It’s Time to Split HR

It’s time to say good-bye to the Department of Human Resources. Well, not the useful tasks it performs. But the department per se must go.

I talk with CEOs across the globe who are disappointed in their HR people. They would like to be able to use their chief human resource officers (CHROs) the way they use their CFOs—as sounding boards and trusted partners—and rely on their skills in linking people and numbers to diagnose weaknesses and strengths in the organization, find the right fit between employees and jobs, and advise on the talent implications of the company’s strategy.

But it’s a rare CHRO who can serve in such an active role. Most of them are process-oriented generalists who have expertise in personnel benefits, compensation, and labor relations. They are focused on internal matters such as engagement, empowerment, and managing cultural issues. What they can’t do very well is relate HR to real-world business needs. They don’t know how key decisions are made, and they have great difficulty analyzing why people—or whole parts of the organization—aren’t meeting the business’s performance goals.

Among the few CHROs who do know, I almost always find a common distinguishing quality: They have worked in line operations—such as sales, services, or manufacturing—or in finance. The celebrated former CHRO of GE, Bill Conaty, was a plant manager before Jack Welch brought him into HR. Conaty weighed in on key promotions and succession planning, working hand in glove with Welch in a sweeping overhaul of the company. Mary Anne Elliott, the CHRO of Marsh, had had several managerial roles outside HR. She is overhauling the HR pipeline to bring in other people with business experience. Santrupt Misra, who left Hindustan Unilever to join Aditya Birla Group in 1996, became a close partner of the chairman, Kumar Mangalam Birla, working on organization and restructuring and developing P&L managers. He runs a $2 billion business as well as heading HR at the $45 billion conglomerate.

My proposal is radical but grounded in practicality: Split HR into two strands.

Such people have inspired the solution I have in mind. It is radical, but it is grounded in practicality. My proposal is to eliminate the position of CHRO and split HR into two strands. One—we might call it HR-A (for administration)—would primarily manage compensation and benefits. It would report to the CFO, who would have to see compensation as a talent magnet, not just a major cost. The other, HR-LO (for leadership and organization), would focus on improving the people capabilities of the business and would report to the CEO.

HR-LO would be led by high potentials from operations or finance whose business expertise and people skills give them a strong chance of attaining the top two layers of the organization. Leading HR-LO would build their experience in judging and developing people, assessing the company’s inner workings, and linking its social system to its financial performance. They would also draw others from the business side into the HR-LO pipeline. After a few years these high potentials would move to either horizontal or higher-level line management jobs. In either case they would continue to rise, so their time in HR-LO would be seen as a developmental step rather than a ticket-punching exercise.

This proposal is just a bare outline. I expect to see plenty of opposition to it. But the problem with HR is real. One way or another, it will have to gain the business acumen needed to help organizations perform at their best.

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The Simple Key to Designing a Workplace Recognition Strategy That Gets Results

Let’s say you have two employees who have similar jobs and similar tenure with your company. We’ll call them John and Jason. John thrives on interaction with his peers and he’s usually the one to speak up first in a brainstorming session. He’s a real go-getter and he has exceeded his sales goals for the past three months running.
Jason is a go-getter too, but he’s a quieter worker than John. He’s usually one of the last to voice his opinion, even though he has a gift for picking up on unique perspectives others might miss. He has also exceeded his sales goals for the past three months, and his clients routinely ask to work with him again.It’s easy to agree that both of these employees deserve to be recognized for their contributions. In many companies, John and Jason would both earn an award of some kind. They might be recognized by name during a team meeting, honored at a company event, or given a cash bonus.These are all great steps to take. But what if you could do more?Recognition Isn’t One-Size-Fits-AllFormal recognition programs excel at tracking productivity and rewarding achievement. But that alone isn’t enough to motivate and engage your workforce. By nature, formal awards and incentives can’t happen in the moment. They don’t provide immediate feedback for positive behavior, and that means much of the effort your employees put in on a daily basis slides by under the radar.

Let’s go back to John and Jason for a moment. They’re high achievers with different personalities. But what about their colleague Jill? She works hard, but she never quite achieves the top slot on the leaderboard. John and Jason get the recognition and Jill gets nothing. It would be very easy for her to get discouraged – and ultimately, to disengage. Why bother if no one ever notices?The point is that recognition isn’t just a formula to follow. It’s a mindset shift. For your strategy to be effective, it must take a multidimensional approach that includes both formal and informal actions. By tailoring rewards to the key motivators of each person, you can let every employee know that they matter to you – even if they aren’t the top performer on the team.What Effective Recognition Looks Like in the WorkplaceOf course, personality isn’t the only thing that should shape recognition. It’s also important to consider the context of each person’s work and come up with ways to connect positive behavior with reward.Let’s bring this down to a practical level by looking at some ways you can tailor your recognition approach for different contexts:
Remote Workers – Remote workers can’t always participate in a reward program the same way in-house workers will. Online tools are useful for keeping everyone on the same page, especially if you use a gamification strategy. Hand-written notes and phone calls also communicate appreciation for effort, and if the individual is local, you can include them in team events or celebrations.

