Human Resources can either be a curse or a blessing in most organizations. It's a necessary piece of an enterprise, but some of the processes and technologies are so outdated that it can inhibit employee engagement, learning and growth.
Recently on DisrupTV, its host Vala Afshar, chief digital evangelist at Salesforce, and myself, a guest host for the week in place of R "Ray" Wang, interviewed two seasoned executives in HR and microlearning. We discussed the future of employee experiences, training, and engagement. Here, I'll highlight a few takeaways from each of the segments. Don't forget to watch the replay of the show for the in-depth discussion.
Ceridian Chairman and CEO David Ossip discussed the transformation journey his company has undergone -- from a managed payroll provider using mainframe technology to a cloud-based SaaS provider. He outlined important changes to radically improve a workforce through culture enhancements and new processes.
Culture needs a purpose: Culture cannot be an empty mantra. It needs to be tangible, to be lived. He shared a great example of how Ceridian practices putting its people first. Ossip told us about a dedicated employee and mother that had her shift changed because of her "points." She could no longer be home for her child in the evenings due to this outdated point system. Ossip quickly addressed this issue so this employee could spend time with her child in the evenings. While processes are important, treating people correctly is key to happy and efficient teams. One thing that also stood out was the idea of unlimited PTO -- employees are accountable for their own work and should take off when they want or need it. Everyone is transparent and should respect the importance of true work/life balance.
Creating new results based on engagement survey findings: The tool of choice to understand where an enterprise stands is engagement surveys. Ceridian runs them twice a year and shares the top results openly across its employee base. Ceridian will then attempt to put each of the top five in to action. The outcomes of these projects are shared at face value, with no sugar coating -- what today's employees (who provided the data in the first place) deserve. They are also extremely transparent to ensure the right person is in the right role.
When learning goes micro
Employee training and learning is outdated and boring. From job to job, we are pulled into a room for days, or even weeks, and expected to drink from the information firehose. We are then pushed out on the floor with the hope we can remember and operationalize the right things for optimal personal and business performance. This doesn't work most of the time and is overwhelming to employees of all generations. Carol Leaman, CEO of Axonify, shared her startup's purpose and goal for disrupting employee learning experiences and enabling the workforce to make better, smarter decisions.
Learning needs to be engaging and quick to consume: Learning systems have for way too long lived in the past, often with the same handbooks handed out to existing and new employees for multiple decades! Leaman's company is looking to change employee behavior by making the experience of learning highly targeted and engaging to each employee -- over time. Her philosophy is that employees with 3 to 5 minutes of downtime should be able to consume content wherever they are -- from a smartphone or table, for example. This helps employees keep up-to-date on the latest needs of the company. The easily digestible format means employees are more likely to actually use the learning materials in their day-to-day roles. These advancements in microlearning represent newer approaches to training that allow companies to slice, dice and serve learning content to its workforce.
Gamification remains a powerful motivator: While the heydays of gamification are certainly over, it still remains a powerful tool to motivate people to do work, including taking training courses and consuming training content. What makes gamification so powerful is that it works across the generational boundaries -- from iGen to the Baby Boomers.
9 Enterprise Acceleration Strategies for CXOs
On the show, I outlined the nine "Enterprise Acceleration Strategies" I'm covering in my latest research. You can learn about them allin my report (Why People Leaders Must Embrace Enterprise Acceleration) and get the highlights by checking out the show replay. Here are a few highlights that align well with the other takeaways from the show.
Strong basics exponentially enable growth: Before CXOs can tackle the nine Enterprise Acceleration strategies, they need to take care of the basics -- compliance and solid payroll system. These are key preparatory steps; any enterprise transformation project will experience a scratching halt due to compliance penalties or if people are not being paid correctly. Leaders must also understand technology. This does not mean that CHROs have to become technologists. They just need to surround themselves with the right team and have a solid foundation on technology concepts including big data and machine learning/AI to easily grasp the implication on the enterprise and/or its people.
Acceleration strategy -- transboarding: A portmanteau of transferring and onboarding, this strategy asks CXOs to pay more attention to the productivity of employees that are transferring and to use modern learning tools across the whole transfer, starting quarters before the transfer happens and ending quarters later. The full approach really caters to the needs of each employee to ensure a smooth transition.
This was a jam-packed show with some inspiring stories and ideas to help HR leaders take their organizations to the next level. The future is here, and it's important to treat your most important "asset" -- your people -- correctly and cater to them based on their unique needs for learning and growth. Chief HR officers can accelerate their organizations by leveraging the latest technologies in combination with the right policies to ensure a strong, happy and motivated workforce -- working with you rather than inhibited by outdated practices.