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Are you looking for the best HR software for your business?

When considering whether to ditch the disconnected spreadsheets in favour of a joined up HR software system, or even switch from one vendor to another, the CIPD HR Software Show is a great place to start. The event is taking place this Wednesday and Thursday, and it’s free to attend!

But, even niche expos like the HR Software Show, can be bit overwhelming, especially if you plan to take advantage of the learning sessions, and visit the vendor stands.

Here are a few tips to help you get the most from your time out of the office:

Know what you’re looking for

The HR software industry is going through a massive change at the moment thanks to the rise of cost-effective, connected Cloud and mobile technologies. Some HR software suppliers have already seized the opportunity to invest in redeveloping their solutions for the new digital world – others have preferred to stick with their older platforms, but added a web front end.

Older systems usually have more features, while newer systems are often cheaper to run and offer more potential for future growth. That means you not only need to consider the HR features you are looking for, but how secure you feel about your choice of technology platform and supplier.

Have a check list

Naturally, it’s important that the system has the features you are looking for, and is appropriate to your size of company and the budget you have available.

Taking a few minutes before the event to equip yourself with a list of your key requirements, so you can check them off as you talk to the different suppliers make it much simpler for you to make comparisons after the event, so you know who you want to talk to again.

The show is the perfect opportunity to quiz vendors about key aspects of their solution and service that you won’t always find on their websites. Good questions to ask include:

You may also want to cover questions around device compatibility (is it designed for PCs, Macs, tablets and smart phones), and security, such as where your HR data is hosted, how access to data is controlled, whether you can make use of single sign on, dual authentication or other approaches your IT team may insist on.

Avoid the Crowds

By the way… have you registered for the event yet? It’s easy to do, and it will guarantee your place at the show.

In our experience, the show can get busy very quickly. Getting there when the doors open (9:30am, both days) is a great way to get some alone time with the vendors—rather than going from crowded stand to crowded stand and not reaping the full benefit of the day.

Plan your time

Navigating your way through London Olympia can be pretty exhausting at times—especially when you have the Recruitment Exhibition happening side-by-side with the HR Software Show, and showcase presentation areas on opposite sides.

Prepare your day in advance by deciding which vendors you plan to visit, and which free learning sessions you’d like to attend. There are plenty of sessions to choose from over the two days—ranging in topic from technology platforms and the benefits of the Cloud, to performance management and recruitment. At 3:30pm on the Thursday, HR consultant Mike Kealey will be sharing his wisdom on how to get the most out of your HR technology – a session that will be relevant to anyone looking to take advantage of the Cloud. It’s certainly not one to miss!

If you are looking for a quick demo at the show, some of the exhibitors let you reserve slots in advance, either through the CIPD website, or direct. You can book your appointment with Cezanne HR here.

Come prepared

As conversations with different suppliers can quickly merge into one, it makes sense to have pen, notebook, and somewhere to keep all your newly collected product brochures, so you can keep track of first impressions and the information you gathered. Also, seating areas are in short supply, so shoes that you can walk in all day are key—and don’t forget your fitbit! There always seems to be more walking and standing involved than one would think.

The coffee and lunch options within the building can often become over-crowded in the middle of the day. If it becomes too much, why not pop across the road to one of the local coffee shops and cafes in the area.

Can’t spend the day out of the office? If you aren’t able to make it to the HR Software Show, then an online demo is always a good alternative. Most vendors are happy to take you through a personalised tour of their system over the internet, so you don’t even have to leave your office.

The post Tips for getting the most out of the CIPD HR software show 2018 appeared first on Cezanne HR.

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The summer holiday season is fast approaching and the avalanche of requests for annual leave are hitting manager’s desks.

It can be a challenging time of year for the HR team – who are often in the front line when it comes to dealing with last-minute staff shortages or calming disgruntled employees who have had holiday requests turned down.

Of course HR people need to be able to take holidays themselves too. So what’s the best way to make sure that the wheels keep turning smoothly while you’re away?

Here are some of the key things you need to consider if you want to avoid panicked emails and be able to happily switch your phone off while poolside:

Give the business plenty of notice

If you’re working in a smaller business – and particularly if you are the only HR person – make sure you give everyone advance warning of your holiday dates. That way, if the board has any urgent requests for HR data, or managers are planning to make any changes that will affect payroll, they will know to contact you well in advance.

