Five Great Podcasts for Small Business Leaders

January 25th, 2017 Comments off
Bangkok, Thailand - Dec 9, 2015 : iphone 6 and earpods on wood table, iphone 6 is developed by apple Inc.

As small business leaders, it is important to always keep learning. Podcasts are a great way to expose yourself to different ideas, different ways of thinking and learn from others in your industry — all while you’re on the go. The following podcasts provide great lessons for small business leaders. You’ll hear from others who have been where you are – or have made it where you want to be – and walk away with great advice and insight that will help you both personally and professionally.

1 Simple Thing

If you are like most small business owners whose to-do lists never seem to get shorter, this is the podcast for you. Five days a week, host Dave Kirby interviews experts who offer advice in one specific area of life – from marriage and family to mental health. Each podcast episode challenges listeners to make one small change to “make your life your life better, your business better, or your world better.”

Business Insanity

Host Barry Moltz is a small business expert, best-selling author and nationally recognized speaker. In this podcast, he discusses “the craziness of small business.” He speaks with fellow small business owners and experts to discuss their experiences and advice for dealing with the “exciting, interesting and totally unpredictable” world of small business. Find out the secrets behind Starbucks’ people-first philosophy, what you need to hire the right people and how to zombie-proof your business.

Office Hours

While host and best-selling business writer Daniel Pink hasn’t posted a new podcast episode since 2014, you can still get access to archived episodes here. The lessons from interviews with best-selling authors and renowned thought leaders – including Malcolm Gladwell, Gretchen Rubin and Marcus Buckingham – are every bit as relevant today as they were when first recorded.

Beyond the To-Do List

If fear of failure keeps you up at night, this is the podcast for you. Podcast host Erik Fisher interviews people who’ve struggled with success and endured both personal and professional setbacks. They share what they’ve learned from their mistakes and the strategies they employ to find success and maintain productivity.


StartUp is kind of like This American Life for small business owners. StartUp brings you through what it’s like to start a small business – as it’s happening. The first season of the podcast is host (and former This American Life producer) Alex Blumberg’s own personal account of the ups and downs he experiences as he tries to get his new podcast company, Gimlet, off the ground. The result is as entertaining as it is eye-opening, insightful and educational.

Want more small business advice? Find the answers you’re looking for at CareerBuilder’s small business resource page.



The Difference Between Leading and Managing

January 13th, 2017 Comments off
Businessman looking at a line between a to b painted on a wall

Though the terms “leadership” and “management” are often used interchangeably, not all managers are leaders and not all leaders are managers. Knowing the difference between leading and managing can give your small business the vision and structure it needs to succeed. Here’s how to figure out if you’re a leader, a manager or both.


Propelling a small business to new heights is often a leader’s primary concern. Leaders develop an image of what the company could become and devote much of their time to innovation, expansion and improvement. They embrace change and see risk as necessary for progress.

Because of this great enthusiasm for turning possibilities into realities, leaders rally others into action. They bring out the best in staff members by making each individual feel critical to the central mission of the small business. Some may liken a leader to a coach who inspires employees to expand their talents and help the team reach extraordinary levels of accomplishment.


Creating a vision is one thing, but putting it into action is quite another. Managers “keep it real” and excel at execution. They think about what needs to be done to accomplish goals and may be exceptionally good at sticking to budgets, organizing resources, delegating responsibilities, and staying on track.

Compared to leaders, managers oftentimes focus more on day-to-day operations than on a small business’s long-term strategy. They are aware of the big picture, but they also realize the importance of details, nuts and bolts, and even mundane tasks. Team members depend on managers to help them figure out who, what, where, when, and how so that work gets completed.

The need for both

Undoubtedly, leading and managing can overlap. In fact, small business owners often must do both out of necessity. Resources simply may not exist to hire someone else to carry out plans and supervise daily operations. However, if overseeing execution is not one of your strong points, finding a qualified manager should be high on the to-do list. Not only might this help your small business run more efficiently, it frees up your time to focus on entrepreneurship, networking, and other activities that can help the company grow.

For those great at ensuring the business runs like a well-oiled machine but reluctant to shake up the status quo, hiring charismatic forward-thinkers may be a solution. Also, remember that while leading may seem to come naturally to some people, it is a skill that anyone who wants to can improve. Watch pertinent TED talks. Read books on the subject. Find a mentor to model and offer advice. You soon may find your confidence and leadership abilities soaring.

Want more small business advice? Find the answers you’re looking for at CareerBuilder’s small business advice and resources page.


How to Tell Your Employees No

January 2nd, 2017 Comments off
Hand writing Time To Say NO concept with red marker on transparent wipe board

As a small business leader, you must make decisions in the best interest of the company. This sometimes means having to say “no” to ideas or requests from your employees. Because you depend on your team so much and likely have grown close to them, being the bearer of such news can be tough. You no doubt want your staff to be happy and to remain enthusiastic about their employment, but small businesses simply do not always have the resources or budget to accommodate every desire.

So how can a small business owner turn down employees without losing loyalty? Try these tips:

Provide a straight-forward response

Sugarcoating will not ease the sting, so get to the point when delivering your decision (such as “It’s beyond our current budget” or “We don’t have the manpower to implement”). Employees appreciate a direct answer that includes an honest explanation about how you arrived at your conclusion.


Respect the person’s right to feel disappointed and even to vent a little. Phrases such as “I understand your frustration” acknowledge the emotional aspect of the situation. However, avoid melodrama and apologies. Everyone needs to view tough decisions as a fact of life at small businesses, not as a personal affront.

Stay consistent

Sticking to policies you’ve established for your small business gives everyone a point of reference and reduces charges of favoritism. Denying a vacation request, for instance, becomes much easier when you can simply cite the employee handbook’s paragraph on taking time off around the holidays.

Find an alternative

Instead of completely nixing an idea, might tweaking it be possible? Footing the bill for an out-of-state conference may be beyond your small business’s professional development budget, but perhaps a one-day seminar at a place within driving distance could be an acceptable compromise. Establishing parameters can decrease the number of instances in which you need to say no.

Revisit the issue later

As a small business grows, circumstances change. Let your IT guy know that you’ll be happy to reconsider his upgrade suggestions in six months if mid-year reports show a sufficient profit. While temporary shelving shouldn’t be used as a way of putting off an inevitable rejection or promoting false hope, it can be valuable when someone at your small business genuinely has a valid request that merits further exploration.

Show gratitude

Lastly, consider yourself immensely fortunate to have employees who think about ways to make your small business better. While you may not be able to use all of their suggestions, be sure to thank them for their efforts. Encourage them to keep generating proposals, and assure them that when the fit is right, you’ll offer a resounding “yes.”

Want more small business advice? Find the answers you’re looking for at CareerBuilder’s small business resource page.


How to Earn Trust with Your Employees

October 19th, 2016 Comments off
Building trust as a concept

When workers trust their leaders, good things happen. They feel empowered to give valuable, honest feedback that can help a small business grow. Creativity and willingness to try new things flourish because employees know management has their back. Individual accountability rises as team members follow the lead from above to take responsibility for actions.

Yet less than half of full-time workers trust their boss, according to a 2016 EY study.

Furthermore, respondents with a low level of trust in their company note serious potential consequences arising from that lack, such as influencing them to look for another job (42 percent), working only the minimum number of hours required (30 percent), and being less engaged/productive (28 percent).

So how can you earn the trust of your small business employees? These strategies can make an important difference:

Keep your word. People need to know that they can consistently believe what you say, so avoid making false claims or promises you can’t fulfill. If you need to revise statements based on unforeseen circumstances or new information, explain the change in detail.

Do the “hard stuff.” No small business leader relishes delivering bad news or giving negative feedback. But regular, honest communication demonstrates that you are a straight-shooter who doesn’t keep secrets or blindside employees. Likewise, admit when you make a mistake rather than cover it up or blame others. A sincere apology and actions to rectify demonstrate character.

Share credit. Acknowledging the contributions of others shows your team that you aren’t out to steal the spotlight and that you genuinely value their efforts.

Be consistent. Favoritism leads to resentment, especially in a close-knit environment. Treat everyone equally and hold all employees to the same standards and rules. Also, avoid waffling when it comes to priorities, objectives, and procedures. When a message changes too often, people don’t know if they should believe it.

Listen to feedback. Soliciting input shows you respect the opinion of others, and following through builds faith that you’re committed to real progress. Employees need to feel secure that they can share information without being ignored or penalized.

Demonstrate your trust. Micromanaging often backfires because employees sense that you lack confidence in their abilities. Alternately, allowing someone the freedom to try out an idea or work from home when a child is sick sends the message that you view staff as professionals capable of monitoring their own behavior. Trust breeds trust, so don’t be afraid to make the first gesture.

Set workers up for success. Finally, remember that small business employees can feel overwhelmed by everything that needs to be done. By keeping workloads manageable, giving workers the proper tools, and checking in to see how things are going, your team learns to trust that you have their best interests at heart. You’ll go even further in generating trust by pitching in and getting your own hands dirty when things are tough. Saying that you’re all in this together is one thing, but living it is quite another.


Want more advice and resources for building your small business? Learn about the essential elements of a standout recruitment strategy. You can also sign up to get the Small Business Recruitment-in-a-Box toolkit, compliments of CareerBuilder.

The ‘Dream Team’ of TV Employees

September 30th, 2016 Comments off
Dream team

Do you ever watch one of your favorite TV shows and wish your employees showed as much leadership, dedication or innovative thinking as some of the characters on those shows? Sure, those characters aren’t always the most realistic portrayals of the roles they depict, but what if you could assemble them to make up one super-sized team of employees?

Here’s who we would draft for our dream team, based on specific attributes they could bring to the office:

The Level-Headed Peace Keeper: Jim Halpert, “The Office”

The employees who worked at fictional paper company Dunder Mifflin were an interesting, over-the-top bunch. But within that crazy crew, there was one worker who was always calm, cool and collected, no matter what antics his fellow co-workers were up to. When your team is full of strong personalities, it’s refreshing to have someone like Jim who is level-headed, focused and can rein everyone else in.

