Driving future HR change

June 2017 was a landmark month for Cox Automotive, with the addition of two new companies to the wider group. However, it also meant it was time for a procedural overhaul, and most importantly a review of HR functions to better suit the new company structure.

For Snezana Jankulovski, Group HR Director at Cox Automotive, this conscious change has been an opportunity to pioneer new policies and bring the company into the digital age.

“Previously our HR was very process-oriented,” says Jankulovski. “It was geared around filling out forms and answering policy questions; there wasn’t a strong emphasis on strategy or taking the lead on company culture.”

From simple processes to pioneering
One of the first points to be addressed was efficiency. With different companies within the Cox family reliant on ad hoc (and sometimes outdated) policies and processes, there was a need to streamline the entire process.

Starting with the attract and hire phase as the first touchpoint, Jankulovski and her team implemented the Small Improvements system and automated the entire onboarding process. This was also part of a wider plan to implement more effective employee performance evaluation and development.

“Small Improvements has drastically reduced administration work,” says Jankulovski. “There’s more time to focus on feedback, and less paperwork to fill in. New recruits can show up and be ready to go from day one.”

Jankulovski also highlights the positives she’s seen for existing staff, too.

“Our team members now have better quality KPIs and development plans as well as more effective performance review implementation,” says Jankulovski. “At a macro level, that means there’s also more robust discussion between staff and management, and employees have a greater clarity of purpose in their role and the company’s wider strategies.”

Team members can also provide real-time feedback to one another too, notes Jankulovski.

“It’s a more holistic take on employee/team member engagement than we’ve ever had before,” she says.

Getting gender on the agenda
Like much of the auto industry, Cox Automotive is still a heavily male-dominated environment. As such, the Women With Drive program has been created to “put gender on the agenda,” notes Jankulovski.

“We’ve launched a variety of initiatives under the Women With Drive banner,” says Jankulovski. “Networking events, motivational talks, development programs and other things like that. “Recently we had Layne Beachley give a talk, which was extremely inspiring. And at the end of the month we’ve organised our first Women With Drive Challenge which will see 9 female team members travel with me to NZ to challenge themselves physically and mentally in a supportive environment, whilst raising money for charity. “

The key is to make sure women are firmly on the map at Cox Automotive, notes Jankulovski.

“We’ve also started inviting clients, as we feel it’s important for them to know where we stand on these issues – and of course, these sessions can be beneficial for their workplaces, too,” says Jankulovski.

Almost two years after the initial rollout, Jankulovski remains passionate about the benefits that HR can bring to Cox Automotive.

“We’re helping set the standard for what great leadership looks like,” says Jankulovski. “That’s put us into territory that we didn’t necessarily expect, but it’s also brought far more benefits than we could have anticipated.”

Source: https://www.hcamag.com/au/news/general/driving-future-hr-change/161822

5 ways to make your employees feel valued

I once had a boss tell me that I should learn to pat myself on the back.

Aside from the physical limitations involved in that, this was said during a conversation about my performance, where he mentioned in passing that I had exceeded expectations. He explained that he didn’t see the need to offer any recognition, because he hadn’t received it earlier in his career.

That experience stuck with me as I started to develop my own leadership philosophy. There certainly is truth to finding internal motivators and not relying on others to develop your self-worth. With that said, I believe a manager’s role is to create a positive, productive environment that serves and supports team members. It doesn’t require extraordinary effort or expense to achieve this goal and the results are worth it.

Here are five ways to make your employees feel valued at work:

People want to feel appreciated for what they do, especially by their managers. That’s because leaders have a broader view of organizational goals and evaluate employee performance, so their praise feels particularly relevant and lets employees know they’re on the right track. Here are some guidelines for expressing gratitude at work:

Clearly state what your team member did well, how it relates to her unique strengths, and how it helps the organization. (In general, make it more about her amazing qualities and less about how it helped you—i.e., “Your quick and creative thinking helped the event go off without a hitch,” is way better than “You saved the day—thanks!”).

You should say it more often than you think; so long as you’re always speaking authentically and specifically.

My favorite way to show gratitude is a handwritten note. In addition to the written message, the note itself shows an investment of your time. It brings me a lot of joy to see the note on an employee’s bulletin board later because I’ll know that it was meaningful to her.
Still not convinced about the significance of such a simple act of gratitude? In a Harvard Business Review article, Professors Francesca Gino and Adam Grant shared the results of an experiment where fundraisers who received personal thanks from their manager for their efforts and contributions increased their outreach metrics by 50%.

Recognition and gratitude strengthen feelings of self-confidence and motivation and reinforce a sense of purpose.

The best bosses look for ways to augment their team members’ growth with external professional development opportunities, such as attending industry conferences, joining a professional association, or gaining a certification. As a manager, you may have limited resources, so focusing these resources on employees who exceed expectations shows an investment in their potential.

Don’t forget: Plenty of professional growth and learning opportunities exist within your organization, too. You can take your direct report to coffee to talk about his career goals or introduce her to another senior leader in the organization for a mentoring chat. When appropriate, invite the person to attend a high-level meeting with you to learn about a new area, or ask her to lead a strategy meeting on your behalf.

