Posted By Laurie A. Pehar Borsh,
Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, May 11, 2016
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Contributed by Eugene Dilan, Psy.D., Founder/CEO, Dilan Consulting Group
Note: Dr. Dilan will present his webinar, Employee Engagement: The Platinum Rule on May 20th from 12PM until 1PM. This webinar is complimentary to all NCHRA members ($49 for non-members).
Learn more about this event and to register >> here.
The dictionary describes engagement as “the act of engaging or state of being engaged,” but the term is much more complicated in reality. Experts do not agree on what it means in the workplace, or how to achieve it. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, to be sure, but success can be achieved if one understands the currencies of engagement and moves beyond the
Golden Rule to the Platinum Rule.
Some define employee engagement as a state of mind where one feels satisfied, empowered and committed at work. Others suggest it is characterized by such behaviors as persistence and initiative. Still others describe it as innate personal characteristics, like the right attitude, level of energy or point of view. Some define engagement as a combination of all of these. But, confusion over definition cannot distract from the importance of engagement. There is widespread agreement that an engaged workforce leads to higher retention and productivity, lower stress, better customer satisfaction and ultimately results. The cost of not addressing engagement is tremendous. A 2013 Gallup report showed that 70 percent of workers are not engaged or actively disengaged, placing the annual estimated loss in U.S. business productivity at $450-$550 billion.
With so many models for how to improve engagement, which is the best one? Unfortunately, there is no one model for optimizing engagement because not all individuals or organizations are alike.
The 12 Currencies of Engagement
People are like nations—that is, they will accept some currencies, but not others. Even so, some currencies are universally accepted. Examining a cross section of the most popular and researched models shows 12 factors most consistently reported to correlate highly with engagement:
- Engaged leaders and managers and an organizational culture that is nurtured at the top levels.
- Trusted leadership developed by honoring commitments and doing what is right.
- Timely, honest and consistent two-way communication.
- Amiable relationships with immediate supervisors.
- Respectful, collegial relationships with coworkers who do great work.
- Fairness in compensation, workload and negotiations.
- Pride in an organization’s mission, products or accomplishments.
- Appropriate and challenging opportunities for learning and career growth.
- Rewards or recognition for achievements, however small.
- Ability to influence decisions and have some control over the way one’s work is done, scheduled and managed.
- Flexibility in work location or methods, among others.
- Accommodation of personal needs.
This list reflects the most powerful currencies for inspiring engagement. But how do you know which currency or combination of currencies will be most effective? By knowing your audience.
Moving from Gold to Platinum
When it comes to culture and engagement, most thinking stems from the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This is a good start, but there is a better way. Leaders must strive for the Platinum Rule: “Do unto others as they would like done unto them.” In other words, don’t assume others want what you want. Treat them the way they prefer to be treated.
In applying the Platinum Rule, we need to embrace the fact that engagement is personal, must be customized and is an ongoing, iterative process highly influenced by fluid dynamics between leaders and followers. This leaves many leaders wondering if it is possible, or realistic, to achieve it. The answer is yes, if leaders prioritize and invest time in relationships and building leadership capabilities.
To build leadership capabilities, consider using Emotional Intelligence as the foundation. Leaders who understand themselves and regulate their own behavior generally are more attuned to what is happening with their people. Ultimately, the leader’s ability to consistently deliver the right currency at the right time determines his or her effectiveness at engagement.
The Platinum Rule begins with active listening. Effective leaders notice that their people constantly communicate their desires through words and deeds. They become attuned to the currencies used by their direct reports and quickly gain insight into how best to engage and keep them motivated. This is where the Golden Rule provides a useful signpost; they probably behave toward others the way they wish to be treated. This method of assessing needs and wants also works up and across the chain of command.
Another approach, so simple that it is often overlooked, is asking people directly. In 2005, Sirota coined the term, “stay interview” to describe an ongoing, informal dialogue where one seeks feedback on the reasons why employees stay, matters that are going well or not and one’s performance as a leader. The goal is to stay connected. The 12 engagement factors can help, but it is essential to recognize that leadership behaviors are meant to drive and shape organizational culture.
