Good relationships foster employee well-being

In early 2017 we see the growing awareness of the impact wellbeing can have on individuals, businesses and the economy. Along with that, there is a growing interest from the investment community in wellbeing as a leading indicator of financial performance and market value. Many researches during 2016 showed that organisations with effective wellbeing programmes outperform the market because high levels of wellbeing lead to better attraction and retention of talent, lower levels of absenteeism and higher engagement levels.

Wellbeing includes people’s physical and mental health and the social/relationship aspects of their work environment. It includes factors such as how they get on with their manager and colleagues. The company culture is critical to wellbeing: a culture where people feel trusted, valued and respected will engender feelings of wellbeing. Organisations where the culture is poor are more likely to suffer lower levels of wellbeing. So, whilst wellbeing programmes are important, they will be less effective if the organisation’s culture is poor.

Wellbeing is a key driver of engagement so for many employers focusing on employees’ wellbeing is a conscious business decision. If the work/life balance isn’t right, or employees don’t feel respected, valued or that they are treated fairly, they are more likely to become demotivated, disaffected and eventually leave the organisation. To avoid that, organisations have to consider the following aspects:

  • Values and ethical behavior: values and their corresponding behaviors shape an organisation’s culture. A poor cultural fit or weak  values can all affect employees’ sense of belonging, job satisfaction and personal wellbeing;
  • Teamwork: collaboration, as well as being good for productivity and innovation, can help break down silos, increase employees’ sense of worth and create stronger bonds between colleagues;
  • Employee’s relationship with their managers: great managers can balance the technical and soft skills and build trusting relationships with their teams. Bad relationships can make life for employees difficult or even unbearable, leading to staff turnover and the inevitable impact this has on the business.



On one hand, small organisations are more likely to have this kind of emotionally and psychologically healthy environment where wellbeing can flourish. This includes the softer aspects of the workplace, such as team spirit or a sense of “family”, where employees feel valued and supported and where flatter management structures offer more scope for getting involved in decisions and projects.

On the other hand, for large organisations is quite the opposite: a hyperconnected workplace where, despite the proliferation of social and collaboration tools, employees barely know who they meet in the elevator and end up “eating with their Facebook”, and where the executives struggle to spread a culture of shared values and to keep the workforce engaged. Moreover, since ESNs or other collaboration/social tools are part of the problem rather than the solution, what is really needed to foster wellbeing is real human contact.

HR managers should be able to organise frequent events with a small number of attendees: for example, breakfasts before work between the CEO and the employees. This is the best way to foster the creation of new links and good relationships, but, managing something like this would be a nightmare when hundreds of employees are involved and is hard to reach high level of the engagement by using the usual pull-communication.


This article has been taken from the original publication from Woobe Blogs

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Helping Companies Build A Better Culture One Team At A Time

Interview with Leong Chee Tung, Co-Founder and CEO at EngageRocket

first met CheeTung at HR Analytics Singapore meet up group.


Being a HR Tech fanatic, I was intrigued by the company he co-founded which focus on building a great workplace.

And soon after I’m reading about him every where in outlets such as Channel Newsasia,The Business Times,The Straits Times, The Jakarta Post, Kompas, Asian Banking and Finance, The Asian Banker, The Gallup Business Journal, and others.

With almost 15 years of experience working in management positions, he was a recipient of the prestigious Singapore Armed Forces Overseas Scholarship (SAFOS).

What drove a former scholar and Director of Gallup Southeast Asia to step into the unknown realms of entrepreneurship?

Let’s find out:

1. Please share a bit about what you do.

Currently, my co-founder and I are working on a startup called EngageRocket.

It is a software that analyses employee feedback in real-time to advise you on how to manage your team better.


Using a combination of pulse surveys, machine learning algorithms and natural language processing, EngageRocket helps companies build a better culture one team at a time.

Effectively, we work to remove all the administrative and analytical load of conducting employee surveys, allowing leaders and managers to focus on what’s actually important – managing their teams better.

This, combined with advanced survey UX design, allows teams to get feedback and targeted recommendations far quicker than traditional annual employee surveys.

With our algorithms in place, the longer you’re on the platform the more relevant its recommendations are for you as a leader.


2. When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?

I always wanted to be a scientist – complete with lab coat, test tubes, the works. It was kinda geeky, but it was between that and a Sherlock-esque detective.


3. What were you doing before starting this business?

I was the South-east Asia director for Gallup. They are a global research and consulting company based in the US.


4. How did the idea for your business come about?

My co-founder and I both worked in the regional leadership of my previous company.

We found that while we continued to be able to serve the Fortune 500 segment’s needs around HR analytics and employee engagement surveys, our processes were a bit outdated and could have been replaced with advanced automation.

As we worked on a boutique consulting business initially around helping companies with HR analytics, we found that an automated software-as-a-service solution helped to solve many of our clients’ problems around managing a 3rd-party upward feedback mechanism, as well as effectively eliminate the administrative and analytical load on us as consultants.

Thus, EngageRocket was born.


5. What sacrifices have you had to make to be a successful entrepreneur?

One of the hardest things to get used to for me was not receiving a salary.

This meant all my previous personal financial planning assumptions had to change massively.

No longer was I thinking about how to diversify asset classes in savings.

