next C-suite hire

7 Unexpected Places to Find Your Next C-Suite Hire

Filling C-suite vacancies as soon as possible typically involves contacting executive search firms and posting to niche job sites. While standard recruitment tactics can certainly be effective, these methods may be narrowing the talent pool for your next C-Suite hire more than you realize.

Getting creative with your recruitment process will fill your C-suite with diverse, forward-thinking, and highly qualified professionals. Here are some unexpected places to look as you start your search for your next C-suite hire.

1. Passive Candidates

Job sites focus on candidates who are actively searching for a position. But what about the candidates who are more in stealth mode? Or aren’t looking at all? Passive recruitment involves reaching out to professionals who might not be on the job hunt yet but would be stellar choices for your C-suite. To identify and pursue the passive candidate, talk with your current leadership team, peers, and colleagues. Also, consider referral incentives to executives with helpful connections.

Keep in mind that since passive candidates aren’t jonesing to leave their current jobs, your company may need to offer extra incentives. This is especially true if the prospective executive would need to relocate. So you can exceed their expectations, work to gain insights into the candidate’s current position. What do they value most? What would entice them to make a move?

2. Outsourced Talent

Your business might benefit from outsourcing an executive’s job altogether. While this may be a non-traditional route, it could help you get the most out of available talent.

What exactly does outsourcing your C-suite look like? As an example, look at outsourced CMO Hawke Media. In this model, a marketing agency replaces the function of a CMO by creating a strategy and directing marketing campaigns. Your company saves on the recruitment process, and the outsourced team picks up where your CMO, CIO, or CFO left off.

3. Internal Promotions

When it comes to C-suite talent acquisition, external recruitment is often the name of the game. However, it’s worth looking at your internal talent pool as well. Consider which of your SVPs or VPs could show promise as a C-level employee. You might discretely recruit internal select members of your current leadership team or open up applications to whoever wants to apply.

Companies that extend their internal promotion pipeline straight to the top will likely see a positive and impactful culture shift. After all, employees tend to work harder and stay at a company longer when they see apparent growth paths. Higher retention rates, in turn, are essential for continuity, stability, and long-term company growth.

4. Former Employees

Every company has former employees that, in hindsight, wish would have never left. And with the right incentives, they just might come back. This applies at the executive level as well. If your company lost a high-level leader to another organization—especially a competitor—it might be worth your while to recruit them again. Just make sure you approach them ethically and transparently.

If a former executive left your company on favorable terms, consider reaching out. Yes, you’ll need to make sure they don’t have a non-compete agreement with their current employer. But if that’s not an obstacle, arrange a meeting to learn about their career goals and present your intentions. Some former executives might surprise you with how open they are to a new opportunity with their old company.

5. Industry Conferences

Conferences provide valuable networking and educational opportunities for professionals at all levels. And while most conferences are happening virtually these days, an upcoming event might still be the perfect place to recruit your next C-suite hire.

It can be helpful to do your research and create a shortlist of likely individuals ahead of time. Browse the conference website for notable names and look into the speakers before you leave. Plan your virtual itinerary around connecting with potential hires and follow up promptly. You might just make a connection that completes your company’s C-suite.

6. Blogs and Podcasts

Your company wants true thought leaders in its C-suite. With so many communication tools available, chances are these professionals are demonstrating their thought leadership by creating unique content and through personal branding. Industry blogs and podcasts are thus another recruitment source to consider when searching for your next C-suite hire.

You may already have some industry podcasts, blogs, and social media accounts you consume daily. When you listen to podcast episodes, take in a blog post, or connect with leaders online, pay close attention. Are there any individuals whose unique perspectives would benefit your company? If yes, don’t hesitate to reach out.

7. International Firms

Companies that only recruit domestically could be missing out on diverse talent and distinctive viewpoints. If you have the means, consider expanding your C-suite search internationally. This approach can be especially applicable to fully remote teams.

Top talent from another country will bring their own cultural work practices and knowledge base to the table, adding to your organization’s push for diversity. Plus, your business will open up a range of international opportunities that might not otherwise exist. Just be sure that your HR department is prepared for the logistics of hiring on a global scale.

Finding your next C-suite hire is often far more complicated than filling your typical vacancy. Recruitment and hiring often need to happen covertly, which takes job site advertisements and LinkedIn connections off the table. So, to find the sharpest minds for your executive team, get creative.

You’ll soon find the next member of your leadership team.

Triple Bottom Line: How ESG Creates Value for Your Business

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Triple Bottom Line: How ESG Creates Value for Your Business

You may not know (yet) what ESG stands for, but you should know that ESG creates value for businesses large and small. The acronym stands for Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance. It sets the standard for how a company operates and sets criteria that let ESG-savvy investors know what organizations might be worthy of investment. The concept of ESG is as old as time.

Still – as the world launches the post-pandemic economy – the metrics, investment opportunities and overall corporate behavior (and much more) are becoming increasingly significant.

How ESG Creates Value

ESG: Who Cares Wins

Thousands of companies have set the stage for sustainable business. They’ve become B-Certified and/or issue reports on their sustainable practices and share examples of societal impact. In such companies, “triple bottom line” has long been part of the spreadsheet. Organizations like these embraced ESG before it was “cool” or “investment-worthy;” it was the right thing to do. But increasingly, more companies realize the financial impact, even creating positions to build strategic plans and execute ESG efforts.

Think of it this way: A chief sustainable officer and the chief financial officer have plenty to discuss.

Sustainable efforts and societal impact have always defined a business. As we look back decades, we can remember the companies who cared. Who supported the community’s best interests? Which company sponsored youth sports teams? Who helped fund the library? Or, conversely, who polluted the local river? Who churned through employees and disregarded families? Which businesses did your family choose to support?

In Does Capitalism Need a Soul Transplant?, Gallup states investors “want metrics – like ESG – that include evidence of a positive and beneficial impact on the environment. They want new standardized official statistics that include the company’s impact on all stakeholders – employees, customers, citizens, and communities – and their overall well-being.”

The same article states, “If there are two companies with equal shareholder return, but one makes people and the planet sick, and the other makes them better – investors will pick the latter.”

Conscious investing; it’s putting money where your mouth is if you (in any way) care for people.

Now, more than ever, businesses – from one-location, family-owned shops to global corporations – are being watched for how they plan, cultivate and live out the treatment of people and the earth.

ESG and Investing

ESG creates value for all businesses, not just hippie tree-huggers. It pays off. Consumers and business partners seek out companies who aren’t afraid of self-governance and third-party assessments to deliver metrics and transparency about their business practices.

Who else cares? Investors.

According to a recent article in Forbes, Environmental, Social And Governance: What Is ESG Investing?, here is some criteria used for ESG investing:

  • Environment | What kind of impact does a company have on the environment? This can include a company’s carbon footprint, toxic chemicals involved in its manufacturing processes, and sustainability efforts that make up its supply chain.”
  • Social | How does the company improve its social impact, both within the company and in the broader community? Social factors include everything from LGBTQ+ equality, racial diversity in both the executive suite and staff overall, and inclusion programs and hiring practices. It even looks at how a company advocates for social good in the wider world, beyond its limited sphere of business.”
  • Governance | How do the company’s board and management drive positive change? Governance includes everything from issues surrounding executive pay to diversity in leadership as well as how well that leadership responds to and interacts with shareholders.”

Want to learn more? Act soon if you’d like to attend ESG Investment North America 2021, which is taking place in June.

ESG is Here to Stay

Anyone with a dime to spend should understand that ESG creates value for your business while enabling solid business ethics and practices. After all, it is never too late to consciously choose what you buy, where you invest and who you promote. Every decision has the potential to impact our communities and society.

Where else does commitment to the environment and society pay off? Everywhere!

  • Prospective Employees | People want to be proud of where they work, so for many employers, ESG can be a unique recruitment tool
  • Employee Well-being and Retention | Treating people right while also caring for their well-being significantly improves employee retention.
  • Shaping Culture | Younger generations especially choose cultures that embrace care for individuals and foster collective pride in environmental choices.
  • Sales and Partnership Opportunities | As noted above, sales prospects and potential business partners look at a company’s reputation when choosing where to align.

I’d love to hear examples of how your organization has embraced ESG.

What has your company done that’s made a drastic change? And what was the response?

Let me know at ctrivella@talentculture.com.

hiring managers

Image by Roman Samborskyi

Moving Beyond the Pandemic: The 3 Highest Priorities for Hiring Managers

One year after the onset of the global pandemic, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Economies are opening back up, the vaccine rollout is underway, and companies are finally ready to ramp up hiring again. During the pandemic, hiring managers transformed their processes in surprisingly more efficient ways while providing an improved experience for hiring teams and candidates alike. These leaders are now in a unique position: 

They must plan for the future while also embracing what worked during the year that changed it all. 

We wanted to dive into these leaders’ minds to understand better the changes and challenges hiring teams have experienced over the past year. So our company, HireVue, surveyed over 1,100 hiring managers across the United States, Australia and the UK. The result? Yes, the pandemic’s impact on the global workforce was severe. However, it also provided valuable learnings and opportunities for hiring teams and job seekers alike. More importantly, we learned the three key priorities hiring managers must keep in mind as they move forward.

