Category Archives: SHRM Foundation

Zombie HR

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The Future of Work, a new report from the SHRM Foundation, is a quick study on, well, the future of work.

Everyone talks about the future of work like it’s the next scary thing coming for us after the zombies have left. And that may be true (well, not the zombie part), so this short report can help you frame what you should be concerned about.

Working with the Economist Intelligence Unit, the SHRM Foundation identified 5 trends that their research shows are impacting the world of work:

  1. Demographic shifts
  2. Loss of middle-skilled jobs
  3. Skills gap: disconnect between educational standards and organizational demand
  4. Eroding physical barriers and increased globalization
  5. New models of work: crowdsourcing

Taken individually, none of these trends are surprising, right? But taken together, they create a set of concerns that keep most C-suite leaders, as well as their HR colleagues, up at night.

I believe that the most impactful of the five trends is number 3:  the skills gap. The growing disconnect between employer skills needs and output from the global education system is already impacting small, medium, and large employers everywhere in the world. The other four trends just make things even more challenging.

Take a look at the report. It’s a quick read and will put the whole “future of work” discussion into a helpful context.

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Filed under China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Demographics, Economist Intelligence Unit, Future of Work, HR Trends, Randstad, SHRM Foundation

The ROI of Working Human

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The SHRM Foundation’s latest Effective Practice Guideline, Creating a More Human Workplace Where Employees and Business Thrive, was released just in time for the SHRM Annucal conference this week. The timing couldn’t have been more appropriate, as it follows on the heels of last month’s WorkHuman conference.

If you’ve been following Data Point Tuesday for a while, you know I’m a big fan of the SHRM Foundation’s EPGs. They are researched, written, and reviewed by leading academics in the Human Resources field, and are underwritten by some of the most innovative suppliers in the HR arena. This EPG, sponsored by Globoforce, brings a great deal of data and analysis into one easily read report. In other words, it’s chock full of validated research and data on a topic that is becoming top of mind for CEOs, boards, and all C-Suite members:  the connection between employee well-being and business success.

The business case for creating a more human workplace is made in the first section of the report. It includes Strategies that pay off, High costs of our current work culture, and Multiple benefits of a thriving work culture. A few of the gems from this section include:

  • The American Psychological Association estimates that workplace stress costs the U.S. economy $500 Billion (!) a year.

  • Workplace stress increases voluntary turnover by nearly 50%.

  • Gallup estimates that poor leadership associated with active worker disengagement costs the U.S. economy $450 – $550 Billion (!) per year.

  • 550 Billion workdays are lost annually due to stress on the job.

  • 60 – 80% of workplace accidents are attributed to stress.

The supporting data showing how detrimental most workplace cultures are to their financial success are proliferating. Even if treating employees as if they were human beings wasn’t the right thing to do, the numbers alone make it hard to understand why creating more humanity-focused cultures aren’t the leading priority for every single organization and for every single CEO!

Once past the business case, the report lays out a thorough treatment on how to fix your culture in the section, Seven Ways to Help Employees Thrive. Not rocket science, but rather simple common sense, these seven elements come with case studies, examples and specific “how tos” for you to consider in your own organization.

  1. Share Information About the Organization and Its Strategy
  2. Provide Decision-making Discretion and Autonomy
  3. Create a Civil Culture and Positive Relationships
  4. Value Diversity and Create an Inclusive Atmosphere
  5. Offer Performance Feedback
  6. Provide a Sense of Meaning
  7. Boost Employee Well-Being

Citing employers like Alaska Airlines, Genentech, General Mills, Ritz-Carlton, Microsoft and many others, author Christine Porath loads this EPG with practical tips, examples and evidence.

At its heart, however, humanity-focused workplaces start at the top. They start with trustworthy leadership and sustainable leadership behaviors. This graphic says it all:

EPG May 24 2016

This report shows, once again, that there is absolutely no downside to not only treating employees humanely, but consciously and intentionally investing in their well-being. When our employees feel respected as individuals, appreciated for their contributions, and supported in their family lives and community commitments, as well as their physical health and mental well-being, our organization missions are more likely to come to fruition and all of our stakeholders – every single one of them – will be more than happy with the return on their various investments.

Thanks to the SHRM Foundation’s newest EPG, The ROI of Working Human has never been more clear.

 

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Filed under China Gorman, Christine Porath, Company Culture, Culture, Data Point Tuesday, Effective Practice Guidelines, Employee Engagement, Employee Stress, Engagement, Globoforce, HR Data, SHRM Foundation

Work and Workers Are Changing

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I’m a big fan of the SHRM Foundation. The resources they put in the hands of HR professionals all over the world are impressive. They do this by funding academic research in areas of interest to HR and business leaders, they provide scholarships for HR professionals to further their professional development and credentials, and they partner with organizations like The Economist Intelligence Unit to provide deep dives into the most pressing people issues of the day. I like that. A lot.

