While learning and development initiatives are certainly a hot buzzword for HR professionals, it can often be hard to create and execute on an effective and continuous strategy—whether due to lack of employee interest or executive buy-in. The result? Companies are spending thousands of dollars per employee on training programs that are underutilized.
Why is employee development such a crucial part of retention? About 70 percent of employees say they are dissatisfied with growth opportunities at their companies. To make learning and development a priority within your company, consider these five benefits of implementing a consistent L&D program:
1. The future workforce demands it. If you don’t know by now, Millennials and Gen Z are quickly becoming a majority in the workforce. By 2020, millennials alone will make up one third of the workforce. And these two generations value growth and career opportunity more than previous ones. Consistent learning and development programs are going to be a crucial part of keeping these young employees engaged.
2. It will help keep employees motivated. According to a 2016 study, 74% of employees felt that they weren’t achieving their full potential at work. A learning and development program can be the perfect way to give your employees what they’re missing. By helping them grow their skill set, they’ll be more motivated and productive.
3. Employees will stay with your company longer. As you work to attract top talent, you don’t want to lose the talent you already have. 7 out of 10 people say that training and development opportunities influence their decision to stay with a company. Don’t miss the opportunity to keep existing employees engaged.
4. It will help new hires ramp up more quickly. While it’s important to get new hires onboarded as quickly as possible, the amount of new info relayed in an employee’s first few days can be overwhelming—and easily forgotten. To ensure your points are really sticking, consider offering regular trainings on company policies and relevant information.
5. Your company culture will grow stronger. Many companies are starting to build out their employer brand. Your learning and development initiatives are a crucial part of your company’s culture and help ensure that employees throughout the company have a growth mindset.
While it’s never easy to know how to keep employees happy in today’s constantly changing, and often high-pressure, work environment, a solid L&D program can drive employee engagement and happiness.
Want to learn more about how to measure the ROI of L&D? Join Namely and Grovo for our upcoming webinar to learn four key metrics that will help prove the value of your learning initiative.
At Namely, our mission is to help companies build better workplaces. Where you choose to work has a tremendous impact on your life. In our 10 Reasons series, we take a look at what it’s like to work in major cities across the U.S.
Pardon the pun, but Atlanta has a peachy reputation. In recent years, more and more companies and individuals have moved to the region, making it home to more than 5.6 million people. Whether you’re a candidate looking for your next big role, a business leader looking to expand into a new market, or an HR professional investigating the talent pool in other regions, take note of Atlanta.
Could the ATL be the place for you? Here are 10 statistics that highlight why Atlanta is one of the best places to build your career.
1. You want jobs? Atlanta’s got jobs.
Atlanta ranked as one of Forbes’ Best Big Cities For Jobs, with 2.97% job growth. Talk about career opportunity. As the city continues to grow, Atlanta is seeing more and more opportunities across a variety of industries—from tech to tourism. Whatever your passion, there’s likely something right for you.
2. Competitive salaries meet a low cost of living.
Employees across all occupations make an average of $24.38 per hour in Atlanta, which is almost one dollar higher than the U.S. average of $23.86 per hour. Atlanta’s low cost of living and competitive wages make for a pretty nice compensation package across all industries. The city strikes a balance between the hustle and bustle of a large metro area and the reasonable expenses of a small town.
3. All the kids are doing it.
According to MarketWatch.com, Atlanta is the #1 U.S. city for recent college graduates and young professionals. As metropolises like New York and San Francisco become increasingly expensive, recent graduates are beginning to look for more affordable cities to launch their career. Atlanta is the best of both worlds.
4. It’s a bigger metro than you might think.
The Atlanta region ranks as the ninth largest metro area in the country, behind Miami and ahead of Boston. While Atlanta provides many benefits of smaller cities, it is surprisingly large. This means residents have an endless variety of cultural activities, career opportunities, and people to choose from.
