Mind the Gap: Can Technology Highlight Unconscious Bias To Achieve Gender Gap?

Unconscious bias has established a big hole in gender balancing, particularly in the workplace. This leaves the men more considered for employment in various sectors more than the women, even when they both have similar performance credits. Employment statistics from various sectors in the labor market over the decade suggests that sex gap is continually widening significantly in many sectors. We can say its worst in the energy & mining, manufacturing, and software & IT services where women struggle to represent up to 25% of all employees according to a report from Global Gender Gap in 2017.

Employee gender diversity imbalance is really obvious that some multinational companies, especially in the technology industry, having admitted guilt, are putting up a fight to deal with the widening gender gap in hiring. Sadly, most of them have no positive result to share. However, there may be a bigger promise to closing the gender gap – the use of machine-learning products or AI for recruiting – a technology that has been proposed for quite some time now to attenuate bias hiring. Many would want to believe it’s ending with hype just because AI technology has already taking too long to prove a point on the gender gap.

It would be interesting to know that many companies are beginning to invest in AI-based software for talent management and sourcing as learned from Sharon Florentine at CIO. A report from Talent Economy suggests that about 1,143 recruiters in the U.S. are planning to invest more into AI-based software in 2018, with 86% of them relying on the software for talent sourcing.

While this sound like a big move to us, the organizations are also doing this to spend less or nothing in hiring; an expectation the AI technology is poised to live up to aside from eliminating unconscious biasing.

What is AI for recruiting?
Artificial Intelligence (AI) for recruiting is the use of artificial or augmented intelligence to solve problems that computers can handle in a recruitment process. It’s a new technology designed to automate or seamlessly streamline some workflow processes in recruiting, mostly in handling a large volume of data and sampling. If a software is used to auto-screen job candidates by learning resumes with no sentiments, responding based on established parameters, then the software is said to be AI-based for recruiting, which can be referred to as augmented or artificial intelligence.

What is the biggest challenge and how can machine-learning products help close the gender gap?
The most important move to closing the gender gap in the workplace is recognizing its existence. Many HRs want to believe that gender diversity is not an issue at their workplace, leaving AI-based software futile towards any gender balance motive. Recognizing gender imbalance calls for its solution; traced back to unconscious bias in hiring. And the understanding of this bias nature is enough to win huge motivation to seeking gender diversity.

Kevin Mulcahy, co-author of “The Future Workplace Experience: 10 Rules for Managing Disruption in Recruiting and Engaging Employees” and an analyst with Future Workplace says “The challenge with unconscious bias is that, by definition, it is unconscious, so it takes a third-party, such as AI, to recognize those occurrences and point out any perceived patterns of bias. AI-enabled analysis of communication patterns about the senders or receivers — like gender or age — can be used to screen for bias patterns and present the pattern analysis back to the originators.”

By developing strategies
Having recognized the need to diversify gender by dealing with unconscious bias, the next step is to set up models or strategies that can address the bias pattern accountably. HRs must allow the employees to contribute in deriving patterns that promote individuals that are not same with themselves. The established patterns can then be used on machine-learning products.

“You have to create a culture of ‘If you see something, say something’ that goes as high up as executive leadership. Do not expect lower-ranking people to call out examples of bias if senior people have not provided permission and led by example,” Mulcahy says. “You can still use AI to help; machines know no hierarchy and can provide analytical reports back to workers of all levels, but there has to be a human element.”

Achieve a bias-free AI for recruiting algorithm
More emphasis must be made here to ensure that the company is not running in a circle. The parameters to be used in developing algorithms for machine-learning products or AI for recruiting must be properly scrutinized to ensure that the program is not also biased to achieve nothing.

“AI/machine learning can help close the diversity gap, as long as it is not susceptible to human bias,” says Aman Alexander, CEB product management director, an organization that performs assessments on recruitment algorithms for machine-learning products. “For example, recruiting contact center employees could provide AI/machine learning models with the historical application forms of hired contact centre employees with high customer satisfaction scores. This allows the model to pick up on the subtle application attributes/traits and not be impacted by on-the-job, human biases,” Alexander added.

Answers to potential-based hiring
Recruiters are faced with more challenges when hiring for potential. This challenge can easily force a compromise to the developed recruitment standards. But AI/machine learning tools are far from this challenge. The system can be trained empirically to make decisions on candidates that may likely succeed using statistical relationships, which ordinarily would be difficult to calculate individually if unconscious bias is determined to be bypassed manually. CEB’s Alexander says that the machine can be trained using the company’s traits and primary focus, defeating threats to gender diversity.

“The human mind is not designed for the type of pattern recognition that can be most helpful in making hiring decisions. For example, most people would be able to rattle off a list of the many traits they desire or avoid in an ideal candidate but would have no idea what the relative success or failure rate is of people who exhibit those traits. They, therefore, don’t have any data to justify their beliefs,” Alexander says. “AI and machine learning analysis, however, can provide hard data that either confirms or denies recruiters’, hiring managers’ or executives’ beliefs about the types of hires they should be making.”

