get your managers engaged in change

Any number of strategies can foster employee engagement, but the fact is that your organisation’s managers generate the best outcomes since they occupy the hot seat positions that affect day-to-day operations, corporate culture and staff performance. In fact Gallup research reveals managers account for more than 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores across business units. Managers – often conflicted by organisational change, strategic pivots, responsibility without authority along and the lure of entrepreneurship – are leaving their positions to advance their careers, and ageing senior staff are retiring from their positions. The management vacuum that these trends create generates a need for effective in-house career progression initiatives that HR professionals manage, so the duties of HR teams increasingly focus on developing better managers through internal strategies where management skills can be developed and nurtured;  as without these efforts, promoting from within can lead to disastrous results from the weaknesses of disengaged, self-serving or autocratic managers who lack true leadership skills.

the making of great leaders

The personal attributes of great leaders include focus, energy, engagement, confidence, passion, patience, inspiration, innovation, transparency and integrity, but I think more particularly, great leaders follow these best practices:

  • They motivate their teams and staff members
  • They stand by their decisions and people when faced with challenges
  • They build trust in relationships
  • They promote accountability instead of CYA behaviour
  • They make decisions only after weighing the options carefully and planning action strategies

Senior leaders and HR specialists need to align their corporate business strategies with talent management to develop, nurture and engage managers. Definining management profiles offers stronger ways to align developmental and engagement goals. Manager profiles and duties can vary tremendously, so an out-of-the-box profile will not cover every job or engagement strategy. Once these profiles are established, they need to carry through to the company’s selection, recruitment, succession management and development processes.

7 strategies to foster manager engagement

There are lots of engagement strategies for managers that encourage them to perform to higher levels. For example, succession planning is crucial to any organisation, so HR professionals should maintain a pipeline of high-potential candidates and encourage managers to work towards suitable promotions and career development opportunities. Communications are essential. While it would be unwise to guarantee a certain placement, rather these candidates can be informed that they are being groomed for potential progression. Their leadership skills can be enhanced by assigning them high profile assignments, mentors, and additional training and support for leadership development and long-term engagement.

Developing leaders is a proactive strategy for the engagement of managers, and the details of just how extensively HR pursues development depend on each company’s succession needs, number of key positions readily available and the number of employees that currently qualify under different succession strategies. However, it’s in no way wasteful to nurture manager engagement to inspire loyalty and encourage managers to pass on engagement practices to their teams. So, here’s 7 proven methods of engaging managers:

#1 build trust

All too often, managers are left to their own resources to explain inconsistent, unpopular or rapidly evolving policies. The Harvard Business Review blog suggests a better way and recommends three ways that managers are able to build trust with their teams through better engagement practices. These methods also apply to all levels of the organisation. The 3 methods recommended are:

> promote transparency

Consistency and transparency are among the most vital components of building trust. You will find occasions when some company initiatives cannot be disclosed, however, you ought to be as transparent as you can with your managers as well as explain why some information cannot be disclosed at present. Honesty about the company’s goals, current performance and metrics should be shared as much as possible unless the information would generate overwhelming desertions or security concerns

> use persuasion rather than making demands

Executives – and in turn, managers – call the shots, but that does not license them to be bossy, autocratic, and remote. Leadership involves coaching people to fully understand the reason why they are being asked to do certain things or change policies. If a given result could be achieved in a few ways, consider leaving the details to each manager ‘s discretion. This strategy can foster an environment of innovation. A persuasive approach will encourage managers to allow their teams find the most effective methods to accomplish company goals

> admit mistakes

Any business strategy has its supporters and critics. Admitting mistakes can engage critics of failed strategies by giving them the opportunity to vent, “I told you so.”, but more importantly, it demonstrates true leadership by taking responsibility. The approach encourages rank-and-file employees to do exactly the same. Admitting mistakes may also forestall criticism from the supporters of failed policies.

#2 respect everyone

Admitting mistakes or even criticising performances should not devolve into name calling or badmouthing anyone. Make a concerted effort to criticise an offence and not a person. Tolerating gossip and adverse personal comments empowers others to take part in backstabbing activities and CYA behaviour. And, people who share comments that are negative know that they could be targeted next for a smear campaign.

#3 collaborate more often

Collaborative efforts have sky rocketed globally because of increased communications and the breaking down barriers, but some managers find it more challenging to discover what is going on in other parts of the companies than other areas of the world. It is essential to foster a collaborative culture of engagement within any organisation by taking ownership of issues and working to improve things continuously. Increase teamwork, let different departments know what the others are doing and improve intra-office communications. It is also crucial to include company stakeholders in engagement and collaboration efforts to ensure that any policy changes meet their needs. Support for telecommuting workers is essential to involve them in work collaborations. These remotely situated employees and business associates require extra engagement efforts.

Cross-Training and coaching are able to increase collaborations among employees, which strengthen the engagement. Companies can assign managers to fill in or perhaps represent other managers in specific circumstances. Creating small, professional teams that can tackle highly technical problems across departments is a useful strategy, and these teams can keep managers engaged and informed about larger issues and trends. Encouraging peer-to-peer networking, using technology to increase participation on projects and building and maintaining community relationships contribute to a company’s collaborative culture. Managers who collaborate are the first chosen for complex projects that involve inter-departmental cooperation, so it is important to instil collaborating and engagement skills in managers.

#4 institutionalise empathy

Showing empathy for managers is the key to fostering that quality in them as well as strengthening their engagement with the organisation. You can offer empathy training and encourage your managers to practise it, but that time and effort will fall on deaf ears unless you think about the managers’ situations where they are frequently stuck between the proverbial rock and a hard place. Try and instil empathy in managers by practising empathy with them, looking for managerial input and learning from failures while maintaining optimism about the company and its practices. These are tasks that HR professionals are eminently qualified to perform.

