Workplace Violence Prevention – Myths, Confusion & Misunderstandings

Workplace Violence Prevention – Myths, Confusion & Misunderstandings

My business associate and Founder of the Workplace Violence Prevention Institute Kathleen M. Bonczyk, Esq. Attorney, Consultant and Advocate properly calls June a bloody month when a former employee named Henry Bello entered the Bronx Lebanon Hospital, New York City at about 2:50 p.m., Friday, June 30, 2017 with a rifle concealed under a lab coat and began shooting. At least one person was killed and 6 others were injured before Bello apparently committed suicide. It was reported as a disgruntled ex-employee rampage shooting – the fourth in the United States since June 5th.

Pretty straight forward report. However, would you agree that there’s too much confusion and myths about Workplace Violence Prevention and what it is? I often read of news reports where experts are quoted as saying that though “workplace violence is rare workplaces need to take relative measures to protect against armed intruders such as actives shooters”.

According to OSHA USA there are over 2 million reported incidents of workplace violence every year and that the number could be considerably higher. This lack of understanding in defining workplace violence might be at the root cause of why the prevention effort is woefully underfunded and under managed. There is a tendency to confuse the use of “workplace violence” as referring to a homicidal threat. When in fact, “Workplace violence” includes much more than just homicides or workplace shootings.

The U.S. Department of Labor defines “workplace violence” as any threat or act of physical violence, harassment, intimidation or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at a work site. In making a distinction between the types of violence both the FBI and OSHA  separates “workplace violence” into four (4) categories of violence based on victim-perpetrator relationship. Such acts of workplace violence are even further defined as nonfatal and fatal incidents.

In reality, homicidal incidents of violence involving current employees, former employees and disgruntled spouses and intimate partner violence in the workplace is a fairly rare occurrence in the United States.

Media coverage and sensationalized reports by some misinformed suggest that homicidal violence is increasing. The number of workplace related homicides has fallen from 518 in 2010 to 417 in 2015, the last year for which complete statistics are available. Of these cases, only an average of 12 percent were committed by a current or former co-worker.

It is important that we clarify these myths and confusions in reporting and in categorizing workplace violence if workplaces are to appropriately commit and invest resources. Managing the threat of workplace violence requires understanding the continuum acts and their direct correlation to escalation such as name calling, verbal abuse, bullying, harassment, arguments, personal disputes, fights and other forms of workplace related nonfatal acts of violence if, human resources, security managers, risk managers and others responsible are to justify implementation of comprehensive policies and plans.

Language is important in applying the right mixture of prevention strategy, resources, awareness and training. If and when the language is cleaned up employers can then begin to appreciate the value of “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” in rolling out and managing comprehensive workplace violence prevention policies that are aligned with strategies, plans, procedures, training, plans, people and technology.

Workplace Violence Prevention is NOT preparing the workforce to take on armed intruders in the workplace.   That’s too late and suggest a failed prevention initiative. Prevention is hopefully never having to deal with the threat of posed by the disgruntled current or former employee who transitions to active shooter or hostile intruder.

It certainly isn’t waiting for a disgruntled employee to exact his anger on the workplace. Workplace Violence Prevention is preventing that kind of thinking from happening in the first place. It requires an integrated, collaborated, coordinated and a communicated leadership philosophy. 

The myths and confusion associated with Workplace Violence Prevention continues to be a challenge for most organizations regardless of size or type. We accept that no organization is immune and many are unprepared to deal with routine incidents let alone complex issues associated with an armed intruder.

What’s particularly concerning is that disgruntled employee’s transition to homicidal aggression without notice or reporting by employers, employees and/or family members. Rarely is the employer alerted. Rarely do employees report their suspicions or observations.

Employers are encouraged to take proactive measures in educating the workplace in understanding the “WHY” in resolving existing conditions or contributing factors that when left unresolved escalate to aggression, threats and fights and even worst when the  separated employee rationalizes his intentions to retaliate.

This article was first published on

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Creating Employee Empowerment by Saying Yes

Creating Employee Empowerment by Saying Yes

You don’t need a degree in psychology to know that most people enjoy getting what they want. But there’s also definitely something to the act of giving people what they want too.

For a small such a word, “yes” packs quite a punch—especially when it’s delivered by an employer to an employee. Previously, I’ve discussed the virtues of saying “no” and not feeling bad about it when it relates to managing your staff’s workload. On the other hand, if granting more employee requests translates to better results in the long run, then I’m all for it.

Just like its negative counterpart, saying “yes” also requires careful consideration, not just for the individual doing the asking, but for the whole team and the precedence your answer might set. 

Put Employees First

Here’s a news flash: Employees who feel valued are happier and more productive. And I’m sure I don’t need to tell you about the positive effects this will have on your bottom line. So, let’s talk about how employers and HR staffs can help create a happier and more productive workplace.

Before answering yea or nay to an employee request, here are three important questions employers and HR staff should ask first:

  1. Will it have a negative impact on the work that needs to be done? This is the primary consideration any time an employee has a special request: What effect will saying yes have on conducting company business? That’s why it’s important to understand completely what the employee is requesting and how they see it driving positive results.

For example, if a team member asks for extended lunch breaks two days a week to attend a yoga class, be clear on what’s expected of him to account for the lost hours. Either he’ll need to stays late or come in early to make up the time. In this case, it’s a win-win for both parties, productivity will remain the same or perhaps even increase thanks to your employee’s increased sense of well-being.

  1. Is it a long-term or short-term change? Is your employee asking to work remotely for the day so she can be home for a furniture delivery? Or is she asking to clock in virtually on a more regular basis? It’s likely much easier to grant a request, and do it quickly, when it is a one-time event. However, if the question involves trusting your employees to take their work outside of the office on a regular basis, then it makes sense to take some additional time to consider the consequences of your answer.
  2. Who will it affect? In addition to identifying the short-term versus long-term effects of the request, a supervisor should also give equal consideration to requests that benefit individuals versus entire teams. For example, as an empathetic employer, those requests involving family emergencies can be granted quickly without much additional thought.

Still, even nice bosses have to take into account how saying “yes” will affect the rest of the staff. Will they want the same treatment? Will they resent you if they don’t get it? While you don’t want to rewrite the entire HR manual every time an employee asks for something, it is important to consider how your answers will influence your staff in the future.

Maintaining a Positive Office Culture

As you discover more opportunities to say “yes,” it’s important to follow up on requests you do grant. If the results of saying yes were positive, then perhaps it’s time to make saying “yes” a staple of office protocol, at least on a temporary basis.

For example, if flexible workweeks during the summer result in higher productivity, consider offering flextime more frequently throughout the rest of the year. Or if the occasional “Casual Friday” results in a morale boost, consider offering the perk on a more regular schedule. Shakespeare might have said that clothes make the man, but it’s the people who make your company productive.

“Yes” is a small word, but it can produce big results. What will it do for your bottom line?


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Mastering Communication and Collaboration in Multigenerational Workplaces

Mastering Communication and Collaboration in Multigenerational Workplaces

As more people continue to work later into their golden years, the face of our country’s workforce is becoming much more multigenerational. In fact, if things continue to progress along their current path, it’s quite possible many companies will have employees ranging from 18 to 80-years-old. While age is not necessarily a factor in an employee’s productivity, the need for effective communication across these different generations is a factor as they navigate how to collaborate and communicate.

Achieving Effective Collaboration

This challenge is easier said than done. Millennials and Gen Zers communicate much differently than Baby Boomers. In fact, every generation communicates in a unique way. Thus, managing these different age groups in a workplace is a challenge in and of itself, but when you add the latest technology to the mix, achieving effective communication becomes even more difficult. However, with the help of unified communications, it is possible to achieve effective collaboration and communication in multigenerational workplaces.

What Is Unified Communications Services?

Unified communications services combine all types of communications, including video, voice, instant messaging, and more to provide an effective method to improve both communication and learning experiences. This type of service is vital for multigenerational workforces to learn to communicate effectively across each unique generation. Unified communications integrate systems and devices to improve collaborative experiences and create better communication. These services are beneficial for both enterprise and education in several ways:

  • Improved communication between every level of an organization
  • Improved collaboration and clarity via more personalized communication
  • More effective teamwork through quicker access to information and experts

The key is learning how to integrate and master unified communications services into your multigenerational workforce.

Mastering Unified Communications

Enterprises and organizations have implemented the following ideas into their communication plans and been able to learn to effectively manage their unified communications services. Let’s take a look and see how to integrate this into every business.

  1. Provide the ability to communicate with the technology of their choice. Because not all generations communicate in the same way, or with the same tools, it’s important for organizations to provide several different methods of communication. From voice to text, and from video to email, when employees have access to all kinds of communication methods they feel more comfortable communicating with others. This can play a big role in how well your multigenerational workforce communicates and interacts with each other, meaning the chances of successful collaboration improves greatly.
  2. Offer training programs for those who want to learn new technologies. Every employee is different, which means while some choose to use specific communications forms, other employees will want to learn additional ways to interact. A company or organization can greatly enhance its collaboration within its multigenerational workforce by providing sufficient learning and growth opportunities for those who want to enhance their communication abilities and skills. These training programs will improve your employees’ skills, as well as your organization’s ability to collaborate.
  3. Mentoring programs with people from different generations paired together. Taking advantage of the skills and experience your employees already have to help other employees learn new skills is an invaluable way to enhance collaboration and bridge the gap in your workforce. An excellent way to do this is to provide mentoring programs where employees from different generations are paired together to help both people learn and grow. For example, baby boomers can teach Millennials from their years of hands-on experience, while Millennials can help Boomers learn the finer points of the latest technology. You employees will grow and your company will reap the benefits.
  4. Eliminate the stereotypes. Remember, every generation is different. However, that doesn’t mean that everyone from a certain generation must be placed in a set group and associated with only those specific stereotypes. In other words, even though Millennials prefer to text or do video chat over voice calls, that doesn’t mean they can’t make a phone call. Likewise, although baby boomers prefer a traditional phone call rather than texting, they too can learn to type on their phones. Additionally, as these different generations learn to work together they can help each other adapt and acquire new skills that will improve collaboration and communication in the workplace.

Improving Your Multigenerational Workforce Communication

Effective communication is vital to the success of any workforce, no matter how many different generations you employ in your company or organization. By implementing and utilizing unified communications services effectively you can master this skill and improve collaboration in your multigenerational workplace.

Photo Credit: jim.gardiner.papabear Flickr via Compfight cc

This article was first published on New Era Technology.

The State of the Job Market [Report]

The State of the Job Market [Report]

Jobvite recently released its Recruiter Nation Report 2016, offering insight into the state of social recruiting and the current job market. The data tells two stories: What recruiters need to know and what job seekers need to know today. Let’s take a deep dive into the report findings and what they mean to you.

Before we explore data points, it’s always important to get the context around the information being presented. In the case of a report, we’re talking about the methodology. To gather the data below, Jobvite surveyed 1,600 HR and recruiting professionals in a variety of industries, all within the U.S.

Now, onto the facts.

The Current Job Market: What Recruiters Need to Know

Recruiters need quality talent today more than ever. Despite the very possibility (and, in some cases, reality) of automation changing the face of the workforce, only a handful of respondents—10 percent—said their company would embrace automation in the next three years. Interestingly, more than three quarters of respondents said they had increased hiring, and 86 percent said they didn’t expect layoffs for the next year.

What’s it mean? Recruiting is increasingly competitive, with industries like hospitality, manufacturing, healthcare, and technology leading the charge. Here are more key insights into what recruiters need to know about the state of the job market:

  • Negotiating salary is normal. According to more than half of the recruiters Jobvite polled, candidates are more likely to ask for higher pay than they were just one year ago. Not surprisingly, 43 percent of job seekers said they left a position in the last year because of concerns about compensation. Bottom line? Have the discussion.
  • Don’t go rogue on benefits. Because of the talent shortage, enticing top talent is more important than ever. How? Yes, workplace culture is uber-important, but so are old fashioned benefits. Seventy-eight percent of respondents said dental and medical coverage was the most attractive benefit, and 65 percent cited a 401K. Interestingly, but not at all surprisingly, 44 percent of respondents indicated a casual dress code and workplace flexibility had strong appeal, too.
  • Internal hires and referrals win. Not surprisingly, the best talent comes from within: Internal hires (38 percent) and employee referrals (34 percent).
  • Don’t forget to leverage social. Most recruiters—87 percent, to be exact—go to LinkedIn to vet potential candidates. They also frequent other social platforms like Facebook and Twitter (see Figure 1 for a full breakdown). Don’t forget, though, that digital is a two-way street—59 percent of job seekers research the culture of potential employers before saying yes to an interview. If your company has a blasé presence in the social media space, or worse, isn’t using social at all, that sends a message to candidates, whether intentional or not.

