Digital Transformation has to become Digital Evolution

19 Okt
19. Oktober 2015
Facebook Twitter Linkedin Delicious Email

The term „digital transformation“ is a buzzword that is used and abused with multiple meanings. Since 2005 the usage of digital technologies and its potentials have changed markets and industries fundamentally, especially as these technologies give users the choice how to satisfy specific needs. Some call this the „digital revolution“ according to a Kondratiev wave analog to the industrial revolution in the late 18th and 19th century. Digital transformation refers to these changes with a modification of companies‘ existing technologies and business models. Digital transformation is based on people, processes and technologies and is relevant for any company that offers services or products online.
You can split digital transformation in four different dimensions that can apply parallel, shifted or sequential: product transformation, company transformation, industry transformation and society transformation (see Figure 1). Product transformation can be internal related to a companie’s products and services or external related to a specific product category.

Why is digital transformation so important?
Digital transformation should be part of any digital strategy. Clearly spoken, a company without any digital strategy has no future strategy and risk its existence. If companies miss to transform their strategy into digital and leave the market you can call it „digital Darwinism„.

According to a Gartner study in 2020 there will be more than 25 billion connected „things“ such as devices, cars, homes and wearables. So who will buy unconnected things in the future if nearly everything will be connected? Also in 2020 about 80% of revenues will be related to additional services and only 20% to the core product itself, similar as we know it already from existing app and widget ecosystems.

I collected nine pillars that could help companies to prepare and drive digital transformation in their organization (see Figure 2).

1. Mindset of Change
To be able to transform existing and established models you need to install a „mindset of change“. This is not only related to technologies or development, but to whole organization. It should start with an impulse on top management level driven top-down and parallel in specific teams driven sideways and bottom-up. Specific teams means groups that are more open to change and that are less hierarchical organized anyway. Change is often creating resistance as some employees might understand it as a threat for status, role or even their job. It will take time, patience and some distinguished supporters to Establish such a different mindset. Mostly it makes sense to start in one department creating first positive signals of change.

2. New Talents
It is impossible to get everybody convinced and there are often also new skill sets required to transform products, services and organizations. Beside an investment in employees‘ training and coaching you need some new talents that already have some of the necessary new or modified skills to support the process of change. It is very important to have the HR team committed and involved in the whole initiative from the very first beginning.

3. Customer Centricity
The idea to put users of a product or service in the center of concept and development is not new at all. Many product managers might say: „We already do this for years“. But such an approach needs an organizational form and the understanding of all involved teams that is based on a continuous user dialog.  There are multiple methods how to discover what are the most important user needs and what creates user stickiness. All these methods are based on iterative testing and adaption according to user input/feedback and created (digital) value. Customer integration is a clear commitment to focus on existing and future needs of users and supports the process to discover successful disruptive innovation.

4. Business Model
Does the current business model still fit to the existing demand and customer needs? Is there any growth in users and revenues? Are there any new technologies on the horizon that could change user behavior and demand?

A good example is how the way people buy and consume music has changed in the last 20 years. First CD sales shifted from offline stores to online shops in the late 90s, than people started to download music. As there was no common infrastructure and no simple standardized solution in place to buy and download music online, many users shared songs online for free illegally. The music industry tried to protect the existing business model instead of innovating and transforming. Apple’s iTunes was the breakthrough for legal paid music downloads. Currently users switch to subscription based music streaming services such as Apple Music or Spotify. The music CD is already dead and music downloads are riding into sunset.

It is always tough to change existing business models and revenue streams as long as they seem to work „somehow“. It is even more difficult, if the change requires a modification of an established value chain. That is why companies from other industries or even small startups often step successfully into existing markets with a different or totally new approach.

In 2014 Airbnb, a marketplace for renting lodgings founded in 2012, sold more accommodations as the whole Hilton Group, founded in 1919.

5. Agility
Agile concepts are a common toolkit to drive change and serve as a framework for customer centricity. Scrum is an agile framework for software development based on empirical process control by transparency, inspection and adaption. Many of Scrum’s agile principles can be used outside of software development in any department or project. These are cross-functional collaboration in teams, self-organization inside the teams, a prioritization based on (digital) value and an iterative realization process instead of a static long term planning. Agility means for companies and teams also the acceptance to make mistakes and to understand those as a part of their leaning process.