Office Workers – Keep a “Favorite Things” list of your office workers’ favorite candy, restaurant, color, food, beverage, and other preferences. Use the list to create personalized recognition incentives. For example, you can choose something from the list to celebrate a special occasion, say thanks for a job well done, or recognize an achievement. Managers should also take time to stop by team members’ desks or write a note to express appreciation on a regular basis.

Manufacturing Workers – Safety and excellence are twin keys to success in a manufacturing context, and your can frame recognition opportunities around achievements in these areas. Offer rewards for completing safety initiatives or reaching production goals, provide daily recognition verbally or with a quick email, and reward employees who take initiative to come up with more efficient ways to get the job done.

Sales Team – Use a leaderboard to track performance and celebrate both large and small wins with public acknowledgement. Be specific in your praise and recognize personal bests for all employees, even if they don’t earn the top sales spot. Consider team member personalities as well. Some employees may prefer a handwritten note rather than a public announcement.
For any recognition strategy to work, managers must be on board. Since they are the ones who connect with employees on a daily basis, they must be trained to see frequent, personalized feedback as an essential element of their job. By learning what motivates each team member, managers can show personal, genuine gratitude on a regular basis.And that’s the key to setting employees up for long-term engagement.

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How social media challenged HR in 2019

Ryan Golden: Years after the popularization of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, social media platforms continue to bug employers and HR teams.

At times the platforms that grace our screens offer some benefits. They’re convenient, for one. They can help us keep tabs on family and maintain friendships separated by distance. They allow this Baltimore Ravens fan to watch quarterback Lamar Jackson’s 47-yard touchdown run on an endless loop for the rest of sweet eternity.

But in the workplace context, those same platforms can be absolutely disastrous given the wrong set of circumstances. And in 2019, social media offered us a stern reminder: What folks do and say on it can have consequences well beyond what they intended.

Kathryn Moody: If your immediate reaction is “obviously, I don’t need to read a whole column to know that,” humor us. Because there were some real wild examples that made this year stand out.

You might have seen the Elmo poop meme story by now but if not, a refresher: A worker in Michigan claimed he was fired over a meme that he posted on Facebook while off the clock. The meme reads: “Boss makes a dollar, I make a dime. That’s why I poop, on company time.”

The worker’s boss didn’t find it very funny and texted the employee, telling him he was fired. The worker posted the boss’ response and sparked internet wildfire — the kind that strikes fear in the hearts of talent pros. Cue the Facebook and Google review bombing and tweets dragging the company’s response (though it appears said Google reviews, at least, have been scrubbed as of this writing).

its rights, as explained by FisherBroyles partner Eric Meyer, and we don’t know the worker’s background with the company, the reputation damage has already been done. And while bosses have likely had to contemplate firing employees over poorly timed jokes before the age of social media, it’s only in our modern era where something like this (posted outside of work hours, no less) can blow up overnight. Everyone has a platform — employers and workers alike.

Ryan Golden: Sharing silly pictures is one thing, but newer features also carry risks. Social media platforms like Facebook give users extensive ways to broadcast themselves to anyone who cares to watch through the use of live video.

A live broadcast can effectively create a record to be used in unintended contexts — like a lawsuit — down the line. In June, a California federal court granted summary judgment to an employer that fired a worker after he took a Facebook live video of himself on a fishing trip while he was ostensibly on Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave. “I’m not out here,” the worker said in the clip. The court determined the employer had a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for firing the employee: misusing FMLA leave.

Kathryn Moody: But employees aren’t just tempting fate online. Increasingly, social media has served as the avenue for activism for employees seeking change at their workplaces. The Google Walkout at the end of 2018 was publicized by employees through a Twitter hashtag; employees all over the world shared photos of their participation as well as their solidarity with the walkout’s cause. And at Amazon, a group of the company’s Chicago-area workers used a Facebook page to forward allegations that they hadn’t been paid overtime during 2019’s Prime Week event.

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Social media can form echo chambers, but its at-times incendiary reach also prompts employers to respond. A campaign from the walkout regarding mandatory arbitration eventually led to Google ending the practice earlier this year.

Ryan Golden: Employers have increasingly become more social media savvy in response to events like these, even in the recruiting process. In fact,First Advantage found in a March survey of employers that 60% said they “always” screen potential hires’ social media accounts for things like drugs, violence or bigotry.

It may seem prudent to consider social media guidelines for employees involved in hiring, but HR teams must ensure they’re operating within legal boundaries.

