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Focusing on creating an unrivalled experience for your people is a key driver of a good HR strategy.

One of the questions we often get asked as HR consultants is what the key driver of a good HR strategy should be. What is the silver bullet? The 80/20? If only it was that easy, but let’s give some context before we answer the question…

There’s no doubt that we are living in exciting and uncertain times – especially if you are in business, and even more so if you are in the HR space. Hopefully after you’ve read this article we can agree to call it the ‘People Experience’ space.

At the moment we are seeing many influences disrupting business –

  • Technology influences. Yes, a robot might one day replace some of your tasks at work but that’s a conversation for another day. Who knows, maybe it was a robot that wrote this article for us?

  • The millennials. And their desire for flexibility, GIGS, purpose at work. The list is endless and exciting;

  • New business models. Imagine applying an Uber type model to HR outsourcing, or recruitment?

  • Work life balance/integration.

  • etc…etc.

And since this article is about HR Strategy, let’s talk about all the HR trends floating around out there. To name but a few:

  • Digitization of HR - We’ve lost count of how many IT experts overnight became HR Tech experts;

  • Leadership development and the new type of leader required for these new ages. Never mind the fact that there were so many leaders who couldn’t lead properly in the ‘old days’;

  • The need for Business focused HR functions;

  • New operating models. Theoretically this should be a core HR practitioner competency but most companies pay exorbitant amounts to consultants to do this for them;

  • Perceived Inadequate HR Capability and authorization. Even as seasoned HR experts it pains us to admit that HR has not always added real value to the businesses we serve, and even where they could have done so they haven’t always been authorized to do so by C-Suite;

  • The impact of the future of work on organizations.

  • The list goes on…

It is clear that organizations have no choice but to change the way they ‘Do HR’ – If not, they are dead in the water, and that’s a fact. Many organizations have started to realize this and there has been a remarkable increase in the amount of ‘HR Transformation’ projects which organizations have put on their list of strategic priorities. This is great news for all involved in the People Agenda and definitely a step in the right direction…

With all this in mind and a common understanding that organizations need a new type of HR function, the REAL question is what is the silver bullet that can assist HR in attracting and retaining the best talent to make themselves future proof?

Simply Put - What should a great HR strategy focus on?

The truth is that there never is a silver bullet. Business is complex and people are even more complex. Sustainable success requires pulling various levers at the same time (or at different times). But we believe that a large part of the answer lies in focusing on creating an unrivalled experience for your people.

We call this a People Experience. You may have heard this term bandied around in various formats recently, but what does it actually mean and how do you implement it as a Business and HR strategy?

Here are our constantly evolving thoughts on what a PEOPLE EXPERIENCE means:

1. A people experience puts people FIRST in business

Candidly speaking, if we cannot agree on this as an overriding principle then there’s no point in continuing the discussion. But don’t take our word for it. The below quotes from some business greats confirms our thinking.

  • ‘Clients do not come first; Employees come first. If you take care of your employees they will take care of your clients…’ Sir Richard Branson

  • ‘Don’t hire smart people and tell them what to do; Hire smart people and let them tell you what to do…’ Steve Jobs

  • ‘The responsibility of the company is to serve the customer. The responsibility of leadership is to serve the people so that they may better serve the customer. If leaders fail to serve the people both customer and company will suffer’ – Simon Sinek

People aren’t important in business… People ARE the business. Even in the digital world how people interact with digitization can be your organizational competitive edge.

2. A people experience understands deeply what engages people and builds the business and HR Strategy on these principles

Much research has been done around what truly engages people at work, but we believe that a large piece of the key lies in intrinsic motivation factors (self-motivated, self-directed). We believe that 3 things keep people intrinsically engaged:

  • Autonomy – the desire to direct our own lives

  • Mastery – the desire to get better and better at something that matters

  • Purpose – the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves.

We believe that if organizations can create a people experience that plays to these innate human needs then they are a long way towards success.

3. A people experience is holistic

A people experience does NOT only include work related activities and environment – That’s a piece of it.

A holistic People experience considers the following:

a) The deep rooted needs of the people. These include the Intellectual, Emotional, Physical, Social & Financial aspects of their lives;

b) Connection to the outside world of customers, family, community and world;

c) An innovative, flexible business model that connects Business Purpose, Strategy and HR processes to the innate human needs mentioned above and ultimately creates value for the customer, and

d) The Digital world is a critical component of a people experience.

4. A people experience is built WITH your people

Just like a great customer experience is built with the customer, a people experience is built in a collaborative process with your people. It is an inside out program, not a waterfall program.

The implementation generally requires strong agility competence in a business. Yes – you will possibly need to learn how to scrum!

5. A people experience requires connection to an authentic organizational purpose

A People experience needs to connect/align/synergize with a strong organizational purpose (not just words on a wall, but lived and breathed).

In other words an awesome people experience is supported by a powerful organizational purpose! They affect each other deeply.

A People Experience can only succeed sustainably if people are at the forefront of the organizational purpose; and similarly a deep purpose can by co-created by undertaking a People experience transformation!

6. A people experience evolves

A people experience will constantly evolve. It needs to be flexible and agile, and so does the business environment in which it is built. A people experience thrives in an operating model that is based on informal way of work rather than rigid structures, processes and systems.