The Creative Entrepreneur: Tom Haverford, “Parks and Recreation”

Sure, Tom wasn’t the hardest worker or the smartest member of Leslie Knope’s team, but he certainly was confident and had a creative, entrepreneurial spirit. When he had a vision, he wasn’t afraid to try and achieve it, even if it didn’t work out so well in the end. A team member like Tom who takes risks can help push the rest of your team to think bigger.

The Fixer: Olivia Pope, “Scandal”

A major crisis can sink a company if it’s not handled properly. Olivia, known as “The Fixer,” is a pro at making any type of scandal disappear. While you’ll want someone with more moral integrity on your team than Olivia – who has plenty of skeletons in her own closet – a skilled crisis communicator is a key person to have on your team, should a crisis arise.

The No-Nonsense Outsider: Rosa Diaz, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”

Rosa is known around the Brooklyn Nine-Nine precinct as the tough, smart, intimidating and slightly scary detective. While she may not win points for friendliness, she is no-frills, no-nonsense and extremely intelligent. She just comes in and gets her job done without any hand holding or need for recognition. While there may be some challenges with having a team member like Rosa who doesn’t always want to be a part of the team, you also know she’ll do great work and will be there for the team when push comes to shove.

The Dedicated Leader: Meredith Grey, “Grey’s Anatomy”

It’s the understatement of the year to say Meredith Grey has dealt with A LOT in her 13 years at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital (her sister’s and husband’s deaths, being a victim of both a ferry and plane crash, having a bomb almost explode in her hands…). Yet she has remained a dedicated, loyal employee and is considered a mentor by the hospital’s residents and interns. In today’s workforce where job hopping is the norm, it’s rare to find someone like Meredith who shows loyalty to her employer, no matter WHAT is thrown her way.

What TV show character would you put on your dream team? Tweet us @CBforEmployers

Workers Reveal the Most Unusual Boss Requests in New Survey

May 26th, 2016 Comments off
CB Survey Bosses

If ever you find yourself doubting your competence as a manager and need a pick me up, just say to yourself, “At least I’ve never asked an employee to shave my back,” which isn’t something everyone in the world can say, according to a new survey from CareerBuilder.

More than 3,000 full-time workers participated in the survey, wherein they were asked to name the most unusual request they’ve ever gotten from a boss. Answers included:

  • Boss asked employee NOT to help his ex-wife move
  • Boss asked employee to take her grandmother to the doctor
  • Boss asked employee to feed the birds in his backyard
  • Boss asked employee to get a dead raccoon out of his truck
  • Boss asked employee to breakup with his girlfriend for him
  • Boss asked employee to taste a dog treat
  • Boss asked employee to take his cell phone to get serviced after he dropped it in the toilet
  • Boss asked employee to help organize her high school reunion
  • Boss asked employee to help cut her out of her pants
  • Boss asked employee to shave his back

While these are (hopefully) the most extreme examples of unusual work requests, more than 1 in 5 workers (21 percent) have had a boss ask them to do things unrelated to their jobs.

Bosses behaving badly – or are they?
Despite these findings, the majority of bosses aren’t terrible. In fact, if they had to give them a letter grade, 62 percent of employees would give their bosses an “A” or “B” for performance.

Only 10 percent would give their bosses a “D,” and a mere 6 percent would fail them.

But while most workers think highly of their current bosses, plenty have had less-than-positive experiences with supervisors in the past: According to the survey, 38 percent of workers have left a job because of a boss.

West is best when it comes to bosses
One of the more interesting findings of the survey is that 32 percent of employees in the West give their bosses an “A” – a full 9 percentage points higher than those who said the same in the Northeast.

There seems to be a correlation between the grades bosses get and the amount of hands-on supervision they provide: 31 percent of workers in the West say they interact with their boss only once per week or less. This is 4 percentage points higher than the South (27 percent) and 7 percentage points higher than the Midwest and Northeast (24 percent).

But fewer interactions don’t necessarily mean less support. Employees in the West feel their bosses provide better guidance and feedback – 69 percent in the West compared to 59 percent in the Northeast.

These workers are also less critical of their managers: 33 percent of employees in the Northeast believe their boss should not be in a leadership role; however, only 23 percent of workers in the West feel this way.

When asked to comment on the findings, Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer for CareerBuilder, had this to say:

“We are starting to see a slight shift of favor towards management styles that are seen as a little more hands-off, which employees view as trust from their bosses. Everyone craves respect, and it seems like bosses in certain regions have figured out the perfect balance to keep subordinates happy.”

Do these findings surprise you? What grade would your employees would give you?

3 of the Best Takeaways From the 2016 SIA Executive Forum

March 3rd, 2016 Comments off
SIA Best Takeaways

“We don’t want to repeat the mistakes of our past. We want to make all new mistakes.” Barry Asin half-joked in his opening presentation at the 2016 Staffing Industry Analysts Executive Forum, held last week in Phoenix. Because this year marked the 25th anniversary of SIA, much of the conversation was around how the staffing industry has evolved over the last 25 years, and what the next 25 years will bring.

If you didn’t make it to this year’s conference, not to worry: Here are three of the most memorable takeaways from this year’s conference keynotes.

The Robots are Coming

The emergence of automation and artificial intelligence was a popular theme at this year’s forum. It’s undeniable that technology has had an impact on the staffing industry, but as technology gets more sophisticated and automation replaces jobs, what does that mean for the future of recruiting? Should we be fighting technology or running with it? It’s a topic Barry Asin addresses in his opening session, “Where We Came From, Where Are We Going?” Asin notes that while artificial intelligence will likely replace many jobs, it will also create them, opening up opportunities for staffing firms. Moving forward, he predicts, the recruiter’s role will evolve into that of a consultant or advisor, while the actual act of finding the candidate will be automated.

In his keynote, “The Rise of the Machines: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Work,” Neil Jacobstein, co-chair and director of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics at the Singularity University, NASA Research Park, went into more depth about how the rise of artificial intelligence will affect the staffing industry.

While there are inevitably risks involved with using artificial intelligence, Jacobstein noted, we can’t deny the benefits of it – improved efficiency, higher accuracy, lower costs, product and service innovation, as well as faster actions and decisions, to name a few. The best way to prepare ourselves for the challenges ahead are to work to ensure the technology is implemented responsibly and humanely – and to arm ourselves with “a dozen different ways to re-establish control” should anything go wrong.

Focus on Strengths, Work Around Weaknesses

“All performance ratings are bogus.”

This is what best-selling author Marcus Buckingham proclaimed during his keynote, confirming what most of us already thought but were too afraid to say. Human beings are the worst judges of other human beings, he argued, because all ratings systems are subjective. Instead of performance reviews, he said, do what the best leaders do and have frequent strengths-based check-ins with employees about their near-term future work. These check-ins do not even have to take a full 10 minutes and only need to consist of two questions: “What are your priorities this week?” and “How can I help?”

Buckingham also addressed a common misconception among leaders: That it is better to work on fixing your employees’ weaknesses than to work on developing their strengths. Not only does research show that the opposite is true, but workers are also more passionate and productive when they are in a job that enables them to use their strengths on a regular basis (or as he puts it: “We want to be on a team where someone recognizes us as a knight, not a rook.”). None of this is to say you should ignore your employees’ weaknesses, but focus most of your energy on the areas where they will grow most (their strengths) and give them opportunities to use those strengths.

Be Present to Be Effective

In his keynote, “Becoming an Effective and Productive Leader,” Jeremie Kubicek shared insights from his book, “5 Gears: How to be Present and Productive When There is Never Enough Time.” The philosophy behind his book is that every one of us, at one time or another, is in one of five “gears” (or modes, as he also calls them): Focus mode; task mode; social mode; connect mode; and recharge mode. And while there’s a time and a place for each gear, we as humans don’t always get the timing right. “Some of you are in the wrong gear at the wrong time,” Kubicek says, “and it’s undermining your authority,” Kubicek says.

For instance, when you’re in focus mode, you’re “in the zone:” hyper-focused and hyper-productive, which is great – but not all the time. People who are constantly in focus mode (also sometimes known as workaholics) have a hard time stepping back from work and being fully present when those around them need them to be. They feel they’ll lose momentum if they do.

But there are two problems with staying in focus mode: One, it leads to crashing. “If your phone crashes, it’s good for nothing,” Kubicek points out. The same concept applies to humans. If you’re crashing, you can’t be of service to anyone, and you can’t be an effective leader.

The second problem is that if you’re too focused on work to build relationships, you will be less effective as a leader and, ultimately, less productive as a team. Kubicek, a former workaholic himself, speaks from experience. ““I was so busy, I was disconnecting, and I wasn’t being effective,” he says. “Once I started connecting with my team, we started getting more done.


For more highlights from the 2016 Executive Forum, check out Overcoming the Biggest Staffing Challenges of Today: Lessons from the 2016 SIA Executive Forum – and keep an eye out for even more recaps from the conference right here.

How to Juggle Work and Family Like a Boss

February 17th, 2016 Comments off
How to Juggle Work and Family Like a Boss

Sticking to a routine, meticulous planning and delegating responsibilities are just a few of the secrets one busy executive offers up to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Get a glimpse into the personal life of Jason Lovelace, president of Hub Sales at CareerBuilder, who juggles a high-powered corporate role while prioritizing the needs of his family.

Take a page out of the playbook of this busy executive who feels he achieves work-life balance all the time. Here’s our Q&A with Jason.

CB: What does your morning routine typically consist of?

JL: I get up between 4:20 and 4:30 a.m. I usually work out from 4:45 till 5:30 or so. I then have breakfast, shower and drive to the office. It takes me about 40 minutes to get to work, and I’m usually in the office about 7:15 or so and then my day begins.

CB: Do you maintain a rigid schedule every day in terms of when you leave the house and when you get back to force you to balance work and life better?