6. Data driven Business
This pilar adds data to the commitment for customer centricity. Any new product idea, feature or potentially improvement of a product or service can be tested with users. There are multiple methods to validate ideas, concepts or prototypes with users or even to discover and create a best-practice option in collaboration with users. Such an approach reduces the risk to fail with an idea or product as the design is based on „measured“ existing or future needs of real users.

General speaking, data does not only help to save money, it is money. Data is a key driver of the mentioned digital revolution. The succes of some of today’s most valuable companies such as Apple, Google (Alphabet), Microsoft, Facebook and Amazon is build on data. These companies produce, collect and analyze data to make decisions and to create (digital) value for their users and their company.

7. Digital Value
Digital value is the validated positive outcome of data driven decisions. Any prioritization of functionality and features has to be driven by its digital value. Digital value means an online driven, measurable direct impact for a company’s value chain such as business value (e.g. direct or indirect monetarization) or user experience value (e.g. engagement) or internal process value (e.g. huge improvements of the velocity of specific tasks). The value is created because a specific new user need was satisfied or an already existing user need was satisfied better or more efficient than before.

8. Reboot Technology
This pilar refers to the fact that digital transformation often includes something radical and disruptive that mostly cannot be realized based on implemented and established technology. How would you build a technology set-up for your company if you could start from scratch today? What is the key difference in such an approach and what is the key USP compared to existing competitors today? The idea of „re-coding“ sounds expensive, but can help to identify the most weak parts in the current technology. Today, a main requirement to software architecture is changebility what means a modular lean structure is preferred over monolithic „all-in-one“ solutions we know from the past. That does not include a kind of total technological flexibility what could be much too complex and expensive. Modularity means to create a core and to build modules around it, to use APIs and also 3rd party modules. The microservice architecture follows these paradigms. Not every feature or service has to be developed from an internal team, especially if there are standard solutions already available on the market, that could be integrated in such a modular architecture.

Simplicity is a second requirement for technology. This could be rated as inconsistent with the requirement of changbility, but it is not. Only a good balance between both is necessary.

9. Collaboration
Collaboration is the connector between mindset of change, customer centricity, agility and digital value and the enabler of a successful digital transformation. Somehow collaboration is a consequence if a companie’s change strategy is supported by the main operative stake holders in key departments. Collaboration inside the company means also to share responsibilities and to work in cross-functional teams. You need to build expert teams with the most skilled people to solve a specific task or create a specific solution, independent from boundaries of departments. Boundaries of departments should be understood as lines, not walls.

Collaboration means also to integrate external partners, suppliers and users to creat the best possible solution. There are many examples of a successful user integration into companies‘ innovation process or even of product innovation communities, stimulating user driven innovations for specific brands or products.

How long is the process of digital transformation?
The time frame of a digital transformation is depending on the specific existing business and the size of the company. It seems more that digital transformation is tending to be a permanent process that is morphing from one wave to the next.

DigIT 2015

HP Managing Director Germany, Heiko Meyer

At the DigIT Conference in Berlin 2015 Heiko Meyer, Managing Director HP Germany, has explained the 5 years plan of HP’s digital transformation journey. Also after 5 years the real journey will rather start than end. Axel Springer SE, a traditional German publisher, has started its digitalization in 2006. In the first half of 2015 more than 60% of revenues are related to digital business models. The whole process was and still is digital transformation. Also companies that have alreday a 100% digital business model need to transform to the next digital level as markets and user requirements are evolving. So digital transformation is only a first step of a continuous change process that could be better described as digital evolution.

Digital Recruiting – What is Next?