Recruiting relevance
A target-oriented candidate search is a lot easier with AI tools. For instance, if a company is looking for a female C++ programmer, the AI-based software has the ability to search through and screen all the female candidates with the relevant qualifications provided, including the amount of experience and supply them to the recruiter or HR manager. The search goes beyond matching job titles and experiences, AI tools have the feature to focus on specific skills that can make the candidate a very successful system programmer.

“If you are going out and trying to identify candidates, you have a massive-scale data problem right off the bat — you’re looking at something like a billion social profiles, and you have to determine what’s relevant, what’s not, what is information about the same person, what’s out of date, and make inferences about that data,” says the CEO of HiringSolved, Shon Burton. “Using AI and machine learning to search speeds up the process and makes it more efficient, while also making it easier to find diverse candidates at top of the hiring funnel.”

A new look at capability approach: Strategic HR perspective

HR strategies have to be designed in such a way that enthuse a sense of responsibility in the employees and allows them to learn, unlearn and relearn the skills to operate in future organizations. Read more about it.

Capability is nothing but the power to do something. The more one has, the better it is, for individuals as well as for organizations they work for. More power provides more choices and the more the choices, the more one enjoys freedom. This is an interesting continuum, whether we consider human beings in a global context, citizens in a national context, or employees in an organizational context. The agency function gets performed by different agencies in different contexts. Whatever the case may be, one thing is sure that one has to improve one’s capabilities in order to enjoy more freedom. And in case of organizations, HR has to actively involved in facilitating the process of building capability so that the employees get empowered and make choices that are compatible with organizational goal.

One should not misunderstand the term freedom in the sense that one can do anything in the organization, once one has a better capability. Here it is related to one’s choices and expectations. It is one’s ability to select from the choices available and the sense of freedom one has acquired through enhancing the ability to adapt to the changing landscape of business. HR works as an agency to invest in employees through providing exposure and learning opportunities. Employees have to be provided with the wings that help them tread a critical path; that prepares them to face the tyranny of uncertain future.

Uncertainty drives uniqueness. In the times when pink slips are being used frequently and the future is unclear, a unique set of capabilities gain currency helping employees to assure their undisturbed stay in the organization. One has to create and develop one’s identity through such set of skills and knowledge which is unique in nature. Employees have to develop some such distinct ability sets which can enhance employee brand value. These distinct capabilities translate into firm’s capability allowing them to operate in all spheres and domains competitively. As Dave Ulrich mentions – Capabilities become the results of HR; they fill in the middle ground between HR investments and firm performance; they serve as the transition from mission, vision, strategies, and values to action. Investments have to be made to enhance capabilities which in turn has to result in better employee, viz-a-viz, firm performance.

HR strategies have to be designed in such a way that enthuse a sense of responsibility in the employees and allows them to learn, unlearn and relearn the skills to operate in future organizations. It has to further culminate into firm’s capability to compete and improve its performance. These capabilities have two important components, viz., behavioral and technological.

The behavioral component has to help in better understanding of OD intervention so that they are ready to embark on the successful journey towards imbibing change. Technology is a big disruptor whether it is its use in product development and delivery or developing technology product as such. Organizations have to train and develop their employees to adapt to new technologies as fast as they can because human obsolescence is much greater a challenge in the fast-changing technological milieu.

Maruti has taken a lead in producing excellent results in last few years which is the result of employees capability and their tiring efforts. Kenichi Ayukawa, the Managing Director and CEO of Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, acknowledge it – People are very important and our workers is what we actually own in business. How we make full use of their capability is always the key. This is what has made Maruti occupying more than fifty percent of market share in the industry. Kenichi has led the organization from the front and employees’ capability has been his prime source of focus. He allowed freedom to his engineers which helped them conceive and develop Vitara Brezza brand from scratch.

The challenge of time is to identify potential capabilities and invest in them steadily. That way organizational change would get embraced easily and resistance shall get managed itself. This is one of the qualities of learning organizations. We have WIPRO which has portrayed that character through various practices that they followed in developing and managing HR capabilities. Coca-Cola is a learning organization that generates ideas from beyond and from within to innovate, experiment, train and re-engineer at product, service and employees level. It has helped them retain talent and respond to market forces successfully.

In these organizations, a lot of freedom gets in action and their employees demonstrate high capability levels. This is how they are able to sustain competitive advantage. Capability approach as propounded by Amartya Sen has its application in business organizations, calling for investment in employees. Strategic HR has to learn much more from economists in order to understand employees and to retort to prevailing conditions. Theodore Shultz, another Nobel prize winner economist, had argued that knowledge and skill are part of human capital and that is where states should focus their investment.

For organizations, HR investment for building better capabilities should form the priority and that is how organizations would be able to sustain better employee performance, viz-a-viz., firm performance.

Source: https://www.peoplematters.in/article/strategic-hr/a-new-look-at-capability-approach-strategic-hr-perspective-18302?utm_source=peoplematters&utm_medium=interstitial&utm_campaign=learnings-of-the-day

Three Ways Learning And Development Specialists Can Make Themselves More Useful To Leaders

It is a truism that transformation is the name of the game in modern business. Convinced that they are operating in an era of unprecedented change, leaders are constantly putting themselves and those they lead through the mill in an attempt to keep up with competition that increasingly seems to come out of nowhere.

