LBi is proud to announce that we have been awarded a 2018 Top Workplaces honor by Newsday. We’d like to thank all of our employees, who made this happen.
The list is based solely on employee feedback that was gathered through a third-party survey that was administered by research partner Energage. The anonymous survey measures several aspects of workplace culture, including alignment, execution, and connection, just to name a few.
According to survey responses, some of the things we do well include:
- Senior Management understanding what’s really happening at LBi
- Heading in the right direction as a company
- Making sure our employees feel genuinely appreciated
Of course, we received some constructive criticism, as well, and have been working on some action items to improve in areas that we’re lacking.
Many companies require departments to issue RFPs for new business software systems, often when the cost estimate exceeds a certain dollar amount. Unless there are legal requirements that mandate an RFP process, consider these ten reasons why you should research alternative acquisition options.
- With today’s internet, gathering competitive information on products and vendors couldn’t be easier. Why bother with an RFP or RFI if the goal is information gathering?
- Many vendors, as a matter of policy, will not respond to RFPs, believing there is already a preferred vendor in place. Your well-intentioned RFP could inadvertently be excluding qualified vendors.
- RFPs tend to unnecessarily prolong the vendor selection. If you already have a preferred vendor or two, focusing on them will save time and generally produce a quality choice.
- Vendors want your business and will often lie or exaggerate their capabilities in RFP responses. Researching vendors and engaging them 1 on 1 will provide a more honest assessment. It’s easy to lie or stretch the truth in a written RFP response, but much harder to do so when asked face-to-face in a presentation.
- If the ultimate goal of an RFP is to gather competitive quotes from already screened vendors, consider a less formal RFQ. You will save time and generate the same desired result.
- RFP questions are often all over the map, intermingling true requirements, nice-to-haves, and even completely irrelevant questions. Nothing discourages prospective vendors like entire sections where they must respond in the negative. If you must issue an RFP, stick to your known requirements, and consider an RFI instead.
- If you are considering releasing an RFP for a new system, chances are you already have a qualified vendor in mind. Why muddy the waters with several new and often confusing proposals when you already have confidence in your first choice.
- Consider researching and selecting a short list of vendors and go straight for demos, circumventing the Q&A process. RFP decisions are almost always made after the demo. So head straight for the presentation/demo. You will save time, and likely make the same selection.
- In most business software categories, there are usually one or more “safe bets” — older reputable companies with large install bases. You have heard the phrase “No one was ever fired for choosing xxx”. There is a reason they have that level of reputation, so why not make that safe bet?
- If your department has a requirement to issue an RFP for purchase of systems above a certain threshold, consider finding a qualified solution that falls within that cap. Even though a cheaper system may be lacking in some functional areas, they may simply be “good enough”. You may just look like a hero by saving your company time and dollars.
More and more companies, both large and small, are building a multi-national presence. These organizations often have employees in several countries, speaking different languages. Even domestic businesses may have a multi-lingual workforce, commonly with workers speaking Spanish, French, and multiple Asian languages, for instance. In those companies, the ability for HR to effectively communicate with this diverse group is critical to success.
The most comprehensive HCM software solutions, such as LBi HR Help Desk, offer multi-language support, often via integration with Google Translate. HR staff and employees have 2-click access to over 90 different languages, which translates each page on the fly and remembers the user’s selection every time they log in.
That may work fine when translating drop-down menu items and static text, but what about freeform text boxes? What happens with common slang expressions or regional colloquialisms in the translation process? What happens if the employee’s or HR’s true meaning is literally lost in translation? Google Translate does a fine job with standard text words and phrases, but doesn’t always properly convert slang and similar idioms. Even the most comprehensive translation engines can get it wrong all too often.
Every employee loves incentives and rewards and they can be part of the tools that help keep engagement with your company. They can come in the form of cash bonuses, salary increases (and/or promotions) or prizes (tangible gifts). Generally, incentives are considered more like the carrot on the stick – achieve management’s stated goals and you receive the gift. Rewards on the other hand may be given ad hoc after an employee performs well above expectations, without any awareness of a potential recognition.
So which method can potentially help management achieve peak performance from their employees? In this blog we will only consider positive awards. Negative incentives (threats of termination or demotion, for example) will be saved for a future blog. And we aren’t talking about traditional holiday bonuses.
Let’s take a look at some of the various incentive options that could trigger an award, and the recommended award types:
Meet stated goals
Not recommended unless the team as a whole is well below plan/quota
Exceed stated goals
Yes – can be ongoing
Raise or bonus
One-off performance contest
Yes – occasional
Bonus or prize
Top producer for a period
Yes – ongoing
Special activity – e.g., best new idea, charity work, etc.
Yes – occasional
Recommends a new hire candidate
Yes – when candidate is hired
Unexpected performance above & beyond
Yes – as one achieves this designation
Bonus or prize
Random lottery game
Yes – occasional
Bonus or prize
How did I select specific award types depending on the activity?:
Permanent, used for rewarding ongoing or longer-term success.
Cash is king. When the achievement is one-time and high-value to the company. Everyone likes cash.
Fun, different, unexpected — when the employee’s special performance doesn’t necessarily impact company performance, and the award impacts general morale.
Beyond the typical interview questions (“where do you see yourself in 5 years?”, or my personal favorite, “what is your most negative trait?”), many companies do attempt to evaluate job candidates at a deeper level. Canned questions usually garner canned responses, nullifying the purpose of the question entirely. Therefore, some creativity needs to be used to ensure responses are candid, revealing and truthful.
The sole purpose of interviews is to determine the candidate’s potential ability to perform the job, as well as their ability to assimilate into the corporation’s culture. The skills and experience questions are generally straight forward, while the assimilation questions often miss the mark entirely.
“Do you work well with others?” Duh!
“How do you address conflict?” Better.
And forget about that oh-so-common resume rhetoric; “Team Player”, “Self-Starter”, etc. Right! Who isn’t?
So how do interviewers cut through the rhetoric and BS, and get to the heart of the issue —”who is this candidate…really?”
Not all monthly payment plans are created equal. For the moment, let’s not address deployment technology (shared vs. dedicated server, hosted vs. on-premises, single tenant vs. multi-tenant, etc.).
Let’s just address exactly how you pay for HR systems. At the highest level, you can write big checks up front or you can make monthly payments (sometimes a combination of both). Writing big checks generally means you are essentially buying a software license (actually you are buying a perpetual use license) and paying for associated professional services. You “own” the system.
In a traditional SaaS model, you may pay something up front for implementation, but subsequently you make monthly “rental” payments in return for having access to the system. Generally there is a minimum term of maybe a 24-36 month commitment.
Deciding how to pay for the new systems boils down to where the available funds are appropriated — either capital (buy) or operating (rent) funds. That is right; you are essentially buying or renting the system, though the contract language may not state either terminology.
On Thursday November 30th we held our Ribbon Cutting ceremony. Thank you to everyone who took the time out of their busy schedules to help us celebrate. The day was a huge success. The weather warmed up just in time for the ribbon cutting and the ceremony was followed by a catered lunch and all day open house. Many of our clients and friends stopped by during the day to take tours of the new headquarters. Please see the slideshow below for pictures of the event.
