https://forshay.com/Executive Recruiting & Project-Based TalentThu, 09 May 2024 19:00:43 +0000en-UShourly1https://wordpress.org/?v=6.5.3How Can GenAI Facilitate Team Collaboration? https://forshay.com/how-can-genai-facilitate-team-collaboration/https://forshay.com/how-can-genai-facilitate-team-collaboration/#respondWed, 08 May 2024 21:08:46 +0000https://forshay.com/?p=5466Promises, promises. Are all the emails and headlines about new AI tools giving your inbox odd vibes where you want to swipe left? Yes, AI promises to streamline everything, but how do you go from an iffy situationship to a productivity game-changer? Many tools exist, but integrating them effectively and actually boosting collaboration are the […]

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Promises, promises. Are all the emails and headlines about new AI tools giving your inbox odd vibes where you want to swipe left?

Yes, AI promises to streamline everything, but how do you go from an iffy situationship to a productivity game-changer? Many tools exist, but integrating them effectively and actually boosting collaboration are the tricky bits.

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AI Beyond “Efficiency”

Let’s break down the initial hype about AI seamlessly integrating into our work lives. We’ve all used AI-powered features like smart suggestions in emails or chatbots. These tools are handy, but they’re not exactly moving the needle.

The real challenge lies in going beyond plugging AI tools into existing workflows. It’s about thoughtfully integrating them and, more importantly, building the skills needed to use them effectively. Think of it like learning a new language—fluency takes practice, and teaching GenAI to “speak” your organization’s dialect – to reflect the unique cadence of your culture, is a useful analogy. Is your team ready to speak this language?

According to recent data, we’re all feeling more than a bit unprepared. Microsoft’s 2023 Work Trend Index found that 60% of employees feel unprepared to do even their current work due to a lack of necessary skills.

Imagine how AI is impacting employee stress levels if they feel they aren’t in great shape at the starting line?

That stat is likely not news to you, as the same study reported that 82% of leaders say their employees will need new skills to prepare for the coming AI era (which is now).

We don’t want employees to feel like they are (or we are!) thrashing around in the deep end of the AI pool. Instead, how might we equip them with the skills to leverage GenAI?

Fostering a culture of experimentation, encouraging collaboration between humans and AI, and providing training are all part of the journey. By upskilling your team, you turn them from passive users of AI tools into active collaborators, unlocking the true power of GenAI for creative problem-solving and better teamwork.

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The Power of Creative Evaluation: The 80/20 Rule of GenAI

Now, let’s talk about GenAI’s secret weapon: the 80/20 rule. Imagine your team is brainstorming ideas for a new L&D approach. GenAI can be your super-powered brainstorming buddy. It can analyze vast amounts of data and generate (too) many concepts. This is the 80% – a solid foundation of ideas generated quickly and efficiently.

But here’s the twist: GenAI’s speed and reach make it seem like magic, but it’s not, as you know. The human brain is still essential for that final 20%. That’s where your team’s creativity and critical thinking come in. They need to evaluate the AI-generated ideas, refine them, and ultimately choose the best ones to move forward leveraging the context of your business and culture.

This collaboration between humans and AI unlocks GenAI’s true potential for fostering creative problem-solving with a wider/deeper analysis as the beginning, and saving your team’s prefrontal cortex for what it does best. 

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Case Study: Empowering People Leaders with GenAI

Let’s look behind the curtain at the 80/20 rule in action. We helped a client take their team collaboration to the next level with GenAI by providing their people leaders with an AI-powered tool that could build customized learning journeys for their direct reports. This wasn’t just a one-size-fits-all approach – the tool considered individual career goals and aspirations.

The results were impressive. People leaders saw a whopping 60% reduction in the time they spent on career planning, freeing them up for more impactful activities like mentoring.

This, in turn, led to a 35% increase in employee engagement and a 25% jump in how supported team members felt by their leadership. This case study is a perfect example of how GenAI, led by human expertise (the final 20%), can empower leaders and unlock a more collaborative and engaged workforce.

Moving Ideas Into Action

We all know that swiping left on AI is not an option. Think of it this way – AI may seem like a strange new partner – it’s how you use GenAI that will take an awkward situationship to a committed, valuable relationship.

By upskilling your people and leveraging the power of the 80/20 rule, you can unlock a future of work where humans and AI work together seamlessly…back to those goals of innovation and results.

At Forshay, our mission is to modernize ways of working (often in partnership with PeopleOps/HR leaders – but can be in partnership with any leader), enabling people to have more impact in their work, and to flourish at the same time.

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Grow In Ways You Can Control: Reskilling in a Tech Downturn https://forshay.com/grow-in-ways-you-can-control-reskilling-in-a-tech-downturn/https://forshay.com/grow-in-ways-you-can-control-reskilling-in-a-tech-downturn/#respondFri, 22 Mar 2024 17:09:58 +0000https://forshay.com/?p=5274We’re either growing or declining. We can tell you which one we prefer 🙂 The winds of economic change are shifty. Shifting too, but also kinda shifty? We had to look it up to make sure our feelings matched our vocabulary, and yes…feeling something is untrustworthy, and how people “shift around when they are nervous” […]

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We’re either growing or declining. We can tell you which one we prefer 🙂

The winds of economic change are shifty. Shifting too, but also kinda shifty? We had to look it up to make sure our feelings matched our vocabulary, and yes…feeling something is untrustworthy, and how people “shift around when they are nervous” does kinda hit it on the head for us…how about for you?

And it’s clear that everyone is paying attention…to which leaders see reskilling in a tech downturn as an opportunity to emerge stronger through the power of reskilling…and which leaders are short-term thinkers.

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Why Reskilling in a Tech Downturn Works

In rapidly evolving economics and tech changes, clinging to outdated skill sets can leave your company feeling (and being) stuck in the past. Reskilling, however, equips your talent with the tools to:

Adapt to Shifting Trends: Closing skills gaps (including how your team is leveraging AI – we can help you with that) to develop deeper knowledge and applied skills keeps your company at the forefront of higher-quality problem solving and innovation.