My main focus in my personal financial life (as it is in running EngageRocket) suddenly became burn rate and runway.

While I did make provisions before taking the leap, it’s a completely different psychology once you’re in it.

The mind-space that business takes and the continual stress it creates has resulted in me losing hair, putting on weight, and many missed social engagements.


6. How did you get funded?

We started out completely bootstrapping.

With a small investment, we were selling any kind of consulting project we could close.

When the decision came to pivot to a SaaS business model, consulting revenues were an important means of covering development costs, which we had to incur since neither of us are technical.


7. How do you go about marketing your business?

Buyers of our software are most clearly defined as a psychographic group – besides HR conferences, the decision-makers tend to be business leaders with a keen interest in improving team / company culture, making evidence-based decisions, and know their way around technology.

So a content outreach strategy is our best bet in earning credibility and calling these forward-thinking individuals together.

We publish high quality content regularly at, as well as in other media outlets and guest posts.

This is reinforced by building and supporting communities of like-minded individuals online and offline through events and dedicated interest groups.


8. Could you describe your first sale and how it came about?

Our first sale started from an interview I did when applying for a role with one of the government-sponsored programmes for an unrelated consulting gig.

One of the interviewers thought my expertise would be helpful to one of her clients, and we were introduced.

As this client and I held similar views on leadership, management, technology and data, we built a friendship and when we had put together our MVP, he was one of the first to call us to try it out in his company.

We’re so honoured that he continues to be a customer till today, and he remains one of our most valued relationships.


9. Describe/outline your typical work day?

Actually one of the things I appreciate about being an entrepreneur is that it’s very hard to find two work days that look alike!

Let’s take one recent day as an example.

I started the day getting into office at about 9.15am, had a short chat with a friend sharing our office space before diving into replying emails and preparing for the day’s meetings and presentations.

After a couple of rehearsals, we hop on an Uber to pitch the senior partners of a VC, along the way running through all the relevant metrics in my mind: business plan, financial and operational metrics, go-to-market strategy, etc.

Felt almost like preparing for an exam: spotting questions, concerns, preparing solid answers.

Pitch goes relatively smoothly, thankfully our preparations paid off and we gave a strong account of ourselves.

Next we’re head-first into a lunch meeting with some influential folks to introduce the HR analytics space and EngageRocket in a presentation.

I’ve never been much of a networker, but focusing on how to bring value to each person I meet helps.

We’re in town, which makes a good opportunity to visit our first customer to say hi and pass over some materials.

The courtesy call goes well – given its impromptu nature – and we’re back into office to follow up on the new inroads we’ve made.


10. What has been your proudest moment in the history of your business and why?

It’s hard to say as it’s still early days.


Launch day probably comes closest to being my proudest moment, as we pulled so much together to make something from virtually nothing.


11. What was the lowest point for you in this business?

No question it was the need to exit one of our early co-founders.

It was an extremely painful decision, and it posed an existential risk to the entire team which could very easily have dissolved after that episode.

At the end of the day, we were too small a team to deal with repeated issues with the integrity of that co-founder, as well as the constant sense that he was not pulling his weight.

He came in with very strong credentials: pedigreed education and big-name consultant background, and a generous exit from a previous company that he had set up.

What I didn’t expect was a poor work-rate requiring constant supervision, several occasions of blatant plagiarism that we caught, and the withholding of mission critical information from the rest of the team.

Ultimately, we had to bite the bullet and negotiate a buy-out, which seemed ridiculous at that time that to punish terrible behavior we had to pay thousands out of pocket to buy his shares.

Biggest thing I learned from the experience was how track-record is barely scratching the surface when considering someone as a co-founder.

I’ve worked with my other co-founder for more than 5 years now, and we have a high degree of trust and understanding of how each other works.

The guy we had to exit I only met for a month before agreeing for him to be on board, and in hindsight there was a whole lot more due diligence I could have done with him, as well as structuring his inclusion in a more gradual manner.

An expensive lesson, but one which I hope other entrepreneurs can learn from without going through the pain themselves.


12. What’s your revenue numbers over the past year?

We’re in 6-figures, but it has been mostly driven by consulting revenue prior to our pivot to software.

If things go according to plan, we’d completely replace that revenue by 2Q2017, which we’re working hard to achieve.


13. Who has influenced you most when it comes to how you approach your work?

There are many influences I’m subject to, maybe because I’m obsessive about learning.

The one source that I keep going back to is Ben Horowitz’s “The Hard Thing About Hard Things”, which contains many practical gems of advice that makes the book feel like a startup CEO’s handbook and Chicken Soup for the Soul all combined into one.

The other influence on my approach to learning and excellence in any given discipline (as a startup founder there are like 6 different areas to master before breakfast every day!) is Tim Ferriss and his books and podcasts.

The Four Hour Workweek” surprised me with its practical approach to time management and productivity despite its hype-y name, and continues to influence the lean approach to growth that we take at EngageRocket.


14. If you could go back in time to speak to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell him?

Get extremely curious about the world: success comes in many forms, and it’s worth your time to study why and how people achieve it.


15. What’s the worst piece of advice you ever got?

Build it and they will come. So wrong.


