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

6 Reasons To Attend HR Tech User-Conferences

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I am frequently invited to attend user conferences in the HR Tech space and I am becoming a huge fan of these events. There is something for everyone – from certification to skill building to inspiration to fun! The latest case in point was KronosWorks, the annual gathering of customers and prospects of Kronos, the heavyweight provider of tools and services to manage and engage an entire workforce with a focus on time/attendance management.

With over 2,500 attendees from all over the world, KronosWorks was organized like a well-oiled machine. Based on my experience there – and at a number of others, like those produced by Universum, Smashfly, and Globoforce, here are my top 6 reasons to attend an HR Tech User Conference.

  1. Improve the ROI of your HR Tech investment. All user conferences provide training on getting the most of the product or service. ATTEND THESE SESSIONS! I guarantee you that you aren’t getting all the possible value out of your investment. And think about bringing someone along with you next year. Having more than one person with technical skill in managing the product/service helps mitigate risk.
  2. Learn how it really works. Creating relationships with peers in other organizations can save you time and money. Whether these are organizations that deployed the full stack, deployed the solution before yours did, or those that were similar in purchase and deployment strategy, comparing notes and learning from others’ successes and mistakes will only improve your investment’s impact.
  3. A view of the future. Every user conference has a session that discusses the product/service roadmap. Want to know what’s coming? This is invaluable for planning the next year’s budget. Have suggestions for improvements? Trust me, the vendor will be all ears – and you’ll have access to the most senior leaders of the organization. Come prepared with your product wish list!
  4. Certification. Almost every user conference offers technical certifications as well as the usual HR-related certifications. Why not make this part of your personal professional development plan as well as an organizational effectiveness plan? If PD dollars are tight in your organization, these conferences are solid two-fers.
  5. Inspiration. Most user conferences these days have dynamite keynote sessions – whether, like at KronosWorks, where the topic was generational dynamics, or like others where futurists and other top selling academics and authors speak – there’s always a thought provoking topic that provides complementary current thinking.
  6. Social Activities. All the user conferences I attend have wonderful opening receptions with great food and music, and the opportunity to meet other attendees. Additionally, some provide pretty amazing “outings.” This year KronosWorks was held in Orlando and everyone was bussed over to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter for an evening of relaxed fun. I know there were lots of implementation discussions taking place over magic wands that night!

These conferences are valuable for anyone who touches the implementation or administration of an HR Tech product/service. And especially for those in the first year or two of a user relationship. You can’t have too many relationships at the top of the vendor’s organization and you can’t know enough about how the technology can work for your organization. And if you’re a long-time or power user, your user experience will be hugely impactful in the continued tweaking of the product and the product roadmap.

The bottom line for attending an HR Tech user conference is that both sides of the relationship get smarter – the product/service gets better, your relationship with the vendor gets stronger, and you get smarter. Not a bad ROI.

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Filed under China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, HR Technology, HRM Technology, Kronos, KronosWorks

Watson Agrees With Me!

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“More positive employee experiences are linked to better performance, extra effort at work, and lower turnover intentions.”

For people who follow my work as a speaker and a writer, this quote may seem familiar. And it’s true. I’ve said variations of this for several years. And I’ve had a range of data sources to back me up. But now, Watson has said it, so it must be true!

My friends at Globoforce and the IBM Smarter Workforce Institute have published a new white paper:  The Employee Experience Index. And it’s definitely worth a read – and not just because Watson agrees with me.

Together, Globoforce and IBM have created the Employee Experience Index that should give all those legacy engagement survey data analyses a run for their money. Frankly, I think focusing on “employee experience” rather than “engagement” makes sense. Employee experience is specific, it’s logical, it’s definable. “Engagement” is none of those things. After a broad research study that included literature review and construct identification, construct measurement, and index and driver definitions, they define employee experience as:  “a set of perceptions that employees have about their experiences at work in response to their interactions with the organization.” An elegantly simple definition. We can work with this!

And they did:  they created a 5-dimension, 10-item index to capture the core facets of employee experience:

  • Belonging – feeling part of a team, group or organization
  • Purpose – understanding why one’s work matters
  • Achievement – a sense of accomplishment in the work that is done
  • Happiness – the pleasant feeling arising in and around work
  • Vigor – the presence of energy, enthusiasm and excitement at work

These dimensions make so much sense to me. And here is the framework of drivers and outcomes of employee experience at work:

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Again, elegantly simple. Note the “Human Workplace Practices.” Not “best practices.” Not “effective practices.” Human practices. Watson is on to something!

This 13 page analysis and report includes findings like the following:  Positive employee experience is linked to better work performance, more effort, and retention. And their data supports these conclusions.

This is a terrific report. Download it here. It will give you a perspective on what many call engagement and will give you a context in which to engage your leaders – the folks who set the stage for your employees’ experience.