 Jobvite Recruiter Nation Report 2016

Figure 1. Source: Jobvite Recruiter Nation Report 2016

The Current Job Market: What Job Seekers Need to Know

It’s a good time to be a job seeker; as businesses become more tech savvy and leverage more digital tools to get ahead of the competition, they need more—and different typesof—talent to support those efforts. This fact is evidenced by Jobvite’s projection that recruiters are facing a talent shortage—something I wrote about in more detail here (Read: The Talent Recruitment Reality: A Good Candidate is Hard to Find). Better news? Sixty-nine percent of recruiters reported their company had increased hiring efforts within the last twelve months, and many—just over two-thirds—aren’t opposed to increasing salary offers to land the right candidate.

Here are other highlights from the report relevant to job seekers:

  • Use social wisely. If you’re apt to overshare on your social feed or tend to misspell a word or use inappropriate photos (or language), hear this: Recruiters are watching, and they don’t like it. A whopping 72 percent of recruiters said they dislike typos on social, a higher percentage even than those who said they didn’t care for pictures of alcohol consumption (42 percent). Selfies are still safe, though, as they only turn off 18 percent of those polled—a figure actually down from 2015. Be careful, though—41 percent of recruiters said seeing a photo of a candidate before an in-person meeting can affect their impression.
  • Your attitude and appearance matter. Recruiters care about your appearance, with 46 percent reporting that how a candidate dresses can impact the results of a first interview. If you’re in real estate or finance especially, dressing too casually can be a deal killer, almost 80 percent of the time. Your attitude also counts. Some 78 percent of those polled said enthusiasm was the most important factor in deciding whether to hire a candidate post-interview—shockingly, a figure slightly higher than that for “command of requirements.”
  • Tell the truth. A whopping 75 percent of respondents reported they see job seekers regularly beef up their prior work experience. They’re on the lookout for that and other infractions such as inflating a salary, fudging the time at a previous job, and more (see Figure 2 for a full breakdown.)

 Jobvite Recruiter Nation Report 2016

Figure 2. Source: Jobvite Recruiter Nation Report 2016

What’s Next?

Can you relate to any of the data points above, either as a job seeker or as a recruiter? What does the state of the job market look like from your vantage point? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Additional Resources on This Topic:

Americans Uncertain About the Future of Work, 2016 Jobvite Job Seeker Study Shows
2016 Job Seeker Nation Study Reports on the Future of Work
Marketing (and Showcasing) Your Corporate Culture During Recruitment

This article was first published on Work Connect Blog.

Why Most Change Efforts Fail and Seven Guidelines to Ensure Your Team Succeeds

Why Most Change Efforts Fail and Seven Guidelines to Ensure Your Team Succeeds

Chances are you will initiate a change that affects your whole team or start a major team project in the near future.

And chances are it will not make the impact you had hoped for.

A 2008 study by IBM found that over 60 percent of change efforts fail to fully meet their objectives, and a 2013 Towers Watson study revealed only 25% are sustained over time.

Most change efforts fail, not because of the technology or the topic of the change or even because it was the wrong idea. They fail because of the human factor.

Have you ever experience any of these human factor derailers?

  • Halfway through the project you discover you don’t have the support needed from senior management.
  • Your team is not enthusiastic or they don’t assume full responsibility, and little things slip through the cracks.
  • When you are ready to implement, some people not on your team do not follow through on the little that is required of them.

Your idea might have been a great idea. It might actually have been the right thing to do. But it failed because of the “human factor.”

Seven Guidelines to Successfully Navigate the Human Factor

  1. The purpose and need for the change must be clear and compelling.

Everyone on your team needs to understand why the change is important, how the team will benefit and why doing nothing is not an option.

There must be a clear connection between the goals of the change effort and your team’s goals, projects, and daily activities. People need to see how the change will impact them.

  1. Show the whole picture – the vision of the end-result AND the roadmap to get there.

People need to know what this will look like when it’s completed, and they need to know where they are on the journey.

Create a “change roadmap” that shows the whole picture so people can see what phase they’re in, where they fit, and the steps and activities in the change process. The plans must include a commitment to build and follow through on an implementation plan.

Be prepared to modify the roadmap as you proceed. Planning and action should be iterative, not sequential.

  1. Involve your team and all key stakeholders deeply and early on.

If you want to make smart decisions, don’t craft the vision and roadmap in a vacuum. Ask, “Is this the right thing to do?” and “What’s the best way to do it?” Draw on the collective wisdom of your team.

Through involvement, people develop deeper understanding and commitment, and you make smarter decisions. Critical decisions that must be supported throughout the organization need input from all stakeholders groups.

If the change is large and involves multiple stakeholder groups, set up a “Change Team,” comprised of a microcosm of the larger organization, to guide the effort. The Change Team should report to senior leaders, but needs to have decision-making authority.

  1. Senior leaders must demonstrate their commitment.

The key decision makers must be visible and active sponsors, stay informed and involved, provide the needed resources (dollars, time, people, etc.), and remove roadblocks.

If you have a Change Team, a senior leader should be an active member of that team.

  1. The approach to the change effort needs to be consistent with the desired ends.

You may implement a very good solution, but if people don’t feel good about how it is implemented, they will not fully support it.

The change process itself must be driven by the values you want to instill. For example, if becoming a learning organization is one of the desired outcomes, then the change process must promote and support learning. If participation is a value, the change process must be participative.

  1. Integrate the change work with real work.

Build the goals of the change effort into your team’s goals so it is seen as part of their job. My colleague Jake Jacobs, developer of Real Time Strategic Change, points out: when the tasks of the change effort are seen extra work, they go to the bottom of the list when time gets tight and you need to re-prioritize.

  1. Over communicate.

Clear and frequent messaging and communication are essential to keep the change effort front and center of everyone’s mind. Early on it is important to broadly communicate the logic for the change and the vision of success. In later phases, keep people up to date on progress, changes to the roadmap, and short-term wins as well as the big ones. Refer to the vision frequently throughout the planning, implementation, and after.

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Employers Are Using Snapchat to Reach Generation Z

Employers Are Using Snapchat to Reach Generation Z

By Natalie Kroc

After just four weeks of running a series of ads that prompted Snapchat users to swipe to the McDonald’s careers page, the fast food chain has received 35 percent more job applications as compared to this time last year, according to Jez Langhorn, the senior director in human resources at McDonald’s USA, in Oak Brook, Ill.

The “Snaplications” video story campaign ran from June 13 through July 9 as part of a push to hire 250,000 employees nationwide this summer. More than half of those new hires in company-owned restaurants are expected to be between the ages of 16 and 24. Langhorn said he has seen how his own kids, ages 18 and 21, “are always on their phone, always on Snapchat. We’re talking to candidates where they are.”

Now is the time for employers to get on Snapchat, “rather than three years down the line,” emphasized Tom Borgerding, CEO and president of Campus Media Group in Minneapolis, which advises companies on brand marketing to high school and college students. Just by establishing a Snapchat presence, an organization can stand out to Generation Z, whose oldest members are starting to join the workforce. “Clients will ask me how they can reach Gen Z on Facebook,” Borgerding said. “First off, don’t use Facebook.”

That’s because Facebook and, to a lesser extent, Instagram (which is owned by Facebook) are not considered to be the social media platforms that Generation Z prefers. “Snapchat is to Gen Z what Facebook is to Gen X,” said Carmen Collins, social media lead for the talent brand team at global technology company Cisco. Members of Generation Z may have a Facebook account, but “they use it to share photos with their parents and grandparents,” she said.

Instagram is often considered the platform of Millennials; although Generation Z also uses it, as a group they tend to be wary of the overly polished—and Instagram’s available enhancements and editing tools can make casual pictures resemble those from a professional photo shoot. “We have to go where they go, and that’s why we got on Snapchat,” Collins said.

Snaps Lead to Applications

Snapchat is fun, quirky and spontaneous; users take photos and videos and embellish them with special lenses, graphics, doodles and sound effects. “Snaps” have traditionally been 10 seconds long and could be viewed only twice before disappearing 24 hours after being posted, although now there is a “save” option. A Snapchat story is a series of snaps posted over multiple hours and connected by a theme. A story disappears 24 hours after no new snaps have been added to it.

From the limited-time aspect to lenses that show users with dog noses or with lasers shooting out of their eyes, plus features like facial swapping and voice-changing effects, Snapchat radiates an unpolished vibe. Perhaps because of these somewhat wild attributes—compared to the more-conventional posts that populate Facebook and the often carefully filtered photos on Instagram—many employers have been hesitant to add Snapchat to their social media repertoire.

With 166 million daily users and another 300 million monthly users, Snapchat trails Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn in pure numbers. But Snapchat skews young: Digital marketing company Omnicore found that 71 percent of monthly Snapchat users are under 34 years old, and 45 percent are in the 18-24 age range.

Applying for a Job in a Snap

Snapchat users were able to view a 10-second video story of a McDonald’s employee talking about why the fast-food chain was a good place to work and then were prompted to swipe up to connect with the McDonald’s careers site, where they could view current vacancies at nearby locations and fill out a job application.

“We’re always looking for innovative ways to connect with potential applicants,” Langhorn said. “Being in places where young people are—on their phones and on Snapchat—it feels like it’s the place for us to be.”

He said that while McDonald’s is very metrics-driven and is still in the process of evaluating the data, right now the company considers the Snaplications campaign to have been very successful and is contemplating doing it again in September.

Though applying for a job through such a process—by watching a video and then swiping—may seem overly casual. “I think candidates very often see a job and apply on a whim. On LinkedIn, this is often already how it’s done [by clicking ‘Easy Apply’],” pointed out Angela Copeland, a Memphis, Tenn.-based career coach.

The Snaplications initiative was inspired by the success of a similar campaign undertaken in April by McDonald’s in Australia. The Aussie version was more creative: Snapchat users could download a special lens that showed them in the McDonald’s uniform. They then sent a snap to the company explaining why they wanted to work there.

“We tend to focus on assessing [applicants’] attitudes and enthusiasm—characteristics we think can be easily captured in a 10-second snap,” a McDonald’s Australia spokeswoman said. “It doesn’t replace the formal application process, which will still include the usual face-to-face interview; it’s simply the first step in applying for a job with us.”

While this approach certainly wouldn’t work for every job, Borgerding said, it could make sense for customer service-oriented or sales roles.

“When you think about the research that has been done on first impressions, it typically takes less than 10 seconds to make a first impression,” Copeland said. By having job applicants send in a snap, “it’s almost like they captured that first impression.”

Employer Branding ‘the Snapchat Way’

“Our goal on any social media channel is to make personal connections with talent,” Collins said. Cisco has social media accounts on all the major platforms, but each is tailored. For its Snapchat account, “We had to do it ‘the Snapchat way’: raw, authentic, facial lenses, make it goofy. It’s not expected to be polished.”

When Cisco started its Snapchat account a little over a year ago, it knew it wanted to bring on employees who had already established themselves as brand ambassadors—that is, they were already posting about Cisco on other social media sites. The group started with 20 members and is now about 75 strong. Each day, one person will take over Cisco’s Snapchat account and post about 10 snaps as a story. “I know the theme of what they’re posting, but I don’t know what they’re going to post,” Collins said. “I could say ‘Make a snap about this,’ but that takes away the authenticity of it.”

Mostly they snap about what it’s like to work at Cisco, whether focusing on a special event or just going out to lunch on a Tuesday. Sometimes they mark certain days, such as “Star Wars” Day on May 4. It could be a series about “a day in the life” of an employee or giving a behind-the-scenes tour at the company. Some of Cisco’s most popular Snapchat stories have been those where an engineer takes over for the day, uses funny lenses and “talks about geeky stuff—those do really well, which is understandable, given our audience,” Collins said.

The members of the Snapchat group follow three policies: the general corporate social media policy, which all Cisco employees sign but is re-signed by anyone who joins the Snapchat group; a no-sharing-of-the-password policy so the account stays secure; and what Collins calls the “Would you show it to your mama?” policy. For example, she has been asked if photos that include alcohol can be posted. In these cases, Collins said, there are two questions to consider: Is it authentic? Would it be OK to show your mother? If the answer to both of those questions is yes, then it’s good to post.

