Performance Management in Agile Teams and How to Improve It

Performance Management in Agile Teams and How to Improve It

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

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

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

team-network-infographic
Source Deloitte University Press

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

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

Self-steering

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

Cross-collaborative

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

Ad hoc

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

Creating psychological safety in teams

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

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

Performance management in agile teams

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Charlene Li

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can find Charlene Li on LinkedIn and on Twitter.

You can find Greg Morton on LinkedIn or on Twitter.

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

Banner HR TechXpo 2017

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

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

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

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


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

Employee Experience & 3 More Reasons Why the Future Requires HR

Employee Experience & 3 More Reasons Why the Future Requires HR

HR

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

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

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

What Tools Can Do:

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

Is HR Still Needed?

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

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

Creating the Employee Experience

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

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

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

Organizational Architect

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

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

Culture

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

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

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

Translating People Data

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

Conclusion

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


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Conferences

5th Compensation & Benefits Summit 2017, Kuala Lumpur Malaysia — Press Release

Equip Global - 5th Compensation and Benefits Summit 2017, Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur, July 20, 2017 — Establishing effective compensation and benefits packages in a competitive environment remains as a challenge for most of the organizations today. With the impact of economy crisis, globalization, increasing governmental regulations, rapid technological advances, it is the nightmare for all HR personnel to design and administer effective and cost-efficient compensation and benefit plans. HR, C&B, Rewards Professionals across organizations are struggling to come out with a remuneration package with flexible benefits that suit all employees and at the same time align with business goals. If this is not handled well, the organization will lose its market competitiveness and face talent attrition.

With thorough understanding of what all HR personnel are facing and looking at moving forward, the 5th Compensation & Benefits Summit 2017 have come out with this one-of-its kind summit to address the MOST DIFFICULT & COMPLICATED issues in managing employee compensation and benefits packages. Our expert speakers will share successful case studies on designing and implementing compensation & benefits plans and processes that allow you to manage costs, improve performance, attract, motivate and retain employees.

You should attend if you are Heads / Vice Presidents / Directors / Assistant Vice Presidents / Managers dealing with:

  • Compensation & Benefits
  • Human Resources
  • Performance & Rewards
  • Finance & Administration
  • Organizational Development
  • Talent Management/Development

4 Exclusive Workshops ALSO available in the 4-Day Summit programme.

Event Name: Compensation & Benefits Summit

Event Date: 13 – 16 November 2017

Event Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Contact Email: enquiry@equip-global.com

Event Website: http://www.equip-global.com/compensation-and-benefits-summit

About Equip Global:

Equip Global

Equip Global is the trusted global provider of business intelligence through conferences and trainings to the world’s leading businesses, governments and institutions.

Our scale, scope, knowledge and reach allow us to put together conferences and trainings which address our clients’ problems that no one else can. Using our deep functional and industry expertise, strong connections across industries as well as breadth of geographical reach, our conferences and trainings constantly help our clients transform into sharper, smarter and more efficient enterprises.

Each time we develop a conference or training for our clients, we put ourselves in their shoes with their objectives in mind and invest significant amount of time and effort researching, unlocking and understanding their real challenges.

We strive to provide only tailored solutions that help our clients achieve true results with minimal effort. We do not believe in conferences and trainings that provide standard industry answers or theoretical knowledge. Inviting only leading practitioners and domain experts who can offer information that help solve our clients’ challenges , our conferences and trainings focus on providing only solutions that have met the concrete test of application and have proven to improve an organization’s productivity and performance. We know that custom solutions yield the greatest competitive advantage and value for our clients and always ensure that we are only providing our clients with information and connections that matter.

In a nutshell, Equip global conferences and trainings drive tangible bottom-line results whilst equipping our clients with the business connections that help you achieve long term success. We provide only what our clients need and want.


** EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNTS are available for Subscribers of The HR Tech Weekly. Email to enquiry@equip-global.com to find out more!

People watching a presentation in a room

Employee Engagement and Experience Driven by “Culture First”

This is no more a secret that engaged employees are more likely to perform better and improve organizational success. And as the companies move more towards agile organizational models, there will be more increase in the employee engagement rates.

