7 Underused Brainstorming Techniques to Get Your Creative Juices Flowing

Brainstorming is the age-old technique for generating new ideas, solving problems, decision making and even inspiring creative thinking. Sometimes though, it is not that easy to get the expected outcome of a brainstorming session.

When this happens, you should go beyond the traditional brainstorming techniques and adopt some new methods like the ones below.

Concept Maps

A concept map is a visual tool and can be used to structure a brainstorming session.

It helps organize ideas and illustrate relationships between them.

Put down the topic you are brainstorming at the top, and get your team to come up with any and all ideas related to it while you put them down under the main topic.

Then connect each idea with links that have labels on them to describe how each idea is connected to the other. As you complete your concept map you’ll have an overview of the issue at hand that will help you come up with a solution pretty quickly.

Concept Map Example on Concept Mapping

Brainwriting

Sometimes, when everyone is speaking at once, trying to put their own idea out there, the introverts with great ideas will shy away from participating in the discussion.

And if their idea is actually good, you’d be missing a good opportunity to arrive at a solution.

Brainwriting allows you to overcome this issue, as in this method you give everyone in the group a chance to write down their idea on a sheet of paper.

This way you will not only be encouraging everyone to share their opinion, but this technique will also give more time to the participants to come up with ideas that would never have occurred to them within a larger setting.

Rapid Ideation

This technique uses a time limit as a catalyst for generating great ideas.

In this technique, the moderator of the brainstorming session provides the necessary information on the topic, budget, deadline etc. and set a time limit for the participants to write down as many ideas as possible around the topic.

While they shouldn’t try to filter their ideas, they can use any medium to mark them down, be it on a paper, whiteboard or on Google Sheets; basically, anything that they can use to get their creative juices flowing.

The session could go on for just a few minutes, or an hour depending on the topic that is being brainstormed.

Gap Filling

This is basically to get your team to consider what you need to do to get from your current position to your goal. In this method, it is important to set a relevant and attainable goal.

During the session, get the team to figure out what resources, how much time and what methods you should use to get to that particular goal.

As you fill the gap from point A to point B, you’ll get to paint a clear picture of what needs to be done.

SWOT Analysis

A SWOT analysis helps you look into the strengths and weaknesses of your company and figure out what opportunities and threats you might be facing within the industry.

Analyzing these four conditions in a SWOT analysis example like the one below will help you come up with better-informed ideas for the issues you have at hand.

New SWOT Analysis Template 6 (1).png

Starbursting

Instead of directly finding answers, in this brainstorming technique, you get your team to ask as many questions about the topic as possible. The questions should cover the who, what, where, why and how related to the topic at hand.

Questioning an idea thus does not only help understand it better, but it also helps you ensure that there’s no risk involved in taking an action by allowing you to consider all aspects of it.

Rolestorming

Here you take on the identity of someone else, say your CEO, a celebrity, an expert in your field or even your client, and assume what they would do if they were faced with the issue you have or what they would do if they were to take action.

This technique will help you think out of the box while helping you overcome any anxiety that you may have regarding expressing an idea that you think would be not accepted. This technique is an ideal solution for those introverts in your team.

Reverse Thinking

Try to think of what everyone else in your position would do, and then do the opposite. This method, like the rolestorming method, will help you come up with unique ideas.

 

Not having a great time coming up with new ideas from your brainstorming sessions? Try these techniques out and see how they change the game for you.

Any other different brainstorming techniques that you use? Do let us know in the comment section below.

 

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Future of Work Trends, Part 4: Future of Training in HR | Featured Image

Future of Work Trends, Part 4: Future of Training in HR

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With the introduction of video sharing sites like YouTube, Vimeo, Daily Motion, etc. the employee training has transformed forever. Online video sites have enabled many companies to upload their training videos and making it available to their employees. Companies which previously have to schedule personal training sessions by matching a time as per the availability of trainer and employees which were a tedious task and even time-consuming at times are now switching to online training. Online training & career development facilitates employees to take up the training as per their schedules and from their comfort zones.

Recently many companies are re-configuring learning and development to become less campus-based classes and more of on-demand online training. This way it becomes easier for both the trainers and trainees. Trainers record their training videos once and do not have to take training sessions again and again. Trainees can choose a topic for training as per their requirement and interest, saving them both time and efforts. This makes employees more independent as they can choose a topic to develop a particular skill of their choice rather than what management thinks is best for them, although most time the curriculum is set and is also best especially for early stage careers.

