Welcome to this brand new edition of our ‘Must-Read Digital HR and HR Tech Articles’! With many of you enjoying some early May bank holidays, now’s the perfect time to catch up on your monthly Digital HR reading. Here are the 5 articles we enjoyed reading most to help you get started.
#5: 3 Mistakes to avoid when starting an HR analytics function
Although HR leaders recognize that they should be using analytics to support decision-making, they often don’t exactly know how to do so.
In this article, David Creelman talks about three mistakes that are detrimental to analytics success.
Mistake 1: Asking HR Reporting to do analytics without sufficient resources
It makes sense to combine analytics and reporting. However, the reality is that most HR reporting teams don’t have the mandate, tools, or skill set to do analytics. So putting the accountability for analytics on an already (too) busy reporting team hoping they’ll start doing sophisticated analytics is unrealistic.
Mistake 2: Hiring data scientists and asking them to ‘do people analytics’
Analytics needs to be closely tied to business issues. This means that the people who lead the analytics must be business people. They need to understand the goals and key performance indicators of the organization. You don’t want them to be data scientists who don’t understand the business problems that data is meant to address.
Mistake 3: Overlooking the role of the average HR professional
No matter how effective a company’s analytics (and HR reporting) teams are, if they are not closely connected to the average HR professional they’ll make slow progress. If you’re serious about analytics then it’s crucial to recognize that the average HR professional plays a critical role in making the entire department ‘analytics savvy’.
Creelman continues by saying that these problems are to be expected since analytics is still relatively new to HR. According to him, a successful analytics function:
> starts with a group of HR professionals who can see how the better use of data helps with business decision-making;
> supported by an effective HR reporting team to get the basic data and;
> a small HR analytics team that can advise them and help them with problems that require more sophisticated analytics.
From there, analytics could be extended to other business leaders and enable them to get insights into the questions that matter to meeting organizational objectives.
Creelman finishes his article stating that analytics is not a side project. Instead, it should be part of the broader shift of the HR function towards becoming a more business-focused and data-savvy operation.
Read the full article here.
#4: Employer branding ideas for next to nothing – 14 tips from the pros!
Here’s a sample of ideas to boost your employer brand:
It can be very simple to make employee testimonial or job preview videos. This is a great way to get your current employees involved in being brand ambassadors.
Using communications you already have
This is a good example of working with what you’ve got right in front of you. Think for example of:
> Making your hiring managers’ LinkedIn profiles great
> Making your hiring managers share Employer Branded content on LinkedIn and other social media
> Recycling all corporate communications, investor communications, leadership communications etc. as part of your employer brand.
Livestream social events
And/or live stream fun meetings, new employee welcomes, teambuilding activities and more.
Build candidate personas
This boils down to creating content that is aligned with the interests of your target audience.
Revamp your job descriptions
Ask someone from the marketing department to do this or the employees who are currently in those positions to make the job description more realistic.
Get your employees on your blog
This is an important factor to grow your employer brand in an organic way. Give them clear guidelines about what is allowed and what isn’t and create a ‘blog inspo’ folder the team can draw from.
Get people together
This can be any kind of event. Maren mentions a lunch and learn where employee referrals are invited for instance. Or hosting a networking breakfast where a hiring manager speaks.
Showcase your values
You can do this in countless different ways. Maren mentions laptop stickers, t-shirts, and hoodies but also emphasizes the importance of making sure that your people understand what the values of your company are.
Go here for the full article.
#3: 10 Trends in HR organizations
2018 is well underway and HR organizations are changing. In this article, Tom Haak lists some of the trends we’re currently seeing.
1. HR is mainly HR Operations
Most of what HR does can be captured under the label HR operations. Outsourcing or partially outsourcing is certainly an option in order to create world-class HR operations. Tom wonders what’s left in HR outside the HR Service Center, maybe we only need high-level HR strategic advice.
2. Focus on service and hospitality
In HR services, both IT and hospitality are important. A top-notch HR service center is very important for a positive candidate and employee experience 24/7. Therefore we probably need a new breed of HR professionals who can run HR as a service organization. This may be an indication that the HR business partner isn’t doing strategic work…
3. HR business partners in decline
Twenty years ago most HR professionals aspired to become a real strategic business partner. Today, we see the first signs of the decline of the HR business partner. Big organizations that transform their HR function move most of their HR business partners – and the work they do – to the HR Service Center (where you need less of them).
4. From HR to people to workforce
Over the past years, the term ‘HR’ has increasingly been replaced by ‘People’. Think of Chief People Officers, VP’s of People Operations. etc. The next move will probably be towards ‘Workforce’. This workforce consists of people and robots/bots of all kinds. Tom thinks the scope will become larger than just humans.
5. Specialists rather than Generalists
We need specialists in all kinds of old and new HR related areas. Think of recruitment, selection, people analytics and performance for instance.
6. EX = CX = Marketing
HR is currently embracing the employee experience (EX). This is something that people in the marketing industry have been doing for a long time. Since marketers are so good at this, why not leaving the EX to marketing? Perhaps this task would be done better if it was in the hands of a specialist.
7. Shared resources for analytics
Data analysts are in high demand. HR has been a bit late to the analytics party and is now trying to catch up. Tom thinks it could make sense to share the scarce data analytics resources; create a central team that can be used by different departments.
8. Systems take over much of the traditional HR work
It took a while and there were some teething problems, but HR systems have become a lot better than when they first hit the market. Connecting innovative, specialized HR tech solutions to the bigger systems is also becoming easier.
