4 HR Consulting Secrets That Affect Organizational Change

Businesses today face more challenges than ever before; global competition, creating unique business models, and changing technologies all must be addressed if companies wish to continue their growth and success. Sustainable and long-lasting organizational change is the essential tool businesses must rely on to meet and exceed these challenges. 

With that said, introducing new methods and strategies to an organization can be anywhere from fruitful to disastrous. I have been apart of this, both in my corporate career as well as now. It’s a delicate balance that requires keen insight, lasting patience, and confidence. That is why creating and implementing strategies for successful organizational change is such an essential component of keeping your business running smoothly. 

In the best of situations, organizational change leads to greater productivity, higher work quality, fewer redundant tasks, and larger profit margins. In the worst of circumstances, organizational change can be stressful, confusing, and harmful to your business. Your team might feel unfit to adjust to new processes and mind-sets, and sometimes, they cannot achieve the desired result. 

Fifty years after organizational change was established as a field, 70% of initiatives still fail. Remarkably this statistic has remained unchanged since the 1970s, but it speaks to how persistent this issue has been. More than that, it demonstrates an undeniable issue in organizational change processes: many people blame the foundational theories of organizational change, but theories of the field are seldom to blame. Recently, I was in an executive team planning session where some of the leaders were entrenched in the opinion that the coming transformation for their company did not need any type of “organizational change” focus. I wholly disagreed. 

The Four Secrets of Organizational Change

Sometimes, organizational change failure results from an unrealistic goal or unreasonable expectations. Other times, the business leadership team is ill-equipped to implement and sustain organizational change. In most cases, though, HR professionals overlook simple principles of organizational change. These principles can make the change process simpler, less stressful, and more successful.

Businesses seeking real, long-lasting success through a shifting organizational structure need to understand these pivotal HR consulting secrets.

Focus on Continuous Improvement

One-off efforts to change the processes and structure of an organization rarely succeed. One-time changes usually come unexpectedly and inorganically. In most cases, managers and their employees revert to their old ways soon after the pressure to change is lifted.

Continuous improvement encourages constant incremental change. It is far less difficult to require businesses to improve efficiency and alter processes by tiny increments in the short-term than a single massive increment in the long-term. Businesses are more adaptive to change when they have experienced it previously and witnessed positive results. This works because, in my experience, it becomes part of everyday work.

Involve Your Team at All Levels

Leaders, managers, and entry-level employees will feel more committed and equipped to adjust to organizational change if they are involved throughout the overall processes. Every team member has excellent ideas and insight, so it’s always valuable to keep an open mind and listen to their opinions.

Organizational change efforts must also work from the top down. CEOs and other business leaders should show to the rest of the team that change is possible and that everybody and every process can be improved, including C-level leadership. I like to say this is a ground-up effort, not, believe it or not, top-down.

Communicate with Empathy

Organizational change is surprisingly more swift and successful when each team member feels appreciated and involved. HR consultants and business executives must communicate with empathy, expressing each employee’s value to the organization and the value of change to each employee. Don’t be shy. Express that you, too, feel challenged by the changes required.

According to a recent Duarte survey, out of 138 leading business executives that plan to start or are amid organizational change, only 69 are considering their team’s sentiment about the change. Being transparent and open about your plans’ goals encourages team cohesion and assures everyone is on the same page. We all know change is hard, personally and professionally; don’t underestimate the time needed to bring people along. Communicate, communicate, and communicate again through a multi-channel approach. It matters, it really does.

Perform Skill Building and Capacity Building Within the Organization

Change does not facilitate itself automatically. HR consultants and business leaders should first clarify that change is difficult and then train and coach each team member. As a result, often you will see individuals feel empowered to improve their skills and capacities.

On the other hand, team members will feel demotivated if you assign them a new task or role and then walk away. Change will be most successful when the organization follows through on each step of the training and skill-building process. It cannot be emphasized enough how essential consistency and dedication are to your efforts. 

Put simply, every business should welcome organizational change. Faulty business practices, unsympathetic leaders, lack of training, and sudden, rigid goals can all hinder attempts to evolve and improve an organization. But if you eliminate those barriers and see the effort through, ultimately you will look back on the challenges of organizational change and see how much they improved the company and your teammates. Again, this is where taking time and effort upfront and throughout the change pays off big time. In my experience, getting more people on the change bus will help cement the way forward.

Get your copy of our free HR consulting resource: Performance Management Innovation.

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HR Consulting NYC, HR Consulting New York City, HR Consulting NY, Hire a CHRO

HR Consulting Insights to Help Early Stage Businesses Hire a CHRO

Starting a business is tough—trust me, I’ve done it, too. A new business comes with an unending list of tasks, responsibilities, and risks. In an attempt to remain cost-effective, it’s common for new businesses to pass on hiring a CHRO. This is despite findings that show Fortune 500 companies with a C-level HR leader are up to 105% more profitable.

My team has been delivering HR consulting in NYC for several years now. Based on our experiences, a CHRO has incredible benefits for businesses in the early stages. Here are a few insights on why we believe hiring a CHRO is worth the investment.

Increase the Odds of Surviving at Scale

By design, businesses are preoccupied with growth. Beginner entrepreneurs are often taken aback by the unexpected challenges of rapid growth. As their businesses grow, issues that seemed minor in the beginning can develop into chasms of liability.

Often, this happens because the startup CEO is focused on keeping the business afloat and moving forward. Even a CEO who deeply values their team is not likely to have time to support them in a meaningful way while also navigating the trajectory of the business.

