How to Fix 5 Common Talent Management Mistakes

June 28th, 2017 Comments off
Common Talent Management Mistakes

Talent management today is no easy task at a small business. While may have fewer employees to keep track of, there’s still a lot to handle – from workforce planning to recruiting and hiring to onboarding to development to benefits management, and everything in between. With so much on your plate, even the most seasoned HR professionals can make mistakes. Take a look at some of the most common talent management mistakes and the steps you can take to fix them.

Mistake #1: Your Recruiting Process Is Too Long

If your application process is too long, it could be costing you quality candidates: 60 percent of job seekers have started – but not finished – filling out an online application because it was too long, according to CareerBuilder research. How long is “too long”? The majority of job seekers (62 percent) feel the application process should take 20 minutes at the most, and 29 percent even believe it should take no more than 10 minutes. Look at your own application process and see where there might be ways to streamline the process. (If you post your jobs to CareerBuilder, one quick solution is using CareerBuilder Apply, which enables candidates to apply quickly to a posting on the spot.) Once you start bringing candidates in for interviews, know what you are looking for and make sure everyone involved in the hiring process is on board so you can make a decision as quickly as possible. The entire process should last no more than three to four weeks; otherwise, you risk losing your top candidates to competitors.

Mistake #2: You Don’t Have Career Paths for Your Employees

One of the limitations of working at a small business is that opportunities to move up can be few and far between. But that doesn’t mean you can’t carve out meaningful career paths for your employees; after all, not every career path has to follow a conventional route. Work with your employees to understand their career aspirations and map out a plan to help them develop and grow. This may take some creativity. Look for areas within the company that may be opening up or growing. Give employees time to work on pet projects (which they can tie back to the business). Encourage them to come up with new business ideas or products that enable them to showcase their skills and build on their strengths.

Mistake #3: You’re Not Putting Any Effort Into Retention

Perhaps you’ve gotten the hiring process down and have made some quality hires. But are you doing anything to ensure those hires stick around? While it’s important to hire great people, it’s just as crucial to put the same – if not more – energy into retaining them. While it may not seem like you have a problem with turnover, you may be missing the warning signs. Don’t wait until employees start walking out the door to tackle turnover. Utilize employee engagement surveys or conduct stay interviews to understand what keeps your employees engaged and where there are opportunities for improvement.

Mistake #4: You Don’t Always Run Background Checks

More than half of small business employers have found a mistake on a resume, according to CareerBuilder research. Consistent background checking on candidates can minimize hiring mistakes by verifying a candidate’s resume claims. Not only do consistent background checks minimize hiring mistakes by verifying candidates’ resume claims, they also improve workplace safety and minimize negligent hiring claims.

Mistake #5: You Do Everything Manually

Do you ever find yourself wishing you had more hours in the day? Are you keeping track of everything on Excel spreadsheets? Has a huge part of your job become inputting data and filing papers? It doesn’t have to be like this. Human capital management technology has become a necessity in today’s workplace – even for small businesses. Not only can automating HR processes – from onboarding and benefits enrollment to background screening – save you time and money, it can eliminate costly human errors. The less time you spend on administrative tasks, the more time you can spend on other projects.

Take talent management to the next level. Check out the Highly Successful Habits of Small Business Managers.

How to Take a Proactive Approach to Employee Retention

December 28th, 2016 Comments off
employee retention

Ben Brooks, CEO of PILOT

That faint knock on your office door or that ominous 15-minute “catch up” meeting scheduled on your calendar by one of your star performers. Then comes the news you’ve feared and have been avoiding; they’re resigning. You remain calm on the outside, but inside you panic. Experienced managers have seen this horror film many times, and it usually results in the manager trying to convince or even beg the departing employee to stay. This is both likely a bad idea and symptomatic of a lager people management and employee retention issue.

If you do convince them to stay (likely by offering more money) you’ll be setting up an unfortunate power dynamic. You may have (temporarily) succeeded at preventing them from leaving, but you’ve likely only bought yourself limited time. During this time your colleague will likely have sub-par performance, knowing they were never really appreciated since you only acted once they said they were quitting. Plus, you’ll signal (yes, everyone does talk) to other staff that quitting is how you get a raise and attention. All bad dynamics to create.

Here’s what you must admit: Your best people will eventually leave. If they are great they have lots of options beyond your organization (even if not visible to you), so you need to act as if they are surrounded by opportunities to leave. Second, the labor market is rapidly shifting, both due to changes in talent development strategies at firms (moving from build to buy) and generational preferences. This means that switching companies fairly frequently, once shunned, is now viewed as advancing one’s career without much stigma.

So what do you do instead?

  1. Upgrade them: In short, be proactive and eliminate reasons for your best people to quit. Start by upgrading their job without asking them. Isn’t it a rush when an airline or hotel gives you an upgrade? Give your employees that same sense of importance and delight by engaging them one-on-one to let them know they are appreciated. Reinforce your commitment that they love working for you. Do this by asking about their unmet needs and identifying what barriers they have to doing great work for you. Most importantly, take what you hear and do something about it.
  1. Treat them like customers: Most successful companies do a good job of treating their customers with respect, making them feel appreciated and engaging them in an empathetic manner. Guess what? The same best practices you use with customers work great with your employees. Remember the golden rule – how would you want to be treated if the roles were reversed? Take on their perspective and have empathy when you make decisions and communicate. Show them they’re appreciated by surprising and delighting them, perhaps with an unexpected team outing, a nice gift or even bringing in food. Additionally, invest in their development and growth both with your time – setting clear expectations, giving meaningful feedback, and thoughtfully assigning work that will help them grow, and your resources – by sending them to conferences, on business trips and to trainings.


“An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure” rings true when it comes to employee retention. Being proactive is simply smart business. We all know how painful and costly it can be to lose good people. Yet most companies fail to manage talent attrition as a major risk, as they would cybersecurity or changes in their supply chains. When you know something is a risk to your company, in particular if it is likely, has material impact, and can be mitigated, you do something about it. Your best people leaving should be no different.

As a bonus, when you do prevent attrition risk you get the upside of increased engagement and productivity, literally like being allocated additional headcount to get more work done. Plus, it is far easier to raise expectations of staff and hold them accountable when you have a significant goodwill “deposit” from showing them you care and being thoughtful.

As you start to think about what being a great manager in 2017 looks like, I strongly encourage you to take on the satisfaction and retention of your best employees as a top priority.

Ben Brooks is the Founder & CEO of PILOT, the NYC-based tech startup focused on helping managers retain their best people. Leveraging on-demand and engaging technology, PILOT mimics working with an executive career coach by fusing process and content together into an action-oriented and insightful digital experience. PILOT’s newest invention is called “The Brand Crafter,” an interactive workshop designed to help define and expand your professional brand. Learn more at www.pilot.coach, say hello at hello@pilot.coach, or tweet Ben at @benbrooksny.

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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

For Many Working Moms, the Struggle is Real

May 5th, 2016 Comments off
For many working moms, the struggle is real

Janet Jackson is one of the latest high-profile women to be heading toward a very important job. A job she’s deemed it necessary to cancel her tour for, in fact: motherhood.

Though at first blush, Mother’s Day brings to mind gestures and rituals like heartfelt cards, phone calls, hand-crafted gifts and brunch out on the town as we reminisce and celebrate motherhood and the women who have made a difference in our lives — what Mother’s Day doesn’t as often address is the struggle many working mothers (and fathers, for that matter) face today.

Paying a Bigger Price

CareerBuilder’s annual Mother’s Day survey reveals that at least 2 in 5 working moms and dads are the sole breadwinners for their households; yet working dads are almost three times as likely to earn $50,000 or more and three times as likely to earn six figures.

Although they face equal pressure to take care of their families, working moms who are the sole financial providers are still significantly lagging behind working dads in terms of salary.

To break it down:

Earn less than $50,000 annually

  • Working moms who are sole financial providers: 69 percent
  • Working dads who are sole financial providers: 40 percent

Earn $50,000 or more annually

  • Working moms who are sole financial providers: 20 percent
  • Working dads who are sole financial providers: 58 percent


More Quality Time — But Is It Enough?

Where working moms seem to be outperforming working dads is in the amount of quality time at home – but would most working moms say it’s enough? During the typical workweek, more than half of working moms (58 percent) spend four or more hours with their children every day, compared to 41 percent of working dads. Only 4 percent of working moms say they spend an hour or less with their children each day, compared to 10 percent of working dads.

It’s not necessarily a ton of time, and working dads are faring even worse when it comes to quality time with their children.

As working parents, we of course strive to make the most of the more limited time we have with our kids. Yet, both working moms and dad continue to struggle with juggling personal and professional commitments: Twenty-three percent of working moms and 26 percent of working dads said they have missed three or more significant events in their children’s lives in the last year.

Can You Have it All?

Some women who say they can “have it all” without sacrificing some quality of work or home life are probably not being completely honest with themselves. Most working moms (82 percent) feel they can have it all, but one wonders what “having it all” really means when only half (50 percent) said they are equally successful in their jobs and as parents.

Many parents feel they’re better at one than the other:

  • More than one-third of working moms (36 percent) report they’re more successful as a parent, compared to 33 percent of working dads.
  • A relatively equal number of working moms and dads say they are more successful in their jobs than as parents – 15 percent compared to 14 percent of working moms.


Still, the juggle seems worth it to many parents. Two in 5 working parents (40 percent) say they would be unlikely to leave their job if their spouse or significant other made enough money for their family to live comfortably (47 percent of working dads vs. 35 percent of working moms).

On top of that, 60 percent of working parents said they would not be willing to take a decrease in pay to spend more time with their kids (66 percent of working dads vs. 55 percent of working moms), even though nearly one-third of working parents (31 percent) said their child has asked them to work less.

But is that by Choice – or Necessity?


Said Rosemary Haefner, CHRO of CareerBuilder — and a working mom:

Working parents not only have performance reviews at the office, but also experience them on a daily basis at home. The pressure to succeed in both arenas can be tough, especially if you’re not earning enough money to take care of financial demands at home. More working moms today feel that they are able to balance the needs of their professional and personal worlds, but household income still remains a major concern.

There’s been a lot of discussion around the idea that parents who leave the workforce to raise their children – even temporarily – may lose valuable skills and networking contacts, leaving them ill-equipped if and when they’re ready to jump back into it. However, parents new to the workforce or looking to jump back in may find raising children has actually equipped them with a marketable set of skills. Sixty-eight percent of employers believe being a parent can qualify as relevant experience in the corporate world.

The experience parents gain that employers find most valuable are:

  • Patience – 68 percent
  • Ability to multi-task – 61 percent
  • Time management – 57 percent
  • Conflict management – 51 percent
  • Problem-solving – 50 percent
  • Empathy – 43 percent
  • Mentoring – 42 percent
  • Negotiation – 36 percent
  • Budgeting and managing finances – 36 percent
  • Project management – 25 percent


This raises some questions: Are parents looking to get back into the workplace underestimating their skill set? Will presenting their real-life experience in a new way make potential employers look at them in a new light? And as an employer (and/or a working parent), which of these qualifications would you find most valuable? ? Tweet us @CBforEmployers and tell us what you think.

The Parenthood Principle

While someone like Janet Jackson may be more carefree when it comes to the financial decisions around working and raising a child, even she isn’t immune to the push and pull of career vs. family that many working mothers face. The struggles and sacrifices of both mothers and fathers as they navigate the complex issues around work are ubiquitous. The guilt parents in the workplace grapple with can be neverending, but working moms should take heart: A Harvard Business School study shows working moms may raise more successful daughters and empathetic sons.

And that’s something to celebrate.


The survey included more than 2,000 employers and 1,002 working parents with children 18 years old and younger who are living at home with them. See the full results here.

Equal Pay Day 2016: Where Do We Stand?

April 12th, 2016 Comments off
Equal Pay and Gender: Where Do We Stand?

Despite the fact that the Equal Pay Act was enacted in 1963, women in the U.S. still face a gender pay gap that is closing at a snail’s pace.

Equal Pay Day was established in 1996 by the National Committee on Pay Equity, or NCPE, and symbolizes the extra amount of time a female employee must work to make the same as a male counterpart for the previous calendar year. Today, women in the U.S. average 79 cents for every dollar earned by men.

This year’s April 12 date signifies that, based on data from 2015, female employees would need to work until April 12, 2016 to earn the same amount as a male earned in 2015 with equal levels of education, experience, skills and duties.

Age and Race in Gender Pay Equality

One study takes a deeper dive into pay inequality and suggests there are other factors that contribute to certain women making less money in their careers.

According to the American Association of University Women, the gender pay gap appears to grow with age: Women ages 20-24 made about 92 percent of what men were paid, while women ages 55-64 were paid only 76 percent of what their male counterparts made.

Minority women face an even tougher challenge, with Hispanic and Latina women earning only 54 percent of what their white male counterparts made, and African American women earning 63 percent.

When Will We Reach Equality and What Can You Do?

The Institute for Women’s Policy Research, or IWPR, suggests that, if this current trend keeps up, women will not achieve “pay parity” in the United States until the year 2059 – another 43 years.

A report for the World Economic Forum estimates that it will take an additional 75 years – a total of 118 years – for the whole world to achieve gender pay equality.

There are a number of bills proposed in Congress that may help close these gaps, but that doesn’t mean you have to wait to make a change.

As recruitment professionals, here’s how you can make a difference at your company:

Allow employees to talk freely about salaries with colleagues. About half of all workers are either prohibited or strongly discouraged from discussing pay with co-workers, according to a 2014 IWPR study. Greater transparency in this case will allow women to fight for pay equality where they currently work.

Avoid the typical new hire pitfall of starting women off in lower-paying positions. Some studies suggest that women are more likely than men to graduate business school and still end up in a lower-level job – while men are twice as likely to end up in the C-suite. Don’t discriminate. Go for the right person, with the right qualifications, at the right time.


Want to learn more about this issue? Check out what strategic advisor Naomi Bloom has to say about the lack of women and minority leaders in HR.

Say This, Not That: Communicating Better with Hiring Managers

March 25th, 2016 Comments off

The recruiter/hiring manager relationship: It’s complicated. You need each other, you want to do right by each other — but you don’t understand each other. And this breakdown in communication is what leads to feelings of frustration on both sides, drives a wedge between the two of you and, ultimately, brings you further from your ultimate (shared) goal: matching the right candidates with the right jobs.

When it comes to improving your relationship with hiring managers, it might take a little legwork on your part. (Or as Gandhi might say, be the change you want to see in your hiring manager partnership.) Use the following tips to bridge those communication gaps between you and your hiring managers, and build stronger partnerships as a result.

Say This: “Here’s what the data says.”
Not That: “You’re expectations are unrealistic.”
It’s not that hiring managers are trying to be unreasonable in their expectations. They just aren’t always aware of the external factors thwarting your ability to bring in qualified candidates – particularly for hard-to-fill positions. Use labor market data to set realistic expectations with hiring managers. Supply and demand data, for example, could show them which positions are particularly hard to fill and may mean longer time-to-fill or an adjustment of their strategy. Meanwhile, compensation data will help them understand the most competitive compensation rates so they can either adjust their salary offers or their requirements.

Say This: “Do you have a few minutes to talk over the phone?”
Not That: “I need more details.”
Need more details about a position or confused about what the hiring manager is looking for in terms of candidates? Pick up the phone and ask specific questions. A five-minute phone call is all it takes to learn more about the position – and avoid endless back and forth on email. Even better? Sit down and have a conversation in person. The more time and effort you invest upfront to understand the position, the more time (and frustration) you’ll save later.

Say This: “What are some specific ways I can do better?”
Not That: “We good?”
You’re not a mind-reader, but sometimes it feels as if hiring managers expect you to be when it comes to fulfilling their needs. Take the time to check in with your hiring manager regularly and ask if there’s anything you can do to improve. Though you may not like their feedback initially, opening the door to a candid conversation will ultimately strengthen your relationship and make you a more efficient team.

Say This: “You have until [time] on [date] to respond.”
Not That: “Please respond.”
Like many of us these days, hiring managers are often too busy to respond immediately to every phone call or email that comes their way; however, it’s important they understand that when it comes to recruiting, urgency is key. When presenting hiring managers with in-demand candidates, be clear that they need to act quickly or risk losing said candidates. Give them a solid deadline to respond, after which, you will start submitting the candidate to other clients.

Get five tips to make hiring managers fall in love with you (or at least like you a little more) with our free guide, “5 Steps to Make Hiring Managers Fall in Love With You.”

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How to Nourish In-Office Learning

March 15th, 2016 Comments off
Recruiting for the love of learning

There was a time in history when employees were at the mercy of their employer in terms of fringe benefits. A great package in the early 20th century might include a steady paycheck and the day off on Christmas — unless you were employed by a gentleman with the name Ebenezer. Things have certainly changed; so much so that it is now employers who must fight to offer the greatest benefit packages in order to attain (and retain) the best and brightest employees. One of the most popular benefits for employees is an opportunity to learn.

Whether through tuition reimbursement programs, paid professional certifications or free continuing education credits, fostering employees who have a deep love of learning is beneficial to all those involved. With this in mind, it’s important for managers to create learning opportunities within the office. Most programs focus on opportunities outside regular business hours; however, if you’re a people manager, there are things you can do today to help cultivate great learning environments without the need for employees to seek such opportunities during their free time.

Here are four ideas to foster a love of learning:

Call It Out.

As you look to initiate any learning program, it will be important to make sure those who report to you are aware of the level of importance you place on learning. You may be thinking, “Shouldn’t my team already know this is important to me?” The truth is, most employees don’t expect or assume that an organization or their managers value learning above learning the in and outs of their particular roles and focusing on what they brought with them through the doors.

Invite Experts.

Expert guests may range from senior members of other teams with which you work, to professional educators. Picture these events as in-house conferences or seminars. If there is a particular certification that would help the members of your team perform more effectively, having an outside instructor come to you each week and working through the course as a team is a great way to build camaraderie, as well as ensure your employees have the specific qualifications you need to ensure long-term organizational success. For example, if you’re managing a group of project managers, there could be an opportunity to work as a team toward earning a Project Management Professional (PMP) certificate.

Set up a Laboratory.

Whether you want to call it a workshop, a lunch and learn — or another term people may be buzzing at the moment, having proctored learning sessions is a solid method to employ to edify your teams. The frequency of these sessions can be flexible, though in most office settings, monthly or bi-monthly works well.