6 Snapchat Tips

Borgerding and Collins had this advice for employers looking to start a Snapchat presence:

  1. Consider your audience. Does it make sense for your organization? Often people are attracted to the “shiny new thing,” Collins said, but for an employer to be on Snapchat, it needs a reason to be there.
  2. Use your young employees, even your interns. Cisco does: “They’re native Snapchatters,” Collins explained. “They know how to use the lenses, how to draw, how to do all the fun, quirky stuff Snapchat lets you do.” They also know how to talk to their peers. Borgerding, who is a member of Generation X, said that while the people driving the Snapchat strategy can certainly be older, it’s a good idea if those who are posting the snaps are on the young side. “Otherwise, it would be like me trying to use all the cool Gen Z language: ‘How big is your squad? How are you adulting these days?’ It just doesn’t sound right.”
  3. Post regularly. Aim for at least weekly, Borgerding said, but make sure your snaps are “fun and something people want to see—or they will just unfollow you.” Cisco tries to post a snap story every day.
  4. Feel free to post about things happening in the world that are not directly related to your company. Borgerding said it’s OK if an organization posts “We love the newborn baby giraffe at the zoo!” or “Our employee Sarah just ran a marathon!” All the content doesn’t need to be created by the employer; instead, it can reflect the values of the organization and celebrate the people who work there.
  5. Don’t be too concerned about metrics. It can be difficult and time-consuming to get metrics on Snapchat. Cisco hires an outside analytics company, but organizations can instead “think of it more as an employer branding tool than a measurement on a specific ROI [return on investment] basis,” Borgerding said.
  6. Learn to let go. “I never thought I’d be giving the keys to a social media channel to people not trained [in corporate messaging],” Collins said. At first, it was “very scary,” she admitted. But “you have to be willing to let go of some of the control to get the authenticity. It has been an experiment in trust that has paid off.”

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Why Corporate Brands Need to Tell Their Inclusion Story and Join the Global B2B Conversations

Why Corporate Brands Need to Tell Their Inclusion Story and Join the Global B2B Conversations

As the CEO of Ruh Global Communications, I am honored to be able to work with corporate brands all over the world on strategies to fully include persons with disabilities as colleagues, employees, and clients by assuring their services and products are accessible.  Since early 2000, we also have also been blessed to be able to leverage social media and other marketing channels in an effort to tell the stories of these brands to consumers who care about social impact and inclusion.

It has been interesting to watch the global landscape change as these conversations have taken place over the years.   While many U.S. corporations have been making efforts to include persons with disabilities fully—as employees, clients, and stakeholders— the bottom line is that litigation in a lot of these circumstances has helped and hindered these efforts. While, the U.S. is one of the most accessible countries in the world, it still has a lot of work to do with the inclusion of persons with disabilities in its workforce and customer base.

In late 2014, I set out to write a book that would discuss this very topic, “Uncovering Hidden Human Capital: How Leading Corporations Leverage Multiple Abilities in Their Workforce” Published by G3ict in 2016.

At that time, I asked approximately ten U.S. based multi-national brands to be part of the best practice sections of the book. I was shocked by how many of these corporations came back and said, ‘Debra, we would love to be featured in the book, but our legal team has said no.”

They were nervous that being featured in my book as demonstrating a best practice may have made them a target for additional lawsuits.

This inspired me to write a blog post back in 2012 about Walt Disney Parks & Resorts called ‘No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

It explored the class action lawsuit filed in 2011 against Walt Disney Parks & Resorts over something similar.  The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) lawsuit in this case both confused and surprised me.

Why the surprise? Well, earlier that year The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) awarded Disney with a 2011 Access Award, one of the highest honors a brand can get from the community of persons with disabilities in the U.S.

I am not here to debate the merits of the case, but you have to admit that it doesn’t make much sense for Disney to win this award and then immediately get sued for violating the ADA.  Are they horrible, wonderful, or maybe just trying their best?

I understand there are many moving parts that must exist when dealing with disability inclusion and accessibility.  However, the litigious approach can—and almost always does—send the wrong message to brands.

On the other hand, when I asked major multi-national brands in the U.S. in 2014 if they were willing to be included in my book, they quickly said, “Sorry, Debra we have not done enough.”

Again, I was confused because I knew that many of these U.S. brands have been working on disability inclusion and accessibility for several years.  Are they perfect? NO!  Are they trying?  Absolutely. Is it enough? Maybe.

For the past year or so, we have used various communication channels to encourage our community of persons with disabilities to reward brands that are doing their best and help us to begin ‘voting with our wallets.’  As an active participant on social media, I have been able to then turn around and talk about brands that are seeking to include us (and gain our support) all over the world.

Why Corporate Brands Need to Tell Their Inclusion Story and Join the Global B2B Conversations

Debra Ruh Quote

For example, a well known fashion brand, Tommy Hilfiger, supports our community by creating an Adaptive Clothing line for children with disabilities.  Based upon the initial success of this line— Hilfiger now wants to expand his effort to adults and help the rest of the fashion industry understand that it’s a win for everyone to do so. Hilfiger also offers clothes at all price points—which means it’s accessible to everyone.  I have become a loyal Tommy Hilfiger customer and love that they have clothes for all members of my family and friends— including those with disabilities.  I am always on the lookout for other brands that are supporting my community so that I can show my support for them in return—and you should be, too!

In early 2016, I was still hard at work on my book. To my surprise, several of the U.S. brands that had declined in late 2014 came back and asked if they could now be included. What had changed?  The central theme to their answers was simply that inclusion of persons with disabilities was now a bigger part of their efforts.

They now understand that operating in the U.S. means facing lawsuits. So, instead of focusing on being perfect, they decided that they wanted to share their stories of inclusion and accessibility with the community of persons with disabilities.  Telling the stories of the brands that are working towards full inclusion can hopefully educate the entire ecosystem about how greatly the benefits of inclusion outweigh its complexities.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 15% of the world’s population has a disability. While the National Organization on Disabilities (NOD) state that 54 million people in the U.S. identify as having a disability under the definition provided by the ADA.

While those alone are pretty big numbers, other people—those not impacted by disabilities—also care about a company’s inclusion efforts.  The millennial generation has clearly stated in various studies that they are willing to pay more money to do business with brands that have a positive social impact.

It is hard to ignore that size audience and brands should take notice of the impact their efforts can have on their bottom line.  However, our community needs to know which brands are trying making those efforts so that we can help to boost their Return on Investment (ROI).  And it is critical for everyone to understand that this is NOT simply about it being ‘The Right Thing to Do’. After all, it is naïve to think that corporations should not want to make money through their inclusive efforts.  That’s what they are in business, to make money.

Instead, making these much needed changes is more about changing the world in order to assure that we all have a place to contribute and work— and that we—as a community—know which brands are trying.  If these brands do not make money by creating products and services that include our community, then we all fail.

Their efforts will lead to better employment outcomes and options for the community of persons with disabilities around the world.  Full inclusion of a diverse workforce that includes individuals with disabilities should an important part of every brand’s identity.

Many of the brands already involved in the efforts are multi-national corporations that are headquartered in the United States or ones that have a national presence here.  I have also noticed many U.S. brands that are only in national conversations, but not in global discussions, when it comes to their efforts with disability inclusion and accessibility.

It is critical for US based corporations to join the global conversations about best practices, case studies, risks, and innovations.  Why?  Because many of these US based corporations have employees and customers living outside the US.

Corporate brands need a place that is safe to learn from other brands and share their successes, fears, and ideas. These brands are multi-national so having a global network to ask questions about disability employment and inclusion in other countries is an invaluable resource.

If you are a corporation that wants to join the global B2B conversation, please consider joining the United National ILO Global Business Disability Network (GBDN) and contacting us at Ruh Global Communications.

The world needs all stakeholders’ voices to be heard in these global conversations.  Brands will also find their ROI grown when the community of persons with disabilities and the people that care about this community to learn about their efforts.

Thanks to the global brands already involved for their leadership and efforts to include the community of persons with disabilities.

To learn more about Ruh Global Communications, please visit our website:

Photo Credit: esalesdata Flickr via Compfight cc

Three Ways to Rank Your Employment Ads Higher on Google for Jobs

Three Ways to Rank Your Employment Ads Higher on Google for Jobs

Employers will have to relearn how to write job postings to leverage Google’s launch into jobs advertising, according to HR thought leader Tim Sackett, SHRM-SCP, speaking at CareerBuilder’s Empower 2017, a conference for recruiting professionals held by the recruiting software company.

Sackett, president of HRU Technical Resources, an engineering and design staffing firm based in Lansing, Mich., told attendees that the June launch of Google for Jobs will “completely change how candidates find jobs” and that “major shifts in thinking will have to happen in talent acquisition.”

He explained that Google for Jobs was built for candidates. “It’s the first talent acquisition technology built primarily for candidates, not for the end users—recruiters. It was developed so that candidates can have a better and easier experience finding the jobs they want.”

That means employers will have to adapt to Google’s job posting rules if they want to get the most from the search engine. “That changes the way we think,” Sackett said. “Behavior will have to change.”

Three Ways to Rank Higher on Google for Jobs Searches

First, the location of the job is very important. Not just the city it’s in, but the exact street address. “You can’t just say you have an engineering job in Chicago,” Sackett said. “The Google for Jobs schema, which determines how high to index a certain job post in search results, will rank a posting with a specific location much higher than postings without a specific location.”

Google is currently working on a solution for jobs that are remote or mobile, like truck driving.

Second, Google looks down on the practice of padding job postings with keywords. “It used to be that you could stuff keywords in job posts,” he said. “You could have ‘developer’ and ‘Java’ 150 times in your post. Google will drop you in the search results if you do that now.

“Google wants a structured set of data,” he continued. That means industry-standard job titles and no more abbreviations. “Stop with the cute job titles. No more ‘recruiting ninjas.’ And don’t use ‘Sr. VP of HR.’ They want to see ‘senior vice president of human resources.’ ”

The biggest change will be around posting salary and benefits information. CareerBuilder research shows that about 80 percent of employers do not disclose salary in job postings.

“Corporate TA hates advertising salary,” Sackett said. “But not doing it will hurt your company. Google is saying that, if you want your jobs to show up higher on search results, you better have a salary in a structured data field.”

The reasoning behind this shift is that it’s what candidates want. “If you neglect to add salary to your job posts, and your competitors do add it, they will rank higher on Google listings” he said. “It’s that simple.”

For anyone thinking that they can ignore Google for Jobs and mainly rely on Indeed, currently the top source of external hires, Sackett responded: “Not for much longer. Indeed will be around for another decade or so, but the reality is that what they did better than anybody was they owned SEO on Google. Now Google is saying ‘we can do it better–a lot better, and with the candidate in mind.’ ”

He recommended employers call their applicant tracking system (ATS) vendor and find out if the vendor is working with Google for Jobs to get its content into Google’s database.

ATSs will be the prime conduit for showing up in Google searches in the future, experts agree.

“No ATS worth a damn is going to get left behind the Google for Jobs phenomenon,” said Joel Cheesman, a recruiting technology industry veteran and the founder of Ratedly, which monitors anonymous employee review websites.

“Google prefers showing searchers pages of original content. Duplicate content is a big no-no in their world, so sending users to a company page, powered by an ATS, is preferred to a job board, which is typically just an advertising medium for a posting, driving traffic back to an ATS,” Cheesman said. “As more ATS content becomes available to Google for Jobs, less and less job board content is going to show up. Unless, of course, job boards pay for the exposure.”

This article was first published on



The Value of Value Propositions

The Value of Value Propositions

Industry, customer base, product and services, – these are all things that differ in terms and context dependent on who an organization is and what it does, but whether the discussion is centered on a multi-national corporation, a mom-and-pop-shop or a university, they are all factors that the leaders within those organizations strive to define, manage and benchmark against. They are the tangibles that make up the what and how of a business, their why typically takes shape in the guise of a mission, vision or call to action, but the factor that often gets ignored to the detriment of an organization’s best efforts to be the best version of itself, and an important component of any organizational equation is who.


While it is possible to operate— and even garner success – relying on the first three parts of the equation, an organization that’s not able to articulate and shape who they are is one that’s journeying down a bumpy road, if for no other reason than the fact that stakeholders, employees and competitors will happily begin to define your who for you in the absence of a guiding hand. Which all leads us back to the question “Who?” Who is defined at its most basic as your organization’s culture, at its most complex as an employment value proposition – it is the defining characteristics, benefits, nuances, and tenets of an organization that shape the employee experience which in turn shapes the customer experience.

I’ve spent most of the last 15 years working in the public sector and higher education – in higher education, who is something that is often clearly defined and communicated in regards to the student experience (customer experience for those in other operating arenas) – being able to explain who they are is critical in any campus’ student recruitment and retention efforts, it is the bread and butter of enrollment and admissions; to paraphrase a former higher education HR colleague, “We should measure the cost of everything we do in terms of student credit hours,” essentially breaking down the measure for success as a factor of customer experience ROI.

Continuing the example, credit hours are the result of successes on the student recruitment and retention front, they are what keep the lights on and in turn serving our students is the underlying foundation of everything one does when they work at a university whether that’s being part of the HR team or serving in an instructional capacity in the classroom – the student experience is an undeniably critical component of the foundation of any university’s strategic goals and operational demands.

The Value of Value Propositions

What isn’t always clearly defined in higher education institutions – or in many organizations across many industries for that matter –  is the who of the employee experience, in many organizations the definition of the work culture is often an offshoot of the customer experience and in many ways this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but unfortunately it doesn’t address all the components of who that are critical to recruiting, retaining, and developing employees to foster the mission and push forward on strategic initiatives and operational efficiencies that are inherently linked to the success of any organization in an ever more competitive global work space.

