6 Ways to Develop Business Acumen Skills and Step into Leadership

Perhaps you are doing great at your company and you have many years of experience behind you, however, you feel like you could contribute to your team in a more impactful way. In fact, you could make this impactful contribution from a leadership position. Before you step into leadership, you will need to develop your business acumen skills. Business acumen is best construed as a combination of skills and knowledge which stems from experience regarding business development.  The good thing about this is that anyone can become a good leader in a company by learning business acumen skills, regardless of their current job title. This is also great for the company since all of the employees will be able to rely on one another with the skills necessary to see the big picture and make proper decisions which contribute to the development of business. Now people from different areas of work, can combine their expertise with the newly acquired business acumen skills in order to contribute to their team in the best way possible. Here are six key ways to develop business acumen skills and make a step towards leadership. 

Get professional training

A surefire way to make a step in the right direction immediately is to get professional training. One of the latest and most optimal ways to develop your business acumen is through the use of digital training platforms which offer simulated business environments for you to learn some of the most challenging aspects of running a business. This is the best way to gain hands-on experience without creating unnecessary risks for the company. This is a great option for people who want to learn in their own style and pace. 

Learn to lead

One of the biggest components of developing good business acumen is improving leadership and management skills. Anyone can become an effective leader no matter how big their team is. These skills are not limited to big management teams anymore. In fact, more and more companies are actively searching for new job candidates who excel in leadership and management skills regardless of their position. This is really important since most companies are working within teams. Some of these skills include: commitment, time management, self-motivation, honesty, motivation skills, innovative thinking, delegating tasks properly, and a mindset for growth. 

Learn about finances

Apart from being able to lead people, a good leader should also be skilled with the financial aspect of work. Financial acumen involves developing a high level of financial literacy as well as adhering to protocols such as budgeting, making financial reports and making important predictions based on data. Ideally, each employee should be able to understand what moves the cash-flow in and out of the company. This is because the responsibility ultimately lays in the hands of the individual, and each person can maximize profit by making small tentative steps on a daily basis while also minimizing losses. This allows for a much more integrated approach to making important business decisions on the level of the entire organization. Specific skills to look out for include; making detailed financial reports from each department, being able to read and understand important financial metrics, preparing a budget and its implementation as well as working with financial statement analysis tools. 

Find a mentor

Once you have a baseline level of business acumen skills, you can look for a mentor who is going to provide further hands-on experience by delegating some of the tasks in certain cases. The best thing of all is that finding a mentor doesn’t even have to occur face-to-face. You can follow your favorite mentor online, and learn from them by reading their blogs and following their social media in order to develop a better sense of understanding of how they operate. Once you learn enough, you can also become a mentor to someone else, this is a great thing for the company because employees can rely on one another to develop a global improvement in business acumen skills.  

Learn from failures

One of the best ways to develop long-term success with acquiring business acumen skills is to adopt a positive growth mindset. Some difficulties and potential failures are inevitable along the way, and although you cannot control the outcome you can always control your reaction to a problem. Recent 

neuroscience research has found that the optimal way to learn doesn’t mean avoiding failure but actually failing 15% percent of the time. This provides a sufficient challenge which is going to reinforce key points in acquiring new business acumen skills. The right attitude towards learning itself is going to give you the most value in the long run. 

Learn to communicate

In order to implement any of the aforementioned skills effectively it is incredibly important to be able to communicate in an efficient and clear way. A big part of delegating tasks as a leader involves communicating the details about a task to the rest of the team. This is also going to be a valuable overarching skill in negotiating important points with your stakeholders. In the long term you will be able to create a cohesive work environment and build great relationships within the organization in order to maximize business outcomes. 

Within a company, each person has the responsibility to develop their business acumen skills as well, as this means that everybody will be on the same page and able to contribute more efficiently to the entire company. This can be done by assessing a few things first; seeking professional training, learning to lead, educating yourself on financial management, finding a mentor, learning from failures, and developing communication skills. 

Ways to Improve Your Project Management Skills as a Small Business Owner

Almost every small endeavor starts with the expectation of turning into a major corporation someday. Small business owners know that the best way to arrive is by following through on their guarantees. That means manufacturing and selling great items and offering exceptional types of assistance. It also means constantly advancing and working on their cycles. Achieving this will require exertion, discipline, and a put construction to get things right without wasting time and cash. 

