Future of HR: Tools That Are Making Workplaces More Pleasant

HR (Human Resources) is a vital department in companies and organizations responsible for managing the employees, starting from recruiting, then hiring, onboarding and training, and in the end, firing.

While the HR office manages functions like recruiting and payroll, it is also responsible for creating a positive and pleasant work environment.

Before the pandemic of 2020, people had discussions around questions like:

· Is sitting in the office essential to work better?

· Would it be better if employees worked remotely?

The lockdowns worldwide during pandemics put an end to such questions. It proved companies can survive and thrive by working from home.

HR role has changed

Almost 50% of HR professionals think their role has changed because of the pandemic. The majority of those say their job has become much more challenging. 

HR is now playing a strategic role in dealing with sustainability concerns, and the capital challenges pandemic caused.

Reports claim that 70% of people rank work social relationships as valuable as getting their work done. Working from home minimizes social interactions.

All this leads to problems when sharing information. This is especially hard for the newbies because even the simple question becomes turmoil and creates difficult situations. 

Daily tasks performed by HRs have gone through severe changes. 

HR professionals had to guide their employees through the transition to a digital work environment and to deal with remote teams productivity. To work with remote development teams isn’t just a trend or the ‘future of work.’ It is the present and persistent reality.

HR professionals had to learn new skills and complete tasks they were not prepared to confront. Still, they had to learn how to be more productive and successful while working from home.

Virtual Recruiting

Many companies have already moved to virtual recruiting, but the pandemic forced all the other organizations to make this transition as fast as they could. 

HR teams now manage the whole recruitment process from planning to selecting and hiring in a virtual environment.

Candidate experience has a significant influence on satisfaction and employer branding. Candidates who had a pleasant experience with a particular organization accept a job offer and refer others to your company.

Managing Remote Teams

Managing remote teams is a task many HR teams weren’t prepared for at the beginning of the pandemic, but that is exactly what happened to most of them. They had to learn how to manage remote teams when the support systems and the infrastructure weren’t there to support a smooth transition. 

So to manage remote teams effectively, HR needs to:

· Put employee well-being in the first place.

· Reward people from the team.

· Balance visibility and flexibility.

· Stay connected.

· Create a happier workplace.

The happier employee is a better employee

Numerous research studies made the connection between employee happiness, engagement, and performance. How HR teams can make the best of the worst times is the right question.  

The happier employee is more engaged. An engaged employee shows increased productivity and a lower rate of absenteeism from work.

A healthy work environment is what matters. A positive work culture improves personal well-being, encourages employee friendships. It also expands employee skills and resources through enhanced relationships with coworkers, increasing worker problem-solving abilities and creativity.

A sense of community at work is one of the most important things. Feeling that their fellow managers care about them helps employees be more resilient when facing challenges and stressful situations —both in their personal lives and at work.

A happy employee is less stressed. High stress leads to physiological and emotional problems that will probably result in higher employee absenteeism. 

L&D leads to better employee engagement

If an employee has a sense of purpose at the job, he may experience a positive presence in the workplace every day.

The responsibility of HR is to create compelling role descriptions, which tell the employee what and why they are doing and how these roles fit into the organization’s overall plan. L&D also leads to better employee engagement.

What is L&D?

Have you heard of L&D before? L&D means learning and development and is a work process that develops employees’ skills to benefit both the company they work for and the individual.

The benefits of L&D are talent retention and attraction, improved employee performance, and higher employee engagement.

Upskilling your employees to meet your business’s demands and fill skills gaps can have an impact in other ways. Learning and development also position people to find out the latest in their fields, what’s trending, and how they can level up in their role to help move the business forward.

Organizations that focus on L&D can make an essential step in supporting company growth and higher employee engagement at the same time. According to a study, 80 percent of employees said that learning and development opportunities helped them feel more engaged at the workplace.

Video calling apps for more accessible communication

If you have a team you work with, you’ll probably need a video calling app, the one that will connect you all.

We have all heard of Zoom. Although it was launched in 2013, it has reached its peak during the pandemic, with around 300 million daily users. 

Zoom is easy to use – all you need to do is download the Zoom installer and start the app. Anyone can join in the call with a single link, and you don’t have to create an account. As a platform, Zoom is supporting up to 1000 participants. 

Google Hangouts is a communication app that allows you to start free video calls, send messages and join a conversation with a person or a group.

Google Hangouts requires a Google email address and a smart device to be used.

Google hangouts can include all your contacts with group chats – up to 150 people. It can also turn any group conversation into a video call – up to 10 people.

Chanty – its free version lets you have 1-on-1 audio calls, and group audio and video calls are also available in the business plan. 

Chanty is supporting up to 30 participants on the group video call. It is also possible to do screen sharing while presenting. In addition, all files and messages are saved in the chat, and you can always come back to them.

Chanty is a powerful alternative to Slack and other collaboration platforms. 

A platform for better managing mentorship programs

Have you already heard of Together Platform? It is a tool for enterprises to manage employee mentoring programs. With Together platform, you will be able to: 

  • Make the program your own.
  • Customize skills and goals relevant to your program. 
  • White-label & brand your program.
  • Write your content, or rewrite it from scratch.
  • Watch your registrations roll in.
  • Analyze your registration process.
  • Send emails with the invitations tool.
  • Set a deadline.

Explain complicated topics in seconds

Instead of spending too much time on chat and email, try to send instant screenshots and video messages with ScreenRec. You will save precious hours and get your point across faster.

ScreenRec is an excellent solution for developers, sales, designers, customer support, onboarding, business communication.

This is a fantastic way to explain complicated topics in seconds instead of losing hours. All you have to do is to capture your desktop and send the shareable link. Visuals are making messages more clear, and people better follow visual instructions to plain text.

By avoiding interruptions, team members can review messages you sent in their own time.