LBi Software wants to thank Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul for kicking off the festivities. The Lt. Governor’s work with the New York State Empire Development Corporation helped make the day possible. LBi also thanks Chad Lupinacci, Huntington Supervisor Elect/Assemblyman, for joining us at the ribbon cutting and presenting LBi Software with a Certificate of Merit.
Most of all we would like to thank our employees, whose dedication and diligence are directly responsible for LBi’s success and helped make this day possible. The new modern office space and all of its amenities are a thank you to our employees.
These past five years have been good. Good for LBi, and good for LBi’s clients. Our organization has seen a tremendous amount of success and unprecedented growth, and we’ve been honored to help our clients reach their full potential as we continue to grow.
Whether we’re helping our sports clients create better teams through improved draft picks, signings, and trades, or helping our HR clients with innovative HR case management and call-tracking workflow solutions, we have a long history of success with our clients across the board.
And it’s paid off.
In just five years, we launched LBi Dynasty, our custom sports analytics solution, and now we have clients in Major League Baseball, the National Football League, and the National Basketball Association. We’re incredibly proud to have clients in three of the four major sports leagues and 20 percent of the teams in MLB. And we’re proud of how our HR clients continue to grow through HR HelpDesk, as well.
These past five years have been incredible, and it’s all thanks to our clients and our amazing employees. It’s because of them that we can make this announcement.
We’re very excited to announce that we purchased a 25,235-square-foot building for $5.4 million in March of 2017. This three-story building is located at 999 Walt Whitman Road in Melville, New York, where we’ll occupy the first and second floors of the building. And it’s all thanks to our clients, our employees, and the past five years of unprecedented growth.
Many companies have a policy of posting available positions internally prior to seeking candidates in the open market. There are many advantages to this policy for both the organization and current employees. For employers, hiring from within can save time and money (i.e., recruiting fees). Additionally, the company already knows the potential internal candidate, lowering the risks of hiring a seemingly qualified candidate that was better at interviewing than actually performing the job at hand.
Recruiting from within the organization also shows employees that they have opportunities for growth within the company, helping to minimize the loss of quality workers that may feel unimportant or otherwise stagnant in their current role. Employees that are bored or generally not satisfied in their position are a clear flight risk.
It is common knowledge that training new hires is far more expensive and time consuming than training current employees.
So why not hire/promote from within? For one thing, it generally leaves a resource gap in the employee’s previous position. Stealing from Peter to feed Paul, as they say. For another, it can create animosity with the worker’s current co-workers, who may feel overlooked or forced to take on their colleague’s former responsibilities.
It is common knowledge that college educated persons are more likely to earn greater incomes during their careers than those without a degree. And there are certainly many lucrative careers that don’t require higher education. Plumbers, electricians, construction workers, and similar often don’t attend college, but rather have degrees or certifications from specialized vocational schools. For these workers, they have achieved the necessary higher level of education beyond high school to meet their career aspirations.
But what about high school graduates that, for various reasons, do not pursue college or other advanced education? The reasons for not continuing education are many:
- Financial constraints – though there are many low and no cost options, including community college and public universities, low interest loans, scholarships and grants, military service, work-study programs, etc.
- Family constraints – such as the burden of caring for small children, aged or sick parents, or other issues that bind the potential student to home – and night school may not be feasible.
- Poor or underperforming students – for instance scholastic underachievers who may require additional tutoring or other private services in order to qualify for minimum college acceptance standards.
- Language issues – foreign language speaking students lacking proper English Language Arts skills.
- Opportunities that don’t require college – such as entering into a family business.
- Lack of motivation or belief that one is not “college material”.
The last bullet is key to potential employers. When presented with a potential hire that appears to have the necessary skills, but lacks a college degree, employers are likely to dig into the candidates reasons for not pursuing (or not finishing) a degree program. Likely it will be some combination of the above reasons. The problem for the candidate is to not make excuses, but rather prepare reasonable and legitimate explanations, while firmly demonstrating the equivalency of their “life experiences”.
LBi HR Help Desk provides a wide variety of standard and customizable reports that HR can use to improve their operations, as well as delivering analytics that can impact the entire organization. Whether users run standard reports or extract specific data points to use in external analytics systems such as Excel, Crystal, Business Objects or others, LBi HR Help Desk serves up the data HR demands to gain the most benefit out of their Shared Services systems.
Take a look at the key data items HR Help Desk collects in just one standard report template:
- Case Details:
- Employee ID
- Employee Division/Department
- Open/close dates
- Days open
- Overdue status
- Case priority
- Tier 0,1,2 response (resolution via self-service, Agent assistance, or escalated)
- Case Owner
- Case Originator
- Case Category/subcategory
- Issue & resolution text
- Case created via (email, phone, portal, etc.)
- Employee’s preferred response mechanism (phone, email, etc.)
From this single basic report template, users can extract data to create very powerful analytics, such as:
- Case owner overdue performance comparison
- Employees making excessive calls to HR, and the reasons for the calls, by department
- Overdue status by case category/subcategory (i.e. comparing 401K issue status to Payroll issues)
- Evaluating the self-service knowledge base effectiveness
- Cases requiring the most escalation
- Detailed Case load by date range (i.e., peak periods for specific case types, for planning/resource scheduling purposes)
- Much more
In other words, is it acceptable to judge an employee’s performance on activities that occur outside of the office, even if those activities include disparaging the employer? Though laws and policies are different in different states and jurisdictions, the question is still valid.
It may seem obvious that employees (and really everyone) should not compromise themselves in any way online, but the facts show otherwise. People simply do dumb things all the time and post them for all to see. In reality, anything posted online in a publicly accessible page could be considered fair game to anyone else who decides to use that information freely.
What if the employee is posting a job search on LinkedIn? Is it reasonable that the employer’s view of the employee be impacted one way or another? Management may decide to cajole the employee with a positive review (and associated bonus). Or they may prefer to cut the cord and let the employee go prior to him/her actually resigning. In employment-at-will states, employers don’t even have to give a reason for dismissal, as long as the termination is not violating other laws such as discrimination.
The great majority of new employees are hired for a specific role within the organization. But in many cases new hires (and tenured workers) may be exposed to other functions they were not initially called on to perform. For instance, a payroll clerk may be called upon to handle some related employee benefits tasks. Or a shop floor worker, who has been trained on a particular discrete machining job, may be needed to temporarily substitute for another, absent employee.
Certainly employees, who are multi-faceted and can readily handle new challenges, are a tremendous asset to their employer – and to their own personal career aspirations. However, some employees may relish new responsibilities while others don’t.
Whether a company provides formal, structured training, or encourages learn-as-you-go on-the-job training, unquestionably employee training and education is good for business. But what happens when employees are pulled out of their comfort zone to handle unfamiliar duties? Unfortunately this occurs in companies large and small. “Fire drills” arise at unexpected times (hence the moniker “fire drill”). Unless a company has the ability to hire short-term temps to fill in the resource gaps, the situation quickly becomes “all hands on deck”.
I read an interesting article recently about a recruiter that became furious when a candidate, who had originally accepted a job offer, reneged after reading multiple negative online reviews about the prospective employer. Apparently the recruiter became extremely belligerent to the candidate, seeing an expected paycheck fly out the window.
Where to begin listing what’s wrong here?
- The recruiter works for the employer, not the candidate. Therefore the candidate is under no obligation to do anything at all, much less accept a potentially bad job offer. The candidate is however expected to be professional during the recruitment process, but that is up to the judgment of the recruiter.
