Measuring and monitoring engagement as a value add

In today’s candidate driven market, maximising engagement amongst your workforce is crucial for staying ahead of your competitors and ensuring employees are working to their full potential. Whilst the benefits of high engagement are generally accepted as hugely important, how many businesses are measuring it as a ‘value add’ in relation to their financials? From observation it would seem that most businesses seem to be at the start of their journey when it comes to engagement, in particular measuring the impact alongside financial data.

Team building events – doing the right thing

I feel privileged and really lucky that last year I got to be part of a team that enabled two cyclists to ride non-stop on a tandem for just under 60 hours covering almost 1400 km and on the way getting remarkably close to breaking a long-standing record. Being part of this team was quite simply an exceptional experience. The level of dedication, focus, camaraderie, desire to succeed and openness to improvement and change was something special. It remains for me a special memory and I got to experience and observe it first hand and, if this is what a great team is, it’s worth a whole heap of effort to create.

Employer branding – building your EVP

How do your key stakeholders view you, specifically current and perspective employees, and what can be done to promote your business as a great place to work? Having a strong employer brand is crucial for attracting and retaining talent, especially as the market picks up and employees become shrewder with their career decisions. However, it does need to be two-sided. 

Joined-up contracts for senior staff

Making sure that their employment documentation - contracts, policies, handbooks and the like - fits together properly is not just a matter of employers ensuring the various sources of contractual terms and workplace rules are consistent, do not conflict and reflect the way in which it wishes to regulate its relationship with its staff. Careful structuring of employment documentation should also be a priority for employers who want to control their exposure when parting company with senior executives who enjoy material notice periods and potential bonus entitlements.

Talent acquisition and M&As

M&As are common - 111 took place in the UK in the second quarter of 2013 alone – yet there is no one-size fits all formula to ensure smooth transitions. They are time consuming and stressful. Studies over the last 20 years showed that up to 83% of M&As fail to produce real benefit for the shareholders (let alone employees) and over half actually destroyed value. The major causes for failure were cited as people and the cultural differences. Unfortunately, there is no reason to believe that the situation has improved much since. Many have also cited lack of ‘strategic fit’ and ‘inappropriate management during integration’ as the primary reason for poor M&A performance. 

Is garden leave overrated?

For many years including express ‘garden leave’ provisions into the contracts of employment of key executives has been seen as a key aspect of an employer’s armoury in relation to the protection of its business, along with other express terms relating to matters such as confidentiality, intellectual property and post-termination restrictive covenants. Placing an executive on garden leave protects the employer’s business by enabling it to exclude the employee from its business for the notice period - thereby keeping the individual away from clients, colleagues and confidential information - whilst still preventing the employee from being able to begin new employment with a competitor.

Legal fees and settlement agreements

Now renamed - to little likely practical effect - as settlement agreements, what were known as compromise agreements enable employees validly to waive their statutory employment claims. Since a valid settlement agreement therefore protects the employer from claims, and the relevant legislation requires the departing employee to have taken independent legal or other qualifying advice on the terms and effect of the settlement agreement for that waiver of claims to be valid, it is normal for the employer to make a contribution to the legal fees incurred by the departing employee in taking the requisite advice. The issue of the amount of this legal fee contribution can end up being one of the most difficult, and sometimes even emotive, aspects of a severance negotiation - not least if it is one of the last issues to be resolved - and various factors contribute to the parties’ respective positions, and indeed the end result, of any negotiation over the issue.

BYOD - what the HR department needs to know

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is a growing trend that is fast becoming a workplace norm. Already 75% per cent of employees in high-growth areas such as Brazil and Russia bring their own devices to work. Nearly half of employees (44%) do the same in well-developed regions. The merits of this concept are easy to see from an employer’s point of view. Firstly, the company saves money, as they are no longer obliged to provide devices. Secondly, it has been seen to increase productivity and morale of employees, as they are more comfortable using their own preferred devices. Studies have shown that 44% of job seekers view an organisation more positively if it supports their device. 

What does a leader look like?

The enormous potential of human leadership ranges from Genghis Khan to Mother Teresa, yet we often succumb to simple stereotypes about leadership and power. Most everyday leaders remain unheralded. The role of heroic leadership in war leads us to over emphasise command, control and hard military power. The image of the dominant male warrior leader lingers in modern times. Yet power is the ability to affect others to get the outcomes one wants, and that can be accomplished by the soft power of attraction and persuasion as well as the hard power of coercion and payment. Military leadership today also requires political and managerial skills. 