All-In-One tool for HR

Document management, employee onboarding, performance tracking, and more are all within ClickUp. This is an all-in-one tool for HR. You can build templates with employee requirements and individualized tasks to streamline training.

Using ClickUp, HR can create a centralized collection of company documents from handbooks to new remote working policies.

HR documentation software

The best way to transform HR teams to manage crucial documents is by using HR documentation software. With ProProfs, HR can search for information right away and track employees’ data from their day of joining. HR operations will become more simple when keeping documents well-organized, sorting and reviewing data. 

This is a great tool for HR to provide instant access to information and improve their productivity.

Future of HR

HR will have to find ways to support their business leaders in restructuring during and after the pandemic.

HR will use artificial intelligence to recruit employees. Recruiters will implement AI to examine the voice and facial expressions of the applicant in more than a hundred different parameters. Businesses are looking to adopt flexible working arrangements, so re-establishing organizational culture is becoming a top priority for HR teams.HR will have to evolve across each element of the HR lifecycle to meet a new set of company’s and employee’s needs.

Tips for Buying a Recruitment Business

Starting a brand-new venture is an exhilarating decision, but it might prove to be too much for so many in the current economy and competition. The fact that the recruitment industry is growing is inspiring many to kick-start their agencies, but if you’re more inclined to purchase an existing agency, then you might stand a better chance to succeed. You can use the business’s current reputation, expand on its image and client base, and not to mention the key people that have brought the business to life.

There are many options you can consider, from investing in a franchise that might be location-specific, all the way to purchasing an entire agency to expand the business with your expertise and know-how. Some mistakes are inevitable, but you can definitely avoid most. Here, you can learn more about buying an existing recruitment business, to make the most of your investment and set your new company up for success under your own leadership.

Consider keeping the core decision-makers

Assuming that you’re looking to purchase a stable business with a strong bond with the local community, you should keep in mind that people make that business much more than the brand name alone. It might be tempting to let go of everyone in charge and all the core staff, but this is not always the most prudent way to go about the purchase. Instead, consider discussing the option of retaining some, if not all of the key workers, especially decision-makers.

You can still run the business and grow it as the main investor and the CEO, but the existing recruiters and managers staying on will be your greatest assets. They are the ones with all the client connections and successful case studies. Talk it over with the seller and see if there’s a way to work it into the contract. 

Do your homework

You might be excited about the transaction and the negotiations might have been long already, but you should never land on a deal before you do all the necessary research. Collecting industry data to understand the trends and forecast any changes, understanding the existing client relationships with the agency, and getting to know the staff properly will decide the future of the business.

Think of it as another workplace and assess its levels of safety, both for the short and the long term. Can you say with some professional certainty that this business has a strong future with the local community and its existing client base? Are there any gaps in the onboarding/offboarding strategies the agency is using both internally and in the talent selection process for their clients? Make sure to understand the ins and outs of the business before you buy it.

Get location-specific legal guidance

Knowing the industry is one thing, but the process of buying a business has so many intricate, legal steps that you should always ask for professional guidance on the matter. Not to mention that each country has its own unique legal frameworks in place for such transactions precisely. If you’re looking to buy a Sydney-based business, you’ll need to work with experienced lawyers in Sydney whose expertise will help you protect your investment.

They not only know the local market, but they also know what kind of potential legal difficulties you might be looking at upon inspecting the company. Working together with financial experts, you can see if the company has a clean track record, with no fraud looming in the background, and of course, all taxes and contracts are taken care of. 

Consider a non-compete

Once again, when you work in a competitive city like Sydney or New York, there are many recruiting agencies to go around, which both means having many opportunities, but also many competitors. You don’t need another one when the seller decides to use their expertise and the recently obtained wealth to start yet another business in the same sector to compete with you. 

Make sure your purchase agreement has a non-compete agreement or a clause attached to it, so that you can protect the intellectual property you’re buying with the business itself. This agreement is one way to protect your newly acquired business from losing relevance immediately upon purchase, or coming across yet another setback on your way to growth.

Analyze your motivation and goals 

Having ample funds at your disposal to invest in a venture is a great way to advance as a professional, but you should be certain that you’re doing this for the right reasons. Ask yourself: are you experienced and respected enough in this business to run a company of that size and scope? Do you have the funds to keep the business running smoothly upon purchase?

Will you really, measurably benefit from purchasing this agency? Do you understand what it takes to run an agency, especially if this is your first attempt at running a business? Such questions might sound harsh, but they’ll help you evaluate your goals and driving force before you make the purchase. 

From the fine print in the agreement all the way to your financing plan, preparing yourself properly for the purchase will help you get started with your new company on the right foot. Remember, despite the fact that the industry itself is flourishing and there’s plenty of business to go around, it’s still up to you to make sure your company thrives, despite its pre-existing reputation and success. Use these tips to be certain that you’ve done all the work before you sign on the dotted line. 

Top Tips for HR to Use Digital Signage for Better Employee Management

The role of HR has changed drastically over the years, and nowadays it’s safe to say that HR plays a much more critical role in business than before. Experienced business leaders know that HR experts have the skills and the know-how to take a company forward through better employee management and engagement, motivation, company culture, and many other important skills and processes that keep the brand on the right track. 

Yes, HR plays a vital role in the long-term success of your business, but by also using the right tech like VoIP or various collaboration tools, your HR specialists can truly make a difference in your organization. Technology plays a big part here, and one big piece of tech that is making an impact on businesses across the world is digital signage.

Let’s take a look at how your HR department can use digital signage in your business to achieve various employee-centric objectives, and help create a more productive workplace for all. 

Motivate the staff to do better work

As a leader, you’re constantly looking for new ways to make your employees more productive and to achieve better results. The key here is to maximize their time at work, and while this is something that will ultimately come down to your level of organization, delegation, and workflow management, it will also depend on how motivated and driven your staff members are. 

Of course, you can’t simply demand that people do more or achieve more – you have to inspire and empower them instead. To do this, you need to rely on your HR staff, because these specialists know how to use positive encouragement to its full potential. One of the ways they can do that is with digital signage.

