Want more diversity in the workplace? Do these 5 things

Kellie Teal-Guess, Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer at CyrusOne, shares how you can promote diversity from the perspective of a Fortune Best Workplace for Diversity Recipient.
Encouraging diversity in the workplace isn’t just the right thing to do – it’s also good business. According to McKinsey’s 2017 Delivering Through Diversity report, companies that have employees with diverse skillsets and backgrounds proved to have more engaged workforces and reaped financial returns above the national median for their industry.

At CyrusOne, we put diversity front and center when developing our culture. While there is always room for improvement, our efforts were recently recognised by Fortune’s Best Workplace for Diversity list. Here are a few best practices we’ve implemented that could help other companies when making the important effort to break down barriers and change their workplace culture for the better.

#1 Hire the best people
I’ve found that for many companies, diversity means filling a quota for the number of women and minorities in the workforce. At CyrusOne, we don’t think of diversity as just being inclusive of differences in ethnicity, gender or age. What is more important to us is diversity of thought. Bringing in employees with different backgrounds and unique skillsets allows us to be increasingly innovative and more progressive in our approach to business challenges.

While we don’t have diversity-focused hiring quotas, we strive to hire the best and brightest people for our organisation by casting a wide net during the hiring process. This allows us to review candidates from diverse backgrounds who will shape our organisation.

#2 Lead from the top
Diversity starts with our leadership team at CyrusOne. The C-suite sets the example by embracing differences and driving collaboration. The team does this by proactively engaging with employees on topics of diversity, attending internal events and regularly communicating to teams the importance of diversity within the company culture.

#3 Create opportunities
While hiring diverse employees is essential, it is also important to create opportunities for employees to rise through the ranks. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen. According to a recent Pew Research Center study, 62% of African Americans, 44% of Asians and 42% of Hispanics working STEM jobs felt they were treated unfairly when considered for promotions and 50% of women reported being discriminated against due to gender.

At CyrusOne, we acknowledge that diverse individuals are statistically less likely to be considered for leadership and advancement opportunities and work to combat this by promoting internally first, training and developing our team while creating clear, measurable objectives for roles and encourage anyone qualified to apply.

#4 Celebrate individuals
Celebrating diversity in the workplace is one of our most important accomplishments at CyrusOne. We schedule regular activities to help people get to know each other and encourage open communication. We are headquartered in Dallas, and we host lunch and learns where employees share personal stories and celebrate important holidays like Cinco De Mayo, that reflect Dallas’ strong ties to the Hispanic community. Our employees know we are invested in them personally and that they are not just a warm body.

#5 Listen to, respect and engage employees
We measure the success of diversity at CyrusOne through a variety of avenues, including reviewing the engagement of employees who participate in diversity initiatives and analysing the make-up of our overall workforce. We also measure success by listening to our employees and engaging them on critical strategic initiatives. We are intentional about regularly sitting down with each employee to get feedback on how we can improve as an organisation. Listening to our employees helps drive continuous improvement of our company and our diversity efforts.

Diversity in the workplace takes continuous attention, effort and commitment. Embracing diversity not only improves business outcomes, but also leads to a more engaged and open workplace where everyone learns from others’ ideas and stories. For CyrusOne, we believe that everyone we hire has a role to play at our company. Everyone is important to our success. Our diversity makes us who we are as a company and we’re proud that it’s our way of life, not an initiative.

Source: https://www.humanresourcesonline.net/want-more-diversity-in-the-workplace-do-these-5-things/

Incentives: Whom, When And How Much To Award?

Motivators play a major role in your life and urge you to perform better and better. One of the major motivators in anybody’s working experiences is incentives. Incentives are contingent motivators which pushes you to do perform in a superior manner by rewarding you for the job done by you.

Incentives can be any form. It can be given in monetary terms or the form of some vacation package or the form of discount coupons. To put it across in simple terms, these are the things for which the employee will work hard to pocket those extra benefits for his satisfaction.

Whom do you give an Incentive?

This can be a tricky one. There can be biased decisions which can overshadow the program, but moreover, the employer should have a well-placed structure in place to recognise the people who have worked hard to achieve the targets of the company. Develop a proper plan and get all your employees to participate in this. In this manner, you will also get the company’s goals achieved as well as urge them to work even harder for worthy recognition.

When do you give an Incentive?

Your programme should be well-structured to suit the employee working for you. Announce the prices when the company is at a low to motivate them to work harder or when your company is at a high to motivate them to take your organisation to newer heights.

