Daily Top 5 Global HR News – 12 July 2017

Daily Top 5 Global HR News – 12 July 2017

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We bring together from ICube Research and published news, a summary of 5 items that are contemporary.

1. Goldman Sachs exec says young professionals need this more than a mentor

As the head of human capital management for Goldman Sachs, Sally Boyle has overseen thousands of interns and employees, she writes on the bank’s blog. From her experience, there are a few things that set successful young professionals apart, and one of them is who you know.

To get ahead, young professionals not only need a mentor, she writes. They need a sponsor.

A sponsor is someone above you in your company’s chain-of-command who can advocate for you, while a mentor is anyone who gives professional advice but ultimately may not have any pull for you at work.

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    Boyle says that many professionals she’s worked with tell her that “having role models, access to sponsors, networking opportunities and manager support are all key factors to help progress their careers.”

    But she says that women are much less likely to have sponsors, partially because they underestimate the importance of this relationship, she writes. Because of that, they’re missing out on a huge opportunity.

    Finding this person “plays a valuable role in career advancement, but sadly, women are only half as likely as men to have a sponsor,” she writes.

    “The majority of women underestimate the pivotal role sponsorship plays in career progression and fail to cultivate those relationships effectively or early,” she writes.

    The good news is that it doesn’t take much work to develop these key relationship with someone at your company. A quick coffee is all you need to get started, she says.

    “Simply work with someone, impress them,” she writes, “build a relationship, ask them for feedback and then impress them more. That person will then want to invest in you and a sponsor relationship will develop naturally.”


2. Want a Diverse and Inclusive Workplace? Work on Your Culture

Recent recommendations arising from an investigation into Uber Technologies Inc., amid allegations of sexual harassment and other inappropriate behavior there, highlight how workplace culture can affect diversity and inclusion.

The investigation by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Tammy Albarran of law firm Covington & Burling LLP in Washington, D.C., was triggered by a Feb. 19, 2017, blog post by former Uber engineer Susan Fowler. In it, she alleged that she had been a victim of sexual harassment, gender bias and retaliation at the San Francisco-based ride-hailing company.

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    While diversity is seen as employing workers of different races, religions, ages, sexual orientations, genders and physical abilities, inclusion goes beyond the presence of a diverse group of employees to encompass all aspects of an organization’s operations, according to the investigators’ report.

    [SHRM members-only Member2Member Solutions: Your Culture Shapes What Your Business Becomes]

    For example, the report stated, Uber can be more inclusive by reviewing and modifying its leave policies to distinguish between “primary caregivers” and “secondary caregivers” rather than “mothers” and “fathers.”

    While seemingly minor, other recommendations—such as adopting flexible work arrangements and changing the time of the company’s catered dinner so that a broader group of employees can participate—also affect workplace culture and impact recruitment and retention.

    Day-to-Day Experiences

    A recent Deloitte survey found that 80 percent of more than 1,300 full-time employees in the U.S. said inclusion is an important factor when choosing an employer. Nearly three-fourths of respondents said they would leave or consider leaving their employer for a more inclusive organization.

    “[Inclusion is] really about how do people experience the [organization] on a day-to-day basis,” said Deb DeHaas, Deloitte’s vice chairman and chief inclusion officer. Organizations need to think strategically and go beyond programs to nurture a culture of inclusive day-to-day experiences.

    “How do people treat [each other]? What do they see in terms of behavior that demonstrates inclusion?” DeHaas asked. Deloitte’s findings, she added, “seem to indicate … leadership behaviors are extremely important so they can be modeled by others inside the organization.”

