Build Your Mobile HR Strategy With Mobile First AppsStatistics don’t lie, and they’re telling a consistent story: mobile strategy is taking over the world. People spend over three hours a day shopping, engaging with brands, using apps, and researching products. And it’s not just consumers who rely on mobile devices to get the job done. Sixty percent of employees use mobile apps for work and 71% use mobile devices to access company information every week.

Companies seem to have gotten the message, and many are scrambling to jump on the mobile bandwagon with HR apps intended to boost employee engagement and productivity. But not all apps are created equal.

What Makes a Bad Mobile App?

Aside from apps that simply don’t work, bad mobile apps are those that don’t deliver a satisfactory user experience. In the HR arena, that usually means the app has been designed around HR processes rather than the user’s needs.

And that’s why you need a mobile-first strategy.

When you focus on the mobile experience first, you can build the app around specific use cases and create mobile-specific solutions. If you’re not building the app yourself, look for a vendor that takes this approach.

Mobile First HR? There’s an App for That

Many HRIS vendors have risen to the mobile app challenge by developing apps that give managers and employers access to information through their phones or tablets. In addition to these comprehensive solutions, numerous companies have entered the market with apps designed to perform a single specific function like onboarding or time and attendance. But in terms of potential mobile capabilities, we’ve only scratched the surface.

As employee behavior continues to shift toward mobile, here are five ways your HR department can capitalize on the trend:

  1. Recruiting—GlassDoor reports that 89% of job seekers believe mobile devices are important for job searching, and 45% use mobile devices to search for jobs every single day—yet, 90% of Fortune 500 companies do not support the ability to apply for a job via mobile. If you don’t have a mobile recruiting solution in place, it’s time to start planning.
  2. Time and Attendance—In addition to mobile clock in/clock out, some apps offer geofencing capabilities that will automatically clock an employee in when arriving to a particular location. This is especially helpful if employees work from multiple locations since the app will track not only the hours worked, but also the specific facility.
  3. Employee Self-Service—Give employees the ability to access their profile, pay information, vacation requests, retirement contributions, and more. Managers can track teams, manage goal completion, and take needed actions from the convenience of a smartphone while on the go.
  4. Analytics—Manage data and keep a close eye on trends with apps that monitor workforce performance, predictive analytics, voluntary quits, transfers, promotions, and other data insights.
  5. Onboarding—Onboarding apps engage new hires and give them a positive, branded experience designed to help them hit the ground running. They also facilitate training, track tasks and goal completion, promote communication, stimulate productivity, and help employees integrate into their new team.

As the workforce becomes increasingly mobile-oriented, a mobile-first strategy has the potential to keep your employees engaged, increase their productivity, and strengthen your employer brand.

So what’s the key to achieving these lofty goals? Look for companies that build their apps with the user experience in mind rather than simply tacking an app onto an existing process.

It’s all about the user.


2017 New Year ResolutionsThe ball has dropped, the confetti has settled, and you’re back at work in the same old HR department staring at the same old software issues. You know the ones: those nails-on-the-chalkboard nagging problems that make your life difficult and contribute to that especially tender knot in your shoulder muscles.

Well, it’s time to make a change! January is the month of new beginnings, but most of us resort to tossing vague ideas out into the universe in hopes that inspiration will strike:

  • “This year I’m going to be more intentional.”
  • “This year our HR department will be agile.”
  • “This year we will deliver greater value.”

We all know it’s just pie in the sky. But what if you could make specific, measurable goals to act on every day? By December, you would not only have reason to celebrate, but you could also look back and say, “Yes, in fact, I was more intentional, agile, and valuable to the company.”

Eight Resolutions Guaranteed to Make the Most of Your HRIS

If you’re ready to quit dreaming and start doing, you need a plan. Here are our top eight resolutions for whipping your HR department into shape this year:

  1. Introduce mobile HR apps. Mobile apps are taking the HR world by storm. Apps can give you all kinds of new capabilities, such as:
  • Automatic clock-ins by location
  • Video learning for the onboarding process
  • Employee challenges
  • Peer-to-peer communication
  • Alerts and notifications
  • Embedded analytics
  • Scheduling and vacation planning

But perhaps more importantly, apps are great tools to promote employee engagement and build your employer brand. Win-win.