7. A people experience is business focused

A people experience does not forget about business strategy and goals. On the contrary – Business purpose, strategy and goals are deep drivers (and outputs) of the people experience. Organizational goals are achieved by creating an amazing environment for their people, who then in turn serve their customers with excellence, and achieve audacious corporate goals.


It’s no secret that businesses have traditionally focused on the ‘HARD Stuff’ (Strategy and structure).  A people experience approach acknowledges that the ‘SOFT Stuff’ (People and culture) should be a key driver for success. Culture does indeed eat strategy for breakfast.

Or as Tom Peters says – ‘The Soft Stuff is the Hard Stuff!’

We believe that gone are the days of defining strategy, building structure and process and then ‘plugging’ people into the above. An authentic People Experience might start with people and purpose, and build the business (Structure) around their deeply rooted needs.

So in conclusion – if we were given a shopping list of various strategic priorities for a sustainable HR Strategy and we could only choose 1 guiding principle we would say the following:

Make people experience a part of your strategy – or even better MAKE PEOPLE EXPERIENCE YOUR STRATEGY!

About the authors

Dean Davey | Executive Director People Advisory Services @EY Belgium

He is a seasoned Business and HR Transformation Professional who has a passion for enabling corporates to achieve their purpose and goals by building and implementing a business focused and people inspired approach to transformation.

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Please tell us something about yourself and your Startup.

My name is Philipp, I am the founder and CEO of QPM, a HR-tech Startup from Germany. My professional interests are compensation & benefits and evidence-based HR management. With this background my colleagues, partners and I created a state-of-the-art job evaluation system https://www.gradar.com/en/.

My name is Sam Reeve and I have founded CompTeam an HR management consulting firm that specializes in performance pay and talent management solutions.

What do you want to achieve with gradar?

Philipp: We want to develop and offer a modern and affordable job grading tool by turning a traditional consulting business into a product business. This makes the sale of licenses our focus. Foremost, our partners, such as Sam at CompTeam support companies with the implementation of our job evaluation system.

A focused partner strategy enables us to scale our licensing business internationally.

Sam: It’s great working with a smart solution such as gradar. Philipp and his team developed a product that is on par or better than what our large competitors have to offer. gradar can be used by compensation consultants such as myself for client projects at a very low cost, enabling even smaller companies to get access to high-quality job evaluation.

Digitization is on everyone's lips and with your Startup you also contribute a certain amount to it. How has digitization affected your business model in recent times?

Philipp: Digitization enables us to be disruptive in the first place by making the traditional consulting business a product business. In addition to all the advantages of our job grading software, we have thus primarily pursued business model innovation.

Sam: Without a web-based job evaluation system such as gradar that is, at its core, not a proprietary technology, I would have to rely on Excel or Access based tools for job evaluation projects. Developing web-based software takes a lot of time and I am happy to have joined the ranks of gradar partners allowing me to support and influence the further development of the application.

How do you currently experience the market for job evaluation?

Philipp: I think there is a difference between how American and European companies use job evaluation. It is my impression that American companies often focus on the “price” of a job whereas many European companies focus on the “value” of a job and subsequently use this value to determine a wage/salary range.

We do not directly translate our grades into benchmark data but offer an automated translation of the results into job codes from several compensation surveys as well as into the levels from (European) labour agreements.

This enables us to consistently determine and show the equivalence of labour across entities, countries and industries.

Sam: Philipp is correct, many American companies focus more on the “price” or market value of a job rather than it’s internal value to the company.  The difficulty with this practice is that many companies compare their jobs to the wrong levels in the benchmark surveys resulting in significant pay budget losses.  gradar dramatically enhances the American market job pricing strategy by ensuring jobs are leveled correctly.  Eliminating subjectivity from the job analysis process saves the company a significant amount of money and easily pays for the gradar platform tenfold. 

What are concrete applications/use cases for your product in practice? Can you describe a short success story?

Philipp: Almost every one of our clients has introduced a wage and salary structure based on the results. Some even go so far as to base their collective agreements esp. in Europe on the gradar algorithm.

Often career paths and career/job architectures are also based on the results, aligning with corresponding job titles.

The analysis of remuneration structures with regard to a possible gender pay gap is also quite frequent, as the equivalence of work can be reliably determined by gradar.

In recruitment, we also see a significant acceleration in the recruiting process through a clear analysis of the requirements for the position in question and the introduction of salary bands, as this clearly defines which profile is sought and how much the organization is willing and able to pay.

Sam: Many of my clients find that jobs with the same title have a significantly different scope and responsibilities at various locations.  The gradar tool helps identify these differences and places them appropriately in the pay structure.  The application of this tool has repaid itself tenfold by simply putting jobs in their proper alignment.

Do you experience hostility towards technology on the part of HR managers. Have there been any recent changes here?

Philipp: Many of the currently hyped buzzwords, such as AI, Blockchain, IoT, New Work, etc. have hardly any relevance to the practical work of HR. If one is critical of these "trends", then in my view this is not hostility to technology but rather common sense.

The promise of a transformation of the HR function to a more strategic role associated with digitization should, moreover, be taken with caution, as the current findings of academics show: "Electronic HRM: four decades of research on adoption and consequence" (Bondarouk, Parry & Furtmueller, 2016)

This describes one of the core challenges for many HR departments. Often they only have access to payroll software and perhaps a few supporting tools for recruiting, benefits management, vacation planning, etc.

