How to take a customer-centric approach to HR channel shift


How to take a customer-centric approach to HR channel shift
Promoted by How to take a customer-centric approach to HR channel shift

HR channel shift means shifting HR tasks online – thus empowering staff to self-serve, as opposed to relying on HR staff. Through this type of technological investment, there is much to be gained in the ways of money, time and productivity.

But let’s put technology aside for one moment – as it is the employees themselves who are shaping the future of HR. 10 years ago millennials were barely old enough to enter the workforce. Now they have taken over the baby boomers and the Gen Xers to make up the majority. This presents a huge challenge for HR strategy, but the smart application of technology creates exciting opportunities to meet these challenges head on. Taking a customer and user centric approach, valuing the needs of the employee in the same way you would the customer, is a sure fire way to ensure any technology investment is made with the employee in mind.

There is a lot HR can learn from the customer-centric techniques that are frequently used by leading organisations. Mapping the ‘customer journey’ from an ‘outside in’ perspective, for example, is a proven way of getting a detailed understanding of what your customers are experiencing. There are plenty of resources available online to help with running a customer journey mapping exercise – (here is one of my favourites). The output from running such a session often proves to be highly valuable and insightful.

Key areas for development are often exposed, providing an ongoing improvement plan. Running through this process and developing new ideas for improving the customer journey should be done so with an awareness of technology.

Are there opportunities to personalise the experience for users?

What opportunities are there for automation?

Would live chat improve efficiency?

Have a holistic approach to legacy systems

Most HR departments are likely to have legacy systems in place, as well as other business tools that are well established across the organisation. For the majority, the challenge of achieving a successful HR channel shift is both a financial one and one that faces the reality of established internal technology.

While you’re likely to need to introduce some new technology to support a channel shift initiative, suggesting that all of your legacy systems are ripped out and replaced is unlikely to result in progress at a useful pace.

It’s better to be realistic about your existing digital landscape and take an orchestrated approach; work out how new tech can plug gaps. Of course, if there is cross-department acknowledgement that your legacy systems are not fit for purpose, then replacing those systems may well be the right course to take.

Value the User Experience

You’re going to be encouraging your staff to change their behaviour and be more self-sufficient, so the experience of doing that needs to be a good one.

The front-end web service will typically be supported by an underlying database, or CRM, containing staff record details. Your staff data can then be used to support the information provided through the front-end and details of any requests or interactions can be sent back and recorded. Integration between the web front-end and your staff database is obviously essential to ensure that your efficiency savings are realised.

The channel shift box can be ticked by putting your services online, but successful channel shift; creating an experience that is preferable and more efficient for the user; can become a great deal more sophisticated.

Invest in search if you want your employees to find information quicker

The role of search technology within an HR solution is to enable the user to find what they need fast. If you lift the covers on search technology, you’ll find a wealth of techniques used to support the user experience; best bets, synonyms, contextual navigation (to name but a few). Dedicated search tools provide the opportunity to bring these techniques into your solution. It also enables you to evolve your solution over time, test and improve.

Technology – keeping the human in HR

Channel shift is not about replacing your employees with online services – it’s about shifting the time consuming tasks online, thus allowing your HR staff to do the more human elements of their roles

4 Ways to help employees find meaning at work



4 Ways To Help Employees Find Meaning At Work

For many employees, having a personal sense of meaning in their work is even more important than compensation.

4 Ways To Help Employees Find Meaning At Work
[Photo: Leontura/iStock]

Here’s a grim stat: More than half of your staff is ready to leave the company, finds a recent Gallup poll. Vacancies impact the productivity and bottom line of your company, but a survey from Globoforce’s WorkHuman Research Institute uncovered a reason people stick around. When asked the question, “What makes you stay at your company?” the number-one answer, representing 32% of respondents, was, “My job–I find the work meaningful.”

“Having a personal sense of meaning in one’s work was even more important than compensation, which ranked as the third most important reason for staying,” says Eric Mosley, CEO of Globoforce, a talent engagement software provider.

The trick is that meaning means different things to different people, says Becky Frankiewicz, president of the staffing and talent management provider ManpowerGroup North America. “Our NextGen Work research found that Boomers value being appreciated and recognized, younger people look for purposeful work that contributes to society, while people of all generations desire work that allows them to improve their skills and balance work and home,” she says. “Taking the time to find out what motivates your people individually is the first step to helping them find meaning in what they do.”

Finding meaning begins with somebody really examining her own core values and beliefs, says Matt Bloom, associate professor at the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business where he leads the Wellbeing at Work Program. “If you’re not clear about what matters to you, you’ll never be able to find anything that’s meaningful,” he says.

While you can’t choose what matters to your employees, you can set the stage for employees to find meaning at work by tapping into core human needs, says Mosley. “Humans have a need for social connection, positive reinforcement, and self-actualization,” he says. “If you treat employees like human beings, you get more productive, happier and more content employees who are free to do their best work. When the workplace treat employees like robots or widgets that’s when things fall apart.”

Here are four things you can do to help employees find meaning at work:

1. OFFER FREQUENT VALIDATION

Employees want recognition that what they do day to day matters in the context of the greater goals of the organization, says Mosley. Of workers who were recognized in the last six months, 93% agree their work has meaning and purpose, while only 72% of workers who were not recognized say the same is true, according to the Globoforce study.

“When you’re recognized for good work you’ve done, you’re more prone to move on to do more good work,” says Mosley, adding that recognition doesn’t need to be formal. “That can get in the way,” he says. “Instead, enlist the help of the community and employee base. Recognition can be from manager to subordinate as well as peer to peer.”

2. CONNECT JOBS TO A GREATER CAUSE

Managers should articulate the vision, mission, strategy, and goals of the organization, while providing context into how the work that the employee does every day helps the organization achieve the greater “whole,” says Bill Donoghue, CEO of the training solution provider Skillsoft. “Every individual needs to feel a sense of ‘I matter,’ that showing up every day makes a difference,” he says. “They want to feel proud of the work their organizations do.”

