6 Tools to Develop Employees' Careers

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6 Tools to Develop Employees' Careers

It's the end of the year and a common time for employers to have discussions with their employees regarding career development as part of the performance review process, or in preparation for the upcoming year.

Employees tend to have questions about their careers at the end of the year, and organizations should be equipped to answer those, provide information, and help employees achieve their goals. If not, organizations risk losing quality employees who seek career development and advancement elsewhere. In fact, lack of opportunities is one of the key reasons employees leave.

Here are six suggestions for supporting employees' career development in the new year.

1. Set developmental goals.

Setting developmental goals for each employee helps ensure that training and development objectives get accomplished. It's also one of the easiest ways to make employees and managers accountable for developing their skills.
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Compensation & Benefits Trends for 2013-2014

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Compensation & Benefits Trends for 2013-2014

Sue Bailey is a Senior Consultant at ERC with more than 25 years experience in the HR, compensation, and benefits field. We sat down with Bailey to answer a few questions about benefits and compensation in the workplace.

How has the Affordable Care Act impacted benefits and compensation?

The Affordable Care Act, or Obama Care, is having a significant effect on benefits and compensation in 2014.  “Specifically, it will have a large impact on employer’s benefits packages in the future. A lot will depend on the medical and insurance companies, and consumers,” says Bailey.
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Fostering Professional Development in the New Year

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Fostering Professional Development in the New Year

With 2013 quickly coming to a close, it’s time to start thinking about those New Year’s resolutions.

In the context of the workplace, the resolutions or goals that many of your employees may be setting for 2014 are likely to focus on professional development. Whether your organization has a large training and development budget that can easily meet the needs of your employees or if you have a more modest budget to work with that requires a bit more creativity in helping your employees grow professionally, the beginning of a New Year is an ideal time to take stock of what types of professional development opportunities your organization and others like yours in the region are offering in order to stay competitive in the region.
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The Most Critical Trends Shaping HR

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The Most Critical Trends Shaping HR

There are so many important trends shaping HR right now that will affect employers in years to come. Here's a brief synopsis of the most critical ones that you should know heading into 2014.

1. Social Media & Mobile

Social networking platforms are changing, and will continue to change, how HR departments operate. People's lives are becoming more social networked, and nowadays, social media is no longer simply a marketing or personal tool. It is gradually becoming engrained into many aspects of the workplace.

Although social networking is primarily used for recruiting, employers are beginning to use social networking platforms for learning and development, employee communications, collaboration and innovation, and recognition.

Similarly, mobile continues to become more central to our lives, which poses both challenges and opportunities for our workplaces. Mobile can be leveraged for learning, recruiting, and other HR needs, and provides employees with greater flexibility to do their work, but it also will continue to present difficulties (e.g. productivity).

2. Big Data

Big data, or HR analytics, is increasingly guiding decisions pertaining to talent and the workplace. As technology increasingly is implemented in HR departments, people decisions are becoming more strategic and complex.

More companies will move beyond operational reporting and benchmarking, and leverage data about employees to make their HR departments more data-driven and strategic.

This includes using data to predict outcomes (e.g. hiring, performance, etc.) and conducting strategic analytics to statistically analyze problems and translate data findings into solutions.

Because research is finding that leading organizations are using big data for HR and that it is effective in delivering sound problem solving, this trend will require HR departments to hire and develop staff with big-data related skills in business acumen, consulting, data management, statistics, communication, and executive presence.

3. Generational Issues

Four generations are in many organizations right now, and they all have very different ways of working, forcing companies to put into place practices that help manage generational issues and conflicts.

The younger generation, in particular, is creating challenges for HR departments with their distinct values, forcing organizations to re-tool their talent management practices. For example, the younger generation...

  • Desires flexible work hours and work-life balance
  • Has intolerance for boredom and 'dead-end' jobs
  • Values mentoring, personal learning, and development
  • Expects rapid career progression

Because this generation brings critical skills to the table and are the future leaders of organizations, HR will need to find better ways to manage this group in order to retain them.

4. Rise of Contingent Workforce

Studies are predicting that the workforce will become more contingent in the next five years, and that by 2019, nearly half the workforce will contract their skills to multiple organizations.

There are already signs that this is happening with a rise in temporary workers, contractors, independent consultants, and freelancers. According to a report by Accenture, the most common freelance jobs include sales and marketing, IT and programming, design and multimedia, engineering and manufacturing, and writing.

The dynamics of business are changing so rapidly these days that many employers find they need an agile, "just-in-time" workforce that is more cost-effective. Contingency is attractive because work is becoming more knowledge and project-based, and increasingly reliant on specialized skills and expertise. In addition, economic fluctuations like we've seen the past few years will require more flexible staffing models.

Though contingent workers bring benefits, they will also pose challenges for HR departments in terms of how they are managed, compensated, and treated.

