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Tag Archives: HCM

3 Simple Ways to Increase Employee Engagement

Over the past seven years, I have worked for four different organizations. Each experience was unique, yet they all shared one thing: how it felt to be an employee. Regardless of what role you perform or what industry you operate in, every employee goes through a hiring, reviewing and managing process. […]

3 Simple Ways to Increase Employee Engagement

Over the past seven years, I have worked for four different organizations. Each experience was unique, yet they all shared one thing: how it felt to be an employee. Regardless of what role you perform or what industry you operate in, every employee goes through a hiring, reviewing and managing process.

The software utilized to accomplish this, Human Capital Management (HCM), facilitates all aspects of what it feels like to work in for particular company. Called “Hire to retire,” HCM is the software that covers everything from processing online job applications, time and attendance, paying employees, performance reviews, and implementation of learning and development.

Most HCM vendors work tirelessly to stay ahead of the curve. They are listening to their clients, adding features and functionality and, continuously enhancing the software.  However, while these upgrades mean HCMs are now more sophisticated than ever, it falls upon organizations to determine how best to engage their employees.  What measures are they taking to keep their employees invested in the long haul?

How do you keep employees engaged?

The current rate of employee engagement is, according to the latest Gallup research, at 34%, tying its highest level since Gallup first began reporting the figures back in 2000. Conversely, the percentage who are least engaged is now at its lowest level. While all this is excellent news for both employers and employees, it illustrates that over half of your workforce is “not engaged.” Therefore, although they are showing up and performing their jobs, organizations should be aware that it’s highly unlikely for unengaged employees to stick around and go the distance.

However, organizations can leverage their HCM to start to shift the needle and actively engage a higher number of their employees. While there are many ways to accomplish this, the following are the top three approaches for organizations to increase employee engagement and demonstrate tangible results.

1. Understand your people

Most interview processes are tedious and excruciating. Whether it’s over the phone, video, in-person, a demonstration, an interview follows a basic pattern of question after question. Then, boom, once hired, the questions stop. Why? Why don’t organizations want to learn more about their people? People’s opinions change, goals change, needs change and careers change. The things learned early on, may no longer apply.

Therefore it is critical companies continue beyond the interview stage to learn about their employees. Find out what are their strengths, desires, and goals.

Ask employees the following:

  • Where do you want to be in five years?
  • Do you like the idea of being a manager?
  • Is there someone you’ve met at the company that you’d like to shadow or better understand their responsibilities?
  • What skills do you want to increase?
  • What did you like to do in your last company?

2. Provide continuous feedback

 

The annual performance review is rightly almost a thing of the past. At SumTotal, we conduct the 30×30. Every month I have a comprehensive evaluation with my manager, where we discuss everything that happened over the previous four weeks.  We also hold a weekly 1:1 and meet twice a week as a team. Outside of these designated times, if I have a question or need guidance, I will call or message her.

My colleagues are another source of feedback.  We speak about talk tracks, tactics, overcoming objections… really anything. As a remote worker, feeling part of a team is challenging. However, these daily interactions offer the support and closeness I need to grow and succeed.

3. Be transparent and authentic

We all want to be in “the know.” As a member of a large sales organization, I want to know why certain things are happening. Why is marketing doing this, why are operations doing that? While these are all very straightforward requests, the reality is most that organizations lack transparency. Getting the answers to these questions is almost impossible. When employers adopt this type of secretive approach with their employees, it results in disengaged and disconnected workers.

Here are some recent comments I found on Glassdoor that illustrate this disconnect. “Management makes all the decisions and doesn’t ask us for feedback. Management rules top-down and doesn’t care about the floor employees. The day shift had to pick up all the pieces.”

Being open is especially important when a manager has to deliver bad news.

In a previous job, my manager had the unenviable task of informing the team that due to a company merger, some of us would lose our jobs. However, the professional and candid way she handled it ensured we all were in the loop and therefore could prepare for the fallout in advance.

Another reason for transparency and authenticity is that they are the perfect antidote to the rumor mill.  Gossip spreads fast in organizations and can be very dangerous. We live in a digital world where one single piece of misinformation, one bit of hearsay can spread like wildfire, and suddenly there is a mass exodus from an organization. Keeping employees informed is critical.

