2018: Personalization Trends in HR

In consumer markets over the past few years, companies have faced a growing demand for customized experiences. This trend is now appearing with far greater frequency  in the realm of employee engagement, where human resources staff attempt to implement technology and changes in practice sensitive to individual workers’ talents, needs and preferences. Personalization of the employee experience can take many forms — from individually tailored learning platforms to employee choice of work spaces.

Personalized Learning

Forward-thinking companies are taking a personalized approach to employee engagement, development and training, adapting lessons, available offerings and learning experiences based on each employee’s learning style, competencies and retention. Personalized training allows targeting of areas in need of improvement, challenging the employee without overwhelming them and saving the company both time and money thanks to elimination of unnecessary training or training that employees don’t retain. Personalized learning, whether through provision of tailored content or the giving employees their choice of curated content according to their interests, increases motivation, engagement and retention.

Relevant Communications

Employee-facing self-service apps, chatbots and communications not only better engage staff through the provision of relevant information, but also help human resources departments better use resources. For example, one company developed an app that offers fast, personalized information on questions frequently directed to human resources staff related to vacation policy, benefits administration or basic processes, such as requesting time off.

Choice in Workspace

People excel in different work environments, and different environments are preferred for different work purposes. Workers are significantly more engaged at work when they have control over where and how they work. Human resources departments are beginning to collaborate with facilities and real estate departments within their organizations to design spaces that give employees choices of where to do their work based upon the activity they are working on, such as collaborative work with teams or tasks requiring a high degree of focus.

Want to tailor your communications to your unique workforce? Projections offers completely custom video production, websites and eLearning programs that engage workers and keep them productive. From concept to writing, shooting to post-production, create the message your employees need. Then, deploy your final product in in-person meetings, online, or even in-home with personal mailings.

 

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Tweaking Your Employer Brand for Better Recruiting

Why are so many skilled professionals clamoring to land a job with companies like Facebook and Google? While yes, these companies appear stable and lucrative, there is something much bigger fueling interest: their employer brands. The perks, the opportunities, the flexibility and the social environment – these are the factors job seekers want to hear about. So if your company isn’t attracting quite the right candidates or if your retention rates are lower than you’d prefer, consider tweaking your employer brand.

Where Are You Taking Them?

No false advertising here. Just start providing an honest look at your company’s work environment. That’s why it’s key to focus on the Employee Engagement Journey and help prospective employees understand what it means to become a vital part of your team.

While each job and each person is on a unique path, clearly defining what your employer brand promises can go a long way toward establishing trust. You might publish pictures from an office party or a sneak peek at employees collaborating on a new product. Just make sure the kind of content you publish aligns with how your company presents its brand identity and values.

Consider recruiting current employees to participate in communicating your employer brand. While you can talk about how wonderful the company is all day long, seeing social media posts or reading blogs from employees themselves often creates a stronger image of work culture.

An Employer of Choice

There are a few key factors that will propel your brand from anonymity to popularity. As these factors are reiterated and established over time, candidates will come to trust your brand.

Being an “employer of choice” requires that you think of “compensation” as more than just wages paid. For a company with a strong employer brand and reputation, compensation includes the full range of benefits an employees enjoy. Broaden that scope to include things that move team members along in their journey with the company, including skill-building workshops, work-from-home opportunities and bonding and networking internally with co-workers. Be sure to present the full range of compensation (your employer brand) to candidates, as few will be fully aware.

Another thing to remember is to keep your compensation package open and adaptable. As you communicate more with employees, you may find that certain benefits need to be tweaked, added, or removed to be sure the brand is supporting their journey.

Communicate Your Employer Brand

One of the most powerful forces that will make you an employer of choice is word of mouth. Your current employees are the best spokespersons for your brand – both during and after their time with you. Thus it is critical to continuously check in on employee engagement. Keep the lines of communication open so when a change needs to happen, employees have no problem talking to you about it.

Consider creating a “pre-hire orientation” message that will communicate all that is expected of employees. This way, your recruiting efforts have a better chance of resonating with the right candidates. If an applicant sees something they don’t like in the pre-hire orientation process, they (and you) know your company isn’t a fit for them.

