HR Your Way

HR Your Way

How the next-generation digital workplace can power a deeply personalized HR customer experience

Business disruption is rampant—new business models, new technologies, a challenging economic environment, and the overall quickening pace of business are all disruptive to “business as usual.” Workforce demographics and trends—retiring boomers, high-expectation millennials, workforce-on-demand models, team-based work—are another disruption. It is incumbent on HR to find ways to “hack” these disruptions for their customers, leveraging the digital workplace to customize the HR customer experience according to each individual’s unique needs in the face of this almost constant change.

To better understand how the next-generation digital workplace can counter disruptions by powering a deeply personalized HR customer experience, let’s flash forward about 10 years to 2027. This is when we could see the first cohort of Gen Z employees—engage in their organization’s open enrollment process for benefits.

Our Gen Z futuristic scenario envisions three hypothetical levels of digital workplace “chatbots” at increasing levels of sophistication:

  • Workflow Adviser—assists the HR customer through the life or work event workflow using natural language, while automatically gathering data from disparate systems and tapping into available training, research, and operational services support resources.
  • Solution Adviser—“understands” desired outcomes and leverages all available internal and external data to design and propose an optimized solution for the HR customer.
  • Human Adviser—“empathizes” with the human emotions and feelings likely involved in the HR customer’s decision process, and provides support—or referral to an actual human—as required.

Future forward to Gen Z

Jamie, an employee and a new mom, along with her husband, Liam, kick off the enrollment workflow in Jamie’s digital workplace and are greeted by the chatbot who will be assisting them through the workflow.

The chatbot explains that, set at the level of Workflow Adviser, it has the capability to listen, understand natural language, and talk back, and is also able to interpret the context of Jamie and Liam’s questions in order to suggest relevant training, research, or operational services assistance as they work through the open enrollment process.

As a bonus, the chatbot explains, it has recently been upgraded to a beta version of the Solution Adviser level. So if Jamie would like to explore this advanced level of digital workplace engagement, the chatbot will be able to understand desired outcomes and leverage Jamie and Liam’s demographic, health, and financial data, as well as cloud-based benefits solution provider data, to effectively personalize a recommended package of benefits.

Jamie authorizes the chatbot to use its Solution Adviser capabilities for her open enrollment process. After a structured conversation driven by the chatbot, she is rewarded with a customized portfolio of company benefits that are customized for her family’s unique health needs and financial resources. After a discussion with the Solution Adviser chatbot to clarify the details, Jamie verbally accepts the recommended portfolio of benefits and completes the open enrollment process.

Toward a true AI model for HR

So, what’s going on behind the scenes in our futuristic scenario, and how far are we from being able to deliver this hyper-personalized experience? Let’s drill a bit deeper into the chatbot’s capabilities at the Solution Adviser level by considering one element of the benefits package—long-term disability insurance—the chatbot recommended.

At the Solution Adviser level, the chatbot was permitted to leverage Liam’s personal health records, (which included information about a mild attack of unexplained vertigo that sent him to the ER six months prior), as well as financial income and liabilities information (indicating the couple was living paycheck-to-paycheck with very little savings). By leveraging this information, along with the context gathered through a structured conversation with Jamie and Liam, the chatbot was able to conclude with a reasonable degree of probability that covering a portion of Liam’s expected future income in the event of an unexpected disability made sense for the couple.

Impressive to be sure. But this ability to use natural language to understand context in order to make reasoned judgments about desired outcomes isn’t even the end of the line. Interestingly, and perhaps just a bit frighteningly, true AI is reserved for what we call the Human Adviser level. Here, the chatbot actually understands the human situation, demonstrates empathy with HR customer feelings, and even engages in humor opportunistically to build a deeper bond of understanding with those it has been designed to serve. Of course, at this level of sophistication, the chatbot would also discern, given the nature of the HR customer’s questions, when a referral to an actual human on the operational services team may be in order.

