Growing Recognition of the Toll Health and Financial Concerns May Have on Workplace Productivity

(From Business Wire) — The economic crisis has created a significant shift in employers’ benefits objectives. Controlling benefits costs is now the top benefits objective for employers, edging out employee retention for the first time since 2006. And while improving employee productivity remains the third most important benefits objective, employers have renewed focus on this area due to the economy – 84% of employers now report that this is a very important benefits objective, up from 79% in 2008. At the same time, however, economic pressures confronting employees may negatively impact productivity. According to MetLife’s 8th annual Employee Benefits Trends Study, released today, 68% of employees said that over the last 12 months they were affected by increased feelings of job insecurity, a decrease in the quality of their work, an increase in their workload or being distracted at work because of financial worries. “In a still-fragile economy, organizations are searching for ways to maximize their benefits programs to improve employee productivity as well as control costs. Programs that help improve employee health and financial security can be strategic tools for helping address these objectives. However, these programs, which in many cases have only a nominal cost to implement, are still underutilized by many employers,” said Anthony J. Nugent, executive vice president, U.S. Business, MetLife. “The ‘next benefits frontier’ will focus on providing employees with access to these programs along with the education needed to become a healthier, more financially secure workforce.” Providing access to health and wellness programs, work/life balance programs, and financial advice and guidance in the workplace may prove to be a “win-win” for employers and employees alike as approximately eight out of ten employees say that they believe their productivity would be favorably impacted by these programs. Read more.

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Have Methods, Will Travel

In the global economy, it should be no surprise that the U.K.-based PRINCE2 methodology is making inroads beyond Europe, while the PMBOK Guide continues to expand its reach internationally. A growing number of organizations, it would seem, are adopting project management best practices based on more than just where they originated. Here’s an overview.

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The (Digital) Doctor Is In

Faced with growing frustration in its ability to support clinicians and serve patients, a regional medical center’s IT organization prescribed a push toward electronic medical records to automate, anticipate and ultimately save lives. Indeed, EMRs have provided an impetus for many healthcare organizations to investigate PPM.

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Tool Shop: Teamwork/Wrike/RedBooth

There is a growing number of solutions designed specifically to help smaller organizations foster collaborative work environments while providing key project management functions such as time tracking and resource planning to teams that don’t have formal processes or training. Here is an overview of three offerings that have built loyal customer bases.

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Letting Go

Web 2.0 and social networking tools are playing a growing role in informal learning inside organizations. But there’s an odd catch. They work best when employees trust the tools and use them, which is closely related to how much control employees are given and how little is exercised by the learning department. Social medi…

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Workplace competition on the rise

(Patricia Rivera, Mar. 31, 2009, Philly.com) Employees may not be literally putting on boxing gloves, but they’re growing more competitive with one another than ever before. Some 46 percent of senior executives said they believe employees are more competitive with one another today than they were 10 years ago in a poll by Office Team, the administrative staffing service based in Menlo, Calif. While some competition is healthy in a free market, too much of it can affect teamwork, especially when organizations are tightening their belts. Elizabeth R. Lombardo, a psychologist in Wexford, Pa., says with tough economic times, workers are worried about possibly losing their jobs. “They are concerned about not getting the credit they think they deserve and need [in order] to keep their jobs. It truly is a survival mentality where people are fighting for limited resources to ‘stay alive,'” she says. (Read the entire article.)

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What Form does Informal Learning Take in the Workplace?

In 2008, ASTD partnered with the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) to help organizations better understand how to tap into informal learning. For the purposes of this study, informal learning is defined as a learning activity that is not easily recognizable as formal training and performance support. Generally speaking, it takes place without a conventional instructor and is employee-controlled in terms of breadth, depth, and timing. It does not include activities such as organized classes, workshops, and conventional job aids. [more]The ASTD/i4cp Tapping the Potential of Informal Learning study respondents clearly agreed that informal learning is taking place in their organizations. The survey data established the prevalence of informal learning in almost all organizations, and it revealed some of the better processes and tools for fostering informal learning. As many in the modern workplace would expect, e-mail emerged as the top-ranked informal learning tool at 68%. Accessing information from a company Intranet came in at a close second, with 65% of respondents citing its use to a high or very high degree. These responses reinforced that technology is a driving tool to create informal learning. Despite the growing recognition that informal learning is valuable, the firms surveyed reported only a small percentage of training budgets are devoted to informal learning. More than a third (36%) of respondents said they don’t allocate any learning expenditure to informal learning, and another 42% said they only allocate between 1% and 10% of their budgets to the process. These figures highlight the difficulty managers have in utilizing informal learning, even though the firms surveyed agreed there is value in this type of training. Source: Tapping the Potential of Informal Learning (ASTD/i4cp) Click here to learn more about ASTD Research.

