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4 Common Mistakes Uber Made & How Companies Can Overcome Them

Smith Rock

The recent news that Uber Founder Travis Kalanick will be stepping down as CEO hasn’t come as much of a shock to the public. A number of scandals rocked the hypergrowth company this year, revealing the toxic organizational culture that has grown internally. The scandal that began Uber’s spiral downward came on February 19 when Susan Fowler, a former engineer, wrote about her Kafkaesque experience at the company.

Sadly, this is not an isolated story. The most common reasons cited by women who leave the tech industry are a lack of opportunities for advancement, a hostile work environment and dissatisfaction with senior leadership. In fact, studies show that 40% of women with engineering degrees quit or never enter the profession, with the vast majority leaving due to hostile work environments. But how do so many young tech companies, like Uber, develop these types of toxic atmospheres and what can we learn from cases like these? Here are 4 common mistakes Uber made and how companies can overcome them:

  1. Toxic people

It’s not only technical skills that are needed in a manager, the ability to coach, empower and help employees develop are essential. It goes without saying that there are certain behaviors, including sexual harassment, which are never acceptable. So many tech companies are focused on holding onto their star employees but if you allow toxic people to remain and wreak havoc on your team (especially in management positions) you’ll create an environment in which your workforce will not be able to grow, innovate, share their ideas and ultimately will leave.

Don’t sacrifice your future top performers for current ones who are keeping others down. As Fowler explained, Uber had become a competitive “Game of Thrones” style environment in which people were undermining their superiors, peers and reports to get ahead. When a highly competitive and unethical work environment emerges, it’s even more likely that toxic behaviors will be overlooked or ignored. The fact is that these behaviors start somewhere.

Indeed, according to an article in Harvard Business Review, “It’s better to avoid a toxic employee than hire a superstar”, 46% of employees who have worked with toxic workers had a higher chance of being fired for misconduct. If this kind of behavior is silently accepted, especially when displayed by managers, it can lead others to emulate toxic and unethical practices resulting in the very common instances of “boy’s clubs” we see in the tech world.

This means that not only are toxic managers creating a hostile environment for female employees, they also implicitly encourage toxic norms to develop within the rest of the team.

Keeping on toxic employees can result in $12,500 in turnover costs. When taking into account litigation fees, fines, low employee morale and unhappy customers the resulting cost could be up to $25,000 or even $50,000. Though the study found that toxic workers are often high performers, with star employees only adding an extra $5,300 to a company’s bottom line, the long term consequences of keeping them on seriously outweigh the extra revenue they can bring in.

  1. Checks and balances

In her blog post, Fowler explained that she was given the choice to either be moved to a different team or possibly face receiving a negative performance review from her manager. As we also saw in the case brought by Ellen Pao against Kleiner Perkins in 2015, when women report an incident about their manager they’ll often face backlash in their performance review. If their manager (or managers) is the only one reviewing their performance, speaking out can easily result in the victim being blocked from any future opportunities.

Rather than simply having one top down review, allow each person to receive feedback from multiple perspectives including peers and reports. Having 360 degree reviews allows for checks and balances enabling people to receive a wider range of perspectives on their performance. Upward feedback is another essential and something that should also be taken into account. As Fowler mentioned in her blog post, her’s had not been the first complaint against the manager in question.

  1. Transparency

Another incident Fowler mentioned in her post was the denial of her request for a transfer, despite having two excellent past performance reviews. The first time her request was denied she was told first that there were “undocumented performance problems” blocking her transfer.  After waiting for the next round of performance reviews, she was informed that her review and score had been changed without her knowledge. For the review process to be fair and effective it must be completely transparent. Changing a performance review or including “undocumented performance problems” only creates mistrust and the potential for it to be used as a tool against, rather than for employees.

A number of studies have shown that bias and inequality can often become entrenched through vague feedback and intransparent performance review practices. A number of studies have shown that while men are described as confident and assertive, when women display the same behavior, they are more often described as abrasive, irrational and aggressive. What’s more, women are more likely to receive critical feedback without any suggestions of ways they could improve or develop.

Managers must be trained to give feedback that is truly constructive and objective. This includes basing comments on specific examples and facts, rather than vague character assessments. One way to do this is to focus on verbs rather than adjectives. Furthermore, it must always be actionable. If feedback doesn’t include some way the person could improve, it’s a sign that it could be based on subjective conclusions.

Employees should always be allowed to respond to feedback and be given complete information about the reasons why they were given a particular score. If a manager is genuinely giving their employee feedback that is meant for improvement this will be followed up by regular 1-on-1 coaching conversations.

Each individual’s past feedback and performance reviews should be kept in a documented report that is accessible to both the manager and the employee. This should stand as the official report which HR can reference in the event of an incident.

  1. HR

There should always be a direct way for employees to contact and speak freely with HR, without fearing potential backlash. This case clearly shows the power of the Glassdoor Age, with CEO Travis Kalanick now coming out to say he had no idea of what was going on in his company and calling on the Chief of Human Resources to investigate the claims.

Today employees have the power to bring everything from sexual harassment to unequal pay to the public view via personal blogs, Glassdoor and other platforms. In one day the case was already picked up by the New York Times, Fortune and Bloomberg. Rather than working against individuals, HR should be genuinely helping to stamp out negative practices and create a positive work atmosphere.

Sweeping this kind of behavior under the rug can impact a company in multiple ways: increase turnover (especially of female employees), deter talented female hires, lower engagement and morale, push back talented employees from advancing within the company, and ultimately impact a company’s bottom line with customers becoming disenchanted with the scandal which will sooner or later hit the headlines. Taking these points into account and learning from cases like Susan Fowler’s will help companies create a positive work culture that encourages, rather than undermines diversity.


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5 Ways HR Can Harness the Power of SMS

5 Ways HR Can Harness the Power of SMS

Today’s Human Resources departments have been irreversibly transformed by technology and the evolution of a global economy. These changes have brought about many key challenges facing modern HR departments, including management changes, organizational effectiveness, and development. The key to facing these challenges effectively is improving communications. Strong communication processes allow an HR department to manage change on the fly, know who to train and what to train them on, and improve the organization’s overall effectiveness.