Hacking the disruption

While the advanced cognitive and empathetic capabilities we are ascribing to our next-generation Solution Adviser and Human Adviser digital workplace chatbots are in the infant stages today, we are making rapid advances at the Workflow Adviser level of sophistication for Deloitte’s own digital workplace solution.

As we increase digital workplace capabilities, however, we may find that the process of benefits enrollment itself has become disrupted by our technology advances, and a complete rethink of how benefits are packaged, priced, and administered will likely not be far behind. After all, disruption tends to breed more disruption—which, by the way, is why achieving sustainable HR is so imperative.

About the Authors:

Michael Gretczko is a principal with Deloitte Consulting LLP and the practice leader for Digital HR & Innovation. He focuses on helping clients fundamentally change how they operate, often working with large, complex, global organizations to guide transformation programs that enable HR organizations to reinvent the way they leverage digital to improve the employee experience and business performance.

Daniel John Roddy  is a specialist leader with Deloitte Consulting LLP and a member of the Digital HR & Innovation team. He focuses on leveraging his decades of global HR transformation experience to develop and promote thought leadership that helps create breakthrough opportunities for our clients. 

Copyright © 2017 Deloitte Development LLC. All rights reserved.


Source: HR your way | Michael Gretczko | Pulse | LinkedIn

Employee Experience – The XXI Century Corporate Super Power

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

Interviewing Jacob Morgan

Jacob Morgan is a 3x best-selling author, keynote speaker, and futurist. His latest book is The Employee Experience Advantage: How to Win the War for Talent by Giving Employees the Workspaces They Want, the Tools They Need and a Culture They Can Celebrate (Wiley, March 2017) which is based on an analysis of over 250 global organizations. Jacob’s work has been endorsed by the CEOs of: Cisco, Whirlpool, T-Mobile, Best Buy, SAP, Nestle, KPMG, Schneider Electric and many others.

Tap My Back, a tool that provides the simplest way to provide work recognition recently had the opportunity to talk with Jacob Morgan about the concept relying beyond his latest book, employee recognition. Jacob advocates this concept should be the major focus of companies aiming to attract and retain talent. This article provides a summary of the main ideas explored on the interview. Alternatively,  you can read or listen the full interview here: Employee experience – The XXI century corporate super power.

Nowadays, we’re living in such a rapidly and demanding world that the skills gap issue is turning into a big thing. Therefore, more than ever before the need to attract and retain talent is a huge issue for corporations around the world. In the end, “every organization in the world can exist without technology but no organization in the world can exist without people”. Bearing this in mind, the concept Jacob Morgan approached in his last book, employee experience, comes in the perfect timing. Companies need to seek out to provide the best possible interactions with their workforce, that is the only way to guarantee they have people delivering their best and sticking for the long run.

On the interview Jacob explained that employee experience is sort of the next step in what regards the way company’s manage workforce. It appears as an answer to the fact that “employee engagement has always acted as kind of an adrenaline shot inside of our organizations” –  Jacob Morgan.

He goes through a few best practices that major companies with the likes of Facebook, Google or Microsoft are adopting to improve their staff experience, highlighting three major aspects culture, technology and physical space. Jacob also confessed to Tap My Back that this concept of employee experience is something that the whole company should be aware and responsible for, even though he sees mainly HR related roles pushing it into company’s’ culture.

In the end of the interview, Jacob Morgan was questioned about the best advice he would provide to SMB companies looking to start from scratch implementing and improving the employee experience they provide. You can check his tips and the full interview here: Employee experience – The XXI century corporate super power.


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How to Effectively Support Young Leaders | Featured Image

How to Effectively Support Young Leaders

How to Effectively Support Young Leaders | Main Image

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

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

Mentoring

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

Collaboration is key

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

Focus on building the right skills

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

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

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


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

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

Recognize Employee Achievements: 5 Ways how to give Positive Feedback

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

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

Putting positive feedback to the test

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

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

Why is positive feedback important?

