Category Archives: Workplace Strategies

Employees First

I came across this fascinating white paper from SilkRoad the other day. The Big Shift Puts Employees First:  HR Transforms from Processes and Transactions to Employee Experiences, is the 2017 contribution to their annual State of Talent reports. This shines a light on how the HR tech conversation has switched from tech to employees. The paper opens with this:  ”More than ever, today’s CEOs recognize the tremendous competitive advantage in a workforce that’s highly motivated, excited and tightly connected to business goals. Building a powerful workforce strategy remains front and center for HR teams.”

White papers are, by their nature, primarily marketing documents. The data are collected and analyzed in a way that put a positive light on the vendor/purveyor who commissions the study and report. There appear to be robust data behind this analysis with the use of results from 8 surveys (including one from an analyst firm), fielded throughout 2016, from1,335 respondents in HR leadership positions, It’s a vendor white paper, to be sure, but one of the more interesting I’ve seen.

The topics covered in the report include the following:

  • State of Talent Strategy

  • State of Talent Technology

  • State of the Employee Experience

  • State of Talent Acquisition and the Candidate Experience

  • State of Onboarding and the New Hire Experience

  • State of Talent Development and the Employee Experience

  • State of Analytics and Technology

  • State of HR

  • Top Five Talent Trends

Don’t let this long and timely list deter you from downloading the report:  it’s a compact 30 pages full of graphics and survey data. You can read this in under 30 minutes – and you’ll be smarter for it. These are critical topics for HR leaders and professionals in all industries – all over the world.

Introducing the first chapter, The State of Talent Strategy, 4 disruptors are identified that set the stage for the interesting data and discussions that follow:

Disruptor #1:  Dissatisfaction with HR Technology

Disruptor #2:  Continuing pressure to improve business outcomes

Disruptor #3:  Changing workforce, multiple generations

Disruptor #4:  Differentiation to attract talent

And then the following chart really kicks things off:

These data points then lead the fascinating analysis and discussions that follow. Even keeping in mind that this is a marketing document, it’s extremely well done and brings to light some important (and maybe surprising) shifts in focus and strategy that leaders (not just HR leaders) are contemplating.

You may not agree with all of the conclusions. And you may not have budgets to move forward in all – or many – of these areas. But the findings are fascinating and worthy of further exploration. Download the report here and have at it.

 

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Filed under Big Data and HR, Brandon Hall Group, Candidate Experience, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Employee Engagement, Employee Experience, HR Analytics, HR Data, HR Tech, HR Technology, HR Trends, HRM Technology, SilkRoad, Workplace Strategies

Core Employee Needs: Not All or Nothing!

data point tuesday_500

It seems as though we are consistently seeing data that show decreasing levels of employee engagement and feelings of fulfillment at work. This data can be, and has been, attributed to many factors, such as a lean post-recession workforce, an increasingly competitive talent landscape, and the uber-connected, uber-informed and uber-on business world in which we operate. I’d agree that all of these can create barriers to an engaged workforce, or challenge an already highly engaged workforce. There’s also data indicating (as I discussed in my post on what Millennials look for in a great workplace) that high amounts of stress, feelings of low-engagement or no work/life balance are not as significant as we may think. There are, on a positive note, data that suggest workplaces are doing much to negate issues of engagement and work/life balance, but much of this research comes from companies classified as “Best Workplaces” and considering the frequency of content reporting low levels of engagement, trust, and happiness, such companies may be few and far between. Ultimately, we can only take data at face value. The real importance of looking at such workplace statistics is to inform ourselves and build our “bigger picture” – know what’s out there, know what’s conflicting, and create solutions and approaches that are right for our own people, culture and strategic goals.

Some data I recently found interesting comes from an article published in The New York Times, “Why You Hate Work” which included research from The Energy Project, an organization that aims to increase employee engagement and sustainable performance for organizations and their leaders. The article, by The Energy Company’s CEO Tony Schwartz and consultant Christine Porath, discusses how “the way we’re working isn’t working” and that it’s increasing common for both middle managers and top executives to feel overwhelmed and disengaged. In an effort to understand what’s impacting people’s engagement and productivity at work, The Energy Project partnered with The Harvard Business Review to survey 12,000 + mostly white-collar employees across a range of industries and organizations. They found that employees are considerably more productive and engaged when they have the opportunity to: regularly renew and recharge at work, feel valued and appreciated for their contributions, focus in an absorbed way on their most important tasks, define when and where they get their work done, do more of what they do best and enjoy most, as well as feeling connected to a higher purpose at work. The study attributed these four areas to four core needs: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.

