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HR Trends: Back To The Future In 2016

Matias Rodsevich

In 2015 we saw the emergence of a number of new HR trends. The HR landscape is changing more rapidly than ever before. HR trends, such as recruitment through social media, the impact of Generation Z, and the overhaul of performance reviews, were all apparent in 2015.

In 2016, it’s likely that traditional business practices will be further disrupted by technology. According to the Bersin report, it’s likely the entire human resources platform will be accessible from one mobile application. Companies will look to create further employee engagement – employees who are fully absorbed by and enthusiastic about their work – and undertake further culture management. Tech companies will likely be looking to take advantage of the new generation of HR leaders, all of whom have been accustomed to the use of mobile technology in their personal lives already.

What were some of the other developments that occurred in 2015, and how likely are they to affect 2016?

What changes will the industry see in 2016, and how do they affect your workplace?

According to Dan Schawbel’s 10 workplace trends for 2015 , the workplace should have seen an array of companies using social media to attract and retain top talent. According to the global recruiting trends report, one of the most effective ways to attract talent in 2015 was still through company career websites and Internet job boards. Many believed the job board would die with the advent of social media; however, 74 percent of the 4000 interviewed companies said that the Internet job board still remained the most effective source of attracting top talent. However, the report went on to say that the fastest-growing platform for hires remains quality social professional networks such as Linkedin.

2015 saw the introduction of Gen Z into the workforce through internships and trainee programs. This post-independent, pragmatic, and always-in-a-rush generation is determined to succeed. According to Laurence Benhamou, a journalist who penned the article Everything You Need to Know about Generation Z, “this generation’s primary driver is to own and run their own business.” He goes on to say that “76 percent of this generation are aiming to make a hobby out of their job and they believe that their success comes from their ‘network’ instead of their qualifications.”

How did Gen Z perform in the workplace in 2015?

A recent report compiled by Adecco outlined what Gen Z expects in the workplace. Their top priority is obtaining their dream job within 10 years, so companies need to focus on talent development and career growth. Out of the 1000 students surveyed, 36 percent cited that opportunity for growth is their number-one priority when looking for employment. A further 19 percent wanted their roles to be somehow associated to their personal interests.

The annual performance review was bound to get a revamp in 2015. According to data obtained from the management research firm CEB, 6 percent of Fortune 500 companies have stopped using annual performance reviews and forced rankings. This year we saw both Deloitte and Accenture dumping and redesigning performance reviews in favor of more continuous and ongoing feedback, as their performance reviews had never been through any “upgrade” and the process was in need of a complete overhaul. According to a public survey conducted by Deloitte, 58 percent of their managers stated that traditional performance reviews do not serve their purpose. Deloitte has since moved to a model that recognises, understands, and fuels performance. Tech companies are rethinking the way they conduct performance reviews, focusing on ongoing and real-time feedback.

2016: A Look to the year ahead

What are the biggest trends we can see going forward? What is likely to disrupt the way companies view the workplace, and how does HR fit into this ever-changing work environment? In this new world of work, we are seeing the line between work life and personal life becoming obsolete. Employees are now hyperconnected to their roles, and technology is likely to have an even greater impact on business in 2016. Information is accessible with a simple tap of a screen or wearable device, providing key data insights into companies and ambitious startups alike.

The workplace and mobile applications

According to the KPCB report, there are now more than 2.1 billion smartphone users on the planet. Mobile Internet growth increased by 69 percent in 2014 and will continue to grow at a rapid pace. The study, in which 1019 millennials were interviewed, found that 78 percent of interviewee’s smartphones never left their side, and are the first thing they look at when they wake and the last thing they look at when they go to sleep. A further 60 percent believed that by 2020, every daily activity will be done through a smartphone.

In 2016 there is a good chance that this mobile technology will spill over into the HR space. Companies will need to “appify” their HR tools in order to engage and understand employees in a more quantifiable manner. According to the Bersin report, in 2016 it’s likely that we will see a breakthrough in engagement and feedback systems, as well as apps for learning, employee feedback, and performance check-ins. It is also likely that there will be more applications for time and attendance management, expense reimbursement, employee directories and collaboration, as well as applications for video interviewing, recruitment, and candidate marketing.

