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Innovation and Employee Exchange Programs

by MICHAEL VANDERVORT on NOVEMBER 19, 2008 0 COMMENTS

0tweets retweet Image via Wikipedia Procter & Gamble, Google Swap Employees For Development, Knowledge Transfer Laurie Ruettimann of Punk Rock HR recently posted on the question of whether it is possible to be innovative in Human Resources . I think the jury is still out on the ultimate answer to that question. My personal opinion is that innovation within the HR function often follows the so-called Japanese model of taking good ideas and working very hard to make incremental improvements on them to make them better. I rarely see a true Sunburst idea in HR that will light up the sky. One trend I have been noticing of late is the concept of sharing or swapping employees. Earlier this month, I posted on an employee swapping program recently implemented at the ad agency Iris. This program involved trading employees between offices in London and New York to give the employees a different perspective on the company and their business by living in a different culture. Today I noticed several reports of a story that originated in the Wall Street Journal about employees being swapped between companies to spur innovation. According to AP reports, Google and Procter & Gamble are now swapping employees as well. The two industry leaders are paring up to learn from each other and to develop customer service. Procter & Gamble Co. says it has done job swaps with Google Inc. , and Google employees have been at P&Gs Cincinnati headquarters helping with training. P&G spokeswoman Allison Yang said Wednesday that the company wants to reach more consumers who are increasingly online. She said that digital is definitely a focus for the company. She said P&G will continue looking at opportunities to work with Google, based in Mountain View, Calif. A message for comment was left with Google. The Wall Street Journal reported in Wednesdays editions that discussions on an employee swap began last year between P&G and Google executives. The swaps began in January. (source)

This represents a substantial change in approach at both companies which do not often share information so openly. It is also a way to expose employees to new ideas and new cultures while exploring mutual incremental process improvements. I think that is a developing Best Practice that could be utilized by any organization to spur learning, employee development and innovation. At Procter & Gamble Co., the corporate culture is so rigid, employees jokingly call themselves Proctoids. In contrast, Google Inc. staffers are urged to wander the halls on company-provided scooters and brainstorm on public whiteboards. Now, this odd couple thinks they have something to gain from one another so theyve started swapping employees. So far, about two-dozen staffers from the two companies have spent weeks dipping into each others staff training programs and sitting in on meetings where business plans get hammered out. The initiative has drawn little notice. Previously, neither company had granted this kind of access to outsiders. (source )

JOB EXCHANGE PROGRAMS- A DIFFERENT SPIN ON EMPLOYEE DEVELOPMENT


Posted September 6th, 2009 by Trish & filed under Uncategorized .

Its September and for most kids that means the start of a new school year full of change. A new teacher, meeting new friends, playing with new kids at recess, a new school bus driver. Kids have such excitement and motivation to start the new adventure. Wouldnt it be great to have this feeling at work? How can we bring that same excitement and enthusiasm or fresh start to work? What can HR do to encourage this behavior? Depending on the type of company you work for, there may not be much opportunity to change things up. For example, in manufacturing environments, you may have a union contract to adhere to or it may be challenging to move people to a new production line or new shift. In a professional environment, the client may need or want a specific work team to remain in place for consistency of service quality. However, to the extent possible, one way HR can encourage smaller-scale fresh starts is by working with managers and leadership to create a job exchange program. What is a job exchange program? A job exchange program works much like a foreign student exchange program. An employee basically switches to another group, department, city, or any other division in the company. There, the employee is hosted by the receiving office and gains exposure to the culture, employees, and clients of that office. It can be a situation where two employees truly exchange positions for a set period of time- anywhere from a few weeks, to months, or longer. It can also be a situation where an office or group needs help during a particularly busy time and they enlist assistance from other parts of the company. Although the latter happens

in companies now, I do not know of many organizations that capitalize on capturing the results of their employees working in a different location or group. What can the HR team do to help capture the results ? Publicize job exchange as a formal learning and development opportunity on the company website for potential candidates.

Does the company have an internal blog? Interview the employees who have participated in the job exchange and promote their experience to the rest of the company. Use video interviews as a way to capture the experiences of the participants. The videos can be used on the company website, in presentations, as recruiting tools, and more. Host webinars or lunch-n-learn sessions where participants in the job exchange share their experiences live with colleagues.

There are many more creative ways to promote this beneficial program in your company. If you work in a company that currently has a job exchange program, Id love to hear about it. If your company doesnt have this type of program and you think it would or would not work, Id love to hear that too.