Hiring Managers: Embracing Technology’s Rapidly Expanding Role

2020 forced organizations to turn to technology to execute most, if not all, day-to-day operations, from hiring to remote onboarding. Our survey showed that HR tech didn’t just get the job done — it actually improved the hiring experience:

  • More than half of respondents (54%) noted that shifting to virtual interviews unexpectedly resulted in a speedier recruitment process
  • 41% say it helped them identify the best candidates
  • 37% of respondents experienced cost savings when incorporating more technology into their hiring practices
  • 36% noticed an increase in the diversity of candidates
  • And 35% were able to increase time spent on candidate engagement

The survey also showed that nearly half of the organizations moved solely to virtual interviewing in response to the pandemic. However, looking ahead, 41% of respondents plan to use a combination of in-person and virtual interviews — an additional 23% plan to move solely to video or virtual interviewing. Finally, 14% of hiring companies plan to automate much of the hiring process with AI, chatbots, and text. 

The pandemic showed us that the acceleration of technology isn’t slowing down. To thrive, companies must be strategic in their tech implementation. Every aspect of people’s lives has moved either completely digital or to a hybrid model. This means the average candidate has greater expectations around their experience. It’s becoming clear that virtual interviews and new candidate engagement methods like text are here to stay as recruiters implement a digital-first hiring process moving forward.

Which brings us to the top three post-pandemic priorities for hiring managers…

Prioritizing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Building a more diverse, inclusive and equitable workforce was brought to the forefront in 2020, so it’s no shock that 100% of respondents listed the topic of DEI as “extremely” or “very relevant” to them, with one-third ranking it as a top and immediate priority. What’s interesting is that 35% of respondents found diversity to be a benefit of virtual interviewing.

Because of safety concerns around COVID-19, businesses turned to virtual technology to vet and interview candidates. Simultaneously, global office closures forced them to expand their searches to include remote workers in a more permanent capacity. These circumstances led to more diverse hiring decisions and a broader candidate pool. But when COVID-19 is in the rearview mirror, HR leaders will need to consider how technology can continue to be used to build a diverse workforce. They’ll need to continue to learn how best to meet candidates where they are — when they’re available — will be critical. In fact, more than half of interviews through HireVue now occur outside of regular business hours, proving just how limited the candidate pool is when you rely on a strict Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 window. 

Using Standardized Assessments to Reduce Bias

Another way to mitigate bias is by using standardized assessments that focus on competencies rather than subjective indicators like resumes. In addition to assessments, chatbots and text capabilities work to remove structural barriers and create channels of communication that are more equitable and engaging for candidates.

Of the respondents with plans to take action on their DEI goals:

  • 62% plan to expand their recruiting network by seeking out candidates from nontraditional places
  • 55% will partner with organizations that connect underrepresented professionals with internships and jobs
  • 53% will recruit from universities with diverse student bodies
  • And 30% plan to use structured interviews to minimize unconscious biases within the hiring process

One of the biggest challenges of recruiting for DEI is the need for a quicker recruitment process. Organizations need to be deliberate and diligent in achieving these specific outcomes, which often takes time. With video-based interviewing technology, the process can achieve efficiency while simultaneously mitigating human bias. Just as important, the technology enables the vetting of candidates at a higher volume.

Pivoting Toward Process Efficiencies

COVID-19 has created a unique opportunity and demand for hiring leaders to innovate and rethink the way they hire. Moving forward, they want to automate administrative tasks — like reviewing stacks of resumes, scheduling interviews, and sharing feedback with their colleagues — so they can spend more time engaging with candidates and improving the hiring experience. In addition to trusting technology to help them streamline and simplify their own workload, 96% believe virtual interviews improve the recruitment experience for candidates. 

Another area we’ll see continue to evolve on the video front is the use of on-demand video interviews in place of real-time conversations. After all, hiring managers and HR professionals spend so much time scheduling and rescheduling interviews — and on-demand interviews free up time and offer more flexibility to both the candidate and hiring team to complete the interview process on their own time. This opens up the pool of candidates even more by not limiting it to those who can interview in the middle of a Wednesday afternoon. The on-demand approach also solves many other issues that come with live, human-led interviews, such as unconscious biases, leading to a more fair and equitable process.

The role of hiring leaders as strategic business partners was front and center in 2020. During that time, the business case for implementing technology that enables greater focus on candidate engagement instead of rote tasks practically wrote itself. Like many other hiring leaders, I believe the future holds less of a return to normal. Instead, I see an opportunity to make business operations more tech-driven, inclusive, and efficient than ever.

 

recruiting today

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Recruiting Today: How to Humanize a Digital Hiring Experience [Podcast]

A recent analysis by McKinsey found that the pandemic has transformed how we work for good. Yes, some of us will return to the workplace. Many others, though, will become part of a hybrid team or remain remote contributors. Some of us may never return to a traditional office setting. This rapid change has hit many HR functions just as hard. Recruiting today, after all, is not what it was a year ago. And it isn’t going back to the old normal ever again.

Recruiting — I know from experience — can be slow to change, though. It’s not that hiring wants to be old-fashioned. But the roots of the entire hiring ecosystem have grown strong due to existing personal connections and through the growth of human relationships. So for many recruiters, the questions have become: 

  • How do we extend those connections and relationships into the digital realm?
  • How do we create a great candidate experience without — at least until an employer is ready to extend a job offer — ever meeting in person? 

Let’s discuss… on #WorkTrends Conversations.

Our Guests: PeopleLift’s Tim Visconti (CEO) and Tim David (COO)

On this episode of #WorkTrends, I welcomed two Tims — Tim Visconti, CEO at PeopleLift, and Tim David, PeopleLift’s COO. The goal for our time together: Discussing how the recruiting landscape has changed, forever. Both Tims are uniquely positioned to talk about this timely topic. After all, PeopleLift is a rapidly growing Employee Experience (EX) consulting firm with operations in three countries. They truly have a global perspective on the challenges recruiters face in today’s marketplace.

Of course, I had to start our conversation by asking what about recruiting has changed most since the pandemic began. Tim Visconti’s answer was at first brief but spot-on:

“What hasn’t changed?”

Recruiting Today: Humanizing a Mostly Digital Process

After taking on topics like PeopleLift’s approach to recruiting today, the best recruiting tools available, and diversity and inclusion, I asked the questions on everyone’s mind: How do we humanize a mostly digital process while creating an excellent candidate experience. Tim Visconti helped with an insightful answer:

“It’s about being intentional. During our interview process, our recruiters are very intentional about keeping in touch with candidates. They are really present in those conversations; they’re engaging personally with candidates every step of the way.”

Tim Davis agreed the human aspect of recruiting is more important than ever now, even when the process is mostly digital:

“Bringing the human aspect back to the recruiting process is key. Tools that started coming out prior to COVID were meant to remove the human interaction. So I’m excited to see the human aspect come back to that recruiting profession now. That is the cornerstone of our company; it is how we operate. We operate because we care. And it’s exciting to see how other companies are employing that methodology as well.”

I love that we’re getting back to human — and back to concepts like caring. After all that we’ve been through in the last fifteen months, could the timing be any better?

I encourage you to check out the fine work PeopleLift is doing in recruiting today, as well as their caring approach to employee experience. And I thank them for sponsoring this episode of #WorkTrends Conversations! And please consider connecting with Tim Visconti on LinkedIn here, and with Tim David here.

Now… go be human.

 

 

workplace soft skills

Image by Tom Kawila

5 Essential 2021 Workplace Soft Skills (And How to Recognize Them)

Yes, workplace soft skills still matter. In fact, amid our ever-changing “new normal,” the intangible qualities that focus on behavior, personal traits and cognitive capabilities are more in-demand than at any other time in the modern workplace. They are also more challenging to recognize.

According to Deloitte, 90% of organizations are redesigning roles and teams. Perhaps no surprise, traits like adaptability continue to be in high demand as businesses adjust their operations to embrace remote work and other hybrid workplace models. At the same time, many job seekers are looking to make career transitions. Along the way, they’ll leverage the transferable, people-centered capabilities they currently possess.

In other words, we’ll soon be looking at a perfect storm for soft skills. Companies will covet them while candidates market themselves and their mastered soft skills to the best employers.

Top 5 Essential Soft Skills for 2021

So which workplace soft skills do employers require now? In our near-future of work, which soft skills will candidates need most to succeed?

Self-Management

The recent swing toward more autonomous working environments has changed everything. In the process, self-management has become one of the most in-demand — and marketable — soft skills. From everything to task ownership to time management, and self-motivation and the ability to set boundaries, this skill is a must-have in the workplace. A person who self-manages well also significantly reduces the risk of WFH burnout and Zoom fatigue.

Communication Skills

Good communication isn’t all about how we talk to others; it also involves active listening and the ability to keenly observe as well. Candidates must not only be articulate, but they must also be able to “see” beyond the spoken word and notice unproductive behaviors and patterns. Employees with expert communication abilities also tend to mitigate problems before they become a crisis and focus on collaborative solutions when they’re needed most. 

Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence (or “EQ”) is the ability to gauge and manage your own emotions while building productive relationships. EQ influences how well employees interact with one another — especially in remote or hybrid working environments. EQ also helps us increase performance, manage stress and conflict, and show much-needed gratitude. In a world of work where much of our communication happens via one-dimensional, tone-deaf text rather than in-person conversations, EQ will remain a top workplace soft skill for some time. 

Empathy

At one time, we didn’t associate empathy with the workplace. However, since we are now invited into everyone’s homes every day via Zoom, empathy is among the most sought-after soft skills. Especially when combined with a high level of emotional intelligence, empathy helps us read people and situations. When an employee has mastered empathy as a soft skill, they better exhibit adaptability, find it easier to build trust and connect quicker with remote team members. 

