What will be the cost of reinstating a high performing employee?

Or better yet, how much cost do you think you will save if the same star performer never left your team in the first place. Maybe cost is the wrong word, but that also factors in. Let’s use the word “value”. 

How much value will you continue to add to the business and to the team if this person never leaves. Turns out, there’s no yardstick for measuring that, it is as qualitative as it gets. But there are measurements for employee engagement and for attrition, retention, absenteeism and so on. 

People analytics as a discipline has been turning heads these past few years. Suddenly we have tons of data, both hard and soft, from in person and social profiles that tell us when an employee is Red/ Amber/ Green, or if they are bored, borderline disengaged (means they can be wooed back), actively disengaged and so on. it’s a science and more often than not the Human Resources function isn’t able to actively implement what they deduce to be the solution to these live employee case studies, because employee emotions are a fluid thing. They don’t stay as hard as data and are constantly evolving, forming and re- forming. 

What can you do? 

Ensure a culture of air cover

It’s never all of a sudden that an employee decides to leave. It’s a gradual process. Complement the Early Warning System that you have in place. Initiate candid and closed room conversations with Amber employees. Provide them with enough safety to talk about what seems to be bothering them. Many times, all they need is a mentor to see them through their internal discussions and assumptions. As part of Project Aristotle, Google spent 2 years trying to decode what makes or breaks a team. And what they came up with had very little to do with hard numbers, but more to do with unsaid behaviours and norms in the team that magnified collective intelligence and collective responsibility. All of that happens when there is sufficient air cover to not feel judged. Yes. Feel

Change with the times

Processes and policies need to be employee friendly, reasonable and of course reflecting the ethos of the organisation. But they also need to be relevant. 2017 was the year of continuous performance management. The shift was towards real time feedback and regular checkins, spearheaded by Deloitte. 2018 has moved into the implementation of the same with all the learnings of 2017. All of this is driven by “employee experience” of 2017. The point- keep it relevant. Glob­al giants such as Gen­er­al Elec­tric and Microsoft have completely stripped annu­al appraisals, rat­ings, cal­i­bra­tion meet­ings and com­pe­ten­cy assess­ments, focus­ing instead on reg­u­lar, qual­i­ty per­for­mance con­ver­sa­tions and feed­back. Deloitte’s 2017 Glob­al Human Cap­i­tal trends found that 96% of com­pa­nies who have done this say their process­es are now sim­pler and 83% say the qual­i­ty of con­ver­sa­tions between employ­ees and man­agers are far far better. 

Let some people go

Now this may sound counter- intuitive. A survey conducted by Nintex claims that 53% of employees do ‘not’ expect to stay at their companies beyond a tenure of five years. Another survey by Gallup determines that six in 10 millennials are prone to the concept of ‘job-hopping’. In order to let new thoughts enter the workspace, sometimes it is best to let some go. When faced with a decision of either continuing with the same person or letting someone new in, weigh the pros and cons basis what the organisation wants to be in the next 3- 5 years. 

All of these are a part of your employer brand. This is what makes your organisation appealing to those seeking a role with you. With changing times, branding your organisation to employees and customers is a matter of thought leadership.

Can you think as far as the next milestone or can you think in spite of the next milestone?

How do Talent Analytics help in making people related decisions?

Our basic understanding of what the Human resource department does is limited to thinking of it as a process of selecting the right person for the job. This is a laborious task. It is prone to human error and is of course, time consuming. Effective analysis on jobseekers’ data can help identify the best match for a vacant position in your company. The data can be tabulated on the basis of age, qualification and experience. The recruiters can also cull data from a candidate’s social profiles to ensure that they get nearly a perfect match. 

Hang on. Don’t lose hope yet. Read on. This isn’t the usual reading material about HR, rather about HR Analytics.

If you look at HR analytics or Talent analytics as it is commonly known, you will realise that HR is no longer that limited in its scope. This is a complete science in itself, of gathering, organising and analysing data related to HR functions like recruitment and beyond, say, talent management, employee engagement performance and retention to ensure better and swift decision making in these areas.

Up till about 5 years ago, only a handful of companies like Google, (whose former Senior Vice President of People Operations, even wrote a book ‘Work Rules’ on it) had understood or given due importance to what is termed as People Analytics. But surveys and data have shown that spending on Human Resource products and technology has increased in recent times. More and more companies are applying analytics to recruiting and retaining employees.