- The candidate should put his/her best foot forward when working with recruiters. There are lots of fish in the sea, and regardless of how one perceives themselves, often times they are just a number among many numbers of candidates. Not to mention likely burning the proverbial bridge with a recruiter that secured them a real job offer – not a guarantee in today’s job market.
The following post first appeared in 2015.
Much has been written about finding the optimum ratio of HR staff to employee size. A SHRM Human Capital Benchmarking Study has published a suggested ratio based purely on employee count:
The formula to calculate the ratio would be:
(HR Staff Count / Employee Count) x 100
For instance, a 1500 employee company with 10 HR personnel would have a ratio of 0.67, somewhat below the supposed target staff according to the table above (10/1500 * 100 = .67). In theory, based on the chart, 12 HR personnel would be optimal to manage 1500 employees.
SHRM suggests that not all HR staff should be factored into the count. Generally it is recommended to only include HR professionals who work as generalists, and those in areas such as benefits, compensation, labor relations and organizational effectiveness. They suggest that payroll and other specialized roles should not be included in the count.
Obviously this is an imperfect method and is loaded with multiple potential downsides. It does not take into consideration factors such as your industry, business specific circumstances, and the skill/experience of each individual HR worker. It also opens up the door to possible unsubstantiated staff cuts if your ratio is on the high side.
Back in the 80’s, when PC DOS-based (later Windows) Enterprise software sales began to increase, individual departments started to exert some control over the selection of applications. Previously, software decisions were largely left to IT and finance, with some level of input by end users and departmental stake holders.
Prior to the advent of the PC, Enterprise software was primarily mainframe based, and therefore very expensive to operate and maintain. Companies typically supported only 1 computer platform, so decision #1 was to find software that ran in that environment. The PC changed all that. In the early days micro-computer software was initially written for a single PC and user, as networking of PC’s was in its infancy (remember Novell Netware?). Software was also primarily meant for a single-function – such as for bookkeeping, shop-floor control or time tracking.
A few weeks ago I wrote an article on the new trend towards open office environments – no walls, no cubicles, and no privacy. The argument towards better collaboration and team spirit may or may not justify this almost draconian office design concept, depending on your point of view. Certainly any drastic change in your office design is going to garner at least mixed reviews and varying levels of acceptance.
In that last blog I suggested as an alternative offering employees the option of telecommuting if their functional role would lend itself to working remotely. Unfortunately not all jobs can be performed from home, but many can, at least occasionally.
So let’s explore the positives and negatives of telecommuting. First, can you check all of these eligibility boxes?:
- Your work substantially is conducted on the phone and/or computer
- Your work is generally conducted outside of the office anyway (i.e., sales or service)
- Home computer work does not violate company security policies
- Face to face meetings with managers and coworkers are infrequent or can be scheduled when you are in the office
- You don’t require access to physical documents (file drawer stuff)
- Management does not tend to micro-manage staff
Or not? There is a current trend in designing new office spaces around a wide open concept, in extreme cases providing seats at long contiguous tables in lieu of individual desks. The days of semi-private cubicles may be numbered. Partitions of any type are becoming scarce in many companies, even for managers and some executives.
In complete contrast, back in the 1980’s when Microsoft moved its corporate headquarters to a brand new campus in Redmond Washington, virtually every employee was provided with a private office — 4 real walls and a door (and a window for the lucky ones). And how did that work out for Microsoft? That’s in the history books.
Now companies like Facebook and others are literally breaking down the physical barriers and counting on greater employee engagement within the organization. In fact, Facebook’s headquarters is the largest open office environment in the world (see picture).
Many would say never, ever. What about the employee engagement factor? Much has been written about the benefits of employee engagement to the organization. It is widely accepted that increased communication between employees and management improves overall performance. Whether the communications involve grievances, general working environment, work-life balance, or general topics, getting employees active and involved with the business is proven to benefit all.
Let’s face the facts; business is most certainly going to be impacted one way or another by the upcoming presidential election. Never has the country been so divided in terms of the direction the US will take over the next 4+ years.
So what could be more stimulating in the workplace these days than a lively discussion of politics? Not a drop-down dragged-out battle between hardline ideologues, but rather a civil (if that is at all possible) conversation and debate about the current and future state of our country. To paraphrase a common statement, as the country goes, so goes the business.
Everything from health insurance reform to global trade to taxes to immigration impacts virtually every business in one way or another. And considering the vast differences in policy between the major presidential candidates, now more than ever it is important for the workforce to come together and weigh the potential impact on the business, and by extension our own personal lives.
In my business, responding to RFIs, RFQs and RFPs are a part of my daily work life. If you want to win the business, you must accept these requests as a mandatory function during the sales cycle.
20 years ago, questionnaires focused almost entirely on the business application up for bid; features, functions, bells, whistles, and the like. Technology questions primarily centered around the technology platform – Windows, Solaris, SQL Server, Oracle, web vs. client-server, etc.
In today’s cyber security threat world, IT has essentially commandeered the process, and now RFPs are often heavily weighted on security questions. Frankly, many recent RFPs that have crossed my desk barely touch on the relevant and in-demand application features, in favor of addressing IT Security issues. In a few cases, it has been hard to find the actual application questions buried in one of many Excel tabs (worksheets).
Over the past decade, employer reviews of social media accounts rose by around 500 percent, according to a CareerBuilder survey. Employers report using social media to investigate potential new hires and to communicate with — and check up on — existing employees. While the practice of involving social media in the employer/employee relationship is still being debated, if you do decide to review social media, you might not want to take every post into account.
Social Media Isn’t a Complete Picture
Brands today know that social media isn’t a complete picture of any person or company. A single joke made in poor taste or a photo of a night partying doesn’t actually tell you much about a person’s skills, work ethic or overall personality. Instead of reacting to single pieces of content, look for a pattern or trend that would be concerning for your workplace. If you refuse to hire anyone who has at least one questionable social media post, you’ll have a hard time finding any candidates.
A mentorship is an excellent way to help a new employee learn the basics of your company and its culture. No matter what size your corporation, start by introducing each employee to their mentor at orientation. The employee can then pose questions to the mentor during and after the onboarding process. After the onboarding process is complete, you may be interested in having the mentee shadow, regularly talk with, or be formally trained by the mentor.
The Role of Mentorships in Small and Large Companies
In small companies, mentorships bring together experienced employees and new, often younger employees. The relationship builds the bond between people of different generations and strengthens the connections within the company. It also allows operations to proceed more smoothly. In large companies, mentorships train new individuals who would otherwise get lost in the crowd. The mentor becomes the “go-to” person for the new employee, who might not know how to approach higher-ups and may not understand complex hierarchies. In both small and large companies, the mentor acts as a resource for the new employee. The mentor remains a stable, helpful guide who anchors them in place and makes them feel at home.
Talking to customers (and prospects) about the software products and services you provide is extremely important to ensure their ongoing satisfaction and exceeding of expectations. Whether you have a formal process such as user groups, online survey forms, or just picking up the phone to gain feedback, customer input is critical to your business growth.
Your clients will tell you what they like, what they don’t like, and what they would like to see in future software releases. With this input, your business solutions will stay ahead of the curve competitively.