Here are five ways you can use SMS to communicate better and solve some of the key challenges plaguing the department:

  1. Scheduling

Managing schedules is difficult, especially when they’re constantly changing. Using SMS is a great way to send out employee schedules quickly. You can send out notices if a particular shift needs to be filled, or if there’s an overtime request. Employees can even use short codes to request their schedule for a specific pay period or request a day off.

  1. Sending Meeting Reminders

If you’re trying to schedule annual benefits review meetings, performance reviews, or any other meetings with an individual or a group of employees, SMS reminders will ensure that they don’t slip through the cracks. A canceled or delayed meeting wastes time for both HR and the employees and delays the transfer of valuable information. A quick reminder helps keeps meetings run on-time with minimal additional costs, making it a simple way to improve efficiency.

  1. Forwarding Critical Messages

It’s important to have a plan for communicating messages that are time-sensitive. For example, if your office is closing for the day due to inclement weather, people need to know not to try braving the roads to come into the office. Perhaps there’s a memo that demands the attention of all employees or an all hands-on deck meeting announcement. No matter what the specifics are, you need a way to reliably reach out to everybody quickly.

With an open rate of 97%, SMS text messaging is a great option for your emergency communication process. Even more importantly, over 90% of SMS text messages are opened within three minutes or less. When you have a message that absolutely needs to get to everybody quickly, SMS can’t be beaten.

  1. Gathering Feedback

Gathering employee feedback is important for a couple of key reasons. First, you’ll have the chance to address employee concerns and increase retention. Just as importantly, you’ll be able to use employee and management feedback to determine skill and learning gaps in your organization. This information should be used to identify areas for an individual, departmental, and company-wide training.

Text messaging is the perfect platform to send out these surveys. They’re simple to put together and can be sent instantly. Employees can respond with quickly and multiple-choice questions can be tabulated on the fly.

  1. Motivating and Engaging

The happier your employees are, the harder they’ll work for you. If you have good company news to share, send it out in a mass text message. Throughout each week or month, send one or two quick motivational messages. You’ll be able to keep everybody informed and motivated without any hassle.

Creating employee schedules, gathering feedback, and motivating the workforce are some of your most important tasks. By following the advice laid out above, you can use SMS to make your job easier and help your department communicate with employees more effectively. In the end, this helps you improve the entire organization, from top to bottom.

For more information on how integrating an SMS software can boost HR communications, click here!


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

4 Ways Managers Can Promote Self-Motivation Amongst Their Team

I Love My Job

We are in an age when employers are waking up to the fact that pay and bonuses, while necessary, are only the basics that are needed to retain your workforce. To really inspire motivation, it is widely agreed by psychologists and experts (not to mention popularized in numerous TEDTalks) that the best way is to give employees more autonomy and ownership over their work, provide opportunities to grow and develop and inspire them with purpose.

This creates a much more challenging task for management. Aside from creating the right conditions, how can managers help inspire their team towards self-motivation?

Set goals but also milestones

Ever since Edwin Locke first revealed his 1960s research into goal setting and motivation, it has become clear that effective goal setting is a key to great leadership. Even with purpose, we all need something to work towards to boost our motivation and know we’re making progress. Aside from making your goals SMART, it’s important to recognize the value of setting milestones for each goal. Goals should be larger benchmarks which will take time (a month or quarter) to achieve. While having goals in place can boost motivation, sometimes your reports can become overwhelmed if the goal is too big. That’s where milestones come into play.

For each goal, encourage your reports to come up with the smaller milestones that will need to be completed to reach their goals. This can be as simple as:

Goal: Get 100 people to participate in our quarterly webinar

Milestones:

#1 Confirm speaker by …

#2 Create email list, invites and reminders by …

#3 Create banners for social media campaign by …

Breaking goals down into smaller steps will help your team members stay focused and give them direction if they become lost or overwhelmed. This will also facilitate the move towards greater autonomy.

Create regular learning opportunities

Constantly helping your employees develop is not only a priority for HR and managers, but also one of the main things top candidates are looking for in an employer. However, this doesn’t have to result in expensive external training.

Consider holding regular voluntary learning sessions during which you share tips and tricks on how you organize yourself, balance priorities, set goals, give feedback, or any advice you think could help your team optimize their work experience. Open it up for your team members to also share their own insights. Inviting inspirational speakers is great but, if you lack the budget or space, joining conferences and meetups or even sharing powerful TEDTalks can boost motivation and creativity amongst your workforce.

It’s ok to break the bad news, but provide a solution

While you should never avoid talking when things aren’t going well, you should always keep up the motivation to overcome these challenges by leveraging your team’s strengths. This shouldn’t be a generic “I believe we can do anything” talk, it should be honest. How do you do this? It’s essential that managers know the strengths of each of their teammates and are able to strategize about how each of these strengths can be put to use to overcome challenges as a team.

For example, if you’re not set to bring in your target number of leads by the end of the month, propose a new campaign that could utilize your PR team’s strength in event planning and your sales lead’s great oratory skills. Bonus points: Research by Gallup shows that recognizing your employee’s strengths boosts engagement and thereby also productivity, profitability and quality of work.

Allow employees to create their own purpose

Finding purpose in one’s work is one of the biggest drivers of motivation. If you really believe in what you’re doing and the impact it could have on society, you’re going to have the motivation to go the extra mile. Deloitte’s 2017 report on millennials emphasized a strong connection between employee loyalty and purpose and asserted that, “It is well documented that businesses with a genuine sense of purpose tend to demonstrate stronger long-term growth, and employees can usefully tap into this.”

For example, after experiencing a lack of development advice while working in the corporate sector, my manager, and one of the co-founders of our company, was motivated to create a solution that would enable managers and peers to provide more frequent and real-time performance feedback. Meanwhile, I joined the company with an interest in how our tool could be used to create more equitable workplaces.