It is great to hear the number of employees who feel engaged is improving. However, HR must continue to exploit their HCM to continue the drive forward.  One recent study put the cost of disengaged employees at between $450 and $550 billion a year. We can all agree that such phenomenal figures demand our attention. If companies have the technology to engage their workers actively, then it is in everyone’s interest that they do so.

Running with blinders on – reducing unintended bias in the workplace

Sometimes lessons present themselves in unexpected places. During a recent live BBC interview with international relations expert Professor Robert Kelly, on the possible impeachment of the South Korean president, two children suddenly burst into view. [...]

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Sometimes lessons present themselves in unexpected places.

During a recent live BBC interview with international relations expert Professor Robert Kelly, on the possible impeachment of the South Korean president, two children suddenly burst into view.  Despite the interruption, Professor Kelly tries to continue with the interview, but it is clear that the news anchor has lost all interest in the subject and instead can’t help but focus on the source of the interruption.

Within hours, the clip went viral.

The video raises several questions about parenting styles, working with children, and perhaps most significantly, why everyone assumed the woman who followed the kids into the room and frantically rounded them up was the nanny?

This assumption, has everyone pointing fingers at one another and some commentators going so far as to suggest that we are all guilty of stereotyping. The family themselves aren’t too bothered, and when interviewed, en masse this time, they simply laughed it off. But it does serve as a stark reminder that no matter how open minded or non-judgemental we may feel, we do tend to categorize people.

In the workplace, this can lead to manager bias whereby a person is treated differently because of their age, race, ethnicity, or gender. This bias, or “blinder,” can be a huge challenge for organizations around the globe.

The question therefore is what measures can an organization take to ensure that the “blinders,” whether conscious or unconscious, are removed from workforce decisions?

The answer is technology. We all need to be using smart, common-sense technology to connect ‘people’ data to ‘numbers’ data and then basing decisions on this, rather than human instinct.

A simple example of this is to leverage a workforce management capability like occurrence tracking. Occurrence tracking gives managers, at their fingertips, objective data that removes subjectivity from tasks like performance reviews by including information like number of absences, how many times they helped their peers with shift trades and so forth.

Another example is scheduling. From within scheduling, managers can leverage capabilities to assign tasks by seniority, skill, and certification rather than selecting an employee because the supervisor is friends with them.

Additionally, providing employees with the self-service capability allows them to indicate their availability and therefore have a say in the schedule, rather than leaving it to a manager’s assumptions. Such assumptions can lead to bias if, for example, a manager decides that a student cannot do an early morning shift because of school.

With “blinders-free” data, managers can not only make decisions that are unbiased and based on fact rather than opinion, it also provides them with tangible evidence for any decisions. As the BBC video shows, we have a long way to go before we can completely and accurately say that bias no longer exists. But in the meantime, we can continue to use technology to progress and move toward a “blinder-free” workplace.

Read about some other trends and continue the conversation with us by requesting a demo.

National Living Wage

This month the National Living Wage increased and will continue to do so until 2020 when it is projected to rise to at least £9 per hour, as detailed in the initial 2016 agreement.

This will result in a significant number of implications but the primary impact will be on hourly workers. […]

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This month the National Living Wage increased and will continue to do so until 2020 when it is projected to rise to at least £9 per hour, as detailed in the initial 2016 agreement.

This will result in a significant number of implications but the primary impact will be on hourly workers. Industries such as healthcare, residential care homes, and in particular manufacturing, will experience short- and long-term consequences from the annual incremental increase. In the short term, operating costs will rise adding to an organisations bottom line, while going forward the exponential cost of overtime and the potential of increased risks will serve to only further escalate operating costs.

Regardless of how you feel about it, the harsh reality is that organisations are struggling to manage the administrative burden of their large workforces in the light of persistent upheaval.

The substantial HR challenges the National Living Wage regulations present should not be underestimated. At SumTotal, through years of experience, we know that a Workforce Management (WFM) solution can and will provide your organisation with essential assistance.

How?

WFM software provides your organisation with the data and insights which in turn empower you to better manage your workforce.

Here are just some of the ways WFM helps:

  • Tracking time – letting you know if employees are punctual in completing their schedule, thereby ensuring you are not paying employees for time not worked.
  • Prevents “Buddy Punching” – our time clocks work on a personal identification system putting an end to friends/colleagues punching in for an absent employee.
  • Scheduling – the reporting system will provide the data to ensure you always have the optimum number of employees allocated, thereby reducing overtime costs. Additionally, “shift trading” means employees can now be assigned shifts based on availability and skill thereby reducing opportunities for human bias or error.

