10 Tips To Efficiently Schedule Your Employees

They both cost your company plenty of money. Being too fat results in unnecessary payroll expenses, while being too lean has a negative impact on productivity, quality, and ultimately profits.

Yet finding the right staffing balance can be a real challenge, employee scheduling software can help! Markets fluctuate, demand changes, and sudden booms can be followed by unexpected declines. In other situations, scheduling errors result in too many or too few workers, or in workers who don’t have the correct skill sets for the job. All of these scenarios have a negative impact on your organization.

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Scheduling is as much a concern as it is a necessity for every manager and supervisor. Quite naturally, the lack of an effective process can feel unnerving. An even better system will resolve complex situations that may arise with scheduling conflicts. Here are seven ways to make the employee scheduling process better for the company, managers and employees.

1. Know the staff working for your organization.

The first step towards a better way to scheduling is to create a staff list of current employees. Include their position along with department, relevant skills and certifications. Additional information should indicate whether they are full-time, part-time or contractors.

Overtime restrictions, cross trainings and preferred work hours are useful when determining when and where is the best place for employees to work.

Related:- How to Cope with Technology’s Impact on the Future of Work

2. Keep the communication line open at all times.

You cannot avoid the fact that employees will have non-work related issues that will require time off. Unless you have proper coordination like requesting availability, your department heads will have scheduling conflicts.

A good way to remedy these situations is to have a clear line of communication with employees. There should be a standard procedure that alerts managers when a shift is understaffed. Whether the time off was planned or unplanned, managers should not be surprised.

Advanced scheduling gives employees time to review their shifts. They can request time off if necessary or even swap shifts with a coworker. This gives managers enough time to find a replacement so critical deadlines are still met.

3. Develop a process for employees to submit their preferred working schedule.

Giving employees a chance to communicate their preferences for work hours is a chance to promote collaboration. Additionally, knowing preferences allows managers to place employees in work shifts that are convenient for both sides.

4. Keep schedules easily accessible.

Once the schedule is created, you need to ensure it is easily accessible to all parties. Typically, employees might forget to look at a schedule, even if it is posted in the break room.

Implement a system that allows managers to send email notifications to employees when a new schedule is posted. Keep schedules in one centralized place for consistency.

5. Have an emergency plan.

As much as you begin to rely on an efficient system, it is good practice to have an emergency backup in mind. With a plan B, managers are not scrambling to fill a spot when even the most dependable employee has a family emergency.

Tools such as an availability list and shift trades will keep managers in control of work shifts that get interrupted by employee absences.

6. Use employee scheduling software.

Technology makes it easier than ever to coordinate employees and keep an organized workflow. Installing an employee scheduling software system will dramatically simplify the process of assigning employees to work shifts.

Not only can managers post weekly schedules, but they can also post monthly schedules well in advance. This is especially useful during holidays when employees are planning family time away from the job.

Managers can use the system to notify employees via email alerts or text messages of their upcoming schedules. Common features that will streamline the scheduling process for any company include:

  • Warnings when there is a scheduling conflict
  • Monitoring of employee availability
  • Managing employee knowledge, skills and abilities
  • Tracking clock in and out times
  • Tracking labor costs

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7. Schedule employees according to their talents and skills

Understaffed environments may force managers to fill shift positions with employees who are not the best fit. This can affect morale and work product quality. Scheduling the right person for the job is essential to having a good scheduling system.

Effective scheduling systems provide conflict management resolutions to ensure managers can produce error-free schedules while delivering flexibility to handle departmental needs. Covering shifts with the most skilled and communicating with employees can make this important process the perfect answer for managers who want to know how to “schedule my employees?”

8. Analyze past data

Use your automated time and attendance system to look at past trends, and make note of demand increases and decreases in the past. This historical data can give you plenty of insight on why and when demand fluctuates, so you can make smart staffing decisions in the figure.

9. Ensure a balanced allocation of skills

In order for a shift to operate efficiently, it must be staffed by those with the correct skills. Software that allows you to see at a glance who is scheduled, and what their skills are, will allow you to fill in gaps before they become an issue.

10. Reduce absenteeism

Unscheduled absenteeism is one of the most common reasons for understaffing. Unscheduled absences result in either lean shifts or in overtime, both of which are less than ideal for your organization. Take control of unscheduled absences by tracking trends with automatic workforce management software. Tracking absences with employee attendance management software will help you deal with issues before they become costly problems.

How to Cope with Technology’s Impact on the Future of Work

Whether you’re in a stockroom, a fast food chain or even a bank, it’s not uncommon today to encounter robots doing jobs that humans once did. In fact, tech research firm Business Intelligence estimates that the market for corporate and consumer robots will grow to $1.5 billion by 2019. While this development is exciting, it also drives the debate of whether or not intelligent machinery will challenge the role of human workers.

On one hand, there’s the viable concern that increased automation will replace future jobs. Boston Consulting Group predicts that up to 25 percent of jobs will be replaced by smart software or robots by 2025.

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Others believe that machines are more likely to augment jobs rather than replace them entirely. In fact, technology-supported workers are already a common sight in many industries: iPads provide construction workers with blueprints, 3D printers make patterns for prosthetic devices and drones help farmers monitor seed count and nitrate levels.