Rather than encouraging me to focus only on the original purpose of our solution, my manager has encouraged my interest in this aspect of our product by supporting my proposals for research and projects on this topic. While both of us are motivated by the same purpose: providing greater access to performance feedback and growth, we are able to find motivation from different angles of the same purpose. Remember that a major benefit of diversity is the ability to see your solution from different angles. Taking each team member’s perspective into account and letting it take off has enriched our purpose and product.


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

Recognize Employee Achievements: 5 Ways how to give Positive Feedback | Featured Image

Recognize Employee Achievements: 5 Ways how to give Positive Feedback

Recognize Employee Achievements: 5 Ways how to give Positive Feedback | Main Image

Feedback shouldn’t only be given when there’s a problem. It’s also important to let your employees know they’re on the right track and that they’re valued within the company. Recognizing achievements can signal to other employees the types of skills that should be enhanced and behavior that should be replicated. For those of you who are uncomfortable giving positive feedback, following the right steps will help you to deliver honest recognition that doesn’t feel forced or insincere.

Putting positive feedback to the test

In his insightful Ted Talk “What makes us feel good about our work?”, behavioral economist Dan Ariely describes an experiment he conducted on the correlation between recognition and motivation. In the experiment people were offered declining amounts of money to circle pairs of identical letters on a sheet of paper. In the first scenario, people had to write their name on the paper. When they were finished, they handed it to an experimenter who quickly scanned the paper, said “aha” and placed it on a pile. In the second scenario, the participants did not write their name on the paper. When they were finished, the experimenter placed the paper on the pile without looking at it. In the final scenario, the experimenter put the sheets directly into a shredder.

The results showed that people in the first scenario ended up working for half as much money as the people in the third scenario. Watching their work being destroyed immediately was extremely demotivating, despite being offered money to do an easy task over and over again. Surprisingly, it turns out that the average stopping point for people in the second scenario was almost the same as those in the third. As Mr. Ariely explained, “Ignoring people’s performance was almost as bad as shredding it in front of their eyes.” Even just a simple acknowledgment from the experimenter had a marked impact on the subjects’ motivation.

Why is positive feedback important?

A common misconception is that motivation in the workplace is primarily based on monetary rewards. It’s not always possible to give your employees a raise every time they do well, and surprisingly it might not be the strongest incentive either. A 2013 study by Make Their Day and Badgeville revealed that 83% of employees surveyed found recognition for contributions to be more fulfilling than rewards and gifts. Another 88% believed praise from managers in particular was either very or extremely motivating.

Positive feedback lets your employees know that they’re valued by the company and is especially important for building confidence in newer employees. It’s also helpful to give positive feedback when an employee improves in an area they had previously had difficulty with, making it very useful as a follow up to constructive feedback.

Don’t forget that your top performers also need positive feedback. Many managers tend to neglect their top performers when it comes to feedback because they see it more as a tool for helping improve the performance of employees who are struggling. Recognizing them for their efforts and showing appreciation are important steps to retaining your top talent.

While creating a positive feedback culture starts with managers, encouraging your employees to give positive feedback to each other is the step that will diffuse and institutionalize the practice within the office. The Make Their Day/Badgeville study reported that 76% of respondents saw praise from peers as very or extremely motivating. Peer-to-peer feedback can inspire better interpersonal relationships between employees and boost team spirit.

How to give positive feedback:

  1. Be specific

Avoid generic comments like “good job!” Explain what your employee did in particular so they can learn what type of behavior they should keep up in future. Instead of saying “you’re a great team player” describe what they did and why you appreciated it. “The extra coaching you gave to the new recruits on the last project helped them to learn the appropriate procedures, and helped our department to reach our deadline on time.” This will also help managers who are uncomfortable giving positive feedback. If you stick with stating the facts and why you thought their performance deserved recognition you can avoid clichés.

  1. Timing

Timing is an important aspect of giving positive feedback. If you wait too long both you and the receiver might forget the details of their performance. This will undermine one of the main reasons for giving positive feedback: pointing out positive behavior so it can be encouraged and replicated. If you put it off for too long, when the employee finally receives appreciation for their work, so much time may have passed that it could feel more like an afterthought. If you don’t have time to speak with them straight away, send them a message or email. Letting the opportunity to give praise go by in some instances and not others can unintentionally create double standards.

  1. Get into the habit of giving feedback more frequently

Failing to recognize when your team has gone above and beyond can demotivate them. Not recognizing their efforts will tell them they simply met expectations. Getting into the habit of giving positive feedback more often will motivate your employees to achieve more.

Be careful not to base positive feedback exclusively on results. Sometimes even if an employee puts forth their best effort, a project could fall through due to funding, a client may decide to go in a different direction, etc. It’s at these times that positive feedback can be most effective in counteracting the demotivating feeling your employee may be experiencing after not seeing their efforts materialize.

  1. Set goals and new challenges

Even if you only have positive feedback to give, you should encourage your employees to continue improving by helping them set goals and new challenges. This is especially important for top performers who may become demotivated if they don’t feel they’re developing or being challenged.

Start by asking them if they have any professional goals or objectives they’d like to accomplish in the next few months, or in the next few years. Consider how these short and long term goals could fit with the company’s objectives. Then offer support finding ways they could achieve these goals, for example, taking on a stretch assignment or participating in a training course. Keep in mind that the goals you’re setting together should be challenging but achievable, and won’t cut into your employee’s work-life balance.

  1. Encourage a positive feedback culture

A 2009 Mckinsey Quarterly survey found that respondents saw praise from their managers, leadership attention and a chance to lead projects or task forces as no less or even more effective motivators than cash based incentives. Aside from giving praise, you can also recognize your employees’ achievements by suggesting they give feedback and coaching to peers who are having difficulties in that particular area. This can help top employees develop leadership skills, and at the same time boost the performance levels of other employees.

Alternatively, you could suggest they give a presentation on this project, skill, etc. to the team. This will demonstrate an example of what you’re looking for to other employees and reinforce your recognition of their success. If employees share their successes with the rest of the team more often it will help foster a sense of community. Encouraging your employees to give more feedback and empowering them with new leadership skills is one of the best ways to keep them challenged and motivated.

