HR admits to lying on resumes more often than other departments

Dive Brief:

  • Employees in HR were 10% more likely to admit lying on a resume or in an interview than workers in other departments, according to a new ethics study from Comparably. The company cited the definition of ethics as “the rules of conduct recognized in respect to a particular class of human actions or a particular group or culture.” Respondents were asked if they ever lied or exaggerated on a resume or interview question, how often they lied to their boss and which qualities are the most important when hiring someone new. The results were categorized by gender, ethnicity, tenure, age and department.
  • Following HR, the biggest prevaricators were mostly men, especially in business development, communications, design and engineering, and law, the study showed. Women were the biggest offenders in office administration, and C-suite respondents said they seldom lied on resumes or in interviews.
  • In age groups, more people age 51-55 have lied to get a job than other age groups — something Comparably partly attributes to the potential difficulty of getting a job for that age group. Overall, nearly a third of respondents admitted lying to their boss at least once.

Dive Insight:

The biggest surprise in the survey results may be HR’s mea culpa. Employers often look to HR to establish and enforce ethical standards in their organizations, and that includes hiring candidates not just for their qualifications but also for their honesty and integrity. The lesson here is if employers want trustworthy workers, they must be trustworthy organizations with trustworthy leaders.

Nearly half the recruiters in a 2018 TopResume survey agreed that catching a lie on a resume is a deal-breaker. And although half of the recruiters said their decision whether to hire would depend on the nature of the lie, nearly all said falsehoods would give them pause before bringing someone on board. Notably, 66% of employers consistently perform background checks, that survey showed — but background checks may not be the only solution for HR managers.

In fact, HR may be creating its own problem by inflating requirements on job listings and descriptions and not focusing on what really matters for a particular job, experts previously told HR Dive. “To our own detriment, when trying to glorify a position to attract a better candidate, we inflate our pipeline with resumes exaggerated to meet the requirements of the position,” Tammy Cohen, chief visionary officer and founder of InfoMart, previously told HR Dive. A well-built job description can cull multiple birds with one stone, opening up talent pipelines and reducing exaggeration by candidates to get through the screening process.


Top 10 most stressful jobs revealed

The 10 most stressful jobs for this year are in. And while some are to be expected, a few surprises have been thrown up. has just published its annual list of the 10 most stressful jobs and not surprisingly those in the armed forces and emergency services head the list for obvious reasons – considering they put their lives on the line in their jobs.

Military personnel (first), firefighters (second) and police officers (fourth) topped the list. Airline pilots came in third.

According to the site, while some jobs are physically dangerous, others are stressful due to other measures such as strict deadlines or being in the public eye, or having the lives of others in their hands.

Surprisingly, event co-ordinators came in fifth, with strict deadlines and dealing with large-scale organisations, cited as the main reasons.

News reporters came in sixth – with strict deadlines cited as the main reason (so please spare a thought for your intrepid Human Resources news providers).

Senior corporate and public relations executives also made the list with taxi drivers rounding it out in 10th place.

A total of 11 criteria were used to measure stress, including travel, physical demands, competition, working in the public eye and immediate risk of another’s life.

10. Taxi Driver
Median Salary: $24,880*
Potential causes of stress: Traffic, directions, vulnerability.

9. Senior Corporate Executive
Median Salary: $183,270
Potential causes of stress: People management, high-stakes decision-making.

8. Public Relations Executive
Median Salary: $111,280
Potential causes of stress: High public visibility, public speaking, management of bad publicity.

7. Broadcaster
Median Salary: $40,910
Potential causes of stress: High public visibility/scrutiny, live television, public speaking.

6. Newspaper Reporter
Median Salary: $39,370
Potential causes of stress: Strict deadlines.

5. Event Co-ordinator
Median Salary: $48,290
Potential causes of stress: Strict deadlines, large-scale organisations.

4. Police Officer
Median Salary: $62,960
Potential causes of stress: Life-threatening situations.

3. Airline Pilot
Median Salary: $111,930
Potential causes of stress: People’s lives and safety in their hands.

2. Firefighter
Median Salary: $49,080
Potential causes of stress: Life-threatening situations, people’s lives in their hands.