Policies

Often HR get bombarded with questions which are quite easily answered by referring to policy documents. Most HR software systems provide a central portal where all policies and processes can be easily accessed. Make sure your policies on sick leave, disciplinary and grievance, health and safety are up to date and that everyone knows where to find them.

Encourage early holiday requests

It’s worth reminding line managers to encourage their team to get holiday dates in early, particularly if they are working in areas where there are rules about when leave can be taken or if colleagues are not allowed to be off at the same time. It’s easy for bad feelings about a holiday refusal to cause conflict and tension in the team – if everyone knows where they stand (and have been reminded) there will be no nasty surprises or ill will.

Keep tabs on key dates

Make sure you are aware of any key dates that will fall while you are away. Are there new people due to join, for example, or are probation periods coming to an end? Other dates you might like to look out for could be the start or finish of maternity leave, mandatory training falling due or visa renewals coming up for non-UK employees. If you have an automated HR system it can be set up to remind you when actions are due so that you can plan ahead.

Recruitment

With graduates flooding onto the market in July, it can be a good time for companies to pick up new, talented employees. There’s no sense in launching a recruitment drive, however, if key people are not going to be around to follow through on applications. In a competitive recruitment market, good candidates won’t hang around for long. Make sure recruiting managers have taken the holiday dates of key people involved in the interviewing and decision process into account so that they can plan accordingly.

Remind employees about self service

If you have an automated HR system, it’s probably a good idea to remind employees about the self-service options available to them before you head off on your holiday. Most systems have a place where you can store all of your important documents, which employees are access and help themselves to find answers to any questions they might have. Systems like Cezanne HR also allow employees to log sickness absence, request holidays and enter changes of address or phone number. A timely reminder of what employees can do for themselves could save an overflowing inbox on your return.

Subject access requests

The GDPR has put a new onus on organisations to respond to subject access requests much faster than in the past. To avoid panic setting in if a request arrives while you’re away, make sure you’ve done a dummy run and documented where you store employee data and any other information you may need to provide. You can find some further guidance on these requests and the relevant timescales here, so that it can be pulled together in the relevant time period if required.

Have an emergency plan in place

There’s an unwritten rule that says the worst generally happens when HR isn’t around. Make sure there is a fall-back plan in place so that if something serious happens in your absence, managers know who they should contact – whether that’s the CEO, a legal helpline or outsourced HR support.

The post 7 things HR need to do before they go on holiday appeared first on Cezanne HR.

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a) Actual conversation:

Manager to HR Manager: “It must be coming up for Smith’s three-month probation soon”

HR Manager: “Let me check”

A while later, HR Manager: “Actually the date passed 10 days ago. For some reason it didn’t get picked up in the diary”

Manager: “ Well, not to bother. I’ve been very busy lately and haven’t had a chance to assess him. Let’s extend the probation period by a month”

Hard to believe, but I have heard various versions of this over the years. And I have personally experienced something very similar to the following more than a few times.

b) The Marketing Manager who had to use one of the meeting rooms as an office, because no one had advised the Facilities people that she was coming.

c) The Credit Controller who couldn’t access the accounts payable system because the computer department hadn’t set up a system ID for him.

All of the above have two very important issues in common; first, that diary and other informal “reminder” systems are very prone to letting things fall down between the cracks, and secondly, the initial experiences of the new recruits can be described as nothing short of dire. After going through the hoops and expense of identifying and selecting these future stars, the employer has now totally given out the wrong welcoming message.

The simple solution to all these headaches is to be found in your HR system, in the form of what are known as Automatic Trigger or Notifications. This feature can generate an email, system message or SMS in response to changes in data.

A typical example would be when a new employee is entered on the HR database prior to their start date, the configured notification would generate a series of alerts to:

• Advise Security & Switchboard of the arriving newcomer, name, position and department;
• Advise the computer department to create an ID and login;
• Advise the Office Manager of the establishment requirement, as well as provision of car, mobile phone, laptop, where appropriate;
• Later on, at a specified time, e.g. 2 weeks before probation end, advise both starter and hiring manager that there needs to be an assessment on the due date.