=  WHO

Defining who in terms of the employee experience allows an organization to communicate what they stand for, what sets them apart, why someone would affiliate with them, why someone would maintain that affiliation, and what are the perks both tangible and intangible of that affiliation through the lens of its role as an employer, and whether it defines itself as an employer of choice – it involves creating the bridge between the employee experience and the employment value proposition.

The Value of Value Propositions

While the components of who are simple enough, defining them can be challenging in light of internal politics, benchmarking against comparator institutions, budgetary conflicts and restraints, internal aversion or acceptance of change, and a laundry list of other factors that can weigh heavily on the idea of who as a consensus notion.

Establishing who an organization is takes dialogue and introspection, it takes managerial courage to identify the gaps of how the organization is perceived as an employer and what kind of employer it really wants to be, it requires asking some very important questions:

  • Who are we as an institution? Is that how we wish to be seen? What are our values? Our mission?
  • Who are our comparators? Who do we compete with for talent? Are our comparators solely in our industry? Why are our comparators our comparators?
  • What is it that we do that’s better or different than our comparators? How does this give our organization an advantage? Are we currently taking advantage of our advantages? If not, why not?
  • Why are these advantages important? Why do they matter? How do they align with our values and mission?
  • What mix of professionals are critical to our success? Are we staged for success? Where are our workforce gaps? Are the gaps real or perceived? What are the barriers to defining who we are (and who we want to be) as an employer of choice?

The path to understanding your who can be a challenging one, it will require partnerships and leveraging organizational relationships, it is a process that will call on HR to secure organizational buy-in from a whole contingent of institutional leaders who may have wide varying perspectives and takes on the previously outlined questions – in short, it won’t be a short process. But when your organization engages with employees and leaders throughout the institution to understand the multitude of ways internal stakeholders feel about the questions HR is asking, the results can redefine an HR function on a wide array of fronts ranging from talent acquisition to compensation to benefits to professional development to internal communications and on and on.

Developing an employment value proposition that is stewarded and curated allows HR to foster the employee experience and focus on and contribute to the strategic and operational demands of the organization and not find itself sandboxed into purely tactical and transactional work that still lingers many years after the personnel department became the human resources department, and it sets the foundation to begin engaging current employees as well as prospective ones as to how the institution can be a critical part of meeting their needs, wants, as well as their personal career value propositions – that mix of what they offer as an employee, how they can positively contribute to the operational and strategic demands of your organization, what they want out of a career opportunity, and how they define themselves in relation to what they do professionally.

The Value of Value Propositions

Photo Credit: amsfrank Flickr via Compfight cc

Three Reasons We Don't Trust Leaders that Freak Out

Three Reasons We Don’t Trust Leaders that Freak Out

Quicken’s CEO recovers from a disastrous ad with a very candid, “We screwed up,” and is praised, rightly so, for showing his high EQ. Uber’s own very EQ-deficient founder admits he needed to work on “Travis 2.0” while the company works to revamp its own culture and salvage its image. In the meantime, the revolving door of the White House is moving with dizzying speed, and even allies are criticizing its toxic culture, with handlers purportedly in a constant scramble for new ways to keep their leader calm.

Ever since we learned about emotional intelligence (EQ), we much prefer leaders who have it. The ideal leader has enough brain space and emotional groundedness to push forward with business goals and stay intensely focused on organizational function. They treat colleagues and employees with the skill and finesse of an experienced therapist, and are authentic, but they never have a meltdown. We want our leaders to understand emotions, but please — don’t express them. Now that we know the difference between being emotional and emotionally intelligent, there’s no going back. And the reasons are far older than the concept of EQ.

Here’s why:

Awareness Equals Power

A leader who is unaware of how others are feeling may be unaware of all sorts of other things too, and therefore caught with their pants down in a crisis. Someone who appears to be blind to their own flaws is also probably blind to their effect on others. Which means at the negotiating table, they may lose everything — and we lose too. If you’re in any kind of leadership role, watch what happens when you admit something missed your attention. You’ll feel a palpable dip in your influence.

EQ Means You’ve Done the Work

We love and admire heroes who clearly worked hard to rise above adversity. Every superhero has an origin story about facing their worst fears and struggling to overcome them. I read some candid accounts of executives who had to do just that in The Melting Point by Dr. Christian Marcolli. Marcolli is a global performance coach who schools rising execs and Olympic athletes on how to build up intimidating emotional resilience no matter the pressure. Travis, you listening? Cool-headed leaders have likely invested a lot of time and effort to get that way, and we respect them all the more for it.

Emotions Are Antisocial, EQ Is Social

When New York Times science reporter Daniel Goleman wrote Emotional Intelligence (based on Peter Salovey and John Mayer’s original research) back in 1990, he included 4 traits of emotionally intelligent people:

  • They’re self-aware.
  • They can manage their emotions.
  • They’re empathetic to the emotional drives of others,.
  • They’re skilled at handing other people’s emotions.

27 years later, the idea still stands. But as sometimes happens with trending concepts, we tend to gloss over a key distinction: emotional intelligence is really a social skill. And the ability to manage our own emotions has a social benefit. It helps keep the tribe together — aligned to support a leader we trust. But when your people are united in their mistrust, you’ve got a new problem.

Managing emotions is not the same as hiding them, either: it turns out that 51% of people have to pretend to be happy at their jobs, but that pretense actually makes them 32% more dissatisfied with those jobs. Faking it actually makes it worse. Instead, understand that you may not have been born with a cool head, but you can learn it — and practice and perfect it. Staying calm in the face of a raging mess will leave you in a far better position to gain and keep that rare and human commodity we call trust. More power to you.

This article was first published on Forbes.

#WorkTrends Recap: Legislation of Pay Equity

#WorkTrends Recap: Legislation of Pay Equity

According to the U.S. Census, the median annual pay for a woman who holds a full-time job is $40,742, but the median annual pay for a man who holds a full-time job is $51,212. This means that if an employer bases compensation on salary history, a woman may find herself chronically underpaid.

Laws in eight jurisdictions have been passed that prohibit employers from asking for salary history as part of the employee screening process. Many more states and cities are in the process of developing similar legislation. This is a step towards narrowing the earning gap between women and men.

HireRight philosophically believes that eliminating salary history is the right thing to do, regardless of legislation.

Today, we talked about the fact that sometimes a potential employee wants to disclose their salary history. It is important that organizations have a procedure for facilitating this conversation, and doubly important for outsourcers to have a strategy for dealing with this conversation so they don’t inadvertently make the company responsible for violating the law (and therefore being subject to fines).

Dawn Hirsch and Alonzo Martinez helped our audience understand that pay equity considerations are just one step towards making work more equitable for everyone (and for making the interview process better by focusing on what matters: the candidate’s qualifications for the job itself).

Here are a few key points Dawn and Alonzo shared:

  • Elimination of salary history questions is a best practice for an HR department
  • Pay equality legislation is gaining momentum nationwide
  • Compliance is the cornerstone of a good candidate experience
  • The Pay Equity Act will be more challenging for search firms than for companies themselves

Did you miss the show? You can listen to the #WorkTrends podcast on our BlogTalk Radio channel here:

You can also check out the highlights of the conversation from our Storify here:

Didn’t make it to this week’s #WorkTrends show? Don’t worry, you can tune in and participate in the podcast and chat with us every Wednesday from 1-2pm ET (10-11am PT). (Note: We’ll be taking November 22 off due to the Thanksgiving holiday.)

Remember, the TalentCulture #WorkTrends conversation continues every day across several social media channels. Stay up-to-date by following our #WorkTrends Twitter stream; pop into our LinkedIn group to interact with other members. Engage with us any time on our social networks, or stay current with trending World of Work topics on our website or through our weekly email newsletter.

Photo Credit: Rosmarie Voegtli Flickr via Compfight cc

Talent Acquisition Tech Is Evolving

Talent Acquisition Tech Is Evolving

The traditional technology configuration for recruiting and hiring at the enterprise level is changing from being solely an applicant tracking setup to one with more analytics, automation and marketing tools, said Tim Sackett, HR thought leader and president of HRU Technical Resources, an engineering and design staffing firm based in Lansing, Mich.

“In five years, what we consider to be an ATS [applicant tracking system] now will no longer exist in talent acquisition,” Sackett told attendees at CareerBuilder’s Empower 2017, a conference for recruiting professionals held by the recruiting software company.

“The ATS is just a database, a system of record for talent acquisition, similar to the HRIS [human resource information system] for HR,” he said. “The reality is that TA [talent acquisition] is moving more toward marketing technologies.”

Talent Acquisition Tech Is Evolving

Today’s Best-Practice TA Tech Stack

Sackett explained that a best-practice TA tech setup currently relies on the ATS as its core piece. From there, employers add a sourcing and candidate relationship management (CRM) component at the top of the stack and an onboarding tool on the other end, either as a part of the ATS, the HRIS or a stand-alone. In addition, the ATS should be integrated with background screening and assessment components.

“This is where you should be today,” he said. “Many aren’t, but that’s OK, as long as you’re working toward it.”

He pointed out that “some ATS vendors will say they offer sourcing, or CRM, but those are for the most part crap. There’s a couple maybe that do it well, but the reality is that for really good CRM right now, you have to bolt it on.” He added that what ATSs are trying to sell are mass e-mail blasts masquerading as CRM. “That’s not CRM. That’s not how you nurture a candidate.”

Talent Acquisition Tech Is Evolving

The Future Best-Practice TA Tech Stack

The future best-practice tech configuration will be front-loaded with a fully functioning CRM that includes a recruitment marketing platform, employer branding technology, a fully optimized careers site and programmatic ad placement. Programmatic advertising helps employers decide how and where to buy ads by targeting specific demographics. Consumer marketing has been using programmatic advertising for over a decade.

“If you have a need for a critical care nurse in Chicago, programmatic ads will keep popping up in front of people who fit that profile based on their online behavior,” Sackett said. “Only 18 percent of organizations are using programmatic for job posting, but in a few years, it will be 90-plus percent. You will have to figure this out.”

Programmatic is less comfortable for HR because the cost varies. “It’s pay-per-applicant, so you don’t know how much it will cost to get 10 applicants, but the reality is that it ends up being 60-75 percent less than what you spend on traditional recruitment marketing,” he said.

Automated sourcing technology, including employee referral automation, should be next in the stack. “Employee referral automation is probably the most underutilized, highest ROI [return on investment] of any TA tech on the market, and still only about 35-40 percent of organizations are even using it,” Sackett said.

“Think about it: What’s your No.1 source of hire?” he asked the audience. “Referrals are usually either first, second or third. What’s your top quality of hire? Employee referrals. If referrals are one of your top sources of hire and the top quality of hire, why aren’t we all in on employee referral automation?”

Screening and interviewing tools using video and text messaging come next. “All recruiters should be texting candidates right now,” Sackett said. “There is some great tech out there that you can bolt on to your ATS that will capture the whole conversation, which is great for when you’re screening through text. There’s also some AI [artificial intelligence] text-screening on the market which can help a recruiter manage several text conversations simultaneously and answer basic FAQs.”

Other segments will contain predictive analytics tools, employee assessments and automated reference checks before funneling into the ATS and onboarding solution.

Owning Your TA Tech Choices

Sackett said that talent acquisition leaders still don’t typically get to pick the technologies they use, but that is changing. “The talent function houses the expertise on TA for the organization. But for the most part, IT still picks the tech. That shouldn’t be happening.”

Talent leaders will have to educate themselves on the changing technology landscape however, before usurping IT’s traditional role. “There are about 27 different verticals of TA tech you could buy,” Sackett said.

Talent acquisition leaders should create a technology road map that will work in tandem with human resources and IT road maps, suggested Nick Mailey, vice president of talent acquisition at financial software company Intuit in San Francisco. “Developing that tech road map is critical,” he said.

“Keeping up with technology is a part of your job in talent acquisition,” said William Tincup, president of in Dallas-Fort Worth. Tincup explained that TA leaders looking to invest in new technologies should consider whether the tools are predictive, easy to access anywhere with Wi-Fi and on any device—a laptop, smartphone or tablet—and whether they will recommend how to clean data.

Recruiters should look for products that will fit their processes. “Processes are always more important than products,” he said.

Being able to analyze and interpret the data from the various platforms will also be important. “One of the biggest hires we’re seeing now in corporate TA is for business intelligence analysts,” Sackett said. “We have so much data and don’t know how to interpret it.”

This article was first published on

Five Reasons Workplace Gamification Works

Five Reasons Workplace Gamification Works

We’ve all had those jobs where we simply couldn’t get motivated. Maybe our tasks were boring—too complicated—uninspiring. In those cases, we muddled through. We got it done. But we weren’t necessarily fulfilled or engaged with the work we were doing. Gamification aims to change all that.