Although it is impractical to accept every new feature suggestion, those that fit within your business strategy, and have gained some consensus from multiple clients, will be destined for new versions.
Labor demographics are changing rapidly, and as a generation, Millennials now make up the largest percentage of the workforce. As a result, this group has a strong influence on management practices. Smart employers are adapting to new ways of doing business in order to stay competitive. Those that choose to stick with traditional methods of attracting and retaining workers are quickly becoming obsolete, because they haven’t recognized that Millennials want much more than a simple raise in pay.
Flexibility: Work/Life Balance Isn’t Enough
To attract Millennials looking for their next job, it’s not enough to tout “work/life balance.” With today’s technology, most employees have accepted that they are always available by phone and email. Millennials are comfortable with a BYOD (bring your own device) culture, and they prefer video chat, instant messaging and texting to in-person communication.
Instead of work/life balance, Millennials want assurance that they will have flexibility in where, when and how they get their work done. Some are calling this “work/life blend,” in which employees are free to take a few hours for a child’s soccer game in the middle of the afternoon, with the understanding that they will catch up after the kids are in bed.
Most businesses grossly underestimate the true cost of turnover, and they pay the price when they allow strategic engagement and retention planning to fall by the wayside. Such initiatives are more than just good public relations. They create a culture in which employees stay with the company longer, are more productive at work and provide the priceless word-of-mouth and social media advertising that creates a high-quality employer brand.
Who Are Today’s Job Seekers and Why Are They Jumping Ship?
In a survey of more than 5,000 job seekers and 2,000 hiring managers, CareerBuilder’s 2015 Candidate Behavior Study made a startling discovery. Three out of four employees are open to or actively seeking a new position. While not all are sending out resumes during their time away from work, this figure represents the full extent of the population in danger of being wooed away by friendly recruiters looking for top talent through social media.
The study explored the impetus behind employees’ increasing willingness to take new positions. While the reasons vary from frustration with limited development opportunities to dissatisfaction with compensation and benefits, the underlying theme is low engagement. Employers are simply not offering the type of work environment and company culture that inspires staff members to stay.
Packaged (off-the-shelf) software vs. a custom software solution — that is the question. Actually it’s not that simple a question anymore. Today there are many hybrid software alternatives, which start with a packaged solution that can be quickly modified to meet the customer’s exacting business requirements.
In the “old days” — remember PC DOS and mainframes — most business software was custom built from scratch due to the lack of availability of flexible industry-specific packaged systems. Yes there were some standard accounting systems, manufacturing systems, HR systems, etc., but in large part business software (particularly for large organizations) was written directly to customer requirements. Software was written in everything from low level machine code (0’s and 1’s), Assembly language, COBOL, BASIC and other “higher” languages. Many companies were rightfully wary of custom solutions due to the difficulty of debugging and supporting these systems, but often had no choice.
Many of today’s businesses have multiple sites around the country and around the world, and telecommuting employees are less uncommon than before. Technology designed to bring employees together despite their geography isn’t new; however, the growing trend towards employing remote staff members has organizations looking at this technology in a new way. Tools that were once too costly to share with employees working from home offices are now more affordable, making it easier to connect remote workers and increase their engagement, regardless of physical location. Employers have more options now than ever to bring their virtual workers closer to the business.
Creating Personal and Professional Relationships
One of the primary drivers of employee engagement is the personal and professional relationships between team members. Frequent communication and time spent face-to-face builds trust, making teams far more effective. However, remote employees find developing these relationships challenging, as their primary method of communication is through email and instant message. In fact, one study determined that a full 81 percent of virtual employees consider development of rapport and trust within a virtual team the number one work related concern.
Fortunately, travel is no longer required for face-to-face meetings. Video conferencing technology is now so economical that businesses can offer the option to all remote employees without incurring significant expenses. Staff members find they can fully participate in relationship building with colleagues through daily use of video conferencing applications, and they are comfortable with the technology because it is now an everyday form of communication between family and friends.
Adding a Personal Touch
Increased use of inexpensive video conferencing, instant messaging and other forms of communication are proven relationship builders, but they can’t entirely replace the personal touch. Consider organizing regular in-person meetings, first when the team is formed, and then at least once a year. Spending several days together gives virtual colleagues an opportunity to develop solid personal relationships through informal interactions, which facilitates effective collaboration through virtual channels later. …Read More
The availability, skillset, and quality of Information Technology (IT) resources varies greatly from organization to organization. Regardless of company size, IT resources may be readily accessible when needed, or not. And frequently not. Whether HR has a large application development project to manage or merely needs a special one-off data analysis report, more often than not the IT backlog will dictate the timing of the project delivery date. And the nature of IT’s skills will determine the quality of work.
For more business and mission critical projects that simply cannot be delayed, HR must turn to outside vendors, which is generally the best decision anyway. Service providers that specialize in HR usually can deliver a more reliable, robust, scalable, and extensible solution, because that is their specific area of expertise. Not to mention on-time and on-budget delivery is now governed by a contract and not internal priorities. This becomes a cost savings as well when you add in the advantages of SaaS and cloud hosting.
After all, if your home air conditioning system breaks down, most people would call an HVAC technician over a handyman, right? You might pay a little more but the service will invariably be superior.
Currently I am reading Things That Matter, by conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer. It is a compilation of articles the author has published over the last few decades covering a wide variety of subjects of greatest importance to him, and in his humble opinion, topics that also impact the general public.
The topics range from the personal to the political to the existential. Subjects range from his view of Winston Churchill as the single most important person to humanity in the last 100 years, to how and why the American Kennel Club is attempting (albeit inadvertently) to dumb down the most intelligent of canines, the Border Collie.
This book got me thinking — what are the things that matter most to me? I will save that for my first book. However, I would like to opine on a particular subject near and dear to my heart — and hopefully yours — things that matter in vendor/client relationships. Even if you are not a business person, you cannot avoid daily vendor/client relationships. Think about the coffee you just bought at Starbucks or the gas station attendant that filled up your car.
Some relationships are one-time events but many are not. And in business, vendor relationships are often long term in nature. Whether the vendor is supporting your HRIS system or cleans your office, business relationships typically span a number of years. Knowing that in advance, why is it that occasionally either the vendor OR client will still attempt to take some unfair advantage of the other party – even though animosity can and often will create lasting tensions beginning early in the partnership, yes, partnership? Hidden costs or product misrepresentation are common vendor transgressions. Unpaid invoices and new “scope creep” demands are just a few client offenses.
All good Help Desk report writing tools offer multiple data sorting and filtering options, providing the user with the specific view they require for a specific report. But what if the resulting report presents some extraneous data, or possibly is missing desired data points that may not be included in that particular report template?
Novice and non-technical users generally are not provided access directly to the underlying database, and even if they were they wouldn’t know how to use it for customized reporting. Crystal and other popular report writers, often used as the reporting engine in business applications, try to provide a reasonably simple tool for creating or modifying reports, though these tools are far too complex for the average user.
And don’t bother contacting IT for assistance. Take a number and they will get back to you.
So, how would you like to run a report thinking “I don’t need these 2 fields, but I would like to add a different field; and create a different presentation of the report. And accomplish that in a few mouse clicks.” That would be nice, right? …Read More
If your organization is multi-national, then you already understand the requirement for multi-language versions of business software. Whether the software application is employee-facing (i.e., HR Help Desk or Time & Attendance) or not, your multi-national workforce may necessitate the adoption of systems that provide multiple language versions.
