Sweden: Female CEOs run companies with lower profit margins

Företagarna’s CEO Elisabeth Thand Ringqvist

“Companies headed by a female CEO have a lower profit margin on average than companies headed by a male CEO, according to a report by the national small business association Företagarna. The business association Företagarna has reviewed 125,000 Swedish business and found that companies with a female CEO had a profit margin of 7 percent on average, whereas the same number for male CEOs was 8.4 percent.” (Radio Sweden)

As surprising as this result might be for some, so predictable is some of the rationale: “The difference may also reflect how different men and women are treated in business negotations.”

I am curious if and how this will be discussed within the HR community.

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Speaker Interview: World Class Social Recruiting &Talent Relationships

Event Recommendation

World Class Social Recruiting & Talent Relationships 2014 in Frankfurt on April 9th – 10th

WCSRTR14

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Reblogged: IntraWorlds’ 5 Fragen an Tim Ackermann

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5 Fragen an Tim Ackermann, Senior Director Talent Acquisition bei PAREXEL

Von Lea-Sophie Samland am 05.02.2014 um 09:18 | Employer Branding

Tim Ackermann, Senior Director Talent Acquisition bei PAREXEL International GmbH, durfte ich auf dem World Talent Forum 2013 kennenlernen – heute steht er mir Rede und Antwort rund um die Themen Arbeitgebermarke, Generation Y und moderne Recruiting-Prozesse!

 

Inwiefern hat die Bedeutung einer starken Arbeitgebermarke in den letzten Jahren zugenommen?

Durch Wertewandel und technologische Entwicklung wird die Arbeitgebermarke für die effiziente und effektive Zielgruppenansprache immer wichtiger.

Wertewandel: GenY und folgende möchten mehr als vorhergehende Generationen für ‚coole‘ Unternehmen arbeiten. Auch hat hier das Thema Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) als Teil von ‚cool‘ einen höheren Stellenwert, aber das kann man auch als gesamtgesellschaftliche Entwicklung interpretieren.

Technologie: Zunehmende Komplexität, Allgegenwart, Geschwindigkeit und das soziale Element technologischer Entwicklungen machen Aspekte wie Markenbotschaftertum und Goodwill unverzichtbar. Das funktioniert naturgemäß nur mit einer starken und authentischen Marke.

Darüberhinaus gibt es auch ein selbstreferenzierendes Element: weil viele ihre Arbeitgebermarke noch nicht managen, habe ich einen Wettbewerbsvorteil gegenüber denjenigen, die ihre Hände in den Schoß legen.

Wie sieht die optimale Positionierung von Unternehmen gegenüber der Generation Y aus?

Darüber wurde in vielen Blogs schon viel und meiner Meinung nach genug geschrieben. Die Arbeitgebermarke sollte ja hoffentlich unverwechselbar und zum Unternehmen passend sein. Daher ist das wichtigste und für alle gültige GenY-Attribut der Arbeitgebermarke Authentizität. Wenn sich eine konservative Bank als hip darstellt oder die KFZ-Azubis am Fließband rappen, kann man das in Neudeutsch nur als #epicfail beschreiben. Die Kommentare zu den einschlägigen YouTube-Videos sprechen da auch eine deutliche Sprache.

Selbstbewusst, optimistisch und hoch motiviert oder verwöhnt, spaßorientiert und an flachen Hierarchien interessiert – wie hast du die Generation Y jenseits aller gängigen Definitionen kennengelernt?

Ja, genau so. Aber auch gut ausgebildet und neugierig. Mir ist hierbei ein anderer Aspekt wichtig. Mittlerweile erscheint es mir und einigen meiner Peers so, dass der Hype um GenY einfach zu groß wird. Zahlenmäßig ist diese Generation relativ klein, die älteren bleiben länger im Berufsleben, es ist also wichtig, auch woanders hinzuschauen. Nicht nur das Thema „Multigenerationenunternehmen“ kommt hier ins Spiel sondern beispielsweise auch die Erschließung eher unorthodoxer Zielgruppen. Erste Unternehmen stellen bspw. Azubis 40+ ein. Abgesehen davon handelt es sich bei der GenY in der Ausprägung, wie sie hier diskutiert wird, um ein spezifisches Phänomen der westlichen Hemisphäre– Globalisierung scheint in dieser Disksussion irgendwie aus dem Blickwinkel zu geraten.