1. Enlisted Military Personnel
Median Salary: $26,054
Potential causes of stress: Life-threatening situations, war zones, weapons management.


The UK is becoming happier, but its workforce isn’t

Last month, the seventh World Happiness Report named Finland as the happiest country in the world. While the UK didn’t make the top 10, it did manage to make it into the top 20. And as a nation, we are happier, climbing four places since 2018. 

Although this is positive news, there’s still much more to be done, since it appears that UK workers aren’t all that happy. In fact, research from Sodexo Engage found that only 12 per cent of UK employees are completely happy in their job. Worse still, 8 per cent of those questioned strongly disagreed with the statement ‘my job makes me happy’.

Stats like these are a clear sign that businesses need to be doing more for their employees. But how can employers keep their staff engaged and happy, and is it really the same thing?

Employee engagement 

Employers want their staff to be happy and to enjoy their work, but more often than not, businesses view happiness and engagement as the same thing. The truth is, being happy doesn’t always mean being engaged and productive. 

Happiness is an emotion that is hard to manage and measure. Engagement, on the other hand, is what drives a company forward; it’s what encourages employees to rise to the challenge and go the extra mile each and every day. 

If an employee is engaged, they’re also much more likely to stick around and advocate for the company too. In fact, businesses with highly engaged employees receive 100 per cent more job applicants – so not only does it do wonders for retention, but it also helps to draw in new staff too.

What makes us unhappy? 

From credit cards to overdrafts and from mortgages to student loans, debt is a huge problem for many. In the UK, the average personal debt is now close to £30k, so good money management has never been more of an important topic for employees. 

After all, what goes on outside of work has a clear and definite impact on employees’ productivity and happiness at work, and that includes any financial woes. The good news is that employers are in a unique position to offer support in this area – anything from managing the day-to-day costs of living, such as annual season tickets, to providing employees with external expert financial advice. Making sure that employees don’t form unhealthy working habits, such as working long hours or weekends, can also help relieve job-related stress.

Boosting engagement with purpose and recognition

Businesses can do a lot to make their employees’ lives easier outside of work, but they can also make the workplace more attractive too, by putting a recognition strategy in place. Clever employers know that they need to keep their people engaged at work, since getting it right means that people will stick around and bring huge benefits to the business as a whole. 

Giving employees a true sense of purpose by having ownership of projects, letting them run with ideas and see their work through is a great first step, as this can have a tremendous effect on boosting engagement. Also don’t underestimate the power of saying thank you for a job well done – high ‘recognition culture’ organisations have been found to have 30 per cent lower voluntary turnover. Social recognition and praise also have a big role to play in employee engagement.

Happiness isn’t something that employers can regulate, but employee engagement is well within their control. Striking the right note between support and helping employees to find meaning, belonging and purpose will not only make staff feel happy and engaged as individuals, but will also ensure the business sees the benefits too.  

By: Ian Thomson – Source:

Uncertain times demand a new approach to strategic people management

Is the management of people in organisations today really about growing the long-term value of an employers’ most important asset in an increasing uncertain and skills-short labour market? Or is it more to do with continuing to drive costs down and shareholder returns up; and meeting the bare minimum standards required by legislation? The Institute for Employment’s (IES) latest research, carried out in partnership with the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), looks at the reality of people management and comes up with some generally positive findings and conclusions.

An earlier academic literature review from the IES highlighted the difficulties of implementing many HR policies as intended in today’s rapidly changing and flatter organisations, and in the aftermath of a decade of real pay cuts and the growth of more insecure work models.

This new research concludes that a variety of techniques are being used to make a strategic approach to people management a successful reality in these organisations.

Key findings include:

? The uncertain Brexit-battered context and the scale of the challenges this presents – of sourcing and retaining labour, developing talent, managing the risks presented by new employment legislation, and of making change happen – actually seems to be increasing the influence of the HR function.

