5 Ways to Reap the Benefits of Virtual Teams

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The concept of virtual teams in organizational settings is continuing to develop as technological advancements and solutions become available. Virtual teams allow groups of individuals separated by distance who work on interdependent task execution mostly through technology platforms (Falls, 2017). While this is one of the major benefits of virtual teams, there are additional advantages and disadvantages to consider for successful outcomes.

A successful virtual workforce with effective team management has its advantages. As Osman (2016) pointed out, researchers supporting the use of virtual teams state these units offer greater accessibility to global talent, higher productivity, flexibility, and employee opportunities. Organizations that implement virtual teams into their infrastructure benefit by lowering overhead expenses, improving scalability, and offering a full suite of services (MaRS, 2015).

While the implementation of virtual work teams has many organizational benefits, it has also received mixed reviews from researchers and organizational leaders. According to Knupple (2015), one reason for the disparaging criticism was virtual workforce management practices lacked the rigor needed for these work units to be effective. Other researchers suggest high costs for communication technology; conflict, lack of trust and collaboration; and social isolation also contribute to virtual team inefficiency (ConnectUs, 2015).

Overall, the advantages of virtual teams outweigh the disadvantages when effective strategies are established and applied. To ensure your virtual team management approach is sound, Johnson (2017) and EDC recommend using the following five strategies:

  1. Develop ‘house rules’ for communication and commit to them.
  2. Use communication tools that account for and help manage time differences.
  3. Encourage knowledge sharing to promote openness and trust.
  4. Invest in technology-based tools to facilitate communication and collaboration.
  5. Implement opportunities for making personal connections via phone or video conferencing whenever feasible.

Is your organization reaping the benefits of virtual teams? If not, EDC can help! Contact us today to find out how!



ConnectUs Fund. (2015). The disadvantages and advantages of virtual teams. Retrieved from

Falls, B. (2017, March 24). Leading virtual teams. Retrieved from

Johnson, M. (2017, February 13). Five tips for connected, collaborative virtual teams. Retrieved from https://www.8×

Knupple, B. (2015, December 4). Virtual teams are growing faster than managers can learn to lead them. Retrieved from

MaRs Library. (2015, March 13). Virtual teams: Benefits and disadvantages. Retrieved from

Osman, H. (2016, February 4). Virtual teams pros and cons: All you need to know. Retrieved from

Savelyeva, N. (2015). Bring it all together: How to better manage a virtual team. Retrieved from

Navigating Organizational Change Successfully

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Change is all around us. Every day we have to figure out how to adapt to something that might change such as the weather, traffic patterns due to construction or accidents, and any other expected or unexpected situation that arises. Just as the Greek philosopher Heraclitus said, “the only thing that is constant is change.” Given change is something we must constantly adapt to, it is interesting when it comes to the workplace, change initiatives fail more than 70% of the time (Kotter, 2008). It is possible for change efforts to succeed and employees at all levels of the organization can help make that possible. What it takes is a strategic approach!

EDC recommends 6 tips leaders and employees can apply to work towards making organizational change efforts successful:

  1. Having a clear vision. If the need for change is unclear, it is nearly impossible for anyone to understand the reason(s) change is needed, especially to those who perceive the current way of doing something works well. A clear vision helps define the need for change, setting the expectation for what will change and why.
  1. Alignment with organizational goals. Organizations need to adapt to changing market conditions in order to survive and grow. When aligning change initiatives with organizational goals, it helps establish a clear vision of the change needed as well as gain buy-in from both leaders and employees.
  1. Leadership support and involvement. It is important for leaders to set the example when it comes to change efforts. After all, if a leader continues doing something the “old” way, what reason does an employee have to change? When leaders lead by example and not the “do as I say, not as I do” approach, it not only shows the employees what the change initiative is supposed to look like but also gives employees more reason and encouragement for going with the change themselves.
  1. Employee contribution and buy-in. Every organization has far more employees than it has people in leadership roles. Naturally, the majority of the change efforts typically fall to the employees themselves. In order for the change initiatives to succeed, employees need to contribute to the change and have buy-in. In order for that to happen, it is important to involve select employees (that can also be potential change agents later on) in the early stages of the change initiative.
  1. Excellent communication. Communication is key to any organizational process and change management is no different. There can never be enough communication. Multiple modes of communication should be used such as: town hall meetings (if the change involves the whole organization), group meetings, emails, deadline reminders, even posters/flyers around the office, etc.
  1. The best way to ensure change not only happens, but also lasts, is to hold everyone accountable for the change itself. It is important to look for ways to measure the before and after change initiative. Also, ensure everyone clearly understands what needs to be done for the change to be successful by having metrics for measuring the change, and if appropriate, ensure leaders and employees understand the consequence if the change fails.

