Cobots – The New Employee

Author: Chris Pope, VP Innovation, ServiceNow

 

The renaissance we are currently experiencing in Artificial Intelligence (AI), and all forms of Machine Learning (ML), has given rise to widespread discussion on how business will run in the immediate future. As the impact of AI starts to be applied to real-world use cases, we will inevitably need to get used to some new terminology. One of the technology industry’s new favorites is the notion of the ‘cobot’, short for collaborative-robot.

Cobots come in many forms. Some will be purely software-based helper robots that we might think of as sophisticated extensions of chatbots or virtual assistants. Some will more physically manifest themselves as robot arms, exoskeletons or some other form of intelligently programmed machinery. Some will be a super-smart mix of both.

 

Your intelligent new office buddy

You can think of cobots as your new office buddies and people—I do mean all of us―are going to have to get used to working alongside intelligent machines, in close proximity, very soon.

Cobot brains are composed of software-based virtual services that form the synapses of ‘thought’—we know its processing and data analytics really―that they run on. Like a Tamagotchi, they do need feeding and watering, but only in the form of software updates, exposure to new datasets and patches for security provisioning and so on.

People who find the notion of cobots unnerving should perhaps stand back and consider the fact that machines have already been looking after us in close proximity for years. Your desktop machine, tablet and smartphone are all using AI to power the spam filter algorithms that assess every email you get for its potential threat value.

If it helps you warm up to the concept, think of cobots as just one step further than a spam filter. But instead of just protecting you from a potential virus, cobots will be able to intuitively manage your work schedule, actions and business decisions, to create a better employee experience all round.

As DXC Technology’s Marc Wilkinson writes in Wired:

For businesses, the promise of AI is that [intelligent assistants] will be embedded across all aspects of the organization. Such agents will analyse data, discover patterns over time and then make decisions based on predictive analysis. The outcome? The application of AI on this level will make businesses not only more efficient, but also more profitable.

 

Behavioral responsibility

As shiny and fabulous as all this sounds, there is a responsibility factor to bear in mind here. As we start to feed data into cobot brains, we need to be able to reflect a consciousness of and appreciation for society’s acceptable behavioral norms.

This means that cobots will need to be able to assess the risk factor in terms of the judgements they give to any individual worker based on that person’s skills, background and other competencies. To do this effectively, we will need to be able to assess and measure individual workers’ skills in an even more granular and mathematical way before we start to engineer more automation of this kind into our lives.

Cobots will also need to appreciate cultural, ethical and behavioral norms for the global culture that they are applied in depending on location—and this is of course a subject in and of itself.

 

Cobots and global digital workflows

As the cobots start to take over the mundane tasks in our world, we must consider how people will now coexist in the new world of automated controls that drive digital workflows and how we actually implement these devices―be they software-based, hardware-based or both—in the workplace.

Some argue that we will now need to be able to measure an individual’s rank or score in terms of workplace competency. If we accept this methodology, then it could arguably help us find the engineering point at which we can apply cobot technology to an individual’s role.

To reference DXC’s Marc Wilkinson again, he notes that really smart cobots that run on fine-tuned ML models will be able to bring a new level of workplace personalization to our daily routines and discover where we could be doing better. He talks about ‘intelligent agents’ that are capable of interpreting emails for us to automatically schedule meetings, flag important tasks and even unsubscribe us from newsfeeds that we never open, and more.

With a cobot as your new office buddy, we can start to think about the workplace itself from a different perspective. We’re all used to open plan office seating layouts these days, but with cobots in the workplace, the software itself will be able to straddle cross-team functionality matrices that far outstrip the boundaries of the physical office itself. For example, team member actions in the UAE can be automatically reflected in plans for the UK or US offices in near real-time. The cobot doesn’t sleep, so a new global digital workflow starts to become possible.

 

A toast to cobot IPA

With cobot technology now developing fast, we will more clearly be able to understand our transition from RPA to IPA or IRPA. If Robotic Process Automation (RPA) allows us to program home heating controls, for example, based on defined patterns, then Intelligent Robotic Process Automation (IRPA, or just IPA) is one step further, where home heating controls start to program themselves for optimum usage and efficiency based upon observed patterns of use. Cobots have IRPA in their ‘DNA’ from the get-go.

We’re on the cusp of many technologies―perceived today as almost ‘toy like’, such as self-driving cars—becoming quite natural. We will think that cobots and intelligent assistants are quite standard in half a decade’s time. In the same way that you went from reading a map in the car and now automatically turning the GPS on, you get to a point where you just expect a new technology to be there…and cobots will be there.

Chris Pope - ServiceNow

Chris Pope, VP Innovation at ServiceNow

Getting ‘SMART’ About AI

Author: Paul Hardy, Chief Innovation Officer, ServiceNow

Global access to data is exploding. At the same time, our ability to categorise, classify and analyse this data is also expanding. As this new world of data unfolds, businesses are looking to create new data models―and their supporting data analytics functions—to directly and positively impact growth, profit and expansion.

But let’s go back to first principles for a moment. We know that Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)―when correctly applied—can improve the way organisations work and operate. But do organisations know where to start as they look to create these new data models?