We can see that this small adjustment can mean a world of difference to someone in their first days with the organisation, or The Employee Experience as it is now termed. You can go even further with your notifications if you wish: advising your pension providers, medical insurers, and the payroll department if your system is not integrated.

I am a great fan of Notifications, and count them among my Big Five benefits of an HR system* (see below), as not only do they streamline administration but also go a long way towards suppressing errors and oversights. Look again at your onboarding processes from a new starter point of view, and use your technology to make those important first Impressions favourable and lasting.

*The Big Five
• Self Service
• Work Flow
• Report writer
• Automatic Triggers / Notifications
• Organisation Charts

Denis Barnard is acknowledged to be a leading expert in the selection of HR & payroll systems, and other HRIS, both inside and outside the UK.

He has been instrumental in leading successful selection and implementation projects in a wide range of sectors, including local government, Higher Education, publishing, music industry and manufacturing.

His recently-published book “Selecting and implementing HR & payroll software“Selecting and implementing HR & payroll software” has been acclaimed by leading HR practitioners.

The post Notifications: One of the ‘Big Five Benefits’ of using an HR system appeared first on Cezanne HR.

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Most HR practitioners would acknowledge that embracing HR software has made a real difference to their daily working lives.

Gone are the days of endless requests from employees about how much holiday they have left, of hours spent manually compiling headcount reports for the board and of chasing round the building nudging managers to complete performance reviews.

But although automated systems have undoubtedly taken much of the administrative burden away from HR teams, many are still not using the software to its full potential – and in particular are not exploiting the capability it has to support the more strategic aspects of their work.

Today’s HR platforms are a treasure trove of information that HR can use to unearth hidden risks, support workforce planning and inform strategic decisions. The data these systems hold give HR the ability to increase its influence in the boardroom and make a real impact on everything from engagement to productivity across the business.

So what are some of the key questions your HR system could help you answer?

1. Is your performance management up to scratch?

The performance management module of your HR system can give you a fascinating glimpse into the way managers are leading their teams. What kind of targets and objectives are they setting for their people? How often are these being revisited and adjusted in line with changing business priorities? What support are managers offering to help people meet their goals and fulfil their potential? Taking the time to look at how managers are using appraisals and what kind of information they are recording can help you unearth good practice – and also raise a flag if it’s clear that managers are only paying lip service to the performance management process and may need some support.

2. Where are your critical skills gaps?

A good HR system can give you a helicopter view of the skills available across the business. The picture it paints may sometimes be surprising. Maybe you were under the impression that you had a strong cohort of staff skilled in a particular IT application – only to find on closer inspection that many of the employees with that expertise have now left. Perhaps the business is expanding into new territory overseas and the necessary language skills are sadly lacking? On the upside, you could equally find that there are employees with ‘hidden’ skills that they are not using in their current role, but which could be really valuable to the business. Mapping skills against business priorities means you will be able to make better decisions about use of your training budget and are less likely to find yourself having to recruit staff at great expense because you haven’t spotted a skills shortage on the horizon.

3. How engaged are your people?

The annual employee engagement survey only ever provides a partial picture of what engagement is really like in the business. People don’t always answer the questions truthfully and response rates can be low. Hidden in your HR system, however, are many clues to how people are really feeling about the company and their jobs. Are sickness rates spiralling overall compared to last year, pointing to a possible problem with overload and stress? Is short term absence becoming an issue in a particular area of the business, suggesting people are becoming disengaged with their work or manager? What story are retention rates telling you about the business as a whole or a particular department? Looking closely at the data housed in your system can help you spot warning signs that all may not be well and can inform initiatives to improve motivation and commitment.

4. How sound are your succession plans?

Companies often think they have their succession sorted. Everyone knows who’s in the talent pool, even if it’s not overtly been said. There are names on the ‘list’ for the key roles and development plans are in place for the high flyers. Dig a bit deeper, however, and you may find that all is not as rosy as it may appear on the surface. The person who is earmarked for the next big operational role may be looking to retire earlier than expected. The ‘one to watch’ for the next big overseas assignment may actually be considering leaving to set up their own business. It’s not uncommon to find a succession plan where the same two or three people have been identified as successors for several critical roles, leaving the business seriously at risk. Interrogating the data in the succession planning module of your HR software system will help you get a clear picture of who’s ready now, whose development may need to be accelerated and whether there are any roles where the business is leaving itself vulnerable due to flight risk or lack of knowledge about an employee’s aspirations.