Your HR experts can use digital signs in the workplace to display motivational messages, but they can also use this tech to create a healthy dose of competition in the workplace. For example, a business leader managing a collision shop can inspire technicians to do better work by displaying key performance metrics on digital signs, inspiring them to achieve more than the day before – people will always try to beat their own high score.

Using digital signage for employee retention

Employee retention is more important now than it ever was, because the COVID-19 pandemic has brought many uncertainties to the business environment. Many companies are seeing a loss of talent like never before, and your HR staff need to focus on keeping your employees engaged, happy, and motivated at work.

There are many ways you can use your leadership skills to boost retention, of course, but you could also use digital signage. By placing digital signage in strategic places throughout the office space, you can advertise all the new employee-centric programs you’re cooking up, deliver powerful and motivational messaging, show your employees how much you appreciate them, and more. You can even use digital kiosks to facilitate employee feedback that you can use to make better managerial decisions to boost their happiness in the workplace. 

Deliver important information to in-store staff

When it comes to managing non-desk employees, things can get a little more complicated without the use of the right tech solution on site. People who are working in the store need the same kind of attention, guidance, and support that your office employees are getting, and you can use commercial digital signage in this case to get the right information to them quickly, but also keep them motivated. 

In-store employees are constantly busy, helping customers feel welcome and guiding them towards a positive outcome, so they need a reliable information system to keep them in the loop wherever they are in the store. A digital sign can get those crucial messages to them quickly and in real time, and it can serve as a remote management tool that your HR staff can use to elevate their satisfaction and experience at work.

Use digital displays to nurture your company culture

Company culture is the glue that keeps great teams together, inspires people to stay with you through thick and thin, and motivates people to achieve better results. Again, this is not something that you can just wish into existence – you have to build a positive and healthy company culture over time. 

You can build your corporate culture in an efficient and effective way if you use digital signage to communicate your values to your employees. Your HR experts can craft truly inspirational messaging that carries these values and display it on your digital signs to inspire collaboration, communication, transparency, equality, and honesty in the workplace. 

Help employees achieve a better work-life balance

Modern employees are struggling to achieve a healthy work-life balance. People are stressed and worried about their job security, and there is no telling what they might be going through in their personal realms during the COVID-19 crisis.

Your HR experts have a difficult task on their hands, and that is to inspire people to take better care of themselves. By using digital signage to remind them to take a break, check in with their loved ones, or eat something healthy and do some exercise, you will be doing your employees a big service. You can also use the digital signs to advertise any health-oriented company programs like gym memberships or healthy team-building activities.

Over to you

Your HR experts play a vital role in many mission-critical processes, and it’s important to empower them with the right tech and tools so that they can achieve better results. When it comes to employee engagement and management, consider using digital signage to inspire your employees to love what they do, take care of themselves, and take your company forward as a whole.

What is the Future of HR in the Insurance Industry? 3 Most Popular Predictions

Following the 2020 pandemic, businesses all over the world are forced to endure the stress of transferring to remote work, increased employee health issues, and extremely high churn rates. Research centers all over the world have analyzed the previous year in-depth, to help businesses and organizations make fewer mistakes in the future. In the text below, we have outlined what they came up with. Keep reading to learn about HR predictions in insurance, and beyond.

A Rise In Automated HR Processes

An increasing number of people all over the world are forced to work remotely due to the Covid-19 crisis. As a result, an increase in cloud-based workflow management solutions is on the rise. Many companies are already using tools such as online time management apps (Rescue time or Focus Keeper) to help keep track of employees’ productivity. Even though the crisis forced virtual HR processes on companies, they are likely here to stay due to their many benefits.

HR professionals now interview, hire, onboard, retain, and lay off employees remotely. The need for automated onboarding and other workflow processes will skyrocket as 2021 progresses, being that the pandemic has caused record-high churn rates in countries such as the U.S. According to recent data insights, as many as 7.7 million workers with ESI got laid off in the U.S. between February and June 2020. Losing and then acquiring new employees at a breakneck speed is putting additional stress on HR departments, forcing them to opt for automation. 

One other way the insurance industry can help alleviate the work their HR has to do is email automation. Companies such as Pathway offer SaaS solutions that help insurance agents automate a huge portion of their work. Pathway’s triggered email campaigns provide prompt and efficient communication with policyholders, sending automated emails to the right clients, at the right time. The automated messages are also highly customized to fit every individual client’s need, so the quality remains consistent. This form of automation benefits the HR department, as insurance agencies will not need to hire additional staff to perform unnecessary, manual tasks. 

Teams Adapt to Fully Remote Work

If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that many meetings could, in fact, have been an email. With an increasing number of companies forced to work remotely, people are starting to enjoy working from home a little too much. The 2021 research by PR Newswire found that 1 in 3 remote employees would rather quit and seek new employment than return to the office full-time. Funnily enough, the new remote work arrangement suits both the workers and the employers, since not having to pay for office space is great for companies’ budgets.

Still, this benefit could come at a cost not many people could have predicted. For one thing, relationships between coworkers will suffer. Not spending time with team members can weaken bonds and make communication, and by extension cooperation, more difficult. Additionally, spending time at home, perhaps with children and pets requiring additional attention can reduce productivity. This issue is especially pronounced in the insurance industry. Only 6% of insurance companies are currently using people analytics as a part of making decisions regarding their workers, making it difficult to even diagnose low productivity levels.

Surprisingly enough, even though jeopardizing traditional business models with increased technological disruption is stressful, there could be some hidden advantages. The biggest concern for the insurance industry, identified by the mentioned Deloitte report, is attracting young talent. As much as 40% of the workforce in insurance will become eligible for retirement within the next 3 years, and only a small number of millennials are interested in a career in this field. The increase in automation, technological advancement, and remote work will probably make a positive impact on the attractiveness of insurance for millennials. 