Many employees are pre-emptively changing their approach, too. Survey results published in August by screening and background check company JDP found that 84% of employee respondents understood social media impacted employers’ hiring decisions, and nearly half admitted to deleting posts or even whole profiles to protect their image. Forty percent said they’d opened alias accounts.

Kathryn Moody: So snooping is a little harder. But maybe that’s for the best. Employers that try to gain Twitter or Instagram clout by shaming potential employees on social media for their swimsuit pics, for instance, may soon find themselves receiving the opposite kind of attention that they want.

We’re in a shifting talent market, no doubt. Employers and applicants alike are finding out certain truths about each other on social media. Make sure it’s a truth worth telling.

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How Your Employee Training Programs And Company Culture Are Connected Culture plays a huge role in building employee satisfaction and encouraging the success of the business

Company culture reflects the behavior, values, and environment of an organization. An organization’s culture determines how things operate there. It is made up of the life experiences of all its employees. Organizations with high-impact learning cultures perform very well in the competitive market. A report from Bersin and Associates reported that organizations with a good learning culture are 32% more likely to be the first to market and 17% more likely to be a market leader. Their employees, too, have 37% higher productivity.

Your organization’s culture plays a huge role in building employee satisfaction and encouraging the success of the business. Here is how:
Employee Motivation
A positive work culture makes sure that your people come to work and give their best in terms of productivity. The modern workforce has various options to pick from. They may even leave you if they feel that a competitor has a better work culture. Monetary benefits are not the sole deciding factor for them to stay on. Your organization needs to have a clear vision regarding where they want to go and communicate it to its workforce.
Employee Engagement
Your workplace engagement is determined by your work culture. In a negative work culture, your employees may simply consider the job a paycheck. This usually leads to apathy. But if the work culture is engaging then the employees find incentives even in boring jobs. Show your people that you really care for their well-being. Allow them to be heard. Listen to their ideas and opinions and implement them.
Employee Morale
Low employee morale results in increased employee turnover. It creates a dysfunctional work culture that hinders collaboration. To ensure that employee morale is high, your organization should embrace transparency and inclusiveness. Inform your employees about significant developments and take their opinions into consideration when making major decisions. This approach assures employees that they matter.
Employee Churn
One reason why employees leave is because they lack opportunities for career development in the company. When they see that their job has no growth prospects, they look out for better prospects. If you invest in your employees’ development and provide them opportunities to upskill, they feel valued. Equip them with the required training and mentoring. Give them exposure to more challenging roles.

Here are a few tips to ensure that your training culture is connected to the company culture.
Make sure you are aware of the company brand and value, then position your learning content accordingly. You may choose to develop the content in-house. In case you do not have the expertise, you must provide source materials and relevant guidance to the vendor. Do not expect that the external vendor will automatically know your brand and what it stands for.
It is not enough to have a strong new hire onboarding program. First impressions may be really important, but you need a robust ongoing training strategy in place to ensure that your employees are happy and competitive.
Identify the cultural trait that is required to achieve your organization’s strategy. Then use existing stories to create training content that will link the trait to the strategy.
Each organization has its own culture. Successful companies are those that do not leave their culture to luck. They actively build it to shape their goals and strategy. They instill passion in their people and provide ample opportunities for their employees to build their skills to enhance their career.


How to Infuse Care Into the Employee Experience & Where to Start

The history of work has primarily been focused on a transactional model: employee completes work, the company sees results, the employee receives a paycheck. This model is a thing of the past and isn’t all that effective. With this shift for a more employee-centric workforce, also comes rising demands of innovation, adaptability, and flexibility. The traditional approach of take it or leave it no longer produces the results most organizations need. Employers have taken to surface-level tactics like rebrands, culture videos and perks, but in order to attract top talent, you need a great employee experience. And a great employee experience requires care.

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Invest in employees first
Saying you’re a great place to work will only get you so far — and employees will find out the truth within their first week. It’s time for companies to prioritize the needs of employees, showing them authentic organizational support and care. This doesn’t mean frivolous perks like Margarita Mondays or pet insurance — it’s much deeper than that. Care is the provision of what’s necessary for the health, welfare, maintenance, and protection of something. And organizational support tends to be the missing link.

What is organizational support — and why do you need it?
Organizational support can be defined as the resources and nudges an organization intentionally provides to show employees the organization cares. And it comes to life in different forms — from manager support to peer networks, to leadership support and even an office’s physical environment. They all need to reflect a cohesive message: your company cares. When organizations are supportive and care, employees are more likely to have well-being in their life, feel personally engaged in their work and able to manage stress. And this directly impacts employee experience.