However, even very small organizations can have the same or similar language issues. In the US today, there is tremendous growth in the Hispanic population, as well as steady immigration from Asian and Middle Eastern countries. The chances of SMBs having some predominately non-English speaking employees are very high. Proactive companies are providing English as a second language classes for their foreign-born employees, helping them assimilate into American culture.
The lazy days of summer are finally here. Time for that long-deserved vacation from work and the daily grind. Whether you are a shop-floor worker, business manager, or a senior executive, summertime is the most popular time of year to “vacate”.
Though most businesses don’t shut down during the summer, business activity often slows down because clients, prospects, vendors, and partners are also heading for the beach, mountains, or wherever their desires take them.
So now is a great time for HR to kick back and enjoy the relaxed pace, right? Yes, but… there are still SLAs to honor, paychecks to get out on time, and other workplace issues to address. Additionally, many employee self-service HR applications are supported on mobile devices, so employees can now engage HR anytime, anywhere, with the expectation that HR is there for them when needed. With staffing levels likely lower during the summer season, HR still maintains the responsibility to support the employee population, whether they are on the job or on leave.
Encouraging employees to continue their education can increase your company’s profits, improve productivity and create more committed employees. Spending around $680 on education and training per employee returns an annual investment of around 6 percent, according to a study from the Association for Talent Development. Give your employees the tools they need to succeed by helping them choose the best options for their education. Here’s how to get started.
Create an employee action plan
Before talking with employees about their education goals, determine what type of support the company will offer. Consider implementing a tuition reimbursement program, paying for books or supporting specific degrees or areas of interest. Businesses that can’t afford a tuition reimbursement program but still want to support their employees’ education can offer a flexible schedule for classes and study time.
Next, sit down with your employees individually and figure out an education action plan that benefits both the company and them. Ask your employee to draft up a proposal of what type of courses or degrees would benefit their career and how they expect it to fold into their day-to-day responsibilities while helping them grow professionally. Create guidelines for how time away from work will be handled and whether employees must pay back fees if they stop taking classes.
Much has been written about finding the optimum ratio of HR staff to employee size. A SHRM Human Capital Benchmarking Study has published a suggested ratio based purely on employee count:
The formula to calculate the ratio would be:
(HR Staff Count / Employee Count) x 100
For instance, a 1500 employee company with 10 HR personnel would have a ratio of 0.67, somewhat below the supposed target staff according to the table above (10/1500 * 100 = .67). In theory, based on the chart, 12 HR personnel would be optimal to manage 1500 employees.
SHRM suggests that not all HR staff should be factored into the count. Generally it is recommended to only include HR professionals who work as generalists, and those in areas such as benefits, compensation, labor relations and organizational effectiveness. Payroll and other specialized roles should not be counted.
If your employees seem unmotivated, they might be in a slump. Only 30 percent of workers in America are actively engaged in their jobs, according to a recent Gallup survey. The decline in employee engagement reportedly began in 2008 during the Great Recession, when job security and unpredictability were at the forefront of concern and positive attitudes plummeted.
Today, human resources departments understand more than ever that rewards and recognition can play a key role in helping businesses increase productivity and create an overall happier workplace.
Reclaim your workforce by implementing an innovative rewards program that includes compensation, gifting, recognition, and perks. Here are a few ways to get started!
How efficient is your HR organization? Is there room for improvement (there always is, right)? Just as importantly, how well run is your group compared to others in your industry, or in the market in general?
Whether or not you believe your HR organization is performing at peak efficiency levels, understanding how your peers are managing their firms, companies with the same issues and challenges you face, can only expose new and potentially productive ideas.
Since you are not likely to call on your competition to compare notes, how can you broaden your knowledge of industry trends and cutting edge business tools? The answer is in the HR industry’s most comprehensive annual survey, the Sierra–Cedar 2015–2016 HR Systems Survey, 18th Annual Edition.
In partnership with Sierra-Cedar, LBi invites you to participate. The survey is now available at www.Sierra-Cedar.com/hrssv45 until the deadline on June 30, 2015. All responses are confidential and only used in aggregate results.
Keeping top talent has become an increasing concern for HR, and it’s a challenge that’s expected to get more difficult, according to SHRM and others. Yet all too often, it’s only after the fact — during the exit interview and maybe not even then — that managers learn why departing employees are disgruntled.
“The only time the average manager thinks about retention is when she or he receives a resignation from an employee,” say B. Lynn Ware and Bruce Fern in their research report “The Challenge of Retaining Top Talent: The Workforce Attrition Crisis.” “We also found that most managers predictably attempt to talk departing employees out of leaving, trying to convince them that they are making a mistake.”
No business application can be all things to all people, but with the right team behind it, it can certainly come close. Rather than taking the “build it and they will come” strategy, successful software developers continually research their market and listen closely to what their customers and prospects are asking for.
You have spoken and LBi has listened. Whether your business is a 10 employee startup or a multinational conglomerate, LBi has an HR Case Management solution for you. From our LBi HR HelpDesk Free edition to the fully featured world-class LBi HR HelpDesk Enterprise, LBi has your business covered.
Designed explicitly for HR, and fully capable in virtually any industry, LBi’s 4 classes of HR HelpDesk cover every common client feature request from free and low cost online SaaS versions to in-the-box multi language support. Some clients desire the convenience and low cost of a cloud-based solution. We delivered. Larger and more security minded organizations still insist on dedicated server hosting or on-premises deployments. We delivered. Multi-language needs? How about 90 different language options via the new embedded Google Translate on-the-fly language translation service? We delivered.
Much has been written (including by yours truly) about the benefits of an HR specific help desk solution for the HR department, versus repurposed IT or generic CRM systems. Features such as enhanced security and confidentiality, HR specific workflow processes, and HIPAA compliance are well documented and are core requirements of most HR organizations.
In the end, however, isn’t it really more about the vendor’s expertise working with HR than it is about the application features? HR personnel may inherently know what they need in a help desk / case management system, but they cannot necessarily correlate their business needs with the features of a pre-packaged help desk solution. That task is left to the system’s implementation team (aka the vendor).
For instance, HR needs the ability to tag particularly sensitive cases as confidential, viewable and accessible strictly to the case owner. But most IT-modified systems don’t deal with the concept of confidentiality. What is confidential about a PC error or someone’s telephone not working – common tickets in an IT help desk system. Can the vendor (and product) handle that requirement appropriately?
The pool of job candidates is vast and diverse, yet head hunters and hiring managers oftentimes struggle to find the “right” people to fill key positions because they lack soft, or interpersonal skills. And unfortunately for those prospects who don’t necessarily fit into the company culture, their job satisfaction is short-lived once the imbalance becomes obvious. He or she could end up obviously unhappy, leaving managers to fill the positions yet again.
So, how do you go about selecting the right candidates? First, take a look at this list of administrative steps you need to take prior to the interview. Then, when you’re face-to-face with candidates, follow these tips for conducting an effective interview that will help you determine who is (and isn’t) a good fit for the organization.
1. Behavioral interview with a twist
Dig deep into the minds of your prospects. Forbes recommends focusing on the details of each scenario presented to get the candidate “off script.” You have to ask questions for which canned responses won’t cut it.
