and you’ll be able to ensure long-lasting bonds and more satisfied clients down the line.

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Healthy Communication in the Workplace

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Communication is one of the foundational elements of a properly functioning workplace, and as an HR rep, you’re likely going to be at the heart of your office’s communication channels. Whether you’re discussing work-life balance, resolving interpersonal conflict, or training employees regarding company policies, communication is going to be a key to success.

Why Good Communication Matters

A company is a living organism, and as is the case with all living organisms, communication between its various members is essential. Whether a business functions within a single office, maintains several locations across a country, or is completely remote in nature, healthy communication, among other things, helps to:

  • Communicate company objectives and values.
  • Promote teamwork and collaboration.
  • Maintain healthy professional relationships.
  • Encourage work-life balance.
  • Resolve interpersonal conflict.

The list goes on and on. One way or another, healthy communication is involved in nearly every facet of a successful company, which is why HR professionals, in particular, should make it a priority to facilitate and promote proper communication within the workplace.

Tips for Good Communication

From general training to specific person-to-person interactions, here are a handful of the best ways you can facilitate good communication within your company.

Offer Training

Training is a useful tool that allows a large amount of information to be communicated to an entire group of people efficiently and effectively. You can promote communication within your workplace in multiple ways by utilizing training sessions and seminars.

For instance, you can establish clear boundaries and protocols in order to avoid blurred lines when it comes to things like personal and professional relationships within the workplace. All staff members should be clearly informed regarding topics like sexual harassment and how to communicate sexual consent with a work colleague. They should also be made well aware of how to report issues of misconduct to a superior.

Along with protocol like this, you can also use teaching scenarios to help communicate to employees the importance of finding work-life balance and maintaining their mental health while on the job.

Promote Resources

It’s also important for HR representatives to establish themselves as a central source of resources for those in need. For instance, it should be made clear that if an employee is struggling in their personal life, they can come to HR in order to find resources for counseling.

Another example of providing resources would be informing a victim of sexual assault where they can find a sexual assault nurse examiner. Even someone simply trying to maintain a healthy weight should be able to come to HR in order to find important health information.

If employees are continually empowered with resources that help them maintain their health and well-being, it will go a long way in helping to promote interactions and communication with an office as a whole.

Keep Lines of Communication Open

A good HR rep is going to keep their door open at all times. If you want to promote good communication, you want employees to feel that they can come to you whenever they have a need without the fear of being turned away or asked to wait. This kind of communication starts with a good open door policy, which helps promote trust and encourages those with a need to approach you confidently with an issue or concern.

In addition, make sure that you take the time to learn how to look for common signs of distress, even if someone isn’t consciously communicating something specifically with you. If, for instance, an employee is failing to relate their particular issue with you, you may be able to identify what they’re dealing with by looking for other signs.

Say, for instance, that an employee is struggling with the recent loss of a loved one or the fact that they’ve checked out of their marriage. You may be able to pick up on the signs that they’re unconsciously projecting and help them communicate their struggle.

Be a Mediator

While it’s always nice to be a source of comfort, sometimes providing good communication requires some less desirable action. Any HR rep worth their salt is going to be ready to step into the role of mediator whenever the need arises.

The less-than-savory task of leading employees through interpersonal conflict takes focus and skill. A good mediator will be willing to dig to the root of an issue and then provide strategies that are aimed at resolving the conflict and preventing further problems from arising in the future. If you find yourself faced with the task of being a mediator, it’s critical that you step up to the challenge with grace and wisdom in order to maintain the relationships at stake and restore healthy communication between the aggrieved parties.

Practice Active Listening

Finally, it’s always wise to both practice and promote active listening. If you want healthy interconnectivity to percolate throughout your workplace, you’re going to want to start with your own communication efforts.

Start by taking the time to actively listen to your company’s employees. Avoid passing judgment, be patient, ask questions, and don’t be afraid to summarize and clarify in order to make sure everyone has been heard. If you can demonstrate active listening on a regular basis, you’ll provide a benchmark of healthy communication for others around you to follow.

