Since the arrival of the Valentine card in Victorian times, the Valentine’s Day industry has grown to be a multi-million pound, one-day extravaganza.
Although it provides an opportunity to ignite some romance with your partner and to shower them with cards, flowers or more extravagant gifts, it’s not without its downsides.
Here’s our tongue in cheek look at why HR software could be your perfect Valentine this year.
Valentine’s Day is EXPENSIVE. Fancy dinners, overpriced bottles of wine, flowers, chocolates, whatever you choose to do, your wallet/purse is likely to be lighter by the end of it. And it doesn’t end there, with birthdays, Christmases, weekends away and holidays, the costs of a relationship add up. HR software on the other hand is an investment that will help you save money, not lose it. By automating many of the day-to-day HR processes, your software will free up time, so you and your employees have more time to focus on the valuable aspects of the job, thus making your company more financially efficient. Doesn’t that sound like the kind of relationship you’d like to be in?
A flexible relationship
Nobody’s perfect. Everyone has their own baggage and pitfalls, and there are often some aspects of your partner which you could probably do without, whether it’s socks being left on the bedroom floor, spending too long in the shower, or leaving the toilet seat up. In contrast, Cezanne HR has a flexible design, meaning you can pick the aspects of the software which are right for you and your company, allowing you to tailor it to your specific business needs. If only relationships were modular too…
It only gets better
The beginning of a relationship, or the honeymoon period as it’s often known, is a blissful time when you’re both perfect in each other’s eyes, and it seems like nothing could ever possibly go wrong. However, as the relationship progresses, and you start to get more and more comfortable around one another, the initial flame starts to burn a little less brightly and the relationship can often plateau. The same cannot be said for Cezanne HR software. You get the latest features as soon as they’re released, and complete guidance on how to get the most out of them, meaning that, unlike many relationships, your HR software experience only gets better over time and will continue to surprise and excite.
If you’re not in a relationship on Valentine’s Day but instead flying the single flag, it can sometimes be a lonely day of self-reflection. However, with HR software, everyone can reap the benefits, whether you’re single or not! Using Cezanne HR helps all employees in your company, not just HR personnel. For instance, everyone can benefit from having greater protection over their personal data, and with the absence management module, you’ll find it much easier to book time off for a holiday.
Sound like a good match? If you want to find out more about how Cloud HR software can benefit you and your business, we’re happy to play Cupid.
A major project is running late and the team will have to put in extra hours if it is to be delivered on time. A key member of staff has gone down sick and getting peers to pitch in and stay late is the only way to cover the work.
There are always times when companies need people to work over and above their standard hours and giving them Time Off in Lieu (TOIL) to compensate is standard practice. It’s an approach, however, that needs managing carefully if it’s not going to lead to knock-on problems with resourcing, cause bad feeling among employees or add to the administrative burden.
So where does TOIL go wrong and what steps can you take to ensure it is managed successfully?
1. It’s an unofficial policy
It’s not uncommon to find that TOIL is hidden. A manager asks their team to work at a weekend to meet a pressing deadline, or gets a part-time worker to cover for a sick colleague at a time when they wouldn’t normally be working. It’s not straight-forward for them to get sign off for an additional payment, so they let the employee take Time Off in Lieu instead. The manager gets the cover the business needs, and the employee is happy with the extra time. In principal, it’s fine. But, hidden TOIL can have a negative impact on the whole organisation, obscuring wider resourcing issues and – if too much time is worked – resulting in legal implications.
2. The rules are not clearly outlined
HR needs to have an ongoing dialogue with line managers about how they cope with short term resourcing challenges, and where TOIL is part of the mix, explain to them why it’s important to formalise the process. Often, already hard-pressed managers are concerned about the prospect of extra administration and ‘red tape’. Having clear, simple policies and an easy way to record TOIL online, can help overcome these objections. Make sure there is no room for confusion or ambiguity in whatever rules the organisation decides to set. Employees need to be clear about the process for approving and recording overtime and how any extra time they put in will be rewarded. There’s nothing worse for an employee than looking forward to an injection of extra cash only to find that paid overtime isn’t forthcoming – or to assume they’re building up holiday entitlement only to find they’ve overshot the period when it can be taken. Make sure the staff handbook or HR portal is clear about exactly how much TOIL can be accumulated each month, when it has to be taken by and whether it can be carried forward from one holiday or calendar year to the next. This will help to avoid issues of TOIL stacking up to unacceptable levels – and will ensure employees feel fairly treated and are willing to go the extra mile when you need them to. When drawing up your policies, remember to check local legislation. As this guide from Taylor Wessing shows, employees’ rights to paid time off vary hugely from country to country, and this extends to TOIL.