In fact, even beyond monotonous tasks, gamification has the power to amp up the workplace in exciting ways. By 2015, 40 percent of Global 1000 companies were already using gamification strategies to get employees more involved and committed to their daily responsibilities. In this age of digital transformation, the opportunities to implement gamification to help employees adapt, learn, and grow are almost endless. The following are just a few reasons gamification works—and wins—in today’s workplace.

It’s How We Think

Gaming isn’t just addictive because it’s fun to use technology at work. It’s addictive because it’s psychological. It plays to our desires to compete, share, get recognized, and be instantly gratified by a job well done. It can break down daunting and complex tasks down into smaller bite-size morsels, guide us to the next task, and give us a pat on the back for every step forward. It’s like having a constant source of encouragement pop up throughout our workday. Come to think of it, many of us probably use gamification to encourage our kids to do chores. Why should it stop when we get to the office?

It’s More Engaging 

Did you know 70 percent of business transformations fail due to lack of engagement? It’s no wonder. When faced with change, many people get overwhelmed and shut down. And in times of digital transformation—when change is happening at lightning speed every single day—that is a problem companies just can’t afford. By incorporating a fun and interactive element into your employees’ workday, you keep them interested, active, and accountable. New software, policies, and assignments are less mundane because employees are being led through them, rather than muddling through on their own. And we all know engaged employees are also more fulfilled employees and therefore more likely to stay through your digital transformation, rather than move on to another “more comfortable” opportunity. I wrote about this extensively in my piece Workplace Gamification Driving Employee Engagement on Futurum.

It’s Real Time

There is perhaps nothing less motivating than working hard every day—to goals no one will even think about until the end of the year. All the blood, sweat, and tears that went into planning a big meeting, launching a major publication, or successfully targeting a new market segment get forgotten in lieu of three top-line objectives that don’t necessarily speak to your everyday accomplishments. Gamification can change that using real-time “Fitbit” style monitoring that allows employees to compete against one another to hit smaller daily targets, and receive recognition instantly for the hard work they are doing. Even better, it can track all those achievements automatically. This is turn leads to more active engagement, noted above.

It’s Fair

By continually tracking and acknowledging when employees hit their goals, companies can remove “boss bias” that can occur when a supervisor allows their personal feelings about an employee to interfere with their objective review of their performance. This in turn creates a better workplace for employees, who no longer have to fear their boss’ mood will interfere with their year-end bonus.

It’s Fun

OK—this isn’t technically a business goal, but in my view, it should be. When employees enjoy their work—see joy in the challenge—and feel recognized for the time and effort they are putting in, they will want to work harder and smarter than ever before. That’s exactly the kind of commitment we need in times of digital transformation.

Is gamification necessary? Of course not. But neither is AI, machine learning, automation, or any of the other amazing technologies popping up on the tech landscape that are helping companies meet their business goals even more efficiently than ever before. As such, leaders need to stop thinking of gamification as an added expense, and start thinking of it as a way to improve their team’s productivity, knowledge, and skills. No single technology today will bring your company success in and of itself. All are merely tools to work alongside your teams so that you can better serve customers, save money, and find new and exciting growth. And when it comes to games, I always want to be on the winning side of that proposition—especially during digital transformation.

Additional Resources on This Topic:

Workplace Gamification Driving Employee Engagement
Selling the Digital Transformation

Photo Credit: kid_scientists Flickr via Compfight cc

This article was first published on Converge.

Open floor plans — synonymous with hip, disruptive startups — can be terrible for morale and productivity. Promote a healthy office space using these tips.

Your Open Floor Plan Office Space Is Negatively Affecting Your Team

Open floor plans are synonymous with hip, disruptive startups. Unfortunately, they can also be terrible for morale and productivity.

When we tried to make an open office work, we soon realized our employees were more irritated and distracted than before. We used our experience from that experiment to build an office space that worked for everyone without sticking them into a cubicle farm. 

Open-Office Failures in the Wild

 The BBC recently ran a story about the pitfalls of open offices, specifically at a company called Wildbit. 

Per the BBC, while 70 percent of U.S. businesses have moved to a variation of the open office, those companies struggle compared to their competitors. “Free-range” employees are more likely to get sick, be less productive, and be less happy than their closed-off counterparts.

Chris Nagele, founder of Wildbit, thought moving his entire work from home team into an open office would facilitate collaboration. Instead, it became an unavoidable distraction and made everyone — Nagele included — grouchy. Three years later, Wildbit moved to a new office and gave each employee a door to shut out the noise. 

Tips to Build a Better Office

If you don’t want to force everyone into cubicles, but also don’t want to see your workforce suffer in an open environment like they are bound to do, heed these three warnings.

1. When Everyone Can See Everyone Else – They Can Also Distract

Five people in a common space isn’t a problem. As that number climbs, however, people begin to chat more and work less — even when they want to be working.

In our open floor plan office, whenever a group gathered to collaborate, they attracted the attention of anyone within earshot. By 2 p.m. on Friday, anyone who didn’t book a conference room might as well have been working in a bar at happy hour.

Even passive interruptions can interfere with work. Per the Wall Street Journal, frequently interrupted employees report higher exhaustion rates and more physical ailments than those who are sheltered from the peanut gallery and can concentrate alone in peace.

The best solution for unchecked distractions is a personal escape. Whether it’s an office, a breakout room, a cubicle, or simply a desk, all employees need access to some kind of personal space where they can escape the crowd and get things done.

2. Negative Vibes Spread Quickly

Bad attitudes spread faster than positive ones. One experiment found that planting a negative teammate in undergraduate business groups dropped their performance by more than 30 percent compared to their peers.

Rather than try to combat human nature, build systems that account for this challenge. Each person’s space should have a maximum of a dozen other people within sight or earshot. The most cramped spaces can be made manageable by dividers, partitions, and false barriers.

Even a bead curtain with a picture of a peace sign is better than nothing. By physically marking barriers, you can limit exposure to negative attitudes and address the issue before it spreads to the whole office. 

3. Cultural Misunderstandings Increase

Multiple new hires unfamiliar with company culture don’t function well in open offices. Without guidance, your new hires could get a warped perception of how your team solves problems together.

For instance, we have a couple employees who work well together, but could appear to be in a heated argument to someone unfamiliar with their banter. A new employee who witnesses that kind of interaction without proper context might assume aggression is the way of life in an otherwise relaxed office. 

Avoid misunderstandings by creating rules to respect privacy. Set up a system of sticky-note alerts to limit interruptions or give everyone a flag to raise when chat isn’t welcome. 

People crave other people. Don’t fight it, but structure your office to facilitate productivity more than distraction. By following these tips and giving everything a time and place, you can keep your team on track without locking them in cells to do it.

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This is What Happens When You Pay For It

This is What Happens When You Pay For It

If it’s not in the compensation plan it won’t get done.

If you don’t pay employees to further the strategic goals of the organization, they won’t be achieved.

That’s a fact; that’s the reality.

Why do you think sales bonus plans are so pervasive?

It’s all very well to strike an audacious goal and throw it out to the organization expecting employees will somehow identify with it, get excited about it and do whatever is necessary to implement it.

But this view is a colossal pipe dream.

The challenge for leadership is to make strategic objectives meaningful at the individual employee level.

Lowering a high level nonspecific organizational end game on employees creates dysfunction at best; everyone is forced to invent what it means to them in their particular role.

Typically different people come up with different interpretations; confusion results and little if any progress is made.

To make the strategic purpose a reality requires 2 fundamental steps.

  1. Translate the critical components of the organization’s strategy to what it specifically means to each function. What does sales, marketing, engineering and finance have to do day-in and day-out to deliver the expected results?
  2. Incorporate the specific deliverables into each employee’s annual performance and bonus plan.

Some organizations attempt to translate their high level objectives down to lower levels but few actually integrate them into the bonus plans for the many positions in its organization structure.

The human resource function is not responsible to make this happen.

It’s a leadership responsibility because aligning and motivating employees are key to execution; without strong performance in this area, little progress is made.

7 steps to integrate strategic objectives into the compensation plan of the organization.

  1. Keep the number of objectives to 3 at most. People can’t achieve meaningful progress when they are assigned a grocery list of deliverables.

Determine a few critical objectives that will achieve 80% of the results expected and avoid taking on “the possible many” things that might be related to strategic outcomes expected but are not vital.

  1. Prioritize the objectives; make it clear what the pressing need is and where expected results MUST be delivered. This defines the absolute minimum set of expectations that are acceptable to leadership.
  2. Weight the priorities to influence where people spend their time. Not every objective has equal import on the strategy and this should be reflected accordingly. If the top priority is given a weight of 60/100, for example, it will command the majority of a person’s time.

This is critical. If people are left on their own to determine how to allocate their time, they will most likely get it wrong, or at least there will be “attention spray” in the workplace resulting in inconsistency and dysfunction.

  1. Regularly review—with each employee—the results they have achieved versus the objectives they’ve been assigned quarterly or more frequently if the nature of the strategy is significantly different from the old plan.

The only way to make strategy execution matter to people is to keep progress achieved constantly in front of them. Occasional review sends the message that the strategy of the organization isn’t really all that important and that leadership has other more important matters to attend to.

  1. Provide whatever leader support is needed to remedy off target performance. Quite often barriers get in the way of making progress; eradicate these immediately. If no leadership intervention is seen, the message to the workforce is that leaders aren’t serious about making it easier for employees to succeed.
  2. If necessary, tweak the objectives mid-year if results are coming in considerably below objectives. It’s extremely important to keep employee motivation high and if people believe the goal is impossible to achieve, they will shut down and little progress will be made.

As a rule of thumb, if the results for a particular objective were below target by more than 30% after 6 months of the plan, I would consider making a target adjustment.

However if the target were lowered, I would also reduce the potential payout amount as well.

  1. Celebrate successes and learn from failures. NEVER repeat mistakes; ALWAYS repeat what worked. Again, regular recognition reinforces the importance of achieving the organization’s strategic goals and enhances employee engagement to keep working hard to make progress.

You get what you pay for. If strategic goals aren’t tied to how people are paid, they won’t be achieved.

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Top 10 Things To Do When Hiring A New Employee

Top 10 Things To Do When Hiring A New Employee

You finally found that perfect candidate to fill your vacant position in the company, but it’s not yet time to sit back and relax. Giving new hires a proper welcome and perfecting your employee onboarding process is just as important as your well thought out hiring process. A well-structured onboarding process will not only give your company an improved employee retention rate, but it also will save you the money it takes to hire and train a replacement.

What does it take to welcome new hires with a positive onboarding experience?

Here are the top 10 things to do when hiring a new employee:

1. Get the employee set up on payroll & other company systems

Once the offer has been signed, it’s time to update company records to include your new employee. This means setting the employee up on payroll and benefits. Payroll setup can be easily done using a free payroll software that’s customizable for any type of business, and many payroll tools also offer benefits enrollment.

You should also add your employee to any software or computer applications that they’ll need to use on a regular basis. A new employee may also need an employee number, employee ID, and biometric profile to give them access to the premises. Parking permits, if applicable, also need to be secured.

2. Complete new hire paperwork

Compliance with tax and legal requirements serves as a protection both for you and your new hire. Make sure to complete the necessary paperwork:

  • If your business doesn’t already have an employer identification number (EIN), you’ll need one before you hire your first employee.
  • I-9 form to verify employee work eligibility for citizen and non citizen new employees.
  • W-4 form to withhold the proper amount of federal income tax. States that levy income tax have their own W-4 form as well.
  • Get each employee’s name and social security number, and enter it on a W-2 form (which you’ll provide to the employee during tax season). If you use payroll software, most will pre-populate a W-2 form with this information.
  • Report new hire data to your state’s new hire reporting program before the prescribed deadline.
  • Properly classify workers for federal and state tax reporting purposes.
  • Obtain worker’s compensation insurance for your new hire.
  • Signed copy of the employee handbook.

While this covers most of the paperwork you’ll need to collect from your new employee, some states and localities may have additional requirements, so it’s best to contact your state’s department of labor.

3. Get their desk and phone setup

A huge part of making a great first impression is to have your new hire’s work space set up with the necessary equipment and supplies. Depending on their job role, this may include a desk, computer, phone, office keys, official company email address, and access to your digital and online resources. Don’t forget to update the company directory with the new hire information. And if you provide business cards or name tags, you may want to have those ready as well. If the new hire is to be provided with any company equipment, cell phone, laptop or keys, you’ll want to order those in advance to have them ready on day 1.

4. Run a background check

Part of due diligence involves running a background check on new employees as soon as the offer has been accepted. Pre-employment screening helps to confirm that your new employees are who they say they are. Please make sure that your new hire is aware and has authorized your business to conduct background checks. It is a security measure for your business, employees, and customers as well.

Several third party providers offer employment screening services. They offer different background checks depending on the security level involved in the role of a new hire. Basic background checks involve confirmation of education and previous employment credentials while a more advanced background check also covers credit score, credit history, and criminal background checks.