Achieving Proper Communication

Training, seminars, resources, mediation, active listening, and open-door policies are all essential ingredients for maintaining healthy communication in the workplace. However, the most important thing of all is for you to take the time to properly prioritize communication in the first place. If an HR rep focuses on keeping proper lines of communication open within a workplace, potentially negative scenarios can be identified and addressed quickly and appropriately, leading to a smooth, functioning office over the long term.

The Importance of Targeted SEO to Your Company’s Visibility (& Linkability)

SEO has often been viewed by businesses as an ethereal, mysterious thing that a company does for you, and with a sprinkle of magic marketing dust, you are ranking number one on Google for the right keywords and your niche. However, good SEO has been made up of a number of the same things for several years:

  • Good Web Design: While this goalpost has moved over the years, from optimized for desktop to optimized for mobile, from high-resolution video and photos to speed of loading, a modern web design that is responsive and provides a good user experience is essential.
  • Good Content: A website must have good content, from product pages and descriptions to landing pages and blogs, content needs to be informative, well written, and user-friendly.
  • Backlinks: These can be paid, earned, and social. Google expects businesses to pay for ads, earn links from reputable sites, and appear on social media. Link exchanges and guest posting is one of the best ways to earn backlinks. While the search engine still claims social links and shares do not affect ranking, they certainly can have an effect on organic traffic, and there is some debate about when they might become a legitimate factor.  

There is a bit more to it than that. The smarter Google becomes, the more it looks at websites like a human user does. Artificial intelligence and machine learning mean that user experience and relevance will continue to mean more than they ever have. This means SEO work needs to be targeted, implemented with a deliberate strategy, and treated as a continuous process.

Here are some reasons targeted SEO is important to your company’s visibility and linkability:

The Need for Linkable Content

As mentioned above, there are multiple kinds of backlinks. They are paid, earned, and social. The number of paid links your site has can be absolutely controlled by your ad spend. However, earned links can be partially controlled and deliberately built, and social links can be encouraged but only minimally controlled by you.

What is the key to earned and social links? Your content. It also determines how effective any paid links you have to your site are. Simply put, you need linkable content. Category or service pages, product descriptions, and thin blog posts are not link-worthy pages. Years of experience have taught link building companies what linkable content really is.

Fortunately, in November of 2015, everyone got a look at the Google Search Evaluator guidelines at the time. They confirmed much of what we had already learned. Google and users look for a few key things in your content, and Google uses those things to help determine your page rank. It is known as the E.A.T. principle:

  • Expertise: Not only does Google look at your company, but at the author of the content to determine expertise.
  • Authority: This is in the part where links come in. Outbound links to authoritative content establish you as an authoritative source, as do inbound links to the content itself.
  • Trustworthiness: This is also determined by organic, authoritative links to your content and the accuracy of what you have written.

Not only does content need to meet the E.A.T. principle, but it should also be informative and well written. Remember: Content is also a part of user experience, and thin content produces high bounce rates, sending users looking for the information they need elsewhere. It certainly means they will not link to it on their own website or share it on their social media profiles.

What makes content linkable is how informative it is, the clarity of the writing, and how well it is optimized for both search engines and real people. Without content that is worth linking to, it is difficult to either build or earn links.

Researching Relevancy

How do you know if your content is reaching the right searchers at the right time? Fortunately, this is easier to figure out than it ever has been — and yet more challenging as well. There is more data out there about users and their behavior on the internet than at any other time in history, and nearly any business can access this data through some simple analytics tools.

This means not only do we know what our potential customers are interested in, we know how they interact with the internet. Beyond just demographic analytics, we have access to behavioral analytics which are much more powerful.

All this data not only tells us what our ideal customers are searching for but how they are doing it. This can be taken from the general fact that over 60 percent of Google searches are done on mobile devices, and more people than ever are completing purchases on portable devices as well. You can also determine what devices your customers search on most frequently, whether they are iOS users or Android fans, and how much time they spend reading a blog post, and even how many searches they perform for a product or service before they make a purchase.