The reasons for this are manifold, high costs, lack of competence, ambiguities in responsibility and the resulting conflicts with IT, among others, are to be found more frequently in one form or another. But also the question about the benefits of "Talent Management" software, in general, must be allowed if in the end only a documentation of the annual performance review is stored in it.

Sam: In recent years, many of the HR software solutions are large platforms requiring significant cost and resources for implementation.  Project plans, documentation and training needs to be created and communicated throughout the company.  It is easy to understand the apprehension of HR managers when implementing these systems.  The gradar system was designed to avoid all of this frustration.  It is a stand-alone solution with an intuitive interface and the implementation is often less than a week.  There is no pain in the process and HR managers see immediate results.

And finally the question - where will your Startup go in the next few years, what are your goals?

Philipp: We enjoy working with clients and partners and we receive so much positive feedback and appreciation that no team member can imagine working in another job at the moment.

We are currently building the integration of a competency model and already have ideas for a compensation module. Our pipeline of ideas is far from exhausted.

Since we love what we do we have no intention to sell our company.

Sam: We are at the forefront of a renaissance in personnel management.  Companies have been stuck in old methodologies such as the ineffective annual performance review and meaningless yearly pay raises for over 50 years.  The future of work will include the global mobile workforce, flexible organizational structures and a whole new way to reward people for quality work.  Philipp and his team have anticipated these changes, listened to human resource practitioners in the field and created the gradar system to evolve talent practices.  I am excited to be a part of this effort. 

Thank you very much for the interview!

About the interviewees

Philipp Schuch | Founder @gradar.com

Philipp is the founder and CEO of QPM GmbH the vendor of gradar.com. His professional interests are compensation & benefits and evidence-based HR management.

Sam Reeve | Founder @CompTeam

Sam is the founder of CompTeam an HR management consulting firm that specializes in performance pay and talent management solutions.

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HR Jump Blog by Mariana Artiaga Manso - 6M ago

This article is based on survey results reported in the Global Leadership Forecast 2018, a three-way collaboration with Development Dimensions International (DDI), The Conference Board, and EY.

The future of work requires an aligned leadership perspective

New developments in the working world are renewing attention on the unique and critical value of team-based work. Indeed, the increasing complexity of work, trends toward multidisciplinary work groups, changes in organization design, the increasing number of very different generations at work and the rise of agile project management approaches implicate that more interaction and collaboration is needed to get a clear view on situations and solve problems.

Research shows that these expectations aren’t limited to individual contributors, but are also shaping the future of leadership. Based on data from more than 2.500 HR professionals, the following three of the top six skills viewed as most critical within three years are closely associated with team effectiveness:

  • 360-degree thinking – to act on input coming from multiple sources and perspectives
  • Hyper-collaboration – requiring leaders to work cooperatively with others
  • Leading virtual and remote teams.

Collectively, these forces raise the stake for leaders’ willingness to work as a team, and for companies to respond in kind by enabling a culture of aligned leadership.

Organizations suffer when senior leaders differ in their willingness to continually push themselves and others to grow

The risks of top-level misalignment

It is important to understand the consequences of a talent approach that does not build alignment across leadership teams and that fails to see leaders as a group needing to be unified by common mindsets and mental models guiding their decisions. At the senior-most company ranks, these risks may become severe: they can lead to entire business units drifting away from a core strategy and senior leaders who cascade a discrepant set of operating and leadership principles through their entire reporting structure.

In our research, we looked across data from multiple members of more than 60 senior leadership teams to gauge the impact on leadership and business outcomes of leaders. We found four areas where a lack of senior team alignment was most damaging:

  • Situations of change: Particularly in situations of change, a lack of leadership alignment can be destructive: strong arguments will need to be put on the table, firm decisions will need to be made for a fruitful future which may harm the present business situation and individual silos. Some of the leaders may, after decisions have been made, not be able to cope with the situation and undermine transformation activities, quietly hoping that the change will never take place  and related plans will die a silent death. Organizations that do not invest in, at the one hand,  supporting their senior teams and, at the other hand, holding them accountable in situations of change, will be less successful in their transformation efforts;
  • Energy and development passion: vigor and energy on the job; looking for opportunities every day to develop employees. Organizations suffer when senior leaders differ in their willingness to continually push themselves and others to grow;
  • Future-focused leader skills: identifying and developing future talent, leading through digitization (i.e. leveraging technology to manage the workforce more effectively). Companies where senior leaders are inconsistent in such skills see worse talent and business outcomes;
  • Views on company culture: degree to which the organization is sluggish or agile, whether the company focuses more on current challenges or future vision. When senior leaders aren’t well-grounded on where the company stands now (or where it needs to head) on these key cultural factors, positive outcomes are much rarer.
Truly aligned leadership teams are still a rarity

EY - Leadership Alignment graphics | source: ey.com

For many organizations, shared and aligned leadership is an aspiration, not yet a reality. We found that only a slight majority (55%) of leaders feel either that they and their peers are engaged in mutual influence and shared sense-making, or that leaders truly collaborate to enhance the company’s effectiveness (61%).

Other signs of cooperative leadership are even weaker. For example, only 11% of companies extensively employ coaching from peer leaders as a learning method. Apart from coaching, we see little or no investment in any other forms of collective growth and development. Overall, many companies show questionable readiness to adopt and take advantage of a team concept for their leaders.

