How To Cultivate Success In Real Time

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					HOW TO
CULTIVATE SUCCESS
IN REAL TIME
                                             PART
         Why real-time technology
         matters to human capital
                                             2


         By Joseph Fung   |   CEO, TribeHR
Why Real-Time Technology
Matters to Human Capital



About TribeHR
TribeHR helps companies achieve greatness by being the world’s first Social
HR Platform: The first to connect people, values, goals, and results; The first to
connect employees to managers and teams to each other; The first to create an
HR platform that helps leaders truly engage employees to the mission and
values of the organization, and create engagement by helping celebrate
successes in all parts of the organization. It does this with software that is a joy
to use, delivers insights without the social media noise, and eliminates the
usual drudgery of HR administration—so there’s more time to focus on what’s
important.




Copyright © TribeHR Corp. 2012
Waterloo, ON, Canada and Waltham, MA, USA.
All rights reserved.
First Published September 2012.
http://www.tribehr.com




                                                                                  24
Contents
                                                                                                                                  2
   About&TribeHR&.................................................................................................................& 4

The$Real(Time$Imperative$.................................................................................$26
                                                                                                                            2
   Competing&in&Real7Time&..................................................................................................& 6
                                                                                                                              2
   Real7Time&Feedback&........................................................................................................& 7
                                                                                                                                    2
      Managers&.....................................................................................................................& 7
                                                                                                                                   2
      Employees&...................................................................................................................& 7
               .                                                                                                                    2
      Customers& ...................................................................................................................& 9
                                                                                                                               2
      Internal&Customers&......................................................................................................& 9
                                                                                                                              3
      Acting&on&Feedback&.....................................................................................................& 0
                                                                                                                                     3
   Going&Social&.....................................................................................................................& 0
                                                                                                                                   3
      Bringing&it&Inside&..........................................................................................................& 0
                                                                                                                                     3
      Social&Goals&..................................................................................................................& 1
                                                                                                                             3
   Leveraging&Technology&....................................................................................................& 3
                                                                                                                               3
      Communication&...........................................................................................................& 3
                                                                                                                                   3
      Collaboration&...............................................................................................................& 4
                                                                                                                        3
      Tracking&and&Monitoring&Tools&....................................................................................& 5
                                                                                                                                 3
      HR&Technology&.............................................................................................................& 5

References$........................................................................................................$36

        .
Endnotes$ ..........................................................................................................$39$




                                                                                                                                    25
Why Real-Time Technology
Matters to Human Capital


The Real-Time Imperative
The business environment is no longer a closed, easily controllable ecosystem. For the
first time in history, we have four generations in the workplace at the same time. Many
of these workers make a habit of publicly sharing personal information in ways that
have never previously been possible. And most employees are connected to friends,
family, co-workers, and the world, 24 hours a day

Creating a high-performance culture amid such complexity and connectivity requires
new tools and new approaches that work in harmony with this new fluid environment.
Not only will compliance, control and enforcement fail to produce the exceptional
culture you need to remain competitive, they simply don’t work in today’s workplaces.

This is what we call the Real-Time Imperative.

Competing in Real-Time
Change is happening now, not later. If things are not going well in your organization,
your employees are searching for the next opportunity as you read this. When your
company makes a mistake with a customer, she is telling the world about it within
seconds. An awesome product you sent back for further review is about to be pre-
empted by one that was quicker to market. Building a high-performance culture today
means embracing and competing in real-time.

Your competitors can duplicate just about any advantage you have. They can poach
your people, reverse engineer your products, dispute your patents in court, and beat
your price. The one thing they can never replicate is the high-performance culture that
enables your sustained competitive advantage.

At the same time, employees won’t buy into a culture that endorses outmoded
methods, superfluous structures, slow response times, lengthy review cycles, and




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cumbersome procedures. High-performance cultures in today’s organizations are user-
friendly, dynamic, agile, and open to feedback.

Real-Time Feedback
One of the most effective changes a company can make to foster a high-performance
culture is to open the doors to feedback while shortening the feedback loop. Receiving
and giving real-time feedback at all critical junctures is the ultimate goal; it means
immediate, relevant feedback is continually offered in response to specific actions and
circumstances that directly impact organizational performance.