Außerdem ist der momentane Fokus meiner Meinung nach zu sehr darauf gerichtet, wie sich Unternehmen sexy für die GenY machen können. Mit der Employability der GenY ist es aber in vielen Bereichen auch nicht weit her. Man sollte also auch schauen, wie man die ‚Trophy Generation‘ für die Realitäten der Arbeitswelt fit macht. Und mal ganz ehrlich: neu ist das alles nicht. Jede Generation in dem Alter war idealistisch. Die meisten Werte der GenY finden sich bspw. bei den Hippies und den Romantikern des 18./19. Jahrhunderts. Und heute wird den Ex-Hippies gesagt, dass sie sich neu auf Menschen einstellen sollen, die Ideale und Werte vertreten, die sie selber vertraten als sie jung waren. Also bitte etwas tiefer hängen…

In welchem Umfang und vor allen in welchen Bereichen musste der Recruiting-Prozess hinsichtlich dieser Zielgruppe in den letzten Jahren optimiert werden?

Der Umfang hängt davon ab, wo man steht. Geschwindigkeit und Indidvidualisierung sind in der Prozessoptimierung sicher wichtiger denn je. Weiter ausgebaut werden muß die Bildung und Nutzung von Talent Pools und von social referrals.

Inwiefern denkst du wird sich das Recruiting in den nächsten Jahren, in Bezug auf die sich dem Arbeitsmarkt nähernde Generation Z, wieder verändern müssen?

Siehe meine vorletzte Antwort. Nicht neues aber wahrscheinlich GenY². Indiz hierfür ist, dass bspw. die „Einbindung der Eltern“ – Stichwort ‚Helicopter Parents‘ – in Bewerbungsprozesse zunimmt. Selbst danach sind diese aber immer öfter dabei.

Vielen Dank, Tim!

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Social Media relevance for dummies

Need to explain why Social Media matters? A picture can say more than a thousand words.

St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, 2005

St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, 2005

St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, on March 13, 2013

St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, on March 13, 2013

Found on the NBCnews photoblog: Witnessing papal history changes with digital age

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The best employer branding campaign of all times #Google

Ok, it’s a catchy tagline, but really: this is one brilliant piece of employer branding (which almost no-one will be able to afford and therefore copy).

It’s entertaining, funny, provided by a third party rather than Google itself. One might consider it partly authentic – it’s still a Hollywood motion picture. But at least you see execs, employees and the workplace and Google will be hammered into your brain for at least 90 minutes. Difficult to resist :-)

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HR Trends. No.4: Gamification

While spending some time at HR conferences and listening to presentations about recruitment trends (including my own :-D) it was obvious that gamification is another major driver everyone is looking into. If you look for best practice examples in the market, most of them are built for recruitment. And they are games (not necessarily synonymously for ‘gamified’), e.g My Marriott Hotel:

Great integration of learning about possible job contents as well as potential assessment. I also like fliplife, as it offers corporations the chance to present themselves in a ‘relaxed’ third party environment.

The use of games for employer branding and recruitment seems logical, considering the developments in demography and technology. And it is also the most intentional one in the HR toolbox. But there should be more applications, corporate learning might be next to be gamified.

But let’s have a look into what gamification is at all to better understand where it will add value.

I talked to Roman Rackwitz, founder and CEO of engaginglab – I would also call him my personal gamification guru… Because I am lazy by nature I asked Roman to introduce engaginglab himself: “Engaginglab enriches ‘user behavior’ by implementing fun into activites. How? By using what is build into our DNA –> ‘Play’. Play is nature’s learning engine and so it touches our innerst habits. Engaginglab achieves that by showing a path to mastery and autonomy, by combining behavior psychology with game-design-thinking. We are reverse-engineering what makes games effective and graft it into a business environment.” Well, he is clearly not a friend of binary answers :-) Need more proof of that? Enjoy his answers below:

1. We know corporate games like L’Oréal’s Reveal or MyMarriott. Is that what gamification looks like?

Let’s look at the official definition of gamification: “…the use of game mechanics and game design techniques in non-game contexts.” So, from this point of view it is gamification because they use these games for a non-game-context, as to say: Recruitment.

2. How would you define gamification?

Taking your first question into consideration I distinguish between two conditions:
If you take a problem related to real life and put it into a classic game like MyMarriott or Reveal, than I call it “serious game”. And the more social the problem, the more related to a huge community or even society, the more serious it is.

On the other side, if you want to get people engaged in real life activities and you think about games as a role model – because games can really be engaging, right? – than you use game design thinking and put game elements at these real life activities. It is the other way round than serious games. And in my opinion this is gamification.

If gamification is done well you never think about playing a game. Yes, you feel challenged, engaged, focused and involved into your activity the same way you feel it when playing a game. But you would never characterize it as one.

3. Most people think of gamification in recruiting. Where else could gamification be applied in an HR context?

For HR I believe that gamification can be applied for the whole employee-life cycle.

