Global HR Innovation and Strategies 2017

For a long period, Innovation is at the top of CXO agendas, yet many executives continue to be challenged with the hit-or-miss pace and results of their programs. The challenge isn’t usually a lack of good ideas. Initiatives take too long, non-strategic projects get green-lighted at the expense of game changers, good ideas remain confined in the heads of employees.

What is missing? A system of enablers that work together to support innovation. When the right people, processes, and metrics come together, they can transform how innovation happens, stimulate employees’ creativity, and create long-term competitive advantage.

Innovation is not inherently unpredictable, and it does not require a heavy portion of providence to be successful. When companies take a systematic approach, they can pursue innovation in a way that reliably generates repeatable results.

Business Innovation Strategy
Image: Management Guru

According to Management Guru, an innovation is the Buzz word that has defined the paradigm shift in the approach of management practices and thinking. This has helped organizations grow and sustain regardless of competitor and market pressure and challenges. Innovation management gives entrepreneurs the liberty to think out of the box and come up with new ideas leading to the development of new products, processes and services.

Change is unavoidable and change is the one that never changes. People like variety and it is the responsibility of business people to satisfy the customer wants and requirements. New approaches are required to avoid monotony and stereotyping. “Old wine in a new bottle” concept may come in handy when you feel that your product has reached the saturation point and about to decline in its life cycle.

Human Resources have not played a very strategic role in innovation so much. This needs to change. HR needs to support the culture change to enable innovation; and the upcoming generation isn’t going to settle for an ‘administrative-only’ role. Future of HR is definitely going to change for sure.

Many companies who are good at managing tangible, concrete, known assets, they try to manage humans the same way. These are changing a lot and if we get some opportunities to know how this is happening, I think there is no better place than Global HR Innovation and Strategies conference.

BCF Group is glad to announce that the applications for the Global HR Innovation and Strategies 2017 are now OPEN. This is an open invitation from BCF Group to be a part of this event in Barcelona, that will take place on the 22nd and 23rd of June.

At the event, you will have the opportunity to listen and to interact with top HR leaders and innovators.

Don’t miss the chance to get inspired from experienced HR speakers, who worked in some of the most successful companies and even founded their owns. Topics that will be discussed are of current interest that in the future will have impact on the companies, such as Millennials, Mobility, HR Digitalization, Gamification, Mobbing, HR role in the Boardroom and in the relation with the employees.

At the conference, you will also have the opportunity to interact will HR people and make new contacts, with which you can share experience.

The list of speakers you can find on our website or check the Poster: https://bcfgroup.eu/?iwevent=global-hr-innovation-and-strategies-conference-2017

Global HR Innovation and Strategies Conference 2017

Do you have friends or colleagues who would like to attend the HR Conference? Forward this invitation them. For more details, feel free to contact Alice Levi: alice.levi@bcfgroup.eu.

When: 22nd – 23rd of June, 2017

Where: 08039 Edif. Este, Moll de Barcelona, World Trade Centre, Barcelona, Spain

HR Tech Conscience is glad to be a Media Partner with BCF Group for this conference. Looking forward to it. Hope to see you there!
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Recognize Employee Achievements: 5 Ways how to give Positive Feedback | Featured Image

Recognize Employee Achievements: 5 Ways how to give Positive Feedback

Recognize Employee Achievements: 5 Ways how to give Positive Feedback | Main Image

Feedback shouldn’t only be given when there’s a problem. It’s also important to let your employees know they’re on the right track and that they’re valued within the company. Recognizing achievements can signal to other employees the types of skills that should be enhanced and behavior that should be replicated. For those of you who are uncomfortable giving positive feedback, following the right steps will help you to deliver honest recognition that doesn’t feel forced or insincere.

Putting positive feedback to the test

In his insightful Ted Talk “What makes us feel good about our work?”, behavioral economist Dan Ariely describes an experiment he conducted on the correlation between recognition and motivation. In the experiment people were offered declining amounts of money to circle pairs of identical letters on a sheet of paper. In the first scenario, people had to write their name on the paper. When they were finished, they handed it to an experimenter who quickly scanned the paper, said “aha” and placed it on a pile. In the second scenario, the participants did not write their name on the paper. When they were finished, the experimenter placed the paper on the pile without looking at it. In the final scenario, the experimenter put the sheets directly into a shredder.

The results showed that people in the first scenario ended up working for half as much money as the people in the third scenario. Watching their work being destroyed immediately was extremely demotivating, despite being offered money to do an easy task over and over again. Surprisingly, it turns out that the average stopping point for people in the second scenario was almost the same as those in the third. As Mr. Ariely explained, “Ignoring people’s performance was almost as bad as shredding it in front of their eyes.” Even just a simple acknowledgment from the experimenter had a marked impact on the subjects’ motivation.

Why is positive feedback important?

A common misconception is that motivation in the workplace is primarily based on monetary rewards. It’s not always possible to give your employees a raise every time they do well, and surprisingly it might not be the strongest incentive either. A 2013 study by Make Their Day and Badgeville revealed that 83% of employees surveyed found recognition for contributions to be more fulfilling than rewards and gifts. Another 88% believed praise from managers in particular was either very or extremely motivating.

