Remember the olden days when potential candidates applied to a handful of jobs online and waited for a response? Remember in the stone ages when prospective hires mailed out paper copies of resumes and awaited a phone call or a letter? Well, according to an SHRM surveyof over 1,500 talent acquisition professionals from 28 countries, COVID-19 accelerated a shift toward digital-first recruiting.
EBI has reported that the average corporate listing receives 100 to 250 resumes. But according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job seekers who received an interview only have a 36.89% chance of receiving an offer. They apply to jobs widely in a ‘spray and pray’ mentality. For recruiters, the challenge is no longer finding applicants but rather finding the right people in this barrage of resumes. And with virtual hiring likely being here to stay, perhaps it’s time recruiting adapted for today’s hiring culture.
Our Guest: Ben Green, Hirect
On the latest #WorkTrends podcast, I spoke with Ben Green, PR Manager for Hirect. With over a decade of experience in journalism, Ben now plays a key role for Hirect. A free, mobile chat-based hiring platform that instantly connects startups, founders, CEOs, and hiring managers with candidates interested in the growing startup sector.
When asked about virtual recruiting in the COVID era and the future of recruiting, Ben suggests that the virtual trend might be here to stay.
“With more remote work and work from home flexibility, they (recruiters) can attract talent from pretty much anywhere and connect with them instantly,” Ben says. “Everything can really be done online, uninterrupted, and I believe it’s the future of work and recruiting moving forward.”
For those with less time and resources to meet every candidate in person, virtual recruiting also makes the job much easier. But with so many different recruiting technologies out there, how can organizations choose the right one for them?
“There’s definitely several factors to consider,” Ben explains. “Tech versus non-tech, seniority, the position, scale, size of your team. All these things will determine what your budget is and what the tool ROI can be as well.”
The Big Benefits of Virtual Recruiting
There’s a lot of talk about bias right now. How does virtual recruiting help recruiters and hiring managers eliminate this from the hiring process?
“Ideally, the focus should always be primarily on candidates’ skills and experience, but really the true way to eliminate bias is through blind resume screens,” Ben says. “AI can certainly help with reading or grading applicants without taking into consideration a lot of the personal details and information.”
Beyond helping to eliminate bias, Ben feels that integrating technology and AI in recruiting has vast potential. It benefits both recruiters and job seekers, particularly from a filtering, searching, and matching standpoint.
“With the AI matching algorithms that we have at Hirect, the candidate pool can be narrowed down almost instantaneously based on any number of factors,” Ben explains. “For candidates, AI can help them wade through a lot of the irrelevant posts… and find ones that match their specific or unique criteria.”
But Ben is quick to point out that you can’t rely on AI alone to find the right applicants. Making sure you have a really granular job description and an interview process that encompasses certain skills is also key. And these often require a human touch – something Ben believes there will always be a need for.
“There’s really an art to the close,” Ben says. “Trying to relay a founder or a CEO’s passion or vision to really inspire a candidate to join a young business or a startup… That just can’t be replicated through technology.”
I hope you enjoy this #WorkTrends podcast, sponsored by Hirect. In case you missed it, you can listen to the podcast here. You can learn more about the future of recruiting by reaching out to Ben Green on LinkedIn.
https://talentculture.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/podcast-17-dec.jpg6001018Meghan M. Birohttps://talentculture.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/TCLogo_web-272x60-1.pngMeghan M. Biro2021-12-17 06:35:152022-03-25 10:14:39The Future of Recruiting
As of January 2022, the federal vaccine mandate will require all businesses with a hundred or more employees to impose coronavirus vaccines, or implement weekly testing. This news has already sparked debate and friction in workplaces across the country. According to the New York Times, this requirement has left many companies on the cusp of fielding calls from wary employees.
COVID-19 has been at the omni-center of countless business decisions since March 2020, with encouraging employees to work from home perhaps being the most obvious one for businesses across the globe. But the new vaccine mandate shouldn’t stifle your plans for encouraging your employees back into the office. Instead, the vaccine mandate should simply become a part of your leadership and HR discussions, in-sync with your company’s return-to-work mandate.
If you’re wasting too much time debating the vaccine mandate, you’re wasting precious business hours that could be devoted to staying competitive instead.
Our Guest: Ed Dischner, Proxy Technologies
In this episode of the #WorkTrends podcast, sponsored by Proxy, I was joined by Ed Dischner from Proxy Technologies. Ed discusses shifting workplace priorities to focus on what really matters, without losing sight of COVID-19.
An expert in his field, Ed has years of experience in Enterprise Sales of Workplace Tech Solutions. Previously holding executive leadership positions at Tealium; a customer data platform, and BlueJeans; a video conferencing provider. Ed also spent 6 years at Salesforce, as it scaled its operations from IPO to two billion in revenue.
I asked Ed about some of the biggest problems faced by businesses when verifying vaccines and employee health status. Ed suggests that vaccine mandates uncertainty and maintaining employee safety are at the forefront.
“Is there going to be a mandate?… There’s a little bit of chasing a ghost on regulation,” Ed comments. “We want to make sure that we’re coming back into a workplace in a safe environment. We’re going to do everything we can.”
Best Practices for Vaccine Mandates
Ed then goes on to talk about how employers can learn about best practices for vaccine mandates. He believes that employer opinion on vaccine mandates typically splits into two separate camps.
“One is just saying, ‘Okay, it’s owned by HR.’ … And it’s really a third party or an industry-recognized organization with a lot of content,” Ed says. “The second group, or cohort, is that there’s a committee. Whether or not that’s workplace solutions, and whether or not that includes HR. And we’re increasingly seeing risk and legal involvement.”
Ed notes that there’s implications across it all, especially when you go cross-departmental. Not to mention, when you take into consideration the number of offices your business has, and how many countries you are in, there’s all the local, regional, and national regulations to take into account, too.
What Companies Get Wrong About Vaccine Proof
Proxy recently published a White Paper identifying some of the key things many companies get wrong about vaccine proof. Ed has experienced some of them first hand, from both an employee and consumer point of view, and shares his thoughts with us:
“So, the first one is just asking for physical cards as proof,” says Ed. “That’s maybe one way that a 10-person company can do it, but there’s no way that a 10,000-person company can do it, especially with being remote.”
Ed goes on to discuss another error – daily temperature checks – and questions whether body temperature falling within a certain range is reasonable enough assurance that employees are protecting themselves and each other, in and around the workplace.
“The third one I kind of alluded to is using spreadsheets,” Ed continues. “It’s good for the first day. It’s not good for three months in, eight months in, and how you’re going to continue to scale this with more and more people coming in.”
But, as Ed points out, the tricky thing with spreadsheets and data is not only where to store all of it and ensuring it is constantly up-to-date, but it’s also the issue of consent. Health information belongs to each individual, so as much as employers may like the visual verification, they may not necessarily need or want to retain each individual record.
Incentivizing a Return to the Office
In response to some of the things companies get wrong about vaccine proof, Ed rounds off his discussion by sharing a positive incentive to encourage employees who have been vaccinated back into the workplace.
“If you want to come back to the office and you have a negative test, or you’ve done your vaccination certificate or a certification, then guess what? We’re going to give you $10 every day for you to be having a subsidized lunch,” Ed suggests. “It kind of gamifies some of the things that aren’t necessarily considered fun or games.”
I hope you enjoy this episode of #WorkTrends, sponsored by Proxy. Listen to the podcast here.You can learn more about shifting your workplace priorities to what really matters in light of the proposed vaccine mandate, by reaching out to Ed Dischner here.
https://talentculture.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/vaccine-mandates.jpg6001018Meghan M. Birohttps://talentculture.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/TCLogo_web-272x60-1.pngMeghan M. Biro2021-12-14 09:12:142022-03-25 10:15:30The Impacts of the Vaccine Mandates on the Workplace
The pandemic has brought significant physical and mental health concerns to people around the world. With business closings, reductions in force, and forced isolation for those who kept their jobs and careers uninterrupted, the pandemic has also brought an unexpected side effect — survivor guilt.
Traditionally, survivor guilt occurs when a person has survived something traumatic that others have not made it through. In the recent workplace, we have used this term to describe co-workers being laid off or furloughed due to the pandemic’s impact and adverse effects on the economy. The employees who still have their jobs may now feel guilty that they survived the layoffs, whereas their co-workers did not.
This feeling comes alongside the general anxiety that comes from everyday life and the pandemic. It’s a stressful time, with negativity and frustration felt across many industries. Seeing co-workers lose their jobs can add to those mental health concerns. At work, sharing these feelings with people who have similar experiences has been a resource for some.
According to a survey, 61% of respondents feel comfortable discussing mental health with their co-workers. As trusted co-workers get laid-off, employees may, in turn, bottle their anxiety or depression along with the new survivor guilt. This cycle creates an ongoing mental health crisis in the workplace.
