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You’ve selected your HR software, now comes the task of implementing it. I’m often asked “how can I be sure to get this part right?”

Part of the answer actually lies in the preparation you have done during the selection process, which will indicate your current state of readiness.

At this point you should have:

  • From the selection exercise, process maps (e.g. starters, leavers, changes, recruitment, absence and performance management) and organisational rules (such as pay frequencies, overtime rates, holiday entitlements, benefits, working hours, maternity/paternity pay and occupational sick pay)
  • Diagrams of the structures of your organisation to reflect departmental or divisional set-up, the hierarchy of jobs within these structures with reporting lines, together with grades and any dependent benefits
  • Clean data for migration. Don’t opt to import the data “as is” if you know it’s inaccurate in the hopes of correcting it later; that is never going to happen, and the first inaccurate reports from your new system will kill all credibility. You should have conducted an updated data request from your employees near the end of the selection phase, to ensure all is pristine when it appears in your new software

All the above will form the basis for configuration of the software so that it works in the way you need it to. If you don’t have these, you have a lot of ground to cover immediately and your timelines are already under threat.

A time frame should have been agreed internally, and with your system vendor. If your new HR software has to be in place to support the new holiday year or performance review cycle, that needs to be clear to everyone.

You will also need to emphasise to all concerned the priority of answering queries or clarifying issues as they arise during implementation.

If your implementation is large or complex, perhaps covering a workforce of thousands in several countries worldwide, avoid the temptation to personally take charge of managing the client side of the implementation cycle. Unless you are an experienced project person, just forget it. It’s not an activity than can be undertaken in addition to the day job. And, it’s a real skill to effectively marshal resources, deal with time constraints, manage the liaison with the vendor, and communicate clearly with all of the interested parties.

Of course, it’s a cost, but this should have been budgeted in your business case, and the project is business critical for the organisation, the department – and you!

There sometimes comes a moment when someone has a Bright Idea. “Why don’t we….?” It takes root somehow, and before you know it, the project has an additional series of problems to overcome, and some new cost implications.

An example: part way through implementation, a client I worked with in the past wanted to give their HR system an additional functionality which the selected software was not designed to do. Fortunately, I persuaded them that the costs accruing from this were not supported by any real benefits, and the idea was discarded.

This sort of distraction shouldn’t happen, but be on your guard!

Don’t try to cut costs and workload by reducing system training to a minimum. This is a serious mistake as users need to be comfortable and proficient with the software. Make sure you manage increased workload issues caused by parallel running by backfilling your regular team while they work on the new software.

Go Live isn’t the finish, by the way. Long after your system is in and running, make sure that all new users of the system are given proper training in it. A sketchy half hour sitting with an overworked current user just doesn’t cut it; I can cite one case where due to this very issue, the HR department had lost the capability to produce its own reports, and had to ask the IT people for assistance each time.

Finally, be prepared for the unexpected. Make sure that rapid decision-making powers exist to cope with emergencies. Here are some of the most likely ones that can happen along the way:

  • Your project lead falls ill or is otherwise unavailable – can you delay the deadline or find a replacement?
  • Testing reveals a problem, perhaps your data wasn’t as clean or complete as you thought – identify the cause and solve
    Time slippage due to non-availability of your own personnel or other cause – know who else you could call on to assist
  • Unforeseen diversion of resources from project – you’ll have to fight this one!
  • Budget insufficient or threatening overrun –identify the cause and the implications for the project. Don’t do a Lidl and pour good money after bad. Sometimes it is better to walk away.
  • Political pressure to deliver the system while it is still incomplete. Push back or look at reducing the scope of the deployment instead, for example, to solve the most pressing problems first and delay the nice-to-haves until a second phase.

Implementation, like any other project is composed of stages. If you have done all the hard work at the outset and approach the task in a methodical manner, you should have every expectation of success.

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” has been acclaimed by leading HR practitioners.

The post Risk-free implementation for your HR software appeared first on Cezanne HR.

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Here at Cezanne HR, we love a good TED talk. And since Company Culture is a hot topic right now, we’ve put together a collection of videos that will get you thinking about your own culture.

So make yourself a coffee, put your thinking hat on, sit back and enjoy!

Dan Ariely: What makes us feel good about our work?

