Keys to Positive Employee Experience in the New World of Work

Keys to a Positive Employee Experience in the New World of Work

Sponsored by Cleary

Leaders, I have two critical questions for you: 1) Does your organization truly provide a positive employee experience? 2) Would your employees agree?

If you’re not sure, I get it. These days, most organizations are struggling to close a serious gap between leaders’ perceptions and workforce realities. For instance:

  • 74% of executives told Gartner they want staff to express themselves, yet only 56% of employees said they feel comfortable speaking up. Also, while 75% of executives said they consider employees’ perspectives when making decisions, only 47% of team members believe they do.
  • Sadly, this gap is even more pronounced among the 80% of workers with frontline jobs. In fact, according to O.C. Tanner, half of these people feel expendable. What’s more, only 30% feel seen and valued, while only 36% describe their work as a positive employee experience.

Factors That Turn the Tide

Of course, closing this gap isn’t easy — especially now. With so many moving pieces and parts transforming modern work culture, the definition of a positive employee experience is itself, constantly changing. All the more reason why employers should pay closer attention now. No one can afford to take their eyes off the ball.

So, in today’s fluid environment, what exactly does it take to improve employee experience? Certainly, communication, recognition, and reinforcement play important roles. But lasting impact requires a deeper cultural commitment. In fact, 94% of executives and 88% of employees agree that a distinct culture focused on engagement and motivation is the key — not only to a thriving workforce, but ultimately to business success. (It’s encouraging to see agreement on this point!)

So, what exactly can leaders do to create and sustain this kind of culture? Join me as I explore this topic with an employee experience innovator on today’s #WorkTrends podcast…

Meet Our Guest: Thomas Kunjappu

Thomas Kunjappu is the CEO and Co-Founder of Cleary, the employee experience platform for high-performing teams. Under Thomas’ leadership, Cleary elevates engagement in remote and hybrid work environments, with a solution designed specifically for the modern workplace.

With his background as a product innovator at companies like Twitter, Medallia, and HP, Thomas is a technology industry mover and shaker who understands the special connection between human behavior and business results. He’s also a very cool person who is easy to find online and at industry forums. So I’m thrilled he’s joining us here to discuss the latest issues and trends in employee engagement and how to sustain a positive employee experience.

Here are several key takeaways from our conversation…

Why a Positive Employee Experience Matters

Thomas, let’s start by clarifying the concept of employee experience. Why is it so important?

Well, it originally started with the idea of customer experience, where businesses focus on understanding what customers are going through at every step of their journey, and responding with feedback loops and processes that ensure customers have a good experience at every stage in the relationship.

But who actually takes care of customers? Employees do.

So employee experience grew out of that realization, and thinking about the employee journey in a similar way.

How Work Realities Are Changing

What does it take to create a positive employee experience in the post-pandemic world?

I think we’ve all felt the shift. Being an employee now is very different in a remote or hybrid environment. Work is much more distributed, flexible, and dynamic for many of us.

But with 50-100% of people working in this dramatically different way, any employer that wants to create a positive employee experience must also think about how to support employees in a dramatically different way.

Who Owns the Employee Experience Now

So in this new environment, who is responsible for ensuring employees are engaged, recognized, and supported?

That’s arguably the sole job of leaders and managers — getting the right people in the right places, and helping the whole company grow in the same direction — with leverage from the people team, right?

HR has shifted from focusing only on ensuring the company doesn’t get sued to actively ensuring a strong talent brand that attracts great people and fosters a positive employee experience so people want to stay.

Others have a role, too. For example, internal communications and even IT. A lot of different functions contribute because a positive employee experience is really everybody’s responsibility, now.

Tech’s Role in Employee Experience

HR tech can make a difference here. How does Cleary help organizations accomplish this?

Well, our tools fit into three categories that support our vision of a great workplace with a positive employee experience. That includes communications, culture and team efficiency. And it all comes together with journeys and moments that matter for employees, starting with onboarding.

With so many organizations trying to do more with less, we’re focusing on helping people redeem time by offering templates to streamline all kinds of processes.

For example, if you’re managing a strategic product update or managing change-related communications, we’ve got dozens of templates to help you get started much faster than if you’re starting with a blank canvas…

 


Start Creating a More Positive Employee Experience Today

>> Check Cleary’s collection of free templates and other helpful resources

 


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Engagement and Feedback and People Science, Oh My! #WorkTrends podcast with Meghan M. Biro

Engagement and Feedback and People Science, Oh My!

The world of work isn’t exactly the Land of Oz, but it can be a scary place. These days, we’re surrounded by uncertainty. Leaders must find the courage to face the unknown and act on whatever they encounter along the way. It isn’t easy. But it’s a path that leads to a stronger work culture, a more enriching employee experience, and sustainable change.

After all, management is a journey. It’s a process. At its best, it’s a virtuous cycle, fueled by feedback that reveals important truths about the human realities of work. Often, we uncover this intelligence through tools based on the principles of people science. But which tools really help? Let’s dig deeper…

So Many Tools, So Little Time

This is the perfect season to assess your organization’s existing feedback capabilities and identify future needs. I’m sure that’s what many employers are doing after seeing what’s new at the annual HR Tech Conference earlier this month. But innovation isn’t the only thing driving their choices.

Just think about the complex issues weighing on leaders’ minds:

  • Employee engagement and retention continue to slide. Still, productivity and performance expectations remain high.
  • Many organizations are still trying to reconcile return-to-office policies with flexible work preferences. This means they must prioritize workforce wellbeing, inclusion, and trust — all of which depend on strong communication.
  • In the face of ongoing economic headwinds, employers are hesitant to move forward with expansion plans. Some are even cutting staff. Yet, finding and keeping highly qualified talent for in-demand positions remains an uphill climb.
  • AI is rapidly reaching critical mass. On the heels of the recent surge in generative AI, other forms of automation now touch every corner of our work lives. And momentum is expected to accelerate.

With all these factors in play, it may seem tempting to turn to technology for solutions. But that could make the situation even worse. Why?

Tech stacks are already suffering from post-pandemic bloat. After years of investing in tools to support changing workforce dynamics, too many organizations are still not making the most of their incremental tech investments or managing them strategically.

The story is all too familiar, isn’t it? No matter how many tools we acquire, if the right people can’t, don’t, or won’t apply them effectively, what’s the point? After all, technology is only as powerful as the people who use it to connect, communicate, collaborate, discover, grow, and perform each day.

On the other hand, the right tools in the right context can make a huge difference — if the right people put them to good use. Sounds like a people science challenge to me.

How People Science Helps

This reminds me of a conversation I had about a year ago on a #WorkTrends podcast with people science expert, Kevin Campbell. Over the years, Kevin has worked with some of the most prestigious firms in workforce strategy, including Culture Amp, Deloitte, Gallup, and now Qualtrics.

How does people science add value, in Kevin’s opinion? Check these snippets from our discussion:

Kevin, what exactly do you do?

People science requires expertise in multiple disciplines. Think of a Venn diagram with three intersecting circles:

One is people analytics, another is organizational psychology, and the other is applied practice. An employee experience scientist sits in the intersection of those three areas.

What does the term “employee engagement” mean to you?

It’s important to talk about what it is not, as well as what it is.

It’s not a survey. Often, we lose sight of the fact that engagement is an emotional and psychological state. A survey is just a tool that helps us measure that state.

Engagement really starts with emotional commitment. I emphasize the emotional aspect because it’s about the desire to stay with an organization and help fulfill its objectives — not because you’re obligated or you feel forced to do it, but because you want to.

What is the most critical challenge you’re seeing right now?

Organizations often overemphasize understanding and underemphasize improvement in action.

For example, according to 2021 data, nearly 90% of companies measure engagement or have some type of employee feedback program, but only 7% of employees say their company acts on feedback in a highly effective way.

How can employers address this problem? 

It’s important to recognize that the engagement survey or data isn’t the end. It’s really just the beginning.

To improve, you’ll want to translate results into actions that can have outsized impact on your company culture. And the key is simple coaching skills.

For more insights, listen to the full podcast episode here…

5 Feedback Strategies People Science Experts Use

So, if you want to gather ongoing insight to improve the employee experience, where do you start? We didn’t discuss that in our podcast interview, but Kevin did share helpful ideas in a LinkedIn article, “The Truth About ‘Always On’ Employee Listening.” Here’s a summary of his recommendations:

“Always on” means different things to different people. So I would start by asking stakeholders to define “always on.” Some surveying solutions work better than others at improving the employee experience and increasing employee engagement. Here are five use cases and considerations for each:

1. Digital Suggestion Boxes

Some organizations add intercepts on their intranet home page asking things like: “What feedback do you have?” Also, they post QR codes in break areas or add links to surveys in leaders’ email signatures. Digital suggestion boxes can build trust in other ways, as well. For example, you could gather ideas for peer recognition or business improvements.

Considerations:

It’s important to continuously monitor employee input and ensure that leaders reply. At small companies, it can be highly effective when the CEO responds directly. However, input volume can quickly become unmanageable. You could streamline the review cycle by establishing a process to filter and delegate suggestions as they are received.

2. Daily Surveys

Increasingly, we see daily surveys with a handful of simple questions about how employees feel. This kind of on-demand, anonymous channel for employees to raise issues, share feedback, and offer insights helps capture a real-time snapshot of staff morale and satisfaction.

Considerations:

As with digital suggestion boxes, volume can become overwhelming. However, this method can be beneficial if employees realize they can use it to gauge their own experiences without expecting others to act on all input. For instance, you could invite people to assess their own activities and emotions with a daily wellbeing check, so they can understand where they’re focusing time and attention, and how they feel about it.

3. Surveys to Optimize Specific Work Experiences

This involves in-the-moment feedback in the flow of work. For example, you can survey employees during and after each support instance, including live help desk, online chat, and self-service. Digital intercepts can capture feedback whenever people complete key milestones or engage with online properties like company intranets and HRIS systems.

Considerations:

It’s important to close the loop on these touchpoints with dashboards and alerts that notify experience “owners” and “designers,” so they can act quickly on the issues raised. This is also a great integration point for pulse surveys. For example, say a pulse survey identifies equipment ordering as a workplace issue. You can add an intercept on your intranet where people order equipment.

4. Lifecycle Surveys

You may not think of lifecycle surveys as “always on.” However, people are constantly being onboarded, leaving the company, and returning from leave. Each of these events is an opportunity to collect a stream of valuable feedback for leaders to consider.

Considerations:

This is also an integration point for pulse surveys. For instance, pulse questions that tie back to goal alignment, expectations, or enablement could indicate that onboarding surveys would be useful. Or if employees express concern about training and development, you could create an event-triggered survey about learning experiences.

5. Frontline Customer Feedback

You might think of this as a customer experience use case, but enabling frontline employees to make suggestions on behalf of their customers is another “always on” strategy that can elevate both CX and EX.

Considerations:

This makes the most sense when customer-facing employee roles aren’t already empowered to make changes, or they don’t have other ways to frequently share ideas and feedback with leaders.

What Would a People Science Expert Do?

Clearly, effective feedback isn’t just about the ability to gather input. Although it’s essential to welcome ideas and measure staff sentiment, that’s not enough to make the right kind of impact on workforce commitment, engagement, or performance. In fact, too much of a good thing doesn’t serve anyone well.

What really matters is whether leaders take timely, appropriate action to address whatever the feedback process uncovers.

Knowing this, the challenge in the year ahead is probably not where to find money for new or better feedback tools. The question is, whenever employees let you know the truth about their experience, do you pay attention? And are you willing to do what’s necessary to drive change and keep the conversation going?

That takes more than a big budget or fancy tools. It takes courage.

 


EDITOR’S NOTE: Find more helpful insights for business and HR leaders who care about people and the future of work. Check our growing collection of #WorkTrends podcasts and subscribe!

How Does HR Analytics Transform Workforce Planning?

How Does HR Analytics Transform Workforce Planning?

With so many interesting new HR tools available lately, are you wondering if more modern HR analytics could improve your workforce planning capabilities? In a world where companies need data-driven approaches to define, deliver, and improve workforce strategies, exactly how can modern tools help?

Today’s HR tools offer exciting new capabilities. For example, these solutions can accelerate data gathering, provide predictive intelligence, assist with hiring decisions, streamline performance management, and much more. But to avoid becoming overwhelmed with choices, it’s important to define the people challenges your company needs to address.

This article is intended to employers consider multiple facets of HR analytics:

  • Historical context
  • Popular functionality
  • Key benefits
  • Real-world use cases

How HR Analytics Has Evolved

Initially, HR analytics focused primarily on helping organizations eliminate intensive manual labor. These tools were useful for complex data collection and spreadsheet management to help employers gain useful intelligence from HR metrics and KPIs.

However, technology is constantly evolving, and this has led to multiple breakthroughs in HR analytics. For example, innovative solutions now integrate advanced workforce planning tools for faster, easier employee data analysis.

Now HR professionals can much more quickly and easily identify meaningful workforce patterns and forecast relevant trends. Using these insights, HR teams can develop, implement, and measure strategies and programs with greater precision and confidence. This improves HR’s ability to work side-by-side with business leaders to align with organizational objectives and improve overall performance.

To see what exactly HR analytics tools can do to improve workforce management, let’s move on…

Key HR Analytics Functions

1. Data Collection and Aggregation

Collecting and aggregating huge data sets is a core HR analytics strength. These tools can integrate data from numerous sources for access through centralized storage.

For instance, imagine you need to verify that a staff member has signed an NDA. Or when preparing an annual review, you want to see how an employee’s performance metrics have changed over time.

When detailed data is structurally organized and highly accessible, HR and business managers can make better-informed decisions much more quickly.

2. Data Analysis and Visualization

Leading-edge HR analytics also provide powerful ways to analyze and visualize workforce data. By extracting actionable insights and applying high-end algorithms and statistical analysis, these tools can help HR teams uncover meaningful patterns, trends, and relationships.

In addition, these tools can make complex data more coherent and useful by translating information into visually rich charts and graphs that add context and improve understanding.

3. Talent Management

It’s crucial for HR analytics platforms to include talent management capabilities. These features are designed to help organizations improve employee engagement and retention throughout the employee lifecycle.

For example, some tools make it possible to assess individual and team skills and translate them into recommended learning paths and development opportunities. This helps HR build employee competencies and align career growth with company needs and goals.

4. Workforce Planning

HR analytics plays a central role in workforce planning because it directly supports strategic decision-making. With more timely, accurate, complete decision support insights, HR and business leaders can develop workforce strategies that are more fair, less biased, and better tuned to organizational realities and priorities.

These capabilities typically focus on resource allocation, employee recruitment, and workforce restructuring, among others.

5. Performance Improvement

Many newer platforms make it possible to analyze workforce performance data in a variety of ways. This helps HR pinpoint and resolve specific performance gaps, curate and deliver customized development plans, and acknowledge excellent performers.

Benefits of HR Analytics

1. More Effective Strategic Planning

Data-driven tools enhance strategic HR planning in several critical ways. For example, it becomes faster and easier to forecast future workforce requirements, facilitate succession planning, and avoid potential talent gaps.

These tools also help HR teams more quickly develop appropriate recruitment procedures to meet existing business needs.

2. Valuable Predictive Capacity

HR analytics tools provide powerful forward-looking capabilities that help HR teams operate more efficiently and effectively. By applying data from past patterns and trends, it’s possible to generate forecasts that more accurately anticipate and prepare for future needs.

This kind of advanced capability helps HR and business leaders take proactive measures and adjust on-the-fly. It also leads to more effective talent management practices and higher employee retention.

3. Better Understanding of Workforce Performance

The ability to more deeply analyze employee performance is beneficial at several levels. First, it helps organizations evaluate, motivate, and reward talent in the most effective ways. Also, it reveals the differences between high-performers and their under-performing colleagues. This can lead to more effective performance improvement roadmaps and results.

Ultimately, this not only helps individual employees grow but also elevates skills and competencies across the company.

4. Improved Hiring and Engagement Outcomes

When hiring, data-driven analytics is an exceptional sourcing tool. It can dramatically decrease time-to-hire by helping talent acquisition teams quickly assess any candidate’s suitability for a job.

Once an employee is onboard, retention becomes crucial. Workforce analytics can help HR continuously calibrate metrics like employee engagement, productivity, and burnout. By benchmarking these indicators, HR can take action when needed to reduce negative factors and boost positive results.

5. Stronger Diversity and Inclusion

Data-driven tools can also help employers build a culture of diversity and inclusion.

For example, HR teams can identify key factors that contribute to job satisfaction and engagement (and conversely turnover) among minorities. Then, by monitoring these indicators, they can identify potential issues and work proactively with recruiters and managers to support inclusion and belonging.

6. Optimized Costs

Analytics also helps HR leaders effectively allocate and manage workforce budgets and resources.

For instance, by benchmarking factors like headcount, compensation, benefits, or location strategy, employers can determine which costs are higher than comparable organizations. This can also be a foundation for calculating return on investment across various workforce-related variables.

Real-World HR Analytics Examples

The following examples demonstrate how world-class employers are using data-driven workforce tools to improve decision-making and HR operations.

1. Google

Google is an excellent example of how employers can apply HR analytics to enhance workforce planning and organizational culture.

Even though the company had been growing successfully for more than two decades, it became obvious in 2020 that workforce diversity and inclusion weren’t keeping pace. Historically, the company had struggled with gender and ethnic diversity in hiring. And by 2018, employee confidence in the company’s leaders was declining.

This issue began to cast a shadow over Google’s employer brand, which made it increasingly difficult to attract and retain top talent, especially among underrepresented groups.

Google’s People Analytics team recognized the need to improve workforce planning, so they turned to HR analytics for a solution. Relying on their workforce planning tools, the team gathered and interpreted relevant data and generated useful insights. As a result, they defined talent gaps, identified areas where diversity was lacking, and exposed below-average recruitment patterns.

How Google Tackled These Problems

To address these issues, Google turned to its annual feedback process known as Googlegeist. Launched in 2007, this survey captures employee opinions about multiple facets of work life and organizational culture.

By rigorously analyzing employee feedback data, the HR team easily recognized underlying factors that allowed DEI issues to persist. In response, they developed targeted recruitment strategies to provide more opportunities for employees, job candidates, and potential applicants from underrepresented groups.

One of the outcomes of this effort is Google’s partnership with historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). The main purpose is to draw hidden potential from sources that have historically been overlooked.

In addition, Google now trains recruitment staff to avoid hiring biases and exclusionary hiring practices. The company also trains its leaders in methods for managing diverse teams more effectively. Over time, Google is building a more diverse and inclusive workforce, while simultaneously improving its work culture and employee experience.