We―and by ‘we’ I mean you as the customers, us at ServiceNow, as well as our partners, everybody basically—need to ask where to categorise and compartmentalise processes and functions to build new digital workflows. We need to examine which aspects of the business should be most directly ‘exposed’ to AI. We also need to know what is and isn’t possible in the short, medium and long term.

In other words, we need to get smart about being smarter if we’re going to bring a new era of business forward. So, what does smart really mean in modern business terms? I think it is time to look at AI and digital workflows through the lens of SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound) objectives.

SMART-goals

Specificity

When we use the word ‘specific’ and demand a greater level of product or service specificity, we mean it in the most granular sense possible.

We can’t just say we need more paperclips, more salespeople, more office air conditioning or more field sales automobiles. We need to ask what kind of paperclip shape we need, what colour, what build strength and perhaps even what level of ‘clippyness’ every clip needs to exhibit.

When you are thinking about delivering AI and ML in the business you have to be really focused on what you are trying to achieve―and by that I mean, you need to be able to tie down specific use cases for each and every paperclip.

Measurability

Getting smart with new digital workflows also requires measurability. If you can’t measure it and put it in your business plan and balance sheet (a process, a service, a workflow element, anything at all) then you need to step back and ask whether you should really be doing it.

The reality is that data is often captured and not ever used. It simply falls unmeasured, and unloved, into the data lake. The real cost of this is the ‘noise’ that is created throughout the business because for one, wasted data goes crashing into the lake and secondly, there is then the splashing that occurs afterwards when users do actually realise that they have to start diving into the lake to look for the data that they might actually need in order to make work experiences better!

Attainability and relevancy

If an AI initiative is not attainable or achievable, then why has it formed a part of your current business strategy in the first place? Nowadays we can forecast how far AI will realistically be able to change any given business in real practical terms.

Similarly, if an AI business initiative is not relevant to the business and not able to exist within the context of the organisation’s current and immediate goals, then it forms no sensible part of any smart business plan.

Timeliness

Lastly, we come to timeliness. In the not so distant past, business cycles and the general approach to commercial objectives were typically annual. In this post-millennial age, firms are measuring themselves in much smaller strategic increments.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and business targets used to change year-on-year. Today, they might be calibrated to change monthly, weekly or perhaps even on the basis of individual (tickets) activities relating to individual jobs.

Your next steps

The goal for any business should be to get to the point where they can use smart digital workflows to drive greater productivity, greater quality of all services and greater experiences for all employees.

We know that an increasing proportion of organisations are already examining where they can bring AI to bear and create new value in their business. We also know that many are already on that road and creating new applications and new experiences. Factors that matter most now include service quality, cost reduction, speedy delivery and the need for geographical availability for all new products and services. These are all the defining trends that should be shaping the way we develop new digital workflows that leverage AI and ML.

As vendors, we need to help businesses identify areas for improvement, not just before they start to lose profits and market share, but more significantly, before they start to actually lose contracts. There’s a new culture for predictive business strategy that we are underpinning and making possible.

Smart is smarter if it is more productive and creates greater experiences for everybody inside and outside your organisation. It’s where the smart money is, believe me.

Paul Hardy, Chief Innovation Officer, EMEA, ServiceNow

Paul Hardy, Chief Innovation Officer, ServiceNow

The Importance of Targeted SEO to Your Company’s Visibility (& Linkability)

SEO has often been viewed by businesses as an ethereal, mysterious thing that a company does for you, and with a sprinkle of magic marketing dust, you are ranking number one on Google for the right keywords and your niche. However, good SEO has been made up of a number of the same things for several years:

  • Good Web Design: While this goalpost has moved over the years, from optimized for desktop to optimized for mobile, from high-resolution video and photos to speed of loading, a modern web design that is responsive and provides a good user experience is essential.
  • Good Content: A website must have good content, from product pages and descriptions to landing pages and blogs, content needs to be informative, well written, and user-friendly.
  • Backlinks: These can be paid, earned, and social. Google expects businesses to pay for ads, earn links from reputable sites, and appear on social media. Link exchanges and guest posting is one of the best ways to earn backlinks. While the search engine still claims social links and shares do not affect ranking, they certainly can have an effect on organic traffic, and there is some debate about when they might become a legitimate factor.  

There is a bit more to it than that. The smarter Google becomes, the more it looks at websites like a human user does. Artificial intelligence and machine learning mean that user experience and relevance will continue to mean more than they ever have. This means SEO work needs to be targeted, implemented with a deliberate strategy, and treated as a continuous process.

Here are some reasons targeted SEO is important to your company’s visibility and linkability:

The Need for Linkable Content

As mentioned above, there are multiple kinds of backlinks. They are paid, earned, and social. The number of paid links your site has can be absolutely controlled by your ad spend. However, earned links can be partially controlled and deliberately built, and social links can be encouraged but only minimally controlled by you.

What is the key to earned and social links? Your content. It also determines how effective any paid links you have to your site are. Simply put, you need linkable content. Category or service pages, product descriptions, and thin blog posts are not link-worthy pages. Years of experience have taught link building companies what linkable content really is.

