Ryan LLC and Achievers

Partners in Employee Success: Ryan LLC + Achievers

Ryan LLC drives total client satisfaction by aligning its global employees with the Achievers Employee Success Platform™. Watch the video and see how Ryan LLC creates a culture of recognition to drive success.

HR Tech Europe

Lessons Learned At HR Tech Europe—When I Wasn’t There

Don’t get me wrong; I learned a lot from HR Tech Europe in Amsterdam, and thoroughly enjoyed my experience. The sessions were great. Connecting with several analysts and the media was enlightening. The people I met in the Spire bar as we passed around red drink tickets and stories were plenty and inspiring. But, the biggest takeaway from my first HR Tech Europe experience didn’t happen at the show; it happened at an old Heineken Brewery.

heinekenWith two fellow Achievers (as you can see by my pictures below with amazing colleagues Loren and Katie; we had a great time), we took part in the Heineken Experience. On Saturday afternoon after HR Tech, we spent three hours learning about the quality of Heineken beer and had a few (ok, a lot of) samples. But what stood out most for me wasn’t the product, or the brilliant Heineken marketing, or the fun experience and copious amounts of silly pictures—it was that Heineken’s unwavering focus on their people continues to make this company great.

Throughout the experience, it was obvious that Heineken creates a culture where their people, and in turn their company, can thrive. It starts with a dedicated room that shows a video from their Executive Director of their Board, Charlene Lucille de Carvalho-Heineken, describing the values of Respect, Quality and Enjoyment. She comments on how every decision the company makes flourishes from these values, creating an aligned purpose.

There’s a wall of stories describing how the leadership was insanely focused on putting their people first. In one story from 1923, Heineken became one of the first Dutch companies to establish a non-contributory pension fund for its employees. In 1929, a decade after an economic crisis, Heineken refused to fire or lay off employees, and instead provided early retirement options at age 58. In 1937, they developed The Heineken Foundation for Personnel to provide extra support for employees in need. Decades later, Heineken continues to focus on innovating great culture fit, earning them awards around the world for their focus on employees. Seriously, this company is amazing—just check out their latest hiring campaign.

The people I met embody everything we all want in our employees. They’re focused, energized, passionate, and engaged. Listening to—and watching—them speak about the product was inspiring, and more akin to a parent talking about their newborn child. The woman providing us our first sample didn’t call it “yellow beer,” she called it “liquid gold.” And all did it with a passion and confidence that they belonged to the Heineken family. You’d never guess they’d been doing the same thing, hour after hour, over and over, to more than 600,000 visitors so far in 2014.

Every interaction, from the gentleman selling us our tickets, to the lovely woman accepting them, to the person that checked out all the things I couldn’t resist from the gift shop, and everyone in between, showed that the employees not only lived and believed in the brand, they’re actively a part of the Heineken journey.

And I’m not just talking about people. Heineken’s horses are behind the brew, too.

Heineken2Yup! That’s not a typo. Even the horses are recognized as part of the family with an entire section dedicated to the role horses have played in Heineken’s growth for over 150 years. Horses were the prime method of distribution for the tasty-suds, from the streets of Amsterdam and beyond, up until the 1960’s. They highlighted their importance and displayed their continued purpose. They displayed how they are part of the family. They even have a vacation day each year when all the horses are taken on a field trip to run free in the pastures. They even take care of them after they retire for the remainder of their lives. The horses are as part of the culture as their people.

Heineken3Throughout our tour there were many passionate references to the ‘secret-sauce’ in their beer—affectionately named the ‘A-Yeast’—that keeps Heineken’s taste consistent, in 180 countries worldwide. It reminded me of the importance of alignment, and why company culture is the secret sauce your competition can’t duplicate. There are 20,000 beer brands worldwide that can make a beer with a similar look, feel, taste, and smell as Heineken.