3. Overtime gets out of control
The purpose of Time Off in Lieu (TOIL) should be to cover exceptionally busy periods when the workload temporarily increases – end of year, for example, or when a time sensitive project is close to deadline. If you find that people are regularly having to work extra hours, however, it should raise some alarm bells. Is a particular team or department under-resourced? Or are there issues with productivity and efficiency that need to be tackled? If staff are consistently taking TOIL it ends up creating a domino effect. People take extra holiday to compensate for the overtime they’ve worked – and colleagues have to work longer hours to pick up the slack, building up TOIL themselves. It makes efficient resourcing impossible and can lead to a sense of entitlement among employees, who feel they should be able to work extra hours and take time back whenever it suits them. It’s easy to slip into a situation, for example, where employees manipulate the system, deliberately taking longer to complete work that could be accommodated in their normal working day because they are short of holiday and want to bank up some extra hours. Putting this right can take time and diplomacy, especially if employees are regularly making up their salary or their holidays this way. Having a good handle on the data makes it easier to demonstrate that the situation has got out of hand and that the business needs to regain control.
4. The process breaks down
Managing Time Off in Lieu (TOIL) can be a real headache. In a busy environment, it’s difficult for managers to keep track of who has worked how many extra hours, whether the overtime was approved and when TOIL has to be taken by. Hours get wasted on manual processes and mistakes are easily made. HR software is now available to help streamline the process and ensure it is implemented consistently and transparently across the business. Cezanne HR’s absence module, for example, allows employees to request authorisation for overtime via their HR system. When managers approve or decline the request, an email to the employee is automatically triggered, so that it’s always clear exactly what has been agreed. The system then automatically updates the employee’s holiday entitlement to include the extra time, together with information about expiry dates. TOIL data can also be integrated with data about paid overtime, putting all the information about overtime in one central, easily accessible place and making it easier for the business to make budgeting and resourcing decisions.
HR people are usually so busy focusing on helping everyone else plan their careers, that they pay scant attention to managing their own. But in an increasingly automated and digitised world, HR careers as we know them are likely to change significantly in the future.
At a recent CIPD careers event, Head of Strategy Development Ruth Stuart pointed out that in a fast-moving and unpredictable working environment, it’s impossible to predict accurately what HR roles will look like going forward.
Practitioners don’t, however, need to worry too much about the much talked about advance of the robots. Artificial Intelligence will undoubtedly make a big difference to the way tasks and processes are managed, but the future of HR will still be ‘human’.
Stuart suggested that career success in the future will depend on HR practitioners being principles-led, evidence-based and outcomes driven – and she highlighted the five key skills that will stand HR people in good stead for the future.
HR has to deal with many often tricky situations, ranging from claims of sexual harassment or bullying in the workplace to conflict between warring colleagues or sensitive employee health issues. There are often no easy answers. Remaining calm and clear headed and making the right decision for the situation at hand is a key skill.
This is a competence that HR is often accused (usually unfairly) of lacking. The most successful practitioners will have a clear understanding of their organisation’s business model and the risks and reputational challenges it faces. They will also have an in-depth knowledge of the way the business creates value and will be able to connect effectively with stakeholders both within and outside the organisation.
A World Economic Forum report has dubbed critical thinking as one of the most important skills for the future world of work. HR needs to develop the ability and the courage to question and challenge where necessary decisions that are being made within the business. It’s about having the skills to objectively analyse and evaluate proposed strategies and to come up with new insights by making connections between seemingly disparate ideas.
This is one area where HR professionals are not alone in acknowledging they need to raise their game. It’s not just about embracing the new generation of Cloud HR software that is now available to automate key processes and reduce admin. HR also needs to learn how to exploit data to support better decision making within the business on everything from recruitment and workforce planning to e-learning and employee engagement.
