Employee Experience Is New Way to Win Talent War: ServiceNow Research

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Digital experiences outside of work have made life simpler, easier and more convenient. Today’s top talent is demanding the same at work, and global research of 500 human resources executives across 20 industries reveals that providing excellent employee experiences, enabled by technology, are becoming the new way to win the never-ending war for talent.

“The best talent today expects great digital experiences at work,” said Pat Wadors, Chief Talent Officer, ServiceNow. “Top talent can work anywhere, and they are choosing companies that embrace advanced technology to make work simpler, faster, better. A fundamental shift is under way, and top human resources leaders are creating a new employee experience, realizing that great benefits and cool office perks are no longer enough. Employees want great digital experiences that make work, work better for them.”

Pat Wadors, Chief Talent Officer, ServiceNow
Pat Wadors, Chief Talent Officer, ServiceNow

Insights into this digital transformation of the employee experience were released by ServiceNow in “The New CHRO Agenda: Employee Experience Drives Business Value.” “The New CHRO Agenda” report details the Chief Human Resource Officer (CHRO’s) journey to greater impact; how the employee experience is evolving to impact business results and the impact of an HR function’s capabilities on retaining and attracting the best talent.

From Tactical Manager to Strategic Leader

Over the last three years, CHROs have seen their responsibilities move beyond the core responsibilities of delivering HR services, record keeping and attracting top talent, to a broader role in leading key strategy discussions around advancing corporate goals, driving digital initiatives, and contributing to business performance. 

  • Nearly two-thirds (64%) of CHROs say it’s their responsibility to drive corporate performance.
  • CHROs expect their success to be defined by the consumer-like employee experience. In fact, more than half of CHROs (56%) say the ability to create a digital, consumerized employee experience will define their roles in three years, compared with just 6% who say traditional HR will define their role.
  • 66% of CHROs say the employee experience will drive quantifiable productivity gains across the business.
  • 44% of CHROs expect to be judged on their digitization success achieved not alone but by partnering with other C-level executives to set and manage strategy.

Digital Transformation of the Employee Experience

From how employees access services and information to how global teams collaborate, business as usual is being redefined for the digital era by a new breed of CHRO.

  • Three out of five CHROs say HR is now a driver of digital transformation, a top strategic priority for most enterprises.
  • 77%, or more than three in in four, of CHROs say they expect to see improved employee experiences from digital transformation in the next three years.
  • 83% of CHROs say the employee experience is important to the organization’s success.
  • 68% of CHROs say that their HR technology allows them to improve employee experience.

Investing in the Modern Employee Experience

For employees, the workplace will become more personalized, predictive, and seamless. Their needs will be met through consumer-like digital interactions, such as push notifications for administrative work updates, recommendations for services based on recent actions, and instant answers to questions through chatbots that receive data from multiple departments.

  • 70% say the use of technology to foster a sense of community and healthy corporate culture is a goal.
  • In the next three years, almost half (48%) of CHROs will use an HR platform – not applications – that systematizes automation of HR process and collaboration, up from just 14% today.
  • A significant percentage of CHROs are budgeting for technologies (82% on cloud, 69% on social/collaboration, 65% on mobile, and 47% on function-specific applications) that will help them deliver superior experiences.

CHRO Leaders Show the Way

CHROs who are using technology to improve employee experience are winning the war for talent. The survey divides CHROs into a three-tiered model mapping CHRO-led digital transformation of HR functions, and the business overall. HR leaders taking advantage of more strategic investments fall into the top tier, Level 3.

  • 97% of Level 3s are much more successful in recruiting talent, vs. 80% of Level 2s and 53% of Level 1s.
  • 79% of Level 3s are much more successful at retaining talent, vs. 63% of Level 2s and 14% of Level 1s.
  • 84% of Level 3s report lower turnover than their peers, vs. 77% of Level 2s and 52% of Level 1s.
  • 63% of Level 3s successfully reskill their existing employees, vs. 58% of Level 2s and 41% of Level 1s.

Healthcare Leads, Financial Services Lags

Healthcare CHROs trend ahead of the pack in prioritizing superb HR experiences and building positive relationships.

