Author Archives: Ben

We’re Only Human 54: Forecasting The Future Jobs of HR and Recruiting

If you could look out into the future and predict how HR and talent acquisition jobs might change in the next few years, what would you expect? Robots? AI? Something else? 

In today’s short monologue, Ben talks about some of the jobs he expects to see as more automation hits the HR function, from candidate experience designers to human-machine integrators. It’s about finding the best that humans AND machines have to offer to create the best results for our candidates, employees, and businesses. 

Jump into the conversation and share your own thoughts on Twitter: @beneubanks or LinkedIn.

Office Workplace Health Risks: Computers, Screens, Sitting, and More

 

In the digital world we live in, we spend a TON of time work on computers and mobile devices. Screens aren’t just part of our work life–they are how we interact with most people during the course of the workday. This isn’t a natural experience for us and it’s now how we were designed to operate, which means we must take care or we’ll inevitably run into issues with our health.

computer useI can tell those days that have been more “screen heavy” because my head is a little fuzzy and my eyes are sore. At times, my back and shoulders are even tensed up. I’ve been experimenting with other desk setups to minimize some of these issues, but I’ll have to wait until travel/conference season is over before I get any meaningful results.

Research shows that computers and how we use them pose a variety of risks to our health, especially around posture and vision. The University of Pittsburgh says that sitting in awkward positions, staying in one position for too long and performing repetitive motions can lead to unnatural stress on the wrists, shoulders and back. Over time, fatigue and overuse can strain muscles and joints and lead to more costly health issues.

I can still remember an employee I had years ago that ended up with a nasty looking “hump” on his wrist because of his desk setup. He ended up straining the actual bone in his arm because of repetitive, incorrect posture and needed surgery to “reset” himself. It was very intense and surprising, because you wouldn’t think that simply sitting the wrong away would lead to that kind of problem.

From a visual perspective, we can see light on a variety of wavelengths, including blue light, which is similar to the light we get from the sun. If you’ve ever used a computer for a long period of time and had tired eyes afterward, blue light is most likely to blame, according to the American Academy of Opthalmology. And if you spend too much time looking at a screen that emits blue light just before you go to bed, it can interfere with your rest by tricking your brain into staying awake.

5 Suggestions for Solving the Computer Ergonomics Problem

Sitting at a computer for extended periods of time is incredibly taxing on the body and can lead to obesity and even heart issues. Solutions for computer ergonomics problems range from very simple to complex, but the bottom line is that they must be counteracted. The solutions below can help solve for various factors in the equation, such as vision strain or more physical components, but the best computer ergonomics strategy involves a variety of approaches.

  1. Set alarms: Instead of staring at a screen without breaks for long periods of time, set alarms every 20 or 30 minutes to remind you to look away, blink and rest your eyes briefly before returning to work.

To read the last four recommendations, check out this post on the Flexispot website.

Have you ever had eye, back, or neck issues because of computer use? What was the experience like? 

How to Invest in ALL Employees, Not Just #Millennials

While there may be some minor generational differences in workplace preferences, the truth is ALL your people want to learn, grow, use their strengths and be recognized and appreciated for their efforts. I’ve written extensively about the myth that Millennials are fundamentally different than other generations. The real point is that someone at that life stage has different needs. This article is all about how to meet the varying needs of a diverse workforce. 

Money, Coin, Investment, Business, Finance, BankIn the book “Born for This,” author Chris Guillebeau tells the story of a supervisor that approached his organization’s management team in order to secure a small budget for pizza to celebrate his team’s wins and hard work. However, the management team denied the request, prompting the supervisor to leave his job and start his own firm. Today, he sees these opportunities for investing in employees as a key differentiator between his organization and the competition.

This story exemplifies the value of focusing on employees. It’s not just about dollars spent — it’s about loyalty, satisfaction and engagement that result when individuals feel like their employer truly cares about them. The value of creating the kind of environment where employees feel appreciated is a trade off in increased performance, effort and quality. This understanding is a key reason, according to CFO Magazine, why 80 percent of U.S. financial leaders are taking the appropriate measures to improve employee retention.

