Category Archives: Talent Management

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How to solve 6 common HR challenges with technology

The soft skills of HR employees are valuable, but some challenges remain difficult to overcome without use of advanced technology.

In response to growing demand for high quality HR solutions, there is a whole class of software designed to solve some of the most common issues in human resource management.

Challenge #1: Reducing costs and time needed for IT support

A major trend in the IT support niche is adoption of integrated technologies that are less time consuming and complex to manage than systems where every department needs to take care of its own technology needs.

Company-wide systems for attendance control and time tracking can be deployed with very little additional hardware, while their impact affects practically every team and project.

Challenge #2: Regulatory compliance issues

In many countries, governments demand tight reporting on employee salaries and other statistics related to the workforce.

If those reports were compiled manually, companies would have to dedicate their best people to the task or face the possibility of a costly error.

Modern software tools allow for creation of automated queries that generate custom reports with minimal human involvement, making regulatory compliance a routine task.

Challenge #3: Data availability

Collecting large amounts relevant data about workers is worth very little if the management has to spend a lot of time digging out key bits of information from local databases. Instant and effortless data retrieval is one of the greatest benefits of HR software tools of the latest generation, since all the data is centralized and accessible from anywhere.

It’s even possible to set up automatic updates that reflect recent changes in the status of the selected worker or team.

Challenge #4: Vendor management

It’s very common for a company to use a variety of software products, which may come from different vendors and include incompatible features.

Such incompatibility can be a problem, which is why system integration is an essential need for large companies.

In some cases, this can be avoided by purchasing a suite of software solutions from the same vendor, unifying time and attendance control with payroll management and employee assessment under the same umbrella.

Challenge #5: Platform integration

A variety of IT platforms are used for business purposes today, with mobile frameworks gaining traction lately. That’s why HR departments are increasingly updating their solutions to facilitate easy access from any device and any operational system.

Wireless sharing of relevant data can go very smoothly when the system is set up in such a way to support access from mobile phones and laptops, eliminating the need for physical presence in the office in order to participate.

Challenge #6: Data storage security

Loss of data or unauthorized access to confidential information can present a significant threat, motivating the companies to centralize data storage and implement robust defensive measures.

It’s far easier to mount effective defenses and control who can access the employee data when there is only one central database to protect. Security in the cloud is another hot topic at the moment, with top providers guaranteeing the integrity of uploaded information.

Fortunately, modern HR suites feature a range of advanced software tools that can be utilized to simultaneously address multiple challenges from this list.

Exact choice of tools and modes of deployment is unique for each company, but the overall strategy should be similar.

Integrating individual systems (including HR data) into a wider, more flexible framework will certainly return positive results, regardless of the structure of the company and its data collection methods.


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What is a Blended Workforce and How Can It Help My Business?

While hiring has traditionally revolved around long-term contract hires, blended workforces are quickly becoming more popular. These workforces combine individuals with different types of contracts, bringing freelancers, part time workers, and traditional contracts together to create a more flexible and scalable workplace. This trend brings complexity to HR management and payrolling, but offers numerous advantages to businesses of all sizes.

What is a Blended Workforce?

Traditional hiring means hiring everyone with a fixed contract for a set period of time and a set contract. Today, more and more people prefer to work more dynamically, taking on freelance, part-time, and contract roles. The gig economy means that more individuals are able to work on a short-term contract basis, filing short-term needs as they become relevant and then moving on.

Scalable Workforces

One of the biggest challenges in any growing organization is bringing on employees at a rate which matches internal needs to drive value. With traditional hiring, companies are forced to bring on full-time employees often before they are able to fully contribute, simply because demand is too low.

Hiring part-time and freelancers enables you to bring in work on an as-needed basis, so that you can perfectly meet demand without increasing overhead more than needed. This is especially advantageous for businesses with seasonal demand, because you can scale your workforce up and down quickly and easily.

Bringing on Experts  

Most organizations can benefit from technical experts and highly-skilled individuals, but many don’t have the resources to hire and bring them on without creating more overhead than value. Hiring freelancers gives you the opportunity to bring experts and specialists on for short-term projects or a low number of hours per week, so that you can benefit from expertise and specialisms without paying for a full-time employee you can’t make full use of.

Motivated Individuals

Choosing when and how to work gives many people freedom and the ability to keep themselves challenged and motivated without becoming stuck in a static environment, which can benefit you a great deal. The only caveat here is that you must be willing to bring even contract workers on as full members of the organization, so that they feel as though they are part of the organization and are motivated to contribute to organizational goals.

