Daily Top 5 Global HR News – 17 July 2017
We bring together from ICube Research and published news, a summary of 5 items that are contemporary.
1. Recruitment Metrics You Should Track
The recruitment sub-domain in HR is a cut-throat one as the war for talent intensifies. Not only must recruiters strive to bring on board the best of talent, but they must also adhere to the cost and time pressures that come with every vacant position. HR leaders from the talent acquisition domain often struggle with showcasing the value-add of the talent acquisition (TA) function to the business. The result is a lack of buy-in from top business leaders, which further jeopardizes recruitment efficiency and effectiveness. HR leaders and recruiters must learn to quantify how they add value to business, to be able to gain the confidence of business and carve a strategic position of importance and respect for the TA function. Here are key recruitment metrics one should track and showcase, during TA assessments.
a. Revenue per employee: Though not specific to recruitment, this HR metric captures the value addition to business by measuring the direct financial value of HR processes. Recruiters can carry out a benchmarking exercise to compare their metric with competitors in the same sector, to highlight how they are doing well. A good source to get this information for public companies is MarketWatch.com. Another good metric to include is the “dollars of profit to labor cost ratio.”
b. On-the-job performance of new hires: The job of a recruiter does not end with onboarding; they must also keep track of how the new hires are performing on the job. This metric is a vital indicator of the quality of hire. This is extremely important as it indicates that recruiters are hiring better performers and validates the recruitment tools and criteria. One can calculate the percentage improvement in on-the-job performance of new hires compared to previous years, for new hires to gain an on-going view of performance.
c. Dollar impact of recruitment: You may need to rope in finance/your CFO to convert the quality of hire to dollar measures. One approach is to multiply the percentage of improvement by the average revenue per employee.
d. Percentage of new hire innovators/top performers: Recruiters must keep track of their new hires’ performance reviews and outcomes and their position in the Performance Bell Curve (if applicable). This is a direct measure of the quality of hire.
e. Excess vacancies: The efficiency of hire is related to whether vacant positions are being filled up as per timelines i.e. the speed of hire. Keep a track of how many critical vacant positions are not filled and/or are overdue for filling. First track the excess number of positions over the target, and secondly, check this for high-impact revenue-generating jobs. A vacant position in a revenue-generation job means direct loss of revenue for the company.
f. New hire failure rate: This includes looking at new hires who left the company, as well as new hires who are poor performers. This means you may need to re-hire for the position and the hiring and training costs will spiral.
The job of a recruiter today is not just limited to filling vacant positions, but extends to proving the worth of this task. Recruiters must put themselves in the shoes of mainstream business, and talk the language of business to prove that recruitment is indeed a critical and high-impact domain of HR.
Highlighting the positive aspects of these metrics is sure to catch the attention of business sponsors for new-age recruitment projects. HR leaders can then spearhead innovation in the recruitment domain, and work towards creating the required talent-edge for the organization.
2. How to Retain Your Company Culture After Getting Acquired (And Why That’s So Important)
Retaining a healthy company culture will give you your best chances of fostering low turnover, high employee engagement, better productivity and strengthened recruitment.
Acquisitions are intimidating for employees. Along with fears of restructuring, there’s anxiety that office culture — that unique organizational fabric consisting of personalities, environment, policy and je ne sais quoi — will be out the door, hot on the heels of shortened Friday hours and redundant middle management.
And that anxiety is not unfounded: A recent article in the Wall Street Journal noted that Jet.com had to give up its in-office happy hours after Walmart acquired the company. (Before long, morale dipped, and Walmart relaxed its rules.) Sure, things turned around, but a dent in team spirit can sometimes cause irreversible damage. That’s why I held the preservation of Audiobooks.com company culture at the forefront during our recent acquisition by RBmedia. Culture is a living, breathing entity that requires constant investment from everybody. Through acquisition and beyond, retaining a healthy company culture will give you your best chances of fostering low turnover, high employee engagement, better productivity and strengthened recruitment.
a. Get parent company buy-in.
