5 skills top HR execs say you should highlight to get the job you want in 2018

If you’re looking to change employers or even careers in 2018, it’s important that you start doing your homework now. The best place to start is learning what companies are looking for in potential employees.

Who better to turn to than the top HR execs of some of the leading businesses?

Here’s what talent acquisition managers from companies like Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft say they want to see from job applicants:

Prove that you are innovative
In an interview with job site Glassdoor, Facebook’s vice president of people Lori Goler says that applicants should show that they’re builders and learners.

Goler adds that she wants to hire people who are constantly educating themselves at the office and also contributing to the company’s growth through innovation–both attributes that can be highlighted on a resume.

Applicants should also highlight that they are risk-takers, according to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

On an episode of LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman’s podcast, “Masters of Scale,” Zuckerberg explains that Facebook’s company culture promotes risk-taking and experimentation.

Applicants who are looking to score a job at the social media giant should focus on previous examples where they’ve tested out a new idea or innovative technique.

Show that you’re knowledgeable
With a drastic shortage of tech workers, IBM is now focusing on skills-based hiring rather than credentials to fill these roles, vice president of talent Joanna Daly tells CNBC Make It.

“About 15 percent of the people we hire in the U.S. don’t have four-year degrees,” she says.

To score a job at the tech giant, focus on hands-on experience that you’ve acquired. If you’ve taken any vocational classes that pertain to the industry you’re applying to, highlight those on your resume as well says Daly.

But most importantly, says one of their new hires Sean Davis, continuously hone your craft and show that you’re up to date on new technology.

Focus on the customer
“We start working backwards from the customer,” Amazon’s director of university recruiting Miriam Park tells CNBC Make It,

This customer-driven ideology has been a longtime mantra of Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos.

Park says that you should highlight jobs where you have worked in a customer based role and focus on past work experiences that have dealt with the “customer profession.”

Lastly, she says, highlight examples where you made things better for the customer by going “above and beyond.”

Be passionate about the company
Brendan Browne, the global head of talent for LinkedIn, says that he looks for passion when hiring new employees.

Although certain roles do focus more heavily on tech-based “hard skills,” he also looks for softer skills, like enthusiasm and the ability to think quickly and efficiently.

Browne adds that you should also demonstrate that you’re knowledgeable about the organization you’re applying to and their work.

“Show that you’re familiar with [the company],” the HR chief tells CNBC Make It. “Learn about the culture, mission and values.”

Be a leader who ’embraces the future’
Chuck Edward, Microsoft’s head of global talent acquisition, says that the tech company favors applicants who “embrace the future.”

The HR exec suggests that you highlight your past leadership experience on your resume and how you have “achieved results, progressed and learned” in prior roles.

The HR chief explains that these skills show aptitude, which people from different backgrounds possess. This widens the demographic of people that the company can employ, he says.

“It’s not always tech expertise,” Edward tells CNBC Make It, “[but rather] passion for what tech can do. That opens up a huge palette of people we can hire.”

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2017/12/21/5-skills-top-hr-execs-say-you-should-highlight-to-get-the-job-you-want.html

Rethinking Employee Engagement – In Conversation with David Mallon, VP and Head of Research at Bersin

David Mallon, Vice President and Head of Research at Bersin, talks about one of the biggest business dilemmas in modern times – employee engagement. David addresses key challenges in employee engagement and provides insights on how the C suite can navigate around these roadblocks to create a culture of engagement. David holds an M.S. in Digital Media from the Georgia Institute of Technology and is the pivotal force behind Bersin’s maturity research for the past decade. He brings a brings a unique, integrated perspective to helping organizations solve their most vexing workforce challenges.

Tell us a bit about your background. How did you end up working for Bersin?

My career started in the internet/telecommunications industry, working in and around call centers. I ultimately started down a path that would take me into the world of learning & development, and learning technology. Along the way, I developed a passion and interest for how organizations develop and support the performance of their workforces. And I came to know Josh Bersin and team. Eventually, the opportunity came to jump from taking advantage of Bersin research to doing the research.

For young adults who’re entering the full-time workforce for the first time, how important is it for them to receive regular feedback?

Feedback is essential for everyone – especially new entrants to the workforce. We need feedback to be able to make course corrections, to know where and when to do more or less of something or to do something differently. And we need feedback to help us understand where our basic assumptions on what we were trying to do were more or less correct in the first place. In other words, feedback is essential to learning. And in today’s workplace, learning and work are essentially one and the same . We can’t learn or work without feedback.