2. IBM

Another company that relies heavily on data-driven employment tools is IBM. This particular case focuses on applying HR analytics to reduce employee attrition.

The HR team was concerned with the rate of job hopping across its employee base. By using Watson Analytics, they analyzed a variety of factors, including employee demographics, engagement data, and performance metrics.

How IBM Resolved This Problem

These findings helped the HR team develop a predictive prototype to identify employees who were most likely to quit their jobs. Next, the team created a multifaceted retention strategy to address the specific needs of high-risk employees.

This strategy included curated development programs, employee safety and wellbeing, workforce recognition, and mentoring.

After implementing this strategy, IBM’s employee retention rate improved. As a result, the company saved money on recruitment and training, while improving the work environment for everyone in the company.

Final Note on the Power of HR Analytics

Data-driven workforce planning tools are a game changer for modern organizations. They bring a new level of convenience and efficiency to HR professionals. No wonder employers everywhere are embracing these platforms. But is data-driven HR, alone, enough to change an organization’s culture?

These tools can’t replace the unique people and innovative spirit that set great employers apart. However, they can become a decision-making backbone and help keep any organization ahead of the competition.

What about you? What do you see ahead for your workforce? How will you put HR analytics to prepare for your organization’s future?

Business Innovation Isn't Easy. Here's How Leaders Can Help

Business Innovation Isn’t Easy. Here’s How Leaders Can Help

TalentCulture Content Impact Award Winner - 2023In recent years, digital transformation has been one of the hottest topics in leadership circles. Technology is central to this kind of complex, large-scale endeavor. But success requires more than tools, alone. Operating models and processes must also change. And for continued improvement, business innovation should be part of the mix, as well. Why?

Because technology is constantly moving forward, ongoing innovation can keep your organization ahead of the curve. However, this depends on your ability to anticipate, adjust, and adapt. And that’s where your employees can make all the difference. Your workforce carries a wealth of information, expertise, and creativity. Unlocking that potential is key.

By combining the right technology with effective leadership strategies, you can transform your organization from a static monolith to a dynamic talent magnet, where innovation is a way of life. For more insight, let’s look closer at the relationship between digital transformation, agile leadership, and business innovation…

4 Ways Digital Transformation Fosters Business Innovation

Organizations can benefit in many ways from adopting game-changing tools and processes. These are just a few outcomes to expect from digital transformation:

1. Improved Efficiency

The best next-level tools are designed with efficiency in mind. For example, systems that rely on AI-driven automation and customization make it possible to dramatically reduce workflow bottlenecks and other inefficiencies. By empowering individuals and teams to operate more productively, the entire organization can focus more fully on higher-level tasks and creative challenges.

2. Enhanced Collaboration

Workforce collaboration is essential for business innovation. But it’s not easy to achieve in today’s hybrid and remote work environments. This is where transformative solutions are making a tremendous impact.

By relying on systems that help people directly communicate, coordinate, and stay up-to-date with projects at their convenience, distributed teams can operate even more effectively than they would in person. This makes it possible to include people from around the globe, which means more diverse input for problem-solving, ideation, and other creative activities.

Digital transformation can even improve collaboration among people who work in person at a single location. A myriad of digital applications are available for team scheduling, meetings, and project management so everyone can stay better connected and more productive.

3. Scalability

The ability to scale resources is a serious challenge, especially for younger or smaller companies. When staff workloads are full and growth reaches a peak, how can you continue to scale effectively, while also making business innovation a priority?

Digital transformation helps break through these barriers. By streamlining workflows and activating new pathways that help people bring more creativity to their day-to-day tasks, they can allocate more time to strategic problem-solving and other business priorities.

4. Adaptive Learning

The famous physicist, William Pollard, once said, “Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think what you did yesterday will be sufficient tomorrow.”

This rings true for any business that wants to unlock the full potential of its workforce. Unless employees are continuously learning, they won’t have the inspiration or skills to drive innovation. And that means your organization won’t move forward.

But as many organizations discovered during the pandemic, digital learning tools can help make learning more convenient, continuous, engaging, and effective. Now, AI-driven tools are elevating everything from personalized training content and upskilling experiences to online knowledge-sharing forums and performance support at the moment of need.

How Agile Leaders Build a Culture of Business Innovation

In industries where change is a constant, digital transformation is no longer just an option. It’s an imperative. That’s because these organizations face unique issues:

  • How can they adapt quickly?
  • What can they do to stay ahead of the curve when that curve is always changing?
  • How can they attract, engage, and retain high-quality talent over the long term?

The answer to all these questions is business innovation.

The innovation process helps companies continuously adapt, stay ahead of competitors, and engage employees. Yet, merely asking employees to do their jobs differently is not enough.

Instead, ongoing innovation requires a culture shift. And that starts with a serious, top-down commitment. This is where agile leadership methods can help. Agile methods encourage innovation in a way that traditional leadership moves can’t touch. 

What is Agile Leadership?

Agile leadership is a model that values flexibility, adaptability, and continuous improvement above all else. Agile practices stimulate organizational innovation and encourage a culture where people strive to achieve better results by working smarter and more efficiently.

Developing agile leadership and integrating it into your organization takes time and effort, but the benefits are well worth the investment. These are the cornerstones:

1. Ensure Dedicated Time

Integrating top-down agility into your organization requires sufficient time for people to apply these practices on a consistent basis. When you establish specific time blocks for leaders and employees to step outside their normal scope of work, they can shift their focus to identify broader issues, generate creative ideas, and explore various possibilities. This lets business innovation blossom where it otherwise wouldn’t have space to emerge.

Also, with dedicated time for training, employees can develop the skills and mindset they need to be more inventive and push boundaries in their current roles. It’s equally important for leaders to devote time to meeting with team members, checking in, and discussing their future. This encourages a more open, collaborative, innovative culture across the board.

2. Emphasize Flexibility

Agile leaders are characterized by their flexible behavior, which in turn, permeates the organization. That doesn’t mean structure is nonexistent. Rather, it’s about being willing to adapt and change your existing structure to better align with market conditions, workforce needs, and your organization’s objectives.

Flexibility is a massive factor in keeping employees happy and encouraging an optimal work-life balance. When people don’t feel overwhelmed by stress or anxiety, they are much more likely to be engaged, productive, and motivated to support business innovation.

3. Empower Employees 

Agile methodologies were developed specifically with employee empowerment in mind. While traditional leadership models focus heavily on the authority and regulatory power of leaders, agile focuses on team building and working alongside teams to create better solutions.

It’s about establishing common goals and supporting employees as they work on projects and initiatives that matter to them. As a result, empowered employees are more passionate about their work and more creative in framing operational solutions.

The Benefits of Business Innovation

Innovation can be a difficult concept for organizations to quantify and justify. Rather than generating immediate cost savings or revenue, innovation typically is an investment in the future. Regardless, that investment can lead to impressive, long-term impact — especially if your culture is stagnant or your competitive position is slipping.

At its best, innovation can transform your business from the inside out by engaging your employees, revitalizing your work processes, and giving rise to a sustainable competitive advantage. Even if today’s effort falls short, it can still prepare your organization for future success. How? Because you can:

1. Enrich the Employee Experience

When team members feel uninspired or they don’t feel challenged, they’re likely to leave. In fact, these are two of the most common reasons why people quit.

But this isn’t a problem in cultures that welcome new ideas and encourage people to find better ways of getting things done. Companies that encourage innovation at all levels see a noticeable improvement in work culture. That’s because employees become more invested in an organization’s mission, vision, and values when they’re actively contributing to its success. And as employee ideas take root, engagement grows stronger. It’s a virtuous cycle.

2. “Future-Proof” Your Organization

Even if your business is thriving today, it’s impossible to guarantee this will continue. Industries change, market preferences change, and business fortunes can suffer. That’s why business innovation is so important. It could be the key to sustainable success. Why?

When organizations embrace change, employees are more likely to identify and share internal and external issues as they arise. They’re also more willing to work toward solutions that address these challenges.

No business lasts forever. No idea lasts forever. However, committing to continuous business innovation is the key to staying at the forefront of your industry, even through disruption. It can help you keep a leg up on competitors and strengthen your current offerings, while simultaneously improving employee commitment, engagement, and retention.

A Final Note

Talent is called talent for a reason. Indeed, great ideas don’t always come from upper-level management. That’s why leaders should create an environment where team members play an active role in business innovation. It engages team members more deeply. It strengthens your culture. Plus, it brings frontline voices to the table, so you can generate better ideas and implement better solutions.

At first glance, the connection between digital transformation, agile leadership, and business innovation may not be obvious. But if you follow the logic, their interdependent relationship becomes clear. Ultimately, when technology, people, and processes come together for a common cause, the benefits are often much greater than the sum of the parts.

AI in HR - Creating Value With New Technology

AI in HR: Creating Value With New Technology

As artificial intelligence becomes more deeply embedded in everyday workflows, it is rapidly transforming the way businesses operate. For example, the recent rise of generative AI and data-driven insights provide an exciting glimpse into future possibilities. In fact, McKinsey estimates that AI could contribute an additional $13 trillion to the global economy by 2030. But what does this mean for AI in HR?

Many employers are eagerly embracing new AI-driven capabilities. And as the co-founder of an innovative HR tech platform, I’ve had a front-row seat in witnessing AI’s early impact.

But despite the enthusiasm, a central question remains: While navigating these uncharted waters, how can employers make sure AI has a meaningful, positive impact on their workforce as well as their business results? Here’s my perspective…

Moving From Hype to Measurable Value

In the HR tech sphere, many tools and service providers are racing to integrate AI into their platforms and processes — often to demonstrate tech prowess. But this, alone, doesn’t create business value.

That’s why problem-solving must be a top priority. Especially now, in this early adoption phase, it’s paramount for solutions to address the real needs of HR leaders, practitioners, managers, and employees.

If this is the goal, what truly matters? AI isn’t just about automation — it’s also about helping organizations save time, improve performance, enhance the employee experience, and provide actionable insights when and where they’re useful. In our world, this translates into feedback processes that are more responsive, managers who are more effective at coaching their teams, and employees who are more engaged and empowered to grow and perform their best.

Mapping AI to Employment Cycle Stages

To understand the tangible benefits of AI in HR, it’s helpful to look through the lens of the employee lifecycle. From talent acquisition to performance management, and from training to retention, AI is shaping each step in the employee journey. Let’s examine what that means for each stage:

1. Rethinking Talent Acquisition: Beyond the Resume

As the initial touchpoint in the employment cycle, hiring is pivotal in defining the employee experience. Traditional recruiting methods may be effective, but they often fall short in capturing the intricate nuances that determine a candidate’s fit for a particular role. This is where the transformative power of AI can propel employers beyond the limits of a conventional resume.

An excellent case is HireVue. This platform uses AI-driven predictive analytics to evaluate a candidate’s suitability based on numerous factors, including facial expressions and tone of voice during interviews. These innovative capabilities work hand-in-hand with recruiters to complement and enhance their human observations. This leads to a more comprehensive assessment that looks beyond surface-level qualifications and reduces unconscious bias.

How AI Adds Value

In a world where first impressions and gut feelings tend to drive decisions, AI adds a more objective layer of analysis. Plus, it helps “read between the lines” of a candidate’s responses for a more holistic, data-driven approach to talent acquisition.

As a result, employers can feel more confident they’re hiring people with personal attributes that fit their company culture and long-term objectives, as well as the right skills and experience.

But the true magic of AI lies in its potential to help decision-makers rethink their perceptions of candidates. Suitability indicators shift from qualifications, alone, to a nuanced combination of skills, culture fit, and long-term potential.

Ultimately, this promises to improve employee satisfaction, engagement, and retention by making it easier to find the strongest talent for each role, right from the start. However, AI can’t run on autopilot. For the best outcomes, employers and platform vendors will need to work together so they can avoid bias in AI algorithms while preserving the human touch that elevates the candidate experience.

2. Redefining Performance Metrics: Objective Evaluation

Performance assessment has long been a foundational HR function. But now, AI adds a new dimension to this process, reshaping how we track and evaluate employee contributions.

With AI algorithms, employers can extract insights that were once beyond reach. This means organizations can more quickly and accurately pinpoint high-potential talent, predict employee burnout, create a comprehensive analysis of any individual’s performance, and identify where they’re making the biggest impact.

How AI Adds Value

To illustrate how this works, consider the case of Fractl, a fast-paced digital marketing firm that relies on the WorkStory platform to drive employee pulse surveys, streamline performance reviews, and support continuous development for its fully distributed workforce.

What’s next? According to MIT Sloan, some organizations are taking this a step further by using AI to generate employee key performance indicators. These KPIs are carefully calibrated and dynamically adjusted to consider each employee’s past performance, while also considering their team’s objectives and their organization’s broader mission.

Although momentum is growing for AI-supported employee evaluation, several fundamental challenges remain. Employers need to foster workforce trust by ensuring their process is transparent and free from bias. As success stories become more widespread and best practices emerge, these barriers to adoption should diminish.

The shift to AI-enabled performance evaluation marks a pivotal moment in the evolution of HR practices. By providing more objective, dynamic, data-driven assessments, it’s possible to unlock new levels of employee potential and improve productivity, while significantly enhancing employee engagement and retention.

3. Empowering Growth: Tailored Learning Experiences

Continuous learning is vital in today’s fluid business environment. And AI is already transforming employee development from a formal one-size-fits-all experience to a personalized and highly adaptive journey.

For instance, imagine tailoring training modules and performance support resources to an individual’s organizational role, career aspirations, and learning patterns. With AI-enabled tools like Degreed, Coursera, EdCast, Docebo, and Cornerstone OnDemand, you can easily identify relevant skill gaps and deliver targeted learning, assessments, and coaching.

How AI Adds Value

These AI-powered platforms curate personalized learning paths, recommend relevant courses, and analyze individual learning behaviors, so employees can develop the knowledge and skills they need to thrive in their current roles. At the same time, they can prepare for future opportunities.

Organizations are rapidly embracing AI-based learning strategies because they see tremendous value in helping employees take charge of their professional growth while remaining aligned with existing business goals.

4. Fostering Retention: Finding the Pulse of Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is the lifeblood of every organization. With AI-based analytics tools, employers can gain deeper insight into subtle engagement indicators. By analyzing informal and formal feedback and communication patterns, organizations can better understand the strength and direction of workforce sentiment and proactively work to improve engagement.

How AI Adds Value

Organizations like KPMG are using an internal AI chatbot and predictive analytics to identify employees who are at risk of quitting, so they can intervene. And in 10-20% of cases, these interventions succeeded.

In this context, predictive analytics depends on historical data and AI algorithms to forecast future outcomes. For employee engagement, it can mean predicting which employees are more likely to leave based on their interactions, sentiments, and previous work patterns.

When the system identifies “at risk” employees, HR can take timely action to address underlying issues. For example, to resolve conflicts with a manager, a disaffected employee may respond to job restructuring, reassignment, coaching, or new development opportunities.

This proactive, personalized approach contrasts with traditional talent management methods that rely on periodic pulse surveys and subjective assessments, both of which may miss real-time fluctuations in employee sentiment.

Fusing AI and HR: Beyond Today’s Challenges

Integrating AI with HR is a journey filled with endless possibilities. But despite the benefits and buzz, HR professionals need to recognize the risks and ensure AI tools are used ethically and effectively.

This isn’t just about efficiency. It’s also about building a workplace that is more empathetic, empowered, and engaged.

In a few short years, AI-enabled HR tools will be ubiquitous. The burden of routine, repetitive tasks will fall more heavily on machines. At the same time, information will flow much more freely, giving business and HR professionals the ability to better understand their work environment, anticipate the need to adjust, and prepare for the road ahead.

As Harvard Business Review says, “These new capabilities remove barriers of expertise and time from the process of data preparation, insight discovery, and analysis and make it possible for ‘citizen data analysts’ to create insights and take actions that improve their businesses.”

We will learn and adapt. New jobs and industries will emerge that we haven’t even anticipated yet. In fact, The Institute for the Future predicts that most of the jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t been invented yet — and many of those jobs will be created as a result of AI.

As employers move toward a world where AI is seamlessly integrated into HR processes, I think one guiding principle will determine the difference between failure and lasting success. When you’re trying to balance tech innovation with the human touch, ask yourself, “Will this truly help members of our workforce feel more connected, valued, and supported in their professional journey?” If so, you’re on the right track.

Worktech Can Work Better Employers, What's Your Plan? - TalentCulture

Worktech Can Work Better: Employers, What’s Your Plan?

Over the years, worktech solutions of all types have repeatedly promised to transform the workplace. Still, employers aren’t so sure. In fact, it can feel like an impossible dream if your tech stack has ballooned into a jumble of loosely coupled platforms, applications, tools, and data.

Sound familiar? If so, it’s time to rethink how you tie together all the elements in your worktech ecosystem. But sorting through an alphabet soup of platforms — ATS, HCM/HRIS, ERP, CMS, TMS, LMS, LXP, and more — can be arduous.

Of course, that’s only the tip of the iceberg. You’ll also need to consider sub-level features that reach across systems. For example, is SSO fully deployed? Are you prepared to support enterprise-wide video or XR capabilities? Can you leverage APIs or SFTP for data sharing? And how will you demonstrate ROI to your CHRO?

The potential pitfalls are rampant, but employers don’t have a choice. To attract and retain high-quality people in today’s competitive talent market, a stellar employee experience is crucial. And the right worktech plays a central role in bringing that vision to life.

What’s Behind This Worktech Challenge?

Three factors:

1. An Overwhelming Array of Options

The landscape is massive. Thousands of HR tech solutions are available. The learning tech segment, alone, includes hundreds of platforms. And each system offers its own unique set of features.

For example, in the learning space, you can find platforms focused on content creation and curation, skills and competencies development, microlearning, training resource management, learning analytics, and much more. Similarly, among applicant tracking systems, features may include resume parsing, candidate screening, interview scheduling, job board integration, AI-based chatbots, and so on.

This barely scratches the surface of worktech functionality. Yet even more features are on the way, thanks to advances in generative AI, process automation, predictive analytics, and other machine learning-driven capabilities.

In other words, the options are overwhelming. And the landscape is becoming even more complex. Any organization could spend years trying to find clarity in the noise this saturated market generates.

2. A Disjointed Experience

Another challenge involves existing legacy infrastructures that result from ad-hoc purchasing decisions. Too many organizations suffer from a proliferation of systems, selected in silos, to address specific business needs over time.