Constant technological up-gradations have made the online video sites to become more user-friendly. These sites often remind users about an unfinished video so the person doesn’t miss out on something he left midway. They also suggest similar videos to enhance user’s skills and increase their understanding on the topic through different video perspectives. Online training videos are also setting up a benchmark in the employee assessment program. Nowadays many companies are evaluating employees by undergoing a specific training and assessment program. Employees are trained on a specific process by taking up online workshops and then are made to give tests based upon which they are promoted to specific positions.

Online Training

This way a fair evaluation procedure is followed giving only the deserving ones the much-needed promotion. Even employees find themselves in a win-win situation as they get to upgrade their skills. With tremendous growth in the online employee training and workshops which is slowly transforming how we learn & evaluate, it is not wrong to say that in a few year will see a more advanced and efficient ways into learning & assessments, and maybe this is a job within HR that can be taken away by machines that may be able to assess faster and smarter without the human error and provide more accurate assessments.

Just like online video sites are setting up a new trend in the workplace, similar growth can be seen in the online human resources functions in particular with training/learning and development. We shall continue with the next trend in the fifth and final part of the series where we will focus on how human resources functions are rapidly moving online, and that is a fascinating thought but also slightly scary as we ought to maintain the human and machine balance in what is needs to be a personnel function.

To read more on similar topics explore our blogs; to speak with us about employer’s hubs and how we can help transform your contractor talent management by bringing efficiencies through our simple cloud platform, get in touch.


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AI – The Present in the Making

AI – The Present in the Making

I attended the Huawei European Innovation Day recently, and was enthralled by how the new technology is giving rise to industrial revolutions. These revolutions are what will eventually unlock the development potential around the world. It is important to leverage the emerging technologies, since they are the resources which will lead us to innovation and progress. Huawei is innovative in its partnerships and collaboration to define the future, and the event was a huge success.

For many people, the concept of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a thing of the future. It is the technology that has yet to be introduced. But Professor Jon Oberlander disagrees. He was quick to point out that AI is not in the future, it is now in the making. He began by mentioning Alexa, Amazon’s star product. It’s an artificial intelligent personal assistant, which was made popular by Amazon Echo devices. With a plethora of functions, Alexa quickly gained much popularity and fame. It is used for home automation, music streaming, sports updates, messaging and email, and even to order food.

With all these skills, Alexa is still in the stages of being updated as more features and functions are added to the already long list. This innovation has certainly changed the perspective of AI being a technology of the future. Al is the past, the present, and the future.

Valkyrie is another example of how AI exists in the present. There are only a handful of these in the world, and one of them is owned by NASA. They are a platform for establishing human-robot interaction, and were built in 2013 by a Johnson Space Center (JSC) Engineering directorate. This humanoid robot is designed to be able to work in damaged and degraded environments.

The previous two were a bit too obvious. Let’s take it a notch higher.

The next thing on Professor Jon Oberlander’s list was labeling images on search engines. For example, if we searched for an image of a dog, the search engine is going to show all the images that contain a dog, even if it’s not a focal point. The connected component labeling is used in computer vision, and is another great example of how AI is developing in present times.

Over the years, machine translation has also gained popularity as numerous people around the world rely on these translators. Over the past year, there has been a massive leap forward in the quality of machine translations. There has definitely been a dramatic increase in the quality as algorithms are revised and new technology is incorporated to enhance the service.

To start with a guess, and end up close to the truth. That’s the basic ideology behind Bayes Rule, a law of conditional probability.

But how did we get here? All these great inventions and innovations have played a major role in making AI a possibility in the present. And these four steps led us to this technological triumph;

  • Starting
  • Coding
  • Learning
  • Networking

Now that we are here, where would this path take us? It has been a great journey so far, and it’s bound to get more exciting in the future. The only way we can eventually end up fulfilling our goals is through;

  • Application
  • Specialization
  • Hybridization
  • Explanation

With extensive learning systems, it has become imperative to devise fast changing technologies, which will in turn facilitate the spread of AI across the world. With technologies such as deep fine-grained classifier and the Internet of Things, AI is readily gaining coverage. And this is all due to Thomas Bayes, who laid the foundations of intellectual technology.

If you would like to read more from Ronald van Loon on the possibilities of AI, please click Follow and connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.


Source: AI – The Present in the Making | Ronald van Loon | Pulse | LinkedIn

Employee Experience & 3 More Reasons Why the Future Requires HR

Employee Experience & 3 More Reasons Why the Future Requires HR

HR

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

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

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

What Tools Can Do:

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

Is HR Still Needed?