What do they stand to gain from this, you may ask? Embracing data analytics in talent requisition and retention helps in following ways:

  1. Identify best performing talent: HR personnel no longer sit back and wait for the best talent to come knocking at their doors. Take the example of Nissan who have started to recruit people via a very unconventional method- racing video games. Nissan collaborated with Sony to create a television programme- GT Academy- which is a global annual contest designed to find the best gaming racers and to turn them into real life racing drivers. What a way to gain entry into mainstream Motorsport as well what an effective recruitment channel, wouldn’t you say? 
  2. Drive employment satisfaction: Humanyze, a people analytics company has come up with electronic badges that capture information from the employees as they go about their routines at place of work. It captures data in terms of pauses in conversations and their lengths, tone of voice, how often people interrupt others and how well they are able to express empathy and so on. Using this technology, a major bank found out that workers at their call centres who took a break together to let off steam were amongst their best performers. This led them to implement group break policies. The result was- performances improved by 23 per cent and stress level among employees dropped by 19 per cent. 

HR analytics offers data which can be used to improve the employee experience of working for a company. This in turns drives employee satisfaction leading to a win-win situation for all the parties concerned.

3. Driving performance with effective learning- Danone, the food giant, has created a user-friendly online platform for employees to boost their development and experience sharing. Data driven HR helps companies adopt new ways to manage and monitor their employees and provide constructive and consistent feedback to the employees.

The time is ripe, to look into People Analytics as a means of running the People Function.

Why should you care about Candidate Experience and how to make it WORK for YOU?

In a survey, the social media and recruiting company CareerArc, surveyed 1054 respondents including 616 employers and 438 job seekers. Results showed

a. 61% job seekers visit the company’s online profiles first before applying and this number has steadily been increasing since 2015.

b. 1 out of 3 job seekers had shared at least one negative review of a previous or prospective employee and that 66% of job seekers who have written a negative review are likely to share it across different social media platforms as compared to someone who confides only in a friend or two.

The impression that people get from interacting with your company as a candidate/ prospective employee can have a great impact on your business. The current job market is candidate driven and the Internet has given everyone a ‘Loudspeaker’ of their own. If you want to hear that make the right kind of noise for you, here is what you need to do. But first things first. 

Candidate Experience

So, what is this candidate experience that the recruiting world is going on endlessly about? Candidate experience by definition is the candidate’s overall perception of the company’s recruiting process. The candidate here is not just the Current prospect but also past candidates and potential future candidates. The perceptions will arise from- behaviour, feelings and attitudes, all from the people that he/ she has met with during the recruitment process.

Why should you care about it?

A negative candidate experience will make the candidate reject your offer, he might never again apply for another job at your company and discourage others from doing so as well. Unhappy candidates might even boycott your company’s products.

A positive candidate experience however can help your company reap long term benefits (read bigger and stronger talent pool, improved employer brand) regardless of the fact whether or not the candidate was hired. 

How to improve the candidate experience?

  1. Respond to the candidate: The hiring team should make sure that they close the loop with every person who has applied. Today technology is of great help in this area helping the employers to create standardised responses with an option to personalise it so that the candidates aren’t left hanging in mid-air.
  2. Job description: It is best to keep the job descriptions easy and jargon free. Try to stay away from stereotypes and use suspicious sounding words like “passionate” or “guru” in the ad. Also understand that a job description with an endless list of must-have qualities is a put off. Make sure you list the must-haves separately from your wishful list so as not to confuse the candidate.
  3. Educate the candidate: The Cheesecake Factory once in testimonial videos asked its employees to finish the sentence The Cheesecake Factory is a great place to……… They got varied responses ranging from ‘It cares about me’ to ‘cheesecake in my veins’.

Videos are a great way to teach a candidate about the company, the work culture, the department he/ she has applied to or share details about the advertised post. It can also help to demystify the hiring process of your company. They help in educating the job seeker about what to expect during the process. 

How does Corporate Social Responsibility impact Employer Brand?

Did you know that a skill-short UK, is letting candidates cherry pick roles? More than 62% of the millennials (people born between 1981 and 1996) among them, look to work for companies that have a greater social impact. These are the people who would not deter from putting in more effort into their jobs if they were having a deeper social impact nor would they hesitate in taking home a lesser salary.