In such an environment, one might expect learning and development to be center-stage. After all, transformation must involve the acquisition and development of new skills. And yet, the latest State of Leadership Development report, published today by Harvard Business Publishing Corporate Learning, suggests otherwise. Subtitled “Meeting the Transformation Imperative”, it says that many learning and development organizations are “falling short in their ability to exert a measurable impact on business performance and to equip them with the knowledge and skills they need to excel in their role”. Moreover, it adds that, “while many organizations have intended to give learning and development a more strategic role, that objective hasn’t necessarily been achieved”.

Add into the mix the dissatisfaction of millennials – they are more likely than their older age cohorts to be critical of development programs – and you have a less than satisfactory situation. With a little understatement, the authors of the report say this is “worrisome, given that millennials are constituting ever-larger proportions of the workforce and moving into the ranks of management in organizations around the globe.” But then they turn optimistic, suggesting that there is “a golden opportunity” for learning and development specialists to tap into this group’s energy and creativity and build programs that satisfy the needs of both individuals and organizations.

The report adds that it sees a future emerging in which learning and development teams will link their efforts to their organization’s strategy and prove highly adaptable in the face of ongoing change. As all functions in organizations grow increasingly specialized to compete successfully in new business categories and markets, so will learning and development. Then again, the previous State of Leadership Development study in 2016 found a link between making learning and development a more strategic part of the business and performance and the authors of the current report see little sign of organizations increasing their commitment.

Nevertheless, there is a dogged belief that learning and development – just as with human resources as a whole – has a strategic role to play. This has got to be right and, with all the data available today, it should be eminently possible to measure the effect of certain interventions. But for some reason – possibly because HR cannot shrug off entirely its “soft” image among the numbers-focused other inhabitants of the C-suite – it has not happened to any great extent. The situation is not made better by the findings that line managers continue to be critical of efforts in this area.

The Harvard Business Publishing report’s authors say that to succeed in becoming “an adaptable, strategic function primed to move the needle for their businesses”, a learning and development team needs to focus on three key areas. Basing their findings on research carried out late last year among more than 700 learning and development specialists and line managers, they add that learning organizations that reshape themselves along these lines will be best-positioned to deliver development and guidance that will help their organizations capitalize on the opportunities of transformation—and break through the barriers along the way, it says.

The three areas of focus are:

Build Organizational Agility – Just as companies are become more agile to adapt to a changing environment, so must learning and development practitioners. The ability to adapt and change in the moment will prove crucial, and in a world of ever-accelerating change, traditional five-year plans will no longer work. Instead, learning and development will need to resist waiting for things to settle down and become a disruptor itself—by identifying interventions and experiences that it can execute immediately, even while change is still going on.

Deliver Learner-Focused Programs – Learning and development specialists need to become better at putting learners “front and centre” in their program design and delivery. For millennials and the incoming Generation Z, especially, making learning experiences relevant, and providing trusted content that learners can access easily from anywhere, on any device, will be important. Learning and development departments will have to move away from cumbersome competency frameworks to offer learning all the time through experiences that employees can gain access to anytime, anywhere.

Expand the Definition of Partnership – Learning and development teams will benefit by partnering more closely with leaders in other departments, businesses, and industries to strengthen their business acumen and gain insight into other approaches that can spark innovation and creativity in their leadership development programs.

It all makes abundant sense. As has already been pointed out, such initiatives would only echo what is happening elsewhere in organizations. But past experience does not suggest we can rely on it happening. Learning and development may yet continue to underperform. With a rather predictable effect on the ability to get those transformations done.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/rogertrapp/2018/05/15/three-ways-learning-and-development-specialists-can-make-themselves-more-useful-to-leaders/#cdd4a81375b2

Why it’s important for HR to get out in front of workplace disruption

(MENAFN – The Conversation) Some experts believe that more than a third of jobs in South Africa are at risk of being lost because humans are going to be replaced by digitisation and computer technology. This equates to the loss of about 5.7 million jobs. A World Economic Forum report meanwhile predicts that by 2020, more than a third of today’s skills will have fallen by the wayside.

This has significant implications for Human Resource (HR) professionals. How do they manage a workforce that is potentially outdated every two years or so?

Along with everyone in the world of work, HR professionals are going to have to adapt to get ahead of these challenges. They must find ways to work with uncertainty to ensure that their organisations harness the best talent to succeed in the long term.

They must see the opportunities. Technology is already making administrative tasks easier; from managing payrolls and employee details to keeping track of contracts. HR practitioners can harness these advances to innovate what they do from recruitment through to assessment and reward, creating a more compelling and fulfilling employee experience.

Some companies are already showing how this can be done.

Making things easier
There is no doubt that future workplaces are going to look different and that they’ll be run differently too. More and more companies are hiring freelancers and remote work among full-time employees are also becoming the new normal.

This trend is likely to increase, bringing with it more consequences for HR departments, like how to measure performance, structure packages and offer incentives.

Monitoring teams and keeping up to date with projects can be done via a number of platforms and more electronic solutions will become available over time. Already, companies are making use of cloud-based solutions, voice technology and machine learning to manage their people. According to the Human Resource Technologist publication, more efficient and streamlined data processes like these will soon make gathering employee data more efficient. Tasks will be speeded up, like identifying suitable job candidates based on key characteristics, educational qualifications and professional work history.