Yes, I have to maintain a rigid schedule. I have 4 kids, so even when I’m home I have things to deal with. Typically, mornings are my time — I’ll catch up on the news in the morning, whether it’s on television or reading what’s in my newsfeeds. I listen to News Radio during my car ride every morning to make sure I’m staying up to speed on what’s happening. Also, CBNC is always on in my office so I can stay current on what’s going on in the world.

CB: What does work-life balance mean to you? What does it look like in your world?

JL: I think the word “balance” is what work-life balance means — it’s equal balance. You have to fill your tank — meaning your personal tank — whether that be spiritually or through knowledge or whatever support you need. In my world, it’s exercise. I make sure I carve out time for myself.

It’s also about eating right, taking care of yourself and [the most important thing for me] would be making sure I have time for my family. My kids are older now, so they’re independent even though they still live with me. But I need to make sure I’m there for them with their academics, with their life decisions, with their sporting events — and with four children, that can take up a lot of time. I have a senior in high school, a junior in high school, an eighth-grader who are all boys, and then a daughter in fourth grade.

CB: Was there ever a time in your life when you felt like you achieved work-life balance? Do you feel like you have it now?

JL: I think I achieve work-life balance all the time. It’s about sacrifice.

A lot of times I’ll find myself putting too much emphasis toward work and try to shut it off, which as we all know is impossible. I think the beauty of technology is that it’s the dual-edged sword — you can always check in, but because you can always check in, you can stay current on things that are happening and then shut down and come back to it quickly to get what you need.

Do I get reprimanded for that from time to time? Yep, I do! But with this job comes responsibility — not only for individuals, but also revenue accountability and business issues, so I’ve got to make sure I’m on top of things.

CB: Did you take any time off in terms of paternity leave after your children were born?

JL: I took off the week they were born, but I was still dialed in to work.

Did your wife get more time off?
JL: She wasn’t working at the time — we have 4 kids and she was a stay-at-home mom, but now she’s back to work.

If your babysitter/daycare option unexpectedly falls through as you’re walking out the door to work, what would you do?
I’d stay home and get my daughter off to school. My two older boys drive and can babysit, so I have live-in babysitters. My wife is a registered nurse, so sometimes she works the night shift. If she does and can’t get home in the morning, then sometimes I’m expected to make sure my daughter gets to school, but that’s only on a rare occasion.

CB: When you travel for work, does your wife have to adjust her schedule?

JL: Yes, and I travel every week. We have to take into account all the kids’ schedules and everything that goes on at school to make sure we have appropriate coverage. They’re all in sports and my daughter is in dance, so they are always busy and all over the place. That’s why we do Sunday planning. Every Sunday night, we sit down and plan out the week. We have a huge calendar on the wall, which looks like the matrix.

I’ve never heard of that activity, but that makes sense because it keeps the family on schedule for the rest of the week.
We have to figure out. For example, my oldest son has to be home for my daughter, who gets done at 3:30, but he has to take her to dance at 5, and my other son has to pick her up from dance at 6:45, and somebody has to make her dinner, etc.

CB: Do you plan for backups just in case?

JL: No, they’re really good about it. If anything were to fall through, we have some people we can call and we figure it out together.

CB: What tips do you have for other working parents who are also trying to maintain a healthy work-life balance, and who may find it hard to shut off when they leave the office at the end of the day?

JL: There’s never a good time to shut off. When we were having our fourth child, I was traveling and doing my MBA. At the end of the day, it’s all about sacrifice and making decisions on what you’re going to do because you can’t do everything. As an executive, you need to be able to delegate — not only making sure you’re assigning projects out, but also following up on those projects.

CB: Do you think you’d be able to survive without your phone for a day?

JL: No! Was that a quick enough response?

Should I be able to survive? Yes. Could I? Probably not.

I did have to though when we were on a family vacation for spring break last year and my phone went kaput. I was able to get my iPad to least allow me to text, but I had to go four days without the actual phone.

CB: So…not by choice!

JL: No!

CB: Do you feel pressure to always be “on” 24/7 thanks to technology?

JL: No. Because I have a routine, I get up fairly early and I check emails when I get up right away.

The pressure for this role is you’re always “on stage.” Anything I do, any action I take, I’m always being watched. And so you have to make sure you’re always living and breathing the values and goals of the organization because what you do becomes acceptable for everyone else – and that’s true in parenting, too. I’m interacting with people and I’m “on.” They’re looking at me and if I do something, they’ll say “Oh, that’s OK to do.”

This is the fourth in a series of blog posts featuring CareerBuilder executives discussing everyday topics to help you live a better life both at and outside of work. Topics range from work-life balance tips to productivity hacks. You can read about secrets to a productive day heresecrets to work-life balance here and secrets to a great morning routine here.

What Keeps the President of a Staffing Firm Up at Night?

January 25th, 2016 Comments off
What keeps the leader of a staffing firm up at night?
 I run a staffing firm. I say that like I’m introducing myself at an AA meeting.

Hi, my name is Tim, and I run a staffing firm. It’s been six days since my last placement.”

Frankly, sometimes, it feels that way.

Running any business is tough. Running a staffing agency is harder than most companies. I’ve been doing this for six years and every single night, as I lie awake in bed, I think of a thousand ways my company, HRU Technical Resources, could fail.

Thankfully, I also think of a thousand and one ways we could succeed, which allows me to get up in the morning and get back to work!

The staffing game is funny. The service we are selling to our clients is one which they have the ability to do on their own. So, for all intents and purposes, they don’t truly have to buy from us. Obviously, I’m glad that many decide not to do this on their own.

Our clients claim they want a staffing vendor who will “partner” with them, but anytime you add money into the equation of a relationship, the partnership thing can get fuzzy. In the end, staffing firms hope to find a client who, at the very least, respects the work they do for them, being that most of the work is done for free until the actual placement is made.

So, what keeps me up at night as a leader of a staffing firm?

It’s the simple equation of how much “free” work my recruiters are doing, versus how much “paid” work are they doing.

It’s an age-old issue facing staffing firms at all levels. Leaders ask, “Will my account executives be able to make enough right calls on prospects who will actually pay us for what we provide? How can we avoid corporate shoppers who are just playing around with us with no real intent on paying us?”

It sounds simple. Why don’t you just ask the client, “Hey, are you really going to pay us for doing all this work? Or at the last minute, are you going to cancel the position, find an internal candidate or find a candidate on your own?”

That conversation always goes the same. “Of course we are going to pay you! Well, unless, you know, we fill it on our own.”

When I ran corporate talent acquisition teams, I tried to avoid using staffing firms because I was unwilling to ask them to work for free. Too much free work kills most staffing companies. In fact, free work is what kills most businesses in the world, regardless of your industry.

The majority of corporate talent acquisition pros and recruiting leaders have no idea this is the issue keeping us up at night. Free work? Well, that just sounds like a bad business model! Yes. Yes, it does.

Welcome to staffing.

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The 1 Goal Every Talent Acquisition Leader Should Have For 2016

January 18th, 2016 Comments off
The 1 goal every talent acquisition leader should have in 2016

If you’re like me, you spent quite a bit of time toward the end of 2015 thinking about how you’re going to absolutely crush 2016.

If you’re like most (including me), you also set some personal goals to live healthier, lose weight, and save more/spend less. (Good luck with that.)

If you’re a talent acquisition leader, it’s also a safe bet that you established some professional goals for your team to accomplish in the new year that probably look something like this:

  • Increase quality of hire.
  • Reduce time-to-fill.
  • Increase recruiter productivity.
  • Reduce cost per hire.
  • Increase daily usage of phrases “big data” and “predictive analytics.”

(Extra points if you included that last one. Very strategic of you!)

But now that we’re a few weeks into 2016, I’d like to suggest that you revisit the goal-setting process – and think a bit differently about how to challenge your team to achieve success this year. Why? Because while traditional goal-setting processes are necessary to make sure everyone in the organization is on the same page and establish objective measurements to ensure success, they rarely INSPIRE success. (See above.)

A relatively strong economy, robust hiring forecasts and continued challenges related to skills shortages foreshadow that 2016 will be full of challenges for talent acquisition teams. And you can’t afford for your team to get discouraged as they navigate through the highs and lows associated with hiring talent in a candidate-driven market. It’s going to take more than posting goal tracking charts and buying pizza for the team once in a while to get the most out of them.

Share Your “I Have A Dream” Speech

Arguably, one of the most inspiring speeches of all time was delivered by Martin Luther King, Jr. during the March on Washington in 1963. Even 53 years later, his words and delivery are inspiring.

But did you know that the night before, he didn’t even know what he was going to say? And that on the day of the speech, he abandoned the text of his prepared remarks after only a few words, and winged it instead? Sure, he had amazing gifts and talents as a speaker, but there’s no doubt the lasting impact of his message was solidified because he so eloquently shared a vision that people connected with – a dream of what could be – and invited the world to be a part of that future.

What is your dream for your team this year? What would it look like if they knocked it out of the park? How would the organization be changed? How would lives be changed? How would the world be changed?

Thinking about dreams for your team and your organization may not be comfortable for you. It may sound goofy. But people can be inspired to do great things when a leader helps them to connect with a “why” they can care about. Help your talent acquisition team members understand why the work that they do matters. Because it does.

Remember, MLK said, “I have a dream.” Not “I have a strategic plan.” You don’t have to be a great speaker to inspire action. You just have to be inspired.

Start off 2016 on the right foot: Sign up for our newsletter to get the best recruiting insights delivered right to your inbox. 

A Busy Executive Reveals Her Work-Life Balance Secrets

December 8th, 2015 Comments off
A Busy Executive Reveals Her Work-Life Balance Secrets

Juggling a high-ranking corporate leadership job while raising two young children is all in a day’s work for Hope Gurion, CareerBuilder’s chief product officer — but she doesn’t do it alone. 

Read on as Hope dishes on work-life balance, leadership, productivity and more.

CB: What does your morning routine consist of?

HG: My morning routine involves getting on a conference call relatively early — because the people I work with are either on Central or East Coast — or occasionally doing international calls. On the days I’m fortunate enough not to have an early phone call, I’ll try to exercise — those are the two things you’ll most likely find me doing early in the morning.