Summary and take-aways:

An effective manager consistently recognizes their employees’ strengths and achievements with positive feedback. Employees who feel their work is appreciated by their manager and peers are highly motivated and more likely to stick with their current job. Giving more positive feedback can be a great way to encourage team spirit and a positive work culture.

  • Give examples and be specific
  • Don’t wait too long
  • Give feedback more frequently
  • Don’t base feedback on results
  • Set goals and new challenges
  • Encourage peer-to-peer feedback and sharing of achievements

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

HR Technology Tools Evolve to Handle Feedback, Performance and Agility

HR Tech MENA Summit returns for third edition in Dubai

Annual HR Tech MENA Summit 2017 Main Image

Dubai, 13 April, 2017 — HR Technology is fast developing. Year-on-year the trends, and market requirements keep developers busy. Driven by natural workplace changes and inspired by vastly different work ethics amongst new working demographics, HR Technology is continuously evolving from its traditional core of payroll, employee record management and recruitment.

Lorna Daly, Halogen Software
Lorna Daly, Regional Director, EMEA, Halogen Software

“People and their expectations of work are changing all over the world and it is happening quickly,” noted Ms. Lorna Daly, Regional Director, EMEA, Halogen Software who is a Gold Sponsor of the 3rd annual HR Tech Summit organized by QnA International. “We know that if people can give and receive feedback on an ongoing basis, they can feel good about what they do, and would be encouraged to bring their best effort forward, so they can give more to their customers, organizations and communities,” continued Ms. Daly.

Ongoing performance reviews, frequent and timely feedback is a new HR trend sweeping across many organizations across the globe. The need for almost immediate feedback stems from the multigenerational workforce, and the changing nature of work. “It comes down to something very fundamental; people want to feel a connection and a purpose to their organisation, that their contribution is valued and impactful,” stressed Ms. Daly.

To meet this new HR demands, organisations need to employ the new technological trends becoming available in the market place. In addition to traditional services of HR software, and cloud-based services, technological tools built for agility and for specialized purposes such as continuous performance management, frequent feedback, data analysis and learning tools will soon become an absolute must for the continued evolution of an organization.

However, Ms. Daly cautions on the blind application of these new HR technology tools, suggesting that organizations should “First recognise if the organisation is culturally ready to make the shift from traditional to ongoing performance management. Second, company leaders must be ready to act as role models for the rest of the staff. Culturally ready organizations are those which champion flexibility and adaptability to refine processes through the constant collection of feedback on new processes. This feedback loop ensures employees are supported.”

“Keeping up with technology developments affecting HR is becoming a tough task. The managerial processes for human resources across the globe is in a state of fluidity. Especially in the UAE and GCC which will see two new shifts with the onboarding of nationalization and VAT policies in the coming years, the importance of employing and using the appropriate tools for HR functions cannot be stressed more. Knowing the challenging changes ahead, we have planned the 3rd annual HR Tech Summit to provide in-depth discussions and ultimately provide a platform HR and IT Leaders to analyse the HR technology tools available, their uses, and whether or not they should be adapted and when adapted how it will impact the organizations in the region,” commented Sidh N.C., Director, QnA International.

On the trend of nationalization in the UAE and GCC, Ms. Daly said, “There is a great opportunity for business and HR leaders in the GCC to maximise the potential that exists in their respective region. In order to do this, organisations need to understand the existing skill sets of local nationals, continuously support the development of essential skills, and help with the career progression of local nationals into leadership positions. This effort will help organisations become an attractive destination for GCC citizens seeking employment and help shape the economic destiny of the region.”

Halogen Software will be actively taking part in the by-invite only premier summit which attracted over 150 C-level and senior level HR and IT personnel from government, state, public, and private organizations in 2016. “HR Tech MENA provides a terrific opportunity to connect with some of the world’s most thoughtful HR and business leaders. The partnership has opened the door to connect with very successful companies and has given us the opportunity to learn more about the emerging global trends and priorities in HR,” commented Ms. Daly on the importance of sponsoring, participating, and attending the 3rd annual HR Tech Summit.

The Summit will be held from 16-17 May 2017 at The Westin Dubai, Al Habtoor City, Dubai.

About HR Tech MENA

HR Tech Mena

Technology today has revolutionized every step of our lives and Human Resources is no different. The influence of technology on our evolution is paramount to making it imperative for HR to keep abreast with newest developments.

Today, HR is en route to becoming smart HR. Concepts such as Artificial Intelligence, big data, cloud, social workforce, mobility and gamification are key buzzwords and every organization is keen to embrace to help them in tackling the key issues of talent acquisition, talent management, change management, business performance and employee engagement.

The HR Tech Summit is the only initiative that brings together HR as well as IT professionals from across the Middle East and leading solution providers on a singular platform discussing the newest trends, ideas and disruptions over a period of two days exclusively dedicated to and focused on HR Technology.

About Halogen Software

Halogen Software

Halogen Software offers a cloud-based talent management suite that reinforces and drives higher employee performance across all talent programmes — whether that is performance management, learning and development, succession planning, recruiting and onboarding, or compensation. With over 2,100 customers worldwide, Halogen Software has been recognized as a market leader by major business analysts and has garnered the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the industry. Halogen Software’s powerful, yet simple-to-use solutions, which also include industry-vertical editions, are used by organisations that want to build a world-class workforce that is aligned, inspired and focused on delivering exceptional results. For more information, visit: http://www.halogensoftware.com/ae Subscribe to Halogen Software’s TalentSpace blog: http://www.halogensoftware.com/blog/ or follow Halogen Software on Twitter: http://twitter.com/HalogenSoftware.

Organiser: About QnA International

QnA International

QnA International creates and delivers business learning and development exchange platforms through B2B conferences, bespoke events and trainings. The company also has an expertise in outsourced sponsorship sales and key account management.

