Building A Better Personalized Employee Experience

Employee engagement is much more than a feeling, it’s a business objective. But happy employees also deliver the greatest benefit to your organization–higher quality results, more engaged teammates, and increased tenure. That’s why it’s critical to make employees feel valued early into their tenure and throughout their employment, even through their exit. After all, employee happiness is critical to business success.

A personalized employee experience can help drive employee happiness, but how do you create a personalized employee experience? Yes, it starts with trust, between employer and employee, as well as manager and employee. While the employer helps employees maintain health and financial wellness and provides career growth opportunities, the manager is equally important in building a relationship with that employee to help them understand the value they’re delivering to the organization. But this type of value doesn’t have a clear path, nor can it be built on the fly.

While the employee journey can encompass many stages, our team believes there are six critical stages — joining the company (onboarding), career growth, learning to lead, maintaining a healthy household, succeeding financially, and leaving the company (offboarding).

During each stage, it’s critical for us to ensure Evive’s Employee Value Proposition (EVP) comes to life. Your organization likely has its own EVP, an internal brand experience for employees that encompasses culture, total rewards, and more. The delivery of the EVP is critical for both recruitment and retention efforts.

When designing the employee journey, the EVP must permeate throughout each stage. There are numerous opportunities for organizations to personalize the EVP to increase employee engagement and maximize those important employee moments.

And while this seemingly makes sense, our recently conducted survey reveals that not all HR departments are truly nurturing employees at each stage of their journey. And this is certainly no surprise. Since the global pandemic hit one year ago, HR departments have become the provider of all news. So how can HR teams get the support that they need to help ensure all employees are in turn, supported, as they move through the employee journey?
HR’s Role in Improving the Onboarding Experience
Onboarding is an employee’s first experience at a new company—and it starts as soon as an offer is accepted. Effectively communicating and engaging with new hires quickly gets them up to speed to start contributing. But not all HR teams are communicating effectively with new employees during orientation. For example, we learned:

50% of survey respondents said that HR never checked in on them after their orientation period to make sure things were going well.
Only 45% said their company surveyed their satisfaction with their onboarding or orientation experience.
44% felt their onboarding or orientation lacked personalization.
25% didn’t feel their company offered a structured onboarding or orientation experience.

HR departments must streamline and personalize the onboarding process to align with their EVP. By engaging new hires before their start date, you can introduce them to their new teammates, have them complete dreaded and time-consuming paperwork, provide them with an introduction to in-house software, set them up with orientation materials, etc. The possibilities are endless, but it shows the new hire that you truly care about their success even before they have that corporate email address

Once an employee is on board and engaged, it’s HR’s job to help them develop new skills, foster positive employee-manager relationships, and grow within the organization.
Providing Career Growth Opportunities
After joining the company, it’s natural for employees to think about what comes next in their career. Your company’s EVP ensures employees feel supported in their professional development and growth. Still, our survey indicates:

55% of employees received a formal review with their manager only once a year or less often.
45% say that their manager has never reached out with relevant professional groups related to their career growth areas identified from their performance reviews.
34% say that their manager has never reached out with relevant courses or videos in their company’s Learning Management System (LMS) related to their career growth areas identified from their performance reviews.
37% are neutral on the idea or disagree that their manager is committed to their career growth.

From one colleague to another – I have to say, we could do better. We must provide novel opportunities for employees to learn and acquire key skills. Managers must take a more active role in their employee’s growth by leveraging development plans, networking opportunities, assigning mentors, etc. Management and HR should actively communicate with employees to better understand their goals and identify relevant opportunities for their growth.

Again, this goes back to the power of happiness. Engaged employees stay longer and make deeper contributions—so helping them grow from the onset only means more success for your organization.
Leading Effective Teams
Employers who provide development opportunities must include leadership training.

HR must nurture future leaders to inspire, persuade and motivate those around them using everything from personalized communications and skills training to team building and performance management.

However, 37% of survey respondents are neutral on the idea or disagree that their company provides the right amount of training to help new managers learn to supervise and develop people effectively.

Providing good leadership development and preparation programs can help support new managers to empower and influence others. Strong leadership also has a compounding effect. When managers engage and train their company’s next-generation of leaders, future leaders can help develop other leaders, while also keeping their team engaged.

Professional development is only a small part of what it takes to boost employee satisfaction and support the EVP.
Take an Active Role in Employee Health and Wellness Now
Yes, benefits matter to employees, but it’s equally important to market benefits offerings in a personalized manner.

Many benefits go underutilized because the employee doesn’t understand their benefits, chooses not to deal with the complexity of how benefits work, or does not see the personal value of their options.

Employees, however, who utilize their benefits are not only healthier and perform better, but are more loyal. In fact, hundreds of studies show that benefits utilization helps employers minimize turnover and leads to a stronger bottom line.

So, do you have a personalized communications strategy around benefits that supports the health and wellness of employees and their families? Our study indicates most employees would prefer that. In fact, employees want to receive personalized reminders to help them take timely action on their health. 66% of employees would find it helpful to receive timely reminders from their company when due for health screenings. Another 56% would find health reminders helpful for their spouse or partner.

Creating personalized communications to motivate employees to engage with health benefits reduces healthcare costs for the entire company. It ensures employees have what they need to connect their families with the right health and well-being benefits while not taking a one-size-fits-all approach, keeping them engaged with your EVP.
Driving Financial Success for Your Employees
Many employees, unfortunately, lack financial management knowledge, and are also unaware of all the details surrounding their financial wellness benefits.

Utilizing financial wellness benefits helps employees boost short and long term financial security, provides peace of mind for retirement, and drives participation in 401(k)s, HSAs, and FSAs – all critical components of the EVP. Still, if employees aren’t properly educated on how to not only engage with financial benefits, but also plan for retirement, they might not adequately fund retirement accounts.

Experts typically recommend saving up to $1 million for retirement. However, 36% of survey respondents expected that their total individual retirement expenses would be less than $300,000. Another 26% expected that their total personal retirement expenses would be less than $100,000. Yikes! Let’s make HR the hero!

Developing a personalized communication plan that educates each employee according to their unique situation helps employees minimize financial stress and their ability to do their job but, here again, increases employee engagement.
A Smooth Offboarding Helps Generate Brand Advocates
Eventually, employees may depart the company for a new venture. But if your EVP aligns with your employee journey, there’s a good chance that the employee will remain a company advocate.