Positive feedback lets your employees know that they’re valued by the company and is especially important for building confidence in newer employees. It’s also helpful to give positive feedback when an employee improves in an area they had previously had difficulty with, making it very useful as a follow up to constructive feedback.

Don’t forget that your top performers also need positive feedback. Many managers tend to neglect their top performers when it comes to feedback because they see it more as a tool for helping improve the performance of employees who are struggling. Recognizing them for their efforts and showing appreciation are important steps to retaining your top talent.

While creating a positive feedback culture starts with managers, encouraging your employees to give positive feedback to each other is the step that will diffuse and institutionalize the practice within the office. The Make Their Day/Badgeville study reported that 76% of respondents saw praise from peers as very or extremely motivating. Peer-to-peer feedback can inspire better interpersonal relationships between employees and boost team spirit.

How to give positive feedback:

  1. Be specific

Avoid generic comments like “good job!” Explain what your employee did in particular so they can learn what type of behavior they should keep up in future. Instead of saying “you’re a great team player” describe what they did and why you appreciated it. “The extra coaching you gave to the new recruits on the last project helped them to learn the appropriate procedures, and helped our department to reach our deadline on time.” This will also help managers who are uncomfortable giving positive feedback. If you stick with stating the facts and why you thought their performance deserved recognition you can avoid clichés.

  1. Timing

Timing is an important aspect of giving positive feedback. If you wait too long both you and the receiver might forget the details of their performance. This will undermine one of the main reasons for giving positive feedback: pointing out positive behavior so it can be encouraged and replicated. If you put it off for too long, when the employee finally receives appreciation for their work, so much time may have passed that it could feel more like an afterthought. If you don’t have time to speak with them straight away, send them a message or email. Letting the opportunity to give praise go by in some instances and not others can unintentionally create double standards.

  1. Get into the habit of giving feedback more frequently

Failing to recognize when your team has gone above and beyond can demotivate them. Not recognizing their efforts will tell them they simply met expectations. Getting into the habit of giving positive feedback more often will motivate your employees to achieve more.

Be careful not to base positive feedback exclusively on results. Sometimes even if an employee puts forth their best effort, a project could fall through due to funding, a client may decide to go in a different direction, etc. It’s at these times that positive feedback can be most effective in counteracting the demotivating feeling your employee may be experiencing after not seeing their efforts materialize.

  1. Set goals and new challenges

Even if you only have positive feedback to give, you should encourage your employees to continue improving by helping them set goals and new challenges. This is especially important for top performers who may become demotivated if they don’t feel they’re developing or being challenged.

Start by asking them if they have any professional goals or objectives they’d like to accomplish in the next few months, or in the next few years. Consider how these short and long term goals could fit with the company’s objectives. Then offer support finding ways they could achieve these goals, for example, taking on a stretch assignment or participating in a training course. Keep in mind that the goals you’re setting together should be challenging but achievable, and won’t cut into your employee’s work-life balance.

  1. Encourage a positive feedback culture

A 2009 Mckinsey Quarterly survey found that respondents saw praise from their managers, leadership attention and a chance to lead projects or task forces as no less or even more effective motivators than cash based incentives. Aside from giving praise, you can also recognize your employees’ achievements by suggesting they give feedback and coaching to peers who are having difficulties in that particular area. This can help top employees develop leadership skills, and at the same time boost the performance levels of other employees.

Alternatively, you could suggest they give a presentation on this project, skill, etc. to the team. This will demonstrate an example of what you’re looking for to other employees and reinforce your recognition of their success. If employees share their successes with the rest of the team more often it will help foster a sense of community. Encouraging your employees to give more feedback and empowering them with new leadership skills is one of the best ways to keep them challenged and motivated.

Summary and take-aways:

An effective manager consistently recognizes their employees’ strengths and achievements with positive feedback. Employees who feel their work is appreciated by their manager and peers are highly motivated and more likely to stick with their current job. Giving more positive feedback can be a great way to encourage team spirit and a positive work culture.

  • Give examples and be specific
  • Don’t wait too long
  • Give feedback more frequently
  • Don’t base feedback on results
  • Set goals and new challenges
  • Encourage peer-to-peer feedback and sharing of achievements

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Benefits Of Working From Home | The HR Tech Weekly®

Benefits Of Working From Home

night-owl-man-working-on-computer-at-night-picjumbo-com

Working from home is not an easy walk. It’s different from what other people think about a remote worker. It requires more discipline and responsibility, more self-motivation, self-engagement, and self-control. It gives you less freedom while many think opposite. And finally it may give you more working hours in fact with an early start, later end and less breaks.

So, why a lot, lot of people make their choices for working from home? Why companies tend to hire remote workers? What benefits it gives to both sides? How it is influenced by the economy and technology? What is the best way to organize the remote work both for employers and for employees? A lot of questions…

Gig-economy or on-demand economy and digital technologies give people new exciting opportunities, from one hand, and determine their choices from the other one. Relations with remote and contingent workers and organizations became more contractual, more entrepreneurial, and more like with the third parties before the world of work has changed.

