It’s all About: Trust, Honesty, and Transparency

Data Point TuesdayCompany cultures, the good, the bad, and – well in the interest of being nice we’ll leave it at that – have been the focus at Great Place to Work® for the last 25 years, since Robert Levering and Milton Moskowitz researched their book The 100 Best Workplaces in America. What their research revealed is that the key to creating a great workplace revolves not around the building of a certain set of benefits and practices, but through the building of high-quality relationships in the workplace, relationships characterized by trust, pride, and camaraderie. What we call a great company culture. As Erin Osterhaus, researcher for HR technology reviewer Software Advice, points out in her blog about a recent survey, the term “company culture” has seen an astronomical rise in use since 1980, due in part to publications like The 100 Best Workplaces in America, as well as companies’ recognition that culture has a direct impact on how happy, and healthy employees are– and, how well they perform. With the rise in attention to the topic of company culture, enter the adoption of roles created specifically to focus on company culture. As Osterhaus points out, Google, #1 on the FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For List for the last three years, was one of the first companies to adopt such a position (Chief Culture Officer) in 2006.

company culture over timeConsidering all the research and data that surround the term “company culture” today, Software Advice surveyed 886 U.S. adults to learn how they define company culture, and to better understand what culture means to the group it impacts the most: employees and job seekers. What did they discover? Most survey takers described “company culture” as a value, belief, or habit of employees that worked at an organization, or the overall feeling of the environment at that company. The majority of respondents listed their ideal company culture as “casual or relaxed” followed by “family oriented,” “fun,” “friendly,” and “honest and transparent.” However, when asked which of these five attributes would most likely convince them to apply at company, respondents stated that “honesty and transparency” would be the biggest influencer.

So while “casual/relaxed” and “fun” ranked over honesty as the most common definition of an ideal company culture, the fact that “honesty and transparency” are the bigger influencers on whether a prospective candidate actually applies at a company highlights what we’ve known about company cultures all along… that trust and values matter most.

ideal company cultureSoftware Advice’s data prove once again that it is fostering trust and building honesty and transparency that ultimately create a sense of camaraderie amongst employees and the fun, family feel environments that respondents report as their “ideal company culture.” As Leslie Caccamese and Katie Popp state in Great Place to Work’s recent whitepaper, Five Lessons for Leaders as they Build a Great Workplace, “What people often think makes a great workplace isn’t actually what makes it so.” While great amenities like workout facilities, foosball tables, and 4 star catered meals may initially come to mind when people think “great company culture,” it’s ultimately evidence of trust-based interactions between leaders and their employees that Great Place to Work looks for when evaluating companies for our Best Companies to Work For lists in nearly 50 countries around the world.

I’ll leave you with another quote from our recent whitepaper: “…by all means, install slides and fi­reman poles; scatter about lava lamps and bean bag chairs. Bring in the manicurist and the barista, and cater to people’s pets. Just make sure these things aren’t happening in lieu of deeper, more substantial practices like involving employees in workplace decisions, keeping them informed of important issues, tending to their ongoing professional development, and sharing profi­ts fairly. These types of practices will go much further in helping employees feel that theirs is a great workplace.”

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What are your Sources of Hire?

Data Point Tuesday
A recent report from CareerXroads, “Sources of Hire 2014: Filling the Gaps” by Gerry Crispin and Mark Mehler, aims to continue the conversation about the data collection issues, source of hire trends, and challenges related to the recruiting supply chain. The report looks at 50 large firms (all with well-known brands) that filled 507,425 openings in the U.S. last year. This was the work of ~6000 recruiters and sourcers (80+ openings filled by each).

  • 4% of these companies had fewer than 1,500 full time U.S employees,
  • 8% had between 1,005-5,000 employees
  • 18% between 5,001-10,000 employees
  • 28% between 10,001-25,000 employees
  • 10% between 25,001-50,000 employees
  • 14% between 50,001-100,000 employees
  • 8% between 10,001-200,000 employees
  • 10% had more than 200,000 employees

An initial trend observed was that at 40% of these firms the Talent Acquisition function does not match the full ‘Scope’ of full time hiring. While 62.5% of the surveyed firms’ Talent Acquisition functions agree that they “touch or know about EVERY F/T hire or move,” 8.3% don’t hire for union positions, 18.8% don’t hire hourly workers in their manufacturing facilities, 16.7% don’t hire hourly workers for store level, 14.6% don’t hire for every function (i.e. field sales), 10.4% don’t hire for every location, and 8.3% don’t hire for every division.