Boost Employee Morale, Motivation, & Meaning: We all know how layoffs and hiring freezes dent the feels that are correlated to company growth (ah hah! The shortest equation to remember…Employee Growth = Company Growth). Investing in their growth through reskilling shows your commitment to who you kept, fostering what you want when you need it most.

Maximize Efficiency: Upskilled employees are more versatile and adaptable, contributing to greater productivity and efficiency. We know you know…but sometimes it helps to summarize it for you.

Challenges and Opportunities

We get that the path to investing in a reskilling program or asking for a learning & development budget against the ever-present specter of budget constraints is real. There’s the logistical nightmare of identifying the skills gaps within an organization and the Herculean task of customizing training programs for diverse learning styles….yet, within these challenges lie opportunities (and a use-case for AI that – we’ve designed this before and would love to share with you!). This year has more tools and platforms available for cost-effective, scalable learning solutions. Moreover, the current economic climate has catalyzed an urgency to adapt, making the case for reskilling more compelling than ever.

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Building a Reskilling Culture

Consider how you start (if you haven’t), or how you evolve your upskilling approach so that it’s really living in your culture as an ongoing engine of growth.

Identify Tech-Forward Skills: Analyze industry trends and emerging technologies to pinpoint your team’s skillsets to enhance competitive advantage. Harvard Business Review wrote this awesome piece on reskilling if you want to dig deeper.

Foster a Learning Environment: Encourage continuous learning through internal training, mentorship programs, and access to external resources.

Personalized Development: Tailor upskilling and reskilling programs to individual needs and career aspirations, catering to diverse talents. (Reminder, we have done this with AI so this doesn’t mean it’s a big price tag)

Culture eats technology (and strategy!) for breakfast. Technology alone won’t cut it. A culture that champions continuous learning is the cornerstone of any successful reskilling program. Senior executives embracing learning as a personal mantra sets a powerful precedent for the entire organization.

The success of any reskilling effort hinges on the commitment and involvement of leadership in a learning culture. Leaders do need to allocate resources (doesn’t have to be “big company” consulting funds – let us help you get the most out of your consulting dollars), champion the initiatives, and actively participate in the learning process – which, by the way, can be fun.

By doing so, they signal to the entire organization that growth and adaptation are not just expected but celebrated. Leadership’s role demonstrates an environment committed to growth in all ways. This mindset shift is crucial for creating a safe space for employees to take risks, experiment, and ultimately, learn.

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Unlocking the Power of Data for Strategic Reskilling

Your workforce data (again, we can use AI to mine this) holds the key to optimizing your reskilling strategy:

Identify Skill Gaps: Analyze tech talent skill sets against future needs, pinpointing areas requiring targeted development.

Track Progress and Measure Impact: Monitor the effectiveness of training programs and adjust them as needed, ensuring maximum impact.

Optimize Resource Allocation: Direct resources towards the most impactful upskilling and reskilling initiatives, maximizing your investment.

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Beyond Survival: Empowering Career Growth

Reskilling isn’t just about weathering the storm; it’s about opening doors for your employees:

Career Transitions: Equip individuals with the skills to explore new roles and departments within the company, fostering internal mobility. There is fantastic data behind how valuable this is…where is your company on that journey?

Vertical Advancement: Prepare employees with targeted development programs for leadership positions, building future leaders from within.

Enhanced Job Security: A future-proof skillset enhances employability within and outside the company, giving your talent peace of mind. And having “alums” who are proud of the work they did at your company is a win/win/win.

Looking Ahead: The Future of Work & Reskilling In a Tech Downturn

We’re happy to report we have seen a sharp increase in clients asking us for upskilling and reskilling. As one highly respected Chief People Officer put it this month, “This is the year of GROW. I can’t grow the number of people on my team, but I can help them all grow in their skills and fulfillment.”

As we peer into the future, one thing is clear: the velocity of change is not slowing down. Automation, artificial intelligence, and other technological advancements promise to redefine not just how we work but the very nature of work itself. In this ever-shifting landscape, reskilling becomes not just a strategy for navigating economic downturns but a perpetual imperative.

Companies that anticipate the skills of tomorrow and invest in their employees today are the ones that will thrive in the future.

By embracing reskilling, companies can transform downturns into opportunities for growth and innovation. History has proven this to us again and again…so who will be the leaders that we write about in the future who did this well?

Companies that anticipate the skills of tomorrow and invest in their employees today are the ones that will thrive in the future.

The future of work is a canvas of endless possibilities painted by the brushstrokes of innovation and adaptation. In this future, the role of companies extends beyond generating profits; they become architects of human potential, sculpting the workforce of tomorrow. This vision of the future is not just inspiring; it’s attainable, with reskilling as the cornerstone of this transformative journey.

Are you wondering how to approach a reskilling strategy specific to your organization? Reach out for a coffee chat/zoom, we’d love to co-create with you!

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Adapting is Basic. Try This Instead. https://forshay.com/adapting-is-basic-try-this-instead/https://forshay.com/adapting-is-basic-try-this-instead/#respondFri, 02 Feb 2024 05:03:59 +0000https://forshay.com/?p=4947Adapting is Basic. Try This Instead. If there were an over-used word in the teamwork/HR landscape in the last couple of years, it would probably be adapting. How much digital ink has been spilled about adapting to the new world of work—to hybrid, to layoffs, to economic uncertainty?  One of the things we’ve been hearing […]

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Adapting is Basic. Try This Instead.

If there were an over-used word in the teamwork/HR landscape in the last couple of years, it would probably be adapting. How much digital ink has been spilled about adapting to the new world of work—to hybrid, to layoffs, to economic uncertainty? 

One of the things we’ve been hearing from the C-suite (more about that in a bit) is that, yes, companies have been adapting like crazy (sometimes feeling very loco), but what’s too often missing is the outcomes of all this change. 

Employees and teams are not absorbing the changes to new ways of working. Adapting is an important first step, but can just sit at the base level… and we think few people show up to work aiming to be basic. 

That’s why our word for 2024 is “metabolize”. 

Metabolize. 

Metabolizing, in our point of view, is next level, high-performing integration of whatever change has just occurred. It’s when you take a supplement, and it doesn’t just (ahem) “pass through” but it’s absorbed and positively impacts your performance. It’s where change becomes woven in healthy ways—where individuals can settle into the new organizational DNA, hooked into the power source. 