16. What’s your business focus for this year?

Conclusively achieve Product-Market Fit and have a best-in-class product to serve a very well-defined customer segment.


17. What’s a productivity tip you swear by?

It’s a combination of the Pareto principle (otherwise known as the 80-20 principle) and Parkinson’s Law.

In essence:

  1. in most endeavours finding the right 20% to focus efforts can yield 80% of the result; and
  2. set challenging time limits for activities as effort and perceived importance of a task expands to fill the time allocated for it.


18. Is there an app or tool you can’t live without?

So many! I’m an app / productivity junkie. If I had to choose, I’d probably choose good old Evernote, as it has successfully taken over so many memory functions.

Keen to learn more about Chee Tung?


Original Post



Adrian Tan is CEO of The Resource Group, a boutique HR Consultancy that focuses on helping SMEs. Before this, he was the MD of RecruitPlus which he co-founded in 2004 and led to two HR Vendor of the Year award. He was named the HR Entrepreneur of the Year by SHRI in 2013. He blogs regularly on #Entrepreneurship and #HRTech on

6 useful traits to look for when recruiting for your startup

Creating a start-up is an exciting journey!

The establishment of a little idea into the action of empowering people, communities and society at large is greatly valued in today’s world.

Even so, building a start-up from the ground up into a viable, profit-making business, is equally as thrilling. Part of the exhilarating experience is recruiting the team of people for the job.

Find the right people, and you have potential to grow your company exponentially. At the same time, finding people who are FUN makes work a whole lot more exciting.

The question then is, what fun (and useful) traits should we look for in an individual when recruiting for a start up?

Here are some feasible suggestions you could consider when recruiting.


1.    Gung-Ho!

Simply put; Enthusiastic!

We all love someone who is easily thrilled and enthusiastic about everything – including work.

Having that person who is highly motivated and passionate about what he or she does will bring life and spirit into the company.

Quite subtly, the whole team’s morale will be boosted with that one individual’s very presence.

What to look for: One who goes about his or her daily activities with a smile on his/her face. One who brings cheer and a positive vibe in every situation.


2.   Out of the box

Whether it’s decorating their desk with their Hot Wheels collection, taking sweet Polaroid photos of their buddies in the office, or coming up with “Joke of the Day” puns, creative people are a rear species.

If you find them, you know you will need to take a closer look.

People who are “out of the box” are particularly apt at brainstorming new ideas and ingenious ways at problem solving – a highly valued trait to look for in a start-up employee.

What to look for: Creative and abstract use of space.

People who like to use their hands to make things and improve their surroundings.

On first contact in an interview, dressing (hair colour and artistic choice of clothing) may be an indicator.


3.    “You can count on me”

There is always a need for enthusiastic and creative people in the office, but one more important trait to look for is whether or not the individual is responsible.

This trait may not seem as fun as the others, but it is absolutely necessary to have in an employee.

A self-motivated individual won’t need a pep-talk.

Instead, he or she is proactive in achieving goals.

Working in a start-up means getting tasks done within short time frames.

Multitasking and stress management become second-nature to someone who is dependable.

Also, the candidate’s ability to switch between impromptu tasks to be completed helps with keeping on track.

If the person is organized in completing tasks, you know you’ve hired the right person.

What to look for: One who is not perturbed by workload and has one’s balance of priorities for each day of the week.

This kind of individual will have a detailed timetable of all tasks clearly outlined for the day.


4.    Loves people

Working in start-up also means working with a team of individuals.

Whether the team is large or only a handful, being a team player involves more than just being present, it means getting along with everyone – even people who are hard to deal with.

READ:  Why You Might Want to Shut Your Business in Singapore

Each individual’s participation is key to a team succeeding. So look for those who jive well with others.

What to look for: Virtues such as patience, humility, a sense of humour, and a teachable attitude. Can see the positive side in others.


5.    Confidence is sexy

Another trait to look for is a sense of confidence.

Confidence is said to be the sexiest trait people look for when finding a mate.

The same goes when recruiting for a start-up. Confidence is not to be mistaken for being cocky or self-absorbed.

Instead, the person is seen as confident when he or she believes in themselves and has high self-worth.

Do keep in mind that this is also trait of a future leader.

When confidence is coupled with a people-centric nature, creativity and enthusiasm, you get a combination for the perfect employee!

What to look for: Find cues in posture, tone, and clarity of voice. A curriculum vitae with valuable non-work related achievements would be a major plus point.


6.    Street smart

The ability to fit in to an organization is all good, but when it comes to new challenges encountered, look for the one who is resourceful and street smart.

Candidates who are street smart make the most use of what they’ve been given.

They will not take ‘No’ for an answer.

Instead they persevere to bring out a positive outcome from seemingly negative circumstances.

For example, when the supplier quotes exorbitant production costs, the employee will bargain with full facts and figures to lower the prices quoted.

What to look for: A sense of ownership towards problem-solving. Prior experience in Crisis-Management, Public Relations, or Sales positions may be an indicator of a street smart individual.


In a nutshell

Overall, the variety of considerable candidates out there is overwhelmingly large. You will find that out first-hand when you put up job vacancy advertisements online.

Filtering through these potential employees will be a handful if you are not sure what to look for.

Hence, follow these 6 tips to look for when recruiting for your start-up.