Mental Health During the Pandemic
Survivor guilt speaks to the overall mental health crisis during the pandemic. With isolation and social distancing comes loneliness, depression and anxiety. These feelings can affect how people handle everyday tasks and their jobs. If an employer sees an individual’s performance dwindling, there’s a chance it’s due to a mental health concern.
In fact, 41% of adults have reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorders during the pandemic. Since it’s unclear how long the pandemic will ultimately last, bringing up the conversation is the best way to move forward.
Thus, to best help their employees, it’s now critical for the workplace to acknowledge these concerns. Through the support and discussions enabled by an effective mental health program, employees can obtain the tools they need to cope with survivor guilt and other existing mental health issues.
According to a study, 91% of employees believe the workplace should assist with mental health issues. However, in that same study, 73% of respondents stated that their job does not discuss mental health. As stress, guilt, grief, anxiety, and depression fluctuate through the pandemic, workplaces must incorporate these discussions into their culture. After all, if employees hold on to negative feelings with no outlet or resources, their mental health will continue to deteriorate, as will their performance at work.
Plus, destigmatizing mental health conversations at work fosters a more efficient, healthier environment for everyone.
Solutions for Survivor Guilt
To move forward within the workplace in a healthy way, communication is going to be critical. Feedback and dialogue are tools for bringing up what concerns people have been suppressing, like survivor guilt. Along the way, employers must be in tune with what their employees feel, then listen fully before acting or responding.
Supervisors can open up the dialogue about why the layoffs were necessary and encourage employees to voice how the firings themselves, and the departure of colleagues, has affected them. They should also discuss their needs from the work and company perspective. For instance, employers often ask survivors to work longer hours, yet they have to balance caregiving and home responsibilities on top of their professional lives.
It’s likely best to avoid congratulating anyone for keeping their job while others have lost theirs. Even as a response to their endurance and dedication to the company, employees may focus on the emotional aspect rather than the business side should any form of “congratulations” (let alone “your lucky to still have your job) come into a conversation.
Finally, consider feedback an ongoing conversation – not a one-time thing. Feedback can be as open or as anonymous as people want; regardless of the format, it facilitates more open discussions and, ultimately, more change. With the information collected during feedback sessions, the employer can provide a more transparent plan on the post-layoff direction the company is taking. Simultaneously, employees can voice their opinions on the layoffs and receive resources for mental health counseling. Through effective dialogue, they can also feel secure in their own jobs and benefits.
Making It Through the Pandemic
The pandemic poses countless challenges for people in and out of the workplace.
For those experiencing survivor guilt, it’s essential to speak up and reach out to helpful resources. Don’t go it alone. As many have already learned, issues that affect mental wellness don’t often just go away. Time does not heal all wounds.
For HR professionals, it’s critical to shift the company culture to be more open. We must be honest about the wide range of feelings that come with layoffs and the pandemic in general. Only then can employees move forward and overcome survivor guilt and other obstacles that negatively impact their mental well-being.
https://talentculture.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Survivor-Guilt-Fizkes.jpg6001018Devin Partidahttps://talentculture.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/TCLogo_web-272x60-1.pngDevin Partida2021-05-18 10:00:112021-06-16 17:40:44An Unexpected COVID-19 Side Effect: Survivor Guilt for the Employed
Those responsible for human resources management have always found themselves in a precarious position. After all, HR pros often deal with a trust deficit on either side of the bridge they span. From one side, senior management feels HR practitioners lean too much towards employees. From the other, employees often blame HR leaders for taking the side of “management.”
A problematic situation, indeed. And one complicated by the almost unannounced pandemic that has arrived much like an uninvited, overbearing guest.
With the potentially long-term impact on our workplaces, Human Resources Management will need to evolve. We must redesign the theories and practices of the 21st century to suit the new demands.
So, where does one start?
First, we must realize that moving forward, organizations will take the form of dispersed networks rather than formal structures. Leadership and HR teams will facilitate collaboration between individuals and teams separated by distances, time zones and cultures. A significant portion of these may be folks who come on board for specific projects. Once they accomplish team goals, those people will move onto their next gig. In fact, Gartner’s 9 Future Trends of Work Report estimates 32% of organizations are replacing full-time employees with contingent workers as a cost-saving measure already.
Given this fundamental reality, the approach of human resources management will need to transform in a manner never seen before.
Let us see what the key salient features of this new approach to HR management would look like.
Guiding, not Driving
For far too long, the HR function has been a gatekeeper of the organisation’s culture. They have also been very directly associated with driving policy adherence. No doubt, this is required to create a unified operating methodology. However, it also often leads to restrictive practices that limit creativity and experimentation.
In the current times, employees are juggling more than work. In many cases, they are dealing with multiple challenges such as pay cuts, health matters of close family members, online study requirements of their children, and the like. This means HR managers and leaders need to play the role of guides and mentors during their operations. They must help employees perform in their new environments with a ‘silken glove’ approach.
Empowering, not Policing
With policies and practices, comes policing. It is this compliance mindset that has become the silver bullet in every HR practitioner’s arsenal.
We have forgotten, perhaps, that humankind’s most successful creations have come from individuals who are self-motivated to build a better future. Instead, many in the HR field have attempted to create an environment closeted by rigid boundaries. In fact, today’s automated reporting means there is no shortage of data when it comes to tracking employees.
However, as many ‘pundits’ have shared over the ages, nothing works better than enabling and empowering employees to take charge and work responsibly.
In any case, as we have witnessed in the ‘Work-From-Anywhere’ environment, much of the tracking falls apart due to lack of last mile ‘surveillance’. Hence, the mantra really has to be about moving power into the hands of the employees. With, of course, the right amount of coaching to ensure that they put the organisation’s interest at the top, in all matters under their purview.
Counseling, not Judging
The sudden move to a remote working arrangement did thrill some hearts in the initial stages of the COVID-induced lockdowns experienced in many parts of the world. The euphoria was very short-lived, though.
Surveys, including one by Kincentric, a Spencer Stuart company, showcase that the life altering pandemic has impacted the wellness of employees at many levels. Given this realization, HR fraternity members will have to simultaneously don the hat of confidants and counsellors. While supporting their colleagues, however, they will need to be appropriately empathetic towards them. As they stretch to extend a helping hand (or shoulder) to them, HR practitioners will have to ensure that they adopt a very mature approach. This will be especially true when it comes to balancing the needs of the organization with those of its employees.
Human Resources Management in Transition
In summation, the HR community must realize the industrial era practices that evolved into the era of the services economy will no longer work for the digital, distributed age we live in now. In such an environment, an employee has maximum touch-time with managers, not HR. The quality of this interaction assumes greater significance given that much of this interaction is remote and bereft of social connection, quite unlike the past.
Therefore, extending HR management beyond the HR function is the need of the hour.
This means HR professionals must enable all managers in the organization to own the HR agenda as well. This will require more of our workforce to be elevated with regards to their maturity and ability to handle people processes.
The optimum starting point for embarking on this journey is to stitch trust into the fabric of the organization and enable managers and employees to have faith in each other. It is only then, that the foundation of our organizations will be built on solid bedrock. Only then will be in a better position to survive the kind of shock we are now facing.
It is now up to human resources management professionals to rise up to the challenge!
https://talentculture.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/HR-Management-Evolve-Suzanne-D-Williams.jpg6001018Vikas Duahttps://talentculture.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/TCLogo_web-272x60-1.pngVikas Dua2020-11-02 10:00:262020-11-02 09:15:31The Ever-Evolving Role of Human Resources Management
Figuratively speaking, the number of articles dedicated to discussing the COVID-caused childcare crisis could fill a school library. But little has been written regarding the other side of the generational spectrum: Elder care.
When it became evident the remote learning arrangements imposed at the tail end of the 2019-20 school year would continue well into the current one, the full weight of what this would mean for working parents was expressed in headlines across the country. The Associated Press reported on the distressingly common instance of mothers being forced from the workforce, for example. Meanwhile The Atlantic analyzed the rock-and-a-hard place scenario that parents deemed essential workers have regarding childcare – including the fact that 15 states lack free childcare options.
So, it is entirely logical that the most pressing caregiving topic would surround the struggles faced by employed parents. Whether those parents were working from home or not – attention would be paid to those balancing careers with child caregiving. However, this understandable emphasis on our children has diverted attention from a problem that was looming long before iPads became de facto classrooms: the challenges employees face providing care for elderly loved ones.
Many, of course, may have already been providing unpaid caregiving to a loved one, meaning the pandemic simply exacerbated an already time- and energy-consuming situation. Caregiving during COVID-19 can also be very emotionally taxing: 49% of those polled in the same survey felt more anxiety and 53% felt more stress due to the added emotional toll of COVID-19.
