HR Connection blog

Hired Remotely But "Returning" to the Office: How Employers Can Ease the Transition

on Apr 18, 2022 3:14:33 PM By | Sarah Perlman | 0 Comments | Company Culture Office Remote Remote Employees Covid-19
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, only 6% of American workers were in fully remote positions. When Covid hit the United States in March 2020 and offices began to close their doors, employers were scrambling to set up remote capabilities for their employees.
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How Employers Can Fight the "She-cession" and Return Women to the Workforce

on Jan 6, 2022 11:51:22 AM By | Sarah Perlman | 0 Comments | Company Culture Job Search Women in the Workforce
We've all seen that the Coronavirus pandemic is still raging, especially with the emergence of the Omicron variant. Companies nationwide are facing workforce shortages and large   among employees. Recent polls show that 94% of employers are having difficulty hiring and retaining staff, and 53% would classify the situation as severe. These issues will continue to have a significant impact on our economy in 2022.
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4 Pillars of a Postpandemic Company Culture

on Sep 29, 2021 10:00:00 AM By | Mackenzie Froese | 0 Comments | Company Culture Postpandemic
To say that the last year and a half has been difficult would be an understatement. The coronavirus pandemic turned the world on its head and forced everyone to make huge adjustments to their personal and professional lives. But now that we have vaccines and a better understanding of how to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the business world is finally starting a return to normalcy. And unlike spring 2020, when a rapidly emerging crisis forced businesses to pivot suddenly -- and in many cases inexpertly -- today companies have time to make their changes more deliberately and thoughtfully.
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Remote Work & the Great Turnover Challenge

on Jun 16, 2021 9:45:00 AM By | Employment Enterprises | 0 Comments | Company Culture Retention Turnover Remote
As COVID began to lessen its grip on the U.S. this spring, many people spoke and wrote about “The Great Rehiring.” The storyline focused on how we would see the workforce come roaring back online with speed the country had never seen before. A few months into the push to re-open businesses nationwide and the story is not what most expected.
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5 Tips for Establishing Effective Hybrid Work

How to Find a Productive Middle Ground for Working in the New Normal(ish)  
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Using the Check-in to Cultivate a Culture of Growth and Trust