15 Mai
15. Mai 2015
Facebook Twitter Linkedin Delicious Email

In Febrauary 2015 I left MonsterWorldwide after 3.5 years and also the online recruiting industry. It was a great time with great learnings. If you never worked in that area you might think even the online part is still old-fashioned, slow and boring, but this is not the case. It is a dynamic and innovative industry that is currently in a dramatical change process.
In opposite to other classified segments such as online travel or online real estate, technology is not the main driver of change and innovation. The object itself – jobs and the working force – are changing and forcing the innovation process in this industry.
Even today jobs are demanding different and new skill sets compared to a similar position ten years ago. And this is oynly the beginning. Transdisciplinarity, cross-cultural understanding, a design mindset and social intelligence are just a few of the new skills that are required in general beside a specific job qualification no matter if it is a  marketing, product, sales, HR or IT position. Additionally there is an increasing demand in companies for highly specialized skills and very specific working experience.

The demographic change is driving new challenges.

On the other hand the workforce is changing with the generations Y (in 2020 35% of the workforce), Z  (in 2020 12% of the workforce) and alpha (born after 2010 – still some time for us to prepare). Classical job boards are getting less important because already 50% of employees do not want to search for a new job anymore actively. Those want to be found, to be recommended or to get a job recommended by a personal contact. In the decision process to chose a specific job offer are parameters like flexible office hours, work-life-balance, company culture and non work-related benefits more important than in generations before. The time employees are staying in one company will be reduced below 2 years. So change is more a part of the DNA of such next generation employees. It is much more organic driven than forced by dissatisfaction with a current job. This type of employee is highly skilled, active in social networks and well connected. 54% even use social networks for work or skill related activities.
So the future workforce seems to become in a majority a kind of passive job seekers. Employers need to build a new recruiting philosophy in their HR departments.
How does the current online recruiting market match these changing requirements?
Companies like Careerbuilder, Monster Worldwide or Stepstone did not really manage to reinvent their business models so far, even job aggregators such as Indeed smell a little bit outdated in such a scenario. Professional networks like LinkedIn and even the German local player Xing seem to have better preconditions, but their member profiles do not all have the required details on very specific skill sets e.g. for potential IT candidates. Profile aggregation providers such as TalentBin or Dice have at least a partly answer to reach specific rare candidates in groups that are very active in work-related communities, e.g. developers.

Technological innovations need an organizational foundation of change.

Not surprisingly disruptive approaches are coming more from start-ups while the big online recruitment players are struggling with decreasing revenues and internal structural problems. Change needs to be driven from inside to outside, but this is difficult if key stakeholders are not pushing and supporting that approach and tend to protect the „old“ business and a given internal status quo. Change should also ideally be driven top down, what is getting difficult escpecially in companies with multiple hierarchical levels. To realize a technological shift companies need an innovation friendly organizational structure and climate.

So what is close or even has started?

1. All employees are passive candidates.
It will become even more difficult to reach high potentials and specialized experts via job boards and career pages. Active sourcing will be the much more active way to find the right people. Companies need to use their employees, build candidate networks and establish active sourcing directly in their HR departments. Still there is lack of knowledge and sensitivity how to contact potential candidates.

2. Social profiles keep to gain relevance.
To scan social profiles and activities is getting more and more important especially as the number of passive candidates is rising. Companies need intelligent tools to scan all relevant profiles and to analyze data.

3. Companies need to invest much more in employer branding.
Highly skilled candidates might have multiple options and are looking critical on potential new employers. Companies need to create a transparent view on company culture, benefits and career perspectives. Happy and satisfied employees are one of the best arguments.

4. Candidates are becoming highly specialized alrounders.
The new workforce is getting much more specialized than any generation before, but brings also a set of cross functional skills from other disciplines.

5. Video, video, video
The role of videos is increasing in every part of the recruiting process. Companies are presenting roles, workspace and colleagues in company videos, candidates are sending videos as application or example of their work, interviews are done via Skype or other video phone applications.