We spoke with Patrick McHugh, policy analyst at the North Carolina Budget and Tax Center, to find out how jobs will need to transform to make way for technological changes, and how both the government and companies can prepare for the future of work.

Related:- The 4 different types of workplace learning styles

How has technological innovation affected jobs over the past few years?

We are watching the domain of mechanical or machine-aided work extend much further into the realm of what has typically been seen as human labor. We are now in a world where we are replacing cognitive labor with sophisticated algorithms and nimble robotics. The question is whether we will create enough new jobs and professions to replace what is being taken over by machines.

“We are seeing automation, but virtually none of that gain in productivity is turning into increased wages, which is a real problem.”

The huge wave of automation that happened in the 1960s and early 1970s didn’t lead to massive unemployment—in fact, it went in the opposite direction. As machines spread across factory floors and offices, workers got more productive and saw their paychecks grow accordingly, which fueled a boom in consumer spending that more than made up for the jobs that factory and office technology was taking over. Now, we are seeing automation, but virtually none of that gain in productivity is turning into increased wages, which is a real problem. If wages and income for most consumers don’t grow, there won’t be enough demand to replace the jobs that are being consumed by technology.

How can policy create a better environment for future jobs, particularly in the gig economy?

Very few of our systems are designed to work effectively when we are in the position of say, an Uber driver. As technology allows more fluid and temporary contractual relationships instead of traditional employment, most of the ways that we protect workers in the United States will have to be updated. Healthcare, retirement, unemployment insurance and workplace safety requirements are all mostly organized around a codified employer-employee relationship, which often doesn’t exist in the gig economy.

If we take a hands-off approach, technology could make many workers lives more uncertain and insecure. However, if we get the policy right, we can be in much better shape.

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How can companies prepare today for changes in the future of work?

Some of it is putting pressure on the political environment to take change seriously. It is also central to deepen relationships between companies and training providers, such as community colleges.

“It is reasonable to expect that we have to retool our understanding of the education system to match a world where everyone needs to continually update his or her skills.”

It is reasonable to expect that we have to retool our understanding of the education system to match a world where everyone needs to continually update his or her skills. What someone got trained for at 18 won’t be what the market demands when they are in their 40s. What we traditionally see as continuing or remedial education will move into lifelong learning to stay active in the job market.

What types of public solutions would be helpful for the future of work?

Both at the state and federal level, we need to make sure work pays a living wage. We have to look at minimum wage laws and income tax credit or income support. If we get reasonable wage and income growth for most folks, we can expect consumer demand to make up for what we are losing to machines.

“We are going to have to contemplate a future where moving from job to job is not an exception, but a normal course of action.”

Unemployment insurance no longer offers the bridge to the next job. Beyond the immediate limitations we are going to have to contemplate a future where moving from job to job is not an exception, but a normal course of action. We need to find a way for people who don’t have a traditional employment arrangement to have a safety net of some sort.

3 Ways to Get Started with Social Learning

Just about every business today has the tools and technology at their fingertips to build cultures teeming with social activity, with more and more of it focused on “social learning,” or strategies and practices designed to boost collaboration, productivity and build cultures that constantly engage. While the concept has been around for decades, the social media explosion of the last few years has brought tons of renewed interest to social learning — and equal amounts of hype and confusion.

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A fast-growing array of new applications is designed to help companies build cultures of continuous learning, including our recently announced Cornerstone for Salesforce, which embeds learning management directly into the Salesforce platform. But before taking the plunge, we wanted to provide a clear way to think about the true purpose and potential of social learning. (First rule of thumb here: social media is not social learning.)

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Understanding Today’s Employees as Social Creatures

Learning from others is nothing new. That said, how and when and where we learn is always changing, and managers who want to create a culture of engagement should know that the cloud, social media and mobile can be your allies if leveraged correctly.

Today’s workers are often resistant to delayed learning. They want informal learning situations and solutions—Conrad Gottrfredson puts it well here in his description of the nature of today’s learners: “They are self-directed, adaptive, and collaborative in their approach to learning. They will ultimately abandon outright our formal learning solutions if what we provide them fails to efficiently prepare them to effectively perform at their moments of ‘Apply.’ Why? Because when facing a traditional course that fails to do this, today’s learners are predisposed to simply walk away and look elsewhere for the shortest path to successful performance.”

We couldn’t agree more. Indeed, the marriage between the social and learning is contingent on the employee. The way employees learn today is certainly different than it was even five years ago — interaction and purpose are tantamount. We’ve outlined some specific steps, on top of appropriate applications, that managers can use to implement a high-performing social learning environment in the workplace. As always, the key for managers is to know their audience.

Use Storytelling to Activate Knowledge

Social learning can still be as powerful and effective in a classroom setting as it is using the latest apps on enterprise social networks. Introducing employees to a new idea is much easier when they have a context to reference. For example, if you’re trying to engage a group of sales folks at a new training class, provide them with an anecdote that will allow them to make an appropriate connection. This could include best and worst-case scenarios.

With relatable examples, employees are able to start a conversation around the new training as it relates to experiences they have had. This is likely to spark discussion outside the class/training session — whether it is in a cafeteria or on an internal social network.