    That sentiment was reflected in the 46 actions recommended to Uber, including:

    • Reformulating Uber’s written values so that they are more inclusive and contribute to a collaborative environment—and removing values that are redundant “or have been used to justify poor behavior.”
    • Expecting senior leaders to embrace and communicate the reformulated values to employees.
    • Engaging a consultant experienced in inclusive leadership to train and coach all senior leaders and provide mandatory training for managers on diversity, unconscious bias and inclusion—including how to conduct inclusive job interviews.
    • Adopting a version of the “Rooney Rule,” which would require interviewing at least one woman and one member of an underreprsented minority group in each pool of job candidates. Uber also should include at least one woman and/or a member of a population underrepresented at the company on all of its appliant interview panels.
    • Adopting and promoting a sponsorship program—with guidelines and resources—in which people in positions to promote the success of a more junior employee or protégé help guide those individuals in their career development. The program would target key populations, create career pathways and be tied to sponsors’ performance goals.
    • Recognizing and supporting employee diversity efforts by recommending or requiring workers spend a portion of their time contributing to the company’s workplace environment—such as volunteering with employee resource groups—and crediting them for their efforts in the performance review.
    • Increasing the profile of the company’s head of diversity by renaming the position chief diversity and inclusion officer and having that person report directly to the CEO or chief operating officer.

    “It is equally important that the role address both diversity and inclusion,” Holder and Albarran said in their report.

    That includes regularly publishing data on Uber’s diversity and inclusion numbers, sending updates to employees regarding the company’s diversity efforts, and reaching out to employees in affinity groups.

    Understand Inclusion at Your Organization

    “Because inclusion is so personal, employers should try to understand how inclusion is experienced in their organization,” said Deepa Pirushothaman, a national managing principal of inclusion at Deloitte, in a news release. “They should ask themselves how their business practices impact their employees and take an honest look at whether they have the right workplace culture to make people feel like they belong.”

    A Boston Consulting Group (BCG) report released June 21 and based on global research found that 30 percent of women surveyed thought their workplace culture posed an obstacle to gender diversity, compared to 18 percent of men.

    The report, based on a survey of 17,500 employees and interviews with more than 200 senior executives in 21 countries, noted key differences in what men and women consider to be the most effective ways to achieve gender diversity.

    BCG advised organizations to focus on the following initiatives that it said senior male executives tend to underrate but that female employees say are the most effective in achieving gender diversity:

    • Increasing the visibility of female role models.
    • Empowering men to support gender diversity in the workplace.
    • Providing support for women at key moments in their lives, such as flexible work arrangements for women returning from maternity leave or information on housing, child care and other arrangements when they are considering an international assignment.

    When the recommendations for Uber were made public June 13, the company stated that while change does not happen overnight, implementing the changes “will improve its culture, promote fairness and accountability, and establish processes and systems to ensure the mistakes of the past will not be repeated.”

    “Uber is a true disrupter,” Henry Albrecht, CEO of Limeade, told SHRM Online in an e-mail. The corporate wellness technology company in Bellevue, Wash., was named among the 2016 Best Medium Workplaces and the 2015 Best Workplaces for Women.

    “They’ve built something remarkable in a short period of time,” he observed. “But if they want to sustain their growth for the long term, they’ll need to create a culture that treats people like people.

    “If Uber can reshape [its] culture to support the well-being of [its] people, [it’ll] have a better shot at retaining the employees who make growth happen.”


3. Three ways HR can build capability for the challenges ahead

HR departments face flat or shrinking budgets yet huge expectations are placed on them in terms of digital transformation and talent management. Dorothee El-Khoury from The Hackett Group discusses key HR challenges and how they can be addressed.

The Hackett Group’s 2017 HR key issues report reveals much about the challenges and opportunities facing the HR profession now and into the future.

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    Based on a survey of executives from more than 180 large international companies, the results indicate that HR is at an important turning point.

    HR services are under pressure. Never have expectations been so high. Sixty-nine per cent of surveyed HR executives believe that digital transformation will fundamentally change business talent needs, while also presenting an opportunity to improve HR performance metrics such as service delivery, costs, quality and cycle times.

    The demand for digital skills is increasing and access to critical talent is a growing risk for business, progressing at the same pace as cybersecurity – up 20% in 2017 compared to 2016.

    What’s more, it suggests that the current trend of flat-to-decreasing HR headcounts and budgets is expected to continue in 2017 and HR functions will not be granted additional budget or staff.

    Overall, the number of full-time employees in HR is set to drop by 1.4%, one per cent more than last year.

    HR budgets are expected to fall by an average of 1.6%, which is significantly more than last year’s 0.3% decrease.