And, so it happened that my biggest ‘ah-ha’ from HR Tech Europe came off-site of the event in an old brewery. I urge you as business and HR leaders to consider this: Anyone can build your product and compete in your market. Give a smart kid some money and a laptop and they can probably build a product better than yours—I saw more superior products in the Disrupt HR section of HR Tech than what’s currently out in the market. That means what sets you apart isn’t just in what you build, but who builds it, and why. One of my primary goals as a manager and a leader in two fast-growth companies has been simply this; don’t let a single employee be a passenger. Hire to your company values and culture, and ensure that they have the chance to belong to something they can feel passionate about and engaged with. This includes being transparent, allowing employees to have a voice, having a purpose, mission and values that are clear and lived by senior management (and not just a page on your website), and recognizing and aligning employees with that vision.

Isn’t this what HR Tech is all about? All the fancy tools and technologies are great, but so often they aren’t people centric. Technology, tools, platforms—whatever you want to call them—are enablers. They need to enable people to align to the behaviors and values you want every employee to embody, and empower them to do their jobs more effectively and passionately.

Heineken4I learned a lot at the Heineken Experience but one other thing was new and cool to me. I was unaware that the three letter e’s in the Heineken logo were turned slightly to make it look like they were smiling. A nice touch for their brand and culture. With the whole experience that day, my fellow Achievers and I had three faces smiling back.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RobRob Catalano is a Vice-President at Achievers focusing on the company’s global expansion. Marketer by trade, but focused on HR by passion – Rob has spent a decade growing Achievers in multiple roles focused on helping companies engage, align and recognize their employees to drive company purpose, values and phenomenal business performance. Follow him at @RobCatalano

 

Employee Vacation Time

Out of Office—4 Reasons Why It’s Time for a Break

The end of the year is just around the corner. In a little over two months, you’ll have goals to meet, budgets to decide, holidays to plan for, and let’s not forget the start of the flu season. In other words, you probably aren’t thinking much about taking time off—but you should.

Americans are neglecting their vacation benefits, taking fewer days off in 2013 than at any time in the past 40 years. And, if you believe the studies about sitting for more than six hours per day, things aren’t looking good for those of us tied to our desks, 40-60 hours per week.

 

Still not convinced it’s time for a break? Here are four of our favorite links this week to help you get out of the office for some much needed R&R:

  1. Shorter, Better, Faster, Stronger—The Easiest Way to Get More Done? Work Less – Slate
  2. Workaholics who skip vacation are forfeiting $52.4 billion annually – Fortune
  3. This Agency Is Giving $1,500 to Each Employee to Go on an Exotic Vacation – AdWeek
  4. Could Unlimited Vacation Time Work for Your Company? – The Muse

 

Photo Credit: Fifth World Art via Compfight cc

HR Tech Tank Toronto

Insights from #HRTechTank Toronto

This week, the most promising HR Tech companies in Canada shared their innovations and insights with investors, early adopters, and industry thought leaders. Here’s what they said:

Humanizing HR Technology

Guest post by Jeff Waldman, Founder & Social HR Strategist of Stratify and SocialHRCamp

We’ve seen an unprecedented explosion in SaaS-based HR technology in the past 5+ years. Solutions that potentially solve virtually every conceivable problem within the broad spectrum of Human Resources—recruitment, on-boarding, performance management, employee engagement, recognition, talent management—the list goes on. The possibilities are infinite as to how successful these emerging technologies are at driving business value for organizations across the globe.

Yet, with all of this technology goodness comes a basic observation, or challenge, that may impact the ability of organizations to maximize value; people. None of this great technology will do us much good if we’re not ensuring employees remain at the forefront of the business.

What exactly does this mean?

Think about it for a second. Technology has streamlined business processes, opened up the floodgates to data accessibility, instantly connected people regardless of geography, and promoted user experience personalization—we’re connected anytime, anywhere, and using our devices of choice, from smartphones and tablets, to laptops, and even wearable devices.

The business case has been clearly made, and it’s an attractive one. The effects of these advancements are hugely positive, and advantageous to driving business value and outcomes. On the other hand, we’re also seeing a trend where technology adoption has somewhat replaced the face-to-face human interaction. Instead of walking over to a colleagues desk, we send an email. Don’t want to talk on the phone? Send a text. The impact? A de-humanization of the workplace—an over-reliance and dependence on technology to facilitate people interactions.

