The backbone of any business is employee engagement. It’s a direct outcome of experience that thrives between the employee and the employer. The true foundation that lies behind employee engagement is trust, respect, and performance. Employee engagement is considered to be dynamic as it is bound to change during the tenure of an employee at the workplace as an outcome of multiple factors and events. Engagement as a concept is inherent and quite personal. In short, engagement focuses on the ‘me’ or ‘I’.
It’s the employees who decide whether they wish to be engaged. Although employee engagement has an emotional connection, it also has a rational context attached to it. While workplaces may appear to be quite similar, in reality, they are as unique as the individuals themselves who are a part of the organisation. This factor influences an employee to remain engaged with his or her organisation.
While there are several definitions of employee engagement, they have a couple of similarities such as rational, emotional, and practical features. However, apart from these factors, there are several other factors which are known as drivers of employee engagement.
Drivers of Employee Engagement
There are several types of drivers of employee engagement. As a manager, you can take the help of some of these drivers to influence the level of engagement of the employees of your organisation. However, the impact of these drivers cannot be gauged in isolation. In fact, it is the organisation’s culture and context which will compound or mitigate the impact of these drivers on employee engagement. Let’s go through some of these drivers of employee engagement.
One of the most significant drivers of employee engagement is the relationship between the manager and their employees. It’s this relationship that ties back to dissatisfaction or the level of employee satisfaction with either the work or the workplace. It rules the decision of the employees whether to continue at the workplace or to look for another job somewhere else. There lies a psychological contract between your employees and you as a manager. It all depends in the manner in which you communicate with your employees and what you communicate to them. As a manager, you face the obvious challenge of developing a professional yet genuine relationship with your employees. Such a relationship is likely to benefit the employee, the organisation, and of course you. We have already highlighted the fact that employee engagement is all about me or ‘I’ and the circumstances revolving around ‘I’. Hence it is essential for employees to attain a strong sense of autonomy and purpose in their work even if they are not in a position to control the outcome, product, or the final decision. This sense of autonomy and purpose ties back directly to their ownership of their work.
The term ‘Intrinsic motivation’ was coined by Kenneth Thomas in his second book that was based on motivation at work. The term indicates a certain sense of meaningfulness and progress that leads the employee to attach value to what he does and to form an emotional connection without being dependent on external factors. If you look close around, you will come across several examples of employees who remain engaged with their managers or their workplaces as an outcome of intrinsic motivation. In fact, it is this intrinsic motivation which helps them sail through difficult times at work.
Leadership entails varied meanings in different organisations. You need to understand the fact that leadership is a crucial driver of employee engagement that goes much beyond job titles. This is because not all leaders are managers and vice versa. As a manager, you have a significant responsibility to promote employee engagement. However, this depends on how you facilitate your employees to do their job, the manner in which you conduct yourself as a role model, as an individual, and convey messages via different channels. A leader is an individual who leads his or her people towards a common purpose and brings about a level of confidence within her team.
Performance management entails objectives, goals, and the way in which work is distributed to meet the organisational goals. This, in fact, is an ongoing process which commences when an employee is hired, and it ends when the employee quits.
Performance management includes workplace flexibility, resource allocation, work-life balance, and measuring an employee’s overall progress in achieving the desired outcome. This driver also entails the way in which high and low performing employees are managed along with the perception of employees on justice and equity.
Another significant driver of employee engagement is career development. The younger generation employees have the scope of working at several positions in various organisations throughout their lives. This is their graph of career development. However, the meaning of career development may vary for different groups. The only things which have not changed and are still as relevant today as it was years ago entail long-term career potential and promotion opportunities. These issues are crucial as they are directly connected to an employee’s intention to continue in the workplace, and this has a major impact on the business.
It’s a fact that when employees find opportunities for growth and development, they automatically have a stronger sense of loyalty attached towards the organisation as well as to their manager for enabling these opportunities for them. Such employees tend to stick around in the company for a longer period and are always ready to put in that extra effort and time as and when needed.
As a manager, you need to pay special attention towards the career growth and development of your employees. You must help your employees to set realistic expectations for their growth. You must also ensure that you can match the right opportunity with the right employee at the right time. In short, you should try to keep the bigger picture in mind when it comes to employee engagement.
Financial and External Incentives
Employee engagement is beyond financial and external incentives, yet these are considered to be significant drivers of employee engagement. Hence you cannot overlook them. Incentives, salary, and total rewards are important in the present economic climate where organisations have had to tighten their control on pay and benefits, as well as on costs in order to survive. However, employees still attach a great deal of importance to their remuneration and benefits packages when they need to make a decision of whether to continue in the organisation or to quit.
Organisation image entails the manner in which the outside corporate world and employees view the organisation. Nowadays employees are quite well informed and aware regarding an organisation’s reputation and image. The emotional connection that employees tend to feel for an organisation is based on the fact as to how others view it from outside and how employees view it from within. When individuals seem to look out for change, they are quite concerned about the reputation of the organisation and how others perceive it.
Brand Value Alignment
Another key driver of employee engagement is brand alignment. With the plethora of information available via multiple channels at the same time, it is quite simple for an employee to figure out whether the company is being consistent with its brand image and also what makes it stand out amongst its competitors in the market. Brand alignment ensures that people comprehend the brand values and its purpose and they actually ‘live the brand’ in whatever they do, wherever they do, and every time that they do it.