In this engaging talk, Dan Ariely debunks the myth that employees are solely motivated by financial gain. He draws upon a range of analogies and experiments to show that creating a culture which promotes meaning, challenge, ownership, identity and pride is pivotal for employee productivity and happiness.

 

What makes us feel good about our work? | Dan Ariely - YouTube

Rainer Strack: The workforce crisis of 2030 – and how to start solving it now

In a survey looking at what people value most when seeking work, the top four topics considered most important were all related to company culture, with salary only coming in at eight. Rainer Strack warns that a global workforce crisis is fast approaching, but by addressing your company culture now, you’ll be well equipped to attract top talent in the future.

 

Rainer Strack: The surprising workforce crisis of 2030 — and how to start solving it now - YouTube

Jason Fried: Why work doesn’t happen at work

Is the office one of the worst places for productivity?

Jason Fried argues that it’s impossible for employees to get their best work done when they’re constantly being interrupted by managers and meetings (M&Ms). In this talk, he offers up three radical suggestions on how to make the workplace a more productive environment.

Why work doesn't happen at work | Jason Fried - YouTube

Nigel Marsh: How to make work-life balance work

“If enough people do it (address their work life balance), we can change society’s definition of success, away from the moronically simplistic notion that the person with the most money when they die wins, to a more thoughtful, balanced definition of what a life well lived looks like.” Nigel Marsh draws on his own experiences as a former corporate giant who worked too hard and saw his family too little, to bring valuable insights on balancing work and life.

 

How to make work-life balance work | Nigel Marsh - YouTube

Lindsey Self: Unconscious behaviours in corporate culture

The gender imbalance in the workplace has dominated the news of late. And although businesses are generally putting more money into diversity training and reviewing policies to try and redress this unbalance, unconscious bias is still a deep-rooted problem in corporate culture. Here’s Lindsey Self’s take on how businesses can begin to address these unconscious biases.

 

Unconscious Behaviors in Corporate Culture - YouTube

Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action

Simon Sinek proposes a simple model for how leaders can be inspirational, all centring around asking the question ‘WHY?’. People don’t buy into WHAT you do, but instead WHY you do it. Using Apple and the Wright brothers as examples, he picks apart what it means to be more than just a leader by title, and how you can be someone who people genuinely want to follow.

 

How great leaders inspire action | Simon Sinek - YouTube

Nilofer Merchant: Got a meeting? Take a walk

“You’ll be surprised how fresh air drives fresh thinking”.

With most of us sitting on average 9.3 hours a day, Nilofer Merchant encourages you to take your one-on-one meetings out of the office, and to the outdoors. You’d be surprised by the number of new ideas that you come up with when taking a stroll, and how much smaller problems seem when you’re not cooped up inside.

 

Nilofer Merchant: Got a meeting? Take a walk - YouTube

Seen any other great talks on culture you think we should have included? Let us know in the comments below!

The post 7 TED Talks to get you thinking appeared first on Cezanne HR.

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It’s probably fair to say that for many of us, there’s a perception that in the charity sector pay will be below average, practices might be a bit outdated and that budgets for HR initiatives will be tight.

Talk to HR practitioners working in the third sector, however, and a very different picture emerges. To start with, not all charities are created equal – and while there may be some that are struggling to move into the 21st century, there are many others with a highly professional approach, where innovative HR practice is taking place. In the recent HR Most Influential Awards, for example, practitioners from charities including The Princes Trust, the British Heart Foundation and Citizens Advice were recognised for their contribution to the profession.

As recent events have reminded us, the charity sector is also far from a quiet, uneventful backwater. HR professionals working in this field often have to deal with challenging situations with allegations of mismanagement and misuse of funds – not to mention the flood of sexual harassment allegations – the latest issues to hit the headlines.

We took the opportunity at the recent Cezanne HR UK user group meeting to chat informally to a range of charity HR folk about their experiences of working in the not-for-profit sector. The overwhelming consensus was that it can be a stimulating, fulfilling place to be. The people related challenges are just as broad-reaching as those found in pretty much any workplace – but the backdrop allows scope for creative approaches and offers careers that have both depth and breadth.