Self-Awareness

The mother of all soft skills, self-awareness, allows us to identify and develop the skills we may be lacking. Those with self-awareness pay attention to how they show up in different situations, especially during digital communications (like all those Zoom meetings). They ask for and are interested in and open to feedback from colleagues and leaders. Most importantly, they’re interested in personal and professional growth, achievement and contribution levels. 

How to Recognize These Five Workplace Soft Skills in Candidates

Candidates may not always be aware of their own soft skills. Or, especially during a virtual interview, they may not know how to articulate them). But savvy hiring teams can learn a lot during the application and interview process — virtual or traditional. 

For example, when a candidate completes an assigned, interview-related task on time and conveys their accomplishment to the recruiter, that’s a sign they have mastered self-management and communication skills. Similarly, candidates who give their former teammates credit while understanding how difficult it can be to remain productive during the pandemic display emotional intelligence and empathy. And those who display a passion for growth within a given role and as a member of a team — while understanding how they’ll need to adapt to fit into this new role — demonstrate acute self-awareness.

Want to truly assess mastery of the soft skills most important to your team or company? Be sure to leverage the many behavioral and situational tools available. 

For example, ask candidates to tell stories about how they handled various scenarios. Of course, don’t just rely on the candidate’s ability to serve as a storyteller. So ask the candidate’s references for insights on their workplace soft skills. For example, ask the reference to describe how the candidate handled specific situations involving stress and deadline-related pressure. To keep the conversation balanced, ask how they successfully rose to challenges and met opportunities to collaborate or lead.

Leverage Available Digital Resources

There is no doubt: Emerging technologies have helped us thrive during the pandemic. So why not take advantage of the many digital tools that have been developed and fine-tuned during the pandemic to better assess soft skills in candidates:

  • Video-based interview platforms that capture a candidates’ emotional nuances. We’ve found that reviewing videos after the initial discussion can reveal even more than noticed during the first couple rounds of interviews. Specifically, that review can provide hints that a candidate hasn’t quite mastered a specific soft skill. 
  • Virtual reality (VR) assessments can immerse candidates in a simulated world of the job and working conditions. These VR platforms help crystallize an excellent candidate experience. They also have tremendous recruiting advantages; some have increased work efficiency in industrial settings by 60%.

Recognizing Workplace Soft Skills: A Soft Skill of Its Own

A quick look at an application, resume, and LinkedIn profile will tell you most of what you need to know on the technical and professional side of the hiring process. We’ve all gotten pretty good at that side of the equation.

But screening for these five workplace soft skills is a skill all unto itself. By taking the time to master this skill, however — and by learning how to recognize the most in-demand soft skills for 2021 — you’ll help secure the best possible candidates for your company.

 

help Gen Z workers thrive

Image by Vladim Kluchnik

Attract the Best: Help Gen Z Workers Thrive in the New Workplace Normal

According to CNBC Make It, “Millennials and Gen Z currently account for slightly over a third of the workforce.” In the next decade, they expect that figure “to shoot up to 58 percent, making the youthful generations the most dominant in the workplace.” So how can employers help Gen Z workers thrive?

Members of Generation Z are the youngest group in the current workforce. Many Gen Z workers’ first work experience abruptly ended or was postponed altogether when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. To reboot their careers, they’ll lean on companies that feature modern recruitment techniques, flexible work, and opportunities for advancement.

As an employer, you will have to plan how you can best create an inviting and welcoming work environment for Gen Z employees. You’ll also need to think about how you can prepare them for thriving through future uncertainties. To help get these thought processes started, here are four ways businesses can help Gen Z workers thrive in the new workplace normal.

Four Ways Businesses Can Help Gen Z Thrive

Gen Z workers are changing the way companies recruit, retain, manage, and develop their employees. The next generation of workers fosters an entirely different set of values, needs, and priorities than their millennial, Gen Y, or baby boomer cohorts. These include high demand for flexibility, a modern benefits package, and a desire for independent work models, among other values.

To help Gen Z workers thrive in the new workplace normal, here are four things you can do right now:

Implement advanced technology.

Generation Z grew up with technology a part of their everyday lives. The way they connect, communicate, and navigate this world depends on their efficient use of the best technology offered. An employer that provides high-quality technology to Gen Z aids their comfortability, productivity, and enthusiasm for their job duties.

However, it’s best to implement advanced technology while still prioritizing the impact of face-to-face collaboration with other workers. Inc. states that “More than 90 percent of Generation Z prefer to have a human element to their teams, either working solely with innovative co-workers or co-workers and new technologies.”

With the Gen Z workforce priding themselves on being highly tech-savvy, you must meet their technology expectations throughout your company:

  • Productivity tools like Google Suite and Trello
  • Collaboration tools like Slack and Asana
  • Business software like Quickbooks and Hubspot
  • New computer monitors and/or portable laptops for remote workers
  • Tablets and updated cell phones
  • Updated shipping stations
  • New and efficient manufacturing equipment

Create flexible work schedules and job descriptions.

Gen Z workers support companies that see the value in flexible work schedules and adaptable job descriptions. When employers don’t confine this young generation of workers to an office, traditional 9-5 schedule, or monotonous job descriptions, their productivity soars.

Companies scattered around the world were experimenting with fully remote work and hybrid schedules before the COVID-19 pandemic. Statewide stay-at-home orders issued across the country fast-tracked a full implementation, and business owners were pleasantly surprised in terms of engagement, work quality, and profitability.

Avoid workplace burnout, absenteeism, and presenteeism by offering the option to work from anywhere in some capacity. Go a step further and provide potential workers the opportunity of freelance, contract, or part-time work should it fit their needs better. You’ll soon see a return on investment in the form of productivity and cost efficiencies.

Understand their values.

When the company they work for understands what they value, Gen Z workers thrive in the new workplace normal. Trust, pay, and culture are currently some of the essential values of Gen Z workers:

  • Trust matters because it drives the workforce and company forward
  • Pay because they value financial wellness
  • And culture because they appreciate a positive, supportive work environment

You should also build a diverse and inclusive workforce to retain Gen Z workers. They value working with people of all ages, genders, cultural backgrounds, economic statuses, and so forth. After all, every aspect of diversity brings a unique element to the team. They’re also attracted to companies actively improving social and environmental challenges like:

Speak with each of your employees. Find out what’s most important to them. Then restructure job descriptions based on said values to attract more top talent, drive performance, and enhance innovation.

Offer intentional career development.

With a rapidly changing workforce, it’s now considered a requirement to enable workers’ development personally and professionally. While baby boomers put the ball in their company’s court as far as professional development, Gen Z workers feel responsible for their growth and advancement.

They’re enthusiastic about advancing their skill set and receiving feedback that challenges and elevates them. Sixty percent of Generation Z-ers want weekly, if not daily, check-ins from their manager. They want to work for companies that also understand that skills require constant nurturing. And Gen Z migrates toward employers that deliberately focus on effective talent development. So ensure you’re offering employees various training opportunities – in-person and virtually. And give them the option of mentorship, guided self-education, formal training by a company leader, and an occasional direct connection to founders and executives

Are You Ready to Help Gen Z Workers Thrive?

The youngest generation is taking over the workforce at a rapid rate. Want to attract the best of them? Want to help Gen Z workers thrive in our new workplace normal? Offer talent development opportunities, understand their unique values, create flexible work schedules and duties, and implement advanced technology throughout your business.

recruiting technology

Image by Daniil Peshkov

3 Ways Recruiting Technology Improves Candidate Experience

The pandemic’s fallout illustrates an impactful point: Employees are more resourceful than leaders sometimes give them credit for being. As employers, our recruiting technology must match their level of resourcefulness or we risk providing a bad candidate experience.

Most of our company went remote soon after the pandemic lockdowns began, and everyone adjusted accordingly. Supervisors didn’t have to hold their employees’ hands or provide additional layers of oversight. Over time, the trust between managers and their teams increased.

Of course, going remote so quickly required having the right people in place and having the infrastructure and technology necessary to support our teams. Especially the technology. An Ivanti survey revealed that 85% of workers believe they don’t have the technology they need to produce effectively — a demographic our team did not want to be known for in a competitive market.

The workforce is becoming increasingly more talent-driven. Even with fewer job openings, qualified candidates are carefully plotting their next career moves. For recruiters, this move means they have to work diligently to create engaging and applicant-friendly hiring experiences. And that’s where a thriving tech stack comes back into the picture.

The 3 Core Benefits of Recruiting Technology

Sourcing, recruiting, and hiring talent requires person-to-person interaction and collaboration. That doesn’t negate the importance of recruiting technology, though. With the use of technology in the recruitment process, hirers can become more efficient, improve the candidate experience, and better serve the people they’re trying to place.

How else could an active recruitment professional complete multiple tasks for multiple clients in various stages of the application process — and still sleep? Below are just some ways emerging online recruitment tools and tech processes help augment candidate engagement strategies.

1. Technology fosters humanity

Contrary to what some people might think, online recruitment tools have improved our personalization with associates. By leveraging solutions like AI chatbots to carry out repetitive duties, we can concentrate on the human element of recruitment interactions.

While a chatbot answers basic questions or helps candidates pick their preferred employment tracks, a live recruiter can conduct in-depth interviews. This keeps everything flowing seamlessly without overburdening recruiters.