The million dollar question is where to begin when you wish to move employee engagement in a certain direction? If you have to choose one driver to address this issue, then focus on developing your relationship with your employees. If you know your employees as individuals, you will be in a relatively better position to decide which other drivers will be more meaningful for them and how and in what order you need to address them. After all employee engagement focuses on ‘me’ or ‘I’ as we have already established above.
Experience is about a series of moments that go on to form negative, positive, or neutral memories. Each of these moments tends to leave a lasting impression on our minds, and they decide if our overall experience has been a good or a bad one. However, we do not seem to view life as a series of checks and balances. For instance, one bad experience can wipe out months of positive experiences, and likewise, one bad experience in any shop make stop you from revisiting it.
Employee experience indicates interactions on a daily basis which define the working life of an individual. This experience can be either positive, or negative, or neutral. It includes everything that an employee goes through right from the first level of interaction with an organization to their daily work life and to the day when they finally quit the company.
86% of recruiters are of the opinion that presently we are thriving in an employee-driven resource market. Hence, employee experience certainly decides whether you can lure as well as retain the ace performers that your business needs in order to thrive successfully.
That is the sole reason why HR is nowadays mainly focussing towards managing and improving the employee experience so that it leads to employee satisfaction in the long run. This article discusses some of the steps that you can take to improve employee experience in your organisation.
Treat your employees like your customers
Marketing strategies always depend on customer experience to use as a metric. It defines the expectations of customers and helps them to introduce marketing strategies which will help to lure and retain customers. Likewise, HR needs to apply similar strategies in order to gauge the experience of employees. They need to look out for negative or positive patterns and thereby make improvements in whichever area they can. Unhappy employees tend to be non-productive. Hence, a customer-centric approach in your HR strategy will help you to manage your employees’ expectations within the organisation in order to ensure employee satisfaction.
Focus on the bigger picture
Employees always tend to expect organisations to offer them a seamless experience right from the stage of hiring to retiring. So once an employee becomes an integral part of your organisation or team, you cannot allow the intensive efforts that go into interviews, onboarding, orientation, training etc. to be fizzled out. In fact, it becomes even more important to extend your support to employees after they establish themselves as an essential asset to your organisation or team.
Organisations need to continuously invest in the future generation of employees to ensure that they tend to the personal development of employees as it is a bare minimum requirement that is expected out of them as an employer. You must remember that your employees are your biggest brand asset. Hence, you must ensure that they are engaged, happy, and satisfied at every stage of the employee lifecycle. That would be the key to your future success.
Continually develop your employee brand
If you can attract talented individuals even before they are thinking of applying to your organisation, it clearly indicates the strength of your corporate brand in the market. An organisation’s first impression matters the same way as it does for individuals. Hence you must develop your online brand, as it is a must in today’s digital world.
Around 69% of respondents in a survey revealed that they would not wish to take up a job with an organisation which has a poor reputation, even if they are jobless. Hence, the reputation an organisation holds is indeed essential. You must learn to project yourself as an organisation in the right perspective and focus on how you interact with people before they become part of your organisation. Employee experience does not commence with the signing of an employee’s contract. Hence, employee experience needs to an integral part of how you engage and interact with prospective employees.
Focus on the Employee Experience
It is a fact that organisations which do not offer a pleasurable and simple experience to its employees are bound to struggle to retain and engage top talent. It all boils down to how you create a culture and an experience which motivates employees to be a part of your organisation. When you offer your employees with an amazing employee experience, it gives you a competitive edge in terms of your ability to attract and retain top performers. When there is an engaged workforce, there is bound to be increased productivity, and you end up gaining human capital. This will help you establish yourself in the market as a great place to work.
Build a workplace for the future
One of the challenges that organisations face is to adapt to volatile technologies and to build an environment which will attract the present day generation. In order to create an experiential workplace, you need to develop a continuous loop of communication and focus on the individual needs and goals of your employees. It is here that self-service HR software comes to your rescue by providing employees with the medium to give increased feedback. It also facilitates them to chart out their personal development along with inputs from their respective managers. It empowers employees to develop better relationships with their colleagues and also helps them to feel more invested in an organization.
An experiential workplace is all about focusing on each individual and how it manages interaction between the organisation and the people in and around them. Experiences shape how you view individuals and if you wish to spend time with them. Same is the case with employee experience.
Hence HR needs to develop an environment which offers a positive employee experience, provide apt strategies to its existing and future employees, and build a culture that supports this.
Human Resource function has been under incredible pressure with the expectation of delivering a framework of actionable insights and, data analysis right across the organisation. The primary challenge is that they are under-resourced and subsequently under-invested in technology which could support this framework. As a result, most HR executives cannot present core HR data about the overall health of their organisation.
While core reporting is essential, it’s simply not deep enough for managers and HR to make informed choices. The goal is what is known as ‘people analytics’. People analytics connects and aligns HR data to the overall business goal in a manner that facilitates meaningful, proactive, and forward-looking actions.
