Tag Archive: Employee Engagement

  1. HR Leaders’ Top 5 Tech Investments for 2019

    HR leaders tell us which of SHRM’s top HR trends they’re most likely to pursue this year.

    Earlier this year, SHRM released the Top HR Tech Trends for 2019. Here are 5 areas where HR leaders are really leaning in:

    AI-Driven Technologies. While new AI technologies are being adopted everyday, HR technology leaders are becoming more diligent about AI tools. There are a lot of exciting applications of AI, and there’s also a lot of hype, so we’re seeing increased scrutiny to test its effectiveness and search for potential bias.

    New Opportunities for Measurement. We’re starting to see organizations take a nontraditional approach to measuring things like employee engagement. New listening-based techniques enable employers to track where employees are spending time, how they’re using internal collaboration networks, and more. This is a big change from three years ago, when 89% of companies were using an enterprise-wide survey to assess engagement, according to Gartner.

    Specialized HRIT Roles. An HRIT specialist is 1.5X more likely to be responsible for data security and technology configuration decisions than IT or functional roles, according to a 2018-2019 HR Systems industry survey. We’re seeing more of these specialists in HR than in finance or marketing because HR deals with more data privacy and integration issues than most other disciplines.

    Specialized Point Solutions. Organizations are showing a renewed interest in technology and innovations from small, emerging vendors. Now that integrations with larger talent management suites can be completed in days or hours instead of months, organizations have the flexibility to implement specialized solutions in recruitment, performance management, and engagement, to name a few.

    Push Recommendations. This trend is all about finding employees at the point of need, whether that need is learning and development content, onboarding information, benefits selection, or something else. This is a great way to deliver customized content at exactly the right moment – an important shift away from formal classroom training and the traditional information dump.

    These are just 5 of the top HR trends reported by SHRM, and we know organizations can’t pursue everything at once. We asked 100 HR leaders in a recent webinar to tell us where they’re most likely to invest this year.

    • 33% said new opportunities for measurement
    • 23% said AI technology
    • 19% said specialized point solutions
    • 16% said push recommendations
    • 9% said specialized HRIT roles

    With so much technology and so many exciting avenues to pursue, HR is in a position to impact the business like never before. The challenge is not, what can we do, but rather, how much can do to drive the business forward? This will depend on alignment with business strategy and smart HR tech investments.

    To learn more about trends, the future of HR, and how to maximize success in Talent Management, watch our on-demand webinar: How to Build a High-Powered HR Machine.

  2. Culture Management Strategy: 6 Signs Your Company Needs One

    Your company may need a culture management strategy.

    A culture management strategy will benefit your business even when things are relatively stable. But, you will definitely need a strategy to keep your culture strong through growth, mergers, leadership changes, and other tough transitions. Here are 6 common culture shocks that can derail your business, and tips for managing through them:

    1. A merger, acquisition, or restructure

    Nothing causes culture shock quite like this. For employees going through a merger, acquisition, or organizational restructure, it can feel as if the rug’s been pulled out from under them. So many things change, and changes happen fast. To emerge with a stronger culture, rather than a discordant culture, you need a culture integration strategy. This involves highlighting and understanding all the cultural dynamics at play. A culture measurement tool can help you see the cultural impact of the changes you’ve made, and identify key differences between your different operating groups. Over time, you’ll be able to measure the progress of culture integration and take steps to support a strong company culture, as well as strong subcultures.

    2. Change in leadership or organizational strategy

    Leadership sets the tone for organizational culture. When there are changes at the executive level, culture shifts often follow. To proactively manage these shifts, business leaders needs a way to assess their current culture, and track progress toward their new cultural vision. A culture measurement tool can compare the executive team’s aspirational culture to the current culture (as experienced by employees) to identify areas where the greatest shifts need to occur. Measuring the culture fit of candidates is also essential—you’ll be able to see how new hires will help move you toward your desired culture, rather than keep you in the past.