Outsourcing

While outsourcing isn’t always a good option, it can be extremely cost-effective, especially for technical roles such as developers. Outsourcing allows you to reduce the cost of technical work by moving it to another country, where you pay less per hour for labor. However, this can cause some issues in terms of communication and timelines, so you should carefully manage and set up infrastructure to ensure good communication before doing so.

Today, most companies hire as many as 48% of employees through part-time or freelance contracts, giving them room to hire on more people in new and different ways. Organizations benefit from this in numerous ways, creating more opportunities for flexible and scalable workforces, where you can bring employees on in an as-needed function, even when they are very high-level or specialist.

While you will need additional HR structure to support different types of employees and to manage short-term contracts and hires made through agencies or freelance, the payoff is often very high in terms of enabling even a smaller organization to cut costs while ensuring that skilled labor is available where needed.


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3 Useful tools to help your HR department

Any job is easier when you’re equipped with a range of advanced tools, which is why HR departments around the world are rapidly undergoing a digital transformation.

Adoption of IT-based tools allows for more transparent and more effective workforce management, while their costs are negligible compared to the benefits they bring to the table. In fact, there is a global trend towards greater automation and data-based decision-making that was made possible by introduction of highly sophisticated software packages well equipped to assist in essential HR duties.

While exact needs and financial possibilities of every company may vary, the following high-tech tools are so valuable that no serious HR professional should be forced to work without them:

Attendance tracking solution

Tracking when the employees arrive to work and how much time they spend away from their stations allows employers to have a precise picture about typical behavior of the workers.

This tool also simplifies management of planned absences and allows for replacements to be called in on time in case a shortage is on the horizon.

Proactive scheduling that takes into account human resource availability as well as future project needs can be developed to intricate detail with the help of an integrated time and attendance solution.

Finally, data generated through this tool can be analyzed to determine which departments may be chronically understaffed or suffering from too many unplanned absences, with the corresponding personnel moves aiming to fix such imbalances.

Performance assessment software

In order to measure how much each employee is contributing to company objectives, it’s possible to use performance tracking tools optimized for the type of duties that each of the workers is fulfilling.

Those tools are capable of measuring the practical output of each employee, forming a strong foundation for impartial assessment by the management.

Additionally, when the employees are aware that their performance is measured objectively, they will be more motivated to achieve solid results day after day, and less likely to react defensively to constructive criticism.

This allows for gradual and cost-effective improvement of the company output, either through rewarding the most productive workers or by replacing those that fail to pull their weight.

Automated payroll administration

Calculating precise salaries that include overtime, bonuses and all applicable deductions is a time-consuming process that demands undivided attention to avoid mistakes.

For this reason, this is an area where automation achieves amazing results, cutting the time needed to administer the reimbursements for all employees considerably while at the same time ensuring that errors are kept at a minimum.

Apayroll automation tool can greatly reduce the pressure on the HR department and allow its key members to spend more time proactively analyzing the data, rather than merely crunching numbers. On the flip side, a majority of employees will appreciate that their salaries are paid out quicker and reflect the true number of hours accurately, making payroll software a win-win proposition for everyone.

Installation of software packages for HR management is just the first step. To fully take advantage of digital HR, companies need to alter their operating procedures and adopt a more open-minded and data-based attitude.

This is an organic process that takes time and active effort on the part of the top management, while the role of HR managers is to act as  data interpreters’ and align new, tech-based methods with overall workforce management strategy. Only in this way companies can leverage new technology into a tangible recruiting edge and gain a clear competitive advantage in the marketplace.


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How to Conduct an HR Audit

No matter what the size of your organization, the end of the fiscal year is an ideal time to set new goals, adjust old ones, and realign the organization to keep everything and everyone on track with targets and objectives. Conducting an HR audit to determine how, why, and where HR processes are contributing or not contributing to these goals will help you to better define what is adding value to HR and what is not. The tools, policies, procedures, and methods used by HR will determine how workers are evaluated and measured, which will in turn contribute to the success of the organization as a whole.

Developing a good strategy for your HR audit will allow you to focus efforts, use practices and tools that make sense, and collect the data that adds or contributes value to your organization.

