Daily Top 5 Global HR News – 10 August 2017
We bring together from ICube Research and published news, a summary of 5 items that are contemporary.
1. Freelancers, Get Ready To Feel The Love From Corporate America
Not long ago, freelancers who were hired to help big companies were often ignored by corporate honchos. Some managers viewed project workers as second-class team members, not really worthy of the leadership team’s time and attention—and sometimes as a necessary evil. A manager once described a quirky expert freelancer he often hired to me as someone who “crawled out from under a rock.”
But attitudes in companies of all sizes toward freelancers are changing, as more hire high-caliber external consultants and creatives to add to the brainpower of their teams. In this new climate, leaders aren’t just being judged on how they manage internal staff. They’re also expected to be good at motivating, inspiring and managing freelance talent that may never set foot on site.
A new survey of 1,500 corporate hiring managers by Toptal, a network of freelance software developers, designers and finance experts, underlines how much attitudes in corporate America have changed toward freelancers. Having access to the best freelancers is increasingly seen as a competitive advantage in an environment where flexibility, speed and access to expertise can determine if a company will secure lucrative business or not.
The survey found that 90% of firms surveyed now use agile external talent to augment internal teams—and that percentage is likely to increase. Among respondents, 55% say they will use more of these skilled independents in the next 2-3 years. Most of this talent doesn’t come into the office. In the survey, 80% of respondents said agile talent works remotely at their firms.
This poses a big managment challenge, the poll found. Many business leaders believe their managers, accustomed to working mainly with full-time staffers on site, are not well trained in managing a workforce that includes team members such as remote freelancers in cities around the world. Communication and collaboration are other key challenges.
As Courtney Abraham, SVP of talent acquisition at Adecco said at the Toptal Future of Work Summit, “Managing a distributed workforce is one of the future competencies.” But based on Toptal’s findings, it’s an expertise that managers often lack at the moment.
Not having those skills puts some at a disadvantage in finding great consultants and freelancers for their projects. Fewer than 45% of respondents said they were satisfied with their organizations’ process for finding the best agile talent.
Most aren’t learning how to handle challenges like these in business school.
“If you look at the [academic] literature on best practices for working with agile talent, it’s next to zero,” says Rajeev Jeyakumar, vice president of business talent at Toptal and the former CEO and co-founder of Skillbridge, a platform for elite freelancers acquired by Toptal.
It has only been recently that more business schools are addressing how to manage independent workers on their teams in their courses, he notes. Perhaps as a result, many managers struggle to work effectively with freelance talent. “It’s like a muscle they haven’t had to use,” says Jeyakumar.
These challenges are affecting industries where you might not expect to see a lot of freelancers. Although the top industry where employers are relying on a mix of full-time and external talent is advertising and marketing—where freelancers have long had a strong presence—the next four are industries where free agents have been less ubiquitous, such as automotive, transportation and delivery, agriculture, and business support and logistics.
And the challenges are compounded by technology. There is little information available on best practices for selecting tech tools for working with freelancers who mostly communicate electronically, Jeyakumar notes.
“There is a culture you develop if you are in-person, onsite and a remote culture,” says Jeyakumar. “A lot of people aren’t familiar with how you build a culture in a remote environment.”
To help organizations that want to get better at managing “blended” teams that include both staffers and freelancers, Toptal has established its own best practices for this type of work—a strategy that could be useful to other organizations. For instance, Toptal recommends that managers have more structured conversations with external talent than they might with someone in the next cubicle, to bridge any communication gaps that come from working remotely.
But freelancers may have to stretch their communication muscles, too, to help managers along. “We put together programming and training for our freelancers on how do you set expectations on what deliverables you are going to deliver, how you update on progress against them, and communicating early if something is going to be delayed,” says Jeyakumar. “In any profession, those are the best practices.”
If you’re a freelancer who does great work and is already a proactive communicator, this is good news for you. You’re likely to be in hot demand.
Elaine Pofeldt is author of The Million-Dollar, One Person Business (Random House, January 2, 2018), a book looking at how to break $1M in revenue in a business staffed only by the owners.