Sources: recruiting trends 2015, bewerberpraxis 2015, mccrindle blog, business news, Forbes, horizont, institute of the future

The Agile Recruiting Framework

09 Jan
9. Januar 2015
Facebook Twitter Linkedin Delicious Email

As already discussed in my articles “companies and recruiters need to learn how to ‘apply for candidates’” Part 1 and Part 2 the recruiting market is in a change process. Social technologies, mobile devices and diversification in job requirements and candidate expectations are transforming the working world. HR managers face multiple new and changing challenges when they are hiring. The time-to-hire is getting more and more critical, while many recruiting processes are still too complex and long-winded. They need to build a good understanding for new technologies and tools as this is the only way to answer requests for differentiated analytics of more complex profiles and candidate requirements. On the other hand it is a candidate market and top candidates have a clear expectation for the next job but also for the application process.
From company perspective HR managers are changing their role from an internal service provider into a business partner for all departments of the company. In a transforming environment they have not only to manage the effects of change inside a company, they have to be an active part of the whole change management process itself. HR managers need to act as agile change agents and to drive transformation. They have to shape the hiring process into a leaner, faster and more effective process, increase transparency and improve communication with candidates. It is very important to include also core future skills such as social intelligence, trans-disciplinarity, cross cultural competency or new media literacy (source: Institute for the Future) into search profiles to prepare the organization for the next challenges. Parallel the organization needs to be prepared for the next generations. In 2020 35% of the working force will be the Generation Y and already 12% the Generation Z (source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics). The next generations have a higher demand for liquid structures and working models, away from static hierarchies and old-school matrix organizations. This is another good reason for HR to become real agile.
The graphic shows a first conceptual Agile Recruiting Framework I developed based on my digital product transformation framework.
The framework includes:
• 4 influencing business and technology trends (social, mobile, analytics, cloud)
• 2 internal enablers (transparency, agility)
• 2 poles (profile & requirements of company, expectations & requirements of candidates)
• Attributes related to one of the poles
• 2 internal enablers (transparency, agility) with influence on both poles
• 4 influencing variables (tools, knowledge, time, process)
• 1 external frame (market), 1 internal frame (company culture)
In the center of the process are not the profile or company requirements – it is the candidate.

Part II: Companies and recruiters need to learn “how to apply for candidates”

12 Okt
12. Oktober 2014
Facebook Twitter Linkedin Delicious Email

Some companies such as law firms in Germany rate candidates still by their final marks mainly. Even if candidates seem to have a good fit in experience and already worked some years in the same legal field they are not considered for an interview below a specific mark. This is raising the question which are today’s relevant quality criteria for a candidate selection?

As a scientific research recently found out recruiters spend an average of six seconds to scan a resume and to decide if a candidate fits or not – recruiters self-reported they would spend four to five minutes per resume (source: TheLadders). This is not a surprise as time is always critical in recruiting projects. On the other hand quality is critical too. It just makes the resume to the deciding admission ticket. Well, today everybody can write everything in his profile and even resume. So how to verify information are correct? And how to find passive talents that did not pimp their profile or resume? Maybe here are new social tools like TalentBin the future. TalentBin for example tries to aggregate and combine public available social information from multiple sources in the net to create an information profile.

In my interviews some candidates also for executive positions reported about a very complex recruiting process. After they have been contacted they had up to four telephone interviews with different recruiters and ended up on a shortlist with a high number of candidates (up to 10) that was prepared for the client company. Unfortunately such processes are mostly not explained in the first interview otherwise many candidates might abandon the application. How much time would an experienced professional who is not desperately searching for a job invest in such a process with a 1:10 chance of success even after several interviews? Thinking of the Generation Y it is hard to believe that anyone would be interested – and this generation will represent 35% of the workforce in 2020. The Generation Y expects that companies apply for candidates and they demand a very personal and lean recruiting process.

For sure process and selection criteria are often set by the client company and recruiters might be “only” the executing part. On the other hand external (and internal) recruiters should understand themselves also as consultant of the client (or internal business partner) how to build a modern and fitting recruiting process with appropriate quality criteria. They have to act as change agent in a changing external and internal environment.

I made myself a lot of positive experience with external recruiters and also how I was contacted in active sourcing projects. Also there were reported many positive experiences in my interviews. But overall it still seems that a transformation of the recruitment process has often not started neither in the HR department of companies nor at executive search consultants or agencies. In consideration of the HR top trends 2014 (demographic change, shortage of qualified stuff and social media) this sounds surprisingly (source: Recruiting Trends 2014). Technology is already changing how we work and requiring different and new skill sets (source: Deloitte 2014). That means also that recruitment needs a shift, new HR skills, new HR technologies and a new approach for talent acquisition. In a global study only 13% of asked HR leaders claimed to be ready for the new challenges in their department (source: Deloitte 2014).