I work from home, and we have a live-in au pair because both my husband and I work intense jobs, and we have two young children who need to get to school in the morning and we need to make sure they’ve got their homework and lunches and all that. She’s a dream helping us with that. Having people you can rely on both at work and to help you manage at home has certainly been helpful for us.

CB: What does work-life balance look like in your world?

HG: One of the things I really appreciate working at CareerBuilder is that people tend to stick to working during the week. Any time it’s bleeding outside of work it’s largely initiated by the individual. I think that has a major impact on making work-life balance achievable.

There are certain days or times that are busier than others, but as a company when we’re on vacation or when work is done, there’s not an expectation of emails being answered within an hour or anything crazy like that. That’s a great thing and I try to make sure that if I’m sending emails, I don’t expect that my team will answer immediately.

For me personally, my days might be jam-packed with meetings and discussions but I try to keep it within the work day and that enables me to spend time outside of work doing the things that I love with the people I love.

CB: You bring up an interesting point that, as a leader, if you set the example of ‘I’m not going to be responding to emails at all odd hours of the day’ and set the expectation for my team to do that, that’s huge. If you feel like your boss is online the entire time, there’s a certain amount of pressure you feel to respond in a timely fashion.

HG: I actually am online a lot largely because I don’t ever want to be a bottleneck. I want to be able to respond to people quickly, but I don’t think there’s ever been a time ever where I’ve said, ‘I can’t believe you didn’t respond to my email in an hour’ or whatever. I’m just a terrible sleeper because I start the day early so I do check and respond to emails at all crazy hours.

CB: We live in a 24/7 technology-driven, plugged-in world where you have your phone handy even on an airplane, for example, which was inconceivable even a few years ago. Do you feel even more pressure to be connected (“I have to be on because everyone else is”) or is it something you take on by choice?

HG: I think it’s a good thing. I work from home, which is not usual, so it’s important for me to be accessible to other people. There are video chats and many other options that enable people to live where they want to live and [still attend] parent-teacher conferences or doctors’ appointments or whatever. I don’t think that’s nearly as disruptive because of all the capabilities that our connected technology affords.

CB: Did you take time off (maternity leave) after your children were born?

HG: Oh sure, the full maternity leave [available].

CB: What was your life like during that transition coming back? What’s your advice to other women taking time off and transitioning back into the workforce?

HG: I think it’s important to take the time if your company offers it. Some people feel they have to come back in six weeks, but if you’re known for creating value, people can tolerate you being gone for the full 12 weeks of maternity leave [that CareerBuilder offers] because they know that when you get back — even if it’s different projects because certain things happened while you were gone on maternity leave — they know you’re going to come back and add value with whatever the next important thing to accomplish is.

The other thing about being a leader, and this is also a secret to productivity, is you’ve got to have a team of people that can rely on one another and cover for one another because everyone is going to have situations — whether it’s maternity leave, a health issue, a parent issue — there’s always the potential for something to be disruptive in your life that’s going to take you away from work. But if you have a team of people that’s supportive and capable, it doesn’t matter and it’s not that disruptive.

CB: That’s a good point about teamwork and having each other’s back. Do you have any other productivity tips that have worked well for you?

HG: I used to do one-hour one-on-ones with my direct reports and that was our time to catch up with issues, make sure we were communicating what was most important and I actually cut that back to 30 minutes and I have found that time restricting it to 30 minutes forces both of us to focus on the most important things.

I’m also a stickler for agendas. I think that anybody requesting a meeting or hosting a regular meeting without a clear agenda — what’s intended to be accomplished or decisions that have to be made during that window — I find it disrespectful if they don’t have that, so that’s something I try to model and I expect from my team. I make a point of mentioning it every time there’s a meeting requested if there’s no agenda. That’s the only way everybody has a chance to be productive and have their time used in the best possible way and for people to opt out and say, ‘You’ve got this covered.’

Sometimes there are people who want senior people in the meeting maybe because it’s an important decision or they don’t want decisions to be second guessed. But if it’s not critical for me to be in the meeting, I have enough trust and confidence in the decision-making capabilities of my team that if they need to need to loop me in after the fact because there is an unresolved issue that they will do that, and that I don’t have to be present in every single meeting.

You only have 40 hours in the week — you’ve got to make sure you’re making the best use of that time.

CB: Some CEOs are taking steps to ensure that their workforce sticks to a 40-hour work week — that will assist with work-life balance and being more productive during the 40 hours.

I think it’s good; it helps people to hold each other accountable — let’s make our working time as efficient and productive as possible and then have a life outside of work. I’m also an avid reader, so having the time outside of work to read things that are inspirational to you personally or that give you the opportunity to learn how things are working in other companies and other businesses — that’s a very valuable use of time, and it’s hard to make time for that within the 40-hour work week, but then you could be bringing those ideas into the next 40-hour work week.

CB: What tips do you have to help other working parents maintain a healthy work-life balance?

HG: This is not a revolutionary tip, but it’s one that rings true for me: I make sure that everything I’m going to do during the day is in my calendar. [For example, if] I’m going to go to my son’s school for an event in his classroom, I’ll block out that time; I’ll block out the travel time. I want to make sure that I’m really intentional and [outlining] the day in the calendar helps me do that.

This is the third in a series of blog posts featuring CareerBuilder executives discussing everyday topics to help you live a better life both at and outside of work. Topics range from work-life balance tips to productivity hacks. You can read about secrets to a productive day here and secrets to a great morning routine here.

A C-Suite Exec Spills Her Morning Routine Secrets

November 3rd, 2015 Comments off
A C-Suite Exec Spills Her Morning Routine Secrets

How you wake up in the morning can often set the tone for the rest of your day. And for one HR executive with a built-in alarm clock, that means taking care of business before even setting foot in the office.

Get a glimpse into the personal life of Rosemary Haefner, CareerBuilder’s chief human resources officer, who dishes on her morning routine and spills secrets on how she keeps herself — and her family — on the go.

Here’s our Q&A with Rosemary.

CB: What time do you wake up? How many times do you snooze your alarm?

RH: I don’t use an alarm! I’ve always detested the sound of an alarm — it’s really jarring to me. I will use one from time to time if I have to get up early… like if there’s a really early flight that I’m afraid I might not wake up for, I’ll set an alarm, but that’s only like twice a month. In general, I just wake up when I need to. I’m not a very good sleeper so I wake up a lot during the night. Everybody in my house will still be sleeping and I don’t want to wake them up, so I do email quietly lying in bed under the covers trying to hide the light from my iPhone until it’s time to get up and go.

CB: Would you consider yourself to be a morning person?

RH: I’m more of a morning person than a night person. I know I’ve got to get up and it’s time to go. My husband sometimes lays there pretending he doesn’t hear my daughter crying, and I’m like, “Who are you trying to fool?”

CB: Briefly describe your daily morning routine.

RH: Usually when I get up, the sun’s not up and everybody is still sleeping. I usually check email for about an hour or so, and sometimes I have early calls with my team in Europe or Asia. Then I have morning duty with my daughter. I get her up and try to get her to put her clothes on. She likes to read books in the morning and ease into the day. So I get her ready and then there’s the mad dash for me to get ready and get out the door.

CB: Are you one of those people who has the phone right by the bed or are you against that?

RH: Some people are like, ‘Oh I don’t want to be disturbed, so I don’t have my phone by me.’ But I have it next to my bed every day — for me, it causes less stress than if I come into the office and don’t know what’s greeting me… and with the time differences! My role is global, so if I wait three hours until I get in to work to check my email, sometimes I’ll lose the ability to respond that day to somebody.

CB: What do you typically eat for breakfast? Do you skip it or is it sit-down or do you just fly out with breakfast in your hand?

RH: I’m not a good breakfast person. I’m go-go-go and I forget breakfast. This spring I tried to change that and I noticed a difference. Over the last three weeks, I’ve gotten back to old habits and haven’t had anything for breakfast — the difference is so noticeable. When I usually have breakfast, it’s smoothies or yogurt.

CB: What is one thing you’d turn around and go back to your house to get once you realize you forgot it?

RH: Definitely my phone. Anything else is replaceable — I’ll be fine or I can buy it. If I was headed for a flight but and forgot my toothbrush, I can always buy one.”

CB: How do you get your news in the morning? Newspaper? Local news? Morning shows? Twitter? Other?

I have definitely moved away from the newspaper. I do feel like in the morning and even throughout the day, it’s about getting information in bursts — and the digital culture makes it easier to do that. It’s little bursts: apps, blogs, the TV monitor in the elevator, etc.

When I watch the news, it’s usually BBC World. I like more world news versus local news because it has a broader perspective. And have you heard of Sonos? It’s a streaming service and when you get the speakers, you can get access to 200,000 radio stations from around the world. It’s so easy to [consume news that way] in this day and age.

CB: What’s on your playlist in the a.m.?

RH: ‘Wheels on the Bus!’ It’s so embarrassing! People are like, “Did you listen to this or download that?” And I’m like, I have four versions of ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb.’ My daughter loves music, so she’s belting it out. She wants to do duets. My sister is a music professor and she said it’s good to expose her to all kinds of music as early as possible, so we always have music on. Also, we’re just lazy at this point. It’s like there are only so many things I can handle, and I would love to know that new song, but [it’s easier to have] Spotify or Pandora serve it up to me and she’ll listen to that.

CB: Are you a coffee or tea person?

RH: Coffee! I like tea, too, but I like coffee better in the morning. I actually gave up coffee for a while and I just missed it. I was OK for a while, but then I was like ‘I give up, I can’t, I just like it too much and I have headaches.’ I definitely love my coffee.

CB: Do you have any tips for others to kick-start their morning?

RH: I feel like you’re born [a morning person] or you’re not. Somebody once told me about an alarm clock that you put under your pillow that doesn’t just make a sound — it vibrates and the whole bed starts to shake. I’ve also heard of adjusting the temperature a certain way… but at the end of the day, you just have to do it. You just have to keep at it for about a month or so to try to get into a routine.

