Posts Tagged ‘Human resources’

What Anonymous Feedback Will (and Won’t) Tell You

Need to do an employee survey? Conventional wisdom says it should completed confidentially. What is the problem? Lack of trust if employees can’t provide constructive criticism in an open manner. Some great insight in the HBR article below.

A survey evaluating a team’s performance can be a powerful tool for making that team more effective. And the first message that consultants and HR professionals often communicate on these surveys is: “To ensure that the team gets the best data and feels protected, we will make sure responses are confidential.” The widespread assumption is that if team members know their answers are confidential, they will respond honestly. But if you ask for confidential feedback, it might create the very results you are trying to avoid.

If team members are reluctant to have their names associated with their responses, then you’ve already identified what is probably the most significant problem in your team — lack of trust. Leaders routinely insist that team members be accountable as a team, so the logic follows that they should also be accountable for giving good, critical feedback. But enabling respondents to comment without being linked to their responses actually catalyzes the situation the survey is designed to overcome: It seeks to create increased accountability using a process that lacks transparency and precludes accountability.

via What Anonymous Feedback Will (and Won’t) Tell You – Roger Schwarz – Harvard Business Review.


Guest Blog: Deborah Kerr – Nonprofit Talent Management

Deborah L. Kerr, Ph.D. is a performance measurement expert and a co-founding partner of Affintus, a pre-employment assessment company based in Austin, Texas. Her work in performance measurement and management has been written Deborah Kerrabout in Financial World magazine and has been cited as “best practice” by SHRM. Her approach and success with organizational measurement were featured in Paul Niven’s 2002 book Balanced Scorecard Step by Step and Mohan Nair’s 2004 book Essentials of the Balanced Scorecard. Deborah led the development of the one of the nation’s first public sector balanced scorecards and in 2004, that measurement system was recognized as one of the world’s best when it was elected to the Balanced Scorecard Hall of Fame. She is on the graduate faculty of Texas A&M University where she teaches management, public policy theory, and organizational performance measurement. Her teaching has been recognized with the University’s 2008 Distinguished Achievement Award for Teaching (based on nomination and support from current and former graduate students) and with the 2009 Silver Star Award given by the Class of 2009 for outstanding service and dedication.

Nonprofit Talent Management

Employee costs generally make up more than 50 percent of a nonprofit’s budget so nonprofit talent management is critical to the health of every nonprofit’s “bottom line”.  This will be highlighted as the economy continues to grow and nonprofits face two major workforce trends:  the need to add staff to meet demand and the reality of losing experienced staff to retirement or “better” jobs.

Adding nonprofit staff has been a trend for the last three years.  Nonprofit HR Solutions’ 2013 survey of 588 nonprofits found that 40 percent added new staff in 2012 and 44 percent plan to create more new positions this year.  Turnover is expected to remain at 17 percent in 2013, the same as 2012, but voluntary turnover and retirement now account for 11 percent of total turnover.  This may grow as the economy’s recovery leads to more job options for good employees.

After hiring, retention of good employees is key to sustainability, but in the Nonprofit HR Solution study 90 percent of respondents reported they have no retention strategy even though they see it as a challenge.  Losing good employees is expensive.  Writing for, Raymund Flandez found the average tenure of a fundraiser is only 16 months and the direct and indirect costs of replacing that fundraiser add up to a staggering $127,650!   For other employees hiring costs range from 25 percent to over 100 percent depending on the job and responsibilities.

Here are strategies that work to improve hiring decisions, reduce voluntary turnover, and improve workforce retention.

Hire the right person in the first place.

Most organizations have made at least one hiring mistake in the last 12 months and report spending thousands of dollars to fix it. Hiring mistakes are not only expensive, they negatively affect the morale of other employees and can damage donor relations.  Hiring the right person, on the other hand, results in 10 percent – 50 percent higher productivity and revenues.

Why is hiring so hard?  Most nonprofits base hiring decisions on resume reviews and interviews.  Yet over 50 percent of resumes contain erroneous information and applicants can be coached on interviewing tactics, so decision data may be flawed.  The best way to get objective, accurate talent data is to use pre-hire assessments – candidates can’t “fake” assessment responses as they can fake interview responses or experience on a resume.  Be sure to use an assessment validated for pre-hire use, one that matches job requirements with applicant preferences and strengths.

Pay attention to pay

In a 2012 study, Penelope Burke of Cygnus Applied Research surveyed 1700 fundraisers and 8000 nonprofit CEOs.  She found that good fundraisers begin to be recruited away after only three to six months in a position!  She reports that it would cost about $46,000 to keep a good fundraiser happy by providing better salaries and other benefits like more vacation… a bargain compared to $127,650!