5. Schedule an employee orientation

The new hire should receive a complete employee orientation on their first day, so they can get familiarized with company policies and benefits. This involves a meeting with the hiring manager or HR staff regarding standards, procedures, and company culture.

It should include:

  • An office tour to help them find their way around – restrooms, break room, and supplies.
  • A sit-down review of the company handbook, company policies, and safety.
  • A review of health insurance benefits, retirement benefits, commuter benefits, and other benefits the employee may need to review and sign up for.
  • A co-worker meet and greet with an overview of who to talk to for certain tasks.
  • An informal discussion of company culture, dress code, communication preferences.
  • A wrap up allowing the new hire to ask questions, like where to go to lunch.

The employee orientation also ensures that the employee signs up for and understands their benefits, and knows how and when they will be paid.

6. Schedule employee training

Employee training ensures that a new hire understands company procedures and processes, such as how to use company software and document flow. If you have a job manual, provide a copy to the employee. Consider scheduling one-on-one 30 to 60 minute meetings for the new hire to meet with key players during the first week to learn more about how the company functions, who does what, and how the employee’s job supports and connects with each department.

Another way to handle employee training is to allow your new hire to sit down with employees performing a similar role and shadow them for a few hours. Give them time to sit with one person per process, showing your new employee how one process is done. This not only helps them concentrate on one topic and ask questions with someone they can identify with, but this also serves as a good icebreaker among employees. Employees are often more comfortable asking questions of a co-worker than of HR or their managers.

7. Host a team welcome for the new hire

In addition to an email to all staff introducing the new hire, consider hosting a coffee/bagel breakfast to welcome the new team member. It also won’t hurt if you end the event by presenting your new hire with company swag tokens to make them feel welcome, such as logo apparel or a branded pen and folder. This is also good time to introduce the new hire to a peer-mentor or ‘buddy’ as a go-to for questions during their first weeks.

8. Set employee goals

Once your employee has received basic training, it’s important to sit down with them and establish goals. This allows you to be on the same page with your new employee, and makes sure they know what they need to be successful. Set actionable, quantifiable goals for the next 30 days, 90 days, and 6 months. Make sure to keep the atmosphere relaxed and explain that the intention of an early goal setting is to set them up to succeed. It communicates what the job demands of them and arms them with the tools to do it properly.

9. Employee recognition

Finally, remember to celebrate your new hire’s milestones – first sale, completing a software training program, successfully executing a work process, or memorizing the menu. Employee recognition of those first successful work accomplishments is important to a well-rounded onboarding program. Studies show that recognition during the critical onboarding stage leaves a better impression of the company to newly hired employees. This positive onboarding experience results in better long term retention rates and increased productivity in employees.

So consider making a big deal about the new hire’s 1 month anniversary – perhaps with a presentation of a box of business cards or a gift certificate to a nearby coffee house, with a thank you card that says, “We’re glad you joined our team.”

10. Reach out before the first day

It is also important that you reach out to your new hire a few days before they come in for their first day. A long gap between offer acceptance and the first day of work can cause uncertainty, especially when you don’t hear anything from the new employer the entire time.

You can see if they have any questions and confirm their start date, time and work schedule. Let them know what they need to bring on the first day – ID? SSN Card? Lunch? Consider providing them a contact person’s name and number if they need to get in touch before the first day of work.


If you’re looking for productive and loyal employees, help new hires adjust to the social and performance aspects of their jobs right from the start. Make them feel welcome and part of the team. Ensure they have the tools they need to be successful, someone to ask questions of, and a solid idea of work expectations and goals they need to achieve to be successful. Hiring and keeping the best talent for your company is one of the most valuable investments you will ever make.

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#WorkTrends Preview: Legislation of Pay Equity

#WorkTrends Preview: Legislation of Pay Equity

As a provider of employment screening services, HireRight has worked for years to refine the process of accumulating the information employers need to make effective hiring decisions while still respecting the needs of candidates.

One area that affects the employee screening process directly is pay equity. According to the U.S. Census, the median annual pay for a woman who holds a full-time job year-round is $40,742, while the median annual pay for a man who holds a full-time, year-round job is $51,212. If an employer bases compensation on salary history, a woman may find herself chronically underpaid.

It’s safe to say 2018 will be a year characterized by change. HireRight, which has been a leader in the effort to remove salary history from screening tools, is perfectly positioned to help us figure it all out.

This #WorkTrends chat will give an overview of pay equity legislation and how it has the potential to help bring parity to our nation’s salary picture. We will touch on the information in the HireRight Pay Equity Legislation eBook and learn how pay equity changes affect the interview process too.

Join #WorkTrends host Meghan M. Biro and her guests, HireRight Chief Human Resources Officer Dawn Hirsch and Associate Counsel for Compliance Alonzo Martinez on Wednesday, November 15, 2017, at 1 pm ET as they discuss advances in pay equity and how laws are evolving in this area.

Legislation of Pay Equity

#WorkTrends Preview: Legislation of Pay EquityJoin Meghan and HireRight guests Dawn Hirsch and Alonzo Martinez on our LIVE online podcast Wednesday, November 15, 2017 at 1 pm ET | 10 am PT.

Immediately following the podcast, the team invites the TalentCulture community over to the #WorkTrends Twitter stream to continue the discussion. We encourage everyone with a Twitter account to participate as we gather for a live chat, focused on these related questions:

Q1: How will pay equity legislation lend itself to better hiring? #WorkTrends (Tweet this question

Q2: How will eliminating questions of salary history create a more diverse workplace? #WorkTrends (Tweet this question

Q3: What motivates employers to rely heavily on salary history information? #WorkTrends (Tweet this question

Don’t want to wait until next Wednesday to join the conversation? You don’t have to. I invite you to check out the #WorkTrends Twitter feed and our TalentCulture World of Work Community LinkedIn group. Share your questions, ideas and opinions with our awesome community.

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Work is a Relationship, Not a Contract

Work is a Relationship, Not a Contract

When you look for data about what drives employee engagement, the list is always pretty similar.

  • Feeling valued
  • Trust
  • Knowing someone cares about me and my development
  • Appreciation

Here’s the funny thing. If I were to show you just this list and ask you what it describes, “work” is not likely the first thing you’d say.  You’d probably guess that they describe some kind of relationship–with your best friend or spouse or maybe a family member.

As it turns out, decades of employee engagement research have been trying to tell us something incredibly important and simple.

For employees, work is a relationship.

This begins to explain why employee engagement levels are so dismal at so many organizations.

The problem?

Most employers still treat work as a contract with the employee.

The employer offers up a paycheck in exchange for the employee’s time and work. And most of our HR processes are designed to ensure employee compliance with this contract–to make sure the employer gets what they paid for.

This isn’t a great approach to relationship building. Imagine being in a marriage where your spouse rarely tells or shows you that they love you, but frequently reminds you of your obligations as a spouse and how well you are fulfilling those.

This is a recipe for divorce.

So it should be no surprise that engagement continues to suffer and employees keep moving on, looking for a better and more fulfilling relationship.

To create an organization where employees will be fully engaged and committed means rethinking everything about the work experience. It means redesigning the work experience to function like a healthy relationship.

This requires that we first gain a deeper understanding of what makes for a healthy relationship.  Armed with this insight, we can then begin our redesign of the employee’s work experience.

The Six Elements of a Healthy Relationship

From friendships to romantic relationships, there are some key elements that must be present if the relationship is to be healthy and fulfilling for both parties.

  1. Appreciation – As human beings, we crave acknowledgement and validation.  In our relationship with our employer, we need to know that we are seen and our work is noticed. Not just when it’s deemed important or when we go above and beyond.
  2. Acceptance – To make the work relationship a healthy one for employees, we need to create an experience and environment that makes each person feel accepted and embraced for who they are, not who we wish they were or want them to be.
  3. Communication – As humans, when we are in doubt, we assume the worst. It’s part of our survival instinct.  We expect the worst, so we aren’t surprised by it. Anytime an employee is unclear or uncertain, they assume bad things that lead to disengagement and a deteriorating relationship. Healthy relationships require ongoing, open conversation that helps remove uncertainty and replaces it with clarity.
  4. Support – When we are in a healthy relationship, we hold each other in positive regard, choosing to see failures by the other as the result of honest mistakes or tough circumstances not as a character flaw. We also assume the other person has positive intentions in everything they do so we forgive quickly and easily.
  5. Commitment – A positive relationship requires reciprocity. Both parties must be truly invested in each other and be willing to work to ensure that the other is happy and satisfied. Commitment is also about how you recognize it and repair the relationship when things go wrong.
  6. Time – When I asked my then 7-year-old daughter how she knows if someone loves her, one of the first things she said was “they spend time with me.” Even as a child, we understand that we make time for what’s important. Relationships require time. There is no shortcut.

Work is a relationship, not a contract. And, far too many employees are trapped in a dysfunctional work relationship. Only by embracing work as a relationship can we finally begin to create the kind of workplaces and work experiences that human beings crave and where they can truly thrive.

The challenge to us as leaders, managers and designers of work experience is this: how can we bring these elements into the day to day work experience we create and foster for each employee?

The answers aren’t always easy to find. But they are always worth the effort once you do.

This article was first published on Jason

Lose the Paper and Go Digital

Lose the Paper and Go Digital

We live in a digital age where innovation is everything. That means recruiting and onboarding to up their game as well, adjusting the process to avoid falling behind — and losing employee engagement even before it starts. Many recruiting methods are outdated, and onboarding is often marked by a wall of paperwork that overwhelms the new employee and may even chase away a new hire or alienate a potential one. That’s a lot of effort for nothing.

Going digital offers many benefits

Innovation, in the case of recruiting as well as onboarding, dwells in the cloud. The cloud offers powerful solutions to address many of the key challenges faced by recruiters and HR. Integrating these tools as part of your organizational strategy can transform how new candidates and new hires interact and communicate with prospective employers. Having the ability to streamline content helps ensure that paperwork gets to its destination securely and quickly. With solutions like those available from Adobe Document Cloud, companies can provide a better experience for job candidates and new employees, and enable a more efficient process for recruiters and HR.

Improving existing capabilities

Adobe’s Cloud-based solutions address every point of the recruiting and onboarding process in a way that can be uniquely tailored to an organization’s specific needs. Once the system is integrated, the benefits are endless. Recruiters and management can refocus their time connecting with candidates and employees instead of shuffling through endless stacks of paperwork. Organizations are able to become a part of the employee journey. And candidates feel valued, not shunted to a desk to start filling out forms. And that’s an innovation in itself, particularly in today’s candidate-driven market.

Recruiting great talent

Today’s job seekers are indeed running the show – with a consumer’s approach, they will choose what company they apply for based on the recruiting experience as well as their perception of the brand. here’s where innovation gets even more critical: word travels, as do reviews of hiring experiences. So as recruiting becomes more competitive, it is critical for companies to integrate those innovations that will attract the best talent. These candidates are turned off by being invited to apply in a cattle call and then treated like a number. Cloud-based systems free up time and strengthen personal connections between the prospective employer and the candidate. Furthermore, going digital will attract candidates and new hires (especially GenZ and Millennials) – creating a far more positive perception of your brand.

Onboarding by focusing on engagement

As far as onboarding, it’s not only an opportunity to make new hires feel supported and valued, it’s also the first contact your new hire has with the culture and systems of your company from the inside. Meanwhile, there’s also legal and compliance work to be completed. It’s a balancing act: engagement as well as administration, but with the cloud, there’s no reason both can’t happen at once. Leverage the cloud to better handle the complexities than reams of paper and a whole range of personnel. Speed the process with innovative digital tools like e-signatures, reducing risks and driving better outcomes in terms of employee experience, learning and development, compliance, data and analytics.

It’s certainly time for recruiting as well as onboarding to step away from the filing cabinet and turn to better solutions. Cloud-based solutions make it easier for organizations to hire, engage and retain great talent. Losing the paper and going digital can help us value each other more as we work more efficiently — and that’s what it’s all about.

To learn more about this topic, view the SHRM webinar I hosted in partnership with Adobe here.

This article was sponsored by Adobe, all opinions are that of Meghan M. Biro.

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Pet Insurance as a Benefit – Why Your Company Should Consider It

Pet Insurance as a Benefit – Why Your Company Should Consider It

Fortune Magazine has called pet insurance the “hottest employee benefit” and one survey forecasts that nearly 60% of companies will offer pet insurance by 2018 (Willis Towers Watson 2016). The large growth we’ve seen at Pets Best supports this. The number of companies offering our pet insurance as a voluntary benefit in 2017 has increased over 134% since 2013.

With all the buzz around pet insurance, we often get the question, Why should companies offer pet insurance as a benefit?