We know that caring for employees is good for culture, and for business. Limeade Institute research shows that when employees feel cared for:

60% plan to stay at their company for three or more years (as opposed to only 7% of those who don’t feel cared for)
95% say they feel included in their organization (compared to 14% of those who don’t feel cared for)
91% say they’re likely to recommend their organization as a great place to work (compared to 9% of those who don’t feel cared for)

Building care into your employee experience
Caring for employees is more than showing it — it’s acting on it. To move your organization forward you first need to map out how your organization can create an employee experience that demonstrates care. Start with your leaders to make the case internally. When you connect a business problem to a care opportunity, leaders can better understand the real ways in which care affects employee experience, which results in impacting the overall business.

Once business goals are linked to care and your leadership team is on board, you’re ready to start planning. The key here is to lead with a strategic foundation. With a foundation and strategy in place, your company is more likely to see the bigger picture rather than single out smaller initiatives. Map out your path by splitting your short-term care goals and long-term care goals. Then, tie each to a business goal. (Pro tip: If it doesn’t connect to a business goal, cross it off the list.) From there, list actionable steps to reach each goal. For a simple framework, check out this helpful Building Care into Your Employee Experience worksheet.

Learn More: Maximizing the Employee Experience: A Joint Effort between HR and IT

Here are a few actionable steps to get started on building care into your employee experience and get you on the right path:

Enhance safety and security: When companies take steps to prevent harassment or enhance safety measures, employees feel cared for on a fundamental level. Organizations can guarantee fair pay for all employees, develop family-supportive work practices, establish anti-discrimination and anti-sexual harassment policies.
Instill dignity and respect: Sharing and explaining the importance of values and behavior standards, and acting on them, is essential to showing care. Create a code of conduct that clarifies expectations for how employees treat each other across the organization, train managers on how to better support employees who face interpersonal problems and work to build mutual trust and respect between the company and employees.
Build fairness and trust: Focus on improving employee relations with fair policies and procedures, internal communications and autonomy. Managers are a great place to start if your organization wants to build more trust.
Provide meaningful work: Professional development and job design are a huge part of the employee experience. Organizations can clarify role responsibilities to remove conflicts or competing tasks. Both are stressors that undermine other efforts to enhance meaningfulness and perceptions of organizational care.
Support the whole person: To improve employee well-being, you need to support the whole person: physical, emotional, financial and work. Allow employees freedom with their schedules, provide an employee assistance program or resource group, and most importantly, foster inclusion so that employees feel they can bring their full selves to work.

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How to Manage a Stubborn, Defensive, or Defiant Employee

Some of the hardest employees to manage are people who are consistently oppositional. They might actively debate or ignore feedback, refuse to follow instructions they disagree with, or create a constant stream of negative comments about new initiatives. Most often, these behaviors are meant to make the employee look strong and mask a fear of change, an aversion to anticipated conflict, or the worry that they will look stupid or incompetent. I’ve found in my 30 years of consulting for both public and privately held companies, that there are three distinct approaches that can help you get the best from oppositional employees.

The first option is to adjust job responsibilities to leverage their strengths. One functional leader at a company I advised was known and appreciated for his technical expertise, but he was also an extreme micromanager and treated employees with disdain, leading to high turnover in his department. Whenever his manager or HR gave him feedback, he dismissed their input, because he felt that they didn’t understand what it took to succeed in his job.

It’s not uncommon for technical experts to struggle in management roles, and their resistance to feedback or support may be triggered when they realize they’re in over their heads but don’t want to be perceived as failing. One solution is to double down on their strengths and minimize their managerial responsibilities or give them a purely technical team. This worked for the functional leader, who, with a much smaller team of fellow experts to manage, ran into fewer obstacles and generated less unhappiness among his subordinates and superiors.

Another alternative is to temporarily overlook individual style while the person adjusts to their new circumstances. Some employees become oppositional when they feel insecure in a new role or with a significant change in their responsibilities. Rather than providing behavioral coaching on their negative or inappropriate communication, at least initially, it can be more effective to focus on the quality of their knowledge or output, and only work on stylistic problems once the employee feels more familiar with the changes and expectations.

I once worked with a nonprofit executive with deep institutional memory who was extremely sensitive to criticism, and became fearful and resistant whenever change was necessary, especially when new requirements were presented to her as fiats. She was so concerned with not looking stupid, weak, or out-of-date, that she became excessively defensive and reactive. This was particularly problematic because her position involved supporting new leaders, who cycled in and out of the job every two to three years, and she had to form new relationships with each one. But her behavior wasn’t oppositional all the time: whenever she worked for a leader who showed respect for her skill and knowledge, she served with loyalty and tenacious effort. Showing appreciation for an employee’s knowledge and overlooking — for a time — their delivery can help build a positive connection you can then expand on.