Build a network of trust both within and outside of your company, and your brand reputation will shine through everything else. As Lindsay Nahmiache, co-founder of Jive PR eloquently phrased it in Forbes, “Building a network is a gradual process that takes months and sometimes years to pay off . It consists of continually providing support and value in two-way relationships.”

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11 Examples of How Great Social Media Sets Employers Apart

Forging meaningful connections via social media is a goal of most people. It’s not just individuals though; about 50 percent of large companies and 75 percent of small businesses use social media.

Here are a few examples of how companies excel in using social media:

  1. Best Buy’s Blue Shirt Nation (BSN): This is a community of Best Buy employees who share knowledge, best practices and ideas, regardless of their positions and even ages. Best Buy has successfully integrated this internal network with its employees’ lives and have used it to empower employees and engage them meaningfully.
  2. Zappos: Two-thirds of employees of this online shoe and clothing shop have a social media presence, where they are encouraged to freely connect online with customers. Besides that, the company fosters a culture that helps employees thrive and be happy. You can be sure that no employee of such a company would consider union organizing.
  3. Indium Corporation of America: This solder manufacturer has ten blogs and 15 bloggers. The company has been able to cultivate relationships that enhance not just customer satisfaction and brand loyalty but also employee satisfaction.
  4. Latham & Watkins LLP: The private social network of this large law firm is useful from recruitment to retirement as it contains relevant official and personal content.
  5. Starbucks: Although this popular coffeehouse chain has a social media team, it encourages its employees to share updates about the brand on their own social media accounts. Besides, it has an online community, MyStarbucksIdea, where customers and employees can suggest ideas to improve the Starbucks experience and see it happen. Such employers suck the wind out of the union-organizing sail!
  6. Giantnerd: This company sells equipment for outdoor activities like hiking, biking and snowboarding. They created a social network within their website. You can join it with just one click upon which you will receive a five-percent discount. If you click the Like button on the site or join its Facebook community, you get exclusive deals. Since adding the Like button, Giantnerd’s average order has increased by 50 percent.
  7. San Chez Bistro: This tapas bistro and restaurant uses social media to be in sync with its customers. You can use Twitter to reserve a seat, which is known as “tweet-ahead seating.” Once you tweet, the online hostess tweets back to confirm. They also use their Foursquare page to offer incentives to patrons.
  8. Hootsuite: This popular social media dashboard regularly posts its employees’ photos on Instagram. It tags the employee in the description. Acknowledging and applauding employees improve employee morale and can be a positive union-avoidance method.
  9. Marsh Inc.: When this global risk management and insurance broker wanted to teach finance to a group of employees, it approached its finance experts, who created a 27-part blog series that included both written content and videos taken using phones.
  10. Deloitte: The multinational professional services firm has an internal social network, D Street. Each employee gets a personal landing page at D Street, complete with a photo gallery, an “about me” section and a blog. D Street also has online communities where employees can interact with each other. You can be sure they don’t discuss union card signing there!
  11. Southwest Airlines: This major US airline gets its staff to share stories on its blog, Nuts About Southwest, and post things about the firm on social media. Its social media actions were much appreciated in July 2016, when a technical outage brought the company website and email system down and Southwest’s social media team worked nonstop to respond to frantic queries.

Companies use social media largely to increase brand awareness or as marketing and sales tools. However, it can also be an excellent way to engage your workers meaningfully.

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HR’s Role In Controlling Sexual Harassment

The #MeToo campaign that recently hit social media has brought an important subject into the public’s eye – sexual harassment and sexual assault. This problem is one that stretches far and wide, but it is unknown how prevalent it really is. One issue that is particularly troublesome is that many employees don’t feel comfortable bringing their harassment complaints to the human resources department or any other representative of their employer.

Companies must ensure that they provide solid training for all employees as well as a clear plan for employees who are subjected to harassment of any sort. This strategy must also include a framework that ensures swift action to address the complaint.