When I was having conversations with RBmedia management during the acquisition process about what made Audiobooks.com different, we always jumped to the people we have on board (before we even got into the numbers). Our staff is a dedicated, fun-loving, culture-first team, so discussing the preservation of some important policy-based pillars of the Audiobooks.com culture was an important part of the deal. Casual dress code, flexible working hours and unlimited paid vacation all remained because our new management team respected that we had a good thing going on and agreed, as the saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
We also discussed my budget allocation for “other employee costs,” and RBmedia was supportive of investing in culture by funding monthly socials, healthy breakfasts and a great holiday party. It’s no secret that employees will care about their work if they feel that their work cares about them. Plus, turnover is expensive in a niche industry. Between the job posting fees and the loss of productivity while someone is being trained, each new hire costs the company a significant amount of money. By retaining the hallmarks of the Audiobooks.com culture and making an effort to show staff that we care, we retained 100 percent of our pre-acquisition talent into the post-acquisition period; that’s a number I take pride in.
b. Offer a robust and dynamic program.
One of our core value statements is “we are a fun community” because we want the office to be a great place for people to spend their time. We often like to say that our employees aren’t chained to their desks: We encourage frequent breaks to play games, e.g. bocce ball when the Canadian weather cooperates, not only because it makes people happier, but because it stimulates creativity and encourages employee bonding. By setting that precedent, initiatives like an office book club and ping-pong league recently sprang up organically, without management introducing them, and at no company cost. I think it’s the sense of community these activities foster that carried our company culture through the acquisition.
As a tech company, we hire a lot of millennials who have expectations as to what a workplace should offer in 2017: free food, flexibility, an aesthetically-pleasing space, fun activities, etc. As I am a firm believer in these priorities, we host an in-house masseuse once a month (our benefits cover massages), and we recently introduced bi-weekly yoga and mindfulness classes in an unused boardroom. Offering competitive perks and office programs can make all the difference for attracting top talent in today’s market, and can encourage that talent to stick around and stay engaged even through the uncertainty of an acquisition.
c. Develop a sense of employee ownership.
We frequently initiate formal employee engagement surveys as well as informal conversations with HR to check in on how everyone is feeling. It was crucial to ramp up this practice throughout the acquisition process to keep close tabs on the office climate, and tweak our approach as necessary. In response to a post-acquisition survey, for example, we made changes to how inter-departmental projects are managed. Having a dynamic approach to what we offer in the workplace and how we organize our workflow keeps us efficient and in tune with employee needs. This adaptability and understanding of shifting employee needs is likely a key reason why our engagement score rings in at high numbers time and again.
Our monthly performance reviews also focus on how each individual contributes to company objectives, to keep people feeling connected to the big picture. We encourage ownership and autonomy and in turn, we have a culture of self-starters who are committed to the business and its performance. We also deliberately touch base on people’s personal lives during these meetings, so that we can keep work/life balance in check and find ways to support our employees during good and bad times. We’ve fostered an environment in which every employee feels important and invested in the company’s success, and the business results speak for themselves.
3. Not a specialist? Don’t worry, you are hired
Mumbai: As a generalist standing at the threshold of your career, are you worried that while the world is talking about specialisations in fields like data science, machine learning and analytics, you don’t stand a chance? Well, this may come as a surprise but hiring experts said a large number of companies today are actually looking for generalists at entry levels.
A generalist is a person who has the aptitude and skills which can be applied in a variety of different fields whereas a specialist is one who takes up a certain subject matter of a larger field and gains expertise in the same. Generalists, at some point, can become specialists by upgrading their skills and rise up the hierarchy, but companies are keen to bring on board generalists who can be moulded into specialists.
Paul Dupuis, MD & CEO, Randstad India, said, “A decade ago, specialists were in demand, but today, companies want generalists. The liberal arts degree which was extremely unpopular is now in demand. This is because companies today are looking for trainable people.”
