Employer Branding: Illustrate your Story with Authenticity

Employer Branding: Illustrate Your Story With Authenticity

Life lessons roll in at an interesting pace. Sometimes they are slow and steady. Other times, they fly at us with momentum and fervor. Let’s just say that COVID has made a difference in how we’ve been learning and adapting these last few years. Some decision-making was simply made for survival; some decisions gave us an opportunity to shake up the status quo. In the world of HR, I just want you to know: WE SEE YOU. And now, more than ever, there is pressure to retain employees and appeal to future team members in a challenging market. Here’s a tip: Employer Branding Matters! Build an authentic brand by taking visible, measurable action. 

What IS Employer Branding?

According to SHRM: 

“An employer brand is an important part of the employee value proposition and is essentially what the organization communicates as its identity to both potential and current employees. It encompasses an organization’s mission, values, culture and personality. A positive employer brand communicates that the organization is a good employer and a great place to work. Employer brand affects recruitment of new employees, retention and engagement of current employees, and the overall perception of the organization in the market.”

Employer branding isn’t new, but the way we look at it has evolved. People have always wanted to work for companies that treat people well, compensate fairly, and provide something positive to the community or society. And younger generations are quick to point out the importance of the latter. They deeply desire an alignment with an organization that walks the talk. The time is ripe to look critically at employer brands – how they essentially sell themselves to current and potential employees – and ensure there is alignment with the truth. 

Why does Employer Branding Matter?

The company Blu Ivy defines themselves as, “employer branding, talent recruitment and culture architects.” Their website hosts a robust section on employer branding – with broad and specific whys and how.  An article that resonates with me is, “Why Strong Employer Brands Are Ahead of The Competition.” It points out that an employer brand may take some time to construct, so start now. And the top three reasons include:

  1. You can stand out from the crowd. (KEY for today’s recruiting challenges!)
  2. You can walk the walk. (Note: let’s not wait to be “called out” on discrepancies.)
  3. You can share real results and stories. (This is where branding, storytelling and marketing play a role in telling the story of YOUR employee experience.)

The article states, “Winning employer brands…know that the best way to attract candidates to their organization is to show, not tell. For example, rather than having the same-old stock photography showing happy people in cubicles, they’re creating day-in-the-life videos that illustrate what working at their company is actually like.” 

Think Creatively About Employer Branding

Illustrating your employer branding requires creativity and fresh approaches. It isn’t as difficult as it used to be to provide a glimpse into daily life. Consider videos, interviews, true snapshots of your workplace culture… Anyone on social media has grown to expect visuals that give insight into what it’s like to live, vacation, play and even work somewhere. Use visual and storytelling tools across a variety of platforms to offer real insight. 

So what are you doing to illustrate a “day in the life?” Stock photography and some group pictures from the holiday party aren’t enough (or even accurate). While industry may dictate what is more or less appealing on camera (climbing a wind turbine vs. coding), take the time to think about how to depict the positive aspects of your employment. How can it be captured? What is our culture and how do people feel as they accomplish their work?

Employer Branding Should Be Authentic

But the most important point here is to be authentic. If you aren’t all happy hours and foosball and golfing, don’t sell that. Frankly, those arcade-like workplaces have already had their heyday. I would argue that you SHOULD have some enjoyable activities, team bonding, family friendly, pet-loving, character-building activities that you can showcase. But don’t promise anything but the truth. False advertising creates a long and expensive path to unsatisfied employees and turnover. Do employees volunteer? Exercise together? Have reading clubs? What is special about how your leaders and employees interact, grow, learn and succeed?

In a fantastic article on BenefitsPro, “2022: Human resources and recruiting predictions”, “Employer branding will make or break companies in 2022.”

It continues:

“Employer branding has risen to a top, dire priority for companies to attract and retain talent – and it will continue to be top of mind next year. Companies need to effectively communicate their company benefits, perks, values, vision, and most importantly culture, leaning into their unique value proposition and conveying what makes them different. We saw that candidate preferences have changed dramatically this year and companies will need to ensure they adjust their value proposition and policies accordingly to stay competitive.

“HR teams will implement more employer brand-focused initiatives, such as hosting and attending industry and recruiting events, updating their career pages and Glassdoor, applying for company awards, and even hiring a Head of Employer Brand to ensure all communications are aligned and consistent across various channels.”

Go Straight to The Source

In an article on Stories Inc., they underscore this point: you need good content from the right sources. It states:

“The past two years have seen unprecedented challenges, and a heavy burden of proof on your employer brand to show how it supports its people. Candidates are keenly interested in how you’ve cared for your team members in the pandemic and in the demands for increased inclusion, diversity and belonging.

They’re interested in how your culture has held up or changed.

They’re interested in what it looks like to work at your company right now.

And, they’re only going to believe it when they hear it from your employees.”

Ask the Right Questions

So what do you do? Start talking to employees and asking the right questions. Here are some suggestions to get the ball rolling. 

  • Why do you work here? 
  • What makes our team or organization unique?
  • What do you wish you had known when you were learning about us? 
  • How do you describe your workplace environment to your friends and family?
  • What would make your daily job better? 
  • How can we better align our ideals with our actions?

This is a content goldmine, as well as an opportunity to make some changes. Think about how you’re going to ask and capture answers (survey, videos, conversations and notes?) Then, ask yourself: What is worth sharing with the world? What improvements can make us more competitive for future talent? Where are we misaligned with how we present ourselves with the daily experience we provide to employees? 

Employer Branding is Worth the Effort

Employer branding is not a simple undertaking, but almost inevitable. And doing it right requires some hard conversations and auditing about the truth of the brand. Bottom line: In the battle for recruitment and retention, it is critical to KNOW your employer brand, ILLUSTRATE it well, and be AUTHENTIC in how to showcase the business. 

How does your organization ensure that the employer brand matches reality? Email me at ctrivella@talentculture.com to share your tips and successes!

Tackle Turnover: Spend a Little, Save a Lot

Tackle Turnover: Spend a Little, Save a Lot

Your employees are your most valuable asset. If nothing else, the past two years have surely taught us that. How did organizations survive? Was it their inventory, their machinery, their equity? Those resources may have had something to do with staying afloat, but without the employees to sell, manage, and operate those assets, the business landscape would look very different today.

Knowing this, it’s not surprising the Great Resignation is top of mind. In August alone more than 4.3 million workers quit their jobs. That’s nearly 3% of the U.S. workforce leaving their jobs in search of something better – in a single month. There’s no better time to spend a little to tackle turnover, and save a lot in the long run. 

Spending a Lot on Turnover

Research conducted by Gallup in 2019 found the cost of replacing an employee ranges from one-half to 2x their annual salary. In an average year – even a good year – voluntary turnover costs U.S. businesses about one trillion dollars. 

Now take into account the massive turnover we’ve seen this year, plus the increasing labor shortage industries are facing. Recruiting is no longer business as usual, and the cost of turnover will show that. Organizations looking to stay competitive will need to utilize signing bonuses, agencies, and headhunters to recruit top talent, and it will be pricey. 

All of these costs to fill a position that ideally wouldn’t have been vacated in the first place – and there’s still a risk that the new hire you just spent thousands of dollars onboarding will leave, too! 

While this may sound bleak, it doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, Gallup also found that 52% of employees who left their role voluntarily said their manager or organization could have done something to prevent them from quitting. This “something” that could reduce your organization’s turnover by half is really quite simple.

Tackle Turnover by Reassessing Employee Value

Reducing turnover may sound daunting – after all, each employee quits for their own specific reasons. Do organizations need to have a unique strategy for each employee at risk of leaving? Luckily, that isn’t the case. Whatever the reason for leaving is – benefits, work-life flexibility, workplace safety, career development, or something else – chances are the overarching theme is the same: how valued an employee feels. 

I’ll say it again: your employees are your greatest, most valuable assets, yet based on 2021’s turnover rates, it doesn’t appear organizations are treating them as such. Now more than ever organizations must lift, connect, and engage their humans before it’s too late. Employee recognition does just that.  

A robust employee recognition program allows employees to be recognized and to recognize each other for the invaluable work they do each day. It builds a community grounded in an organization’s core values, strengthening the bottom line. When employees feel seen, appreciated, and connected to their colleagues and organization, they stay longer. 

Spend a Little, Save a Lot

How much does your company spend on turnover in a year? How much will your company spend on turnover this year, when resignation rates are at an all-time high? Even without knowing the exact number, it’s probably too much. 

Instead, consider putting a fraction of that cost, say 1% of your payroll, into building a robust, collaborative, values-based employee recognition program and watch the ROI flood in. Workhuman® research has proven recognition works again and again. 

Across industries, employees who give and receive recognition are 2.6x less likely to leave their position. Employees recognized 7 to 10 times annually (that’s less than one recognition moment a month) see 2x lower turnover than those who go unrecognized. New hires recognized in the first year leave the organization 3x less than their unrecognized counterparts. 

The Impact of Recognition

Investing in a recognition program not only reduces turnover and increases engagement, but it also leads to happier customers. A Gallup report found engaged employees are not only more productive but also report 10% higher customer satisfaction metrics than disengaged employees. Workhuman’s data backs this up. Employees who are recognized monthly with monetary value are 4x as likely to receive compliments and be recognized by customers for exceptional service. Even further, the data shows a strong recognition culture yields customers who actually spend more

The power of recognition impacts organizations in all industries, not just customer facing ones. A Workhuman study found that five manufacturing plants with the strongest recognition culture reported 82% lower recordable injuries than the plants with the lowest recognition reach. Strong recognition cultures also reported an average lost time incident rate that is 65% lower than plants with low levels of recognition.

The impact goes far beyond the individual recipient. Just seeing coworkers receive awards for safety-related moments encourages others to prioritize safety as well. Employees who feel safe in their environment and are appreciated for following safety protocols are more productive. It almost makes them and feel more valued and connected to their work. 

Spending Smart

There is no avoiding the inevitable, and employers now have a choice to make. The choice is simple. Do nothing and continue to fund the endless turnover cycle, or build a culture where the turnover cycle can’t persist. Strategic employee recognition increases the bottom line through engagement and connection. Spending a little will transform your organization into one where employees want to stay. What are you waiting for? 

Relocation for Hybrid Work From Anywhere

Implications of “Work-From-Anywhere” on Relocation Benefits

With the COVID-19 pandemic still dictating the terms of where and how we work, employees are settling into work from home—just not their current home. According to TechRepublic, 75% of employees would consider relocating if work from home arrangements become permanent. 

That means employers are now faced with yet another challenge: tailoring relocation benefits to support hybrid “work-from-anywhere.” Companies must remain agile in navigating the legal and logistical implications of this uptrend in employee relocation, all while driving performance, recruiting and retaining talent, and keeping their employees–both near and far–safe.

Our Guest: Gary Conerly, HomeServices Relocation

On our latest WorkTrends podcast, I spoke with Gary Conerly, Director of Client Advisement for HomeServices Relocation. He’s a trusted human resources professional who has spent the last 20 years developing cost-effective relocation services for employers in a variety of industries.

When it comes to employee requests for relocation, Gary says the pandemic has changed things in a major way:

“Employees are saying…if I can work from home, why can’t I work from anywhere? The employee thinks that’s no big deal. I hope every listener out there is rolling their eyes right now. Because we all know just how big a deal that would be.”

Recruitment, Retention, and Relocation Benefits

In this new hybrid “work-from-anywhere” culture, how a company administers relocation benefits makes all the difference between retaining talent or sending them looking for more flexibility elsewhere. Gary explains:

“When a valued employee comes to you and makes a request to move to another state…most companies are approving that request. Losing an employee who has been upskilled…can have a significant impact on the business’ goals.”

Competitive relocation benefits have often been a critical part of onboarding. Now, Gary says that successfully recruiting top talent may depend on them:  

“One of the reasons an employee says ‘I’m not going to take this job’ is a lack of support when it comes to relocation. So, HR, at a minimum, needs to provide guidance, education, and resources for any and all relocating employees.”

When asked where companies should start, Gary had this to say:

“HR professionals can reach out to a relocation firm asking about the possibility of benefits that are provided free of charge and for guidance on reputable, professional moving companies, or (various) discounts for their employees.”

The Legal Implications of Hybrid “Work-From-Anywhere”

 While employees may not see the issue with relocating, for employers, it’s a different story.

“What if they’re moving to a state that has significantly more stringent labor regulations versus their current state? HR leaders…business leaders would have to look into (this) before they approve such a request,” Gary says.

Relocation and COVID-19 

Relocation has always been a complex process and the pandemic has only made it harder. Employers must now determine what their duty of care and responsibility is to best support an employee looking to relocate. 

“COVID-19 has had a serious impact on…moving services and other services related to relocation. Companies should educate employees about the risks that they face and set realistic expectations about the time involved,” Gary says.  

Gary warns that if a company fails to provide this guidance, it can lead to stress on the employee and hamper their productivity, which affects a business’ bottom line.

Hybrid “Work-From-Anywhere” and the Future of Work

As for what the future looks like in the “work-from-anywhere” culture, Gary explains that employees aren’t the only ones heading for different horizons:

“Here in the past 12 months, we’ve helped over 10 companies move their entire headquarters either a few states away or in some cases across the country…for real financial and quality of life reasons. I don’t see that going away.”

I hope you enjoyed this episode of #WorkTrends, sponsored by Homeservices Relocation. To learn more about facilitating employee relocation in the hybrid work world, contact Gary Conerly on LinkedIn.

Looking to Build a Strong HR Department from Scratch? Follow These 6 Steps

Looking to Build a Strong HR Department From Scratch? Follow These 6 Steps

Building an in-house human resources department for your business, or a company where people can outsource their HR needs to you? The initial steps can be overwhelming. The best way to build a solid HR foundation is to create policies, standard operating procedures, and risk mitigation plans. Implementing policies that align with your workplace culture will improve overall employee experience and mitigate operational and reputational risk. Here are some important components to keep in mind to build the foundation for a strong HR department–from scratch. 

