The best way to pick yourself up and move forward after a lousy performance review

So you didn’t quite expect the poor marks you received on your last performance review. While your first reaction may be anger, the worst thing you can do is lash out and act defensive. But don’t be discouraged. More than 90 percent of companies use ratings to measure performance, giving up to 80 percent of their workforce a C rating.

As vice president of employee success at Reflektive, a people-management platform, I have been on the other side of these one-on-ones for years. But don’t despair. Rather than getting emotional, take the time to reflect, clarify expectations with your manager, and identify some opportunities for growth. If you use your review as an opportunity to improve your performance, you will inevitably build a stronger employee-manager relationship and begin to stand out from your colleagues.

It’s natural to find it difficult to forge ahead in the wake of a lousy review, but the fastest road to recovery is to shift your focus on all the positive things you can accomplish in the future. Here are some tips on what employees should do the day (and weeks) following their review to start down the path toward improvement.

Take a breather
Before you jump into action, take some time to sort through your thoughts. Talk with a friend or family member, go for a walk, have some tea — whatever helps you clear your head. This will give you space to find a calm state of mind.

Neuroscience tells us receiving feedback is like being attacked by a wild animal. Your initial reaction might be to defend yourself or shut down — the classic fight-or-flight mentality, especially if feedback is poorly delivered. Sometimes your performance-review score will impact your compensation. But you can get past this.

“Sometimes we make the mistake of taking feedback personally. … Ask for a specific example and talk through how things could be done differently next time. Examples will help you see how you can improve and get you into your growth mindset.”
Identify what is helpful
Not all feedback is created equal. Consider what is helpful to you — and drop the rest. Was there a piece of the feedback that can help you grow? Or perhaps, what have you learned not to do from observing how your manager conducts reviews?

There is a difference between a good manager and a great manager. Feedback is a key area where this distinction is revealed. Some managers lean on that C rating or critical feedback because they want to be helpful, or worry they won’t seem authoritative if they are only giving positive feedback. Other times manager bias can cause a manager to be more critical than other managers in the organization, or compare everyone on the team to one top performer’s high standard. In probably the worst case, a manager gives critical feedback simply to vent.

Share the feedback with a close friend
Your friends and family know you the best. Talk to someone you trust. Share the feedback you received and ask for their perspective. Their observations of you may provide more clarity into what the feedback is intended to address. Perhaps they see one piece of feedback you can grow from and can share it in a way that is helpful.

The lessons we learn at work can benefit us in our personal lives. The way we relate to others is surprisingly consistent across work, family, friend and romantic relationships. Sometimes the stress at work can expose a weakness. By identifying it, you may be able to improve how you connect with those most close to you. Don’t miss the opportunity for self-improvement.

Ask clarifying questions
After you’ve had time to clear your mind, go back to your manager with clarifying questions. This will help you understand what he or she expects you to do differently moving forward.

Sometimes we make the mistake of taking feedback personally. We hear, “You need to work on time management,” and think, “I am bad at time management.” In this case, you’d want to ask for a specific example and talk through how things could be done differently next time. Examples will help you see how you can improve and get you into your growth mindset.

Move forward
Now that you’ve taken the time to reflect on your performance review and feedback, you are ready to move forward. Give yourself some gratitude. Instead of being reactive or defensive, you’ve turned this feedback into something useful. This will help you grow in your career and give good feedback to others in the future.


Don’t Let Lazy Managers Drive Away Your Top Performers

Many people believe that being a good manager only requires common sense, and that it is therefore easy to be one. If this were true, good managers would be commonplace at all levels of more organizations, and as a result, employee engagement and retention would be high. However, only 13% of workers worldwide are engaged at work, and employee turnover rates in the United States are at a 17-year high. As these statistics suggest, either most managers lack common sense, or good management is, in fact, quite challenging in practice.

As social scientists who study organizational behavior, we know that even in theory, being a good manager and retaining employees is difficult. Indeed, researchers have sought to understand how to cultivate a happy and productive workforce for more than 100 years. When we consider this body of work, it is evident that there are a multitude of factors that influence employee retention. In both theory and in practice, engaging and retaining employees is a complex endeavor, and it takes hard work to do it well.

When managers subscribe to the “common sense” view of management, they see little value in exerting effort when it comes to leading their teams. In turn, they become lazy managers. As explained below, we have observed at least two symptoms associated with lazy management: 1) a tendency for managers to blame low performance and turnover on employees, rather than on oneself or on the organization, and 2) a tendency for managers to look for quick fixes to complex retention problems.

Psychologists have long recognized that people often overestimate the role of personality and underestimate the power of the situation in shaping human behavior. When managers become lazy, they tend to make this fundamental attribution error more frequently and on a larger scale, believing that employees act the way they do because of who they are. By blaming employees for performance problems or retention issues, lazy managers free themselves from doing the hard work of considering how their own management style affects employee satisfaction, performance, and turnover.

Also, because lazy managers believe that good management is simple, when things go wrong, they are drawn to simple solutions that are easy to find. For example, when employee retention becomes a problem, lazy managers may be quick to suggest pay raises or bonuses as the antidote — a costly solution that may fail to address the underlying issue(s). The latest management fads may also be more appealing to lazy managers. Indeed, the sheer volume and availability of solutions to employee engagement and retention problems through blogs, books, podcasts, and other sources is greater than ever, and the reality is that much of it targets lazy managers seeking quick fixes.