When you personally participate in your employees’ learning and professional growth, you show you believe in them and want to help prepare them for their future success.

In my first managerial role, I made the mistake of focusing solely on the work. At that stage in my career, I believed conversations about extracurricular activities interfered with my lengthy to-do list.

After receiving some wise counsel from my boss, I learned I needed to demonstrate that I cared about my team members as individuals before I expected their best work.

By asking them about their weekends, their families, and their hobbies—and sharing tidbits about my own—I built trusting relationships. That allowed us to better understand our experiences outside the office and helped us work together more effectively in the office, too.

You know the feeling when you have a list of things to finish in one 30-minute block on your calendar—and right then an employee stops by. Do you give the person time to ask their question or share their story, or do you tell him now is not a good time?
How you respond in that moment defines you as a leader. Your facial expressions, body language, and words will affect whether your employees feel supported by you—and it will impact their willingness to return the next time they have a question. Even if you can’t meet right then, offer a time slot where you can connect later in the day.

Remember, this “distraction” is your job as a leader of people.

You can create more productive interactions with team members by proactively connecting with them, ideally in person. Walk the halls and have some questions ready to engage them. These are a few that I like to use:
What’s new? It’s open-ended enough that they can respond with whatever feels right at that moment.

What fires have you had to put out today/this week? This gives you a chance to understand what your team members face in their work and how you can help remove obstacles.
How can I help support you right now? This shows you care (see #3) and creates a shared commitment to their success.
Of note, I told my team in advance I planned to do this, so they didn’t think I was checking up on them. And I add notes to my calendar to preserve time to WTH (walk the halls, ahem!), so I can prioritize these conversations.
Of note, I told my team in advance I planned to do this, so they didn’t think I was checking up on them. And I add notes to my calendar to preserve time to WTH (walk the halls, ahem!), so I can prioritize these conversations.

Do you know the expression that the little things are the big things? It’s true at work, too.

Recognize your team members’ work anniversaries or birthdays. (I’m a fan of balloons or treats at their desk so others stop by to join the celebration). Host a pizza party for the whole team when a sale closes, break out ice cream mid-afternoon for a surprise treat to bring everyone together, or organize a monthly coffee break with no work agenda.

If you are looking for a more elaborate celebration, create a new tradition in your workplace. At our office, we started a New Year’s Eve party on the last day of the fundraising year to recognize the year’s accomplishments; this could be easily adapted for your company’s founder’s day or another special date.

Whatever the occasion, find reasons to celebrate and bring joy to work.

Try using one of these ideas each day for a week and see how it goes. Then you can start to add in others as you get a sense of what works best for you and your team.

Finally, it is important to mention that you can and should ask your employees how they like to be recognized and what makes them feel most appreciated. (This can happen as part of a “Stay” conversation when they first join your organization and throughout their tenure.) Ultimately, if your employees feel that you and the organization have invested in them personally, their job satisfaction and personal growth will increase, as will their work outcomes. And that all deserves a pat on the back for everyone.

Source: https://www.theladders.com/career-advice/5-ways-to-make-your-employees-feel-valued

Why should companies strive for a gender-balanced workforce

Empowerment of women is no longer just a buzzword. The world has realised that it is necessary to ensure that women, who constitute half of the population, have equal access in all spheres in order to achieve excellence in every aspect of the economy. More and more women are now part of the workforce and are fast becoming the key decision makers; globally 75% of all consumer decisions are made by women. And yet, according to the World Economic Forum, it will take another 217 years for the world to achieve gender equality at the workplace. Clearly, not enough has been done.

A study done over five years by Sodexo reports that the key performance indicators of organisations are substantially higher when they have a better gender-balanced team (40-60% women). The study covered 50,000 managers across 100 entities worldwide, performing a diverse range of functions. Operating margins, client and employee retention, employee engagement and safety showed an upward trend for organisations where women had 40-60% representation. Further, when the top-tiers of management had gender parity, the entire pipeline was more diverse, inclusive and streamlined, with the best talent being inducted, nurtured and promoted.

The study is an eye-opener, statistically showing what has been widely known all along – there are glaring cons to having an imbalanced team. Fortunately, the survey has prompted organisations to dig deep into their employee experiences, bringing several important facts to the fore.

1. Women are under-sponsored and over-mentored. Mentoring is about developing an individual’s competencies and sponsorship is about making the talent visible to the organisation and advocating on their behalf

2. Some women tend to want to have 100% of the job requirements before they raise their hand for a position.

3. In many instances, women don’t ask for a job or promotion but instead, believe that if they put their head down and do a good job the opportunity will come to them.

4. Some women question their ability to do a job, even when they have been tapped for a position.

5. Women are frequently stereotyped as better at certain jobs which end up being staff positions versus profit and loss or operational roles.

6. Often women who are assertive are perceived negatively as aggressive while men don’t get the same negative label for the same behaviours.

