Avance Consulting https://www.avanceservices.com Thu, 11 Nov 2021 10:19:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8.2 https://www.avanceservices.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/favicon-100x100.png Avance Consulting https://www.avanceservices.com 32 32 Infrastructure as a Code – A Critical DevOps Skill https://www.avanceservices.com/infrastructure-as-a-code-a-critical-devops-skill/ https://www.avanceservices.com/infrastructure-as-a-code-a-critical-devops-skill/#respond Wed, 10 Nov 2021 19:48:34 +0000 https://www.avanceservices.com/?p=13516 Introduction   Managing the IT infrastructure has always been a challenge for companies to surmount. Earlier a lot of time was devoted to physically configure, manage and maintain the software and hardware needed to run the business. With the access to and large-scale adoption of the Cloud, the nature of challenges have changed. Today, the question …

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Introduction  

Managing the IT infrastructure has always been a challenge for companies to surmount. Earlier a lot of time was devoted to physically configure, manage and maintain the software and hardware needed to run the business. With the access to and large-scale adoption of the Cloud, the nature of challenges have changed. Today, the question of scalability is of prime importance. The adaptability and agility of businesses depend on how proactively companies are able to manage their IT infrastructure.   

One of the significant new trends in Cloud Computing is Infrastructure-as-a-Code, also known as IaC in short. While the concept isn’t new, the adoption of key technologies facilitating the collaboration between Development teams and Infrastructure teams have made it one of key aspects of DevOps. At the end of the day, it is always about reducing time-to-market, though the approaches could be different. The need to scale can lead to issues within teams such as lack of visibility. Automation tools coupled with DevOps can can bring the teams on the same page. This is where IaC comes in.  

This article will discuss various aspects of IaC, including the skills landscape, and a broad overview of salary trends with the skill at the centre.  

What is Infrastructure-as-a-Code? 

Infrastructure-as-a-Code (Iac) manages and provides Infrastructure through code instead of manual processes. IaC uses high-level descriptive coding language to automate the provisioning of IT infrastructure. The automation will eliminate manual tasks for developers like provisioning and managing servers, operating systems, database connections, storage, and other infrastructure elements every time they develop, test, or deploy a software application. 

In today’s competitive environment, companies are deploying hundreds of applications into production, which directly impacts the Infrastructure as it is scaled up and down in response to the developer and user demands. Thus, it has become necessary for businesses to automate (which can be done through IaC)  to cut down on cost, reduce risk and increase the speed of deployment.  

The original concept of the IaC framework has given rise to DevOps. IaC enables DevOps professionals to create and version Infrastructure in a similar fashion rapidly; they version source code and track these versions to avoid inconsistency among IT environments that can lead to severe issues during implementation. 

“The purpose of Infrastructur- as-a-code is to enable developers or operations teams to automatically manage, monitor, and provision resources, rather than manually configure discrete hardware devices and operating systems. Thus, Infrastructure-as-a-code is sometimes referred to as programmable or software-defined Infrastructure (SDI)”. 

How does IaC help?  

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent remote work introduced worldwide, Cloud Computing witnessed rapid expansion and adoption across customer segments and industries. One of the most significant advantages of Cloud Computing for business is on-demand scalability without the need to set up physical Infrastructure and incurring the associated high cost. But cloud infrastructure still needs proper configuration, and this is where Infrastructure as Code comes into the picture.  

IaC involves creating cloud environments with codes or what is also known as Templates. By opting for this method, IT teams can develop an entire infrastructure to run their applications without making any physical configurations as they were used to in the past.  

Businesses that use large cloud-based applications can benefit from IaC as it is an easy, fast, more effective, and more consistent way to create new infrastructures. Before the Cloud, setting up physical infrastructures could take anywhere between weeks or even months. For example, buying a server, installing the server, and the hack and installing operating systems in applications were time-consuming tasks.  

With the introduction of Cloud C, applications can be run in seconds. With IaC, the IT teams can now run everything on a cloud template (a type of programming that can be updated and shared with the team). As a result, IT teams benefit from IaC as it provides agility, greater control, and consistency across different Cloud platforms – AWS, Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud. 

IaC makes the company’s Infrastructure highly elastic, which makes it repeatable and scalable.  A single professional can deploy and manage many machines at any given time to reduce the cost, fewer resources (no need to hire hundreds of employees to work on different devices), and overall reduces the risk of operating the systems.  

Infrastructure as code allows virtual machines to be managed programmatically, eliminating the need for manual configuration and updates to individual pieces of hardware. 

Infrastructure-as-a-Code: Challenges Faced 

Infrastructure-as-a-Code has many benefits, but it does with some drawbacks for the businesses. Certain challenges need to be addressed before the implementation process begins.  

  • Requirement of Skills  

Infrastructure-as-a-Code requires DevOps models to run the codes. DevOps is one of the most sought-after skills in the IT market, and there is a shortage of professionals with the requisite skills. As every company is moving towards the Cloud, DevOps and Automation skills will be in demand in the near future to smoothly run cloud operations. Or in other words, IaC is a DevOps practice that can help automate the needs of developers across the software life-cycle process. There are multiple open-source tools available on the market – Ansible (Red Hat) and Terraform are the most commonly used examples. There is little doubt, therefore that these two form a basic requirement for the majority of job specs. Ansible for example, helps in automating provisioning of Docker containers and Kubernetes. Terraform, on the other hand works with majority of the Cloud environments helping in automation. There are other tools in the market such as Chef and Puppet.  

  • Dependency on Coding  

IaC brings a lot of power for the developers. Therefore, companies need to hire and train experts in coding languages such as  JSON, HashiCorp Configuration Languages (HCL), YAML, Ruby, etc. However, there is a severe shortage of developers in the market, and a lack of skilled professionals will hamper the cloud implementation and delay running the apps.  

From the salary perspective, developers are one of the highest-paid in the IT job market. According to Itjobswatch, Core Developer earns a median salary of £95,000. In addition, there are more than 4,000 open java developers advertised on LinkedIn, which implies there is a massive demand for java roles across the country.  

  • Adapting to IaC  

One of the biggest challenges for companies while adopting DevOps automation (read IaC) is accurately integrating new frameworks with existing Infrastructure. In addition, IaC is relatively new, and transforming complex and interconnected resources and their dependencies into coding isn’t going to be straightforward for the teams.  

Shifting to and adopting IaC takes much time, requires planning and collaboration with security and compliance teams. One of the pain points for the companies will be the gaps that exist along the IaC adoption journey that creates confusion as to how and where your resources are provisioned, governed, and secured. 

  • Security Challenges 

When it comes to Developers, they may be following best practices. But when an urgent situation arises, it may force the operations team to make a configuration change directly in the production environment. It will be against the cloud infrastructure based on the principle that infrastructure should never be modified after it has been deployed.   

In case of an urgency, anything that needs to be updated, fixed, or altered in any way, new infrastructure has to be provisioned through a code. But, more importantly, the configuration change may introduce risk, resulting in the cloud’s posture drifting from the specific posture defined through IaC before the infrastructure was provisioned. 

Salary Insights – Infrastructure-as-a-Code (United Kingdom) 

Tech professionals implementing Infrastructure-as-a-Code are most likely working as DevOps and Automation professionals in the Cloud Computing environment – Infrastructure, Machine Learning, Cloud Engineer, and even AWS or Azure Consultant. This article provides details on the salary trends and skill requirements for a professional working in different Cloud roles in the United Kingdom.  

                                                  Salary Trends 

Source: ITjobswatch 

Top Co-occurring Skills  

Below is the list of the top 10 co-occurring skills mentioned in various cloud computing jobs that required some knowledge in IaC. Or in other words, the numbers denote the % of Cloud jobs that require each of these skills. It is clear that over 76% of the Cloud jobs require DevOps experience and skills. Terraform is the most popular tool as far as IaC is concerned – 70% of the Cloud jobs mention Terraform as a requirement. Another popular tool, Ansible scores at ~30%.

graph1

Source: ITjobswatch 

Strategic Insights 

  1. IaC is essential for DevOps  

In Graph 1, it is illustrated that out of four Cloud jobs, 3 jobs (76.57%) require experience in DevOps. Across the world, there is a demand for DevOps professionals. Any company that is implementing cloud services for their work requires DevOps experts. DevOps is an approach or practice that combines the efforts of the Development & Operations teams to collaborate throughout the entire software development cycle which enables them to be on the same page. DevOps helps in shortening the SDLC and ensures delivery of high-quality software. 

According to Microsoft, Infrastructure-as-a-Code enables DevOps teams to test applications in production-like environments early in the development cycle. These teams expect to provision multiple test environments reliably and on-demand. Infrastructure represented as code can also be validated and tested to prevent common deployment issues. 

  1. Demand for DevOps professionals is rising, skill shortage is emerging 

One of the most significant benefits of DevOps is that it automates processes, organizes workflow, and regularly checks the performance. With the implementation of Cloud being on the rise, it is has resulted in enormous demand for DevOps professionals in the UK and across the world.  

According to CodinGame Developer Survey 2021 (based on responses from 15,000 international developers and HR professionals), DevOps is the most sought-after skill set in the IT job market. Most Talent Acquisition professionals cite difficulties in filling DevOps, Back-end Developers, and Full-stack Developer positions.  About four out of ten TA professionals (43%) feel that they will struggle to hire DevOps professionals. 

Companies in the UK are going to struggle with DevOps talent over the next 12 months unless they embrace remote work or adopt the evolving Hybrid work model. CodinGame analyzed 13,000 tech jobs across more than 100 UK towns and cities, excluding areas with less than 50 available developer job listings. Just 23% of full-time listings offered remote work, rising to 36% when roles listed as “temporarily remote” were included. 

On any given day, LinkedIn has more than 10,000 unfilled positions for DevOps-related jobs. The demand for DevOps is spreading rapidly across roles, organizations, and industries. In the UK, companies are already struggling with overall Digital skill shortages, and the situation has worsened with Brexit and COVID-19 as companies are not able to recruit overseas employees.  

The average median salary of DevOps professionals in the UK is £65,000. So even during the pandemic where many companies slashed salaries of employees, there has been a steady rise in the salaries for DevOps professionals (year-on-year salary for DevOps professionals in the UK increased by 2.50 %).  

The following is a list of Top 10 co-occurring IT skills for DevOps roles in the United Kingdom in 2021.  

Source: ITjobswatch 

Comparing Graphs 1 and 2, it is evident that IaC and DevOps professionals require similar skills to execute their jobs. However, DevOps professionals must be proficient in programming languages such as Java as they do need to work on the development front.  

Conclusion 

In the post-COVID-19 world, companies will continue to embrace Cloud Computing, and Hybrid work culture is on the rise. As a result, demand for cloud computing is set to increase further. Organizations looking to adopt DevOps best practices coupled with infrastructure automation would need hands-on people with skills. 

In the near future, IaC has the potential to replace traditional manual provisioning of infrastructure through admin consoles/GUI with a programming-based approach. However, one of the biggest challenges faced by the companies is finding the right skill-set, such as DevOps professionals. DevOps professionals have the required skill set to manage IaC without configuring physical IT infrastructure or virtual servers on-prem or in dedicated Data Centers. 

There is a critical skill shortage for cloud professionals in the UK job market, especially for DevOps professionals. According to LinkedIn, there are more than 10,000 open job roles for DevOps professionals. However, it has become more challenging for companies to hire in the current environment plagued by COVID-19 and Brexit that further restricts talent from overseas.  