Look to the purpose of your business and ask, “What challenge are you trying to solve for business and for society?” asks Frankiewicz. “Connecting how your business succeeds with how it contributes to society is an critical way to help people find meaning every day,” she says. “At ManpowerGroup, for example, we help people upskill and find sustainable work. I take great pride in the difference we make in people’s lives.”

3. CREATE A STRONG SENSE OF COMMUNITY

Fostering a well-rounded community of individuals is another way to create a meaningful workplace, says Maria Weaver, chief people officer at Funding Circle, a peer-to-peer small business loan platform. “This means giving people the opportunity to share who they are with their colleagues, and the chance to create the kind of place in which they personally want to work,” she says.

Encourage employee connections by starting groups or clubs. For example, Funding Circle employees can participate in community service programs as well as social soccer, running, and mindfulness groups.

Another way to create a sense of community is by instilling an open communication policy, says Mosley. “Managers are crossing the bridge from the old control-and-command style of leadership and are more like coaches and mentors,” he says. “This involves frequent ongoing conversations with employees.”

“It’s critical for leaders to build a culture of camaraderie where individuals genuinely like to work with each other,” adds Donoghue. “Most of us value collaboration. We also want to help one another out and build a sense of community. When times are tough, the feelings that employees have towards others on their teams can carry them through and provide motivation to stay at the company.”

4. ENCOURAGE AND SPONSOR CONTINUOUS LEARNING

Personal and career development opportunities are another way to help employees find more meaning at work. To remain sharp, people need to take on new responsibilities and learn and apply new skills, says Donoghue. “It’s so critical for managers to make training and development resources continuously available to employees,” he says. “Everyone should become a lifelong learner to develop and grow new skills and competencies.”

Eighty-seven percent of millennials and 69% of non-millennials rate “professional or career growth and development opportunities” as important to them in a job, according to Gallup.

Another way to facilitate this is through peer-to-peer classes, adds Weaver, whose company launched an internal peer-to-peer learning network, with classes that range from programming to ping-pong. “Each course provides a learning opportunity, both for the attendees and for the instructors who get a chance to share their knowledge while practicing their presentation skills,” she says. “Learning opportunities extend the benefits of the job beyond just a paycheck.”

Everything you need to know about Psychometric tests

The psychometric test industry is valued at around $1.25 billion, and is growing at nearly 15% year on year. 80% of Fortune 500 companies and 75% of the FTSE 100 use psychometric tests as part of their recruitment and development processes. So what exactly are psychometric tests, how do we distinguish between the different types and how do they help us to recruit and lead more effectively.

What actually are psychometric tests?

The basic principle is to use tests and objective data to determine whether someone will succeed in a role before hiring them or work well with others. They aim to identify the extent to which candidates’ personality or cognitive abilities match those required to perform the role or fit with the team.

Why do companies spend such vast sums of money on gathering more information about candidates?

There is a lot at stake if hiring goes wrong. According to a recent study of 20,000 new hires across 6,000 different companies, 49% of hires fail in the first 18 months, and a failed hire can cost anywhere between 30-200% of a first year salary. When you include the training costs and lost productivity time, the importance of getting it right first time is evident.

When are they used?

Depending on the expansiveness of the tests, they can be used anywhere from filtering candidates at the initial application stage to the final interview when hiring. They can also be used on an ongoing basis as part of a company’s learning and development strategy.

What problems do they solve?

Even the most experienced recruiters aren’t perfect at judging a candidate’s suitability for a role or fit with the team. The traditional assessment methods of submitting a CV and being interviewed, or being referred into the business have a whole heap of inherent biases. These biases are more prevalent when we hire or manage people on intuition alone. Having objective data helps us make more informed and usually more accurate decisions.

What form do they come in?

They fundamentally break down into two key aspects: Aptitude/Competency tests and Personality Tests.

How much do they cost?

Most companies have either a pay as you go pricing model or charge an annual licence to use their tools. Occasionally some providers offer a free trial. Some psychometrics require paid training and certifications to be able to use and understand their insights.

Competency Tests

Definition: a test designed to determine a person’s cognitive ability in a particular skill or field of knowledge.

Purpose: to indicate whether a candidate has the skills required to successfully fulfil functional job requirements.

Type of Competency Tests:

Verbal Ability

Definition: Often known as verbal reasoning tests, these usually involve grammar, verbal analogies and following detailed written instructions. They can also include spelling, sentence completion and comprehension.

Example:

Sourcehttps://www.practiceaptitudetests.com/verbal-reasoning-tests/

Positives: It is a good way to test how well a candidate can take in verbal information and reach sound conclusions. Since tests are timed it aims to understand someone’s ability to think on their feet and work to deadlines. This test is more important for outward facing communication roles.

Negatives: They may discriminate against non-native English speakers and people with verbal learning difficulties such as dyslexia although under these circumstances most providers recommend giving people extra time to complete.

Numeric Ability

Definition: Often known as numeric reasoning tests, they cover basic arithmetic, number sequences and simple mathematics. They can also be in the form of speed tests to determine your basic numeracy.

Example Question:

Source: https://tests.practiceaptitudetests.com/practice/numerical-reasoning-tests/testnummember1

Positives: The skills in arithmetic can often be a sign of aptitude for other things, such as computer programming and logic-based vocations. Much like verbal reasoning, it can be a good way of determining how quickly a candidate can process information and of how accurate their work is.

Negatives: While it is important to ensure that people are competent and not lacking the cognitive ability needed to perform well in the job, most jobs don’t require a superior level of numeracy. By using this as a selection criteria, you are potentially missing out on perfectly hireable candidates.

Abstract Reasoning

Definition: Abstract reasoning measures your lateral thinking skills or “fluid intelligence”. It measures your ability to quickly identify patterns, logical rules and trends in new data and apply it to solve problems.