Managers
Traditionally, managers have offered feedback to employees during annual
performance reviews, much like how teachers give end-of-the-year report cards to
school children. Recently, conscientious managers increased the frequency of
performance reviews to bi-annually or even quarterly in order to maintain their
relevance, but still offered feedback in stale, predictable, structured chunks.

Real-time feedback means coaching and developing employees on a day-to-day basis:
It’s paying attention to and acknowledging what they do right, when they do it, and
offering corrective coaching input. Managers who interact regularly with their
employees build a relationship that encourages open communication and makes real-
time feedback more effective.

Although numbers and charts can be impersonal if used in isolation, supplying
employees with timely metrics is another way to provide real-time feedback on
performance. A daily report can offer a concrete measure of what was achieved,
highlight areas of strength, and reveal areas that need improvement. This kind of
immediate, relevant feedback helps employees own their jobs. For instance, imagine an
employee starts seeing a pattern in her metrics. It seems that every Tuesday her
outgoing call-to-contact ratio is much higher than any other day, and she also had lulls
in incoming call volumes. She learns that Tuesdays are difficult days to reach people,
but the lower incoming volume allows her to spend more time on the fewer outbound
contacts she does make. She decides to reorganize her calling schedule to make the
most of this trend by scheduling complex customer callbacks on Tuesdays.

Employees
Encouraging employees to provide feedback openly and without fear is an integral part
of developing a high-performance culture. As an organization, you need to hear from




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your employees. Front-line employees are closest to customers and production lines.
They know what’s working and what isn’t, and they often detect business issues before
managers do. Moreover, they want to be heard and they want to know that their
concerns are being taken into consideration.

There are a number of methods that you can use to gather feedback from employees.
Ideally, as culture strengthens in an organization, employees will expect and offer real-
time feedback as part of normal business practices, in addition to specific channels and
requests provided by company leadership.

Comment Box: Comment boxes have been used for decades to gain feedback from
employees. Now there are a number of online tools available to make this feedback
mechanism more immediate and effective. The main benefit (and challenge) of a
comment box is anonymity. Anonymity allows for frank and open feedback without
fear of retribution, but may reinforce the belief that open feedback is discouraged or
risky.

Survey: Companies that want to check the pulse of the workforce may choose to use
surveys. Like the comment box, survey responses can remain anonymous. Since it can
be time-consuming to create, conduct, and analyze a survey, they are usually confined
to general feedback over a period of time, which can make the findings stale by the
time they are made available. In recent years, a number of electronic tools have
become available that facilitate the collection of real-time feedback via short surveys
and/or polls.

Focus Group/Group Discussion: Like surveys, focus groups give employees the
chance to be heard, but in this approach they have the opportunity to share their
feedback in a supportive environment, rather than in isolation. A group of employees
will often have similar concerns and they can support each other in the focus session,
getting more ideas out into the open than an individual might develop alone. Focus
groups are also excellent for resolving organizational concerns as they surface.

Interviews/Conversations: Individual interviews and one-on-one conversations can
be effective for gathering feedback, as long as the employee feels safe expressing honest
opinions to the interviewer. If the dynamic between the interviewer and the employee
is constrained, the feedback will be unreliable.




                                                                                          28
The business practice of encouraging employees to provide feedback has come a long
ways in recent years and continues to evolve. With increased technical resources,
many more companies are able to streamline feedback collection by using tools such as
online surveys, or cultural engagement studies that can be initiated with a few clicks of
a mouse. The net effect is that the average employee feels better equipped and
empowered to share feedback at work.

Customers
The crème de la crème of real-time feedback comes from customers. Listening and
responding to customer feedback is an integral part of high-performance cultures at all
levels of the organization. As much as possible, feedback should flow directly from the
customer to the affected employees. Direct feedback from customers reverberates in
the psyche of the employee as they hear or read the actual comments made by the
customer. Watered down, edited and filtered feedback is much less effective.