What’s more, if decision-makers embrace the “sunk cost” fallacy, they’re likely to hold on to existing technology. But this only causes disjointed infrastructures to persist.

Highly cohesive digital experiences come from minimizing the need to toggle between technologies. Also, by combining data with actionable insights, you can ensure that system administrators don’t become full-time reporting specialists.

Every platform in your worktech stack needs to be flexible, so you can seamlessly integrate, share, and synchronize data. This ensures your ecosystem will scale and reduces disruptions in an otherwise harmonious employee experience.

3. Functional Silos

Talent, HR, and learning teams typically work in parallel, but not together. They don’t communicate or collaborate on the tools decision-makers invest in. This only compounds the proliferation of work tech tools and flawed sunk-cost logic.

The result? Perhaps your ATS doesn’t share data with your HRIS, so they don’t work together seamlessly. Your LMS may not sync with your LXP. Or your LXP may not share data with your HRIS. The potential disconnects grow with each incremental system you add.

Ultimately, you’ll find multiple dead ends, isolated data sets, and organizational blind spots. All these issues drain productivity. In fact, estimates say employees waste as much as five work weeks each year, just toggling between applications.

Obviously, this causes frustration for employees. It also harms platform engagement and adoption. Even worse, it contributes to employee dissatisfaction, disengagement, and even turnover.

So, What’s the Solution?

1. Take the Long View

As you choose platforms and vendors, let your long-term interests guide you. Look as far into the future as possible. Aligning worktech with your long-term strategy helps ensure it will support you well beyond the initial contract. Here are several “future-proofing” tips:

  • Be sure each platform and application is designed to integrate beyond its own proprietary products.
  • Select vendors with robust research and development resources. You should expect to see tangible examples of recent innovations. Evaluate each vendor’s recent product releases to understand how frequently and effectively the solution has improved over time.
  • Vendors may also help you look ahead by sharing a brief overview of their product roadmap. And if you both sign non-disclosure agreements, you can more freely discuss how well a vendor’s product strategy aligns with your organization’s objectives and expectations.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask specific questions about innovations of interest to you. For example, these days, generative AI, process automation, and other machine-learning capabilities are hot topics. Vendors who are ahead of the curve won’t hesitate to respond. Those who continuously adapt and innovate are far more likely to keep up when the next disruptive enabling technology or killer app enters the worktech space. The best vendors can demonstrate a consistent track record of advances and a clear vision for the future.

With so much at stake, you don’t want to leave these decisions to chance. If you don’t have sufficient expertise or bandwidth to develop a game plan or identify appropriate platforms, you may want to rely on an independent IT solutions architect or Consultant for insight and advice.

2. Pick the Best Worktech Providers

Speaking of vendor selection, choosing the right partners can be a bit of a minefield. You can find numerous suggestions and “top 10” lists for any flavor of HR platform. But keep in mind that each of those lists is based on the author’s point of view. Are your goals and their criteria aligned?

Ultimately, nothing beats conducting your own thorough research to learn about various platforms, understand each vendor’s use cases, and verify the results their customers have achieved.

No solution will be perfect. But some will be a better fit for your business. When engaging with a new vendor, I look for green flags like these:

  • The company has a clear mission and vision, with industry-leading partnerships and evidence of consistent, sustainable growth.
  • Sales representatives ask numerous intelligent questions about your specific needs.
  • You have access to a comprehensive demo or trial period, so you can test the platform.
  • They readily share user experience details – how they optimize UX and how this contributes to overall tech stack efficiency.

Ultimately, you’re looking for partners who will serve as an extension of your team and celebrate your wins. When they are invested in your success, everything else falls into place.

3. Focus on Open Platforms

Why does this matter? Open platforms are not just a work tech feature, they are the way forward. And they are proven. Many well-established enterprise tech stacks already depend on open systems. Atlassian, WordPress, and Zendesk are all examples of open platforms that support millions of businesses, globally.

The strength of open platforms comes from the flexibility of publicly available Application Programming Interfaces that make it easy for systems to exchange data. By leveraging APIs, your IT team and development partners can efficiently build desired functionality into your platforms, and continue to customize as your needs evolve.

Open Means Freedom to Explore Options

With an open platform, you aren’t limited to the functions, products, or partners defined by your chosen vendor. You have more latitude to experiment with various work technologies so you can configure the best solution for your business needs.

For example, at some point, you’ll probably want to build on the core capabilities in your LMS. Perhaps you want to offer a dedicated talent intelligence marketplace to improve internal mobility, or a coaching app for high-potential talent, or a just-in-time learning experience for frontline workers. Open systems make it possible to add these enhancements incrementally.

Closed Means More Complexity and Cost

On the other hand, a closed platform is just the opposite. Closed systems limit you to a predefined set of available data, features, developers, and partners. Any changes or additions require a skilled external developer or solutions integrator with access to proprietary knowledge and tools — and a budget to match.

All things considered, an open ecosystem makes sense for most organizations. This gives you the flexibility to decide for yourself which functionality works best for your workforce, along with the freedom to implement changes while preserving your core investment. You can prove and disprove the effectiveness of different platforms with relative ease because your technology foundation is integration-friendly.

The Result: Worktech That Works

Talent, HR, and Learning Working Together — Not Alongside

Your organization’s various “people” functions may already be collaborating. After all, most software buying cycles now involve stakeholders from HR, Learning, IT, the C-Suite, and others.

However, nothing is more valuable than ongoing visibility into related organizational functions, and direct communication with counterparts in those business areas. This helps you better understand others’ buying priorities. Plus, it helps you recognize where others’ teams, platforms, and efforts can be more fully aligned for more effective, cost-efficient operations, overall.

You may even discover that one team’s problem could be solved by another team’s platform.

For example, nearly every HR team is grappling with how to attract the talent they need in today’s tight labor market. Most organizations rely on relatively costly recruiting solutions to solve internal skills shortages. Still, many roles remain unfilled. Yet upskilling from within saves an estimated 72-90% over the cost of hiring new talent.

Now, think of this challenge from the perspective of a worktech ecosystem where platforms are integrated and working cohesively.

One solution could be to closely connect a talent intelligence marketplace with an employee upskilling platform. This lets you consolidate and mobilize valuable skills data, so you can efficiently identify which employees have desired proficiencies and which are strong upskilling candidates.

As a result, your organization could save time and money, while also improving business productivity and performance. Ultimately, this could move your organization forward in using skills as a strategic factor that improves workforce agility, innovation, and responsiveness.

Of course, this is only one example of the benefits that come from an open, integrated worktech game plan. Many more opportunities are getting attention from organizations these days. What workforce challenges are you ready to tackle with this approach?

What Does the Voice of the Employee Say About Your Culture?

What Does the Voice of the Employee Say About Your Culture?

Sponsored by WorkForce Software

Employers, you know the story. For years, organizations have been struggling to engage and retain employees, yet few have really moved the meter. So, how do the best employers succeed? Some say the answer lies in listening more closely to the voice of the employee. Why?

Here’s what statistics say:

  • 90% of workers told Achievers they’re more likely to stay at a company that seeks feedback and acts on it. Yet 67% rate their organization as only “okay” or even “horrible” at doing this.
  • According to a Gallup survey, 52% of people who resigned say those in charge could have done something to prevent them from quitting. But only a third actually discussed their disenchantment with their manager before they left.

It is time to lean in and listen to the voice of the employee more closely and more continuously. But what should that look like in a modern work environment? This question is super important. And that’s why we’re talking about it today with an expert in the psychology of work…

Meet Our Guest: Angelina Sun

Today, we welcome back Angelina Sun, PhD, WorkForce Management Solutions Director at WorkForce Software. With extensive experience in multiple industries, she is deeply interested in innovative ways to build and sustain healthy organizational cultures.

In her current role, Angelina focuses on helping leaders more effectively manage and communicate with employees – especially deskless workers. Angelina’s finger is clearly on the pulse of modern workforce challenges and opportunities. That’s why I asked her to join us earlier this year to discuss the state of today’s deskless worker experience.

But this topic is much bigger than just one podcast episode. So I invited Angelina to return so we could dig deeper. Here are some highlights from our latest conversation…

Defining the Voice of the Employee

Welcome back, Angelina! What is the voice of the employee, and why is it so valuable in organizations?

People often think of the voice of the employee in terms of responses to staff surveys. But it’s more than that.  It encompasses all their feelings, perceptions, and experiences. And it includes all communication channels.

There are so many ways you can tap into the voice of the employee. For example, you can learn by paying attention to team meetings, one-on-ones with managers, service sentiment, and information sharing at company gatherings, interviews, focus groups — anywhere you gather feedback.

The Need to Feel Heard is Universal
You’re so right, Angelina. This extends far beyond employee surveys…

Everyone wants to be heard and valued. Whether we are office-based, remote, hybrid, frontline hourly workers or shift workers, we all want to feel like we’re doing meaningful, purposeful work.

But for deskless workers, the voice of the employee has a unique operational focus. Because these workers are closest to production or customers, their feedback is crucial. It helps identify what’s really happening in the workplace or with the customer experience, so we can take action and improve.

Technology’s Role

How can technology, especially mobile, help create a more seamless communication flow between employees and employers?

You know, smartphones are an essential tool for managing our day-to-day lives. This is why organizations really should employ these powerful, pocket-sized supercomputers to connect with frontline workers.

In fact, our research reveals that 45% of employees would prefer to receive training and information on their mobile phone. Yet only 20% of them actually have this option.

Improving the Communication Process

What are some of the best ways employers can select a communication vehicle and make it work for everyone?

The biggest obstacle is adoption. Why? Because deskless workers don’t sit or stand in front of a computer all day to check email and respond.

So if you want a successful solution, it must integrate into the technology deskless workers are already using in the field or on the shop floor.

We are not just talking about a simple chat system. It should be workflow-driven. It should help people get their job done and make it easier to manage schedules and work-life balance, while also helping managers have the right conversations with the right people at the right time…

 


Learn More About the Voice of the Employee

For more insights about how your organization can benefit from listening to the voice of the employee, listen to this full #WorkTrends episode on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, or wherever you tune in to podcasts. And while you’re there, be sure to subscribe, so you won’t miss future episodes.

Also, visit WorkForce Software anytime for details about the company and its modern workforce management suite.

And whenever you want to continue this conversation on social media, follow our #WorkTrends hashtag on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Let’s talk!

11 Successful HR and Work Tech Trends to Adopt

11 Successful HR and Work Tech Trends to Adopt

In recent years, we’ve seen an explosion in new and improved digital tools for HR and work activities. But with the landscape changing so rapidly, how can organizations decide which tech trends deserve serious attention and investment?

For useful advice, we asked HR and business leaders these questions:

What emerging HR or work tech trend is making the biggest impact on your organization? Why is this the case?

In response, we received excellent feedback from a variety of business professionals — from HR Directors to CEOs. And I’m sure you’ll agree as you skim this list, their recommendations make sense for employers everywhere:

  • Simplify Your Tech Stack to Enhance the Employee Experience
  • Enhance Recruitment Success With AI-Driven Hiring
  • Propel Real-Time Feedback With AI
  • Leverage People Analytics for Data-Driven HR Decisions
  • Automate Background Checks to Improve DEI
  • Boost Company Image With Employee Advocacy
  • Adopt AI to Transform HR Processes
  • Personalize the Hiring Experience With Video Interviews
  • Improve Compliance and Decision-Making With AI
  • Tap Into a PEO for Sophisticated HR Services
  • Streamline Repetitive HR Tasks With Automation

To learn more about how these tech trends are redefining organizations large and small, check the responses below…

11 Ways to Benefit From Top HR and Work Tech Trends

1. Simplify Your Tech Stack to Enhance the Employee Experience

One trend we’re tackling is the simplification of our tech stack to enable a seamless employee experience. As a result, we’re being more thoughtful about the systems we choose to enable key programs. Our goal is to offer an intuitive, natural employee journey from hire to retire. We also hope to benefit from improved data and integrations.

In conversations with other HR tech leaders, we’re finding many larger, established organizations that are also facing this issue. For some, shifting to a connected set of systems that matches a connected experience will be a multi-year process.

This can feel like fixing an airplane while in flight. Actually, it is. But when this is done in the right way, you’ll feel the net reward through improved employee productivity, reduced HR technology spending, and the opportunity to influence vendor roadmaps.

Tiffani Murray, Director, HR Tech Partners – Global Talent Organization, LinkedIn

2. Enhance Recruitment Success With AI-Driven Hiring

One of the most impactful HR tech trends our organization has adopted is AI-driven talent acquisition. With streamlined candidate screening and predictive analytics, we’ve reduced turnover rates and increased employee satisfaction.

Recently with the help of AI, we identified a top-notch senior developer that we subsequently hired. This led to a 20% increase in project completion rates and stellar client feedback. Going forward, we expect AI in recruitment to continue accelerating our company’s growth and success.

Vikas Kaushik, CEO, TechAhead

3. Propel Real-Time Feedback With AI

One HR tech trend that has made its way into our organization is an AI-backed app for real-time feedback. From helping us interact “anytime, anywhere,” to customized notifications that ensure we never miss feedback requested or received, this app is strengthening our organization’s feedback culture.

Its most powerful feature is an innovative feedback generator with a simple process that helps individuals produce, amend, and share feedback in less than 2 minutes. It also helps senders and receivers schedule and conduct private one-on-one interactions with end-to-end encryption.

We’re seeing numerous positive outcomes. For example, this ensures feedback focuses on competencies that align with our organization’s vision and values. Also, detailed reporting makes it easy for leaders to track team engagement while helping individuals understand how their contributions advance our feedback culture.

Manvika Jhala, Principal Consultant, Projects, NamanHR

4. Leverage People Analytics for Data-Driven HR Decisions

People analytics is a growing tech trend, and it’s making a notable impact on our organization. With timely access to relevant, useful data, we’re able to make better decisions about our employees. We can thoroughly analyze personnel performance from multiple angles, with insights we would have otherwise missed or misinterpreted.

For example, we used people analytics to make sure our pay structure is fair and equitable across various employee groups, regardless of an individual’s personal background. This has had a positive effect on overall employee morale because people feel their contributions are appreciated and compensated fairly.

Michael Alexis, CEO, teambuilding.com

5. Automate Background Checks to Improve DEI

As a company that provides background checks, automation helps us filter for specific candidate criteria, focus on unique company needs, and avoid bias in the process. This has helped us significantly level up our recruiting and hiring game. We now offer these services to companies that are striving to reach ambitious DEI goals.

Max Wesman, Chief Operating Officer, GoodHire

6. Boost Company Image With Employee Advocacy

Our employee advocacy program is making a big difference at our company. When our satisfied workers speak positively about us online, it elevates our company image.

For instance, when we had a job opening, we asked our people to share the job with their friends and colleagues online. This kind of outreach worked really well. As a result, we hired a great candidate who fit in with our company and immediately started contributing in a meaningful way.

This program also helps us get more customers. People looking to buy our products trust what our workers say about us more than what we say about ourselves. So the employee advocacy program isn’t just about hiring. It also helps our business grow in other ways.

Martin Potocki, CEO, Jobera

7. Adopt AI to Transform HR Processes

Although artificial intelligence is one of today’s hottest tech trends, some employers still aren’t sure what their adoption path should be. However, we are integrating artificial intelligence across multiple HR processes, from recruitment to employee engagement.

For instance, we’ve implemented an AI-powered recruitment tool that streamlines the hiring process. It automates tasks like resume screening and interview scheduling, which saves significant time and reduces bias in the candidate selection process.

This has improved our recruitment results and enhanced the candidate experience, as well. Also, in addition to improving HR operations, AI is helping us make better-informed decisions and improve business outcomes.

Madhurima Halder, Content Manager, Recruit CRM

8. Personalize the Hiring Experience With Video Interviews

Video interviewing is one of today’s biggest HR tech trends. It can provide a more personalized hiring experience that improves the applicant experience and helps employers extend their hiring reach in more inclusive ways.

For example, employers can use video tools to conduct non-traditional interviews with applicants who aren’t able to travel, or who speak languages that aren’t common in the employer’s geographic location.

With platforms that make it easier for skilled people to connect with potential employers, this opens up opportunities beyond traditional face-to-face interviews. It also ensures no candidates are left behind because of geographical or physical limitations.

Julia Kelly, Managing Partner, Rigits

9. Improve Compliance and Decision-Making With AI

Recent technological developments have altered nearly every facet of human resources, from sourcing to performance management. Artificial intelligence is now streamlining administrative duties like reviewing applications and setting up interviews. This not only benefits the company financially but also frees up HR personnel for more important, strategic tasks.

Employment law, health and safety regulations, and data privacy are just a few examples of HR’s responsibilities. By providing consistent, accurate record-keeping and reporting, automated HR processes can help ensure compliance with these critical requirements.

Also, with the help of data and analytics tools in automated solutions, HR professionals and business leaders can make better decisions. For instance, AI is helping HR teams more quickly and easily spot issues with employee absences and turnover.

Aleksandar Ginovski, Career Expert, Resume Expert and Product Manager, Enhancv

10. Tap Into a PEO for Sophisticated HR Services

As a startup executive since 2012, I’ve relied on Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs) as a fairly common fixture in my work life. These organizations make it possible for smaller companies to tap into core HR packages that include payroll, benefits negotiation, and a suite of other HR capabilities.

Working with a PEO is an easy decision if you don’t have sufficient resources or admin staff to deal with HR logistics and other technicalities. So, not surprisingly, the number of PEO providers and levels of service have grown significantly over the years.

In our company’s case, the HR apparatus is much more sophisticated than you would typically expect for a company of our size. This makes it possible for us to offer everyone more and better benefits.

Trevor Ewen, COO, QBench

11. Streamline Repetitive HR Tasks With Automation

Artificial intelligence is making a massive impact on the HR function. AI technology is redefining the human resources department, streamlining many of its work processes.

Today, HR leaders apply AI to a wide range of tasks, so they no longer manually manage functions like payroll, recruitment, onboarding, and performance management. It can help employers find the right talent, identify skill gaps, answer employee questions, analyze survey data, and more.

The most positive and profound impact of AI technology is the automation of repetitive, boring tasks. It saves manual HR labor, while simultaneously improving process efficiency and accuracy. This frees HR team members to focus on more strategic, creative tasks.

Although some organizations are quickly embracing HR automation, it may be more beneficial to adopt it incrementally over time, so teams can adjust and adapt to the change.

Saikat Ghosh, Associate Director of HR and Business, Technource

HR enters the metaverse. What are the pros and cons?

HR Enters the Metaverse. What Are the Pros and Cons?

