19 May 2015

CIPD report shows digital learning on the increase

Home-central-ld-308x148-300x14411The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development's (CIPD) annual survey report on Learning and Development is a valuable and hotly awaited piece of research in learning industries. The report contains a wealth of information about the profession in general. However, people who have a specific interest in digital learning look to it each year as a barometer of attitudes towards and adoption of technology within L&D departments.

This year’s report shows digital learning is on the increase:

  • Three-quarters of organisations now use technology for learning;
  • Most anticipate an increase in their use of learning technologies;
  • A third of organisations have increased their investment in learning technologies over the last year.

However, the report also states that many lack confidence in their ability to use it effectively. Just a quarter of respondents felt at all confident in their ability to harness technology for learning interventions.

This chimes with the results of our own research. Earlier in the year, we polled L&D attendees at the Learning Technologies exhibition with the question: ‘Is there a technology skills crisis in L&D?’

Over 53% of attendees felt that there was indeed a real problem. You can read more about this research, and the findings of our think tank discussion on the subject here:

How L&D must change: report from our think tank

We’d like to commend the CIPD for producing such valuable research, but also for raising awareness about the need for greater understanding about the best way to use technology for learning.

Another finding of interest to us - as a company that creates award winning bespoke elearning and also supplies the largest catalogue available of ‘read-made’ or off the shelf learning resources - is that about half of L&D content is developed from scratch. Clearly a major decision faced by L&D is whether to ‘buy or build’. We’ll be blogging in the near future about how you make this decision, and also about a new trend in learning content: content curation – and how to do it well.

Source: Lumesse Learning - CIPD report shows digital learning on the increase




06 May 2015

Trust Me, I’m A Politician

YueourtwkkywcpztunwcThe UK General election will be held on May 7 and it is not straightforward anymore. The political landscape has changed dramatically in 2015 - no longer are one of the two major parties (Conservatives and Labour) guaranteed a majority vote. Minority parties such as the UK Independence Party, the Scottish National Party and the Green Party may hold the balance of power when it comes to forming a coalition.

The internet has some useful tools to help you to decide which way to vote; this independent survey compares the manifesto pledges across all parties. This tool gives you the power to select your preferred manifesto without seeing which party it belongs to, and the results are surprising! Based on 530,000 surveys taken to date, support for Labour policies sits at 27%, with Greens second and Conservatives last. What is particularly interesting about this site is that it is a platform which, in return for your data input and time, provides some insight into your political preference and those in your constituency or country.

Providing access to data in return for insight has been called the "Data Handshake" by the Technology Services Industry Association; it is something we're used to in the business-to-consumer world. We give permission to companies to use our data on a daily basis. For example, Amazon suggests the next book we might buy based on our past purchases; LinkedIn knows what jobs we want based on the detailed personal career information we share; Google even tells me when I should leave for the airport based on the reservation emails I have stored in my inbox! As consumers, we trust these platforms to hold this data as we value the service and insight they provide in return.

In the world of business-to-business, the "Data Handshake" between vendor and customer has not taken place in most cases and is certainly not adopted widely in HR technology. Like Amazon or LinkedIn, a tech supplier works with multiple customers and should be able to generate powerful insights to benefit each individual company. Using this data would allow suppliers to help customers reach their business objectives more quickly and efficiently.

In the same way that UK political parties are asking for voters’ trust to run the country for the next five years, tech suppliers need to ask for their customer's trust to improve the value of the services they can provide.




04 May 2015

#MayDay - Part 2

May DayA part of getting highly engaged employees is, in my opinion, welcoming diversity; embrace the fact that employees are different! Employers need to acknowledge that these variances could make the difference when employees work together. A new strategy or approach to engaging employees could open doors that would never have been opened if you had attempted to let employees work all in the same way. Employers must recognize and value the need for individual uniqueness.

Under the influence of politics and action groups, many companies at the very least have diversity efforts based on gender, age, nationality and physical ability. But go beyond these calls for targets. You should not recruit based on these characteristics but on what you need in your workforce to become (or stay) a highly engaged company.

If you want a diverse, engaged workforce, you also need an inclusive environment. I interpret this as meaning to really appreciate, respect and value each individual and to give them a voice within your company. It’s about creating an environment where employees are encouraged and supported for their ‘unique’ contribution in delivering business results; enable that which brings the best out of your employees. If, for example, the heavy workload of your employees results in a poor work-life balance, which drives away highly skilled and experienced workers, you could look at the possibilities of creating a flexible working policy.