This is the second in a series of blog posts featuring CareerBuilder executives discussing everyday topics to help you live a better life both at and outside of work. Topics range from work-life balance tips to productivity hacks. You can read the first post here.

A Busy Executive’s Secrets to a Productive Day

October 7th, 2015 Comments off
A Busy Executive's Secrets to a Productive Day

We’ve all been there: You walk into the office on a Monday morning to find your to-do list for the day is longer than the stream of comments on a new One Direction video. (They’re still a thing, right?) The struggle is especially real around mid-afternoon when the caffeine in your bloodstream has run dry and the thought of watching yet another clip of Kendall Jenner at Paris Fashion Week cat video on YouTube doesn’t seem half bad.

So how can you keep your productivity levels up on a hectic day in the office?

Get some inspiration from CareerBuilder executive Scott Helmes, who dishes on his morning routine and spills the secrets to staying productive even in a slump.

Here’s our Q&A with Scott, managing director at CareerBuilder.
How do you stay productive throughout the day? What are your top 3 productivity tips?
1. Coffee
2. Todoist.com (or the app)
3. I get up and take a walk over lunch. Get out of the office and get some fresh air.

How much caffeine do you consume on a daily basis?
Two coffees, then nothing but water.

Are you a morning person or do you not speak to anyone until you’ve had your coffee?
Three questions in, and I’m mentioning coffee for the third time. I’m definitely better after 9:30 a.m.

You have a big day — starting with a presentation at 9 a.m. What would be on your playlist that morning?
I am all podcasts all the time. While getting ready in the morning, I stream on the NPROne app. My commute is usually yesterday’s Fresh Air podcast, This American Life, Planet Money or, my latest obsession, Switched on Pop.

What do you do to get your energy levels up and stay focused?
I try to take a break and get a quick walk in — even if it is just to get a glass of water once an hour.

If I don’t make time to stop and clear my head, my energy will definitely fall.

If you haven’t started your day off on the right foot, what do you do to turn it around?
I’ll change the scenery. I will simply pack up my laptop and move to a new location — either a common area in the office or a coffee shop.

What can you not go without saying or doing for even a day?
Checking something off my to-do list.

Sometimes work is unpredictable — your day can quickly get away from you, and soon it is the end of the day and you haven’t gotten to the work you need to complete. Rather than head home, I’ll tack on 10-15 minutes to at least get through one or two items from my to-do list. It’s amazing how much better I feel knowing I at least got one thing done!

Do you think you could survive without your phone for a day? Would it improve or decrease your productivity?
Absolutely not! It’s my book, assistant, entertainment and computer. Before there were smartphones, I used a palm pilot — so we’re talking about 15-plus years of connectivity here.

How do you get your daily news? Newspaper? Local news? Morning shows? Twitter? Other?
Podcasts and social media. Before I’m even out of bed, I am streaming news to see what happened the night before. Twitter and Facebook definitely provide a quick snapshot of what’s controversial or new in the worId. After working abroad for seven years, I have a fairly geographically diverse social media group spread across the U.S., Asia and Europe — so you definitely want me on your pub quiz team.

What are your hours typically like? Are you more 9-to-5 or are you always on? Do you have the mentality that work/life is constantly blended? How do you shut off over the weekend?
Unfortunately, I’m always on Monday through Friday, but I really try to unplug over the weekend and while on holiday. I don’t think work/life has to blend for everyone — and don’t expect it to do so for my colleagues. However, with global teams I do try to take advantage of being able to connect with my colleagues during their work day to keep projects moving forward smoothly.

That said, I always remind myself: We’re not doctors. We’re not saving lives. You have to draw the line somewhere.

This is the first in a series of blog posts featuring CareerBuilder executives discussing everyday topics to help you live a better life both at and outside of work. Topics range from work-life balance tips to productivity hacks.

How to Be the Next HR Hero

September 21st, 2015 Comments off
How to be a hero in HR

I grew up with comic books and couldn’t get enough of them. I loved the idea of regular people being heroes. It seemed like a great escape, but I never thought it could be a reality.

Or could it?

All comic book heroes hide behind their secret identity because the thought is that if anyone knew who they were as heroes, then no one would leave them alone. It’s cool for comic books — but it shouldn’t be true for talent advisors. HR has been hiding in the shadows for far too long, and it has only diminished our impact on our organizations. It’s time that we step out from our meek personae and intentionally take on a heroic role that we were born to fulfill.

I know this can seem daunting, but it really isn’t.

Take the following steps and see how your new approach is appreciated and needed in your company.

Be Passionate.

Passion is not a dirty word. When you are engaged in something passionately, you give it your all and your best. It’s not hard to do because it feels natural. Historically, HR has felt that if it practiced in a reserved manner, everything would stay in line and be easier to manage. Face it. You aren’t meant to manage, you are meant to lead. Only passionate people can lead.

Represent Everyone.

It takes a hero to move against the grain and represent everybody — managers, employees, and everyone who comes to visit your facility. HR plays a key role in managing the interests of the business across the entire enterprise. You are the voice of all employees, and even some contractors, from the CEO to the laborer on the front line. You can take no sides because you have no sides.

Be Authentic.

The biggest part of a secret identity is putting on a different face when people are around. Cut it out. The more “human” you are with others, the more they’ll be human interacting with you. The emotional makeup of us as people is the most critical aspect we possess. You don’t do yourself any favors being an emotionless robot in HR. Drop the façade and let them see the person inside.

Fight the Villians.

There are villains in every company. Too often they get ignored, avoided, partially disciplined or promoted (if they bring in results). Heroes call out villains and face them head on. It will be a battle, but it’s worth it. Not only because you’re addressing people who should have been addressed long ago, but you’re setting the example of how people should treat each other. Don’t shy away from confrontation or hide behind some system of discipline. Clean up your workplace and let the villains know that they aren’t welcome anymore.

Form Your Own League of Heroes.

It’s difficult to be heroic on your own. You can feel isolated very quickly. The best thing about being a heroic talent advisor is that there are others who are in the battle as well. Instead of wishing you had others around you who understood your efforts, seek out other heroes and intentionally make them part of your league. Connect with them often and share how it’s going. Learn from each other and encourage each other to stay out front and out of the shadows.

In my career, I’ve been the HR person who hid behind my secret identity, and I’ve become someone who is now no longer skulking in the back hallways. I’ve donned my cape and mask out among the people where heroes should be. Employees don’t take advantage of HR heroes; they look to them to know they will bring out the best in others.

It’s a great gig to be an HR hero, and well worth the risk!

Throughout the month of September, our resident talent advisors are focused on offering tactical advice for human capital management professionals. Subscribe to Talent Advisor to stay on top of the latest blog posts and discussions to help take your professional game to the next level.

3 Ways to Act Less HR-ish

September 4th, 2015 Comments off
How to be less HR-ish and help all departments of the company

I didn’t do anything in HR for the first four weeks I worked at Applebee’s. Instead, I worked in one of their restaurants for four straight weeks. Every position. Every shift. I came in early and made pico de gallo until I thought I would vomit. I worked the dish machine during lunch and dinner rushes. I worked the line and maybe made you a perfect burger or an Oriental Chicken Rollup.

This was how Applebee’s trained their new HR pros like me who came in from outside the company. They wanted to make sure that I knew the business, and understood what a manager and employee of a restaurant went through on a daily basis. They wanted me to develop empathy. If I ever went into a restaurant and got all HR-ish on them about keeping up some arbitrary process, I would understand what they actually went through on a daily basis to try and get things done.

My favorite times at Applebee’s were always walking into a restaurant that was “on fire.” Meaning, they were going down in flames. Too many guests at one time, not enough help, everything going wrong all at once. I usually traveled with one of my peers in operations, and they would immediately just jump in and help. So, I did, too.

I can’t tell you how many dress shirts and pants I ruined working the expo line at Applebee’s during a busy lunch or dinner rush. Everything would be moving fast, and — BOOM! — would go a full ramekin of salsa down the front of me. My wife hated going to dinner with me at Applebee’s because she knew it was just a matter of time until I left the table to go help if it was needed.

When I went to work at a large health system, I would do rounds with my nursing managers. Clearly, I couldn’t help with patients, but I could observe, I could interact and I could understand a little about what their good days and their bad days were like.

In all my corporate HR jobs, I was never considered to be like the “others” in HR. I was told this constantly: “Tim, you aren’t like the last HR person we had!” Mostly, that was said in a positive way.

Here are three ways you can act less HR-ish and ruin your dress clothes:

  1. Spend time with your colleagues doing their work, not yours. It’s not about doing HR when you’re on the floor serving Diet Coke and sweet potato fries.
  2. Learn what the ops team does before you implement HR programs. Ask them to teach you what they can. Then go back and redesign your programs and processes so they’ll work better in your organization’s operations.
  3. Don’t be concerned about doing good HR work. Be concerned about helping your operations get better. Sometimes that might mean you’ll be brainstorming better ways to market or sell. Sometimes you’ll be helping guests have a better experience. It’s all important.


If you have great operations, and you develop a sense of empathy for your employees and leaders, it will be easier to have great HR.

Throughout the month of September, our resident talent advisors will be focused on offering tactical advice for human capital management professionals. Subscribe to Talent Advisor to stay on top of the latest blog posts and discussions to help take your professional game to the next level.

3 Ways to Justify Your Recruiting Spend in 2015 and Beyond

August 24th, 2015 Comments off
3 Ways to Justify Your Recruiting Spend in 2015 and Beyond

I have been blessed to have the opportunity to travel the world for the last several years speaking with talent advisors and business leaders about improving talent strategies, leadership development programs and their own careers.

In conversations with leaders in both small and large companies who work in a variety of industries, one common challenge is voiced to me again and again: Recruiting and hiring talent in a world where the candidates are in the driver’s seat, and companies are facing increasing challenges finding workers with the skills and experience needed to fill their open positions.