Current Generations and Their Values

Business leaders are not strangers to the conversation about generations in the workplace. The shifting baby boomer population is creating a domino effect in many organizations, but for the foreseeable future organizations will still have four generations in the workforce: baby boomers, Gen Xers, millennials and Gen Zers.

1. Baby Boomers

Baby boomers are delaying retirement, which may put pressure on subsequent generations for senior level positions and key leadership roles. In reality, members of this group have an immense amount of knowledge and skills and are looking for a way to share them before they ultimately retire. Instead of coasting into retirement, they are looking for ways to stay actively involved and engaged, even if only on a part-time basis.

2. Generation X

Generation X workers are sandwiched between a large population of baby boomers and an even larger population of millennials. This group is starting to focus on future-oriented areas like retirement but at the same time many are climbing the career ladder and looking for ways to continue advancing as baby boomers make their exit from the workforce. Coaching and leadership development are critical for these individuals.

3. Millennials

According to the ADP Research Institute® report, Strategic Drift: How HR Plans for Change, millennials are looking for opportunities to learn, grow and advance their careers. One organization cited in the report says that millennials’ reputation for changing jobs often reflects the failure of organizations to train them — not the picture of disloyalty often painted in the media. This group is ready to advance, which presents a winning combination for baby boomers looking to share their years of wisdom with an eager audience.

4. Generation Z

Gen Zers are just entering the workplace. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) notes, “With Gen Z coming of age during the recession, they are putting money and job security at the top of the list. Sure, they want to make a difference, but surviving and thriving are more important. The cultures that can foster that are the ones that will win the war for talent with Gen Z.” It’s important to see this in the context of the other demographic groups to understand how best to motivate these workers.

Meeting the Needs of a Diverse Workforce

The lesson for finance leaders is to keep these varying interests in mind when considering areas of investment on the employee side of the equation. For instance, mentorship and career development programs could be a pro for millennials, but it takes the involvement of baby boomers and other experienced workers to make the relationships work. Benefits also run the gamut, depending on the demographic in question:

  • Gen Xers may be looking for leave options to care not only for children, but for aging parents
  • Many millennials are looking for help with repaying crushing student loan debts
  • Baby boomers may have an interest in near-term retirement planning
  • Gen Zers are focused on collecting experiences, which means volunteerism may be more important than just another vacation day

Clearly, a one-size-fits-all approach to benefits will not cut it for this diverse group.

The ROI of Employee Engagement

While it’s nice to consider the prospect of increasing employee engagement just for the sake of it, the truth is there needs to be business value tied to the practice. I talked about this extensively in my interview with Ohio Living CHRO Dana Ullom-Vucelich and how her firm has seen incredible value from more engaged staff.

Additionally, Forbes reports that in hospitals, teams with more engaged employees lead to fewer readmissions, increasing patient satisfaction scores. Improvements in employee engagement can lead to higher retention. It’s important to note that while each organization may be different, there is always value in creating a positive, engaging workplace for employees.

While there may be some generational differences in workplace preferences, most people want to learn, grow, use their strengths and be recognized and appreciated for their efforts. Finance leaders that can invest in programs that support that will likely see the value that an engaged workforce can deliver to the bottom line.

I originally published this piece on the ADP blog: https://www.adp.com/spark/articles/2018/12/what-does-it-look-like-to-invest-in-all-4-generations-of-employees.aspx

We’re Only Human 53: How to Partner with Your Talent Analytics Team

Organizations that have analytics talent, whether it’s a dedicated team or just a single data-loving person within the HR function, often struggle with how to leverage the expertise they bring to the table. In today’s discussion, Ben interviews the team at Cox Enterprises: Debbie Morris, Sr. Talent Management Consultant, and Hal Halbert, Reporting Manager, to talk about how the HR/talent function can align and work with the analytics team. 