Even though most managers realize that their employees want to be treated fairly, have meaningful work, feel a sense of accomplishment, and so forth, the extent to which employees feel these needs are being satisfied can vary on a daily basis. Thus, effortful management requires that leaders be more thoughtful and persistent in trying to understand why their employees may be thinking of leaving and what time, energy, and other resources are needed to increase their engagement. Given that even good managers can sometimes fall into this trap, what can you do if you and your management team are showing signs of lazy management?

First, when employees are disengaged, rather than asking what is wrong with them, managers should instead start by considering the possibility that management is doing something wrong. After opening their minds to this possibility, managers can determine whether this is the case by collecting data. For instance, quick, frequent “pulse surveys” may be useful for keeping tabs on how employees feel about their own jobs and the job that management is doing; likewise, self-development tools, such as the Reflected Best Self exercise, a tool that helps people understand and leverage their individual talents, may provide leaders with feedback that can help them use their strengths more effectively. In short, managers need to take the uncomfortable and intentional step of gathering evidence from others to inform what they can be doing to re-engage their employees. The good news is that by simply signaling to employees that a manager is willing to work hard and make meaningful changes, some employees will feel more supported and inclined to stay.

Second, managers who are willing to make the effort will find that there are ongoing advances in the practice and study of management which offer an ever-expanding set of tools for diagnosing and addressing employee retention challenges. Not every tool fit a given manager’s style and the organization’s circumstances. Therefore, good managers must not only continually learn, but also must have the discipline to verify whether the advice they do receive, even when based on strong evidence and best practices, will apply to their team. It can be useful, then, for managers to see themselves as behavioral scientists, and become comfortable pilot testing retention-targeted changes before fully implementing them. For example, before providing employees with customer feedback in order to stoke their prosocial motivation — that is, their interest in helping customers for altruistic, unselfish reasons — a trial run with a subset of employees can provide evidence regarding whether it will improve employee attitudes and performance, and if so, by how much. Fortunately, there are resources available to managers who want to learn more about “people analytics” and how to use it to improve their organizations.

Finally, when retention issues crop up, organizational leaders should consider whether lazy management is contributing to the problem. If managers are just going through the motions when it comes to employee engagement and retention, it could indicate that they lack the necessary time, resources, and motivation to do more. Since effortful management requires energy in the short-term, but does not pay off until down the road, some managers forgo their responsibilities to their people because they are too focused on meeting short-term objectives. To discourage lazy management, then, managers must be given the support, incentives, and direction needed to motivate them to dedicate time and energy toward more actively managing their teams. In addition, rather than blaming lazy managers for retention issues, leaders should take a critical look at their selection and promotion processes to determine why these individuals were placed into managerial positions in the first place. If they were promoted to manager because they have excellent technical skills, they may have turned into a lazy manager because they were taken away from what they do best. If managerial promotion processes do not focus on identifying those who are most likely to embrace the challenge of managing well, lazy management may spread throughout the organization.

Management is not easy, and it takes a lot more than common sense to develop and retain a highly motivated workforce these days. By abandoning the “just common sense” mentality associated with lazy management, managers can learn how their actions influence employees, stop looking for easy fixes, and exert the thought and effort that is uncommon in too many workplaces.


Does the Employee Experience Trend Replace Engagement?

If you’re an organizational leader or if you work in HR, you may have noticed something recently — or even over the past few years now: Your organization can’t fake its employment brand anymore.

Workplace experiences quickly get shared online, as well as throughout your company. So your brand gets created based on what your company culture actually is.

This makes the stakes (good and bad) for companies higher than ever when it comes to reputation, hiring talented people, customer engagement and the bottom line. That’s why the employee experience trend emerged and why it has become a strategic priority for leaders today.

HR leaders are right to focus on the employee experience.

But for companies that have spent the past decade focusing on employee engagement methods, what does this new focus mean? Is employee engagement being replaced by employee experience? Are they the same?

What Is the Employee Experience?
The employee experience is the journey an employee takes with your organization.

It is the sum of all interactions an employee has with an employer — yes, it includes the entire employee life cycle — from recruitment to exit. But Gallup’s perspective goes beyond that, too.

Our research shows that the crucial factors that influence the employee experience throughout the employee life cycle include an employee’s manager, role, team, workspace and wellbeing.

Also, the experiences within each life cycle stage should align with your leadership’s overall vision for your company’s purpose, brand and culture.


For example, if your organization promotes a customer-centric culture, how is that culture experienced by employees in your hiring and onboarding processes? Where does it show up on performance reviews? How might it be expressed in the way you say “goodbye” to employees who are moving on or retiring?

Our approach broadens your company’s view of how you can influence the way a worker feels about your organization.

You no longer simply try to make onboarding fun, you create a deeper connection with your organization that affects employee retention, engagement, performance and development — and whether or not they will represent your brand in a positive light.