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

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

Creating the Employee Experience

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

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

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

Organizational Architect

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

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

Culture

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

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

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

Translating People Data

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

Conclusion

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


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5 successful leaders' advice: I wish I knew this as a young manager

5 successful leaders’ advice: I wish I knew this as a young manager

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Good leadership is an essential for any successful company, but it’s not always easy for junior or first-time managers to adapt to their role. Many times, leaders look back on their career and have a whole host of new insights and knowledge they wish they’d known all along.

When we started Impraise 3 years ago, the focus was on the product. As the company grew and we brought more people on board, we faced the challenges of also becoming first time leaders. Managing people for the first time, whilst challenging, was also rewarding, but it was always helpful hearing from people with more experience, and understanding what helped them progress and become the best leaders possible.

With recent failures at Uber showing many young leaders were neither trained or equipped for their roles, we wanted to find out just what people wish they’d known when they began on their leadership path. We talked to five top leaders to find out what they wish they’d known when they started their management careers, and collected their most valuable insights…

Harry WestFrog Design

“In an organization that’s fast moving, with lots of young people… we need to be proactive. We shouldn’t expect people to know how to manage without any training.”

CEO Harry West shares with us the things he’s learnt whilst managing the rapidly growing design company.

Historically, he shares, during the company’s earlier days, when potential future leaders were trained, there was a lack of knowledge and structure in place concerning the skills required and how they should be developed. The company now have in place a management training program to ensure these things are addressed before young leaders are put in charge of teams. Reflecting on earlier practices, he muses that this less than thought out approach to systematic training was not good enough for such a fast moving, young tech company. West soon learnt that this wasn’t working, and began reshaping their training process to be more systematic, now ensuring young leaders go into their positions equipped and confident.

Martin Jellema, Werkspot

“One of the most important elements is the people themselves.”

Martin Jellema, Werkspot & Instapro’s Chief Commercial Officer, responsible for a 70+ team, shares the top three lessons he’s learnt since he began managing.

Jellema maintains that, after all his years of managing people, one of the most important elements is the people themselves. Finding and recruiting candidates that fit the company and can handle every aspect of the role remains one of the most important aspects of managing.

Besides this, he maintains, asking for help where needed remains the second most important thing. He now values collaboration over feeling the pressure to perform flawlessly and prove yourself as manager, saying it’s more useful to discuss issues, allowing people to help you come up with solutions you wouldn’t necessarily think of. In Jellema’s experience, both your boss and your team will see you reaching out for help as a strength not a weakness: understanding that something needs to be done or changed and using the resources you have to make that positive change won’t be frowned upon. You have a great team around you for a reason: use their knowledge and skills! He also outlines the importance of keeping focus on ‘high leverage’ activities: rather than taking time on minor activities, delegate, and dedicate the time to things like team training which ups productivity.

Bob Kastner, Meeting Tomorrow

“If you have great team members, and you get them energized by a great scoreboard, then you’ll be unstoppable.”

Bob Kastner, Director of Marketing at Meeting Tomorrow shares the one thing he wishes he knew as a junior manager: how useful scoreboards are when it comes to keeping the team engaged, energized and on track.

Kaster says things should be easy to read at a glance. People should be able to tell what’s going on by looking at a few, important metrics: only use the ones that are essential to productivity. Kaster’s next must-do for these metrics is keep things constant: update the board as often as possible; keep information relevant and updated in real-time, and have it on display, keeping things in the forefronts of people’s minds, and discussing them regularly in team meetings or daily stand ups.

You can decide whether to create a competitive friendly vibe, seeing who tops the scoreboard, or create a collective vibe: how close is the team to hitting goals? Kaster has learnt to put this focus on striving for more motivating ‘best’ results rather than encouraging people to beat averages, always ensuring most importantly, to celebrate these successes as a team when they occur!

Brett Remington, Wisconsin Centre for Performance Excellence

“Trust holds everything together. It takes huge amounts of time to accumulate… As a manager, your success depends on the preservation and enhancement of trust.”

We spoke to Brett Remington, of the Wisconsin Centre for Performance Excellence,  and he outlined the things he’s learnt: his experience based ‘truths of management’.

Remington’s first learning was the importance of trust and fostering good relationships with those around you. He shares he’s also learnt to see managers as administrative functions, believing that “if you’re going into management because you want to change the face of what’s possible in your organization, you are applying for the wrong job.” The second, he says, is it’s essential to have a curiosity about the processes your team use: you could have a great team, but, if the processes being followed are ineffective, they’re going to be disengaged and unsuccessful.

He also sets a lot of store by keeping metrics simple and useful, and learnt to focus on 3-5 key performance metrics. He says attempting to stay on top of more than 5 performance measures at once makes for accomplishing less, whilst having focus on fewer than 3 at any time means you’ll likely miss opportunities for continuous improvement and innovation.