  • 68% of healthcare CHROs say they are successful or highly successful in using technology to make it easier for employees to do their jobs, vs. 55% for non-healthcare industries.
  • Nearly three-fourths (72%) of healthcare CHROs said they are more likely to be successful at delivering HR experiences that match the technology that employees use in their personal lives, vs. 58% in other industries.

Financial services CHROs are more focused on creating an experience that meets individual needs rather than a sense of community and collaboration – and they’re lagging their industry peers in building a workforce that meets business objectives.

  • 54% of financial services CHROs say the use of technology to foster a sense of community and corporate culture is a core goal, vs. 72% in other industries.
  • 52% of financial services CHROs are less likely to agree that a platform that streamlines cross-functional collaboration would drive productivity and improve the employee experience, vs. 70% in other industries.
  • Only 28% of financial services CHROs say they have built a workforce to meet future business objectives, compared with 42% in other industries.

How HR Can Be the Rock Star of Employee Experience

Written by Deepak Bharadwaj, General Manager of the HR Business Unit at ServiceNow

In 1981, James Hetfield, an unknown vocalist and guitarist responded to an advertisement posted by drummer Lars Ulrich in a local newspaper. From this meeting, Metallica was born.

As a huge fan of Metallica, my ears are still ringing from the last concert I attended in San Francisco’s Golden Gate park. Every time I see them live I walk away amazed at their talent. For many, Metallica is the epitome of heavy metal, and while many of their peers from the 80s and 90s have faded away, Metallica is going strong. They released their tenth albumin2016 and have sold more than 58 million albums, a number only exceeded by the Beatles and Garth Brooks.

I’ll spare you the rest of the history lesson, but I hope you will indulge me on what makes this band so popular: What may sound like loud noise to some is a four-person group coming together, each with their own style and backgrounds to create a finely orchestrated metal experience.

HR leaders can draw inspiration from Metallica and its frontman, James Hetfield. The key to a successful organization isn’t much different than what makes a band successful. A band finds success when they can pull all of the different parts together – lead guitar, rhythm guitar, bass guitar, drums and vocals – all working in perfect harmony creating that sublime listening experience for the audiophile. Similarly, an organization finds success when all departments providing service to employees – IT, facilities, finance, legal and of course HR come together to create that unparalleled end-to-end employee experience. And HR must be in front with responsibility and accountability for this outcome.

Take onboarding for example: HR helps set an employee up with their tax forms, direct deposits, benefits packages and employment contracts, IT also has to to provision their laptops and accounts, while the office manager helps with a desk area and whatever other supplies may be needed. It is hard to imagine an effective onboarding process that does not bring all of these departmental services together. Yet, for many years HR has operated in a silo with little interaction with other departments leading to often disjointed processes. But employee expectations in the workplace have changed significantly, and HR can no longer ignore collaborating with others outside HR. It takes all departments working together to provide a positive and exceptional employee service experience.

While Hetfield wrote the lyrics to “Enter Sandman,” it was lead guitarist Kirk Hammett who did the riffs. The end result was a song referred to as one of Metallica’s best moments and earned them a place on Rolling Stone Magazine’s “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” list. Its time for HR to create that well-orchestrated masterpiece.

Before we get into the “how” let’s begin with the “why.”

Employees first (♪ Nothing Else Matters ♪)

I’ll start with the backbone of the organization, its employees. When you look at the employee experience, one of the most important things to consider is employee interactions with HR and other departments that provide service. If employees are frustrated with the level of service they experience, then something needs to change.

Today’s employees want their experiences at work to be just as easy as ordering a Lyft or shopping on Amazon or booking an AirBnb or filling out their tax returns with Intuit’s Turbotax. They want easy and fast access to information without having to spend time searching or having to ask around. They want to be able to make a request and receive regular updates and reminders if further action is needed, but with little to no exposure to what’s going on “behind the scenes” to fulfill the request. From their standpoint, providing this level of service across the enterprise should be a top priority for organizations and they look to HR to own that end-to-end experience for important life events such as having a baby, a promotion, a transfer or onboarding. Yet, a recent study ServiceNow commissioned of 1,850 business leaders shows that HR is the department most in need of a “reboot.” Not only that, the study also revealed that the three most inefficient processes also happen to be HR-related – employee relocations, leaves of absence, and onboarding.

