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5 Ways Outsourcing Your Payroll Can Improve Work-Life Balance

Written by Jan Van Mol, Head of Global Alliances at SD Worx.

Outsourcing Payroll

There are plenty of reasons why outsourcing payroll strategies can be hugely beneficial to your company. Typically, it is the financial arguments that are used, not the emotional ones. However, there are many ways in which outsourcing your payroll can improve the wellbeing of your employees and can restore their work-life balance.

It’s well known that happier employees are much more likely to commit themselves fully whilst at work, bringing increased employee retention rates. Yet, many employers don’t realise that changing your payroll strategy can have an incredibly positive effect on the happiness of your employees. Here’s five reasons why:

1. Reduced workload

If your team is overworked and understaffed, an outsourced payroll strategy is the perfect way to get things back on track. An outsourced payroll strategy takes away the need to recruit and train an additional team member, and can dramatically reduce the workload of your staff much more quickly than getting a new member of staff.

Reducing this workload will make your employees instantly happier as the amount of potential overtime required will fall. Working fewer extra hours will allow employees to improve their work-life balance and will free up time for them to do the things they really love outside of work.

2. Reassuring the workforce

Payroll duties are sometimes given to members of staff who already have packed schedules with their own duties and responsibilities, which can lead to an anxious workforce.

Some employees may also feel concerned about other staff members having full access to their salary details. Moreover, relying on an over-tasked employee to process payroll can create tension for employees who expect to be paid accurately and on time each month.

By outsourcing payroll, an impartial person has access to salary details, which will eliminate any personal tensions surrounding payroll. Knowing that an outside specialist has sole responsibility will also reassure employees that their payroll matters are being taken care of, leading to a more relaxed workforce, a better work-life balance, and a better company culture.

3. No delays

Internal payroll managers are subject to the same demands on their time as everyone else in your company. If a company is going through a busy period where everybody’s help is required to solve an urgent issue or meet an external deadline, those members of your team responsible for payroll are no exception to this.

By outsourcing your payroll to specialist company, you hand over a big responsibility that would require lots of time, money and pressure on payroll employees. The payroll process becomes the outsourcing company’s top priority, so the internal team can focus on other tasks. There are few things which disgruntle an employee more than delayed pay, so offer your employees guaranteed on time payment by using an outsourcing partner to handle your payroll.

4. Lifting the pressure

Managing payroll is a huge responsibility, since you are personally responsible for the livelihoods of everyone in the company, many of which will be close personal friends and colleagues. This can put a lot of moral burden on an employee.

Outsourcing your payroll removes the personal element, as the person making sure that everybody is paid each month won’t individually know the people whom they are paying. Taking this emotional burden away from one of the members of your staff will relieve them of a huge weight, meaning that they are less likely to have to put in long hours to get the payroll sorted in time and will be able to regain a much better work-life balance.

5. Lead by example

Making a positive action such as changing the way you run your payroll will have a trickle-down effect throughout the business. Firstly, it will show employees that their payroll is an essential part of the business, and will lead the way for other changes in different areas and departments.

Many workplaces suffer by not adapting their strategies as the business grows and develops. Outsourcing your payroll strategy is a great example to show your teams of how to be proactive about making changes for the better that will set the business up well for its next phase. You’ll be amazed at how influential such a decision can be, and how large an impact it can have on the mindset of your workers.


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Engaging Executives: HR’s Responsibility to the Higher Levels

Engaging Executives: HR’s Responsibility to the Higher Levels

Engaging Executives

When experts talk about employee engagement, most people imagine lower-level employees and middle managers. These workers have minimal authority over their daily tasks, they are the least job-secure, and they tend to receive the lowest pay and worst benefits packages, meaning they are most likely to be disengaged from their work. As a result, the web is filled with engagement solutions to keep lower-level employees around.

Yet, while HR professionals devote the bulk of their energy to engaging this portion of the workforce, executives are suffering. Though they have greater responsibility and greater remuneration for their efforts, executives can still disengage from their work, lowering their productivity, and endangering the entire business – including those workers at lower levels. However, the engagement solutions that work for lower-level employees rarely apply to higher-level business leaders. Therefore, HR professionals need an entirely different strategy for executive engagement.

Understanding Executives

HR typically doesn’t pay much attention to executives for a couple reasons:

  1. Executives already earn high salaries, and they generally have more control over their schedules and tasks. Therefore, the monetary rewards and engagement strategies HR is most familiar with don’t work.
  2. Most HR reps can’t relate to executives.

Most HR professionals have more in common with low-level employees than upper-echelon executives. Most HR reps earn respectable salaries and average benefits; they complete daily tasks that have little bearing on the greater goals and direction of the company; and only the CHRO and similar top-tier HR workers ever interact with executives. Thus, few members of HR comprehend the lifestyle and struggles of working in the higher levels of an organization.

The first step to engaging executives is understanding executives. It is important to consider that although executives might boast different responsibilities, they are still human. As such, they experience stress and concern for their jobs, their subordinates’ jobs, and their families’ well-being. Further, executives have interests and hobbies, they consume media, and they take pleasure in small joys like the rest of us. Remembering this, HR reps should find it easier to empathize with higher-level workers.

