The Case For and Against Salary Transparency

With more attention on gender and racial wage gaps in the workplace, some companies are left wondering whether pay transparency will help them achieve pay equality or cause more divides in the workplace.

Women’s rights advocates have urged companies to adopt full pay transparency policies — meaning that employees know what each of their colleagues make — as a tool to close pay gap, which is even worse for women of color. While white women in the U.S. on average earn 79% of what white men make, black women earn 63% of what white men make, Native American women bring in 57%, and Hispanic women — 54%, according to a 2018 report from the American Association of University Women.

But others fear pay transparency could spark jealousy among employees and reduce the number of staffers a company can hire. Pay transparency is still relatively rare in the private sector, according to Stephanie Penner, a senior partner at consulting firm Mercer, which works with companies on these issues. About 17% of private companies practice pay transparency, while 41% discourage and 25% explicitly prohibit discussion of salary information, according to a December 2017 report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

But is pay transparency actually beneficial to employees and employers? Here’s what the experts say.

What are the benefits of pay transparency?
Employees might be happier
Companies like Whole Foods and New-York based analytics firm SumAll have adopted salary transparency policies. Buffer, a social media startup, took transparency a step further by publishing all employee salaries publicly on their website.

There isn’t comprehensive research on how pay transparency affects employees because so few companies have these policies, according to Todd Zenger, presidential professor of strategy and strategic leadership at the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business. But anecdotal evidence from Buffer and SumAll suggests it can make workers more productive and satisfied.

Hailley Griffis, Buffer’s public relations manager, says job applications to work at Buffer significantly increased after the company made its compensation data public. SumAll CEO Dane Atkinson told Business Insider in 2017 that transparency made employees more productive and collaborative. And a 2016 study published in the Journal of Business and Psychology found that employees were more likely to ask for help from the right people when they knew what their colleagues make.

“If I don’t know my co-worker’s pay, I assume that I might not be getting paid as much, and I decrease my performance,” says Elena Belogolovsky, who authored the 2016 study when she worked as an assistant professor of human resources studies at Cornell. “When people don’t know each other’s pay, they assume they are underpaid.”

But when employees are able to compare, they might realize they’re being paid market rate and spend a lot less time being dissatisfied, says Chandra Childers, a senior research scientist at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

Companies can close pay gaps
Of course, employees will only be happy if they’re being paid fairly — and knowing colleagues’ salaries allows workers to fight to close the gap. Childers points to the case of Lilly Ledbetter, who famously sued her company for discrimination after a co-worker anonymously informed her that she made less than two male colleagues in the same job.

“She didn’t know she was being paid less so she couldn’t negotiate for higher pay — and that’s more common than we might think,” Childers says.

However, there isn’t enough research to definitively link pay transparency to pay equality. At U.S. government agencies, most of which are required to publicly release pay information, women make 81% of what men make, according to the 2017 report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. In the private sector, where the majority of companies don’t have pay transparency policies, women earn 79% of what their male counterparts make.

Griffis says Buffer, which uses a formula that factors in job title, experience and cost of living to determine staff salaries, doesn’t have a pay gap among men and women in the same roles. But she notes there is a pay gap when women and men’s salaries across the company are compared: women make 9.25% less than men on average. As of April 2018, the company employed 48 men and 21 women in total.

“We don’t think the gap is because of our salary formula, but a lack of diversity. And that’s something we’re working on and taking very seriously,” Griffis says. “As a woman, I know a man doing the same job as me would not make more money.”

Companies can control the narrative
While pay transparency policies brought Whole Foods and SumAll public goodwill, Uber, BBC and Google became ensnared in controversies over alleged gender pay gaps. Penner says companies could benefit by getting ahead of the narrative since public pressure will only continue to mount.

Several states — including California, Delaware and Colorado — have recently passed laws banning employers from penalizing workers for discussing their salary or inquiring about colleagues’ compensation. Websites like GlassDoor and PayScale allow employees to share salaries anonymously and determine the market rate for their job.

“Employees want more information,” Penner says. “There’s more information that’s available in the marketplace that’s accessible to employees and job candidates. If an organization doesn’t form its own pay method on transparency, someone else will — and it probably won’t be a complete message.”

What are the downsides of pay transparency?
Companies may hire or retain fewer people
Companies may be reluctant to make their pay transparent, because that can render it more difficult to hire talented staffers at lower rates, Belogovsky says. That means that companies will be able to hire fewer people on tight budgets.

“If no one knows, you can pay people whatever you want,” she says. “Companies want to keep the ability to hire more stars and pay them less. If they can hire a woman and pay her less, why wouldn’t they do that?”

Before Buffer began publicizing its internal pay data, company leaders feared it might be easier for competitors to poach employees, Griffis says.

