Men are from Mars and Women really are from Venus at least on Social Media

April 24, 2014

Texting-Each-Other

Let’s face it, communication in the workplace is key to a successful business. In as much as we like to think men and women are equal when it comes to collaboration, more studies are being done on gender and how it affects that very concept. A recent article by SSON discussed how men and women differ in their communication skills especially when it comes to social media. Social Media is no longer just a fun tool where we can waste the day Tweeting about our beloved cats’ next nap or Instagramming a drunk selfie or better yet updating our Facebook status from married to single to none of your business, it’s a MUST in today’s business environment. With that said, strategically identifying how employees approach projects makes a huge difference in the outcome of that project. According to SSON, many organizations today use “gamification” techniques to make the work environment more fun and interactive. Therefore, the same logic is now being applied to teamwork and communication.

I would say to check out the really cool graphics and charts online but I know we would all rather read the cliff note version instead (which so happens to be what somebody else already did) So here it is……

  • Men are more likely to use social media for business (27% vs. women’s 22%)
  • Women are more likely to use social media for sharing and self-help (65% versus men’s 53% for sharing; 37% versus men’s 30% for “how to” information)
  • Men prefer quick access to deals or information and are more likely to scan coupons or codes (56% versus women’s 39%)
  • Women are suckers for brands (71% will like or follow a brand for deals versus men’s 18%)
  • Men engage with car, sports, and action themes; women engage with real-life situations, pets and kids, and sentimental themes. Both genders react well to humor, value, endorsements, and aspirational themes.
  • on mobile phones, women use social networks more than men [57% versus men’s 47%]
  • Men read more news on mobiles than women (10% versus women’s 7%)

In a nutshell, before you send out your next communication on your favorite social networking site, internally in the office, or externally to clients, work related or personal, make sure your message is crafted in a way that best attracts the interest of the Mars or Venus citizen you are trying to reach.

  May Huffer

  Regional Sales Manager at HRchitect

  LinkedIn


It’s Always A Good Time to Invest in Talent Acquisition Systems

April 10, 2014

HRct Gold Bricks

People often ask HRchitect, why would my company want to invest in a new talent acquisition system during debatable economic times and when we have few open requisitions to fill, low turnover and plenty of active candidates?

The simple answer is that leading companies invest in strategic initiatives during both good and bad economic cycles. During challenging economic times, while their competitors are busy freezing budgets and putting projects on hold, industry leaders continue to selectively invest in strategic new systems. During robust times, the need is more apparent.

Strategic C-Level executives understand that in order to successfully execute the company’s business plan, they need the right people, in the right positions, at the right time, independent of the current economic environment. Qualified talent must also be available at the right cost. Savvy staffing and human resource executives understand that they are responsible for delivering a continuous supply of qualified talent at the right cost. This future global talent pool will include qualified external candidates, internal candidates (i.e., employees) and a flexible contingent workforce.

In order to be recognized as a strategic member of the executive team, staffing and human resource executives also need to communicate in business terms and analyze their results using strategic metrics. These visionary executives are sponsoring projects to evaluate, select and implement new generation talent acquisition systems (or finding ways to get more out of existing systems) as the technology foundation for future success. In addition to traditional metrics like time-to-fill, cost-per-hire and revenue-per employee, metrics are evolving to become more actionable and predictive.

Many organizations now focus on quality not on quantity. For example, your sourcing analysis may tell you that most of your new hires for a certain position are coming from social talent sourcing. However, after a year on the job, the top performers with the highest performance ratings were almost all employee referrals.   This type of actionable information helps recruiters implement the most cost effective sourcing strategy. In addition, identification of your top performers and the screening and interview processes that they went through will help you to refine, as necessary, those processes to help increase your quality hires.

Companies are also looking at metrics like new hire turnover, failure rates and employee longevity as strategic measures of quality. Predictive analysis is driven by prior trending results that can be used to reduce risk in making future human capital management expenditures. For example, if turnover of employees with 5 years experience continues as expected, the company will experience succession issues within 3 years.