His next learning? Humility and the need to embrace change.

“You are only about 2/3rds as good at your job as you think. The 1/3rd you don’t know about, don’t believe, or don’t pay attention to is going to determine how long you’ve got left in this job. Find ways of eliminating blind spots and practice humility. Eventually, you may find that your role as manager is vastly different than when you started. People, processes, policies, and potential change. Know when the accumulated changes no longer fit with your skills, aspirations, or interests. When that time comes, be ready to change out of your manager role and reflect on what you have accomplished as you pursue a better future for yourself.” 

Barry Curry, Systeme

“Most importantly learning how to react and behave when you are out of your comfort zone will better prepare you for being out of it.”

Barry Curry, Technical Director at Systeme, also brings back the key point of positive feedback, recognition, and acknowledging your team for their accomplishments: it’s always key to ensure people know they’re valued.

He shared his biggest learnings with us, beginning with the importance of keeping sight of the big picture. It can be easy to get drawn into the small details: stay focused on key details, and don’t take things personally. If things become heated during stressful projects or periods, it’s okay to let people vent. Acknowledge people’s perspectives, never make responses personal and keep things respectful, with co-workers and clients alike.

He also suggests using goals to ensure what you’re doing has direction. This ensures that problem solving for others doesn’t totally overtake your other responsibilities. Another learning is resist the temptation to always check your emails first thing: first complete one of the daily tasks you’ve set yourself, without distraction or prioritising other’s needs.

He also says that although sometimes sharing problems is difficult, having thought about solutions before sharing the problem will show you’ve thought things through and instill confidence in you. Similarly, having a process in place for when unplanned or unexpected things arise is key: have a consistent process in place to help you deal with things more efficiently.

For more information and expert advice on becoming a great leader, check out our free eBook and white paper.


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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.

Keeping your finger to the pulse: HR’s digital solutions for 2017

Keeping your finger to the pulse: HR’s digital solutions for 2017

Keeping your finger to the pulse: HR’s digital solutions for 2017

It’s quite surprising how many company’s HR departments haven’t yet joined the digital revolution. These companies seem to think that how it was done is fine and has worked perfectly well in the past, so why bother updating anything?

The thing is that often the people in HR feel differently, with 70 to 80% of their time spent on low-value administrative tasks. I feel that’s shameful, particularly as a huge amount of that work can be automatized and digitized. This would allow HR to be massively more productive and play a more strategic role in the company by creating new opportunities, learning methods and more for their companies.

If you agree with me, consider embracing these digital solutions.

Peer to peer recognition

Often a big part of the modern HR department is validating the newer employees, who are in many ways far more demanding than previous generations. That can be taxing for both managers and the HR department to do.

A good solution that has recently come out is Tapmyback. The idea here is to allow people to recognize each other’s work, so that people are no longer looking to management alone to validate what they’re doing.

This will make it far more likely that your employees will receive the recognition they need, while freeing up the HR department to concentrate on offering opportunities for staff to grow and excel.

Non-traditional reviews

Many people do not like to be reviews. And that’s not really that strange, is it? For that reason, OrangeHRM is a good go-to product, as it makes reviewing a far more effective and less stressful affair, where people don’t have to sit in front of their manager but can instead read the process online.

It can, in fact, do far more than that including track time off, help with recruitment and offer training suggestions – which are all very useful services to automate. The good news is that there is a 30 day free trail so that your company can see if it’s suitable.

Resume analyzers

One of the biggest tasks you’ve got to do in the HR department is to manage resumes. Fortunately, that’s gotten a lot easier today with the resume parsers. These will go through piles or resumes, looking for keywords and key skills that you need and discarding the huge pile of useless crap that often comes with it.

In fact, they’ve become such a common occurrence that resume writing services are completely ready for them. And so, you won’t actually miss out on any of the good resumes while cutting down on the time that hiring new personal consumes substantially.

Social media recruiting

Here’s a surprising statistic 73% of 18 to 34 year olds have found their job through social media. That means that if you’re not yet trying to recruit though these platforms, you really are missing out on a huge slice of the younger market out there (and though there is something to be said for experience, diversity is useful too).

For that reason, make certain that you start using services like linkedin to get the word out there that you’re looking. Only in that way can you be sure that you’ll find the right person for the position that you’re looking for.

Online educational resources

Another great new technological wave that every HR department should introduce is the one taking place in online education. For example, there are now dozens of online courses that are available for free or only a little money at such places as EdX.