Finally there are some simple recommendations for recruiters based on the input from my interviews:

  1. Apply for a candidate
  2. Scan the candidate, not only the profile or CV
  3. Consult your client (or internal business partners) to choose a smart and lean selection process and discuss the quality criteria

Companies and recruiters need to learn “how to apply for candidates” (Part I)

21 Jul
21. Juli 2014
Facebook Twitter Linkedin Delicious Email

Apply for Candidates!

Since nearly ten years we are talking about Web 2.0, Social Web and how new technologies have changed our daily live and business. Today we face four digital mega trends that are catalysts of change: mobile internet usage, cloud computing, social communication and analytics / big data (Source: PWC, Gartner). Product management and development paradigms have massively evolved into an agile, dynamic and user and customer centric approach. Organization forms of companies are getting leaner and smarter to be able to act, react and execute in a much more competitive and dynamic market environment. If the implementation of “change” is successful and sustainable the positive effects are visible in mostly all parts of a company, no matter if marketing department, service or sales team. How about the recruitment department? In the last twelve month I talked to candidates and companies, but also to friends and colleagues in semi-structured interviews about their experience with “active sourcing” and companies’ recruiting processes.

Strictly speaking active sourcing is not a new concept. External recruiting-consultants have been sourcing actively for potential candidates since more than 60 years, but mostly focused on executive search. So what is new since Web 2.0 emerged? Professional social networks, blogs and other online communities make it easy for “everybody” to search for talents online. Many employees show skills and professional experience in their social profiles as a kind of reduced resume or release knowledge related articles in personal blogs and special interest communities. So active sourcing is not a tool only to search candidates for executive positions anymore, but for any role that is hard to fill. This is in line with expectations of potential candidates as 40% would prefer “to be found” instead to search themselves for a job (source: Recruiting Trends 2014). The passive job hunter is on the rise.

So, it is easy to search for candidates in the web. The flipside of this coin is a low average quality of how candidates are contacted. In some cases recruiters send superficial personalized messages on LinkedIn (or Xing in Germany) that sound like a kind of bulk mails with job offers. Often candidates seem to be selected by a few fitting keywords without accurate research on current job title, skills, education or career level. This is a very impersonal and superficial active sourcing approach and it creates a negative perception on the candidate site. Some other recruiters contact candidates directly via phone without sending an email or message before – obviously with the principle “give it a try”. It seems to be faster to make three minutes a cold call instead of reading five minutes more carefully the profile or to search for additional information about the candidate on blogs or a personal website. Those that act here as “recruiters” are of course not always experienced professionals. In some cases even students or interns without any recruitment experience make the first contact.

As a scientific research recently found out recruiters spend an average of six seconds to scan a resume and to decide if a candidate fits or not. Recruiters self-reported they would spend four to five minutes per resume (source: TheLadders).

Even at executive search it is obviously not always common to be well prepared before talking to potential candidates. More than 40% of targeted candidates reported that they felt the recruiters were not well prepared in the interviews (referring to an interview stage after agreement on a general interest from both sides). Although those candidates were contacted by the recruiter they found themselves after reflecting some interest already in a one-sided applicant position. Today we have a candidate market in many industries. An application process needs to be bilateral. Companies (and also recruiters) have to understand that they must apply for a candidate too.

What are the most important requirements candidates expect from recruiters?

I collected and structured the following items from candidates:

  1. Transparency about the recruiting process & timing
  2. Clear Communication & Feedback
    • Communicating the right expectations
    • Listening to the candidate’s expectation
    • Fast and honest feedback
      • About fit from the recruiter even before direct company contact
      • 1-2 working days after a direct interview with the company (even if it is just a status update, no decision)
    • Clear briefing before first company contact
    • Honest reflection of company’s situation and culture
  1. Well prepared recruiters beyond reading a candidate’s resume
  2. Respect for the time invest of a candidate

So transparency and communication are most important to set the right expectations and build trust. Without feedback there is no base for trust. It was often reported by candidates that after reaching a specific stage such as being presented from the recruiter to the company or having the first interview with the company, there was no feedback at all. In some cases it took weeks, in some months and in some cases the candidate never heard anything again from the recruiter. Of course that is the worst case. But after a candidate invested time in a recruiting process, it is naturally that he expects this his time invest is respected. And to get at least a short feedback about the main reasons for rejection is a fair expectation.


