Managers Must Know How to Manage the External Workforce

Hr Bartender - Tue, 03/17/2020 - 02:57

We’ve spoken before about the concept of “buy, build, and borrow” as a recruiting strategy. “Buy” means hiring employees from the outside. “Build” means developing talent from within the organization. And “borrow” is focused on hiring freelancers, contractors, and external service providers (i.e. the external workforce).

For organizations to be successful in the talent space, they need to do all three. More specifically, they need to be very clear on when and how they will borrow. The SAP Fieldglass report “Services Procurement Insights 2019: The Big Reveal” shows that the external workforce represents 42% of total workforce spend. Organizations are using an external workforce to help them to bridge the skills gap and maintain their business competitiveness. In fact, most executives (59%) say the external workforce helps them compete in a digital world.

2 Ways for Organizations to Utilize External Service Providers

Organizations need to manage all of their resources well. But because the resources dedicated to the external workforce are significant, it’s even more important to understand the best ways to utilize external service providers. Here are two common ways for organizations to use the external workforce:


This is probably the most common way organizations use an external workforce. When they need something done, instead of hiring a regular full-time employee, they bring in a contractor or external services provider to handle the task. When the task is complete, the contractor or external services provider is finished with the assignment.

Readers of this blog know I’m a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (aka MCU). A project-based use of an external service provider would be like Captain Marvel. She shows up when you need her. Otherwise, she’s out saving another universe.

Extension of the department

This one isn’t as straightforward as the project-based scenario. The company needs a task done on a regular basis. It might be tempting to mash up a few tasks that need completing, call it a “job”, and hire a regular full-time person.

But here’s the challenge. That mash up tasks isn’t really a “job”. And we all know it. As HR pros, we need to design jobs that provide meaningful work that people want to do. That they feel some sense of purpose and connection. When jobs are designed poorly, employees will not feel connected to the organization. And they’ll leave.

So, that task that needs to be completed on a regular basis is perfect for an external service provider as they are looking for project-based work rather than a career path within an organization.

In the MCU, this would be like Falcon. When the Avengers need his skills, he “swoops” in to help the team. Sorry, couldn’t resist the bad pun. Which if you’ve been watching the Avengers movies, Falcon seems to help out a lot. And I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but it’s also possible that what starts out as the perfect freelancing gig could end up being a more regular role.

Regardless of whether the company hires a Captain Marvel or a Falcon, managers need to make sure their organizations are appealing workplaces for external workers. This is also true during assignments. Contingent workers along with external service providers want to stay engaged. The idea being that if Falcon and Captain Marvel feel positively about a company and the work they are doing, then when they get the call, they will make the company’s needs a priority.

The Manager’s Role in Engaging the External Workforce

Just like managers are a big part of keeping regular full-time employees engaged, they’re a big part of keeping external service providers engaged. Here are 4 activities that managers can do to keep the external workforce engaged with the organization:

UNDERSTAND the company’s external workforce engagement philosophy. This means that managers should understand how to best leverage contractors and external services providers – as well as supply chain technologies – to get projects done.

KNOW and actively manage the external worker’s agreement in terms of expectations, deliverables, time, fees, etc.

MONITOR the work products that external service providers deliver for value, timeliness, reworks, etc.

UTILIZE the contractor or external service provider cross-departmentally for greater collaboration since they know the organization. This might also get the organization better rates.

As the talent market continues to challenge us, organizations need to look at the external workforce to get things done. But managers must be prepared to invest in helping the external workforce feel connected to the organization.

To learn more about how your organization can more effectively manage the external workforce, download the SAP Fieldglass report that I mentioned above and check out this video conversation I had at SAP Ariba LIVE in Barcelona with Molly Spatara, global vice president of brand experience for SAP Ariba and SAP Fieldglass.

The post Managers Must Know How to Manage the External Workforce appeared first on hr bartender.

Categories: Blogs

Leading with Gratitude

Leadershipnow - Tue, 03/17/2020 - 01:44

GRATITUDE increases our leadership effectiveness as drives out fear and blame, gives meaning and confidence to all, and boosts productivity. We all know this, yet still, we don’t place as much emphasis on gratitude as we should. We withhold gratitude when we should be expressing it not just for their good but for our own good as well.