For example, if you ask a management prospect to describe a time when they helped resolve a conflict between subordinates that was stifling production or efficiency, don’t settle for the canned response involving mediation or anything similar. Instead, inquire about how he or she evaluated individual personalities and past performance of those involved to help determine which approach was best to eradicate the issue.
If the interviewee struggles, it doesn’t mean they weren’t prepared since most have memorized the generic responses for “Tell me about a time when…” and “How would you handle…” questions. You’re just forcing them to think outside the box, which is paramount if you want to get a better understanding of how they respond under pressure or in unique situations. Although the candidate might be perfect on paper, you need to be sure his or her problem-solving skills and overall personality align with your expectations.
2. From where does the candidate draw inspiration?
The catchphrase, “birds of a feather flock together,” is applicable here. By asking job prospects where they look for inspiration, you can learn a lot about behavioral patterns, notes Entrepreneur. Work ethic is also part of the equation; individuals who are inspired by the hard work of others tend to strive for greatness. Plus, they’re more likely to wake up each morning motivated to tackle what lies ahead and work toward overcoming new challenges. …Read More
One of the key imperatives from the C-suite for HR this year, according to the CEB’s Leadership Council Research, is to increase the influence of HR data in the enterprise organization.
In fact, developing and applying measurement strategies that “ensure efficiency, effectiveness, and business alignment” is among the 10 best practices of “high-impact HR organizations,” according to research from Bersin by Deloitte.
Yet only 8 percent of senior HR leaders “believe they are getting returns on their talent analytics investments, and only 15 percent of business leaders have changed a decision in the past year as a result of data from HR,” according to the CEB report.
It’s a sad irony, considering the mountain of people data at HR’s fingertips.
Over the last decade, HR has gradually evolved from being a provider of administrative services into a service organization. HR today provides greater value for the business and delivers a breadth of automated people functions. As a result, HR technology, HR data systems, and HR resources are all now tasked with delivering valuable services for the entire enterprise organization.
HR no longer merely provides benefits administration. HR today is tasked with helping drive strategy, burnish the company brand, influence retention and recruiting, identify workplace trends, and more. For example, research from The Hackett Group, a global strategic business advisory and operations improvement consulting firm, found in 2013 that HR leaders were focusing on strategies for “process improvement, including cost reduction and standardization of processes, data, technology, and organizational culture; improving the effectiveness of talent management; obtaining more value from data to enable better decisions; and expanding the use of technology.”
Deloitte’s recent report, “Global Human Capital Trends 2015,” is a wake-up call for HR leaders who are paying attention. For starters, the report ranks learning and development as the third most important talent management challenge facing business this year (the most important challenge was culture and engagement, followed by leadership).
But while three times more companies rated learning and development as very important this year compared with 2014, only 40 percent of respondents rated their organizations as “ready” or “very ready” in learning and development in 2015. That compares with 75 percent in 2014.
What that means is that while we keep hearing about how rapidly business is changing and how HR is transforming, HR continues to fall further behind. HR leaders need to take stock and decide what role they’ll play and how they’ll deal with the changes.
One part of the problem is that HR is being inundated with data, and the C-suite is asking HR to step up and play a more strategic role. But often those skills are not necessarily in HR’s wheelhouse. More to the point, more data is rarely the answer.
Ok, we have all heard about Big Data. But we leave the techie stuff up to our highly skilled IT folks, in order to tame those massive volumes of information so we neophytes can make sense of it all. Enough has been written about the value of Big Data, so we won’t repeat the obvious here. The cold hard fact is that Big Data, when fully understood and properly analyzed, is a game changer for many HR organizations.
That’s just great when you have a fully staffed IT department waiting by the phone for you to call with a new analytics project request. Oh, they are busy right now? And maybe for the next few weeks or months? Sound familiar? Unfortunately, those of us that crave that big data analytics value proposition just didn’t graduate from college with a computer science degree. Humanities, psychology, business, accounting, maybe. I don’t know about you, but my form and analysis professor (music major here) never mentioned Big Data. Not once. Sonata Rondo form structure, yes. Big Data, no.
To be clear, serious analysis like that discussed in LBi’s recent whitepaper “The Power of HR Analytics in the Quantified Organization”, requires careful planning and execution. In order to answer tough questions such as “What drives high-performance sales teams?” “Who will be our best leaders?” “How can we change behavior to improve customer retention?”, we need IT to be all-in with HR. Big Data analytics in HR must encompass more and more non-HR data sets such as sales and supply chain data. Additionally, as the whitepaper suggests, by embedding these services within business process applications, real-time analytics with current data can readily accelerate management and executive decisions, thereby truly creating a competitive edge.
However, we may just occasionally be forced on our own to jump into the Big Data pile heap and figure it all out. It can be done. Trust me.
The answer lies in Microsoft Excel’s glorious Pivot Tables and Pivot Charts. Just one slightly techie skill. Not too much to ask.
What does the datafication of HR mean to you? What about for your organization? How do you think the role of HR technology has changed to meet the demands of the quantified organization? Which trends in HR technology do you think will have the next most immediate impact on HR practitioners, their organizations, and their employees?
How the datafication of HR fits into the quantified organization is the focus of a new paper from LBi Software in which several observers of the HCM space weigh in on this timely topic. In a nutshell, here are my thoughts on the subject, drawn from the paper’s conclusion:
- The first important thing for HR to have when it comes to using big data is a goal. Yet having a goal for big data — having a project, a hypothesis, a strategic business pain you want to understand more clearly — is probably the most overlooked element when an organization of any size sets out to develop its people data through new technology.
- The second important thing HR needs if it wants to fully leverage big data is the necessary tools to analyze the data from throughout the organization — not just from HR’s people data.
Without those two linchpins, the power of HR technology and its trends for the future will fall short of expectations.
LBi sought insight into what HR leaders ought to be thinking about when it comes to using more-powerful tools for gathering and analyzing data; how HR technology has evolved as part of the growing demand for people data to help drive business decisions; and what HR technology trends will have the most immediate impact in the datafied organization.
We reached out to five engaging and diverse industry thought leaders:
Recently, two new clients opted to implement LBi HR Help Desk without, at least initially, the Employee Self-Service Portal feature. Though the great majority of clients do deploy the Self-Service Portal, there are still a number of clients that choose to continue with phone and email case requests.
LBi HR Help Desk does provide features that help automate call-ins and email initiated tickets. For instance, HR Help Desk supports Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and Computer Telephony Integration (CTI). With IVR/CTI technology, calls into HR can automatically be routed to the appropriate agent, and instantly open the employee HR Help Desk Masterfile screen ready to verify and engage the caller. More advanced telephony integration can be implemented where employees can generate cases via the touchtone system, similar to phone-based banking, though this option is less common.
Many companies subject potential new hires to various levels of testing to gauge overall skills and personality traits. Sometimes the tests are required to confirm specific required skills, such as expertise in a particular programming language or general typing skills. Other tests analyze fundamentals such as math and writing proficiency. Some employers actually subject candidates to SAT/ACT high school style tests. I am very good at math, but I haven’t brushed up on my trig recently. I better engage my high school kid to help prep me!