  1. Turn the focus on employees, not HR people. With the rise of the millennial generation, we have seen an upsurge in job-hopping, with loyalty to any one company becoming more rare. In order to retain your top performers, you’ll need to make employee engagement a priority. Tools like social platforms, employer branding, mobile apps, mentorships, and feedback platforms can help create a positive employee experience as you reassess your company culture. HR software should improve the experience for employees as well as HR people.
  1. Revamp the performance review process. The stodgy end-of-year annual review is dying a slow and painful death. In its place, consider more frequent, shorter reviews that provide actionable feedback. Also consider incorporating peer reviews and self-evaluations into your performance review process so managers can get a more in-depth look at each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.
  1. Develop a stronger employer brand. As the balance of power shifts toward the employee rather than the employer, companies will need to position themselves as desirable places to work in order to attract and retain quality talent. This year, create a step-by-step plan for improving your culture, strengthening diversity, celebrating employee successes, increasing flexible work options, and leveraging the strengths of team management.
  1. Start an employee wellness program. This one might seem like an “extra” rather than a necessity, but analyst extraordinaire Josh Bersin lists it as one of his nine top HR trends for the coming year. That’s because the explosion of wellness apps to help people manage their heath is trickling into the workforce, and companies can utilize the trend to support workforce management and engagement.
  1. Take a long, hard look at people analytics. The HR world has been talking about analytics for years, but only recently has it come into its own as a driver of business success. People analytics can help you create predictive retention models, analyze sales productivity, evaluate performance, and create programs for better work quality and engagement. This year, focus on cleaning up HR data, consolidating it, and hiring people who know how to draw useful conclusions from the available information.
  1. Evaluate the idea of collaborative team management and consider its potential impact. Old-school hierarchical management styles no longer deliver the same impact they used to. Instead, team-based management styles focus on utilizing the strengths of every team member and working together toward a common goal. HR tools make this process more effective by managing workflow, facilitating training, encouraging communication, and creating prescriptive learning platforms.
  1. Build a network of technical gig workers for contract work. The gig economy is exploding, and 2017 will see a surge in the number of people who freelance or self-employ. Companies can capitalize on the trend by discovering qualified contractors to help them complete projects and manage workflow, and your HRIS can help you manage the logistics.

Bonus Resolution: Update Your HRIS 

If your current HR software isn’t built for the new age of digital disruption, it’s time to upgrade. Software vendors have shifted their focus to employee engagement, cloud offerings, mobile strategies, performance management, and a people-centric design, making their software more usable and intuitive for employees and managers as well as your HR team.

At CompareHRIS, we make the selection process easy with our HRIS Comparison Tool. Simply answer a series of questions and receive a customized vendor short list based on your requirements. It’s the fastest way to comb through the many features and capabilities you need to keep your HR department running efficiently.


About the Author: Susan McClure is our resident content marketer at She writes about HR outsourcing, HRIS, and general employment issues. When she isn’t writing, you might find her browsing shelves at the library, exploring a local hiking trail, or digging in the garden with her family and fur kids.


Got Gig Workers? Keep Them On Track With HRIS Tools

by Susan McClure on December 15, 2016

Keep Gig Workers On TrackIt’s 1:30 on a Friday and Jane is sitting at her desk counting the hours (literally) until she can clock out for the weekend. As she slogs through the last of her quarterly reports, Jane allows her thoughts to drift toward a secret ambition:

“What if I could work at home and be my own boss?”

Jane is on the brink of joining 54 million other Americans who engaged in some form of independent work last year. That’s a full third of the U.S. workforce, and some researchers think that number will grow to 50% in just five years. The burgeoning gig economy generated upwards of one trillion dollars in the U.S. alone in 2014.

Gig workers offer scads of benefits to employers: targeted skills for special projects, smaller resource investments, mobility, digitization, and more—all with no benefits required. But they also bring some risks to the table, including legal disputes, tracking requirements, payment issues, engagement problems, and communication hitches.

But does the benefit outweigh the risk? It certainly can, especially if you have a process in place for managing independent worker contracts.

That’s where your HRIS can help.

Creating a Predictable HR Process for Gig Workers

One of the most significant challenges of the gig economy is managing the logistics of a workforce that comes and goes, works remotely, and constantly evolves. Your managers need a predicable process they can follow to classify these employees and avoid potential legal problems and other pitfalls.