Gratitude is more than saying thank you. It goes beyond nice. It is an approach to life.

Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton say gratitude is “one of the most misunderstood and misapplied skills in business.” When it is genuine and specific, it is the “easiest, fastest, and cheapest way that managers can boost performance and employee engagement.” In Leading with Gratitude, the authors uncover what holds us back from showing gratitude and what we can do about it.

They begin by taking a look at the seven most common reasons we avoid showing gratitude. They call them the Ingratutide Myths: fear is the best motivator, people want way too much praise these days, there’s just no time, I’m not wired to feel it, I save my praise for those who deserve it, it’s all about the benjamins, and they’ll think I’m bogus. They debunk each of these with stories and studies.

I’m Not Wired That Way

We’ve all probably had a few of these myths run through our minds from time to time, but I want to call out one of the myths: I’m not wired to feel it. While we are born with predispositions—warmer or colder, more sensitive to positive or negative circumstances—they are not life sentences. Gratitude, like other character traits, is a matter of choice. We should have developed it from example in our youth, but as we know, that doesn’t always happen. But it is learned. Through practice, we can wire our brains to express gratitude. It becomes a matter of choosing to move beyond our comfortable predisposition towards an approach to life that better serves us as leaders.

Seeing and Expressing

The last two sections of the book focus on four ways of seeing and four ways of expressing gratitude.

Seeing is about awareness. The best leaders know how people contribute and actively look for reasons to express gratitude.

It is about seeing good things happening and then expressing heartfelt appreciation for the right behaviors. On the flip side, managers who lack gratitude suffer, first and foremost, from a problem of cognition—a failure to perceive how hard their people are trying to do good work—and, if they’re encountering problems, what they are. These ungrateful leaders suffer from information deficit.

Other practices for seeing include assuming positive intent (seeing people as trying to do well), walking in their shoes (understanding the challenges your people are experiencing), and looking for small wins (motivates us for the next step).

Expressing, of course, is how to express gratitude. We all need regular feedback. “Timeliness of gratitude communicates that a leader is paying attention, and that giving credit when it’s due is a priority in his busy world.”

Like ripe bananas, gratitude does not keep. The closer to an achievement a leader expresses her appreciation, the better.

When it comes to expressing, tailor it to the individual. People have different motivators. Giving gratitude helps reinforce the organization's core values. “Gratitude offers an opportunity to put the flesh of specificity on the bones of core values.

Encourage peer-to-peer gratitude. It demonstrates support and builds bonds. “When employees are grateful to each other, they affirm positive concepts typically values in their colleagues, such as trustworthiness, dependability, and talent.”

Living Gratefully

When we begin to practice gratitude, the goal is to live gratefully—to make it part of who we are. Gratitude then extends to everyone in our lives. It is not just something we do at work to increase productivity, but we take it home and express it to those people that mean the most to us.

If we practice gratitude with all the people in our lives, we’ll find that they respond just as well as our employees. When we give our family, friends, and all those we encounter a lift, we also give ourselves more moments of joy. One of the great ironies of personal relationships is that we so often take those who mean the most to us for granted.

Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton share example after example of the often creative ways that leaders and organizations that are doing it right show gratitude. We can all begin to live life more gratefully and receive positive results that exceed our efforts.

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Categories: Blogs

Will Coronavirus Lead to More Cyber Attacks?

Harvard business - Mon, 03/16/2020 - 14:15

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Managing the Stress and Uncertainty of Coronavirus

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We look at the best ways to handle stress and anxiety during a pandemic.

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myCorona: The One Thing To Remember As a Manager of People on 3.20.20...

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Short post today, because there's a lot going on. What, just me? Seriously, though - what follows is all you need to remember and the biggest value I can provide for the good people that read this blog and are... Kris Dunn
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How Organizations Can Address Email Fatigue

Hr Bartender - Sun, 03/15/2020 - 02:57

I ran across this article from CNBC on how many hours Americans spend on email each day. It’s an interesting read. The article says that we spend 209 minutes a day checking work email and 143 on personal messages for a total of 352 minutes. That translates to roughly 5 hours and 52 minutes each day (almost 6 hours a day).

I have a couple of takeaways from this.

