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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.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Top Talent Markets revealed in Contingent Workforce Index

For the second year in a row, New Zealand demonstrates an optimal environment for use of contingent labour: availability, cost efficiency, regulation, and productivity, according to ManpowerGroup Solutions’ annual Contingent Workforce Index (CWI). Singapore, the Philippines, Israel, and India moved to the top of the leaderboard in 2016. The top five markets for 2016 do not include any countries from the Americas, as workforce volumes for countries in the other regions elevated them to the top based on more favorable availability scores. The United States and Canada dropped to sixth and seventh in 2016 from second and third in 2015, respectively.

India has risen from 24th to fifth, as its large labour force ranks it first for availability with the weighting adjustment in this category for 2016. Israel is now fourth globally due to its increased ranking in the regulation category—it is now easier to do business in the area. Moving into the top five globally this year, Singapore ranked third in the regulation category and it’s high productivity, along with availability, creates a favourable contingent workforce environment in this market. Israel ranks fourth, up one spot from 2015, despite the increase in the weighting of notice periods and severance regulatory metrics, and increases in wages when compared to other countries. The U.S. moves from second in 2015 to sixth this year, based largely on higher costs compared to other countries.

Regional Rankings

New Zealand
United States
South Africa
Hong Kong

The 2016 CWI puts the APAC region back on the map. In 2015, the CWI reduced the emphasis on population size in exchange for education levels, English proficiency, and the potential of the future workforce. However, this year the emphasis was on global employer preferences and priorities which lie with the availability of skilled workers and workforce size.

Across the Americas there has been change with both the U.S. and Canada falling out of the top five global countries. For Canada, this is easily explained by workforce size. Whereas in the U.S., the shift is attributed to regulatory changes, specifically overtime, notice period, and severance pay.

Israel maintains its top ranking in the EMEA region in 2016, moving up from fourth in 2014. In 2016 the new workforce size rankings keep a EMEA countries out of the top five. Both South Africa and Turkey advance to the top five nations for 2016, with high marks in productivity.

CWI’s Changes The emphasis on the size of a country’s contingent workforce remains consistent year-over-year, as do the weightings of English proficiency and tertiary education in the workforce. Based on input from industry-leading clients around the globe, weighting of the volume of skilled workers within a market has increased significantly from 2015 to 2016. The definition of availability was also modified to meet current industry definitions.

These adjustments resulted in higher rankings for countries with large populations but with poor English proficiency and low volumes of skilled labour, such as China and India, compared to 2015 rankings in the same category. It also meant slightly lower rankings for markets such as Israel and Ireland, which have stronger language skills and advanced educations among their emerging workforce but smaller labour forces.

Key factors to this year’s CWI ranking include: Availability: Based on industry trends over the past year, a shift in priorities resulted in a change in the 2016 weighting. This year larger workforces and the availability of contingent workers, as well as skilled labour, were given more influence. Where the size of the workforce and English proficiency used to be the most heavily weighted variable in the CWI, the 2016 rankings put a greater emphasis on the quality of the workforce.

Cost efficiency: The relative cost of contingent labour continues to rely heavily on the varying wage levels in each country; however, based on input from global employers, this year the CWI takes the cost of benefits and taxes into greater consideration. Consequently, countries with the lowest wage thresholds continue to rank highest for cost efficiency, the leader board does, however, now reflect those markets that have the lowest total cost of labour, inclusive of other operating costs that impact employment. Additionally, in 2016 the definition of overtime was adjusted to reflect the typical meaning of the word as opposed to simply working on a rest day.

Regulations: The CWI analyses the extent to which the legal and regulatory climates in each country impact the cost and process of hiring local workers. Pay parity, contract duration limits, notice periods, and severance requirements restrict the use and increase the cost of contingent labour more than any other regulations. Countries with the highest rankings in this category offer the most regulatory workforce flexibility for contingent labour.

Productivity: Productivity accounts for the employer’s ability to leverage a worker within each country over the length of a contract. The CWI includes worker productivity output as well as number of hours in a workday, days in a workweek, permitted overtime, and paid time off. Countries that restrict the hours in a workday or workweek and limit overtime have the most constrained productivity measures.

 —Raleen Gagnon, global director of market intelligence at ManpowerGroup Solutions.