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The ‘Ws’ of The People Analytics Function https://www.avanceservices.com/the-ws-of-the-people-analytics-function/ https://www.avanceservices.com/the-ws-of-the-people-analytics-function/#respond Mon, 18 Oct 2021 16:45:28 +0000 https://www.avanceservices.com/?p=13501 The People Function runs the risk of conforming to the ideas and perceptions of the People Leader and/or the team. While the Leadership provides critical inputs and rolls-out the action plan for implementation, there is a need to keep decisions free from judgment and bias. This is particularly true for talent functions, not only because …

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The People Function runs the risk of conforming to the ideas and perceptions of the People Leader and/or the team. While the Leadership provides critical inputs and rolls-out the action plan for implementation, there is a need to keep decisions free from judgment and bias. This is particularly true for talent functions, not only because it deals with the ‘people question’ which is not set in stone, but also because of the ‘strategic’ nature of the decisions.  These decisions have wider ramifications on business resilience, productivity, and financial health.

Data is impersonal and mostly unbiased, though the interpretation can vary.

What is People Analytics?

People Analytics, also known as HR Analytics, Workplace Analytics, or Talent Analytics, has become a catchphrase in HR tech. Before moving further, let us find out more about it.

Gartner has defined People Analytics as:

“the collection and application of talent data to improve critical talent and business outcomes. People Analytics leaders enable HR leaders to develop data-driven insights to inform talent decisions, improve workforce processes and promote a positive employee experience.”

People Analytics is a data-driven approach which enables business leaders to take decisions  based on the data and insights rather than on the basis of traditional methods which may be colored by perceptions, personal relationships or experience. People Analytics utilizes technology and data to assist business executives in making informed decisions.

According to Redthread Research, People Analytics can be classified into 10 sub-categories. While this is a particular list, what constitutes People Analytics and what does not may be defined by the end-goals of an organization. However, the broad contours include the following domains:

  1. Employee Engagement/Experience
  2. Multi-Source People Analytics Platforms
  3. Organization Network Analysis (ONA)
  4. Workforce Planning
  5. Labor Market Analysis
  6. Learning Analysis
  7. DE&I/Pay Equity Analysis
  8. Employee Coaching
  9. HCM/Integrated Talent Management Analysis
  10. Text Analysis

Why is People Analytics An Integral HR Function?

People Analytics is the new frontier for the People function which can be applied to a variety of HR activity. Organizational people data can assist teams in talent acquisition activities, streamlining and improving performance management frameworks, help retain critical talent, and assist in succession planning. Over the years, analytics has become an integral part of the HR processes, so much so that organizations are spending time and resources in up-skilling HR professionals in leveraging and embedding analytics in to their routine functions.

In a nutshell, People Analytics has the potential to support HR managers to isolate talent hubs, understand talent demand & supply dynamics, home in on potential talent pools, create a talent pipeline of the future, benchmark performance, set compensation & benefits (C&B) standards, and map talent with business functions.

Though it may sound cliche, with all the research and supporting evidence in its favor, there is little doubt that embedding analytics in to the people function can greatly enhance the transactional nature of the HR function and drive it towards a strategic level. The HR teams are generally viewed as support staff, being a cost-centre and non-client-facing function. That has begun to change; by implementing analytics, the People function can pivot to being a strategic force multiplier.

What Does it Bring To The Table?

Organizations need to understand the power of people data. The explosion of data is changing the way organizations work or respond to marketplace changes. In today’s competitive labor market, where the talent wars are changing the workforce dynamics, companies must use people analytics to get a clear picture of what is working and what’s not.

Below are some of the impact areas of leveraging People Analytics:

  • Pinpoints Issues in Hiring/Talent Acquisition

People analytics can help businesses to identify attributes that produce long-term, best-performing employees. In addition, it can help the HR team and managers find the best-fit candidates – whether from job boards, social sites, or from employee referrals. Furthermore, it also focuses on where they are losing the candidates – is it at the sourcing/interviewing stage, or if selected/offered candidates are not willing to join because they had a better offer.

  • Saves Time

One of the most significant benefits of people analytics is that it saves time. People Analytics can empower teams to focus on employees and programs that benefit the organization, allowing the HR team to spend more time on actions that will provide better results for the company.

  • Removes Bias

One of the most common problems organizations face is how they can remove bias while hiring a candidate or offering a higher position to the employee. People Analytics provides insights that the teams can use to inform (both candidates and employees) and empower their strategic decisions. In addition, using employee data, people analytics enables both the HR team and managers to make less subjective and emotion-based decisions.

  • Improves Employee Experience

Organizations have always been inclined to increase their customer satisfaction, look for ways to improve customer experience, and neglect employee experience. However, they should consider that employee satisfaction is paramount for the overall success of the organization. By integrating people analytics, teams can gather information using feedback forms, surveys, interviews, performance reviews, customer feedback, and social media inputs (Glassdoor, Indeed etc.) and then analyse and compare the data to understand employee experience across a range of parameters, identify bottlenecks, levels of dissatisfaction and then find ways to improve any dissidents.

  • Access to Real-Time Data

The market is awash with software that uses Machine Learning to assist employers with the information and data required to maintain staff and operate their businesses efficiently. People analytics tools search for patterns and models associated with employee behavior, performance, and other factors that may be tough to monitor consistently, producing extensive reports for the HR team and management on a real-time basis to act upon.

  • Identifying Skill Gaps

One of the biggest problems for any organization is the skill gap (absence of requisite skills) that hinders performance, growth and time-to-market. It is more pronounced than before, particularly when companies are scouting for talent within limited pools. It is challenging to identify the skill-sets required to execute projects. However, with the amount of information provided by people analytics software, HR teams and management can pinpoint what an organization lacks in terms of skills. This can go a long way to plan for skills fulfillment, talent mapping, targeting candidates etc.

On the Organization Development/ Training side, People Analytics can help ascertain talent pockets within an organization that are most suitable to up-skill in selective domains. It not only helps to identify the skills domain that are required for success, but also helps to understand the talent mix that is required to inculcate those skills within the organization. This can have a profound impact on the need for training, the numbers, metrics, cost and the critical success factors.  

  • Reducing Employee Turnover

The global Labor market is witnessing an upheaval. As it is, new skills are moving up the desired list of recruiters in response to changing job descriptions, it is also the time of the so-called ‘Great Resignation’. 4mn Americans have quit their jobs in the month of July, 2021 according to the data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. At the end of July, 2021, there were a whopping 10.9mn open jobs just in the United States. Resignations are higher in the Healthcare and the Tech industries. Unfortunately, hiring new employees costs thousands of dollars for the company. People Analytics can come to the rescue in such as situation. It can assist companies in quantifying the problem, identifying the root causes and develop tailor-made retention policies. In addition, Analytics can also shed light on those employees who might leave the organization in the future, pointing out any possible employee losses before they actually occur, providing an opportunity for HR teams to plan ahead of the events.

What are the Challenges In Implementing a People Analytics Program

According to a survey by Harvard Business Review, one in three HR professionals find that the major hurdle in achieving better use of data was “inaccurate, inconsistent, or hard-to-access data requiring too much manual manipulation.”

Decisions made by the experts tend to be more accepted by the management and employees rather than the decision taken based on just data pointers. For example, candidates and employers both prefer subjective-based hiring rather than data-based hiring.

Below we have highlighted some of the common challenges companies face, which act as hindrances to successful implementation of People Analytics program.

1. Lack of a Data-driven Mind-set

For organizations implementing data-driven HR functions, there is a need to invest a considerable amount of time, money, and resources on collecting, storing, and accessing the data. This involves investments in training and up-skilling people, processes and technologies (such as software platforms). However, due to historical reasons, when it comes to the HR department, the majority of the team members do not have adequate knowledge or training for data acquisition and usage. As a result, it becomes more challenging for the teams to analyze data in to meaningful insights. Building a data-first mind-set is of prime importance to make sense of the voluminous data  available. One of the key levers in this is to train people to use data.

2. Lack of Requisite Skills

According to an IBM report, the demand for Data Scientists and Data Engineers is projected to grow by 39%. However, the bulk of this demand comes from the Sales/Business Development, Production/Manufacturing, Consumer Insights/Market Research, Marketing and Finance functions. The People function lags behind in terms of attracting the right analytics/data talent to work for them; and companies do tend to neglect it.

On the other hand, HR managers and staff are mainly graduates with MBA HR, and they don’t possess the skills or knowledge related to data analytics. Therefore, they will not be suitable candidates for up-skilling in most cases compared to other desired employees in other departments.

3. Data Cleansing

Shifting from legacy systems to platforms/data-analytics tools, represent a big challenge for the tech teams; e.g. transferring the data to the new systems without glitches, errors and downtime, while maintaining the sanctity of the data. User-generated unstructured data can slow down the processes to a great extent. Thus cleaning the data, standardizing them in a format which is compatible with the new systems, ensuring data consistency are the major indicators that need to be addressed. Instead of ignoring such warning signs, teams handling these projects should find ways to cleanse the data and update the new systems for future usage.

4. Data Governance and Security

One of the prerequisites of any data-driven people function is the switch from emotions-based approach to a data-first approach. Data governance, privacy, and security will be the critical aspects that can either stymie or enable any such initiative. For example, how does a company collect people data, where is data stored, what are the necessary permissions, what data-safeguarding framework is in place are some of the key considerations.  

Some of the considerations are:

  • Documented Policies
  • Regular review of approaches and technologies
  • Educating employees about the changes happening across the HR department
  • Understanding GDPR policies and implementing them across

5. Cost of Implementation

Opting to leverage people analytics will help organizations streamline their HR practices, but the implementation cost is high. Another important cost factor is the training of the staff or hiring new employees who are familiar with the tools.

When it comes to Return on Investment (RoI), people analytics is not visible, and it does take years to showcase the results to the management.

What are The Prerequisites to Apply People Analytics?

The primary function of people analytics is to provide insights to the management that allows them to make informed decisions, which improves business performances, employee experience, and productivity.

So, how can the HR teams make it work for the organizations? Well, they do need to follow specific guidelines and practices to achieve the goal. In addition, HR teams and organizations need to remember that people analytics strategy varies across companies, and one size doesn’t fit all. In this article, we have highlighted a few critical checklists that can apply to a wide range of companies:

  • Data Quality: The quality of the data will be the key to success for implementing people analytics. Metrics used for measuring the data should be simple and easy to intercept.
  • Identifying the Role: Identifying the best fit candidate to lead the function (e.g. data scientist/visualization expert to handle the data and implement people analytics). Organizations must invest in dedicated data-engineering resources with the requisite temperament, skills and knowledge that work towards data creation and quality control.
  • Understanding the Business: Understand the business needs – Selecting data directly relevant to the company’s success is the first big step in applying people analytics. If the organizations are not sure which data brings results, it is evident that people analytics will be a failed mission.
  • Data-first Culture: A culture of trust, empowerment, and ownership is the critical foundation for ensuring that people analytics will yield the right results for the company in the longer run.

What Are the Current Trends?

The newer employee engagement models such as ‘Hybrid Work’, BYOD, greater thrust on Information Security and push to the Cloud have resulted in the growing importance of data as the key enabler of decision-making. As a result, data is more critical than ever. Data trends and analytics that were in the nascent stages earlier have evolved radically to help organizations improve remote work performance and boost employee engagement.

In recent times, there has been an increase in the usage of People Analytics to improve performance and boost employee engagement. HR managers can use data on employee performance, time management, relationship with colleagues, and soft and hard skills to make data-driven decisions when promoting internally. Companies need to analyze certain current and future trends that will have a long-lasting impact on HR management.

  • Increase in Investments

According to a PWC survey, a stunning 86% of respondents reported that they have been implementing People Analytics and that it has been identified as one of the key priorities for the organization in the next one to three years. Moreover, around one out of two (46%) respondents mentioned that their organization has already implemented a People Analytics program.