It might also be useful to know what executives discuss with one another – which is not nearly as disparate from the lower-levels as HR reps might expect. Alongside infrequent discussions about business direction and organization design, executives lament their full schedules and intrusive meetings, gossip and chat about mutual acquaintances and people within the organization, and generally talk about what work needs to be done. A savvy HR professional will note that their discussions are nearly identical to those of lower-level workers.

HR’s Responsibility to the Higher Levels

Engaging Executives

Aside from their wealth and authority, executives aren’t terribly different than anyone else within a business. Therefore, HR reps only need to determine what motivates individual executives to develop effective engagement tactics for the upper echelon. Some common higher-level motivators are:

  • Need. Executives have finely honed talents, and they want to know their talents are integral for business success.
  • Passion. Like everyone else, executives want to like what they do.
  • Chemistry. Workplace culture is important; even executives want to like the people they work with.
  • Challenge. Executives tend to be competitive. If a job isn’t challenging enough, most will disengage.

It isn’t difficult to develop engagement programs around executives knowing how simple and common their needs and wants truly are. To stimulate their need motivation, HR reps can institute a “thank your boss” day, where higher-level employees receive executive gifts. To improve chemistry around the office, HR can organize team-building exercises that are mandatory for the C-suite.

Another useful tactic for engaging executives is to connect them more closely with their subordinates. While some high-level managers are naturally proficient at seeking out and befriending low-level employees, most executives maintain a boundary between themselves and the grunts. HR should strive to coach executives in their behavior toward lower levels, revealing their blind spots when it comes to leadership methods and results. HR should lead by example, placing people first and exemplifying how executives should interact with other members of the organization.

If necessary, HR should encourage executives to enroll in leadership training courses; just because they’ve reached the higher levels doesn’t mean they can’t acquire new skills and knowledge. If an organization invests in its people, its people will invest in the business – even executives understand the value of that.

About the Author:

Tiffany Rowe

Tiffany Rowe is a leader in marketing authority, she assists Seek Visibility and our clients in contributing resourceful content throughout the web. Tiffany prides herself in her ability to create and provide high quality content that audiences find valuable. She also enjoys connecting with other bloggers and collaborating for exclusive content in various niches. With many years of experience, Tiffany has found herself more passionate than ever to continue developing content and relationship across multiple platforms and audiences.


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CEO’s Corner: Charlene Li on Technology and Employee Experience

Charlene Li

In the end of June 2017 CEO’s Corner post put a spotlight on Charlene Li, Principal Analyst at Altimeter (a Prophet Company) and keynote at this year’s HR TechXpo. Li supports leaders to thrive with disruption, primarily focusing on creating business strategies and developing leadership around digital, social, and emerging technologies. An analyst since 1999, and having seen business, society, and the world undergo seismic changes over the last 18 years, she’s driven to create research and thought leadership that helps to bring greater clarity and inspire audacious actions.

The interview is hosted by Greg Mortona corporate strategy and growth development specialist and Chief Executive Officer of the Northern California HR Association.

Q: You talk about the seismic changes that have recently occurred in the workplace. Besides the obvious impacts of technology, virtual work, and social media, what’s a change you are observing that most people are underestimating? 

A: One of the biggest overlooked opportunities is thinking about the employee experience, as opposed to employee engagement. Employee experience is when you look at a situation through the eyes of the employee, and focus on how the day-to-day experience creates a deeper relationship between the organization and employees. This is a significant shift for HR who must shift from managing transactions (recruiting, hiring, evaluations) and risk mitigation (training and compliance) to nurturing relationships. Technologies makes this easier but it’s only when technology fades into the background, and the relationship work comes forward, that the experience becomes a differentiator to the employee.

Q: What is the biggest takeaway you hope readers get from The Engaged Leader?[i]

A: Relationships form the foundation for leadership and I hope that by reading the book, people understand that digital channels must be part of the repertoire of skills leaders use to develop relationships. My hope is that readers are inspired to hit the pause button on their busy day and take a few minutes to reflect on how they need to be better engaged — even if it means simply listening to the people crucial to the achievement of their goals.

Q: We’re getting ready for our 2nd Annual HR TechXpo which last year was quite an exciting event showcasing the intersection of HR and Technology. You have talked to hundreds of providers, so are probably not easily wowed. What are one or two technological features you have seen in HR solutions that have knocked your socks off?

A: I’m excited to see SaaS-based strategy planning and execution tools getting traction in the market from companies like StrategyBlocks and Cascade. The software makes explicit and transparent the strategic plan of the organization, so that everyone across the organization is connected to the strategy. This means it’s clear how what you do every day impacts the long term strategy. It takes the idea of “connected workforce” and gives it a direction and objective, where the purpose of the connection is a strategic objective. This is exciting for HR because it ties together HR functions (workforce management, performance evaluation) and ties it directly to strategy and business outcomes.

You can find Charlene Li on LinkedIn and on Twitter.