1. Organizational Design

Organizational design is the backbone of the company. It facilitates efficiency by eliminating double work and smooths out bumpy processes and procedures that may be in place. That’s because it delivers the proper information to the right employees at the right time. While this is a relatively new element in human resource departments, organizational design has been around for decades. A tried and true method is the McKinsey 7-S Framework created in the 1970s. You use it to see whether different parts of your organization are operating harmoniously together and find ways to improve. The structure is split into seven key components, and at the center of the framework is the company’s shared values. These components comprise of the following:

  • Strategy (your business plan)
  • Structure (how your business is organized)
  • Systems (daily activities)
  • Shared values (mission statement and goals)
  • Style (the leadership)
  • Staff (the culture and the capabilities of the staff)
  • Skills (what the organization is actually capable of)

2. Employee Compensation and Benefits

Workers search for companies that focus on well-being, meaning the best talent is looking for the best compensation and benefits. According to a recent study, 32 percent of businesses with 10 or fewer employees are now offering benefits packages. Your business should also have something to offer. Principally, the larger your business grows, the more comprehensive your compensation and benefits package will need to become. In-house HR departments should know what employees want so that they can attract and retain talent

3. Onboarding/Recruiting Procedures

Proper onboarding is important because it can cost 90 to 200 percent of an employee’s annual salary to replace them. Effective onboarding will reduce the chance of quick employee turnover while potentially increasing retention. Listen to what your employees want and give them a full idea of what their job will entail. In a BambooHR survey, of the employees who left within six months, 26 percent didn’t believe it met their expectations.

4. Occupational Health and Safety Program

According to a study published in 2018, 1,027 Canadians die a year due to work-related accidents. That’s about three people a day. Therefore, you should adhere to the Occupational Health and Safety Act set by your province and the Canada Labour Code. All employers in Canada are required to follow these by law.

5. Training and Development

When it comes to recruitment, you want to have a good training and development program implemented within your business. An IMB study showed that 35 percent of millennials felt compelled to work at a company with optimal training programs. In fact, it’s one of the top reasons they are likely to sign on with a business. Plus, 52 percent of millennials are drawn to companies that give them the opportunity to advance in the workplace. Furthermore, employees that don’t receive the training they need are 12 times more likely to quit their job. 

That’s not all. A recent study found that businesses with thorough training programs had more than twice the income per employee than those without them. The American Society of Training and Development also found that those who spend $1,500 on training generated 24 percent more profit than those who spent less. This is evidence that skimping on training affects your bottom line and hurts you financially in the long run. 

6. Internal vs. External HR Teams

There are many pros to having an in-house HR department. Specifically, it is a lot easier to cultivate a positive culture, resolve problems, and adjust practices to enable organic development. The cons of having an internal HR team are that it can be expensive. Additionally, it can be hard to find the right specialist or team that aligns with your company values.

A pro of having an external HR team is that specialist companies have in-depth knowledge and skills in specialized areas. These may include legal compliance, coaching and development, and benchmarking. It also gives companies the time to focus on their business rather than human resources and employee compliance issues. 

The cons of outsourcing your HR team are that it can feel impersonal and disconnected from the company’s culture. This department outside the company can be an issue as you are giving up control of select processes. You also won’t be able to keep track of daily startup operations and related HR concerns. What is best for your company will depend on your own set of challenges and the resources you can access.

It’s a good idea to plan and have realistic HR goals that align with your company values. As your team grows, your business needs will require some tweaking. Having a plan in place from the outset will make this process a lot simpler and allow for organic development.

Better Pay Isn't Always the Key to Talent Retention

Better Pay Isn’t Always the Key to Retaining Talent

Is your organization feeling the effects of the ‘great resignation?’ If not, you are one of the lucky few. Official figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that resignations have been abnormally high through 2021. By the end of August, over 10 million open jobs were left unfilled. In a normal year, average turnover rates are typically under 20%, but in recent research from the Achievers Workforce Institute, over half of survey respondents said they would be looking for a new job in 2021. Retaining talent has become a major issue for many organizations. 

The aftershocks of the COVID-19 pandemic are one cause of today’s great resignation. Some people had the time to reflect on their jobs and they began to wonder if they would rather do something else with their lives. Others hunkered down, put their careers on hold, and waited for the storm to pass. Now the economy is restarting, organizations are hiring, and employees can and will move on. The new normal of remote working also makes it easier and safer for individuals to look for new job opportunities. It has never been easier for organizations to attract and recruit talent more quickly and efficiently. Hiring senior talent without meeting them in person used to be unheard of. Now it’s entirely normal. The new challenges in retaining top talent calls for organizations to think outside of the box and find new ways to keep their employees happy.

Better Pay Isn’t Always the Only–or the Best–Way 

So how can organizations retain talent during the great resignation? One simple solution would be to pay them more, but this doesn’t always work. Apart from those in lower-paying jobs who may need more money just to keep going, the actual amount that companies pay people is less important than whether it’s more or less than what they think they are worth.  In practice, that means: are you paying them more or less than other people doing the same job in your organization or elsewhere? 

If your competitors have deeper pockets than you, this strategy won’t work. And if employees start comparing salaries within your organization, you risk demotivating people and starting a wage war. The end result? Paying more money to less motivated, less engaged employees. 

Reward Employees the Right Way

We all tend to motivate and reward other people in the way that we would like to be motivated and rewarded. If money motivates us, that’s what we offer. If we appreciate autonomy and space, we might try that. The problem is: not everyone is the same.

A better approach is to try and understand your employees as individuals who are motivated by different things and have different personality preferences. This is where tools like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) assessment can be really useful, both in helping us to recognize how we are different from other people and in understanding what would work for everybody. Once we understand that, we can apply a more tailored approach to rewarding our employees and improve retention. 

Adapt Feedback and Motivational Styles Using “Thinking-Feeling” 

“Thinking-Feeling”, one aspect of the MBTI framework, deals with how we prefer to make decisions. People with a “Thinking” preference prefer to make decisions based on objective logic. Alternatively, those with a “Feeling” preference tend to consider how their decisions affect people and whether the decision lines up with their values. They prefer the decision that feels right rather than the logically correct choice. Understanding how employees arrive at the important decisions in their lives is invaluable in determining employee retention strategy. 

Tailor Recognition and Feedback to Employee Preference

“Thinking-Feeling” influences many aspects of our lives, including how we prefer to receive recognition or appreciation. People with a “Thinking” preference like to be recognized for their competence and expertise. They want to know when they’re doing a good job or going above and beyond the norm. Having this feedback at the end of a project or when a task is completed is important for them. If they are given appreciation on an ongoing basis, such as before the result of their work is clear, it may irritate and demotivate them. 

In contrast, those with a “Feeling” preference like to be appreciated for their efforts. They like to be recognized for their personal contribution, for making a difference (to people, to society, to the world), and for helping others. They generally like a degree of feedback and appreciation throughout a project, not just at the end. 

A “Feeling” employee working for a “Thinking” manager may wonder why they are not getting any feedback during a task. This might cause them to worry and become demotivated. Conversely, a “Thinking” employee working for a “Feeling” manager may dislike praise for their efforts before things are finished. Consequently, they may doubt their manager’s competence, lose respect for them, or wonder if there is an ulterior motive. Once a manager understands how their reports have different needs, they can modify their behavior in a way that helps to keep engagement and motivation high. 

Match Management Style to Employee Personality Preferences 

The other aspects of personality are important in keeping people motivated, too. For example, MBTI theory suggests that people with my INTP personality type want a manager who gives them autonomy. INTPs prefer to do their work their own way without much supervision or detailed schedules. They need a manager who recognizes and rewards them for their expertise and competence and treats them in a consistent way. They value leadership who is open to new ideas and gives them the space to explore new possibilities. 

This may or may not be a manager’s natural style, but knowing about personality types and the MBTI framework will help them to modify their approach to get the best from their employees and keep them motivated. 

Of course, recognizing and adapting to the individuality of employees through their personality type is not the only way to retain talent during the great resignation, but it is an excellent place to start. 

Retain Female Talent

Women in the Workplace: How to Retain Female Talent

Millions of Americans have left the workforce due to the ongoing public health crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic. This situation has particularly impacted female employees who had to become the primary caretakers of their children when schools and daycares closed. As a result, many women had to leave their jobs, and companies lost some of their most outstanding employees. Now companies need to spend time deciding how they can better accommodate, empower, and retain female talent with children.

I am a life coach, helping ambitious working moms become their best selves every day. Part of this is educating companies on how to better support women in the workplace, especially those with children. Using valuable insights from my clients and my own experience as a working mom, I’ve put together five suggestions for companies on how to retain female talent, both pre and postpartum.

Find Out How You Can Support Women in the Workplace

Administering a survey is one of the best ways to determine your company’s ability to hire and retain working moms. Ask open-ended questions so you can find out more about the challenges female employees face and which are the most important. If possible, allow them to give their opinion anonymously to share their feelings without worrying about retribution.

Revamp Your Company Policies & Benefits 

Once you’ve reviewed the survey, you’ll better understand the company policies and benefits that need revamping. For example, do the majority of female employees want paternity leave or extended maternity leave? Or perhaps they would prefer a more flexible work schedule? The company can also assess its employee performance evaluations, possibly changing from time-oriented to task-oriented. 

Whether female talent want to feel more involved during meetings or expectant moms require a designated parking spot, companies should accommodate the needs of women in the workplace. Listening to your female employees, and implementing change, can make it easier to retain talented pre and postpartum female employees. In doing so, you’ll not only improve your business, but women in the workplace are more likely to feel heard and acknowledged.

Start a Mentorship Program 

A study published by McKinsey, titled ‘Women in the Workplace 2020’, reveals that women may face significant roadblocks without the right mentorship and sponsorship opportunities. For example, a sponsor can amplify the voice of lower-level female talent, while a mentor can help guide women towards their career goals.

An official company mentor program is an excellent way for you to capitalize on your most fantastic resource, your employees. It also demonstrates the company’s commitment to nurturing talent and providing employees the opportunity to learn from a trusted advisor. Retaining female talent is far more likely for those companies who actively invest in their professional development. Women in these types of workplaces are also likely to be more loyal and productive. This further increases female employee retention rates.

Create an Employee Reward and Recognition Program

Every employee wants their manager to acknowledge their hard work. This recognition is especially true for pre and postpartum female employees who may quit their jobs due to feeling unappreciated, dismissed, or victim to gender inequality in the workplace. If possible, create a monthly reward and recognition program for outstanding employees. This straightforward strategy will foster a positive work culture and inspire employees to improve their work ethic. Working moms will also enjoy the positive reinforcement, especially those working from home who still want their efforts acknowledged outside the office.

Close the Wage Gap Between Your Employees

The pay gap between male and female talent is a long-standing issue of gender inequality in the workplace. It impacts female employees across all socioeconomic and racial groups in almost every industry. Companies should advocate for women in the workplace by closing the wage gap. After all, there’s a higher chance of female talent remaining loyal if they receive equal pay for equal work.

Make it Easier for Working Moms to Progress in Their Career

Are your pre and postpartum female workers anxious about potentially losing their job? Do the women in your workplace fear they’ll miss out on a promotion because of maternity leave? A top tip for supporting female workers is developing tools and creating opportunities that will allow them to advance their careers like their male counterparts. One way to do this is to focus on results, not on time spent; a great way to support a working mom’s need for flexibility. By creating opportunities for women, you can also tackle gender inequality in the workplace, encouraging female leadership and retaining your female employees in the process. 

There’s no doubt in my mind that moms are some of the hardest workers on the planet. With the right strategies and support, you can create a supportive environment for pre and postpartum women. In doing so, your company can encourage women in the workplace to thrive at all stages of life.

 

candidate communication

Recruiting Pro Tip: How to Overcome Candidate Communication Barriers

Talent selection is a delicate, multifaceted process. No two candidates are alike, and each presents the recruiter with a unique set of circumstances to navigate.

The selection process is entirely predicated on the quality of communication. With this in mind, recruiters need to do their best to become familiar with the candidates and understand what they do or don’t bring to the table. This depth of insight helps recruiters make the most informed decisions.

It’s important to realize that a number of variables determine the quality of candidate communication. For example, communication channels, the setting, the candidates’ cultural background, psychological makeup, and so on. All these variables can create specific communication challenges and difficulties. Notably, this communication noise prevents recruiters from forming a complete picture of the candidates.

What are the most common communication barriers in the recruitment process?

As the working reality becomes increasingly globalized, it provides unparalleled access to the talent pool. On the flip side, it also creates new challenges for recruiters. Surely, the work of a recruiter has never been more complex. For one thing, there are a growing number of factors to take into consideration during the selection process.

It is virtually impossible to capture the full extent of the complexity of the present-day recruitment landscape. Instead, we will cover some of the most common candidate communication barriers in the selection process. We will examine examples and provide suggestions for overcoming these barriers.

The most common kinds of communication barriers are:

  • Cultural barriers
  • Physical barriers
  • Personality barriers

Let’s take a closer look at each of these areas.

Cultural communication barriers

Indeed, the way we interpret the words and actions of others is greatly shaped by our own experiences. Moreover, recruiters have historically been faced with a high degree of differences among candidates. In earlier times those differences would manifest themselves within a certain cultural context. With technology-enabled access to the global workforce, that is no longer the case.

Approaching candidates from different cultures from a “western” perspective can easily create communication barriers. Let’s take a look at some of their more common manifestations.

False assumptions

Obviously, every culture has its own norms of expression. Something as simple as a head nod can indicate agreement in one culture and disagreement in another. Because of this, a lack of understanding of these differences can easily lead recruiters to false interpretations.

For instance, making eye contact during an interview is interpreted as confidence by western cultural norms. Some other cultures consider it rude and impolite (Chinese, for instance). The same can be said for talking loudly.

As another example, personal questions that we find acceptable in our culture can be too invasive in others. Westerners find name-dropping and referencing influential personal ties to be inappropriate. Conversely, it may be perfectly normal in societies with a strong community aspect.

While it may be true that certain cultures are more explicit, emotional, and passionate in their expression, others may be more restrained and subdued.

These are only several examples from a vast array of cultural differences.

Language barriers

The English language has become a ubiquitous means of international communication. However, recruiters should not assume that everyone uses it at a high level. To be safe, it is best advised to simplify the language and avoid metaphors and other more abstract manners of expression. Generally, this ensures a high degree of clarity and mutual understanding with non-native English speakers.

Stereotypes

Recruiters should be particularly careful to avoid the trap of stereotyping. Whether we are conscious of it or not, we all fall prey to stereotyping. Making assumptions about others based on their fundamental characteristics is part of our nature. Often, humans need to categorize the world around us to interact with it in an efficient manner.

Without a doubt, stereotypes can seep into the way we communicate with others. This creates difficulties stemming from false assumptions. Stereotypes lead us to believe that a person from a certain group will behave in a certain manner. Candidates can easily (and often correctly) interpret stereotyping as an offense.

