Friday, March 3, 2017

Total Workforce Visibility

It is important for organizations to be able to take a holistic view of their entire blended (full-time and contingent) workforce on a single dashboard in real time. As contingent workers represent a greater percentage of the overall company headcount, the ability to track the entire workforce has become extremely difficult. This “gap” also opens organizations up to a multitude of risks including:
• data security breaches;
• worker misclassification;
• compliance with company policies and/or local, national and international laws; and
• general workforce management concerns.

Additionally, it severely limits the business’ ability to make informed decisions that affect profitability. According to the “2017 Workforce Compliance Report” published by WorkMarket, the contracted labor population accounts for 20-60 percent of the workforce at half of the 200 companies surveyed. Yet, approximately 23 percent of the company leaders surveyed do not know how many contractors they have and approximately 20 percent do not have easy access to contractor data.

Companies need to be able to quickly and easily understand the geographical location of their workers, what classification of workers they have, and what level of access they have (to infrastructure, like buildings and IT systems). They should also be able to understand the financial impact of each worker to the business and how the organization is effectively utilizing its workforce. Without this information, an organization could be susceptible to multiple detrimental situations. In order to help bridge this gap, organizations should consider taking three steps to ensure total talent workforce visibility:

Step 1: Partner with a Managed Services Provider (MSP). By partnering with a MSP and a Vendor Management System (VMS), companies are able to see clear budget breakdowns, and gain regular headcount reporting. This visibility and transparency significantly enhances contingent workforce management and reduces risk.

Step 2: Ensure the MSP has a strong compliance team. Their teams of experts work with suppliers to ensure candidates have the necessary compliance documents and audit each credential and certification prior to engagement. An MSP partner, such as PRO Unlimited, can provide business validation services to mitigate risk of non- employee misclassification.

Step 3: Challenge the MSP on analytics. The amount of data available now is staggering and assuming the first two steps were successfully completed, the organization should have plenty of data to use. However, having access to data is not the same as using the data to drive actionable intelligence. At PRO, they have deployed a Total Talent Solution to look at the holistic workforce (full-time employees, and all non-employee types), which is provided meaningful business intelligence to their clients.
They are able to answer a variety of questions with this data such as:

• Where are my workers? How many do we have in a given location?
• What vendors are we using?
• Are we compliant with local/national and international laws?
• Who is onsite and has access?
• Are we in compliance with company policies and procedures?
• Are we sourcing effectively?
• Where should we source for a resource and how should we set up the engagement?
• When should I start sourcing for a position?
• What is impacting talent acquisition and retention?
• Do we need to manage overtime and expenses differently?

Some leading-edge organizations are already utilizing this approach to great benefit. The war for talent is fierce and the list of financial and other risks for businesses continues to grow. Companies that elect to partner with an expert in this space will have a decided advantage knowing they that they are effectively managing their workforce and mitigating risk.

—Dustin Burgess, Vice President of Strategy, Analytics and Metrics at PRO Unlimited

Friday, February 3, 2017

Top hiring tips: from HR professionals, for HR professionals

By Miranda Nicholson, Director of HR, Formstack

Picture this: you’re looking for a new job. You hear about a new opening at a fantastic company and submit your application. You have a great interview, receive an offer, and accept it in a heartbeat.

This is an ideal scenario for a perfectly qualified candidate, but every HR professional knows there’s a lot more that goes into recruiting behind the scenes. Where do you find the perfect candidate for a role? What criteria does each individual need to meet before they receive the opportunity to interview? What interview questions will show you how they might perform as an employee? And, if they’re hired, how do you know if they’ll get along well with other employees in your organization?

With all these factors—and more—in play, it’s no wonder that hiring is one of the top HR challenges faced by human resources professionals across the globe.

To better understand how organizations overcome the hiring challenge, Formstack asked HR professionals from different backgrounds for some of their best tips on hiring the right employee for a role. They gave us some outstanding insights and advice on different pieces of the recruitment puzzle, which we narrowed down into three main takeaways:

1. Define What “Fit” Means to Your Organization

Hiring for fit is an obvious part of the recruiting process, but few organizations actually take the time to identify what “fit” means for them. To get started, Mike Bensi, advisor at FirstPerson, suggests considering these key questions:

1. What are the core values that make up your company’s culture?
2. What kind of behaviors do employees need to be successful in your organization?
3. What kind of behaviors might signify a red flag?