You can be sure to find the right team to boost productivity, grow your company and have loads of fun while at it!

Original Post



Adrian Tan is CEO of The Resource Group, a boutique HR Consultancy that focuses on helping SMEs. Before this, he was the MD of RecruitPlus which he co-founded in 2004 and led to two HR Vendor of the Year award. He was named the HR Entrepreneur of the Year by SHRI in 2013. He blogs regularly on #Entrepreneurship and #HRTech on


Join the Race: Why HR Needs to Embrace the Digital Age

Were this current Industrial Revolution (4.0) compared to a marathon race of 26 miles, is to say that this is a pretty crazy race that doesn’t resemble anything like races in the recent past. Kenyan Geoffrey Mutai completed the Boston Marathon in record time, 2hrs 3 mins and 2 secs back in 2011. That’s a pretty insane pace no matter how you cut it, so let’s attribute his achievement to say companies like Google, Tesla, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, SpaceX, Baidu, DARPA, Palantir, Twitter, Netflix – a huge host of unicorn, emerging tech and incredible concepts in A.I. that are emerging at speed these days. All of them are way ahead of the rest of their corporate counterparts – racing on a scale we’ve never seen and embracing exponential acceleration that is unprecedented in human history.

Somewhere in the middle, the bigger corporates and notable multi-national players such as IBM, General Electric, Boeing, BMW, Volkswagon, Toyota, Novartis, Samsung, Xiomi, etc [add your favourite large technology driven corporate here].

Pulling up the back of the pack you have your amateurs and tryers, getting their get feet wet with what is likely their first or second attempt at a marathon, but still chugging along with will and determination to make their mark on this exciting time in our history.  These might be your more Luddite oriented market players for whom technology isn’t at their core, but who still embrace aspects of internet or SaaS tools and services to get their products designed, marketed and off to their customers.

Yet it would seem by all accounts that the field of human capital management (HR) is still milling about at  the starting line, contemplating whether or not to get into the race. As someone who has worked in HR for over 25 years, in equal measure with well-known global players and virtually unknown high tech startups, and who is now working to accelerate HR’s digital journey, I’m struck by the mixture of reticence, fear, uncertainty and internal influence that my HR compatriots are exhibiting at the mere suggestion of bringing on new technology to usher in the digital revolution (that started for HR like 5 years ago, people).

Beyond your everyday ERP or HRIS system, and perhaps some ancillary instances of an ATS or LMS, there is relatively little that HR departments are doing to embrace the wildly expanding pool of HCM technologies exploding onto the market in the last 3 years. Recently Jacob Morgan, a Future of Work expert, deemed HR to be one of the sexiest positions within an organisation, and several articles by Josh Bersin and other HCM luminaries tout HR as being at the centre of change and transformation in this accelerated agree of digital disruption. That may be true for about 8% of the companies on the planet (and I’m being generous here as estimates about the take-up and full level digital maturity for the Fortune and FTSE 100 indicate it’s more like 4%).


But the vast majority of the companies I speak to harbour deep doubt, cynicism, fear and commercial ineptitude toward the notion that employees today (dare I label them Millennials for fear of generational discrimination, who will make up 50% of the workforce in FOUR years time), seek seamless continuity between their digital experiences inside and outside of work.

For me, it’s like watching an old friend sink into a treatable yet severe illness, suffering the full psychological spectrum of the change curve, shock, anger, denial, depression, despair… But still not accepting the hard fact that they are slipping away every day without accepting that there is actually a cure, if only they’d accept its existence, and embrace its application to go on the mend.

Josh Bersin, in his recent research report entitled “HR Technology Disruptions for 2017: Nine Trends Reinventing the HR Software Market,” outlined the following trends and patterns emerging within the HR software field – as per the graphic below:



There is a clear sense that Human Resources is now considered a central player, not just in administration, compliance and regulatory governance issues – as well as basics such as recruitment, on-boarding, pay and reward, training & development and all of the usual core management challenges – but something quite different indeed.  As it turns out – the new focus on the HR department is on engagement, fit, culture, analytics, empowerment, performance and leadership.  Of course, I’ve been arguing these were always the areas that we should have been focused on – and with the raft of incredibly powerful tools and technologies to help us all manage this with greater ease – HR should be tripping over themselves to ‘get on that bus’ and lead the way forward.

As I sit in between both the HR buyers and the accelerating HCM technology vendors – I see an interesting chasm of thought and understanding and it’s concerning.  Though I am thrilled to make a living off of this opportunity in my role as HR digital transformation enabler – helping HR buyer and HCM tech vendor connect with one another intelligently, relevantly and in a commercially viable manner – the disconnect between these two worlds is still a bit shocking.

When I brought this to Jonathan Ferrar’s attention (formally VP of IBM Kenexa’s Smarter Workforce group), at a recent People Analytics Conference in London – and asked him why he thought this was so – he brought up an interesting challenge I that hadn’t occurred to me.  He indicated that there is an older generation slowly making their way to the corporate exit doors – whilst handing over the reins to a new generation of workers who has only ever lived in the digital revolution.  As these Baby Boomers – who have climbed the ladder of senior corporate leadership over the course of their often 20+ year careers, they are rather stumped at the rate of exponential acceleration that the HCM tech space is offering, with seemingly dozens of new market entrants coming online literally every month. I personally straddle the generational gap between Baby Boomer and Gen-Xer – with the mind of a digital native Millennial, so hadn’t ever stopped to consider I might be a small percentage of an otherwise more unconnected generational mindset.