As mentioned in my previous blog, every employee has aspirations for their professional life. With their specific competencies and values, they are looking for an inclusive environment. The foundation for an inclusive environment is your company’s culture, values and leadership behavior, if you can make these topics part of your recruitment and match your true company’s culture, values and leadership behavior with the employees aspirations then you are one step closer to a higher rate of employee retention. Remember, a new hire is the most likely to be engaged, so what happens next is important!

In a recent survey from Randstad [Standing Out – insights from celebrated employer brands], work-life balance is the most important factor in encouraging people to stay with their current employer. And after compensation, flexibility is in a solid third place. As imagined, work-life balance and flexibility are especially valued by the experienced employees and while you may think that flexibility is most important to women, in reality, the gap is small.

Although pay needs to be competitive, creating a pleasant and supportive working environment can be just as important in attracting and retaining employees. Also, the report underlines the importance of ensuring that people have opportunities to keep learning and aspiring.

We  have come a long way from the introduction of May Day. We have discussed how to listen to our employees and adjust our company strategies to increase employee retention rates. We just need to keep listening to our employees in order to succeed..

Be Together. Not the same




01 May 2015

#MayDay - Part 1

Labour DayInternational Labor Day has its origin in the USA and is the memorialization of the Haymarket Massacre in Chicago of May 4th 1886. This was initially a labour unions’ demonstration demanding a workday of eight hours to be accepted as a standard all over the US.

In the late 19th century, working conditions were tough and it was quite common to work 10 to 16 hours a day in unsafe conditions; death and injury were common at many work places. Around 1860, working people began a push to shorten the workday without a cut in pay, but it wasn’t until the late 80’s that the organized labor was able to gather enough strength to declare the 8-hour workday. This declaration was without consent of employers, but demanded by many of the working class.

Influenced by the decision on October 7th 1884 in the US - when a resolution had passed that eight hours shall constitute a legal day’s labor - the first congress of the ‘Reconstituted International’, later known as the ‘Second International’, was held in Paris in 1889. This resolution stated that 1st May was set aside as a day upon which the workers of the world, organized in their political parties and trade unions, were to fight for the important political demand: the 8-hour day.

Now, 125 years later, International Labor Day is a national holiday in more than 80 countries. But do we really remember and realize that people, even children, gave their lives when they were fighting for the 8-hour day, to have the Saturday as part of the weekend, to have better work conditions and abandon child labor?

Shifting power from employers to employees - CEO has to step up

So now we understand that International Workers’ Day is more than a well-deserved day off. It’s a time to celebrate the current working circumstances and conditions and to think about the important contributions working people make to the economy and to reflect on what is needed to improve the social well-being for all workers.

All of the above topics can be looked at from different angles and within HR we now have to constantly think about what this means for our company both presently and in the future. We must anticipate and make sure that we are in line with the labour law but these days even more, to make sure that we can attract and retain the right employees.

For some years now we have seen a shift from employers choosing their new employees to the employees making the decisions. Every person has aspirations for their private life, but every employee also has aspirations for their professional life. And these aspirations shift with the economic situation but also due to the fact that, as Deloitte mention in their latest report on Global Human Capital Trends 2015 – Leading in the new world of work, employees are ‘always on’; they have different devices, on which they can connect 24/7. They receive and view detailed information about a job opportunity; cultural and organizational information; comments of their network; all of which can be researched at their fingertips. This shift in power has caused modern-day employees to be considered more as customers than subordinates.

In relation to this, it’s not so strange that in this report from Deloitte, culture and engagement was rated as the most important issue overall as the motivation for employee change. More than twice as many employees are motivated by work passion than career ambition (12% versus 5%). Which indicates a need to focus on making the work environment compelling and enjoyable for everyone [Did Steve Jobs have worker passion?]. This means that culture and engagement are now business topics for the CEO and not only for HR. Due to the fact that highly engaged employees are fully involved and strongly committed, they are willing to invest the discretionary effort – exceeding their job – to see the organization succeed.

What is your company doing regarding this topic? Deloitte’s survey revealed that 87% of the respondents believe this is an important issue (and not an easy one). According to Gallup, who looked into the overall engagement among the employed population in 142 countries worldwide [State of the Global workplace 2013] only 13% of the global workforce is “engaged.”

