Welcome to another brand new edition of our ‘Must-Read Digital HR and HR Tech Articles’.
The top articles of October feature a piece on employee engagement 3.0, an item about smartphone addiction taking over the workplace and an article that gives you a different take on the HR dashboard.
I’m sure you’ll find a few pieces that you’ve missed and really should read. Enjoy!
#3: Numbers don’t’ lie: Smartphone addiction is taking over your workplace
In this topical article, John Hollon highlights the importance of a workplace smartphone policy. Hollon starts with a sample of findings from a recent survey by KDM Engineering titled Smartphone Etiquette.
When it comes to workplace findings, the survey found that:
- 20% of workers check their phone at least once every 20 minutes while they’re on the job;
- 43% of Millennials check their phone every 20 minutes;
- although 70% think it’s wrong to have their smartphones out during meetings, 53% do it anyway;
- 80% think it’s wrong to check phones during meetings but 50% still do it.
When employees know it’s inappropriate to have their smartphones out – and check them – during a meeting, but still dot it, that’s when you know people are in denial about how big a problem smartphone addiction actually is, Hollon writes.
He continues by saying that the notion that you can be on your smartphone and do anything else – even something as simple as walking – is a crock.
What’s more, employees who are addicted to their smartphones aren’t giving you the performance you need from them when they try to work and fiddle with their phone at the same time. Something has to give, and when someone is engrossed with their phone what usually gives is whatever else they are doing at the time.
In terms of possible answers to smartphone addiction, Hollon gives some fixes suggested by ComputerWorld columnist Mike Elgan:
- Elgan would love to see new norms or policies emerge in enterprises where it becomes unacceptable to bring smartphones into meetings.
- The newest trend will be widespread smartphone fasting – going without a smartphone for varying lengths of time.
- Another option is to schedule data connectivity: carry the phone, but allow yourself just a few hours a day of being connected.
- Another – already increasingly popular approach – is to delete all your social networking accounts and thereby remove one source of compulsion with the smartphone,
- Companies will (and should) organize voluntary smartphone fasts for the benefit of employees and company productivity, as well as provide training and coaching for addicts and prevention programs for the as-yet unafflicted.
Hollon ends his article by saying that if you don’t have a workplace smartphone policy in place yet you’re probably just asking for smartphone addiction to become a bigger problem. So you better fix it now before it’s too late.
Go here for the full article.
#2: A different kind of dashboard
Part of the dashboard which is excerpted from the book
“The CMO of People: Manage Employees Like Customers With an Immersive Predictable Experience
That Drives Productivity and Performance” by David Creelman and Peter A. Navin.
Creelman picks out the section of the above dashboard that is devoted to Organizational Structure. It has 3 questions that relate to concerns any investor would have about a young, growing company:
- Are we top heavy?
- Is our span of control and layers appropriate?
- Are we gaining economies of scale as we grow?
The best kind of dashboard doesn’t put the data first, it concentrates on asking the right questions instead. Because if you ask good questions, you can work your way to using data to provide answers.
The first question, for example, ‘Are we top heavy’ can be answered in two different ways. You can eyeball it from a look at the organizational chart. Or you can present numbers of senior leaders relative to middle management relative to workers. Creelman prefers the former because it emphasizes that this is a different kind of dashboard.
The next question, ‘Is our span of control and layers appropriate?’, can also be answered in two different ways. Either by a look at the organizational chart or by looking at some basic data about the average span of control and number of layers in each part of the business.
Onto the last question, ‘Are we gaining economies of scale as we grow?’. Possible metrics include revenue per employee and operating expenses as a percent of revenue. These metrics answer a different dashboard question than they would in an established firm – and again, it’s the questions that matter.
Many of the questions on the dashboard are hard to answer, particularly for a young company. The idea, however, is that the dashboard should be aspirational. It should include the questions that matter, even if you don’t have the data yet.
You don’t have to fear the fact that you don’t have all the data – and end up with a few blank entries here and there. Often, a rough estimate will give leaders enough information to answer the question on the dashboard to their satisfaction.
Since your leaders won’t expect this kind of different dashboard – one that privileges questions over data – you’ll have to ease people along until they see the purpose of an HR dashboard from a different perspective.
Start with only a few questions, including a couple of estimates and leaving one or two blank spaces for data the organization should have but doesn’t have yet. As David puts it: teach your leaders what an HR dashboard really ought to be.
Check the article out if you want to read more about the HR dashboard.
#1: Employee Engagement 3.0: Humu Launches Nudge Engine
An interesting read by Josh Bersin about the evolution of the employee engagement market. He sees it moving in 3 major phases:
Employee Engagement 1.0: Annual Engagement or Climate Survey
This used to be a market of annual surveys, benchmarks, and year-to-year comparisons. Over time, these annual surveys turned into benchmarking exercises. Since all of this was before the internet the results weren’t very actionable (but interesting nevertheless).
Employee Engagement 2.0: Pulse Surveys with Intelligent Action Plans
The market evolved and the phase Bersin calls Employee Engagement 2.0 was the birth of the pulse survey. Innovators like TinyPuls and CultureIQ pioneered the idea to survey people at any time.
At the same time, various anonymous rating sites like Glassdoor and Kununu popped up together with anonymous social networks like Blind where people can discuss work issues anonymously in public. All of this led to an explosion of tools that solicit real-time feedback, creating a Yelp-like experience at work.
The results have been incredibly positive and today hundreds of organizations survey their employees regularly (quarterly, monthly or even weekly). Where the first generation of these tools was web-based, now they are mobile and often embedded in different applications like Slack and Microsoft Office for example.
Engagement 2.0 made employee feedback more actionable. Many companies today regularly embrace pulse surveys and let employees submit text comments whenever they want. Vendors like Glint and CultureAmp have embedded pulse survey tools hence making them easier than ever to buy.
As was to be expected, these 2.0 platforms are getting smarter. The pulse model is being enhanced by AI and action plans, giving managers and HR curated recommendations about what to do based on the comments of their teams.
Bersin encourages companies to think about Engagement 2.0 as a feedback architecture in order to broaden your data set over time. He names AI-based organizational network analysis ( ONA) tools that analyze email patterns and the tone and mood of email and messages as an example. Once you have such a system in place you can start to highlight areas of risk, stress, and even fraud.
Employee Engagement 3.0
What comes next is the use of data in a more proactive, useful way. Because now that we have all this data, why can’t we use it to give meaningful suggestions directly to the employees themselves?
In stage 3 we are leveraging the power of AI to turn feedback and ONA data into prescribed organizational change, using nudges suggestions to make work better. We move to engagement tools for everyone. This is what Bersin thinks of as Engagement 3.0 – using feedback and data to give everyone tips to perform better.
This is where Humu comes into sight: a company that is focused on individual and organizational behavioral change.
How it works in a nutshell: The system uses feedback and data to give everyone – not just managers and leaders – a series of time-based ‘nudges’ to help them change their behavior at work. These nudges (or suggestions) are designed to create behavior that improves values like focus, well-being, and teamwork.
Bersin, who has recently become an independent practitioner, believes these kinds of ‘3.0 solutions’ have tremendous potential. Rather than forcing people to take courses, talk with a coach or read books, they deliver solutions in the flow of work to let employees improve themselves.
The opportunities for business performance improvement are vast too. Once Humu gets its nudge engine to work well, the engine might nudge a sales rep to improve in one way, a customer service agent in another, and a finance leader in a different way.
Go here for the full article.
And that’s this month’s roundup 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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