Modern HR technologies allow organizations to keep people engaged, stay connected, let them feel on board and be a part of the team while staying miles away. But it’s harder than just control over the process and results. It requires new hard and soft skills from HR and line managers.

The new infographic from Nucleus gives us an overview on a phenomenon of the remote work as well as some insights about new challenges for managers and workers, and technologies that could help to organize it better.

Nucleus Smart Office Solutions


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5 Ways Companies are Delinking Performance Management from Pay

Written by Andrea Hak, Content Writer at Impraise.

shutterstock_145160614

Awarding higher pay and bonuses to top performers seems like the straightforward way to incentivize and retain great employees. The most popular format being performance based bonuses, which keep base pay manageable and provide incentives for better performance. However, research shows us that this may not be as simple as it seems.

A study by Willis Towers Watson found that only 20% of employers in North America actually believe merit pay is effective in driving high performance.

Traditionally money was seen as the main incentive used to motivate employees. Higher productivity results in higher salaries and bonuses. For companies, it’s been used as the main tool to attract, retain and engage employees. Today we’ve learned that the key to motivation is much more complex than that.

What psychologists and thought leaders have found is that money can actually demotivate employees from working at their peak performance by leading to a prioritization of rewards over learning and innovation. In one of the most widely viewed TEDTalks, career analyst Dan Pink explains that it’s actually intrinsic motivators like autonomy, mastery and purpose that drive real motivation.

To provide their employees with more opportunities to grow and develop, many companies are now moving to continuous, peer based and ratingless systems. The key question that many of them face is how they can continue to make compensation decisions, without inhibiting the feedback process.

In a recent eBook we identified five trends companies are following to delink performance from pay. Here is a summary of what we found:

1.  Keeping one annual review for compensation decisions

The most commonly used method is to introduce more continuous informal feedback and quarterly performance reviews, but continue to keep one annual review specifically for making compensation decisions. Rather than being in the dark until the annual review, employees will know where they are and how they’ve improved at each quarterly check-in. Compensation is still linked to end of the year feedback but the feedback they receive throughout the year is focused on growth and development.

2.  In ratingless systems

With more and more companies switching to ratingless reviews, this question has emerged as the main obstacle: without ratings how do we calculate compensation? Some companies have taken the position that ratings based reviews leave too much potential for bias. For example, a person’s communication skills can often be assessed differently depending on how communicative the rater is or how much they value communication within the team. However, when compensation decisions are based on a qualitative review the potential for rater bias actually increases, giving managers more leeway to decide how they want to award pay. Here are two ways companies are overcoming this:

Performance Calibration

Calibration meetings include a group of managers who discuss the performance of each employee.Together they come up with the best way to allocate pay and bonuses. Including multiple perspectives into the decision process is meant to separate rater bias from reviews and allow for a more accurate allocation of pay

Peer Reviews

Who better to ask about an individual’s performance than their teammates? Instead of depending on managers to make the majority of the decisions, some companies are basing pay solely on peer reviews. To avoid introducing ratings, employees are asked a series of questions about their peers, for example:

  • “How much did this person grow over the past 3 months? Please provide examples.”
  • “This person is your strongest team member. Explain why.”

3.  Objectives and Key Results

Setting Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) is the process made famous by companies like Google, Intel, Adobe and Linkedin. The idea is that allowing employees to set their own goals provides greater clarity in what’s expected and what needs to be done to perform well. On top of this, individual OKRs can more easily be aligned with team and company objectives. How these companies set compensation:

  • Employees regularly set their own OKRs with manager approval.
  • At the end of the performance period, compensation decisions are made by assessing whether and how well employees reached their OKRs.
  • Employees may not always complete their OKRs but assessing how they went about achieving them is taken into account.
  • This is combined with a review process during which information is gathered about their performance from their self-assessment, manager and peers.
  • Compensation is then decided based on OKRs, plus factors such as skill development, collaboration, leadership abilities and their contribution to the team/company.

4.  Getting Employees to give more feedback

Rather than trying to separate pay from feedback, some companies are actually using bonuses based on peer feedback to boost engagement. A joint study by SHRM and Globoforce found: “Peer-to-peer is 35.7% more likely to have a positive impact on financial results than manager-only recognition.” And dramatically, “When companies spend 1% or more of payroll on recognition, 85% see a positive impact on engagement.”

  • To implement this, some companies are allocating budgets to each employee. They can then use this to award cash bonuses to peers along with positive feedback. Rather than leaving pay solely up to managers, this system includes everyone in the decision process.
  • One of our clients came up with an innovative way to gamify peer feedback. Employees are given the opportunity to award gold, silver and bronze ratings to each piece of feedback they receive. Those who have shared the top most helpful feedback with their peers receive a bonus.

5.  Complete transparency

Some companies are rejecting individual performance based bonuses altogether in favor of complete transparency. For example, Buffer has come up with their own salary formula based on the person’s role, experience level and loyalty (years with the company). This essentially eliminates the compensation question altogether. In this type of system, everyone knows exactly where they stand and feedback can truly be focused solely on growth and development.