Managing ethical dilemmas
You only have to look at the headlines to see how difficult organisations are finding it to manage ethical dilemmas. In the last year alone we have seen everything from environmental, whistleblowing and money laundering scandals – while only last week a whole raft of charities were having to reconsider their position about accepting donations that were raised at an event where inappropriate behaviour was reportedly rife. HR needs to develop the skills to create cultures where inappropriate behaviour of all kinds is called out and employees are able to speak ‘truth to power’ without fear of negative consequences.
The good news is that prospects for HR roles are looking healthy. A recent Glassdoor report ranks the role of HR Manager among the top ten most desirable roles in the UK, with a high job satisfaction rating.
But HR practitioners cannot afford to stand still if they want to remain current and marketable to employers. Top career development tips shared during the session included focusing on your transferable skills, getting experience of different disciplines, even if it’s just via a short term project, and finding alternative ways to gain knowledge and raise your game, through volunteering for example.
Above all, be open to opportunities – and say yes. To quote management guru Peter Drucker, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”
Why is it that companies are often reluctant to invest in HR specialist technology?
Although the cost of HR software has come down dramatically in the past few years, many businesses are resisting technological change and instead sticking with spreadsheets and paper-files or out-dated internal software. This can be frustrating for those working in HR or those assuming HR duties, who are forced to use outdated means of collating employee data which is often slow and drastically decreases productivity.
This article will help you build a case for HR software by giving three business imperatives as to why it would be an essential addition to your company.
With new legislation regarding data protection just around the corner, it’s more important than ever to stay on top of your employees’ personal information and to keep it secure. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into action on the 25th May, bringing with it new requirements such as enhanced rights for employees over their data, and more emphasis on data security and transparency. Failure to comply with the new legislation will have severe financial implications on your business, with penalties reaching up to $20 million or 4% annual turnover – whichever is more.
So how can an integrated Cloud-based HR software system like Cezanne HR help with GDPR compliance?
Better security than paper-files or Excel spreadsheets: Where is your company’s HR data kept – and who has access to it? Paper-based files and spreadsheets are notoriously hard to keep track of, and to keep safe. The best SaaS HR systems are built with security at their core, so can protect your data better, meaning you are less likely to get caught out by the new GDPR legislation and thus reducing the risk of being financially penalised.
Easier to keep accurate: Under GDPR, you are more accountable for your employees’ personal information than before and you must ensure that their personal data is up to date. However, this is difficult when your employees can’t see their own details. With modern HR software, employees can keep up to date with their own information whilst you remain in control.
Quicker response to subject access requests: You are also in a better position to respond to employee data requests, another aspect of data transparency which GDPR is cracking down on.
When pitching for budget, you should make it clear that Cloud based HR software is an investment, not an expense and that it benefits everyone, not just HR. By automating many of the day-to-day HR processes, your software will free up time, so employees and their managers have more time to focus on the valuable aspects of their job.
Increase efficiency: Handling spreadsheets and inputting data manually can take a lot of time and effort and is unlikely to be the favourite part of anyone’s job. Manual, paper-based processes eat up hours of HR’s time. Instead of wasting time (and therefore money) approving holiday requests, logging sickness and making sure employee data is accurate, managers can concentrate on the more important and strategic aspects of their job.
Fewer mistakes: Human error causes data inaccuracies and it can be frustrating when spreadsheets are passed around the office and nobody knows if they’re dealing with the latest version or not. Using HR software means that your spreadsheet data is collated into one system, thus ensuring that everyone is always working with the most up to date data and greatly reduces the risk of errors, for example, with payroll.
Better management information
Collating all employee data into one collective system not only benefits your company by saving time and money but also by making it easier to manage personal information and spot employee trends. This can have a hugely positive impact on the efficiency of the company and will allow you to make informed decisions regarding your employees. For instance:
Was there a trend in absences around a weekend and was there a reason for this?
What is our level of overtime, and are we allocating time off in lieu appropriately?
Do we have higher than expected numbers of employees leaving the company?
Have all recent leavers been from the same department under the same manager?
Are those employees who went on a specific training course performing better than those who didn’t?
How many employees missed their performance targets last year, and do we know why?
Using HR software to spot trends allows your company to get to the bottom of a problem quickly and can greatly improve productivity.
It’s not hard to spot the signs of an employee who has become disenchanted with their job. Frequent stepping outside for private phone calls. Requests for odd days off at short notice. An increasingly active presence on LinkedIn.
