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May 15, 2017

Join Us at the 2017 India Perspectives


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Stepping into the Future of Learning and Talent is the theme of our 2017 Perspectives conference this year.

What does that mean and why did we choose it?

Arguably, it could mean many things. But for us, as the leading provider of eLearning, we feel it is our duty to ensure our customers are prepared. Now while we can’t prepare you for absolutely everything, we can prepare you for the future workplace, the future worker, the future learner.

Let me assure you that the future looks different. Change is happening on every front: from consumer-led content and personalised technology, to gamification, virtual reality, and the arrival of Gen Z.

It is a future that will present people working in L&D and talent management with challenges, but challenges that can be easily met – if you’re prepared.

To ensure you are prepared, we’ve put together an agenda that encompasses all these areas and is filled with expert thought and insight into not only what to expect, but how to meet these expectations.

For starters, our Executive Chairman, Bill Donoghue, will give an overview of the changes we have made to our content, systems, and platforms over the past 12 months and how we plan to continue this growth in the future.

He will be followed by Apratim Purakayastha (AP), our CTO, who will discuss in greater detail our technology. Potoula Chresomales, SVP Product, will unveil Percipio, our new and exciting learning experience, while Bill Docherty, SVP Product, will talk everyone through the new SumTotal Future Roadmap.

Then, we will have a panel discussion moderated by Melissa Ries, VP & GM, APAC on Is Your Talent Future Ready and include Damodar Padhi, VP & Global Head – L&D, TCS, and Prithvi Shergill, ex-CHRO, HCL.

Lastly, from Skillsoft I’ll give you quick overview on all the fabulous new content we have completed and what else will soon be making its way to your systems.

Next, we’ll turn the day over to three of our customers – Tata Communications, Landmark Group, and Sun Pharma to show case their success stories.

Ester Martinez, Editor-in-Chief of People Matters will then host a lively and energetic debate on looking at the organizational learning with two lenses – HR and Business. This will be followed by the Keynote Address by Ashish Vidyarthi, National Award Winning Actor, Speaker, and Founder of AVID MINER.

To end, we will announce the winners of our 2017 India Innovation Awards.

We look forward to see you at 2017 India Perspectives on Thursday, May 18 at The Oberoi Mumbai.

Join us. Register here!

May 11, 2017

Running with blinders on – reducing unintended bias in the workplace


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Sometimes lessons present themselves in unexpected places.

During a recent live BBC interview with international relations expert Professor Robert Kelly, on the possible impeachment of the South Korean president, two children suddenly burst into view.  Despite the interruption, Professor Kelly tries to continue with the interview, but it is clear that the news anchor has lost all interest in the subject and instead can’t help but focus on the source of the interruption.

Within hours, the clip went viral.

The video raises several questions about parenting styles, working with children, and perhaps most significantly, why everyone assumed the woman who followed the kids into the room and frantically rounded them up was the nanny?

This assumption, has everyone pointing fingers at one another and some commentators going so far as to suggest that we are all guilty of stereotyping. The family themselves aren’t too bothered, and when interviewed, en masse this time, they simply laughed it off. But it does serve as a stark reminder that no matter how open minded or non-judgemental we may feel, we do tend to categorize people.

In the workplace, this can lead to manager bias whereby a person is treated differently because of their age, race, ethnicity, or gender. This bias, or “blinder,” can be a huge challenge for organizations around the globe.

The question therefore is what measures can an organization take to ensure that the “blinders,” whether conscious or unconscious, are removed from workforce decisions?

The answer is technology. We all need to be using smart, common-sense technology to connect ‘people’ data to ‘numbers’ data and then basing decisions on this, rather than human instinct.

A simple example of this is to leverage a workforce management capability like occurrence tracking. Occurrence tracking gives managers, at their fingertips, objective data that removes subjectivity from tasks like performance reviews by including information like number of absences, how many times they helped their peers with shift trades and so forth.

Another example is scheduling. From within scheduling, managers can leverage capabilities to assign tasks by seniority, skill, and certification rather than selecting an employee because the supervisor is friends with them.

