IDC Research Manager Kyle Lagunas has discussed new hire onboarding as a pivotal step between talent acquisition and talent management. And while onboarding is increasingly making its way onto the radar (according to Lagunas, 35 percent of organizations say it’s critically important while 32 percent said it’s very important), fundamental problems are resulting in missed opportunities.
For instance, per the North America Candidate Experience report, only 63 percent of new hires completed forms online, 37 percent received calls from a hiring manager, 25 percent of new hires received a detailed schedule for the first week, 17 percent of employers provided multiple communication channels to new hires, and 15 percent of employers asked for candidate feedback prior to start.
Lagunas offered several questions HR professionals and HR managers should address in order to improve the new hire experience.
What are we trying to accomplish in new hire onboarding?
Impactful people processes affect more than HR metrics: they are tied to business goals.
Ping senior leaders to identify near and long-term, tactical, and strategic goals that will allow you to build a meaningful connection to the organization’s business and culture. Dream big when coming up with these, new employees want to know that the work they do matters – and how. The work doesn’t have to change the world, but it does have to be important to the business and the person.
Who owns what in impactful new hire onboarding?
Leaving onboarding to the new hire is dooming them to fail. But you can’t keep everything within HR either. Consider what role hiring managers, business unit leaders, IT/operations, and executives have to play. Lagunas provided the following potential breakdown as an example:
Talent Acquisition: Transition to new hire, momentum
HR: Preboarding, orientation, enablement and empowerment
IT, Operations: Systems, workstation
Hiring Manager: Assimilation, acclimatization
Business Leaders: Mission, vison, values, connection, contextualization
Lighthouse Research Principal Analyst Ben Eubanks hammered home the importance of culturally embedded diversity and inclusion practices. According to Deloitte, employees that rated their employers highly for both diversity and inclusionwere 80 percent more likely to say their organization was high performing. Corporate boards with three or more women have 50 percent higher return on equity, and 40 percent higher return on sales.
McKinsey research found that inclusive workforces have 57 percent greater collaboration, 42 percent greater team commitment, 19 percent greater intent to stay, and 12 percent greater discretionary effort. Furthermore, companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to perform about average.
When it comes to specific talent practices that generate results, Eubanks said we must first stop thinking of diversity as a program. Diversity training alone doesn’t work, according to the EEOC, because there’s nothing tangible that impacts people emotionally. Rather, diversity and inclusion must be part of the culture and all phases of the employment lifecycle. Here are some examples cited by Eubanks:
Diverse candidates come into organizations because someone has purposefully gone out and found them. Pinterest, for instance, increased engineering hires from underrepresented groups from one to nine percent. Referrals must be targeted and intentional, and we must ensure that when we are hiring for “cultural fit” we are screening for traits like honesty, work ethic, and commitment (which have nothing to do with race, religion, gender, etc.).
In order to ensure pipeline diversity, mentorship has to be strategic and supported at the highest levels of the organization. For example, at Proctor & Gamble, 10 percent of executive compensation is tied to diversity goals, and every executive must sponsor an employee resource group, serve as a cross-cultural mentor, and raise the number of diverse hires and promotions in their department.
For more of Eubanks' thoughts on diversity, check out the full post on the SilkRoad blog.
ITM President and HR Bartender blogger Sharlyn Lauby recently discussed the current war for skilled talent. “It’s a candidate-driven market,” she said. “Finding the right people for the job is becoming increasingly difficult. The worst situation is when a company gets a new piece of business, but doesn’t know if it can deliver the service because it isn’t staffed appropriately.”
Many HR professionals already recognized that the current state of performance management, which often involves forced rankings, is untenable. As Lauby said: “You can sell $10 million worth of business and still be the worst salesperson in the company. Instead of talking about performance in the past, we need to shift the conversation to the future.”
Twenty-first century performance management must be about tying employees to the business strategy. According to Lauby, there are several opportunities to create alignment, and they arise well before a candidate signs on the dotted line. “Setting performance expectations before a new hire joins helps with engagement, results, and retention,” she said. “You can facilitate this by keeping your job descriptions accurate and up to date, and having an interview process that is collaborative and uses behavioral-based questions.”
Alignment should occur at onboarding as well. HR professionals and hiring managers should use the onboarding process to educate employees on how their performance will be measured, and to provide transparency about the performance management process itself.
Employee goal-setting, particularly in the form of cascading goals in which individual objectives connect directly to bottom line objectives, is a critical piece of effective modern performance management. Best practices for setting relevant goals include getting buy-in, documenting what you intend to do, phasing goals in over time, monitoring progress, modifying them as appropriate, abandoning goals that no longer make sense, and celebrating those that have been achieved. This last one should not get lost. “People who accomplish goals want to set more of them,” said Lauby.
My company is scared of people analytics. What if the results show that something is really wrong?
People analytics involves the practice of extracting information from existing data sets in order to determine patterns and predict future outcomes and trends. It’s now possible to examine data regarding recruitment, performance, employee mobility, and other factors, and use it to determine what does (and doesn’t) drive business results.
