Tag Archives for " human resources "

Gamification 101: What Happens When We Play While We Work?

GamificationBillboardThere is an old adage that declares, “Love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Gamification is a new way of proving that old wisdom to be true in more corporate environments than ever before. Incorporating “game” components to what employees do every day has proven successful for motivating sales, improving communications and engaging consumers with brands. These enterprise strategies work equally well for small businesses. Every day, in fact, more small businesses are engaging customers and employees using gamification.

What Does “Gamification” Mean in the Business World?

Gamification is defined as bringing game elements into any non-game environment. In the business world, gamification refers to the game-related strategies used to motivate and encourage employees and engage customers. Gamification strategies are always evolving, but traditionally include a focus on elements of gaming that include rewards, achievement markers, contests and even rules for winning.

Rewards for collaboration are often more effective than rewards for competition. As small businesses rely more heavily on portable communication and electronics for information sharing, opportunities to include gamification increase with each virtual platform. Virtual meetings that are actually fun and cost effective are now very possible for small businesses. Replacing the next team building meeting with an afternoon of slow pitch in the park or an hour at the pool hall takes gamification beyond the office and out of the virtual world

Modern Approaches to Business Gamification That Benefit Everyone

How do we make work fun today? That’s where honest corporate communication is essential. While the old-school Pavlovian-inspired bells and whistles are still there, modern applications of gamification include giving employees more artistic and unique rewards, and using fully interactive and personalized computer interfaces when communicating with customers.


Shared corporate goals are the number one factor in hiring and retaining the best employees in your field, and gamification can play an essential role in communicating and reinforcing that shared corporate vision. It can also transform the performance of your employees. For instance, it is important to do more than take an ‘Employee of the Month’ photo. Instead, that strategy can become more modern when that photo is shared with various offices through multiple social media channels. Similarly, including motivators and virtual rewards for collaborative team interaction will help strengthen small business teams, while the gamification strategies already inherent in the social media channels will motivate employees and consumers to communicate with one another in more creative ways.

Gamification integrated with staff training can help motivate employees to learn. Modernized approaches to gamification are proving to increase consumer engagement, create strong dynamic work teams, and facilitate cheerful and appropriate professional communications.

Six Things Every HR Professional Should Know

Six_Things_billboardManaging the human resources department of an organization can be a challenging yet rewarding position. Requiring the perfect blend of analytical thinking and people skills, the job takes a certain knowledge base in order to be successful. Here are six things every HR professional should know to excel in the position.

1. How to Conduct a Cooperative Evaluation

Evaluating employee performance is an important part of the HR process. When discussing room for growth, don’t be too quick to tell an employee how to fix the issue. Instead, ask for his input and ideas of what needs to be changed. This way, he’ll have more of a stake in his improving his performance.

2. What Not to Ask in an Interview

When interviewing a potential hire, be mindful of the laws regulating what you can and can’t ask. The main topics to avoid are pregnancy, disability, age, nationality and religion. This could keep you and your employer from being accused of hiring discrimination down the line.

3. How to Avoid Unionization

In order to avoid union organizing as an HR professional, you need to cultivate a workplace that’s fair and focused on shared success. Be sure to give employees a say in the progress of the organization, and keep an open-door policy that welcomes feedback. This will deter employees from looking to an outsider for help.

33waysbanner24. What to Say When Firing Someone

When an employee isn’t a good fit for the organization or you’re facing budget cuts, it can present a real human resources burden. Preferably, hold the meeting with the employee early in the day and work week. Give her the necessary information — for example, when she’s expected to leave and what benefits she’s entitled to — while exhibiting compassion for her situation.

5. How to Calm an Angry Employee

Following up on the last tip, HR managers may be faced with adversity in the workplace. When conflict arises, don’t mirror the employee (this will just escalate things). Instead, use non-aggressive body language and a calm tone of voice to bring him to your emotional level. You’ll also want to be sure to listen and repeat back what you hear, free of judgment. If the employee feels heard, that’s a step in the right direction.

6. What’s Trending in the HR World

Finally, in order to excel at your job, you need to stay abreast of trends and legal changes in the field of human resources. Subscribe to a magazine or blog and/or follow HR-focused Twitter and Facebook pages to be sure you’re keeping up with the current environment.