A CHRO is preoccupied with the big-picture internal strategy in a way most startup CEOs could never be. The role of a startup CEO is simply too involved with steering the ship in the right direction—as they should. The CHRO, on the other hand, is able to focus on ensuring the ship is in good condition, and has the right hands on deck to man it.

Who’s Asking the Tough Questions?

As your company’s CEO, you are perceived as the boss—for better and for worse. While having the respect of your team is a wonderful thing, there are few things more difficult for your team than telling you the hard truth. 

I’ve seen the results of a culture of “yes people”, and it’s not pretty. It could be described as an “Emperor has no clothes” effect, in which the flaws of the organization are clear to everyone—except the people with the power to change it. 

Yet, it’s no wonder this effect is so common. When those who report to you have a vested interest in reporting good news, how can we expect them to be forthcoming with the bad stuff? Why should they challenge you when they could say nothing and plead ignorance?

A CHRO rises above these office politics. It’s part of their job to analyze the dynamics of the organization and be honest about the changes that need to take place. Ultimately, isn’t it better to have someone around to discreetly hand you a robe?

Are you using feedback effectively in your organization? Download our free HR consulting resource, Performance Management Innovation, for our insights on how feedback impacts the bottom line.

Keep Employees Engaged

It’s become something of a joke that the employee engagement efforts of startups have more to do with beer in the office fridge than real, tangible opportunities. We know that our teams need more in order to stay with us for the long haul.

It’s idealistic to believe a strong mission statement is enough to nurture a sense of purpose in our teams. Valuable talent needs to be challenged, recognized, and developed—and that requires significant resources. Sustaining employee engagement cannot be a side project for the CFO or COO.

If we neglect employee engagement tactics, we end up gambling with our most precious resource—our people. When retention suffers early on, the path to improving productivity, innovation, and morale becomes a steep uphill climb.

Don’t Stretch Yourself Too Thin

As business leaders, we’re no stranger to delegation when it comes to most of our operations. Yet, some business leaders admit they started out believing they could be their own CHRO and remain effective. 

Yet, when you examine the function of a CHRO, that doesn’t seem realistic. A skilled CHRO should be structuring roles and teams around the CEO’s vision. They should be preoccupied with managing people operations around the business’ objectives, no differently than how a CFO manages the business’ financial operations.

It also stands to reason that the CEO of a growing business may not be able to step back from their biases, which can obscure their decision making as it pertains to their teams. A great CHRO should have a strong connection to the internal culture and formal HR training. It’s rare for a CEO to have either of these things.

See What an HR Consultant Can Do

In the early stages of a business, it can be tough to wrap your head around the expense of hiring a CHRO—particularly if you’re not yet familiar with how they operate.

Investing in HR consulting in the early stages can help by uncovering some of the benefits that a CHRO brings to an organization. From talent acquisition support to guidance through the murky waters of scaling up, it won’t take long before the benefits of a long-term CHRO become apparent.

Through HR consulting, we can work with you to develop a roadmap to reach your business’ next frontier. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach. We get to the heart of your organization’s strengths and weaknesses to create a fully customized plan of action.

If you’re ready to see the difference that HR strategy can make in your organization, I encourage you to contact my team and I at East Tenth Group today.

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leadership development NYC, leadership development, succession planning

Leadership Development Tactics for Effective Succession Planning

From the junior to the executive level, it’s natural for our teams to be thinking about “what’s next” for their career. While it’s great to have ambition about your personal goals, there seems to be a disconnect when we think about how the future looks for our companies.

The lack of a strong succession plan is a growing issue among American companies. I suspect it’s because we don’t like to think about, or talk about, the reasons we might need successors.

Let’s take succession out of the equation for a moment. Ultimately, leadership development is the foundation of a healthy business. These tactics for preparing your future leaders can make a difference in the performance of your team—starting today. 

Make Development Part of Your Culture

It’s a mistake to treat succession planning as a “future issue”. It’s impossible to know what the future holds. Retirement is only one of many reasons you may need to replace someone in a leadership role. Many of those reasons could become a reality very suddenly.

As such, it’s important to make succession an ongoing part of your leadership strategy. A natural way to facilitate this is to ask the right questions during performance reviews and one-on-ones, with every single person on the team. Where someone is now isn’t always an indicator of how far they could go.

Standardize questions like, “which skills would you like to develop?”, “what do you see as your biggest contributions to the team?”, and “how can we help you take your job to the next level?”

These are questions some people on your team may need some time to think about, but it’s important to hear their answers. Encourage managers to follow up with teammates as needed.

Map Out Your Talent Pool

The beauty of working in the corporate world is that we’re always surrounded by a diverse range of skill sets. Yet, what good are our people’s talents if we don’t know what they are?

Documenting the strengths, achievements, and skills of each team member allows us to see what our teams can offer. By creating an inventory of the resources on your team, you can get a bird’s eye view of your talent “bench strength”.

Not only can this inform the leadership trajectory of your people, but it can also help you assemble more strategic teams and assign the right project leaders.

Are you ready to take the next steps toward building an unstoppable team? Our complimentary ebook, “Leading the Business”, part of our four-part Balanced Leadership™ Framework, contains key insights for aligning culture with strategy. Download your copy today

Identify Talent Gaps Early

If you’ve taken the time to map out your talent pool, you’ll notice an important by-product of the process. By taking stock of the skills your business has, you’ll also be better equipped to identify the competencies your team needs more of.