Fortunately, the COVID crisis may make some employers more aware of—and sympathetic to—their employees’ caregiving responsibilities. This awakening can’t come quickly enough: Research conducted before the COVID-19 crisis shows that many employers were unaware of their employees’ caregiving responsibilities. Seventy percent of employees reported having missed work due to caregiving duties. And, 32% of caregiving employees had voluntarily left a job during their career due to caregiving responsibilities. Further, companies face increased health care costs incurred by employers for employees with caregiving responsibilities exceeds $13 billion a year.
Despite all this, employer-sponsored caregiving resources are typically limited in scope. They often, for example, take the form of an employee assistance program (EAP) that may provide a limited range of services, such as referrals and access to potential providers via phone and/or online portal.
Bolstering Caregiver Work-Life Balance
The harsh reality is: COVID-19 has made the Employee Caregiving Crisis more urgent than ever. For their own sake, it is time for employers to forge pathways to relief. With 54% of caregivers juggling their caregiving responsibilities and a full- or part-time job, employers need to understand and meet the needs of their caregiving employees.
To help their caregiving employees – and their company – here are five tips for employers that can help elder caregivers thrive during these challenging times:
Communicate and Create a Culture of Collaboration
Seek a better understanding of everyone’s individual situations. It is impossible to understand the breadth or depth of employees’ caregiving responsibilities without an open, honest discussion about their challenges. It is also important for employers to initiate this dialogue. After all, employees may be hesitant to do so for a variety of reasons.
Enable Flexible Schedules to Strike a Better Balance
With new or added workloads, many employees may be juggling caregiving duties and work responsibilities. To help them find a balance their competing roles, offer flexible scheduling options. For example: Flexible work hours, the ability to work from home, etc.
Expect the Unexpected
Build in extra time for important projects, and set clear expectations around deadlines, team communication and client support. COVID-19 has given many employers crash courses in disruption adaptation. We can lean upon these lessons to improve business flexibility—without sacrificing overall job performances
Offer a Strong Support System
To ease their responsibilities, many elder caregivers are now looking for more support from their employers. An easy way to help is by providing guidance and personal support to those struggling. For example, share trusted links to information on support groups and related webinars. And post articles that provide solutions to caregiving problems. Self-care tools like wellness videos or meditation apps can be valuable. Also considered valuable: Financial planning classes offered by employers or third-party specialists.
Assess Your Policy Options
To adequately adapt to the workforce’s evolving caregiving needs, employers may want to reexamine company policies and benefits. With COVID-19 creating a new normal, and so they can focus on their work, employees may need benefits that can help them find care for their aging loved ones. Offering attractive benefits that meet employee caregiving needs can help set a company apart—a tool to help attract and retain top talent, lower absenteeism, increase productivity, and reduce turnover.
Easing the Burden Placed on Elder Care Providers
Just as important for many, such specialist-driven caregiving employee benefits allow employees to stop playing professional caregiving coordinator. For example, identifying and assessing provider options is a caregiving issue in which experience and specialization are highly advantageous. This specialty helps determine provider availability but while negotiating rates based on knowledge of typical care costs.
With specialist-driven caregiving benefits, employees no longer need mastermind a highly complex, multi-factor caregiving regimen.
COVID-19 has pushed employers toward a number of new norms. One of those should be taking better care of employee elder caregivers. And we can do that through increased employer awareness, systemic support, and customized benefit offerings.
Companies are currently repositioning themselves for optimal success now, and into the future. That makes this the perfect time to re-assess exactly what employees need to thrive within their very personal new normal, including employee benefits that cover the cost of elder care.
2020 has changed the workplace – possibly forever. Which makes it even more important to look at the 2021 HR landscape now.
Over the last year, HR professionals have been challenged with the responsibilities of managing a remote workforce. Soon, if they aren’t already, they’ll be tasked with creating “back to work” policies, while keeping safety top-of-mind. With this new normal, it may have been tempting to put your compliance responsibilities on the back burner.
Our advice? Don’t.
So you’re ready for whatever comes your way in 2021, here are just a few compliance topics that require your attention now.
Have You Updated Your Employee Handbook?
The Employee Handbook: That all-important compilation of company policies.
It may not be the first thing on your mind these days. But chances are you have not updated that handbook since before COVID. So, give it another look. For instance, does your handbook cover updated telework and remote work policies? If your employees are back in the office, do you address updated policies regarding sick leave, temperature checks and social distancing?
Through a new lens, conduct a thorough review of your handbook – and avoid confusion and potential lawsuits.
Make Sure You Have the Most Up-to-Date Labor Laws Posted
Do you have a spare $35,000 on hand? Probably not.
Did you know failing to post just one state or federal labor law update prominently in your workplace can mean fines of $35,000? So far in 2020, we have seen 55 labor law changes, and we are aware of at least 20 more changes that will go into effect on January 1, 2021. Don’t risk an expensive penalty; make sure your labor law postings are up to date.
Better yet: Take advantage of services that put this responsibility on autopilot.
Stay Informed: The FMLA is Facing New Challenges
The FMLA has always been difficult to navigate. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it another set of challenges.
Several new state and local leave requirements have emerged as a result of the pandemic. So, it is more important than ever for HR professionals to monitor and manage their employees’ FMLA leave accurately and efficiently. There are a myriad of comprehensive policies, procedures and forms to organize.
Failing to comply with these regulations could easily result in costly fines.
Have Employees Completed 2020 Harassment Training?
With employees working remotely—or not at all—harassment training may have fallen to the bottom of the priority this this year.
Perhaps you were waiting to get back in your office routine to complete the mandated requirements. Truth is, harassment can happen at any time, and at any place. In addition, some states—like Illinois and California—still require harassment training be completed before the New Year. It’s best not to wait.
To stay compliant, consider looking into digital and streaming options. That way, regardless of where they get the work done, employees can complete required training before the end of the year.
Are Your Job Descriptions Accurate?
We bet you weren’t expecting job descriptions to be mentioned in a compliance article. But hear us out.
Did you know a poorly written job description can cause all kinds of issues? From low employee morale to legal troubles? Particularly now that so many positions are remote, it is so important to make sure your job descriptions are accurate. After all, employees must have a clear – and current – understanding of their role and responsibilities. Further, even if you aren’t hiring, job descriptions can play a big role in cross-training and employee development.
While employees are expected to do more from farther away, current job descriptions can help HR develop training and development plans. Quality job descriptions also help ensure employees are operating to their strengths.
Employees Returning? Make Sure Your Workplace is REALLY Safe
For those of you who have returned to the workplace, welcome back!
You are likely to be wearing masks and distancing employee workspaces already. But you still must ensure you’re also following all the updated hazard assessment protocols. Check that your workers and workplace are complying with any necessary temperature checks, hygiene protocols and training requirements related to COVID-19. Additionally, if your workplace implemented additional policies around telework, sick leave and anti-retaliation guidelines, make sure to communicate that information with the rest of your staff.
You really can’t over communicate in times like this. So, keep your people in the know with posted signs and checklists. Also, provide physical supports like masks and hand sanitizer stations to make the return to work feel just that much safer for all.
The 2021 HR Landscape Need Not Be Overwhelming
You have limited time as an HR professional. Resources seem constantly strained. Feeling overwhelmed? Let us help.
We have joined forces with industry leading partners to take the brunt of compliance-based work off your plate and keep you up-to-date on all state and federal policies. Whatever stumbling block gets between you and your 2021 HR goals, we at SHRM can help.
Want to learn more? To discover solutions designed for you, sign up! We’ll immediately start sending regular updates about compliance requirements and solutions.
https://talentculture.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/2021-HR-Landscape-Christina-Morillo.jpg6001018Katherine Snowhttps://talentculture.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/TCLogo_web-272x60-1.pngKatherine Snow2020-10-20 10:00:252020-10-20 16:38:032021 HR Landscape: Save Time, Be Safe and Remain Compliant
If we’ve learned anything over the past decade, it is the power of a hashtag…
#WorkTrends has been on quite an adventure. Over the past 10 years, TalentCulture’s signature podcast has introduced us to great minds in the HR space. We’ve produced over 700 episodes — packed with insights, future-casting and anticipated trends.
We’ve had an incredible range of guests on #WorkTrends, from CEOs to technologists to practitioners, psychologists, data mavens and more. They’ve given us unparalleled perspectives and wisdom on so many subjects — leadership, recruiting, management, recognition, strategizing, coping, thriving. How, where, when, and even why we work is ever-expanding — and we’re proud to say our savvy guests predicted every pivot, and every moment.
In our episodes and in our Twitter chats, we’ve heard some groundbreakers I’ll never forget. Listing the many names would take pages and pages, so to all our guests so far I’ll just say this: Thank you for gracing the #WorkTrends stage with your presence and your brilliance.
And now it’s time to expand these amazing discussions… it is time to release them into the world.
