Published on
February 12, 2024

AI Training for HR & Leaders: A Recap of Our Successful Workshop

Did you recently attend our AI Training for HR & Leaders? If so, we hope you had an enriching and inspiring experience! Led by renowned AI expert Nils Janse, you gained a deep understanding of how AI can revolutionize your HR function and empower your leadership.
Calle Engström
People Partner
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During the workshop, we explored the future of AI in HR processes and how it can streamline recruitment, onboarding, talent development, and more. We learned how to write effective prompts to maximize AI's potential and leverage tools like ChatGPT. We experienced aha moments through interactive exercises and practical examples of how AI can be used in everyday work. We gained tools and strategies to successfully implement AI in our organizations. And we discussed the ethical aspects of AI and how to ensure responsible use.

Here's what some of our participants had to say about the workshop:

"Nils Janse is an inspiring speaker and a true AI expert. I'm glad I attended the workshop!"

"It was a great mix of theory and practice. I now feel more confident in implementing AI in my work."

Huge thanks to all participants for a very interactive workshop! 

Want to learn more about how AI can transform your HR function? Contact us today to book a consultation!

Why and what you should learn from the people that leave your company

Companies and managers alike are always looking for ways to improve. Feedback conversations with employees are being held on the regular, but often they forget to utilize one group that is very important; the people who leave.

In the world of progress, nothing is as important as reflection. You need reflection to look back and see where there is room for improvement. Many managers and companies are already capitalizing on this by holding regular feedback meetings and one-to-one meetings, where both employees and managers openly speak about their experiences. If you are not doing this, then start doing it. Tomorrow. Seriously. The easiest way to improve your company is by tapping into the knowledge of your employees, so don’t let their talents go to waste. In this blog I will not pay attention to that, however. In this blog I will go into the importance of the feedback of the people who will actually leave your company and show you what you can learn from them.

Let’s start with: why?

Well, firstly, people who leave your company have nothing to ‘lose’, so they will be very forthcoming with what they think. In normal feedback meetings, employees are encouraged to be as open an up-front as possible. Although this sounds great, experience teaches us that employees can be a bit hesitant into saying everything that is on their mind in fear of retribution. This factor of retribution is not present at an ‘exit interview’, so your ex-employee will be open and honest.

Secondly, it is important to note that you can learn a lot from the reason why the employee is leaving. It might be possible that this new information helps you to prevent others from leaving for the same reasons as well. Often managers make assumptions as on why employees leave, instead of actually asking and understanding why they leave. This way they cannot effectively deal with possible problems in the internal organisation. Therefore, it is important to find out the true reasons in an exit interview.

Thirdly, it is important for your employer branding as a part of the employee experience. In an exit interview you can take up all sorts of matters which require closure before the employee leaves. Perhaps there are conflicts that need to be settled, equipment which has to be returned, or ongoing confidentiality clauses which have to be signed. Most of all it is a moment for your employee to reflect and express their thoughts and feelings. It is always good to give your employee the feeling that they are being heard, but it is even more important to actually listen (and act).

Still not convinced that it is important to have these exit interviews? Here are ten more reasons.

What to ask?

As said before, the main goal is to find out what the motivations are of the employee who leaves, but it is also good to unravel other possible problems in your organisation. So don’t be afraid to ask creative questions. Don’t make turn the interview in a acquisition and the atmosphere light-hearted to get your ex-employee to really open up. When having these exit interviews, then it is good to keep the questions uniform. Make sure that you are asking everybody the same questions, so that you can actually use the results. More on that later.

Here are some examples of questions that you might want to use:

  • What is the reason you are leaving us? (obviously)
  • Could you list a top three of reasons why you are leaving us?
  • Is there anything we can improve as a company? Performance or cultural wise?
  • Is there anything that your own department could improve?
  • Is there anything that your manager can improve?
  • If you would be owner of this company tomorrow, what would be the top five changes that you would make?
  • If you would go back to the beginning of your time at our company, then what would you have liked to see differently during your time with us?

What’s next? Data.

Now that you know why it is important and which questions to ask, it is time to get to the interesting part: the data. To get an organised set of data, you will need to try and standardize the answers given by the ex-employees to get a clear picture. For example, if you ask the question “Why are you leaving us?” then you can get a very variety of answers as it is an open question. However, you can label the answers given so you can detect patterns. Answer labels for this question could include: “Atmosphere within company, Development possibilities, Prospect of better benefits, Personal reasons” etcetera.

One or two exit interviews will not give you enough information if you are dealing with possible internal problems. That is because it could just be that the couple ex-employees that you have interviewed might hold a grudge against you. However, if a certain pattern appears when more and more ex-employees point to the same problems, then you cannot hide behind the excuse of a coincidental common grudge anymore. So, volume is key here.