The return of the employee

In an era where job-hopping among young professionals has become the norm, millennial employees will likely be seen again in the future. According to the workplace trends report, 76 percent of the organizations interviewed preferred rehiring former employees since these employees require less training, being already aware of business practices and generally a better culture fit. The report went on to say that in the past 5 years, 85 percent of the companies interviewed received job applications from previous employees. What’s more, 40 percent of these companies said that they hired those employees.

Several factors are contributing to this new phenomenon. Social media sites are making it easier for company leaders and managers to keep in contact with previous employees. With digital profiles of former employees being stored more regularly, companies are now able to get historical information of previous employees more quickly and timely.

There are a number of benefits to hiring a “boomerang employee.” When employees leave the company, they gain valuable skills and expand their professional networks. When they eventually return, they come with a wealth of experience and extensive networks from which your company can benefit. What’s more, these employees boost office morale, streamline reentry into the workplace culture, and require less information when onboarding, making it more agile and faster to bring them up to speed.

The millennial manager

Generation Y is currently the largest generation in the workplace, so it’s inevitable that business will see them as leaders in the near future. As this generation continues to mature, they will move into leadership roles in ways that are much different than generations before them. Often these millennials do not have prerequisites or experience required for certain job titles. In a study compiled by Virtuali, 71 percent of millennials already consider themselves to be leaders in their personal capacity (even though less than half interviewed had held any formal leadership positions). The majority of these millennials consider themselves “situational leaders” – leaders in project teams, volunteering their experiences and influencing people.

The report goes on to say that 64 percent of respondents do not feel they are fully prepared to be leaders yet, mostly because they lack the ability to manage and develop other employees. According to the report compiled by workplace trends, nearly 50 percent of millennials surveyed defined leadership as empowering others to succeed. A more compassionate leadership style will be the trademark of the millennial manager. Millennials like to collaborate with their peers in order to achieve objectives and are transformational leaders. Using strong team skills, millennial leaders consider creating leadership teams in order to share demanding workloads.

Wearing productivity

In 2015 there was a growing trend toward wearable technology such as smart bands and smartwatches in the workplace. These devices have the ability to track, monitor, and store data about an employee’s efficiencies and wellness in the workplace. In 2015, for example, British Petroleum distributed 24,500 Fitbits to track its employees’ health and wellness.

According to the wearable technology report, around 2000 companies worldwide will offer their employees fitness trackers in 2016. What’s more, more than 60 percent of millennials in the report said that they would be willing to wear smart devices, provided that they increased efficiencies and productivity. Smart devices are likely to increase efficiencies incrementally as tasks such as checking email and checking in at the office become streamlined to the wrist. From 2015 on, workplace software Kronos says it’s expanding its platform to smart devices to offer tracking and communication capabilities. This new technology is likely to take advantage of the 24/7 business environment, retrieving information and notifying employees more quickly than any other smart mobile device.

Conclusion

Be prepared for the eventuality of mobile applications in the workplace. With mobile applications being on the upward trend and millennials entering leadership roles, it means that there will be an increasing likelihood that business functions will all be mobile in 2016. These mobile applications will increase are likely to increase productivity and take advantage of the 24/7 workplace.

  • Be open to returning employees — it’s likely there will be more and more “boomerang” employees. These individuals will be returning with enormous wealth of experience. Make sure you can take advantage of this by creating “returning” policies.
  • It’s likely there will be some millennial managers in the workplace from next year. Create a workplace that is conducive to their managerial style and set up leadership training so they can take full advantage of their already strong desire to lead. Get them into the mindset to give and receive open and honest feedback.

Want more insight on how technology is changing HR? See To Drive Digital Transformation, HR Needs A Seat At The Executive Table.

A version of this post was first published on the impraise.com blog.

The post HR Trends: Back to the Future in 2016 appeared first on TalentCulture.

photo credit: Scrabble – Position via photopin (license)

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How To Design Your Company’s Digital Transformation

Sam Yen

The September issue of the Harvard Business Review features a cover story on design thinking’s coming of age. We have been applying design thinking within SAP for the past 10 years, and I’ve witnessed the growth of this human-centered approach to innovation first hand.