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

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

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

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

How to give positive feedback:

  1. Be specific

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

  1. Timing

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

  1. Get into the habit of giving feedback more frequently

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

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

  1. Set goals and new challenges

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

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

  1. Encourage a positive feedback culture

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

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

Summary and take-aways:

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

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

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

4 Ways Technology Is Changing Recruiting

4 Ways Technology Is Changing Recruiting

VR

Interest in HR tech has never been higher. According to CB Insights, there were over 350 deals and approximately $1.96B invested in HR tech startups in 2016 alone.

Today’s workplaces are being transformed by technology. HR tech specifically is automating and streamlining manual HR practices to become more efficient, cost-effective, and high-performing.

Here are four promising applications of technology that are helping to solve the biggest challenges in recruiting and hiring.

AI for recruiting

Industry statistics estimate 75 percent of resumes received for a role are screened out. This adds up to the hundreds of hours a recruiter wastes reading unqualified resumes per year.

As one of recruiting’s biggest bottlenecks, resume screening is in dire need of better tools to help recruiters manage their time more effectively.

This is why AI for recruiting is the biggest topic in HR tech right now. AI and recruiting are a natural fit because AI requires a lot of data to learn and large companies often have millions of resumes in their ATS.

Recruiting software that uses artificial intelligence can automate the screening process by learning the experience, skills, and qualifications required for the job and then shortlisting, ranking, and grading new candidates who match the requirements (e.g., from A to D).

This type of AI recruiting software can also be used to source candidates from external databases such as Indeed and CareerBuilder or find previous candidates in your existing ATS database by applying the same learning ability to match candidates to an open req.

By automating the manual processes of resume screening and candidate matching, companies who use AI recruiting software have reduced their screening costs by 75%.

Automation for candidate scheduling and outreach

According to SHRM, the average time to fill is 41 days. With LinkedIn reporting hiring volume is up 11% this year but only 26% of recruiting teams growing in headcount, interest in recruitment automation is only getting get stronger.

Today more than ever, finding top talent will depend on a recruiter’s ability to intelligently automate their workflow.

Recruitment automation can enhance a human recruiter’s capabilities in multiple ways. Low hanging fruit include automating your candidate outreach with tools that allow you to auto-email and auto-text interview requests to candidates your screening tool identifies as good matches (e.g., all candidates graded as an A).

These outreach automation tools help recruiters reduce their time to fill by integrating with major email and calendar providers and automatically finding time slots when the candidate and the interviewer are all free to meet.

VR for job testing and training

Another technology getting a lot of attention is Virtual reality (VR). VR is a realistic simulation of a three-dimensional environment that you control with your body movements.

A survey by Universum found that while 3% of people use VR currently, about 30% think that it will transform their workplace in the next ten years.

The most promising applications for VR in HR are candidate testing and training. Employers can use VR technology to create more realistic job tests to assess a candidate’s skills and personality. For example, a realistic simulation that tests a candidate’s social skills and problem solving abilities when dealing with an unhappy customer.

A survey by Korn Ferry found that 39% of employers state new hires leave within their first year because the role was not what they expected. VR could be an intriguing tool to help reduce employee turnover by provide candidates with a more realistic preview of what a day on the job would look like and get a better sense of the company culture.

The same technology can be used during new hires’ onboarding and training process. High-stakes environments such as hospital trauma bays are already employing VR technology to train residents.  

Wearable tech for engagement and productivity

According to Deloitte, one of 2017’s biggest HR trends is employee engagement. To help improve engagement and productivity, employers are starting to use wearable tech that tracks employees’ behaviors to learn more about how they communicate and interact at work.

Wearable tech such as digital employee badges are being used by companies such as as Microsoft and the Boston Consulting Group to track employees’ physical office movements, who they talk to, and the amount of time they spend talking to others.

These types of wearable tech collects data to provide employers insights to help optimize their physical office spaces, understand their employees’ communication styles, and manage team dynamics. The hope is these insights can help managers identify their employees’ needs and re-organize teams for better collaboration.

In the future, wearable tech may be used in the recruiting process to provide insights into a candidate’s personality and emotions during a pre-screen or interview.

