Daily Top 5 Global HR News – 9 October 2017
We bring together from ICube Research and published news, a summary of 5 items that are contemporary. The news is curated from more than 50 HR related websites across more than 15 countries including Singapore, USA, UK, Canada, Australia, India, Malaysia and Kenya, among others.
The Daily Digest covers the Global view of latest people practices and technology developments amongst other areas.
1. Employer Value Propositions Are Brand Building Blocks
What do 84 percent of the world’s top 100 most attractive employers (as defined by college students) have in common? An employer value proposition.
This strategic statement defines how a company wants to be perceived by its employees. It embodies the company’s values and ideals and is a fundamental step in defining an employer brand strategy for talent acquisition.
That’s why many organizations around the globe have put in the work to create an employer value proposition, according to research conducted in early 2017 by Universum, a global employer branding and market research firm based in Stockholm, and DHI Group, Inc., a network of niche employment sites and recruiting services based in New York City.
“[An employer value proposition] provides current and future employees with clear reasons to choose and stay with an employer,” said Richard Mosley, Universum’s global vice president of strategy, based in London. “It conveys what employees can expect from an employer and what is expected of them in return.”
The Universum survey of nearly 2,500 HR, marketing and talent acquisition managers from 50 countries found that the following companies have created employer value propositions:
- 67 percent of large companies (10,000-plus employees).
- 55 percent of medium-sized companies (1,000-9,999 employees).
- 30 percent of small companies (fewer than 999 employees).
The technology, banking and accounting sectors have the most companies with employer value propositions. Challenging work, a friendly work environment and a commitment to diversity and inclusion are the top three attributes of employer value propositions in the United States.[SHRM members-only HR Q&A: How can we develop an employer branding strategy?]
Half of employers who have yet to develop an employer value proposition plan to do so in the future.
“Let’s face it: Employer branding is no longer innovation; it’s a candidate expectation,” said James Foley, global senior vice president of employer brand at Randstad Sourceright. “With that said, it’s important to define your employer value proposition before creating the strategy you will use to translate that feeling to candidates, because you want to portray the most accurate representation of your company. When done correctly, you’ll see the positive impact resonate across the bottom line in retention, offer acceptance rates and recruiting efforts.”
Survey respondents said HR and recruitment are the primary owners of employer brand strategy and activities. “One of the biggest challenges in developing an employer brand is determining who is responsible for it,” Foley said. “Most often, it should be led by the CEO and throughout all levels of the company. Still, making sure all parties, from HR to marketing and communications, understand their roles is essential to an effective employer brand strategy. Taking time to invest in internal and external stakeholder feedback will help to define the [employer value proposition] and make sure it stands out.”
Mosley said large and medium-sized organizations face challenges with getting leaders’ commitment to develop these propositions.
“While understanding of employer branding appears to have improved at senior levels, it is still often mistakenly perceived to be an exercise in presentation rather than a more deep-rooted assessment of the underlying employment offer and experience,” he said.
The top challenge for the most attractive employers is cost, particularly with the current focus on investment in HR technology, he added. “For smaller organizations, the most common challenge, given more limited human resources, was simply finding the time.”
2. A Manager’s Guide to Developing Competencies in HR Staff
HR is tasked with implementing strategies to develop the competencies of all employees within an organization. But often, it’s HR’s own staff that gets overlooked in the process. Phyllis G. Hartman’s A Manager’s Guide to Developing Competencies in HR Staff (SHRM, 2017) is here to help. Hartman, who hold a SHRM-SCP, is the founder of PGHR Consulting and has more than 25 years of experience as a human resource professional. Her book helps HR managers understand the work of developing their staff in an organized, step-by-step way.
The HR Magazine Book Blog recently spoke to Hartman about the book.
How does your new book take the mystery out of HR staff development?
Most HR professionals understand the traditional functional areas of HR but may struggle with the connection to competencies. Developing HR staff often seems overwhelming to HR managers as they are faced with daily challenges and demands. There is just not enough time in the day, and staff development may take a back seat. This book includes hundreds of ideas for developing competencies that managers can use immediately or as jumping-off points for their own or other employees’ ideas.
