4 Keys To Success While Transforming to World of Digital HR — Jason Averbook

Written by Jason Averbook | Originally published at his blog on March 30, 2016.  

Stream of digital data and eye

Anything with the word “digital” in it these days seems to be a hot topic. When you see the word “digital” and “transformation” together – we all snap to attention and think to ourselves “am I doing this stuff?” or “am I falling behind?” I had the opportunity to read a great piece in HBR that you can access here and it made me think about the world of Digital HR and the transformation that we all are making on a daily basis (or should be). What are the 4 things and how should we address them, read on…

“No transformation is more challenging than meeting the service expectations of a digitally empowered workforce”

  1. Expectations – I love the quote from the article and will change it to our language of HR – “no transformation is more challenging than meeting the service expectations of a digitally empowered workforce”. This quote cannot be more true and something we discuss and try to take action in our strategies.  A key thing to understand about expectations going forward is that the experience is so much more than the user interface or technology, it is all about the proactive experience. One of the keys to this will be leveraging data from all systems to create a “personalized” experience for the entire workforce (candidates, employees, contractors, former employees, retirees). Managing expectations of the workforce on a global basis will only continue to be harder going forward. One of my recommendations is to make sure that within the HR Process and Technology team, there is someone focused on nothing but thinking about the expectations of the workforce and how we today and into the future will provide a proactive experience. This will not come from one vendor, but come from a truly holistic, thought out digital HR/Workforce strategy, that will empower and keep your top talent focused on doing their jobs while giving you access to data to know more about your talent than ever before.
  2. Enhancements – We have grown up in a world where the “go-live” and Phase 1 of any solution deployment is a huge milestone and after that, well, we haven’t done so great. We live in a world of “perpetual beta” where we must continue to try new things, create new experiences, continue to push the boundaries of how we exceed the expectations of our changing workforce and most importantly, mirror our initiatives based on what is happening to us as consumers, not just what our software vendor tells us to do next. We as a function have so much to offer the business in each of the different aspects of attracting, developing, managing, engaging and retaining a workforce that just like the world leaders do at creating the future, we should have a “workforce lab” in our function. This “lab” should be tasked with nothing but listening to both the internal and external world trying new things that continue to push the boundaries of our capabilities as a function. We must end the world of stopping at “go-live” or waiting to deploy the next module. The world doesn’t work in modules and the workforce could care less about our modules, constant enhancements are required to show the business and the workforce that we as a function are up for this challenge and we will treat our workforce as well or better than we do our customers.
  3. Collaborative Innovations – One of the areas I see HR lacking in greatly is the concept of continuing to innovate in collaborative ways. We have through our history been very “insular” when it comes to who we work with, who we share with and for the most part, have not necessarily been good at thinking through collaborative ways to partner with neighboring companies (competitors perhaps), vendors, integrators and customers to re-think how we continue to perform our business functions. These innovations could be as simple as partnering with the community to make sure we are attracting talent to our brand on a continual basis to as complex as asking vendors to partner to create a seamless, integrated experience for the workforce. The most important point around collaborative innovations is that nothing happens simply on our own anymore. Whether you read the latest book from Reid Hoffman, The Alliance to The Age of the Platform by Phil Simon,  we must think different about talent, work and technology moving forward and only through collaboration will competitive advantage be realized.
  4. Organizational Leadership – The shift from “Mad Men” to “Math Men” as the article highlights is a key to the organizational leadership change needed as we move to a Digital HR world. I talk about this a ton in my keynotes, the need for HR to realize that Data is Sexy and in order for Digital HR to become a reality in organizations, the data that is collected and the data that is then distributed back to the business has to get better and be tied together with actions. We must also truly start to realize that many of our HR processes and therefore technologies that were used in the production-oriented industrial economy will not work in the more global and fast-changing digital economy. The sooner that your organization and its leadership realize this the better and the faster your organization can “leapfrog” the competition and change these old processes and technologies, the better off you will be. Another huge issue around the digital age is that of risk. Just like all technological change, there is risk and probably more than ever around digitization. We live in a world and are in a situation where HR has two choices, it can curl up and make more policies to mitigate risk for the .01% who might do something bad or focus on the 99.99% who are ready to take advantage of technology to change work forever. I don’t mean the wild, wild west but would propose that organizations really look hard at themselves in the mirror and realize in order to survive, it will have to focus on the latter. Organizational leadership might be the hardest aspect of change depending on where you are, but know that this digital change is a question of ‘when’ not ‘if’ and those that move the fastest will have huge advantage.

In every era of transformation, changes in process and technology tend to make the skills of existing resources become dated. This another huge risk and point to take into account when moving to the wold of Digital HR. Unless you are continually updating the skill sets of your teams and giving them the opportunity to learn new things, you will find yourself without the talent needed to continue to evolve and as in the past, spend more money in order to stay competitive.

The world of digitization is both scary and exciting. The most important point is that it is completely in our control and there has never been a more thrilling time to be alive and in the working world. Take advantage of it and realize that the future is now!

Another infusion of knowledge…

About the Author:

jason-averbookJason Averbook, a leading analyst, thought leader, consultant and keynote speaker in the area of human resources and the future of work. Has more than 20 years of experience in the HR and technology industry. He worked with leading companies around the world to help them transform their HR organizations into strategic partners. Along with being cited in numerous media outlets such as BusinessWeek, Forbes, Fortune and The Wall Street Journal, he has delivered keynote presentations for events worldwide including HR Tech World, SHRM and many others. He is acknowledged as one of the Top 3 thought leaders globally on the future of work and listed in the Top 100 leaders globally influencing the future of work and the HR function. His latest book, HR From Now to Next, was published in 2014 and is used in over 19 universities around the world today.

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Source: 4 Keys To Success While Transforming to World of Digital HR — Jason Averbook

Machine Learning Becomes Mainstream: How to Increase Your Competitive Advantage

First there was big data – extremely large data sets that made it possible to use data analytics to reveal patterns and trends, allowing businesses to improve customer relations and production efficiency. Then came fast data analytics – the application of big data analytics in real-time to help solve issues with customer relations, security, and other challenges before they became problems. Now, with machine learning, the concepts of big data and fast data analytics can be used in combination with artificial intelligence (AI) to avoid these problems and challenges in the first place.

So what is machine learning, and how can it help your business? Machine learning is a subset of AI that lets computers “learn” without explicitly being programmed. Through machine learning, computers can develop the ability to learn through experience and search through data sets to detect patterns and trends. Instead of extracting that information for human comprehension and application, it will use it to adjust its own program actions.