Enough is enough, it’s time for a change.

HR is the Lead Vocal ( Master of Puppets )

When James Hetfield was asked about Metallica’s hit Master of Puppets and what it meant for the band he explained that they were “definitely peaking” and that the album had “the sound of a band really gelling, really learning how to work well together.” Drawing inspiration from that massive hit of a song, I’d like to suggest that given the employee expectations in today’s world, it is time for HR organizations to begin “peaking” and reaching new levels of effectiveness by coordinating across the organization and “gelling” the various departments and processes. By doing so, HR becomes the lead vocalist and leader of the employee service experience, making sure processes and tasks get completed with complete end-to-end visibility.

Almost all employee life-event services provided by HR touch other departments. With better cross-departmental coordination, companies are sure to see increases in efficiency, greater visibility into processes, and overall happier and more productive employees.

Here are four steps for organizations to achieve cross-departmental success:

  • Clean up shop. Before anything, each department needs to clean up their act and get organized. HR cannot successfully bring departments together if individual departments are bogged down in managing requests in an unstructured manner.
  • Unite departments. Work towards a “team” approach by getting all departments involved. Welcome ideas and have open discussions about how departments can work together better to provide the best end-to-end employee service experience.
  • Constant communication. Provide a way to communicate back and forth effectively, between departments and with employees. Be transparent and open with departments as you help guide them through processes while reminding them of the benefits to their group and the organization.
  • Ongoing optimization. Use analytics and employee feedback to determine what is working and what can be improved. This should be an ongoing process that is constantly evolving and proactively looking for ways to be more effective.

While HR may not officially belong to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, HR organizations can certainly be rock stars within their company. By bringing departments together and working as a team, not in silos, HR can lead the way in improving the employee service experience.

The Secret to Improving the Employee Experience Has Nothing to Do With Quirky Benefits

The Secret to Improving the Employee Experience Has Nothing to Do With Quirky Benefits

The Secret to Improving the Employee Experience Has Nothing to Do With Quirky Benefits

We’re in the midst of a global productivity crisis. The IMF estimates that if productivity growth had followed its pre-2008 financial crisis trend, overall GDP in advanced economies would be about 5% higher than today. However, to blame everything on the financial crisis is misleading. The overall trend in productivity growth is stagnant and has been on a downward trend for the last several years, costing the US a staggering $450-$550 billion a year. These national figures raise concern for business leaders as they battle to achieve growth in an unstable political and economic climate, looking for ways to ensure that their entire business is working as efficiently as possible, from the top to the bottom.

You’d think this would be simple but recent research conducted amongst 2,000 Americans for the report ‘Why your workforce isn’t working’, found that only 37% of respondents think they’re highly productive in their role. There is clearly much room for improvement.

Positive experiences beget productivity

 According to the research, 78% of people say they are more productive at work when their working experiences are positive. This jumps to 92% for younger people or millennials – a generation that will make up 50% of the workforce by 2020. Employers need to stop and listen to them. Clearly, driving positive workplace experiences is important but what does that actually mean?

The workforce experience can be viewed very similarly to the customer experience. It’s the journey an individual employee makes throughout their contact with a particular organization, from initial recruitment discussions, through to being a fully-fledged worker and also their exit should they leave. It’s a fast-moving and evolving journey, with no-one person’s journey being the same as another. It’s vital that organizations can be agile and flexible to these needs, so that they improve the experience and ultimately drive productivity. But how do you go about it?

Quirky benefits don’t yield expected results

 First and foremost, employers need to build a stronger connection with employees. The research suggests that at present there is a large disconnect between the two, particularly about what positive workforce experiences look like. Forty per cent of business owners believe free food, beer fridges, ping-pong tables and bean bags are important to employees. Perhaps understandably given the publicity that high-profile and successful brands like Google, Facebook and Apple get for such ‘quirky’ benefits. But when asked, employees across all age groups said benefits such as ping pong tables (5%) or company outings (9%) add relatively little value to their workforce experience. This disinterest for quirky benefits is even true in cities where ping-pong tables have become commonplace, like San Francisco where only 4.2% of respondents rated it as a valuable addition to their day-to-day workplace experience. In fact, more than half of respondents (53%) felt that having games in the office are distracting and actually decrease productivity.