How should HR managers charged with development of HR staff use the book?
The book can be used in multiple ways. As a broad text, it supplies managers with a total competency development road map, from assessing individual and group needs to developing HR staff. If an individual already knows what they need, he or she can get advice on how to assess their own proficiency levels. If a manager knows what is needed, the book provides hundreds of ideas, grouped in different approaches and activities that can help boost HR employee development. The strategies can be easily customized to fit the needs of the individual and the team.
One of the toughest challenges HR managers face with HR staff development is which competencies to focus on. Any recommendations?
It all goes to understanding the business or organization and its mission and goals. HR managers must know what is important to their organization’s success. Collaborating with the management team to learn about the goals and then apply them to the HR function is the first step. Once that is done, you can identify the most critical competencies for the organization and HR. Next, an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the HR team should be done. By determining the gaps and then prioritizing needs based on available financial and time resources, the manager can make a plan.
What are some direct and indirect ways of assessing current employees?
By communicating directly with employees using a focused set of questions that encourage discussion about specific competencies, managers can assess not just knowledge but the ability to appropriately apply skills. Discussions also increase the likelihood that the employee will participate in development and be engaged. Communicating with others can help managers evaluate proficiency, too. Indirect ways include reviewing existing documentation, career history and experiences, and examining certifications achieved.
How can HR managers create development plans for their HR staff, and for themselves?
Once managers know what is needed in terms of specific competency development, they can begin to determine activities that will lead to proficiency. Practice leads to proficiency. Development activities need to be planned with the interest and learning preferences of the individual in mind.
The other major factor to take into consideration is available resources, including money and time. This may require setting priorities as to who gets development when, but care should be taken not to neglect the manager’s needs. The book provides a number of forms and references to make planning easier.
What were you surprised to learn researching and writing the book?
Probably the biggest surprise in talking to many HR professionals was learning that there is still some confusion about what competencies really are. At times over the last two years when I asked the question “What is the most important competency in your HR department?,” I got answers that included things that are not competencies. I was also surprised to hear business managers talk about developing competencies by “sending someone to a class.” Though knowledge is certainly a part of competency, the skills, abilities and other traits are equally important, and I’m not sure everyone understands that.
The book includes real-life examples and insights from current HR managers. Can you share some of your favorite top tips?
Fernán R. Cepero, SHRM-SCP, chief human resources officer and chief diversity officer of the YMCA of Greater Rochester in New York, says that one way his organization develops competencies is by recognizing the value of “internal sharing.” This helps HR staff develop both communication and consultation competencies.
Having an organizational commitment to development is important in garnering resources. Often, not just time but also experiences are needed that go beyond what you can provide inside an organization. Beverly Widger, SHRM-SCP, senior VP of human resources at Mascoma Savings Bank in Lebanon, N.H., says her organization supports development and has an HR budget devoted to it. By working with local universities, her organization is able to offer high-level programs that go beyond internal classes and programs.
Tim A. Baker, SHRM-SCP, senior director for talent management and organizational development at Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools in Virginia, says his experience working in three very different school districts, as well as in the private sector, has taught him that every employee is different when it comes to development.
3. 750,000 UK workers ‘set to flee to pastures new’
Concerns have been raised over a drop in SME confidence as a result of a growing Brexit related recruitment challenge. Additional pressure is expected as ageing population affects UK workforce.
An estimated 750,000 skilled workers – both UK citizens and nationals from other EU countries – will move from Britain to other parts of Europe in the near future to seek more stable economic environments in the post-Brexit era, a report published on Wednesday predicts.
Brexit prompts drop in confidence for small and medium enterprises
The latest small and medium-sized enterprises’ (SME) confidence index from the business leadership organisation Vistage says that, in the face of Brexit uncertainties, companies are facing one of their toughest ever recruitment challenges.