Measuring the effectiveness of personalized candidate engagement strategies can take several different forms. Make use of a net promoter score (NPS) and also conduct a survey that asks applicant recipients questions like “What is the likelihood that you will recommend our agency to someone else?” Log and chart your NPS as you incorporate new technological components into the mix to see how they affect the NPS to track the benefits of technology in recruitment.

Another measure of candidate engagement success is your app-to-hire ratio. As you implement new technology and improved candidate touchpoints, you should expect to see this metric trend down as more applicants complete the candidate journey and receive job placements.

2. Technology increases efficiency

Applicants don’t want to linger in the pipeline for too long. With online recruiting tools, we can hasten the cycle from posting an advertisement to locking in the right applicant. It’s remarkable how quickly people can move through frictionless digital systems without going through an old-school manual application process.

The key here is to provide flexibility. After all, you want to keep candidates moving through the process. But not at a pace where they feel like they are being rushed or “sold” into open positions. Let the applicant help determine the pace. The same seems true of Hilton; the hotel and resort chain scaled its hiring processes by leveraging predictive AI and ditching outdated assessments. Their move toward installing hiring software reduced its hiring from six weeks to five days.

To gauge how much the use of technology in the recruitment process improves time-to-hire speed, set and analyze relevant key performance indicators (KPIs). For example, our company uses opportunity centers as in-person recruitment locations where we track how many candidates are submitted to the client we’re hiring for at the time. After adding tech, we have seen our productivity steadily increase. This metric is now 40% better than when we started — and we’re always open for improvement.

3. Technology helps meet candidates where they are

To improve the candidate experience, recruiters must meet applicants on their terms and expectations. Technology helps us keep satisfaction higher by removing common obstacles to developing a positive working relationship with candidates.

Case in point: We’re moving toward omnichannel communication choices to give candidates information where and how they want it. That includes text, email, or perhaps also a direct message.

When you transition to a multichannel recruitment approach, you can often decrease the amount of time between when a candidate gets a message and responds to that message. It’s possible to measure that time frame as a KPI. It is also wise to keep tabs on which channels offer the most direct path toward candidates.

Candidate Experience: The Real Benefactor of Recruiting Technology

The use of recruiting technology is hardly new. Still, it has become so essential that it’s challenging to improve the candidate experience without paying attention to your tech stack. Use technology to augment your recruiters by removing redundant and time-consuming tasks. Ultimately, you’ll free them up to create better people experiences.

You don’t have to add every new advancement that comes along — but keep an open mind. And learn the many ways you can free up your team and improve your brand equity with tech. Your candidates will thank you. And so will your bottom line.

 

online job interviews

Image by Olena Yakobchuk

4 Tips for Conducting Better Online Job Interviews

In 2020, 82 percent of business leaders surveyed by Gartner pledged to continue remote work arrangements permanently. This translates to millions of people working from their homes and the need to improve how we hire people virtually. So how do we conduct better online job interviews?

Virtual hiring has risen as an enormous concern for organizations going partially and fully remote. Most human resources professionals and recruiters have extensive training in interviewing. However, their experience tends to be limited to an interview process that includes at least one in-person component. And evaluating applicants without the advantage of face-to-face interactions brings unique challenges.

Odds are, your business will grapple with this issue sooner or later, particularly with today’s penchant for remote working. To ensure better outcomes, try adopting the following tactics for your online job interviews.

Leverage Position-specific Tech Platforms

Every job requires specific skill sets. Case in point: An entry-level customer service representative needs different talents than a marketing manager. In your role, you must design interviewing journeys that allow you to clearly evaluate candidates based on the position available. Fortunately, plenty of SaaS providers have created portals to help you meet your placement goals.

For instance, your organization routinely might need more IT professionals. How will you confidently evaluate each candidate? The answer lies in the right tech stack additions. Daniel Borowski, a founder of Coderbyte, says to look at code assessment platforms that contain libraries of pre-programmed coding challenges, as well as virtual interviewing rooms with video and whiteboards. Take the time to investigate cloud-based software for your most common online recruitment needs. You’ll feel more comfortable with your selections.

Expand Your Interviewing Steps

If your company has been around for a while, you probably have a standard in-person interviewing process. For example, maybe you post job descriptions on Indeed, use HR tools to identify top candidates, arrange interviews, and then decide. Yet what works in more traditional recruitment may not provide you with enough information about virtual applicants.

So dust off that old process and map out possible new steps.

Look for specific gaps in your current process:

  • Could you add more online group interviews?
  • Perhaps change the flow of your interviewing process?
  • Conduct phone and Zoom interviews before making offers?

Adding extra steps can fill in the blanks and make you feel better about your choices. Just resist the temptation to lengthen the process timeframe too much – or you could lose talented job seekers to competition ready to move quicker through the hiring process.

Develop and Deploy Pre-hiring Tests

Around eight out of 10 companies already use automated pre-assessment testing software in the earliest stages of their virtual interviewing, according to research from SHRM. Predictive assessments streamline top-of-funnel recruitment strategies, allowing you to concentrate your efforts on high-quality candidates. Yet you should feel free to initiate pre-assessment testing in later-stage segments of the online job interviews, too.

The right testing method allows you to gauge everything from an applicant’s commitment to core ability. Just make sure you test consistently for each role to avoid hiring bias. As an example, you might ask your top sales team candidates to generate online proposals. You would give them parameters, need-to-know information, and a due date. Once you receive all the proposals, you can evaluate them based on fit. As a bonus, you’ll know which applicants can hit the ground running and which would need extensive training.

Revisit Your Employer Brand

Even to a candidate who may never set foot in your headquarters, workplace culture matters.

Every organization maintains cultural norms and expectations—even 100 percent remote businesses. Consequently, spend time refining and defining your cultural standards. If you have trouble putting them into words, ask current remote, in-person, and hybrid employees for feedback. The information you gather can help inform your job descriptions and interviews.

Once you’ve refined your employer brand, ask yourself how you can tell if someone will mesh with that brand and their work team. More specifically, determine how you’ll know if they’re a fit if you only see them on a screen?

Experience shows that asking thoughtful questions about their working preferences is a great place to start when gauging fit within a brand, culture, and team. Next, ask what they want from their job experience. Then, sit back, listen, and take notes.

Remember to factor in the importance of cultural adaptability, too. An analysis evaluated by Harvard Business Review asserts that adaptability plays a huge part in an employee’s overall success. Therefore, even if a top candidate has limited immediate “fit factors,” the candidate may adapt to your culture rapidly.

Even after a year of experimentation, conducting online job interviews may not feel yet intuitive. Give yourself more time to adjust. Simultaneously, put strategies in place to make your online job interviewing process better and your choices easier. You’ll end up putting more of the right people into your open positions.

 

skill sets

Image by Victoriasky1

Changing Skill Sets for Changing Times: 5 Focus Areas for 2021

What skill sets are employers looking for most in 2021? How can they partner with employees to develop these sought-after skills?

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic – alongside countless social justice movements – shaped the world in a new way. Now, employers must reevaluate their businesses and see what new skills match the world’s ever-changing landscape.

For employers in 2021, what follows are five of the most in-demand skill sets for our changing times. By enabling growth in these areas, employers across all industries will help their employees and prospective teammates thrive in our post-pandemic workplace.

Skill Set 1: Remote Teamwork

The most obvious change to come from the pandemic is the new work-from-home dynamic. According to Pew Research Center, 71% of employees were working remotely as of December 2020. Given this new landscape, employees need resources — primarily, they need technology to connect and work together.

Businesses should focus on hiring talented individuals who know remote working systems well. In addition, helping current employees further adapt by getting them the resources they need will instantly improve work efficiency. Critically, all workers must have communication channels available, like Slack or Google Meet.

A lack of teamwork causes a communication breakdown and disrupts the company’s goals. But the solution is to provide the right technology and assistance.

Skill Set 2: Time Management

With remote work, limited office capacities, and social distancing, many employers changed their schedules to accommodate health and safety concerns and physical space. Now, many in the workplace may start and end work at different times. These alterations force a focus on time management.

New and existing employees should demonstrate that they can independently manage their time, schedules, and projects. Employers and HR managers should emphasize helping talent learn to meet deadlines efficiently while assisting fellow employees stay on track, further developing time management across their teams.

Of course, employers should continue being flexible with remote work teams. Allowing employees to choose their own hours lets them build their work schedules around home commitments. They can then work when they’re at their most productive, distraction-free – which is the best possible form of time management.

Skill Set 3: Soft Skills

A people-first approach helps a company stand out in the crowd. So employers may not consider soft skills “soft” for much longer.

As social justice movements and awareness grow, soft skills add the human factor businesses need. These skills include adaptability, emotional intelligence, creativity, collaboration, active listening, and knowing how to help other employees thrive.

Soft skills also lead to solutions that put public safety first. For instance, curbside pickup and delivery have been a creative solution for shopping. Employers want workers who can come up with service and people-focused ideas like these.

Businesses also need to recognize and reward employees who can slip in and out of new roles depending on what the company needs. The pandemic has put pressure on companies of all sizes — and they all need employees trained to be adaptable to these changes.

Skill Set 4: Social Media Marketing

Social media has been around a long time; however, 2020 brought a new way to use these digital bullhorns. Specifically, platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok help influence and reach the 3.6 billion people who used social media in 2020.