Employee Engagement refers to an employee’s job satisfaction, loyalty, and inclination to spend discretionary effort toward organizational goals. Companies measure engagement through an annual employee survey or by a continuous feedback culture.

The important characteristic to remember when thinking about employee engagement is that, it is a real-time assessment of how employees are feeling about their organization and their work.

Culture First

But this is not the only important one. We need to care about culture as well, for understanding what is happening within our organization. And engagement is a critical output of a strong culture.

For organizational culture, the definition centers on the concepts of values and assumptions which contribute to the development of norms, behaviors, and other cultural activities. Because employee engagement and organization’ culture both involve an individual’s relationship with their workplace, it is necessary to bring them always together.

But why the organizational culture is important here?

Check out the below INFOGRAPHICS on Organization Culture from Multigence. They are providing an efficient and scalable technology based solution that measures, evaluates and matches your organization culture with individual profiles of employees and candidates.

Organisation Culture in Infographics from Multigence

According to Multigence, organization must focus on fitting individuals into the corporate culture. Culture isn’t for your employees. It starts the moment a candidate first comes across your brand. And this immediate activate the drivers for your organization growth and success like below.

  • Right hiring and promotion
  • Proper alignments of skills, including the soft skills
  • Taking the right talent decisions
  • Fitting to the corporate branding

The culture of the organization is shaped by each single individual. Successful talent decisions will be driven by cultural fit.

And in the long term benefits, it also

  • Reduce in recruitment cost and higher success rate of recruiting with right hiring match
  • Increase in retention, employee satisfaction, performance indicators and productivity
  • Build and choose better leaders and find the right successors

According to Bersin by Deloitte, organizational culture, engagement, and employee brand proposition remain top priorities in 2017; employee experience ranks as a major trend again in 2017. “Employee engagement has become the top issue on the minds of business leaders, directing us to an entirely new model of management”. And companies need a new approach—one that builds on the foundation of culture and engagement to focus on the employee experience holistically, considering all the contributors to worker satisfaction, engagement, wellness, and alignment.

And according to them, the below figure shows the factors that contribute to positive employee experience. So it pretty clear that today organizations must focus on the employee engagement to have the right employee experience on the foundation of culture.

Simply Irresistible Organization Model

Back in 2015, Graham Massay, the Business Head of The House, came up with an interesting article Culture First Engagement Second. Where he mentioned the risk is that engagement becomes a once-a-year, box-ticking exercise, designed to prove that everything’s OK rather than actually making sure that everything’s OK. By contrast, a strong values-led culture keeps your organization healthy and your employees inspired.

Focusing on culture rather than employee engagement doesn’t mean giving up on measurement. Culture is an outcome. And the business cannot afford to focus solely on engagement at the expense of culture.

So the next question comes to our mind.

Why organizations should focus on employee engagement based on culture first approach?

Multigence has tried to bring the benefits of employee engagement driven by culture or based on a foundation of culture, with the below INFOGRAPHICS.

Employee Engagement Driven by Culture in the Infographics from Multigence

Now if the organization is looking to apply for these benefits, they must focus on employee experience and the world of digitalization. There are many digital tools available in the market which delivers great employee experience. These tools can be categorized as:

  • Productivity and Collaboration tools
  • Engagement and Feedback tools
  • Performance Management tools
  • Well-Being tools
  • Culture Fit tools
  • Employee Services tools

If one can commit to managing these aspects of your employee experience along with employee engagement and culture, then they can be surely a few steps ahead of their peers. The important thing is to consistently care about the employee experience and culture. The role of technology makes a great impact here and one should plan accordingly.

In beginning of this year there is also came up an article Culture First. Digitalization Second. (In German), by the writer Daniel Fuerg, an entrepreneur and according to him.

“It is about a cultural change in our society, triggered by the possibilities of digital technologies and innovations. But the change is not digitalization. The change is what the new possibilities with us humans make. It is a cultural change, which was triggered by technological changes. Companies must thus respond to cultural change and at the same time equip themselves with technology.”

So it’s clear that before we should plan and start considering about engagement, experiences, we must also consider culture the individual culture and off course the organization culture.

So it’s make sense to focus on “Culture First” approach over company first or even county first.