“Competitors would just need to offer an employee another $20,000, and soon they can take our whole engineering team,” she says. “That was definitely a fear, but to my knowledge that didn’t happen.”

Transparency could pit employees against each other
While some have argued pay transparency can increase employee performance, others say full transparency can have a detrimental effect on employees. Zenger says it could cause tension.

“In environments where performance is difficult to precisely measure and isn’t observable to everyone, everyone believes they’re above average in terms of their contributions or performance,” Zenger says. “Broadcasting everyone’s individual pay triggers a process of social comparison.”

Belogovsky says there’s also a chance transparency could stoke envy among the company’s lowest earners.

“When you see everyone’s performance, some people might not be motivated because they feel jealous,” she says. “You can argue when everyone knows each other’s pay, people who earn less will be more likely to quit.”

Pay differences could be taken out of context
Many companies base pay on subjective determinations. Not clearly communicating the reasons why certain employees are paid more or less may exacerbate employee frustration, Penner says.

“There is definitely a tipping point at which too much information is harmful because it will be taken out of context… There’s a lot more that goes into how someone is paid than what meets the eye to employees,” she says. “It’s important to give more information about why the pay is different for different jobs. If you don’t, it’s up for interpretation by each employee about why that’s fair.”

Zenger suggests it might be more beneficial for companies to explain exactly how pay is determined — without revealing specific figures.

“In a university setting, we have strict rules about publicizing students’ grades on exams. But we try to be transparent about how performance is determined,” Zenger says. “It’s really a question about whether you broadcast [salaries] or be transparent about the process to which pay is determined.”


Why You Need A Personal Business Advisor

Having a mentor can be invaluable to your career development. That said, career development only matters if you are doing the job you currently have very well. Enter the value of an advisor.

Back in 1999, when I was working at Blockbuster, the CMO asked me who I bounced ideas off and got advice from. As you would probably expect, I named a few other executives at Blockbuster. “No, no,” he said. “I mean people outside of Blockbuster.” He then went on to give me examples of people he talks to. I didn’t even realize I should have such people. Prior to Blockbuster, I had only worked at IBM. Frankly, all the people that I looked to for advice and counsel were fellow IBMers and they operated more like mentors who I wouldn’t necessarily take time from to bounce ideas off. It never occurred to me to build a network of people to help me better do the job I currently have. Turns out, this was a key lesson – and one I was learning pretty late in my career.

When you first start a new job, there is so much to learn in order to ramp up to become fully effective. It is rare that you take on a role that no one has ever done before. Your career usually won’t advance until you are executing in your current role very well. Potential advisors may have done the job in a different industry or context, but seek out their guidance. These people have been through similar challenges to what you are going through, and can help you avoid pitfalls and first timer’s mistakes that inevitably slow you down. Companies aren’t paying you to have all the ideas yourself; they are paying you to execute the role you have as effectively and efficiently as you can.

I really took this to heart when I became a first-time CEO more than 15 years ago. I was responsible for areas of the business that I hadn’t managed before and had responsibilities that were simply brand new for me. One new area in particular was the management of the stock ownership cap table – a term and process I wasn’t familiar with, since I had only worked in publicly traded companies. Remembering the wise words of my former Blockbuster boss, I knew I needed an advisor – preferably several. To that end, I started a CEO group comprised of about eight female CEOs who were also building businesses. Why female? Honestly, some of the challenges I faced being a Silicon Valley software CEO were unique to being female, so I wanted that perspective.

When we needed to raise money and the board wanted a recommendation for the employee option pool, it was this group of women I went to for advice. I wasn’t about to tell the board I had no idea. When the time came for me to submit my recommendation, it was solid and accepted. This group supported me through my tenure as CEO – from difficult founder situations to executive management, they were my sounding board.

For the right type of advisors, find people who have walked in your shoes, faced real challenges, and had setbacks. These are the people who really learn and can share their lessons. If a job was easy for someone, she probably learned less and will frankly be less valuable to you. Also, make sure she is someone you trust completely. You will need to share sensitive information at times and need to know that it won’t be shared; she should always have your best interest at heart.

Above all else, you need advisors that will tell it to you straight. One of the very best advisors I had was both an advisor and a mentor. I had no doubt that he cared about me, but there were times and conversations when he told me flat out I screwed up. Those times were typically when I knew what the right course of action was, but I was delaying the inevitable action. In other words, I was procrastinating. It also happened when I didn’t do what I believed should be done for reasons that weren’t good enough. His criticism and support helped me become more courageous. I truly appreciated him for this most of all. It is hard to get direct feedback – and good advisors will provide it.

Many of us have financial advisors, tax advisors, spiritual advisors, etc. We need to add a personal business advisor to this list. Having personal business advisors focused on helping you excel at your current job will help improve your odds of achieving your career objectives.