How should you give an Incentive?

Incentives can be given in many ways and are just not related to specific monetary terms. Give the respective employee from some options. You can give a wide range of choices such as outdoor, lifestyle, experiential items, charitable options, etc. Let them choose what they want which shall keep them satisfied.

No matter how much the company is running into losses or gaining profit, it should never let go of the incentive programmes otherwise the employees won’t get another reason to work for.

Source: http://bwpeople.businessworld.in/article/Incentives-Whom-When-And-How-Much-To-Award-/11-02-2019-167061/

Research: When Gender Diversity Makes Firms More Productive

The business world has long debated the effect of gender diversity on business outcomes. Does diversity make a company more productive?

Many say yes. Some researchers argue that gender diversity leads to more innovative thinking and signals to investors that a company is competently run.

Others say no. Conflicting research indicates that gender diversity can sometimes harm firm performance.

But most research has looked at this question within a single country or industry. As a result, their findings are likely limited to that country or industry. This got us thinking: Could the conflicting research be due to differences in context? Region and industry might affect people’s opinions of gender diversity, and this might then affect whether or not diversity leads to stronger outcomes.

In research one of us (Professor Zhang) conducted, this is exactly what was found. In a study of 1,069 leading firms across 35 countries and 24 industries, we found that gender diversity relates to more productive companies, as measured by market value and revenue, only in contexts where gender diversity is viewed as “normatively” accepted. By normative acceptance, we mean a widespread cultural belief that gender diversity is important.

In other words, beliefs about gender diversity create a self-fulfilling cycle. Countries and industries that view gender diversity as important capture benefits from it. Those that don’t, don’t.

For example, we found that the percentage of women in telecommunication companies in Western Europe, historically a relatively gender-inclusive context, was significantly tied to a company’s market value. Specifically, a 10% increase in Blau’s gender diversity index (see more in our sidebar) related to a roughly 7% increase in market value. However, in the energy sector in the Middle East, which has historically not been gender-inclusive, firms’ gender diversity was unrelated to company performance.

Interestingly, we saw the positive effects of diversity in societies with normative acceptance of working women, but not in societies with only regulatory support. Though regulatory support of working women is correlated with normative acceptance, they are not the same. Some countries have strong cultural support, but few legal structures in place. Others have established legal structures, but cultures that are strongly male-dominant.

Take Japan, for instance. It has some of the most generous parental and homecare leave policies globally, but also suffers from stiffly-patriarchal work cultures. So, we found countries like Japan do not much benefit as much from gender diversity when compared with firms in places like Western Europe that have more cultural acceptance.

Our international comparisons revealed the striking importance of a country’s diversity norms, such as gender role attitudes. The data suggests that for diversity to work, workers have to buy into the value of diversity, not just hear some rules about it. Diversity creates positive benefits when people believe in its intrinsic value. They can’t just see gender inclusion as an obligation.

We believe there are three main reasons why opinions about the value of diversity matter so much to the actual value it brings. And these may provide lessons for managers who wish to capture the benefits of gender diversity.

A diverse workforce signals an attractive work environment for talent.
In numerous studies, research has shown that employees in pro-diversity regions, like the U.S. and Western Europe, prefer diverse work environments. In a survey of 1,000 respondents, the job site Glassdoor found that 67% of job seekers overall look at workforce diversity when evaluating an offer. Top female candidates, in particular, care about gender diverse work environments. A recent survey found that 61% of women look at the gender diversity of the employer’s leadership team when deciding where to work. The takeaway is the most talented individuals go to places that do better with diversity, and this may be what is driving diverse firms in certain contexts to outperform their peers.

Critics may argue that causality might go the other way: it’s possible that high-performing firms simply attracted a wider range of talent. However, we performed a number of checks that helped rule out reverse causality.

In one of these checks, we tracked performance changes after an organization added more women to its workforce. By tracking patterns of hiring and performance across time for the companies we measured, we were better able to disentangle cause and effect between these two variables. Because performance followed hiring, not the other way around, we supported our results that diversity led to better financial returns.

In short, we didn’t find evidence that firm performance led to diversity. Rather, we found that diversity was a driver for these companies’ success.

When you value diversity, you encourage diverse idea exchange.
Significant research has shown that diverse teams can develop more innovative ideas. When people from different contexts work together, their unique perspectives often lead to greater creativity.