5. It’s home to many big-league companies.
Atlanta is home to the third most Fortune 500 companies of any city in America. 16 of the 18 Fortune 500 company headquarters based in Georgia can be found in metro Atlanta, including Home Depot, UPS, Coca-Cola (World of Coca-Cola, anyone?), Delta Airlines, and Aflac. This suggests there is huge opportunity for career growth and entrepreneurship in a thriving economy.
6. Employee happiness is high.
With a Glassdoor City Score of 4.1 and an overall job satisfaction rating of 3.4, Atlanta is widely recognized as a great place to work. Not only is there a wealth of opportunity, but employees are noticeably happy in their careers. If this stat doesn’t convince you, consider how many individuals have moved to the region in the past few years.
7. New jobs are created all the time.
Atlanta is hiring! The region added 77,000 jobs last year, the third-highest total among the nation’s 12 largest metro areas. The job market is booming right alongside the local talent market. As the population grows, the job availability has scaled‚ensuring that the city is keeping up with the pace of growth.
8. The possibilities are endless.
The three top jobs in Atlanta include Mechanical Engineer, Physical Therapist, and Marketing Manager. This shows the wide variety of career opportunities in Atlanta. While the tech space is booming, there are career opportunities in other fields too.
9. The economy is healthy.
In 2017, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis ranked Atlanta as the second fastest-growing economy in the country. If there was ever a time to pounce on an opportunity, the time would be now. It’s a great time to take advantage of all the city has to offer.
10. You don’t have to be a CEO to be a top-earner.
According to Namely data, the average salary in the Atlanta metro area was $81,420—nearly double the national average. Though the ten top-paying roles were somewhat predictable—Chairman, CEO, and President—our data shows diversity in high earners, including communications professionals, artists, software engineers, attorneys, customer support technicians, and account executives.
Early stage companies tend to have more to do than worry about who sits where. With only a handful of employees, assigning employees seats isn’t much of a headache. However as your headcount grows, it’s important to have a plan in place to accommodate new employees. Plus, it starts to matter who sits next to whom. if sales is taking calls right next to focused engineers, collaboration and productivity risk taking a real hit.
How can you set your office up for success? We spoke with Ben Steen, Namely’s Senior Workplace and Facilities Manager, to learn best practices for implementing and scaling an office seating plan.
DO Plan Ahead
As a small company, you may not need a seating plan early on. So when do you need one? According to Ben, “once your company expands to more than one floor or hits the 150 employee mark, you’ll need some sort of shareable floor plan.” As you reach each employee headcount threshold, you need a solution that helps build continuity, and increases engagement. Bonus points if you can easily share the plan through your HRIS platform.
DO Start with Low-Tech Solutions
Once you have over a dozen employees or hire an office coordinator, it’s a good time to start tracking where people are sitting. There are many low-tech ways of doing this before you reach the 150 employee mark—which can trigger the need for a more robust software. “One simple hack is to build a rough floor plan in excel,” Ben suggests. This gives you a simple and shareable look at the office layout. “If you want to get a little more detailed as you grow, you can upload your company floor plan into Adobe, add employee names to each seat, and create a shareable PDF.”
DO Work with Department Heads
The office manager should allocate a certain number of seats to each department in a designated area. However, rather than leaving it to the office manager to assign seats, Ben says, “the office manager should empower the department heads since they know best how the team should be laid out.”
DON’T Forget Department-Specific Needs
Different functions of the business have different needs, and this becomes especially important as you scale. “Keep in mind the furniture needs of different departments,” Ben cautions. Sales and customer service reps may need phones, while designers and engineers will likely need a second monitor. If you have one salesperson, noise may be less of a concern, but as the sales team grows, they will need an area that offers some level of noise cancellation. Similarly, teams that handle confidential information should be in an area where their computers face a wall.
DO Share Company-Wide
A huge advantage of technology is shareability. Whether your office seating plan takes the form of a spreadsheet, PDF, or interactive software, make sure up-to-date floor plans are easily accessible to any person in the company. In an ideal situation, any employee should be able to see exactly who sits at a certain desk, find conference rooms, and even get information about other office branches.