Don’t hesitate to brainstorm with other employees on your team or in your organization to get a strong sense of culture, success, and overall fit. Answering questions like these will help you build a unique value proposition for your company’s recruiting experience and can become a solid framework for your interview process.

2. Create an Experience that Defines Your Recruiting Brand

As a representative of your organization, Michelle Rodriguez, HR Manager for the Indianapolis Colts, says you should strive to provide the best possible experience for all job candidates in your talent pool—not just for the candidates who receive an offer. Communication and trust both play a vital role throughout the recruiting process, so it’s important to establish trust with candidates early on. If you tell a candidate you’ll follow up with them on Friday, you need to get back to them on Friday, even if you still haven’t made a decision.

Trisha Borme, talent acquisition manager at Interactive Intelligence, has found recruiting success by building a team of passionate talent professionals who designed the right process for her organization. Two major components of their process were assessing candidates’ soft skills and conducting a cultural assessment. Trisha notes that the candidate experience is very important and can make a major impact on your talent brand. Stringing candidates along without consistent communication is frustrating and unfair to them. Your recruiting brand will suffer if they share their negative impressions of your company with others. On the other hand, candidates who receive a great experience with timely and intentional communication can become advocates for your organization even if they aren’t hired.

3. Build Relationships to Expand Your Talent Pool

Even if your company has low employee turnover, it’s important to maintain a deep talent pool so that you’re prepared whenever the need for talent arises. Karin Gorman, president of the consulting division at Staff America Inc., encourages companies that struggle to find high quality candidates to reconsider their candidate sources. Building relationships with candidate sourcing organizations will help you fill your hiring funnel with candidates that have the skills and experience necessary for the job. For example, if you’re looking for a skilled graphic designer, connect with a local art college or institute. Once you establish a connection with those organizations, continue to foster the relationship through consistent communication, even when you don’t have job openings. This takes time but is absolutely worthwhile in the long run. If all else fails, consider partnering with a staffing agency that can help you fill those skilled roles.

If you continue to struggle with recruiting, take the time to identify your own personal hiring roadblocks and implement some of the above HR tips. While there’s no simple solution, putting more effort into these parts of your recruiting process is a great way to get started.

Miranda Nicholson is the Director of HR at Formstack, overseeing the acquisition, onboarding, and retention of current and to-be Formstackers.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Four Quick Fixes to Prevent Culture From Sabotaging Your Strategy

By Caleb Powers, Vice President of Sales at Palladium Group, Inc.

Over the years, Palladium has helped many organizations better align their culture and strategy to achieve the financial and social results they’re striving for. Used wisely, intangible assets such as culture provide a powerful competitive advantage, particularly in the new world of the impact economy. Increasingly, organizations must formulate strategies and implement solutions that deliver enduring social and economic benefit. In this blog post, we share the four most common culture-bound mistakes made by organiaations when it comes to strategy execution and how to fix them.

Pushing a strategy that conflicts with your culture

One of the most common mistakes that organizations make is trying to launch strategic projects that don’t align with their culture. First, be honest about what constitutes your true company culture—not what’s slapped on the wall in a poster, but how people behave every day. If your culture must change in order to implement strategy successfully, gather the leadership team to share a united message to your organization.
For example, your organization may have always focused on financial goals, but for the first time you’re looking at how you can deliver positive impact: the intentional creation and measurement of enduring social and economic value. In today’s impact economy, consumers are increasingly demanding this change, and encouraging your employees to consciously think about the company’s strategy and culture is a powerful way to inspire change.

Treating culture as an HR problem

The most fundamental resource for an impact-focused organization is its people. While culture can be managed and even transformed, it shouldn’t be treated as a “check-the-box” exercise. Often leadership will inform HR of a new change management framework and walk away. While it’s important to pursue culture in partnership with HR, all other areas in the organization should be on board to guarantee that new business principles are absorbed into the operational and social personality of an organization—ensuring culture is managed alongside strategy.
Culture is more than the culmination of your organization’s values—it’s the way individuals behave and interact, and it deserves just as much attention as your strategy.