A change agent is an employee, at any level of the organization, eager and willing to change, leads by example, and helps encourage the change with others. This person is critical to any successful change management initiative. Leaders and change agents can work together using the proposed 6 tips to ensure successful implementations of change initiatives and avoid being a part of the 70% change failure statistic.


Kotter, J. P. (2008). A sense of urgency. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review Press.

Envisionary Development Consulting. (2016).  Leading change. Pembroke Pines, FL: EDC Training Library.

Tompkins, B. (2016). How to lead change with minimal resistance. Retrieved from

There’s NO Diversity Without Inclusion

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diversity quote

Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) is one of the hottest trending topics in learning and organizational development today. A major issue with the existing development, however, is it presents D&I as a blended concept (Sherbin & Rashid, 2017). This contributes to incorrect assumptions that these independent ideas are one in the same. Researchers suggest this reinforced discrepancy in understanding is preventing inclusionary efforts from being carried out, which further indicates current practices are inconclusive and potentially ineffective.

With countless companies, organizations, and institutions claiming to embrace and implement successful D&I strategies, it may be hard to fathom inclusivity is still a work in progress (Riordan, 2014). To ensure current D&I programs are effective in real-world settings, we need to first differentiate between the two concepts and clarify misconceptions. By taking this first step, we can collectively move forward from having D&I conversations to implementing effective D&I initiatives.

Myers (2012) noted the distinction between diversity and inclusion lies in the difference between quantity and quality. Organizational leaders can highlight this difference to ensure the organization has a comprehensive D&I program that includes an action plan specifically for inclusivity. AT EDC, we subscribe to the starting points recommended by Sherbin and Rashid (2017):

  • Inclusive Leadership
  • Authenticity
  • Networking & Visibility
  • Clear Career Path


Leaders can use these strategic pathways to promote inclusivity, provide transparency and sponsorship, and unlock career paths (Sherbin & Rashid, 2017). The D&I research on practical applications of D&I initiatives and programs also shows reframing of the organizational approach provides more positive program results. According to the Harvard Business Review (2016), organizations with successful D&I programs offer voluntary training, include diversity managers and task forces or self-management groups, incorporate cross-training groups and targeted college recruitment programs, and supply opportunities for mentorship. Adopting these strategic approaches could be the key to guaranteeing diversity efforts in the workplace are reinforced by inclusion.



Myers, V. (2012). Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance [Online version]. GPSolo eReport, 1(11). Retrieved from publications/gpsolo_ereport/2012/june_2012/diversity_invited_party_inclusion_asked_dance.html

Riordan, C. M. (2014, June 5). Diversity is useless without inclusion. Retrieved from

Sherbin, L. & Rashid, R. (2017, February 1). Diversity doesn’t stick without inclusion.  Retrieved from

Harvard Business Review. (2016, September 1). Why the most common diversity programs don’t work [Video file]. Retrieved from

A Winning Organizational Culture

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There is much focus today on organizational culture as ever as globalization and talent migration is reshaping the workforce as we know it. A recent study by Globoforce Workhuman Research Institute and IBM Smarter Workforce Institute (that included over 23,000 employees in 45 countries and territories) found when employees had positive work experiences, they were more likely to use discretionary effort and less likely to leave their company (Payne, 2016). Furthermore, a study by FTSE Russell discovered the companies found on Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” List had three times greater stock market returns than the general market (Madhavan, 2017). As shown in these examples, having a defined organizational culture in alignment with business objectives and employee needs drives many aspects of the company from engaged and motivated employees to better working teams; creating better products and services for customers to greater overall financial successes. Given these benefits, it makes sense companies today are looking to shape their culture.