What improvements in teamwork, ways of working, performance management, organizational design, incentive programs, and inclusion and belonging are actually metabolized in your organizations?  How can you fire up and improve your metabolic rate? 

Priming change for easy absorption.

First, consider how you are designing improvements in work. Do you have a mix of internal cultural understanding and fresh outside perspectives? (Hint hint) Next, are you getting insights from all levels in psychologically safe ways…that are fast and actionable? 

We find that co-creation is at the heart of acceptance of new ideas. Individuals and teams who feel included in the design process will metabolize change more quickly and effectively. 

Inclusive work improvement design has an ongoing ripple effect, too. It can be designed to flexibly integrate new information and continually adjust and grow. 

Communication: Are your ideas the world’s best-kept secret? 

You can do incredible work, yet if it’s not well communicated, it’s just a beautiful thing that isn’t really seen or absorbed. Clear communication makes change easier to digest.

We’re working with a leader right now who is a magnetic communicator. She starts talking, and everyone tilts their head forward—even on Zoom. As she launched a re-org for 2024, we suggested she use more video snippets. Otherwise, it’s like fantastic art that never makes it out of the basement. Bring it upstairs, put a light on it, try disco lights at night, give it a soundtrack, and make it ALIVE! 

Clear language, repeated storytelling (neuroscience!), and multi-modal approaches can all help make information more memorable and impactful when the audience starts telling the story for you. 

How do you know if it’s working? (Do you know?)

If you’ve re-orged or rolled out new ways of working, how’s it going? How do you know? If the answers are not totally clear, you are not alone. 

We’re seeing more questions come to us from C-Leaders outside the HR/PeopleOps role. CEOs, COOs, Chief Revenue Officers, Chief Commercial Officers, and VPs of divisions… all looking to improve their teams’ way of working. 

Many have worked with big consulting firms. Some shared that the process was time-consuming, expensive, and worse yet, the changes didn’t have the metabolism we’re talking about. It was more like organ rejection. 

With hybrid working and leadership turnover, they’ve been asking for what we offer.  

How we are fine-tuning our approach for our clients.

We’re working with new technology partners to find short, clear, fast, less biased ways of getting at how the work is actually happening. 

An intense interest in modern ways of working is part of Forshay’s DNA. With layoffs, re-orgs, and leadership changes… how can we help you go faster and more nimbly to reach your stretch goals for 2024? 

We’re here to help you stretch, over-achieve, yet not exhaust yourself or burn out your teams. Yes, it is possible! We lift, support, and make good sh*t happen. 

All without the big consulting firm budgets and long timeframes. 

Let’s do this. 

“Your consultant did a great job on the website, updating brand guidelines, and creating blog content.” –Jeni Corso, Head of People, VUMEDI

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The Future of HR/People Ops is more than human. https://forshay.com/the-future-of-hr-people-ops-is-more-than-human/https://forshay.com/the-future-of-hr-people-ops-is-more-than-human/#respondWed, 06 Dec 2023 19:54:12 +0000https://forshay.com/?p=4742The level of complexity (and, dare we say it…’strategic’ issues) in the lap of the Chief People Officer is real. And while GenAI will play a role in every part of business, including PeopleOps/HR, the question is, how will it serve us?  The pandemic’s complexity added fuel to the fire of People Ops’ alchemizing from […]

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The level of complexity (and, dare we say it…’strategic’ issues) in the lap of the Chief People Officer is real. And while GenAI will play a role in every part of business, including PeopleOps/HR, the question is, how will it serve us? 

The pandemic’s complexity added fuel to the fire of People Ops’ alchemizing from old conceptions of an admin-heavy function to a clear, strategic lynchpin for thriving organizations.

PeopleOps teams are spending more time on strategic work that requires creativity…and is fueled by actionable data that AI can offer up. That’s what we’re seeing, and recent research backs us up. 

Author and HR consultant Josh Bersin says the research behind his Systematic HR model shows that HR teams are morphing into creators, developers, and consultants. The future of PeopleOps/HR is less as support agents and more as consultants, product managers, designers, and advisors.

That leads us to AI. 

As opposed to traditional AI, which performs specific tasks based on rules, GenAI (generative AI) learns patterns and generates new content or data. It can automate mundane tasks and function like a widely read assistant for strategy and building work (and for that, we’re exploring Mem…what are you exploring?). 

Interestingly, 84% of employers surveyed by E&Y expect to be using GenAI, but only 49% of employees said the same. We hope to support you on the ‘how to adopt it effectively’ side!

BCG reports the impact we’ve seen with GenAI as your “co-pilot” – how personalized recruiting, onboarding, and learning journeys free up time for you to do the truly human work. 

For a specific example…one of our Forshay consultants leveraged ChatGPT to build customizable learning paths for employees. Based on employee title, role, skill level, and time available, it would scan content from Workday, LinkedIn learning, the company’s internal knowledge base, and research from HBR and Gartner to develop a learning path with optional daily or weekly assignments. BCG also used GenAI to create a new learning course. 

What they found reminds us of the 80/20 Pareto principle. Even when creating something “new,” 80% of work is often derivative to lay a foundation. Sure enough, AI helped out the most at the front end of the process. It was during the last 20% or so that human input was crucial to provide context and customization. 

Where the doubt is real.

Across the board, these research reports stress a “people first” mindset – making the (sort of obvious) point that instead of focusing on what generative AI does, the real juice is in how it’s going to help companies and employees navigate the “next normal” of work. And here’s the rub – while the people-first mindset seems obvious, it isn’t always what we are seeing in general. 

Our recent posts have pointed out data showing that many companies still operate with a “cost-first” mindset, whether it be layoffs or RTO policies designed to cut costs and employees. 

We’re seeing echoes of this not-so-people-first reality in the AI sentiment data. Again, from BCG: 81% of employers feel the organization is good at managing change, while 62% of employees feel that way.

When asked if they agree with this statement: “The organization has gone through large-scale change and successfully invested in its people,” 57% of employees agree, compared to 80% of employers. 

It’s not too hard to see why employees may be nervous about how companies will navigate and integrate disruptive technology like generative AI. 