Th first step in getting a people analytics framework live is to have the data infrastructure in place which offers basic reporting. The ability to present a report on metrics such as headcount, turnover and time to fill acts as a precursor to other value-added activities such as being able to predict what is the reason that has led to increased turnover and recruitment delays. The only way to achieve this requires an investment in HR software that supports in-depth analysis and better, faster decision making.
Flexibility and Reliability
Quite a few organisations still don’t realise the significance of having readily available, high quality of HR data. In these environments you find business analysts trying to pull data from disparate sources and systems of truth. The business analysts then translate this data from one system in such a manner which makes it compatible with the data derived from other systems. The outcome of such data analysis is a fragmented, makeshift set of systems which seems to be incompatible with end-user experience as well as data security. Hence, such data analysis is often considered to be unreliable, as it requires a level of manipulation and translation making it prone to errors. Also, the data output derived in this manner is found to be rather rigid. For example, an executive requires the turnover data to exclude retired employees; the business analyst needs to narrow down the dataset and re-send the results accordingly. If however, the request is of urgent nature, most of the times the analyst is unable to meet the deadline. Hence the data is ‘inflexible’ since it needs human intervention. In such circumstances, the HR systems strive to do away with the human element from data analysis to streamline the process of achieving insights and making it even more reliable. This becomes feasible since the HR system itself is the source of data. Instead of needing to ask a business analyst to split data in a particular manner, a HR system facilitates the user to perform that particular action with a higher level of data accuracy and efficiency as well. It also makes it much more likely for executive level users to be able to utilise that information.
Integration into your business Ecosystem
Most organisations are already across the integration of their HR business processes. For instance, an integration that involves an HR system and says background checking seems to be quite common in a new hiring process. However, over and above the transactional administration of HR processing, integration of data is equally important. Data integration delivers an aggregation of human resources information derived from several sources as opposed to a business process based out of a single system that kicks off a business process in another system.
In this scenario where a user is pulling data from multiple sources and aggregating it into meaningful insight, an integrator is a person. This poses several limitations whenever people serve as data managers. Contractors or employees prove to be an expensive resource and are also prone to making errors with time constraints. In fact, a better use of people in a business context is as data interpreters instead of acting as data managers.
When the HR function reaches the point where it is able to successfully automate data integration between HR, finance, payroll, IT, and other systems into one platform, people analytics matures into a kind of actual practice. For instance, instead of worrying about the performance of sales reps purely as a HR issue, the procurement system allows you to look into their sales performance against sales targets. This gives you a more holistic picture aligned with divisional goals and the overall financial health of the organisation.
Decisionmaking via On demand Analytics
Finally, with HR software in place, an organisation will be able to embrace people analytics thanks to the benefit of self-service. Another problem you tend to have with a person integrating HR data to create insights is that it brings about a middle-man between the data and the user. User empowerment is a concept which facilitates the end users of a system to carry out their own analysis. So instead of depending on the business analyst to include or exclude certain data in a report or dashboard, the HR user or the manager can do it all by themselves.
User empowerment works with the assumption that the user is willing to perform and is cable of carrying out certain kinds of analyses themselves which may, however, vary from person to person. However, if you assume that a particular individual wishes to have that control over the manipulation of data himself, one of the easiest answers is to provide that level of control. With the growing popularity of HR software with it becoming more user-friendly and more advanced, you will begin to see data discovery to be one of the value propositions for businesses. It will facilitate users to be able to easily navigate through information and interactively build their own reports.
Effective self-service analytics can only be feasible when human intervention while preparing HR data is removed and replaced with software integrations with other systems which house ancillary data. For instance, the territory sales data, pricing or procurement data, and shop floor data are all derived from varied sources which when integrated can produce meaningful insights.
To sum it up, in today’s era of technological environment, data seems to be all around. The challenging part is to interpret this data. So the first step towards becoming data-driven and focussing on people analytics is to depend on a single, reliable, and flexible source of data. The next step is to ensure that all primary and secondary data sources are integrated via software integrations. The final step is to empower end users by providing them appropriate security access to interpret and arrive at conclusions from this data. Without reliable, integrated, flexible, and accessible information derived from a functional HR system, people analytics will continue to be an aspiration for the organisations that are ready to make that kind of compulsory and much-needed investment.
The human resources industry has been deeply reflecting on how issues regarding culture and performance need to be handled in the workplace. As an outcome of this awareness, huge shifts are expected in the way in which technology can be utilised to identify, engage, connect, and replace people and the steps to be taken thereafter.
Until recently, the role of technology has been limited only to facilitate the daily HR tasks. However, with time, technology is now all geared up to embrace an all-inclusive role in your organisation. Listed below are the five directions in which HR is likely to evolve with technology being at the heart of each:
The US IT industry mainly the Silicon Valley has been prevalent with accusations and counter-accusations related to bias at the workplace. The quite obvious question that is looming large on the psyche of the HR managers is how to deal with and minimise such controversies. To deal with it, a lot of organisations seemed to have adopted the practice of blind hiring.
In a typical interview process and screening, recruiters seem to become biased based on the information about a candidate’s background, gender, age, race, and sometimes even the candidate’s alma mater. Another example is the film industry which has been under immense pressure to ensure good representation at the time of the casting process.