Design thinking is, as the HBR piece points out, “the best tool we have for … developing a responsive, flexible organizational culture.”

This means businesses are doing more to learn about their customers by interacting directly with them. We’re seeing this change in our work on d.forum — a community of design thinking champions and “disruptors” from across industries.

Meanwhile, technology is making it possible to know exponentially more about a customer. Businesses can now make increasingly accurate predictions about customers’ needs well into the future. The businesses best able to access and pull insights from this growing volume of data will win. That requires a fundamental change for our own industry; it necessitates a digital transformation.

So, how do we design this digital transformation?

It starts with the customer and an application of design thinking throughout an organization – blending business, technology and human values to generate innovation. Business is already incorporating design thinking, as the HBR cover story shows. We in technology need to do the same.

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Design thinking plays an important role because it helps articulate what the end customer’s experience is going to be like. It helps focus all aspects of the business on understanding and articulating that future experience.

Once an organization is able to do that, the insights from that consumer experience need to be drawn down into the business, with the central question becoming: What does this future customer experience mean for us as an organization? What barriers do we need to remove? Do we need to organize ourselves differently? Does our process need to change – if it does, how? What kind of new technology do we need?

Then an organization must look carefully at roles within itself. What does this knowledge of the end customer’s future experience mean for an individual in human resources, for example, or finance? Those roles can then be viewed as end experiences unto themselves, with organizations applying design thinking to learn about the needs inherent to those roles. They can then change roles to better meet the end customer’s future needs. This end customer-centered approach is what drives change.

This also means design thinking is more important than ever for IT organizations.

We, in the IT industry, have been charged with being responsive to business, using technology to solve the problems business presents. Unfortunately, business sometimes views IT as the organization keeping the lights on. If we make the analogy of a store: business is responsible for the front office, focused on growing the business where consumers directly interact with products and marketing; while the perception is that IT focuses on the back office, keeping servers running and the distribution system humming. The key is to have business and IT align to meet the needs of the front office together.

Remember what I said about the growing availability of consumer data? The business best able to access and learn from that data will win. Those of us in IT organizations have the technology to make that win possible, but the way we are seen and our very nature needs to change if we want to remain relevant to business and participate in crafting the winning strategy.

We need to become more front office and less back office, proving to business that we are innovation partners in technology.

This means, in order to communicate with businesses today, we need to take a design thinking approach. We in IT need to show we have an understanding of the end consumer’s needs and experience, and we must align that knowledge and understanding with technological solutions. When this works — when the front office and back office come together in this way — it can lead to solutions that a company could otherwise never have realized.

There’s different qualities, of course, between front office and back office requirements. The back office is the foundation of a company and requires robustness, stability, and reliability. The front office, on the other hand, moves much more quickly. It is always changing with new product offerings and marketing campaigns. Technology must also show agility, flexibility, and speed. The business needs both functions to survive. This is a challenge for IT organizations, but it is not an impossible shift for us to make.

Here’s the breakdown of our challenge.

1. We need to better understand the real needs of the business.

This means learning more about the experience and needs of the end customer and then translating that information into technological solutions.

2. We need to be involved in more of the strategic discussions of the business.

Use the regular invitations to meetings with business as an opportunity to surface the deeper learning about the end consumer and the technology solutions that business may otherwise not know to ask for or how to implement.

The IT industry overall may not have a track record of operating in this way, but if we are not involved in the strategic direction of companies and shedding light on the future path, we risk not being considered innovation partners for the business.

We must collaborate with business, understand the strategic direction and highlight the technical challenges and opportunities. When we do, IT will become a hybrid organization – able to maintain the back office while capitalizing on the front office’s growing technical needs. We will highlight solutions that business could otherwise have missed, ushering in a digital transformation.

Digital transformation goes beyond just technology; it requires a mindset. See What It Really Means To Be A Digital Organization.

This story originally appeared on SAP Business Trends.