    3. Hyper growth

    Culture is dynamic, and by constantly adding new employees, organizations can severely dilute their culture. If you had a strong culture before a period of hyper growth, you may find that culture significantly changed, and significantly less effective than it was before. Culture dilution has also proven to negatively effect employee engagement, performance, and retention. So how do you scale your business without deteriorating your culture?  You must have a dedicated effort on reinforcing the values and underlying behaviors that drive success in your company. With a culture measurement tool, you can monitor for culture dilution, see where it’s happening, and identify values that are decreasing in relative importance. It’s also important to measure candidate fit to ensure you’re hiring people who share the values of your desire culture.

    4. Diversity & Inclusion initiatives

    There are many dynamics at play within a culture that can inadvertently undermine your diversity and inclusion efforts. The first step is understanding organizational attitudes toward diversity and inclusion. You can do this by measuring cultural behaviors such as tolerance and collaboration. With a culture measurement tool, you’ll be able to see the relative importance of tolerance as compared to other priorities or values that employees perceive as important in your organization. You can also measure perceptions within diverse populations to see if these groups experience culture differently than others in your organization. Only then can you work to harmonize culture across diverse groups and confirm that your diversity and inclusion initiatives are effective.

    5. Issues with engagement, performance, or turnover

    Culture strength is a direct predictor of employee engagement, which in turn predicts performance and retention. Weakly aligned cultures consistently experience more issues with engagement, performance, and turnover. Whether these issues are pervasive across your company or higher within certain segments of the business, a culture measurement tool can reveal areas of cultural disconnect and help you diagnose the underlying cause. Without visibility, you will struggle to enact positive change. How you hire also impacts on your ability to ‘plug the leak,’ as alignment between personal values and organizational values has proven to enhance engagement, performance, and retention. By measuring candidate fit, you can ensure alignment from the get-go.

    6. Defining or refreshing organizational values

    Because culture is rooted in organizational values, step one of any culture initiative is understanding what those values are. Values set the expectation for how work gets done within your organization, and values drive the behaviors behind all of your business operations. Rather than choosing words simply because they sound important, like INNOVATION or INTEGRITY, use a culture measurement tool to survey employees and see the values that exist in your organization today. Then, use that insight to align your work practices with your existing values, or build a strategy to shift your values. Either way, a bottom-up approach to defining values will foster an environment where employees are more connected to the culture and feel a sense of ownership.

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    To learn more about culture management strategy and best practices, download our infographic: 4 Pillars of an Outstanding Company Culture

  3. Business Strategy and Organizational Culture: Tips on Aligning Them

    How to make organizational culture a business conversation, not an HR conversation

    Episode 6 of the Talent Playbook Podcast features Tony Bridwell, author, speaker, and the Chief People Officer at Ryan, LLC. With more than 2,300 employees, Ryan is the world’s largest tax consulting company, and #71 on this year’s Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For.

    What’s the secret to becoming a Best Company to Work For? Bridwell says it’s about putting your people first. At Ryan, people are first on the company’s ‘big four results,’ followed by clients, revenue, and IBITA. Here’s why, according to Bridwell:

    You take care of your people. Your people take care of your clients. Your clients provide revenue, and if you run the business well, then you get an IBITA.”

    Bridwell says that these big four results drive every decision he makes. “If I’m not hiring the right people and I lose them in 6 months or a year, that costs the firm money, which hits bottom line. From a revenue standpoint, I lose connectivity with clients, it hurts productivity, and the people experience is bad. A bad hire hits every one of my key results. Same goes for development and total rewards. If I lose people because they’re not being developed, or because the compensation isn’t right, it hits every one of my key results.”