    The overarching HR challenge is the need to support the business process digital transformation successfully. At the same time, HR needs to reinvent itself to deliver self-funded, value-added services. Here are three ways HR can achieve this:

    1. Technology

    Leveraging technology is key to overcoming these challenges, yet less than half of all HR organisations that responded to the survey achieved mainstream adoption of critical technologies in 2016, The Hackett Group’s report found.

    Fortunately, most HR executives recognise that this area needs urgent attention. Nearly 80% expect to increase adoption of critical technologies by 2020 through mainstream adoption of digital transformation technology, including software-as-a-service HCM platforms, mobile computing, social media collaboration and analytics.

    This goal could be too optimistic though. Talent plans and technology strategies are falling behind the curve.

    Only 47% of surveyed HR organisations have an HR digital transformation strategy in place, and a mere 55% of those believe that their strategy is aligned to business needs. Plus, only half believe they have the means, the budgets and the competencies to deliver their strategies.

    This means that HR will need to launch realistic initiatives – and rally support from the broader business function and external partners – to help HR deliver the initiatives for which they do not have all the skills.

    2. Talent management

    The Hackett Group’s research lists some critical development areas for HR teams to address. To highlight one: HR executives are not satisfied with their teams’ agility in the face of changing talent needs.

    They note specifically that they’re not happy in relation to innovation, digital transformation or improving the customer experience.

    With regards to the HR function’s own capability developments, leaders recognise that their teams are unable to address internal gaps such as analytics, modeling, and forecasting.

    This affects their ability to measure their contribution to business value, as well as their ability to adjust to rapidly changing business needs.

    3. Learn from the outside in

    To improve its performance and meet expectations, HR needs to look outside its function and partner with other business functions.

    This will help align its efforts to serve wider objectives. HR can learn from the experience of other business areas.

    For example, over the past few years finance has been investing in improving its performance management and analytical abilities. Most of the approaches and tools it has learnt can be shared and re-used.

    Similarly, a structure built around global business services can be a precious lever to deliver efficiency and agility.

    What lies ahead?

    Talent-related change is the dominant objective for the greatest number of HR organisations in 2017.

    The good news is that many more HR organisations plan to address their weaknesses in areas like technology, information capabilities and organisational processes.

    However, the ambitious change agenda and flat budgets are a challenge. Without additional support, it’s doubtful that the resources currently in place will be enough to make all the improvements necessary to close HR’s substantial capability gaps.


4. Combining HR and finance to make productivity metrics more productive

Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman, in his critically acclaimed book The Age of Diminished Expectations, wrote, “Productivity isn’t everything, but in the long run, it is almost everything. A country’s ability to improve its standard of living over time depends almost entirely on its ability to raise its output per worker.”

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    This rings particularly true today, as more and more competitive Canadian organizations look to better understand productivity and how it’s impacting their work force. In fact, a recent evaluation by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) of the G7 countries’ levels of productivity shows that Canada is the second-least-productive country. This puts our country at 27 per cent below productivity levels in the United States, and this gap is only widening. The big problem, however, is that most organizations don’t have a clear understanding or definition of what constitutes “productivity,” and even fewer understand how to measure it.

    A recent survey of senior financial executives conducted by the Canadian Financial Executives Research Foundation (CFERF), sponsored by ADP Canada, showed that nine in 10 of those polled felt that the key performance indicators (KPIs) their companies had put in place to track productivity weren’t supporting their business objectives – an alarming statistic at a time when other research has shown that almost half (49 per cent) of Canadian workers say they aren’t as productive as they could be at their jobs. In fact, almost one in five of those companies polled as a part of the Understanding Productivity Through the Lens of Finance study said that they aren’t using the productivity metrics they’re tracking to inform decisions at all.

    If improving success depends almost entirely on increasing output per worker, as Krugman asserts, then this disconnect between employers and employees spells trouble for the Canadian work force.

    One of the biggest challenges is that often HR departments use metrics such as vacation tracking, payroll management and attendance as indicators of productivity – each valuable insights on their own, but not truly reflective of work force productivity in most organizations. The secret to improving productivity – or at the very least, improving the ability to track and understand it – very likely already lies just down the hall from HR, in the finance department.