During a down economy, most companies focus on streamlining business processes and reducing costs.Also, from the employee’s standpoint, this economic environment tends to not only discourage job changes, but also create more pressure to perform. Employees are being asked to deliver more with fewer resources. Many employees, including top performers, will opt to stay in their current jobs until the economy shows a clear sign of recovery. If their employer has not treated them well, they will actively seek new opportunities as soon as the economic expansion is clearly underway. Leading companies invest in new systems that allow them to establish relationships with these passive candidates and build a global talent database. As the economy recovers, these companies will leverage the database to recruit the top talent and gain an advantage over their competitors.

Leading companies also recognize that internal mobility, the movement of employees from one position to another within a corporation, is an efficient and cost-effective method of talent deployment and can be a significant component of a company’s staffing and employee-retention strategy. Making job opportunities available to existing employees (i.e., internal candidates) leads to greater employee satisfaction and retention, while at the same time lowering staffing costs and filling positions more quickly.Retaining your top performers requires more than just posting jobs on the internal career site. Today’s next generation talent acquisition systems provide employees with the capability to create electronic profiles that include their skills, competencies and career aspirations. Employees can set up personal search agents and be automatically notified when their “dream job” becomes available.

We believe, whatever the current economic cycle, but especially during times of economic growth, that there will be a major shifting of talent. Leading companies that have implemented new generation talent acquisition systems will leverage the relationships they have fostered with the best candidates to gain a competitive advantage. They will also be in a better position to retain their top talent because they have identified their top performers and put in place career development initiatives to retain them. Having a talent acquisition system that meets your organizations needs and requirementscould be your first step towarddelivering a continuous supply of qualified talent at the right cost and being recognized as a strategic member of the executive team.

So now that we have you thinking about either automating your current manual processes, replacing the system you have, or simply optimizing your current system, turn to HRchitect before you do anything. HRchitect has assisted hundreds of leading companies in the evaluation, selection and implementation of talent acquisition systems (and actually human capital management systems of all types), and we stand at the ready to help you.

Matt Lafata2Matt Lafata

HRchitect president

linkedin.com/in


10 Tips to Help You Avoid an Awkward Initial Client Site Visit

April 3, 2014

catHRchitect

Walking into the unknown of an initial client site visit can be nerve-wracking for both the client and the consultants. The sales process has probably gone on for months and normally the client is anxiously wondering…..what now? It is the consultant’s job to arrive onsite and bring positivity to the next phases of the project and follow through with what sales has sold the client.
If these steps are taken in the next phases of the project, it should move smoothly (well at least we would hope).
5 things consultants need to consider/review before going onsite for Kickoff meetings and requirements gathering:

  •  Review all documents related to the project; including SOW, Timelines, Client Org Chart (if available) and Sales Notes. Make sure to read the SOW the night before you are on client site to make sure it is fresh in your brain. Also keep a copy in your briefcase for reference.
  • Provide the client with a thorough agenda so that they are able to bring the key decision makers in. Make sure to add adequate breaks and time for lunch.
  • Make sure that a demo environment is setup so that you can reference it in the requirements meetings. If it is another client; make sure their name is kept out of the screens and screenshots. Provide an initial training (core concepts) to the client if available; this is where you would discuss the basic terminology.
  • Create a list of questions that seem unclear from the SOW or sales handoff meetings.
  • Have a logistical understanding of the area where the client is located. Make sure the hotel is close to the client; and anticipate traffic on your first day.

5 things clients need to consider and review before consultants come onsite for Kickoff meetings and Requirements gathering:

  • Determine the correct resources needed for the initial meetings. (HR, Payroll, Operations, Mgmt team). Make sure all of the key decision makers are able to attend the meetings.
  • Ask the consultant for the items that are needed for a successful requirements session. The items usually consist of: Comfortable conference room, enough chairs, snacks, laptops, paper, projector, and dry erase boards with pens.
  • Setup a shared drive for the project; Set up an implementation folder that includes the SOW, notes from the meetings, and project documents.
  • Determine the concerns that you are presently facing with your current system (or lack of system). Make a list of items that you intend to get out of the new system. Bring these to the Requirements gathering sessions.
  • Attend all meetings, including project kick off, course training (core concepts). Keep an open mind. The implementation consultant will help guide you towards the best practices for your company to have a successful implementation; keep that in mind before you say no to their ideas.