    Bridwell continues by saying that the conversation about talent and people at Ryan is a business conversation, not an HR conversation. When it comes to driving business results, the formula at Ryan is ‘Structure follows strategy—and culture supports it all.’ Here’s how Bridwell puts it:

    “If you don’t realign the structure of the organization to deliver the business strategy, you’ll end up ‘muscling a result.’ This happens so frequently. There are organizational structures that haven’t changed in years, but each year there are new strategies. People understand the strategy part because that’s what they’re taught in school. But rarely will they modify the organizational structure to deliver that strategy, and almost never will they check and adjust the company culture. When I meet with the COO and CEO at Ryan, we’re constantly talking about the cultural barriers  that will prevent us from delivering our business strategy.

    The single largest strategic initiative in our firm this year is our cultural reset. We are completely resetting our company culture to deliver the biggest growth we’ve ever seen in our firm’s history.”

    Read more about Tony Bridwell’s work at tonybridwell.com, or listen to the full interview on the Talent Playbook Podcast.

  4. Company Culture Handbook: 5 Reasons to Write One

    A company culture handbook is not the same as an employee handbook.

    A company culture handbook goes beyond company policies and PTO. Unlike the employee handbook, which often ends up collecting dust in the back of a desk drawer somewhere, your company culture handbook should be something that employees are constantly interacting with and contributing to. It should fun, engaging, and have information that’s valuable to new hires and current employees alike.

    Think of your company culture handbook as a living, breathing touchstone of your company’s culture – which, by the way, exists in your organization whether you’ve defined it or not. In a recent webinar on How to Measure Your CultureDNA™, culture expert Catherine Spence defined company culture as:

    A social influence system that already operates within your organization. If you don’t manage your culture, this social influence system can actually undermine your ability to effectively execute business strategy.”

    That’s why culture has been getting so much attention in boardrooms around the world. In order to manage your company culture, you first have to understand what your culture is now, and what you want it to be in the future. Writing a company culture handbook is the perfect opportunity to work through these important questions, and in the process, create a valuable document for your organization.

    Here are five more benefits you’ll get out of writing a company culture handbook:

    1. Demonstrate your commitment to creating a strong company culture. 
    2. Clearly define your purpose (the reason your company exists), and the impact you want to have on the world. 
    3. Educate current and incoming employees—at scale!—about the way work gets done in your company. 
    4. Empower employees to make independent decisions that align with your business strategy.
    5. Capture your company’s unique culture, with values and traditions that are true to you (and not adopted just because they sound good)

    Writing a company culture handbook that’s an authentic representation of your culture doesn’t happen overnight. To guide you in this process, check out 7 Steps to Writing a Culture Handbook.

  5. Company Culture: 3 Frequently Asked Questions

    Employers everywhere are paying close attention to company culture. But the term ‘company culture’ can mean so many things. Are company values synonymous with culture? Do perks, like ping pong tables or team lunches, create stronger cultures? And can a company culture get too homogeneous, to the point where it stops evolving?

    To answer these questions, let’s get back to the basics with a quick Culture Q&A. Here are three of the most common company culture questions:

    What is culture, exactly?

    Company culture is a system of shared values defining what is important, and norms, defining appropriate attitudes and behaviors for employees within an organization. In other words, your values, whether expressly stated or interpreted based on rewards and recognition, are the roots that your culture grows from, spurring the development of norms, behaviors, and other cultural activities.

    If values tend to be conceptual in nature, then norms and behaviors become the building blocks that characterize your culture and give your values meaning. Take innovation as a value, for example. What does innovation mean in terms of behavior? At Outmatch, we’d say that innovative cultures are characterized by employees who are willing to experiment, who are comfortable with risk, and who are quick to take initiative—these are the behaviors that underpin the value of innovation.

    How can we manage corporate culture?

    While culture as a concept may seem a bit intangible, it is something that can be managed (even on a large scale). Traditionally, companies have managed culture thorough 1:1 interactions, consistent communication, and alignment of incentive systems. More recently, new survey and analytics tools have emerged to help capture and measure company culture, which is a key challenge, especially for companies with large, decentralized workforces. The more insight a company can get about its culture, the more proactive leadership can be in aligning talent management strategies to meet and reflect that culture.

