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Get serious about culture

The most successful companies in the world have one thing in common, their staff loves to work for the company. Richard Branson once said that the product or service that a company offers is merely the tangible offering of a business, the business’ heart, and soul is its staff members.

How do companies get their staff to buy into a winning culture? Through experiences, and technology is going to influence that in a major way in 2019.

The OG

According to an article on enterpriseinnovation.net, twenty-five years ago, email brought about unimaginable changes to the way we worked and communicated, allowing us to work remotely, communicate freely, and reduce costs. This not only disrupted technologies like the facsimile but also impacted industries such as our postal system.

Today, the world we live in is on the verge of the next generational shift – the consumerization of the enterprise.

The article adds that we spend a third of our lives at work, and while our daily lives have benefited tremendously from technology, our work lives haven’t advanced at the same pace.  Imagine if technology in our work life was this intuitive – where paying a work invoice was as easy as paying a personal bill with a simple click on the phone or ordering a complex service as easy as booking a Grab.

Great expectations

The article points out that the workforce of the future expects great employee experiences – ServiceNow’s CHRO global survey suggests that improving the employee experience with personalized, predictive and seamless digital technologies is heavily linked with the war for talent – both attraction and retention.

It’s time to change the way work gets done in the enterprise – the workforce of the future expects it.  Organizations that want a competitive edge must use new technologies to improve their model of communication, workflow, and ideation.

Digital workflow for the digitally savvy workforce

The article adds that as the new generation hits the workforce en masse, they will become a force for change and demand simpler and more effective ways to get work done.

Living in a connected world where gadgets and applications already assist with mundane, administrative tasks, there’s a feeling that younger, more digitally-savvy employees will feel the gap between personal life and workplace systems lagging behind in digital adoption.

ServiceNow’s research shows that employees spend 40% of their time on routine, administrative work – that’s two days a week!

Big improvements

One of the first improvements in workplaces of the future is the automation of basic, but time-consuming tasks.  Cloud-based platforms enabling digital workflows, Intelligent Automation, smart machines, and AI can remove low-value, time-consuming tasks, freeing up employees for higher value and more fulfilling work.

Imagine removing the bottleneck of HR requests with intelligent chatbots that can respond to personalized queries in a conversational manner.  These chatbots filter through troves of information to deliver a seamless and customized experience for each employee’s needs.

Paired with the right platforms, employees can enjoy self-service and access data and intelligence when and where they need it, while organizations have visibility of employee requests for reporting and audits.

Communications for an increasingly remote workforce

The workforce of the future will also be mobile. Employees will expect the flexibility to work remotely, saving on commute time and staying connected and productive when they are not at the office.  It’s worth considering how this trend will change our view of the ‘official office hours’.

Collaboration tools such as Slack and Microsoft Teams are introducing new ways for employees to connect, empowering them to build global communities as the business – and their work life – requires.

Platforms such as Facebook@Work allows employees to break down silos, and interact not just cross-functionally, but across time-zones, borders, languages, and cultures, relating in organic ways that are authentic to them.

Despite a slow start, the consumerization of the enterprise is taking place now!  Employees are accepting of the constant innovation and improvement of seamless digital experiences in their personal lives – and looking for the equivalent in their work lives.

Organizations will need to bring this type of experience to the workplace to allow the world of work to work better for their employees.

Working 9 to 5

Even though the technology industry is currently booming like it never has before, there is still a skills shortage when it comes to IT skills.

So how does a company attract top IT talent?

An article on enterpriseinnovation.net points out that the ongoing skills shortage within Singapore’s IT sector continues to restrict innovation and growth.

And as growth within the industry is dependent upon on the caliber of IT professionals, new research independently commissioned by specialist recruiter Robert Half reveals exactly what incentives IT employers are using to attract and retain top performing talent.

The article adds that although money talks in an employees’ market such as we’re witnessing now, salary isn’t ultimately everything, according to the recent survey of 75 CIOs in Singapore.

In other words, what attracts top talent to your organization may not serve to retain them.

What’s on offer to attract IT talent

The article points out that with more than eight in 10 (83%) CIOs saying it is more challenging to attract qualified IT professionals to their organization compared to five years ago, companies need to adjust their staff attraction initiatives in the skills-short market.

According to the survey of 75 CIOs in Singapore, IT employers are willing to pay a premium to staff their teams with the best talent. Almost half (47%) of CIOs are offering higher remuneration (base pay and/or bonus) to attract top IT talent.

The article adds that this is closely followed by 43% who are offering additional training and development opportunities and 37% who are promoting an enhanced work culture, such as health and wellbeing programs.

What’s on offer to retain IT talent

Having a competitive edge in the market by having the best talent does not only rely on attracting the right employees but also to keep them on board.

The article points out that to avoid losing their top performers, Singapore’s IT employers are being proactive in their approach to staff retention. The top three initiatives CIOs have focused on over the last three years to retain IT staff is employee benefits (41%), professional development (37%) and flexible working arrangements (37%) – which suggests that non-financial benefits are key to retain top performers.