From there, you have a few options. You can develop internal personnel to broaden their existing skill sets, thereby closing those skill gaps. However, you may find some gaps are too large to fill with internal development initiatives alone. The other option, then, is to hire people who embody the skill sets your team needs. 

While you’re at it, it’s wise to predict the talent gaps you can expect in the near future. If your best performer in a certain department is being developed for an executive role, it’s wise to start developing someone else to follow in their stead.

Invest in Development Opportunities for High Performers

Obviously, developing successors requires opportunities for development. Leadership development courses are one way of providing that, but internal development opportunities are much more effective at helping future leaders understand the business, develop critical skills for their next role, and develop relationships with key players. Consider offering mentorships, job shadowing, or even asking your future leader to stand in for the incumbent during vacations or sabbaticals.

High-potential people should be aware of their contributions and rewarded with ongoing development opportunities like this. 

A perceived lack of upward mobility can cause leaks in your talent pipeline. Retain these valuable people by offering them frequent opportunities to train for the next big thing.

Establish Accountability for the Talent Pipeline

Don’t assume all managers know that succession planning is one of their responsibilities. Developing people to become tomorrow’s leaders is a critical business objective, and should be communicated as such.

That also means managers will need to be held accountable for succession planning goals. This can only happen if you’ve made it a priority to establish a realistic succession plan, along with action items and benchmarks for the leaders on your team.

Since succession is easy to file away as “tomorrow’s problem”, it’ll also be up to you to maintain momentum toward these goals. Check in frequently with leaders to ensure they’re on track. If the conversations aren’t happening, it’s likely that the work isn’t either.

Leadership succession is a crucial phase of our organizations’ life cycle. Intentional leadership development permits us to have a hand in the future of our businesses and prepare for a smoother transition when the time comes.

If you’re ready to start getting serious about succession planning, I encourage you to contact my team and I at East Tenth Group today.

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4 Digital HR Trends Shaping the Workforce

The world as we know it has gone digital. The proof sits before you as your eyes scan over this page. Yet, over three decades into this digital revolution, many of the core processes of established organizations remain analog.

There are times when this is appropriate. We might agree that a robotic CEO might lack the necessary compassion. Overall, however, businesses stand to gain so much more than they stand to lose by versing themselves in digital solutions to inherited problems.

Recently, I took a 5-week AI4HR course. It struck me how the course, which was all administered online, was able to accelerate the speed of learning by employing an assortment of digital learning tools. I found myself amazed by how quickly the digital world is evolving – both in the applications available to support all the functional areas of HR, and by how agile we need to be in order to recommend, develop, and implement these solutions.

What I’m about to share with you represents a shift in perspective in the HR space. These are technology-driven solutions that are having a measurable impact on profitability, talent management, and employee engagement. It’s my hope that these current trends in digital HR energize you to question old processes, and imagine what else is possible.

1. Saving Time with Automation

Efficiency is a golden objective for every organization, so it’s only natural that technology would evolve to help us optimize our timesheets. While automation is the process of using tech-based solutions to perform tasks that chip away at our time without adding a lot of value.

Many of us corporate veterans are familiar with the exasperation of answering the same phone calls, and then eventually responding to the same emails, over and over. These mundane tasks erode our time, cost our companies dearly, and seldom reward us with any significant value.

Now, companies are catching on. “Emma”, the voice-activated app introduced by health insurance provider Alegeus uses voice commands to interact with Alegeus clients, like Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa. But rather than searching the web or turning on your hallway lights, Emma specializes in answering questions about Alegeus’ benefits policies.

How to Put This Trend into Action

Implementing automation can be costly on the outset, but the value is exponential when the solution offers a better experience for both external and internal parties. For organizations who choose Alegeus for their health benefits packages, Emma provides value in two ways: she connects internal personnel to details about their package instantly and conversationally, and she shields HR representatives from fielding these inquiries, many of which can be time-consuming.

Using automated technology, common inquiries can be filtered out of the middle manager’s workflow, allowing them to focus on more intellectually demanding tasks.

2. Leveraging Artificial Intelligence in Recruitment

Artificial intelligence is not yet at a place in which it can substitute human ingenuity, creativity, and curiosity. Perhaps it’s best if it never is. Fortunately, developments in artificial intelligence (AI) have evolved to a point in which they can supplement human resources at scale, using big data to sort and execute tasks in minutes that would take human beings days, weeks, or even months. This is highly valuable in the recruitment space.

Today, savvy HR managers are leveraging AI to filter out the noise in the talent pipeline. This process, which Josh Bersin calls ‘Blind Recruiting’, enables organizations to intelligently sift through the talent pool, screen candidates, and make smarter hiring decisions.

How to Put This Trend into Action

Chatbots can be programmed to respond to questions from interested prospects by setting up canned answers to common questions, triggered by keywords. For instance, a potential candidate could visit the company website and ask the Chatbot what kinds of positions the organization is hiring for. The Chatbot, recognizing words like “positions” and “hiring” can then display a message summarizing the open postings.

And that’s just the beginning. AI solutions are becoming more and more commonplace to aid HR teams in pinpointing resumes that meet key hiring criteria. This process not only helps with efficient hiring at scale, but also combats unfair hiring practices. Using ‘Blind Recruiting’, organizations can use a layer of tech to assist in reducing unconscious bias and work toward a more diverse corporate culture.

Are you committed to a sustainable, value-building HR strategy? Our complimentary insights article, “HR Strategy Delivering ROI” outlines how people management impacts the bottom line. Download your copy today.

