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Human Resources a Whole New Game with Virtual Environments - Part 3

Posted By Eric Vidal, Wednesday, May 23, 2012
In my final post on the impact of virtual environments on HR, I’ll cover changes in employee training and education. Thanks to virtual environments, it’s finally possible to maintain an ever up-to-date workforce, even as industry-wide changes occur.

By creating a virtual learning environment with easy access to content, experts, and fellow peers, you take employees out of their normal work environments and set them in a more comfortable learning space. Moreover, you offer a meeting space which is more convenient than the fixed location of a traditional classroom.                

One benefit of creating a virtual learning environment was demonstrated by a University of California-Berkeley professor who had a class that met Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. On Mondays and Wednesdays, attendance in the lecture-style class averaged around 100 students. But on Fridays, attendance would drop to just 20 students.              

To see if he could regain just a few students from the lure of an early weekend, he created a virtual environment and offered the Friday class online. Attendance quickly went back up to the levels reached on the other days. And, as an added bonus, the number of questions asked during the class also increased. In person, students asked about 4-5 questions while online, 40-50 questions would come in the same time period. This again demonstrates that people feel more at ease asking questions when they can remain anonymous, or at least are not face-to-face with their peers.

Another good example is a large technology company that was able to educate 2,000 partners spread across 81 different countries using a virtual environment. Had they tried to do this in the physical world, the barriers would’ve been astronomical. The cost of travel (and personnel being out of the office) alone would have been exorbitant. The time factor to reach those partners country-by-country (or region-by-region) would have greatly slowed the process down as well.

Instead, they used a virtual environment that included information in seven languages and chat translations for 50 languages, all available to everyone at the same time. The program was completed quickly, and the company was able to gather data on usage that will help them make it even better as time goes on.

HR stands apart within an organization. The department interacts closely and regularly with everyone from temps to the executive level. Virtual environments can make those interactions simpler and better, by connecting people in innovative ways and offering content both educational and informative.


Eric Vidal is the Director of Product Marketing for the Event Services Business Segment at InterCall, the world’s largest conferencing and collaboration services provider. He can be reached at

Tags:  HR challenges  HRM  HRPS  human resources management  human resources planning  virtual environments 

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Flexible Work Schedules and Work-Life Balance

Posted By HRPS Headquarters, Thursday, May 03, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, May 02, 2012

With company structure changing so much in the United States and workers’ needs for flexible schedules, one company envisioned a new way of monitoring time and managing more easily. FlexTime is an Irish company trading internationally and is expanding their techniques to the US. They implement VisionTime, a software & hardware solution that they designed for managing flexible and "shift" working arrangements. To provide maximum employee accessibility to record time, VisionTime utilizes the latest technology, e.g. time terminals (RFID & biometrics), mobile phones, PCs, tablets, and TVs. 

Some of their customers use the VisionTime system to underpin an improved work-life balance for employees. For others, because of the nature of their work, they see VisionTime as a huge asset in managing their fixed hours and staff schedules. 

Managers have an enhanced workplace control, a particularly vital consideration in these challenging economic times. On the Flextime website, learn how all of this is done in a modern way; how it reduces absenteeism, overtime and staff turnover. More here. 

According to the FlexTime, companies can improve job control and employee well-being with a little flexibility. They conducted research that revealed two key findings:

  1. Flexible working offers the employee a greater control over his/her job 
  2. Employees respond favorably if provided with a greater control over their jobs
Learn more in this article by Ciaran Rowsome, CEO at FlexTime Limited. Rowsome discusses the benefits of flextime for employee health and the overall well-being of the company. He says:

Computers, the Internet, smartphones and more: The world has changed, and the workday is changing right along with it, encouraging organizations to reconsider how working time should be utilized and managed.  There is now a winning combination. On the staff side, new working time arrangements bring a personalized job control leading to reduced absenteeism & job turnover. Meanwhile management can see that these technology advances can also bring corresponding workplace controls – not envisaged even 5 years ago.   

As we appreciate that introducing such new arrangements and technology requires workplace change, many organizations utilize our trial system, to first see how it can work out.   

Is your company currently employing a flexible work schedule? If yes, is it working well? If no, are you considering moving in that direction?  

Tags:  flexible work environment  HR challenges  HR planning  HRM  HRPS  human capital management  human resources management  human resources planning 

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The Talent Wars: Featuring HRPS Board Member Peter Cappelli

Posted By HRPS Headquarters, Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, April 25, 2012

As the center of the global economy shifts to Asia, companies are vying for the best managers to drive and grow their business. A shortage of global executive talent is hitting crisis proportions. How to develop and manage the world's best people for economic success--that's the challenge.

Peter Cappelli, HRPS Board member and George W. Taylor Professor of Management at The Wharton School and Director of Wharton’s Center for Human Resource, participates in this Bloomberg Singapore Sessions round-table discussion with prominent industry experts on topics related to leadership and executive development in Asia and Asian business schools.