    It’s likely that finance and HR are already working together in some capacity – nearly three-quarters (71 per cent) of those polled by CFERF said finance is involved in HR functions such as payroll. But beyond the transactional, combining the people-focused knowledge of HR with the analytical capabilities of finance can be the special sauce that allows an organization to better determine what defines productivity in their workplace, and how to develop metrics and KPIs to track and improve it.

    Finance departments have more experience extracting value from data by developing and analyzing metrics, and are increasingly becoming more involved in the HR functions of an organization largely through culture, staffing and strategic planning. Coupling their level of data-savvy capability with HR’s ability to understand the people side of the business can and will ultimately lead to better identification, measurement and insights gleaned from productivity metrics.

    The reality is that effectively measuring productivity provides numerous benefits for any organization, regardless of size. Respondents of the CFERF survey said the number one area where they would be interested in applying insights from productivity data is to appropriately upgrade employee training and skills. When correctly leveraged, organizations can identify the key areas where their teams could use extra training and even identify if certain aspects of their existing training models need to be updated.

    Other areas where insights gleaned from productivity data could benefit the company include employee engagement, improving work flow design, and expanding or recalibrating the work force. For example, an organization can determine which parts of the business might be over– or under-staffed, and which employees have the capacity to take on more work. This can grant busineses the ability to make informed hiring and staffing decisions to ensure that they are assigning reasonable volumes of work to their employees. That, in turn, should result in higher productivity and less turnover over the long run.

    At the end of the day, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to productivity. In fact, what defines productivity can change from organization to organization. However, what’s true for nearly every organization at the outset is the need to clearly identify what productivity metrics matter to them and then to determine how best to measure against those items. By combining HR and finance to identify and quantify the metrics that truly matter, an organization is heading in the right direction to finally glean value productive insights from their productivity data.



Attracting, hiring, developing and retaining the right people is crucial to an organisation’s success. The stakes have never been higher: a 2015 study by CAP suggests that the average cost of employee attrition is 20% of a mid-level employee’s annual salary and up to 213% of a high-level executive’s salary. In a business environment changing so rapidly that jobs which will be essential in 2020 don’t even exist yet, Exceptional Talent examines how changes in technology, communication, and employee preferences are impacting the talent journey. It gives practical advice for how to build an effective recruitment and talent management strategy to meet the needs of the business today and prepare for the challenges of the future.

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    It is impressive sometimes how much effort a company puts into hiring and training new employees and then so utterly mismanaging them that they quickly leave and the whole process has to be repeated again. Some companies even seemingly build it into their strategy that they pay people low salaries, get a few ‘good years’ out of them, and then simply replace them with more of the same. One program we know of is already down to less than 25% of it’s original intake still with them only three years after initially hiring 50 new software developers.

    A more cost effective approach, surely, is to get good people, and retain them. While not everyone may be convinced by this strategy, many of the recent books we have reviewed testify to the value of happy, motivated staff with a sense of purpose, who are more productive, stay longer, and deliver more value to your company. This book walks you through a series of important steps to consider, from talent acquisition, to relationship building, to the brand awareness of seeing what people are actually saying about your company on Glassdoor. On page 168 they also highlight the importance of “aligning external brand with internal reality”. There’s no point in having the free beer and pool tables at work if everyone is too fearful to be seen using them, or if they deliver no real value to the company.

    You may or may not agree with all the suggestions in the book, but their comment that the talent journey “has fundamentally changed” (p175) is accurate. For those companies able, and willing to take on board the insights offered there is a clear market advantage. At Irish Tech News we have recently embarked on an intern program. Naturally we have our goals in doing this, but we also want to make sure that everyone who engages with us also has a positive experience, both while they are with us, and subsequently as brand ambassadors subsequently. Far better this way than just ignoring emails or requests for information and help that come in. It can take a little more time, but a smart, holistic approach generally brings benefits for everyone involved.


Do you like the articles? We update these trends everyday. Come back tomorrow for more interesting articles. Feel free to share them with your co-workers or friends.

(The articles above have been curated from various sources but not been edited by ICube staff)

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