Top image via Shutterstock

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Sam Yen

About Sam Yen

Sam Yen is the Chief Design Officer for SAP and the Managing Director of SAP Labs Silicon Valley. He is focused on driving a renewed commitment to design and user experience at SAP. Under his leadership, SAP further strengthens its mission of listening to customers´ needs leading to tangible results, including SAP Fiori, SAP Screen Personas and SAP´s UX design services.

How Productive Could You Be With 45 Minutes More Per Day?

Michael Rander

Chances are that you are already feeling your fair share of organizational complexity when navigating your current company, but have you ever considered just how much time is spent across all companies on managing complexity? According to a recent study by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), the global impact of complexity is mind-blowing – and not in a good way.

The study revealed that 38% of respondents spent 16%-25% of their time just dealing with organizational complexity, and 17% spent a staggering 26%-50% of their time doing so. To put that into more concrete numbers, in the US alone, if executives could cut their time spent managing complexity in half, an estimated 8.6 million hours could be saved a week. That corresponds to 45 minutes per executive per day.

The potential productivity impact of every executive having 45 minutes more to work every single day is clearly significant, and considering that 55% say that their organization is either very or extremely complex, why are we then not making the reduction of complexity one or our top of mind issues?

The problem is that identifying the sources of complexity is complex in of itself. Key sources of complexity include organizational size, executive priorities, pace of innovation, decision-making processes, vastly increasing amounts of data to manage, organizational structures, and the pure culture of the company. As a consequence, answers are not universal by any means.

That being said, the negative productivity impact of complexity, regardless of the specific source, is felt similarly across a very large segment of the respondents, with 55% stating that complexity has taken a direct toll on profitability over the past three years.  This is such a serious problem that 8% of respondents actually slowed down their company growth in order to deal with complexity.

So, if complexity oftentimes impacts productivity and subsequently profitability, what are some of the more successful initiatives that companies are taking to combat these effects? Among the answers from the EIU survey, the following were highlighted among the most likely initiatives to reduce complexity and ultimately increase productivity:

  • Making it a company-wide goal to reduce complexity means that the executive level has to live and breathe simplification in order for the rest of the organization to get behind it. Changing behaviors across the organization requires strong leadership, commitment, and change management, and these initiatives ultimately lead to improved decision-making processes, which was reported by respondents as the top benefit of reducing complexity. From a leadership perspective this also requires setting appropriate metrics for measuring outcomes, and for metrics, productivity and efficiency were by far the most popular choices amongst respondents though strangely collaboration related metrics where not ranking high in spite of collaboration being a high level priority.
  • Promoting a culture of collaboration means enabling employees and management alike to collaborate not only within their teams but also across the organization, with partners, and with customers. Creating cross-functional roles to facilitate collaboration was cited by 56% as the most helpful strategy in achieving this goal.
  • More than half (54%) of respondents found the implementation of new technology and tools to be a successful step towards reducing complexity and improving productivity. Enabling collaboration, reducing information overload, building scenarios and prognoses, and enabling real-time decision-making are all key issues that technology can help to reduce complexity at all levels of the organization.

While these initiatives won’t help everyone, it is interesting to see that more than half of companies believe that if they could cut complexity in half they could be at least 11%-25% more productive. That nearly one in five respondents indicated that they could be 26%-50% more productive is a massive improvement.

The question then becomes whether we can make complexity and its impact on productivity not only more visible as a key issue for companies to address, but (even more importantly) also something that every company and every employee should be actively working to reduce. The potential productivity gains listed by respondents certainly provide food for thought, and few other corporate activities are likely to gain that level of ROI.

Just imagine having 45 minutes each and every day for actively pursuing new projects, getting innovative, collaborating, mentoring, learning, reducing stress, etc. What would you do? The vision is certainly compelling, and the question is are we as companies, leaders, and employees going to do something about it?

To read more about the EIU study, please see:

Feel free to follow me on Twitter: @michaelrander

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About Michael Rander

Michael Rander is the Global Program Director for Future Of Work at SAP. He is an experienced project manager, strategic and competitive market researcher, operations manager as well as an avid photographer, athlete, traveler and entrepreneur.