Conducting an HR Analysis

Conducting a detailed assessment of all existing policies and procedures is an important first-step in any HR audit. This process is easier if your existing processes and policies have defined goals or values listed, such as “Reduce turnover by at least 3% over 12 months”, which will allow you to analyze actual performance against expected performance.

Unfortunately, it can be difficult to completely track data to existing policies and procedures, as some data will correlate but won’t be caused by a specific policy. For example, if your organization saw a downturn in turnover over the last 6 months of the 12, but also reached an important milestone or growth spurt, you might not be able to track reduced turnover as a benefit of the policy.

Your audit should cover:

  • Which policies and procedures are in place?
  • What worked in the previous fiscal year? Are there any goals set for those policies or procedures which could valuate the process working?
  • What didn’t work? Are there any goals or data which could show that the process did not work?
  • What has become obsolete? Are there processes related to old software or hiring methods?
  • What is needed or lacking? Processes? Tools?
  • How is the onboarding process working for new employees?
  • Are hiring needs being met?
  • Do employees have access to the HR tools they need?

Record Keeping

Review process efficiency, compliance with federal and state regulation, employee access, etc.

Recruitment and Selection

Recruitment and selection processes must be non-discriminatory, compliant with equal-opportunity policies, current and reflecting organizational goals, validated against current organizational goals, and effective and contributing value.

Workplace Safety/Risk Management

All measures should be compliant with workplace safety and risk management practices/regulations. Check that all policies are needed and adding value, especially if recent equipment or office changes may have made some redundant.

Training and Development

You have to review the accessibility of training and development opportunities, that those available are in-line with organizational goals, and that opportunities contribute directly to those goals. Ensure that current policies are in place for new hire orientation and safety training, development programs are in-line with internal leadership programs, and that all existing development programs are up-to-date. It’s also important to stop to identify training and development needs for the upcoming year so that you can work to build those resources before they are needed.

Employee Relations

Employee investigations must be handled with sensitivity and respect and investigation should be thorough and effective. These factors are difficult to validate, but you can work to do so by interviewing persons who received employee relation support to determine satisfaction and the effectiveness of policies in place.

Compensation and Benefits

Compensation and benefits policies must be in line with organizational goals, privacy should handled effectively, and employees should be compensated in a way that reflects work practices (I.E. compensating teams in Agile rather than individuals).

Valuate Your Findings

While there are many ways to evaluate your findings, you can ideally do so through a combination of metrics and data (actual data including missed and achieved targets), employee interviews, and discussions with management and leadership teams.

For example, by hosting discussions with HR managers, department heads, and even floor-level employees can help you to determine whether hiring is being met, training requirements and whether they are being met, pending issues, and so on. This type of feedback can be extremely valuable in making decisions regarding

Research New Tools and Processes

During your evaluation and audit, you should review change items inside the organization versus in the world at large. HR evolves at a rapid pace and new trends and developments can rapidly introduce better, faster, and more efficient tools for management and hiring. For example, automation and AI are quickly becoming tools to aid in identifying candidates during the hiring and recruitment process.

An effective HR audit looks into every aspect of HR including recruitment and candidate selection, workplace safety, risk management, training, development, employee relations, and compensation/benefits. Conducting an audit will give you the perspective and data to make needed changes to policies and tools, update processes, and create new ones to meet changing organizational needs.


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How to Eliminate Bias in The Workplace

This is a guest post from Johanna Cider. Johanna is a freelance writer from Wellington, New Zealand with a special interest in business, travel and lifestyle topics, as well as experience producing written content for various sites and blogs. Visit Johanna’s Tumblr page to see more of her published work.

With issues of racial discrimination and unequal pay hot topics in the corporate world, the question of how to eliminate bias in the workplace is on every HR professional’s lips.

Discrimination can be overt, but more often, it’s underhand or even unconscious in nature. The human impulse, after all, is to categorize – but when that impulse encroaches into unjust classification according to gender, race, age, or ability, problems arise. Here’s what you can do to help curb bias in your place of work.

Catalogue all possible biases

It’s impossible to prevent biases on the office floor if you haven’t yet identified the many forms that workplace prejudice can take. From affinity bias (the tendency to like another person because they’re similar to you) to the halo effect (the tendency to base your entire opinion of a person on just one of their traits), the first step is to know exactly what bias struggles you are dealing with.

After you’ve done that, undertake a sweep-review of the current employee group. What are the statistical breakdowns for the number of women employed versus men? What’s the racial split? Where are problems likely to arise regarding discrimination? Asking your employees for their feedback directly is the most sure-fire way to flag manifest or latent workplace bias issues, and ensures that communication lines are kept open.

