Friday, December 7, 2012

Is Your Talent Management Strategy Improving Employee Engagement?

When it comes to talent management, a surprising number of companies still believe that the process stops the minute an employee steps in the door. Even if they claim to cultivate, train, motivate and monitor employees to optimize productivity, their actual investment in these strategies isn’t what it should be – and their bottom lines tend to reflect this.

Employees who are simply left to their own devices and given zero feedback actually show lower levels of engagement than those who are part of a company with solid engagement strategies in place.

Why is engagement so important? Low employee engagement costs organizations money! And lots of it.  Instead of explaining how, I thought I would let the numbers tell you. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but these are worth millions in business costs.
  • An estimated 23% of payroll cost is unproductive because of low engagement.
  • Only two out of every ten people are fully engaged in their job.
  • Only 14% of the workforce is in a role that draws on their strengths.
Source: HiringSmart

To further these numbers, a Gallup research poll indicates that 54% of U.S. employees are not at all engaged at work and only 29% are truly motivated and engaged. Imagine only half of employees being fully passionate and driven to accomplish company goals – there seems to be a lot of room for improvement.

Let’s go over briefly what ‘employee-engagement’ is. According to Scarlette Surveys International, employee engagement is defined as the measureable degree of an employee’s positive or negative emotional attachment to their job, colleagues and organization which influences their willingness to learn & perform at work. Overall, an engaged employee is passionate about their job, is dedicated to achieving business goals, and is committed to the success of their company.

As you can infer, employee engagement is an important factor in business success. In fact, “Engagement is the single most reliable indicator of business performance. The more engaged a group of people is, the more committed they are to generating results” ( Jan van der Hoop, Vice President of HiringSmart Canada). Thus one can assume that an increase in employee engagement should result in a subsequent increase in employee performance. It is this increase in performance that will set off a chain of events that will result in organizational success on many levels including; employee satisfaction, customer retention, increased revenues, decreased costs, and most importantly, a move toward a potent talent-base which is always a good thing.
  • The top 16% of employees generate 60% of revenues.
  • The bottom 16% of employees cost the company 20% in revenues.
Source: HiringSmart

If your levels of productivity and engagement could use a boost, consider the following tips:

4 Tips for Elevating Employee Engagement

1. Take employee engagement seriously. Underlying almost every personnel problem, from corner cutting to poor communication to general high turnover, there’s a central issue at work; employees who simply don’t care about long term company success. When you’re ready to tackle an engagement problem, don’t just stay on the surface or treat the symptoms. Get to the heart of the matter. And whatever you find, take action. Adjust compensation if you need to, or get rid of a bad apple in upper management, but whatever you do, face the issue head on. How do you find what the issues are? ASK! Employee engagement surveys are a great tool for collecting meaningful data about the current state of employee engagement present in your organization. And don’t just ask once – ask frequently. Encourage managers to open the door to honest feedback and communication with employees. emPerform includes an online survey tool that allows companies to create and execute and unlimited number of engagement surveys (as well as others such as 360 surveys, onboarding surveys, and customer surveys). See also : The Do’s and Don’ts of Executing Engagement Surveys.

2. Beware of external motivators. Simple rewards and punishments can only take engagement levels so far. If employees go through the motions or fake enthusiasm only after being begged, bribed, or threatened, something’s wrong with your talent management system. This is why it is important to not only ask once, but follow up and ask again and refine your engagement strategy to reflect what works and what doesn’t in your particular organization.

3. Improve, customize and standardize your employee review process. Does your evaluation process actually elevate employee output and improve results in a meaningful way? If not, reconsider both your data management tools and your company philosophy regarding reviews and goal setting. It may be time for a new evaluation platform, one that not only automates the process of collecting performance data, but also helps you apply it in ways that drives meaningful change. emPerform offers a comprehensive suite of talent management tools that can help your HR personnel integrate and cross reference appraisal data, 360 data, self-assessments, and engagement surveys. Any trends can be quickly pointed out and addressed and the results can be fed into important decision making processes like compensation planning and succession management.  Streamlined reviews ensure that performance metrics are reflected in other important engagement tools such as promotions and pay.

4. Make sure your employee evaluations have year-round impact. Even the best appraisal system won’t raise engagement levels unless managers are willing to follow through. Keep communication channels open and active all year long, and recognize that both employee and company success are built on a foundation of sustained team effort. Performance management software that includes a tool for year-round feedback is essential for giving managers and employees a platform for documenting and recognizing performance accomplishments and milestones and ensuring that those feats are considered when the annual review comes around (see emPerform tag) and ensuring that engagement is encouraged all year – not just during appraisals.