Everything a leader does and says, consciously or unconsciously, models what is acceptable or unacceptable. It influences the choices one makes regarding strategy, structure, polices, procedures and their hiring and reward decisions. In short, employee engagement is not a one-shot effort to check off. It is a concerted effort to develop a partnering culture. Once you have learned what currency people want, you need to identify how frequently they want it.
An investment in your people will not go unrewarded. If nothing else, time spent getting to know them will communicate one’s genuine interest in them as fellow human beings, which itself goes a long way toward developing engagement.
About the Author
Eugene Dilan, Psy.D. is the Founder and CEO of the Dilan Consulting Group. He is a licensed psychologist, organizational development consultant and coach with over 25 years of hands on experience developing leaders and values driven performance cultures. He has worked internationally (including in Europe, Iraq and Afghanistan) across all functions and levels, including with C-Suite executives, and in a broad range of technology sector industries including aerospace, biotech, defense, energy, IT, and social media. Dr. Dilan is currently CEO of the Dilan Consulting Group, an organization that supports companies of all sizes, from startups to enterprise, and their team has a special knack for understanding engineering and science-based cultures. He recently served on the Division III board of the California Psychological Association, and is also a member of SHRM, and the American Psychological Association.
For more on Powerful Employee Engagement, visit: http://dilanconsulting.com/organizations.
Posted By Laurie A. Pehar Borsh,
Monday, May 9, 2016
Updated: Saturday, May 7, 2016
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By Ben Mueller • Namely
Time off is a busy HR intersection where personal lives cross paths with business productivity, and trust in your company culture must be the guiding traffic light. Is it any wonder so many employees and companies end up stalled? A new survey released by Namely may reveal the true conflict: Employees want to take time off, but they’re simply not doing it.
Vacation, All I Ever Wanted
Our recent survey of 471 employed adults in the U.S. revealed that paid time off is the most important employee benefit for several employees. 1 in 5 are willing to give up a higher salary for more PTO or an unlimited policy. Furthermore, 87% of employees rated PTO policies a high priority when evaluating a new job’s benefits and compensation package—with over half calling PTO “very critical.” And just how much time off do people plan on taking? Over half of employees plan on 15 days or more of paid time off this year, with 20% planning on taking more than 20 days.
So, what’s the kicker of it all? Those carefree summer days and summer nights just aren’t coming to fruition.
The average American only took 11 vacation days in 2015 according to another recent survey. That’s a full 4 to 9 planned days that are going unused by employees—and sometimes more. According to Namely’s survey, over half of employees claim they typically book a week or more of time off in advance. But in reality, the average duration of a time off request is just 2.34 days according to data collected from the Namely platform.
It’s no secret that America comes in last among advanced economies in terms of mandated vacation days, with several American workers charting up their weekly hours worked like badges of honor. But what does it say when there’s a very real, collective misconception of the time that employees plan on taking—time that 57% of employees answered they would use for spending time with family—that they don’t really take? Is it a simple failure of wishful thinking? Or should we point the blame in the other direction—back on HR and the company itself?
I’ve Got the Power
We asked Matt Straz, Founder and CEO of Namely, to weigh-in on the trend. “What this tells us is that despite the best intentions to take large chunks of time away from work and unplug from technology, employees are feeling confined and are using vacation time differently than previous generations,” he said. “The result is shorter, more frequent bursts of vacation time requested last minute, which means it’s even more critical for today’s employees and HR departments to effectively communicate to mitigate any business impact.”
The biggest preventer of PTO, according to Namely’s recent survey, comes as no surprise: rigid company policies (26%). That is followed in close second by “stress at the thought of missing time at work” (21%). Both of those issues fall squarely in HR’s camp—policy and culture.