7. Women are expected to confine to a very narrow range when it comes to striking the right balance between being assertive, seen as male-dominant behaviours, and being nurturing, seen as being a female-dominant behaviour.

8. Frequently in performance reviews, women are commended for being team players and being collaborative, while men are commended for the results that they produce. These stereotypical assessments lead to divergent career trajectories for men and women.

These revelations now help organisations to understand better the bottlenecks in their organisational culture that prevent women from excelling. They are now addressing these challenges through mentoring and sponsorship as well as training such an unconscious bias. And many organizations are seeking male champions to interrupt unconscious bias when they see it and to engage the organisation’s culture, systems and policies to make it more inclusive.

Gender balance enables the entire ecosystem to thrive

Gender balance refers to an equal representation of men and women in organisations; it does not mean that women should get a priority or that the contributions have to be identical. In fact, the primary advantage of gender balance is the diversity it brings to the table – greater the diversity, greater the innovation and better the possibilities of success. A gender-balanced workforce enhances business performance because it:

1. Provides access to a broader talent base.

2. Spawns innovation.

3. Helps understand and addresses the needs of a diverse customer base.

4. Improves the quality of life of entire communities.

The potential for talent, growth and success is never limited by gender. This is the overriding reason for organisations to overcome prevailing prejudices; scout for good talent and reward excellence to band together the best workforce. With technology evolving every day, leaving half the population outside the circle is surely a sheer waste of resources.

Source: https://www.fortuneindia.com/opinion/why-should-companies-strive-for-a-gender-balanced-workforce/103030

The languages of appreciation: A tool for growing soft skills

Historically, high-level business and organizational leaders have been taught to focus on the “hard” metrics of business – financial statements, market share, increasing productivity and reducing expenses to maximize profits and shareholder value. These all are important aspects to monitor, to ensure the business is profitable and sustainable.

Similarly, engineers, computer programmers and others who work in high-tech industries most often associated with Silicon Valley are trained, focused on, and rewarded for producing results. And these high-tech companies are known to offer competitive financial rewards and recognition programs to motivate and encourage employees to keep delivering high-quality work.

The “hard skills” of technical abilities, accounting, and financial analysis are primarily acquired through education, on-the-job training, and certificate programs. These skills are definable, quantifiable and easy to evaluate.

To some extent, these approaches focusing on production and financial results have been effective – in the short-term. But as many corporations and dot-com businesses have been experiencing in the past few years – if attention and training aren’t focused on the “soft skills” in the workplace, major problems follow. Consider the recent “chinks in the armor” exposed in the work cultures at Google, Uber, and major media companies, to cite a few.

These “soft skills” are the interpersonal – or people – skills needed to help an organization of people work together to achieve the organizations’ goals. Communication skills, conflict resolution, influence and leadership, working collaboratively, and being able to show your employees you value them are all examples of core “soft skills.” They are harder to define and measure (hence, the label “soft” skills), but they are no less important because they are key factors in creating healthy workplace cultures and effective collaborative relationships. Until recently, they have rarely been taught in classroom settings or on the job through coaching.

Traditional reward and recognition programs have typically focused on quality and volume of work delivered, but what has been missing is appreciating employees as individuals, both for the quality of the work they deliver and for the values and attitudes they demonstrate while carrying out their work.

The deficiency in soft skills among managers may be attributed largely to work cultures which emphasize competitiveness, innovation, and above all results. An overemphasis purely focused on results obtained (primarily financial results) leads executives, managers, and supervisors down the path which culminates in treating employees solely as resources to be used to reach the leaders’ goals. Employees become “production units” and cease to be valued as people.

Languages of Appreciation as a Tool to Build Soft Skills
The 5 languages of appreciation have been shown to be an effective, structured approach to develop and improve soft skills that appeal to leaders across a wide range of industries and work settings. The languages of appreciation are a tool that can be used by any employee, regardless of seniority level and independent of leadership or management roles.

The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace highlights the need to value employees as whole individuals. Our Appreciation at Work training process uses the 5 Languages of Appreciation principles to create a culture of appreciation in the workplace that can yield increased levels of employee engagement, job satisfaction, and numerous other positive effects for the employees, the company, and customers.

Combining The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace and the Motivating by Appreciation Inventory (MBA Inventory) creates a useful and straightforward framework that can be used by anyone regardless of their experience level with soft skills. The 5 languages of appreciation address the “how-to” elements of creating a culture of appreciation and covers topics related to authenticity and frequency, and provides examples for each of the five appreciation languages. The results of each employee’s MBA Inventory will show how each individual desires to be shown appreciation, guiding you in how to effectively communicate appreciation to them.

Business and financial managers, and high-tech occupations are often motivated by interesting and challenging problems to solve, and goals to achieve. Focusing solely on achieving goals, however, leads to a tendency to treat employees primarily as resources to get tasks done. This often leads to a culture where employees feel used and taken advantage of.

When the 5 Languages of Appreciation are used as a tool to communicate how leaders value their employees on a regular basis, in everyday work situations, and across all responsibility levels, empathy for others develops and a foundation of important soft skills begin to be built.