Why the Employee Experience Is Not a Replacement for Employee Engagement
Employee engagement involves the basic psychological needs that must be met for employees to perform their specific roles well, on an everyday basis.

Employee engagement remains crucial because engaged employees show up — physically, emotionally and cognitively. They are enthusiastic about what they have to do, and they naturally find ways to improve and excel. They generate most of the creativity, innovation and excellence in your organization.

In the employee life cycle, engagement is at the center and it’s a critical component at each stage.

Furthermore, engagement involves the daily execution of one’s role, and increasing employee engagement is primarily the responsibility of managers. Gallup’s analysis shows that the manager alone accounts for 70% of the variance in team engagement. They are critical to engagement and to getting the employee experience right throughout the life cycle.

Engagement should be a pillar of every organization’s everyday management and employee experience strategy. Not a separate initiative or only thought of during one of the seven touch points on the employee life cycle.

Create an exceptional employee experience: Equip your leaders with every insight they need with the Gallup Access platform.
Jessica Buono is a Content Strategist and Copywriter at Gallup.


So You Want To Lead? Make Yourself Worthy Of Followers

In today’s world it’s easy to be confused about a term like “leader.” Sometimes the title may be applied when it’s not really accurate. Some people may have authority to act, but they are not necessarily “leaders.”

Occasionally in a coaching session with a group of clients I show a PowerPoint slide with a simple message:

“We are facing a serious problem! I need you to give everything you have over the next several weeks to help us solve it. I’m afraid you won’t sleep much or be able to spend much time with your family until things are back to normal.”

After they’ve had a chance to ponder the message, I ask the people in the room: “Would you follow this person? ”

Naturally, they want to know who it is. So I put a face on the request. The next slide shows photos of a wide range of people—Ronald Reagan, Pope Francis, Mikhail Gorbachev, Moses, Martha Stewart.

“Which of these people would you follow enthusiastically?” I ask. Then, “Which of these?” and I show a third slide with even more people—Martin Luther King, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Oprah Winfrey, Nelson Mandela, Jack Welch, Mother Teresa, George Bush, Steve Jobs, Hillary Clinton, Gandhi, Yasser Arafat, Condoleezza Rice, Bill Gates, Nancy Pelosi, Donald Trump.

I point out that each of the people has (or had) a formal leadership position. But you would not want to follow them—or anyone else—unless and until you had confidence in three things:

Character—the person’s integrity, motives, principles, values. Character is what a leader is.
Competence—the person’s skills, gifts, talents, ability to deliver on promises. Competence is what a leader does.
Cause—the person’s reason for leading, his vision, goals, his “end game.” Cause is what most often motivates and inspires. Cause is the “why” of noble and compelling leadership.
After some lively discussion about character, competence, and cause, I then ask the people in the room: “What about you? What are you doing to inspire confidence in your character, in your competence, and in your cause?”

Great leadership is no accident. It’s the result of deliberate effort and attention to detail. This involves managing values, the “core doctrine” of what you profess to stand for.

Nobody understands this more clearly than Dr. Timothy R. Clark, founder and CEO of LeaderFactor, a consulting and training firm focusing on leadership, change management, engagement, and strategic agility. He’s author of Leading With Character and Competence: Moving Beyond Title, Position, and Authority.

Rodger Dean Duncan: You point out that people who lack competence remain ineffective. But competent leaders who lack character become dangerous. Without naming names, what are some of the warning signs of a flawed character in the workplace?

Timothy R. Clark: Two things. First, leaders stop listening. Their advocacy-to-discovery ratio goes way up. In other words, they talk a lot more. They think talking amounts to leading and so they are prone to move into a very annoying rhetorical mode. They simply can’t shut up. And when they do listen, they listen based on the status of the person talking rather than the substance of the message. If you’re not important, don’t expect an audience.

Second, they simply forget—assuming they once learned—that leadership is stewardship for others and the resources we share. They become focused on their own advancement and they see leadership as a glittering path to their own rewards. In short, they become self-serving, greedy, and small.

Duncan: What advice do you give someone who’s been temporarily caught in the moral fog and is making a good faith effort to retrieve lost trust and reputation?

Clark: Understand that trust is the outcome of a slow-build. You can’t demand trust. It can only be granted by others.

If you think about the compounding principle, it applies here big time. It’s the consistency of small, ethical choices that build trust. Have you ever seen a 3D printer build something? Well, that’s how trust is built, layer upon layer.

Remember, trust is predictive understanding about another human being’s intent to do the right thing. It takes only one ethical breach, one lapse in judgment, to torpedo your credibility and break trust.

Leaders live on their reputations. If you are trustworthy to a certain point, but for sale after that, you are still a human vending machine. Trust means there are things in life that are not for sale—at any price! Show me a leader with that kind of conviction and I’ll show you a team that will achieve astonishing things. If you need to start over to build trust, do it. Start now.

Duncan: To what extent is there a competence component in character? In other words, can someone increase in competence at genuinely being and behaving as a person of character?

Clark: I’d actually put it the other way: Is there a character component in competence? The answer is unequivocally yes. To become really good at something, to develop deep expertise in any area, you have to learn, respect, and apply the principles that govern that domain. If I want to become a great leader, but don’t want to invest in developing leadership skills, that’s an integrity problem. Everything has a price. Figure out the price. Acknowledge the price. Pay the price. Competence is never cheap.