The best pay strategy is to match the market rate for the job whenever possible.The closer pay is to the market rate, the less likely an employee will think about quitting.  When employees find the work interesting and feel valued, most will not look for a new job as long as the pay is competitive in their geographic area and the industry.

Pay is not the most important factor in most decisions to stay in a job or to quit, but it is one of the top reasons employees choose to stay when they are offered another job.  Fundraisers are an exception – most report that higher pay is the number one reason they leave current jobs.  Helping someone decide to stay rather than take a new job saves money every time.

Be flexible

Research has repeatedly found that a flexible work schedule is a key reason for staying with the current organization when an employee is offered employment by another organization.Flexible work schedules improve employee satisfaction and productivity while helping to reduce absenteeism.

Let managers to handle employee scheduling requests on a case-by-case basis or permit cross-trained employees to “trade” hours as needed to meet both business and personal demands on employees.  The key is to be as flexible as possible while meeting the needs of the business.

The bottom line?  Talent management is an increasingly important driver of nonprofit sustainability and every investment in hiring and retaining good talent goes straight to the bottom line.  With projections for increased service demand in 2013, nonprofits must continue to grow the workforce while trying to hire and retain high performers. Now is the time to review talent practices and make the changes needed to reduce costs and improve bottom line performance.

Hirable like me?

Most managers would like to think they base their hiring decisions on candidates’ skill. But new research suggests that once a candidate passes through an initial HR screening, a bigger factor comes into play: how similar the interviewee is to the person doing the hiring. Kellogg School of Business assistant professor Lauren Rivera spent nine months embedded in a professional service organization and noted three key reasons why this takes place: the “Will this person fit in?” question; the fact that people define merit on the basis of their own experiences; and that managers get excited by candidates who have similar passions and interests. Hiring managers forget that “there are other ways people can a) be likeable and b) be socially skilled other than being a mirror image,” Rivera says.

More here: Hirable Like Me (Kellogg Insight)

This is disruptive. redefines what HR Software is.

This should be a wake-up call to work support specialists (Learning and Development, Organization Development and Human Resources) that “net work” has to be integrated. For vendors, the days of stand-alone learning, talent, or performance management systems are numbered. It should also be a clear indication that industrial/information age work structures, and the disciplines they begat, are losing. relevance. This is business technology that will continue to disrupt how traditional IT works as well. Who needs IT when you can buy this “off the shelf” and don’t even need to install anything?

If systems like are integrated with the lines of business, there may be less need for specialized HR practitioners or at less fewer of them. Managers may begin to ask why they need HR, when they can manage 80% of performance management themselves. And performance management is just the start. Why not learning management, when the vast majority of learning happens on the job?

I played around with Rypple about a year ago. I really liked it. With’s acquisition and now launch of (how much did they pay for the URL?), I think Salesforce is now positioned to do with HR systems with what they did with CRM years ago.

The strategy is unique and powerful in many ways.

First, the whole system is completely integrated into the Salesforce portal – so the 150,000+ companies that use Salesforce can just “turn this on” and employees can start using it immediately. There is no new “HR portal” to login to.

Second, because the system is built on the platform, Salesforce can quickly add new features and leverage all the infrastructure in place for reporting and management. Goals can be tied to accounts, contacts, and other Salesforce objects, making this a truly “integrated” goal setting and work environment.

Third, the system is integrated into Chatter, Salesforce’s rapidly growing collaboration system – so everything you do can be shared (or not shared). People can give you badges, comment on your goals, give you private or public feedback, and collaborate around a goal – without the need to install yet another collaboration system.

The HR software market is red hot right now. SAP, Oracle, and IBM have just spent billions of dollars to buy their way into the market, and other companies like Workday and CornerstoneOnDemand are already capturing huge valuations. (Workday has not yet gone public, but its valuation will be well over 10X revenues).

These tools all play a vital role in helping HR and business leaders handle the administration and talent management processes for people. They are both back-office systems which help companies administer their people, and also employee-facing systems which give people tools to better learn and manage their teams.

Along comes from with a compelling strategy to disrupt the entire market.

via Redefines what HR Software Is – Forbes.

How the remote workforce is changing

December 1, 2011 Leave a comment

We all know it is true. We see it happening every day. The remote workforce is growing, it is mainstream, it is maturing and it is learning new skills. And, it won’t go back to the way it was. We have an anytime, anywhere revolution going on.

As advances in technology have made it a practical possibility for millions, remote working has increased dramatically over the last decade.

While once working from home was considered a bit of a novelty, we argue that it is now so mainstream it’s more interesting to consider how the remote workforce is changing.

Mashable spoke to human resources professionals and other experts to get some interesting insight on this subject.

How the Remote Workforce Is Changing

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