How to overcome cultural communication barriers

It all starts with understanding and respect.

The more we are familiar with other cultures, the easier it becomes to navigate and interpret them properly. Recruiters should understand the candidate’s fundamental cultural norms and desirable patterns of behavior.

With language, it is all about finding common ground and adjusting our vocabulary to ensure that we are clearly understood.

Stereotypes are more difficult to overcome, as they are often deeply ingrained into our being. Recruiters should do their best to avoid making assumptions beforehand. They must approach all candidates as individuals, removed from any group context. It’s all about their qualifications, not any group labels.

Physical communication barriers

This category refers to the physical setting of the selection process and the candidate communication obstacles it may present.

Candidate interviews take place either in a shared physical space or online. Both come with their own sets of potential obstacles that warrant closer inspection.

In-person interview

The main physical obstacle in an in-person scenario is discomfort. Generally, interviewees always experience a certain degree of anxiety and it is up to the recruiter to make them feel more relaxed and comfortable.

Here are a number of steps recruiters can take to prepare the interview setting and make it more comfortable for the candidate.

  • Find a space that is free from interruptions and distractions such as background noises.
  • Show the candidate the restroom location and allow them to use it.
  • Offer the candidate a hot or cold beverage.
  • Have any other participants in the interview in place to avoid delays.
  • Give the candidate a tour of the office (walking can have a calming effect).
  • Have water and glasses available during the interview.

Online interview

Holding an interview in a virtual setting eliminates many challenges of in-person interviews. It also creates new ones. Basically, the formal goal is to eliminate distractions and allow both parties to focus on the conversation.

Certainly, technology can be unpredictable. The number of tools we use to communicate nowadays creates a situation where things can easily go wrong. However, solid preparation can minimize a lot of these risks. Here are some tried and tested practices for conducting online interviews:

  • Planning and scheduling: Clearly communicate the course of the process. Schedule the interview well in advance. In addition, inform the candidate about the communication platform and check whether they can use it. Inform them about any other participants. In short, make sure you cover every relevant detail in advance.
  • Technology: Test your equipment (camera, microphone, headphones, computer, Internet connection, etc.). Don’t forget software (interview platform, login data). Also, arrange a backup option (different platform or a phone call) in case something goes wrong.
  • Distractions: Ensure no interruptions. First, turn off ringtones and alarms. Minimize background noises. Prepare all necessary items to avoid getting up or shifting around.
  • Voice and gestures: Pay greater attention to your tone of voice and facial expressions. Also, show engagement with the conversation. Account for any streaming delays by making brief pauses after sentences. Try to look at the camera, not the screen.

Personality communication barriers

Candidate personality can create a variety of communication barriers. In this section, we will examine some of the most common situations.

The silent candidate

Some candidates are not very talkative. It can be a case of nerves, lack of proper answers, and many other reasons. Usually, recruiters can attempt to overcome the lack of input by:

  • Asking additional questions
  • Hinting at a longer answer (“Give me a more detailed overview of…” or “Take a few minutes to tell…”)
  • Allowing them to come back to the question at a later point
  • Being direct (“Can you be more specific about…”)

The chatty candidate

Some interviewees tend to give long and winded or generalized answers that often meander away from the question. Because of this, recruiters can choose to write it down as general chattiness. It can also be an indication of nerves or the lack of a proper answer. To keep the interview on track and get the answers they seek, recruiters should:

  • Ask specific questions
  • Summarize the key points of an answer
  • Hint at a preferred shorter answer (“Can you briefly clarify…”)

If none of this works, recruiters should embrace a more authoritative approach by:

  • Being direct and letting the candidate know that they’re not answering the question
  • Interrupting the answer to get back on track
  • Referring to time constraints and reminding the candidate of limited interview time

The nervy candidate

Sometimes, despite the recruiter’s best efforts to relax them, candidates cannot fully reign in their anxiety. Unfortunately, there is only so much a recruiter can do to alleviate the situation, and these are some of the steps they can attempt:

  • Display a relaxed state.
  • Acknowledge the candidate’s nerves without making a big deal about it. Letting them know that it is OK to be nervous can help.
  • Engage in small talk (weather, journey to the interview, etc.) to try to relax the candidate.
  • Offer refreshments.
  • Be patient, make eye contact, and utilize supportive and encouraging gestures and expressions.

Wrapping up

Attracting and managing a globalized talent pool is becoming more and more complex. Thus, recruiters must be more knowledgeable and adaptable than ever before when it comes to candidate communication. Also, communication barriers are multiplying in a fast-evolving world. However, recruiters can still overcome them with a fundamentally astute approach to their work. This includes being prepared, being respectful, and having an open mind.

employment litigation

Designing Hiring Infrastructure to Withstand Employment Litigation Threats

In my experience, one of the biggest HR investments aside from payroll tends to be in performance management. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. After all, a poorly performing employee can be a significant drain on a company’s productivity and resources.

It follows, then, that a significant amount of time and money would be spent ensuring underperformers improve. The alternative, after all, would be undergoing a lengthy process of disciplinary measures before letting employees go. Then restarting a costly and time-consuming hiring process.

This makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is that there is little investment in preventing poor hiring decisions in the first place. In cases where performance management investment is high, hiring is treated almost as an afterthought.

Instead of investing in scientifically designed and validated selection tools, some employers use older and less accurate hiring methods, like unstructured interviews and instinct. Beyond failing to guarantee a quality hire, this also puts companies at risk of litigation for discrimination. Despite this risk, many companies stick with what they know rather than invest in scientifically-backed hiring methods.

Why? In many cases, it comes down to cost. If employers are skeptical about the effectiveness of data-driven pre-employment tests, then they’re likely to balk at the added upfront costs that can accompany them. Instead, they’ll opt to continue with business as usual.

Another Way to Look at Hiring

This mindset fails to look at the big picture. In reality, smarter hiring practices pay for themselves many times over. Quality pre-employment assessments and other strategic hiring tools can cut costs associated with poor performance, reduce the amount of training necessary for new employees, increase a company’s overall productivity, and shield businesses against employment litigation.

This last point is worth emphasizing because a poorly structured hiring infrastructure leaves companies vulnerable to employment litigation threats. Both the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures and existing court precedents lay out a clear road map for employers to follow if they want to prevent discrimination and avoid employment litigation. But to do so, companies need to develop a validated hiring process that focuses on requirements directly relevant to the job. This is only possible through hiring methods based on in-depth job analyses and objective assessments.

Protecting Yourself From Employment Litigation Threats

Companies should implement test development and validation services that can stand up to scrutiny and inform quality, holistic, and equitable hiring. By doing so, they prioritize hiring for excellence and create a pre-employment process that can handle any potential employment litigation.

With that in mind, here are four strategies to help employers improve their hiring practices and ensure they stay firmly on the right side of employment law.

1. Base your selection on a job analysis.

To ensure you’re making objective hiring decisions, define the qualifications that are necessary for a candidate to perform a job well. This requires an in-depth job analysis.

An accurate job analysis combines job observations with the insights of subject matter experts to identify which tasks, knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) are critical for a position. From there, you can create a pre-employment process that will stand up to scrutiny.

Don’t forget to document every step of the test development and validation process—especially that of job analysis. This will provide you with the receipts necessary to prove the objectivity of your hiring decisions.

2. Create a validation report.

When making hiring decisions, every aspect of your decision-making should be tied directly to a critical KSA. Even more importantly, you’ll need to be able to provide evidence of this connection.

Create a validation report documenting the entire pre-employment development process, including who was involved and the data that served as the foundation of your hiring decisions.

3. Perform regular analysis of your selection tools.

No pre-employment test is going to be bulletproof, nor will any test be immune to the passage of time. That’s why it’s so important to analyze your pre-employment assessments regularly. The goal should be to determine whether any aspect of the process results in group performance differences, specifically with regard to gender or ethnicity.

If you see a clear adverse impact for one particular group, dig deeper to determine why that is. You’ll also want to uncover how to reduce this impact without compromising the overall validity of your testing. In this way, you can remove any inadvertent bias into your test development and validation process.

4. Prioritize assessments over intuition.

Even with a validated, data-backed pre-employment process, there’s always a chance that the human element of hiring can throw a wrench in the works. Too often, I’ve seen hiring managers decide that personal intuition is more accurate than the high-quality assessments.

Overruling data-driven results is a good way to open yourself up to charges of favoritism or discrimination. While there is always some room for personal opinion—especially when deciding between equally qualified candidates—the best way to ensure the integrity of the process is to focus on data.

Hiring shouldn’t be a guessing game. Companies everywhere now have access to the data and technology necessary for making smart hiring decisions every time. These decisions will ensure a better hiring track record and help companies reduce (or eliminate) bias or subjectivity in the hiring process.

Future of Recruiting

The Future of Recruiting

Remember the olden days when potential candidates applied to a handful of jobs online and waited for a response? Remember in the stone ages when prospective hires mailed out paper copies of resumes and awaited a phone call or a letter? Well, according to an SHRM survey of over 1,500 talent acquisition professionals from 28 countries, COVID-19 accelerated a shift toward digital-first recruiting.

EBI has reported that the average corporate listing receives 100 to 250 resumes. But according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job seekers who received an interview only have a 36.89% chance of receiving an offer. They apply to jobs widely in a ‘spray and pray’ mentality. For recruiters, the challenge is no longer finding applicants but rather finding the right people in this barrage of resumes. And with virtual hiring likely being here to stay, perhaps it’s time recruiting adapted for today’s hiring culture.

Our Guest: Ben Green, Hirect

On the latest #WorkTrends podcast, I spoke with Ben Green, PR Manager for Hirect. With over a decade of experience in journalism, Ben now plays a key role for Hirect. A free, mobile chat-based hiring platform that instantly connects startups, founders, CEOs, and hiring managers with candidates interested in the growing startup sector.

When asked about virtual recruiting in the COVID era and the future of recruiting, Ben suggests that the virtual trend might be here to stay.

“With more remote work and work from home flexibility, they (recruiters) can attract talent from pretty much anywhere and connect with them instantly,” Ben says. “Everything can really be done online, uninterrupted, and I believe it’s the future of work and recruiting moving forward.”

For those with less time and resources to meet every candidate in person, virtual recruiting also makes the job much easier. But with so many different recruiting technologies out there, how can organizations choose the right one for them?

“There’s definitely several factors to consider,” Ben explains. “Tech versus non-tech, seniority, the position, scale, size of your team. All these things will determine what your budget is and what the tool ROI can be as well.”

The Big Benefits of Virtual Recruiting  

There’s a lot of talk about bias right now. How does virtual recruiting help recruiters and hiring managers eliminate this from the hiring process?

“Ideally, the focus should always be primarily on candidates’ skills and experience, but really the true way to eliminate bias is through blind resume screens,” Ben says. “AI can certainly help with reading or grading applicants without taking into consideration a lot of the personal details and information.”

Beyond helping to eliminate bias, Ben feels that integrating technology and AI in recruiting has vast potential. It benefits both recruiters and job seekers, particularly from a filtering, searching, and matching standpoint.

“With the AI matching algorithms that we have at Hirect, the candidate pool can be narrowed down almost instantaneously based on any number of factors,” Ben explains. “For candidates, AI can help them wade through a lot of the irrelevant posts… and find ones that match their specific or unique criteria.”

But Ben is quick to point out that you can’t rely on AI alone to find the right applicants. Making sure you have a really granular job description and an interview process that encompasses certain skills is also key. And these often require a human touch – something Ben believes there will always be a need for.

“There’s really an art to the close,” Ben says. “Trying to relay a founder or a CEO’s passion or vision to really inspire a candidate to join a young business or a startup… That just can’t be replicated through technology.”

I hope you enjoy this #WorkTrends podcast, sponsored by Hirect. In case you missed it, you can listen to the podcast here. You can learn more about the future of recruiting by reaching out to Ben Green on LinkedIn.

candidate experience

3 Key Steps to Creating a Great Candidate Experience

The world of recruitment has undergone a power shift in the last decade. With job openings at a record high and alarming talent shortages in some industries, candidates have more decision power than ever before. They can afford to be more selective. As a result, businesses are enhancing their hiring strategies to reach top talent, and candidate experience has become the buzzword of the hour in recruitment circles.

There are three steps you must follow to create a great candidate experience. But first, let’s get down to basics and define what candidate experience is.

What is candidate experience?

Candidate experience refers to the perception a job seeker has about a prospective employer. It encompasses all touchpoints between job seekers and organizations, from the initial point of contact all the way to the job offer acceptance. The goal is for candidates to feel appreciated and respected throughout the whole process.

Why is candidate experience important?

A negative experience in which the candidate feels unheard, uninformed, or upset can hurt your recruitment success and reflect badly on your company as a whole. A positive candidate experience, on the other hand, can be beneficial in many ways. It helps to:

  • Secure top talent
  • Shape your employer branding
  • Increase your brand awareness
  • Give you an edge over the competition
  • Attract more candidates
  • Draw in more customers
  • Improve the quality of hires

With all that in mind, here are three steps to a great candidate experience.

1. Make your employer brand shine online.

Have you ever heard the phrase: “Treat candidates as you would treat your customers?” This adage has never been truer. In today’s job market, it’s crucial for you to create a good reputation for your company, not only as a provider of goods or services but also as an excellent place to work. You want people who come across your online content to regard you as a great potential employer. To do this, consider the following.

Social media

Social media could be the first place a potential future employee finds out about your company. So use your social pages strategically. Find out which platforms are most used by your target audience and focus your effort on these platforms. Building an online presence on social media takes time and effort, but it can greatly enhance the way a candidate perceives you as an employer.

Careers page

Visitors coming to your career page want to know what your openings are and what it’s like to work for you. Don’t hesitate to include authentic pictures of your current employees with quotes about the company and its culture. You can also post fun pictures of recent team bonding activities, for example.

Advertisements

You already advertise specific jobs in your postings, but you can also run broader “brand awareness” ads for your hiring needs. These ads serve not to fill a certain spot but to showcase your employer brand and enhance your reputation as a place to work. Talent can be scarce nowadays, and you want to be a job seeker’s first choice. So don’t hesitate to be creative in your hiring methods, for example, by trying out a video ad!