Additionally, when asked about employees that are not full time (i.e. contract or contingent workers) firms noted that 1 in 6 employees (or 17.7%, weighted average) were contingent and generally not tracked by talent acquisition or talent management. We’ve seen the hiring and retention of contract workers increasing at many organizations, and while whether this is a positive or negative trend can really only be decided by how a company manages its contingent workers, CareerXroads does pose the question: “Do we even know where purchasing ‘sourced’ these ‘not-employees’? How can employers build strategy without oversight of ALL those who work at the firm?” If you’re at an organization that hires many contingent workers, it’s a good question to ask.

In terms of who is recruiting talent for organizations, recruitment process outsourcing seems to be a popular choice for organizations today. Over 50% of the firms surveyed in CareerXroad’s report stated that they use RPO services in some form:

Chart
Are companies hiring globally? 80% of the firms surveyed report that they do hire globally, though only 41% state that they have access to source of hire information that would allow them to benchmark by country.

The #1 source of hire for organizations, though, is through internal promotion and movement. 41.9% of all openings are filled this way. Of the firms surveyed in 2013, 191,425 openings were filled internally. Interns are another interesting source of hire. Surprisingly, CareerXroads data highlight that organizations aren’t exactly seeing a strong ROI in this area. Only 32% of all interns organizations would want to hire after their internships accept positions. Other hiring trends that are continuing include incorporating sourcing (60.5% of organizations stated that they do have a separate full time sourcing group) and social media. With the rise of social media (and LinkedIn specifically) use of resume databases has declined. When looking at LinkedIn’s impact by sources of hire, it is perceived as a vital sourcing tool:

china2
Like the title of their report, CareerXroads offers some good data here to help “fill the gaps.” Keep this in mind when considering you organization’s approach to talent acquisition, talent management, and sources of hire.

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Friendships at Work

Data Point Tuesday
Censuswide
and LinkedIn recently partnered up to explore how friendships at work impact employees’ experiences and perspectives of their workplaces. Their study, titled “Relationships @Work,” surveyed more than 11,500 full-time professionals between the ages of 18-65 in 14 countries, including the U.S, Sweden, India, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Spain, the Netherlands, Malaysia, Italy, Indonesia, Brazil and the U.K. What did they find? A large percentage of professionals surveyed (46%) admit that work friendships play a role in their overall happiness, and it’s clear from the research that the amount of value placed on workplace friendships, and the level of confidence (or how personal they were) varies significantly depending on the generation. For example, while 46% of respondents stated that work friendships play a role in their overall happiness, this data point increased for millennial respondents, age 18-24, up to 57%. Respondents in this age group also felt that work friendships were motivating (50%) and made them more productive (39%).

The research also found Millennials to be much more likely to share personal details with friends at work. 67% of Millennial respondents stated that they share details of their lives such as salary, relationships and family issues with work buddies. This is a major shift from the days where mentioning salaries or details of one’s personal life was taboo. Millennials’ potential “over sharing” doesn’t seem to be rubbing off on colleagues, however; only 3% of baby boomers admit being likely to share details of their personal lives with work friends. Millennials’ casual approach to communication with work friends is also reflected in their relationships with managers. LinkedIn and Censuswide’s research found that one in three, or 28%, of millennials have texted a manager out of work hours for a non-work related issue. This is compared to only 10% of baby boomers.

global friends at workWhy are Millennials gushing to buddies at work? It may not be so much a facet of their generation’s personality, but a genuine attempt to grow and further their career. One third of Millennials versus 5% of baby boomers stated that they think socializing with colleagues helps them move up the career ladder. Note too, that 18% of respondents (all generations) say that friendships with colleagues make them more competitive in their careers, so while close friendships at work may be a greater trend for Millennials, it is not exclusively a trend of that generation. Additionally, 51% of respondents (all generations) say that they stay in touch with former colleagues, and while we can’t say where exactly the value of this comes from (friendship, mentor, resource, networking, etc.), we can certainly say it indicates respondents have a loyalty to past colleagues and work friendships. It seems that globally, too, workplace friendships have a high level of importance. In India, for example, 1 in 3 professionals say their closest work colleagues understand them better than their partners.