Many organizations believe that fun work environments, hefty paychecks and unexpected perks are the keys to driving employee engagement. Is there a cost-effective employee engagement strategy that smaller organizations with limited resources can deploy?

In short, first offer purpose and then offer opportunity. Believe in something as an organization. Have a mission and be authentic to it. Give employees something to be a part of, to own and identify with, and to want to carry forth into the world on their own.

Then – because the organization is smaller – and therefore probably can’t afford to hire a bunch of specialists to do specialist tasks, celebrate that people get to wear multiple hats. Create intentional and mindful opportunities for employees at every level to stretch, to experience, and to be involved in key moments that matter for the organization.

Why do employees fail to buy-in when companies try to ramp up engagement?

First and foremost, it’s because most companies address engagement as a separate (and abnormal) process. It’s a medical procedure that is “done” the organization every once in a while.

Many organizations fail to see that engagement is a measure of the deeper relationship between the employee and the organization. These organization don’t recognize that listening to employees should be a never-ending, always-on, two-way dialogue.

And they should be prepared to actually do something substantive with what their employees tell them. Employees sense immediately when the organization is just going through the motions, or just looking to address symptoms versus root causes.

What do you feel are the biggest challenges for companies executing an engagement strategy?

Lack of clarity as to WHY they are focusing on engagement (symptoms vs root cause), lack of true sponsorship (interest, willingness, capability to actually change based on employee feedback), lack of real understanding as to what to measure (types of questions to ask, when, to what levels, data calibrated to what purposes), and lack of trust (believe that employees actually might know best, believe in common purpose, assumption of best intent, willingness to risk, willingness to share the future with employees).

With technology coming into the picture, how can organizations start using workforce data to create a culture of engagement?

Recognize that the traditional annual survey has its place (assuming proper sponsorship and informed strategy). Then go beyond that traditional notion of engagement to create a never-ending, always-on, two-way dialogue with employees. Collect active feedback and passive sentiment in many ways. Feed that data back to teams and team leaders. Make these new feedback loops just a normal, healthy part of how the organization works every day.

As more organizations adopt the “Virtual Workplace” model, how would you advise CHROs or CEOs on engaging a virtual team?

  1. Over-communicate and overshare.
  2. Co-create explicit communication norms with the team (when to use chat, when to use email, when to cc, what’s a good communication look like, etc.). Share broadly.
  3. Create and given plenty of support and space for “virtual watercooler” moments.
  4. If you are going to be virtual, be virtual. Go all in. Don’t create artificial and arbitrary barriers such as only letting certain roles or processes, or projects happen in certain places. Don’t create classes of employee (those that get to be in the in-person meeting vs those that are on the conference bridge). Allow everyone to work everywhere.
  5. Be willing to get everyone together in person every once in a while, with time for non-business interaction.

Source: https://www.hrtechnologist.com/interviews/employee-engagement/rethinking-employee-engagement-in-conversation-with-david-mallon-vp-and-head-of-research-at-bersin/

Magazine excerpt: Onboarding – whys, dos and don’ts

Onboarding is shifting from an administrative HR function to a strategic initiative, aiming to engage and retain the talent that organisations work so hard to attract.

Today, most organisations are still approaching onboarding from different directions and disconnected processes – fill out forms here, log in there – and the rest is left to the new employee to navigate on their own. This is not ideal.

Having a unified and dedicated onboarding approach not only keeps employees happy, it also delivers measurable impact throughout the business – from improved customer satisfaction to increased employee retention.

In a CIPD survey conducted in 2017, more than 80% of organisations said they struggled to retain staff. At the same time, just 40% of these organisations had undertaken initiatives to improve talent retention.

Businesses need a stronger drive behind employee retention – and onboarding is one of the most effective ways to achieve this.

A forward-thinking onboarding programme should act as an established, tailored career path for each employee, mapping key milestones and occupational expectations.

It costs more than £30,000 [1] to replace every departing employee in terms of lost output (with the average employee taking 28 weeks to achieve optimum productivity). And the costs do not stop there: temporary staff, advertising costs, management time, conducting interviews and HR processes all add to the total.