3. Storytelling with Digital Media

As the workforce ages, the talent pool is filling up with young talent who have fully integrated themselves in the digital universe. These workers have different motivations than the generations before them. Acutely aware of their options in an ultra-connected world, this generation doesn’t search for a job – they search for a culture.

Now more than ever, organizations need to think beyond marketing to customers and start marketing themselves to up-and-coming talent. That includes using digital media to deliver engaging content that tells your company culture story.

The talent we want to attract craves a workplace where they feel they belong, and in doing so, make an impact. They’re looking for cues.

How to Put This Trend into Action

Social media, video, and online resources express the focus, values, and attitude of your organization. We must act like our dream candidates are paying attention because, in fact, they are.

4. Using Tech As a Gateway to Work/Life Balance

For decades, the 9-to-5 office job was, if not the gold standard, then at least the default of the middle class. While the generation that occupies the majority of the corner offices may feel strongly about being physically present in them, the trend of offering remote work is rapidly gaining traction.

Rightfully so. Today, most operational tasks can be performed from a home computer. The option to work some, or all, of the week from home has enormous appeal to employees who crave flexibility in their schedules. The terms of the arrangement can be negotiated to maximize both employee output and workplace mental health.

How to Put This Trend into Action

I’ve noticed many CEOs respond to the remote work trend with discomfort. On the surface, ‘remote work’ sounds like another word for ‘paid time off’. This perspective overlooks the capacity of the organization to select engaged, motivated candidates to join their teams.

When properly introduced into the corporate culture, remote work solutions enable growing organizations to promote a sense of autonomy among their people. This lays the groundwork for a different approach to the use of commercial space, in which multi-purpose shared facilities are prioritized against costly square footage.

“Going digital” can be daunting, as it often involves a careful re-examination of processes that have long been left unchecked. If you sense that your organization is being held back by old tactics, the right technology can pave the road for increased productivity and innovation. For guidance on making the investment in digital HR solutions, I encourage you to contact my team and I at East Tenth Group today.

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Is Your Company Culture Helping or Hindering Employees from Speaking Up?

Regardless of our role, we all want to work with people who truly value our input. As leaders, it’s our responsibility to craft workplaces which promote a “speak up culture” where everyone feels supported enough to express their opinions, and where they can be confident that their contributions are being heard and recognized.

The most successful organizations are those where employees feel empowered to speak up and express their views, ideas, and concerns, but most employees choose to stay silent.

Why is this? What can we, as leaders, do to foster a company culture that encourages our employees to speak their minds and feel comfortable sharing their ideas and concerns?

Below are some of the areas I encourage East Tenth Group’s clients to consider when assessing whether their company culture is hurting or helping their employees feel empowered enough to speak up:

Two Perspectives to Consider

There are two ways to frame this challenge, one is the personality perspective, which suggests that employees inherently do not have the disposition to speak up about their issues and concerns.

This perspective assumes that employees are too timid, shy, or introverted to “stand up” and share their views with the rest of the team.

Conversely, the situational perspective suggests that employees fail to speak to because they believe that their organization is not supportive of hearing their thoughts. They may feel afraid of being penalized for challenging their bosses, and will keep their thoughts and opinions to themselves as a result.

In most cases, organizations suffer from a combination of both of these issues: their current staff do not feel comfortable speaking up, and as a result the organization has no incentive to develop a culture which encourages it.

However, it’s not enough to simply identify the cause that’s preventing your employees from lending their voices to a discussion. As leaders, we need to take proactive steps to build the kind of company culture that fosters inclusion and supports speaking up.

How to Empower Employees to Speak Up

If you’re concerned that your employees don’t feel empowered to speak up and share their thoughts with you, I suggest applying these tactics to begin shifting your company culture into a supportive and inclusive space:

Hire Proactive Employees 

One of the fastest ways to begin building a company culture founded on speaking truth to power is to hire individuals who exhibit proactive tendencies.

When hiring, seek out individuals who have strong personalities, and who are comfortable sharing their opinions respectfully and with regularity. Make it clear in your interviews that you value employee input, and that you reward feedback and innovative ideas.

However, as we discussed in our webinar “Maximizing Team Collaboration and Effectiveness” it’s important to remember that despite your best efforts it’s unlikely that you will wind up with a company full of vocal employees who feel comfortable sharing their thoughts at a moment’s notice.

To this end, leaders must continue to find ways to engage with quieter employees. Make a point to note which employees are more, or less, vocal, and engage with quieter team members in one on one feedback sessions, and encourage them to utilize any “anonymous reporting” systems already in place for feedback within you company. You can also intentionally call on them in group settings – and give them time to articulate their point of view.

Are you ready to start creating a company culture that encourages employees to speak up and take action? Our free ebook, “Leading Teams” has the actionable advice you need. Download your copy today.

Have Monthly “Successes & Challenges”

Use these monthly meetings to model the behavior you want to see: initiate the discussion by sharing something that went wrong, what your role was, what you learned, and what was done to resolve the issue or minimize the damage.

Prior to these meetings, ask one or two colleagues to follow up your story by sharing their own mistakes. This creates a psychological safety net for employees where they can feel comfortable sharing their own mistakes and engaging in discussions with management about how to overcome professional challenges.

Build Diverse Teams

At East Tenth Group, we believe that diversity is critical for organizational success. Not only have studies proven that racially diverse teams outperform non-diverse ones by 35%, but gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to earn above-average revenue.

Putting a focus on building gender and racially-diverse teams within your organization sets a tone for effective communication and speaking up because it ensures that your workplace is inclusive by default.