Example:

Source : WikiJob https://www.wikijob.co.uk/content/aptitude-tests/test-types/abstract-reasoning

Positives: Testing raw intelligence is a good way to measure adaptability and speed to pick up a new skill. This is especially useful for less experienced hires, where the interviewer is expected to learn the skills required to do the job.

Negatives: As with all tests that have little relation to the job at hand, measuring raw intelligence isn’t always an accurate way to predict job competency.

Work Sample tests

Definition: A task or simulation used to test an applicant’s ability to perform in the role. Work samples are widely known to be the best predictors of job performance. Candidates are either briefed ahead of the interview and given time to prepare or briefed on the day with a fixed amount of time to digest the challenge and present back.

Examples: Role specific case studies, presentations, challenges and problems.

Positives: The ability to do the job at hand is the best indicator that someone can do the job. If you are hiring someone who is expected to go straight into the job with minimal training, there is no better indicator for job success.

Negatives: When you are hiring more junior candidates, where training would be required, work sample tests don’t hold up on the same level, as those candidates don’t currently have the experience required to perform the functions of the job, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be the best candidate once trained.

Aptitude Test Providers:

KenexaCubiksTalent QSavilleOneTestCut-e

Personality Tests

Definition: A personality test is a questionnaire or other standardised instruments are designed to reveal aspects of an individual’s character or psychological makeup.

Purpose: To identify certain traits in a persona that a company sees as valuable. Many organisations are looking for people to hold attractive traits such as “leadership”, “drive” or “integrity”.

Main Types: There are many different types of personality tests available but the main ones are: Myers Briggs, Big 5 Personality Types, DISC Behavior Inventory and Occupational Interest Inventories.

Types of Personality Tests:

Myers Briggs

History: The Myers Briggs Type Indicator test was created by mother and daughter Catherine Briggs and Isabel Myers in 1921, based on the core principles of Carl Jung’s book: “Psychological Types”.

What it measures: The MBTI test asks people a series of questions to categorise them into one of two options for the following four sections: sensation, intuition, feeling, and thinking. It uses these choices to place people into one of 16 “personality types”.

Why it’s useful for organisations: Although there’s no evidence to suggest using Myers-Briggs can predict the likelihood of a good hire, managers can get valuable information of what motivates a candidate and their behaviours and characteristics.

Example:

Source : https://www.reed.co.uk/career-advice/myers-briggs-what-you-need-to-know/

Big 5 Personality Types

History: The Big 5 Personality traits were first used in the 1970’s, by two independent research teams, Paul Costa and Robert McCrae (at the National Institute of Health), Warren Norman (at the University of Michigan) and Lewis Goldberg (at the University of Oregon).

What it measures: Extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Emotional Stability, and Openness to Experience

Why it’s useful for organisations: Many people believe that you get a more complete picture of a person by using the Big 5. There is a known correlation between one of the big 5 measures; conscientiousness and predicted job performance.

Example:

Source: http://www.psychometric-success.com/personality-tests/personality-tests-big-5-aspects.htm

Read more about the differences between MBTI (Myers Briggs) and the Big 5here.

Occupational Interest Inventories

History: The most common OII is known as Holland Codes, which can trace its theory back to the 1959 article “A Theory of Vocational Choice,” published in the Journal of Counseling Psychology, by John Holland.

What it measures: Whether people are: Realistic (Doers), Investigative (Thinkers), Artistic (Creators), Social (Helpers), Enterprising (Persuaders), and Conventional (Organizers)

Why it’s useful for organisations: For companies who are looking to invest in their employees, and help them forge a varied career without having to leave the organisation. OII is primarily used to match people to different types of careers.

Example Report: “Enterprising (Persuaders) People who like to work with people, influencing, persuading, leading or managing for organizational goals or economic gain. Possible careers: Advertising Executive, Advertising Sales Rep, Banker/Financial Planner, Branch Manager, Business Manager, Buyer, Chamber of Commerce Exec” Source

DISC Behavior Inventory

History: The initial DISC model comes from Dr. William Marston, a physiological psychologist, in a book entitled Emotions of Normal People, published in 1928.

What it measures: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness

Why it’s useful for organisations: One of DISC’s most agreeable aspects is that it is easier to understand for hiring managers than many alternatives. By being easier to comprehend, it instantly becomes more memorable, and sticks with people for longer.

Example:

Source: http://www.everythingdisc.com

ThriveMap

History: Combining organisational theory and team dynamics with extensive research conducted with HR directors, candidates and managers ThriveMap launched in 2016. Although not deliberate, ThriveMap measures team characteristics that are well aligned to Google’s 5 keys to team success. Unlike other psychometric tests, ThriveMap doesn’t require a qualification or extensive training to use.

What it measures: ThriveMap isn’t a traditional psychometric test as it measures how people and teams like to work, not who people are. The categories measured are based on how things happen in teams, these are: Decisions, Actions, Relationships, Evaluations, and Progression.

Why it’s useful for organisations: By measuring the way candidates like to work, and comparing this to existing teams, companies are better able to see who would be a fit with the organisation. The best teams are often full of different personalities and backgrounds, ThriveMap enables this diversity by measuring working style not personality.

Example:

Well there we have it. Everything you need to know about the candidate testing side of psychometric tests.

6 Ways to Take Control of Your Career Development If Your Company Doesn’t Care About It

We are now in the era of do-it-yourself career development. Companies less frequently offer formal training — a trend that has been around for years. This may be because employees change jobs so frequently (job tenure now averages about four years) that firms don’t see the value in investing in people who are likely to leave. This is a sharp contrast with the investment that senior leaders used to make in employees. During my 11 years at PepsiCo, mostly during the 1990s, “personal development” was treated as a major company initiative.