The conversation is a short one, but it is full of insightful comments and ideas on how to pair the best insights and efforts that each brings to the table. It’s not just about doing your job–it’s about supporting each other and the needs of the business. 

If you enjoy the conversation, please share the episode with a friend that might find it valuable. Also, if you’re interested, you can connect with Debbie and Hal on LinkedIn: 

Download the new research Ben mentioned on reskilling and upskilling employees: http://lhra.io/reskill 

Talent Mobility: How to Get Line Managers On Board

In the last few years, it seems like I’ve become the expert on internal talent mobility (the process of moving people inside the organization via promotions, transfers, etc.). I’ve published multiple pieces on the topic, written several white papers (one linked below if you want to check it out), and spoken about it to various audiences as well.  Goodness, I even developed some brand new research for a report I just finished with ATD on upskilling and reskilling your workforce (more on that in the coming weeks). I love talking about it and think there’s a ton of value in the approach.

With that in mind, someone recently reached out to ask a nuanced question: how do you get managers on board, since talent mobility is inherently disruptive to their environment? 

Talent mobility is obviously a disruption for managers that “lose” an employee that moves internally. This means the manager has to backfill the role just as if the person left the company. However, the good news is that person is still there and still accessible, which means they can offer coaching or support for the new person stepping into the role they left behind.

From the manager’s perspective, this doesn’t create any additional work, though. Research shows people will leave the company if they don’t have advancement opportunities, so the manager will lose the employee anyway. This just gives them a chance to move up internally, keeping their expertise and value within the walls of the company. That’s a win-win.

If managers want to lessen the impact, they should be open with their teams about jobs within the company and also be open to hearing the career aspirations from their staff. By keeping the lines of communication open, managers are less likely to be surprised by a sudden change by someone leaving without notice. When managers try to keep or control their people and their career progression, they end up causing them to leave the company instead of looking for other internal opportunities. Bad move.

Guide-Build-Talent-Mobility-CultureIf this interests you, I worked with the team at Salary.com to create a guide for HR leaders on how to build a talent mobility culture. A key piece of that is a one-page handout for managers on how to take practical baby steps toward better mobility-friendly practices. It’s here and totally free: check out the report

 

We’re Only Human 52: The Top 3 HR Tech Implementation Mistakes

Okay, you’ve selected your HR tech solution. You’ve signed the paperwork. Now it’s time for implementation–are you ready? 

Technology implementations, regardless of whether you’re using Oracle, SAP, Workday, or someone else, are challenging. That’s because the average HR leader only gets a chance to do this maybe once or twice in their career. It’s easy to miss the mark, and a bad experience can have career-impacting consequences. That said, a great implementation can make you look like a star to your team and your leaders. 

In today’s episode, Ben interviews Caleb Fullhart about the key mistakes HR leaders make when implementing HCM technology, including everything from rushing the testing process to failing to fit the technology to their unique business rules. It’s a fun conversation and Caleb brings a ton of expertise to the table. 

Vendor demo makeovers podcast episode: http://lhra.io/blog/hr-tech-vendor-demo-makeovers-conversation-george-larocque/

Connect with Caleb on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/cfullhart/ 

Why Do Companies Pay Cost of Living, Not What the Job is Worth? [Reader Question]

Another reader question today, this time on compensation. If you have questions you can always email ben@upstarthr.com and we’ll fit it into the queue if possible!

Why do companies pay employees by cost of living of the city/country that the employee is working from rather than the cost/value of the work? Can employees game this system to earn more money?

This is an interesting question, but the truth is it’s not either/or–it’s both. Employers must consider both internal equity and external/market equity when building a compensation structure.

Employers pay what the job is worth, or they will never be able to hire anyone. Try offering a software engineer $10,000 a year and see if they want to work for you. This is about internal value and equity–what value does this job have to the firm relative to other jobs? There’s a general hierarchy in terms of pay rates, which is why an administrative assistant earns less than the CEO.  Continue reading