Website: www.qnainternational.com

5 Ways Companies are Delinking Performance Management from Pay

Written by Andrea Hak, Content Writer at Impraise.

shutterstock_145160614

Awarding higher pay and bonuses to top performers seems like the straightforward way to incentivize and retain great employees. The most popular format being performance based bonuses, which keep base pay manageable and provide incentives for better performance. However, research shows us that this may not be as simple as it seems.

A study by Willis Towers Watson found that only 20% of employers in North America actually believe merit pay is effective in driving high performance.

Traditionally money was seen as the main incentive used to motivate employees. Higher productivity results in higher salaries and bonuses. For companies, it’s been used as the main tool to attract, retain and engage employees. Today we’ve learned that the key to motivation is much more complex than that.

What psychologists and thought leaders have found is that money can actually demotivate employees from working at their peak performance by leading to a prioritization of rewards over learning and innovation. In one of the most widely viewed TEDTalks, career analyst Dan Pink explains that it’s actually intrinsic motivators like autonomy, mastery and purpose that drive real motivation.

To provide their employees with more opportunities to grow and develop, many companies are now moving to continuous, peer based and ratingless systems. The key question that many of them face is how they can continue to make compensation decisions, without inhibiting the feedback process.

In a recent eBook we identified five trends companies are following to delink performance from pay. Here is a summary of what we found:

1.  Keeping one annual review for compensation decisions

The most commonly used method is to introduce more continuous informal feedback and quarterly performance reviews, but continue to keep one annual review specifically for making compensation decisions. Rather than being in the dark until the annual review, employees will know where they are and how they’ve improved at each quarterly check-in. Compensation is still linked to end of the year feedback but the feedback they receive throughout the year is focused on growth and development.

2.  In ratingless systems

With more and more companies switching to ratingless reviews, this question has emerged as the main obstacle: without ratings how do we calculate compensation? Some companies have taken the position that ratings based reviews leave too much potential for bias. For example, a person’s communication skills can often be assessed differently depending on how communicative the rater is or how much they value communication within the team. However, when compensation decisions are based on a qualitative review the potential for rater bias actually increases, giving managers more leeway to decide how they want to award pay. Here are two ways companies are overcoming this:

Performance Calibration

Calibration meetings include a group of managers who discuss the performance of each employee.Together they come up with the best way to allocate pay and bonuses. Including multiple perspectives into the decision process is meant to separate rater bias from reviews and allow for a more accurate allocation of pay

Peer Reviews

Who better to ask about an individual’s performance than their teammates? Instead of depending on managers to make the majority of the decisions, some companies are basing pay solely on peer reviews. To avoid introducing ratings, employees are asked a series of questions about their peers, for example:

  • “How much did this person grow over the past 3 months? Please provide examples.”
  • “This person is your strongest team member. Explain why.”

3.  Objectives and Key Results

Setting Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) is the process made famous by companies like Google, Intel, Adobe and Linkedin. The idea is that allowing employees to set their own goals provides greater clarity in what’s expected and what needs to be done to perform well. On top of this, individual OKRs can more easily be aligned with team and company objectives. How these companies set compensation:

  • Employees regularly set their own OKRs with manager approval.
  • At the end of the performance period, compensation decisions are made by assessing whether and how well employees reached their OKRs.
  • Employees may not always complete their OKRs but assessing how they went about achieving them is taken into account.
  • This is combined with a review process during which information is gathered about their performance from their self-assessment, manager and peers.
  • Compensation is then decided based on OKRs, plus factors such as skill development, collaboration, leadership abilities and their contribution to the team/company.

4.  Getting Employees to give more feedback

Rather than trying to separate pay from feedback, some companies are actually using bonuses based on peer feedback to boost engagement. A joint study by SHRM and Globoforce found: “Peer-to-peer is 35.7% more likely to have a positive impact on financial results than manager-only recognition.” And dramatically, “When companies spend 1% or more of payroll on recognition, 85% see a positive impact on engagement.”

  • To implement this, some companies are allocating budgets to each employee. They can then use this to award cash bonuses to peers along with positive feedback. Rather than leaving pay solely up to managers, this system includes everyone in the decision process.
  • One of our clients came up with an innovative way to gamify peer feedback. Employees are given the opportunity to award gold, silver and bronze ratings to each piece of feedback they receive. Those who have shared the top most helpful feedback with their peers receive a bonus.

5.  Complete transparency

Some companies are rejecting individual performance based bonuses altogether in favor of complete transparency. For example, Buffer has come up with their own salary formula based on the person’s role, experience level and loyalty (years with the company). This essentially eliminates the compensation question altogether. In this type of system, everyone knows exactly where they stand and feedback can truly be focused solely on growth and development.

Alternatively, some companies have decided to slash the idea of individual rewards altogether, instead basing pay on team performance. Keep in mind that a study by PWC found that the ideal team size in this type of system is under five employees, with 60% of people becoming demotivated over five and 90% becoming demotivated in a team of over ten. Familiarity with team members was also an important factor.

Conclusion

It’s important that you find the best system for your culture and company objectives. Whether you place emphasis on teamwork or want to give individuals more autonomy over their personal development, it’s essential to research and understand which method will work best for you. No matter what you choose, the most important thing is that you clearly communicate to your managers and employees how this new system will work and how it will impact them.

About the Author:

Andrea Hak

Andrea Hak works as a content writer at Impraise, a web based and mobile solution for actionable, real-time feedback at work. Impraise turns performance reviews into an easy process by enabling users to give and receive valuable feedback in real-time and when it’s most helpful. With Impraise, employees can better analyze their strengths and learning opportunities, track their progress and pursue their personal and professional goals all year long. Managers can easily set up 360 degree feedback for their team or themselves, resulting in more meaningful 1-on-1s and more engaged people.

Contact Details: andrea@impraise.com


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Enhance Engagement and Retention with People Analytics

Enhance Engagement and Retention with People Analytics

Employee Group

An organization that provides top wages and benefits loses a great employee to a competitor for no apparent reason. We can’t stop employees from leaving unless we have a plan to make them stay.