If the latest Job Exodus Trends report from Investors in People (IIP) is to be believed, employers will be seeing a lot more of this covert job-hunting behaviour in 2018. The report suggests 47 per cent of people are looking to move jobs this year, with one in five actively seeking a new role right now. Poor management is the top cause of discontent, followed closely by dissatisfaction with pay, not feeling valued and lack of career progression.
In a job market where quality candidates are in short supply, the departure of a key employee can cause real disruption, particularly if it’s unexpected. Finding a good replacement quickly is vital if productivity and customer service are to be maintained and remaining employees are not going to sink under the pressure of covering their ex-colleague’s work.
So what strategies do you need to have in place to make sure you attract the right candidates and get them in place before business operations are adversely affected?
1. Look inside first
So many companies rush to the external market without even considering if they already have someone in-house who could step into the job. You may not have an exact fit who’s immediately ready, but sometimes it is quicker to train up an internal candidate who already understands how the business works, than it is to start afresh with someone new. Offering training and a career move may help you retain a talented individual who might be feeling a bit unsettled themselves. And if you suspect a key employee is a flight risk, you could even consider pre-emptive action and start quietly preparing their successor now.
2. Make the recruitment advert clear
If you need to get the right people into the applicant pool quickly, you need to be crystal clear about what you want. Don’t just automatically reach for the old job description. Think carefully about what the job looks like now and how it is likely to develop in the future. What key competencies and experience are non-negotiable and which areas are desirable, but not essential? If you make the list of essential requirements too long, good people may be ruling themselves out because they don’t meet all of the criteria. Make sure compensation for the role is in line with the market rate and be overt about pay. When there are plenty of roles to choose from, candidates simply won’t bother spending time and effort applying for jobs where the salary appears to be a ‘secret’.
3. Exploit social media
If you want to get news about the vacancy out far and wide, don’t overlook the power of social media, used alongside conventional job boards, recruitment agencies or specialist sector media. Publicise the opportunity on your official Facebook, LinkedIn and Tweeter feeds and investigate whether there are any local area forums or business groups where you can share it too. This can work particularly well if your candidates are most likely to come from the local area. Encouraging employees to spread the word on their own social media can also pay dividends. Some companies offer an incentive to employees who refer a candidate who is subsequently recruited and works out well in the role.
4. Have a joined up recruitment system
Good candidates don’t hang around for long – so the last thing you want to do is cause them to feel disenchanted by your recruitment process. If you don’t acknowledge applications, deal with the interview process efficiently and tell people when they can expect to hear from you, they will lose interest and go elsewhere. Unemployment is at its lowest level since 1975, which means there are plenty of competing opportunities out there and you can’t allow a lengthy and unwieldy process to get in the way. Sophisticated recruitment software is now available to help you post opportunities across multiple outlets, filter applicants and track them through the recruitment process, whilst also making sure candidates are constantly kept up-to-date with where they are in the system.
5. Be flexible
In a candidate-driven market, it’s important to have a degree of flexibility about the role you are trying to fill. According to a recent study cited in Recruitment Grapevine (by Pownowow1), 70 per cent of employees said the option of flexible working would make a role more attractive. Don’t lose a good candidate just because they want to be able to flex their working hours to accommodate child or elder care responsibilities or to allow them to continue with study or an occasional ‘side-hustle’. Although there are some roles that need to fit into a rigid 9-5 mould, many can be done flexibly – and generally the business stands to benefit just as much as the employee. You could even state your willingness to be flexible for the right candidate in the job advert – although if you do this, make sure everyone involved is prepared to follow that promise through.
The General Data Protection Regulation will apply from 25 May 2018. The new legislation introduces new requirements backed by higher penalties. These requirements include a greater emphasis on data security, transparency and accountability, together with enhanced rights for ‘data subjects’, which includes your employees.
GDPR makes gaining control over your HR data, wherever it is stored, more important than ever before.
Keep HR data secure
The GDPR requires ‘personal data’ to be processed in a manner that ensures its security. Personal data is defined as ‘any information relating to an identifiable person who can be directly or indirectly identified in particular by reference to an identifier’, and covers paper files, spreadsheets and digital documents. The onus is on you as the data controller to demonstrate, for example, that you know where the information is held, why you collect it, how it is used and who has access to it, as well as have effective systems in place to secure it and report any data breaches.