About the Author:

Ji-A Min, Head Data Scientist at Ideal

Ji-A Min is the Head Data Scientist at Ideal, software that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to automate time-consuming, repetitive tasks and quickly move top candidates through the recruiting funnel.

Ideal’s AI can instantly screen and shortlist new candidates, uncover strong past candidates that are a great fit for a new role, and initiate candidate contact – all within your existing ATS. Learn more at Ideal.com.

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Signs it is Time to Take Your Organization Virtual

Signs It Is Time to Take Your Organization Virtual

Signs to go virtual
How to ask your boss that you want to do your work from home?

Is It Time to Take Your Organization Virtual? Here Are the Signs It Is

The on demand skills based economy is here. With today’s top talent adapting to the new climate of the workforce, organizations now must find new ways to engage and retain their staff while bringing in the best talent available as needed to survive and thrive in complex economic times. The workforce has taken their careers and income earning opportunities into their own hands and crave the flexibility that virtual organizations provide. Whether you need to incorporate contract or freelance work into your operations or want to give flexible working arrangement incentives to your existing permanent team, there are many benefits to taking your business virtual.

Below are a few signs it may be time to take your organization virtual.

Your Industry Has Already Shifted

Does the competition incorporate contract and temp work for their teams to execute projects and deliverables? Do they have satellite offices with less overhead dispersed throughout a greater geographic region than you? You may be paying for more office space than is required or missing opportunities for growth by not shifting alongside your competitors that are gaining more market share through virtual teams and contracted project management.

Accessing the Best Ability When You Need It, Cast a Wider Net for Talent

Human capital is and always will be critical for organizations to grow. The top talent of today’s workforce is already embracing the shift of the gig economy for their careers. Contract and freelance work for projects may be one of the only options for reaching some of the most talented professionals that you do not have access to in traditional employment engagements. Leverage the strengths, talents and skills of top performers available to compliment your permanent staff. Changing up your business model to attract and leverage the best talent available for your organization is critical and inevitably necessary. There are specific projects or initiatives that do not require full time engagement, try contracting out this work with the support of your existing team.

There is Flexibility to Be Gained by Both Sides with Less Commitment

A short term project to gauge ongoing working compatibilities allows each side to have less binding ties than an official employment contract. By allowing both sides to test the waters, there is flexibility to expand working relationships or simply part ways conveniently for both parties.

You Already Leverage Collaboration Tools in the Cloud

The cloud is here to stay and the same tools that are used for internal personnel communications and document management, have made their way into the workforce. The same affordable tools already invested in, can be leveraged by personnel logging on from anywhere. Programs such as Office 365, Dropbox, Slack and Google Drive allow teams to collaborate from dispersed locations in different time zones to accomplish tasks and achieve goals remotely. Implementing electronic systems and procedures will be necessary but also provide the necessary guidance and structure to improve operational efficiencies and help designate roles and responsibilities between members of the virtual team.

You Want to Incorporate Work from Home Policies as an Incentive

More and more companies are realizing the benefits of an engaged workforce by offering the flexibility to incorporate part time working from home policies. As with any incentive, it has to be carefully managed so teamwork can be developed through defined deliverables with accountabilities in place. Conference calls, in person meetings, team brainstorming sessions can help teammates engage virtually while allowing them designated time to manage their personal and professional lives more flexibly.

You Need to Scale with Speed Affordably

Small dispersed teams optimally performing are considered a threat in today’s workforce. With the right mix of trust, relationships and business process, virtual teams can deliver unprecedented results with the right controls and check and balances in place. Having a plan in place with defined goals and objectives so the project delivery can be optimized by the virtual team’s performance will be a key to the team’s success.

Your Management Team has the Soft Skills to Manage Virtually

Teamwork and accountability can be fostered through well-defined objectives and project management milestones. Team engagement through regular meetings that encourage brainstorming, strategic discussions, presenting and reporting will help make the virtual team successful. Periodical in person face-to-face meetings and engaging collaboration tools that allow you to share mini bios and personal pictures can help develop comrade from teams that do not regularly work together. Leaders of virtual teams need to have the right balance of soft skills and technical aptitudes to adapt their management style accordingly.