How Much Will Digital Cannibalization Eat into Your Business?

Fawn Fitter

Former Cisco CEO John Chambers predicts that 40% of companies will crumble when they fail to complete a successful digital transformation.

These legacy companies may be trying to keep up with insurgent companies that are introducing disruptive technologies, but they’re being held back by the ease of doing business the way they always have – or by how vehemently their customers object to change.

Most organizations today know that they have to embrace innovation. The question is whether they can put a digital business model in place without damaging their existing business so badly that they don’t survive the transition. We gathered a panel of experts to discuss the fine line between disruption and destruction.

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qa_qIn 2011, when Netflix hiked prices and tried to split its streaming and DVD-bymail services, it lost 3.25% of its customer base and 75% of its market capitalization.²︐³ What can we learn from that?

Scott Anthony: That debacle shows that sometimes you can get ahead of your customers. The key is to manage things at the pace of the market, not at your internal speed. You need to know what your customers are looking for and what they’re willing to tolerate. Sometimes companies forget what their customers want and care about, and they try to push things on them before they’re ready.

R. “Ray” Wang: You need to be able to split your traditional business and your growth business so that you can focus on big shifts instead of moving the needle 2%. Netflix was responding to its customers – by deciding not to define its brand too narrowly.

qa_qDoes disruption always involve cannibalizing your own business?

Wang: You can’t design new experiences in existing systems. But you have to make sure you manage the revenue stream on the way down in the old business model while managing the growth of the new one.

Merijn Helle: Traditional brick-and-mortar stores are putting a lot of capital into digital initiatives that aren’t paying enough back yet in the form of online sales, and they’re cannibalizing their profits so they can deliver a single authentic experience. Customers don’t see channels, they see brands; and they want to interact with brands seamlessly in real time, regardless of channel or format.

Lars Bastian: In manufacturing, new technologies aren’t about disrupting your business model as much as they are about expanding it. Think about predictive maintenance, the ability to warn customers when the product they’ve purchased will need service. You’re not going to lose customers by introducing new processes. You have to add these digitized services to remain competitive.

qa_qIs cannibalizing your own business better or worse than losing market share to a more innovative competitor?

Michael Liebhold: You have to create that digital business and mandate it to grow. If you cannibalize the existing business, that’s just the price you have to pay.

Wang: Companies that cannibalize their own businesses are the ones that survive. If you don’t do it, someone else will. What we’re really talking about is “Why do you exist? Why does anyone want to buy from you?”

Anthony: I’m not sure that’s the right question. The fundamental question is what you’re using disruption to do. How do you use it to strengthen what you’re doing today, and what new things does it enable? I think you can get so consumed with all the changes that reconfigure what you’re doing today that you do only that. And if you do only that, your business becomes smaller, less significant, and less interesting.

qa_qSo how should companies think about smart disruption?

Anthony: Leaders have to reconfigure today and imagine tomorrow at the same time. It’s not either/or. Every disruptive threat has an equal, if not greater, opportunity. When disruption strikes, it’s a mistake only to feel the threat to your legacy business. It’s an opportunity to expand into a different marke.

SAP_Disruption_QA_images2400x1600_4Liebhold: It starts at the top. You can’t ask a CEO for an eight-figure budget to upgrade a cloud analytics system if the C-suite doesn’t understand the power of integrating data from across all the legacy systems. So the first task is to educate the senior team so it can approve the budgets.

Scott Underwood: Some of the most interesting questions are internal organizational questions, keeping people from feeling that their livelihoods are in danger or introducing ways to keep them engaged.

Leon Segal: Absolutely. If you want to enter a new market or introduce a new product, there’s a whole chain of stakeholders – including your own employees and the distribution chain. Their experiences are also new. Once you start looking for things that affect their experience, you can’t help doing it. You walk around the office and say, “That doesn’t look right, they don’t look happy. Maybe we should change that around.”

Fawn Fitter is a freelance writer specializing in business and technology. 

To learn more about how to disrupt your business without destroying it, read the in-depth report Digital Disruption: When to Cook the Golden Goose.