As technology continues to evolve, so does the way we connect and work with others. One of the newest advances in technology is the metaverse, a virtual world where users can interact with each other and with digital objects in a three-dimensional space. Because this immersive world has tremendous potential to transform the way we work, future-minded HR professionals are actively exploring its potential, and technology companies are helping them understand the possibilities.

Meta, Microsoft, Google, and Apple are just a few well-known innovators that are investing heavily in metaverse technology. Fortunately, these players and others are prioritizing workplace collaboration solutions. For example, Meta Horizon Workrooms and Microsoft Mesh VR technology are both designed to help teams collaborate in the same virtual room, regardless of an individual’s physical location.

The upside is significant for vendors developing business-related metaverse tools and technologies. In fact, the enterprise virtual reality market is expected to grow from $829 million in 2018 to $4.26 billion this year. So, it’s easy to see why Bill Gates says he is confident that work teams will soon shift from Zoom calls to Microsoft’s more advanced 3-D experience.

5 Ways HR Can Leverage the Metaverse

Because the metaverse makes it possible for employees to interact with each other and with digital objects in a virtual environment, the experience is more engaging and immersive than traditional video conferencing or messaging platforms. This offers HR a range of possibilities, from virtual recruitment and onboarding to team-building activities and training sessions. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most promising HR applications…

1. Workforce Inclusion

One of the strongest benefits of the metaverse is its ability to enable a more inclusive work environment. In the virtual world, employees can interact with each other regardless of their physical location. This makes it easier for remote workers to feel included and engaged. This, in turn, opens the door to a much more diverse and inclusive work culture, with better opportunities for collaboration and innovation.

2. Recruitment

Another potential HR application for the metaverse is virtual recruitment. With the ability to create a three-dimensional space, companies can create a virtual office or work environment that helps candidates experience what it’s like to work within their organization. For example, employers can offer virtual tours, interactive experiences, and the ability to interact directly with current employees. This means candidates will discover a more authentic, immersive recruitment process. As a result, employers are likely to attract higher-quality candidates and accelerate the talent acquisition process.

3. Onboarding

HR can also leverage the metaverse for virtual onboarding. Instead of a traditional one-dimensional orientation process, new hires can enter a virtual environment that simulates their new workspace and introduces them to their team and their role. For example, this could include virtual tours and interactive experiences, as well as the ability to ask questions and interact directly with colleagues. Because this onboarding approach is highly engaging and effective, it can help new hires more quickly understand and embrace the work culture, while accelerating time-to-competency and ultimately increasing employee retention.

4. Team-Building

The metaverse can also help transform the way organizations conduct team-building activities. With the ability to create an immersive virtual environment, HR professionals can create a range of interactive experiences that promote trust and teamwork. This can include virtual games, simulations, and challenges that require communication, collaboration, and group problem-solving. By offering far more engaging digital team-building exercises, organizations can continuously develop stronger, more effective teams.

5. Training

Training is another area where the metaverse can make a significant impact. By creating a virtual learning environment, HR professionals can deliver training simulations that develop employee skills and competencies in a more engaging, immersive way. This can include simulations of real-world scenarios that make it possible for employees to practice, test, and build knowledge and skills in a safe, controlled environment. It’s also a more convenient way for distributed employees to access training from a distance, rather than requiring them to travel to a central in-person facility. As a result, this approach can improve training efficiency and cost-effectiveness without compromising learning outcomes.

Concerns About HR in the Metaverse

Although the metaverse presents numerous opportunities, HR professionals must also consider potential challenges. For example:

1. Safety, Privacy, and Data Security

Employers must ensure the privacy and safety of employees who participate in the virtual world. This includes protecting sensitive information and preventing inappropriate behavior and harassment. HR professionals will need to anticipate potential behavioral and data management issues that can arise in a virtual world. They’ll also need to develop relevant procedures, policies, and guidelines to prevent these issues. In addition, they’ll need to provide ongoing communication and training to ensure that employees understand these expectations, as well as the consequences of any harmful actions.

2. Accessibility

Another concern focuses on the need for employers to ensure that virtual environments are accessible to all employees, regardless of their physical abilities. HR professionals will need to consider how virtual environments can be designed, deployed, and maintained to accommodate diverse needs over time. This can ensure that employers remain in compliance with standards that promote equal access and participation in the virtual world.

A Final Note on HR in the Metaverse

Clearly, the metaverse has tremendous potential to transform the way we work, connect, and collaborate with others. HR professionals are beginning to explore possible use cases, from virtual recruitment and onboarding to team-building activities and training sessions.

However, there are also potential issues and concerns employers cannot afford to ignore, including privacy and accessibility. These are complex issues that require careful consideration and technical expertise. But with a thoughtful approach, HR professionals can leverage the metaverse to create a more engaging and rewarding work environment that supports employee growth and development for all.

 

The Business Value of Recruitment Process Automation

The Business Value of Recruitment Process Automation

Automation is a red-hot topic in business circles, and HR is no exception. For instance, to compete in today’s challenging labor market, many employers are looking for new ways to streamline and improve talent acquisition. As a result, recruitment process automation is rapidly changing how recruiters connect with candidates. But what does this mean for the human side of hiring?

Successful employers know that a personal touch is integral to a positive candidate experience. This is why they don’t want automation to replace recruitment staff. Instead, they prefer technology that works side-by-side with recruiters.

What makes this approach so effective? Let’s look closer by exploring these topics:

  • Why Candidate Experience Matters
  • How Recruitment Process Automation Enhances Candidate Experience
  • Implementation Best Practices
  • Features to Look for in Recruitment Automation Software

Why Candidate Experience Matters

With qualified talent still in short supply, employers can’t afford to overlook how they treat potential employees during the hiring process. Why? Nearly 4 in 5 job applicants believe overall candidate experience indicates how deeply an organization values its people. A stellar experience can help your company can benefit in multiple ways by:

1. Elevating Your Employer Brand

Employer brand plays a vital role in the hiring process. In fact, 82% of job seekers consider an employer’s brand and reputation before submitting an application. A positive candidate experience can significantly enhance your brand. Conversely, a negative experience is likely to tarnish your image and send fewer candidates in your direction.

2. Attracting and Retaining High-Quality Talent

A solid applicant experience can be instrumental in attracting and retaining top-tier talent. When prospective employees experience a positive recruitment process, they’re more likely to accept a job offer and stay on board longer. This decreases staff turnover and reduces overall hiring costs.

3. Creating a Competitive Advantage

Think of candidate experience as a differentiator that sets you apart from competitors. When applicants are considering multiple job offers, a positive experience can be the factor that helps them choose you. On the other hand, if their experience with you is negative, they’re more likely to choose another employer, no matter how attractive your offer may be.

4. Boosting Brand Advocacy

Most importantly, a positive hiring experience lays the groundwork for stronger long-term relationships. Even if a candidate doesn’t land an open position, they’re more likely to apply for future positions with your company and refer others to you down the road. What’s more, satisfied candidates are more likely to become brand ambassadors, spreading positive word-of-mouth that can lead to new business opportunities.

5 Ways Recruitment Process Automation Enhances Candidate Experience

At its core, recruitment automation streamlines and automates manual processes that are repetitive, time-consuming, and prone to human error. This includes steps involved with candidate sourcing, job description optimization, resume parsing, interview scheduling, applicant tracking, hiring logistics, employee onboarding, and more. For example, automation can help you:

1. Drive Ongoing Communication

Automation facilitates continuous communication with applicants, which is crucial for engagement and transparency. Features such as automated email notifications and updates can provide candidates with timely information about their application status and progress. Also, with interactive AI-powered chatbots, recruiters can offer real-time assistance and immediately answer applicant questions for a more responsive and supportive candidate experience.

2. Customize Interactions

Automation might sound like a robotic “one-size-fits-all” concept. But you may be surprised at how simple it can be to personalize communication through every stage of an applicant’s journey. Recruitment platforms make it easy to customize email templates and personalize each message, so you can keep in touch, even when applicant volumes surge. You can also generate dynamic assessments and evaluations based on each applicant’s unique profile.

3. Streamline Interview Scheduling

An automated applicant tracking system can simplify interview scheduling, reducing logistical headaches for both recruiters and candidates. For instance, you can implement self-service scheduling tools and AI-driven systems to sync dynamically with recruiters’ calendars. This enables candidates to choose interview slots that fit their availability.

4. Manage Candidate Feedback

Automation also makes it easier to collect useful feedback. By distributing automated surveys — along with reminders and follow-up notices — you can gather, organize, and analyze relevant data about any aspect of your recruitment process. This provides valuable insights you can use to continuously improve the applicant experience.

Best Practices For Implementing Recruitment Process Automation

1. Understand Your Organization’s Needs

Before automating various stages of recruitment, it is crucial to assess your organization’s unique goals and requirements. Start by investigating issues with your recruiting process to pinpoint top priorities. Then document the objectives you want to achieve through automation.

This can help guide your decisions on which tools to adopt, how to use them, and where to focus your efforts for the biggest impact. It can also jumpstart discovery discussions with software vendors.

2. Select the Right Automation Technology

A plethora of talent acquisition software is available, with each platform offering its own unique capabilities. Your choice should align with your organization’s needs, budget, and long-term goals. In addition to core recruitment automation software, you may find it useful to leverage complementary tools, such as:

  • AI-powered chatbots
  • Automated text messaging technology
  • Candidate pre-screening tools
  • One-way video interviewing platforms

When choosing software, focus on factors such as cost-effectiveness, user-friendliness, support and maintenance, alignment with your existing process, and flexibility to adapt and scale with your organization’s needs over time. In-depth demos, hands-on trials, and pilot programs are all viable ways to gauge how well a tool fits your needs.

3. Integrate Automation With Your Workflow

When you invest in new recruitment tools, you’ll want to make the most of their capabilities. This means you’ll want to integrate the software into your existing recruitment process and HR ecosystem. The goal is to streamline and simplify your workflow, not complicate it.

Remember that automation should enhance your current process, not replace vital human interaction, analysis, and decision-making. Also, to avoid disruptions and maintain a cohesive workflow, look for tools that easily integrate with your existing software and systems.

4. Emphasize Training and Upskilling

User adoption is the key to software success. Even the most user-friendly platform relies on training to maximize its potential. This means every team member should understand how the platform can enhance their daily work activities and how to use relevant features effectively.

Investing in training and upskilling accelerates adoption, which in turn leads to more frequent and efficient use of the platform. Ultimately, this increases ROI.

5. Evaluate and Optimize Continuously

Automation is not a set-it-and-forget-it solution. For best results, you’ll want to evaluate your automated processes on an ongoing basis. Use the data and feedback from your automation tools to understand what’s working and what needs refining. This includes identifying areas for improvement, adapting to changing technology, and ensuring an optimal candidate experience as your organization changes over time.

Features to Look for in Recruitment Automation Software

How does innovative software like Recruit CRM use the power of automation to manage the complex dynamics of recruitment? Look for features like these:

1. Automated Candidate Communication

Does the platform make it easy for recruiters to schedule periodic email messages and updates to ensure that candidates are informed at each step in their journey? This kind of proactive communication fosters candidate engagement and trust, setting the stage for a positive recruitment experience. In addition, look for capabilities that streamline client communication. You’ll want to keep everyone in sync throughout the hiring process.

2. AI-Powered Candidate Matching

The best solutions available today are integrated with resume parsers. This significantly improves the candidate matching and screening process. For example, Recruit CRM integrates AI technology with Sovren resume parsing software to automatically analyze each applicant’s profile, skills, and experiences. This makes it much faster to identify the ideal fit for each role. What’s more, with OpenAI integration, key insights from interviews and interactions are captured accurately. This further streamlines the hiring process and enriches the candidate experience.

3. Privacy Assurance

Personal privacy is a top priority for applicants as well as employers. To ensure strong data integrity, insist on automation software that is GDPR compliant. This can help you build trust with candidates by ensuring their data is secure and transparent. It also safeguards your firm from potential legal challenges.

A Final Note

Recruitment process automation is not just about streamlining operations. It’s also about making the candidate experience a more productive, rewarding journey for both recruiters and applicants.

As organizations continue to invest in digital solutions, this is an ideal time to embrace recruitment automation. Smart choices can elevate your brand by helping recruiters do a better job of attracting, engaging, and supporting potential talent.

Are we missing a rare opportunity to build better workplaces? - Learn from hybrid work experts on this #WorkTrends podcast with host Meghan M. Biro

Are We Missing a Rare Chance to Build Better Workplaces?

For nearly four years, the pandemic and economic upheaval have dealt employers a one-two punch. But the worst is behind us now. This is an ideal time for bold moves that improve the future of work. A few employers are leading the way with new hybrid work variations. Others seem intent on returning to pre-pandemic office norms. And many more aren’t sure what to do. I think we should start with a more strategic question: What will it take to create better workplaces? Let’s talk about it.

What Do “Better Workplaces” Look Like?

The answer depends on where you look for insight. Terms and metrics differ by source. And the context of work keeps changing all the time. When we’re drinking from a firehose of confusing information, how can anyone define the goal, much less develop a useful roadmap?

First, let me clarify my own terms. When I say “better workplaces,” I’m not necessarily talking about a physical office or a classic 5-day workweek. It is wherever and whenever employees show up to fulfill their shared mission, vision, and goals.

What matters most isn’t the location or time of day. It’s about knowing what’s expected of you and being empowered to work productively with other team members. At least that’s what employees say.

What Leaders Want

On the other hand, if you read the headlines, you might think the only thing that matters to executives is bringing people back onsite at any cost.

  • Even in 2021, over 75% of top executives told McKinsey they expected employees to return to the office for most of the work week — despite the fact that most people said they wanted to work from home most of the time.
  • Then in a 2022 Microsoft survey, 82% of decision-makers said getting employees back to the office was a major concern. But why was this so important? Apparently, trust was a key issue. In fact, only 12% of leaders told Microsoft they were fully confident in their team’s productivity, even though 87% of employees said they were productive.

But here’s a news flash: Despite employers’ return-to-office push, recent research reveals that executives don’t expect remote or hybrid work to decline. In fact, senior leaders predict in-person work to drop from 76% this year to 73% by 2028, while total virtual and hybrid employees are expected to grow from 24% to 27% during the same timeframe.

Better Workplaces Are Flexible

I’ve said it before, but apparently, some people need a reminder. Flexibility is the future of work. And a majority of employees agree.

In other words, when given a choice between in-person and remote work, many people say they want the best of both worlds. For example, Microsoft found that 73% of employees want remote work to remain an option, while 67% want more in-person time with their teams. Other studies show similar interest in hybrid solutions. And increasingly employers are responding with creative flexible options.

How Can Modern Technology Help Build Better Workplaces?

So, knowing flexibility is essential, what does it take to ensure a seamless, productive employee experience, no matter where people are located on any given day? I’m reminded of a #WorkTrends podcast conversation I had several years ago with two work tech visionaries — technology strategist, Christian Reilly, and industry analyst, Maribel Lopez.

Both emphasized the need to support a sense of connection and community, wherever people may be working. Modern technology helps employers accomplish this while reducing the uncertainty managers often feel when team members are working remotely…

We explored a variety of questions about digital transformation and the future of work. And as I look back, the answers still resonate today:

Modern Organizations Rethink Their Toolkit

How can employers embrace innovative technology to keep up with disruptive changes in work practices and organizational culture? Christian says the ideal strategy should realistically consider existing business and technology limitations and realities:

For hybrid or full-time remote work support, it’s extremely cumbersome to pretend that the platform you’ve historically used in an office environment is sufficient for work that reaches beyond office boundaries.”

Maribel adds:

When workplace tools are more intuitive and easy to use, employees see value in them. If technology makes their job easier, they’re much more willing to embrace it. The biggest mistake an employer can make is to hang on to legacy tools that aren’t modern.”

The Right Tech Sparks Inclusive Innovation

Strategies that modernize IT include migration to the cloud, adoption of software as a service (SaaS) solutions, and digital workplaces. Citing a Citrix research research report, “The Era of Hyper- Innovation,” Christian noted the impact that modern technology can have on employees. For instance:

93% of survey respondents said increased digital collaboration has led to more diverse voices from across the organization being heard. Also, a greater range of ideas for innovation have surfaced.”

Powerful Tech Empowers Organization to Adapt

During the pandemic era, many organizations have quickly pivoted to embrace change. Others have been a bit slower to act. Maribel says that if your organization isn’t agile, your competitors will eat your lunch. But technology provides a powerful way to level the playing field for organizations of all sizes:

Now, every organization on the planet has access to amazing technology at a fairly affordable price. If you’re willing to adopt technology, then it becomes more about your product, your services, and your ability to understand customer needs.”

Modern Technology Makes Work Accessible to More People

Technology is also removing barriers to work. Now, a much more diverse workforce can participate in the workplace with fewer constraints. And more employees are able to develop skills and engage directly in workflows of all kinds.

In the past, employees relied on skilled colleagues to help them do their job. (For example, think of typing pools, for those old enough to remember them). Now, technology empowers many more employees to accomplish more, themselves.

Every individual can take control of how they work because they have the tools to do so. This is a tremendous opportunity to use technology for good in the future of work.”



Related Notes From Other Work Tech Leaders

Over the past few years, many more leaders have shared their perspectives in #WorkTrends conversations, as well. For instance:

 

Jeetu Patel, EVP and GM of Security and Collaboration, Cisco:

The future of work will be hybrid. This “mixed mode” reality will be harder to manage than when everyone worked in the office because there’s more opportunity for people to feel left out. But hybrid work also lets people of all types feel like they have a level playing field.”

Reid Hiatt, CEO, Tactic:

The key to hybrid work productivity is providing transparency into what’s going on at the office. That way, before people make that commute…they understand what type of experience they’ll have when they get there.”

Melissa Puls, SVP and CMO at Ivanti:

Employers have to change their talent mindset and methodology. That includes not only the flexibility of a work environment, but also the technologies we use to enable employee experience. Tech that supports and secures all environments an employee wants to work in will no longer be a differentiating factor, but the norm.”


Also, for more timeless work tech insights from Maribel and Christian, check out this related #WorkTrends podcast episode from several years ago.

Cybersecurity Counts 7 Ways to Motivate Employees to Care

Cybersecurity Counts: 7 Ways to Motivate Employees to Care

Cyberattacks have become an all-too-prevalent reality in today’s business landscape. In fact, cyberattacks increased by 38% in 2022 alone. This means every company should have a cybersecurity plan in place to prepare for the worst, in case it happens.