Pay Attention to Data

Most companies have an “anonymous reporting” system where employees can submit feedback and concerns without the worry of repercussions from management. To develop a better understanding of the issues that are the biggest concern to your staff, take a sample of 100 reports and identify five “indicators of retaliation” such as annual review ratings, shift and overtime allocation, pay, bonuses, etc.

Then, identify the similarities between all of the reports and use the commonalities to come up with proactive solutions. For example, you may discover that some senior managers have a tendency to bring retaliatory environments with them as they are promoted or move to new roles within the organization.

Creating a Company Culture Primed for Success

Empowering employees to speak up and share their concerns and feedback with leadership is critical for any organization’s long-term success. By taking the steps outlined above, you can begin to build an inclusive workplace that thrives thanks to ongoing input at all levels.

If you’re ready to start taking steps to enhance your leadership capabilities and lead by example, I suggest taking our Balanced Leadership™ Assessment. This assessment is based on our Balanced Leadership™ Programs, which were carefully designed to help CEOs and other organizational leaders identify areas of improvement and provide them with a clear path forward.

If you’ve been struggling create a company culture where employees feel empowered to speak up, I encourage you to contact my team contact my team and I at East Tenth Group today.


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HR Digital Disruptive Change Leaders

Why HR Teams are Today’s Digital Disruption Leaders

I’m a big believer that one of the only things we can count on for consistency in our lives is change. Whether in our personal lives, or at work, change appears to be occurring at an accelerated pace these days.

Disruptive technology, a term coined by Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen, is an expression which refers to any new technology which changes, or “disrupts” an existing industry or the technologies it uses. We can see evidence of our “disruptive economy” whenever we read the news or speak to our colleagues about the latest technological advances, and the impact they have on how we do business.

At East Tenth Group we work closely with CEOS and business leaders, and I wanted to share how forward-thinking experts are applying disruptive change practices to spearhead organizational change so that you can apply these tactics to your business:

Identifying Emerging HR Trends

One of the key components to successfully implementing disruptive technology within the HR space is to be as in-the-know with emerging technologies, business trends, and how the two can work in lockstep to the success (or detriment) of modern HR teams:

Recent trends in HR have included:

  • Companies are eliminating traditional hierarchies. By considering the workplace as a series of interconnected teams, rather than a series of silos, team collaboration and innovation can flourish. This often requires restructuring internal teams and processes to accommodate this changing workplace dynamic.

  • Employees need to be empowered to succeed through continuous learning. Many HR experts I speak to are worried about artificial intelligence (AI) and the unknown implications it may have for their teams. There is nothing to worry about! I might be dating myself but back in the day we were worried about the internet…now look at us. In response, many leaders I speak to are adopting an “always-on” learning environment which encourages employees to build their skills quickly, and on their own terms.

  • Leaders are using data and cognitive tools for recruiting. Leaning on the latest recruiting tools and technologies takes much of the “guesswork” out of sourcing the right candidates, transforming this process from guesswork to a precise science.

How HR Can Lead the Way Towards Digital Adoption

Because HR plays a potival role in helping an organization and it’s leadership, it’s easy to understand why HR teams are the most well-suited to lead digital adoption and organizational change within a business.

By adopting a forward-thinking and modern approach to digital tool integration, HR teams can accelerate how quickly a business can adapt to the latest changes by implementing team-centric solutions and using the latest HR tech tools.

Here, the process of integrating these tools and processes is key: as HR teams begin to understand the needs of the modern employee and craft learning and development experiences which reflect and meet those needs, everyone touched by these new policies will begin to adapt accordingly. This process is one of the reasons why collaboration and support from C-Suite leadership is critical in order to successfully lead organizational change.

How HR Can Work With the C-Suite

In my years working with CEOs and other top leaders I’ve come to identify successful methods of planning for change, and for collaborating with leadership to ensure that the process meets their needs in addition to being beneficial for the organization overall.

  • Identify the top concerns. Have a frank discussion with the leadership within your organization and take note of the top concerns of the C-Suite leadership, as well as any other key business stakeholders which may impact adoption.

  • Apply “design thinking” to problem-solving. Consider the challenge from the perspective of the stakeholder, how any changes will affect their teams, etc. and use emerging HR technologies to address these issues. One example I love from Visa was when they created Visa University, a learning portal designed to assist top level executives who needed to brush up on their understanding of mobile ecommerce.

  • Provide opportunities for review and feedback. Work collaboratively with C-Suite leadership and take their feedback and experiences into consideration when making adjustments or tweaks to new processes.

Remember: Organizational Change Doesn’t Have to be Painful

While change is inevitable, especially in our age of rampant technological progress, it’s important for us to remember that disruptive change must be managed, and managing this change goes beyond just tracking performance indicators and making adjustments as-needed.

As an HR expert leading the digital transformation within your organization, it’s your responsibility to control, measure, and manage all of the key players involved with this change including: technology officers, project managers, C-suite leadership, and other individuals who play a role in shaping company culture.

Remember: just because a new technology is “disruptive” doesn’t mean that it will be painful to implement into existing business and HR models.

By framing “disruptive change” as the implementation of positive, necessary steps which will lead to increased productivity and organizational success, your HR team can make the leap from traditional HR to the latest generation of technologies which will enhance the workplace experience for everyone.

I attended the HackingHR in NYC event just recently. I was thrilled. We covered all things HR and these are trend setting HR innovators wanting to ensure we truly have our digital HR strategy minted. From the founder, Enrique Rubio, to all the participants we are definitely headed into new frontiers. I say jump right onboard!