Project management can be of monstrous assistance especially with regards to managing aspects, for example, item advancement and testing, advertising and marketing, accounting and payroll, customer administration, and other necessary cycles. When utilized appropriately, project management can end up being exceptionally viable in idealizing, adjusting, and creating more useful and intense business processes.

Ways to Improve your project management skills

Project management depends on a team to help initiate, execute and control a situation to reach an ultimate objective. Working in a project management team can mean that nobody is exclusively liable for a particular task. Here are some ways to guarantee your project management skills stand out.

Focus on tasks with a project plan

Many project management teams depend on the agile project management technique, which is characterized by behaviors of trust, adaptability, collaboration, and strengthening. While this kind of project management breaks a project into smaller pieces then, at that point, focuses on each goal as far as importance, you can take it above and beyond by regularly reconsidering the project’s needs to help your team find and tackle any challenges that could impede on-time conveyance.

Better Control

For project management to be effective, you want to have controls that assist with forestalling major confusion in any case. To set such controls, you can utilize milestones. The best milestones are the external ones like allowing and authorizing. For example, if you’re expected to give a structure license by a certain date, you will have an externally generated milestone. Failure to meet this milestone would infer that remedial action should be taken to get the project back on track.

Make utilization of project management software

As innovation turns out to be always vivid in Industry 4.0, many project management skills have become digitized. Which doesn’t mean that characteristic human skills should be ignored. Utilizing project management software will also enable you to keep detailed project notices that can be shared with your team in real-time and assist you with building rapport with your teammates and clients through social features, for example, chat or video conferencing.

Track Expenses

Small businesses must watch out for their costs as their financial assets may be restricted. With the assistance of the various project management systems, business people will want to monitor the major expense things as well as the estimated expenses, purchases, and payments. Discrepancies in purchases ought to have the option to let you know if you want to renegotiate purchase orders. Thanks to the transparency in the practices, you will want to decide if the project is moving in the ideal course.

Online PMP certification

The online PMP certification is a globally perceived project management certification that tests a candidate’s ability to manage individuals, cycles, and business needs of a professional project. There are more than 1,000,000 PMP certification holders around the world, according to the Project Management Institute (PMI) which administers the certification. It is applicable to project managers in virtually any industry, including health, development, information innovation (IT), and business. The online PMP certification is valid for quite some time. You’ll have to invest 60 hours during that energy frame on professional improvement activities to maintain it. If not, you can join to take the exam again.

Wrapping Up

The idea of project management has been around for years and years at this point and its importance has just increased with time. Companies, whether enormous or small, engage in new undertakings from time to time. This can end up being overpowering, which may bring about the deficiency of course and, ultimately, chaos. By applying sound project management practices, companies can guarantee that their undertakings are followed through on schedule, inside the expense financial plan, and to the predefined quality.

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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How Long Will Tech Talent Hold The HR Upper Hand? | Featured Image

How Long Will Tech Talent Hold The HR Upper Hand?

Written by Peter Cummings, Founder, DevScore.

How Long Will Tech Talent Hold The HR Upper Hand? | Main Image

When it comes to demand for IT talent; developers, coders, and programmers have never had it so good. But do those making these key hires always know what they’re buying? As Peter Cummings, Founder, DevScore, wonders how long recruiters can stay on the backfoot for.

Peter Cummings, DevScore
Peter Cummings is a highly sought after IT Specialist with expert knowledge in three distinct fields; IT Security, Cloud Computing and Development.

Recruiting for niche IT positions continues to be a problem. It’s not that there’s (necessarily) a shortage of talent, but as demand for connected devices and Internet of Things technology starts to gain traction, organisations that have never before hired software developers and programmers now find themselves in desperate need of them. Yesterday.

Great news for us techies, right? Well, kinda. The thing is we need to make sure that what we’re being hired to do, is exactly what the companies hiring us need us to actually do. That might sound odd, but if (like me) you’ve been in the dev game for a good few years, you’ll appreciate the challenge of being led tentatively towards a role that your skills aren’t the best fit for, or being ushered into an organisation where the need initially identified isn’t quite as urgent as first thought.

With the shoe on the other foot for a moment — it’s hard for those tasked with hiring us to keep track of IT demands. Not just because IT has a pretty steep learning curve; but it’s constantly changing. A lot of HRs and recruiters don’t know what they don’t know. They lack the depth of technical knowledge needed to hire the right coder for the job — because they aren’t coders themselves.