Duncan: You use a character-plus-competence model that illustrates four types of leaders that have nothing to do with title, position, or authority. What are those four types and how is that model useful to someone who sincerely wants to succeed as a leader?

Clark: The four types are—

Ineffective leaders (high character/low competence)
Failed leaders (low character, low competence)
Great leaders (high character, high competence), and
Dangerous leaders (low character, high competence)
The point is to use the framework as a mirror. Just look around and you’ll see that people really do conform to these four types. If you’re willing to do a fearless personal inventory, you’ll be able to identify areas of character and competence that you need to work on. Prioritize your development needs and then go to work!

Duncan: Leadership, you say, begins with character, and character has four cornerstones—integrity, humility, accountability, and courage. How are those four elements mutually reinforcing?

Clark: Integrity is obviously the bedrock foundation. Everything springs from it. For example, humility is simply an acknowledgement that we don’t know everything and we need help from others. It takes integrity to admit that.

Next, accountability is the realization that we need to be answerable for our performance and results. It takes integrity to internalize and live that principle.

Finally, courage is the willingness to challenge the status quo and create new value rather than lounge in your comfort zone and tell yourself soothing storiesabout why you shouldn’t rock the boat.

Duncan: Of character’s four cornerstone elements, which one seems to be the greatest challenge for most people?

Clark: Humility—especially if you have tasted success. For some reason, ego seems grows proportionately with success. That’s when things get dangerous.

Duncan: You make a point of encouraging people to have the courage to avoid profanity. What do you see as the effect of language on a leader’s effectiveness?

Clark: Profanity snuffs out psychological safety. It’s arrogant. It’s bravado, and it can be threatening and intimidating to others. If people have a right to work in an environment free of shaming, harassing, and bullying behavior—well, you very quickly come to the conclusion that profanity is not your friend. It doesn’t make the cut. Plus, the English language is beautiful. Learn to harness its power!

Duncan: The four cornerstones of competence you suggest are learning, change, judgment, and vision. Again, how are these four elements interconnected or mutually reinforcing?

Clark: Let’s go back to the fundamental definition of leadership: It’s the ability to influence others to create and achieve meaningful goals. These four elements connect with that definition. You need a vision or you have no place to go. You need judgment to figure out how to get there. You will meet obstacles on your way, so be ready to change and adapt. Finally, to lead is to learn. You’ve never been where you’re going. Be ready to learn your way there.

Duncan: As for learning, what do you regard as the most important mindset and most important behavior for someone who wants to be an effective leader?

Clark: Two things—

First, think of this basic distinction in life—contribution vs. consumption. Leadership is about contribution, not consumption. You have to sign up for contribution.

Second, and this is related to the first point, you have to find within yourself a deep psychological need to create value. Consumers don’t feel that intrinsic drive, but contributors do. That’s the mindset—”I’m a contributor. I’m here to create value. That’s what I do!”

Duncan: How can you tell if someone new to leadership is going to thrive in the hyper-competitive 21st century?”

Clark: I look for three things: First, are you an aggressive, self-directed learner? This is critical. Peple who rely on an institution for their development are last century. You have to own your own development. It’s yours. The organization can support you, but you’re in charge. Find your own development gaps. Create your own curriculum and go for it. The world’s learning assets are at your fingertips.

I look for people who demonstrate evidence of intense self-directedness. For example, we interviewed a gentleman who is an accomplished break dancer and free runner. I asked, “How did you learn these amazing skills?” His answer, “I taught myself. Lots of videos and hard work.” Wow! That’s a special kind of DNA.

Second, think above your role. It doesn’t matter what your job is, learn to think above and beyond it. If you don’t, you’ll be trapped in the prison of your tactical thinking. You may work in a particular function—accounting, finance, marketing, sales, research, IT, operations, procurement, whatever. That’s great. Master what you do, but as you do that, learn to think far beyond the boundaries of your role. This will help you understand how value is created and you’ll become much more able to contribute to the process of innovation. You’ll become a disruptive thinker and a walking incubator of new ideas.

Third, is it emotionally expensive to challenge you? If it is, if you struggle with constructive dissent and intense collaboration, this will limit your ability to thrive in the 21st century. But if you can take a hit, if you can discuss ideas on merit and not get defensive, if you can learn to fail and learn to be wrong, I want to hire you! The 21st century is your native habitat.

Duncan: This age of digital commerce and near instantaneous communication seems to spawn both quicker business success and quicker business collapses. With that as a backdrop, what’s your counsel to any leader who wants to develop a smart vision?

Clark: A smart vision satisfies a felt need in some meaningful way. But that need may not last long. That’s what’s changed.

In this age of acceleration, there is a compression of time frames. The average span of competitive advantage is shorter, so be ready for your vision to become obsolete. Above all, develop your adaptive capacity as a leader. Let me give you an example from my own shop.

