People Science: Why Your Employees Are Your Most Important Asset

Written by Adam Hale, CEO at Fairsail.

People Science

We are in the midst of a global skills crisis that is forcing companies to rethink how they attract and retain the right talent. Imagine being able to know why the top salesperson at a business has quit, and then how to ensure it doesn’t happen again. What if businesses could use the profiles of their top performers to identify the candidates most likely to be high performers in the future.

Business leaders are looking for more, data-driven people decisions enabling business goals. I’m not talking about simplistic HR metrics and KPIs; I’m talking about People Science. This means being able to know why one of the firm’s top performers has quit, or what experiences new hires need to get up to speed quickly. It means the ability to hire and develop the right people today while building the skills needed for tomorrow.

What’s more – today’s people insights can prevent tomorrow’s problems. For example, the capability to know the reason why a top performer has quit can help to ensure that the business builds the right work environment, offers the right compensation packages, and creates consistently great workforce experiences to ensure that it doesn’t happen again in the future. By looking at the profiles of the best business leaders today, and the skills likely to be needed in the future, tomorrow’s leaders can be identified and developed so they are ready with the right skills at the right time.

It’s not just about what the business wants though; employees have high expectations too. They want achievable targets based on metrics, specific reasons why they haven’t been promoted, and insight which can help them to develop. For example, it may be possible to let a sales consultant know they don’t perform as well when pitching to prospective clients in teams, which could enable them to improve the way they collaborate with their colleagues.

There’s a growing theme here. These examples of insight gleaned from data aren’t just about HR; they’re about people and the overall business. Put simply, a new approach is required to the HR function. Automating existing HR processes is not enough. HR leaders need to become Chief People Officers – thinking differently about how they engage with employees and design better ways of working to drive productivity and retain your best people. The power of People Science is real, and it could make a huge difference in being able to outwit rivals, ensure the business has a competitive edge and be able to retain and recruit top talent.

About the Author:

Adam Hale, CEO at Fairsail

Adam Hale, CEO at Fairsail, previously acted as Executive Chairman and Non Executive Director having spent over 30 years in the technology industry. He was formerly Head of Software and European Technology at Russell Reynolds Associates, the leading executive search firm and before that ran large system implementation projects at Accenture. Adam is also a committee member of the Technology Leadership Group (TLG) for the Prince’s Trust.


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Growth fears: How can businesses align business growth with employee satisfaction?

Written by Sabby Gill, Executive Vice President (EVP) International at Epicor Software, specially for The HR Tech Weekly® blog.

Happy Employees

When a business experiences sudden growth, it creates a myriad of emotions from joy and excitement to dread and fear. The progressive mind-set that stimulates growth can inadvertently cause us to be less sensitive to the negative emotions that might emerge as a result. Because we are creatures of habit, it is probably not surprising that some of the increased complexity and ambiguity can be quite unsettling. Paradoxically, this emergent fear can start to hinder growth, as leaders pick up on it and start taking preventative measures to avoid damaging customer relations, reducing service quality, and minimize the mounting pressure on operations.

The reality is that progress is part of doing business, and with some careful planning and forward-thinking, the growth period does not have to be ridden with pain. The right IT infrastructure can help to facilitate some of these big changes and make the process a lot smoother.

Recent research conducted by Epicor has explored the different approaches organisations take to growth. It’s been found that the three priorities tend to be in turnover and sales, profits, and expansion into new industries and product areas. The outlook for 2016 is positive; 70% of respondents expect growth in 2016, and 79% have made (or are making) investments in integrated IT infrastructure as a key to supporting growth.

But what happens if the growth is unforeseen, or experienced as a surge? Leaders can find themselves on their back foot if they have not developed the appropriate skillset to handle the new changes.

Rob Morris, Head of Innovation and Thought Leadership at YSC, the premier global leadership development firm, believes that hiring for and developing the right skillset for growth goes a long way in dealing with the excessive demands placed on the workplace.

“Although we plan for growth in linear and rational ways, it often looks more like chaos in practice. When growth happens at such an unpredictable pace and scale, you don’t usually hire for that growth. As a result, you will not have the people resources to deliver on the new scale that you have created for yourself. The downside is people end up doing more than they expected, and often outside of the roles they were hired or trained for.”

A growing business can hinder employee satisfaction

A risk associated with business progress is employees becoming increasingly disengaged in the workplace due to heavier workloads, pressures, and deadlines. According to the Epicor research, 43% of leaders are concerned that as their business grows, workloads may increase to a level that places too much pressure on staff, prompting key personnel to leave the organisation.

Morris believes that a key predictor of job satisfaction is whether employees find ‘meaning’ in their work and warns that an employee’s personal values and missions can become misaligned with the company’s goals once the company starts growing.

“If I am asked to do things outside of the boundaries with which I joined the company, suddenly I may be less committed to it. If employees have less of a connection with the tasks involved or when they take on too many new tasks, too fast then it creates job dissatisfaction.”