A Digital Product Transformation Framework

13 Mai
13. Mai 2014
Facebook Twitter Linkedin Delicious Email

Digital product transformation is one of the biggest challenges for any company with a Web related business model. No matter how established and successful a company and its digital products and services are, it is crucial to implement rethinking as part of the daily routine. Transformation is based on radical innovations followed by a disruptive change of the company’s business model or/and product portfolio. In some cases product transformation of one company is causing a game change for a whole industry. A framework for digital product transformation can support companies to understand, organize and monitor the individual internal requirements for a continuous process of radical product innovation.

The framework includes:

  • 4 influencing trends (social, mobile, analytics, cloud)
  • 2 enablers (team, technology)
  • Attributes and principles related to an enabler
  • 4 influencing variables (people, process, network, knowledge)
  • 1 external frame (market), 1 internal frame (company culture)

The four most important trends that influence the digital business ecosystem are social, mobile, analytics and cloud (SMAC, source: PwC). Driven by a user-centric vision the core elements and principles of digital product transformation are related to the enabler “Team” and/or the enabler “Technology”.

User integration, agility, collaboration and cross-functionality are attributes of the enabler “Team”. Transparency and bi-values are principles related to the team. Bi-values underlines that values should be always related to the company and the user. User integration can create a bi-value as it is fun for the user and the chance for a more valuable product or service on one side.  Important market research and the chance for a better marketable product or service are values for a company on the other site. There are many examples for successful user integration via online communities such as mystarbucksidea from Starbucks that includes more than 200.000 discussed and voted user ideas – many of those with a bi-value.

The attributes for the enabler “Technology” are an open architecture, modularity, multi-platform and a focus on UX. Iterative thinking is a principle related to the enabler “Technology”, while openness is a principle related to both, technology and team

Influencing variables within the company are the (1) involved people, the (2) disposable knowledge, the (3) established and used processes and the (4) network inside and outside the company (source: TMCnet). The general frame is set by the market (external: e.g. competition, market phase) and the company culture (internal).

Pillars of Product Transformation

07 Apr
7. April 2014
Facebook Twitter Linkedin Delicious Email

Product transformation means to make a disruptive move for the existing product portfolio into something new. For the music industry their product transformed from vinly to CD to download. While the first transformation went well for the industry, the second one killed half of the established record companies. They have not been prepared, did never understand the request for the transformation and resisted until a lot of those disappeared. Especially the digital product transformation is happening in very short circles today.

In definition transformation is the successful result of a change strategy and a transition plan based on the three elements product, people and process. In reality the three most important elements are people, people, people. Any change starts in the head of the people. Without the initial first move to get the “right stakeholders” on board nothing can change and there will never be a product transformation into anything new. It all starts with an idea and the understanding that change is something natural and part of the daily business. And this is independent from the economic situation of a company. In reality it is of course not as the most managers start thinking when they identified that they have a problem with the current product, service or business model. Anyway, when the CEO or the senior management understood that there is need for a transformation, the hardest work is to establish the idea through the organization. Product transformation means to change the whole company, the nature of the firm. It can be a market or user driven change and is in line with the over-all company vision. In some case product transformation can even modify or change the company vision.

The software culture of a company is deciding how fast and easy the transformation process can start. The CTO and his team should always ask: “Are we still using the most valuable technologies to serve our customers?” New technologies can change the way of working completely, not only in the product and tech department. But if the software culture supports such a process smooth and clean is again related to people. People build and live the software culture of a company.