To AI or not to AI is not the question. 

EY has identified and studied what they term “thriving companies” – a subset of about 20% of organizations that have successfully integrated a “we not me” approach to build a deep culture of trust.

How about this as the north star for GenAI – How can GenAI help with the goal of “we, not me”? It’s a question worth considering, given that thriving companies show triple-digit improvement in outcomes (EY findings) – 

  • A 140% increase in optimism that the company can attract the talent it needs. 
  • Employees were 204% more likely to agree that company productivity has changed and improved in the last 2 to 3 years.
  • Leadership was 131% more likely to agree that the company successfully navigated external pressure in the last two years.
  • Employees were 187% more likely to agree flexible work has been successfully operationalized.

Holiday Food for Thought

Before you dive into “how to use GenAI,” consider spending some time on the end game. What do you want more (and less!) of in your organization? Where can AI of any kind help? 

Guess what? We asked ChatGPT the following:

For an organization with a strong culture of trust and a “we not me” first approach, what are three to six thought-provoking questions that HR should ask about implementing GenAI?

Here is the ChatGPT response:

Absolutely; here are six thought-provoking questions that HR departments in organizations with a strong culture of trust and a “we not me” ethos should consider when thinking about implementing GenAI:

  1. How can GenAI be aligned with our organization’s core values of trust and collective well-being to enhance rather than dilute them?
  2. What safeguards can we put in place to ensure GenAI tools are transparent and accountable, thereby maintaining our culture of trust?
  3. In what ways can GenAI facilitate more equitable and inclusive team collaborations, keeping in line with our “we not me” philosophy?
  4. How can we ensure that GenAI does not inadvertently perpetuate biases or inequalities that could harm the sense of community and trust within the organization?
  5. Can GenAI be programmed or trained to recognize and reward team-oriented behaviors over individual achievements, thereby promoting our “we not me” culture?
  6. How can we involve all layers of the organization, from leadership to entry-level, in the decision-making process around the adoption and governance of GenAI to ensure it serves the collective good?

Then you could ask it…”provide one high impact, immediate, and easy-to-complete action an organization can take to begin exploring these questions.” Let GenAI serve you. 

Do you agree? We’d love to know what you think. 

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Return to Office Power Struggles- What’s Below the Surface https://forshay.com/return-to-office-power-struggles-whats-below-the-surface/https://forshay.com/return-to-office-power-struggles-whats-below-the-surface/#respondMon, 30 Oct 2023 06:18:49 +0000https://forshay.com/?p=4378RTO is surfacing old and new power struggles between employers and employees. And the power base continues to shift. Employers who champion RTO cite productivity issues with WFH. The data paints a different picture.  Stanford Professor Nick Bloom weighs in on recent and ongoing large data set research that shows that hybrid work has increased […]

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RTO is surfacing old and new power struggles between employers and employees.

And the power base continues to shift.

Employers who champion RTO cite productivity issues with WFH. The data paints a different picture. 

Stanford Professor Nick Bloom weighs in on recent and ongoing large data set research that shows that hybrid work has increased U.S. worker productivity across the board, post-pandemic. 

For full-time remote, productivity results are mixed, so what is the differentiator? Zero surprise, it’s when work is managed well, remote work works. Specifically, when companies support managers with clear planning, organization, and control processes for leading remote employees, productivity improves. (Don’t have that? We can help).

The data show that WFH has increased productivity in the U.S. for the first time in decades. The team behind the Survey of Working Arrangements and Attitudes, including Professor Bloom, has been surveying employees and employers monthly since 2020. 

And despite some divisive headlines, August’s data show that employers and workers aren’t that far apart on agreeing on the preferred hybrid split – 2 days in office seems to be the sweet spot.

In setting RTO policies, are companies relying too much on C-suite opinions, utilization numbers, or even leadership teams’ personal opinions and not enough on overall productivity data? 

RTO is Not One Size Fits All

In June 2022, pro-RTO CEOs celebrated Elon Musk’s hard stance on Tesla’s “return to office or else” policy. Yet in December 2022, Musk closed Twitter’s Seattle office permanently to save money. Musk announced that the Seattle team would be fully remote.

We see two main issues at play here. 

First, we’ve heard again and again from CPOs that their CFOs are strongly motivated for RTO because of real estate utilization. Have you noticed how many companies clamoring for RTO already have financial commitments or investments in real estate? In Musk’s case, closing the Twitter office is a significant cost savings. Even though much of the conversation on RTO is about employee productivity, that’s just an input into the real goal of profits

Additionally, how the work gets done, of course, matters. Twitter and Tesla are very different workforces, and what they produce and how they are managed make a difference. Our biotech clients who are working on curing cancer or other awesome outcomes for patients need employees in the lab. But does the marketing team need to be onsite? You can guess what the marketing team would say. 

Is RTO Just a Quiet Layoff?

For some, mandatory RTO looks a bit like the company version of “quiet layoffs”…layoffs without severance packages to avoid legal and financial obligations plus the hit to the company’s reputation. 

However, what is the hidden cost of randomly losing people (including high performers) based on their address? One approach we’re quietly seeing unfold is high performers asking for remote status. This can be a smart angle if performance management has a strong foundation and is respected by both managers and employees that it’s done well. What level of respect does your company’s performance management have, and is there something there to think about for 2024 planning? 

The Future, Based on Data

CEOs ask HR/PeopleOps leaders to be data-driven, and the data are coming in that hybrid (with two days in the office) and fully remote with strong management are the most productive. To be sure, if you have real estate noise about using prior investments, the question is, what’s the future rather than what was built or agreed to from the past? 

When you look at the key drivers of profitability, employee productivity is a significant one, as is the cost of having the right employees doing the right work and limiting the turnover of valued employees.  

We saw hybrid as the high-performing teams of the future as there is no “return to normal” – work norms only evolve, they don’t retreat. And we still see across the board how the PeopleOps and Marketing people we serve definitely don’t need cubicles (or a commute) to do their best work.