One in four of the 336 SMEs surveyed said their planned business growth and investments have been hampered by Brexit negotiations, while 43 per cent said they would not be increasing headcount over the next 12 months, compared to 36 per cent in the last quarter’s survey.
Roger Martin-Fagg, Vistage economist, said, “There is no doubt in my mind that SMEs will face one of the toughest recruitment challenges they’ve ever encountered in the months ahead. I suspect around 750,000 disillusioned workers will be moving to other parts of Europe to seek a more stable economy.
“This means the fight for the cream of the crop will be rife for UK businesses. We will quickly see that many of the people choosing to flee the UK for ‘pastures green’ are the lifeblood of vital industries. These combined factors means automation is crucial for business survival.”
Recruitment issues as workforce deficit emerges
Almost 40 per cent of SMEs reported that it was far more difficult to hire top talent now than it was a year ago. As a result, 61 per cent have turned to social media channels to recruit and more than half have had to raise salaries to attract staff.
Compounding recruitment problems is the fact a workforce deficit likely to emerge over the next seven years, with 14 million employees retiring but just seven million people of working age entering the market…and this at a time when net migration to the UK is predicted to tumble.
The survey showed that retaining existing staff had taken on even greater importance for SMEs, with two-thirds improving the training on offer, 58 per cent raising salaries and 55 per cent looking to boost the benefits packages.
However, many firms admitted there was still room for improvement, with almost half conceding they did not monitor competitor packages and almost one in three recognising they have fallen down on succession planning for key positions and critical players.
But despite the challenges being faced by SMEs, they appear to be in relatively rude health: the latest SME Health Check Index, compiled by the economics consultancy Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) in association with CYBG, owner of Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks, found that the economic health of SMEs has hit an 18-month high.
4. Executives seek HR pros with certifications, study shows
- Employers are looking for HR professionals with certifications, new research shows. The study, published by Dow Jones Customer Intelligence in collaboration with HR Certification Institute (HRCI), says that 70% of business executives believe having a human resource department made up of all certified HR professionals would benefit their company.
- In addition, 83% of respondents said they regard their HR team as a strategic and valuable partner. Top management continues to push for greater strategic value from HR programs and initiatives. The C-suite ranks “talent strategy and employee engagement” as one of the top five concerns for companies, with 95% executives surveyed noting that hiring and retaining the right talent directly affects a company’s bottom line.
- In response, HRCI has developed group certification packages for HR teams.
The image of the HR department has been shifting from a compliance-based drain on resources, to its rightful place – in the boardroom. With talent acquisition and retention a priority, HR deserves a place as a strategic planning partner. Human capital can be the largest asset any company holds, but also its largest exposure to risk.
With more companies outsourcing compliance-based HR tasks, HR management and professionals are freed up to work more closely with talent development, employee engagement and retention, and developing hiring strategies that address current and future needs. The role of the individual HR professional, as well as the team overall, is shifting in response to the needs of the marketplace.
While individual certifications in HR have been in the market for many years, group certification is a relatively new player in the field. When the entire group is competent in talent management, the team can work more effectively and gain a competitive edge.
5. Canada becoming an in-demand destination for foreign tech talent
Though he had co-founded two companies previously and worked at LinkedIn’s head office in Silicon Valley for six years, Vikram Rangnekar’s H-1B visa did not allow him to start a company of his own on American soil.
Between the visa restrictions and the soaring cost of living in the Valley, the Indian-born entrepreneur and author decided last year that it was time to move his family to a new country. They first considered India and Singapore, where they had lived previously, and Melbourne, Australia, where they had family, or a totally new city like Berlin. Then a friend recommended that he look into Toronto.
“We wanted a little more freedom and a reasonable path to citizenship, and it would have to be a city with a tech scene I could bet on,” he said. “Surprisingly, or maybe not surprisingly, Toronto is becoming a serious tech centre in North America.”
In recent months, political turmoil and tough talk on immigration in the United States has caused many of its technology industry workers to consider viable living options elsewhere. At the same time, Toronto – and Canada, more broadly – is emerging as a tech powerhouse in its own right, causing a sudden reversal in the long-standing trend of Canadian talent moving south.