A Rise in the Number of Contingent Workers

The worryingly high churn rates in the insurance industry, as well as nearly all other workplaces, resulted in a higher demand for contingent workers, or freelancers. According to recent research by Gartner, 32% of organizations are replacing full-time workers with freelancers. This will provide insurance companies as well as insurance agencies with more flexibility in terms of hiring and managing talent. HR departments will put more resources into attracting contingent workers from all over the world.

Despite surface-level advantages of this strategy as a cost-saving measure, an increase in freelancers could have worrying consequences in the long run. For example, the turnover rates are even higher when working with freelancers. Streamlining the onboarding process to save time. With less time to adapt, freelancers make more mistakes, that then take longer to smooth out. One solution could be to offer an option of long-term employment, should contingent workers succeed in meeting certain standards and demands. 

Conclusion

When discussing inevitable HR changes in the insurance industry, the most important factors to consider are automation, remote work, and hiring more freelance talent. Using apps to automate HR processes, flexible freelance contracts, as well as the option of working from home will likely attract more millennial talent. This would help solve one of the most pressing issues in human resources in insurance today – the rapidly aging workforce.

5 Ways Blockchain Technology Can Revolutionize HR Management

Blockchain technology has transformed many industries and processes, and it’s about to impact human resources management in the nearest future too! It has the power to alter the way HR experts approach their everyday tasks.

Demand for this innovative technology in HR departments is on the rise as its capabilities can be extended to various sectors to simplify and improve its operations.

Read on to learn more about five ways blockchain technology can revolutionize human resources management!

  1. Enhanced data security and protection from cybercriminals

HR departments typically handle vast amounts of sensitive information like personal and financial data on employees. Information relating to pay, health insurance, finance and banking, and performance records can be stored, and therefore exposed to a certain risk.

Blockchain technology can elevate managing confidential data. It can transform data security as the information stored on the blockchain is decentralized and secured through cryptography. 

And as an added layer of security, every change that’s being made requires authorization and verification. This is especially important when it comes to delicate information like medical conditions or disciplinary records.

The adoption of this technology significantly reduces the ability of cybercriminals to gain access to sensitive data, making it extremely difficult to tamper with. Organizations from all industries could take advantage of blockchain to secure employees’ data and identify potential data breaches. 

  1. Transformation of recruiting and hiring process

Recruitment requires significant time and resources like financial investment within the HR department. Many companies turn to third-party agencies or recruiters for this reason, but their services usually come with a substantial fee.

Blockchain technology can help organizations streamline sourcing and managing talent. Instead of going through dozens of resumes, it would enable employers with access to verified data stored on the blockchain including grades, degrees, work history, certificates, and experience. 

Applicants could acquire virtual credentials in a distributed blockchain network and provide potential employers with permission to access their records. Unalterable records of their work histories would eradicate the chances of inaccuracy and fraudulent applications.

With this innovative technology in place, the verifying process would be more efficient and secure as the need for third-party background and employment history checks would be eliminated. 

This way, it would be easier for HR managers to find the right talent for the right role. 

Advanced tech solutions like blockchain could enable the building of the next generation work platforms, eliminating bias, spam, third-parties and their fees, and lack of visibility of available workers. 

  1. Paying workers in cryptocurrency

Blockchain is widely associated with Bitcoin and its mining. With the right hardware, bitcoin mining is a profitable business, and as a result, it got mainstream attention. And since Bitcoin hit its all-time high in 2021, it’s no wonder more and more people are exploring mining cryptocurrencies as an income source. 

But blockchain isn’t confined to this use only. There are other advantages to this technology that can make HR processes more efficient. Facilitating payments to the workforce is one of them. 

Employees want to access their money as soon as possible and move it with ease, and that’s where blockchain technology comes in. With cryptocurrency payrolls, there is no need for intermediaries to process the payments. 

Also, the transactions on the blockchain are encrypted and unalterable, and therefore more reliable.

This is especially important when doing business with underdeveloped nations where banking systems aren’t trustworthy, and the currency is devalued. Crypto-based payroll systems could provide a competitive edge to companies looking to attract more skilled workers across the globe.

  1. Introduction of smart contracts

Smart contracts between the employer and employees would enable instant payments for the workers. And what’s even better, the risk of delay or fraud during transactions would be eliminated. This has particular importance for gig and contract workers, as their work and invoices are usually manually verified, so they have to wait to be paid.

The use of blockchain and smart contracts can automate this process, so payments can be distributed instantly when the criteria for which the wages are earned are met. 

Once the worker completes the assigned task (e.g. deliver cargo safely at its destination), the payment is released automatically. Without uploading workers onto the payroll system, HR teams will have more time for more important tasks.

The gig economy is on the rise, so the adoption of blockchain and smart contracts could help companies attract more talent and expand their business. 

  1. Simplifying international payroll

The world is becoming increasingly globalized, and the remote workforce is growing. For this reason, cross-border payments are an important topic in HR departments. Due to multiple intermediary banks, currency fluctuations, and third-party vendors, paying international employees is time-consuming and expensive.

The international business would benefit greatly from blockchain technology, as it simplifies this process and eliminates the need for intermediaries. As a result, the cost of cross-border payments is reduced, and they are completed almost immediately. 

The introduction of blockchain-based corporate cryptocurrencies would only ease this process further for the HR and finance departments. And of course, the employees would benefit from faster, more secure payments with no changes in exchange rates.

HR Onboarding Techniques for New Companies

A startup’s onboarding process can be less process — and more improvisation. But as your company scales, a system is needed to get your new administrative hires started on the right foot. A Bamboo HR poll found that employees who quit in the first six months of being hired felt that the job wasn’t what they expected. More than half (54%) said they quit because they didn’t want to do the job any longer, or their role wasn’t what they expected from the interview.