Hear the latest on The Talent Wars, featuring Peter Cappelli:

(Source: Bloomberg)

Tags:  executive development  HR challenges  HRM  HRPS  human capital management  human resources management  talent management 

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Leading: Some Things Don't Change

Posted By Erika Andersen, CEO, Proteus International, Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to facilitate a conversation about ‘21st century leadership’ at GE. The group was made up of a few senior GE executives plus a handful of wonderful, world-class thought leaders; Doris Kearns Goodwin and Vijay Govindarajan, among others.

Most of those present agreed that many of the core qualities we look for and respect in leaders haven’t changed much over the decades and centuries – and probably won’t change even as we continue to move into this new century.  In fact, the group agreed that the only real shifts they anticipated in what will be required of leaders are the ability to think truly globally, and the capacity to lead through continuous and substantive change.

Ms. Goodwin, in particular, noted the constancy in our assessment of good leadership: she felt that her biography of Lincoln was so popular partly because Lincoln occupies such an important place in our nation’s history – but also partly because he demonstrated key, timeless leadership attributes.

Since our Leading model is based on precisely this premise, I wasn’t at all surprised. But it was great to have our observations and conclusions supported by such an august group! 

We’ve all seen this phenomenon (especially as HR professionals): a situation where the ‘appointed leader’ is not the ‘accepted leader’; where the person with the title is not the person people look to for key decisions or wise counsel, not the person they trust in difficult times.

Think about it this way: throughout most of human history, choosing one’s leader was a life and death decision. Choose badly, and you and your family were much more likely to starve to death, or be overrun by invading enemy hordes.  Having the capacity to choose good leaders was a powerful group and individual survival mechanism.  And even though our decisions about the leaders we follow may not be so critical today, tens of thousands of years of evolution doesn’t evaporate in a few generations. The attributes we’re wired to look for in leaders before we will fully accept them and ‘sign up’ to follow and support them haven’t really changed.

I’m thrilled to have been asked to speak on this topic at the upcoming HRPS Global  Conference. I’m so looking forward to sharing these timeless leader attributes with you, talking about how to encourage the leaders in your organization to become more ‘followable’ – and helping you think about how to develop these attributes in yourself, as well. See you in New York!

Erika Andersen is the founding partner of Proteus International, a consulting and training firm that focuses on leader readiness. She serves as coach and advisor to the senior executives of such companies as GE, Time Warner Cable, TJX, NBC Universal and Union Square Hospitality Group. Andersen is the author of Growing Great Employees: Turning Ordinary People into Extraordinary Performers (Portfolio, 2006), Being Strategic: Plan for Success; Outthink Your Competitors; Stay Ahead of Change (St. Martin’s Press, May 2009), Leading So People Will Follow (Jossey-Bass, October 2012), and the author and host of Being Strategic with Erika Andersen on Public Television. Erika blogs at and at

Tags:  executive development  HR challenges  HR planning  HRM  HRPS  HRPS Global Conference  human resources management  human resources planning  leadership development 

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Human Resources a Whole New Game with Virtual Environments - Part Two

Posted By Eric Vidal, Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Human resources is undergoing some big changes thanks to virtual environments. In my previous post, I introduced this concept and wrote about some of the general ways HR has evolved. This time, we’ll take a closer look at how virtual environments are changing one of HR’s most important responsibilities:  recruiting.  

James Gilliam of says that the HR virtual environment is a "game changer.” He believes that being able to connect with worldwide audiences at any time allows organizations to move beyond the limitations of time and place more easily as well as "wow” prospective employees like never before.    

While the Internet makes company information and reviews readily available, virtual environments allow HR to elevate brand impressions while still vetting candidates thoroughly. For example, multimedia presentations embedded in a website featuring employee testimonials and words from the company president can serve to entice prospective candidates.  

But perhaps most importantly, with a physical job fair, when it’s over it’s over. Whereas a virtual job fair can remain open as long as the organization chooses. Visitors can still collect information and ask questions, greatly extending the value of resources invested in its creation. This makes a virtual job fair not only more cost effective, but also capable of reaching far greater numbers than a traditional one. 

Virtual career fairs also make it simple for organizers to collect detailed information on attendees’ behaviors. HR professionals can learn what was interesting to candidates and which links and resources were most popular, but also find out what information was lacking, so they can make improvements for future events.    

The bottom line is that virtual events can reach more interested candidates for a fraction of the costs associated with traditional job fairs, putting another advantage in the virtual environment column.    

Be sure to check back again next time as we wrap up our analysis of the impact of virtual environments on HR. This time, we’ll address changes in employee training and education.

Eric Vidal is the Director of Product Marketing for the Event Services Business Segment at InterCall, the world’s largest conferencing and collaboration services provider. He can be reached at

Tags:  HR challenges  HR planning  HR planning.  HRM  HRPS  human resources management  human resources planning  virtual environments 

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