DON’T Get Stuck in the Present
“Build growth into the current floor plan,” suggests Ben. If a department is currently 30 employees, but planning to grow their team by 10 in the next six months, factor this into the space allotted to this department. Work with your FP&A team to gauge how much you’ll grow, so that you can let this shape your seating chart for the year.
DO Consider Innovative Alternatives
It’s no secret that the bigger you grow, the more seating you need. According to Ben, “a lot of companies are moving to ‘hotel model’ of seating, in order to accommodate their workforce.” This model encourages employees to work from home two days a week, and sign up for a desk the day before you plan on coming into the office. This helps cut down on real estate and saves employers a lot of money. Ben advises, “have a good relationship with an architect or designer to help you plan the layout of future spaces as you expand.” This will help unify your work environment no matter your company size.
Call them “Farewell Fridays." It’s one of our core assumptions about work: if you’re going to give bad news (or call it quits), you might as well do it at end of the week. But in reality, does it actually pan out that way? Scouring Namely’s database of over 1,000 companies and 175,000 employees, we looked for trends in voluntary and involuntary terminations.
While we love debunking HR myths, it turns out that Friday really is the most common day to part ways. In our database, nearly 40 percent of all voluntary and involuntary terminations happened on Fridays. Outside of the weekend, Monday was the least common day for employers and employees to end their working relationship.
So why Friday? For bearers of bad news, it might seem like an easier way to avoid conflict and soften the blow. In cases where employees leave on their own accord, leaving at the end of the week might provide more time to transition responsibilities—or serve as better timing for that big going away party.
While the data clearly shows that Friday terminations are the most common, parting ways midweek does have its merits. In cases where you’re asking an employee to leave, a midweek approach may be the more courteous one. Doing so gives individuals time to immediately apply for unemployment benefits, connect with their professional network, or reach out to their HR team with business days to spare.
In addition to looking at specific days, our team also considered whether there were seasonal trends. We found that nearly a third of employee departures happened in winter, with December alone accounting for 12 percent of the annual total.
One might chalk up these “winters of discontent” to seasonal or temporary roles wrapping up at the end of the year. In certain industries like retail and hospitality, it’s not unusual for headcount to balloon (and dive) 50 percent within a single season. For full-time employees leaving voluntarily, leaving in December also provides an opportunity to spend the holidays with family before starting the new year—and new job hunt—fresh.
Want to read more about employment trends? Join the 150,000+ HR practitioners who subscribe to Namely’s weekly newsletter. We’ll bring you more data-driven articles, share practical tips for implementing best practices, and tell real stories of work and life from our community.
Stephanie Madsen spent eight years building processes for a Chicago-based startup, Red Frog Events. A self-labeled “mother hen,” she took initiative around the office to nurture new hires, keep the office clean and stocked, and build a one-of-a-kind culture. Before long, she had plunged into HR and built a career doing everything from employee benefits to HR software implementation.
Stephanie’s experience led her to a better understanding of her strengths and passions—and ultimately to a new role as a Solution Consultant with HireVue that honed in on both. Here’s how Stephanie’s time in HR kick-started her career.
How I Fell Into HR
In college, I majored in Broadcast Journalism. I loved it! But after graduating, I realized that to be successful in this career I would need to start in a small town, away from my family, at a low salary, and work my way up the food chain. I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, and I couldn’t see myself moving to a small town, so I took to Craigslist (which was a legit job source at the time) and looked for a role that fit my communications background.
I ultimately landed an internship in event planning at Red Frog. I focused heavily on events for the first two years, traveling all over, and gaining amazing experience in event execution, organization, and people management. However, while Red Frog’s event series was growing, so was our employee count, and we didn’t have any HR processes in place.
We were hiring 50-150 interns each fall, spring, and summer and the company needed someone to handle orientation and management. To fill that void, I became HR—leading the internship program, overseeing an office expansion, and managing our employee benefits and perks. I took on that hybrid mentor/manager role and developed a full-blown internship program that became extremely sought after by recent graduates all over the country.