In a blind hiring process, resumes of candidates are stripped of demographic data. This ensures that the primary screening process will be strictly carried out by the candidate’s level of skill and abilities and achievements. Also, a lot of organisations which utilise the HR software goes a step further to automate the screening process and makes the candidate anonymous. The outcome of this process of screening is an increasingly diversified staff which is recruited purely by merit instead of rapport or bias which usually occurs at the time of screening of candidates.
Headhunters seem to always to have a preference of targeting passive candidates. However, nowadays the recruitment process entails much more than merely reviewing resumes of candidates on a company’s career website. Recruiters nowadays largely depend on social media to get in touch with candidates directly.
Similarly, recruiters also resort to online communication methods such as hashtags and sub-forums to identify talent pools. When these candidates are engaged either as groups or individuals based on the platform, headhunters get a clear idea of their potential candidates and whether these candidates are all set to make a career change.
A Remote Workforce
Working remotely primarily entails working from the comforts of your home, or coffee shop or even a co-working space is an increasingly popular trend these days. In the last two decades, the amount of employees who work under some form of telecommuting arrangement seems to have increased over the years. The contributing factor towards this is the progress made in the field of VPN technology. This technology facilitates remote employees to easily access their organisation’s systems irrespective of the location which has a good internet connection. As an outcome, organisations can now quickly hire talent from across locations all over the world. In fact, of startups these days function with remote teams.
This concept of remote working provides HR managers with access to a larger and growing resource pool. By offering the present employees with the remote working option, organisations can retain their employees and enhance their job satisfaction level by providing an improved work-life balance. Moreover, with the evolution of collaboration tools such as video conferencing, this trend of remote working continues to grow.
Politicians seem to be making promises regarding increasing the number of manual labour jobs, particularly in the manufacturing industry. However, the harsh reality is that of the few jobs that are left; they may not survive long owing to organisations opting for automation technology. A lot of industrial working environments are witnessing the growing trend of artificial intelligence which is replacing humans slowly.
In the recent years the intellectual capacity of predictive analysis seems to have greatly increased. This brought about radical shifts in the manufacturing industry which has led to increased level of production. The rate at which manufacturers tend to adopt predictive analytics reflects the country’s performance on the modern global manufacturing scale. If they fail to make predictive analytics one of their top priorities, it results in losing opportunities and supply chain inefficiencies.
With the adoption of artificial intelligence, it has led to the creation, loss, and transformation of jobs. The demand for specific skills seems to be on the rise as HR experts expect the company employees to work along with the robots. Specific functions need to be added and removed from a lot of current jobs as algorithms have taken over routine tasks thereby freeing up human to take up creative tasks.
With growing automation, a pertinent question which arises is what needs to be done with the present workforce that is vulnerable to automation. HR managers need to identify employees who are ready to take up various aspects of jobs such as management, problem-solving, troubleshooting etc which still require a human touch. With careful planning, future-proofing staff needs to ensure that organisations need to save on transition costs about automation while making the most out of the prevailing conditions.
The latest trend of gamification has been adopted by a lot of industries in the past few years. With gamification, the concept of spinning engagement into a kind of competitive activity has proved to be quite useful in a lot of ways that entails the field of training, marketing, and even recruitment.
A lot of brands nowadays utilise gamification to promote healthy competition amongst teams, encourage loyalty amongst customers, motivate employees, and create a buzz. Various gamification techniques are available which can be easily implemented while there are others which need a high level of technical expertise and an advanced level of planning.
In the HR field, gamification has been used in the screening process where tests about cognitive abilities and important skills have been converted into a fun-filled engagement. With the help of mobile apps nowadays you can make your candidates play games which have underlying algorithms which help in generating critical analytics about the participants of the game.
Gamification benefits both the employees as well as the candidates. While the employers can tap into a lot of data which can be quite useful to determine a candidate’s weaknesses and strengths, candidates also have an incentive to participate. By participating it offers the candidates the opportunity to demonstrate their skills to their potential recruiters.
There is no doubt that these technology-centric trends are likely to have a great deal of impact on the HR industry moving forward. Artificial intelligence has already gained prominence in many industries, and its role is likely to increase in the future. Future focussed companies have already made sizeable investments towards these technologies and trends to stay ahead in the race. All of the above discussed technology trends have a learning curve associated with them. Hence it is important that the management of organisations take these trends seriously and start making immediate preparations to gear up for the future of HR.
Every transformation carries along with it a story at its backdrop. In the world of technology, change is the only constant thing. Changes come in various forms. Be it the small and medium scale organisations shifting towards automation or large scale organisations migrating their legacy systems to the cloud, and it’s all a part of change.
The question that arises here in the event of these changes is that: Do these changes take place abruptly? The answer is: Of course not! A lot of these changes begin with a dire need or one big idea. Changes of any kind need to be adequately planned. Especially in the domain of technology, the smallest of change can bring about a lot of chaos. Hence change in technology needs to be managed well.
While change management is indeed a challenging path towards the transformation of a business, it still needs to take place. The sheer fact that a lot of transformation projects encounter failure is not due to the change in technology. It is, in fact, the flawed change management processes carried out within an organisation that is responsible for these failures.