on Apr 21, 2021 9:15:00 AM By | Lynne Levy | 0 Comments | Company Culture Trust Growth Mindset
As leaders and HR departments move away from last year's "keep the lights on" approach, they're turning their attention toward determining how best to help their organizations grow and innovate. With the rise of machine learning and artificial intelligence, the only way for organizations to survive and grow is to change their employee experience model by shifting from treating employees as resources to treating them as valued and respected human beings. Only by creating a more human-centered organizational culture will companies thrive in this new decade. This human-centered culture is built around the manager—employee relationship, at the center of which is the check-in. As part of an ongoing conversation between managers and employees, the check-in has evolved from focusing on project status and deadlines to shaping ongoing, continuous employee growth and development. To fully drive a positive employee experience, managers and HR leaders must support three types of check-ins: goal-setting, ongoing, and career.   Goal-setting check-in (1 to 3 times per year) This check-in focuses on aligning the employee's goals, projects, and tasks to organizational goals. It helps keep the employee growing throughout the year and drives collaboration between the employee and their manager. It also helps the employee understand the impact of their work by giving them a look into the organization's vision. At the beginning of each year, employees and managers should define the employee's overall goals, then collaborate on breaking them down into the tasks that the employee will focus on in the first quarter. (Similar check-ins should take place at the start of each subsequent quarter.) Managers should also allocate time during each quarter to enabling employees to focus on their learning and growth. The goals identified through these check-ins should have the following characteristics: Easy to recall. Keep goals simple, meaningful, and easy to remember. For example, "increase customer engagement year over year by 15 percent" is not particularly memorable, but few are likely to forget "ensure that customers are 15 percent more delighted." Coherent. Goals must fit together and not compete with each other. For example, employees may struggle to meet the goals "execute flawlessly" and "act with urgency," which conflict with each other. Challenging but possible. Make goals both measurable and attainable but also challenging enough to stretch the employee.   Ongoing check-in (weekly or biweekly) This check-in focuses on continuous growth and course correction. It should not be an interrogation during which the manager grills the employee about the status of their projects. (Status updates should instead be shared via other channels, such as e-mail.) Rather, this check-in must be collaborative, build trust, and focus on growth. This check-in should include the following actions: Identification of obstacles to the completion of goals Collaboration to manage challenges effectively Recognition of what is going well Discussion of feedback from across the organization Because this check-in empowers the employee to influence the direction of their work throughout the year, they do not have to wait until the end-of-year performance review to adjust their path and overcome challenges. Feedback from this check-in can enable course correction and support employee growth and goal completion. This check-in also helps build trust between the employee and manager, thus improving engagement and retention.   Career check-in (1 or 2 times per year) This check-in focuses entirely on the employee, with the goal of supporting them in both their short-term and their long-term career progression. The manager should brainstorm with the employee about potential future opportunities, any new skills they might need, and where the employee sees themself down the line. The outcome should include setting goals that help drive employee development.   Features of Effective Check-ins Managers who want to ensure that their check-ins with employees are as productive as possible should use the following best practices: Let the employee drive. Empower employees to schedule check-ins and (within a broad framework) determine their content. Keep check-ins separate. When different types of check-ins are clumped together into one meeting, issues from one discussion will spill over into another discussion and become more difficult to address. Embrace a growth mindset. Always assume that the employee can learn, grow, and expand. Open up. Each person should come to the check-in with a mindset of trust, honesty, and positive intent. Even if difficult topics need to be discussed, remaining open creates a safe environment in which an authentic conversation can occur. Listen actively. Keep multitasking (such as checking texts or e-mail) to a minimum. When both parties are actively listening, the chance of miscommunication decreases—and trust increases. Check-ins fulfill an essential role in the employee experience by providing employees with opportunities to receive continuous feedback. More collaborative check-ins yield engaged workers who will stay the course as the organization grows and evolves. As companies shift into the fast lane of growth, it is critical for them to remember that their workforces are their most vital assets. Keeping employees engaged is a key to organizational success.
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Blockchain and the Transformation of HR