What this allows you to do is to target your content more specifically, and even create different content that will appeal to different sets of buyers. Relevant content is much more linkable, whether you are earning those links organically, want your users to share it on social media, or are engaged in a link building campaign targeting specific keywords.

Creating a Strategy

Now that you know why linkable content is necessary and you have established what is relevant to your potential customers, you need to create a targeted content strategy. Why? It’s simple: Without targets and specific goals, how will you know if your linkable content is working?

So what is a content strategy? It is deliberately creating content to support your efforts to rank for a specific keyword or set of keywords, and building and working to earn links to that content. This usually involves several pieces of content of varying lengths and types, internal linking, good onsite technical SEO, and content that is well written and informative.

A good SEO company will not only help you with your onsite technical SEO and link building but can also help you with your content strategy and creating linkable content. This entire process, which you should thoroughly understand, takes a lot of time, and unless you have a capable team in your marketing department, the time and money an outsourced expert will save you is more than worthwhile.

Filling in the Content Gaps

So now you understand the need for linkable content, you have done your research and know what is relevant, and you have a content strategy. Now it is time to fill in the content gaps on your website. Whether you have a robust blog filled with content or are just starting out, once you establish your content strategy, you’re going to find that you have content gaps.

What is a content gap? They are areas where you are missing content that is essential to your content strategy. It is essential that you fill these gaps in order to satisfy not only Google but your potential customers. You need the linkable content in order for targeted SEO to be effective.

Want to rank higher in Google for critical searches in your niche? Want your business to be more visible to searchers? It’s all about relevant content that is part of a content strategy, linkable content, and then building links to that content. Those are all a part of targeted SEO, the key to your company’s visibility and linkability.

Strategies for Greater Retention Rates for HR Managers

For an HR manager, the costs of creating and maintaining a staff can be plagued by employee turnover and disengagement. For most companies, revolving doors are a destructive force for financial growth, considering the cost to replace an employee is roughly 50% of that employee’s annual salary. An effective HR department, therefore, needs to hire appropriately, work to engage employees in the success of the business and constantly monitor observable measurements to ensure that they are on track.

So how does an efficient HR department gauge their progress and ensure best practices for employee retention? How do companies evolve past the everyday, worn-out methods of keeping employees engaged and make the work environment a place where employees can truly thrive?

Hiring Process

The trickiest part of the hiring process is ensuring that HR brings on the right person for the role to not only fill in missing personnel, but foster growth. The person needs to fit the values, short and long term goals of the company. A mismatch of skills, values, and commitment can create loss for a company. For hiring members of HR, there is a host of resources out there for hiring managers who want to maximize their hiring potential and run their small business like a larger corporation.

Primarily, hiring managers need to think about the kind of skills they need to bring into the company as opposed to simply filling a slot or replacing someone who has moved on. Is the company facing challenges? What skills would be the best counter to those challenges? A potential area of growth? It’s easy to fall back into patterns of hiring to replace, but hiring to grow benefits the company far more.

Observable Metrics

A handful of easily observable paper metrics can give HR departments an idea of how engaged and happy their employees are. Turnover is one of the most obvious metrics. If a company is perpetually bleeding employees, there is something seriously wrong. Likewise, the average length of employment can help indicate employee engagement. If most employees leave within a year, or conversely, stay for many years, these are indicators of the company’s ability to engage. The amount of sick or personal days taken can indicate an employee’s level of involvement in their job as well. Finally, the revenue per employee can help companies determine how engaged employees are on the clock.

Observable metrics are just the beginning of the story. An employee can love and be dedicated to their work, but also have a sick family member that leads to absences. When an observable metric indicates disengagement, look past the numbers into the human element. Is there a solution that would allow the employee to contribute in the way they’d like while acknowledging the issue? Would working from home allow them to care for the relative while hitting goals?

Greater Employee Engagement

Once the right employee is hired, the key to maintaining that employee’s performance and commitment is growing their engagement in the company. The best tool for engagement is communication. It’s important for management to keep lines of communication between themselves and their team open. Fostering trust and making employees feel heard helps them feel important, both to the company and as people. That level of emotional engagement is invaluable.