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Keep It Simple

Start small: don’t try to tackle a broad issue all at once. Small learning groups focused on finite topics help employees grasp ideas better. For example, rather than hiring a specialist to come in and speak to your entire company on a particular issue, such as how to interact with customers or how to win new clients, allow employees to engage with YouTube and share videos with one another on the same subject.

Sharing videos over an internal social network can usually ignite a thread of comments and create a dialogue around the information. Instead of the singular experience of listening to an expert, employees get to be active participants in sharing insights. This empowers the employee, while also allowing them to learn from their peers in a meaningful way that will promote overall productivity in the long run.

The 4 different types of workplace learning styles

It’s no secret that some of the most successful companies today are the ones that have fostered a diverse workforce. Over the years, studies have shown businesses that bring together people of different backgrounds, perspectives and talents result in a competitive edge and even higher profits.workplace
While gender and ethnicity are critical components of diversity in the workforce, so too are learning and work styles. And as an organization attracts different types of learning styles and personality types, leadership teams need to understand how to adapt their management style to provide the best environment possible for each employee to succeed. That starts with developing a broader understanding of effective communication with workers who all process information and learn in different ways.

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From visual to auditory, here’s a closer look at the different learning styles, along with some advice for managers and learning development professionals to communicate effectively with and encourage success for each type of learner.

Style 1: “The Student” (Visual & Verbal Learners)

This type of learner probably misses those big lecture hall classes from college, and thrives in a more holistic learning environment where they can both listen to and look at information. They learn best when supplementing a discussion with visual examples around key points or stats — such as charts, graphs, photos or a written outline. So, always be sure to take the time to run through things verbally and reinforce that conversation with some strong visual cues, in order to help them succeed.

This learner is great at doing research for projects and coming up with solutions, so don’t hesitate to assign them the in-depth work that comes up for your team. These learners also tend to do well at public speaking and writing, so you can also rely on them to present their findings. And finally, if you’re ever looking to recall a detail from a meeting, look to these learners: they are the most likely to have taken detailed notes that they will happily share with you.

Style 2: “The Independent” (Visual & Non-Verbal Learners)

A visual, non-verbal learner does best while alone in a quiet environment, and can get frustrated when there are too many meetings or discussions scheduled. They are excellent independent workers who can read and digest materials like documents, charts and graphs on their own — without much additional explanation or direction.

This type of learner tends to make excellent artists or graphic designers, and feels right at home in online or remote work situations. You should make yourself available to answer questions in those uncommon instances where that is needed, but try to avoid micromanaging them. Giving them space and independence to solve things own is the best way to manage them in most cases.

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Style 3: “The Conversationalist” (Auditory & Verbal Learners)

As the name suggests, this type of learner is at their best during back-and-forth dialogue. They love to put coffee dates on your calendar to talk through their ideas — or stop by your desk for a quick chat on a problem. That said, they’re also often very good at writing responses and putting together reports after verbally hashing out the details.

Auditory learners also tend to feel more comfortable when there is background noise in their work environment — rather than a silent, static atmosphere. One easy tip to help them succeed is encouraging them to listen to music at work in order to help them concentrate. It’s also critical for this type of learner that you check-in with them in-person frequently to make sure they’re clear on expectations. After all, this type of learner performs best after talking things through, rather than reading long-winded instructions over email.

Style 4: “The Hands-on Learner” (Tactile & Kinesthetic)

These are the folks who learn best by doing. Tactile and kinesthetic learners can be tricky manage in certain work environments, since they primarily solve problems through methods like trial-and-error. The best management approach involves establishing a calm work environment where the hands-on learner feels supported to spread their wings and go tackle problems.

This worker may also come across as having nervous energy, and appear fidgety while listening or during a conversation. However, that can simply be related to how they tend to process information differently from other learners — only about five percent of the population learns this way.

When it comes to being a great mentor, there’s no silver bullet or one-size-fits-all approach that you can use on all the different types of learners. However, with a greater understanding and appreciation for differing perspectives, work habits, personality traits, and of course, learning styles — you can become a better leader and foster a more creative, productive, and inclusive working environment.

The Importance Of Finding Meaning In Work

Digital transformations are effectively reshaping the very nature of work: From the rise of automation in the workplace to the introduction of new advanced technologies, these changes are either confirming some of our traditional business models, or forcing their collapse. Amid so much volatility, employees have felt insecure about the future of their roles for quite some time. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these feelings of instability and unpredictability. Even now, decisions about return-to-office plans and the need for new roles to fill in key skills gaps remain in flux.

In a previous post I spoke of the Cornerstone People Research Lab (CPRL) findings around what we termed “the confidence gap” between employers’ and employees’ perception of their future of work preparedness. In this research, CPRL confirmed what we believed to be true:  Employee nervousness and anxiety is on the rise in these uncertain times.

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We explored the reasons behind that gap in another recent global skills survey of 1,000 employees and 500 C-level executives and HR managers from around the world. Here, CPRL found that almost half of employees (47%) are concerned that their role will change significantly in the next few years. Additionally, 30% of employees worry that their jobs won’t even be needed in the future. Our research also found that a lack of confidence among employees is pretty common: 21% of employees are concerned that their role will become too digitally technical, 20% are worried that their role will be filled by a more qualified candidate, and 18% believe their job will be automated by a machine.