The Power of Change
Even before the massive changes of 2020, TalentCulture was planning our own set of changes: a new website, an expanded community, and a new way to bring #WorkTrends to our growing audience. We recognized that in today’s business world, we’re connecting across digital space more than ever before. And we realized there isn’t a better time than now to broaden our discussions.
So we’re inviting everyone to join the #WorkTrends conversation beyond Twitter — and across more social media channels. We’re taking #WorkTrends to LinkedIn, Facebook, Google and beyond. Of course, you’ll find the same dynamic conversations about key work topics and all the issues that matter. Instead of exclusively through a weekly Twitter chat, though, #WorkTrends will be an ongoing discussion.
We believe the world of work is limitless: it’s a wellspring of energy and engagement. And to honor that, we’re opening the gates.
The Power of a Purposeful Hashtag
#WorkTrends is now a legacy hashtag. It’s become a classic that represents all the best minds and conversations. We’re excited to watch it grow wings — and move across time zones, borders, and barriers. So please join us. It’s going to be another wonderful adventure!
As always, thanks so much for tuning in and being a member of this amazing community. You #inspire me — every day!
https://talentculture.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Headphones-Final.jpg6001018Meghan M. Birohttps://talentculture.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/TCLogo_web-272x60-1.pngMeghan M. Biro2020-09-10 08:15:052021-02-16 20:04:46The Power of a Purposeful Hashtag: #WorkTrends
In an outlook where the future looks bleak, only true leaders guide their team through the storm and come out stronger on the other side. And only the best leaders will focus on employee experience during that storm.
That leader needs to be you.
During an unprecedented crisis such as COVID-19, your leadership becomes even more valuable. With so much uncertainty, your employees will look to you now more than ever for stability.
How Can You Maintain a Positive Employee Experience?
Here’s how you can provide stability for employees while keeping your business operating at maximum efficiency…
1. Foster Transparent Communications
During times of crisis, transparency becomes essential. If your employees think your business is in trouble, they’ll feel anxious.
As the person in charge, you need to keep everyone in the loop. That means sending regular updates about how the business is doing, what problems you’re running into, what you’re doing to deal with them, and more.
2. Keep Communications Positive and Hopeful
Since employees will be expecting to hear from you often, make sure any communications you send out don’t make your employees feel anxious any further.
For example, if you have daily or weekly meetings, start them off by talking about successes within the company. After all, recognizing your employees’ efforts becomes even more important during times of turbulence. And those people and teams recognized will certainly appreciate being recognized, a key aspect in improving overall employee experience.
3. Offer Ways for Your Employees to Relieve Stress
Since the lines between the office and home have become blurred, it can be a smart move to provide your team with ways to relieve stress such as:
Providing your employees with additional time off and breaks if needed.
Setting up team virtual game nights or remote “after-office” clubs. (That said, make sure to be considerate of parents and others who may not have the same flexibility with evening get-togethers.)
Encouraging your team to talk to each other about how they’re handling all the changes. Make it easier to share how colleagues in similar positions are managing — what’s working, what’s not.
Happy employees tend to be better at their jobs. Helping your team relieve stress shows them you care, and it can foster in-office ties.
4. Adjust Your Internal Processes to the “New Normal”
Nothing is the same as it was months ago, so the internal processes that help you deliver products/services and accomplish tasks also need to adapt to the new normal.
For example, now might not be the best time for performance reviews as few people may be thriving during the pandemic.
5. Be Empathetic and Patient with Your Team
The pandemic and near-global quarantines have had a massive impact on most people’s mental health. One of the key reasons is that a lot of employees don’t know if they’ll have a job in a month or two.
On top of being transparent about how things are going within the business, you also need to be patient with your team. Few people are performing at 100% now, so empathy is key.
Don’t simply assume you have empathy. Chat with three to five trusted people for their honest feedback and ask if they perceive a sincere effort to accommodate the team.
6. Ramp Up Employee Feedback
Although you may know your industry inside and out, your team probably has insights that you might not have considered.
If you want to stay ahead of the curve, encourage everyone who works for you to come forward with any feedback they might have. The best way to do that is to provide multiple channels for inbound feedback.
7. Set Up New Channels for Inbound Feedback
Some examples of the types of channels you can set up to encourage employee feedback include:
A business voicemail or business SMS channel set up to receive feedback
By providing multiple channels, you increase the chance employees will share concerns and also information about protocol violations.
8. Promote New Safety Protocols
If part of your team isn’t working remotely, then it’s your job to enforce security protocols.
That means giving your team all the information they need to perform their job safely without adding to their stress levels.
So don’t make it sterile and forgettable. Promote your safety protocols in a fun way that’s “on-brand” and will click with your employees.
9. Help Your Team Recalibrate Expectations
Although it’s your job to ensure that employees don’t feel anxious, you also need to be forthcoming about what the pandemic might mean for the employee experience now and in the future.
Some companies are putting off raises others are cutting hours, and more. Being transparent about what the business is going through will help your team keep their expectations in line.
Your team will have the confidence to adjust if they see a transparent management that is doing everything to keep the ship afloat. And that confidence will become a huge element in their employee experience.
10. Recognize the Small Things
Now more than ever, your employees need to know that you recognize the work and effort they’re putting in.
Without people showing up to work every day (even if it’s from their living room) your company wouldn’t survive. By fostering an environment where hard work is recognized and praised, you can help your team weather the storm.
Your Leadership Can Make the Biggest Difference
No industry is coming out of the pandemic unscathed. So how good your footing is after everything is said and done will depend on the level of stability instilled into your employee experience during these times.
By fostering transparency, encouraging employee engagement, and by being more empathetic, you can ensure that your team knows you’re on their side.
https://talentculture.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Begin-Cup.jpg6001018Mark Zupeehttps://talentculture.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/TCLogo_web-272x60-1.pngMark Zupee2020-09-08 10:00:392021-02-16 18:56:3310 Tips to Stabilize Employee Experience During the Pandemic
Many companies and job titles will go through drastic changes due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The HR sector and the people working in it will undoubtedly experience some of them. Here are five things people can anticipate regarding HR after COVID-19 — as well as during it:
1. Companies Will Show Employee Appreciation Differently
Even while people love working from home, many find it difficult to get through their days without the fist bumps, handshakes and pats on the back that often accompanied their most productive, successful days in offices. These changes mean HR departments may need to find alternative ways to thank employees for their hard work.
Hani Goldstein is the co-founder and CEO of Snappy Gifts, a company specializing in employee recognition products. She noted, “Working from home can be an isolating and disorienting experience for most of today’s workforce who are used to seeing their peers every day at the office.”
It’s also more challenging for employees to strike that all-important work-life balance. “Hours that were once dedicated to fun activities have been replaced with more work and increased responsibilities,” Goldstein explained. These things mean employers need to show their gratitude differently. Whether that means having team appreciation parties over virtual platforms or sending workers online gift cards, HR representatives must figure out safe, effective ways to express thanks.
2. Remote Hiring and Recruitment Practices Will Gain Momentum
Some analysts predicted remote methods would change hiring and recruitment methods long before COVID-19 impacted the world. They were right to some extent, especially as HR professionals realized doing things remotely cut out potential hassles like travel arrangements. Remote platforms let companies extend their hiring and recruitment reach instead of only looking for candidates in the immediate area.
HR after COVID-19 will likely prominently feature remote platforms and approaches. Suppose a human resources professional or recruitment expert can gauge a person’s candidacy for a role via a teleconferencing platform. That method saves time compared to bringing a person into the office.
Some remote interviews are for work-at-home jobs. However, if a person gets hired for a position at a physical location, companies may require that the new hire tests negative for the novel coronavirus before arriving.
3. Contracts Will Include COVID-19-Related Specifications More Often
As professionals navigate this new normal and ponder what it means for the future of HR, they should consider how the pandemic might impact their employment contracts. For example, a company might remove a line that guarantees the worker a certain number of hours per week to work, especially if the industry will experience the effects of the pandemic for the foreseeable future.
One emerging trend — especially seen in the construction sector — concerns the addition of force majeure clausesrelated to the pandemic in contracts. Those cover the natural and unavoidable disasters preventing a party from fulfilling a contract’s terms. However, it is not sufficient for that entity to claim it was inconvenient to meet the contract’s terms. Courts look at several variables, including whether the conditions made working impossible.
Contracts may also state that workers must report their COVID-19 riskor agree to get screened. Drug screenings are already commonplace, and the same could become true for coronavirus tests. Legal experts and HR representatives are still working out the specifics of contracts in light of the global health crisis. However, people should expect to see some noticeable changes in contractual language soon.
4. HR Representatives May Need to Reserve More Time for Training
The pandemic forced workplaces to adjust rapidly to new procedures to keep people safe. Cleaning happens more thoroughly and frequently, and many companies reduce or eliminate the time employees spend in close quarters. Customer-facing businesses also must adopt new procedures for keeping guests safe.