Instagram recently added a shopping tab, which companies of all kinds can use. Facebook Marketplace continues to have a significant impact on shopping habits. Combined with the growth of TikTok’s influence, employees will want to know how to curate a business page and list the company’s products or services in an engaging way. So smart employers are looking for new employees with these talents and will cross-train existing employees to further leverage e-commerce channels.

Moreover, social media is where social justice movements, new trends, and pop culture moments happen. If employees stay current, they can add meaningful or relatable approaches to the brand’s social media pages.

Skill Set 5: Cybersecurity

As the pandemic hit the United States, people wanted information about employment, finances, and staying safe. With countless people and businesses turning to the internet for resources, cybercrime shot up drastically. Still, as people try to get vaccines, phishing scams run rampant. The FBI reported between 3,000 to 4,000 cybersecurity complaints daily last summer.

If a business faces a breach, scam, hack, or malware attack, it could lose sensitive data, like employee or client Social Security numbers and bank accounts. To prevent this catastrophic loss of data and trust, businesses must focus on hiring cybersecurity professionals and upskilling entire IT teams. Simultaneously, managers are helping current employees learn the ins and outs of cybersecurity.

Still, the best employers know cybersecurity is an industry of its own, and specialization often requires years of training. Now more than ever, it’s in every company’s best interests to focus on retaining cybersecurity talent or securing reliable outside services.

Skill Sets 2021: A New Employee Landscape

The unemployment rate is still coming down from April 2020’s record high. On the positive side, there’s plenty of new, eager talent looking to make a difference. And existing employees are showing genuine interest in providing the reskilling and upskilling to update in-demand skill sets. By focusing on these five areas of skills development, your company can revolutionize your workforce and create lasting talent pipelines – even in changing times.

 

HR Automation

Image by MNBB Studio

HR Automation: Understanding the Limits of Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence has been infiltrating the business world for the past several years and has also played a major role in HR automation. Today, companies across all industries are using AI to automate a variety of job tasks and replace human capital. And by the mid-2030s, PwC estimates, 30% of all jobs will be automated.

The COVID-19 pandemic only promises to accelerate this trend. Now more than ever, business units are looking to boost their efficiency and save money through automation ‒ and HR is no exception. Automation has the potential to help HR teams recruit, hire, and train employees — and many organizations already use AI-driven software to carry out these tasks.

At first glance, it might make sense to hand some of these repetitive responsibilities to computers instead of humans. But as the executive director of an organization that teaches tech skills and works with companies on talent solutions, I believe these HR functions should remain largely human-driven.

HR automation can — and often does — go awry. Amazon’s HR team experienced this back in 2018, when it was using an algorithm to automatically review résumés. Unbeknownst to them, their AI was penalizing job applicants whose résumés included the word “women.” This bias went on for a solid year before the company noticed, causing the elimination of countless qualified candidates.

This cautionary tale illustrates why HR teams should be wary when implementing automation into their workflows. After all, AI might look like an enticing, cost-effective tool for screening candidates and building teams. But it can also cause your company to waste time and resources.

The Invaluable Human Element in HR

HR is all about humans. It requires a level of knowledge, nuance, and critical thought that simply cannot be replicated by even the most sophisticated AI solutions. As this technology continues to evolve, HR practitioners must remain vigilant about their use of automation. They also must ensure they appropriately devote human minds to the tasks that require them.

Looking ahead, HR teams can play a key strategic role in helping their companies prepare for the automation revolution. Here are three ways they can do so:

1. Futurecast for the Workforce of Tomorrow

According to the World Economic Forum’s “Future of Jobs Report 2020,” automation could displace 85 million jobs and create 97 million new jobs by 2025. No industry will be immune to this massive redistribution.

What skills will your company need one year from now, five years from now, and 10 years from now? HR professionals should steep themselves in market research and trends, and they should start proactively hiring for those skills today. Companies that conduct this analysis early and often will put themselves at a considerable advantage in the future.

2. Identify Opportunities (and Inevitabilities)

HR teams should keep a close eye on where automation is heading in their industries and how other companies are using this technology effectively. They should help their companies identify which positions are solid candidates for automation, which tasks should be driven by humans, and which jobs could be flat-out eliminated.

As jobs are automated and redistributed over time, companies will find themselves continually needing different skill sets across each department. HR practitioners should keep a watchful eye on how their teams are changing and continuously reassess the human skills that matter most. Creating and executing a reskilling program that trains existing employees in these skills will only serve your company well.

3. Evaluating Candidates for Reskilling and Upskilling

After developing an automation road map, HR teams can start reskilling and upskilling high-performing employees for the jobs of the future. First, they should identify adaptable workers who demonstrate a passion for learning new skills. They should encourage these individuals to pursue new roles after their jobs are automated, then provide them with learning opportunities.

This reskilling program must be crafted and carried out by human intelligence. It requires a series of interviews and heartfelt conversations, as well as a keen eye for soft skills. AI might be able to quickly sort through résumés and search for keywords. On some level, AI can also identify people who are qualified for the job — on paper. But AI cannot assess a candidate’s soft skills or persuade them to change their career path. Even newer technology that can detect facial expressions and vocal tones during video interviews cannot accurately assess a candidate’s fitness for a job. Traditional human-to-human interaction is the only way to uncover someone’s intangible attributes and their openness to reskilling.

HR Automation: Proceed with Caution

Automation remains poised to completely transform the industrial world. This incredible technology is forcing millions of companies to rethink their inner workings. It is exciting to imagine the multitude of ways companies can use AI to become smarter and more efficient. And yet businesses should proceed with caution when implementing it in the HR realm.

Team-building is a delicate process, and as we know, automation can present many drawbacks. Leaders must delegate vital HR tasks to human intelligence, not computer code. To help companies cope with the rise of automation, HR teams must use their critical thinking skills to assess the technological landscape, understand talent gaps, and identify opportunities for reskilling.

 

 

recruiting contenders

Image by G-Stock Studios

How Small Companies Can Be Recruiting Contenders During COVID

Hiring during the prolonged COVID-19 crisis hasn’t gotten any easier. This is especially true for smaller companies struggling to be recruiting contenders without necessarily having access to all the latest and greatest HR technology.

As many small business leaders have learned over the last year or so, the ability to attract top talent takes more than just a posting on a job board. They also know that old-school approaches like a sign in a storefront window go largely ignored. So how do small businesses compete with larger companies for talented recruits without the luxury of high-end recruiting platforms? And without internal recruiters or head-hunters to conduct searches and interview candidates?

There are some cost-effective ways for small-business owners to compete. For example, here are some areas to focus on:

  • Entice candidates by making it easy to apply (think mobile)
  • Recruit the best for your unique business
  • Introduce other team members into the interview process
  • Interview with a goal in mind
  • Make great offers and hire people who compliment your business

Here are some other areas to focus on to help your small business be a recruiting contender.

Try New Technology

You may not have a huge software budget for hiring. But there are affordable recruiting software options designed for small businesses. And they are a better solution than relying on an email inbox and a spreadsheet. The appropriate technology can help you vet candidates and become better organized. HR Tech can also expedite the hiring process, so you don’t lose good candidates by moving too slowly. 

Many of the most recent HR tech entries are built for the little guys as much as they are enterprise-level organizations. This includes recruiting software, which can help any smaller business become recruiting contenders. 

Showcase Local

You may not have the recruiting power of being a large conglomerate. But you, most likely, have greater flexibility that comes with being a local business. So your hiring pitch, especially as the pandemic continues to be an issue, should be based on staying local with no need to relocate. The pitch to candidates should emphasize the availability of remote work, a focus on family, and flexible hours. Talk also about direct access to management and mentorship. Also, discuss opportunities for advancement, continuous learning opportunities, and community involvement. 

Another option many small businesses overlook is altering their hiring strategies. So rather than putting all your recruiting eggs in one job board basket, think local. For example, visit colleges in your area to get to know the guidance counselors. Then ask them to pass along your information to promising young graduates. Social media can also be beneficial; it’s a great tool to leverage employment options that benefit you and the community.

Go Where New Talent Goes

Members of Gen Z are the first true “digital natives” in society. They grew up with all the latest innovations, including smartphones, the internet, social media, and mobile real-time connections. So they expect to have a digital relationship with any potential employer. As members of Generation Z move into the workforce, the hiring mindset of smaller companies wishing to be recruiting contenders must move with them.

What is one of the most significant issues with small businesses when attempting to attract young talent? Failing to hang out where new talent hangs out. As Liz Frazier once wrote at Forbes, “22% of recruiters surveyed have already invested in new recruitment advertising techniques like Snapchat, and text message-based recruiting.” So jump out of your comfort zone. And learn how Snapchat and TikTok can help you recruit and hire new talent.

Becoming Recruiting Contenders: Expand Your Thinking

Look beyond the hard skills and experience of the people you interview. In addition to them having the right degree or technical skills, think about how they will complement your business. Broaden your thinking to include people who are a culture add in addition to being a culture fit

Being a culture-add means bringing something different to the position, whether it’s a new experience, a new vision, a new approach, or just a fresh perspective. An employee who is a culture add accentuates what already exists in your workplace culture; they also bring a different dimension that is sorely needed. Who knows, you might even find someone really good at Snapchat or TikTok!

As a small-business owner, competition has always been fierce when it comes to hiring top talent.

Now, during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, every small company must be at the top of its recruiting game.

courageous recruiting

Phot by Constantin Stanciu

[#WorkTrends] Courageous Recruiting in the Age of Googlization

Hiring is so very different today. The technology we so depend on is also our biggest challenge. To solve that challenge, we can’t hide behind “what we’ve always done.” We need more courageous recruiting!