People, both colleagues, direct reports and managers, want to be valued for the contributions they make. Unfortunately, most team members actually don’t feel appreciated. But very little is required to make a difference and communicate appreciation in the various ways individuals desire. Learning what form of appreciation your colleagues prefer isn’t hard. And once you know what they like, a little appreciation goes a long way to encourage those around you.

Source: https://www.theladders.com/career-advice/the-languages-of-appreciation-a-tool-for-growing-soft-skills

Gen Z expects coaching from bosses, early promotions

Dive Brief:
Generation Z has big expectations about pay, promotions and diversity, but its members still worry about measuring up, making decisions and not being able to repay their student loans, an InsideOut Development survey found. Gen Zers, who are typically between 18 to 23 years old and born between 1996 and 2010, are projected to make up one-quarter of the workforce by 2020. This means they’re also projected to be the fastest growing generation in the workforce by 2020, InsideOut noted.
Of the 1,000 18- to 23-year-olds surveyed, 75% said they want a boss who coaches employees, and others value a boss who can communicate the company’s vision, give frequent feedback and manage workers with consistency. Three-quarters of respondents also believe they should be promoted after one year in their first position; 40% think they’ll earn more than $100,000 a year at the peak of their career; and 80% think they’ll need a bachelor’s degree to get their dream job. However, only 30% of respondents think they’ll be able to repay their student loans, the survey said.
According to InsideOut, Gen Z is the most racially diverse generation, and 72% think racial equality is the most important issue today. Compared to only 26% of Baby Boomers, 49% of Gen Z respondents said employers can do more to promote inclusion in the workplace.

Dive Insight:
Gen Z’s expectations for the workplace are somewhat aligned with employers’ goals for the future. Though a majority of Gen Zers think the skills required of them in today’s workplace are different than those required by past generations, they’re willing to learn professional skills to earn more money and would undergo training to get a promotion, a recent LinkedIn study found. For employers, upskilling remains a challenge as they strive to keep up with the effects of digital disruption in their industries and source the right talent despite the skills gap, and willing participation from the workforce can help HR actualize this goal.

Training Gen Zers using tools that reflect their consumer tech experiences may help HR in its upskilling efforts. Talent professionals may also need to be wary of inadvertent age discrimination in their recruiting as this cohort enters the labor market. While, many employers have already committed to improving diversity and inclusion in their workplaces, those hoping to recruit Gen Z talent should make diversity a top priority, based on InsideOut’s findings.

HR might also commit to connecting with Gen Z frequently to provide support. “They’re looking for you to be highly engaged,” said Jim Link, CHRO of Randstad, at a conference in 2017. “They want you to listen to their ideas and opinions. Forty-six percent of them want you to be giving them feedback regularly.”

Source: https://www.hrdive.com/news/gen-z-expects-coaching-from-bosses-early-promotions/550170/

Q&A: How Engagement Tech Drives Recruiting

Ben Slater is the vice president of marketing for Beamery, a talent engagement platform that melds the principles, concepts and tools that marketing enterprises use to build their customer pipeline to their recruiting efforts. We spoke with him about the dynamics of candidate engagement, and how recruitment marketing fits into talent acquisition efforts.

You refer to Beamery as an engagement platform. But aren’t there other products out there that are very similar and don’t focus so much on engagement?

The term “engagement” is really a product of us thinking about Beamery in the context of the industry and what makes it different. There are other products that do a great job with bits of what we see as talent engagement. That could be the CRM and candidate management, it could be career sites and talent attraction, it could be engagement. But we don’t think anything has the scope and breadth that Beamery does when it comes to managing the entire candidate journey in one place.

When we were thinking about the right positioning for the company, we kept coming back to this idea of a holistic way of managing the entire candidate journey in one place. We kept coming back to the central currency of engagement, of it being the thing that’s consistent throughout the entire process. That’s why we settled on “talent engagement.”

Today we’re in a tight labor market the dynamics involved with finding talent are very tough. What’s your view of the recruiting world right now, and how do you find employers are coping?

‘I think most companies would agree they don’t have a huge pipeline of a highly qualified, high quality talent that’s winding around their building anymore.’ @BenJHSlater #HR #HRTech #Recruiting CLICK TO TWEET
I think most companies would agree they don’t have a huge pipeline of a highly qualified, high quality talent that’s winding around their building anymore. And I think another layer is that every company is now looking for the same blend of skills, to a certain degree. You could argue that every company now is, to a certain degree, a technology company. That puts an even bigger squeeze on certain skill sets.

To me, and obviously I’m a little biased, it really forces employers to be a lot more thoughtful about the way they approach recruiting, about the way they’re attracting and building relationships with the people who could be a good fit for their company. It’s forcing employers to be a lot more human about how they think about hiring and to really think about their value proposition as an employer.

It seems to me there’s really two tracks going on here. One is that recruiters are playing their traditional role. The other is this idea of recruitment marketing. Could you talk about the relationship between them? How do recruiters and recruitment marketing work together?