About the Author:

Soumyasanto Sen

Soumyasanto Sen — Professional Advisor, Consultant, Investor in HR Technologies having 12+ years of experiences focusing on Strategies, People Analytics, Cloud, UX, Security, Processes, Integration and Entrepreneurship in Workforce Transformation.

Blogger, Speaker and Evangelist in HR Technologies. Founder of HRTech Conscience.


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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.

How to Effectively Support Young Leaders | Featured Image

How to Effectively Support Young Leaders

How to Effectively Support Young Leaders | Main Image

Whilst there are many factors which can influence the success of your team, a great manager is a key factor when it comes to keeping people motivated and on the road to success, either as individuals, a team, or an organisation. An effective manager can make all the difference between a successful team and one that falls short: management accounts for 70% of the variance in employee engagement, which hugely impacts all aspects of workplace performance.

As such an important influence, it’s key that managers, especially those in their first management role, feel they have all the resources and knowledge available to them to help drive their team towards success. New, first-time managers need to go into their role feeling able and equipped to undertake all their duties. We share with you our three tips for developing first time managers and making sure the transition is as smooth as can be.

Mentoring

It’s key to make sure first-time managers aren’t just thrown into the deep end and made to go from their previous role with no transitional period. The transition should be as smooth and practical as possible. Providing mentors can be a great way to ease people into their new responsibilities and practices. Allowing your first-time managers to spend a few days shadowing the person currently in their future role, or in a similar one, and giving them the opportunity to openly share concerns, gaps in their knowledge, or issues they’re having is a great way to ease people in and ensure that they have the support they need in the form of a consistent mentor. Having a more experienced manager to guide people through their new leadership responsibilities means the difference between a new manager who struggles with the transition and one who comes into the team confident and ready to take the reigns.

Collaboration is key

Whilst having those with more experience provide support, advice or help building skills can be great, it can also be incredibly useful to speak to those on the same level. Providing open management sessions on a regular basis can be a hugely helpful way for both first-time and more experienced managers to share their knowledge, tips and issues alike in an open and constructive environment where the only aim is to improve. In larger organisations it’s a great practice to group together newer or first-time managers from various departments for meetings with open discussion. This can be a great way not only to see people’s personal development in their roles, and have them get the help they need, but also an opportunity to become aware of the issues that frequently arise with first-time leaders. Allowing for these things to be focus topics for the future means people can develop together and have all their addresses concerned.

Focus on building the right skills

It’s one thing ensuring first-time managers feel personally ready to take on their role, but it’s also key to ensure that people have the skill sets required of them. Setting goals that involve developing specific skills gives people something concrete to aim towards and ensure the right things are being focused on.

Providing people with a focus on developing their management and leadership skills means that they’ll be able to focus on developing these key aspects of management alongside the skills they already possess. Managing people requires new skill sets, and being aware of exactly how to develop those skills is key not only for first-time managers who have recently started their role, but also for those with potential who could be soon-to-be leaders. Don’t just have these processes be short-lived though: really developing skills takes time, and will be most effective if the process begins prior to beginning the role, and continues throughout the manager’s career path as they grow.

If you found this article useful, check out our white paper for more information on how to develop your managers here.


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

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

Recognize Employee Achievements: 5 Ways how to give Positive Feedback

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

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

Putting positive feedback to the test

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

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

Why is positive feedback important?

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

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

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

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

How to give positive feedback:

  1. Be specific

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

  1. Timing

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

  1. Get into the habit of giving feedback more frequently

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

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

  1. Set goals and new challenges

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

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

  1. Encourage a positive feedback culture

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

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

Summary and take-aways:

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

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

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

Current and future state of HR and employee appreciation – Interview with William Tincup

Written by João Duarte, Content Director at Tap My Back.

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William is the President of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a Writer, Speaker, Advisor, Consultant, Investor, Storyteller & Teacher. He’s been writing about HR related issues for over a decade. William serves on the Board of Advisors / Board of Directors for 18 HR technology startups. Many say his words dictates and predicts the future of managing people and teams.

Tap My Back, an employee appraisal software, recently managed to have an interview with Tincup about the current and future state of HR focusing topics such as performance reviews and the use of AI. This article is sort of a compilation of the main ideas he went through on this interview.