Building a risky strategy for a risk-averse organization

How willing is your company to take risks? Understanding tolerance for risk is critical to executing your strategy effectively. When leadership teams in risk-averse organizations roll-out a drastically different vision for the future, it can be demotivating—and terrifying—for employees.

Assess your organization’s appetite for risk. Are the risks worth taking? If so, create a communications plan that presents an urgent reason why the organization should change. For people to take up a new challenge, they need to understand the potential impacts and upsides involved.

A lack of employee empowerment

When you execute your strategy, it’s important to consider your teams’ ability to make decisions and drive change. In many cases, executives may find it hard to let go, even if they’ve assigned a project manager for strategic initiatives. Individuals and project teams need to be clear about their responsibilities and decision-making abilities.

Final thoughts

Taking the first step to intentionally manage your culture alongside your strategy can be difficult, but it will lead to better results and happier employees. If you want a strategy that improves your economic and social performance, you have to be serious about changing behaviors—often those embedded deep in your culture. Getting people to change is hard, but not impossible. As the world moves rapidly into the impact economy, it will be those companies driving innovative change with their culture and strategy who will be most successful.

For more information about our strategy execution services please email Caleb Powers ( or visit our strategy capabilities page.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Aligning Values and Culture—the Undersung Secret to Success

By Catherine Rains, CPP Education Consultant, and a New MBTI® Certification Program Trainer

A successful career entails not only identifying a career that gets you excited, but also finding an organizational culture that meshes with your values. The culture of a particular company might be a product of its wider industry, or it might be unique to that organization. Either way, your “cultural fit” will have a deep impact on your success. If the fit is off, you may find yourself frequently experiencing difficulty communicating, feeling that you’re speaking a ‘different language’, while missing opportunities for promotions/rewards, and eventually experience stress and burnout (Hammer 2007). A solid cultural fit, on the other hand, will allow you to more fully engage with your work.

The kind of work that we enjoy doing is heavily influenced by our personality type preferences. However, whether or not we gel with a certain organizational culture is just as important a factor in our enjoyment and success within a work position. This will largely be determined by our values, which can also be described by our personality type. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) assessment identifies this (Briggs Myers 1998) with the two middle letters in our four-letter type (for example, the ‘NF’ in ENFJ).  The second MBTI “letter”—either S or N—describes how we take in information. Those preferring Sensing (S) like specific, practical and tangible information, while those preferring Intuition (N) focus on the big picture, and look for connections between facts, seeking patterns and possibilities.

Contrast these to the the third MBTI “letter”--either T or F--which addresses how we make decisions. Those preferring Thinking (T) look at logical consequences, and mentally remove themselves from the situation. On the other hand those preferring Feeling (F) consider what is important to them and others involved, and mentally place themselves in the situation at question.

Connecting the dots between values and culture
The various combinations of these preferences align with workplace cultures in interesting ways. Here are a few examples:

Do you want to solve complex problems? Those preferring NT (Intuition/Thinking)  often gravitate toward professions like engineering, architecture, high-tech, research, business analysis and strategy-driven consulting, and feel at home in organizations that emphasize strategic planning and innovation.

Do you like to provide a practical service to others ? Do you like to frequently interact and collaborate with colleagues? Did you love  group projects in college? These drives are common for those preferring SF (Sensing and Feeling), who often gravitate toward healthcare, teaching, social work, travel, hospitality, non-profit and customer service. However, these days collaboration is highly prized in just about any industry and is often considered a hallmark of innovation. Therefore, you can find a company in a range of industries that pushes for a highly collaborative and interactive culture.

Do you feel a strong innate desire for accuracy and precision? Do you often base your decisions on data and numbers, or find yourself seeking out concrete numbers when learning something new? These inclinations are common for those preferring ST (Sensing/Thinking), who often feel at home in practical service-oriented industries/organizations such as finance, actuarial work, accounting, science and the military.