Your HR software likely already has built-in tools to track contingent workers, so let’s take a look at how you can use those most effectively:

  • Determine classification—In order to track and pay contingent workers, you’ll need to group them together under a single classification. In Criterion’s software, for example, you would create a position titled “Contract Employee” or something similar. Here you can enter a code to specify 1099 classification, location and wage information, and tag the individual as a temporary worker:

Criterion_Create Position_resized

  • Create a workflow for payroll—You can run all 1099 workers as a group, entering hours manually or pulling them in from an employee time sheet. In the example below, the employee group is titled “1099 Employees” and income has been designated as “regular hours.”
  • Criterion_Create Pay Group_resizedTrack time remotely—If the contractor will be working at multiple locations, your software may be able to track time punch locations using geofencing or by capturing an IP address. For remote workers, you can use mobile apps to facilitate time punches via smartphone or tablet.
  • Use Your ATS to track hires and completions—Your software’s applicant tracking system (ATS) makes it easy to track start and end dates for specific projects. You can also track reasons for termination (project completion vs. unsatisfactory work) and quickly determine which contractors you want to work with in the future.

Keeping Contract Workers Engaged

Keeping remote contract workers engaged with the company also presents significant challenges. As the percentage of gig workers increases, maintaining a unified, vibrant company culture becomes more difficult. Gig workers are attracted by the flexibility of contract work, but they also want to work for companies they believe in—and that means you should pay close attention to the messages you’re communicating.

Culture and branding comprise a huge part of the solution to the engagement problem. In order to attract skilled workers, you must brand yourself as a desirable employer in terms of work environment, values, and personal investment. Let’s look at two ways your HRIS can help you achieve this goal:

  • Personalized home screens—Many systems can personalize an employee’s online experience based on their classification, security access, and workflow. Here’s an excellent example from Bamboo showing an HR Director’s home screen. For contingent workers, this screen would show only the information relevant to each worker and the groups he or she interacts with:
  • Bamboo_Employee Home Screen_resizedEngagement Tools—Engagement tools like social message boards, employee interactions, notifications, and performance reviews can help contingent workers feel like part of the team. In Bamboo’s software, the employee portal includes a “What’s Happening” section to highlight important announcements, news, and reminders:


Undoubtedly, the gig economy will challenge the way businesses interact with employees. As the number of contract workers grows, companies will need to answer questions about communication, training, engagement, onboarding, and culture.

The good news is that HR software is evolving right along with your workforce needs. At, we’re seeing encouraging new developments in employee engagement and branding tools, and those trends will continue as software providers respond to new technology demands.

Looking for HR software that can meet the challenges of the gig economy? Check out our HRIS comparison tool to find the right software match for your company.

About the Author: Susan McClure is our resident content marketer at She writes about HR outsourcing, HRIS, and general employment issues. When she isn’t writing, you might find her browsing shelves at the library, exploring a local hiking trail, or digging in the garden with her family and fur kids.


The Road Ahead for Employer Compliance in 2017

by CompareHRIS on December 8, 2016

Live HCM WebcastAnother New Year is around the corner, which means more compliance concerns lay ahead.

Join Ultimate Software today for an exclusive webcast summarizing some of the most important employment law developments that will impact your organization in 2017. Led by Keith Watts, Managing Shareholder in “The OC”—the Orange County office of employment law firm Ogletree Deakins—this one-hour webcast will examine key rulings and federal developments that took place this year, as well as the road ahead for employer compliance in 2017.

Register Now



HRIS Holiday Hacks to Rocket Productivity and Spread Cheer

by Carolyn Sokol on December 6, 2016

HRIS Tools for Holiday ProductivityThe Thanksgiving dishes have been cleared away and the sprint toward Christmas is gaining speed. December may be one of the most difficult months of the year to stay focused on work, but it’s also one of the busiest months for many companies. If that’s true for your sales team, it’s equally true for your HR department. It may seem impossible to manage employee time requests, seasonal hiring, holiday pay and all the paperwork that goes with the season.

But don’t worry. That’s what your HRIS is for.