It is certainly reasonable for hiring firms to validate the skills detailed on candidate resumes and in interviews. After all, many people do lie or at least embellish their experience and training. Making a wrong hire can be very costly to any organization, and ultimately places a black mark on the terminated employee.
But can employers go too far? And what about those character tests, sometimes known as a predictive index? These tests attempt to identify the prospective employee’s personality traits (i.e., is he a Type A personality), and match them to the preferred traits of the open position. Typically developed by psychologists (but not always), the results of these tests can and do make or break the candidates chances at landing the job, sometimes regardless of the candidates actual skills and record of achievement in previous employers.
The expectations of HR continue to grow — to be more of a strategic player in the organization as well as to provide increasingly user-friendly services to employees. HR could use a little HR help from some friends.
Among those friends is an automated HR case management system, built specifically for HR departments to improve HR service delivery and provide HR self-service. This kind of solution can be just the kind of HR help that HR needs today.
First, however, you want to make sure your HR case management solution is designed specifically for HR departments. A system built for IT’s needs and repurposed for HR will fall short of the mark in several ways. You can read more about why that is in our blog post “HR Delivery Excellence Demands HR-dedicated Case Management: True Temper Tools Would Agree” and dig even deeper into the topic in our white paper “Case Management: The Backbone of Excellence in HR Service Delivery.”
A centralized and automated HR case management system can be a huge asset in managing talent better for companies of any size — even overcoming the shortcomings of many larger and more comprehensive HR technology, information, and talent management systems.
Consider, for example, how an HR help desk can solve the challenge of gathering and maintaining critical employee information in a single location rather than having it spread across disparate databases and in paper files. In fact, there being a central, secure repository of data and records — without replacing current and separate systems — is one of the significant advantages of an HR case management system.
When an HR help desk or case management system is incorporated into a comprehensive talent management strategy, any organization can take advantage of full life-cycle support for employees, ultimately contributing to measurable performance gains. The best HR case management systems, like LBi HR HelpDesk, are designed to work seamlessly with a company’s HRIS software as well as their leading talent management applications.
Unified HR case management overcomes the potentially costly and time-consuming challenge of having critical employee information spread across disjointed databases and traditional paper files. …Read More
The importance of efficient, accessible employee self-service portals and HR self-service systems continues to grow — especially with the continuing influence of several key trends in workplace behavior and expectations, as well as in personal lifestyles.
Among the most significant of those trends driving the demand for more sophisticated employee self-service applications are:
- Greater need for flexible work hours
- Growing acceptance of remote working options
- Increased use of SaaS-based applications and programs, as well as other types of cloud-based HR solutions
- The boom in tablet- and smartphone-based platforms for workplace systems
- The continuing tsunami of “mobile everything, everywhere” communication
Flexible working hours
The continued expansion of businesses across time zones and into international markets is also driving a greater need for flexible working options in every area of the organization. In response, HR technology needs to play a major role in keeping remote employees engaged. A compelling employee self-service portal empowers employees, boosts engagement, and saves HR immense amounts of time. …Read More
Sometimes the derivation of a word describes it perfectly. Wiki is one of those words. It’s from “wikiwiki,” the Hawaiian word for “quick.” And if a human resources wiki does anything at all, it makes quick work of updating and distributing relevant knowledge across the entire scope of HR topics, vastly improving HR self-service.
Yet many people in HR don’t fully understand wikis and wiki knowledge bases, or the power of wikis to save time (for HR and employees), reduce administrative headaches and oversights, and heighten employee engagement. How? By ensuring that people can get the most current information they need when they need it — and know the information is accurate.
Marc Solow, Deloitte Consulting LLP’s HR Shared Services Practices Leader, was cited in a recent blog post that really hit home for us. In a nutshell, Solow identified several HR trends occurring as a result of changes in technology. We agree with Solow’s insight and think the benefits of cloud-based automated HR software solutions — including HR case management — provide examples of what he’s talking about.
Five of the trends Solow identified are:
- Applying differentiated HR service delivery within organizations
- Showing a preference for cloud-based solutions for HR tools
- Transforming HR processes with social and mobile technologies
- Leveraging specialized outsourcing to drive better outcomes
- Consolidating processes of transactions to move value up the chain
Usually when you hear the phrase “HR self-service,” it’s in the context of how its features can benefit employees and HR. It’s true that organizations of almost any size that have a robust, user-friendly, and meaningful employee self-service application also have higher employee engagement and more-efficient and data-rich HR departments compared with their counterparts that lack HR self-service solutions.
But there’s anther entire segment of the workforce that can also benefit hugely from HR self-service: managers and supervisors. Workplace trends suggest that HR leaders would be well served to consider ways to leverage HR self-service to support managers and supervisors. They’re the people whom research increasingly shows play a crucial role in retaining top employees and helping HR deliver its mission.
Contrary to common wisdom, the benefits of an HR call center are not limited to enterprise-level organizations. The value of being able to help employees easily access HR information and get answers to their questions can also benefit smaller businesses by reducing stress on HR administrators and yielding crucial call-tracking data.
For starters, an HR call center is a valuable HR resource that frees administrators to focus on more demanding tasks. As an HR data system, a call center can provide meaningful information such as the frequency of employee calls regarding specific HR topics and the number of calls needed to resolve cases.
With this kind of HR data, HR leaders in organizations of any size get greater insight into how policies and benefits are being communicated. You can determine where messages and communication to employees need to be improved, and where call center processes could use some tweaking.
If you’re like most HR leaders, you keep a lot of plates spinning. Your act includes everything from scouring call-tracking data in your case management system (searching for ways to improve employee self-service) to staying abreast of the most recent topics in human resources news and workplace trends (seeking efficiencies, cost savings, and increased productivity).
You probably also welcome all of the HR resources you can get as easily and quickly as possible — especially the knowledgeable advice of peers — to help keep those plates spinning.
Maybe you’d like to gain some insight into a particularly sensitive matter you’re dealing with today. An online community could help with that. Maybe you simply want to be in the know on the latest workplace trends or what’s new in HR tools. Blogs and professional organization websites can help there.
We’ve asked our team to offer their thoughts on some great — and free — HR resources. In no particular order, here’s what they recommend:
LBi Software is pleased to announce that it has completed an expansion of its headquarters to over 10,000 square feet at 7600 Jericho Turnpike in Woodbury, NY. LBI Software also recently reached the 50 employee mark. In the last 18 months LBi has grown by over 30%! This expansion is to support the upcoming new offering of our flagship solution LBi HR HelpDesk.
The office expansion included new offices, new workstations to support 3 monitors per developer, meeting rooms, video games and a Ping Pong table.
View the slideshow:
Before starting down the path of developing an RFP, it’s crucial to understand the ultimate goal of the journey. Not all RFPs are released with the objective of finding the best and most robust HR case management solution for a company’s needs. Other business goals for an RFP include:
- Finding the lowest-cost solution to meet the most nominal requirements
- Surveying the marketplace and gathering information for a future purchase
- Collecting ideas and information for building a system in-house
If the above is your reason for considering the RFP process, then please don’t.
Is work-life balance a myth? No, it just has different meaning and implications for different cultures. In the United States there is a trend towards encouraging employees to find a healthy medium between work hours and personal time. There is a widely held belief here that a happy employee is a productive employee. In some industries, employees are required to take all of their allotted paid time off. Others sometimes discourage long vacations greater than one week at a time. But today we are recognized as the most productive nation on Earth, though that belief is rapidly changing.