As our event business grew and we matured, we realized we needed to rely less on internships, better utilize our existing full-time employees, and supplement with contractors during event season. With the close of the large-scale internship program, I shifted my knowledge and experience toward our full-time employees and took on the full scope of HR: developing company-wide processes and procedures, onboarding, performance management, benefits selection and implementation, HR systems, and the overall employee experience.
What I Learned from HR
My journey into HR taught me that taking initiative is the key to success. If you see an opportunity, don’t be afraid to jump in and take ownership. I built my career at Red Frog by simply recognizing opportunities and not letting a lack of experience make me too afraid to go for it. Early on, our Founder & CEO taught me it’s okay to make mistakes as long as you always learn from them.
As my role continued to grow and evolve, a key aspect was identifying problems, assessing solutions, making recommendations, and implementing those situations. Believe it or not, one of my first big projects was implementing Namely. All of our payroll, benefits, and HR systems were separate and very manual. I didn’t know what an HRIS was when I set out to find one, but I knew that all parts of my job, and aspects of recruitment and finance, should exist in one system.
The opportunity to lead the process from research to implementation ended up being one of my favorites. In what felt like overnight, I became an HR software junkie and our in-house expert, and I loved it. After that, I became the go-to person for assessing and implementing software across the company—I even had the opportunity to help find ATS and IT solutions.
How HR Advanced My Career
In my eight years at Red Frog, I ended up falling in love with the HR space thanks to the wealth of opportunities given to me. However, I reached a point where I wanted to hone in on my favorite parts of my role and step away from my least favorite parts (*cough* administrative work *cough*). After assessing my eight years, I realized what I loved about HR was identifying problems and implementing solutions.
I became so passionate about the solutions I implemented as a buyer of HR software, that I wanted to replicate that experience for others. Unfortunately, within my current role, I didn’t see an opportunity to go deeper on this aspect of the job. Then a light bulb went off! I realized I had basically been acting as a sales consultant, sharing my passion and knowledge for HR software with other HR professionals in Chicago. So I set out to find a sales role within an HR software company, and found a Solution Consultant position at HireVue (another HR software used by Red Frog). The job description for this role sounded perfect—demonstrating the solution through the act of storytelling. It added up! Broadcast background + HR background = Dream job as a Solution Consultant.
Because I had been a buyer, I knew I could empathize with other potential buyers. I could relate to HR scenarios and organizational bottlenecks like recruiter efficiency, time-to-fill, and hiring for quality vs. speed because at some point in my eight years in HR, I had come up against the same problems.
As I applied for these more sales-centric positions, I shared my experiences selecting, implementing, and administering solutions through a passionate cover letter and throughout the interview process. With HireVue, I was even able to tell my story (THIS STORY) through a one-way video interview, our primary solution. My experience outside of sales actually worked in my favor. While HR didn’t make me an expert salesperson, it gave me the empathy to understand and relate to people buying HR software.
While there are many career paths within HR, a background in the industry can also be a springboard for other professional paths. Don’t be afraid to take a generalist approach, and learn all aspects of the field.
Get your feet wet, and then hone in on your interests and passions. As you advance in your HR career, don’t forget to take a step back and analyze what your dream job might be—be it a Chief People Officer, Ingenious Engagement Philosopher, or Solution Consultant.
Organizational psychologist and top-rated Wharton professor, Adam Grant has a lot to teach business leaders about people management. His work focuses on building strategies to increase motivation and meaning in both work and personal life. Grant’s approach is rooted in human behavior, and his work offers much inspiration for HR professionals striving to build a better workplace.
While a blog post can’t do justice to the depth of his research, here are five important lessons HR professionals can take away from his work:
1. Foster a Culture of Giving
“Organizations have a strong interest in fostering giving behavior. A willingness to help others achieve their goals lies at the heart of effective collaboration, innovation, quality improvement, and service excellence.” Harvard Business Review
Building company culture is one of the most important pieces of the HR function. This responsibility touches all other parts of the employee experience from performance to retention. Grant’s studies prove that beyond a generally nice atmosphere, a culture of giving can drive the best business results in terms of customer satisfaction, productivity, and even revenue.