Onboarding and employee retention

A strong onboarding programme engages employees and allows companies to make a good impression; new starters want to feel supported by their employers from the get-go.

A forward-thinking onboarding programme should act as an established, tailored career path for each employee, mapping key milestones and occupational expectations. Show an employee that you are offering them a career, and not just a job, and you are more likely to retain them.

Organisations with even just a standard onboarding programme have 50% greater new hire retention [2] than those without. Rather than dropping new joiners in at the deep end, onboarding makes employees feel more comfortable in their roles because they know what is expected of them.

Some organisations only use the onboarding process for new joiners, but it should be extended to those who have received a promotion, been returning to work after a period away; this is a process that could be termed ‘re-boarding’. Ultimately, moving to a new team or business unit within an organisation can be just as unfamiliar as joining a company from the outside.

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Continuous onboarding provides constant threads of reflection and growth opportunities for employees, so that they know their job well and how to progress. With this in mind, onboarding should not be simply a box-ticking exercise or brief orientation period. Just because an organisation has an onboarding programme doesn’t mean they have a good one.

Signs of a bad onboarding programme

Radio silence
There can be a period of months between when a new hire accepts the job and when they arrive for their first day at the office. A lack of communication within this time makes for a bad impression. Onboarding should start from the moment an employee accepts their role.

One size fits all

Every employee is an individual. In today’s corporate world where employees are made up of five generations, this is more apparent than ever. Different employees move at different speeds, and benefit from different ways of learning. It is important to remember that each employee needs a tailored onboarding experience.

Too short

If the onboarding programme is less than a month, it does not offer a new employee any long-term support. It takes the average employee eight months to reach full productivity. Guidance and support
throughout this journey is key. Often, HR managers think that the quicker onboarding is done, the quicker the employee can start being productive.

This does not really work if the employee does not have all the necessary information they need to do a good job. Like the race between the tortoise and the hare; when it comes to onboarding, slow and steady wins the race.

Source: https://www.trainingjournal.com/articles/features/magazine-excerpt-onboarding-whys-dos-and-donts

Aon, UnitedHealthcare, other top firms using AI to personalize benefits

Employers are seeking more precision in employee benefit options. This requires brokers to be more in tune with the data and analytics behind every health plan and voluntary benefit offered to clients.

Business owners want to combine the traditional elements of benefit planning, such as staying within budget, with what employees deem to be important.

Unfortunately, companies are often at a universal data disadvantage with their benefit plans, says Bob Gearhart Jr., partner at DCW Group and co-author of Breaking Through the Status Quo. They typically make very expensive insurance decisions with limited data. “Reducing the overall premium by a few percentage points is far less important than making sure those dollars are being spent effectively by your partners,” Gearhart says.

Aon is one brokerage working to change that. Tim Nimmer, global chief actuary, says the firm’s databases, ability to utilize machine learning and artificial intelligence all provide real-time data on benefit trends. Through a combination of data submitted by brokers to Aon and third party surveys where employers explain the thought process behind their benefit offerings, Nimmer says he is able collect data on the offerings advisers are recommending to their clients as well as determine the reasons why an employee is choosing one plan over another.

Beyond revealing how many employees are enrolling in a healthcare plan, Aon’s analytics determine why an employee chooses a high-deductible health plan over a standard PPO, where employees are seeking care and how often they are going to a healthcare provider.

“Many of our clients are trying to be more sophisticated and intelligent when they make their benefit offerings,” Nimmer says. “Are they throwing bad money into a good pot by giving [employees] something that they don’t appreciate as much, or can the employer take those same dollars, find benefits that employees appreciate more and have a bigger impact on their staff?”

Carrier role
DCW Group’s Gearhart says an employer should always demand more data. If a carrier partner is unwilling to disclose the level of information that the employer deems acceptable, it’s time to find a new partner. “Insurance carriers, brokers and wellness providers must earn their revenue by reducing the business owner’s expense and not simply going through the motions,” Gearhart says.

One platform that is utilizing data to interpret employee reasoning behind plan enrollment is UnitedHealthcare’s Health Plan Manager. Craig Hankins, vice president of digital products, says the program combines all of the information on a particular employer’s employee population to determine the demographics within the company and how their staff is organized based on health plan enrollment. “[It] also combines claims analytics into its data consumption,” Hankins says. “We can look at medical claims, behavioral claims and even pharmacy claims as well.”

