Daily Top 5 Global HR News – 8 August 2017

Daily Top 5 Global HR News – 8 August 2017

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

1. How the Gig Economy is Impacting HR Decisions

The gig economy is real and here, especially with the rise of a very diverse set of professionals. Independent consultants, temporary workers, moonlighters, freelancers—you name it and you will find a resource eager to take on such a work opportunity in every sector and domain. The gig economy presents advantages to both employers (payroll cost savings) and employees (flexibility and freedom). However, it presents a fundamental challenge, since recruiters would need to scout a new talent pool and turn to new employment models to make such employment a success.

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    The gig economy has shown tremendous growth in the US, with the rise of the Internet and mobile. According to a McKinsey survey in 2016, about 20-30% of the workforce in the US and EU belongs to this category. Specialized aggregators that cater to the requirements of this population, such as Upwork, Freelancer, TaskRabbit, etc. have come up, and are bringing together employers and candidates. Yet, established enterprises have their apprehensions about employing this “different” workforce.

    On one hand, they are not confident about the commitment levels and quality delivered by these professionals. On the other hand, they are not sure about how to go about hiring this talent. In fact, a single biggest challenge that recruiters face in hiring talent from the gig pool is regarding how and from where to source them. Since most such professionals work remotely, they may not be available for traditional interviews. Moreover, very few recruiters are open to actively exploring the Freelance forums.

    Another important consideration is the legal and regulatory challenges associated with categorizing such employees if hired. Last but not the least, enterprises just do not have the technological resources (infrastructure, software, etc.) to help them work in the manner they choose to, yet ensure constant communication and seamless collaboration with other teams. The result is that most HR departments shy away from embracing the gig economy and stick to traditional talent pools.

    HR professionals must realize that the gig economy is here to stay, and they must not miss out on this significant talent pool that can add incremental value to the enterprise. The first step is to accept that doing so will involve a huge change, in people, processes, technology and most importantly, mindset. Hence, it is necessary for the senior management, especially the CHRO to support the move towards engaging with the gig talent pool.

    Preparing for it starts with designing a new staffing model by analyzing the costs and benefits of such a move. Right from job requisition and posting, i.e. creating specialized job descriptions to sourcing strategies, hiring negotiations, and offer/contract management, HR must rethink every stage of the hiring chain.

    Another critical element is investing in the right collaborative technologies and laying down communication norms for such workers. This must be done in collaboration with IT and business leaders. Moreover, efforts must be made to appeal to the freelancer by revisiting the employer branding and employee value proposition differently. Of course, all these moves must be balanced with the hiring strategy for full time, regular workers, else they may end up feeling insecure. The key to unlocking value from the gig workforce is to find the right balance between the freelance workforce and the regular workforce.

    The most important aspect that HR must keep in mind for this change is to educate existing employees about the transformation, by coaching them and making them more accepting of this new staffing ideology. Only when freelancers and full-time professionals work together seamlessly, can this new staffing model succeed.


2. Watch Out! These 4 HR Tool Mistakes Will Cost You.

When you’re a small business, choosing HR tools is a more demanding and difficult task than it is for a huge corporation, which can draw upon dedicated, more expensive, resources. This is the exact reason why Isaac Oates, CEO and founder of Justworks, started his platform, which automates payroll, benefits and compliance.

“Small businesses are the companies that need our help the most,” Oates said of his New York-based company. “They aren’t operating at scale; they don’t have dedicated resources the way that huge corporations do; and they benefit the most from pooled resources.”

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    Matthew Korn, HR manager for North America at UNOde50, echoed that thought. Korn, also based in New York, said he is no stranger to the difficulty of finding the pooled resources Oates describes.

    “We were challenged to find a way to connect the system with the human capital management [HCM] solutions from ADP that we had already been using,” Korn said by email. “Thanks to the integration of our hiring and onboarding processes, we could fluidly implement an employee’s information across systems, reducing the cost and time of investments in onboarding.”