Alignment isn’t constant agreement

The goal is not creating a group of friends and extinguish as such a healthy debate among leadership teams. On the contrary, during the decision-making process, diverse perspectives are more than desirable as they enrich the debate.

Some forms of tension can be functional and the expectation of heavy discussions may incite leaders to come well-prepared to the table with well-founded arguments. However, these discussions should lead to a joint group decision, not to a win-lose situation of individual viewpoints. Also, once decisions have been made, leaders are expected to be loyal to them and to promote and defend them as a group.

How alignment makes senior leadership teams stronger

Organizations with well-aligned senior leadership teams have leaders who react more decisively to change and are better able to act on shifting customer needs and perspectives. Their active support to key cornerstones of passion, talent growth and cultural readiness for the future will enable them to build a robust leadership pipeline and to respond with agility to new market, customer and people challenges.

Where to start
  • Hire and promote for team profiles
    Seek valid, reliable data about leader personalities and skills to guide decisions about team composition
  • Address misalignment in critical facets early
    Don’t let misalignment in passion, skills and culture fester until they appear in their most damaging form at senior levels
  • Build shared mental models about mature leadership
    Create and socialize shared frameworks for roles, expectations and decision-making
  • Target unifying purpose through team chartering
    Arm leaders with basic and advanced change management background and techniques to ground new teams in a common vision
How to excel & differentiate
  • Don’t confuse alignment with agreement
    Differences in perspective are valuable and enriching, and inspire great decisions; group leadership decisions should however be promoted by the full leadership team
  • Use objective diagnostics to discern and act on team-level patterns and dynamics
    Go beyond standard org charts and opt for dynamic, interactive views of how leaders will work together as a team
  • Develop leaders in cohorts
    Collective, continuous development efforts build alignment in how leaders approach their roles as employee growth champions, and in their skills to identify talent and leverage technology to manage the workforce, providing a safe forum for open discussion of the company’s culture


About the authors

An Van Der Weken | Executive Director EY People Advisory Services @EY Belgium

An is a seasoned executive director with extensive experience in leadership and change management

Mariana Artiaga Manso | Senior Consultant EY People Advisory Services @EY Belgium

Mariana is an experienced senior consultant in change management and HR Advisory

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The world dances to the rhythm of digital transformation frenzy. Cloud, mobility, social networks, big data, block chain, robots, artificial intelligence, IoT (Internet of Things), quantum computing. Transforming business to become data driven or creating new digital native trillion-dollar company is a new gold fever. New business models, breakthrough productivity and innovation are the new “deliver or die” norm.

Getting stuff cheaper, better, faster; getting better overall experience in anything; obtaining innovative solutions - these are all goodies for all consumers. From that point of view, I see only benefits.

Digital Transformation, Human Challenges

On the painful side, technological unemployment is clearly the major source of job losses. People without income are on fringes of society, how can they survive, let alone thrive? One promising approach is basic universal income - every person should obtain a minimum guaranteed regular paycheck from the government. That could be top-down part of the solution, coming from the policy makers, if sustainable funding can be resolved.

So, majority of people are potentially torn by two forces - enjoying the benefits of technology progress if they can afford; if that same technology does not cut their source of income. Is this the best we can do? Could we all share some of the technology provided goodies to uplift the basic living platform? Who are (and who should be) the beneficiaries of digital transformations?

Society Changes, Where to Start?

Our global society is clearly in need of major transformation to implement good answers to the above (and other) big questions. Considering the complexity, including the number and frequency of moving parts in the modern world, I believe the main force is emerging bottom-up i.e. by many personal transformations forming sufficient critical mass.

Which personal transformations? The old wisdoms posed a challenge: know thyself. That simple statement is the most popular ancient Greek's Delphic maxim (check No 008). However, "know thyself" has many historical variants in different cultures and religions. Here is my take on it.

Almost every culture and religion has some ethical code of conduct, set of rules deemed beneficial both for an individual as well as for the society. In the root of all I’ve seen, there is the Golden Rule. There are many ways to express it, and my favourite (applies to consequences of one's intentions and actions) is "It is good for me and good for others."

That is where my "know thyself" starts - by examining my intentions, thoughts, expressions (verbal and physical acts) - are these good both for me and for the others? This simple question can be overwhelming. How can one possibly count and analyse all emerging thoughts, intents and actions? I propose to start with a few samples, e.g. focus on a significant action that you intend to deliver. Try and trace, how many times it emerged as set of thoughts, before it formed as a firm intent? Examine it, openly and honestly, by answering the following questions:

  1. If I perform that action, how do I expect to benefit? Can that action, under some circumstances, bring harm to me?
  2. If I perform that action, will there be benefits for others? For whom? Can anyone be harmed if I perform that action?

By answering the above questions, you will get sense of how well that intent or action is aligned with the Golden Rule. The perfect action will not create any harm to you nor anybody else; moreover, it has potential to create great benefits both to you and many people (feel free to shift from human-centric approach and include our environment, with other living beings).

Such perfect intents and actions rarely exist; moving down from the highest Golden Rule standard, on the opposite end, there may be a selfish view: "I will have great benefits from this act. I don't care about the others". The world is sick of this attitude disease, which can be diagnosed e.g. by observing global inequality.

My deepest credo - no benefit can result from harming anyone. To phrase it positively - great benefits come only from actions that are in line with the Golden Rule. I cannot prove it, so do not believe it. Instead, have some tests, by deeper examination of your own important experiences.