The onset of the 2020 pandemic has escalated the need for all companies, regardless of size, to use technology to hire, onboard, and retain. But how do we leverage tomorrow’s reality when today’s technology, and hiring in general, are based on 1990s models?

Our Guest: Ira Wolfe, Author and HR Influencer

Ira Wolfe has been at the leading edge of pre-hire and leadership assessments, recruitment marketing, and workforce trends for 25 years. Thinkers360 ranks Ira as the number 1 Global Thought Leader and Influencer in the Future of Work category, and for a good reason: He is the author of six books, including Recruiting in the Age of Googlization

Of course, I had to start this episode of #WorkTrends by talking about how much recruiting has changed, and our now complete reliance on technology to hire and onboard — and how we’ll never go back to our “old” normal. Ira agreed: “Resilience was the buzzword of 2020. And the reality is, resilience is just bouncing back.” After pointing out that some aspects of “back” weren’t so great, Ira added: “We don’t want to bounce back! We want to help people grow stronger. As we think about going back to the workplace, we want to give people hope, confidence, and courage.”

Ira went on to say this applies to every aspect of our work right now, including how we use technology to hire:

“I’m suggesting we do things differently… we need to look at it differently. Instead of looking at how to find talent, we need to look at how we find the right talent.”

Key to Courageous Recruiting: Deliberately Improving Process

Ira and I went on to talk about many aspects of recruiting, gender and pay equity, the candidate experience, and HR technology — and there was a recurring theme: The need to improve the technology we all use to hire.

“Today, younger generations don’t just apply — they Googlize. They use technology to investigate; they find out what’s the company like, what opportunities are there, then what types of jobs are available. Then they may talk to people on LinkedIn and look at Glassdoor, Indeed, or Fairygodboss. Next, they look at what it’s like to work at that company; then, finally, they consider if it’s worth even applying. After they finally make a commitment, they can’t even navigate the employer’s career pages!” 

In other words: The job seeker has completely changed the way they find work. But employers haven’t changed how they find the right talent. 

“We must improve the way we hire people. We must rid the process of frustration, confusion, distraction, and disappointment. Employers must have the courage to care about people — and their experience.”

Ira is so right. Thankfully, we will never go back to the way it was. But as we move forward, we also must take a hard look at making the recruiting process better — and to that, perhaps we need to be more courageous.

I hope you enjoy this episode of the #WorkTrends podcast — and then I hope you find a way to fill your employees full of hope, confidence, and courage.

Find Ira on LinkedIn and learn more about his work at Success Performance Solutions.

Editor’s note: We’ve designed your FAQ page and #WorkTrends Podcast pages to be more fun and productive. Please take a look!

 

onboard new staff

Photo by Vadym Pastukh

The Post-Pandemic Workplace: How to Onboard New Staff Effectively

Once the pandemic is behind us, and in what will be a blended work environment, what will be the best way to onboard new staff?

Due to the broad repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, employment went through fundamental upheaval in 2020. Many businesses shut down (mothballing their assets or simply moving on entirely), causing the loss (or furloughing) of many jobs. The result: throughout the world, national economies have gone into recession.

Despite all the negativity, though, some industries have been able to endure with aplomb. And now that we’re all familiar with the unique demands of operating in these times, companies are again looking to expand. Investing in growth at this point is a risk, but it’s a calculated risk — and one that might offer a huge pay off in the coming months.

It doesn’t hurt that many talented professionals struggle to find work due to the layoffs mentioned above. This reality puts businesses in strong hiring positions. That said, getting the hiring process right isn’t just about finding the best candidates. It’s also about onboarding them effectively. Fail to do onboard new staff right — under our new working conditions — and you won’t just see productivity issues. Frustrated by your failures as an employer, you’ll also see new hires leaving for greener pastures as soon as they can.

In this post, we’re going to look at some actions you can take to ensure that your onboarding process is as smooth and enjoyable as possible. As a result, you’ll bolster productivity and make new team members more likely to feel welcome and settled. Let’s get going.

Promptly Deliver Necessary Office Equipment

For reasons of security and convenience, your employees shouldn’t be using their personal laptops (they may not even own personal laptops). And they shouldn’t be asked to use their own cell phones for company business. So deliver office productivity devices as soon as you’ve confirmed new hires. After all, they may need to get used to them, particularly if they’re not tech-savvy. Giving them time to adjust will certainly help.

Keep in mind that there’s more to working from home than having the right laptop and phone, however. A good home office will have at least one external display, a USB, comfortable peripherals (mouse and keyboard in particular), and a decent office chair. So instead of waiting until someone’s been working for you for some time, ask them early on what kind of setup they’d like. Then make it happen. This proactive step is great for morale and makes the employee feel immediately valued.

Provide a Comprehensive List of Essential Resources

Every business uses various resources regularly. First, there are those it relies upon for business matters (tools, services, etc.). Most are fairly standard, such as task management tools or time-trackers (like HourStack).

Others, though, such as social media or email marketing (on the occasions that someone needs a tool such as Mailchimp), will only come up situationally. Still, the new employee must know the company login). Employers must also consider situational resources when planning post-pandemic onboarding. For instance, the massive uptick in jobs for delivery drivers means business fuel cards (the kind detailed on sites like iCompario) might also be critical additions.

Then there are those resources provided solely to help employees — the perks. Existing employees will know and appreciate many of them. Some benefits, though, won’t because they were never explicitly pointed out. This is often the case with perks added since the beginning of the pandemic, like learning resources and health and wellness programs.

To keep this process simple, maintain a list of all resources, links, and logins. Then ensure you give every new hire access as soon as possible, reducing the likelihood new employees will get stuck early on. It also ensures they can start taking advantage of the perks that will help them and make them more productive.

Introduce Each New Hire

One of the biggest problems with the remote-working era is the lack of in-person contact. Even for people who often got frustrated commuting to work and dealing with office noise, the total absence of contact with colleagues can be dispiriting (online contact is great, but it just isn’t the same). It also makes it much more challenging for new hires to get to know their teammates; –and they can feel left out of the loop in siloed or non-interactive Zoom calls.

It will take time, but when setting out to onboard new staff schedule a team meeting for every new hire. Please don’t settle for everyone getting on camera and calling it a day. Instead, have everyone explain what they do and how they like to work. These micro conversations often flag some common ground, sparking some further discussion that forms valuable bonds.

Additionally, within a couple of weeks, ensure every person in the team, department, or smaller business has at least one direct conversation with each new hire. Even if someone isn’t actually going to be working alongside that employee, they should at least know who they are and the role they play. This small investment in relationship building will increase the new employee’s comfort level and make it easier for people to collaborate in the future.

Make Expectations Clear

Lastly, be extremely clear about what you expect from every new employee. They should already know what their intended role is, of course. But they won’t be able to fulfill all their duties right away — not to the needed level, at least. It’ll take them time to get up to speed and start producing the desired results. The question, then, is: What do you need until then?

Don’t explain what you expect them to accomplish in the first month? They’ll be far more likely to worry that they’re not doing enough (or that they’re doing the wrong things). This negatively affects any new employee’s overall performance, making it a self-fulfilling concern. In essence, let them know that you don’t expect the world from them right away.

For now, all you want is them to do is produce decent work. They will get faster and better over time, of course. But you don’t need them to hit any critical deadlines or achieve anything too remarkable yet.

As you onboard new staff in a post-pandemic world of work, keep these tips in mind. New team members will appreciate your extra effort.

And you’ll benefit from higher productivity, better interpersonal relationships, and stronger retention.

 

executive onboarding

Photo from Welcomia

Executive Onboarding During the Pandemic: Both Pitfall and Opportunity

Talent managers, human resources practitioners, and executive coaches continue to perfect work-from-home and make it the new norm. As they do, they find a hidden pitfall in their work becoming more evident each day. We’re talking about executive onboarding – specifically, for those new team members C-Suite and just below.

So how, in a remote world of work, does the new team member get to know their new colleagues?

Let’s say you just started that new position in the (now virtual) executive suite. You are looking to become part of the team quickly. Chances are you have already thought about how you are going to talk to your direct reports. You have a sense of how to communicate and collaborate, of course. To help matters, your new boss and you have already figured out how you will interact. As some of our clients initially thought, there is a general sense of feeling good about their new situation. And yet, the piece that is missing is an important one.

The fact is we miss the opportunity to connect in person – especially as the new addition. And we haven’t yet learned how to get to know our peers in the organization while working remotely.

Executive Onboarding: A Challenge Even in “Normal” Times

As is the case when working in-person at an office, remote teams and group leaders tend to become siloed. After all, when working alone, it is easy to become narrowly focused on our own departments. Although a natural occurrence, this makes it difficult for the new chief marketing officer, for example, to know much about what the chief financial officer is doing.

Scheduling video calls with equals is not typically on executives’ wavelengths. But in today’s world of work, it should be – it must be. Because when the left-hand does not know what the right hand is doing, problems result. Company efficiencies and productivity suffer. As we coach our clients: You are not just joining the team you will run, you are joining your boss’ team. Neglecting to invest in the development of relationships with team members and leaders at your level, in your situation, creates a leadership dysfunction that is not good for the company – any company.