Considering the amount of time and effort it takes to find and onboard a new hire, retaining staff should be a priority. And it all starts with the Human Resources manager and team — the employee’s first point of contact for onboarding. Across all industries, HR managers are hired for their abilities to communicate and present information. Here are some techniques and security tips for new HR managers to present the best possible onboarding process for their new hires.

Best Cybersecurity Practices for HR Professionals

The HR department is responsible for sensitive employee information, including:

  • Social Security Numbers (SSN).
  • Medical records.
  • Birthdate.
  • Home address and family member information.

In most cases, the sensitive information is kept digitally in computers or on the cloud. This practice is generally safe, but there are vulnerabilities you should look out for to prevent the data from being compromised.

Comply With Recordkeeping Regulations

Keep updated on federal, state, and local privacy laws on how records should be kept and make sure you and your department are following the rules. Regulations may change, so it’s essential to review your company’s process, compared to current laws, and update the company privacy policy as needed. Consider the following regulations:

  • Employee record retention: The S. Department of Labor outlines how long a company’s HR department should keep records. Employee payroll documents and collective bargaining agreements must be kept for at least three years. Time cards and employee schedules must be kept for at least two years.
  • Medical records location: The Americans With Disabilities Act requires employers to keep confidential medical records such as health exams, worker’s compensation history, and leave requests separate from employees’ personnel files.
  • Data breach reporting: HR professionals in California must notify employees if the company reasonably believes their personal information was accessed by an unauthorized individual.

Know the Proper Method of Disposing of Sensitive Paperwork

Disposing of employee data is a combination of company policy and federal, state, or local regulations. Know how long you should legally retain documents and data, as well as how your company disposes of it.

Sensitive records may need to be burned or sent away to an outside service to be destroyed in compliance with federal regulations. Following your company’s guidance on the disposal of data and documents is essential to avoid data being reconstructed, read, or distributed illegally.

Look Out for Internal Cybersecurity Threats

Most HR employees are aware of the danger of external cyber attacks from hackers, phishing, or viruses. But company software or an employee’s access to internal systems can also create threats.

An example of an internal threat is email. You send a requested employee file to the wrong email address and end up compromising your hire’s private information. To minimize internal threats, follow these steps:

  • Never use or disclose an individual’s full social security number in correspondence.
  • Turn off the auto-fill feature that remembers numbers or email addresses in your email and word processing programs.
  • Regularly run virus and malware checks on your company computers.
  • Take your cue from the healthcare industry and keep software and operating systems maintained and up to date.

Best HR practices for New HR Employees

Onboarding new hires is a critical aspect of the employee’s future in the workplace. The HR department is responsible for reinforcing the company’s image, projected during the recruitment process. Getting off on the right foot is essential. The HR department should implement specific practices to ensure new employees know what to expect on their first day and beyond.

Start the Onboarding Process the Day Before the New Hire Starts

The reasoning behind this step is so that everything is organized before the recruit arrives. Have employee handbooks and documents ready. Set up and equip the new hire’s work station. Create logins and email credentials beforehand. Make sure staff know about the new hire’s arrival and assign a mentor in advance. Having the important elements prepared in advance allows onboarding to go more smoothly on his or her’s first day.

Create a Welcoming Environment

The new hire’s first day sets the tone for the employee’s time at the company. A welcoming environment and a little creativity during the onboarding process doesn’t take much effort but makes a big impact on new hires. There are several elements that can create an ideal work environment — the office space, the initial point of contact, and the support team available to guide new employees. Consider these ideas:

Set the Stage With Good Lighting

The dark corner without a window can be demoralizing to staff. In fact, a study found that employees think good lighting is the No. 1 office perk. If your office environment lacks natural light, replicating the effect using certain lighting techniques can make a difference:

  • Create different lighting zones including overhead lighting, ambient lighting, and desk lighting
  • Use lightbulbs of a specific temperature (6500k) to replicate natural outdoor light and switch to LEDs to avoid overloading the office’s electrical system
  • Use light or white colors for surfaces and walls to reflect light and provide a brighter environment

Get Creative With Employee Perks

The best way to welcome a new employee to HR or other administrative role is with a surprise or an unexpected detail. Most new hires know what to expect on the first day — a pile of paperwork to be completed, handbooks to read, and an overload of information. But imagine welcoming them with a gift basket featuring a massage gift certificate, snacks, or a gift card. The small gesture could break the ice and shake the first-day nerves off.

Personalize the New Hire Welcoming Process

You’ve staged a well-lit environment that encourages productivity and created a thoughtful welcoming gift as part of the new hire onboarding process. Ensure new hires know what team members they can reach out to if they have any questions. Personally welcome each new employee and introduce them to key support staff, available to guide them through the initial work stages, to set recruits up for long-term success.

Onboarding for Future Success

Developing an effective onboarding process takes time. The effort will be worthwhile — your new hires are investments into your company’s future and should be given the best start possible.

Protecting their privacy with proper record keeping of their personal data, providing an environment that’s bright and conducive to productivity, supporting their growth in the company, and delivering on the promises made during the interview process will likely increase your chances of nurturing a long and successful work relationship.

Image Source: Pexels

Never Let You Go: Addressing the Challenges of Retaining Employees

Let’s face it: finding the kind of talent you need to give your business the competitive edge is tough, but what’s even tougher is holding on to that talent. Gone are the days when a gifted young upstart fresh out of college takes a job with a company and remains there throughout her professional career. According to estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, today’s younger baby boomer will have held an average of 12 different jobs in their lifetime. If you’re a millennial, the number is even higher, with the churn rate of young workers three times that of preceding generations.

And that’s not good news if you own a business. If your company is hemorrhaging employees, that also means it’s hemorrhaging money. When you lose an employee, not only have you lost the skillset for which they were hired, but you also lose productivity. And lost productivity means lost profit.

