Welcome to this brand new edition of our ‘Must-Read Digital HR and HR Tech Articles’.
The top articles of July feature seven ways HR departments can do less while accomplishing more, an article on measuring employee engagement the right way, a rather disturbing look into the future of the gig economy, and a video with examples of a successful digital transformation.
I’m sure you’ll find a few pieces that you’ve missed and really should read. Enjoy!
[VIDEO] Examples of a Successful Digital Transformation
A Digital HR Live video to start with. In this video, it’s all about examples of successful HR digital transformation. Our experts share their own – sometimes hilarious – experiences with us. Varying from ‘digitalizing’ shoeboxes to bringing Uber back on the list of authorized travel expenses.
If you want to stay up-to-date with all our Digital HR Live/ AIHR videos subscribe to our channel: https://bit.ly/2rB2I30.
#3. 7 Ways for HR Departments to Do Less & Accomplish More
In this piece, Tina Eaton describes 7 ways to empower your HR team through workflow automation.
Eaton starts by saying that HR workflow automation can’t replace your HR department – and it isn’t meant to. Instead, it’s meant to help you eliminate the time your team is wasting on high-volume, low-skill, and error-riddled tasks so they can focus on the strategies that attract, win, and keep top talent.
1. Get Better Talent Faster Through a Fully Digital Hiring Process
The conventional hiring process is laborious, time-consuming and quite frankly, exhausting. With HR workflow automation, it doesn’t have to be like that. An onboarding tool, for instance, can take care of everything from signing an NDA and other mandatory forms to guiding new hires through your employee handbook and more.
2. Create Thoughtful, Automated Onboarding to Increase Retention Times 3
As much effort as many companies put into their recruitment process, as little effort often goes into the onboarding period. A real shame, since this period is crucial to create employee engagement among your new hires.
Turnover rates can be up to three times higher when onboarding is done manually instead of with HR workflow automation software.
3. Reclaim Two Days a Month with More Efficient Time Tracking
Time tracking isn’t the most glamorous topic to talk about but it’s a vital part of your business nevertheless. Managers spend 15 hours or more every month just dealing with time sheets. HR workflow automation makes the process faster for employees, catches errors right when they happen and empowers managers to review and approve timesheet quickly. It can even automatically record payments in your organization’s financial software.
4. Turn Performance Reviews on Their Head for Actual Results
Performance management is something that can take up a huge amount of time (Deloitte discovered they were spending 2 million hours every year just on the forms, meetings, and ratings related to performance management).
Automating and streamlining the performance review workflow gives HR teams the opportunity to flip the system on its head. HR professionals and managers are increasingly starting to see the benefit of using software to create ongoing conversations around each employee’s performance.
Since it all lives on a digital device, it becomes easy and natural for workers to discuss and receive feedback about their work in a way that feels unthreatening and actionable.
5. Make Vacation Dreams Come True a Whole Lot Faster
A process of requesting, approving, and tracking leave requests is a perfect candidate for HR workflow automation and a great place to start if you’re only just entering the digital transformation era.
HR workflow automation can make the entire leave request process almost completely hands off. Enabling you to eliminate convoluted requests and streamline the approval process so that each key team member is notified when it’s their turn to review the request.
6. Never Fall Asleep Reading an Expense Claim Again
Expense claims are another great opportunity to flex your HR workflow automation muscles. They’re repetitive, happen with some volume, and really aren’t all that fun to process.
Automated workflow streamlines things from the input side and help People Ops and financial teams keep track of even the most minute details. They generate automatic reports on a regular schedule and – if you’re lucky – they enable you to scan and record a receipt from your cell phone camera.
7. Maintain Business Security with Bulletproof Offboarding
Making offboarding a smooth process isn’t just good for team morale – it’s great for business continuity and security.
HR workflow automation software can send automatic reminders to the person leaving and each team member who will play a fool in their successful departure to make sure nothing slips to the cracks. As an added benefit, the paperwork that you’ll still need to keep on hand for that former employee’s record doesn’t have to sit around cluttering your desk because of the secure and digital nature of HR workflow automation software.
For the full article, go here.
#2. Run, TaskRabbit, run: July 2030
This article from the Economist gives us an interesting – yet rather worrying – look into the future. The author contemplates the following question: Driven by technological and legal changes, how far can the “gig economy” go?
The article starts with an email that Eva Smith receives in her mailbox at 7 pm on Friday, October 13th, 2028. In the email, the company she works for informs its employees that all jobs below C-suite level are to be reclassified. People will no longer work for the company as employees. Instead, they will work for the organization on a contract basis.