Involve your employees! Don’t just pick a topic and hope for the best; there should be a dialogue around what skills and knowledge your people are interested in improving. And remember, not everyone on the team will be, or needs to be, in attendance at every session. One month you may focus on communication, another on organization skills or time management, and so on.

Carve out Time.

Providing the time to foster a love of learning doesn’t have to be a detriment to the bottom line and productivity. A mere 30-minute block for employees to focus on learning initiatives adds up to over 20 hours of annual, in-office learning. Think about it: Perhaps it’s the last 30 minutes of every Tuesday, or the first half hour on Fridays. By making it a point to provide specific time solely for the purpose of education, most teams can accomplish a significant amount of self-betterment.

Learning is an important piece of individual growth and development. This goes above the standard on-the-job training; that’s still essential, but it focuses only on the skills needed to complete the tasks employees were hired to perform today, rather than helping them grow within the organization and become the leaders of tomorrow. There is no right or wrong methods. Anything you can do as a manager to help your employees grow will both benefit the organization, as well as help demonstrate your people skills. These suggestions are a great start, but there should be no limit on learning, as there is no finish line. As Leonardo da Vinci said, “Learning never exhausts the mind.”


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: As the editor and content manager at ResumeEdgeMichelle 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.

5 Steps to Make Hiring Managers Fall in Love With You

February 12th, 2016 Comments off
How to make hiring managers fall in love with you

As a recruiter, focusing on making hiring managers fall in love with you is no longer an option — it’s a necessity. Since the dawn of the workforce as we know it, a chasm has been growing between recruiters and hiring managers. The gap exists because over time, we have compartmentalized these functions and done little to connect them. Each side stands firmly upon their own territory and launches grenades into the others’ camp any time the hiring process gets clunky.

When these issues take priority over the candidate experience and making quality hires, both the company and the candidate suffer. It’s time recruiters and hiring managers step up to fill the split and be the proactive force behind making hiring more functional and effective for all parties involved.

Try these tips to start improving your hiring manager relationships right away:

1. Walk in their shoes.

Recruiting professionals need to eliminate the job requisition mentality. Your job is to identify and recommend great team members for the organization. The hiring manager is typically yearning for positions to be filled. To get a better understanding of what those positions are, be intentional and schedule a day or two to shadow in the hiring manager’s department. Learn what they do and how they perform their work. When they show you what value they bring to the organization, the courtship begins.

2. Show them how they impact the candidate experience.

You have a great opportunity to educate the hiring manager on how his or her approach helps candidates decide whether they will actually join your company once the offer is made. Show them how their time with candidates is critical in securing great talent. Use their interviews as venues to close the sale and get great folks on board.

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Is Global Or Local Recruiting Better For Your Business?

January 20th, 2016 Comments off
Is Global or Local Recruiting Better for Your Business?

Working in global businesses is complex; more complex than you ever realise until you do it. The easy truths that seem both simple and correct in one territory don’t always apply in another. The lure of scale and standardisation is strong; it makes absolute sense in the business case. But what about on the ground?

Imagine for the moment you’re not a talent advisor or recruiting professional, but instead the head of procurement for a global retailer. There are certain things you know are pretty much going to sell anywhere: Batteries, toilet paper, pencils and rubber gloves (no, that’s not my shopping list… don’t worry). But what about sunscreen? Snow chains? Or Stetson cowboy hats?

Similarly, there are elements of your talent attraction strategy that are standard.

In these cases, a global approach can be a sensible solution. Global partnerships can be formed for very senior executive hires with international headhunting businesses. And if the right infrastructure exists, HR technology solutions can also be implemented globally. Most great platforms have global capability, and the focus is always on configuration rather than customisation.

The benefit of standardization is that the larger territories can often do the heavy lifting for the smaller ones. By being part of a global business, you benefit from its economic and organisational strength in the way you would be able to if you were an independent entity operating in India.

But the idea that hands-on talent attraction and acquisition can be handled globally? Nope, I don’t buy it. I once had a telephone interview with an American recruiter looking to fill a role in the U.K. During the conversation, I mentioned I wasn’t big on the “tea and sympathy” approach to HR. I got turned down. In the feedback was my startling approach to having very little “team sympathy.”

He misheard me due to my accent (or his, perhaps), and it wasn’t a bad phone line, either.

The thing is that local recruiting units are going to understand the specific needs, requirements and cultural aspects better than anyone parachuting in from a global function. Like the head of procurement for a global retailer, recruiters and HR professionals need to understand when to rely on the strength and power of global infrastructure — and when to allow local experts to tailor and adapt the offering to their needs.

Global or local? It’s probably glocal, but that’s a stupid term. So let’s say it is a bit of both. You just need to have the insight, understanding and lack of corporate ego to know which strategy to deploy when.

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How Companies are Rewarding Their Workers This Holiday Season

December 10th, 2015 Comments off
Holidays in the office

It looks like most employers are choosing nice over naughty when it comes to thanking their employees this holiday season. According to a new CareerBuilder survey, more employers plan to offer holiday perks in the form of parties, bonuses and gifts this year than in years’ past.

Rewarding Employees with Revelry

A holiday party is a common way for companies to celebrate the end of the year, but over the past few years, many employers have cut back to save money. The good news is 66 percent of employers surveyed say they plan to throw company holiday parties this season, up from 63 percent in 2014 and 59 percent in 2013.

holiday party

The not so good news? Employees may be attending these festivities begrudgingly – if at all. Just 38 percent of workers say they plan to attend the office holiday party. The overwhelming majority (93 percent) say they would favor a “thank you” in the form of a holiday bonus or time off, while only 1 percent prefer a party and 6 percent have no preference.

Doling out the Dollar Bills

Workers wishing for more money in their pockets are in luck: More than half of employers (54 percent) plan to give employees a holiday bonus this year, up from 47 percent in 2014. And some of those bonuses may be bigger than expected: 14 percent of employers say they will give a larger bonus than last year.

Making it rain

Giving the Gift of … Duct Tape?

Many employers also plan to show their appreciation for their employees’ hard work with presents. Forty-five percent of employers will give employees gifts this year – up from 40 percent in 2014 – and 47 percent will give charitable donations.

Employees are planning to get in on the gift giving action as well: 21 percent of workers say they intend to buy holiday gifts for co-workers (the same proportion as last year), and nearly the same amount (20 percent) plan to buy a gift for the boss.

While most workers usually stick to more traditional holiday presents, others like to grab things from their junk drawer on the way to work get a little more creative with their definition of the word “gift.” Some actual gifts workers have received include:

  • A squirrel toilet seat decal.
  • A pair of Christmas socks that look like elf feet.
  • A roll of duct tape.
  • A bell on a string.
  • A mystery bag with a coat in it.
  • A giant heart shaped box of candy … from Valentine’s Day.
  • A picture of a bear.
  • A bowling ball.
  • Homemade sausages.
  • A ceramic sheep you can dress up seasonally.

Gift giving

What are you doing to reward your employees this holiday season? Let us know in the comments!


6 Budget-Friendly Ways to Engage Your Employees

November 30th, 2015 Comments off
6 ways to engage employees without breaking the bank

Thanks to an improving labor market, people are feeling more comfortable exploring their job options – which means companies are having to work that much harder to retain top talent and keep them engaged.

As the CEO of a staffing firm, I know there are countless reasons for staffing firms to keep their recruiters engaged and happy, not the least of which is the fact that the recruiting industry has a notoriously high turnover rate. It’s also been found that longer recruiter tenure leads to better relationship development with clients and candidates.

There are extravagant ways to keep employees engaged. Though my advice draws from my own staffing-specific experience, what I’ve found to work for us can really work for any type of business.

Here are six of my tried-and-true tips:

1. Set the tone.

It’s not all about offering free lunches or half days on Fridays. Rather, it’s about the culture and ensuring employees feel valued and respected. If you develop a culture of hard-working, driven people, make sure your recruiters fit that mold. Invest in them early, before they even start contributing. Encourage them to attend conferences and seminars. Show them there’s always room for improvement and more to learn about this business, no matter what level they’re at.

2. Give staff your time and confidence.

Share techniques that have made you successful. Talk to recruiters about their candidates and clients, and have companywide meetings to discuss job orders and difficult placements. Brainstorm creative ways to fill roles. Encourage your recruiters to ask candidates and clients new questions. Role play and offer tips along the way. Perhaps most importantly, make this a part of your weekly routine.

3. Get to know people on a personal level.

Recruiting firms are fast-paced, but don’t just talk about work all the time. Take time to ask about employees’ kids or spouses. Find out what school they went to or where they grew up. Text them on their birthdays or anniversaries. Let them know how much you appreciate their hard work. Showing you remember the little details really goes a long way.

Don’t eat lunch in your office! Try eating with others in the break room. Or, bring a staff member out to lunch sometime (it would make their week). Encourage the firm’s upper management to develop relationships with newer recruiters. At large firms it’s difficult to do this, but when management take a few minutes out of their day, they’re showing employees they’re invested in them.

4. Start a mentorship program.

Pair new hires with experienced, successful recruiters. I always make sure our mentors work in a different department from their mentees. That way, they can share a unique perspective. Pair a recruiter with a member of the finance team; put a scheduler with member of the marketing team. Encourage the pairs to collaborate and see how the different parts of the machine come together. Mentors and mentees should meet once a week for 6-8 weeks. Encourage them to grab a cup of coffee or go for a walk, and to discuss everything from the new hire’s role to what’s going on in their personal lives. When mentees have someone they can confide in right from the time they start at your company, they’ll feel a part of the culture.

5. Celebrate everything.

Clap, cheer, fist bump and congratulate someone when they do a great job. Whether it’s winning an award, placing a candidate, getting a new client or hitting a sales goal, share that information with the company, team or department. Send companywide emails encouraging one another. If you’re not getting excited over every single win, you’re losing your passion, and that will rub off on your employees. When something exciting happens outside of the office, celebrate that too! If an employee gets engaged, send them a card and flowers. When someone buys a house, send a small housewarming gift. These gestures go a long way.

6. Mix it up.

Have employees sit somewhere other than their desk from time to time. Put a salesperson next to a recruiter, or an office assistant next to a scheduler. Encourage recruiters to listen to each other and talk about the candidates and clients they’re working with. This will give them a better opportunity to get to know one another and allow them to see how other departments operate.

One more thing…

Increasing engagement doesn’t need to break the bank. When staffing firms are engaging and supporting their recruiters and helping them succeed, they’re creating an effective workplace culture where recruiters will want to stay and grow.


Like this? Read up on other opportunities to make a difference in the staffing industry at www.opportunitiesinstaffing.com.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tom Gimbel is the Founder and CEO of LaSalle Network, a staffing and recruiting firm headquartered in Chicago. Gimbel is an expert on organizational development, securing a job and hiring successfully. He’s been featured on CNBC, The Today Show, Fox Business Network, Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur Magazine, Fast Company, Inc. Magazine, Fortune Small Business and Crain’s Chicago Business. Gimbel holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado and is on the Board of Directors at Ounce of Prevention. He is an active member in the Young Presidents’ Organization, Economic Club of Chicago, American Staffing Association and Entrepreneurs’ Organization.


Giving Thanks: How to Show Your Appreciation to Employees

November 25th, 2015 Comments off
Giving thanks

Thanksgiving is all about giving thanks (to the people you love, to the makers of stretchy pants). So there’s no better time to show your employees just how much you appreciate them.

While the jury is still out on whether hugs in the office are appropriate, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorite articles on employee recognition to inspire you to give thanks to your employees this holiday season.

Wear Your Thanks on Your Sleeve

Want the world to know just how much you appreciate a certain employee? Try making a custom “Employee of the Month/Week” t-shirt and wearing it around the office. For more on that fun (albeit potentially creepy?) idea, plus four other ways to show your appreciation, check out 5 Fun Ways Supervisors Can Recognize Employees.”

Spread the Love

Showing your appreciation should go beyond saying thank you – it should be engrained in your day-to-day interactions with your employees. This not only means connecting with your employees on a professional level, but on a personal one as well. Find out more in 6 Ways to Get Employees to Love You as a Leader.”

Help Them Grow

To truly show your employees that you care, invest time in their professional growth. And just remember, there’s no “one-size-fits-all” approach to developing your team members. Learn the best ways to support your employees (and enjoy some awesome farming analogies) in Fertilize the Soil: 3 Ways to Nurture Your Employees.”

Use Technology to Say Thanks

While credit should still be given in person, you can rely on technology to help you track data associated with your company’s rewards and recognition practices and identify ways to improve upon your culture of recognition. Read more in It Shouldn’t Be This Hard to Say Thank You at Work.”

Give Them a ‘Fun’ Break

Sometimes, all it takes to show employees that they’re appreciated is to give them a break from their work and have a little fun as a team. And really, who doesn’t love an office potluck? For more ideas, check out “Want More Fun at Work? 10 Things Your Company Can Do Right Now.”

How do you show your employees how much you appreciate them? Tell us in the comments section below.

3 Surprising Ways to Recognize Gen Y and Gen Z Workers

November 13th, 2015 Comments off
How to recognize new employees in your workforce

The job market is strong for the current crop of new workers. 

Unemployment is dropping, and the stock market is improving enough to allow the baby boomer generation to finally retire. It’s a job seeker’s market, and organizations will have to be more adept at using smart techniques to source, recruit, hire, engage and retain a young generation of workers.

Successful engagement strategies are enhanced by using effective recognition programs. But what is really effective? It may not be what you think.

How do Gen Y and Gen Z workers want to be recognized?  

Each semester, I ask current seniors in my business class to fill out a survey on a variety of management-related topics. I’ve garnered a number of insights from this survey, many of which center around recognition.

Some questions included in the survey:

  • What type of recognition or praise do you like best?  Do you like public, private, written, verbal or other kinds of recognition?
  • From whom do you most like to receive recognition or praise?
  • What form of recognition motivates you the most?  Do you like gift certificates, a title for winning a competition, a meaningful note or email, or something else?
  • What is the greatest recognition you have ever received?


Insight No. 1: A significant majority of students want to be recognized privately.

Many students indicated they preferred private recognition, whether it be kind words from a colleague or boss or a particular note directed toward them. They do want praise, but these future employees did not mention public recognition or a trophy.

Some selected student comments:

  • “I prefer private or written feedback. Too much public praise can create conflict.”
  • “I’m not a fan of public recognition. I’m more of a team player and don’t like being singled out.”
  • “I like to receive praise privately rather than publicly because I like to fly under the radar.”

Insight No. 2: Recognition from various constituencies is important.

Students indicated that they want recognition from multiple sources, including parents or other family members, professors, peers, mentors, co-workers, bosses, and customers.

Insight No. 3: Many students also prefer a meaningful note from someone near to them rather than money or a gift card.

Whether it’s a kind word from a boss or praise from a mentor, leaders can play a critical role in giving quality feedback to a new employee by simply having a conversation.

Some selected student comments:

  • “I like a personal or meaningful message the most. It makes it more memorable and meaningful to me to receive the message like that.”
  • “A simple email of ‘good work’ or ‘great job’ goes a long way for me.”
  • “A note would probably mean the most because they would tell you what they are recognizing rather than just throwing you a gift card.”

How can talent advisors use this information to manage their new employees?

Be prepared to provide feedback.  

Don’t be surprised if your new hires approach you for confirmation of how they are performing instead of waiting for a cue from you. Performance management needs to be ongoing, rather than simply an annual event.

Manage employees as individuals.  

Applying broad recognition programs, particularly public ones, may serve to deter retention of new hires. You may think that awarding everyone a trophy seems an appropriate response, but reactions may vary. Not surprisingly, this advice applies regardless of generation.

Don’t break the bank.  

Spending a significant amount of money on rewards may not be the best solution when few see it as truly “rewarding.”  No one will turn down a gift certificate or bonus, but taking the time to recognize the performance of a fellow employee will have a more motivational effect.

With companies continuing to look for the best and brightest workers — and struggling to retain them — the key to recognition may simply be a few direct words on a piece of paper, regardless of generation.


Throughout the month of November, our resident talent advisors are focused on how recognition is vital for both talent acquisition and retention — and how the right technology tools can help you move the needle. Subscribe to Talent Advisor to stay on top of the latest blog posts and discussions.

5 Fun Ways Supervisors Can Recognize Employees

November 4th, 2015 Comments off
3 fun ways front-line supervisors can recognize employees and increase morale

I’m a big fan of what the team at The Marcus Buckingham Company, or TMBC, is doing when it comes to employee engagement, particularly around front-line leaders of people.

TMBC has found that the attitudes and behaviors of front-line supervisors have the biggest impact on employee engagement and retention. We should be focusing our training and development efforts on these leaders to help us improve employee engagement and drive retention — and to prevent recruiters and staffing professionals from drowning in open requisitions.

The hard part is teaching these leaders how to show appreciation and empathy to their teams, while at the same time driving needed results for the business.

I’ll give you five ways your front-line supervisors can have fun, show appreciation and increase employee engagement and retention.

1. Teammate t-shirt of the week/month.

For $20 and 10 minutes, you can get on a custom t-shirt design site, upload a picture of the employee you want to recognize — and then wear that shirt to work. It’s quirky, creepy, and silly and fun all rolled into one. If you wear a t-shirt with a big head of an employee on it, your efforts will be remembered. The employee will feel something!

2. Bake some cookies.

Everyone loves cookies. You don’t even have to make them from scratch. Every grocery store has ready-to-bake frozen cookie dough. Buy a tube, turn on the oven, put them on a plate, and deliver them the next day to the employee. Taking that time will warm their heart, and they’ll (likely) share with the rest of the team.

3. Create a motivating team name, make it public — and have fun with it!

Jim D’Amico, head of talent acquisition at Spectrum Health, came up a great team name. He called his team “The Best Damn TA Team on the Planet” and had them paint it in big letters across the wall of their talent acquisition offices. They didn’t start out being the best TA team on the planet, but they bought into the vision and worked to get there.

4. Create friendship opportunities.

We all want a best friend at work. As a supervisor, you don’t necessarily wish to be that friend to your employees, but you can help them create friendships with each other. Think potluck lunches, after work get-togethers, or work-sponsored athletic teams. If you build it, they will come. If they come, they will build lasting relationships. Those with lasting relationships at work will be more engaged.