So how can your organization go about this? Here are 7 key strategies to creating, fostering, and sustaining a strong organizational culture:

  1. Assess the current culture and subcultures. This part is taking a look at what the organizational culture looks like today. What seems to be helping the business grow? Asking questions are a great way to start identifying the current state of an organization’s culture. The answers can be found through a variety of ways: individual or group interviews, surveying employees and leaders, workshops, observations. The key here is to gather information and organize it in a way to start establishing patterns and themes.
  1. Identify what the culture should look like to accomplish business strategies. Next, is to take a look at what the business wants to achieve. An organization needs to take a look at what behavior(s) is needed from employees at all levels of the organization to ensure success.
  1. Identify gaps between current and future ideal state. Once both we identify the current cultural state and what is needed to accomplish business strategies, the organization will be able to identify areas of opportunity (gaps), as we like to call them. One may notice that in some aspects the current state of the culture is in alignment with the business strategies and in other aspects, the culture is not in alignment.
  1. Changing behaviors. Changing behaviors takes time and consistency. It’s best to start with a few key behavior modifications that will yield the greatest impact towards aligning culture with the business strategies. Here, it’s not enough to tell employees and leaders how to behave but rather model the way.
  1. Utilize both formal and informal leaders. Something most organizations realize is that changing behaviors start at the top. Employees look to leaders to demonstrate the appropriate behaviors based on the organization’s values, mission, and culture. However, not all organizations realize the importance of informal leaders, those employees who are not in a leadership position and don’t have direct reports. However, informal leaders do have influence with other employees creating their own groups, even at times creating their own subcultures. It is key these individuals are involved and buy-in to the organizational culture and set the example for others. They make excellent employee advocates for change and will lead others through the process informally.
  1. Hold everyone accountable though metrics. Once the organizational cultural identity and strategy is defined and communicated to employees at all levels, use metrics to evaluate progress (or lack thereof) to hold everyone accountable for the changes. There can be an endless number of metrics and numerous ways to measure them. Some behaviors may even appear to look unmeasurable. This is where tying behaviors to business strategies comes more into play.
  1. Sustain the organizational culture. Holding employees at all levels accountable goes a long way for ensuring the culture changes but there are other tools that can be used to ensure sustainability. One method is to use a rewards system for positive reinforcement. People are motivated by a variety of reasons such as money, recognition, prizes, etc. Connecting a change with something positive that people want is a great way to ensure a smooth and sustainable transition for the new culture.

In all stages of organizational cultural development and sustainability, it’s important to have employees from different levels of the organization involved in the process, which helps create employee buy-in and ensure a smoother transition. After all, change, at times, can be difficult for most people but, communication, employee involvement, and letting people have a voice will help ease that difficulty. Of course, there will be times that even with the best communication and involvement from others, some employees (that can be in any level in the organization) will not change towards the culture an organization wants to achieve. It is at this point where both the organization and the employee should work together to asses any issues or perhaps take a look at healthy attrition.

These steps should not be considered as a one and done type of strategy. The world, people, and their wants and needs are constantly changing. In addition, businesses have different needs at different stages (when the business is starting out, in growth mode, or in maintenance mode) and what is best for the business today in terms of culture, may need to change in the future. So, it’s also important to build in times for periodic review of the culture and its alignment with business strategies. Repeating these steps periodically can be a simple way to keep up the changing business environment. This will also ensure that the business will be able to keep up with different market trends and it’s needs.



Payne, S. (2016). Globoforce Workhuman Research Institute and IBM Smarter Workforce Institute unveil a new employee experience index. Retrieved from Globoforce Workhuman:

Madhavan, N. (2017). Good company culture, strong business results? Evidence points to a healthy bottom line, though one expert warns against tying culture solely to results. Retrieved from Workforce Magazine: =WF%20Tech

Thomas, R. (2017). Success comes from strong cultures and it starts at the top. Retrieved from TLNT:

McCready, K. (2014). Organizational culture design: A service design thinking approach. Retrieved from

Katzenbach, J., Oelschlegel, C., Thomas, J. (2016). 10 principles of organizational culture. Retrieved from strategy+business:

Weinzweig, A. (2016). Five elements of building an organizational culture. Retrieved from

Gotham Culture. (2017.) Organizational Culture Consulting. Retrieved from

How Effective is Your Organization’s Learning Culture?

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Learning and development is one of the most commonly discussed L&OD topic trending in the workplace. Yet, many organizations have trouble establishing an effective learning culture. This is probably occurring because the importance of instilling learning and development into the organization’s practices has been put on the backend of the agenda when it should remain on the forefront.