4 Critical Technologies Shaping the Future of HR

4 Critical Technologies Shaping the Future of HRFollowing recent improvements in the U.S. economy, the focus at many human resources (HR) departments has shifted towards talent retention and recruitment, as well overall positive employee relations and employee communication. Seventy percent of HR professionals cite capability gaps as one of their biggest challenges. Technology tools and tactics, including e-learning, analytics, and collaboration platforms, are crucial ways for HR departments to maximize limited budgets. Join us as we explore four emerging forms of technology that are shaping the future of HR.

1. E-learning

HR leaders rank e-learning technologies as their second most valuable form of training. In fact, electronic training programs have been adopted by 42 percent of Fortune 500 companies. Highly flexible, user-friendly platforms for employee training allow HR departments to save significant costs and gain efficiency, while meeting the training requirements needed for compliance or competitive advantage. Most companies currently opt for a hybrid approach to training, using a mix of electronic and in-person training solutions.

2. Cloud-Based Technologies

The average HR technology platform is over 5 years old. As HR departments look towards new solutions, cloud-based platforms are an increasingly popular option. These solutions don’t require costly or time-intensive upgrades every few years. Perhaps more importantly, they’re easy to scale and can support remote workers and a global team very easily. If you’re considering new technology for employee or recruitment management, consider cloud-based HR solutions to increase your agility and cost-effectiveness in the years to come.

3. Talent Analytics

Big data is a buzzword, and few applications are receiving more attention than talent analytics. By applying data analysis to your company’s employee insights, you can discover the factors that drive talent and performance. Successful applications of talent analytics can allow smarter recruitment, better leadership development initiatives, and more automation in application screening processes.

4. Collaboration Tools

Ninety-seven percent of employees and executives believe that collaboration can have a major impact on project outcomes. HR departments should take a leading role in screening, implementing and championing technologies that can improve collaboration in the enterprise. Examples of collaboration tools could include the following:

  • Project management tools
  • Chat and file sharing platforms
  • Workflow visualization tools

By opting for technologies that are cloud-based or include robust mobile apps, HR departments can facilitate significant productivity gains throughout their organizations, and encourage positive employee relations to retain the best talent.

While HR is an inherently people-facing department, investment in the right technologies can allow managers to become more efficient and effective, and solve their capability gap issues. The future of HR is very tech-driven, and adopting e-learning, talent analytics, and other tools will create a competitive advantage.

What new technology opportunities excite you? Where do you see the technological future of HR headed? Let us know in the comments!

5 Great Ways to Improve Employee Retention

Improving Employee RetentionIn today’s increasingly competitive business environment, it is imperative that organizations focus on attracting and retaining top talent. Josh Bersin from Deloitte points out that the cost of losing an employee can reach two times that employee’s annual salary. Beyond cost, the loss of talent can impact the larger team in terms of morale, productivity and motivation. So how do savvy organizations excel in their employee retention strategies?

1. Hire the Right Candidates

Go beyond the resume to understanding what motivates candidates, what their levels of resilience are, and how effectively they manage challenges. Leadership guru Dave Ramsey talks about the interview process, in which his company requires anywhere from 10 to 17 interviews! Go deeper than just previous employment and what books they like to read – find out what makes them tick.  If possible, have the candidate complete a task similar to what they’d be doing on the job. This allows both you and the candidate to find out if it’s truly something they enjoy. Find out what they have done to go above and beyond in their professional and personal lives that demonstrates passion and self-motivation.

2. Share Your Vision

Modern employees – particularly the millennial generation – want to find meaning in their work. Research by Josh Bersin illustrates that “mission-driven” companies yield 40 percent higher levels of retention while reaching the top levels of their market segment. Ensure that your vision is living and breathing, not just a line in an employee manual. Publish your core values and live by them! Help employees understand exactly how their individual roles directly contribute to the vision and how your company is providing solutions to real-world problems.

3. Encourage Innovation

An organization that neglects to cultivate a culture of innovation will soon become stagnant and begin losing talent to more progressive companies. Author Alan Robinson asserts that soliciting and implementing employee suggestions leads to increased engagement. And why wouldn’t it? Everyone wants to be heard and feel vested in the success of the business. Set up a formal process that solicits, reviews and then implements appropriate innovative ideas drives the business forward and provides employees the opportunity to become invested in the company’s progress. Beyond that, invest in training for employees to keep their skills and knowledge top-noch. Train leaders to innovate and you’ll find that filters throughout the organization.