You can find Greg Morton on LinkedIn or on Twitter.

[i] Charlene Li. The Engaged Leader: A Strategy for Your Digital Transformation – Wharton Digital Press, 2015

Banner HR TechXpo 2017

2nd Annual HR TechXpo will take place on August 25, 2017 in Hilton Union Square, San Francisco.

The HR Tech Weekly® readers get a free registration! Enter promo code hrtechweekly at time of checkout when you register here: http://hrtechxpo.com/register.

Please use #HRTechXpo to share the news about this exciting event showcasing the intersection of HR and Technology.

If you’d like to comment or have further questions for Charlene Li or Greg Morton, you are welcome to leave your reply here or post on social media adding #CEOCorner.


Source: CEO’s Corner: Charlene Li on Technology and Employee Experience

Why you should attend the Employee Engagement conference! | The HR Tech Weekly®

Why you should attend the Employee Engagement conference!

Marcus Evans: Employee Engagement | The HR Tech Weekly®

In a world where competitiveness is multiplying, the human factor is now the main differentiating factor. The performance of employees cannot be separated from the company’s.

Otherwise, different factors could turn employees into sources of loss if they are not as involved and especially engaged in their work.

According to the Steel Case and Ipsos study on employee engagement:

“Of the 17 countries studied and the 12,480 participants, 1/3 of the employees are disengaged.”

Germany, UK, the Netherlands, Spain, Belgium and France scored below the world average in terms of the rate of employees being engaged and satisfied with their working environment. Employee disengagement is not limited to a particular industry but affects all businesses. Some companies place more emphasis on employee engagement because they successfully established the link between commitment and performance. This is why they have put in place mechanisms to measure the degree of commitment of employees and try to establish programs enabling the optimization of well-being at work, through various actions targeting motivation, the quality of the working environment, managerial leadership and others, in order to build a culture of sustainable engagement.

There are no sectors that are eradicated or less affected by this scourge. As long as companies work in an environment that is changing constantly, there will always be sources and factors optimizing disengagement. As a result, it will always be necessary to increase the level of vigilance in order to limit the risks of disengagement.

Companies are interested in knowing more about:

  • How to improve the employer branding and communicate about the company’s values to the employees
  • How can we put the company’s culture at the service of employee engagement?
  • The role of leadership in managing employee engagement
  • How to create a sense of belonging among the employees?
  • How to use predictive analytics to improve employee engagement?
  • How to maintain employee engagement after a M&A or a strategic transformation?

Consequently, executives involved in HR, Talent Management, Engagement and Retention, Internal Communication and so on should definitely not miss out on this opportunity to attend the marcus evans‘ Employee Engagement conference taking place on the 27th-29th of September in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

marcus evans: Professional business training

Employee Engagement: 27-29 September 2017, Amsterdam, Netherlands — Press Release

Marcus Evans: Employee Engagement | The HR Tech Weekly®

Amsterdam, July 18, 2017 — Employee engagement has a direct impact on employee branding, an engaged employee will always praise his company and its achievement and can become a brand ambassador.

Companies increase their efforts to better understand the reasons beyond employee engagement. Although multiple tools can be used ranking from basic surveys to sophisticated games or applications, not many companies combine their findings with HR data about employee absenteeism, turnover rate and other data to gain a deeper insight about employee engagement trends. Predictive analytics can also help companies determine the source of hire sources, evaluate the ROI of employees and optimise the hiring process.

The Employee Engagement conference organised by marcus evans on the 27th-29th of September, 2017 in Amsterdam will provide a pan-European insight in employee engagement and its development. It is a unique opportunity for Employee Engagement specialists and Human Resources Experts to discuss the challenges of engaging employees. Practical cases will be presented to highlight the link between employee engagement and the organisational performance, the impact of internal communication, leadership and organisational culture on employee engagement. This conference will also explore the means by which we can guarantee employee engagement through the entire employee life cycle and turn it into employee experience.

Attending this premier marcus evans conference will enable you to:

  • Improve the employer branding and communicate about the company’s values to the employees
  • Put the company’s culture at the service of employee engagement
  • Create a sense of belonging among the employees
  • Use predictive analytics to improve employee engagement
  • Maintain employee engagement after a M&A or a strategic transformation

About marcus evans Group:

marcus evans Group | The HR Tech Weekly®

marcus evans specialises in the research and development of strategic events for senior business executives. From our international network of 63 offices, marcus evans produces over 1000 event days a year on strategic issues in corporate finance, telecommunications, technology, health, transportation, capital markets, human resources and business improvement.

Above all, marcus evans provides clients with business information and knowledge which enables them to sustain a valuable competitive advantage and makes a positive contribution to their success.


If you would like to receive more information regarding this event please email Constandinos Vinall at ConstandinosV@marcusevanscy.com or visit the website here.

Mountains | The HR Tech Weekly®

4 Common Mistakes Uber Made & How Companies Can Overcome Them

Smith Rock

The recent news that Uber Founder Travis Kalanick will be stepping down as CEO hasn’t come as much of a shock to the public. A number of scandals rocked the hypergrowth company this year, revealing the toxic organizational culture that has grown internally. The scandal that began Uber’s spiral downward came on February 19 when Susan Fowler, a former engineer, wrote about her Kafkaesque experience at the company.

