Monday, September 15, 2014

Workplace flexibility is a prized benefit: Some tips on how making it work

     No question, flexibility is the buzzword of the hour. And although it certainly sounds like a noble goal, can companies actually make it work?  Here are some points given by Kira Makagon:

Realistic expectations

Makagon cites a recent survey of millenial employees, in which 60% of respondents said their employers expect them to be reachable during non-work time, and 70% said they work 20 hours or more outside regular office hours. That kind of demand on people’s time could come back to bite employers — not just because of burnt-out workers, but because employees who simply wish to work a normal schedule could come to be viewed as “not trying hard enough,” Makagon says.

Technology: Double-edged sword

Today’s communication options make it too easy for organizations to have those overblown expectations. Makagon suggests the following:

Give your employees the ability to manage their business and personal communications separately, from the same device. Do your best to manage expectations regarding appropriate email response times, especially during the night, and on weekends and vacation periods.

That ‘martyr’ feeling

Makagon cites a recent Glassdoor survey that revealed half of American workers don’t take all their vacation time, and 15% don’t take any time off at all. Glassdoor calls that phenomenon the ‘work martyr complex,’ or feelings of insecurity combined with a ‘nobody-else-can-do-my-job’ attitude.

“Both employers and employees must shift their ideas about job security to truly achieve work-life balance and a flexible work environment,” Makagon says. “Employees shouldn’t leave for the beach with a task list in tow, and employers should respect their need to take a break.”

A valuable perk

No, question, Makagon says, workplace flexibility is a highly desired feature of today’s workplace. Millennials, especially, would prefer the option of remote working, and many say they’d take less salary to have that choice.

Bottom line: “You have the power to motivate employees with a dispensable resource,” says Makagon. “So use it wisely.”

Don’t Forget Ergonomics Away from the Office

Employees who work from home or travel for work should be taught to assess their ad-hoc workspaces for ergonomic risks, said Marilyn Ekdahl Ravicz, author of Ergonomics for Home-Based Workers: Use Your Brain to Save Your Body (Abbott Press, 2013).
Using poorly set up devices while working on the road, or from home, can cause a range of injuries to the musculoskeletal or nervous systems, noted Ravicz, an anthropologist who has redesigned workstations in office settings and homes.

Especially common are repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) that may be caused by repeated tasks or sustained, awkward positions. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)  reports  that  RSI affects about 1.8 million workers per year.
OSHA’s checklist for proper computer use recommends:
                     Head and neck upright, in line with the torso.
                     Head, neck and trunk facing forward.
                     Trunk perpendicular to the floor (may lean back into backrest, but not forward).
                     Shoulders and upper arms in line with the torso, generally about perpendicular to the floor and relaxed.
                     Upper arms and elbows close to the body.
                     Forearms, wrists and hands straight and in line (forearm at about 90 degrees to the upper arm).
                     Wrists and hands straight.
                     Thighs parallel to the floor and lower legs perpendicular to the floor (thighs may be slightly elevated above the knees).
                     Feet resting flat on the floor or supported by a stable footrest.
“When you go into a hotel room, case it,” Ravicz advised, to find ways of sitting, typing and talking on the telephone that avoid stress. “Most chairs in hotel rooms are terrible,” she said, but “there are always pillows. … Put a phone book under your feet; put your laptop on a table or desk, not on your lap.”
Tony Biafore, an ergonomics specialist at Ergonetics in Kensington, Md., calls working on a laptop, in particular, an “ergonomic disaster” that forces a trade-off between proper head posture and proper wrist posture.
“The laptop was designed for convenience, not as a main tool” for workers using keyboards, he said. “There is no safe way to work. People are hunched over.”
At least give employees the option of using a portable keyboard and mouse when they work on the road or from home, Biafore recommended. While not perfect, “at least that is a better answer.”
Employees who are traveling should be encouraged to bring along whatever type of equipment they need to work comfortably, Ravicz said. “People have to get over the idea that this is OK, it’s just for a night, it doesn’t matter. Collectively, these things do matter. Our bodies did not evolve to do the kinds of things they’re doing,” she explained.
A lot of it is self-discipline, she added: “You have to become a nag with yourself” about being aware of ergonomic hazards and correcting them.
Ravicz also suggested that home-based workers get together regularly to discuss ergonomic problems and solutions and that HR provide them with up-to-date information about proper use of all devices.
Biafore said he believes a company needs to have a good overall ergonomics program. “If you don’t have one in-house, you won’t have one on the road. It should be an extension of the in-house program,” he said.

HR Cloud - A Whole New Concept

HR Cloud - A Whole New Concept

We are no more in the Stone Age or the medieval age as we have set our feet in modern era of technological advances. Here we are about to begin the era that will be fun and lucrative to be a part of it. As this is the change which companies were looking forward for. These days many companies are seeking to replace redundant manual processes, spreadsheets, reams of paperwork and manage its global workforce more efficiently. So the solution to that kind of problem is Cloud based HR technology.