2. Make Thoughtful Hiring Decisions
“I spend a lot of my time trying to help leaders build cultures of productive givers. My first tip is to stop hiring takers — their behavior is contagious and they have a toxic effect on teams. Even if they’re competent, their ultimate loyalty is to themselves.” Thrive Global
If a culture of giving has company-wide benefits, make sure to hire employees who will contribute to the work environment. “Takers,” as Grant calls them, can contaminate an otherwise collaborative and team-oriented culture. One mis-hire has the power to undermine, and even redefine, your company culture. Establish a thorough screening process to weed out toxic personalities from the talent pool and interview for qualities like kindness.
3. Change Your Definition of Productivity
“I never get much done when I frame the 300 e-mails as ‘answering emails.’ I have to look at it as, How is this task going to benefit the recipient?... The truth is, I don’t care how many articles I publish or how many words I write. Productivity is an imperfect way of indexing how much I’m contributing, how I’m using my limited time to make the most difference.” New York Times
With a daunting to-do list, a productive day may seem like a matter of checking off the boxes. However, it’s important to let your larger mission inspire your practice. In most business functions, the quality of your work trumps the quantity of tasks completed. While sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the administrative day-to-day, remember that HR is first and foremost about the people. Consider measuring your success in a new way: the extent to which your actions build a better workplace.
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Give Honest Feedback
“Giving a compliment sandwich might make the giver feel good, but it doesn’t help the receiver.” Medium
In his career, Grant has had to give constructive feedback to senior leadership. As an HR professional, you’ve likely found yourself in the same situation. Whether you’re sharing that feedback with your CEO or an employee, you may have to communicate something difficult. There’s a way to do so respectfully and effectively, but Grant cautions against sandwiching the feedback between compliments—which can either come across as insincere or detract from the ultimate message you are trying to deliver.
5. ...Or to Get Feedback
“Put yourself in situations where you can’t ignore feedback from multiple sources. In studies, one friend is only a little better at gauging a person’s intelligence and creativity than they themselves are; four friends are significantly better.” The Atlantic
As HR, a huge chunk of your job is listening. Put yourself in the way of feedback and encourage coworkers to give you the good, the bad, and the ugly. While you may know the vision for the company culture better than anyone, employees live it every day and can give you the most constructive feedback on your own initiatives. Who better to tell you how to improve your workplace than those who it affects most?
These are just five snippets from Grant’s extensive breadth of work. Register for this year’s HR Redefined conference to hear his keynote address, and learn what else he can teach the HR community. Use code Blog25 at the checkout to get 25% off your ticket purchase!
HR responsibilities can range from payroll to benefits to company culture—all in a day’s work. When days get overwhelming, how do you make sure to stay centered? It may not surprise you to learn that many HR practitioners use mantras to help them through the challenges they face. Everyone has days where they question their purpose, so we wanted to share some of our favorite mantras from 10 resilient HR professionals. Here’s to staying inspired as you do this important work!
Mantras That...Make HR Human
Tasked with an array of administrative work, it’s easy to get caught up in a task list and forget what’s driving you. Your employees should always be top of mind. Be careful not to let daily challenges detract from the individuals who inspire you to create a better workplace. Here are three mantras that can help you focus on the human side of HR:
“#oneteamonedream — I have been saying this since I was a manager at In-N-Out Burger. It reminds me that we are one team with the same vision, working in the same direction.”
- Jessica Neves, People Operations Manager
“You get results through people, not in spite of them.”
- Ashley Crill, Director of People & Culture
“All of us are human—remember that as you create policies.”
Mantras That...Help You Prioritize
For HR professionals, no two days are the same—and often seems like there aren’t enough hours in the day. Employee engagement initiatives may fall on the backburner as more pressing issues arise, but fear not, here are four mantras to help you stay focused on your priorities:
“Run the week, don't let the week run you.”
“Always look up.”
- Thadya Soetaniman, HR Generalist
“Keep calm and carry on.”