    Unfortunately, many small business leaders continue to face major issues when choosing their HR tools. And the result is often costly mistakes. Here are four of those mistakes leaders can’t afford to make when they’re choosing HR tools:

    A. Choosing a tool before recognizing the challenges

    Technology is constantly evolving, so company leaders face the challenge of testing countless HR tools. However, scanning through each tool before they really know what challenges that tool presents results in wasted time and money.

    Related: The Google Tool That Helps You Make Better HR Decisions

    “In some cases, HR professionals may not be aware of exactly what solution will fit their business needs,” Korn said. “App stores, like ADP Marketplace, allow you to start your search based on the needs of the organization. Because stores have access to a wide array of solutions, search results give users the ability to assess the best technology fit for [their] company’s specific needs.”

    Determining which HR need is primary — payroll, benefit, compliance or general help — has become easier for human resources managers. However, they still need to dive deeper into their HR needs before deciding on the right tool.

    If this is your own issue as an HR manager, discuss with your team members what would make their jobs easier, what systems the new tool needs to work with and whether one tool that provides multiple services would be ideal.

    B. Lowering your security expectations.

    Business, employee and client information is sacred — nothing is worth jeopardizing the cyber security of these systems. That’s why Alan Zucker, founding principal of Project Management Essentials LLC, a project-management company in Arlington, Va., suggests thoroughly vetting vendor information security protocols before choosing an HR tool.

    “If you are going with a cloud-based or SaaS solution, make sure the vendor is storing your personnel data in an environment that meets your firm’s data security standards,” Zucker suggested via email. “Most HR systems contain non-public, personal information, which can be something as basic as a name and address or phone number. If this data is lost or compromised, there may be significant ramifications.”

    The message here: Be slow and thorough when choosing HR tools. Make sure to fully understand these tools’ security systems, their reviews and the speed with which their manufacturers’ troubleshooting department responds.

    If a security breach does happen, will the tool’s tech team immediately be there to handle the situation as if it were their own? Tools that are priced inexpensively — but keep leaders up at night worrying about security for team members’ and clients’ information — are not worth the cheaper cost of investment.

    C. Dividing HR information across tools and teams.

    Small businesses are made up of team members who remain one united front. This means that important tasks are being split up and shared across co-workers and departments. While just such teamwork is crucial for success, this dividing of HR responsibilities can result in miscommunication and even lost information.

    Mollie Delp, HR specialist at Workshop Digital, a digital marketing company in Richmond, Va., has a story to tell along these lines. Before she stepped into her role, Delp said, Workshop Digital’s HR department was fractured across its multiple team members.

    “It was an absolute mess, with little oversight into inefficiencies and inaccurate information,” Delp told me in an email. “I highlighted the processes that were the most manual, and by far the most unorganized, and therefore most likely to have mistakes.”

    After pinpointing these pain points, Delp said, she searched for a system that gave her the biggest bang for her buck and wouldn’t spread her work across multiple systems. “After doing some searches on Google and using GetApp to compare products, we whittled down our selection to the tool we use now,” she wrote.

    That tool? BambooHR. “With this tool, I was able to eliminate over 17 spreadsheets where data and information were previously manually tracked.”

    The takeaway: Decide which current HR systems are most inefficient. Assess who takes care of specific tasks. How are these people getting information across to other departments? Then search for a tool that takes all of these tasks and puts them in one place.

    That way, no matter who is handling HR’s most critical jobs, all the information is kept in one easy-to-find location.

    D. Choosing tools that won’t grow with the company.

    Whether a company’s goal is to grow into a global enterprise or simply gain 10 new employees in two years, its HR tools need to grow with it. Spending time, money and training on a tool the company will outgrow in a few short years will only bring leaders back to square one.

    Before helping her team pick out a tool, Annette Gobrogge, director of human resources at travel insurance company Seven Corners, located in Carmel, Indiana, assessed her company’s current situation and its rapid growth.