While attending the SHRM Foundation’s most recent Thought Leader Retreat in the fall, I picked up this nifty piece of thought leadership from 2014: What’s Next: Future global Trends Affecting Your Organization; Evolution of Work and the Worker. Published in partnership with The Economist Intelligence Unit, this report discusses the outcomes of “a rigorous process of surveys, expert-panel discussions and analysis” to identify key themes that look at What’s Next in the evolution of work and the worker.

The executive summary lists nine key findings – some are just what you’d expect in considering how work is changing and how the role of workers is changing. Some, however, might be surprising to you:

  • Demographic shifts post conflicting challenges

  • Young populations neither in education nor employment will elevate concerns of a lost generation and the potential for social and political unrest in the near future

  • Burgeoning workplace diversity requires sophisticated managerial response

  • Disconnect between educational standards and organizational demand

  • Services sector on the rise globally at the expense of agriculture and industry

  • Technology transforms workforce composition and culture

  • Wage expectations conflict with increased focus on shareholder value

  • Inequality on the rise as technology decimates the mid-skilled tier

  • Companies balance pros and cons of investment in new regions of development

The discussions in this 48 page report are fascinating and cover a lot of ground. Each topic has graphs from a multitude of sources – if you just read the graphs you’d start to develop a new awareness of the global challenges we face in providing sustainable people strategies for our organizations. This one tells a pretty interesting story:

EIU SHRM Foundation 1

Another one that takes an interesting look at global competitiveness – and perhaps an outcome of the chart above – is here:

Eiu SHRM Foundation 2

I encourage you to pull down this report. It’s a little more than a year old, but it highlights the global issues with which organizations are grappling. HR professionals need to have meta data like this top of mind. Whether you’re leading HR in a one-location organization, or an HR team member in a large, global organization – work is changing. And workers are really changing. And some of the reasons they are changing have to do with what’s happening in other places in the world. It’s not enough any more to only know what the trend data are for your pocket of the world. We – especially HR professionals – need to understand all the levers that are pushing on our people, our industry and our work. This report could assist in developing a broader understanding of why this is important.

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Filed under China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Demographics, Economist Intelligence Unit, Effective Practice Guidelines, Employment Data, Global Human Capital, HR Data, Human Resources, SHRM Foundation, Uncategorized

The Win-Win of Leveraging Baby Boomers

data point tuesdayI’m a Baby Boomer, born smack-dab in the middle of my generation. And I’m beginning to concretely think about the answers to questions like:

  • What is the legacy that my career will leave behind?
  • What kinds of work do I really want to do going forward?
  • What will retirement look like for me?
  • When will I want to retire (because it certainly is the last thing on my mind now…)?

Just as I wrestle with these questions, organizations are facing stiff headwinds on the talent pipeline front making workers like me critical components in workforce planning activities. We all know that workforce demographics are changing rapidly and many organizations are flummoxed when they try to get a picture of how to respond to this critical talent dynamic. Say what we will about the criticality of Millennial employees, many organizations are starting to pay equal attention to retaining the backbones of their organizations: Baby Boomers.

A terrific source of practical and actionable research based information is the SHRM Foundation’s recently published Effective Practice Guideline: The Aging Workforce: Leveraging the Talents of Mature Employees. As with all the reports in this series, it takes a rigorous approach to discovering what the research says and what organizations are actually doing in the topic area. If you haven’t discovered the SHRM Foundation’s EPGs, you’ll thank me after you download and read this free report. Not just because the data are useful and the examples practical, but because it is written for practitioners not academics and is super easy to consume.

“Mature workers will be a firm’s largest source of talent in the next two decades. There will not be enough younger workers for all the positions an organization needs to fill, particularly those requiring advanced manufacturing skills or advanced education in science, technology engineering and math.”

We all know this. The real question is what do we do about it? And this report lays out a roadmap for data gathering within your organization, a planning outline, successful examples from other organizations, and strategies for moving your plan forward.

EPG April 28 2015This chart lays out the challenge well. What follows is a trove of information about mature workers. What they want, what they can do, and the inordinate benefits of keeping them engaged in the workforce. Here are several benefits outlined in the report:

EPG 2 April 28 2015The real meat of the report are the 15 strategies for engaging and retaining mature workers that are based on both research and real organization practice. There are mini-case studies from 30 employers sprinkled throughout the strategies that share effective practices. Perhaps the most impactful sentence in the entire report is in the introduction to the 15 strategies: “The best way to engage and retain workers of any age is to provide a strong vision at the executive level, fair compensation and competent, respectful supervisors.” While the focus is clearly on the acquisition and retention of mature workers, every age demographic benefits from these strategies.