Change, One Individual at a Time

The hard question - if I wish to move towards the "know thyself", how to start? We are impregnated with zillions of habits of thoughts-expressions-actions, most of which we are not aware. Far from being able to count them and to remove those that are not in line with the Golden Rule, or to establish new ones supporting it. If we could only shed light to the inner workings of our thoughts-expressions-actions patterns, our deepest ingrained habits, to see their true reality, we could start working out by removing the weed and planting the good seeds.

Recently I stumbled upon an excellent book, a mind-opener in that sense, "Liminal Thinking" by Dave Gray (I am not getting commission if you buy one :) - easy to read and understand, with lots of practically applicable examples and guidance. It deals with recognisiong and changing our deeply ingrained habbit patterns. Perfect food for my hungry rational mind. But rational mind is only tip of the iceberg.

Eight years ago, after a long search and a number of different trials, I tried 10-days Vipassana meditation (it is free to attend, so I cannot get any commission if you go :) For me, this is the strongest experiential source of insight for my inner workings and positive change. There is no need to believe in anything (or give up any of your beliefs). I just had to follow simple and practical instructions, work and see what happens. It essentially teaches three disciplines in an integrated practice:

  1. Ethical code of conduct, which is an elaborated application of the Golden Rule
  2. How to focus and control one's own mind - as the source of all emotions, expressions, intentions and actions. The first two parts are basic pre-requisites for:
  3. Purifying one's mind - getting rid of deeply ingrained habit patterns that are going against the Golden Rule; as well as opening the doors to acquire new habit patterns that support it.

It is that simple - the whole point is in proper learning and applying that knowledge in practice, from moment to moment. The benefits are experienced immediately as one starts this practice, thus one gradually establishes trust in the technique, by working, experiencing and continuously testing all of its aspects.

For me, this is the clear, well-marked path towards delivery of "know thyself", in line with the Golden Rule.

Closing the Loop: Modifying Course of Digital Transformations

All the world's digital transformations will be truly beneficial only if global society grows in the Golden Rule fitness - and each person drives one's own. On the surface level (with all due respect), psychology, neuroscience and emotional intelligence knowledge will help a lot. Compassion has already entered the corporate vocabulary and this is great. On the deeper and deepest level, the tool is meditation.

Being IT professional for all of my working life and talking to my fellow professionals, the explosion of digital innovation is hard to follow, even for top experts, outside of their core specialisation. Consequently, new, unexpected stuff is happening at very high rate. 90% of the Fortune 1.000 CEOs are scared that they and their businesses will be disrupted. I suspect only few initiatives driven out of fear can deliver great results and compassion towards the others.

So here is an invitation to leaders, IT architects, programmers, users and all involved in digital transformation initiatives. Work on awareness of your intents and add some Golden Rule behaviour to all your digital transformation efforts. More important, meditate to start (or continue) your personal transformation by increasing awareness and improving your intents and acts. Your own contribution in that direction, however small it may be, will make all the difference.

Imagine a world where all human actions are fully in line with the Golden Rule. Sounds like a dream? Perhaps, however it is a nice, ambitious goal and you are in charge of your own dreams and behaviours. From my own experience, it feels good. Each one of us can start harvesting those benefits, step-by-step, from moment to moment.

About the author

Davor Jardas -
Enterprise Architect and Programme Manager @European Commission

Davor Jardas' mission is to find and develop significant potential for business innovation and automation. He selects, implements and integrates advanced IT technologies. More information about Davor Jardas on LinkedIn

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Every year, Germany's dictionary giant Langenscheidt selects the German Youth Word of the Year. In 2017 the winner is "I bims," a variation of "Ich bin," or I am. Whereby the young generation is using these words on WhatsApp, Snapchat and face-to-face conversations daily, the older generation is wondering what the meaning of terms like these even is.

This simple communication example shows how challenging it must be for companies to design the future of work nowadays and inspire and motivate employees of all generations at the same time. The reality is that the workplace 4.0 won’t exist with old structures. During the recruiting process new, digital tools often play a key role for younger generations on how attractive they find the employer. Older generations on the other hand tend to find it more difficult to adapt to modern technology. Since we are all aware of the fact that digitalization is key to competitiveness and diversity and a mixture of generations increases the productivity level – the questions is: How can companies handle a digital transformation dealing with multiple generations?

Priorities and Communication
In my point of view, we should never call this transformational change an IT Project. It should rather be the aim to make it the companies’ #1 priority and align cultural changes around it. Also, the internal communication becomes the center of attention and needs to become a coaching and supporting role to engage and motivate employees to participate. Dialog formats and Social-Collaboration-Tools will help your employees to share their experiences. Adidas for example gives an update on their product development and company updates live in their HQ every 90 days which is highly appreciated by their employees.

Management Behavior
Following the previous point, management behavior and management communication is decisive to successfully manage multiple generations and the change happening in the company. Thereby the adapted corporate culture must be practiced and demonstrated daily by all managers. This includes an open communication culture and adapting to new competencies where a value-guided leadership replaces micromanagement and hierarchies are streamlined. Taking proactive responsibility, transparency towards the employees and a team-oriented manner are fundamental principles. Furthermore structure, processes and values should continuously be questioned.