? People management has become increasingly integral to business strategies and their delivery for all employers, in low paying sectors such as retail and care homes, just as much as in knowledge-driven public service and higher education employers.

? Medium to long-term workforce plans, covering the numbers and skills and competencies of future staffing, are becoming more common and important components of the people management strategy.

? Diversity, inclusion and employee health and wellbeing have become critical components of the people management strategy, as employers increasingly recognise their contribution to the performance of their organisation and of the national economy.

? Employers are also recognising and being forced to recognise the importance of a multi-stakeholder-driven agenda, and HR policies play a vital role in delivering on this.

? Similarly HR policies are regarded as key to avoiding the dreaded ‘say:do’ gap in actually practising an organisation culture and values.

Even more challenging times ahead

Key capabilities required by HR professionals delivering on their people management ambitions include: clear prioritisation of goals and effective HR metrics to track their delivery; managing the interplay between short term operational activities and longer-term policy goals in a flexible way; an effective HR function operating model; a focus on line managers and developing their people management skills and exceptional communications and political skills.

Leaders need to be politically savvy, flexible and tactical in how they pursue and deliver on their long-term vision of building an engaged, high performance organisation

IES’ Head of HR Consultancy Duncan Brown said: “The heart and the soul of people management seems very much alive and well in our case study employers, with the organisation’s purpose, values and culture being an integral part of business and HR strategies. This explains the focus we found on employee wellbeing and developing appropriate leaders and leadership behaviours. But HR leaders need to be politically savvy, flexible and tactical in how they pursue and deliver on their long-term vision of building an engaged, high performance organisation.”

CIPD’s Head of Research and Thought Leadership Edward Houghton said: “In uncertain times we know organisations must look to their strengths and invest to survive. This research showcases some fascinating data as to how HR functions are responding to the challenging context, looking at their medium and long-term plans and developing their capabilities for the future. It is hugely insightful to see HR functions in this research looking beyond their traditional stakeholder groups to explore their impact in a more holistic way. This appears to be clear recognition of the growing strategic value of the function, and the ongoing role it must play through the challenging times ahead.”

By: Neil Franklin – Source:

Accept and adapt – HR teams, take a note!

This is the age of gig-economy where career experiences take precedence over the brand value of the company and employees’ personal branding and marketability is more important than that of their employers. While it may be a tectonic change for the companies and their HR teams, this is the truth of today!

In the three decades of my professional experience, I have observed that the more people gravitate towards newer modes of communication, their ability to wait for responses comes down. Since the advent of social media, a sense of urgency has infiltrated the personal and professional lives of the people, especially those who are digital natives or have embraced the digital-way wholeheartedly. This is in stark contrast with the older generations that lived in an age when a 12-hour wait for a trunk call was considered ‘lightening quick’. This proclivity for quick turn-round-time has also percolated into the organizational work-culture across the globe. Performance management has ditched the TTYL approach and even ASAP has been deemed too slow for the future of work.

Millennials constitute a large percentage of today’s workforce and they seek a different experience than their predecessors driven by a culture of openness, better and more frequent communication, teamwork, timely mentoring and career progression programs. Traditional approaches are bound to fail in the technology-driven dynamic corporate environment; therefore, a modern performance assessment perspective properly aligned with business growth, employee aspirations and organizational values are essential. 

Evolution of Performance Management

Employee assessment has come a long way from the days of confidential reports which defined the draconian Bell Curve method imposed by companies to segregate the workforce into best, average and poor performers. This enabled the managers to control and define the distribution of payment especially for the variable component for the previous performance year and compensation revision for the future. However, this method was quite rigid and did not allow employees to alter their performance instantly as the feedback to their work-routine was shared by the managers once a year. Due to this rigidity, organizations started looking towards other alternatives that facilitated instantaneous feedback and evaluation. 