Overall, this data is a good reminder that everyone communicates differently, whether on an individual basis or by the larger personality of an age demographic. Specifically, though, when it comes to retaining Millennial employees, this desire for work friendships and casual communication could be an overlooked point of value for employees. As workplaces become increasing more generationally diverse, it becomes important (even vital) to recognize the different, and evolving, communication styles of employees.

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Filed under China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Employee Engagement, Millennials, workplace happiness

The Urgency of Leadership Development

Data Point Tuesday
In March I discussed a few takeaways from Deloitte’sGlobal Human Capital Trends 2014” survey. After relooking through the report, I think it would be worthwhile to mention some of the other global trends for 2014. I previously discussed the need to reskill HR teams, one of the top four (out of 12) global trends that survey respondents perceived as most urgent. I did not, however, discuss the top trend perceived as most urgent by responders, that is, the need to build global leadership. Fully 38% of respondents rated this as “urgent,” 50% more than the next trend identified as “urgent.” At the time of the study, companies reported generally low levels of readiness to respond to the global trends mentioned in the report, and despite the fact that at least 60% of respondents identified these global trends as “important” or “urgent,” in all, 36% of respondents reported being “not ready” to respond to the trends. This is a significantly higher percentage than those reporting they were ready to respond to the trends (at only 16%). With us now more than half way through 2014, I’m hoping this particular statistic has shifted a bit, but we don’t have that data yet!

Deloitte urgency graph

We do know that building better leadership is a “hot-topic” trend we’ve seen repeated recently in many reports or white-papers; it’s certainly not unique to only this report. I think with trends like these it’s important to reflect on the proposed reasons: why is building better leadership perceived as so highly important now? Did we have better leadership in the past? Are leaders lacking necessary skills today, or are we simply lacking in an adequate bench of leadership? Deloitte’s study offers some insightful points. “In a world where knowledge doubles every year and skills have a half-life of 2.5 to 5 years, leaders need to constantly develop.” Consider, as well, globalization and the speed (not to mention breadth) of technological change and development, which highly fuel this need to constantly develop. Perhaps another point that highlights the reason that “leadership” remains the #1 talent issue facing organizations today is that this term encompasses leadership at every level of an organization (we’re not solely talking about developing the next CEO or the C-Suite pipeline). “21st-century leadership is different. Companies face new leadership challenges, including developing Millennials and multiple generations of leaders, meeting the demand for leaders with global fluency and flexibility, building the ability to innovate and inspire others to perform, and acquiring new levels of understanding of rapidly changing technologies and new disciplines and fields”.

According to those surveyed in Deloitte’s report, only 13 percent of companies rate themselves “excellent” in providing leadership programs at all levels—new leaders, next-generation leaders, and senior leaders. Furthermore, 66% of respondents believe they are “weak” in their ability to develop Millennial leaders (only 5 percent rate themselves as “excellent”) and only 8% believe they have “excellent” programs to build global skills and experiences. 51% of respondents have little confidence in their ability to maintain clear, consistent succession programs. In terms of skills, Deloitte’s research shows that foundational along with new leadership, these skills are in high demand: business acumen, the ability to collaborate and build cross-functional teams, global cultural agility (the ability to manage diversity and inclusion), creativity, customer-centricity, influence and inspiration, and the ability to develop people and create effective teams.

Deloitte leadership programs graph

With this data in mind, we can then ask the question how can organizations “get ready” to address the trend of building global leadership. Deloitte offers four potential starting points:

  1. Engage top executives to develop leadership strategy and actively govern leadership development,
  2. Align and refresh leadership strategies and development to evolving business goals,
  3. Focus on three aspects of developing leaders (develop leaders at all levels, develop global leaders locally, develop a succession mindset),
  4. Implement an effective leadership program.

While all of these approaches will likely involve a significant investment of time and resources along with a commitment to leadership from the board and executive team, they are doable – companies both small and large on our Best Companies to Work for Lists are a testament to this!

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Financial Stress? What Financial Stress?