To add insult to injury, many talent advisors and talent acquisition leaders are struggling to meet these challenges due to anemic recruiting budgets that haven’t recovered from the rampant cost-cutting measures of a few years ago.

But doing nothing is not an option. Do you want to be a strategic business partner? If so, this is exactly the type of situation where you must step up to the plate and deliver.

If there’s a legitimate need for additional spending to bring the recruiting function to peak performance – which may involve hiring additional recruiters, investing in new technology, or implementing innovative recruiting practices – the business case must be made to get the funds approved.

I’ve outlined the steps for making an effective business case in a previous post on The Hiring Site:

To gain approval for any new program, initiative or process — anything that requires the decision to allocate money, time, or resources — talent advisors must build a business case and complete four critical steps.”

  1. Define the problem.
  2. Use data to quantify how the problem negatively impacts business results.
  3. Evaluate possible solutions and make a recommendation.
  4. Quantify how the recommended solution positively impacts business results.


To get the attention of your organization’s leadership, you need to show them where to find opportunities to positively impact the business.


1. Talent shortages impact the ability to deliver upon business objectives.

According to the 2015 Talent Shortage Survey, conducted by ManpowerGroup, 54 percent of the global employers surveyed indicated talent shortages are impacting their ability to serve client needs, and 42 percent responded that their competitiveness and productivity have been reduced as a result.

Customer satisfaction, competitiveness and productivity are key business drivers that executives must focus on. To gain approval for additional recruiting spend, demonstrate how these challenges will be addressed through improving the skills and effectiveness of the recruiting teams, tapping into different labor pools, and/or implementing additional recruitment channels and methods.

2. Unfilled positions cost the company money and missed opportunities.

The costs associated with extended vacancies are numerous and can include turnover, reduced productivity, lowered employee morale and overtime costs necessary for coverage, among other things.

CareerBuilder recently released the results of a CEO survey, in which 1 in 6 CEOs indicated their company loses $25,000 or more per open position due to long-term, unfilled positions. In this same survey, 68 percent of CEOs believe their company has not been able to reach its full potential due to inability to find and hire qualified candidates.

Spend the time to gather the data necessary to show how much open positions are costing your company. If your numbers are similar to those indicated in the survey above, reducing the number of long-term, unfilled positions by just a handful could result in enough available dollars to have a strong positive impact on your recruiting budget.

3. Your CEO is concerned about the challenges of finding the right talent.

What keeps your CEO up at night? According to PwC’s 17th Annual Global CEO Survey: The Talent Challenge, one of the biggest things CEOs worry about is uncertainty about being able to attract and recruit the talent their companies will need in an increasing challenging environment in the future.

Business leaders and executives are tasked with thinking strategically about the business. This typically involves anticipating business challenges and opportunities, and putting plans in place to either effectively avoid them or take advantage of them. Strong talent advisors who: 1) proactively identify the challenges facing the organization in regard to future talent needs, and 2) propose well-thought-out and researched solutions will likely face little resistance to requests for funding and investment.

Building and maintaining an effective recruiting function in the new world of work is, and will be, a challenge. But, it’s doable. Do the work up front to identify problems, quantify costs, and propose meaningful solutions. The ability of your organization to grow and compete for business in the future depends upon you!

Throughout the month of August, our resident talent advisors are discussing issues around the biggest recruiting issues right now and getting you ready for CareerBuilder’s Empower 2015. Subscribe to Talent Advisor to stay on top of the latest blog posts and discussions, and find out more about Empower 2015 here.

5 Ways to Become a Better HR Professional

August 5th, 2015 Comments off
beyond HR certification: 5 ways to become a better HR professional

There is a lot on the talent advisor’s plate these days. Continued changes to the Affordable Care Act, the U.S. Department of Labor’s proposed changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act, and the simple task of managing makes the job both a blessing and a challenge. There are several things a human resource professional could do to perform the job even better.

Here are my top five:

1. Know your numbers.

If there has been a theme for the Talent Advisor Portal, it is the need for human resource professionals to be able to back up decisions with data.  A strong talent advisor understands basic statistics, interprets results appropriately, and explains it in a matter-of-fact way to others who will help impact bottom line results positively.

2. Know the organizational functions and the industry in which you work.

A talent advisor may be an expert in recruiting and performance management, but unless she understands the business and the industry in which she operates, she will be unsuccessful. She should have a strong understanding of the other organizational functions, such as marketing or finance. If she works in manufacturing, she should spend a few days or a couple of weeks on the line seeing what the typical employee encounters on a day-to-day basis. Similarly, if she works in the service industry, she should make a few sales calls.

3. Pay and reward your high-performing employees.

There is no such thing as a “war” for talent. Instead, organizations are competing for potential employees while keeping salaries at a level low enough to get individuals to accept. Companies that succeed are those that not only recognize engaged employees who are performing well, but that also pay them the salary they deserve.

4. Say “yes” more often.

Too often, human resource professionals are seen as an administrative obstacle that seemingly says “no” to anything that might make work more constructive and fun. Would it kill HR to say “yes” to some things from time to time? People want to look forward to coming to work, and having a few items checked off in their favor will be seen as a positive for you.

5. Be transparent.

A lot of misconceptions about the work human resource professionals do could be cleared up by simply being transparent in word and deed. Harangues regarding performance management or compensation decisions could be cleared up through clear communication of the process being performed.

Step up and become the human resource leader your employees crave. Adopting these items will make you and the organization even better.

Throughout the month of August, our resident talent advisors will be discussing issues around the biggest recruiting issues right now and getting you ready for CareerBuilder’s Empower 2015. Subscribe to Talent Advisor to stay on top of the latest blog posts and discussions, and find out more about Empower 2015 here.

The Leader’s Challenge: Modeling Good Work-Life Behaviors

July 13th, 2015 Comments off
How leaders can promote work-life balance

Work-life balance, work-life integration, work-life flow, work-life rhythm: Whatever you call it, it’s a challenge for many of us in today’s fast-paced and “always-on” world.

And if you’re in a leadership position, that challenge is multiplied not only by the people on your own team — but also by the other employees in your organization. Because, like it or not, employees throughout the organization are observing how you handle the challenges of prioritizing and managing your work, family and personal responsibilities – and they’re modeling their behaviors after yours.

As someone who is guilty of letting the work side of my life often dominate the personal and family side, I’ve spent years researching the best methods for not only taking charge of the issue personally, but also setting a better example for others that work with and for me than I have in the past. (I’m still a work in progress, BTW.)


1. Take control of your schedule at work.

We tend to think about work-life balance in the context of managing our calendars to ensure that we are home by a certain time, or off on an important date to be with family. Meanwhile, our schedule during the workday is crammed full of meetings, leaving little time to actually work on the business or develop team members.

To ensure you’re able to be at your best, and also to set an example for your team, you’ve got to get your calendar under control.

Consider regularly blocking out “open” time on your work calendar that can be used for thinking strategically about the future, for reflecting upon the state of the business, for personal growth and development, or to just take a walk and clear your mind.

Think busy leaders or executives can’t do this? Not true.

After finding his schedule too crammed with meetings to actually work on improving the business and himself as a leader, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner began scheduling daily “blocks of nothing” on his calendar to allow time for proactive thinking – rather than constantly reacting to what was going on around him – and he protects this time in the same manner he would meetings with advisors or employees. In a blog post on LinkedIn, Weiner advises:

…don’t leave unscheduled moments to chance. The buffer is the best investment you can make in yourself and [is] the single most important productivity tool I use.”

2. Set and communicate reasonable boundaries for work and “not work.”

Too often as leaders, we say that we value work-life balance for both ourselves and our employees, but then we’re the ones who stay late at the office to catch up on projects, send emails after hours, or call employees on the weekend to get a head start on the workweek. If we expect our employees to achieve a healthy work-life balance, it’s got to start with us.

My friend Dawn Burke, VP of people at Daxko — a leading provider of software and services for nonprofits nationwide – recently decided that she not only needed to take charge of her schedule to prevent personal burnout and remain fully engaged at work, but that she would go public with her commitment. One of the steps she has taken is to enable an after-hours email auto-response that reads as follows:

Hello Friends,

I hope you are having a great evening! Just a heads up: In order to achieve better work balance, I will not respond to emails after 6 p.m.

Many of us struggle with email burnout and overload. I’m trying an experiment that should be to your benefit. Unplugging at night should allow my brain to function at full capacity tomorrow.

I’ll do my best to respond tomorrow. In the meanwhile — have a wonderful evening.

Thank you for your flexibility!

By communicating her availability and commitment to being fully present during work hours to her co-workers and stakeholders, Dawn is setting an example for other executives and employees at her company, and living up to Daxko’s commitment to encouraging work-life balance for their employees.

3. Put systems in place so you can unplug when you’re away from work. 

I once worked at a company where the prior CEO held a personal belief that no one should be able to take a two-week vacation, because if an employee could be gone for that length of time, they must not be needed. Not only did this unwritten policy foster fear and distrust, it fueled an environment where employees felt that they had to be present in order to prove their worth – rather than focus on performance and results.

Needless to say, as a leader it’s important that you set an example of what’s expected from your team, and that includes demonstrating that you can unplug by delegating responsibilities appropriately and having systems in place to ensure that things run smoothly when you leave work for the evening (or when you’re backpacking around Europe with your family for two weeks).

Contrary to my CEO friend above, I believe you’re actually not doing your job as a leader if you can’t be away from work without being completely plugged in — and you should expect the same from your team members.

As leaders and talent advisors, it’s important for us to recognize that work-life balance is not something a company can mandate through policies and procedures, because each individual’s circumstances and needs are different. However, by demonstrating empathy, setting an example, and communicating expectations, leaders can be the models for work-life balance in their organizations, and everyone will be better because of it.

Throughout the month of July, our resident talent advisors are discussing issues around work-life balance. Subscribe to Talent Advisor to stay on top of the latest blog posts and discussions around unlimited PTO, modeling good work-life behaviors as an employer, working from home, gender differences and PTO, maternity and paternity leave, and much more. 