The Concept Of Employee Exchange Within Organisations Driven very much by business need and emerging country development, the concept of employee exchange within countries, departments or roles is valid for many emerging country businesses and is a potential tool to be used for both employee/business development. It is a way of getting (head office) business styles and consistency into international operations. Within many international businesses there tend to be regional recruitment, whilst having these talented employees lacking exposure to certain practises and operating styles from the head office organisation. The Main Objective The main objectives for employee exchange are to aid the development of employees by exposing them to different working environments, creating and promoting development opportunities. Enabling employees to return home to share and apply their new knowledge gained to benefit the local business. Employees however must be prepared to work in different areas and practices and conditions may be very unlike to their home country, department. The broad

range of benefits are cross functional learning, awareness of working in different cultures and environments, positive impact on morale and motivation, it is a good differentiator for the company, employees and customers. Everyone should be aware of their own roles and responsibilities during such an exchange, it also very much recommended to captured this within a formal agreement which is signed off by all parties within the organisation. There are various mechanism to make sure that all the related benefits associated with the employees are continued in their home country or department. Transparency The concept of employee exchange should be open to all employees in an organisation for alignment of business needs and by investing in the initiative, so can gain from this process. The need for a clear agreement is paramount as organisations then can focus on the objectives rather than worry about the implications. Once the framework of this concept is in place Human Resources should be in a better position to identify selection criteria and process for these employees. (c) 2011 Human Resources Global Ltd. Human Resources Global Ltd. is an international Human Resources Consultancy which offers tailor-made packages to meet organisational and individual international goals. Email Nicole Le Maire at nicole@humanresourcesglobal.com Download her free report How to Best Utilise the Skills of Female Expatriate/Local Assignments available here on www.humanresourcesglobal.com

Global Staff Exchange Program


What are the benefits of a Global Staff Exchange?

Exchanges provide many benefits for participants and hosts. Participants can gain new skills, motivation, new perspectives and an expanded network; plus it might be a reward for outstanding achievement. Host properties gain a temporary staff person with different skills and new perspectives; staff at the host property gain additional motivation as they participate in the exchange. Past IACC exchanges have prompted lifelong cross-cultural relationships. Who can participate in a Global Exchange?

Any staff person from any department is eligible for this program. It could be a chef, Director of Operations, Food & Beverage Director, Front Office Manager or anyone else who would benefit from exposure to other conference centers in a different environment. How long is the exchange period?

An exchange may be arranged for any time period that is acceptable to the sending and host conference centers and that does not exceed the maximum time for a Visitors Permit between the two countries. The exchange should be for a minimum of four weeks and it may be for up to eight weeks or longer. What costs are involved?

There are no fees associated with this program. The employer is responsible for the employees travel expenses and must continue to pay the employees salary during the exchange. The host property takes care of the staff members lodging and meals during the exchange. Where can we send a staff member?

You can send a staff members to any other country in which IACC has a chaptercurrently in Australia, Denmark, Sweden, The Netherlands, North America (United States or Canada) and the United Kingdom; no domestic exchanges. IACC has Staff Exchange Liaisons in each country to help facilitate exchanges according to your parameters (type and size of conference center, time of year, availability, etc.). Do exchanges need to be reciprocal?

No. While the exchange may be reciprocal, you may also send without hosting or host without sending. What if Id like to host one or more staff members from other countries?

IACC maintains a list of registered Hosts who are willing to host staff from other countries and who agree to abide by the guidelines of the Global Staff Exchange Program. To register as a Host, Click here.

Tech Mahindra's Employee Exchange Program High Performers from Africa attended Employee Exchange Program in India To gain experience in the global scope of business and cross-office collaboration and integration, Tech Mahindra provides its employees with the opportunity to participate in the Employee Exchange Program. Employees selected for the program have the unique opportunity to work in India office for 2 months. They handle multinational accounts, develop new skills, and gain first-hand experience with diverse business environments and cultures across the global network. Selected employees then bring their experience back to their home offices to share with colleagues and clients. They literally act as the brand ambassadors for their home offices. 7 high performing employees from Africa were brought to India office of Tech Mahindra and were trained for 2 months according to the Employee Exchange Program. We noted their experiences from their responses and got an overwhelming feedback about the Tech Mahindra Employee Exchange Program (EEP).

Obed Shelter Honyah from Ghana, Team leader Tech Mahindra, says, "EEP helped me in understanding and tackling new challenges. I learned varied nature of business handled by Mahindra group, it was a great and enjoying experience of being in India." Sarah Graham from Ghana, Customer Support Associate Tech Mahindra, welcomed me with a Namaste, shows the influence of our Indian culture, further she added, "I loved my stay in India, did sight seeing, visited places like Delhi, Agra and many more. I enjoyed eating kadai chicken and chapati." She further commented on the EEP that she got trained on several operations of Tech Mahindra as well as a clear understanding of customer related aspects. Mannaseh Phiri from Zambia, Customer Support Associate Tech Mahindra said that the EEP helped her in learning about new ways of doing business, different cultures and working with new clients. Also she would work more confidently once she is back at her home office in Zambia. Angelline Useni from Malawi, Team Leader Tech Mahindra, quoted, "I learned in depth the methodology and intensity of quality training programs. Understood customer relations and assessing customers, and treating customers as king the Indian way, also gained knowledge about brand loyalty. This whole