Not many organizations emphasize offboarding like they emphasize the other stages of the employee journey. However, maintaining a positive company image is an integral part of any business, and former employees play a huge role.

Still, only 48% of employees felt they would advocate for their company after leaving. Forty percent said they were unsure, while the remaining respondents said they would not advocate.

A smooth offboarding experience is critical to brand success because there are still opportunities for former employers to interact with your brand, whether it’s an alumni event, referral program, or seasonal projects. Don’t ostracize employees that leave; they may remain friends with current employees and influence their opinions of the company, or offer future referrals and professional relationships. Former employees are still critical to the EVP.

With the evolving, complex needs of today’s changing workforce, employers must deliver the EVP at each stage of the employee journey. As a result, HR departments must establish a communication strategy that takes every employee on their own, personalized employee journey to build trust and alignment, enhance current processes, and improve the employee experience.

Make sure your employee journey is in alignment with other corporate initiatives. Create that highly personalized experience regardless of when or how your employees choose to engage. If done correctly, your employees will find value in its offering immediately and you’ll find more happy, engaged employees. Best of all, there are data-driven, communication technologies to help you do it through each stage of the employee journey.

Source:https://www.hr.com/en/magazines/all_articles/building-a-better-personalized-employee-experience_knad0rw6.html

Stop Trying To Make ‘Multitasking’ Happen: 5 Ways To Beat Workplace Distractions And Keep Yourself On Task

Your plan was to start working at 9 a.m. on the dot. It’s now 9:13 a.m. and you’ve opened up the Google doc with your notes. “I’ve got to get this done,” you think to yourself. Then an email pops up…”Let me check. It might be something important. Oh…it’s nothing. OK it’s time to start really focusing…oh wait…I need to send an email to my son’s school. After I write the email, I’ll get started on the article.” It’s now 9:45 a.m. and you realize you won’t get as much completed as you thought but you think, “That’s OK, I’ll work on it tomorrow…ooooh a text….”

Maybe this wasn’t the first time you’ve struggled with setting a goal for yourself only to get distracted by emails, text messages and, yes, even your own thoughts. This is a daily issue for millions of other people across the globe. According to the “Udemy in Depth: 2018 Workplace Distraction Report,” 54% of participants report they are not performing as well as they should and 70% of participants agree training can help them better block out distractions.

It would seem remote work would “solve” many of the challenges employees were struggling with only a few years ago. No noisy coworkers talking loudly at their desks, no manager stopping by asking “how’s it going?” and no more direct reports popping in your office with just a “quick question.” Unfortunately, it seems to be getting worse.

The 2021 Remote Working Report found that 73% of remote workers felt worse as a result of long-term working from home with 39% reporting they feel even more stress now than before. There are a number of factors that contribute to these findings. While many remote workers have been able to shelter in place and thus are at a lower risk of contracting the virus, the overall day-to-day stress of the pandemic combined with learning how to do their jobs in a whole new way contributes to the increase in overall stress of these remote workers.

There’s also another factor that has been a challenge for all workers for close to a decade now: the expectation of always “being on” and our new remote work culture is making this more and more difficult for workers to determine when they get to “turn off.” Additionally, the Remote Working Report found that 46% of remote workers feel under pressure to respond to emails after hours. The pressure to check emails during off-hours was a problem before the pandemic but it seems to be getting worse.

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We continue to build better and faster technology which does help us do things we’ve never been able to do before but it leaves us with a daily predicament. To check or not to check? And if you check, do you respond? Resisting the temptation to check email is like wanting to get off sugar while having a plate of donuts attached to your hand. This is what we were grappling with before the pandemic.

Without the physical boundary of the office, the lines are getting blurrier and blurrier to the point where so many workers are simply saying, “I’ve got all this work to do and I can’t go anywhere, I might as well just keep working.” Even when you’re sitting at home watching TV your laptop is a constant reminder of the guilt you feel because you’re not working. The thought, “I can be working,” is so overpowering it has created a tremendous amount of anxiety for everyone in the workforce.

Many workers blame themselves and their inability to manage all of these distractions. They think the answer is simply manage all the incoming distractions and “get better” at learning to “multitask.” Multitasking is never the answer. Research has shown that the constant interruptions are making us fearful and sad and make us less and less effective the more we try to do at once.

While multitasking may help us get things done and off our to-do lists, the long-term costs are being prone to making mistakes, missing critical information, not picking up on subtle but important cues, and not retaining important information. When you’re anxious your brain sends a signal to your prefrontal lobes, which is in charge of executive functioning, to shut down.

Executive functioning is crucial because that controls your decision-making skills, planning and time management. When you try and do too many things at once you end up burning yourself out and by the time the weekend comes you’re too exhausted to go out enjoying your time off.

The solution isn’t to beat yourself up, nor is it to work more hours. It’s a combination of slowing down, being more intentional and creating an environment that will support you being more focused.

Here are 5 strategies you can start implementing today to become more focused:
1. Practice Mindfulness
While the idea of “being more mindful” might make you roll your eyes and dismiss this idea outright, mindfulness is one of the most effective strategies to manage anxiety. The calmer and more centered you are, the clearer you think and the more thoughtful and strategic you become at work and at home.

Matt Killingsworth in his 2011 Tedx Talk discussed his research about what makes people happy and he found people spend almost 47% of their waking hours thinking about something other than what they’re doing. When our minds wander, we’re usually thinking about the laundry list of activities we need to get done every day or we’re thinking about the fight we had with our mother a week ago.

Practicing mindfulness is simply drawing your attention to the present moment. You can do it anywhere and it doesn’t cost a cent. Several times throughout the day set your timer for 1 minute and sit down and close your eyes. Place all of your attention to your breath. Simply focus on your breathing and notice yourself inhaling and exhaling. When your mind wanders (and it will) simply notice the thought and let it go and return your attention to your breathing. Do this several times a day for at least a week and you’ll start to notice subtle changes.

2. Create A Pre-Work Routine
Instead of rolling out of bed and logging into work, carve out at least 10 minutes (the longer the better) to get centered, practice mindfulness and prepare yourself for the day ahead. First do a few minutes of mindful breathing and think about your intention for the day. Mindful breathing is simply focusing your attention on your breathing and notice the natural rhythm and flow of inhaling and exhaling.