Alternatively, some companies have decided to slash the idea of individual rewards altogether, instead basing pay on team performance. Keep in mind that a study by PWC found that the ideal team size in this type of system is under five employees, with 60% of people becoming demotivated over five and 90% becoming demotivated in a team of over ten. Familiarity with team members was also an important factor.

Conclusion

It’s important that you find the best system for your culture and company objectives. Whether you place emphasis on teamwork or want to give individuals more autonomy over their personal development, it’s essential to research and understand which method will work best for you. No matter what you choose, the most important thing is that you clearly communicate to your managers and employees how this new system will work and how it will impact them.

About the Author:

Andrea Hak

Andrea Hak works as a content writer at Impraise, a web based and mobile solution for actionable, real-time feedback at work. Impraise turns performance reviews into an easy process by enabling users to give and receive valuable feedback in real-time and when it’s most helpful. With Impraise, employees can better analyze their strengths and learning opportunities, track their progress and pursue their personal and professional goals all year long. Managers can easily set up 360 degree feedback for their team or themselves, resulting in more meaningful 1-on-1s and more engaged people.

Contact Details: andrea@impraise.com


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Signs it is Time to Take Your Organization Virtual

Signs It Is Time to Take Your Organization Virtual

Signs to go virtual
How to ask your boss that you want to do your work from home?

Is It Time to Take Your Organization Virtual? Here Are the Signs It Is

The on demand skills based economy is here. With today’s top talent adapting to the new climate of the workforce, organizations now must find new ways to engage and retain their staff while bringing in the best talent available as needed to survive and thrive in complex economic times. The workforce has taken their careers and income earning opportunities into their own hands and crave the flexibility that virtual organizations provide. Whether you need to incorporate contract or freelance work into your operations or want to give flexible working arrangement incentives to your existing permanent team, there are many benefits to taking your business virtual.

Below are a few signs it may be time to take your organization virtual.

Your Industry Has Already Shifted

Does the competition incorporate contract and temp work for their teams to execute projects and deliverables? Do they have satellite offices with less overhead dispersed throughout a greater geographic region than you? You may be paying for more office space than is required or missing opportunities for growth by not shifting alongside your competitors that are gaining more market share through virtual teams and contracted project management.

Accessing the Best Ability When You Need It, Cast a Wider Net for Talent

Human capital is and always will be critical for organizations to grow. The top talent of today’s workforce is already embracing the shift of the gig economy for their careers. Contract and freelance work for projects may be one of the only options for reaching some of the most talented professionals that you do not have access to in traditional employment engagements. Leverage the strengths, talents and skills of top performers available to compliment your permanent staff. Changing up your business model to attract and leverage the best talent available for your organization is critical and inevitably necessary. There are specific projects or initiatives that do not require full time engagement, try contracting out this work with the support of your existing team.

There is Flexibility to Be Gained by Both Sides with Less Commitment

A short term project to gauge ongoing working compatibilities allows each side to have less binding ties than an official employment contract. By allowing both sides to test the waters, there is flexibility to expand working relationships or simply part ways conveniently for both parties.

You Already Leverage Collaboration Tools in the Cloud

The cloud is here to stay and the same tools that are used for internal personnel communications and document management, have made their way into the workforce. The same affordable tools already invested in, can be leveraged by personnel logging on from anywhere. Programs such as Office 365, Dropbox, Slack and Google Drive allow teams to collaborate from dispersed locations in different time zones to accomplish tasks and achieve goals remotely. Implementing electronic systems and procedures will be necessary but also provide the necessary guidance and structure to improve operational efficiencies and help designate roles and responsibilities between members of the virtual team.

You Want to Incorporate Work from Home Policies as an Incentive

More and more companies are realizing the benefits of an engaged workforce by offering the flexibility to incorporate part time working from home policies. As with any incentive, it has to be carefully managed so teamwork can be developed through defined deliverables with accountabilities in place. Conference calls, in person meetings, team brainstorming sessions can help teammates engage virtually while allowing them designated time to manage their personal and professional lives more flexibly.

You Need to Scale with Speed Affordably

Small dispersed teams optimally performing are considered a threat in today’s workforce. With the right mix of trust, relationships and business process, virtual teams can deliver unprecedented results with the right controls and check and balances in place. Having a plan in place with defined goals and objectives so the project delivery can be optimized by the virtual team’s performance will be a key to the team’s success.

Your Management Team has the Soft Skills to Manage Virtually

Teamwork and accountability can be fostered through well-defined objectives and project management milestones. Team engagement through regular meetings that encourage brainstorming, strategic discussions, presenting and reporting will help make the virtual team successful. Periodical in person face-to-face meetings and engaging collaboration tools that allow you to share mini bios and personal pictures can help develop comrade from teams that do not regularly work together. Leaders of virtual teams need to have the right balance of soft skills and technical aptitudes to adapt their management style accordingly.

Is it time to take your organization virtual?