Global consumer goods giant, Unilever , is already taking advantage of this. It’s launched a pioneering digital recruitment process that’s shortened its hiring cycle from four months to just two weeks. This saves 50,000 hours of candidate time while reducing recruiter screening time by a massive 75%. More than that, the process is fun and rewarding for candidates and they get better feedback about their participation regardless of whether they are successful or not.

New ways of rewarding and incentivising
The new approaches are appealing especially to Millennials and the Generation Zs – young people who are tech savvy and used to interacting on multiple platforms, and who will dominate work spaces of the future.

Research shows that Millennials are keen too on experiential rewards as opposed to financial incentives. This means they place a high premium on things like travel opportunities, discounted tickets and vouchers to sports or music events rather than on pension benefits and more traditional incentives.

Millennials are also quicker than previous generations to leave jobs where they are not happy and expect regular affirmation in the workplace. Companies can respond by putting into place automated feedback systems to provide continuous assessment rather than a lumbering annual performance appraisal. Start-ups like Lattice, TinyPulse, and Zugata have taken this concept to the extreme with short weekly reviews that are fun for employees to complete.

Other organisations have launched collaborative initiatives that help to motivate and engage millennials. Accenture Digital, for example , offers junior staff secondments and opportunities to work on virtual extra mural projects, giving them an opportunity to learn more skills and work with others in a virtual space.

New ways of learning
According to the Accenture Strategy report: Harnessing Revolution: Creating the future workforce , employees are hungry for these kind of opportunities and are positive about the change technology is bringing to their jobs with 87% thinking it will improve matters at work. A telling 85% said they were willing to learn new skills at work.

In line with these shifts, executive education is shifting too. While in the past it was dominated by business acumen and financial expertise there is now a growing focus on leadership, relationship building, self-awareness, empathy and communication skills.

How courses are delivered is also shifting with face-to-face and full-time learning being augmented with online courses, flexible timetables and adjustable structures offering HR departments more avenues than ever before to train and develop their employees.

In addition to new ways of formal learning, HR has access to a range of innovative software and electronic tools to enable informal learning in the workplace. New technology and apps, like for instance MyGrow , can help to develop emotional intelligence in the workplace at scale while also assisting with managing employees, keeping track of their time at work and on projects .

Far from being a threat, the future is bright and filled with opportunity for those HR professionals who are able to shift gears quickly and think afresh about how they add value. In many respects, as the profession that looks after all others in the workplace, they have an obligation to make sure that the changes ahead are, on balance, good for their people.

Industrial relations Workforce Youth Workplace Technology Employees Freelancer performance reviews Workers Millenials Generation Z

Out with the old, in with the new

Japanese drug and medical equipment manufacturer Takeda Pharmaceutical Company may be 237 years old, but its HR processes and systems are anything but aged.

For starters, in the last three years, the company has undergone a massive business and HR transformation.

Vice President of HR for Emerging Markets (including Asia-Pacific) Ana Cardoso says the transformation wheels started turning in 2013, the year she joined Takeda’s Zurich offices as the Talent Management Head of Emerging Markets. In that role, she was tasked with implementing a global talent management strategic framework that would standardise human capital processes across all offices.

The change, Cardoso says, had been a long time coming. There was some initial resistance to the idea, and her team had to work hard to convince organisation leaders that a global internal platform would be beneficial to the business.

Then, in 2015, when the business had a complete review of its geographical divisions, a decision was made to move the regional office of the Emerging Markets unit from Zurich to Singapore, away from Europe. The shift, she recalls, was what really helped to speed up the move towards a global HR system.

“We had nothing here. We had to build up the regional office from scratch. We transferred some people over to Singapore, and we hired many more,” she shares. Today, over 50 corporate employees in this office support all 37 countries that form the Emerging Markets group.

“Three years ago, we didn’t have a global set-up, each unit was independent. I was fortunate enough to participate in the transformation and drive some of the decisions that we took,” says Cardoso.

The regional presence was very much in line with the organisation’s governing mission, which is “to be as global and as local as needed”, she adds.

One global analytical platform
As part of the HR strategy consolidation, all of the numerous organisational systems and processes that were previously used have been streamlined into one global analytical platform.

This consolidation has increased the efficiency of talent management processes and information accuracy across the board, by allowing offices on different parts of the planet to extract a wealth of data on one another, including promotions, gender diversity and, pay scales.

“Before, if I had to get data from 37 countries where we operate in, I would have Excel files of information to consolidate, knowing that it was unlikely they would be reliable,” says Cardoso.

Since analytics was introduced, internal promotion rates across all countries, for example, have risen substantially, from 40% in 2016 to 66% in 2018. HR and team managers are now able to forecast what capabilities will be needed in the future and where the talent gaps of each business division are, all of which informs its leadership development, training, and succession planning strategies.

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“We used to just place people and talk about their next roles. Now, we ask: ‘do you have any women on your team?’; and ‘how diverse is your management team now?”

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Culture change around diversity
The greatest impact, however, has been felt in the area of gender diversity, says Cardoso.

For the first time, the company started tracking the analytics on diversity, and it discovered that diversity figures were lower at the highest organisational levels (33% female representation).

Gender diversity has become a big part of the conversation among senior leadership, and is now one of the key business performance indicators.