#5 recognise performance

Managers often receive the least considered of employee recognition programs, which damages their engagement. Top management executives delegate performance recognition and team engagement to managers, which expands their duties if they’re carrying out the job properly. Meanwhile, managers get little credit for engagement and performance successes, but they are blamed when the programs fail to deliver measurable results. Recognising manager performance should be integral when recognising individual and team achievements. Incentives and rewards that include managers have improved chances of success – it is only human nature for busy managers to resent the honours that their teams earn if they are never recognised for their own contributions. The other part of the equation is authority. Managers ought to be empowered to make as many of the day-to-day decisions as possible. If this backfires – and it will occasionally – management should support their managers’ decisions unless there are egregious violations of company policies. The price of engagement is accepting some mistakes in the interests of growth and development.

#6 empower managers

Oracle reports that even the most effective leaders are often hampered in their engagement efforts by outdated technology and antiquated HR systems that do not offer mobile access to employees and managers, or self-service access. Other shortcomings of effective management include a lack of automated intelligence-gathering integrations of third-party resources for environmental inputs, business intelligence, on-the-job-managing tools, connections with recruiting consultants and forecasting tools.

#7 champion opportunities for learning and growth

Give managers every possible resource to grow into their roles through engagement. These resources include offering engagement opportunities for management candidates to gain experience by managing non-critical projects and development teams and providing support services that nurture professional growth. These engagement strategies might include encouraging managers to develop their peer-to-peer networks, provide assistance for earning industry certifications and actively encouraging people to fill any skills or competency gaps in their educations.

Useful questions to consider on a case-by-case basis include:

  • What experiences or abilities do you managers lack?
  • What are managers’ greatest weakness as a group and individually?
  • Which programs will close these gaps with high participation rates?
  • How do these goals align with their current managerial roles?
  • Would manager engagement benefit from cross-training and short departmental transfers, some of which may even require operating in a foreign jurisdiction or culture?

Corporate learning and training software application is another option that managers can use to improve their abilities, learn new languages and cross-train in different skills. Satisfied managers need to have opportunities for growth and development, and offering these options can foster loyalty and generate commitments to provide similar options and encouragement to their teams.

conclusion: create cultures that recognise personal drivers

It is not all about business in the most successful companies. Holistic employee engagement has become the hottest trend in Human Resources Management, and engaging managers as individuals is a major step toward achieving company-wide engagement goals. You can increase manager engagement by learning about them much more through their social media and networking connections. Staff engagement in social activities to leverage your managers’ personal drivers might include hosting informal social media competitions based on building followers, raising funds for charitable causes along with other social networking activities like scavenger hunts or even pub crawls. Let your managers’ interests guide you in scheduling outside speakers, hiring entertainment for social gatherings and participating in community-based events. Teams can compete for their favourite charities, causes or simple recognition. It can also be helpful to engage employees and managers through amateur sports, health programs and company sponsored recreational activities.

Of course these seven recommendations for fostering engagement are not the only techniques, but they represent a consensus gained from years of experience and more than a few authoritative sources. The key to manager engagement might well be summarised by this caveat: Look for ways to increase manager energy and focus. Management roles involve innovating, changing processes for greater efficiencies and managing staff problems proactively. Company leaders and HR specialists are able to create this kind of engagement dynamic by reducing busywork, loosening formal guidelines, communicating with managers on a regular basis and looking for genuine engagement and honest opinions instead of rubber-stamp endorsements.

If you could do with some help, WINC consultants really shine in project engagement. We pride ourselves on being our clients’ most valuable partner in the attraction, retention and engagement of their current and future staff members. We offer quality end-to-end strategies and solutions including resource managment, hr operations and change communications. Find out more about what we’re up to on the WINC website – and keep up-to-date with our latest news& views on FacebookLinkedIn and Twitter.

About Karl Wood: Karl is a global HR and employment professional who has an impeccable record in delivering HR solutions for industry leading firms. Karl champions ideas that promote growth, profit and a positive organisational identity. Read more blogs by Karl.

GDPR will change the way you manage

GDPR come into force on 25 May 2018

The General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) will come into force on 25th May 2018. This will supersede the Data Protection Act and will directly impact the UK, even after the UK’s exit from the EU.There will be a range of implications to the way you manage your business, not least in the way you manage your people. It’s important, if you haven’t already, to audit your HR policies and procedures to determine what changes need to be made in your people processes.

If you’ve got existing IT infrastructure in place you need to be reviewing it and ensuring it is fit for purpose in this new regulatory environment. This is particularly important as the fine for non-compliance ranges up to €20 million or 4% of a company’s annual turnover, whichever is greater.

  • The person responsible for how data is processed (legally to be known as the Data Controller) will have to provide much more information about how data is being used
  • Companies will need to acquire explicit consent to process data
  • Data Protection Officers need to be appointed by organisations if they process personal data on any notable scale (if you’ve got a lot of staff members, this means you too)

If you’ve got staff members these regulations will impact you in several different ways. You will have to be careful about how you store the data during the recruitment process, through the course of employment and when contracts are concluded.

This means that employers will have to take many more steps than they would have done to ensure employees have expressly given their consent to the use of their data. The operative word here is express. Whereas previously a clause in the contract of employment would have been enough, now you should have a separate form by which they opt-in.

It’s probably not enough to just review your data protection policies, because once they’ve been updated, they need to be communicated to all staff members. It’s a good idea to update your equal opportunities policies as well. As you will now only be able to store personal information for as long as required. This means you will only be able to store certain personal information for the duration of pre-selection checks. Also, be aware that if you use any kind of automation in your selection process you will need added focus as employees cannot be solely assessed by automated systems.

The regulations are very prescriptive when it comes to “fair processing notices” and employees need to be informed of their right to refuse the processing of their personal information. In the past employees have had to pay a fee to access their data, however, it must now be freely available to them and you should make sure that you clearly signpost how they can get access to this data. When it comes to HR software, not only must it allow candidates and staff members to access data, but businesses will also need to be clear that their HR software and other data systems will enable them to delete their data, thus ensuring they are compliant with the data subjects new “Right to be Forgotten”.

If you haven’t started to think about how your people management processes will be impacted by this change of regulations, now is probably time to give it your attention. Being proactive in this area will go a long way to overcome any potential issues down the line. After all, any mistakes with the security of personal employee data could be both costly and detrimental to your business.