Do you think about the future possibilities for people, and feel the call to make a long-term and meaningful impact for humanity? Those preferring NF (Intuition and Feeling) want to make a difference, but may be more concerned with making an impact over the long term. These folks often find cultural fits in counseling, coaching, human resources, non-profits, higher education and HR, the arts, and will feel at home in purpose-driven organizations that stress internal harmony and growth.
These are of course only a few examples of how these preferences align with various workplace cultures. The more you know about yourself and your values the more sound  your decisions will be. Now, with that in mind, what do you envision as your ideal cultural fit?

*Hammer, A.L. (2007). Introduction to Type and Careers. Mountain View, California: CPP, Inc.
**Briggs Myers, I. (1998). Introduction to Type. Mountain View, California: CPP, Inc.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

4 Ways Serviced Apartments Help Smooth the Burden of Temporary Relocation

By: Patricia Hintze, vice president, global sales, Oakwood Worldwide

Temporarily relocating an employee can have tremendous benefits for both the company and the employee. Through temporary relocation, companies can fill a skills gap and further develop high-potential employees, which results in higher employee retention. Employees can benefit from temporary relocation both professionally and personally because it helps employees expand their professional networks and set the stage for future career growth.

However, one of the biggest questions HR professionals must address is where the employee—and perhaps their family—will live during this temporary assignment. With so many choices between hotels and serviced apartments, which option will best help ensure the employee and their family are comfortable, will offer some work-life balance and cultural immersion, and will help to ensure the employee is able to focus on their assignment?

For many years, hotels were the only option available, and they are still a good choice for a short-term business trip. Serviced apartments, however, are a strong alternative for companies to consider.
Some of the advantages of serviced apartments:

1. They provide work-life balance: According to the 2015 Ernst & Young Global Generations survey, 33 percent of full-time employees globally say it has become more difficult to manage work and family over the past five years. The foundation of a good work-life balance during relocation starts with where you live. Offering employees comfortable housing with all the amenities of home can help keep morale up and, in turn, aid retention. Serviced apartments provide the ideal balance between office and home life, with offerings relatively close to work spaces and conveniences, such as entertainment and recreational areas.

2. They offer a greater sense of community: It’s no secret that being away from home for a long period of time can cause a great deal of stress. One way to reduce this stress and ease employees’ and their families' transition to a new location is by choosing housing that makes them feel at home and part of a community. Serviced apartment locations are typically nestled in residential-like neighborhoods and communities, giving employees a more home-like living setting that allows them to better acclimate to the new location.

3. There is more space to spread out: Serviced apartment living spaces are typically larger than standard hotel rooms, which allows for more room to spread out. While hotels typically provide guests one space in which they work and sleep, serviced apartments provide guests separate living spaces with a fully stocked kitchen where they can enjoy some of their favorite home-cooked meals.  For employees whose families join them on the temporary assignment, this extra space for their family is essential to providing a home-like environment.

4. They have all the conveniences of home: Serviced apartments offer quality and fully furnished residences that are move-in ready. Amenities, such as fully stocked kitchens that include a full-sized fridge, gas stove and range, microwave, dishwasher, washer and dryer and garbage disposal make it easier for employees and their families to move in and proceed with their daily routines easily. All employees need to bring are their personal items.

Patricia Hintze is vice president, global sales, at Oakwood Worldwide. 

Monday, January 23, 2017

The Outlook on Paid Parental Leave in 2017

By Sushma Tripathi, Vice President, Workforce Planning and Benefits Consulting at ADP

For many American workers, the subject of paid parental leave is a hot-button issue. The U.S. is one of the only developed countries in the world without a nationwide law that guarantees some form of paid parental leave, yet recent polls show that most Americans—as many as 82 percent of those voting in the recent election—support paid leave for workers.

Given that Americans are clamoring for these policies, more large corporations have begun offering paid parental leave. For example, Netflix® offers new parents unlimited paid leave for one year, while American Express® recently announced it will give employees 20 weeks of parental leave and offer benefits worth up to $35,000 for adoption and surrogacy events, as well as $35,000 for infertility treatments.