In short, a WFM solution can reduce operating costs, reduce payroll costs and provide invaluable assistance to workforce planning.

To learn more about SumTotal’s WFM solution or get a free demo please click here.

Three Steps to Maximize Your HCM System ROI

“Exceptional ROI is the norm, not the exception”

I was in line the other morning waiting for my usual—double shot Americano with room for cream—when I overheard a conversation between the two young women who were directly behind me. […]

“Exceptional ROI is the norm, not the exception”

Three Steps to Maximize Your HCM System ROI

I was in line the other morning waiting for my usual—double shot Americano with room for cream—when I overheard a conversation between the two young women who were directly behind me.

And no, it wasn’t a juicy conversation about personal matters…it was a work matter. One of them, not sure which one, as it would have been impolite to keep turning around—was under a lot of pressure from her boss to select a new HCM system for their organization. Her friend was trying to give her advice. I emphasize trying because in truth, not a lot of what she said either made sense or was even accurate. Back in the day, this would have been point when I would have handed her my card. Today we write a blog about it. SO, this is for you White Chocolate Mocha and Chai Tea.

Choosing the technology for human capital management is a big deal. There are a ton of vendors out there and each promises the world. In truth, few deliver and no one wants to be the person who recommended a particular system only for it to fail to deliver on its promises.

Let’s boil this dilemma down and solve it with three simple steps.

Step 1 Identify the wish list

Compile a list of your requirements: what you want/need/would like to see done with the new HCM. Analyze your talent, learning, and workforce management strategies. Assume that you don’t need to live without anything on your wish list, because chances are, your requirements are more attainable than you might think. We know that you’re hearing from other vendors that you may need a fully customized (read: costly) solution or try to squeeze your organization into a one-size-fits-all box. If that happens to you, see the red flag and find a vendor who doesn’t shy away from complex requirements. The cloud is fantastic, but in some cases, on-premise may be exactly what you need. The point is not to sell yourself short.

We’re hosting a webinar on vetting requirements—specifically for Workforce Management—on April 18. Check it out and register: Four Things To Do Before Signing Your WFM Provider Contract.  

Step 2 See the whole picture

To begin you might only need a small number of modules… to do things such as solving your employee retention problem, doing a better job at onboarding, or even optimizing self-service with shift trading. I caution you not to fall into the trap of thinking short-term and focusing on only your immediate need. We see many prospective customers come running to us as needs emerge and they’re overwhelmed with disparate HR systems. Not all HCMs are created equal, and some have the capability to expand as needed without additional costs or customization.

It’s also important to fully realize your potential ROI from your HCM investment. In a recent Nucleus Research report, Four HCM Mistakes to Avoid, it discusses that decision-makers often overlook that “modern technology for HCM costs less to implement and operate,” thereby yielding “major gains in productivity…[and] a significant ROI.”

Step 3 Set the Right time

The point-of-need for upgrading or deploying a new HCM is before there’s a problem. If you’re starting to see that your system is becoming unworkable—start comparing vendors now. The Nucleus report also states that many SMBs in particular wait too long. Don’t do that! Plus, the sooner you get started, the sooner you will experience the ROI which will simply increase as time passes and your company grows.

To my colleagues in the coffee shop and everywhere else, I hope this helps.

For information about our HCM and what it can do for you, schedule a demo. For additional reading, check out the research note that I referenced above “Four HCM Mistakes to Avoid.”

What it Means to Provide Value in HCM Technology

This year’s HCM Technology Value Matrix, an annual report issued by Nucleus Research, really puts technology vendors to the test. The field is crowded with HCM solutions, so many organizations considering new solutions save time when Nucleus does the legwork to determine which providers offer the best functionality. […]

This year’s HCM Technology Value Matrix, an annual report issued by Nucleus Research, really puts technology vendors to the test. The field is crowded with HCM solutions, so many organizations considering new solutions save time when Nucleus does the legwork to determine which providers offer the best functionality. Several providers named in past reports have been eliminated, as they have chosen to focus on talent management, rather than developing a full HCM suite.

SumTotal Recognized in Nucleus Research Report

The analysts’ findings: “Most leaders in this year’s HCM Value Matrix continue to improve in offering HCM solutions that are legitimately end-to-end, enabling employers to practice HCM as an interconnected discipline.” This interconnection allows HR and business leaders to take advantage of powerful analytics that can deliver actionable insight into workforce trends—and the overall business.