Let’s take the example of an organisation that is struggling with upgrading their HR Technology. The organisation, in this case, is not alienated to the fact that they need to support the growing workload without raising their cost margin. Since they see their business rivals transforming, they do understand that this change is the key to stay relevant in the business. Such an organisation is seen to stall when it comes to the part of actually taking steps towards unlimited scalability, agility, and reduced costs.
What’s the reason behind this stall?
While the concept of cloud computing is indeed a transformational one, but it also requires a great paradigm shift. You will be faced with the actual cost of IT and human resource savings when you begin to explore a consumption-based IT model. This can act as a red flag for the stakeholders who are quite stringent with their budgets or their jobs.
However, you can see the real bigger picture when these costs are exposed. The interesting thing here is that it is very often the things that provide the maximum business value are the ones that cost the least resources.
The fact of the matter is that humans by nature are not entirely open to change. The moment a certain change idea does not seem to suit the present mindset, we as humans tend to reject it forthright without any question. Moving forward is indeed crucial for any kind of business. The important part here is to get over this mental block on change as early as possible.
One of the ways to perceive and consider change is to consider the organization the change model. This model was developed by Kurt Lewin in the late 1940s. It is popularly known as Unfreeze – Change – Refreeze. This process utilised the example of transforming the shape of a block of ice. The amazing thing about this process is that it has relevance and holds true even in the present day scenario regarding change.
Let’s analyse this process step by step.
Unfreeze: The first phase of any change entails convincing the organisation to acknowledge the fact that change is significant. The traditional IT models need to be challenged and this transformation towards digitalisation needs to be validated, explained, and proved to all the relevant stakeholders. User stories, application stories, and system owner stories are the keys towards change management in the cloud.
Change: It is only in a perfect world scenario that his journey from unfreeze to change is likely to be painless, quick, and clear. However, you need to understand the fact that just because change is important, it is not likely that people will instantly agree to it. For an organisation to transition from a physical infrastructure based IT model to a cloud-based IT model, the technology needs to be proved, predictable, and to be able to deliver as promised without fail.
Refreeze: Transformation to the cloud digitally is predictable, agile, and flexible. Once this transformation is complete, and the new way of work has been accepted, it is time to refreeze and allow these changes to sink in and become part of day to day business.
Change management in the cloud requires a different approach to the processes. If the right path is adopted, it will help to ensure a repeatable, predictable, and scalable migration with a minimal disruption to the business.
It is a known fact that the HR team has multiple goals. However, one of the forever and significant goals of the HR department is promoting employee engagement and the performance of employees. Having said that, there are a lot of ways in which the HR department can achieve the desired results. This article discusses some of the best practices that probably every HR team can benefit from by implementing them irrespective of the exclusive culture and structure of every organisation.
2. Give Feedback Often
The action of providing feedback needs to be a more regular event instead of waiting for the annual performance review. Providing just a one-time feedback at the time of annual performance review is not enough as it lacks true context, detail and clarity. Often it comes way too late. On the other hand, when feedback is offered more frequently, it gives the employees the opportunity to make immediate changes and feel more engaged in their work. Apart from this, the trend of regular and frequent feedback makes the managers more involved in the day to day work of their respective teams. This provides them with a better insight regarding the progress of their employees and allows them to sharpen the details which tend to get overlooked when feedback is not offered so regularly.
We all know the wonders that employee appreciation can bring regarding improving the employee engagement level as well as to the overall work environment. While every employee expects a fat paycheck, but that is not the whole and sole motivating factor when it comes to engaging employees. One of the surveys conducted revealed that around 75% of employees are of the opinion that a mere verbal “thank you” added a spark to their confidence in their own skills at work. This clear-cut cut indication of the significance of a simple appreciation gesture that goes a long way in increasing employee retention and satisfaction.
3. Invest In Employee Development
Investing towards the career growth and development of your employees is certainly a win-win investment by all means. Employees attach a lot of importance when their respective organisations take a lot of initiative regarding training and development to improve their skills and promote their growth within the organisation. Career advancement has in fact proved to be one of the top non-financial motivators for employees.
4. Train in every way
Training has always played a crucial role in getting new talent. In fact, surveys have revealed that around 56% of managers consider it to be quite significant for business. However, despite its significance, only around 38% of managers feel that the training programs have been able to meet the learning needs of their employees. So, this calls for an initiative to steer away from the traditional classroom level training and adopt a more innovative approach towards promoting learning. By adopting a collaborative approach towards training with the help of mentorships, all kinds of learning styles taken into consideration and thus retention is not hindered.
5. Focus on Employee Experience
It is very important to give a certain level of attention to the experience level of applicants or candidates regarding the skills and talent that they possess. In case you have not given some real thought to the experience level of your hires, there is a high chance of you missing out on employees with an amazing level of talent and expertise.
6. Make Satisfaction a Transaction
Satisfaction is something that both employees and leadership play an equal role in achieving. It is important to seek both positive and negative feedback at regular intervals by rolling out employee satisfaction surveys or by gathering direct feedback from employees regarding their concerns at the time of performance reviews. It is very important to build a transparent work culture so that employees are comfortable to openly share their insights and feelings and also receive the same from the leadership.
7. Be Flexible
One of the surveys revealed that around 89% of HR professionals indicated that employee retention increased considerably after they implemented flexible working arrangements across the company irrespective of the level of employees.