The post Key questions your HR system can help you answer appeared first on Cezanne HR.

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As a HR practitioner, you know that having a never-ending list of things to do is part and parcel of the job. Chances are you’re at the front line of ensuring a host of essential people-related activities get completed on time. It can be exhausting for even the most experienced HR professionals.

Did you remember to make sure that the head of IT knows that Harry needs an email and PC set up for when he starts? Or the sales director needs to decide whether Frank fits the bill before his probation period expires? And what about Sarah’s visa? With everyone so busy, important emails are missed, scribbles on paper get lost in the desk clutter, and vital processes are forgotten about. Before you know it, Harry’s email-less, Frank isn’t going to stay but you still need to pay the full recruitment fees, and Sarah’s right to work has expired…

You’ve been there before, which is why you’ve probably got a comprehensive set of tasks lists for every occasion. The trouble is, how to you make sure everyone else is on track too!

That’s where Cezanne HR’s new Onboarding and Employee Lifecycle module can help. It allows you to set up as many different task lists as you like, each with their own activities, participants and due dates. Simply starting an event, like a new joiner, triggers the associated notifications, so everyone knows what they need to do without you having to do a thing! With everything managed centrally, you’ll have immediate visibility over the status of all the tasks, and participants benefit from automated reminders to complete tasks, meaning important actions are less likely to be forgotten about across the business.
We’ve identified together five essential task lists that Cezanne HR can help you automate.

1. Onboarding

Having an effective onboarding programme goes a long way in setting up your new employees, and therefore your business, for success.

But onboarding new hires comes with a heap of admin that HR have to keep on top of. By creating a new joiner task list, you can make sure that all important administrative and compliance processes get completed. This could include: letting your new joiner know what information you need from them before they start, such as references and right to work details; kicking off payroll processes, arranging health and safety training – and of course, ensuring that they have the equipment they need to do their job in place on their first day.

The importance of cultural onboarding should not be underestimated either, so why not include tasks to remind yourself to ensure a buddy is in place; and that their new line manager knows to show them round the office, or to schedule a welcome lunch for them in their first week. The new hire will feel looked after, and more at ease with your company.

2. Offboarding

The responsibility for managing leavers also often falls into HR’s lap. By automating task lists to remind colleagues to schedule exit interviews, shut down emails, delete logins, collect any devices (phones, tablets etc), calculate outstanding loans or holiday entitlements, confirm their last pay cheque, etc., you can ensure it is a smooth process for everyone involved.

As the custodian of your company’s brand, you’ll want your leaving employees to look back on their employment with your company fondly, especially as it’s so easy for past employees to leave negative reviews online following poor experiences with employers. The task list templates you set up in Cezanne HR can be easily tailored to reflect specific circumstances. For example, to remind a senior manager that it’s a long-standing employees’ last day, so they can stop by to say thanks.

3. Return to work

Automated task lists can come in handy when an employee comes back to work after an extended period of absence. Maybe they’ve just been out of the loop for a while, so scheduling a return to work meeting with their line manager, a refresh of health and safety or data protection training, plus perhaps a couple of check-in sessions with HR, can be an effective way to integrate them back into the company.

If a lot has changed while they’ve been away, or there are new factors to take into account, like a change in health status, check lists can be incredibly useful – even if only as a framework that you can tailor to individual employee needs.

For example, you could set-up a task list that‘s specifically focused on assessing – and adjusting – the work environment to accommodate disabled employees; like adapting desks, chairs or keyboards, moving the work station to a more accessible space, or installing a ramp if the employee is in a wheelchair. Or you may want to remind line managers to reallocate some of the employee’s workload to make their return easier, or to change their working hours to accommodate medical appointments.

4. Relocating over seas

Whether it’s from London to Birmingham, or from Birmingham to Tokyo, relocating an employee to another geographic location involves sound planning if it is all to run smoothly.

If just one critical task is forgotten about, the whole process can fall through, or be drastically slowed down, which can cause a huge headache for everyone. Sorting the employee’s accommodation, liaising with the overseas office, booking flights and arranging to move their possessions are just some of the actions that should be considered.