Fortunately, in November of 2015, everyone got a look at the Google Search Evaluator guidelines at the time. They confirmed much of what we had already learned. Google and users look for a few key things in your content, and Google uses those things to help determine your page rank. It is known as the E.A.T. principle:

  • Expertise: Not only does Google look at your company, but at the author of the content to determine expertise.
  • Authority: This is in the part where links come in. Outbound links to authoritative content establish you as an authoritative source, as do inbound links to the content itself.
  • Trustworthiness: This is also determined by organic, authoritative links to your content and the accuracy of what you have written.

Not only does content need to meet the E.A.T. principle, but it should also be informative and well written. Remember: Content is also a part of user experience, and thin content produces high bounce rates, sending users looking for the information they need elsewhere. It certainly means they will not link to it on their own website or share it on their social media profiles.

What makes content linkable is how informative it is, the clarity of the writing, and how well it is optimized for both search engines and real people. Without content that is worth linking to, it is difficult to either build or earn links.

Researching Relevancy

How do you know if your content is reaching the right searchers at the right time? Fortunately, this is easier to figure out than it ever has been — and yet more challenging as well. There is more data out there about users and their behavior on the internet than at any other time in history, and nearly any business can access this data through some simple analytics tools.

This means not only do we know what our potential customers are interested in, we know how they interact with the internet. Beyond just demographic analytics, we have access to behavioral analytics which are much more powerful.

All this data not only tells us what our ideal customers are searching for but how they are doing it. This can be taken from the general fact that over 60 percent of Google searches are done on mobile devices, and more people than ever are completing purchases on portable devices as well. You can also determine what devices your customers search on most frequently, whether they are iOS users or Android fans, and how much time they spend reading a blog post, and even how many searches they perform for a product or service before they make a purchase.

What this allows you to do is to target your content more specifically, and even create different content that will appeal to different sets of buyers. Relevant content is much more linkable, whether you are earning those links organically, want your users to share it on social media, or are engaged in a link building campaign targeting specific keywords.

Creating a Strategy

Now that you know why linkable content is necessary and you have established what is relevant to your potential customers, you need to create a targeted content strategy. Why? It’s simple: Without targets and specific goals, how will you know if your linkable content is working?

So what is a content strategy? It is deliberately creating content to support your efforts to rank for a specific keyword or set of keywords, and building and working to earn links to that content. This usually involves several pieces of content of varying lengths and types, internal linking, good onsite technical SEO, and content that is well written and informative.

A good SEO company will not only help you with your onsite technical SEO and link building but can also help you with your content strategy and creating linkable content. This entire process, which you should thoroughly understand, takes a lot of time, and unless you have a capable team in your marketing department, the time and money an outsourced expert will save you is more than worthwhile.

Filling in the Content Gaps

So now you understand the need for linkable content, you have done your research and know what is relevant, and you have a content strategy. Now it is time to fill in the content gaps on your website. Whether you have a robust blog filled with content or are just starting out, once you establish your content strategy, you’re going to find that you have content gaps.

What is a content gap? They are areas where you are missing content that is essential to your content strategy. It is essential that you fill these gaps in order to satisfy not only Google but your potential customers. You need the linkable content in order for targeted SEO to be effective.

Want to rank higher in Google for critical searches in your niche? Want your business to be more visible to searchers? It’s all about relevant content that is part of a content strategy, linkable content, and then building links to that content. Those are all a part of targeted SEO, the key to your company’s visibility and linkability.

STEAM Vs STEM: Adding Tech Skills to Your Resume

STEAM — science, technology, engineering, arts, and math —  is becoming a popular topic of discussion in educational institutions, but there is somewhat of a disconnect between education and the workplace. STEM careers prioritize technical skills, especially in the hiring process, which can make students rightly wonder what the point of additional arts and humanities training is.

In an educational environment, adding the “A” to STEM means students gain vital critical thinking, discourse, writing, and leadership skills, as well as greater understanding of arts and culture. This makes them excellent candidates for leadership and mentorship positions, and key allies in reducing employee churn. But when it comes to job applications, they know that recruiters and algorithms are both looking for mainly technical skills-related keywords.

The value of STEAM educated employees

Employees with a background in the humanities have a ton to offer, even (and especially) in technical roles. STEAM is about much more than learning art; the arts, humanities, and languages teach students about thought, logic, argument, ethics, and many other aspects of humanity. According to Concordia University the STEAM job market in the United States will grow by 14% by 2020, and even employers in highly technical fields are beginning to see its value. The arts give students a grounding set of both soft- and social skills, and arms them with different modes of thinking about the world. However, not everyone is convinced yet, and graduates entering the job market can be hesitant to express these skills in a job search.

If you’re into recruiting leaders, and people who improve the work environment around them, STEAM candidates are highly prized — or should be.

People don’t need to be in leadership roles for their leadership skills to be valuable. There are many different styles of leadership, and some of them don’t require a position of authority to be effective. Transformational leadership, one of the most effective styles, involves lifting up other group members and transforming the work environment to better achieve organizational goals and uplift other employees. Some of the most important characteristics of these types of leaders are emotional intelligence, mediation, and the ability to think in new and transformative ways. These are all skills honed in the study of the arts and humanities.