People analytics holds the promise of incredible value. It’s not hard to get started, and analytics implementations are known to pay for themselves far more quickly than other types of technology. Yet there is fear: fear of risk and compliance issues, fear of a lack of available talent to leverage data insights, and fear that data is simply too “all over the place.”
But the biggest fear of all is exactly what this participant articulated: that having accurate measurements of talent management practices will reveal weaknesses. This scenario reminds me of the time I asked a fellow HR speaker why she didn’t use evaluation forms. She said: “I’m afraid they will tell me I’m bad.”
By passing up the opportunity to read evaluation forms, the speaker could not learn from her experiences. She would keep doing things the way she’d always done them, and if her approaches weren’t effective, she’d never know. As other speakers got hired over her, she’d lose business.
People analytics is not a panacea (i.e. implement it, and your talent management practices will be immediately bulletproof). As a human-run organization, you are bound to make mistakes, and bound even to fail totally in some cases. But people analytics will help you identify problems and address them sooner, before they put your business in major hot water. People analytics offer rare opportunities to strengthen your organization, to make it a better place to work and a better place from which to buy products and services.
Laurano and her colleagues found that onboarding is the linchpin to everything related to talent management, and both employers and candidates are asking for a new hire experience that is continuous, dialogue-driven, and meaningful. Seventy-three percent of Aptitude’s respondents said that their top talent acquisition priority was a consistent experience for both candidates and employees, while 83 percent said their top engagement priority was a consistent experience.
Consistency, however, is exactly what is lacking. Sixty-seven percent said they currently have a consistent experience for candidates and employees, but less than 40 percent said they have improved their employee experience, while greater than 60 percent said they have improved their candidate experience. Those numbers speak for themselves.
Not only are our onboarding experiences relatively inconsistent, they are also far too complex. In the last four years, companies doubled their spending on HR technology from $400 million to approximately $2 billion. Fifty percent of respondent companies are using 3+ onboarding solutions, and 1 in 5 plans to increase their onboarding technology investment in 2017. Unfortunately, though, all of these systems have made the onboarding experience quite complicated, and respondents agreed that streamlining and simplifying it is essential. Fortunately, technology providers are now offering experience systems, which differ from traditional HR systems in that they span the entire employee experience, integrate various technologies, are optimized for mobile, and are analytics-based.
Most know that diminished engagement has reached a crisis point – only 30 percent of workers are engaged. Eighty nine percent of Glassdoor users are either actively looking for new jobs or would consider better opportunities. And 93 percent of workers that took a new job did so outside their current organizations.
According to analyst Ben Eubanks, our mistake as HR professionals lies in thinking that our leaders are focused on engagement as a unique outcome. But engagement is typically not the end variable. Rather, CEOs want to move the needle on productivity, customer satisfaction, retention, and revenue. The key is to understand how employee engagement impacts all of these things.
For example, per IBM, employees who score highly on the experience index, which is correlated with engagement, gave 40 percentage points more discretionary effort and were therefore far more productive. Per Aon Hewitt, teams of engaged employees saw an additional 25 percent growth in Net Promoter Scores. The Corporate Leadership Council found that engaged employees have the potential to reduce staff turnover up to 87 percent, while Hay Group discovered that engaged workforces lead to 2.5 percent annual revenue growth.
In building a business case to focus on engagement, you must make an effort to use the same language as your leaders. Eubanks suggested that you gather data on these metrics (productivity, customer satisfaction, retention, revenue, etc.) as they currently exist in your business. Plot them against your employee engagement data and note any connections or correlations. What are your strongest conclusions? For instance, is there a team that’s driving the greatest business value that you need to focus on engaging and retaining?
Until recently, professional service consisted of human providers having real-time, face to face interactions with customers that were rewarded according to the amount of time spent. In this traditional model, advice or products are highly customized, focusing on the needs of individuals.
But in the near future, disruptive new models for the production and distribution of expertise are emerging thanks to advances in digital technology. According to the book The Future of the Professions by Richard and Daniel Susskind, these models include the networked experts model, the paraprofessional model, the knowledge engineering model, the communities of experience model, the embedded knowledge model, and the machine-generated model. Let’s examine each in a bit of detail.
The Networked Experts Model
Like the traditional model, this model involves human service providers, but unlike the traditional model, where experts work alone or in relatively stable organizations and groups, when experts are networked they convene as virtual teams. Groups of specialists, often online freelancers, use online platforms to interact and communicate with each other, forming transitory affiliations to solve specific problems. Professionals might not know one another, and service is more likely to be ad hoc than in the traditional model. Online project management systems are an example.
The Paraprofessional Model
In this model, service is provided via consultation from one human being to another. However, the provider is a person with more rudimentary training in a discipline. The paraprofessional cannot provide the full professional service unaided, but rather is equipped with procedures, systems, and support tools that have been previously created by experts. Ownership of the intellectual property that results from collaboration between experts who provide the guidance and paraprofessionals who deliver it is shared by both. A junior teacher who supports her curriculum with world-class online lectures is an example of this model in action.