Hankins adds that the platform can also identify clinical information from employees, such as health risk assessments, and where employees are most commonly seeking treatment, either from a hospital or a private physician.

“Employers are looking at their health plans from the lens of what is driving health cost and what can they do to bring costs down,” Hankins says. “If there are opportunities to improve tactics and address emerging issues, that can lead to informed conversations between our account teams, the clients and involved brokers to discuss what is seen in the data.”

Once Health Plan Manager identifies the variables effecting healthcare spend, Hankins says the program can then drill down to the overall clinical trend drivers to determine if healthcare patterns within the company expand out into multiple locations or if the trend can be narrowed down to a single location or a group of employees.

“Even if it is a matter of doing an email campaign to a set of employees because there is a trend of employees going to freestanding ERs, for example,” he says. “We can identify these opportunities and rapidly act on them to see if it can impact cost.”

Consumers also bought…
Derek Rine, vice president and benefits practice leader at David Rine Insurance, estimates that 95% of employees at an average company approach their healthcare differently from the informed way they price shop for cars or groceries.

“They need some guidance and education on how to become smarter consumers of healthcare in areas that are well within their control,” he says.

Aon’s ability to gather data on the individual level is similar to the way Amazon identifies shopping patterns. Nimmer says when an employee enrolls in a particular plan the demographic of that employee is stored and their benefit choices are then submitted as options to other employees with similar demographics.

“It is a form of profiling based on certain data elements we already know about an individual, such as basic information from human resources,” Nimmer says. “When you start to combine these data sets together I wouldn’t be able to identify an exact individual, because that would violate privacy laws, but when an employee inputs self-identifiers, that AI or machine learning will store that information.”

Source: https://www.employeebenefitadviser.com/news/aon-unitedhealthcare-other-top-firms-using-ai-to-personalize-benefits?feed=00000152-175d-d933-a573-ff5f456f0000

‘Significant percentage of employees world over disengaged’

According to the study, which covered 17 countries and 12,480 participants, Indian workers ranked well above global averages on all engagement metrics, scoring higher than all other countries.

Moreover, Indian workers have also rated every workplace satisfaction metric significantly above global averages.

Global workplace solution provider Steelcase partnered with research firm IPSOS for the study to measure relevant dimensions of employee engagement and workplace satisfaction.

This study found that while more than one-third of workers are disengaged, another third are somewhere in the middle, not working against their companies, but not driving better business results either.

“When workers become disengaged, it costs companies money, slows projects, drains resources and undermines company goals, as well as the efforts of their engaged counterparts. This is why employee is one of the key issues facing leading global organisations today,” the study said.

The study noted that the most highly engaged employees tend to hail from emerging economies and the least engaged come from countries in well-established markets.

Analysis of the data identified a pattern that the country where employees live, its culture and the resulting expectations have an impact on how highly engaged and satisfied they are with their workplace.

As for India, the study noted that 70 per cent of the country’s employees occupy either a private or shared private office at work and this is an important metric for employee engagement.

“Culturally, having a workspace of one’s own, even if it is compact and modest, is a signal of belonging and importance, which may explain the overall high degree of workplace satisfaction,” it added. DRR ARD

Source: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/significant-percentage-of-employees-world-over-disengaged/articleshow/62190057.cms

15 Things Leaders Should Be More Cognizant Of In The Workplace This Year

Now that 2018 is here, leaders need to become more aware of the workplace environment they are creating for their employees. More emphasis is being placed on providing a workplace that is safe for employees and free of discrimination and harassment.

According to a report by U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission, there were 12,860 sex-based harassment charges alleged in 2016 and this number has continually grown since 2014. With the recent focus on exposing sexual harassment in the workplace, 2018 is a year that all can agree should emphasize reducing this type of behavior.