How automation can help businesses focus on human professional development

People drive success for companies and their customers — even in today’s technology-driven world. Meanwhile, employees across industries increasingly demand more than a paycheck from their employers — especially as millennials enter executive suites and Generation Z start their careers to cement a truly multigenerational workplace. With low unemployment and the war for talent giving people choice, organizations are having to work harder to attract the best talent.

To respond to this changing workforce, companies are beginning to pivot away from traditional, transactional human resources toward introducing new people-oriented processes and data-driven decision-making. Today’s employees want workforce experiences that are engaging and supportive — enabling them to do their best work at every career level. This means that progressive and fast-growth companies are focused on people programs, and not administration. They are automating traditional HR transactional processes to free up time to concentrate on their employees as people. In fact, I would argue that adopting automated technologies is an important next step for companies to free up HR teams so they can focus on what best benefits businesses: ensuring employee success.

Understanding automation’s HR utility
Automation’s administrative utility enables human counterparts in HR to centralize their efforts around developing their organizations into truly people-focused companies. HR managers can spend more time building diverse teams of people, developing career growth opportunities for staff based on their individual goals and skill sets, and solving complex personnel issues within companies that can impact core business functions. Automating administrative tasks also frees up HR managers to be more creative and hands-on with their employees — enabling them to spend time connecting with people across a company in meaningful, and productive, ways.

Meanwhile, HR managers can use artificial intelligence (AI) and other automated platforms to fastrack recruiting and personnel-related administrative processes. People working with these automated resources can task them sifting out resumes, or surfacing certain types of candidate profiles.

While automated technology does admin tasks, HR managers can be free to do more substantive work. They can play a larger role in strategic company decisions and work closely with staff managers across departments to monitor company morale and individual performances. HR managers can meet with employees on a 1-to-1 basis more regularly — and inform those conversation with insights from automated data reports rather than relying on gut instinct.

Enlisting automation to redefine recruitment and diversity
Automating HR and its tasks also allows a company to truly focus on people during the hiring process. Industries and sectors across the global economy have already started to see change brought on by automating HR tasks, including using AI-driven platforms to scan resumes for open positions and eliminate human biases that can impede a company’s progress toward a more diverse workplace. Automated technologies can neutralize human biases that often arise — unintentionally in many cases — in interviews, job candidate decisions and promotion scenarios. They offer HR managers and recruiters a resource that can save a remarkable amount of time and, more importantly, take human bias completely out of the hiring equation.

That said, it is important for HR leaders to understand that automation is a human creation featuring different technologies, like AI, that learn from data that humans generate over time. They can tap automation to drown out human biases — conscious or unconscious that impact hiring practices and company diversity. Further, organizations that turn to tech-driven systems for talent management purposes should task people with monitoring their performance, keeping them accountable and maintaining visibility into actual diversity results. After all, automation is an enhancement, not a substitution for managing and engaging your workforce. Further, it is still extremely important that HR retains and prioritizes human judgment and contact.

Keeping the human in human resources
The global marketplace is rapidly moving to embrace digital norms and new employee demands. Consequently, it is increasingly important for businesses to bridge the gap between the analog world of business operations and the new, more digital way of doing things. After all, employers simply cannot meet the needs and demands of all employees if people responsible for staff professional development and employee retention are bogged down by administrative work.

Amid the hype and mixed messages surrounding automation and the number of jobs, it’s important to remember that while automation will replace job functions across industries, it will also create new career opportunities for human counterparts. Executives, employees and job candidates will all need to develop evolved workplace skills that center around creativity, empathy, judgment and emotional intelligence — more human elements that apply to successful HR and recruiting as well. Ultimately, retraining and retooling HR managers for a tech-driven future, as well as combining automated HR administrative tasks with traditional HR best practices will set companies up for success — and allow them to focus on people.


Keeping artificial intelligence human

With the advent of classification methodologies in machine learning and the development of big data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI) is set to transform HR functions significantly. The recently conducted annual Harvey Nash HR Survey found that 63% of HR leaders in the Asia-Pacific region expect automation and AI to impact their organisations over the next five years, while 26% report these technologies are already having an impact today.

The creation of individually-tailored learning and development plans generated by big data processes, and chatbots that are able to recruit applicants are just two examples in which AI has already started to impact HR and talent management.

Starting the conversation

Chatbots are already omnipresent in consumers’ lives, and now they are starting to appear in the workplace. Intelligent assistants are being used to simulate human interactions. HR leaders are now using chatbots to recruit job candidates and also respond to internal employee enquiries. Chatbots are usually the first line of contact, followed by the HR personnel for more complex enquiries and conversations.

In addition, chatbots can help in the screening process for recruitment by performing quick background checks, can help in on-boarding, training employees and with annual self-assessments.