Are you worried about legislation changes such as GDPR and the potential implications on your business? If you could do with some help, WINC consultants really shine in employment arenas. We pride ourselves on being our clients’ most valuable partner in the attraction, retention and engagement of their current and future staff members. We offer quality end-to-end strategies and solutions including resource managment, hr operations and change communications within the employment space. Find out more about what we’re up to on the WINC website – and keep up-to-date with our latest news& views on FacebookLinkedIn and Twitter.

About Karl Wood: Karl is a global HR and employment professional who has an impeccable record in delivering HR solutions for industry leading firms. Karl champions ideas that promote growth, profit and a positive organisational identity. Read more blogs by Karl.

10 HR trends to work on through 2018

Human Resources professionals have a major role to play in developing a company. HR managers are responsible to inculcating the correct way of life within the company as well as put in place policies which will attract and retain the appropriate employee base. There’s no doubting that the spread of social media and technology in every sphere of our life has redefined how companies work. The function of Human Resources has also had to change themselves accordingly to keep up with the trends.

It’s a necessity to have some idea what the future holds for HR professionals around the world to be able to incorporate several of the upcoming trends into your business. As businesses come closer and closer, managing a company’s people resources has become strategically important to be able to develop and keep a market name, a brand image, and of course, for the general progression of the business. As every generation joins the workforce, they add their methodologies to the workplace. Consequently, new trends emerge each year and the HR teams must mould themselves to navigate these tidal forces. Here we look at several of the trends which are anticipated to dominate the year 2018 in Human Resources and just how your company can benefit by applying them.

#1 Blending the workforce

Hiring part-time employees or freelancers has become a trend that’s going to show more prominence in 2018. A blended workforce means having a workforce that doesn’t comprise of only full-time employees. These days, you will find several consultants, contractors, and part-time workers and freelancers, who are known commonly as gig economy workers or perhaps gig workers. A recent survey carried out by Deloitte revealed that on an average, a company’s workforce is comprised of 54% of full time employees, 20% of freelancers, contractors or interns, and 26% of remote workers or part-timers. Thus, with the pattern of a blended workforce looking fixed to grow, the purpose of the HR is going to comprise to include merging these’ gig workers’ with their regular workforce.

#2 Apply an agile approach

Speedy operations and the capability of managing unpredictable circumstances are two approaches which are currently being applied by companies to develop their human resource department also. Earlier, these approaches were generally attributed to the field of software development. This method, known as agile HR, can reduce recruitment time to just 2 to 4 weeks, from the erstwhile 10 weeks. The use of the agile approach is making it quick and easy for employees to pick up right away after they join a new company. HR specialists are exploring this approach more to also manage task force volatility and further enhance the adaptability of all areas of the workforce. The agile technique is proven to strengthen the core of any organisation, and the trend is likely to turn out to be increasingly popular throughout 2018.

#3 Pilot chatbots in HR

2017 was undoubtedly the year of artificial intelligence (AI). According to data from the research firm IDC, the actual market for AI is expected to cross forty-five dollars billion by the end of 2020. AI is being incorporated heavily into chatbots and marketers are using chatbots to deliver personalized experiences online. Human Resources needs to adapt to this trend of chatbots as the future belongs to automation of tasks such as asking interview questions, finding matching candidates on LinkedIn, scheduling meetings, etc. Chatbots will become the AI powered virtual personal assistant for HR professionals. As this trend is new to the industry, a few businesses are starting smart and incorporating one chatbot into the HR department to find out just how the improvement could be brought about in a seamless manner.

#4 Focus on team development over the individual

The past ten years has seen Human Resources is focused on the development of its employees as individuals. The sole focus earlier has been on recruiting an employee, developing them and carrying out an assessment of their performance. However, the recent trend that’s starting to be apparent in HR is that of developing employees as a team. Boosting or developing team intelligence and working on increasing the knowledge of what can make an effective team work together and deliver results that are outstanding. HR has known that teams have become the main building blocks of any good organisation. So, strengthening and developing smart teams inside an organisation will be a big HR trend to look out for in 2018.

#5 Add a consumer marketing lens to HR

HR professionals the world over are starting to take a ‘customer experience mindset’ approach to the whole recruitment process. They’re creating solutions that aren’t just simple to use but also are easy, simple, and engaging to adapt. The new mantra is for a company to mirror the previous best experience an employee has had in any previous organization and try to adapt the same to improve their own performance across various criteria. HR specialists are translating similar focus the company has on customers to their staff members. A good example of this would be of Cisco, a company helping their new employees at their workplace with any questions they have with the use of an HR mobile app.

#6 Champion flexible working arrangements

To cut down on commuting times and to create a far more flexible working environment, many companies are opting for having some days in the week be a’ Work from Home’ setup or perhaps allowing many staff members to have a preferred location of choice for working. HR are creating more flexible working hours, flexible working environments, and through this, increasing not just employee morale, but also their commitment to the organisation. Study indicates that happier employees are likely to perform much better as well as stick around longer in an organization in which they feel at ease and taken care of. Flexible working hours and work from home days also allow employees across the board to tend to their personal needs, therefore improving their performance when they’re present in the workplace.

#7 Optimise the Employee Experience

The last couple of years has witnessed a paradigm shift in how employers treat their employees. Now employers offer a great deal of attention to just how their employees’ experience has been in the business. On a broad level, there’s a significant skills gap that industries are facing and there’s a lack of skilled workers for meeting the demands in fields like IT, manufacturing, etc. To keep staff members, employers are having to work doubly hard to keep their employees happy. Employees moving to a competitor organisation is an additional headache for employers. HR is working round-the-clock to develop an internally conducive atmosphere for its personnel. Making use of new platforms together with artificial intelligence technologies, HR professionals are bringing people and processes together.

#8 Get comfortable with people analytics

Analytics has been growing in leaps and bounds since the time Google made it mainstream. Analytics is now also being utilized to understand every component of a business’ operations as well as taking inputs from analytics to make their daily decisions. People analytics has become serious business and it’s now reached out to discuss the field of HR as well. The new age HR professionals are using social network analysis, interaction analysis and data analysis to better understand what’s going on within their organization. HR teams are applying insights gained from these mediums to carry out talent acquisition, task operations, workforce planning, and far more. Tools from analytics are now being used to find out who’ll be the better candidate for the project and understand which employee is planning to leave the business.