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Talent Software Market Expands Despite Economy

Despite the sluggish economy, the talent management software market has enjoyed an active summer and fall. Leading vendors Taleo and SuccessFactors sought to broaden their horizons, while other software providers introduced new features as companies continued to purchase the products. While growth rates are less than what was projected a year ago, the talent management market as a whole is growing by about 15 percent and should reach $2.5 billion this year, says Josh Bersin, head of research firm Bersin & Associates. Far from shriveling amid the recession, the talent management software field is expanding as business-services giants IBM, Accenture, Mercer and Hewitt build strategies to deliver a combination of talent management software, consulting and outsourcing, Bersin says. Talent management software refers to applications that help organizations with key HR tasks such as recruiting, employee performance management and compensation.

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Talent Management Challenges in China

(From Broadcast Newsroom) — PageUp People, a Multinational Talent Management solutions provider, today announced the release of its recent research titled, “Into China: Talent Management Essential in a Land of Paradox,” authored by Sylvia Vorhauser-Smith, senior vice president of Research. As more companies expand operations into the growing market of China, they are presented with the enormous opportunities of the country’s large workforce as well as the many difficulties arising from different workplace practices and norms. This new research explores the reasons behind these challenges and how organizations seeking to leverage the growing qualified workforce in China can best equip themselves to maximize employee performance. With China at the cusp of significant change, there are several challenges facing multinational corporations already established in China and those looking to expand their operations into the country. The aim of PageUp People’s research paper is to provide organizations with insight into how they can better understand and manage their talent in an environment drastically different from their home base. It is designed to educate and provide practical suggestions for optimizing human capital productivity and engagement while exploring the challenging differences between the western and eastern worlds. Key findings include: Read more.

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Saudi: E-learning tackles workplace issues

(From arabnews.com) According to a report this year from Ambient Insight, the global market for self-paced e-learning reached $27.1 billion in 2009. “The Worldwide Market for Self-paced eLearning Products and Services: 2009-2014 Forecast and Analysis,” shows that global demand is growing by a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.8 percent and revenues will reach $49.6 billion by 2014. The report found that in the Middle East, the use of self-paced e-learning tools is growing as well, albeit at just eight percent. Reasons for this slower growth could be the lack of e-learning materials in Arabic, the continuing emphasis on traditional educational delivery channels, inadequate broadband infrastructure, high data costs and the lack of acceptance by employers of e-learning tools and certifications. Despite the many hurdles, this year at companies and government organizations across the Middle East, Dubai-Headquartered Knowledge Horizon introduced its “Work Ethics in Ramadan” e-learning program. From Saudi Arabia, Khalid Ali Alturki & Sons (Alturki), a leading family owned investment and development company, supported the program as a Silver Partner. The initiative was put forward by Knowledge Horizon and its partners to gently initiate discussion about behavior in the workplace during the holy month of Ramadan. The program focused on positive practices and included a section on how to best deal with co-workers who might not be fasting. Read more.