Conventional wisdom just doesn’t apply. Illustrating a developer’s breadth of expertise using just a CV doesn’t work, so recruiters resort to other methods, doing their best to assess skills through coding tests and other time consuming tasks. Which can often be a massive waste of time for all.

Where development’s concerned, for HR types, getting the right person in place matters more than in most other hires — mostly because we coders come at a premium and are often fought over tooth and nail by different companies.

So how can we demonstrate our skills and expertise in the right way?

Well, first we need to emphasise our specific skillsets and explain how experience and expertise supercede formal education. A lot of software developers are completely self-taught (myself included) and few have any formal education (and we’re in good company considering the likes of Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg swapped education for entrepreneurship).

The fact is the best person for the job might not be who you’d first expect. This fact requires a bit of a mindset shift from a HR perspective. And while skills are inherently difficult to prove, demonstrating impact is a good alternative to coding tests, in-depth interviews, and awkward discussions.

Overall, it’s crucial that companies hire developers that can hit the ground running — for everyone’s benefit. But getting the right fit for any job means helping HRs and recruiters better understand the value you can bring and guiding them through your specific skills — without dazzling them with technical jargon.

Insight like this will ultimately help recruiters and HR managers minimise hiring errors in an increasingly important and costly area of their businesses.

Plus it’ll make your working life a whole lot easier — so you can concentrate on doing the job you were hired to do, rather than pick your way through Jira tickets and technical documentation until the lead dev gets it together…


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5 HR Tech Trends Shaping Your Business

5 HR Tech Trends Shaping Your Business | Main Image

Technology continues to drive and disrupt today’s talent management strategies. As we move closer to the halfway point of 2017, we take a look at 5 key HR tech trends shaping your business.

Cybersecurity skills challenges

The widely publicised global data breach that affected the NHS last month highlights the very real risks to all businesses. After the talent shortage, PWC notes that cybersecurity is the second highest ranked concern for CEOs, with three quarters (76%) citing this it as a significant challenge in its annual CEO Survey. A UK government report also found that half of all businesses have experienced at least one data breach or cybersecurity attack in the past year, rising to two thirds of medium and large businesses. Your ability to secure your data is an increasing issue and the pressure is on HR to source talent with vital cybersecurity skills. A report from Experis found that demand for cybersecurity professionals is at an all time high, echoing an earlier survey from Robert Half, Technology and Recruitment : The Landscape For 2017 which found that sourcing tech talent with cybersecurity skills was a priority for over half of all hiring managers this year.

The ongoing debate over AI

Predictions of a jobless world have thrown the debate over AI sharply into focus but AI and automation offer a number of benefits for hiring teams. Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Satya Ramaswamy describes ‘machine to machine’ transactions as the ‘low hanging fruit’ of AI rather than ‘people displacement’.

Elsewhere, Gartner predicts that by 2022 smart machines and robots could replace highly trained professionals in sectors including tech, medicine, law and financial services, transforming them into ‘high margin’ industries resembling utilities. But it stresses the benefit that AI brings in replacing repetitive, mundane tasks and offering more meaningful work. The key is to create the right blend of AI and human skills, which HR is ideally positioned for. Gartner suggests that a further benefit of AI is the alleviation of skills shortages in talent starved sectors.

A beneficial and immediate use of AI for HR is the automation of mundane and repetitive tasks in the recruitment cycle through HR technology, allow hiring teams to focus on creating the effective candidate and employee experience that their business urgently needs.

Chatbots in hiring

Today chatbots are emerging as an essential tech tool for high volume recruitment, engaging with candidates via messaging apps with the aim of creating a more interactive and engaging hiring process. The AA was one of the first brands to feature this smart technology and this year it is predicted that chatbot Stanley will interview 2.5 million candidates. As the skills shortage continues, the chatbot offers a more direct and effective way of engaging with sought after millennials or graduate talent. Chatbots are also predicted to make HR’s life easier through simple interactions via mobile devices for both candidates and employees.

Dark data

While still in the exploration stage, dark data can offer vital insights into talent sourcing. Up to 80% of the data created is ‘unstructured’ or ‘dark’ data found in, for example, e-mails, text messages, spreadsheets and pds. At present it is not usable in analytics but AI can be leveraged to organise it into a more usable form. Last month it emerged that Apple have acquired a machine learning based company to strengthen its own capabilities in the area of dark data. Deloitte’s Global Talent Trends report for 2017 reports that only 9% of businesses have a good understanding of the talent dimensions that drive performance. Dark data may help to illuminate those dimensions.