Are you asking the right questions?

 Instead of making assumptions, employers should be asking their employees directly what would improve their experience and help them be more productive. As it stands, more than half of people have never been asked this by their employer, with just 12% being asked on a regular basis.  Just as there is business value in listening to customers, there is just as much value in listening to employees. And don’t assume that HR’s trusted tool, the annual survey is doing the job. Twenty percent of those we spoke to said it wasn’t a benefit to them or a suitable catalyst for business transformation.

Invest deeply in flexibility and appreciation

 Once employers take the time to engage with their employees, they are likely to find clear recommendations on how to improve productivity. The research found that two key requirements stood out. Unsurprisingly, the first being flexible and remote working, with 81% stating this is very important and highly valued; particularly when it comes to balancing the varying demands of their professional and private lives. The second, being valued and recognized in their role. Two-thirds (66%) of people cited this as the most important aspect of their day to day employment – not pay rises or better benefits which bear a cost, but being valued and having recognition is what’s a high value, cost-free option for companies.

As major economic shifts continue to happen, it’s never been more important focus on productivity. While economic leaders and governments can consider the value of national fiscal measures, individual businesses can play their role too. And fortunately, as this research shows, it doesn’t have to be difficult. The key to success, as in many aspects of business, is to get to know the people you’re trying to target better and to build personalized positive experiences around them. And much like when building a successful customer experience, data and technology plays a clear role when it comes to getting your workforce working.

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

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

People Analytics Is Core to the Future of the HR Function

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Street. Animals. Birds. Doves. An image from https://www.pexels.com.

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

A man with iPhone 6 Plus. An image from https://www.pexels.com.

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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Performance Management in Agile Teams and How to Improve It

Performance Management in Agile Teams and How to Improve It

We’re living at an exciting time in the history of work. Everything from the way we design our workplaces to entrenched ideas of organizational hierarchy are being questioned and even rejected in favor of new processes, designs and ideas which favor flexibility, customization and, above all, agility.

One such ingrained concept which is being totally revamped is the idea of the team. Rather than the traditionally static top down teams, knowledge intensive organizations are reformulating this concept to better fit their fast paced environment.

The great thing about this reconceptualization of the team is that there is not one but several new models which are being taken and adapted to fit the needs of the organization. Customization and experimentation are key.

team-network-infographic
Source Deloitte University Press

However, the unique characteristics of these teams also means that they don’t necessarily fit into standard HR processes, especially the annual performance appraisal. Traditional top down annual reviews were created for static teams in which managers, peers and reports stay the same and an individual’s year long performance is assessed. The challenge for HR will be to redesign performance appraisals so that they can be customized for each teams’ needs.

Here are some common characteristics of these new types of teams which HR will have to take into account:

Self-steering

The main idea behind these new types of teams is to increase agility. One of the most important parts of this is keeping decision-making at the team level. Rather than having to wait for approval, these teams have the ability to act fast facilitating a more flexible response to sudden industry changes. These sudden changes in direction also require flexibility in goal-setting and constant feedback to help get everyone on track.

Cross-collaborative

These teams consist of people with different areas of expertise, thereby, both enabling each member to leverage their strengths to accomplish team goals and facilitating knowledge-sharing within the team. For example, Spotify has created its own grids of employees based on different groups, tribes, chapters, etc. of skills. Watch this video to see how their system works. With everyone bringing a different skill to the team in order to reach a common goal, feedback is key, not only from team leads, but also from peers.

Ad hoc

These may not necessarily be static teams but can also be project based groups which form and disband on a needs basis. For example, gaming company Valve is famous for allowing their employees complete freedom to form and move between groups based on their interest in a project, even providing them with rolling desks which can be moved along with their owner.