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Filed under China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Employee Engagement, Employee Experience Index, Engagement, Globoforce, HR Trends, Humanity in the workplace, IBM Smarter Workforce, Watson

The State of the Recruitment Industry

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I recently ran across this:  Global Staffing Trends 2017:  The State of the Recruitment Industry. This little report from LinkedIn would be easy to dismiss, but I encourage you to take a look. It’s written for search/staffing firms. Not for corporate or in-house talent acquisition folks. So unless you’re a third-party staffing firm, not so interesting, right? Well, I’d encourage you to take a look.

I’ve had issues with LinkedIn’s research before, but this is a pretty straight-forward and easy to consume report. Won’t take you 10 minutes to read. But if you’re an in-house talent acquisition professional, you should read this. The trend information is pretty interesting.

Here are the top 4 takeaways as LinkedIn defines them:

Staffing firms expect to grow in 2017.

68% of staffing firms expect the size

of their firm to increase in 2017. They

intend to hire more recruiters, sourcers,

marketers, and coordinators during the

course of the next year.

 

The volume of placements will increase.

79% of staffing firms will see an increase in

the volume of candidates placed in 2017.

Despite this, an overwhelming number of

recruitment firms say that they still place

candidates in 2 months or less.

 

Budget goes to traditional tactics, but

branding tops investment wish list.

While nearly 50% of budget goes to

traditional sources, if given unlimited

funds, staffing firms would prioritize

business development, branding and

investing in better sourcing tools.

 

Social recruiting, candidate diversity,

and screening automation are the trends

defining the future of recruiting.

Using social and professional networks to

generate new business and recruit more diverse

candidates are on top of recruiters’ wish list.

Another prominent trend is the automation of

the screening and hiring process.

So why should you care?

Well, staffing firms think you’re going to be hiring more people in 2017 and that you’ll use their services more than you did in 2016. That means they think their businesses are going to grow year-over-year. They are staffing up to meet your growing demand for their services and that could mean they’ll have fewer experienced and proven professionals working on your searches. You may need to stay closer to those firms and the assignments you give them to ensure that your brand is being represented well in the talent marketplace.

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While staffing firms think business will grow next year, they still expect to complete their assignments in two months or less. That’s interesting. Even if they do hire additional experienced staff, is it realistic to expect fast, great talent matches in the same period of time? Maybe. Maybe not.

Staffing firms would also really like to beef up their business development investments as a priority. So that means you’ll be called on more frequently by firms you’ve not engaged with previously. Gird yourselves for a sales and marketing onslaught.

And finally, understand what new kinds of technology your third-party recruiting firms are using to ensure that your brand is being cared for appropriately. Are you OK with the most of the steps in the funnel being automated? If you’re not, your search firm needs to know that. And if you are, how automated are those steps? And will they promise to eliminate the black hole in the search process?

If you use third-party recruiters, this report is interesting. How often do you get to see inside the budgets, investments, strategies and business planning of your providers? I think this information will help you manage these relationships and contracts, and help you create a win-win relationship with these mission critical partners. And make no mistake, any provider/partner/vendor who touches your talent is mission critical.

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Filed under China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Linkedin, Recruiting, Recruiting Technology, Recruiting Trends

Facebook and Snapchat are the least of our worries

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The Workforce Institute at Kronos has just published an eye-opening report on the cost of wasted time at work. The $687 Billion Question, discusses the impact of what Kronos labels engagement and what others might label productivity. The focus is on some surprising causes of low productivity in the workplace based on responses to research of conducted in 2016. It included 314 online surveys and detailed interviews with HR professionals (105), Operations/Line of Business managers (105) and employees (104) at companies with more than 600 employees in the Retail (21%), Healthcare (20%), Public Sector (20%), Manufacturing (19%), Service (16%), and Transportation and Logistics (4%) sectors.

The report shows in detail some unexpected — and wholly controllable — causes of low productivity and discusses the ramifications of just one hour of wasted time. And by wasted time, they don’t mean Snapchatting, staying current on Facebook, or making personal phone calls. They mean time wasted by inefficient processes and systems. Time wasted by dealing with office politics, with administrative tasks unrelated to the job, unnecessary complexity, and lack of appropriate skills – all contributing to low productivity at work.

The report provides data and analysis in five sections:

  1. Stuck in the middle: People are torn between meeting customer needs and manager expectations

  2. Small changes create big rewards: Why reducing one hour of wasted time can save billions of dollars

  3. Why your greatest asset shouldn’t be a liability: Balancing the needs of people with the numbers

  4. Bridging the engagement gap: Turning technology into an engagement tool and competitive advantage

  5. Don’t dash for cash: Use communication, collaboration, and culture to keep employees engaged

Easily understood graphics abound and the discussion of the hard dollar losses to our organizations is compelling and important.

kronos-questionThat’s $4,554 per year per employee. That’s the $687 Billion price tag.

So, if our employees spend additional time goofing off on social media, shopping online, or dealing with personal business while on the clock, the $687 billion cost just gets bigger and bigger. Not good. Definitely not good.