Another key trait possessed by people who have training in the arts is increased exposure to new and foreign ideas. These are people who have been taught how to learn, and learning is a skill in and of itself. So if you’re looking to hire people who will make learning new things a priority, who seek experiences outside of their comfort zone, and who will respond well to internal uptraining, the answer is STEAM.

If you’re looking for employees that will stick with you, and improve the performance of everyone around them, hire people with additional background in the arts and treat them right.

Attracting STEAM candidates

The trick is convincing students and job seekers that employers see those additional skills as valuable. It’s not enough simply to start looking for those skills. There are new generations of tech workers going through their training that need to be convinced to invest time and energy into the arts, or simply told that those interests are valid to pursue.

This means outreach during college career fairs, on websites, and on job descriptions. Start actively supporting and looking for the “A” skills in candidates by putting them into job posting descriptions. Start highlighting the value of these employees internally and externally, at company events and conferences, and build a culture of support and confidence.

As you build out culture and PR that values soft skills as well as technical skills, it may be necessary to retrain recruiters, interviewers, and adjust any keyword scraping algorithms. Many people groom their resumes specifically for certain keywords they believe companies want to see. A common strategy is to pick out keywords from the job posting into their applications. So changing those keywords is a great start.

In the end, the people you hire create your company culture. A culture infused with not only the skills that come from the arts, but the beauty and soul that comes from communities who are passionate about arts and humanities — that kind of culture sets employees and companies up for long-term success.

Integrating Technology Into Your Home

(Image Free To Use: https://pixabay.com/en/smart-home-system-collection-bulb-3720021/)

When it comes to smart homes, people generally don’t know where to start. Integrating technology into your home can sound like a daunting endeavor, but it doesn’t have to be! Take your home from bland to grand with these 5 tips.

Nix the old vacuum:

First things first, robot vacuums are starting to become a standard appliance in most homes. Even homes that have no other smart home integrations have robot vacuums.

Traditional upright vacuums can be great, and some people may prefer some cordless vacuum options rather than opting for a robot vacuum right out of the gate.

Since their launch over two decades ago, robot vacuums have come a long way. Today, they are much smarter and much more affordable than ever before. With a robot vacuum, you can set it and forget it!

Get a voice assistant

There are multiple options when it comes to virtual assistants. The most popular are Google Voice, and Amazon Alexa. Depending on which brand you like better will determine which is best for you. The Google Voice generally favors other google products, so if you opt for that one, be sure any of the other smart home devices you have are compatible.

Once you have your voice assistant set up, controlling it (and all of the smart home tech you have connected to it) is as easy as saying the command. The following smart home tech can easily be hooked up to your voice assistant.

Install smart lights

This may sound a bit silly, but smart lights are actually one of the most popular and easy to set up smart home write for us technology options available. With smart lights, you can be connected to your voice assistant to control things such as on and off, dimmers, color, and more. With some setups, you can even set timers on the lights. If you want, you can set your lights to turn on when you wake up. That way, you’re gently and naturally woken up rather than scared awake by a blaring alarm clock.

Get a smart garage door opener

Gone are the days of worrying about whether or not you shut the garage door. With a smart garage door you always know if your garage is open or closed, when it was last accessed, and can close it remotely if you accidentally left it open. There are many options available for setting up a smart garage door. Almost all of them are wifi/app enabled which gives you the ability to monitor your garage from anywhere. If you’re expecting guests, you don’t have to leave them a key. Rather, just have them give you a call when they arrive and you can jump in your app and open the garage door for them from wherever you are.

Get creative

There are many ways to create a smart home outside of simply buying out the box items. With things like near-field sensors and the right configurations, you can get incredibly creative with your smart home. If you want it, you can guarantee there’s a way to program it with the right technology.

What smart home ideas do you have?

Which types of smart home ideas do you think are the most practical? With today’s technology, the possibilities are truly endless.

Six Out-of-the-Box Employee Recruitment Methods (and Why You Should Innovate on Them)

Recruiting employees is similar to finding a mate or a life partner. Just because someone can fill that role does not mean they’re the best fit for you or that they’re able to bring something new to the table. Also, like dating, to find the best, you have to be the best. Now apply this to employees: what makes them the best?

It’s important to hire people who can not only perform a job well but who bring something new to the table. You want employees who go beyond the call of duty. In order to find innovative employees, you need to challenge them and know they’re up to it. Every step of the recruiting process as we know it allows and even calls for out-of-the-box thinking — we employers just never think to actually utilize our brains as we should!

There are already companies finding ways to innovate the recruiting process across the world — now it’s your turn. Think of the following these jumping-off points to create a strategy that will get you the most creative, intelligent, and hard-working applicants.

Weed Out the Bad Fits

Streamlining the applicant review process means narrowing your search, and technology does an excellent job of doing just that. Following the trend of, well, the augmented workforce, some employers are relying on AI recruiting systems. Because of this technology, resumes can be screened faster, and interview requests and rejection letters can be sent automatically with the click of a button.