Broaden your candidate criteria

Interviewer bias is a major cause for concern when it comes to work-related discrimination. For example, top-quality candidates may be turned away because they don’t fit with the “culture” of the office – an assumption that may stem from ageism, classism, and aesthetic biases.

For example, if you’re recruiting someone new for an office filled with keen runners, and you decide that the candidate – although suited perfectly for the job – doesn’t quite fit that character bill, then it’s not them that’s the problem, but you. The most assured route to a diverse workforce is broad interviewing criteria, so if your workplace is falling short of this criterion, it may be time to review your policy.

Image Source: Unsplash

Review the office setup

Workplace dynamics can be shaped by things as seemingly insignificant as the feng shui of the office. If particular workers are distanced from others because of their desk placement, they may feel lonely or left out socially, too.

Don’t be afraid of criticism or suggestions for improvement from your own team – create an office or HQ environment amenable to interpersonal communication. If you can’t arrange an open-plan office, ensure there are collaborative spaces on the office floor which allow employees to engage in open dialogue with each other during break time.

Have a check-and-balance system in place

If you’re in charge of final decisions regarding employee appointment and issues of workplace bias, the best thing you can do is realize your own limitations. If you don’t already, always check your practices and policies with an objective party.

Educate

So, you’ve educated yourself and other HR personnel around the topic of workplace bias; now it’s time to truly bring about change on the office floor.

Lead an annual or biennial training day around bias best practices for the whole office (including CEOs and other execs). Don’t shy away from showing the relevance of such programs. Bring in as many global examples as you need – especially to prove to employees who are stubbornly set in their ways – that addressing unconscious discrimination begins at work.

Image Source: Unsplash

Encourage connection

Successful team-building efforts contribute immensely to the elimination of bias in the workplace. Often employees just need to break past the initial barrier with their fellow workers to abolish the stereotypical moulds they may have been fitting others into. Cultivate a sense of togetherness by establishing regular happy-hour drinks for staff each week, or perhaps by setting up a biweekly skill-swapping session between departments.


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Change Management: How to Redefine Job Roles for Existing Employees

Any organization will change as new technology redefines products and customers and changes how jobs are performed, and as teams and roles merge or split.

Over time, this can result in roles which are wildly different from previous iterations of the role, but often with the same employees working in those positions.

This creates risks by preventing leadership from effectively managing employee performance based on job needs now and can hold back a high-performing employee who is expected to perform tasks or skills they were not originally hired for.

Redefining roles will give you the opportunity to both understand and communicate what is expected of employees in their roles now, so both you and they can better manage performance.

Define What is Needed from the Role

Most organizations will have some form of job profiling in place to define what is needed from a role. However, these profiles are often generic, old, or might not even exist at all. Conducting interviews with key employees (including those in the role) will help you to determine actual skills and tasks required for the role now which will help you to see what hard skills are actually required.

For example, if technology has changed, a former requirement may have become completely unnecessary, someone who was highly relevant for the position may not be, and so on.

Use Team-Based Task Allocation to Assign Tasks Based on Individual Strengths

Many workplaces use teams to tackle projects which are often very much interlinked. When you have multiple individuals with similar skillsets working together, you have more freedom to allocate specific tasks based on individual strengths.

Creating team meetings to determine which tasks individuals don’t like to do or which they are bad at will often result in discovering that others enjoy or are good at those tasks. Reallocating (so long as its balanced) will help you to improve the efficiency and the morale of the entire team.

Create Job Profiles to Define Competencies for the Role

Good job profiling often requires third-party assessment or a strong HR component to do so internally, a competency framework to define soft skills which contribute to success, and the ability to correctly analyze what success (rather than simply producing to expectations) looks like in the role.

This will help you to recognize high performers who lack soft skills versus poor performers who lack hard skills or motivation and will help you to offer training or development for motivated employees who could perform better in their role.

Set Up One-on-One Meetings with Individuals

Creating buy-in for change is one of the most difficult aspects of redefining roles, simply because many employees will fear losing their jobs.

Creating one-on-one meetings with leadership to explain what’s happening and why will help many to better understand the process and what’s expected of them, so they are more comfortable and more likely to adapt. It also gives you more opportunities to assess individual strengths so that you know where and why an individual has to develop.