Research by Hewlett, Marshall, and Sherbin, for example, showed that leaders with diverse backgrounds and experience helped companies innovate more. Diverse leaders were more likely to create an environment where new, creative ideas were considered. And diverse teams, they found, were more likely to have some common experiences with their end user. With this advantage, teams created better products.

But diversity doesn’t work without psychological safety. People only contributed unique ideas to the group when they felt comfortable enough to speak up and present a contrarian view. Experimental studies further support this, showing that psychological safety is key to idea generation.

These conclusions are in line with our findings. When countries and industries don’t value women equally, women working in those countries likely don’t feel psychologically safe speaking up in their organizations. Even though these women may have innovative ideas, they might hesitate to bring them to the table. And when that happens, everyone loses.

A diverse workforce signals competent management for investors.
Gender diversity can also signal to investors that a firm is well-run. Sociological research on market valuation suggests that investors value when firms use commonly-accepted “best practices,” such as the inclusion of diverse groups in hiring, and they penalize those that break these norms.

If an investor was in a context that accepted gender diversity, they were more likely to value those diverse companies highly. In fact, prior research has even shown a jump in stock prices after firms win an award related to diversity initiatives.

Our finding extends past research that analyzed the differences between investors who rewarded firms that hired female board members from those that did not. Those that did value female board members were often part of pension funds, an industry that tends to strongly value gender and other forms of diversity. Those that did not were often part of older, less culturally liberal industries.

In sum, the link between diversity and company performance isn’t as black and white as we once thought. Like many aspects of business, the effect of diversity is context dependent, especially on country and industry norms around gender diversity and inclusion.

However, for almost all companies, we believe the investment in gender diversity is a good one. By most measures, the global business community is becoming more supportive of women and of women’s importance in economy. This leads to a positive feedback loop – firms that support gender diversity will capture these benefits earlier, leading them to outlast their competitors.

Source: https://hbr.org/2019/02/research-when-gender-diversity-makes-firms-more-productive

Strengthening Tech Teams: Six Things To Keep In Mind When Hiring

Having a team with a wide set of perspectives and experiences can greatly improve your team’s chances for long-term success. An inclusive workplace environment produces more well-rounded discussions and better-balanced products.

When looking to strengthen diversity, broader hiring practices is a good place to start, as is re-examining company culture. So what are some things to be aware of? Below, six members of Forbes Technology Council share their methods for improving hiring practices, as well as discuss things to consider when implementing change. Here’s what they advise:

1. Focus On The ‘Why’ First

Talk openly and frequently about the business value and the energizing culture that comes from truly diverse teams. Build a collective understanding of what it means to your team; don’t just make it a goal and don’t just focus on one type of diversity. Create a skill-building value proposition for hiring that appeals to a broader group and encourages skills-based hiring. – Charles Stucki, Bayware

2. Find People That Complement

Self-awareness is key in encouraging diversity among your staff. We all tend to hire people “like us,” but what we really need is to hire people that complement our weaknesses. Letting team members know that it is “right and normal” to need others, can incentivize them to seek out others that are different, as opposed to being like them. – Dave Bellando, 1st Global Research and Consulting

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2019/02/11/strengthening-tech-teams-six-things-to-keep-in-mind-when-hiring/#66af2d4430e9

Recession or not, HR can take steps to prepare for a downturn

Economists are divided on the question of whether the U.S. economy is headed for a period of contraction — a downturn, in other words. According to a The Wall Street Journal poll, only 4.3% predicted a recession will take place in 2019, though nearly half (45.7%) expect such an event to occur by 2020.

One prevailing theory is that global developments, including the U.S.-China trade negotiations, Brexit and other political problems, reflect poorly on future growth, even if a worldwide recession isn’t necessarily in the cards, Nouriel Roubini, professor of economics at New York University’s Stern School of Business, wrote Friday in an article for The Guardian.

But for employers reading between the lines, what can be done to prepare an organization for a recession? U.S. businesses may not be in that frame of mind at the moment, given a strong labor market that has left employers looking to unconventional sources of talent. Job openings have increased on a year-over-year basis, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and though the unemployment rate increased to 4% in January, observers have stated HR is operating in a candidate’s market.

Yet employers can still plan for a downturn, according to sources who spoke with HR Dive. Employers can prepare best practices and strategies on two fronts — culture and compliance — to ensure that, from a workforce management perspective, employers can weather approaching storms.