There are so many factors that contribute to employee engagement and this also differs for individuals.

Part 2 will be released on Monday 4th May, stay tuned and have an excellent Labor Day weekend.




06 April 2015

Are You Ready for Gen Z – Part 3

Generation ZSo now that you have a better understanding of Generation Z and how to attract and keep their attention, how will you manage a multi-generational workplace? 

My husband works in the higher education publishing industry and spends his weeks meeting with professors at college campuses across Texas. When talking about my blog, it occurred to me that it would be great to hear from the perspective of a teacher that is currently working with the Generation Z cohort. Here is what Tammy Oliver PhD at Eastfield College had to say when asked “What challenges and strengths do you think they must possess to be successful in the workplace?”.

“The Generation Z’s main challenge is focus; they are easily distracted by anything. They will try to keep up with technology trends (strength) whereas the older generations will ignore the trend unless it is necessary for them to change. Generation Z may not be as reliable in the workplace because they are so easily distracted, open and ready for a quick change.” She went on to explain how she has had to modify her methods of teaching in order to adhere to their specific learning style. She explained that, whilst previous generations were content with written notes and an overhead projector accompanied by a lecture, Gen Z has a shorter attention span and prefers more visuals, color, and video, forcing her to deliver the content digitally. She has noticed this often created distraction for the older age groups but it is the only way that she can excite the younger students. That sounds about right; I spent 30 minutes on YELP last night with the intention of reading reviews but mainly looking at pictures of the restaurant that I am dining at tonight! 

There are two key areas of importance when it comes to multi-generation management: information and technology.

Information Overload:  With Gen Z’ers constantly reading and absorbing information, it can be a double-edged sword. They aren’t double-checking what they’re reading for validation which can lead to them being misinformed. However, it is continuous education which enables them to have much more mature, sophisticated conversations with their peers or your clients; you just need to manage where they are sourcing their information! 

Technology Adoption: I don’t know about you, but I have grandparents that have started using Facebook and text messaging to stay in touch. Just because the Baby Boomers and Gen X didn’t grow up with a tablet doesn’t mean they can’t adapt to the technological advancements. Organizations need to increase their own utilization of social media and promote their internal use to drive adoption. As Tammy states, “the older generations will ignore the trend unless it is necessary for them to change”. I am hearing of more and more companies that are either implementing a BYOD (bring your own device) to work program or providing these devices in an effort to increase mobility and productivity. Just look at it this way, you will have the Millennials and Gen Z’ers to drive internal enablement!

Whether the classroom or the office, it doesn’t change how these individuals will continue to learn and remain  involved. Whilst Baby Boomers still maintain a vast majority of leadership roles today, this is on the decline. Soon you will have Gen X’ers in these seats with a closer connection to the younger generation. Let’s face it, historically, each generation has over emphasized the flaws and disputes the strengths of its younger generation.  But the fact is, each generation has their own strengths. Whilst they are all different, they will be complimentary to one another. The success of an organization’s talent management will depend upon the education of its leadership and its understanding of what they need to do in order to leverage the talents of all four age groups.




31 March 2015

Three Interview Tips That You've Never Heard Before

274c09fAfter putting on your best outfit and watching a range of YouTube videos in order to perfect a Windsor knot for the tie that won’t be too distracting but will make you stand out, you head out of the door to what could be a life-changing interview… but are you prepared?

Having spent a large amount of my university career applying for placement opportunities, I have read as much of the research into best interview practice as I could find. Although the phrase ‘practice makes perfect’ is appropriate in this context, you can never be over prepared for an interview.

One thing you need to remember before attending an interview is that the employers have read your CV and they have asked you to attend an interview; so you’ve already made it further than a lot of the people who have applied for the same position.

Many of you will find articles online which will outline the ‘common interview tips’:

  • Do your research and be prepared
  • Arrive on time
  • Dress appropriately
  • Be honest
  • Stay calm

But here are three interview tips that you may never have heard before:

Shakin’ Stevens

When you’re nervous your body goes into ‘Fight or Flight’ mode, meaning that adrenaline is released causing you to experience the typical symptoms associated with nerves. One unusual – but effective – way of stopping your body from shaking is to clench your buttocks! If you’re having problems with your voice shaking, open your throat by sticking your tongue out as far as it will go and sing Humpty Dumpty out loud.
N.B. This might attract some strange looks in your direction so maybe do this before the interview.