“I never realised this was an issue, but I found out that it was something we had to work on,” Cardoso reveals.
“It is something we need to do internally, but it’s really about changing the culture.”

The culture change is well underway, with the most focus being spent on China, Russia, Brazil, and South Korea, all of which fall under Emerging Markets. The organisation has started to implement a number of work-life strategies that make it easier for women to balance their home life and careers in these countries.

For instance, in Brazil, local labour laws require a minimum four months’ maternity leave. In Takeda, female employees are entitled to six months of leave.

In South Korea, benefits for women include flexible working hours, an additional five days of childcare leave entitlement, as well as breastfeeding rooms so that new mothers are able to tend to their newborns while still at work.

Female employees are also entitled to “reasonable” daily breaks, or a daily reduction of work hours to breastfeed, which are allowed as paid recess, at least twice per day for more than 30 minutes each.

“We have seen from the positive results, that the more diverse an organisation is, the more successful it will be,” says Cardoso, adding that there is a significant amount of investment has gone into diversity programmes in China, Russia, and South Korea.

To improve diversity levels across the board, four years ago, HR launched local group sharing sessions, where women leaders are invited to talk about the challenges they had to overcome on their way up.

The emphasis on diversity has also influenced the succession planning process. Five years ago, HR and team managers would get together twice a year and have talent review sessions, where they discussed the individuals, their performance, and where they would be placed in the future.

“We used to just place people and talk about their next roles. Now, we ask: ‘do you have any women on your team?’; and ‘how diverse is your management team now?’,” says Cardoso.

“Now, it’s not enough just having successors, we need to talk about strong successor pipelines, and diversity helps.”

Becoming an employer of choice
All these efforts have helped Takeda to improve employee engagement levels globally, and its standing as an attractive employer.

When the first staff engagement survey for the Emerging Markets group was conducted in 2013, it was already at an impressive score of 89%. This grew to 92% in 2017, and talent retention rates have also grown.

The success of Takeda’s transformation efforts also prompted the company to apply for a global Top Employers Institute certification in 2016 (which it received).

“When we start to see the good job we have done internally, we thought it was time to make things public too,” says Cardoso.

The certification also gave the organisation a much-needed advertising boost to job-seekers.

“Takeda is not very well-known as a company outside of Japan. So we are not a company that people want to join. When they apply for a job here, they don’t know us,” Cardoso admits. Following the certification, Takeda has been able to attract 12% more job applications than previously.

It has also allowed the organisation to benchmark its HR systems and processes against other top companies, and check out the best practices that it can learn from.

Cardoso says the decision to get certified was particularly crucial for emerging markets, where she says the company is very much a specialist healthcare organisation.

“If you don’t have these kinds of processes to show, and say, ‘look at us – you can have a very good time here’, then it’s difficult to attract the best,” she says.

Through all the technological and cultural changes, the global HR team under Cardoso has stayed resolute and focused on the end goal – to position the business as a truly global powerhouse.

As a result, Cardoso says the HR agenda is now firmly a part of the overall business agenda.

“I don’t need to fight to talk about people here. Having a management team that supports my initiatives is priceless,” she says.

And with a company mission statement as “better health, brighter future”, Takeda seems to have delivered this promise not just to customers, but employees too.

“The better employees we have, the better services that we deliver to the patient,” she says.

“Ultimately, the question is how do we match our business aspirations to our employee value proposition, because the people are really what makes a difference to our business.”

Source: http://www.hrmasia.com/content/out-old-new

How to Nurture Your Top Talent

ONCE YOU’VE IDENTIFIED YOUR ORGANISATION’S TOP TALENT, HOW CAN YOU ENSURE THESE VALUABLE INDIVIDUALS STICK AROUND? CONTRIBUTOR JENNY STRAUMERS, LEAD CONSULTANT – CIRRUS.

For businesses that have identified the ‘top talent’ – the people with the capability to steer your organisation towards future success and create long-term, sustainable growth – holding on to these individuals can be quite a challenge. After all, the very things that make them so valuable to you can also make them very attractive to your competitors. And if they feel that they are not getting enough opportunities for growth and development from you, they are likely to seek them elsewhere.

The impact of developing top talent
Frequently the people you have identified as ‘top talent’ are very influential. The work they do, and the way they do it, often effects how others work and behave too. So when you invest in these people, you are not only helping to develop and retain them – you often create a positive rippling effect across your organisation’s culture. If these people are not developed, they may become dissatisfied and disengaged. This too can impact on others, but not in a positive way.

Developing top talent in a digital age
Technology is fuelling the pace of change in a world which is increasingly complex and unpredictable. In this world, agility has become a prized attribute as it helps us to identify, focus, and act swiftly to address both challenges and opportunities. It is helpful to apply agile principles to how we nurture our top talent. So, rather than focusing on long-term development programmes, it is helpful to think about a series of short-term interventions which can be tweaked and adapted in response to ever-changing needs.

Get creative
You have probably invested a lot already in identifying and assessing top talent, so it makes sense to build on that investment with targeted development opportunities. Your top talent may have high expectations from your organisation. It helps to be creative when it comes to talent management activities. Consider career pathways, job rotations, and other ways of providing challenging and broadening experiences. Offer flexible opportunities for day-to-day working and for personal development.