So, is your organization reaping the rewards of an effective learning culture? If not, Nabong’s (2015) seven benefits may encourage you to consider taking a closer look at the value of an effective learning culture. The benefits Nabong outlined include:

  1. Increased efficiency, productivity, and profit.
  2. Increased employee satisfaction.
  3. An improved mindset among employees.
  4. A developed sense of ownership and accountability.
  5. Ease in succession and/or transition processes.
  6. A culture of knowledge inquiry and sharing.
  7. An enhanced ability for workers to adapt to change.

It’s clear a culture of learning in the workplace is important for maintaining a competitive edge. In a recent report, LinkedIn Learning Solutions (2017) revealed five top trends of workplace learning and several challenges today’s L&D professionals encounter. While the report indicates, organizations have forged a commitment to workplace learning initiatives, concerns with budget constraints, small team dynamics, gaps in ROI, and employee engagement present challenges. To ensure an effective organizational culture is achieved, these challenges need to be addressed.

If your organization faces any of these challenges, it’s time to reexamine the effectiveness of your learning culture. One important factor to remember is: All hope is not lost! You can transform your organization’s current learning and development culture by investing in the following five simple initiatives (Jones, 2016):

  1. Identify links between learning, performance, and outcomes using daily operations.
  2. Provide opportunities to apply what’s learned through practical experiences and coaching.
  3. Position learning as a principal strategic initiative and implement programs that encourage knowledge-sharing.
  4. Identify employees with subject-matter expert capabilities.
  5. Encourage an employee-employer partnership that promotes accountability.

In the modern workspace, according to Hart (2016), these initiatives reinforce an organizational mindset that recognizes learning as a natural part of work, appreciates the significance of individual development, values all forms of learning in the workplace, realizes the outcome of learning is the most meaningful factor, and understands the importance of learning in a continually changing workplace.



Hart, J. (2016, January 2). 2016: Rethinking workplace learning. Retrieved from

Jones, D. (2016, February 21). 5 tips for building a learning culture in your workplace. Retrieved from

LinkedIn Learning Solutions. (2017). 2017 workplace learning report: How modern L&D pros are tackling top challenges [PDF document]. Retrieved from

Nabong, T. A. (2015, April 7). Creating a learning culture for the improvement of your organization. Retrieved from

UNC Executive Development. (2016). 7 steps to creating a lasting learning culture. Retrieved from

So, What’s the BIG Deal with ‘Big Data’ in HR?

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Big Data text concept on blue background with world map and social icons.

Big Data text concept on blue background with world map and social icons.

Despite growing evidence of the benefits of exploring analytics and heavy support from the research literature, Oracle (2011) reported many businesses still face challenges with understanding their workforce and how to utilize staff most effectively. Luckily, ‘Big Data’ or ‘predictive analytics’ applications in HR have flourished and become recognized as a diagnostic and projective tool for maintaining a competitive advantage. Because of this, HR professionals have coined their version of Big Data—HR Analytics.

So, what’s the BIG deal with HR Analytics? It’s all in the benefits! HR Analytics offer a platform to help organizations overcome workforce-related challenges by providing a data-driven information highway useful for developing strategic planning strategies and initiatives. These types of data allow information about the workforce to be leveraged to improve organizational performance and efficiency (Bersin, 2013). Leveraging of employee data, according to Straz (2015), facilitates enhanced decision making reinforced by better structural insights, retention rates, training initiatives, and hiring processes.

Organizations with HR departments already utilizing analytics as a tool to plan, develop, and retain their workforce, are already one step ahead of the game. If your organization has not considered how HR Analytics could help your company leverage talent and implement strategies supported by Big Data, the EDC team has some good news for you: It’s not too late to start and we can help!

EDC has seasoned consultants who specialize in Big Data applications, workforce analytics, and HR practices. Our specialists are committed to optimizing organizational performance and managing talent. Let us show you the value in HR Analytics and help you reap the benefits of investing in your workforce by using the rich information provided by Big Data.