4. Have the Right Conversations

Modern employees want connection. Author Mark Murphy recommends scheduling periodic meetings with every employee to understand their motivations and pain points. Probe and ask the right questions to understand their strengths and their long-term goals, and share how you can help them achieve these goals.

Employee Orientations

5. Offer Robust Benefits

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, the most frequently used benefits to retain high-performing employees are health care, professional and career development benefits, and flexible working benefits. A great strategy is to simply ask employees what benefits or perks are important to them, and then accommodate as appropriate.

As millennials continue to replace baby boomers in the modern workforce, it will become increasingly important to modify retention strategies for the next generation. To learn more about how to connect with employees to improve retention rates, or for information on how we can help your organization, please contact us.

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11 Great Apps That Will Give Your HR Department Superpowers

In 2003’s blockbuster, “Pirates of the Caribbean,” Captain Jack Sparrow refers to ‘Isla de Muerta’ – the place where his treasured ship is hidden – as an island that, “cannot be found, except by those who already know where it is.” Sometimes in HR and Labor Relations, we feel the same way! Only by talking to others can we find what we’re searching for. A cursory search for “human resources” on the Apple App Store brings up almost 100 downloadable apps, but a large number of them are irrelevant, or just plain useless. So we set out to find the top apps for Human Resources that were truly robust in functionality, but also targeted and easy to use. What we found (through enormous amounts of word-of-mouth research) was that the tools do exist; you just have to know somebody who knows about them.

If you’ve recently worked with someone who seemed incredibly on top of things, who could unearth documents from a meeting you had 3 years ago or never seemed to forget a great idea (or who to acknowledge as the source of that idea), then you probably know one of the folks we talked to for this article. They’re the ones who can answer policy questions on the fly, who never have to give an “I’ll get back to you” response. So, now their secret is out… it’s all about the apps.

Beyond their obvious functionality, these apps can offer a unique distribution channel for HR materials like employee handbooks, policy updates and other resources that are subject to frequent revisions. For HR professionals, apps like HR at Your Fingertips provide instant access to employment laws, glossaries of HR terms and more. Being able to easily pull up otherwise difficult-to-find documents in virtually any context makes conflict management and company policy questions much easier to answer as they arise, not requiring later follow up.

The first 3 apps on this list are not limited to human resources or labor relations pros, but they are the powerhouse departmental foundation for many of the clients with whom we spoke. Time and again, the functionality of these tools had our Human Resources and Labor Relations clients singing their praises. But, not content to take anyone’s word for it, we tried them out ourselves and now, I can personally attest to the amazing things they will help you accomplish.

#1 Wunderlist
There are a lot of task management and “to-do list” applications out there. From “Things,” that comes in with a heavy price tag for every device you want to use it on – and doesn’t sync across devices – all the way down to the stripped-down freebies, but the consensus is that Wunderlist is the bomb. It’s robust enough to handle everything you want to accomplish without being so full of bells and whistles you can no longer find what you were hoping to do. It works on every device and syncs beautifully, and to top it off, it plays well with others, allowing you to share tasks and lists by email or by invitation. Got a big project? Share the task list with your entire team, and you’ll have real-time updates as they complete each stepping stone. The best part of all is that this favorite is completely free for the web application, as well as on every device. (www.wunderlist.com)

#2 Evernote
Not enough great things can be said about Evernote. If you aren’t yet using it, you’re missing out, and not just for work, but for your personal life, professional development and overall stress reduction. It’s a simple, inspiring tool that gives busy HR Execs a second brain. Someone’s emailed you a great suggestion? Forward it to your Evernote account and tag it #brilliant ideas #future action. Someone catches you in the hall and rattles off 5 things you need to remember for next week’s presentation? You can quickly make an audio note using your mobile device. (You can even take it one step further and use Jott to transcribe your audio note, but I digress.) Easily organize text notes from meetings, clip ideas (books to read, programs to implement) from websites, snap photos of travel receipts… The ideas on how to make the most of Evernote are endless. For Human Resources, create notebooks for all your areas of focus (Wellness, Compensation, Staying Union Free, Benefits, etc.) and organize all thoughts and inspiration into those notebooks, tagged by keywords. Then, when you’re ready for a fresh look at things, do a search for #Projections and all the great information you clipped from the Projections website will pop right up – no need to wonder where you saw it or spend time trying to hunt it down again. Get started at www.Evernote.com.