Human resources professionals regularly schedule training sessions. However, they may need to do that more often or for larger workforce segments due to COVID-19. Some businesses invested in robots to help workers or wearable gadgets to ensure that people stay far enough apart while on the job. It could take a while for some workers to adjust to those things, although dedicated training efforts could help.
If all or most of a workforce shifts to remote working, HR representatives may deem it necessary to plan training sessions that spell out safe practices online and give people tips for staying productive. Many employees now have to work in ways they hadn’t imagined. HR professionals cannot remove all the obstacles, but taking the time to educate the workers about what’s new could relieve the stresses they feel.
5. Businesses Will Adjust Their Time-Off Policies According to Government Guidance
The need to isolate confirmed or suspected coronavirus cases poses challenges for HR professionals who may already face workplace shortages for other reasons. However, following government guidance on that matter remains crucial. Workplace leaders must also stay abreast of recent changes.
For example, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently updated the guidance about workers caring for themselves at home after symptom onset. The most recent recommendation is that people can come back to work if at least 10 days pass since symptoms began and they stay fever-free for at least 24 hours after their body temperatures initially return to normal without medication. Their non-fever symptoms must also improve.
The CDC previously set the fever-resolution component of that three-prong test at 72 hours, so the change represents a significant reduction. These specifics mean companies may begin implementing time-off periods that people can use specifically for reasons connected to the virus. Doing that keeps people safer by minimizing the likelihood that they feel tempted to work while feeling unwell.
The Evolving Future of HR
No one knows the pandemic’s time frame, so it’s impossible to say for sure how things will change. However, the five things mentioned here are solid predictions, especially since some workplaces have already adopted the changes.
https://talentculture.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Laptop.jpg6001018Devin Partidahttps://talentculture.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/TCLogo_web-272x60-1.pngDevin Partida2020-09-01 10:00:142021-02-16 19:58:325 Ways COVID-19 Will Continue to Change HR
A large component of any work culture is how managers assess and review employee performance and chart progress. Given the remote and hybrid nature of so many workplaces today, the approach is evolving — from top-down, unilateral, formal reviews to more dynamic and continual conversations. We’re seeing an increasing need for transparency and authenticity, and for recognizing how important it is for managers to reach out to employees — not just around a series of tasks accomplished, but around overall contributions to the organization and their own sense of goals and performance. Check-ins enable managers and employees to do just that. They create a framework of interaction and communication through a continuous cycle, and are proving far more effective than traditional reviews. They’re becoming a hallmark of modern talent management, and for good reason.
Done well, check-ins build a dynamic relationship between manager and employee that increases engagement, enhances employee experience, and organically aligns employee and employer goals. But they need to be conducted not as check-ups, but as two-way interactions focused on trust as well as growth.
The Value of Trust
For those already doing them right, check-ins with employees are focused on growth, albeit in small doses. It’s not hard to connect a cadence of conversations that include feedback, advice and dialogue to the development of our employees after all. But trust is just as key: all successful relationships are built on trust, especially in today’s workplace. It’s human nature to reject feedback and advice from someone we don’t trust, and that extends readily into the workplace. Without trust, the check-in process would fail before it started.
As with any other HR strategy there are best practices for conducting check-ins, whether from home or the office. Recently I sat down with TalentCulture’s Meghan M. Biro to level-set on seven critical factors that can standardize your check-in strategy — without diminishing either responsiveness or flexibility:
Approach: Check-ins are not about a top-down, unilateral approach. While the role of managers has always entailed authority and supervision, when it comes to check-ins, managers need to scale back that dynamic.
Replace the reflex to be assertive with a focus on the employee. Truly understand what makes them tick; this means listening to their thoughts, opinions and concerns and acting on them. Research by the Harvard Business Review shows that the more you listen to employees, the better they think you are at giving feedback, and so the more likely they are to trust what you say.
Purpose: Check-ins embody a shift in purpose. They depart from the static occasion of traditional reviews to setting up a highly effective and ongoing dynamic geared to building trust and fostering growth.
Dave Ulrich articulated the shift in his book, Victory Through Organization: “The foundational assumption is that feedback is not a leader’s side-responsibility; it is the leader’s primary work.” Instead of thinking of a check-in as an isolated moment or a mini-performance review, consider it a touchpoint on the employee lifecycle; an interaction that’s part of an ongoing conversation.
Frequency: Establish a cadence of check-ins that adapts to the circumstance, the context, and the nature of your work culture. Pre-COVID, our advice was to conduct check-ins around every 4 to 6 weeks. But these are uncertain times — and they call for increased communication that’s aligned and consistent with the organizational message, culture and values. The bottom line is that you can’t overcommunicate.
Your check-ins can take various forms, from a regular update focused on clarification and feedback; to a more comprehensive appraisal of performance (emphasizing personal development and employee contribution); to a marker of key events, such as onboarding, a promotion, a secondment, or even the shift to remote. But don’t do away with ad-hoc check-ins either. Employees and managers should be able to simply initiate a check-in regardless of whether it’s on the calendar.
Approachability: Both parties should remain open and responsive within the context of a check-in. But that hinges on successfully building that foundation of trust: trust must be in place first in order for both parties to commit effectively. For managers, that means creating a sense of trust in the first place. Two simple ways to build trust: first, make it clear that either the manager or the employee is free to request a check-in at any time, for any reason — whether a formal discussion or a quick catch up. Second, whatever is covered, make it a conversation, in which you combine a review of tasks with questions about overall state of mind, and give the employee plenty of room to answer. Listening to your team members reinforces the fact that check-ins are not an exercise in powerplay, but on the contrary, a forum for two adults to meet on equal terms.
In my discussion with Meghan, she pointed out the value of flattening the expected hierarchy: “For employees who may be used to taking a passive role in their own professional development, check-ins change the game. Instead of receiving advice and feedback, they get to play a lead role in assessing and guiding their own development.” This means it’s incumbent upon employees to not just discuss how the work is going, but also focus on the direction they want to be heading in, and the skills they need to get there.This dynamic empowers employees, strengthening their performance and loyalty.
Addressing the whole person: The manager needs to continually remind themselves that the check-in is not just about the job at hand. It’s not about a singular project. It needs to happen with an eye on the bigger picture, and the employee as a whole person, particularly right now. As well as addressing an employee’s performance and contributions, use the check-in time to reinforce a sense of social connection and foster the essential relationships we all need and depend on to work.
Go beyond this, addressing any safety concerns the employee may have, which are so common as we navigate the minefield of COVID-19. Discuss the future in terms of a trajectory, not a fixed point, including what kinds of skills and behaviors need to be developed and supported. And use deeper questions to address aspects of wellness and health. Employers have a duty of care, and the more we all experience the integration of work and life, the more check-ins can play a helpful role.
Language: This is not just a matter of tone; it’s also a matter of clarity. Managers in particular need to focus on how to clarify and improve their language during check-ins, and be accountable for what you say as well as how to say it. What’s come to the fore during the shift to remote as well as the increased pressure on essential workers is that we need interactions that convey a clear perception of what is expected and how we are performing.
That should seem a simple matter, but the nature of remote and hybrid working is that we’re communicating across multiple channels that may not deliver the same way as face to face. As Meghan pointed out, “Tone and language are more important than ever, and they’re harder to get right when we’re working virtually.” Managers should purposefully practice conducting check-ins until they’re comfortable enough that the action becomes a habit.
Measuring the change: Effective check-ins offer two dimensions of measurable impact over time. There’s the personal impact, or developmental path, and a business impact, or performance/contribution. Managers and leaders have a duty to effectively enable the workforce to achieve a high-high combination, in which both aspects see growth:
We’re been witnessing a sea change in how we work for a while. We’ve seen a shift to teams as the essential unit of operations, as opposed to individuals collected under a supervisor. We’ve seen a new emphasis on democratizing data. Further, there’s been a marked increase in the ability to work remotely. All have raised the bar on what constitutes a great work culture. The situation we find ourselves in now has put the onus on better communication overall, including how we provide feedback to employees, and even whether or not “providing” is the right term. We’re seeing the fruits of allowing both parties to be actively involved in feedback and reviews, and we’re seeing the benefits of grounding these conversations in trust and framing them as a continuing cycle rather than a rare event.
Check-ins are a powerfully effective tool for inviting employees to own their own growth and contribution in your organization. They provide a means to build and maintain better manager-employee relationships, align around shared goals, and turn the workplace into a high-performing, engaged community.
We’re thrilled to announce that our newly revamped website is now live! In keeping with our mission, it offers the insights that empower HR, the community, and workforce to become better leaders and partners in the modern workplace. But now it offers much more.