For me it’s the dichotomy between something that’s process-driven and transactional versus something that’s more relationship-driven. Think about this as a funnel. Recruitment marketing is that top layer of the funnel, where you’re attracting the right people or engaging them, helping them understand your brand, helping them understand why they should apply for a job with your company and taking them through some form of candidate lifecycle.

Recruiting is the is the process management that comes into play when someone’s been identified as an applicant or has active interest in one of your jobs. It’s pushing them through that pretty defined, step-by-step process of interview, assessment, etc. So one is more transaction and process-driven while the other is proactive and relationship-focused.

Do you think recruiters view recruitment marketing as giving them adequate support and paving the way for them?

I think it depends on the set-up of the recruitment organization. You have many overloaded talent acquisition teams that are being asked to perform marketing duties on top of their existing workload. Then you have companies that are really thinking about specialization when it comes to the recruiting team. They’re breaking the department down into recruitment marketing, talent branding, operations, sourcing and recruiting, assessment and so on. I think those organizations are a step ahead when it comes to thinking about the modern candidate journey.

Obviously technology plays a big part in all this. Do you think vendors in the space are providing adequate tools to help recruiters and recruitment talent acquisition teams in this labor market?

I think vendors are broadly failing to provide adequate training to help recruiters use their tools. There’s a lot of good technology out there, but I think a lot of vendors fall short when it comes to building up the skills, competencies and understanding of recruiting teams so they know how they leverage those tools most effectively. It’s easy to forget that, in many cases, the person who’s leveraging your tool has never done this kind of work before. This is very new to them. Not always—we often see recruiters hiring marketers to be part of their team. But it’s really incumbent on the vendor to help its customers understand the outcomes they’re actually looking for with the tool.

That seems to be a common thread among HR tech vendors in general. There’s a lot of power out there, but the vendors stopped with the product. They don’t give enough attention to training users to get the most out of their products. Do you agree with that? And if you do, do you think vendors are ever going to put more emphasis on training?

I agree with that to an extent. One of the ways we’re addressing this is by building an internal talent consultancy. Our goal is to really help both prospects and customers understand what they’re trying to get out of their talent operating system. We’re trying to act as a strategic partner. What we need is for this to be the market’s approach to how HR tools are onboarded to customers.

Part of the issue is that the HR tech ecosystem has gone through enormous changes in the last five years. There’s so many new companies, and I think a lot of companies are making big promises. And with so many new tools out there, it’s hard to ask HR to keep up with everything.

Let’s switch gears. There are two schools of thought about HR technology. One is build your own suite. The other is to work through a core solution. It seems like Beamery has a foot in both campes. What’s your view? Which do you think is the better approach, or does it depend on the company?

We see our mission as helping companies look up the second most important asset—their first being revenue, people being second as the driver behind creating that revenue, creating that value.

The important thing here is that each of these suites is founded on one really core competency, then has an additional set of tools attached to increase its market share.

Companies are always best off if people are important to them as a concept. If they agree that people are their greatest asset, they’re always better off building that best-of breed-solution by combining different tools.

But that only works if those tools play nice together. And that’s where the suites win, in many cases, because suites naturally have connections to each other. I think what you’re seeing with newer tools, like Beamery and obviously others, is that the control you get over the integration through better APIs allows a continuous flow. That’s what’s allowing companies nowadays to blend different things together.

So essentially it’s becoming easier for companies to assemble their own package?

Yeah, exactly. And I would preface that by saying it’s a roundabout way. No company is looking for more tools. No one ever said I want to use more software. But I think companies need to be able to handle really well three core competencies in the candidate and employee lifecycle: employee management in the HRIS, the application, and everything that sits before the application. Beamery is a tool that combines everything that sits before the application into one place.

Looking out over the next year, what’s the biggest development or biggest trend you expect to see in talent acquisition technology?

There’s a couple of things.

First, recruiting and talent acquisition were traditionally part of HR. Today, talent acquisition is really standing on its own two feet in the business as a trusted partner. I think we’ll see an extension of that this year. Already in many companies TA—not only HR—is getting a seat at the mythical table. If you read any kind of annual letters from CEOs at Fortune 100 or Fortune 500 companies, talent is always one of the top things on their mind. I think it’s a natural extension that talent acquisition becomes more and more important an issue. So that’s number one.

Second, I think that companies need to be more personalized throughout the entire recruiting process, whether it’s the way they engage people on their website or how they create a real-time experience for candidates or leverage different types of candidate data to more effectively categorize and market to prospects. This is only going to become more important as organizations think about the roles that they have to fill right now, and how they can get the very best people for those roles. That could be anything from ties to the campus to diversity, personalization and relevance. I think that’s only going to increase the demand for solutions like us. That’s obviously exciting from our perspective.

Finally, I’d say we’re operating in a society where personally identifiable information is coming under more scrutiny than ever before. Last year we had GDPR. On the horizon, I see more focus on the way organizations handle candidate data, the ways they make sure that information stays private, the way they respect candidates’ desires and requirements throughout the process. Particularly for global organizations that have to deal with legislation in multiple geographies, I think compliance, while it’s not sexy, becomes even more important to the way that companies think operationally about talent.