These offer you a great opportunity to both offer your employees a chance to boost their skill set, while cutting down on costs as well as travel time for them to get those skills.

In fact, some companies have taken to offering employees a certain time during their day or week where they can study these courses, all while never leaving the office. In this way, they can get on with learning without forcing their companies to find ways to work around their absence as they’re still there in case of emergencies.

Last words

In truth, it surprises me that companies would ever think HR isn’t ready for the digital age. There are huge gains to be made in the HR department by coming in to the 21st century. And the great thing is that the more effective your HR department functions, the easier it is for them to help the rest of your company get a head and upgrade their skillset.

And that matters. After all, the modern world is changing ever more rapidly and it’s vital for any company that their workers are changing and improving along with it. Otherwise you might just find that your company’s skillset ends up obsolete.

There really is no recovering from that.

Sylvia Giltner, Blogger, Artist, Student

Technology and art are a big part of my life, and I enjoy integrating them into everything I do. — Sylvia Giltner


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Emerging Talent: The Trends, Challenges and Opportunities at TLCon

Emerging Talent. Our Speakers

Emerging Talent is not void of the many changes taken place over the past year. Plugging the skill gaps with EU workers is under threat from Brexit however does the apprenticeships levy pose to fix that issue? Are graduate schemes at risk? As young people look for more than just a good salary from work, is retention becoming more difficult? Can we do anything about it?

On the 27th April, talentleadersconnect. will be hosting for the second time, TLCon: Emerging Talent that will give 70 Head of early careers, HRD’s, graduate recruitment, apprenticeships and talent acquisition professionals the opportunity to learn, share and network around a theme that is getting more and more important each year. The agenda will have case studies, research and thought leadership from the likes of L’Oreal, Cognizant, Centrica, LaunchPad, The Chemistry Group plus more.

We’ll be starting off the day with research from the Graduate Recruitment team from L’Oreal on the graduate talent population and their expectations and career priorities. Within this same event, Bright Network have carried out research of their own on this topic which should provide a good comparison of the results. Furthermore they’ve been implementing some really great initiatives to gamify how they attract and retain candidates. They’ve told us a little bit on this and we were stoked at the ideas. We’re sure you will be too once you hear it!

We then dive deep into AI and Machine Learning. Don’t worry, there won’t be a whole bunch of code put on slides however we will be looking at an overview of the trends and how this affects your work in recruitment and HR. Will Hamilton from LaunchPad will guide us through the latest innovations in what will be a very futuristic presentation.

We continue to trailblaze into the future by looking at Apprenticeships in the New World. It’s no doubt, there’s a lot of division between viewing the apprenticeship levy as a tax or investment and Erica Farmer, Apprenticeships and L&D programme lead for Centrica is best placed to fill us in on the benefits; she represents Centrica at the National Apprenticeships Service’s lead employer Apprenticeship Ambassador Network.

After our time travel into the future, we go back to student recruitment 101. You may be excited about all the new tools and changes that will affect how you go about graduate recruitment but “You can’t harvest fruit from the trees you haven’t planted yet.” Brian Sinclair, Head of Student Recruitment for Cognizant will give you practical advice on everything, from requirements gathering to pipeline reporting with some useful templates and tools to help explain and position best practice with key internal stakeholders.

There’ll be a buffet lunch and plenty of time to network with your peers around all these topics so join us on the 27th April with your complimentary ticket at TLCon: Emerging Talent.

Useful Information:

Date: 27th April 2017, 8:15am to 1:30pm

Venue: Foyles Bookstore, 107 Charing Cross Road, WC2H 0DT

Theme: Emerging Talent

Contacts: Edie Kalman, Events Manager, edie@talentleadersconnect.com

Twitter: @TLCon_

Hashtag: #TLCon

talentleadersconnect. is the largest Talent Acquisition & HR event series in the UK & Europe. The events combine industry leading keynote talks, interactive discussion sessions and relaxed social networking opportunities.

Evolving Trends in Talent Management Transformation

Evolving Trends in Talent Management Transformation

There are differences in how Talent is defined across industries and organizations. Some companies prefer to adopt their own determinations rather than accepting general definitions. Let’s focus on a general definition for both Talent and Talent Management:

”Talent consists of those individuals who can make a difference to organizational performance either through their immediate contribution or, in the longer-term, by demonstrating the highest level of potential.”

Basic and simple meaning of Talent could be:

  • Ability, aptitude, bent, capacity, endowment, faculty, flair, forte, genius etc.
  • Unusual ability to do something well that can be normally developed by training.
  • Person or people (‘Talent Pool’) with exceptional capabilities.