Here are five HRIS tools that can make this your best holiday season ever:

  • PTO Calendar: Get Home For the Holidays—It’s that time of year when everyone and their cousin wants extra time off. If you don’t have a plan, squabbles can break out over who submitted their request first and who deserves first pick of holiday time. Many HRIS systems include a PTO calendar where employees or managers can see who has already requested or received time off for a given day. The calendar makes it much easier to fit PTO requests into your existing schedule, and managers will have an easier time filling shifts if they can see at a glance who is planning to take vacation.
  • Social Message Boards: Send a Letter to Your Secret Santa—Communication breakdowns can throw a wrench in your well-oiled machine—but they don’t have to. Whether you’re planning a holiday party, welcoming new temporary staff, or providing a way for employees to interact about the office Secret Santa, social message boards make it easy to keep everyone on the same page.
  • Goal Setting: Make That Goal List and Check It Twice—When we enter the home stretch just before Christmas (i.e., the entire month of December), it can be difficult for employees to keep their heads in the game. Goal setting functions let you set specific productivity, training, or personal goals for each employee. As workers check off completed goals, managers can see who is meeting expectations and who might need a little extra motivation.
  • Mobile Clock In/Clock Out: Work at Home, ‘Cause Baby It’s Cold Outside—During the holidays, employees may be working at different locations or they may take advantage of flexible work policies to work at home. Mobile time management options make it easy to clock in and out with a smartphone, laptop, or tablet. Geofencing pinpoints an employee’s location using the GPS coordinates on his or her phone so you can see at a glance where they clocked in. Most systems can also identify the IP address from which the employee clocked in so you can identify time punches at different locations.
  • Applicant Tracking System: It’ll Be a Blue Christmas Without Your Seasonal Workers—If you hire additional staff during the holiday season, the applicant tracking system in your HRIS can help you sort resumes, screen candidates, and evaluate based on test results. Some can also hide demographic information to place all applicants on an even playing field, which is an excellent way to promote skills-based hiring.

If your Christmas wish involves avoiding the annual rush of PTO requests, office hoopla, and extra recruiting demands, let your HRIS help you out this year.

Don’t have these features in your current software? Maybe it’s time for an update. Check out our HRIS comparison tool to find a software system that can help you grant your Christmas wish!


FLSA Overtime Rule On Pause—What’s Next?

by Susan McClure on November 28, 2016

Federal Judge Halts Overtime RuleFor months now, companies have been scrambling to bring employee pay structure in line with new guidelines issued by the Department of Labor (DOL) under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). New guidelines would have raised the minimum salary for overtime exemption from $23,660 to $47,476 beginning on December 1st, but an eleventh hour ruling from a federal judge in Texas has brought the process to a screeching halt.

Last week, the judge granted a preliminary injunction to preserve the status quo while the court considers a lawsuit challenging the validity of the rule. Because the overtime rule goes into effect nationwide, the judge applied the injunction to all states as well. That means the rule will not go into effect on December 1st as planned, and businesses will have to wait on the court for a ruling.

Of course, that brings up a lot of questions for your HR department. Let’s look at just a few:

Has the rule been completely scrapped?

No. The preliminary injunction simply puts the rule on hold while a judge reviews the merits of the case that challenges it. The DOL could still challenge the judge’s decision. However, the injunction means that the judge thought the lawsuit had enough merit for consideration, meaning that final implementation of the rule is by no means a foregone conclusion.

Do I have to do anything on December 1st in light of the ruling?

No. While the judge considers the lawsuit, current overtime regulations will remain in effect.

Should I proceed with changes to employee status or salary?

That depends on whether you have already implemented the changes or not. If you have not yet changed an employee’s salary or status, it’s a good idea to wait and see what will happen with the overtime ruling. The rule may be modified or completely rewritten, so postponing your changes will give you a chance to act based on the final version of the rule. Bear in mind, however, that you should still have a plan to implement necessary changes if the rule does take effect.

What about changes that have already been made?

If you have already reclassified employees or raised their salary to maintain exempt status, it’s a good idea to leave those changes in place. Backtracking now could create morale problems that would be difficult to recover from.

What does this mean for holiday overtime this season?

As we move into a holiday season that often entails significant overtime, the judge’s preliminary injunction should provide welcome relief to employers. For now, current overtime procedures should remain in place.

The DOL has stated that they strongly disagree with the judge’s decision and will employ all legal options to move forward with implementation.

Still, employers nationwide should hit the pause button on overtime policies—for now.

Do you have additional questions or information about the ruling? Let us know in the comments!

Read more about this topic: Counting Down to FLSA Overtime Rule Implementation


About the Author: Susan McClure is our resident content marketer at She writes about HR outsourcing, HRIS, and general employment issues. When she isn’t writing, you might find her browsing shelves at the library, exploring a local hiking trail, or digging in the garden with her family and fur kids.