15 Strategies for engaging and retaining mature workers:

  1. Acknowledge Work Contributions
  2. Offer Flexible Work Arrangements
  3. Offer Bridge Employment
  4. Support Health and Wellness
  5. Provide Caregiver Support
  6. Offer Skills Training
  7. Provide Career and Personal Growth Opportunities
  8. Use Mixed-Age Workgroups
  9. (Re)Design Work to Match Worker Capabilities
  10. Train Managers and Supervisors
  11. Provide Support for Retirement Planning
  12. Address Age Discrimination (Real and Perceived)
  13. Foster an Age-Positive Organizational Culture
  14. Foster Job and Career Embeddedness
  15. Facilitate Critical Knowledge Transfer

It’s obvious that none of these strategies are rocket science. In fact, as you look at the list you might think, “well, these are just common sense practices that will support the engagement and retention of ALL of our workers.” And that’s the point. We can’t focus our workforce planning activities on one generation alone. And ensuring that we Baby Boomers remain engaged and valued will make the demographic transition that is looming just over the horizon more effectively managed for organizations, for workers and their families, and for society. I call that a win-win!

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Filed under Baby Boomers, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Effective Practice Guidelines, SHRM Foundation, Workforce Demographics, Workforce Planning

Good Ethics = Good Business

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We’ve officially kicked off the New Year –happy 2014! With the New Year comes the tradition of resolutions, which we hear a lot about in these first few weeks of the year. I’ll be honest, I’m not so big on New Year’s Resolutions, but I do think there’s value in paying close attention to the questions that resolutions stem from, like “what can I do to better my business/life/relationships?” I prefer to call it continuous self-improvement because it’s likely that many of these resolutions are things we should always be aiming to improve, and not just in the space of one defined year. In the spirit of the tradition though, I’ll pose this to you: if you were to make one resolution this year that would impact the lives of your employees and the financial performance of your organization, what would it be? My answer: be an ethical business. This is the most fundamental attribute of a great workplace, the foundation that must exist to build all other important parts of a great workplace. And while it might seem obvious thing to aim for, nearly HALF of all U.S. employees report witnessing unethical or illegal conduct in their workplace each year (according to a 2013 Effective Practice Guideline’s report from the SHRM Foundation) with the majority of these events going unreported and unaddressed!

SHRM-Foundation-EthicsBe an ethical workplace because this statistic is alarmingly high; be an ethical workplace because good ethics = good business. The SHRM Foundation’s report explains that an organization’s culture is the strongest predictor of how much market value that firm will create for every dollar invested by shareholders. In fact, the stock price growth of the 100 most ethical firms (based on the most widely used measure of ethical workplace culture) outperformed stock market and peer indices by nearly 300%. Looking from 1998-2011 the annualized returns of FORTUNE’S “100 Best Companies to Work For” in the United States were 11.06% versus 4.36% for the Russell 3000 and 3.38% for the S&P 500. There’s a flip side to this too though. If good ethics = good business, then bad ethics = bad business, and in a BIG way. More than 50% of the largest corporate bankruptcies have happened due to unethical business practices. And what was the cost of these bankruptcies to owners and the economy? $1.228 trillion, or, as the EPG reveals, nearly 10% of the U.S gross domestic product in 2011!

Now, I don’t disregard that many of the statistics we see on a daily basis fall into a kind of grey area. It’s likely we’re aware of the many variables that affect their legitimacy, like intent of the company producing the report or maybe the lack of a wide enough demographic representation, and so we use them more as guiding than supporting evidence. The statistics on ethical business though, seem pretty black and white to me.

I’ll say it one more time. Be an ethical workplace. Be an ethical workplace because the statistic that almost 50% of employees witness unethical behavior each year is alarmingly high. Be an ethical workplace because good ethics = good business. Be an ethical workplace because it’s a New Year and it’s a resolution to always have; but most importantly, be an ethical business because it’s the right thing to do.

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Filed under China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Ethics, Great Place to Work, Great Place to Work Institute, SHRM, SHRM Foundation

HR Stakeholders

I was doing some research for a keynote speech I’ll be giving and I took another look at the SHRM Foundation’s Effective Practice Guideline on CSR.  I wrote about it here, and was reading it again, thinking “Gee this is great stuff.”  (Stuff, being a highly technical term that data geeks use a lot.)