Rituparna Chakraborty, executive VP & co-founder, TeamLease Services, said, “While earlier at the time of hiring one would lay emphasis on specific qualifications — at the entry level —employers are focusing more on cognitive abilities than on specialisation. Liberal arts students have an edge in this new world because they are taught not to conform — to challenge facts, to have divergent view points, to seek solutions rather than prescribe one.” Given, the future of employment lies in one’s ability to create work rather than find a job, this could become the strong foundation each youth needs in the days to come.”
In some sectors like pharma, where there is a quality assurance requirement, specialists are in demand, but across retail, FMCG and infrastructure, Dupuis said companies are ready to hire generalists at entry level and even at the second stage of hiring. “It’s easier to train generalists than specialists. Also, with mis-hiring costs rising to anywhere between 5-7 times annual salary, companies do not want to take that chance by hiring a wrong person,” said Dupuis.
Chakraborty said an important trend that TeamLease has been noticing in the IT sector for almost over two years now has been around their reluctance towards hiring engineers while they remained open to hiring graduates at similar salary brackets. “At some level, I felt the industry was feeling restricted with the lack of flexibility that came in with hiring engineers. It was coming in the way of their adaptability as the business realities were changing around them,” said Chakraborty.
The three most in-demand entry-level jobs are sales, customer service and logistics. Each of these have a basic requirement of an undergraduate or a graduate in any stream so that the learnability quotient is high. “70% of all entry-level formal job growth at this point comes from these three functions. Over the past five years, the figure has moved from about 45-50% to 70%,” said Chakraborty.
Some experts, however, believe while generalists may have wider array of jobs to choose from, these at times can be loosely defined roles. This may increase the job insecurity as replacing one generalist with another would be far easier. Also, the debate between generalists versus specialists is to a large extent dependent on the company. Thammaiah B N, MD, Kelly Services India, said: “A startup might require an HR person as a generalist as other than talent acquisition, they might be expected to look into aspects of payroll, employee engagement and organisational development. The need for a specialist also is dependent on the scale of work and the organisation’s intent.”
We see typical operations roles being handled by specialists as they need to understand the function thoroughly to bring in process improvements and ensure work is done optimally. We also see specialists where the emphasis is more on the process, know-how and tools. For eg, finance & accounting, design engineering and analytics.”
A key advantage for those opting for a specialist career is the ability to earn more money. “Organisations usually have far fewer specialists and rely a lot on their insight and expertise. This gives specialists the power to participate in key aspects of business and emerge as thought leaders in their area of expertise, thus securing their positions within the organisation structure. Externally as well, this strengthens their career prospects and opens up different opportunities in the field,” said Thammaiah.
Another stream of thought provides equal weightage to both generalists as well as specialists. With the world becoming increasingly interconnected, it will require a diverse range of people to work together and solve complex problems. With one million young people entering the workforce each month, fears of insufficient job creation is already a problem in India.
4. India Inc can save millions by using HR technologies: Experts
NEW DELHI: Use of modern HR technologies can help India Inc improve productivity and save millions of dollars by optimal use of human resources, say experts.
India commands a nearly $600-700 million slice from the global pie of $54 billion human resource technology market. Even though HR technology is still nascent in India, it has already achieved a base of $0.5 billion according to a research by Everest group.
Tremendous forces are radically reshaping the workplace which are leading the companies to change their traditional human resource (HR) processes to new technology driven methods.
“The shift to HR applications in the cloud and artificial intelligence to use predictive data analytics has the potential to transform the entire HR landscape by taking away transactional roles and replacing them with strategic partnering roles…,” says Jagjit Singh, Chief People Officer, PwC India.
Chief People Officer of PNB Housing Finance Anshul Bhargava said that in his company, the adoption of appropriate technology has enabled it to design focused programmes.
“Backed by concrete information and more efficient processes, the hiring process and employee efficiency have improved with the application of analytics,” he said.