The right mindset for planning
When it comes to organizational operations, HR can take a page or two from how the rest of the organization approaches a fluctuating economy. To that end, employers should engage as many segments as possible when planning for downturns, Bhushan Sethi, partner and joint leader of the Financial Services People and Organization practice at PwC, told HR Dive in an interview.

One point of view is understanding the impact to the consumer-facing segment of business. What areas are impacted, and what will the impact to operations be if the organization decides to cut costs by shedding jobs, products or processes? Essentially, Sethi asks, what levers can you pull?

“There’s the human side of this as well,” Sethi said. “I can’t overemphasize that anticipating that there is fear and anxiety around these topics is important.”

Communication, important as ever in the HR world, becomes paramount when formulating a plan, but no organization will adopt the same approach: “if we suggest 100% transparency, some will have a different appetite,” Sethi said. Still, being transparent is an important component regardless of degree, and Sethi said this is especially visible in the development of a “narrative” for how the employer plans to face external change, be it due to the stock market, automation or something else.

“Organizations, regulators, suppliers want to know these aspects,” Sethi said. “But the old adage of treating people with respect, and engaging people early on with some humanity, I think that’s a professional way of operating any business.”

Navigating layoffs
When worst comes to worst, layoffs — especially mass layoffs — are an obvious talking point. In a 2012 report examining economic data from the primary years of the Great Recession, the BLS counted 3,059 mass layoff actions (periods in which at least 50 initial claims for unemployment insurance are filed against an establishment during a consecutive five-week period) in 2009 alone, impacting 326,392 workers.

Bleak as these decisions may be, employers vary in their approach to conducting them, Daniel Schwartz, partner at Shipman & Goodwin, told HR Dive in an interview. At times layoffs primarily impact one department, or they may take the form of a percentage, say 10%, of all staff. But employers must be sure to have a clear, non-discriminatory reasoning in making those choices, according to Schwartz. He gave three questions for an employer to ask ahead of a layoff:

What are the criteria the organization is using to make the decision, and can those criteria be fairly applied across the board?
If the criteria are applied, will they have a disparate impact?
Will the employer offer severance?
Schwartz advised employers to be wary of the potential for disparate impact, particularly actions that could disproportionately impact older workers. In the wake of the last recession, “we saw a number of age discrimination cases that were fought,” Schwartz said. He advised employers to work with an outside lawyer and a statistical expert to determine if any such statistical correlations exist. “It’s not something most HR people can eyeball,” he said.

Employers with 100 or more employees must, in certain instances, issue a written Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) notice at least 60 calendar days in advance of a mass layoff or plant closing affecting 50 or more employees at a single site of employment. There are exceptions to this requirement, as spelled out by the U.S. Department of Labor, but Schwartz said the 60-day notice requirement isn’t something easily waived. WARN should be done as early as possible, he added, and while the process of deciding whether to issue such a notice may be difficult, states governments usually have a rapid response unit with recommended language for WARNs.

Could a skills focus help?
Looking ahead at potential shifts in business needs could help employers during hard times, Sethi said, especially if HR can set expectations around which skills are must-haves. Accurate job descriptions can be helpful, too.

“Most job descriptions are not worth the paper they’re written on,” Sethi said. To make them more effective, Sethi suggested HR focus on business capabilities that will be needed regardless of anticipated technological changes.

And when capabilities don’t match skillsets, that’s when reskilling comes into play. It may be that not all employees are willing to take the initiative to invest in their own development, Sethi said, but employers should still seek exciting and engaging ways to enable workers to do so.

“I can’t expect my team to fully invest in themselves if I can’t guarantee I’ll invest them,” he said.

Source: https://www.hrdive.com/news/recession-or-not-hr-can-take-steps-to-prepare-for-a-downturn/547944/

Creating impact through an employee-centric approach to CSR

Employees are at the core of the corporate social responsibility efforts of organizations and managing a volunteer workforce is a requisite for maximizing these efforts.

It is no news that Employee Volunteering Programs (EVP) promise inspiring global impacts. Embracing EVPs provides organizations with an opportunity to magnify their impact on society and realize business benefits. In addition, businesses with established employee volunteering programs can augment the business brand, enhance employee well-being, and improve leadership skills.