While some of these steps may seem obvious, remember, your client is getting to know you and your team for the first time. A missed step early on can start off a client/ consultant relationship on the wrong foot. It is often the obvious steps that get overlooked but should be the easiest steps to remember. You can never plan for every contingency but by taking care of the basics right off the bat, you can gain the confidence of your client and establish a positive working relationship which will foster positive results for both parties.

Erica Thorn
Assistant Director, Senior Consultant Services
HRchitect
LinkedIn

 


An Insider’s Guide to Implementation Clichés : Avoiding the Pitfalls

March 28, 2014

Pitfall HRchitect

I’m often asked what areas other companies have struggled with and what pitfalls they should avoid when implementing a talent acquisition system.  Answering these questions, I realize, with some annoyance, the bevy of clichés coming out of my mouth.  While I’m not a big fan of buzzwords and catch phrases, there are many that come to mind for things that can make or break a project.

1.  Begin with the end in mind.  By the time your implementation project kicks off, your team should have a clear understanding of the goals and objectives of the project.  What you are expecting to accomplish by deploying your selected system?  Invest the time identifying what a successful implementation will look like for your organization.

2.  Do your homework.  Review any implementation guides and product details you can get your hands on.  If you don’t have this, ask for it.  Be proactive and learn as much as you can.  By educating yourself, you will be better prepared for what to expect, understand system capabilities, and zero in on functionality that will have the most impact for your organization.

3.  Rome wasn’t built in a day.  Work with your implementation partner to ensure your project plan is realistic.  If you are trying to reduce the duration without removing things from scope, it begs the question:  do you want to do it fast or do you want to do it right?  Ideally, you land somewhere in the middle.  Most plans assume you have the right resources who can make solid decisions and hit every deliverable on time.  Let’s be honest, that’s usually not the way it works in the real world.  Build in some wiggle room for when difficult decisions, surprises, emergencies, or conflicts arise because they will.

4.  Don’t bite off more than you can chew.  Consider competing projects that may take place during the course of your implementation.  This is especially important with shared resources.  While it is tempting to deploy several things at once, recognize the burden this can place on your teams and adjust the timeline accordingly.  Also keep in mind that unless you have the luxury of dedicated project resources, these folks still have other responsibilities.  Clear some things from their plates if possible.

5.  Find the right person for the job.  The answer to how many and which people are needed on your implementation team is:  It depends.   An approach that works best is to establish sub-teams for the functional and technical work, with a lead or point person for each team and an overall project manager.

  • The functional team is responsible for decisions around requisitions, workflows, candidate experience, communications, etc.  Your target end users must be represented here.  You may also need help from your Legal and Marketing teams.  The number of people needed depends on their workload, your internal structure, and company size.
  • The technical team focuses on things like integrations, single sign-on, and data migration that may be in scope.  Depending on your company’s internal systems and complexity, this may mean one or more resources for each technical area.

6.  The left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing.  Have regular discussions with your stakeholders, leadership, project team, and implementation partner.  Confirm decisions and address concerns or risks along the way.  It is a basic concept but you’d be surprised how often (and quickly) a project comes unhinged due to poor communication.  Don’t risk getting half-way through only to find your stakeholders, legal, IT, or other decision owners are not on board with the direction you are going.

7.  You have to know what you need to be sure that you get it.  Know your requirements.  By this I mean the key functionality the system must support for your deployment to be successful.  For example:

  • If you conduct third party background screens, know which type of candidates this applies to and at what stage the screening should take place.  Have you confirmed whether integration is possible with your new system along with what that entails?
  • If you will have an integration to bring data back into your HRIS to hire someone, know what data is required to create the new employee record (or to transfer or rehire them).
  • What are your reporting needs?  Don’t neglect this area only to go live and be asked by your leadership for data that is not being captured.  In other words, if you need to report on open requisitions by cost center, having a place to record the cost center for each req should be a requirement.

The list of goes on, but you get the idea.  Take the time up front to identify these requirements and ensure everyone agrees with them.  I cannot stress this enough.  If you don’t know your requirements, they will creep up later and can completely derail your timeline.