With the cost of an average business data breach now reaching a staggering $4.35 million, no organization can afford to let its guard down. And because hacks can affect every area of operations, from the top down, it’s vital to build awareness among employees to ensure that they understand the consequences and take an active role in protecting your organization’s assets.

Here’s how to get your team on board with new policies to ensure your company remains safe against threats. The right kind of motivation can work wonders.

7 Ways to Get Employees to Care About Cybersecurity

1. Start With New Hires

Get people to pay attention to cybersecurity policies right from the beginning of their tenure with your company. The onboarding process is a great time to explain your procedures to new hires. This helps employees feel more confident about their workplace, and they’ll be better prepared for any threats that occur while they’re still getting used to organizational practices.

People tend to pay more attention to policies and procedures during onboarding than if they’ve been on the job for a while. Once you develop a cybersecurity plan, inform new hires of everything they need to know about the procedures, as well as the regulations they need to follow to keep the company’s information safe and secure. And whenever you update existing methods or policies, don’t forget to inform current employees about these changes, so everyone is on the same page.

2. Conduct a Simulated Run-Through

There’s no better way to practice cybersecurity policies than by simulating an attack. Your team can discuss what to do if a hack actually occurs, so everyone is prepared for real threats before they occur.

Before the “drill,” be sure to inform everyone on the team that you’ll be running a test case, so they won’t become overly stressed about the exercise. Be sure to emphasize that this is an opportunity for everyone to learn. If you give them a break from their usual work patterns to focus on the simulation, they’re likely to be more invested in learning how to prevent an actual cyberattack from occurring.

3. Evaluate Remote Work

Many people love remote work. However, it isn’t necessarily the safest or most reliable way to ensure everyone is following your cybersecurity rules. In fact, more than half of employees under 30 make more cybersecurity mistakes when working from home. That means it’s especially vital to communicate the importance of maintaining consistent security practices when working outside the office. In particular, teams that work with sensitive information should be provided with all the tools and training needed to ensure data is handled properly.

Alternatively, instead of having your entire team work on a fully remote basis, you may prefer to build a hybrid schedule, where team members work onsite at least a few days each week, so everyone is comfortable following cybersecurity procedures.

You can increase remote work flexibility once it’s clear that everyone understands cybersecurity policies and practices. However, the key is to ensure that everyone on your team understands the plan and proactively adheres to the rules, regardless of whether they’re working onsite or in a remote environment.

4. Incentivize Continuous Training

Perhaps you don’t want to schedule discussions with workers about various cybersecurity measures. Instead, offer a continuous training program with resources employees can review at their convenience.

To ensure everyone engages with training, completes the materials, and understands the content, offer incentives that entice people to work through all of the information. Financial incentives make great motivators. A small monetary bonus may be enough to encourage everyone to read through the resources and implement the security tactics they learn. And to reinforce the learning process, be sure a manager or cybersecurity team member is available to answer any questions that arise as people complete their training materials.

5. Conduct Evaluations With Rewards

Nothing motivates people like rewards. Offering bonus incentives can get employees motivated and engaged with your policies, and keep them interested in future program adjustments. Next time you evaluate or audit your business’s cybersecurity habits, issues and practices, consider rewarding people who have gone above and beyond to follow your policies.

Ideas for rewards include extra vacation time, restaurant gift cards or opportunities to leave work early on Fridays. These are simple gestures, but they can go a long way to gain attention and compliance.

6. Implement Mandatory Password Changes

It’s harder for cybercriminals to hack into your accounts when you have good, strong passwords you change regularly. Nearly every company deals with sensitive information these days, so it is essential to lock down every account.

To keep everyone in check, mandate a password change every few months, and ensure employees use unique letter and number combinations that aren’t attached to other accounts. Over time, your team members should anticipate these procedures and treat them as an accepted business routine.

7. Communicate the Risks

Think about what is at risk if your company is hacked. Small businesses must be especially careful, because they’re targeted by about 43% of all cyberattacks.

But no matter what your company size, how you deal with cybersecurity threats or information breaches can significantly affect your brand’s perception. That’s why it’s so important to be mindful of the message you convey in your policies and actions.

When a breach occurs, businesses that don’t handle the fallout well are likely to lose customers and clients. You can prevent this by having a streamlined system of recovery procedures in place. For example, you’ll need a plan for breaking the news to key parties, getting your brand back on track, and taking steps to improve your current systems.

It’s important to get ahead of this kind of problem by ensuring that your whole team is on the same page about risks, and wants to work together to keep your company and its assets as safe as possible.

Bottom Line: Prioritize Your Company’s Safety

Cyberattacks are on the rise. That means you can’t afford to ignore the real risks to your business data and systems. Start by emphasizing the risks of lackluster security. Ensure that every employee is aware of the risks, including how a security breach could affect their job. Making it personal may be what you need to ensure compliance.

Once you offer incentives, explain the importance of maintaining good practices, and illustrate how to practice cybersecurity on an ongoing basis, employees are more likely to change how they work. If you consistently emphasize the value of cybersecurity to your business and your customers, your entire team should soon follow suit.

Which HR trends matter most in 2023 and beyond? Check this list from an industry insider

HR Trends That Matter in 2023: An Insider’s Guide

People often ask me which HR trends should be on their radar. It’s a fair question, because I organize two of the HR profession’s most popular conferences, UNLEASH America and UNLEASH World. During the programming process, I work closely with hundreds of human resources leaders and industry influencers, as well as HR technology and services providers. Spotting key trends is easy, because patterns appear as I reflect on the topics speakers pitch, along with themes that emerge among exhibitors, attendees, and startup competitions.

This year, 7 closely related HR issues and opportunities are trending:

  1. Asynchronous work
  2. Distributed, remote and hybrid work
  3. Upskilling and reskilling
  4. Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging
  5. People analytics
  6. Employee experience
  7. AI and automation

These HR trends probably sound familiar, but they continue to define the future of work. That’s why they’ll take center stage at our conferences in the year ahead. For details on what I’m seeing and hearing about these hot topics, read on…

7 HR Trends That Matter Now

1. Asynchronous Work

Asynchronous work is the future of work. It’s an environment where people collaborate and complete tasks without real-time presence or communication.

Some industries have relied on asynchronous work for decades. For example, in the software sector, developers often work from wherever it’s convenient. They rely on a blend of standards, practices, and tools that support distributed project management, team problem solving, and interactions. This improves productivity in various ways — especially by reducing interruptions when people want to focus on their primary tasks.

Asynchronous work also improves the accuracy of strategic planning and decision making. Without accuracy, running a business is very difficult.

Many companies are still striving to enable asynchronous work. This includes connecting systems of record so relevant data is secure but also highly available. The goal is to ensure that information isn’t scattered, so people don’t need to call or message others whenever a question arises. Speed bumps like these can create huge volumes of reactive work.

An asynchronous work infrastructure is the foundation of another key HR trend: distributed, remote and hybrid work…

2. Distributed, Remote, and Hybrid Work Models

The pandemic was like a time machine. It instantly catapulted much of the world into a variety of work models that many of us discussed for decades, but hadn’t implemented. Now, these work models are here to stay.

For example, consider one of our biggest clients. At the start of 2020, this company was planning an 18-month global roll out of Microsoft Teams. But when the pandemic struck, they actually rolled-out Teams within only a few days!

This wasn’t an isolated incident. Organizations of all types suddenly had to embrace flexible work  arrangements. Now, although some teams are returning to the office, remote work structures remain. This is driving demand for hybrid work, where people can engage remotely at least one day a week.

Another HR trend emerging from the pandemic is the four-day work week. Previously, this was also widely discussed but not widely implemented. Then, during quarantine, flexible work arrangements became a necessity. This paved the way for ongoing adoption of the four-day work week and other innovative scheduling models.

Pandemic-era flexible work arrangements also helped many employees improve work/life balance. This is yet another HR trend that received attention in the past, but was rarely achieved.

Flexible work models aren’t perfect. But I doubt we’ll ever return to a world where people go to the office and work from 9-5 all week. We’ve seen flexible work succeed, even under the most difficult circumstances. We now know it doesn’t make sense to endure long, expensive commutes and childcare struggles. And why limit creativity and productivity to a prescribed time and place?

3. Upskilling and Reskilling

Although tech industry layoffs are rampant and a recession is looming, the war for talent continues to escalate. But this isn’t really news. It’s been building for years. So, what is the HR trend to watch here?

Many workers who perform repetitive tasks increasingly feel frustrated by a lack of career growth. For decades, we’ve discussed the gap between these jobs and knowledge work. But now, the gap is growing even wider, as technology continues to advance and employers invest more heavily in upskilling and reskilling knowledge workers.

To keep top talent onboard, employers are making learning and development a priority. Professional development is also a powerful way to attract new talent in an increasingly competitive hiring climate. But what does this mean for people with jobs that are likely to become obsolete or automated soon?

Professional growth is increasingly important to people in every line of work. So employers are investing in learning programs to help attract and retain a future-ready workforce. HR departments are finding that implementing and maintaining effective learning programs is much faster, cheaper, and easier now. That’s because learning systems are adding innovative tech like AI-driven capabilities, interactive video, and augmented reality to improve learning experiences. They also offer APIs to connect learning platforms with other HR and business systems, so employers can more easily assess employee skills, track development progress, and measure learning outcomes.

Ultimately, this means employers are becoming better-equipped to help individuals grow in their careers, while helping their organizations succeed.

4. Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging

Another key HR trend focuses on workforce diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB). This isn’t just lip service. It has been a serious priority for years, and the commitment continues. Here’s why:

Studies show that diverse companies outperform others. That’s partially because they can tap into a broader range of employee perspectives — spanning age, race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, and more.

In healthy cultures, all employees are paid equally for similar roles. But that’s not the only requirement. People also need to feel welcome, respected and included in relevant meetings and decisions. These pillars of DEIB are more important than ever in today’s dynamic work world, and they’re becoming even more integral to the fabric of vibrant organizations.

5. People Analytics

For decades, data analytics has played a central role across business disciplines — finance, logistics, e-commerce, sales, marketing, and information technology. Now it is becoming common for HR applications such as learning, recruitment, performance management, and employee experience platforms.

Going forward, HR teams will increasingly rely on people-oriented analytics systems to make evidence-based decisions. For example, when relocating an office, decision makers will want to assess talent, performance, and many other data points to determine who should staff that office.

Also, look for AI to play an increasingly important role in people analytics applications, so organizations can improve decision support, performance analysis, and predictive processes.

6. Employee Experience

Now more than ever, organizations are emphasizing employee experience — including onboarding, workflow, culture, career development, and other aspects of work life. This is because a positive work experience correlates with higher engagement, productivity, satisfaction, commitment, and retention.

Also, employee experience is gaining traction because analytics systems are becoming more prevalent. This means more organizations have the capacity to evaluate the impact of employee-focused initiatives. Measurement typically focuses on onboarding, training, and other career experiences such as project assignments and promotions.

Employee experience is derived from customer experience and personalization initiatives used in marketing to assess customer preferences and develop relationships based on those interests. Similarly, the more an HR organization learns about employees and their preferences, the more effectively it can design custom work experiences with a more positive impact on engagement, performance, morale, and commitment.

7. AI and Automation

I’ve mentioned AI previously, but AI and automation deserve a separate discussion. That’s because both are transforming HR processes by dramatically streamlining tasks and enabling HR teams to focus more on strategic priorities.

AI and automation are critical to people analytics and employee experience initiatives. For instance, they can help detect when an employee is unhappy and at risk of resigning. Then, they can recommend ways to correct the issue before it’s too late.

In addition, these tools can alert HR and business managers when employees aren’t receiving appropriate onboarding or learning support. They can also assess and recommend an employee’s unique training path based on the market’s changing demands and the organization’s talent realities.

AI and automation will increasingly permeate HR, reduce the burden of administrative tasks, and offer invaluable insights regarding employee growth, performance, engagement, satisfaction, and commitment.

Final Thoughts on Current HR Trends

The pandemic unleashed work changes no employer could predict. But that’s only the beginning. Now, changes that started several years ago are leading to even more challenges and opportunities ahead.

In today’s volatile talent market, workers continue to place new demands on employers. Meanwhile, HR tech innovation continues to accelerate, giving organizations even more powerful and effective tools to improve all facets of work. As employers rapidly adopt new tools and techniques to improve organizational impact, the future looks bright across the HR landscape.

How can you use data to cultivate employee growth? Try these smart strategies from an HR leader

4 Smart Ways You Can Use Data to Cultivate Employee Growth

Data has percolated into every area of business — from the hiring process, to marketing programs, to charting a company’s strategy for the future. In fact, 80% of business leaders now say data is critical for decision making in their organizations. One area where the right data can make a huge impact is when managers are helping individual team members expand their professional skills. Here are some of the most powerful ways you can use data to develop people more effectively:

4 Ways to Use Data for Employee Growth

1. Set the Stage With Feedback Insights

Before applying data to help employees grow, it’s worth starting at the top — literally. Leaders can demonstrate the power of data by ensuring that essential information flows upstream and downstream across your organization.

Start by setting up continuous feedback loops. In other words, create communication conduits that facilitate the ongoing flow of feedback from employees to team leaders and back again. This can help you better identify areas where employees are struggling and respond more quickly to those needs.

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management says effective and timely feedback is “critical to improving performance.” Often, feedback reveals trouble spots that leaders must first address on a management level. This process establishes a foundation that helps employees feel empowered to improve and grow.

For example, imagine that critical project status information is consistently slow to reach some corners of your organization. You conduct a brief employee survey and find that specific communication roadblocks are keeping people from interacting more openly and proactively. As a result, you implement a targeted communication improvement initiative, including tools, protocols, and training sessions that help employees understand when, why and how to communicate project updates.

If you want employees to grow and succeed in their roles, leverage key data from ongoing feedback, so you can encourage growth that also improves business results.

2. Use Data to Establish Performance Objectives

Working hand-in-hand with feedback efforts, data can also play an integral role in establishing employee goals and evaluating performance. The concept is simple. For employees to grow, they must understand where they need to focus and the goals they need to reach.

Smart goal-setting strategies often rely on collaborative OKR methods. This acronym stands for “objectives and key results.” Rather than simply setting a goal and trying to reach it, OKRs let you connect objectives with measurable key performance indicators (KPIs). Data can play a key role as you move through this OKR process.

For instance, say your business wants to boost sales revenue by 10% next quarter (your objective). To get there, you need to define a clear set of actions that will lead to that result. These actions could include a market analysis in the first month to identify additional target audiences, and roll-out of a market expansion sales initiative in the second month. Throughout the quarter, you can use KPIs to measure results and adjust the plan, accordingly.

OKRs are powerful because they tie individual and team goals to organizational objectives. These shared goals are managed and discussed on an ongoing basis. Ultimately, the measurable nature of OKRs lets you use data objectively to measure employee performance and growth over time.

3. Use Relevant Data

Data analysis is an excellent way for leaders to identify opportunities for employee growth. However, it’s important to use data carefully, so you don’t misapply it.

When measuring something like employee growth (which varies from one person to another), avoid using stale or unrelated data. This can cause you to set an unrealistic bar for goals or point you in the wrong direction entirely. Instead, use industry and company benchmarks to create relevant, achievable OKRs that fit into your feedback framework.

For example, leadership consultants at McChrystal Group have helped numerous organizations turn existing data into leading behavioral indicators of team success. The firm’s research underscores a need for workplace accountability and communication.

Specifically, McChrystal analysts have found that, compared with other industries, healthcare employees are 20% less likely to agree that accountability is upheld in their organizations. And separately, financial services middle managers are 15% less likely to say their organizations communicate clearly and regularly about objectives and best practices.

Although these statistics are interesting, they don’t apply to every workplace. So, what’s the key takeaway here?

Don’t use data just because it vaguely supports your situation. If you want to develop a stronger team, make sure your data is up-to-date and relevant to your industry, business, and team.

4. Use Data to Assess Soft Skills Objectively

It’s easy to use data when assessing hard skills and measurable results. For example, if a sales representative isn’t meeting quota, data can help you set objectives to resolve that particular shortcoming. If the employee lacks particular selling skills, data can help you pinpoint the issue and resolve it with appropriate training to improve their performance.

In contrast, soft skills are more difficult to assess. Fortunately, advances in data analysis are making it easier to assess an individual’s soft skills and determine how to improve when needed. This is especially important during the hiring process. But you can also use this kind of intelligence to encourage professional growth among existing employees.

For instance, People First Productivity Solutions recommends soft skill assessment rubrics. By entering data into these tools and analyzing the results, you can objectively determine if an employee’s soft skills are up-to-par at any point in time.

One word of warning about these assessments. You’ll want to be sure you don’t let bias and favoritism influence your analysis. The best way to do this is to measure soft skills against specific job requirements and performance. This will help you more reliably identify areas where an employee can focus to improve over time.

Final Notes

There are many viable ways you can use data to determine where and how to help your team members grow professionally and perform more successfully. From using feedback to set the stage, to creating OKRs and assessing soft skills, you’ll get better results by applying the most relevant, timely data and tools you can find.

Also, remember that a data-driven culture of growth starts at the top. If you’re a business or HR leader, you must set an example that demonstrates a desire to establish appropriate performance goals and a commitment to ongoing improvement. With this strategy, you can encourage (and even gently require) team members to dig deeper and pursue growth that will advance their career while simultaneously benefitting your organization.

Rethinking the manager's role: Focusing on employee career growth is more effective than focusing on employee engagement. Here's why...

Rethinking The Manager’s Role: Here’s How to Get Better Results

Sponsored by The Culture Platform

At some point in the last 20 years, companies started to believe employee engagement should define a manager’s role. And looking back, this conclusion made some sense. After all, managers are the organizational layer between leaders and people on teams. So why not embrace this as a framework for managerial effectiveness?

How The Engagement Expectation Began

The shift to engagement as the center of a manager’s role coincided with the arrival of tech-savvy millennials and the promise of HR software to power the so-called engagement revolution. It sounded good in theory. But it has largely been a failure.

Frankly, there is no evidence that investing in “managing” employee engagement actually works. Instead, research consistently points in the opposite direction. So let’s dig deeper for answers.

Throughout most of the industrial economy, managers weren’t very good at managing people. In fact, job turnover surveys typically found the #1 reason employees quit was “my manager.”

No wonder organizations decided to invest in technology to help. But what has that accomplished?

If you add up the revenue of engagement software and HR tech firms over the past 20 years, you’ll see customers spent perhaps $25 billion on these tools. Even so, the level of U.S. employee engagement remained mostly unchanged throughout this timeframe. It has consistently hovered around 32%, according to Gallup. Abysmal.