2. Simplify your application process.

Today’s Internet users expect web pages to be user-friendly. They want to be able to find what they want quickly, with the least clicks possible. This applies to younger generations of users but also older ones. So, whoever your ideal candidate is, make sure your whole application process is as smooth as possible. To ensure that happens, consider the following:

Mobile

This is crucial in 2021. Numbers taken from international job platform Talent.com’s internal database show that over 70 percent of the site traffic comes from mobile devices. Since the mobile trend shows no sign of abating, it’s up to you to adapt your application process to modern job seekers’ desires and habits. This means making sure your job postings are accessible through mobile and even optimized for mobile.

Quick application

Put yourself in a job seeker’s shoes and review your current application process. Are there any bugs or malfunctions? Are there redundant steps that could be removed? If so, work on your application process to make it as user-friendly as possible. To achieve this, you could automate certain elements or work with a job platform that offers on-site quick applications.

Jobs postings

In the war for talent, you want to catch the best candidates before your competition. In this context, your job postings can’t be just a list of requirements. They must also encourage people to apply and join your team. Highlight what’s in it for them and why they should pick you. Present your company culture, benefits, and perks. You want to make your job postings as appealing as possible to attract talent.

3. Establish a constant, clear, and fluid communication process with candidates.

Communication is key. And during the applicant process, communication can take many forms. In order to create a great candidate experience, it’s important for recruiters to create functioning communication channels and to have great communication habits. Here’s how:

Honesty

Be honest and transparent before, during, and after interviews. You want to establish an environment of authenticity. When candidates see that you are honest with them, they are likely to be honest with you. This saves time, builds your credibility, and contributes to the development of authentic relationships.

Clarity

Candidates want to be kept in the loop. They want to know if they’ve made it to the next round of interviews, ideally quickly. Therefore, it’s important for you to be responsive and candidate journey map with your candidates. Make sure candidates know what to prepare, how long each step of the process will be, and when they can expect to hear from you.

Tact

Tactful rejection contributes to a positive candidate experience. Not every qualified applicant can be chosen, and it’s your job to communicate your selection in a respectful manner. You can find free rejection letter templates online and adapt them to your needs. You can even give rejected candidates constructive criticism, which could make them more likely to re-apply in the future.

Conclusion

Providing a great candidate experience means making your employer brand shine online, simplifying your application process, and establishing a constant, clear, and fluid communication process with candidates. To keep track of candidates, don’t hesitate to use an applicant tracking system (ATS) or utilize a candidate journey map. It can help you understand your candidates’ states of mind and the challenges they face at each stage of the journey.

single parents

How HR Professionals Can Provide Better Support to Single Parents

A growing number of single parents make up today’s workforce. Besides the challenges of having adequate childcare, these employees are concerned with needs that impact their work time, including sick leave, unexpected school closures, and other emergencies. These pressures can distract them, affecting both productivity and work quality.

To address this issue, HR professionals should take measures to support these employees. Doing so will improve retention while boosting the reputation of your company.

Growing Numbers of Single Parents in The Workforce

According to a 2019 survey by Pew Research, 23 percent of children under age 18 are raised by a single parent. You likely have one or even several single parents in your firm.

HR professionals need to keep in mind that offering help to single parents does not just benefit the employees. It’s also a critical component of employee retention. In a 2020 survey of 1,500 working parents, 40 percent said they were considering resigning in order to better care for their children.

Providing adequate support for the needs of single parents is a must to ensure that your company remains competitive. Here are some options to consider.

Child Care Options

One option that some HR departments can consider is supporting the number one need of these workers—child care services. While some companies can provide child care on-premises, that is not a reality for most companies.

However, it may be possible to partner with a nearby child care facility and provide a discount if you have enough employees with this need. Another option is to subsidize some or all of your employees’ child care costs. However, this may impact the salaries you can offer.

Provide a Variety of Plans

Rather than paying for child care, consider offering your employees a flexible spending account. This allows employees to put aside funds before taxes to save money. Funds can be put towards child care or other needs they may have for their families.

Working parents also need to provide their families with quality health care. Be sure to offer a variety of options for families to help them choose a health plan that fits their needs and budget. HMOs, PPOs, and POSs are the most popular options depending on your budget.

Offer Flexible Work Options

A popular post-pandemic work trend today is continuing to offer remote work. While many employees are heading back to the office, others are opting to remain home. Remote workers may be more productive than those in the office. And that can eliminate the high cost of child care.

Flexible work options do not have to be fully remote. You can offer employees a variety of options:

  • Flexible start times
  • One day out of the office
  • Half days
  • Fully remote except for meetings and on-site required days
  • Job sharing

You must develop policies for remote work days or times. For example, set standard policies for video conferencing attendance, such as no outside noise, proper dress code, and professional-looking backgrounds.

Training in Budgeting and Finances

Another way to support employees who are single parents is to offer training in budgeting and finances. These workshops can benefit your entire staff since COVID-19 had a tremendous financial impact on many people.

Helping your team to become financially literate reduces their stress while improving their loyalty to the company. Additionally, financial wellness programs are attractive perks that improve the value of your company.

Some of the topics you can cover include:

  • Budgeting 101
  • Homebuying tips
  • Boosting your credit score
  • Training on retirement benefits that match what you offer them

It’s important that your department lays out the details of any plans and options you choose to offer, both in the employee handbook and to attract new talent. Discuss these with the legal department and IT to avoid any concerns that may come up, such as data security.

Preventing Employee Burnout

Employee burnout is a real issue, particularly for single parents who work full time. Fully remote staffers can suffer fatigue from too many Zoom calls or working from home. Some parents prefer to go into the office so they can better appreciate their families.

How can you help your remote employees to avoid these issues? First of all, avoid scheduling wall-to-wall zoom meetings. Limit the number you have per day, making sure to invite only those who need to be there for meetings of lesser importance.

Support your employees by checking in with them from time to time. Use emails, surveys, and even phone calls. You can also create remote co-working sessions so employees at home don’t feel isolated the whole day.

Finally, edify your remote employees. Create online team-building activities, offer virtual mentorship programs, and consider providing professional development options that can be accessed online.

Addressing the needs of working parents is the responsibility of every HR professional. Offer the right mix of options to help them to thrive in the workplace. This will help your company stand out as a superior employment choice for single-parent professionals.

 

A Recruiting Must-Know: How to Write a Candidate Follow-Up Email

Writing the right follow-up email is an art. A good follow-up email to your candidates after an interview can do wonders for your recruiting efforts, and even for the candidate you end up hiring.

Maintaining good communication with your candidates ensures they remain engaged and gives them the respect and appreciation they deserve after setting aside time to sit with you. However, not all recruiters have the time to sit down and spend time deciding what to write in a candidate follow-up email.

It’s important to know the anatomy of a good candidate follow-up email so you can write your own follow-up templates. Below you’ll find pre-written examples.

Why Should You Care About Candidate Follow-Up Emails?

Although many recruiters tend to think about candidate follow-up emails as an optional matter, the reality is rather different.

Candidate follow-up emails allow you to establish an open channel of communication with your candidates. It lets them know that your company appreciates their time.

Job interviews are pretty stressful to many, so follow-up emails, even just to let them know you appreciated their time, can go a long way. They allow you to begin on the right foot with whoever you end up hiring and help you leave doors open in the future for the candidates that don’t make it.

According to Glassdoor, 74 percent of candidates read employee reviews from companies before giving their opinion. Candidate follow-up emails help you capture good talent from the beginning, attracting talent instead of hunting for it.

Plus, since over 50 percent of companies expect the candidate to follow up after an interview, taking a proactive approach can help you land better talent.

In essence, follow-up emails help you and the candidate communicate openly, and establish a professional relationship.

Anatomy of an Ideal Candidate Follow-Up Email After an Interview

Here’s what the ideal candidate follow-up email looks like:

Subject Line

The subject line gives your readers a reason to open your email. Although your candidates will likely be eager to open any email coming from you, the subject line helps you establish the tone and gives them a preview of what’s to come.

Here are some examples:

  • Thank you!
  • Thank you for your time this morning/afternoon
  • Follow-up on your [DATE] interview
  • About the [position title] interview
  • Great talk yesterday!

To avoid confusing your reader, tell in the subject line the purpose of the email whenever possible.

You can, for instance, write “Thank you!” in the subject line if you’re not expecting anything of them. Like when you’re thanking them for taking the chance to speak with you or when the job has been given to someone else.

Whatever you end up writing, keep it formal and concise.

Intro

We rarely go immediately to the point in the business world. Instead, you can use the intro to thank them for their time or follow up with something that came up during the interview.

It’s always best to mention your candidates by name and mention the job position they interviewed for.

Body

Now, you can finally deliver on your subject line.

When writing the body of the article, it’s always better to keep it short. Write a body of about 100 words, and break down sentences to make it easier to read. Instead of offering as much information as possible, give them only the information they need to know and go to the point.

However, you can still make it personal by adding a few extra lines on top of your template. This works incredibly well when you’re especially keen on a particular candidate, and want to keep them engaged.

To make your emails even more effective, look through your past email exchanges with other candidates in your email provider or HR software tool and write down the main asking points. Then, you can organically weave the answers into the body of your email and make sure you’re giving the candidate the information they need.

Finally, check on your interview notes before sending an email to make sure the candidate didn’t ask for a file or a piece of information beforehand.

Closing

Now, it’s time to end the email on a positive note. You’ll, again, want to keep it simple, professional, and friendly.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Thanks again,
  • Best,
  • You’ll be hearing from me soon!
  • Let’s stay in touch!
  • Let me know if you have any other questions.

You may also want to take this chance to encourage them to contact you if their circumstances change, to let them know more about the onboarding process, or to soften a rejection with the candidates who weren’t chosen.

After adding your signature, you can use a “P.S.” to quickly add onto a ready-made template some extra information without worrying about fitting it into the body and flow of the email. You can even add a personalized signature to your closing to make it more personal.

Great Examples of Candidate Follow-Up Emails After an Interview

Here are a few examples of follow-up emails to get you started:

Simple Post-Interview Follow Up Email

Here’s a simple template to thank the candidate right after the interview and before you’ve made any final choices:

Hi [CANDIDATE NAME],

I just wanted to thank you for giving us a chance earlier today/yesterday to get to know you better and talk about the [JOB TITLE] opening.

I was impressed with your experience and, although we haven’t made any decisions yet, I was glad to see that [COMPANY] and you share some of the same values. We’re still conducting interviews until [DATE]. After that, you can expect to hear back from us before the [DATE].

Thanks again, it was great meeting you.

[SIGNATURE]

This simple follow-up email is an excellent template for your immediate follow-ups. In less than 100 words, the email gets to the point while keeping the tone friendly and professional.

You can even use this template to automate responses and add a simple “P.S.” at the bottom when you need to add something else in any of them.

Job Rejection Template

Here’s a simple template to let your candidates know you won’t be considered for the job position:

Hi [CANDIDATE NAME],

Thank you for giving us a chance earlier today/yesterday to get to know you better and talk about the [JOB TITLE] opening.

Unfortunately, the hiring team will be moving forward with other candidates.

At the moment, we’re looking to hire someone with a different business profile. However, I would love to keep your resume on our records to let you know as soon as we have a job opening that fits your profile.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any doubts or feedback for me or [COMPANY NAME].

Thank you again for your time. I enjoyed getting to know you and wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.

[SIGNATURE]

This template lets you inform your candidate about your decision of not hiring them in a tactful and streamlined way. The rejection is softened by talking about the candidate’s profile instead of them, and the open invitation for feedback and questions may give you valuable data on your hiring process.

Finally, the closing lets you end on a positive note, wishing them well and leaving the doors open if you reencounter them.

Job Offer Template

Here’s a simple template to offer the candidate a job:

Hi [CANDIDATE NAME],

I want to thank you for giving us a chance earlier today/yesterday to get to know you better and talk about the [JOB TITLE] opening.

The team enjoyed meeting you and, after finishing our interviews, we’d like to offer you the role of [JOB TITLE] at [COMPANY]. This is a [TEMP/FULL-TIME/PART-TIME] position in the [DEPARTMENT] at [COMPANY], with a [MONTHLY/ANNUAL/YEARLY] salary of [$X] and [BENEFITS].

I’m sure you’ll fit right in with the rest of the team, and we’re excited to have you with us if you decide to accept the offer. Please find the list of documents attached to this email to finalize your hiring process.

We need your documents and signatures by [DATE], with [DATE] as your expected start date.

We’re excited to introduce you to the team and start working together.

Best,

[NAME]

When you’re offering someone a job, even if it’s something as obscure as an online job for a college student, it’s okay to flesh out more ideas and write a longer email. After all, the email should include all the information your candidate needs to decide whether or not to start working with your company.

Give your candidate clear timeframes, and make it clear when you expect to hear back from them to follow through with their application. Since you’re welcoming them into your team, you can start to transition to a less formal tone and more into the tone you have when dealing with your teammates.

Make sure you let them know you’re looking forward to working with them, and don’t forget to add any attachments before sending your email.

Conclusion

Not all of us can send a personalized note to every single one of our candidates. However, we can still show how much we appreciated their time with easily modifiable templates, cutting time, and establishing a clear channel of communication.

Streamline your follow-up process through the right recruiter tools, and automate your responses to keep up with all your prospects easily.

retain top talent

HR Strategy: How to Recruit and Retain Top Talent

Hiring and keeping top talent is a challenge for many companies.

The problem is that not enough companies are taking the necessary steps to recruit and retain top talent. If your company wants to grow, you need to take action now.

Why is culture important?

Studies show that company culture makes a big difference when you want to recruit and retain top talent.

People tend to work harder in a positive environment with coworkers they enjoy working with. Additionally, a friendly office culture will make employees feel comfortable enough to approach management when there are problems. That’s why it’s so important that companies looking to grow focus on creating an enjoyable atmosphere for workers.

How do you build an enviable culture?

Think about all of the things you can do to market your company and promote a positive culture. This can take many forms, whether it’s having an excellent social media presence or offering contests for the community to participate in.

You also want to make sure that your company is open about its practices, including things like how you treat employees and what your benefits package entails.

Let’s go deeper into some of the factors that will allow you to recruit and retain top talent.

1. Organize job fairs/recruiting events.

The best way to attract talented employees is by attending job fairs and recruiting events hosted by local organizations. Make sure your staff knows about these upcoming events and that they have ample time to prepare.

By being present in all the right places, you also start building up your personal brand in the area you want to be best known for, which makes candidates think of you when they are on the lookout for a new job.