More than business well-being, according to various studies, EVPs tend to impact the well-being, engagement and experience of employees positively. According to a study, there exists a strong link between volunteering and employee development. While there exists a correlation between employee volunteering and employee engagement, research shows that seven out of ten people who volunteer never come back. Thereby, diminishing the energy and sustainability of the volunteering program. Hence, a thoughtfully structured and employee-centric volunteering plan can build sustained, collective action and generate enormous creativity.

A similar thought was echoed in a recent roundtable hosted by People Matters and Goodera, “Designing volunteering experiences for your workforce”.

The various discussions held at the event aimed at answering many questions related to employee volunteering like – what does a successful employee volunteering campaign look like; what kind of planning sets it apart; what are the defining elements of a sustainable EVP, etc.

Aditya Nagpal shared the five lessons that should be useful to organizations who are interested in engaging volunteers.

A well-crafted intent:
Ad-hoc volunteering activities by individuals or teams are not sustainable unless volunteering is blended into the culture of the organization. A clear intent behind employee volunteering needs to be prioritized within the company. It is essential that the board identifies and acknowledges the benefits and impact of volunteering programs on the company, its employees, and the community.

Discover & map employees’ interest:
While planning an EVP, it is significant that the volunteering program owner understands the benefits and ambitions of employees and that their motivation to volunteer as employees constitutes the core of the engagement program. The best way to do this is to conduct a company-wide survey. Assessing the following data should be great to chart out your volunteering program:

Number of employees interested in volunteering
Number of hours employees can dedicate
Causes employees are passionate about, e.g., women empowerment, education, sanitation
Would they require volunteering time-off or should they manage it during non-working hours?
Evaluate the right technology partner:
The success of any volunteering program is unrealizable without the right management tools and partner. Identify a comprehensive platform that can handle the multiple features of your program all in one place, operated by a partner that doesn’t just provide software but services as well. A robust technology and informed partners are critical to program management as they will help you plan and accomplish every aspect of your program.

Keep the employees motivated:
Once you decide the plan, execute a communication and promotion campaign. The exercise is vital to keep employees informed and engaged throughout the volunteering journey. The three defining elements of communication and promotional engagement are timeliness, consistency, and precision of a message or collaterals you use.

You can use one or the following mediums to promote and engage your volunteering efforts:

Mailers
Newsletters
Videos
Physical collaterals like posters, banners, etc.
Allow employees to share their stories:
Encourage your team to share their volunteering stories and takeaways, and then circulate those stories to inspire others to get involved. By creating a rich narrative around the difference your employees are making in your community, employees will feel they are active in your volunteer program. This sense of achievement and inspiration will sustain and augment your program.

Implementing a gradual process that matures over a period and involves building a relationship with the right partners is key. Any good volunteering program must also incorporate the views of all stakeholders within the company. When done well, engaging employees in volunteering programs strengthens a company’s relationship with the community, demonstrates its values, builds leadership skills and encourages teamwork within the organization and makes an impact on the issues that the company is attempting to address.

Source: https://www.peoplematters.in/article/employee-volunteering/creating-impact-through-an-employee-centric-approach-to-csr-20790

10 Year Challenge: The Evolution Of Work (And What’s Next)

If you’ve browsed the internet recently, you’ll have no doubt noticed the #10YearChallenge social media trend that has taken over our news feeds– where individuals compare a current photo of themselves, to their former self 10 years ago. As well as thinking about how well (or not) we’ve aged over time, it got us thinking about the corporate world of work, and how the work “experience” has evolved.

The decade that was

The Middle East has experienced a tremendous amount of change during this period, and having worked with over 100 businesses in the region to support organizational changes, there are a number of key trends that are consistently transforming the workplace:

The workforce has become more “fluid” Rather than being confined to a pre-defined set of tasks, many individuals and teams are now exposed to multiple functions and reporting lines, or temporary projects where requirements are targeting a particular end goal. As a result, a number of roles have become less transactional and more focused around solving problems.

Technology is enabling productivity Technology is reshaping the way we work. It has automated much of the work traditionally done by what was known as the “personnel” department. Cloud-based HR management software has helped to streamline HR processes. File sharing technology, video conferencing, and internal social platforms have all contributed to driving productivity, collaboration, and ultimately, an enhanced employee experience.

More demand for data Unlike 10 years ago, data now has the power to provide organizations with extraordinary insights about their employee population. Many organizations in the Middle East are now demanding tools that analyze data in order to spot workplace trends in relation to attrition, engagement, and performance, allowing HR to be more strategic and make better people decisions.