Additionally, providing employees with the self-service capability allows them to indicate their availability and therefore have a say in the schedule, rather than leaving it to a manager’s assumptions. Such assumptions can lead to bias if, for example, a manager decides that a student cannot do an early morning shift because of school.

With “blinders-free” data, managers can not only make decisions that are unbiased and based on fact rather than opinion, it also provides them with tangible evidence for any decisions. As the BBC video shows, we have a long way to go before we can completely and accurately say that bias no longer exists. But in the meantime, we can continue to use technology to progress and move toward a “blinder-free” workplace.

Read about some other trends and continue the conversation with us by requesting a demo.

April 7, 2017

The most important questions to ask of your HCM vendor


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When it comes to choosing a new HCM provider the stakes are high. Choose the wrong one and not only could this be a costly decision—it could cost you your job.

Therefore, it is imperative that before you sign on the dotted line, you consider these six things:

#1 The brand name.

I’ve seen so many organizations select a vendor because of the “brand name” only to discover too late that its solution is neither scalable nor able to be customized. However, if organizations do due diligence before going to market, they can avoid this.

#2 Cloud isn’t for everyone.

Beware of blanket statements…most of the time, cloud is preferable. Occasionally, however, on premise is the better solution for certain employers. It is also important to consider if the deployment option (SaaS, hosted, or on premise) has the flexibility to scale when the organization grows.

#3 Growth potential

My firm belief is, make sure your solution of choice is scalable. If there’s high growth, which is every organization’s goal anyway, make sure you won’t need to jump ship to a completely different product, later. Some vendors, for example, will require a full rip-and-replace of their modern solution just to get you on a different solution of theirs designed to handle your new employee headcount. Find a single solution that can handle the growth from the get-go—one that can run or be upgraded if/when needed.

#4 HCM with WFM

When an organization can integrate its “time” data with its “people” data, that’s powerful. For example, performance reviews are historically highly subjective. But if you can add real numbers, then it begins to remove bias and leaves employees and managers alike with actionable, data-backed feedback.

#5 Think globally

Based on what is available now, there are a few options. One option is to deploy multiple instances of your application, each separate from the other. Another option is to deploy a single instance and select one set of “rules” that will govern matters system-related world-wide. However, both these options are restrictive. My recommendation is to select a solution that runs on a distributed platform that can handle domestic and global requirements and different rules.

#6 ROI

ROI should be significant and realized in a short amount of time. Don’t underestimate the return from a properly selected workforce management solution. Our research shows that, under the right conditions, Workforce Management provides significant ROI for every $1 invested.

To hear more, join me for the upcoming SumTotal and Nucleus webinar, “Four Things To Do Before Signing Your WFM Provider Contract.”

October 16, 2014

6 Traits of Exceptional Managers


It’s true, if it wasn’t for Facebook or Hallmark (or my colleague who asked me if I was doing anything special for my manager) I would not have known that October 16, 2014 is National Boss’s Day in the United States. It looks like this holiday wasn’t on my radar. That being said, I am sure many of us out there are left scratching our heads thinking, “What?! Does my boss really need a day?”

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Exceptional managers and truly great leaders share many common similarities. As Ronald Reagan once said, “The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.”

In celebration of National Boss’ Day, here are 6 traits of exceptional managers:

  1. Motivators: “Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them.” John C. Maxwell
    Great leaders don’t suck the energy away from others. They put people first and find new and interesting ways to energize and motivate their team. They are relatable. They are passionate. They know that acknowledgement for a job well done is more than just a pat on the back.
  2. Mentors“A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.” – Rosalynn Carter
    Great leaders are mentors who are not afraid to push people outside their comfort zone. They are open, honest and invested in your potential and future. Having a manger that doubles as a mentor will boost your confidence and help shape your professional (and maybe even personal) development. If you don’t have a good mentor, I urge you to go out and look for one. My colleague, Jody, has some good advice on mentors in this blog post.
  3. Assertive“The art of leadership is saying no, not yes. It is very easy to say yes.”  Tony Blair
    Often it is difficult to say no. It’s even more difficult to be assertive without being aggressive. Great leaders understand the difference between the two. They are able to overcome adversary and resistance without ruffling too many feathers.
  4. Trustworthy“There is a difference between being a leader and being a boss. Both are based on authority. A boss demands blind obedience; a leader earns his authority through understanding and trust.” Klaus Balkenhol
    When I imagine a boss, I think of Gary Cole’s character, Bill Lumbergh, from Office Space. The term “boss” gets a bad rap. Probably because it’s associated with distrust, micromanagement and bad communication. It’s easier to trust an exceptional leader because they are transparent and they care. They hold themselves accountable to the same standards and expectations they set for their employees.
  5. Passionate“You have to be burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right. If you’re not passionate enough from the start, you’ll never stick it out.” – Steve Jobs
    Passion is contagious, disinterest is destructive. It is painfully obvious when leaders do not stand behind their organization or its goals. Great leaders have a desire to continuously cultivate creativity, change, innovation and collaboration across their teams and organization.
  6. Not Sociopaths“The internal management application of this is that it’s always a bad idea to set one’s employees too much against one another. You want to find ways to differentiate people’s roles. Frame it this way: If you were a sociopathic boss who wanted to create trouble for your employees, the formula you would follow would be to tell two people to do the exact same thing. That’s a guaranteed formula for creating conflict. If you’re not a sociopath, you want to be very careful to avoid this.” Peter Thiel
    Peter’s quote from a recent WSJ article pretty much speaks for itself. Creating conflict in the workplace isn’t going to get you anywhere in life. Great managers know how to avoid and resolve frustration. Conflict resolution is a simple concept that sadly enough, is not at the forefront of every ordinary manager’s mind.

What do you think? Do you have any to add? Leave a comment below!

 

 

October 8, 2014

#HRBuzz: Our Top Picks for September


Once again it is time to wrap up our favorite HR blogs from the month of September. So, take a break from your day, grab a pumpkin spice latte (like the one I am drinking right now) and check out our top picks that you may have missed.

Not everyone wants to be a manager, and that’s okay – Career Builder released the results of a new survey finding that the majority of workers do not aspire to take on leadership roles. Check out the survey recap and then read Josh Bersin’s post on why this could actually be good news.Four Coffees Computer

Is your candidate truly passionate about the job? – On the Fistful of Talent blog, Kris Dunn’s post, “4 Ways I Tell if Someone I’m Interviewing Has Passion About the Job,” covered the ways that you can tell if a candidate is truly passionate about the position and how to know the difference between passion and enthusiasm.

Customer experience as THE key differentiator – Our blogger, Meg Temple, discussed how learning can help to improve the customer experience in her post on the HCI blog, “Don’t You Want My Money?” Take a peek at the post and then check out the Superior Customer Experience Through Learning ebook to learn more!

Does “positive brainwashing” exist? – After reading Paul Hebert’s post on the Symbolist blog, the answer might be yes. Check out the post on “Brainwashing Employees For Engagement” and the six elements of influence you should use when communicating your company culture to employees.

Start the day right and own it - Over on Fast Company, a discussion was posted on “How To Do More In Your First Hour of Work Than Most People Do All Day.” The post touches on six tips for matching your most important tasks to your most productive time of the day.

Why understanding employee needs is a “must-have” Richard Barrett, discussed how one of the most important tasks in creating a high-performance culture is taking care of employee needs in his post on TLNT, “Understanding Employee Needs: Key to Creating a Highly Motivated Workforce.”

Changing the face of HR – Here on the SumTotal Systems blog, Tena Lyons examined three ways to stay on the forefront of the next HR transformation with her “Changing the Face of HR” post. And, if you want to hear more on the topic, be sure to visit us this week at HR Tech in Vegas! Swing by the SumTotal booth #1511 and the Skillsoft booth #2457 at the show.

We would love to hear about all of your favorite blogs and articles. Leave a comment below or send @SumTotalSystems or @emilymarcovich a tweet, then stop back at the end of the month to see if your pick made the cut!

 

 

October 7, 2014

Identifying At Risk Employees


Did you know that one in five employees plan on quitting their job? That is one startling statistic. If you’re not worried about employee turnover, you should be! Identifying at risk employees and addressing their concerns and needs should be a top priority among organizational leaders and human resources professionals. But often, we don’t know where to start.