Sadly, this is not an isolated story. The most common reasons cited by women who leave the tech industry are a lack of opportunities for advancement, a hostile work environment and dissatisfaction with senior leadership. In fact, studies show that 40% of women with engineering degrees quit or never enter the profession, with the vast majority leaving due to hostile work environments. But how do so many young tech companies, like Uber, develop these types of toxic atmospheres and what can we learn from cases like these? Here are 4 common mistakes Uber made and how companies can overcome them:

  1. Toxic people

It’s not only technical skills that are needed in a manager, the ability to coach, empower and help employees develop are essential. It goes without saying that there are certain behaviors, including sexual harassment, which are never acceptable. So many tech companies are focused on holding onto their star employees but if you allow toxic people to remain and wreak havoc on your team (especially in management positions) you’ll create an environment in which your workforce will not be able to grow, innovate, share their ideas and ultimately will leave.

Don’t sacrifice your future top performers for current ones who are keeping others down. As Fowler explained, Uber had become a competitive “Game of Thrones” style environment in which people were undermining their superiors, peers and reports to get ahead. When a highly competitive and unethical work environment emerges, it’s even more likely that toxic behaviors will be overlooked or ignored. The fact is that these behaviors start somewhere.

Indeed, according to an article in Harvard Business Review, “It’s better to avoid a toxic employee than hire a superstar”, 46% of employees who have worked with toxic workers had a higher chance of being fired for misconduct. If this kind of behavior is silently accepted, especially when displayed by managers, it can lead others to emulate toxic and unethical practices resulting in the very common instances of “boy’s clubs” we see in the tech world.

This means that not only are toxic managers creating a hostile environment for female employees, they also implicitly encourage toxic norms to develop within the rest of the team.

Keeping on toxic employees can result in $12,500 in turnover costs. When taking into account litigation fees, fines, low employee morale and unhappy customers the resulting cost could be up to $25,000 or even $50,000. Though the study found that toxic workers are often high performers, with star employees only adding an extra $5,300 to a company’s bottom line, the long term consequences of keeping them on seriously outweigh the extra revenue they can bring in.

  1. Checks and balances

In her blog post, Fowler explained that she was given the choice to either be moved to a different team or possibly face receiving a negative performance review from her manager. As we also saw in the case brought by Ellen Pao against Kleiner Perkins in 2015, when women report an incident about their manager they’ll often face backlash in their performance review. If their manager (or managers) is the only one reviewing their performance, speaking out can easily result in the victim being blocked from any future opportunities.

Rather than simply having one top down review, allow each person to receive feedback from multiple perspectives including peers and reports. Having 360 degree reviews allows for checks and balances enabling people to receive a wider range of perspectives on their performance. Upward feedback is another essential and something that should also be taken into account. As Fowler mentioned in her blog post, her’s had not been the first complaint against the manager in question.

  1. Transparency

Another incident Fowler mentioned in her post was the denial of her request for a transfer, despite having two excellent past performance reviews. The first time her request was denied she was told first that there were “undocumented performance problems” blocking her transfer.  After waiting for the next round of performance reviews, she was informed that her review and score had been changed without her knowledge. For the review process to be fair and effective it must be completely transparent. Changing a performance review or including “undocumented performance problems” only creates mistrust and the potential for it to be used as a tool against, rather than for employees.

A number of studies have shown that bias and inequality can often become entrenched through vague feedback and intransparent performance review practices. A number of studies have shown that while men are described as confident and assertive, when women display the same behavior, they are more often described as abrasive, irrational and aggressive. What’s more, women are more likely to receive critical feedback without any suggestions of ways they could improve or develop.

Managers must be trained to give feedback that is truly constructive and objective. This includes basing comments on specific examples and facts, rather than vague character assessments. One way to do this is to focus on verbs rather than adjectives. Furthermore, it must always be actionable. If feedback doesn’t include some way the person could improve, it’s a sign that it could be based on subjective conclusions.

Employees should always be allowed to respond to feedback and be given complete information about the reasons why they were given a particular score. If a manager is genuinely giving their employee feedback that is meant for improvement this will be followed up by regular 1-on-1 coaching conversations.

Each individual’s past feedback and performance reviews should be kept in a documented report that is accessible to both the manager and the employee. This should stand as the official report which HR can reference in the event of an incident.

  1. HR

There should always be a direct way for employees to contact and speak freely with HR, without fearing potential backlash. This case clearly shows the power of the Glassdoor Age, with CEO Travis Kalanick now coming out to say he had no idea of what was going on in his company and calling on the Chief of Human Resources to investigate the claims.

Today employees have the power to bring everything from sexual harassment to unequal pay to the public view via personal blogs, Glassdoor and other platforms. In one day the case was already picked up by the New York Times, Fortune and Bloomberg. Rather than working against individuals, HR should be genuinely helping to stamp out negative practices and create a positive work atmosphere.