There’s no right answer to just how much PTO is appropriate for today’s working professional. Any thought leader will throw out any number of days, and the answer will vary greatly from employee to employee, as Namely’s survey recently ratified. But what organizations can do is empower their people. They can remove the barriers that stop employees from taking the time off that they do plan to take—the time off they need to stay happy and engaged. HR can truly create a better managed, more human workplace where employees are at the very least empowered to work in the very way they see fit. Here’s how.
1. Codify your culture’s expectations around time off and share them in an understandable way with people managers and employees.
According to data from the Namely platform, employees on “unlimited” time off plans only average one more vacation day per year than those employees on “limited” plans. That means HR and managers need to be clear about the time off they expect employees to take annually—no matter what kind of plan is in place. And employees take cues from their managers. For instance, 53 percent of managers surveyed by Project: Time Off admit they set a bad example for using time off for employees.
It’s HR’s responsibility to sit down and review or update vacation policies. Send an updated version of the employee handbook to employees, or schedule a lunch and learn for sections of the company to learn about new changes. Don’t forget to update career web pages and job boards with the changes so candidates are familiar with time off policies before they’re in the door. Put the information in many different forms and many different places so employees can’t miss it.
2. Utilize mobile HR for time off requests.
An easy fix for giving employees more power to easily request time off is to give them a mobile app for sending in their requests right when they’re thinking of them. According to Namely’s survey, 76% of all employees would use a mobile app to access a company’s HR tools like time off requests—and millennials are 20% more likely to gravitate towards using an app.
Kathryn Goodick, HR Director at SwervePoint, uses the Namely mobile app at her company. “Our employees are thrilled to now be able to submit time off requests from their mobile devices,” she says, “and it gives me and our managers greater visibility into our employees’ plans at any time.”
When employees have the capability right at their fingertips to better manage their vacations, you’re one step closer to helping give them the work-life balance they desire.
3. Manage a flexible time off policy with all-in-one HR technology.
No matter what exact time off policy your culture settles on, it needs to be flexible enough to support everyone at your company. But the reason several companies don’t implement more innovative policies is simple: they’re harder for HR to manage. Docking employee requests against a bank of 10 days per year sure is easier than handling random requests on the fly and totaling them with an unlimited plan.
When you use HR technology to keep all of your employee data in one place, all of that becomes easier. “This is where HR technology becomes about more than performance reviews, and actually about helping employees manage work-life integration,” says Matt Straz. Imagine time off requests filtering into a company calendar so everyone can keep track of who’s in and who’s out. Also, when payroll, performance, and time off are all managed in one place, you instantly see the full picture of how an employee contributes to your org and interacts with his or her team.
Just like innovative software and tech companies need the best tools to create the future of technology, your culture needs the right tools in order to create an innovative culture. Don’t go it alone and instead get the HR tech you need.
4. Fill in the gaps by cultivating a culture that cares about people.
If employees aren’t taking the time off they need to, there might not be an issue with policy. The issue might be a bit greater one—company culture.
Consider how other facets of your culture may influence how your employees feel about work. The 2015 Staples Business Advantage Workplace Index survey found that 52 percent of respondents feel they can’t even get up to take a break in a regular workday. Furthermore, about four out of 10 work on weekends at least once a month.
But managers know their employees need breaks! In the Project: Time Off survey, 80 percent of managers said that using vacation time is important to maintain team energy levels, and 74 percent said it gives employees better attitudes. So if people at your company are overworked and overlooking their time away from the grind, let them know where your culture stands. Whether that’s in daily breaks, organized lunch hours, no-work weekends, or email curfews—fill in the gaps between those vacation days with breaths of fresh air.
Managing time off doesn’t need to be as tedious as a traffic jam. With the right tech in place to empower your performers—and a "people-centric" culture founded on trust—you’ll be surprised how easy it is to get your whole company cruising down a productive, well-balanced road.
Learn more about Namely's mobile app in the App Store!
About the Author
Ben Mueller is a Content Writer at Namely, the all-in-one HR, payroll, and benefits platform built for today's employees.