5. Hug it out.

Okay, maybe it’s just me, but I love a good hug. I want to work for a person who will give me a hug when I need it. Also, someone who will give me a kick in the butt when I need a kick in the butt. I need both. Empathy and motivation. That’s the job of the front-line supervisor. You might not be a hugger, but you better find a way to show you understand the struggle.

Remember, there is no secret sauce to engagement.

Front-line leaders need to be both creative and consistent in their leadership behaviors. Organizationally, we need to give our front-line leaders permission, as well as examples of what this looks like in our workplaces.

Recognition is easy and hard at the same time. If you link recognition to an overall talent acquisition and retention strategy, the payback is awesome.

Throughout the month of November, our resident talent advisors are focused on how recognition is vital for both talent acquisition and retention — and how the right technology tools can help you move the needle. Subscribe to Talent Advisor to stay on top of the latest blog posts and discussions.

Empower 2015 Recap: 6 Ways to Strengthen Communication With the C-Suite

September 30th, 2015 Comments off
Blank white speech bubbles

One of the biggest challenges many HR professionals face is communicating effectively with their organization’s C-suite. This is especially true for those in health care, as the industry landscape continues to evolve, putting increased pressure on the workforce.

To explore this issue and discuss real solutions to overcoming it, CareerBuilder invited Dawn Rose, JD, PHR, executive director of the American Society for Healthcare Human Resources Administration, to moderate a panel of HR leaders at Empower 2015, CareerBuilder’s annual customer event.

The session, entitled “Opening the Lines of Communication Between Human Resources and the C-Suite,” included the following panelists:

Here are six takeaways from the session about how to better communicate with the C-suite, navigate the changing environment and become a more effective HR leader:

1. Build a culture of communication. When asked what their CEO does to reinforce the value of HR, a common theme was to build a strong culture based on communication. For example, the CEO of Brookdale Senior Living hosts town hall meetings with employees across its 1,160 communities as a way to connect with them. According to Swatzell, the further away you get from the “front lines,” the bigger the gap becomes between the C-suite and the rest of the organization, so you need to find a way to bridge that gap.

2. Become a subject matter expert. To get the attention of the C-suite, the HR team should be perceived as subject matter experts and constantly find ways to share their knowledge of the market with their senior leaders, according to Miron. While Miron notes she isn’t always confident that what she’s sending will resonate with the C-suite, it’s still important to take those risks.

3. Speak their language. HR managers are often dealing with a less than approachable C-suite, so in order to break through, Saavedra says they need to “learn to speak the language of the individual you’re going to be presenting what your needs are [to].” For example, he says that if you’re speaking to the CFO or the finance group, you must do your research and come to them with numbers, such as showing them how much it costs every time there is turnover. You’ll not only get their attention, but you’ll more effectively communicate with them, leading to better results.

4. Take a fully integrated approach to talent acquisition. During this time of rapid change in health care, recruiters must think ahead to how they’re going to approach recruiting for roles that are coming down the pike – or may not yet exist. At Presence Health, where they are doing a complete rebuild of their Centers of Excellence from a talent perspective, they are taking this opportunity to rethink not only how they recruit, but also whether they have the right programs in place from a retention and employee engagement perspective.

“What we’re doing differently is more of a fully integrated approach to talent and making sure that we think about all of the stages in the lifecycle and help make sure that we identify the right capabilities – and that we’re putting programs in place to not only bring people in but to really develop and keep them,” Sternburgh says.

5. Embrace the right technology. Technology has done much to advance medicine, but at the same time it can get in the way of the personal connection that’s so important to patient care. The key to finding the right balance is utilizing technology that’s right for your organization – whether it’s providing tablets to all of your caregivers or leveraging ratings-type websites to help boost your employer brand.

6. Be bold. Health care human resources is a tough business, and it can be easy to get discouraged or frustrated when you’re trying to move your initiatives forward within the organization. To overcome this, it’s important to stay connected to a purpose, Saavedra says. “Stay strong, be bold, and don’t give up on your ideas, even if they are met with silence. Be your best champion … and just push forward.”

Want the truth about what’s happening in health care recruitment today? Check out “Empower 2015 Recap: ‘The State of the Health Care Workforce’”.  

Empower 2015 Recap: ‘The State of the Health Care Workforce’

September 25th, 2015 Comments off
State of the HC Workforce

HR professionals in the health care industry recently joined Inavero’s Founder and CEO Eric Gregg at Empower 2015 for a breakout session about the findings from CareerBuilder’s 2015 Health Care Workforce Study.

The goal of the session was to uncover the truth about what’s happening in health care recruitment today, provide best practices to apply to talent acquisition and retention strategies and demonstrate how to create a better candidate and employee experience.

If you missed the session, never fear. Here are five key takeaways you can start using today:

No. 1: Find Candidates Who Love What You Offer

Gregg started off by sharing a visual example of Girl Scouts selling cookies in front of a marijuana dispensary. His point? Just like these smart, savvy girls did, you have to identify who are the most likely candidates to love what you offer and find a way to get to them.

And considering the complexity of the job search today, targeting them can prove to be a challenge. The typical health care candidate utilizes between three to four different types of resources during their job search, according to the study. So if you want to recruit top talent, you need to reach them with consistent messages of differentiation and employment branding across multiple platforms.

No. 2: Put More Emphasis on Mobile

Eighty-six percent of the health care workforce has a smartphone, and they’re using it in their job search. They’re researching companies, searching for jobs and communicating with employers. So not only should your organization’s career site be mobile-optimized, you need to consider whether your emails are mobile-friendly as well.

Health care workers have an expectation that your communication channels will be mobile-optimized. In fact, when coming across a health care provider’s website that is not, half of employees believe your organization is behind the times. As Gregg pointed out, this leaves a bad taste in their mouth if they try to visit your site or engage with your email in a mobile environment and it doesn’t work. And the last thing you want to do is give potential employees a bad impression.

No. 3: Understand the Candidate’s Mindset

As Gregg reminded the audience, when people are job hunting, they are at one of the most stressful points of their lives. Gregg referenced a study conducted a few years back that asked respondents what life events they considered to be more stressful than their current job search. Fifty-seven percent said they think that a family sickness or illness is less stressful than their search. That just goes to show what state of mind a candidate is in when they’re looking for a new opportunity.

So, when a candidate is interacting with an employer, the employer can either make things less or more stressful. And people always remember the things that lead to more stress. That creates a huge responsibility – and opportunity – for employers, because they’re laying the foundation as an employer of choice. If you provide candidates with a positive hiring experience, and show them you have what they want, you’ll become that employer of choice.

No. 4: Invest in Training for New and Seasoned Employees

The study showed just how big of an impact training has on employee satisfaction and engagement. When it comes to both onboarding and ongoing training, the more extensive the training, the more likely the employee is to recommend the organization as an exceptional place to work.

Professional development – typically delivered through some type of formal training – is a critical driver of overall loyalty to an organization. So, while it may take some investment upfront, it will pay off in more satisfied employees and a strong employer reputation.

No. 5: Reinforce the ‘Why’

When asked what the most rewarding aspects of their job are, “helping people” was far and away the top answer (36 percent; the next highest on the list was “growing your skills/learning” at 12 percent).

It’s so easy to get into the minutia of the job that employees forget the big picture, or why they got into health care in the first place. As an employer, you should reinforce this “Why” to your staff. Do this by telling stories of how a department or individual impacted someone’s lives. By reminding them about their role in helping others, it will ultimately help with retention.

In Conclusion: A Marathon, Not a Sprint

Gregg’s parting thought was that making changes to processes takes time and experimentation – some things will work, and others won’t. Progress isn’t always going to be pretty, but there will be big lessons in both your successes and failures that you can apply the next time around. He also stressed that employers have a huge responsibility because they’re involved in hiring/the job search, which is one of the most personally defining parts of a candidate’s life. So as an employer, you owe it to candidates to improve the process.

Want even more insights from the 2015 Health Care Workforce Study? 

The Biggest Issues Facing Staffing Firms Today: What You Need to Know

September 24th, 2015 Comments off
How can staffing firms prepare for what's ahead?

The staffing experts were out in full force at CareerBuilder’s inaugural customer event, Empower, and we were lucky enough to snag six of them for a panel discussion on where they see staffing headed in the next 20 years, and what staffing and recruiting pros need to know now to prepare for the road ahead.

The session was opened by ASA president and CEO Richard Wahlquist, who gave insight into upcoming staffing market trends, while stressing that the workforce is rapidly changing, and we still have a lot of work to do to catch up.

In his words:

 Just 34 percent of executives feel that they’ve made progress in building a workforce that can move future business goals. Eighty-three percent of executives say they’ll increase the use of contingent, intermittent or consultant employees.“


Since so many staffing and recruiting firms believe they haven’t made progress in building the right workforce, what can experts in the industry tell us about how to remedy their wrongs and successfully prepare for the future of staffing?

To delve deeper into what executives in the staffing industry are seeing, Jon Maly, national account director at CareerBuilder, moderated the panel discussion that followed, with six esteemed panelists sharing wisdom from their very varied experiences.

The Panelists:

Glen Cathey: Senior Vice President, Talent Strategy and Innovation at Kforce
Cynthia Futvoye: Vice President, Enterprise Development at Appleone Employment Services
Kelly VanAken: Director of Recruiting at Aerotek
Dennis Masel: COO at Creative Circle/On Assignment
Jeff Bowling: CEO, The Delta Companies
Kelly Kudola: Sourcing & Recruiting Partnership Manager at Kelly Services

(Get more detailed bios about the panelists here.)

What our panelists had to say about what recruiting and staffing professionals need to know about the biggest issues facing firms today:

Candidate experience is crucial in our current environment. From recent research we are learning that more and more often candidates are expecting a personal experience. For example, according to the 2015 Opportunities in Staffing, 42 percent of candidates feel the amount of human contact has decreased.

On how their firm has found ways to improve the candidate experience without decreasing efficiency:

Cynthia: “The candidate is the center of the universe. Operating with that principle in mind has continued to help guide our success. You need to think, “What does it take for candidates to rush to be your best reference?”

Kelly V.: “No matter what a candidate is calling about, you should give them something of value so they walk away with a positive impression of you.”


On the importance of candidate communication:

Glen: “People will remember if your company is sending them messages about jobs that are irrelevant to them.”

Kelly V.: “We’ve worked to reset the mindset of recruiters to teach them to engage passive candidates and provide value in each interaction.” She adds that when approaching a passive candidate, it’s important not to just approach them with a motive; you must network with them and build that relationship.

Glen: “Technology can do more damage than good because of the lack of customization and personalization. We need to take more care in our interactions. I prefer smaller group messages that are more personalized – it’s more effective this way.” The alternative? “It’s risking your reputation.”


On the importance of treating employees well:

Jeff: Know that employees are going to make mistakes and let you down. It’s important to have the mindset that you’ll love them anyway and help them get where they need to be. Start by expecting and embracing the imperfections.”

Dennis: “Your most valuable asset is your employees, and they need to know you care about them and that you want to make their lives as balanced as you can.”

Jeff: “Build trust by always being completely honest with people, but make sure that comes from a place of care and concern.


According to the most recent Opportunities in Staffing findings, 1 in 3 staffing employees are not comfortable using recruitment technology. Most agree, though, that adapting to new technology will set the best staffing firms apart. Staffing firm employees need to have access to the best tools you can provide. You also need to ensure they are using these tools to their greatest advantage.  

On successfully using data and tech in recruitment:

Glen: “We have more data about more people than we’ve ever had in history — how do we harness that? We need tech and solutions that get out of the way of the recruiter, is intuitive and easy, and lets them spend the majority of their time recruiting people.”

On what makes a company’s culture successful:

Dennis: “If you want to empower people, give and take to give them better work/life balance. For example, if you expect them to do work at home, let them do home at work. It’s about how you take that word ‘flexible’ and continue to expand on it.” He adds that his team implemented Summer Fridays, and that they now allow employees to sometimes work from home – and that they’ll keep expanding their idea of flexibility to adapt to a changing workforce.

Jeff: “It often seems as a company you can be high-performing or kind and loving, when in fact one gives rise to another.”

Dennis’s three tips for a successful culture: Pay, structure and good leadership. Structure is very important: “If you don’t have it, people tend to feel lost and not know what to do.” He adds that having a leader who shows consistency “is crucial,” and that you have to pay your people well.

On the secret to making great hires:

Dennis: “Always hire people smarter than you.”

Kelly K.: On how she assess someone when looking to hire them – “That heart; that drive. That wanting to do something more.”


Want more tips on how you can be successful in the staffing industry for the next 20 years? Check out the 10 lessons we’ve learned from our latest staffing study.

Should We Sugarcoat Performance Reviews?

September 15th, 2015 Comments off
The subtle art of performance evaluations

Should we officially praise the top performers and tell the laggards that they should shape up? Telling the truth through differentiated performance evaluations should help motivate employees who are falling behind to put in their best efforts. On the other hand, being harsh on low-performing employees could further demotivate them.

So, what works best to improve employee performance? The naked truth or sugarcoating it?

A series of research articles reviewed in Kampkoetter and Sliwka gives us some guidance on the topic based on academic research.

Here are three lessons we can glean from their results:

1. In general, more differentiation in performance ratings increases employees’ performance.

The evidence shows that, typically, the vast majority of employees get the same performance rating. Yet, several studies have shown that teams with managers who deliver widely varied performance ratings experience higher overall employee performance. This suggests that, even though harsh ratings have the potential to reduce performance, the overall effect on the team’s performance is positive. HR managers should therefore consider introducing “grading on a curve,” especially in large enough teams. If teams are small, pooled evaluations where managers jointly rank their subordinates can help with grading on a curve.

2. differentiation in performance ratings can hurt performance through sabotage.

There are also cases, however, in which an increase in differentiation has decreased performance, and this is particularly true for lower-level occupations. One potential explanation for this negative effect is sabotage, i.e,. employees trying to improve their relative rank by betraying their co-workers. To test the relevance of this concern, researchers have performed an experiment in a lab. In the experiment, they made it possible for employees to hinder the performance of co-workers by paying a small cost to the employees’ own performance. The results of this experiment confirm that employees are more likely to engage in sabotage when performance evaluations are more differentiated. The lesson for HR managers is that differentiation in performance ratings should be limited when the opportunities for employees sabotaging each other are plentiful. Or that one should be particularly wary of sabotage when performance ratings are highly differentiated.

3. Differentiation in performance ratings works better when objective performance is easier to measure.

Another insight from the research is that differentiation is more conducive to performance if there are more objective performance measures managers can use. If there are limited objective elements to base the performance evaluation on, employees are more likely to feel managers are treating them unfairly by giving them low ratings. Therefore, whenever possible, making objective elements available for the manager to discuss will contribute to performance appraisals improving rather than sapping employee morale and performance.

Best Practices for Rehiring Former Employees

September 4th, 2015 Comments off

“Grey’s Anatomy” has been on air for 11 seasons, and it’s had its share of cast shakeups. (Yes, “Grey’s Anatomy” is still on TV, and yes, I still watch it – deal with it, haters.) Perhaps the most notable (well, after McDreamy’s tragic exit, of course) was when Isaiah Washington departed the show after using an anti-gay slur toward another cast member. Seven years after that incident, he was rehired by the show for a guest appearance. The show’s producer, Shonda Rhimes, spoke about his return, saying, “…I feel very strongly and fully believe in people’s ability to grow and change and learn from their mistakes and when they know better, to do better.”

The takeaway here is that rehiring former employees can be a sticky and sensitive situation (although hopefully not to the extreme of what happened on the best show on TV “Grey’s Anatomy.”) Even if the circumstances around why the employee left were vanilla, there still are considerations that need to be made before saying, “You’re hired…again.”

Here are some best practices to follow when rehiring a former employee:

Understand Why They Left in the First Place

If the employee’s departure was by choice, it’s important to determine why he left, and whether he’ll still have the same grievances once he returns. Tom Gimbel, founder and CEO of recruiting and staffing firm LaSalle Network, suggests reviewing their exit interview for clues. “If there was an exit interview, look at those notes to understand why they left, and address those reasons during the interview,” he says. “Ask if they have the same hesitations, or if the reasons listed on the exit interview still hold true.”

Follow Standard Hiring Procedures

When considering a former employee for a new position, it might be tempting to speed up the hiring process (because if there’s a way to cut corners and save time, why wouldn’t you?) Yet, it’s important to practice due diligence and treat the employee like it’s her first rodeo.

“During the hiring process, be selective, thorough—and make sure that bringing back a former employee is in fact the best course of action,” says Michael Lan, senior resume consultant at Resume Writer Direct. “Go through the same procedure as you would for a brand new candidate in terms of the interview, asking for and checking references, and doing all the necessary research on their background and work history.”

Consider Other Employees’ Reactions

“Hiring managers need to think about the effect hiring a former employee may have on current employees,” Gimbel notes. “Were there any issues between that person and their team members before? Be sure to evaluate the impact rehiring a former employee will have on the morale and motivation of current employees.”

Gimbel also suggests being as upfront as possible with employees once decisions have been made. “As soon as the decision is made to rehire a former employee, communicate it with current staff, and meet separately with the team they will be joining. Allow them to voice opinions and concerns.” He says while it’s important to be firm about the decision, you should still outline the reasons for bringing the employee back on board.

Rehiring Means Retraining

Even if the employee has been gone a short time, chances are that certain procedures and ways of doing business have changed at your organization. Also, consider that the employee has likely changed as well, and there may be more of a learning curve for him than you might expect. “Past performance is not always an indication of the future, and just because they were a top producer previously doesn’t guarantee they will be again,” Gimbel says. “They should still go through the full onboarding and training process that every new hire does.”

Monitor Their Progress

“Since boomerang employees are more likely to have a better understanding of what needs to be done to get the job done, they probably won’t need to ask for advice or guidance as much as brand new employees,” Lan says. “Either that, or they might think asking questions demonstrates an inadequacy in their ability to do their job well. With that in mind, make sure that you keep a close eye on their progress in terms of job performance as well as their transition back into the organization.”

One way to encourage former employees to come back? Through a corporate alumni program.





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.

Are Your Employees Going Back to School This Fall?

August 27th, 2015 Comments off

Back-to-school sales have been on display since July (were students even on summer break yet?), and deals on No. 2 pencils and binders have had you dreaming of well-organized notes in your sleep, thanks to the summer invasion of school supplies advertisements and deals.