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New Report Shows Employers Struggle with Ill-Prepared Workforce

As the Obama administration shines a light on the training and skills workers will need for the jobs of tomorrow, a new report shows that U.S. employers continue to struggle with an ill-prepared workforce, finding new hires lack crucial basic and applied skills. For the most part, employer-sponsored readiness training is not successfully correcting these deficiencies, according to the report, The Ill-Prepared U.S. Workforce: Exploring the Challenges of Employer-Provided Workforce Readiness Training, produced by Corporate Voices for Working Families, the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD), The Conference Board, and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). [more]”The results of this study demonstrate how critical it is for companies to be more strategic and focused on efforts such as providing internships and working in partnership with community colleges on workforce readiness initiatives to prepare new entrants before they enter the workplace,” says Donna Klein, Executive Chair, Corporate Voices for Working Families, which partnered with The Conference Board, the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD), and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) on the report and its underlying survey of U.S. employers. “It is a losing strategy for employers to try to fill the workforce readiness gap on the job. They need to be involved much sooner to prepare new employees to succeed,” Klein said. The report published today, The Ill-Prepared U.S. Workforce: Exploring the Challenges of Employer-Provided Workforce Readiness Training, draws from a survey of 217 employers about their training of newly hired graduates of high school and two- and four-year colleges. The survey, conducted during 2008, included employers in manufacturing; financial services; non-financial services; and education, government, and other non-profits. Almost half of respondents said they have to provide readiness training for new hires – and the majority rate their programs as only “moderately” or “somewhat successful.” “U.S. business is increasingly outspoken about the competitiveness threat posed by an ill-prepared workforce – but employers must do a better job of quantifying this threat and communicating it to key stakeholders,” says Mary Wright, Program Director, Workforce Readiness Initiative, The Conference Board. “It doesn’t make any difference if you’re operating a business in Mumbai, Beijing or New York – the number one challenge facing every organization is finding and growing skilled talent,” said SHRM CEO and President Laurence O’Neil. “HR professionals are helping bridge the gap, finding ways to give employees the skills they need to add value and to be more valued. This isn’t just an HR challenge, but a bottom-line global business problem.” “In any economy, having a knowledgeable, skilled workforce is critical for organizations to grow and be successful,” said Tony Bingham, ASTD President and CEO. “As the skills gap widens among new entrants to the workforce, it’s clear that all stakeholders – employers, education, and the public workforce system – must collaborate to effectively prepare workers to be successful on the job.” The report, which includes five case studies of successful workforce readiness programs run by Bank of America and Year Up, CVS Caremark and TJX Companies, Harper Industries, Northrop Grumman, and YUM! Brands, finds that: The full report can be downloaded free of charge from ASTD’s website.

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New Deloitte Research Finds Increasing CEO Involvement in Talent Management

The fast growing talent gap is prompting even CEOs to add leadership development and recruitment to their busy daily schedules, according to a new report by Deloitte and Forbes. The Threading the Talent Needle report, which features several different takes on talent management revealed through one-on-one interviews with senior leaders at global organizations, described several companies that believe the shortage of qualified people is becoming severe enough to get the CEO’s direct attention. [more]Two-thirds of the organizations in the study cited a critical need for the CEO to meet face to face with high-potential employees. These findings underscore the severity of the human capital shortage, considering that CEOs must add talent management to their daily tasks of directing business strategy, managing finances and working directly with the board. “Our CEO is very much involved in selecting people at higher levels, and he is directly involved in the talent review process in our organization,” said Juergen Brokatzky-Geiger, head of Human Resources at Novartis. In addition to interacting with employees to aid retention and develop skills useful to the organization, some CEOs are even spending time on attracting new talent at all levels. “I personally get involved with recruitment days and sessions that we organize around the world, so I can speak to young people and see what they really have on their minds,” said Peter Bakker, CEO of TNT, a Netherlands-based delivery services company. The effort CEOs are placing on talent management emphasizes the importance building a competitive workforce plays in the future of the organization. For more information on this study, please visit Deloitte’s Talent Management website at www.deloitte.com/us/talent.

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MORE GRANTS! Health Care and High Growth Industries Wanted!