What does that mean for your business? Machine learning can be used across industries, including but not limited to healthcare, automotive, financial services, cloud service providers, and more. With machine learning, professionals and businesses in these industries can get improved performance in a number of areas, including:

  • Image classification and detection
  • Fraud detection
  • Facial detection/recognition
  • Image recognition/tagging
  • Big data pattern detection
  • Network intrusion detection
  • Targeted ads
  • Gaming
  • Check processing
  • Computer server monitoring

In their raw data, large and small data sets hide numerous patterns and insights. Machine learning gives businesses, organizations, and institutions the ability to discover trends and patterns faster than ever before. Practical applications include:

  • Genome mapping
  • Enhanced automobile safety
  • Oil reserves exploration

Intel has worked relentlessly to develop libraries and reference architectures that not only enable machine learning but allow it to truly take flight and give businesses and organizations the competitive edge they need to succeed.
In fact, according to a recent study by Bain [1], companies that use machine learning and analytics are:

  • Twice as likely to make data-driven decisions.
  • Five times as likely to make decisions faster than competitors.
  • Three times as likely to have faster execution on those decisions.
  • Twice as likely to have top-quartile financial results.

Machine learning is giving businesses competitive advantages.

In other words, predictive data analytics and machine learning are becoming necessities for businesses that wish to succeed in today’s market. The right machine learning strategy can put your business ahead of the competition, reduce your TCO, and give you the edge your business needs to succeed.

Background on Predictive Analytics and Machine Learning

You already know that machine learning is essentially a form of data analytics, but where did it come from and how has it evolved to become what it is today? In the past couple of decades, we have seen a rapid expansion and evolution of information technology. In 1995, data storage cost around $1000/GB; by 2014 that cost had plummeted to $0.03/GB [2]. With access to larger and larger data sets, data scientists have made major advances in neural networks, which have led to better accuracy in modeling and analytics.

As we mentioned earlier, the combination of data and analytics opens up unique opportunities for businesses. Now that machine learning is entering the mainstream, the next step along the path is predictive analytics, which goes above and beyond previous analytics capabilities.

The Path to Predictive Analytics

With predictive analytics, companies can see more than just “what happened” or “what will happen in the future.”

Machine learning is a part of predictive analytics, and it is made up of deep learning and statistical/other machine learning. For deep learning, algorithms are applied that allow for multiple layers of learning more and more complex representations of data. For statistical/other machine learning, statistical algorithms and algorithms based on other techniques are applied to help machines estimate functions from learned examples.

Essentially, machine learning allows computers to train by building a mathematical model based on one or more data sets. Then those computers are scored when they may make predictions based on the available data. So when should you apply machine learning?

There are a number of times when applying machine learning can give you a competitive advantage. Some prominent examples include:

  • When there is no available human expertise on a subject. Recent navigation to Pluto relied on machine learning, as there was no human expertise on this course.
  • When humans cannot explain their abilities or expertise. How do you recognize someone’s voice? Speech recognition is a deep-seated skill, but there are so many factors in play that you cannot say why or how you recognize someone’s voice.
  • When solutions change over time. Early in a rush-hour commute,the drive is clear. An hour later, there’s a wreck, the freeway comes to a standstill, and side streets become more congested as well. The best route to getting to work on time changes by the minute.
  • When solutions vary from one case to another. Every medical case is different. Patients have allergies to medications, multiple symptoms, family histories of certain diseases, etc. Solutions must be found on an individual basis.

These are just a few of the uses that you’ll find across industries and institutions for machine learning. Not only is the demand for machine learning growing, though, but there is now an evolving ecosystem of software dedicated to furthering machine learning and giving businesses and organizations the benefits of instantaneous, predictive analytics.

An evolving ecosystem of machine learning software.*

In this ecosystem, Intel is the most widely deployed platform for the purposes of machine learning. Intel® Xeon® and Intel® Xeon Phi™ CPUs provide the most competitive and cost efficient performance for most machine learning frameworks.

Challenges to Adoption of Machine Learning

There are a few barriers to adoption of machine learning that businesses need to overcome to take advantage of predictive analytics. These include:

  • Understanding how much data is necessary
  • Adapting and using current data sets
  • Hiring data scientists to create the best machine learning strategy for your business
  • Understanding potential needs for new infrastructure vs. using your existing infrastructure.

With the right machine learning strategy, the barriers to adoption are actually fairly low. And, when you consider the reduced TCO and increased efficiency throughout your business, you can see how the transition can pay for itself in very little time. As well, Intel is dedicated to establishing a developer and data science community to exchange thought leadership ideas across disciplines of advanced analytics. Through these articles and information exchanges, we hope to further help businesses and organizations understand the power of predictive analytics and machine learning”.

What is your opinion and how do you apply data analytics and machine learning? Let us know what you think.

About the Authors:

Nidhi Chappell is the director of machine learning strategy at Intel Corporation. Connect with Nidhi on LinkedIn and Twitter to find out more about how machine learning can give your business a competitive edge.

 

Ronald van Loon is director at Adversitement. If you would like to read more from Ronald van Loon on the possibilities of Big Data please click ‘Follow’ and connect on LinkedIn and Twitter.

 

 

Intel, the Intel logo, Intel Xeon, and Intel Xeon Phi are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the U.S. and/or other countries. *Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others. © Intel Corporation.

Sources:
[1] http://www.bain.com/publications/articles/big_data_the_organizational_challenge.aspx
[2] http://www.mkomo.com/cost-per-gigabyte-update

Source: Machine Learning Becomes Mainstream: How to Increase Your Competitive Advantage

5 Signs it’s Time for an Upgrade to Your Candidate Management System

An Effective Recruiting Solution is a Must for Professional Recruiters

Recent studies show that professional recruiters continue to be in high demand in the U.S. and abroad. Businesses routinely list “recruiting and retaining talent” as one of their top challenges for 2016 and beyond. What is also abundantly clear is that recruiting is constantly changing and the future is clearly digital. Therefore, it is essential to have the best candidate management tools available if in the recruiting space.

What is more, we are seeing that candidates expect a fast/easy application process. Also, a recruitment’s ’employment branding’ is key along with employers needing to focus on ‘passive candidates’ and using data analytics (social networks and other digital profiles) in the recruiting process. A talent management solution should be consistently updating to meet recruiting challenges.

Recruiting agencies, executive search firms, legal search firms, and corporate recruiters if your current Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is proving cumbersome and unusable–this article is for you! Crelate is building software for recruiters that helps them solve their difficult HR Tech challenges.  Five signs it’s time for an upgrade to your recruiting software.

#1 Excel Spreadsheets are the Primary Organizing Tool for Sourcing

Crelate Customers Often Migrate from Excel

Excel is a great product and useful for many important business tasks. However, it isn’t so hot when it comes to organizing a pool of potential placements with all of their pertinent. Dozens of our customers have migrated over from Excel-based solutions and universally they self-describe as a “complete mess”.

Also, recruiting professionals can easily access their database of candidates and get the important information they need to continue connecting the right people with the right opportunities if they have a full-featured product. Endlessly scrolling through Excel columns looking for important data is an incredibly inefficient process. By using a superior ATS recruiters can avoid wasting valuable time.