Sweeping this kind of behavior under the rug can impact a company in multiple ways: increase turnover (especially of female employees), deter talented female hires, lower engagement and morale, push back talented employees from advancing within the company, and ultimately impact a company’s bottom line with customers becoming disenchanted with the scandal which will sooner or later hit the headlines. Taking these points into account and learning from cases like Susan Fowler’s will help companies create a positive work culture that encourages, rather than undermines diversity.


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What Is People Science Really All About? | Featured Image

What Is People Science Really All About?

Written by Adam Hale, EVP of Sage People.

What Is People Science Really All About? | Main Image

You’ve heard the phrase ‘People Science’ and have maybe even seen job postings for a ‘Head of People’ or ‘Chief People Officer’. But what does People Science really mean and why does it matter?

People Science is an approach organizations use to relate to their employees instead of seeing them as just human resources. Our Becoming a People Company report found that 87% of HR leaders think more should be done to put people at the heart of their business and that’s what People Science is all about. It looks at every part of an employee’s experience and goes beyond traditional HR in reach and influence, becoming a business-critical strategy that integrates with every part of the organization.

If you’re just starting to wrap your head around People Science, below are 6 ways to understand the power of the approach and the impact it can have on your workplace.

1. 3D not 2D

When you’re looking to engage with people, rather than manage people as resources or capital, you need to know about an employee’s skills, pay scale and reporting lines, and then look more deeply at the individuals themselves. When using People Science, every employee is treated as a multi-dimensional personality, not just a flat outline. The best HR and people leaders understand cultural fit, working styles, strengths, values and the goals each person brings to an organization.

2. Home cooking, not takeaway meals

When you cook at home, you need to collect the right ingredients and add them at just the right time and in the right proportions to get the perfect result. You know how each ingredient reacts, what brings out its best and how to avoid burning or undercooking it. You can learn from your results and refine your recipes, knowing which elements work well together.

People Science is like home-cooking your organization’s culture and values, balancing the people in teams and ‘shopping’ for top-quality hires who have the potential to add depth and flavor to your projects. It’s got a strategic long-term side, as well as a skillful day-to-day process. And while it takes a little more time and effort than grabbing a takeaway snack for instant relief, it’s a more sustainable way to nurture your organization’s long-term health.

3. Sherlock Holmes with DNA fingerprinting

Sherlock Holmes is a genius who can use deduction and logic to unravel murder mysteries with his mind. But imagine if he had a DNA forensics lab and Big Data at his disposal. Intuitive talent plus hard data? He’d be unstoppable.

In today’s business climate, it’s now unthinkable to not use data to analyze customer behaviors, but many companies don’t apply this same logic to understanding their own people. Why are so many overlooking this? If companies want to attract and retain the best people, the use of people data to improve the employee experience is no longer optional.

People Science takes the intuitive power of HR and adds data evidence to support ideas, investigate theories and take pre-emptive action. Because it’s data-backed and evidence based, it can provide iron-clad answers to back up your hunches about things. It can also predict outcomes, so you can foresee and prevent issues like flight risk or talent shortages.

4. Google vs. your multi-volume leather-bound encyclopedia

Google is an essential reference tool, much like your trusty set of encyclopedia books. It knows the answers. But while you can use it to look up facts about ancient Egypt, there’s so much more to it than that.

Like Google – and the technology industry in general – People Science is always changing and innovating. Instead of sticking to rigid processes, HR and people leaders who take a People Science approach are reinventing things according to movements in their industry, in technological tools and in People Science itself. It’s nimble enough to respond to the transforming world of modern business.

5. The X-Men vs. your favorite sports team

Your favorite sports team consists of players with finely-honed skills in shooting hoops, blocking passes or scoring goals. But only in (or on) their own field. Pit them against an unexpected challenge like, say, an evil supervillain intent on world destruction, and they’ll probably be out of their depth.

People teams are multi-disciplinary, with an array of superpowers including data analysis, marketing, building relationships, social media and talent scouting (not to mention saving the world on a regular basis). Think of them as your all-star team of people superheroes, ready for anything life throws at your business, even game-changing digital developments that fall outside the traditional HR field.

6. A hotel, not a dorm room

Like a hotel, a business with People Science knowledge understands that its commercial success depends on keeping people comfortable, feeling valued and leaving with a great experience. Hospitality is vital, not just a nice-to-have – unless you want your people, like the students in a basic dorm room, to upgrade to a nicer workplace once they’ve finished learning from you.

See how your company stacks up in the journey to become a People Company with our free People Company profiler.

About the Author:

Adam Hale, EVP of Sage People

Adam Hale, EVP of Sage People, previously acted as Executive Chairman and Non Executive Director having spent over 30 years in the technology industry. He was formerly Head of Software and European Technology at Russell Reynolds Associates, the leading executive search firm and before that ran large system implementation projects at Accenture. Adam is also a committee member of the Technology Leadership Group (TLG) for the Prince’s Trust.