As mentioned in several previous blog postings, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) allocated $750 Million to the Department of Labor (DOL) in competitive grants to help grow the energy, green and other “new economy” workers. $500 million in grants were announced earlier this summer; and last week, DOL announced the remaining $250 million for health care worker training and for “high growth industries”. The goal for DOL is to allocate 45-65 grants totaling $2-$5 million each. According to the grant announcement for health care, DOL is interested in projects that provide training and support career progression along the nursing career pathway as well as short-term skills certification or credentialing that enables incumbent workers to advance along a career ladder in health care. The options include licenses, certificates, and degrees from accredited nursing programs that lead to the Associate Degree of Nursing (ADN) or vocational licensure for LPNs and positions as CNAs. DOL is also interested in academic strategies that help incumbent workers advance from an ADN to the bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) since many RNs with an ADN find it beneficial to enter bachelors programs to prepare for a broader scope of nursing practice. In this grant, DOL is also soliciting grant applications that address current and forecasted workforce shortages that provide workers with paths to career enhancement opportunities in high growth, high demand, and economically vital sectors of the American economy. ETA will target education and skills development resources toward helping workers gain skills needed to build successful careers in local growing industries. Required partners in this grant must include at least one entity from each of the following three categories: The public workforce investment system, such as local Workforce Investment Boards and their One Stop systems; public and private employers, such as health care providers when appropriate, and industry-related organizations; and the education and training community, which includes the continuum of education from secondary schools to community and technical colleges, four-year colleges and universities, apprenticeship programs, technical and vocational training institutions, and other education and training entities. Grant applications are due 10/5/09. Call your local partners to see how you can participate in this grant. You can find out more about this and the other grant available at the DOL-ETA web site: http://www.doleta.gov/grants/

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Executive Perks Keep Employees Hard at Work

During the past year, executive compensation packages have come under increased scrutiny at organizations across the country. While many companies are making efforts to cut back on the overall cost of executive compensation, offering perquisites that ensure the effectiveness of their employees is gaining momentum. The newly released Executive Compensation 2009/2010 survey found supplemental medical coverage is offered to 32.7 percent of Chief Executive Officers, nationally. Supplemental coverage is also provided to Chief Financial Officers and Chief Operating Officers at a rate of 23.5 and 20.6 percent, respectively. “Ensuring the health of a company’s top executives is of growing importance at organizations across the country,” said Amy Kaminski, manager of marketing programs for Compdata Surveys, the nation’s leading compensation and benefits data provider. “Executives are spending more time hard at work, both in and out of the office, and the stress they encounter can take its toll on their health and by extension, their productivity.” Read the full article.

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Entrepreneurial Training Programs Now Available Through the Public Workforce System.

As many of you already know, the public workforce system (run by local and state workforce boards) currently spends billions annually on a variety of skill training programs. Most of these programs are designed to train or retrain workers in skills needed by local employers. State and local boards make their own decisions on what training should be utilized. A couple of weeks ago, the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) gave approval for state and local boards to approve training programs in the area of entrepreneurship. They are encouraging local boards to build working relationships and partnerships with other state and federal agencies in this area so that customers within the system can be made aware of these other small business services. The Small Business Administration (SBA) is a good example of a Federal partner. There are also other community resources, such as Chambers of Commerce and the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), that local workforce boards are partnering with in this endeavor. As we hear from members of Congress and the Obama Administration, the best way to get the US economy going again is to get small businesses started, growing and succeeding! So, what does this mean for ASTD members? As we know, when the economy struggles, training in unfortunately one of the items many organizations cut back on. Some of those cuts include eliminating staff in the training departments. Many of those cuts affect our members directly. Over the years, many of those individuals who have been downsized have considered going out on their own. This is a way for our members, who qualify for public training funds, to enjoy some of the benefits from these approved programs in entrepreneurship. Now you might be able to get your own small business started with some training help and possibly other assistance from other government agencies. Staff in the One Stop Career Centers are being trained in this area and are there to direct you to these and other community services and networking events for the new business owner. For ASTD members who provide entrepreneurship training programs, this is an opportunity for you to approach state and local workforce boards about getting your programs approved for customers in the One Stop Career Centers. There is paperwork to fill out and an approval process, but this would be a great way to bring more students into your programs. For either situation, our members should talk to the staff in their local One Stop Career Center or local workforce board executive director to ask more questions about this opportunity. You can also find more information on www.careeronestop.org You can hear the entire webinar from ETA about this opportunity on the Workforce3One website at: www.workforce3one.org. Just find the webinar Supporting Entrepreneurial and Self-Employment Training through the Workforce Investment System.