But as Josh Bersin’s disruption report aptly points out – the leaders of this revolution in thinking and enablement aren’t waiting for HR to play catch up… In fact, their inventing ways to digitally enable employees of all descriptions with as many productivity and enablement tools as possible – solving for a problem that clearly they see existing, even if HR fears taking the reins to own it outright.

You see, most of the folks who are shaping and building these HCM tools are the very engineers and conceptual geniuses who have dutifully worked to solve a raft of other challenges in human organisations – and frankly are solving for things they’ve suffered through these many years such as complex program and project management, geographic dispersion, hierarchical and silo’d thinking, inadvertent distancing from their end-user or customer, and slow product innovation.  The answer to all of these challenges and more lies within the notion that we should be in a direct and constant conversation with the people to whom we’re building and selling our products, as well as with the lovely people who create, build and deliver those products.  We should be treating everyone with equal focus, and help empower and enable them to stay connected, to openly collaborate, share thoughts, ideas and anything that will get to the right answers faster.

Of course we need to keep the administrative machine ticking over – but if you’re going to help your particular company win this insane marathon – where the Technical ‘Kenyans’ are rapidly approaching (and reinventing) the finish line – you had better (a) get in the race, (b) run like a Kenyan, (c) and embrace every tool, trick, technology and training tip you can to get there NOW!

What hyper-competitive, forward thinking companies are doing today is WAY beyond some fancy tech applications to help their people be more productive, they are embracing new ways of organising, working together cross-functionally, sharing expertise openly and willingly, working in two-week sprints to deliver innovation and deliverables at speeds unheard of – and they’ve dropped politics, in-fighting, back-stabbing, territoriality, hierarchical juggernauts, and silo’d thinking in order to instead work directly with customers and employees to create at the speed of invention.


The evolution of management thinking, according to Bersin’s extensive research, shows that we are no longer a 20th century, monolithic and bottlenecked construct – but rather micro-team oriented, fast delivering, and hard driving innovators who are rethinking everything that Fredrick Taylor imagined to be true back in the 1920’s.  Competitive advantage therefore will go straight to the organisation that can adapt at a pace of change never before imagined, and which will be heavily disruptive (and sorry folks – a bit disorienting and nerve-racking for a while).

If you want the new model for the 21st century’s business – then you’d better read Salim Ismail’s book Exponential Organisations where he outlines the very essence of today’s unicorn tech start-up – where dispersed groups of under 50 people take less than 5 years to re-invent a business model, disrupt an entire industry and be worth over $1 billion.  If John Chambers (recently retired CEO of Cisco Systems), is correct about his assertion that 40% of the Fortune and FTSE 100 will cease to exist in the next 7 years – and that the average lifespan of any organisation started in the last 5 years is maybe 15 years long vs. the 100 or so years that the old school dinosaurs of the 20th century are used to living – we are all in for a fairly hellish ride – and a speed of operational reinvention that no one can teach you about because it’s never happened before.

Thus, to my dear HR colleagues – who sit squarely in the centre of people driven change, transformation, productivity, performance, learning and development and arguably the future of your organisation in an incredibly tumultuous revolution –please wake up to the challenge, embrace the new world of digital everything – hire whomever you need and beg for whatever budget necessary – but get busy saving your enterprises because a world of new players who are no longer patient with the way things were are now inventing the way things are going to be.

I would suggest getting smart quickly about what’s available to you, reach out to field experts, your LinkedIn contacts, online course work, one another, networks of every description – even if it takes you nights, weekends, whatever – to tune yourself into the incredible possibilities now at your finger tips – and engage with agents such as myself who will only be too willing to support your journey into the digital jungle – and help you come out the other side bigger, bolder, enabled, productive and ready to take on the greatest disruptors – now that you have the tools and working know-how to get there.


CB Insights recently released a quick list of the most heavily funded HCM Tech start-ups – all of whom are notably down the road a bit with their maturity, having sold plenty of corporate contracts and are going enterprises for a number of years now – and here’s what that map looks like…


And I can tell you with great confidence that the field of players in this space is vastly more extensive than this, based on what I witnessed at Chicago’s and Paris’ most recent HR Tech Conferences.  There were over 600 vendors represented there alone – and God only knows how many more are operating in the APAC and LATAM regions.  It’s a vastly changing and adaptive world – but know that some of the greatest tools are now here for you to embrace – and your jobs are all about digital enablement to bring about huge returns in revenue, market share, innovation across people, process and technology, as well as helping your company connect with its customers and employees in highly impactful ways, to create your own unfair advantage and disrupt everything you’ve ever known to be real about your 20thcentury company.  You are standing in the centre of creation and reinvention.  Or you’re just standing in the way.  Choose wisely…

This article has been written by Jeff Wellstead, he is a Partner – Digital People Practice at Digital Works Group and originally published in WISP blog.

Original Post

6 Tools That You Need to Make Your Employees Succeed

In business, your tools matter.