Offering benefits such as these has become increasingly important as the composition of today’s workforce changes. Families with dual incomes have become more prevalent, meaning that more than ever, married couples are sharing childcare responsibilities. At the same time, more Gen Xers are faced with caring both for aging parents and young children.

Companies are also realizing the value of paid leave benefits as a tool to attract and retain top talent. As some 10,000 Baby Boomers retire every day, companies are competing for skilled workers among Gen Xers and Millennials. To attract these workers, they need to offer benefits that cater to each generation’s needs. For example, recent ADP research found that younger workers favor education-related perks and paid maternity/paternity leave, while Baby Boomers are more interested in employee discounts and wellness.

In addition to enticing and keeping top talent, paid leave can also lead to happier and healthier employees. These policies can help ensure workers take the time needed to recharge their batteries to remain productive and avoid burn-out. That said, it’s important to clearly outline guidelines for employees and to make sure they understand that taking time off will not negatively impact their career advancement.

In the end, when clients ask my advice, I tell them that deciding whether to offer paid leave is more art than science. It’s all about weighing your workforce needs and operational costs, and then making the decision that’s best for you.

Sushma Tripathi is vice president, workforce planning and benefits consulting at ADP.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Predictive Analytics in HR: 5 Predictions

By Scott Mondore, co-founder and managing partner at SMD

Everyone can probably agree that predictive analytics is not going away (it's a good thing, too because leveraging the approach properly will behoove an organization). The following are predictions about how this approach will impact HR leaders, their organizations and the HR field in the future.

The Data Balancing Act

HR will still struggle with the balancing act in 2017. That means that there is a balance between just having more data and having the right insights from the data. Think about all the data HR already owns: HRIS, employee surveys, 360 feedback, candidate data from an ATS, performance management ratings, etc. The reality is that a lot of data already exists, and many practitioners will continue to have an insatiable—and unnecessary—need for more data.

If this prediction comes true in your organization, remember that your real need is to harvest the power of data to identify drivers of outcomes. HR functions are better off leveraging the intelligence from the data they have than racing to gather more data.

Adoption and Change Will Be Slow

The adoption of predictive analytics in the HR world will be relatively slow in 2017. This may not seem like a bold prediction, but it’s certainly worth discussing. Think about it: many HR professionals went into HR because they love working with and helping people. Not as many chose HR because they love numbers and statistics. So, many HR professionals understand that analytics can greatly help HR contribute more to the bottom line, but they may not have the proper skills to effectively apply analytics.

A Competitive Advantage with ROI … for Some

HR organizations that use analytics the right way will have a significant competitive advantage because few will do so quickly. Below is a list of reasons that will drive—and almost force—HR to achieve this competitive advantage:

Quizzical CEOs: One day soon, CEOs will start asking CHROs “What exactly is the ROI of all these surveys and assessments?” The only way to identify the ROI is through the application of analytics.

KPI confidence: HR will stay in its comfort zone for a while by focusing on KPIs such as turnover. That’s because turnover is a key metric with real costs and one that HR feels comfortable owning. Eventually, most organizations will start to show direct business impact on other KPIs, such as sales, revenue, productivity, operations, and customer satisfaction.

Bad Analytics Leads to Bad Business

There are lots of vendors jumping on the analytics bandwagon. Most of these tools and approaches use very basic methods and don’t connect results directly to business results. Others are pushing new approaches based on machine learning and algorithms. These may be truly innovative, but be very careful in this area. Remember that one of HR’s primary roles is risk mitigation and that some of these “new” approaches introduce very real risks.

Demand for Analytics Skills Will Grow

There’s already a massive shortage of HR professionals that lack skills in analytics. The demand for expertise in this area will continue to grow in 2017.

Statistics surge in schools: HR educational programs will emphasize statistics and data analysis.

Skill set search: Organizations hiring for HR roles will increasingly seek out candidates with these skills. HR leaders don’t have to be statisticians, but they must understand the application of analytics and be good consumers.

Are you I/O?: Demand for I/O psychologists in HR functions will skyrocket (and in fact, is already occurring). Predicting human behavior and performance is very difficult and complicated. I/O psychologists know how to do this – hence the increased demand for their skill sets.