#2 Candidate Management Tools haven’t been Updated Since Parachute Pants were in Style

Candidate Management Needs Recruiting Software

If your current recruiting software is built on Microsoft Access or requires remote desktop into a remote computer to access there are better options available . In the software business a couple of things are paramount. First, it’s important to have vendors provide new features on a regular basis. Second, the features added to the application should be useful and lessen the friction that often exists between users and technology.

Therefore, new shinny features may or may not make the lives of recruiters easier and more productive. Your candidate management provider should constantly be in conversations with their user community to understand clearly the challenges that recruiters face on a daily basis–and specific ways that technology can lessen the burden. Enhancing the user experience is the goal and having an on-going dialogue makes this possible.

#3 Recruiting Software is Not geared toward Applicant Tracking and Building Relationships

At the absolute core of an effective recruitment software is the ability to easily and quickly help recruiters build relationships with potential customers and clients. Recruiters are in the business of connecting with a lot of people quickly in order to marry the best candidates with the right opportunities. Recruiting solutions need to have efficient ways to track conversations, notes taken, key dates, connections among recruiting communities, and so on. Moreover, it also needs to be accessible as well as available on the go–though mobile and/or tablets. Additionally, recruiters need a Recruiting CRM that will help them track all of their current business relationships with companies. Further, CRM solutions can track future deals that are in the pipeline. Crelate is currently building a CRM to add to our platform.

#4 Clamoring for a Better way to Organize your Work Day

Crelate Helps You be Productive

Recruiters are super-busy and often have several appointments every single day. What you need is an ATS that will assist you in being productive and keeping track of you commitments. Your ATS should provide calendar invitations to everyone on your team and give you notifications throughout the day/week with reminders. Also, it would be great if a recruiting solution could allow users to quickly assign tasks to their team. Furthermore, tasks such as resume parsing, initial meet and greets, phone screens, interviewing, or checking references can be easily managed with Crelate. Consequently, your ATS should make the entire process of recruiting work more smoothly and with less headaches.

#5 Motivated to Explore the advantages of Cloud-based software Over your Old System 

Finally, you may have heard the phrase “Cloud Computing” but are unsure that it means. Cloud computing is based on the internet by allowing users to easily access software through applications built through the internet (as opposed to programs or software downloaded on a physical computer or a server). The cloud is where most of us spend our daily lives. Everything from updating your Facebook status to checking a bank balance is part of being in the cloud. In addition, cloud-based solutions offer: flexibility, automatic software updates, increased collaboration, the ability to work anywhere, document control, and better security. It’s time to upgrade your candidate tracking solution to a cloud-based software and explore the incredible advantages of cloud solutions.

As recruiters continue to make connections for clients and candidates in the digital age, having an effective candidate management tool is going to prove to be critical. Check out what Crelate has to offer by setting up a free demo today!


Source: 5 Signs it’s Time for an Upgrade to Your Candidate Management System – Crelate

Epicor to Showcase Cloud ERP Solutions at GITEX 2016

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Dubai, United Arab Emirates, September 19, 2016 — Following the successful rollout of its cloud-first strategy in the Middle East, Epicor Software Corporation, a global provider of industry-specific enterprise software to promote business growth, today announced it will showcase its flagship ERP (enterprise resource planning) solution at GITEX Technology Week 2016. Epicor can be found in Hall 7, Stand B7-35.

hesham-el-komy-sr-director-channel-epicor-press
“At Epicor, we are committed to helping our customers grow and offering them a choice of deployment as central to this commitment.” – Hesham El Komy, Senior Director Channel, Epicor Software, International

Available in the cloud, hosted or on-premises Epicor ERP is built on the five principles of collaboration, mobility, choice, responsiveness and simplicity. The modern ERP solution provides a wide breadth of industry-specific functionality that supports business growth, reduces complexity and streamlines how businesses interact with ERP systems.

“At Epicor, we are committed to helping our customers grow and offering them a choice of deployment is central to this commitment,” – said Hesham El Komy, Senior Director, Channel at Epicor Software. – “Providing customers the choice of running the same product in the cloud, hosted or on-premises, coupled with industry-specific features that are designed to address the needs of different industries with little to no customisation, we can continue to offer solutions that local customers can rely on to support business growth.”

In addition to Epicor ERP, Epicor will also showcase Epicor iScala, a dedicated ERP solution for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and Epicor HCM, an intuitive, functional, and adaptable Human Capital Management (HCM) solution that automates everything related to HR in a single system, enabling organisations to track, manage, and analyse all data for the employees, from application to retirement.

To show how easy the products are to use and highlight some of their benefits, the Epicor team will be conducting live demos on Stand B7-35.

“Over the last few years, we have witnessed strong growth in the Middle East and today boast more than 650 customers and over 30 channel partners. To support this growth, we have made significant investments in the region both in terms of resources and products and our presence at GITEX is in line with that commitment. GITEX gives us an unparalleled platform to continue to build our brand, showcase our latest solutions, create mind-share with partners and our industry peers and most importantly, help customers choose an ERP solution that will serve as the backbone of their business processes and a platform for growth,” – concluded El Komy. 

About Epicor Software Corporation

Epicor-Logo-Med-Blue-RGB-GB-1015

Epicor Software Corporation drives business growth. We provide flexible, industry-specific software designed around the needs of our manufacturing, distribution, retail, and service industry customers. More than 40 years of experience with our customers’ unique business processes and operational requirements are built into every solution―in the cloud, hosted, or on premises. With this deep understanding of your industry, Epicor solutions manage complexity, increase efficiency, and free up resources so you can focus on growth. For more information, connect with Epicor or visit www.epicor.com.

Epicor and the Epicor logo are trademarks of Epicor Software Corporation, registered in the United States and other countries. Other trademarks referenced are the property of their respective owners. The product and service offerings depicted in this document are produced by Epicor Software Corporation.

Contact:                       

Vernon SaldanhaVernon Saldanha

Procre8 (on behalf of Epicor Middle East)

+971 52 288 0850 | vernon@procre8.biz

Why recruitment software needs to be user-friendly • Recruitee Blog

One day Recruitee had a little surprise in the mailbox. Capterra told us that we’d made it to the top 10 of their Top 20 Most User-friendly ATS (Applicant Tracking Software)!

This means a lot. Not only because Capterra recognizes us! But also because they recognize us for what we’re aiming for – “user-friendly.”

Most of the on-going competitions are about having killer features, or who can get their hands on the hottest technology. Why do we care about “user-friendly”?

Back in the days, we were knee-deep in the hiring chaos. We desperately needed some sort of structure around this hiring thing. We found a bunch of software, but couldn’t figure out any of them. They were too expensive, or too hard to use (imagine working with computers in the 90s). So we opted for building our own recruitment software. (With hindsight, it’s expensive and hard on our side. But it’s all worth it. And it’s another story for another time). We decided early on that we would make Recruitee all about “user-friendly.” Because we, as the first users of Recruitee, as well as the users later on, are…

Busy.