Matthieu Imbert-Bouchard, Managing Director of Robert Half Singapore, told enterpriseinnovation.net: “Money talks in a market where jobs are aplenty and skilled candidates in short supply. The IT industry is booming as it accelerates to keep pace with new and evolving technologies, with companies in Singapore struggling to hire new IT talent. Because of this, IT employers often need to offer above-average salaries to attract the best professionals.”

The article adds that companies, however, also need to think beyond salary. “While salary is a key component of overall remuneration policy, companies realize they also need to diversify their incentives offering to not only attract the best talent but also to retain them,” Imbert-Bouchard told enterpriseinnovation.net.

Non-financial attraction

Non-financial incentives, such as flexible working arrangements and professional development opportunities, have become increasingly popular in providing a strong incentive for employees to remain with a company long-term and position an organization as an employer of choice.

“Companies with the lowest turnover rates are the ones who have ongoing conversations with their staff about what motivates them – and act on it, to the extent possible. Those who continuously benchmark salaries, provide challenging work and are able to tailor the remuneration package to the individual employee’s needs will be most successful at attracting and keeping top performers long term,” Imbert-Bouchard told enterpriseinnovation.net.

They Don’t Know What They Are Looking For

If you are failing to attract top talent (not taking budget constraints into account), your company is failing to attract top talent, your company may be doing something wrong.

According to an article on forbes.com, HR professionals are busy people for whom talent recruiting is just one task in an enormous mound of competing priorities.

The article points out that recruiting doesn’t typically rise to the top of the pile until there is an urgent need, like an imminent staff opening. When this occurs, the company needs to create a job description and post the position, stat. So, what do most professionals do? They simply Google a generic job description and copy and paste it into their job ad.

But this approach is ineffective and problematic, because:

  • It is unlikely you will find an exact match to your company’s needs for the role because a description created by another organization cannot precisely describe the responsibilities of the position at your company.
  • Have you ever played the game Telephone? The game is so fun to play because the last person in line hears an utterly different message from what the first person intended. Googling a job description works the same way. It’s likely that any description you find online was copied repeatedly until it is a watered-down version with little practical use in any real-world corporate environment, let alone in your unique organization.
  • You’re essentially recruiting for someone qualified to perform a job at another company. The good news is, when that individual eventually fails in your organization, you can always refer them to the other firm!

The article adds that to create an effective job description, you must begin close to home by focusing on your organization’s needs. Research the specific tasks, functions, and responsibilities of the current position. Interview top performers in the role and their supervisors. Then identify their common traits and qualifications and craft the job description based on that ideal. Remember, a job description should actually describe the job that needs to be done.

They Make One Dangerous Assumption

The article points out that this a major mistake that many companies make.

Most recruiters who advertise on job boards assume the candidates available represent the entire talent stack. To them, the stack represents a scale, where the best-qualified candidates are 10s and the least-qualified candidates are 1s. However, this assumption that job boards include the entire universe of employee quality is naïve and dangerous. The reality looks much different.

The article adds that the truth is that 80% of the job board talent pool is at the low end of the scale — primarily 2s to 4s, with a few 5s and 6s sprinkled in. Why? Because the better-quality candidates don’t need to use job boards. Most already hold satisfying positions and aren’t actively looking for new employment.

Toss aside this assumption and look around your own organization at the small handful of people who are “rock star” employees. Note their special qualities and qualifications, design an avatar of your ideal candidate, then go find the rock stars among your competitors.

(The article points out that true 10s are basically unicorns — 8s and 9s who are performing above their abilities because they are in the right roles at outstanding companies with strong corporate cultures. Don’t expect those candidates to perform as 10s in your organization, unless you can recreate those ideal employment conditions within your organization.)

They Don’t Make Recruiting A Priority

The article points out that some companies just do not make recruiting a priority.

When it comes right down to it, recruiting is just not a priority at most organizations. It is viewed as a reactive versus proactive exercise. Most organizations don’t even begin searching for and identifying talent until they have a vacant position they need to fill immediately.

The article adds that the best thing you can do is turn this mindset on its head. Advocate for long-term, strategic recruiting and educate your peers in senior leadership on the tremendous value a proactive approach can bring to your organization.

Truth is, you only need 20 minutes a day, focused on targeted, meaningful actions. Begin by taking these steps for each key role in your company:

  • Describe the job that needs to be done.
  • Identify the qualities of your ideal candidate.
  • Research other companies with similar roles.
  • Identify the people in those roles at your competitors’.
  • Reach out and establish relationships with those people over time.

Broken into manageable daily chunks, you will make real, meaningful progress very quickly.

Focus On The Long Game

The article points out that what many organizations fail to understand is that recruiting is a long game.

To succeed, you must fully understand the requirements of the positions you are trying to fill, look beyond the obvious candidates and make the talent search a priority.  Remember, the human element is the biggest competitive advantage for most companies — treat it as such.

The article adds that companies need to spend just 20 minutes a day, every day on the right tasks and they will begin to see results!