Finally, it’s worth considering that they may be right. At one service firm where I consulted, a longtime department head expressed great negativity about the changes a succession of new bosses wanted to make. She began to change her attitude when one new leader paid attention to her complaints and took her challenges as clues that some of her “old ways” might still have merit. She became more willing to hear him out and to sign on to some of his new initiatives. Over time, he gave her more related responsibilities and opportunities to share her knowledge with other areas of the company. She continued to challenge some of his new directions, but warmed up significantly as she saw that her subject matter expertise was being taken seriously.

On the other hand, know where to draw the line. At another client, a senior leader who was an external hire felt that his track record spoke for itself, and that he didn’t need to adjust to his new company’s cultural norms. When he behaved in ways that were counter to norms around work/life balance and demonstrating respect for individual differences, he was chastised and counseled multiple times by a colleague from HR, but he assumed that his financial performance would protect him. In fact, he made it quite clear to colleagues that he didn’t have to “listen” to the feedback he was receiving. Despite the success of his work product, when too many employees complained that they felt denigrated and that he was damaging the organizational culture, the executive leadership got involved and he was let go.

Sometimes, the behavior of an oppositional employee is so damaging to their team or colleagues that the company cannot sustain it and must encourage them to move on. But in many cases, after understanding their concerns and motivations, organizations can provide effective support to oppositional employees through job redesign and relationship building. Then employees who were once seen as problems can bring their greatest strengths to bear on behalf of the organization, rather than against it.

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To Protect Your Best Employees From Burnout, Steal The NBA’s Load Management Concept

Many of your best employees are at high risk of burnout (if they’re not there already). One of my employee engagement studies found that in 42% of organizations, high performers are actually less engaged than low performers. In other words, your most valuable people are often less inspired, happy, motivated, etc. than the employees who deliver the least value.

There are myriad reasons for this, but here’s a simple illustration: Imagine it’s late Friday afternoon, and just as you’re about to leave the office, your boss dumps a potentially career-making project in your lap, due Monday at 9 a.m. You won’t get it done without help from one of your employees, so you’re both in for a long weekend of work. Now, which of your employees are you going to ask for help? Your best high performer? Or one of your low performers? Of course, you’re going to turn to your best high performer.

Imagine a similar situation happens again the next week. Once again, we’ll call on our best high performer. And what about the next time, and the next, and the next? Do this thought experiment enough times and you quickly realize that the person with the toughest job in your company is likely your best high performer.

Today In: Leadership
This is where the NBA’s load management concept comes in. Load management essentially means monitoring and managing a player’s physiological stress. As ESPN writers Kevin Pelton and Kevin Arnovitz put it, “A player exerts himself during practices, individual skill sessions, cardio work, dynamic warm-up routines, postgame recovery regimens, cross-country flights, lack of sleep, you name it. All of this info is fed into the load management program, and a group consisting of the player, training staff, sports scientists, coaches, management and, often, ownership collaborate to look at the biometric data and determine when that player is bumping up against his load capacity.”

Load management is fundamentally about ensuring that players don’t exceed their capacity, so they can recover faster, avoid injury, and achieve peak performance in the most important games (e.g. the playoffs).

Because it typically involves sitting out games (e.g. sitting out the second game of a back-to-back series), there are plenty of commentators, former players, fans, etc. who bemoan the “softness” of today’s NBA players. “Back in my day…” seems to start the vast majority of complaints about load management.

The issue, however, is that we know more about burnout (whether physical or mental) than we did decades ago. And whether we’re talking about NBA players or the high performers in an office, it’s just smart business to keep your best people ready to peak perform in the most important situations.

How do you start protecting and load managing your high performers? Here are two simple practices to get you started.

Practice #1: Start Tracking Time

It will be tough to discern if you’re misusing your best employees’ time if you don’t know where their time is spent. So have them start tracking their time, looking for activities that aren’t terribly important and that could be eliminated or delegated.

More than 17,000 people have taken the online test “How Do Your Time Management Skills Stack Up?” And one of the questions asks respondents to choose between the following options:

On most days, time flies by and I don’t track where I spend every minute or hour.
I regularly track my time (whether manually or with software) so I know exactly where my time goes throughout the day.
A small portion (31%) are actively tracking their time while more than two-thirds (69%) are not. And as you might imagine, those who do track their time report being significantly more productive than those who don’t.

This isn’t about micromanaging or looking over employees’ shoulders, rather it’s about helping your best employees focus their energy on the activities that will drive the greatest value for the organization. If they’re regularly writing reports that nobody reads or sitting in meetings that accomplish nothing, manage their load (i.e. eliminate those activities) so they’re fresh for the important things.

Practice #2: Assess Employees’ Motivation

One of the warning signs that your team could use some load management is when their motivation is high but they’re unhappy with the company. And our study called Employee Engagement Statistics Are Missing 2 Critical Groups Of Employees discovered that 26% of employees meet that criteria.