What ever the current state of engagement is on your team, in your department, or across your organization as a whole, it is up to HR and managers to effectively assess the current levels and devise a realistic and effective plan to get employees excited about reaching their goals and actively owning their roles. There will always be a select few staff members who show less-than-desired levels of passion; however, great processes and keen surveys and performance reviews ensures that the segment of under-engaged is kept to the bare minimum and that high-engagement and excitement becomes the standard for employee excellence and rewards.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Collaborating in the Cloud

The Ottawa Business Journal recently published an article entitled: Collaborating in the Cloud. John Smith, Director of Enterprise Business Solution for CRG emPerform, sat down with OBJ reporter, Greg Markey, to discuss HR in the Cloud and his thoughts about Cloud technology in general.

Read the article here: 

To elaborate on the piece, we sat down with John and asked him a few more questions.

What is HR in the Cloud?
HR in the Cloud is a groundbreaking collaboration of unified SaaS solutions that provides powerful and trusted talent management technology to businesses of any size looking to attract, build, and retain a competitive workforce. It is ‘One stop Shopping for Talent Management Technology'. HR in the Cloud integrates applicant tracking, human resource information system (HRIS), performance management, and learning and compliance management. Together the products provide a streamlined process from recruitment through the entire employee life cycle. This groundbreaking venture stemmed from the need for affordable HR software that can deliver rich functionality and proven results as opposed to thinner offerings that lack specialization.

What are the benefits of SaaS/Cloud Solutions in HR?
Today’s business landscape is more fierce and competitive than ever. In order to survive and thrive, companies of all sizes must find cost-effective ways to manage and optimize business processes. SaaS solutions are an attractive option as they allow even the smallest of companies to implement crucial technologies. SaaS solutions offer speedy deployment, affordability, controlled risk, reduced I.T. burden, flexibility and most importantly, accessibility. Employees are often the largest organizational expense. HR in the Cloud’s Unified SaaS solutions allow organizations to optimize this investment. Also, cloud technology's accessibility is very appealing for the growing number of business maintaining a geographically diverse workforce. Companies require a single interface and central repository for data and cloud solutions offer that. Cloud technology is only going to gain in popularity. 

How did the collaboration come about?
HR in the Cloud stemmed from the growing demand for rich talent management solutions that can be deployed in the cloud at an affordable price. Many vendors try to be everything to everybody, resulting in wide offerings that are quite thin. HR in the Cloud is the solution to this. It is a group of companies that share similar business values and market spaces and that are at the top of their game in their particular area. This collaboration allows each party to focus on what they do best - providing customers with powerful technology for monitoring their human capital.

Talent Management processes span recruiting, onboarding, performance management, succession planning, compensation management, learning and development, goal setting and the list goes on. Realistic enterprises are looking to update their processes in stages. SaaS technology allows them to roll each stage out faster than traditional deployment options and HR in the Cloud gives companies the peace of mind knowing that when they are ready to deploy new processes, there will be a proven and compatible solution available to them.

How can someone learn more?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

HR in the Cloud™ Offers Unified SaaS Solutions to the HR Industry

Four industry-leading HR technology vendors have joined forces to satisfy the growing demand for powerful, affordable, and complete HR software as a service (SaaS) solutions. HR in the Cloud™  combines the best-of-breed software of myStaffingPro, BambooHR, CRG emPerform, and Strategia Ed.

Capitalizing on the success of their individual solutions, the four companies have collaborated to create HR in the Cloud, a groundbreaking collaboration of unified SaaS solutions that integrates applicant tracking, human resource information system (HRIS), performance management, and learning and compliance management.   Together the products will provide a streamlined process from recruitment through the entire employee life cycle.   This groundbreaking venture stemmed from the need for affordable HR software that can deliver rich functionality and proven results as opposed to thinner offerings that lack specialization.

Today’s business landscape is more fierce and competitive than ever. In order to survive and thrive, companies of all sizes must find cost-effective ways to manage and optimize business processes. SaaS solutions are an attractive option as they allow even the smallest of companies to implement crucial technologies. SaaS solutions offer speedy deployment, affordability, controlled risk, reduced I.T. burden, flexibility and most importantly, accessibility.  Employees are often the largest organizational expense. HR in the Cloud’s Unified SaaS solutions allow organizations to optimize this investment.

The life cycle begins with myStaffingPro applicant tracking system.  myStaffingPro provides the technology to recruit, qualify, track and hire applicants. 

“HR in the Cloud joins myStaffingPro with the best-in-class HRIS, performance management, and learning and compliance management systems.  The partnership joins four of the strongest solution specialists into a unified talent management suite,” stated CEO at myStaffingPro Bob Schulte.