HR Cloud is a cloud based HRMS (Human Resource Management System). The HR technology market is taking over the world as companies are rapidly moving away from the legacy systems to implement a very developed and highly integrated cloud based talent and HR system :-
It engages the team with on boarding, performance, assessment, training and documentation tools. This helps to provide an easy, self service HR experience for the employees.
It empowers the team with a tool that promotes connectivity, ideas, support and recognition. It also boosts employee participation, morale and productivity within the company.
Human capital management solutions are taking over the in the cloud and are supporting a wide spectrum of services that are changing the prospectus of employers and the employees at the workplace. Below listed are few advantages which is quite notable for this revolution in the HR technologies:-
·         Less and less of on-site networks and devices.
·         Increase in employee engagement and satisfaction.
·         Automatic upgrades.                                
·         Evolution to strategic workforce analytics.                     
·         High end measures for securing sensitive HR data.
·         Built-in integration with other solutions.
·         Global support.
·         Tools to make HR function easy and efficient.
Companies which have adopted this cloud based HR solution ahead of the competitors may gain an advantage in gaining more employee satisfaction, engagement, capability development and performance and generating data for analytics of talent. Corporate financial statements are considering the results of decreased pressures on IT, increased efficiencies, better employee selection, and laborsaving self service opportunities, among other benefits. The system combines complete database for end-to-end solution, covering core HR, workforce management and rewards as well as workforce optimization and workforce analytics, with the ease and speed of cloud delivery.
HR processes to eliminate waste and increase staff productivity
·                          Ensuring your global workforce is properly rewarded and succeeds
·                         Investing in the proper technology to ensure global agility

Few of the current experiences shared by companies which follow this trend of HR Cloud:-
Triumph Foods lowers the cost of doing business, increases productivity
As the largest premium pork producer in the United States, Triumph Foods needed to modernize its back-office systems in synch with the company’s overall commitment to state-of-the-art food processing from farm to table. “We didn’t have a lot of experience with technology, and when I joined the company two years ago our systems, including HR, were pretty much on paper in file rooms. Yet all of our employees carried smart phones,” recalled Nancy Fox, Vice President of Human Resources at Triumph Foods.
Triumph Foods began with Success Factors Employee Central, followed by Recruiting, and Performance & Goals for its highly diverse employee population. Although fairly early into its total implementation, Fox says that Triumph Foods has already decreased the amount of paper it uses for HR reporting. “We translate that to lowering the cost of doing business. The ability of people to get answers much faster is really mind-boggling. We look at software as a way to expand the size of your staff and hours of operation because an employee and their manager can be doing all of their HR business anytime from anywhere.”
Interestingly, Fox says that the company is using Employee Central as the ‘company intranet portal’ that it never had. “When I pull Success Factors up on my mobile device, it looks the same as if I’m sitting in my office. When we’re fully implemented and everyone is using the tools to their maximum potential we envision everyone will be using their smart phone, other mobile device or home computer 24/7 rather than waiting for the HR office to open. That’s a huge benefit.”
Owens Corning builds the next generation of leaders
Building leadership from within is foundational to Owens Corning’s HR strategy. “We realized that we didn’t have the system capability from a talent standpoint to deliver what we needed. Some processes were on paper, our recruitment management system was old and unsupported, and we didn’t have performance management processes in place,” said Sue Hatfield, Director of HR Systems, Compliance and Payroll at Owens Corning.
Owens Corning first deployed Success Factors Recruiting, followed by Performance & Goals, Succession & Development, and Compensation. Plans for next year include Employee Central Payroll. The company benchmarked certain metrics prior to implementing the software in order to accurately measure results.
“We’ve had a 30 percent increase in internal promotions for our leaders and executives. The visibility in their profiles that allows employees to talk about what’s important to them, what their career goals are, and what jobs they want, has helped us to match them with the job that they’re really excited about,” said Hatfield.
In addition, 94 percent of employees have reported having more meaningful performance conversations, while executives experienced a 60 percent decrease in the amount of time spent completing succession planning. The company also saw a 35 percent reduction in both the cost to hire and time to fill positions.
Kawasaki changes company culture
Culture change was the overarching transformation at Kawasaki after implementing Success Factors Performance & Goals.
“We make some of the coolest toys in the world, and we’re all about winning and high tech performance. When I joined the company six years ago, we had performance metrics for our motorcycle engines but no metrics for our people. Success Factors has changed the company culture–the way you think about business and managing people. You have to think about what kind of a high-performance company you want to be,” said Tom Porter, Director of Human Resources at Kawasaki.

 - Swadhin Mishra