What about other countries and cultures? Certainly workers in China, South Korea, Japan and India, as well as other countries, are considered very productive. However, in those cultures generally work comes first, and sometimes to the exclusion of family and personal life. Disconcerting stories such as those coming from the Chinese factory Foxconn, are all too common. At Foxconn, employees often work seven days a week, eat in common cafeterias, and live in crowded dorms, though they rarely complain. On the contrary, many employees there are proud to work hard and strive for a solid middle class existence, which otherwise might be unattainable.
In these cultures, children are taught from an early age that hard work and personal achievement is the root of success and happiness. Anything less is considered shaming to the family. In school, “A” is the new “B”. Nothing less than “A+” is acceptable. Just look at the winners in the annual Intel Science and Siemens Competitions. They are consistently represented by a disproportionately large number of foreign born or first generation American students, often from Asian and Indian countries. It is truly hard to argue with success.
The features of an automated HR Case Management System – from resolving cases faster and easier, to empowering self-service – can help create and heighten employee engagement.
For example, an HR case management system designed to serve HR keeps a record, instantly available, of every employee transaction. With just a couple of clicks, an HR team member has access to the entire history of a case. The employee doesn’t need to restart the process if he or she needs to follow up on a case. It’s obviously more efficient for HR, and it’s also an effective tool for heightening employee engagement. It shows employees that the company cares enough to handle their concerns quickly and knowledgeably – it brings consumer-like service to the world of HR.
It’s true that an HR case management solution is only one piece of a comprehensive HRIS solution. HR case management lives under the big umbrella of software solutions that help streamline the whole spectrum of HR management system functions, from benefits administration, to time and attendance, to performance reviews and succession planning.
Yet all of the pieces within an HRIS share two overarching goals: to help HR professionals manage their workforce more efficiently and to empower employees. Just as with a full-platform HR management system (HRMS), you also want an HR case management solution that will increase HR productivity by automating administrative processes and supporting HR on a strategic level.
Help Desk systems have become mainstream solutions in virtually every aspect of business operations, including Customer Support, Salesforce Automation, IT Support, HR Support, and more. Though there are many similarities in these applications, it is a keen understanding of the inherent differences that can make or break a successful deployment. Selecting a product that falls short of expectations in just one or two key areas can lead to time delays, as well as wasted (and potentially very costly) financial and personnel investment.
Never has this been truer than in selection and deployment of a new HR system, particularly HR Help Desk. For instance, a lack of privacy features in the help desk system can breach confidentiality agreements, potentially risking expensive and time consuming legal actions.
A well designed HR system, built explicitly for HR, will plug all of the security holes that may exist in some non-HR centric applications. We invite you to take this simple test below and score your current system against the best solutions, such as LBi HR Help Desk 5.0.
Give yourself 5 points for every question you can unequivocally answer “Yes”.
Recent research from British law firm EMW paints a distressing picture of employee data theft. EMW found that cloud computing makes it easier for employees to take enterprise data when they leave, and that court cases over theft of business information increased 56 percent from 2011 to 2012. Adopting “bring your own device”, or BYOD, in your business can leave you vulnerable to employee data theft when staff move on. Accept this, then take steps to minimize your risk.
What’s at Stake if an Employee Walks
When an employee leaves, he carries with him knowledge of your products, services and workflow. Employee laptops and phones will have enterprise and client emails, strategic information, work documents and other data. Since employees may leave for a variety of reasons, every policy should take this into account. Employees who transfer to another office or take a medical leave may need to keep business information, while those who resign, are laid off, or are fired should not keep data.
Recently I closed one of the biggest contracts of my career. The last key piece that sold it was “our employees”. During one of the sales meetings the prospect’s CFO said something profound – “after all, it is not so much about choosing Company A over Company B as it is with being comfortable with the people from Company A”. The CFO liked the team that presented the solution but he wanted to be assured that the team that will execute it was just as good. So I sent him the name and bio of everyone who would be assigned to the project. We then followed that up with an in-person presentation of all the team members. The next day we got the contract.
Phone, email, text, instant message (IM), in person? Unfortunately, many younger workers have grown up in a world where face-to-face (or even phone) communications are not deemed necessary in order to interact effectively with others. The nuances of verbal communications have given way to graphical emoticons and cryptic acronyms. Why bother interpreting visual or audible cues when there is a Smiley face for that?
Have we forgotten about the importance of body language and vocal inflections? In the animal kingdom virtually all creatures converse, not with the written word, but rather by sight and sound. And they apparently are quite successful at it. If sophisticated communications within species through visual and audible means is the product of millions of years of evolution, what does that say about humans and texting? Is this really the next phase in our evolution… or not?
Almost every organization has a formal, written Mission Statement. These statements have at least two primary purposes — to clearly state long-term corporate goals, and to generally set the guiding principles by which employees conduct themselves internally and with their customers.
Mission Statements are top-down mandates that every employee must follow in their daily professional lives. Often it is the responsibility of HR and middle management to monitor (formally or otherwise) their employees to ensure adherence to corporate policies, including those broad principles detailed in the Mission Statement. So how can “the mission” be efficiently monitored day to day, week to week, and beyond, particularly in larger organizations?
This past summer three of my favorite TV shows ended: Breaking Bad, Dexter, and Burn Notice. Each one was very successful yet only one remained on top until the very end. Why is that? Did the others lose their way or just ride out the series like a cash cow?
As far as the reasons behind the failures of Dexter and Burn Notice, they are a matter of personal opinion. Dexter clearly had jumped the shark and, given the series plot, it got less real with each additional microscope slide. As for Burn Notice, in my opinion, it tried to be like the competition and turned from a fun campy A-Team-like show to a lame spy thriller.
“The right tool for the right job.”
That’s been the advertising slogan for True Temper tools since at least 1907, when the Cleveland-based company was called American Fork & Hoe. The catchphrase is just as true today as it was then, and not only when it comes to forks and hoes.
Without the right technology for the right job, it’s highly unlikely any mission will achieve its optimal outcome. Sure, the job might get done. But at what cost? What will be left out or left behind? How much better could the job have been done with the right tools – with the benefit of software and a system, for example, uniquely designed to accomplish that particular job?
Guests at LBi Software’s HR Tech booth participated in a game to try to solve the puzzle of HR Technology:
Each player would add a piece to the puzzle and try to guess the message. The first correct puzzle guess won a Microsoft Surface and each correct guess after that was put in a drawing for a second Microsoft Surface. Participants would also win a prize for just playing: Kindles, iPod Nanos, ear buds, Amazon gift cards, 8GB flash drives and water bottles.
The use of HR technology to heighten employee engagement is still evolving. In some respects – and despite so much that’s been written about it – applying the features of HR and HCM technology to boost employee engagement is still in its infancy. But in other regards, the trend is already starting to become passé.
The practice of tapping into existing legacy HCM systems to drive employee engagement will soon be outdated. Here’s how Brandon Hall Group and The Starr Conspiracy put it in their recent white paper, The Future of HCM: 7 Trends That Every HCM Provider Needs to Know: “There’s one certainty within this uncertainty. These legacy HCM systems will all eventually go away forever. HCM players have taken novel steps to hasten the progress of this slow death.”