Everyone who has hired can feel the pressure. “Where is that goddamn file?” “The interview is today?” “Who has emailed that candidate?” “What did they say again?” The constant switching between mailboxes/calendars/folders/spreadsheets is killing. A ridiculous amount of your time is spent on retrieving scattered information. Ending this nightmare was the first thing we did. The solution is overviews – one overview for every section in Recruitee. Before you dive into the details, you have a clear picture of what’s going on. When you dive into the details, you can access every data within three clicks. No time is wasted on finding the information, it’s well spent on processing the information.

Living in the 21st century.

We’re living in the age of touch screen, intuitive design, and clean aesthetics. Yet, there is software that looks like computer interface in the 90s. It even requires training before you can click on anything! Frankly, we’re shocked. We remind each other every day that no matter how complicated Recruitee would become, we are going to make it intuitive. Clean interface, useful tooltips. As soon as users are in the software’s environment, they know where to go, and what to do. Not spending 30 minutes finding a button, and definitely not doing that after a week of training.

Unique.

We might have the same problem with hiring, but our context and approaches are different. Can you imagine using software that doesn’t allow you to adjust to your own hiring workflow? No. That’s bad. We fix this by making many things customizable in Recruitee: from careers sites, hiring workflow, screening questions, to hiring roles. It’s a tightrope between enough flexibility and too much flexibility. How do we find the sweet spot? We talk with users, early and often. We spot the behavioral patterns and decide where the line should be. Catering to individuals’ hiring needs is a co-creation process, not a dictation of how to hire.

Collaborating.

Users hire in teams, with each team member plays different hiring roles throughout the process. Recruitment software must be something everybody can work together with, from a junior to a CEO. The silver bullet? Develop every feature from a beginner’s angle. Feedback from new users is integrated into each development sprint. Each pixel must be so simple that users can understand at a glance, not having to contact their tech department to decipher the software every time they want to do anything.

Problem-centered.

Users want to have their hiring problem solved. End of story. Our features are only valid as long as users use them. Once we realized this, there is no going back. We dodge the chase after fads in recruitment software development. Again, by talking with users daily, we assess the needs for key features and focus on making them happen. Users like it that their problems are being heard and worked on. We like it that Recruitee becomes more useful after each update. It’s the goal of building the software, after all. Not because it’s cool and shiny, but because it helps us all hire better.

Hungry.

Users want to have their problem solved. Together with other problems connected to that problem. That means outside the software, and into everything around it. So we create plenty of resources for hiring, write about ways to improve your hiring, along with other content aiming to help you hire better. For example, this video:

“Recruitment software needs to be user-friendly” is a straightforward common sense. But it often becomes secondary to feature requests. Thanks Capterra for putting the spotlight on user-friendliness again! Let us all remember our starting point, and why we need recruitment software, at all.

Linking Corporate Social Responsibility to Corporate Reputation

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An Interview with Nielsen’s Wendy Salomon, VP, Reputation & Public Affairs

wendy-salomonToday, we welcome Wendy Salomon, a vice president in Nielsen’s Reputation Management practice, to join us for our Q&A blog series. In her position, Wendy leads research engagements that deliver business insights to her diverse set of clients. She is entrusted with some of the firm’s most valuable client relationships.

Wendy has more than twenty years of experience with research and research-based consulting. She has helped her clients set strategy, refine business and reputation management plans, and optimize agency relationships based on research insights. Her work focuses on reputation management, brand strategy, and strategic communication engagements. She has earned particular regard for her ability to consult in challenging B2B environments around the world.

Wendy recognizes the value of both qualitative and quantitative inputs and has intelligibly brought to bear advanced analytics for many of her clients. She is a highly regarded partner and is often called to interact at the c-suite level within her client organizations. She is a published thought leader on reputation management and a sought-after presenter.

The interview is hosted by Jennifer Spencer, Content Marketing Manager at Versaic.

Versaic: Why should companies invest in CSR?

Wendy: It’s funny; that’s something you used to hear asked a lot, and now investing in CSR is not often something that is called into question.

The most successful companies have led the way in understanding that corporate reputation is a business asset that requires proactive understanding and management—the same as any other asset like their supply chain, brand portfolio, workforce, etc. How a company is seen as engaging with the world—whether it is viewed as socially responsible by key stakeholders—is often at the heart of reputational equity and risk.

Simply put, the world and the marketplace have moved beyond evaluating companies based solely on the quality of what they make or the service they provide. Equally important to protecting and growing reputation are the relationships a company has with the environment, communities, its employees, etc.

Versaic: What brand and marketing value can CSR and sustainability initiatives bring?

Wendy: We know that a strong corporate reputation clears the way for positive product brand stories to be heard. A company might have a compelling brand story to tell, perhaps even a pitch-perfect value proposition. However, if there are reputational frictions in the conversation about the company—for instance, if some call into question whether the company behaves in responsible ways—that brand message will have a really hard time cutting through the noise.

CSR activities protect and grow corporate reputation, which creates a supportive backdrop for brand strategies to be brought to life. CSR activities also help the company continue to engage with communities and stakeholders that can provide valuable feedback for their products and services, strengthening their business. Investment in initiatives that bolster reputation unlock business value and shared value.

Versaic: What are the unexpected benefits or outcomes that you have seen for companies that have implemented CSR programs successfully? 

Wendy: Beyond the good these programs do in the world, one of my favorite outcomes of these types of programs is the positive impact they have on employees. This is true on two fronts.

First, for employees themselves, these activities are often a critical piece of how they connect with the company. It makes them fulfilled, gives them a chance to serve with colleagues in a new way and build their skills, and plays an important role as they go out in the world and serve as brand ambassadors in their daily lives.

Second, we know that future talent around the world feel it is a priority that the company they work for is socially responsible, and this is particularly true of those early in their careers. Even when compared to things such as career advancement, elements of corporate character are a compelling part of a company’s reputation that can influence whether someone wants to work for you or not. The importance of this can’t be overstated. There are many who seek to work in a sexy technology environment but somewhat fewer who aspire to many of the stalwart “traditional” industries that desperately need creative talent to remain innovate. CSR activities can help pave the way to attracting and retaining high-potential hires.

Versaic: What are the three most important ways companies measure the success, and how does that lead to value in the business?

Wendy: From what we see, the landscape of CSR measurement is evolving and is a big opportunity for CSR managers. When measurement is lacking, the programs default to being a line-item expense versus something that drives business value for the corporation. By measuring success, the case can be made that CSR activities protect reputation and shape the business landscape in a supportive way. I’d recommend focusing assessments in three broad areas.

First is actual performance. Are the efforts themselves bringing about the desired positive change? CSR programs take many forms, but they all generally seek to make the world a better place. Perhaps your CSR initiatives set out to feed, educate, or create healthier lifestyles using products that are manufactured with fewer negative environment impacts, or they provide access to cleaner water and the chance for kids to play in cleaner parks, etc. Companies must measure and evaluate their positive impacts, alongside their community and nonprofit partners, so they can share this information both internally and externally. It’s good to do good.