In order to ensure your workplace doesn’t come under fire for these or other claims, 15 members of Forbes Coaches Council share the one thing all leaders should be cognizant of in 2018 when it comes to the workplace and why. Here is what they had to say:

1. Boundaries Are Key

The landscape is changing and so is the conversation. More than ever, it’s important to be clear on what’s appropriate in the workplace and work environment. Right now, sexual harassment is a key topic, but it’s also a starting point. As conversations continue, it’s important to listen, take appropriate action, establish policies and consistently adhere to them. – Gina Gomez, Gina Gomez, Business & Life Coach

2. AI And EI Need To Be Developed Simultaneously

Artificial Intelligence systems will enhance the way we work and will be a major way forward for large organizations to be more productive. Crucially, we need to be cognizant of our need to be balanced during advancement, by helping employees and leaders become more emotionally intelligent in equal measures to create optimum results for organizations, society and humankind. – Caroline Stokes, FORWARD Human Capital Solutions

3. Multiple Generations In The Workforce

Multiple generations (baby boomers, Generation Xers, millennials) require different leadership approaches. In 2018, leaders must be cognizant of not only the differences inherent within each generation, but also of the leadership needs of each generation. A one-size-fits-all approach will only serve to frustrate those in the workplace, preventing organizations from experiencing real growth. – Dr. Stephen Kalaluhi, The StephenK Group

Forbes Coaches Council is an invitation-only community for leading business and career coaches. Do I qualify?
4. Diversity Is Nothing Without Inclusion

Over the past decade, there has been a steady push towards creating a more diverse workplace; however, many companies still struggle with inclusion. Thriving workplaces understand diversity and inclusion must go hand-in-hand. It isn’t enough to simply hire more women and minorities if these marginalized groups still don’t have an actual seat at the table and a voice in how things are done. – Niquenya Collins, Building Bridges Consulting

5. Equality On All Sides

In case you missed the memo, the boys club is dead. Whether you’re a male or female leader, it’s time to embrace equality on all sides. Men aren’t more qualified, and women shouldn’t be put on a pedestal for being female. We’re all capable of performing at a high level, and as a leader, it’s time to hold everyone accountable and on equal footing. There’s no room for special seats at the table. – Jeanna McGinnis, ReResumeMe®

6. Successful Workplaces Adopt A Coaching Culture

Many organizations are making the shift to developing a coaching culture. A coaching culture promotes employee engagement, ignites top performance, brews effective communication and cross-team collaboration, and delivers better customer service. Learn coaching skills, this can have a large impact. Watch this trend and adopt coaching as a leadership competency. – Debora McLaughlin, The Renegade Leader Coaching & Consulting Group

7. Personality Trumps Skill Set

The workplace is an ecosystem of personalities and responsibilities. The more character-neutral employees, the higher chance of productivity among your team. Hiring for skill will continue to lead to high turnover and dissatisfaction among employees. You can always train for skill but you can’t alter someone’s personality to make them a team player. – Jeff Shuford, Tech From Vets

8. Employees Want To Be Part Of Something Great

Employees are inundated with examples of things organizations are not doing well. These examples provide them with a barometer to compare their experiences at work. While that is natural, another path is turning the focus in an authentic way to the difference the company is making to their customers or in the world. Being a part of something great should be the new barometer. – Lesha Reese, Lesha Reese, LLC

9. Space For Culture Is A Must

With all of the headlines, the workplace has become the backdrop for discussing how we treat each other. Despite virtual teams, many of us still have to show up and share space with people. Make time for conversation to help your team develop the skills to communicate through 2018 headlines and beyond. Consider scheduling regular retreats to build momentum! Be proactive, it’s your culture! – Meredith Moore Crosby, Leverette Weekes

10. Change And Disruption Will Accelerate

As we continue in the early stages of the Fourth Industrial Revolution there will be wider adoption of new technologies in your business and by competitors. Exponential technologies will enable competitors to seemingly come out of nowhere. Be ready. Be aware. Be nimble. – Larry Boyer, Success Rockets LLC

11. Embrace Changes So You Can Prevail

Leaders should be cognizant of the fact that the rapid pace of multiple, simultaneous changes makes business uncertain and business leadership hard. Technology, diversity and globalization are just a few changes happening at once. Business leaders cannot control the pace of changes; however, they can understand them. When leaders embrace the changes, they can position their companies to prevail. – Kelly Byrnes, Voyage Consulting Group

12. Leading In 2018 Is All About Acceptance

In order to lead their team in an ever-changing climate, leaders need to openly embrace new practices and ideas, as well as create an open door of communication. When teams feel supported, they have the confidence to move beyond the tried and true methods, and get creative without feeling judged. – Dominique Anders, Dominant Media/Dominique Anders Coaching