“Retention is the single most important thing for growth” – Alex Shultz (VP Growth, Facebook)

What is the biggest and most intractable restraint to growth faced by companies doing business today? For many organizations, it’s the lack of appropriate talent. The reason: As more organizations have expanded their operations, the need for talent has skyrocketed. But there isn’t enough skilled labor to fill the demand. As a result, one risks losing the talent to other organizations. And with so many companies drawing on a limited talent pool, the competition is fierce.

Glassdoor’s statistical analysis reveals top three factors that matter most for employee retention.

  • Company culture
  • Employee salary
  • Stagnating for long periods of time in the same job

By examining the survey responses of more than 100,000 employees in numerous organizations, Gallup also discovered common themes among the reasons employees chose to remain with a company or to leave it. The reasons employees chose to stay with a company included the following:

  • I feel my job is important to the company.
  • My supervisor cares about me and gives me regular feedback.
  • I know my job expectations.
  • My opinions count.
  • I have opportunity to do my best work every day.
  • My career development is encouraged.

All the above reasons are part of what is often known is “engagement”. Organizations, or teams with high levels of employee engagement score high in most if not all of these. Higher engagement levels not only significantly affect employee retention, productivity and loyalty, but are also a key link to customer satisfaction, company reputation and overall stakeholder value.

OWEN Analytics, who is are providing AI-based people solutions have developed a robust and comprehensive methodology to measure and enhance retention. They run quick pulse surveys that are a combination of “ME” questions (My opinions count), and “WE” questions (I would like to appreciate the following individuals for helping me in my day-to-day work). Open feedback questions are interspersed as well to understand sentiment and key issues.

This helps understand engagement drivers not only from an individual employee perspective, but also from a team dynamics perspective. After all, our engagement with the organization is actually our engagement with the people in the organization – hence understanding those relationships is critical in better understanding attrition. This is the science of ONA (Organization Network Analysis). The example below illustrates how ONA can be used to understand team dynamics in a pharmaceutical sales organization.

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Clearly, the more cohesive teams have better performance and lower attrition.

Now that we have looked at engagement comprehensively, we need to look at what other factors drive employee turnover, as shown below:

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As per Deloitte, moving beyond the analysis of employee engagement and retention, analytics and AI have come together, giving companies a much more detailed view of management and operational issues to improve operational performance.

Exploring People Analytics

People Analytics, a discipline that started as a small technical group that analyzed engagement and retention, has now gone mainstream as per Deloitte. Organizations are redesigning their technical analytics groups to build out digitally powered enterprise analytics solutions.

OWEN Analytics specializes in helping organizations improve retention using AI driven techniques. As per OWEN, “Machine learning predictions can be sufficiently accurate and thus very effective in enabling targeted interventions for retaining high risk employees. However, using such techniques requires significant expertise in developing predictive models and experience in interpreting the outputs.

HR leaders and aspiring analysts needn’t be disheartened though. One can start with some very simple analyses using nothing more than basic Excel and develop reasonably good retention strategies” Read their blog here: Manage attrition using simple analytics.

OWEN uses a systematic retention approach to understand, predict and drive necessary actions.

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Predictive models are developed using various Machine Learning algorithms (e.g. Decision Trees, Random Forests, Logistic Regression, Support Vector Machines and Artificial Neural Networks) and best fit algorithm based on the accuracy and business context selected to predict flight risk.

Once the predictions are drivers are available, simple action planning templates to develop and track interventions are used to retain high potential employees.

Retention Challenge

The retention challenge is the result of increasing job mobility in the global knowledge economy where workers average six employers over the course of a career, coupled with the baby boomer retirement “brain drain” and a smaller generation of workers entering their prime working age during this time. It is occurring in all types of organizations across all management levels. This study empirically investigates whether the impact of an organization’s strategic orientation toward knowledge management, the learning culture it supports, and specific human resource practices impact knowledge worker retention and organization performance.

The Eight Elements of the High-Retention Organization as per SAS Institute

  • Clear Sense of Direction and Purpose
  • Caring Management
  • Flexible Benefits and Schedule Adapted to the Needs of the Individual
  • Open Communication
  • A Charged Work Environment
  • Performance Management
  • Recognition and Reward
  • Training and Development

As per Asia – Pacific Journal of Research, preventing turnover is a wise step to implement because it saves money, time, and effort. The company should spend a considerable effort and time to prevent turnover. It is better for an organization to keep experienced and productive employees than to hire new ones. It should invest in its employees through training programs, creating a good hiring process, and engrain them with strong organizational vision. To effectively solve turnover problems, every company needs to address the causes of the turnover. The causes of turnover might not be the same for every company. Below are the most common and affecting factors for preventing turnover.

It’s no more a secret that People Analytics plays a vital role for organizations in dealing with challenges of employee engagement and retention.

About the Authors:

Soumyasanto Sen — Blogger, Speaker and Evangelist in HR Technologies. Engaging with OWEN Analytics.

Professional Advisor, Consultant, Investor in HR Tech. Having 12+ years of experience focusing on Strategies, People Analytics, Cloud, UX, Security, Integration and Entrepreneurship in Digital HR Transformation.

Tej Mehta — Founder & CEO of OWEN Analytics.

Entrepreneur, advisor, student of social sciences. Founded i-Cube as an intersection of analytics and social sciences. Previously, as Vice President with Seabury Group, led strategy and operational transformation programs across several clients in the airline and aerospace industries. Aeronautical engineer, MBA from University of Southern California.