    “In doing so, we settled on several features that were key to our selection process,” Gobrogge told me. “These included: the ability to easily generate effective reports, a one-stop shop and storehouse for both HR and payroll activities, user friendliness and cost effectiveness.

    “We found all of these with Namely.”

    With the reduction in steps that’s resulted, Seven Corners can now process payroll faster and grow its expanding business as much as it wants.


3. The Benefits of a Direct Sourcing Strategy for Talent Acquisition

The world of work is changing rapidly, and companies that depend on knowledge workers must continue to evolve and innovate how they attract and retain the vital workers they need to get work done. One strategy that is growing in importance is direct sourcing.

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    Direct Sourcing Defined

    Direct sourcing (sometimes referred to in the industry as “self-sourcing”) is the process by which a company leverages its own candidate pool (including current and former contractors, former employees, retirees, silver medalists, freelancers, etc.) to engage as contract workers instead of going to a staffing company or third-party labor supplier. These contingent workers are frequently engaged via a specialty solution provider, like TalentWave, who can appropriately classify and pay them.

    Background on Talent Scarcity

    We now live in a new era of talent scarcity. There simply aren’t enough skilled knowledge workers available to meet demand, and our educational/vocational training system is not producing enough to replenish those who are exiting the workforce.

    Due to a variety of economic and demographic factors, more workers want flexibility and greater control over their careers which has driven the exponential growth of the independent workforce.

    In the past, many companies have invested in building an “employer of choice” brand to help attract and retain their regular employees. Strategic companies are now beginning to expand the scope of this effort, and have shifted their mind-set towards becoming a “client of choice” for the growing independent workforce.

    Contingent Labor is Your Best Weapon in the War for Talent

    Regardless of size or industry, companies are constantly seeking more flexibility and cost-savings. Labor is typically the single largest spend category, so it makes sense that companies want to optimize this cost while also ensuring access to the talent they need.

    Since contingent labor offers both flexibility and cost-savings when compared to hiring employees, and also offers significant talent access advantages, it is no surprise that more organizations are focused on building contingent workforce programs.

    In addition to the traditional suppliers of temporary labor (e.g. staffing firms) there is a growing set of alternative talent sources for non-employee labor. These include consulting firms, freelancers, independent contractors, online staffing and labor marketplace solutions.

    Companies that choose to find and engage non-employee workers outside of agency relationships are, by its simplest definition, direct sourcing.


    The sourcing and engagement of contingent workers has traditionally been done through staffing suppliers. While this process is fairly predictable and low risk, it does bring with it high transaction costs (bill rate mark-ups than can reach 60%, or more), long time-to-fill gaps (often measured in weeks, not days) and occasionally questionable quality. These process gaps and solution shortcomings come into greater focus and are amplified when we consider knowledge workers who are often highly skilled experts working on time-sensitive and mission-critical projects. Most of these workers do not want to work through a staffing supplier.

    Fortunately, direct sourcing can mitigate the above shortcomings. In addition, this strategy brings the added benefit of providing access to a broader population of talent who prefer to work independently by engaging and working directly with a range of different organizations. When combined with an independent workforce compliance and engagement solution, like the services TalentWave provides to enterprise clients, a company has a turn-key solution to deploy a direct sourcing strategy that both attracts and retains scarce talent.


4. 10 ways to enhance cybersecurity with “people practices”

Human resources executives play a critical role in any organization, but the banking industry often demands even higher levels of diligence while these professionals embrace responsibilities for implementing an assortment of new policies to reflect ever-changing state and federal regulations. This heightened sense of flexibility and anticipation of change should also hopefully inspire HR and financial institutions to seize more opportunities to work together at furthering initiatives which can effectively boost cybersecurity.

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    The first step is to recognize that no one operates in a vacuum in the cybersecurity space. To the contrary, a greater flow of communication and coordination with other corporate officers can be crucial in providing better protection for a financial institution’s overall network security.