When it comes to managing people data, there is a need for one Data Analyst for every 3,567 employees. Companies are planning to hire additional resources to manage people analytics functions.

  • Emphasis on Employee Experience and Well-being

Employee experience is all about how employees engage and interact with potential/employers. Employee Experience spans the entire life cycle of the employee, right from sourcing, interviewing, offer management, employee on-boarding, compensation, training, performance management, and exit processing.

Employee well-being is one of the critical people analytics trends in 2021 and beyond. COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for companies to focus on employee well-being. In addition, companies realize that poor employee well-being (both physical and mental health) will affect the company and its culture.

Employee experience is more essential in the remote work environment, where an overload of virtual interactions can lead to fatigue and burnout if not adequately managed.

  • Identifying New Leaders

The Pandemic has forced companies to identify and nurture ‘Leaders of the Future’ on a fast-track basis. With the assistance of People Analytics, organizations will be able to identify future leaders and can manage succession planning better. During such challenging times, there is a need to choose and nurture employees, especially at the managerial levels, which is critical for the business. This is where People Analytics can help; using data, the teams can analyze employee performance over time using different yardsticks (KPI and KRA).

Promoting employees based on the outcome of the data will be another significant trend going forward. People Analytics tools can come in handy while promoting candidates. Using People Analytics can pre-empt wrong promotions to a large extent, not relying only on seniority or bias, but also take in to account the potential, skills and domain knowledge.

  • Moving Beyond HR

As has been discussed above, the Pandemic has accelerated the use of data, across organizational functions. The Talent space is no different.However, with the extended envelope of data usage, the People Analytics function can go beyond decision-making within the Talent teams to include other critical aspects of business. In other words, People Analytics can help the C-Suite to find synergies with the overall performance, strategy, growth and the key success factors that can make a difference. There is a large scope to collaborate with other teams and take the learning across different functions.

People Analytics focuses on individuals, but it can shift to include broader impact areas. It enables the HR and CXO’s to analyze the flow of communications, information, and decisions within the company, to gain meaningful insights that will aid strategic decision making.

Final Thoughts

People Analytics has played a crucial role in transforming how HR leaders make decisions. However, it is more than just an emerging HR trend today, and it has become central to an organization’s broader people strategy.

With the introduction of new technologies, People Analytics has become an essential part of the HR function. As a result, HR executives are trying to find ways to integrate these new technologies into their operations.

We can predict that many HR executives will be using predictive analysis for hiring decisions by 2021. This is because employers are looking for a way to make sure they can hire candidates who are most likely to succeed before they even start work.

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Talent is the Key to Success in Cloud Computing https://www.avanceservices.com/talent-is-the-key-to-success-in-cloud-computing/ https://www.avanceservices.com/talent-is-the-key-to-success-in-cloud-computing/#respond Mon, 28 Jun 2021 09:03:43 +0000 https://www.avanceservices.com/?p=13324 Introduction   We often come across phrases like ‘The Future is Cloud’, ‘Cloud-First’ strategy, or the ‘Future is Cloud-Connected’ etc. What do these phrases mean, and is it true that we have arrived into the future already riding the cloud wave, as it were, or are we still some distance away from the all-pervasive cloud in …

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Introduction  

We often come across phrases like ‘The Future is Cloud’, Cloud-First’ strategy, or the ‘Future is Cloud-Connectedetc. What do these phrases mean, and is it true that we have arrived into the future already riding the cloud wave, as it were, or are we still some distance away from the all-pervasive cloud in our lives? We shall briefly discuss the all round adoption of the Cloud and its impact on businesses.  

Global Cloud Computing Market  

As businesses are evolving and revamping their operations, in the wake of the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, cloud computing has become a go-to tool to run day-to-day operations and help Pivot themselves into the new normal. It’s an undeniable fact that COVID-19 has played a catalyst role in the adoption of cloud computing across the business world, regardless of size, complexity and location. In fact, the pandemic has been a ‘Growth-hack” for cloud, expediting the migration and bringing about digital transformation, ahead of track. In fact, in every estimate, the pandemic is seen as having accelerated the move towards digital transformation aided by cloud computing. Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella opines that 2 years’ of digital transformation efforts have been achieved in just about 2 months. Gartner predicts that the surge in cloud adoption owing to the pandemic is going to last till at least 2024.  

Forrester Research predicts that the global cloud computing market is expected to grow from US$371.4bn in 2020 to US$832.1 bn by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 19.5%. On the other hand, the global public cloud infrastructure market will grow at 35% to $120 billion in 2021. Top global cloud providers AWS, Azure, and Alibaba and Google are the leading revenue-generating companies that are expected to make the most of this new thrust. 

Cloud-First Strategy  

While pre-pandemic, many organizations felt that being “Cloud-ready” was a nice-to-have, the global disruptions in almost every in-person activity across sectors have made them rethink and re-evaluate their options. In this context, a cloud-centric business operations approach, also known as ‘Cloud-First’ strategy has become the in the new normal. In the third quarter of 2020, Accenture launched Accenture Cloud First and is further planning to invest US$3bn in the next three years to move its clients across industries to the Cloud and put them on the path of Digital Transformation. According to the company, its 100,000 cloud professionals will assist their clients in shaping, hauling, building, and operating their businesses in the cloud and help them realize business value, speed/agility, cost, talent, and innovation benefits.  

Accenture is the latest entry into the already crowded Cloud- First market, which has accelerated during the COVID-19, coupled with the cost-cutting impetus by companies. Many other leading companies are planning to assist their clients in their respective cloud journeys, especially when cloud is no longer an ‘option’. In 2013, the UK Government had announced its Cloud-First policy, a flagship technology policy. This involved all the public departments to evaluate moving to the cloud first before opting for other alternatives. UK Government had spent billions in the public cloud by engaging in contracts with AWS, Microsoft, and Google to succeed in its cloud-first program. In the future,  the UK Government is committed to a Cloud-First strategy and might increase its spending on cloud computing. 

Some analysts are saying that the discussion today should not be on ‘Cloud First’, rather it should be on ‘Cloud Now’.  

CloudBasic Requirement for A Business 

As we are witnessing a tremendous uptake in Cloud adoption by businesses due to the COVID-19, the future might just turn out to be that the cloud is THE fundamental requirement to run a business. According to the study conducted by Flexera, in 2021, 99% of respondents are using at least one public or private cloud. 97% of respondents utilize at least one public cloud, while 80% have at least one private cloud. 78% of the respondents are using the hybrid cloud

Furthermore, the report states that any organization uses an average of 2.6 public and 2.7 private clouds. Companies experiment with public and private clouds before finally choosing one that suits them (on an average, an organization experiments with 1.1 public cloud and 2.2 private cloud). Therefore, cloud service providers need to offer a limited/trial version of their services to potential customers before opting for their preferred vendor choice.  

  • Public Cloud – Preferred Choice of the Future  

The public cloud has always been the ideal choice for companies globally. Implementation of public cloud is further expected to rise as many companies, especially the first-time users, and small and medium businesses, opt for public cloud services. During the first half of 2020, organizations of all sizes have increased their spending on public cloud services due to the sudden shift of work-from-office to remote work. According to Flexera’s study, public cloud spend is already one of the most significant expenses of the IT budget, especially for large organizations.  

In 2020, just over one out of ten companies (16%) spent over US$1mnper month on the public cloud. But, in 2021, three out of ten companies (31%) had spent over a million dollars per month on public cloud, and this figure is further expected to rise in the post-COVID-19 period. On the other hand, seven out of ten firms (76%) had spent at least US$100,000 per month on the public cloud.  

  • Implementation of Cloud 

Transitioning to the cloud has always been a hotly debated issue, the arguments bordering on whether smaller companies need a “Cloud First” approach or how to architect the move to the cloud, or the issues around the existing legacy systems or even resistance to change. However, with the pandemic still raging, the debate has moved to how can the imminent transition to the cloud be fast-tracked. When it comes to implementing Cloud computing, by 2022, 91% of IT firms will be on the cloud, and it is expected to rise in the future, followed by the Aviation, Travel & Tourism (79%), and Oil & Gas (78%) sectors. Among the leading sectors, Aviation, Travel, and Tourism face immense re-skilling challenges, with 68% of personnel in these sectors expecting some length of training to adapt to cloud computing and other emerging technologies. For IT companies, the advancement in cloud computing ranks as the second-highest trend in driving industry growth. 

According to McAfee, 40% of large companies in the UK will be cloud-only companies by 2021, which is expected to rise to 71% in the future.  However, a smaller but still significant percentage (14%) of senior IT staff working within the UK don’t believe they will become a cloud-first business anytime soon. A few of those say they don’t think there is any business desire to transition to a cloud-first company.  

Cloud Computing – Talent Crunch 

Of all the discussion points mentioned above with respect to move to the cloud, one underlying aspect cuts through countries, regions, industry verticals etc; i,e the apparent shortage of skilled resources in cloud computing. If the global trends are to be believed, In the next three years (2021-24), cloud computing will be a strategic driver of new business models to which businesses must adapt to. According to the World Economic Forum’s ‘The Future of Jobs Report’, three out of four businesses (72%) are likely to adopt cloud computing by 2022. However, there is one fundamental problem that companies are facing – the lack of skills in the jobs market. As mentioned earlier, during the COVID-19 pandemic, more companies are moving towards the cloud, and there is an acute shortage of skilled professionals as demand outstrips supply.  According to the survey ‘2020 – Challenges in Cloud transformation’, most respondents (86%) believe that talent shortage will continue to slow down cloud implementation across the organizations.  

In the United States, tech giants such as Facebook, Amazon, and Google have created a talent crunch by offering attractive, super-competitive benefits packages when compared to the academia. Despite all the difficulties, if an organization can still find the talent, external drivers such as rapid cloud innovation, new business pressures, competition and the need to evolve continuously have made the ability to keep that talent relevant over time an impractical reality. Recent statistics show that 63% of US organizations anticipate the IT skills gap to widen, and 59% expect this talent shortage to continue in the next two years (2022-23). 

In reality, the shortage of cloud skills is growing year-on-year, and companies face difficulty finding skilled cloud professionals using traditional recruitment and sourcing methods. Three out of four HR practitioners mention that they are facing trouble in solving the skill gap, and this will be a severe problem for companies if they do not invest and build a talent pipeline and source the candidates for future job openings.  

Cloud Skill Development  

But IT companies do have an option to overcome this challenge by employing IT training organizations that can find suitable employees in the first place and train them to become cloud professionals. The IT training organizations then move to create a digital hub and develop a culture that encourages employees to learn cloud and digital skills. However, when it comes to teaching of cloud skills to the employees, the majority of companies do not have in-house talent and do need to depend on external training organizations, which can potentially increase their training & development budgets. Also, in the majority of cases it may be out of reach for smaller and medium-sized firms to replicate the success of large IT players in this regard owing to lack of resources and budgets. 

Conclusion

Cloud computing professionals do not have shortage of options as the demand is outpacing their supply across industries. The majority of talented professionals are concentrated around major cities, leaving a significant disparity between rural and urban markets, and it will be a long-term phenomenon.  However, forced by the pandemic, companies which are allowing their employees to work remotely, may have a ray of hope. Now companies can find candidates from across the world to get their job done but will still need to pay a premium salary to find the right talent. 

In short, the cloud skill gap will continue in the future, and demand will be outstripping supply for quite some time. If organizations want their talent to stick to them for quite a bit of time, only offering a competitive salary will not work as they need to provide other benefits, flexibility and build a thriving culture. Otherwise, the employees would look elsewhere to build their careers.