Amid so much uncertainty, talent leaders are faced with the challenge—and opportunity—to make sure that employees find the time and motivation to learn, consequently quelling those concerns about their role changing and making them feel more valued at work. Through upskilling, reskilling, and new-skilling initiatives, both are possible.

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Finding Meaning in Daily Work

Employees are not only in need of more confidence—they want purpose as well. They want to know that what they do everyday matters and has an impact. In our survey, we found that 66 percent of employees said meaningful work is important when choosing an employer.

But what does this “meaning” actually look like in practice?

Our findings suggest that it’s about creating and promoting a sense of purpose and connecting daily work to the organization’s broader mission, vision, values and current climate. Clarity of purpose is central to connecting people to mission. To achieve this, talent leaders can invest in helping their employees feel understood—whether that involves promoting regular conversations with managers about personal and professional growth goals, creating a sense of belonging by valuing and celebrating uniqueness or ensuring overall well-being through health and wellness programs.

Why a More Human Approach Is Good for People and Good for Business

Proactive innovation and creativity happens when employees feel valued, understood and prepared. If talent leaders treat employees as unique individuals with different strengths and skills, and take a more personalized approach to learning and development, that sense of being valued will follow—and help employees thrive and adapt.

Not only does this strategy help boost employee morale, it’s a smart business move, too. When employees feel supported and excited about their work, they’re more likely to tap into their skill set, collaborate with others and reach their full potential. It is this flywheel effect that is the accelerant to the organizational outcomes.  And this isn’t just the case for current employees—it also affects prospective employees as well because a learning culture can attract and retain top talent.

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Where Meaning Meets Motivation

Finding meaning in work isn’t just a way to get by during trying times or avoiding employee burnout—it’s about making sure your employees are motivated to innovate, create, and propel the business forward. Creating clarity,  and demonstrating action against that set of needs helps all of us connect to meaning.  And although it might feel more critical in 2021, it’s not just a trend. Whether we’re talking about tough times, new normals or next normals, or some yet undefined term,  finding meaning in work is paramount to the success of your business and the well-being of your employees.

Skills Building And Development In The Workplace

It’s estimated that by 2025, 85 million jobs may be displaced by machines, while 97 million new roles may emerge that are more adapted to the new division of labour between humans, machines and algorithms.  In order to keep pace with emerging technology, the global workforce may need to switch occupational categories. The COVID-19 pandemic is only hastening this trend, forcing us all to rely on 21st-century technologies—artificial intelligence, the internet of things, social media, digital learning platforms, augmented and virtual reality, drones, 3D printing and more—to keep us healthy and to transform economies during these unprecedented times. Amidst so much change, it’s important for companies to focus their time, energy and resources on reskilling and upskilling programs that enable employees to pivot roles seamlessly so they can successfully adapt to the requirements of today’s world of work.

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A majority of companies are already investing time and money into these efforts, but Cornerstone’s recent HCI New Skilling report revealed an opportunity to improve their efficiency. Researchers found that high-performing organizations (HPOs) are focused on reskilling and upskilling, and typically look inward to  identify which skills to prioritize. For example, they might examine their company’s business strategy, or talk to their employees and leaders to find skills gaps. Though helpful, and an absolute best practice, this method can be supplemented by looking at not only what’s happening internally—but at broader, external trends as well.

To gain more holistic insight into the skills they need to prioritize for employee development efforts, organizations need to look outward as well: Consulting experts, conducting research and analyzing industry advancements or insights to locate emerging skills gaps or needs. This extra step will also help employers be more strategic from a workforce planning perspective, giving them a better idea of how they should invest their time, money and efforts in reskilling/upskilling programs.

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Looking For Skills Gaps Internally and Externally

Cornerstone’s HCI New Skilling report found 83% of organizations rely on direct feedback from managers and team leaders to identify internal skills gaps. Another 67% rely on direct feedback from individual contributors to identify the skills their employees need—both now and in the future. Though effective,  these efforts reveal only part of the picture because they only point to specific skill deficiencies or needs in your workforce. Taking an internal approach tends to lead to a more reactive approach to skills development rather than a proactive one that looks at emerging industry trends.

To identify skill gaps more effectively, organizations need to scan their external environment and industry for growing trends or new, necessary skills for their business landscape. Sometimes, it’s simply a matter of not knowing what your organization is missing until it’s seen in action elsewhere—like a competitor. Indeed, organizations can gain insights by analyzing a wide variety of independent sources, like trade journals or updates from professional organizations.

By accessing and incorporating data from more diverse sources, organizations can better understand future needs, anticipate impending skills gaps that can be addressed in advance, and adjust L&D efforts accordingly. And, according to the HCI report’s findings, organizations that use more sources of information to understand potential skills needs report stronger talent and business outcomes and better future readiness.

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Two Steps to Future Skills Success

As organizations rethink their approach to future-proofing their business with reskilling and upskilling efforts, here are two ideas to keep in mind when planning out these programs:

  • Use good practice from classic workforce planning. For companies that are already doing this formally, they should include these arrangements in their reskilling/upskilling strategy and use them to plan or direct these efforts.
  • Pull in information from both internal and external sources to inform planning and execution—the more, the better.

