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HR Connection blog

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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How to Make Virtual Live Courses Engaging and Effective

on Apr 7, 2021 9:15:00 AM By | Tracy Peterson | 0 Comments | Training Education Virtual
When it comes to professional development and leadership courses, it's often the case that the most memorable learning experiences come not from the curriculum but from the interactions among the participants. That's why the most successful learning programs usually have a strong, in-person component. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has limited that option and forced companies to rethink how to do their training. For many organizations, the pandemic-era game plan has involved a serious pivot to varied digital learning formats (such as on-demand, self-paced, and bite-sized). Amid all those changes, though, human interaction remains irreplaceable. But what can a company do when a pandemic removes in-person learning from the equation? Should the learning and development industry simply reformat its curricula as virtual instructor-led courses? That isn't the solution. To get the highest-quality learning resources they can, organizations must remember that live learning is most effective only when used at optimal times and integrated into learners' overall journeys. They must consider certain factors to ensure that all parties involved—instructors as well as learners—are positioned to succeed.   Give learners the freedom to engage The right time to offer live learning is when learners will gain value and fresh perspectives from being in each other's company. Consider the power of a simple question—especially when it draws attention to something that other participants hadn't thought of before. Such questions can take a course in new, thought-provoking directions. Here are a few examples of live learning formats that can increase engagement, even in virtual settings: Instructor-led training that encourages learners to interact and participate in polls Breakout sessions in which participants brainstorm with peers or apply what they've learned to real-world challenges Roleplaying exercises that enable learners to engage in teamwork and learn from each other's diverse backgrounds Sandboxes that provide safe spaces in which participants can experiment together   Help instructors reskill for virtual formats Reskilling in-person instructors for virtual environments ranks among the biggest challenges that organizations face today. Fortunately, there are several strategies that instructors can use to improve their success as educators under current circumstances: Engage in self-paced, online courses to develop dynamic skills for presenting to live audiences. Learn how to master the company's virtual collaboration and meeting tools. (Even little things such as muting and unmuting participants can make a big difference in a learner's experience.) Put themselves in their learners' shoes by taking courses on topics outside their usual areas of expertise.   Establish a knowledge baseline among learners Before hosting a live course, make sure that all of the registered participants have already taken prerequisite courses. Otherwise, less-experienced students could jeopardize the group's time with entry-level questions, or simply disengage when they realize they're far behind their peers. Some organizations attempt to enforce prerequisite policies by kicking off the class roster students who don't meet the requirements. A much more effective solution, though is to incentivize them, perhaps through some sort of gamification. For example, students who complete prerequisites could earn a prize, such as a digital badge they can show to their managers, peers, and networks.   Plan courses to sustain value from human interaction Learning and development professionals also need to figure out how to replace in-person training content—a difficult task because learners (and the leaders who champion learning) are by nature social animals. An environment that enables questions, answers, and camaraderie elevates the learning experience from something valuable to something memorable. But how can companies plan their live learning experiences so that these human interactions persist beyond the course? Recurring office-hour sessions and community groups are some possible solutions. In such virtual meeting spaces, learners can continue to come together to trade insights, ask questions, support each other, and satisfy their need for social interaction.   Consider how live courses fit into a blended learning strategy Remember, learning should be easy and flexible whenever possible. This is especially true in the pandemic era, as learners continue to struggle with balancing life and work. In certain scenarios, live courses and the engagement they provide fit together perfectly. But in many cases, organizations will want to choose other options (such as on-demand videos and comprehensive learning paths, for example) from their blended-learning toolboxes. Blended learning options can also be tailored to fit employees' job responsibilities and daily challenges. Companies should also consider giving learners the flexibility to learn on their terms (perhaps on a self-paced basis and in bite-sized pieces) to meet the "how," "where," and "when" criteria that work best for them.   Final thoughts It will be a while before the world can return to prepandemic life. Fortunately, in the meantime, technology makes it possible for people to connect with and help each other. By putting the proper time, planning, and creativity in their virtual live-learning sessions, organizations can give their learners experiences that are not only good for their jobs and careers but also good for their souls.
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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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Business Ethics in Human Resources