About the Author

Eric Apps, Organimi

Eric Apps is a seasoned technology entrepreneur, lawyer and early pioneer of today’s growing modern workforce methodologies. Eric has owned, operated and held board or senior management positions in several public and private technology companies. Today he is partnered in Aluvion and Organimi, Canadian law and technology firms, where he is an early adopter and advocate of building virtual teams and services to grow his companies. By leveraging the power of new technologies to streamline workflows, while utilizing a virtual network of highly skilled, and highly responsive professionals to develop his companies, Eric is a thought leader and advocate for the growing freelance/gig based economy.

Twitter | Facebook | Linkedin

For more information, visit http://organimi.com

To book an interview or to request information, please contact Nicole Ragno at nicole.ragno@organimi.com

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Strategies for Being Productive While Working Remotely

Strategies for Being Productive While Working Remotely

Working Remotely is Trending Upward

I was reading an interesting article the other day on Fast Company’s site regarding work trends. It was estimated that more than 50% of the work force will be working remotely by 2020. Additionally, 25%, of the business leaders surveyed, indicated that more than three-quarters of their employees would not be working in a traditional office by 2020. Of course the definition for the word “remote” has been debated often. Does this mean working somewhere outside the office for 1 or 2 days/week? If you work off-site or in coffee shops does this ‘count’ as working remotely? If you work any at home during the weekend are you considered to be a ‘remote employee’? Therefore, if we widen the scope of the definition says, Sara Sutton Fell (CEO of FlexJobs) then:

In most white-collar jobs, I’d say 99% of people are already working remotely in that they take work home. It creeps into our work style already. I think it’s just not formalized by either the employer or employee… If remote work means that you check email on Sunday night then congratulations! You already have a work-from-home job.

There is little question that workers often rank ‘flexibility’ as one of their top reasons they are attracted to more desired jobs. Given the impact of the digitization of work millennials (and other age groups as well) really value the option of, “…taking an afternoon off and catching up on Saturday morning.” Further, a more flexible schedule allows for more spontaneous interactions with co-workers, but also time for focused, head-down productivity as well. For recruiters and other small business owners the power of working remotely is truly endless.

How to Remain Productive when Not in the Office

If the trend is toward more of us working remotely and/or from home what are some tips and tricks we can take advantage of to ensure success?

This article will provide a short list of tactics that have worked for me as well as a few suggested by others who are experienced at being productive while working remotely (PWWR). I’ve worked remotely (in some capacity) as a college professor and content marketer for the past 15 years and learned a few tips and tricks along the way. One thing I know for sure is you need a strategy and plan, for remote work, or it can lead to problems. There are real pluses to working at home/remotely and also pitfalls if not approached with a solid plan.

Strategies for Working Remotely

  • Work off of a Daily List of Tasks to be Done: One of the challenges with working at home (or in any other remote location) is how easy it can be to become distracted and taken off course. Therefore, it’s a good idea to put 2-4 things you want to get done on a list daily. During the day go back the list a couple of times to ensure you are staying focused. As things get accomplished you can cross them out. At the end of the day update the list by checking off what has been finished and what is pushed to the next work day. Psychologically it can be very satisfying to see items get ‘checked off’ the list. The goal is to make steady progress every work day (usually on several small tasks).
  • Don’t become a Silo & Consistently Communicate: It takes personal discipline to work remotely and remain productive. One thing to remember is avoid being a ‘silo‘ and working independently for long stretches. In other words, check in often with co-workers and bosses to let them know what you are working on and to be available to help others if needed. It can be easy to ‘fall off the radar’ when working from home, but if you are intentional about consistently communicating it will serve you well. Also, consistent communication lets everyone on the team know that you are engaged and working toward pre-planned goals.
  • Be sure to take Breaks/Change of Scenery: It may seem obvious but be sure to take breaks when working remotely. Given that you do not have other co-workers around (who can be distracting) often we can really get in a groove and get a lot accomplished while working remotely. This is great, however it’s also easy to work even more hours and ‘forget’ to take breaks. I find taking a 20-minute walk, grabbing a lunch off-campus, getting a quick coffee, or doing a chore or two around the house can serve as an effective change of scenery/break in the monotony.
  • Put Together Reports to Update Colleagues on Progress: Given the way our work places are organized, in this digital era, often we are working on individual/independent tasks that are connected to bigger goals of the company/agency. What’s more, our colleagues may or may not know what we are working on and, more importantly, the progress that is indeed being made. Therefore, if you can provide monthly and/or weekly summaries of tasks that are getting done and how they are edifying the long-term goals of your company this can be super helpful. Also, this helps for summarizing how all of the small tasks are helping move the business in the right direction. It can be easy to get bogged down in the details and not “see the forest for the trees”.
  • Have a Dedicated Work Space: Whether you are working at home or at a coffee shop it’s critical to have a work space that is ‘only for work’ and not used for other things (you may do in your spare time/down time). It helps if your home or remote location is similar to your office at work.

Optimizing Working Remotely Important

As more and more people work remotely (and the time they do so also increases) it is going to become even more important to continue finding ways to optimize this type of work environment. For even more information check out a recent article from The Muse: 10 Reasons Working Remotely is Even Better than You Thought it Was.