What you gain, however, are additional costs in recruiting and retaining new talent. In fact, the costs to replace an employee can be as much as 50% of annual salary for an entry-level worker—and for a senior executive, those costs can soar to as much as 200%! So, what can you do today to hold on to your most talented employees for many tomorrows to come? Read on to find out!

Find the Right People

The first step to holding on to your most talented employees is to make sure they’re the right fit before you even hire them. If your company is understaffed or there’s a particular position that needs to be filled urgently, the temptation to rush the recruiting process can be great. But that’s a mistake.

It’s far better to take the time you need to ensure that the candidate you have your eye on is a good fit for your company’s future as well as its present. Incorporating this long-term strategy into the hiring process is going to help you weed out those candidates who are only interested in or fit for a short tenure, versus those who are willing and able to invest in your company for the long haul.

Make a Good First Impression

It might feel like onboarding and retention don’t have much in common, but that’s actually not at all the case. In fact, your new hire’s onboarding experience is probably going to set the tone for how they feel and think about the company. Unfortunately, though, onboarding is something not many employers pay adequate attention to. Want proof? An estimated 42% of new hires don’t even have their own computers or workstations on the first day!

If the onboarding process is confused or haphazard, if the company seems unprepared for the introduction and integration of the new employee, that’s certainly not going to reflect well on the business, its staff, or its processes. And once you’ve lost your new hire’s trust, it takes a lot of time and effort to get it back. Worse, if your employee doesn’t trust you or feel good about the company in general, you’re probably not going to keep them very long.

If a new employee is being integrated into an existing team with a strong bond, your onboarding is going to have to include more than just making sure the new recruit has a workstation and some tasks for the first day. Team building will be essential to cultivating trust not just between you and your new hire but between them and their new team. At this early stage, encourage team building via more informal activities like daily huddles or team outings. These will allow all parties to get to know each other and foster bonds that will help everyone succeed.

Grow Your Talent

While it’s key that you screen your candidates carefully and that you provide your new hires with a seamless and skilled introduction to your company, your work is far from over. It’s just beginning, in fact. Because once you have your talent in place, you need to cultivate it. People don’t like to be bored. They don’t want to stagnate. And no matter how skilled your employees may be, there’s always room, opportunity, and desire for growth.

This is why professional development needs to be central to your retention strategy. Hiring a chief learning officer (CLO) for your business is a wonderful way to help you cultivate—and keep—your best talent. The goal, ultimately, is to provide your employees with robust opportunities to learn new skills and expand existing ones, to pursue new degrees, certifications, and licensures, and to advance within the company. Essentially, if your employee can see a future with your company, they’re more likely to stick around to make it happen.

Run the Numbers

Thanks to the brave new world of data analytics, employers now have more and better tools than ever to know their business and their employees. In fact, people analytics are a powerful way to monitor the performance, engagement, and satisfaction of your workforce. Best of all, these resources can help you spot emerging trends that might compromise morale or lead to the loss of your best people. And once you’ve identified the threat, you can do what you need to end it before it escalates.

The Takeaway

Now more than ever, business owners need savvy to ensure their businesses thrive in an increasingly competitive global business environment. Developing successful employee retention strategies is one of the most potent weapons employers have for cultivating an efficient, cohesive, and high-performing workforce to cope with the formidable challenges of doing business in the new millennium. What it takes, though, is a strategy of careful recruiting, seamless onboarding, continuous talent development, and the integration of the latest and greatest in people analytics software.

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How Promoting Health in the Workplace Helps Your Employees Productivity

A recent study conducted by the Social Market Foundation links the happiness experienced by workers to heightened productivity in the workplace. There was a 12% to 20% increase in work productivity in another study, which has prompted the claim that a happier worker is a more prolific worker in his or her workplace. With that said, there are countless implications of benefits to companies that can raise production by evoking authentic happiness in their employees.

On the other side of the coin, unhealthy employees will have a harder time being happy if they are struggling to achieve wellness in the workplace. If the focus were to shift to more investments in their employees’ wellness, businesses would see not only see the benefits of increased productivity, but workplace health promotion would lessen the employee absenteeism and presenteeism. By promoting workplace health, employers can encourage morale among workers and keep the retention rate of its valuable employees high.

Across the country, an increasing number of companies, particularly workplaces with 50 or more employees, offer a minimum of one perk to their workers that promote health and wellness. More attention by employers has also shifted to programs that deal with stress tolerance and stress management, physical fitness, controlling blood pressure, weight control and nutrition, cholesterol reduction, and even addresses chronic back pain. But what else can companies do to improve their workplace environments?

Benefits of Workplace Health Promotion

Encouraging things as simple as hydrating and sleeping will help your employees show up to work as their best selves. Your employees benefit from such programs and ultimately gain more happiness on the job, which carries over into the lifestyle choices at home with their families.

The positive effects of workplace health and well-being programs are also shown to increase engagement among team members, cultivate a cohesive company culture, and elevate the production rate of workers. Research suggests that healthier and happier staff are 12% more productive. Related to this, when in place, it makes sense that wellness objectives and initiatives lead to fewer days of disability leaves or callouts for sickness.

When your workers are healthier, they tend to be happier, and the occurrence of absenteeism is not so frequent. Employees in good health have an intrinsic motivation to remain at work. As research continues to reveal the link between the mind and body when it comes to healing, employees who are less stressed can also heal faster when they have a positive disposition. Also, practicing gratitude has shown to have tremendous impacts on a person’s risk of long term illness.

When it comes to your organization’s bottom line, consider that for the flu alone, in the U.S., 17 million workdays are missed at an estimated $7 billion loss in productivity and sick days. Also, take into account the rise in workers’ compensation rates and health insurance premiums. The health of businesses depends on seeing to it that measures get made to help employees remain well, with an estimated 25% reduction in those costs when employee wellness practices and programs are instituted.

The Significance of Inhibiting Presenteeism

Across from absenteeism is presenteeism, which is when employees come into work despite feeling sick. It’s terrible for business when employees work while under the weather because it can decrease productivity since workers aren’t able to perform at their best.