Creating psychological safety in teams

According to Juan Castillo, Scrum master at tech company Impraise, no matter what type of team you have, creating psychological safety is the most important element you need to create a successful team. This is difficult to build as safety requires trust, which can only come when people feel comfortable sharing ideas or raising concerns without being judged. The term psychological safety was originally coined by Harvard Business School Professor Amy Edmondson and later found to be the top quality needed for a successful team during Google’s Project Aristotle study. Read more about psychological safety.

How can HR create a performance management process that fits the needs of these new types of teams and, at the same time, fosters trust?

Performance management in agile teams

Rather than trying to fit these unique types of teams into a traditional annual performance appraisal framework, allow teams to customize their own performance management cycles which are sprint or project based. This could include:

Sprint or project based performance appraisals: Rather than basing performance reviews on year long performance, allow teams to decide when performance assessments are most needed. In the past, pen and paper reviews took hours for HR to set up and then distribute the results. Using a performance management tool gives team leads the power to set up reviews in minutes eliminating hassle.

Empower your people: The best people to receive development advice from are those you work with the most. If your people move frequently between ad hoc and project based teams they may miss the opportunity for valuable insights from temporary team members. Allow your employees to take ownership of their development by giving them the flexibility to choose who they want to receive feedback from during their performance appraisal.

Continuous feedback: In these teams everyone has their different field of expertise but the point is not to keep this knowledge separated. Agile teams present a unique opportunity for upskilling and growing your talent organically. Make the most out of this by facilitating continuous 360-degree feedback outside of performance reviews.

Feedback moments: Creating specific moments during which people share feedback with each other can help train positive feedback behavior within teams. The more people are prompted to give feedback the more they’ll become comfortable with it and then begin sharing it on their own.

As Castillo shared with us, this has to start at the top level. As a scrum master he regularly asks his team for feedback after retrospectives to see how they can be improved so that everyone benefits. Leading by example can show the rest of the team that it’s ok to ask for and receive feedback.

Another important moment during which feedback is essential is during sprint demos. It’s not only important that agile teams share the work they’ve accomplished with other teams, but it’s essential that they’re also able to receive external feedback, especially from individuals in customer success or sales who are working directly with clients.

Finally, a major part of creating a successful and comfortable environment is by taking time to celebrate success. Let people know that their hard work won’t go unnoticed.

You may be wondering, if you give these teams too much flexibility over their performance management process, how can you ensure alignment across the organization?

HR’s role in creating a self-service performance management system

While teams should be given the flexibility to choose the performance management style that works best for the way their team works, there are three things HR will need to do to facilitate this self selection based environment:

Competencies: Create core competencies which will help you align and compare team performance across the organization. Likewise, having a library of competencies will set the standard for new leaders learning how to best guide their teams.

Technology: It’s up to you to choose a performance management tool that allows each individual group, team tribe, etc. to customize their own process within the same platform. Impraise is one option which has been chosen by over 100, mainly tech companies, including Atlassian, Fandango and Shopify.

Data: Using one platform allows you to collect, analyze and compare the performance of different teams on core competencies. Use this data to gain insight into the health of your teams. Rate of feedback exchange within a team can be a great indicator of psychological safety.

There can be no more one size fits all performance management process. Instead, it’s time to build an agile process that caters to the needs of agile teams.


If you want to share this article the reference to Steffen Maier and The HR Tech Weekly® is obligatory.

How Technology Can Help to Prevent Workplace Stress

We spend over eight hours a day, five days a week at work.

Some of us may even spend more of our waking hours with our colleagues than our families.

It’s therefore important that our working lives leave us happy and fulfilled.

Sadly, studies show that one in four of us will suffer from a mental health condition in our lifetime.

Spending so much of our waking time at work, it’s inevitable that work will affect our mental health.

Too much pressure or long-term stress can cause employees to burn out, leaving them with less energy to function in and out of work.

Too little work – or a lack of stimulation – can also lead to stress. Employees feel under-fulfilled, like they’re wasting their time, and want to be anywhere but at work.

The more stressed employees are, the less work they get done, and the more businesses suffer.