Think holistically
These days, development and career progression can be likened to a rock wall, not a ladder. It’s not just about hierarchical moves – it’s important to think more holistically about how your leadership talent gains experience. Moving across functions or business units is a key consideration. Many of the organisations we work with specify that to reach a certain level their leaders need broad experience to support a more holistic approach to driving the business forward. It follows that top talent development won’t fit the traditional classroom model; providing experiences and challenges that disrupt and inspire will likely come from a blended methodology that really enables your leadership talent to flourish.

What engages top talent?
Top talent will be most engaged, and you will get the most from them, when they are closely aligned with your organisation’s purpose and values. More and more, people want work to provide meaning as well as money. Provide opportunities for your top talent to contribute to your organisation in meaningful ways. This can increase their loyalty and help them to become powerful role models for others.

Support from both HR and line managers
Line managers are of course critical to nurturing your top talent. Ideally, they will have ongoing performance conversations and ensure that top talent receives support on a day-to-day basis. However, it is critical that line managers themselves receive support from HR to ensure that top talent is nurtured in a consistent way across your business. HR can also ensure that top talent has the opportunity to move across business units – not every line manager is keen to lose a star performer to another part of the business.

Stretch your talent
Top talent often appreciate disruptive and challenging opportunities. Working on a growth project or being part of a thought-provoking business simulation can really take individuals out of their comfort zones, develop new skills, and inspire new ways of working. Make the most of this by encouraging top talent to share their new-found insights with other colleagues. This helps to inculcate this valuable learning across your organisation.

The power of coaching
Coaching is a powerful tool for helping your top talent to identify and achieve personal goals in line with your business strategy. It can be particularly beneficial if you take a ‘programmatic’ approach where groups of people are coached in line with a key strategic challenge during a fixed time period. This can accelerate the impact of coaching both for your top talent and your overall organisation.

Let top talent fail
Although many organisations want to become increasingly innovative, many are also risk-averse. A culture of caution can hinder innovation and prevent your top talent from developing the agility they need to drive your organisation forward. It is important to encourage experimentation, to allow failure without fear, and to celebrate learning from mistakes. Rather than blaming top talent for errors, encourage them to learn and move on. This is particularly important if you are keen to hold on to people with a strong entrepreneurial or creative streak, who do not always fit comfortably into traditional, corporate environments.

Future-proof your business
The future success of your organisation relies on the effectiveness of your future leaders. Neglect them and your business will suffer. Nurture them and they will be more likely to engage others, focus on customers, and drive innovation.

Source: https://www.thehrdirector.com/features/talent-management/nurture-top-talent/

HRM Five: Fun ways to recognise employees

It’s tempting for some people to think that employees who are being fairly compensated for their work don’t need anything further. But most human beings enjoy recognition for a job very well done. Taking the time to appreciate an employee who has gone above and beyond is a way to show respect and reward positive attitudes.

As such, employee recognition doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive – the most important aspect is the acknowledgement. Organisations should have objective guidelines on how to identify and praise such employees, and also clearly communicate these to its people.

You don’t want your employee recognition program to backfire and end up demoralising you staff, instead, but this is exactly what can happen if people think that getting recognised is just about who is best as sucking up to the boss, or who has close personal connections to upper management.

Employee rewards don’t have to be stodgy or impersonal, either. Here are five fun and easy ways to get started on building a culture of recognition.

Company swag
Instead of the usual t-shirts and mugs, how about embossed leather notebook or power banks for mobile devices? Or even specially designed enamel pins – you can have different colours for different occasions.

Surprise bonuses
If a new product has seen tremendous sales, or you’ve just closed out an amazing deal, why not spread the wealth to the specific employees who helped make it happen? It’s not about disbursing a high monetary amount, however, but about showing your people that you see and appreciate their hard work.

Commuting help
A fuel or bus/train subsidy would be practical and legitimately useful to most (if not all) employees. This also gives them the freedom to use the savings from their pay check as they see fit.

Parties
If you want to recognise the entire company for banding together to create a successful event or peak season, a tea party full of food and drink (and maybe gift bags) will not go amiss. You could also have exclusive soirées at the end of the year or quarter just for employees who have done something special.

Spa retreats
Working life – or life, in general! – can be stressful. For those who can’t take the time or money to go on holiday, a trip to the spa for a massage or facial is a decent alternative. These are great employee recognition as they promote both work-life balance and stress relief. They are also little luxuries that many people won’t often bother to pursue for themselves.

Source: http://www.hrmasia.com/node/250142

How SMEs can secure the best talent available

Attracting and retaining talent is a huge priority for any organisation today, and the evolution of certain industries means niche capabilities and roles are being created almost daily; it really is a candidate’s market for the best talent.

This presents various challenges for organisations of any size but can be particularly difficult for SMEs who may be competing against big, established businesses with compelling employer brands which go all out to attract and hang onto the best people.