“Forshay provided a benefits expert who gave our team leverage by managing leaves, enrollment, and vendor relationships. She was a significant contributor to our team and helped us through a time of transition.” –Kerry O’Donnell, Chief People & Culture Officer, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy

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PeopleOps Strategies for Iconic Companies https://forshay.com/peopleops-strategies-for-iconic-companies/https://forshay.com/peopleops-strategies-for-iconic-companies/#respondThu, 28 Sep 2023 05:27:54 +0000https://forshay.com/?p=4280There is no safe harbor. A common assumption is that big companies can plow through rough seas more easily than smaller boats. In our experience working with companies across the spectrum, size isn’t correlated with smoother sailing. The Titanic is a cultural icon for a reason.  As the workplace evolves and innovation continues at top […]

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There is no safe harbor.

A common assumption is that big companies can plow through rough seas more easily than smaller boats. In our experience working with companies across the spectrum, size isn’t correlated with smoother sailing. The Titanic is a cultural icon for a reason. 

As the workplace evolves and innovation continues at top speed, it can be more difficult for large, multi-layered organizations to ride the waves without incident. For instance, we saw a leading tech company roll Employee Experience/HR up under the CFO. 

We understand the leadership really respects the CFO. Fantastic. We’re just curious…would you ever see a company roll Finance under the Chief People Officer? 

Our experience is that strategic Chief People Officers in iconic companies can be like a radar detecting problems ahead before they cause a tear in the hull (or key crew members to jump ship).   

This is the final post in our summer mini-series addressing PeopleOps strategies based on enterprise size. Looking closer to shore, here are a few areas creating People Ops waves for large corps right now.

Executive Turnover – Smooth Sailing or ???

As companies grow into icons, turnover is inevitable…in fact, much of it is needed. People who thrive in smaller environments often aren’t the same ones who do the same in larger organizations. Yet the stakes are high during executive turnover because often there isn’t a smooth transition of knowledge, priorities, and, well, actual leadership, to the employees below.  

When changing leaders on deck, maintaining the underlying continuity is critical, especially given how employee issues that aren’t handled well lead to real risks for the business.  

While sometimes the new hire hand-off is seamless, the more responsibility that’s involved, the dicier it gets. One solution is to assign a strong mid-level People Ops consultant to project manage the transition. 

Consider it from the team’s perspective.  What’s more disconcerting to them than knowing their leader is leaving and not seeing a functional, smart transition plan? When it’s not handled well, the rest of the PeopleOps team jumps ship. Now, if that’s the goal, we advise to just let them all go in a proactive, clear way. 

What we have seen again and again is how an interim hire helps you dodge the bullets you don’t even know are coming. They save money, time, and your sanity…just ask anyone, including your inner wisdom.

Also, if you don’t know who the new PeopleOps leader will be, but a full-on executive search is tricky with budgets right now, consider an hourly executive search consultant to bolster your internal efforts (zero surprise, we love doing all of this for you).

DEI Backlash (and remember, we like DEIB, as belonging is key)

Did you see the WSJ story that blamed the Silicon Valley Bank failure on “distractions” from DEI initiatives? Here’s another take on it. If you work in PeopleOps/HR for a big company, you likely already know what’s brewing. We are seeing a quieter vote to stall DEI through zero budget or  DEI role layoffs. 

Gartner reports that 42% of employees believe the company’s DEI efforts are divisive. 40% agree that employees are increasingly alienated by or resentful of DEI efforts. 

It’s tricky. 

Or is it? Iconic companies earn their iconic badge over time. They don’t give in to ideological resistance, forfeiting leadership on key issues, especially as the data show that inclusion and diversity lead to better business outcomes.

With all the swirl, can you guess what the cost might be when leaders stall on DEIB? We are guessing it’s not zero. 

And practically speaking, which bet would you take…that the strategy of doing nothing will address resistance to DEI? Is it time to head to Vegas? 

Or, maybe a strategic approach might be a better ROI? Perhaps consider hedging your bets first. Look to your data for how to best spend your time and money. 

Is it in having an open conversation with your leadership team about positioning as we head into 2024…what DEIB course is your team genuinely interested in charting? 

Or consider where the blind spots are – pockets of distrust, confusion, or lack of knowledge stalling productivity. Could an objective outsider add some clarity that benefits the entire team? 

Re-org, re-org, re-org

One of our favorite side-eyes from PeopleOps leaders is the reshuffling on deck that happens at larger companies. We’ve had mid-level HR leaders tell us about having over 5 different managers in under 18 months. Deep breath.

Some of that turnover may be due to the RTO tussle. One recent data point surprised us…even after years of women asking for flextime and hybrid work arrangements, Forbes reports that more men are working remotely than women. 38% of men are full-time remote, 23% part-time, compared to 30% of women working remotely full-time, 22% part-time. 

We hope your re-orgs are faring better. When asked about better practices for doing re-orgs, we like to keep it to the timeless elements that include:

  • Clear business reasons with metrics assigned to the what/who/how 
  • Co-creating with key stakeholders about what the optimal org structures might look like
  • Considering a few alternatives to stretch the thinking about what’s possible and not get wedded to one particular point of view
  • Communication, communication, communication

Full Steam Ahead

One of the most common questions we get is, “How do we adjust our PeopleOps priorities based on the size of our clients?” In the last three posts, we’ve drawn on our experience helping all-hands on deck with companies of all sizes. 

The common throughline is that a little bit of planning, refreshed strategy, correctly resourced priorities, objective perspectives, and clear communication go a long way in smoothing out the PeopleOps journey, no matter what your size. 

School is back in session. The holidays and 2024 are just around the corner. Now is a great time to reach out for a Chai chat to get some PO perspective on Q4 and beyond. We are on your team! 

“Forshay helped us find a Human Resources partner who could take our organization to the next level.”

–Stacia Levenfeld, CEO, California Association of Food Banks

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People Ops Throughline for Startups https://forshay.com/people-ops-throughline-for-startups/https://forshay.com/people-ops-throughline-for-startups/#respondMon, 31 Jul 2023 20:38:05 +0000https://forshay.com/?p=4193Over the last couple of months, we’ve been talking about your throughline, the energetic connective tissue that anchors your actions (personally, or at work) to a thread of energizing purpose.   This month, for your poolside WFH reading pleasure, let’s consider how startups also have a throughline tied to vision and purpose, the unseen glue that […]

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Over the last couple of months, we’ve been talking about your throughline, the energetic connective tissue that anchors your actions (personally, or at work) to a thread of energizing purpose.  

