Are your HR programs too out of date to engage employees?

Over the past two decades, the workplace has changed drastically. We’re an information economy. Implementation of flexible work arrangements continues to rise (nearly 80 percent between 2005 and 2012 alone). Casual dress is de rigueur. Millennials have arrived with their talents, mobile phones, apps, devices and a desire for meaningful work.

Yet many companies haven’t adjusted benefits to reflect these shifts. In fact, according to a new report by Quantum Workplace and Limeade, there’s a huge disconnect between what employees want and what employers provide when it comes to benefits, perks and programs. For example:

77 percent of employees want time off to recharge, while 45 percent of employers offer it
71 percent of employees want to work from home, while 32 percent of employers allow it
74 percent of employees want to work flexible hours, while 46 percent of employers give them the choice

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Questions to keep you calm during conflicts

Most of us are off balance during conflict. We become defensive and emotional. Head and heart can be at war.

Toronto executive coach Cinnie Noble, well aware of the nature of conflict from her training as a lawyer and mediator, believes the solution is to ask yourself some self-reflective questions before, during, and after the conflict.

“We need reflection amidst the storm. It helps to move our brains from the emotional part, the amygdala, to the thinking part, the prefrontal cortex. If there’s a way to distance ourselves from the conflict by self-reflective questions, we are less likely to react emotionally,” she said in an interview.

She highlights “the Platinum Moment of Choice,” when we are afraid to initiate a discussion about something that might lead to conflict because of the discord that will result. But we don’t have to hold back. “We have a choice. We can change. It takes time and intelligence,” she said.

Her recent book, Conflict Mastery: Questions to Guide You, has a bundle of questions that can help untangle you in almost any conceivable situation. She asks you to consider a tension-filled interaction and reflect on what made you stop saying something, and how in future you might react differently.

Often in conflict, we freeze. It’s a fight-or-flight instinct, the brain immobilized. She offers these questions:

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How to incorporate gamification into HR

From recruiting to training and development, gamification is beginning to take its place in the world of human resources.

Simply put, gamification is the process of incorporating game elements like win-lose psychology, mechanics and fun design into non-gaming contexts, like hiring, training and engaging employees.

It is becoming a big business. A recent report on gamification by Markets and Markets predicted that the gamification industry will grow by 67 percent by 2018 when it will be worth an estimated $5.5 billion. But will it be big business in your business?

More and more gamification is creeping into the world of human resources professionals because of its potential to inspire engaged relationships among employees and its usefulness in behavior modification.

Some examples of gamification in HR include PwC ( for recruiting new employees to BunchBall ( and BadgeVille ( to engage and retain employees.

According to a Gallup research project, more than half (51 percent) of employees feel disengaged at work and 17.5 percent are actively disengaged. This is causing a crisis of innovation, creativity and production in the North American workplace. It is little wonder that human resources professionals are eagerly searching for any projects that might help their teams to re-engage with the purpose and objectives of the companies for which they work.

How can you incorporate this trend of gamification into your own human resource practice?


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5 HR Roles That Solve Business Problems And Impact Revenue

By Patrick Willer, Workforce Innovation, SAP

There’s no good reason why HR departments should look like they did 20 years ago, but most of them still follow the same thinking. Technology has changed the world — and businesses — profoundly over the last two decades, and it continues to do so.

I’ve seen HR organizations, structures and services remain more or less the same over this time, but we can’t solve today’s problems using yesterday’s thinking. It’s time to make a change and add new roles to HR.

Here are five ways to bring your HR department firmly into the 21st Century. And I’ve ranked them in order of importance.

1. Social Collaboration Manager
It’s the core responsibility of HR is to engage the workforce to execute the company’s vision, mission and strategy. That makes social collaboration critical because it:

  • Involves all lines of business
  • Breaks down department barriers, as well as hierarchies
  • Brings people together

It’s time for HR to take ownership of Social Collaboration. Appoint a social collaboration manager who can make social collaboration work in your organization.

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A New Wave of HR Technology Is Disrupting the Market

There’s a pattern in the lifespan of human resources (HR) technology companies of the past two decades: they get gobbled up. The pioneering firms in HR technology from the late 1990’s to early 2000’s were mostly acquired by bigger enterprise companies in need of a few product parts. IBM acquired Kenexa, Oracle bought Taleo and SuccessFactors was acquired by SAP.

With those acquisitions, founders and early employees left and innovation died. Then came the Great Recession and all investment ended. Today, industry experts like Sheeroy Desai, CEO at recruiting and HR management platform Gild, think job growth is finally hitting stride. Though some bigger players appear stagnant and still, HR tech companies are growing quickly, as hot, agile startup technologies enter the field.

“In the past decade this stagnation has allowed Workday to emerge as a new disrupter,” Desai remarks, “but with almost no real competition even Workday has not brought the level of innovation that is truly needed.”

“Almost every current HR function operates under 20th century principles of past practices, efficiency, risk avoidance, legal compliance, and hunch-based people management decisions,” remarks HR thought leader, Dr. John Sullivan. But, today, there is a new set of entrants who are challenging the status quo.


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3 Innovative Ways to Structure Your HR Department

Nikki has recently been hired as the new human resources director for a budding tech startup that is scaling up rapidly. It’s an exciting time: What started as just a few dots on a tiny organizational chart has quickly ballooned into multiple sections and departments.

As the startup grows, so does its need for a designated HR department. That’s where Nikki comes in. She must determine how activities within the HR department will be organized, controlled and coordinated.

Sound like a fun challenge? It certainly is. For startup owners and HR decision-makers like Nikki, here are three innovative ways to structure a successful HR department from the ground up:

1. Hire for people operations.

When people think “people operations,” Google usually comes to mind. The tech giant pioneered this data-based approach to human resources, and today’s most cutting-edge startups are following suit (as is the case with many things Google does).

What makes people operations different from traditional HR? For starters, people operations is more than just human resources — it’s a data-based approach to understanding a company’s most valuable asset: its people. Most importantly, this approach to HR is based on retaning employees by understanding what drives them.

When it comes to employees, eliminate the guesswork from employee satisfaction surveys, team assessments and social media. By having a dedicated team to solicit employee-related data, HR can more accurately identify issues that lead to disengagement and attrition, and thereby prevent it.

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