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DuPont Launches Ethics & Compliance Training Curriculum

June 9, 2010, Virginia Beach, VA – DuPont Sustainable Solutions announces a new Ethics & Compliance training curriculum to help organizations meet corporate compliance requirements and champion ethical business practices. The curriculum offers new courses on FCPA (Foreign Corrupt Practices Act), antitrust, environmental law, export control, insider trading, trade secret law and traditional issues like ethics, harassment, privacy, and diversity. Clients can experience these compelling programs in a powerful e-learning delivery. The Ethics and Compliance Curriculum provides timely, effective training and was developed with the assistance of law firms such as McGuire Woods LLP and Alston Bird LLP. According to Matthew J. McGonegle, CCEP, Manager of Ethics & Compliance, DuPont Sustainable Solutions, the release of the Ethics and Compliance curriculum seeks to address a growing trend within the training industry. Compliance saw the highest growth of all content areas according to the 2008 ASTD State of the Industry Report. It also recorded the second biggest growth per annum over the last five years.

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Community college begins training drive to help in recession

Houston Community College announced a major campaign Wednesday, saying it has joined forces with other organizations to promote job training opportunities that can help Houstonians survive the recession. “We’ve weathered it more than most places, but job growth has slowed down,” Mayor Bill White said. “There are employers looking for employees.” He noted that growing fields include property management, early childhood development, heating and air conditioning installation and repair, teaching and medical billing – fields in which HCC and other community colleges offer training. ( Read the entire article.)

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Canada: FuelCell Energy Charges up High-Potentials

Ottawa, Canada ( PRWEB) April 24, 2009 — FuelCell Energy Inc., the global leader in clean stationary electric power, implemented Halogen Software’s talent management suite globally in just six weeks, and within one appraisal cycle created a high-performance culture. The organization improved the integrity and value of its employee performance data, aligned its rapidly growing workforce around a common set of goals, and ensured its high-potential employees were recognized and nurtured. The demands of the current economic climate are putting pressure on organizations globally to quickly gain a better understanding of their workforce and align, communicate with and motivate their top performers. FuelCell recognized that, especially during this difficult economic downturn, maximizing the performance of its human capital was essential. Understanding where to allocate scarce resources and how to strategically develop talent to meet business needs is an urgent necessity for companies of all sizes. FuelCell Energy is a clear example of how quickly organizations can achieve these goals and strengthen their competitive position in the process. By automating its talent management processes FuelCell helped strengthen and streamline its rapid global expansion- growing from 150 to over 500 employees in four years. Before implementing Halogen’s solution, the organization faced a number of challenges in their performance management system, including a lack of consistency, accountability, and employee engagement with the existing process. As a result, performance reviews were not considered a valuable tool for the organization as a whole. “The HR team found the system and process painful for everyone involved and looked to overhaul it and implement an automated system,” said Sandra Mauro, HR Manager with FuelCell Energy. “Once we had decided to invest in Halogen, things began to improve quickly. We were live within six weeks of training. It was awesome. I have done a lot of software implementations in my career and I know how painful they can be. Getting Halogen up and running was painless.” Halogen Software is able to consistently implement its suite for customers under very tight deadlines, even for those with global operations, because the solution is so flexible and easily configured. This enables customers to have the Halogen applications adapt to their processes and forms-rather than the other way around. Once Halogen’s suite had been successfully implemented, FuelCell was able to address its business problems almost immediately. Availability of information and a methodology toward a high performance culture began to evolve and improve with each review process. Accountability for goals and alignment around performance is now the norm for its global workforce. The company fosters greater recognition of high performance, and nurtures employee growth via development planning and ongoing feedback. The intelligence gained through the performance appraisal process is now readily accessible and is therefore actionable, unlike with the paper-based process, which was impractical to aggregate and report on. The shift is an exciting one for the HR team. “I recommend Halogen to pretty much anyone who will listen. I talk about it all the time,” says Mauro. “We use the employee performance management system to drive a higher level of accountability. As a high-growth company, we have many employees who join our team from different companies and corporate cultures. The new system enables us to standardize performance expectations and unify our corporate culture.” (Read the entire article at Canadian Business Online.) Learn more about Halogen Software here: http://www.halogensoftware.com/

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Building an Internal Simulation Capacity