Predicting employee performance

Machine learning is perhaps the most successful part of AI, at least from an industry point of view. Usage cases include when employers want to know which candidates are the most suitable for open positions, or when there is a group of employees that HR would like to evaluate in terms of likely attrition rates. Predictive talent analytics and employee flight risk models will revolutionise how HR looks at workforce planning. However, human intervention will still be required at some points to work under a diverse set of scenarios.

Modern upskilling

Traditionally, coaching modules have been used by the HR profession to offer upskilling and career development for employees. AI can help successfully plan, organise, and coordinate these training programmes for staff members across all levels.

Digital classrooms are the most common solutions for these training programmes. AI can also help in determining the best timeframe for new courses so as to fit the preferences of all employees individually.

Employee engagement

Sentiment analysis techniques have been used to evaluate positive and negative emotions and biases in a wide range of digitally published materials, including tweets and blog posts. There has also been an increase in these techniques in the HR space to better evaluate emotions and engagement levels of employees in particular.

Some AI platforms are also designed to identify employees that may be heading for the exit. The platforms help track employee computer activity and then analyse the data to determine a baseline of regular use. Any significant deviation from the normal baseline will then be flagged to the employer.

In practice, sentiment analysis to measure employee engagement can be quite effective. But what is less talked about are the ways in which biased, or even blatantly incorrect results can be generated through traditional methods only. Therefore, HR management must be careful to establish a consensus on sentiment analysis that is fair and objective. In this way, AI tools clearly support this HR function.

A balanced approach

As technologies develop and more data becomes available, AI will continue to impact HR in new and vastly different ways. However, HR managers should take the time to fully understand the advantages and potential considerations to various approaches and build the right set of algorithms and data architecture before solely relying on technology solutions.

Because of the human factor, there is no aspect of HR that is purely black or white. HR managers will need to find the right balance between greater insights through data and AI and maintaining the human insights and judgments that are essential to an effective HR team.

HRM Asia is excited to announce the HR Tech Think Tank, a one-day event that will deep-dive into the latest HR Technologies that are enabling faster, better and cheaper solutions to HR practices and people operations.

Held in Singapore on October 19, the HR Tech Think Tank will feature eight technologist-led, interactive workshops on the latest applications for payroll, talent management, and much more.

Head to the HR Tech Think Tank website for more information and to register.


‘Turnover’ Doesn’t Have to Be a Dirty Word for Startups

There’s a pervasive attitude in startup culture that companies will cycle through employees as they grow. But this doesn’t have to be a negative. In reality, all startups are built on change, and this is a great asset. To create something where nothing existed before, growing companies need to experiment, to give new ideas a chance in order to fuel exponential growth.

It’s no surprise that the entire startup world is obsessed with disruption.

But there’s an inherent tension between the exponential growth that new companies aim for and the linear growth of their employees. When people develop at a constant rate — they are biological, after all — it’s only natural that businesses will outgrow their employees, and their executives in particular, as they become more competitive. Compared to established corporations, where the cost of replacing talent can have a significant impact on the bottom line, startups see turnover as a necessary, even driving, part of their growth.

But, as much as hiring new talent at a startup can bring a new level of skill and expertise, if that turnover isn’t intentional — and if you aren’t making the most of the talent you have at each stage — it can have a negative impact on your company.

Related: 3 Ways to Keep Company Morale Up During High Turnover
Business growth is fueled by human growth.
The exponential growth of a startup is only made possible by the combined growth of the company’s employees. If each individual isn’t developing at a steep slope, the company as a collective will be slower to get to the next stage of expansion — at which point it becomes necessary to turn the team. No single hire, no matter how talented, will create that curve on her own. Instead, you’ll actually see greater ROI from your employees if you invest in the talent you have and support their growth. After all, when someone levels up their skills, they demonstrate that new competency before you fully pay them for that.

At my company, Envested, we supported the growth of one of the first UX designers on the team by giving him increasing opportunities to expand his role — and permission to fail throughout the process. Combined with his history and familiarity with the product, stretching his capabilities allowed us to iterate our product even more quickly and to work more collaboratively across the engineering and design teams.

But the answer here isn’t to hang on to every employee from seed to IPO. The question becomes how, as an entrepreneur, can you set your company up for positive, growth-minded retention and turnover?

Related: Thanks to These 3 Values, This Startup Has Shockingly Low Turnover
Hire only when it becomes painful but before you’re desperate.
Your retention strategy needs to begin with hiring. You don’t want to add new people to your team, only to realize that you don’t have enough for them to do after you finish the latest batch of features — or that you could outsource what needs to get done. Instead, you should only start thinking about adding to your team when you get to a serious pain point, when there’s no other way for your current team to get the work done.

That said, when you get to that point, there’s no excuse for desperation hiring. Recognize that as much as you need someone to be doing work yesterday, it’s more important to hire right — and to hire beyond the often misguided or cliquey idea of culture fit.

