“What should the HR function of a modern organisation be actually doing?”

Getting used to a changing world is not always easy. Especially if it’s one that’s changing every single day under the influence of technology. With artificially intelligent tools making work more agile, and better managed, a lot of us wonder fearfully if technology will find a way to replace us. Admittedly, while some jobs will become redundant as technology progresses, it will create a scope for something rather amazing – evolution. If you think about it, this Digital Revolution has indeed replaced feudal administrative processes with ones that are radical, easy to understand and use as well as effective. 

Moving away from the past


Take for example the HR function in your organization. Sometimes referred to as “the last stronghold of feudal administrative procedures,” it isn’t what we thought it to be. If anything, they’re the ones who have collaborated remarkably with technology to use data as well as AI to not just hire the best candidates, but to retain them, engage them and integrate the best of human capabilities with digital innovations. 

Now while that does sound rather impressive to the uninitiated, it also means that technology and tools are quite efficiently taking over tasks that came with the traditional HR role. But doesn’t indicate redundancy of any sort. What it does indicate is that HR is about to undergo a massive change to be better aligned with practices that define the future of work. At the end of the day, a modern HR department, no longer stuck in conference rooms, has more to do than their traditional counterparts.


Changes the future holds


1200 HR professionals from 64 countries participated in a survey conducted by KPMG last year. Eventually, it revealed that while some young, dynamic HR professionals are learning to use analytics, digital labor and AI to their advantage, a lot still remain unsure and intimidated by these massive changes. While those keeping up tend to thrive and flourish, the rest fall back. 

As HR keeps undergoing changes, so do their functions and roles as well as how they impact the organization. 


Strategic roles to help you win


Responsible for helping take decisions related to talent management, performance management, training, employee experience, keeping you up to date with trends and more, CHROs of the present have a lot more to for than focus on daily HR activities. By being involved in leadership guidance, they are the ones who can help organizations move seamlessly from traditional to new structures.


Humans meets digital


With information technology (IT), predictive analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning in HR processes playing the roles of catalysts in an organization’s success, it is well known that HR functions who shy away from technology take longer to meet their goals.

By hiring employees who can aid the organization use the right technology, HR functions are paving the way for a rather impressive human and digital integration. While automation aids improve voluminous, repetitive processes, human capabilities make room for better management ensuring greater efficiency and performance.


Employee engagement in the limelight


While engaged employees means productive employees, we all know that quite a few organizations struggle to get it right. But organizations that do, succeed rather easily.

So with a sudden focus on employees, HR technologies aim to create excellent employee experiences. After all, without the right employees, there is no right culture. With five generations working together in a workscape that’s constantly changing, the demand for talent is getting fiercer. So unless the right talent can be motivated to be retained, they might just leave.

Engagement, if you think about it, is inherently human in nature. Sure, technology can make filling all those forms easier, but without the right HR function, taking care of employee well-being becomes a challenge.

OKRs in the changing world of work

It is pretty well known that OKRs aim to achieve transparency and communicate better, be agile, measure performances, and promote accountability. Things that lead to the inevitable success of your company. Much like other popular management tools and frameworks. And to be honest, the way I look at it might startle you a bit. At the end of the day, not too many can claim “Any management framework when adapted well, works well!” 

Thanks to the changing landscape of work in recent times, a lot of trends and tools are becoming popular. With KRAs, MBOs. Score Cards and more being used on a daily basis as management tools and strategies, it is very important to keep in mind that one size does not indeed fit all. 

Yes, OKRs do mean increased productivity. But have you ever considered that they also mean more regular reviews and careful data analysis? So unless you have a versatile team that can support you, getting OKRs to work well might prove to be a challenge. 


Starting from the beginning


It was in the late 90s that OKRs made their way into Google. Just a start-up back then, this radical management strategy process developed by Andy Grove, co-founder of Intel, was introduced to them by a former Intel employee, John Doerr. Defined as a method of not just setting goals, but achieving them too, unlike previously popular processes, it boasted of a simpler structure, the ability to help individuals and teams set and track goals and eventually measure their successes. With the years, this simple strategy became one of Google’s most talked-about reasons for success. 


So what are OKRs? 


For most, Objectives and Key Results are a miraculous strategy that can be linked to some of the most successful companies in the world like Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, Uber, Spotify and more. While a process that can claim responsibility for such success can come across as intimidating, what it is in reality is rather simple. 

OKRs are simply a collaborative tool that allows teams to set goals, track them and even measure success as they get closer to their expected results. OKRs also aid individuals, teams and companies create alignment around measurable goals. 