2. Provide interview feedback.

Different candidates have different strengths, and you must know how to leverage their talents. You want to make sure candidates feel welcome when they interview with your company, whether or not they receive an offer.

If a candidate is turned down for employment, then having feedback will help the candidate improve their interviewing skills in case there are future opportunities at your company. This should be included on job applications so you can better keep track of what weaknesses need improvement. If you do provide this information, make sure it is kept confidential.

3. Use online applications.

Believe it or not, many are still using paper applications when asking people to apply for a job. The fact is that most people don’t fill out applications anymore. They’re too busy to take the time to fill out paper applications on top of submitting their resume online. If you still use paper applications, then you are missing out on qualified applicants.

Make sure that hiring managers have the option to review resumes electronically instead of handling stacks of paper application packets every day.

How can you turn applicants into employees?

1. Offer competitive compensation packages.

If there’s one thing people look for when looking for jobs, it’s competitive compensation packages. We all want to know that we’re getting paid fairly for our work, which is why money and benefits are so important during the hiring process. Make sure you’re offering a competitive salary when hiring new employees and promoting current employees if you want to recruit and retain top talent.

2. Offer employee benefits.

If your company offers impressive employee benefits, then you’ll have an easier time recruiting quality candidates.

Some of the top benefits include health insurance, dental insurance, life insurance, retirement plans, tuition reimbursement, remote work, and even other employee benefits.

3. Create targeted job ads.

Typically job ads attract people who are currently searching for jobs due to unemployment or underemployment–sometimes even through the help of a recruitment agency.

If you want to attract employees with a higher chance of staying on for the long term, target your hiring efforts by posting ads in places where your ideal prospects gather. For example, if you’re looking for programmers or engineers to work at your company, find out where they hang out online.

Maybe there’s a forum full of them discussing new trends in their fields, which makes it easy for you to post an ad there and get higher-quality applicants interested in what you’re offering.

How can you improve employee retention?

1. Invest in management training.

If your top management team is not properly qualified, then that could lead to an entirely new set of problems when it comes time to manage employees. Consider outsourcing management training so supervisors and directors have the tools they need to work with their teams effectively.

2. Support employee engagement.

If your employees feel engaged with the company, then they will be more likely to stay through difficult times and continue producing quality work. Consider making attendance at company-sponsored events a requirement when it comes to employee evaluations.

Alternatively, you can also incentivize your employees to attend and participate in these events by offering perks to those that do.

3. Address issues quickly and proactively.

It’s important to deal with issues quickly before they become a larger problem affecting everyone involved.

As soon as you notice an issue (and before it becomes white noise in your head), address it so that your team feels like they have someone on their side looking out for them.

4. Foster professional growth.

One of the best ways to improve employee retention is by fostering professional growth for your employees. Make sure you’re empowering them to learn new skills and that they have time to add unique value to the company.

Whether it’s giving them a chance to work on project management, promoting their business ideas, or pursue educational opportunities, you’ll find that these specific opportunities will keep your employees engaged and loyal for many years to come.

5. Create a sustainable mix of employees.

If you have a large number of unmotivated workers, then that could decrease productivity in those who are motivated.

If you have too small of a team where everyone has extensive experience working together, this could also cause morale issues in the future. When hiring, look for the right balance of passionate yet green people mixed with more senior and experienced people to make sure everyone is happy in their jobs.

This also provides opportunities to give mentorship roles to those that are more senior in their positions.

6. Be a role model.

Do you want your employees to be motivated? The best managers know that setting an example can help improve morale across the company.

If you lead by example, then your team will be more likely to follow suit and stay on board with your vision for the future.

Conclusion

It’s important to realize that employee retention starts with hiring the right people for each role. To retain and recruit top talent, you need to start by finding the right people for the job and creating an engaging work environment where they can succeed.

By following these tips, you’ll have a much better chance at improving employee retention and building an even stronger foundation for your company.

hiring algorithms

Beyond Hiring Algorithms: How to Up-level Your Recruiting Process

For the first time since the onset of the pandemic, the United States experienced a significant uptick in job availability. This resulted in a lot of new talent looking for their next opportunity. Employers across the country added a combined 943,000 jobs to the market in July 2021–the most significant gain in 11 months. This is a relief to the millions of unemployed people still reeling from the pandemic’s impact. However, that doesn’t mean it’s been an easy journey for job seekers. Competition is now greater, and candidates face new challenges and expectations as they submit their resumes.

So what is the leading source of the disconnect between the number of available jobs and the lack of hires? The answer: technology that does not align with an ultra-competitive environment.

It’s a virtual race to the bottom.

Job boards and automation have made it easier than ever to apply for a job. Recruiters have resorted to automation to weed out the noise, leading savvy candidates to keyword their resumes in a never-ending cycle. Something’s got to give. Speed is crucial to success for recruiting agencies. But to quote a high school driving tutorial, “speed kills” too.

For example, most staffing and recruitment agencies utilize software that relies predominantly on incomplete hiring algorithms. These can exclude candidates through assumptions and past “learnings” that may or may not apply to today’s job market. The main issue in using these matching tools is that they are removing many qualified candidates because of the keywords identified–or not identified–on their resumes. Nontraditional candidates then have no opportunity to advance through the process. They are unable to showcase their skillsets because an incomplete algorithm weeded them out as “a bad fit.” This is why many forward-thinking recruiters and hiring managers are reevaluating their recruitment systems so they can look beyond the resume.

The way we work is evolving.

Staffing agencies must adapt recruiting protocols to pandemic market conditions. They should remember that the nature of work continues to evolve with the pandemic. People want to leave current companies or pursue a different career path. Candidates want more flexibility in their work schedules, greater job fulfillment, or a role where they feel safer or more appreciated (financially and otherwise). Those considerations need to be considered, especially in the screening process.

While technology is part of the problem in hiring, it can also be a solution. Staffing agencies can lessen their dependence on automated scoring and outdated matching techniques present at the core of the technology. Or, they can move to scoring that gives insight behind the numbers so recruiters can make their own informed decisions. Agencies can reclaim control over the initial selection of their talent pool.

First, they must determine what kinds of biases are being created by incomplete hiring algorithms. And, also, how these restrictions are limiting opportunities for companies to hire valuable talent. Below are some examples of these restrictions.

  • Education: Companies pass on candidates because of their degree types and from where they were earned. Rather, they should have their experience reviewed to see if it is comparable to the level of education required.
  • Number of years in the industry: This comes into play when someone is changing careers. Some workers might not have direct experience in a role, but do have experience in the industry.
  • Candidate background: Past work experience, titles, and the specific duties they performed should be considered.
  • Employment gaps: There are times when a parent may have taken a few years off to raise a child. Or perhaps someone went back to school to learn a new trade. Uncover these details through nonbiased screening processes and interviews.

The solution beyond technology…

Recruiters can look further than a candidate’s resume to help eliminate these biases. The most valuable concept to incorporate into hiring efforts is “transferable velocity.” This is the probability of a candidate’s continued upward trajectory from one position or career to another. You can evaluate this by looking at the obvious and not-so-obvious benefits and value a person brings to the table. Look at a candidate’s whole story, including where they come from and where they can go next. These are the qualities that keywords and descriptions on a resume can’t showcase, and hiring algorithms can’t grasp.

The next step is to look at activities and initiatives the candidate pursues outside of work. This technique provides insight into a person’s level of transferable velocity. Interviewers will likely uncover what’s important to a candidate. They can also determine where they are willing to invest their time and money. Also, interviewers can learn how these passions may relate to the job the candidate is applying for. This is a good indication of what type of extra work a person is willing to put in to enhance their personal and career goals.

Another necessary element to consider is the need to invest in reskilling and upskilling. Make an effort to appeal to nontraditional candidates. Teach them new skills and techniques vital to the position they’re filling. This investment helps attract valuable talent and retain current team members. Reskilling/upskilling provides them with the tools and resources necessary to move up in the company or to another department. A person’s intrinsic motivation coupled with a robust training program can create the ideal situation for talent to thrive in a new work environment.

The future of work is here.

As businesses wade through hundreds to thousands of applicants during this hiring surge, they must look beyond the resume and move away from algorithms that are inherently regression-based models. Updating hiring and recruitment protocols is a great way to evolve and adapt to the challenges of the pandemic.

frontline labor shortage

Four Ways to Overcome the Frontline Labor Shortage

A record 10.9 million jobs went unfilled in July. Meanwhile, 8.4 million people remained unemployed in August. If there are more jobs available in the U.S than people who need them, why is there a frontline labor shortage that’s causing restaurants to close dining rooms, retailers to reduce hours, and delivery operations to run short on drivers? Why didn’t the decision to cut off additional federal unemployment payments get people back to work?

The Great Resignation is hitting the frontline hard as businesses struggle to regain their footing after a year of shutdowns. Unfortunately, there’s no end in sight. New data from Arlington Research and Axonify shows that 45 percent of frontline workers have already decided to leave their jobs. Retailers, grocers, and restaurants that are already struggling to keep up will find themselves even more understaffed and overwhelmed when the holiday season arrives.

Why can’t we retain frontline workers?

Almost 50 percent of frontline employees were furloughed or laid off last year. Essential workers have dealt with non-stop safety concerns, operational changes, and frustrated customers. Frontline jobs have always been physically and mentally exhausting. The pandemic represents a tipping point for this part of the workforce. As executives determine the way forward for their businesses, frontline workers are making decisions about their own futures.

Many employers have improved their compensation packages as a way to attract and retain workers. Amazon hiked its average U.S. starting pay to $18. Target launched a debt-free education assistance program for its 340,000 frontline team members. Disney offered $,1500 hiring bonuses for culinary roles in its theme parks. These are great improvements, but they’re just first steps because they don’t address the main reason people are quitting: the work experience.

Compensation ranks fourth on frontline employees’ list of reasons for leaving. Burnout is number one. You can’t pay people to stop feeling exhausted. And compensation only goes so far, especially as more employers offer competitive wages. Beyond band-aid solutions, organizations must meaningfully improve the day-to-day work experience to attract the best people—and keep them. With that in mind, here are four things you can do to overcome the labor shortage and become a frontline employer of choice.

Show employees that you care.

Burnout is the biggest reason frontline workers are walking away. Number two: lack of appreciation. The pandemic has made us all reflect on how we work and live, and the subsequent economic rebound has opened new opportunities. Staying in a stressful job where you’re not appreciated just isn’t worth it.

Fix this by making “thank you” the two most commonly used words in your workplace. Next, prioritize mental health by making related benefits and training widely available to full-time and part-time staff. Show new and experienced employees you prioritize their wellbeing by reducing common job stressors. This includes offering flexible scheduling and monitoring employee workloads. Foster a sense of community through social events and recognition programs. Even better, leverage employee-led committees to organize these activities.

Foster an inclusive and equitable workplace.

Frontline employees work in stores, branches, and warehouses. Their time is heavily scheduled, often to the minute. They’re unable to work remotely or adjust their schedules to accommodate personal responsibilities. This inflexibility has a direct impact on their job satisfaction, as 64.2 percent of store-based employees expressed happiness with their everyday work as compared to 81.4 percent of office-based workers.

This workplace inequity extends to factors like career development and pandemic support. In every case, employees who work on-location are less happy with their workplace experience as compared to those who work in an office. Furthermore, part-time employees are significantly less satisfied than full-timers when it comes to compensation, communication, technology, and manager support.

Become an employer of choice by demonstrating that everyone–regardless of role, location, or status–gets an equitable opportunity to succeed. Explore flexible working practices, such as adjustable shift times and hybrid roles. Conduct regular equity assessments to identify and close gaps between location and office-based work.

Empower frontline managers to create positive experiences.

One in two employees have quit a job to get away from a manager. Frontline employees who intend to leave are less happy with their direct managers (66 percent) as compared to those who plan to stay (80.9 percent). On the frontline, the manager is the face of the company, and they play the most important role in preventing turnover.

But managers walk a challenging tightrope between short-term performance goals and long-term relationship building. To avoid the frontline labor shortage, provide employees with the support they need to prioritize their teams. Reduce administrative workloads so they have the time to be present in the operation. Make sure new managers receive training and support immediately instead of waiting for the next program to come around. Provide on-demand resources and microlearning to help them prepare for their new roles.

Build your talent pipeline before you need it.

Many of the frontline workers who left were your best people. They were your future supervisors and managers. Hiring challenges make it unlikely that you’ll fill these gaps with external candidates. Instead, you need to build your talent bench internally ASAP. However, 35.8 percent of frontline employees only receive training during big job changes while 20.3 percent rarely or never receive it.

Frontline workers have always been difficult to reach with traditional classroom-based training. Pulling them out of the operation hurts the business, so their development opportunities have been limited. On the flip side, a reimagined training program is one of your best lines of defense in the war for frontline talent.

Apply new talent strategies, such as mobile and microlearning, that make development opportunities more accessible on the frontline. Design reskilling and upskilling activities that can be completed in just three to five minutes per day, thereby not disrupting the operation.

Employee experience can end the exodus.

The frontline labor shortage isn’t just about pay. It’s about the work itself. If you want to attract and retain the right people, give them an experience that helps them be their best, feel included and supported, and develop their careers. For even more insights on how to reimagine your frontline work experience, check out Axonify’s full report on The State of the Frontline Work Experience in 2021.

hiring process

Is Your Hiring Process Ineffective? Try These Helpful Methods

What’s the typical order of your hiring process? The common order is usually something like this:

  • Resume screening
  • Interview
  • Assessment
  • Job offer

Your process may not look exactly like this, as some companies have several rounds of interviews and different types of assessments. But if your hiring process generally follows this type of structure, it’s not very effective.

Time Required for Each Hiring Step

Let’s look at a more expanded version of the list above. Consider how much time each step takes, and how much information about a candidate it gives you.

Step Time needed Information received
Resume screening 5 minutes Does the candidate meet the listed requirements?
Phone interview 30 minutes Learn a bit about the candidate and why they applied for the job.
Personality test 15 minutes Find out the candidate’s personality profile.
First interview 1 hour Meet the candidate and learn about their education and previous experience.
Skill and aptitude assessment 30 minutes In-depth info about a candidate’s abilities.
Second interview 2 hours Detailed info about a candidate’s experiences.
Job offer 10 minutes Will the candidate accept the terms?

The time each step takes may vary, of course, so this is just an example. In total, this hiring process takes four hours and 30 minutes of your time. The personality test and skill/aptitude assessments include the time it takes to administer the test and review the results.