For Ms. Smith, not much changes. Her hourly rate went up by 20%, but she became responsible for her own pension and health insurance. And the next deal she hoped to be involved in went to someone with a PhD in engineering from Harvard.
During the 2020s, companies had begun to rely more heavily than ever on outsourced, temporary workers assigned via digital platforms. TimeToCare, a platform known as the ‘Uber for social care’ organizes 90% of the in-home-elderly-care visits in America.
McDonald’s, a fast-food company has taken things the furthest, outsourcing 100% of its restaurant jobs. Servers, cooks, and cleaners at McDonald’s are no longer employees of the firm or its franchises, but bid for positions at the thill on an hourly basis through TaskRabbit, an online labor platform.
Two factors explain the boom in gigging. The first is changes to the law. In 2020, President Donal Trump introduced a package of labor-market reforms which provided for the introduction of the ‘dependent contractor’ employment status.
The second driver behind the gig-economy boom has been technology. Progress in artificial intelligence (AI) has made finding the right worker for a discrete task quicker an easier than ever.
For workers with sought-after skills, it can be far more lucrative to float from contract to contract than to work for a single firm. After a bumpy start, Ms. Smith now earns more than she did as an employee.
Workers without valuable skills, however, are not doing nearly as well. The biggest problem stemmed from the 2020 labor reform. Dependent contractors working through online platforms are not entitled to a minimum wage. Automation is also reducing the overall demand for low-skill labor.
In other words: wages at the bottom of the income distribution have now stagnated for two decades. Such workers cannot afford to contribute to pension pots; health-care coverage has also fallen. Concern over the potential long-term hit to the public finances has led to calls for more regulation of the gig economy.
Read the full article here.
#1. Measuring Employee Engagement the Right Way
In this article, Erik van Vulpen answers the questions whether you want to measure employee engagement yourself or with a survey provider. In addition, he discusses the two most common employee engagement scales and their characteristics.
The biggest challenge to measuring employee engagement is its lack of a unified definition. Try answering the following questions:
1. Is engagement about feeling happy at work?
2. Is it about being absorbed with what you do?
3. Is it about being energized in your work?
4. Is it about having work that is meaningful to you?
Or is it all of the above?
In fairness, this question is hard to answer because different organizations use different definitions of engagement. However, the following definition from William Kahn from Boston University has been the basis for further research and measurement methods:
Engagement happens when employees’ personal selves are aligned with what they do in their work.
There are three ways to measure employee engagement in an organization:
1. Having engagement measured by an employee engagement survey provider;
2. Measuring employee engagement yourself;
3. A hybrid approach in which annual engagement is measured by the survey provider while puls engagement is measured by the company throughout the year.
A lot of companies that start with analytics use hybrid approaches. They use questionnaires for specific employee segments on top of the annual survey. They use this data for specific analyses, for example, to assess slaes performance, or to analyze reasons for absenteeism in a specific department.
Another approach that more and more companies are using are pulse surveys. After sending on or a few questions to a select group of employees, you can get continuous insight on what the organization is saying, doing, and thinking.
To simplify things, Erik gives a few general tips for engagement surveys:
- Always work with a good psychometrician. Let him/her vet your survey.
- Check reliability and predictive validity or your provider’s survey.
- If you decide to go on your own: use pre-validated engagement surveys that have proven to make a positive impact on the business and lead to positive HR outcomes.
- Make sure to always own your data and to have it accessible.
- Don’t’ promise anonymity to employees but promise confidentiality. You need individual data to do proper analytics which means that the data is not anonymous.
Always combine your staff engagement survey with other employee data that you want to make tangible. The engagement survey is usually the only time in the year you can quantify a lot fo qualitative information.
A key theme in HR analytics has always been measuring the benefit of employee engagement. When we want to look into measuring the ROI on employee engagement, we need to combine engagement data with internal financial data.
Proving the ROI of employee engagement takes a long time. Erik turns this around and starts with a business question: Only if engagement is one of the key drivers of a desired behavior or strategic business goal, you should analyze it.
Erik concludes the article by giving his readers the following take-home message. The main challenge in questionnaire research is that you only get one shot. Designing questions takes a lot of nuance and requires extensive testing before they can put to real use. When you do this without expert knowledge you run the risk of creating a survey that doesn’t measure what you want to measure. As a result, the survey often cannot be used for analytics nor can it be used to calculate an ROI.
The best tactic is still to stand on the shoulders of giants. Using tested surveys helps to ensure that the engagement you measured will have an impact on critical organizational outcomes.
For the full article, go here.
Voila, that’s the July round-up all done. 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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