HR in the Cloud: Cost Center or Value Contributor?

by Carolyn Sokol on November 21, 2016

HR in the Cloud: Cost Center or Value Contributor? Is your HR department a value contributor or a necessary cost center? For most businesses, HR is the department we love to hate. It requires personnel, resources, and time, but it doesn’t move you forward toward your financial or business goals.

Thanks to cloud computing, that’s all changing.

How to Deliver Value in HR

Harvard Business Review described a successful HR value proposition as one that improves outcomes for the organization and its customers. But that’s not always easy to define. Paperwork has to be processed, but how can that impact the bottom line?

The key is to consider how the activities of HR will impact people, giving them better tools to perform their jobs more effectively. The focus is on the recipient (employee, manager) rather than on the process (completing paperwork). For example, a value-added activity is one that produces:

  • Higher productivity
  • Increased employee engagement
  • Reduced administrative time
  • Higher work software adoption rates
  • Better information for decision-making

All of these results increase the company’s profit potential by helping employees and managers to do their jobs more effectively. It’s not just about processing information and managing the workforce; it’s about creating superior opportunities for people to do their best work and produce improved business results.

How Cloud Computing Helps You Add Value

Forward-thinking HR departments have been moving toward a value-added approach for over a decade. But there’s a new kid on the block that is unlocking previously untapped potential.

It’s called cloud computing.

Ninety-five percent of businesses operate in the cloud, and most HRIS systems are now cloud-based. But is your business leveraging the potential of the cloud to move HR into the value-add category? If not, it may be because you’re focusing on how your software improves HR function rather than how it improves business outcomes.

Let’s look at four ways cloud computing improves the way you do business and the value-add contribution of each:

1. Predictive Analytics—Access to greater volumes of data, along with the ability to extract information and monitor behavior patterns, gives you the ability to answer key questions and predict trends in areas like recruiting, turnover, compensation, and flight risk.

Value Add Contribution—Solve workforce business challenges, producing increased retention rates and higher engagement.

2. User Experience—Optimized mobile experiences and user-oriented HR software designs create higher adoption rates among employees and greater satisfaction on the job.

Value Add Contribution—Better user experiences make employees more efficient with their time, which translates into higher productivity.

3. Standardized Admin Processes—Performance reviews, candidate screenings, job interviews, and other processes can be standardized across the organization for greater efficiency. Legacy processes can be updated to reflect new organizational values and workforce best practices.

Value Add Contribution—Reduced administrative time investment helps both managers and employees maximize output and increase productivity.

4. Flexibility—When you operate in the cloud, your employees can work from anywhere. Managers can conduct performance reviews from their smartphones, and employees with flexible work arrangements can clock in and out from home.

Value Add Contribution—Productivity flourishes and employees enjoy the freedom to telecommute, which can result in greater job satisfaction, better performance, and better relationships with supervisors.

The common thread in each of these examples is the focus on producing measurable business results: productivity, job performance, retention rates, and ultimately, profit.

That’s the value cloud-based HR software systems bring to the table.

If you’re ready to leverage your HR software system to produce value-added HR strategies, check out our HRIS comparison tool to help you choose the right software for your business.


Increasing Diversity in the WorkplaceEthnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to outperform their less diverse competitors.

Gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to outperform.

The least diverse companies are less likely to achieve above average revenue.

Every time the senior-executive team increases racial and ethnic diversity by 10%, earnings increase by .08%

These stats, taken from McKinsey and Company’s 2015 research on diversity, demonstrate something we all should know intuitively anyway: diversity matters. Different backgrounds and perspectives mean a broader pool of ideas to draw from, which translates into higher productivity and profitability.

But the problem is that most companies still aren’t hitting the bullseye on the diversity target.

Why Top-Down Methods Don’t Work

Research shows that traditional approaches to diversity can backfire, creating resentment among employees and reducing the overall diversity of the organization.

In their study for the Harvard Business Review, Frank Dobbin and Alexandra Kalev found that mandatory diversity training, for example, makes bias worse because it seeks to manage behavior externally rather than motivate internal change—which causes resentment and resistance.

Hiring tests are another great example. Even when companies implement mandatory hiring tests, managers don’t always use them. They don’t like the implication that they aren’t in control of the hiring decision, so they may test some candidates and not others, or they may not weight the tests equally. Many still rely on gut feeling or instinct for the final hiring decision rather than considering a candidate’s performance on the test.