Related: Six Reasons Why GCC Employers Are Losing Their Best Employees

Employees expect more than a paycheck A 10% pay rise might be enough to jump ship 10 years ago, but today, employees are looking beyond the traditional and functional aspects of a job and focusing on a more individualized working environment. Aon’s research into best employers in the region suggests that top employers in the Middle East spend time and money on essential elements of the employee experience, which are of value to their staff. This may include elements around creating more clarity on the future, both for the individual and the organization, creating a healthier work/life balance, and embracing opportunities to create wider value– for example, through CSR initiatives.

The next ten years

If that’s the last decade- what do the next 10 years look like? Although the future is increasingly uncertain, we can see there are some clear, irreversible trends that will shape the future of work:

Key skills will change as organizations look to hire people based on their ability to manage information, share knowledge, and work with others in a digital context. Some regional organizations are already assessing “digital readiness” to ensure they are future-ready. According to a recent Aon study, learnability, agility, and curiosity are three core competencies that will be vital.

Artificial intelligence will continue to replace transactional services and manual tasks, where there are currently repeat processes and margin for error. Robots will dominate areas where we will not need to devote our time, creating new opportunities for humans that were not available before.

Rise of the gig economy representing a growing population of non-full-time employees, such as temporary workers and freelancers. We are already seeing this with the launch of new online marketplace “Maharati,” which aims to connect businesses with freelancers with digital skills. Additionally, the new UAE 10-year expat visa is designed to attract highly-skilled workers such as technology entrepreneurs, scientists, and specialists, without necessarily being confined to an employer in the country.

Data and analytics will become even more powerful as employers will have the capability to predict employee performance and engagement levels; not just during, but before employment has even begun. Progressive organizations will build on their current usage of tools such as employee engagement surveys and psychometric assessments to predict future performance.

Related: Using Data-Driven Concepts To Unlock Incremental Growth

Peer leadership will become the norm, as roles within projects become interchangeable, and more Gen Z workers integrate into the workforce. We have already started to see “reverse mentoring” in some organizations, where the younger generation are supporting senior leaders in taking up new skills.

It’s clear that these trends are going to radically change the way employees work over the next ten years and consequently, drastically change the way HR functions. However, change is, for the most part, a good thing, and those HR professionals and businesses who embrace these new challenges will be best positioned to reap the rewards in this rapidly changing industry landscape.

Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/327659

Digital can lend a hand acquiring the best talent out there

Building human capital is one of the desired outcomes of the UAE Vision 2021 and increasingly becoming a priority for organisations, both in the public and private sectors. seeking to unlock their true potential.

While human capital development must be ingrained as part of an organisational culture, it assumes even more significance now, especially in times of dramatic social change and driven by unprecedented digital technology. It is important, more than ever before, to future-proof organisations to external and internal vulnerabilities, and your workforce serves as your first line of defence.

As the old mantra goes — your people are your best assets. Without a pool of talented, engaged employees, a business will struggle to maintain competitive advantages. Here are four powerful tips that will help maximise the human capital strategy of your organisation this year:

Organizations understand the importance of continuous dialogue with employees to enhance their experience. According to Aon’s “2018 Employee Experience Research Report”, nearly 82 per cent of organisations in the region are measuring engagement, and 96 per cent are planning to do so in the next two years.

If your organisation ran an engagement survey in 2018, now is the time to act on the key findings. Invest your time in the most impactful drivers of engagement and identify the best interventions to elevate the employee experience, which will not only add to employee morale but boost retention.

Key factors of engagement can include engaging leadership, talent focus and the ability for organisations to be agile, in addition to the basics of employee satisfaction such as reward, work-life balance and job alignment.

It is worth noting that employee satisfaction is not the same as employee engagement. An engaged employee is somebody who is deeply involved and invested in their work, resulting in higher productivity, customer satisfaction, innovation, retention and quality.

Research suggests engaged employees also require less training time, experience less illness breaks and have fewer accidents. Employee satisfaction should be considered as a prerequisite that needs to be met as a minimum, for an employee to be fully engaged.

If you did not undertake an employee engagement survey, it is never too late to start. Our research shows that best employers focus on gathering and acting on feedback continuously, throughout the employee life cycle, creating more opportunities to enhance the employee experience and drive business performance.

Make succession planning the norm

The pace of transformation in the Middle East — and the world, at large — is extraordinary, driven by digital technology. With so much change in the region, ensuring organisations have a strong pipeline of leaders with digital readiness should be at the top of every employer’s agenda.