Here’s our round-up of what they told us about the rewards of working in HR in the third sector – and the challenges practitioners are likely to have to grapple with when in-role:

The Rewards
  • Making a difference: HR practitioners often end up in charity organisations because they have a connection or commitment to a particular cause. But even if that’s not the case, working for a not-for-profit can provide a deep sense of satisfaction and ‘giving back’. By their very nature, charities are often filled with people who are passionate about what they do (although there are of course exceptions), which tends to make for a values-driven culture and a great place to work.
  • Work-life balance: Working for a third sector organisation certainly isn’t an easy ride. As in any other organisation there will be deadlines to meet, heavy workloads and challenging times when it’s ‘all hands on deck’. Many not-for-profits do, however, value flexibility and work-life balance and don’t have quite the same 24/7, always-on culture often found in big corporates.
  • Broadening your experience: with most of the c170,000 registered charities in the UK having a turnover of less than half a million, many charities will have small HR teams or a stand-alone practitioner. This often means it’s possible to get involved in the full range of HR activities, from pay and reward through to performance and engagement – which is great for learning and building a wide portfolio of skills.
The Challenges
  • Recruitment: Opinion was divided about the challenges of recruitment in the charity sector. Some HR practitioners we spoke to found it fairly easy to fill roles, with people who were passionate about their cause keen to get involved and make a contribution. Others highlighted the difficulty, particularly with back-office roles like finance, legal or marketing, of having to compete for talented staff who could get much higher rates of pay elsewhere. The key, it seems, is to develop a creative approach which focuses on building employer brand and highlighting non-financial benefits like learning and development, the opportunity to make a real contribution from the very start, or the options for flexible working.
  • The B-word: Brexit and the current deal or no-deal scenario is posing challenges in the Third Sector, as elsewhere. Charities who rely heavily on employing EU nationals are worried about skills gaps and are having to think hard about workforce planning. One practitioner also highlighted the uncertainty of the situation around the EU grants that many charities have relied on to support their work.
  • Resourcing priorities: With not-for-profits also under the spotlight when it comes to the amount of their budget that is spent on overheads and admin, HR people can also find themselves having to work hard to justify expenditure on systems or people-related initiatives. Getting the message across that many of these initiatives are in fact highly cost effective and will deliver savings in the longer term can be a challenge.
  • Commercial drive: Charities are increasingly finding themselves having to take a more commercial approach, with many now developing consultancy offerings or introducing charges for services that might previously have been free. This can often lead to unrest among employees, particularly if they feel this is counter to their values and undermines what they joined the organisation to do. Charity HR folk often find themselves having to work hard to communicate and engage with staff, so that they understand the necessity for commerciality and buy in to the necessary changes.
  • Ethical issues: Recent events have put pressure on charities to be more transparent than ever before about their policies and processes. It’s also the case that it is often a fine line in a not-for-profit in getting the right balance between staying congruent with the charity’s aims – and making sometimes difficult people-related decisions. In a recent article in HR Magazine, for example, a charity sector professional describes the tension for a health charity in having to decide how much paid sick leave it should offer its own staff. Necessary restructuring programmes can also be difficult to implement in an ‘empathetic’ environment or where the charity’s aims are around issues like stress, mental health and employment.

One message that came out loud and clear from our conversations was the value of partnerships – whether that is working with suppliers to find cost-effective solutions or joining forces with other voluntary sector organisations to share resources. The Small Charities Coalition, with its community of around 5000 members, is a good first port of call for practitioners who want to network and build relationships, while CIPD members may find their local branch a good place to find colleagues already working in the charity sector who can provide insight and advice.

The post HR in the charity sector – insight from the front line appeared first on Cezanne HR.

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The Apprenticeships scheme is up for an overhaul with the Chancellor’s budget announcement that contributions for non levy-paying organisations will be halved. The reduction in training payments comes as part of a wider £695 million package to support apprenticeships, and follows news that greater flexibility over the use of funds is also being introduced.

It’s probably fair to say that the levy has had something of a lukewarm reception from employers so far, with take-up below expected levels. But there are also plenty of examples of companies who have embraced the scheme are finding it a great way to nurture new talent or build the skills of their existing workforce.

So if you are tempted by the apprenticeship route, what are the key issues you need to consider and what do you need to do to set yourself up for success?