- Sara Hetyonk, Talent Acquisition & Development Advisor
“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”
- Evan Intrater, Senior Technical Recruiter
Mantras That...Provide Career Fulfillment
It’s natural to question your purpose in the world, and HR is no exception. It can be helpful to have a driving principle to remind yourself why you chose this path in the first place. This baseline can keep you centered and guide you throughout your career. Here are three mantras that inspire these HR pros to bring their best every day:
“People and culture are why we’re here. Remember these two items, and we will be successful together.”
- Mary Lanier-Evans, People & Culture Officer, 360training.com
“Lead with your heart. If you’re not leading with your heart, you shouldn’t be in HR.”
- Beckey Skouge, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, Director of Human Resources, Thomas Allen
“Don't forget to have FUN!”
- LeShawn Johnson Vega, HR Manager, IKEA
What’s your HR mantra? Share with us on Twitter @NamelyHR!
People analytics continues to be one of the hottest topics in the world of HR. This isn’t just a trend: aligning people programs and data to business impact has always been a goal in HR.
When it comes to driving business insight, employees may be your most valuable source of information—matched only by customer data. That’s why companies everywhere are focused on getting a better understanding of their people data and how it relates to day-to-day operations and long-term strategy.
Today, HR technology has given us increasing access relevant data, all hosted in the cloud. At HRWins, we surveyed more than 2,000 employers over the last two years and found that companies are using an average of eight HR technology platforms, eight single purpose HR applications, and nine apps. We’re using technology to manage every step of the employee lifecycle. Along with core systems, we’ve introduced pulse surveys, communications and feedback apps, and wearables into the mix. That all creates a lot of data.
Analytics for Everyone
People analytics has long been a luxury reserved for enterprise businesses with substantial resources and well-trained data analysts. But not anymore. The emergence of new HR technologies built for mid-sized companies means that the opportunity to analyze HR processes, programs, and systems is now agnostic to company size. We have the chance to rethink how we look at people data—but you may be asking yourself, “Where do I start?”
This isn’t a one-size-fits-all guide (there are limitless factors that determine what kind of people analytics your business needs), but my goal is to give you an understanding of where to start and what to consider.
Reports vs. Analytics
First, let’s clear up the common confusion between reports and data analytics.
Reports are snapshots of data gathered into informational summaries. A good example of a report is an absenteeism report. Seeing absence rates across locations, departments, etc. calls our attention to overall trends and may point to an issue in need of closer attention.
Analytics is the work of examining data and reports to extract meaningful insights that can be used to help make business decisions. For example, take that absenteeism report. Let’s look at it across 12, 24, and 36 months against representative demographics in the workforce, then align it with employee engagement metrics. Are some departments experiencing higher absenteeism when morale is low, based on correlated engagement metrics? Is there a spike in absenteeism during busy seasons when longer hours are required? Is one demographic group being impacted more than another? People analytics has the power to help HR identify problem areas and opportunities, which once addressed, can have a direct impact on productivity.
Before You Get Started…
Keep these four tips in mind as you get to work.
Don’t do analytics for analytics’ sake. Look at the available HR data and find opportunities to make an impact. Keep an eye out as you work across the business. Are people talking about ways to improve customer satisfaction or employee productivity?
Find an ally. Like piloting any new tech-based initiative, if you have a department head that really understands the value of HR and people programs, their engagement in your insights will become contagious for the rest of the organization.
Consult with IT. Access to data is critical, and their support can be invaluable. Even in our world of open application programming interfaces (APIs), there may be some coding or infrastructure required to get what you need.
Focus on the insights, not just the numbers. Use data to give your company a new way of looking at the problem. Every analytics expert that I’ve encountered will tell you to make your report as visual as possible. Try to make your deliverables more like an infographic and less like a text-heavy report.
Okay, so now what? Let’s use the employee lifecycle to showcase areas of opportunity for most all HR pros.
The Basics: Time, quality, and cost. These are the three magic metrics for recruiting. In my 30 years in HR, I’ve helped hundreds of companies with recruiting and have yet to meet a business leader that wasn’t singularly focused on these metrics. Standard reports will give you these metrics. But once you have these ducks in a row, you can start thinking about other things.