Test Their Wits

Writing up a job description for potential applicants can be a chance to test your own creativity. Oftentimes it’s a mundane task. Something to keep in mind is that if you’re bored writing it, potential applicants may be bored reading it. Find a way to test their wits. Offer details and challenge them. Make it so anyone who applies comes in on their toes and is ready for anything you throw at them. This could be done in a number of ways: encouraging potential future employees to solve a work problem that could arise, hearing about their ideas for what a company needs, or asking how they might market a particularly niche product. The point is to hear how they may actually do the job in real life and get in their head a bit!

#SocialMedia

Do you work in a niche industry? Use social media to narrow down your search of people who possess the skills to excel in your niche. Utilize images and hashtags to attract the right kinds of applicants in addition to finding applicants you want to pursue! While some argue it has downsides regarding the way society communicates with each other, it’s also a way in which most people are connected to each other.

Pay Attention to Generation Y

If you use social media (see the last point), you will undoubtedly learn some new things about the kind of people in your field. Primarily, though, you’ll probably learn quite a bit about millennials (otherwise known as Generation Y, defined as being born roughly between 1977 and 1995). Right now, millennials are making a huge impact on business as we know it. Because of the things they value, social progress and ethics have been more often introduced into business decisions, advertising happens on social media, and more and more people are working remote. This generation is changing the game — so pay attention!

Try New People

It may be worth it to step outside of your comfort zone in what you look at in an applicant. Do they have odd, miscellaneous skills or work experience listed on their resume? Do they speak in ways that are unconventional within their cover letter? If they fit your requirements but seem like a weird match, try exploring that a little bit. You may find a drive and passion unmatched by your typical candidates.

Explore New Technological Channels

LinkedIn — the networking giant itself — posted an article last year about new ways to advertise your openness to applicants. They listed television ads, virtual reality, and using digital media as a whole to do this. The point is that you need to be where people converge and interact with technology. Rather than letting them come to you, go to them. You never know who or what you’ll find, and it may be the best decision you make!

*   *   *

How have you jumped out of the box in searching for new applicants? Has it served you well? Feel free to let us know in the comments below!

 

3 Secrets to Reducing Your Employee Churn Rate

Reduce your employee churn rate with these tips.

Replacing an employee can cost as much as 20% of their yearly salary. The higher up their position is, the more expensive it is. That’s because you need to factor in paying recruitment agencies, covering for the vacant position, and the time lost to those responsible for hiring.

A low employee churn rate is key to maximizing your potential and growth.

When you have a lower employee turnover, you can focus your resources on researching and launching new products and services, improving the working environment, and investing in employees’ development instead.

It also boosts your employer brand, which is crucial if you want to win the war for talent. Brands with a strong employer brand lower their cost to hire by 43%.

But how do you reduce your churn rate?

It starts by looking at the employee journey. How can you improve it? What steps can you make to create a more inviting atmosphere for employees whether they’ve been there five weeks or five years?

Let’s take a look at three important parts of an employee’s journey, and how small changes to them can reduce your employee turnover rate.

Plan your onboarding process for early success

Happy employees are loyal employees. To create this sense of loyalty, you need to make them feel valued. This starts from their very first day.

However, not every company manages this – 42% of employees have no computer or device to work from on their first day. Worse, some employees don’t even have a desk on their first day! While this is only part of the onboarding process, it’s an important part of setting your employee up for success, especially when 20% of employees leave within the first 45 days.

Contrast that to the 69% that will still be with a company three years later if they go through a positive onboarding process, and you can see why a good onboarding process is so important.

A negative experience reflects badly on you: it makes you look disorganized, and like you don’t value your employees.

It’s therefore imperative that you you spend time planning the onboarding process for your new employee before they start. Don’t leave it all until the last minute, as you may find that there are some issues – like purchasing new equipment – that will take days, maybe even weeks, to sort.

Also ensure that their company account and logins for any relevant software are set up before they begin. That way, all they need to do on their first day is click to activate their new account. They can then start using the software straight away.

Once they’re all set up, don’t just sit them down and present them with a list of objectives. Include them in the decision-making process. Have some projects ready for them to work on, but listen to them and ask them what they’d most like to work on, too. That way, they immediately feel like their thoughts and opinions are valued.

The objective of an onboarding process is to help the employee get to know the company, its products, and mostly importantly, the culture and their colleagues.

Everyone in the team should be involved in making the new team member feel welcome. This could include scheduling introduction meetings with the new starter, or assigning them a buddy to give them a tour and answer any day-to-day questions.

Group inductions can be intimidating for new starters, so focus on one-to-one sessions instead. This creates more space for the new hire to ask questions.

Efficient scheduling solutions make organizing these one-to-one meetings a breeze, and avoids the risk of two member scheduling a meeting at the same time. Scheduling meetings before someone starts also reduces any awkwardness over the new hire having to approach people to schedule meetings – it’s all there ready for them when they first start.

Invest in training and mentorship

Training and mentorship are crucial parts of an employee’s progress. They can boost their skills and help them to work out which career path is for them.

For mentors and those conducting training, it reinforces their skills. They can even learn from those that they teach. It’s also great networking for everyone – you never know where your next great opportunity will come from.