Whereas: ”Talent Management is a set of business practices that refer to attracting highly skilled individuals, integrating new talents, and developing and retaining existing talents to meet current and future business objectives.“

Actually it manages the planning, possession, development, retention and growth of Talent Pool who are of particular value to an organization, because of their leadership capabilities, prospective for the future, or even because they are satisfying business critical roles and which could actually lead to organizational sustainability, efficiency and excellence in order to achieve business goals.

The term of Talent Management was first casted by McKinsey & Company following a study and gradually it became a very useful term as it describes an organization’s commitment to hire, manage and retain talented employees. It embraces all of the work processes and practices related to retaining and developing an exclusive workforce.

The process of attracting and retaining effective employees results in increasing competition among the companies because of its strategic importance and also known as “The War for Talent.” Talent Management which is sometimes also called as Human Capital Management is now an essential management practice; before it was exclusively attached to recruitment process while now covers a wider area. Talent Management implies that companies are strategic and conscious in how they source, attract, select, train, develop, retain, promote, and move employees through the organization.

On the other side definition of talented employees can involve all kinds of components, from their educational qualifications and skills, previous experience, strengths and additional training they have undertaken, to their abilities, potential and motives, qualities and personalities. Most companies practice Talent Management in a way which includes recruitment of individuals, career planning, training and development, performance management and various compensation and reward options for the top performers. It generally depends on the business strategy, commitment to employees and other factors. What are the core components of Talent Management?

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Talent Engagement and transformation are top priorities for the leaders nowadays and the major challenge is the ability to attract and retain top talent while making sure the existing talents are fully engaged to deliver extraordinary results. For this reason Talent Engagement is considered to be a crucial factor.

End-to-end Talent Management encompasses five main pillars: Recruitment and Onboarding, Performance Management, Compensation Planning and Rewards, Career and Succession Planning, and last but not least, Learning and Development. Previously there were four pillars to be considered under Talent Management but gradually Career and Succession Planning has been added to make them five.

Leaders must have absolute clarity in purpose and focus to avoid business disruption as change without strategy is just a substitution of business development. Therefore, leadership is considered to be one of the most important component of the Talent Management.

Onboarding and Recruiting

An exclusive definition of Onboarding from Bersin by Deloitte states:

“The process of hiring, orienting and immersing employees into their new role and into the organization’s culture.”

Onboarding increases productivity, improves employee engagement, provides consistent and relevant information about the organization to all the new employees and gives understanding of employee expectations and hence helps building relationships.

Recruiting aims to successfully attract and hire key talent for current and future organizational needs through competency based advertising and interviewing efforts. Hiring talented individuals is crucial to the organization’s success. But in order to hire the most talented people, one must first search and recruit them and it could be a challenging task. It is so true that an imperfectly designed recruitment process can miss capable job candidates especially those who work for the competitors.

Performance Management

If we follow the definition it states Performance Management as ongoing, constant process of communicating and simplifying job responsibilities, priorities, performance expectations and development planning that optimizes an individual’s performance and aligns with organizational strategic goals. Performance Management is a crucial segment of maintaining the best talents. It enables companies to identify top performers and high potentials as well as assists to understand the pitfall of under-performance. It helps companies to make better strategic decisions on increasing excellence, retention efforts and to encourage talents.

Compensation Planning and Rewards

A way to remunerate individuals for important achievements, contributions to the goals of an organization and improving skills and competencies in their jobs is called as Compensation. There is a popular old saying – compensation isn’t the reason employees stay, but it can be the reason they leave. If companies want to keep their best employees onboard, they need an elegant approach to use Compensation as a strategic tool, while staying in line with company’s payroll standards, policies and guidelines.

Career and Succession Planning

Succession Management is a process of recognizing and developing employees with the possibility to fill key or critical organizational positions. Succession Management actually means having the right people in the right jobs at the right time. In other words, it is an organized process aimed to identify and grow individuals for future openings.

Career and Succession Planning actually empowers organizations as they plan for the future. The proper way of Career and Succession Planning increases opportunities by allowing organizations to identify and develop the top talent. In addition to preparing new talents to move into key positions, it can effortlessly identify and rectify gaps in Succession Planning as well. It enhances employees engagement by generating proper career paths for them, along with supporting individual development plans.

Learning and Development

Learning Management Systems have been used for a long time to administrate training courses and programs. Experts say that corporate learning is now coming out beyond firm course delivery to a more natural and integrated experience. The companies are embracing new ways of an employee development and reviewing new learning technologies. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC), Self-Paced Online Courses, Distributed Open Collaborative Courses are evolving as the future of new learning options and becoming a very popular way of learning. Companies are also focusing on integration of these options into their learning management portfolios.