At LeaderFactor, we provide a market-leading emotional intelligence assessment called EQometer which is used by leaders from more than 50 countries. In this case, I’ve learned to let customers help create that smart vision. When they asked for mobile compatibility, we did it. When they asked for on-demand microlearning videos, we did it. They asked for better data visualization, and we did it. They asked for an individualized dashboard. We did it.

Do you see what’s happening? Customers are willing to educate us and inform a dynamic, smart vision if we are listening, humble, and have a high tolerance for candor.

Parting words of advice: Buckle up and be ready!


3 Ways You Can Help Your New Hires to Succeed

Let’s face it — the hiring process is painful, and not just because you have to look through reams of résumés. From posting job listings to conducting several rounds of candidate interviews to ultimately making a selection and then training a new employee, the time and money required to fill a vacant role add up quickly. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, it costs an average of $4,129 to hire a new employee. Considering this process takes an average of 42 days, it’s clear that you want to get it right the first time.

And just because you’ve made a candidate an offer and he or she has accepted it doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods. In fact, Tinypulse reports that 22 percent of turnovers occur within the first 45 days of an employee starting a new job. Without an effective onboarding process, you’re setting your business — and your new hire — up for failure. On the other hand, an effective and engaging onboarding program allows companies to retain 91 percent of new hires for at least a year, according to the same research.

Successful training makes for successful employees, which in turn makes for a successful organization. If your new employee onboarding and training program is strong, your confused newbies are more likely to turn into productive contributors, and this transformation will take less time. Don’t overlook these three key areas when training your new hire.

1. Teach trainees to identify basic cyber security threats.
Cyber attacks are increasingly common, and they’re a threat to businesses of all shapes and sizes. While some hackers are conducting extremely sophisticated attacks, research by Cofense revealed that 91 percent of security breaches still stem from basic phishing emails. Because they’re unaware of their new company’s common practices, new hires are particularly susceptible to social engineering attacks. The most successful scammers start by gaining access to an executive’s actual email account; after all, who’s going to say no to a request from the CEO?

As David Wagner, president and CEO of email security firm Zix, explains, “Any messages then sent out automatically bypass authentication tools, making unsuspecting recipients the last line of defense.” If you’ve trained your employees on what they should and shouldn’t send over email — and can and can’t expect to receive via email — your organization has a decent shot at escaping unscathed. If not, the oversight could cost you a fortune. Make sure your training materials show your new hires examples of phishing emails and provide a list of the types of company information that should never be shared via email.

2. Help them to buddy up.
Relationships are an important part of employee engagement. Gallup’s “State of the American Workplace” report found that workplace friendships drive employee engagement and performance. In fact, the report determined that organizations can better engage customers and increase profits by increasing the number of their employees who feel they have a close friend at work. So include your new employees in the social circle at work and provide get-to-know-you opportunities so they can quickly feel like they’re part of the team.

Encouraging new employee assimilation could be as simple as making sure newcomers have someone to eat lunch with for the first few weeks. An even more effective way to promote engagement involves pairing up a new employee with a peer mentor for the first few months on the job. Mentorship programs have seen great success, and they’re utilized by around 71 percent of Fortune 500 companies, according to the Association of Talent Development. Ask the veterans on your team to sign up as mentors and set clear parameters for what that entails. Will they be an as-needed resource for new employees, check in on them weekly, or be integrally involved in their training? Decide what works best for your team.

3. Give your training materials a makeover.
Nothing causes employees to tune out faster than sitting them down in front of a computer screen with an employee manual and training videos that clearly should have been left back in the ’90s. If your onboarding materials quote Ferris Bueller or reference the original “MacGyver,” it’s probably time to freshen things up. When you upgrade your training materials, incorporate interactive elements that encourage active participation.

Fun activities like a scavenger hunt will help new employees learn their way around the office, and interviews with other members of the company will help familiarize them with their colleagues. Before you plan training for your new hires, make sure you understand their learning styles and offer training activities that best meet their needs. You could even have them fill out a learning styles questionnaire and use that information to personalize aspects of their training. If your new hires learn best by doing, include opportunities for them to jump into a task. Or if your new employees are visual learners, focus more written materials than oral presentations or in-person chats to ensure the information sticks.

It takes time to get a new employee up to speed, but there are steps you can take to accelerate their training. If your onboarding process hasn’t changed in years, be sure to prioritize these three things in your next update. They’ll protect your organization, improve engagement and put new hires on the fast track to success.


Hiring for leadership roles: Who to hire and how to hire?

Tonmoy Shingal

An increasing shortage of skilled talent continues to add to the mounting challenges faced by organisations worldwide. This impedes the achievement of their growth targets and of critical business outcomes.

In a majority of cases, the shortage of talent can be attributed to two main factors, inefficient hiring processes and a lack of competent resources with adequate potential. Most companies tend to assume that they will have an endless supply of candidates if they maintain the status quo, and that is where they usually go wrong. The truth is that the competent and experienced candidates whom these organisations look to hire, are selective in choosing their potential employers.

Hiring for leadership roles is concerned can be a major challenge for employers. No matter if they choose to hire for these roles internally or externally, they end up with those mediocre outcomes if they fail to make changes to their employee engagement strategy. In the absence of an organisational culture that fosters talent and emphasises on holistic employee growth along with that of the company, employee attrition will continue to be a challenge for businesses.