Direct, positive feedback from a customer encourages employees and validates the
work they do. Even poor or moderate feedback can be perceived as positive if the
employee is coached to identify and resolve weaknesses, and empowered to settle
customer concerns.

Except when a customer’s comments are inappropriate, abusive, false, or otherwise
present a high risk of being damaging, customer feedback should be shared with as
many employees as possible. Accolades should be celebrated company-wide. This
reinforces the value of excellent customer service. The positive feedback also
encourages and engages employees, even if they weren’t the intended recipient of the
feedback. Finally, giving credit where credit is due when announcing the actual
customer feedback, verbatim, is a great way of displaying the pride and excitement
that comes with a job well done.

Internal Customers
Individuals who buy your product or service are not your only customers when you
embrace a culture of success. It is equally important to solicit feedback from internal
customers to ensure your culture remains strong throughout the organization. Every
manager is an internal customer of the CFO who approves annual employee bonuses;
the bookkeeper is an internal customer of the sales representative who submits expense
reports for processing; the customer service representative is an internal customer of




                                                                                          29
the developer who responds to client change requests; and everyone is an internal
customer of the person who answers the phone and takes messages.

How are your internal customers being treated? Do they feel valued and heard? Could
internal customer service issues be bogging down your high-performance culture?

Acting on Feedback
The point of gathering real-time feedback is using it to drive competitive advantage by
extracting recurring themes, fixing recurring problems, and acting on strategic
suggestions for improvement. In addition to putting the mechanisms in place to gather
regular, timely feedback, the real-time imperative demands that you act on what you
learn as quickly as possible. The good news is that it gets easier with practice. As
employees learn from feedback and realize the direct effect their work has on the
customer and the organization, they perform better. Customers, both internal and
external, recognize the company’s commitment to continuous improvement and
become invested in helping you succeed.

Going Social
KPMG’s 2011 report, Going Social: How businesses are making the most of social
mediai, concludes that over 70 percent of organizations operating around the world
and across all industries are now active on social media. Companies are primarily
using social media to talk directly with customers in real-time, with an eye to building
stronger customer relationships and increasing customer loyalty. More recently, as the
tools become more familiar, new uses have emerged and organizations are now
tapping into the social world to drive innovation in product and service development
and to recruit.

Interestingly, the report also found that emerging markets are leading more mature
markets in the use and adoption of social media; perhaps because there are fewer
established approaches and legacy systems to impede change. Regardless of location or
industry, however, the way business is conducted—the way people interact with
organizations and with each other—is changing. In business and elsewhere, it has
become clear that the world is no longer “going social”… It has already gone social.

Bringing it Inside
It makes sense for companies to embrace the tools offered by web-based platforms and
social media since they offer a powerful and effective means to:




                                                                                       30
    •   Share information about the organization.
    •   Remain relevant and current.
    •   Build awareness in the marketplace.
    •   Enhance corporate image and branding.
    •   Open a dialogue with customers and potential customers.
    •   Tap into the creativity of those using the products and services.
    •   Respond quickly when things go wrong.

As organizations become more adept with a wide range of digital platforms and social
media applications, the potential for using these tools internally becomes increasingly
apparent. Inevitably, it makes even more sense to bring these capabilities inside the
company and put them to use enhancing a high-performance culture. When we revisit
the advantages of social media (described above) from the perspective of employees
and internal customers, we find that these tools also offer a powerful and effective
means to:

    •   Share information about the organization internally (post policies, processes,
        training, etc.).
    •   Remain relevant and current to employees (make them part of a team that is
        leading, not lagging, the field).
    •   Build awareness among employees (share the vision and mission).
    •   Enhance corporate image and branding internally (reinforce shared values).
    •   Open a dialogue with employees (give and receive real-time feedback, offer
        public recognition).
    •   Tap into the creativity of employees (provide channels for employee input into
        processes, products, and services).
    •   Respond quickly when things go wrong (model accountability on all levels).

Going social in an organization reinforces the ingredients of high-performance
cultures. Going social outside the organization extends the boundaries of your culture,
drawing customers and potential customers into the conversation. Doing both is a
potent formula for sustainable competitive advantage.