#3 Dropbox
This app is not new, but you may not be using it for all the things you could. It works similar to any cloud server, but offers the ability to share folders with others, and the paid team version boasts command features like being able to “kick out” a team member who no longer needs access. That means files in Dropbox are always protected. If you are collaborating on a huge document and need to make a small edit, Dropbox syncs in seconds so you can hand it off to the next team member. You can work confidently, knowing that everyone is referring to the most current document. It’s also great for things that need approval, like presentations or employee communication – Dropbox allows a public, branded access link so you don’t have to email giant documents.

Plus, anyone on the team can access files from anywhere – the Dropbox app even loads directly on to everyone’s hard drive, so the files show up without logging in or jumping through hoops. When someone does need to access files from another computer (from home, for instance), they are easily accessible on the Dropbox website. To get started, download the basic version (up to 2 GB of storage) for free at www.dropbox.com.

#4 Projections Insider
There aren’t many resources that will help you keep up to date on what’s going on with unions and labor in your local area, on the union most likely to target your employees, or even on labor news around the nation. Projections’ new app will do just that, as well as give you access to online video previews, whitepapers, and tons of other resources. The app has all the features of Projections’ Insider Network with the added benefit of daily NLRB petition information and access to these tools from your mobile device.

#5 Labor Stats
The US Department of Labor’s Labor Stats Application (available in iTunes store, U.S. Department of Labor, Free.) will give you the ability to monitor trends and states; rates and dates. This action-packed app provides the DOL’s latest published numbers. You can track stats like the unemployment rate, productivity, and the consumer price index, and get news releases about those numbers. The releases can then be opened in a browser or as a PDF.

#6 HR At Your Fingertips
HR At Your Fingertips (HR Sentry, $1.99) was initially targeted at small business owners who wear lots of hats. That said, it’s proven to be valuable to both seasoned HR pros and those newer to the profession, The app offers an extensive glossary of 250+ HR terms, a reference guide to federal laws and fairly robust guidance on how to create an employee handbook. It’s available for the iPhone or the iPad. It’s sister app, HR Audit is a free app that offers a basic, 60-item questionnaire designed to identify areas of potential risk of fines or lawsuits. Both are available on the iTunes app store

#7 Direct Report
This app, billed as an Employee Feedback Tracker (Thom Denick, $3.99) allows managers to make notes categorized by employee on the fly, and never be at a loss for productive feedback again. This app makes annual reviews simple and much more effective, giving ample opportunity to remember to reward employees who excel, as well as instantly providing a record of any negative feedback.

#8 Rypple
Or, go social and let everyone contribute employee feedback by using Rypple (Rypple.com, free to clients), a secure, web-based social performance management app, specifically designed to help improve performance. Rypple offers feedback visible to the whole team, goal-sharing and more. The mobile app is free once you’re a Rypple customer.

#9 Jobvite
Jobvite is the duo of online social recruiting apps that everyone is talking about. Jobvite Source leverages social networks such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook – enabling users to send job invitations (“Jobvites”) to members of their networks. (Jobvites can also be sent via email.) So, recruiters and HR staff can track jobs and referral sources, something that makes connecting with the most coveted job applicants easier and far more efficient. Jobvite Hire includes additional applicant tracking tools and offers HRIS Integration. The mobile site is accessible anywhere, but you need a Jobvite subscription to plug in.

#10 Trade Pub Readers
Human Resource Executive Magazine, Employee Benefit News & HR Management (All free in the iTunes app store) –provide current and past issues of their respective magazines, and work on both iPhone and iPad.

#11 Exam Prep
If you’re preparing to get your PHR or SPHR certification, Upward Mobility’s PHR Exam Prep ($3.99) and SPHR Exam Prep ($5.99) both contain a targeted curriculum of hundreds of practice questions with explanatory answers.