on Mar 31, 2021 9:15:00 AM By | Ike Bennion | 0 Comments | Company Culture HR Department Finance
No longer a pipe dream but now a reality, the use of blockchain in HR has the potential to improve recruitment, hiring, learning, and many other aspects of people's work experiences. In a typical scenario, an applicant collects the relevant blockchain credentials (e.g., contact information, job history, education history) that have been issued to them over their careers, opens up their blockchain wallet on their smartphone, scans a QR code on a job description, then taps "accept" to submit their credentials in both machine-readable and human-readable formats. Their potential new employer then sees those credentials in its application tracking system. Best of all, this data has already been validated by authoritative sources, so recruiters can immediately make a decision whether to hire that applicant without having to spend more time vetting their qualifications. This breathtakingly simple use for blockchain has powerful ramifications for HR. Like any business process, recruitment involves gathering clear data as quickly as possible and rapidly making decisions that have long-lasting impacts. Data gathering in most business areas is fairly straightforward (e.g., projected return on capital for the finance department, machine throughput for operations) but becomes more complicated when workforces are involved. Blockchain helps address that complication. The promise of blockchain is an unlocked data-rich ecosystem in which users can accumulate data about themselves over their lifetimes and thus more easily show their unique value. For employers, blockchain mitigates the problem of unclear or missing data by providing validated data (which, until now, hasn't been readily accessible) to inform their strategic workforce decisions. For some time, discussions about artificial intelligence have dominated HR conferences. However, AI hasn't managed to deliver on its promise of clearer decision making. AI must feed on a clean, rich, wide data set, and companies (large and small, global and local) have struggled to structure and house data in a way that powers effective predictive, prescriptive, and analytical insights. Blockchain is the high-octane fuel for better performance of artificial intelligence and machine learning systems. The timing of blockchain's arrival couldn't be better, as the business world is currently working to address several momentous questions: How do we transition the workforce in the face of intense and perpetual disruption? How do we find talent to fuel growth and expansion? How do we rapidly redeploy talent in the face of automation? How do we recognize talent in an unbiased, modern way? How do we provide clarity to individuals about where they are and where they could go? The answers to these questions are rooted in a clearer and deeper understanding of the current state of blockchain.   Better Data for Better Workforce Outcomes Blockchain will help alleviate these problems by first improving the quality and availability of the data used to evaluate the value of workers. Currently, companies still rely on unreliable (and not necessarily relevant) information such as college credentials (e.g., GPA, alma maters) and titles. With more relevant job-related data, such as a certification for leadership, a highly innovative project, or a skills rating backed by an accrediting or authoritative body, employers can evaluate candidates on abilities and experience that are valuable for their organizations' specific needs. The machine-readable and human-readable layers of data contained within blockchain reduce the filtering and processing of the data required by artificial intelligence and machine learning. For example, recruitment relies heavily on natural language processing to transform data so it can reveal insights about candidates. (However, that technology is still being refined.) Established standards for different values of data, such as O*NET (a U.S. Department of Labor database of occupational definitions) and Credential Engine (a nonprofit database of credential information), ensure that the value of a skill or credential is well understood wherever it goes.   A Cumulative Transcript for Long-Term Skills Development Blockchain will also transform the future of work by creating a development transcript for the employee. Today's modern learners can draw on after-work extension classes, massively open online courses (MOOCs), YouTube videos, and other learning options, and turn to corporate training systems only because they have to. By creating a continuous, uninterrupted record of employee development, blockchain can help people better leverage all of the development resources (especially modern corporate learning systems) at their disposal. Companies are most familiar with the qualifications and abilities their employees have that relate to their current jobs. But as automation forces the business world to more rapidly deconstruct, evaluate, and reconstruct roles, visibility into employees' wider abilities (e.g., backgrounds, unique certifications, other dimensions of their capabilities) may become important for helping organizations adapt to their future needs. Combined with AI-powered tools such as the Cornerstone Skills Graph, "an engine powered by AI and machine learning that automatically detects skills from different sources (profiles, job titles, training, job offers) and identifies them in different use cases,"blockchain can capture and standardize the individuals' capabilities so they can be quickly accessed when needed. 1   An Elevation of HR's Strategic Role The third way blockchain will transform the operations of HR is by elevating HR's strategic position within the company. Even in the age of scaled HR, a lot of checking, double checking, inputting, background checking, modifying, and verifying is still taking place. Blockchain cuts the clerical work. With more meaningfully structured data, different databases can share information in both human-readable and machine-readable layers. The effectiveness of AI systems to help predict retention risk, identify new skills, and plan succession would be much greater that it currently is. The real-world applications of blockchain are just the first step in the transformation of HR. As powerful technology becomes more generally accessible, HR will be better positioned to manage disruption, to respond to growth opportunities, and to build a competitively skilled workforce for tomorrow's workplace.
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How to Use Workplace Culture to Motivate Employees

on Jan 13, 2021 9:00:00 AM By | O.C. Tanner | 0 Comments | Company Culture Workplace Employee Engagement
Anyone who worked an office job during the 1990s is probably very familiar with motivational posters. Each featured a photo of scenery or of someone succeeding at a challenging activity (such as rock climbing or hang gliding), and below it a black background with some pithy quote. During that decade, it was impossible to walk into a corporate workplace without spotting at least one of those posters hanging next to the watercooler or gracing the HR director's door.
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What HR Will Look LIke After COVID-19