After having the right labels and enough volume, you are ready to analyse the data and draw the right conclusions to improve your company and tackle possible problems.

In conclusion

You should always hold exit interviews, not only because it adds to the employee experience, but you can also actually learn from them. This information can be valuable to retaining your future talent, tackle possibly hidden problems, and improve your company performance.

Do you need help with holding exit interviews, analysing the data, or implementing solutions to newly discovered problems? Get in touch with us and see what we can do for you.

Line Thomson
October 8, 2022
Making the case for HR on a strategic C-level; let's promote our HR managers to CEOs

Times are changing, not the products, not the machines, but our human capital is our unique selling point. So why then is the most important function in a company not occupied by a HR-professional?

In this blog I want to open a new discussion. The highest functions in companies are often occupied with professionals who often have their specialization in a certain occupation, these are often specialities in: sales, productivity, the product itself, and sometimes even finances.

However, it is very rare that we see an HR professional on the highest seat of a company (read: never). Why is that? I would argue that HR has the most important role in a company in the 21st century and therefore it only seems natural that somebody with HR-affinity holds the highest office.  

The highest office – a brief history

Historically the highest functions in previous societies were either ranked by ‘birth right’ or age. A prince was born to be a king and a farmer’s son was born to be a farmer. Additionally, the elder brother (because in those times we are not even talking about equality between genders) often held the highest regard in the family.

When we transformed from a feudal society to a capitalist society our order of who holds the highest function and why also changed. Birth right and age made place for private property and capital. In the beginning of our capitalist society, it was the people who were most skilled in their profession (artisans, craftsmen and guildsmen) who held the highest offices in their organizations.

With the industrial revolution in full force, these professionals had to make place for the people who knew most about machines and production. After the second world war these mass-producing professionals had to make place for productivity professionals. Average output and efficiency became the drive of many companies to outperform the competition.

Shortly thereafter the golden age of capitalism required professionals who knew how to handle flows of money. The highest occupation became related to financial specialization. Fast forwarding to current day, the highest office is often related to specialization in terms of sales, productivity, the product itself or finance. CEO positions are, more often than not, occupied by somebody who has a technical skill.

What is important?

Let’s do a recap, what have we had so far; we picked our leaders based upon: birth right, age, artisanry, skills related to production, productivity, finance, sales and the product itself. Are we missing something? Well, I believe we do.

Now in the 21st century human capital seems to be the most important asset for most companies. The people who walk in our hallways, sell and produce our products, facilitate finance, logistics and purchasing, it’s the people who are the beating heart of an organisation. They are our unique selling points. That has not gone unnoticed. More and more companies are busy trying to retain and develop their talent, and more and more companies are started to provide the means of doing so. Especially in niche industries, any industry remotely dealing with software and industries which require specific skills (I think this captures our entire economy), employers know how important it is to retain and develop their talent.

From this I can only conclude one thing, the most important focus of our companies now should be the people working in them. This means that we need leaders and CEO’s who not only understand HR, but who are also proficient in the HR world.

Shifting focus

Why would you go through the trouble of finding a CEO who has a focus on HR? Why do we require such emphasis? Well, because every time before us also required change and new ideas based upon what was important at that time. Now we entered the era wherein the most important part of our company is based on our people and their, often irreplaceable, talents. Society is focussed on letting each and everybody develop their talent to maximise our output. Schools, universities, training centres, they all know the importance of a development focussed approach. Therefore, it is time that companies adopt the same focus, which requires the same type of leaders.

It is therefore important that our future CEOs not just understand a recruitment process, but that they are able to build up an entire talent acquisition strategy. That they are not only able to see the value of teambuilding exercises, but that they understand how to shape and create cultural change. That they are not only concerned with training their employees to stay up to date with technologies, but that they can shape trajectory and development plans to provide opportunities for growth.

In short, it does not suffice anymore that our leaders know and do the basics. It is time that HR takes its rightful place in the centre of a company whose main unique selling point is its people. It is time that we accept that the centre stage of our time belongs to HR and development, but that also means that it is time for our HR professionals to step up to the plate. It is not enough to stand in line and to ‘offer service when asked’, HR departments need to transform themselves from administrators to proactive managers.

We need to find value which we can contribute to our employers. Find cultural problems and solve them, develop training and development strategies and empower our co-workers to be co-champions. It is only by doing so that HR will be lifted to strategic importance and that we get leaders who understand and are proficient in the realm of HR.

In conclusion

For me it is only clear that the next generation of new leaders has a background in HR. We are broadly agreeing that our human capital is in the widest sense the most important aspect of our company. We are recruiting, coaching, training and developing our employees, but to truly stand out for our employees, HR needs to be lifted to strategic importance. Therefore, I believe that we need leaders who understand this importance and have the capabilities to do so.