If employees only answer work emails at work, then they’re spending a little over 3 hours a day on work email. In a typical 8-hour day, that means employees only have 5 hours left to be productive. Of course, that’s saying that none of the 5 hours is spent in life draining meetings. I’m being a bit sarcastic there, but you get the point.

It also means that work emails could potentially be lost in the noise. Employees might glance over a subject line and delete it thinking that the message isn’t important. Or open a message and not take the time to read the entire thread before responding. And who can blame them? Many employees aren’t told during the interview process about how much time they will spend answering emails.

I do understand that there could be such a thing as “productive email”. Some messages are necessary and helpful. The question becomes how much is the right amount of email. My guess is, if I asked most employees if they get too much unproductive email, I would get a resounding “yes”. So, we need to make sure that we do things to reduce the amount of unproductive messages and potential email fatigue. Here are a few things to consider:  

Match the message to the medium. Some messages are better sent in person and others are okay via email. Organizations need to ensure that messages are sent the right way. I’ve seen way too many times an organization send a company-wide email because it’s easy on them and then wonder why no one read it.

Find alternative technologies that will send messages. While email is still a significant business communications tool, there are some others that have emerged – texting, collaborative platforms like Slack, and apps like Workplace from Facebook. Each of these has pros and cons that could be worth investigating. But the end result could be time savings.

Set a good example. If you want employees to send good productive messages, then it starts with senior management. I once worked for a company that had “email guidelines”. At the time, I thought it was hilarious but maybe they were doing the right thing by formally setting expectations.

Hold people accountable for following good email etiquette. I know no manager wants to counsel an employee about “reply all” messages but it’s a huge frustration and it could limit an employee’s effectiveness. Think about ways to coach employees on the right way to send email.

I hate to admit it, these things aren’t new. But they work. And we often forget that. The answer doesn’t have to be an email training program or email disciplinary action. It does need to be a conversation about “How do we communicate more effectively?” Because the better we communicate, the less time employees will spend on email and the more time they will focus on productivity.

Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby after speaking at the HR Change & Transformation Conference in London, England

The post How Organizations Can Address Email Fatigue appeared first on hr bartender.

Categories: Blogs

How to Find Your Edge

Leadershipnow - Fri, 03/13/2020 - 20:22

WE’VE HEARD that hard work is the secret to success. But all too often we see that hard work is not enough. What then?

We need an edge.

Laura Huang explains just how to gain that advantage in her insightful and encouraging book, Edge: Turning Adversity into Advantage. “Certain people seem to be endowed with a unique advantage in which they can execute faster and better and get the things they need, because they are positioned in such a way that others help them move forward. You can create your own edge and open doors—wide-open doors—for yourself.”

Having an edge makes hard work go further. Those that have an edge, Enrich, Delight, and Guide to make their Effort go further.

We must put in the work, but “when you create an edge, you create tailwinds that help you capitalize on your hard work more effectively.” We all face biases, prejudice, and harmful (to us) perceptions and attributions. But these can be the key to overcoming the adversity and roadblocks we face. “For most of you,” she writes, “it will be about positioning yourselves as an antidote to stereotypes, which will allow you to guide the perceptions of others, delight others, and ultimately will result in others seeing the unique value you can provide.”


Huang begins with Enrich because it is the foundation of our edge. To do this, we begin by finding our “basic goods.” Those basic things that make you, you. “Creating an edge starts with pinpointing your basic goods and defining your circle of competence, and operating inside that perimeter.” It’s how you enrich.

Your history and your story are part of your basic goods. Don’t underestimate where you’ve been planted—grow there.

Our constraints provide us with a unique way to enrich when we own them—when we use them to see differently. “Don’t let the constraints that others create prevent you from identifying the problem for you, and hence the solution for you.”


Getting the door to enrich is made possible by our ability to Delight. Delight opens the door, so we can enrich. It’s how we deliver our value.

What is delight? It is the unexpected. “When we delight, we violate perceptions, but in a benign way. Delight unsettles and challenges beliefs about your context, grabbing the attention of gatekeepers and making way for you to show how you enrich.”

There is value in planning to delight, but it is important that you stay flexible and be looking for opportunities to delight. “Authentically delighting in situ requires you to be constantly fine-tuning, as well as constantly attuned to how you can shape situations to present the opportunity for your talents and core competencies to become apparent.”