NCHRA 2016 Platinum Sponsor
Namely believes everyone deserves a great workplace—supported by easy-to-use HR technology. That’s why Namely is the HR, Payroll, and Benefits platform your employees will love. Namely allows you to manage all of your HR data in one place, with personalized service to help your company get better, faster. We're here to give mid-sized companies the software and support they need to evolve their company cultures, engage their employees, and always deliver great HR.
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Posted By Laurie A. Pehar Borsh,
Friday, April 29, 2016
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By Karen Rodriguez - Exec|Comm
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.
-- Mahatma Gandhi
Our recent discussion with a dynamic group of learning and development professionals, from various industries, focused on how to sustain adult learning in business. Some of the key areas of the conversation centered on practicing skills, modeling to change behavior, and getting buy-in from leadership. All of which are important aspects of sustaining learning.
We asked. They answered!
What can you do to ingrain skills and encourage a culture of practice?
• Time your training with implementation.
Business professionals are more successful when they have real-life application shortly after learning a new skill. We recommend you learn, practice, reflect and implement within two weeks.
• Create a regular time to practice.
Whether you offer it weekly or bi-weekly, set up a room where people can practice their skills and hear peer feedback. This is most beneficial for soft skills like presentation skills.
• End training programs with goal-setting.
Have the attendees set at least one S.M.A.R.T. goal and discuss it with their manager. Add the goal to their performance review to create accountability.
• Create peer groups or buddies.
Everyone is more successful with an accountability buddy. Schedule social engagements for the groups to meet and build a true support system.
How can you use role models to change the behavior of others?
• Create a mentoring program.
Have the c-suite and senior leaders mentor newer associates for at least a year. The mentor will impart job knowledge, but they will also support professional growth.
• Interview top level executives.
The interviews should focus on why the training is important. The leaders can share best practices, case studies, and challenges. Show the interviews during leadership training to put the skills in real world business scenarios.
• Train your leaders to be trainers.
Have the business leaders in your organization participate in the training and deliver key sections. By modeling the behavior and tying the content back to the business they will increase participant engagement and create accountability.
How do you get leadership to buy in to and commit to learning and sustaining skills?
• Clear the employee’s calendar.
When an employee is scheduled to attend training, encourage their manager to treat the training time with the same level of importance as any other business meeting. Create a policy if you can.
• Run a session for managers.
Prior to the employee’s training, run a session with his or her manager to outline what the employee will learn and explain how the manager can be supportive. This will help create buy-in.
• Tie training to competencies.
Offer training courses linked to areas for development. As you approach yearly performance reviews, give managers a listing of courses tied to competencies. This will help them get involved in the employee’s professional development.
• Link training to company goals.
Offer workshops that support the focus of the organization. This helps you gain support from leadership.
What advice do you have to sustain learning in adults?
About the Author
Karen Rodriguez is a passionate marketer, designer, and communicator. With over 15 years of experience, Karen manages Exec|Comm’s global brand including their online presence, web-based learning center, advertising, PR, classroom materials, and live special events. She manages the firm’s blog, The Chat, and lunch & learn series, The Learning Exchange as well as the delivery and expansion of Exec|Comm’s open-enrollment seminars in Chicago, Dallas, New York, San Francisco, and San Jose. Karen holds a BFA from Parsons, The New School for Design in New York City. She lives in Aberdeen, NJ, with her husband and three sons.
Posted By Laurie A. Pehar Borsh,
Monday, April 25, 2016
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We thought we'd share the following article written by Erin Daruszka • March 10, 2016 for the Namely Blog. Erin did a fantastic job covering HR West - at the Oakland Convention Center. An HR West 2016 Platinum Sponsor, Namely is the HR, Payroll, and Benefits platform employees love. It's HR software that employees actually use—built to fit every company culture. Manage all of your HR data in one place, with personalized service to help your company get better, faster. Namely is used by some of the world’s most innovative and exciting companies in media, technology, commerce, and more.
