HR Connection blog

5 Elements of Perfect Offboarding

on Jun 9, 2021 9:15:00 AM By | Jesse Finn | 0 Comments | Offboarding Employee Management Employee Exit
A good offboarding (or employee-exit management) strategy often ranks low on the priority list for busy HR leaders. They already have so much on their plates—bringing new employees into the fold, shaping their experiences with the organization, ensuring that they grow into fully-rounded hires—that they don't have time for offboarding. As the final opportunity to leave a positive impression on soon-to-be-former employees, though, exit management is important, and companies should treat it as such. The most effective offboarding programs touch on five key areas, each of which has distinct action steps.
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Why Team Members Should Get to Know Each Other

on Jun 2, 2021 10:00:00 AM By | Terri Klass | 0 Comments | Human Resources HR Team Building
During this unsettling time, when more people than ever are working remotely, many people are feeling isolated. Virtual meetings tend to focus on deadlines and data, leaving little time for team members to loop each other into their personal lives. Although the question "How are you doing today?" comes up, it usually elicits only brief responses—and the conversation then turns to the work at hand. Instead of treating remote gatherings as merely work-related meetings, leaders need to include in them a dimension of relationship building. Not only does getting to know team members address isolation concerns, but it can also yield several other benefits.
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The Definitive Guide to Recruitment Chatbots

on May 26, 2021 9:45:00 AM By | iCIMS | 0 Comments | Technology automation Recruitment
Chatbots (or digital assistants) have been around for a while, but their use has soared in recent years, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, and is expected to climb even higher. Not only are these AI-powered automated software robots rapidly growing smarter, but they're also becoming increasingly capable of handling recruitment tasks such as answering job seekers' questions, prescreening candidates, and scheduling interviews. (One of their most valuable contributions toward recruitment is their ability to recruit 24-7: at any time of day or night, a chatbot can connect a job seeker with positions that best match their skills, experience, and interests.) In order to best leverage chatbots for their own recruitment, though, hiring managers and HR staff first need a basic understanding of what they do and how they work.
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Upskilling and Reskilling: The Art of Coping with Change

on May 19, 2021 3:32:40 PM By | The ReWork Editors | 0 Comments | Change Management Upskilling Professional Development
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, preparing for constant change has become a fact of everyday life for businesses. In recent months, organizations have had to rapidly digitize processes'—faster than ever before'—and employees' responsiveness and adaptability have been critical to the success of this shift. Over the past year, leaders learned (if they didn't know it already) that companies that can reinvent themselves are better positioned to weather crises and thrive. Even when the pandemic ends, though, organizations must continue to give their teams the tools they need to be resilient and able to cope with uncertainty and adapt, so that the efforts made throughout the past year can be sustained and amplified.
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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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How to Run a Successful Wellness Challenge