To ensure the success of their upskilling, reskilling and new skilling efforts, companies and their L&D leaders need to ensure they don’t  forget to look beyond their four walls and examine the external forces that surround them—otherwise, excellence in  internal efforts may not align with larger, external changes.

Show Employees You’re Invested In Skills Development

Employees today expect companies to take an active role in their development. According to LinkedIn’s 2019 Workforce Learning Report, 94% of employees say they would stay at a company longer if it simply invested in helping them learn, as more training is linked to improved self-confidence, better job performance and improved time management skills.

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But just because you’re investing in L&D doesn’t mean that your employees are getting the message. Our research shows that 90% of business leaders feel confident in their ability to develop their employees’ skills. But employees have much less confidence in their organization’s ability to develop and equip them with critically needed skills—only 60% of employees feel this same confidence.

In addition to simply making an investment, companies need to ensure that they’re communicating about learning investments and opportunities, tying learning back to company goals and fostering employee-led career growth through L&D.

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Prioritize Transparent Communication About Development

Don’t assume your efforts to prioritize training are obvious to your employees: Tell employees across all types of skills groups what investments you’re putting toward learning and development. And it shouldn’t just be a one-time conversation. Will your employees remember about resources you pointed them to once during an onboarding session? Frequently reminding your employees about what options are available to them can help them feel more in control of their growth and development.

Transparency about learning and development also means acknowledging areas where you’re still looking to improve. Identifying obstacles and demonstrating that you have a plan to clear them helps build trust and signal to your employees that you’re actively thinking about their futures.

Embed Skills Development into Your Company Strategy

Ideally, learning and development should fit with your organization’s goals and your broader business plan—but according to our research, only 55% of companies believe their L&D programs are well-aligned with their overall direction. Not only is this important for the performance of the business, it’s critical to the performance of your employees: Research from McKinsey suggests that employees perform best when employee goals are linked to business priorities.

How can you help align skills development with your company’s larger goals? Start with these steps to help build momentum:

  • Have managers create personalized development plans for everyone on their teams.
  • Map employees to a larger talent plan or create a list of short-term priorities you need for skill building.
  • Locate adjacent skills that can help your employees reskill to new tasks or responsibilities
  • Involve talent leaders in strategic business conversations.

With a clearer understanding of the role learning and development plays in the organization, employees are more likely to understand where they—and their growth path—fit in.

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Create Skills Opportunities Filled With Meaning

Remember: skill development is a shared responsibility. When employees are able to find meaning in their work, they’re more likely to tap into their skill set, collaborate with others and reach their full potential. Encourage managers to take the time to listen carefully to employees and discover what they find most engaging about their work, or what else they hope to learn. Use these conversations to find stretch assignments or to uncover opportunities for non-linear career progression.

Matching workers to training that’s aligned with their existing capabilities and their future interests makes it more likely that they can transition to emerging positions and help meet new needs within the organization. This will also help demonstrate to your employees that they are in the driver’s seat of their growth, providing motivation for them to be the best versions of themselves.

Things You Need to Know About Direct Sourcing

The recent period has been quite challenging for companies. Many have had to let people go and abandon their original hiring plans, cut their recruitment budgets and rethink who and when they hire.

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They are now looking for ways to fulfill their workforce needs in cost-efficient ways, including by working with contingent workers. But how can you get these people on board? One increasingly popular way is with direct sourcing. Let’s take a look at what direct sourcing is and what you need to know about this sourcing method!

What is direct sourcing (in recruiting)?

In the current climate where companies are having to rethink their recruitment strategy due to restricted hiring budgets, but are still facing a skills shortage, one strategy that is growing in popularity is to tackle this issue by embracing flexibility rather than stability.

How? With direct sourcing.

Direct sourcing is a method of identifying suitable candidates for your available opportunities by building your very own pool of instant access freelance, contingent or temporary talent, not via a third party such as a recruiter. Direct sourcing removes your reliance on third party staffing and recruitment agencies by going directly to the labor market yourself, to hire contingent workers for temporary project work or as full-time employees.

This directly sourced talent pool is one that consists of top tier candidates that you compliantly source, manage, engage and re-engage directly, as and when you require them, usually on a project to project basis.

Your direct sourcing strategy will be different from your regular sourcing strategy for permanent roles, and just as every company has a unique hiring strategy in place, so too will your direct sourcing solution differ to the next organization’s solution. Why? Because your direct sourcing needs will depend on the size of your company, your talent requirements, and most specifically, your recruitment budget.

There are multiple direct sourcing techniques you could use, including:

  • Empowering HR staff to scour their own private networks to identify potential contract talent and independent professionals.
  • Using your existing recruiting budget and resources to identify top talent from job board postings, your referral programs, as well as the silver and bronze medalists in your ATS – the people who made it to the final rounds in previous job openings, but who didn’t make the eventual cut.
  • Reaching out to your procurement and HR partners to help you identify contingent workers they use themselves.
  • Create a streamlined direct sourcing process, a centralized engagement program that anyone in your organization can use.