One of the most interesting topics Tincup spoke was about the way he feels HR managers currently should have more responsibilities than ever before. Following his thoughts we’re moving from era where employee engagement was the main worry of HR managers onto one where there’s the need to manage the full experience staff go through on the workplace.

He even says that engagement is the same as recycling, everyone already recognizes the value it provides but still many prefer to ignore it.

According to William, the reason why performance reviews stopped producing the outcome they used to is related with the fact that many times managers who conduct those are not honest with the employees about whose interest this process serves. As society currently values highly aspects such as transparency, HR staff conducting performance reviews should be clear to people and say something “hey, this actually for us, so that we do better, so that we make sure that we’re on the right track and we get the most out of you because we want the best version of you while you’re with us. We’re going to train you, we’re going to help you, we’re going to throw some stuff in but at the end of the day we want the best version of you while you’re with us”.

Regarding AI and Machine Learning, William provides an interesting opinion, stating that these tools will make insights that used to be remarkable to become commonplace, a commodity. Following his reasoning these tools will turn dump databases into something capable of providing insightful conclusions, sparing human brain of analyzing raw data.

William, with his typical charismatic way of being, finishes the interview with an advice for every entrepreneur, “Grow, comma grow the right way” referring to the fact that the ambition to grow should never overlap the way managers treat people

End note: You can hear and read the full interview here.


If you want to share this article the reference to João DuarteTap My Back and The HR Tech Weekly® is obligatory.

Most popular HR software: How location and business size affects app choices

Most popular HR software: How location and business size affects app choices

Written by Karen McCandless, GetApp.

HR Employee Management

Once upon a time, the HR market was dominated by a few big name players. The likes of ADP, Oracle, or SAP were the main choices available to businesses, large and small. This has all changed, with cloud HR solutions becoming mainstream, and a raft of new entrants shaking up the status quo.

To find out more about exactly what criteria small to medium businesses in different countries are using to select their HR solutions, we turned to data from GetApp users to find out which were the most popular apps.

We found that businesses of 1-50 employees favor cloud-based HR software from startups like themselves, that are new to the market but that promise innovation, and simple pricing plans – often with freemium option.

There is some continuity with businesses of 51-500 employees, with these size of businesses still choosing smaller HR outfits, but ones that have more of a presence in the market, such as Jobvite and Greenhouse.

As businesses grow, it makes sense that they would favor companies that cater towards that end of the market, and that is exactly what we saw with GetApp users of 501-1000 employees. Another interesting trend was this was the first learning management systems featured among the most used apps.

In terms of country HR software usage, British and Canadian users favored apps either based in their own country, or that had a strong presence there.

HR software usage trends

With this in mind, we at GetApp – a startup ourselves with an agile, cloud-based HR system – wanted to find out just whether this would hold true for for our users – whether small businesses in different countries are really choosing these new entrants to the market over the big-name brands.

To test this theory, we used data from the “I Use This” feature on the GetApp website (screenshot below) to find out what is the most popular HR software among our users. (For a detailed methodology on the way that we collected and analyzed this data, see the methodology section at the bottom of the article.)

The approach we took to this was two-pronged: we looked at apps used by different business sizes – varying from solopreneurs to companies of up to 1000 employees – and also at software used in different countries (the U.S., UK, and Canada) to see what insights we could glean.

We grouped together HR apps of all flavors – from talent management, to scheduling, to performance management, and more – to analyze the approach that companies are currently taking towards managing their human resources.

Key Findings:

  • Businesses with 1-50 employees favor newer, more agile HR apps, with lower pricing points
  • Companies with 51 employees and more look for more well-known HR names, combined with innovation
  • Businesses are still adopting point solutions for areas such as recruitment, rather than all-in-one HR apps
  • Adoption of learning management systems is much higher in companies with more than 500 employees
  • Outside of the U.S., companies favor local HR solutions.

Most popular HR software by business size

When splitting HR app usage according to business size, what became apparent was that there is no clear market leader for companies of up-to 1,000 employees. Each size of business had its own preferences, with no runaway leader in any category. This differs from other industries such as accounting, where a few big-name vendors dominate.