An intention is a desire or wish of how you want to show up for yourself and the people around you. An example of an intention would be, “Today I want to be fully present in my meetings. My intention is to shut down all distractions around me and focus on listening to each speaker.” Throughout the day when you catch yourself wanting to check email or zone out, gently remind yourself of your original intention.

3. Have Clear ‘Work Time’ Boundaries And Stick To Them
Technology and remote work are here to stay which means workers will still be grappling with the issue of “when to work” and “when to play” for many years to come. This means every worker needs to create boundaries with themselves around when they start work, when they take breaks, when they check email, and when they finish work. Your prefrontal lobes need a break and in order for you to function the next day you need time in between to rest and recharge.

If you want to end the day by 5 p.m. then make that a goal and stick to it. When 5pm hits, log off and stay off for the night. It might be tough at first and you’ll feel pangs of guilt thinking about all the emails in your inbox but remember your original goal and focus on this time you have for yourself and/or your family.

4. Set Yourself Up For Success
Focus on what is within your control. If you’re working on a project that takes all of your time and attention, shut all other distractions down. Shut down email and Slack and get rid of the alerts that tell you when you have a new message. Put your phone in a drawer and let the people around you know not to disturb you unless it’s an emergency. If you think of an email or text you need to send, make a note of it and then get back to your project.

Time blocking is a great way to schedule everything you need to get done during the week. When you have a running task list everything feels like an emergency. Being able to schedule Thursday from 2-to-4 p.m. for a specific project will help you feel less stressed in the moment and you won’t feel guilty for not getting it done today because you’ve scheduled it later in the week. Just make sure you honor that time and don’t schedule a meeting or work on something else — you scheduled it for a reason because you want to get it done.

5. Limit Social Media And Anything Else That Drains Your Time And Energy
If you’re wondering how you’re going to find the time to practice mindfulness, have a pre-work routine and stop work at 5 p.m., the way to create more time and energy is by limiting social media. The average adult user spends 2 hours and 24 minutes per day on social media. If you’re shocked by that number, you’re not alone. While many of us think we’re simply “popping in to see what our friends are doing on Instagram,” the time adds up, not to mention having to context switch when we need to get back to work.

If you can’t live without social media, even for a day, set a timer for 20 minutes and when the time is up you’re done. Those 20 minutes will allow you to catch up on anything that’s happened to the people in your life who are really important to you.

We live in what people call the “attention economy,” which means the ability to focus and concentrate is just as important as other technical or management skills. Being able to focus is becoming a huge asset at the workplace which means learning to train your attention, set better boundaries and create a work environment that supports you rather than catering to all the things that are trying to get your attention.

Source:https://www.forbes.com/sites/tessbrigham/2021/04/12/stop-trying-to-make-multitasking-happen-5-ways-to-beat-workplace-distractions-and-keep-yourself-on-task/?sh=645dae9a73ea

Decoding Global Ways of Working

The pandemic has taught millions of people around the world that they can do their jobs effectively without ever setting foot in an office. For most of them, that lesson will carry into the future.

Eighty-nine percent of people expect to be able to work from home at least some of the time after the crisis ends. The proportion of people with this expectation is highest—more than 90%—in digital and knowledge-based fields. But it’s common in every industry. Even in job roles like manual labor and manufacturing, an overwhelming majority of people said they expect to be able to do some of their work offsite in the future.

These findings emerge from a survey of almost 209,000 people in 190 countries by Boston Consulting Group and The Network. The results are being presented in a three-part series. This second report follows an initial report that focused on declining levels of worker mobility due to the pandemic. Another report, on the pandemic’s impact on people’s career plans and willingness to retrain, will be released next month.

It is indeed flexibility that most workers are interested in, not a wholesale rejection of the traditional model of full-time physical collocation with colleagues. Only a relatively small proportion of workers—one in four—would switch to a completely remote work model if they could. People in developing countries tend to be above the average in favoring full-time work-from-home models; 44% of South Africans and 39% of Indians said they like the idea. Those in developed countries tend to be less interested, though the US is an exception: 35% of its people said they would gladly work from home on a full-time basis.

Source:https://www.bcg.com/publications/2021/advantages-of-remote-work-flexibility

How to tell if you are a toxic boss (or work for one)

It’s no secret that bosses play a huge role in workplace culture – they can either inspire employees to work better or make them wish they worked elsewhere. Here’s a guide to identifying if you are, or deal with, one of the seven types of toxic leaders.
It’s no secret that bosses play a huge role in how employees perceive their workplace – when bosses are nurturing, respectful and approachable, employees are more motivated and engaged.

On the other hand, when a boss has toxic characteristics, they then negatively impact the culture of the workplace, creating an unwelcoming environment for employees.

According to a recent release by Resume.io, citing a report from the Institute of Labour Economics in Europe, around 13% of employees across the continent work under a toxic boss. Separately, a Gallup study cited found that 75% of employees left their job not because of the job, but because of their bosses.

So which type of boss are you? Do you inspire your employees to want to come to work, or do you make them wish they could work elsewhere?

Or if you’re an employee, which of the above applies to you?

Check out the following flowchart and guide by Resume.io, to find out:

The seven types of toxic leaders, according to Bad Leadership, a book by Barbara Kellerman

The Incompetent Boss: Unable or unwilling to do their job well.
The Rigid Boss: Confuses inflexibility with strength.
The Intemperate Boss Lacks self-knowledge and self-control.
The Callous Boss: Lacks empathy and kindness.
The Corrupt Boss: Steals or cheats to promote their own interests.
The Insular Boss: Cliquish or unreachable.
The Evil Boss: Causes pain to further their sense of power and dominance

Source:https://www.humanresourcesonline.net/how-to-tell-if-you-are-a-toxic-boss-or-work-for-one

The Jollof Rice of Human Resources

The aroma and perfection of Jollof
The Italian Risotto, American Jamabalaya, Indian biryani, Spanish paella, Indonesian Nasi Goreng, Persian polo, Vietnamese Xoi ngu sac, Chinese fried rice, Ghanian and Nigerian Jollof. The list goes on. Seeped in culture, history. Nothing describes the richness and depth of culture other than food from the region.

The art, the tradition, the connection and national pride all captured on a plate going back centuries. Perfected with love and care over time and passed down through generations. Just like stories growing up.