Involvement of your employees
If possible and it should always be possible, employees should participate in the change process as soon as possible. This can happen in many different formats. Upfront with employee surveys to determine which exact target groups with which concerns and wishes your company has and later throughout participation within the whole execution. Often companies built pilot groups for their projects. Here it’s also important to have a diverse and mixed group through all generations, so that the participants can become the voice and supporters of the change for everyone else.

As described earlier, there can be misunderstandings and strains, especially when it comes to communication, but nevertheless a generational mix enriches collaboration. Out of this motivation, an environment should be created where everyone knows each other well since the understanding of the different needs is one of the most important success factors for a company.
Also a modern corporate culture lays the foundation for future change- and digitalization processes.

Do you already have positive examples how you managed the future of work and digital transformation within a mixed group of generations? If so, I’m would love to hear your stories.

Attached a brief summary of the many generations who are nowadays working side by side and how they have witnessed digitalization: 

  • Within the generation of the Babyboomers work has a great importance to them. They created the term “workaholic” and new digital systems and devices are mainly used at work.
  • Followed by the Generation X or as some call them Generation Golf, they lived most of their childhood without a computer and become a witness of digital change and during their adulthood. Therefore, this generation had to consciously explore new technology.
  • Generation Y, which is mainly knows as the Millennials, is the first generation of the “digital natives” and experienced the online boom and globalization extensivly. In their opinion a workplace must be meaningful and fun and their career development often has a minor importance than a good work-life-balance.
  • And last but now least – the Generation Z or Generation YouTube who is completely adapted to digitalization on a daily basis. They would not survive in a non-digital world and social media is a big part in their private and professional life.

About the author

As being a millennial herself, she is looking at HR differently. One year ago Jennifer Wachholz, moved abroad for a new job role at Oracle Digital advising customers on HCM Cloud solutions and experiencing again how change in her career positively impacts personal development and growth. You can find more information on LinkedIn

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Thomas Dorynek, Manager People Advisory Services @EY


The employee travel experience is often singularly different than the customer one. This is due to the fact that corporate travel management is at the heart of many functions within organizations, such as HR Mobility, Finance, Procurement or IT. Therefore, being able to provide a unified and integrated business-traveller experience is, for many companies, a real challenge.

A multifaceted challenge:

  • in terms of travel process harmonization
  • with regards to systems integration
  • in order to provide a simplified & engaging travel experience to employees
  • in terms of risk & compliance

In order to tackle these questions, organizations have to follow two key guiding principles:

  1. Employee centricity
  2. IT simplification

Today, an employee-centric approach is a design fundamental for any human resources project - employee journey exercises are for instance a standard in almost all human capital assignments.

The second guiding principle is about eliminating IT complexity in handling traveller data.

Simplifying the IT landscape for travel management is a real breakthrough for many organizations. There are two dimensions to be taken into account: systems convergence & the integration of value-added travel services. Both of these dimensions are crucial in order to provide an optimal corporate travel service.

Systems convergence

What we notice in the travel & expense software market is that more and more IT vendors are proposing end-to-end solutions. SAP Concur was the first solution to pave the way towards an integrated travel journey. Today, it still is the market leader by far, but competition is fierce with other players such as KDS or Amadeus Cytric now also able to provide similar offerings. For companies, these market trends can be materialized via additional features available to add to their current travel or expense solution.

Integration of value-added travel services

Corporate travel isn’t limited to transportation, accommodation & expenses - the scope is broader than ever. New regulations are emerging and existing ones are being reinforced, making uncertainty management a priority for employers. Furthermore, employee’s expectations in terms of travel options are increasing, owing to the fact that the TravelTech landscape is booming, hence proposing a plethora of innovative & disruptive services.

Source: CBInsights

In order to catch up on these techological advances, travel & expense solutions are incrementally introducing new partnerships or integrations with different travel services such as home sharing or peer-to-peer ridesharing.

Next to embedding players from the sharing economy into corporate travel management, there are additional components that are now available for organizations such as tax and immigration compliance risk management. These services are crucial for employers, especially in an increasing VUCA environment. The ability to manage the tax and immigration compliance risks of business travellers allows companies to have a holistic view on their employees’ travel journey.

Alongside these guiding principles, in order to optimize & simplify clients’ travel & expense management, the business traveller’s journey is mapped out and critical touchpoints are identified. Based on these inputs, enhancements from a technology or process standpoint are then recommended and implemented. The business traveller view is at the forefront of the improvement strategy, but it is still key that all stakeholders involved benefit from it. Thus, other roles such as the line manager (from an approver’s perspective) or mobility officer (travel/HR admin) are also carefully assessed. Looking to the example of a mobility officer, technologies such as chatbots or RPA (Robotic Process Automation) can mean maximizing an employee’s valuable time

Source: EY

Bottom line, the corporate travel industry is step-by-step leveraging emerging technologies & putting the emphasis on integration in order to deliver to employees a travel experience that is simplified as the services they use in their day-to-day lives

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The world we live in today is so much different from the world it had been a decade or two ago.  The fast advancements happening in technology today shapes the undergoing massive shift of every industry.  The way we work, communicate, interact, and function has drastically changed in a matter of short years.  Not more than thirty years ago, we lived without cellphones and social media. These days, it will be as though we can no longer properly function without them.  We now have so much more than what we had in the yester-years, and yet researched and development have not stopped.