5. Change & Innovation

Because organizations are changing so rapidly, HR will have to take on more significant roles related to managing and communicating change initiatives and disruption within the workplace effectively. HR will need to take on a more consultative and change-management oriented role in their organizations.

Similarly, the need for innovation, risk-taking, and creative solutions is becoming more necessary. HR will be increasingly relied upon to drive this behavior through the development of culture and programs (rewards, empowerment, suggestions and ideas, employee feedback, etc.).

6. Leadership

Traditional theories of leadership are not as relevant to today's challenges, and certainly won't be in the future.

Leaders will need to demonstrate different behaviors and skills than were required in the past. Skills such as empathy, authenticity, influencing, strategic thinking, articulating, flexibility, risk taking, demonstrating integrity, leading diverse teams, collaborating, and bringing out the best in others are all being seen as more important for leaders.

While these aren't necessarily new leadership skills, more emphasis will be placed on them in the future.

7. Total Rewards

More and more, employers are faced with the issue of "there's only so much money in the bucket" and must make harder decisions about the total rewards that they offer.

For one thing, the benefits landscape is changing with the steady rise in health care costs, the uncertainty associated with how the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and the changing nature of wellness in the workplace.

Likewise, modest pay increases and a performance-oriented approach to compensating employees has also been evident. Then, there are other rewards that factor into the equation like perks, recognition and rewards/staff appreciation, voluntary benefits, training and development, and more.

Employers will have to continue to make hard decisions about what total rewards will be provided to the workforce. Business strategy, performance, and the needs and interests of the workforce will all play a role in these difficult decisions.

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Recruiting & Hiring Trends for 2013-2014

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Tara Haskett, discusses current and future HR trends when it comes to recruiting and hiring employees.

In what areas are employers experiencing talent shortages?

Employers today are experiencing a talent shortage in trade areas such as I.T., engineering, sales, accounting, finance, and technical positions.   “Employers are reporting that they are not able to find candidates that have the exact qualifications or technical skills that companies are looking for. Employers are also finding that their allotted salary and a candidate’s salary expectation do not match up,” says Haskett.
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Hiring in 2014: 3 Online Trends to Watch

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Hiring in 2014: 3 Online Trends to Watch

Is your organization looking to hire new employees in 2014? If so, here is a quick look at some of the online trends in recruiting that were seen in 2013 and are likely to stick around through 2014 and beyond.

1: Online Career Centers

Perhaps the most well established recruiting option on this list, nearly 50% of all organizations have some type of online career center on their website. More non-manufacturing organizations’ websites have an online career center (53%) compared to manufacturing organizations (40%).

Although online career centers have been around longer than other avenues such as social media or mobile recruiting platforms, their popularity seems to have leveled off right around the 50% mark over the past few years.

With more online options cropping up, organizations no longer need to rely solely on their own traditional online internal career boards for recruitment.
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How Are Companies Recruiting Today and in the Future?

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How Are Companies Recruiting Today and in the Future?

In 2013, companies had gradually been using social media, especially LinkedIn, for recruiting new talent.

Its uses include:

  • Recruiting passive candidates
  • Searching for candidates
  • Posting job opportunities
  • Creating interest in jobs
  • Screening job candidates

In a 2013 survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), there has been a 20% increase in companies using social media websites to recruit since 2011. Also, the most common social media networks used by employers for recruiting were LinkedIn at 94%, Facebook at 54% and Twitter at 39%. Additionally, a LinkedIn survey concluded that social professional networks are among the most important recruiting sources, second to employee referrals.
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In 2013, Skilled Talent Shortage and Poor Candidate Experiences

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In 2013, Skilled Talent Shortage and Poor Candidate Experiences

Skilled Talent Shortage

In 2013, there was a prevalent skilled talent shortage, and it’s expected to continue into 2014.

ManpowerGroup found that employers are continuing to struggle to find skilled talent, specifically in:

  • Skilled trades
  • IT
  • Engineering
  • Technicians
  • Mechanics
  • Finance and accounting
  • Sales

The primary reason companies are having trouble finding skilled talent is due to the lack of technical and soft competencies, available applicants, and experience.  Applicants were also looking for more pay than offered.
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What is Human Resources Certification?

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What is Human Resources Certification?

Professional certifications are a valuable way to demonstrate knowledge, qualification, achievement, and commitment to your profession. There are several certifications that apply to human resources, with the two most common being PHR and SPHR certification.

PHR and SPHR Certifications

Overview of Certifications

The PHR and SPHR certifications are HR certifications that are awarded by the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI) to individuals who meet the eligibility requirements and pass the certification exam.  HR certification signifies that an individual is both knowledgeable and experienced in the field of human resources. A professional certification in HR is different than a certificate program in that certification requires specific experience and education, requires recertification, and allows an individual to add the letters of the certification after their name.
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