1. Think outside the box

There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding apprenticeships, with many still believing they are only suitable for the more traditional vocational occupations like plumbing or hairdressing. Today’s picture is, however, very different, with apprenticeships now covering more than 170 industries and 1500 job roles. They remain a great first step for young people entering the workforce, but more advanced levels are now also available and a growing number of organisations are using them to help develop existing staff. There are higher level apprenticeships in fields like HR, for example, while Degree Apprenticeships, leading to a Bachelors or Masters in areas like management, digital, legal and accountancy, have recently been introduced. There is a wealth of information, advice and resources out there to help employers get to grips with the detailed practicalities of how apprenticeships operate (see resources at the end of this article).

2. Make a business case

If the organisation is to make the most of apprenticeships, there needs to be support and commitment from the very top. Is there a strong, well-established business case which HR can use to make sure any scheme gets endorsement from senior leaders? There are the obvious benefits of being able to ‘grow your own’ and develop the skills the business needs now and in the future. But apprenticeships can also help organisations attract and retain talent, build engagement and improve innovation and productivity. Research has shown, for example, that 66 per cent of employers using apprenticeships have experienced improvements in staff morale, while 70 per cent of organisations have seen improvements in the goods and services they offer.

3. Make apprenticeships part of the bigger picture

In its report ‘Apprenticeships that Work’, the CIPD stresses the importance of not using apprenticeships as a stand-alone training intervention. To be truly successful, it advises, they need to be embedded in the overall workforce planning process. What skills will the business need in the future and how might apprenticeships help you build them? What kind of roles might apprentices move onto once their training is complete, and how do these jobs fit into the organisation’s longer-term growth plans? Employers who think strategically and make apprenticeships part of the bigger picture are more likely to reap the benefits and get a return on their investment.

4. Review the options for training provider

It goes without saying that finding the right training provider to partner with is critical to the success of any apprenticeship programme. You can find a list of approved training providers on the gov.uk website (just search for apprenticeships). Make sure the provider can meet your specific needs and deliver learning that is job specific and transferable. Choosing a provider who fits with the company culture and approach and is willing to develop a close working relationship is also key. Once you find the right one, it’s best practice to draw up a service level agreement that outlines responsibilities and deliverables on both sides.

5. Set aside time for the paperwork

As with any government-funded scheme, there will be paperwork to complete and steps that need to be followed in order to ensure you get the funding you anticipated. There are some useful resources on the government website, and your training provider should be able to help you understand what you need to do.

6. Plan internal support

Supporting apprentices through their training is vital, particularly if they are young entrants who are new to the workforce. Line managers have a pivotal role to play, and they will need to be both willing and equipped to support people in their team throughout their learning journey. Managers need to be prepared to meet regularly to review progress and to be on hand to provide mentoring and advice when needed. This doesn’t just apply to young entrants. It’s equally true for existing, more experienced staff who may need support with balancing work and study or getting back into a learning mind-set, if it’s been some time since they’ve done any training. The support shouldn’t stop when the training is over. Companies need to provide ongoing mentoring to make sure apprentices are able to apply their learning in the workplace and can continue to grow with the business.

Further information and advice is available from:
Gov.uk (search for apprenticeships for a comprehensive list of resources)
Examples of success stories
https://apprenticeships.blog.gov.uk/
CIPD report: ‘The Apprenticeship Levy: A Guide for HR and L&D Professionals’ https://www.cipd.co.uk/knowledge/fundamentals/people/routes-work/apprenticeship-levy-guide

CIPD report: ‘Apprenticeships that Work’
https://www.cipd.co.uk/knowledge/fundamentals/people/routes-work/apprenticeships-guide

The post Get set for success with apprenticeships appeared first on Cezanne HR.

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Onboarding software supports you in delivering an engaging experience for new hires, so they connect with their new organisation and colleagues from the moment they’re offered the job. Onboarding systems are also designed to automate and streamline many of the more time consuming administrative tasks that come with bringing new employees into the organisation.

Without employee onboarding software, organising all the activities that make up taking on new employees is incredibly time consuming and can put a strain on your already busy schedule. Key processes often slip through the cracks, and in the modern workplace where new employees expect everything to run perfectly, this just doesn’t fly.

HR has known for a while that how employee onboarding is handled can make all the difference between a quick, costly employee churn and a long productive relationship with the company. However, it is clear from our own research that many organisations are still struggling with employee engagement and retention. In a 2018 survey of 1000 office staff , 41.1% said they left a job within six months of joining and 37.5% had changed their mind before their first day. Poor onboarding is likely to play a huge part in this.