13. Employee Disengagement Is The Dog That Will Bite You

Disengaged employees are an enormous hidden cost. There are costs associated with lost productivity, poor quality or poor service. But the biggest costs come from a disengaged workforce in three areas: missed opportunities, unsafe work practices and cyber carelessness. Without full employee engagement, a leader runs the risk of losing their job or losing the company. – Randy Goruk, The Randall Wade Group, LLC

14. Better Messaging Is Critical

Communication skills are critical. We often overlook them, both in terms of time and effort, by not spending enough time thinking about our message and the best way to deliver the impact we want. We often break trust without realizing it by using poor language. Then consider, do we listen to understand, to connect rather than defend? Better dialog begets better decisions begets better outcomes. – Jennifer Long, Management Possible®

15. Neuroleadership’s Transformative Approach To Performance

Neuroleadership is an organizational and leadership development tool based in science that enables leaders to improve performance, manage diversity and create a learning culture — which are all essential to business success. The people side of the workplace has long been seen as “soft,” but now that there is hard data on how collaboration and relatedness influence success, it will be key in 2018. – Loren Margolis, Training & Leadership Success LLC

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2018/01/17/15-things-leaders-should-be-more-cognizant-of-in-the-workplace-this-year/#b0b22a519d40

Leadership Development: It Isn’t All About You

Daniel Goleman, author of the bestseller “Emotional Intelligence,” is a regular contributor to Korn Ferry. His latest book, “Altered Traits: Science Reveals How Meditation Changes Your Mind, Brain, and Body,” is available now.

You know that feeling of not getting your money’s worth, when you paid for something and it just didn’t meet expectations? This happens in corporate development, too. Many executives believe in the benefits of leadership training in theory, but according to a Korn Ferry survey of more than 7,500 executives, more than half rate the Return on Investment (ROI) of their leadership development efforts as “fair to very poor.”

Why? In most cases, the leaders themselves are intelligent and competent. They are strategic and knowledgeable about what needs to be done. But often the missing piece comes down to emotional and social intelligence—the human capacity to connect with others and guide them towards a shared vision. Here’s an example.

I worked with Dimitri, an executive who was trying to establish some lean methods with his team, aiming to eliminate wasteful processes and cut down costs. But after several months of training, efficiency had actually gotten worse. He was frustrated, confused, and disappointed. The problem was that he hadn’t first cultivated the shared attitudes that would make everyone receptive to lean processes—or to any change at all. His direct reports felt these were superfluous trainings. He had never offered a vision for what he hoped to accomplish, and more importantly, why his team should see value in it. He also didn’t bother to offer team members an opportunity to voice their opinions from their unique perspectives on where waste could be eliminated.

Another reason leadership development programs can be underwhelming: lack of acknowledging their importance in the culture of an organization, or a lack of investment in shifting that culture in a way that better meets company objectives beyond the bottom line.

Because leadership training comes in a broad variety of philosophies and methodologies, failing to align a leadership development strategy across all levels of a company creates a sub-optimal environment.

A business isn’t just a collection of people who happen to work on discreet tasks in the same office. A business is a team of people working together towards shared goals, often depending on one another’s success. Inspirational leadership is vital in providing a clear vision, but that doesn’t emerge in a vacuum. It takes a positive and collaborative environment to nurture success from the top down and the bottom up. That entails open communication, trust, patience, testing different approaches, and occasionally a little bit of risk—such as giving junior talent opportunities to implement their good ideas.

Bottom line: Manage expectations to initiate a culture change. Leadership development, it turns out, isn’t just about a given leader at all. To see a positive ROI on leadership training, leaders must prepare their teams for change too.

Source: https://www.kornferry.com/institute/leadership-development-emotional-intelligence

Don’t Let This Year’s ‘Leadership Trend’ Hurt Your Overall Professional Growth

At the start of each new year, experts or popular publications typically announce that infamous list (that we see every year) of which popular leadership trends are “out” and which new leadership trends are officially “in.”

I, for one, dislike those lists. They send the wrong message.

Those lists imply that the powerful insights and key concepts you spent time investing in last year were, ultimately, a waste of your time, never really impactful and, worst of all, that they should be discarded in favor of the latest, greatest shiny new idea.

This is a huge mistake.