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What Millennials Really Want In 2017 | The HR Tech Weekly®

What Millennials Really Want In 2017

What Millennials Really Want In 2017 | Woobe

Conventional wisdom holds that Millennials are entitled, easily distracted, impatient, self-absorbed, lazy, and unlikely to stay in any job for long. Furthermore, they want free food; they want unlimited vacation; they want to run the company two days after they arrive. But, on the positive side, they’re also looking for purpose, feedback, and personal life balance in their work. Companies of all kinds are obsessed with understanding them better. Let’s talk, for once, about the positive attitudes:

  • Millennials will sacrifice salary for a better work environment: 25- to 35-year-olds said they’d be willing to give up an average of $7,600 in pay for a better situation at the office, such as more career development and a healthier work/life balance.
  • Millennials want to work for the greater good: 73% of Millennials seek meaningful work at an organization with a mission they support. In fact, a remarkable 90% say they want to use their skills for good, suggesting that Millennials seek workplaces with a culture of altruism that enables them to give back. Millennials also care about workplace culture, with 77% noting it is just as or more important than salary and benefits.
  • Millennials want to be entrepreneurial: giving your employees the flexibility and freedom, where possible, to be their own boss with a focus exclusively on results, produces greater employee engagement, loyalty and ultimately better business results.
  • Millennials want to be coached: they crave and respond to a good, positive coach. Overall, Millennials want feedback 50% more often than other employees. Their number one source of development is their manager, but only 46% thinks that their manager delivered on their expectations for feedback.
  • Millennials want to design their own career paths: an essential component of Millennial employee engagement is letting them have a voice in how their careers are structured. The one-size-fits-all approach to building careers simply doesn’t work for Millennials’ ambitions. They desire amazing, personalized experiences and the chance to prove their abilities and quickly rise through the ranks. Unlike the traditional career paths, which tended to be more linear, Millennials are forging nonlinear and unique career paths that are aligned with a personal sense of purpose.

Leaders are increasingly turning their attention to the millennial generation, whose attitudes and preferences may profoundly reshape workplaces and society. Like those in every generation before them, millennials strive for a life well-lived. They want good jobs and they also want to be engaged in those jobs. In addition to finding engaging jobs, millennials want to have high levels of well-being. They also want a purposeful life and active community and social ties. Are millennials getting what they want out of work and life? Not so much. Gallup’s latest report, finds that millennials struggle to find good jobs that engage them. Millennials have the highest rates of unemployment and underemployment and only 29% of employed millennials are engaged at work.

Their overall well-being nearly matches that of Gen Xers and Baby Boomers, meaning millennials have not been able to forge better paths for themselves, and that’s because of the corporate environment that is not ready to deal with this generation. They need to teach them the social skills that they are missing because of the digital and hyperconnected world they live in. Relationships are built on little things and, since trust doesn’t build in one big event, they have to create mechanism where they allow for the little interactions to happen. To achieve this, you can’t rely on the current social tools or add a new one because, as a matter of fact, too much connectivity kills connectivity.

The key it’s to bring back real human contact but, for large organisations, the only available solution is organising big corporate events which unfortunately aren’t effective. That’s because when you put 100 people in the same room, and hope they will talk, they tend instead to stay with people who already know. A better solution would be organising 25 small events of 4 people each:  that’s how you create new links between people. Unfortunately, finding the right person at the right time for these events is a nightmare without the right tool.

Woobe solves this problem with an innovative approach: managing profiles (age, seniority, departments, etc.) instead of individuals and adopting push communication instead of pull communication. In few clicks, and in less than 5 minutes, you can create a campaign of hundred micro-events! Watch how simple it is in this video:


Source: What Millennials really want in 2017 – Woobe

How Managers Can Use Feedback to Become Great Leaders

How Managers Can Use Feedback to Become Great Leaders

Written by Steffen Maier, Co-Founder of Impraise.

Electric Light

360-degree feedback can bring up a whole host of areas for improvement and help establish goals to be worked towards. Developing based on feedback is important for anyone, regardless of their position, experience level or objectives: managers are no exception.

We explain how the feedback managers receive can establish specific leadership training plans to help improve skills, performance and daily practices. This can help both inexperienced or first-time managers and those just looking to take their leadership skills to the next level and improve how they lead their team.

Upward feedback & where to go with it

Gaining feedback on daily practices, performance and skill sets can be an incredibly useful process. 360-feedback encompasses upward feedback from your team members, helping you to gain perspective from those who work closely with you. Hearing the views of those who work with you every day and have an acute awareness of your leadership style is a great chance to take a step back and re-evaluate. But, of course, once the feedback has been given, the process doesn’t end there. Using feedback for leadership training means that managers are able to work on the specific things that would improve both their leadership qualities and general interactions with their team on both a daily and a long-term basis.

Keep your team!

It’s often said that people don’t quit their jobs, they quit their bosses. If there are multiple issues within a work environment but people generally like their manager, and are satisfied with how they’re being led, they’re less likely to leave their position. Ensuring that managers are not only listening to but acting on the feedback which they receive from their team makes it clear that the team’s views are valued, and means that managers will be able to use the feedback given to communicate with and work more effectively with their team. Managers will be on the road to improvement, and team members will feel both valued and more satisfied, be less likely to leave their position and begin to work more effectively with their managers.

Engagement & team spirit

After the leadership training has taken place, it’s likely that team morale will increase, communication will improve and employee engagement will be on the rise. It’s not just managers that will improve from leadership training either. Research from the Journal of Business Strategies found that leaders who were able to impact the long-term cohesion of their teams could account for more than 25% of the team’s overall performance. Effective leaders will keep their team communicating well and keep engagement levels up by giving them useful and motivating feedback, and making the organization a positive and impactful place to work.

Using Impraise, it’s never been easier for managers to develop. Feedback comes in the form of both real-time updates and reviews where questions can be tailored to find out exactly what skills or traits can be improved. Once feedback is received, it’s collated into an automatic report identifying exactly which skills and practices require focus. Now it’s time for improvement: continuous feedback that carries on long after the review process gives team members the opportunity to continue the conversation and provide real-time feedback on their manager’s ongoing development.

Summary:

  • Using upward feedback for manager training means team members know their input is valued
  • Successful leaders interact with employees in a way that significantly increases employee engagement and performance
  • Employees communicate better as a team as a result of more effective management
  • Good leadership training based on team feedback will lowers turnover rates

About the Author:

Steffen Maier

Steffen Maier is co-founder of Impraise a web-based and mobile solution for actionable, timely feedback at work. Based in New York and Amsterdam, Impraise turns tedious annual performance reviews into an easy process by enabling users to give and receive valuable feedback in real-time and when it’s most helpful. The tool includes an extensive analytics platform to analyze key strengths and predict talent gaps and coaching needs.