Bersin, J. (2013, October 7). Big data in human resources: A world of haves and have-nots. Retrieved from


Oracle. (2011, September). HR analytics: Driving return on human capital investment [PDF document]. Retrieved from


Straz, M. (2015, April 6). Why you need to embrace the big data trend in HR. Retrieved from

Learntek. (2017). Importance of Big Data Analytics. Retrieved from

Workplaces that Work for both Employees and Employers

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In everything, balance is essential. This is especially true for organizations and workplaces. A workplace with employees who feel they have balance between their work and their personal lives is likely to be a healthy and happy one. Organizations with employees who perceive having a good balance between work and personal lives are likely to also report feeling satisfied with their jobs, engaged, and committed to the organization. Employees who feel satisfied and committed are more likely to have better performance, lower turnover, miss fewer days of work, be more motivated, engaged in organizational citizenship behaviors, and less likely to partake in counterproductive behaviors (Aamodt, 2016).  Therefore, the balance between work and life is important for a company’s bottom line. A survey by SHRM in 2002 showed 70 percent of employees reported an unhealthy balance between their work and personal lives, ranking family as the most important priority in their lives (Rife & Hall, 2015). More than ever, the evidence is apparent of a need for organizations to improve on the balance of the work and personal lives of employees.

To obtain a healthy and balanced workplace, many factors need to be considered from various aspects of the organization. The balance needs to be seen in management and supervisors, environment, policies and procedures, payroll, benefits, training, social responsibility, and health and wellness programs to name a few (Workplaces that work, n.d.).

With the growing number of workers caring about work/life balance, especially Millennials who are predicted to comprise half the workforce by 2020, it’s vital to evaluate and update the organization in ways to effectively help employees obtain the satisfaction of work/life balance while keeping the company goals in mind. Successfully doing this can be a difficult and slow process. However, here are some ways your company can increase employee work/life balance. While many different types of people desire a balance between work and personal life, it is important when implementing these applications, they should be broad enough to meet the needs of everyone, including single employees, couples without children, as well as parents (Rife & Hall, 2015).

So, how can organizations help employees with work/life balance? There are 4 areas to consider Culture, Benefits, Dependent Care, and Health and Wellness Programs.

  1. Culture

Organizational culture starts from the top down. Executives and managers have to lead by example providing the organizational support needed. Any policies and procedures established to create margin between employees’ work and family lives should be followed and enforced, including those promoting job-satisfaction.  If your company wants to prevent its employees from responding to emails after 7 p.m., it’s important for managers to encourage employees to avoid responding after 7 pm and for those managers to follow that same rule modeling the way. Even if the rule is set in place, but managers do not follow it, employees will feel inclined or even required to check and respond to emails after work hours, which will eventually lead to work-to-family spillover.

Work hours and job design should be evaluated and any necessary changes made where warranted. Whether it’s allowing flexible hours, telecommuting, or job sharing, there are many things that can be done to improve work-life balance.

Organizational culture is hard to change and it can be a slow process; however it is one of the most important things for job-satisfaction. Any negative norms should be eliminated. Some of these negative norms include requiring everyone to stay until 6 p.m. even if all of their work for the day is completed and stressful environments that are demanding and lacking in recognition or positive feedback.

  1. Benefits

Incentives and benefits encouraging work and non-work domains are very important, especially in attracting and retaining great employees. Giving vacation and requiring employees to take a certain amount per year is just one very common incentive. Benefits are very vast and varying. It is important to have the typical health benefits such as affordable insurance plan options and an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), but offering some of the atypical ones as well can make the difference. Some of these include health and wellness programs including fitness programs at low or no cost, dependent care options, education and training programs available to everyone, reward and recognition programs, and stress management assistance.

  1. Dependent Care

Approximately 20 percent of all paid employees are women with at least one child under 12 years of age at home, leading parents to be more likely to feel the stress of the imbalance of work and life (Workplaces that work, n.d.). Some dependent care options include, on-site dependent care, seasonal childcare programs (for when others are closed), financial assistance, referral information for discounted care, and offering personal days (instead of having to use sick or vacation time).

  1. Health and Wellness Programs

The health of a company’s employees is one of the most important factors. Unhealthy employees can be costly in a variety of ways. Some ways an organization can encourage employee health and wellness are offering fitness programs through on-site workshops and classes and gym membership assistance; providing convenient and affordable clinics, health assessments, and vaccinations; encouraging exercise during lunch hours; and offering smoke cessation incentive programs, secure bicycle parking, affordable, healthy lunch options, among many other things (Workplaces that work, n.d.). Perhaps encouraging employees to start a health club will lead to more creative options and encourage other employees to get involved and have fun in the meantime.