2. Sharpen your skills
The job prospects of 21-year-old Bhanumati, a commerce graduate, changed as soon as she cleared her mutual fund foundation certification in final year of college. Based in Coimbatore, she was looking for employment in the BFSI (banking, financial services and insurance) industry as the prospects of working with a big bank or a wealth management company appeared as the ticket to a bright future. “I was not sure of the employment options after graduation and was not sure if my family could afford an MBA for me. I took the NISM certification as an added qualification,” she narrates.
She was lucky to have been picked from the campus by a bank that was expanding its footprint in the region with fresh positions for financial product distribution. In the case of 33-year old Rajendra Prasad, the skill development course as an emergency medical technician (EMT) in 2013 helped him bag a job with a private hospital in Faridabad, which was paying him a lot more than what he earned as a male nurse. He has not undertaken any advanced course in EMT, which he is expecting will offer him a bigger role and a higher salary.
Right skills and attitude
The National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) has actively promoted skill development in several fields, especially financial services, healthcare and technology. The demand for skilled labour has grown so high that several organisations have started offering skill development courses, which includes issuance of a certificate at the completion of the course that increases the prospects of certified candidates finding employment.
Says Thyagarajan Balasubramanian, Co-founder & CEO, Stratadigm Education and Training: “These courses are designed on the WITP (Work Integrated Training Program) model which makes them different from other courses. Also, the number of enrolments are continuously increasing with the student community slowly realising the value of such programs.” His company has been closely working with organisations that are looking to recruit, and also with education institutions where the training programmes can be conducted to improve the probability of students finding a job after undertaking the NSDC certification.
With an ever-increasing insistence on financial inclusion aligned with digital advancement, the sudden demand of highly specialised talent in the industry has acted as a catalyst for skill providers. It has become imperative to rework on the existing skills. Pressing on the same Makarand Khatavkar, Group Head -Human Resources, Kotak Mahindra Bank Limited, says, “This is where various skilling programs conducted by both government as well as various non-profit institutions, including CSR arms play a huge role.”
In the Healthcare sector, VIVO Healthcare Institute is doing a commendable job. Recounts Dehradun-based Bharat Bhushan: “I enrolled for the ‘Train the Trainer’ programme under a senior faculty member to understand the training methodology and presentation skills.” At present, he is deputy manager training in charge with Vivo, a step very different from his previous stint as assistant professor in a reputed university in the North East.
Employers look out
One of the challenges that employers are facing today is finding qualified, skilled and ready-to work talent. Says Mayank Bathwal, CEO, Aditya Birla Health Insurance: “We are looking not only for good academic credentials but also for the right skills and attitude during the selection process.” Although many have deployed scientific filters in their recruitment processes to get better results, the gap still exists.
For instance, YES Bank is the first Indian organisation to introduce a game based evaluation round in addition to group discussions and interviews during the hiring process at premium B-schools across India. Deodutta Kurane, Group President – Human Capital Management, YES Bank, says, “This highly interactive gamification app helps evaluate the core competencies of the candidates that are specially customised in line with the Banks’ core ethics.” The app proves to be helpful to candidates by providing them instant feedback which can be used to improve and enhance their skills further.
DBS looks for people who are self-starters and are willing to experiment. They look for entrepreneurial bent of mind. “At DBS, we leverage Hackathons as one of the ways to identify digital talent. Running through a typical 24 to 36 hour period, Hackathons are high energy, effort intensive and extremely outcome-focused initiatives that enable an organisational view on potential candidates,” says Kishore Poduri, Head – Human Resources, DBS Bank (India).
There are still some employers like Motilal Oswal Private Management, who refrain from hiring freshers in large numbers. Sudhir Dhar, Director & Head HR, Motiwal Oswal Financial Services Ltd., says, “We look to hire people who are working in the private banking divisions and groom them into wealth managers through rigorous training. We also have a training program for freshers just out of college, where in they are tagged to existing wealth managers for 4-5 years while they learn the tricks of the trade and build up relationships.”
In the Mutual Funds industry, domain knowledge plays a very important role in the areas like fund management and operations. Sundeep Sikka, ED and CEO, Reliance Mutual Fund, says, “At RNLAM, almost 70 per cent of our talent comes from the non-AMC background and 30 per cent comes from non-BFSI industry. This distinctive hiring strategy has helped us bring fresh thinking and innovative process and practice. We also look at scalability of the candidate with us in future as that gives us talent pipeline. We have 78 per cent of key talent who are groomed internally.”