Across any business, new ways of thinking and acting upon ideas are becoming the norm rather than the exception, because young, digital-savvy people are more attuned to the aspirations of their peers and seek to engage with them in ways entirely different from legacy practices.

This, no doubt, also creates conflicts in organisational hierarchy. But it is important for businesses to look at the transformation change around them with greater objectivity and plan for the long-term. They need to be agile, flexible and relevant, and in this, clear succession planning is important. Organizations must ensure they have a robust framework in place to identify core traits and behaviours that will drive success in the future.

Identify and invest in high potentials

Identifying high potential talent at an early level will help build future-ready talent and allow you to retain your best people. Traditionally, organisations in the region have not been proactive enough in identifying top talent with the right skills/competencies to drive their business forward. However, the digital era we live in today is changing the rules of the game. And it is important not only to identify and hire young talents who will drive the organisation’s digital culture, but also to nurture their talent and create opportunities for career progression.

A more impactful recruitment policy

Organizations should focus on modernising their approach to talent acquisition utilising tools and data that will enable smarter recruitment decisions. By assessing talents through tools such as psychometric tests and Artificial Intelligence solutions, organisations can pinpoint the right people, reduce costs and time-to-hire.

These tools help recruitment managers quickly identify the best candidates, predict their behaviour and take informed decisions to employ people who are engaged or serve as the right fit for your company.

By making your human capital strategy a key priority, your business will benefit, and this is the most powerful tip of all.
Chris Page is CEO, Talent, Rewards and Performance at Aon Middle East and Africa.

Source: https://gulfnews.com/business/analysis/digital-can-lend-a-hand-acquiring-the-best-talent-out-there-1.61925624

Learning & Development Trends Of 2019

In the last decade, businesses have struggled to ride the wave of information and technology, with most of them finding ways to cope rather than leverage the innovation that hit the market

2019 brings us almost to the turn of a decade that was tumultuous in more ways than one. An economy that struggled to crawl after the tsunami of recession washed out businesses, jobs and disposable income. A market that saw the unabashed use of technology that thinned lines between the virtual and real world. Political shifts that shook things up around the world. What has this meant in the context of organizational and people development?

In the last decade, businesses have struggled to ride the wave of information and technology, with most of them finding ways to cope rather than leverage the innovation that hit the market. With knowledge bases becoming obsolete and the appalling skill gap in the industry, learning has taken the centre stage for most future focussed companies.

2019 is going to be a year that witnesses an overhaul of learning & development across the board – innovation and creativity in L&D will no longer be limited to large organizations, it’s time that smaller companies jump on the wagon and put sustainable and effective bets on enhancing the capabilities of their people.

These are some of the trends that will shape the Learning & Development space in 2019:

Ease and Accessibility

One of the biggest trends of 2018 continues well into 2019 and possibly in subsequent years too. Learning has slowly morphed from an inflexible, one-way format to an easy-to-digest, interactive exercise that attracts the end user time and again. This year is going to see it become even more accessible and simple to consume than ever. Using tools of virtual reality, automation and simulation, companies will seek innovative ways to empower and engage their workforce.

Out of the Box becomes the norm

Organizations today are faced with the peculiar challenges that come with a multi-generational workforce. A unique mix of baby boomers and millennials make differentiated strategies the need of the hour since both the talent pools have such distinct needs and tendencies. Millennials in fact, have forced HR leaders to re-look their L&D strategies and make them customized to their consumption patterns. Out-of-the-box thinking is going to be the norm needed in 2019 to curate learning according to the needs and tendencies of each generation.

Small bites keep it attractive!

We live the world of short attention spans and distracted minds. That’s where the relevance of bite-sized learning comes in. Standing in a queue? Learn sales through simulation on your mobile. Travelling somewhere far? Listen to a short podcast on communication skills. These short bursts of relevant information have been shown to work much better than a tediously long manual that seems like a chore to disengaged learners.

Learning as a way to engage

Learning becomes effective only when it’s engaging. And when it becomes engaging, it also gives employers a solid tool for sustainment and retention. Over the years, learning has taken the avatar as an essential component of the employee experience and talent retention. This becomes especially relevant to a generation that demands to be consistently stimulated and updated with information. 2019 will witness HR managers and professionals use L&D in better and cleverer ways to engage the workforce.