Are there any key principles to keep in mind going forward? 


Like most goal-management tools, there are several key principles to keep in mind when it comes to OKRs. 


  • Keep it simple 


With simplicity and agility being important features, adapting to changing times becomes easier with the help of OKRs. Additionally, simpler processes are easier to understand and implement which play a huge role in better communication as well as productivity. 


  • Transparency for the win


Thanks to its public nature, OKRs are considered to be rather transparent. And this transparency in turn helps employees stay aligned with the company’s objectives. 


  • Directional matters 


Being bidirectional in nature, it is a well known fact that OKRs don’t cascade from the top. What usually happens is that once the strategic OKRs are set,  employees can build tactical ones that align with the strategic ones seamlessly, making goals easier to understand and measure. 


  • Collaboration camaraderie 


By helping every employee understand the strategic impact of their role in a company, OKRs undeniably encourage collaborations. Starting with strategic planning and ending with working towards a common goal, robust OKRs ensure that successes aren’t reliant on only one individual. 

A few things to keep in mind: 


Apart from the principles, there are a trick or few that can help you up your OKR game in little to no time. 


  • 100% usually means you need to work harder 


It is normal for an organization to achieve up to 70% of their OKRs. If your organization has achieved 100%, it is time to rethink your goals. 


  • There’s no room for employee evaluation


While OKRs do. Help you track the expected and the delivered, it does not mean that failing to achieve ambitious OKRs will impact your employee in any way. However, a fear of failing might just stop them from being ambitious enough. 


  • Team spirit matters more than you think


If there are people on your team who are shying away from OKRs, chances are, the process will not be successful. Unless the whole company is on board, and in sync that setting, tracking and measuring goals become a cinch. 

In my opinion, to make an OKR process work for you, you need to be informed and you need to be patient. It is with access to the right information that you can educate yourself to take the right decision about implementing OKRs. It is with information that you also figure that having a tool dedicated just to OKRs makes quite an unwelcome dent on finances. But what about patience? Well, with patience comes the technical understanding that all employees need to make the process work. You see, it is only when you become familiar with the process that you’ll learn to customise it to your success.

Do you know what matters most to employees at the workplace today?

One of the biggest signs of the changing times is the fact that a majority of all workforces around the world have more millennials and centennials working in them than anyone else. Initially, many people were of the opinion that the younger workforce would be rather difficult to understand. However, unlike the older generations who struggle to adapt to technology, the younger ones are armed with not just the ability to understand it but they also use it to their advantage! 

Allow me to tell you all about my team at Dockabl. Always smiling, cheery and full of life, in all the years of working with them, it takes me time to remember instances of them turning down a task or even responding with a frown. However, it isn’t just their hard work that impresses me. It is the fact that they’re always up to learn something new. And I am not just talking about tools.

To a millennial, learning on the job is as normal as normal can be. At the end of the day, if you aren’t prepared to adapt to changes, you’ll never soar. From what I see, learning at work doesn’t just help a young employee master skills and grow professionally. It also helps them be more aware of the challenges in the industry, the importance of sharing this awareness, and what they can do to be a part of this change they so desperately want to see. 

For many, the way towards bringing about this change was realising something rather simple. The fact that there’s more to a great job than a hefty paycheck. In a world that is constantly striving to be more ethical and empathetic, money matters, but some other things do too. 

Not sure what? Let me briefly introduce you to some things that young employees identify to be critical at work. 

Respect: Being respected by the manager helps employees realise that a workplace does indeed treat everyone fairly. Additionally, when an employee feels respected, they want to ensure that they do little to make you complain. 

Fair Compensation: Compensation helps an employee understand that they are cared for by the company. When an employee is compensated adequately, they ensure that they live up to the company’s expectations. 

Recognition: Doing a job well enough stops mattering in the long run if no one appreciates it. Sure there’s a thrill that comes with every successful project, but it’s only with applause or appreciation that dopamine kicks in. And when you think about it, it’s that little spark that urges you to do better! 

Trust: When employees can trust a team they work with, not only do they try harder to keep the camaraderie alive, they also care and support each other. Transparency and good communication ensure that misunderstandings stay at a bare minimum.

Flexibility: One of the most important signs of a great workplace these days is flexibility. Gone are the days when being stuck at an office desk was a part of your job. Now, employers believe in trusting employees and giving them the freedom to manage time and maintain a great work-life balance. It is only with this trust that employees become accountable for their actions and even time. 