Most dishes above are full meals, a mix of protein and carbs. The complexity and exquisite nature of preparation raise our senses, whets the appetite and gets our hearts racing.

The end result, a delicious, aromatic, fulfilling journey that needs no other accompaniments that overpower the central attraction. Food raises passions and debates on culinary supremacy. Which is better: Nigeria Jollof or Ghana Jollof? Depends if you were associated with Nigeria or Ghana and preferential if you were not. Nonetheless, masterpieces on the culinary spread. Global yet very much local.

Let’s talk Africa
While the Nigerians and the Ghanaians, battle over #Jollof gate and Jollof supremacy, the origins being in fact from the Wolof empire that originated in Senegal, added with the French influences of West Africa and basmati rice from India, we do realize a national dish is in fact global. Borrowing from cultures across the world made African by the very special taste of the continent. Global but made local by people.

Now, what does a rice dish have to do with human resources? How does Jollof rice refer to human resources in Africa?

Firstly, the dish in itself, a combination slow-cooked over a wood fire (mostly) of various ingredients. It’s complex, it’s laborious, it takes time to prepare to perfection and it deals with people’s emotions. A master chef overseeing it brings it to perfection. Similar to HR – the function is complex, laborious, emotional, and requires a master chef to bring about the best in people. But once the stage is set and the right ingredients are available, the end result is something of sheer joy and to celebrate.

“Once the connection, purpose, plan, and execution is established, the organization becomes superlative, no challenge is big enough, every customer must be satisfied, every target exceeded.”
So what really should HR in Ghana, Nigeria, and other countries in Africa learn from the story of Jollof rice? HR as the master chef, bringing about the recipe together. Handling functions as diverse and shown below. Requiring the stage to be set up to succeed. A seat at the table? Yes, human resources do deserve that. Since the responsibility – immense as it is, can add value unseen but difficult to describe and measure hence relegated.

hr functions

The measure of success
The master, however, understands the ingredients, the facts that lead to success, the plan, organization and process around setting up the functional organization to make any business successful. Success? Defined by the CEO and the board, HR the executioner around the objective for the people layer. To connect, to inspire, to engage and to motivate to do more. To get the right people that fit the culture, to ensure diversity while maintaining consistency.

“Similar to preparing Jollof rice – the patience, the understanding of the ingredients, the interrelationships, the order and the quantity. Too much and it’s soggy, too little and it’s undercooked. Same with people organizations.”
So what would be the most important element that HR needs to relate to the preparation of Jollof rice? The rice itself defines the dish. The type, long-grained, the texture, aroma, smoothness, the flavor – the main ingredient. Think of the rice in Jollof, being the standout, hence it is called separately as Jollof Rice, not as Jollof chicken, or Jollof parsley. But rice. A staple.

“For HR, the staple is the platform that HR operates on. The tech to make sense and bring it all together. To bind it. A one-view, one type of rice. Not multiple varieties but consistency. Would you use 7 types of rice in Jollof? Then why would you use 7 systems to manage the HR function?”
HR, always close to the opportunity to be the master chef. Have influence over the most important constituency for any organization, its people. The need, to get the functional setup together, to line up the right process, to move away from just being a checkpoint organization or a process-driven one. To something that is special, easy to use, automated with AI to understand the language of people. To have data that tells a story interpreted in language and emotions, not just as a box with numbers. To read the story to figure out where the problems are, which characters and plots need strengthening.

The reward
The servings, number of times people ask for more, a cultural pointer to a well-made dish. The numbers – the analytics that the platform provides you. Measurable and trending. An HR platform that provides for the numbers that define the effectiveness of the function. The elegance of a single platform, one cooking pot for one dish. Not mashed up together with different levels of consistency.

When cooked together, the flavors intermingle. Similarly for HR, when the functions come together in a single cooking pot, the interpretations mingle and feed off each other. They enhance each other or worsen each other. You don’t make Jollof by cooking the rice separately, but together with all ingredients so as to simmer and bring out the best. Your HR platform too, data are the ingredients, HR is the consumer and rice is the main ingredient, the tech platform that brings it about together.

The gaps
Analytics provides for the gaps that exist in any organization. The scope for improvement, similar to what a master chef does with tastings as the dish comes along. Adjusting the fire, adding a pinch of spice, putting more salt. Similar to what a seasoned HR needs to do in every organization. Know the pulse, measure it, adjust for it. A continuous process.

The platform to choose
The ingredients in Jollof, not that expensive but the combination of various parameters makes it perfect. It’s not caviar and doesn’t cost a bomb, it’s Jollof and it’s mainstream. It’s soul food. And it’s exquisite while being everything that everyone will like.

“peopleHum, like Jollof, not too expensive, it’s exquisite, it’s mainstream, it’s always there and it’s end to end. It is a satisfying meal and it provides for everything that a master chef would need to create an organizational masterpiece.”
Try it today and you will fall in love with it, as you did eating Jollof.

About peopleHum
peopleHum is a one view integrated platform for the complete employee experience and journey from hiring to offboarding.

peoplehum offerings

Enable your employees to communicate, collaborate, and focus on resilience and productivity through a unique approach focused on experience design. All for a value equation for the South African market priced in Rands that is hard to beat.

No wonder a plethora of companies of all sizes and partners, integrators and consultants are flocking to peopleHum to drive the future of cloud-based human capital platforms in markets like Africa.

Reach out to us to hear our story and how we can help your organization align and transform into the organization of the future.

Source :https://www.peoplehum.com/blog/the-jollof-rice-of-human-resources

Are We Ready For The Post-Covid World?

Milder weather in the Northern Hemisphere coincides with acceleration in COVID vaccinations in selected countries, the U.S. notable among them. So many appear to be emerging from their hibernation seeking (somewhat prematurely, according to the CDC) a return to pre-contagion lifestyles.

While it’s too early to let down our guard, it’s not too early to try and envision the post-pandemic environment. In fact, our foresight now will be critical to effectively maneuvering in a somewhat transformed world once we finally get the pandemic behind us. As the renowned technologist, Vivek Wadhwa, noted in one of my recent podcasts: “The pandemic is a dress rehearsal for the future.” So we need to try to re-position those kaleidoscopic pieces of pre-pandemic shattered glass to make some sense of the road ahead.