All these processes are actually providing big opportunities and advantages to the organizations and guide them to the success. Some of the advantages of effective Talent Management are:

  • Improves organization’s effectiveness and productivity.
  • Helps in achieving business goals with high quality performance.
  • Improves organization’s culture and work environment.
  • Increases employees satisfaction.
  • Retains the best talents and decreases turnover.

Talent Management is an important aspect of broader Human Capital Management (HCM) initiatives and Human Resources departments play a significant role there.

While many current HR processes still moving around traditional practices of recruiting, onboarding, training and development, the Talent Management should generate real value by focusing on a company’s most valuable resource: the potential of its Talent Pool. This dedication provides a distinctive competitive advantage over talents and organization’s business model.

After embracing new talent management applications, most organizations realize the need of integration. Apart from process integration technology investments are often made to streamline processes and improve data accuracy. But the full potential of integration cannot be realized when companies have multiple systems of record with disconnected data streams and conflicting processes.

A study shows that HR has a long way to go when it comes to integration. The majority of organizations surveyed report poor to moderate integration of their Talent Management applications.

It is very important to know the future business trends, and new vision for the Human Resource Strategy to handle Talent Management solutions.

How Trends Are Changing?

The HR functions are at a conjugation point and it has been believe that in the coming years there will be a significant transformation. As the current functions are not connected or flexible to business requirements and have no consolidated vision of talent capabilities there is a need of evolution. There are, of course, some key trends that will effect this transformation. Talent Management is one of them for sure. Across the developed and emerging markets there will be a shortage of skilled and appropriate talent. Businesses cannot deliver their best as they are lacking the right talent. Hence the future HR functions would create significant value for the business, given current and future trends.

Skills gaps are increasing and HR would continuously make sure that their organizations have the right talent. HR would need to quickly tap skills when they’re needed. HR has to transform and adapt towards a global world, supporting new talent sourcing strategies to match talent, and acquiring new management methods, such as encouraging mobile workforces across geographical barriers.

HR should adopt risk management strategies covering everything from protecting confidential information and data, to risks associated with hiring or turnover. Technology, including social, gamification, cloud, mobile, big data and apps, is transforming how people take away their daily work and how HR supports them in that attempt.

Instead of depending on solutions dictated from the top level; organizations should be encouraged with skilled workers who harness social media to create solutions in conjunction with each other, thereby radically disrupting organizational structures, and hierarchy and job titles. As the world becomes increasingly unpredictable, organizations that can adapt to changing business conditions will outperform the market. And HR departments have to reshape themselves so that the HR functions become the critical driver of agility.

HR needs to provide the new thinking and deep insight to attract, organize, motivate and develop the right people for the business. It requires to build the high-performing HR functions to support business goals.

As companies hire talent from around the globe and enter new markets with increasing speed, managing corporate and cultural change will become a critical competence. Already many researches showed, executives expect their company’s HR functions to develop tools and methodologies that support line managers in communicating to employees.

Talent Management tools won’t resolve recruitment, employee retention and other issues by themselves. Companies need to develop a clear plan to navigate Talent Management pitfalls. Social media, cloud, mobile and analytics are changing Talent Management software and the way companies use it.

According to Josh Bersin, with so many vendors in the market and the ERP providers offering talent management software, it’s common for companies to buy software first, and only then figure out how to use it. Today more than 40% of the companies buying HR software are focused on “making it easy to use” and integrating heterogeneous systems, not “solving particular talent problems.”

Companies still want integrated HR systems, but what they don’t want is a complex, integrated ERP software that makes everyone’s life more complicated. In fact, they want life to be simple. More than 40% of the companies according to Human Capital Trends Study are embarking on projects to “simplify the work environment.” 47% of those who are buying new HR software systems cited “ease of use” and “integrated user experience” as one of their top two buying criteria.

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So, as per Bersin by Deloitte, in HR, start to think about employees as “people” – and this is why more and more companies tend to rename their HR organizations as “People Operations” or “People Management.” Sure we have to do HR administration, but ultimately our job is to make sure “people” are engaged, trained, in the right jobs, aligned, and supported.

If we start to think about employees as “people” or consumers, then we’ll think about “Talent Management” in a new way. It’s not just a way to integrate HR processes, it’s a series of strategies, programs, investments, and promises that make everyone’s life, work, and career better.