Last week I sat down with the very funny and very savvy folks over at Fistful of Talent to get the scoop on The Great Fistful of Talent Employee Turnover Predictor! Kris Dunn, Laurie Ruettimann and Tim Sackett shared some great advice on how to predict at risk employees and how you can motivate them to stay.

Take 20 minutes out of your day to watch our latest #HRHangout: The Great Fistful of Talent Turnover Predictor and let us know what you think!

Side note, we’re going to be at #HRTechConf October 7-10th in Vegas! If you’re at the show, be sure to swing by the SumTotal Booth 1511. My colleagues and I will be there ready to talk about your HR challenges! And, be sure to stop by the Skillsoft booth 2457 at the show.

Added bonus! Steve Boese, Tim Sackett, Laurie Ruettimann and Kris Dunn will be speaking at SumTotal TotalConnection 2014 in Miami Beach, October 27-30. Register now and check out their Panel Discussion: The 5 Faces (or Heroes) you need to have in your HR Department.

 

 

 

September 29, 2014

Changing the Face of HR


It’s true, change is good.  Change has a profound impact on markets, organizations and individuals – but, there is a reason the saying isn’t ‘change is easy.’  As a human resources professional, you’re living (and coping with) the shifts taking place across the HR landscape. Talent is sparse and globally dispersed, workforce demographics and demands are changing, employee engagement is low and tomorrow’s leaders need to be identified and developed today. And, this is only a small sampling of the challenges keeping leaders awake at night! The ability to anticipate, cope with and overcome these challenges can have a profound impact on business performance, and as a result they are truly changing the face of HR.

Working in a company comprised of so many HR-focused experts, and partnering with and having discussions with HR professionals every day, I see and feel the shift too.  As technology and best practices evolve to meet challenges and trends, we continue to see three themes rising to the top when it comes to arming yourself to embrace the evolution and declare, “Change is good!”Changing-faces-of-HR

Here are three ways to get started:

Simplicity.
With a compounding number of solutions and processes available to find, manage, develop and reward talent, it doesn’t seem achievable or realistic to encourage simplicity to the overwhelmed HR professional.  More often than not, we think complex matters require complex solutions. When you take a step back from the chaos, you see that simplicity can in fact be at the heart of the matter.  Simplicity doesn’t translate to a simplistic solution, rather the exact opposite.  As Josh Bersin highlighted in a recent Forbes article hailing simplicity as the next big thing in HR,” I’m not saying that our HR, talent, and leadership programs should be simplistic - in fact they have to be very profound and well designed.” In an evolving digital workplace, technologies will only be effective if they are well-adopted by those they are meant to serve.

How can an effective, sophisticated solution support simplicity?

  • Be sure it’s easy to use.  Whether it’s a technology or a workflow, make it easy for your audience to adopt.  If something is too cumbersome to incorporate into daily work, it won’t get used – and therefore, won’t product the results you are looking for.
  • Bring it all together.  I don’t know anybody that enjoys taking longer to do their job, or is happy when they duplicate effort.  When you integrate processes and technologies, you bring simplicity to the forefront of getting a job done.

Agility.
I hear it and read it over and over, ”HR needs to work strategically.” What exactly does this mean? At the root of being a strategic partner to business stakeholders is the need for HR to prepare the organization to be agile enough to move with the demands of the business. As noted in the Accenture study, ‘HR Drives the Agile Organization,’ “To compete in a rapidly changing world, HR will fundamentally reshape itself so that the function becomes a critical driver of agility.”  The role HR plays in building agile capabilities across the organization is essential to achieving success in shifting markets and economies.

How can you begin to contribute to creating organizational agility?

  • Get a clear view of your workforce.  How can you align your workforce to meet changes in organizational priorities if you don’t have a comprehensive view of HR data?  Assess and prepare the workforce to put talent where it is most needed and fill gaps.
  • Create just-in-time learning opportunities.  If markets, products or customer demands change are you prepared to develop your people as they work? Prepare the workforce to adapt by ensuring they can quickly learn the skills they need and apply those skills where needed by the organization.

