by Kate Devyatkina, CEO of Ahundred
on March 11, 2020

For almost 5 years, I've been responsible for HR in IT company, with the intention to automate particular processes. When it came to beginning a new career stage, my team and I seriously decided to build a new HR tool that would simplify their business lives.

The first step was the validation of the hypothesis with the help of Customer Discovery. Before setting off developing the product, it was crucial to find out whether the market really needed it or not.

I conducted more than 50 interview calls with HR specialists from all around the globe. And I concluded that it didn't matter where you were from: the USA, Canada, Brazil, Germany or UK - all the world's HRs faced the same problems daily.

In this article, I'm going to share 7 insights that I've discovered during the course of my research. And if you want your HR to work efficiently, I recommend reading it as something listed is "the pain" they wished to get rid of for a long time.

The filling of your vacancies is slowed down by the people who initiated them

Insight №1

It's not that easy to attract a gifted person to your company. Brilliant candidates are in high demand on the labor market and don't wait for an offer for so long, that's why the primary goal of the HRD is to optimize the hiring process to reduce the time of going along the path from the first connection to receiving an offer by the potential candidate.

Along with it, about 80% of all pollees HRDs complained about the arguments with vacancy initiators on such points:

  • Low level of internal employer's involvement in the hiring process (viewing the CV, scheduling the interview, feedback on the candidates).
  • Playing for time before deciding on the offer to the potential candidate (I guess everyone who has ever hired somebody at least once heard: "He/ She is great, but let's look at others, hold him/ her for a while," instead of making an offer).
  • Searching for a non-existent, multi-handed, multi-legged employee (everyone wants to hire a perfect employee who is able to do the work of three, but such people are very rare, and the HR department has to sober up with the current market situation).

What's the solution?

First of all, it's better to outline that the process of filling the position is not a one-way street. Recently, I read a case of ex-HRD at Netflix, Patty McCord, who stated: "If the vacancy employer doesn't respond to the recruiter, doesn't give any feedback on the candidate, and is not involved in the process, then the work on the vacancy is stopped."

The policies carried out by McCord lie in: searching for talent is not only the matter of the HR department but also the managers' who initiate these vacancies. They are involved in the formation of requirements, in the recruitment and in giving feedback either to a candidate or to a recruiter, and by finding a cool candidate and helping attract him/ her to a position. I am assured that owing to this policy Netflix is successful in attracting the ace of aces.

According to my experience in working with internal clients, vacancies where the employer was engaged in the hiring process, were filled many times faster than others. That's why this issue was usually solved by the dialogue and outlining the position. That's how it works!

At Netflix, there were 3 fundamental strategies in talent management philosophy. First, the managers were mostly in charge of the responsibility of hiring people and making decisions on firing. Secondly, we were looking for a person who would ideally fit for one or another position but not only okay for it. And, finally, the third one: we were ready to say goodbye to a very good person whose skills fitted no more to the work that was to be done.
Patty McCord
ex-HRD at Netflix

Chaotic actions when onboarding a new person to a company

Insight №2

The first working day is stressful, and no one can agree more. New people, rules, and tasks, and no matter how experienced you are, you feel uncomfortable. That's why it is crucial to build a culture of onboarding new employees - to minimize employee's negative emotions during the first day.

Although, it is known from the HRD poll that there are companies where the onboarding process is very chaotic. Thus, among problems with the onboarding, there are the following:

  • Unreadiness of the department which the new staff member is joining, to provide them with instructions and induction
  • An absence of mentors for junior positions (or a lack of time on mentoring)
  • An employee is out on their own and at best on the HR during the first working day.

What's the solution?

We can draw an analogy with meeting the employee's needs on the first working day with basic needs according to Maslow's theory. Specifically:

- To provide an employee with a ready-to-work working place

- Give them information on where all the necessary things are located (kitchen, water, etc.)

- Provide then with the security and a so-called "buddy," who will help them along the path, bringing them up to speed

- Giving quick access to all the necessary information on the company's policies.