Related: 11 Crucial Interview Questions to Ensure a Culture Fit
Flex up your talent.
Once you hire the right people, you then need to commit to the individual growth of your employees. Not only will this allow you to make the most of the talent you have, but it will also heighten your team’s engagement and investment in the mission of the company.

One way to do this is to think about “flexing up” certain employees — finding ways to expand the scope of someone’s role in a way that continually stretches her and is also in service of the company’s needs. Flexing up can also be an opportunity to train up those high-potential employees who can handle the challenge. And rewarding these high performers with the opportunity to develop within the company will promote the retention of the right types of people who can grow as your startup skyrockets.

Related: If This Is How You’re Doing Workplace Engagement, You’re Doing It All Wrong
Be honest about your growth philosophy.
While you are hiring and developing the talent you have, you also have to be honest with your team that the company will evolve as it grows. After all, the foundation of all startups is change. Both the business and its people will go through different stages. Ask any of the employees at Envested, and they’ll tell you that I like to think of each member on my team as having his or her own superpower. We’re not a family — we’re a championship team, each with our own unique talents and opportunities to contribute.

Some superpowers are needed across stages, while others are stage-specific — and those are the ones you’ll especially want to flex up. But all superpowers are valuable and needed to get to the next stage. Being clear about this up front will inspire your team to go all-in and make the big plays needed in the moment — but it’ll also make any needed future transitions much smoother.

No matter where you are in development, defining and creating a clear talent strategy is necessary for the growth of your company. “Retention” and “turnover” don’t have to be dirty words. Instead, you should focus on doing the best you can at the moment while keeping a perpetual line of sight on the ultimate reward of a startup: immense growth for everyone who decides to take part.


Seven Effective Personal Development Approaches Busy Executives Can Use

As a busy executive, you are always looking for ways to improve your efficiency at work. Every day, you face a myriad of responsibilities and staff needs, all of which pull you in different directions. The demands of the job are high, which means you need to learn how to destress and focus on the right things in order to become a more effective leader.

Personal development offers busy professionals a way to maximize their skills, as well as learn new ways to handle the pressures of their position. By learning new personal development techniques, you can become a better leader, as well as reach important goals more reliably.

Below, seven members of Forbes Coaches Council share some of the most valuable personal development techniques they typically recommend to busy executives. Here’s what they said:

1. Know Yourself

I recommend executives assess and understand their aptitude (in-born psychometrics), understand their attitude (work culture) and what I call their altitude, better known as emotional intelligence. This will help them understand where they’re coming from. It will also give them insight into their management style and hiring techniques. – Jacob M Engel, Yeda LLC/The Prosperous Leader

2. Positive Psychology

I would recommend a simple intervention that would improve burnout, emotional maturity, well-being, and engagement, such as positive psychology. Individuals who practice positive psychology attempt psychological interventions (e.g., meditation), which fosters positive attitudes and self-awareness. – Bonnie Ferrell, Change Leadership Consultant

3. Active Listening

Busy executives are better off actively listening to what is going on around them, rather than multitask and understand very little to nothing. The message to your staff is that their time does not matter and that there are more important things going on. It is more likely that neither is true. Instead, focus on improving your listening skills, which will always save you more time in the long run. – Randee Lehrer, Energrowth Coaching LLC

4. Conscious Leadership

Self-awareness is the No. 1 skill for busy executives. Being aware and able to understand the messaging (verbal and non-verbal) you send is critical to establishing credibility and influence. A leader’s ability to maximize the talent in the organization will be dependent on inclusion that creates engagement, as well as promotes innovation and performance excellence. This is conscious leadership. – Rosalie Chamberlain, Rosalie Chamberlain Consulting & Coaching

5. Awareness And Presence

I recommend developing awareness and presence. By observing how we operate in daily situations, we see our automatic reactivity. This enables developing our presence, in order to consider and creatively act based on clear intentions and commitments. Practicing awareness and presence builds our resilience, in order to create better results as we engage people and teams to resolve complex challenges. – Tom Hardison, Generative Leadership Group, LLC

Read more in Executive Presence: What Is It, Why You Need It And How To Get It
6. ‘Stop, Look And Listen’ Method

Executives directly benefit from using a “stop, look and listen” methodology. The goal is to be present, and to focus on the moment. This brings clarity, greater engagement and increased value. It doesn’t matter if the moment is engaging a team member or working on a tactical task. Stop multitasking, look to be in the moment, and listen to the speaker or your heart. – Tony Mickle, Big Box Coaching LLC

7. Identify Your Unique Executive Mission

Unearthing your unique, free-from-platitudes, executive mission is the most fundamental exercise in executive personal development work. Without this solid base of knowledge, you will simply not be able to benefit from additional personal development work as much as you could. – Tim Windhof, Windhof Communications – Career Services

Forbes Coaches Council is an invitation-only, fee-based organization comprised of leading business coaches and career coaches. Members are hand-selected by the Council’s selection committee. Find out if you qualify at


How To Boost Employee Engagement With A Great Onboarding Experience

An employee’s first day can be stressful for everyone. When there are people’s livelihoods at stake, it’s difficult to see how it could be any different.