The organization’s culture is the enabler to transfer change through all departments of the company. Mindset, believe systems, norms and values are influencing how successful change will be. And again it is related to the people that implemented that culture and how it is adopted and lived by all employees. The structure of the company determines the speed of change through the organization. Flat hierarchical levels would be ideal. But it is all about people. Change is often resisted as many people are afraid to change status quo and working environment. So again, it starts all in the head of the people and the start has to signal that change is something good and positive. That is at least the base to start product transformation.

The unknown company: How to attract job seekers?

17 Mrz
17. März 2014
Facebook Twitter Linkedin Delicious Email

In the so called “war for talents” big brands such as Hugo Boss, Audi or Google have an unbeatable advantage. They are also employer brands and get often enough applicants because potential talents have already a passion for their products or company. How can an unknown mid-size company compete in such a race?  Many companies look desperately for very rare profile candidates, e.g. in the IT or engineering segment and several of them have a lot to offer: Great workspace, free fruits and drinks, leisure offers (fitness club, table soccer), child care, free language trainings, health care or life insurance or pensions (especially UK)… But how can companies better reach potential talents and make such benefits more visible? To build an employer brand is a long term strategy that will take time. A first step is a more creative usage of a simple job posting. The posting is a direct contact point with potential candidates. Many companies still do not understand that they have also to apply for candidates and that it is not enough to post a job and pray for getting the right applicants. A posting should not be a simple text ad with a logo, it could be advertsing for the company showing real people, products, workspace and office. To apply and be ready to change a job is also a very emotional moment. You have to gain trust even to make the candidate send his application. Trust is based on transparency and positive emotions.

A scientific study of the Goethe-University of Frankfurt/Main (Germany) compared a plain text job posting (standard ad) with a designed job posting (employer branding ad) that includes multiple pictures, a company video, interactive elements and was structured like a website with a simple navigation. The study was based on a multi-method experiment design combining pre-survey, laboratory experiment including eyetracking and post-survey with 180 persons. The research was conducted with two groups, each 90 persons that have seen only one type of posting, the standard ad or the employer branding ad. Both ads were for the same position and company (midsize, no top 100 brand) and had the same text description. The participants had to answer the same questions before and after they have seen the specific posting (rating on five point Likert scale). They did all not know the company before the test.

The study had two main findings:

1.) The residence time on the employer branding posting was with 3.7 minutes nearly the double of the residence time on the standard positing (1.9 minutes).

2.) All image related evaluations shown a significant uplift after the participants have seen the employer branding posting, while there was no real change for the standard ad.

For example the company was rated as more likeable, more authentic, more reliable and even more successful (compared to the standard posting). While the first two are explainable through the pictures of employees and the company video, the last two are definitely a subjective impression. The results show that such a designed posting with company insight can bring a candidate in a very positive emotional mood. Finally another result was that the willingness to apply for a job at the specific company increases with an employer branding ad.

The employer branding job posting was created and invented in late 2012 by my team and me at Monster Worldwide Germany. It is including full compatibility also on mobile devices (responsive design). Still it is not used by enough companies. Some firms do not understand the need for such an approach, some are still afraid to create a transparent picture of their company. But it is an opportunity, not a risk, especially as the current Generations Y or Z expect more transparency and authenticity than past generations. In times of social media it is difficult to hide something for a company, on the other hand there might a lot positive to show if communicated proactively. The employer branding job posting is no universal remedy against too less applicants, but an interesting and important tool for recruiters, especially for companies with not well known brands.

Decoding the Manager DNA, Part 1: The Graves Value System.

17 Okt
17. Oktober 2013
Facebook Twitter Linkedin Delicious Email

Graves: Steps to explain the behavior of managers.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is often used to explain the motivation and thus essential behavior patterns of employees. Maslow’s theory assumes that human beings do not only respond to outside stimulation, but quest for self-realization. According to this theory human can evolve only if specific needs are satisfied. Motives are divided into five classes that build on one another and represent groups of needs. Only when the motive below is satisfied the next higher one can be activated. Often Maslow’s model is criticized as a too general approach in consideration of multiple different needs. The end point of Maslow’s pyramid is also the end of human development, which is rated as too narrow and inflexible.
Claire W. Graves follows the existing criticism on Maslow’s model and develops a much more sophisticated model. It is referred to as „Emergent Cyclic Levels of Existence Theory“ or simply as Graves‘ value system. Graves came to the conclusion that the top three needs are satisfied in different ways, depending on the value system of a person and his social environment. According to Graves‘ development model of organizations and individuals certain value ​​systems have evolved in response to the human conditions of existence. His value system is divided into eight levels that build evolutionary on each other and are non-hierarchical: The development to the next level is not linear, but due to many different influences in a way spiral. Graves’ model provides insights into the motivational structure of individuals. It creates a view on the influence of changing situational factors on the development of people organizations.