What to Consider: When it comes to time, which landing pages convert candidates faster? Which messages work better in your job descriptions? As for quality, which job descriptions bring more skilled candidates? Which bring more diverse candidates? For cost, which jobs stayed open longer and could have justified more advertising spend? Are employee referrals converting immediately?
The Basics: Much of the conversation around employee onboarding centers on the time it takes to onboard, the employee’s experience through the process, and how long it takes for an employee to become “productive.”
What to Consider: Dig into pulse surveys that point toward onboarding effectiveness, new employee engagement, and performance. Performance feedback processes can identify new hire fit and the effectiveness of the learning or training process. Then, tie this data to other business metrics. How do onboarding metrics compare across geography, division, or department? Are new employees more engaged in a particular job family after 30 days? Have departments with better onboarding metrics seen improvements in productivity over 180 days or 1 year?
Payroll and Benefits
The Basics: Reports on things like payroll summaries, workers compensation summaries, payroll liabilities reports, PTO use and balance, time reporting, benefits utilization, etc. are common. Most of these reports keep an eye on our costs and help keep us compliant.
What to Consider: Think through how these fundamentals can improve the employee experience. Looking at benefits utilization across workforce demographics, are there opportunities for financial education? Do reports from our EAP, when aligned with location, job type, and performance data, show us opportunities for manager training or preventive interventions? How has the implementation of voluntary benefits align with performance metrics or business outcomes?
The Basics: Our core HR systems are home to some of the most valuable data in HR, including full workforce demographics, compensation data, and employee relations.
What to Consider: Use this data to tackle Issues like diversity and inclusion, pay equity, and fair employment practices—all of which are hot buttons for leadership. You can leverage analytics to show not just current org state, but to demonstrate trends over time. By leveraging external data, much of it publicly available government statistics, HR can also compare the business to others in the same industry, marketplace, or with similar employee demographics.
The Basics: Talent management has long been the umbrella for all things employee development. There are a number of new approaches to performance management, learning, mentoring, workforce planning, collaboration, and more. As modern leaders build less hierarchical organizations, standard reports will become less useful.
What to Consider: The intersection of talent management data provides myriad ways to glean business insights. For example, what is the ROI on our training and learning programs? Who are the employees that are most called on for strategic initiatives? How much learning is happening outside of the LMS? Are we compensating and promoting employees fairly?
Clearly the opportunity for people analytics is immense (and hard to capture in just one post!). My last piece of advice to you is to just get started. You can’t know what data you need or how to improve your data-gathering processes until you start to go down this path.
It’s no secret that employees tend to have a negative perception of HR. It can be hard to tell whose interests HR puts first: those of the company or the employee. The truth is that it often comes down to the individual HR professional and the company culture. However, HR professionals know that it’s important to have a genuine relationship of mutual trust with employees in order to build a better workplace.
In our recent survey on workplace relationships, less than 5 percent of respondents said that they would tell HR if they were dating a colleague. Even more telling, if a company’s dating policy required employees to report their relationship, still only 42 percent of employees say they would comply.
Why is it that employees hold back this work-related personal detail from the very department designed to help? 49 percent of employees have below average trust in HR to keep an office relationship confidential. This goes to show that HR needs to spend more time building up that trust.
Here are five ways to ensure your employees feel comfortable confiding in HR.
1. Prioritize Confidentiality
If an HR professional shares insider information with colleagues in other departments, employees may enjoy the scoop, but will likely steer clear when they have their own personal problem. Keep private things private and honor employee confidentiality no matter what. This includes refraining from sharing private information with company leadership without employee consent. Unless there are legal concerns, the employee should never feel like you’re going to betray their trust with anyone at the company, from top to bottom.
2. Sincerity is Crucial
It can take time to build employee trust, but it only takes one breach of confidentiality to break that trust. Don’t make the promise of confidentiality an empty one. The more genuine you are about advocating for employees and upholding a trustworthy relationship, the more employees will proactively put their confidence in you.