The only way, then, to turn employees into loyal assets and long-term growth drivers, is to adopt innovative and proactive strategies to keep employees motivated.

Adopting creative hiring strategies

The growing talent war between companies only emphasises on the pressing need for them to adopt a more efficient hiring strategy. Finding the right managers or leaders is imperative to build high-performing teams and augment business growth. This, however, can only be done once organisations ditch age-old policies and introduce creative ways to attract higher quality talent.

Probably the best place to start is by rethinking the remuneration strategy and making the salaries for top managers and leaders more competitive. The cost of employee attrition due to inadequate or stagnant remuneration can be much higher than the expenditure made by the organisation towards the individual’s annual salary.

Along with the unforeseen costs of having to acquire fresh talent, the wrong hiring decisions, especially for leadership roles, can potentially end up affecting revenues and business growth, sometimes irreversibly. This is why organisations should focus on choosing the right people with the right skills and necessary experience.

Nevertheless, while a critical factor for any organisation in hiring, money is not the only one. There are other equally, if not more, important factors that influence the decisions of candidates when choosing their employer. Here are other important elements that companies must focus on to target long-term hiring success across all levels:

Creating an engaging workplace culture

More organisations are focusing on building a diverse workplace today. But without the right engagement strategies, a diversified workplace won’t do much for an organisation if it is constantly dealing with stress from disruptions in productivity.

An organisational culture that takes a proactive approach in the growth and development of employees and recognises their contribution is the key to retaining them. Moreover, such effective engagement strategies cannot only augment their productivity and efficiency, but also increase their loyalty towards the employer. After all, employees are an organisation’s most important brand ambassadors and how you treat them reflects a great deal on their business practices as well as their treatment of clients.

Offering competitive benefits besides pay

The rising competition among organisations to attract the best talent has led to many employers going out of their way and modifying policies and rules to offer greater flexibility. Achieving the right balance between monetary and non-monetary benefits can be the key to attracting the right talent while also ensuring that existing employees remain engaged. Some organisations even offer high-quality candidates the option to work remotely, and give them the freedom to innovate in their role if they are confident of the returns on their investment. Such an approach can make employees feel valued and relevant to the organisation.

With time, organisations are increasingly recognising the necessity to reinvent their hiring strategies. They are also changing the way candidates are assessed by integrating more intuitive ways to derive the desired impact from their hiring processes. While identifying the right talent is easy, retaining it is what takes the most effort.

Assessing the personality of potential candidates through psychometric and cognitive tests can ensure more effective outcomes from hiring campaigns. It can also help them achieve higher rates of employee retention and gain a competitive edge in the market. This is essentially why a data-driven hiring strategy could be an extremely effective tool, along with the aforementioned, for organisations to achieve this.

The writer is co-founder and chief operating officer, Mettl


Two Strategies For Organizations That Are Ready To Get Serious About Diversity And Inclusion

So many people feel there must be a discussion around justifying why diversity efforts are necessary. I don’t have to defend homogeneity, but I do have to defend diversity? Is this not deeply strange and disturbing?

In her 2016 book Which Two Heads Are Better Than One?, Juliet Bourke shares research that shows that organizations with inclusive cultures are more likely to meet or beat financial targets, more likely to be innovative and agile, and more likely to attain superior business results.

I want to lead with the “why” of this subject.

When you have a diverse set of people in a room and included in the corporate process, you grow the ability to have divergent thinking, which begets divergent outcomes. Different perspectives breed broader, better innovation and thus superior outcomes. When applied to hiring, for example, diversity practices don’t limit a given group’s access to opportunity. Rather, they open additional doors to a wider talent base.

The same holds true in C-level offices. Among the many proof points for this, we can look to a 2016 study that found firms with women leaders could expect to be measurably more profitable than those with no women leaders. Even at the entrepreneur and startup levels, Boston Consulting Group and MassChallenge found that, despite receiving over $1 million less in startup funding than men, “businesses founded by women ultimately deliver higher revenue — more than twice as much per dollar invested.”

So, if we can move past the “why is this necessary?” discussion, let’s progress to two essential diversity strategies that modern companies should adopt and four supporting tactics for implementing these inclusive strategies in the workplace.

Strategy: Work toward gender parity across hiring.

Tactic: At Symantec, we now use targeted software to augment our hiring language. We learned from our provider that many major tech companies reflect their culture in their job listings, and that the language used impacts application numbers from men and women. Gender-neutralized job descriptions work to remove bias in the hiring funnel, particularly at its beginning. Clearly, it takes many years for this practice to impact the entire workforce, but even slow, gradual improvement over time will ultimately yield compounding benefits.

Tactic: Be willing to invest in “reasonably good.” No applicant is ever 100% perfect for a position, but until such time as hiring processes can be completely blind to race, gender and similar factors, the fact remains that corporate hiring biases will favor certain groups over others. Promoting diversity may mean hiring someone with only 70% or 80% of a position’s requisites, because today’s tech applicant pool still tends to be underrepresented by women and other groups. Often, the reason is purely illusory. Research shows that women and men perform at parity on competency and achievement tests, yet women tend to hesitate and fall prey to lower confidence when met with questions about skills and mastery. If employers recruit talent with an eye toward developing them vs. looking for 100% perfect, and are willing to help elevate a diverse employee base to its potential, the result will be a staff filled with more varied experiences, interests and educations.