Fear of Retaliation

One of the top priorities in these cases is separating the victim from the alleged harasser. Employees must be assured that retaliatory measures won’t be taken if they report sexual harassment, as this fear can keep a victim from speaking up. Anxiety over being fired or having to deal with other problems at work because they lodged a formal complaint can be a true deterrent in creating a positive work environment.

An estimated one in four employees are affected by sexual harassment while they are working, but experts believe that this is a low estimate because of the fear of reporting. Proper training regarding sexual harassment is one way to combat the problem of employees feeling fearful to report these actions.

From the employer’s standpoint, training can go a long way toward protecting the employer. One of the fastest growing complaint areas in which the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission deals with now is complaints of retaliation. The liability that companies face from retaliation complaints is actually much greater than what they face for a complaint of sexual harassment.

Factual complaints are encouraged

Factual complaints are a key point in sexual harassment cases. As much as employers need to encourage victims of sexual harassment to come forward, they must also require that these complaints are based on fact and not fabricated.

One way that employers can encourage factual complaints is to ask that employees clearly document the incidents, reporting them as soon as they happen. Keeping track of the time and date, type of action and any witnesses to the harassment can help with the investigation.

Witnesses must be encouraged to give a factual statement about the events when they are asked about them. Speaking to them privately and ensuring them that adverse actions for factual statements won’t be initiated or tolerated.

The situation gets touchy when there aren’t any witnesses, but employers must still take these complaints seriously. The more information the victim can provide can make the investigation much easier and a bit faster for the employer.

What You Can Do Now

Providing solid training on what constitutes harassment is a vital element of a defensible position for your company. Make sure your sexual harassment training is fully compliant with all current laws and, just as importantly, make it easy for employees to complete that training, repeating it as necessary to ensure compliance. Ideally, your training should be available 24-7 and outline a specific and understandable path for complaints, questions, and other two-way communication on this topic.

To protect your company and your employees, your harassment training should also include other kinds of harassment such as workplace bullying.

Ultimately, sexual harassment complaints are a difficult spot for all employers as well as employees. Through proper training and a solid plan for handling these complaints, employers can help to make their workplace a harassment-free zone.

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An Ounce of Prevention: The Comprehensive HR Audit

HR Audit Guide

An internal HR audit has the same goal as any other audit: to scrutinize business operations to ensure best practices are in place and consistently applied. Of course, an HR audit is exclusively focused on HR practices, offering an opportunity to identify deficiencies in employment policies and their application, employment-related documentation, and compliance with relevant employment law. Proactively auditing HR practices is the most effective method of addressing small issues before they have a chance to take up time and money that would be better spent elsewhere.

If you haven’t conducted a full review within the last couple of years, let this guide serve as a wake-up call to making an audit part of your Engagement Plan for the coming year.

WHY DO AN AUDIT?

The job of a Human Resources, Employee Relations or Labor Relations professional is often reactive: investigating employee relations issues, responding to a compliance violation, or searching through poorly maintained records when a legal claim is made. However, it is far more satisfying to take a proactive approach and address small problems before they become major headaches. HR auditing sets businesses up for success, establishing basic HR practices. Audits systematically review whether and how policies are being applied, ensuring consistency among staff members and compliance with legal and regulatory requirements.

Other benefits of HR audits include:

• Company-wide adoption of best practices

• Identification of potential processes improvements

• Reduction of errors and employee complaints

• Proactive preparation for government investigations

• Reduced likelihood of fines for noncompliance with employment regulations

• Possible reduction in insurance expenses

• Improved utilization of legal budgets

• Increased buy-in from managers regarding HR policies and practices

• Reduced likelihood of successful union organizing

HR Audit Guide

STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO YOUR FIRST AUDIT

Launching an HR audit is a major endeavor, and it is important to secure the appropriate resources. These subject matter experts are particularly helpful:

Legal Counsel – The results of an audit can be discoverable in future legal proceedings. Consult legal counsel for advice on protecting the business.

Department Leaders – Enlisting the help of department leaders saves time. They can point you towards the relevant records and explain how policies are applied from day to day.

Once your team is assembled, outline the areas you will audit and develop a list of audit questions. Common inquiries for HR audits include the following…

DOWNLOAD THE FULL GUIDE

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