Is it time to take your organization virtual?

About the Author

Eric Apps, Organimi

Eric Apps is a seasoned technology entrepreneur, lawyer and early pioneer of today’s growing modern workforce methodologies. Eric has owned, operated and held board or senior management positions in several public and private technology companies. Today he is partnered in Aluvion and Organimi, Canadian law and technology firms, where he is an early adopter and advocate of building virtual teams and services to grow his companies. By leveraging the power of new technologies to streamline workflows, while utilizing a virtual network of highly skilled, and highly responsive professionals to develop his companies, Eric is a thought leader and advocate for the growing freelance/gig based economy.

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For more information, visit http://organimi.com

To book an interview or to request information, please contact Nicole Ragno at nicole.ragno@organimi.com

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Strategies for Being Productive While Working Remotely

Strategies for Being Productive While Working Remotely

Working Remotely is Trending Upward

I was reading an interesting article the other day on Fast Company’s site regarding work trends. It was estimated that more than 50% of the work force will be working remotely by 2020. Additionally, 25%, of the business leaders surveyed, indicated that more than three-quarters of their employees would not be working in a traditional office by 2020. Of course the definition for the word “remote” has been debated often. Does this mean working somewhere outside the office for 1 or 2 days/week? If you work off-site or in coffee shops does this ‘count’ as working remotely? If you work any at home during the weekend are you considered to be a ‘remote employee’? Therefore, if we widen the scope of the definition says, Sara Sutton Fell (CEO of FlexJobs) then:

In most white-collar jobs, I’d say 99% of people are already working remotely in that they take work home. It creeps into our work style already. I think it’s just not formalized by either the employer or employee… If remote work means that you check email on Sunday night then congratulations! You already have a work-from-home job.

There is little question that workers often rank ‘flexibility’ as one of their top reasons they are attracted to more desired jobs. Given the impact of the digitization of work millennials (and other age groups as well) really value the option of, “…taking an afternoon off and catching up on Saturday morning.” Further, a more flexible schedule allows for more spontaneous interactions with co-workers, but also time for focused, head-down productivity as well. For recruiters and other small business owners the power of working remotely is truly endless.

How to Remain Productive when Not in the Office

If the trend is toward more of us working remotely and/or from home what are some tips and tricks we can take advantage of to ensure success?

This article will provide a short list of tactics that have worked for me as well as a few suggested by others who are experienced at being productive while working remotely (PWWR). I’ve worked remotely (in some capacity) as a college professor and content marketer for the past 15 years and learned a few tips and tricks along the way. One thing I know for sure is you need a strategy and plan, for remote work, or it can lead to problems. There are real pluses to working at home/remotely and also pitfalls if not approached with a solid plan.

Strategies for Working Remotely

  • Work off of a Daily List of Tasks to be Done: One of the challenges with working at home (or in any other remote location) is how easy it can be to become distracted and taken off course. Therefore, it’s a good idea to put 2-4 things you want to get done on a list daily. During the day go back the list a couple of times to ensure you are staying focused. As things get accomplished you can cross them out. At the end of the day update the list by checking off what has been finished and what is pushed to the next work day. Psychologically it can be very satisfying to see items get ‘checked off’ the list. The goal is to make steady progress every work day (usually on several small tasks).
  • Don’t become a Silo & Consistently Communicate: It takes personal discipline to work remotely and remain productive. One thing to remember is avoid being a ‘silo‘ and working independently for long stretches. In other words, check in often with co-workers and bosses to let them know what you are working on and to be available to help others if needed. It can be easy to ‘fall off the radar’ when working from home, but if you are intentional about consistently communicating it will serve you well. Also, consistent communication lets everyone on the team know that you are engaged and working toward pre-planned goals.
  • Be sure to take Breaks/Change of Scenery: It may seem obvious but be sure to take breaks when working remotely. Given that you do not have other co-workers around (who can be distracting) often we can really get in a groove and get a lot accomplished while working remotely. This is great, however it’s also easy to work even more hours and ‘forget’ to take breaks. I find taking a 20-minute walk, grabbing a lunch off-campus, getting a quick coffee, or doing a chore or two around the house can serve as an effective change of scenery/break in the monotony.
  • Put Together Reports to Update Colleagues on Progress: Given the way our work places are organized, in this digital era, often we are working on individual/independent tasks that are connected to bigger goals of the company/agency. What’s more, our colleagues may or may not know what we are working on and, more importantly, the progress that is indeed being made. Therefore, if you can provide monthly and/or weekly summaries of tasks that are getting done and how they are edifying the long-term goals of your company this can be super helpful. Also, this helps for summarizing how all of the small tasks are helping move the business in the right direction. It can be easy to get bogged down in the details and not “see the forest for the trees”.
  • Have a Dedicated Work Space: Whether you are working at home or at a coffee shop it’s critical to have a work space that is ‘only for work’ and not used for other things (you may do in your spare time/down time). It helps if your home or remote location is similar to your office at work.