With Cezanne HR, you can store all your HR information in a single, secure online HR system. You’ll benefit from advanced security at every level, from data encryption and role-based access to your HR system, to hosting within the European Economic Area by AWS, the world-leader in robust, secure Cloud-hosting. Read more about security. Scanned or digital documents are simple to upload into your Cezanne HR system so you don’t need to worry about how to secure or share paper-based records. Costs won’t be excessive either. Data storage, including uploaded documents, is included in your monthly subscription fees.
Improve data accuracy
Under GDPR you are required to ensure that personal data is accurate and complete and to put it right when it is not. This could be almost unmanageable if employees can’t see what data you hold about them in the first place. The GDPR includes a best practice recommendation that, where possible, organisations should be able to provide remote access to a secure self-service system which would provide the individual with direct access to his or her information.
Cezanne HR combines easy-to-manage employee self-service with roles-based security and approval workflows, so you can allow employees to check and update their own information while staying in control. You can configure Cezanne HR to fit your own processes. For example, to decide what information employees can be allowed to edit, whether changes should be approved and by whom, and where local variations make sense. It’s an effective – and secure – way of helping you with compliance, while simultaneously delivering a service that makes life easier for employees and their managers.
Manage data subject requests
Employees (and job candidates) already have the right under current data protection legislation to request a copy of the data you hold about them. GDPR requires that you respond to these requests more comprehensively and more quickly, and removes the right to charge (at least the first time). As employee rights to data under GDPR become more widely known, some experts are predicting a surge in these kinds of requests. Time will tell.
By storing your HR data and documents in one place (your Cezanne HR system), you’ll always know what information you hold about each of your employees. Straightforward reporting and export to Excel for HR administrators means you are better positioned to respond to data subject requests, as well as another requirement of GDPR: the data subject’s right to take their data with them in a manageable, digital format.
Track employee consent
In an employment context, consent is not the most appropriate option for processing most employee data. Read why here. However, there may be occasions when you will need to obtain consent. For example, when collecting and storing information about employees that is not obviously needed to run your organisation, like tracking movements through remote control technologies such as CCTV and GPS, or passing employee information on to a third party for marketing purposes.
With Cezanne HR, you can easily generate personalised communications with e-signatures and track when (and whether) employees have consented. Other important GDPR-related communications, such as updates to your company privacy statements, employment contracts, or data protection policies can be managed and tracked in the same way. As everything is stored centrally, it’s easier for you to see when you may need to refresh consent, and employees can check back at anytime to see what they agreed to.
Simplify data deletion
Once you no longer need personal data for the purpose for which it was collected, data protection legislation says it should be deleted unless you have other grounds for retaining it. These could be for legislative reasons, or if discarding the data too soon would disadvantage your business. To make matters more complicated, the GDPR expressly authorises individual member states to implement more specific rules in respect of the processing of HR-related personal data. It will be important to follow national law developments, in addition to more generic GDPR requirements, and adjust your policies to match.
An important first step is to understand what employee data you hold and why. For example, is it necessary for compliance with a legal obligation, or for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims? This will help to inform the basis and timeframe for retaining or deleting data and provide a template against which you can review and delete the employee information you hold in Cezanne HR.
Whatever your approach, it is important that both a regular review process and methodical cleansing of HR databases (and paper-based records) is in place. A handy feature in Cezanne HR is the option to set reminders against leaver records, which can “nudge” HR administrators to revisit employee records. This means you can delete some information at the time an employee leaves, but schedule a reminder to delete other data, such as information relating to pay, working hours, performance or disciplinaries when the relevant period relating to statutory requirements has elapsed.
Build a culture of privacy
While some employees will have greater responsibility than others, data compliance is a company-wide issue. As the UK Information Commissioner, Elizabeth Denham said recently:
“The new legislation creates an onus on companies to understand the risks that they create for others, and to mitigate those risks. It’s about moving away from seeing the law as a box ticking exercise, and instead to work on a framework that can be used to build a culture of privacy that pervades an entire organisation.”
Ensuring that your employees receive appropriate training is part of the solution. With Cezanne HR, you can easily review employee roles and responsibilities, allocate them to appropriate training activities, and set up notifications to trigger a reminder when training or certification is up for renewal or should be refreshed. And, with the integrated performance module, you can embed data security best-practice and discussions around GDPR compliance into employee appraisals, so you can ensure it becomes part of your organisation’s DNA.