Nowadays, there are more and more programs that allow automation of this process - from simple chat-bots that answer the various questions of newcomers to dedicated software for their adapting and teaching, with documents, an onboarding program, and even with assessment tests.

More data for HR analytics

Insight №3

HR analytics is a vast scope of work for which in some big companies (1000+ employees), a separate employee is hired. So, in the field where is a lot of data, it makes sense to hire a dedicated person to work with it.

The main goal of HR analytics is to search for hidden insights, detecting specific trends that are peculiar for the company, but some of them are not that obvious, not getting into the depth of numbers and statistics. Based on these insights and trends, the company can change its HR-strategy, impose a row of innovations, and back yourself in case of some negative trends to appear.

For example, there is a case provided by one rather big company that detected that most of the quitting occurred in March and September. Taking into account this tendency, before the dangerous period, the company conducted a number of activities that increased employees' loyalty and also purposefully worked with those who were at risk. Thus, it reduced the percentage of staff turnover and prepared them for replacements in resources.

The domain of HR analytics is exciting, and most HRs are eager to get into its depth even in small companies. But if in some companies there is more than enough data to be analyzed, in others there is a lack of it, besides the 150-350 pollees. This is because the main part of this data is passed on orally or is stated in different documents that are extremely hard to be unified within one system.

What's the solution?

Initially, you have to gather this data to have something to work with.

To analyze the hiring process, you have to keep a record using tables or special CRM for recruitment (there are a lot of them nowadays, I prefer the Cleverstaff).

If you are interested in the matters of employees' engagement, then you can use software that allows holding surveys cyclically. For example, Officevibe or Honestly.

There are also HRIS-solutions, for example, BambooHR, where you can see stats for all HR processes starting from days off and sick leaves to the reasons for quitting the job.

Babysitting jobs

Insight №4

70% of pollees HRs claimed that they were mostly entrusted with babysitting for employees, managers, and department heads, better than with strategic tasks (for example, HR analytics, HR strategy, HR innovations).

The position portrait gets twisted, and we clearly see the result - the position threshold is reduced almost to nothing, and the results of HRs work measure the satisfaction with a conducted corporate event or a variety of cookies bought but not with the growth of the business indices of the company.

What's the solution?

Initially, it's better to begin with redefining the position of HR. I know that lots of companies where HRDs are involved in business development (whose tasks are hiring the market rock stars and also building the corporate culture based on sincerity and transparency) are more engaged in work and have no time for scheming.

Great teams are not created with incentives, procedures, and perks. They are created by hiring talented people who are adults and want nothing more than to tackle a challenge, and then communicating to them, clearly and continuously, about what the challenge is.
Patty McCord
ex-HRD at Netflix

Remote Work becomes the norm

Insight №5

When I communicated with my foreign colleagues, 60-70% of them were the representatives of companies where people worked remotely, having only a head office. And what's great was they all considered it a positive tendency. By the wisely organized work, reporting systems, online meetings, and periodic real-time meetings, you can build an extremely efficient team.

Despite the positive sides of Remote working, there are, however, some risks. For example, it is more challenging to build a proper corporate culture in the company where employees work remotely.

As well as to involve the staff in goal achievement and to attract them to the common company goal.

That's why the calling for the HRs of the future that is now about to be adopted by those of the present, is the creation of a unified company culture for employees who probably haven't seen each other in the offline.

What's the solution?

The World is big and small at the same time. That's why companies gather teams on regular real-time meetings, to chat and get to know each other more. Meetings can take place in the cities where the most significant quantity of employees is, or where there is a representative office. Such events unite and humanize, though we became digitalized, we are still in need of simple human communication.

The second point that is connected with the remote team is the ability to work on one's own. As it might be a total sticking to discipline, then at the hiring stage, one pays attention to a person's self-organization skills, ability to work according to the given rules and schedule, the way he/ she is keeping accounts, and sticking to a routine.