Unfortunately, organizations today are unknowingly leaving employees with skill gaps and blind spots that can derail careers and organizational effectiveness. And managers aren’t helping. Too worried about their own hides, most managers don’t have time or energy to focus on anyone else’s. In fact, Korn Ferry found that when managers rated themselves on 67 managerial skills, “developing others” came in dead last.

Ideally, organizations would do more to foster career development: encourage more-immediate feedback, develop clear performance criteria, deliver developmental feedback with clarity and tact, and provide resources and incentives for managers to make employee development a priority. But the reality is that the bigger burden is on employees. Workers at all levels must learn to identify their weaknesses, uncover their blind spots, and strengthen their skills.

Here are six things you can do to take control of your career development.

Understand what you’re evaluated on. What does success look like in your position? What are your job goals and success metrics? It’s best to identify these with your manager, but if that’s not happening, then write down what you understand the goals and key performance indicators to be. Take them to your boss to get their agreement, and engage in an ongoing dialogue to ensure you stay on the right track.

Solve for your own blind spots. Top performers are always learning and adjusting, and routinely seek feedback from their boss, peers, and subordinates. If your boss doesn’t proactively give you feedback, start the conversation yourself. After a presentation or big meeting, state one thing that you think went well, and then ask for advice on one thing you could improve. It’s best to keep it simple; most people can only absorb one area to improve at a time. Listen to and thank your boss for the feedback.

Codify your learnings. You can capture feedback and learning by keeping a journal. List the five to 10 skills or competencies you need to develop in your position, and rate yourself (either on your own or with the help of a trusted adviser) on each. For example, if you’re a brand marketer, you might give yourself an A in advertising development, a B+ in pricing analysis, and a C in trade marketing. Focus on the C’s to close skill gaps. Seeking feedback from someone who previously held your job can speed up your learning.

Increase your visibility with the C-suite. It’s not always possible to get noticed by senior leaders through your direct work, so you might try volunteering for initiatives, such as charity work, company events, or on-campus recruiting. This is an easy but often overlooked way to rub elbows with senior people who will see you in action and ideally take notice of your contributions.

Become an expert in an area of increasing importance to your company. Your company may be grappling with a disruption from a new technology such as the internet of things, artificial intelligence, or cloud-based computing. Become the expert person in your department on an emerging issue. Conduct research and literature reviews, attend conferences, or write on the topic. Developing expertise in a nascent area of growing importance can lead to promotions and other career opportunities.

Seek good counsel and mentoring. The perspective of a senior person is invaluable, but pouncing on someone — “Will you be my mentor?” — is likely to scare them off. Try to meet in an informal way: in the coffee shop in your company’s lobby, or at the company picnic or golf outing. Know the person’s bio, and be prepared to ask a few good questions related to their area of expertise. If things go well, you’ll hear, “If I can help you, let me know.” A week or so later, you can extend an invitation to “continue the conversation” over coffee. In time, a mentor relationship may develop organically.

YOU AND YOUR TEAM SERIES

Learning

Strong functional skills take time to develop. In most positions, whether it’s enterprise sales, brand marketing, supply chain logistics, or corporate finance, being competent often consists of having deep functional knowledge in four or five key job areas and a good working knowledge in another four or five. Without the willingness to take multiple assignments, or even strategic lateral moves, a well-rounded skill set will be elusive. It takes patience.

Earlier in my career, I was still at the manager level within PepsiCo while a good friend moved up to vice president by moving to another company. But as my skill set solidified, I understood how the pieces of the business fit together, and my career progression accelerated.

Your skill set is ultimately your career capital, so take the time to develop your functional skills. Jumping from job to job too quickly (say, in 18-month or two-year increments) won’t allow you to develop the functional expertise you need to advance your career. With time and patience, and by taking the initiative, you’re far more likely to thrive in this DIY world.

The Human Factor Is Key To Business Success In The Digital Age


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HR executives across all industries offer leadership advice & insights.  Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

POST WRITTEN BY

Margaret-Ann Cole

Managing Director at Accenture Talent and Organization practice, leader of HR Transformation practice for North America, Southeast T&O.

Margaret-Ann Cole Margaret-Ann Cole Forbes Councils

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If the business community has learned anything over the last 10 years, it’s how to prevail in a difficult market environment. Driven by economic challenges, organizations have learned how to work leaner, cut costs and use digital technologies to survive. But, in a time when a wealth of new opportunities are emerging, many still are not thriving because they’re ignoring the human factor — people, a highly irreplaceable resource in the digital age.

More than ever, businesses are contending with constant, disruptive change. While enhanced processes and new technologies can help, there’s no substitute for people. Humans bring a unique skill set that a machine cannot against persistent disruption. Quickly responding and adapting to change is part of our human nature. To enable success, organizations must tap into this ability that is not always fully utilized. According to our research (download required), only 20% of surveyed executives say their companies can successfully respond to change over time. The remaining 80% may not realize that for their organizations to be successful, people must play a key role in the creation of a nimble culture to win in today’s business world.

So, how do we make the most of the human factor in our business pursuits?

1. Recognize that people are one of an organization’s most valuable resources. It’s critical that companies fully understand, even in the digital age of artificial intelligence (AI), robotic process automation, the liquid workforce and lean operations, that people will remain critical to success. Ultimately the knowledge, soft skills and agile nature that are wired into our human DNA will help organizations successfully navigate a rapidly changing marketplace.

2. Use technology to enable people. There also is a perception in the marketplace that technology is designed to replace people. But a successful organization knows technology is best used when it enables individuals to better perform their job. Enabling people in this way will ultimately not only improve their job performance but demonstrate an investment in them as individuals. It will encourage them to become more engaged employees that are essential to shaping a nimble culture.

There are three key actions companies can take to foster a nimble culture where the human factor can thrive and help them succeed now and into the future.

