Author Archives: Audrey Roth

Little’s Big Impact

By investing in employees, Zurich has seen increases in engagement levels and net promoter scores to boot.

By Debbie Bolla

Although his surname may mean diminutive, Brian Little has only done big things for Zurich North America. As head of human resources for the insurance provider, Little intrinsically understands the direct link between exceptional employees and satisfied customers. Striving to be “a company of choice for insurance in North America and globally” means focusing on what differentiates Zurich from competitors, and Little believes it’s how Zurich interacts with clients. That interaction is one of the main drivers behind his “Zurich Oxygen” initiative: a program that completely shifts how managers work at the insurance company.

Understanding the critical role managers play in supporting employees to be their best, Little developed Zurich Oxygen to help mold and improve the capabilities and people management skills of managers.

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2018 Resource Guide

A roundup of Baker’s Dozen winners within our annual guide.

By the Editors

HRO Today has been providing the industry with go-to service providers that help deliver human capital management for more than 10 years. Within the more than 1,200 companies featured in this year’s resource guide, there are nearly 75 providers that have most recently earned a Baker’s Dozen award. This ranking is based on client and customer satisfaction. There are six sectors that HRO Today conducts its Baker’s Dozen surveys around: Talent Management Technology; Relocation; Recognition; Managed Service Programs; Recruitment Process Outsourcing; and Background Screening.

The web-based customer satisfaction surveys rate providers on three indices: breadth of service, size of deal, and quality of service. In order to have a sufficient amount of data to analyze, each ranking requires at least 10 surveys. Each year, thousands of HR and leadership-level executives participate in our Baker’s Dozen surveys.

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More Than One-and-Done

Five ways organizations can get the most from their employee assessments.

By Tom Schoenfelder

Do psychometrics really work with regards to hiring and development? After all, people are the most valuable asset in an organization, so it makes sense to explore all avenues for hiring the best talent. When considering personality tests and other tools like aptitude and reasoning assessments for that purpose, organizations are looking to gain a competitive advantage, but they don’t want to waste money.

However, companies may be asking the wrong question. They shouldn’t be wondering whether or not psychometric instruments work; they should be exploring if they are using psychometric instruments correctly.

Consider this: The majority of organizations are leveraging validated instruments from leading assessment companies—not some dollar-store questionnaire or a free phone app.

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Gaining Momentum

Recent research shows that both advanced and developing economies see growth and added jobs.

By the Editors

To explore international labor markets, companies must first consult global labor market data. PeopleScout, a global provider of RPO, MSP and total workforce solutions, has partnered with HRO Today magazine to produce quarterly reports that compile current international labor market figures, including measures like national gross domestic product (GDP) and unemployment rates over time, from countries across the globe. This data reveals critical information about the state of the talent pool, working conditions, and the recruitment needs of various countries and regions. It is an essential tool for predicting fruitful locations for expansion and recruitment, thereby allowing multinational companies to stay competitive in talent acquisition.


According to the World Bank’s June 2017 Global Economic Prospects report, global economic growth in 2017 is projected to accelerate to 2.

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One Step Ahead

New research reveals the top sources for talent and how organizations can leverage them.

By Amber Hyatt

Recently, it has been said that it’s a candidate’s job market with the competition for talent fiercer than ever. Consider these statistics:

• As of February 2017, there were 5.7 million job openings.

• As of April 2017, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the voluntary quit rate at 3.1 million.

• As of February 2017, DHI Group reported U.S. Jobs Mean Vacancy Duration was 27.8 working days .

• Mercer’s Talent Trends report found that 92 percent of employers expected an increase in competition for talent in 2017.

In a nutshell, U.S. companies have more job vacancies that are taking longer to fill due to increased competition.

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Is HR Able to Leap Tall Buildings?

The future of HR is always a question for me. I had the chance to visit the Wharton Center for Human Resources recently, and my conversation with professor Peter Cappelli turned to some interesting work he is doing with the staff there, studying the concept of “agility.” Agility is about adaptive structure- and action-oriented decision-making (see Harvard Business Review, The Future of Performance Management, October 2016).  I wonder if someday someone will describe Superman as “faster than a speeding HR person,” but I doubt it. Being agile requires entrepreneurship in the corporate setting and a fair bit of risk-taking. HR needs to do these things, and great progress has been made, but just how agile can HR get?

I will get negative mail about this column, so before I begin, I want to remind everyone I have dedicated my life to the HR community. I have written often about the growing impact and importance of the HR function.

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HR as a Business

If you want to be a business partner, you need to think like a business partner.

This philosophy has helped Brian Little reshape how Zurich North America approaches HR. When the head of HR joined the insurance provider six years ago, he had an agreement with the CEO that HR would have a seat at the table. What helped in ensuring that promise was HR earning some big wins.

Acting as a business partner, HR has taken steps to: • prove its value to the business; • show that it can save money; and • help the profitability of the business.

Now HR is seen as a core part of the business, Little said during a CHRO panel at the HRO Today Forum in Chicago this past May. But this transformation didn’t come without a major shift in thinking. How did Little achieve this? He explained that he invested in training so that HR team members understood how to talk like a business, think strategically, and execute on strategy.

“Each time I talk with a business partner, we start with how the business is doing, then we look at the HR side,” he said.

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HROSTA Letter: Time to Shake Things Up!

We talk a lot about talent acquisition at HRO Today—during sessions at our forum events, in magazine articles, in the webinars and research with our global HR association members, for example. Why wouldn’t we? After all, we’ve been hearing “it’s all about the people,” “the candidate experience is important,” and  “employees are your biggest asset” for many, many years now. I don’t disagree; people are at the heart of the world of HUMAN resources. But as processes, protocols, daily life, people, and technology continue to evolve, business and HR must as well.

Last year, a cell phone store in Tokyo staffed their entire store with robots. This sounds cool, but it’s only one company and one store staffing with robots. Should we be impressed? Should we take notice? Yes, yes, yes! Today, there are more than 10,000 of these humanoid robots working in the region, not only in cell phones stores, but also in fast food restaurants, on cruise ships, in homes, and elsewhere.

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