Embracing technological innovations puts employees back in control of how they spend their time at work and greatly reduces the risks of stress and burnout.

Here are four ways technology can make employees feel more fulfilled, and help to prevent workplace stress.

Organize and coordinate schedules

Trying to find a time when a team can meet to discuss something important can often take as long – sometimes even longer – than the meeting itself.

If it’s an important or last-minute meeting, trying to get everyone together can cause employees huge amounts of stress.

There’s always a risk of someone being double-booked because they didn’t check their calendar before agreeing to a suggested time.

This then causes more stress because the meeting needs to be rescheduled.

Calendar connectivity means that this process can be automated, preventing double-bookings and avoiding any stress the process could cause.

Instead of long email chains or back-and-forth phone calls, the person organizing the meeting can tell the software whom they need in the meeting. It can then suggest a list of times when everyone is free to meet. If calendars are set up for bookable resources such as meeting rooms or parking spaces, it can incorporate this into its calculations too.

Connecting an employees’ calendar to HR software also means that they don’t need to switch between applications to keep track of their schedules.

Speed up and streamline complicated processes

On the surface, organizing interviews seems like an easy process, but with so many candidates and interview panellists to coordinate, it quickly becomes laborious.

Hiring managers can spend as many as 20 hours a month organizing interviews.

Automating this process gives hiring managers more time to spend on other tasks, saves interview panellists from having to constantly flit between their calendar and emails, and allows candidates to book their interviews discreetly.

Another process that can be automated is the organization of staff appraisals. In large organizations, this process can be particularly time-consuming.

However, when employees are calendar connected, software can work out the best times for an employee to meet their manager and automatically add the appointments to their calendar. No matter what size their team is, the process is instant.

Offering training programs for employees to expand their skills further breaks up the tedium of the daily routine.

Training programs don’t just have to take place at work, either.

There are thousands of online courses out there, and many of them are free.

Many industries also have their own courses or week-long events that employees can attend to network and get a change of scenery.

Giving employees new ways to learn and grow helps to spark new ideas that they can bring back to the workplace.

Learning new skills is also an effective way to prevent stagnation and keep employees interested in their work.

Monitor employee wellbeing

Looking after employees is a key part of HR.

New technology means HR teams can track how employees feel and gain an insight into how different teams work.

They can also encourage employees to get up and get moving by offering incentives such as fitness trackers.

Communication tools such as Slack give employees the opportunity to keep in touch whether they work in the same building or different parts of the country.

Tools like this can be key for managers and HR staff to keep informed of how employees are getting along, particularly if they work remotely full- or part-time.

Let employees take control of their schedules

The more things a person has floating around in their mind, the more difficult it is for them to organize their thoughts.

When employees have a lot to do and nowhere to organize their time, it’s inevitable that something will be forgotten.

Taking advantage of technology allows them to use it for everything from creating to-do lists in Trello to tracking customer queries in Zendesk.

Giving employees somewhere they can make a note of everything they have to do means that they spend less time trying to remember everything and more time getting things done.

The technology you provide for your employees matters

Richard Branson once said that if you “look after your staff. They’ll look after your customers. It’s that simple.”

When employees feel overwhelmed or overworked, they’re less productive and less able to help a business to grow.

Employees are what make a business a success.

Choosing the right people is crucial, but that’s only part of it.

If you don’t look after them, they won’t be as good to your business as they could be.

By nurturing employees, making them feel appreciated, and giving them opportunities to learn and grow, it not only benefits them, but the business, too.

The more knowledge employees acquire in their industry, the more they can use this to create a better customer experience and increase company revenue.

This then means the company can grow and increase its profits faster.

Everyone wins.


Source: How Technology Can Help to Prevent Workplace Stress | Cronofy Calendar API

About Cronofy

Cronofy connects HR software to users’ calendars via a unified calendar API.

To discover how calendar sync can save you and your users time and money, and help to hire the best candidates, watch our Real-Time Scheduling video.

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

Charlene Li

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can find Charlene Li on LinkedIn and on Twitter.

You can find Greg Morton on LinkedIn or on Twitter.