Curated learning paths with the help of AI

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning have been the buzzwords for some time now. But companies were not really sure about where these developments fit in the organizational framework. As AI becomes more accessible and cost-effective, businesses will soon start integrating it in their L&D framework to curate learning experiences. This is likely to lead to organizations providing not just blended learning but blended experiences that lead to optimal results.

Mobile is the way to go!

Smartphones have by far been one of the biggest triggers of a change in the last decade. As their penetration across social strata becomes deeper, it will further cement their position as the primary touch point for every marketing, sales or development initiative. If not already in line, 2019 will force organizations, big and small, to align their learning initiatives with this trend. Whether it’s apps or games, organizations will have to integrate mobile as the primal focus of learning & development.

Learning as a way to a better organizational culture

Learning and development is an extremely effective way to percolate the intended culture in the organization. An organization that invests in learning reflects as a place that not just nurtures it’s workforce but is also invested in their well-being. An engaged and learning-oriented workforce is a happy workforce. 2019 will be the year when even smaller organizations adopt learning as a part of their culture instead of making it an event-based need. Systemic learning will help create a positive workplace culture for all kinds of organizations; big or small.

2019 will further see L&D integrate into the mainstream of the people management and overall strategy too. This will force the L&D team to innovate, invest more time and energy to upskill themselves and be prepared for the bigger role that L&D will play in the organization. On the employee side, we will see individuals own up better to their learning journey and evolve not just their career but also their personal lives in the bargain.

Source: http://www.businessworld.in/article/Learning-Development-Trends-Of-2019-/09-02-2019-166974/

HR, Time To Embrace The Freelance Revolution: Your Career Depends On It

HR, it’s time to embrace the freelance revolution. Freelancing isn’t new, but the rapid, global, growth of freelancing is new. The tech that enables freelancing is new and, together with remote work and flexibility trends, its changing the way we build a workforce and manage talent. HR has never been more important, but only if it plays a larger and more strategic role in embracing the freelance revolution.

Here’s why.

Because the freelance revolution is more than gigsters. What you’ve heard about the freelance revolution is incomplete. Yes, gigsters are out there combining multiple jobs to make a living on TaskRabbit or driving for Uber. But, while gigsters get most of the publicity, it’s the other group – highly qualified and experienced, independent experts and specialists, or freelancers – who are changing the way organizations obtain needed expertise and staff critical projects.

Because freelancers are a large and growing population, and offer unique advantages. Mary Meeker and others estimate approximately 8-9 million full-time freelancers working through online talent marketplaces in the U.S., and growing as a population. In our research for Agile Talent, executives explained why over 90% of organizations now depend on freelancers, and 75% are increasing their reliance: (a) access required expertise, (b) reduce startup time, (c) attract top experts who are unavailable or too costly if full-time, (d) manage cost and scope, and (e) teach and transfer experts’ best practices to internal staff. In combination with remote work tech, enabling access to truly global talent on a cost advantaged basis, a flexible blended workforce provides a powerful talent quality and cost advantage.

Because full-time employees are acting more and more like freelancers. Employee loyalty is all but dead, but then so is employer loyalty as indicated by GM’s plan to lay off many thousands of employers simply in anticipation of a recession. No surprise then to learn from Deloitte that half of millenials will leave your company within two years, and from Gallup that 60% of employees are open to a better offer from a competitor. In fact, a third survey found that 45% of employees applied to a competitor’s opening within their first year. Add the importance of flexibility to a majority of employees. Millenials and gen Z’s are increasingly freelancer in spirit, and open to working as part of a flexible blended workforce.

Because the blended workforce needs HR leadership but will happen nevertheless. It’s already here. Upwork estimates the total U.S. freelance population at over 50 million individuals. McKinsey sized the freelance population at over 150 million individuals world-wide. Deloitte and PwC both predict that organizations in the future will have large contingents of freelancers supporting them and Accenture asserts that future organizations may have only a small minority of full-time employees. As the American folk expression goes, this horse is out of the barn. HR leadership can make a substantial difference; after all, HR knows how to manage talent and change. But, the function must step up and embrace a larger vision than traditional employment in a traditional organization. After all, as a function we’ve talked about the blended workforce ever since Charles Handy described the “Shamrock Organization” in the Age of Unreason.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jonyounger/2019/02/09/hr-time-to-embrace-the-freelance-revolution-your-career-depends-on-it/#722fb4da587c