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A perspective on candidates with cross-functional skills https://www.avanceservices.com/candidates-cross-functional-skills/ https://www.avanceservices.com/candidates-cross-functional-skills/#respond Fri, 18 Dec 2020 14:42:49 +0000 https://www.avanceservices.com/?p=13192 As a general thumb-rule, companies generally prefer candidates who have diversified skillsets and learning flexibility. It is assumed that multi-talent candidates can accomplish more as compared to a single-dimension employee. The underlying argument in favour of hiring candidates with cross-functional skills is their potential to help other employees to improve their productivity. In the post-COVID-19 …

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As a general thumb-rule, companies generally prefer candidates who have diversified skillsets and learning flexibility. It is assumed that multi-talent candidates can accomplish more as compared to a single-dimension employee. The underlying argument in favour of hiring candidates with cross-functional skills is their potential to help other employees to improve their productivity. In the post-COVID-19 world, where companies once again will compete for the best talent, it is prudent to hire those who possess different skill-sets and help them reach their goal. This article discusses how candidates with cross-functional skills will be an asset to the company.

Who is a cross-functional skill candidate?

According to Glassdoor, a Cross-Functional Candidate is a candidate with jack-of-all-trades qualities. In other words, a cross-functional skill candidate is a person who has mastered one or more related skills or technologies but also has a grasp of other technology/skills. For example, a candidate with a BS in Statistics will surely have strong skills in statistics and at the same time may also be proficient in market research, data science, and/or machine learning. This can be a classic example of cross-functional candidate. In other words, in a fast-paced organizational scenario, it has become incumbent for organizations to assess the viability of achieving a mix of candidates with specialist skills and cross-functional skills.

Cross-functional learning vs. Cross-functional skill

When it comes to hiring a candidate with multiple skills, the recruiter must understand the difference between a cross-functional learning candidate and a cross-functional skill candidate. The cross-functional learning candidate is actively learning skills or technology on their own using various channels such as online training, offline training, including remote learning programs instituted and delivered by colleges and universities and internet-enabled MOOC.

Candidates with cross-functional skills, on the other hand have working knowledge of the skills they possess. The skills are typically attained by working across teams in different organizations based on their needs and goals.  Such candidates with cross-functional skills are needed at the top-level management where they will have the need as well as opportunity to display their skills and experience in different business areas/scenarios.

When it comes to hiring a candidate, the managers prefer a candidate with cross-functional skills with well-rounded knowledge in different domains. Such candidates have a creative mind-set and innovative thinking, and have a better understanding of how the different domains work. In most cases, when an organization is trying to design a new employee policy or implement a new software, the stakeholders consult employees with cross-functional skills candidates before taking any decision.

Candidates with cross-functional skills – asset to an organization

How does an organization leverage candidates with cross-functional skills? By virtue of working across different teams and organizations, candidates gain better understanding of both the internal and external clients. Secondly, such candidates have vast experience in working under different people in different teams. This enables the candidates to have a 360-degree view of the business challenges which in turn help them to find solutions to the problems that will work for everyone.

One of the most significant benefits of hiring cross-functional skill candidates is the expectation that they will step out of their comfort zones and deliver results every time. Transferring from one team to another requires a candidate to adapt quickly to the situation and acquire a new set of skills that are relevant to the new team/process. Work pressure requires the candidates to pick up newer skills without having to spend time separately on learning. Candidates who have a knack of learning new things and can hit the ground running are good fit for those teams/organizations where the turnaround time is less. This is where candidates with cross-functional skills can come in very handy to ensure business deliverables.

Roadmap for developing candidates for cross-functional skills

In the modern world, organizations are no longer one-dimensional, where all the employees perform the same tasks throughout their careers. The employee does need to work inside and outside of their teams and department to gain knowledge and experience on other crucial tasks.

Team members with experience in different domains hold greater value for the employer as these individuals can perform any sought-after task that increases the organizations’ credibility and reputation. It may not be always easy to find such candidates. Majority of the time, business leaders can develop various strategies to build capacities of candidates from within their workforce.

1. Rotating Employee to Different Teams

Large organizations have rotational programs where the employees are transferred internally to get exposure to working under different teams and managers. The employees can work onsite with another team for a day or a week, join other departmental meetings, and even participate in important tasks performed by these teams. The rotation of the employee need not be in the physical environment. It can even be performed while working remotely as they need to join for the daily huddle or weekly meetings and make their presence felt.

2. Assessing employee interest

Probing and assessing the interest areas of the employees is good place to start. If an organization is planning to build newer teams with specialized skills at their disposal, where employees from different parts of will be working for a longer, employees need to know and understand how other teams work. Companies can provide such information through documents/power-point presentations as self-learning tools. For example, a Developer may have an interest in marketing activities – his skills can be assessed and based on his/her understanding can be given additional tasks/KPIs around marketing . This information might be useful if there are budget cuts from the client’s end, and the developer might know how to proceed further on the project.

3. Finding the right candidates

The HR teams and managers can find interested candidates willing to learn and work in other teams for short/medium duration. HR teams can survey the employees which other departments or teams they would like to work with if they are given an opportunity. Providing training to the interested candidates can ensure smooth transition to new teams.

Cross-Skilling is the Future

As pandemic continues, organizations will most likely prefer candidates with diverse set of skills and experience. Such candidates offer a lot of flexibility to the teams and have the necessary leadership qualities to manage newer responsibilities. Organizations realize that the need of the hour is to have employees with a diversified skillset to not only ensure business as usual but also to gain a competitive edge.

Sourcing such candidates from outside the organization is difficult. However, HR teams and team managers can identify and nurture current employees into cross-skilling by allowing them to work in different teams, train under various leaders, and through participation in skill-based training.

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Virtual On-boarding and E-learning for New Hires https://www.avanceservices.com/virtual-on-boarding-e-learning/ https://www.avanceservices.com/virtual-on-boarding-e-learning/#respond Fri, 18 Dec 2020 14:29:23 +0000 https://www.avanceservices.com/?p=13185 Introduction to Virtual On-boarding The year 2020 has brought in its wake large-scale changes the way businesses function. No other aspect of the Pandemic has had the kind of impact than the need for social distancing, forcing global businesses to change the way they work. Overnight, companies put their business continuity plans in to play …

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Introduction to Virtual On-boarding

The year 2020 has brought in its wake large-scale changes the way businesses function. No other aspect of the Pandemic has had the kind of impact than the need for social distancing, forcing global businesses to change the way they work. Overnight, companies put their business continuity plans in to play and putting remote working plan in action. Due to the pandemic and the resultant lockdown declared by various Governments, employees who had no experience in working from outside the precincts of their physical offices were now required to work from home; or in other words Remote Working became a large-scale reality within a very short span of time.

This had its effects across all corporate functions including staffing & recruitment in a big way. In the initial days hiring was frozen, but as time went by companies started to hire new employees on a smaller scale. However, HR teams faced a daunting task in welcoming and on-boarding new employees as the physical offices were not operational. In such unprecedented times, HR teams started leveraging technology to conduct interviews, and on-board new hires. Virtual on-boarding had slowly started to seep in, finally breaking barriers and becoming common to companies small and large. It has now become the new norm for HR/Recruiter teams. In this article, we shall discuss the basics of virtual on-boarding and how can it be done remotely.

What is Virtual On-boarding?

One of the major issues companies were facing is to find out ways to effectively interview, assess and on-board their new hires. In a normal scenario, the first day in office set the tone for the rest of the tenure for employees. However, given the current scenario and the restrictions that are in place new employees will not be able to meet their team members or managers in person. While this has its impact on employees, but adaptability and agility have emerged as the cornerstones for performers. This task has now shifted online enabled by virtual platforms.

Virtual on-boarding is similar to traditional in-person on-boarding, but the only difference is that the new hires are welcomed to the organization through a virtual live session.

The effectiveness of virtual on-boarding is still to be assessed but there is no denying fact that it has been a boon for HR teams this far, as they can connect and engage with the new employees no matter where they are working from. A virtual on-boarding process can be initiated through video conferences, webinars, and communication platforms like Slack. The documents for a new hire can be shared on different platforms such as email, cloud storages like OneDrive, and can be accessed through desktop or mobile anytime and anywhere.

How to On-board Your Employee Virtually

According to Sally Stetson, co-founder, and principal at Salveson Stetson Group, an executive search firm in the Philadelphia area, “Hiring and on-boarding new employees completely virtually is a new concept for most employers. Many companies are trying to figure it out,” 

Virtual on-boarding is not an one-off event, but should encompass assisting a new employee to get accustomed to a company’s work culture, processes, team dynamics, HR policies, payroll & leave systems and the like. It is more about facilitating a new employee’s journey in the new organization – communication plays an important role in on-boarding process which must be organized and overseen by the HR teams. The following are some of the tools that have been designed for and to make virtual on-boarding an easier affair than what most people think.

Planning & Scheduling – setting up calendars for events, meetings, trainings

In traditional on-boarding, the HR team puts out a schedule to be followed during the on-boarding process of a new joinee/s. While doing it virtually, HR teams can similarly plan out an on-boarding calendar for the employee/s making use of office productivity tools and sharing the updates. This can be used for setting-up calls, introduction to the team, setting up meetings with HR personnel, people from the Admin and IT/Asset teams etc. If the role/s requires handholding or initial training, then a plan incorporating this should also be designed.

Using the audio-visual media – videos by the team members

When the employees work from home in different time zones, it would not be possible for all the stakeholders to have a conversation with the new employee on the day of his/her joining. The employee who cannot interact with the new hire in the first video conference can create a short video about themselves and welcome them. The HR team can collect the video from members and share it with the new hire. The short videos might not create an impact of face to face meeting but will give a new employee a sense that his/her team members will go an extra mile to help.

Videos and presentations

The design team can create videos on their company’s products & services, client testimonials, organization structure that can be shared by HR teams with the new joinees that may provide a brief understanding of the company. The on-boarding manager can create a presentation about the team, clients, and type of work their team handles and present it for the purpose of introduction. Going a step further, a virtual view (360°) of the office premises can be a good idea, but it requires a bigger budget and latest technologies.

Appointing a virtual buddy (familiarization program)

Organizations generally tag a team member with every new joinee who can hand-hold him/her in to the team. By tagging a virtual buddy, the HR manager or Team manager can introduce him/her to the team. To not get off on the wrong foot, the managers must choose a buddy who has worked on similar projects, has similar skill sets and experience as the new employee and works in the same time-zone as it is easy to interact and resolve any issues that may arise.

Creating a virtual community

A virtual community is a powerful tool in the hands of an organization to create a platform which can be leveraged to showcase, discuss, trouble-shoot/resolve, answer queries which may be important to new joinees, either on social media or any other in-house platform used exclusively for new hires. The new hires can connect through a single platform and share their personal experiences and ask relevant questions to resolve any issue during the on-boarding process and even beyond.

Creating long-term engagement

Typically, an on-boarding program with or without training can be for a week or two. However, given the current situation, particularly in view of employees working from home, many organizations are extending on-boarding to factor in the operational challenges. The HR teams and team managers must have long-term engagement in mind while drawing up an on-boarding program for new hires which can help them till they completely settle down within their respective teams.

Focus more on resource management/manpower planning

An on-boarding program should not be limited to introduction meetings and tagging a buddy but should also include providing access to the necessary resources. The HR team must be the central point of contact with the logistics and administrative team to ship the new laptop, ID cards, and other essential documents. For e.g. pre-COVID-19 days, LinkedIn used to provide laptops to the new hires during orientation. But this had to change as most of the new hires are working from home, it was essential that the suppliers ship the laptop and other required hardware directly to the new hires. Additionally, the Enterprise Productivity Engineering (EPE) team interacts virtually during the new-hire session and installs all the required software. It is essential to provide the right kind of resources to the new hire to enable them succeed in their job.