Innovation.
There are even more changes impacting HR – corporate offices are getting smaller, tablets and smartphones are everywhere, and the changing workforce wants more than an annual pay increase to stay put.  If you ignore any of these as a driving force in keeping employees engaged and productive, don’t be surprised by a slip in performance.  Give employees innovative, cutting-edge solutions that support these new ways of working and you’re likely to propel employee engagement and impact retention.

What kind of innovative solutions can really make a difference?

  • The new way to work.  Mobile, social and collaboration tools help employees stay connected and engaged regardless of geography.  It seems innovations in this space pop up almost daily, so find the ones that will truly bring value to the way your people work.
  • Keep them happy. Find new ways to reward, recognize and retain your top talent.  Whether it is through continuous feedback, leadership training or a clear development path – find what motivates people and leverage new solutions to give them what they need to succeed (and, stick around).

What do you think? How is your organization embracing change? Leave a comment below!

September 25, 2014

HR Lessons: What we can learn from The Mafia


When searching for leadership and management tips, it may seem counter intuitive to look at organized crime for inspiration. But, if we look past the immoral, high-risk crime the mafia is known for, there are a few fundamental things we can learn.

The Godfather, Goodfellas and The Sopranos all have underlying characteristics that help strengthen their organization – unconditional loyalty, respect and accountability to name a few.

Who wouldn’t want those traits to be the foundation of their HR team and organization?

This week we sat down with the folks over at Fistful of Talent to identify some of the greatest elements at the core of the mafia’s organization that can be used in more legitimate business ventures.

Take a 20 minute break from your day and listen as Cara Lucas, Paul Hebert, and Dawn Hrdlica-Burke identify what makes a tight-knit organization like the mob function and elements that you can take back to your workplace.

(Note: We do NOT recommend redefining employee ‘termination’.)

Have anything to add? Leave a comment below or tweet us using the hashtag #HRHangout!

Also – don’t forget to tune into next week’s #HRHangout – The Great FOT Turnover Predictor on Wednesday, October 1st at 2:00 p.m. ET.

September 17, 2014

#HRHangout: Our Worst Jobs


We all remember (and often talk about) the worst jobs we’ve ever had. We’re all guilty of swapping stories about bad bosses and bizarre workplace experiences.

This week was no exception.

I sat down with the funny and insightful folks over at Fistful of Talent to discuss some of the worst jobs they have had both inside and outside of HR. Joking and complaining about our shared experiences is always fun, but learning from the past is what keeps us moving forward.

Kris Dunn, Kelly Dingee and R.J. Morris dive right into stories about their worst jobs and what they learned from them during this week’s HR Hangout. Watch the recording for some funny and cringe worthy stories (as well as some great advice!) from being in a bad job situation.

Have something else to add? Tweet your experiences and advice to @SumTotalSystems using the hashtag #HRHangout to join the conversation! And, check out the past #HRHangout videos and conversations on our HR Hangout Storify!

Also, don’t forget to join us for our next #HRHangout: HARDBALL – Lessons in HR Intimidation, on Wednesday, September 24 at 2:00 pm ET.

 

September 11, 2014

HR Rants – What Drives HR Pros Crazy!


We all have those pet peeves that drive us crazy. You’ve grumbled about them at the water cooler and complained to your dog after work. We took a leap and talked about them in our recent #HRHangout and recorded it for all to see!

We were joined by the great minds of Fistful of Talent for an perceptive and entertaining look at some of the things that drive HR pros crazy. Ranting is one thing, but exploring the core of these issues is what helps find ways to keep the industry moving forward.

Kris Dunn, Tim Sackett, and Dawn Hrdlica-Burke dig deeper into these challenges to talk more about why they’re steaming over these issues and how they would like to see industry standards evolve to address them. They don’t all agree (just ask Tim how he feels about Sourcers), but take a 20 minute break from your day for insight on their analysis.

Have something else to add as an HR Pro? Tweet with the hashtag #HRHangout to join the conversation!

Join us for next week’s #HRHangout – Your Worst Job: Both In and Out of HR. We’ll be talking about the best things we’ve learned from our worst jobs.