HR transformation and innovation: having great technology is not enough. Why?

You can hear about digital transformation and innovation everywhere. Transformation and innovation:  from the virtual reality to the blockchain technology, through the automation of processes. The digital transformation is a philosophical and technical movement that influences businesses, departments and teams…  including HR. The technological innovation, the new methods of collaboration and ways of doing are at the centre of this change.

cropped-cropped-diapositiva1.jpg

We need to talk about the change. Choosing an innovative technology does not equal starting an innovation/transformation change.  To understand what you need to change or work on, you need to understand your values. The values are not the ones that were present at the creation of your organisation or your team. If you do not understand what are the current values and the current way of doing things, the change will never happen. Relying on rewriting values and creating power point presentations on the corporate mission does not mean working on change.

Are you one of those people? Find your way

There are articles, blogs (like mine), presentations, and speakers that illustrate best practices or suggestions about certain topics. They talk about work, motivation, training etc. Really any kind of topic.

When we read these suggestions, we tend to copy exactly the “recipe” and adopt it as such. If we behave in this way, we make a mistake. Why are we mistaken? We read articles that come from personal experiences or events that happen in a specific context; they are therefore subjective. For this reason, you have to be able to step back, understand the proposed solution and try to adapt it to your context. Of course, you can also adopt the solution as it is; however, you should look at the results as an experiment and not give a final opinion on it. This is true for business or personal decisions; even about your career development.  We need to treat the proposed solution as an experiment and then adopting or modifying it to make it ours.

cropped-cropped-diapositiva1.jpg

I’m not saying that we should stop reading… otherwise this blog would not exist either. You have to take inspiration and look for your solution. Find your way.

Defining your career path? You need to work on it

I often write about the importance of collaboration. It has been said that companies should invest and have invested in technology, projects and programs (for example team building or mentorship) to improve collaboration between and within teams. Technology has changed the way we collaborate and exchange information. Conference calls and emails have completely revolutionised our way of working.

cropped-cropped-diapositiva1.jpg

There is an aspect of your work that remains isolated and you should keep it isolated and personal.

What is it? Your career management. Receiving advice from colleagues or your manager is clearly important; however, your career path definition needs to be a personal investment and you cannot rely on collaboration. Managing your career path does not mean undermining colleagues or diminishing other people successes. Managing your career means creating your own path with your efforts. Take risks, join new teams, have different experiences and think about these experiences.

Interview questions? Don’t talk (too much) about your team

Being prepared for an interview is not always easy. You think about the possible questions, you make a research about the company, you review your resume and you decide how much time dedicate to these activities; I know, looking for a new role is a job.

cropped-cropped-diapositiva1.jpg

In order to be well prepared, you have to think about how/what you are going to answer. For example, you need to decide the level of detail that you are going to provide. When the recruiter will ask you a question you need to decide which details you are going to present… and you need to do it in a few seconds. You need to be ready to present cases or activities that you’ve completed/achieved or that are part of your daily job.

In most cases, our achievements and activities imply teamwork and shared responsibilities. However, even if it is important to show that you are a good team player, you have to present what degree of command you have for your activities. Showing accountability does not mean that you are not a team player. Mentioning only the activities that you are doing with the team is not enough to present your role.

Dear recruiter…

Dear Recruiter,

I hope that you’re ready to start the new week.

There will be new candidates to be interviewed, feedback to be delivered and you will surely have to organise (or reorganise) one or more recruiting processes.

cropped-cropped-diapositiva1.jpg

You have to remember that your relationship with the hiring manager is very important. You have to work on it, you have to listen and you have to understand the recruitment needs; however, do not forget to have opinions. Being available and responsive with a manager does not mean always that you need to agree with her/him. If you do so, well, apart from creating problems in the recruiting process itself, you will always be considered as a support and never as a partner. A recruiting process is only successful if there is a true collaboration between the recruiter and the hiring manager. Remember that having opinions is a good thing; a recruiter without personality or opinions will be always an average recruiter.

Finally, what is the worst thing to tell to your hiring manager? This role is difficult.

What would the answer to the question if I was the manager? Well, what are you doing here then?

Presenting well? It is not so easy

We often think that a great presenter is the one who always uses a specialised and technical language. On the contrary, when we use simple words we think that we are showing a lack of knowledge.

In order to impress the audience, we tend to overcomplicate our way of presenting. I did it too, of course. We want to impress the audience and we want to be perceived as subject matter experts. Are we sure that it is the right approach?

When we feel that we are losing the attention of the audience, we change our strategy. Completely. How? We try to simplify our messages using examples and speaking slowly. We need to keep in mind that when we explain a process, we present slides or when we are just telling a story we are appreciated only if understood.