The above-mentioned HR best practices are just for your guidance. Human Resources is an ever-evolving workforce, and you can always modify these best practices to suit the unique needs of your respective organisations and build strategies that support the organisational principles and goals.
While a lot of employees truly wish their company to succeed, the fact remains that these best intentions need to be properly aligned to connect them to your organisation’s mission. If these best of intentions are not directed properly, all that remains is sheer noise which does nothing but hinders the progress of your company. To connect your employees with the company’s mission, clearly guided by its strong values and principles, follow the steps given below:
1. Invest time in developing your mission
A company’s mission states its purpose, and therefore it needs to stand the test of time. But that doesn’t mean your mission statement needs to be boring. In fact, a well-crafted mission statement helps to unite the employees of an organisation towards achieving a common goal. As you sit down to frame the mission statement of your organisation, first and foremost you should consider what is it that sets your company apart from your competitors? Why are you different? For instance, is it the quality of your products, the world-class customer service, your communication style, or your involvement in community mission?
Let’s take a look at the mission statement of Starbucks: “To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup, and one neighbourhood at a time”. If you carefully read its mission statement, you will realise that its mission is not just to prepare the best coffee or to simply sell maximum coffee. In fact, it is much more ambitious and aims to form a humanitarian connection with its customers via coffee. This mission statement helps its employees to focus towards creating an amazing customer experience above everything else.
2. Narrow your vision
People often tend to confuse between mission statements and vision. The mission statement presents the overall picture, and hence it is lofty and broad in nature. The vision statement, on the other hand, trims it down. A vision statement encompasses what you wish to achieve, the goals, the strategic direction, and the tentative timeline. A vision statement is measurable.
Let’s take a look at Toyota’s vision statement: “Toyota will lead the way of the future of mobility, enriching lives around the world with the safest and most responsible ways of moving people”. You should frame your vision statement in such a manner that it easily explains your business decisions to your employees. In the above example of Toyota, the vision statement clarifies to its employees why they design and make a product in a certain manner so that their products are safe and responsible. It also explains why a quick turnaround time is needed so that they can be the leaders in their industry. However, you need to remember that unlike the mission, a vision statement may change over time. Hence, leaders need to revisit it at regular intervals to ensure that it stays current and still makes sense.
3. Communicate your values
You need to be aware of the fact that just as your vision supports your mission, cultural values to help you to achieve your vision. A good value statement clearly defines the behavioural expectations from its employees. It explains how it wants its employees to project themselves at work. Let’s take a look at a good value statement: “It is ok to disagree, but it is not ok to be disagreeable”. This value statement clearly communicates to its employees that you certainly need and welcome their opinion, but it also clearly states that you expect them to be respectful at the same time.
4. Align employees with your mission
If an organisation fails to align itself with its mission, the outcome will be some employees working towards one thing while others working towards another thing. For instance, a manufacturing team may end up purchasing a new and expensive machinery for a new product, while the vision and mission of the company are directed towards an existing product. This kind of misalignment may cause your company to lose out on a significant portion of your capital. Hence, it is the duty of the leaders to ensure that its employees’ contribution supports their mission as well as their vision. While the role of the finance team will be different than the sales team, yet each team needs to be aware of what their share of work is and how it impacts the bigger picture. This will help both these teams make appropriate decisions.
5. Keep your mission, values, and vision Focussed
After you roll out your new mission, vision, and values, follow the below-mentioned pointers to keep them centred:
Engagement surveys: Roll out an employee engagement survey and ask alignment centric questions about your mission, vision, and values. For instance, if you find inconsistencies or inaccuracies in the answers of your employees, you would need to help them to understand the same correctly and explain to them how they can contribute.
Figure out what’s working and what not: You will notice that when you outline the mission of your company, everyone and everything start heading towards one direction. Thus it becomes easier to figure out what is working for you and what isn’t. It indirectly helps in your decision making.
Hold company-wide, town hall meetings: To keep your employees engaged, it is important that you share at regular intervals how your organisation is making an effort to reach its mission and vision. Research suggests an organisation which is well-informed top-down is found to be much more engaged, productive and happier.
Make goals relevant to your employees: Managers should make an effort to meet the employees to analyse how they are helping in achieving the company’s vision and mission. By doing this, managers can make the vision and mission more relevant to their employees. When employees understand their role in the company’s mission, they tend to find their work more meaningful and thus are likely to be more engaged.
Conduct regular meeting with your direct reports: As a manager, if you conduct regular 1:1, weekly or monthly meetings with your direct reports, it will help in developing a healthy & open relationship. These regular check-ins, ensure your direct reports are not out of alignment until it’s too late during the annual performance review.
Use the company’s mission and vision to have difficult conversations with your direct reports: Always take the help of your company’s vision or mission statement when you need to have difficult interviews with your employees. For instance, if you figure out instances where poor quality products were rolled out to customers, you can drive the attention of your employees towards your mission or vision statement which clearly states the significance of delivering quality products to customers.
Reward and recognise employees for good work: Always ensure that you reward your employees duly for their good work from time to time. Ensure to link the rewards to your company’s mission and vision. For instance, if client retention is a key element of your mission and vision, then you need to recognise and reward an employee who did everything possible to retain an important client during a challenging situation!