    What’s the difference between employee engagement and culture?

    The terms culture and engagement are often used interchangeably. They both involve an employee’s relationship with their workplace, but there is an important distinction:

    Employee engagement is how employees FEEL, whereas culture is what employees BELIEVE and how they ACT.

    Engagement is more volatile and can fluctuate from day to day. Culture, on the other hand, is deeply rooted and slow to change. Looking at the relationship between culture and engagement, you’ll see that cultural strength predicts employee engagement. A blow to engagement on a team with a strong culture will rebound over time. Which makes sense: If employees are highly aligned around the beliefs, values, behaviors, and incentives that drive how they act in the workplace, then strong alignment will lead to less social friction and higher productivity, which in turn leads to higher employee engagement on average. Low engagement accompanied by a trend toward lower cultural strength, however, means there’s a breakdown in beliefs and behaviors happening on that team.

    To learn more about why culture matters, and how to successfully onboard new hires into your company culture, check out our webinar: How to Reinforce Your Culture with a Strong Onboarding Process.

    Company Culture Questions

  6. Top 5 Emerging Priorities for HR Leaders

    A recent people management survey asked over 600 HR executives, “What are your top people management initiatives for 2018?” The answer revealed common themes, as well as emerging trends in HR.

    The 2018 survey, which was also conducted in 2017 and 2016, added a third year of consecutive data to the study. In 2018, employee engagement took the top spot as priority #1 for companies of all sizes (over 1,000 employees and under 1,000 employees). Company culture came in second for companies over 1,000 employees, and third for companies under 1,000 employees.

    These results are consistent with the culture and engagement initiatives we’re currently seeing across HR. Both company culture and employee engagement made it in the top three people management initiatives in the survey for three years running – which isn’t a huge surprise. What’s interesting, though, is the emerging priorities we’re beginning to see for the future, such as:

    1. Recruiting and Talent Acquisition: How to source and select talent in a cost efficient and effective manner.

    2. Change Management: How to manage HR priorities through mergers and acquisitions and/or strategic change.

    3. Inclusion and Diversity: How to recruit, develop, and retain a diverse workforce. One survey respondent said,

    Everyone in our industry is talking about diversity, but the numbers aren’t moving. We’re going back to the drawing board to change this, ” said one HR leader.

    4. Remote Workforces: How to manage workforces that are increasingly full- or part-time remote. Another survey respondent said,

    80% of our workforce work remotely or from small satellite offices. We’re struggling to maintain consistency in our strategy and culture,” said another HR leader.

    5. Retention of High Potential Employees: How to retain and develop high potential and high-performing employees.

    Do these HR priorities align with yours? Get ready to pay close attention to these areas in the near future. For a full recap of the results from the 2018 People Management Survey, watch our webinar on-demand.

    Top 5 Emerging Priorities for HR

  7. What’s Your Organization’s CultureDNA™?

    Much like human DNA, your organization’s CultureDNA™ is unique to you. When you understand the genetic makeup of your organization, you can turn it into your competitive advantage by hiring people who match your culture, and then reinforcing that culture through employee engagement and continuous development.

    Whether you’re a young, growing company or a well-established organization, culture is the key to your success. Your job as an HR leader is to define that culture, and align it with business strategy and goals by understanding:

    • What’s our current culture?
    • What’s our aspiration culture?
    • Where are our culture gaps?

    Building Blocks of CultureDNA™

    As you look at CultureDNA™, you’ll see that every organization has the same component building blocks that make up its DNA structure:

    1. Values, or beliefs about what is important of worthwhile.
    2. Norms, or expectations around appropriates behaviors.
    3. Behaviors, or the specific attitudes and actions that are needed to successfully accomplish important goals.

    But, just as every DNA sequence is unique, every culture is unique.