With so much to gain, and so much at stake, what should you be looking for when choosing onboarding software? We’ve picked out some key features that no onboarding software should be without.

Welcome Portals

With such a big drop-off risk before and after employees start, it’s vital for employers to engage with them from the moment they’re hired. Employee welcome portals are a common feature of onboarding software because they do just that. Acting as an information hub, they ensure a constant communication with the new employee, and offer a platform to share all the essential details they need to know before they start (date of first day, office location, directions, key contact details etc).

Since visual content is probably the most powerful way of engaging with your hire, the option to add photos and embed videos is essential; whether that’s a quick welcome from the company’s CEO, or a video showing your company’s culture (interviews, office days out etc) or highlighting your brand’s values and goals.

Check to make sure it is easy to link to documents or include content that covers other essential information, such as what to expect on the first day, or even weeks. Nobody wants to be in the dark about what to expect from their new job, so welcome portals are an effective way of putting employees at ease before and after they start.

Task Management

Not all onboarding responsibilities fall solely on HR. Duties are often spread over different departments: Have IT set up the new starter’s laptop and email? Has the finance team organised payroll yet? Has their line manager arranged inductions and check in meetings? Without onboarding software, it’s difficult for HR to know who’s done what, and what needs chasing up. Onboarding solutions with a task manager and checklists however prompts actions from you, your colleagues and your new starters by using notifications, meaning that important processes don’t get forgotten about. What’s more, you get a useful overview of what has and hasn’t been completed yet, so you can be confident that everyone knows what they need to do and can chase up if important activities have not been carried out.

Integration

To avoid time-wasting duplication of effort, onboarding software and your core HRIS have to go hand in hand; your new joiner will, very shortly, become a fully-fledge employee, so any of the information you collect through your new joiner portal should flow straight into your HR system; team profiles held in your HR system should automatically appear to new joiners; and, possibly most important of all, your onboarding system needs to make use of the reporting relationships you have in your core HR system to allocate tasks and send out notifications.

Having an onboarding system that can easily integrate with your existing HR data is a real time saver, and many of the more up-to-date Cloud HR solutions now come with onboarding modules that are easy to set up and accessible 24/7 from PC, tablet or mobile. Because all your employee information lives in your integrated system already, you’re dealing with only one information source, cutting out the laborious task of constantly re-entering the same data into multiple systems.

Interested in finding out more about the Cezanne HR employee and lifecycle module? Take a look at this video or contact one of our consultants for a demo today.

The post What is onboarding software and which features should you look out for? appeared first on Cezanne HR.

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What’s on your reading list? Will you be whiling away the long weekend gripped by the latest thriller from David Baldacci or James Patterson? Or are you planning to relax with a bit of chick-lit courtesy of Marian Keyes or Sophie Kinsella?

Sometimes, it’s good to ring the changes by throwing a business book into the mix. Yes I know you’re on holiday – but let’s be honest, how much time do you really have to keep up with the latest thinking when you’re caught up in the 9-5?

I usually have two books on the go at any one time – some fiction to relax with, plus a business book of some kind to spark new ideas or give me a fresh perspective.

A summer reading list has become a bit of a tradition on the Cezanne HR blog – so here’s what’s on my bedside table for the 2018 season:

1. The Motivation Myth: How high achievers really set themselves up to win, by Jeff Haden

In this book, top Inc columnist and LinkedIn influencer Jeff Haden suggests that ‘motivation’ as we currently know it is something of a myth. He argues that success is not reserved for those who have some kind of innate drive or special ‘sauce’ that keeps them energised and enthused. Rather, it’s something that can be achieved by anyone, with a set of clear and repeatable processes. The book is a practical guide, which aims to take the mystery out of accomplishment, help us get out of negative thinking loops and understand how to reframe our thinking about how motivation relates to success. Perhaps one to pick up when you’re trying to work up the energy to summon the waiter for another poolside cocktail.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Motivation-Myth-Achievers-Really-Themselves/dp/0399563768/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1534187691&sr=1-1&keywords=The+motivation+myth 

2. Super Connector: Stop networking and start building business relationships that really matter, by Scott Gerber and Ryan Paugh

At a recent conference, I was fascinated by a speaker who argued that networking as we know it just ends up tying a tighter and tighter noose around like-minded people from the same backgrounds.