We analyzed 31,664 employees using 2 distinct engagement survey questions:

I am motivated to give 100% effort when I’m at work.
I recommend this company as a great organization to work for.
Using a statistical technique called k-means clustering, we discovered that 26% of employees are Motivated But Unhappy at work. These are workers that are highly motivated to give 100% effort at work, but they do not recommend their company as a great organization to work for.

When someone is motivated to give 100%, but they’re increasingly frustrated by deficiencies and roadblocks in the workplace, it’s easy for them to enter a spiral of negativity. The more frustrated they get, the more they grit their teeth and plow through their workload without pausing and contemplating ways to make their job and workplace more livable. This, in turn, leads to even more frustration, which leads to more teeth-gritting, etc.

Much like an NBA star who plays through injury, only to reaggravate and worsen the original injury, our best employees will often slog through their frustration until they’ve burned themselves out. When you see an employee who’s motivated and taking on lots of work, but their demeanor increasingly displays frustration and irritation, manage their load.

If you want your best employees fresh for the playoffs (or that big board presentation, or the once-in-a-lifetime sales opportunity, or whatever), it’s important to track their time and keep tabs on their motivation. It’s likely they’ll resist and want to work through anything and everything, but it’s our job as their leader to ensure they’re not burned out, and thus compromised, when we really need them.

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3 Storytelling Tips For A Successful Performance Review

Everyone dreads performance reviews, especially those tasked with reviewing others. That manager you are nervous to meet with is likely dreading the meeting more than you are. Can you make it easy, if not enjoyable, for them? Is this a pie in the sky idea? Not if you deploy the fundamental storytelling technique of strategically shifting your point of view.

Shift your point of view, and you’ll notice the many biases that can plague managers. After all, reviewing a year’s worth of performance means battling a host of natural but detrimental tendencies, including:

Recency bias (evaluating only the past month or two, rather than the full year).
Leniency bias (giving everyone high marks, regardless of whether it’s merited).
Confirmation bias (seeking only information that confirms the manager’s preconceived ideas about that person).
Awareness of common biases allows you to look through the glasses your manager is looking through and structure your review in a way that helps them notice your strengths. These three storytelling tips will help you highlight those strengths and use your performance review as fuel for further growth.

Today In: Leadership
1. Mine the past year for stories.

Take stock of your past year, digging deep into the caverns of your memory for stories. As you unearth stories, inspect them as if you are your manager. Doing your job and even doing it well is not worth noting. Use these questions to consider what you might have done that your manager didn’t expect:
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What are my biggest contributions to the company or team this year? What makes these contributions above and beyond my call of duty? What is it about these contributions that makes them so unexpected that my manager will want to reward me?
What was the biggest investment I made this year (at work, in professional development, etc.)? How did this investment go above and beyond what my manager expected?
What new leadership skills or industry insights have I learned this year? Did I share them with my team? If so, what difference has it made to them?
2. Structure your stories.

You don’t have much time or space to tell a story, so structure is everything. The good news, though, is that by using the “IRS model,” you can craft a story with only three or four sentences:

I – Intriguing beginning (first sentence or two)
R – Riveting middle (next sentence or two)
S – Satisfying end (final sentence or two)
A client of mine recently structured a brief story about herself with the opening line, “I am not who I appear to be.” Talk about an intriguing beginning! No one could shrug and walk away uninterested. Oddly enough, this story was inspired by a quick passing remark my client made. At first, she wasn’t convinced anyone would find her story meaningful. But when she tested it out on her mentor, it so impressed the mentor that she asked my client to teach her everything she knew about business storytelling. From that, my client was convinced she’d found a story worth retelling.

3. Tell yourself the right story afterward.

What if you get difficult feedback? After performance reviews, over half of 1,500 U.S. workers surveyed said they were surprised by the results. Twenty-two percent cried, 37% looked for another job, and 20% flat-out quit, according to a study by Adobe.

When a manager’s feedback comes as a surprise, make sure you are telling yourself the right story about the news you have received, especially if it is difficult. Verbalize that story, trying to see the feedback from your manager’s perspective. How were they trying to help you, and the company, grow? Once you can verbalize the story, try running it past someone you trust. Do they agree with your perspective? Can they add to what your manager might be thinking?

For so much of the year, we are so busy “doing” that we don’t carve out time to reflect. The performance review forces us to reflect. We can welcome this chance to see our year in review—and to push our reflections even further by seeing our year through our manager’s eyes.

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Leadership + Virtual (Global) Teams + A Happy Culture?

Managing a global team can be a challenge, but shouldn’t have to be…here are practical ways to collaborate, connect and communicate.