Ever since modern computers were introduced, businesses have heavily depended on them. So much more now with the functions of the internet and all its other essential features. Over time, the changes that the digital world has undergone has also changed the way we conduct and organize businesses.  All these transformations are aimed at making things more organized, better managed, more convenient and efficient, and time- and money-saving. Not only workplaces in Dubai, which ranks among the richest and most developed cities in the world, have been overhauled, but even its basic departments and functions to deliver better company environment and enhance workforce.

Digital Human Resources

HR Departments are tasked to manage people in a company.  Besides the acquisition of talent and management, performance, administration, and employee compensation and payroll, workforce management and analytics are among the functions of an HR Department.

With the responsibilities of an HR Department, it is imperative for companies to adopt digital transformation in this department to bring it “closer to the workforce”. Digitization of the HR Department is not merely about transformation or the use of more modern IT solutions into its system, but to make the foundation of an organization future-ready.

By the sound of the definition and importance of HR digitization, it may seem a lot less human and more on computerized solutions.  However, the goal of these HR solutions is not to replace humans. These are intended to drive engagement among the workforce, make a difference in the work experience of employees, develop their skills and capabilities, and better connect with others.

Be it in a workplace or our own lives, we always want to mean something in everything we do. We want to matter. And this remains true in the jobs of employees.  They are happier, more productive when they know that the work they do are meaningful and impact the company in positive ways.  This motivates them to do their work better. Here are ways you can work on to give your digital HR a more human feel.

Provide appropriate tools

Although technology has been integrated in almost every aspect of our lives these days, there are still those who do not easily adapt changes.  You cannot expect employees to function efficiently in their jobs without providing for them the right information, tools, and other technologies to help them understand and adapt to these changes faster and effectively.  

Allow them to build their life goals and career paths while working

Nobody likes getting stuck, especially in their careers.  You can motivate your employees by providing for them programs, responsibilities, and opportunities that pave way for them to grow professionally, and for them to take notice of these changes in their careers. It will not help they feel that the company they are working for does not support them professionally.

Let go of time-consuming manual processes

HR processes are often time-consuming and monotonous. They are essential to a business, but no one would want to do them if given a chance.  Ditch the manual processes.  These days, traditional processes, tools, and processes that may have made differences for a company in the past may not be as effective as promised today. Be prepared to provide solutions for your employees to have the tasks done easier, more efficiently, and much faster.  This way, employee productivity is encouraged and not hampered.

In conclusion, digital solutions and transformations are not only solution to achieve growth and development of any business. Productivity among the workforce should still be given importance and be supported.  These may provide convenience and efficacy in their functions, but human workforce still holds true value to the development and success of a business.

About the author

Gemma Reeves is a seasoned writer who enjoys creating helpful articles and interesting stories. She has worked with several clients across different industries such as advertising, online marketing, technology, healthcare, family matters, and more. She is also an aspiring entrepreneur who is engaged in assisting other aspiring entrepreneurs in finding the best office space for their business.

Check out her company here: FindMyWorkspace

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Mats Nemelka, HCM Solution Consultant @Oracle


Unleash 2018 says "Welcome" for the first time!

The formerly known HR Tech World celebrated its re-birth this year in London from 20th to 21st of March after the official rebrand to “Unleash”. Marc Coleman, Founder, and CEO of UNLEASH said, “The UNLEASH community will look to become more open to leadership from across organizations and to engage with the people that are making big differences in the world of work, creating communities that enable disruptive workplace innovation and learning.”

The general set up remained very similar. A jungle full of HR tech vendors including the well-established ones but also many small and upcoming startups that presented themselves. The HR tech market has seen lots of movement over the recent years also welcoming lots of fresh players. Especially technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) but also blockchain will further disrupt the HR market. Having algorithms support companies to find better candidates or having the new contract being issued in a blink of an eye with the help of blockchain technology.

So it came with no surprise that these topics were heavily discussed in the different breakout sessions along with other hot topics such as GDPR, Brexit, leadership, learning 2.0, diversity and inclusion, mentoring and many more.

Keynote speech by Skype co-founder Jonas Kjellberg

Jonas Kjellberg says about himself that it is disrupting an industry that gets him up in the morning. Jonas Kjellberg is one of the co-founders of Skype. He has a successful past in disrupting industries, most famously the telecommunication industry. He described how hard it is to invent in the zeros but that’s what he did with Skype. The highest valued startups such as Uber or AirBnB invest in the zeros as they simply offer a platform but do not own the product anymore. The bottom line of his speech is if a company wants to survive in this highly disruptive market it needs to re-imagine its organization and make innovation the heart and soul of the company’s DNA. This also includes hiring different profiles and giving them the room to be themselves.

The big HR tech vendors all to be found right after the entrance

After making it through the registration and the entrance to the stands that were located right on the ground floor visitors were welcomed by the big players in the HR Cloud market. For Oracle it was all about the new UX this time including its new “newsfeed” landing page. Employees can now highlight the data and details they care about most.

Another big topic of this year’s Unleash was data and people/workforce analytics. HR has been for many years looking in the rearview mirror, rather than looking forward and being able to predict events that will occur in the future. With the help of the latest and greatest analytics solutions, for the first time HR has the chance to really understand who is their workforce and being able to abstract relevant information and match these against business outcomes. Knowing who is at risk, or who should be taken into consideration for a promotion, predicting these events lets companies better plan and develop their workforce for the future.