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What you need to know about direct sourcing

1. It can benefit your organization in multiple ways.

Direct sourcing can result in:

  • Faster hiring. You aren’t relying on third-party recruiters to source top talent for you. Instead, when you use direct sourcing you already have an engaged talent pool to dip into. Having the right people on your books already, engaged and talented workers who are interested in working for you will speed up the hiring process and ensure you fill the gaps that need filling, for as long as they need filling. Faster hiring also allows you to deliver a better candidate experience, as contingent workers can be hired in just 24 hours, if necessary.
  • Reduced costs. By implementing direct sourcing you are negating the need to use recruitment agencies, saving you a significant sum of money in fees (these can be up to 30%). Not to mention, when you engage with contractors directly, you can pick and choose who you want to work with based on your available budget and whether they are a cultural fit. When you hire a third party to source top talent for you, they might contract the services of qualified people, way out of your budget, and not a great organizational fit. By keeping it in house, direct sourcing gives you more control over how your recruiting budget is spent.
  • Engaging niche talent. If you only need to enlist the skills of niche talent occasionally, having a private pool of this independent talent to dip into makes it much easier to find, engage and re-engage the necessary skilled workers, as and when you require their services. You can also quickly re-engage independent talent who worked for you previously.
  • Greater flexibility to only hire people when you need them, i.e. on a project by project basis.
  • Protecting your employer brand. Not only does direct sourcing protect your employer brand, making you a client of choice for your contractors, it leverages it because you are only employing employees who are a great fit for your company and culture.
  • More referrals. You know how effective referred talent can be – so when you direct source, you can leverage your existing referral program by asking employees to refer contingent talent, people they might not otherwise be able to refer in your standard referral program.

2. Direct sourcing isn’t for every organization.

How do you know if it’s suitable for you? Here are a few things you might want to consider before implementing it in your organization:

  • Do you already have a forecasting plan in place to increase your workforce?
  • Are you already planning to recruit a lot of contingent workers?
  • Are you looking for a cost-effective supplier solution? One where you have more control over sourcing and recruitment?
  • Do you need more oversight of your recruitment costs?

If the answers to those questions are yes, then perhaps it is time you thought about implementing a direct sourcing strategy.

3. There are various direct sourcing options you can use to help you build your pool of independent talent.

You will need to decide which one is the right fit for your business. Don’t forget you’ll need the right technology to enable and support direct sourcing. This is an example from Philips–that has their own freelance talent pool–to provide inspiration.

Direct sourcing options might include:

  • Talent marketplace – This is precisely what it sounds like. A marketplace where people with specific skills make themselves available for hire. Talent marketplaces can be B2C i.e. Toptal or Graphite, or peer2peer i.e. Uber.
  • Freelance Management Systems – With so many people opting to work freelance, a wealth of platforms have emerged that puts technology to work to provide an end to end solution for all parties, taking care of storing talent, posting projects, filling the projects, managing your onboarding, and invoicing too i.e. MBO’s marketplace.
  • Talent network – This is where you would store independent talent you’ve engaged previously. The key feature of this network is that it consists of people you already know. This network could be private i.e. to an HR manager or an open network for the whole company to dip into.

4. It enables you to scale your workforce quickly.

For example, if you get a new project or client, you can get the necessary people to work for you very fast because you already have a database of pre-qualified, pre-vetted candidates.

Related:- The Workplace of the Future Is Here. Are You Ready?

5. A lot of companies are put off direct sourcing because they think it means a lot of work.

But in truth, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel – there are countless, proven talent acquisition technologies and recruitment marketing technology you can rely on to help you find ways to pre-qualify candidates.

  • You can ask candidates basic questions about their availability and interest in different projects, and samples of previous work.
  • You could set up a short assessment for your candidates to help you determine if they have what it takes to work in a certain role – this is especially useful if you’re hiring a lot for similar roles.
  • You can have candidates undertake a personality questionnaire to see how well they would fit into your existing company culture and if they would be in line with how you want your clients to see your organization.
  • You can automate your recruiting processes.
  • You can utilize data analytics.
  • You can use technology to provide a seamless candidate experience at every touchpoint.

Direct sourcing doesn’t mean you have to do it alone just because you’ve forfeited the hand-holding of a third-party recruiter.

6. Engagement is extremely important.

When your direct source talent pool consists of so many people – current and former employees, freelancers, contractors, silver and bronze candidates, engagement should be top of your priority list.

You need to engage and re-engage the potential contingent workers in your talent pool so that you can easily reach out when you need them. You’ll need the right tools to achieve this i.e. SMS, chatbot.

7. Ensuring compliance with local employment laws and regulations is crucial.

If you’re using direct sourcing, you need to make sure that when you’re hiring the contractors or independent workers, everything is according to local and national employment laws.

You want to avoid worker misclassification – employers who are found to misclassify an employee can face serious financial penalties, and ignorance of the law isn’t an excuse.

Also, if you’re a global brand or you’re recruiting globally, remember that different countries have different employment laws. Meaning that one country’s worker classification can vary drastically to that of another country. You don’t want to fall foul just because you didn’t realize the difference.