E-Learning modules for new hires – Virtual Training

After a successful virtual on-boarding of the new joiners, the next step may involve curating the training content. Earlier companies used to provide in-class training for new joiners where the interaction between the trainer and new hire was face to face and seamless. Change in the process is the need of the hour for organizations. On-boarding aims to have a smoother transition of new hires into the team, and e-learning is critical in this process.

Modification of the content

Changing the content to suit virtual delivery of training is often the first task that needs to be handled, post on-boarding new hires. However, training & development is an on-going process and companies are always striving to create training content to incorporate newer technologies, methods etc. The curated content can be delivered via Webex sessions, MOOC modules, proprietary platforms, off-the-shelf enterprise HCM suites. In the context of on-boarding and virtual work, training comes off as a major challenge – both in terms of the content as well as in terms of delivery. Incorporating cues arising out of new business realities and challenges such as remote work, social distancing which are dubbed ‘the new normal’, ensures the relevance and effectiveness of training plans and strategy.

Personalized learning experience

According to Gartner’s report, most new hires are unsure about their roles, and 46% of the new hires would not follow the same path. About one in three will be leaving the organization in the first year. Higher employee turnover increases the cost-to-hire. In a report by Bradon Hall Group, an effective on-boarding program increases new hire retention by 82% and their productivity by 70%. One of the ways to achieve these figures is by providing tailored learning content to new hires.

Offering personalized content during the E-learning programs is more critical when the new hires are working from home. To offer personalized content, the trainers must get in touch with the Team Leads and Managers to understand their roles in the organization. What kinds of tools they use? Do they interact with the clients or not?

Developing personalized content is just one step in the process. But E-learning modules should be shared over a period. Providing all the content in a go will not be beneficial for the company and the new hire. Based on the project, the content must be shared as the new hire will have an opportunity to learn before applying.

Conclusion

Traditional on-boarding of new hires is no longer possible, at least in the near term and HR teams need to use interactive methods to welcome new hires aboard. Virtual on-boarding is the latest trend, and it is widely used to welcome the new hires. Virtual on-boarding is very much like in-person on-boarding, the only difference being the virtual nature of the on-boarding process which is done virtually using digital tools like webinars, video calls, business communication platforms.

For HR teams administering and managing virtual on-boarding is a daunting task and requires a lot of planning and scheduling with the team manager, trainer, and other team members. In the current scenario, where all the team members are working from different locations across different time zones, the use of innovative ways will go a long way to establish the credentials and help new joiners on-board seamlessly.

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What is Candidate Experience And How To Improve It https://www.avanceservices.com/candidate-experience-improve/ https://www.avanceservices.com/candidate-experience-improve/#respond Tue, 08 Dec 2020 13:59:54 +0000 https://www.avanceservices.com/?p=13167 What is Candidate Experience? Candidate Experience is a not-so-new word in the recruitment industry, but one which is continually evolving in terms of context and content. However, there is no official definition which is acceptable to all. In a nutshell, it is the overall experience of a candidate during the entire span of his/her interaction …

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What is Candidate Experience?

Candidate Experience is a not-so-new word in the recruitment industry, but one which is continually evolving in terms of context and content. However, there is no official definition which is acceptable to all. In a nutshell, it is the overall experience of a candidate during the entire span of his/her interaction with a potential employer, right from the first contact to the decision stage. Candidate Experience is as much a consequence of Employer Branding, as it is about creating a better interaction experience for potential employees.

Candidate Experience can be defined as “The perception and feelings of a job seeker about an employer and their job application process, based on their interaction during the hiring process. This includes all points of contact during recruitment – job search, the application process, interview process, and sometimes even onboarding.”[1]

This piece dwells with Candidate Experience and its various facets. We shall also discuss real-life case studies and how it impacted the relevant organizations. It also provides some pointers as to how an organization can implement a few strategies that can lead to substantial improvement in Candidate Experience.

What Constitutes Candidate Experience?

One unique thing about Candidate Experience is it is a qualitative aspect reflecting the recruiting ethos of a company or a team, while also being a tool in the hands of the HR and Marketing teams to help measure the success of a company’s recruitment program through the use of metrics. On the other hand, it is also a grid representing the different stages of a recruitment program. The following is a round-up of what constitutes Candidate Experience and its key enablers:

  • A company’s Career Page
  • Job Adverts (includes both Social Media sites like LinkedIn and jobsites such as Monster & Dice)
  • Application Process
  • Candidate Communication with the ATS
  • Interview experience with the HR/Recruiter team and/or LOB
  • Post-interview Communication
  • Candidate hiring decision (rejection email/job offer)

Significance of Candidate Experience

As pointed out above, Candidate Experience can be leveraged as a tool to sharpen existing processes, improve key recruitment ratios, create differentiation as an employer, and improve hiring efficiency. Naturally, the question that follows is “What are the benefits of robust/strong Candidate Experience?” and “How is it going to help build a powerful brand?”

Benefits of Candidate Experience

1. Attracting better candidates

Attracting the right candidates requires certain tools and techniques that an employer can put to use to fill a vacancy or to build a candidate pipeline. Before applying for a job, candidates do their research on different channels such as social media, company review sites, company websites, and most importantly, connect with the current and former employees to understand its culture.

One such tool is communication. Companies must manage their communication channels to send out the right messaging, information, advice etc. From the information provided through these channels, candidates get an idea of whether they fit into the role and whether they can be a part of the organization. Candidates are always looking for precise information and/or information that can guide them properly starting with the first touch-point. An unpleasant experience at this stage can be detrimental to the ability of a company to attract and motivate the right candidates, which may result in profile mismatch, delays and also a higher attrition rate due to wrong hires. Recruiters must strive to put their best foot forward to manage candidate interactions which when done well can result in achieving the desired levels of Candidate Experience.

2. Achieving better conversion rates

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is reshaping the recruitment industry as never before and has quickly become one of the key tools to increase conversion rates and help in on boarding the right candidates. Companies that have automated their email response processes, or opted for AI-powered resume screening, or employed chatbots to quicken candidate communication have been able to increase conversion rates by 15% on their career sites. One out of three (33%) candidates is likely to accept a job offer if the candidate’s experience is positive, thus increasing the overall conversion rate.

3. Reduce time-to-hire and cost-of-hire

Cost-of-hire is the average amount of money spent to hire a candidate to close an open position. As per the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM’s) Human Capital Benchmarking Report, the average cost-per-hire in the United States is $4,129. Time-to-hire measures the days between the candidate applying and accepting the job offer. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reports an average time-to-fill of 36 days.  A positive candidate experience developed through constant interactions enabled by the latest technologies can speed up the recruitment process. When the experience is positive and is institutionalised across the organization, cost-of-hiring, and time-to-hire will gradually come down over time.

4. Improving employer brand/recall

Candidate Experience during the recruitment process will directly impact the employer brand. A positive experience will enhance the brand, as the candidate would mostly like to join the organization, refer it to other co-workers or friends. On the other hand, a negative candidate experience will impact its revenue, reputation, and bad publicity over social media channels. Below is an example how a telecommunication company lost millions of dollars due to bad candidate experience.

Case Study 1: Virgin Media

In 2014, Virgin Media wanted to analyze the data of rejected candidates who were also their services’ subscribers. The rejected candidates had a bad interview experience, and they shifted their services to competitors such as Sky Communications. The results showed a drastic decrease of over US$5million in revenue within the year.

Virgin Media had undertaken the study after their former HR Manager Graeme Johnson wanted to probe how the rejected candidates view their brand. About 18% of the rejected candidates were customers of Virgin Media. It meant that they were unlikely to recommend their brand to others. At this juncture, Virgin Media understood that bad candidate experience had a negative fallout that resulted in revenue loss.

Further probing, Johnson has found that around 124,000 rejected candidates cancelled their subscriptions. If each subscription’s value is US$60 per month ($720 a year), the overall revenue loss was close to US$5.4 million.

In the next stage, Johnson consulted the CFO and CMO of Virgin Media and provided the numbers. The Group undertook various initiatives to improve Candidate Experience. Some of them included providing training programs to the sales team nicknamed “Les the Butcher,” which was considered one of the best sales teams but worst while taking an interview. They would take an interview in the dining hall and ask candidates to sell anything. After the successful training program, the NPS score of the team increased from -57 to +11.

Negative Candidate Experience

While better Candidate Experience can benefit an organization in ways more than one, including impacting revenues and brand value positively, on the other hand negative Candidate Experience can also affect the brand. Let’s discuss in-depth what causes negative Candidate Experience.

1. Lack of Communication from HR teams

According to a research done by Career Builder, the number one reason for negative candidate experience is the lack of communication from the HR teams during the job search process. According to the survey, three out of four candidates will never hear from the HR teams or the company after completing the interview process.

Companies looking to better candidate experience can start with improving its candidate communication by designing pre-defined email templates and sending regular automated emails after every interview. With the help of chatbots and SMS, HR teams can send timely information on the job status and the interview timings, premepting the need for candidates to grope in the dark about their job application status. We shall see how Digital Ocean started work on improving candidate experience.

Case Study 2: Digital Ocean – Improving Communication with the Candidate

Digital Ocean is a cloud infrastructure-based company in the US and has an employee strength of over 600. The company boasts itself as a “people-first organization.” To make sure that every candidate who applies for the job, gets timely information on the job process, they defined pre-set email/communication templates which they share with every candidate who applies for the job.

Digital Ocean – Improving Communication with the Candidate

Furthermore, the company had replaced traditional phone calls with a video chat over Google Hangout. This helped create rapport with the candidate and led to a better candidate experience during the interview process. The company was able to hire 120 employees within a year.

1. Complex job application process

The job application process must be simple and easy for the candidates to understand so that they can fill in the details quickly. Lengthy job applications are likely to be rejected by the candidates. According to the Career Builder survey, about 60% of candidates will quit the application in the middle as it is lengthy, time-consuming, and confusing.

To overcome this challenge, companies are using modern technology to make the process easy and quick. This includes resume parsing which allows the system to scan and grab the requisite details from the resume and auto-fill the information fields. This allows a candidate to just submit only their resume as it contains all the necessary information. Resume parsing can be made handy using an ATS software. Another way is to provide a fairly strong search option on the careers page search bar which is useful to search for a specific job.

One of the essential aspects of an easy application process is to get rid of account creation requirement to apply for a job. The account creation involves multiple steps, such as creating the account, confirming the email id and phone number, and then uploading the resume. Most of the candidates will not show interest in creating an account and uploading their resume. Hence recruiters need to provide options for ‘easy apply”. In other words, shorter and easier the application process, higher will be the Candidate Experience quotient.

2. Bad interview experience

Bad interview experience will surely put Candidate Experience in the danger zone. According to LinkedIn, 83% of candidates say a negative interview experience will change their minds about a role or company they once liked. More than 50% of the candidates say that the most critical interview is with the prospective Manager as this can make or break the whole interview process.

To overcome this challenge, companies need to have regular communication with the candidates, which can be done using the latest ATS software. The type of questions asked must be related to the profile and the interview needs to be setup at the right time. Lastly, HR teams must train prospective managers to deliver a professional and pleasant interview, leading to a positive Candidate Experience.

How to Improve Candidate Experience

In the talent war in the corporate world, only the best will grab a high skilled talent. Gone are the days when companies used to choose the candidates, in the current job environment candidates are the one who chooses the companies. This is one of the primary reasons why companies need to be aware of the candidate’s experience and strive to improve. Below we have mentioned some of the ways where the company can improve its candidate experience.

1. Provide a clear job description

A proper and precisely written job description is the prerequisite to attract the right candidates. A clear job description has the ability to attract top-quality candidates as it provides all the required information a candidate may need to do a preliminary self-assessment of the job role and his/her own fitment. While framing the job description the HR team and hiring manager should discuss the requirements, qualifications needed, experience and skills, including other critical information such as the job title, job location, salary etc. This information must be written in simple language and without the use of jargons as far as possible. According to Stack Overflow, a job description that provides salary information is likely to get 75% more clicks.