The methodology and hardware with which you promote and build your business is what really sets you apart from your competitors.

It’s not that mentality does not matter, but that your mentality is best described in the ensemble of tools and methods with which you define your company, and carve out a piece of your own within your industry.

If you feel that you’re not doing enough to help your employees push themselves to the very limits of productivity and achieve true efficiency, then you’re missing something – and that something may be on the list below.

1. Simple and Portable Chat

 Step number one should be the simplest, most-often used form of communication – and the onus here should be on the word “simplest”.

We’ve all come a very long way in the timeline of the Internet from the first iteration of the IRC and the infamous chat room.

Since then, we’ve seen the rise of instant messaging as both a personal and business tool, and now, chat rooms and managed text-based real-time communication has returned to allow businesses to easily communicate with one another.

Implementing a chat like that, whether through a web-based software or a dedicated application on your computer and smartphone, can keep members in-touch with one another.

It also gives them the flexibility to easily and without complication begin private instances of communication – such as for a specific project, or a question unrelated to the ongoing general discussion.

2. Effective Video Conferencing

Right after the place for a great communications tool in the form of a text-based chatting platform, you’ll want something much more concrete and substantial for when dropping someone a line simply isn’t going to slice it.

That’s where video conferencing comes into play.

Through a truly sophisticated, top-of-the-line video conference tool, you won’t just be able to start and join quality face-to-face online meetings.

You’ll be able to utilize platforms like BlueJeans as collaboration suites, starting entire conferences, webcasts and much more.

Even without a premium service, having a quality and reliable alternative to meeting clients halfway (or entirely) across the globe can save you quite a few bucks.

And still continue to strength the client-business relationship with a proper face-to-face conversation.

3. Audio Conferencing Alternatives

Sometimes, a video call just isn’t in the cards.

Either due to broadband issues or time constraints or something else.

And chatting with someone over a text-based format isn’t enough either.

That’s where the classic telephone comes into play, with one caveat: expense.

Not with an audio conferencing setup.

By getting a third-party internet telephony provider to hook all of your telephones up to the Internet via VOIP, you get the option to bypass the expense of making an international call through the regular telephone network

4. Collaborative Dashboard

Moving away from communication, another important aspect to creating a company that puts cohesion ahead, is a focus on collaboration.

And collaborative tools are plentiful in the age of the Internet and the cloud.

The cloud is an online network wherein files are stored in an off-site data center to be accessed from anywhere on any device, with the only thing required being a proper form of authorization.

It can also store and run applications – allowing the servers in a data center to be accessed through other computers to do things like open and edit documents on Google Docs or access the Adobe Creative Suite, as per Mashable.

Through the cloud, web-based applications and software alike have sprung up to allow people to work on projects simultaneously, viewing real-time changes and collaborating on a sort of digital whiteboard for the whole company or project team to view.

This can make the process of starting, working on, finishing and double-checking a digital project that much easier.

5. Private Social Network

Seeing the success in social networks, some companies offer template social networks to implement strictly for a single business

A sort of intranet social network in which collaboration can be expressed in the form of status updates, likes, comments, and blog posts.

While it can turn into a personal outlet to help employees connect more emotionally with their work and their coworkers, it can also be a tool to help facilitate collaboration and encouragement, as well as improvement across the board.

6. Lots of Clocks

The final tool should be one all about time management.

Any business owner knows that the most valuable commodity is time

And if they day had even an hour or two more than it already does, it would make life quite a bit simpler.

Aid your employees in their constant struggle to eliminate time wasting by helping them track what they’re doing with their time, and how best to set their schedule.

With these six tools, you’ll easily put your company ahead of its competitors.

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Adrian Tan is CEO of The Resource Group, a boutique HR Consultancy that focuses on helping SMEs. Before this, he was the MD of RecruitPlus which he co-founded in 2004 and led to two HR Vendor of the Year award. He was named the HR Entrepreneur of the Year by SHRI in 2013. He blogs regularly on #Entrepreneurship and #HRTech on


Recruiting and Retention in a Gig Economy: What to Expect in 2017 and Beyond

Independent workers, or freelancers, have always been part of most industries. For years, professional writers and coders have thrived off temporary positions with multiple organizations. It was simply a game of leveraging an ever-expanding network to find new opportunities.

But in recent years it has caught on like wildfire.

A 2015 Intuit study predicts that by 2020, 40 percent of American workers, or an estimated 7.6 million, “will be regularly working as providers in the on-demand economy.”

While most of the country enjoys low unemployment figures, some questions linger: what will the workforce look like when more employees decide to work independently?

How will Human Resources technology adapt to as more workers turn freelance?

Most employers aren’t concerned with communication, expectation, and deliverables of freelancers. Recruiting and retaining top talent is, as always, at the top of their to-do list.

However, a recent Harvard Business Review article suggests that “Workers who possess strong technical, management, leadership, or creative abilities are best positioned to take advantage of the opportunity to create a working life that incorporates flexibility, autonomy, and meaning.”

In other words, the same top talent organizations are investing in securing.

From an Organization’s Perspective

Since its inception, independent contractors have been widely viewed as dispensable employees who work on one campaign and are then left to find new work. It had become an accepted form of management and, when needed, utilized to temporarily fill a gap in hiring or meet a deadline.

