Daily Top 5 Global HR News – 7 August 2017

Daily Top 5 Global HR News – 7 August 2017

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We bring together from ICube Research and published news, a summary of 5 items that are contemporary.

1. Voluntary Benefits Program: A Useful Scheme for Organizations

HR has evolved to become a highly customized function, with no single HR formula applicable to the entire employee population. This is because as diversity at the workplace increases in the terms of gender, generation and so on, employee needs and aspirations vary vastly as well. The same applies to compensation and benefits schemes, compelling companies to dole out specifically tailored benefits to their people. Rather than organizations picking and choosing benefits for their people, why not let the people themselves choose as per their needs? The voluntary benefits scheme meets this need of both the employee and the employer.

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    Benefits are an important part of remuneration, and today a number of benefits are being doled out, from add-on facilities to new work arrangements to skill enhancements. The role of benefits is catching on, as new-age employees such as millennials and minorities get an equal hand at professional careers. Each employee group has distinct needs—while a veteran employee may prefer more familial benefits like medical insurance, a new generation worker may prefer flexibility or gym benefits. The bottom-line is that to engage and retain employees, organizations must customize their benefits carefully.

    A voluntary benefits program works such that employees are made to choose from a basket of benefits, which are carefully curated to match the level and need of the employee. The first step towards this is to listen to and know what your employees truly need. Needs change as per life stage, and the voluntary benefits basket should be revamped with changing times and changing employee needs. This can be captured from pulse surveys for an internal outlook. However, HR professionals must also weave in the external element by looking at industry benefits trends by demographics such as age, gender, salary, life stage and so on. The negative effect of going overboard with voluntary benefits is that often employees may not realize the importance of the bare basic benefits. For example, a millennial worker may opt for a high-end swanky gym membership which he or she really does not need, while ignoring medical care, which is a life-saving necessity in the light of rising medical costs.

    The answer to this is to find a middle path between both these approaches. On one hand, declare an umbrella of “mandatory” benefits which will cover the bare essentials for employee well-being. On the other hand, employees can pick and choose the remaining benefits depending on what they find valuable. HR will have a significant role to play in such a dual-fold approach of voluntary benefits. HR managers must hand-hold employees through this process, by training them and supporting them with the right tools to make the best choices. One-on-one counseling should be made available during and after the roll out.
    Driving a successful voluntary benefits program is not a one-time intervention, but an ongoing and detailed hand-holding process that aims at empowering your employees to make the right choices for themselves.


2. Upskill and diversify: Strategies for overcoming recruitment challenges

In the first of our articles for Personnel Today drawing upon our recent resourcing and talent planning survey with Hays, we explored what organisations were doing to strengthen their employer brands and become employers of choice.

Now it is time to take a look at the number and depth of recruitment difficulties being experienced by organisations and the strategies that they are adopting to overcome these. In a future article, we will focus in on what organisations can do to develop and upskill existing employees.

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    Depth of difficulty

    Recruitment difficulties remain substantial for organisations, with three-quarters experiencing them in the last year. Such difficulties are consistently high across sectors.

    When it comes to the depth of challenge this seems to be substantial, with one-tenth of organisations experiencing difficulties recruiting for more than 50% of their vacancies.

    Professionals/specialists (64%) are the roles that have been the most difficult to recruit for over the last year. Technical positions (40%) and senior managers or directors (30%) follow closely behind.

    Reasons given for these difficulties include: a lack of specialist or technical skills; candidates looking for more pay than could be offered; and a lack of relevant sector/industry experience.

    Public-sector organisations are particularly likely to report difficulties filling professional/ specialist positions, while manufacturing-and-production organisations are particularly likely to report difficulties filling technical and manual/ craft workers.

    Finally, not-for-profit organisations are particularly likely to report difficulties filling service roles. These difficulties reflect the demand for different types of positions within sectors.

    Against this backdrop of recruitment difficulties and skills shortages, respondents also emphasise that the skills needed to do jobs are changing.

    Three-quarters of HR professionals believe this is the case in their own organisations and they suggest that professionals with leadership, digital and commercial awareness skills are likely to increase in demand over the next 12 months. These are all skills and roles that will help strengthen organisations’ current positions and potentially support future growth.

    How to overcome these challenges

    In a change from our previous survey, organisations are now most likely to reduce recruitment difficulties by upskilling existing employees to fill hard-to-recruit-for positions.

    The previous most popular choice for this – sponsoring relevant professional qualifications – has now been pushed down to second place.

    Employers are also looking to different industries to recruit candidates with transferable skills. It is encouraging to see that organisations continue to be open-minded when it comes to recruiting candidates with potential but without experience (lack of experience is often cited as a reason for recruitment difficulties).

    Organisations in the public sector are more likely than other sectors to be addressing recruitment difficulties by recruiting candidates from overseas.

    However, this strategy is likely to be impacted in some way by the outcome of any Brexit negotiation deal. The public- and manufacturing-and-production sectors are more likely to be developing apprenticeship schemes in response to recruitment difficulties.