Technology can still be our friend

I’m not saying using technology isn’t a good thing, but I am saying that over-dependence at the expense of face-to-face contact could have significant negative repercussions. Nothing will ever replace the influence, impact, and strength of face-to-face interactions, and this is critically important to think about and consider within the realm of Human Resources and the workplace.

Without a doubt, technology is, and will continue to be at the center of the workplace and human resources strategy, driving business value, but it’s crucial that we don’t do so at the expense of our human connections. Organizations are made up of people who require an emotional connection to each other, the workplace, and the brand. As HR practitioners we need to be cognizant of this cause and effect relationship, and support our organizations to maximize their investments in technology, people and the workplace.

 

 

 

Jeff Headshot SHRMJeff Waldman, Founder & Social HR Strategist of Stratify and SocialHRCamp is leading the way in a growing niche that brings together HR, employer branding, social media, marketing and business. With a diverse career since 2000, spanning all facets of HR Jeff founded SocialHRCamp in 2012; a growing global interactive learning platform that helps the HR Community adopt social media and emerging HR technology in the workplace. Jeff consults and advises HR and Recruitment software companies on content market strategy, business development and product development, and with corporate HR teams across multiple industries to strategically integrate social media and emerging HR technology into HR and Employer Branding strategy.

Jeff is an avid speaker, blogger and volunteer with diverse organizations such as the SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition, HR Technology Conference, HR Metrics Conference Canada, Illinois State SHRM Conference, Louisiana State SHRM Conference and many other events in Canada and the U.S.. Recently named one of the Top 100 Most Social Human Resources Experts on Twitter by the Huffington Post he also served as a judge for the 2013 Achievers Top 50 Most Engaged Workplaces Awards.

You can find Jeff on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google Plus.

Talent Community

What’s a Talent Community?

Guest post by Jeff Waldman, Founder & Social HR Strategist of Stratify and SocialHRCamp

Talent pool, talent network or talent community—semantics shemantics. We in the HR industry appear to be having some difficulties wrapping our heads around all of this. For starters, we can’t seem to agree on the definitions for each of these terms, let alone understand what the core purposes of each are. The so-called ‘industry influencers’ are struggling with this as well. If the thought-leaders and influencers are struggling, how can the industry at large have a clear understanding?

Part of the problem with understanding talent communities, lies in our attempts to define it. While we could sit around and debate the meaning of specific words, concepts and ideas, a simple definition just doesn’t capture the essence of what a talent community really is at its core.

Instead, what if we equate the core purpose of a talent community to the practice of relationship building? Take a marketer for example. Why are successful marketers successful? Is it because they create more appealing advertisements? Is it because they have a way with words? Or is it because they are the loudest on social networks? No, not really, and probably not.

A marketer’s success hinges on their ability to build strong relationships based on value, respect, credibility, honesty, and reciprocity. They have the ability to effectively tap into the emotional core of their target audience. They’re engaging and conversational, always discovering and sharing, and asking questions. Their success is directly correlated to their engagement with their audience.

This is exactly what a talent community is all about. The final desired outcome is a rich community of top talent that loves and promotes the brand.

Yet, to date, the approach that the majority of the HR industry has taken is what I call an “old school sales” approach. The industry has this notion that employers hold all the power, and that simply offering an open position is all the effort needed to attract top talent. With this approach, dialogue between a prospect and the organization is limited and one-sided, not to mention inconsistent. Oh, and it’s terribly boring—for everyone involved. How in the world can this practice differentiate you from your competitors, promote brand awareness, and ultimately build strong relationships? Tactics like these only seek to define a position, not create a community.

Appropriately, the answer here isn’t easy. Simply stating the desired qualities of your ideal employees won’t magically draw them to you. Instead, seek out the best talent you know, and ask them how they build relationships with their target audiences. Then begin to cultivate the type of community that attracts the caliber of colleague you’re looking for.

Like any good community, your talent community is only as good as its members. Dedicate the time and effort to understand yours, and you’ll find your success far surpasses a simple definition.