on May 5, 2021 9:15:00 AM By | Matt Buchanan | 0 Comments | HR Department Wellness Teamwork
Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, much of the population has been experiencing skyrocketing stress levels. Social distancing and working from home mean people are getting out less and looking at screens more. With all of these factors taking a toll on people's mental and physical health, some organizations are using wellness challenges to help their teams support each other's well-being and try to rebuild healthy habits that might have been lost in the transition to remote work. A wellness challenge can take on many shapes and sizes, and what's right for one organization may not be right for another. The approach one company, Service Direct, used to run a successful three-month wellness challenge last summer could serve as a useful starting point for other organizations that want to develop their own programs.   Structure After establishing a three-month timeline for the Service Direct wellness challenge, the planning team selected daily tasks in three categories and assigned point values to each: High impact (3 points): exercising for 30 minutes, digitally detoxing (no screen time) for 4 hours, getting at least 7 hours of sleep, eating at least 3 servings of fruit or vegetables Medium impact (2 points): drinking at least 64 ounces of water, sharing gratitude for 3 things Low impact (1 point): journaling for 20 minutes, stretching for 20 minutes, meditating for 10 minutes, reading for 30 minutes An introductory video presented an overview of the program and made it easy for everyone to learn how to participate in it. Weekly updates (via Slack) to the scoreboard kept everyone updated on participants' efforts. At the end of the challenge, a wrap-up party (held virtually) celebrated everyone's efforts. Branded wellness-challenge t-shirts were mailed to all participants ahead of time so they could wear them on camera at the party, and the top three point getters received wellness-related prizes. Afterward, all participants were asked to complete a survey to help the company measure the program's impact. Overall, the response was very positive, with 100 percent of the participants (who were 70 percent of the company's employees) saying they would likely participate in a wellness challenge again. All participants also reported that the challenge motivated them to create new healthy habits, and some said that it helped them feel more aware and focused on their wellness. The only criticism was the program was too long, and some participants suggested that a monthly or bi-weekly challenge would be better. This program succeeded in improving employee wellness partly because it wasn't solely a fitness challenge but focused on overall wellness. In order to avoid narrowly defining wellness as just physical fitness (which can exclude some employees), the program intentionally featured a wide range of activities to include physical exercise, mental fitness, and emotional self-care. The biggest positive result of the wellness challenge, though, was the sense of community and purpose it fostered as colleagues shared their wellness journeys with each other. Since the end of the wellness challenge, many Service Direct team members have continued sharing their wellness activities in the program's Slack channel. That alone speaks volumes about the value a program like this brings to an organization.   Setting Up a Wellness Challenge Any business can benefit from running a wellness challenge (whether or not the world is in the middle of a pandemic) as long the program is well planned and well executed. By following these recommendations, program planners can help employees to get the most out of the challenge. Pick a leader. Right from the start, the program needs to have a go-to person available to answer questions. Knowing who is running the program and where they can turn for help will make employees more likely to participate in it from start to finish. Select a specific timeframe. People tend to struggle with commitment when a challenge or project is open-ended, which is why work projects tend to have specific deadlines. If a wellness challenge launches with no end date in sight, employees might put off joining until later—or just dismiss the program entirely. Centralize task management. Making it easy and fun for employees to join and participate in the programs requires coordination and planning—which are made much easier by using one location (such as a shared list or discussion forum, for example) as a place for brainstorming, planning, managing, and delegating tasks. Possible tasks include building a leaderboard, getting budget approval, creating a registration form, determining awards, planning the wrap-up party, and sending out the post-program feedback survey. Choose a variety of challenge activities. This step can make or break the success of a wellness challenge. Having diverse activity options makes the program more appealing to more people and better supports its ultimate goal: helping everyone feel good, be productive, and grow. Fitness-related activities provide a solid foundation for a wellness challenge, but the program should also include reading, having technology-free time, meeting sleep goals, and other activities that encourage everyone to be more mindful about how they use their time. Provide a shared tracking environment. The social aspect of a wellness challenge is a big part of what makes it work. People who try to develop new wellness habits on their own often struggle to stick with them. To emphasize the shared effort of a wellness challenge, record participants' activities and track their progress in one digital location (even something as simple a spreadsheet works).   Increasing Participation First and foremost: don't make participation in a wellness challenge mandatory. After all, someone who doesn't want to do it won't be motivated to engage in activities and make progress—which just defeats the whole purpose of such a program. The following strategies can help make the program more appealing to employees and encourage widespread participation. Make a bold announcement. People get dozens (or even hundreds) of messages a day—which makes a standard company-wide e-mail likely to escape their notice. The launch of a wellness challenge should be news that no one can miss, so design a compelling announcement and send it out via all of the business's communication channels. Simplify communication. Make it as easy as possible for participants to find and share information. From the start, keep all communication related to the challenge in one place—such as a dedicated Slack channel or digital document, or (once everyone is back in the office) a tracking station in the break room or other common space. Whatever the setup, it must be simple: making it complicated or frustrating will only cause people to drop out of the program. Keep the signups open. Don't prevennt employees from joining the challenge late! Publicly sharing program updates with the entire organization (not just participants) often elicits "fear of missing out" feelings, and people who didn't show much interest at the start of the challenge sometimes decide to jump in late once they see how much fun it is. Get some friendly competition going. Depending on a company's culture, a little friendly competition can encourage participation. Regular leaderboard updates and reminders about the wrap-up party (and the prizes!) at the end can help keep people motivated and interested. Don't let the competition become cutthroat, though: one key goal of a wellness challenge is to help employees learn to support each other and become a better team. Host a wrap-up party. This event recognizes and celebrates everyone's efforts and provides an opportunity for them to share what they've learned. A small gift (such as a t-shirt) for each person is a nice way to thank them for participating in the challenge, and prizes for the winners highlight their extra effort.   Give It a Try! Whether such a program follows the guidelines listed here or goes off in totally different directions doesn't matter as long as it focuses on bringing people together and provides support (and motivation) for them to improve their wellness. Under today's unusual circumstances, a wellness challenge is something that can help people find some much-needed positivity. But remember, the world doesn't need to be stuck in a pandemic to justify the launch of a wellness challenge. There's never a bad time to feel better!
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Nurture and Drip Marketing for Recruiters

on Apr 28, 2021 9:15:00 AM By | Mike McKerns | 0 Comments | Recruiting Marketing automation
As I'm sure you already know, recruiting and marketing have a lot in common. Both have prospects, pipelines, and leads. Writing a good job description is an artform that uses techniques directly from the marketing copy writer's playbook. The techniques recruiters use to attract candidates and the challenges they face staying top of mind are no different than what is being used down the hall in the marketing department. In the marketing world, we can leverage drip and nurture marketing campaigns to stay top of mind with our prospects and these exact same techniques fit nicely into a recruiter's tool kit as well. A drip marketing campaign is the easiest to implement. It's a type of automated email campaign that allows you to send out a series of scheduled and personalized emails to your contact database over an extended period of time. Drip marketing helps you to stay engaged with not quite ready candidates over a longer period of time through consistent touch points. Once you determine the goal of your drip campaign (stay top of mind with candidates, gain more referrals, etc.) use an automation tool like HubSpot or Active Campaign to share content on a defined schedule. Some examples of content you may want to email are A list of jobs you'd love to see referrals to Updates on how your company has flourished over the past year Interviews with current employees Anything that sets you apart from your competitors as an employer A nurture marketing campaign takes a bit more planning but can be highly effective. This type of campaign is built around a series of emails that are sent based on a candidate's behavior. The campaign will deliver timely, targeted information that helps guide them through their job search (or any goal that you set). As the candidate receives emails, they are presented with information based on your goals and their actions. Specific behavioral data matters in nurture campaigns, for example, how many times a candidate visited your website, which articles or guides they've read, and what jobs the applied to in the past. The goal is to deliver educational value while encouraging engagement. Unlike drip marketing, the nurture campaign is triggered by these actions, creating an even more personalized sending schedule. It can often take a lot of work to bring candidates into your database. If they are someone you'd like to hire one day, it's a good idea to keep in touch and using a little automation will help make the effort easy and scalable.
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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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5 Tips for Strategically Bringing Back Alumni Talent