Despite this, only 44% of companies offer a mentorship scheme.

Mentorship benefits employees at every stage of their journey. Don’t let the fact that someone is already a manager convince you that they already know everything they need to know. No matter how long someone has been managing for, there’s always a new strategy or technique they can try to motivate their team.

Training can be both internal and external, so be open-minded about the best place(s) for employees to build their skills. The best person to train your marketing team may not be someone who’s been there for years – it may be someone who can offer a fresh perspective on your strategy and help you to keep it relevant as algorithms continue to change.

Conduct exit interviews

Exit interviews are an often overlooked but incredibly valuable part of an employee’s journey. They give you the opportunity to examine why employees leave, and identify areas where your company may be failing them. Without this information, you can’t make positive changes to improve the working environment.

Conducting exit interviews using a framework makes it easier for you to quantify results. You can then pick up on reoccurring problems or praise. The more often something is raised, the more important it is to address.

Some questions you could ask include:

  • How employees feel about the working environment
  • What their commute is like
  • What their relationship is like with their manager
  • How well they get on/work with their team

Using this information, you can start discussions with remaining team members about any common threads. You can then make informed decisions about how to better suit employees’ needs and (hopefully) prevent more from leaving for the same or similar reasons.

You can also home in on positive comments that are made, finding ways to further enhance these experiences. For instance, if employees benefit from flexible working hours, you could look into allowing them to work from home if they can’t already. If they like how the team encourages self-development, you could look into courses or events for the team to further develop their skills.

Employees are your business’s biggest – and best – advocates. If they share negative experiences with their social circle it reflects badly on you and may even cause you to lose customers. Leaving them with a positive overall feeling is therefore crucial. Exit interviews are just one part of this. Others include how the rest of the team reacts to their departure, handover periods, and anything else that happens on their final day. While you can’t control all of this, exit interviews help to cement your positive employer brand by showing employees that you care about their wellbeing from the start of their journey with you right through to the end.

When an employee speaks highly of you when they leave, they’re more likely to return for a future position, or even to recommend roles to their friends and family. Since referrals are one of the best ways to hire the right person for the job, this can make a huge difference to your hiring process, and further improving your employer brand.

Conclusion

It’s your responsibility to offer employees opportunities to learn, grow, and be more efficient in their role. Employees will then be more loyal and motivated, and turnover will decrease.

It’s also important to remember that there are many other elements that can impact employee satisfaction. Internal promotions, 360 feedback, and open communications are also key to reducing employee turnover. And don’t forget to make the technology that they need available to them!

These investments and changes to company culture make a big difference. After all, reducing your employee churn rate can be the difference between business growth and stagnation.

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Simple, repetitive tasks quickly add up to days wasted every month. This means employees achieve less and businesses don’t grow as quickly as they could.

Discover how automation and calendar sync could save you and your team time (and money!) in our new white paper. Download your copy today!

Source: 3 Secrets to Reducing Your Employee Churn Rate | The Cronofy Blog

Highly Effective Tips for Business Success for Startups

Highly Effective Tips for Business Success for Startups

“Starting your own business is like riding a roller coaster. There are highs and lows and every turn you take is another twist. The lows are really low, but the highs can be really high. You have to be strong, keep your stomach tight, and ride along with the roller coaster that you started.” – Lindsay Manseau, Photographer and Entrepreneur

According to Problemio, there are over 28 million small businesses in the U.S. However, the problem is almost 50% of startups fail during the first year. And the chances of reaching the end of the road only increase with each year on the market.

But why do so many companies face the risk of failure? The answer is not so simple although it all comes down to the issues entrepreneurs haven’t anticipated. So in order to get acquainted with corporate requirements and preventing possible business threats, we offer you a list of highly effective tips to help you secure the startup success and enhanced growth.

Know Your Goals

One of the biggest reasons why small businesses fail is because they didn’t research market demands. Before anything else, entrepreneurs need to be familiar with the industry, target audience, and competition. Who is your perfect customer? How are your products or services different from the rest? What is the ultimate business objective? And is the time for launching your business right?

Offer People a Deal They Can’t Refuse    

When first starting out, it’s important to offer quality. The business should be built around consumers because they are the backbone of every successful brand. Instead of focusing on sales, research what people need in the moment and then invest and promote deals customers will prefer.

Don’t be Afraid to Outsource     

Outsourcing has become the industry standard. Nowadays, those who wish to reduce costs, enhance customer experiences with the business, increase productivity and improve the quality of products and services in general, turn to outsourcing. Outsourcing back office operations, front office processes and marketing business processes are the main and highly rewarding options startups should definitely include in their business plan once the company begins to gain a broader awareness.

Keep a Close Eye on Cash Flow

The major liability that can ruin both a small business and a large enterprise is cash flow. As according to Nelson, a real estate business owner,  you need to have a clear idea of where the money goes and why. The business expenditure should be aligned with the main objectives while retaining a portion for unplanned situations. In other words, keep in touch with your accountant and have backup cash reserves as a safety cushion in case of shortfalls.   