Moving to predictive analytics

It’s not a new or emerging HR tech trend but the transition to predictive analytics is one that HR must eventually (reluctantly?) make as the skills gap in the UK widens and the availability of qualified and digitally able candidates continues to fall. Applying people analytics improves hiring outcomes, reduces the level of early departures from your business and enables HR to begin to predict and plan for future hiring needs. The first step towards predictive analytics is for tech-averse hiring teams to relinquish manual recruitment systems in favour of HR technology and begin to understand the key metrics affecting your hiring process.

Advorto’s recruitment software provides workflow and structure across the entire hiring process, offering a dynamic database of candidates and analytics. Used by some of the world’s leading organisations, it provides a straightforward first step into AI, HR analytics and big data. Start your 30 day free trial today.


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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.


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5 Things I Learned At HR Tech World

Written by Peter Cummings, Founder and CEO, DevScore.

Peter Cummings, Founder and CEO, DevScore
Peter Cummings is a highly sought after IT Specialist with expert knowledge in three distinct fields; IT Security, Cloud Computing and Development.

I’m still reeling from last week’s HR Tech World event in London. It was a big one for us — we finally launched DevScore and were delighted with the response we had. Admittedly, it’s been some time since I’ve worked in the HR sector (as a developer) but I’ve done the rounds on the technology scene for a good ten years or more. However, I was more than taken aback at how tech-savvy HR has become. To keep pace, companies of all shapes and sizes are really upping their game on the recruitment front: which is good news for companies like mine that focus on helping businesses meet oncoming challenges.

Here are some of the key things I learnt, from talking to prospective customers and other exhibitors, about what’s happening at the crossroads of HR and technology:

Smart devices mean demand for developers will increase exponentially

The emergence of the Internet of Things will add millions of new developer jobs to the market, and demand for coders will scale to previously unseen levels. As more and more devices and appliances incorporate embedded software, companies who’ve never employed software developers will quickly need to upskill their workforces.

We’re talking about big manufacturing companies here: the kind who make everything from vacuum cleaners to electrical screwdrivers. In order for these businesses to compete and stay relevant in the digital age, ultimately they now need people with a different set of smarts — those who know software as well as those who understand hardware.

We need to overcome bias in developer recruitment

Finding developers is one challenge. Finding the right developers with the skills needed to tackle the mission-critical tasks you have is quite another(!). The battle to recruit and retain developer talent is about to get harder. But there’s a lot of untapped potential out there: a wealth of coders who haven’t been able to break into IT development. We need ways to find great people and bring them into the fold.

Development is a field where anyone can play — there are no education, gender, racial, or religious boundaries. We need to be able to find those with the right skills, whoever they are, wherever they are. To do this, businesses need to objectively analyse developers’ skills, and make hiring decisions based on ability. Nothing else.

New sourcing tactics are needed to satisfy demand for developers

Encouraging more coders to participate professionally relies on HR (and IT) professionals changing their perceptions on ‘how a developer is supposed to act’ and instead focusing on ‘what a developer can do.’

For example, there are several initiatives in both the US and UK — like The Last Mile in the US and Code4000 here in the UK — that are teaching prison inmates to code. By giving them work experience (while incarcerated) the idea is that they’ll have the skills to take a junior developer position when they get out.

I personally got into web development with the help of a good friend after working as a chef, and I hope to pass that mentoring experience on to new developers. In fact we’re building a platform, DevForge, to do just that.

Retaining developers means helping them evolve

In an industry where the fight for talent is on, employers need to find more ways to retain their developers. But money and work-life balance aside, most developers see their careers as a work in progress, and a good proportion of them value learning and development opportunities.

A crucial part of this is giving them ‘hack-time’, allowing them 10-20% of their working week to work on their own projects or learn new skills. This could be hugely beneficial for employers; ensuring faster adoption of new technologies, satisfying the developers’ need to evolve, and ultimately could be key to retaining developer talent. That’s the endgame we’re striving towards at DevScore — we’re creating a symbiotic platform where employers can build a roadmap to help their business move forward, while growing developers’ skills.

IT departments need more HR input

There can be little doubt that developers are one of the trickiest resources to manage. Few companies have specific developer talent management capabilities, which means it’s easy overlook an individual’s contribution to a project. That’s why IT departments need to play a more active role when recruiting and retaining developers.

By effectively mapping the skills and capabilities of their teams — including outsourced development teams — IT managers can help make better informed strategic decisions; like who should be promoted, who’s no longer needed, and who would be best suited to managing a project using a new technology.