But once you’ve gotten your degree and landed a job, it can be easy to forget the beginning of the academic new year and the millions of students who will be expanding their minds come fall. And even more importantly, to remember that an increasing number of students are enrolling in classes year-round due to the availability of courses offered online, evenings, weekends and part-time. Being mindful of your workers’ career advancements, as well as your own organizations goals, can be what solidifies your own status as a talent advisor.

To avoid a talent shortage at your organization and mitigate the risk of falling behind more innovative organizations with more skilled workers, here are three reasons your employees going back to school may benefit you and them.

1. Prepare your workers for their future roles.

The primary reason adults go back to school: They’re looking ahead in their careers. Applying that same logic to the future of your organization can be what prevents your business from facing a talent shortage or extended times to hire for new positions.

The question to ask is, “What skills and abilities will I want our organization to be known for excelling at in the next five years?” From massive open online courses that are free, to customized seminars or education benefits for your employees, what skills and education do you want to equip them with and encourage them to excel at to help grow your organization? Sales, business, marketing, communication, customer service, and financial planning… these are daily parts of your organization that need to stay up to date in order to stay ahead of the competition.


2. Get creative juices flowing again.

Burned out workers don’t get to take a hiatus just because they’re struggling creatively or have fallen into a rut with their work. So to spare your organization’s quality from the effects of worker burnout, consider bringing in productivity experts or local comedy groups to challenge how your employees see their work and their approach to getting it done.

Or incentivize workers to participate in creative projects outside of work, and find a way to display their achievements in the office. Not only will morale get a boost—you’ll also be promoting something else important: work-life balance.


3. Keep workers happy in and out of the office.

Looking outside of the box for work-life balance solutions can be as simple as sharing opportunities for self-enrichment classes available to employees, either in or out of the office. Some organizations are experimenting with offering classes led by co-workers such as photography or cooking, where an employee can share their skill while giving employees a chance to talk about something else besides the usual tasks and projects.

Other ideas include signing up as a group to take a local comedy class or attending a conference as a team. Promoting self-enrichment or ways to expand one’s mind, and giving employees the opportunity to do that alongside people they work with every day can be just the change they have been looking for. It can also be what helps retain workers and keeps their interest in performing well on the job.

Interested in reading more?

Check out these related CareerBuilder posts on The Hiring Site:

Does Working from Home Actually Work?

August 18th, 2015 Comments off
Does Working From Home Actually Work?

Work-life balance is just an infinite dream unfulfilled.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Thanks to the ever-increasing performance of new technology, telecommuting has become a reality, as more and more people work from home. So, yes, we CAN work from home, but SHOULD we?

The big question is whether working from home is in fact productive: As managers, we wouldn’t want working from home to turn into shirking from home. Unfortunately, until recently there wasn’t much hard evidence on the productivity impact of working from home.

New research about working from home

There comes amazing new research by Bloom, Liang, Roberts and Ying about the benefits of working from home. Why is this research amazing? One of the authors, James Liang, is the CEO of a top Chinese travel agency, and he wanted to find out if working from home actually, well, works. So, he teamed up with researchers and ran a randomized controlled trial — just the sort of trial that is necessary to authorize a new drug.

So what did the study find?

1. Working from home increased employee productivity by 13%.

For the study, call center employees were offered to work from home four days a week, and come to the office one day a week. Those who were allowed to work from home saw a 13 percent increase in productivity. This productivity boost was mostly due to a 9 percent increase in minutes worked per shift. This is because — perhaps surprisingly — employees had fewer distractions at home. In particular, they didn’t need to go far to get coffee or lunch.

2. Employees who work from home were 50% less likely to leave the company.

Employees who could work from home reported higher job satisfaction. In particular, they were happy to avoid the hassles of commuting. And they followed their heart: Those who could work from home were 50 percent less likely to leave the firm! A pretty remarkable achievement in an industry like call centers where turnover is high.

3. Working from home saved the company an amount equivalent to 40% of employees’ earnings.

Working from home not only made employees happy and productive, it also produced substantial cost reductions for the company. Most of the cost saving was achieved through a reduction in the cost of office space. So, don’t forget the less obvious benefits of telecommuting: Less office space is needed!

Let employees choose!

So should all employees who can do it work from home? As it turns out, working from home is not for everyone. Some employees in the experiment who first chose to work from home decided to come back to the office after trying it out. In the end, those who chose to work from home were those who tended to be more productive at home.

In other words, there is a lot of benefit in letting employees choose their own working arrangement. About 50 percent of the participating employees’ pay was based on performance, so employees had an incentive to make the right choice.

If telecommuting is possible and your employees are paid for performance, working from home seems like a miracle drug!

Does your company allow telecommuting? What has been your experience so far?


Like this? Read more about work-life balance and flexibility in the workplace here.


Work-Life Balance: What’s That? My Life as a New Parent

July 31st, 2015 Comments off
Work-life balance: My Life as a New Parent

I had my daughter, Beatrix, just five months ago. The first week after she was born, my husband was able to use PTO and stay home with me (Paternity leave — say what?), and it was a full-on tag team effort of feeding her, taking turns power napping — because full-on sleep is not an option — and trying to keep the dog from getting too jealous and the house from getting a knock on the door from the producers of “Hoarders.”

It was one of the best weeks of my life.

The First Half

After that first exhausting but blissful week, a week in which I wasn’t sure if I was forming coherent sentences or speaking in tongues, I had a routine down (let’s be honest — a mish-mash of activities that sometimes included taking a shower) to figure out with Bea, and a recovery to deal with when it came to my own body and mind.

As a new parent, my days were long and busy, though I couldn’t tell you what I did half the time. The first six weeks was a lot like Groundhog Day: eat, sleep, change diaper… repeat. Soon I forgot what day it was, and then I didn’t really care. Hormones were still out of whack, and I would sometimes cry while marathoning “Hart of Dixie,” simultaneously feeding Bea and having a sip of the coffee I’d heated up for the fourth time that day.

Then there was the other part — the moments that made me feel like no amount of time with her would ever be enough time. I remember leaning over her crib in the middle of the night one night, my eyes fighting to stay open as I tried to soothe her to sleep. As I peered down at her, begging her to just go to sleep, she suddenly looked up at me and, wide awake and bright-eyed, gave me a bigger smile than I think I’ve ever given anyone at 3:30 in the morning. At that moment, I felt like I understood happiness in a new way.

The “Oh Sh!t” Half

Before I knew it, all this time I thought I had was quickly screeching to an abrupt end. I had a month! I had two weeks! Holy sh#t! These are some of the phrases that may have come out of my mouth during those last few weeks of leave:

“We have to figure out childcare.”
“I can’t stand the thought of leaving my 3-month old with a stranger.”
“How are we going to make this work?”
“I’m not ready.” (This was often said both in a literal and figurative sense.)
“That episode of ‘Hart of Dixie’ was soooo good.”
“Oh look — she pooped again.”

It was an overwhelming set of adjustments and compromises and anxiety and sadness when I had to stop being in denial: My 24/7 time with my new child was over, and I didn’t know when I would get that much uninterrupted time with her again. I wasn’t ready to go back to the “real world” yet. I was just starting to feel like I was getting the hang of this new parent thing — or at least like I was no longer speaking in tongues (though I still could have used a shower). She was finally starting to interact with us, and the days were spent taking as many pictures and videos as I could while still doing all of those other things (see “The First Half).

The new parent work-life struggle

I am so grateful I had the opportunity to stay home with Beatrix for the first three months of her life. I was fortunate that my company gave me some paid time, and the FMLA granted me the rest of the (unpaid) time. Yet, I’m also frustrated that 1) too many new parents don’t get any time off after a baby, paid or unpaid, 2) it’s not legally required for companies to give it to them, and 3) we’re putting up with it.

Instead of celebrating this wonderful event and giving new parents the time and the support to not only take care of their new children and themselves, workplaces seem to penalize new parents. It’s as if work should continue to happen, and life shouldn’t get in the way — though we know that that’s just not realistic. At least not anymore.

While companies may be focused on whether supporting parenthood impacts their bottom line, they may be forgetting about all the costs associated with employee turnover — and that good people can’t always easily be replaced. Stylist and designer Rachel Zoe realized this and decided rather than lose good employees, she would build a nursery at the office so they could work, be near their children, and ultimately be more productive. And you know what? She says it’s “one of the best business decisions I’ve ever made.”

Can’t build a nursery? That’s OK — as a talent advisor, you still have the opportunity to help push new policies and practices within your own company walls.

Here are four things to consider:

  1. Not maternity leave, but parental leave.

    Matthew Stollak has a ton of great reasons for you to consider paternity leave. Better yet, why not promote gender-neutral leave and help spread the word that traditional roles have evolved, and it’s important for both parents to have opportunities to bond with their babies? I had my husband home with me for a week, and I can’t imagine how much harder that week would have been by myself. Yet, many women have to do it all on their own. Bringing more men into the fold also helps ease the burden for women as they transition back into the workplace. Sweden realized this back in ‘74 and shifted its vocabulary to “parental leave” to “ensure that women and men enjoy the same opportunities, rights and obligations in all areas of life.”

    2. Longer leave.

    Companies like Google, Reddit and Facebook are blazing the path toward better parental leave. (UPDATE: Netflix’s new parental leave policy just blew everyone else out of the water.) Longer paid leave gives new parents time to bond and adjust to the transition of both parenthood and of returning to work — and it eliminates a potential financial crisis. It makes employees happier and more productive when they actually do return. My hope is that the generous types of policies common at tech companies trickle into other workplaces all over the U.S., but it can’t happen without advocacy from talent advisors everywhere.

    3. Treat parenthood like onboarding.

    Helping new parents adjust after leave should be treated in a similar way to successful on boarding of new employees. It shouldn’t end after the first day back — after all, most parents are still waking up throughout the night and in a semi-zombie-like state. They’re trying to figure out logistics of childcare and time spent at the office, commuting woes, who’s doing what when, how dinner will be made (let alone consumed), and how to squeeze every last possible moment in with the baby before it’s time to do it all over again the next day — while still being productive and valuable employees.

    Consider building in more flexibility for ALL of your employees around things like expected business hours and working from home — after all, it’s not just new parents who struggle with work-life balance.

4. Create a nurturing environment.

If new moms are breastfeeding, they’re pumping at work — and while you legally must provide the time and space for them to do this, don’t penalize them for it. In fact, make it as pleasant of an experience as possible; it’s stressful enough carving out time to do it, and it can be a pain. It’s not so hard to provide rooms that lock, as well as a fridge, sink and comfortable seating. Work to foster an environment that doesn’t make employees feel guilty. I’m a member of a “working moms” group on Facebook, and I’m amazed and saddened to hear about employees having to pump in the car on the way to work because their employer discourages the practice at work. This shouldn’t be the norm, but it is.

You get what you give

Parenthood is beautiful, and life-changing, and challenging — and workplaces can help ease those challenges by giving new parents the flexibility they need to be happier, better and more productive employees. By giving employees the space and energy they need to give back on a personal level, they’ll find it easier and more rewarding to give back at work, too.

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


The Global Challenges of Work-Life Balance

July 29th, 2015 Comments off
How to navigate the challenges of global work-life balance
Everyone has a different work-life balance, but we give the impression that there is a formula that exists that we should apply to every single employee. The trick as a leader is to recognize this, and not to assume that because you like to work one way that other people do, too. Remember that you’re setting the organisational culture through your behavior.

First, let’s talk about email.

The mobile device is a cool thing if you love Tinder, but it’s also the biggest challenge to work-life balance that exists. We’ve all done the “I’ll just check and see whether…” routine. And, as a result, you forward on or reply to something that then arrives in someone else’s inbox who is also “just checking” and so the whole cycle moves on. As a leader, if you send emails over the weekend you’re setting the tone of expectation. You may be happy to work in your downtime, but that’s your choice; don’t impose it on others. I was talking to a CEO recently who made a conscious effort to save any emails that he did over the weekend in his drafts and only send them on a Monday. He’d realized that his role was to set the tone.

Next, it’s deadlines, which has a specific global resonance.

If you work in the U.S., you’re a minimum of five hours behind Europe (not to mention the rest of the world). It means anything sent from noon onwards shouldn’t be expected to be read until the next day. And if you send something on a Friday afternoon for a COB deadline on Monday, you’re telling someone they should work on the weekend. If you are a global business, you work with global time differences. Get an app that shows you the different time zones, or have them printed on your wall. Look and learn what the time is for your recipient, and ask yourself before you send something whether it’s reasonable. After all, there’s more to life than the east to west coast difference.

Which brings me to my final point, meetings.

My clear view is that any meeting scheduled outside of normal working hours should be voluntary. Regardless of the diversity issues raised, it’s just plain arrogance to assume that because you are happy to work irregular hours, others are too. And if you work in a global business and expect business to happen around the clock, it means you might be the one setting your alarm for 4 a.m., rather than assuming that someone else will. But then, you’re the schmuck that called the meeting, so it’s your fault.

Throughout the month of July, our resident talent advisors have been 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. 

3 Tips for Setting Compensation and Retaining Employees

July 17th, 2015 Comments off
Determining compensation

How are raises decided in your company? Does the compensation structure reflect employees’ talent? If you are not rewarding talent, people may quit, and in the current economy, replacing them will be hard. More specifically, in the tricky case of a merger and acquisition, you want to restructure pay so that employees are kept happy and motivated, despite the many changes they are facing.

So, what pitfalls should an employer avoid when determining compensation for different employees? Recent research by my colleagues Arin Dube, Laura Giuliano and Jonathan Leonard sheds light on what to do – and not to do – when it comes to setting compensation.

1. A higher compensation increases employee retention

You may expect that a higher pay increases employee retention, and indeed, this is what the researchers found. So then, it would seem that increasing pay would help with retaining crucial employees. Yet, be mindful of how raises may affect the morale of other employees.

2. Beware of the unfair raise

If raises are not based on any objective criterion and seem arbitrary, employees who do not get a raise are much more likely to quit. A seemingly unjustified 5 percent raise to an employee will double the quit rate of a no-raise employee in the same position.

3. When it comes to employee retention, pay rates at your own company are most important

Will employees quit if you pay them less than the competition? It turns out that this is less important than paying them a fair wage compared to other employees in your company.

In a nutshell, to boost retention, it is important to make sure that your compensation structure is fair.

See how workforce analytics can help you determine compensation at your organization. LEARN MORE AND REQUEST A DEMO.

Why the 24/7 Workplace Isn’t That Bad

July 17th, 2015 Comments off
I like the 24/7 workplace -- and here's why

I am a husband and a new father. I am a partner with an IT staffing firm in Chicago. And I am a millennial, whatever the heck that means.

On a recent Friday night, I met a good friend out for some adult beverages. My phone rang, and I thought about letting the call go to my voicemail. I saw the caller ID and noticed that it was a client of mine who was calling to offer feedback from an interview that I scheduled for him earlier in the day. It was an important call about a software developer opening.

I looked at my friend and grabbed my phone and walked outside so I could take the call. The feedback was great, the client wanted to make an offer, and I thought, “What a good way to close my week!”

I walked back into the establishment with a smile on my face. My friend looked upset and asked, “Do you ever unwind or unplug from work?”

Life is Work — and Work is Life

I have countless examples where something with work pops up during dinner or on the weekend. I have been on vacation with my family and I turn my attention away from what I’m doing for a brief moment. In all reality, the 24/7/365 workplace isn’t a bad thing. I find time to unwind and turn my attention to my newborn daughter or wife, but I believe in a simple saying: “Life is work, and work is life!”

I am lucky to work for an employer who provides workplace flexibility. I’m also lucky to have a wife who understands that I might have to take a phone call in between giving our daughter a bottle and making dinner. With technology, you can get access to your CRM system from your smartphone. You can have an app on your phone that delivers your office voicemail to you. And you can have a laptop with VPN access.

Technology allows you to watch a Bulls game — or be out on the golf course — and still accomplish your goals and meet your deadlines. You just have to be at peace with knowing that your attention might turn toward work after the office door closes and the lights are turned out.

I believe that work and life balance go hand in hand; if you are good at your job, you are likely good at the balancing between your work life and your home life. Thank goodness for technology. Now if I could just build an app to cold call and set meetings for me…

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. 

How to Infuse Some Fun Into Your Office this Summer

July 16th, 2015 Comments off
summer employee activities

When the sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and the street festivals are in full swing, the only place workers want to be is in their overly air conditioned office … right?!? Not so much. Now that the warmer weather months are upon us, expect potentially less motivation and lower productivity out of your employees, as they daydream about being at the beach instead of sitting around a conference table.

But if they can’t be out enjoying the summer, why not bring some summer fun to them?

Here are five ideas for summer workplace activities that can help your employees stay happy, focused and productive.

1. Plan a summer outing

This is a popular, classic approach to getting away from work for a few hours and building camaraderie amongst your team.

If you’re going for more of a teambuilding environment, you can work with corporate event planners to coordinate a scavenger hunt across your city or a field day full of grade-school style relay races and tug-of-war. Or, if you want to have a more relaxed outing where your employees can let loose (hopefully, not too much), then consider a boat tour or a mixology class.

Ask for employee volunteers to help plan the outing, too – they’ll appreciate that you want their opinion, and if they’re involved in the planning, they’ll get even more out of it.

2. Initiate a volunteer day

Organize a volunteer day (or half day) where you go out into your local community and help paint a school or clean up a playground. Not only will your employees get to soak up some sun, they’ll do some good while they’re at it. Plus, helping others has a way a boosting one’s own positivity, which can give employees a brighter outlook once they’re back in the office.

3. hire a food truck

Food trucks are becoming a mainstay in cities across the U.S., and they can often be found parked outside of busy downtown locations serving hungry workers during their lunch breaks. Score some points with your employees by renting a food truck – or trucks – and having them cater your next team lunch or happy hour. Sites such as Roaming Hunger offer to help coordinate the logistics.

4. Take meetings outside

It’s a simple concept, but one that isn’t often implemented in traditional offices. Instead of having your next meeting in a conference room, let the outdoors serve as your meeting space. Plan ahead, and find an area close to your office with space to fit your team comfortably. A shaded area is ideal to avoid sweating and discomfort (which will take away from the fun of being outside).

It may not be possible for larger groups or for more important discussions, but it could be a nice change of pace for a general team update meeting.