Use Self-Evaluation and Feedback to Solicit Change from Employees

Giving employees the opportunity to evaluate themselves according to new standards and requirements will give them the opportunity to see what they need to change.

You can achieve this by asking for monthly progress and achievement reports from employees, using third-party self-evaluation tools, or have employees draw out self-evaluations of performance goals and competencies.

Why? Self-evaluation gives many the opportunity to consider their performance from a personal perspective, which will create motivation.

Managing roles as they change is important for ensuring the continued productivity and value of the role. Working to create buy-in from employees with transparency and personal development, while using tools including competency frameworks and job profiling to better understand what is needed in a role will help you to manage both by ensuring you know what success looks like in the role and how to get there.


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5 Ways to Address a Performance Gap in Your Team

Skill and performance gaps crop up in every workplace. Jobs, technologies, and even demand change over time. When this happens, recognizing and working to fill performance gaps is crucial to maintaining results and productivity inside your team.

In most cases, performance gaps are the direct result of missing skills inside your team. This could show up as lack of development for team members or missing team members.

The best short-term strategy is to use direct intervention to bridge these gaps with training and hiring, but long-term goals should involve using competency models and frameworks to account for skills gaps before they occur, so that employees are hired, developed, or directly trained to prevent them.

Identify Performance Gaps Correctly

Correctly identifying performance gaps and their source is one of the most important elements of correcting them. Performance gaps can stem from numerous sources, but common reasons include;

  • Lack of job knowledge
  • Changing job requirements
  • Lack of understanding of the role due to improper hiring
  • Ineffective management
  • Physical or emotional conditions in the workplace
  • Leadership and structural problems within the organization

Properly identifying performance gaps may mean bringing in a third-party depending on your existing resources and ability to properly assess your organization.

It’s also a good idea to use multiple data sources such as KPIs, employee assessments, and leadership assessments, which you can then use to cross-validate results.

Train Employees in New Hard Skills

Changing technology often means that employees who were previously very good at their job can no longer use their relevant skills, which often results in a performance gap.

Using competency frameworks and clear job profiles will help you to identify which skills are necessary for the role, which can help you in offering training and development to those who need specific skills to perform.

Use Leadership Development to Prevent Performance Gaps

Leadership and management problems are often a direct cause of performance gaps, especially when high performers are promoted from a technical to a leadership role.

Some high performers make the switch effectively, but many may continue to perform in technical roles, micro-managing teams and doing work themselves instead of empowering their team. This will result in a lack of motivation and a huge performance gap.

Integrating leadership development to ensure that leaders and management know what is expected of them and how they should perform in their roles will help prevent this.

Address Workplace Culture and Environment

Workplace and cultural problems often dramatically affect performance and productivity, with issues stemming from a lack of emotional intelligence, poor communication, and even the actual office layout.

These issues can be identified through assessments, and must often be fixed by taking direct action on specific instances (such as offering communication and teamwork workshops), giving training in emotional intelligence, or creating more flexible and agile workplace solutions.

Integrate a Competency Framework

A good competency framework will help you to recognize and address performance gaps more quickly by creating a foundation to assess and monitor individual role productivity. Competency frameworks recognize what good performance looks like (rather than simply skills), which can help you to review when performance is being affected and how, so you can take steps to correct issues on an individual level.

Performance gaps are a major problem in many teams, but they are often related to leadership, direct skills gaps, or lack of motivation. Integrating good HR tools will help you to assess and solve these problems more quickly, while preventing them in the future.


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Skills of the Future: 10 Skills You’ll Need to Thrive in 2020

This is a guest post from Jomel Alos. Jomel is a Consultant at Guthrie-Jensen Consultants.

It’s not quite right to say that we live in a technological world now more than ever. Over time, technology has been the driving force in various fields such as business, education, medicine, and telecommunications to name a few.

However, technology is dynamic by nature, so it’s quick to change and pave the way for the so- called industrial revolution. After three industrial revolutions, we’re now at the forefront of the fourth one. No question, the technology we have today is far smarter, more powerful, and more encompassing than its predecessors. Smart technologies such as artificial intelligence and robotics are paving the way for the automation of processes across industries.

These days, it’s quite common for companies to utilize AI-powered chatbots, which are quickly transforming service desks by providing immediate answers to customers’ queries via chat.

An automated system in customer service may cut the amount of time that product or service users have to wait for a resolution to their problem since chatbots can be online 24/7. The downside of automation, though, is that there might be a minimal need for human participation in certain tasks. Thus, there might be particular job functions that could become obsolete in the not so distant future.