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What are organizations doing to help employees manage financial difficulties? SHRM (in collaboration with Elevate) explored this question in their recent survey “Employee Financial Stress.” They found that 61% of HR professionals would describe their employees’ financial health as no better than “fair,” where 38% would describe theirs as “very good” or “good.” Organizations that had more full time hourly employees were more likely to have a response of “fair” compared to organizations with fewer full time hourly employees who were more likely to report better financial health amongst employees. 50% of HR professionals reported that the age group most likely to experience financial stress was 25 to 34 year olds, though 29% reported that 35-44 years old experienced more financial stress. This makes sense as both age ranges reflect periods of significant life changes, such as starting a first job, buying a home and having a first child.

If 61% of HR professionals would describe their employees’ financial stress as no better than fair, it begs the question as to what efforts, if any, organizations are making to help employees become more financially literate and skilled. SHRM and Elevate’s survey found that 70% of HR professionals report employees being “somewhat financially literate,” and while 17% of employees are described as “very financially literate,” an additional 17% are considered “not at all financially literate.” We can cycle back to the initial question, then, of what organizations are doing to help employees manage financial stress?

The research finds that 19% of organizations offer employees loan products from a third-party provider, and 18% of organizations offer payroll advances. Almost three quarters of HR professionals report that offering third-party provider loan products have a positive impact on employees’ overall ability to manage their financial difficulties. Slightly over one-half of HR professionals reported pay advances having a positive impact. When it comes to common services that organizations offer to employees to help manage their finances, retirement planning and consultation takes the top spot at 81% followed by financial literacy training for investing at 42%. Some, although few, organizations also offer financial services including financial literacy training for basic budgeting (25%) and credit score monitoring (8%).

financial-literacy-chart-shrm-2014

The fact that a combined 61% of HR professionals describe the overall financial situation of their employees as no better than fair (50% fair, 10% poor and 1% very poor) may hint that organizations should take a look at their financial benefits program and tailor it to the needs of their employees – for example, if an organization has a high percentage of Millennial employees, and the data suggest Millennials are experiencing the most financial stress, this could be a starting point. We can highlight too, that if this is the case, it could be a point for inter-generational workplace tension – if there are highly perceived financial differences amongst different demographic groups. Organizations might also consider some of the positively received but less prevalently used financial benefits. Understanding the personal financial stress points in your workforce will be a first step in providing meaningful support for a stressor that can derail productive employees.

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Working Parents Feel More – Not Less – Stress

Data Point Tuesday
Bright Horizons
recently conducted a national study, “The Modern Family Index” that explores what it means to be a working parent today. The study revealed some insightful points, including that working parents still perceive that their responsibilities with their family may cause them to experience significant challenges at work. Bright Horizon’s research highlights that much has changed towards how parents approach family obligations and the level of conflict they experience. But how positive are those changes when, overall, many employees still feel like they can’t be honest with their supervisors about family responsibilities?

Perhaps the most obvious example of change toward family obligations in 2014 is that work/family balance is not only an issue for mothers. Fathers report being nearly just as stressed and insecure about work and family conflicts as mothers (46% of dads say that one of their daily stressors is child care needs during the workday, vs. 52% of moms) and are likely to be just as nervous as women to tell their bosses about some of their big family commitments (63% of men vs. 68% of women). Additionally, for fathers, work/life integration ranks just as highly as other top stressors like saving for retirement and managing personal health. Additionally, telling their bosses that they need to take time off for a family matter is just as stressful (39%) as telling a boss they’ve made a mistake on a work project (36%). When it comes to flexible scheduling, one in three fathers (34%) report asking their employers for more flexibility or modification of their work schedule to meet obligations to their children (compared to 42% of moms).

While the increased balance of family obligations between men and women represents a positive trend, it’s still concerning that working parents so highly perceive that family obligations can negatively impact their career – or actually cause them to be demoted and fired. Bright Horizons Family Means Firedreports that 60% of working parents have at least one work-related concern caused by family responsibilities, and 48% admit one of their concerns due to their family responsibilities is that they could get fired! If there’s any statistic to highlight in this report, I think it’s probably this one: nearly 50% of working parents are concerned about getting fired for having family obligations! Additionally worrisome data follow this statistic, including:

  • 39% of parents fear being denied a raise because of family responsibilities
  • 37% fear they will never get promoted again, and
  • 26% worry about a demotion because of family responsibilities.

And to make sure family obligations don’t impact work time? Parents report spending 51% of paid time off dealing with family responsibilities instead of taking a trip or relaxing at home.