I facilitated a workshop in Australia where the delegates were from various countries. It reminded me of the challenge leaders in a multi-national company face. It is the hard reality of managing a team, stationed across the globe, some working at the office, some in remote locations, others based in their home office and to add a notch, in different time zones.

Leaders usually appreciate the benefits of having a global team. Diverse views, strengths and knowledge of these team members are needed in this fast-paced, ever-changing world. Yet, it also adds a different level of complexity in motivating the team and should be managed in the right way.
Life in a Global Team Isn’t Always Smooth Sailing
Team members are removed from their manager and colleagues, which makes the day-to-day communication and engagement challenging.

The secret ingredient for any leader of a multi-national (and virtual) team is to focus on building a strong culture. Due to geographical distance, team members easily feel disconnected and misaligned. The key is to align the team to a mutual set of values and behaviours.

The level of effective interactions between team members also plays a vital part in building the culture. In my experience as an HR executive of a well-known multi-national, I can definitely relate to the challenges of keeping a remote team connected. Here with some practical considerations:

• Agree on which technology to use to assist with collaboration and decide on rules for virtual meetings.

• Simulate a virtual “water cooler experience”. Use social media and video conferencing to informally meet and engage with team members on a regular basis.

• Clarify business hours taking different time zones into account. Decide on meeting times and accommodate everyone by rotating the time slot and each member share in attending the meeting at an inconvenient time slot.

• Agree on response times to queries – internally and externally.

• Commit to honest and candid conversations. Follow a plan to address miscommunication, as it can very easily happen.
Biases – Be Consciously Aware
Research conducted by psychologists Tinu Cornish and Dr. Pete Jones found that nearly 40% of people have unconscious biases against genders and ethnicities. When working with multi-national teams, each team member, and especially the leader, need to make a conscious effort not to be biased towards other gender and nationalities.

How can you overcome these biases? The first step is to identify and be aware of your bias. By acknowledging the bias, you are able to take a step back in the situation and reflect on the best next step. By being consciously alert, you can challenge your behaviours, views and decisions during interactions with your team members.
Use Remote Working Arrangements to Your Advantage
Flexible working arrangements are a huge attraction for many individuals and this is evident in the report published by the International Workplace Group (IWG). You can download the report from their website . Here are two highlights that stood out for me:

• 80% of the participants stated that enabling their employees to work from anywhere helped them recruit and retain top talent. This is a 16% increase from 2016.
• Another interesting statistic published by IWG report that African and Asian business leaders, when entering new markets, allow their teams to work from anywhere (91% and 88%).
The Big Question: Is There a “Best Way” to Manage Virtual Teams?
Here is a video by Erin Meyer speaking about: “How to lead a successful global team”:

The following tips will help you as a leader to build solid and engaged teams:

1. Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate: Establish a rhythm for collaborating with team members. This all about how you work with the team member, finding the balance between too much and just enough collaboration.

2. Visibility: Drive visibility for remote employees. Arrange your own ‘cupcake day’ to celebrate birthdays of team members.

3. Establish a culture team: Start a group that is dedicated to leading and inspiring a remote culture and helping employees feel more connected to company’s.

4. Share in the fun: Include a fun element and share pictures of home offices. One can create a contest with categories such as “best view from your desk” or “biggest need for improvement”.

5. Co-ordinate volunteer initiatives: Even if the team is not together, their efforts still contribute to their local communities and let them share their volunteering activities on your internal network.

6. Pay them a visit: Remote employees would value a face-to-face meeting vs. seeing your face on a video conferencing screen all the time. It will be good to catch-up and connect on a different level instead of always just talking business.
A last thought
One of the Agile leadership principles summarises it well: “Agile leaders build communities based on high trust, respect and meaningful working relationships. Their role is to provide their teams with all that they need to operate efficiently but then let them function autonomously within their boundaries.”

Leaders of global and virtual teams need to intentionally build connections by creating a psychologically safe environment to bring forth the team cohesion, commitment and energy. It isn’t always easy, but if you keep the above tips in mind, you will be in good stead.


How Algorithms Are Changing The Face of HR

Thanks to technology, the business world continues to move faster and faster. In this world of constant innovation, the most successful organizations are those that can keep up with or even get ahead of the technological trends. Just think of Google or Apple.

Of course, creating an innovative company is impossible without the right workforce. Hiring the right employees for the right roles at the right time is critical, and it requires good resource management to do it. That’s why many corporations are leaning more and more on HR data and algorithms to help with their decision making. In this article, I want to lift the lid on how some of those algorithms are changing the face of HR, and the kind of systems you can expect to see in your workplace within the next decade.
How Algorithms Are Changing HR
Driven by organizations like Google, algorithms are now being utilized across marketing and customer service in the form of conversation AI, and in many HR departments. You can compare it to how an organization uses Google Analytics to improve website performance, except that HR data focuses on employees and candidates.