This is where work is going – we now work in a world of independent free agents, each of them is like a voluntary “consumer” who may choose to stay or leave. The concepts and principles of Talent Management are not going away. But as an area of focus, we in HR have to think more broadly. “Talent Management” is now “People Management” and it has to take on a much broader perspective and holistic approach.

figure3

So, the Talent Management needs to transform to People Management. With more engaging people, simplifying the environment, making the work easier. People management focuses on empowering and improving performance everywhere with continuous learning and continuous feedback processes. The focus is definitely on creating highly engaged workforce and productive work environment. While talent scarcity is still a problem, engagement, empowerment, and environment are now the real challenges that companies are facing. So, this transformation is necessary to overcome all sort of challenges in this area. As the Talent Management industry is changing with social, mobile, analytics and cloud-based technologies, we also need to make sure that the Digital Transformation strategy matches to these changes.

About the Author:

Soumyasanto Sen

Soumyasanto Sen — Blogger, Speaker and Evangelist in HRTech who try to think Out of the Box! Engaging with Companies, Startups & Entrepreneurs in driving Transformation.

Professionally Consultant, Manager, Advisor, Investor in HR Tech. Focusing on Strategies, Analytics, Cloud, UX, Security, Integration and Entrepreneurship in Digital HR Transformation.


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NCC Home Learning | The HR Tech Weekly®

Simple Steps to Subside Stress

Performed by NCC Home Learning.

What Is Stress?

Stress is something we have all heard of and may have also experienced at home or at work. We assume that stress is a bad thing but it can also be an important factor in driving us forward.

What is stress?

Without stress, humankind would not have survived. Cavemen and women needed stress to alert them to possible danger.

Stress is a physical response. When the body is under attack it switches to fight or flight mode. This causes a mixture of hormones and chemicals to be released, preparing the body for physical action. This causes several reactions, including blood being diverted to muscles and shutting down unnecessary bodily functions, such as digestion.

In other words, we gain a rush of energy, preparing us to either fight the danger or run from it. The heart pounds, breathing quickens and we focus our immediate attention on the situation.

In the modern world, we may no longer be pursued by predators like our cave-dwelling ancestors but there are still plenty of times when a stressful situation needs dealing with, such as a pedestrian stepping out in front of your car.

The challenge with stress is when our body goes into stress at inappropriate times. When blood surges to our muscles preparing for fight or flight, brain function is minimised, leading to the inability to ‘think straight’.

This hinders us at work and at home. If we stay in this stressed state for long periods, it will eventually be detrimental to our health. And this is when stress turns bad.

What causes stress?

Triggers differ from one person to another, although there are commonalities. Many people name money – usually lack of – as the main source of stress in their lives, followed by worries over health and relationships.

For many people, stress is linked closely with work, with the feeling of being overloaded and overburdened as being the main source of their stress.

How many people suffer from stress?

It is difficult to get a complete and accurate picture of how many people in the UK suffer from long-term, negative stress.

This is because there is still a stigma attached to stress. At one time, it was commonplace that anyone seen to be suffering from stress was perceived as weak. Slowly, attitudes are changing but many employees are still not ‘admitting’ to their employers when they take time off due to stress, telling them that it was a physical illness instead.

Surveys and research findings however, all point to long term stress as having a significant impact. 1 in 4 people admit to feeling stressed, with a quarter of those surveyed admitting that they had been feeling this way for a year or more.

What effects does stress have on your health?

Long-term, negative stress can impact on your health in many ways;

  • Headaches
  • Upset stomach
  • Raised blood pressure, sometimes to dangerous levels
  • Chest pains
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Depression

What is the impact of stress on personal and work life?

Stress doesn’t only affect someone physically and emotionally – it affects personal relationships too.

Many people who are stressed present a negative attitude. They can be irritable which places relationships under stress. Many people take time off work, unable to face another day of stress at work.

How does stress affect business?

For employers, stress is a hidden issue and one that they are concerned to deal with. This includes ensuring that employees have opportunities to discuss issues that may be causing them concern or stress at work.

Stress is the cause of millions of lost working days every year which has a detrimental effect on a business. Many employers are keen to take steps to reduce the impact of stress on their staff and thus their business.

What are the techniques to relieve stress?

There are many techniques that you can use to release stress at work and at home. As stress is a very personal issue, the methods and techniques that work for one person, may not work for another.

However, experts agree that the first step is identify what stress is that person, and to identify the cause or triggers to a stress reaction.

The ‘Managing Stress Programme’ from NCC Home Learning is for those students who wish to understand the principles of stress management and how to include these at work, or any situation that causes stress.

Like all our courses, this can be studied from home or at work, giving you the freedom to complete your studies in your own time and at your own pace.

[INFOGRAPHIC] Simple Steps to Subside Stress | by NCC Home Learning

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