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

Banner HR TechXpo 2017

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

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

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

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


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

Employee Experience & 3 More Reasons Why the Future Requires HR

Employee Experience & 3 More Reasons Why the Future Requires HR

HR

HR departments are the last thing fast growing companies pay attention to. In the race to become lean hypergrowth machines, many executives in the tech industry see HR simply as a nice to have, if not a symbol of the corporate culture they want to avoid. While it’s become common to start off without an HR department, now we’re seeing fast growing companies reach past the 50 person mark without any formal HR in sight.

With the onslaught of HR tech tools many companies are opting instead to buy solutions that will take care of everything from recruitment & onboarding to payroll and L&D. This is not only a trend affecting startups, bigger companies are now beginning to use HR tools to decentralize many processes placing them into the hands of managers and even the users themselves.

Unfortunately, HR has been relegated to the equivalent of the office hall monitor for way too long. Is this the end of the HR profession? Are we moving towards an age when HR can be completely replaced by tech?

What Tools Can Do:

People want choices. They want to be able to have some sort of control over the processes that affect them and not have to deal with paperwork or waiting. In this fast moving digital age there is an app for everything, including traditional HR functions such as: recruitment, onboarding, payroll, perks and vacation tracking, performance management and L&D. Self-service is becoming a trend, not only in our personal lives but also in the workplace.

Is HR Still Needed?

The answer is, more than ever. The millennial workforce is much more demanding than any other generation. What’s more, they’re much less likely to stick around if their demands aren’t met. A recent article by Gallup demonstrated that millennials are the generation that’s least engaged in the workplace and most likely to switch jobs, with six in ten saying they would be open to new job opportunities. Today with new tech tools that help your competitors recruit, even passive candidates, there’s no time to lose.

This means that employers need to create a more hands on unique experience to keep young talent engaged starting the day they come in the door. This includes curating and integrating tools into customized processes to make them more efficient, employee focused and reflect a company’s unique employer brand. Ultimately, tech tools are facilitators, not solutions. It’s now HR’s job to design a new type of organization that caters to the needs of its employees. Here are four ways the role of HR will change due to the rise of HR tech:

Creating the Employee Experience

Creating the ultimate employee experience has been recognized in Deloitte’s Human Capital Trends Report for the past few years as the key to attracting, retaining and engaging talent. No employee experience program should be the same. To not only attract talent but to attract the right talent, it’s essential to create a unique employer brand. With the rise of websites like Glassdoor, the more time HR spends creating a great experience for current employees, the more likely they’ll become brand ambassadors for the company.

Likewise, your people are different, give them options… but not too many. One of the most important roles Deloitte foresaw in its 2016 report was the need for HR to become a curator for this overly connected generation. With so many options for eLearning tools, communication channels and perks available, sometimes what this generation needs is a guide who can select and whittle down the vast array of distractions and choices presented on a daily basis.

While traditional HR functions may be moving more towards user oriented self-service, it’s HR’s job to choose tools that meet their people’s needs and work best within the organizational framework they’ve designed.

Organizational Architect

Another key aspect of creating the ultimate employee experience is to reinvent and rehabilitate decades old processes that employees distrust or even hate. Performance appraisals are one such process that have often gotten a bad rap. In traditional stack ranking style, they were unabashedly used to decide who would stay and who would be shown the door.

Today many HR departments are starting the process of rehabilitating performance management by getting rid of or reinventing the process to make it more focused on employee growth and development. Cementing the change they’re replacing reviews with employee driven feedback interactions, more frequent coaching conversations and even the opportunity to give upward feedback – a major departure from the so called ‘rank and yank’ system.

Culture

Each company has its own unique culture, whether it reflects what executives envisioned is another question. It’s not necessarily the job of HR to create their company’s culture but to take its values and mission and infuse them throughout all processes within the organization. A company’s core values are often described as its moral compass. As many recent cases show, this should not be taken lightly.

After fast growing tech company Zenefits was charged with taking short cuts on online broker license certifications they came out with a statement announcing that, “Zenefits now is focused on developing business practices that will ensure compliance with all regulatory requirements, and making certain that Zenefits operates with integrity as its No. 1 value.”