One of the beauties of data-driven HR, or people analytics, is its flexibility. Algorithms can be adapted to measure specific elements which can help organizations address their most pressing HR concerns. These are the three areas of HR in which algorithms are having the biggest impact.

The Hiring Process
Any HR professional will tell you that their field isn’t only about hiring and firing. The fact remains, however, that overseeing hiring and onboarding is still key to HR. It’s also an area in which algorithms have a considerable influence.

The impact of hiring algorithms on HR has been widely tested and analyzed. A variety of different studies, including one by the National Bureau of Economic Research, have come to the conclusion that recruitment driven by data and algorithms leads to higher quality hires for companies.

Algorithms can collect and process a huge volume of data. They can analyze information from CVs, publicly available information, and responses to assessments, which allows them to build a comprehensive picture of any and every candidate.

These data allow for the identification of qualities that make for a successful employee. Hiring teams can then look for those qualities within the skills and personality of candidates and choose people who are best suited for the job. Not only does this make for a better hire, but it also allows hiring teams to make decisions much faster than before.

The fairness of data-driven decisions also prevents human error from getting in the way of hiring the right candidates. Proponents of hiring algorithms argue that the algorithms can remove human biases—biases that color decision-making—from the equation. As explained by Nathan Kuncel, professor of psychology at the University of Minnesota:

‘We haven’t concluded that human judgments have no value. It’s just that these judgments come with a package that includes bias. People can get hung up on one piece of information and make too much of it.’
Pew Research
At best, biases can mean making the wrong hiring decision, and at worst, they can derail the hiring process completely. In theory, algorithms would remove that subjectivity.

With that said, the average person on the street would not like to have their CV screened by an algorithm. A study conducted by the Pew Research Center found that 76 percent of US workers would not want to apply for a job where their CV was screened by an algorithm, and most people think algorithms would do a worse job than a human.

There’s one final way in which algorithms have impacted hiring. That’s by analyzing and reassessing the hiring process itself. Part of Google’s early research into data-driven HR focused on the optimal length of the hiring process.

The results of the research led to Google’s so-called “rule of four” for interviews. They found that four interviews were optimal for hiring. Further assessment of candidates gave little additional value. Thus, Google recommended the shortening of what were often far longer hiring processes, a decision that saved both time and money.
Workforce Planning
Algorithms also shape HR when it comes to predictive modeling and analytics. Predictive modeling software uses algorithms to find patterns in large volumes of data, allowing people to more accurately predict future trends.

In the field of HR specifically, the data concerned would be information about an organization’s workforce. HR professionals and executives can use algorithms to identify factors that make for successful employees, that influence employee retention, and more.

Discovering what characteristics make successful employees can help your recruiting team find and attract better candidates for your organization. Meanwhile, identifying reasons for turnover and attrition is vital to workforce planning. Predictive modeling in this area can help firms answer the following questions:

Who is at risk of leaving the company?
What is it that persuades employees to go?
What can we do to retain our best employees?

Answers to these questions help HR departments get ahead of any problems and take pre-emptive action to retain the staff they might otherwise lose. Such modeling can also help identify skills shortages and leadership needs, aiding firms in mitigating the risk of a resources gap. Firms can identify potential issues or other patterns within their workforce, and they can do so before problems come to fruition. That allows them more time to find solutions.

Predictive modeling and analytics are particularly important to firms experiencing rapid growth. These are the businesses at most risk of workforce problems. When a company grows at pace, it’s more difficult to ensure that the workforce keeps up. Algorithms help these firms stay ahead of the curve.
Employee Satisfaction
Employee satisfaction and retention are key to business success. Its how firms retain their edge over competitors. Its also another of the major areas where algorithms are changing the face of HR. The way this is done is by combining data-driven HR and behavioral psychology. Data for the algorithms is drawn from a company’s work environment and internal surveys. Then are processed to identify critical behavioral changes that will have the biggest positive impact on the happiness of the workforce at large.

Data-driven HR helps to remove human bias from recruitment. However, poorly implemented algorithms could actually reinforce discrimination if they are designed to focus on the wrong character traits or qualities in applicants. In extreme circumstances, this can lead to certain groups being overlooked completely and thus an unfair hiring process.
Conclusion – The Future of HR
The concerns surrounding data-driven HR shouldn’t be minimized. However, that doesn’t mean algorithms in HR aren’t useful and valuable when used properly.

The success of Google, as one of the first to use data-driven HR, is compelling by itself. Add to that the studies which have provided evidence of its efficacy, and it seems data-driven HR is here to stay. By considering how HR algorithms could fit within your organization, you can propel your organization into the future of HR and use the best tools and strategies to help your people at the same time.