Source: https://www.hcmtechnologyreport.com/qa-welcome-talent-engagement/

Gender equality – changing a mindset


Like the rest of the world, organisations in Australia are struggling to fill critical roles, with personnel who have the right talent, skills or experience. However, if the latest findings from management consulting firm McKinsey are anything to go by, they are probably looking in the wrong direction.

While women constitute 42 percent of employees, they make up just a quarter of executives and only 10 percent of CEOs for large, commercial companies. In certain industries, female participation is exceptionally low, for example in cyber-security where only 10 percent of information security professionals worldwide are women! What is more, many companies don’t make it easy for women in the first place, with recent government statistics revealing that only 25 percent of women work full-time, therefore making it difficult for them to progress and flourish in their careers.

Of course, there are real-life success stories such as Julie Bishop (Australia’s first female foreign minister), Maile Carnegie (former Australian Google chief), Catherine Livingstone (chair of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia) and of course, the formidable Gina Rinehart who famously turned around the mining company she inherited from her father. Sadly, for the majority of women, it appears that many organisations, both in the private and public sector, are good at talking about gender equality but poor at putting it into practice by overlooking 50 percent of their workforce for senior roles.

Changing the mindset along with the job spec
The world might have moved on with digital transformation and smarter working but the general mindset towards women appears fixed in a time-warp. The problem is, if you ignore 50 percent of your total workforce, how can you expect to compete against more enlightened organisations at home and abroad? The questions should be how do you attract and find more women? How to empower and then keep them? These are questions that can apply to all employees, regardless of gender.

Here are a few tips to get started on reassessing the corporate mindset:
Make a conscious decision to change – by introducing an organisational model that is committed to diversity and actively sponsors rising women.

Start from within – the chances are the employees you already have know your culture, understand how your company works and are loyal. Why waste time and money on outside recruiters when you might already have the best candidates within your existing talent pool?

Get the job spec right – the mining industry is a classic example of a sector that faces skills shortages but dig a little deeper and you’ll find they sell their jobs to men rather than make them attractive career opportunities for both sexes. Pitch the job correctly and you’ll find the right people. In particular focus on areas that appeal to women for example, flexible working practices, transparent pay structures and maternity leave.

Introduce new workplace planning practices – such as ‘redesigning roles to enable flexible work’ and ‘supporting talent through life transitions’ to create a more inclusive work environment, practices that McKinsey believes are proven to achieve greater gender equality.

In uncomfortable or hazardous industries such as marine engineering or defence, simple measures like improving the working environment are good ways of addressing skills shortages. Most recently, the Australian Defence Force revealed that its new fleet of submarines are to “have better living conditions as well as be more female friendly”, a definite move in the right direction.

Using Workforce Management to close the gender gap
Another tip is to review the technology that manages your people and other resources. Today’s Workforce Management (WFM) technology offers a practical and secure all-in-one solution for recruitment, onboarding and asset management while keeping personal details safe – at anytime, anywhere, using a variety of mobile devices. Automation simplifies and accelerates the recruitment process to eliminate the common feeling of disenchantment that can follow a long and lengthy interview procedure. Tap into existing talent and maximise their potential using key WFM capabilities:

One solution, single view of all candidates – the beauty of modern integrated WFM technology is it links seamlessly with critical HR databases and ERP systems to provide a complete view of all employees. Details such as gender, age, career and pay history, past roles and future aspirations are presented in real-time making it easy to source and match candidates against current vacancies

Make the most of self-service apps – enhance employee engagement by allowing access to WFM systems via mobile applications on people’s mobile devices. Knowing in advance about shifts, travel and career options both at work or at home via a mobile device provides more control over work-life balance which is important to everyone whatever their gender

Turn information into insight – use WFM as a powerful workforce planning tool to conduct ‘what if’ scenarios such as time for maternity and paternity leave and the flexibility to accommodate career breaks or role changes for working parents

Don’t just attract them, keep them – make the most of WFM data to focus on relevant and tailored e-training programmes that empower people and allow them to learn at a time and place to suit them. They’ll be happier and more likely to stay put! Get out of that time-warp and don’t ignore the hidden workforce. The rewards will be lower staff attrition and recruitment costs and higher levels of productivity and operational efficiency.

Source: https://www.thehrdirector.com/features/diversity-and-equality/gender-equality-changing-mindset1034/

4 Prime Reasons Why Companies Should Retain an Executive Search Firm

Search partners are not just “recruiters” or “head hunters” but are credible ambassadors for their clients. The role of a search consultant has evolved beyond just finding the “right candidate”, “the right cultural fit” for a leadership role. It has taken on the avatar of “champion” or “chief advocate” personally communicating the client’s vision, values, growth potential and culture to a targeted community of senior industry/functional leaders on behalf of the client, thereby subtly, but most definitely, building/enhancing an organization’s employer-ability brand and its ability to attract the best leadership talent to its fore.