Help employees understand their role in the company — how their efforts aid the company’s success, and how the company’s success affects them. The ability to draw a direct line between cause and effect, both for the company and the employee, creates real stakes that encourages a better work ethic.

Goal Creation and Attainment

Realistic, attainable goals encourage greater engagement and growth of abilities, output and capability. Achieving goals can be rewarding in themselves; they can also be steps for future growth within the company. Goals should be appropriate for the company and for the employee — they should be a marriage of the interests of both parties. Is this something the employee is passionate about and finds rewarding? Is this an area of interest that benefits the company? Do they have the skills to achieve this goal, in a way that benefits the company?

For the employees, goals can include growth of current abilities, or the push to finish a project. Potential rewards for employees can include extra benefits, like a day off, the chance for a promotion (or more eligible to promotion), or a treat of some kind, like free lunch. Whenever a company uses a reward as an incentive for achieving goals, they should be clearly communicated and legitimately achievable. Carrot-and-sticking rewards like promotions is a dishonest method, and will ultimately lead to decreased morale.

Avoid Demotivation Pitfalls

Demotivation can come from many fronts. Lack of communication and transparency between management and employees creates a vacuum of information — one that is bound to be filled with speculation and guesswork. In a workplace without healthy feedback and communication, that guesswork can be powered by anxiety and untruths, which barely benefit anyone. Recognize employees, listen to their feedback.

Make sure the employee who puts her all into her job is recognized and rewarded fairly. Don’t feel the need to treat everyone the same. Follow through on commitments and promises. Show employees why certain team members are celebrated, and help the others find ways to be celebrated as well.

The bottom line is this: HR might be about acquiring and maintaining people as a resource, much like paper or computers, but remember that you and your crew are not robots. Metrics are useful, and numbers don’t lie, but everyone involved is a human. They have human feelings and human motivations, which don’t often conform to spreadsheet analytics. Address the human side of the equation to balance the metrics, and make the most of your skills as a leader to address real, human concerns to foster greater employee retention and engagement.

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Three ways a Mobile App will Improve Staff Engagement and Your Business’ Bottom Line

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The Employee: Lost in the On-Demand Economy

Why is staff turnover so high?
What can I do to improve worker retention?
How can I keep track of staff that work off-site?
Can I even do anything to improve the worker experience for hourly, on demand and/or off-site staff?

After hearing these concerns from many business owners who schedule and manage remote and hourly workers, I put together a list of core concepts and even unpack a few specific features that will improve worker engagement for event driven businesses that rely on hourly workers.

The growth of on-demand workers dramatically altered the classic employer/employee relationship. In the past, workplace relationships were built nourished by employers and employees sharing time and space. Loyalty and accountability were natural extensions of the relationship. It was not uncommon for people to hold the same job for ten years or more. In the new worker paradigm, hourly workers are assigned event based shifts by catering, hospitality, security, promotions, fashion, and staffing agencies. Event duration can be a couple of hours and event frequency can be irregular. Loyalty, communication, and accountability often suffer as collateral damage of this new worker paradigm where the employer and the employee have minimal interaction, irregular schedules and few points of contact.

Tech to the Rescue

Technology solutions can benefit business owners and workers. Software will save your business (large or small) time and money, by automating processes and providing business insights to make more informed staffing decisions. Empowering workers by providing them with a mobile technology platform will lower absenteeism, reduce churn and improve productivity.

1. Mobile Automated Scheduling Solution

Manual scheduling can be a hassle. Workers have to sift through emails, text messages, calls, and/or excel sheet and then keep track of their personal schedules for their shifts for multiple non-recurring events at different sites.

To address this pain, employers should find a mobile solution that automates much of the scheduling process. Here’s why:

  • Mobile Today’s workforce is mobile first, you have to meet workers where they are: on-the-go and on their phones.
  • Retention If a comparable alternate employer offers an easier process for scheduling, onboarding, and keeping track of events – it will be more difficult to retain good talent.
  • Control Offering on-demand workers the option to accept and decline shifts to comply with their scheduling needs, offers hourly workers more control over their upcoming schedules.
  • Convenience Providing a platform and dashboard where the booking requests and confirmed gigs can be easily accessed removes much of the burden of scheduling from hourly workers.
  • Reminders Being able to easily schedule events to a mobile calendar and set reminders can reduce absenteeism.