I came across this graphic of the stakeholders HR professionals need to connect with when designing and promoting CSR approaches and programs within their organizations.   As I reviewed it, I thought it was a good reminder of the breadth of the stakeholders that HR needs to factor into all of its work – whether it’s CSR, talent acquisition, talent management, benefits administration, strategic planning, learning and development – or yes, even the planning of the annual company picnic.

As I looked over the graphic, the only missing stakeholder group that I noted was the Board of Directors – but I’m pretty sure the authors include them the Owners-Shareholders group.  With the growing regulation of business and the focus on board oversight, I’d call them out as a separate group.  What do you think? Would you add any other distinct groups?

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Filed under China Gorman, Corporate Social Responsibility, CSR, HR, HR Data, HR Stakeholders, SHRM Foundation

Maximizing Your Conference Investment

This is an updated post from August 2010.

The 2012 SHRM Annual Conference is just around the corner.  Word has it that there will be many first-timers in attendance.  This is for them — and for other attendees who want to be sure they maximize the financial and time investments they’re making.  Here are three proven strategies for making sure you get your money’s worth.

Sessions

Conferences generally have 3 types of content sessions:

  1. General Sessions:  these are sessions that are intended for the full complement of attendees.  The speakers are typically big names in the industry who speak on universal topics relevant to the conference theme or they are big celebrity names meant to draw your attendance to the conference.  SHRM does both — and usually always has a movie star or TV personality on the big stage.  Big names sell tickets, folks.  Think of them as the motivational part of the conference.
  2. Concurrent Sessions:  these are the main content tracks that are scheduled throughout the conference.  Each time slot will hold multiple options for your consideration.  Designed for smaller subsets of the conference attendees, these tend to be led by consultants, academics and a few practitioners and are focused content of a practical nature.  Think of them as the skill building part of the conference experience.
  3. Sponsor Highlights:  these are sessions that feature a sponsor or exhibitor’s product or service, are marketing-focused in nature, and come as part of their sponsorship/exhibitor fee.  SHRM doesn’t do this very often — but the exhibitors frequently hold mini-sessions in their booth space in the expo hall.  Don’t dismiss them.  You can get great information about what’s new and cutting edge as well as scope out potential new partners.  (I’ll be conducting mini sessions in the Achievers booth on Sunday and Monday.  Come over and say “hi.”)

In a typical two-and-a-half- or three-day conference, it’s important to select wisely the sessions you want to attend – and in advance.  But it’s also important not to over-schedule yourself (more on that later). I recommend attending all the General Sessions.  The big names generally have value and the celebrity speakers are usually engaging, entertaining and motivating.  Then attend concurrent sessions in about 60-75% of the time slots.

Save Time For Networking

One of the particular values of attending a conference in person (as opposed to an online conference or a series of webinars) is the opportunity to meet other like minded people.  Look at the list of presenters.  Look at the list of sponsors/exhibitors.  Find out who else will be attending.  Then target 4-8 people that you’d really like to meet and talk with – and find them at the conference.  Leaving time in your session schedule to set short appointments when you find people on your target list will allow you to be thoughtful in creating new relationships.  Don’t pass up the opportunity to learn from industry pros – who, by the way, also want to network and meet people just like you!

You know how to network, right?  You prepare for these opportunities in advance by identifying what you’d like to talk about with each target and prepare 2 or 3 questions to get the conversation rolling.  You can ask everyone the same questions, or you can customize your approach to each person.  Your confidence will be strong as you introduce yourself to these folks and you’ll be surprised how amenable perfect strangers are to meet and talk with you.

If you aren’t on Twitter or FaceBook, now would be a good time to start accounts.  Many of the people you want to meet are using social media to connect with new and old friends.  I’ll be there.  Connect with me.  On Twitter I’m @ChinaGorman and it’s easy to friend me on FaceBook.  Just mention #SHRM12 in the invitation and I’ll accept.  Social media will be prevalent in Atlanta.

Nothing is More Attractive Than a Smile

As you walk the conference halls and expo aisles, make sure your demeanor and body language is open.  And smile.  Intentionally.  You’ll appear open, friendly, not intimidating or intimidated.  Really, there’s nothing more attractive than a smiling face.  And there’s nothing that builds your confidence to approach strangers than acting open and welcoming.

Attending a conference and getting your money’s worth isn’t hard.  But it takes some forethought and planning.  Both you and your organization want to realize the investment it took to get there.  Make sure you get the full value of the experience.

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Filed under Achievers, China Gorman, Conferences, HR, HR Conferences, SHRM, SHRM Foundation, Talent Management