BPS World commissioned research in March to explore how senior decision makers and members of the C-suite feel about their approach to engagement and retention, their employee turnover rates, interview processes and their strategy for talent pipelining and succession. Many respondents were from SMEs, and we considered their responses against those of their larger counterparts. For example, compared to businesses of 250 people or more, SMEs were less likely to have a succession planning strategy in place. This group also cited ‘competition for the best talent’ as their biggest hiring challenge over the next ten years (23%), whereas the larger companies surveyed were more likely to cite Brexit and the associated migration issues, or skills gaps in their industry as the biggest hindrance to hiring over the next decade. The outlook for SMEs wasn’t wholly negative; as they had a lower employee turnover rate than the larger businesses surveyed, which suggests their approach to retention is paying off.

Nowadays, offering a bumper salary package may seem like the best way to attract skilled employees, and bigger businesses can be more financially able to do so. However, it’s important to note that a high salary alone does not retain talent. We conducted research last year which asked employees for the top reason why they stayed in their longest serving role. Almost half (47%) said it was because they enjoyed the job, compared to just over a quarter (27%) who said they stayed put because they were paid well.

So, what does this mean for an SME looking to build a strong talent pipeline; aiming to attract high skilled employees to stimulate growth or realise its ambitions? Clearly, it’s not as black and white as saying SMEs don’t need to offer a competitive package. The approach needs to be far more holistic than simply looking at what you’re paying someone.

SMEs should think about every step of their attraction, engagement, and retention strategy to identify areas of improvement. For example, are their job ads effectively ‘selling’ the role? Are their recruitment process unnecessarily unwieldy? Do they provide adequate development opportunities? What do the internal comms look like – does every employee feel bought into the organisational vision? Is the organisation supported by a clear culture based on values and behaviours?

There should also be consideration of the reasons why people resign, as these can be the same reasons why people turn down jobs at the point of offer, which 52% of SMEs surveyed said happens to them either often or sometimes. Naturally, many departing staff move on because they need a new challenge, but if others cite things like lack of flexible working opportunities, or feeling like their development was stifled, then these issues need to be tackled or they will put off potential new recruits.

In many ways, SMEs have a very compelling offer for potential candidates and existing employees, and their challenge is communicating and articulating it. For example, many candidates seek out the faster pace and reduced bureaucracy commonly found within a smaller, more agile organisation. They enjoy feeling like ‘more than just a number’. And they like to work in an agile way, which smaller businesses tend to do more naturally in many cases. If you’re an SME that offers all these things, make sure potential candidates know about them! Don’t be distracted by the seemingly infinite budgets global organisations appear to have for slick recruitment campaigns or salary packages. Take an honest, holistic view of your entire strategy when it comes to attracting, hiring and keeping the best people, and keep reviewing it to make sure you’re marketing your employer brand as effectively as possible. If you get all this right, there’s no reason why you should be lagging in the talent race.

Source: http://www.smeweb.com/2018/05/21/smes-can-secure-best-talent-available/

Variable Pay Is A New Method To Retain Top Talent

The growth in variable component reflects 10-20 percent on the gross salary. Companies in different are increasing variable pay component as a proportion of employee salary to incentivise performance.

Companies are offering 10-25 percent increase in variable pay as incentive to retain and attract talents, especially in the IT, FMCG, e-commerce, BFSI and telecom sectors.

TeamLease Services Head of North Business Mayur Saraswat told here, “We see an increase ranging from 10-25 percent during the last 2-3 years. Today for some companies, the variable component is nearly 25 percent of the fixed salary for employees at junior-mid level.”

He added that this growth in variable component reflects 10-20 percent on the gross salary. Companies in sectors like IT, Information Technology Enabled Services (ITeS), FMCG, e-commerce, Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI) and Telecom are increasing variable pay component as a proportion of employee salary to incentivise performance.

“Historically, companies were used to the concept of having fixed pay. But now, with markets getting matured and complex with competition, companies believe talent is one of the key factor for success. To attract and retain talent, one would need to have a culture of high performance as well as incentivising performance,” Saraswat said.

Reflecting on the same, Michael Page India MD Nicolas Dumoulin said domestic companies are now increasingly including the variable pay component in employee’s salary packages.

He said, “Therefore, the size of the variable pay is larger when it comes to local companies, with an approximate of 20-30 percent bonuses being offered. MNCs have always offered this element to their employees across the globe, therefore, they continue to offer this but the extent of compensations have not drastically increased.

Dumoulin said, well-established companies in FMCG and banking, healthcare and life sciences, chemicals, building materials and sales driven roles have started introducing this aspect.

However, the variable pay component is not the most effective method to retain or attract talent as it is a one-off amount that employees get, especially for those in a support function role.

Dumoulin concluded that apart from the variable pay component, professionals are eager to work with organisations that allow them to take on different roles in the corporation, offer international working opportunities and have flexible working hours,.

Source: http://businessworld.in/article/Variable-Pay-Is-A-New-Method-To-Retain-Top-Talent-/21-05-2018-149831/

How will AI change the HR operations landscape?

We live in very exciting times. The artificial intelligence debate is intensifying. There is constant commentary on it from some of the finest brains of our times. Some are for it with gusto and some seek caution.

One thing is certain, AI has accelerated like no other technology in the past few decades. It is clear that AI will become much more pervasive and intertwined in our day-to-day life. It will change the way we live in fundamental ways.

AI is the ultimate frontier in technology. Organisations are investing significantly in AI and it will continue to happen with AI becoming more of a catalyst for businesses. Experts predict that technologies that underpin the fourth industrial revolution are all set to bring out the best in people.