To the 37 per cent of American technology workers that are foreign-born and the 13 per cent that are H-1B visa holders, Canada has never looked like a more appealing alternative.
“Shopify saw 40 per cent more U.S. applicants in the first quarter of 2017 than we averaged in all of 2016,” said the Ottawa-based company’s director of talent acquisition, Anna Lambert. And when Toronto-based innovation hub MaRS Discovery District polled 42 high-growth companies based in Canada, two-thirds of respondents indicated that they had recently witnessed a notable increase in applications from the United States.
The sudden interest in Canada’s technology industry is even becoming apparent in postsecondary institutions. Canadian universities witnessed a 25-per-cent increase in international applications for this school year, with the University of Toronto receiving interest from 80 per cent more American students compared with last year.
“Tech has always been about getting in early,” said Mr. Rangnekar. “I think Toronto has that startup appeal – it’s young and growing – and people want to be part of that startup story.” Mr. Rangnerkar adds that it could have taken up to 20 years and thousands of dollars in legal fees to get an American Green Card for himself and his family, but it only took a few months to get permanent residency in Canada, no lawyer required.
After settling into a home in the Leslieville neighbourhood, launching his startup, Webmatr, and surviving his first Canadian winter, Mr. Rangnekar detailed his journey in a LinkedIn post, providing some words of advice to others that might be looking to do the same.
“When I shared it initially on LinkedIn, it hit 20,000 views in two days,” he said. “The most I had gotten [previously] was a few hundred, and it’s still growing.” Mr. Rangnekar received so much interest that he began an online forum called Mov North to help Americans and international tech workers bring their talents to Canada.
A recent study by job search website Indeed found that the average U.S.-based job seeker looking to work outside the country sends 12 per cent of their applications to Canadian employers, but in recent months, that number jumped to 30 per cent among tech industry workers.
Bryan Smith, CEO and co-founder of Toronto-based big data processing firm ThinkData Works, says that he’s seen a 50-per-cent increase in U.S.-based applications and a 100-per-cent increase in foreign applications overall in the past year. When he asks foreign-based applicants about the sudden interest in Canada, however, many say it isn’t in direct response to President Donald Trump’s controversial rhetoric. Instead, the election lead many foreign workers based in the United States to the conclusion that immigration policy during his tenure isn’t likely to make the already burdensome and complex process any easier.
“I think Toronto was off everyone’s radar, and what’s happening in the U.S. has expanded their search a little bit,” said Mr. Smith. “Once they started looking [at Toronto] they liked what they saw, not just from a tech and a company perspective but from a cultural and living perspective.”
Mr . Smith also credits efforts from government policy for drawing talent. “I think for the first time, at least in my lifetime, the governments at all levels are drumming to the same beat, which is bringing in high-class talent and setting up the support mechanism to get people here to start companies and add to the economy,” he said. “You can see that from [Toronto Mayor John] Tory all the way up to [Prime Minister Justin] Trudeau; they’re all on message.”
Mr. Smith specifically applauds the federal government’s Startup Visa Program, which helps bring immigrant entrepreneurs into the country. Karen Greve Young, herself an American immigrant and the vice-president of partnerships for MaRS, says the Startup Visa Program couldn’t have come at a better time for a city and country emerging as a global leader in certain technology fields.
“There’s a lot happening in artificial intelligence in Toronto and Canada generally with the launch of the Vector institute, the attraction of Uber’s Advanced Technology Group, RBC starting a huge AI group and Element AI launching an AI-as-a-service product,” she said. “There’s a lot of trends happening in key tech sectors where the centre of gravity is Toronto.”
As long as Canada’s borders remain more open to entrepreneurs and tech industry workers than its neighbour to the south and it continues to invest in early-stage high-tech fields, Ms. Greve Young is confident that the recent influx of talent marks a new stage in the country’s innovation, rather than a temporary reaction to recent political events.
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(The articles above have been curated from various sources but not been edited by ICube staff)
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