5. consider flexible hours

This may be more of a long-term goal, but it’s been shown that flexible summer hours can boost employee morale. Whether it’s letting your employees leave at noon on Fridays (like CareerBuilder does, yay, us!) or offering flex days throughout the summer months, employees will appreciate the benefit of being able to enjoy more time off and will – hopefully – repay you with enhanced productivity while they’re at work.

What are you doing for fun this summer at your organization? Let us know by leaving a comment!

Need to engage employees on limited resources? Check out, “3 Ways to Engage Employees Without Spending a Dime.”

How to Infuse Some Fun Into Your Office this Summer

July 16th, 2015 Comments off
summer employee activities

When the sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and the street festivals are in full swing, the only place workers want to be is in their overly air conditioned office … right?!? Not so much. Now that the warmer weather months are upon us, expect potentially less motivation and lower productivity out of your employees, as they daydream about being at the beach instead of sitting around a conference table.

But if they can’t be out enjoying the summer, why not bring some summer fun to them?

Here are five ideas for summer workplace activities that can help your employees stay happy, focused and productive.

1. Plan a summer outing

This is a popular, classic approach to getting away from work for a few hours and building camaraderie amongst your team.

If you’re going for more of a teambuilding environment, you can work with corporate event planners to coordinate a scavenger hunt across your city or a field day full of grade-school style relay races and tug-of-war. Or, if you want to have a more relaxed outing where your employees can let loose (hopefully, not too much), then consider a boat tour or a mixology class.

Ask for employee volunteers to help plan the outing, too – they’ll appreciate that you want their opinion, and if they’re involved in the planning, they’ll get even more out of it.

2. Initiate a volunteer day

Organize a volunteer day (or half day) where you go out into your local community and help paint a school or clean up a playground. Not only will your employees get to soak up some sun, they’ll do some good while they’re at it. Plus, helping others has a way a boosting one’s own positivity, which can give employees a brighter outlook once they’re back in the office.

3. hire a food truck

Food trucks are becoming a mainstay in cities across the U.S., and they can often be found parked outside of busy downtown locations serving hungry workers during their lunch breaks. Score some points with your employees by renting a food truck – or trucks – and having them cater your next team lunch or happy hour. Sites such as Roaming Hunger offer to help coordinate the logistics.

4. Take meetings outside

It’s a simple concept, but one that isn’t often implemented in traditional offices. Instead of having your next meeting in a conference room, let the outdoors serve as your meeting space. Plan ahead, and find an area close to your office with space to fit your team comfortably. A shaded area is ideal to avoid sweating and discomfort (which will take away from the fun of being outside).

It may not be possible for larger groups or for more important discussions, but it could be a nice change of pace for a general team update meeting.

5. consider flexible hours

This may be more of a long-term goal, but it’s been shown that flexible summer hours can boost employee morale. Whether it’s letting your employees leave at noon on Fridays (like CareerBuilder does, yay, us!) or offering flex days throughout the summer months, employees will appreciate the benefit of being able to enjoy more time off and will – hopefully – repay you with enhanced productivity while they’re at work.

What are you doing for fun this summer at your organization? Let us know by leaving a comment!

Need to engage employees on limited resources? Check out, “3 Ways to Engage Employees Without Spending a Dime.”

Why You Should Consider Unlimited PTO for Your Company

July 10th, 2015 Comments off
The case for unlimited PTO

It’s summertime, and I believe talent advisors are in a unique position to influence the way in which our employees benefit from much-needed time away from work.

Time off is essential. It gives our colleagues a chance to relax, re-energize and refocus. And as much as is written about work-life balance, that balance doesn’t occur until people can fully detach from their day-to-day roles.

The untapped potential of systems

Talent advisors serve two vastly different parties: systems and employees. Systems are needed to provide structure and direction to companies. Many leaders don’t see systems for what they can be: tools to increase engagement and happiness. A vacation policy is a system that can be both a blessing and a curse for many workers. All too often, HR uses a system as a set of rules and regulations to control and discipline people. This method doesn’t work. It never has.

The system of “unlimited PTO” is a great case study to consider, because a recent movement to allow unlimited PTO and not have a set schedule has been picking up steam. When this topic is discussed among HR peers, people express a tremendous amount of angst, confusion, and anxiety. They say a system without boundaries is unthinkable.

Or is it?

The case for unlimited PTO

Having a system of unlimited PTO would present challenges, but it could work — and even thrive — in some environments. Yes, there are some environments that require certain staffing levels in order to get the work done (such as manufacturing environments, hospitality environments and restaurants). However, talent advisors could do some basic operational math and create a policy with the look and feel of unlimited PTO, while still accounting for the company’s need to conduct business.

I like the concept of unlimited PTO, which challenges my role in the restaurant and hospitality industry. I like the idea because it removes a system that feels like a compliance-driven and punitive attendance system. If we are only using PTO to keep track of people, and most companies do this, then paid time off is not really much of a benefit.

It’s hard for talent advisors to look at systems that challenge the status quo. Very few of us take the time to step back and envision things differently than how they currently exist. It may be because we don’t know how, or it may be that we are concerned what would happen if we altered the existing methods of how work is done.

My challenge to you

I would like to challenge everybody to experiment more with new systems. Develop scenarios to see how things would work. Identify gaps and propose theoretical solutions. Instead of dismissing new systems (like unlimited PTO), evaluate the idea to see how it could come to life. Be open minded and think about whether or not it makes sense for your employees and your business.

I’m not sure unlimited PTO will work for your company or mine, but I like the approach. When I consider the system, it allows me to stretch my thinking and see how I can change my ways and bridge the gap between systems and people. I hope you do some stretching in the future, too.

Maybe you could take some PTO and think about 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. 

Work-Life Balance: How to Turn Off the Noise

July 3rd, 2015 Comments off

I have never seen “Working Girl” with Sigourney Weaver and Melanie Griffith. However, when I hear people complaining about “not having it all,” I see an image in my mind’s eye of two women with blue eyeshadow and big shoulder pads lamenting the state of the workforce.

(Cue the wind machine! Carly Simon singing, “Let the river run!“)

I don’t know much about life beyond my view as a human resources consultant, but I do know that nobody has it all. Not famous actresses, not management gurus, and certainly not talent advisors. And I also know that — from Istanbul to Omaha to Sydney — people around the world have tackled the issues of work-life balance and said, “Enough is enough.”

It is possible to have healthy boundaries and turn off the noise, the bright lights, and the distractions. Here are a few steps.

1. Have Someone’s Back.

Cadillac had a commercial for its SUV called “Stacy’s Mom.” If you haven’t seen it, a hot mom wearing a good suit drops off her kids in a carpool line.

All the dads are like, “Whoa, that mom has got her act together!”

I’m sure we can all agree that it’s nice to see a hot mom on TV. But that hot mom can drop her kids off at school because someone — a colleague, her assistant, her supervisor, or even her life partner — has her back. And if she’s doing it right, that hot mom will offer social support to others at the office. She will provide cover so that another mom, hot or not, can have a few extra minutes in the morning with her kids, too.

2. Be the Change.

So many of us are all talk and no action. Unless you are the ruler of a sovereign nation, turn off the phone and pay attention to the real world. Your job doesn’t require you to be on call in the middle of the night and on weekends. Start small and set up a device-free zone in your house. Turn off your mobile devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Don’t send emails on nights and weekends.

Think you can’t get away? You are delusional. No talent advisor has ever been fired for being competent, leading by example, and taking a vacation day with his kids. Change has to start somewhere. Why not with you?

3. Failure Means You’re Trying.

I recently had the privilege of listening to Gadadhara Pandit Dasa talk about incorporating meditation into the everyday lives of workers. He ran a nine-week mindfulness course for 30 executives at a very large company. Every week, he had 100 percent attendance in his class. However, nearly 100 percent of the class told him that they struggled to find time to incorporate five minutes of meditation into their lives outside of that class.

That doesn’t surprise me. But let’s give it some context. Thomas Edison once wrote, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that don’t work.”

Maybe meditation and mindfulness aren’t for you — so fight like hell to find the one thing that gives you a sense of peace and calm in life. Maybe it’s running. Maybe it’s quilting. Maybe you need one night that’s dedicated to doing nothing but catching up on old magazines that are accumulating on your dining room table.

(I can’t be the only one.)

Whatever it is, do it.

One More Thing…

Don’t feel that accepting the noise and chaos of life is your only option. I was lucky enough to hear Shawn Achor speak at a human resources conference about happiness, and he emphasized that noise kills productivity and innovation. If you take a child with ADHD, remove her from a noisy situation, and give her mind an opportunity to rest (and learn) in a quiet environment, she will begin to thrive. Simply put, your brain processes noise first. Remove the noise, and you have better outcomes.

I truly believe that the only way to turn off the noise and end the chaos of life is to take a stand and turn it off. In my eyes, failure is not an option. I’ll keep trying, and I hope you will, too.


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. 

The Secrets Behind the Best Rewards and Recognition Programs

June 29th, 2015 Comments off
Talent advisor Laurie Ruettimann discusses the best ideas in employee rewards and recognition programs

If there’s one thing talent advisors know, it’s that acknowledging exceptional performance isn’t as easy as it sounds.

Right off the bat, people are paid to do good work. That’s how most companies do work. Showing up and making an important contribution is part of a job. Anything less is unacceptable. And while it’s important to remark upon the effort of someone who goes above and beyond, saying thank you is just good manners.

So how do you recognize and reward great performance as part of an overall talent management strategy?

Behaviors Matter More than Technology

Companies like The Hershey Company and JetBlue use HR technology solutions to collect data on performance and link numbers with behaviors. But just because you buy a technology solution doesn’t mean you know how to use it — or that your work is done. The Hershey Company remedied this by looking outside of HR to its line leaders and supervisors, and creating a program to encourage peer-to-peer recognition and have a little fun. JetBlue used a thoughtful communication strategy to make sure employees knew its leadership was serious about creating an environment of recognition.

Keep in mind, technology cannot solve the problem of a broken culture — only people can.

Experiences Count

The recession was tough, and restrictive travel policies created a dent in many conferences. However, savvy talent advisors have been using talent management tools to identify the high-performing, high-potential workers in the upper right segment of the 9-box grid who deserve opportunities to learn from their peers. And they have gone to bat for these workers. Not everybody can fly around the world and attend conferences, but some people can go to San Diego or Las Vegas for two nights to attend important and informative events. Find some wiggle room in your budget and surprise your best and brightest workers.

Think Social

Companies like DuPont, Allianz and Quest Diagnostics use cloud-based social recognition software to encourage employees to thank one another on Facebook and Twitter. The benefits are immeasurable. Social recognition enables people to show off their work-related accomplishments, which could benefit your recruiting and referral strategy. Additionally, social recognition helps employees find balance and blend their professional and private lives in a healthy manner. And social recognition shows the world that your organization has doubled down on culture and gratitude, thereby enhancing your employer branding initiatives.

And here’s a pro tip: if talent advisors think through the behaviors and communication strategies needed to encourage a culture of recognition, you may not even need to buy software.

begin with the end in mind

The most successful rewards and recognition programs compensate — financially and emotionally — for the long-term behaviors that you’d like to see and develop in your workforce. Family-run organizations who pride themselves on steady growth and stability seek to retain workers who are motivated differently than those who might be attracted to jobs in the volatile world of technology start-ups.

Rewarding and recognizing employees in a manner that is consistent with your talent management methodologies isn’t impossible. It takes a smart talent advisor who thinks strategically and collaborates with stakeholders — employees, supervisors, executives — to champion these programs across the enterprise.

Good luck!

This month, our talent advisors have been dishing out their best advice on effectively managing your talent and helping them thrive. Catch up on the articles you may have missed, like “5 Ways to Retain Great Workers During Mergers and Acquisitions.” New to Talent Advisor? Sign up here to get new articles delivered to your email inbox.

Abysmal Onboarding Experience? 5 Ways to Turn It Around

June 26th, 2015 Comments off
Your candidates deserve a better onboarding experience

Onboarding should be better. It should be easier. Human resources leaders across the world purchased enterprise HR technology solutions that promised better hiring practices, streamlined onboarding… and cupcakes and tacos.

Instead, onboarding is still a compliance-driven function that requires new hires to sit in a cubicle on their first day of work and stare blankly at a screen while they fill out computerized paperwork.

That is pretty awful.

So here are five things every company needs to do to improve its onboarding practices:

1. make sure Onboarding happens before the first day.

Who said you have to wait until the first day of work to share benefits information? Who said you can’t talk about your company and culture until your new employee has a name badge? If your new hire orientation program isn’t automated, use the power of the post office and clear as much paperwork as you can before day one. Make the first day less about the process and more about employee engagement.

2. allow the first day to start later.

What’s the rush? You have the rest of your career to show up at 8:00 in the morning. Slow down, get some coffee, and ask your new hires to come into work at 10:00 instead.

3. Roll out the red carpet. Literally.

There is no reason your new hires shouldn’t be treated like rockstars on their first day of work. Companies like Zappos and HireVue are known for treating their new employees like royalty. NPR celebrates the arrival and departure of interns on Tumblr, Instagram and Twitter. None of this costs any money. Ask your existing employees to grab their iPhones, channel their inner paparazzi, and have some fun sharing the fresh new faces in your office.

4. Don’t be a Debbie Downer.

New hire orientation often starts with lectures and ends with consequences. I am guilty of being the HR coordinator who told the new employees that sexual harassment was wrong, and that suspected drug use would result in an immediate suspension. What I learned, later in my career, is that the employee handbook is not going anywhere. Don’t be in a rush to tell people all the ways in which they can get fired. Believe me, they already know.

5. Start with what’s important to your new hire.

You just spent 30 to 45 days interviewing your new employee. You know her strengths and weaknesses. On the first day, don’t ask her to dive into compliance-driven LMS modules. Think about what’s important to her, and devise an interesting learning strategy that aligns with her passions.

One More Piece of Advice!

Great talent advisors know that onboarding isn’t the singular responsibility of the local HR department. Want to ensure your new employee has a fabulous first day at work? Ask her manager and colleagues to plan that entire day, and step in only when asked.

You’ll be surprised by how the team will rally around its new employee and give her a friendly first day to remember!

This month, our talent advisors have been dishing out their best advice on effectively managing your talent and helping them thrive. Catch up on the articles you’ve already missed. New to Talent Advisor? Sign up here to get new articles delivered to your email inbox.

The Emotional Cost of Turnover

June 24th, 2015 Comments off
Talent advisor Steve Browne on the emotional cost of turnover

Talent advisors often read articles and blog posts about the front end of the employee life cycle. We are in a war for talent, after all, and posts about attracting talent, employer brand, hiring best practices and onboarding are everywhere. While it’s true that we can always improve the way we attract, recruit and retain employees, we rarely talk about the “end” of the employee lifecycle — when people leave for another job — unless it’s wrapped up in fearful language.

When we do read about turnover, there are plenty of posts on how to fire legally, how to avoid litigation, and how to stop yourself from doing some boneheaded thing when terminating an employee. All too often, we share “HR horror stories” and malign our staff who choose to leave our organizations. We treat their departures like it’s scandalous news in a tabloid. It isn’t healthy, and it makes talent advisors wary of the end of the employee life cycle.

Turnover is natural. Turnover is an occurrence. Turnover has a financial implication, of course, but there’s also an emotional component that all talent advisors must consider.

Step Back with Me for a Second

Are you still at the first job you started with in your career? You may be, and I applaud that, but I would venture to say that the vast majority of people reading this have held more than one job. If you left a job, voluntarily or not, you were part of turnover. The company you left is probably still around even though you aren’t. Since this transition has happened to almost all of the employees who were in the workforce since the beginning of humankind, stop magnifying turnover and learn to work with it.

Don’t Celebrate the Departed

There are plenty of situations in which we want someone to leave a company. It is tough to admit, but we know it’s sometimes true that if an employee leaves, a dark cloud will be lifted from a department or organization.

When that employee leaves, you have to be careful of people celebrating the dead. That may sound harsh, but I’ve seen it happen more often that I’d care to admit. It isn’t right. When a person leaves, we need to show grace and help our remaining team members forward in a positive manner. Gossipy, open-ended conversations about a current or former employee’s faults and failures will kill your culture. Avoid doing this.

Grief is Real

What do you do when an esteemed employee — someone who is admired as a nice human being and a top performer — leaves your company? When this occurs, people experience a genuine sense of loss. They may grieve. You need to be there as both a leader and a counselor to help people work through this loss. Don’t blow it off or tell people to get over it. That’s not helpful, and it will also kill your culture.

Meet People Emotionally Before You Address Them Rationally

As I mentioned earlier, turnover happens. And you have to remember that, whatever the circumstance, these are human beings who are leaving your organization. People with hearts, minds, souls and families. It isn’t about swapping out a new piece of furniture and sending the old pieces to the curb. These are people whose lives change when they leave the company. They face an emotional shift just as much as those who stay behind.

We don’t like to talk about emotions because they are unpredictable and messy, but that’s why I work in human resources and love being a talent advisor.

So remember that turnover is natural. Shift your focus and treat it as if you knew it was coming. You’ll be glad you did.

Throughout the month of June, Steve and our talent advisors will continue dishing out their best advice on effectively managing your talent and helping them thrive. New to Talent Advisor? Sign up here to get new articles delivered to your email inbox.

5 Ways to Retain Great Workers During Mergers and Acquisitions

June 22nd, 2015 Comments off
5 ways to retain great workers during mergers and acquisitions

When large organisational change happens, it isn’t surprising that employees first think, “What does this mean for me?”

This happens everywhere and in every company, regardless of where employees sit in the organisation. And a merger or acquisition is probably the largest, most uncertain organisational change a company (and its employees) can go through. So how do you give people a sense of purpose, create as much certainty as possible, and retain as many of your people as possible?

Well, as I come to the end of the second year of a complex merger, here are the things that I’ve observed make a real difference in a company’s ability to retain workers.

1. Visible Leadership.

Your leadership team is your biggest asset — but only if people have access to them and can see how they’re reacting. And whilst they will also be feeling uncertain, it’s your job as the HR pro to make sure that they have a private space to express that rather than expressing it in front of the people they’re supposed to be leading.

2. Transparency.

Perhaps the most overused, but underdeployed management practice. You’ll be surprised how capable your employees are of dealing with the things you want to “protect them” from. You don’t have answers to everything? That’s ok; just let people know that.