8.  If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got.  Don’t simply replicate your existing processes in the new system.  Take this opportunity to eliminate bottlenecks and gain efficiencies.  What are you doing today that works well?  What doesn’t?  Are there unnecessary steps in your current process?  Now’s your chance to make things better.  Make sure you do.

9.  You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.  Your consultant can provide insight on ways to streamline your processes and offer creative solutions to meet your needs.  It also helps to understand what other companies are doing, but keep in mind that a “best practice” doesn’t always mean it’s best for your organization.  Ultimately, you must make those decisions.

10.  You can’t see the forest for the trees.  Today’s applicant tracking systems have hundreds of nuances and options and are constantly evolving.  With endless possibilities, it is doubtful you will touch on all of them during the course of your project.  It is not unheard of for a client to later say, “You never told us we could do that!”  To which your consultant may reply, “You never told us you needed to.”  While you should certainly take advantage of a few that make the most sense for your organization, try not to get too distracted by all the bells and whistles.

11.  Crawl before you walk and walk before you run.  Avoid creating an over-complicated system with complex workflows simply because you can.  Start with the basics and work your way up.  If you design your system with your core requirements as the backbone, it will be easier to build upon in the future.  The feedback your users provide once they are working in the system will guide you in prioritizing future enhancements.

12.  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  Far too often, user acceptance testing does not get the attention it deserves.  This is your dress rehearsal for the big show.  Utilize it to its fullest.  Work with your implementation partner to develop a detailed test plan based on your configurations to ensure the system is tested fully before you move into production.  The majority of issues clients encounter during deployment are things they did not test well (or at all!).

13.  You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.  Sure you can.  You just need to provide the proper methods and motivation.  Change management should be a big part of your project, but it is another often overlooked area that teams throw together as an after-thought.  The most successful implementations include a strategy for managing change.  In addition to training and education, be prepared to answer the age-old question, “what’s in it for me?”

14.  The devil is in the details.  Don’t forget about other areas that may be impacted by the move to your new talent acquisition system.   Are there legacy systems that need to be shut down?  Do you have links on your company webpages, career sites, or job boards that need to be updated?  What kind of support model will you need?  Start a checklist of things that will need to happen when you deploy your new system.  Figure out who you need to work with to accomplish them and how much lead time will be required.

15.  A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.  It’s amazing how much more productive and focused your team will be when their efforts are recognized and rewarded.   Celebrate completions of key tasks and milestones.  Congratulate each other and have some fun every now and then.  Bring in lunch for the team.  Go to happy hour.  Just do something…in the most delightful way.

So there you have it.  Some pitfalls to avoid like the plague, ideas to knock your implementation out of the park, and more clichés than you can shake a stick at.

 

Julia Hatton
Senior Implementation Consultant at HRchitect
LinkedIn


The Critical Case of HR Technology in Healthcare

March 26, 2014

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Healthcare and robust Human Resource software does not always go hand in hand, why? Because healthcare spends multiple millions of dollars on technology for the latest in patient care, which they should, but this in turn puts all technology for Human Resources at the bottom of the financial list of priorities. Some might say that this is okay in itself because patient care comes first and it does. However, we are not just talking about an applicant tracking system or tracking W-4 and I-9 forms. We are also talking about performance reviews, competencies, and succession management. Let’s discuss how this impacts the healthcare system.

Performance reviews, as with most companies, are done 90 days after hire and then annually. A healthcare system that is still using a paper method can and does spend multiple weeks trying to complete the annual performance review; and this would be for just one nursing unit. There are nursing units in hospitals that have 120 plus nurses in one unit (remember you need 24 hour 365 day coverage). It is the nursing director and supervisors responsibilities to complete a performance review with an average review taking approximately one hour to complete in a paper world. Now we have 120 hours spent just doing reviews by a nursing director and supervisors. That is time spent away from patients and 120 hours of soft dollars being wasted were the average salary for a nursing director is $115,000 annually. Now we have just discussed that a typical nursing unit of 120 nurses for a large hospital in the ER or med/surg unit takes 3 weeks for the performance review to be completed, so we see that 17%!!, let’s look at that number again, 17% of the year is utilized for doing the annual performance reviews.