Optimizing Working Remotely Important

As more and more people work remotely (and the time they do so also increases) it is going to become even more important to continue finding ways to optimize this type of work environment. For even more information check out a recent article from The Muse: 10 Reasons Working Remotely is Even Better than You Thought it Was.


Source: Strategies for Being Productive While Working Remotely – Crelate

Simple Working Tools | The HR Tech Weekly®

Simplifying the Workplace and Life

Simplifying the Workplace and Life

Much has been written about “digital HR” and the challenge for HR to reinvent itself for the digital age. Deloitte’s vision of digital HR is of a sustainable HR function that maintains a dynamic tension between operating efficiency and creative disruption. In an age of disruption, HR will need to continue to evolve its operating model, service delivery model, and enabling technology platform—the “digital workplace”—to continuously hack the disruptions and deliver solutions designed around the HR customer experience.

In our model, the digital workplace is the connective tissue that powers digital HR. It is the always-on coaching assistant for the HR customer, continuously sensing what is required to achieve desired outcomes. It serves as a just-in-time support “bot” that delivers contextually aware assistance on any device and in any language, while working behind the scenes to engage other components of the HR service delivery model as required.

Moments that matter

To more fully explore what it means to simplify the workplace and connect HR customers to what matters most, let’s put ourselves in the shoes of Alexandro as he engages with the next-generation digital workplace to accomplish his goals. He’s a 58-year-old Boomer considering early retirement, a critical “moment that matters.”

Our early retirement workflow scenario envisions three hypothetical levels of digital workplace “chatbots” at increasing levels of sophistication:

  • Workflow Adviser—assists the HR customer through the life or work event workflow using natural language, while automatically gathering data from disparate systems and tapping into available training, research, and operational services support resources.
  • Solution Adviser—“understands” desired outcomes and leverages all available internal and external data to design and propose an optimized solution for the HR customer.
  • Human Adviser—“empathizes” with the human emotions and feelings likely involved in the HR customer’s decision process, and provides support—or referral to an actual human—as required.

To retire or not to retire…

Alexandro approached the new digital workplace with some trepidation. He had been considering early retirement for a number of months, ever since he suffered a mild heart attack the year before, but had been intimidated by the many decisions that would have to be made.

As the digital workplace chatbot explained to him that, set at the level of Workflow Adviser, it can listen, understand natural language, and talk back, Alexandro relaxed a bit. While he much preferred dealing with his old pal who had previously been the office HR generalist, he understood that times had changed. As he answered the questions posed by the chatbot, Alexandro was reassured to discover that the training, research findings, and operational services assistance made available through the system were quite extensive and appeared to be tailored exactly for his unique situation.

Alexandro assumed he would be mostly on his own when it came to making the final decision, so he was a pleasantly surprised when the chatbot then offered a more sophisticated Solution Adviser level of support. In this mode, the chatbot was able to articulate back to him his desired retirement outcomes, summarize key health, financial, and retirement location variables, and begin to present alternative scenarios. After a structured conversation driven by the chatbot, he was rewarded with a customized retirement plan almost perfectly optimized for his needs. After a discussion with the Solution Adviser chatbot to clarify the details, Alexandro decided to move forward and verbally authorized the chatbot to complete the retirement process.