on Apr 14, 2021 3:15:05 PM By | Employment Enterprises | 0 Comments | Retirement Succession Planning Alumni Talent
How to Leverage the Knowledge & Experience of Former Employees Most businesses view talent engagement in one of two ways. For some, it is a finite line with a starting point, achievements along the way and a clear end point. You’re hired, you work, and eventually you move on one day to a new opportunity or retirement. For other businesses, the talent relationship is a circular continuum—a life cycle in which people can move in and out. They welcome boomerangs (former employees who return) as part of their overall talent strategy. Is one better or worse?
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The Reinvention of HR

on Apr 14, 2021 9:15:00 AM By | Karina Schultheis | 0 Comments | HR HR Department
Even though HR still struggles to dispel its decades-long stereotype as a group of technically incompetent, soft-spoken, corporate enforcers (think of Toby from The Office), in recent years savvy, effective, data-driven HR teams have been actively reimagining everything from performance management to corporate culture. In 2020, COVID-19 and societal unrest made the HR function even more mission-critical and underscored the importance of human intellect in people management. Today, companies are leaning on CHROs and CPOs to lead their pandemic responses and to shape their growth strategies while keeping employees engaged, reconfiguring workflows, redeploying talent, and upskilling staff. Indeed, well-resourced HR teams that successfully managed the transition to a hybrid workplace are now a top competitive advantage for companies in every sector. Just as CFOs' roles were elevated following the 2008 financial crisis, HR's impact and innovative potential will be fully realized in the wake of 2020. Strategic, tactical people advocates will drive tangible business results.   The Shifting Nature and Language of HR When it comes to being both process champions (who work to improve workforce continuity, automating processes, and compliance) and people scientists (who understand, predict, and respond to or change human behavior), no other field comes close to HR. To fully realize its potential, though, HR must change its nature and language. Rather than treat people as "human capital" and focus on "measuring performance," HR leaders must treat people as people and support their overall passions, contributions, and potential. HR must rethink what it means to be "qualified," challenge the status quo, and find ways to be fair and equitable in a world that has neither equal footing nor a one-size-fits-all handbook.   Employees as Primary Stakeholders More than any other factor, employees have the single greatest impact on the success of their organizations. In fact, a 2019 panel of 600 senior executives "attribute[d] 72 percent of their company's value to their employees." 1 As organizations adapt to putting people before profits, it should be overwhelmingly clear that the most important stakeholders in any organization are its people. Rather than treat employees as a resource (that is, as a commodity to manage or to extract value from), today's organizations should put them at the center of their purpose. HR must lead these efforts. As technology continues to automate manual processes, HR has the opportunity—indeed, the obligation—to focus primarily on serving and enabling employees through meaningful strategic initiatives that address their well-being and long-term growth and development. It's time to think differently about employees, their relationships, and their impacts on organizations, and shift the focus to creating the right conditions that allow them to thrive. In a 2020 McKinsey & Company study designed to evaluate employee "well-being and work effectiveness" during COVID-19, "ten employee experience elements accounted for approximately 60 percent of differences in outcomes." 2 The study found that "in addition to basic needs (safety and security), three other experience themes (trusting relationships, social cohesion, and individual purpose) are having a disproportionate impact on employee well-being and work effectiveness." If HR doesn't prioritize enabling these drivers across every level of the organization, who will? And who stands to lose the most if they don't?   The Evolving Role of Technology Thoughtfully applied technology will continue to play an important role as HR functions begin to shift their focus back to their people. Foundational levels of safety and security will remain essential, and employees and leaders alike will continue to expect convenience, speed, and accuracy from HR processes. Many emerging technologies are capitalizing on these changes by offering scalable solutions designed to truly serve employees, such as easing financial strain, improving mental health through charitable giving, or keeping a pulse on employee sentiment so leaders can act on the topics that matter most to their people. Today's employees desire—and deserve—much more out of work than a paycheck. Armed with innovative workplace technologies and a renewed focus on supporting people, HR departments have never been more empowered to shift the employer—employee relationship from a transactional one to a transformational one. The result will be a diverse, engaged, and empowered workforce that's agile, flexible, and responsive to changing business demands.
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