Leadership: Bad managers are often unable to understand what makes their employees special or what they want, making space for bad decisions. A good manager not only takes the time to get to know their employees, they also encourage them to pursue their interests in order to achieve their individual goals. 

Culture: In a world that is increasingly aware of being ethical, employees want to be a part of a culture that is safe, trustworthy and secure. At the end of the day, being aware also means being responsible and indulging in a company’s toxic culture is not a great sign of responsibility. 

Learning and development: With new tools and technologies being introduced on a daily basis, learning on the job becomes essential. What makes learning really special is if the organization doesn’t just support but also promotes learning. This encourages employees to participate in courses and improve their skills. 

Autonomy: By not giving an employee the freedom to use their skills, you end up making them lackadaisical. But when an employee is trusted to make decisions, they realise their responsibilities and try to become more accountable for their actions. 

Security: Very few things indicate security like financial stability. Young employees may get the reputation of being job hoppers, this usually stems from unreliable environments and the inability of the organization to chart out a clear road-map for their employees. This uncertainty is what causes the really impressive ones to change organizations.

In a rapidly changing world, the way we take care of our employees is also changing. While some think the change is quite a hard one to deal with, I believe it’s just about being empathetic and using the right tools.

Annual reviews are done, and here’s the way ahead

This new year, by now, has already promised to be a rather eventful one at work. As we move between brainstorming sessions, pitches and meeting targets, we also strive to learn as much as possible to keep up with the technology-led changes that evolve more and more with each passing day! But if you ask me, that’s not all on my mind when it comes to work. While I go about doing my routine chores at work, my mind keeps wandering to things like my annual bonuses and promotion and inevitably the annual appraisal. 


Traditional trouble


While I am looking forward to it this year, things haven’t quite been this way. I am sure quite a few of you know how dreadful traditional annual reviews can be. In a world that is evolving every single day thanks to technology, the fallacies of annual reviews as we have known them stand out rather starkly. By just focusing on just a few recent months, earlier achievements remain forgotten. Similarly, errors made only during the recent months come under scrutiny, which weighs down on your morale. To be fair, compressing an entire year’s work into one presentation does have a tendency of making you feel insignificant. 

Additionally, its inherently boring nature makes space for human errors that rely on averages instead of actual data and following up on feedback is merely a part of the process. While it is easy to point out someone’s errors during the review, without follow-up feedback, it’s difficult to understand the improvement in an employee’s performance.

So at Dockabl we decided to change the way things work. We started by realising that eliminating an annual review altogether is not the brightest of ideas. With promotions and bonuses depending on them, their role in workspaces was far more important than a lot of people would like to admit to. So we decided to address something that most seem to complain about when it comes to reviews. Feedback. 


New thoughts on the Dock 


While feedback comes with every job, we noticed that thanks to the older style of reviews, the feedback process was rather flawed. Not only were managers unable to keep following up on the feedback provided at annual reviews, employees too had a hard time accepting constructive feedback as they almost always associated it with something negative. 

It is then that we figured that coming up with a process that simplified real-time feedback as well as time and resource management was imperative. 


Changing the future


By keeping in mind the changing nature of both workspaces and workspaces of the present time, we realised that real-time feedback plays a very important role. And so do efficiency, accuracy and clear communications. With millennials and centennials making up the majority of workforces these days, it is pertinent to make performance reviews interactive, personal and dynamic. So we built a tool that not only eases the tiresome process of performance reviews, but also helps you recognise an employee’s strengths and weaknesses and support them to evolve professionally. 


  • Tight timelines


Dockabl enables you to set up timelines for every single project which in turn allows you to track your teams performance and progress.


  • Real-time routines


Giving real-time feedback becomes a lot easier and so does following up with people about designated tasks.


  • Focused flexibility 


By being flexible and easily customisable, tracking, reviewing and rewarding an employee becomes almost effortless. 


  • Communication at your fingertips 


Ease of communication on the platform and the plug-ins eliminate chances of miscommunication and misunderstandings that otherwise could have impacted your team’s performance negatively.


  • Recognition on a screen 


With Dockabl, recognising your employees’ strengths and weaknesses become more accurate.

As we all know by now, the way we work is changing. And in an era of such tremendous technological advancements, it is important to remember that keeping up with the times can make a huge difference in your company’s overall performance. 

Struggling to keep your sales reps motivated? We can help!