For starters, 66% of U.S. households have pets (APPA survey). Further, 75% of Americans in their 30s have dogs, 51% have cats (Mintel survey). So the chances are, the majority of employees have a pet. Which also means they pay for veterinary care. Add to that the increasing cost of vet care–because the quality of care has risen to nearly human level care–it makes sense that employees are requesting pet insurance as a voluntary benefit. And of course, by offering in demand benefits, you’ll attract more talent and retain employees longer.

What trends are driving the increased interest in pet insurance?

Pets are family.

In a survey of our Pets Best customers, over 82% stated they consider themselves pet parents rather than simply pet owners (2016). Additionally, 95% of US pet owners consider pets part of the family (Harris Poll 2016). Americans’ relationship with pets has evolved over the past few decades; they are no longer just family pets, but family members. So, for pet parents, it is imperative their pets are well taken care of.

Millennials & Pet Insurance

One of the most notable trends we’ve seen at Pets Best among our customers is that the fastest growing age group are 25-34 year old millennials. From 2005-2010, 25-34 year olds represented 5.7% of our customers, whereas in 2011-2015, that same age group grew to 16.9% of customers. The average millennial got their first pet at 21, while the average baby boomer was 29 (Wakefield study). Additionally, 76% of millennials are more likely to splurge on something for their pet, than for themselves (Wakefield research). An article on discussed the growing trend of millennials who are buying homes because of their dogs (July 2017).

Unexpected Expensive Veterinary Bills

The most common reason our customers tell us they got pet insurance is because before they had it, they experienced an unexpected expensive veterinary bill. Pet insurance helps provide peace of mind, which is so important after facing an expensive medical tragedy.

If a company is interested in offering pet insurance as a voluntary benefit, what should they do?

Companies of all types and sizes can add pet insurance as a voluntary benefit. If you’re interested, check to see if the pet insurance you’re looking at is a good fit for your company. For example, is there a size requirement on how many employees your company must have? Do their plans cover what your employees want and need? And, are the plans at a price that fits your company’s budget?

Since engaging with benefits helps increase employee retention, you’ll see the best engagement with pet insurance is if it’s set up with payroll deduct. The next best engagement comes when you give the employee a set amount you’ll pay for.

With pet insurance, employees can quote and enroll all year long. It doesn’t have to be limited to Open Enrollment. Year-round availability lightens the stress of Open Enrollment plus it makes engaging with that benefit quicker and easier.

Finally, when looking at pet insurance, we suggest choosing a company that provides 24/7 access to veterinary experts. All Pets Best policy holders get free access to the 24/7 Pet Helpline, which is staffed by veterinary experts for all their pet health related questions; to help in the event of an emergency, or to provide home care advice, and more. While we knew this would be an added benefit to our customers, the unexpected effect is that it has helped with employee presentism. When an employee’s pet is sick, being able to contact the Pet Helpline first helps alleviate unnecessary emergency visits to the veterinarian which can easily eat up hours of the work day. Not to mention easing the stress of being worried about your pet.

All companies can offer pet insurance, but what are the traits of companies that add it the most?

The companies that offer our pet insurance as a voluntary benefit commonly reside in pet-friendly communities or cities. Companies that have a pet-friendly office are also very likely to offer pet insurance. We’ve also seen an increase in tech companies offering it, because they often compete fiercely to attract and retain talent. Sometimes, a strong benefits package including an in-demand one such as pet insurance can really make a difference for potential employees, especially for millennials.

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#WorkTrends Recap: Ignite Your Inspiration & Make Work Exciting Again

#WorkTrends Recap: Ignite Your Inspiration & Make Work Exciting Again

Everyone hits a wall at some point in their career, don’t they? Is that true for you? If you’ve ever thought “I may never find my inspiration again,” today’s chat recap is for you.

Scott Mautz, CEO of Profound Performance and author of two books, including his newest, Find the Fire, says 70% of us have “lost that lovin’ feeling at work.”

It’s tempting, when you feel uninspired, to blame that lack of inspiration on something external. Here’s the awe-inspiring reframe Scott shared with us today: You own the responsibility for reinspiring yourself at work.

Scott noted that it’s important to differentiate inspiration from motivation. Motivation, it turns out, is the pragmatic consequence of inspiration. Inspiration comes first.

We discussed the three conditions of inspiration: that it is evoked, it comes from within, and we can be compelled to act on it. We had a great discussion of how those three things play out.

As the podcast neared its end, we discussed a critical element of inspiration– what do we do when we need to inspire ourselves? It’s the question we are asking ourselves that is often mistaken, Scott said. We need to ask a different question and explore how we lost our inspiration in the first place.

We also learned the nine inspiration drains. It was a little tough to think about such negatives but the beauty of the discussion is the reminder that for each negative, there is a counterbalancing positive.

Scott reminded us of the three ways to fail: quit, don’t improve, and never try.

After today, one thing I am positive we won’t fail at is finding inspiration. We now know the way!

Here are a few key points Scott shared:

  • 70% of people report having “lost that lovin’ feeling at work”
  • You own the responsibility for re-inspiring yourself
  • Motivation is the pragmatic consequence of inspiration
  • Our fear of failure shuts down the part of our brain most responsible for risk-taking
  • Inspiration is the holy grail of enthusiasm

Did you miss the show? You can listen to the #WorkTrends podcast on our BlogTalk Radio channel here:

You can also check out the highlights of the conversation from our Storify here:

Didn’t make it to this week’s #WorkTrends show? Don’t worry, you can tune in and participate in the podcast and chat with us every Wednesday from 1-2pm ET (10-11am PT).

Remember, the TalentCulture #WorkTrends conversation continues every day across several social media channels. Stay up-to-date by following our #WorkTrends Twitter stream; pop into our LinkedIn group to interact with other members. Engage with us any time on our social networks, or stay current with trending World of Work topics on our website or through our weekly email newsletter.

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New Fingerprinting Tech Gives Hiring a Hand

New Fingerprinting Tech Gives Hiring a Hand

Who are you hiring? How do you really know? Identity has become a slippery slope, with more ways to fake social security numbers and personal data than ever before. Thorough background checks — from criminal searches to drug screens to general and skill-specific assessments — certainly help uncover this kind of fraud. But there’s one mark of identity that can’t be changed: your fingerprint. Fingerprinting is the most effective method for verifying identity, and can lead employers to other information as well. And, now that it’s gone electronic, with Live Scan enabling far swifter processing, it has become an even more powerful way to verify identity during the hiring process.

Some states and industries actually require fingerprinting, some don’t. There are complex legal issues, a maze of regulatory statutes, and only about a dozen firms that are authorized to work directly with the FBI — the central repository of the country’s fingerprint database. Which means it’s critical to be as informed as possible when considering fingerprinting and evaluating providers.

This is one arena you don’t want to misjudge. So, here are some key factors to consider regarding fingerprinting; you could say we’re putting our fingerprint on the pulse of the latest best practices:

Check the requirements for your field. Depending on industry and state, you may be required to fingerprint your new hires. This includes a number of licenses, public, and private agencies.

For instance, fingerprints are required for those working with pari-mutuel betting and racing. Indian tribal governments may require fingerprinting for anyone who is going to have regular contact or control over Indian children. Private security officers, criminal transporters, adoption or foster-parent evaluators, and school employees may all be subject to fingerprinting. (Fingerprints are processed for a reduced fee for a number of organizations or firms whose employees will work with children.) Other common industries that may require fingerprinting include healthcare, insurance and financial services. Other dependencies include whether or not applicants are located in or out of state.

Don’t expect fingerprinting to do all the heavy lifting. If you think one fingerprint can magically produce everything you need to know about an applicant, think again. For example, a fingerprint may disclose an arrest record, but not a conviction. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), it’s ill-advised to deny someone a position solely on the grounds of an arrest record. A summary of the EEOC’s guidance with regard to conviction record screening policies is provided in HireRight’s white paper, Checking in on Employment Background Checks: Are You in Compliance with the EEOC, FCRA, Federal and Local Requirements?

Keep in mind, the FBI database may not receive a record of all outcomes of all arrests, and in some cases, a state may have chosen not to fingerprint. Certain issues may not even appear on the database, which could cause problems later — including possible litigation.

Use fingerprinting to confirm the identity of your hire. Fingerprinting is the best way to confirm identity. It’s been called the gold standard of identity confirmation — and for a background check, this is the straight line between your potential hire and the FBI database. In terms of employee experience, there are plenty of complications involved in the hiring process already. You can eliminate one by making sure your new hires understand the purpose of fingerprinting. Now that identity confirmation is becoming a new normal, and technologies like biometrics are commonplace, you may be pleasantly surprised by younger generations who are comfortable with fingerprinting — many already protect their smartphones with their fingerprints, for example.

Make sure the service provider you use is reputable. Since employers need to be authorized by law (federal, state or local) to access the FBI database, they depend on companies that are authorized to conduct background checks. You need to make sure, however, that the data the company produces is accurate and reliable.

There are a number of questions to ask and key among them is what the turnaround time may be. A common sentiment is that background checks are notorious for holding up the hiring process which can generate unintentional ill will in the applicant. But, if the provider uses up-to-date technology, they can process and communicate electronically, speeding up the process. A clear best practice: Work with a provider who is approved and holds the required credentials, and as such, is able to work with the FBI or FINRA (for financial services). The provider should also use current systems to help deliver fast results, enabling you to communicate with your candidates quickly.

Don’t guess: depend on experts regarding regulations. There are enough opportunities for mistakes and misunderstandings throughout the hiring process as it is. There is also a wide range of regulations involving how fingerprinting is done, and who can do it. And then there are laws governing who can actually see the fingerprint data when it’s complete. Given this legal maze, you want a background check provider that has the expertise you need so you don’t overlook anything that might jeopardize the hire.

Do opt for the new industry standard. Electronic fingerprinting, or Live Scan, has changed the game, in many cases reducing the process to a matter of hours. This is a huge assist in the quest for faster onboarding — you don’t want to lose out on a premier candidate due to a drawn-out process.

Live Scan is inkless, available at multiple locations — often a postal or shipping establishment — and makes a formerly cumbersome step both quick and easy. The results are just as accurate, if not more so: if a fingerprint doesn’t scan correctly, the machine will immediately prompt a redo, a fact which nearly renders the old smudged “hard cards” obsolete. The process can also be customized to the requirements of the job, from individual prints to a whole hand impression.

Again, fingerprinting is certainly only part of the equation, and it doesn’t eliminate the need to conduct a thorough background check. While John or Jane Doe may possess a false social security number, they can’t change their fingerprint. It’s good to know there are still some things that just can’t be altered. And as far as improving the hiring experience, electronic fingerprinting offers both ease of use and transparency — an improvement for everyone involved in the hiring process.

This article was sponsored by HireRight. All opinions are that of TalentCulture and Meghan M. Biro.

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Can Healthy Skepticism Create a More Collaborative Workforce?

Can Healthy Skepticism Create a More Collaborative Workforce?

Do you bring a solid dose of healthy skepticism into the workplace each day? Or, do you avoid working with skeptical co-workers?

Skepticism – healthy or not – is about how organizations recognize and reward employees for their responses to Change.

Many boots-on-the-ground, HR managers are immersed in the daily task of getting all the children to play well together on the playground. As a result, a homogeneous workplace culture of cooperators and order-takers can be reinforced, instead of a culture of collaborative and skeptical innovators.

Are your hiring practices introducing unconscious bias towards healthy workplace skepticism?

There are legendary workplace skeptics in every organization.

These individuals are renowned for their ability to question just about any proposed new idea, value, process, or solution. Why? Because, through their skeptical lens, Anything New represents Change.

In some workplace environments, these workplace skeptics are marginalized by other co-workers. As a result of this unconscious workplace bias, learning, creativity and innovation can be stifled. Yet, in other workplaces, these healthy skeptics are Yodas®: highly sought-after, go-to resources for collaboration and innovation.

Then again, what happens when the biggest workplace skeptic also happens to be the CEO, who holds all the patents to the organization’s products and services? I can think of more than a few CEOs of organizations in the high-tech industry, for starters.

Taken within that context, does your perception of the human capital value of healthy skepticism change?

Within a workplace culture of healthy skepticism, differences become opportunities for collaboration and innovation.

After all, healthy skepticism encourages employees to question whether they could have done the job better and did they offer clients the best solution. In addition, teams continuously focus on discovering tomorrow’s options, rather than relying on yesterday’s solutions. When employees are encouraged to become collaborative and healthy skeptics, they suggest process revisions which continuously make client outcomes better and better, enhancing customer experience.

In the upcoming 2017 Gallup Report on the State of the Global Workforce (opt-in required), organizations which orient performance management around engagement, relationships, recognition, dialogue and opportunities for personal development, have more productive employees.

Consider the impact of more engaged and productive employees on executing a human capital development strategy emphasizing healthy skepticism for innovation.

Three personas tend to emerge in most workforces. Do any of these skeptical personas sound familiar? Do you marginalize or reinforce their workplace contributions?

First, general skeptics doubt or disbelieve anything that smacks of Change.