This month, for your poolside WFH reading pleasure, let’s consider how startups also have a throughline tied to vision and purpose, the unseen glue that keeps team momentum flowing.

We got many kudos (thank you!) about our recent post offering some HR strategies based on the company’s growth stage – from scrappy startup scull to growth stage to iconic ocean liner.  

At Forshay, we have some “sea cred” around the startup phase, from steering our own scull, to helping clients navigate the choppy waters of the early stage.

So let’s take a deeper dive. 

What should startups focus on to create stickiness that attracts and retains talent over time? What can People Ops do, and when, to increase the odds that employees will succeed now and stick around for the future?

Attracting and keeping top talent: What to focus on?

An August 2022 study by ISL Talent surveyed people who had changed jobs the previous year. Their findings showed that while compensation is important (how many times do surveys need to tell us that?), top talent knows that there is more to work than a paycheck. They cite a passion for the work (91%), access to learning opportunities (88%), and confidence in the founders (81%) as very important. 

Translated – we could say that employee happiness is tied to an enterprise throughline that includes supporting curiosity, life-long learning, and leadership.

Culture of performance 

Almost 80% of respondents in the same study agreed that a clear company mission and values are essential, yet companies need to “talk their walk”. 82% said clear communication is crucial to company culture, and 78% said that the office and team environment matter. 

Those stats speak to a culture of performance, but what does that look like in action? How do you measure alignment to the throughline? 

We’ve seen that simpler is better for startup clients. We helped one of our cybersecurity clients update their values (including voices beyond the founders), starting with clarity on what was super core to their organization. After that, it was much easier for them to be clear about priorities and performance expectations.

Beyond performance, let’s look at a few more strategies for startups. 

Three Strategies for People Ops Startup Sculls

Contract Recruiters

Working with a strong contract recruiter can be a win-win. Across gaming, SaaS, AI, and biotech, Forshay has been engaging hourly contract recruiters for targeted hiring in these still-growing early-stage companies. So while yes, we’re (very) comfortable with the industry space spread, success with a contract recruiter is more about the fit for your individual needs. Hit us up for a chat to explore more. 

Generalists

Some startups see outsized results from generalist HR talent who thrive wearing a few different hats. At the same time. While juggling. For the right person, the variety of a generalist role is an energizing fit. For a different personality, it’s a short voyage with a Titanic outcome. We’re happy to share more about how to tell a strong fit from a shipwreck about to happen.  

Interim Experts

Interim experts can onboard quickly and provide expertise without the FTE overhead (hold the applause, you finance wizards). The good news from the WFH sector is many experienced corporate executives decided to chart their own course after the pandemic. We are filling requests for compensation consultants, strategic org design experts and HR generalists who can jump in and solve problems.  

Comin’ Through!  Your Startup Throughline

Are you starting to see some dots connect below the surface to what makes employees happy and teams hum? Are your employees and teams supported by a clear current of common purpose, or do they feel like they are paddling in circles in the deep end between check-ins, huddles, and touch bases? 

We’d love to hear more. 

From People Ops teams to CPOs, founders to VCs, our perspective brings intel from the broader HR ocean to stakeholders in the startup ecosystem.

Give us a ring. Just like the VCs, we’re taking calls poolside this summer.

bruno-gomiero-jp7J14W9sSg-unsplash.jpg 

Photo by Bruno Gomiero on Unsplash

“We wanted a modern Chief People and Culture Officer who could scale a tech company, establish instant credibility with our executive team as an HR expert and coach, and lead new work through a culture-focused lens for our employees. Forshay delivered all of this with a diverse slate of candidates.”

–Kendra Tucker, CEO, Truckstop

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Your Energetic Throughline https://forshay.com/your-energetic-throughline/https://forshay.com/your-energetic-throughline/#respondMon, 26 Jun 2023 19:31:31 +0000https://forshay.com/?p=4117Where are you going while doing all the things?  If remote work is the post-pandemic holy grail, why are people still so tired? We saw one surprising stat (in the horrifying way) that a whopping 40% of one-on-one meetings are rescheduled. Who loves the time suck of finding a new time after you already spent […]

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Where are you going while doing all the things? 

If remote work is the post-pandemic holy grail, why are people still so tired?

We saw one surprising stat (in the horrifying way) that a whopping 40% of one-on-one meetings are rescheduled. Who loves the time suck of finding a new time after you already spent time finding a time? Throw in the mental distraction from task switching, plus Zoom fatigue, and you have a perfect recipe for depletion. 

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Add to this, an incredible 500% increase in meetings during the pandemic from the year prior. 

Even with more control over schedules, employees are still reporting high levels of fatigue and burnout. Let’s consider how adjusting to today’s work landscape is about more than simply “where” you are. Maybe it’s about where you are going while doing all the things. 

Let’s take a moment to think about how we’d all like to spend more time no matter where we work.  

Scatterplot or Throughline?

Last month, we explored energizing your power and play. Building on those ideas, one framework to consider is looking at how you feel about the activities, people, and communities in your life. Are your activities adding up to something meaningful and valuable? Does moving through the week feel random, like dots on a scatter plot, or can you see a “throughline” connecting how you spend your time to a greater purpose? 

And speaking of all those meetings we’re having – do they pop up in reactive mode, or do huddles, all-hands, or offsites have an intentional, straightforward strategy to build a connection? In other words, a throughline that provides clarity, alignment, and growth?

We’ve seen a shift from “one-off meetings” and “one-off keynotes” to leaders seeing the vision of a more clear and impactful throughline. As one example, after our CEO Sally Thornton spoke to a Google marketing group during their offsite, they asked her to come back and build six months of content centered around – you guessed it – a throughline of key ideas aligning with their team’s goals.

Intersecting Throughlines = Relationships 

Relationships are also a critical line (and you may recall, the number one correlation to our longevity). When our energetic throughline has a purpose that runs alongside others in work and life, imagine the energy you will feel… and spread to others.  