Many companies will use external help when moving employees overseas, but it’s still worth having your own task list – so you can double check that everything has been covered, and keep others up to speed too.

5. Working from home

More and more companies are recognising the benefits of remote working, on both a full and part time basis. While on the surface, the transition from office to home workers is straight-forward, you’ll know that there’s much more to it than meets the eye. Thankfully, automated checklists can help make this process more manageable.

Since as the employer, your obligations to your employees’ health and safety extends to their home working environment, this is often the first area to consider. Notifications can be triggered to make sure that Facilities or IT, for example, assess the home work environment to make sure it is suitable, and that home-workers have all the equipment necessary to do their job. This could include setting up laptops, phones or printers, and to determine their WIFI needs – and set up the appropriate services (they may require VPN access to ensure a secure connection, for example).

Obviously, it’s important not to forget about them just because they’re not in the office anymore. By including check-ins with HR or the line manager during the first few weeks or months , you can make sure that the transition is going smoothly, and identify any problems early on.

With Cezanne HR’s new integrated Onboarding and Lifecycle module, it’s easy to put together as many task lists as you like, and to tailor them to your specific company needs. It provides you with a systematic, standardised and automated approach to managing key activities and gives you a useful overview of the distribution and status of tasks, making that never ending to do list far more manageable as a result. Want to learn more about how it can help you and your business? Download the module brochure here or book a demo.

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a) Actual conversation:

Manager to HR Manager: “It must be coming up for Smith’s three-month probation soon”

HR Manager: “Let me check”

A while later, HR Manager: “Actually the date passed 10 days ago. For some reason it didn’t get picked up in the diary”

Manager: “ Well, not to bother. I’ve been very busy lately and haven’t had a chance to assess him. Let’s extend the probation period by a month”

Hard to believe, but I have heard various versions of this over the years. And I have personally experienced something very similar to the following more than a few times.

b) The Marketing Manager who had to use one of the meeting rooms as an office, because no one had advised the Facilities people that she was coming.

c) The Credit Controller who couldn’t access the accounts payable system because the computer department hadn’t set up a system ID for him.

All of the above have two very important issues in common; first, that diary and other informal “reminder” systems are very prone to letting things fall down between the cracks, and secondly, the initial experiences of the new recruits can be described as nothing short of dire. After going through the hoops and expense of identifying and selecting these future stars, the employer has now totally given out the wrong welcoming message.

The simple solution to all these headaches is to be found in your HR system, in the form of what are known as Automatic Trigger or Notifications. This feature can generate an email, system message or SMS in response to changes in data.

A typical example would be when a new employee is entered on the HR database prior to their start date, the configured notification would generate a series of alerts to:

• Advise Security & Switchboard of the arriving newcomer, name, position and department;
• Advise the computer department to create an ID and login;
• Advise the Office Manager of the establishment requirement, as well as provision of car, mobile phone, laptop, where appropriate;
• Later on, at a specified time, e.g. 2 weeks before probation end, advise both starter and hiring manager that there needs to be an assessment on the due date.

We can see that this small adjustment can mean a world of difference to someone in their first days with the organisation, or The Employee Experience as it is now termed. You can go even further with your notifications if you wish: advising your pension providers, medical insurers, and the payroll department if your system is not integrated.

I am a great fan of Notifications, and count them among my Big Five benefits of an HR system* (see below), as not only do they streamline administration but also go a long way towards suppressing errors and oversights. Look again at your onboarding processes from a new starter point of view, and use your technology to make those important first Impressions favourable and lasting.

*The Big Five
• Self Service
• Work Flow
• Report writer
• Automatic Triggers / Notifications
• Organisation Charts

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Giving people the training they need to progress their careers and keep up with the changing needs of the business is critical in today’s competitive, fast-moving climate. In its recent Labour Market Outlook, the CIPD warns that the next war for talent is fast emerging and urges employers to put more emphasis on developing the people they already have under their roof.

The need for a shift towards internal talent is echoed by HR professor Dave Collings, who in a recent HR Magazine article points out that external hires are not always the answer. Star performers, he says, often fail to maintain that high performance when they move to a new organisation and can take as long as five years to return to their peak.