For incoming employees, there is the fear of new environments, of making an impact and of how their new employer will live up to how they described themselves in the interview. For employers, the fear stems from risk management, integrating a new employee with existing staff and the cost to get everybody up to speed. But an excellent onboarding experience, like that of Warby Parker’s, is an affordable and proven way to reap the maximum lifetime value from an employee.

Taking onboarding seriously and investing in the future of an employee is something that I have come to embrace over the past half-decade in business. The following advice comes from the successes and failures that we have had at Jelly Digital Marketing and PR.

Onboarding Begins Before Your Candidate’s First Day

Onboarding doesn’t start on day one. It doesn’t even start when you send out the job offer. It begins during the initial screening process. It’s easy to tell you that you need to find the right “fit” for your business. But applying the theory behind the right fit can prove too tricky.

It’s a common understanding that the interview process is tiresome, nerve-wracking and, at times, cumbersome for interviewees. The interview process can be made easy, however, by having a transparent process, by being punctual with responses and by keeping to promises. So, if the follow-up time is set for one week, follow up in one week. This allows the prospective employee to know where they are at in the process, whether they are under consideration and whether they can trust your company. Failing to do this can lead to the right candidate moving on to other interviews, or worse, accepting a job offer elsewhere.

Below are a few more tips to help optimize your employee onboarding experience and, thereby, boost employee engagement.

Prior To Arrival

Before your new employee’s first day, provide access to the tools that they will use on a daily basis and recommend that the new hire become familiarized with them. Send over a welcome document to give insight into your corporate culture. Let them know who they should report to and what time they should arrive, and give a brief overview of the first day. Contact them weekly, prior to their first day, to answer any questions they might have.

In my experience, these small steps are not only crucial to calm the nerves of the newcomer but they also boost the new employee’s confidence tenfold.

The First Day

Provide a warm welcome on your new hire’s first day. At Jelly Digital Marketing and PR, for example, we have a personalized welcome sign as well as somebody ready to meet the new hire at the door.

Provide a schedule for the first week that the new hire can follow, and give them a welcome kit. For my company, this is a handwritten letter and gift cards to local coffee shops to allow the new hire to get to know the local community. This little touch lets the new employee know that they are appreciated and that we are willing to invest in them.

The First Week

Allow the new hire to meet with the executives in the company during their first week and schedule a team lunch. Touch base with an end-of-the-week meeting to answer any questions, and ask for feedback on the interview process.

Encourage new hires to explore the local area. Afterall, they are going to be spending a lot of time here, so we want them to know their favorite spots in town while also knowing who they can turn to if and when they need it.

The First Month

During the first month, explain the company’s core values and ask how they apply to the new hire’s role. Give feedback on how the employee is performing. Offer three areas of improvement and three areas of success. But also request feedback on improvements that could be made to in-house processes.

This feedback allows you to know where you are living up to your core values and areas where you might be slipping. It also gives you an accurate pulse on the employee’s happiness and as to whether you need to start to look for a replacement.

Finally, schedule monthly get-togethers and religiously keep to them.

The First Year

Before the end of your new hire’s first year, schedule an annual review. Walk through the feedback given from the first month with the employee, and ensure that you’ve implemented what you could from your employee’s feedback. Build a career plan with the employee with milestones so that they can see themselves with your company for the long haul and recognize what it will take on all sides to make that happen.

As you can see, it doesn’t take a lot of money or hard work to onboard a new employee successfully. But, failing to put these simple steps into practice could lead to a make-or-break situation for your company.


7 Essential Factors in Managing a Workforce

Poor workforce management activates talent loss on a massive scale, making retention and recruitment a herculean task, and most businesses suffer from such situations. However, some corporate bodies are very much aware of the major performance factors and how it affects employee performance. Challenging your workplace climate with extreme pro-activism and workforce management brings good business transitions, high employee performance and secures future productivity.

Here are 7 essential factors that must be taken care of while managing a workforce in every corporate body.

Leadership is the anchor on which managing a workforce depends upon. Workplace performance without good and purposeful leadership sinks into the lowest ebb ever to be imagined. Employees will lack direction, vision and focus in the absence of a good leadership. An organization’s leadership defines the mission, attitudes, culture and its strength. Therefore put a good leadership in place and managing workforce will become very much accessible.

Career development
You must put in place a robust staff development program that will ensure a good succession plan by grooming, adding value to your staff and then advancing their careers. High-performance mindset dies with no development and stagnation of career advancement, but development and prospects of advancement of career will motivate and heighten the high-performance mindset of your employees.