on Mar 24, 2021 9:00:00 AM By | Jessica Miller-Merrell | 0 Comments | Ethics Business HR Department
Business ethics is defined as "the study of appropriate business policies and practices regarding potentially controversial subjects including corporate governance, insider trading, bribery, discrimination, corporate social responsibility, and fiduciary responsibilities." It's the application of a moral framework to the way organizations do business, and it shapes and changes the way businesses operate. It can be both normative (e.g., how employee behavior is related to cultural or social issues) or descriptive (e.g., how to incorporate best practices into an organization's policies and procedures). Failure to implement certain ethical principles may hurt a company's bottom line. These principles include managing financial or other customer data in a responsible way, avoiding fraud and misrepresentation in operations, treating employees and customers with respect and dignity, and giving back to the organization's community. Business ethics is especially important in HR. As the department that deals directly with people employed by a company, HR holds a large part of the responsibility for upholding business policies and practices in an ethical manner. SHRM's code of ethics for professional responsibility in HR states: As HR professionals, we are responsible for adding value to the organizations we serve and contributing to the ethical success of those organizations. We accept professional responsibility for our individual decisions and actions. We are also advocates for the profession by engaging in activities that enhance its credibility and value. (Indeed, ethics plays such an important role in HR that as of January 1, 2021, HRCI requires anyone seeking PHR or SPHR recertification to have at least one credit in ethics.) Hiring is one of the areas for HR that is most affected by business ethics. For example, if an employee is found to have falsified information on a job application after they have already been hired, if HR does not have policies in place to address this specific situation, the organization could face potential wrongful termination lawsuits. Also, in order to achieve legal compliance as well as ethically sound decision making, at the earliest stage of recruitment the company must address issues of equal opportunity, antidiscrimination policies, and legal compliance with regards to hiring practices Another issue that HR has to address with some frequency is the ethics relating to employee privacy. For example, companies routinely perform background checks on job applicants before extending offers of employment. From the employer's perspective, these checks are necessary because they reduce liability by verifying that the information the applicant provided is true. However, employers must follow reasonable guidelines in obtaining this information: inquiries must be related to the job to which the applicant is applying, and the applicant must be told what information will be checked and then give written consent for the potential employer to obtain it. HR is also responsible for legal compliance with regard to recordkeeping. For example, the Americans with Disabilities Act specifies that employers must keep employee disability records separate from personnel files and in a secured location. Other laws, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, also have their own confidentiality requirements for the treatment of medical records. HR professionals must be aware of how federal and state laws affect the collection or storing of employee information. In HR, the application of ethics means helping an organization embed and uphold its values at all levels in order to maintain and increase trust. Accountability, or taking responsibility, is a key aspect of that role. Ethical policies and procedures for the company are in place not just to ensure that employees and company leaders do the right thing but also to protect the company from liability. HR is the department that develops, distributes, and enforces these policies and procedures.
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Education's 2021 Flash Hiring Boom

on Mar 15, 2021 10:13:35 AM By | Employment Enterprises | 0 Comments | Education hiring Recruitment
A Look at the Specialists and Recruiting Push behind the Return to Full-time School The Coronavirus Pandemic has taught the world many lessons, including how essential in-person K-12 schooling is to the healthy functioning of the U.S. economy and workforce. As Axios reported this February, economists predict that the past year will deliver a $14 to $28 trillion long-term blow to the economy “due to coronavirus-induced learning loss.” The need for childcare and remote schooling support at home has forced millions of parents out of the labor force and become a hot-button issue for every state government and school board across the country.
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How to Stay Ahead of Challenges to Virtual Recruitment