#9 Reinvent the way performance is reviewed

Performance consulting has been used to help people become better by providing constructive and regular feedback based on their performance. While it’s quite easy to give feedback to improve an average or perhaps below average performer, it’s every bit as difficult to help an outstanding performer become better. This is just where HR teams come in with their analytical tools and work out how they can achieve the optimal performance from every employee in their organization. Constant feedback has now replaced the once-a-year performance review in many organizations. Study has also proven that employees are preferring on-the-spot recognition and feedback over formal yearly reviews.

#10 Increase focus on technology skills development

The trend of incorporating technology into every area of a company continues to gather steam in 2018. The demand for skills development will continue to create the need for more professional development technologies. Company intranets, transparent forums that encourage connection and communication between staff members, and quite a few such technologies are now being collaborated on with HR playing a role to ensure staff members are connecting wholeheartedly to a company’s technological efforts. HR is going to have to roll out programs to make each employee understand and come on the same track as the company’s technological platform. A business having the most up-to-date technology at its disposal is likely to attract the top most talent from this generation.

In a nutshell

Organisations must properly assess and enjoy the benefits of including these new tools and trends into their HR departments. HR must remain active in the daily tasks of the business and ensure they bring forth and incorporate the appropriate context and people skills into their organisation. No matter the new techniques and tools, one thing that’s likely to remain constant is that HR will continue to have to develop the necessary employee skills as and when the company needs it. They are going to continue to identify organisational needs as well as develop methods to use the task force in an efficient and effective manner. These trends are certainly going to go a long way in making the work of HR professionals easier in the coming years.

If you could do with some help, WINC consultants really shine in employment arenas. We pride ourselves on being our clients’ most valuable partner in the attraction, retention and engagement of their current and future staff members. We offer quality end-to-end strategies and solutions including resource managment, hr operations and change communications within the Employment Branding space. Find out more about what we’re up to on the WINC website – and keep up-to-date with our latest news& views on FacebookLinkedIn and Twitter.

About Karl Wood: Karl is a global HR and employment professional who has an impeccable record in delivering HR solutions for industry leading firms. Karl champions ideas that promote growth, profit and a positive organisational identity. Read more blogs by Karl.

6 ways to be a great resource manager

Successful project portfolio management is not possible without resource management. All things considered, project goals are not achieved if the necessary staff members (aka resources) aren’t adequately available or if they don’t possess the needed motivation or skills.
Companies are contending with an assortment of challenges:

  • Hardly anyone has a clear overview of all the employees’ skills and qualifications. If you, the resource manager, are not totally sure what skills and qualifications your employees have, then it’s much harder to allocate the right people to the right projects in a sensible and profitable way.
  • Because there is not enough transparency about capacities and workload, the PMO often plans with inaccurate capacities.
  • Everyone, including project leaders, department managers, or executives, wants awesome employees assigned to the project of theirs or to what they consider the highest priority project. This creates potential for conflict, particularly in smaller companies, where resource management takes place right at the individual level. Project managers and employees should understand how the resource manager decides who’s working on which project. In companies that are large, there’s much less potential for conflict because the resource managers usually plan based on roles and the project leaders are entirely accountable for the staffing.
  • Key resources or high demand employees often produce a bottleneck situation. They’re usually given to a number of projects and tasks at the same time and are chronically over allocated, while other staff members have ample capacity.
  • Employees are continually switching between projects. This leads to delays along with an obvious decrease in productivity and quality
    The ideal resource manager has many skills in organization, communication, negotiation, multitasking, change management and compromise. But despite these skills, all of the above-mentioned problems combined make it incredibly hard for resource managers to make confident well-informed decisions that will in reality work. And so, the question remains, what does a resource manager have to understand and do to be able to achieve success?

#1 Multi Project Planning: Consider Capacities

The primary job of the PMO is to approve only so many projects for a particular time as resources are available. Thus, it’s crucial when planning the project portfolio to focus on whether it’s possible to successfully complete all the projects in the portfolio instead of focusing on squeezing in as many projects as you can. Otherwise, resources quickly become bottlenecked. If that happens, the company will often need to hire expensive external resources or perhaps have employees work overtime, which is not sustainable solution.
It’s just as vital to plan with the right capacities from the get go. So, you must also take into account that only about 80 % of employees’ time is typically spent on the actual project work, because the remaining 20 % is reserved for other obligations along with planned and unforeseen downtime.

#2 Multi Project Planning: Setting Priorities

Prioritization can certainly be a challenge, however when the proper priorities are set, then you have a significantly higher chance of project success. The aim would be to assign resources in such a manner that they are able to finish their tasks in order and in the minimum amount of time possible. It’s also beneficial to take into account the wishes of the project managers as well as employees, which will help them to be motivated and subsequently more effective.
The resource manager should take extra care when prioritizing for key resources to avoid project managers competing for those resources and to avoid over allocating those resources. This prioritization is likewise important to effectively fulfil customer orders and also could be particularly challenging if the company has committed to a lot of project deals during the same time period. These challenges are made simpler if the resource manager is planning with the right capacities from the start, which then makes prioritization easier.

#3 Project Planning: Focus on Key Resources

An employee with rare or advanced skills and qualifications who’s indispensable and central to the company is regarded as a key resource. When a key resource is allocated to a task or project, then he/she should be blocked from being assigned to other projects.
Because key resources are in high demand, the resource manager assigns key resources to just the foremost projects and informs the project leaders and project managers. This avoids over allocating key resources and allows project leaders and managers to plan their projects in such a manner that other capable resources are assigned to the majority of tasks, and key resources are saved for the top priority tasks and projects.