There exists HR technology that can significantly reduce this task to a fraction of that time. The reason it is not being utilized is hard dollars. Leadership at a hospital is not being convinced that there is a need for this type of software. I lived this for 10 years at one of the largest healthcare organizations in the country. We tried year after year to change from (the still used paper method) to the technology that is available. Leaders in this organization simply stated that there is no money for HR Solutions. This is commonly the case across many healthcare organizations.

So, what is the impact of holding on to an outdated system? Let’s review. An average salary for a nursing director is $115,000 annually. 17% equals $19,550 for ONE unit. One large nursing unit cost the system 17 percent of the leaders salary for a once a year activity. That doesn’t seem like a smart use of time or money. Situations like this need to be recognized and addressed in order for leadership to recognize that implementing a robust human resources software package would be a huge benefit. This not only saves human capital cost (soft dollars) but allows more time for the supervisors and directors to be out on the nursing floors where they should be instead of in an office.

 

Competencies also need to be tracked and reviewed throughout the life cycle of patient care givers. Currently, this process is also handled via the paper method but could be completed electronically with a human resource software solution which would offer increased accuracy and efficiency.

My final point is succession management. What is the best way for an organization to select in house talent to promote? In an ideal world you would be able to compare employee records of education, competency reports, and performance reviews side by side. You would also see what types of leadership classes have been taken and what the career goals of each individual are. Currently this is handled through multiple methods. Some are paper, some are from interviews, and others are from the applicant tracking system. In today’s world of “work smarter not harder” this information can be simplified and reviewed through a single technology solution.

These types of human resource systems are out there and are capable of saving an organization time and money as well as putting the caregivers back where they belong, on the floor taking care of our loved ones. Healthcare providers should be focused on how they can provide the best care possible in the safest environment and not worrying about how they are going to schedule 120 plus hours of time for reviews and maintain coverage.

The challenge is to produce a behavior change in hospital organizational leadership so that money budgeted for improvements goes not only to patient care, but also to the ever growing technology of the personal touch, Human Resources.

 

Michael Sischo2 Michael Sischo
Senior Implementation Consultant
LinkedIn

 


It’s all about the Coaching!

March 20, 2014

Vince-Lombardi-Teaches-St-007

I remember an excellent article in Forbes last year (March 2013) titled “North America’s best run sports franchise”.  I would imagine that if you posed that title in the form of a question to several casual and passionate sports fans the answers would be all over the board.  No doubt the team that the author references in this article would not be an obvious choice of many.  That team?  Well that would be the San Antonio Spurs.  Surprised?  You shouldn’t be.  Look at their run of success over the past 15 years and it appears that the author nailed it.

Aside from the great Tim Duncan, the biggest constant during the Spurs’ phenomenal run has been head coach Greg Popovich.  “Pop” also just happens to be the longest tenured coach of any pro sports team in North America, and he has succeeded by knowing the strengths and weaknesses of his players.  Whether it is resting his aging superstars on the bench during stretches of the regular season, or relying on specialist role players, his methods are hard to argue.  No doubt the author is spot on when he notes that the Spurs have excelled in making wins and losses about managerial and coaching acumen.  It really is all about the coaching!

I had the opportunity to visit on several occasions with the owner of a small and growing telecom company who was totally sold out to the philosophy of strong coaching.  His employee headcount was around 150 at the time, and one of his biggest challenges was to minimize turnover and keep his staff focused on learning in a business with short technology cycles.  This owner was also the CEO and his organizational structure was about 4 levels deep.

What struck me the most about this gentleman was that he was not hesitant to spend time coaching his first level of employees who consisted primarily of technicians and supply chain personnel.  I asked the question “why not allow your management staff to take on these coaching tasks”?  First of all he corrected me in saying that this was NOT a task as far as he was concerned.  From there he indicated that his managers were developed to be effective coaches, but these were opportunities for him to build a rapport with the associates and not be derelict in his role. He also felt as though that he could convey his passion and conviction directly without it being diluted by way of delegating.   Well far be it for me to question what appeared to be a very effective method.