8. You can try direct sourcing with a pilot.

If you’re not sure whether or not direct sourcing is the right strategy for your organization, you can start with a pilot. For example, by building a talent pool for one role or multiple positions in similar roles, in one location.

Set the criteria for what a successful pilot will look like and then measure KPIs to see how you get on. When you’re satisfied with how the pilot went, then you can begin to make a gradual transition of the whole process across the company.

Career Spotlight: Security Software Developer

Individuals and organizations alike store software valuable and sensitive information on computers, tablets and other connected devices. For example, someone may use a smartphone to access online banking information or to store passwords for a favorite online retailer. Medical practices use computer databases to file patient medical records. Businesses of all kind maintain electronic records containing customer payment information, financial statements and more.

Software

Because storing information on a computer (or accessing cloud data on a connected device) is so universal, no person or organization is immune to cyber crime. Hackers and other cyber criminals employ a wide range of tactics and tricks to access private devices and harvest sensitive information.

As such, the security software developer’s role has never been more important. Professionals in the field develop the programs that keep devices safe and information secure. An advanced education in cyber security can lead to a rewarding career in this burgeoning field.

Related:- How to Become an Operations Manager

The Security Software Developer Role at a Glance

As more and more businesses and consumers recognize the need for robust cyber security provisions, the security software developer’s role has only increased in importance.

Job Description

The security software developer has two primary functions. The first is to develop software that keeps a computer or computer network safe from cyber attacks, malware, viruses and data breaches. A second, related function is to work on non-security software, including anything from online accounting tools to cloud storage solutions, to fortify them with built-in security features.

To achieve these goals, developers typically need to integrate security practices, like cyber threat analysis, with software engineering skills, such as design, as well as development and testing.

Security software developers may work at organizations that design their own computer programs. For example, a security software developer may be hired by an automotive company and tasked with keeping in-car computers safe and unhackable. These developers may be hired by video game companies to minimize any vulnerabilities within the games. Or, they may be hired by devoted IT security firms to build new programs to keep computers and connected networks safe.

Responsibilities

Security software developers’ responsibilities include the following:

  • Collaborating with other software developers to design secure programs and systems
  • Researching and analyzing security threats
  • Testing existing software or software prototypes for vulnerabilities
  • Designing, implementing and monitoring strategies to secure existing software
  • Troubleshooting and debugging

Staying Current on Trends

Another critical concern for those who work in security software development is staying informed about new threats and issues. Hackers continually innovate ways to breach secure systems, so developers must anticipate and respond to vulnerabilities as they arise. For example, it’s pivotal for security developers to remain alert to threats related to the proliferation of personal “smart” devices, such as smart watches. And, security software developers must be vigilant in identifying new targets for hackers, such as the computer and electrical systems in cars.

Related:- The Workplace of the Future Is Here. Are You Ready?

How to Become a Security Software Developer

To find success in this profession, it’s critical to seek the right educational background, gain relevant work experience and hone a set of core skills.

Education

The best way to develop the necessary job skills is to enroll in a formal degree program. Most security software professionals have an undergraduate degree in computer science, software engineering or a related field.

A program like the  provides an opportunity to gain the right background knowledge and to hone essential skills. In the program, students study a robust, career-focused curriculum, including classes such as Foundations of Cyber Security, Internet of Things and Security, and Cloud Computing.

Experience

Those who aspire to be security software developers typically enter the field as general developers; to advance into more security-focused roles requires a few years of professional experience and additional education in the cyber security field. Developers can gain experience at any company that focuses on software or technology, particularly if cyber security is also a chief priority.

Core Skills

Several skills prove crucial in security software development, including the following:

  • Communication. Collaborating with other developers is important, as is clearly communicating about goals and potential challenges to overcome.
  • Critical thinking. A big part of a security software developer’s job is troubleshooting problems, which requires strong analytical competency.
  • Technical. Developers need a wide range of technical competencies, which may include penetration testing and ethical hacking as well as basic programming languages, such as C or Java.

The Salary of a Security Software Developer

According to September 2020 data from PayScale, the median annual salary for a security software developer is around $74,000. Opportunities for bonuses and commissions may also be possible.

A number of factors can influence salaries, including the following:

  • Years of experience. Typically, those who have more experience in software development command higher salaries.
  • Education level. Professionals who attain a master’s-level degree in cyber security or a related field generally get more competitive offers.
  • Location. Those who work in an area with a high density of software companies usually earn higher salaries.

The Workplace of the Future Is Here. Are You Ready?

We’re experiencing a fundamental shift in the way that we work. Times have changed and our approach to business and the workplace needs to change with it. Rapid advances in automation and artificial intelligence (AI) have the potential to significantly disrupt labor markets, and will likely transform almost all occupations to some degree.

Workplace

This technological shift, along with globalization, social values, demographics, and the changing personal expectations of today’s workforce has had a tremendous impact on the business landscape, disrupting models and radically changing where, when, and how work is done. An ability to improve the effectiveness of the workforce, develop and move talent around the business, and manage human capital risks is crucial in the digital age. As a result, companies who want to grow and remain competitive need to focus on harnessing and adapting the talents of their workers, and their uniquely ‘human’ skills.