As the months roll by, and chores pile up, excitement takes a back seat. As the saying goes, lots of work could make things rather dull. And that’s exactly what happens in offices as the year progresses. With tasks becoming mundane and monotonous, it isn’t surprising to feel the lack of motivation creeping in. You see, when it comes to keeping your team motivated and focused, you need to keep your thinking hat on all year long to figure out what encourages them best and what to do next. 

If you think this is quite overwhelming, you’ve come to the right place. And for starters, we have two words for you: sales incentives. You can’t take a shot at keeping your employees motivated without it. 

After getting a robust sales incentives structure in place, you can pick from various incentives to keep your team going. For the uninitiated, Special Performance Incentive Funds or SPIFs can be a foolproof way forward. 


Now, you must be wondering how hard it is to get the SPIFs right? What if we said it really isn’t? Allow us to explain. 


  • Know your goals 
  • Be wary of predictability 
  • Define tasks and timelines clearly 
  • Make the SPIFs easy to understand 
  • It’s important to remember to analyse the outcome 


Financial Incentives


Based on commissions and compensations, cash rewards, as the name suggests, deals with money matters outside compensation plans. With a specific monetary reward set in place, this encourages employees to focus on certain defined goals to achieve success. 


Non-monetary Incentives 


Non-cash rewards however try to imbibe creative prizes to define the incentives. With the scope to make employees feel appreciated in special and personalised ways, this option is a personal favourite.


Positive Incentives


Positive incentives come into play when assurances are provided for a Reps’ needs. Aimed at satiation psychological needs of employees, this includes recognition and perks that create a positive environment for a rep to thrive in. 


Negative Incentives


Incentives that aim to correct employee errors are usually referred to as negative incentives. By targeting mistakes and trying to rectify them effectively, it is sometimes used to give employees a jolt when positive incentives seem to fail. Demotions, transfers and other negative acts can create a psychological feeling of a setback that inspires employees to work harder. 


There’s more to motivation than incentives 


While incentives play a very important role in motivating employees, there is more to motivation than just incentives. Managers, team leaders and HRs must leverage all available resources to manage workforces effectively.


  • When employees are intrinsically motivated, they end up passionate about their jobs because of their own drive, while extrinsically motivated employees are inspired to perform better by a positive or negative incentive coming into play, compelling them to take some action.


  • If you think about it, a truly engaged employee is one who is intrinsically motivated. By actually loving what they do, they work hard to improve their skills and talents. Intrinsically motivated employees are always a boon for the organisation and a great addition to the team


  •  However, employees who rely on extrinsic motivation are not to be frowned upon. Since their productivity is defined by external factors, a good manager simply needs to identify the right stimulus to make sure that the team reaches their goal.


Thankfully, in recent times triggering motivation isn’t as hard as you think it is. By defining roles, setting goals, and elaborating on purpose, you can not only help employees be more aware of company goals, but also align with them by understanding how their contribution actually makes a difference. But that’s not all. Having all this in place without a recognition system in place isn’t advisable. 


Given that the times are changing and so are workplaces and workforces, traditional methods of incentives and motivation are undoing change as well. So how does one go about setting incentives that can actually motivate sales reps?


  • Build the right culture: Vague ethics and questionable work culture works wonders when it comes to demotivating employees. So it is critical to spend time in building a culture that engages the workforce. 


  • Recognition rules: While older generations thrived on bonuses, the younger generations that are rapidly becoming a large part of workforces care a lot about recognition, especially in large teams where someone’s contribution can easily be overlooked otherwise. Having a robust recognition policy can ensure dedicated effort from your employees.


  • Customisation is key: If you have spent the time getting to know your employees, you’ll know that one size literally doesn’t fit all. While some might appreciate financial rewards, others may prefer attending a workshop or a training session instead. Allowing space for customised incentives ensures that each individual the right stimulus to keep them going.


  • Care about the personal: Just because someone is good at a job, does not mean that they are intrinsically motivated. Hence, it is important for employers to know what is truly important to employees and support their personal causes to gain trust and sustain a good employee-organization relationship. 


At the end of the day, incentives are merely tools to motivate employees to work hard for a cause. If you choose to reward an employee for meeting deadlines and completing tasks, you’re doing it wrong. To sum it up, incentives help reps go the extra mile than sustain a steady flow of mediocre work. 

In workplaces that are currently being defined by millennials and the Gen Z, old, feudal approaches are known to fail. With ethics, purpose and meaningful work coming into the limelight as issues employees really care about, it is important for a good manager to constantly think of new ways of keeping employees motivated and engaged. When one spends so many hours at work, the least a good manager can do is make it enjoyable. So what’s your take on this?