#4 Opportunity Planning: Consider Future Resource Requirements

Resource managers should consider “what if” cases. Projects which are still in the approval phase may also require time and resources in the future. This needs to generally be taken into account by resource, even when the final approval for the project hasn’t yet been made. This will reduce the demand for resources to be removed from ongoing projects to focus on the latest high priority projects. In principle, newly added projects should not jeopardize the current, yet strategically important projects.
By identifying potential conflicts and resource bottlenecks at an early stage, resource managers are able to act accordingly. Potential solutions are assigning qualified resources with available capacities or perhaps hiring external resources as needed.

#5 Skill Matrix and Task Matrix: Keeping track of Resource Information

For the best possible resource planning, you must know employees’ current utilization, qualification, and abilities. It’s the job of the resource manager to collect and maintain this data centrally in a skill matrix or task matrix.
Employees typically personally complete the company standard skills matrix. The results can then be collected and assessed using appropriate tools. This will make the search for available and qualified staff swift and easy.

#6 Sprint Team: Reduce Project Risk

If companies wish to minimize project risk, creating a flexible “sprint team” is a great approach. This is a team made up of efficient employees with specialized know-how, who are available on demand. They step in when bottlenecks arise, or specific expert knowledge is needed on critical projects, reducing stress and resource conflicts. For the rest of the time, the team just works on the most prioritized projects to contribute to overall project quality.
As you are able to see, effective project portfolio management is just not possible without resource management. And it will be tough for a resource manager to achieve success without taking these 6 key factors into account. On the flip side, if you match the most qualified and available people to the right projects at the right time, then you are going to create project portfolios that actually work, and you’ll deliver on your projects.

Resource Management ≠ Staffing!

Anyone that equates resource management with staffing is a little too short sighted. Staffing is in fact only a subset of resource planning. Resource management is divided into 3 areas:

  • Available Capacity: The job of the resource manager is to assign the necessary skills and roles for the current project portfolio. He/she records and keeps the company’s internal resource data up-to-date. He/she also assigns a role to every employee.
  • Project Initialization: The project managers will determine which resources are needed for their projects and subsequently make the request for those resources to the resource manager. Next, it’s up to the resource manager or perhaps team leaders to assign or staff the right personnel to those projects and inform the employees.
  • Tactical Resource Management: The resource manager must manage changing framework conditions and resource availability and look for solutions to resource management clashes as they come about.

If you could do with some help, WINC consultants really shine in employment arenas. We pride ourselves on being our clients’ most valuable partner in the attraction, retention and engagement of their current and future staff members. We offer quality end-to-end strategies and solutions including resource managment, hr operations and change communications within the Employment Branding space. Find out more about what we’re up to on the WINC website – and keep up-to-date with our latest news& views on FacebookLinkedIn and Twitter.

About Karl Wood
Karl is a global HR and employment professional who has an impeccable record in delivering HR solutions for industry leading firms. Karl champions ideas that promote growth, profit and a positive organisational identity and sits on the Executive Board of WINC. Read more blogs by Karl.

what is agile hr?

In today’s rapidly changing workplace, HR professionals are exploring the prospect of using the Agile Methodologies to the people management processes. Since its inception in the early noughties the agile software movement has emerged as probably the most widely used approaches, with 90% of software companies claiming to adhere to the agile methodology.

The success of agile methodology lies in the reality that it promotes faster, cost-effective, customer centric software. Thus, it garnered attention in nearly every industry, including marketing, manufacturing, and accounting to name a few. In a similar manner, Agile HR is gradually increasing popularity as an effective means of keeping the organisation aligned with the latest talent requirements and to remain on trend.

A bit of background on Agile HR

During a Deloitte HR conference, Josh Bersin managed to draw people’s attention specifically towards the reality as to the way the HR function can contribute towards building an agile workplace. As indicated by Bersin, the principles of Agile Methodology is able to aid in the process of continual learning, having transparent HR processes using which organisations are able to develop, attract, and engage talent efficiently, under continuous talent acquisition.

Global markets are characterised by the VUCA vortex. The term VUCA vortex was initially used by the armed forces in the United States. The acronym is used to describe volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity (VUCA) that characterise present day global market scenarios. As per the VUCA vortex, it’s vital for companies to be prompt in response and fast on their feet, as the market scenario is governed by unexpected and frequent changes. If business plans are not adaptable and hierarchies are stringent, they won’t work in the VUCA vortex, as such characteristics will surely wind up wasting time, preventing innovation, and restricting organisations from taking advantage of new opportunities.

When agile principles are applied to the HR function, it promotes a change of focus from imposing controls and standards to fostering enhanced collaboration and innovation. Let’s have a look at a comparative analysis of traditional HR versus agile HR to determine exactly how agile methodologies can influence key areas of HR.

Traditional HR…

  • follows a remedial approach to learning – Based on traditional HR practices, when an employee underperforms in their current role, or perhaps prepare for an upcoming new role, they’re assigned to training which will enable them to achieve a certain level of performance
  • is stuck in a recruitment mindset – As per traditional HR, the moment a job becomes available, they start the search for candidates to fill the position. As soon as they get the best candidate, the talent acquisition process ends there and then.
  • has opaque talent processes – As per traditional HR, the talent acquisition and development processes are inaccessible and are considered proprietary IP.
  • is typically built around siloed objectives – Traditional HR jobs are considered unique entities within a complicated system. It believed that job requirements pertain to specific workplace tasks.
  • is known for implementing systems – Traditional HR carefully researches, resource, and deploy large scale technology systems over a length of many months or years.
  • focuses on record keeping – Traditional HR relies on the files of staff and the records of HR initiatives to monitor the progress of employees and make a note of issues. They evaluate the success of HR based on the completeness of the documentation of records at their end.