If you think job disruption by artificial intelligence (AI) is limited to the marketing, finance, sales and customer service, think again: The AI dust is being sprinkled on the human resources function, too.

Although the field is projected to grow 9 percent by 2024, as companies grow and need more robust structures for supporting and empowering employees, the hype and expectations of AI in the HR sector are getting astronomical.

That’s indeed good news for the HR folks – isn’t it?

Certainly, the HR department is one of the most complex, handcrafted and data-dependent business processes within an organisation. AI has the potential to transform employee engagement with relevant, quick and in- depth analysis of various functions within HR.

AI provides the teams with the necessary budget space to be more effective and efficient than ever.

Many HR leaders have already begun experimenting with varied facets of AI to deliver maximum value to their organizations. Organisations with large employee bases are turning to AI to reduce the cost involved in managing operations, to improve employee engagement to drive bias-free decisions in employee screening and recruitment.

AI can also help HR shared service organisations to focus on strategic business initiatives and can enable them to streamline and modernise HR operations, especially in the following areas:

Reimagining HR operations with AI and machine learning technologies

Conversational Interfaces: These interfaces automate regular HR tasks and provide employees with insights about policies, training schedules, payroll, and compensation. With speech recognition and NLP infused, conversational AI platforms addresses the growing needs of digitally empowered employees with 24*7 assistance and helps organizations in driving productivity improvements.

Machine Learning (ML): ML skims people-related data to detect patterns and transforms program actions accordingly. The insights drawn makes suitable data available for HR practitioners to motivate and engage existing employees and to also hire new ones. Also, ML-powered recommendations use historical records to suggest the optimum solutions to resolve conflicts.

Predictive models: These models help HR departments reduce employee turnover, boost business performance, quickly identify areas of risk and potential performance issues, and improve workforce diversity. Organizations are building predictive models that would identify the key reasons contributing to employee attrition by simply analyzing a structured data file fed into it and generating a score for every employee based on the calculated probability of them leaving their jobs.

AI and non-transactional segments of HR

AI has the potential to take HR experience to a higher level by automating most of the non-transactional HR tasks. Let’s have a closer look at some of these tasks.

Recruitment: Hiring in thousands leads to scale issues for HR professionals, who most often grapple with the problem of “resume overload”. Robots with AI software designed for recruitment are helping HRs in the screening process by identifying hard-to-find candidates at scale, collecting potential employees’ information and performing background checks. Such tools help candidates select the right job thereby freeing head hunters from the mundane task of candidate screening.

On-boarding: Smart AI tools focus on making on-boarding a self-service process since these can connect directly with onsite employees, and collaborate with the workforce management team.

Video interviews:

Organisations are increasingly leveraging video conferencing tools for interviewing and assessing candidates. According to a recent research by Polycom, by the year 2020, 50 percent of conference rooms will be video-enabled. AI tools can analyse these videos to assess candidates’ language, skills, educational credentials, even honesty and mood.

Sentiment analysis: Telecom, technology banking, and healthcare sectors are hard pressed with the challenge of employee retention. Several companies have already started using AI and ML solutions to capture employee feedback to get a better understanding of their sentiments in real time. The key reason that organizations dig into sentiment technology lies in its data. AI, a big game changer here, can spot and analyse intelligent patterns in the sentiment of employees through their geographic locations, emails, conversations, etc.

Can AI replace human empathy and intuition?

Over the last few years, AI has gradually seeped into a domain which was considered solely to be driven by humans – HR department. From the screening process to enhancing employee engagement and sentiment analysis, AI has literally revolutionised this critical business function. Earlier confined to only big enterprises, AI is now spreading to MSMEs (Medium Small Medium Enterprises) as well.

However, the entry of AI has got many HR professionals fearing that they could be replaced by technology. Although the same fears should have cropped up in the minds of employees during the time of computer revolution as well.

“Human vs. intelligent machines” is probably the second-best bogey after ‘God vs Lucifer’, a timeless battle. Some commentators belong to that school of thought believing that ‘tech is going to replace humans’ and that AI will trigger a tsunami of redundancies throughout the workforce, while other experts believe that AI and human intuition go hand in hand.

So, where do we stand now? Has the transformation begun?

AI is not the future anymore; it is the present already and making waves in one function in 2018: Human Resources. Often, this function is perceived to lag in digital transformation, but with AI now has emerged as a game changer, there is a great opportunity awaiting the HR world.

AI allows huge amounts of data to be amassed and processed that would be far beyond human capabilities. However, this data-crunching and analytical aspect of AI can certainly validate the human gut feel. Instead of replacing HR professionals, ground-breaking AI tools are complementing human skills and managing role tasks to avoid multiple HR roles, thus freeing up the valuable human capital to focus on more strategic or critical aspects of their jobs.

Many experts feel AI can never replace human empathy and intuition. A company’s HR department is likely to always need a human at the helm to handle interpersonal conflicts using non-cognitive and reasoning skills. AI is unlocking and amplifying human potential, not replacing it. People will be able to focus much more on value-added work and less on rote tasks unleashing their creative potential better.

Source: https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/technology/how-will-ai-change-the-hr-operations-landscape-2572629.html