1. Cultivate agility

Organizations must first assess their agility — the ability to enable leaders to pinpoint weaknesses and formulate an effective strategy. Changing a company’s culture also starts at the top. Leadership must not only embrace agility but communicate a vision supporting it that inspires action at all levels of the company. Desired behaviors to achieve greater agility should be defined, managed and measured to determine if the strategy is working. As the organization becomes more agile, engaged employees will become more active and mindsets will shift toward readily adapting to continuous change.

2. Sustain a nimble culture.

In addition to unrelenting technology advances, the rapid pace of change is impacting the way we work. Organizations need to ensure they have the right skills to capitalize on advances, such as AI and be open to new talent models that can foster a sustainable, agile culture with people at the center. For example, adaptive workforces, or what we call “the liquid workforce,” are enabling talent to go where needed with a desire to address key issues, use the experience to build new skills and sharpen their agile abilities.

A leading consumer packaged goods company embraces this approach, making its people available to use 20% of their time to serve in a pool where they can apply their expertise to various projects and expand their skills. Not unlike past generations, today’s talent is interested in acquiring as many skills as possible to grow in their careers. They also want to feel a sense of purpose and ownership in what they do as part of a positive work experience. Approaches like the liquid workforce encourage this human-centered work environment while aiding the sustainability of an agile workforce that can help an organization succeed well into the future.

3. Innovate.

Supercharging and maintaining agility throughout an enterprise can be daunting. But creating an atmosphere that encourages new ideas and embraces failure as a learning experience enables the human factor by creating a safe environment for exploration. This inquisitive environment energizes the organization around agility, innovative thinking and continuous improvement that makes the company more competitive.

The rate of change will continue to accelerate throughout the business world, where the only constant will be agile, talented people, who can adapt to change. Organizations will have to manage the different needs of their core workforce to nurture such talent and succeed.

Forbes Human Resources Council is an invitation-only organization for HR executives across all industries. Do I qualify?

15 Easy Ways To Become A More Helpful Person  

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Top coaches offer insights on leadership development & careers.  Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

POST WRITTEN BY

Forbes Coaches Council

Top business and career coaches from Forbes Coaches Council offer firsthand insights on leadership development & careers.

Helping others has shown to be beneficial on many levels. Not only do you get the satisfaction of helping someone in need, but you can benefit from an increased sense of purpose in your life. It can boost your accessibility in your workplace and make you more of an asset to your company.

According to a report by Deloitte, 74% of people that volunteer feel this sense of purpose in addition to an increase in well-being. Being a person that is more helpful has also shown to increase your lifespan and allow you to feel a sense of accomplishment in the work that you do.

Below, 15 members of Forbes Coaches Council share the one easy habit that you can take up to become an all-around more helpful person. Here is what they had to say:

All images courtesy of Forbes Councils members.

Members of Forbes Coaches Council share their insight.

1. Don’t Take Things Personally

Learning how not to take things personally will give you the ability to understand others better. Everyone is going through something so what they say or do may have nothing to do with you. But when you take things personally, you create a story and judgment on the other person that will prevent you from seeing the bigger picture. –Raul Villacis, The Next Level Experience

2. Keep A Helpfulness Journal

Journaling is a great way to develop new habits in various aspects of our lives. Try keeping a journal dedicated to the topic of being helpful (similar to a gratitude journal). In it, capture acts of helpfulness you observe in others, and new ideas you have to be helpful to those around you. Set a goal to offer unsolicited help daily, and track your progress in the journal. – Jill Hauwiller,Leadership Refinery

3. Be A Positive Influence

It’s easy to overlook how your attitude impacts others. But, remaining positive and approachable can truly help others in ways you may never imagine. Focus on being a positive influence in the office and you’ll quickly realize others will gravitate towards you, engage with you more and seek your leadership when you least expect it. Helping others doesn’t always equate to a physical act. –Jeanna McGinnis, ReResumeMe®

4. Be Focused On Others

Gracious professionalism is about looking around and seeing who needs assistance and help. When we are focused on others and see a need, we can step in and help someone else succeed. Helping others succeed makes the entire team successful. Move from looking at your cell phone to asking how someone is doing and make a real connection. It only takes five minutes to find out where they need help. – Melinda Fouts, Ph.D., Success Starts With You

Forbes Coaches Council is an invitation-only community for leading business and career coaches. Do I qualify?

5. Be Intentional

We sometimes want to separate our private life habits from our work life habits. But they influence each other. So be intentional about asking others how you can help them on a consistent basis. Then actually do it. The more you become focused on others and on serving, the more you get out of your own way. – Christopher Williams, High Level Wisdom for New Generation Leaders

6. Schedule Mindfulness

One easy habit to become a more helpful person is to be mindful of others. Think of at least one person a day that you are grateful for. Write a daily goal to help one person a day. Look for ways to help, and then act on it. Write daily about helping others, commit and do it, and it forms a habit. Most of us need reminding way more than we need instructing, so schedule recurring daily reminders. –Laurie Sudbrink, Unlimited Coaching Solutions, Inc.

7. Ask Others For Genuine Feedback

Asking your boss, peers, reports and customers for simple feedback will not only go a long way toward helping you be a more helpful person but will also give you a solid gauge for your performance. Schedule it quarterly or at the end of projects. Two simple questions are the key, “What was the most helpful thing I did during our collaboration?” and, “What do you suggest I improve for next time?” – Loren Margolis, Training & Leadership Success LLC.