2. Company career pages

The Career Page is one of the most significant assets with the company, and almost 9 out to 10 job seekers feel that it is the first stop for them when they are researching for roles/positions within a particular company. Once candidates visit the career page through links in the job description on job boards or social media sites, there is a high chance that they will visit the company website. The Career Page must cater to the requirements of the candidates and should provide all the vital details about the job, company culture, and values.

3. Simplified application process

A lengthy application process which requires candidates to fill all the details despite providing the same information in the resume can lead candidates to leave the application process midway. According to Career Arc, candidates typically spend between 3-4 hours preparing their resumes and complete the application process. But the one thing that makes most of them quit in the middle is the lengthy job application process. Companies can overcome this issue by automating the job application process by adopting ATS software, simplifying the job application process, and save time for the candidate and recruiter (win-win situation on all sides).

Conclusion

Candidate Experience is the job seeker’s prescription about the interview process, and it starts right from the job description and goes on beyond accepting the job offer. Companies must always find ways to improve candidate experience as this will help them find the best talent available in the job market.

Positive Candidate Experience is a win-win situation both for the candidate and employer as this will enhance employer branding, and the candidates get their preferred jobs. However, companies must make sure that their recruitment process is robust. HR teams and hiring managers need to be given adequate training on how to handle the candidates and provide timely communication, or this might lead to a negative candidate experience.

A candidate disappointed with the interview process can also be unhappy customers. However, there are ways to improve Candidate Experience, which includes providing a clear job description. The company’s career page must be updated with all the required information for the candidates that acts as the employer brand. Finally, the application process must be simple and avoid asking all the candidates’ details (most of the information already available in the resume). Most candidates will skip the application process in the middle if there is too much information to provide from their end.

Companies need to remember that providing a positive candidate experience will decrease the cost and time-to-hire. The candidates themselves will be brand ambassadors and spread the good word about the company and help attract highly skilled professionals in the future.

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Skill Based Hiring: The New Norm for the Future https://www.avanceservices.com/skill-based-hiring/ https://www.avanceservices.com/skill-based-hiring/#respond Thu, 03 Dec 2020 18:19:31 +0000 https://www.avanceservices.com/?p=13159 The Right Degree or the Right Skills? The traditional unwritten rule in the corporate world is that you wouldn’t get a job or have a promising career unless you went to a college and earned a degree. The majority of companies, colleges, students, and government officials agreed with this and rightfully so. The skills and …

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The Right Degree or the Right Skills?

The traditional unwritten rule in the corporate world is that you wouldn’t get a job or have a promising career unless you went to a college and earned a degree. The majority of companies, colleges, students, and government officials agreed with this and rightfully so. The skills and knowledge gained from University programs equip students to solve real-world problems.

However, in recent times there has been a gradual shift in how the companies are hiring new professionals. While University Degrees and diplomas are still in demand, there is a new trend that companies are following. More than the degrees, the focus seems to shift towards the right skills; or in other words – right degree to right skills. Companies are looking to create a talent landscape that is a blend of degrees and skills. This has given rise to what is known as skill-based hiring. Let us explore the topic in the subsequent sections.

What is skill-based hiring?

According to the HR Certification Institute, “Skills-based hiring emphasizes practical, working knowledge for employees; it prioritizes what an applicant can do, rather than the education they already have. Instead of asking an applicant to list their years of experience and degree, you look for capabilities, such as reaching an expert level in Excel“.

Will companies prefer skill-based hiring?

Currently, the majority of companies are hiring based on relevant skills as well as required educational qualifications. However, some companies are bringing radical changes in their hiring process and prefer professionals who possess right skills through their certifications or experience. Apple is one such company that has drastically changed its recruitment process. In 2018, 50% of the people hired in the US did not possess any degree. Now, why are large corporates like Apple hiring people who haven’t been to college? According to CEO Tim Cook, there are certain in-demand skills like coding that students will not learn in college classrooms. Tim Cook also cited the example of Steve Jobs, who was a college dropout.

Hiring candidates without a formal degree is not just limited to Apple, but many other prominent firms such as Google, Netflix, IBM, and Hilton are hiring candidates without degrees or diplomas. Top companies are known to attract talent from top universities, but certain positions in these companies don’t require diplomas or degrees. According to LinkedIn, 17.3% of IT technicians working in leading companies are not graduates.

Does this improve the chances of finding the right candidates?

According to the TalentSpectra Research, there are several areas within IT where there is an acute shortage of skills – Cybersecurity, Data Science, Cloud. The demand for tech skills is growing and the supply is not able to keep pace with the growing demand. This demand-supply mismatch has become institutional and has become of one of the important pain points for HR practitioners and recruitment planners globally. The 2018 Harvey Nash-KPMG CIO Survey mentioned that 65% of companies reported that lack of talent is holding their organizations back. In another report by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA), more than half of the hiring managers view that hands-on experience is most important for candidates than their educational background.

In 2016, the then IBM president Ginni Rometty wrote an article in USA today about the rise of “new collar” jobs that employers were struggling to fill, specifically in the technology sector. According to Rometty, traditional recruitment methods will no longer suffice in the new digital economy. In the future, candidates without a degree but with the required skillsets will be needed. Data Science and Cloud Computing are reshaping various industries, but filling positions with the right mix of skills and experience involves long-term assessment and proper manpower planning. She also added that “What matters most is that these employees … have relevant skills. Indeed, skills matter for all of these new positions, even if they are not always acquired in traditional ways.”

Benefits of skill-based hiring

1

Bigger Candidate Pool

2

Reduced time-to-hire

3

Reduced cost-per-hire

4

Greater diversity (different race, color, gender, people with disabilities)

What does the statistics tell us?

When we talk about statistics, hiring managers seem to stress upon the need for the right skills rather than a college degree.

Below are some of the interesting data pertaining to skill-based hiring: (Source: LinkedIn Jan 2019):

  • 69% of professionals think job skills are more important than a formal college education
  • 87% of hiring managers agree that the skills candidates list in their resumes and assessment forms are crucial in terms of hiring decision
  • 89% of the hiring managers feel that skill assessment is an essential part of candidate evaluation for a job that requires knowledge of hard skills
  • 83% of the hiring managers agree that skill assessment will have an impact on the future of hiring

The numbers tell a story – there is a growing trend among the majority of hiring managers and professionals who prefer skill-based hiring and job roles.

Shifting to a skills-based hiring framework

Skills-based hiring will help organizations to be more productive, efficient, and well-positioned to deal with the changing market scenarios, across industries. However, implementing a skill-based recruitment program is tedious and requires clear strategy and planning before the actual implementation starts. For organizations trying to implement skill-based hiring, we have listed some prerequisites.

  • Verification of skills

Any candidate can claim in their resume that they are proficient in one or the other skills areas – for e.g. Data Science or any other skills. To ensure the veracity of the claim it is essential to verify candidate credentials, work experience and/or certificates. One way is to ask for certifications in the areas, as claimed by the candidate. Another way is assessment or tests that are conducted by companies to test the aptitude of the candidates, and their skills including tech skills and hard skills. Many companies also have devised special assessments to identify and segregate top candidates with the required skills and those who are lacking in one area or the other. These timed tests can help recruiters evaluate candidate skills and ensure hiring efficiency.

  • Top team performers can assess candidates better

There is a traditional debate in terms of who are the right people to interview the candidates. True, from an HR/initial eligibility perspective recruiters have an important role to play. But it is equally important to note that the project teams, delivery staff also have their share of assessments. This is particularly true for technology skills or tech positions. Ideally, companies allow top team performers to conduct in-depth interviews, from a skills perspective. They are the people who know the kind of skills that are/would be needed within the project and how the job needs to be done. They join forces with the recruiting/HR teams to assess the skills a candidate has and how can those be useful for their team.

  • Start Small

Companies do not hire only on the basis of skills. HR teams can list down the roles present and potential that can be difficult to fill and including the roles that have the highest turnover. This can be leveraged to build candidate pools for roles that are difficult to fill – e.g. Data Science, AI, or Machine Learning. When the actual roles come the database can be of advantage to the recruiters in terms of their sourcing efforts and building a talent pipeline. This can gradually reduce the time and cost to fill such roles to a great extent.

  • Assessment Tests

Assessment of the skills possessed by the candidates should be an essential part in the recruitment process. HR teams can test the candidates through different methods such as writing a sample, presenting a problem, asking for a solution, giving a project, and assessing the outcome. There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes it skill assessment as it depends on the type of role and the industry. For instance, for a developer position, the hiring manager can ask the candidate to write a code. Similarly, they can ask the candidate to create a dummy website or a mobile application for a web developer role. The hiring of candidates based on skill assessment will curtail bias in hiring. Biased hiring might lead to flawed hiring decisions.

US Government support to encourage skill-based hiring

The US Government has decided to change the way it operates when it comes to hiring government employees. In the month of June 2020, President Trump had signed an executive order on skill-based hiring. In the future, the US Government will prefer skills over a college degree. According to the order, “The Federal Government will no longer be narrowly focused on where you went to school, but the skills and the talents that you bring to the job.”

The US Federal Government is the biggest employer in the United States, with more than 2.1mn people working across the country. The new executive order will support millions of Americans who were forced out of work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the Government does not eliminate degree requirements, but will favor those jobs where having a degree is less important, and skills are essential. Specific fields, such as Medical and Legal, require education and formal degrees and do not come under the purview of this order.

Final Thoughts

Skill-based hiring may be challenging to adapt to for HR teams and recruiters. But in the challenging times, it needs to become part of the culture. If the companies need access quality talent, skill-based hiring should not only be limited to the entry-level jobs but must also include hiring for senior and middle-level management. The HR teams must eliminate the old job descriptions and come up with the new ones after discussing HR managers and top performers. To ensure that companies are hiring the right candidate, they need to assess the candidates employing suitable assessment tests.

There are many benefits of a skill-based hiring program, including eliminating hiring bias, a reduction in cost and time-to-hire, higher employee retention, and a more diverse workforce. Many firms have already started skill-based hiring – this includes Apple, where more than half of the employees hired in 2018 were without a degree. Skills such as coding are in high demand in the job market and are not taught in universities. Apple is hiring coding specialists even without formal degrees, as there is an acute shortage of highly-skilled coding professionals. IBM, Google, and Netflix are following the same pattern. Moreover, the US Government has decided to move on from mandatory educational qualifications to skills when hiring for specific roles.

In the post-COVID-19 world, there will be millions of new jobs available. Companies will face difficulty filling the roles and need to pivot their hiring process and start looking for candidates who are proficient in the skills and not focus only on their formal education qualifications.

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Remote workers’ salary: should the pay be based on their location https://www.avanceservices.com/remote-workers-salary/ https://www.avanceservices.com/remote-workers-salary/#respond Fri, 20 Nov 2020 18:00:50 +0000 https://www.avanceservices.com/?p=13152 Working Remotely – The New Norm? The COVID-19 crisis has completely altered the way people work. Commuting to work, which was one of the basic components of one’s professional life, has undergone rapid change.  Commute to work using mass rapid transport systems (MRTS), which has been the mainstay of work-related travel has also witnessed a …

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Working Remotely – The New Norm?