Energy ProjectIn terms of the core physical need at work, The Energy Project’s study determined that employees who take breaks every 90 minutes find themselves with a 30 percent higher level of focus than those who take one or no breaks during the day. These employees also report a 50% greater capacity to think creatively and a 46% higher level of health and well-being. Also interesting, is that when employees feel encouraged by their supervisor to take breaks, their likelihood to stay with any given company increases by nearly 100%.  For the core emotional need, feeling cared for by one’s supervisor has the biggest impact. Employees who noted having more supportive supervisors were 67% more engaged. The core mental need? Respondents that were able to focus on one task at a time reported being 50% more engaged (although only 20% of respondents reported being able to do this). Comparably, just 1/3 of respondents reported being able to effectively prioritize their tasks, but those who did were 1.6 times better able to focus on one thing at a time. In regards to the core spiritual need, the Energy Project’s research found that employees who derive meaning and significance from their work reported 1.7 times higher job satisfaction and were 1.4 times more engaged at work.  In a nutshell, this data show that how employees feel at work has a huge impact on their engagement and productivity.

One last valuable nugget of data to note from this study is that when employees have even just one of the core needs discussed above met, versus none, all variables of their performance improve (from engagement, to loyalty, job satisfaction, positive energy at work, and lower perceived levels of stress). This is good incentive for organizations to work on things one step at a time. It clearly isn’t an all or nothing proposition. Positive changes in employee engagement don’t necessarily happen from massive culture changes or vast implementation of new programs. Baby steps are okay folks; and the more core needs are met, the more positive the impact!

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Filed under Career Planning, Center on Education and the Workforce, Millennials, Talentism, Uncategorized, Workplace Strategies

Promoting from Within: Not as Easy as it Seems

Data Point Tuesday
A recent survey by the College for America, “The 2014 Workplace Strategies Survey”, conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, reveals that employers prefer developing employees to hiring new ones by a 2:1 margin. A smart and cost-effective talent management strategy to be sure. But preferring to promote and being able to promote are two quite different things – as this study points out.

73% of survey respondents stated that for low-level team leader positions and middle management roles, developing current employees’ skills (vs. hiring new) best reflected their company’s talent strategies. For senior management and executive roles, 67% of respondents reported that developing the skills of current employees (vs. hiring new) best reflected their company’s talent strategies. The results are clear, companies want to promote from within! The College of America’s survey sourced information from 400 senior business leaders responsible for HR and/or administration at companies of 500+ employees, between December 6th and 16th 2013.

College for America
Though these employers prefer promotion to new hiring, the data show that developing leadership skills and addressing skill gaps remain significant issues to overcome. When asked about the challenges faced when developing employees, 94% of respondents reported that the need to build talent and leadership was a very or somewhat important challenge; 87% reported that employees missing skills for promotion was a very or somewhat important challenge; and 85% reported that finding well qualified candidates was a very or somewhat important challenge. The survey also shows that companies with 50% or more full time employees were hit harder by the skills gap than companies with 50% of more part time employees. “Heavily full-time” organizations reported that the three biggest challenges their organizations faced were: talent and leadership, qualified applicants, and employees having the right skills for promotion. Companies with 50% or more part time employees reported their top three challenges as: talent and leadership, retaining workers, and having sufficiently engaged employees.

The good news though, is that many organizations are instituting employee development programs, and a high percentage of organizations are offering tuition reimbursement. The College for America’s survey reports that 76% of organizations offer tuition reimbursement to employees to help them pursue a college degree. With this, 79% of organizations report that tuition reimbursement is available to the majority of employees (executives, senior level managers, supervisors and middle managers, and workers without a college degree). So the beginning step of making degree programs affordable for workers of all levels is being offered by a majority of employers. The next steps of supporting degree completion and further supporting internal mobility are next if employers will truly be able to meet their strategic plan to promote from within rather than buying new talent in the open market.

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Filed under China Gorman, College for America, Data Point Tuesday, Employee Development Program, Hiring, Workforce Skills, Workplace Strategies