At the same time, the disappearance of certain types of work could result in the creation of new jobs that are more attuned to industry trends. To cite an example, drone delivery is slowly gaining ground in some areas as companies look to cater to customers who want instant delivery of their goods or help their delivery services get past hard-to-reach areas. Thus, there might be demand for engineers who could speed up drone production and at the same time, ensure the safety of these aerial vehicles.

For employees, this means that they’ll need to upgrade their skill set so that they could break into new job markets. While some might cringe at new challenges, it is through acquiring new skills or updating existing ones that enables one to achieve steady growth as a professional, which is important in fast-tracking promotion.

This infographic identifies the top skills for 2020. Although technological know-how is a must, competencies that relate to creative thinking, critical judgment, and even emotional intelligence, which is a soft skill, are still going to be valuable for future generations of employees. The idea is to produce a well-rounded workforce that could contribute to enhancing the overall quality of life through technological innovations and improved work standards.

This infographic also identifies which industries will be the most popular a couple of years from now, as well as the types of job where work opportunities will abound. By being aware of these things, employers and employees would have an idea of where to best channel their resources and efforts.

Want to take your teams to the next level? Keep an eye on our events for regular learning and development opportunities.


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Creating the Ideal Work Environment: Avoiding Conflicts

This is a guest post by James Lambka. James is an attorney at Wiener&Lambka.

It’s been said that employees don’t quit jobs – they quit bosses. There’s a lot of truth in that, but quite a bit more to it, really. It might be more accurate to say that employees quit bad work environments, rather than quitting actual jobs. So employers, managers, and HR directors should always strive to create a great work environment – one that surrounds employees with what they need for job satisfaction and facilitates swift, satisfactory conflict resolution. But what does that look like?

Characteristics of the Ideal Work Environment

The ingredients that go into making what we call a work environment are many, for example, company location, actual facilities, company culture, employee-employer interactions, and growth opportunities. And the ideal work environment has certain defining characteristics. It may have more, but it will have the following at least.

Reciprocal Expectations and Communication

Bosses and managers have to be leaders who clearly communicate company strategies, objectives, goals, guidelines, and expectations. They also have to abide by them and hold themselves to the same standards they do employees. Otherwise, they may be facing anarchy and have to spend too much time and energy on conflict resolution.

It’s all about the relationship, and that has to be built on open two-way communication. Ideally, employers will provide a platform or channel for employees to express opinions and concerns. And employers have to act on suggestions/concerns, or employee participation in communication will dry up. Employees have to know that bosses, managers, and HR people value their contributions.

Emphasis on Work-Life Balance

In addition, the ideal work environment shouldn’t ask employees to sacrifice too much of their personal interests, needs, and goals in order to further their careers. Employees should, rather, be encouraged to strike a reasonable balance between work demands and personal life. Employees shouldn’t have to work loads of extra hours to advance, and supervisors and managers should help employees achieve balance.

Opportunities for Training and Development

In order to attract and retain the best talent, employers simply must offer opportunities for training, development, and growth. The ideal work environment, then – one that keeps top talent around and has little need for conflict resolution – provides challenges and opportunities for progression to keep employees motivated and to keep them from stagnating. Training and development programs should also include components treating interpersonal skills, team building, effective communication, and conflict resolution – all of which can lead to both higher productivity and greater satisfaction levels.

Recognition/Rewards for Achievement/Performance

In almost every situation, everyone is happier and more productive when his or her hard work and accomplishments are recognized and rewarded in some way. So the ideal work environment is one where employees’ efforts are rewarded and encouraged. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be individual monetary rewards. Sometimes, just verbal recognition from a supervisor is enough. Employers do need to make sure they recognize and reward both individual and team performance to ensure employees give their best.

Strategies and Tactics for Avoiding Conflicts and for Conflict Resolution

Despite your best efforts to create a great work environment, sometimes things still go wrong. It’s just inevitable that when two or more human beings work together, there will be differences and tensions – and decreased productivity as a result. The key is deploying effective conflict-resolution strategies before the conflicts escalate. So here are the top-5 tips for managing workplace conflict (Goalcast):

  1. Understand Causes of Conflict

Understanding the causes of anything can help you deal with it more effectively, and so it is with workplace conflict. While the causes of conflict may be internal, psychological, or emotional and not necessarily objective (because the conditions may be merely perceived), they are no less real to the person experiencing them. Top causes include:

  • Stress/job dissatisfaction
  • Violation of personal space
  • Overwork
  • Workload inequality
  • Favoritism
  • Disputes over duties/quality of work
  1. Establish Clear Expectations and Guidelines

Many of the causes of conflict can be avoided when clear expectations and guidelines are established early on. Employee handbooks and guidelines should include clear job descriptions, scope of authority, chain of command, and behaviors/actions that will not be tolerated.