2. Improved Communication

Workers that work hourly shifts can find it hard to keep track of their employer, manager and/or team. Working one-off events with different teams makes it difficult to feel connected.

Even in a scenario where it is hard to feel connected, if you choose the right platform, a mobile app will improve communication between workers and management and benefit all parties. Here’s how:

  • Familarity Managers that have access to staff profiles + photos can help develop familiarity enjoyed by people who have worked together for longer periods and improves managers’ ability to create a more pleasant team environment.
  • Teams Having an easy way to connect with fellow workers and managers helps teams build emotional connections, trust, and respect. Stronger teams do better work.
  • Complaints Creating a method to report issues or concern to management via a mobile app normalizes the reporting process, providing a comfortable and convenient way for workers express concerns which increase worker appreciation and loyalty.

3. Accountability

It’s easy for hourly workers that work off-site to feel removed from the business.
Giving contingent workers access to a system provides workers with a sense of accountability so they will be more likely to achieve their goals.

  • Brand Providing workers access to a dashboard, allows businesses to remind workers of their brand.
  • Accuracy Tracking time is a burden for workers and managers alike. Providing workers with a mobile solution with GPS check-in/check-out will track hours with greater accuracy.
  • Feedback Having a mobile app is a great way for businesses to ask workers for feedback allowing businesses to harness the collective ideas and feedback of staff that are on the front lines of the business. Feedback is also a great opportunity for businesses to demonstrate to workers that they value worker input and insights. When workers feel like their voice is heard, their investment in their work increases.
  • Rating Another option to increase accountability is to utilize a rating system, built into mobile a workforce management solution. Knowing managers will evaluate worker performance, gives workers incentive to improve and excel.

Adapting a mobile solution will improve team communication, satisfaction, and efficiency.

About the Author:

Omri Dekalo, Co-Founder and CEO of Ubeya

Omri Dekalo is the Co-Founder and CEO of Ubeya.

With web software for business owners and a mobile app for workers, Ubeya nails scheduling, communication and workforce management, empowering business owners and workers alike. Ubeya accommodates custom shifts for 1000s of workers in catering, staffing agencies, and other event driven businesses.

Website: https://www.ubeya.com

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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.

The Next Frontier in Shared Services | The HR Tech Weekly®

The Next Frontier in Shared Services

For anyone who’s answered an email or text from a project team member on a weekend (and that’s just about all of us), it comes as no surprise that digitization has profoundly disrupted the way we work. However, this “new normal” of always-on, instantaneous communication among networks of teams is now dovetailing with another force that is equally as disruptive: a changing workforce, led by increasing numbers of Millennials. Together, these forces are impacting the service delivery landscape and calling upon the HR shared services organization to engage with employees via digital tools, often in entirely new ways.

A digital employee experience is no longer optional; it’s a necessary survival skill for those seeking to attract, retain, and facilitate engagement with the next-generation workforce. At a recent Deloitte workshop, we explored what makes Millennials different, (backed by the findings of the 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey), along with strategies for meeting their elevated expectations. Among the characteristics put forth at the event, Millennials:

·      Are digitally native, and, by and large, they would rather use their phones for text or email than talk to people.

·      Expect “consumer-grade” experiences.

·      Tend to shun purely financial motivations, as they feel employee satisfaction and treating people well are the most important values in terms of long-term business success.

·      Crave leadership opportunities, with only 28 percent of the respondents in the Deloitte Millennial Survey believing their organizations make full use of their skills.

·      Expect to have mentors bring them up in the firm.

·      May have little, if any, loyalty to companies and may leave quickly if they believe their leadership skills are not being developed or if the company puts financial performance above everything else.