While I understand that leadership concepts evolve with the times (thanks to well-vetted research that helps us evaluate what really works at a more accurate and sophisticated level), the truth, nonetheless, remains that the valid techniques and approaches we embraced over recent years were never meant to be “trends” (no matter how much people were buzzing about them in the moment). They are and were always meant to be tools — something to add to your comprehensive leadership toolbox to pull from as needed, among other effective tools, to best address each unique situation and leadership challenge you face.

You wouldn’t throw out your screwdriver just because you bought a new hammer. You need both to build something effectively. You also wouldn’t toss out your favorite putter because you acquired a new nine iron. You need both to successfully navigate a challenging golf course.

Likewise, don’t abandon the leadership ideas, concepts and strategies you’ve learned (and are still slowly-but-surely mastering) simply because a new idea is trending online and at this year’s conference circuit. Also, don’t clasp onto any single new idea thinking it alone will solve every one of your leadership challenges.

My point: No one leadership tool is the holy grail, one-size-fits-all solution.

For example, “leaders as coaches” was a popular concept last year. Hundreds of articles were published on the topic, teams were trained on the concept, books were written and read, and it was absolutely an idea worth everyone’s time and consideration. (Personally, I’m a big advocate of leaders strengthening their coaching skills.) That said, “coaching” is not the only thing your team needs from you, nor will it resolve every situation or challenge.

Last year, I worked with a smart, dedicated leader who had a problem employee on his team. The leader wanted to leverage coaching techniques to hopefully address this employee’s performance issues. But, as we dug in a bit deeper, the truth was, the employee’s issues were actually a frustrating but entirely fair response to larger problems within the team’s dynamic. The employee was being unfairly used as a scapegoat in that situation.

That one employee didn’t need coaching. The real issue was that communication about expectations and priorities from the leader on down was not clear. Constant confusion was causing unnecessary conflict among the team members. This particular employee was just being a bit more vocal and “annoying” about the problem. The leader I worked with realized he needed to use another tool first to address the situation (e.g., self-awareness and inquiry) to understand how he, as the leader, had a hand in the creating the problem. Then, he had to pull out a few other leadership tools to clean up communication, ease tensions, restore trust and get the team back on track again.

Coaching definitely had a place in the solution further down the list, but to truly resolve the real issue, the leader needed to pull from a diverse and well-stocked toolbox of skills and strategies to address the situation comprehensively.

So, regarding the leadership “trends” that may get put on the out list this year, let me reassure you:

• “Leaders as coaches” is still relevant.

• The importance of stress management and mindfulness is still relevant.

• Learning how to lead in complex environments is still relevant.

• Servant leadership is absolutely still relevant.

Keep practicing those leadership skills. Keep cultivating them to the best of your ability. Keep them (and the rest of your leadership tools) in tip-top shape.

And this year, sure, let’s see what new well-researched wisdom the experts reveal. If there is a new concept or approach that comes out, lean into it. Read up on it. Practice it a bit. See where it does (and does not) serve your specific goals as an ethical and effective people leader. By all means, add it to your toolbox.

But, be sure to also keep all of those other powerful and effective tools you learned last year (and across all the years of your career) close at hand.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2018/01/25/dont-let-this-years-leadership-trend-hurt-your-overall-professional-growth/#132815675023

The surprise key to employee retention

As retention strategies become more important in financial services, financial institutions need to be aware of an underreported factor influencing their movement – technology.

Ron Meyer is a senior business advisor for Linedata’s lending and leasing division. He said many people want to work in “pure technology jobs” for companies like Microsoft and Google and with emerging technologies like blockchain. The commonality in these situations is the technology employed is current, avoids redundancies and promotes collaboration. It allows people to do a better job faster.

And word gets around. The companies using the latest technology become desired employers while those a few iterations behind struggle to attract and retain top talent. Employees at the laggards know they are using inferior technology and if their feedback is not listened to they become demoralized. Lacking the feeling of being a part of moving the company forward, they seek other jobs.

“They don’t feel they’re working on a value added activity within the organization,” Mr. Meyer said.

Yet there are fewer of the jobs such people desire, he added. Many of the positions being created are service oriented and less technologically sophisticated. Companies see this and have adjusted their personnel approaches as a result, Mr. Meyer said. America’s biggest banks are seeing fewer applicants for more jobs, so they are looking at more ways to retain the employees they have.

Some are adding performance bonuses designed to reward employees based on how well they complete tasks related to main business objectives. Others are beefing up their benefits packages and offering vacation packages to long-term employees. Some banks offer bubble loans to employees that they may otherwise not receive and accept repayment via payroll deduction.