Social Goals
In addition to the many opportunities for communication, connection, and
reinforcement that “going social” offers your business, one function in particular has
the potential to transform organizational performance: Social goals.




                                                                                         31
Setting social goals brings a number of performance-enhancing elements into play in
the workplace. Industrial psychologists and behaviorists have been fascinated by the
impact of goal setting on employee motivation and performance since the early 1900’s.
Core findings from research conducted in the latter half of the 20th centuryii identified a
number of factors that contribute to goal setting’s effectiveness in enhancing
performance in the workplace, including the following:

    •   The highest or most difficult goals produce the highest levels of effort and
        performance.
    •   Specific goals (as opposed to “do your best” goals) consistently lead to higher
        performance.
    •   When employees are highly committed to achieving goals, their chances for
        success are much greater.
    •   A number of factors contribute to increased commitment, including:
            o Understanding the importance of the target outcome and the value it
                brings to the organization
            o Committing publicly to the goal
            o Having the goal tied to an inspiring vision as expressed by a respected
                leader
            o Experiencing supportive responses from managers and leaders
            o Being involved in setting the goal
            o Expecting reward and/or recognition for achieving the goal
            o Feeling capable of attaining the goal (the right skills, aptitudes,
                training)
            o Receiving regular, timely feedback

In the context of high-performance cultures, using web-based tools with social
interfaces allows employees to set social goals that tie directly into the company’s
vision, values, and strategic direction as well as their own performance objectives and
personal development goals. Social goals are set collaboratively and typically involve
public sharing, specific objectives, and built-in feedback mechanisms with
opportunities for recognition (from peers and supervisors). In their most effective
forms, these tools foster self-efficacy by offering direct links to training resources
needed to accomplish the goal, and by providing real-time access to mentors for
support. Social goals help employees gain ownership over their own work, while their
visibility inspires teamwork and collaboration on an organizational level.




                                                                                         32
The tools of Web 2.0 have created an environment where for the first time, a platform
exists to support an integrated and consistent application of the well-researched
principles that enhance workplace performance and build cultures of success.

Leveraging Technology
There are close to two billion users on the Internet today (almost 30% of the world's
population). Few businesses operate without some online involvement—certainly a
website or social network profile at a minimum. For some industries the internet has
meant complete disruption (retail and publishing come to mind), while for others it has
opened an opportunity to create entirely new ways of connecting and communicating,
and for others still it has been a catalyst for the creation of entirely new business
models, like Software as a Service (Saas) and Freemium. There is no question that the
Internet has changed the world and it continues to change the way business is
conducted and companies compete.

Communication
One of the most straightforward ways to leverage technology in support of high-
performance cultures is through enhanced communications. Task-appropriate tools
like email, text messaging, live chat (text and voice), VOIP1 systems and video
conferencing all have a role to play in improving communication in today’s
organizations. As described earlier, the introduction of social technologies in the
workplace also enriches communication with options for personalizing, sharing, value-
alignment, and 360° real-time feedback.

Externally, companies are using web-based survey and polling tools for periodic
market research, while they engage in conversations designed to develop deeper
customer relationships through online social media tools like Facebook, Twitter, blogs,
and more. Additional corporate messaging can be readily shared via multi-media
channels such as YouTube, Livestream, SlideShare, Prezi, SoundCloud, etc.

The ability to leverage technology for communication is almost limitless. With many
of these web-based tools available free or for a reasonable monthly fee (SaaS) these
opportunities are not restricted to large corporations with gigantic communications
budgets.




1
    Voice over internet protocol




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Collaboration
Technology can also enhance opportunities for collaboration, strengthening internal
and external relationships and contributing to a culture of success. The following are
some examples of how web-based and social technologies might be leveraged for
greater collaboration.

Access to Enhanced Employee Profiles: When encountering a problem, an employee
can search through employee profiles to find an internal expert to help, resulting in
spontaneous collaboration for problem solving. In this instance, even though help was
required, the employee took ownership of the process for resolving the problem and
strengthened an internal relationship at the same time.