    Define Your CultureDNA™

    Culture is a system that operates within your organization, whether you manage it or not. To actively manage your culture, you first have to define it. Here are a few ways to do that:

    • Focus groups: This approach involves gathering small groups of employees and leading them through guided discussions to understand their perception of the current culture. This works best for smaller companies because it takes a lot of time and resources to gather and analyze data in this way.
    • Organizational culture profile: This approach uses a web-based tool to capture survey data or analyze existing data for a large, corporate-level culture diagnosis.
    • Third party/consulting firms: This approach involves a combination of surveys and interviews that are deployed, analyzed, and delivered by a consulting firm. Because consulting firms are expensive, most companies leverage these services only when there’s an urgent need for intervention, like during a merger or acquisition, for example.

    Design HR Programs around Your CultureDNA™

    After you define and diagnose your culture, then the real work begins! HR plays a huge role in maintaining and/or shifting an organization’s CultureDNA™, through programs such as:

    • Recruiting and selection to ensure that new hires match your company’s culture.
    • Training and development to create programs that align with your culture.
    • Rewards and recognition, which shows people what is valued in a company, and what you’d like to see more of.
    • Role modeling from the leadership team to intentionally and visibly demonstrate desired behaviors.

    Ready to get started? Watch this webinar to learn more about managing your culture: CultureDNATM: How to Measure, Endorse and Turn it into Your Competitive Advantage.

     Culture DNA

  8. What Drives a Culture of Excellence?

    Posted on LinkedIn by Warren Irwin, Senior Account Executive at Outmatch.

    This past Tuesday, I had the privilege of hosting a group of People and Talent leaders in San Francisco to discuss the timely topic of “What drives a culture of excellence?”

    At a high-level, our guest, Dr. Charles O’Reilly, defines culture as “a pattern of behavior that is rewarded by people and systems.”

    The consensus across the thought-leaders in attendance was that achieving a strong culture requires more than just the right people, in the right roles, at the right time.

    Key Takeaways:

    Research confirms that organizations with leading cultural norms and higher adaptability perform better than their peers in terms of net income growth, market value, and employer ratings.

    I welcome the opportunity to discuss with my network how Outmatch and Pomello, an Outmatch Company can support your efforts in attracting top talent, measuring cultural strength, and developing your leaders of tomorrow.

  9. The Relationship Between Company Culture and Employee Engagement

    Everyone is talking about company culture and employee engagement. These are hot topics in HR, especially now as employers are seeing the impact that a strong culture and high engagement can have on the bottom line.

    But what are you doing about company culture and employee engagement? There’s a whole new world of HR technology dedicated to measuring these aspects of the employee experience. Such tools can capture the moment-to-moment pulse of your workforce, or reveal employees’ deeply-rooted perceptions about your organization.

    When it comes to measuring culture and engagement, there are a lot of new technology providers to evaluate, and the learning curve can be daunting. Because technology in this space is so new, many HR leaders don’t fully understand the methodologies involved in measuring culture and engagement, or how data on culture and engagement can be used to improve your workforce or solve business challenges. To further complicate things, the terms ‘culture’ and ‘engagement’ are often used interchangeably, when in fact, they are two distinct concepts.

    Before you dive into the world of DIY survey building or begin vetting technology providers, here are four important things to know about company culture and employee engagement:

    1. Culture and engagement are related, but different: Employee engagement is how employees feel, whereas culture is what employees believe and how they act.
    2. One type of culture isn’t necessarily better or worse than another. Some cultures attract certain people, and repel others. In that way, your cultureDNA™ plays a large role in determining who gets hired, who is promoted, and who departs from your organization.
    3. Because beliefs and behaviors are slow to change, culture is typically more consistent over time, whereas engagement can fluctuate frequently from month to month or even week to week.
    4. The stronger the culture, the higher the employee engagement. A blow to engagement on a team with a strong culture will rebound over time—but low engagement accompanied by a trend toward lower culture strength indicates that there’s a breakdown in beliefs and behaviors.

    To learn more, and become your organization’s culture and engagement ambassador, download our white paper: How to Measure Culture and Engagement.