By working when sick, employees also deprive themselves of much needed rest which could help them to recover in less time. During cold and flu season, for example, those seemingly dedicated staffers who come into the workplace ill spread germs that could make others sick and further lessen productivity.

With well-being initiatives and workplace health promotion strategies in place, employees will make their health more of priority and take preventative measures to remain healthy and not inadvertently cause a productivity decline by not taking of themselves. Take, for example, U.S. food service workers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found in their 2014 study that there is a high prevalence of presenteeism among employees in the industry, with 12% of flu-infected workers showing up for work despite diarrhea and vomiting.

Ways to Promote Health at the Workplace

These are a few ways some companies promote wellness throughout their organization:

Access to nurse advice lines

You may want to consider having a yearlong nurse advice line that is available 24/7 to staff. Nurses either via phone or the Internet can answer health questions and offer non-emergency assistance to help workers identify illness and know how to manage symptoms and diseases.

Even if you don’t want to extend personnel in this way, still your organization can be a resource of health information for your employees. For example, you could publish a monthly newsletter dedicated to health, new medical research and other health news. Or you could ask medical professionals in your area or your insurance company to host wellness fairs that introduce holistic approaches, mental health and other health services.

Manage air quality

Ensuring there is proper ventilation for indoor spaces is another way to keep your workers healthy. Poorly ventilated indoor spaces, in particular, with all the volatile organic compounds released from office furniture and equipment, could contribute to what is known as sick building syndrome, which could be counterintuitive to any wellness promotion by making employees ill and less productive.

Mindfulness Training

According to reports, 40% of workers say their jobs are “very or extremely stressful.” Workplace stress can manifest as emotional or physical harm in response to inadequate resources or unbalanced capabilities with an employee’s needs. An excellent tool for managing stress and encouraging relaxation is mindfulness training.

Mindfulness practices can help workers reclaim balance, which could have immediate effects on increasing their productivity. Employees will be more engaged and focused on completing day-to-day tasks. Mindfulness is a type of meditation that staff could use every day along with breathing techniques or yoga, which would bring the practitioners to the present moment while working for greater efficiency.

Fitness Amenities

To promote health and wellness in the workplace is a benefit in itself, but could go hand-in-hand with incentives and benefits like paid memberships to a gym or spa. Just as monetary rewards boost motivation and cultivate employer appreciation, offering these types of fitness associations will encourage employees to remain active, which is key to good health.

An on-site gym, when it’s feasible, will let workers workout together and regularly. One of the reasons many employees don’t take time to exercise is because they are too busy. However, by allowing flexibility in employees’ schedule for a half hour to go to an on-site gym or join an exercise class, it will be convenient and motivate them to keep physically active and boost anti-sedentary attitudes and productivity.

Have a discussion with your employees about workplace wellness. Allow for feedback, questions, and discover what issues concern or interest your staff. If you don’t have any programs in place or looking for ways to get started, you can contact your company’s health insurance provider to see if your group plan offers wellness training. Some providers may have educational materials that you could distribute to get the workplace wellness conversation started among your employees. Promoting health on the job and developing a well-being program for your workers doesn’t have to be complicated. Still, there are many resources available to take advantage of so your workers can be healthier, happier and more productive, which is a win-win for your business.

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What Technologies Might Replace Human Resource Professionals?

One recurring concern surrounding technology in the workplace is the potential replacement of living workers. In fact, this concern has been with us since the industrial revolution, with the introduction of factory machinery even prompting the formation of Luddite groups in opposition. Today we’re unlikely to respond in quite the same violent manner, but we are nonetheless wary of how machinery might make us obsolete.

Over the past few decades, we have witnessed a steep uptick in technological advancement and its introduction into the workplace, from robotics in manufacturing to artificial intelligence (AI) in diagnostic medicine. However, while some traditional tasks have been replaced by technological methods, machines are more likely to be used to support human talent rather than replace it. New technology has also shown potential for creating roles in entirely new industries.

The ebb and flow of labor due to change is well understood by those who specialize in human resource departments. But how could greater reliance upon tech impact the careers of HR professionals, themselves? Is there any cause for concern, and what opportunities might be presented?

Remote Teams

Remote work has proven something of a double-edged sword for some businesses. On one hand, technology has advanced to the point where we can employ a worldwide talent pool, yet we can’t always replicate the benefits evident in physical teams. While the trends lean toward remote workers primarily being used for project teams, 52% of companies that use virtual teams use this method in employing upper management, too. This tech advancement presents challenges for HR.

In this example, there is not a huge concern that remote technology might replace HR professionals. Rather, it is more likely to result in shifts in what is required and expected of those who take on these roles. There will be a need for HR professionals to understand how technology can enhance the hiring process — from utilizing artificial intelligence to narrow down potential candidates, to how best to use video conferencing during the interview process. What’s more, there may be an increased reliance on cloud services to track data and forms for all the remote employees, leading to a higher likelihood of data loss if members of HR are not up-to-date on their tech training.

It could also become necessary for HR professionals to gain a deeper understanding of company projects in order to best understand how to support individual teams and team members, especially when it comes to the nuances of hiring remote employees. In essence, this is an issue of leadership.

Nursing in the healthcare industry provides a useful illustration on this subject. Specifically, there is an emphasis on the need for transformational leaders who understand the technology being utilized and how it affects the holistic operation within work environments. Similarly, HR professionals need to grasp how remote employees best operate in order to provide services which have a beneficial impact on the entire company.

Training and Development

It is perhaps more helpful to look at the implementation of HR technology as a way to lighten the load of day-to-day duties, rather than a threat to the sector. One of the ways in which we are already starting to see digital platforms becoming useful is in learning and development. This is particularly important in businesses where L&D and HR roles are combined.