The Human Adviser

At several different points in Alexandro’s conversation with the chatbot, the questions touched on how he was feeling about the process, how he intended to keep busy in retirement, and the role his spouse was playing in the decision. Once, when Alexandro had joked about his wife pretty much insisting he make the move, the chatbot had asked if he was interested in speaking to someone in the Retirement Community of Expertise (CoE) about his decision.

Alexandro was impressed that the system had managed to sense some of the ambivalence he was feeling about his life after work, not only managing to project a certain degree of empathy with his situation but also offering him the opportunity to speak with a specialist if that would be a help. It occurred to Alexandro that while this chatbot was obviously not truly able to empathize and commiserate with him the way his old HR generalist buddy had, the retirement information it provided was quite a bit more helpful, and the option of speaking to another human about his feelings was always available.

Work and life simplified

While the advanced cognitive and empathetic capabilities we are ascribing to our next-generation digital workplace chatbot are in the infant stages today, we are making rapid advances at the Workflow Adviser level of sophistication for Deloitte’s own digital workplace solution. We believe that both simplifying the workplace via Workflow Adviser services, and connecting HR customers to the information that matters most to them, will be key to digital workplace success.

As we increase digital workplace capabilities, however, we may find that the process of retirement itself has become digitally disrupted, and a complete rethink of how we leverage aging employees as part of the new contingent workforce will soon follow. After all, disruption tends to breed more disruption—which, by the way, is why achieving sustainable HR is so imperative.

About the Authors:

Michael Gretczko is a principal with Deloitte Consulting LLP and the practice leader for Digital HR & Innovation. He focuses on helping clients fundamentally change how they operate, often working with large, complex, global organizations to guide transformation programs that enable HR organizations to reinvent the way they leverage digital to improve the employee experience and business performance.

Daniel John Roddy is a Specialist Leader with Deloitte Consulting LLP and a member of the Digital HR & Innovation team. He focuses on leveraging his decades of global HR transformation experience to develop and promote thought leadership that helps create breakthrough opportunities for our clients.


Source: Simplifying the workplace—and life | Michael Gretczko | Pulse | LinkedIn


This article was originally published at HR.com – The Human Resources Social Network in November, 2016

Smart Solutions for a Smart Workspace

Smart Workspace Design Summit

Amsterdam, February 6, 2017 – In eight months, design leaders will meet in Amsterdam in order to discuss how workplaces are organized, equipped, managed and how they should look in the future.

Moreover, you’ll be able to find several activities and opportunities under one roof. The exhibition will see delegates, visitors and exhibitors meeting and gaining new contacts and perspectives. The exhibition floor will be populated with various types of smaller stands as well as three big Showcase stands which will provide people with a unique walk-in, touch & feel experience.

Two conferences and four workshops where 50+ speakers, 150+ delegates and 1500+ visitors will bring an interactive experience to all visitors, be they facility managers, architects, designers, technology experts, representatives of startups or members of the general public, make this exhibition a must-attend for fans of design as well as professionals. 

The next Annual Smart Workspace Design Summit is taking place in the beautiful Zuiveringshal West building in Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam.

View all the visiting and exhibiting options and mark the dates 12 – 13 October 2017 in your calendar. 

About Fleming.

Fleming. connects people who know the answers, brings you the know-how you seek and the opportunities you desire, creating Critical Business Connections. After 13 years in the business, Fleming. has grown to offer a complete portfolio of Conferences, Trainings, Exhibitions, Blended Learning and Online Conferences on five continents and in various industries. More than 50,000 satisfied companies supporting, attending, and endorsing Fleming events and using its services every year prove that Fleming. is the right partner to support your business growth and help you achieve your goals.