Developing Relationships in a Virtual World

The key to a successful onboarding process and the development of one-on-one relationships is active listening. In the new work-from-home landscape – where the watercooler conversation, spur of the moment “let’s grab a coffee,” and unannounced pop-in are absent – how does one develop those relationships? Where are the opportunities for active listening? It is not through only one’s direct reports, nor is it solely from your boss – a key source of learning comes from peers.

Your peers will likely have various levels of experience and institutional knowledge about the company. That experience and well-earned knowledge will likely become essential resources for your own team’s success at some point. After all, the Chief Procurement Officer will likely need to rely upon the Chief Supply Chain Officer, and vice-versa, to succeed. Not only will they know the business, but they will also know your people. And developing those relationships, over time, is an integral part of being a good executive.

So how does a new executive team member develop those relationships while working from home? Here are three suggestions:

Develop a Comprehensive Communication Plan

Along with your hiring manager, develop a detailed onboarding plan that ensures you will communicate with all stakeholders. This is especially important for connecting with new peers, an oft-forgotten cohort. It is natural to devise a plan to configure best practices for your new boss and those reporting to you. But developing those relationships with your equals is critical to your success because these people will help you navigate the workplace culture from your same vantage point.

Plan for Spontaneous Connection

Leaders at every level must find a substitute for the unplanned office drop-in to say hello. Those interactions are typically low-stress and ultimately derive high returns when it comes to relationship-building. For WFH, we suggest keeping a pad near your computer to write down a reminder of what you might say when you virtually drop in. That means preparing what you want to say in that short text and quick call—no need to schedule a videoconference to relay that “job well done” encouragement.

Schedule Virtual Happy Hours

Carve out some valuable end-of-the-day time for an after-hours virtual coffee or cocktail with your new team and with your peers. New leaders should accomplish this task through one-on-one meetings or in small groups. Be sure to develop these relationships in a more casual setting because everyone a more relaxed environment will encourage team building and team bonding.

Connecting with one’s peers within the organization should happen regularly for established leadership teams, regardless of work circumstances. When it comes to onboarding in a remote work situation, we encourage our clients to intentionally reach out to their new colleagues via video call or telephone call. Not to accommodate formal meetings, but just to say hello. This aspect of virtual executive onboarding will also help understand the company culture and, just as importantly, what you can anticipate others will expect of you.

How Will You Improve Executive Onboarding?

Deliberately making that introduction, sharing enough personal information to form a bond, and offering your help to new colleagues will surprise some new coworkers and fellow leaders.

Those actions will also make an excellent first impression and go a long way toward easing the transition into that new position—all while working from home.

 

candidate experience

Photo by Fizkes

[#WorkTrends] Why Recruiters Must Care About Candidate Experience

In a survey conducted in 2019 by Brandon Hall, less than half of the responding companies believe they effectively create a great candidate experience.

That same Brandon Hall survey reported that 73 percent of companies care about delivering an excellent candidate experience. As a former recruiter who painfully lived this issue, this data point warms my heart. It means we can work together to significantly improve the experience job seekers receive as they look for new work. I have to say: it’s about time.

Especially in what can seem like an upside-down, mid-pandemic world, every applicant deserves an excellent candidate experience.

Our Guest: John Salt, Candidate Experience Evangelist

My guest this week on #WorkTrends is John Salt, a passionate advocate for job seekers everywhere. John has over 25 years of experience in the recruitment marketplace, both within large matrix organizations and small to medium-sized businesses. When it comes to candidate experience, John is a go-to guy! I jumped right into our conversation by asking him, “What is wrong with the candidate experience?”

“There’s plenty wrong!” John quickly said. He added what he sees as the most significant issue: “People used to talk about ‘processing the candidate.’ And I think a lot of the experience is still rooted in that process. I’m a strong believer that you don’t process people — you process fish or process vegetables, and you’re trying to do it as quickly and cheaply as possible. With people, you must take your time, same with the candidate experience. Because one of the most fundamentally important things people do in their lives is applying for a role where they can exercise their talent, where they can add value.” In response, John says, the employers don’t always reciprocate with a great experience.  

“Today’s candidate experience is clunky; it’s a hassle. And it doesn’t always work properly, so 96 percent of people that start to apply for a job on a mobile device, for example, don’t finish.”

Improving the Candidate Experience

After agreeing — because we see it all the time, even at some of the best employers — I asked John to tell us about tactics we can use to improve the candidate experience. John’s answer gave me even more hope:

“Well, the first thing I would say is you don’t need to utilize all technologies available when trying to make the candidate experience better because those technologies don’t talk to each other. Plus, too many people involved have been satisfied with blaming others, saying ‘That’s a job board problem’ or ‘It’s an ATS problem,’ or ‘It’s a candidate problem.’ There’s been a lot of finger-pointing, but nobody’s really embraced the available solutions.”

John finished his thought: “I love using sites like Airbnb because they know I’ve made a booking before, and the technology fills in the information for me. So instead of asking an applicant to enter the same data over and over again, as too many sites do, John says, “Use smart technology that enables an employer to say, ‘I know something about this candidate already.’ There are plenty of job platforms that already know a lot about a returning candidate, but do they ever bring that over in a seamless, smart, integrated way? No, they don’t.”

John adds, “Could you imagine if retail or hospitality ran the same way? That company just wouldn’t exist very long.”

The Business Case for a Better Experience

Before our conversation ended, John explained why the companies that offer an excellent candidate experience will attract the best talent, and why the best talent will naturally find their way to the companies that provide an exceptional candidate experience:

“So much is going to be automated; the best hirers will be those that put the human touch into the experience. There are many ways you can do that — some require automation but seem like they have a human touch. We see great examples in shopping, gaming, travel, and hospitality; these are the industries that are leading the experience. HR can catch up quickly!”

Want to learn more about how HR can greatly improve the candidate experience? Be sure to listen to my entire conversation with Josh. I not only learned a great deal, but I was inspired to continue to work even harder this year to help improve this critical component of hiring!

 

Find John on LinkedIn.

 

Editor’s note: We’ve updated our FAQ page and #WorkTrends Podcast pages. Take a look!

 

hiring process

Photo by Roman Samborsky

How to Restructure Your Hiring Process for Fit Rather Than Vacancy

Few things frustrate business leaders more than a failed new hire. And yet, chances are your hiring process still focuses on filling a vacancy instead of finding a good culture fit. 

Think about it: Finding the perfect candidate for a job takes much time, energy, and money. So it is incredibly frustrating for a new hire to leave the company before recouping the investment. According to a Leadership IQ study, 46% of new hires either move on or get fired within their first 18 months on the job — and only 19% rate as an unequivocal success.

Those are certainly discouraging statistics. Often, our hiring considerations are so focused on assessing competency (i.e., “Can the candidate do this job?”) that we overlook chemistry (i.e., “Is the candidate a good cultural fit?”). When we take a utilitarian approach to the hiring process, we consider what’s on the résumé, identify the most technically proficient candidate, and then hire them.

Our long-standing hiring processes trap companies in a never-ending cycle of hiring the wrong people for the same position — all while wearing out existing team members with the start-and-stop nature of the process. That is why I approach hiring holistically, going beyond technical abilities to look at how a candidate’s personality will fit within the company’s cultural scope.

The Best Hiring Process: Find Candidates Who Fit the Culture

When my company started, it was just me, my girlfriend, and a few friends. We all trusted and felt comfortable with each other, so there was zero trepidation when making decisions and getting stuff done. When tensions did arise, it was because we’re all passionate people committed to success.

To be clear, finding a good culture fit doesn’t mean hiring people you want to grab a beer with after work (though it doesn’t preclude that). It means restructuring your hiring process from the ground up to look for more than just technical proficiency. Here are three ways to begin that process.

1. Create a “Personality Profile” of Current Employees

A few years ago, my company was in a rush to fill a management spot in our customer service department. After sifting through piles of résumés, we hired one of the first and most qualified applicants we found. A few months (and a few dissatisfied customers) later, the hire wasn’t working out — and stunted our projected growth.

The moral of this story? Get to know your employees and find out their likes, dislikes, similarities, and differences. You’ll likely start to see trends, and you can use that information to direct your company forward. This doesn’t mean every hire has to be exactly like the people already on your team. But forming a “personality profile” of your current staff will help you see blind spots or biases you can keep in mind as you bring on new hires.

2. Take a Sledgehammer to Your Current Hiring Process

Does your hiring process value chemistry and know how to find it? I’m not talking about silly concepts like “the “long flight test.” There are plenty of people I love hanging out with who wouldn’t fit in at our company. Likewise, you can probably think of people in your organization who are great at their jobs but honestly drive you a little crazy on a personal level.

Take your organization’s personality profile and intentionally apply it to every step of your hiring process. Look at the interviews that led to your best hires. What common themes emerge? How can you look for those same traits in a strategic, intentional way?

One way we’ve put this into practice at our company is through group interviews. This process lets our company’s DNA shine through, and it allows us to observe how the candidate aligns (or clashes) with our current culture and operating system.

3. Rethink What (And How) You’re Asking

According to Leadership IQ, only 11% of hires fail because they lack competency. With this kind of discrepancy, it’s probably best if the current method of interviewing — see a résumé, select a candidate — undergoes an overhaul.

That isn’t to say that companies should completely ignore competency. Instead, dedicate interview time to how candidates felt about their previous work experiences and what they liked or didn’t like about those jobs. Look at each potential hire’s analytical and problem-solving skills. Spend assessing their interpersonal dynamics. Get a read on how potential hires operate and be bluntly honest with them about your organization’s personality profile. Finally, ask for stories about how they’ve operated before in work environments like yours.