There is also no mention of the legacy HR heavyweights that were initially built on premise, such as Oracle, ADP, SuccessFactors (now part of SAP) – or newer cloud-based market leaders such as Workday. Halogen TalentSpace is the only HR app popular among GetApp users to feature in analyst firm Gartner’s Magic Quadrants for HCM or Talent Management, which are focused on the enterprise market. Businesses across the board (up to 1,000 employees) are favoring newer, native cloud software for the HR market.

Where we can see a trend start to emerge is in the type of HR apps used by businesses of less than 50 employees, compared to companies of 51-500, and then again with organizations of 501-1000 employees. We’ll dive into these trends in more depth now.

Businesses of 1-50 employees: startups for startups

When looking at the apps used by businesses of 1-10 employees and 11-50 employees, the most used HR software is consistent, with Zoho Recruit, Breezy HR (formerly Nimble HR), Workable, and Crelate Talent all featuring in the top five for both company sizes.

Delving more deeply to find out why this may be, we noticed that all these HR apps all recent entrants to the market. Breezy HR was founded in 2014, Workable in 2012, Crelate Talent in 2012, and while Zoho as a company was founded in 1996, Zoho Recruit was a more recent addition in November 2009.

All of these apps are natively built for the cloud, cater to small businesses, and market themselves as relatively straightforward and simple software.

Pricing options

Another similarity with the most popular HR software for businesses of 1-10 and 11-50 is pricing. Several solutions offer a free option with limited features, making them useful for startups and small businesses with budget constraints.

In terms of Zoho Recruit pricing, it currently (as of April 2017) offers a free plan for one recruiter with basic ATS functionality, such as scheduling interviews. Even for the most expensive price plan, it’s only $50 per recruiter per month. Zoho can also be seen as a safe pair of hands, with its long company history and large suite of products.

Breezy HR keeps its pricing plans simple, with all of them including unlimited users and candidates. The plans differ according to the number of active jobs. As of April 2017, for one active job, the HR app is free.

While Crelate Talent doesn’t offer free options, its pricing is affordable for small businesses.

Hiring platform Recruitee – one of the most used apps by businesses of 11-50 employees- doesn’t offer a free version, but has competitive pricing options covering the varying needs of different company sizes. It’s still a very new company – set up in mid 2015 – but has already been garnering a lot of positive coverage in publications such as Entreprenuer and Inc.

Workable doesn’t cater solely for this end of the market, but its simple tools, mobile-first approach, and raft of integrations make it an attractive choice for small businesses.

All-in-one HR

Zenefits is the only piece of software on the list (third most popular HR app by businesses of 1-10 employees) that isn’t strictly targeted at simplifying recruiting or talent management. While it originally focused on benefits management, it has since expanded to cover onboarding and employee scheduling. Despite experiencing several scandals and setbacks in 2016, Zenefits emerged as the most well-funded HR tech company in 2016.

Key takeaway: Businesses with less than 50 employees broadly go for the same kind of HR apps that are cloud-based, have affordable pricing plans (often with a free version), and are relatively new to the market.

Businesses of 51-500 employees: innovative new entrants

As the business size grows, the trend swings towards HR software that, while more established than the above startups, is still making waves in the industry due to its innovation and high-profile customers. The most popular HR software for this company size also caters for a wider range of business sizes than the favored apps for businesses of 50 and under.

Jobvite and Greenhouse are two applicant tracking and recruitment apps that are popular with companies of between 51 and 1000 employees.

While Greenhouse is a relatively new entrant to the market (founded in 2012), thanks to a raft of positive media coverage and some high profile customers (Airbnb, Evernote, and Pinterest), it has already made a name for itself in the recruitment industry. Part of Greenhouse’s strategy is based around having an open platform that easily integrates with any other tool you might use for recruitment.

Analytics-driven recruiting platform Jobvite has been around longer (since 2006), and is aimed at both small businesses and enterprises. The app also boasts an impressive client roster, including LinkedIn, Spotify, Etsy, and Verifone. Jobvite’s product offering aims to cover everything from sourcing to hiring to onboarding.

The company continues to innovate by partnering and adding new features, such as integrating with Accurate Background services to allow companies to carry out employment background checks, drug testing and verification services from within Jobvite.

Workable is the one constant across businesses all the way up to 500 employees, as it is another app that caters for a wide range of business sizes.