Next is “campaign”-level understanding. This primarily applies to initiatives that are fairly well resourced and time bound, etc. Were stakeholders aware of the effort, how did they come to know about them, and did it contribute to the desired understanding of the company/issue? Over time, insights like this serve to inform future efforts to hone CSR practices.

Last is the overall impact that social responsibility efforts have on corporate reputation and risk mitigation, including the impact on the company’s license-to-operate and overall business environment. This is the business case for CSR that is critical for companies to operationalize—the extent to which being a socially responsible company builds reputational equity and mitigates reputational risk.

Versaic: How can companies truly differentiate themselves in how they communicate their CSR initiatives and results?

Wendy: One of the main things that should be kept in mind when it comes to communicating about CSR initiatives is the basic tenet that companies will need to tell more than just one story. Particularly for CSR, how diverse stakeholders view the information will vary dramatically based on their specific priorities. So, a CSR communication strategy for consumers, for example, is quite different from the strategy for policy influencers, NGOs, or investors. There is a real danger in being tone deaf. Thus, accounting for the different lenses through which stakeholders see your CSR activities is important and has real implications for communicators.

Another thing I’d share about how to differentiate is the expanded value that’s possible when companies engage in activities that link to their own core competencies—moving from old-school philanthropy to “skillanthropy” or skills-based contributions. This could be a CPG company addressing access to healthy food, a bank educating vulnerable populations on financial literacy, a shipping company getting supplies to storm-battled regions, etc. There is a particular “stickiness” when programs such as this are part of a CSR portfolio, as they allow them to shine a light on the good the company does in the world and also the expertise it brings to the marketplace day in and day out.

Versaic: What tips can you share with companies who would like to increase the impact of their CSR programs?

Wendy: You’d be surprised at how many companies don’t communicate the steps they take to be socially and environmentally responsible at all. There is worry that it will be seen as opportunistic versus sincere, or boastful versus humble. The truth is that people are making an effort to learn proactively about the way a company engages with the world before they decide to support it—whether that support be in the form of buying the company’s product, working for the company, or welcoming the company’s expansion in their local community. We know that many don’t like what they find and opt to engage elsewhere.

So, the main tip I would share is to tell your authentic corporate-responsibility story. It’s up to companies themselves to make sure this information is available when consumers go looking; without it, opinions can be shaped by broad industry perceptions, critics, and misinformation. A misperception of many reputation managers is that a lack of a bad story is the same as a good story, under the false hope that the lack of high-profile irresponsible behavior provides the proof necessary that the company is engaging in responsible behavior. For companies who have prioritized social responsibility, it should be a component of their enterprise-messaging strategy.

Versaic: Where do you see CSR going? What is going to be important three years from now?

Wendy: I would say there are two things to watch.

First, we have seen the evolution over the past decade from a definition of social responsibility that was dominated by environmental issues toward a broader view of corporate citizenship. Looking ahead, I think this “bigger tent” definition of what it means to be a responsible company will continue to expand. So, we’re likely to hear more about economic impacts, transparency, employee well-being, etc., as proof points for being a responsible company.

Second, it’s a hobby of mine to take note of how companies work CSR activities into their actual organizational structures. Is there a “sustainability” team or “global citizenship” department? Is it primarily a marketing function charged with creating a glossy sustainability report? Are responsible business imperatives decentralized and woven in across the company, giving it a voice in R&D, community outreach, and hiring practices? It’s all across the board right now. As the definition of corporate responsibility becomes broader—the bigger tent I mentioned—presumably, providing a framework for responsible behavior will need to become more systemic. I’m not sure yet what shape it will take, but I think we’ll see fewer occasions where companies opt to relegate CSR to a silo and fewer instances where it is an appendage on the org chart that is separate from where the “real work” happens. We’ll see more and deeper integration.

Try a demo today.


Source: Linking Corporate Social Responsibility to Corporate Reputation: Nielsen’s Wendy Salomon, VP, Reputation & Public Affairs

People you hire will be pivotal in shaping business culture and maintaining success!

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Today our guest is Mr. Sabby Gill, Executive Vice President (EVP) International at Epicor Software.

Sabby Gill brings more than 20 years of international sales, operations and enterprise software industry experience to Epicor. In his role, Gill is responsible for operations including sales and professional services with a focus on accelerating company growth throughout Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) and Asia Pacific (APAC).

Prior to Epicor, Gill was Senior Vice President of International Sales for IGT. He has also held executive management roles with leading technology companies including HP, CA Technologies, Oracle, PeopleSoft (acquired by Oracle), and DEC.

The interview is hosted by Alexey Mitkin, Founder, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, The HR Tech Weekly® Online Media Co.

  1. In your recent article you have told us about how as companies grow and expand, there is a tendency for employees to be disengaged in the workplace due to heavier workloads, pressures, and deadlines. You explained how investing in the right technology can help companies manage this growth. What other drivers can you point to for ensuring employee satisfaction, engagement and wellbeing?

As your business grows you need your team to be strong, so the people you hire will be pivotal in shaping its culture and maintaining its success. Ensuring that your employees are happy and fully engaged is also vital. Take for example a traditional business that acquires smaller, nimble entrepreneurial entities to gain a competitive advantage but find the newly acquired talent assets that the company paid highly for start leaving the company. This is a common mistake made by many companies that are growing through acquisition but failing to consider the wellbeing of, and engage effectively with the organisation’s new employees.

Another important aspect for companies to consider is the influx of Millennials in the workplace. I would argue that it’s even more paramount for organisations of all types and sizes to create workplace environments that nurture the free-thinker and their entrepreneurial spirit. But where do organisations start? To begin, they need to understand the characteristics of entrepreneurial teams and what motivates them. You can almost forget about traditional incentive plans; when dealing with entrepreneurial types, “challenge” trumps traditional notions of compensation/rewards, because if the work environment isn’t challenging enough, they are likely to leave. They need to understand what the entrepreneur works for (and what they live for): The vision, the dream, the challenge – it’s their oxygen. To fully engage, entrepreneurs must buy into the vision.

As companies grow and with it create entrepreneurial teams, larger organisations may need to rethink placing talent in the constraints of the traditional hierarchical structure. These teams may be more effective when they are free to look at projects holistically: to craft a vision and define how problems will be solved. Remove as much process, structure, and bureaucracy as is feasible; as they prefer working without walls, and that includes traditional “job description” boundaries. 

  1. What do you expect from HR Managers delivering to the change management initiatives?

Employee ‘buy-in’ is the cornerstone of any change initiative and the onus often falls on HR to manage this process. Changing business processes can have an impact on employees’ familiar work routines whether or not they are directly involved in the project, so this process must be managed for the entire workforce. Employees need to be gradually introduced to new processes and job roles over a period of time so that they can accept and familiarize themselves with these developments. Neglecting this aspect or putting it off until later on in the project may result in organisational resistance to the new system, even to the point of operational risk. 

  1. Do you observe any distinctions when people from different industries, functions, and maybe regions, implement new software? For instance, what scares HR professionals more comparing with other business roles?