8. Ask Yourself Who You’re Becoming

Throughout the day when I’m making decisions, I consciously ask myself, “Who am I becoming?” So when you know who it is you want to be, start doing the things in alignment with who you want to become. Ask yourself that question often, and if what you’re doing is not in alignment with becoming a more helpful person, don’t do it. – Dawn Ali, Happy Rich Great Body

9. Stop Saying “But”

The word “but” generally shuts down communication and ideation. To be a more helpful person, find ways to say “yes, and” instead of the word “but.” If someone has an idea, affirm their belief and elevate the idea. By saying “but,” you’ve not only written it off, you’ve also elevated your own option and statement above theirs. –Jennifer Oleniczak Brown, The Engaging Educator

10. When You Ask Questions, Stay Around For The Response

The No. 1 thing that stands between helpful and hurtful is the presence and interest provided in support. Shutting down or moving on when you’ve given someone the floor leads to resentment, distrust and distance. Being helpful means listening with both ears, both eyes and engaged body posture. When someone feels listened to, they feel appreciated and helped. – Laura DeCarlo, Career Directors International

11. Give Your Time

The best way to demonstrate your willingness to help others is to donate your time. Time is a precious commodity that you cannot make more of. When we give our time in service to others without expectation of return, that sends a clear signal that we value them.The donation of your time, which shows that you care, is arguably one of the greatest services you can give. – Erin Urban,UPPSolutions, LLC

12. Practice Empathy

The easiest way to become more helpful is to start by understanding the plight of those around you. We often get so focused on what we have to do, that we don’t spend enough time trying to understand how others are feeling. Once we do, it will become easier to become more helpful. – Donald Hatter, Donald Hatter Inc.

13. Build Interpersonal Relationships

Developing interpersonal relationships with your colleagues will build trust and openness, making them more apt to ask for help. So spend some time every day getting to know others — asking open-ended questions that give you a good sense of their immediate and long-term goals. You’ll likely learn of various ways you can be a resource for them. – Laura Berger, Berdeo Group

14. Be “On Purpose”

None of us are here by mistake, we were born at this exact time in history for a reason, we are here on purpose. Take a moment each morning and ask yourself, “Am I living my life on purpose?” Are you giving everything you can to make your life and your relationships meaningful? This is not a dress rehearsal! We have one life to live, so live it knowing that you are here “on purpose.” –MJ Impastato, H2H Systems

15. Be An Active Listener

When we take the time to truly listen, it not only changes the conversation but it helps us to better understand some of the things that aren’t being said. So often, we get caught up in getting our own point across, but if we can take the time to listen, we gain so much more. It also strengthens relationships, as people feel acknowledged and understood when they feel heard. – Gina Gomez, Gina Gomez, Business & Life Coach.

How to Make Your Workplace a ‘Human Workplace’

What does it mean to truly work human? The answer is as complex as humanity itself, but centers on enabling our people to bring the fullness of their humanity into the workplace for the benefit of their colleagues, their customers, the company, and the community. (To learn much more, join us at the annual WorkHuman conference,)

A key part of making work more human is, of course, creating a human workplace. And now friend and repeat WorkHuman speaker Andy Swann has written the book on it – The Human Workplace.” As the founder of Simple Better Human, a specialist agency that helps major organizations and global brands thrive, Andy knows what he’s talking about, defining a human workplace this way: “The human workplace is one that adapts, innovates fast, involves everyone, communicates, understands and acts in perpetuity. It creates relationships rather than transactions.”

There is much to consider when creating a workplace fit for humans, and Andy tackles them all thoroughly. The thread running through every element, however, is connection. A truly human workplace has connection at its heart. The need to connect with others, to a purpose and through action is a basic human need. Andy elegantly outlines these and other critical elements of connection, which I highlight below along with key quotations from the book to illustrate.

Purpose – Humans are wired to want to contribute to something bigger than themselves, to know we are having an impact on something of importance.

“The organizations of the future are no longer machines or systems, they are movements. To make a successful human workplace, you need to start a movement.”

Values/behaviors – Humans are also willful creatures. Restraining that will results in also restraining creativity, passion, and influence. Yet some level of control is needed in workplaces to keep humans from running amok. Defining clear parameters, along with what matters to organization success, frees people while offering necessary guidance. Most organizations have these today in the form of core values or similar.

“When people are unleashed to be amazing on their terms (within the parameters of the organization), their potential is unlocked.”

People/community – Humans crave connection. We see it in our family structures and in our friendships. Why would we ignore that need in the workplace? Instead, we should facilitate and foster it.

“Families are based on human relationships, not transactions. In a family, it matters who someone is, not just what they do … Valuing people as people reinforces the connection. It’s a balance of thanking, trusting, listening, and rewarding. It’s about a wider connected contribution, rather than a two-way exchange.”

Ability to contribute – A good deal of frustration in the workplace arises when people don’t know or don’t fully understand how their day-to-day efforts contribute in a meaningful way. Making valuable contributions and knowing that your contributions are valuable (and those are two different things) are both critical in a human workplace.

“Valuing your people is about valuing their contribution as part of the community, not bowing down in thanks because they show up. It’s a two-way thing. Contribution is exactly that and a condition of membership in the community.”

Continuous feedback – To know our contributions are valuable, we need feedback on it. Receiving feedback (and giving it) across the spectrum from constructive to positive and up and down the hierarchical chain helps us grow and develop.

“Every individual is in perpetual beta, seeking to develop and do their best work … In the community of a human workplace, feedback … is part of recognition. Recognizing the contribution, successes, and developmental needs of each individual, in order for them to participate fully in the community. When everyone is able to do that, the community benefits.”

“Connecting people with the organization … needs to be authentic. Human workplaces are built on real connections and anything not done for the right reason will be recognized for what it is, because the power is with the crowd.”

What other steps can you take to create a more human workplace? These three themes run through Andy’s book, which is filled with case studies from organizations and people around the world:

  1. Simplify – Reduce complexity. What’s the minimum viable solution that removes distractions and unleashes human creativity and talent? “There is absolutely no valid reason to make things more complicated than they need to be.”
  2. Offer freedom and flexibility – Give people the space they need, in work style and in work location, to bring their full creativity to the fore – as long as they act within established guidelines and parameters. “The challenge for traditional organizations is how to force people to do their best work. The challenge for a human organization is how to enable people to do their best work.”
  3. Measure success – Be sure people take responsibility for contributions and outcomes. As Lee Mallon, founder of Rarely Impossible, says in one case study, “An organization’s legacy is not defined by their performance, accolades or profits but for the collective human moments that they create – the welcoming smile; a supportive colleague; the customer call that starts at 4:59 pm.”