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5 successful leaders' advice: I wish I knew this as a young manager

5 successful leaders’ advice: I wish I knew this as a young manager

young-man-thinking-and-working-with-laptop-in-office-space-picjumbo-com

Good leadership is an essential for any successful company, but it’s not always easy for junior or first-time managers to adapt to their role. Many times, leaders look back on their career and have a whole host of new insights and knowledge they wish they’d known all along.

When we started Impraise 3 years ago, the focus was on the product. As the company grew and we brought more people on board, we faced the challenges of also becoming first time leaders. Managing people for the first time, whilst challenging, was also rewarding, but it was always helpful hearing from people with more experience, and understanding what helped them progress and become the best leaders possible.

With recent failures at Uber showing many young leaders were neither trained or equipped for their roles, we wanted to find out just what people wish they’d known when they began on their leadership path. We talked to five top leaders to find out what they wish they’d known when they started their management careers, and collected their most valuable insights…

Harry WestFrog Design

“In an organization that’s fast moving, with lots of young people… we need to be proactive. We shouldn’t expect people to know how to manage without any training.”

CEO Harry West shares with us the things he’s learnt whilst managing the rapidly growing design company.

Historically, he shares, during the company’s earlier days, when potential future leaders were trained, there was a lack of knowledge and structure in place concerning the skills required and how they should be developed. The company now have in place a management training program to ensure these things are addressed before young leaders are put in charge of teams. Reflecting on earlier practices, he muses that this less than thought out approach to systematic training was not good enough for such a fast moving, young tech company. West soon learnt that this wasn’t working, and began reshaping their training process to be more systematic, now ensuring young leaders go into their positions equipped and confident.

Martin Jellema, Werkspot

“One of the most important elements is the people themselves.”

Martin Jellema, Werkspot & Instapro’s Chief Commercial Officer, responsible for a 70+ team, shares the top three lessons he’s learnt since he began managing.

Jellema maintains that, after all his years of managing people, one of the most important elements is the people themselves. Finding and recruiting candidates that fit the company and can handle every aspect of the role remains one of the most important aspects of managing.

Besides this, he maintains, asking for help where needed remains the second most important thing. He now values collaboration over feeling the pressure to perform flawlessly and prove yourself as manager, saying it’s more useful to discuss issues, allowing people to help you come up with solutions you wouldn’t necessarily think of. In Jellema’s experience, both your boss and your team will see you reaching out for help as a strength not a weakness: understanding that something needs to be done or changed and using the resources you have to make that positive change won’t be frowned upon. You have a great team around you for a reason: use their knowledge and skills! He also outlines the importance of keeping focus on ‘high leverage’ activities: rather than taking time on minor activities, delegate, and dedicate the time to things like team training which ups productivity.

Bob Kastner, Meeting Tomorrow

“If you have great team members, and you get them energized by a great scoreboard, then you’ll be unstoppable.”

Bob Kastner, Director of Marketing at Meeting Tomorrow shares the one thing he wishes he knew as a junior manager: how useful scoreboards are when it comes to keeping the team engaged, energized and on track.

Kaster says things should be easy to read at a glance. People should be able to tell what’s going on by looking at a few, important metrics: only use the ones that are essential to productivity. Kaster’s next must-do for these metrics is keep things constant: update the board as often as possible; keep information relevant and updated in real-time, and have it on display, keeping things in the forefronts of people’s minds, and discussing them regularly in team meetings or daily stand ups.

You can decide whether to create a competitive friendly vibe, seeing who tops the scoreboard, or create a collective vibe: how close is the team to hitting goals? Kaster has learnt to put this focus on striving for more motivating ‘best’ results rather than encouraging people to beat averages, always ensuring most importantly, to celebrate these successes as a team when they occur!

Brett Remington, Wisconsin Centre for Performance Excellence

“Trust holds everything together. It takes huge amounts of time to accumulate… As a manager, your success depends on the preservation and enhancement of trust.”

We spoke to Brett Remington, of the Wisconsin Centre for Performance Excellence,  and he outlined the things he’s learnt: his experience based ‘truths of management’.

Remington’s first learning was the importance of trust and fostering good relationships with those around you. He shares he’s also learnt to see managers as administrative functions, believing that “if you’re going into management because you want to change the face of what’s possible in your organization, you are applying for the wrong job.” The second, he says, is it’s essential to have a curiosity about the processes your team use: you could have a great team, but, if the processes being followed are ineffective, they’re going to be disengaged and unsuccessful.

He also sets a lot of store by keeping metrics simple and useful, and learnt to focus on 3-5 key performance metrics. He says attempting to stay on top of more than 5 performance measures at once makes for accomplishing less, whilst having focus on fewer than 3 at any time means you’ll likely miss opportunities for continuous improvement and innovation.

His next learning? Humility and the need to embrace change.

“You are only about 2/3rds as good at your job as you think. The 1/3rd you don’t know about, don’t believe, or don’t pay attention to is going to determine how long you’ve got left in this job. Find ways of eliminating blind spots and practice humility. Eventually, you may find that your role as manager is vastly different than when you started. People, processes, policies, and potential change. Know when the accumulated changes no longer fit with your skills, aspirations, or interests. When that time comes, be ready to change out of your manager role and reflect on what you have accomplished as you pursue a better future for yourself.” 