Randomness and formality of the Performance Management process

Insight №6

Almost every company I was acquainted with in terms of my research, evaluated an employee's professional growth. The difference lies in periodicity - first hold this every quarter, second, once in 6 months, third - once a year. But all of them have almost the same pain point - the process of Performance Management is chaotic and tends to become a simple formality instead of being an effective tool for company development.

Among the most frequent issues connected with Performance Management are:

  1. Professional growth is not written in detail, and the employee doesn't know what he supposes to do to get the promotion and to know where to grow.
  2. If the road map is developed, it usually becomes the formality, as there is no regular progress to check on the goals, and one recollects it just before the deadline.
  3. The employee doesn't receive in-time feedback on the results of the work by the manager or the team.
  4. Absence of data in real-time (with the possibility to immediately react to the problem and improve the result).
  5. Lack of development history of all the employees within one place (a so-called card-file with reports on the growth zones and results).
  6. A problem of quick access to the information (usually one has to gather it by various Google Docs spread all over or even recollect from conversations).

What's the solution?

Among those who are satisfied with the Performance Management process, I found those HRs who used particular software, where employees could work with their goals, fix the progress, and also get feedback on the work results.

I mentioned above that I was looking for insights for the product, and the Performance Management automation seemed to be the most driving.

That's why my team and I developed the product that relieved all pain points connected with the process. Ahundred provides such solutions:

1. A current situation toward the achievements in real-time with the visual dashboard (it is either convenient for a manager, or HR specialist, or an employee).

2. Automatic push to both sides on filling in the progress (it is automatically set in-app, without the help of the person-reminder).

3. A possibility to gather feedback from the team, mentor, and the head.

4. Leaderboard with the ratings on the team's performance.

5. Personal profile with the information on the performance and the feedback within one place).

6. An option to request a 1on1 meeting and also storing their results with the assigning to a particular employee - in the personal profiles.

Low percentage of employee involvement in goal achievement

Insight №7

Undoubtedly, every manager dreams for the team to execute not only routine tasks but to be engaged in the goal achievement process, the realization of which will helps the company cut through some red tape.

In reality, routine steals the employees' time, and there is no one to blame. Some organizations try to find guilty people, and they tend to be HRs who, you see, have hired unengaged people or failed to realize their involvement potential. HRs throw the cap over the mill, conducting millions of polls, team building, corporate events, buying cookies, and coffee of excellent quality, but this doesn't work, and the involvement level remains the same.

What's the solution?

Instead of pointing fingers, it's better to think over the method of work with business goals achievement to provide a high engagement level.

Experience of dream companies (such as Google, Netflix) shows that an OKR (Objective & Key Results) method influences much on the increase in involvement.

OKR (Objectives and Key Results) is a method for achieving company business goals. It is based on the synchronization of the professional goals of every employee or big company goals.

Why does it work? Because OKRs are created with the help of the team, and thus, people can contribute to it. Moreover, OKRs are publicly seen, and all the teams have access to the list and can pick any to work on.

Usually, it goes like that: the company shares a list of global goals to a department manager, and he/ she holds a brainstorming session with the team as a result of which they should find the answers to such questions:

What can we do to bring the company closer to these results?

How can everyone help?

All the details on how to work with OKRs you can find in article.

You can both work with OKRs in Google Sheets and use special software. Being inspired by market research, we decided to build a program that helped automate the work with OKR Management and along with it to bind the system with employees' goals, and to get a Performance Management Solution where you could track both individual and team goals.

To wrap it all up:

  1. Be involved in the searching of talents and encourage the HR team in this challenging task.
  2. Help building the onboarding culture, as the first working day of your team member is crucially important.
  3. Provide your HRD with the necessary tools that automate a row of routine tasks and increase the team's productivity.
  4. Take your HRs as strategic players who build the company's culture and claim the corresponding result.
  5. Listen and hear your HR, and you'll both be productive and happy :)
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