Change is never easy and most people are averse to change – this is true regardless of culture, industry and job function! HR’s challenge, given where it sits in an organisation, as opposed to other business roles, is helping employees, navigate and embrace any changes made in the organisation. 

  1. What are the core advantages Epicor®Human Capital Management delivers to HR and business when their demands and expectations grow toward self-service, engagement, micro-learning, and people analytics solutions? 

Today’s economy needs HR to adopt a more proactive and strategic role. To add to this, managers and employees are demanding direct access to human resource (HR) systems and information. Epicor Human Capital Management (HCM), delivers this and more, helping HR departments better manage a dispersed workforce, improve human resource processes, and make HR an integral part of an organisation’s strategic planning.

Epicor HCM is an intuitive, functional, and adaptable HCM solution that helps HR departments to spend more time managing talent than data. With Epicor HCM, HR teams have the ideal tool to manage their organisation’s most valuable resource—the workforce, who are pivotal maintaining a company’s success.

Epicor HCM automates everything related to HR in a single software system, enabling the organisation to track, manage, and analyse all data for the employees, from application to retirement. Through automated workflow, Epicor HCM allows organisations to improve efficiency. With powerful reporting and analytical tools, HR teams can gain a complete picture of the company’s workforce to enable better strategic planning.

  1. What technological trends will influence ERP and particularly HCM vendors in the nearest future, in your opinion?

The Cloud has without a shadow of a doubt been one of the biggest drivers of change in our industry. Organisations across the globe are beginning to realise the benefits of moving to the cloud, specifically:

  • Compelling connectivity — the ability to collaborate in real-time across remote sites, mobile employees, and trading partners
  • Enhanced operational efficiency — seamless operations, unparalleled scalability and flexibility, upgrade management, and business continuity
  • Improved security — higher level of security, network monitoring, and disaster prevention
  • Smart economics — the opportunity to achieve lower total cost of ownership (TCO) and positively affect the bottom line
  • Better resource allocation – improved ability to focus resources on core business activities and applications

These benefits are magnified when it comes to HCM because HCM has always been viewed as a non-critical, labour intensive function. By moving HCM applications to the cloud, organisations can make sure their HR teams focus on more business critical activities, reduce operational costs, and, most importantly, stay connected with an increasingly mobile workforce. 

  1. You have proven C-level experience in business development and managing people within global technological companies in EMEA, Asia Pacific and Latin America. What do you recommend to managers who strive to build their careers at the international markets?

My number one recommendation for managers is to be understanding and respectful of the various cultural differences. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach when it comes to dealing with people across markets. What works in the US might not be the right tactic for China, but sadly too many C-level executives take this for granted.

Secondly, “Be as good as your word – do what you say you’re going to do.” The idea of following through on commitments and being held accountable for your plans and actions is vital. It helps build trust and comfort with the people you deal with knowing that you bring credibility and will ensure that things get done. You want to be that person who others can rely on. People buy from people and your future is in the hands of what they say and what they do. When you enter a relationship, which is what we do when we implement ERP solutions, you need to care about the job you, and everyone else, does for that customer. Everything reflects on the promise you make to your customers, partners, investors and employees. Whichever way you look at it, their emotions, personal ambitions, etc., all play a part in the business at hand.

Thirdly, be an advocate of change and look for excellence in everything you do. Do not dither. C-level positions demand, as well as offer, respect. People expect answers and directions from those in these positions in a timely and articulate manner. Think about a driver of a high-performance car; with a professional driver behind the wheel you can obtain strong performance and look to break lap records. However if you put a novice behind the wheel, you will struggle to get the same results. You need to grow into the expert that people want to rely on to drive the business forwards.

Finally, I would say, continue “to reflect”. What I mean by this is always take a step back when you find yourself in a difficult or complex situation and reassess what it is that you are trying to achieve. Too many times we get fixated on finer details and can’t see the forest for the trees. Taking a step back can help us see the wider picture and realign our focus.


If you want to share this interview the reference to Sabby Gill and The HR Tech Weekly® blog is is obligatory.

Outlay vs. Outcome Debate for Employee Engagement

Companies spend a lot of money in employee engagement activities. But, just a strategy isn’t enough. There should be a way to measure returns on investment.

Every revenue exercise goes through the intense debate of Outlay vs. Outcome. Outlay refers to the amount of expenditure and outcome focuses on consequences. Unfortunately, most budgets focus solely on the outlay part of planning strategies.

Much has been said about the holy grail of employee engagement and the impact it can and has on business success. But the subjectivity around employee engagement continues to linger.

How can CHRO’s calculate the return on investments made to engage their workforce?

How can enterprises ensure that the investment that it has made in terms of money, time and effort has achieved a worthwhile result or increased value in the future?

The Outlay Approach

According to Bersin and Associates, $720 Million a year is spent on employee engagement.

It is estimated that this investment will grow to about $1.5 billion! (Source – TLNT).

This is a massive amount spent on measuring employee engagement. Most of this money is spent on reward programs, benefits and incentives. The Incentive Marketing Association also reports $46 Billion being spent on recognition programs every year!

Engaged employees take fewer sick days, deliver increased productivity, are more likely to stay in their jobs, have greater understanding of their customer’s needs and are more likely to recommend their company and its product to other people.

~Thomas Otter, Group Vice President, SAP – SuccessFactors

To understand the ROI of employee engagement, let us first look at what are the opportunity costs that disengagement can lead to. The reason why companies spend so much on employee engagement is because there is a cost (quite a huge one) when it comes to having a disengaged workforce.

A disengaged employee costs an organization approximately $3400 for every $10,000 in annual salary!

If we talk about ROI in terms of employees, an investment in the workforce should help employees to achieve their full potential, improve their motivation and make them more engaged – all of which will help an organization successfully achieve its goals. As per Sage, the difference between engaged and disengaged workers can equate to success or failure and disengaged employees are estimated to cost the U.S. economy as much as $350 billion per year in lost productivity, accidents, theft and turnover!

Studies that show the link between employee engagement and business revenues

Numerous studies show a direct correlation between employee engagement and business results.

– A 2013 Blessing White study demonstrated a correlation between engagement and retention and found that 85% of engaged employees planned to remain with their employer for ten or more months.

– Gallup Consulting also discovered that high-engagement firms grow their earnings-per-share (EPS) at a faster rate of 28%, while low-engagement firms experienced an average EPS growth rate decline of 9.4%.

– David Mcleod and Nita Clarke had conducted a study for the UK government which found that companies with low engagement scores earn an operating income 32.7% lower than companies with more engaged employees. Also, companies with a highly engaged workforce experience a 19.2% growth in operating income over a 12 month period.

The Outcome Approach

Are you creating a Service Profit Chain?

It all starts with the fact that companies need to create an environment where employees are happy. If employees are unhappy and disengaged, they will not give their best, which will hamper the quality of products and services. In the absence of good products and services, customers will also be unhappy – not forgetting to mention that disengaged employees will also not treat customers’ right. Without good customer service, a company will never be able to repeat business from them.