Many graduates also discover much of what they took in school may only have a peripheral relationship to what they end up doing on the job, Mr. Meyer said. An accounting degree is fine for the back office but people with finance degrees working in lending and leasing find what they learned in school doesn’t nicely apply to the job at hand.

“The majority of applicants in the financial services industry begin in end user roles,” Mr. Meyer explained. “They need the degree to get a foot in the door.”

It’s easier for companies to begin with a model of a successful employee and train new recruits to fit into that mold. Retention strategies are also based on that mold.

And a key factor in any retention strategy should be the use of cutting edge technology, Mr. Meyer reiterated.

“The main thing I am trying to convey is technology is a primary reason why people leave an organization and find new jobs. It is an underestimated component of employee satisfaction.”

Source: https://www.banklesstimes.com/2018/01/04/surprise-key-employee-retention/

When technology makes us more human


The perennial issue of employee engagement is set to become a larger issue for many organisations in the coming years. As employee expectations change and location-independent working and the gig economy become more prevalent workforce models, engaging people with organisational values and processes will become a bigger challenge than ever.

However, the technologies driving these changing expectations are by nature communications technologies, and they are already being used to improve how employees view their relationship with the organisation. The use of HR technology pioneered by automotive manufacturers provides lessons for all of us in using technology to make our organisations more human. These models, developed for situations where relationships with frontline staff are developed almost exclusively through technology, show how we can create a new future of work with technology enabling more human relationships.

Rather than isolating employees, mobile technology allows organisations to connect in increasingly meaningful ways with their remote employees. Combining mobile learning with other technologies including company app stores and big data is helping employees feel closer to the organisation and increasing engagement. One company saw a 60 increase in learner engagement simply by using a new Learning Management System (LMS), showing the positive impact technology can have on an organisation’s people and culture.

Mobile learning technology is being used in a range of new ways, including video onboarding that fosters an emotive response to being welcomed by a senior leader or member of the board, significantly increasing engagement and needing a simple time investment of one video recording. Connections with leadership can also be fostered through mobile communications; rather than all-staff emails, mobile communications tools allow for documents and messages to be sent only to the relevant locations or job roles. This again helps employees receive personalised messaging so that they feel they matter as an individual to the organisation.

Advances in learning technology may also keep your people connected to your organisation. For many of us, when we need quick information at work, the immediate response is to turn to our favourite search engine. But what if, instead, your people’s first response was to search your LMS for the information, and be presented not only with how to carry out the task, but also guidance on internal policies? For example, rather than a generic website advising how to set up an email signature, people could be presented with how to set up a signature and the specific template they should use.

Current technology already allows organisations to target learning to people in certain job roles, departments or locations, but artificial intelligence could make it even easier to get the right information in front of people whenever they need it, without a search as we think of it today. This has the double advantage of again increasing engagement with your organisation, as employees turn to you as a source of guidance, and of freeing people from mundane questions like ‘where do I find the holiday policy?’ to focus on interactions that can really add value to both the organisation and the employee.

As well as humanising relationships within organisations, learning technology is being harnessed to improve customer engagement. A big concern for automotive retailers, and retailers in general, is how customer buying patterns are moving increasingly online. Retailers are therefore focusing their efforts on providing a unique service and their unique assets – their people.

Some exciting trends are already emerging from mobile learning technology, particularly combining point-of-need training on a mobile device with video content and detailed product specifications, so that salespeople can offer a customer experience based on service rather than knowledge regurgitation, powered by their HR technology.

Point-of-need training can also be used to improve internal engagement. It improves the flow of information around the organisation, and keeps information readily accessible. This allows meetings to move away from simple information sharing sessions and creates a meeting culture of collaboration and decision-making.

Technology is going to further impact organisational communications in the next few years. Machine learning may contribute to a shift in how big data is distributed and key points highlighted for individuals as it becomes increasingly easy to analyse. Organisations can already use communications apps to distribute data to the most relevant people, but with the growth of AI, data could be analysed automatically and systems could advise on the most relevant products and deals for a customer, or answer transactional HR questions. This will allow people to do what they do best; build the human relationships that add value to the organisation.

Source: https://www.thehrdirector.com/features/tech/technology-makes-us-human/