In the new year, what can you do to create a more human workplace – for yourself, your team and your organization?

Derek Irvine
Derek Irvine is one of the world’s foremost experts on employee recognition and engagement, helping business leaders set a higher vision and ambition for their company culture. As the Vice President of Client Strategy and Consulting at Globoforce, Derek helps clients — including some of world’s most admired companies such as Proctor and Gamble, Intuit, KPMG, and Thomson Reuters — leverage recognition strategies and best practices to better manage company culture, elevate employee engagement, increase retention, and improve the bottom line. He’s also a renowned speaker and co-author of Winning with a Culture of Recognition. Contact him at irvine@globoforce.com.

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HR STRATEGY AND GOAL SETTING FOR 2018

Learn top views on developing the best human resource (HR) strategy planning process and examples of setting ideal employee developmental performance goals and objectives.

In my HR career, I have found us to be a very reactive bunch. We tend to tackle whatever is in front of us or on fire with little thought to what’s ahead. I don’t think this is a deliberate action, but more a coping mechanism. Over the years HR has changed. As more and different responsibility was added, we had to tackle whatever was coming at us in the moment and didn’t have time to think about what was happening next month or even tomorrow for that matter. Now as all HR professionals are becoming more comfortable in their role, we have more time to think ahead and, dare I say it, actually work on developing HR strategy.

HR strategy is a tricky thing. Tricky because it is easy to focus on things that don’t actually matter. Tricky because it has to be flexible. Tricky because it usually has to happen on a limited budget and with limited resources. I’m sure that last sentence resonated. The lack of budget and limited resources, especially with our audience, stifles many ideas in the HR planning process.

But it doesn’t have to.

We believe that small businesses can do anything big businesses can do, you simply have to know how to scale. But even the best execution begins with a plan. Here is a how we take our clients through their new year HR planning process.

Our human resource planning process breaks HR down into three major components: compliance, recruiting and strategic initiatives. This is how we break out our services to our clients and have found it to be the most effective way to look at individual components of HR and then plan around each of them.

Compliance:
Whenever we are working with a startup or small business, the first thing we want to get in order is the compliance piece. Compliance covers all things legally required of employers as well as foundational aspects of human resources. We start with our HR Audit to see where there may be gaps we need to fill quickly.

We believe that HR audits should be conducted on a regular basis, but at a minimum, whenever the HR lead changes hands which is why we always do it with new clients. The great thing about the audit is that it can be used to easily set goals for the upcoming year around any compliance issues that fall into one of these categories:

Missing Altogether – if there is anything uncovered during an HR Audit that isn’t covered, it should be put as priority one on the goal list.

Could Be More Buttoned Up – most HR teams have convoluted and confusing processes that haven’t been changed because “that’s the way it’s always been”. When conducting the HR Audit professionals should not only be asking if something is being handled, but also, could it be handled better?

Could Better Leverage Technology – a large component of every HR strategic plan should include adding or better leveraging technology. With the vast array of subscription based software and technology companies focusing in the small business space, there is little excuse for any HR department to not be leveraging technology at some level. Further, we find that many outfits have software but aren’t using it effectively, leaving very helpful features unused.

To set goals around HR Compliance, HR leaders should ask themselves is the particular compliance area in place, is it working as it should, could it be better and is there any technology that we could leverage to make it flow more freely. So many HR Department of One’s find themselves stuck in the weeds and it is often this compliance area that has them there. This can run like a well-oiled machine with the right focus on getting it right.

Recruiting:
A large component of human resource planning focuses on recruiting. I have written about our workforce planning process before and will be revisiting it in more detail in February. An effective recruiting strategy and therefore overall HR strategy is reliant upon how well a group goes through a workforce planning process. We know that in small businesses, it is a necessary process. Once you know what positions are likely to be open in 2018, you can then revisit what has worked for you in the past, and plan to do more, as well as areas you know you need to move into more, such as social recruiting.

To set goals around recruiting, HR leaders need to know the answer to what positions will be open, what positions have we struggled with in the past, what recruiting methods have we had great success with and what area do we need to at least dip our toe in?

Strategic Initiatives
Strategic is a word we throw around a lot in HR. We want to be more strategic or be given the opportunity to be more strategic. I contend that we don’t need permission and “being strategic” isn’t something you are, but something you do.

I consider strategic initiatives to be those things that are not required by law but make the workforce better. This would include things such as leadership development programs, on-boarding programs, employer branding or social recruiting initiatives and so on. It is anything that raises the level of HR service and helps better establish and manage employee performance goals and objectives.

To set goals around strategic initiatives, leaders should ask themselves in what areas they struggled with the most in previous years. Was it in performance management? This could indicate a need for a better performance management process or even leadership training. Did the company struggle with getting new hires up to speed? Maybe an on-boarding process is in order.

The thing about strategic initiatives is that they shouldn’t be based on what would be nice to have or what may make the leader’s life easier, but what the employee base actually needs. Many times the answer lies in some form of a more effective process, more employee training or both.

Once goals are established in each of these three areas, an overall HR strategy can be developed. This strategy will be a guide post for all projects throughout the year. Every new initiative should be helping the HR team, and therefore the company, meet its overall objective. It is hard to know how effective HR is or has been without these goals. Of course they may shift throughout the year as business changes, but creating an overall plan early on, allows leaders to focus their HR efforts and get ahead of the curve instead of being run over by it.

Did you like our post on developing the best human resource (HR) strategy planning process and employee developmental performance goals and objectives?

Humanity Over Bureaucracy. #NewToHR

Ask anyone in your organization who is not a part of the human resource function what they think of HR implementing strict and non-negotiable policies on their team, and it is likely the response will not be all too positive.

Human nature determines us as beings who on the whole respond negatively to strict guidelines and rules, especially those who are at a point in their career where they are responsible for a significant part of the workforce or the business.