We kicked off the redesign with some key objectives: to feature our expanding services, boost site navigation and accessibility, add more relevant articles and inspiration, and put HR innovations at your fingertips. You’ll find plenty new and improved, from the HR Tech Awards to the Newsletter Archives; from Webinars to the great featured content so many of you come to TalentCulture to read. You can still download our #WorkTrends podcasts wherever you listen, customize your search, and access our media kit and contributor guidelines as well. HR Resources gives even more opportunities to immerse yourself in TalentCulture — and become part of our extended and treasured community of writers, leaders, thinkers, experts and practitioners.
We understand that user experience is vital — more so than ever — and we’re so proud of this new platform. So please, go explore. We cordially invite you to click around, learn, experience the site, and grow your network by joining our community. We’re excited you’ve stopped by, and we’d love to hear from you!
https://talentculture.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/tc-blog-new-website.png6001018TalentCulture Teamhttps://talentculture.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/TCLogo_web-272x60-1.pngTalentCulture Team2020-06-16 11:25:222021-02-16 20:48:30TalentCulture’s New Look: Announcing Our New Website!
As some states ease lockdown restrictions and America begins to return to work, some businesses eager to reopen their doors facing a whole new headache: fear of their potential liability. Incurring a lawsuit due to possibly exposing employees and customers to the virus is a driving concern for employers; so much so that it’s become a point of contention among federal lawmakers as they hammer out a second coronavirus relief bill.
Businesses and their advocates, such as the U.S. and local Chambers of Commerce and trade associations, are demanding assurances that employers who follow state and federal safety guidelines will have legal protection. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business leaders want Congress to give employers immunity from COVID-related lawsuits as they reopen their businesses, except in cases of gross negligence or wanton misconduct. Failure to do so, they insist, will make an already bad situation worse for many enterprises.
The Chamber’s chief policy officer, Neil Bradley, recently told CNN: “The fear is that small businesses will do all of the right things that public health officials tell them to do, and then someone gets sick and contracts Covid-19 and sues the employer.” The organization insists the concern is not merely theoretical, as it claims that several hundred lawsuits have already been filed.
To guard against liability, legal experts have been advising companies to implement COVID-related safety measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and state and local governments. OSHA provides regularly updated guidance on appropriate health and safety measures for different industries, an enforcement response plan for handling COVID-19-related workplace complaints and illness reports made to OSHA, and a set of standards and directives for preventing worker exposure to the virus.
The New Normal
What all this will mean is a new normal for the American workforce. Going to the office will now likely entail being required to wear a face mask, having your temperature checked as you enter your building every day, and maybe even your blood tested before you are cleared to return.
As for the post-lockdown Covid-19 workplace, this is new and uncharted territory. Labor and employment attorneys warn that employers should be careful about how they treat employees who refuse to return to work over safety concerns, especially in such sectors as the service industry, because disciplining them could lead to charges of retaliation.
Helping Employees Stay Well
Up to 64 percent of salaried U.S. employees are currently working from home, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). For safety reasons, many may wish to continue doing so even after state stay-at-home orders are lifted. Then there is the issue of widespread school closings, which have raised concerns about child care. For workers willing to return to the office, companies are advised to stagger shifts, reconfigure their workspace, install plastic dividers between workers when six feet of separation cannot be maintained, and raise cubicle walls.
More stringent measures are being rolled out in hard-hit places like New York City, such as taking people’s temperatures with thermal cameras as they enter office buildings. Some U.S. employers also may follow the lead of major European companies: Ferrari is testing their staff’s blood for Covid-19 antibodies before they can return to work, for instance. In the U.S., Wynn Resorts in Las Vegas has opened a virus testing center in preparation for reopening in late May; staff from the University Medical Center will test employees for free. Toyota’s plan to restart production entails staggered shifts, distributing personal protective equipment (PPE) to workers and conducting daily temperature screenings.
As businesses look for ways to keep their employees healthy and productive, their allies are demanding the federal government provide a consistent, uniform set of workplace health and safety guidelines instead of relying on a state-by-state patchwork. According to the Business Roundtable: “Americans want to feel confident returning to work and being in public spaces, and employers who operate in multiple states and want to keep their employees and customers safe need the clarity that consistent guidelines provide.”
Contention Over Workers’ Comp
Since workers’ compensation laws usually cover “occupational diseases” contracted at work as well as physical injuries, some states are looking at their workers’ comp programs as a way to assist employees who contract Covid-19 on the job. Florida is acting to ensure that workers in high-risk occupations are eligible for workers’ comp benefits if they become infected in the course of their work.
Typically, an employee who makes a workers’ comp claim must prove that the injury or infection happened in the workplace. If their claim is successful, they cannot collect state unemployment benefits. Nor can they later file a negligence lawsuit against their employer.
But the business community is pushing back, arguing that expanding Covid-19 workers’ comp protections for non-frontline workers or first responders will increase costs for employers who are already struggling enough. In Illinois, business groups successfully rejected the expansion of coverage for non-healthcare workers, claiming that amending laws could create an automatic presumption that an employee contracted the virus at work. Instead, the U.S. Chamber and others propose shifting the burden of protections to government programs — specifically the expanded Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program that’s part of the federal CARES Act.
And in the meantime, what is clear to all sides is that the pandemic brings tremendous uncertainty, no matter how, and when employees return to work. With nearly two-thirds of all salaried employees working remotely, employers may have to curtail their expectations on what the workforce is willing — or able to do, at least until a Covid-19 vaccine is developed and available. And that could be more than a year away.
https://talentculture.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Factory.jpg476860Cyndy Trivellahttps://talentculture.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/TCLogo_web-272x60-1.pngCyndy Trivella2020-05-18 18:33:422020-08-06 17:27:45Rebooting After Covid-19: Employer Liability Concerns
Over the last few months, there’s been a lot of talk about the current situation of forced remote work and its impact on employee collaboration, productivity and engagement. This is a legitimate concern and one that I myself, as a CEO, am tackling. But the discussion has largely been focused on desk-based employees, who typically sit in front of a computer and can perform their jobs from anywhere in the world as long as they have a laptop and WiFi connection.
Frontline workers, however, are in a completely different boat. They don’t sit in front of a computer all day; they often work long shifts (sometimes 12 hours or more); they’re the first and last points of interaction with customers. Most importantly, frontline workers aren’t accustomed to interacting and communicating with their managers and HQ leaders via face-to-face meetings.
With COVID-19 leading to country-wide lockdowns and social distancing rules, the entire world is dependent on frontline workers for essential services, such as stocking groceries, shipping online orders, providing healthcare and transportation. That means longer work shifts, more uncertainties about their roles and more stress for frontline workers. As this happens, staying informed and getting regular feedback will be essential to navigate through these uncertain times.
Subpar Onboarding Experience Can Prompt Early Turnover
According to a recent article on the Muse, companies like Kroger, Unilever, GSK, Wells Fargo, UnitedHealth Group, Instacart, Deutsche Bank and Asana are still continuing with their hiring plans amidst the current crisis. This is due in large part to the fact that these businesses provide ‘essential’ services and goods. But what happens once these frontline workers are hired? What will their onboarding look like? How prepared are HR teams to digitally adapt their onboarding processes?
When we asked HR professionals to cite their biggest challenge with onboarding remote and distributed employees, the top two responses were ‘making them feel like part of the team’ (17 percent) and ‘providing clarity and context about role expectations and career growth’ (17 percent). Following close behind, 15 percent cited ‘integrating into company culture’ as the biggest challenge, while 13 percent struggle to establish communication norms. If you look at these responses, it’s clear that onboarding plays a major role in employee satisfaction, career development, fulfilment, engagement and retention. But for most employees, being able to physically interact with managers, colleagues and leaders can go a long way in making them feel like part of the team and forge relationships with coworkers. So, if virtual onboarding sessions are too drawn out, dull, uninspired, new hires could end being early leavers.
Turnover is not a new problem for organizations. Early turnover, however, is even more troublesome, with 20 percent of employees leaving with their first 45 days of employment. Our study’s findings indicate that HR teams, who are faced with onboarding thousands of employees virtually, could see an increase in early turnover. And the culprit could very well be HR’s inability to virtually onboard new employees in a way that’s just as informative, interactive and engaging as it would be if it were conducted in-person.
More Direct Feedback Supports Better Job Stability
As our study found, it can be tough to communicate and engage with remote and distributed workforces. For example, a mere 8 percent of the surveyed HR professionals said they keep a regular cadence of one-to-one meetings with remote workers, while only 12 percent commit to a communication charter. On top of this, 15 percent of HR professionals said they struggle to provide regular feedback on performance and career development.
These findings are troubling for a few reasons. First, frontline workers are currently being pushed to the limits. As the pressure mounts, it will be more important than ever to provide a safe space for frontline workers to vent their frustrations, voice their concerns and ask important questions related to their roles and responsibilities. But if their managers and HR teams don’t make themselves available for these one-to-one conversations, you can bet it will manifest itself in lower productivity, less cross-team collaboration and potentially worse performance. So managers need to carve out time in their schedules and virtually meet one-to-one with their teams on the frontline. Even if it’s a 10-minute check-in twice a week, this could help frontline workers feel less stressed and get clarification about their role and tasks. The more clarity they get, the better they’ll perform their jobs, which will lead to better customer satisfaction, loyalty and future sales. While these are positive outcomes for the businesses that employ frontline workers, it will also help frontline workers prove their value and maintain job stability during unstable times.