Most of us have experienced an empty feeling after a large surface-level networking event, aka the scatter-plot approach to gathering that rarely has any through line from event to event. In contrast, intentional gatherings that create and build on strong connections will likely hit on the throughline of purpose and meaning that energizes you. Putting this idea into action, Forshay’s CPO community is building content that will harness a throughline to enhance the members’ power (and play!). The reason Sally created this community is her throughline is bringing together people and ideas that lift the collective good. 

We’re curious – how are you investing (not spending?) your time, and with whom, as points on your throughline? Drop us a line or reach out for a coffee chat today.

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The Company You Keep – Energizing or Exhausting? https://forshay.com/the-company-you-keep-energizing-or-exhausting/https://forshay.com/the-company-you-keep-energizing-or-exhausting/#respondTue, 23 May 2023 19:58:41 +0000https://forshay.com/?p=4044The answer matters. A lot. Here’s why, plus some helpful tips. Have you reflected recently on which communities really charge you up? We’ve been thinking about how much our energy is impacted by others and wanted to share a few ideas that might help us all. We’ve noticed that certain communities (or teams…or family even!) […]

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The answer matters. A lot. Here’s why, plus some helpful tips.

Have you reflected recently on which communities really charge you up? We’ve been thinking about how much our energy is impacted by others and wanted to share a few ideas that might help us all. We’ve noticed that certain communities (or teams…or family even!) give us energy, and others…well, you fill in the blank. 

In addition to the baseline condition that we can be ourselves, we want communities where there is no performative bullshit, no shallow conversations, no stress of being judged…instead it’s communities with meaningful conversations, in a space of high trust, and hopefully squinty-eyes smiling if not belly-laughing joy! If you spend a lot of energy in the wrong communities, you’re likely feeling the energy drain. 

At Forshay, we’ve always known that business is personal, now more than ever. Being in the right communities is an essential element to feeling good in both work and our personal lives. In a recent gathering of Chief People Officers, Sally Thornton (Forshay’s CEO) opened the dinner by asking each person 3 simple questions – what’s going well for you (let’s celebrate that), what’s hard, and where can we each help each other? 

By curating a small group of leaders with shared values of trust, authenticity, and support, each person opened up on the full range of what’s real for them, and ended the dinner feeling supported and energized! Which got us thinking…how can we all experience more of that?

Your Community Energy Audit 

Everyone already has at least a few communities. Your family is a core group who interacts with other communities in education, your neighborhood, your sports or hobbies, and possibly a religious community…all before you started work and met professional communities.

If you are feeling drained by your communities but not sure why, take a look at your situation and ask yourself:

  1. What communities am I in?
  2. How do I feel before, during, and after interacting in each one? Energized or…
  3. If a community wears me out, might it be a values or interest mismatch? Or am I simply spread too thin across too many communities (and are those communities shallow or deep)? 

Now on to the fun part – 

  1. If no community stands out as a power source…where can I show up and feel truly energized after?

Communities built around shared values, challenges, or goals are a great place to start. One community that has been instrumental for Sally is a CEO community, where she’s received ideas, tools, learning, emotional support, and a lot of laughter as well while surfing the highs and lows of start-up life. The unusual aspect of this CEO group is it’s a safe space to ask tough questions and reflect on what matters most at work and in life in a holistic way. Sally reflected on how energizing it has been for her to be part of this community, and wants to pay it forward by creating a similar power source for Chief People Officers. 

This leads us to the next point. If you can’t find a power source community, consider creating one.

Create Your Own Energizing Community

While creating community is an outward act, deciding why you want to do so is an inside job.  Gina Bianchini is an author and expert in the power of community. Her book: Purpose: Design a Community and Change Your Life—A Step-by-Step Guide to Finding Your Purpose and Making It Matter is a brilliant resource to spend time with before you take action. There are many resources to find the right community for you…consider Meetup, Eventbrite, or Mighty Networks (which Gina started) who hosts hundreds of communities and has the tools to host your own.  

Practicing What We Preach: Forshay’s CPO Group

At Forshay, we’re practicing what we preach by starting a community for CPOs modeled after key aspects of the CEO group that has been an energizing power source for Sally. If you are a CPO, we are beginning this community in July, because let’s face it, the CPO role has only become *so* much harder and we’ve seen the turnover due to exhaustion. These leaders are  asked to do so much, yet deserve a space of their own that is not “networking” (as in, wide and shallow), but a curated community that is deeply meaningful, with high trust to talk about the salty issues, and power-giving at each turn. If you’re interested, you can learn more here

We’ll be sharing the themes and learnings from this group in future blogs, and no matter what your title, we hope to inspire others to form their own energizing communities (or recognize which ones are not worth their beautiful energy and drop!). 

We would also love to hear from you on your Community Energy Audit – what came up for you? Drop us a line or reach out for a coffee chat today. 

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PeopleOps / HR – From Early Stage, to Growth, to Iconic Company… What is needed? https://forshay.com/peopleops-hr-from-early-stage-to-growth-to-iconic-company-what-is-needed/https://forshay.com/peopleops-hr-from-early-stage-to-growth-to-iconic-company-what-is-needed/#respondMon, 24 Apr 2023 22:43:01 +0000https://forshay.com/?p=3976No matter what size company you’re in right now, these challenging economic conditions can feel like “uncertain waters.” Startups can feel like scull boats crewed by enthusiastic small teams with charismatic captains. If they cross the finish line repeatedly, the leaders can add more hands and upgrade to a bigger, faster speed boat. Over time, […]

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No matter what size company you’re in right now, these challenging economic conditions can feel like “uncertain waters.” Startups can feel like scull boats crewed by enthusiastic small teams with charismatic captains. If they cross the finish line repeatedly, the leaders can add more hands and upgrade to a bigger, faster speed boat. Over time, successful companies outgrow their speed boat stage and transition to a series of larger boats (bare bones barge? fancy yacht anyone?) to fully staffed, sleek ocean liners.

You don’t have to be an experienced sailor to realize the crews of each ship require different skills. Last month we talked about layoffs, and one way to minimize them is to have the right people on board and to do your best not to overstaff the ship. 