The $687B Question is a quick read and helps frame the cost of controllable kinds of unproductive employee time. This kind of lack or productivity is clearly able to be reduced. But first we have to be aware of it. What’s the cost in your organization?

 

*Note:  I serve on the board of the Workforce Institute at Kronos

 

 

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Filed under China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Employee Engagement, Employee Productivity, Kronos, Workforce Institute

Why Do We Ignore the Tip of the Spear?

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I’ve written here before that middle managers are the tip of the spear, organizationally speaking, for everything. Productivity? Check. Change management? Check. Communication? Check. Culture? Check. Engagement? Check. Talent development? Check. Retention/turnover? Check. Everything.

I ran across a good little white paper from Grovo, a workplace learning company, that underscores this point, yet again. Good Manager, Bad Manager:  New research on the modern management deficit and how to train your way out of it, is a quick read and reminds us yet again that training middle management might be the most critical item on your training and development agenda.

“Management isn’t like riding a bike, where you learn it once and you’re set for life.”

This opening statement frames the discussion in this paper which reports that 99% of companies do offer some sort of management training and 93% of middle managers frequently attend it. These statistics notwithstanding, Grove has found that this training is deficient in three key ways:

  • Not comprehensive: 98% of middle managers believe that the managers in the organization need more training
  • Not timely: 87% of middle managers wish they had received more training when they first became a manager
  • Not habitual: 61% of managers report that training is offered only a few times each year and 11% report training being offered only once a year.

Grove has survey data that suggests that 98% of managers believe that key performance metrics would improve if managers were trained to be effective more quickly:

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With $15 billion spent by U.S. organizations every year on leadership development, it seems we could really ramp up the ROI on that investment by getting to new leaders faster, with more frequent and engaging training. Looking at it another, way, Michelle McQuaid predicts that better, more capable middle managers can save organizations $360 billion annually in productivity increases.

This report is full of gold as you plan your 2017 training/development activities and budget. I’d encourage you to take a look. Maybe you can capture some of the $360 billion in productivity increases in your organization while you sharpen the tip of your spear.

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Filed under China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Employee Development Program, Grovo, Learning/Development, Managerial Effectiveness, Performance, Productivity, Training

Next Up On The Workforce Landscape: Independence Pass

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Independent Work:  Choice, Necessity, and the Gig Economy, published this week by the McKinsey Global Institute, is fascinating reading. If you’re in HR, Talent Acquisition or are a leader of people, you’ve probably been paying attention to the coverage of the “Gig Economy” or the “Contingent Workforce.” Mary Meeker wrote about it in this year’s Global Internet Trends report, and I wrote about it here. But this white paper really delves into the phenomenon of independent work and it’s hard to look away. The report is 148 pages of fun and the Executive Summary is a mere 24 pages. They both pack a punch with data and graphs galore. Let’s just focus on the Executive Summary. If you like that, you can dig even deeper into the full report.

The premise of looking at the why of independent working arrangements is quite compelling. We all know that there are people driving for Uber or Lyft because they can’t connect back to the world of full-time employment following the Great Recession. McKinsey calls them “Reluctants.” We also know there are lots of people driving for those organizations because they want to pick up some extra cash; they are the “Casual Earners.” The “Financially Strapped” are those who would never choose this arrangement but for their financial situation. But we’re also probably aware that there are more and more people in the economy who are choosing to be “Free Agents,” who are intentionally leaving traditional employment models behind and reveling in their freedom.

There are a number of insights here that are worth noting:

  • Independent work has three defining features: autonomy; payment by task, assignment, or sales; and a short term financial relationship.
  • 20-30% of working adults in the U.S. and the EU-15 are independent workers of one kind of another. That’s up to 162 million workers! (54-68 million of them in the U.S.)
  • Free Agents (independent by choice as a primary source of revenue) report greater satisfaction with their work lives than those in traditional jobs.
  • Currently only 15% of independent workers use digital platforms like Uber, Airbnb and Etsy – although their use is growing rapidly.
  • 1 in 6 workers in traditional jobs would like to become primary independent workers. (That’s your 1 in 6.)
  • Independent workers who sell goods (Etsy) or lease assets (Airbnb) are more likely to use digital platforms than those who provide labor services (TaskRabbit).

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The Executive Summary ends with a discussion of the future:  the impact of a continued shift toward independent work and noting that benefits, income security protection, and other worker protections need to be addressed. The stakeholders of these issues are not currently known to work well with each other, however policy makers, economic intermediaries and innovators, organizations and the workers themselves clearly need to work through critical dynamics to prepare consumers, employers, governments and workers to create a more workable framework for independent work success.

As you wonder which of the 16% of your workers is planning to step into the gig economy full-time and by choice, you may want to start addressing some cultural relics that are accelerating their choice to work independently. This report has some great data and insights to help you think it through.

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Filed under China Gorman, Contingent Workforce, Data Point Tuesday, Gig Economy, Independent Workers, McKinsey Global Institute