9. The CEO is also the CHRO
Modern CEO’s are often also the CHRO or the Chief People Officer. Tom wonders if these CEO’s really need a CHRO/CPO in their top team? The role of strategic advisor in the people and organization can also be fulfilled by others.
10. From PTB to EI
The tide is slowly turning from PTB (please the boss) to EI (employee intimacy). Truly understanding your employees is getting more important and required to design relevant employee journeys. There may be others who are better at this than HR, high-level strategic consultants for example.
Read the full article here.
#2: Why most companies are helpless victims of HR technology
Surely you’ve noticed that there is a lot of talk about new applications that make HR faster, better, and more data-driven. The bigger picture, however, is missing. This leads to a number of issues.
In this article, Erik van Vulpen discusses three of them:
1. A proliferation of applications
Erik gives an example he came across of a large multinational that used no less than 70 different HR apps. Instead of making things easier for employees – and HR – the HR helpdesk was clogged with people asking where they could do this or find that.
2. We’re missing the real benefits that make digital HR exciting
In an ideal world, we capture data about all relevant points of the employee journey: on when people join, their evaluations, exit talks, etc. Connecting these dots through smart apps can bring a tremendous value. If there’s no bigger picture, however, the synergy that digital HR could bring in terms of HR analytics gets lost.
3. We will miss our goal
The company with the 70 different HR apps failed to achieve what it set out to do: instead of making things easier for employees it made them harder. HR needs to be able to keep up with this (increasingly faster) process of digitalization if we want to reach our goals.
According to Erik, in order to deal with this rapidly changing world and really grab the benefits of digital HR, we need to do three things:
#1. Understand that HR is the buyer, not the user
Too often still, HR departments implement apps without checking how users – in other words, the employees – normally behave. Neither does the organization verify how users will benefit, how they will react to the app and how they will interact with it.
#2. Create a digital innovation culture
Trying, erring, trying again and succeeding is very much part of any lean digitalization process. This shouldn’t only pertain to HR. HR should work with IT to see how they can optimize the employee experience in regard to digital services.
#3. Maximize return on software
Specifically for HR, Erik would propose the term “return on software.” Ultimately software should serve the business — just like HR should. The use of software should lead to business outcomes. The only way to properly test this is through people analytics.
Erik finishes by saying that although HR may purchase the software, someone else in the organization is using it. As such, HR should talk to the employees and help them to do their work better.
Go here for the full article.
#1: How to use design thinking in Human Resources
In this article, Enrique Rubio applies principles of design thinking to HR problems.
Design thinking delivers the best results at the confluence of two elements:
- when it focuses on problems that are complex by nature and don’t have a ‘knowable’ or ‘visible’ solution and;
- when those problems affect people.
It’s precisely at that intersection where most of the problems that HR is dealing with lie. They are complex issues and they impact people in several ways.
Enrique categorizes the problems HR is facing in 4 main areas:
- People problems – How to put people first and maximize employee and candidate experience?
- Alignment problems – How to align what people really want with the organization’s purpose?
- Systems and processes problems – How to redesign systems and processes to become more agile?
- Technology problems – How can HR leverage tech applications to focus on the work that truly adds value?
These 4 ‘buckets’ meet the basic requirements for design thinking to deliver the best value.
Design thinking in HR problems
Design thinking usually has six steps: empathy, definition, ideation, prototyping, testing, and scaling. Let’s see how these steps work for HR using the example of performance management (PM).
In this step, we analyze problems from the perspective of how they affect people. A design thinking team would start by looking at how the current approach to performance management impacts people operations. Eventually, the team would find several ways PM affects people.
This step is the essence of design thinking. Empathy means fully understanding how a problem prevents people from unleashing their potential, finding meaning in their work, etc.
Once the team fully understands how a complex problem is affecting people, it moves to the second step: defining what the problem is. A definition that truly captures the complexity and the intensity of the problem.
Most HR problems – Enrique says – don’t just fall in one of the 4 buckets mentioned above. Instead, they have content in each of the areas. The trick for HR is to break down the problem and use design thinking for smaller, workable pieces.
This is the step where the team is free from any constraints. They think about the best possible way to solve the problem. It’s crucial that in the ideation process the design thinking team focuses just on volume and divergence (instead of quality and convergence).
This is when the team should narrow down from volume/divergence to quality/feasibility/convergence. They cut down the long list of ideas (a lot) and can start prototyping – i.e. create a mock-up of a smaller set of solutions.
Immediately after prototyping a set of feasible and potentially valuable and viable solutions, the team goes out to the field and test the prototyped solutions. They also come up with assumptions about each prototype.
In this phase, the team decides on a final solution. The end result of the testing stage is the selection of a workable solution. This solution can then be implemented beyond the pilot group and scaled up.
Scaling is about taking the solution to another, higher level within the organization. At this point, the solution is validated, the assumptions are refined, and the team is ready to go for more.
Enrique finishes his article by saying that when it comes to people operations problems, the best approach is to break them down after the Empathy step into workable pieces and then work out each piece separately. An approach that doesn’t have to be slow, he adds. In fact, it can bring about disruptive innovation in HR with solutions that truly work.
Read the full article here.
Alright, that’s a wrap. If you read a great Digital HR or HR Tech article this month and you feel it deserves a place in next month’s list, please share it in the comments!
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