So how can we shift our thinking to overturn bias and promote diversity?

Make Diversity Desirable—And Profitable

It’s extremely difficult to change our biases, even when we want to change them. Sometimes we don’t recognize the bias or see the ways our biases affect our decisions.

But maybe we don’t have to.

One solution to our diversity problem is to stop managing behavior and instead change our environment so that it is easier to make an unbiased decision. Dobbin and Kalev discovered that when we address diversity concerns using strategies like increased engagement with diversity recruiting and mentoring, increased contact between groups, and social accountability, we help employees embrace the value of diversity for themselves, which improves overall diversity, productivity, and—ultimately—profitability.

Five Ways Your HRIS Can Promote Diversity

Technology is an important tool when creating unbiased protocols to support diversity initiatives. The right software solution helps organizations make strides for diversity in recruiting, performance evaluations, employee collaboration, and social accountability. Here are just a few ways your HRIS can help a diversity-friendly environment:

  • Analytics—Past data helps predict future behavior. Monitor metrics like pay increases and bonuses, turnover patterns, recruiting and hiring variables, and the ratio between diversity candidates vs. diversity hires.
  • Performance Reviews—We’re seeing a shift away from traditional annual performance reviews, and that’s a good thing. More frequent evaluations help managers base ratings on solid data rather than gut feelings. Alerts, journal entries, self-evaluations, and strategic ratings systems all help managers focus on talent and achievement rather than on feeling.
  • Recruiting Algorithms—Perhaps not surprisingly, algorithms often make better hiring decisions than humans. That’s because the algorithm will assess each candidate based on the same criteria, identifying candidates most qualified for the position. Once you have a short list of candidates, some software programs will let you hide demographic information in order to encourage unbiased hiring decisions.
  • Blind Assessments—During the screening process, you can set up blind assessments to test candidate skills. This prevents unconscious bias toward a certain kind of candidate.
  • Mentorships—Mentoring programs help managers get to know a wide variety of employees and learn to appreciate the contributions of different perspectives. Your HRIS can help facilitate communication between mentors and mentees through social platforms and feedback reminders.

Diversity isn’t just about reaching an arbitrary percentage or making everybody happy. It’s about making the best use of all available talent in order to make your business more profitable. The tools available in your HRIS can help you make smart hiring decisions, facilitate collaboration, and promote inclusiveness in the workplace—and that’s good news for everybody.


Design Thinking Is Good News for HR

Mention the word design and most people will think of art, computer graphics, interior decorating, or some other visual undertaking. Design is about space, form, harmony, flow, and balance—right?

Right. And wrong.

Today, design thinking is showing up in in business environments across America, everywhere from the Harvard Business Review to the HR Tech Conference in Chicago. And while all those ideas about harmony, flow, and balance still matter, the concept of design itself is moving beyond the visual to the experiential.

What is Design Thinking?

Design thinking is about creating positive experiences for people. It looks for ways to transcend functionality by focusing on how people experience a process and what their emotional responses are. If that sounds a little too groovy for the modern workplace—well, it could be because you’re still thinking in terms of artistic endeavor rather than experience and productivity.

The truth is that design thinking is behind some of the most innovative technologies in our offices today. Organizations like The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, IBM, Apple, and GE all use design thinking strategies to develop new models of problem solving, customer service, and product development.

And that’s not all design thinking can do. It also has the power to transform your HR department.

A Guy Walks Into an HR Office…

Yes, it sounds like the beginning of a bad joke. But the difference between design thinking and traditional HR is how that guy experiences the functions of HR when he walks through the door. Has the organization considered his environment, perceptions, and interactions? Have they made an effort to create a positive experience for him based on the technology he uses and the way he experiences the environment? Or is that guy’s interaction with HR simply about completing a process?

In this example, the “office” could be a mobile app, online portal, or an actual physical office. Whatever the case, the goal is to create positive experiences for the employee with the goal of increasing productivity and engagement in the workplace.

That’s design thinking.

How Can Design Thinking Be Applied in HR?