This is because we are hard wired to be ‘tribal’ and to gravitate towards people who are ‘like us’. What we need instead, they argued, is an alternative model where networks are free-thinking, fully inclusive and set up to serve some kind of higher purpose that brings people together. This book builds on that idea by introducing the ‘super connector’ – people who don’t just network in order to collect business cards, but who understand the power of relationship building and purposefully bring different worlds and communities together with the intention of creating mutual value. The book gives practical guidance on how we can leave our bad networking habits behind and embrace a new approach. Worth a look for anyone who feels that it’s time they got out of their ‘HR bubble’ and started to develop a wider perspective.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Superconnector-Networking-Building-Business-Relationships/dp/0738219967/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1534187837&sr=1-1&keywords=Super+connector

3. How Women Rise: Break the 12 habits holding you back, by Sally Helgesen and Marshall Goldsmith

Given that HR is a female dominated profession – largely dominated by men at the upper echelons – I thought it was worth putting this one on the list. Do you hesitate about putting forward ideas? Are you reluctant to claim credit for your achievements? Do you find it difficult to get the support you need from your boss? If any of this rings true, this book aims to help you get back on track by identifying 12 common habits that can prove an obstacle to future success and telling you how to overcome them. The disease to please, the perfection trap, putting your job before your career and failing to enlist allies from day one are just a few of the 12 covered. Worth a look for those trying to break the glass ceiling – or those wanting to develop strategies to accelerate female progression in their organisation.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/How-Women-Rise-Habits-Holding/dp/1847942245/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1534187777&sr=1-1&keywords=How+women+rise

4. Applied Empathy: The new language of leadership, by Michael Ventura

There’s been a lot of talk about how soft skills – and empathy in particular – will be key in the future world of work where artificial intelligence is threatening jobs as we know them. After all, it’s one of the few areas where humans will always be more capable than robots. The book argues that empathy is not about being nice, or about pity or sympathy – rather, it’s the ability to see the world through someone else’s eyes. Ventura argues that if you want to connect to the people who work with and for you, you first have to understand them. It’s a route to strong and effective leadership – and could be the key to unlocking the innovation and growth that is the holy grail for businesses. The book gives practical advice and real-life strategies on how to use empathy to powerful effect and is based on classes delivered by the author at Princeton University.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Applied-Empathy-New-Language-Leadership/dp/1501182854/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1534187817&sr=1-1&keywords=Applied+empathy

5. HR Most Influential Interview Book

Finally, if you don’t want to spend all your hard-earned cash on reading matter, take a look at a book put together by HR Magazine, based on interviews with top HR thought-leaders such as Sandy Begbie of Standard Life and Valerie Hughes-D’Aeth of the BBC. These – and others – were interviewed by faculty at Ashridge Executive Education about the challenges keeping HR practitioners awake at night and how they have tackled these – and others during their careers. Worth a look to see what you can learn that could be applied to your organisation.

http://www.hrmagazine.co.uk/hr-most-influential/profile/download-our-free-hrmi-interviews-ebook-1

Have a great bank holiday weekend – and happy reading!

The post Books for the bank holiday weekend and beyond appeared first on Cezanne HR.

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As a recent graduate, I’m no stranger to the process of job hunting.

Scrolling endlessly through online job boards, spending hours writing cover letters and CVs, tailoring them to each individual job spec and then spell checking again and again (and again).

It’s an exhausting process, so it’s only fair that companies acknowledge the hard work the applicant puts in, right?

Unfortunately, this rarely happens. A staggering 73% of candidates receive no confirmation at all after sending off their application. From an HR and line manager perspective, it’s easy to understand why. There are only so many hours in a day, and reaching out to unsuccessful candidates may not feel like the best use of time.

But why does it matter? Why is the candidate experience so important?

Well, for starters, with the latest figures showing UK unemployment at its lowest in 40 years, good candidates always have plenty of job options. They won’t accept a role just because you’ve offered it to them, especially if they’ve had a bad experience along the way – or read about others that have.

Candidates often share their experiences online, whether that’s on social media, or on sites like Glassdoor, and most applicants will do their research before applying for a job. If you don’t want to fall at the first hurdle, it’s vital your company appears positively on these platforms. In your applicant’s mind, bad candidate experience often equals bad place to work, and they’ll most likely turn down the offer, stand you up if something better comes up (see our research here), or not even apply to you in the first place.