At first, removal of the Bell Curve started as an experiment but gradually this practice has found its way into most progressive organizations. They have realized that it is virtually impossible to attract and retain top-class talent without giving them assurance of constant feedback, engagement, and a defined career path. Modern-day performance management framework has ditched the old and dead-beat approaches and embraced a more holistic outlook that aims at balancing professional commitment with personal development. An indicator of this development has been the rise in the corporate trend of reserving a substantial part of the compensation as variable, sometimes with no upper cap for high performers. This practice not only motivates professionals to strive harder, learn more and be more efficient but also help companies in implementing feedback driven meritocracy.

Trends that drive the new-age work culture

The past decade has seen major revolutions in performance management as the business sectors have continued to steer away from conventional once-a-year appraisals bringing ineffective practices that symbolize the future of work. According to my experience, HR practitioners are aggressively looking to stay ahead of the curve and evolve their performance management strategies. Some such notable transformational approaches are: 

Rise of the authentic company culture

The foremost change in the performance evaluation system has been the rise of the authentic brand i.e. a company ecosystem that treats employees as an integral part and not mere means to an end. Today’s professionals want to be part of the decision-making process especially pertaining to performance assessment; they like being spoken to regularly and addressed on-the-spot rather than being in doubt about their credentials and performance. While the new-age work culture revolves around how much trust an employee has on his/her company, it is also necessary to distinguish continuous assessment form irritating interventions and prying. The social media savvy workforce of today is quite temperamental and their threshold for tolerating needless meddling in their day-to-day work is pretty low. The managers and the HR division have to efficiently harmonize their business requirements with the satisfaction levels of the employees.

Agile industries covet agile talent

As companies look to leverage emerging technologies, they have turned their talent management approach on its head.

Companies have embraced the notion that genuine talent cannot be assigned a label and while employees on fix payroll maybe at the core of their offering, it is often the freelancers who bring in the x-factor. Naturally, companies are seeking talent wherever and whenever it can be found and allocating them projects that suit their skill-sets and career aspirations. Trends indicate that enterprises prefer hiring contractual employees on need basis than keeping a bench of dormant employees.    

New skills and challenging projects

A few decades ago, employees were not concerned about evolving their skill sets and were content with the repetitive nature of work. The new-age professionals, on the contrary, do not like redundancy and whether permanent or contract-based, their priority is the enhancement of their profiles and competencies. Companies are accordingly aligning their scope of work with the preferences of their employees and facilitating necessary training such as those related to data and digital literacy. One such trend has been the provision of learning and development tools to the workforce, customized to their career preferences and tailored to enhancing organizational productivity simultaneously. Identification of skill-gap becomes an input for development intervention & for future career management for HR team.

Cognitive Performance Management 

Today, the singular characteristic trait of a successful company is the extent of technology integration across its various operations. By harnessing the power of technology, HR professionals can identify organizational readiness to take up new projects. Depending upon the requirements, the existing employees can be exposed to new skills and technologies or people can be hired on a temporary basis with the required expertise. Emerging technologies can help the HR system of a company to move beyond mere employee engagement and retention and facilitate detailed insights on managerial and operational issues. According to Deloitte, data driven tools can churn real-time insights to analyze employee work-patterns, time management, productivity levels, tendency to exit the company, fraud risk and level of satisfaction and dissatisfaction with the existing process of the enterprise. 

HR Teams, take a note!

The seismic shifts in the thought process of the modern-day employees can be correctly attributed to the rapid pace of digital innovations. A 2018 report by Hootsuite highlighted an interesting fact, 82 percent of consumers expect an immediate response on sales or marketing questions from the brands. This social media driven exigent behavior is the new normal for the modern employee who values evolving job profile and rapid career growth over the longevity of service. This is the age of gig-economy where career experiences take precedence over the brand value of the company and employees’ personal branding and marketability is more important than that of their employers. While it may be a tectonic change for the companies and their HR teams, this is the truth of today that they have to accept and adapt to.


What Is Talent Management? (+Why You Need It for Your HR Strategy)

alent management isn’t just another industry buzzword the big shots in Silicon Valley are throwing around — it’s the missing piece of your HR puzzle.