Organization that want to build an internal simulation deployment capability should first learn from the best practices of other departments developing new competencies: Developing N ew Organizational Competencies, 101 New projects often require skills that do not exist within a business unit, creating a gap that needs to be filled across the project’s life. To produce the right portfolio of skills over the life of the project, managers have to juggle between: Some organizations have outsourced everything, a strategy that gave them the immediate ability to compete, but ultimately was too expensive and rigid. Other companies have tried to develop the capacity from within, only to find that it took too long and the window off opportunity passed. Many leading organizations have taken a hybrid path. They have begun with bringing in outside experts in different capacities and jumped start the process. While the project was being designed, they also began a parallel track of building an internal capacity, through training and hiring and shadowing. At some inflection point, the responsibility is shifted from external to internal. Now, Simulations With that as a bit of background, here are the skills an organization will need to develop, in order. acquisition – The best simulations will be bought “off-the-shelf” and mildly, if at all, customized. In some academic environments, commercial off the shelf (COTS) computer games will better meet a need than any educational simulation. Evaluation criteria include: learning objectives, cost, ease of deployment. measuring/evaluating situations – Measuring the effectivness of sims is critical to growing and perpetuating any program. project management – Deploying and scheduling sims is a bit of work, although should be less impactful than scheduling a physical class. coach/facilitator – Coaches add pedagogy and motivation. planning, strategic – Where to use sims is a critical , but it is an issue that can only be fully understood after a few real simulation deployments. – Build versus buy is a critical long term issue, although most organizations will want to leverage vendor experience initially. web, creating – An organiation should have people with a basic knowledge of HTML/CSS Director and Flash, using – Flash remains the first programming skill to need. dedicated tool, branching story – Scenariation – Moodle dedicated tool, game based model – authoring environments dedicated tool, interactive spreadsheet dedicated tool, virtual lab – But most people use the more general Director and Flash. database, programming – Data management/manipulation, from database (e.g. mySQL) to even manipulation of batches of number in Excel languages programming – Organizations need people with some sort of programming and scripting to generate interactivity. anywhere from JavaScript to ActionScript/Lingo to PHP/ASP images, manipulating – PhotoShop/PaintShopPro sound, editing – Audacity developer, simulation/game – game engines

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AT&T’s $350 Million Plan to Groom New U.S. Workers

While Americans struggle to finds jobs, some of the country’s biggest companies insist they’re struggling just as hard to find workers with the skills they need. “We are interviewing 11 people to find one qualified candidate,” AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson told CNNMoney in a recent interview. “It’s stunning to me.” AT&T, which draws 90% of its revenue from the United States, says it’s at a disadvantage compared to other global technology giants. It sees a growing talent gap between this nation and foreign countries, particularly in highly technical fields, but it doesn’t have the option of outsourcing heavily. AT&T’s solution: A $350 million commitment to a program called “Aspire,” which provides grants to schools, nonprofit organizations, and researchers for ventures aimed at increasing the country’s high-school graduation rate. Read more.

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ASTD Issues Action Plan to Take Charge of the Skills Gap

ASTD surveyed 1,179 companies and found that 79 percent of them say they face a skills gap. 79 percent! Communities, states, regions, and entire nations pay a heavy price when workers lack the right skills for critical jobs. While the skills gap has always been a concern for organizations, the global recession complicates an already perplexing issue. Recognizing the extraordinary circumstances, ASTD conducted new research and the results are published ina new white paper that features skills gap survey findings and includes impact of the recession, Web 2.0, andthe surge ofmillennials in the workplace. The paper is titled Bridging the Skills Gap: New Factors Compound the Growing Skills Shortage. The new paper analyzes the multi-layered dimensions of the skills gap in today’s economic climate including the impact of the global recession, the retirement of Baby Boomers in the workforce, Web 2.0 technologies, and the surge of the millennial cohort into the workforce. It includes the results of ASTD’s 2009 Skills Gap Poll taken by 1,179 organizations. Case studies from eight leading companies are also included. Bridging the Skills Gap: New Factors Compound the Growing Skills Shortage outlines a six-step action plan to help organizations and individuals deal proactively with the skills gap. “Recent economic challenges have forced public- and private-sector organizations to execute their strategies with more precision than ever before, and do it with fewer resources, especially people,” says Tony Bingham, ASTD President and CEO. “Many senior executives are struggling to close skills gaps within their organizations. The Action Plan identified in this white paper provides a process for leaders, managers, and learning professionals to use to successfully manage this challenge.” Learning professionals are strategically positioned to identify the skills and competencies their organizations possess and those needed for the future. The white paper includes eight case studies from Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, EMC Corporation, IBM, McCain Foods Limited, NVR Inc., Steelcase, and the Tennessee Valley Authority. These organizations’ case studies provide best practices to address skills gaps.