The challenge facing HR of course is that at a time when budgets are tight, it often isn’t possible to meet the training needs that emerge during appraisals or informal performance conversations. There simply isn’t the budget – or the time – to send people on lengthy and expensive, face-to-face courses.

The good news, however, is that thinking about the way learning is delivered is shifting significantly, with new trends and techniques emerging to help organisations equip people with the knowledge and skills they need at the time they need it. So how can you deliver learning that keeps employees motivated and engaged and ensures they are geared up to help the business meet its future challenges?

1. Resources not courses

At the recent L&D show, the CIPD’s Andy Lancaster urged delegates to think more in terms of resources rather than courses. Thanks to the explosion of on-line content, there’s now a wealth of information on pretty much any subject you can think of out there for the taking. HR practitioners, he suggested, need to develop their ‘curation’ skills so that they can seek out the content that is most relevant to their business and find ways to share it among their employees. The beauty of this approach is that it puts development on a level playing field. Opportunities to develop skills or expertise don’t have to be based on hierarchy or limited to the chosen few – thanks to technology, it can easily be made available to all.

2. Social learning

Research suggests that people learn well when they do it together. Forward thinking organisations are starting to adopt the idea of ‘communities of practice’ – gathering employees together around a specialist area so that they can learn from each other, develop new insights and experiment with alternative approaches. There is also a move towards employees developing learning content themselves, in the form of blogs, podcasts or video clips that allow them to share their knowledge with their peers. This approach isn’t just limited to large organisations – it’s cost-effective, within the reach of any business and is a great way to build employee engagement and enthusiasm.

3. Make the most of mentoring

Mentoring is probably one of the most under-utilised methods of building capability within a business. This is often because organisations feel they have to set up formal mentoring programmes which will be time consuming and complicated to run. The reality, however, is that if approached the right way, mentoring can be a really cost-effective way to help people develop knowledge and share expertise. The beauty of mentoring is that although formal programmes do have their place, it can also work well on an informal, voluntary and non-hierarchical basis. It gives employees the opportunity to learn from each other as well as find a ‘critical friend’, who they can talk to confidentially about their career plans, next steps or issues they may be struggling with, such as a difficult relationship with a colleague or trouble juggling workload.

4. On demand learning

In a recent CIPD survey, 84 per cent of respondents felt they could learn more effectively if they could choose the time and place themselves. In practice, what this means is people want to learn at the point of need, rather than having to wait for the next scheduled training course to come around (by which time they may need to be learning something different anyway). Employers need to get more fleet of foot with the way they deliver development – and to find ways of integrating learning into the flow of daily work. It’s partly about more emphasis on coaching – and equipping managers with the skills they need to do that – but also about blending that expertise with the wealth of e-learning content that can easily be made available via mobile devices and internal social portals.

5. Encourage lifelong learning

Letting people follow their passions and learn about the things that light their eyes up can pay dividends in many ways. There is an emerging trend for organisations to give employees a small personal learning budget, which they can spend on training which doesn’t have to be work-related. Not only can this ignite a general thirst for learning, it can also result in new insights and help to drive innovation. It is surprising how much of seemingly irrelevant learning is transferable and can actually highlight principles that could be applied to people’s daily work. If the training budget won’t stretch to this, giving people time out of their working life to volunteer (in community projects or as charity board members or trustees) is another great way to build engagement and broaden the skill set available across the business.

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Have you transformed your business with the innovative use of HR technology? If so, don’t hide your light under a bushel – put yourself forward for some well-deserved recognition by entering this year’s Personnel Today Awards.

The ‘Excellence in HR through Technology’ category (sponsored by Cezanne HR) aims to recognise organisations that are bringing about real business benefits through their use of technology. The judges are looking for people who have led an innovative project, driven down costs, been courageous in implementing change or achieved great results in the last 18 months.

It’s well worth making the effort to enter. It’s an opportunity to share what you’ve learnt with others and get some kudos within the business. Just the exercise of sitting down and analysing what you’ve done can be a real morale-booster for the team – and can help you raise your personal profile. And of course, if you are shortlisted, there’s the glittering awards ceremony at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel to look forward to in November.