on Oct 7, 2020 10:09:00 AM By | Danielle Cronquist | 0 Comments | Company Culture Management Remote Coronavirus
Over the past several months, many organizations have transitioned to fully remote work, weddings and graduations have been canceled, and destination vacations have been put on indefinite hold. Across the USA, COVID-19 numbers continue to vary wildly, with some states seeing dropoffs in their cases while others experiencing resurgences as they make attempts to reopen. Everyone is desperate for normalcy to return, but what that will look like after the pandemic isn't completely clear yet. Even though this isn't the world's (or even the nation's) first pandemic, it's hard to know exactly how - and when - it will end. Business operations will certainly be different in the post-COVID-19 world. HR departments in particular should start looking now at predictions for what "normal" life will be like in the future so they be prepared when employees return to their offices and business can operate as usual.   More Remote Work At the beginning of the pandemic, many offices transitioned as quickly as possible to being fully remote. (Even now, as states are opening back up, many businesses continue to encourage working from home where feasible.) Many of these newly remote employees have found that they enjoy working from home and are more productive there. In-office work isn't going to disappear, but now that employers have seen that workers can be just as productive from home as in the office and some employees have found they prefer working in the solitude of their homes, more companies will offer remote work options after the pandemic. In addition, because many companies have taken financial hits during COVID-19 and will be interested to reduce costs by cutting back on the amount of expensive office space they need.   Increased Wellness Programs COVID-19 has taken a heavy mental, physical, and financial toll on many people. When the lockdowns and quarantines finally end, employees may need help getting back on track and destressing. By providing employees with resources and support in key wellness areas such as finances and mental health, companies can help those workers (and their organizations) adjust to the new normal.   Adjusted Sick Leave With a new emphasis on staying healthy and everyone feeling a bit germaphobic, many companies may choose to adjust their sick-leave policies. This could mean allowing for more sick days so employees don't feel the need to come to work if they're unsure about their health. Or it might mean encouraging employees to perform symptom checks every morning and to work from home if they show any signs of illness, even if they are feeling well enough to work.   Mask Wearing Whether or not working from home is possible, it seems likely that most employers will require or strongly encourage employees to wear face masks until COVID-19 is completely eradicated. If companies choose to have their employees follow this practice, they may wish to provide them with reusable or disposable masks.   Greater Emphasis on Company Culture Well before COVID-19, HR departments have championed company culture. But the pandemic has helped workers and executives recognize the importance of having a strong company culture in place to raise employee engagement and company performance. Culture is easier to build and maintain in an office, where coworkers can model it for each other. But when the workforce is dispersed, a company's culture is more likely to fracture - or even cease to exist completely. HR will need to work hard to counter that effect.   Altered Hiring and Budget Plans COVID-19 has had a strong negative impact on the economy, with many businesses experiencing layoffs and expense cuts. Moving forward, HR departments must work with hiring and budget plans that look extremely different from the ones they had at the start of the year. With fewer funds available for hiring and recruitment, many HR departments will choose to look internally for candidates. It's more cost effective to train a current employee to step into a bigger role than it is to seek out a new hire from outside. Not only will hiring internally save on costs, but offering promotions can help boost employee engagement and morale. Because the pandemic has affected every business in different ways, it's impossible to say exactly what the post-COVID-19 world will look like for any one organization. It is safe, however, to say that things will change. To help smooth the transition, companies should start planning now for their return to the office and eventual return to normal business.
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Induction, Orientation, and Onboarding: What’s the Difference?

on Mar 18, 2020 9:45:00 AM By | Stijn de Groef | 0 Comments | Company Culture Onboarding Policies Welcome
The period that starts when a new hire signs a contract and ends after the first few months on the job can set the tone for his or her success (or failure) within an organization. But though many companies have great new-recruit processes, too often they conflate induction and orientation with onboarding. By engaging mostly in activities that fall into the first two categories while assuming (incorrectly) that they’ve therefore covered the third, those organizations are missing opportunities to engage and delight their ambassadors of tomorrow.
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