Surround Yourself with a Motivated Team

The employee expertise is equally important as their motivation to complete tasks on time. Look at your staff as a well-oiled machine working towards a common goal which is, you guessed it, business successes. However, don’t forget that they are also people with hopes and dreams. Meaning you need to treat them with respect, include them in every step of the way, and provide opportunities for further occupational growth.

Share Your Success

It’s crucial to be transparent with your employees and customers. People feel more related and open to entrepreneurs who are not afraid to share their successes stories. Not only that transparency could help you raise productivity, but it can also build the necessary trust between a business and its audience. Plus, exchanging stories and listening to other ideas provides a chance to learn something new and to form loyal relationships along the way.

Leverage Technology into Your Advantage

Automation is the key to optimizing business processes. Digital technology and mighty software solutions can help to prevent human errors, enhance collaboration across departments, and better engage consumers. The good news is that you can take advantage of free online programs and affordable systems specifically designed to support SMBs. Just be sure you are picking the right tool for your business. Identify areas within your company that consume a lot of time and effort and use them as references.     

Learn to Move On

Taking care of every single thing and micromanaging projects can be stressful and damaging for the business. Some mistakes are bound to happen but if you want to overcome bumps on the road, learn to move on and trust your team to efficiently complete tasks. To put it simply, learn from mistakes but don’t fixate on problems.

Meet Your Investors

The majority of startups require investments to kick the business off. If you can relate, it’s recommended to find out what investors prefer and where can you find them. Doing online research is a good start, but still, work your way up in the entrepreneurial community and get involved on social media platforms. But before you contact investors, try finding or getting in touch with your mentors. They can tell you if your idea needs some touch-ups and prep you with the essentials investors expect to get from thriving entrepreneurs.  

 

Final Thoughts

“What I learned from Rockefeller that’s off-the-hook important is: You need to know exactly where you stand in a business at all times. Measure everything, because everything that is measured and watched improves.” – Bob Parson, GoDaddy Founder

All you need to succeed is a strategic head and a passionate heart. You need to be aware of everything that’s going on with your business at every moment. However, that doesn’t mean you should be too controlling and focused on every single detail.

Also, once the company experience successes, try not to become greedy. Remember, if you build your business on knowledge, respect, and a well-designed strategy, you will diminish the risk of becoming just one of the businesses who couldn’t keep up with evolving market requirements. Good luck!

Employee Experience Is New Way to Win Talent War: ServiceNow Research

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Digital experiences outside of work have made life simpler, easier and more convenient. Today’s top talent is demanding the same at work, and global research of 500 human resources executives across 20 industries reveals that providing excellent employee experiences, enabled by technology, are becoming the new way to win the never-ending war for talent.

“The best talent today expects great digital experiences at work,” said Pat Wadors, Chief Talent Officer, ServiceNow. “Top talent can work anywhere, and they are choosing companies that embrace advanced technology to make work simpler, faster, better. A fundamental shift is under way, and top human resources leaders are creating a new employee experience, realizing that great benefits and cool office perks are no longer enough. Employees want great digital experiences that make work, work better for them.”

Pat Wadors, Chief Talent Officer, ServiceNow
Pat Wadors, Chief Talent Officer, ServiceNow

Insights into this digital transformation of the employee experience were released by ServiceNow in “The New CHRO Agenda: Employee Experience Drives Business Value.” “The New CHRO Agenda” report details the Chief Human Resource Officer (CHRO’s) journey to greater impact; how the employee experience is evolving to impact business results and the impact of an HR function’s capabilities on retaining and attracting the best talent.

From Tactical Manager to Strategic Leader

Over the last three years, CHROs have seen their responsibilities move beyond the core responsibilities of delivering HR services, record keeping and attracting top talent, to a broader role in leading key strategy discussions around advancing corporate goals, driving digital initiatives, and contributing to business performance. 

  • Nearly two-thirds (64%) of CHROs say it’s their responsibility to drive corporate performance.
  • CHROs expect their success to be defined by the consumer-like employee experience. In fact, more than half of CHROs (56%) say the ability to create a digital, consumerized employee experience will define their roles in three years, compared with just 6% who say traditional HR will define their role.
  • 66% of CHROs say the employee experience will drive quantifiable productivity gains across the business.
  • 44% of CHROs expect to be judged on their digitization success achieved not alone but by partnering with other C-level executives to set and manage strategy.

Digital Transformation of the Employee Experience

From how employees access services and information to how global teams collaborate, business as usual is being redefined for the digital era by a new breed of CHRO.

  • Three out of five CHROs say HR is now a driver of digital transformation, a top strategic priority for most enterprises.
  • 77%, or more than three in in four, of CHROs say they expect to see improved employee experiences from digital transformation in the next three years.
  • 83% of CHROs say the employee experience is important to the organization’s success.
  • 68% of CHROs say that their HR technology allows them to improve employee experience.

Investing in the Modern Employee Experience

For employees, the workplace will become more personalized, predictive, and seamless. Their needs will be met through consumer-like digital interactions, such as push notifications for administrative work updates, recommendations for services based on recent actions, and instant answers to questions through chatbots that receive data from multiple departments.