As a result, these skeptics second-guess transformational changes to company values, strategy or management involving systemic change, like those in the digital workplace. Alteration of workplace processes threatens their comfort levels.

Often, these employees are most comfortable performing rote tasks, with legacy tools and longtime co-workers. As a result, they grow complacent about the quality of output. Subsequently, they stall or derail perceived workplace change, including increasing their level of digital competence on behalf of the clients they serve.

Depending on the current composition of your workforce, these general skeptics can be entrenched in management positions. As a result, when they dig in their heels and refuse to learn new approaches and strategies, they impede workplace collaboration and innovation.

If your organization finds itself mired in the status quo, the root cause just may be that you maintain a workforce of general, and complacent, skeptics.

Then, scientific skeptics rely on critical thinking skills to solving problems for Change, even when the problem is not scientific.

They apply a system of suspended judgment and systematic doubt, or patterns of criticism, to every problem. In addition, they do not respond well to pressure to rush to judgment. The scientific method underpins their commitment to objectively assess observations, form conclusions based on existing information, and determine whether a conclusion can be supported.

These professionals drive their business colleagues crazy, especially when scientific skeptics will not gather data to support preconceived business conclusions. Not only that. Often, how scientific skeptics solve problems appears opposite to how business-focused co-workers manage change and meet deadlines and KPIs.

Alternatively, within innovative workplace cultures, cross-functional collaboration becomes the norm because Change is an anticipated outcome. Consider the impact of rewarding employees for cross-pollinating their brains: not only becoming more scientifically-skeptical but also increasing their business acumen.

In addition, healthy skeptics can become philosophical and comfortable about working in uncertain, changing workplace environments.

The central focus of philosophical skepticism is that true knowledge, or knowledge in a particular area, is uncertain because it is continuously changing, transient and elusive. As a result, they are the ideal, continuous learners. This trait makes them valuable in dynamic, digitally-connected IoT ecosystems. Technology advances which worked yesterday, potentially become transient today and tomorrow.

For example, IT folks in manufacturing and fintech, strive to stabilize dynamic manufacturing and consumer environments. In addition, they continuously monitor for external security threats and anomalies. Also, data sets, upon which machine-learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms are built, are in a continuous state of flux and upgrade.

These professionals maintain a healthy skepticism about whether robust systems will be flexible enough to manage constant change. There is no room for complacency in these dynamic IoT environments.

How many of your current employees, both knowledge workers and non-, embrace working in potentially dynamic and changing environments, requiring continuous learning?

Do you value healthy skepticism in the creation of a more collaborative, change-oriented culture?

Alternatively, are you dismissing its importance?

A Top-10 trend in Deloitte’s 2017 Global Human Capital Trends Report (direct link, no opt-in) proposes the value of creating a change culture. This workplace culture leverages continuous learning for employee development and growth. Are innovation and collaboration part of the learning mix? Is there room for healthy skepticism, as well?

Consider the value of becoming a healthy HR skeptic when it comes to building a learning culture as part of your performance management initiative. Otherwise, information becomes rapidly outdated due to the pace of digital transformation and technology advances. Healthy HR skepticism keeps learning environments dynamic, rather than static.

Depending on where everyone sits around the table, you see the same things, differently. Now that you are more aware of the various species of workplace skeptics, take a walk around your organization. View employees and teams through a healthy, skeptical HR lens.

Are employees struggling with systemic workplace changes?

  1. How can making them more aware of the nature of their skepticism help them overcome reluctance to change?
  2. How can learning to collaborate increase the quality of team outcomes?
  3. How can leveraging the value of healthy skepticism enhance your human capital development strategy?

Babette Ten Haken is a corporate catalyst and innovative speaker. She serves organizations as a strategist, coach and storyteller. Babette’s One Millimeter Mindset™ Workshops and Speaking programs leverage collaboration to catalyze professional innovation, workforce engagement and customer success for customer retention. Babette’s playbook of technical / non-technical collaboration hacks, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.

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How to Find Your Purpose and Put In On Paper

How to Find Your Purpose and Put It On Paper

The idea of having a purpose at work has gotten a lot of press lately, but the coverage is incomplete (back to this momentarily).

First, a definition.

I like to think of purpose as your Profound Why – Why are you working so hard? For what higher-order reason?  It can’t be just to sell more widgets than you did last year – your work is more than that.  That said, your work doesn’t define you; you define your work and how it serves the purpose you articulate.

Thankfully, a well-crafted purpose integrates what we do with who we are, helping work and purpose serve each other seamlessly.

But therein lies the problem.

The idea of having a purpose stops with many at the loftiest of levels.  As in “Sounds good, but sounds difficult to define.”

I’ll help you bring the concept down to earth; down to the everyday applicable.

I’ll start by sharing a list of introspective power-questions you can ask yourself that can reveal exactly what your purpose is.  Then, I’ll show you how to write a super-tangible purpose statement. The pursuit is worth it as research shows having a strong sense of purpose in one’s work nets meaning and fulfillment and correlates with heightened performance.

So, first, here are 10 power questions to help reveal your purpose:

  1. What are your superpowers? Which of your strengths can you use, like a superhero, to do good for others?
  2. What are your values and beliefs? Our most closely held values and beliefs are often the seeds of a purpose waiting to bloom.
  3. What would you do for free? What are you doing when you lose track of time at work? What do you catch yourself daydreaming about?
  4. What part of you is not showing up at work? We’re living with purpose when we’re bringing our whole selves to the workplace. This question can point to strengths locked within that you’re longing to bring out.
  5. What have been your happiest moments? These can indicate the fundamentals of your purpose.
  6. What have you learned from career misfires–and triumphs? Misfires provide clues about what your purpose isn’t, triumphs help define what it is.
  7. What deed needs doing? What problem needs solving? What does the world need more of that you’re well suited to serve? What’s your cause?
  8. Who would you serve? Who are the beneficiaries of your servitude? Who you find yourself drawn to serving can provide important clues about your potential purpose.
  9. What would coworkers miss if you weren’t there? The delightful ingredients that you bring to the workplace stew can be clues to your purpose.
  10. What would people say you were meant to do? What would others tell you that your second profession should be?

Many of these power-questions have an important thread running through them – when you commit to something greater than yourself, your purpose often reveals itself more clearly and potently.

So, after some introspection you have an idea of your purpose.  Now it’s time to get nitty-gritty by writing a purpose statement.

It’s well known that writing something down increases compliance, so let’s get your purpose down into a crisp sentence or two to keep in front of you every day. (This sharpens your thinking about what you’re committing to as well)

If the purpose statement is written well enough, it can make your pulse race and give you energy when you face barriers in the way of achieving your purpose.

So, who can we turn to for help in crafting such a motivating set of words?

Who better than the motivational masters of inciting behavior change: the advertising agency.

Leo Burnett is one of the most successful ad agencies in the world and a true master at leveraging the power of language (and visualization) to motivate and affect behavioral change. The company clearly believes in the power of purpose. As Leo Burnett EVP and Strategy Director Wells Davis told me, “A purpose is one of the most human of attributes, as most of us struggle if we feel we are without purpose in life. Brands need a purpose so that they do not wander aimlessly.”

Just as important, when a purpose is crisply articulated, it serves to inspire and guide. To illustrate this point, consider the work Leo Burnett led for some clients, household-name brands looking to develop an inspiring purpose to help guide their brand’s activities. Check out the “Before” column for each brand in the table below, which depicts an accurate portrayal of the brand’s reason for existence, and compare it to the “After” column, which is a rousing expression of the brand’s reason for existence–its inspired purpose. If you worked for any of these brands, which statement would inspire you more to bring your absolute best performance to bear?




(Accurate Portrayal)


(Inspired Purpose)

Special K For calorie-conscious women, a system of balanced food products that help achieve weight loss objectives Help women achieve a sense of victory
Purina Pro Plan Balanced nutrition preferred by professional dog trainers and breeders worldwide Unleash the greatness within every dog
Norton Software tools to optimize the performance of your PC Protect digital freedom and fight cybercrime
Invesco Range of investment products to provide growth and manager risk, sold exclusively through financial intermediaries Save people from accidental investing
Hallmark Excelling at ink on paper Help celebrate life’s little moments


No contest, right? In the “After” column the power of a well-articulated purpose statement is evident; it elevates the brand, and you can just imagine the force of conviction and pride engendered.

The accurate portrayal defines the brand’s worth; the inspired purpose defines the brand as worthy.

You too can evolve your draft purpose statement from an accurate portrayal to one that crackles off the page with motivational energy.

Here’s how.

Examine the verb used in each of the inspiring purpose statements in the table above. Help. Unleash. Protect. Save. What’s the verb of your purpose statement? Visualizing yourself in the act of delivering the manifestation of your purpose can help crystallize the purpose statement itself. What are you doing? Are you:

  • Creating a movement of kindness and generosity
  • Unlocking the potential of every willing person you meet
  • Bringing civility and respect back to the world and workplace
  • Helping women succeed by overinvesting in their success
  • Stirring the disengaged into action and into believing in themselves once again

Another question the experts at Leo Burnett use to unlock interesting verbs is, “What would your purpose liberate you from or free you to do?”

The choice of verb ensures your purpose statement is inspiring, action oriented, and actionable–for you. It’s not important that your purpose statement is unique, just that it speaks to the unique you. It should just feel right and convey that what you’ve been doing throughout your life adds up to the purpose you’ve now defined. You share it with friends or loved ones and they say “Of course–that’s you.”

So armed with power questions and a purpose statement, you’re ready to make your Profound Why profoundly real.

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The New C-Suite Position You Need

The New C-Suite Position You Need

Few jobs have changed more in the past few years than that of the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). Just as the role of Chief Information Office (CIO) has gotten flipped upside down with digital transformation, the CMO’s job functions have been equally hard hit. In the simplest terms: Marketing isn’t what it used to be. Technology has become so entrenched in marketing strategy that companies need to consider adding a new function—Chief Marketing Technologist (CMT)—to their C-suite arsenal if they want to stay ahead of industry trends.

How do you know if you really need a CMT? I’d reckon in the next few years, it will be a liability to go without one. Research shows that by 2020, half of all companies will be digitally automating the marketing and sales interactions they have with customers. Just as digital transformation has wreaked havoc on silos in legacy enterprises, it’s forcing companies to look at their marketing strategies in a more holistic way—one where technology is not just a partner in marketing, but an integral part of marketing itself. Indeed, it’s no longer feasible for CMOs and CIOs just to chat and commiserate over digital marketing needs. The issue needs to be addressed from a central leader—one equally versed in both sides of the digital coin.

My colleague Shelly Kramer did a great job illustrating the reasons CMOs and CIOs need to work together more closely in her article Strange Bedfellows: Why Your CIO and CMO Need to Deepen Their Relationship. The following are just a few ways marketing and technology overlap in the digital marketplace, and why taking a proactive step in hiring a CMT might not be a bad idea.

Big Data

With the advent of the IoT, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning, big data runs the show when it comes to marketing in the digital transformation. And nowhere is it more evident than the need for marketing teams to keep a constant hand in the technology jar than in the case of big data. Companies need to use technologies like AI to harness all the data being generated daily—all of which can improve customer experience (CX) and business goals. It only makes sense that a leader poised in both analytics and marketing would take the lead in managing that charge.


Along with AI and big data comes automation. Today’s AI-assisted marketing efforts have the ability to automatically edit marketing campaigns mid-stream based on real-time data gathered on campaign results. That means today’s marketing leaders need to understand all facets of AI and automation. They must know how to create the best, most creative campaigns, equally creative secondary campaigns—and how to incorporate them into an automated system.


There’s been a lot of talk recently about who spends more on technology—the CMO or CIO. I’d suggest it’s time to look past that issue altogether. It’s no longer enough for the CIO to advocate for certain software while the CMO forges their own tech budget and strategy. A CMT will be better equipped to sell the value of digital marketing campaigns and technologies to the CFO because they understand the expenses and resources needed—along with the anticipated ROI.

Is it time for your company to hire a CMT? Yes. Do you need to hire one in-house? Not necessarily. My guess is that the new CMT will be in high depend, simply because of the incredibly unique skill-set they must bring to the table—a mix of creativity, strategy, and technical acumen. Realizing this, I’m guessing we’ll soon see the development of the CMT as-a-Service (CMTaaS) model, at least until modern education catches up with industry needs. And, just as we’ve seen with other aaS models, that might not be a bad thing. It will allow even the smallest companies to capitalize on the immense number of automated, data-driven marketing technologies out there today, without forcing them to fit another C-suite executive into their budgets. And in terms of scalability, it will allow all of us to take advantage of those new technologies before the digital transformation changes the C-suite once again.

Additional Resources on This Topic
Strange Bedfellows: Why Your CIO and CMO Need to Deepen Their Relationship
The Role of the CMO in Digital Transformation
The Modern CMO: Adaptable, Innovative, Agile

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This article was first published on FOW Media.