on Mar 11, 2021 2:42:54 PM By | iCIMS | 0 Comments | Recruitment AI
In response to the lockdown measures of 2020, virtual recruitment went from "nice to have" to "need to have" seemingly overnight. As talent teams use innovative recruitment software to transform the ad hoc solutions of 2020 into long-term strategies for the future, they are paying particular attention to virtual recruitment for several reasons: Work-from-home arrangements are expected to continue for some time, with hiring managers predicting that "26.7 percent of the workforce will [still] be fully remote" at the end of 2021 1 and flexible remote policies on the table for 57 percent of employers even after the pandemic ends. 2 A significant number of people apply for positions outside their geographic areas (for example, during the fall of 2020, "more than a quarter of all applications submitted through iCIMS' platform were from out-of-state candidates"3 ), which limits the use of in-person interactions during the hiring process. More and more companies are embracing the use of communication tools (such as video conferencing) that facilitate teamwork and collaboration among geographically dispersed colleagues. In fact, over two-thirds of the executives interviewed for one recent survey believe that "video conferencing delivers many of the benefits of being face-to-face."4 In light of these and other similar trends, now is the perfect time for HR to pause, reflect, and strategize on what's next for virtual recruitment. Considering how successfully the HR industry collectively rose to the challenge of quickly adapting a process that depends on human interaction to one that works in a virtual environment, there is no doubt that HR can achieve much more in this area when it has more time to plan. By understanding and anticipating areas of opportunity, HR can stay ahead of challenges related to virtual recruitment and successfully develop and implement effective virtual hiring practices. CHALLENGE: It's tough to stay compliant when business and legal requirements vary from state to state (or country to country). SOLUTION: Implement one system for viewing robust analytics from multiple recruitment tools. The key to quickly and efficiently compiling reports to meet widely differing requirements is to access information from across the entire HR tech stack. A platform that integrates all of the organization's recruitment software solutions (such as tools for video interviewing and onboarding) provides transparency into the full talent life cycle, thus yielding flexible and straightforward reporting. CHALLENGE: Social distancing makes it more challenging to engage candidates who have higher expectations for virtual interactions. SOLUTION: Secure high-performing hires by using engaging and scalable outreach throughout the hiring process. To create high-touch experiences, most modern career sites now have recruitment chatbots, smart applications that automatically respond to FAQs in order to keep curious career-site visitors informed and interested. Allowing candidates to self-schedule interviews and using text messages for communication with potential hires can also help companies meet modern expectations for engagement. By freeing up recruiter time earlier in the hiring process, organizations not only reach more talent with no added effort but also gain more time for meaningful relationship-building. CHALLENGE: Without in-person validation, the dreaded "application black hole" feels even more isolating. SOLUTION: Check in regularly with candidates (but use methods that don't incur extra work on the recruiter's end). The speed of an organization's outreach can make the difference between an anxious applicant and a promising prospect. Timely responses are especially important when different time zones (and related communication delays) are involved. Text-based recruitment software is one great solution that allows recruiters to automate updates and easily send reminders and answer questions. This responsiveness shows candidates that companies value their time and therefore increases applicants' engagement. CHALLENGE: The lack of in-person meetings makes it harder for recruiters to screen for emerging (and important) skillsets. SOLUTION: Use video to get to know applicants. The past year has forced everyone to develop new soft skills, especially in areas such as social influence, resilience, active learning, and stress tolerance—all of which can be considered when making a new hire. Each role has certain baseline of requirements, but employers also want to know how a new hire's abilities complement the skills their prospective team already has. With modern functionality that makes it easier to create a more structured interview process, improve feedback and reporting, and operate within an organization's ATS workflow, video interviews can play a crucial role in obtaining vital information about candidates. CHALLENGE: When they can't experience a company's culture in person, candidates struggle to know if it is a good fit for them. SOLUTION: Use video to show off the organization. Video is useful not just for helping organizations assess candidates but also for helping candidates assess organizations. For example, live conversations with a diverse panel of current staff during the screening process can help applicants see multiple aspects of the company; prerecorded employee profiles posted on the organization's career site can also fill that function. CHALLENGE: Poorly timed offer letters can cause companies to miss out on talent in competitive markets. SOLUTION: Create a formalized offer process that kicks off as soon as a verbal offer is made. Automated offer management gives companies a competitive edge and enables them to maintain the personalized feel of their recruitment and hiring. A library of preapproved language (with location-specific terms and clauses) and e-signature capability can streamline the offer process and increase a company's chance of getting a yes from a desirable candidate. With social distancing still the current norm and remote work predicted to remain widespread in the postpandemic workplace, companies have no choice but to innovate new recruitment strategies. Thanks to new technologies, virtual recruitment is one very powerful option for meeting that need. It does bring some interesting challenges to the table—but nothing that recruiters armed with careful planning can't handle.
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The Importance of "Momboarding"

on Mar 10, 2021 9:30:00 AM By | Karina Schultheis | 0 Comments | Retention Onboarding HR Department Mothers
For most women, returning to work after maternity leave is, at the very least, complicated. No matter how much they love their jobs, their bosses, and their colleagues, and no matter how eager they are to return to the professional world, many new mothers feel conflicted about transitioning back to the workplace (and away from being with their new children constantly).
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Performing the Core Functions of HR Remotely

on Mar 3, 2021 9:30:00 AM By | Suzanne Lucas | 0 Comments | Employee Engagement HR HR Department Remote
A human resources department isn't just a team of experts who know how to manage people: it's a team of experts who know how to manage the people in their particular company. Although every successful HR team is unique, most HR folks use similar tried-and-true strategies for keeping things running smoothly. For example, many check in with employees regularly to discuss their goals and offer them development opportunities. Some gauge employee sentiment by observing behavior in the office, and some take managers out for coffee to discuss leadership or succession questions. Whatever strategies they employ, the HR activities that most successfully address problems share one common feature: interfacing with people.
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Get Ready for the Digital Workplace

on Feb 24, 2021 9:30:00 AM By | Jessica Miller-Merrell | 0 Comments | Technology Workplace Digital Era Remote
Long before the pandemic forced everyone into working from their kitchens, home offices, or bedrooms, the world was very much on its way to eliminating the need for conventional workspaces. Today's younger generations have grown up in digital environments and already feel pretty comfortable doing much of their work online. But even though those digital natives probably find the prospect of working from home less intimidating than many members of older generations, in 2020 people of all ages are facing the same challenge: familiarizing themselves with the digital workplace.
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