3. Be a Presence
HR usually sits slightly separated from the rest of the workforce, as they work with confidential information, such as compensation and performance data. Just because you’re out of sight doesn’t mean you should ever be out of mind. Go beyond an “open door policy” by taking time each day to walk the floors and chat with employees. Building a personal relationship will make it much easier for employees to come to you when they need to talk.
4. Avoid Favoritism
While it is important for HR to have friendly and personal relationships with employees throughout the organization, there is a clear line to be drawn. If HR is seen spending a lot of time with one or two employees in and outside of the office, others may perceive favoritism and question the types of information being discussed. Be careful not to jeopardize employee confidence by prioritizing some work relationships over others.
5. Take Action
If you administer regular employee engagement surveys, it’s crucial to openly communicate the results each step of the way. Don’t be afraid to share both positive and negative feedback, and how you intend to do better in the future. But don’t stop there. Make sure that you report back on new initiatives you launch in response to the survey and then collect feedback on these initiatives. Invite employees to participate in an active feedback loop, so that they can track progress and see that HR is following through.
The data doesn’t lie, and it’s clear to see that there is an immediate need for improved HR-employee trust. Without this trust, companies risk decreased employee happiness, higher turnover, and compliance missteps. Take the time to get a pulse on your organization and consider reinvesting in the foundations of mutual trust.
Talk about a labor of love. With our recent Love @ Work Survey, Namely discovered how employees really feel about dating colleagues. The results—based on over 500 employees from across the country—yielded new insights into just how prevalent office romances are, and whether HR teams should play a role in addressing them.
Lovestruck at Work?
While true love might still be hard to find, a surprisingly large number of employees seem to be finding something at work. 40 percent of survey participants indicated that they have engaged in an intimate relationship with a coworker. Five percent of those romances were between a direct report and a manager.
Notably, our survey data also revealed that millennials were more likely than their colleagues to date a manager.
So while workplace relationships are clearly common, do they noticeably impact employee productivity? 70 percent of office sweethearts reported that their relationship “changed nothing.” Of the remainder, half actually claimed it boosted their productivity. This suggests that some of the hand-wringing over office relationships may be misplaced, at least according to employees.
Kiss and Tell
HR professionals often like to think of themselves as company confidantes. Turns out they’re not even the third wheel. No surprise here: when it comes to talking about love, employees are generally tight-lipped.
According to our survey, less than 5 percent of workers would willingly tell their HR team if they were in a workplace relationship. Even if company policy required employees to do so, still only 42 percent would comply. Men were twice as likely to keep an office romance a secret.
Call it a trust issue. The reason why employees are reluctant to discuss their relationship is because they don’t believe HR will keep it confidential. Only 14 percent of respondents fully trusted their HR team on the topic of love. Making matters worse, nearly half of workers had little-to-no confidence that HR would keep the romance to themselves. In other words, they view their HR team as friends of the business, not employees.
Despite how common workplace relationships are, 61 percent of respondents’ companies did not have written policies addressing them. That might be for a good reason, as there’s some doubt as to whether relationship policies or love contracts actually work.
While most aren’t subject to them, employees certainly have strong opinions as to how relationship policies should work. Some of the survey’s most unexpected insights came from this hypothetical question: in cases where a manager is dating a direct report, how should HR respond?
A third of respondents suggested that the manager should be transferred to a new department. Surprisingly, 29 percent thought it was the direct report who should be transferred. Rounding out the list, a handful of romantics (21 percent) believed HR should “do nothing” and stay out of the way of love.
There is one bit of good news for fans of policymaking. While relationship policies are relatively rare, sexual harassment policies and programs seem to be quite common. 62 percent of respondents have participated in anti-harassment training, and 6 in 10 employees say their companies and HR teams are well-prepared to handle cases of sexual harassment.
As winter transitions into spring, don’t be surprised to see love blossom at work. That said, HR teams who try to stand in the way might find employees reluctant to open up. Our findings suggest that addressing workplace relationships takes a nuanced approach, not hard policies or farcical love contracts.
To learn how your team can better respond to workplace relationships, read our full coverage of the Love @ Work survey and other relevant content by clicking below.