Download the PDF (1.2MB)

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Sherry Turkle: We Need to Talk

Stephanie Overby

reclaiming-conversation-sherry-turkle-200x300MIT psychologist Sherry Turkle on why we need to talk to our colleagues

Human beings are communicating more often and with more people than ever before, thanks to the digital devices we are all but tethered to. But the art of conversation is in decline. MIT psychologist Sherry Turkle, who has devoted her career to examining the impact of technology on human interaction, lays out some worrying consequences in her latest book, Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age. Overreliance on digital communication has not only affected our ability to have effective face-to-face exchanges but has also diminished our capacity for empathy and intimacy. In addition, digital discussions are often less productive and effective than in-person interactions.

We talked to Turkle about the value of human interaction that is unmediated by technology, when to choose talking over texts and e-mail, and how corporate leaders can revive conversation in the digital workplace.

Q: The big trend in business is digital transformation. A major goal is to automate and digitize interactions. What are companies losing in the bargain?

Sherry Turkle: When you want to build trust, when you want to get to know someone new, when you want to seal a deal—these are not moments for transactions, which are fairly blunt and objective instruments for communicating information. These are times for conversations, which are subjective and emotional and enable greater understanding. Good managers need to know when they are dealing with a moment when a transaction is appropriate and when it is a moment for a human exchange. If you try to be transactional when you need a conversation, you are on your way to frustration, disappointing results, and—most often—the need to do it all again.

Q: How has the increase in digital communications affected our ability to talk to each other?

Turkle: We find ways to not have the conversations that count. We would rather keep communication on screens. As one young man told me when I asked what was wrong with conversation: “It takes place in real time, and you can’t control what you’re going to say!” Of course, that is what’s “wrong” with conversation. But, it is also what’s profoundly right with conversation. It is a place where intimacy is born. The link between face-to-face conversation and empathy is strong. There has been a 40% decline in empathy among college students over the past 20 years, with most of that decline happening in the past decade.

Q: Why is face-to-face conversation important in business? Can’t that  effectively be simulated using technology?

Turkle: We are creatures designed for broadband, rich, nuanced exchange through our voices and faces. We are inventing new languages on the screen, and we are doing that with invention, wit, and nuance. But in business (as in friendship and love), we are misunderstanding each other—badly. And we are sending 10 e-mails where a brief call would do.

I am a pragmatist. When you need a video link or a call, use these tools. But what I see is people avoiding presence when it is possible.

Q: How can managers make a business case for talking?

Turkle: Research shows that conversation is good for the bottom line. People are more productive, creative, and engaged with their work when they have time for face. to-face talk. Sociologist Ben Waber had employees wear “sociometric badges” that measured their conversational patterns. When people were given coffee breaks together, performance improved. One CEO I interviewed instituted a breakfast meeting for his team. It gave them all an opportunity to share ideas and talk freely. Group productivity increased, and they needed fewer formal meetings.

One “easy” change is to eliminate devices from in-person meetings. The research is clear: devices distract. They diminish conversations and the relationships among participants. Make meetings shorter if necessary. Offer breaks. Designate one employee to notify attendees if an emergency arises. A meeting is a time to meet.

Q: What else can leaders do to encourage conversation amid the pressure to digitize?

Turkle: Make it clear that in your organization being online is not how you show your loyalty. Instead, show that what is valued is an employee who picks up the phone. Visit your colleagues in person. If you talk, others will talk. Also, design the workplace for conversation by creating device-free spaces that encourage it. Help employees work through their terror of real- time conversations by making it clear that revealing your thought process is valued. Finally, be less transactional. Begin an answer to an e-mail by saying, “I’m thinking.” It’s a powerful message. Complicated problems require thinking and then time to talk.

Q: We conducted this interview electronically to accommodate our schedules. What did I miss out on? How about you?

Turkle: We missed out on the chance to know each other better. What we had was a transaction. I took the time to lay out some of my ideas. But you and I are not closer for it. In business, this would not put us in the best relationship to move forward with a project. Now would be time for conversation!

 

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