Ineffective Hiring Steps

Reading a resume doesn’t take much time, but it also doesn’t give much useful information. You can see if the candidate fulfills the basic requirements, such as skills and experience, but not much else. Candidates will often list their hobbies or personal achievements on their resume, but these are useless unless they’re in some way related to the job. Why does it matter if a candidate loves sailing or is the world champion in arm-wrestling? It doesn’t help you make a hiring decision unless you’re hiring a sailor or an arm-wrestler.

A phone interview lets you ask why they applied for the job and what they expect from the role. It’s also a chance for you to provide more detail about the job and answer the candidate’s questions. It doesn’t take too long, but also doesn’t provide any crucial information.

Personality tests are a quick way to see if a candidate would fit the company culture and be a productive employee. Though there is a lack of evidence for their usefulness. It’s also easy for candidates to lie on personality tests, which they’ll likely do if getting the job depends on it. Therefore the information you get from personality tests is not useful. Considering how unreliable they are, personality tests have no place in the hiring process.

The first interview is usually a typical unstructured interview. You meet the candidate and talk about their experience and achievements. However, you need to filter through a lot of useless information as well. Unstructured interviews are also extremely susceptible to bias. Besides, since they are completely subjective, there is no standardized criteria by which you can accurately compare different candidates. According to one study, unstructured interviews are so inaccurate that they’re counterproductive to your hiring efforts and shouldn’t be used at all.

Effective Hiring Steps

Assessments for aptitude and skill often come after an interview. Skill tests let the candidate directly demonstrate their abilities in a way that you can easily compare to other candidates. Specifically, testing a candidate’s knowledge or skill gives you valuable information that’s critical in making a hiring decision, as job skills are the main criteria for hiring someone.

Aptitude tests are also known as reasoning tests, cognitive tests, or general mental ability tests. They can assess a range of abilities such as problem-solving, abstract thinking, logical reasoning, and others. As these abilities are used in many jobs, candidates who score highly on these tests are promising.

Assessments are relatively easy to administer and don’t require much of your time, at least compared to interviews. While they do take time to create, once you have them in place, the time it takes to administer and review them is relatively short. But, you don’t need to create them yourself. You can use any online pre-employment testing service to do that for you. Thus, saving even more time and making things easier for both you and your candidates.

The second interview round is the opportunity for a structured interview. A structured interview is a type of interview where the questions are prepared in advance. All candidates are asked the same questions, in the same order, and their answers are scored based on predefined criteria. This way you can objectively compare candidates to each other. This step lets candidates provide a lot of detailed information about their experiences, work ethic, professional achievements, and other important data that can help with making a hiring decision.

The Optimal Order of Hiring Methods

Not all methods give equally valuable information, and the time they take varies significantly. So which order should you use them in? To make your hiring process more efficient, you should prioritize the methods which give the most information for the least amount of time and order the hiring process based on these criteria.

To understand which order of hiring methods is optimal, we need to rank them based on how good they are. Fortunately, there is plenty of research that tells us how good each particular hiring method is. Sadly, some of the most common hiring methods, which are widely used, such as resume screening and unstructured interviews, don’t work well. The most effective hiring methods are work-sample tests, aptitude tests, and structured interviews.

Test First…

A work-sample test assesses a candidate’s ability with a sample of actual work. For example, if you’re hiring a programmer, you ask them to write some code. If you were to hire a chef, surely you’d like to know what their food tastes like before you hire them? All things considered, there is no reason not to use this approach with almost any profession.

Aptitude tests assess cognitive abilities such as problem-solving, logical or abstract reasoning, and similar talents. They don’t show if a candidate has the required job knowledge or skills but, according to research, candidates with higher cognitive ability learn more job knowledge, and learn it faster, than those with lower cognitive ability.

Research has consistently shown that work-sample tests and aptitude tests are far more accurate and effective at predicting job performance than almost any other hiring method. Therefore, you should use tests as early as possible in your hiring process, even as the very first step. You can set up your hiring process so that candidates apply by taking the test.

Most candidates will fail a short initial skill test. That may sound bad, but it’s not. Most candidates fail pre-employment skill tests because these tests are designed as elimination tests. By filtering out weaker candidates with a pre-interview skill test, you are narrowing down the selection right from the start of the hiring process. This means that candidates that come to the interview are more qualified than if you had screened them using resumes. In other words, it’s more efficient to test for skills and aptitude before interviewing because testing doesn’t take much of your time but the information you receive from this hiring step is extremely valuable.

… Then Interview

A structured interview requires some preparation in deciding which questions to ask and defining scoring criteria. Once you have it in place, you can see how it’s far more objective than typical unstructured interviews. It’s fair to all candidates since they are all given the same questions and scored based on the same rules. It’s also far better for you, because, since the questions are standardized, you can directly and transparently compare different candidates, which is crucial in making a hiring decision. This approach works for both hard and soft skills, and helps avoid bias.

As a result, structured interviews are almost as accurate and effective as work-sample and aptitude tests. However, they require more time, which is why they should take place after the testing round(s). Testing will filter out weaker candidates, leaving only better-qualified candidates for the interview. Therefore the average time of the interview itself will likely be a bit longer, since more qualified candidates are likely to give more detailed and knowledgeable answers to your questions. But ultimately you’ll need to interview fewer candidates so overall your whole hiring process will take less time.

Conclusion

How you organize your hiring process has a significant impact on how efficient and effective it is. The traditional hiring model has a lot of inefficiencies that can hurt your chances of finding the best candidates.

Ordering your hiring methods optimally, based on data provided by research into hiring methods, not only makes your hiring process more accurate, it also saves a lot of time.

hiring for startups

Hiring for Startups: 6 Practices to Build a Winning Team

Google consistently ranks as one of the top companies to work for. It offers attractive compensation packages and tons of perks, like free food and onsite gyms. The company even has a “20 percent time” policy, where employees can spend 20 percent of their time on side projects.

It’s no surprise that Google receives an astounding three million applications per year. Needless to say, Google and other major corporations have no problems attracting talent. But startups face significant challenges right off the bat when it comes to hiring.

Challenges of Hiring for Startups

Startups don’t have the same reputation as more established companies. This makes attracting talent difficult in the early stages.

Most startups also lack the funding to invest in HR. Without a department to handle recruitment, company founders often have to take on hiring duties on top of their workloads. Even if they do find qualified candidates, they might lack the skills to assess their abilities.

A lack of hiring experience and an inability to offer competitive compensation packages make hiring all the more challenging for startups. So how can you overcome these hiring challenges?

Top 6 Practices to Build a Winning Team

Hiring the right people is crucial for the success of any startup. A survey by CB Insights revealed that one of the top reasons startups fail is because they don’t have the right teams.

It’s not an understatement to say that your hiring decisions could make or break your company. Follow these best practices to build a winning team for your startup.

1. Hire slow, fire fast.

Bigger companies can afford to leave positions vacant until they find the right person. Startups don’t have that same luxury. A skills gap can hamper growth and put projects at stake. But rushing through the hiring process can result in poor decisions.

“Hire slow” means hiring with intention, and “fire fast” means parting ways with employees who don’t work out sooner rather than later. Evaluate what positions you need to fill and get clear on the qualifications that new hires need to succeed in their roles.

For any documents you and your employees will need to sign, consider using document signing software. This will help shorten the time to productivity for new hires.

2. Don’t hire based on hard skills and experience alone.

It makes sense to hire the most qualified candidates you can. But hiring solely on skills and experience can limit your talent pool. Don’t shy away from hiring qualified and passionate candidates when building your team.

Passionate employees are highly engaged. They’re enthusiastic about the work they do and have a vested interest in helping your startup succeed.

Deloitte defines three characteristics of passion:

Commitment to the domain: Employees are committed to the work they do.

Questing disposition: Employees are always seeking new challenges.

Connecting disposition: Employees seek deep interactions with others.

Look for employees who exhibit these characteristics. During the interview process, ask potential candidates why they chose this particular industry and what kind of challenges they’re looking for.

3. Decide when to hire generalists vs. specialists.

One important decision you’ll make when hiring for startups is whether to hire generalists or specialists. Hiring a combination of both is crucial to building a winning team.

A generalist is a “jack of all trades” individual with a wide range of skills. They could pitch prospective clients one day and contribute to a marketing campaign the next. Generalists are valuable hires, as they can draw from their vast experience to solve different problems.

Specialists, on the other hand, are experts in their respective fields. While specialists cost more to hire, they can contribute to key growth areas in ways that generalists can’t. For example, when choosing an appropriate business structure for your startup, you’ll want to work with a specialist to help you navigate this complex process.

4. Hire based on company culture fit.

Hiring candidates based on company culture fit is just as important as finding employees with the right skills. Employees whose values align with their employers are more likely to enjoy their jobs and perform better. This ultimately leads to a more productive workforce.

Define your company culture and identify the core values that your startup represents. Have these core values ready as you interview candidates and highlight them in your job postings. Consider using behavioral assessment tests to determine whether candidates will fit in with the company culture and the rest of the team.

5. Diversify your potential hires.

Hiring people from different backgrounds offers numerous benefits. Workplace diversity fosters creativity as each team member can share their own unique perspectives. This inclusiveness makes employees feel more valued and willing to contribute.

Employees who also speak different languages can contribute to the team from their diverse cultural backgrounds. While it’s best to speak business English if you’re based in the U.S., you should also encourage your bilingual and multilingual employees to enlighten other team members about their language and customs.

Ways to diversify your workforce include writing more inclusive job descriptions, advertising listings on different job boards, and turning to existing employees for diversity referrals.

6. Consider investing in a recruiter.

Taking on recruitment duties takes you away from other responsibilities like reaching out to investors, developing product roadmaps, researching new markets, etc.

To help with your hiring efforts and save a great deal of time, consider working with a recruiter. These individuals do a lot of the legwork to find qualified candidates. Alternatively, you can also work with a PEO company (Professional Employer Organization) to help with employee recruitment and retention. Hiring such an organization will provide the data and tools that you need to save time during this process.

What happens next?

Employees are perhaps the most valuable asset for any company. They carry out your vision and work directly with your customers. As you build your team, it’s important to exercise strong leadership and practice team building to encourage collaboration.

Provide opportunities for growth and ongoing education. This will motivate employees to work harder and increase retention rates.

Finally, continue to refine your hiring process. Even if you’re not hiring right now, you most certainly will be in the future. Solicit feedback from current employees and work on your content using content optimization software to make it easier for potential candidates to find you online.

Hiring can be a complex process for any organization, but hiring for startups comes with its own set of challenges. The people you hire now can mean the difference between growing your startup or seeing it stagnate. Implement the tips outlined here to build a winning team and hit the ground running.

great resignation

From One HR Leader to Another: How to Survive the ‘Great Resignation’

Just as HR leaders were ready to take a breath and celebrate the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, Anthony Klotz, a Texas A&M University professor, sat down with Bloomberg BusinessWeek and blew up the remainder of our 2021 recruitment strategy. From that interview, the term “Great Resignation” was born. This is the phenomenon where workers consider a job change as pandemic restrictions ease and employees go back to the office. As a result, 30 percent of the workforce (and that’s likely a conservative estimate) is predicted to leave their current jobs for greater flexibility. In addition to that, more than 75 million Baby Boomers are planning to retire sooner than previously expected. With this in mind, you’re likely wondering how you’ll bring stability to your company. It’s the perfect HR storm.

Significant turnover translates to an incredible workload for HR teams. It’s also costly to businesses and company culture. As HR leaders, what can we do to ensure our companies don’t fall prey to excessive retirement parties and exit interviews?

Take care of your HR team first.

It’s been a tough year for everyone, but HR teams have been hit especially hard with pandemic-related stresses. HR professionals are concerned about their own personal health and well-being in addition to that of employees. They also have the added responsibility of helping employees through COVID-related issues. It can become a lot to bear.

There’s a reason why parents are told to secure their own oxygen masks on a plane before helping children. We can’t be of help to other teams if our HR departments are struggling. The remainder of 2021 is likely going to be a bumpy ride. Taking the time to check in with your team throughout the year shows them that you’re committed to their well-being. It means a lot for a manager to acknowledge that someone’s contributions are meaningful and appreciated. Continue this throughout any hard season. Ensure your team has what they need to perform at their best. And when they don’t, step up to help them in whatever way you can. Getting ahead of HR burnout will be key to your success, and will help your organization avoid the fallout of the “Great Resignation.”

There are no one-size-fits-all solutions.

As pandemic restrictions ease, business leaders must now decide how and where their teams work best. These decisions are vital to keeping your team happy, thriving, and on your payroll.

As of December 2020, 71 percent of employees that could do their jobs remotely were choosing to work from home. More than half of those employees said they would like to continue to work from home post-pandemic. But there’s no one-size-fits-all solution here. It’s all about personalization.

Personalizing the employee experience means understanding the broader culture and sub-cultures within teams to accommodate employees, whenever possible. Consider surveying your team regularly to take a pulse on work preferences. You’ll likely find the needs of your employees will change. Some employees want to remain remote. Others need the structured collaboration that an office provides. And finally, some will want a hybrid work option. You may also have a subset of employees considering retirement, and that group may benefit from a part-time transitional schedule. This would allow your team to fill in gaps while giving your future retirees the chance to ease into retirement life. Give people less of a reason to join the “Great Resignation.” Have an open mind and consider working options you may not have previously allowed.

Work as a leadership team to provide the flexibility needed for employees to be successful, in whatever way is meaningful to them. Embracing agility and allowing your employees to personalize their work experience will set you apart from the competition. A study by KPMG showed companies that invest in the employee experience are four times more profitable than those that don’t. There are now far too many companies that are willing to personalize and offer flexible work solutions. If your business isn’t doing it, your team will find one that is.

Allow your managers the chance to shine.

Too often, we blame work culture when employees leave organizations. But in my experience, people don’t leave companies, they leave managers. Because of this, you must spend a significant amount of time choosing, mentoring, and empowering your managers. These are your front-line leaders who have the most access to and time with your team. Managers are responsible for creating, bridging, and communicating your company’s culture. They are your lifeline to your organization. You must work to cultivate empathetic and understanding managers and give them the power to make decisions for employees that support flexibility and the needs of the business. When they fail to do these things, people leave, contributing to the “Great Resignation.”