In a research paper, Understanding the Long-Run Decline in Interstate Migration, Greg Kaplan and Sam Schulhofer-Wohl of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis analyzed the secular decline in interstate migration in the United States between the early 90s and the early aughts. They found that while gross flows of people across states are about 10 times larger than net flows, they declined by around 50 percent over the study’s 20 year period.
The latest U.S. Census numbers support this decline. According to Richard Florida at CityLab, just slightly more than one in ten Americans (11.2 percent) moved between 2015 and 2016, almost half the 20.2 percent rate back in 1948, when the Census began tracking American mobility. “Mobility was once the cornerstone of the American Dream, but today Americans move less often than Canadians, and only a bit more than Finns or Danes,” he wrote.
Why Mobility Is Falling: The Research Speaks
It’s arguably easier to move out of state now than it was in the past, so why are fewer Americans doing so? After looking at microdata on the distribution of earnings and occupations across space, the researchers assigned this fall in migration to a decline in the geographic specificity of occupations, together with an increase in workers’ ability, before moving, to learn about other locations and assess how much they will like living there through information technology and inexpensive travel.
In other words, you don’t necessarily have to relocate to Silicon Valley to work in software development, and if you were thinking about such a move, you might decide through online research that it would be dumb to trade a 10 percent salary increase for a 60 percent increase in living costs. So you stay put, whereas before the Internet you would have had less information available, made the move, and potentially regretted it.
In a related CityLab piece from a few years ago, Plumer speculated that today’s economy actually mandates fewer overall changes in jobs and careers, meaning opportunities to move would simply come up less often. And, he wrote, “in our increasingly specialized labor market, people increasingly sort into the places and jobs that best fit them far earlier in their careers. Those who want to be in finance head to New York while they’re still young, just as those who want to be in film head to L.A.” After a while, it becomes prohibitively expensive to leave that geography, so people stay.
Depending on your professions, a move across state lines could actually negatively impact your career. For example, lawyers and doctors are licensed at the state level and might not want to go through the trouble of getting the necessary credentials in a different state, even if the state in question pays better or is experiencing greater demand. Similarly, a high school teacher who moves out of state after working for many years loses both his seniority and his pension eligibility.
Supply chains are complex operations. Inevitably, there are hundreds (or even thousands) of people involved in each one, and manual tasks that are prone to error often dominate the process. But because tasks are usually interdependent, one problem or mistake can throw the whole system into chaos.
Digital transformation, however, is playing a major role in supply chain management, changing the way organizations deliver products, fulfill orders, and conduct operations. To start, in a recent article for Supply and Demand Chain Executive, Ray Barratt explained the value of process robotics.
Backend Software Drives Process Robotics
“Process robotics works by automating the entire supply chain from end to end (not just individual tasks) – enabling all different sections to be managed in tandem. The adoption of software robotics allows professionals to focus less time on day-to-day processes and, instead, provides more time to drive value for the entire business,” he wrote.
Process robotics provides a centralized approach to procurement, shipping, warehousing, and inventory management. In essence, it involves teaching automation software how jobs are completed. Barratt called this embedded process know-how. “The tasks are completed on a job-by-job level, but coordinated as an entire unified process, allowing the interdependent sections to work in tandem,” he said. “For example, if the robotics solution detects that a warehouse is full due to a lack of inventory movement, it automatically alerts/halts procurement, or adjusts to a new storage location if one is available.”
HR used to be easy. Hand out cut-and-dry information, and make sure said employees consumed said information. But today, technology innovations impacting HR business processes have professionals simultaneously looking for ways to uplevel the function, and fearing that machines will take their jobs. Specifically, HR pros have had to contend with the following transformations, as the field moves from:
Transactional HR to Strategic HR
Uni-Directional Communication to Cross-Directional Communication
Legacy Human Capital Management Systems to Flexible HCM Systems
Technology Product Use by a Few to Technology Product Use by Many
Technology Product Use in the Office to Technology Product Use Anywhere
Digital Posting to Digital Relationship Building
Static Online Learning to Experiential Online Learning
The Rise of Disruption
Almost 20 years ago, Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen first coined the term disruptive technology, referring to technology that displaces an established technology and shakes up an industry or a groundbreaking product that creates a completely new industry.
Christensen separated new technology into two categories: disruptive and sustaining.
Sustaining technologies rely on incremental improvements to an already established technology, and large companies are designed to work with these types. They excel at knowing their market, staying close to their customers, and having a mechanism in place to develop existing technology. They also have trouble capitalizing on the potential efficiencies, cost-savings, or new marketing opportunities created by disruptive technologies.
Even in 1997, Christensen nailed the issue facing many HR organizations today: it’s easy to dismiss the value of a disruptive technology because it does not reinforce current company goals, only to be blindsided as the technology matures, gains a larger audience, and threatens the status quo.
Although disruption is everywhere, there are four specific technologies in which the modern HR pro must become proficient: cloud computing (HR as a service), mobile, predictive analysis, and virtual reality.