    Additionally, HR should help Information Technology professionals see beyond the shortsighted assumption that cybersecurity merely presents a technical challenge. For starters, HR professionals need to fully understand the needs of the bank’s Chief Information Officer and/or Chief Information Security Officer and actively offer assistance to help.

    Where HR can help

    An initial checklist of potential areas of assistance should include:

    1. Hiring practices. HR may amend hiring practices such as background checks and references to include screening for cybersecurity risks. Upon hiring, employees should be educated and trained on organizational cybersecurity protocols. When necessary, the bank must discipline those who violate the rules.

    2. Employment contracts. Judicious use of employment contracts to create contractual rights and remedies against key employees who facilitate network breaches should be considered.

    3. Passwords. Poor security practices with respect to passwords can be a hacker’s gateway into a bank’s computer network. Common high-risk practices include not using passwords when necessary, using passwords that are easily broken—like “password”—and identifying passwords in emails and other electronic communications.

    4. Recognizing malware. Malicious software, or malware, is any software used to gain access to a computer network, often to disrupt operations and/or to gather sensitive information. Frequently, employees unwittingly download malware onto the organization’s computer network. While some malware may get through no matter what HR does, training employees to recognize malware such as phishing, worms, Trojan horses, ransomware, and spyware is an important contribution.

    5. Identifying insiders. Cyber criminals sometimes recruit current employees to facilitate entry into the organization’s network. HR has an important role here. For example, HR may help identify employees (and former employees) who may be disaffected or otherwise have motives to cooperate with hackers. As a rule, former employees should not have access to the network.

    6. Mobile devices. HR will want to review policies and practices with respect to mobile devices.

    • What kinds of data are available on such devices, and how is the data encrypted?

    • Is access to such data limited to certain employees?

    • Can the data be quickly—and remotely—destroyed if the mobile device is lost or stolen?

    • When is the data removed from the mobile device?

    • Does HR collect all company-owned mobile devices at the conclusion of employment?

    7. Inventory of assets. The organization will likely want to identify its assets with respect to cybersecurity and inventory them. Whether or not HR is tasked with this particular function, at a minimum that staff can add value by insuring that the task has been appropriately addressed.

    8. Responding to a breach. A successful attack on an organization’s network can create an absolute crisis, and responding to it can become the organization’s top priority.

    Before the breach happens, has the organization developed a response plan?

    Carrying out the plan represents an enormous role for HR as a part of the response team, defining roles and responsibilities, and coordinating personnel activities across the organization.

    9. Clear screen and desk policy. While not for every organization, a clear screen policy directs all your organization’s employees to lock their computers when leaving their desks and to log off when leaving for an extended period of time. Such a policy can work in tandem with a clear desk policy to enhance office security from prying visitors—or even disloyal colleagues.

    10. Termination procedures. If not done previously, HR may reconsider termination procedures considering network safety issues. Have passwords been changed and access terminated? Have all portable electronic devices, thumb drives, and company data in whatever form been recovered?

    HR must be part of equation

    As previously mentioned, the introduction and likelihood of further regulatory obligations—particularly ones that impact the cybersecurity space—further underscores the need for HR professionals to reexamine current policies and procedures.

    For example, professionals located at banks and other financial institutions in New York must consider the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYSDFS) regulations, and additional legal obligations that this or other regulators might impose. Among other things, the NYSDFS regulations require that organizations hire a chief information security officer, whether as an employee or as a third-party service provider.

    Either way, the CISO’s list of responsibilities can prove to be very challenging. This includes reporting annually to the organization’s board of directors, or equivalent governing body, on the organization’s cybersecurity program. Whether an organization hires a current employee, outside candidate, or a third-party service provider as its CISO, the person or organization performing this role will likely rely upon the assistance of HR to fully discharge their duties.

