Blogs by Marc S. Miller

New HCM software functionality uses “behavioral science” to help build Teams and avoid conflicts!

Hi there.

Every so often as a (I am told) keen observer of our HCM community – of users and vendors alike, I come across something new and different.

Recently, attending Ceridian Dayforce’s HCM “Insights” Conference, I did just that. I saw a piece of new functionality soon to be integrated into a delivered HRT provider’s’ functional capabilities that was very different and unique. This new functionality deemed “Relate-ability” is the first concrete and soon to be delivered attempt by any comprehensive HCM vendor that can considered as having its origin in the realm of “Behavioral Science”.

The application tracks an individual’s interpersonal skills and abilities focusing on the inter relationships, interactions and communication styles among colleagues on teams.

The application was gained by Ceridian’s Dayforce HCM via their acquisition of RelatedMatters, Inc,.  It provides the capability to enter data gained via direct responses to questionnaires and scenarios by participants  which result in scores showing how individuals are prone to relate to other individuals and team members.  The underlying principle is that the essence of any human relationship is based on building trust and transparencies through communications and actions. 

The application’s solution allows managers (or any user) the ability to assess the current mood and communications styles of an specific employee. The responses enable colleagues to see the communications style and engagement levels exhibited by their teammates. With this knowledge an individual can learn and adjust their own communications style to achieve a more productive conversation for  task collaboration, problem solving and conflict resolution.

With proper utilization the behavior- based science aspects build into the functionality have a direct bearing on the performance of any organization’s teams.

In today’s global environment, teams may undertake tasks in a  virtual world. As such, they attempt to collaborate across the globe, with differing time zones, cultures, language usage and interpretation, personal beliefs, etc.  All these factors merge to affect the performance of a “virtual team”, one that it’s members do not physically interact, except via audio /video conferences – usually at a scheduled time. 

Until now , the input of interpersonal “cues” were not considered, especially by any known (to me) software in the HCM marketplace.  The addition of the “relate-ability” factor seems new and unique. One-off applications such as “DISC”, “Social Styles” and “Team Styles” have captured similar direct input for years.  However, Ceridian’s attempt to digitize a level of personality traits and interpersonal styles has not been successfully attempted by a HCM vendor up to now. 

Within the application individual team members can, at any time, “check – in” (twitter like) and indicate how they are feeling about their team, their team mates and their work on the team, even to the extent they feel “stress’. 

Similar to “DISC” the “Relate-Ability” application  tracks and identifies the four communications styles and their personality traits as:

  1. “Director” – driven by a need for authority and control,
  2. “Encourager”: seeking excitement and fun, 
  3. “Facilitator”: looking for Harmony and Security, and,
  4. “Tracker”: concerned about underlying understandings and details. 

Teams must have a good mix of these personality types.  The application relies upon the fact that “relate-ability” is determined by people’s core convictions such as ambition, belief, compassion and discipline. 

Everyone possesses each of these convictions in different strengths. They are hard wired into our personality and rarely change dramatically.  The alignment of core convictions is an important factor that builds an employee’s feeling of “engagement“ .

“When relate-ability is made fundamental to Human Capital Management, HR is able to have an immediate impact on the business,” says David Ossip, Ceridian Dayforce’s CEO.  Ossip goes on to say  “beginning with the recruiting process, organizations can measure candidate compatibility with their team and hiring manager. Teams can be built and balanced to take advantage of employees’ complementary strengths and styles to improve team performance.”

Recruiting managers can use this Behavior – based scale to measure candidate relate – ability to understand what the candidate’s likely fit will be with both the hiring manager as well as the team they are being hired on to. This can give the managers a strong indication of what strengths the employee will bring to the team. It can also indicate in which groups an employee might be most effective with a broader team.

Furthermore, relate-ability can dramatically improve the performance management process. An evaluating manager, armed with relate-ability knowledge, can understand how to best deliver feedback to their employees. For example – do they value direct feedback? Do they desire praise and recognition? Do they prefer an emotional tone or an appeal to reason? Answering these questions in advance of a performance review can dramatically impact the effectiveness of the session.

Many employees have yet to be exposed to the behavioral science that underlies relate-ability. When people are exposed to the basic behavioral science that underlies their communication and beliefs – and its implications for working with others – they are immediately able to become more mindful of their own interactions with others. By being conscious of their style and convictions, they can adapt how they work with others to improve the outcomes of their interactions. As the world of work continues to shift towards team-based productivity, teams built for relate-ability will achieve more.

In doing some reading on virtual teams I checked in with my colleague Ms. Yael Zofi – founder of AIM-Strategies®, Applied Innovative Management® Strategies. Yael is a nationwide industry expert on the management of “virtual teams”. In our discussions of software attempting to define and utilize a ‘relate-ability scale or indicator” she stated,

“knowing the styles of your team members and what relatedness predicts can be helpful for your virtual team, especially during the team formation phase since it can reduce team conflict and enhance Context Communication. Research has shown that virtual teams that set up some Context for communication end up as higher performing virtual teams.”

So, yes, something new and different in our Human Capital Management Systems space.  A behavioral science based, interactive, function that could make HR the recipient of value added information to assist any organization’s team building and overall team performance.

A good first step for HCM software providers and something that is based on known science and which can add proven value by, and to, the function of Human Resources overall.

This is worth keeping an eye on to see how many organizations will utilize this new functionality or seek similar capabilities from any number of HCMS who may decide to add or build similar behavior-based functionality.

Marc S. Miller
September 24, 2015

more insights