Corporate brand
If you create and maintain a strong corporate brand that everyone will be proud to be associated with, your brand will definitely serve as a credential to your employees and will give them bragging rights of some sort in their career and social circle. Representing this brand to your employees will mean that they will have to be at their best at all times, a kind of loyalty needed for good productivity and this guarantees high employee performance.

Corporate relationships
Placing value on relationships in your organization is as exact as placing value on teamwork, bonding, and cohesion amongst your employees. A scenario like this means friendship and cordiality is developed amongst your employees. It is natural to expect high-performance mentality when friends work together with cordiality and high collaboration as a team. You must place a premium on relationships amongst the workforce to induce performance factors in your firm.

Trust and Transparency
Transparency in your organization raises the level of trust and heightened the level of trust means more peace of mind amongst your workforce, which ultimately translates to a robust performance and high productivity. When your workplace breeds trust, self-survival mode amongst members of your workforce is eliminated and teamwork is achieved. There will be no inhibitions amongst your employees and their innovative nature will be at full stretch.

Executive Sponsorship
You must put in place an executive sponsorship program to proactively accelerate the growth and development of your employees and also help them overcome some projects that they cannot execute on their own. Any employee with access to executive sponsorship will always show extra commitment

Authenticity and compensation
Create a work environment that promotes authenticity amongst your workforce. Your employees do not have to live in pretense or falsehood trying to be who others want them to be, they should be able to be their real natural selves and innovative as they can or deem fit. The knowledge that they are at liberty to be who they really are will improve your workforce. You have to reward good efforts and compensate for extra inputs. This drives performance at great lengths and supports workforce management.


Why Communicating Company Goals Is Key For Employee Growth

Business transparency toward customers helps build loyalty and increase sales, but such transparency also matters for employees to build their trust in the company and encourage their growth. The mission statement of a business shares its dedication to service and particular goals, and everyone in the company needs to be on board.

Staff sometimes feel separated from senior management, but they must work together to pursue common goals that align with the mission of the company. Businesses progress into the future through goal-setting and putting forth the effort of achievement, enriching morale and boosting employee development and engagement.

Outlining SMART Goals

Both short-term and long-term goals matter for the growth of the company and employees. Short-term goals might include launching a new line of products, addressing particular customer service challenges or reaching a new monthly sales goal. Long-term goals may mean regional expansion within a set period of time, such as five years. Short-term goals should support big-picture goals.

Setting SMART goals helps employees see their specific contributions in action and makes each goal more meaningful and measurable. S.M.A.R.T goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely.

Set specifics around the goal with no danger of misinterpretation, such as a deadline, requirements and persons responsible. Employees must know how the goal matters for the big picture. Specify criteria for measuring the goal’s progress. Employees need to know how to stay on track, take aim at target dates and achieve milestones, giving them motivation.

Don’t make the company goals too lofty, or employees can’t reasonably achieve them and will feel demotivated. Goals should be both realistic and ambitious. Make goals attainable so employees can leverage their skills and take advantage of opportunities. Relevant goals allow each employee to see their connection at work strategically. The most effective goals need structure — provide a timeline with a sense of urgency.

Reinforcing Goals With Employee Input

Bring all employees together to outline the goals along with concrete steps to achieve them. Each department and employee receives their responsibilities, but also leaves the air open during meetings for employees to contribute their ideas and pitches.

Companies get input from management, but entry-level employees should feel free to contribute ideas and feedback, too — this will develop employee engagement, dedication and skills. Gaining employee input helps increase the sense of ownership and satisfaction in their roles and contributions.

Let employees participate with the knowledge that all roles and contributions matter. Keep reinforcing the goals along the way. Failure occurs along with success on the road to achievement, but remind everyone that these present learning opportunities.

Raising Morale Through Common Goals

Working toward common goals together raises morale, increases trust among the ranks and empowers work culture. Employees invest themselves more deeply in the goal-setting process and find meaning in their achievements. Morale increases when staff gets brought in on the goal-setting process.

Don’t work your employees to death, though — those putting in 12+ hour shifts raise mortality rates and stress levels. Employees with a healthy work-life balance are 21 percent more likely to be dedicated and productive at work.

Reward Achievements

How do you currently reward employees? Gifts are nice but fail to recognize individuals for their individual achievements. About 80 percent of organizations offer recognition programs, and for on-the-spot, one-time achievements, some organizations provide monetary gifts of $25, $50 or more or added paid time off. Others provide recognition in company newsletters and certificates. Diversify your rewards for achievements that elevate employees through promotions and recognition.

Don’t discount the power of alternative rewards, such as payment to their student loan lenders for a year or funding of a professional certificate program or personal enrichment class. A word of appreciation and public recognition at company events are classic and positive ways to reward employees.