The job market is more competitive than ever, which means your job as an HR professional needs to evolve in order to keep up with the latest HR trends – and a great talent management strategy could be what helps you edge out the competition.

What is talent management and why is it important?

The concept of talent management is pretty new in the corporate world, and as such, there are still people who aren’t familiar with the concept. So, what is talent management?

Talent management definition

Talent management is a human resources strategy that refers to how a company acquires and manages employees or talent. It specifically focuses on improving certain HR processes with the end goal of improving the employee experience and increasing the value of a business.

A comprehensive talent management strategy is critical for any company that wants to attract and keep the best employees. In order to create a successful talent management program, you need to shake off the old idea that talent management and human resources are two separate functions.

How do talent management and HR work together?

The traditional way of thinking that talent management and HR should be two separate functions is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Instead, you should think of HR as the umbrella that covers all the different facets of human resources management.

what are the main functions of hr

These four main functions of human resources all come together to form a cohesive human resources strategy. Let’s take a quick look at what daily job functions fall under each of these categories:

Managerial functions

  • Planning and organizing company programs
  • Directing employees toward the shared company goal
  • Policy formulation and implementation

Operational duties

  • Payroll and benefits
  • PTO and vacation tracking
  • Timesheets

Advisory functions

  • Legal functionalities
  • Resolving employee conflicts
  • Risk management

Talent management

  • Talent acquisition
  • Employee relations
  • Performance management

We’ll spend time in this article looking specifically at talent management and how it folds into the larger HR management strategy. Let’s take a closer look into some of the specific aspects of talent management:

Talent acquisition

The first step in creating a holistic approach to talent management is to examine how you’re acquiring and managing your talent. This is a process every company has in place but that many could improve upon.

Interviewing and recruiting

Nothing is more frustrating for a potential employee than to have their interviewing process slowed down by outdated technology and processes. Do you know how long it’s been since your company reviewed its interviewing and recruiting process?

If not, you should take a deep dive into how you’re attempting to attract top talent. You may even consider brushing up on some of the latest hiring recruitment strategies.

If you feel like your recruiting pipeline leaves a little to be desired in the way of technology, you might consider investing in an applicant tracking system software (ATS).

Training and onboarding

Your job isn’t done once you hire top talent – you also need to make sure they get the best training they can. If you haven’t looked at your onboarding strategy in the last couple of years, there’s a chance you’re putting new employees through a boring, outdated process.

Figuring out the best ways to improve your employee onboarding process and creating an onboarding checklist will help create a more enjoyable experience.

Employee relations

Employee relations refers to the efforts your company takes to build and maintain the relationships between employees and their employer. There are several sub-topics that fall under the umbrella of employee relations.

Company culture

It’s a hot topic in the workforce these days, but what exactly is company culture? Think of company culture as the personality of your company. You wouldn’t want to hang out with someone with a bad personality, and employees don’t want to work for a company with a bad company culture.

The tricky thing about company culture is that it can be difficult to pin down. The good news is that you have the best resource for discovering what your company culture is (and how you can improve it) right at your fingertips – your employees.

You can use your regular meetings with employees to talk about things like your company culture. Consider using stay-interviews, one-on-ones with managers, or even employee engagement software to figure out exactly how employees feel about your company.

Employee engagement

The term employee engagement refers to how invested your employees are in your company. Employee engagement is vital to your talent management strategy because unengaged employees are some of the most difficult to work with.

Don’t blame your employees if they’re unengaged – use it as an opportunity to make a positive change. The only mistake you can make is ignoring the signs your employees are giving you and continuing to carry on business as usual when they’ve expressed that it’s not working for them.

If you’re unsure what your employee engagement situation looks like, you may consider administering an employee satisfaction survey to allow your employees the chance to freely express what they like about the company and what can be improved.

Tip: Looking for a new way to engage your employees? Check out these 7 employee engagement ideas that real companies are using.

Employee turnover

If you are seeing a rise in the number of employees leaving your company after a short period of time, you may have a problem with employee turnover that stems directly from your employee relations strategy.