There’s a bit of a knack to putting together a winning award entry. The following tips are designed to help boost your chances of success in this, and indeed any other industry awards:

1. Follow the entry guidelines

It may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many people scupper their chances by not following the entry guidelines. The rules are there to help the judges assess all the entries on a level playing field, so make sure your entry fits the criteria and stick to the word count. Get started now (compiling the information can take longer than you think) to make sure you don’t miss the deadline (8th June 2018).

2. Tell a compelling story

Catch the judge’s interest by telling a clear and engaging story. What was the issue that prompted you to look for an HR technology solution? How did you communicate about the project and support the implementation? What happened as a result? Make sure your entry has a logical flow and is written in clear, simple, jargon-free language.

3. Use supporting material selectively

Most awards will give you the opportunity to provide supporting material, but don’t get carried away. The judges don’t want to wade through reams of documents. Could you include a short video clip of a manager explaining how the system has helped them manage their team more effectively? Would a copy of any promotional or training material help underline your approach to getting everyone on board? Be selective and think carefully about what kind of material will best illustrate your story.

4. Highlight the benefit

The judges don’t just want to know which systems you implemented, they want to know how it has benefited the business overall. Has the technology helped you to reduce absence levels by pinpointing trends, highlighting hotspots and giving a clear overview of what’s happening in the business? Or maybe you’ve been able to get new initiatives off the ground faster by using your internal social portal to encourage collaboration and knowledge sharing? Demonstrate how you’ve been able to really make a difference.

5. Include the hard evidence

Make sure you can back up your claims with the facts and figures. The judges will be looking for solid evidence of what you’ve achieved and being able to provide this is often what gives entries a winning edge. Think carefully about what HR measures you can provide. It could be anything from stats about employee turnover or absence levels through to improved customer satisfaction ratings or increased productivity levels. Make it clear what the return on investment of your HR technology project has been.

The post Could you win an industry award? appeared first on Cezanne HR.

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Worrying new research from Mind, released to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week, shows that employees are still finding it difficult to talk openly about mental health at work.

A survey of almost 44,000 employees found that 48 per cent had experienced poor mental health (such as stress, low mood and anxiety) while working at their current organisation. Of those, only half chose to tell their manager about their difficulties. More than 8 in 10 people said they would continue to go into work while experiencing poor mental health, with 42 per cent believing their manager would be unable to spot the signs they were struggling.

It’s not hard to understand why this culture of silence prevails, despite numerous high-profile campaigns in recent years designed to raise awareness of mental health issues. Many employees still fear that if they disclose a mental health issue, it will have a damaging effect on their career prospects or that their employer may think they are incapable of doing their job properly.

Given that one in four of us will experience poor mental health at some point in our lives, it’s an issue employers cannot afford to ignore. The problem can be particularly pressing in an SME, where there are less people around to manage the workload and managers need to strike a delicate balance between supporting employees while also making sure the team delivers – and staying on the right side of the law.

So what can HR do to create a culture where mental health is not a taboo subject and managers are supported in dealing with employees who may be experiencing difficulties?

Bring dialogue back into the business

In an age of email, instant messaging and social media, it sometimes feels as if we have forgotten how to just sit down and talk to each other. Managers need to encourage a culture of open, honest dialogue within their teams. It’s about not being afraid to show a human side, making yourself available and approachable and getting to know people on a more personal level. HR can help to encourage this approach by role modelling appropriate behaviours themselves and equipping managers throughout the business to deal with sensitive or difficult conversations. If employees feel they are able to talk openly with their manager and within their team, they are much more likely to seek support if they are struggling with a mental health issue.

Include mental health in wellbeing programmes

Corporate wellness programmes often have a strong emphasis on the physical. But while healthy eating and fitness initiatives are key, it’s equally important to include mental health. Some ideas might include raising awareness and improving understanding about mental health through lunchtime talks and providing links to useful content and resources. Some organisations have also established a network of mental health champions within the business or have provided training in mental health first aid.

Provide support for managers

Don’t assume that managers will automatically know how to handle a situation where an employee is struggling with a mental health issue – or know your legal employer. Many won’t know what to do – and will be frightened that by wading in they could potentially make the situation worse. Make sure managers know how to spot the signs when the kind of work related stress we all occasionally suffer is tipping over into something more serious – and who to turn to for more advice.