Navigating change: The Future of Work Is Here report

Much has been written about the future of work and the impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) on the workforce. The scenario is often played out as if we, the human race, have no control over the outcome. But this is simply not true. The changes that we’re currently experiencing, including the shifting landscape as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, are ultimately driven by humans.

In light of this, GetSmarter, a 2U, Inc. brand, has produced ‘The Future of Work Is Here’ report with the aim to help professionals and organizations navigate this change. The research unpacks findings from over 106 countries and 8,000 respondents. With insights gathered from more than 100,000 students over the past 12 years, the report provides a deep understanding of how the workplace is changing as attitudes and values shift. It also explores the rise in remote work and what it means for the future.

Related:- 8 Tips to Stand Out in a Competitive Job Market

The 21st-century employer meets the 4IR

Humanity continues to embark on a period of unparalleled technological advancement, offering significant challenges and opportunities in the coming five, 10, and 20 years. According to Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, ‘’We are at the early stages of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Unlike the previous industrial revolutions­, the current one is not changing what we do, but rather, is changing us.’’

In the 4IR, lines between the physical, digital, and biological worlds are blurred. Owed to advances in AI, robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printing, genetic engineering, quantum computing, and other technologies. The 4IR is paving the way for transformative changes in the way we live and work, radically disrupting almost every business sector. As AI and increased automation takes control of more repetitive tasks, the discovery of entirely new categories of jobs are emerging.

From an employer’s perspective, retention of skilled employees becomes increasingly important as a strategic priority. Organizations need to recognize their current employees’ strengths and focus on upskilling to fill skills gaps and remain agile in an ever-changing workplace. As highlighted in the report, HR professionals and talent managers have both turned to reskilling and upskilling their teams to respond to the significant changes catalyzed by the 4IR.

Anticipate the workplace of the future

Empowered by universal primary education, marked progress in adult literacy, improved healthcare, global access to social networks, and mobile money, the workplace is changing so fast that it’s hard for many organizations to keep up.

Digital technology has changed the way employees interact with each other and their employer: teams are more matrixed, more remote, and more flexible than ever. This has upended the traditional worker-manager relationship, and has reshaped how employers and employees see one another. We are also living longer and navigating change at a more rapid rate, which means that we will need to master a variety of skills to keep up with the evolving workplace.

Despite technology being the most radical driver of change, other global trends are proving to be just as impactful.

Other important factors that will shape the future workplace include:

  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion

In the age of intelligent technology, focusing on innate human needs is imperative to maintaining growth and remaining competitive. The demand for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is more than just another target to meet. Companies are called on to make meaningful cultural change in order to foster inclusivity.

There are many benefits to having multi-generational teams working together. Research shows that age diversity can improve cognitive performance, and can also lead to more creative thinking and innovation.7 By viewing age and generational differences as an opportunity, organizations can shift focus to the abilities, experiences, and knowledge of individuals, leading to innovation and productivity.

  • Freedom and flexibility

Previously, being able to work from home was rare and considered a ‘perk.’ As the population demographic and way of life changes, flexible and remote work is proliferating.9 Used to describe any role that breaks the traditional norm of a rigid 9-to-5, five-day week structure, flexibility offers more freedom over when, where, or how employees can fulfil their particular roles. Organizations are starting to recognize this and act on it – since 2016, there’s been a 78 percent increase in job posts that provide work flexibility.11

  • Agility to change management

To grow a suitable candidates pool and foster a workforce that is able to adapt to change and innovate, it’s critical for human resources (HR) and learning and development (L&D) professionals to prioritize a culture of continued learning in their organizations. This will not only allow them to remain agile in the face of disruption, but will also create a more engaged workforce that has the tools to drive innovation for the future. If employees are taught how to build a learning mindset, it will help prepare them for dealing with a constantly, even abruptly, changing environment.

  • Whose responsibility is continuous learning?

Most respondents agree that continued learning should be a joint responsibility between the business and the individual. Our survey found that employees feel individually accountable for continuous learning whereas talent management and HR view it as being more of a business or joint responsibility. This misalignment may mean that employees are unaware that their employer is willing to support them to learn. On the other hand, HR and talent management may view continuous learning as too important for business to have no responsibility for.

Related:- How to Become an Operations Manager

Discover the alternative workforce

According to research conducted by Upwork, nearly two-thirds of companies have remote workers, with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic increasing this figure, with possible permanent effects.21 This has given rise to what can be known as the ‘alternative workforce’.

As defined in ‘The Future of Work Is Here’ report, a remote worker is someone who is employed by a company, but works outside of a traditional office environment. Post-COVID-19, GetSmarter predicts that companies will expand the acceptability of remote work, and will provide more choice and flexibility to full-time contract employees to work wherever they can get their best work done, including away from the office.

A gig worker, defined in the report as someone who works part-time, on contract, and has no long-term employer-employee relationship, could work anywhere from a local co-working space, a coffee shop, or in a city across the world. While this is becoming an increasingly attractive option for those looking for more flexibility, predicts that the rate at which remote work is adopted will outpace the rate at which companies adopt the gig economy, with only nine percent of HR and people managers indicating that they hire ‘giggers’ to fill skills gaps that exist within their teams and organizations.

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