Transparency goes two ways, not just from the top to the bottom. Employees need to know why their roles matter and invest in their daily work beyond earning a paycheck or gift card.

Communicating company goals is key for employee growth. Employee loyalty, trust, dedication, satisfaction and skills develop, and staff feel confident in reaching their full potential. The staff know their employer cares, and your company is more likely to achieve success when everyone is completely on board with the goals that serve the mission.


How Predictive Analytics Can Help Companies Hire Faster, Better, Stronger

In a recent survey of more than 1,000 business leaders, CEOs and other C-suite executives, they said “attracting and retaining talent” is their top concern. However, while acknowledging that talent is a critical success factor, few companies claim to be good at building — or keeping — a strong workforce. Why is this?

There may be a dozen plausible explanations for talent shortages, but one of the most important is the consistent failure of companies to take full advantage of the information they have about their own employees and candidates. Predictive analytics and other data-based technologies can help streamline the hiring process while identifying the best possible talent but more importantly a solid cultural fit.

When it comes to technology in hiring, many companies concentrate recruiting efforts on posting job openings on their websites and by leveraging social media. In fact, nearly 85 percent of HR professionals say social media has a role in hiring, usually through LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Monster or other web-based options.

Social media absolutely produces viable candidates, but this form of technology is just touching the surface when it comes to identifying new hires that fit your company culture while having the personal and professional qualifications for a particular position. Then there is the challenge of keeping good people once you have them on board. Final vetting too often boils down to a “gut check” by HR or a tech lead — and while that has proven to work, harnessing the power of the data we already own can lead to much more powerful results.

Why Predictive Analytics?

While the human element should always be at the heart of employee recruitment and retention, managers involved in the hiring process will find that predictive analytics can reduce areas of uncertainty around a candidate’s background as well as assist in identifying personal and professional qualities that will contribute to the company’s mission and profitability.

Simply put, predictive analytics involves the use of historical data to predict future outcomes. You’ve probably seen predictive analytics at work as your Google searches turn up increasingly accurate results that take into account your personal search history. Serious business applications are widespread. Insurance companies, for example, examine historical claims to modify their future exposure to certain risks. Amazon has filed a patent for a service that will use predictive data analysis to ship products before consumers even order them.

From a talent perspective, there is an abundance of historical data about a candidate that can be generated through normal procedures, such as the filling out of a job application. Wells Fargo, the San Francisco-based bank, deploys predictive analytics with a focus on biometric data that can be verified — including a candidate’s job history, tenure at previous employers, career highlights and areas of expertise.

In all, Wells Fargo developed 65 questions for each candidate. Subject-matter experts created the questions and then tested with existing employees representing key demographics, finding correlations between its corporate culture and employee backgrounds. As a result, the bank finds “statistically significant differences” in predictive analytics-vetted employees versus those hired in the market.

With unemployment rates at an historic low, employee retention has remained a key objective for many organizations. Predictive analytics allows an employer to achieve a more in-depth analysis of what may be causing turnover in different parts of the organization. This in turn helps managers adapt quickly to change work conditions to prevent top performer turnover.

Companies also are finding that predictive analytics can boost workforce diversity. Exelon, a Fortune 100 energy company, uses predictive analytics to reduce turnover among women and minorities. Other companies are finding predictive analytics and other AI options as a means to combat workplace discrimination or even to identify bad management practices that contribute to turnover.

It is fair to argue that HR and other hiring managers used job applications to screen candidates long before predictive analytics arrived on the scene. True enough. But with today’s computing capacity, the rise of AI with widespread reach and the aggregation of more data than we ever imagined, predictive analytics can do the job faster, better and even reasonably priced than a traditional labor-intensive hiring process.

The payoff for hiring better, more-committed employees can be significant. Consulting firm McKinsey and Co., citing a survey with more than 600,000 respondents, reports that high performers are a whopping 400 percent more productive than average. The gap rises with a job’s complexity. McKinsey translated the findings this way: “If a competitor used 20 percent more talent in similar efforts (such as a cross-functional initiative), it would beat you to market even if it started a year or two later.”

Predictive analytics go beyond recruiting and retention to help drive process improvement. Data on how well a team is performing, as well as how well your overall process is working, can be used to drive better return on investment. A/B testing data sets, for example, allows employers to see what worked best for certain projects or scenarios which in turn allows for greater optimization of teams, processes and planning.

The fact is that most companies are already in the business of leveraging “big data” and predictive analytics. But too often data management has overlooked HR and talent with its focus on operations and revenue generation. Through predictive analytics and better use of data, HR has an opportunity to expand its role in contributing to enterprise success.

Giancarlo Di Vece is president of Unosquare, a software development outsourcing service. Its U.S. headquarters is in Portland, Oregon. To comment, email