HR suite adoption

One trend that we see solely with businesses between 51 and 200 employees is a higher adoption of all-in-one HR suites, with BambooHR and Namely both ranking in the top five.

This contrasts with the higher adoption of recruitment and talent management suites among smaller businesses, and a focus on learning management systems in businesses of more than 500 employees (more on that later).

Key takeaway: Businesses of 51-500 look for software that caters for a wide range of business sizes, and that may already have well-known clients. They also put more emphasis on all-in-one HR systems.

Businesses of 501-1000 employees: household names

The trend we see as company size increases is to go for software from more established companies that have been on the market for longer. One example of this is Bullhorn, which is favored by companies of 500 employees and over. Bullhorn originally made a CRM for staffing and recruiting firms, before moving into applicant tracking systems.

Further evidence of this is Halogen TalentSpace, which is the fourth most popular app among companies of 201-500 employees. This software, which came to market in 1996, is regularly named as a visionary in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for talent management. Testament to its success, it was acquired by Saba in early 2017.

Another data-driven recruitment app that is popular with larger businesses is JazzHR (fourth most popular among businesses of 501-1000 employees). Formerly known as The Resumator, it positions itself as a scalable recruitment system, suitable for small businesses but also applicable for growing companies.

Emergence of LMS

Learning management system software makes its first appearance in the most used apps among companies of 501-1000. Mindflash and Accord LMS’s appearance on the list at this points suggests that smaller businesses may be slower in their adoption of LMS.

Key takeaway: Businesses of 501 employees and up tend to favor more well-known and established HR software, and they also start recognizing the importance of learning management systems.

Most used HR software by country

Using data from the U.S., UK, and Canada across all businesses from 1-1000 employees, we found that Breezy HR and Zoho Recruit were particularly popular among GetApp users in all three of these countries.

Zoho Recruit was a favorite in both the U.S. and U.K. (even placing just out of the top three in Canada), while Breezy HR was popular among users from both the U.S. and Canada.

America first

Given the wide range of choices for apps headquartered in the U.S., it was interesting to see India-based Zoho Recruit there in addition to U.S.-based Breezy HR and Crelate Talent.

Canada’s choices

Looking at the choices for Canada, Toronto-based hiring solution Fitzii is popular among businesses in this country, suggesting that there is a preference for local software providers in the HR market, or at least those that have a strong presence there.

Further confirming this, Bullhorn is the second most popular HR software in Canada. While it may not be based in Canada, it has a strong presence in the country, through its partnership with Workopolis, which is Canada’s leading career website. It also already provides applicant tracking functionality to many leading firms based there, and has an office in Vancouver.

UK-based software

In the UK, aside from Zoho Recruit, Workable and Calamari leave management software are the most popular HR software in the country. While neither of these companies are British, both were founded in Europe and have a strong presence in London.

Workable was founded in Athens, but opened an office in London shortly after, before expanding to New York, Boston, and now San Francisco.

However, a plethora of British-based HR software companies such as CakeHR, CIPHR, WeThrive, PARIM, and Findmyshift just missed the top three position, further highlighting the preference for local companies in the market.

Key takeaway: In markets outside of the U.S., countries are showing a strong preference for local software to help manage recruiting and HR needs.

Conclusion

Our findings from analyzing data from GetApp users indicated that the original hypothesis was true: that small to medium businesses in the HR space are opting for new entrants to the market over the more-established brand names, and that they are choosing apps built for the cloud.

Our data also indicated that these companies prefer HR apps based in their own country, or that have a very strong presence there.

If, after reading this report, you’d like to invest in a cloud-based HR app for your business size or from your country, we can help. Here are the next steps.

From our list of HR apps, you can filter by country:

You can also filter by business size:

For a full list of the most popular HR software in these categories, or to reuse any of the charts above, please contact karen@getapp.com.

Methodology

To put together this report, we analyzed data from signed in GetApp users that had selected the “I Use This” option for a particular app on the site. We counted the number of individual users that had selected these apps and segmented according to business size and country. The sample size for each segment differed and we used absolute numbers on our graphs to represent the most used. We then looked into the three most used apps per country, and five most used per business size.


Source: Most popular HR software: How location and business size affects app choices (GetApp report)