  1. Create a Good Environment

A good work environment will not only aid in avoiding workplace conflict, but will dispose employees to speedily resolving conflicts if they do arise. An important aspect of the environment here is supervisors and managers who serve as exceptional role models.

  1. Foster Open Communication

Open communication is critical both for avoiding conflict and for effective conflict resolution. Open, effective channels of communication will help ensure that employee concerns, irritations, and perceived wrongs don’t fester and escalate.

  1. Call on HR

The HR department can be an invaluable resource when in it comes to conflict avoidance and conflict resolution. “Preventing and addressing workplace conflict is a critical function for a human resources department, and your HR team should be well-trained and properly educated about how to handle these issues” (Goalcast).

What to Do When Conflict Goes Beyond HR

But occasionally, even in a great work environment, disagreements can escalate and get out of hande. In 2014 “409 people were fatally injured in work-related attacks (NSC). And for people in healthcare and professional and business services, violence (including concussion and other traumatic brain injury) is the third leading cause of death (NSC).

While the incidence of workplace violence remains grossly under-reported (Rave Mobile Safety), enough does get reported to let us know that it’s a genuine problem. It’s just a fact that employees, especially those in psychiatric healthcare, can become victims of physical attack on the job, with concussions and other head injuries being a common outcome. In such an instance, your best recourse is to call on attorneys who have special expertise in this area.


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How to Identify a Reliable HR Assessment

Whether your HR assessment is intended for pre-hire or for measuring competency, output, or leadership potential in existing employees, it’s crucial that your provider has the capacity to deliver to your needs.

However, with dozens of HR assessment providers on the market, choosing the right one can be difficult. With buzzwords ranging from big data and gamification to smart-analytics, it can be difficult to determine what actually provides value and what a good service looks like.

Reviewing what you need and where is an important first step, but afterwards, you still have to identify which providers can reliably offer a good service that works.

Trademarks of a reliable HR assessment

The following factors will help you when reviewing and selecting your assessment provider, so you can make the best choice for your organization.

History of Success

It goes without saying that any HR assessment you choose for your company should have a proven history of success in other companies. While this doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for your company, having a history of proven success, either through case studies or proven testimonials will give you a reliable indicator of whether the assessment will work.

Measurement Techniques and Validation

No matter what you’re working to assess, your provider should use science-based methods to perform assessments, starting with their base methodology. Most HR assessments begin with job analysis to determine what should be measured and why. A validation study to verify that the selected criterion will work for your organization is also important (although a pre-validated assessment is something to avoid because you can only validate based on specific conditions for your organization) because it will work to ensure that the factors or competencies being looked for or scored actually relate to performance. No assessment will be 100% valid, simply because there are too many factors involved with human performance, so validity is always context specific in how it applies to your business or even your specific role. Despite that, it’s still important to have because it tells you that available data suggests the assessment will benefit your organization.

Research-Based

Any reliable assessment should be based on extensive research that can be shared, proven, and referred to throughout the process. Industrial/Organizational Psychology is the science of behavior in the workplace, and any reliable HR assessment will use it when forming assessments, methods, and when selecting tools.

Personalization

Your specific company needs are likely specific and individual to your organization. For this reason, nearly any HR assessment must be tailored to meet the individual needs of your organization or developed for your company from a base model. For example, your provider will have to adjust how competencies are scored or valued in your company to ensure it suits the specific application in your company.

Ongoing Support

Whether your HR Assessment developer is creating an internal training program and helping you launch the assessment yourself or working with you throughout the process, you need to be certain of ongoing support. Anything can go wrong at any time, and a reliable company will admit to that and offer ongoing support to ensure you have the tools and structure to ensure long-term success.

HR assessments can fit into recruiting, development, performance management, and leadership planning, so the requirements and output of your provider should vary accordingly. However, if your provider is using science-based assessments with good support, personalization or tailoring options, and a reliable history of success, they can likely deliver the value you need.


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