In every single evolutionary level of the model there is one specific type within the community that represents a specific need or motive associated with a value proposition. The needs are divided into eight value systems, alternating individual- oriented and group-oriented values ​​classes.
The model provides a good base to explain the motivation of managers and thus a substantial part of their behavior in organizations. It is a helpful starting point to create hypotheses why some managers are successful and others fail.

Die Entschlüsselung der Manager DNA, Teil 1: Das Graves-Value-System.

13 Okt
13. Oktober 2013
Facebook Twitter Linkedin Delicious Email

Graves: Stufen zur Erklärung der Motivation von Managern.

Die Bedürfnispyramide von Maslow wird oftmals herangezogen, um die Motivation und damit wesentliche Verhaltensmuster von Mitarbeitern zu erklären. Maslows Theorie geht davon aus, dass der Mensch nicht nur auf äußere Anreize reagiert, sondern nach Selbstverwirklichung strebt. Die Theorie unterstellt, der Mensch könne sich nur weiterentwickeln, wenn bestimmte Bedürfnisse befriedigt sind. Motive werden in fünf Klassen eingeteilt, die hierarchisch aufeinander aufbauen und für Gruppen von Bedürfnissen stehen. Das nächste höhere Motiv kann nur aktiviert werden, wenn das darunter liegende befriedigt ist. Oftmals wird der generalistische Ansatz von Maslows Modell bemängelt, der aufgrund der vielen differenzierten Bedürfnisse fraglich erscheint. Der Endpunkt der Pyramide ist nach Maslow auch das Ende der Entwicklung des Menschen, was als zu eng und unflexibel eingestuft wird

Claire W. Graves setzt an der bestehenden Kritik am Maslow-Modell an und entwickelt dabei ein wesentlich differenzierteres Modell. Dieses wird als „zyklisch auftauchende Ebenen der Existenztheorie“ oder auch kurz als Graves-Value-System bezeichnet. Graves kam zu dem Schluss, dass die obersten drei Bedürfnisse, je nach dem Wertesystem eines Menschen und seiner sozialen Umgebung, unterschiedlich befriedigt werden. Das Entwicklungsmodell von Organisationen und Personen nach Graves besagt, dass sich bestimmte Wertesysteme als Reaktion auf die menschlichen Existenzbedingungen entwickelt haben. Es wird in acht Entwicklungsstufen unterteilt, die evolutionär und nicht hierarchisch aufeinander aufbauen: Dabei erfolgt die Entwicklung zur nächsten Stufe nicht linear, sondern aufgrund der vielen unterschiedlichen Einflüsse quasi spiralförmig. Das Modell von Graves gibt Aufschlüsse zur Motivationsstruktur von Individuen und wie die Entwicklung von Menschen und Gemeinschaften unter sich verändernden situativen Einflüssen verlaufen kann.

In Graves einzelnen Evolutionsstufen repräsentiert jeweils ein Typus innerhalb der Gemeinschaft ein ganz bestimmtes Bedürfnis bzw. Motiv, das in Verbindung mit einer Wertvorstellung steht. Die Bedürfnisse werden durch acht Wertesysteme dargestellt, wobei sich individuumsorientierte und gruppenorientierte Werteklassen abwechseln.

Das Modell bietet eine gute Grundlage, um die Motivation von Managern (im Sinne von Führungskräften) und damit einen wesentlichen Teil deren Verhaltens in Organisationen zu erklären und Hypothesen aufzuzeigen, warum manche erfolgreicher sind und andere scheitern.

© Copyright - Acadessa - Imprint