Delighting requires you to have an opinion or point of view—being authentic while having the audacity, or the stomach, you might say, to take a bold, surprising stance.

We all have the capacity to enrich. But when you are able to also delight, that is where the real magic happens. That is how you allow them to let you in, and how you build your edge.

(As an associate professor at the Harvard Business School, Huang offers a great section on the advice she gives the students and entrepreneurs she coaches on the high-concept pitch, the two-sentence pitch, and the extended pitch. She states that “no pitch should be longer than one minute—after that, you should be in full conversation mode.”)


Once in, we Guide how others perceive our work and our worth. “It is inevitable that we will be affected by how other people view us and how they perceive us when we are merely trying to ‘be ourselves.’” We should keep in mind too that other's perceptions of us are to a large extent about them.

Huang says we should look for patterns in our life—what rhymes. “Don’t go for absolutes go for directionality.” This is very helpful. Rather than adopt labels, we should identify directions for three reasons:

Going for directionality, rather than absolutes, helps you manage the impressions of others and guide their perceptions. You can be more fluid and adaptive.

If you go for general directionality, you’ll be more likely to avoid striving for goals that don’t leverage your strengths and that make it harder for you to create advantages. Self-awareness, in and of itself, is an elusive goal. We never really know ourselves, the best we can do is to find general directionality.

And finally, going for directionality allows you to simply move toward something that feels right, while already finding ways to cultivate an edge.

Self-awareness is knowing what we put out there and how it will be perceived by others. “Guiding entails being purposeful in helping others frame the attribution that they make about us.”

Don’t let them make assumptions. Give them the data points so that they can draw the trend line that you want them to see. Tell them, rather than allowing them to guess, about your future potential.

By providing directionality, you determine what is meaningful for them to know.


Effort works with the edge you are creating to inform you of the things you should be putting your effort into—things that you can enrich, delight, and guide. It’s in this combination that your effort then works harder for you. “Effort reinforces your edge.”

The optimal conditions for creating an edge are those in which bitterness and regret do not restrain you; they embolden you. Even if you are perfect, the world isn’t. Acknowledge and accept this, and you have already begun to create your edge. The secret is to know that the deck is stacked, and that life is not fair. But you put in hard work plus, regardless. Don’t let success define you, but don’t let failure define you either. Play the long game, not the short one.

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Categories: Blogs

Communicating Through the Coronavirus Crisis

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Your Code of Conduct May Be Sending the Wrong Message

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Categories: Blogs

Leading Thoughts for March 12, 2020

Leadershipnow - Thu, 03/12/2020 - 12:11

IDEAS shared have the power to expand perspectives, change thinking, and move lives. Here are two ideas for the curious mind to engage with:


Erich Bühler on the persistence of old mental models:

“We generally stick to old mental models until new ways of thinking appear. During the change process, however, we tend to see the new only through the old lens. When the first motorized vehicles were built in the nineteenth century, cars looked more like carriages than automobiles. This was because people imagined them as an extension of horse-drawn transport. New ideas, concepts, and words were introduced, but old ways of thinking continued to be used to analyze and solve problems.”

Source: Leading Exponential Change: Go Beyond Agile and Scrum to Run Even Better Business Transformations


Betsy Myers on leadership is self-knowledge:

“Leadership is self-knowledge. Successful leaders are those who are conscious about their behavior and he impact it has on the people around them. They are willing to examine what behaviors of their own may be getting in the way. Successful leaders understand that it we don’t lead consciously, it’s easy to repeat patterns that could be keeping us from achieving the results we are hoping for. The toughest person you will ever lead is yourself. We can’t effectively lead others unless we can lead ourselves.”

Source: Take the Lead: Motivate, Inspire, and Bring Out the Best in Yourself and Everyone Around You

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Look for these ideas every Thursday on the Leading Blog. Find more ideas on the LeadingThoughts index.

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Categories: Blogs

Real Leaders: Rachel Carson Seeds the Environmental Movement

Harvard business - Thu, 03/12/2020 - 10:35

How one woman, armed with a pen, took on some of the world’s most powerful chemical companies.

Categories: Blogs

Journalism’s Market Failure Is a Crisis for Democracy

Harvard business - Thu, 03/12/2020 - 08:30

Commercial imperatives are at odds with democratic objectives. What would a new financial model look like?

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