  • 70% say the use of technology to foster a sense of community and healthy corporate culture is a goal.
  • In the next three years, almost half (48%) of CHROs will use an HR platform – not applications – that systematizes automation of HR process and collaboration, up from just 14% today.
  • A significant percentage of CHROs are budgeting for technologies (82% on cloud, 69% on social/collaboration, 65% on mobile, and 47% on function-specific applications) that will help them deliver superior experiences.

CHRO Leaders Show the Way

CHROs who are using technology to improve employee experience are winning the war for talent. The survey divides CHROs into a three-tiered model mapping CHRO-led digital transformation of HR functions, and the business overall. HR leaders taking advantage of more strategic investments fall into the top tier, Level 3.

  • 97% of Level 3s are much more successful in recruiting talent, vs. 80% of Level 2s and 53% of Level 1s.
  • 79% of Level 3s are much more successful at retaining talent, vs. 63% of Level 2s and 14% of Level 1s.
  • 84% of Level 3s report lower turnover than their peers, vs. 77% of Level 2s and 52% of Level 1s.
  • 63% of Level 3s successfully reskill their existing employees, vs. 58% of Level 2s and 41% of Level 1s.

Healthcare Leads, Financial Services Lags

Healthcare CHROs trend ahead of the pack in prioritizing superb HR experiences and building positive relationships.

  • 68% of healthcare CHROs say they are successful or highly successful in using technology to make it easier for employees to do their jobs, vs. 55% for non-healthcare industries.
  • Nearly three-fourths (72%) of healthcare CHROs said they are more likely to be successful at delivering HR experiences that match the technology that employees use in their personal lives, vs. 58% in other industries.

Financial services CHROs are more focused on creating an experience that meets individual needs rather than a sense of community and collaboration – and they’re lagging their industry peers in building a workforce that meets business objectives.

  • 54% of financial services CHROs say the use of technology to foster a sense of community and corporate culture is a core goal, vs. 72% in other industries.
  • 52% of financial services CHROs are less likely to agree that a platform that streamlines cross-functional collaboration would drive productivity and improve the employee experience, vs. 70% in other industries.
  • Only 28% of financial services CHROs say they have built a workforce to meet future business objectives, compared with 42% in other industries.
Recruitment Marketing Software is a software program designed to attract top talent.

Benefits of Recruitment Marketing Software?

Benefits of Recruitment Marketing Software?

Recruitment Marketing Software is a software program designed to attract top talent. Recruitment Marketing Software utilizes an innovative idea of applying marketing methods to recruitment process in order to find, attract, nurture and engage candidates and turn them into job applicants.

What is Recruitment Marketing Software?

Recruitment Marketing Software is a software program, tool or platform designed to automate, simplify and fasten the process of finding, attracting, engaging and nurturing high-quality candidates.

In comparison with regular, old-fashioned recruiting software, Recruitment Marketing Software uses an innovative idea of applying marketing methods to recruitment process in order to attract top talent.

What are the benefits of Recruitment Marketing Software?

Recruitment Marketing Software offer solutions for all the 5 stages of Recruitment marketing process: Finding, Attracting, Engaging, Nurturing potential candidates and Converting them into applicants who apply for your open job positions.

inbound-recruiting-strategy

Recruitment Marketing Software offers innovative features for finding high-quality candidates. With web sourcing you can easily passive job seekers, your best job candidates. You can also post your job ads to multiple free and premium job boards with just one click, set up a Social Media job ad promotion and Employee Referral Programs.  

Recruitment Marketing Software is especially useful for attracting candidates. Recruitment Marketing Software offers features for improving your Employer Branding and Social recruiting strategy and creating an attractive branded career site – no coding skills necessary!

With Recruitment Marketing Software you can engage and nurture your candidates on a whole new level. You can advance and automate your Candidate Relationship Management and email recruiting campaigns, which will create a better candidate experience and save you a ton of time!

Finally, Recruitment Marketing Software provides tools for successfully converting candidates and tracking your whole recruiting process. Form user-friendly application form to highly advanced hiring analytics and reporting.

Who can use Recruitment Marketing Software?

Recruitment Marketing Software was created for recruiting experts like recruiters and HR professionals.

However, since modern Recruitment Marketing Software is user-friendly and easy to use, many small companies without specialized HR professionals have also started using this tool.

With Recruitment Marketing Software, small companies can handle the whole full cycle recruiting process and all related marketing operations in house. In that way they save a lot of money they previously had to spent on recruitment agencies services.

Which Recruitment Marketing Software to buy?

Not every recruiting software is the same. Moreover, same types of recruiting software differ in their features and capabilities. Which one is the ideal for you?

There is a proven strategy that helps in making the best decision about which tool to buy.

Step 1

First, start with identifying your recruiting goals and challenges.

Step 2

Second, check out the extensive list of solutions offered by Recruitment Marketing Software and see if you can find solutions for your challenges.

Step 3

Third, pick the recruiting software that best suits your needs.

That’s it! 🙂

P.S. You can also download 2018 Guide for Buying a Recruiting Tool. It offers interesting insights and useful advices for buying a recruiting software tool.