  • Attraction: For example by using gamified crowdsourcing activities, open-source projects or – like mentioned above – even serious games to increase the brand awareness and so also its attractivity as an interesting potential employer.
  • Recruitment: For example by using game-elements to get people to solve different problems and challenges that help the HR-department to find the right people for the right job.
  • Expectancy: For example, by using a game-like environment like simulations that let new employees learn the company’s processes without the risk of failure. At the same time the employer could use these simulations to get some new approaches to solve an old problem.
  • Development/Education: For example by using game-elements like clear goals, rules, missions and challenges that help old and new employees to find their own ‘path to mastery’. This way people know better what is being expected from them , what are possible ways to do so and where to start.
  • Knowledgemanagement/Collaboration: For example by using (almost) real-time feedback as we know it from board- and onlinegames to provide fast and individual guidance through complex and abstract work processes. Such a ‘feedback-loop’ combined with goals, rules, missions and challenges enhances people to collaborate and to share knowledge in order to achieve a common goal.

Looking at gamification for the HR-Department from a meta level experienced that it supports also to create a transformational leadership inside a company rather than a transactional leadership. We still have to wait for longterm results (Gamification is a young discipline) but this already indicates a more effective way to hire the right people, to benefit employee satisfaction and to decrease workforce fluctuation.

4. What would you call best practices?

Great examples for different sectors are:

  • Serious games: Fold.it In 2011, players of Foldit helped to decipher the crystal structure of an AIDS-causing monkey virus. While the puzzle was available to play for a period of three weeks, players produced an accurate 3D model of the enzyme in just ten days. The problem of how to configure the structure of the enzyme had stumped scientists for 15 years.
  • Gamification in CRM: Nitro for salesforce. It engages and motivates sales teams by adding challenges, points, levels, status, achievements, and rewards.
  • Gamification in Education: Duolingo  & Codecadamy
  • Gamification in Finance: Playmoolah (for kids), Payoff , SaveUp, Mint
  • Gamification in  Health: Contrex, Piano stairs, Sex for health, HealthMonth, S2H
  • Gamification in Innovation: Starbucks, Innocentive 
  • Gamification in Production: Siemens (simulation)
  • Marketing&Branding: SAP
  • Gamification in Projectmanagement: Propstoyou , RedCritter

5. Which cool stuff will we see in 2013?

Gamifcation needs the possibility to interact with its users to provide real-time data & feedback within the activities. The development of new technologies like ‘augmented reality’ and gadgets will enhance agencies and providers to create more intuitive and individual programs. Tools like Google glasses will create huge opportunities for gamification companies to develop new applications. This video “Sight” shows its possibilities. Even if the movie focuses rather on the risks of bad gamification than its positive potentials, it is a good insight of what could be possible in the future.

I think that in 2013 we will have an increased awareness and some great examples of how to build processes that take human behavior more into consideration. The number of companies implementing gamified processes in Europe will double and by 2015 more than 50 percent of organizations that manage innovation processes will gamify those processes.

6. Some businesses think that gamification means to let their employees play games at work. What do you tell them?

Unfortunately the term gamification is a little bit misleading but now we have to stick to it. Gamification is not about creating games but about reverse-engineering what makes games so effective and graft it into a business environment. Games are awesome at creating engagement, focus, and involvement for its users. While playing a game we are more concentrated, open to changes, more open to solve problems, and to tackle challenges. We are more collaborative, goal orientated, less risk-averse and it is not demotivating if we fail. Imagine you would have a workforce like this within your company.
So, gamification uses game-design-thinking combined with the upcoming science of behavior- and motivational psychology to re-design work processes to engage employees in a deeper way.

7. Why is Gamification especially for HR such a ‘hot’ subject?

The last century proved that services and products that are implementing social aspects are often better prepared than those without. And it is obvious, right? We are social and so products/services should adopt this fact to become more intuitive for us. And of course we use new technologies to make this happen. Od do you say: “Hey, we humans should adjust ourselves to technology.”? No. It doesn’t make sense this way.

And I think that we are experiencing something similar with Gamification and HR. Since the beginning of the industrial revolution we thought about how to make everything more efficient. How to make everything faster and bigger or even smaller. It was a question about technology. A question about equipment and units. It was about technical-design and no one thought about the consequences for the employees. They just had to get comfortable with that or leave.

But time changed and now and globalisation and other developments created an unbelievable demand for tasks that depend totally just on human performance. Research, creativity, innovation, complex problem solving, and so on. It changed from a question about pure technology to a question about human-centred-activities. So, after decades of technical improvements we are looking for ways how we can create an environment that enhances us humans. And it makes sense to look at Evolution and how it manged to get us this far. And I think that one of its secret was the possibility to let us perform on a higher level of engagement while playing around. But of course we can’t say: “Ok, let’s play some games at work.” And here starts the idea behind Gamification: “Reverse-engineering what makes games effective and graft it into a business environment.”

HR (at its best) is the development department for the most valuable asset of a company, and Gamification their instrument for fine tuning.

So way to go for HR. Let the games begin!

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