In a study done by Net Impact, it was found that if all the factors were to be given equal weightage, then the 35% of the people surveyed would willingly take a 15% pay cut to work for a company committed to Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR. About 45% of them say that they wouldn’t mind the pay cut to work a job that makes a social or environmental impact. In fact, the biggest chunk- a whooping 58% said that they would take the 15% cut for a company that mirrors values dear to them. 

A company invested in Corporate Social Responsibility creates a positive message and image for itself. CSR increases the employee brand value of that organization, automatically attracting talent. 

Why, you may ask?

CSR unites the whole organization around a common cause. This common cause is of course in line with the values, morals and mission of this organization. It gives the various stakeholders a purpose bigger than just churning out profits for the owners. This sense of purpose and being committed to a greater cause motivates them to go the extra length.

Look at Patagonia, the company that builds gear and makes outdoor clothes. They have woven what lies at the base of their action, their guiding mantra very well into the company’s mission statement- Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis. Not only are their products environment friendly and sustainable, their ‘reason for being’ results in minimal turnover.

Another advantage of involving employees in CSR is that this gives them an opportunity to learn new skills which they then automatically bring to the work table. IBM encourages its employees to volunteer on the basis of their skills- management, finance, marketing. They are sent to live in countries, which the computer giant considers emerging markets for growth, helping it to make a social impact as well as shaping its employees into global leaders and citizens.

With CSR getting more and more attention from the candidates you just can’t afford to ignore it. The promise of  exposure, engagement and alignment as part of your Employee Brand will fetch you exceptional talent.

How to make your Employee Value Proposition stand out?

Who wouldn’t be familiar with the company culture of famed organisations like the seven cafes and gym at the Apple headquarters or the free rides and massages that Google offers? These companies have also managed to attract the top talent excelling in the art of employee value proposition or EVP. To put it simply a company’s EVP is the value that an employee can expect to gain from working at the company, based on its characteristics like the company culture, public identity and so on.

According to Corporate Leadership Council, companies with EVPs viewed as unattractive had to offer 21 per cent higher compensation premiums to hire employees than organisations with attractive EVPs. So, you see it won’t be wrong to say that an exemplary EVP helps your company to stand out amongst its competitors and to attract new talent as well as to motivate and retain the best employees.

To ensure that your EVP generates maximum returns it is important to keep the following few things in mind: 

1.Understand the company’s perception: ‘Do cool things that matter.’ Google’s EVP puts it across to one and all pithily and exactly.

To make a clear and strong EVP you first need to understand how the company and its culture is perceived by the current and potential employees. This kind of information can be gathered by employee surveys, feedbacks and exit interviews. Focus group interviews are also a good way to gauge it. With this data in hand you can make an EVP and test run it with your current employees to make sure that you are on the right track.

2.Communicate the message

Marriott uses employee stories on its Facebook’s Job and Career page to communicate to the world why someone loves to work there and how the company takes pride in nurturing its associates’ structured career growth. It proudly shares the culture of giving back being nurtured in the company by posting photos and stories of employees participating in CSR activities. Their page beautifully conveys to a job seeker what it is to work with them and not just about job openings.

Once your EVP has been defined you next need to communicate it to the people you want to attract. Consistent efforts to communicate this EVP through marketing, branding and public relations will help in forming a positive perception of the value of working for your company. Make sure that social media is a part of your such campaigns as 59 per cent of employees have stated that a company’s presence on the social media and activity were partly behind their choice. 

3.Walk the talk

In an interview given to LinkedIn, NBCUniversal’s VP of Talent Acquisition (TA) and Campus Programs said, “You have to make sure that your talent acquisition team as a leader, is also having a fantastic employee experience.” Because she believes that culture begins at home, she made sure that the TA team and her recruiters at NBC Universal lived what they intended to sell to the candidates.

Make sure that you set a great example with your internal culture for everyone to follow.

Three ways to Leverage a Multi-Generational Workforce

A surprising thing has been happening at workplaces all over the globe. For the first-time ever there are people from about 3 to 5 different generations working in the offices at the same time. These active 5 generations are based on the years they were born in. 

The Silent Generation who make up about 3% of the workforce are the people born between 1900-1945. Baby Boomers were born between 1946-1964 and Generation X, born between 1965-1980. The most prevalent generation globally at 25%, going on to hit the 50% mark worldwide by 2020, the Millennials or Gen Y are the people who were born between 1981-2000. Then there are the Nexters or Generation Z who make for more than 25% of the global population right now, compose another 3% of the global work force. They are on their way to be at par with the Millennials by 2020 and can be expected to form at least a 25% of the workforce.