Digital-First Culture Engages Frontline Workers
According to Stephen Redwood, principal at Deloitte Consulting LLP, “At digital-first organizations, people, processes and structures are all focused on optimizing digital so companies can be more productive.” I agree wholeheartedly. And this is especially true for frontline workers, who rely on mobile devices, communications apps, productivity apps and collaboration apps to stay connected, get relevant updates about the business and their roles, schedule meetings with their managers, among other things.
What does a digital-first culture look like? For one, it’s one that isn’t reliant on face-to-face meetings. For example, companies with a large number of frontline workers should hold virtual all-hands meetings twice a week at least. Reserve one of the two weekly all-hands meetings solely for Q&A with the staff. Let your frontline workers ask any questions they want — be it about how the coronavirus outbreak may impact job stability (i.e. layoffs, furloughs), plans for hiring, or anything else. Don’t make the virtual all-hands meetings excessively long — keep them to 30 minutes maximum so that you can keep your frontline workers engaged, without interrupting their work too much.
Another way to help frontline workers integrate with the company culture (especially in the midst of a crisis) is to have managers share a weekly message of motivation. By posting this type of message into designated Slack channels, teams can start their days with a positive attitude and still feel a sense of connection to their fellow colleagues, teams, managers and leadership.
To make a digital-first culture work, it has to come from the top down. Leadership needs to believe in the value of digital tools for driving employee collaboration and engagement. Beyond that, getting buy-in from the C-suite will require proving how digital tools will help maintain business continuity, increase customer satisfaction (and repeat purchases) and drive revenue growth.
https://talentculture.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Connecting-During-Crisis-Engaging-Your-Frontline-Workforce.jpg567850Renato Proficohttps://talentculture.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/TCLogo_web-272x60-1.pngRenato Profico2020-05-08 17:00:582020-06-06 14:32:31Connecting During Crisis: Engaging Your Frontline Workforce
The impacts of COVID-19 and the measures governments and organizations are taking to contain it right now are unprecedented. The hourly breaking news headlines of outbreaks and cancellations have our heads spinning. They have also kept the wellness of our families, friends, and co-workers top of mind. Companies like Google led the way in implementing work-from-home policies to keep their employees safe; now remote work is mandatory as part of stay-home, stay-safe policies.
Organizations should certainly follow CDC guidelines to keep their employees safe and prevent the virus from spreading. It’s imperative that companies stay cognizant of the risks the virus brings. We must also heed the short-term precautions that need to occur to keep employees healthy. But after this health crisis passes, think about how your company can keep employees healthy into the future.
Millennials — now the largest generation in the American workforce, and Gen Z are health-conscious employees who are choosing to work at companies that care about their well-being. That’s not going to change after the COVID-19 crisis is over; it will only intensify. These generations are more open and aware of mental and physical health: too many watched their parents sacrifice personal time, missing end-of-year recitals and Friday-night games due to job commitments.
Young professionals are willing to work hard, of course. But they want their employers to understand that there’s life outside of the 9-to-5 grind. They prefer to exchange their energy, education, and expertise for modern benefits — including company-based wellness programs. Organizations have taken notice, but many executives question which wellness program initiatives will offer the strongest return on investment.
Here are six possibilities that can have far-reaching positive effects.
1. On- and Off-Site Fitness Accessibility
Once we’re done with stay-at-home and social-distancing measures, everyone is going to need to move. Younger generations know that the couch potato lifestyle isn’t a winning choice. Businesses that offer on-site wellness centers or access to personal trainers or group fitness classes illustrate to young workers that they see them as people, not numbers.
If on-site facilities aren’t possible? Consider partnering with a local fitness center. Perhaps offer free or reduced-cost memberships for your employees. Or you can secure a corporate rate for ClassPass. That way, employees can choose the location and activity, such as spin class, yoga, boxing, and more. If you do end up partnering with a gym? Make sure it operates outside of traditional business hours. Otherwise, employees probably won’t take advantage of this corporate wellness program benefit.
And for a no-cost option, create a company walking club and set a day and time during the week for folks to participate.
2. Wellness Challenges
Most young workers are accustomed to socializing with coworkers , and wellness challenges allow them to collectively march toward a common goal. What’s more, according to a study of the Blue Zones, which are the world’s healthiest regions, feeling like you belong to a community is critical to long-term health. We’re seeing that play out right now in an explosion of online exercise classes and social media challenges. A return to normal will mean a return to community wellness.
Create wellness challenges around healthy living — for instance, ask participants to record how many ounces of water they drink each day or clock the miles that their walking group racks up in a week.
Make sure to publicize progress and give a shout-out to winners on your internal landing page, intranet, or other private communication channels. As you drum up excitement, you’ll see more people join in for upcoming challenges. Take it a step further and highlight employees who participate in 5Ks, marathons, triathlons, and other challenges in your monthly newsletter.
3. Flexible Hours
There are countless predictions about how we’ll return to work, and many posit that remote and flexible working will become the norm. Flextime should be considered part of a company’s wellness program. Research confirms that employees who are empowered to balance their personal and professional expectations are more productive, less stressed, and have a greater sense of well-being.
Before you roll out flexible work options, however, sit down with your leadership team to develop an intentional strategy. This will ensure you address any questions or concerns beforehand. Together, you can construct clear guardrails around the initiative, including defining the boundaries of flextime for employees. If you’re still unsure about flexible hours, test it with a small group of employees first. This way, you’ll have time to work out any kinks before rolling it out on a company-wide level.
4. Healthy Snacks
Everyone needs to eat, and free snacks and drinks are a great benefit that employees can see and enjoy immediately. Perhaps that’s why 32% of companies already offer this benefit, according to a report by SHRM. The wrong foods, however, can lead to a workforce that’s prone to energy crashes and food comas.
Skip the soda and chips and, instead, provide treats that taste great but don’t include added sugars, saturated fats, or excessive sodium. Consider having fresh fruit, vegetables, and an assortment of nuts delivered to the office weekly and placed in the lunchroom. Offering free healthy food also dovetails nicely with other elements of your wellness program — like gym memberships or personal training.
5. In-Office Preventive Health Screenings
Too many people put their personal health on the back burner so they can juggle busy work schedules and family obligations. A 2019 poll found that nearly 40% of American adults weren’t planning on getting a flu shot, and a national survey of 1,200 adults found that 45% of those between the ages of 18 and 29 did not have a primary care physician — an alarming issue when it comes to getting care during a health crisis.
It doesn’t have to be this way. To streamline preventive measures that may be covered by your corporate health insurance, invite medical professionals into the office once or twice a year to give flu shots and perform biometric screenings. Not only will doing so make life easier for employees, but it will also reduce the likelihood of employees getting the flu — which will save you a lot in illness-related lost productivity costs.
6. Mindfulness Meetings
Teaching your team members meditation techniques — such as how to breathe deeply and clear their heads — can have widespread corporate wellness program benefits. Practicing mindfulness can help workers lower anxiety and remain more present. One study even discovered a connection between meditation and how willing people are to help others.
If you’re unsure where to start, check out YouTube, where you’ll find hundreds of beginner tutorials and walk-throughs. After some simple research, you can reasonably self-direct mindfulness workshops. Or you can have a brown bag meeting and bring in a yoga instructor to teach people about breathing techniques and meditation. Additionally, there are numerous meditation apps on the market, including Calm and Headspace.
The popularity of wellness programs continues to rise among companies of all sizes — probably because more employees expect their employers to respect and care about their well-being. Of course you are doing everything right now to keep employees safe. But once this crisis is over, commit to offering long-term solutions to help your people stay healthy.
https://talentculture.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/erik-mclean-gya5Dr6XldI-unsplash.jpg321845Antonio Barrazahttps://talentculture.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/TCLogo_web-272x60-1.pngAntonio Barraza2020-04-29 09:30:262020-12-28 16:17:52After COVID-19: Improving Your Employee Wellness Program
Working from home is a necessity for many of us right now. It’s a critical way to help flatten the curve, for one. It can also have its appeal even during this unprecedented, harrowing crisis that faces us all. But being productive at home even under the best of circumstances — without remote schooling, sick loved ones, relentlessly bad news, and economic turmoil — can be a challenge.