It’s not just about satisfying demand; a developer’s skillset and aptitude have direct impact on a business’ HR reputation. Getting the balance wrong could lead to high developer turnover, missed opportunities, and big financial and talent losses.

About the Author:

Peter Cummings started working life as a chef and restaurant professional, before teaching himself coding and making the leap into software development. He’s now an internationally renowned IT consultant, thought leader, and founder of DevScore; a SaaS platform that helps recruiters and HR managers source the right developers for their businesses. He’s lived and worked everywhere from Greenland to Nigeria and speaks five languages.

About DevScore:

DevScore Logo

DevScore enables recruiters and HR staff – even the non-tech savvy – to accurately assess and validate a developer’s skills and experience in an easy understandable format. No need to scan every resume anymore – now you can compile a shortlist with the right candidates in record time.

DevScore is a tool for recruiters and HR staff, offering both an intuitive user interface and also an API, so that it can be integrated into your existing tools and applications, providing you the information you need, when you need it.


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People Science: Why Your Employees Are Your Most Important Asset

Written by Adam Hale, CEO at Fairsail.

People Science

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

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

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

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

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

About the Author:

Adam Hale, CEO at Fairsail

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


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How to Build a Data Science Team

Businesses today need to do more than merely acknowledge big data. They need to embrace data and analytics and make them an integral part of their company. Of course, this will require building a quality team of data scientists to handle the data and analytics for the company. Choosing the right members for the team can be difficult, mainly because the field is so new and many companies are still trying to learn exactly what a good data scientist should offer. Putting together an entire team has the potential to be more difficult. The following information should help to make the process easier.

The Right People

What roles need to be filled for a data science team? You will need to have data scientists who can work on large datasets and who understand the theory behind the science. They should also be capable of developing predictive models. Data engineers and data software developers are important, too. They need to understand architecture, infrastructure, and distributed programming.

Some of the other roles to fill in a data science team include the data solutions architect, data platform administrator, full-stack developer, and designer. Those companies that have teams focusing on building data products will also likely want to have a product manager on the team. If you have a team that has a lot of skill but that is low on real world experience, you may also want to have a project manager on the team. They can help to keep the team on the right track.

The Right Processes

When it comes to the processes, the key thing to remember with data science is agility. The team needs the ability to access and watch data in real time. It is important to do more than just measure the data. The team needs to take the data and understand how it can affect different areas of the company and help those areas implement positive changes. They should not be handcuffed to a slow and tedious process, as this will limit effectiveness. Ideally, the team will have a good working relationship with heads of other departments, so they work together in agile multi-disciplinary teams to make the best use of the data gathered.

The Platform

When building a data science team, it is also important to consider the platform your company is using for the process. A range of options are available including Hadoop and Spark. Hadoop is the market leader when it comes to big data technology, and it is an essential skill for all professionals who get into the field. When it comes to real-time processing, Spark is becoming increasingly important. It is a good idea to have all the big data team members skilled with Spark, too.

If you have people on the team that do not have these skills and that do not know how to use the various platforms, it is important they learn. Certification courses can be a great option for teaching the additional skills needed, and to get everyone on the team on the same page.

Some of the other platforms to consider include the Google Cloud Platform, and business analytics using Excel. Understanding the fundamentals of these systems can provide a good overall foundation for the team members.

Take Your Time

When you are creating a data science team for the company, you do not want to rush and choose the wrong people and platforms or not have quality processes in place. Take your time to create a team that will provide your company with the quality and professionalism it needs.

About the Author:

Ronald van Loon has joined as an Advisory Board Member for its Big Data training category. Named by Onalytica as one of the top three most influential personalities of Big Data in 2016, Ronald will contribute his expertise towards the rapid growth of Simplilearn’s popular Big Data & Analytics category.


Source: How to Build a Data Science Team | Ronald van Loon | Pulse | LinkedIn

HR's Aversion To AI Will Affect Its Ability To Hire

HR’s Aversion To AI Will Affect Its Ability To Hire

Artificial Intelligence

Successful hiring should be based on evidence based decisions supported by technology and automation but HR remains slow to respond. PwC’s 20th Global CEO Survey found that nearly half (47%) of UK CEOs are failing to address the impact AI and automation will have on their businesses (compared to 31% globally and just 19% in Germany). As 83% of UK CEOs rank access to skills as their number one barrier to business success in the next 12 months, this needs to change.