At East Tenth Group we’re committed to working with you and your teams to overcome professional and organizational challenges. Visit our services page for more information on how we can assist your HR department with leading organizational change, take action now and subscribe to our newsletter, and connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

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2018 HR predictions

The 2018 HR Predictions You Need to Know

As a business leader who is constantly taking calculated risks to implement innovative change within an organization, 2018 is the year to align your goals with the streamlined processes that will optimize professional endeavors.

The most successful leaders are those who choose to strategically venture forward and take calculated risks that maximize technological potentials, enabling their teams to reach their professional goals.

To move your team forward as a best-in-class HR department, agile leaders must take action now to align teams with actionable steps inspired by the 2018 HR insights from Josh Bersin that will continue to change the face of the industry as we know it.

Over the past two years, the East Tenth Group Team has looked towards the HR Predictions from Josh Bersin, Principal and Founder of Bersin by Deloitte. After analyzing these predictions, we’ve compiled Bersin’s findings into the Top 10 HR Predictions for 2016, 2017, and now, the Top 12 HR Predictions for 2018 in an accessible and shareable format.

These resources have been expertly developed by Bersin and his team, and enable both our team and HR industry professionals to get a glimpse into the future of HR technologies, strategies, and processes which align organizational structures with future-forward changes needed to create best-in-class businesses.

Discover the previous key insights from Josh Bersin that have helped propel the HR industry forward to create versatile and thriving teams, and the 2018 predictions from Bersin that will allow HR leaders to further enhance their capabilities. We’ve taken note of Bersin’s previous predictions to align ourselves with where the HR industry stands today, and to better understand where we’re headed.

Digital HR Is Here to Stay

Whether businesses are ready or not, a digitally-enhanced HR industry is here to stay. Although leaders realize that digital HR changes are necessary for organizational growth, applying these tools and technologies into streamlined processes can be a challenge.


2018 is the year of digital transformation and utilization, according to Bersin. He predicts that it will be up to leaders to identify their organization’s “Digital DNA”, meaning that they have to “be” digital businesses, rather than just “do” digital.

However, he also states that HR departments must maintain their “human” qualities, finding ways to build a human touch and connection into digital solutions.


As we transitioned into 2017, Bersin noted that the shift towards digital processes was amplified, with HR implementing digital HR and L&D tools that helped organizations not simply utilize technology, but be digitally-enabled organizations that use digital tools to deliver superior solutions. For example, new digital learning solutions were developed that made L&D experiences more streamlined and captivating.

Additionally, it was predicted that self-directed learning opportunities would become an HR norm through the creation of accessible digital resources to help individuals learn and develop their capabilities when it best suited them. We wrote about these types of resources in our blog “How to Use Technology to Meaningfully Enhance Your Leadership.”


In the 2016 HR projections, Bersin noted a major HR trend that was leaning towards a design-centric digital focus within HR. As leaders, this shift allowed us to begin focusing on how we support and serve our employees, creating better experiences rather than simply requiring participation in development programs.

That year, the HR industry was overtaken by apps and the cloud, while traditional software was less relevant.

New Leaders are Taking Charge

Young leaders provide countless assets to departments and organizations alike, but it takes future-forward current leaders to provide them with the tools they need to thrive. HR teams have made strides in the last couple years by placing a focus on developing technological processes and leadership models that provide opportunities for young leaders.


Enabling young leaders to find success in your organization in 2018 involves the seamless integration of work and learning, according to Bersin. Thanks to advanced technologies, high-potential employees can learn as they work with instant access to content libraries, experience platforms, and other digital learning offerings.


Moving into 2017, Bersin saw that strong HR teams were beginning to provide young people with the support, tools, and mentorship needed to help them improve their skills and grow into bold leaders.

To maintain this trend, current leaders must continue to push for leadership models that focus on team-centric performance, continuous learning, and creating agile team members. At East Tenth Group, we believe that innovative coaching for millennial leaders is key to organizational success.


2016 was the year of HR reinvention. With a technological focus on people analytics, Bersin predicted that the alignment of HR and business capabilities allowed younger HR leaders to emerge and create future-forward organizations.

Diverse Workplaces Will Make Their Mark

It’s 2018, and we’re still talking about diversity in the workplace. However, many HR leaders are striving to cultivate all-encompassing workplace diversity with the help of technology and policy changes that place value on differences.


Josh Bersin predicts that 2018 will be the year that agile organization models go mainstream, with thriving and diverse organizations sharing a culture, values, and transparent goals for a fully aligned business model.


Gone are the days of inclusion and diversity being an HR program. Rather, they’ve become a top priority, with digital tools being harnessed to measure issues of inclusion and sharing findings to develop policies and programs that cultivate equal opportunities from the start.

From focusing on bringing more women to the table to driving diverse teams in which no one category dominates a sample, enabling diverse workplaces starts with creating an open dialogue and implementing future-forward strategies to hold organizations accountable.

Exceptional organizations provide the tools, pathways, and opportunities that create inclusive and diverse workplace cultures and environments that develop strong, bold leaders.


Bersin noted that the merging of diversity and inclusion of key business and HR strategies began in 2016, as it was brought to the forefront of the organizations with C-Suite executives taking it on as a strategic issue.

Employee Engagement and Culture

Although most HR leaders are aware that high employee engagement leads to superior results, measuring the impact of your work culture and engagement endeavors can be a challenge that is difficult to overcome without the right technological assistance.


This year, Bersin encourages leaders to start treating employees like customers, recognizing that “people are the product.” In both on and offline methods, it’s time to cultivate an environment that enables engagement through meaningful work, performance check-ins, and growth opportunities for employees at all levels.