Strategy: Promote a unified stance on inclusivity across the organization.

Tactic: Think of your inclusivity stance as a corporate brand. It’s something you promote both internally and externally using the same language and even the same visual assets. The reinforcement on both fronts increases understanding, promotes unity of intention and removes any hypocritical discrepancies that might convey, “We act one way here but a different way over there.”

Tactic: Train inclusivity at all levels. We have several leader success modules, a companywide talent development methodology and an array of programs, modules, webinars and in-person training that goes well beyond unconscious bias training. You have to get people to the table so you can even start to have inclusivity awareness and discussion. Yes, you can mandate participation, but at least offer it in a variety of formats and styles so that people can begin that process in a way they find most welcoming.

Now, for a bit of fun, and to revisit why this diversity discussion is needed in the first place, I’ll offer a bonus tactic. When you’re in a minority group, the dominant group tends to make certain assumptions. As a woman, I’ve observed innumerable times that surprise dawns across a group when they realize I’m a senior decision maker or a key voice in the room. It throws some people off. Learn to navigate those conversations and take advantage of that sudden imbalance, especially when negotiating contracts or deals. You might use that perception shift to your advantage. I hope that someday this is no longer possible, because it will mean that biases will have finally vanished from such meetings.

Not surprisingly, inclusivity is ultimately about mindset, and that’s something that doesn’t just occur within the company’s walls. We show up with that mindset already in place. We take it into our communities and into our homes, and we carry that mindset into our every conversation — including with our children. We can talk all day about the benefits of diversity and inclusivity on the corporate bottom line, but I believe these pale beside the benefits of spreading that change within the family. I hope the day comes that a generation can grow up filled with highly confident and capable young women alongside young men who understand that exclusion is a liability and that they have so much more to gain by embracing the wondrous diversity all around them.


Here’s how HR should navigate the tech-invasion at work

Whether it is L&D, talent acquisition or performance management, technology solutions are taking over HR and are making their presence felt right from enterprise grade products to bespoke solutions, from AI-enabled workplaces to analytics suited for every challenge. In a Facebook Live session with People Matters, as part of the Let’s Talk Talent Week, Shaakun Khanna, Head of Human Capital Management Applications, APAC, Oracle Corporation and Amit Malik, Chief People, Operations & Customer Services Officer, Aviva Life Insurance India Ltd discuss the state of affairs with regard to the tech-invasion at work and its implications for the future.

The broad role that HR leaders have to play in this digitally driven, tech-enabled environment is two-fold:

To take introspective decisions regarding products that could be suitable to the industry context and the organization
To ensure that the digital experience enhances the employee experience and individual performance without impeding productivity.
The tech challenge

As with most invasions, any change is deviant from the present norm, it comes with its set of challenges.There are, at large, two major types of challenges that the workplace is facing due to the surge of technology – challenges created due to the growing presence of technology and those solved by technology.

Survival of the fittest: Shaakun Khanna points out that a lot of the basic challenges that surround technology at work today exist due to the hasty evolution that technology has undergone from being a tool for automation to becoming an enabler to now being a way of life. Hence, organizations also cannot stop the ball rolling and compromising with technology that merely enables but rather integrate solutions that provide a unique experience at work. The challenge has also changed for HR because one can no longer evaluate technology based on age-old parameters but adapt to adopt new parameters that can measure the fittest and strongest technology that has survived the blitzkrieg of advancements, updates and modifications.
Prediction paradigm: The HR function needs to tweak its processes in accordance with the new generation of technology. It is a challenge for many organizations to move from using technology only to gain insight, assess root causes and improve efficiency to now understanding how to use predictive technology that allows proactive planning with prescriptive strategies and protective roadmaps.
Breaking mindset: Amit Malik talks of how technology is at the center of the people, process and customer pyramid and how all three sides of the pyramid demand technology. Moreover, if an organization is not tech-enabled, they run the risk of losing out on a big chunk of customers- both internal and external. He mentioned that it is a challenge to alter the mindset of people when it comes to how they have always learnt to use technology. That said, every employee, albeit at different life cycle stages at work, are all on the path of technological improvement and thus the organization needs to understand how use technology to bring meaning to work so that the shift in mindset is easier.
The application staircase

Whether technology can be incorporated effectively to the point where employees feel comfortable asking their AI Assistant to submit a report or apply for leave on a regular basis may make us a wait a few more months to observe but at the moment, it needs to be applied across the employee lifecycle:

The process of recruitment is often the first interaction that an employee has with the organization. Technology can be leveraged to better the candidate experience. There are companies today that gamified job application processes since systems cannot just be easy but have to be fun as well. Ensuring a dose of fun also improves engagement during the crucial deflection period post offer and prior to joining.

The 60-90 day experience has a strong correlation with the overall longevity of the candidate. The onboarding process thus needs to be able to communicate to the new joinee all that the organization stands for and how the values, mission and organizational promises can be translated and achieved.