The HR West conference (2016), presented by the Northern California HR Association, was held March 7-9 in Oakland, CA. As an SPHR, this was my fifth HR West. I consider this conference an academic Disneyland for HR professionals. Of course, there’s the recertification credits that draw us away from the office in the first place. But HR West is always an excellent opportunity to network and share ideas with other HR professionals, reunite with former colleagues, recruit for new talent, and peruse vendors that support the employee lifecycle.
Without further ado, here are some of my favorite moments from three days of great people and great strategies.
Continue to the full article on Namely.com
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Posted By Laurie A. Pehar Borsh,
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
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By Robert Sher, CEO to CEO
Your company may be suffering from a genuine talent shortage. It may be suffering from a flawed hiring process. It may be one or the other or even both, but the end result will be the same: Companies that can’t find creative ways to find the employees they need can’t grow. Business leaders who can win the talent war (and it is a war) will be able to say yes to new business opportunities while their talent-strapped competition will have to walk away.
One of the most competitive U.S. talent markets is the San Francisco metropolitan region, where unemployment has fallen to a 15-year low of 3.5%, down from 4.8% a year ago, according to preliminary March unemployment data. This is the lowest level since 2000, when unemployment stood at 3.3%. But many other U.S. regions run close behind, with 128 of 387 US metropolitan areas having unemployment rates of 5% or lower as of March 2015, making hiring strategy a critical issue for businesses.
One $400 million San Francisco Bay Area real estate related services company that has had record growth knows it needs seasoned client engagement managers with five to 10 years’ experience to keep growing. Yet the company has lost 20 managers in the past year to mega-customers and local technology giants that can offer higher salaries. And the service company’s HR department can’t find enough qualified candidates to replace the people who’ve left. Right now, the firm is preparing to turn down jobs to ensure it can continue to deliver high-quality work and avoid burning out its remaining workforce.
What’s the answer for a midsized company like this? Throwing money at the problem trashes the bottom line, and big companies have deeper pockets. Big companies can devote resources to brand and community building, shift talent between global locations, and even acquire companies to acquire their talent (as is often the case with Silicon Valley software startup acquisitions). Compared to a startup, a midsized company can’t offer the same lifestyle, perks, or equity opportunities.
You can and should focus on using well-known best practices in recruiting and retention. But as everyone gets smarter about talent, these tactics have a diminishing return. Social media tools such as LinkedIn provide great help with recruiting, but also make your in-demand employees highly visible to competitors. Midsized companies also frequently lose top employees to their own customers, who learn first-hand how valuable those people are.
The talent war is brutal.
Finding New Faces In New Places
These hiring challenges will not ease anytime soon. It’s time to stop complaining about how you can’t find the right people and start expanding the profile of your workforce. Rethink traditional ideas about your employees’ ages, histories and locations. You also should tweak work roles and processes as needed, create a differentiated workplace, and update the mix of non-monetary benefits you provide.
For example, you could start building relationships with potential employees right now – even with youngsters. Consider the experience of Dublin High School, located in a bedroom community outside San Francisco. It started an Engineering Academy and is actively seeking mentors from local businesses. There is plenty of room for companies to connect with tomorrow’s recruits, says Coordinator Eugene Chou.
“Every student in our program knows who the big companies are — Google, Facebook, Twitter, Chevron, IBM, HP — but most students only know them because they are widely advertised with little idea of how their career interests would really align to that company,” Chou says. “Students need to be exposed to more possibilities and understand that other companies can potentially provide them greater experiences for growth.”
Of course, your company also needs to look at age groups that are in or ready to join the workforce. Companies that struggle to find new grads may be able to find success building relationships with slightly older job seekers, offering stability for those who know that the prestige of working for big companies has its downsides, or flexibility for those who seek to avoid a “face time” culture.
Some companies target populations not destined for four-year colleges, such as trade school students. Others recruit post-high school graduates not in college, veterans, and people with learning disabilities. Microsoft launched a 2015 pilot program to hire people with autism who may want to do software development work.