There has always been a very strong case advocating the use of a search partner whilst hiring leadership talent. With geographical boundaries becoming more fluid, technology shrinking our world and the war for talent becoming de rigueur, the case for working with the right talent advisor only becomes stronger.

Consider these four prime reasons to consider executive search as the only go-to option for leadership hiring:

Search brings passive candidates to the table
This reason is old hat. But it continues to be the most valid reason to consider executive search as the only way to hire leadership. Search as a process is designed to communicate the organization’s value proposition, USP, culture and so much more to a wide variety of candidates (often from different industries, geographies etc). The process allows for the best candidates, including passive candidates, from a given targeted set to come to the fore and consider the mandate. This is something that recruitment/advertisements or other traditional methods just cannot deliver.

Search Consultants are specialists
Search consultants bring a rich, wide variety of industry information and experience to the table. They have deep networks and strong relationships across their areas of expertise which allows them access to information, industry insights and the wisdom of senior leaders. The right search partner is probably as resourceful and well informed as an investigative journalist, and as well networked as your lawyer. The challenge for organizations lies in choosing a search partner who brings experience coupled with energy and resourcefulness along with the right amount of wisdom.

Internal Hiring CoEs vs The External Search Partner
Rationalizing costs where one can is a prudent policy. However, when organizations set up internal hiring CoEs, they must carefully consider leadership mandates that the COE will fulfil. Leadership talent in Asia and often across the world, feel that their long-term career goals and aspirations are better represented via a third party (search consultant) and hesitate to engage (often refuse to engage) directly with an organization. Thus, a strong case to engage with a search firm for critical mandates. Bringing in an objective third party to balance the interests of the candidate and the client leads to excellent hiring decisions.

Why the search process often trumps the “referral”
With extremely sophisticated evaluation methodologies available with leading search firms and their deep understanding of industry segments they work in, a search firm’s ability to objectively assess and match the best candidate to a mandate is a smarter way for companies to hire. This is especially true of independent/boutique search firms looking to build strong, long-term relationships with their clients. They understand the value of hiring for the client’s long-term success. Unfortunately, a referral from within, is usually monetised by the company, thereby, biasing the decision-making process. Referrals gathered on the fly from friends and well-wishers often don’t even make the initial cut, thereby wasting precious company time.

Search is an expensive and engaging process, where boards and company leadership need to commit both time and money. However, data over the past 30 years shows that the benefits of using executive search to hire leadership far outweigh the costs. It’s an objective, risk free, intense process run by specialists who have the client’s interest at the very core of the engagement. Search Firms are your brand ambassadors, corporate communication specialists, talent management experts, industry consultants all rolled into one.

When hiring something as critical as company leadership should you prefer recruitment over search? The closest parallel one can draw is when considering a critical procedure like open heart surgery, would you get your GP to perform the operation or would you go to a specialist? The answer is obvious!

Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/329876

Employee Surveys Won’t Help Your Organization Achieve Higher Engagement

Given that engagement surveys are significant part of the human capital management industry, my assertion that they are set up for failure may seem a bit outrageous, but allow me to make the case. Let’s start with the current state of employee engagement (and brace yourself, because the news is not good):

1. While employee engagement is obviously a good thing (it correlates with extra effort, commitment and positive morale), Americans’ overall engagement levels are horribly low — roughly one in three employees is highly engaged.

2. Despite all the money spent on surveys and related engagement programs, the numbers haven’t increased significantly in the last 20 years (30% in 2001 and only 34% in 2018, according to Gallup). At this rate, we’ll need over 300 years to get to 100% engagement.

You would think that after decades of surveying and billions of dollars invested, these results would compel us to try a new approach. Yet they haven’t, and I can tell you why: We are stuck on the idea that engagement is driven by people being happy and satisfied with their work experience — but it’s not.

Engagement and happiness are two separate things, and (more importantly) one does not cause the other. All the time we’ve spent focusing on happiness has actually distracted us from the real driver of workplace engagement: being successful. Happiness doesn’t drive engagement; success does. Let that sink in.

Happiness and satisfaction may often be there too, but I believe true employee engagement is ultimately a function of how successful your employees are in your organization, not how happy they are at work. In other words, as soon as you start interfering with employees’ success (both personally and organizationally), you risk lowering their engagement. Conversely, when you create a culture that enables both the employees and the organization to be deeply successful, then you can expect to see engagement numbers go through the roof.

So let’s take a fresh look at those engagement surveys. Once you realize engagement is a function of success and not satisfaction, the inherent flaw of engagement surveys should become immediately apparent. Engagement surveys measure satisfaction, yet the areas that employees are most unhappy about are not necessarily the areas that will have the greatest impact on their success, thus the data you gather will frequently encourage you to change the wrong things inside your organization. You might make your people happier in the short term, but if you fail to make them dramatically more successful in the process, you will end up with low engagement scores next year, too. Sound familiar?

Here’s an alternative to this expensive hamster wheel: Instead of running another employee engagement survey, devote your internal resources to a more in-depth analysis of the patterns inside your culture that are getting in the way of your success. Don’t try to figure out if people approve of your organization. Try to understand how the way thing are done gets in the way of them being successful. When you find and fix those damaging culture patterns, engagement naturally rises as a result.