Why do we need to change what's wrong with a manager's role? 20-year U.S. employee engagement trends from Gallup

Rethinking the Manager’s Role

I believe this idea of managing engagement was flawed from the beginning. Flawed because managers actually manage people and their expectations about success. If every employee could perform at a top 10% level, get promoted, and work from home, engaging them in their work would be a breeze. But that’s not reality.

Today, when people leave a job, they usually don’t say their boss is the primary driver. Instead, they point to a desire for professional growth or career advancement. With this in mind, I would say managers have the most important role in any organization. So this is why I believe it’s time to rethink the manager’s role.

What if organizations actually embraced what employees want? And what if they empowered managers to help their people plan for professional growth and advancement?

Currently, most organizations don’t think this way. They culturally believe career planning is an individual employee’s responsibility.

I vehemently disagree with this conventional thinking. It’s really just an artifact from an era when employees could comfortably expect to spend their entire career at one or two companies.

For most managers, empowering employee career-building will require new attitudes and actions. Changing cultural norms and setting clear expectations isn’t an easy or intuitive process. This means managers will need a new framework or model for managing people that is different from today’s engagement-centric approach.

A New View of the Manager’s Role

I propose a new concept built for the modern manager-employee relationship. 

I call it goals with purpose.

Goals with purpose align an employee’s current job role with future career aspirations. This alignment is the key to creating an emotional connection between an individual and the work they’re performing as part of the team.

For managers, this is no doubt much more challenging than seeking engagement through a simple pulse survey or weekly poll. Those engagement tools are easy to use and they appeal to the mass market by design. However, they don’t address what matters most to employees.

The Power of Goals With Purpose

What does it mean to set goals with purpose? Through the research I’ve conducted at The Culture Platform and the listening I did at Cisco with hundreds of companies, I’ve processed this input and determined what constitutes a goal with purpose.

At its highest level, this kind of goal is the way an individual contributor on a team clearly sees how today’s job role aligns with future-minded growth opportunities.

Specifically, a goal with purpose has five attributes:

1. It is tangible
It aligns a job role in a measurable way with goals that matter to the organization’s success. An individual contributor should be able to “hold” this goal in their “hands.”

2. It shapes personal growth
It reflects the strengths of the person in that role. Experienced leaders know a job role should never play to someone’s weaknesses.

3. It demonstrates a pathway
It aligns a current role with a future role. The future role may even be outside the organization or team.

4. It helps people navigate the organization
It clarifies the position an individual plays on the team. This helps dispel politics and endless positioning.

5. It empowers a reputation
It enables people to communicate with facts about their accomplishments. Ideally, it provides a “signature” project to build an individual contributor’s credibility.

Managerial Success: A Call to Action for Leaders

A manager’s role has never been more important to organizational success. It has also never been harder to be a manager, given the pandemic, work-from-home disruption, the current era of business “efficiency,” and the unrelenting pace of change.

If managers have an organization’s most important job, leaders need to realize an employee’s emotional connection to the company is earned. They also need to recognize it is worth the effort.

Tapping into an individual’s intrinsic motivations is the key to inspiring discretionary effort — that magical relationship between an employee, their manager, and their company. It’s the sweet spot where going above-and-beyond is the way things work.

During Cisco’s heyday, we called these magical moments the “Cisco Save.” In other words, when we needed to accomplish something important, a group of people would step up and do whatever it took to get the job done.

As leaders and managers, we can make work more magical for our people. But engagement doesn’t make someone want to do “whatever it takes.” We finally know that now, after 20 years of trying. It’s time to try a better way. We need to make goals with purpose every manager’s priority and make career empowerment the new managerial normal.

What do goals with purpose mean to you? How could this approach help your organization move in the right direction? I look forward to seeing your comments and ideas.

Work Tech Predictions That May Surprise You in 2023 - by Cisco EVP Jeetu Patel

4 Work Tech Predictions That May Surprise You

Predicting the unexpected is a tricky process — especially in the world of digital innovation, where change and disruption are a way of life. But that won’t prevent me from sharing my point of view about what’s ahead for work tech and the digital employee experience.

Challenging conventional wisdom is always an uphill climb. Nevertheless, organizations depend on big-picture thinking and agility to survive and thrive. So as the year begins, I’d like to outline four trends that will shape business in 2023 and beyond.

This forecast may surprise you. But don’t be blindsided. Prepare now to seize the day as these four work tech predictions play out over the coming months…

Are These Work Tech Trends on Your Radar?

1. Beyond Malware: We’ll Move From Detection to Prediction 

Digital threat actors are becoming bolder and more sophisticated than ever. Hacker “toolkits” are rapidly maturing to include modular malware that lowers the level of skills required to pull off an attack.

Many of these advanced tools and tricks focus on individual workers, rather than organizational systems. These tactics are designed to manipulate employees and contractors into unknowingly letting hackers sidestep effective security defenses like two-factor authentication. With so many people operating in remote and hybrid work tech environments, the potential downside risk is massive.

This is why I believe we will move beyond the age of malware in 2023. Simply detecting malicious code will no longer be enough to protect an organization’s data and technology ecosystem.

The next level of IT security will focus on sensing anomalies and behavior patterns. Systematic analysis of these indicators will predict breaches before they can happen. Advances in AI and machine learning will make it possible to develop and manage these predictive capabilities. Smart organizations will get ahead of this trend, so they can prevent attacks, rather than waiting to react and recover after the fact.

2. The Next Key Tech Purchasing Influencer: Human Resources

Hybrid work has significantly changed the dynamics of our lives – both personally and professionally. This includes organizational software buying patterns.

Traditionally, human resources teams focused solely on purchasing core HR software platforms like Workday, Paycor, or BambooHR. Decisions for other software were typically driven by Chief Information Officers, IT departments, and other functional executives.

But in recent years, flexible work models have become integral to workforce satisfaction and productivity. As a result, HR leaders are more deeply involved in selecting a broader spectrum of digital tools and technology. In many cases, this means HR is more heavily influencing the purchase of hybrid work tech.

This year, look for technology to accelerate its profound impact on culture and employee experience. And look for HR teams to expand their knowledge and influence regarding the selection of all kinds of work-related tools and software.

3. How We Work: Choice Will Matter More Than Mandates

We’ve seen the headlines in recent years. Countless remote and hybrid work employees have resisted a return to rigid, in-office work schedules. Some organizations may choose to double down on return-to-office mandates in 2023, but they will lose in the end.

Smart companies will create a flexible, secure hybrid-work experience and a great physical workspace — one that people will want to visit, but only when they choose to be onsite or their work calls for it.

These organizations will ultimately win on talent quality, agility, sustainability, and worker satisfaction. And eventually, other employers will follow, because they’ll recognize that this strategy leads to long-term organizational strength and business success.

4. Transformative AI: Look for an Uptick in Tech and Ethical Dilemmas

Despite years of promises straight out of sci-fi movies, artificial intelligence and machine learning have mostly stuck to somewhat rote (but helpful!) tasks. Lately, however, some mind-blowing capabilities are emerging. One example is DALL-E, with its ability to create sophisticated art from a verbal description.

The question isn’t, “What will AI disrupt?” The more relevant question is, “What won’t AI disrupt?” (Hint: Not much won’t be disrupted.) 

Here’s my perspective. No doubt, even more truly transformative AI use cases will emerge this year. AI engines will be used to develop creative content, write code, drive advanced robotics, detect behavioral anomalies to prevent critical IT infrastructure failures, and so much more.  

This next level of AI, and the use cases it inspires, will make a massive impact in 2023 and beyond. And its implications will be both good and bad.

On the downside, as AI takes on more tasks, it can be skewed by harmful programming bias. Potentially, this can affect decisions that impact our lives in fundamental ways, like who is admitted to a leading university, who receives a coveted job offer, or whose mortgage application is approved.

In addition, broader AI use will open the door to even more advanced scams, increased identity theft, and so on. Despite the positive potential impact AI can have on organizations and the world at large, it’s imperative for industry professionals to establish responsible, ethical usage guidelines. And when appropriate, restrictions must be the rule.

With AI, one thing is for sure: Companies that don’t embrace it will become irrelevant much faster than we currently think. Regardless, all of us who embrace AI must ensure its ethical and responsible use to mitigate potential harm. Otherwise, we’ll all suffer the consequences.

Final Thoughts on What’s Ahead for Work Tech

As we see the next wave of work tech unfold this year, I expect that innovators and their innovations will take momentous steps forward when it comes to security, hybrid work, and AI. The winners will be companies that put their people first and understand the technology they need to make the world of work a better place.

This is a time for purposeful innovation and thoughtful investment. And more of the responsibility will rest with HR leaders and practitioners, who will take on more decision-making power than ever.

But the future depends on more than HR, alone. It means diverse business functions, technology vendors and competitors will need to work together across IT ecosystems. With purpose and persistence, I believe that by this time next year, we’ll see real progress in these areas.

Of course, I’m not the only Cisco executive who is thinking about technology and the future of work. To read insights from others, I invite you to visit the Cisco blog.

How can employers transform talent acquisition? Learn how TIAA led the way, even before the pandemic in this case study by Meghan M. Biro

Transforming Talent Acquisition: One Employer’s Story

If your organization is like most, you’re constantly looking for ways to strengthen your workforce through smarter talent acquisition tactics. Although recruiting has shifted dramatically during the past few years, some innovative practices from the pre-pandemic era are worth another look.

A Pre-Covid Lesson in Recruiting Innovation

One example is the talent acquisition process at financial services provider, TIAA. Several years ago when the company completed a full-scale recruiting revamp, we spoke with Angie Wesley, then SVP and Head of Talent Acquisition.

TIAA has since promoted Wesley to Head of Workforce Strategies and People Operations. She has also been named one of the top 100 Women in Business by the National Women’s Conference. And looking back now at how she advanced talent acquisition at TIAA, we can see why she is recognized as a visionary. She clearly is ahead of the curve. 

Because TIAA is a well-established organization, Wesley knew she needed to initiate change in ways that would inspire buy-in, particularly from the recruiting team. Her approach is a powerful lesson in how to beef up business processes with technology and avoid friction while getting everyone onboard.

Rethinking Recruiting for Modern Business Needs

There’s no question that next-level recruiting depends on modern technology. But business aspirations are extraordinarily high. And modern recruiting tools, alone, are not enough to drive a cultural sea-change. For example, many employers want to:

All of these depend on a strong tech stack. But as we’ve seen time and again, simply acquiring new tools and bolting them onto existing processes and ecosystems is not sufficient. Integration and adoption are key — and that takes serious organizational insight, training, and adjustment.

Building a Better Tech Stack For Everyone

That’s where Wesley’s role came in. She led the transformation of TIAA’s recruiting functions so team members could better navigate the modern candidate marketplace.

(Brief reminder: Before the pandemic struck, recruitment was already facing serious pressure. From a very tight talent market to shifting candidate expectations about the hiring experience, employers were fielding plenty of recruiting challenges. But none of us could imagine the Covid curve ball coming our way.)

As Wesley told TalentCulture at the time, next-level recruitment was “either going to come to us, or we were going to have to join it.”

The tools she selected and implemented helped TIAA’s recruiting team in numerous ways. In particular, they significantly improved the candidate experience and paved the way for a more streamlined, compliant hiring process.

What’s more, Wesley’s advancements didn’t get mired in resistance. All too often, organizations meet change with pushback at numerous levels, from employees who don’t want to adjust their workflows to senior leaders who aren’t sold on the ROI of a new recruiting tech rollout.

In TIAA’s case, what made the difference? Two clear objectives…

Keys to Recruiting Transformation Success


1. Provide Training to Build Familiarity and Confidence

Wesley noted that recruiters voiced more concerns than anyone else. “A lot of these recruiters are seasoned, so they have their own way of moving candidates through the process,” she explained. “We had to show them how technology actually helps them, instead of inhibiting them.”

To encourage adoption, TIAA instituted both in-person and remote (web-based) training. The content included plenty of context and real-world examples from other organizations. This approach helped staff members agree that the new tools could help improve their productivity and performance.

In addition, TIAA started tracking who uses the tools, so they can find and fix individual issues. “If we have folks that aren’t using a certain technology or tool in our recruiting process, we’re able to identify them and work with them to understand and resolve the difficulty,” Wesley explained.

2. Focus on Candidate Experience

Many recruiting technology upgrades are intended to improve the candidate experience, but sometimes they miss the mark. Wesley made sure candidates remained a top priority throughout the planning and implementation process.

These days, some of TIAA’s changes may seem like table stakes. But several years ago, these recruitment essentials weren’t a given. (Technology evolves fast!) For example:

  • Online Applications
    TIAA made sure its employment website and career pages were mobile-friendly and candidates could complete the application process on any device.
  • Digital Assessments
    The company began offering assessments that candidates could complete online at their convenience — another forward-thinking capability that is now considered a best practice.
  • Text-Based Communication
    Recruiters began relying more heavily on text messaging to conduct conversations in real-time. This led to more frequent candidate communication that helped the recruitment process feel more immediate, personalized, and meaningful. Ultimately, this
    kind of responsiveness made a big difference that translated into better hiring outcomes.
  • Video Interviewing
    The hiring team also instituted video interviews. Again, this was once a leading-edge strategy that positioned the TIAA employer brand ahead of others. But the organization needed a better way to reach the passive talent market. At that time, the most attractive potential candidates were employed elsewhere. Video interviews offered more convenience and less disruption. Of course, during Covid, video interviewing became the new norm. Now, many organizations still rely on video tools to extend recruiting reach and streamline the hiring process.

Reinforcing the Human Side of Recruiting

Does TIAA’s recruiting game plan suggest that technology should replace human interactions? Not at all. Actually, this is another lesson to remember for the future of talent acquisition. The human element counts, always.

According to Wesley, “What we are finding is candidates still want that human touch in the process somewhere. They don’t want technology to take care of everything.”

Employers must strike a balance in the recruiting journey. Candidates want to experience the human side of your organization, especially when it comes to your company’s history, culture and values. Potential employees appreciate personal conversations with people who can speak on behalf of your brand.

On the other hand, candidates also value employers who quickly process their applications and provide a hiring process that is reasonably simple and painless.

So by all means, deploy the best and most innovative recruiting technology to make the whole journey easier and improve the overall candidate experience. But don’t forget the human touch. After all, those personal moments along the way may just give you an advantage in hiring the best talent.

How to Improve Employee Experience with HR Tech

5 Ways to Improve Employee Experience With HR Tech

Sponsored by: Neocase

Did you know more than 160 million people are employed in the U.S.? Unfortunately, however, rising turnover is eroding workforce retention. In fact, 48% of hiring managers say turnover is higher this year – up from 44% in 2021. And the cost of replacing those people isn’t cheap. No wonder employers want to build a positive work culture that attracts and retains top talent. That’s why many are turning to HR technology to improve employee experience.

But here’s the catch: In recent years, the HR tech landscape has been bursting at the seams. This means choosing the best solution for your organization’s needs can be overwhelming. To overcome this obstacle, think first about how you want to improve employee experience, and work from those objectives to define your selection criteria.

HR Technology 101

To provide some context, let’s start with a brief overview of core HR systems. In most HR technology stacks you’ll find at least one of these systems as a foundation for all other people platforms, tools and applications:

1. HRIS Human Resource Information Systems

HRIS was developed to help organizations track and store employee data and records for essential administrative needs. As the HR function grew more complex, HRIS platforms added modules to support talent acquisition processes and recruitment operations, as well as employee information management and maintenance. 

2. HRMS – Human Resource Management Systems

Over time, HR became more deeply integrated with other functions, so HR tracking software had to meet these expanded business requirements. Now, HRMS/HRIS systems are used interchangeably to support operations such as payroll, time tracking and compliance management. 

3. HCM – Human Capital Management Systems

HCM supports a more expansive set of HR operations, including employee performance analysis, compensation planning and projection, workforce development and more.HCM covers all HR functions with a comprehensive solution that can be customized to support the entire employee lifecycle.

Why Employee Experience Matters

A strong employee experience is essential to attract top talent and keep people engaged with your work culture. As Gartner says, “Employee experience is the way employees internalize and interpret the interactions they have with their organization, as well as the context that underlies those interactions.”

But as many organizations have discovered, an exceptional employee experience isn’t easy to develop and maintain. In fact, according to Gartner, “Only 13% of employees are fully satisfied with their experience.

What’s at stake? A negative employee experience leads to low morale, poor work performance, and other issues that directly affect organizational culture and business results. On the other hand, a positive employee experience helps lift morale, productivity, efficiency, and work quality.

How HR Tech Can Improve Employee Experience

Clearly, creating the best employee experience possible leads to significant business benefits. So, to achieve the highest potential impact, consider these five priorities:

1. Automate Tasks and Streamline Workflows

Is anything worse than monotony? It is just as painful for your HR team as it is for others in your organization. Many manual HR tasks are excellent candidates for automation. Focus first on business processes that will free your HR team from tedious, time-consuming, redundant paperwork, and email communications.

Start by developing an employee journey map to better understand your current processes. Then look for bottlenecks, gaps, and disconnects. These issues are opportunities to streamline processes or speed response times.

Organizations often begin by mapping onboarding or offboarding processes. This ensures that an employee’s first and last impressions will align with company values and the employer brand.

2. Gather Employee Feedback

A silent employee can be a dangerous or at-risk employee – even if they don’t realize it. Many workers hesitate to speak up for a variety of reasons. Some fear punishment if they express negative opinions, while others think their input won’t be heard or appreciated.

If an employee doesn’t have a chance to share feedback or ideas, they could feel undervalued and unimportant. You can remedy this with HR technology specifically intended to improve communication.

Consider feedback tools that encourage employees to make their voices heard. Monthly surveys, quarterly outreach messages, and other kinds of digital communication can help build stronger connections and spark more useful conversations.

But that’s just the beginning. Once you receive input, you need to respond or implement changes. Otherwise, people could become more frustrated if you solicit input but don’t seem willing to act upon it.

3. Provide Self-Service Portals

One of the best ways HR technology improves employee experience is through self-service applications. Many platforms can help organizations build and deploy custom tools that help employees serve themselves at their convenience.

One of the best-known examples is a benefits portal. Many employers offer secure web-based destinations with all the information and tools people need to research, select and manage their particular benefits. This frees employees from having to manage the constant back-and-forth of emails or phone calls just to get basic benefits information or answer common questions.

This kind of solution increases efficiency, while giving employees more control. At the same time, portal analytics can help your HR team understand employee preferences and identify content and functionality that can better them.

