Category Archives for Best Business Practices

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.

 

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.

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

Conducting an HR Audit

Creating a More Engaged Workforce With Improved Policies

Creating a highly engaged workforce has become a vital aspect of business success. Statistically, employee engagement has been poor in the last few years. According to recent data from Gallup, nearly 70 percent of the American workforce is disengaged; around the world it’s worse, with only 15 percent of workers engaged. When employee engagement is low, it can harbor dissatisfaction in employees, making them susceptible to reduced productivity, turnover and an increased presence of labor unions. Therefore, all organizations must have a system for checking that their labor and employment practices are conducive to a highly engaged workforce.

Our comprehensive guide to conducting an HR Audit can help you form a plan of action for making sure that your company is on the right track. Here are five incredibly easy (and practical) first steps you can take to develop workforce policies that promote improved employee engagement:

1. Review all Recruitment and Hiring Processes

The journey to greater employee engagement can be a difficult one, but it is easier to manage with a clear roadmap. This often starts before an individual actually begins work — in the pre-hire stage of their experience. When a company’s brand reputation emphasizes a positive culture where employees feel valued, it sets things up for long-term success.

What you can do now: The applicant tracking system and way candidates are treated throughout the interview, hiring and on boarding process makes a huge difference. Use the audit guide to help you to identify any areas that need to be corrected.

2. Improve your Compensation and Perks

All human resource teams must ensure that employees are receiving the best possible compensation and benefits in order to remain competitive. The 2017 PayScale Compensation Best Practices Report indicated that 32 percent of top performing companies have changed their compensation strategies as a result of employee engagement feedback. More employers are actively listening to what their employees are asking for and taking steps to ensure they get what they need.

What you can do now: Take the time to conduct a brief survey of your employees to find out if your compensation program needs improvement.

HR Audit Guide

3. Ensure Secure and Accessible Information

In today’s business world, everything from customer data to employee information is stored in a digital format. This often includes the use of scheduling, payroll, performance and benefit platforms. Ongoing monitoring is needed to ensure that data is accurate and up-to-date and that people are paid correctly.

What you can do now: Your organization should verify that all information systems are secure from information breaches, and accessible and easy-to-use for employees. A third-party auditing firm can often pinpoint potential issues.

4. Improve the Work Environment

Working conditions make a big difference in how employees view their employer. There are too many toxic conditions invading otherwise good companies. The aspects that human resources can control include: having clearly written policies to deal with things like employee grievances, anti-bullying, drug use, union card signing, and more.

What you can do now: Review employee handbooks and update labor law posters in employee break areas. For some objective feedback, ask employees during exit interviews what the company can do better.

5. Boost Employee Performance Management

When employees are recognized for their efforts at work, they tend to stay more engaged in their careers. Having a professional development program to guide employees through the various stages of career growth is one step in the right direction.

What you can do now: Review job types with management and create structured learning paths for each department.

By following this checklist , any human resource team can help to elevate employee engagement, productivity, knowledge and morale.

Looking For More? Download our FREE Guide to conducting a Labor & Employment Audit to help you make your workplace more positive & productive!

Never Mind the Alarmists: AI Isn’t the Workplace Apocalypse

Contrary to popular belief, artificial intelligence, or AI, is no longer relegated to science fiction novels and “think pieces” on future innovations. In reality, AI has already arrived and is much more pervasive than most people realize. For HR professionals, the technology is already providing dividends in the areas of recruiting, onboarding, and training procedures by significantly streamlining operations.

As useful as AI is already proving to be, it is already clear that it’s best utilized as an accompaniment to people in the workplace and not a replacement, allowing employees to perform their responsibilities in a much more efficient and effective manner. Despite how the vocal naysayers are reacting, AI’s negative impact on a workforce itself will be negligible, but could instead increase the overall health of many organizations. This is evidenced in the banking industry, where ATMs could have caused job losses but instead streamlined operations and reduced costs, allowing many banks to add staffed locations. This created a positive situation for workers and customers alike

That said, many union leaders are concerned that automation means workers will no longer have the ability to demand higher wages, which will in turn continue the decline in union membership. In the private sector today, just 6.4% of workers belong to a union. Contrast that with 1983, when about 17% of private-sector workers were in a union.
union-free technology

Practical Uses for AI in HR

The typical HR professional is being pulled in a thousand different directions at any given moment. In fact, no matter the length of the work day or size of the staff, the work always seems to continue to pile up. This unending accumulation of duties is exactly where AI can positively impact the workplace. Through various platforms, AI automates the bulk of the tedious responsibilities that are important to the organization but a tremendous expenditure of time and effort as well.

 

In terms of recruiting, an AI-based suite can administer any and all social media efforts, email correspondence and even interview scheduling with an interface that makes it difficult to tell if the communication is coming from a human or machine. Furthermore, all testing and training for onboarding and existing employees can be personalized down to the individual level to adhere to the training method that best fits a particular person. All of this functionality can be synced with current CRM and ERP systems to further streamline the entire process.

A Look Down the Road

Like most technologies, AI will only continue to grow and evolve in the future. As far as impact on overall operations and a workforce are concerned, it will work alongside humans to make them more efficient in their responsibilities. While specific tasks like email correspondence might be automated, it will always be under the watching eye of a human being.

In other words, while on the big screen AI might still enslave humanity in a zombie-like state of perpetual anguish, in reality, it will simply permit us to excel and reach levels we otherwise would never reach. That might not be as dramatic as the Hollywood version, but, at least for HR professionals, AI will undoubtedly be a welcome tool to significantly enhance productivity.