Senior man holding covid-19 vaccination record card
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As we scan the remainder of the year and beyond, it’s worth observing that there are few fundamentally new factors at work. Instead, we need to account for a shift in the speed of several pre-pandemic drivers shaping the outlook. Many of them, including some that appeared only as faint signals before the virus reared its ugly head, are now on fast forward. So the trick is, paraphrasing the Wayne Gretzky metaphor, to imagine where the puck is likely to be rather than to skate to where it is now.

PROMOTED

Easier said than done. Considered together, these changes—from incremental to systemic—will be apparent in almost everything we do, personally and professionally. How we socialize, learn, shop, eat, travel, work, invest, and even how we vote will be changed in one way or another in the foreseeable future. Ask any retailer if consumer behavior has changed during the pandemic. Ask any builder or realtor if the average home buyer’s preferences have changed. Talk to any travel company or tourism destination manager about how the pandemic has transformed re-connecting them with their customers. Look at how academic institutions are adjusting their learning rubrics. Engage any CEO in a discussion about how the pandemic is shaping their employee work-life expectations. Take a look at the altered state of political dialogue around the purpose and role of government.

In the face of such sweeping change, the biggest mistake we could make is assuming we’ll soon return to some sense of pre-pandemic normalcy. The reality will be a world apart—a new “world out of balance,” the title of a book I wrote from a somewhat different vantage point more than 15 years ago. The current challenge is to sort out those likely lasting impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, to acknowledge the historical discontinuity they represent, and to reach careful conclusions as to how we should respond. To miss these transformations would relegate one to irrelevancy.

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The Mayo Clinic’s President and CEO, Dr. Gianrico Farrugia, shared a fascinating glimpse of the future recently when he and I discussed how COVID-19 has turbocharged exciting new advances in the delivery of health care. From the earliest surge of the coronavirus, Mayo successfully experimented with remotely managing hospital emergency rooms around the country, relieving pressure on systems not set up for the mushroomed caseload. What’s more, the ongoing demands of the pandemic have also advanced Mayo’s strategic relationships with partners like Google/Alphabet. Data-driven medical innovation is expanding geometrically, allowing Mayo to provide advanced virtual care with AI-enabled digital diagnostics and remote service delivery. Mayo has also been a pioneer in bringing the best of medical care into the home, with all the necessary collateral services—food, linens, visiting nursing—as part of a transformational hospital-at-home initiative.

From virtually every vantage point, the pandemic has forced us to learn the potential of these new technologies. There’s no going back to the status quo ante. Does anyone seriously think business travel will expand at the same pace as in the past when we now know we can “connect” to meet many of our engagement needs remotely? Does any employer believe all of his/her employees will choose to return to the physical workplace for the kind of full work week most of us thought was de rigueur? Would any patient prefer to travel to their doctor’s office and wait for a consultation for those occasions when there’s no need for an in-office visit, and one could simply consult with their health care provider via video conference—from the comfort of their own home? Will the same number of customers choose to go to the movie theater when they could instead enjoy limitless entertainment options beamed directly to them wherever (and whenever) they wish to enjoy them? Surely there will be something of a nostalgic hankering to return to the “good old days,” but with some very new post-pandemic, technologically-enabled twists.

If this is the direction of the future, the next important question is whether we are prepared to seize it. Do we have the policies and the physical infrastructure in place to satisfy this new, geometrically expanding demand for digitization in virtually all that we do? The simple answer, regrettably, is an emphatic “no.” We are constricted both by the lack of universal access to new technologies, on the one hand, and potentially ill-conceived restrictive public policies on the other. Microsoft estimates that nearly 50% of Americans use the internet at less than broadband speeds and approximately 42 million people have no broadband access at all. Hence the Biden proposal to invest $100 bn in expanding U.S. internet access combined with other sizable investments into R&D focused on new, competitiveness-enhancing, and quality-of-life-improving technologies.

However, sizable R&D and infrastructure expenditures alone will not fundamentally enhance competitiveness without the appropriate regulatory policies to effectively govern the development of these technologies. These very technologies full of such great promise are also fraught with prospects for abuse and division. This fear of technological abuse might well explain the recent Edelman Trust Barometer finding of the rapid deterioration in public support for tech companies globally, but especially in the United States.

Thus the burden on public and private sector leaders is greater than ever to understand how they can marshal the promise of these technologies and deftly channel it with carefully crafted regulatory policy. In so doing all of society will realize the great potential ever more clear insight as we emerge—at long last—from this devastating pandemic.

Source:https://www.forbes.com/sites/paullaudicina/2021/04/12/are-we-ready-for-the-post-covid-world/?sh=3b0b239b6ac2

Data Drop: D&I Appetite, Mental Health Struggles and the Expanding Gig Economy

Certain issues have taken center stage in the collective consciousness when talking about the workplace, the future of work, and how the current workforce is faring under the current conditions. Naturally, as those things enter the collective consciousness, researchers find themselves asking what exactly holds and what can we learn from it?

As usual, my inbox is full of the latest studies and surveys being conducted by HR vendors, researchers, and employers of all sizes. In today’s data drop, we’re going to take a closer look at how employees view diversity and inclusion efforts, what challenges they’re facing when it comes to mental health, and the impact the gig economy is having.

The D&I Appetite
At this point, there should be little doubt about the importance of D&I or DEI in your organization. It’s been well established the impact it has on the bottom line and employer brands, but if you needed more reassurance, the latest study from Boston Consulting Group should hammer it home.

The study asked questions of more than 200,000 employees across 190 countries and the results shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s been following sentiments around DEI over the last year. Results included the following:

More than half (51%) of U.S. respondents said they would exclude a company from their job search if its values and stance on diversity and inclusion (D&I) didn’t match their own beliefs. This number was even higher among respondents 30 years and younger (56%).
D&I became more important over the last year across all age groups globally. In the U.S., respondents 30 years and younger (72%) were most likely to agree with this statement compared to all U.S. respondents (63%) and all respondents globally (69%).
Diversity and Inclusion: HR’s Guide to a Successful Strategy

More and more emphasis is being put on diversity and inclusion in today’s world, but what does that mean for HR? In this definitive guide, read about the current state of affairs, potential strategies, and the rewards associated with an effective strategy.