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Dealing with Toxic Feedback in the Virtual Workplace

Written by Steffen Maier, Co-Founder of Impraise.

Dealing with Toxic Feedback in the Virtual Workplace

Toxic Feedback in the Virtual Workplace – What Gamers Have to Say

Today 37% of US workers have worked virtually. In a survey by SHRM, 83% of HR professionals predicted this number would increase in the next five years. While this option brings a lot of opportunities to both employers and employees (a bigger talent pool to choose from, better work/life balance, etc), the virtual workplace also holds new challenges for managers, including rethinking the way they encourage collaboration and resolve office conflicts.

Few realize that gaming presents a wealth of knowledge to better understand how collaboration and feedback work in virtual teams. Games provide continuous, real-time feedback. You win, you lose, you level up and feel a sense of satisfaction when you’ve improved. In a thought provoking TEDTalk, game designer Jane McGonigal explains that gamers create strong social relationships because many games, such as World of Warcraft, encourage collaboration to complete a mission. However, much like in the physical workplace, toxic feedback can also discourage teamwork.

Lessons from Gamers

In Fortune’s top fifteen best places to work, Riot Games is a leader in the industry for employee satisfaction. Riot uses annual 360-degree reviews, along with regular one-on-ones to engage and develop employees. They haven’t only encouraged a strong feedback culture in the workplace, but also in their games. When the company found that players were exchanging a high amount of toxic feedback in their hit game, League of Legends, they began conducting innovative new experiments into the impact of positive and negative feedback within teams. This virtual world created the perfect opportunity for psychologists to experiment with ways of influencing positive behaviors and norms.

In the gaming world, toxicity is the term used for poorly constructed and highly offensive feedback. According to Jeffrey Lin, Riot saw this as a major problem. Although only 3% of players regularly use toxic language, everyone has their bad days. In a game with ten people, there’s bound to be someone in a bad mood, increasing the likelihood of toxicity in each game. It was found that 81.7% of games had negative feedback in cross team chats. When players vented their emotions using toxic language, performance across the team diminished significantly.

Riot began using three methods to rehabilitate players. The first was to turn off a player’s chat logs when they were using toxic language and send them a notification. Toxic language decreased by 32.7% in one week. Second, it held online tribunals in which gamers were able to read chats by those reported for toxic behavior and vote on appropriate punishments (banning for x days). This gave the community more ownership in the process of creating positive norms.

Interestingly, the biggest impact was when they sent these players ‘reform cards’. Some players were surprised when they reread their own comments and the reactions they received from other players. Not realizing the impact of their words on the rest of the team, 70% took steps to reform their behavior.

The third strategy they experimented with was to prime players to behave in certain ways by giving them tips in different colors (red, blue or white). The biggest impact was seen when using a combination of tips on negatives outcomes (such as “Teammates perform worse if you harass them after a mistake”) in red and providing positive outcome tips (such as “Players who cooperate with their teammates win 31% more games”) in blue.

Applying these lessons to the workplace

In an interview with Alexander Brazie, former game designer at Riot Games and Blizzard, we discussed why feedback is so important. Even in the game industry, he explained that people working in different areas have different ways of speaking. A programer and a designer might use completely different argumentation skills, often creating misunderstandings. When not addressed, misunderstandings can fuel deeper conflicts.

On League of Legends, Brazie explained, “Games get you emotionally hooked. People in emotionally charged states are generally not the best people to be giving feedback.” Similarly, when emotionally charged conflicts occur in the workplace, employees may use toxic language without realizing the damaging consequences. In a virtual workplace these conflicts can be magnified as people cannot use facial expressions or body language to gauge emotions. If you’re planning on moving towards telecommuting, it’s important that employees first learn how to give feedback constructively.

One-on-ones can have a major impact. Brazie explained, “If you really want to solve a problem you first need to give your employees the tools and experience they need to communicate on less stressful topics.” His manager at Blizzard took time to work with him on reforming his communication style and this knowledge has stayed with him throughout his career. At Riot, one-on-ones occur on a weekly basis and are, in Brazie’s opinion, the most helpful aspect of its performance management strategy today. With the insights from their experiments, Riot is now considering making real time feedback a more continuous process beyond their one-on-ones to help develop positive workplace behaviors.

Brazie is now a game design consultant for Xelnath Enterprises, specializing in game design analysis and cross-disciplinary conflict resolution. When a conflict occurs, he suggests that, “the best way to approach the situation is to start off with establishing goals you have in common. You will find you actually agree with someone 80% of the way, so having this structure can actually help you to overcome challenges.”

Solutions for your company

In League of Legends, a strong motivating factor in behavioral change was when toxic players understood the negative impact their comments had on the team’s success rate. On the flip side, players who collaborated with their teammates won 31% more games.

Focusing on the positive side of online feedback, Riot implemented an ‘Honor Initiative’ allowing players to award points to teammates and opponents who demonstrate helpful or friendly behavior. This addition has become wildly popular and is expected to incentivize players to follow the new social norms created online. Riot is even giving badges and other awards to increase the visibility of these players.

Similarly, some companies encourage collaboration by separating performance reviews from promotions, instead linking them to the quality of feedback employees give each other. Separating bonuses from individual performance also takes the pressure off receiving feedback. Others have brought the real time feedback experienced in games to the workplace through new mobile apps aimed at increasing timely and continuous micro feedback. While it’s impossible to put people on mute when they’re having a bad day, this approach emphasizes that it’s not only about giving more feedback, but learning to give feedback the right way.

About the Author:

Steffen Maier, Co-Founder of Impraise

Steffen Maier is co-founder of Impraise a web-based and mobile solution for actionable, timely feedback at work. Based in New York and Amsterdam, Impraise turns tedious annual performance reviews into an easy process by enabling users to give and receive valuable feedback in real-time and when it’s most helpful. The tool includes an extensive analytics platform to analyze key strengths and predict talent gaps and coaching needs.


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