Leaders who are focused on supporting and empathizing with their employees can form better connections and understand their needs. The pandemic had a huge impact on workplaces and we’re now seeing employee burnout. Uncertainty, transitioning to new ways of working, and changing expectations all factor into burnout. Proactive, empathetic managers can make all the difference in ensuring that employees want to stay with a company. When assessing leaders, measure emotional intelligence. Look at their ability to listen actively, understand employee needs, and engage in an empathetic way.

We all know the grass is not always greener. But with job openings reaching a new high of 9.2 million across the country, it’s easy to see why employees are eager to update their resumes. By taking care of your employees and empowering your managers, you’ll deal less with the “Great Resignation” and more with the great service anniversaries you’ll be celebrating.

talent strategy

Dealing with a Talent Shortage? Then Liberate Your Talent Strategy

Organizations everywhere are facing a tightening talent shortage. A recent study noted that seven computer- or math-related jobs go unfilled for every unemployed, high-skilled STEM worker in America. Moreover, these jobs represent a disproportionate amount of immigrants, suggesting that the global IT workforce is substantial, skilled, and in high demand. But it’s not just high-skilled work either. Low-skilled, low-wage jobs go unfilled due to high demand and low supply, giving more power to workers.

These trends lead employers to expand their horizons when it comes to sourcing and securing the talent they need. They’re looking wider and deeper into their talent pools, Whether they’re looking for more diverse hires than traditionally expected or in new pockets around the world, they need the right tools.

In-house talent acquisition teams are still burdened with stringing together hiring programs that create rigid, dizzying experiences for everyone involved.

At best, time to hire is too slow. At worst, valuable company time and costs are sunk into a bad fit. In addition, the more inclusive hiring future will only increase the complexities of finding talent efficiently while providing a great candidate and employer experience.

The problem lies in overly complicated processes and disconnected systems leaving hiring teams with just as much work to do and no time to do it. Leaders need a way to simplify the process. Removing this bloat—and meeting hiring needs with efficiency—will depend on leveraging technology that integrates an entire platform to find, vet, and hire global, qualified talent from a single source.

In short, as the business landscape becomes more flexible, organizations need more capable technology to support the increasing variety and variance in hiring. But how? Here are three ways to revamp your talent strategy to keep up with growth.

Liberate your talent acquisition strategy.

The first thing I recommend to talent leaders is to think bigger, liberating the notion of “this is the way we’ve always done it.” Clearly, the old game isn’t going to work. Granted, that’s easier said than done. But the reality is that workers have increasing leverage, demanding that they have more flexibility regarding where and when they work, and, importantly, whom they work for. Labor market data shows that quit rates are at the highest level since 2000. The talent landscape has changed dramatically, and employers need to rethink their approaches.

So, get creative about your talent strategy. Think outside the box when it comes to where and how you look for talent.

Perhaps you could lower artificial barriers to qualified talent. For instance, some large tech firms have rid their job descriptions of bachelor’s degrees, seeking only the skills required to actually do the work. Or maybe you can search alternative talent marketplaces for vetted job seekers from around the world. For example, you may not have the same tools to qualify talent from other countries. However, there are ways to ensure you’re getting the right person with the right skills for the job no matter where they live.

Liquidate the pipeline.

Too many apps and outdated processes stand in the way of a great candidate experience. This results in a slower time to hire and slower growth. It doesn’t have to be like this. You should be able to find any talent for any job anywhere in the world without having to cobble together half a dozen siloed systems. There should be a flood of talent for your open positions, so you just need to liquidate the pipeline by removing its barriers.

Consider this common situation: You have a talented developer who suddenly quit for another firm and you need to fill that vacancy as fast as possible. Traditionally, you’d post job descriptions to a bunch of job boards only to hope you’ll get someone equally talented. It takes weeks—even months sometimes. Communication takes forever, interviewing goes on even longer, and vetting candidates’ qualifications is a crash course in project management.

Now consider an alternative experience. That talented developer leaves and you search through a database of thousands of already vetted, qualified candidates ready for the picking. They’re from anywhere in the world, for any role you need. Communication is a breeze, and you cut interview time in half because of the pre-qualification standards in place. Plus, you move the candidate through the hiring process in a fraction of the time. No barriers, no silos, everything taken care of.

With a good talent strategy in place, that’s the way it should be.

Lower the floodgates.

Finally, with a wider focus on your talent pool and a more streamlined approach to talent strategy, you’re ready to absorb the rising demand, increase the supply, and propel business growth.

We’ve been witnessing and driving a fundamental shift away from traditional recruiting and staffing. We know that those who go all-in on total talent gain a sustainable advantage over market competitors. Now you’re ready to liberate your workforce.

hiring for soft skills

Hiring for Soft Skills: Benefits and Tips

Today, hiring for soft skills is critical for your organization’s success. By looking beyond a job’s requisite hard skills, such as those needed for cloud computing or customer service, you can attract and retain top talent by focusing on soft skill recruitment.

According to a recent LinkedIn Global Talent Trends survey, 92 percent of hiring and talent professionals stated that it’s “increasingly important” to hire candidates with well-developed soft skills, especially in today’s changing workplace. In the same survey, 89 percent stated that bad hires “typically have poor soft skills.”

Unlike hard skills, however, soft skills are often trickier to assess during the hiring process. It’s hard to tell from a resume what soft skills someone possesses. And traditional interview questions don’t typically focus on these competencies.

In this article, we’ll explore some benefits of hiring for soft skills for organizations. And we will offer tips for switching to a soft skills-focused hiring process.

Benefits of Hiring for Soft Skills

Broaden and diversify your hiring pipeline

Increased workplace productivity, employee retention, and improved customer service experiences aren’t the only benefits of hiring for soft skills. Additionally, hiring for soft skills allows you to broaden and diversify your hiring pipeline since you’re shifting your focus away from credentials.

According to Harvard Business Review, companies with robust talent pipelines focus on “potential, not credentials.” For example, instead of focusing on technical skills, which have a shelf life of a couple of years, soft skills can last a lifetime. Notably, those employers all valued soft skills as much as they did hard ones.

Increase workplace productivity and retention

In a frequently cited study by Harvard University, University of Michigan, and Boston University, researchers found that soft skills training increases productivity and retention by 12 percent, overall netting a 256 percent return on investment. That would make any CFO happy.

Further, as the workplace quickly evolves, upskilling and reskilling are at the top of everyone’s to-do list. Training for soft skills is no different. In a 2019 Consumer Technology Association study, 66 percent of tech industry leaders stated that “professional development programs to hone soft skills” are important or very important to retaining qualified employees over the next five years.

Improve customer satisfaction and experience

Soft skills are also essential when delivering superior customer experiences. After all, most customer service skills are soft skills, such as active listening, communication, and empathy.

And, of course, when customers have better experiences, this leads to increased sales. Forrester recently reported that companies focused on customer experience increased revenue 1.4 times faster while increasing customer lifetime value 1.6 times more than companies without a customer experience focus.

Ease upskilling

Additionally, soft skills are more challenging to teach than hard skills. Why are soft skills harder to learn? For one, they are rooted in personality, unlike hard skills. For example, empathy may be rooted in one’s life experience.

Because soft skills are tied to an employee’s personality, improvement of these skills requires continual learning and self-reflection. It’s just not the same for hard skills like accounting. When you hire for soft skills first, you’ll find it easier to upskill employees. This is because you’ll be focused on easier-to-train hard skills.

Tips for Switching to a Soft Skills Focused Recruiting Process

Focus on your job descriptions

Review your current job descriptions. Do they focus on soft skills such as communication or teamwork? If not, it’s time to step back. Review the competencies needed for the job opening and refine your job ad accordingly. Refocusing your job requirements with soft skills in mind not only helps you find the best candidate but also strengthens your talent pipeline by broadening your pool of qualified applicants.

Structure your interviews

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “hard skills can be trained; soft skills can’t.” Because of this, it’s critical to structure your job interviews in a way to solicit insight into soft skills competencies. However, when refining your interviewing process, be sure to standardize your questions, helping to keep potential bias in check.

Screen for soft skills efficacy

Pre-hire assessment tools allow you to pinpoint soft skills at the top of the funnel. By incorporating these tools into your hiring process, you can hire up to 10 times more accurately. This saves money, time, and, yes, frustration, while creating a better recruitment experience for candidates.

With AI-driven tools such as Cangrade’s pre-hire assessments and job description decoder, you can start narrowing your talent pool quickly, making the right hire the first time. You can learn more about how these tools help you identify the specific soft skills required for success in your organization with this demo.

criminal background check

What Does a Criminal Background Check Look For?

A recent study found that over 96 percent of hiring businesses use background checks. With the help of a background check, business owners are able to vet a person before bringing them aboard. Whether you are using a background check during the hiring process or you are having a background check performed by a potential employer, educating yourself about what this entails is crucial.

Are you curious about what types of things are assessed during a routine criminal background check? If so, check out the useful information below.

Social Security Number Validation

When filling out an application for a potential job, you will have to provide certain information that verifies your ability to work in the United States. One of the main things an employer will need to know to verify this information is your Social Security number. With this number, a potential employer can verify that you are an American citizen.

Your Social Security number will also provide a breakdown of addresses you have lived at in the past. If you are a business owner looking for the right tools to perform comprehensive background checks, then using resources provided by companies like Background Hawk is crucial. Taking the time to learn more about the background screening tools at your disposal is a great way to choose the best ones for your company.

Criminal Records Will Show Up on a Background Check

One of the main things business owners want to know when conducting a background check is whether or not a potential employee has a criminal record. If a person has been convicted of multiple crimes, then an employer may want to avoid hiring them due to the problems this can cause later on. During a criminal background check, certain things will show up like:

  • Records of incarceration
  • Court orders, decrees, and judgments
  • Arrests
  • Felony/misdemeanor convictions
  • Sex offenses

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) prohibits records involving civil suits from showing up in standard background checks. This law also keeps arrests that have happened over seven years ago out of these reports.

Employers Can Pull Credit Reports

Before hiring a new team member, the average business owner wants to know as much information as possible about their background. This is why most background checks include credit reports. With a snapshot of a person’s financial history, a business owner can assess how responsible a person has been in the past. The credit reports a business owner receives during a background check will include information about:

  • Outstanding loans
  • Accounts currently in collections
  • Bankruptcy filings

The FCRA prohibits any collection over seven years or older from showing up on background checks. There are also rules in place that prohibit bankruptcies older than 10 years old from showing up.

Fingerprint Background Checks

Another way someone may look into your background is through your fingerprints. Just as the name implies, this uses a person’s fingerprints and personal information to find out about their history. One of the biggest benefits of this type of search is that all records definitely belong to the person in question.

The purpose and nature of the fingerprint will vary. It depends on what type of information has been requested from the person who wants the background check. In most cases, these checks involve the use of the FBI criminal records database. Another option is the AFIS database system. This can be searched along with or instead of the FBI system.

Misdemeanors and Arrests on Background Checks

When someone conducts a criminal background check, it will usually show any misdemeanor criminal convictions, along with any pending cases that are going on. It is important to note that misdemeanors are not as serious as felonies, and they don’t carry the extreme sentences that felonies do. Some examples of misdemeanors include disorderly conduct, public intoxication, trespassing, and vandalism.

With arrests, things can get tricky. If the arrest did not result in a conviction, it could appear on some of the criminal background checks that are run. This is true if the filing for the case was within the prior seven years. This is allowed by both state and federal law. However, some employers exclude these to ensure EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) guidelines are met.

Some people believe that criminal convictions more than seven years old will not appear on background checks. This isn’t the case for most states. While some restrict the release of these records (if they are over seven or 10 years old), others don’t. If you are concerned about this, it is best to find out the rules in your area before applying for a certain job.

As you can see, you can find a lot of useful information in the standard criminal background check. With this, employers can figure out if a candidate is right for the position. The key to getting a comprehensive background check is working with the right provider.

 

onboarding new hires virtually

5 Strategies for Onboarding New Hires Virtually

It is imperative to establish a robust onboarding procedure for building a productive, engaged, and cohesive workforce. However, a small portion of new employees agree that their company does a great job onboarding new employees. Some organizations see a 50 percent employee turnover in the first 18 months of employment.

Onboarding is significant for engaging and retaining your employees for a longer stint. The onboarding process is even more critical for remote or virtual employees. This is because they do not have the advantage of developing relationships with other members of staff. Here are some tips for onboarding new hires virtually.

1. Develop their setup beforehand.

Before your new staff member begins, you need to lay the groundwork for successful integration. Keep in mind that remote workers will not have access to normal company resources such as desks, dedicated workspaces, and computers. Communicate with the new hires to find out their needs and any resources they are missing. Get the new hires to set up the right software, hardware, and access required for performing their duties. You can get help from PRO services for hiring and onboarding new hires virtually. Some of them have employee relocation and global mobility services that are helpful.

2. Adapt current onboarding material for their virtual learning.

If you have never performed onboarding for remote employees before, you may have to adapt the current process for virtual access and training. For instance, convert all contracts, hard copy training manuals, employee handbooks, procedures, and policy packets into normal digital files. Then, give virtual access to those files to the remote employees. Also, you can develop training videos and other learning modules that can be completed by employees independently and track their progress. If possible, maintain all the onboarding material at an accessible location that will allow employees to easily find all the information they need.

3. Complete virtual introductions.

In on-site office settings, you can take new hires around the office to introduce them to colleagues. When onboarding new hires virtually, this isn’t possible. To still encourage social interaction and bonding, set up team-building activities during breaks. Team-building interactions are also significant for the integration of virtual employees. In their first week, you can set up introductory calls with team members. You may have virtual happy hours or coffee breaks for getting new employees to know their colleagues casually. Having the new employees build relationships early can set a foundation for long-term success.

4. Communicate frequently by using one-on-one meetings.

It is critical to have frequent and intentional communication during the onboarding process. This helps remote employees develop a connection with their team and organization. There are several ways of connecting formally or informally with newer hires. For example, get the managers to block time every week to make sure that employees check in. Additionally, ask them to use video conferencing to make these meetings more personal and encourage better team connections. HR leaders and managers need to check in regularly with new remote hires. Keep in mind that remote work means less organic interaction.

5. Have a feedback loop.

Having feedback is an easy yet effective method for uncovering the needs of your employees. It is an important component of employee development and training. Develop a strong feedback culture because it can be crucial during uncertain times. You cannot always predict how these staff members will react or what they may require every day. Ensure that feedback is a part of your culture from their first day at work by including it in the onboarding process.