It is vital to have the right infrastructure in place to support employees during growth. If technology can be used to ease the strain of increased workloads, employees can even find themselves empowered by growth. They may, for example, find themselves working on a wider variety of tasks, working closely with leadership to drive growth, and gaining more access to corporate knowledge if their roles are facilitated by the right technology.

How can businesses reduce the ‘pain’ of growth and plan ahead?

Any big change in a business – especially a surge in growth – can be disruptive and can filter through the organisation. According to Morris, this collective expression of pain typically manifests as resistance or disengagement. But businesses can get ahead of this curve by planning for any potential problems and ensuring they have enough resources to cater to increasing demands by the workforce[1].

The Epicor survey findings revealed that the top two stimulants for growth are ‘technology leadership’ (40%) and ‘skilled workforce’ (39%). This can be a two-edged sword. Organisations that are stuck with legacy systems might find themselves falling behind, unable to adapt to new business processes, or meet the demands of employees who expect modern technology in order to do their jobs. On the other hand, the organisations that leap onto new technology, will find themselves ahead of their competitors, ready to embrace new challenges.

A key facilitator in managing this process smoothly is to make investments in the right technology as the “demand for quick communication and transaction” increases[2].

Many progressive businesses are already doing this – according to the Epicor research 79% of businesses have made or are making investments in integrated IT infrastructure. Increased data visibility, for example through the use of the latest enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions, can allow businesses to perform in-depth analysis of key KPIs, so that they can manage costings and profitability more confidently. Customer relationships can likewise continue to prosper during the growth period with agile and scalable ERP and manufacturing execution systems (MES) that meet their demands.

According to Morris, employees need “emotional support to withstand the pressures of growing.” He also recommends “fostering a robust culture so people can be resilient throughout the growth surge.” It’s clear that this culture can be more robust if people are supported by the technology they need to do their jobs. Although it seems counter-intuitive, e.g., deploying technology in support of an emotional challenge, investment in the right IT infrastructure is therefore essential, and will help maintain the emotional well-being of employees throughout this transitionary period.

[1] http://www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/2013/apr/22/growing-a-business-efficiently

[2] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sponsored/business/the-elevator/12095150/steps-to-business-growth.html

About the Author 

Sabby Gill - EVP - EpicorSabby Gill brings more than 20 years of international sales, operations and enterprise software industry experience to Epicor. In the role of executive vice president, International, Gill is responsible for operations including sales, professional services, and field marketing, with a focus on accelerating company growth throughout Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) and Asia Pacific (APAC).

Prior to Epicor, Gill was senior vice president of International Sales for IGT, a gaming technology company. He has also held executive management roles with leading technology companies including HP, CA Technologies, Oracle, PeopleSoft (acquired by Oracle), and DEC.


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More Than “Time to Hire” in Recruitment Metrics

Recruitment

Recruitment and HR professionals like to talk about recruitment metrics and KPIs. In reality “time to hire” is often the major and mostly the only degree of a recruitment department effectiveness used by the management and even HR Managers to measure how the recruitment department of a respected company performs.

The problematic side of this KPI is that is involvement in recruitment process of other (important) parties like hiring managers, and that is how good and fast they are in decision-making, administration and even existing of notice periods (one of my former candidate’s boss on his previous job wanted to keep him for a couple of months by any means) makes “time to hire” ineffective measurement tool.

So, here are other recruitment KPIs you can use to measure and motivate your recruitment team. The list is not exhaustive and does not apply to be versatile. It is based on my own experience and not always supports the settled terminology:

  • Productive Index – the time from when a job opens until the first candidate is presented to a hiring manager by a recruiter (clear indication what is the time a recruiter has spent to find right candidates)
  • Hiring Manager vs. Recruiter Cooperation – the number of candidates presented before a final candidate was identified by an internal client (indicates a recruiter’s capability to build effective relations with a hiring manager)
  • Engagement Index – offers accepted vs. offers received (a recruiter should be able to connect firmly with a candidate to reach 100% value for this KPI)

I always believed that recruiters are 100% responsible for the recruitment process from time when a job opens until candidates are presented to a hiring manager as the interview process is more hiring manager’s responsibility.

There are also few indirect metrics which can assist to measure recruiter’s performance in a longer term perspective:

  • Replacement Index – how many replacements of candidates who did not pass a trial period a recruiter had to make through (some indirect but still you can use this to measure how a recruiter understands company needs, a hiring manager’s management style and corporate culture)
  • Candidate’s Success Index – measured by a candidate’s performance in fulfilling his or her first annual KPIs (very indirect)

Metrics

We can use a lot of metrics to evaluate how social networks and advertisements work for us or internal candidates index but the beauty of measuring recruitment, or any other corporate process, is not to issue reports or put the grades but to plan, optimize and improve in a distribution of resources.

About the Author

Andrey Verinchuk
Andrey Verinchuk

Andrey Verinchuk – talent acquisition and executive recruitment veteran, HR branding and Social Media enthusiast, spent many years in executive recruitment consultancy and in-house corporate talent acquisition management.

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