Barry Curry, Systeme

“Most importantly learning how to react and behave when you are out of your comfort zone will better prepare you for being out of it.”

Barry Curry, Technical Director at Systeme, also brings back the key point of positive feedback, recognition, and acknowledging your team for their accomplishments: it’s always key to ensure people know they’re valued.

He shared his biggest learnings with us, beginning with the importance of keeping sight of the big picture. It can be easy to get drawn into the small details: stay focused on key details, and don’t take things personally. If things become heated during stressful projects or periods, it’s okay to let people vent. Acknowledge people’s perspectives, never make responses personal and keep things respectful, with co-workers and clients alike.

He also suggests using goals to ensure what you’re doing has direction. This ensures that problem solving for others doesn’t totally overtake your other responsibilities. Another learning is resist the temptation to always check your emails first thing: first complete one of the daily tasks you’ve set yourself, without distraction or prioritising other’s needs.

He also says that although sometimes sharing problems is difficult, having thought about solutions before sharing the problem will show you’ve thought things through and instill confidence in you. Similarly, having a process in place for when unplanned or unexpected things arise is key: have a consistent process in place to help you deal with things more efficiently.

For more information and expert advice on becoming a great leader, check out our free eBook and white paper.


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People watching a presentation in a room

Employee Engagement and Experience Driven by “Culture First”

This is no more a secret that engaged employees are more likely to perform better and improve organizational success. And as the companies move more towards agile organizational models, there will be more increase in the employee engagement rates.

Employee Engagement refers to an employee’s job satisfaction, loyalty, and inclination to spend discretionary effort toward organizational goals. Companies measure engagement through an annual employee survey or by a continuous feedback culture.

The important characteristic to remember when thinking about employee engagement is that, it is a real-time assessment of how employees are feeling about their organization and their work.

Culture First

But this is not the only important one. We need to care about culture as well, for understanding what is happening within our organization. And engagement is a critical output of a strong culture.

For organizational culture, the definition centers on the concepts of values and assumptions which contribute to the development of norms, behaviors, and other cultural activities. Because employee engagement and organization’ culture both involve an individual’s relationship with their workplace, it is necessary to bring them always together.

But why the organizational culture is important here?

Check out the below INFOGRAPHICS on Organization Culture from Multigence. They are providing an efficient and scalable technology based solution that measures, evaluates and matches your organization culture with individual profiles of employees and candidates.

Organisation Culture in Infographics from Multigence

According to Multigence, organization must focus on fitting individuals into the corporate culture. Culture isn’t for your employees. It starts the moment a candidate first comes across your brand. And this immediate activate the drivers for your organization growth and success like below.

  • Right hiring and promotion
  • Proper alignments of skills, including the soft skills
  • Taking the right talent decisions
  • Fitting to the corporate branding

The culture of the organization is shaped by each single individual. Successful talent decisions will be driven by cultural fit.

And in the long term benefits, it also

  • Reduce in recruitment cost and higher success rate of recruiting with right hiring match
  • Increase in retention, employee satisfaction, performance indicators and productivity
  • Build and choose better leaders and find the right successors

According to Bersin by Deloitte, organizational culture, engagement, and employee brand proposition remain top priorities in 2017; employee experience ranks as a major trend again in 2017. “Employee engagement has become the top issue on the minds of business leaders, directing us to an entirely new model of management”. And companies need a new approach—one that builds on the foundation of culture and engagement to focus on the employee experience holistically, considering all the contributors to worker satisfaction, engagement, wellness, and alignment.

And according to them, the below figure shows the factors that contribute to positive employee experience. So it pretty clear that today organizations must focus on the employee engagement to have the right employee experience on the foundation of culture.

Simply Irresistible Organization Model

Back in 2015, Graham Massay, the Business Head of The House, came up with an interesting article Culture First Engagement Second. Where he mentioned the risk is that engagement becomes a once-a-year, box-ticking exercise, designed to prove that everything’s OK rather than actually making sure that everything’s OK. By contrast, a strong values-led culture keeps your organization healthy and your employees inspired.

Focusing on culture rather than employee engagement doesn’t mean giving up on measurement. Culture is an outcome. And the business cannot afford to focus solely on engagement at the expense of culture.

So the next question comes to our mind.

Why organizations should focus on employee engagement based on culture first approach?

Multigence has tried to bring the benefits of employee engagement driven by culture or based on a foundation of culture, with the below INFOGRAPHICS.

Employee Engagement Driven by Culture in the Infographics from Multigence

Now if the organization is looking to apply for these benefits, they must focus on employee experience and the world of digitalization. There are many digital tools available in the market which delivers great employee experience. These tools can be categorized as:

  • Productivity and Collaboration tools
  • Engagement and Feedback tools
  • Performance Management tools
  • Well-Being tools
  • Culture Fit tools
  • Employee Services tools

If one can commit to managing these aspects of your employee experience along with employee engagement and culture, then they can be surely a few steps ahead of their peers. The important thing is to consistently care about the employee experience and culture. The role of technology makes a great impact here and one should plan accordingly.