Conclusion

There are some unique challenges involved in onboarding new hires virtually. You are required to stay ahead of the curve by being aware of various requirements ahead of time and concentrating on feedback, training, and communication. You need to provide them the necessary support and tools required.

talent shortages

Coping With Talent Shortages for On-Location Roles

As healthcare workers administer more vaccines, many companies are pushing employees to return to in-person work. However, not everyone wants to go back to hour-long commutes and drab little cubicles. In fact, some people would rather quit their jobs than give up remote work. And thousands of Americans are doing just that.

While their decision to work from home (or not work at all) may improve their well-being and work-life balance, it’s caused severe talent shortages in on-location roles across the country. Subsequently, countless businesses are struggling to fill their offices and retain skilled employees.

How to Attract Talent

Many of today’s workers have spent more than a year earning a paycheck at home. These same employees will likely expect similar perks when they return to the office. Thus, if businesses want to retain their current workforce and attract new talent, they must make on-location roles more appealing.

Here are a few ways modern businesses might rethink their benefits package, workflow, and office design to accommodate and welcome back a post-pandemic workforce.

1. Encourage Open Dialogue

After businesses laid off millions of workers, those who were left began to experience mental illnesses like anxiety and depression. They didn’t know if they’d have to pick up the slack or if they’d be sent home next. These same employees are now returning to the office with survivor guilt. Their co-workers’ desks sit empty and, to make matters worse, many supervisors are completely oblivious to the widespread survivor guilt wracking the team.

To move forward in a healthy way, employers must become aware and accepting of their team’s worries and frustrations. Allowing them to openly voice their thoughts and opinions can also help workers release some steam and discuss their needs. Companies should implement an ongoing feedback loop. This will ensure both current and future employees are satisfied and will help them understand why furloughs and firings are necessary.

2. Provide Child Care

One-third of the U.S. workforce has a child under 14 in their home, and nearly 20 percent of them must reduce their work hours due to a lack of child care. Meanwhile, 26 percent of women had to quit their jobs to raise their kids. Only 30 percent of working parents had backup child care, highlighting the disparities between low- and high-income families.

As of December 2020, more than 25 percent of child care providers remain closed. However, more businesses are requiring employees to return to the office. Employers will have to provide free or at least discounted childcare to these workers if they’re to avoid talent shortages in the post-pandemic era. Whether it be on-location or a few blocks away, this employee benefit will help retain working parents and entice new ones to submit a job application.

3. Invest in Ongoing Training

The increasing demand for remote jobs has affected practically every business. However, industries like healthcare, hospitality, financial services, and construction are experiencing the most severe talent shortages.

These professions often require on-location workers that train under an apprentice if need be. Thus, employers can attract new talent by improving training programs and investing in ongoing learning. This arrangement also contributes to current employees’ engagement to improve retention.

4. Offer Better Benefits

Employers looking to develop a hybrid workplace environment might consider offering better benefits to on-location workers. Contrary to popular belief, this method is completely legal, as there are no federal laws requiring plans to provide the same benefit coverage to all employees.

Thus, providing childcare, learning opportunities, health insurance, 401(k) plans and other perks to on-location employees may entice more workers to stay and others to apply for such positions. Adding amenities like a fitness center, coffee shop, and even sleep pods could also bring more workers into the office and help with talent shortages.

5. Plan for Flexibility

Regardless of how many benefits you offer, some employees will still prefer to work from home. If most of the team feels similarly, supervisors might consider a flexible schedule rather than a complete company overhaul. This approach will help them save money and adapt to the ever-changing workplace environment. More importantly, it will help retain and attract cream-of-the-crop workers.

Employers should collaborate with employees to determine a schedule that works best for them. Maybe they’ll work from home every other day or only come into the office for meetings. Whatever system they choose, team members are bound to be less stressed and even more productive if they spend at least part of their workweek at home.

Finding and Retaining Talent

Ironically, finding on-location workers will require many human resource professionals and talent acquisition specialists to work remotely and use online resources. By utilizing digital job fairs, experiential events, and artificial intelligence, businesses can effectively search for and vet potential job candidates. Emerging recruitment tactics like jobcasting and gamified skill tests can also attract talented employees who don’t mind working in an office.

While this process may be incredibly stressful and expensive, it won’t go on forever. This is especially true if businesses alter their hiring and retainment strategies. As long as they incorporate the tactics above, they shouldn’t have to face a talent shortage for a long while—or at least until the next pandemic.

 

top talent

The Future of Work is Already Here: 4 Ways to Find and Keep Top Talent

Across all sectors in the second half of 2021, corporate America is bullish on rapid growth. Offices and manufacturing plants are re-opening. Job recruitment is already ahead of pre-pandemic levels. The online job search website Indeed.com reported in early April that the number of available positions posted on its platform was 17.9 percent above its pre-pandemic baseline back in February 2020.

Large firms are not alone in seeking top talent in a resurgent economy. According to The Economist’s April 10, 2021 report on the future of work, 2020 was a record year for new company formation in the United States. In fact, more than 1.5 million new firms launched last year. Many of these startups are ramping up talent recruitment to help meet an expected surge of consumer and business demand. Adding fuel to the current competition for high-demand technical and management talent, a record-breaking $69 billion in venture investment flowed into both newly hatched and more mature startup firms in the first quarter of 2021.

Employer and Employee Expectations Out of Sync

Clearly, office doors are–or will be–wide open. Financial incentives are on the table. But will that be enough to bring top talent back to their former workday routines?

Based on recent workforce surveys and trend analysis, the answer is a resounding “No.” This is especially true for the technical and professional workers who are most in demand. It turns out that executive and investor views of the future of work are out of sync with employee expectations generated during the pandemic.

Microsoft’s 2021 Work Trend Index outlines the findings from a study of more than 30,000 people in 31 countries. The study includes workers of all ages and experts in workforce engagement and recruiting. One of its blunt conclusions:

“Leaders are out of touch with employees and need a wake-up call.”

A striking data point:

“41 percent of the global workforce is likely to consider leaving their current employer within the next year. This number is even higher for Gen Z (54 percent). At the same time, 46 percent are planning to make a major pivot or career transition.”

A Defining Workforce Trend: YOLO

One explanation for such widespread workforce restlessness is the YOLO (You Only Live Once) spirit. In a recent New York Times article, the authors characterized YOLO as “the year’s defining workforce trend.”

With the future of work suddenly upon them, and close to half of their current employees at risk of decamping, corporate HR departments are not just competing with other established firms in finding and keeping top talent. They are up against an unprecedented combination of post-pandemic force fields. There’s the lure of startup unicorns, a deep determination among workers to live life to the fullest, and a growing sense that personal fulfillment is most attainable outside the confines of a traditional office.

How Should Employers Respond?

First, it’s time to acknowledge that hybrid work schedules are no longer innovative. Yes, this includes the flexibility to work from home on a regular basis.

Instead, they are intrinsic to the future of work. Even employees who miss face-to-face discussions with colleagues and other aspects of the physical workplace want remote work options to be available as part of their work-life going forward. Flexibility is no longer a differentiator in attracting talent–except as a strong disincentive to join a company that doesn’t provide that now must-have benefit.

Strategies for Attracting and Retaining Top Talent in 2021

If hybrid work isn’t enough, what is needed to retain and recruit top talent in 2021 successfully? Companies must embrace several innovative and interconnected strategies to create a workforce culture that matches the future-of-work reality. A forward-looking workforce recruitment strategy should start with the following four components:

1. Purpose and positive social impact as a corporate priority

Employees care deeply about the impact that their company has on the environment. They also care about their communities and social issues such as diversity, racial justice, and economic equality. Studies over the past decade report that companies prioritizing corporate social responsibility enjoy an advantage in attracting and retaining top talent of all ages. But high-minded mission statements and CEO declarations no longer suffice. In this age of critical scrutiny, results must measure up to stated social impact goals. Companies must lead with purpose; they must also prepare to follow up with transparency in reporting impact.

2. Opportunities for growth across the entire workforce

Opportunity for personal and professional growth is essential for recruiting and retaining talented workers. Traditional support for professional development needs to transcend the scope of narrow productivity goals. It must encompass learning and applying new skills in contexts that support all stakeholders. The future of work will demand that development and growth opportunities previously reserved for professional levels are available across the workforce.

3. Multi-directional mentoring

The long-standing tradition of workplace mentoring strongly correlates with increases in employee productivity, job satisfaction, and also retention. In addition to benefiting those who receive mentoring at work, studies show that the mentors report increased personal fulfillment and organizational commitment. And yet, today’s mentoring programs are too often limited in scope. They remain stuck in a seniority-based one-to-one framework. Intergenerational, peer-to-peer, and group mentoring programs can be a powerful force in overcoming workplace silos and building a culture of mutual learning and support.

4. Empowered teams

Employers must reinvent the omnipresent project team to function effectively in the world of hybrid work. They must empower team managers and members to redefine roles and balance both group and individual accountability. They must allow experimentation with different modes of collaboration and communication. After all, collaborative, empowered teams will remain an essential foundation for future workforce engagement.

The future of work is already here. And to find and keep top talent during what is already an ultra-competitive job market, companies must be ready. As they chart their course for the months ahead, companies must remember that YOLO also applies to them–and they may only have one shot at getting this right.

hr lessons learned

Image by Matthew Henry

HR Lessons Learned: Hiring Takeaways from 5 Different Industries

Talent acquisition is one of the most critical yet challenging undertakings for any business. Companies in many sectors face a shortage of workers today; they face stiff competition to hire applicants—any applicant. At the same time, hiring managers in other sectors must sift through a surplus of applications to find the best candidate.

In 2020, 74 percent of CEOs globally were concerned about the availability of key skills, with 32 percent being “extremely concerned.” There’s sufficient reason behind these concerns, too. A successful hire can extend a business’s value, while a poor selection can represent a considerable waste of resources.

As you can imagine, HR teams and recruiters are looking for ways to solve this problem. And many look for help in this area by turning to other industries. For example, what are companies in tech doing to improve efficiencies in hiring practices? How are organizations in the manufacturing sector, many of which are struggling through a long-term labor shortage, meeting this challenge?

To answer those questions, let’s look at standard hiring practices in five sectors at both ends of the labor spectrum. Perhaps by reviewing the HR lessons learned in each, your company can learn how to optimize your talent acquisition strategy.

1. Technology: Pre-employment Testing

The technology industry is one of the most rapidly growing sectors today. It also involves a high level of specialization and expertise, and as such, has had to develop similarly specialized hiring methods. Most notably, tech companies frequently rely on pre-employment tests.

In the tech sector, an applicant’s education and occupational background isn’t always the most reliable evidence of their skills or aptitude. The tech industry has recognized this, and so businesses frequently require applicants to take a skills assessment. These tests offer more conclusive proof of a candidate’s aptitude in a company’s specific needed skills.

The downside to pre-employment testing is that it’s time-consuming. The more in-depth the assessment, the longer it will delay the hiring process. If companies can afford that time, though, borrowing this practice from the tech sector can produce impressive results.

2. Healthcare: Artificial Intelligence

The medical sector has an 18.7 percent turnover rate, so healthcare companies need to recruit new workers quickly. Consequently, many organizations have turned to artificial intelligence (AI) to streamline the hiring process.

The healthcare industry has a history of using AI to increase medication adherence and more, so applying it to hiring was a natural step. Hospitals use it to automate tedious, repetitive tasks like interview scheduling and application screening. One of the HR lessons learned here is that automation gets promising applicants to the interview stage of hiring quicker, helping speed the journey from application to onboarding.

AI hiring tools are relatively new, but their impact is snowballing in many hiring sectors. With AI, larger businesses in various industries have found solutions that streamline their hiring processes by automating several recruiter and candidate tasks. As technology advances, these tools will be able to do even more to help the hiring process–and they’ll also be more available (and affordable) to smaller businesses.

3. Manufacturing: Passive Candidate Search

Manufacturing companies have had to work with an ongoing labor shortage for years. With fewer people entering the industry, manufacturers have had to find new avenues for recruiting workers. One of the most effective of these strategies has been searching for passive candidates.

Businesses have found that many manufacturing professionals are hard to find because they’re not actively looking for a new job. These workers don’t often apply independently. Given the right opportunity, however, they could be willing to switch careers or positions. Scouring databases of nearby workers, industry-related forums, and other data sources to find these employees helps manufacturers find ideal candidates.

Other industries facing labor shortages can employ the same tactic. After all, sometimes the best employees aren’t actively looking for new work. Until a better offer comes along, that is.

4. Real Estate: Mentorship

Success in the real estate sector often requires experience and intimate industry knowledge. While many companies’ reaction to this hiring environment would be to look for outside, experienced hires, many brokerages take a different approach. Instead of finding already-knowledgeable employees, real estate companies create them through inside hiring and mentorship programs.

The theory behind this approach: It’s easier to find an eager but inexperienced new hire than to poach an experienced outside worker. Real estate brokerages understand that by pairing recruits with their veteran employees, they can cultivate expertise.

By the time these once-inexperienced recruits become eligible for higher-level positions, they’ll be more qualified for it than anyone else. In fact, research shows that outside hires take three years to perform as well as internal hires doing the same job. So, rather than having to find employees in a competitive marketplace, one of the HR lessons learned here is that investing in better training through mentors helps companies more organically build the best workforce.

5. Education: Internships

The hiring process in the education industry is unique. Teaching at a K-12 level requires years of experience through hands-on education programs and passing certification tests. Not all industries have such high requirements, but they can still learn from these pipelines.

College students pursuing education degrees finish their programs by student-teaching at a school. More often than not, the school systems where they student-teach will later hire them as full-time teachers when they graduate. Businesses and other industries can mimic this process by instituting intern programs that act as pipelines to employment.

Universities frequently involve faculty in interviewing and hiring their colleagues. Other industries can benefit from this same practice. In this longer-term hiring approach, employees already have intimate, hands-on knowledge about a position’s actual demands. So they can help spot ideal or unideal candidates and advise hiring decision-makers accordingly.

Businesses Can Learn a Lot from Other Industries

In a labor shortage, hiring companies must look further than their competitors for ideas about how to improve their hiring process. There are many HR lessons learned when taking inspiration from other industries like those mentioned above. These industries can provide practical, novel insights that businesses may not have gained otherwise.

These five industries are not perfect examples of ideal hiring processes, of course, but they all feature useful takeaways. Learning from each, then combining methods as necessary, can help create the optimal talent acquisition system for your company.