It may also be the case that unsuccessful candidates could become customers or partners in the future. According to The Talent Board’s survey of 45,000 job applicants, 40% of those whose recruitment experience was positive would buy more of the goods or services of the company, even if they weren’t hired.

Here’s five ways you can achieve a top candidate experience, and how Cezanne HR’s Cloud HR software suite can help.

Communicate at every stage of the recruitment process

In the early stages, a successful candidate experience often comes down to good communication. You know just how uncomfortable you feel about a supplier who fails to get back to your enquiry quickly. Candidates feel the same. It makes sense to acknowledge all applications quickly, even the ones that are clearly speculative and not a good fit; and to try to keep messages personal (especially post interview). Once selection has started, ensure prospective employees are kept up-to-date with where they are in the process, otherwise, you may find they’ve given up on you and gone elsewhere.

If you are managing more than a handful of applications each week, this can easily become and administrative nightmare. Which is why it’s no surprise that the best HR system come with built-in tools that help. For example, Cezanne HR’s in-recruiting module helps simplify this communication between applicant and recruiter. Once you’ve identified suitable candidates, you can easily confirm interviews by selecting the appropriate interview type, the people involved, date and time and trigger confirmation emails with the relevant information. Job offers, or emails to unsuccessful candidates, are also easy to manage, and a record is kept of what was sent and when, so you can check the applicant history at any time.

Make the most of the internet

Dedicated careers pages on your website, and social media are both a great way of engaging candidates early in the process – and helping them understand exactly how your recruitment processes work. Insight from academics suggests that anxiety and perception of unfairness are more likely to trigger a negative – or positive – reaction to your company than the actual interview process itself, so use your website to reassure and keep your social sites updated with blogs, photos, videos, or whatever works best to help potential applicants understand how your recruitment process works, and why you are a great company to work for.

And why not use social media to advertise vacancies in the first place? The Cezanne HR In-recruiting module allows you to publish vacancies to your company’s website, social media channels and, leading job boards, like Indeed, Glassdoor and Monster, for free. It’s an easy way to reach a wide audience without spending a penny more than you need to.

Prepare for the interview

I’ve had my fair share of interviews, and experienced how they can negatively effect your perception of a company if they’re done badly.

Of course, interviewing isn’t easy, and many managers won’t have had much practice. One-to-one coaching or workshops on interview techniques can help and with Cezanne HR, it’s easy to collaborate with colleagues to create an online library of supporting materials, such as sample questions to ask, what to avoid (especially in a legal context), and the details of career and development opportunities that might be available for interviewers to call on.

Centralised interview diaries and automatic email reminders about upcoming appointments help ensure interviewers don’t leave essential preparation to the last moment. And, it’s also essential that interviewers can easily access CVs, specific notes about the candidate; such as the results of pre-application surveys, telephone interviews or assessment.

Learn from your candidates

You can only improve what you measure, so if the candidate experience is important to you, why not put together a simple survey? It’s a great way of getting useful insights into the hiring process. See what your applicants have to say, take the feedback on board and tweak your recruitment process accordingly. The data you get could be valuable in improving your candidate experience in the future and may highlight issues you hadn’t even realised were there.

(TIP: Wait a month before sending out the survey. If I received an email asking me to fill out a survey just after being rejected from a job, I probably wouldn’t be completely fair in my responses. Best to let the dust settle before you ask them about their experience!)

Delete the job post as soon as the vacancy’s filled

Imagine spending hours crafting a cover letter for your dream job to find out after submission that the role’s already been filled, or applications closed. I’ve been there, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who finds it incredibly frustrating. Delete your vacancy posts as soon as they’re no longer needed, so you don’t waste anybody’s time. With Cezanne HR you can automatically publish, and remove the vacancies you’ve created using specified dates, and extending expiry dates is simple too, so there’s one less thing for you to have to worry about.

Obviously, there is much more to creating a great candidate experience than technology. Fortunately, we are a long way from having AI make recruiting decisions for us – or for candidates! However, having the right HR system in place can make a huge difference, freeing up your time to focus on the interventions that really matter.

Do you have any practical examples of steps you’ve taken to improve the candidate experience? What did you change, how easy was it to implement? Which changes did you find most effective?

Let us know in the comments below.

The post Easy ways to improve recruitment (and why you need to care) appeared first on Cezanne HR.

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