“Fresher recruits show a lot of excitement towards their first job with elevated levels of aspirations. Hence, with a fresher, we largely emphasise on his/her ability to learn, imbibe the organisation’s culture and develop a constructive intent towards delivering quality service to our customers,” says Reynu Bhat – Head, Human resource and learning & development, HDFC Securities.
While organisations are constantly working towards filling the skill gap, a lot is now being addressed by engaging with skill development organisations that are affiliated to the NSDC. The demand for talent and workforce with the right skills is on a rise and one of the ways to make a mark is to consider skilling oneself for a better job prospect. At the same time several of the skill development training partners are becoming the hunting ground for recruiters who are assigning them the task to train candidates who can be hired as they are ready with the necessary skill sets.
The entry-level BFSI Jobs
A few skills that will help you with a job, include the ability to speak in English and the local language of the city you are based in. Proficiency in written communication and the ability to pick up on-the-job skills, especially proprietary software go a long way. Make it a point to be abreast with any other skills to be in sync with demands of the job.
Sales executive: Jobs in banks, wealth management and brokerages involving sales of banking and financial services products like loans, mutual funds, insurance and credit cards.
Insurance agents: Trained personnel by insurance companies who represent an insurance company and sell policies. They earn a commission on the policies sold, which is linked to the premiums on the sold policies.
Investment advisors: They can be found at banks and investment broking firms, who provide advice related to investment products and other financial services. They are equipped to handle multiple financial instruments such as insurance, annuities, mutual funds, retirement plans and equities. They would be qualified through a certificate programme offered by NISM or any other qualification as mandated by regulations.
Salary/Remuneration: Entry level jobs for the above profiles pay anywhere between Rs 15,000 to Rs 30,000 a month depending on the role, qualification and experience, if any. There are additional benefits by way of commissions and incentives that are linked to sales and performance.
3. Talent Shortage is Killing Innovation
As hiring managers fall short in filling tech-related roles, innovation is taking a big hit according to a new survey by Indeed, a leading job site. Almost 90% US HR recruiters and managers are finding it difficult to find and hire the right tech talent. As a result, 83% US-based hiring managers reveal that this shortage of skilled manpower is affecting the revenues of their organizations due to slow down in market expansion and product development.
The survey, which collected feedback from over 1,000 recruiters and HR managers, also revealed that the shortage of talent is also increasing team tensions and employee burnout. With the time taken to fill a tech role also going up in the past three years according to 75% of the respondents, the problem of talent shortage is expected to become worse in the future.
“We know the tech talent war is dragging on,” says Raj Mukherjee, senior vice president, Product, Indeed, to TechRepublic. “We see no immediate end in sight on the demand side, and it’s hurting business growth.”
To fill the shortage, organizations are left with no option but to hire inadequately qualified candidates. Over 50% respondents said that they hired candidates, even though they did not meet the job descriptions, to fill immediate needs. All this is affecting the ability of organizations to innovate and grow revenues.
While 58% hirers look for soft skills, 56% gave importance to a Computer Science degree, and about 25% emphasized on a Computer Science degree from an Ivy League school. The survey found that HR managers were also considering candidates who had non-traditional backgrounds and were resorting to coding challenges to evaluate tech talent.
“Traditionally, companies have been overly focused on hiring from specific colleges or looking for past big brand experience,” adds Mukherjee. “Companies that go beyond traditional screening approaches and are open to job seekers who perform well on coding challenges and have strong soft skills will have a hiring advantage.”
Apart from salary and opportunities for career growth, organizations were luring the right talent with perks like remote working and unlimited paid-time-off. “Even something as simple as relaxing the dress code is the kind of perk that will better attract tech talent,” suggests Mukherjee. “In older industries and more traditional companies, moving to become a ‘technology’ company is a bigger shift but a manageable one, especially if they can hire change agents.”
4. ‘DATA IS KEY IN RECRUITING’
Hari Krishna Reddy tells VISHAL KATOCH that their job is to enable recruiters to increase the speed at which they hire the best candidates
Reason for this platform?
The talent acquisition industry faces an ongoing challenge with finding and hiring the best talent quickly. Recruiting departments of big companies have thousands of applicants with in their Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) and limited methods and time for prioritising the best candidates for specific jobs. To add to all this, most of the candidate information in their ATS is outdated. We are a complete recruitment solution powered by analytics intelligence.
What is your USP?