So, what is the best way to crew your company, and what have we learned about staffing in the various stages of growth? This month’s post looks at strategies anchored by key crew members and People Team Northstars based on the company stage.

Startup Sculls

Revenue: Up to $50m

Company Crew size:  4 – 50

Key Crew Member: Fractional CPO

PeopleOps Northstar: Cultural clarity

Startup PeopleOps Strategy: Work with a great recruiter, hire generalists and interim expertise

What you want here is a recruiter who will not only help you scale but will also be your cultural gatekeeper. One good recruiter can help you scale with quality because they understand the company values and they are selling the “why work here” while asking the values of candidates to ensure alignment across all open roles. 

Startups have small, nimble, multitasking crews and limited provisions. A big part of the startup leadership challenge is keeping everyone rowing steady and strong through chaotic uncertain waters. 

At Forshay, we’ve seen increased attention from Venture Capitalists advising founders to invest in PeopleOps from the start, versus viewing it as a luxury for later. And they are 100% right, as the cost of hiring ineffectively, inaccurately, and/or missing the boat on building a healthy culture has an immediate cost on the P&L, even if there isn’t a single line item actually tracking it. The cost is borne by all the line items…missed revenue, additional costs, and of course, opportunity costs that allow a competitor to pull ahead. 

So what do we advise? The startup PeopleOps strategy includes hiring an experienced generalist –  a key crew member who can do many things well. Startups may also benefit from bringing onboard temporary expertise via interim or fractional experts (e.g. compensation is a key one) that don’t require long-term, full-time employment. Additionally, while a strategic Chief People Officer is not a full-time role that is needed, having a fractional CPO who can advise is money oh-so-well-invested. 

Having been a startup ourselves, we get you. Reach out if you feel like your team could use any of these roles to keep you all rowing in the same direction. 

Speedboats for Growth

Revenue: $20M – $300M

Company Crew size: 50 – 500

Key Crew Members: A Head of People who is strategic and tactical, with the ability to lead a small team. A small team on the low end of revenue would be an HR generalist and recruiter, and on the higher end of growth could include comp/benefits, leadership & development, and a small recruiting team. Interim remains an ideal strategy for key projects that don’t need a full-time headcount (supporting cultural values work, compensation design, performance management design, workshops for new managers, etc.)

PeopleOps Northstar: Supporting high performance & retention

Growth PeopleOps Strategy: Create systems approach for each HR function so that managers who are now layered into growth can be supported in recruiting, performance management, learning & development.

If all goes well, startups move into a (slightly!) more stable growth stage, often fueled by additional funding from investors. Companies are able to hire more hands on deck, and this is often when that strategic Chief People Officer is a key full-time hire to make (yes, we’re happy to help here). 

Companies build their core crews in this stage, and company culture evolves with a large percentage of new hires and may become more complex as the original values of an organization may have morphed with new leaders plus possible pivots in the business direction. 

Rather than relying on generalists as they did in the startup phase, the C-suite can think about plugging holes in the PeopleOps teams where deeper expertise is desired. Need some data-backed specifics to anchor around? Check out Forshay’s Future of Teams DNA Strand methodology as a map for future People Ops goals. 

The CPO can spend more time surveying the horizon and strategizing the next leg of the journey. This is the time to lay the groundwork for important recruiting and retention initiatives for future growth, like performance management, sustainability, or setting up a DEI framework.

When companies lay the foundation in this stage, they avoid needing to paddle backward in a bigger boat later (always MUCH harder). Just think of the companies who have made the headlines in ways that no one wants to be in the headlines. 

At Forshay, we are often brought in when companies are in these growth transition points, to either help them hire the key players and/or fill in with interim experts. We’ve seen how the ideal CPO may have demonstrated competency as an HR leader (sometimes a division head at bigger company) with the key issue being do they get the picture while being scrappy and can roll up their sleeves? One example of a company moving from speedboat to oceanliner is Roblox. They brought us in to help them hire while they were scaling, and wanted an HR Director who knew what good looked like as a larger organization, while still having a roll-up-your-sleeves attitude and staying power (meaning they wouldn’t burn out).  

Are you sensing a need to adjust your PeopleOps course to optimize your speed boat phase? We’re here for a coffee chat on deck anytime! 

Ocean Liner

Revenue:  $500M+

Crew Size: 500+

New Key Crew Members: HR Program Manager, Communications, L&D

PeopleOps Northstar: Embracing the complexity of individual and team performance with the  Team DNA Essentials – well-being, creativity, learning mindset, DEI+belonging, performance management, culture.

Iconic Company PeopleOps Strategy:  Differentiate to optimize talent attraction, performance, growth, and retention.

Large organizations that have successfully navigated the marketplace are a special breed. They may be experiencing year after year hockey stick growth, which creates more complexity for PeopleOps. Successfully navigating the Oceanliner stage requires the right systems, people, and matrixed teams to keep steady no matter what storms hit it. 

To avoid a Titanic outcome (or enter your least favorite company doom story here), it’s about  nurturing the four essentials Forshay has identified for team health is paramount – well-being, creativity, learning mindset, and DEI+belonging. 

In this phase, why would an employee want to work for a company of your size where growth may be slowing? Programs around learning and development, family leave, flexible work arrangements, and competitive total rewards programming can help companies attract and retain high performers. 

At another large gaming company, we helped design talent management processes and metrics for performance management, supported their DEI efforts with an interim DEI leader, and leveraged their “center of excellence” team with try-before-you-hire Program Managers.

We have experience providing interim consultants and contract–to-hire resources to who can bolster recruiting teams, build HR functions, and implement HR tools and technology. We can also run a parallel search for key HR leaders.

PeopleOps is complex for Oceanliners. Could you use some feedback tailored for your large organization? We’re here for you. 

Smooth Sailing

To optimize PeopleOps resources, it’s essential to have a solid strategy in place that takes into account the future vision while at the same time aligning with your growth stage. From start-ups to large corporations, key crew members, areas of focus, and strategies for filling the ranks vary over time.

At Forshay, we are obsessed with holistic, data-backed PeopleOps solutions for our clients. Whether you are leading a small scull crew or a large, multilayered organization, we can help you with PeopleOps strategies to help navigate today’s uncertain waters. Let’s go!

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