It was an agreement both parties had come to accept, if not begrudgingly on part of the contractor.

With steady-building numbers and a resounding voice, independent contractors are beginning to find themselves in a position to make more demands than ever before. The Wall Street Journal reports that “contractors and consultants… demand to be treated with dignity and almost as if they’re your employee,” vigorously shaking themselves of the former “disposable” identity they had come to loathe.

As more top talent takes the leap into independent work, organizations must reframe their perception of a contractor’s role within the organization—an interesting evolution to watch for in coming years.

An Overdue Evolution for Top Talent

Take the alarmist nature above with a grain of salt.

Employees who excel at their work are simply finding more opportunities; their energies focused on more challenging and interesting work benefits them—and it should.

Positioning themselves towards better financial tides, great talent receives the income, schedule, flexibility, and benefits they seek. In short: they’ve become entrepreneurs within their respected industries.

It may seem uncertain how organizations will grapple with the growing trend, however those who see the opportunities will benefit.

What Becomes of the Workforce?

There is still room for uncertainty, of course. The idea of a gig economy instills thoughts of empty offices, those left performing menial tasks while their contemporaries increase their personal value.

The simplest way to regard the consulting revolution is in terms of career advancement. The consultant has reached a new stage in their career and is flourishing.

Organizations will “expand [the] talent pool to incorporate gig economy workers on vital roles,” according to a recent HR Tech Weekly post.

This, of course, raises questions about benefits, employee relations, training, and more. Questions that HCM software will undoubtedly come to address as the gig economy continues its expansion.

Existing full-time employees will see benefits as well. As recruitment strategies begin to loosen, organizations will focus attention on retaining full-time employees they’ve already invested in. A recent Forbes article offers that “companies that invest as much time and resources in the development of their talent will be the real winners in the coming years.”

Likewise, candidates once overlooked by organizations will be reconsidered as their peers turn to consultant work. The gig economy can benefit every party involved, so long as organizations understand how to leverage the new workforce.

Let the Internal Talent Search Begin!

If the gig economy teaches us one thing, it’s that niche skills are sought by multiple organizations. Employees should (if they have not already) harness unique skill sets to gain from the new order—especially if they are full-time employees.

By harnessing known and new skill-sets, current employees may find themselves trained and nurtured to higher positions within an organization—especially as more and more explore independent work.

2017 inches us closer to before-mentioned Intuit predictions, and they are not likely to be off my much. Start the year off by refining crafted skills and exploring new ones.

Leadership is watching and determined to retain as many employees as possible.

This article has been written by Todd GiannattasioFounder, and CEO of Tresnic Media and originally published in The HR Tech Weekly® blog.

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Digital Workplace: How HR Will Change In 2017

Based on my direct experience and rather expansive review of the research from Josh Bersin, the HCI (Human Capital Institute) and several of the HR transformation consultancies I liaise with, I would say the top HR trends for 2017 will carry on from 2016, but will have shifted in importance from an ‘interesting thought’ to a ‘business critical imperative.’

Those areas, in particular, are the following:

  • The rate of business model, product, and digital disruption will increase exponentially – leading to urgent reaction on the part of HR to hire in newly skilled talent (digital, analytics, data science, martech and leadership), as well as to stem the flow of significant attrition as Baby Boomers retire in droves, and Millennials shift roles like they were changing their clothes.
  • Organisational structures will be revisited in a dramatic way – old hierarchical and silo’d structures being dismantled in favour of more agile, lean and nimble cross-functional team structures emerging as the core unit of production and innovation.
  • New human capital management skills will need to emerge urgently around digital workforce enablement, people analytics, organizational science & psychology, digital L&D, recruitment, on-boarding, performance management, collaboration, communication and productivity.
  • Culture and employee engagement become concrete factors in increasing recruitment attraction, reducing unwanted attrition, improving productivity and discretionary effort, and driving innovation, sales and delivery performance.

Where do I get this from?  In a very recent webinar with Josh Bersin (Bersin by Deloittes), he outlined in advance of his 2017 survey findings, that 20th century organizational structures (classical hierarchies and top-down management and decision making) is dying – giving rise to devolved decision making by cross-functional teams who work in sprints of activity, are funded via micro-budgets and able to deliver at unheard of speeds.  Digital transformation is not just shiny new technology – it’s a new way of organizing, engaging with customers and employees, and how we build networks of expertise and trust – through cooperation and collaboration – working faster, better, smarter than ever before.


Thus the ‘team’ becomes the ultimate productivity structure within your organization – and HR needs to be right in the middle of this new construct to build out the optimal team design, ensure the right personalities and skills are represented, and to drive new methodologies to ensure the best possible outcomes.  This includes team construction, selection, use of psychometric tools, micro-performance management and ensuring trust and collaboration are at the heart of every team development effort.

Bersin argues that if HR isn’t supporting the building, optimization, performance, reward and recognition and methodological support elements here – the entire ‘experiment’ is at risk of failing miserably.

The other component of this is how HR needs to help the 20th century hierarchy devolve power and decision-making away from the ‘old guard’ who are Baby Boomers that have clawed their way to the top, and now are being asked to hand over their power structures to their best employees.  They then need to assume new roles as coaches, mentors, directional indicators and teachers.  This isn’t your mom and dad’s old company anymore – the future belongs to the experts and knowledge workers, and leadership needs to shift their perspective to an entirely new way of working.