program led me to know Tech Mahindra as a wonderful organisation to work with." Tech Mahindra Limited 2012 EEP helped in understanding how to appreciate customer values and benefited in gaining knowledge about the operations of Tech Mahindra was said by Elly Ikamba from Congo BRC, Associate Tech Mahindra. Diana Mugamya from Zambia, Team Leader Tech Mahindra, told us that she was excited about her stay in India as well as she had a great learning from EEP too. She not only learned to tackle technical challenges but also learnt to accept NO limitations and be positive in her job. Tech Mahindra EEP completely shows the implementation of their RISE Campaign which says, "Accepting no limits, alternative thinking and driving positive change." These 3 pillars of RISE Campaign are being embedded in every employee of Mahindra group. This is the nutshell of Tech Mahindra Employee Exchange Program. It recognizes and rewards top performing employees by providing them the opportunity to share best practices, work on interesting client projects, get first-hand experience of a different work environment, learn new skills and new ways of dealing with problems, develop relationships with global colleagues and learn about Indian cultures and traditions.

Burlington Manufacturers Benefit from Employee-Exchange Program


J.R. Adams spends most of the day in the freezer working forRhino Foods, a Burlington-based maker of specialty ice-cream products. But last fall he found himself in another, slower-moving production line: His company loaned him to Autumn Harp. Staying warm was a big advantage of the temporary transfer to the Essex-based cosmetics company, Adams says. Better yet? It was an opportunity to keep his job instead of being laid off. Id do it again, says Adams, who plans to get married and buy a house this summer. Its a lot better than not working at all. Adams is among the participants in an employee-lending program Rhino devised as an innovative alternative to layoffs. The initiative, hatched in 1993 by a task force made up of Rhino workers, has proven so successful that the company now wants to expand it to include white-collar employees, says Rhino human resources manager Justin Worthley. Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility awarded Rhino owner and president Ted Castle its highest honor earlier this week. In the past eight years, about 40 Rhino production and shipping workers have been shifted during the companys slow season to other Burlington-area manufacturers in temporary need of added help. The transfers to Autumn Harp as well as toGardeners Supply, Resolution and Lake Champlain Chocolates have been for as little as one week and as long as four months. The programs mechanics are simple. A company bringing in borrowed workers reimburses Rhino for the amount of their regular wages. If the company pays more than Rhino does, that extra money goes into the workers pocket. Rhino meanwhile continues to cover the costs of health insurance, worker compensation and unemployment insurance for those assigned to other companies. The big benefit for us is that we get to maintain our skilled workforce, Worthley explains. The big plus for a company getting our workers is that they dont have the

expense of recruiting and training new people. The receiving business can be assured that workers on loan from Rhino will be dependable and productive, Worthley adds. Fran Tobin, Worthleys counterpart at Lake Champlain Chocolates, confirms that there were no significant problems with any of the half-dozen Rhino employees who worked there last year. Its preferable to get workers on loan from Rhino than to hire from a temp agency, Tobin adds. The two firms, situated a mile apart in Burlingtons South End, know and trust one another, she notes. With a temp agency, its more of an unknown, Tobin says. You dont have much sense of someones work history. With Rhino, all that is known. Seasonal fluctuations in the companies production cycles are also complementary. Lake Champlains busiest time runs from July to February as it churns out chocolates for Halloween, Christmas, Valentines Day and Easter, Tobin notes. Demand for the icecream products that Rhino makes for companies such as Ben & Jerrys, Hood andNestle starts to slacken in late summer. Its rising right now. Last Saturday, squadrons of Rhino workers wearing hair nets and white jump- suits were preparing and packaging 65,000 ice cream sandwiches for Hood. Capacity can reach 128,000 Hoodwiches during a 24-hour period, says production team leader Muaz Omanovic. The pioneering employee- exchange program has yet to function as fully intended. Its so far been entirely one-sided, in that Rhino has yet to receive workers from other companies. Lake Champlain, for example, says it wants to provide workers for Rhino during the ice cream makers peak production period. But the chocolate company needs to keep its core group of 30 manufacturing and shipping personnel on the job year-round, Tobin notes. It hires as many as 40 additional workers for those positions on a seasonal basis, she says. Carl Johnson is another of the Rhino employees who went to work at Autumn Harp last December during the Essex companys pre-holiday rush. It was hard to get used to all the standing, Johnson says, noting that Autumn Harp runs 12-hour shifts, as compared to the eight hours a day he works at Rhino. I was fine to be there, though, he adds. They treated us like family. Id be happy to go back, especially because it would mean keeping my job.