Line Thomson
October 19, 2022
Stop talking about “Quiet quitting” and start talking about disengaging

“Quiet quitting” – it seems to be the latest within HR fashion. What is it and why are we talking about it?

First off all, I think the term “quiet quitting” is wrong and bad. People are not silently leaving office buildings to stop working or quitting their jobs in complete silence – that is not at all what this is about. Quiet quitting is the idea that people are not going “above and beyond” their paygrade anymore and just do the work they are paid for.

Let’s be real. Why should an employee do more than they are paid for? An employee agreement is just that: you pay somebody to do their job. Nothing more, nothing less. That means: not answering emails on a holiday, not working outside office hours, and not staying late to finish that project.

So, if there is anything I want you to take away from this post, then this is it: let’s stop talking about “quiet quitting” and start talking about “disengaging”, because that is what it is. People are still doing their jobs, but they are slowly become disengaged and unmotivated to “go above and beyond”.

Why more and more people start to quit quietly?

Now you might ask: Why? Why is this happening? The internet seems to be split up between two reasons: 1) Employees are drastically re-evaluating their work-life balance, or 2) bad leadership has undervalued and demotivated employees. Whatever the reasoning behind it, its implications are truly important. Disengaged employees will perform less than engaged employees, impacting the performance of your company overall.

Before we jump into solutions for a “problem” we do need to consider whether somebody became disengaged because of re-evaluating the balance in their worklife, or because of bad leadership and demotivation. If somebody wants to revaluate the balance in their worklife, there is maybe nothing you could (or should) do. Your employee will do their job, but according to the parameters that you have set in the contract – and that is it.

If somebody became disengaged because of bad leadership or demotivation, then there are opportunities to re-engage your employees. So, let’s move on to the interesting stuff: how to re-engage employees!

What can we do?

At this point, if you still expect your employees to go above and beyond without them getting anything in return you should not be surprised that your employees get disengaged or unmotivated. And why should they? You are offering nothing in return. The good news is there are solutions. The bad news is that those solutions will require effort.

If you are a boss, manager, or leader whose employees are slowly disengaging, there are ways to turn this process around. How? By re-engaging with your disengaged employees. Here are 5 ways to do that:

1. Asking the tough questions

On a daily basis, walk around the office and stop by or call one colleague and blatantly ask them: “What are we not talking about here at work? What can we improve?” This is a powerful way of directly asking somebody to vent some frustrations and let them be a key part of an improvement process that they see as problematic.

You might discover some unique opportunities while engaging one employee at a time. There are ways to make this into a scalable process as well for larger companies.

2. Inspiration and daily work

Remind people of your vision, your mission, your morning-star. Connect meetings to the abstract level of your purpose. We are here to make money, yes, but there is more to it. “Today we are doing A, B, C, which will allow our clients to do D, E, and F – which will improve the lives of/the world/the environment” – you get the drill. People need inspiration to stay engaged. Continuously.

3. Allowing engagement

A lot of managers expect a top-down management structure where employees simply accept the strategy, take on their tasks as instructed, and are fully engaged into everything they do. Now this is a prime example of having you cake and eating it. You can’t have it both. You’ll have to choose. Either you choose a management structure where you want to impose your will, strategy, structure, and tasks – but also accept disengaged employees, OR you involve your employees with decision making processes around structure, strategy, and their tasks to get them engaged.

4. Development, perspective, and incentive

One way of engaging disengaged employees is by giving them a clear-cut “carrot” to re-engage. You can do this by giving them the perspective of development. That either may be a promotion, an education or training (paid for by the company), or a wider set of responsibilities.

Now I know that this is a bit of a sensitive topic, but you can do that through a bit of good-old performance management. Does that mean measuring every datapoint you have from when somebody clocks in to how fast they type emails? No of course not, this is not the 20th century anymore. But you can set up a couple of KPI’s that reflect a concrete goal and subsequent reward.

5. Improve leadership

Sometimes it is hard to admit, but if you can’t point out the problem in the room – then maybe you are the problem in the room. During your times you meet 1-to-1 with your employees, try to ask what you can improve about your leadership style. Ask your employees what you can improve or what they miss in your leadership today. Sometimes your employees require different ways of leadership than what you are offering today – maybe more directive, maybe more guidance, or maybe more freedom and individual responsibility.

In conclusion

“Quite quitting” is a bogus term that is simply incorrect. People are reconsidering what they want in life and can become disengaged at work because of a multitude of reasons. If they are simply reconsidering their work life balance, then there is little you could (or should) do. If they are becoming disengaged because of bad leadership or demotivation, then there are things you can do. If you need help:

  1. asking the tough questions
  2. connecting your vision and mission to your daily work
  3. identifying where you can involve your employees more
  4. developing incentive programs
  5. improving your leadership capacity

Then get in touch with us and see what we can do for you!

Line Thomson
September 7, 2022

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