4. Offer Anywhere, Anytime Access

Unfortunately, many employees feel totally disconnected from HR. Some need guidance and oversight, but HR teams and managers are stretched too thin to engage.

Integrated real-time HR communication tools can help you and your management team focus less on paperwork and more on people. Think of it as the digital equivalent of an office with an open door!

The benefits of integrated communications extend to employees, as well. This leads to a more closely-knit workplace culture that operates more efficiently and is better aligned with business priorities.

5. Design Intuitive Workflows

Demand for better, faster response started with customer service. But it has quickly spread to internal organizational functions, as well.

When we ask HR a question, we want the answer now. We also want to find answers ourselves, ideally with no more than one or two taps on a smartphone.

This aspect of HR technology requires decision-makers to put themselves in an employee’s shoes for a reality check. How easy is it to perform a task you want to accomplish? For example, if you’re a full-time manager using a self-service benefits portal, how intuitive is the path to information you need at the moment you need it? How much information do you have to dig through to find a useful answer?

This aspect of HR technology is central to the employee experience. Why? Because, if employees struggle to use a digital tool, they will also struggle to adopt that tool and succeed with it.

Final Thoughts

HR technology can play an important role when you want to improve employee experience. Whether you’re implementing a self-service portal to support job applicants, deploying an employee feedback tool or expanding business process automation to improve HR response times, your efforts can positively influence talent acquisition and retention. These 5 priorities can help your team focus on solutions that will make a strong impact.

Why Build Your Own Freelance Talent Network

Why Build Your Own Freelance Talent Network?

Sponsored by: Worksuite

The case for building a flexible talent network has never been more compelling. During the “Great Resignationof 2021, 47 million U.S. employees voluntarily left their jobs. And in 2022, a wave of disengagement took hold among remaining workers, giving birth to the term “quiet quitting.” Now as 2023 begins, the global talent shortage continues to play havoc with hiring strategies.

Access to skilled people who can keep your business moving forward is no longer a sure thing. That’s why smart employers are investing in freelance talent options. But what’s the best way to find and manage a qualified pool of on-demand talent?

When building a contingent talent network, you may be tempted to source contractors from public marketplaces. This seems easy enough, but it can be a frustrating and time-consuming option. On the other hand, if you run an established business, you could grow your own talent pool by leveraging your brand presence, network connections and internal resources.

This do-it-yourself approach means you don’t need to rely on potentially low-quality, unknown talent from a third-party network. However, it does require some careful planning. So to help you achieve better results, here are our best tips for sourcing, hiring and retaining top freelance talent.

Why Avoid Public Talent Marketplaces?

Marketplaces like Fiverr and Upwork are often an easy and popular first stop for employers seeking on-demand talent. And they can be useful if you need support in a pinch. Whether you’re looking for developers, designers, writers, or photographers, these platforms let you choose from hundreds of eager freelancers — often at bargain prices. 

But with so many potential candidates for every opportunity, finding a freelancer who meets your specific requirements can take longer than you’d like. And these marketplaces tend to produce hit-or-miss results. Here’s why:

1. Barriers to Entry are Low

It’s possible to find some fantastic people on these platforms. But sourcing them can be time consuming for your managers and teams. That’s because it’s so easy for anyone to join these public marketplaces. No experience or qualifications are necessary. All it takes is an account and a profile that attracts clients.

Literally anyone can promote their freelance services on these sites, whether they’re capable and qualified, or not. You never know exactly what you’re getting until you actually work with a contractor.

2. Faking Performance Rankings is Easy

You might think it’s a safe bet to hire a freelancer with hundreds of glowing five-star customer reviews. But don’t be fooled. Social proof can be easily bought.

Positive reviews are essential to get found and hired from among the hundreds of other marketplace hopefuls. So naturally, freelancers want to look as good as possible, as fast as possible. But accumulating strong legitimate reviews for freelance services takes a lot of time and effort.

Artificially enhancing your marketplace ranking is illegal. Nevertheless, this has spawned an underground network of people who buy, sell, and exchange reviews so they can get ahead.

These false ranking services aren’t visible on public freelancer marketplaces. But a Google search quickly reveals plenty of opportunities to buy or swap reviews in places like these:

Some websites even blatantly offer to help freelancers falsify their marketplace rankings. Well-known options include ReviewXchange and Fiverr 5 Stars

Bottom line: When hiring from public freelance marketplaces, “buyer beware” is a smart strategy. But if you can achieve better results in other ways, why take unnecessary chances and spend limited time and resources on public marketplaces?

Are Any Public Talent Marketplaces Credible? 

If your only option is hiring from a third-party marketplace, we recommend considering a handful of “focused talent service platforms” (FTSPs). Freelancers accepted by these platforms have been rigorously screened to ensure they are qualified for positions they’re pursuing. This reduces your risk as a hiring organization and makes it easier for you to conduct a talent search with confidence.

Below are four viable FTSPs that offer fully vetted, high-quality talent:

  • MarketerHire — Provides access to qualified marketing specialists
  • IndieList — Offers carefully-screened freelancers, contractors, and consultants from Ireland 
  • BetterUp — Connects businesses with expert coaches
  • Springboard — Provides access to fully trained, vetted professionals in cybersecurity, software engineering, design, data science and tech sales

Harnessing the Power of a DIY Talent Network 

Generally, businesses recognize it’s cheaper and easier to retain existing customers rather than continuously hunting for new prospects. The same principle applies to talent acquisition. An internal talent pool offers multiple benefits:

1. Speed to Hire 

Sourcing new talent often requires substantial time from your team. But by tapping into an existing talent pool, the process can be as fast as running an advanced search in your freelancer management system database to find the best fit among available people.

A good platform can provide granular details about anyone in your talent pool. For example, you should quickly be able to find someone in your extended organization who has demonstrated the skills you need on another project. You may also see a note or ranking about this person’s contributions, so with only a few clicks you can determine the strength of the individual’s qualifications.

2. No Training Downtime 

Your existing talent is already familiar with your organization, its operations, and its work practices. This means you don’t need to spend extra time continually onboarding and training new people.

3. Leverage Talent Across Your Business 

By extending access to existing talent across your organization, you can improve cross-functional business performance and reduce overall hiring spend.

4. Grow Your Internal Talent Pool 

Freelancers don’t exist in a vacuum. They all are connected with other skilled people. You can expand your internal talent pool by tapping into these networks. It’s as easy as sending emails requesting referrals.

Experienced freelancers won’t refer you to people they don’t trust because they know it could damage their own reputation. But many will happily refer viable colleagues.

You may decide to incentivize referrals – or not. Either way, existing contractors can be a highly effective and efficient source of network growth.

For example, with an internal talent network platform like Worksuite, you can use the Marketplace module to post and share opportunities for upcoming work. You can also vet new candidates, assign work opportunities to individuals, and invite them to submit RFI-style proposals for upcoming projects. In addition, you can maximize your reach by sharing new opportunities with both internal and external sources.

Where to Look for Contingent Talent

Freelance marketplaces and job boards aren’t the only way to find great contingent talent. Consider these alternatives: 

  • Social Media — Outreach on platforms like Twitter and Facebook can attract candidates from members of your global brand community.
  • LinkedIn You can search and contact freelancers directly or spread the word more broadly with posts on your LinkedIn company page or in specialized groups.
  • Referral Campaigns — Offering “finders fees” for referrals from employees and contractors can generate significant interest.
  • Alumni Talent Pools — Adding former employees and contractors to your database of on-demand resources is an easy way to maintain ties with qualified people.
  • Networking at Industry Events — Gathering profile data from participants at key professional conferences and other events can help you easily develop an extensive pipeline over time.

Developing Talent Network Trust and Loyalty

Sourcing is vital when building a high-quality freelance talent network. But that’s only the beginning. It’s also vital to keep people onboard and engaged with your organization.

Freelancers (especially in the Gen Z age bracket) know many opportunities are always available online. All it might take to land the next assignment is a single email or application. To keep potential candidates connected with your company, you’ll want to develop trusted relationships with valued contractors.

For example, these tactics are often effective:

  • Assign a steady, interesting flow of work opportunities
  • Communicate regularly and directly with active members
  • Gather ongoing feedback with periodic surveys 
  • Offer new assignments that expand on relevant skill sets
  • Provide loyalty incentives
  • Host annual awards to recognize excellent performers 
  • Increase pay rates to ensure top members are appropriately compensated

 


Worksuite: A Talent Network Solution

If you want to develop and manage your own talent pool, a specialized solution like Worksuite can make the process much easier. This platform includes essential features and metrics employers need to build and maintain a compliance administration and quickly identify top candidates whenever contractors are needed. Here’s how customers use Worksuite to support freelance talent strategies

1. Customize Onboarding Workflows

Worksuite partners with you to create an onboarding process that meets your exact needs. This includes capturing all the contracts, documents, tax information, and banking details needed before new freelancers are assigned to any project.

2. Add and Invite Freelancers to the Platform

Use sourcing and onboarding tools to reach out to prospective talent, and add qualified individuals to your detailed, searchable internal talent pool hub.

3. Ensure Contractor Compliance

Before assigning work to a freelancer, you must ensure they’ve received proper background checks and are compliant. This prevents costly legal problems down the road, especially when hiring global talent.

With Worksuite, background checks are managed through our partner, Checkr. This saves time for you as a hiring company while giving you peace of mind that every contractor you hire is legitimate. Worksuite also coordinates compliance administration. So, whether you’re working with 10 freelancers or 10,000, you know all NDAs, contracts and tax documents are in place to meet local and international regulatory requirements.

4. Publish a Searchable Talent Directory

Posting profiles of everyone in your talent pool gives your team a highly accessible overview of every contractor in your database. You can dive in deeper to see more details for any individual. Also, freelancers can access and edit their own profiles to be sure their information is always up to date.

5. Assign Groups, Tags and Rankings 

In addition to using the platform’s overview capabilities, you can easily organize freelancers in your dashboard. This gives HR and hiring managers full transparency into a member’s work history, background information, experience, skills, and abilities. 

You can also segment members into custom groups that make sense for your business, so you can easily search and select ideal candidates for any assignment at a granular level.

6. Rank, Rate, and Review Freelancers 

Talent rankings, ratings, reviews, and internal notes help your hiring team easily find any freelancer’s performance record at a glance. This helps you quickly decide who should be assigned to an opportunity (and who would not be an ideal candidate).

7. Track Key Metrics 

With Worksuite, you can set up metrics that reflect the quality and quality of deliverables your contractors produce. Here are some examples of metrics that help customers identify attractive candidates: 

  • Highest-rated members
  • Most engaged members
  • Talent active on multiple assignments (vs. only one assignment)
  • Percentage of assignments canceled prior to the start date 
  • Percentage of assignments rejected by members
  • Average number of assignments per member
  • Individuals who have not been assigned to any projects within the last 12 months 

8. Communicate Regularly With Network Members

You can manage all communication with network members directly from the Worksuite platform. Also, you can send personalized bulk messages using your organization’s filters. This helps freelancers stay engaged with your business, and keeps them up-to-date with your news and job opportunities.

9. Archive Talent Records

With Worksuite’s archive feature, you can remove access to the platform for freelancers who haven’t worked with you in more than 12 months. This helps keep your talent database current, so you know who’s still interested and available to work with your organization.

 


EDITOR’S NOTE:
To learn more about how Worksuite tools and services can help you start or grow a high-quality freelance talent network, contact Worksuite directly.

What should employers consider about ethical AI in talent decisions? Learn the latest in this #WorkTrends podcast episode

Transforming Talent Decisions With Ethical AI

Sponsored by Reejig

Countless HR tools, applications, and platforms now rely on artificial intelligence in some form. Users may not even notice that AI is operating in the background — but it can fundamentally change the way we work, think, and make talent decisions.

This raises several big questions. What should we really expect from AI? And is this kind of innovation moving us in the right direction?

For example, what role should AI play in skills-related talent acquisition and workforce mobility practices? With stellar talent in short supply these days, this topic has never been more important for employers to consider. So join me as I look closer at key issues surrounding ethical AI in HR tech on this #WorkTrends podcast episode.

Meet Our Guest:  Jonathan Reyes

Today, I’m excited to talk with Jonathan Reyes, a talent advisor and futurist who has been helping technology and banking industry companies navigate hypergrowth for nearly two decades. Now, as VP of North America for Reejig, he’s on a mission to build a world with zero wasted human potential.

Defining “Zero Waste” in Humans

Jonathan, I love the phrase “zero wasted potential.” What exactly does Reejig mean by this?

We envision a world where every person has access to meaningful work — no matter their background or circumstance. In this world, employers can tap into the right skills for the right roles, whenever needed. And at the same time, society can reap the benefits of access to diverse ideas through fair and equitable work opportunity.

The concept of sustainability is emerging in every industry. Now, sustainable human capital is becoming part of that conversation, and this is our way of expressing it.

So, with zero wasted potential, decisions aren’t based on a zero-sum game. When employers make human capital choices, individuals or society shouldn’t suffer. Instead, by focusing on talent mobility through upskilling and reskilling, we can create a new currency of work.

Workforce Intelligence Makes a Difference

Why do you feel workforce intelligence is essential for employers as they make talent decisions?

Organizations have so much human capital data. With all the workforce intelligence available, there’s no reason to hire and fire talent en masse — and then rehire many of the same individuals just months later.

Obviously, that’s an emotional and human experience for employees. But also, organizations are spending unnecessary money to find people and let them go, only to invest again in rehiring them.

Focusing instead on internal mobility is far more cost-effective.

Where Ethical AI Fits In

Many companies are unsure about AI in talent acquisition and management. What’s your take on this?

There are no universally accepted standards for ethical AI. This means vendors across industries can say technology is “ethical” based on self-assessment, without input from legal, ethical, or global experts.

But we’ve developed the world’s first independently audited, ethical talent AI. In fact, the World Economic Forum has recognized us for setting a benchmark in ethical AI.

The Impact on Internal Mobility

How do businesses benefit from shifting to a zero-wasted potential talent strategy? 

When companies manage internal mobility well, they extend employee tenure by 2x. And we know that people who stay and continue growing and developing are much more engaged.

This can create a significant downstream benefit. It’s one of the biggest reasons to invest in this kind of talent management capability.

 


For more great advice from Jonathan about why and how organizations are leveraging AI to make better talent decisions, listen to this full episode. Also, be sure to subscribe to the #WorkTrends Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher. And to continue this conversation on social media, follow our #WorkTrends hashtag on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

How can organizations measure the digital employee experience? Find out on this #WorkTrends podcast episode

How Do You Measure the Digital Employee Experience?

Sponsored by:  Ivanti

We don’t need a crystal ball to see that the future of work will be more connected, more digital and more flexible. The pandemic brought us a preview of this more adaptable world of work—and many of us want more. But what’s the next step? How can organizations make “anywhere” work a sustainable daily reality?

Smart employers are already digging deep to pave the way forward. But how will they know when their transformation process is working? How will they see results? This is why it’s vital to measure the digital employee experience, early and often.

Organizations that get this right will attract and retain the best talent. So I invite you to learn more about it with me on this #WorkTrends podcast episode.

Meet Our Guest:  Dennis Kozak

Today, I’m speaking with Dennis Kozak, COO of Ivanti, a leading information technology software provider that is on a mission to make the everywhere workplace possible for all of us. Because Dennis has a front-row seat at the table where key digital work decisions are made every day, he is an excellent source of insight for HR and business leaders.

Why Measure the Digital Employee Experience?

Welcome, Dennis! Tell us, why should we connect the dots between employee satisfaction and digital experience?

Typically, HR is very focused on measuring employee engagement, while IT is very focused on providing infrastructure and security. But very seldom do we actually marry those to focus on how IT improves or hinders an employee’s experience.

Timing Is Everything

Tell us about how to measure the digital employee experience. What does this look like?

Well, this is something people don’t think about much until they have a problem.

Your team’s digital environment may work well—until an employee gets a new laptop or a new mobile device and they try to reconnect to the company ecosystem. They’re either successful or they’re not.

So through automation you can always be checking all of the measurement points to ensure that you’re providing a consistent level of service.

Always Be Measuring

Why is it so important to continuously measure the employee digital experience?

IT is continuously changing. There are always new applications, new tools, new devices, new forms of data in an organization. So the environment is never static. And because it’s always changing, you have to continually measure.

If people don’t feel productive and IT becomes a barrier, then clearly job satisfaction will suffer and people will be more likely to leave. Turnover is difficult, not only for an employee, but for an employer, as well. We can help avoid that.

Where IT Can Add Value

How can the IT team work with HR to ensure everyone has access to the tools they need to do their jobs, no matter where they are?

Our research says 26% of employees have considered quitting their jobs because they lack suitable technology. And 42% of employees have spent their own personal money to buy technology so they can work more effectively.

In other words, people don’t necessarily want to wait for their company to help. But these statistics indicate where both functions can improve.

Start by including IT at the table when designing your employee engagement survey. IT and HR rarely work together beyond onboarding and de-provisioning. But IT can show that the innovation and intuitiveness they bring in enabling digital work can be a deciding factor in employee productivity, satisfaction and retention.

 


For more insights from Dennis, listen to this full episode. Also, read the article he recently contributed to our blog: “Digital Employee Experience: Do You Measure What Matters?

In addition, be sure to subscribe to the #WorkTrends Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher. And to continue this conversation on social media, follow our #WorkTrends hashtag on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

business value

We Surveyed 100+ HR Leaders on Driving Business Value in 2022

Sponsored by: ThoughtExchange

For several months, we’ve been sharing insights from our partner ThoughtExchange. They’ve done some fascinating research on Gen Z employees, employee experience, boosting retention, and driving business value. They’re an essential tool for leaders across departments and industries looking to align and engage their workforces.

We finally got the opportunity to use ThoughtExchange to consult our network of HR and Talent professionals, and you shared some great insights with us and each other. 

We asked:

As HR and Talent professionals, what areas are you focusing on at your organization to increase retention and drive business value?

With anonymity, anti-bias technology, and automatic translation capabilities, ThoughtExchange makes it easy to gather diverse perspectives and have equitable discussions.

What We Heard

Using ThoughtExchange’s tools, we analyzed the thoughts you shared to identify important themes and actionable insights. It’s an efficient way to hear from large groups of diverse people, particularly in a remote setting.

First, we looked at the Summary—an AI-generated snapshot of the top-rated ideas:

Onboarding and orientation – new hires should be set up for success from the start. Effective employee retention improves the productivity and performance of a company. Personal and professional mental health – a toxic work culture can really hurt productivity and business value. Pay equity. Personal wellbeing – avoid burnout.