Managing overseas secondments – avoiding the HR pitfalls

More businesses than ever are sending people overseas. Over 350,000 emigrants left the UK in 2012 intending to be away for at least a year, an increase on the 336,000 who emigrated the year before, according to the Office for National Statistics. The increase is almost entirely because of an increase in work-related emigration, typically for a fixed-term overseas secondment. Reasons for this boom include the growing number of countries adopting business friendly ‘western’ free trade economies, the benefits of modern technology and the explosion of relatively cheap air travel.

Creating talent intelligence

Organisations succeed when they have the right people in the right roles: hardly a controversial statement these days. We know that companies that outperform their peers at talent management also return significantly more value to their shareholders – around 22% more than the industry average. We also know that good hiring and promotion decisions have a bigger impact on market value than creating a customer-focused environment or having good union relationships. Why, then, do so many companies struggle to get talent management right? Because they simply don’t have the talent intelligence required.

Boosting the female talent pipeline

Despite the many advances in workplace equality over the years, women are still not making it to the top in large numbers. We’re down to just three female executives in the FTSE100, and the percentage of women joining boards stands at a lowly 17.3%. Boosting the female talent pipeline is one of the major challenges facing HR directors today, and tackling this challenge means raising awareness of the business case for employing more women. 

Busting the myth that bonuses are best for business

Taxi drivers are less inclined than the rest of us to believe that drinking water is good for you, a risk director at a major insurer recently explained to me. Even those who suffer from pain in their gallstones are more resistant, despite overwhelming evidence that consuming bottles of water will ease their agony. The reason is simple: going to the toilet is, for a taxi driver, time consuming, disruptive and leads directly to a loss of earnings. It is in their short-term, self interest to deny the facts, embrace the myth and hang on. Something similar, only more pernicious, is happening at the top of businesses.

Ten top tips for courageous conversations at work

That difficult conversation might be about a performance issue or something more personal. It can be with a peer, a subordinate or indeed a boss. Understandably, people are often highly anxious about having this conversation. So, they either avoid or rush at it like a bull in a china shop just to get it over with. Here are some top tips to help produce a good result. Think about these before embarking on a difficult conversation and reduce your own anxiety and help to generate a positive and productive outcome for all parties involved.

How to influence your senior stakeholders

In today’s market and operating environment the HR/L&D function has an increasingly important role to play at the top table – in the boardroom. Talent and capability are front and centre in the minds of most CEOs who struggle to ensure that their business is agile enough to thrive as the rate of change increases, they attract and retain the right people, and their people have the right capability to deliver.

Recruiting for future capabilities

Recruiting for future capabilities provides the resourcing team a real opportunity strategically to partner with the business, but many organisations seem to be at different stages of the life cycle when it comes to resource planning. The biggest challenges seem to be knowing where and how to begin, coaching managers to be more transparent and forward thinking about their hiring plans, balancing ad-hoc recruitment-as-usual hires with meeting strategic recruitment needs, and measuring the benefits of resource planning.

Employee competition – not everyone wants to play fair

As pointed out in Bill Walker's blog, Cyber crime – are your employees your biggest risk?, it’s well established that company insiders are one of the biggest risks to confidential or sensitive company information. Yet, as reported by the Federation Against Software Theft, 53% of bosses felt that not enough was being done in their organisations to protect the company’s data – even though 49% of the same sample thought that they would lose their jobs if a security breach occurred.

Do you trust your instinct when it comes to the big decisions?

Can you think of an occasion where you’ve had a gut feeling that something wasn’t right about a significant business issue but didn’t listen to your intuition and later regretted it? Do you often doubt your intuition in favour of hard evidence to support your business decision? If so, you may be under-utilising one of the most powerful leadership tools, your intuitive intelligence. 

Cyber crime – are your employees your biggest risk?

Nothing is infallible – but when it comes to cyber security, it is fast becoming people, not computers, that are the weakest link. There are plenty of horror stories circulating the internet about identity thefts, nations waging cyber warfare against each other, malicious coercion at the hands of fake authority figures and even Nigerian funds waiting to be transferred to the lucky recipient’s bank account. All have a common theme; it’s not the technology that lets us down, it’s ourselves. 

Tackling silos and reaping the benefits

We often hear how organisations contain silos and how they’re undeniably a bad thing. More often than not the breaking down of barriers can be seen as a challenge that’s difficult to tackle.
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