Why the reluctance to engage?

HR has often demonstrated a wariness of data and more recently automation and AI, exacerbated by recent headlines including:

  • Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance in Japan announced its intention to automate the jobs of over 30 employees, replacing them with IBM’s Watson Explorer. According to the Nomura Research Institute, half of all jobs in Japan could be performed by robots by 2035.
  • A similar scenario was projected in the UK, with the prospect of 15 million jobs being eradicated by AI, shortly after an announcement that outsourcing specialist Capita was replacing 2,000 of its employees with automation.
  • The world’s largest hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates intends to automate three-quarters of its hiring decisions over the next five years. The company is building a robotic recruitment platform to remove ‘emotional volatility’ from business decision.

How AI and automation empower HR

AI and automation offer a number of benefits for HR:

Talent pipeline : In its simplest form automation identifies issues in your talent pipeline, such as, qualified candidates abandoning a prolonged application process. Algorithms are also used to reveal factors which improve employee engagement and identify leadership potential. This is relevant in a week when a Robert Half survey found that that half of all candidates for management level roles don’t possess leadership skills.

More effective candidate selection : HR has historically relied on standard but limited candidate selection criteria, such as interview performance or an emphasis on technical skills or qualifications but that isn’t sufficient to predict a quality hire. Broader, evidence based HR is needed to support effective candidate selection, which algorithms in your recruitment software offer.

Potential flight risks : Combined with predictive analytics, algorithms can also predict potential flight risks in your organisation. With an expected talent exodus in 2017 understanding why your high achievers leave is critical. Typical ‘prompts’ include birthdays (especially milestones) and work anniversaries but your own recruitment metrics will provide more insight.

Reduction in bias : Automation and AI help to eradicate unconscious bias. This is exemplified by the tendency to hire so-called ‘brogrammers’ across the US’s Silicon Valley, fuelling the image of a male dominated tech culture. Closer scrutiny revealed that the majority attended elite schools and secured their jobs through friends or the tech fraternity. AI start-up Tara.ai aims to change that bias. Tara removes information relating to age, gender, previous employment, education and race to assess candidates based on the quality of their work – analysing and ranking programmers’ code – rather than their personal connections or background. Selecting specific criteria within your applicant tracking software helps to achieve the same results.

Technology needs the human touch

Should HR be wary? Algorithms in the hiring process have been proven to make better hiring decisions than humans but the role of HR, while shifting, is integral to the future of AI.

The following strategies can help to make the vital transition to evaluating the benefits of AI and automation in hiring:

  • Technology is only as effective as the information gathered. Inputting bad data will produce poor quality results. The quality of your data is vital.
  • When posting open jobs, understand the precise skills you need from your new hire. A candidate persona improves recruitment success for either high volume or stand-alone critical positions.
  • Algorithm or AI averse hiring teams can begin with automated recruitment software that streamlines the hiring process and analyses the common patterns revealed in your recruitment metrics. Start by focusing on just one specific area. With qualified candidates in short supply, time to hire is one of the most important metrics your business can measure and allows HR to evaluate the effectiveness of automated recruitment systems.
  • Create a structured interview process supported by online tests during screening to assess cognitive ability, conscientious and leadership.
  • Final decisions on candidate selection should be collaborative and supported by relevant data gathered during the hiring process. The CIPD found that, in organisations that use HR analytics, a quarter of senior leaders are not being given access to HR data to make effective business decisions. Without data, your ability to attract and hire high achievers is restricted.

HR technology should be simple to use, easy to engage with and produce data which informs and drives talent acquisition strategies.

Introducing a ‘kill switch’?

While AI and automation are now unavoidable, justifiable concerns exist over its growing impact on the workplace. In response to these concerns, the European Commission’s Legal Affairs Committee is seeking the creation of a European agency to provide technical, ethnical and regulatory advice on robotics and AI within the EU. Its proposal recommends:

  • A voluntary code of conduct related to AI.
  • A ‘kill switch’ in all AI systems to ensure they can be automatically deactivated in the event of a malfunction.
  • Consideration of a minimum income to compensate people who have been replaced by robots in the workplace.
  • A new status of ‘electronic persons’ for autonomous robots.
  • Reassurance that the use of robots does not engender ‘fear of physical or psychological harm’, while maintaining privacy, human dignity and safety.

HR is a long way from dealing with those issues on a daily basis but employers must begin now to address the impact of AI and automation in the working environment to remain competitive and meet future business goals.


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