So, what does this mean for HR shared services? Nearly every company today, but especially those in traditional industries such as mining, manufacturing, and energy & resources, must find a way to replace growing numbers of retirees by attracting Millennials and elevating them to leadership roles quickly. This path toward reinvigorating the workforce by engaging Millennials runs directly through HR.

To attract and retain next-generation employees, HR organizations increasingly must deliver consumer-grade services through shared services by adopting digital tools and making the cultural adjustments required to leverage them fully. Many service delivery organizations have started to do this by transforming their contact centers, mainly by moving toward web self-help, email, and mobile channels to address simple inquiries, and reserving voice channels for answering more difficult questions. This makes sense given Millennials’ resistance to talking live, although the electronic component of these interactions has to be customer friendly. The technology has to work, without too much clicking or form-filling, or Millennials might move on—abandoning the interaction, and if the dissatisfaction persists, perhaps abandoning the employer altogether.

The strategic importance of digitizing the contact center was further emphasized in the findings of the 2015 Deloitte Contact Center Survey. Of note, 85 percent of organizations surveyed view the customer experience provided through their contact centers as a competitive differentiator, and half (50 percent) believe the contact center plays a primary role in customer retention.

While many HR shared services organizations are in tune with the engagement challenges next-generation workers pose, Millennials aren’t the only game in town. Baby Boomers and Gen Xers still must be served, and their customer satisfaction ratings are also important. While Millennials may view texting as a genuine form of human engagement, older groups largely do not. They want to talk to someone, and they view personal interactions as a preferred, and largely more effective way to solve problems, particularly complex ones.

Serving the needs of a multigenerational workforce today requires organizations to introduce digital employee experience tools, especially those that promote self-service and collaboration, while preserving existing voice-channel capabilities, at least in some situations. However, maintaining multiple platforms can be expensive and cumbersome, and stranding existing IT investments is rarely an option.

This has left many HR services organizations overwhelmed by the magnitude of technological change that stands before them. That’s why it’s important to take small steps instead of big leaps. For some organizations, implementing a cloud-based platform might be one of those incremental steps. Far from being just another portal, some of these platforms allow subscribers to develop, run, and manage shared services applications without the complexity of building and maintaining infrastructure and underlying technologies. In evaluating such a platform, the technology at a minimum should:

·      Deliver a consumer-grade user experience

·      Streamline processes and automate workflow

·      Simplify transactions by providing personalized content and context

·      Increase effectiveness and decrease cost for shared services operations

·      Make employee interactions and communication with HR simple and intuitive

Regardless of what technologies you choose, an improved digital employee experience is the next frontier in shared services. The overarching objective is to create a digital workplace that capitalizes on a company’s current technology investments by bringing disparate systems together and providing a personalized journey through shared services processes and related content via guided interactions. Why is this so important? Millennials expect nothing less. Your shared services center has to deliver high quality services or the next-generation workforce may gravitate to an organization that can.

For more insights about current HR topics, visit the HR Times Blog.

About the Authors:

Michael Gretczko is a principal with Deloitte Consulting LLP and the practice leader for Digital HR & Innovation. He focuses on helping clients fundamentally change how they operate, often working with large, complex, global organizations to guide transformation programs that enable HR organizations to reinvent the way they leverage digital to improve the employee experience and business performance.

Marc Solow is a director in Deloitte Consulting LLP and responsible for leading Deloitte’s HR Shared Services market offering in the United States. Marc has led the consulting services in support of several global HR transformation, shared services, and outsourcing projects for large and complex clients in a variety of industries, including insurance, health care, life sciences, consumer and industrial products, and energy.

Copyright © 2017 Deloitte Development LLC. All rights reserved.


Source: The next frontier in shared services | Michael Gretczko | Pulse | LinkedIn

5 Ways Businesses Can Cultivate a Data-Driven Culture | The HR Tech Weekly®

5 Ways Businesses Can Cultivate a Data-Driven Culture

The pressure on organizations to make accurate and timely business decisions has turned data into an important strategic asset for businesses.

In today’s dynamic marketplace, a business’s ability to use data to identify challenges, spot opportunities, and adapt to change with agility is critical to its survival and long-term success. Therefore, it has become an absolute necessity for businesses to establish an objective, data-driven culture that empowers employees with the capabilities and skills they need to analyse data and use the insights extracted from it to facilitate a faster, more accurate decision-making process.