Whereas Agile HR…

  • adopts a continuous learning environment – According to Agile HR best practice, a wide range of opportunities are provided to staff so that they can learn and stretch their limits outside of any goal about their job.
  • offers transparent access to talent information – Agile HR facilitates talent management which empowers employees to remain in control of their development. Staff members are given equal scope to be active participants in talent acquisition, evaluation processes, and development.
  • believes in continuous talent acquisition – Agile HR continually invests in the employer brand and continuously cultivate the present ongoing talent relationships across a variety of channels.
  • has a unified mission and values – All positions are directly aligned with the mission, vision, and values of the organisation. It stresses the need for all the employees to understand how their on-job performance supports these elements regarding the overall organisational culture.
  • is known for piloting small initiatives – Agile HR is known for testing small scale initiatives within a business unit or perhaps a certain team. They gather early feedback from staff members to determine if the pilot initiative needs to be expanded or perhaps even scrapped altogether.
  • focuses on employee engagement – HR focuses on employee engagement, across all engagement pillars, to encourage collaboration and enhance the level of self-motivation of staff members. It measures HR success in terms of staff member retention, innovation, level of employee satisfaction, and overall sentiments of organisational trust and goodwill.

Once Agile HR is embraced, the HR function steers a far more flexible organisation with the necessary amount of openness and agility needed to safeguard against the realities of the VUCA vortex. Nevertheless, this transition from traditional HR to Agile HR really is significant change so before implementing Agile HR, it’s important to think about the following factors:

  • Do you have the organisational culture that believes in prioritising employee engagement and has full trust in its employees?
  • Is your HR department ready to give up control.
  • Are you digitally ready with HR tech including employee centric HRIS with development, goal setting and engagement systems, readily available by all employees anytime anywhere?

If you could do with some help, WINC consultants really shine in employment arenas. We pride ourselves on being our clients’ most valuable partner in the attraction, retention and engagement of their current and future staff members. We offer quality end-to-end strategies and solutions including resource managment, hr operations and change communications within the Employment Branding space. Find out more about what we’re up to on the WINC website – and keep up-to-date with our latest news and views on FacebookLinkedIn and Twitter.

About Karl Wood
Karl is a global HR and employment professional who has an impeccable record in delivering HR solutions for industry leading firms. Karl champions ideas that promote growth, profit and a positive organisational identity and sits on the Executive Board of WINC. Read more blogs by Karl.

7 ways to get hr in the cloud

The era of cloud-based HR information systems (HRIS) has dawned and is disrupting the way organisations deal with their people and HR processes. With providers like Workday and SuccessFactors rapidly gaining popularity, traditional on-site solutions are losing market share. There are also smaller providers popping up eager to capitalise on the shift and make a name for themselves with a myriad of appealing functions, features, bells, and whistles.

Considering the barrage of information, technical specifications and talented sales folk that abound, picking a new HR system for your business can be frustratingly trying, especially if it is the first time delving into cloud-based solutions. Be prepared that you are probably going to be overwhelmed by the vast number of options available. The Internet will give you mountains of content on the subject, and consulting companies like Gartner can help make sense of it all or at very least provide some valuable pointers on the best solutions. Be that as it may, cloud-based HR systems are not ‘one size fits all’ – far from it.

Why consider a cloud-based HRIS solution?

The UK economy has changed dramatically over recent years from relatively stable employment in the public or private sector to an increased reliance on temporary or contracted labour. The on-demand or contingent workforce (or gig economy) has grown. Freelancers are relying on websites and apps to connect them with paying jobs. Today’s contingent workforce includes highly skilled specialists and consultants in nearly every industry. Large corporations are continually hiring more flexible, contingent workers to fill their staff. The contingent workforce is growing at a phenomenal rate in the UK and is showing no signs of slowing down, so your HRIS solution will need functionality to accommodate and make the most of this new way of building teams.

What’s more, think about your business case; what drove your decision to invest in a new system? You might be a multi-national player, or maybe you are part of a merger, and you need uniformity in the way work gets done. Alternatively, like so many of us, your motivation is borne by a need to drive process efficiencies and cost savings. Perhaps you want to avoid the continual justifications of additional payments to upgrade to the freshest version of your present on-site system.

Whatever your motivation you will have to recognise what’s essential for your organisation. Consider where you need to be in five years – what do you require from an HR system to get you there? Decide a list of criteria and agree on your ‘must haves’ versus ‘nice-to-haves’ and then use these measures to assess and stress test your options. Experience with repeated installations has demonstrated some key success factors. The right solution for your business can make a huge impact on your HR operations, so here’s a rundown of critical success factors you ought to consider while figuring out what you require from a cloud-based HR system.

#1 What does it need to do?

Again and again, people neglect the core functionality of a system and are enthused by new and energising tech. What you require is an industry-specific system that has the functionality and features for your particular business necessities. Consider the information you have and the uses you require and make decisions accordingly. You may need core HR functions, calendar, talent performance, and options for scalability; however, video support and e-learning management may be less critical and unlikely to become more critical anytime soon. If you over spec, you will be paying more than you have to and for little extra benefit.

#2 What else could it do?

Cloud-based HRIS like Workday offers an all-in-one solution where you purchase all modules up front. Others, such as SuccessFactors, are more modular. A modular approach can be sensible if your current needs are more specific, for example, if Talent Management and HR Analytics are your primary areas of focus, for now, begin with these modules, and add more modules after some time. Pick the most suitable option for your needs. Ensure you also consider variations in how your business works. You may have a consistent method for operating across the company, or in driving uniformity, all team members require compatible devices and system functionality. Alternatively, then again perhaps you need greater flexibility to account for operational differences across countries or divisions.

#3 how much will it cost?

Price certainty is regularly a driver for investigating cloud-based options versus more conventional ERP on-site solutions. With a traditional system, you typically pay more for upgrades or new features. With most cloud-based solutions, you pay a set permit expense, which incorporates customary updates. Does this work for your business?Expenses do differ across cloud HRIS platforms and feature modules, so you will need to make a cross-feature comparison to benchmark specific costs accordingly.

#4 is it the right culture fit?