You should also keep a close eye on the trends surrounding employees that leave. Were they all working for the same manager? Or maybe they all came from the same department? If you pay close attention, the problem may reveal itself without much extra work needed.

why do employees quit their jobs

It can seem alarming to watch employees leaving your company faster than you can hire them but this is another golden opportunity to fix what’s broken in your talent management strategy. If you’re not already, start conducting exit-interviews with employees and ask them why they are leaving for another opportunity.

Performance management

As larger numbers of employees seek out jobs that help them hone their leadership skills, it’s important that you help facilitate their growth. It’s unreasonable to expect an employee to stay stagnant while your company grows and flourishes – that’s why offering a clear path for growth is important to talent management.

Tip: Looking to encourage your employees to grow and thrive? Consider creating a career development plan for your top performers.

It’s important to keep in mind that your entire workforce won’t be made of top performers off the bat. You’re likely to have a few employees who struggle in their position. A big part of talent management is learning how to help those employees improve the same way you encourage your top performers. Using a performance improvement plan can help struggling employees improve and grow.

Put the management back into talent management

Talent management isn’t something you can do half-heartedly. It takes strategy, planning, and close monitoring in order to be successful in improving the employee experience. It may seem overwhelming at first, but once you get a handle on implementing talent management into your HR strategy, you’ll be shocked how it improves your office environment.

By: Lauren Pope – Source:

90 percent of HR professionals say integrating their HR technology is a top priority in 2019, according to new research

New research from global employee engagement company, Reward Gateway, has revealed that having HR tools that integrate into their current workplace technology is a key priority in 2019 for 89% of HR professionals.

  • 3 in 5 UK businesses are using over five workplace systems and apps every day
  • HR workers are spending seven hours per working week manually checking, responding to, and keeping up with different HR applications
  • HR professionals say their number one priority for 2019 is increased workplace productivity

New research from global employee engagement company, Reward Gateway, has revealed that having HR tools that integrate into their current workplace technology is a key priority in 2019 for 89% of HR professionals. 

The finding comes as no surprise, as HR professionals state that they are spending 366.6 hours a year manually checking, responding to, and keeping up with, multiple HR applications. Many organisations are using different platforms for employee communications, recognition, applicant tracking, onboarding, and performance management; forcing all employees to access multiple apps a day. Indeed, the same research found that a quarter of companies are using eight or more different systems and apps every day for work.

With these workflow interruptions, it’s no wonder the research, which polled 500 HR workers across the UK, also found that the top HR priority for 2019 was increasing workplace productivity.

To help tackle this issue, Reward Gateway has introduced a range of product integrations with its employee engagement platform, to create a seamless user experience. This includes the integration of platforms including Google, Yammer, Azur, Slack, and BambooHR.

On the research, Will Tracz, Chief Technology Architect at Reward Gateway, comments:

“Many companies have systems-of-record in place with up-to-date details on their employees. Creating and maintaining data in other systems, outside of this, often takes time and is prone to error, particularly in fast-moving businesses. Through our expanding integration partner network, we want to help our clients’ HR teams focus on what they want to do using our solutions: create an engaged workforce, remove the need for multiple login and security processes, and keep data secure.

“Our clients are also looking to enhance the employee experience, and make it easy for them to access and use the tools that will help increase employee engagement. With the integration of key workplace applications such as Slack, Yammer, and Okta, Reward Gateway customers are able to get the most out of their existing technology and make the employee experience as seamless as possible.”


Kate Nichols urges HR operators to be ambassadors for hospitality

The hospitality industry has a labour shortage, not a skills shortage, Kate Nichols, chief executive of UKHospitality, told a gathering of HR hospitality professionals.

Nichols was speaking at the HR in Hospitality annual conference, held yesterday at the Kimpton Fitzroy London hotel, where she urged delegates to reach out as ambassadors for the industry to schools and college as the uncertainity of Brexit continues to rumble on.