With this in mind, HR experts need to operate under a humanity over bureaucracy principle!!

Working to understand and help people with employees needs in mind rather than just forcing new programs on employees whether they like it or not. Human resources must be strategic in their approaches.

A study by The Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory states that;

the bureaucratic model is hierarchical and relies on personnel specialists to manage the human resource function. It limits the amount of discretion available to line managers who might introduce inconsistency or favoritism into the system

This can significantly impact the performance of the business, as managers are reluctant to take steps out of the box for fear of ramifications from people management teams.

Policies that are too board or too strict WILL isolate the department from the rest of the organization, which is damaging to the relationships HR must have in order to correctly serve the needs of their employees.

It goes on to highlight how influential a strategic approach can be instead, which;

emphasizes the decentralization and devolution of authority. It seeks not uniformity but variety in personnel policies and practices.

Organizations that take control of a strategic, humanitarian method of people management need to be flexible, in terms of decision-making and the roles of employees.

This can allow individual departments with the freedom to execute their own tasks to a high level of efficiency and productivity, while also freeing up the time of HR to concentrate on issues that only they are able to deal with.

In order to capitalize on their people resource, HR must ensure they are meeting the needs of their staff through humanitarian, strategic management.

Employee wellness programs and initiatives that promote job satisfaction are components of the strategic process, while a bureaucratic HR department would just lump employees with whatever they felt like. Clearly, this is not an effective way of operating business in today’s modern world!

Almost every HR department is fluent in implementing strategies concerning their employees, but how many are keen to develop strategies that govern their own employee management tactics? Think New World Of Work!!

Consider whether your current approach is really people-focused, or if it is purely intended to benefit the business itself, regardless of what the employees need.

The function of HR has changed over recent years, and the department has to work as an intrapreneurial team and less like the traditional personnel-focused function. HR cannot lose sight over its original purpose (remember that one?!), and allow employee freedom where possible.

© New To HR

Stop your talent drain using analytics technology

Drain

 esp_imaging/iStock

Competition continues to grow for the best talent. When skills are scarce, HR professionals are responsible for finding the best talent but also increasingly important in keeping those high-performing employees that are already in place.

Just as it’s more expensive for sales professionals to win new business than keep existing customers happy, HR can help reduce costs by helping businesses retain their existing staff members. However, this approach relies on taking a joined-up approach to managing priorities.

HR analytics: an essential technology?

HR analytics has been put forward as an essential technology for HR managers to maintain their focus on hiring great talent, and there is a true science behind the art of recruiting and retention. However, this has to be thought about alongside other budget pressures and areas of investment.

In order to make the most of areas like retention, data can help. The ability to aggregate data and use key metrics to identify the best candidates can be the critical element to retaining the right people.

This is not to say that there is no longer a need for the traditional skills of the HR manager.

Expertise in hands-on research into potential recruits and approaches to filling roles, an extensive personal network, and other tools of the trade are always going to be significant elements of the process. The difference with data – in the form of facts, probabilities, and market clues – is that this information helps HR be more strategic.

There has already been a large upswing in the number job postings for HR professionals that require the integration of critical data into the daily workflow. Using data, HR can provide information to line of business teams on how their recruitment process should go in practice.

The same is also true of retention, as HR can put existing staff values into a wider market context.

However, it’s not as simple as just looking at internal data on staff. Even HR teams that pride themselves on their advanced use of metrics still have gaps in information or rely on internal, potentially biased data.

With this incomplete picture, it’s difficult for HR teams to see exactly what is taking place.

For HR, this adds up to repeating the same task while expecting different results, a definition of insanity that is regularly attributed to Einstein.

The ability to incorporate external data – such as information on market forces, actions in the competitive landscape, and accurate salary data – helps HR ensure that the team’s use of data reflects the reality of the market and the company in context.

In turn this increases the ability of HR to be a true partner for management and hiring managers as opposed to being an “end-of-the-line” resource.

Talent analytics can empower professionals to play more influential roles in the strategic planning of their organisations.

Here are some easy-to-follow examples

For example, an organisation that bases its business model on winning projects can analyse the talent supply in a specific location before submitting any proposal.

This can help enormously with pricing any project so that the cost quoted reflects the market situation, rather than guessing at what might be required.

This is a necessary part of planning ahead, as if the needed skills in the project area are scarce, it may not be feasible to bid on the project.

Conversely, when talent resources are plentiful then the cost can be managed more effectively as part of the bidding process.

Another example comes with training and certification strategies.

Data points might show that certain skills are in higher demand than others. Using this information, HR professionals can make the case for investing in training resources compared to focusing on recruitment of skills that might be expensive.

In this case, training existing employees may be the more economical approach to acquiring needed skills, while also ensuring that valued employees continue to see themselves as vital to the business.

In times when learning and development budgets might be under threat, external data can provide HR with some much needed ammunition on the cost to acquire skills, whether this is through external recruitment or internal personnel development. Either way, bringing data into the decision positions HR as an equal with the rest of the business.

The need for existing data

Each of these examples above require existing internal data available to any HR manager, but also call for external information on the availability of skills.

By keeping a close eye on market developments, it’s possible to make investments in talent go further through an integrated approach to recruitment and retention.

Equally, it’s possible to keep an eye on what other companies in the same position or market are doing with their hiring – this can show where they may be looking to poach staff, or where they are expanding operations in the future. Either way, this information is important for business planning and thinking ahead.

Ultimately, HR managers can avoid succumbing to Einstein’s definition of insanity by employing the approach of data analytics.

By combining internal data, the soft-skill “art” of recruiting and the insight that comes from external market data, HR managers are better able to get buy-in from the right people and become a true partner in the process.

Armed with relevant metrics, HR can shift from being business functionaries and into being strategic decision makers.

About Meredith Amdur

Meredith Amdur, Wanted Analytics