Source: Strategies for Being Productive While Working Remotely – Crelate

Managing Multicultural Teams: Challenges and Solutions

Management

Over the last two decades, we have witnessed a nearly unprecedented shift in how companies operate in pretty much every respect. Among other things, the new technologies have made it more possible and viable for companies to employ teams that are far more heterogeneous than anything that was possible in the past.

In short, the multicultural team has become a norm and managers are having to learn how to manage such teams. This is nothing to hold against them. It is simply a different reality, with new challenges and ways to overcome these challenges.

The Assertiveness Challenge

Perhaps the most impactful cultural difference in the business arena, and subsequently the largest challenge in managing multicultural teams, is how different cultures see assertiveness and displays of assertiveness on the behalf of the manager.

For example, in the United States and the majority of “Western” countries, assertiveness is expected from a manager and the language used in such situations can feel almost aggressive to cultures that are not used to it. These are mostly Asian cultures where requests are formulated more indirectly and where western-style assertiveness is often seen as too direct.

If you manage a multicultural team, make sure to understand these different views of assertiveness and be careful when exerting assertiveness.

The Tone Challenge

Often times, in situations where you manage homogenous teams, you start (consciously or not) adopting different tones depending on the situation and the person you are talking to. Even in team communication, sarcasm, irony and other “complex” types of tone become a norm. Inside jokes, complaining and similar concepts are also present and they pose no problem.

With a multicultural team, this can become a problem, and very easily so. Humor and nuanced overtones get lost in translation before you can say “a massive lawsuit” and this can lead to all kinds of conflicts and uncomfortable situations.

Because of this, when managing a multicultural team, stick to the most neutral possible tone and use language that cannot be interpreted in more than one way.

The Decision-Making Challenge

One would think that at least decision-making is somewhat universal and that managers make their decisions in at least a similar way, regardless of the longitude or latitude. In reality, this is simply not the case.

For instance, in some cultures, managers are expected to be able to make decisions quickly and often without spending due diligence on all the ins and outs that go into making a decision. For instance, in the United States, this is seen as the epitome of strong leadership. In other cultures, managers are expected to gain far more insight before making a decision, often consulting team members and reaching some kind of a consensus.

It should also be pointed out that in some cultures, the decisions made by higher-ups are never disputed, even if they are clearly wrong; while in others, people will be more than ready to jump in and point out that a wrong decision was made.

As a multicultural team manager, you need to make sure everyone understands your decision-making process and you might also want to talk to individual team members to find out what they think about it and whether they are comfortable with it.

The Language Challenge

A multicultural team will operate in a language that was designed as the primary one. Some team members will be native speakers while others may not be. It might be their second or third language and even when their command of the official language is enviable, it will still not be their mother tongue and it may lead to problems.

For example, if such team members notice that some other team members are commenting on their language skills or showing any kind of bias due to the language barrier, they might feel less free to voice their opinions or provide any insights. They might feel discouraged or even discriminated in some way.

As a manager, you will want to do everything in your power to avoid this from happening. Everyone needs to be valued the same, regardless of their command of this “primary” language that you decided on. Of course, people should not have to decipher what is being said, but there also has to be understanding and tolerance. The good thing is that people always find a way to get the message across.

The “Technical” Challenge

In addition to the more culture-based and almost philosophical challenges, the manager of a multicultural team also needs to deal with the more mundane, technical issues. For instance, team members may be used to different kinds of software and work environment.

Something that a western team member may take for granted, like Google’s search engine may be completely unfamiliar to a team member from China, for example.

Then, there is also the matter of email etiquette which is different in different parts of the world. We must also not forget about time zones and the fact that people work at different times.

Soon enough, this can grow into this smorgasbord of management challenges that a manager needs to overcome in order for everything to run smoothly. This is where a good piece of project management software can go a long way and before you commit to any one, you will want to do some project management software comparison.

Conclusion

Managing a multicultural team can be challenging, there is no doubt about that. However, with a bit of care and common sense and with a lot of tact and preparation, you will soon discover that managing such a team can also be a fantastic experience.

About the Author

Nate Vickery, Bizzmark Blog

Nate Vickery is a business consultant mostly interested in latest technology trends applicable to SMB and startup management and marketing. Nate is also the editor at a business oriented blog BizzmarkBlog.com

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The Inconvenient Truth of Hidden Conflict in the C-suite – And What to Do About It

Written by Hesham El Komy, Senior Director, International Channels at Epicor Software. Specially for The HR Tech Weekly®.

The Inconvenient Truth of Hidden Conflict in the C-suite

A little bit of conflict between members of the C-suite is inevitable. When each member has different priorities and business objectives to the rest of the C-suite, it’s possible for this conflict to cause problems. Part of the tension is caused by a lack of consensus on business growth. According to recent research by Epicor, this misalignment of goals could lead to business problems if left unchecked. But if differing viewpoints are channelled positively, using technology and data to inform decision-making, suddenly ideas can foster growth and innovation rather than continue to be a source of conflict.

Hesham El Komy, Senior Director, International Channels at Epicor Software
Hesham El Komy, Senior Director, International Channels at Epicor Software

So what else could be contributing to conflict within the C-suite? One theory is that the CEO occupies a lonely position compared to the rest of the C-suite and has very little insight into the inner-workings of the internal departments within the business. CEOs tend to be more concerned with their “outward selves” – answering to stakeholders and explaining numbers to the board of directors.