Design thinking has the power to transform your HR department into a value contributor by making employees more productive on the job. Here are just a few ways design concepts can make a difference for employees:

  • Candidate Experience—Poor candidate experiences reflect negatively on your employer brand. In one survey, 38% of applicants were less likely to use a company’s products or services after applying for a job with that company. Design thinking identifies those negative emotional connections and seeks to make the candidate experience attractive to high performers.
  • Digital HR—When technology helps workers get their jobs done faster and more intuitively, there’s a good chance it’s based on design thinking principles. Mobile apps and online portals should be designed around the user experience rather than simply completing processes.
  • Training—Design thinking helps craft self-directed learning solutions that focus on the employee’s experience rather than simple transmission of information.
  • Analytics—Just about anything can be measured, but design thinking emphasizes metrics that showcase impact on the employee such as workforce productivity, revenue per employee, turnover, or quality of hire.

If your HRIS doesn’t lend itself to design thinking, it may be time to shop for a new system. Design thinking shows up in a “people first” approach to technology. Look for a solution that focuses on the user experience rather than the completion of processes only.

But Why Is Employee Experience Important?

Of course employees enjoy mobile apps and online portals that are user friendly and intuitive, but what’s the benefit for businesses? The answer is that design thinking changes perceptions of your company while also making your employees more productive on the job. And that’s good news for your bottom line.

Design thinking is the future of successful business. What will it take to get your HR department on board?



Not Your Grandpa’s Gig Economy

by Susan McClure on October 26, 2016

Survive or Thrive in the Gig EconomuIn your grandpa’s day, gigs were for musicians. Starting with jazz players in the 1920s, working a gig meant you landed a performance, and the term often referred to one-night engagements to make ends meet before the band made it big. But gigs aren’t just for struggling artists anymore. Today, the gig economy extends to jobs like taxi service, grocery delivery, dry cleaning, and handyman work in addition to professional services such as graphic design, content marketing, and web development. Despite some discrepancies about whether these workers should be classified as independent contractors or employees, the gig economy is growing and doesn’t show signs of slowing down in the near future.

What’s Up With the Gig Economy?

According to a 2015 study conducted by Intuit and Emergent Research, the on-demand market will see 18.5% growth annually for the next four years. By 2020, 7.6 million workers, or a whopping 43% of the American workforce will consist of contingent workers.

What’s behind that trend?

Broadly defined, the gig economy includes any on-demand worker who is hired for a short-term engagement or single project. It encompasses side hustles like Uber, pet sitting, and people who find gigs through apps like Fiverr or TaskRabbit. It also includes professional service providers who manage their own freelance businesses, solicit their own clients, and create full-time income.

In the business world, gig workers usually provide services like content development, web design, or project work that can be completed remotely. They’re attractive to companies for several reasons:

  • Smaller resource investment—Gig workers don’t receive benefits, overtime, or training. They use their own equipment and if they do require office space, it’s for a limited time. For many companies, it costs less to pay an independent contractor than it would to hire an employee to perform the same type of work.
  • Mobility—They can work from anywhere. Companies aren’t limited to talent in their geographical area. They can hire a qualified worker anywhere in the country.
  • Digitization—Many types of work that once required a full-time employee can now be handled by technology. As companies realign their workforce to meet current business needs, they can outsource individual tasks without investing in a full-time staff member.

Adapt or Perish: Thriving In the Gig Economy

The gig economy is wildly popular among millennials who want more control over their schedules, better work-life balance, and the option to earn money doing things they love. But it’s not without risks.

Independent contractors can throw a wrench in your well-oiled HR machine, especially when there isn’t a good system in place for communication and appeals. And unhappy workers create serious problems in  your organization.

Before you hire your next gig worker, have these components in place:

  • Secure connections—VPN connections protect sensitive company data, access codes, and documents in a hacker-happy online environment.
  • Cloud sharing and storage—Sharing and storing documents in the cloud makes it easy to collaborate on projects, get feedback from team members, and keep work in one place.
  • Teleconferencing options—When independent workers have no access to HR, they can quickly become frustrated. Providing an option to ask questions or receive clarification gives workers confidence that their concerns will be addressed.
  • Legal recourse—Perhaps the most frightening aspect of the gig economy is that when contract workers don’t have legal recourse within the company, they sue. Laws to govern the gig economy are still being developed and may vary state to state, so it’s essential to have a legal and structural framework in place to manage independent workers.

To paraphrase H.G. Wells, today’s gig economy demands that we “adapt or perish.” That’s true not just for workers, but also for companies looking to benefit from the new normal.


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