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The Ideal Employee Engagement Toolkit

Posted By Laurie A. Pehar Borsh, Thursday, July 20, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, July 19, 2017

As humans we tend to complicate things. We can trick ourselves into over-thinking things that we already know to be true in our hearts. Even when we have repeated life experiences to prove it.

Read on the New HR West Blog.



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Three HCM Trends Impacting Workforce Management Strategy

Posted By Editor, Laurie, Thursday, April 20, 2017
Updated: Thursday, April 20, 2017

Contributed by 

Key HCM trends are where technology will have the biggest impact 
on managing tomorrow’s workforce


This is the first time in history that the labor force has five generations working together, that is also increasingly multi-cultural.  The challenges of managing such a diverse workforce working side by side cannot be overestimated.  HR is managing this diversity transition and is also going through a digital transformation.  HR itself, with its long history of being an administrative and service function, has to implement technology that creates administrative automation, improves employee engagement and scan produce the workforce analytics to simplify compliance and improve decision making. 

HR leadership is now tasked with developing new strategies for adapting to this changing workforce and technology landscape.  

With the right strategy, HR can become an integral business partner to develop the infrastructure (systems and policies) and plan for optimum application of emerging technologies to position their organizations for success.

Three key trends where human capital management technology will play a critical role include:

 - Recruiting, developing, and managing people

 - Engaging and enabling employees

 - Compliance

Recruiting, developing, and managing people

Talent is scarce and labor costs have been rising. With global expansion and Baby Boomers beginning to exit the workforce, HR leaders need new ways to attract top talent to their organizations, and facilitate knowledge transfer from one generation of leaders to another.  HCM Technologies provide access to end-to-end recruitment management systems that automate everything, are integrated with other services (job boards, background checks, etc) and provide millennial applicants with a digital experience they expect from a modern employer.  

HR can prepare by implementing enhanced hiring tools and sophisticated analytics that can help identify skills gaps and facilitate leadership development and incorporate knowledge transfer, mentoring and performance management as part of their recruiting and employee development strategy. 

Engaging and enabling employees

By 2025, Millennials — those born between 1981 and 2000 — will account for 75 percent of the global workforce, up from about 34 percent today.  Organizations must be ready to create a culture that resonates with this new generation of workers. This will require changes that include how to attract, compensate, develop, incentivize, and retain employees.  HCM technologies will play a critical role to centralize employee data and analytics to identify trends and provide insight that will help organizations as a whole adapt their engagement strategies to motivate and empower the next generation of workers.


HR leaders must also become partners with their organization’s compliance, auditing, and legal functions to avoid serious liability.  HR leaders must be fluent in compliance requirements both inside and outside of their departments. HCM solutions that unify all employee data will be integral to an effective compliance strategy. Thoroughly documenting employee data in single database will help ensure all policies are being applied correctly and consistently, can provide alerts to lapses in a full range of compliance related areas (i.e. missed meal breaks, training and certification renewals, leave eligibility thresholds, etc). Technology will be the mechanism that allows HR to ensure policies are being applied correctly and consistently, and keep pace with changing regulations.

Meet the OnePoint Human Capital Management at NCHRA's HR TechXpo  - an exciting event showcasing the intersection of HR and Technology - August 25, 2017
Hilton Union Square, San Francisco

Tags:  HR Tech  HR TechXpo  Workforce  workforce optimization 

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Time to Review Your Communications Performance

Posted By Engagement & Recognition Conference, Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, September 20, 2016

By Joe Larocque
Co-Founder & Senior Director of Product Management,

Around 3 years ago, we got a call from one of our first and most innovative customers, Adobe, that they were throwing out their annual performance review and employee ratings. They called us to work with them on the big challenge of communicating this huge shift they were creating called a “check-in.” This was the first of hundreds of calls we have received as companies are strategically shifting how they measure and manage employee performance.

The redesign of performance management is undoubtedly the most significant HR communications challenge I’ve witnessed since we founded GuideSpark in 2008. In fact, it’s estimated that over 60% of companies are currently in transition to a rating-less, feedback-centric model and if you’re thinking that this is just a small company thing, you may be surprised to learn that 10% of the Fortune 500 had made the transition at the end of 2015, and it’s anticipated that the number may grow to 2-3x by end of 2016.

Over the last 3 years, we’ve had opportunities to work with some of the best employers to enable big shifts and expand our communications expertise into this important area. Today, we are launching our talent solutions to meet the needs of our customers, and I wanted to offer some of my key learnings in supporting over 70 companies as they worked through this.

Listen, learn, respond. 