Driving employee engagement and workplace culture continued to thrive in 2017, with many organizations setting out to define their culture and how they could measure it.

Along with Bersin’s notes that leaders should focus on utilizing HR tech and tools that boost departmental and organizational processes with a measurable impact, he encouraged that attention be given to the heart of your business: your employees. Leaders should create work environments that encourage mental well-being to drive organizational success.

At East Tenth Group, we strongly believe that emotionally intelligent leaders are smarter leaders.


2016 was the year of increasing team-wide engagement, retention, and culture with newly-developed feedback and analytics systems.

Designed to help companies understand how they could change their management styles and organizational culture, Bersin saw an increase in tools like culture assessment models, anonymous social networking tools, and pulse survey tools that were introduced into the HR industry.

Talent and Performance Management

Next-generation talent and performance management platforms continue to make their mark in the HR industry, as was first predicted in 2016.


In 2018, Bersin predicts that it’s time for talent acquisition strategies to tap into the power of enabling employees to experience internal mobility, with the ability to move job to job every 2-3 years. By being able to shift attention to different positions, high-potential talent can find where they thrive, while innovative thinking is encouraged throughout an organization.


The shift to a more agile toolbox of performance and talent management platforms continued on from Bersin’s 2016 HR predictions, as HR tools were integrated into talent management and performance management processes. However, a more feedback-based approach has led to new vendors developing performance management systems with unprecedented capabilities, such as capturing feedback to plan for next roles based on data from previous goal discussions.


In his 2016 HR predictions, Bersin stated that tools such as recruitment platforms could help to enable departments to streamline their hiring process, with interview management, candidate relationship management, smart sourcing, and applicant tracking all in one platform.

What Should HR Teams Do in 2018?

Every year, the HR predictions from Josh Bersin allow the HR industry to imagine the future of their industry and take actionable steps towards enhancing their strategies, processes, and policies that take HR teams and organizations to the next level. The key actionable steps from the 2018 Top 12 HR Predictions from Josh Bersin that should be implemented by best-in-class HR leaders include:

Align your processes with digital tools: Becoming “digital” is a crucial step for HR success in 2018. From your systems, to employee services, to L&D, a future-forward HR team will optimize their digital capabilities for organizational success.

Reconsider your current jobs and organization model: This year, HR leaders should take time to rethink the current operating models surrounding leadership, mobility, and performance management.

Unite and empower your HR staff: Redefining your identity as a department and creating streamlined processes that align with your organization’s mission and values enables your HR team to “act as one.”

Focus on the employee experience: When you shift your attention away from programs and processes for performance management towards feedback and design thinking, your employees will engage more and develop trust with team leaders.

At East Tenth Group, we believe that accessible and action-driven resources and support help leaders generate best-in-class HR professionals, while boldly cultivating their executive presence. Staying on top of the current trends can help make you a future-forward group to drive your organization forward.

We’re excited to learn about the progress that you and your teams are making. What strategic changes are in store for your HR department in 2018? Our team is always ready to help you implement the wide-reaching change that will help drive the bottom line of your company. For more information on our actionable and innovative services, take action now and subscribe to our newsletter, and connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

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The Chicken or the Egg, Employee Retention or Customer Retention – Which Should Come First?

Since the first peddlers began selling goods across Europe in the 19th century, the general business wisdom has been:

The customer is always right.

Customers are the top priority and the key to success.

This philosophy is no longer applicable in today’s business environment. Customers, although incredibly important, must not be the only priority. They cannot be the only key to success. To succeed with your customers, you need to hunker down and show your team members that they are your most important priority, day in and day out.

[Tweet “Show your team members they are your most important priority.”]

Modern analytics have provided us with a new understanding of how to realize business success, and it can be stated succinctly:

Happy team members = happy customers.

While the workers fifty years ago worked one or two jobs in their lifetimes (regardless of whether or not they were satisfied or happy with their jobs), an unfulfilled team member today might explore four or five distinctly different careers – and work for more than one employer in each career.

Retention must become as important, if not more so, as acquisition. Leadership development must replace skillset training as the ongoing retention model.

The endless cycle of hiring, training, and inevitably replacing team members must stop. We all need to get off the proverbial hamster wheel. Given the enormous expense and instability associated with replacing and training new members, the importance of engaging and retaining current people on the team is even more critical, and yes, it’s more challenging now than at any point in the past.

[Tweet “The endless cycle of hiring, training, and inevitably replacing team members must stop.”]

But it is possible!

Here are a few easy and practical steps you can immediately begin using to improve team member happiness, retention, and engagement:

  • Listen to your team members, and give them a real voice in creating policies and procedures.
  • Embrace diversity and individuality – and allow your people to be themselves.
  • Encourage individual, written career plans and goals.
  • Incorporate short, focused, daily professional development – for individuals and groups.

The key is to never lose sight of the simple fact that your people have the ability to make or break your business. Effective, happy, loyal team members create and drive higher customer satisfaction. Their efforts and attitudes influence product and service quality more than anything else. Most of you know this, but it is amazing how often we lose sight of this. Help your team unlock their potential.

Do an honest evaluation of your team. Are they happy and growing professionally? Are they referring friends to you? Do you know how they feel and what they think about their jobs? Are you having conversations with your team members, before they begin looking elsewhere for a job?

Profit from what you learn; make changes now to better serve your team members. It will be the best investment you ever make.