The COVID-19 crisis has completely altered the way people work. Commuting to work, which was one of the basic components of one’s professional life, has undergone rapid change.  Commute to work using mass rapid transport systems (MRTS), which has been the mainstay of work-related travel has also witnessed a lot of churn. While ‘Work From Home’ isn’t a new practice, at least in the IT/ITES sectors, it was earlier driven by ‘employee convenience’ or principles of ‘work-life balance’. This led to productivity gains for some employees as well as organizations. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged the traditional notions of ‘Work Location’ and has forced companies’ to review their existing “Work from Home” policies. With the pandemic still raging, a new concept ‘Work from Anywhere’ is gaining currency and is becoming mainstream.

Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey said in an email to its employees that they can work from home forever. Twitter has suspended all business-related travel and in-person events till 2021 and is providing extra allowances to their employees to purchase work related commodities including internet connections, desks and chairs.  On the other hand, Facebook and Google are allowing their employees to work from anywhere until mid-2021. Google will be offering US$1,000 (or equivalent) per employee to purchase office furniture. Facebook is planning to shift half its workforce to permanent remote work over the next 5-10 years.

How are employees taking to this shift?

Most employees are pleased to work from home. CNBC and Survey Monkey conducted a poll on 9,000 US employees, and more than a third (38%) of them would like to continue working from home even after the COVID-19 crisis ends, and one out of five (19%) would prefer to work from home forever. Remote working has raised new concerns for companies apart from data and asset security, and more importantly – the compensation benchmarks of their employees. Will employee location (in this case remote/work from home) be a determinant of employee compensation?

What about the salaries for remote workers in the current pandemic?

Before the onset of the pandemic, the employee salaries were dependent on the location of the work. For e.g. a Developer working in Detroit for Company X will have lower pay than a developer working for the same company in New York. The local economy has always been a determinant of employees’ compensation. During the current pandemic, debate on pay based on employee location has heated up in the recruitment industry.

In July, Mark Zuckerberg had stated that the salaries of their remote working employees’ will be recalculated if they intended to move to cheaper locations. Currently, Facebook pays its employees based on their job location, which will undoubtedly change. Come January 2021, its employees will need to notify where they are working from. Pay cuts resulting from a shift to less expensive cities is not limited to Facebook, but other companies like VMware are also following suit. According to VMware, employees choosing to work from smaller cities outside the Bay Area will face pay reduction if they move out from Silicon Valley, one of the most expensive areas in the country. Employees leaving the Silicon Valley, San Francisco, and San Diego to other parts in the country may see their annual salaries reduced by 8%. Likewise, cloud-software giant ServiceNow Inc. will follow a similar path and reduce employee salaries if they move out from Santa Clara, CA.

Should Companies base their pay on location? The opinion is divided…

Should a company pay its remote working employees based on the location of their work or based on other factors such as performance, experience, and educational background is an important question. Industry experts are debating this for quite a bit of time, and this chatter has got a bit louder during the current pandemic, which forced millions to work from home.

Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) interviewed Ken Lewis, Managing Partner with Client Expander, a marketing agency in Palm Beach Gardens, Fl. According to Ken, “My opinion, as a business owner, is that clearly, a company should adjust wages based on the worker’s location.” Salaries are paid based on market factors, just like prices on everything else” and he stressed that any location would have built-in cost, including housing, transportation, parking, and dress. In the same article, SHRM interviewed Mary Ann Sardone, a partner and U.S. Talent Leader at Mercer, who had a different view from Ken. “We’ve heard, ‘Now you don’t have a commute. Now you have more time. Perhaps I should pay you less,'” she said. “I don’t think that’s going to happen.”

But there are more pressing issues which play an even more important role than just the remote workers’ location. What about the roles where there is a skill shortage? According to TalentSpectra Research, globally, there is an acute shortage of professionals for AI, Data Science, and Cybersecurity roles. Companies employing professionals in such roles or even planning to hire will face difficulty negotiating salaries based on just the location.

Are employees willing to have a pay cut?

Companies have argued that pay for remote workers should be given based on their location as the cost of living varies from city to city; some of the variations are drastic in nature. It is equally important for companies to listen to the views of their employees.

Dice’s ongoing COVID-19 Sentiment Survey will provide an answer to this issue. Very few technologists are willing to take a pay cut just because they are working remotely. Only one out of four is ready to sacrifice some part of their salary if they can work remotely. In total, just 3% said they are willing to take a 15% salary cut; 1% said they would take a 25% cut. Meanwhile, around 76% have said they would not take any cut in exchange for remote work. Companies should realize that most employees are unwilling to forego bigger salary cuts, even if they work remotely in different cities. They are very capable of handling their tasks even if they are away from office. The employees would not argue for smaller pay cuts, but it would be difficult to convince them if companies are planning for bigger pay cuts. Employee productivity and performance is closely intertwined with the monetary aspects.

The way forward…

Companies might consider hiring people from other countries and offer a payment based on the local economy. But this is not at all a feasible solution. The company will face many obstacles in their path, including time zone differences, cultural differences, language barriers, and other legal problems which they might encounter.

Disruptions caused by COVID-19 has changed the way people work; it has forced employees to move from their offices to their houses, which they are more than willing to continue in the longer run. There has been no impact on work or employee productivity. Due to this reason, employees are not willing to accept the pay cuts. On the other side, companies want to pay the employees based on the location.

So, the cost of living should only be considered as a yardstick to reduce the salary. Before deciding on this issue, they also need to consider other benefits they will accrue by allowing workers to work remotely; this includes reducing the expensive office space they are leasing, access to more talent from different locations. The most crucial factors may well be revenue per employee and for people-centric businesses – the operating margins.

The Big Four Tech Firms Facebook, Apple, Alphabet, and Microsoft, make US$410k, US$403K, US$209K, and US$273K profit per employee. If profit margins get impacted due to remote work, then the question may gain in prominence. In that case, compensation based on employee location will be the most important determinant. However, a blanket decision requiring pay cuts may lead to negative consequences including losing their best talent to rivals and a substantial increase in the cost of hiring and time to hire new employees (currently, companies spend US$4,000 on an average to hire an employee and the average time to hire a new employee is 52 days). It will have a direct impact on the company’s bottom line. Assuming businesses accept that remote working is the future, then factors like experience, talent, education, and capabilities rather than just their work location, should be the decisive factors.

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Developing an effective talent pipeline strategy for the post-pandemic world https://www.avanceservices.com/talent-pipeline-strategy-post-pandemic/ https://www.avanceservices.com/talent-pipeline-strategy-post-pandemic/#respond Thu, 19 Nov 2020 10:23:48 +0000 https://www.avanceservices.com/?p=13144 COVID-19 Impact on the Job Market The spread of COVID-19 has led to large-scale disruptions to the world’s economy, resulting in among other things, millions of job cuts. The impact has been across industries irrespective of their nature, size, and location of the business. The Services industry has been the hardest-hit; Hospitality, Travel & Tourism, …

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COVID-19 Impact on the Job Market

The spread of COVID-19 has led to large-scale disruptions to the world’s economy, resulting in among other things, millions of job cuts. The impact has been across industries irrespective of their nature, size, and location of the business. The Services industry has been the hardest-hit; Hospitality, Travel & Tourism, Transportation are among the most affected. Brick & Mortar companies have also been laying off their workforce. The software industry, apart from a few large organizations which held on to its workforce for the first few months of the pandemic (e.g. Salesforce had pledged not to layoff employees in the first 90 days of the pandemic), by and large have also resorted to laying off employees when the situation aggravated. On the other hand, start-ups have been at the wrong-end of things – many have not only had to contract their operations and payroll size, some of them also found it difficult to continue their operations. Even Unicorns such as Airbnb had to freeze hiring and reduce their marketing budgets. According to McKinsey, 57mn US jobs are now vulnerable, which includes millions of white-collar jobs. Another 59mn jobs are at risk in the European Union, including in densely populated countries like the United Kingdom, and millions worldwide are in the same state.

However, everything is not gloomy amidst this pandemic. Every problem brings a new opportunity. In a situation marked by recruitment freeze, layoffs, furloughs, can be an opportunity for HR teams and recruiters. One way is to proactively shift from hiring for open positions to building a ‘Database of the Future’ – of candidates who can join new jobs in the future. A large volume of potential candidates are updating their resumes on job boards and social networking websites like LinkedIn and Xing. Recruiter teams can grab this opportunity to build a robust database using Applicant Tracking Systems.

Talent Pipeline

Talent Pipeline is one of the frequently used jargons in the field of recruitment & staffing

  1. What is a talent pipeline?
  2. How can businesses build an effective talent pipeline during crisis such as the current one?
  3. And, how a proactive Talent Pipeline Strategy is going to benefit organizations in the post-Covid-world?

Let’s get started with defining Talent Pipeline. Talent Pipeline is a typically a large pool of potential candidates, either an organization’s current employees who are considered for promotion prospects or external candidates who can fill vacant positions in the future.

For organizations, developing a significant talent pipeline takes time, and may need to spend months/years in developing goals, designing their strategy and executing it. One straight benefit of a well-planned & executed talent pipeline strategy is a shortened time-to-hire, or in other words, “Time-to Hire” will decrease resulting in time and cost savings. HR teams and recruiters are the key stakeholders in the Talent Pipeline ecosystem. Recruitment teams should focus on how the organization will perform in the future and the key roles to be hired. The talent pipeline is not about filling the current vacant positions but carefully planning and building a database of potential candidates for future roles, indicating that this has to be seen in conjunction with manpower planning.

How to Build an Effective Talent Pipeline?

Generally, people think that building a talent pipeline involves adding a bulk of candidates without assessing how this adds value to the team. As mentioned earlier, building a talent pipeline takes years, and different trial and error methods need to apply before finding a successful strategy. Below, we have listed some of the essentials to be considered before developing an appropriate strategy.

1. Understand the needs of the organization

Prior to sourcing candidates, all the stakeholders should determine the requirements and discuss their short-term and long-term hiring goals. HR teams and recruiters need to understand which direction the company plans to move in the post-COVID-19 world. For example, suppose the company is expanding its product portfolio, then they might require Engineers and Product Managers, or if the company is planning to enter new markets, they may need a sales team.

2. Identify the current and future skill needs

It is difficult to predict the post-COVID-19 world. Will organizations continue to work remotely? Or will people return to brick & mortar stores? Will business travel pick up speed, or are the days of in-person meetings over? Organizations need to assess the skills required for the future and determine a strategy to acquire these skills.

Before building a talent pipeline, HR managers and recruiter teams need to understand the current employee skill set. A skill-gap analysis is needed to have a bird’s eye view and determine the missing skills at the individual and at the team levels.  Organizations can run surveys, skill assessment tests, and interviews with employees to discover the existing skills gaps.  Based on this information, HR teams can start building the talent pipeline. The skill-gap analysis should involve all the stake-holders right from the top management to team leaders to employees and interns.

  • Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning – Must have skills for the future

Another critical aspect that needs to be considered is AI/ML skill set. Irrespective of the industry, AI, and ML are the new tools and drivers of business. Companies that do not adapt to AI/ML-led business realities in the post-COVID-19 world may witness failure. Organizations need to focus on yet another area which is changing the way business is done – particularly operations. They need to understand the importance of automation and its adoption in their business. This will lead to understanding of the skill-sets they need. It is ideal for businesses to list their skills for AI and ML and start building a talent pipeline to handle the business of the future.

3. Finding Passive Candidates

Passive candidates also look for new and exciting opportunities, but they may not be aggressively looking. Passive candidates are everywhere but, identifying the right channels and proactively interacting with them must be done regularly to make it successful. The best possible way to find a passive candidate is to look through Social Media tools – considered as an ideal way to find candidates for the future. Using Social media to organizational advantage, HR teams can start developing the Talent Pipeline.