Contrary to what many people think, cultivating a data-driven culture is not just a one-time transformation. Instead, it’s more like a journey that requires efforts from employees and direction from both managers and executives. In this article, I am sharing five different ways businesses can accelerate their transformation into a data-driven enterprise.

1. Establish a Clear Vision

Establishing a clear vision is essential for putting data into the DNA of an organization. An executive, preferably the CIO or CDO, should present the vision to the workforce and provide the rationale for this shift in culture and in benefits. This, in turn, will set stage for the work ahead and provide an opportunity to clear misconceptions.

 2. Ensure Easy and Secure Access to Data

Data can be truly considered an asset when its accuracy is trusted, its provenance is well established, and its complete security is ensured. On the other hand, optimal utilization of data requires governance and openness. To ensure this, you should consider a layered approach to make data available in a manner for which its security, governance and confidentiality is not compromised.

3. Keep Your Data Clean and Up-to-Date

It’s very hard to analyze and extract something valuable from poorly organized, inaccurate, dated information. Therefore, you should develop clear mechanisms regarding the collection, storage, and analysis of data. Make sure all your data inputs are centralized in a single location for easy integration and regular updates. This way, your employees can gather the most recent information from a single place and make more accurate decisions.

4. Create Agile Multi-Disciplinary Teams

People, not tools drive the culture of a company. Therefore, in order to create a fact-driven work environment, businesses should invest in the skills of their people. Make sure that each team contains at least one member who’s well-skilled and experienced at data analytics.

5. Develop Reward Mechanisms

Sharing data successes is important to inspire others and develop a healthy, competitive, data-driven culture. To share the results achieved by a team or an individual, you can use different communication tools, such as videos and blogs, organize special gatherings, or share the results on your company portal. Make sure that you choose initiatives that are in line with your company’s long-term strategy. For example, if your objective is to penetrate new markets or gather more information about your target customers, you should acknowledge and reward the initiatives that help you make progress towards these strategic goals.

Unless communicated across an organization, data remains worthless. To extract the right information and insights from structured and unstructured data, it is important that you focus your efforts on cultivating a data-driven culture that empowers employees with the resources and skills they need to leverage data and obtain the right information at the right time to make more accurate decisions.

About the Author:

Ronald van Loon is Advisory Board Member and Big Data & Analytics course advisor for Simplilearn. He will contribute his expertise towards the rapid growth of Simplilearn’s popular Big Data & Analytics category.

If you would like to read more from Ronald van Loon on the possibilities of Big Data and IoT, please click “Follow” and connect on LinkedIn and Twitter.

This article was originally posted on Simplilearn

Source: 5 Ways Businesses Can Cultivate a Data-Driven Culture | Ronald van Loon | Pulse | LinkedIn

Attract and Retain Millennial Employees with Workplace Technology

Attract and Retain Millennial Employees with Workplace Technology

Written by Atif Siddiqi, Founder and CEO at Branch Messenger.

Business People Group Talking

When was the last time you saw a Millennial take out a piece of paper and write a note on it?

It probably took you a moment to think about that. It’s because Millennials usually take notes on their phones. They are the first generation to grow up using mobile devices and technology as their primary means of communication. As they enter the workforce, they expect to be able to communicate using technology and in the most modern ways possible. They want to have the newest, bestest technologies that allow them to operate as efficiently as possible.

How do you get these uber-efficient employees in the door and keep them? I’ll explain three ways to figure out the specific workplace technologies you will need and then cover four workplace technologies Millennials expect from all employers.