Overall, you’re recognizing that business value is heavily impacted by employee experience, and you’re focusing on providing a healthy, productive workplace. 

Ideas That Rise To The Top

Next, we looked at the highest-rated answers. ThoughtExchange’s Thoughts tool shows each thought’s rating, and also how ratings change by role. These were the top-rated thoughts for each of the different roles:

Talent Acquisition: Leadership Development. Leaders need to role model behaviors to scale change.”

Recruitment: Employees’ aspirations for career development. These days I noticed fresh graduates and junior employees are switching their careers for any salary variation. Career development enables employees to be competent and get expertise for their future career.” 

Training & Development: Performance appreciation and reward. By acknowledging good work done, it drives up their productivity.”

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion: Personal and Professional Mental Health. A toxic work culture can really hurt productivity and business value.”

HR Leadership: Employee wellbeing. This helps the employees stay fit mentally, emotionally, and socially.”

What was particularly interesting is that, of the top thoughts for the entire group, none of the top thoughts by role were included. 

  • (4.2*) “Focus employer branding efforts on values and vision. Ensure you can articulate clearly how your company is making the world a better place. People in a group desire belonging. These factors serve as unifying tools and help employees feel that the work they do is not ‘just work.’”
  • (4.0*) “Onboarding and orientation. New hires should be set up for success from the start. Your onboarding process should focus on employee guide to thrive and culture.”
  • (4.0*) “Skills, skills, skills! We want to attract skilled talent, but we need to keep investing in their skills, so people want to stay and grow with us! Caring about the future viability of your workforce means business sustainability. Plus, it’s good for employees, too. Everybody wins.”

The variation in how thoughts are ranked demonstrates how ThoughtExchange can identify team or departmental priorities, but also surface common ground.

Where You Disagreed

It wasn’t all common ground. ThoughtExchange’s Differences tool shows the rating patterns for different groups and finds the polarizing ideas.

In our Exchange, compensation and pay equity was an area of contention. Group A (in blue), mainly HR Leadership, assigned high ratings (in the 4* range) to these thoughts:

Group B (in green), consisting mainly of Recruitment, Training & Development, and Talent Acquisition folks, gave ratings averaging 2*. This may indicate a difference in priorities between HR Leadership and those responsible for hiring and upskilling employees.

The Differences tool doesn’t stop there. It also finds thoughts that Group A and Group B both rated highly. Both groups agreed that employee wellbeing and engagement are top priorities. Holding space for both sides of an issue is vital, but identifying where those two sides agree helps build a strategy everyone supports.

Areas Of Focus

To understand the discussion’s general themes, we used the Theme tool to categorize thoughts into Culture, Performance, and Strategy. 

Thought Exchange Themes

Deeper analysis shows which issues are the most pressing for our community, and identifies actions to improve retention and drive business value.

Areas to Action:

  • Company Culture: clarify organizational values, define employer brand, and consult employees on improving their work experience. 
  • Skills Development: provide employees with skills, career, and leadership development opportunities.
  • Performance Appreciation: improve morale and productivity by rewarding high-performing employees.

What You Told Us

You’re invested in improving and streamlining every stage of the employee lifecycle. You value organizational culture and recognize the importance of robust onboarding and career development. You care deeply for the wellbeing of your employees and want to foster a more supportive workplace.

For us, this Exchange showed how valuable an inclusive, unbiased discussion platform is for identifying team and organizational priorities. 

We can see how ThoughtExchange brings immense value to different kinds of leaders looking to innovate tactics, align on strategy, improve business efficiency, and engage employees.

Want to see how ThoughtExchange can give you mission-critical insights to make better decisions and transform your discussions? Talk to one of ThoughtExchange’s Talent & HR experts today.

Why is Employee Engagement Upside Down?

Why Employee Engagement is Upside Down

impact award
Leaders and managers frequently refer to the famous Albert Einstein quote when something in their organizations isn’t working after repeated efforts. I wonder what Einstein would say about employee engagement?

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

For two decades, the benchmark of benchmarks for employee engagement is Gallup, a world-class research organization. Gallup research shows that, over the past 10 years, the percentage of engaged employees has fluctuated. From a low of 30% to a high of 36%.

Much ado was made about a slight uptick in engagement before the pandemic. Then Covid struck and the trend reversed.

I’m pretty sure Einstein would agree with my old boss at Cisco, former CEO John Chambers. John famously described missed expectations at Cisco this way:

I never get hard work confused with results.

To see engagement move up only six percentage points over a decade without enduring results is underwhelming, at best. Especially when the engagement rate was so low to begin with.

The Decline of Engaged Employees

The most recent 2022 Gallup numbers show the percent of employees engaged is down.  U.S. companies are down 32%. It was 30% in 2002 and 2012.

I’m not sure how many billions of dollars were spent on employee engagement measurement and programs during this time, but it is clear from this data it was not a productive investment.

The inertia reflected in the engagement data reflects what I’ve heard over the past three years talking to hundreds of HR leaders about what works and what doesn’t in employee engagement.

Most of the feedback is best paraphrased this way:

We are not learning anything new from our employee engagement data.

Competition vs Collaboration

I’ve been lucky to work with hundreds of companies and their leadership teams. Especially after I wrote The Collaboration Imperative, which shared the best practices used at Cisco in its transition from a culture based on internal competition to one based on internal collaboration.

From these listening sessions, I’ve come to believe that certain ideas exist in organizational thinking in the absence of hard evidence. I don’t know how these ideas got started. I just know the ideas are entrenched.

For example – the way leaders and managers think about employee engagement today. It reminds me of the way organizations think about career planning. That it is the responsibility of the employee, despite overwhelming evidence indicating a different reality.

If it is true that employees are responsible for their own careers, why is “my manager” the most cited reason when an employee leaves a company?

Employee Engagement is Upside Down

I want to eat my own dog food by starting with evidence. I’ve spent the pandemic sponsoring a large, real-world research study on what makes an employee want to stay at a company. I wanted to know what it would take to get an employee to recommend where they work.

Our primary research and the large collection of company data captured in the second phase of our research confirm we’ve been measuring the wrong things in employee engagement.

In fact, employee engagement is upside down, according to our research.

Instead of measuring how engaged employees are, we should be measuring how engaged leaders and managers are.

In statistical terms, our evidence-based model demonstrated a strong, positive linear relationship between the degree to which leaders and managers engage employees and the willingness of employees to recommend where they work. In other words, the more engaged leaders and managers are in creating organizational culture with their teams, the greater the likelihood of an employee recommending the employer. Our research conclusions have a 95% confidence interval.

The Impact Leaders Have on Employee Engagement

Just like career planning. It’s time to embrace the fact that leaders and managers are the reasons why people fall in love with a company and its culture — or not. Leaders create the global cultural values of an organization; managers implement those values locally.

Company values are based on human behavior, not a poster on the wall. Values-based behaviors start with role-modeling them as leaders and managers. How can we expect employees to be engaged if their management team isn’t?

If we’re going to innovate in how we think about employee engagement, I want to call upon Einstein again for help.

Einstein was famous for thought experiments.

Here’s one. Management guru Peter Drucker said you can only manage what you measure. What if leaders and managers were accountable for engagement?

What would happen to employee engagement?

Digital Workplace

The Digital Workplace – What’s Ahead

The pandemic has affected the way we live and work and accelerated our transition to the digital world. In 2020, 30% of employees were working remotely, and 60% had the opportunity to combine remote and office work. Companies had to rethink their development strategies and create digital workplaces (DW) so that employees could work safely from home. Two years later, with vaccines helping to restrain the pandemic and offices reopening, organizations have to reimagine their digital environment to keep the office and remote workers connected.

So what is happening with the digital workplace in 2022 and how can managers adapt to the new realities?

The Concept of a Digital Workplace

This term has been around for over 10 years since DWG founder Paul Miller coined it. The businessman explained it as the virtual digital equivalent of a physical workplace.

It is also regarded as a business ecosystem of technologies and cloud solutions that:

  • Eliminates communication barriers between departments.
  • Provides remote secure access to corporate data.
  • Allows you to work remotely with documentation and easily share files.
  • Helps to communicate with colleagues who connect from different locations.

To build and use a digital workplace, you need a whole range of tools:

  • Business applications
  • Communication platforms
  • Personnel management software
  • Software for sharing documentation 
  • Cloud storage tools
  • Content management systems
  • Productivity tools and other technologies

Various programs and applications create the digital workplace infrastructure.

The concept of a digital workplace

Source: scnsoft.com

The digital workplace creates a virtual hub. Employees complete tasks, no matter where they are or what devices they are using. Expanding the boundaries of offices happens due to cloud platforms. They allow specialists to connect to their workplaces over the network.

Why Do You Need a Digital Workplace?

The digital workplace has become not so much a necessity, but a steppingstone for business development. The popularity of smartphones and the introduction of AI and digital tools have prepared people for a new format of work. There have appeared new categories of applications for communication between employees of distributed teams. The transition to the gig economy has made it possible for businesses to hire specialists from any location in the world.

The COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated these trends. Consequently, businesses have had to scale up their digital workplaces at short notice. Some firms managed to reduce the transition from a couple of years to just weeks. The digital workplace has helped to keep businesses afloat amid isolation and social distancing. In a unified digital workplace infrastructure employees were able to quickly resolve important issues. They could:

  • Coordinate and store documents. Before lockdowns and quarantines, employees had to personally come to their colleagues to approve and sign documents. During remote work, organizations switched to online coordination via email, instant messenger, or through special software like Power Automate.
  • Schedule meetings. A unified digital workspace allows you to view the schedule of colleagues (vacation, business trips), coordinate the schedule for booking meeting rooms, and plan joint video meetings.
  • Manage corporate data. Software solutions provide synchronization of data and files used remotely by several employees. Platforms ensure that every worker has up-to-date information that they can access at any time and from any device.
  • Work on a flexible schedule. Fixed work hours are becoming obsolete. For enterprises, it is not the place and time of work that matter, but quality and efficiency. In the digital workplace, employees have 24/7 access to corporate tools and data.
  • Find the necessary information. Often corporate data and files are stored in different systems: in the cloud, or on a server. Employees have to spend minutes/hours searching for the right document. There are no search problems in the digital workplace. Separate tools like DokoniFind help them to find files of any format from different sources.

As a result, 44% of employees began to work faster, while maintaining an optimal work-life balance. According to Statista, business leaders plan to keep at least 10% of their employees “in a remote location”. This is not surprising, because businessmen see the economic benefits of this format of work. According to the survey, 72% of US managers plan to invest in virtual collaboration tools to support hybrid workflow.

What Organizations Achieved in 2020-2021

The pandemic has forced companies to either build digital workplaces from scratch or upgrade the old ones to carry out the transition to remote work. And in 2020-2021, organizations performed a large-scale transformation of jobs. They:

  • Implemented a model of work “from anywhere”. Many enterprises did not have a ready plan for how to go remote. But they quickly found point solutions on how to support hybrid workflow.
  • Moved to the cloud. When the majority of employees needed to go remote, organizations had to migrate to the cloud. Specialists could not access corporate data if the data center was in the office. The cloud guarantees that employees will work smoothly: the server will not fail, and the data will not be lost.
  • Expanded options for using virtual desktops (VDI). While individual contractors used VDI before the pandemic, more organizations paid attention to this service during the quarantine. Companies considered it the best option for quickly launching a remote work format. At the same time, an employer retains control over data and devices.
  • Implemented tools for video conferencing. Video calls via Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Cisco Webex platforms replaced traditional meetings. The culture of video communication has spread everywhere.
  • Used collaboration platforms. Firms found ways to connect remote workers without sacrificing productivity or quality of work. Communication tools Trello, Slack, and Smartsheets have become an integral part of the digital workplace.

In 2020, companies implemented temporary solutions and created “drafts” of the digital workplace. By 2021, organizations had improved the format of remote work and selected the best technologies and tools. By 2022, enterprises had faced new challenges: how to improve and automate well-defined processes, taking into account the fact that employees are returning to the office.

What organizations achieved in 2020-2021

Source: axians.com

The Digital Workplace in 2022 

Over the past two years, people have become accustomed to the digital format, so many of us perceive returning to offices as leaving our comfort zone. According to a survey by the employer platform GoodHire, 68% of employees prefer to work remotely. Gartner found that companies risk losing up to 40% of their talent if they return to a traditional physical office. Therefore, 2022 is in search of a balance between remote and classical ways of working.

1. Organizations are Introducing Hybrid Work Models

In 2020-2021, organizations were creating digital workplaces so that employees could continue to work safely during the pandemic. In 2022, managers are trying to support DW so that employees can opt for a hybrid work schedule, combining work from home and the office.

Gartner researchers advise rescheduling work for a hybrid model, taking into account the following points. It is important to:

  • Give employees more freedom and flexibility so that they can maintain a balance between work and leisure
  • Offer specialists several schedules, taking into account their preferences
  • Manage employees based on empathy

Digital workplaces support hybrid workflows through conference room booking tools, meeting platforms, or collaboration apps.

2. Companies Launch Employee Development Programs

The pandemic has taken many organizations aback as employees were not technically prepared for digital workplaces. Firms had to quickly train specialists so that they could continue to work remotely. Therefore, in 2022, companies are helping their employees to remain flexible and adapt to changing market conditions. The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation notes that 13% of Americans do not have the digital skills needed for the 21st century. 18% of people have limited skills. Therefore, organizations need to improve the skills of employees according to corporate programs.

3. Businesses are Strengthening their Cybersecurity Strategies

A centralized digital workplace makes it easier for employees to work but leaves the organization vulnerable to cyber threats. DW has many access points that hackers can use to steal corporate data. Remote tracking of devices is difficult, and remote workers are less protected from phishing and social engineering attacks. Therefore, organizations are strengthening cybersecurity strategies by improving such features as encryption, two-factor authentication, access control, and AI-assisted threat detection.

4. Managers are Looking for Ways to Increase the Engagement of Remote Workers

When, with the onset of the pandemic, employees switched to a remote format, they began to lose contact with their colleagues and felt disconnected from the organization. Despite all the benefits of the digital workplace, the advantages are leveled if the employee’s interest falls. Therefore, in 2022, managers are looking for options on how to strengthen healthy relationships with remote workers. And this is important because an engaged specialist will not quit and work 21% more productively. The digital workplace should be organized in such a way that people communicate seamlessly with colleagues using different services.

Kate Lister, president of Global Workplace Analytics, in an interview with Recode, noted that by 2025, about 70% of employees will work remotely for at least five days a month. Therefore, the introduction and development of DW become not a tactical, but a strategic decision. Market Research Engine predicts the digital workspace market will reach $39.60 billion with a CAGR of 30%.

Conclusion

In 2020, we witnessed the historic transition from traditional work culture to a digital workplace. It has brought mobility to the lives of employees, helping them to maintain a comfortable work-life balance. For organizations, this means more productive employees who are free to adjust their schedules. Businesses should continue to invest in the digital workplace because it is an important part of any business development strategy.

Background Screening – What you Need to Know

Podcast Sponsored by: Accurate Background

How is background screening impacted in an increasingly remote-first world of work? No doubt, the pandemic has reshaped the workplace. And in many ways, it’s here to stay. A report by Ladders revealed that by the end of this year, 25% of all jobs in North America will be remote. With that in mind, employers need to adapt their background screening practices to the new normal of remote work.

Our Guest: Chief Compliance Officer at Accurate Background

On our latest #WorkTrends podcast, I spoke with an experienced industry professional and SME on background screening, drug testing, and HR Technology from our special guest, Accurate Background. We asked him to tell us the basics every employer needs to know about background checks. He explains:

The best way to open the conversation today is to remind employers that background screening is heavily regulated. We’re talking about federal laws, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and state laws. These are in addition to the responsibilities that employers have under their federal FCRA and even local laws.

The Range of Background Screening

Both employers and candidates must understand the background screening basics and the different types of background checks.

There’s a wide variety of things that employers utilize throughout the screening process. Criminal history information is one. A subset that we call verifications is another. Verifications range from professional life license verification, employment verification, and education history. And then there are things like drug tests, credit reports, and driving records.

Consent – Yes or No?

Background checks are employers’ principal means of securing information about potential hires from sources other than the applicants themselves. Therefore, we asked if obtaining consent from the candidate is required before conducting a background check.

Oh, it’s required, and it’s required, and it’s required again. So employers, beware. Your disclosure is really a critical piece of the background screening process. If you’re going to do a credit report, tell them you’re doing a credit report. In some states, you also have to tell them why. Criminal history checks, personal or professional reference checks…all need consent.

What if a candidate refuses?

Most employers are conducting background checks contingent on an offer. If the candidate doesn’t want to authorize the background check, they don’t move forward with the process. And employers are well within their rights to leverage that, but they should certainly state it in their policy.

Social Media

Social media sites may seem like easy-to-access information about a potential job candidate. But is it acceptable or ethical for companies to scrutinize social media? What are some of the pitfalls that employers need to avoid?

Employers, hear me now, do not go on Facebook or Instagram or TikTok or even LinkedIn and look at your candidates yourself. That’s a big mistake. You want to engage with a professional organization that is doing this in a manner that is consistent with EEOC guidelines.

A professional social media screen will bring back information about whether or not a person is engaged in activities that could potentially present a risk to the organization. Information to help you make a decision that is ultimately about the true risk to the company and not just a personal opinion or unconscious bias.

The Marijuana Culture Shift

Recent years have seen a significant culture shift in how the use of marijuana is viewed. It’s legal in some states and becoming legal in many others. So what should employers be cautious of here?

There are still federal laws and federal mandates in place for drug testing, where it doesn’t matter what the state law is. Under any law where marijuana is legal, an employer does not have to accommodate use in the workplace. There are a lot of emerging state laws or laws currently in place related to whether or not you can test for marijuana pre-employment. Or whether you can use a positive test result for marijuana in an employment-related decision. But each one of those also has exemptions.

Adapting to the Remote Climate

Background screening shouldn’t take a back seat in this remote work climate. It’s important to understand the risk profile of someone who will be generally unsupervised yet still representing your company.

Take some additional due diligence to ensure that you know who your candidates are, that they’ve done what they say they have done, and that there’s nothing within their risk profile that will be destructive to your company’s reputation.

I hope you found this recent episode of #WorkTrends informative and inspiring. For more information on candidate screening and background check solutions, visit Accurate Background.

And, please mark your calendars! On Wednesday, May 25th from 1:30pm – 2:00pm ET, our #WorkTrends Twitter chat focuses on Background Screening in the Hiring Process, sponsored by Accurate Background.

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