While, there are a plethora of social media channels, which one will yield the best results depends on many factors and varies from one organization to another. The obvious choice is LinkedIn which has more than 690mn users and growing rapidly. HR teams must be proactive in leveraging LinkedIn by providing career advice or sharing articles regularly. Influencers follow LinkedIn groups that specialized in niche technology or areas. Microsoft has reported that during the current crisis, LinkedIn has seen on-going growth in both number of users and engagement volume; and there is no better time for organizations to tap into LinkedIn and increase their conversation with potential candidates or capture new leads. This will eventually lead to building a new talent pipeline for the future. However, LinkedIn isn’t the only place for quality passive candidates. Other social media websites also need to be considered while developing a talent pipeline. Twitter Hashtags is a powerful tool in the hands of a recruiter in finding the latest trends and follow people who are talking about them. Facebook can also be used to discuss with candidates looking for newer opportunities. Other niche platforms such as Reddit, Slack, Quora, and Github are some of the other places to find future talent.

4. Clear & effective communication strategy (candidate engagement)

Regularly communicating with the potential candidates is required if an organization wants to hire top-notch talent in the market. About 96% of the job applicants want confirmation that their job application has been received, but less than 10% of job applicants actually receive such an email from the companies.

The majority of leads in the talent pipeline are warm leads and need to be kept in constant contact to make sure that they remain interested for open positions in the future. In uncertain times such as these, keeping constant touch with candidates is a balancing act. HR teams and hiring managers can periodically send relevant blog articles, press releases, and information on the company and how are they dealing with the current crisis and its plans for the post-COVID-19 world. Such information will likely help the potential candidate understand the company’s culture and values and help him/her develop an idea of how they fit in if there is an opportunity at a future date.

Automation can play an important role in organizational communication, particularly from a recruitment perspective. There is a need to invest in and upgrade communication tools with the latest technologies, such as Chatbots – a unique combination of automation and AI. Candidates being contacted, generally ask a lot of questions about the role, location, type of work, and the application process. Chatbots can help recruiters take off the load by answering some of the questions in real-time, which saves a lot of time and effort. The HR teams need to figure out the most common questions asked by the candidates at the initial stages, and supply the appropriate answers to the Chatbot tool.

5. Employer Branding

Organizations realize that merely building a talent pipeline with the aid of a latest ATS and capturing relevant details, and building a candidate persona is not going to add any value if they are not influenced or motivated to join the organization. This is where employer branding and recruitment marketing comes in handy. The reputation of a company helps attract the right candidates. During the current pandemic, even the companies that are among the “best places to work” have gone ahead with retrenchment of staff. Candidates need to be aware of how employers may respond at times of crisis and employer branding is an important source of information in their hands.

Building a strong brand is a must-have component in a company’s strategy, and this has to be implemented during the early phases of talent pipeline development.

Applicant Tracking System (ATS) – Tool To Build A Talent Pipeline

Applicant Tracking System or ATS is a tool which is widely used by recruitment firms to build a talent pipeline and also to run their day-to-day operations in a smooth manner. According to a research commissioned by Capterra, 94% of recruiters said that ATS had positively impacted their hiring process. Organizations that had used ATS, reported a decrease in unproductive time by 75%, a 15% decrease in time-to-fill, a 70% faster report creation, and registered 10% more placements per month than those firms which had not opted for ATS.

ATS is a must-have tool and its importance during crisis is all the more apparent. In the past few months, recruitment companies saw hundreds of additional applicants than usual, which had been a burden to the recruiters. Using an effective ATS, the additional load of candidates can be added to the talent pool easily for the future. For those organizations which haven’t stepped into an ATS as yet, this is the right opportunity to invest in one and streamline their hiring and recruitment processes based on their needs and budget and build a talent pipeline for the future.

Conclusion

Building an effective Talent Pipeline will require strategy, planning, resources, and backing along with the latest technologies. When the COVID-19 pandemic ends and businesses start operating normally, demand for highly skilled professionals is set to increase. Organizations must realize that getting ahead of their competitors and hiring candidates is not possible overnight. They need to back up their recruitment teams with a large talent pool powered by a flawless ATS system.

Apart from the technological aspects, constant interaction with the potential candidates will lay down the path for success in the longer run. For the talent pipeline to be successful, brand management of the company is a vital component. The organizations that maintain their company values and visions even during difficult times will have a positive brand image and attract highly qualified professionals.

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Government Response & Initiatives To Manage Pandemic Impact – UK https://www.avanceservices.com/manage-pandemic-impact-uk/ https://www.avanceservices.com/manage-pandemic-impact-uk/#respond Tue, 10 Nov 2020 18:55:37 +0000 https://www.avanceservices.com/?p=13136 Europe is facing one of the gravest challenges since theSecond World War and is one of the most affected regions globally with respect to the Pandemic. To safeguard economic interests and to lend a helping hand to those who have lost their jobs or have been furloughed, or for the businesses that are finding it …

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Europe is facing one of the gravest challenges since theSecond World War and is one of the most affected regions globally with respect to the Pandemic. To safeguard economic interests and to lend a helping hand to those who have lost their jobs or have been furloughed, or for the businesses that are finding it hard to sustain, the Government has set in to motion several programs primarily for the UK Private Sector. This article enumerates the various programs that have been unveiled to counter the widespread effects of the economic slowdown.

Job Retention Scheme

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is the centerpiece of the economic package that was introduced by Rishi Sunak, in-force since the end of April 2020. The scheme is meant for those employers whose operations have been severely affected owing to the business disruptions and is aimed at helping them to retain their employees and to protect their businesses in the shorter term.

Under this scheme, the affected employers can request Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for a grant of 80% of the employees’ salary (capped at £2,500 a month per employee) who are on the employers’ payroll as on or before February 28, 2020 (employees hired after February 28, 2020, will not be eligible for the grant). The Government will also offer additional benefits such as Associated Employer National Insurance contributions and Minimum Automatic Enrolment Employer Pension contributions on that wage (currently 3%). The employees who receive the grant are subject to taxes. On the other hand, companies who receive the payment will have to treat the grant as taxable income, but they can offset the deductible revenue costs. The Government has announced that all the employees are eligible for this scheme. The duration of the scheme has been set for three months initially, and if required, it can be extended.

Self Employed Income Support

In the United Kingdom, one in six workers is self-employed, and it is estimated that there are about 5 mn self-employed professionals in the UK (e.g., musicians, gardeners, taxi drivers) who are facing financial difficulties due to COVID-19 Pandemic. The UK treats self-employed workers on similar terms as workers who are employed by businesses and are being offered a special package. In this package, the Government will be offering 80% of their earnings capped at £2,500 a month. The Self-Employed Income Support scheme will benefit almost 95% of the self-employed who earn up to £50,000 a year and have filed their taxes for 2019 (those who haven’t filed can file by April 23, 2020). The scheme is for three months starting  June 2020, and if required, the Government will extend the program.

COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF Facility)

The COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) is a new scheme launched by the Bank of England to help businesses in the UK  that make a significant contribution towards the economy. Under this scheme, the Bank of England will purchase short-term debt from larger organizations. The Bank of England will buy one-year short term commercial papers offered by large, financially stable companies. The Bank of England is providing the facility due to the current circumstances in the market as the cash flows of many businesses are affected.

The CCFF facility is available for the UK and foreign-based companies and their subsidiaries, making a material contribution to the UK economy. The companies must have a credit rating of A-3 / P-3 / F-3 / R3 from any of these companies – Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s, Fitch, and DBRS Morningstar) as of March 1, 2020); and are issued directly into Euroclear and/or Clearstream. According to the Bank of England, financial companies are barred from this facility. 

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

To support the small and mid-size businesses, the Government has launched the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. In this package, companies with a turnover of £45 mn or less are eligible for a loan up to £5mn. The Government will offer guarantees to the lenders up to 80% on each loan so that the businesses can run uninterrupted, and also the lenders will have the confidence in the borrowers. The scheme is operational from April 6, 2020.

There will be no loan charge, and the first year will be interest free (which will be footed by the Government). An amount up to £250,000 doesn’t require any personal guarantee, and for more than £250,000 personal guarantee is required. Still, this excludes the Principal Private Residence (PPR), and recoveries under these are capped at a maximum of 20% of the outstanding balance.

The small and mid-size businesses can opt for the loan from 40 different lenders, which includes high-street banks, challenger banks, asset-based lenders, and smaller specialist local lenders. The lenders can offer loans in the form of term loans, overdrafts, invoice finance, and asset finance. The businesses which opt for this scheme are 100% liable for their debts.

Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS)

For large companies operating across the UK, the Government has introduced Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme. In this package, the businesses that have revenues of more than  £45mn but less than £500mn are eligible for a loan up to £25 mn. The scheme is yet to be started and is expected to kick off by the end of April 2020 and applicable for those firms which are unable to secure commercial lending due to COVID-19.  Similar to small and mid-size businesses, the Government will also provide guarantees to the lenders up to 80% on each loan so that the large businesses can continue their operations.

Some of the firms such as banks, insurers and reinsurers (but not insurance brokers), public-sector bodies, education establishments (if they are grant-funded), and state-funded primary and secondary schools are not eligible for this loan.

Grants for retail, Hospitality and Leisure businesses

The retail, hospitality, and leisure businesses are some of the most affected businesses due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.  Some of the hospitality and leisure businesses are on the brink of collapse, and to save these companies from bankruptcy, the Government is providing them grants. The scheme applies to all businesses in these sectors in England and Scotland. In Wales, relief is given to businesses with a rateable value below £500,000. This scheme does not operate in Northern Ireland – instead, all businesses will pay zero rates for April, May, and June 2020.

In the scheme, the businesses that have property value less than £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000, and those between £15,000 and £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000. In this scheme, shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas, live music venues, assembly and leisure, hotels, guest and boarding premises, and self-catering accommodation are eligible. The local authorities will decide whether the property will qualify for a grant or not, and they will directly contact the business, and the cash grant is paid automatically. 

Support for businesses that pay little or no business rates

The  Government is offering grants to the businesses that pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBBR) in England.  Under this scheme, the Government will be offering a one-off grant of £10,000 to businesses currently eligible for SBRR or rural rate relief, to help meet their ongoing business costs. The funding for the scheme will be offered by the Government to the local authorities in England by the end of April 2020.

Time to Pay arrangements "TTP"

The Time to Pay arrangements is available in the UK for over a decade. The Time to Pay agreements is a method under which payments of business tax can be spread over a period of time. TTP allows a business to defer current tax debts (principally corporation/income tax, payroll taxes, and VAT – but theoretically any other tax or duty) by converting the settlement to installments across a 3 to 12 month period. The companies may need to make use of Time to Pay arrangements (TTP) to defer the tax payment. The Government has put this forward as one of the measures to help businesses in the Budget 2020.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) relief for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs)

The Government is offering the Statutory Sick Pay package for small and medium businesses to help them during the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. As per this policy, small and medium businesses with less than 250 employees can reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid out to employees. The company will be offered £94.25 per week for those employees who are self-isolated or suffering from COVID-19. The business can apply from day 1 of the leave for these employees.

Deferral of Income Tax and VAT Payments

In the UK, VAT registered companies which need to make VAT payments due on March 20, 2020 and June 30, 2020, can defer their VAT payments to a later date. Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs will not charge any additional penalties for deferral of VAT payments. However, this will not be applicable for VAT MOSS or import VAT.

The self-assessment tax on June 30, 2020, can be deferred till January 31, 2020. The measure will apply to all self-employed individuals, and it is anticipated that this will also include partners in trading partnerships.

The Government of the United Kingdom is offering various types of financial support for small and mid-size companies, large firms, self-employed, and also directly affected businesses such as restaurants and hospitality. With the economy shrinking further in 2020, the main objective of the Government is to save the businesses, which in turn will keep many people employed and help the economy to get stabilized after the COVID-19 Pandemic is over.

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