    Overall, HR professionals at any financial institution need to help create an environment that enables leadership to recognize that behind the technology and hardware, cybercrime is a human activity.

    As a result, greater collaboration and communication within the organization can ultimately help produce policies, training, and other safeguards that offer better and more resilient security.


5. Facebook snooping on candidates? GDPR could put a stop to that

Employers who snoop on potential job candidates on social media could soon be breaking the law under GDPR. Ed Stacey, head of employment at PwC Legal, looks at the potential risks of screening future employees in this way.

Guidelines published earlier this month by EU data protection agencies have proposed that employers should have a legal justification before checking the social media accounts of their current or prospective employees.

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    In particular, they have suggested that such checking should be necessary and relevant to the performance of the employee’s job.

    While this is not currently required under UK or general EU law, these guidelines are likely to be used in the interpretation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that comes into force next year.

    Checking up

    According to a number of surveys, the majority of employers in the UK admit to reviewing social media accounts of prospective employees and it is likely that these surveys actually underestimate its prevalence.

    So, why do employers choose to undertake these social media checks? For many it is to ensure that there is no online evidence of past criminal behaviour, drug taking or other illicit activities.

    However, where should employers draw the line? Many people will have photos of themselves in their social media accounts drinking and partying with friends.

    The question is whether this is relevant to the role that they will be undertaking. Some employers might argue that it displays a lack of judgement when the individual could have chosen to keep these photos on a private rather than public setting.

    The person making the judgments about the social activities of prospective employees should also be careful to avoid imposing their own personal social code that may be significantly more conservative than average.

    Doing so puts the employer at risk of a lack of diversity in the people that it employs.

    Legal risks and restrictions

    As explained above, there is no legal restriction on reviewing an applicant’s social media accounts but there are some legal risks in doing so.

    If an applicant is rejected and they subsequently learn that their account has been reviewed prior to that rejection, it may give the candidate the ability to argue that the reason for their rejection was on discriminatory grounds.

    For example, their social media account may have made it clear that they were gay, that they followed a particular religion or were planning a family. Even where the employer’s decision was not based on any such factor, it creates a risk for the prospective employer.

    Given that younger people will be more likely to have social media accounts than older people, it also presents a risk of the review being indirectly discriminatory on grounds of age.

    Where the employer can point to a specific reason why they need to undertake the review that would objectively justify doing so then they would be able to defeat such claim but, again, it is placing the employer at heightened risk.

    Fair access to candidates

    Acas has issued guidance on the use of social media in recruitment which says that employers should consider how they will reach the pool of candidates not using social media; whether it is fair to assess candidates differently depending on whether they have an accessible online profile; and whether using social media to target low skilled workers will be successful given that they may not use this media in their roles.

    So having a single policy in relation to social media checking across all vacancies in the organisation may be inappropriate in any event.

    Finally, can the use of social media lead to mistakes creeping into the recruitment process? It is probably fair to say that less rigour is generally applied in verifying what is said online than in checking a written CV.

    In terms of the position for current employees, there may be contractual provisions that specifically allow employers to review the social media accounts of their employees.

    With or without such provisions, employers must ensure that the company brand is not being damaged by employees, for example if they are publicly criticising customers.

    They may also want to protect against the risks of cyber bullying between colleagues. Some companies will also check their employees’ social media accounts when they have taken sick leave to check the validity of that.

    Exit strategy

    A final area for consideration is when employees are leaving an employer.

    Many employers will review their social media accounts (again particularly those used for business purposes such as LinkedIn) to ascertain if they are undertaking any activities before or after their departure that may place them in breach of their contractual obligations, for example not to target customers.

    There may be no current plans to make the scrutiny of social media accounts unlawful, but it is clear from the guidelines and the underlying risks that employers are best advised to carefully consider the justifications for reviewing the social media accounts of both prospective and current employees.

    While there are clearly some legitimate reasons to do so, employers should do this while fully aware of the risks this could present.


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

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