We integrate seamlessly with a company’s (ATS) and stack ranks incoming job applications against open requisitions based on the past and trending hiring patterns of the company. That is not all. In addition to features like ATS mining, candidate correspondence, automated tasks, analytical and dashboard. It also provides the recruiter with additional insights like the summary and social data for each candidate. It automatically manages communication with candidates and keeps them engaged. These are the various factors which makes us one of a kind.
What are the issues and challenges in the recruitment sector that you address?
Recruiters have been spending hours manually going through tons of resumes against each job opening for years. Most recruiters use inaccurate Boolean searches and inefficient key word searches based on outdated job descriptions. Plus it’s very time consuming. We enable recruiters to increase the speed at which they hire, while reducing the number of hours spent on manual, tedious processes by 30 per cent, automatically reducing the cost to hire. It also helps them make great and data backed hiring decisions.
How difficult it is to get the best candidate through this online platform?
Data is the key in recruiting, and we aggregate and standardise the data for recruiters so that they stay focused on engaging and hiring top talent. It automatically manages communication with candidates and keeps them engaged. We use data science to learn the hiring pattern of a company and helps the recruiter find the best fit for an open requisition. It uses advanced technologies and helps put recruitment on auto pilot. Hence, the process becomes very simplified and yes makes it easier to get the best candidate.
What are some of the recent trends?
We have multiple ways to reach out the candidates there are chrome extensions there are social media there are lots of outboard hiring channels so reaching the candidate is very easy now as compared to15-20 years back scenario it was all manual. Now, the technology has evolved so much that offline mode will soon become a traditional mode of recruitment, because the competition has become so much that if you will delay you will lose the best candidate which Param and other online platforms don’t. So the trend is it is a candidate driven market the only thing is you need to aggregate and move fast.
What are the roadblocks?
Adapting to the technology is one of the things which we need to drive. Some people want to explore the technology, some people are not really keen to it but eventually the people have to accept the technology because technology makes our life simpler. These changes should be accepted as they are rapid they are technology driven and they are dynamic.
5. Trends Affecting Learning
Vendors of learning technology and content have a new problem. With technology changing constantly, and with the changing workforce needs and composition, the knowledge and learning styles are also constantly changing. As a result, vendors of learning management systems (LMS) and content have to constantly upgrade and adapt their content to ensure engagement.
To help them overcome this and to make their content more relevant, content and LMS vendors are resorting to analytical tools and machine learning. These tools include knowledge maps that match an individual’s current skillsets with relevant learning needs that are required for a role. Some vendors are leveraging machine learning algorithms to find, recommend and/or assign relevant courses that will help address skill gaps.
“It’s still early stages, but analytics in training is not a fad,” says Elissa Tucker, principal research lead, APQC. “Cutting-edge learning organizations with a lot of resources are at the forefront of this trend. But others will soon follow.”
While analytics tools can help identify training needs, it can also be used for customizing and personalizing training and content on the basis of the previous courses, formats, and access selected. For example, while one employee may prefer an MOOC or a classroom course, another may prefer a mobile-based self-paced learning course.
New methods of learning like social learning are also becoming a popular means of acquiring knowledge in the peer-to-peer community. Here, however, the likes associated with the content may not be a true gauge of its usability, as it may not be relevant or needed by a person.
Even though employees are seeking diverse learning opportunities, they prefer small courses. “The microlearning trend is going mainstream,” says Barry Stern, senior vice president, Development Dimensions International. “While 15-minute chunks of learning may not deliver an entire skill set, they are valuable tools for busy employees who use them to solve problems at the point of need.”
But, if organizations want to control what their employees are learning, then they need a tool which will help them curate and manage content and also track knowledge acquisition.
“Some learning management systems vendors, like Saba Software, Totara Learning Solutions and Cornerstone OnDemand are adding tools to help manage more types of content, rate their relevance and track who is using them as a way to rein in this trend,” says Sarah Fister Gale, in an article on Workforce. “Several niche software companies have also emerged, including Degreed and Pathgather, which help companies and employees find, share and track learning from multiple sources.”
By training employees, organizations can overcome skill gap and talent shortage while ensuring they retain their current talent. Though there are many training solutions and sources, the ability to control what is being learned will ensure the availability of right skills.
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(The articles above have been curated from various sources but not been edited by ICube staff)