Five Ways to Use Your Expertise to Give Back

July 7th, 2015 Comments off
5 Ways to Use Your Expertise to Give Back

By Michelle Kruse of ResumeEdge

I recently had the opportunity to meet with a group of young professionals. Still fresh with the glow of college graduation upon their faces, I smiled as they recalled the rigors of college life — sleeping until noon, dining on gourmet ramen and partaking in those always-fun late-night cram sessions.

While some of our own college memories are still crystal clear, the reality is that they become increasingly foggy as we settle into our careers. My meeting with these recent college grads triggered me to realize that now, in a comfortable place career-wise, it’s pretty easy to forget what life was like when I was just starting out.

Sure, we all need to fall on our faces and make mistakes; trial and error is the crux of human learning. When I was starting out, I was fortunate to have people around me who helped lessen the impact of those falls and even point out the perils of paths I was considering. Over the years, these experiences have led me to seek out similar mentoring opportunities to ensure that this evolutionary cycle continues. Luckily, the opportunities to give back are plentiful.

Here are five ways to give back to those who are starting out in the workplace:

  1. Homegrown Opportunities.

    If you’re unsure of where to begin, check to see if your workplace hosts a mentor program. Early on in my own career, through a mentoring program, I was paired with a wonderful woman who was within a year of retirement. Our meetings were regularly scheduled, but they were informal in nature. Sometimes we’d meet for coffee; other times we’d catch up in the break room. The venue never really mattered. Instead, those hours spent together proved to be priceless — and not in a networking sense, either. I was given the vantage point of someone who’d seen nearly everything and had survived. Looking through her lenses at the world helped me rethink how to react to different scenarios. I also learned to recognize when I was wasting my efforts and redirect my energy to be more productive.

  2. Schools.

    In a manner similar to nonprofits, many schools have programs that have a huge need for volunteers. From Junior Achievement programs and career seminars to young professional or business clubs, it’s almost certain that a school near you would love to have you share your experiences to help youth grow.

  3. Blogging.

    Maybe you don’t have time to be physically present, but that doesn’t lessen the knowledge you’ve gained while earning your tenure. If you have a penchant for writing and a desire to put your wisdom to paper (or rather, a webpage), then by all means, sharing through a blog may be your ticket to helping those who are coming up behind you.


    If you’re able to volunteer your time during business hours or evenings, a nearby nonprofit may have just the opportunity you’re looking for. In my city I have been fortunate enough to connect with a local nonprofit that focuses on helping at-risk youths. One evening each month, I spend about three hours discussing how these soon-to-be graduates can best dive into the workforce. As a recruiter, I offer insights on how their resumes should be crafted and how to knock an interview out of the park. Other times, we simply have open, candid conversations about their hopes, dreams and fears as they set out to tackle college and careers. It’s been immensely rewarding to see the smiles, and sometimes joyful tears, as these young adults return to tell me about the new job they’ve just landed.

  5. Keeping the Door Open.

    Too often, as we enter that comfortable zone in our careers and learn the ropes of networking, we forget that networking is not solely an upward event. By simply making yourself available to your junior peers, you may quickly find yourself providing guidance.


While this list serves as a general guide, there are plenty more ways in which tenured professionals can share their expertise and give back. Nobody, short of heirs and heiresses to royalty, starts out at the top — and even kings and queens have stories to share about how they were able to succeed. It’s important to help empower those who will one day fill our trail-worn shoes.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: As the editor and content manager at ResumeEdge, Michelle Kruse has helped countless job seekers find success. With more than 10 years of experience recruiting for companies like Novartis and IBM, she has firsthand experience of what recruiters are looking for, and she shares that insight with those who need it most. She writes regularly to provide advice on resume writing and interviewing not only because it’s her job, but because it’s her passion.

Competitive Pay and Training on Agenda for the Class of 2015

April 28th, 2015 Comments off

by Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer of CareerBuilder

The class of 2015 has one more reason to celebrate: In the best outlook since 2007, 65 percent of employers are planning to hire recent college graduates this year, according to a new survey from CareerBuilder. Even better, one third of employers will offer higher pay than last year, and 1 in 4 will pay $50,000 or more. This year’s graduates are certainly entering a competitive workforce, with employers and candidates on more equal footing after the recent economic shake-up and subsequent recovery.

That’s not to say these grads won’t face challenges in the job market, though, and hiring new graduates means embracing their capabilities—and building on their fresh slate. CareerBuilder’s college hiring forecast reveals how.

In-demand majors and complimentary industries

A college degree has become more and more common in the twenty-first century, changing the workforce’s demands and priorities. Hiring managers surveyed are primarily looking to fill positions in information technology (30 percent) and customer service jobs (28 percent), as well as finance/accounting (22 percent), sales (21 percent) and business development (19 percent).

Filling those vacancies means looking for the top of the class. New grads enter the workforce with a beginner’s knowledge of their industry, and employers can capitalize on that energy and ambition. Of the most sought-after grads, employers prioritize interviewing and hiring:

  • Business and technical majors (38 percent)
  • Computer and Information Sciences (27 percent)
  • Engineering (18 percent)
  • Math and Statistics (14 percent)
  • Health Professions and Related Clinical Sciences (14 percent)
  • Communications Technologies (12 percent)
  • Engineering Technologies (12 percent)
  • Communication and Journalism (10 percent)
  • Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities (9 percent)
  • Science Technologies (8 percent)
  • Education (7 percent)

Payday prospects

Along with a growing job market, lucrative entry-level opportunities are becoming more prevalent. One third (33 percent) of employers who plan to hire recent college graduates will offer higher starting salaries than they did last year. Fifty-seven percent expect no change in salary offers.

Offers before graduation are growing, too, as nearly half of employers (48 percent) say they will make offers to students before they graduate. Expected starting salaries for recent graduates break down as follows:

  • Under $30,000: 26 percent
  • $30,000 to less than $40,000: 28 percent
  • $40,000 to less than $50,000: 20 percent
  • $50,000 and higher: 26 percent


These numbers, however, are not set in stone: The majority of employers (65 percent) say they are willing to negotiate salary offers.

Preparing for challenges

With such bright prospects, it’s tempting to say recent grads will easily transition to the workforce. However, one in five employers feel colleges do not adequately prepare students with crucial workplace competencies, including short-comings like:

  • Too much emphasis on book learning instead of real world learning (46 percent)
  • I need workers with a blend of technical skills and soft skills gained from liberal arts (38 percent)
  • Entry-level roles within my organization are more complex today (22 percent)
  • Not enough focus on internships (15 percent)
  • Technology is changing too quickly for academics to keep up (14 percent)
  • Not enough students are graduating with the degrees my company needs (10 percent)


These are challenges that employers and educators can work together to fix, bridging the gap between the training educators can offer and the soft skills employers are prioritizing. For instance, when asked which skills they think recent college graduates lack for the workplace, most of these employers cited interpersonal or problem-solving skills:

  • Interpersonal or people skills (52 percent)
  • Problem-solving skills (46 percent)
  • Oral communication (41 percent)
  • Leadership (40 percent)
  • Written communication (38 percent)
  • Teamwork (37 percent)
  • Creative thinking (36 percent)
  • Project management (26 percent)
  • Research and analysis (16 percent)
  • Math (15 percent)
  • Computer and technical (13 percent)


Being aware of these common concerns means looking for grads who showcase excellence in these areas, or customizing job descriptions and advertising around the type of entry-level employee you’re looking to bring onboard. With 2015’s impressive forecast for college hiring, recent graduates are a strong asset that can bring new resources and energy to your team.

Like a Boss: Study Reveals Common Characteristics of Senior Management

March 12th, 2015 Comments off
I'm the boss

If your CEO wants to apply to be the next “Undercover Boss,” he or she may not need to wear a disguise in order to fool your employees. 

According to a new CareerBuilder study, 26 percent of workers surveyed say they don’t even know what their CEO looks like, while 55 percent have never had a conversation with the head honcho.

The less your employees know about your CEO or other senior leadership, the more unapproachable or intimidating they may seem to be. Yet as the survey results show, the personalities and preferences of senior executives may not be as unlike the average worker as one may think.

Dressing to impress?

Many offices have been transitioning to a more lax dress code over the past several years, and executives are following (without a) suit. According to the survey, only 1 in 5 executives (20 percent) consider a business suit typical office attire. Most (57 percent) outfit themselves in business casual clothing, while 18 percent usually wear jeans or shorts to work.

When it comes to clothing color, black is the most popular choice, with 32 percent of top leadership donning the dark hue. Navy blue is the second most popular color (31 percent) followed by grey (10 percent).

Commonplace commutes

When it comes to commuting, most top dogs prefer cars – but not the chauffeured kind. Seventy-nine percent take themselves to work in an automobile, with 1 in 4 driving an SUV, 1 in 5 opting for a mid-sized sedan and 1 in 10 cruising around in a luxury sedan.

Eighteen percent use more environmentally friendly modes of transport, with 9 percent taking public transportation, 4 percent driving hybrids, 4 percent walking and 1 percent riding their bikes.

Sober hour

While executives may relax a little bit more than usual during office happy hours, you don’t have to worry about them getting a little too loose. More than half of senior management (62 percent) abstain from drinking alcoholic beverages at company happy hours. Instead, they choose soda (23 percent), water (19 percent), coffee (13 percent) or nothing at all (7 percent). Thirteen percent of executives kick back with a beer, and the same number (13 percent) sip wine, while 8 percent opt for mixed drinks.

Working up a storm, and a sweat

When asked how many hours they work in a typical week, 40 was the minimum for most head honchos. Fifty-eight percent say they work 40 to 49 hours a week, and 32 percent work 50 hours or more. Then there are those lucky few (9 percent) who work less than 40 hours a week.

Due to their packed schedule, nearly 1 in 5 (18 percent) say they “rarely” or “never” work out. Yet the vast majority of leaders (82 percent) are able to squeeze in at least one work out a week, with 39 percent getting their sweat on four or more days a week.

Right brained or left brained?