Just about every company I talk to is taking this leap. They recognize that the current way of doing things isn’t working. Many of our customers come into the change with eyes wide open, realizing that the new performance management is in a work in progress that will start with generic best practices and ends with a customized performance management design customized for their business and culture. In fact, one very large employer that we’re working with is doing a 3-year pilot of their new performance management process prior to roll-out. The best companies expect change going in and they install a flexible, adaptable infrastructure that allows them to listen to employees and managers about how things are going, make changes and then communicate out. Your success will be tied to how well you can adapt and how agile you can be.

Understand the User Journey. 

Let’s be honest, performance management has a ton of baggage – it’s as important as it is despised by employees and their managers. One key design principle for the new performance management is to move it from being a program that’s owned and policed by HR to one that is embraced and valued by the business. You must inspire, connect and make the case for why employees should care. From there, you will have permission to get into the details around process, programs, policies, new systems, roles/responsibilities and competency building. But perhaps the most important piece here is nurturing that learning over time – hitting employees and managers on an informal, continuous basis with bite sized communications that nudge them to have more frequent, substantive interactions. Think: 1-2 minutes tips that can be consumed in line at the grocery store and put in place that week.

No one is born being great at feedback or coaching. 

The new performance management is built on ongoing feedback and coaching. Make no mistake, these are muscles that you’ll need to build in your organization because these two competencies are neither intuitive nor natural. Understand that when it comes to feedback, you need to enable your organization to be great at not only giving it but great at receiving it and great at soliciting it. All 3 are required. Many companies we work with feel as though their managers are very short-term, task focused and so moving them to a place where they are pulling as opposed to pushing will take time.

Anticipate the ripple effects. 

As you put performance reviews and ratings on ice, it’s important to think about the effects holistically. For example, for many companies the relationship between compensation and performance completely changes. It becomes less about past performance and more about long-term value (performance, skill scarcity, cultural behaviors, etc.). Think about how you’ll empower managers to make compensation decisions without the crutch of the rating. Also, if growth and development is really at the center of your performance management philosophy, how will you integrate career conversations and developmental resources. The relationship between goals, performance, career and compensation will undoubtedly change and it’s important that managers be brought up to speed.

Back to Adobe, because in four years, they are proving out the model with a 30% decrease in employees quitting, a 50% increase in involuntary departures and a recouping of most of the 80,000 hours spent by managers annually on reviews.

As you execute on your own performance management transformation, don’t let communications and training be an after-thought. There’s a lot to cover and without an adequate communications plan you lack the bridge that connects the design of the program to the outcomes that you expect.

Meet Joe Larocque at the NCHRA Engagement & Recognition Conference - September 28th at Golden Gate University

Qualifies for 6 SHRM Professional Development Credits (PDCs) / 6.0 HRCI Recertification Credits of which 1.0 qualifies for Business credit and 1.25 qualifies for Global credit.  

Register and Get Information
Joe Larocque, Co-Founder and Director of Product Management, GuideSpark
9:45am-11:00am Session: 
The Employee Lens: A Look at Engagement From the Other Side

Top employers continually reinvent the workplace experience - with technology, social media and demographic shifts all driving increased demand for transparency and trust. In today’s world, employers must raise the bar and establish a true connection with employees in order to engage and retain top-skilled talent. Find out how to build trusted, meaningful connections with employees to drive engagement, retention and productivity, plus examine the growing relationship between Human Resources and Marketing. 

Tags:  employee engagement  employee retention  engagement & recognition  hr tech 

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Entrepreneurial spirit shows strong at the inaugural HR Pitchfest + Ideathon 2016

Posted By Laurie A. Pehar Borsh, Friday, September 2, 2016

Contributed by The NCHRA Team


The entrepreneurial spirit was thick at the inaugural HR Pitchfest + Ideathon 2016 event on August 18th, in downtown San Francisco--the heart of innovation! 


We want to extend a huge thank you to everyone who came out and participated.


On behalf of of all of us here at NCHRA, Rallyteam and Orange Fab, we enjoyed hearing and facilitating all of your creative, industry-disrupting ideas.

The morning kicked off with individuals and groups pitching the judges their best and brightest ideas for new products and programs. There was a full spectrum of new ideas from health care industry innovations to employee perks. Each of these groups had five minutes to give their pitches:

Pitchfest voting screenshot.jpg-large

Our three winners had a chance to present at HR TechXpo the next day to an audience of several hundred. Obeo Health took first place, Pymetrics was the runner-up, and Resolve won crowd favorite. Congrats to all! 

Please be sure to watch the live interview videos of our Pitchfest participants, including  Lauren Cohen from Pymetrics and Immanual Joseph from Kulture of Kindness at HR TechXpo the following day (August 19th). 