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ASTD Declares December 6 -10 Employee Learning Week

To increase awareness about the strategic value of learning in organizations, the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) has declared December 6-10, 2010, as “Employee Learning Week.” Many member organizations have planned events to highlight the important link between developing employees’ skills and achieving organizational results. ASTD research shows that organizations continue to invest in growing the knowledge and skills of their workforce. “Senior executives realize that the most important asset in our knowledge economy is talent, and a skilled workforce is the key to realizing results. We encourage all organizations to demonstrate their commitment to learning by recognizing Employee Learning Week,” says Tony Bingham, ASTD President and CEO. Employee Learning Week recently received recognition in the United States. U.S. Representative Jim Moran of Virginia recognized Employee Learning Week with a resolution that appeared in the Congressional Record on September 28, 2010. “I applaud ASTD and its members for their dedication to develop the knowledge and skills of employees during Employee Learning Week,” Congressman Moran said. From obtaining local and state proclamations to hosting panel discussions and learning-related contests, organizations are using Employee Learning Week to draw attention to the importance of a skilled workforce and promote the week’s official theme: “Workforce Development is Everyone’s Business.” Participating organizations are designated “Champions of Learning” for their commitment to recognizing Employee Learning Week. Visit www.employeelearningweek.org for more information.

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Are your Sales Goals “Unachievable”?

According to an article on a Bloomberg BusinessWeek blog, posted 5April 10 by Josh Setzer, He comments on the advice of a Coach he interviewed entitled: “Run Your Stars Hard”. After asking several sales people in a survey about meeting expectations, 73% of reps believe that their sales goals are unachievable. WHY? Sales organizations do ask a lot from their sales representatives, particularly in an economic slump, and as Sales Managers continue to push them to drive performance harder, burnout is a risk – which leads to gross under-performance.Where is the positive psychological SALES MANAGEMENT BALANCE in this? From a Sales Training perspective, it sounds severe. There are logical arguments for slowly growing the behavior of your team members through practice and patience. But, there is an ROI to worry about when you are investing in your sales performers. Is it FAIR to push your Sales Reps and set them up to think they have unrealistic goals? Should high expectations after training be enforced (or else)? or Should training be based on individual Human Performance assessments to build each team member? or Should the company tell the Sales team member that their performance is being monitored against business ROI? POST A COMMENT and let us know! We will discuss it!

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5 Common Bad Hires and How to Prevent Them