Rob Morris, managing director and general manager of intellectual property at leadership consultancy firm YSC believes CEOs may feel the burden of growth more than other members of the C-suite. He refers to the CEO operating “like an island, despite the stereotypical image of a CEO projecting confidence and stability”. A recent study in Harvard Business Review examined how the burden of being responsible for tough business decisions can make a difference. It found that “93% of CEOs require more preparation for the role than they typically get” and are typically unready for the “loneliness and accountability that lies ahead”.

A variety of new technology roles could also be aggravating the tension within the C-suite. As a Wall Street Journal article reports, CIOs and CTOs are struggling to “differentiate their responsibilities”. The article goes on to say, “With so many roles, even other C-levels may not know where to turn to address a particular IT-related issue or problem. And the overlaps and conflicts may well lead to infighting”.

But while it is normal to have differing opinions and views – it is when these conflicts turn unhealthy and start becoming a strain on maintaining strong and healthy business operations that it becomes a problem. As Morris says, “conflict in a healthy team climate can lead to more effectiveness, but when the conflict remains hidden, confined to disagreements between only one or two key stakeholders, it can quickly become dysfunctional”.

So how can disagreements be turned into opportunities for innovation? Ideas and opinions can be shut down if they lack enough clear data to back them up. Having access to real-time information and insight can solve this. This means that key business discussions can be based on detailed metrics rather than simple “hunches” or gut-feelings. Senior business executives can then propose new ideas based on facts in front of them changing the conversation from perceived issues and problems to actionable steps designed to promote business growth.

As the Epicor research reveals, it is natural to have different ideas from other members in the senior team. But it is equally important to be aware that the battles should not be based on biased agendas that can only hinder business growth.

Some CEOs have already noted the positive impact the use of data can bring to ease the burden of managing business growth. The research, which questioned over 1,800 business leaders, revealed that 40% of CEOs agreed that access to information is of very significant importance to them, compared to 34% of CFOs, COOs and CIOs on average. Furthermore, 35% of CEOs agreed that having the right technology has made growth possible. Interestingly, one-in-ten blamed a lack of technology in hindering business growth.

“It’s essential to be able to interpret the data you have, and make good strategic judgements based on that data. But alignment of goals and information is key if the use of data is to be effective. Like rowers in a boat, C-suite members need to work together, if they are to make conflict a force for healthy business growth,” says Morris.

Still, whilst there are many benefits to using data to inform decision-making, challenges remain. A report has found that it’s possible for C-suite members to suffer from an “information overload” when the data cannot be used effectively, because there’s just too much of it and they lack the technology to make sense of it all. C-suite members must foster a culture of “collaboration and transparency”; using relevant information to build trust and tackle business challenges together.

The emergence of technology and the differing opinions within the C-suite are bound to crank up the tension amongst executives. But a failure to see the wider repercussions on the business can be disastrous. That does not mean differing opinions must be stunted. A healthy conflict based on data and facts can turn a tense situation into a positive experience for the business.

The journey from conflict to healthy debates must start with the provision of accurate and relevant data. So how do businesses achieve this?

If it’s important that C-level executives are exposed to the same information, in real time, the provision of up-to-date data via intelligent software becomes invaluable. The latest enterprise resource management systems (ERP), for example, can be accessed anywhere. So, whether it’s the CEO at a stakeholder meeting, or a COO discussing plans with teams, it is possible for them to base their business decisions on the same information. Once they are aligned in this way, they can discuss business priorities and concerns more effectively, changing the conversations in the boardroom and positively impacting the whole business.


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How To Build An Emergency Evacuation Plan That Will Actually Work

about-workplace-emergency-management

The thing about emergencies is that no one is sitting around waiting and wishing for one to arise. But when it does there are, more often than not, some measures put in place to help mitigate damage, and to prevent said emergency from escalating. The same holds true for small businesses and major corporations. None of them are idling around waiting for something dangerous to happen in their offices, but if something does happen they have to be ready and willing to act. A lack of preparation will endanger their lives, and the lives of all their employees.

One of the biggest hazards that an emergency situation does not arise from the nature of the emergency itself, but rather from the way a company or an organization chooses to handle it. In some cases, the loss of life is increased because there are no proper emergency and evacuation protocols in place. It is always important to be ready to evacuate your business/company if need be, and laboring under the delusion that an emergency will never hit your place of work will not help you at all. Even though you may never know when you might have to evacuate yourself and your employees, it is always best to make sure that you are up to the task.

What are Workplace Emergencies?

A workplace emergency is essentially any occurrence that has the potential to physically harm employees and patrons of your business. In addition to these parameters, if anything is threatening your daily operations, or is causing environmental or physical harm, it is classified as a workplace emergency. Workplace emergencies range from tornadoes, hurricanes, toxic spills (common in industrial complexes), to active shooter situations. Workplace emergencies are not as uncommon as people would like to believe, and it is really hard to think straight when your life and the lives of many other people are on the line. This is the reason why it is always best to prepare for these kinds of emergencies before they happen. Active preparation will ensure a minimal loss of life and it will help maintain the integrity of your company.