Coming together of this mix of people belonging to different eras in time can mean a lot of different things. They all bring to the table their own strengths and viewpoints. Though seemingly they are all different from each other yet what binds them together are their basic needs and desires at work.

Thus, arises the need of ways in which this multigenerational workforce be tapped into to harness the diversity to empower innovation and branding. Let us look at some ways in which this can be achieved:

  1. Know them well: Kris Snyder, the founder and CEO of Vox Mobile- the mobile technology management company- offers his employees varied benefits, compensations and assignments. He says, that he has developed these different perks keeping in mind where a certain person is in his/her professional and personal life. The best way to get started on something similar is by knowing the people who work for you and what they prefer. For every generation, something like work-life balance will look different. Frequent feedback and evaluation will help you manage the generational needs and the employees will be happier to work with single minded devotion towards the organisational goals.
  2. Create space for knowledge sharing: Encourage the people from the first two generation, whichever they might be at your place of work, to act as mentors to the people from the latter generation. Older generations have experience and wisdom on their side and should be encouraged to share trade secrets with the others. In turn, foster reverse mentoring as well- a culture of innovation and inspiration led by Generations X, Y and Z which can be embraced by people from the Silent Generation as well as Baby Boomers. Look towards the US Marine Corps for inspiration where 22 year lieutenants are routinely put in charge of 45-year-old sergeants.
  3. Show them the future: Career planning should be the norm for everyone. Making people see the direction in which the organisation is headed and where they fit in, in the scheme of things is a great way to communicate goals and expectations which puts each generation on an even playing field.

No such thing as Good Enough, it just has to be the BEST

Sometime last week I was reading up on the iPhone. Just random reading and read that Apple uses aluminium and stainless steel to make the bodies of the iPhones, which also happen to be one of the toughest, non- bendable materials out there. Also as I walk through my area of work, I find many people hunched over their MacBooks, that white bitten apple glowing. I know for a fact that Apple products are rather pricey and also that that rarely dissuades people from buying them. 

Why so? Of course, quality, customer service- maybe, but there are less pricier options available and they probably have more features. But there’s a different kind of appeal that comes with owning an Apple product. There’s this whole community of Apple users, who swear by iPhones and MacBooks and Apple TVs and so on. And no they aren’t only the affluent lot. Financing options have made ownership easier, but even then, people don’t shy away from making an “investment” into the Apple logo. 

It is Apple’s ability to differentiate and promote themselves that has led to this cult like follower ship for them. But did you know that Apple doesn’t have a social media strategy. In this age of social messaging apps and multimedia, the Apple Facebook page has more than 11 million likes and have only posted 3 videos. The Apple Twitter page has 2.5 Million followers and not a single tweet. 

Apple doesn’t use social media to sell their products, but they use social media to address concerns about their products and share tips about how to’s and what not to do’s. 

So that’s what Apple does. They make a conscious effort to stand out, differentiate themselves and keep themselves consciously attuned to the needs of their existing customers. If you have read so far, you are definitely marvelling at the people who make Apple happen. The people that have the intellect, passion and skills to make this a reality.

Take a look at Apple’s recruiting video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=9&v=X9SK052cF3c 

They talk about reverence for expertise and that you don’t come to Apple unless you are really good at what you do. They mostly talk about there is no such thing as Good Enough, it just has to be the BEST. 

That is Apple’s Employer Brand. An employer brand describes the essence of what it means to be an employee of your company. Your employer brand sets your company apart from all the other employers out there. It commands respect and recognition from people who don’t know you but are aware of the ethos of the brand that you represent.

The purpose of an employer brand is also to describe the type of employees who will be successful at the company. It tells of a clear value proposition and of a clear mould. If you buy into that proposition and if you fit into that mould, then there you are. It doesn’t do to simply identify the personality traits of your prospective employees, but also to identify the core values, motivators and aspirations of these people so that they can evolve into the kind of culture that you are trying to create. 

But to make an employer brand appealing, it needs to be closely aligned to its marketing brand too. Spending time, effort and resources on the marketing brand, without corresponding effort on the employer brand will not lead to as much success. 

Apple’s Think Different video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFEarBzelBs says- The crazy ones change the world. An employer brand drives these philosophies into the hearts of the people that it touches. 

An employer brand emotionally compels you to ask- if you fit in and if you would be successful there.