It’s a notable sentiment following the release of research by diversity platform Headstart as part of its “Discrimination in American Hiring” report. The findings show that 54% of those seeking a new job in the last two years felt they were frequently discriminated against. That number rose to 66% for Black Americans and 83% for those who identify as gender-diverse. Interestingly, however, 30% of respondents who faced recruitment discrimination would consider reapplying for the same company.

Mental Health Struggles
In June of last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released data that showed that 40% of Americans were struggling with mental health. That number hasn’t decreased as the pandemic has continued and the months that followed included a hectic election and numerous other crises.

A more recent report from The Standard, an Oregon-based insurance company, showed that 55% of workers surveyed said that a mental health issue had affected them more since the pandemic began. MetLife’s annual Employee Benefits Trends Study backs this up, with 54% saying mental health has been their biggest concern during the pandemic.

READ: How Employees and Businesses are Handling the Pandemic

This won’t come as a surprise to HR teams that have been working toward developing mental health support tools for their workforces, but it should also be extended to talent teams as they consider their hiring processes.

Among the unemployed, one in five are or have been treated for depression in the last year. Many suffer from sleep loss and high levels of stress that can impact their ability to search and interview for a new job. Long-term unemployment can lead to serious health issues such as obesity and other conditions related to stress and an inactive lifestyle.

Expanding Gig Economy
Globally the gig economy has seen a boom as layoffs and needs for flexible scheduling have seen more people around the world adopt gig work than ever before. In the U.S., around 40% of Americans are currently working in gig or contract roles.

READ: HR and the Gig Talent Economy

Job boards are now seeing a stark rise in contract job postings, with Resume-Library noting a 58% increase in the demand for handyman roles month over month. While many think of rideshare drivers and freelancer graphic artists when they think of gig work, the top five gig postings on the site now include the following:

Handyman +58.3%
Market Researcher +50%
Packer +20.3%
Social Media +4.5%
Photographer +4.3%
The U.S. is currently the fastest-growing freelance market in the world, experiencing a 78% growth in gig positions over the last year, with the UK following behind at 59% and Brazil at 48%.

Source:https://www.hrexchangenetwork.com/people-analytics/articles/data-drop-di-appetite-mental-health-struggles-and-the-expanding-gig-economy

How to Distribute Rewards for the Distributed Workforce

The forced shift to remote work has many companies pondering their future and whether or not co-located spaces are the right fit for them.

The move to a distributed workforce is a lot to consider in and of itself. It all depends on the type of work the company does, the nature of the employees’ work and what sort of geographic footprint your business can handle. But for businesses in sectors that can accommodate remote work, the interest in growing the remote workforce is on the rise.

With productivity stable and employees showing that their organizations can trust them, many organizations are overcoming pre-pandemic fears that persisted regarding remote work.

“I think pre-pandemic, there were a lot of opportunities for this shift where people were hesitant and there was a fear of how can we possibly be effective from home,” Rebecca Hathaway, Director of Employee Experience at Tango Card said. “This crisis has shown us that many of us can do our jobs effectively from home, maybe not all the time, but often. I think there’s a knee jerk reaction to say we’re not really effective right now, but that can come down to a lot of other factors that are a byproduct of the COVID space. But when we aren’t in this anymore, can you do your job from home and find the outlets to avoid things like isolation elsewhere?”

Her comments came during a session titled “The Future of Work is Distributed: How to Shift Employee Rewards to Fit a Distributed Employee Model” at our recent HR and Future of Work event.

The answer to Hathaway’s question is increasingly turning out to be a yes. More and more companies are broadening their hiring practices beyond geographical boundaries and many are realizing the extent to which technology can free people from being tethered to a location. A study from McKinsey & Company shows that in advanced economies, up to one quarter of the workforce can comfortably work remotely between three and five days week.

Hathaway outlined some of the questions Tango Card has been asking itself, which has resulted in the company deciding it’s not ready for a global workforce, however, they are willing to allow employees to move the state of their choice within the U.S., assuming the company is okay to operate there. In looking at that, the company has also taken the decision to adjust salaries to be in line with the market the employee chooses to move to.

The Distributed Experience
As Tango Card and other companies move to this distributed model, one thing that changes is the employee experience and how the company contributes to it. Where the last decade was spent focusing on the quality of coffee beans in the break room and having entertaining meeting spaces, the distributed workforce will require something different.

In the case of many remote employees, one of the big challenges is making the home work environment feel like a proper office. In allowing people to choose what works for them in terms of location, Tango Card is also allowing employees to work at their offices in Seattle, Boise and Omaha. Employees can choose a hybrid model or they can choose one of the other options full time.

WATCH: How to Distribute Rewards for the Distributed Workforce

This choice first approach then dictates how the company is going to set you up for success. At the start of the pandemic, the company provided a $500 reward link to upgrade their home offices. That was in addition to the laptops, monitors and other hardware the company provides. This has since been extended to new employees so that people can build an environment that they are comfortable working in.

“We’re moving toward a monthly tech stipend as well,” Hathaway said. “Home internet is pretty standard, but we want to make sure everyone is effective in their work and that might mean upgrading bandwidth or speed, increasing cell phone data, etc. We want to help offset costs, but not subsidize the entire technology suite in the person’s home.”

A key point to Hathaway’s approach is that it’s a balancing act. For every perk of remote work life, there’s an in-office perk that offers the employee something to think about, such as commuting costs being covered and popular on site snack and beverage offerings. The goal being that people choose not what they think is best for the company, but what is actually best for them, with nothing having to be permanent. The freedom to blend the work models or switch between them provides people a sense of freedom and flexibility that helps with engagement and handling all of the other things that life throws at them.

“Allowing that space to choose and make a decision that works best for you and for your family is important,” Hathaway said. “At that point you’re having to worry less and you can be more present in your role when you have less things to worry about outside of that space.”

For small to midsize companies, a maneuver like this can be tricky, but Hathaway was keen to frame it as an investment.

“If you can save anything on real estate costs, I’d reallocate a little bit of that, but for us, we looked at it as investment in our employees,” Hathaway said. “The little things like the amount of coffee and snacks you go through goes down when people work remotely, so you shift those funds to help address the question of how can we make our workspaces better to keep our employees more engaged.”