 

cropped-cropped-diapositiva1.jpg

When I interview candidates, it often happens that they try to impress. However, the result is not always great.  Being specific and giving details is clearly good. Extremely good.  Unfortunately, when we are under emotional and time pressure, we risk losing our focus.  In these cases, the answers result too complicated and full of not relevant details. Answering in a simple way is often much more effective.

It is often said: less is more.

Do you know the magical formula for being a great manager?

We usually hear that there is a magical formula to be a great manager. There are managers who adopt a very sympathetic approach and other ones who are much more demanding; there are managers who prefer to delegate and empower their teams.  On the contrary, there are other ones who prefer a direct and close supervision (the so-called micro –management style).

Are we really sure that there is the magical formula for being great managers? Generalising is always difficult considering that organisations are made by people, the dynamics between employees, the structures and processes. However, there is something that all people managers should pay attention to.

cropped-cropped-diapositiva1.jpg

What is it? As people manager, you need to adapt your managerial and leadership style considering the people of your team.

How can you do it? You need to know your team. Very well. It requires a lot of effort, time and energy; however, you need to discover more about your team members’ needs of supervision, coaching, freedom and collaboration.  Your role as manager is understanding and listening before doing things. For example, if one person of your team is extremely process oriented, is it worth checking if she/he is following the processes? Probably it should not be your priority as manager.

It is clear that each manager adopts one style or approach; however, people managers need to enable and empower their people following different and adaptive approaches. The secret? Before embracing a magical formula, you should know your team.

Transparency at work? You need it

What is one of the most important value which create a positive organisational culture? Transparency.  Having clarity about the organisational structure, the work streams, the career plans and the recruiting processes is fundamental. Considering that organisations are open systems built by their employees, the transparency is the result of the human interactions and the processes’ implementation.

cropped-cropped-diapositiva1.jpg

You can create  social links with your team members, external stakeholders, colleagues of other departments and your manager. Let’s talk about the importance of the relationship with your manager. We always expect a full transparency from our managers.  We expect transparency; however, are we always direct with our managers? I do not think that it is always the case. If you do not have an open and direct relationship with your manager, I definitely advise having one. Why? It allows you to work with a greater confidence and it makes easier to discuss a mistake. Having an open dialogue enhances trust and empowerment for both sides. Creating this link allows you to manage and think about your career in a more responsible way.

The data scientist self-promotion is like the hacker case.

The recruiting world is influenced by trends, temporary or long-term ones. This post is not related to any employer branding or talent acquisition strategy. It is about a job title: the Data Scientist. Oh yes, we will talk about a job title, not a job profile. Why are we not talking about the job profile? The Data scientists have different expertise, skills and focus considering the organisations they work for. Another variable to be taken into account is the tech stack.  So, defining or discussing the job profile is extremely complicated.

cropped-cropped-diapositiva1.jpg

During the last two/three years, we’ve observed a surge of the need for data experts; it is especially true if we consider the Data Scientists. The issue rises with respect to the research of this profile. Many professional define themselves as data scientists. It happens very often. If a professional manages data, the Data Scientist job title is listed on LinkedIn. However, a Data Manager is not a Data Scientist. 

Do you remember when many software developers were used to defining themselves hackers? We are in the same situation…. Data rhymes with Scientist as it happened with Software and Hacker.

 

Stop talking only about the candidate experience. There is much more!

Let’s start with a simple statement: the candidate experience is very important. However, we need to broaden our horizons. We need to talk about the customer journey when it comes to recruiting and employer value proposition. The customer journey is very important.

Why?

The first thing to consider is that the candidate experience is related to professionals who are already interested in your company. They might be already part of a recruiting process. If your strategy is focused only on candidates, you are excluding an important part of the “market“. Following the advice of the best marketing or acquisition departments, we cannot forget the prospects (for example, the so-called passive candidates) or our customer base (the employees). Therefore, the organisation must think about providing a service to them too.

cropped-cropped-diapositiva1.jpg

Then, the recruiting processes require the commitment of professionals of the organisation, not just the recruiting team. Therefore, all the participants in a recruiting process (for example the interviewers) are brand ambassadors  https://goo.gl/fBP0zM .  Finally, when a candidate accepts an offer becomes a customer of your organisation. Moreover, the candidate, now employee, becomes also a brand ambassador. Organisations need to be aware of this conversion process and need to work to optimise it.

A prospect who becomes an employee through the recruiting process needs to be treated as unique. Why? The professional can decide whether to become a customer of your brand or continuing to be one of your customers, to convince others that your business and your brand are exceptional, refer friends and spreading the word about your brand…. We know that the word of mouth is still the best form of marketing and proposition. What about the candidates who have not been selected? You need to value them and treat them as the ones that accepted your offers. These candidates can be selected in another process, make referrals, being your customers and brand ambassadors.

A different approach to the candidate experience is definitely needed.