Wikis: A wiki is a website that allows users to add, modify, or delete content.
Organizational wikis offer an environment where information can be simply shared or
edited collaboratively. A wiki might serve as the company whiteboard, or as a
suggestion box, or it might contain all company policies, procedures, manuals, etc.
Wikis are flexible enough that separate teams, units, sections and divisions can each
have their own information center, while collectively everything is stored on the same
system or server. A wiki might be internal only, or open to customers. Some wikis
allow different permissions or levels of access to different categories of users; for
example, allowing some users to add or edit, but not delete content.

Shared Desktops: There are a number of tools that enable remote access to someone
else’s computer. The most common use for this type of collaboration is technology
support. The remote technician gains access to the co-worker’s (or customer’s) desktop
in order to troubleshoot a problem, install software, or demonstrate an application.

Real-time Collaboration/Web-conferencing: When desktop sharing is combined
with other multi-media components such as audio, video and chat, it creates the sense
of a “virtual space” where people can interact and collaborate in real-time, regardless
of location.

Customer Co-Development: Technology also offers a number of possibilities for
collaborating with customers for quality improvement and product/service
development. Some examples include user-experience monitoring software that tracks
mouse and eye activity; instant feedback buttons incorporated into websites; virtual
focus groups that enable remote customers to participate online; and wiki sites that




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allow customers to suggest improvements to existing products/services and share ideas
for new ones.

Tracking and Monitoring Tools
One significant technological development that brings an entirely new dimension to
organizational performance is the emergence of social media monitoring tools. As
companies have embraced social media, they have also sought ways to measure the
true effectiveness of any new communication tools. Monitoring allows businesses to
tap into the broader conversation that takes place around their products and their
brands, and helps them see the impact of social media and marketing campaigns in
real-time.

HR Technology
Traditionally, human resources management involves a lot of paperwork, time
tracking and tedium in spite of the fact that it is supposed to be about people.
Leveraging technology to automate the repetitive and administrative elements of HR
frees up valuable time for more important concerns, like being available to employees
and developing a high-performance culture.

The ideal technology for enhancing culture through HR practices will streamline HR
information management, while providing a platform that fosters employee
engagement and supports a social workplace. For example, effective social HR
software integrates recruiting, job boards, time-off tracking, and other administrative
functions, while incorporating value-based social goals, real-time feedback and
performance reviews, peer recognition, self-service employee access, personalized
employee profiles, and more.

In the next chapter, we will discuss a number of ways that traditional human resources
practices must change if cultivating a high-performance culture is your goal. With the
pace of change and the increasing complexity of the workplace, there is no room for
outmoded, time consuming techniques that cling to “the way it has always been done”
rather than exploring “the best way to do it today.”

If you are not ready to deploy real-time technology to support your organization’s
human capital, then stay tuned for Part 3 in this series, Do Stale Processes Create Stale
Cultures?, coming November 26th. If you’re ready to unleash the power of your human
resources, then get started with TribeHR for free today.




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Endnotes

i
   Going Social: How businesses are making the most of social media. KPMG International.
KPMG surveyed more than 1,800 managers and 2,000 employees at organizations in ten major
markets regarding their use of social media.
ii
   Locke, E.A. and Latham, G.P. (2012) Building a Practically useful theory of goal setting and
task motivation: A 35-year odyssey.




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Description: Joseph Fung, CEO of TribeHR, a social HR platform, has published an e-book, “How To Cultivate Success In Real Time.” In the second installment, “Why Real-Time Technology Matters to Human Capital,” Fung discusses the value and necessity of feedback—and how to act on it—along with the importance of utilizing technology and its various mediums to achieve company goals in a twenty-first century world. Headquartered in Waterloo, ON and Boston, MA, TribeHR is the first truly social human resources management software. Its easy-to-use tools are used by businesses worldwide, allowing companies to focus more on what they do best and less on things that get in the way. TribeHR was founded in 2009 and is funded by Matrix Partners and Relay Ventures. For more information, visit www.tribehr.com.