3 ways to figure out the workplace technologies you need:

  • Ask your current Millennial employees which technologies they are already using on the job. Your best source of figuring out what a Millennial wants is from other Millennials. Once you know the technologies they are already using, evaluate whether or not it would be appropriate to officially roll out the technologies to every worker.
  • Literally no Millennials in your workforce? Ask your peers in similar workplaces which technologies they are using and couldn’t live without. Once again, evaluate if it would be a good fit for your specific business and then implement!
  • Visit the app store and view the top apps in the category it is obvious your company is behind-the-times with. Read the reviews. Download a few free ones that people are generally raving about. Give them a spin yourself and then decide which ones are the best in your opinion. Ask a few of your employees to download your top picks, use them for a bit, and then report back to you which ones they thought were the best. Pick the one the vast majority of employees are now chomping at the bit to use and implement throughout your company.

4 workplace technologies Millennials expect:

  • Mobile devices

Millennials want to be able to access information at a moment’s notice while they are working and not near a stationary resource (computer or phone). Mobile devices allow them to quickly find the information required so they don’t need to drop everything, walk to the front of the store, log into a computer, and look it up.

  • Digital communication platform

Millennials are used to chatting with their peers in group messages. They want to be able to pick up their mobile devices and instantly communicate with their co-workers.

  • Digital scheduling

Remember that whole Millennials-take-notes-on-their-phones thing I previously mentioned? Same goes for their schedules. They put their schedules on their phones and set reminders. Make it easier for them to automatically access their schedule by posting it on an internal website or using a scheduling app.

  • Wi-Fi

Technology is basically useless without access to the internet. Wi-Fi is necessary so that employees don’t need to use their own data networks while at work, which are often not the same speed and spotty for service. With company Wi-Fi, everyone has equal access.

By going through these steps, you are sure to have the technologies in place to entice Millennial workers.

About the Author:

Atif Siddiqi, Founder and CEO at Branch Messenger

Atif Siddiqi is the Founder and CEO at Branch Messenger, a free team messaging and engagement app for shift workers. An LA native, Atif relocated the company to Minnesota to participate in the TechStars & Target Retail Accelerator Program. Branch has thousands of employees that rely on the app from companies like Target, Taco Bell, AutoZone, 24 Hour Fitness and more.

You may contact Atif on LinkedIn and Twitter.


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marcus evans: Professional business training

Employee Engagement: 27-29 September 2017, Amsterdam, Netherlands — Press Release

Marcus Evans: Employee Engagement | The HR Tech Weekly®

Amsterdam, July 18, 2017 — Employee engagement has a direct impact on employee branding, an engaged employee will always praise his company and its achievement and can become a brand ambassador.

Companies increase their efforts to better understand the reasons beyond employee engagement. Although multiple tools can be used ranking from basic surveys to sophisticated games or applications, not many companies combine their findings with HR data about employee absenteeism, turnover rate and other data to gain a deeper insight about employee engagement trends. Predictive analytics can also help companies determine the source of hire sources, evaluate the ROI of employees and optimise the hiring process.

The Employee Engagement conference organised by marcus evans on the 27th-29th of September, 2017 in Amsterdam will provide a pan-European insight in employee engagement and its development. It is a unique opportunity for Employee Engagement specialists and Human Resources Experts to discuss the challenges of engaging employees. Practical cases will be presented to highlight the link between employee engagement and the organisational performance, the impact of internal communication, leadership and organisational culture on employee engagement. This conference will also explore the means by which we can guarantee employee engagement through the entire employee life cycle and turn it into employee experience.

Attending this premier marcus evans conference will enable you to:

  • Improve the employer branding and communicate about the company’s values to the employees
  • Put the company’s culture at the service of employee engagement
  • Create a sense of belonging among the employees
  • Use predictive analytics to improve employee engagement
  • Maintain employee engagement after a M&A or a strategic transformation

About marcus evans Group:

marcus evans Group | The HR Tech Weekly®

marcus evans specialises in the research and development of strategic events for senior business executives. From our international network of 63 offices, marcus evans produces over 1000 event days a year on strategic issues in corporate finance, telecommunications, technology, health, transportation, capital markets, human resources and business improvement.

Above all, marcus evans provides clients with business information and knowledge which enables them to sustain a valuable competitive advantage and makes a positive contribution to their success.


If you would like to receive more information regarding this event please email Constandinos Vinall at ConstandinosV@marcusevanscy.com or visit the website here.