What are Emergency Evacuation Plans?

Emergency evacuation plans should be a core part of every company’s emergency action plan. These plans are put in place to dictate what should happen in the event that a workplace emergency arises. It is important to realize that not every emergency will lead to an evacuation, but it is still important for an evacuation plan to be in place. These plans are meant to ensure that people can safely navigate their way through an emergency safely. This is much easier said than done, mostly because of how different each emergency situation can be, so it is necessary for an evacuation plan to be in place for every possible outcome.

A comprehensive Emergency Evacuation plan will have information escape routes and escape procedures that should be used in the midst of an emergency. These routes should be indicated on a map that makes it easy for every employee or customer to find their way around. Companies should consult commercial locksmiths in order to make sure that their escape routes have the appropriate locks in place. This is extremely important because having the wrong locks in place could impair the effectiveness of an evacuation. In addition to this, emergency evacuation plans should have an adequate description of how employees will be notified when there needs to be an evacuation. If a company does not plan for an evacuation, this mostly leads to a confused and vastly disorganized evacuation attempt. This then leads to more harm or loss of life. In the process of crafting an emergency evacuation plan, companies should strive to make sure that they cover the necessities:

  1. The first thing that companies need to do is to determine when and where an evacuation will be necessary. As stated above, not every emergency will lead to the need for an evacuation. However, there is a thin line separating these things so it is important to figure out what exactly will lead to an evacuation.
  2. Make sure that you establish an emergency chain of command, so that your employees clearly know who is in charge of issuing evacuation orders and telling them where to go.
  3. Companies need to hammer out escape and evacuation routes. They also need to make sure that these are placed in areas that can be easily seen and that are easily accessible to employees.
  4. It is also highly important that your evacuation procedures look to cater to individuals with disabilities.
  5. Also, make sure that there is a system in place that makes it easy to keep track of people before, during, and after the evacuation. Evacuations tend to be high adrenaline situations, so it is very easy to lose track of people if no one is paying attention. This is why it is important to have a way of keeping track of people in these instances.

How Do You Build An Emergency Evacuation Plan?

In order to build a solid emergency evacuation plan that actually works the way it was intended, companies need to focus on a few central aspects and nail these down. Once this has been done, their emergency evacuation plan should work the way it was meant to.

Notification – It is important for companies to figure out how they are going to notify employees of the fact that there is an emergency evacuation happening. This should be detailed in the company’s Emergency Action Plan. The notification can be done via sound system or by using visual prompts, such as flashing emergency lights. Essentially, companies have to nail down a method that allows them to contact every member of their staff, and let them know that there is about to be an evacuation. The worst possible thing that could happen is that some people might not get the notification, and thus their lives will be placed in more danger because they are not prepared to evacuate. Also, it is important for companies to ensure that their notification methods are also tailored to people with disabilities. In this effect, they can use any combination of auditory, tactile or visual notification methods in order to ensure that no one is left behind.

Evacuation Warden – In order to have an evacuation plan that works, it is important to put someone in charge of overseeing the entire evacuation process. Leadership is an important mantle and it is even more important when people’s lives are at stake. This will help make streamline the evacuation process. This evacuation officer will be in charge of coordinating the emergency evacuation, and they will be the person who makes the call to begin the evacuation. This individual, or group of people, will also be in charge of planning the evacuation route and making sure that everyone is aware of it.

Plan the Evacuation Route – The evacuation route is one of the most important things that will determine whether or not your emergency evacuation plan is going to work or not. This route is essentially the passage that your employees and customers will take in order to find safety, so it is important that your primary and secondary evacuation routes are properly planned out.

In doing so, companies need to take into account the layout of their building, the number of employees that they have, access to fire escapes etc. This will help them plan the best possible route. It is also advised to plan several evacuation routes based on the several possible emergencies that you could be presented with.

Practice the Emergency Evacuation – The expression “practice makes perfect” applies to emergency evacuations as well, it is important to make sure that your employees have an exceptional understanding of what is expected of them during an emergency evacuation. This also gives them the opportunity to become familiar with the evacuation warden as they go through safety drills. It will also help them grow confident in the emergency action plan and trust that it is in place to keep them safe. Also, it will cultivate the habit of people looking out for each other and this will lead to a decrease in loss of life due to disorganization. The process of practicing the emergency evacuation will also help companies figure out if their building is up to safety code, and if there are any additions that they can make in order to make their emergency action plan run smoothly.

Conclusion

Emergency Evacuation plans are more important than people know. They are responsible for ensuring that there is no unnecessary damage or loss to any employees or to their patrons. It might be tempting for some companies to neglect emergency plans because of all the work that goes into them, but it is much less work than what you will have to put in if you are caught unprepared in the midst of a major crisis or emergency. Hopefully, the tips listed above will help you fashion an emergency plan that actually works well for your company, and one that keeps people safe.


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

epicor-software-executive-shares-his-vision-with-hr-from-c-level-perspective

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.


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