    The public sector is also more likely to be partnering with other organisations to fill any skills gaps. Finally, private-sector organisations (including manufacturing and production) are more likely to be targeting passive candidates than the other sectors in a bid to overcome recruitment difficulties.

    Delivering on diversity

    While organisations are, on the whole, being proactive when it comes to trying to overcome recruitment difficulties and skills shortages, one area that could be improved upon is diversity and inclusion.

    The proportion of organisations with a formal diversity strategy in place is slightly down on previous years. In the light of ever-increasing competition for talent and recruitment difficulties, organisations need to broaden, rather than restrict, their potential pool of candidates in the UK.

    The most common method used to address diversity issues is the monitoring of recruitment/ staffing information to obtain data on gender, ethnicity, disability, age and so on.

    While this can be useful, if that data is not used and evaluated as part of recruitment and talent strategies, it can become meaningless.

    A number of the other methods used to address diversity have decreased in practice this year, with the biggest decrease being in organisations seeking to attract talent of all ages.

    While we have seen that many organisations are making progress in developing the skills of younger employees, it is important that they do not take their focus away from the other end of the spectrum too, with more seasoned employees having just as much to offer organisations.


3. ‘HR should engage IT from the start of any HR technology project’

One of the biggest challenges that HR professionals face when it comes to building an alliance with IT is in establishing a collaborative partnership between HR and IT where both are working towards a shared goal.

At the upcoming HR Tech Summit in Sydney, one of the panel topics for discussion is Leading Technology projects – building a strategic HR-IT alliance.

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    Jade Dellios, director, HR Technology, PwC, is moderating this panel discussion. She told HRD that it is especially important that HR and IT build a strategic alliance when it comes to HR technology projects.

    “As PwC discovered through our annual HR Technology Survey, although the move towards cloud technology means there is less of a dependency on IT for activities such as development and environment maintenance, IT still has a key role to play,” she said.

    “In particular, when it comes to helping HR to select and implement HR technology, and ensure that it is well integrated into the wider IT landscape of the organisation.”

    She said HR should engage IT from the start of any HR technology project and ensure that IT are involved in the selection, implementation and then ongoing support model for the technology.

    “Events like HR Tech Summit are important for the HR profession as it gives HR professionals a chance to hear some new ideas and find out what other organisations are doing with their HR Technology,” she said.

    At the HR Tech Summit, Dellios and the panellists will also discuss:

    • How HR directors will join forces with CTOs to discuss ways that IT and HR can work together to create successful solutions.
    • Collaborative development efforts that blend HR knowledge and IT knowledge
    • Securing IT stakeholder buy-in to ensure effective implementation
    • Working effectively with IT teams who may not understand the needs and nuances of people management
    • Should HR or IT own HR technology roll-out?

    Jade Dellios will be discussing Leading Technology projects – building a strategic HR-IT alliance at the HR Tech Summit being held at the Hilton Sydney on 13 September. Click here for more details and to register.


4. Four Ways HR Can Accomplish More with Less

We’re currently operating in a tight labor market, characterized by a dearth of skilled workers and an abundance of job openings. For employers, this means increased competition for top talent, adding pressure to busy HR departments responsible for attracting, retaining and engaging top talent.

But as time- and budget-strapped HR leaders and practitioners, how can we maximize our effectiveness in this environment?
The key is in placing technology at the center of an HR strategy. Below are four technology-related best practices that HR teams should keep in mind as they seek to accomplish more with less throughout the entirety of the employee lifecycle:

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    Tailor your online presence for mobile devices.

    There are more mobile phones worldwide than toothbrushes and Internet access is greater than it has ever been. Through sheer access, mobile has become the most effective way to connect with tech-savvy job seekers who are often on-the-go and use mobile devices to discreetly search for opportunities. As such, companies need to focus on creating positive and memorable employer-branded experiences for candidates operating on a mobile device as well as elevate the hiring manager’s mobile experience for more seamless review and approval of offer letters, and better access to resumes and interview feedback. This includes creating responsive and mobile-friendly websites and ensuring your content is easily viewable, digestible and actionable — with lightweight visuals, short and simple content, and video that is optimized for small screens using Custom CSS or HTML5.

    Leverage the power of analytics to engage employees.

    Workplaces are changing, industry lines are blurring, and there is an overwhelming amount of information available to companies — particularly information on the workforce and their workplace preferences. Today, organizations are starting to review analytics in more refined and targeted ways, including assessing generational demographics and trends around attrition. What factors contribute to employee burnout? What workforce management areas can be improved? If the data shows certain factors are contributing to attrition, companies can assess the root cause and divert attention and resources to fix any problems to maximize employee satisfaction. This principle drove our recent partnership with Thrive Global to help our employees develop healthier work habits and effective response strategies for specific life- and work-related events using machine learning technology in order to enable a more proactive, responsive and positive interaction with people.

    Employ machine learning to find the best candidates, quickly and accurately.