In today’s business ecosystem, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is transforming the HR function. There has been an influx of HR tools regarding applying machine learning and artificial intelligence to solve people issues in the workplace. In fact, organisations which are prompt in accepting and adapting to continuous change and are focused towards decentralisation, utilising technology optimally, are the ones who are more likely to win.
Higher the Risk, Higher Reward
AI and machine learning are just tools at the end of the day. So, like any other tool, it has both positive and negative impacts based on how you use them. If you configure or utilise them without thought, they can damage your culture or your processes. This is primarily a risk for those HR professionals who are not so much familiar with the underlying mechanics.
To deal with this, a well-seasoned HR pro is one who ensures that they comprehend the problem well before trying to solving it. Once you have figured out what the problem is, you need to question yourself if you really need the help of these technology tools to solve the issue at hand. You need to challenge yourself if applying these tech-oriented tools would make things simpler for you and enable you to remain free to solve other crucial issues. You should also ask yourself if you can solve this problem with the help of existing technology or if you can adopt a different approach to the work that you are already doing.
However, if you think that you do need to take the support of AI to solve the problem in hand, it is important that you educate yourself regarding the strengths and weaknesses of applying AI. It would be a good idea if you take the advice and expertise of your professional network both within and outside the company and ask them to review the tools that you are planning to use. If you can utilise AI correctly, it can save a lot of your time and energy and help to transform the HR function strategically.
The Right Tools for the Right Kind of Problems
A problem is not the same in nature. Likewise, all types of algorithms are not good at solving them. Hence, you need to ensure that the problem that you have in hand is well suited for applying AI.
Algorithms are not suitable for the following situations:
Problems where there is very less data generation or where the data is a poor proxy regarding real-world behaviours or outcomes.
Problems where the underlying set of data is in a highly biased form.
Problems that need value-based judgments.
Algorithms, on the other hand, are well suitable for the following situations:
Problems where all the relevant data is available and that data is directly relevant to the type of outcome or behaviour that you may be interested in.
Problems where the patterns that you are looking out for are either consistent over a time period or are predictable.
However, you must remember that AI is not always handy to up-skill your employees. So if you opt to simply automate the processes, it may not result in the expected outcome. If you are anticipating behavioural changes, you need to tech that can help your employees learn. Research suggests that tech-based feedback is, in fact, most effective for solving behavioural issues as this kind of feedback is specific, timely, and actionable.
Do your Homework
It is very important that you must do your homework well before you decide to purchase HR AI-based tools. Try to find out how these models were developed and what kind of implications these development choices are likely to have on the HR function. You must also try to find out the data set that was used to ‘train’ the algorithm. Try to figure out what kind of potential bias may be present in that data and how did the model correct it. You should also try to figure out how this model evolved.
Undoubtedly, both machine learning and AI have the potential to significantly change the HR function. If you utilise AI to fast-track the positive impact that is already in motion, the technology-based changes can be reinforced by other types of strategic programs that are already being implemented.
While ‘business strategy’ may be a cool buzz word that people like to use nowadays, ‘strategy’ is one of the most misused or somewhat overused words in business. The reality is, the majority of people who use this term randomly, are not aware of what all strategy entails or they don’t understand the underlying business strategy principles.
Listed below are seven crucial business strategy principles that every business leader needs to know.
Always strive to compete to be unique..not just the best. One of the common misconceptions that people have regarding strategy is that you need to be the best in business. Leaders compare competition in the world of business to sports where there is only one winner. However, the fact is that competing in business is more complex. There may be several winners unlike sports, and within one industry you may have several organisations beating the industry average with a unique and different value proposition. So the worst business strategy that you can have is to look out for the biggest player in the industry and try to follow/copy whatever they are doing. But if you do take the imitate approach, iterate, improve and do it better!
Compete for profit. Business is not about growing rapidly or about having one of the largest market shares. It is in fact all about making profits. Growth in business is not a strategy; it is an outcome. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t utilise this term, ‘growth’. For instance, you can utilise it in the context of analysis, when you speak about areas of growth in business or when you seek for growth platforms.
Learn about your industry before developing a business strategy. Every industry has its unique structure and characteristics. These two factors determine your organisation’s profitability within the industry. Some industries have a higher level of return compared to others. So the better you understand and know your industry, the higher the chances for you to be able to determine the elements that will make you stand out, reap higher returns, and be unique.
Be clear with choices. This is one of the most simple but an important business strategy. You must be absolutely clear about who is your customer and how you are going to serve them. You need to have a unique value proposition for a particular customer segment and strive to develop unique activities in the value chain to serve them in the best possible manner. It’s all about making the right choices. You cannot please everyone. Less is more. So it is wise to target a limited segment of potential buyers and tailor your activities in such a manner that it addresses their demands or needs exceptionally well.
A good business strategy can say ‘No’ at times. If you have a clear value proposition to service a certain client segment with a unique set of activities in your value chain, you may often come across multiple things which you are probably not going to work but appear profitable. For instance, there may be certain customers or client segments that you won’t serve, certain range of products/services that you won’t offer, or certain activities that you won’t perform. So while strategising, selecting what not to do is also equally important. Hence, every business strategy needs to have a section where it defines the NO GO.