In terms of profits, a study by the Corporate Leadership Council found out that engaged companies grow profits as much as 3X faster than their competitors!

There are some key aspects to consider which justify why enterprises need to focus more on outcome, rather than just laying down the budget to be allocated every year to employee engagement initiatives.

1. Employee turnover

The rate of employee turnover of your organization could cost you heavily! As per a study by the Centre for American Progress, it costs businesses about one-fifth of a worker’s salary to replace that worker. For businesses that experience a high level of turnover, this cost could be a massive amount! Very highly paid jobs at the senior or executive levels tend to have disproportionately high turnover costs as a percentage of salary (upto 213%)! Workforce policies that improve employee retention can help companies reduce their turnover costs.

Employee turnover rates can make you pay through your nose.

The cost of employee turnover could be very high in terms of its direct and indirect costs. Direct costs include –

– Separation costs such as exit interviews, severance pay, and higher unemployment taxes, etc.

– The costs of temporarily covering an employee’s duties such as overtime for other staff or temporary staffing.

– Replacement costs such as advertising, screening applicants, verification costs, etc.

Indirect costs could include –

– Lost productivity due to the need to hire temporary employees

– Coping with a vacancy or giving additional work to other employees

– Reduced morale, etc.

2. Absenteeism

According to Absenteeism: The Bottom Line Killer – a publication from Circadian, absenteeism roughly costs $3,600 per year for each hourly worker and $2,650 each year for salaried employees.

The main causes of absenteeism are stress related – 1 million US employees miss work each day due to workplace stress. As per a study by Hay Group, engagement is a great predictor of future financial performance. Engagement affects business outcomes and business outcomes affect engagement. The two are closely correlated and symbiotic. In good times, engagement is bolstered by high profits, in difficult times, engagement drives up profits.

Given the above facts of how a disengaged workforce can burn a hole in the funds of organizations, it might be a good idea to find ways to adequately measure employee engagement and be able to correlate it with the business objectives of your organization. Unless you want to pay up your top dollars.

3. Culture

The culture of your organization can make or break your company. You need to know what the current people in your organization feel about their work and colleagues. You need to measure the components that define a company’s culture. The four main components of a company culture are individual behaviours, organizational behaviours, the business outcomes they produce and the drivers behind it.

Individual behaviours are the basis of engagement in the workplace. You will have to figure out a way to gain a deep insight into how employees feel every day, based on their work performance, or on their interactions with management and their colleagues. A good way to do this would be to take employee feedback on a regular basis and use this information to define what your company culture is. For example, if your company culture if flexible or rigid, do people feel valued or threatened, etc. It might also be a good idea to link business outcomes to your employment engagement strategy which will help you to adequately measure your ROI.

As per a study by Alex Edmans, PhD (MIT) and Professor of Finance at the London Business School for over a period of 27 years, a 3.8% increase was found in stock price for companies with happy, satisfied employees. Companies who registered profit growth had a 70.3% employee engagement score.

4. Employee advocacy

If any of your employee is asked about their feelings towards working with your company by an outsider, do you think their responses will be positive? If you are not sure, it might be a good idea to create such opportunities for employees within the organization so that they feel proud to be associated with your brand name. Only when employees are truly happy and engaged, they will genuinely promote your brand through social media and word of mouth.In this era of corporate transparency and the rise of social sites like Glassdoor, LinkedIn and Facebook and the like, the culture of your company can be known is not information restricted just to yourself or the management. Bad reviews can hamper the way people view your company and destroy your brand.

The wrap up

While most enterprises would focus on the outlay part of it, the outcomes also need to be thought of clearly.

Having an employee engagement strategy is not enough. Employee engagement should be carefully planned in a way that allows ROI. Your employee engagement strategy should focus on essential KPI’s such as retention rate, company culture and employee advocacy as discussed.While most enterprises would focus on the outlay part of it, the outcomes also need to be thought of clearly. What have you focused on?

Want to learn more about employee engagement? Learn about the Top 5 ways to ensure it.

About the Author

Bhaswati BhattacharrayaBhaswati is a Product Specialist at Capabiliti, a mobile-first training and engagement solution for enterprises. Passionate about Economics, Bhaswati also loves storytelling. She has a keen interest in start-ups, food and travel. In her ‘me time’ she picks up fiction novels, tries different cuisines or explores routes to less traveled places on the world map. Follow her on Twitter at @Bhaswatibh


Source: Outlay vs Outcome debate for employee engagement | The Qustn Cafe

The HR Tech Weekly® Expands Its Global Network

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Intermediate Results

The HR Tech Weekly® Online Media Co. announces expansion of its captive reader’s audience up to 60 thousands people.

Our readership lives in 1300 cities across 120 countries.

Most of our audience lives in the United States (47,41%), UK (16,99%), India (4,65%), Canada (4,31%) and Australia (4,31%).

Those people are mostly interested in Technology, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Marketing, Leadership, Startup, News, General Business, Social Media and Job Search.

Most of our followers (86%) have annual household income over $100,000 including those with the household income over $250,000 (18%).

More than a half (60%) has net worth over $150,000 including those with the net worth over $1,000,000 (15%).

We deliver own, contributed and curated content to our generously growing audience (grows over 10% per month) on a 24/7/365 basis.

We publish the best content in our blog, then capture it to our weekly digest issued on Mondays and recap it in the HR Tech Magazine in two weeks, and in the HR Tech Online in several months to give our contributors maximum exposure.

All publications are followed with Social Media distribution and available by subscription. The average number of impressions per campaign is 140K.

Our 25 media channels and chess marketing style generated 30,3M views for own and promoted content, and 15,6M views for curated content YTD. Average mention reach index per month (January-August 2015) is 1 342 999.

For the results of the previous year please refer to our Annual Report 2015.

New Website Is Launched!

To serve our readers better we launched the new website and media hub for our major outlets. Our weekly digest is migrated to the new subdomain. Our own HR Tech Online has gotten new design. Please refresh your bookmarks and enjoy!

About Us in a Brief

The HR Tech Weekly® is the rapidly growing niche online media company running full-fledged digital ecosystem incl. paid, owned and earned media marketing clusters worldwide.

We publish and curate selective content from Social Media and open sources about HR Tech, HR, Future of Work, Recruitment, Job Search, Talent Management, Leadership, Startups, and beyond.

We pay our special attention on the new technologies and innovations in Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, Virtual and Augmented Reality, and all things are shaping the fourth industrial revolution.

We make the world better through ongoing sharing the best-demonstrated practices and disruptive updates from global opinion leaders within hot areas of mind.

Awarded Top 100 HR Blogs for Human Resource & Talent Management Experts by Feedspot. Ranked amongst Top 10 HR Tech Influencers on Twitter by Social Media Research Foundation.

For more information please refer to our official website.