In beginning of this year there is also came up an article Culture First. Digitalization Second. (In German), by the writer Daniel Fuerg, an entrepreneur and according to him.

“It is about a cultural change in our society, triggered by the possibilities of digital technologies and innovations. But the change is not digitalization. The change is what the new possibilities with us humans make. It is a cultural change, which was triggered by technological changes. Companies must thus respond to cultural change and at the same time equip themselves with technology.”

So it’s clear that before we should plan and start considering about engagement, experiences, we must also consider culture the individual culture and off course the organization culture.

So it’s make sense to focus on “Culture First” approach over company first or even county first.

About the Author:

Soumyasanto Sen

Soumyasanto Sen — Professional Advisor, Consultant, Investor in HR Technologies having 12+ years of experiences focusing on Strategies, People Analytics, Cloud, UX, Security, Processes, Integration and Entrepreneurship in Workforce Transformation.

Blogger, Speaker and Evangelist in HR Technologies. Founder of HRTech Conscience.


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4 Ways Managers Can Promote Self-Motivation Amongst Their Team

I Love My Job

We are in an age when employers are waking up to the fact that pay and bonuses, while necessary, are only the basics that are needed to retain your workforce. To really inspire motivation, it is widely agreed by psychologists and experts (not to mention popularized in numerous TEDTalks) that the best way is to give employees more autonomy and ownership over their work, provide opportunities to grow and develop and inspire them with purpose.

This creates a much more challenging task for management. Aside from creating the right conditions, how can managers help inspire their team towards self-motivation?

Set goals but also milestones

Ever since Edwin Locke first revealed his 1960s research into goal setting and motivation, it has become clear that effective goal setting is a key to great leadership. Even with purpose, we all need something to work towards to boost our motivation and know we’re making progress. Aside from making your goals SMART, it’s important to recognize the value of setting milestones for each goal. Goals should be larger benchmarks which will take time (a month or quarter) to achieve. While having goals in place can boost motivation, sometimes your reports can become overwhelmed if the goal is too big. That’s where milestones come into play.

For each goal, encourage your reports to come up with the smaller milestones that will need to be completed to reach their goals. This can be as simple as:

Goal: Get 100 people to participate in our quarterly webinar

Milestones:

#1 Confirm speaker by …

#2 Create email list, invites and reminders by …

#3 Create banners for social media campaign by …

Breaking goals down into smaller steps will help your team members stay focused and give them direction if they become lost or overwhelmed. This will also facilitate the move towards greater autonomy.

Create regular learning opportunities

Constantly helping your employees develop is not only a priority for HR and managers, but also one of the main things top candidates are looking for in an employer. However, this doesn’t have to result in expensive external training.

Consider holding regular voluntary learning sessions during which you share tips and tricks on how you organize yourself, balance priorities, set goals, give feedback, or any advice you think could help your team optimize their work experience. Open it up for your team members to also share their own insights. Inviting inspirational speakers is great but, if you lack the budget or space, joining conferences and meetups or even sharing powerful TEDTalks can boost motivation and creativity amongst your workforce.

It’s ok to break the bad news, but provide a solution

While you should never avoid talking when things aren’t going well, you should always keep up the motivation to overcome these challenges by leveraging your team’s strengths. This shouldn’t be a generic “I believe we can do anything” talk, it should be honest. How do you do this? It’s essential that managers know the strengths of each of their teammates and are able to strategize about how each of these strengths can be put to use to overcome challenges as a team.

For example, if you’re not set to bring in your target number of leads by the end of the month, propose a new campaign that could utilize your PR team’s strength in event planning and your sales lead’s great oratory skills. Bonus points: Research by Gallup shows that recognizing your employee’s strengths boosts engagement and thereby also productivity, profitability and quality of work.

Allow employees to create their own purpose

Finding purpose in one’s work is one of the biggest drivers of motivation. If you really believe in what you’re doing and the impact it could have on society, you’re going to have the motivation to go the extra mile. Deloitte’s 2017 report on millennials emphasized a strong connection between employee loyalty and purpose and asserted that, “It is well documented that businesses with a genuine sense of purpose tend to demonstrate stronger long-term growth, and employees can usefully tap into this.”

For example, after experiencing a lack of development advice while working in the corporate sector, my manager, and one of the co-founders of our company, was motivated to create a solution that would enable managers and peers to provide more frequent and real-time performance feedback. Meanwhile, I joined the company with an interest in how our tool could be used to create more equitable workplaces.

Rather than encouraging me to focus only on the original purpose of our solution, my manager has encouraged my interest in this aspect of our product by supporting my proposals for research and projects on this topic. While both of us are motivated by the same purpose: providing greater access to performance feedback and growth, we are able to find motivation from different angles of the same purpose. Remember that a major benefit of diversity is the ability to see your solution from different angles. Taking each team member’s perspective into account and letting it take off has enriched our purpose and product.


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