She explained that a skills shortage implied that the industry doesn’t invest in its people, when it does. “When talking to government I say that it is a labour shortage that we are dealing with. We are forecast to have 200,000 fewer 18 to 24 year-olds that are UK-born by 2020 and we don’t come out of that until 2030.

“The strongest message I’ve got when I tell government ministers that we need a migration policy that works, is that there aren’t masses of bodies out there who are not able to get a job. When you’ve got unemployment rates down below 4% and short-term unemployment in London down to 2%, you have got to face the fact that we are at full employment.

Nichols told the conference that UKHospitality would provide ambassadors from the industry with all the “information and details” to go into schools and sell hospitality as a sector that can offer a career path.

“It is not about young people with no skills, who don’t know what to do and with no qualifications, it is about capturing the aspirational 16, 17 and 18 year olds who want to have a fantastic career and want to look at something like marketing, law, finance.

“We want to show you can have much more fun in hospitality being an accountant than you could do being an accountant in a widget factory. We should be celebrating that.

Nichols also highlighted the benefits of building links with higher education colleges and sixth form colleges. “As the new T-levels are rolled out, there will be automatic requirements for three month industrial placements. Students don’t need to be studying hospitality to do a placement in your business.

“We should not just be targeting those children who have decided they want to work in hospitality, but going out more generally to explain that we could provide good quality industrial placements in order to build potential recruits for tomorrow.”


Mental wellness at the workplace: It goes beyond the occasional day-off

Aaron Harvey, Partner and Co-Founder at Ready Set Rocket, delves into why employees’ long-term wellness is not about giving them a day off, but it’s more about introducing a comprehensive mental health change.

“Take a mental health day.”

That phrase has become a catch-all solution for young workers facing burnout, and while we should appreciate organisations that encourage time off, long-term wellness is about a lot more than the occasional 24-hour break. What we need, is comprehensive mental health change.

Modern executives have leaned into workplace culture trends as a means of addressing rising stress levels, dwindling work-life balance and cries for more reasonable schedules. They’ve adopted open floor plans, dog-friendly policies and healthy snack cabinets. They’ve encouraged team outings and hosted mindfulness events.

I myself have invested in similar initiatives and stand-by the benefits they provide a company. But they’re no substitute for real mental health change. These are surface-level perks that don’t address burnout, let alone workplace challenges caused by pre-existing mental conditions.

By estimation, 32 million workers in the US experience mental illness in a given year. To make matters worse, it’s estimated that only half of persons with mental illness have sought treatment in the prior year. And those numbers don’t speak for persons coping with undiagnosed conditions like I did for over 20 years.

Beyond that, technology has fundamentally shifted modern work habits. We are now available 24/7 — a reality that has earned Millennials the title “burnout generation.” Our lack of action isn’t only affecting those with chronic conditions, it’s hurting employees who have developed mental strain as a byproduct of our new working culture. And we’re paying the price.

According to a 2015 study by NAMI Massachusetts, 64% of absenteeism can be attributed to those missing work because of poor mental health, and 81% of productivity loss can be attributed to employees who work while sick — a phenomenon called presenteeism.

As an employer with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), I’ve know first-hand how work can be affected by mental illness. And to be honest, I haven’t always gotten things right. It wasn’t until I came clean about my OCD, and entered proper treatment, that I recognised the need for comprehensive change within my company, and started making a conscious effort to create a space that prioritises mental well-being.

“There’s a reason employees feel unable to disconnect and recharge, even amidst a rise in mental health days and in-office lounges. It’s time we start addressing the real issue.”

Doing so has involved a combination of culture and policy change. Companies shouldn’t only deliver perks that foster a fun environment; they need to implement foundational reforms that encourage conversation and make mental health support accessible. The framework I use involves six simple steps:

#1 Start the conversation

Inspire a company-wide dialogue about mental health, burnout and the warning signs of a potential crisis.

#2 Offer accommodations

Be willing to make reasonable adjustments to work schedules and responsibilities so employees battling mental illness have the opportunity to thrive.