Manage workload expectations

In an increasingly complex and competitive world, organisations are expecting more from employees than ever before. It is important to understand the difference, however, between stretching people so that they can do their best work and pushing them into strain and overload. HR needs to work with managers to ensure they are setting realistic goals and targets and are not putting their people under unacceptable levels of pressure. It’s about supporting managers in organising work, making best use of their resources and making sure the business is exploiting the technology that’s now available in everything from HR to CRM to take away some of the strain.

Benchmark practice and progress

Mind is encouraging organisations to sign up for its Workplace Wellbeing Index – a benchmarking tool that can help them identify how well they are doing and which areas need further action when it comes to promoting good mental health at work. Mind also offers free resources for employers to help improve mental wellbeing and employee engagement. For more information, visit www.mind.org.uk/work

The post How HR can support better mental health at work appeared first on Cezanne HR.

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Most HR practitioners would acknowledge that embracing HR software has made a real difference to their daily working lives.

Gone are the days of endless requests from employees about how much holiday they have left, of hours spent manually compiling headcount reports for the board and of chasing round the building nudging managers to complete performance reviews.

But although automated systems have undoubtedly taken much of the administrative burden away from HR teams, many are still not using the software to its full potential – and in particular are not exploiting the capability it has to support the more strategic aspects of their work.

Today’s HR platforms are a treasure trove of information that HR can use to unearth hidden risks, support workforce planning and inform strategic decisions. The data these systems hold give HR the ability to increase its influence in the boardroom and make a real impact on everything from engagement to productivity across the business.

So what are some of the key questions your HR system could help you answer?

1. Is your performance management up to scratch?

The performance management module of your HR system can give you a fascinating glimpse into the way managers are leading their teams. What kind of targets and objectives are they setting for their people? How often are these being revisited and adjusted in line with changing business priorities? What support are managers offering to help people meet their goals and fulfil their potential? Taking the time to look at how managers are using appraisals and what kind of information they are recording can help you unearth good practice – and also raise a flag if it’s clear that managers are only paying lip service to the performance management process and may need some support.

2. Where are your critical skills gaps?

A good HR system can give you a helicopter view of the skills available across the business. The picture it paints may sometimes be surprising. Maybe you were under the impression that you had a strong cohort of staff skilled in a particular IT application – only to find on closer inspection that many of the employees with that expertise have now left. Perhaps the business is expanding into new territory overseas and the necessary language skills are sadly lacking? On the upside, you could equally find that there are employees with ‘hidden’ skills that they are not using in their current role, but which could be really valuable to the business. Mapping skills against business priorities means you will be able to make better decisions about use of your training budget and are less likely to find yourself having to recruit staff at great expense because you haven’t spotted a skills shortage on the horizon.

3. How engaged are your people?

The annual employee engagement survey only ever provides a partial picture of what engagement is really like in the business. People don’t always answer the questions truthfully and response rates can be low. Hidden in your HR system, however, are many clues to how people are really feeling about the company and their jobs. Are sickness rates spiralling overall compared to last year, pointing to a possible problem with overload and stress? Is short term absence becoming an issue in a particular area of the business, suggesting people are becoming disengaged with their work or manager? What story are retention rates telling you about the business as a whole or a particular department? Looking closely at the data housed in your system can help you spot warning signs that all may not be well and can inform initiatives to improve motivation and commitment.

4. How sound are your succession plans?

Companies often think they have their succession sorted. Everyone knows who’s in the talent pool, even if it’s not overtly been said. There are names on the ‘list’ for the key roles and development plans are in place for the high flyers. Dig a bit deeper, however, and you may find that all is not as rosy as it may appear on the surface. The person who is earmarked for the next big operational role may be looking to retire earlier than expected. The ‘one to watch’ for the next big overseas assignment may actually be considering leaving to set up their own business. It’s not uncommon to find a succession plan where the same two or three people have been identified as successors for several critical roles, leaving the business seriously at risk. Interrogating the data in the succession planning module of your HR software system will help you get a clear picture of who’s ready now, whose development may need to be accelerated and whether there are any roles where the business is leaving itself vulnerable due to flight risk or lack of knowledge about an employee’s aspirations.

The post Key questions your HR system can help you answer appeared first on Cezanne HR.

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