Finally he did mention that he was careful not to come across as micromanaging, but at the same time deliver an experience that is immeasurable and far reaching in any business environment.   His organization now approaches 400 employees and no doubt his philosophy would be effective in a company 10x that size.  Once again it’s all about the coaching!

Reggie Wilson3Reggie Wilson

Regional Sales Manager at HRchitect

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The War for Talent Continues

March 17, 2014

Talent war“We love the smell of HCM in the Morning.”

Not too long ago, I served on a panel and was asked what I thought were some of the top areas in Talent Management that companies are focusing on right now, given our current economic and business conditions.

While I think there are many areas that companies should focus their efforts on, namely around figuring out their long-term Human Capital Management (HCM) systems strategy, I decided to focus the answer around the so-called “war on talent”.

Today, the unemployment rate in the U.S. is anywhere between approximately 7%-16% depending on many factors – what expert you talk with, politics, geography, race, and a host of other ways to measure. However, when you focus specifically on “skilled labor”, that number hovers around 4% and since many economists believe that anything under 5% basically amounts to full employment, you can quickly see the problem, and it is only getting worse.

A few years ago, we published a groundbreaking report entitled “The Suite Life of Integrated Talent Management”, and in that report we stated:

“Organizations across the globe are concerned with finding enough skilled labor to accomplish their business objectives, given the potential of continuing talent shortages in critical skilled positions. Upcoming retirement of the Baby Boomer generation, changing demographics, and skills gaps due to education shortfalls all have the potential to dramatically impact an organization’s ability to attract, develop, and retain the right talent.

Over the past few years the world has gone through a significant period of economic turmoil that again, depending on who you talk with, is either continuing, getting worse, or getting better. So what is an organization to do? Arm your company with know-how and face the war on talent head-on!

Here are four “talent” areas to think about, in no particular order…

1)      Understanding your talent. Seems simple enough but many organizations simple don’t know what they currently have, and where those “rock stars” are within their own organization. Start by getting all data in one place (the talent profile), before any analysis can take place. Information such as internal & external work experience, aspirations, goals, motivations, preferences, assessment results, etc. Think about a person’s LinkedIn profile and a Facebook profile brought together in a talent record that is available to you. The Talent Profile has been a major trend of HCM vendors and something that needs critical attention paid to it.

2)      Reviewing your talent.  This can take many forms but start with the traditional and formal talent reviews. Many firms still do this once a year but organizations are increasingly looking at this differently (and should be). Start rating the performance of your employees, including the potential for flight risk and what that impact would have on the organization. Develop clear action lists for those employees you want to keep and manage out those you don’t.

3)      Reaching talent. This applies to both inside and outside your organization, and goes back to the Talent Profile in number 1 above. If you don’t know who and what you have, you will have a difficult time reaching that internal talent. In addition, leverage alumni networks as an example and cultivate talent ‘gardens’, i.e. tracking college & even pre-college potential talent. Remember, it’s a war out there so you need to cast a wide net and prepare to capture more than your competitors do!

4)      Assimilating talent. So you’ve found the “rock stars” you have been searching for. Now what. You need to ensure that your onboarding programs don’t wreck your carefully cultivated employment brand, but instead ‘lock in’ the new talent you have found. It’s vitally important to remember that the recruitment process is just the beginning of a new employee’s experience with your company. The initial excitement that new hires experience over starting a new job can quickly develop into frustration as they run into challenges in their desire to become acclimated with a new company and their desire to be productive in their new job and environment (something I would expect you want as well!) A very common frustration includes a lack of connection to their new company and its culture. Another challenge is in completing paperwork with poor instructions and yet another is simply the fact that most companies prepare poorly for a new employee’s first day. The list actually goes on and on…

Good luck and we hope this helps you better prepare for the ongoing war for talent!

Matt Lafata2Matt has over 18 years in the HR industry and has been with HRchitect since 2004. As President, he oversees all aspects of HRchitect’s operations including worldwide sales of HRchitect services, marketing, customer success, partnerships, consulting, finance and corporate development.

linkedin.com/in


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