A good business strategy is one that needs you to keep moving. In the business world, everything evolves – be it the needs/ behaviours of customers, technology, or the move of competitors. Hence, in order to determine the way ahead for your organisation, you should be able to predict these trends and evolutions and incorporate the same into your business strategy. If you fail to do this, you may get into trouble, be left behind, or even miss out on a new change in the industry.. A bit like a Kodak’s not so glorious moment ignoring digital.
Scenario-based thinking is an important business tool. In business you should be able to translate data into assumptions that will help to boost your reflection process. One of the ways to work with assumptions in a structured manner is to resort to scenario-based thinking. You can achieve this by fixing some parameters and let some to vary. By offering you possible future strategic options for your company, this technique will help your reflection process. It is an important skill for anyone who wishes to deal with business strategy. Every business leader needs to learn at least the basics of scenario-based thinking so that they don’t need a strategy consultant for every small reflection process.
In today’s rapidly changing workplace, HR professionals are exploring the prospect of applying the Agile Methodologies to the people management processes. Since its inception in the year 2001 by a small group of software professionals, the agile software movement has emerged as one of the most popular approaches, with approx 94% of software companies claiming to follow the agile methodology.
The success of agile methodology lies in the fact that it promotes faster, iterative, cost-effective, and more customer-centric software. Hence, it garnered attention in almost every industry such as accounting, manufacturing, and marketing to name a few. Similarly, agile HR is slowly gaining popularity as an effective means of keeping the organisation aligned with today’s talent requirements and to stay on trend.
The Story of Agile HR
In 2012, during a Deloitte annual HR conference, Josh Bersin managed to draw people’s attention specifically towards the fact as to how the HR function can contribute towards building an agile workplace. According to Bersin, the principles of Agile Methodology can aid in the process of continuous learning, having transparent HR processes using which organisations can develop, attract, and engage talent efficiently, under continuous talent acquisition.
Global markets are characterised by the VUCA vortex. The term VUCA vortex was first used by the military in the United States. It is used to describe volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity (VUCA) that characterise the present day global market scenario. As per the VUCA vortex, it is imperative for businesses to be prompt in response and quick on their feet, as the market scenario is subject to frequent and unexpected changes. If business plans are not flexible and hierarchies are rigid, they would not work in the VUCA vortex, as such characteristics will only end up wasting time, preventing innovation, and restricting organisations from taking advantage of new opportunities.
When agile principles are applied to the HR function, it promotes a change of focus from imposing standards and controls to fostering enhanced innovation and collaboration. Let’s take a look at a comparative analysis of traditional HR versus agile HR to figure out how agile methodologies can influence key areas of HR.
Follows a remedial approach to learning
According to traditional HR, when an employee underperforms in their present role, or prepare for an upcoming new role, they are assigned to training that will help them to achieve a specific level of performance
Stuck in a recruitment mindset
As per traditional HR, as soon as a job becomes available, they begin the search for candidates to fill the position. As soon as they find the best candidate, the talent acquisition process ends then and there.
Opaque talent processes
As per traditional HR, the telent aquisition and development processes are inaccessible and are considered proprietary IP.
Built around siloed objectives
Traditional HR jobs are considered to be distinct entities within a complex system. It believed that job requirements pertain to specific workplace tasks.
Known for implementing systems
Traditional HR carefully researches, resource, and deploy large scale technology systems over a duration of many months or years.
Focuses on record keeping
Traditional HR relies on the files of employees and the records of HR initiatives to track the progress of employees and make a note of issues. They measure the success of HR based on the completeness of the documentation of records at their end.
Adopts a continuous learning environment
According to Agile HR, a multitude of opportunities are provided to employees so that they can learn and stretch their limits independent of any specific goal about their job.
Offers transparent access to talent information
Agile HR facilitates talent management which empowers employees to be in charge of their development. Employees are given equal scope to be active participants in talent acquisition, development, and evaluation processes.
Believes in continuous talent acquisition
Agile HR continually invests in the employer brand and continuously cultivate the present ongoing talent relationships across various channels.
Has a unified mission and values
All positions are directly aligned with the mission, vision, and values of the organisation. It stresses the need for all the employees to comprehend how their on-job performance supports these elements regarding the overall organisational culture.
Known for piloting small initiatives
Agile HR is known for testing small-scale initiatives within a business unit or a specific team. They gather early feedback from employees to figure out if the pilot initiative needs to be expanded or does it need to be scrapped altogether.
Focuses on employee engagement
Agile HR focuses on employee engagement, across all engagement pillars, to encourage collaboration and enhance the level of self-motivation of employees. It measures HR success in terms of employee retention, innovation, level of employee satisfaction, and overall organisational trust and goodwill.
Once Agile HR is embraced, the HR function to create a more flexible organisation with the required amount of openness and agility needed to safeguard against the realities VUCA vortex. However, this transition from traditional HR to Agile HR is indeed a significant huge change. Before implementing Agile HR, it is important to consider the following factors:
Do you have the organisational culture that believes in prioritising employee engagement and has complete trust in its employees?
Is your HR department that is prepared to give up control.
Does your workforce believes in taking more responsibilities and it also needs the organisation to support them when they do so.