Look Into My Eyes

One of the obvious ones that most people will know about is to always make eye-contact with the interviewer, and it actually could be the difference between an offer of a job or a rejection. You need to make sure, however, to avoid staring. One way to do this is to alternate your gaze between the left and right eyes of your interviewer, this will create a ‘twinkle’ in your eye from the shimmering light reflection. Studies have shown that higher levels of eye-contact can make people perceive you as more honest, trustworthy and sincere. This does nevertheless need to be backed up by actual honesty. If you start to tell white-lies in the hope that it will strengthen your application you might find that you trip over your lies and the employer is also a keen white water rafting enthusiast who wants to discuss whether you go rafting in self-bailers or catarafts.

Questions Please

Questions are an essential part of your interview. As well as showing you are enthusiastic and interested in the role, it shows that you’ve come prepared! Although you should always research the company, it is often useful to research your interviewer. Many people, naturally, will talk about themselves in an interview but if you can find some time to ask some questions about your interviewer (and sound interested in their reply) then it will definitely make you a more likable person!

If worst comes to worst and you don’t get the job you wanted then don’t be afraid to ask for feedback, understanding where you went wrong is key to success next time.




27 March 2015

Autism from a HR Manager’s Perspective

World Autism Awareness Week1I think it’s only fair to warn my colleagues that next week, I plan to ditch my normal monochrome work clothes in favour of something brighter, t-shirt related and altogether more noticeable.

It’s not just that the clocks are going back and spring is nearly here… next week, it’s World Autism Awareness Week and it’s a cause close to my heart. You see, four years ago, my son was diagnosed with high-functioning autism. He also happens to be extremely kind and loving, a fan of a good catchphrase (finding them hilarious in and of themselves) and is on the cusp of an obsession with Saturday night TV favourites, Ant ‘n’ Dec.

As you can imagine, I’ve had to become pretty knowledgeable about his particular needs, and anticipate that it’s only natural they will change over time… supporting him through school, further education and employment. It seems fitting that I reflect now, more than ever before, on the way that I support my business in inclusive recruitment approaches.

There are approximately 700,000 people in the UK with autism but did you know that only 15% of adults with autism are in paid employment, compared to 48% of people with general disabilities?

As a recruiter, ensuring processes are inclusive is a core part of my job. However, autism is often deemed a “hidden” disability, one that you can’t identify by looking at an individual. How many other disabilities fall into this category? I’m sure there are many.

How can we make sure our attraction processes are inclusive for all people? Do we all understand the elements which underpin a diagnosis for autism?

Difficulties in social communication means that an autistic person may find it harder to read the non-verbal cues (such as a shoulder shrug, a raised eyebrow or a sarcastic tone of voice) that neuro-typical people take for granted.

A lack of social imagination means that an autistic person may find it harder to predict people’s behaviour, or to understand a situation from someone else’s point of view.

Problems with social interaction may mean that the usual turn-taking in conversations might not come naturally, they may find it harder to read or explain theirs or others’ emotions, or the ability to move on from single-sided topics will be less possible.

Whilst these are harder for people with autism, it is possible for them to be learned – it just takes time to apply the learning to new situations.

Of course, there are many qualities to admire in people with autism: according to an article by Ben Higgins titled, Good practice in supporting adults with autism: guidance for commissioners and statutory services, “people with autism are generally honest, conscientious and reliable, with excellent rote memory and attention to detail. Many are highly competent at repetitive and logical tasks, including data entry and IT support. Furthermore, people with autism may have special interests that can easily be developed into an employable skill.”

It is up to responsible employers to embrace this knowledge and ask ourselves, “how can we make our roles accessible to all people?” Do we ask everyone if they require support within the recruitment process and then, do we ask them to tell us how we can help them?

When inviting people for an interview, make it clear the expectations we have of candidates and our hoped-for outcomes. When we hear a non-standard response to an interview question, let’s really listen to that answer and consider it in all its contexts. Or, could we consider swapping the interview for a work trial? For if we don’t, we risk discriminating unfairly but also risk missing out on all the richness that such difference can bring to our teams. Then, once employed, let’s make sure we support everyone to be the best they can be.

 

The referenced article was found on www.nas.org.uk and was originally published in 2009 in a report by Ben Higgins, which was commissioned by the South West Valuing People Board and entitled Good practice in supporting adults with autism: guidance for commissioners and statutory services. You can download this article here.




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