Once hired, the employee data is exported into the HRIS system, BambooHR.  BambooHR features employee data management, as well as PTO, benefit, and training tracking.
"HR in the Cloud addresses HR needs throughout the employee life cycle. Bamboo HR's superior service, security, and flexibility is now enhanced through its relationship with myStaffingPro, emPerfom, and Strategia which shares these high standards," added BambooHR CEO Ben Peterson.

The final phase, aligning and developing employees, is accomplished with emPerform’s robust employee performance management suite and Strategia’s learning and compliance management system.  emPerform comes standard with vital performance management tools such as automated appraisals, succession planning, compensation management, goal alignment, 360 multi-rater reviews, and reporting functionality.  Strategia offers the Ed Learning System™ which provides a global platform to plan, deliver, track and manage an organization’s formal and informal learning activities, compliance, competencies and certification programs as well as to create and deliver content through one or multiple portals including eCommerce gateways.

“HR in the Cloud is a talent management suite at its finest.  Rather than merging and acquiring countless systems, HR in the Cloud connects four best-in-class specialist solutions.  The result is a talent management super horse that still has a complete development and support team,” added Schulte.

HR in the Cloud provides a complete end-to-end recruiting and talent management platform to enable businesses to effectively attract, recruit, align, reward, train, and retain top talent.   To learn more about HR in the Cloud, please visit

HR in the Cloud will debut their offering to more than 4,000 H.R. professionals at the 2011 HR Technology Conference October 3-5 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

About HR in the Cloud
HR in the Cloud is a groundbreaking collaboration of unified H.R. SaaS solutions. HR in the Cloud integrates the applicant tracking technology of myStaffingPro, the human resource information system (HRIS) technology of BambooHR, the performance management technology of CRG emPerform, and the learning and compliance management technology of Strategia.   Together the products provide a streamlined process from recruitment through the entire employee life cycle. For more information, visit:

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Who is Responsible for Talent Management?

As talent management solution vendors, we are constantly asked ‘who in the organization is responsible for talent management’? The broad answer to this is ‘everyone’. The best processes that we have seen for developing and monitoring organizational talent includes a role for HR, managers, executives, and employees. In most cases, it is a fair statement to say that HR is responsible for leading the charge; however, without active involvement and support from managers and business heads, an ideal talent management system or strategy will never realize its full potential (Gina Abudi, Developing Organizational Talent).

What role do Managers play?: While HR usually provides the processes, workflows, and systems to enable talent management, it is ultimately managers who are responsible for nurturing, guiding, developing, and identifying talent. Managers work directly with employees and as such have top-of-mind indications of performance issues, development requirements, possible successors, and overall output. For an effective talent management strategy to take effect, it is important that managers are given the tools, time, and training to effectively communicate, document, assess, identify, develop, and align talent. HR can provide the knowledge and platforms for evaluating and engaging employees, but management must properly USE those tools and processes.

What role do executives play? Executives and business heads are usually the defining force of the effectiveness of an organization’s talent management strategy. HR does serve as consultants, shepherds and owners of tactical execution of talent management processes; however, without commitment from the top, these processes are likely to be underestimated by managers and thus poorly executed. Talent management should be at the heart of business strategy. It is vital that executives show their commitment to talent management systems and processes in order to ensure user adoption and foster management’s engagement in the process. Executives often times approve the framework and systems that will be used for company talent management. HR can do its best to educate and lobby for ideal workflows and systems but decision makers must ultimately approve them in order for them to be implemented.

What role do employees play? Fortunately, employee roles in building a solid talent management strategy also have direct benefits to the organization. Employees are responsible for developing and executing performance goals that are aligned with company objectives, are expected to participate in performance and development plans and discussions, and are often times asked to provide insightful feedback about processes, peers, and management. The good news is that studies show that employees who are aware and involved in performance management processes are more likely to be engaged in their roles. High employee engagement has a direct correlation to organizational success - and that’s just good news for everyone.

What role doesn’t HR play? It is clear from the above outlines that HR seems to be involved in almost every aspect of talent management. In a  sense this is true – a company’s HR department has the mindset and expertise to identify bottlenecks in talent management, and propose, execute, lead, and maintain any remedies. HR’s role is challenging and sometimes underestimated. HR should be leaders and experts of their organization’s talent management strategies and yet possess the skills and patience necessary to convey instructions and processes to every level within the organization. Recent years have shed light on the strategic importance of HR’s contribution to a company’s bottom line. This, coupled with the availability of cost effective solutions for automating systems, has led to HR being expected to add performance accountability to their laundry list of duties. The good news is that technology is freeing up more and more time for HR to focus on talent management strategy and optimization instead of talent management administration.