#3 Commit to confidentiality

Implement a trustworthy system for disclosing a diagnosis and requesting support.

#4 Align physical and mental health benefits

Provide parity in benefits so mental health treatment is accessible and encouraged amongst staff.

#5 Fund wellness initiatives

Make well-being a fundamental component of company culture by investing in fun and relaxing community-building activities.

#6 Provide personalised growth plans

Give employees the structure and encouragement they need to feel valued by your organisation.

There’s a reason employees feel unable to disconnect and recharge, even amidst a rise in mental health days and in-office lounges. It’s time we start addressing the real issue. Creating laid-back, comfortable spaces isn’t inherently problematic, but equating it with proactive mental health reform is. Simply put, hip does not equal healthy.

Mental illness affects one in five people. Your mentors. Your employees. Maybe you suffer in silence. It’s time to band together and start tackling this problem head on. The next time someone recommends a ping-pong table as a solution to burnout, use it as an opportunity to introduce changes that go a bit deeper.


Challenges Facing Modern Human Resources Managers

The job duties for human resource managers have evolved quickly in the 21st century. Those in the profession now take on larger roles in developing strategy for their organizations, working with executives and other department leaders to reach business goals.

That’s created even more challenges, particularly in a data-driven business world with a tight labor market. Those seeking to earn a degree in the field—including undergraduate and graduate degrees or an MBA with a concentration on human resource management—should understand those challenges as they prepare for careers in this complex field.

Challenges for HR Managers

It’s worth taking on those challenges, as there are many opportunities. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 9% gain nationwide in the number of HR managers by 2026. The mean annual salary for the position as of May 2017 was $123,510, according to the BLS.

Here is a look at some of the biggest challenges facing HR managers in the modern business world.

Finding Talent in a Tight Market

The unemployment rate has reached 40-year lows, meaning job applicants have the upper hand in the job market. For companies competing to fill critical positions, attracting and retaining the most talented employees is a priority. HR managers are leaders in this area. This is especially true for managers in organizations that have entered rapidly emerging markets, many of them related to technology, where the battle for the best will only intensify.

Robust Training and Reskilling Programs

It’s imperative that HR managers develop a strategy for training new employees and providing reskilling for current employees. In the modern business world, employees can expect they will need to learn new skills 15 to 20 times during the course of their career. Learning now is a continuous process that lasts throughout a worker’s life. HR managers must provide the opportunities for employees to constantly upgrade their skills.

Incorporating Online Learning

As part of the training and reskilling process, HR managers can take advantage of the flexibility allowed in using online learning with employees. The Society of Human Resource Management reports that this area has “tremendous potential,” especially with the younger workforce.

Leveraging Data

HR is increasingly asked to use data, just as other areas of an organization put it to use. It can not only support better decision-making but also give an accurate analysis of the return on investment of moves made by the HR department.

What Do HR Managers Think?

All the above are issues for HR managers, according to experts in the field. But what about current HR managers themselves? What advice would they give to the incoming generation of HR managers?

A report from PricewaterhouseCoopers offers some insight. PWC surveyed HR managers around the world for a report called “Survey of Global HR Challenges: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow,”

The HR leaders came from 16 different industries, providing a broad spectrum of opinion. But on certain issues, they agreed. The following are the top three challenges they saw for HR leaders in the future.

Change management. This incorporates a wide range of issues, including the ones listed above. It also involves HR managers taking larger roles in business strategy as it relates to how companies invest in both new and current employees as they transform in a technology-driven, global market.

Leadership development. HR managers must identify and support potential leaders in an organization. This also involves developing the tools needed to foster their growth.

HR effectiveness measurement. This plays back into data. HR managers need the right data analysis tools to effectively measure the performance of HR decisions. This includes the return on investment long-term from hiring decisions, as well as the collective performance of the organization.

HR management continues to provide strong opportunities for graduates. The increasing importance of the position makes it a more challenging career than ever before. Those who commit to earning a degree are taking the steps necessary to prepare themselves for this rewarding field.