3. Keeping the Trains Running.

Development courses, internal recruitment, annual events: You’ve got to keep these things going. They’re gold dust for reassuring people that some things aren’t changing, and that you’re still concerned about their careers. If you can, turbo-charge these things and make them stand out even more during a big organisational change.

4. Cutting Quickly.

If you’ve got to make cuts, changes, or restructure, then do it quick and be honest about it. People are expecting change and they won’t believe you if you say it’s not coming. It’s Elastoplast management. Slow pain is big pain.

5. Explaining Why.

If you’ve been working on a big deal for a while, it probably makes complete sense to you. But the people around you are trying to catch up. Why is the deal happening, what is the benefit and what does the future look like? Don’t think you’re going to have to communicate this just once, either. Repeat and repeat until you’re blue in the face.

Finally, we hear so much about the need for HR to add value, and a major change is your chance to show that you can. If you have something coming up, go and talk to a fellow pro who has been through it. Ask them what they did that worked and what they’d do differently. Because I guarantee they’ll have something to share.

Throughout the rest of June, our talent advisors will continue to dish out their best advice on effectively managing your talent and helping them thrive. Learn how to stay ahead of these HR trends, and learn why old-school metrics are vital to tracking recruiter performance.

Why You Need Old-School Metrics to Track Recruiter Performance

June 19th, 2015 Comments off
Why old-school metrics are vital to track recruiter performance

Your candidates should be psyched, ready to work hard, and have a two-year prescriptive learning and development plan upon arrival.” TWEET THIS

Go ahead and do some Internet-searching. You’ll find lots of good thinking about how to measure the success of a recruiter. Smart money is on the talent advisor who creates benchmarks and scorecards that bring transparency to the recruiting process. I also like talent acquisition professionals who rank themselves against past performance and competitors in the marketplace.

But a lot of that is fancy and complicated for average folks in simple, uncomplicated businesses. That’s why I’d like to make the case that “old school” metrics are still important to track and measure recruiter performance.

Time-to-Hire Matters

Time-to-hire is one of those metrics where there’s more than meets the eye. When you measure the time it takes to hire someone, you are calculating the effectiveness of sourcing channels. You are examining the internal effectiveness and speed of your interviewing process. And you are invariably collecting important data on your onboarding methodologies. Don’t abandon the time-to-hire metric. Dig deeper.

The Cost of Hire is Critical

Even if you work for eccentric moguls like Bill Gates or Willy Wonka, you probably need to hire people on a budget. The cost of hiring someone will never not matter. When you look at the expense of recruiting, you are looking for value. Go ahead and drill down on the effectiveness of your social recruiting strategies, talent communities, and branding initiatives. Think through your job posting methodologies. Crazy millionaire CEOs don’t stay rich by wasting money.

The Offer-to-Acceptance Ratio is About Culture and Fit

I’m a big fan of HGTV. Does your company lack curb appeal? Do you hear “no” more than you hear “yes” when you make an offer? Your offer-to-acceptance ratio can tell you if your culture is a fit or a flop. This recruiting metric is critical and will help you understand if your overall brand and message are resonating in the marketplace.

Retention, Retention, Retention

Some talent advisors hate to measure retention because supervisors, not recruiters, make the ultimate hiring decision. And what does a recruiter care if someone quits? A talent advisor shouldn’t be penalized for events outside of her control, right? Well, no, actually, your slate of candidates should be pre-closed before an offer is made. They should be psyched, ready to work hard, and have a two-year prescriptive learning and development plan upon arrival. If nobody stays for more than a year, it’s time for recruiters and talent advisors to sync up and figure out what’s wrong.

Finally, I think recruiters should be measured by how well they collaborate with other departments. Recruiters should be strategic partners to the business and advocates for the company’s employees. They should understand the crucial role of software, sourcing technology and workforce data play in finding the right people at the right time. And recruiting doesn’t end when you close the requisition. Recruiters must take an active role in all parts of the employee experience — from recruitment to orientation and throughout the entire employee lifecycle.

Measure the things that matter. Use the “core metrics” listed above to track a recruiter’s performance, and watch her shine!

Throughout the month of June, our talent advisors are dishing out their best advice on effectively managing your talent and helping them thrive. Learn why even talent management pros need fans, and if you haven’t signed up for Talent Advisor yet, start getting new articles delivered to your email inbox.

How to Fill Your Talent Community With Brand Fanatics

June 17th, 2015 Comments off
How to Fill Your Talent Community with Brand Fanatics

Does anyone remember the Coca-Cola rugby shirt from the 1980s?

I can remember buying one during the summer between ninth and 10th grade. I wore it to the first day of school, and I felt so freaking cool. Believe me, I was going to rock the tenth grade!

I had the green Coca-Cola rugby shirt, and most were red. It meant that I was in the know: part of a select group of people who understood fashion trends in 1986. I would see some others wearing Coca-Cola shirts, and we would lock eyes and know that we were a few of the ones who truly understood 1986 fashion trends.

Unfortunately, Coca-Cola clothing was only cool for about thirty seconds. Then it was over. The modern equivalent of the Coca-Cola fad is Lily Pulitzer or Vineyard Vines. Who buys this stuff?

Pre-fabricated, inauthentic talent communities are the Coca-Cola rugby shirts of talent acquisition. They exist for people who have more money than wisdom. Busy and frustrated talent advisors hope we can instantly create a group of fans who will want to follow our every move and apply for an open position with our company. These fans will then get the opportunity they’ve always been dreaming of: to come to work for the “brand” they love.

A real talent community is about giving the true fans of your brand an outlet. It’s a place for two-way conversations; a place where you can give your fans the inside information as to what it’s really like to work there and where the brand is going in the future.

True fans are what make your talent communities work, and they love the brand beyond logos and the “hip” factor.

I do not believe talent communities are for every organization. Most organizations go for big numbers and try to inflate their talent communities, which is why most talent communities never gain any traction — and fail. You have to have real fans. Otherwise, you’re just informing a bunch of people who want a job with your company stuff about your company.

That isn’t a community. That’s just marketing.

The key to great talent communities is that you let them grow organically. Ask your craziest, most loyal employee to run the talent community. You know the type. Find employees who would tattoo your company logo on their butts if you had a tattoo artist in the lobby doing free butt tattoos. If you find those employees, give them a voice. They’re the authentic, awe-inspiring men and women who will lead a great community.

It also helps if you find a leader of your talent community who likes to wear kelly green Coca-Cola rugby shirts. I hear they are totally sweet!

Throughout the month of June, our talent advisors continue to dish out their best advice on effectively managing your talent and helping them thrive. Learn how to stay ahead of these HR trends, and take a look at why mobile recruiting isn’t for everybody.

June Twitter Video Chat: Effectively Managing Your Talent

June 15th, 2015 Comments off
April Twitter Video Chat: HR’s Role in Workforce Diversity

Talent is any organization’s most important asset – and as HR professionals, it’s your job to manage that asset. As our resident talent advisors have talked about this month, managing your talent comprises everything from engaging your employees, to performance management, to nurturing your fan base, and more. How you handle talent management can have a large impact on the company as a whole. That’s a lot of responsibility. It’s worthwhile to know some best practices and proven strategies from somebody who’s been there.

On Tuesday, June 23, from 12 noon to 12:45 p.m., our friendly team of talent advisors — Laurie Ruettimann, Jennifer McClureTim SackettSteve Browne, and special guest Jamie Womack — will get together to discuss some of the most important aspects of talent management in our monthly Talent Advisor Twitter video chat.


How to Join the Chat:

Step 1: At the time of the chat, visit the @CBforEmployers Twitter page.

Step 2: You will see the video live streaming in the top tweet. Click “Play.”

Step 3: Ask questions or make comments by hitting “Reply” to that tweet during the chat, and the speakers will answer you live.

We will start by answering the following questions:

  1. How do you define talent management? What does it include — and what does it not?
  2. What role does HR play in setting an overall talent management strategy? What’s the responsibility of managers and leaders?
  3. Give examples of excellent talent management practices you’ve experienced in your own life.
  4. How should the relationship between HR and employees change or evolve through the employee life cycle?
  5. If there’s one thing about talent management practices you could kill, what would it be?



In case you missed it, catch up on last month’s Twitter video chat: HR’s role in workforce diversity. We welcome all human resources professionals, recruiters and talent acquisition leaders to become part of the evolution! Sign up now to start getting Talent Advisor in your inbox.

Employees’ Most Unusual Time-Wasters at Work

June 12th, 2015 Comments off
the most unusual productivity killers at work

Most all of us, at some point or another, avoid doing the things we actually need to do by doing things we prefer to do in the present moment: It’s a classic case of procrastination. And while some people gravitate toward virtual activities of tending a farm or crushing on candy to feed procrastinating urges, others waste time on Facebook or other social networks, take a million bathroom breaks, incessantly check their phone for updates, daydream, or find something else REALLY IMPORTANT to do.

And still others, uh, blaze their own path, you might say, when it comes to passing the time with non-work activities. Enter mail order brides, sleeping on the CEO’s couch, and sponge baths.

new CareerBuilder survey of 2,175 hiring and human resource managers makes it clear that sometimes, employees aren’t just engaging in your run-of-the-mill email, Internet surfing or water cooler gossip — but in much more bizarre activites. Below, employers dish on their employees’ biggest productivity killers, as well as the craziest things they caught employees doing while on the clock.

 The biggest productivity killers, according to employers

While there are all sorts of tips and tricks to combat lack of productivity, it seems some workers will do just about anything to avoid doing actual work while on the clock. (Though, I think most all of us could agree sitting in a cubicle can sometimes makes one’s soul die a little.)

  1. Cell phones/texting: 52 percent
  2. The Internet: 44 percent
  3. Gossip: 37 percent
  4. Social media: 36 percent
  5. Email: 31 percent
  6. Co-workers dropping by: 27 percent
  7. Meetings: 26 percent
  8. Smoke breaks/snack breaks: 27 percent
  9. Noisy co-workers: 17 percent
  10. Sitting in a cubicle: 10 percent


Workers’ Strangest Non-Work Activities While On the Job

When employers were asked to reveal the most unusual or most memorable things they have found an employee doing when they should have been working, they didn’t hold back. And can you blame them? Who would be able to keep these situations to themselves?

  • Employee was taking a sponge bath in the bathroom sink.
  • Employee was trying to hypnotize other employees to stop their smoking habits.
  • Employee was visiting a tanning bed in lieu of making deliveries.
  • Employee was looking for a mail order bride.
  • Employee was playing a video game on their cell phone while sitting in a bathroom stall.
  • Employee was drinking vodka while watching Netflix.
  • Employee was sabotaging another employee’s car tires.
  • Employee was sleeping on the CEO’s couch.
  • Employee was writing negative posts about the company on social media.
  • Employee was sending inappropriate pictures to other employees.
  • Employee was searching Google images for “cute kittens.”
  • Employee was making a model plane.
  • Employee was flying drones around the office.
  • Employee was printing pictures of animals, naming them after employees and hanging them in the work area.

The Cost of Being Driven to Distraction

It’s no surprise that productivity killers can lead to negative consequences for the organization, including compromised quality of work (45 percent), lower morale (30 percent), missed deadlines (24 percent), loss in revenue (21 percent) and more.

So what’s the solution?

Some say that to get things done and put off procrastinating (see what I did there?) it helps to remind yourself why what you’re doing is important, and others recommend just simply starting a task to get over the anxiety of actually starting it.

Nearly 3 in 4 employers (74 percent) have taken at least one step to combat productivity killers, such as blocking certain Internet sites (33 percent) and banning personal calls/cell phone use (23 percent). I personally hate these, because one bad apple shouldn’t spoil things for the other employees who do use them responsibly. Plus, your employees aren’t robots (yet). People aren’t designed to work 8-plus hours straight with no breathing room, whether that involves a walk outside, an email to a friend, or spacing out for a few minutes on Instagram. In fact, research shows taking breaks actually makes people more productive.

CareerBuilder’s chief human resources officer, Rosemary Haefner, backs this up:

Between the Internet, cell phones and co-workers, there are so many stimulants in today’s workplace, it’s easy to see how employees get sidetracked,” said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer of CareerBuilder. “The good news is, taking breaks from work throughout the day can actually be good for productivity, enabling the mind to take a break from the job at hand and re-energize you. The trick is finding the right (work-appropriate) activities that promote – rather than deplete – energy.”

You know, like not-drinking-vodka-and-watching-Netflix-type activities.

Haefner offers the following four tips for productive procrastination — which may be helpful to pass onto your employees (or bookmark for yourself):

  1. Schedule “play” breaks. Give yourself permission to take a break, and set a definite ending time. Not only will you have something to look forward to after you’ve worked hard, you will also know when it’s time to get back to work.
  2. Surround yourself with productive people. Much like laughter, productivity can be infectious. Watching how others make themselves productive can inspire us to act similarly.
  3. Make yourself accountable to your (social) network. Can’t seem to motivate yourself to finish (or start) a big project? Post on your Facebook wall that you will do it. Making yourself publicly accountable will make you more likely to actually do something.
  4. Just (literally) walk away. Can’t seem to concentrate? Go for a 10- or 20-minute walk. Research shows that a few minutes of light exercise can rejuvenate the brain and lead to sharper cognitive function.

When it comes to workplace productivity, what works well for you and your team?


Want more? Get more highlights from the survey here.

Is Employee Engagement Even a Thing?

June 12th, 2015 Comments off
Why it doesn't matter whether we call employee engagement, as long as we do it in a genuine way.

My name is Doug Shaw. I am a human resources consultant, speaker and artist. And as you’ll see from this post, I am British.

I specialise in organisational collaboration, community development and exploring creativity. Connecting different groups of people is a vital part of my work, and I use a unique blend of conversational techniques, social technology and artistic methods to help people make work better. People typically ask for my help when they want to achieve something collaborative and creative, and when they want to do this with each other, rather than to each other.


A 2013 survey found that only 1 in 5 people have even heard of the term employee engagement. As a ‘thing’, I’m not convinced it matters. What matters is how the experience makes people feel.

Employee engagement seems like a fad because that’s what it is for many people. It is often experienced literally as a tick box exercise. Here’s a survey, fill it in, we don’t want to know who you are (which to me says we are not really interested in involving you personally with improving the business), we will publish a fancy report and then — because we’re too busy/lazy/bitter and twisted — nothing more will happen until the next survey when you get to tell us ‘nothing ever changes around here’. Frequently, we end up with employee engagement feeling like little more than ‘how can we, the business, get/squeeze/extract more out of our people’.

Not helpful.

However, if employee engagement were to be positioned as a stepping stone on the journey away from an industrialised model of work, towards something more co-created, more meaningful, more enjoyable, then I think the return on investment would need to be articulated as something mutually beneficial. How could we do that?

The principles behind the engagement process need to be responsive and open: Ask, listen, respond in a timely fashion. Demonstrate pace. Lead by example. Do what you say you will. Anonymity should only ever be optional. I believe the principles of responsiveness and openness will be reciprocated and will come to represent the ROI of taking engagement (i.e., your people) seriously.


There are only three things you can influence: How you think, how you feel and how you behave. Choose your attitude; make stuff happen.

Most work is coercive, meaning that it is done to you. This habit becomes hugely disempowering and we begin to respond to this experience by demonstrating things such as learned helplessness and learned irresponsibility. Bad work sucks at your soul, which is why we need soulful HR people like you to help others engage.


OK, here’s my no brainer. Notice people. Say hi to someone, spot someone doing a good job and let them know you appreciate their efforts — right there, right then. Stuff like that. Small repeatable actions make big differences.

I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that talent advisors should encourage everyone to take 15 minutes out of every day to meditate. I don’t mean going around hugging trees and wearing kaftans, but instead, try using something like Headspace to learn about and appreciate the importance of being present and taking time out for yourself.

In truth, what people do with that 15 minutes is none of our business, but I think giving them time to pause and reflect shows that we care. I’ve been meditating every day for over 130 days straight and I’m just beginning to feel a benefit from it. Research is indicating that meditation is good for our psychological and physiological well-being, and helps us think better, too.


One final piece of advice? Ignore employee disengagement at your peril. Higher stress levels and more burnout are just the beginning. Remember how we’re in a war for talent? Your best people will leave, because they can, and this will just put more pressure on the remaining, increasingly disengaged workforce.

Throughout the month of June, our talent advisors will be dishing out their best advice on effectively managing your talent and helping them thrive. Learn why even talent management pros need fans, and take a look at how these companies are effectively managing talent

From the HR Professor: Performance Management 101

June 10th, 2015 Comments off
Talent advisor Matthew Stollak on performance management

It’s the end of the semester. Seniors have either landed their first “real” job in their chosen field or are choosing among multiple options. Juniors, sophomores, and freshmen are taking summer classes, working a job or internship, or enjoying some well-deserved leisure time. For professors, the focus is on assessing final projects, papers or exams, and assigning a final grade (i.e., performance evaluation).

Much of my time in the classroom is spent not only conveying the particular knowledge of the course, but also setting up the appropriate environment for students to demonstrate a proper understanding of the material.

So, what can a talent advisor learn about performance evaluation from a professor?

(Plenty. That’s the only answer for this blog post to work, people!)

1. A proper job analysis is the cornerstone of performance reviews.

For academicians, the syllabus is the crucial document that sets the tone for the entire semester. A professor must determine what the student is expected to understand and convey it through course objectives. 

Similarly, you can’t hire if you don’t know the knowledge, skills, abilities and other factors, or KSAOs, required for the job, and you can’t train if you don’t know the specific KSAOs that need to be addressed. You can’t pay an employee if you don’t know what specific job attributes to reward. You certainly cannot evaluate an employee without knowing specifically what is required of him or her to do the job.

2. Communication of performance expectations is critical.

My syllabus lays out how the grade for the semester is to be determined. As a professor, I explain what each project, paper or exam is worth so that the student knows what it takes to earn the desired grade. I often include a rubric with any written assignments so that the student can figure out the distribution of points.

Are your employees aware of performance expectations? Are they clear on how to achieve the desired performance goals?

3. Assess employees for behaviors under their control.

In 1979, Domino’s Pizza created a delivery guarantee of receiving your order in “30 minutes or less” or your pizza was free. However, if one had to deliver in the middle of a snowstorm in the upper Midwest in January — or during rush hour traffic — solidifying that guarantee would be extremely difficult.