Educational technology (EdTech) has been useful in reducing the need for a dedicated staff member to be present during every aspect of training, for example. While HR and L&D professionals may need to become savvier in the initial building and ongoing maintenance of training programs to be delivered via EdTech platforms, once designed, there is relatively little need for supervision, and the in-person aspects of the course can be scheduled for convenience.

Thankfully, this is already in line with how most employees prefer to work. Millennial HR professionals will likely already be comfortable utilizing technology in various aspects of their work, and studies show that employees, in general, are keen to improve their digital skills. This bodes well for advanced technology that HR workers may need to introduce into training scenarios, including the rising popularity of virtual reality (VR) in corporate learning spaces.

Closer Human and Technology Relationship

One of the ways in which it’s important to look at technology’s role in any industry is through the lens of collaboration. Rather than simple replacement, elements of technology could prove to boost HR professionals in their daily responsibilities — enhancements that allow them to work smarter, faster, and more efficiently.

Combining technology with our bodies might seem like a drastic step straight out of a sci-fi novel, but it may also hold the key to more efficient working practices. Biohacking is, in essence, a method through which we can use scientific knowledge and equipment to better understand and utilize our bodily processes, including augmentation to optimize our bodies and brains in order to achieve our full potential. The success of any business often relies upon the productivity of its staff members, after all — so is it beyond the realm of possibility that HR professionals could develop expertise in this area which could help make themselves and staff more effective in their roles?

We’re not quite at the stage where chips are being implanted into brains, but biohacking isn’t just about hardware. Technology could be implemented to keep HR professionals and staff in routines that are beneficial to their health and productivity, too. Sensors connected through the internet of things could monitor life signs and activities, and recommendations could be made for supplements, or Nootropics, which could enhance cognitive performance. This combination of analysis, scientific knowledge, and augmentation may become part of the HR landscape as part of a generalized employee wellness plan, ensuring not only day-to-day productivity, but also minimizing areas of inefficiency such as sick days.

Conclusion

It may be time to ask fewer questions about whether machines will replace workers, and spend more time discovering how technology can evolve the roles already being performed. For HR professionals, there are exciting opportunities being presented by our rising digital landscape. By understanding how they can best form a collaborative relationship with technology, human resources departments can help give their companies a competitive edge in a constantly changing labor environment.

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5 Ways HR Can Learn from Project Managers

What do the departments of project management and human resources have in common? As it turns out, more than you may expect.

Although it may be news to some, many of the skills needed to manage the various intricate components of a project are the same as those required to hire, promote, and protect the employees of a company. Both positions include juggling a lot of pieces while also providing positive results. Here are five tips that HR personnel can learn from the project management team.

1. Planning

Planning is an essential step for all project managers. As soon as they are faced with a new need or assignment, the first step is to go to the drawing board and think about all possible solutions, and then figure out deadlines for completion, what staffing will be required, and any other additional needs. HR employees must take the same steps when it comes to filling the needs of the company and its assorted departments.

Just like with project management, it is all about defining what success looks like for the current needs and working toward them. How will success be measured? Are you looking to find anyone to fill a vacant position, or are you searching for candidates that can advance and grow with the company? What new positions may be needed in the future? These questions must be answered before the recruiting process can even begin.

2. Avoiding Pitfalls

Because of the complexity and impending deadlines associated with major projects, common pitfalls must be avoided so the process can move along as easily as possible. Some common project pitfalls might include a sudden procedural change or a project member dropping the ball on their personal responsibilities. Project managers must have contingency plans, and so should HR professionals.

Common pitfalls for HR managers might include limited awareness of employee rights, a failure to complete proper paperwork, or limited knowledge of disciplinary procedures. A major concern would be the loss of an employee from a team that is already understaffed. Plans must be created before potential pitfalls cause issues for your business. Create organizational charts and introduce training classes that ensure that every individual in your HR department is fully trained on their responsibilities, so all bases are covered.

3. Collaboration

Since a project manager is working with so many separate parts that are handled by an army of team members, there must be a good system of collaboration. Project managers need to understand that they don’t know it all and that their team should be involved in the planning process. This is the same in the HR department.

There are a variety of responsibilities within the human resources team, from employee relations and benefits to payroll and hiring. The trick is to work as one fluid group to ensure that the proper employees are hired, that they have all the necessary benefits and signed paperwork, and that they end up becoming a happy and productive member of the team. To achieve this balance, proper communication is necessary, so have a meeting with all staff members where a consensus can be reached for creating the best system of collaboration.

It is also essential for human resources staff to communicate effectively with the supervisors of each team in their business so they can know what needs are necessary. Managers should always have the ability to reach out to HR for important employee matters. Additionally, HR should also have an open-door policy for employees who have personal concerns.

4. Tracking

The job of a project manager is not one filled with rest and relaxation. Instead, constant attention is needed for projects that are often complex in nature. The only way for one person to take control of the chaos is with an effective tracking system that accounts for the movement of each team member, including what has been completed and what is still pending.

Human resources also involves many moving parts, and luckily, there are systems available for better employee management. When it comes to hiring, applicant tracking systems can provide stability as they keep track of current applicants, rank them in terms of ability to do the job, and ensure that all paperwork is presented. For current employees, you can take advantage of personnel tracking software that tracks employee paperwork, tax information, and certifications, among other important records.

5. Managing Personality Types

When project managers assemble their team, they understand that even though everyone comprehends the main goal of the project, every member of the team is not the same. Each employee has their own processes, motivations, and work ethic. Still, the manager must be able to understand these traits so they can bring out the best in every member.

Similarly, in human resources, the goal is to keep employees content. The employees of your company also have different motivations and levels of success that they want to achieve. It is important to work to those traits and promote those who deserve the opportunity. Employees also have different motivators. Some may be happy with a monthly bonus, while others prefer a fixed schedule. It is the job of HR to understand the core of each worker.

Yes, the HR and project management teams have much in common, and the professionals who best harness these skills will see the most success. Adding these traits will lead to happier employees in both arenas.

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