    Not only are HR teams tasked with effectively managing the needs of existing employees, they must recruit new employees that bring the right experience and skillsets to contribute to the organization. Reviewing applications can be a tedious, time-consuming process — and in busy times, qualified applicants might be overlooked. Machine learning can help vet applications and flag the most relevant candidates for review. Applying these technologies to the search process can help reduce the workload of HR employees in the review process and help mitigate unconscious bias in job posting language and in applicant selection.

    Digitize employee services to maximize efficiency and provide the best employee experience.

    Just as ensuring a seamless customer experience remains a top priority for organizations to succeed, more companies today are recognizing that optimizing their work environment is equally necessary for continued success. In today’s always-connected world, employees have come to expect easy access to their company’s tools and available services, such as benefits portals, networking resources and access to training. For HR teams, finding solutions that enable employees to take advantage of self-service or mobile access cuts down on the time, cost and effort devoted to managing routine, administrative transactions while simultaneously enabling HR professionals to add value throughout the lifecycle.

    To best manage recruitment and employee management processes, HR teams must maintain an open mind and leverage new technology solutions that help manage routine tasks and monitor employment trends. Implementing these best practices will help ensure their company is effectively meeting employee needs, promoting diversity and encouraging engagement across the organization.



There’s a shortage of skilled workers across all industries in the country. You’ve likely experienced this skills shortage impact within your own organization, usually in the form of empty desks and jobs remaining unfulfilled for weeks or months at a time. And if you’re a business owner you’ve no doubt undergone extensive selection processes time and again to find the perfect candidates. You may assume that the skills shortage is to blame for the high number of open jobs, but the real problem is that businesses believe a dangerous set of myths around hiring, and that these myths are hurting organizations everywhere.

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    In both good times and bad, there have never been enough qualified job candidates to go around. But this talent shortage hasn’t stopped some companies from filling their jobs quickly and keeping them filled. These businesses aren’t just lucky. Rather, they have rejected the old ideas of hiring that continue to slow down many organizations today.

    The companies that still struggle to fill their jobs need to thoroughly examine their beliefs about hiring. They must make sure they’re not buying into hiring principles that don’t really benefit them. Keep reading to learn about four of the biggest hiring myths and advice for countering them in your organization.

    Myth #1: The skills shortage is the cause of hiring delays.

    Hiring delays indicate a problem with your selection process, not a talent flow issue. Since there are never enough qualified candidates to go around, savvy leaders have realized they can’t afford to engage in the old way of hiring that involves keeping a job open until the right person (finally) shows up. Instead, these leaders have made fast, accurate hiring a strategic imperative. They require managers to engage in the new way of hiring: actively cultivating top talent and then waiting for the right job to become available. They realize that a job becoming available is a when situation—not an if situation. These forward-thinking leaders always plan for the when and so should you.

    Myth #2: Hiring is exclusively an HR function.

    While HR plays a vital role in hiring, the organizations that fill their jobs quickly understand that hiring is a team sport. Instead of treating hiring as an exclusively HR function, the most successful companies view employee selection as a leadership function supported by HR (and the talent acquisition team, if there is one). Everyone has a role, and under this framing, hiring managers communicate thoroughly and make hiring decisions swiftly while HR and the talent acquisition team supply talent and facilitate the process. And everyone, from the top down, generates talent through networking and requesting referrals.

    Myth #3: You must hire slowly and fire quickly.

    Unfortunately, this well-known business cliché is almost always bad advice. People who are slow to hire operate out of fear of making a bad choice. They have experienced the consequences of poor hiring choices, and in attempts to avoid this mistake again, they slow down the hiring process and come to believe that speed and accuracy are mutually exclusive.

    This plodding approach to hiring leads to overanalysis and a protracted timeline. As a result, talented candidates move on and open jobs remain open. To counter this myth, progressive leaders have adopted a new mantra: Be fast to hire and quick to inspire. They mandate a hiring process that promotes rapid decision making and the nurturing of employee relationships.

    Myth #4: This is how it’s always been done, so it must be right.

    Many organizations keep doing things the same way, even if that way is ineffective. For example, some companies have unwritten rules, such as reviewing a slate of eight to ten candidates before making a hire, even when a highly qualified candidate is identified among the first few candidates.

    It’s easier to maintain the status quo, especially when you’re afraid that changing things won’t work. But doing ‘business as usual’ keeps companies stuck in the slow lane of hiring, losing them valuable time and top talent to faster competitors. Dispelling this myth requires a different mindset. Instead of sticking with the status quo because that’s how things have always been done, the leaders who are successful keep what works and replace the rest. Be willing to change and evolve, because you may get impressive results by trying something new.

    The skilled worker shortage will only become more noticeable in the future. As globalization increases, borders will matter less, creating a talent competition unlike anything we’ve ever seen. It’s crucial to immediately disengage from those myths around hiring that prevent you from efficiently finding good employees. Once you counter the myths that are slowing your selection process, you’ll see that good talent really isn’t hard to find after all.


Do you like the articles? We update these trends everyday. Come back tomorrow for more interesting articles. Feel free to share them with your co-workers or friends.

(The articles above have been curated from various sources but not been edited by ICube staff)

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