When it comes to a preferred hand, right-handers outnumber left-handers by nearly 7 to 1 (80 percent versus 13 percent). Eight percent of leaders claim to be ambidextrous.

The right side is also favored when it comes to hair parts, with 29 percent of senior leaders choosing this side. Nineteen percent go down the middle and 15 percent part on the left. One in four don’t part their hair at all, while 11 percent sport a shaved or bald head.

Opening the door to more executive engagement

While your employees may never get to know your CEO or senior leaders well enough to get a ride in their car or workout together, there are easy ways to provide more access to them so that employees feel a connection on some level. Try conducting monthly or quarterly Q&A sessions with your CEO and staff, or encourage your executives to work out of other offices on occasion. Anything you can do to provide more contact with senior executives can go a long way in the eyes of your employees.

For more CEO insights, check out the following articles:

Managing remote workers and staying in touch

February 19th, 2015 Comments off
Managing remote workers

The cold weather or family-friendly work schedules may mean more workers are logging hours from home, and technology has enabled employees around the globe to work together. With a team widely dispersed around the world, though, it’s not easy being a manager. To overcome potential hurdles, employ these three essentials for managing remote workers and staying in touch with your team.

Turn challenges into opportunities

Managing a remote set of workers can bring out challenges that an in-house team may not face, and can also expose weaknesses on a team more quickly. John McLaughlin is a start-up founder and entrepreneur based in Manhattan and has built and sold two software businesses built entirely on remote workers. He says, “One of the biggest struggles that I have encountered is ensuring everyone is on the same page and communicating effectively. This can be especially difficult with large time zone differences and really difficult when it comes to language barriers. Keeping track of remote workers can be challenging. They may not turn up to an online meeting because of an emergency or sometimes severe local weather. I’ve had days of silence from remote teams in the Philippines in the past because of monsoons and floods.”

But learning how to turn these challenges into opportunities is where a skilled virtual manager can stand out. Nikki Parker is regional director for North America and Oceania at Freelancer.com, which allows people to hire virtual employees on a project basis or build a team on hourly/fixed engagements. She says, “Understanding where your freelancers are based and the time zones they operate in can mean you actually increase your productivity. Set up work so that it is passed on during your day and the work is completed over night. When you wake up in the morning the work is ready to be reviewed and you are able to continue the process, ultimately ensuring a high level of output from your virtual workers.”

Manage empathetically

Virtual workers may not be around to see inside jokes develop or go out for coffee runs before a meeting, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to create a close-knit team or develop trust with your workers. To foster a community, McLaughlin recommends “encouraging communication, including them in local events and getting them on location whenever feasible. Also be respectful of their time zone and desired work/life balance. There’s nothing worse than planning meetings when your employees would normally be sleeping.”

In addition, take advantage of technology to keep people close. Parker recommends using group emails, both business-focused and slightly personal, to help a virtual team bond, as well as try live group chats for quick updates or discussions. And make it a priority to get to know your virtual employees’ strengths, weaknesses and personality, and play to their strengths.

Keep communication clear

All good managers know that communication is key, but making this priority No. 1 for virtual workers will help create strong relationships, keep projects on schedule and ensure that everybody understands their roles and responsibilities. To do so, Parker says, “Provide a clear brief upfront which is written and documented. Via email or chat, have the worker repeat in their own words their understanding of the project/work. This will make sure all correspondence is documented and you are working off the same page.”

This step also helps reveal who understands their work and who may be falling behind. Since remote workers may be more susceptible to project mishaps or miscommunication without the constant updates that naturally happen in hallways or break rooms, managers need to supplement the team with regular opportunities to communicate.

Danny Boice is co-founder and president of Speek, a free conference call service, and runs the company’s technology, product and marketing teams. He regularly works with team members who are distributed across the United States and abroad, and to keep everybody in touch, recommends short, frequent informal check-ins each day. He says, “Even if it’s just for five minutes, get everyone together on a call and just quickly run through who’s doing what and what the blockers are. This goes a long way and is a fantastic use of a little bit of time.”

6 Ways to Get Employees to Love You as a Leader

February 16th, 2015 Comments off
6 ways to be a better leader

I’ll be extremely honest. I have employees who have truly loved me as a co-worker, supervisor and peer. I’ve also had employees who flat-out hated and despised me. Want to be a leader? Both of these scenarios come with the territory.

I never set out for either one of these extremes. I always hoped that, as a leader, those employees I supervised would respect me and feel like I supported them to be successful in their positions. The rest just happens based on how you connect with employees on a personal level.

There are some things that, as a leader, you can do to get more employees loving you than hating you:

  1. During big life issues, show extreme compassion and empathy.

    HR has policies around life issues like bereavement and childbirth. They’re all written to not allow employees to take advantage. The best leaders break these policies for their people. Major life issues rarely happen, and employees judge you based on how you react to these.

  1. Make it personal.

    Truly get to know the family and happenings of your employees’ lives. Go beyond small talk. This takes time, and this takes asking multiple times. Be willing to share your personal life as well.

    Check out these 14 smart ways to invest in your talent (on a budget), straight from our talent advisors themselves.

  1. Surprise individual employees in great ways.

    I once had a single mom who worked for me. Her son was playing basketball, and she couldn’t afford to buy him the expensive shoes all the other kids were getting. This is crushing to a single mother, so I bought the shoes. I still hear from her 10 years later.

  1. Be willing to do the job below the people you supervise.

    I change light bulbs at my company. I take out the garbage. I pick up paper in the restroom. I do this so the people who report to me won’t have to. So they can focus on their jobs. A leader who serves and helps others is always welcome to meetings.

  2. Make employees’ skills so valuable that others will want them.

    This is very hard for most organizations and leaders to accept. “If I make them that valuable, they’ll leave.” Yes, they might. But most will not, because other organizations and leaders aren’t doing what you’re willing to do.

  3. Ask for help.

    Your employees are smart. They have great ideas. You don’t have to move mountains by yourself. The leaders who are loved are usually the same leaders who ask their teams for the most help. It’s easier than you think to say, “I don’t know how to solve this problem. I don’t have the answer. Do you?”


Do you see anything above that seems really hard to do? Anything you can’t actually start doing tomorrow?

Being a beloved leader doesn’t take intelligence, power or experience. It doesn’t take grand or superficial gestures. It takes a person who is willing to be human. So be a little vulnerable and check your ego at the door. Baking a cake and bringing it to work is just icing.

Throughout the month of February, the Talent Advisor Portal is featuring HR leaders who will help you learn why and how and why to invest in talent in 2015 — even on a shoestring budget. Join CareerBuilder and talent advisor Steve Browne for a can’t-miss webinar, “Wake Up! It’s 2015 — Time to Make Employee Investment a Reality,” on Thurs., Feb. 19 at 2:00 Central time. Register now.

5 Lessons From Bad HR and Management Behaviors

February 5th, 2015 Comments off
5 Lessons From Bad HR and Management Behaviors

I have a friend who works in HR. Let’s call him Joe. Joe was so excited to join a new company last year, but today he’s trying to quit. How did things go so terribly wrong in a matter of months?

Here are some reasons that could serve as a warning for others. Take a step back and ask yourself: Could any of these bad HR and management behaviors be eating away at employees in my organization?

1. Broken promises/lack of transparency.

Joe had a certain set of expectations of what his job role would look like when he agreed to join the company last year. Since then, as it turned out, most of the responsibilities given to him were outside the scope of what was initially discussed when he interviewed.

THE LESSON: Make sure you are transparent and honest from the very beginning, and specify up front what your expectations for the role are so that candidates don’t feel duped when they begin working.

2. Bad management.

We’ve all heard that one of the primary reasons employees quit their jobs is because of bad managers. Joe points to his incompetent boss as one of the main reasons for wanting to resign. He says his manager is not only clueless about what team members are doing day to day, but she also doesn’t touch base with them regularly. Questions from the team are usually met with a condescending response, which dissuades anyone from approaching her.

THE LESSON: Make sure that managers are trained to bring out the very best in their people. It isn’t about appearing intelligent — it’s about being approachable and supportive so team members know someone’s got their back.

You might like to read: 4 bad leadership behaviors every leader should blast in 2015.

3. Micro-management/lack of trust.

Unfortunately, Joe wasn’t given the liberty to make even relatively small decisions without running it up the chain first. This not only caused tremendous inefficiencies, but also demonstrated to him that if he couldn’t be trusted with minor decisions, his career couldn’t conceivably progress at the company.

THE LESSON: When you hire candidates, there’s some amount of inherent trust that they know what they’re doing, right? Give them opportunities to prove themselves — and watch them step up to the plate, without looking over their shoulders every two minutes.

4. Toxic culture.

Employees on Joe’s team started quitting one after the other — some without even having a backup job lined up — because they said they couldn’t handle the pressure of a poisonous culture anymore without any hope that something might change. That sent a loud message to the rest of the team about how toxic the culture really was.

THE LESSON: One of the best things you can do to gauge whether you have a healthy corporate culture is to ask your employees about it. Do pulse checks and engagement surveys regularly. Also consider doing exit interviews when employees leave — sometimes these can produce more candid answers. Then actually *do* something with the results — communicate it to the executive team and put programs or policies in place aimed at rectifying the situation.

5. Zero flexibility.

The head of HR reiterated to Joe’s team that a strict 8-5 or 9-6 workday policy was in place for anyone who chose to take a lunch break. There was also mention of cutting back on work-from-home days, and calling people out for experiencing public transportation delays in the morning. The person actually said something along the lines of how it was up to HR to set the standard for the rest of the company. (Wonder what the rest of the company thinks when HR is a revolving door for employees.)

THE LESSON: If employees are doing exceptional work and completing all of their assignments, do you really care if they leave early to make their kids’ baseball games or hit the gym in the middle of the day? Stringent anti-work/life policies won’t keep employees in line — they’ll simply push them away.

Which of these bad HR and management behaviors stood out to you as needing to be eliminated ASAP? Tell us in the comments below or tweet at us @CBforEmployers.