Including material on an exam that was not covered previously, or punishing a student for excessive absences with no attendance policy, would be egregious and unfair. When you assess an employee, how much of his or her performance is reliant on others or the materials with which they work? Is the job interdependent? Is teamwork a significant part of the work they perform? Examining the factors that influence performance will lead to a fairer, more equitable system.

4. Use multiple methods (and even multiple raters) to evaluate the employee.

In academia, one may want to use various methods to gauge students’ understanding. In some classes, I offer multiple evaluative options to reflect how a student learns. For instance, exams may be multiple choice or short answer. Alternatively, a student may demonstrate his or her competency in the subject area by writing a critical analysis paper on the topic to be covered.

In most jobs, an employee can apply various skills and abilities to be successful. Performance evaluations should be able to accurately identify proper use of those skills or abilities. Similarly, using peer or customer reviews, such as those in a 360-degree appraisal, may better capture satisfactory performance than using only a single observer.

Many may be reluctant to adopt some of the tips above — because it requires significant heavy lifting on the part of the talent advisor. Undertaking a job analysis or observing the employee multiple times over the course of an evaluation period takes considerable time, too. However, following my suggestions will make performance management more manageable and efficient.

Trust me. I’m a professor.

Throughout the month of June, Matthew and our other talent advisors will be dishing out their best advice on effectively managing your talent and helping them thrive. Catch up on the articles you’ve already missed. New to Talent Advisor? Sign up here to get new articles delivered to your email inbox.

Why Mobile Recruiting Isn’t for Everybody

June 8th, 2015 Comments off
Be agile before you try mobile recruiting

Recruiting has many facets, and there is not a “one size fits all” approach that works across industries. I’ve worked in many different industries and found that each one brought its challenges in finding great talent.

When I worked in companies that were made up of white-collar professionals, you had to look for candidates in niche places as well as in the general public. Recruiting was catered to candidates’ specific skill sets. In blue-collar manufacturing settings, the majority of positions were entry level. We wanted to give people a chance to cut their teeth, so we had a broad canvas of people to choose from and many avenues to reach them.

Now I’m in the hospitality and restaurant business. I am in an environment where I need to locate a mix of entry-level people who may be securing their first job ever. I also need candidates who feel that restaurants are their field of choice and want to make us their longer-term career.

Do you know your candidates’ behaviors?

It’s getting harder to attract candidates because the economy is doing better, and that is a good thing. When finding talent isn’t challenging, we tend to get complacent because people are seeking you as an employer. Now that we are out seeking people again, talent advisors must get more active and curious about HR technologies and solutions.

At my company, we have stepped into the world of recruiting on social media forums. We haven’t ventured into mobile recruiting, though, because it’s not where our applicants are or how they prefer to look for jobs. We know this because we’ve asked them through conversations and surveys. We know our source of hire. We know our candidate behaviors.

I’m open to all avenues of reaching people. It’s true that everyone has a smartphone, and I’m not being a traditionalist and shying away from recruiting using mobile technology. I simply believe that talent advisors need to take note of something: Not every trend is worth following right away.

I have HR technology vendors who are constantly telling me how amazing their products are with mobile recruiting and social platforms. They tell me that smartphones and video interviewing will change the way our company performs. I think it all has value, but they don’t fit us right now.

Are you becoming a trend follower because you’re curious or because you like shiny new objects? Curiosity is a skill that is important. Talent advisors must be agile. On the other hand, agile doesn’t always mean mobile.

Selective agility

Before you dive into the pool of the latest technology, you need to assess if it works for your company and industry. If it does, then you should go into it with excitement and energy. If it doesn’t, then take a stand and stick to it. Keep an eye on how other people do with the new technology first, and then be agile enough in your recruiting efforts to adapt and adopt what you need to to find the best people.

As a talent advisor, you are expected to apply critical thinking skills. Be a leader and don’t just follow the crowd. Own the process and direction you use in attracting folks to your company. Reach them in the manner that is most effective and then show them what a great company you are.

Trust me. Agility is needed in all facets of your job, regardless of then next great thing that will come down the technology highway. Be agile before you go mobile.

Throughout the month of June, Steve and our talent advisors will be dishing out their best advice on effectively managing your talent and helping them thrive. New to Talent Advisor? Sign up here to get new articles delivered to your email inbox.

Even Talent Management Pros Need Fans

June 5th, 2015 Comments off
Talent advisor Tim Sackett on getting employees to become your fans

I started my blog so I could make money. Not money from writing. I knew I sucked at writing. I started blogging so I could help get my name out there. I assumed that my blog would help me get more business for my staffing company.

It hasn’t exactly worked out like I hoped.

I don’t have HR people and executives beating down the door and asking me to recruit engineers, IT pros and such. (If you would like to change that, I’m always open to having a talk!) But I did get something out of this that I never expected: I have some fans.

Not a lot, but about once or twice a week I’ll get some great messages from people all over the world. Some will want to talk about a certain post. Many just say thanks. A few want advice.

Having a fan in your life is one of the greatest things ever. It’s a pretty cool feeling to have someone think so highly about what you do that they’ll send you a note just to tell you that you make a difference in their life. Having that happen on a weekly basis? Well, it is unbelievable.

HR has the ability to create fans in our organizations and beyond through honest, fair and consistent talent management practices. And we have the ability to be fans of the employees who we truly, sincerely enjoy.

Don’t just be a fan of everybody for the sake of being a naive cheerleader. Not everybody deserves fandom from you. I simply believe that you can truly become a fan of more people in your organization, and it would make their world so much better.

When we talk about the daily grind of HR and talent management, we miss the easiest ways to engage and motivate our ourselves and our employees. The great part about being a fan is that it’s easy and makes both sides feel great.

Being a fan — and becoming a fan — can be contagious in your organization. When employees see you becoming a fan of their co-workers, they become fans of HR. And employees start becoming fans of each other, too. It’s great to go to work every day when you know you have fans waiting for you!

I’m going to challenge you today. As talent advisors, go out and become a fan of someone who deserves a fan. Brag about that individual. Tell everybody why they should be fans, too.

And remember: a fan culture is a winning culture. And a winning culture allows you great leeway to do whatever you want with your talent management practices.

Throughout the month of June, Tim and our talent advisors will be dishing out their best advice on effectively managing your talent and helping them thrive. New to Talent Advisor? Sign up here to get new articles delivered to your email inbox.

What Does Effective Talent Management Really Look Like?

June 3rd, 2015 Comments off
Creating competitive advantage through talent management

Most business leaders would agree that effective talent management plays a critical role in the achievement of a company’s overall business strategy and objectives. What does “effective talent management” look like? And does the size of a company or budget matter when it comes to the ability to execute upon it and create competitive advantage?

Let’s look at some examples:

1. Ingage Partners, LLC

An example of a small company developing and engaging their talent in creative, but purpose-centric, ways is Ingage Partners, LLC – a Cincinnati, Ohio-based company with fewer than 50 employees. As a certified B Corporation, Ingage forms partnerships with charitable organizations, giving employees the opportunity to donate both time and financial resources to make an impact.

For example, each employee at Ingage is offered paid volunteer time off each month to build into their community by sharing their talents and skills, and each consultant has the opportunity to generate enough profit through their day-to-day activities to contribute $1,000 – $5,000 annually to charitable partners.

Per Ingage Partners’ talent engagement manager Lisa Kaminski, the organization structure is kept purposely flat, so the president (Michael Kroeger) and CEO (Kelly Dolan) can personally interact with and coach all employees. Each new hire is also assigned an “Ingage Buddy” to focus on their individual needs and help them assimilate into the company.

Regular communication meetings are held at the company, including a monthly “Ingage Day,” where each employee provides a two-minute update on themselves and leaders share business news and updates. The leadership at Ingage views these activities as opportunities to constantly re-recruit their employees by keeping them engaged with the culture through open and transparent communication.


At Denver Water, a mid-sized, public agency with over 1,100 employees, a recent employee satisfaction survey revealed that employees were extremely interested in understanding more about their future career development opportunities within the company. As a result, the company has focused on providing shadowing opportunities in areas of the organization where employees’ interests lie, and also by offering mock interviews for internal opportunities that enable employees to practice their interviewing skills and get feedback on how they can improve.

Another key issue for the company is workforce planning. As some key executives have begun to announce retirement plans, Mary Faulkner, head of talent at Denver Water, is busy putting plans and processes in place to ensure a smooth transition. This includes creating transition plans for departing executives and checking that succession plans are set for key positions within the organization.


While large companies may have significantly more resources than their smaller counterparts, they often face challenges on a bigger scale. Companies like Prudential Financial combat this by focusing on a number of talent management programs and processes in order to ensure a pipeline of diverse, talented employees who are well positioned to move into leadership roles now — or in the future.

According to Kurt Metzger, vice president of talent management at Prudential Financial, several programs have been developed to help strengthen the pool of individuals with the broad business perspectives and key leadership capabilities needed to advance in the organization.

These programs include:

  • A customized business simulation, designed with input from the company’s senior leaders, in which teams of participants compete in running a “company-like” enterprise over a period of time.
  • Working with an executive coach before, during and after the session to focus on developmental areas expected to have the greatest impact on participants as leaders.
  • Interaction with the company’s most senior executives, who engage in dialogue and debriefs with participants.
  • Real-time feedback from coaches and peers.

Since the launch of these programs at Prudential, more than 400 leaders have attended at least one program, and senior leaders –including the CEO/chairman, CFO, and company presidents — have been engaged as faculty in more than 100 sessions, demonstrating leadership accountability for development.

Results are also proving that the company’s investments are paying off. Since the program’s inception, many graduates have returned to lead sessions; 25 percent of participants have received a promotion within a year of attending; and 18 percent received an “exceptional” performance rating (compared to 6 percent for the general employee population).

As you can see, talent advisors in companies of all sizes can positively impact business results through effective talent management. Success is not determined as much by resources and scope as it is by hard work, creativity, support of executive leadership, and understanding of the unique aspects of a company’s culture.

Throughout the month of June, our talent advisors will be dishing out their best advice on effectively managing your talent and helping them thrive. New to Talent Advisor? Sign up here to get new articles delivered to your email inbox.

Searching for Truth in Talent Management

June 1st, 2015 Comments off
June's Talent Advisor Portal is all about talent management

Talent management is a buzzword that should mean something. In fairness, far too many organizations use the term as an umbrella to describe everything that happens after you recruit someone and before you fire them.

Onboarding? Performance management? Goal setting? Succession planning? Sure, yeah, okay, stick it in the bucket of talent management and call it a day.”

There is an art to talent management, which includes the alignment of your workforce to an organization’s goals and objectives. However, talent management is also a science.

  • Do you know the baseline behaviors and leadership competencies required for success in your company?
  • Can you assess the areas of strengths and weaknesses in your workforce and recommend a strategic roadmap for growth and change?
  • Do you have a holistic strategy that links an individual’s performance and development to operational goals from onboarding through succession?


Most talent advisors do bits and pieces of talent management. There’s onboarding, integrating people into your culture, engaging and developing your workers, and then working hard to retain them. Some components are more valuable than others, and everything has a time and a place. I just wonder if you know: 1) what you’re doing, 2) what you’re not doing, and 3) how it measures up against your competitors?

This month, our team of talent advisors will advise you on the basics of talent management. Jennifer McClure will tell you which companies are excellent and why. Tim Sackett will be writing about how you can turn your employees into fans of your talent management process. Matthew Stollak will share industry-leading thinking on performance reviews. Neil Morrison will share his thoughts on talent management during mergers and acquisitions. And Steve Browne will write about the emotional cost of turnover.

Yes! Turnover is emotional!

There is more. We’ll be writing about talent communities, analytics, and onboarding programs. Because we want to deconstruct all of the buzzwords in the world, we will also cover best-in-class rewards and recognition programs.

I’m excited for the month of June. Talent management is a big subject, and it gives us a whole host of opportunities to hack away and look for the truth. If you are curious about talent management, today is the first day of the rest of your professional life.

Thanks for joining us this month!


Missed all the talk about candidate behavior from last month? Pull up a seat and catch up on the latest posts from our talent advisors.

Stay Ahead of These HR Trends

May 29th, 2015 Comments off
7 ways to stay ahead of HR trends

A company’s most important asset is its people, and it’s HR’s job to take care of and manage that asset. As companies continue to battle over skilled workers and applicants, an HR department that loses its edge can lead to serious problems for the rest of the business.

Here are seven current HR trends to help you attract and retain top talent:

  1. Strategic Approach

In order to compete for the best talent, companies now must look at their hiring decisions on a long-term, strategic level. HR departments need to be looking ahead to what their company’s hiring needs will be down the line and have a strategy ready to meet those needs.

  1. Data-backed Decisions

Virtually every aspect of business is being refined and reimagined using data, and HR is no different. Smart companies use the wealth of recruitment data available to them to make better business decisions and improve efficiency. But be careful — making decisions based on data without fully understanding what the data is saying or how to ask the right questions can lead to even more problems. Take some time to understand how recruitment data is gathered, what it means, and how to analyze it.

  1. StreamliniNG

With a heavier focus on big-picture strategic functions, today’s HR professional’s time is more valuable than ever. Automating, delegating or all-out removing time-wasting activities is crucial to staying competitive. Improve efficiency by consolidating the tools and services you use for various HR functions, particularly those that don’t communicate well with the others. Navigating through multiple tools and keeping track of vital information found across incompatible products is like navigating multiple mazes simultaneously. Take a step back, look at your arrangement, and find ways to simplify it.

  1. Employee Investment

Historically, HR’s focus has been more focused on the front-end of the employee life cycle: recruiting, hiring and onboarding. Talent is hugely important to a company’s overall success, but bringing in new highly skilled workers isn’t the only way to develop a strong talent base. Putting more emphasis on developing employees benefits not only the individual employees, but also the company overall.

  1. Diversity and Inclusion

As the population continues to grow more diverse, it’s increasingly important for your company to keep pace — and that doesn’t just mean hitting a hiring quota for diverse workers. Improving organizational diversity isn’t just a PR move. There are legitimate business upsides as well, including increased creativity and ability to effectively communicate with different markets. Put a big-picture strategy in place to not only add diversity to your overall headcount, but also to include a more varied range of workers at every level of your organization.

  1. Candidate Experience

As we move out of the recession and employers are looking to expand their business with highly skilled workers, job seekers are finding that they can be more selective when it comes to where they apply. They’re in demand, and if you want to get their attention and recruit them to your organization, you need to understand how they feel about applying to jobs, what their expectations are, and what’s important to them.

  1. Responsive HR

What HR does can have repercussions to the bottom line in ways you might not expect. In a recent survey, 58 percent of job seekers reported that they’d be less likely to buy from a company who they didn’t hear back from after submitting an application. In terms of things job seekers hate, never hearing back from a potential employer is right at the top.

HR’s role will continue to grow as companies place more emphasis on acquiring and maintaining top talent. Being able to bring in the best workers is vital to creating a competitive business advantage. Stay ahead of the curve, or risk falling behind.


Want more? Get the full report. For daily updates and advice on how to manage the tricky and complex worlds of talent acquisition and job seeker expectations, sign up now to start getting Talent Advisor in your inbox.


4 Things the Best Staffing Firms Do Better

March 31st, 2015 Comments off
staffing firm

People pay attention when you’re paving the way in staffing and recruiting. It’s an industry that works hard to keep everybody happy and rarely receives due credit—especially for putting together all-star teams that affect bottom lines. Despite the tall order—or, rather, because of it—clients and talent recognize who is leading the future of staffing.

Inavero’s Best of Staffing Award recognizes staffing agencies in the U.S. and Canada that do four things better than most. Here’s what set them apart from the rest and created exceptional client and talent experiences.

Talent retention
A lot of successful staffing has to do with timing, and you can’t always help when that perfect talent comes along. That’s why 89 percent of winning agencies have a talent retention process in place.

Holding on to candidates that have potential is likely to reflect well on you later, and in an improved job market means that there are more passive job seekers with top qualifications. However, employers care about more than just skills for the job; they’re also looking for a person who fits their work culture. Award winners are 33 percent more likely to list “culture fit” as a key to successful placement than those who didn’t win the award—proof that everyone benefits when you wait to place candidates until you find real matches.

Worker redeployment
Good relationships are worth hanging onto. Once you place a qualified candidate, don’t let them go! Be sure you have a process in place to contact them during their current assignment and when it ends in order to help them find their next placement: 91 percent of winners have a process for redeployment of previously placed talent.

From analytical tools that can better assess a worker’s skills to having more in-depth conversations with the talent to gain a better understanding of what career goals they have and what their next moves are going to be, formalizing a method for redeploying talent keeps your hiring plans on target and can keep everybody happy.

Referral management
Job seekers know that networking is important, and the most common outlets they feel comfortable tapping into are usually family, friends, past classmates and co-workers. This intimacy is a key area of trust to tap into, and 91 percent of winning agencies have a process for generating referrals.

That also leaves staffing firms in need of quality control for the talent referred to them, and a formal referral management process allows talent to be analyzed for their best strengths and possible weaknesses. Streamlining the process of referrals brings in quality candidates while also keeping the hiring process moving forward: a win-win for everybody.

Client education
When you’re in the industry, it’s easy to see how trends in hiring can affect the quality of talent you’re able to offer clients. When you’re simply looking to expand your IT team, however, why your job posting with a “competitive” salary offer is getting so little response may be unclear—especially with a seemingly huge pool of talent.

To avoid the breakdown in communication, the Best of Staffing Award winners manage expectations and make client education a priority: winners are twice as likely as non-winners to spend time updating clients with educational webinars. In addition, winning agencies do a better job of keeping their clients informed and up-to-date on current staffing and recruiting trends. Award winners are 55 percent more likely to share hiring trend data, 24 percent more likely to share thought leadership content, and 23 percent more likely to share salary trends.

Leading the world of staffing and recruiting means organizing the rest of the work world. When you do your job well, people notice. What trends will you bring to your firm and do better than most?

Learn more about the Best of Staffing Award winners here.

5 Ways to Use HR Data to Drive Business Decisions

March 20th, 2015 Comments off

Chris Powell is the CEO of BlackbookHR, a software company on a mission to create more engaged and connected workplaces and communities. He previously served as executive vice president of human resources for Scripps Networks Interactive (HGTV, DIY, Food Network, Cooking Channel, Travel Channel, et al.), as vice president of human resources for the global financial services company ING, and in various corporate HR roles at Marriott International.