The other issue is the rise of mega-tech companies, who are shifting from Silicon Valley and other core tech arenas to cities around the world – where labour is less expensive, buildings and infrastructure is more readily available, and opportunities will abound for the younger, more tech savvy digital natives.  This means that companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, car companies, tech hardware companies and a host of new interlopers will be stealing your talent away in droves – not one at a time.  In London alone, Google plans to hire 3,000 new employees in their King’s Cross location, and Facebook another 500 tech employees of every description.  Where do you think they’re going to get them from?  Yes, you!  Thus, what are you doing to attract, recruit, on-board, train and engage the best tech talent in the market to differentiate your company from the likes of Google and Facebook?  Best to get busy working on that answer today – as the hunt is already well in play.

New tools (wearables, mobile apps, digital platforms and VR/AR are all coming to market now with some very credible, tantalizing and powerful capabilities.  Where does HR stand relative to these tool sets, how to assess their capability, financial impact, personal impact, data generation, and implementation?  Today I’d say HR isn’t remotely prepared for this challenge – and often look to the IT department to support anything ‘technical’ as it’s just not in their remit to sort this out.  WRONG!  It’s very much in HR’s wheelhouse to address the incorporation of these sorts of tools, and to scrap data off the back end of using them to derive meaningful and actionable insight to improve their business’ ability to compete, differentiate, innovate and build value.

So we’ve now gone straight from telling HR leaders they need to become ‘more strategic’ to get a seat at the Boardroom table – to HR needs to be empowering, employing and engaging their working community as if they were an external management consultancy that can explode business potentially exponentially through the use of new tools, new ways of working and new constructs around employee engagement.  It’s worrying to think that HR leaders are still struggling to find relevance to their businesses – and now technology is leapfrogging the previous challenge, and driving a whole new set of imperatives that, if well adopted and leveraged, will propel their companies into competitive supremacy.  If ignored, will lead their company’s path down the route of rapid decline and irrelevance.


The shift toward delivering what their employees need to be productive is also another powerful trend.  HR teams now need to de-prioritise away from their core remit of administration, compliance and governance efforts by automating, delegating or outsourcing those tasks to systems, managers or 3rd party providers.  They need now to jump headlong into creating the environment, structures and tools to support 21st century speed of creation, innovation and collaboration.


Mobile first applications and platforms that support the bullets in the aforementioned graphic illustrate what HR needs to create and support – tools for the business, capabilities to support their employees on-demand and from any location and to manage change like an everyday occurance.


Learning on-demand, just-in-time is another critical enablement feature – and there are all sorts of web-based tools and mobile first applications that can help employees access just what they need to know, when they need to know it.  L&D has become a science of mental and psychological enablement – no longer a nice-to-have that makes people feel good about their company investing in them.

Learning and performance are closely linked together – and with the incredible expanse of knowledge that employees need to be successful – wherever and whenever they need to know it – is a mission critical advantage now.  Organisations need to train one another, provide tools and access across the company, and empower people to succeed under any circumstance imaginable, at speed.

The final challenge I think is most urgent for HR is to look at how they are engaging their people – whilst at the same time providing open access to the best, most easily used tools on the market today.  I know I feel engaged when my company provides me everything I need to win the day and to achieve my targets.  Friday pizza and beer is lovely, and Christmas parties and summer picnics are a sweet thing to do – but they don’t get work done and they won’t be able to make me feel like a champion within my department or team.  Great tools provided on-the-go do, and that makes me happy.  It also creates a stickiness that supports my staying, and picking my company as the best place to work as it differentiates my experience from the rest.


Finally, if HR is truly going to be a powerhouse provider of data insight and actionable decision-making to improve business results – they need to embrace people analytics fully.  By taking data from systems across their enterprises (CRM, Finance, Customer Survey), and matching them up with HRIS, performance, pay and training information – the level of insight they can derive to provide clues and patterns that will support market superiority is immense.


These are the areas I think we will see impacting HR starting today but well into 2017 and beyond.  There is suddenly a rush to digital adoption as senior leadership is realizing how behind the mark their companies are – and often they are turning back to their Marketing, Sales, Customer Care, Product and Development functions to embrace new technology quickly to build differentiation and advantage.  HR is in charge of people, process and technology to enable that to happen – and if HR is going to relinquish that role – then I think it’s time to consider a new function called “Work and Productivity Performance” to take HR out of that picture.  But as an HR practitioner for over 25 years now – having worked within huge multi-nationals and many start-up high tech companies – I want to see my HR colleagues embrace this moment, own the challenge and push themselves well past their comfort zones to lead the way into the digital revolution – not hide from it and hope it all just goes away (because it won’t, and you don’t want to be seen as the ‘Luddite’ who didn’t see it all coming).

Let’s go and grab this moment, own it, make it powerful and effective.  We are the function in charge of the people – and we need to become their champions, teachers, supporters and thought-leaders around how to embrace the Digital Age.

This article has been written by Jeff Wellstead, he is a Partner – Digital People Practice at Digital Works Group and originally published in WISP blog.

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