Keep employees informed
The GDPR regulations require you provide much more information to employees about how (and why) you use, manage and secure their data, and the rights they have over that data. Some of this is better managed through one-to-one communications, especially when tracking or consent is required. However, there is also an argument for creating an information hub that’s always on and always available.
The Workspaces feature in Cezanne HR allows you to quickly set up dedicated portals, targeted at different groups of employees if required. For example, to address country-specific requirements. The portal manager, or managers (who can be anyone you nominate) will be able to upload relevant documentation, include links to relevant third-party sites, post updates with notifications if required, and provide a question and answers forum for employees. It’s an easy way to ensure GDPR visibility and keep compliance issues top of the agenda.
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The second week of January is prime job hunting time. The extended break has given people a chance to sit back and reflect. Resolutions about revitalising careers have been made, CVs have been polished and the search for new opportunities begins.
A few weeks later – when the resulting flood of resignations starts – many businesses will find themselves caught short. Key staff are heading off into the sunset, often unexpectedly, and in a competitive job market, it’s going to be difficult (and costly) to replace them quickly.
Having a succession plan in place is important for any business, regardless of size. If anything, it’s even more critical for a smaller organisation, where one key person leaving can be incredibly disruptive.
But succession planning isn’t just about having someone available to fill the gap when a position becomes available. In a fast-moving and unpredictable climate, companies need to have a strong team of talent sitting on the bench, ready and waiting to support the organisation through change or help turn its plans for growth into reality.
So if your organisation needs to get started with succession planning, what are the key issues you need to consider?
If you haven’t engaged in any kind of formal succession planning before, it can seem like an overwhelming task. The key is start slowly and methodically, maybe just focusing on no more than 10 key people and positions. Bear in mind that you will need to be planning for at least three or more potential successors for each position, which means building profiles for more than 30 people. Concentrate on the priority posts and once you’re happy you’ve got the process right, you can roll it out to a wider range of roles.
Take a strategic approach
Getting a handle on the bigger picture is a good place to start. Think about where your industry is heading, what the leadership team’s vision for the future is and what key skills are likely to be needed to support it. Are you operating in a specialist area where talent is at a premium? How easy would it be to find people who have the specific skill set you are likely to need going forward? Auditing the people and skills you already have in house is the next step. Which positions are most critical for business continuity, who do you have with the potential to step into those roles, how ready are they? If they are not quite there yet, what further development and experience would they need? Once you are armed with all the relevant information, you will be in a good position to initiate conversations and put the right strategies in place.
Use technology to support the process
Sophisticated technology to support succession planning is now available at a price point that’s accessible to most businesses. The Cezanne HR career and succession module, for example, can help you develop people or position centred succession plans and build either general or specialist talent pools. It brings together information about skills, performance, potential, readiness and development needs and makes it easy to link the aspirations of employees with the needs of the business. The software also lets you map out alternative career moves, so that you can see the impact your succession plans may be having further down the business.
Get line managers on side
Line managers can often inadvertently sabotage the succession process. If they’ve got a talented member of staff, who’s delivering great results for their department or team, it’s only human nature to want to hold onto them. But if your succession plan is to deliver the goods, you need managers across the business to be sharing information about their best people and supporting career moves into other areas. In a recent blog, Simon Patterson of Pearl Meyer advises actively encouraging managers to bring people with skills oriented to the future of the business into their teams. Making good talent management a KPI for team or department heads, or even providing incentives for good practice, is a good way to nudge the kind of behaviours you want to encourage.
Talk to people
One of the biggest mistakes companies make is putting people on a succession plan without any idea of what their aspirations or future plans may be. You may think you have the perfect person to step into a senior role, but if it turns out they have no interest in the job, are planning to move abroad or start up their own consultancy, your plan isn’t worth the paper it’s written on – particularly if they are the only ‘ready’ candidate. Performance appraisals provide a great opportunity for managers to have open and honest conversations with their people about where they see their careers heading and what they would like their next move to be. If the resulting information is captured in the HR system, it can feed into the succession planning process and lessen the chance of the business being caught unawares.
And so unwillingly back to work, after what for many of us has been an extended break. It can be difficult to crank yourself into gear after the festive season. It’s cold, dark, we feel sluggish (well I do anyway) and you can’t quite remember exactly what it was you were doing before Christmas.