 

 

Jeff Headshot SHRMJeff Waldman, Founder & Social HR Strategist of Stratify and SocialHRCamp is leading the way in a growing niche that brings together HR, employer branding, social media, marketing and business. With a diverse career since 2000, spanning all facets of HR Jeff founded SocialHRCamp in 2012; a growing global interactive learning platform that helps the HR Community adopt social media and emerging HR technology in the workplace. Jeff consults and advises HR and Recruitment software companies on content market strategy, business development and product development, and with corporate HR teams across multiple industries to strategically integrate social media and emerging HR technology into HR and Employer Branding strategy.

Jeff is an avid speaker, blogger and volunteer with diverse organizations such as the SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition, HR Technology Conference, HR Metrics Conference Canada, Illinois State SHRM Conference, Louisiana State SHRM Conference and many other events in Canada and the U.S.. Recently named one of the Top 100 Most Social Human Resources Experts on Twitter by the Huffington Post he also served as a judge for the 2013 Achievers Top 50 Most Engaged Workplaces Awards.

You can find Jeff on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google Plus.

HR Technology

3 Keys To Making Great HR Tech

Screen Shot 2014-10-08 at 4.23.09 AMThis week, HR professionals from around the world are gathering in Las Vegas, but it’s not to roll the dice. It’s to talk about technology—HR technology. While this may not seem as sexy as Sinatra or the roulette tables, how we use technology in the workplace today, and in the future, is on everyone’s minds, and probably in our pockets, too.

But great HR technology isn’t as simple as creating a snazzy app or adding a few bells and whistles to old systems and services. HR Technology not only has to attract the attention of a wide audience—from interns to CEOs—but it has to keep them coming back to it, day after day.

So, what’s the magic ingredient? We know technology can enable us to access incredible insights into our workforces, and improve engagement and alignment, but none of that matters if we can’t get anyone to use the system.

Recently, Steven Parker spoke about this very topic on his webinar, Disrupting HR Technology, and laid out three key factors to creating HR Technology that will be worth your time—and investment.

1. It’s easy to use

How much time does it take you to decide if you’re going to use new technology? Gone are the days of reading a complicated user manual to set the clock on your VCR (remember those?). Smart design with the user in mind means technology has to be intuitive and and easy to use, and HR Tech is no exception.

2. It provides unique value to the user

At any given time, most of us probably have a least five different programs running on our computers, all of them necessary to get the job done. Adding another layer to an already crowded desktop won’t go over well with your employees, unless that new layer is making their life easier.

3. It makes the invisible, visible

With all great technology, comes data. Lots of it. That data becomes invaluable when it uncovers trends and information about your workforce you couldn’t access through traditional means. Employees and managers alike, should have insights into performance, as individuals and as a team.

There will surely be some great innovations showcased at #HRTechConf, and who knows, maybe HR technology will be giving Sinatra a run for his money. After all, nothing is sexier than success.

 

 

 

Happy at Work

Get Happy—5 Links to Help Keep Everyone Smiling at Work

Imagine it’s a Monday morning and you’ve just arrived to the office. How’s your mood? Are you excited to be at work? Does the prospect of a new week get you excited? Are you smiling?

Happiness in the workplace may sound like a pie-in-the-sky concept, but the good news is, it’s not. Although happiness has often been attributed to an individual, there are things managers and companies can do to help foster a happy office environment. Here are five of our favorite links from around the web to help get your office smiling.

 

1. Why Happiness at Work Matters – (Inc.)

2. Make Fun a Workplace Priority for Happier Staff and Clients – (Lifehacker)

3. The Benefits of Bringing More Play into Your Work – (tinybuddha)

4. 5 Simple Office Policies That Make Danish Workers Way More Happy Than Americans – (FastCo.Exist)

5. Reframing Your Way to Happiness – (Forbes)

Maintaining a happy and fulfilling home life is a goal most of us have. So, with most of our waking lives spent at work, striving for the same at work makes perfect sense. Keep these tips and insights in mind as you and your company works to keep your employees happy and engaged.

 

Photo courtesy of: adt610 via Compfight cc