Experts said technologies can improve productivity which will drive greater business growth and leave a positive impact on the companies.
A recent study by PeopleStrong, a major HR technology company in India, claims that India Inc can save at least $600 million annually by 2021 using HR Technology.
Dinesh R of OYO said the HR function is increasingly relying on technology to drive results and more predictable outcomes.
Workforce technologies, especially those which are designed by keeping ‘user’ at the centre, have a tremendous role to play, said Pankaj Bansal, Co-founder and CEO at PeopleStrong.
“The new world of work will see employees taking control of their digital landscape of work and will be the decision makers of what gets used by organisations. It will be a defining phase of HR Tech not only in India but globally,” he added.
5. Transforming HR with switch to front-line role
The human resource team should no longer sit in one dusty corner of the office, but be actively engaged with the other business teams from the get go, says a top HR executive.
“Some look at HR as a supportive function, but it’s no longer the case. For more than 15 years, OCBC has been looking at the techniques and philosophy behind a progressive HR workforce,” said Mr Jason Ho, OCBC head of group human resources.
“In OCBC, it’s important our HR colleagues are aligned with what the division is doing from the business angle and to sit at the table when business strategies are being discussed.”
For several years, OCBC has had “front-line relationship managers or business partners”, now 40 per cent of the HR headcount, who work closely to support business divisions or support functions.
“The lead relationship manager will play a leading role in guiding interaction with the divisions, and is there to give feedback,” he said. It is something other firms can consider when looking at their HR practices.
He also noted that the industry has to adopt new skills, such as using data analytics, as it is no longer good enough just to use instincts honed from experience.
“That is what we’re trying to do from a country’s perspective, to set the right training and certification, and those will eventually become the benchmark, to set the framework for enhancing the professionalism of HR.”
His remarks come before the HR Industry Manpower Plan is rolled out tomorrow, with a public showcase at the Marina Bay Sands.
The industry has to transform as it is the common link between all other industries.
In the light of that, Mr Ho noted several trends that HR professionals need to be aware of, such as transforming HR to be more digital, ride on a virtual workforce for better productivity and collaboration, and engaging all generations at work.
For instance, OCBC introduced what it calls the HR In Your Pocket app – it comes with an artificial intelligence-powered chatbot – for its employees last month.
Staff have been using it to apply for leave or to check a colleague’s contact details on the go, while managers can use it to approve leave applications.
It caters to digitally savvy millennials, but also speeds up HR processes such as claims, said Mr Ho, who is also an HR Sectoral Tripartite Committee member.
Projects are completed quicker these days, using what is popularised as “agile thinking”.
“With agile thinking, projects are done within eight weeks – compared with the normal way which takes at least nine months. For instance, we have two teams – the operations and technology team, and the HR team – spending two full days a week, working together. Products can be rolled out first and we can continue to improve them from there.”
Effort must also be made to reach out to both younger and older people in the HR journey.
Mr Ho noted the OCBC’s latest FRANKpreneurship which was introduced in April. It attracted more than 500 applications from undergraduates at local and overseas universities, and 26 penultimate-year undergraduates were selected.
They have to work on actual problems and design innovative and commercially viable solutions. “We try to engage the young as early as possible; a longer engagement leads to a more meaningful conversation and we have talks about professions and career preparation.
“At OCBC, HR is a driver of business activity. HR used to play a passive role but now it’s proactive,” said Mr Ho, explaining that that is the only way to get the best talent on board.
The industry must also remember to help older workers keep up with changes in the marketplace, he stressed, adding that the bank introduced a lifelong learning programme for employees aged 50 and older last August.
Mr Ho said: “HR is crucial and we want senior management, chief executives and boards to embrace and endorse this concept. It will go a long way to improve the competitiveness of the firm.
“Having a more robust HR culture and embracing the right principles so people are engaged with you is more important – even though firms have a different way of looking at HR .”
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(The articles above have been curated from various sources but not been edited by ICube staff)