Processes of performance management, learning and career mapping cannot be troublesome anymore and need to be looked at through the employee experience lens with the aid of technology.
The most relevant application of technology through the processes that transform a candidate to a value-adding employee therefore has far-reaching implications. Employees today demand that work-technology interaction and as Amit rightly points put, “the question is no longer what have you got but rather when will you get what they have too” which encapsulates the need to stay ahead of the curve and of competition.

The whole nine yards

The HR is thus at a juncture where it must change, internalize and lead. Gone are the days where the existence of an HR department could be justified citing “soft skills”. HR functions need to evolve to serve its intended strategic purposes. While on the one hand, people functions need to look at the seamless integration of humanness and technology, a culture also needs to be built where employees know the importance of work life integration and have the ability to plug out of work as well.

The idea is to live up to the age-old HR promises of being agile, adaptive and proactive. Moreover, instead of always squeezing technology to fit into organizational needs, at times technology could be used as a benchmark for change and used to trigger a few organizational tweaks. As with the norm of how most information pieces travel today, new technological adaptations need to go viral within the systems so that there is greater engagement, involvement and participation. The HR, to be able to lead the technology piece as a strategic business partner, needs to learn more, adapt more and change more.


Employees not receiving recognition are twice as likely to leave

Employees who have not received recognition recently are twice as likely to be looking for another job, according to a study by employee engagement organisation Tiny Pulse.

The Employee retention report 2018 surveyed over 25,000 employees across the world from January to October 2018 and found that 24% of employees who felt they had not received recognition from their direct supervisor in the past two weeks had recently interviewed for another position, compared with just 13% who had received recognition.

The report also found that employees who do not feel valued at work are 34% more likely to leave their employers within the next year, and employees who rate their benefits package highly are 11% more likely to stay.

Andrew Sumitani (pictured), director of marketing at Tiny Pulse, said: “In today’s competitive job market, there’s no magic bullet for retention. But as the report reveals, every organisation has an opportunity to improve its numbers. Whether that’s through benefits, career-pathing or management training, there are lots of areas to focus on. Ultimately, it all boils down to feeling valued at work. That’s what people want and the only way leaders can help employees feel that way is by finding out what’s behind that feeling.”

According to the report, employees who rate their work-life balance highly are 10% more likely to stay. The study also found that employees who rate their organisation’s culture poorly are 24% more likely to leave, and workers who believe their employer has a higher purpose are 27% more likely to stay.

Sumitani added: “Retention is top-of-mind for all the leaders that we work with. It’s hard to craft a great employee experience if employees don’t stick around. We’re uniquely positioned to assess what truly drives retention, because hundreds of thousands of employees answer questions anonymously through our platform each week. When compiling this report we were surprised to see the strong correlations across so many different drivers of retention.”


HR’s Role Has Evolved And Is Far More Strategic Now

The role of HR has evolved over the years from doing administrative jobs to executing strategies, building policies for the organization. This was unanimously agreed during a Panel Discussion on ‘What is required to become the most Managers of Today’s Corporate World?’ chaired by Dr. Waqar Ahmed Fahad, Editor-BW Education.

Rajendra Mehta, Chief People Officer, DHFL said, “Human Resource is a very grey zone domain. It’s incidental that the financial structure of the organization gets reported to SEBI or governmental or regulatory authorities. There are no dashboards which actually get reported about the organization and its people specifically. Because there is no benchmark of what is typically expected out from an HR, there is so much ambiguity. Some people who continue to manage the maintenance part of human resources also get defined as ‘human resource’. But to my mind, I think it is a passé if somebody says that maintenance is all about HR. To my mind, it is a far more strategic role that contributes to the overall organization.”

Prof. R. Venkatraman, Dean, Institution Building, ICFAI Business School, Gurgaon said, “Although we don’t have HR as a core stream (in our institute), I would still like to dwell on the role of an HR (professional) today. Firstly, it is no more administrative and is definitely becoming increasingly strategic because HR is no more expected to maintain payroll or employee benefits or things like that. He (or she) is more into predicting outcomes today of at all any business is being taken up. Secondly, he needs to diagnose whatever problems that arise from taking up that job or work or enterprise. And thirdly, what types of decisions need to be relevant solutions. These are the three important characteristics of any CHRO today. So what we do is train our students to develop all these skills in these particular aspects.”

Shikha Taneja, State Head- Human Resource, Reliance Jio said, “The Role of HR from personnel administration to managing people to strategic HR has totally transformed today. It has totally transformed from the time when I started working for an organization when I realized that Hr is critical because they manage my salaries and they manage my attendance. But is that all or not even necessary? It is super critical to the system and anyone who works in the organization. As a leader in my organization when I have to recruit people, what I look for in people who are change agents and who actually can make sure that our workplace is changing, needs of the business are changing. They can be transformative leaders in the organization and manage that change. Because at the end of the day, we are no more a personnel and administrative department (but) are a business partner in the company. At Jio when we say that, we really mean it. HR today is the strongest pillar in the organization and that is why the huge workforce today which Jio is sitting on, a lakh of employees pan India and Delhi is 6,000 people, we would not have been able to survive without having a very strong HR leadership.”