Cultural fit, although often overlooked, is essential to understand. When you pick a new solution, you are additionally choosing a vendor, so you need to know that you can work with them: that their values and beliefs fit with yours, and that you get along with their people. When ensuring a cultural match, it is worth investing time with vendors to get to know them and their offering. Call meetings with your short list of potential vendors and have them demo their software to you. Ask for a few references to find out how their solutions have worked for other organisations in your industry. You can then gather information about aces and spaces, as well as any headaches during implementation and bugbears of users. If the vendor cannot give you references, there should be alarm bells ringing, unless you are prepared to be a guinea pig or the benefits of the functional innovations far outweigh the potential frustrations that anyone could expect when shaking down a new system. You also need to understand their service offering. How much help will the chosen vendor give to implementation, and throughout the life of the contract? Cloud solutions are updated much more regularly than conventional on-site software, and a few vendors will be better at giving on-going support than others. Also bear in mind that a few suppliers may be better suited to particular industries, so look into what which sectors they work and don’t be afraid to ask around.

#5 will your existing tech cope?

A cloud-based system is not a simple ‘plug and play’ solution, so it is smart to include your tech groups in the evaluation process. A new tool will have numerous ramifications throughout your business, requiring a considerable measure of work from your IT and tech teams. You will have to consider how simple it will be to interface with existing systems in the business. Would you be able to integrate it with financial data for reporting? Does it support how you control information access and data security across your organisation globally?

#6 implementation and integration

Once you have signed up for a new system, the hard work truly begins. New HRIS solutions will affect the entire business. It may need to be, or benefit from being, integrated with other systems in your business, for instance learning management, payroll, data analysis, and financial control systems.
The majority of solutions will require a third party Systems Integrator (SI) to set up and configure the system. So success is not just down to buying the right system solution, you will need to choose the right SI to manage the integration. Know that gone are the days when only the HR group were privy to using it. Many modern HR solutions offer user self-service functionality, allowing employees to book leave, or update their contact details for example. So your workforce will need to be trained on how to use it so a tried and tested user experience design may mean the pace of engagement is considerably quicker.

#7 getting people using it

Past the planning and implementation, you will need to ensure everybody in the business that needs it or could benefit from it uses the solution you pick and are using it to the full extent of its functionality. Numerous vendors will discuss ROI concerning time to value. However, it is about how well users interact with it. You want to limit any disruption to workflows, so you will need to think about how you can successfully deploy a new system that will create engagement and keep utilisation levels high. Change management activity will have an essential impact in getting your workforce on board and engaged with the platform. Communication and straightforwardness about the reasons behind the move to a new system will be critical. Likewise, you will need to choose your support structure inside the business – who will be responsible for maintenance issues and for reporting on ROI?


The solution you pick will significantly affect your business. If you select the wrong one, you will need to live with it for the term of your agreement. Cloud-based choices guarantee an easy to use solution, yet deciding the best one for your business can be a daunting process. With a sound understanding of your people, processes, and what you are trying to achieve, you will be better prepared to stress test solutions and come to the right decision for your business.

Considering each these checkpoints will get you on the right track. If you would like assistance to bring together insight, benchmark data, problem-solving methodologies and hands-on experience to improve the return on your HRIS investment, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.

If you could do with some help, WINC consultants really shine in employment arenas. We pride ourselves on being our clients’ most valuable partner in the attraction, retention and engagement of their current and future staff members. We offer quality end-to-end strategies and solutions including resource managment, hr operations and change communications within the Employment Branding space. Find out more about what we’re up to on the WINC website – and keep up-to-date with our latest news and views on FacebookLinkedIn and Twitter.

About Karl Wood
Karl is a global HR and employment professional who has an impeccable record in delivering HR solutions for industry leading firms. Karl champions ideas that promote growth, profit and a positive organisational identity and sits on the Executive Board of WINC. Read more blogs by Karl.

the engagement revolution: is hr ready?

A quiet revolution is taking place within businesses, and HR must react.

Over the last few years there has been a revolution in the workplace, one that has seen employees rise up and take power from business leadership. Yet it has been a subtle revolution, and one that most businesses are yet to come to terms with.

Today, employees enjoy an unprecedented level of power over their employers, gained not through strikes or unionisation, but by virtue of the fact that talent and skills have become rare in modern job markets, globally. High value employees are calling the shots and can exercise their advantage whenever they choose; leaving one employer that falls short of their expectations safe in the knowledge they’ll be snapped up by another.

As businesses grow in today’s globalised and highly competitive markets, it has never been more critical to hold on to valued employees. Accordingly, most businesses now talk about the efforts made to keep staff happy, productive and engaged. Employers understand the benefits of having engaged workforces, with advocates citing improved collaboration, operational efficiency, better business performance, and improved customer service as direct benefits of strong employee engagement. However, as most business leaders will attest to, if employee engagement can not be measured effectively, it’s difficult to know how happy and productive your workforce actually is, and therefore whether engagement initiatives are paying off.

Many businesses simply don’t have the ability to measure engagement with anything close to science or sophistication. The overwhelming majority of businesses still rely on simplistic annual staff surveys to determine whether employees are engaged or not. Although, it’s great to see these businesses care enough about their employees to explore their workplace satisfaction, self-reporting is at best a blunt instrument when it comes to measuring engagement in an effective way.

Few Employers use advanced data analytics or augment the traditional staff survey with data from other sources, such as anecdotal feedback, to measure engagement. So, it’s no wonder that HR leaders hit challenges when it comes to demonstrating the value of employee engagement to the wider business. It is precisely because of this commonly experienced difficulty to measure and quantify the return on investment (ROI) of installed engagement strategies, that C-suites understandably struggle to understand their value.

In an age of instant feedback and empowered employees, companies need more accurate ways to monitor the state of their workforce and a more proactive approach to communicating with their employees. This begins with Senior Leadership in the boardroom, where HR must not only drive employee engagement as a priority, but also create clear links as to how it affects the organisation’s performance for other business leaders.

Being able to demonstrate the ROI of employee engagement initiatives to the C-suite is the most effective way to drive employee engagement up the company agenda. By using available technologies, from data analytics to dynamic employee feedback tools, and linking this information with sales figures, productivity rates and customer feedback, HR leaders will be able to present credible business impact statistics and provide pathways for the company to retain its most valuable assets – its people.