But once the office decorations are down and the ‘what did you do at New Year’ conversations are over, it’s time to get back on track and rev yourself up for the challenges of the year ahead.
So what are the key actions and conversations that will help HR professionals lay the groundwork for a successful 2018?
1. Let it go
The New Year is a good time to put to one side all the frustrations and irritations that were holding you back in 2017. Life’s too short to continue the feud you had going on with IT or finance, or to hold on to pent-up resentment caused by a department head who refuses to follow policy, a line manager who seems hell-bent on making your life difficult or employees who persistently pester you for information they could find for themselves. Start the year with a clean slate – or in the words of Ella from Disney’s ‘Frozen’ – let it go.
2. Revisit the strategy
The in-box is over-flowing and before you know it, you’re immersed in wall-to-wall meetings and engaged in the ongoing battle to keep up with emails and phone calls. But before the day-to-day minutiae takes over, stop for a minute. Take some time to revisit the HR strategy and make sure it’s still fit for purpose. Check in with the management team to make sure your priorities are aligned with theirs. Ask direct questions, for example: “Are any new initiatives planned that will impact our workforce in the next 6, 12, 18 months? What do skillsets are we going to need to acquire or develop? Have you identified the key players in your team? Are any of them at risk and if so, do we have the right succession plans in place? Remind them of their obligations. The deadline for GDPR compliance is fast approaching, which has implications for the whole business including the way you process employee data. Make sure you are focusing on what’s important to the whole business, and are not being hijacked by other people’s agendas.
3. Re-energise yourself – and the team
Use the first week back at work to jot down a few of the things you’d really like to happen in 2018 – and why they’d make a difference to the whole organisation. A new HR system, for example, could reduce the time that everyone spends on day-to-day HR administration, while simultaneously delivering better insight to managers. A new approach to mentoring could solve a skills shortage, and provide an opportunity for some staff to take on more responsibilities. By having a clear view of what could be achieved, you’ll find it easier to stay motivated and share your enthusiasm with the rest of the business.
The first week back at work can be challenging for colleagues too. Some people will have returned refreshed and raring to go, while others may be struggling to get their energy and enthusiasm back. If you have a team, it’s a good idea to get the team together as early as possible in the New Year to revisit priorities, set new targets and objectives and make sure everyone has the information and resources they need to do the job properly. Even if you don’t have a formal performance management process, sitting down on a one-to-one basis with direct reports can be helpful at this time of year too. It’s a good opportunity to chat about aspirations, plan any development that may be needed and ensure everyone is clear about expectations.]
4. Get out on the front line
When you’re under pressure with an endless stream of demands from the business, it’s easy to lose track of what’s happening on the front line. Make time in January to get out from behind your desk and talk to people from all areas of the organisation. If you can get a real handle on the challenges line managers are facing, you will be able to help them resource and manage their teams more effectively. If you can find out what employees are thinking and feeling, you will be able to nip problems in the bud and will be better placed to devise strategies to improve motivation and engagement.
5. Develop an outward focus
Remember to make time for yourself and see what’s happening in the outside world. Read up on what’s happening within your own industry sector as well as in the wider corporate world, so you can help the business plan ahead. Take an active part in your professional HR networks as well as local business networking groups to help you benchmark. Plan to attend at least two conferences or exhibitions to keep up with the latest thinking. If you can, go to at least one event which has nothing directly to do with HR – you will be amazed at what you can learn from other industries and specialisms and at how transferable some of the ideas you pick up will be.
There’s something innately uplifting about a good TED talk, and at the end of a year and the start of a new one, uplifting is what we need!
Here are some of the TED talks from this year that caught our eye in 2017. They’ve been selected because they are relevant to all of us that work with people, and can help motivate you for whatever you want to achieve in 2018.
How to speak up for yourself
Do you find it hard to be heard sometimes? To win backing for new ideas or initiatives that could benefit your business and the workforce you support?
Adam Galinsky’s talk looks at how to speak up effectively. Key takeaways are: you can find ways to get yourself heard by becoming an advocate for others, and finding your inner passion and using it to inspire.
Are you a giver or a taker?
It would be easy to assume that to be successful, we have to take rather than give. According to Adam Grant’s talk, the worst performers in a lot of jobs are givers; however, the highest performers are also givers. Givers are over-represented at both ends of the spectrum.