Full disclosure: I have been working remotely since well before COVID-19; many of my colleagues do as well. We’re old pros at this (not really old, but you get the point). But even those who have been doing it for years know productivity is not just a robotic process. Sometimes we need to detach to refocus. Sometimes we need a better chair. So I collected some of the best practices for being productive and staying focused while you work at home. As we weather this pandemic — a sentence who among us ever thought we’d be writing — here are proven tips for boosting your productivity:
1. Recognize these are not normal times.
The stress of great expectations can be crippling to our ability to focus right now. Anxiety is also a known productivity-crusher. My advice: acknowledge these are not ideal conditions to shift your operations to the home office / kitchen / kids’ room. My colleague, Meghan, calls it the “new not normal.” We’re stressed and distracted and overburdened; we may be parenting and caregiving as we’re conference calling. Remembering that we’re all in this together, and there’s a great purpose to it all can be a powerful way to defuse that tension headache brewing as you try to conquer that memo.
2. Go with your flow.
Work with your natural flow of mental, physical, and emotional energy that happens in the course of a day. Everyone’s different. The friction of pushing back against fatigue uses way too much energy, and that’s energy you should be conserving to sit back down. So the next time you feel tired and sleepy, don’t ignore it. Your brain chemistry is saying it’s time to take a break. Like any organism, it can only run high gear for a while. After that, the ratio between potassium and sodium gets out of balance and that’s when you start losing focus.
3. Take better breaks.
It’s not just the act of taking a break that’s key to productivity; it’s also the kind of break we take. You’ve just been facing a screen for three hours and then you decided (wisely) to get up and give yourself ten minutes. Where do you head? LIkely, to another screen. Too many of us turn to our smartphones and check in on social media. But that’s no way to rest our brains. If you take a microbreak from your computer screen, make it a microbreak away from any screen. Go for a walk, stretch, or meditate: even meditating for a few minutes can be extremely effective.
4. Smooth out the distractions.
A professor of Informatics at UC Irvine found that distractions aren’t just momentary little hiccups: they can seriously detract from your ability to concentrate. It can take an average of 25 minutes to regroup after a 30-second jump to check Twitter, for instance. Repeatedly checking inboxes and social media also breaks the all-important flow state of creativity that’s required to successfully complete a complex task. Even taking a few seconds to answer a text can derail your focus and lead to errors. Given the digital array we’re all working on now, it may be hard to ignore the constant flow of communications from your co-workers. But if you have a project you need to attend to, consider signing off — at least for half an hour. You’ll get farther with it, faster.
5. Take a longer break.
Many of us have a crowded household and several needs pulling at us from all directions. It can feel as if you’re moving from conference call to homework table to snack making to the next meeting. Break that seamless feeling by going for longer breaks that take you entirely out of the routine. As well as microbreaks, make sure you get at least one macro break during your workday. A twenty-minute walk can increase the release of endorphins that naturally improve your mood and reduce stress levels. It’s also a great way to clear your head.
6. Track your moods and energy levels.
Knowing how to pace yourself will come with time, but it’s worth it to monitor yourself over the course of a workweek. The goal is not just to work well over the duration, but also to avoid burnout — by not pushing yourself so hard you’re completely depleted. Take an average day (if there is one). Every hour, write down what you do, whether or not you were focused for the whole hour, your mood, and your energy level. Use a 1-10 scale for energy and mood — keep it simple. What interruptions happened, and how long did it take you to get back to working? When did you break to drink or eat? Then, repeat it the next day, and the next. You can also find a time tracker app, though the act of writing something down on paper has the added benefit of getting you off the screen. At the end of a few days or a week, gather the data. See what you’ve got.
From those insights, see what small changes you can make to improve the low mood and low energy times. Might be more breakfast, meditation, a later lunch, a longer walk, more exercise, more water. And look at the high mood and high energy times and see if you can shift your schedule, so the toughest tasks are done at those times. Even minor adjustments can have tremendous results.
Finding our working rhythms in this time of crisis and anxieties isn’t necessarily the first thing that comes to mind. We may be more concerned with where we’re going to go, in a noisy apartment for the next meeting, or getting the Internet to go a little… faster. But what we learn now about our own work habits will last the rest of our careers. And you’ll always remember that during self-quarantine, you found out you’re really not a morning person — and you don’t need caffeine, or just the opposite. Taking care of yourself means taking care of your ability to get your work done, too. I wish you good luck and good workdays!
https://talentculture.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/norbert-levajsics-D97n3LR5uN8-unsplash-scaled.jpg12801920Cyndy Trivellahttps://talentculture.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/TCLogo_web-272x60-1.pngCyndy Trivella2020-04-21 08:20:222020-06-04 15:21:16How to Work Productively During COVID-19
It seems like the world is constantly changing day to day as we learn more about the global pandemic we’re facing with COVID-19. None of us know for sure what’s going to happen a week from now, or even a few days from now. But if you have employees depending on you, it’s important to stay in constant communication with them, even when you don’t have all the answers. Your employees want to know you’re in this with them, and at a time when you can’t exactly meet with them, communicating by video is likely the safest bet. But what’s the best way to do that, and how can you ensure your video is addressing the right points and not getting interrupted by technical difficulties, such as poor streaming quality?
These four tips include the best strategies for employing corporate communications via video during a crisis:
Communicate Early and Often
You might not have all the answers right now, but that doesn’t mean you should delay communicating with your employees. In fact, if you waited until you knew everything there is to know about COVID-19 or other crises you might face, your corporate communications would be nonexistent. Your employees don’t expect you to have all the answers; they just want to be clued in on what you know. And considering that Gartner found that more people are listening to brands and corporations than politicians these days, it’s important that you get out your message as soon as possible. Your employees are waiting to hear from you.
So as soon as you’re aware of the next steps your company is taking, communicate your plans to your team. Try to provide any updates by video every couple of days. And if you’re still working on solutions, let your employees know so they have some idea of what might happen. You might even want to let them provide their input on your decisions through a live video meeting that allows the whole company to watch and offer feedback at the same time. Just be sure you have the technology in place to handle this, to ensure your video streams smoothly without crashing any networks.
Focus on the Facts
No matter how often you communicate with employees, be sure to stick to the facts that will affect them. This means you shouldn’t try to speculate on what may or may not happen. You don’t want to give unfounded or inaccurate information, and you definitely don’t want to cause panic among your employees, so avoid any doom and gloom talk.
Instead, offer accurate information that directly affects your employees, such as what you’re doing to protect them, or which day your offices will be closing if that’s the plan. You should also steer them toward the websites of reputable resources, such as the World Health Organization (WHO) or the CDC. You want your employees to not only be properly informed, but also know where to go if they want to research further.
Be Authentic and Engaging
According to Recruiter, 33% of employees said a lack of open, honest communication has the most negative impact on employee morale. Experts tend to agree that the most trusted type of communication is face to face. This way, your audience can see your nonverbal cues and study your facial expressions to determine if you’re being genuine while you deliver your message. And that is very important for corporate communications during a crisis. Of course, in-person meetings are out while COVID-19 is a major concern, which is why video is your best option if you want face-to-face communication with your employees.
The good news is that video is extremely engaging, and superior engagement is important when you’re communicating with an audience during a crisis. Consider the fact that the average video viewer remembers 95% of the message he or she just watched, but only 10% of the message he or she just read. Plus, employees are 75% more likely to watch a video than read an email, blog post, or other documents. So you have a better chance of getting your message across with a video when you want to reach your employees. As long as you and your team are authentic and empathetic during the video, engagement shouldn’t be an issue.
Analyze Your Video Engagement
You already know your engagement will be higher when you communicate via video. But exactly how much engagement did you get with your latest video, and how did it compare to the video you created before that? Is there a way to improve your video communications before you release another one? You’ll get answers to these questions when you start using analytics for all your corporate videos.
Basically, you need to know how many people watched your video, how many people stopped watching halfway through, what the streaming quality was like, and more. Knowing these metrics can pinpoint how to improve the next video you release to employees. And considering that you need to be communicating often during a crisis, it’s helpful to get the metrics right away and quickly apply the insights to your next video.
The easiest way to analyze your videos is by using an analytics service. This service should offer a range of statistics on your videos, like aggregated event metrics that can tell you details that include viewer participation, viewing time, quality of experience, network impact, streaming performance, and more. Analytics can also give you ranking lists, text and map-based filtering, and network visualizations that tell you how live streaming video has impacted your network.
When you have the right corporate communications strategy in place during a crisis, you have the power to reassure your employees during tough times. This can keep company-wide panic to a minimum and ensure your employees can put their trust in your business. Video communications will help you inform and engage your employees, but your videos have to be of good quality to be effective. And video analytics will tell you if they are — or if you need to change a few details in order to better reach and reassure your team.
https://talentculture.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/evgeni-tcherkasski-SHA85I0G8K4-unsplash-scaled.jpg12811920Johan Ljungberghttps://talentculture.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/TCLogo_web-272x60-1.pngJohan Ljungberg2020-04-17 16:53:262020-08-06 17:21:33Corporate Communications During A Crisis
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