HR Predictions: Rethinking Employee Benefits in 2017

Paid Family Leave

Only a few weeks remain in 2016, and as we look to the next year, there is no denying it’s a truly dynamic time for HR professionals. We work in an environment that is constantly changing and filled with new opportunities to enhance the way we lead and manage our most important asset, our people.

Today, business leaders are faced with a challenge those who have come before them have never encountered – assimilating five different generations into today’s workforce and leading teams comprised of individuals with unique priorities, interests and expectations.

Generation Z is stepping foot into the workforce for the first time, millennials are settling down and starting families, and baby boomers are faced with the responsibility of caring for elderly family members. While the priorities may be different, the theme is the same: when you hire an employee, you employ the whole person, including their family, their health and their interests.

As we look to next year, the major HR trends I see will be surrounding rethinking employee benefits. Retirement benefits were en vogue across workplaces in the 80s, but today, employees are thinking less about the future and more about the now. Their mindset has shifted to how employers can help them maximize their time with family or to pursue individual experiences, as opposed to emphasizing retirement benefits and pensions.

Here’s how we anticipate that mindset shift will affect HR in 2017:

Paid Family Leave

Today, we’re realizing a gap in the family leave laws concerning who is covered and who is paid. The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) offers job protection, but it is unpaid and only offered for up to 12 weeks. Currently, only 12 percent of employees (via United States Department of Labor) have access to paid leave, which tends to be offered by technology and financial services companies as well as some businesses located in California and on the east coast.

An emerging trend across organizations that is gaining increased traction is placing more emphasis on paternity and family leave. Millennials who are starting families are pushing employers to acknowledge the importance a father plays in raising and bonding with their child, and on the flipside, Generation X and Baby Boomers are caring for ill family members and require additional leave to support their time away. California was the first state to implement paid family leave, which has also spread to the corporate level. Deloitte is now offering employees up to 16 weeks fully paid of family leave to support range of life events like maternity and paternity leave, elder care and aid for sick family members and partners.

Unlimited Vacation – The Ultimate Flexible Benefit

When surveyed, many employees reveal that a top benefit they look for when considering a role is the amount of vacation offered. Surprisingly, studies have shown that while employees earn 20 days off, the majority only use 16 of those days. Employees today are using a full work week less than they did in 2000, and it’s having a major impact. Work expectations and demanding schedules are causing employees to take less time. As a result, employees miss three notable events a year and only 38 percent of employees feel supported to take time off.

A handful of employers are trying to reverse this trend by offering flexible unlimited vacation opportunities for employees. Unlimited vacation empowers employees to decide what to do with their time off while ensuring that the necessary work is completed and the absence is not damaging. Experts analyzing this trend believe that employees are motivated not to let their peers down or to damage their own career by misusing the benefit. While unlimited vacation is not for every company or environment, look for more organizations to consider this benefit.

Flexible Hours

We’ve all experienced it – sick family members, an unexpected doctor’s appointment, or an emergency home repair. Life happens and employees are looking for employers to be cognizant of responsibilities outside of the office. I can’t recall an interview where I wasn’t asked about our company’s expectations concerning work time commitments and the flexibility we offer. The question for HR is how to encourage flexibility for employees and how to teach managers to embrace flexibility to attract the best talent. Consider implementing work from home or flexible hours policies to help employees balance work and home life.

Freelance Economy

A growing trend that will affect even more businesses in 2017 is the “gig” or freelance economy. Work or “freelance gigs” are being organized into a variety of arrangements that can easily be bid on by a variety of freelance or consulting positions. One out of three millennials currently freelance, and by 2020, the Bureau of Labor predicts that 40 percent of American workers will be independent contractors. In areas of specialized skills, those types of talent are looking for freelance opportunities and organizations will be tasked with offering the same type of flexible arrangements for employees that freelance positions receive.

While many trends are affecting the HR industry, we as leaders have a real opportunity to challenge the status quo to enhance our employees’ experience. How do we disrupt the typical routine? Emerging trends are driving us to look at the employee experience in new ways and to listen to consider our people in everything we do.

About the Author:

Karen Crone is Chief HR Officer at Human Capital Management company Paycor.

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