Contacts:

alexey-mitkinAlexey Mitkin, Editor-in-Chief

Email | Twitter | LinkedIn

How Starwood Measures Social Impact

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An Interview with Kristin Meyer, Associate Director of Community Partnerships

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Kristin Meyer, Associate Director, Community Partnerships

Since 2009, Global Citizenship has been a cornerstone of Starwood’s business strategy. Global Citizenship provides Starwood’s guests, customers, communities, owners, and associates a better way to experience the world. A key component of influencing lasting, sustainable improvements in communities around the globe is accomplished through collaborative partnerships with the Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Foundation, Inc. (“Starwood Foundation”) and international charitable organizations. The Starwood Foundation is dedicated to enriching communities by supplying financial grants to select partner organizations driving change in three key focus areas: Workplace Readiness, Human Rights, and Community Vitality (includes: Sustainable & Ecological Development and Disaster Relief).

When we first started a partnership, the Starwood Foundation team knew they needed to track, quantify and evaluate their social impact and put a system in place to manage the complexity. As a first step, the Starwood Foundation contracted with The Rensselaerville Institute (TRI) who suggested a shift in mindset from ‘funder’ to ‘investor’ to achieve a portfolio approach. With that perspective, the Starwood Foundation created a strategic framework to clarify results for their signature program grants. With clarity on what results they were seeking, they could be more strategic in how they identify partners, educate those partners, align the application and selection process, create effective grantee reports, and implement performance assessments. The flexibility of the Versaic online solution made it possible to streamline the grantmaking process and aggregate results across programs.

One year ago, Versaic wrote about Starwood’s grants program in this ebook. We wanted to follow up with Kristin Meyer, Associate Director, Community Partnerships, to get an update on the Starwood Foundation’s grants programs and the impact they are having.

The interview is hosted by Jennifer Spencer, Content Marketing Manager at Versaic:

1. Thanks for joining us Kristin. Let’s start by talking about the Starwood Foundation’s workplace readiness program. The investments the Foundation has made in this focus area and the impact it has had on your hiring in those communities is such a great example of tying corporate philanthropy programs to business goals. Can you elaborate on your signature workplace readiness program and the results the Foundation has seen?

By adopting more of a results-based framework, we’ve been able to apply what we’ve learned from our partnerships with NGO’s around the world to better understand what needs to be done in the private sector to support the requirements of the community. In the area of workplace readiness specifically, we know from the results shared by our partners that training is not enough to move the needle in the workforce development space. Our partners were achieving phenomenal success equipping individuals and marginalized populations with the appropriate skill set as well as the social and emotional support to enter the job force. Yet many of our partners often commented on how time consuming and challenging the process was to establish employer partnerships and place their clients into local jobs. In addition, employment retention was quite challenging, not because the clients weren’t adequately prepared, but because employer expectations were sometimes not aligned.

We have taken some of the learnings from our investments on the CSR side and applied that to how we can do our part as a business within those communities. How do we better train and equip our hotels to ensure they are working with those same NGOs on the ground, and actually hiring from that talent pool? How do we make sure they really understand not only what an NGO does, but the populations that they serve, and how those populations may differ from our typical candidates? What are the practices they may need to alter internally in order make sure that those individuals are adequately supported starting from an initial interview, through onboarding, hiring and retention? That is really where our program has been successful. We learned from our philanthropic investments the impact we’re achieving and where there are gaps, and are applying that to our business model to ensure that as an organization, we are playing our part by hiring from the talent pool we are helping to create.

2. Regarding the other pillars that you’ve focused on, are you getting the same kind of results, learning, and impact in those areas that you’ve achieved in workplace readiness?

Sustainable & Ecological Development is another area where we’ve used a results-based framework to manage our charitable investments. Through this approach, we have been able to make investments in environmental organizations around the world. Similarly to Workplace Readiness, we are able to capture learnings from our NGO programs and apply that knowledge to our business operations. For example, one of the funding streams under Sustainable & Ecological Development is water risk, encompassing water access, quality, scarcity, security, stress and sanitation & hygiene. My colleague, Claire Cutting, works with our partner NGO’s within this focus area. Through these relationships, she is able to better understand the conditions that can lead to any one of these water issues as well as prevention and remediation actions. In one such case, the analysis from coastal and watershed restoration projects, funded by the Starwood Foundation’s results-based investments, has provided learnings that led to the creation of a water risk framework for our development team, ensuring that we, as a company, understand how to properly mitigate a community’s water risk as we build new properties. Applying knowledge from our Foundation investments to our business allows us to contribute positively to a community and ecosystem’s health. We also are able to share examples of successful business practices with our NGO partners so that they can share with other relevant stakeholders.

3. Can we talk a little bit about how you are collecting the data needed to analyze results and communicating impact?

We collect all of the data directly from our grant partners. We worked collaboratively with the Versaic team as well as our consultants at TRI to establish the results framework, which was specific to Starwood and the impact we were trying to drive. From there, we approached a small group of our grantees, showed them the results we were seeking, and asked them to help us understand what steps were involved for them to accomplish the desired results. That process helped us build out a more robust grant application that included the right indicators of success. We ask our grant partners to project their expected results during the application process and then we collect progress updates on a semi-annual basis, which makes it simple for them to submit and easy for us to discuss successes and challenges.

In addition, The Starwood Foundation team does a lot of training at the beginning of the relationship with a new NGO partner. If I were to call out one thing that we do as a best practice, it would be this initial training. Asking our new partners to attend a two-hour training on results-based impact is understandably a tall order, but many have since come back to us and said how worthwhile the training was for them. We want our partners to clearly understand the results-based framework, how to think about setting milestones, and what we mean when we talk about impact. Having our partners share their results is imperative for us to understand our larger impact as a Foundation. To understand the progress of our grant portfolio, we built scorecards that enable us to look at the results of each individual grant, as well as aggregate the results of our investments. As an example, for Workplace Readiness, we can look across our global portfolio to understand not only how many individuals have been served, but how many of them have achieved a certain education level or how many have retained employment for a certain period of time.

4. How has your impact reporting affected your brand and business?

For the Starwood Foundation, our results-focused approach has definitely elevated our exposure and reputation within the nonprofit field. The Starwood Foundation has become a respected partner within the charitable community. In addition, the work of the Starwood Foundation has enabled us to understand where there may be opportunity to have even more impact as a company. We’re able to more effectively evaluate and consider opportunities with both business and social returns. The Workplace Readiness program is a perfect example of this in action. As a result of the Starwood Foundation’s investments and the strategic framework, we were able to identify an opportunity on the corporate side in terms of how Starwood can more effectively drive social impact and tap into a new potential talent pipeline.

jennifer-spencer-versaic
Jennifer Spencer

Driving inbound interest means being everything from a publicist, researcher, and writer to thought leader.

 

 

Whether it's sponsorship, grants or donation, Versaic's best-in-class solutions are easily combined and customized to provide companies of any size a comprehensive solution for managing their CSR programs. Visit www.Versaic.com to learn more.

Source: How Starwood Measures Social Impact: An Interview with Kristin Meyer, Associate Director of Community Partnerships

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