However, what must be remembered is that words and reality can be two different things. Your top leadership can profess a company’s values but you need a constant reinforcement of those values at every level of the organization to ensure they’ll really be followed. As the architect behind all people processes, putting HR in charge of strengthening and infusing values (with full support from top leadership) is the best way to ensure they’re fully integrated into your culture.

Translating People Data

Employee experience is not something that can be designed and put in place for life. Just like companies that aren’t constantly innovating their product, those which are not innovating their employee experience will lose out in the talent market. That’s why HR must create an always on engagement culture by frequently measuring and analyzing. People data can tell you when engagement levels are low but it can’t tell you what the root of the problem is. This is where HR must learn to identify the triggers through processes like employee journey mapping and then effectively communicate to executives the changes which need to be made through storytelling.

Conclusion

The great thing about the rise of HR tech is that it takes away more of the administrative tasks HR has had to deal with in the past and leaves professionals with more time to transform their organizations into great places to work. The challenge HR will face is adopting a new way of thinking about their profession and arming themselves with the tools they’ll need to bring their department and company forward in the future. For more info join our free employee experience email course.


If you want to share this article the reference to Steffen Maier and The HR Tech Weekly® is obligatory.

Give Your HR Department a Boost with SMS Texting

Give Your HR Department a Boost with SMS Texting

Insert Your Design Here

When you implement SMS texting for HR departments, you will see how powerful this tool is for recruiting and training. With the ability to reach employees and potential recruits in an instant, text messaging has many useful applications. In a competitive business world, you need to give your HR department an edge when it comes to finding the best employees for your agency. Through the use of automated SMS, the process of recruitment will be revolutionized.

Send Updated Information to Jobseekers

Keywords are the best way to advertise jobs within your company on job boards. This gives you permission to send marketing texts to those that have signed up by keyword to learn more about the jobs you have advertised. Whenever there is a new position, you can send out a text to those people already want to work for you. When you have new information to share or a job that just opened up, a quick text to potential employees can help you fill the void faster.

Collect Information Through Text Messaging

Embedded links are simple to send through text messaging. Once a candidate is interested in a job, you can send out a link so that you can get the information you need to process their application further. This process can be automated, which will reduce the amount of time your HR employees have to spend on collecting applications and ensuring they are complete. Your HR department can focus on less tedious tasks, and the process of gathering applications will be streamlined.

Set Up New Employees for Work

Once you hire an employee, getting them ready to work on their first day takes some paperwork. You can get your employee setup to work by utilizing SMS texting to share information. You can even send out an offer for a job through texting, or you can ask for additional paperwork to be filled out. When you have employees who will need computer access, a phone line and email set up, this can all be done ahead of time and you can inform them through text messaging.

Organize Interviews, Meetings or Trainings Through Text Messaging

When you use text messaging to contact a potential employee for an interview, it can become much easier to schedule. If you have a large group of people you need to gather together for an important meeting, a quick text message to attendees can simplify scheduling. When employees have to attend a necessary training, a quick reminder text to let your staff know the training is about to begin can ensure that your staff are properly trained. For scheduling and reminder purposes, SMS texting is an essential tool to streamline communication within your company.

SMS Texting to Communicate with Everyone in the Company

It’s easy to reach your employees when you implement SMS texting for your company. Most of your employees will have a cell phone that can receive texts, and most text messages are read within three minutes. Whether you have a weather emergency and you need to close, or there is a security risk on the property, you’ll be able to reach your employees right away through text messaging.

Text messaging allows your HR department to have an edge when it comes to recruitment and communication. Through SMS texting, you will be able to provide information to new recruits, and make sure that all necessary employees are reminded of training. To streamline communication, SMS texting is the key.

About the Author:

Ken Rhie, CEO of Trumpia

Ken Rhie is the CEO of Trumpia, which earned a reputation as the most complete SMS solution including user-friendly user interface and API for mobile engagement, Smart Targeting, advanced automation, enterprise, and cross-channel features for both mass texting and landline texting use cases. Mr. Rhie holds an MBA degree from Harvard Business School. He has over 30 years of experience in the software, internet, and mobile communications industries.


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