For example, innovation is a hot topic these days, but the last thing you should do is assess whether or not your people approve of your innovation efforts. Instead, find out how your culture is getting in the way of the specific kind of innovation that drives your success. One organization I worked with would have scored fairly high in terms of “approval ratings” around innovation, but they still had a big problem that hadn’t been addressed: Their innovation efforts were robust, but they consistently stayed within an individual’s own work stream. As soon as they needed to activate broader experimentation (which would impact other departments), or beta testing or prototyping (which would involve customers), the learning and risk-taking decreased dramatically. The company realized that its stove-piped innovation efforts were not reaching far enough, so leaders set out to change those patterns by developing new processes that would make it easier to run more cross-functional experiments.

If this company had run an engagement survey, it would have missed this pattern. It would have found other areas of unhappiness to work on, and in the end, it would be worse off — further away from success, even if a few employees became a bit happier in the process.

Halt your engagement surveys, and double down on more effective management of your culture patterns. The increased engagement you get will just be icing on the cake.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2019/03/13/employee-surveys-wont-help-your-organization-achieve-higher-engagement/#60c7b7c6416d

Using Machine Learning and Sentiment Analysis to Tackle Employee Burnout

Human Resource professionals are now using an advanced data-driven approach to improving employee retention. Machine learning software analyzes engagement survey responses and online reviews – quickly determining the “why” behind scores and quantifying the key themes that are driving burnout.

Work-life balance. Cynicism. Loss of enthusiasm. These are critically important words to digest when looking at employee happiness. Andrew Alexander, MD, and Kenneth Ballou, MD, listed them as symptoms of physician burnout in a recent article by the American Journal of Medicine, which also cites burnout on the rise – from 45.5 percent in 2011 to 54.4 percent in 2014.

According to a recent @work piece by Sheryl Kraft, job burnout, per se, accounts for an estimated $125 billion to $190 billion in healthcare spending each year and has been attributed to diabetes, heart disease, gastrointestinal issues, high cholesterol, and even death for those under the age of 45. And doesn’t even include detrimental roadblocks to an organization’s culture and ultimately customer consequences.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at one way to reduce burnout, improve employee engagement, and subsequently increase customer satisfaction and loyalty – all through sentiment analysis. First, we’ll look at the benefits of engaged employees.

Benefits of Engaged Employees
Engaged employees feel more internally motivated than those who have lost their interest or who have burned out. Let’s look at a few signs of engaged, satisfied and happy workers:

Customer-facing staff make eye contact, speak cordially and spread their happiness to visitors, and other staff members.
Nurses empathize more with patients, and they’re more mindful of a patient’s feelings and needs. Doctors show a more focused and truly sincere interest in patient care.
Food service workers feel more motivated to focus on customers and meeting their needs.
Overall, staff shows fewer turnovers, less absenteeism, less apathy, and make fewer mistakes.

How Employee Sentiment Analysis Works
It’s hard to hone in on employee sentiment no matter what size the organization, but large, complex organizations have a unique challenge. Human Resources systems can spit out surveys and monitor feedback channels to get a read on how their workforce is feeling. This returns employee engagement scores that can be monitored over time. It quickly becomes impossible to read, let alone act, on every piece of open-ended feedback.

That’s where sentiment analysis comes into play. Many organizations already have a feedback system in place, and a wealth of data is already sitting and waiting for analysis. There may be a lot of feedback data to process, and it can be daunting. Sentiment analysis software takes a look at all employee survey responses and quickly determines the “why” behind the engagement scores.

Clustering Qualitative Feedback Into Themes Using Machine Learning
To begin sentiment analysis, surveys can be seen as the “voice of the employee.” Engagement surveys that are distributed on a regular basis show engagement scores (i.e., how engaged are the respective employees) to track over time. Surveys often solicit open-ended feedback which returns voluminous amounts of sentiment in text form.

That sentiment can then be clustered into themes or topic areas. A good text and sentiment analytics platform will use machine learning (artificial intelligence, or AI) that uses algorithms trained to recognize the themes.

Employee engagement themes identified by machine learning include:

Career Growth
Work-life balance

Sentiment Analytics provides insights into what is driving morale
As themes are recognized, each employee comment from the various surveys can be tagged with the relevant theme(s). Each tag can be assigned a sentiment, for example positive, negative, or neutral. The AI algorithms do the grunt work – reading the qualitative feedback and organizing comments into different buckets with respective tags.

The HR or equivalent team within the organization can then review and take action on the insights from the newly AI-structured data.

By immediately viewing insights that were given by the “machine,” human resource professionals can then understand what impacts employee happiness without reliance on anecdotes and hunches, and subsequently, take action to make sentiment more positive where applicable.

For example, maybe the negative sentiment was a result of a new software application rollout, a relocation or move, a management change, or a modification in the benefit plan.

Source: https://www.hrtechnologist.com/articles/employee-engagement/using-machine-learning-sentiment-analysis-to-tackle-employee-burnout/