On another front, maybe the way your company structures jobs is making it needlessly difficult to fill those roles. Could you dis-aggregate complex jobs, breaking them apart into several roles that allow for faster learning curves? For example, one manager, unable to recruit an employee with 10 years’ experience, instead hired a recent high school graduate and trained him to do simple tasks for three veteran employees, freeing them up to tackle the work of the unfilled position.
Finally, if you can’t offer the cool factor or equity rewards of a startup, consider the life experiences you can deliver – such as relocation, travel and accelerated career paths.
There are different ways to skin the talent acquisition cat.
Genesys, an $850 million developer of omnichannel customer experience (CX) and contact center solutions, headquartered in Daly City, Calif., and subject to the fierce San Francisco talent wars, was seeing it’s time to hire stretch beyond desired limits. The company’s traditional hiring approach was to recruit senior candidates for most roles and search within the competitive talent pool. Well, that wasn’t working well enough. It proved costly, and the lengthening time-to-hire hampered the company’s ability to move into new sectors.
So Merijn te Booij, Executive Vice President of Product and Solution Strategy at Genesys, worked with his HR partner to take a different approach. “Given the shortage of talent, our expectation that the shortage will persist, and considering our growth trajectory, we’ve invested in a long-term, sustainable solution,” said te Booij. “Now, we are networking to create pools of potential employees who have a connection and relationship with us.“
In the new strategy, Merijn and his team use a proactive approach and generated and maintains a large talent pool with which they stay connected. That allows the recruiting team to quickly fill open positions. Recently, Merijn had an opening for a senior role that required a rare skill and, after looking at candidates he already had a relationship with, he was able to recruit an ideal candidate within one month.
Genesys also created an associate program hiring recent college graduates. The company recruits from many colleges in the U.S. and abroad, selecting for motivation, drive and creativity. It’s a broader definition of talent than GPA alone. While the company prefers students with an engineering or technical focus, it also considers other educational backgrounds that help create a diverse and multi-talented workforce. In addition to recent graduates, Genesys also hires more experienced candidates looking to reboot their career and start fresh in new roles.
Since 2014, nearly 70 associates have emerged across the globe from this relatively untapped talent pool. Each associate works at headquarters for a rigorous three-week training program, followed by an extended period with a mentor. To date, four classes of associates have graduated, including most recently a global group drawn from Africa, Korea, Malaysia, South America and the U.S. In conjunction with this program the company has also welcomed 138 interns globally across various departments that include marketing, R&D, finance, and sales operations.
Knowing that hiring challenges will persist, Genesys also kicked off a high school program in early 2015 to introduce students to the company as a way to provide continued support to young students. During a two-hour event designed as an entertaining experience, students engaged with their customer experience software and provided valuable feedback. Ideally the company’s approach is to connect with participating high school students throughout college, maintaining close relationships, bringing them on as interns and potentially hiring them when they graduate.
In 2014, during a competitive employment market, Genesys was able to substantially fill more positions while significantly cutting the time to hire. Company-wide, the average time to hire has fallen to 50 days in 2014, from 100 days in 2013. On top of a sustainable proactive recruiting process, the company is more successful in hiring simply because they are a great place to work. Genesys won a “Top 50 Best Places to Work in 2015” award by Glassdoor.
If these approaches sound like more work, you’re right. They also involve new costs. But compared to unbridled wage inflation, programs like these are less expensive, sustainable and scalable.
If your company needs to reshape job roles, that will also take elbow grease and smart planning. Find a progressive team in the organization and let them test some new roles and showcase their success. Remember: If a slot for an experienced manager sits empty too long, you risk burning out and losing the remaining managers on that team. That’s double trouble.
Your HR team can’t lead this level of hiring change alone. HR must partner with business unit leaders. You may also need to bring in a more strategic HR leader.
Smart companies know there is no quick win in the talent war. But when a company’s growth slows, it’s like handing cash to the competition. Start building creative mechanisms today to acquire the talent you will need to grow tomorrow.
About the Author
CEO to CEO
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