In his TED talk, Adam explains how to bring givers up, so that they thrive at the top of the spectrum. If we all become givers, our individual success goes up, and our organisations flourish. Watch this video to understand why givers contribute to business success.
A pro wrestler’s guide to confidence
You might look at the title of this talk and think, “what’s pro wrestling got to do with HR?”
Well, according to Mike Kinney, everyone has something inside them which is unique and special. A pro wrestler’s job is to find that uniqueness and turn it into a personality people can enjoy and believe in. He argues that anyone can do this: we all have it in us to be the best version of ourselves we can be.
A thought-provoking talk for HR, and also a pretty heart-warming tale about making our parents proud and doing what we love.
How to build a company where the best ideas win
What if everyone in your company knew what others thought of them? In Ray Dalio’s world, this is the norm. In this talk, he puts forward the idea of an ‘ideas meritocracy’, a system where the best ideas win. In his business, anyone can give him feedback on his performance, no matter how junior. In fact, everyone gives each other feedback. This means that everyone is able to improve and evolve.
Today Dalio’s business is successful. But, as he explains, his arrogance in the past led him to lose thousands of dollars and ruined his business. However, this failure was what motivated his current success.
Watch this talk if you want to create a winning culture in your business.
How to succeed? Get more sleep
Do you find yourself getting by on 6, 5 or even fewer hours of sleep? Is this having an impact on your performance?
Arianna Huffington’s talk asserts that success comes through having a healthy level of sleep every night – and provides tips on how to achieve it.
Good luck with whatever you have planned for the new year. Let us know if you have any TED talks you use for motivation!
Neil Morrison has been working in HR for 20 years, which probably makes him more than qualified to write an HR blog. He was previously Group HR Director for Penguin Random House, and is now HR Director at Severn Trent.
Neil’s interest lies in organisational success, and how people play a role in it. His blog covers topics such as career, education, performance and technology.
For those who don’t know, HRZone is a fantastic online HR publication, edited by Jamie Lawrence and Becky Norman. Updated almost daily, the site covers a variety of topics, such as workplace gender equality, employee engagement, and building business efficiency.
The Acas blog takes on everything from the impact of recent or upcoming legislation to employee relations, conflict management and health and wellbeing, relating their expertise in a friendly and informative manner. Helpful for HR who are walking a tightrope between business and employee needs – this blog may be a welcome guide.
As the authors describe it, this blog is simply “business psychologists leading the wellness conversation to create good days at work”. The blog is all about wellness and well-being at work, subjects the founders are well versed in. Professor Sir Cary Cooper is Professor of Organisational Psychology and Health at Lancaster University and a world leading expert in on wellbeing. Professor Ivan Robertson is professor of organisational psychology at Leeds University Business School.
This one is my personal favourite since many of my friends are currently job-hunting and hating it – I love how empathetic this author (Imogen) is to how utterly hopeless and dispiriting the job search can be. I’m Hired is the career advice site sorely needed in this era of demoralising job searches. Imogen has been working in recruitment since she left school so knows a thing or two about what recruiters look for. Her blog also covers general work-related topics such as the 5 types of work colleagues at Christmas.
No list of HR bloggers would be complete without a mention of Erika Lucas, experienced HR author, editor of the Ashridge blog, and the main contributor to Cezanne HR’s own weekly blog. Head over to https://cezannehr.com/hr-blog/ and check out topical HR articles, workplace tips and hints, and technology news. The blog also covers updates to the Cezanne HR system, so watch this space: exciting new features are coming soon…
US blogger, Kris Dunn is Chief Human Resources Officer and Partner at Kinetix, a recruitment and outsourcing specialist Kriss believes in reducing HR admin and maximising business results. Kris manages two HR blogs, one HR Capitalist which is all about business success, and the other Fistful of Talent which covers HR, recruiting, and talent.
Sheryl Lauby’s blog is so called because she feels that in her role as an HR executive, she is her employees’ friendly neighbourhood bartender: there for people when they need her, to ‘listen, laugh with you, occasionally offer advice and, when you need it, give the encouragement to go out and make stuff happen’. She mixes up sponsored articles with her own insights, so the site covers topics that relate generally to the workplace rather than being purely HR focused. Areas covered include: career development; employee engagement; strategy and planning; well-being and wellness. She also throws in the odd food recipe from time to time!