Source:https://www.hrexchangenetwork.com/hr-compensation-benefits/demos/how-to-distribute-rewards-for-the-distributed-workforce

Building A Better Personalized Employee Experience

Employee engagement is much more than a feeling, it’s a business objective. But happy employees also deliver the greatest benefit to your organization–higher quality results, more engaged teammates, and increased tenure. That’s why it’s critical to make employees feel valued early into their tenure and throughout their employment, even though they exist. After all, employee happiness is critical to business success.

A personalized employee experience can help drive employee happiness, but how do you create a personalized employee experience? Yes, it starts with trust, between employer and employee, as well as manager and employee. While the employer helps employees maintain health and financial wellness and provides career growth opportunities, the manager is equally important in building a relationship with that employee to help them understand the value they’re delivering to the organization. But this type of value doesn’t have a clear path, nor can it be built on the fly.

While the employee journey can encompass many stages, our team believes there are six critical stages — joining the company (onboarding), career growth, learning to lead, maintaining a healthy household, succeeding financially, and leaving the company (offboarding).

During each stage, we must ensure Evive’s Employee Value Proposition (EVP) comes to life. Your organization likely has its own EVP, an internal brand experience for employees that encompasses culture, total rewards, and more. The delivery of the EVP is critical for both recruitment and retention efforts.

When designing the employee journey, the EVP must permeate throughout each stage. There are numerous opportunities for organizations to personalize the EVP to increase employee engagement and maximize those important employee moments.

And while this seemingly makes sense, our recently conducted survey reveals that not all HR departments are truly nurturing employees at each stage of their journey. And this is certainly no surprise. Since the global pandemic hit one year ago, HR departments have become the provider of all news. So how can HR teams get the support that they need to help ensure all employees are in turn, supported, as they move through the employee journey?
HR’s Role in Improving the Onboarding Experience
Onboarding is an employee’s first experience at a new company—and it starts as soon as an offer is accepted. Effectively communicating and engaging with new hires quickly gets them up to speed to start contributing. But not all HR teams are communicating effectively with new employees during orientation. For example, we learned:

50% of survey respondents said that HR never checked in on them after their orientation period to make sure things were going well.
Only 45% said their company surveyed their satisfaction with their onboarding or orientation experience.
44% felt their onboarding or orientation lacked personalization.
25% didn’t feel their company offered a structured onboarding or orientation experience.

HR departments must streamline and personalize the onboarding process to align with their EVP. By engaging new hires before their start date, you can introduce them to their new teammates, have them complete dreaded and time-consuming paperwork, provide them with an introduction to in-house software, set them up with orientation materials, etc. The possibilities are endless, but it shows the new hire that you truly care about their success even before they have that corporate email address

Once an employee is on board and engaged, it’s HR’s job to help them develop new skills, foster positive employee-manager relationships, and grow within the organization.
Providing Career Growth Opportunities
After joining the company, it’s natural for employees to think about what comes next in their careers. Your company’s EVP ensures employees feel supported in their professional development and growth. Still, our survey indicates:

55% of employees received a formal review with their manager only once a year or less often.
45% say that their manager has never reached out to relevant professional groups related to their career growth areas identified from their performance reviews.
34% say that their manager has never reached out with relevant courses or videos in their company’s Learning Management System (LMS) related to their career growth areas identified from their performance reviews.
37% are neutral on the idea or disagree that their manager is committed to their career growth.

From one colleague to another – I have to say, we could do better. We must provide novel opportunities for employees to learn and acquire key skills. Managers must take a more active role in their employee’s growth by leveraging development plans, networking opportunities, assigning mentors, etc. Management and HR should actively communicate with employees to better understand their goals and identify relevant opportunities for their growth.

Again, this goes back to the power of happiness. Engaged employees stay longer and make deeper contributions—so helping them grow from the onset only means more success for your organization.
Leading Effective Teams
Employers who provide development opportunities must include leadership training.

HR must nurture future leaders to inspire, persuade and motivate those around them using everything from personalized communications and skills training to team building and performance management.

However, 37% of survey respondents are neutral on the idea or disagree that their company provides the right amount of training to help new managers learn to supervise and develop people effectively.

Providing good leadership development and preparation programs can help support new managers to empower and influence others. Strong leadership also has a compounding effect. When managers engage and train their company’s next generation of leaders, future leaders can help develop other leaders, while also keeping their team engaged.

Professional development is only a small part of what it takes to boost employee satisfaction and support the EVP.
Take an Active Role in Employee Health and Wellness Now
Yes, benefits matter to employees, but it’s equally important to market benefits offerings in a personalized manner.

Many benefits go underutilized because the employee doesn’t understand their benefits, chooses not to deal with the complexity of how benefits work, or do not see the personal value of their options.

Employees, however, who utilize their benefits are not only healthier and perform better, but are more loyal. In fact, hundreds of studies show that benefits utilization helps employers minimize turnover and leads to a stronger bottom line.

So, do you have a personalized communications strategy around benefits that supports the health and wellness of employees and their families? Our study indicates most employees would prefer that. In fact, employees want to receive personalized reminders to help them take timely action on their health. 66% of employees would find it helpful to receive timely reminders from their company when due for health screenings. Another 56% would find health reminders helpful for their spouse or partner.

Creating personalized communications to motivate employees to engage with health benefits reduces healthcare costs for the entire company. It ensures employees have what they need to connect their families with the right health and well-being benefits while not taking a one-size-fits-all approach, keeping them engaged with your EVP.
Driving Financial Success for Your Employees
Many employees, unfortunately, lack financial management knowledge and are also unaware of all the details surrounding their financial wellness benefits.

Utilizing financial wellness benefits helps employees boost short and long-term financial security, provides peace of mind for retirement and drives participation in 401(k)s, HSAs, and FSAs – all critical components of the EVP. Still, if employees aren’t properly educated on how to not only engage with financial benefits but also plan for retirement, they might not adequately fund retirement accounts.

Experts typically recommend saving up to $1 million for retirement. However, 36% of survey respondents expected that their total individual retirement expenses would be less than $300,000. Another 26% expected that their total personal retirement expenses would be less than $100,000. Yikes! Let’s make HR the hero!

Developing a personalized communication plan that educates each employee according to their unique situation helps employees minimize financial stress and their ability to do their job but, here again, increases employee engagement.
A Smooth Offboarding Helps Generate Brand Advocates
Eventually, employees may depart the company for a new venture. But if your EVP aligns with your employee journey, there’s a good chance that the employee will remain a company advocate.