The startup corner hosted the disruptors of the future

At the end of the main hall the HR startups were to be found. More than 40 startups presented themselves. The common ground for all these companies is that they want to contribute to the Future of Work.   Innovating in their area of HR and leading the way to the next generation of HR.

Next to the Startup Zone the competitions took place. The 5 HR startups finalist had the chance to present their ideas and products to a selected jury. With the help of Unleash the winners will get access to further support and access to influencers.

We are all looking forward to discover other innovative HR propositions and to further uncover the innovation happening in the HR market.  

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“The truth will set you free but first it will piss you off.”

We live in a world where everything needs to go faster and faster. You need to be the best in this society with a great social media career, social life, well-paying job and a killer body.

Maybe this sounds like a story you heard several times and that's right but do you actually look around and try to actually see what's happening? Do you take a moment and criticize yourself on what’s happening to you and to your loved ones?

If I look at the new generation I see great things happening but I also have a lot of concerns. What if you are not the perfect picture? What if you were running so hard but your body and mind can’t keep up? What happens then?

Around me I see more and more people with a burn out, chronical hyperventilation, depressed, loneliness and the list goes on and on. People lost themselves on the way and don't know what to do now because Instagram won’t teach you or help you with that. The world changing from face to face conversations to people interacting with robots and social media. These are great inventions but will they give you love when you feel lonely, will it be a shoulder to cry on? Studies show that people feel lonelier in these situations and get more depressed and even in some occasions commit suicide!

So what can we do as HR to help and coach?

A lot of departments are changing and developing but HR is 80% of the time running behind. Not understanding the new generation and criticizing them instead of giving them help and support to develop. So where do you start?

First step is to try to understand, listen, recognition, love and NO JUDGEMENT. A great way to begin this is with a goof onboarding and giving them a buddy that can help them with the binding to the company and to the employees. It can give young employees anxiety, confusion and excitement so it’s good to help them transition from college/university to a work environment and with a buddy they have a great example and someone that can support.

Second step is to give them attention and constant feedback. They need and like a constant feedback so they know how they doing and how they can improve. They will also need affirmation as they progress. Managers should meet with young employees often for these purposes.

Third step is to define their career path. They want to know the career options within you organization because they are focused on advancement. Use their strengths for this as well. A young employee will get motivated when you acknowledge his or her strengths and try to combine these with career- paths and opportunities.

Last but not least, monitor their work load. Young employees don’t know their limits yet and will take all tasks and projects that you will give them. Keep in mind that they are not always skilled in managing their work load and know how to prioritize their tasks. A good way is to have one to ones and prioritize this with them together so they can learn from you and are involved.

So stop with your routines but look around you and acknowledge what’s happening and start doing something to move yourself and HR into the right direction. 

About the author

Maxime has a strong background in HR and thinks it’s important to develop and coach on a continuous base. he world is changing and we need to change with it being it evaluating ourselves and giving feedback to each other.  Views are her own.

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Thomas Dorynek, Manager People Advisory Services @EY


For several years, investors have considered the HR tech market as one of the most flourishing in the technology space. In 2016, a new record was reached with a total of 402 deals worth approximately $2.2B in funding for HR tech startups.  In a recent article, CBInsights describes the new wave of Expert Automation & Augmentation Software (EAAS) platforms that will arise in the upcoming years. EAAS is “software that uses machine intelligence to replicate and augment human cognition.”

In the area of HR, four startups are identified as enablers to further support HR departments in their day to day activities.


But who are these startups and what services do they offer?

1)      Workey
The reality in recruitment is that most candidates are not actively looking for a job. These candidates are called passive candidates. If the right opportunity comes up, they are willing to take a shot. The main question is how to identify these passive candidates? Workey, a New York headquartered startup uses Artificial Intelligence to anonymously match the profile of a job seeker with a fitting company. Once an interesting company has been identified, the candidate can decide whether or not to share their profile with the company.

2)      Talla
Collaboration is key in every recruitment process - whether a new hire needs to be onboarded or different interviewees need to be coordinated. Talla has developed an AI bot that keeps content up-to-date, engages intelligently with content owners and lets the user easily find the right information.

3)      Mya
In many companies, recruiters do not find adequate time to properly engage with candidates. In the past, email templates have been used to support the recruiter. In the years to come, chatbots will take care of most of the external conversation with candidates. Mya takes it one step further with its machine learning capabilities; it learns how to interact and communicate with a candidate, but also, and most importantly, it also integrates with your current applicant tracking system (ATS) landscape. Mya updates the scorecard of the candidate within your ATS, schedules the interview with the candidate and sends out calendar invites to the interviewees. 

4)      Restlessbandit
Current applicant tracking systems (ATS) mainly look at their own talent pools, focusing on talent which has applied for a job at the company and afterwards remained in the ATS’s talent pool. More modern ATS’s come with candidate relationship management (CRM) features that lets the company engage early with a candidate before the application to eventually turn them into a candidate. Restlessbandit makes this obsolete. A company would simply need to open a job requisition on Restlessbandit, with the help of artificial intelligence it then matches the job ad with its own talent pool consisting of 100 Million candidates and match these back into your ATS system.  This extends the talent pool and lets companies pro-actively look for the right candidate.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and HR are made to work together in the years to come. Without a shadow of a doubt, new AI driven solutions will become the new normal for HR departments.

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