Pre-conference group selfie - Ideathon.jpg-large
That’s a wrap! End of the day group selfie at Orange Fab in downtown San Francisco!

After the pitches, everyone split up into teams made up of HR leaders, startups and students. Their challenge was to identify a problem and develop a solution that they would then present to the judges for a chance to win some fun prizes. We heard solution ideas such as tackling biased recruitment through comprehensive data and whiteboard prototypes.


Check out the Ideathon winners’ live interview at HR TechXpo the next day. Congrats to your team!

We had a great time and loved seeing all the creativity. We wish the best for all of your ideas and will see you next year!

Tags:  HR  HR Innovation  HR Management  HR Tech  HR TechXpo  NCHRA events 

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NCHRA and Waggl Uncover New Insights from the HR Industry toward Innovation

Posted By Laurie A. Pehar Borsh, Wednesday, August 17, 2016

73% believe that an innovative workplace is actually more important than pay scale in attracting and retaining top talent

and Waggl, an all new and simple way to distill real-time insights from groups of people, recently released new data which reveals insights about the outlook of the human resources industry toward innovation. 

NCHRA reached out to more than twenty thousand HR professionals about their outlook toward innovation in the workplace.  Results indicate that 73 percent agree that innovation is key to retaining and attracting top talent, but respondents were divided about whether their own place of employment is innovative (with 60 percent saying yes, vs. 41 percent saying no).

Millennial respondents were most likely to feel that an innovative workplace is more important than pay scale (78 percent, vs. 70 percent of Gen-Xers and 72 percent of baby boomers).  Millennials were also most likely to say that their place of employment is innovative (69 percent), in comparison with 57 percent of Gen-Xers and 53 percent of baby boomers saying that their place of employment is innovative.

According to Ingrid Stabb, Associate Vice President of Marketing, NCHRA was intrigued by the dichotomy between the percentage of HR professionals who clearly value innovation, and yet do not believe that their own place of employment is innovative. “These results strengthen our commitment toward listening to the HR community’s insights, and helping our members put those insights and values into practice in the workplace.”

NCHRA sent the “Innovation in the Workplace” Pulse (questionnaire) to HR professionals via Waggl’s
crowdsourced listening platform over a ten-day period of time from June 8-18, 2016. Participants were asked whether they agreed or disagreed with two statements:

  • “An innovative workplace is more important than pay , to attract and retain top talent”
  • “I consider my place of employment an innovative workplace.”

Respondents also asked the open-ended question: “What innovation would you like to see in the workplace?” 

The common themes that emerged from 2,966 votes included using new or improved technology, employee engagement, working from home, better approaches to performance management, and moving away from paper.

In addition, at the recent HR West conference in Seattle on July 15th NCHRA used Waggl to pose the question, “What area of HR needs the most innovation, and why?” -- to over 200 HR professionals in attendance at the event.  Here are the top three answers that were crowdsourced in real time:

  1. Talent management. We need to learn what's important to potential and new employees in order to increase tenure and engagement. How do we maintain productivity and yet allow them time to build community at work?
  2. Performance Reviews. Feedback should be ongoing, not just once a year.
  3. Leadership coaching. A lot of HR issues stem from poor leadership.


“We are excited about the depth and breadth of insights that emerged from these two pulse surveys,” said Michael Papay, CEO, Waggl.  “It is clear that HR professionals believe that innovation is important, particularly when it comes to managing talent.  It is also evident that they feel that there is some work to be done in order to encourage innovation by increasing the frequency of feedback.  Listening and creating a 2-way dialogue is the key to fostering better understanding for business leaders and employees alike.”

The great organizations of the future are listening for insights now, not years from now,” said Steve Cadigan of Cadigan Talent Ventures.  “HR professionals have a chance to make more of an impact in the world now than ever before."

More About Waggl

Waggl is a simple way to surface and distill real-time actionable feedbackNamed after the dance that bees do in a hive to transmit important information very quickly, Waggl lives at the intersection of two organizational realities:  Companies want an engaged workforce and employees want to know that their opinions count.  Waggl goes beyond the traditional survey by offering an extremely easy way to listen to many voices at once within an organization for the purpose of making it better. Waggl’s real-time listening platform creates a transparent, authentic two-way dialogue that gives people a voice, distills insights, and unites organizations through purpose. With a highly seasoned management team and a Board including esteemed executives from Glassdoor, Success Factors, Hirevue, and Coupa, Waggl is an innovative industry leader helping companies of all sizes to succeed by building a listening culture.   For more information, please visit:

Tags:  HR tech  HR TechXpo  waggl 

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