If you would like some help to set-up great data analytics systems, WNC consultants shine in the employment arena. We pride ourselves on being our clients’ most valuable partner in the attraction, retention and engagement of their current and future employees. We offer quality end-to-end strategies and solutions including creative, digital, research, planning and communications within the workforce effectiveness space. Find out more about what we’re up to on the WINC website – and keep up-to-date with our latest insights on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

About Karl Wood
Karl is a global HR and employment professional who has an impeccable record in delivering HR solutions for industry leading firms. Karl champions ideas that promote growth, profit and a positive organisational identity and sits on the Executive Board of WINC. Read more blogs by Karl.

PRINCE2® practitioner CPD

PRINCE2® Practitioner CPD demonstrates our consultants have maintained and improved their skills and abilities in relation to their PRINCE2® Practitioner qualification. They have committed to remain current and relevant within the project management industry, and strengthen their knowledge of applying and tailoring PRINCE2® in a scenario situation.

approved IMI centre

As an Approved Centre by the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) for Management and Leadership accreditations, we can offer IMI Quality Assured Programmes (QAP) that are designed for organisations who offer training within the automotive sector. For individuals, we offer IMI Accreditation which provides proof of current management competency levels.

insights into leading an international workforce

Whatever industry you’re in, it’s likely that you have globalisation initiatives on your radar. Many business leaders get overwhelmed by the number of hours they have to put in because budget restrictions limit hiring ability, can’t find the right people, or are just unable to delegate. However, loosening the reigns and assigning tasks to the people who are most suited to carrying them out is vital – especially if your business is in a growth phase and your employees are spread out over multiple geographic locations.

While it’s true that the digitisation has revolutionized the way we work by giving us access to global talent, international markets, and considerate cost savings and maximum productivity; it’s also made it easier for cross-cultural misunderstandings, sliding deadlines and missed warning signs when an employee’s performance is waning. Becoming better at leading a global team effectively will not only ensure that business success but will also help you keep hold of your sanity.

Be passionate

Above all, believe in what you are doing and foster positive energy. If you’re not passionate about what you do and remain enthusiastic about it, it’s hard to convey that feeling to your employees, especially when you can’t interact with them face-to-face. Frustration can come easily when working with people from different cultures, often with limited infrastructure, conflicting priorities and viewpoints, and attributes that seem completely foreign to your own. Accept that there is always more than one way to get things done, there will always be technology gremlins, and that despite best intentions communication will probably break down at some point. That’s just par for the course. Passionate enthusiasm and positive energy at all times will help you jump the inevitable hurdles encountered.

Build trust

Creating and building trust can be challenging at any time, but is that much harder when managing a team of people you can’t personally interact with, and may have significant chunks of their workday at times when you’re not online. It’s impossible to be on top of everyone at all of the times and it’s counter-productive to make your employees feel like they’re being constantly monitored, or that you don’t trust them. In a multi-national workforce, the results will speak for themselves. In markets that allow such flexibility, consider hiring new staff for a short trial period before offering a long-term contract. Create a sense of belonging by showing that you care about their career goals; that you can offer room for growth. Get feedback from existing team members to formulate the right hiring method and role structure that works best in that market. Do you prefer contractors, who work for short periods, complete the job and then leave, or do you want full-time employees with a higher level of involvement and commitment on both sides? The unique labour market conditions of the operation will steer the most effective organisation structures, role types and hiring methods.

Communication is key

To keep messaging consistent use the available communication tools such as Skype, and try to get face-to-face on camera from time to time. Remember that it’s all too easy for the tone of voice to be misread when you’re reading – instead of listening to – someone else’s opinion on email, messenger or chat. Consider using animated gifs occasionally to convey emotion, but avoid using sarcasm, teasing, or jokes and idioms, as these are easily misunderstood.

If you communicate with employees in various languages, make sure that everyone involved understands and isn’t guessing as to what is being said. Before launching into the to-do list, ask your employees how they are and be as available for them as possible. Working remotely can be an isolating experience and it can make all the difference to your employees knowing that they’re not alone. Flexibility regarding meeting times when you’re dealing with workers in different time zones will be appreciated. If the last meeting was held late at night for employees in Australia, then adjust the timing of the next one accordingly and avoid the onset of any resentment.

Define goals and the rules of play

Successful leaders often have A-type personalities, making it hard to accept that all people achieve in different ways, at different paces. Be cautious not to create environments that set an unrealistic sense of urgency because, when everything is urgent, nothing is exceptional and therefore effectively nothing is urgent. When managing a multi-national workforce, it is far more effective to set realistic goals and make people accountable. Leading progress can be aided by using project management software, holding regular progress meetings, providing transparent incentives, and ensuring everyone are on the same page. Applying project management methods like these ensures that your team have a clearer sense of what everyone else does, and each employee will know when his or her contribution has to be completed in order to keep everyone moving forward.

Hire the *write* people

Most of your business communications (in some cases all) will be via email, chat, or project management software, so it’s essential to hire people who know how to write well. They don’t have to be Jane Austen or Ernest Hemingway, but they do need to be capable of demonstrating professionalism and courtesy through their words. The ability to express enthusiasm and support for other team members in writing will be a valuable attribute. When selecting new employees, don’t allow the selection procedures to slip just because your communications are by email. Ask for a resume and cover letter. Check for spelling. Detect eagerness. Remember that the styles they use when writing to you provide the best indication of how they will write to clients and fellow team members. It’s important to keep your corporate representation and employer brand in mind at all times while developing your business in new markets.

It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen

While growing an existing business into new international markets is undeniably faster than a starting a new business from scratch, do yourself a favour and keep in mind that it will take time.

A favourable company reputation needs to be established locally and effective alliances need to be built while growing a client base and service offering. Just as Rome was not built in a day, building up an effective, business-integrated international team that you trust isn’t going to happen by just flicking a switch, so be patient and remain committed; remember globalisation is here to stay and to sustain the long run you will need engaged employees who feel the same way about the opportunities as you do.

Find out more about what we’re up to on the WINC website – and keep up-to-date with our latest insights on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

About Karl Wood
Karl is a global HR and employment professional who has an impeccable record in delivering HR solutions for industry leading firms. Karl champions ideas that promote growth, profit and a positive organisational identity and sits on the Executive Board of WINC. Read more blogs by Karl.