While every organization and its employees are different, to have happy and satisfied employees is vital to successful business practices. Therefore, it’s important to implement various strategies that facilitate employee work/life balance. Some implementations may work for some organizations but not others. It’s important to assess your organizational needs and culture as well as employees in determining the best solutions. The more an organization can do to promote happier and healthier employees, the more of an asset they will be and the less of an opportunity for potential adverse effects.


Aamodt, M. G. (2016). Industrial/organizational psychology, an applied approach. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning

Rife, A. & Hall, R. (2015). Work-life balance. Bowling Green, OH. Retrieved from:

Workplaces that work. (n.d.). Retrieved from:

Radhika, C. (2017). Work-life balance. Retrieved from:

People Analytics: The New Frontier

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people analytics

As Human Resources (HR) continue to look for ways to gain a seat at the table and be seen as strategic partners instead of administrators, the demand for people analytics opens up such opportunities. According to an article from the Deloitte University Press (2016), the interest in HR’s capabilities for providing organizational decision-makers with analytics is growing aggressively. Only 24% of companies, in 2015, felt ready or just about ready to take on people analytics, that number jumped to 32% in beginning of 2016. In addition, 77% of organizations believe people analytics is important.

What does People Analytics really mean and how will it contribute to the overall growth of a business?

People Analytics is about using people-related data to solve business problems and drive new strategic business decisions. The key here, will be to start small and build upon those analytics. Here are a few tips on getting started:

  1. Low hanging fruit. Take a look around the organization and ask: What business problem can I solve with people data? Some of the common challenges here are around hiring the right people, turnover, performance issues, etc. The key will be to listen to the business leaders and look for problems that seem to come up around people on a more consistent basis.
  2. Data quality and integrity. Once the problem is identified, and before analyzing the data, you’ll need to evaluate the data gathered for accuracy and validity. You will need quality, consistently inputted data. For example, when looking at turnover, ensure job titles or classifications are accurate. If there are 2 people doing the same job at the same job level, but classified differently within the system, it will be difficult to get accurate turnover data per job.
  3. Delivering the information. Once the data’s integrity is evaluated and determined, analyze it and present the findings in palatable way for your intended audience. For example, in continuing with the turnover example, when analyzing turnover for various jobs, you notice there is an unusually high turnover rate for one department. In delivering this information, consider your audience and how they would potentially respond to the situation. In keeping your audience in mind, paint a clear picture on how this data impacts the business. Most often, giving people the raw data, even in percentage form, will not create a call to action. Rather, delivering the data feedback with more detail on what it means, how it impacts the overall business operations and cost, key decision-makers will be more likely to listen, remember, and act on suggested improvements.

Getting started in People Analytics doesn’t have to be a daunting task. The tips here are great starting points on getting HR noticed. It is imperative to remember to keep business needs first and tie the people analytics back to the business vision and strategies. This will ensure HR gets noticed and gains a seat at the table. It’s very beneficial for organizations to partner with HR and it is time to show business leaders why.


Bersin, J., Collins, L., Mallon, J., Moir, J., Straub, R. (2016). People analytics: Gaining speed. Retrieved from Deloitte University Press:

Collins, M. (2013). Change your company with better HR analytics. Retrieved from Harvard Business Review:

Galer, S. (2016). People analytics in HR: A business boon or bust? Retrieved from

How to Become a Strategic HR Department with a Seat at the Table: Stop Asking and Start Doing

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HR seat at table

Human Resources (HR) Departments have been asking and looking for ways to get a seat at the table for some years now. However, in a recent survey ( 2015), only 33.3% of survey respondents say HR is viewed as a strategic partner by management teams. So, how does an HR Department increase these results?

Here are 5 actionable ways to help your HR Department become a Strategic Business Partner:

  1. Start with taking a more active role in understanding the business. If the different business units don’t see that HR understands their everyday challenges and goals, they are less likely to come to HR for ideas.

Here are some things you can start doing today to learn more about the business:

  • Learn about industry specific trends.
  • Meet with department leaders on a regular basis to learn more about individual department needs, challenges, and what will help make the department successful.
  • Attend department meetings consistently, not only when it’s convenient.


  1. Provide solutions that are in the company’s best interest. As HR begins to understand the challenges and goals of the business and its departments, HR will be better equipped to provide solutions that contribute to the company’s success. In turn, the business will respond positively and look for more ways for HR to contribute to their success.