Not many organizations emphasize offboarding like they emphasize the other stages of the employee journey. However, maintaining a positive company image is an integral part of any business, and former employees play a huge role.

Still, only 48% of employees felt they would advocate for their company after leaving. Forty percent said they were unsure, while the remaining respondents said they would not advocate.

A smooth offboarding experience is critical to brand success because there are still opportunities for former employers to interact with your brand, whether it’s an alumni event, referral program, or seasonal projects. Don’t ostracize employees that leave; they may remain friends with current employees and influence their opinions of the company, or offer future referrals and professional relationships. Former employees are still critical to the EVP.

With the evolving, complex needs of today’s changing workforce, employers must deliver the EVP at each stage of the employee journey. As a result, HR departments must establish a communication strategy that takes every employee on their own, personalized employee journey to build trust and alignment, enhance current processes, and improve the employee experience.

Make sure your employee journey is in alignment with other corporate initiatives. Create that highly personalized experience regardless of when or how your employees choose to engage. If done correctly, your employees will find value in its offering immediately and you’ll find more happy, engaged employees. Best of all, there are data-driven, communication technologies to help you do it through each stage of the employee journey.

Source:https://www.hr.com/en/magazines/all_articles/building-a-better-personalized-employee-experience_knad0rw6.html

Are You Overestimating Your Responsible AI Maturity?

A new BCG survey of large organizations found that almost half of those that believe they have a mature implementation of a responsible artificial intelligence (RAI) program is, in reality, lagging behind. Even organizations that reported rolling out AI at scale overestimated their RAI progress: less than half have a fully mature RAI program. This finding is particularly important because an organization cannot achieve true AI at scale without ensuring that it is developing AI systems responsibly.
The Four Stages of RAI Maturity
To assess organizations’ progress in implementing RAI programs—the structures, processes, and tools that help organizations ensure their AI systems work in the service of good while transforming their businesses—we collected and analyzed data from senior executives at more than 1,000 large organizations. (See the sidebar “Our Survey Methodology.”) We then categorized these organizations into four distinct stages of RAI maturity: lagging (14%), developing (34%), advanced (31%), and leading (21%). An organization’s stage reflects its progress in reaching maturity across seven generally accepted dimensions of RAI. These dimensions include fairness and equity, data and privacy governance, and human plus AI. The latter one is to ensure that AI systems are designed to empower people, preserve their authority over AI systems, and safeguard their well-being.

The organizations that are in the leading stage have reached maturity across all the dimensions. These organizations have defined RAI principles as well as achieved enterprise-wide adoption of RAI policies and processes. These organizations are clearly making the most of their relationship with AI.

As organizations progress from lagging to leading, each stage is marked by substantial accomplishments, particularly in the areas of fairness and equity as well as human plus AI. This finding is important because organizations’ RAI programs don’t tend to initially focus on these dimensions, and they are the most difficult to address. Accomplishments in these areas are therefore highly indicative of broader maturation in RAI, and they signal that an organization is ready to transition to the next stage of maturity. Meanwhile, organizations consistently focus first on the area of data and privacy governance. This is a logical result, given that regulations and policies often mandate this focus.

When looking across industries and regions, in turn, we found that an organization’s region is a better predictor of its maturity than its industry: Europe and North America, respectively, have the highest average RAI maturity. In contrast, we found few significant differences in maturity across industries, although a higher concentration of RAI leaders can be found in the technology, media, and telecommunications industry and in industrial goods.

Organizations’ Perceptions Often Do Not Match Reality
The survey reveals that many organizations overestimate their RAI progress. We asked the executives how they would define their organization’s progress on its RAI journey, whether it had made no progress (2% of respondents), had defined RAI principles (11%), had partially implemented RAI (52%), or had fully implemented RAI (35%). We then compared each executive’s response with our assessment of the organization’s maturity. Our evaluation was based on respondents’ answers to 21 questions about their implementation across the seven dimensions.

The results are surprising. We found that about 55% of all organizations—from laggers to leaders—are less advanced than they believe. Importantly, more than half (54%) of those that believe they have fully implemented RAI programs overestimated their progress. This group, in particular, is concerning. Because they believe they have fully implemented RAI programs, they are not likely to make further investments, although gaps clearly remain.

We also found that many organizations with advanced AI capabilities are behind in implementing RAI programs. Of the organizations that reported they have developed and implemented AI at scale, less than half have RAI capabilities on a par with that deployment. Achieving AI at a scale not only requires building robust technical and human-enabling capabilities but also fully implementing an RAI program. For these organizations, falling short of full maturity across all RAI dimensions means that they have still not achieved their perceived level of at-scale AI deployment.

RAI Is Much More Than Risk Mitigation
Although C-suite executives and boards of directors are concerned with the organizational risks posed by a lapse of an AI system, we have argued that businesses should not pursue RAI simply to mitigate risk. Instead, organizations should view RAI as an opportunity to strengthen relationships with stakeholders and realize significant business benefits.

It seems that most organizations agree. When asked to select the primary reason for pursuing RAI, more than 40% chose its potential business benefits—more than twice the percentage that selected risk mitigation. Moreover, we found that as organizations’ RAI maturity grows, so does their motivation to capture business benefits through RAI. Simultaneously, the focus on risk mitigation decreases.

Best Practices for Reaching RAI Maturity
RAI leaders consistently have policies and processes that are fully deployed across their organizations covering all seven RAI dimensions. At these leading organizations, we found several key markers that are indicative of broader RAI maturity.

Both the individuals responsible for AI systems and the business processes that use these systems adhere to their organization’s principles of RAI.
The requirements and documentation of AI systems’ design and development are managed according to industry best practices.
Biases in historical data are systematically tracked, and mitigating actions are proactively deployed in case issues are detected.
Security vulnerabilities in AI systems are evaluated and monitored in a rigorous manner.
The privacy of users and other people is systematically preserved in accordance with data use agreements.
The environmental impact of AI systems is regularly assessed and minimized.
All AI systems are designed to foster collaboration between humans and machines while minimizing the risk of adverse impact.
Organizations that do not follow these practices or do not have them fully deployed are most likely not leading in RAI and should dig more deeply into their RAI efforts. Even for those that do, digging deeper into their efforts to look for further opportunities to improve is important.

Source:https://www.bcg.com/publications/2021/the-four-stages-of-responsible-ai-maturity