Bright Horizon’s research unfortunately pulls the rug out from under the belief that discussions of work/life integration and family obligations are commonplace today. Certainly they are more common than they were in the past, but this study indicates that we might not be taking the leaps and bounds that all the headlines around work/life integration suggest. Employees today remain just as nervous bringing up key family-related issues (51%) as important work-related problems (52%) with employers, and 23% of working parents (almost a quarter) admit to lying or bending the truth to their boss about family responsibilities that get in the way of work:

  • 31% of working parents have faked being sick to meet family obligations
  • 39% admit that one of the things they would be nervous to tell their boss is that they need to miss a work event for a family commitment
  • 56% (more than half!) of working parents report that one of the topics they would hesitate to ask their boss about is reducing hours, working remotely or placing boundaries on responding to calls or emails.

This would be a good time to consider what work/life integration programs your organization offers – as well as the attitude senior management has towards employees with families. Does senior management walk the talk or are family friendly policies just lip service? Make sure working parents are aware of programs that are in place to help them balance their work and family responsibilities, and, perhaps more importantly, make sure it is emphasized that it is OKAY, and expected, that working parents utilize those programs. Creating family friendly policies in one thing. Encouraging their use and ensuring that parents’ careers are not jeopardized for using them is an entirely other thing. Where does your organization net out?

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#GenMobile: State of Mind Not Function of Age

Data Point Tuesday

We’re at a turning point with mobile technology. For many users, tablets and smartphones are no longer a convenience or entertainment tool, but a necessary part of their working lives. A recent survey by Aruba Networks identifies these users as “generation mobile.” The research, conducted to take stock of mobility’s increasing prominence in people’s working lives, examines survey responses from over 5,000 members of the public across the USA, UK, France, Spain, Germany, Sweden, South Africa, Saudi Arabia and UAE. Several characteristics define “generation mobile,” including believing in working anytime and anywhere, and in a more connected world (from cars to clothing). And while 18-35 year olds do account for the highest mobile users, generation mobile spans all age groups.

Aruba Network’s research found that 86% of respondents owned at least two connected devices (devices with the ability to connect to the internet). Non-traditional working hours and the option of flextime were also identified as highly important values to generation mobile people. It should be noted though, that while the ability to hop on Wi-Fi and access work related materials during non-traditional work hours appeal to gen mobile, this value is not driven by laziness (45% of respondents report that they work most efficiently before 9am and after 6pm). Additionally, over half of those surveyed said they’d prefer to work from home or remotely two to three days a week than receive a 10% higher salary. This indicates that instituting flexible scheduling could not only increase productivity for employees and create a happier culture, but could be an opportunity for companies to create cost savings. Across the globe we see this move towards flexible work arrangements being reflected, with working out of office on the rise, and 37% of respondents expecting this trend to continue (with just 4.5% foreseeing a decrease).Types of Tech

How vital is your mobility? 64% of respondents report that their mobile devices make them more productive at work, and 63% (over two-thirds) think their mobile devices help them manage their lives better. Looking just at hours spent, mobile devices play a huge role in people’s daily lives: 1/3 of us spend over 1/3 of our day on these devices, and while people still value ‘disconnected’ time (63%), such devices are obviously valuable to us – I’d wager you’ve felt the sting of forgetting one of these devices before. Why, as an organization, is it important to recognize the expectations and values of this generation mobile group? Despite the fact that this group is only likely to get bigger as we continue along in this uber-connected world, as I’ve discussed in other posts, understanding the values and motivators of your employees – and conveying that you value these too, is a huge part of building a great place to work.

Employers should know that 28.9% (over a quarter of those surveyed in Aruba Network’s research), feel it is their company’s responsibility to provide them with a smartphone or a tablet. Furthermore, 29.2% report that though they would rather buy their own, they see these devices as a workplace necessity. It’s also important to note that the overwhelming majority of respondents want Wi-Fi over wired connectivity. This raises though, an important concern for employers. Organizations should make sure networks are secure and that the correct security measures are in place for employees storing company information on mobile devices.

How #genmobile is your workforce? In the quest to retain talent, do you account for these kinds of expectations? Have you spent any time thinking about how important mobile devices are to you and those around you – a little? a lot? And have you used this insight to avoid the assumption that mobile devices and the high mobility they provide are only valued by younger, millennial employees?

Turns out #GenMobile is a state of mind, not a function of age.

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