We’re proud that SumTotal entered the leader quadrant in this year’s report: “SumTotal has rebuilt the user experience through close collaboration with customers and extensive usability testing…Nucleus believes the planned Q4 2016 development will help move the vendor’s placement farther upward and to the right.” The report states that our performance management and learning capabilities reflect the trends Nucleus has identified as crucial in delivering value to the business.

To us, providing value is more than an ROI number. While we can certainly quantify metrics such as employee retention, satisfaction, productivity, time to proficiency and mobility within the organization, there are other ways we hope to add value to our customers that are less easily measured. We hope to add value as a trusted partner—one clients turn to for guidance on how to move up the learning and talent management maturity ladder.

Learn more about some of the ways we provide value to our clients. Download your copy of the report here and stay tuned for more information on our next release!

 

Making the ROI of L&D Count – A CFO’s Perspective

The role of the CFO has changed dramatically in recent years. Now they are responsible for not only financial reporting, but also for performance acceleration; for driving analysis and providing the perspective and insights needed to link corporate strategy to execution. […]

The role of the CFO has changed dramatically in recent years. Now they are responsible for not only financial reporting, but also for performance acceleration; for driving analysis and providing the perspective and insights needed to link corporate strategy to execution.

SumTotal Blog ROI of Learning

As a result, CFOs must demonstrate a deep understanding of how their organisations invest their resources to achieve business goals, improve organisational capabilities and drive performance. Given that human capital represents a company’s biggest investment, it comes as no surprise that increasingly CFOs are finding themselves having to not only quantify what’s being spent on training, development and talent management, but also assess how that translates into value for the enterprise.

To further complicate this predicament, too often money spent on training and development is not reported in financial statements. As a result, it does not get the attention it warrants. Despite an average company spend of 36% of revenue on human capital expenses, only 16% say they have anything more than a moderate understanding of the return on human capital investments. This dearth of information is problematic for everyone, but for the CFO it presents a colossal challenge.

The vast majority of CFOs view human capital as a key value driver and a central factor in their company’s ability to achieve outcomes that drive shareholder value,  in the UK alone businesses currently invest over £40 billion a year on formal training, and that’s without taking into account the considerable amount of additional time and resources UK firms commit to addressing the skills challenge that lies ahead. So the big question becomes how best to support workforce development and achieve the best return on your organisation’s investment in L&D?

SumTotal decided to answer this. After extensive research into the area we have produced a white paper, “The Hidden Cost of Talent — A CFO guide to maximising the ROI of Learning & Development,” which examines the most pressing issues around talent management, exposes those areas most prone to financial leakage and calculates the cost of talent management.

Our insights will help you understand how your organisation should invest its resources to improve organisational capabilities and achieve business goals – and the value creation that generates.

Download your copy of the paper now.

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Do you like being defined as human capital? Didn’t think so…

No one wants to be defined as “capital.”  People are not widgets or transactions. Employees are not automatons and their knowledge, expertise and contributions within organizations are not transactional.  So why does the term “human capital” persist? It shouldn’t and we are on a mission to eradicate it.

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How The Oracle, Workday And Salesforce.com Cloud Partnerships Impacts HR And Learning Professionals

The recent announcement made by Workday and Salesforce.com to standardize on each other's applications and platforms, at first blush, sounds like nirvana. For many organizations, application integration continues to be an ongoing challenge regardless of how it's deployed, and the notion of leveraging big data across applications certainly is drawing appeal, at least at a conceptual level. Two camps are forming with pure Cloud vendors on one side and big enterprise resource planning (ERP) vendors moving to Cloud on the other. But where does that leave human resources and learning when it comes to helping people be better at their jobs?

It’s not the size of the data; it’s what you do with it.

No term in the history of business applications has generated more fodder than the term big data. As vendors frantically push in-memory databases, data warehouses, intergalactic analytics and dashboards that make your head spin, most organizations are left wondering how any of it helps an employee, manager or executive make better decisions when and where they need it – while they are doing their jobs. But if you have experienced Amazon.com or similar software, you understand the power of an intelligent, contextual engine. Based on information about you, people like you, and business data around what you are trying to accomplish, the system makes specific recommendations for you to make better choices instead of forcing you to choose from a list of seemingly infinite possibilities.

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