“Big Data” and “analytics” are hot business buzzwords these days, which may cause some people to doubt their value or get overwhelmed at the idea of employing them — neither of which is a wise course of action. Companies have a wealth of data at their disposal, and the ability to generate additional data to address questions that arise in the decision-making process.

The key is to consider that data alongside your business strategy and use it to help you move closer to your goals. HR leaders should always be reflecting back on their desired business outcomes and asking whether their current practices, policies and programs are helping them get there.

Consider these five ways you can use data to understand your employees better and drive business decisions that help you achieve your goals.

Redesign Your Retirement Plan

I worked at Scripps Networks Interactive when it was first spun off from its parent company, EW Scripps. We learned the new company’s workforce profile was strikingly different from that of the larger company it came from. Scripps Networks had a much younger workforce made up of people who worked for shorter tenures and higher demand skillsets.

We learned that by looking at HR demographic and activity data on attrition, career mobility and retirement. And we learned from employee preference data gathered through a benefits survey that those employees overall did not place a lot value on having a pension benefit.

We needed to redesign the company’s retirement plan to make it a more competitive benefit that would help us attract and retain valuable employees. That redesign involved making a more portable benefit that yielded employees more choice and flexibility.

Reallocate Your Wellness Spending

Like many companies, one of Scripps Networks’ biggest spends was employee health and wellness benefits. We wanted to make sure we were getting the most out of that spend and delivering great value to our employees with it. Examining activity data from our vendors, we found we had a very competitive benefits plan, but there were things we could do to deliver more value to employees.

One big change we made was in how we spent our wellness dollars. After years of handing out pedometers and hosting walking challenges, we knew there had to be a way to offer some options and engage employees who didn’t like walking. Again, we looked at HR demographic data and HR activity data as well as an employee survey.

Armed with that knowledge, we decided to provide employees with a menu of choices for how they could spend their wellness dollars. Each employee received a voucher to put toward a wellness activity of their choosing, such as a gym membership, fitness classes or Weight Watchers.

Rework Your Learning and Development Strategy

As ING (Voya) was working to execute its strategy in the US, the leadership team also mapped out the skills and competencies we’d need to drive the company forward. Then we redesigned our corporate learning and development strategy to help employees develop those skills and competencies.

As employees engaged in these learning and development experiences, we tracked their performance and competency levels and used the data to monitor how we were advancing toward our goals. We continued to monitor our tactics and a related training programs and used the data we gathered to adjust and make them more effective.

Revitalize Your Employee Communications

At Scripps Networks, we also wanted to ensure we were using the most effective methods possible to communicate with employees. Through surveying our employees, we learned most employees were consuming content through their mobile devices. That didn’t line up with how we were sharing information with them, and we realized we needed to update our employee communications strategy. We developed a new employee portal, leveraging social media and a better mobile interface, so we could speak to employees in ways that worked for them.

Reimagine Your Employee Value Proposition

Before my time at Scripps Networks, I was working at Marriott when the HR team found our practices for recruiting, retaining and developing talent weren’t working the way we’d like. We looked at demographic, engagement and preference data to help us make informed changes and come up with a better plan around program design, implementation and delivery. The data from these sources helped to inform decisions on what programs and systems the company needed to attract, retain and develop front-line employees.

In closing, data is an essential element to make informed business decisions on what, how and when to allocate your company’s resources to improve productivity, performance, retention and/or culture. As HR professionals, it’s important for us to be equipped to make sound decisions based on the best possible data and insights we have available.

How Can You Attract More Female Candidates and Boost Company Performance?

March 17th, 2015 Comments off

Research suggests that companies with a diverse workforce perform better than companies with less diversity. In particular, companies with a higher representation of women on their boards see a higher return on equity, sales and invested capital than companies with a lower representation.

But is there a recipe for recruiters to attract more female candidates? A recently published research paper in one of the top economics journals suggests there is!

To attract more female candidates:

  • Avoid using male connotations, such as sports metaphors, pictures that only present male workers, etc. in your job ads.
  • Limit the share of compensation that depends on performance rank. For example, this kind of compensation regime would give a low baseline compensation topped up by a large bonus for the employee who gets the top sales performance. It turns out that both female and male applicants are deterred by this type of competitive compensation, and so you would get fewer applicants overall. However, women are even more deterred by such compensation regimes than men are. Therefore, this competitive compensation scheme results in a smaller and more male-dominated pool of applicants.
  • If you must use performance pay tied to rank, be even more careful to avoid any male connotations in the job ad, as these two together have a very strong deterring effect on women.


You may think that compensation that depends on performance rank will attract more qualified female candidates. The study shows that this is not the case. In fact, competitive pay does not increase the experience or education level of female candidates. Therefore, by limiting the share of compensation that depends on performance rank, you attract more and no less qualified female candidates.

By avoiding male connotations and limiting the share of compensation that depends on performance rank, you can attract more female candidates, which means that you have a larger pool of applicants to choose from. This increases your chances of finding a great female candidate and can help you boost your company’s performance through greater diversity.


Talent Advisors Have Small Data Problems

March 16th, 2015 Comments off
Small data big data

Can we be honest with each other for a minute? There are only something like 500 talent acquisition leaders in the entire world who actually get what “big data” is — and you’re not one of them.

It’s okay. I’m not one of them, either.

The reality is 99 percent of talent advisors will never deal with big data because, by definition, it’s is a broad term for data sets so large or complex that they are difficult to process using traditional data processing applications. Excel spreadsheets are a traditional data processing application. Thousands of data points are not big data — millions, billions and trillions are.

Do you deal with data sets in the billions? No. Big data isn’t your concern, but small data is.

The question talent advisors should be asking themselves is: “How do I use small data to solve the everyday problems that I face?”

This is a question most of us should be able to answer, and we can have a positive impact on outcomes in our organizations.

I am going to give you three ways you can solve real, everyday HR and talent-related problems using small data.


Almost all organizations use assessments in today’s world. They are super cheap and easy to administer, but we still have one major problem: Our organizations aren’t fully bought into the results. This is a problem for talent advisors, and we need to change this attitude and get everyone fully invested. Data can help you do this.

True talent advisors will coach leaders and get their organizations to understand how powerful the data is behind assessments and why we should be listening to what they are saying. Millions of data points don’t lie, but your ‘gut’ lies to you every single day!


When your organization gives out a valid and reliable engagement survey, what comes back is truth.

The data is telling you something — good, bad or average. Most leaders and talent advisors hear what the data is telling them but believe they know better. You don’t. You are biased. You have been working your butt off to try and make your culture better, so you don’t want to believe what the data is telling you.

Stop that. It makes you look ignorant.

The data says you have crappy managers. You know this, but you are in charge of leadership training and you want to believe that it works. It’s not working. You need to get rid of your worst offenders. You know who they are, so make it happen.


There is a ton of small data in your talent acquisition shop. Data tells you the best source of hire, how long a job has been open, how many candidates have applied, how many candidates have interviewed, etc. Talent advisors have unlimited amounts of data in Talent Acquisition; however, if you don’t figure out what is important to measure, the data can be a major hindrance to getting something done!

I run into a ton of corporate talent advisors who are failing — but who have great data to tell them why they’re failing — but refuse to actually do something about it. The data tells you exactly why you are failing. Figure out what to measure, make a plan to solve for those failures and work your plan. Don’t have enough applicants for your positions? Work with marketing, pick up the phones, measure what your recruiters are actually doing and change the outcomes.

Everyday talent advisors don’t have big data issues, but that doesn’t make the issues they face any less important. Big or small, data is becoming a way of life for the best talent advisors. The key for great performance in human resources is to be able to quickly assess the data and use that knowledge to move your organization forward with real-world strategies, plans and activities.




Using Workforce Data: 6 Habits of Highly Successful Employers

March 6th, 2015 Comments off
6 habits of highly successful employers

What do companies like Google, REI, Facebook and Southwest do to land on “Best Places to Work” lists so consistently? While you may think it’s the brand recognition or the attention-grabbing perks (such as nap pods or free snacks), the answer is actually much more practical: They understand the importance of workforce data.

The fact is the best way to gain a real competitive advantage in attracting top talent is by building a recruitment process around data. Smart companies trust the data they gather on everything from job seeker perceptions and behaviors to industry trends to guide their recruitment efforts — connecting them with the right candidates and yielding a higher return on investment.

How can workforce data impact your organization?

Sign up to download “Using Workforce Data: Six Habits of Highly Successful Employers,” and learn from companies that are already successfully utilizing their workforce data to inform their recruitment efforts and impact the bottom line — and how you can, too.


Get the Guide

What Workers Want to Change About You – And What to Do About It

March 5th, 2015 Comments off
Change direction

Like the burn book from “Mean Girls,” employees have dished on what they don’t like about their managers in a recent TINYpulse report from TINYhr. In the study, “New Year Employee Sentiment Report,” respondents were asked, “If you could change one thing about your manager in the new year, what would it be?”

The top five answers given were:

  • Become a better, more open communicator – 15 percent
  • Have the boss quit or retire – 11 percent
  • Improve empathy and people skills – 10 percent
  • Increase raises – 8 percent
  • Become a better collaborator/team leader – 7 percent


What does this mean for you?

While monetary recognition made the list, it didn’t crack the top three, and three out of the five answers focus on how bosses communicate and interact with their employees.  This goes to show that a little more communication, transparency and team building can go a long way in boosting employee morale.

The next question in the study explored what employees would do if the tables were turned.

When asked, “If you were promoted to be your boss’s manager in the new year, what’s the first thing you would change?” the top five answers given were:

  • Fire, demote or improve the caliber of employee – 16 percent
  • Establish standards for behavior and company policies – 11 percent
  • Improve communication – 11 percent
  • Improve wages and benefits – 10 percent
  • Modify working hours – 9 percent


What does this mean for you?

Interestingly, the top answer related to cleaning house and removing “dead weight,” so to speak. This shows that employees are not only invested in their own career, but they also want to surround themselves with people who are also devoted to doing their best work.

As the study points out, “peers have a huge influence on workplace satisfaction, and greater weight should be put on who is hired … and who is fired.”

The study concludes by saying, “You have a great deal of control over your employees’ desire to stick with you or run for the hills. Take stock of what they’re asking for in the new year, because you can be sure your competitors are.”

What changes have you been making to improve employee morale this year? Tell us in the comments section or tweet at @CBforEmployers.

Managing the Crushing Onslaught of HR Data

March 2nd, 2015 Comments off
Managing the Crushing Onslaught of HR Data

T.S. Eliot wrote that April is the cruellest month, but March is a close second. Unless you live in Sardinia or Costa Rica, you could probably use some sunshine, a tropical drink, and break from the dreary winter weather.

We can’t give you a wave pool or a Mai Tai, but we can give you a month of interesting articles about data to help you pass the time until your next vacation.

“Intriguing articles about HR data?” you ask.

Yes, I know, sounds ridiculous but it’s possible.

Talent advisors collect data on a regular basis. You have access to maiden names, married names, middle names, gender, birth dates, Social Security numbers, emergency contacts, educational history and work history. You sit at the intersection of the banalest — and most personal — information that anyone has to offer.

Imagine if you stopped worrying about “big data” and “predictive analytics” and started to think about how to make the most of what you’ve got in your archives. The possibilities are limitless. And the crushing onslaught of HR data can be managed with a little time, attention and patience.

Have a tough time with your college recruiting efforts?

It’s possible to dive into your ATS or CRM and match the upper-right portion of your 9-box-grid to schools, universities, majors and even professors. You can learn who influenced the best and brightest of your workforce. The results may surprise you!

Wondering how to stanch the fierce flow of talent from one of your most important departments?

Stop worrying about exit interviews and think about using cloud-based survey tools to conduct an intervention. When someone leaves, look at your performance management process and identify high-performing, remaining team members to evaluate the person who left. How do they feel about the loss? Could anything have been done to prevent the resignation? Was it someone worth saving?

Employee engagement and disengagement scores keeping you up at night?

Your employees are human if you forgot, and they have hectic lives and busy schedules. Nothing is more disspiriting than an out-of-touch talent advisor. You have all the non-confidential attendance and benefits data you need to know when someone is experiencing a big life change — a new baby, an aging parent, hectic soccer schedule, complex health issues. Think about how you operate in a proactive way before someone comes to you in a crisis.

When talent advisors explore data, they can think strategically and creatively.

Data will help you know when to offer coaching classes, financial education, or even hyperspecific wellness initiatives. Data will help you rethink your PTO and leave policies based on when people come in and out of the office. And data can empower you to make a business case for change with your executive leadership team.

March rolls in like a lion, but it can roll out like a lamb. This month, we aim to bring you creative, thoughtful and insightful articles on the challenges, opportunities and rewards of embracing data and using it in crazy ways that aren’t so crazy.

And we promise that spring — with sunshine and a little warmth — is on its way!

Managing the Crushing Onslaught of HR Data

March 2nd, 2015 Comments off
Managing the Crushing Onslaught of HR Data

T.S. Eliot wrote that April is the cruellest month, but March is a close second. Unless you live in Sardinia or Costa Rica, you could probably use some sunshine, a tropical drink, and break from the dreary winter weather.

We can’t give you a wave pool or a Mai Tai, but we can give you a month of interesting articles about data to help you pass the time until your next vacation.

“Intriguing articles about HR data?” you ask.

Yes, I know, sounds ridiculous but it’s possible.

Talent advisors collect data on a regular basis. You have access to maiden names, married names, middle names, gender, birth dates, Social Security numbers, emergency contacts, educational history and work history. You sit at the intersection of the banalest — and most personal — information that anyone has to offer.

Imagine if you stopped worrying about “big data” and “predictive analytics” and started to think about how to make the most of what you’ve got in your archives. The possibilities are limitless. And the crushing onslaught of HR data can be managed with a little time, attention and patience.

Have a tough time with your college recruiting efforts?

It’s possible to dive into your ATS or CRM and match the upper-right portion of your 9-box-grid to schools, universities, majors and even professors. You can learn who influenced the best and brightest of your workforce. The results may surprise you!

Wondering how to stanch the fierce flow of talent from one of your most important departments?

Stop worrying about exit interviews and think about using cloud-based survey tools to conduct an intervention. When someone leaves, look at your performance management process and identify high-performing, remaining team members to evaluate the person who left. How do they feel about the loss? Could anything have been done to prevent the resignation? Was it someone worth saving?

Employee engagement and disengagement scores keeping you up at night?

Your employees are human if you forgot, and they have hectic lives and busy schedules. Nothing is more disspiriting than an out-of-touch talent advisor. You have all the non-confidential attendance and benefits data you need to know when someone is experiencing a big life change — a new baby, an aging parent, hectic soccer schedule, complex health issues. Think about how you operate in a proactive way before someone comes to you in a crisis.

When talent advisors explore data, they can think strategically and creatively.

Data will help you know when to offer coaching classes, financial education, or even hyperspecific wellness initiatives. Data will help you rethink your PTO and leave policies based on when people come in and out of the office. And data can empower you to make a business case for change with your executive leadership team.

March rolls in like a lion, but it can roll out like a lamb. This month, we aim to bring you creative, thoughtful and insightful articles on the challenges, opportunities and rewards of embracing data and using it in crazy ways that aren’t so crazy.

And we promise that spring — with sunshine and a little warmth — is on its way!

3 Ways to Engage Employees Without Spending A Dime

February 23rd, 2015 Comments off
invest in your employees without spending a time

Employees are considered to be the most important asset at your company, which means business objectives can’t be accomplished without them. As a result, your executives agree that anything that can be done to ensure that these critical resources are more productive and engaged is a win, right?

Of course! Well…
You can invest in employee engagement as long as it doesn’t cost a thing.”

Sound familiar? Unfortunately, when executives think about employee engagement, their focus is often on the expense side of the equation. Activities and programs to measure or increase “employee engagement” get squeezed into tightly managed overhead budgets. These also become the first items that are cut if the business outlook becomes partly cloudy.

Thankfully, the sharpest talent advisors know that employee engagement is about emotional commitment to the organization and the organization’s goals.

So, how can you increase your employees’ emotional commitment without a budget?

1. Connect their work to a higher purpose.

Consider this example of how a janitor at the Mayo Clinic responded to a journalist who asked if he was cleaning a room for the next patient.

No. I’m saving people’s lives.”

When questioned about his answer, the janitor explained that one of the biggest dangers in health care facilities is bacteria and unsanitary conditions, which may mean the difference between life and death for a patient. Thus, he felt as responsible for saving lives at the hospital as ER doctors and first responders.

To capture the hearts and minds of your employees, you must help them understand how their specific job affects the end product or service – and how their work matters.

2. Enable progress by removing obstacles.

What happens on a great day at work? In a study conducted by Harvard researchers, over 12,000 work diary entries were studied in an effort to discover what happened in an employee’s everyday work life that correlated with the highest levels of creative output and satisfaction.

The most common event triggering a “best day” at work response? Any progress made by the individual or by their team. Even a small step forward counted. The most common event triggering a “worst day” response? A setback. (Check out the great book called “The Progress Principle” to learn more about this study.)

Does your organization have out-of-date policies and procedures, office politics/turf wars, or employees who don’t have the tools and resources they need to do their job? To increase employee engagement and emotional commitment, you must remove these obstacles to success and ensure employees are able to make progress in their daily work.

3. Celebrate successes — big and small.

We tend to focus our celebrations of success at work on big, one-time events: achieving record performance, landing new customers, launching new products, or hitting year-end results. These are all important reasons to celebrate. But what about the many steps along the way that were successfully completed by employees in order to achieve these triumphs? Are your leaders trained and encouraged to watch for and recognize these?

A simple “thank you,” high-five or personal note can go a long way to increasing employees’ emotional commitment. In fact, according to Towers Watson, recognition from supervisors and managers can “turbocharge” employee engagement for better workplace productivity and performance.

Don’t give up because you don’t have a budget to purchase new engagement software or tracking survey scores. As a talent advisor, you can positively impact employee engagement — and business performance — by helping your employees to connect their work to a higher purpose, enabling progress and celebrating successes.

Throughout the month of February, the Talent Advisor Portal has been featuring HR leaders who will help you learn why and how and why to invest in talent in 2015 — even on a shoestring budget — and why it’s about more than making them love you. See what you’ve been missing this month. New to Talent Advisor? Sign up here to get new articles delivered to your email inbox.

 Help employees connect their work to a deeper meaning

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.