Recruiters and hiring managers both dread the same scenario: After the first month on the job, the new hire is not the person who shone brightly during the interview and screening process.Maybe he or she needs more time to acclimate, but warning sign behaviors could also signal that a big mistake was made.Here are five types of typical bad hires and how to prevent them.A new hire with a jerky attitude is one of the biggest nightmares for a hiring manager. Offering constructive criticism from a fresh perspective could enlighten co-workers, but being disrespectful or insubordinate, endlessly complaining, or expressing that things were better “in my old job” are troubling.”A poisonous attitude is not consistent with a high-performing culture, and this kind of behavior has a strong negative effect on all employees who come into contact with the new hire,” said Kelly Marinelli, SHRM-SCP, an attorney and president and founder of HR consultancy Solve HR in Boulder, Colorado.To avoid this problem, beware of candidates who are confrontational or negative from the get-go, said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at recruitment software company CareerBuilder. “If they can’t be positive in the interview, it could be a sign of worse things to come.”Marinelli recommended requesting feedback from others who come into contact with the candidate on interview day, such as the receptionist, the parking attendant or the server at lunch. “It’s tough for [someone with] a bad attitude to maintain the facade ceaselessly, so you may get lucky and catch this bad hire in the act before it’s too late.”New hires who lack the skills they said they had are another huge letdown for hiring managers. Maybe they’re interview aces but they embellished or exaggerated their qualifications and experience.”Good interviewers can assess the level of understanding of certain skills, but it’s always possible that a candidate lacking in the appropriate skill level but who is a great communicator could slip through the cracks,” Marinelli said.These types of hires quickly lose credibility, which impacts trust and working relationships, added Sharlyn Lauby, SHRM-SCP, author, speaker and president of ITM Group Inc., an HR consulting firm in Weston, Florida, as well as writer of the HR Bartender blog. “Depending on the skills they embellished, they could hurt someone or cause damage. There’s a potential liability to the business.”Lauby recommended verifying candidates’ skills and experience with background checks where appropriate and using behavioral interviewing questions to get a sense of a candidate’s depth of experience with a skill.”My favorite way to avoid this disappointing new hire is to include a work task assessment in the hiring process,” Marinelli said. “It’s not just a test to see if candidates actually possess the skills they are representing, but also a great opportunity for them to see if they actually enjoy performing the work that the employer needs in the role.”Marinelli cautioned HR and hiring managers of the importance of ensuring that a new hire is properly trained in company-specific processes and tools. “Make sure new hires have a full and complete opportunity to perform in the new role before labeling anyone a bad hire,” she said.There will be an expected learning curve for all new hires, but if new employees can’t get a grasp on the tasks discussed during the hiring process within a reasonable amount of time, make the same mistakes continuously, or require oversight for even the simplest of assignments and are unwilling to make decisions on their own, they become more of a chore than an assist.”There is an expectation that after a certain amount of time and training, employees are able to do certain tasks on their own,” Lauby said. “If that doesn’t happen, the company needs to understand why. Is it the employee? Or has the organization failed in some way to give the employee the tools they need to be successful?”Many organizations are asking candidates about their “self-learning” skills, she added. Candidates could be asked a question like, “Tell me about a time when you had to learn something on your own. What was it that you learned, and how did you go about learning it?”These are the workers who can’t be found. They just started but they already come in late, leave early or disappear during the day with personal excuses, or they immediately ask for vacation time.”Of course, there may be many understandable reasons that your new hire is late or requesting time off, but you don’t want it becoming a habit,” Haefner said. “Make sure you have a conversation about paid time off and punctuality before a candidate is hired so you can identify any legitimate barriers to them keeping their contracted hours.”New employees who quickly begin angling for a new position could be a problem. In some workplaces, this isn’t an issue at all, Lauby said. “But in workplaces where paying your dues is an important part of the culture, it can create some friction. Other employees might feel that the new employee is being disrespectful even if the new hire is highly qualified.”Climbers may be able to be identified during the interview and screening process by asking about their expectations, she said. “We have a tendency to cringe at the traditional interview question ‘Where do you see yourself in five years?’ but it could be an indicator of candidate expectations. The other thing is for the organization to set expectations. If the company expects employees to work their way up, let the candidate know. Don’t let it become a surprise.”Employers could also consider using the climber to their advantage, Marinelli said. “Direct this hire’s energy toward learning, growing and stretching in the role, and you may find there’s a diamond in the rough that you can turn into your best employee. The downside, however, is when the climber loses interest too quickly because no immediate promotion is forthcoming. This hire can quickly turn into the bad attitude example if employers aren’t careful.”Spotting a climber in the interview process is complicated, she added. “When you ask an interviewee about future career plans, goals and dreams, most are unlikely to say they’d like to stay stationary. You can’t assume every potential hire who wants more in the future is a red flag. Then again, if you have an interviewee who is asking about other jobs during the interview, you can be relatively certain that it’s a problem.”Experts recommend that HR document what went wrong with bad hires and incorporate what was learned into the organization’s hiring process going forward. “A good hiring process requires not only preparation but consistency, documentation and continuous analysis of data so that successful methods can be captured and continued, the need for training can be identified and addressed, and poor processes can be discontinued or adjusted,” Marinelli said.Additional tips include: Copyright 2017, SHRM. This article is reprinted from https://www.shrm.org with permission from SHRM. All rights reserved.

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