  1. Simplify and streamline HR practices and deliver. HR in the past was mostly about creating policies and procedures to keep businesses safe. However, some of these policies and procedures can lead to what others see as red tape that slows down other business practices. Think about it… Just because things have been done a certain way in the past, doesn’t mean it can’t change in the present or the future.

In keeping an open mind, here are some ways HR teams can learn to simplify and streamline their processes:

  • Speak with different department leaders to learn what various HR policies and procedures may be hindering the department’s performance.
  • Create a plan to look for ways to tackle the most common issues that come up
  • Deliver on your promises by creating service level agreements to ensure everyone is on the same page and know what to expect.


  1. Know your numbers. It has become increasing more important for HR teams to measure the impact of their decisions. After all, how is HR to prove their impact on the business if they don’t know the results of their efforts? Keep in mind, when measuring impact, it is important to make sure the HR analytics tie back to the overall business strategies and not just to the individual initiatives the HR Department is working on.


  1. Look for ways to incorporate technology. Technology is pretty much in everything we do today. It aids in streamlining and creating more efficient business processes. There is now a multitude of options of HR specific software to help with everything from recruiting and hiring, delivering information to people in different locations, and reporting. When looking at ways HR can improve its practices and be viewed as strategic partner, it is imperative to leverage technology.

Remember, that change takes time especially when it involves changing people’s thoughts and perceptions, so persistence and consistency here is key to becoming successful. Incorporating these 5 actionable ways will go a long way in helping your HR Department develop more credibility and in turn, become a more Strategic Business Partner.


References (2015). Survey: 1 in 3 management teams view HR as a strategic partner. Retrieved from

Njemanze, I. (2016). What Does Being a Strategic HR Business Partner Look Like in Practice?. Retrieved from

Andersen, E. (2013).  4 Ways To Become A Strategic Business Partner (And Why You Should Want To). Retrieved from

Ibarra, P. (2008). Get Up, Get Out, Get On It: How Human Resources Can Become a Strategic Partner. Retrieved from

Cole, K. (2016). Don’t confuse having a seat at the table with having a voice. Retrieved from

Onboarding – Simple Ways for Getting Your New Employee up to Speed Quickly and Efficiently

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Why is this important?

            The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced in a release on September 22, 2016, as of January 2016, the median number of years a person has been with his/her current employer is 4.2 years, which is down from 4.6 years reported for January 2014. The median tenure is even worse for those within the age range of 24-34 being at 2.8 years in January. Given these trends and where they’ll continue to go, it’s even more important today than ever for organizations to have structured or at least semi-structured and efficient onboarding processes. These processes can lead to getting employees acclimated and performing up to 2 months faster (Society for Human Resources Management 2010).

Simple Ways for Getting Your New Employee up to Speed Quickly and Efficiently

Preparing before the new hire starts. Let’s start with a few simple tips we can implement to provide an immediate impact:

  • Document processes – Understand the length of time it takes to get a new computer, phone, and/or email set up; access to computer systems requests, etc.
  • Create a play book – All employees can take a role in this; depending on the department and projects, it’s always a great idea to document knowledge employees have learned along the way to make their jobs easier and pass that on new employees.
  • Create a performance expectations plan – Writing down the expectations you have for the new hire to accomplish, clearly and concisely; detailing when to follow up, ensuring the new hire is on track. 90-days is a good length of time to start with, depending on the complexity of the job.

First day impressions matter. Here are a few tips to ensure your new employee feels welcomed confirming he or she made the right decision to join your company:

  • Set aside time in the morning to meet with the manager or someone from the team to show the person around the office and help him/her get set up on the computer or with particular IT programs he/she may be using (if applicable).
  • Have a team lunch to have the new hire get to know the team and vice versa in an informal setting.
  • Set aside time during the day for the manager to go over the performance expectations plan and set up dates for follow up.
  • Set up a mentor-mentee relationship between a senior member of the team or the company and the new employee. This way the new employee will have access to someone he/she can go to with questions/to seek advice if the manager is unavailable.

In the end, having an onboarding program will lead to improved job satisfaction, higher performance levels, lower stress, lower turnover (Society for Human Resources Management 2010) for employees, and ultimately lower turnover costs for employers.



Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2016). Employee tenure summary. Retrieved from

Bauer, Tayla N. Ph.D (2010). Onboarding new employees: Maximizing success. Retrieved from

Andriotis, N. (2016). All aboard the eLearning train: Onboarding with eFrontPro. Retrieved from