If you are struggling with retention challenges in your organization, download East Tenth Group’s Guide to Engagement and Retention, which contains practical and actionable steps you can take immediately to help your business engage and retain the talent you need to remain competitive. One action today can make a difference

As the CEO & Founder of East Tenth Group, Michelle leverages 25 years of business and experience as a strategic advisor and executive coach to help drive actionable people solutions and provide practical insights on business strategy to senior leaders. she and her team and are fiercely committed to the development and growth of people and companies because we believe that when people thrive, business thrives.

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If Google Believes in People Analytics, Why Don’t You?

As marketers and consumers alike become entrenched in the digital age, businesses have grown accustomed to and understand the need for data analytics as a tool to improve customer service and boost ROI. And as businesses continue to evolve and compete on a global scale, HR executives must likewise evolve to maintain, if not improve, retention and performance – and ultimately to increase revenue. Enter people analytics.

Former Google SVP, People Operations (CHRO) Laszlo Bock recently addressed the importance of people analytics as a means of furthering the growth and assessing the role of HR. Bock suggests that ‘Doubters’ may set up roadblocks that impede their efforts to employ people analytics, while ‘Believers’ will be able to adapt more easily to the process.

[Tweet “People analytics improve retention and performance, resulting in increased revenues.”]

In this video presentation, Peter Hartmann, Business Intelligence Expert for Maersk Drilling, makes a compelling case for using data to improve decision making. The crucial point, he emphasizes, is the need to link data directly to business results. While Maersk is a logistics company with 89,000 people working in 135 countries, what Hartmann does on a broader scale can easily be adapted to smaller and mid-size companies. How?

  • Start with a business problem, not an HR problem
  • Gather existing knowledge on the issue
  • Align KPIs with overall strategy
  • Standardize the metrics – adjust the targets as needed

Hartmann also suggests that organizations do not need to reinvent the wheel when there is so much data that already exists to help create a strategy – as long as strategies are customized to meet an organization’s unique needs. And this is something that we at East Tenth Group whole-heartedly agree with.

[Tweet “Improve the quality of hire, leadership development, and reduce turnover with people analytics.”]

People analytics helps HR develop more precise and detailed answers to these questions:

  • How can we increase employee diversity?
  • How can we improve individual and team performance?
  • How can we retain and engage top talent?
  • How can we create more collaboration?

The ROI of People Analytics

According to research from Deloitte, companies that are “datafying” HR have two to three times better results in quality of hire, leadership development, and employee turnover, which directly translates into higher revenues, lower costs, and more profitability for the companies making these improvements in HR. Why argue with results that measure such improvement? Just do it. Become a ‘Believer.’

Now is the time to start identifying the business problems you can solve with people analytics

As the CEO & Founder of East Tenth Group, Michelle leverages 25 years of business and experience as a strategic advisor and executive coach to help drive actionable people solutions and provide practical insights on business strategy to senior leaders. she and her team and are fiercely committed to the development and growth of people and companies because we believe that when people thrive, business thrives.

Learn More About Michelle

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Can HR Do What Amazon Does with Predictive Analytics?

When you shop on Amazon, you are immediately provided with a number of purchase recommendations based on algorithms defined by your previous visits and past purchases. The website predicts:

  • what you’ll want to buy,
  • what you might buy if prompted to do so, and
  • how you’ll respond to their suggestions.

While it’s not quite the same as predictive analytics, it certainly has a measurable impact on Amazon’s ROI.

So how does HR similarly demonstrate an impact on ROI? The two primary ways to do this are to measurably reduce turnover and to measurably improve performance.

Predictive Analytics and Turnover

We all know that there are costs associated with employee turnover, and that reducing turnover is a good thing. But HR departments must do more than just demonstrate a reduction in turnover; they need to be able to identify what is causing turnover and how to reduce that turnover through systematic changes to the organization’s culture. The dated approach of using exit interview data is simply not enough.

Eric Siegel, author of Predictive Analytics, explains how Hewlett Packard’s Flight Risk program employed predictive analytics to determine a correlation between promotion, pay raise, and turnover, allowing them to reduce their turnover rate by 5 percent. A big promotion not accompanied by an appropriate pay raise resulted in attrition.

[Tweet “Predictive analytics can help HR reduce turnover through systematic changes to culture.”]

Predictive Analytics and Performance

Innovative HR departments are already using analytics to determine sets of skills most likely indicative of best-performing employees, thereby improving who and how they hire. Organizations can take that data a step further, however, and use it to predict productivity issues by identifying positive and negative impacts on performance. This will allow managers to anticipate and mitigate performance challenges before they occur.

According to Bersin, 78 percent of large companies (with 10,000 or more employees) rated HR and talent analytics as “urgent” or “important,” enough to place analytics among the top three most urgent trends, but almost half – 45 percent of the same companies – rated themselves “not ready” when assessing their readiness in HR analytics – among the lowest readiness rankings for any of the 12 global trends.

[Tweet “Innovative HR execs use analytics to predict and improve performance, delivering bottom-line ROI.”]

Understanding and implementing predictive analytics can be challenging. But employing predictive analytics will:

  • positively impact the bottom line,
  • improve retention and performance,
  • enhance decision making, and
  • help companies predict behavior to transform talent management into a science.

No time like now to start down this path.

As the CEO & Founder of East Tenth Group, Michelle leverages 25 years of business and experience as a strategic advisor and executive coach to help drive actionable people solutions and provide practical insights on business strategy to senior leaders. she and her team and are fiercely committed to the development and growth of people and companies because we believe that when people thrive, business thrives.

Learn More About Michelle

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