Quick Tip: One of the most effective strategies that we have seen organizations deploy is the creation of ‘Talent Management Tactical Teams’ that consist of a relevant mix of management, HR, I.T., decision makers, and in some cases, top performers. The Tactical Team is responsible for reviewing, evaluating, and executing an organization’s talent management strategy and systems. This approach is very effective as it exploits the strengths and weaknesses of current practices and produces a talent management strategy that works for every level and department. We have also found that solution purchases made to simplify and streamline talent management processes are more likely to be considered and approved in a timely manner if decision makers are reassured that solutions have been analyzed and given the go-ahead from multiple departments.


Gina Abudi. Who Is Responsible for Developing Talent? Accessed September 19, 2011.

Benefits of Deploying Software in the Cloud

Over the past few year, 'Cloud Computing' has gone beyond being a technological fad to redefining the way businesses approach and implement software systems.What makes hosting software in the 'Cloud'  so great? Below are some Cliffs notes explaining the very real and very tangible benefits of exploiting Cloud-based software technology.

Reduced Costs: Because cloud technology is often paid incrementally (on a subscription or SaaS basis), businesses don't have to pay as much to get the software implemented. Also, because cloud technology can be deployed on the host's servers,  there is no need for an organization to invest in the I.T. resources or internal hardware needed to house the software.

Automation: Again, because cloud technology is maintained on a host's servers, software updates can be applied automatically. There is no need for I.T. departments to schedule and deploy software upgrades.

Levels the playing field: Because of lower initial costs and the reduced need for I.T. reliance, Cloud computing is accessible to even small businesses looking to take advantage of process enhancing software. This creates a level playing field where companies of all sizes can take advantage of the same technology.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

User Adoption: Ensuring a Smooth Transition to a New Talent Management System

Let’s face it – change isn’t always welcomed or accepted especially when it comes to introducing new technology into a business environment. One would assume that employees and managers would be champing at the bit to use an automated and intuitive Talent Management System that would streamline and automate  core talent management processes. But…you know what they say about assuming.

The reality is that people are scared of change and are even more afraid of change that involves a new technology. Before introducing a new technology into the workplace, it is vital that an adoption plan is in place to ensure that everyone is motivated, willing, and able to jump on board.

Fostering user adoption is the only way to ensure that your Talent Management system is not only being used, but also that it is being used correctly. So how can you take the fear out of using a new technology? Here are some great tips to ensure user adoption doesn’t hinder you from exploiting new technology:

1. Convey Usefulness: Make sure that all employees and managers understand the appraisal process and how their role is useful to the process. If people feel as though their contributions make a difference, they are more likely to participate. Ensure that everyone is aware that the talent management system ties appraisals to other areas of their job such as development and compensation and into other areas of the organization such as corporate goals and direction. Everyone should be made aware that their usage could ultimately affect their future in the organization and also the organization as a whole.

2. Reassure Ease-of-Use: Most people are intimidated by new technology because they are afraid that they won’t know how to use it properly. Do you remember how scared your parents were when you tried to show them how to email? I do. But I also remember how relieved they were when they realized that it wasn’t very difficult. When you choose a TM solution, be sure that it was designed the end-user in mind and thus has a familiar interface that is incredibly user-friendly. Take the fear out of the equation by reassuring users that the new system is easy-to-use.  Host introductory training sessions for employees and conduct follow ups to ensure that everyone understands HOW to use the system correctly and who should be contacted if they have any questions.

3. Monitor Usage: The only way to see if a new technology is being adopted is to monitor its usage. Be certain that your TM solution includes the ability to create reports and dashboards that show the real-time status of talent management initiatives. It is much easier to follow up with the non-users when you can see who they are.

4. Reward Usage: This sounds juvenile but it is important to reward desired behavior. Whether it be an encouraging comment, a reward to motivate users to complete their forms on time, or  one-on-one sit downs to discuss the results of the overall process; people are more likely to accept the technology if they know that the results have a positive aftermath.

5. Communicate Support from the Top: This is probably the most important tip. In order for any new process or technology to be accepted into an organization, you need full support from the top management and executive team. It helps if top-level staff members are involved in the process of introducing the system to the organization, explaining its benefits, and conveying the organization’s usage expectations. People are less likely to resists if they are fully aware that adoption isn’t an option.

Overall, change can be scary and adoption of new technology can sometimes be met with contention, but if employees are made aware of the benefits to them and to the organization of welcoming a new and better talent management system, they are more likely to embrace the change. Ensuring full and proper user adoption will translate into you getting the most out of your Talent Management System.