This is not a one-time restructuring of your hiring process. 

Keep everything that works for you, and learn from any hires who don’t pan out. Along the way, you’ll begin finding candidates who didn’t rise to the top of the list based on competency alone but who intrinsically gel with your organization. These are the people who last, build synergy with those around them, and become invaluable pieces of your organization’s future.

2021 work trends

Photo by VivilWeb

Futurecasting: 7 World of Work Trends We’ll See in 2021

Futurecasting is sometimes akin to looking into the sky and trying to connect the stars. As we look ahead to the future this time, though, we know the direction we’re going. We know where the prominent work trends are taking us.

The pressures and complexities of 2020 and the pandemic forced an awakening. The innovation developed, creativity demonstrated, and momentum generated since that global reckoning has been so strong, there’s no turning around now; we’ll never go back to the way it was. So the tools and strategies we’ve leaned on throughout the pandemic will continue to redefine how we work in 2021.

With that in mind, here are seven key work trends that will continue to make their mark this coming year…

1. Remote Working

As an option, a necessity, a perk, and an official policy, remote working is here to stay. It’s a classic example of “if you build it, they will come.” And the many employees (and their managers) who have now experienced the ability to function remotely and now know the advantages remote work brings won’t want to go back.

As companies scale back on real estate spends (sorry realtors), remote working is a way to maintain a large workforce on a tighter budget. So we’ll see countless organizations following the path of big tech firms who have pledged to keep their employees remote for the time being — if, of course, they can accomplish the job and responsibilities without the need for a shared physical workspace. Once again, big tech is leading the way and disrupting the status quo. Only this time, it’s not transformative leadership creating the change; it’s the technology itself.

2. New Hires, New Experiences

For new hires (and particularly for Generation Z), that traditional rite of passage of joining a workplace and learning a whole new set of behavioral and social norms isn’t going to be as prevalent. This wholly digital generation has already changed the way we experience technology. Now, they’ll help us usher in a whole new way to enter the workplace. Soon, we’ll come to know this new wave of hires as the “remote generation” (or “hybrid generation”).

The brand-new job experience will not have the same impact as it did past generations. We don’t yet know how younger hires will feel about the value of that experience or workplace culture. But we will — and soon. The difference here: The 2021 work culture will be digital in nature. So the experience will not be as sharp a contrast as going from the classroom to the world of work.

3. Video Conferencing

Video conferencing has become the de facto way we meet. It has become so ubiquitous in the workplace that “to Zoom” is now a verb.

Zoom may have been the frontrunner. But there are plenty of existing competitors and new visual collaboration platforms that will help how we work together evolve. After all, this is a very hot aspect of HR technology and will undoubtedly continue to be one of the most dominant work trends.  So I predict increasing capabilities to communicate just as effectively over mobile as we once did face-to-face. I also see better ways to archive and transcribe our video-based conversations and more ways to extend the work done via videoconference to teams and stakeholders.

4. Upskilling

In 2021, we will see a big shift from hiring being the primary driver of increasing an organization’s capabilities to upskilling existing talent. Organizations that had to tighten their hiring budgets after sustained buffeting from 2020 and the pandemic will shift resources into training and development. Those that did just fine despite economic turbulence — in industries that actually grew during 2020 — will be adding a robust reskilling and upskilling program to their HR strategy.

The bottom line for everyone is that institutional knowledge is critical for maintaining continuity and weathering a crisis. Upskilling existing employees will become known as a smart way to hold onto that intelligence while evolving skills to meet new challenges. Upskilling will become a business imperative.

5. Mental Health

Without question, our mental health has become an enormous issue. A recent report by Monster revealed a whopping 69% of employees working from home experience severe burnout. It’s not that working from home is particularly hard on everyone by itself. But the rush to remote without an underlying culture and infrastructure — and without an end-game being defined — has caused some stress.

Because one of the key triggers of burnout is mistreatment by supervisors and managers, we’re learning about the importance of setting boundaries and doing frequent check-ins. Many of us are also making sure our people have access to the mental health benefits they need. To help us continue this critical work trend, we’ll soon see even more apps that help with emotional and mental well-being (such as a meditation app and a mindfulness training tool). And we’ll see more forward-thinking companies providing these practical and widely-available tools as part of their overall well-being programs.

6. Inclusive Cultures

Diversity is critical to every aspect of the workplace — and organizations need to do better. So we’ll see a lot more leaders focusing on how to improve a sense of belonging in their organizations, as well as some authentic soul-searching as we dive into legacies such as systemic racism.

Our timing couldn’t be better. Currently, 70% of job seekers in a survey by the Manifest say they consider a company’s commitment to diversity when evaluating them as a prospective employer. But diversity in terms of hiring and promotions is only one part of the equation. Companies must pay attention to their work cultures, gauge how truly inclusive they are now, and then work to close the gap between what is and what should be. This is perhaps the mother of all work trends and will play a critical role next year. Because in 2021, organizations are not going to be able to get away with a performative statement or symbolic gestures. If you truly believe in equality — if you genuinely believe black lives matter, for example — you’re going to have to show it.

7. Empathetic People Management

Let me add a few words to the phrase above: “empathetic people management… for the right reasons.”

The pre-pandemic talent crunch triggered many reflective moments around how to better conduct HR and talent management. The goal for many companies is to be perceived as a better employer brand and to successfully engage and retain your people. That’s all well and good. But we’re not in a talent crunch right now.

Yet between February and October 2020, some 2.2 million women in the U.S. left their jobs. Overwhelmed, undersupported, and stressed out, many women — particularly working mothers — reached a tipping point and gave up. That’s an incredible talent drain. When they come back to work, they’re going to look for companies that set up the structures that truly support their people through empathetic people management for all the right reasons.

Looking Ahead to 2021

2020’s silver lining is that we’d been stubbornly dancing around what was truly important in the workplace — and to the workforce. We were forced to reckon with real-time discoveries in an authentic way. So we now know exactly what lies between us and where we want to go. We’ll bring that wisdom, and these work trends, to 2021.

This welcome knowledge, together with knowing we have better tools and a clearer vision of what must come next than we’ve ever had before, brings me to my final bit of futurecasting…

2021 will be the year HR once again finds its soul. 

In 2021 and beyond, we will take better care of our people — and each other.

 

internet of careers

Photo by Wright Studios

Workforce Prediction 2021: Get Ready for the Internet of Careers

What is the internet of careers? And how will that impact the future of work?

We approach the end of a genuinely unprecedented year. And many organizations and people are asking what the future holds for the workforce in 2021.

Things are changing at lightning speed for employees, making it impossible to document all they are learning. Thus, far too often, they undervalue themselves in the marketplace. Further infuriating, in our current remote workplaces, there’s no one able to look over our shoulders and affirm, “Yes, you’ve mastered this skill.”

For organizations, it’s challenging to know who really knows what. They must still rely on buzzwords off a resume to serve as the professional “gospel” – claiming to reveal the truth and dispel falsehood. This reliance on keywords gives incentive to people to embellish their resumes. As a result, expensive and time-consuming hiring practices continue to prevail. In the meantime, good employees (those undervalued themselves) don’t have the opportunity to excel.

Where does this leave us? The hiring ecosystem, with its inherent inefficiencies accelerated by the pandemic, has confirmed two needs:

  1. A way to fix employees’ undervaluation of their skills and ownership of their career journey.
  2. An efficient and trusted system for verification and exchange of skills.

The new world of work and the rapid digital transformation of the labor market is also pushing us towards a reimagined, frictionless talent screening, employment, and internal mobility ecosystem.

The solution sure to fix this problem for both organizations and employees: The Internet of Careers.

Introducing Blockchain to the Workforce

A verified and trusted career credentialing solution will forever change the hiring ecosystem and skills economy. Such a system will empower employees to manage their career credentials while also allowing organizations to trust the shared credentials.  So, what makes this possible? The answer, blockchain.

We dare not confine blockchain to transactions of cryptocurrency. Instead, it has the broader capability to transform the way we validate transactions across all kinds of essential applications – from food safety to insurance processing.

So what about its use in the workforce? Blockchain is creating the “Internet of Careers,” a verifiable digital wallet of career records and qualifications. For HR leaders, this will be a key player in future recruiting and employee career advancements. And it’s already in motion: Fourteen industry leaders formed the Velocity Network Foundation from across HCM and education markets. The organization’s mission: To deliver a first-of-its-kind “Internet of Careers” platform.

By utilizing blockchain, the Internet of Careers offers a standardized and secure ecosystem with verifiable digital identity, career, and education records. The technology enables a decentralized information exchange, requiring consensus across the ecosystem before documenting new transactions. This process prevents alterations to items once recorded and ensures all transactions are safe and secure.

Equipping HR Professionals to Succeed

Without the ability to meet new candidates face-to-face, HR leaders can rely on candidates’ background information and be confident the experience and skillset is verifiable. The Internet of Careers equips each employee with a digital record of their work-related data – from employment history, to skills and credentials, to previous salary and benefit information. Traceable and trusted records through the ecosystem make it easier for HR professionals to find the best candidates with the right skills and qualifications.

By leveraging the Internet of Careers, the hiring process would gain much-needed efficiency through reduced cost and time to hire. Also, organizations will benefit from lower hiring mistakes caused by an applicant who has falsified their information.

Increased Ownership Over Our Careers

According to Accenture’s Putting Trust to Work study, 73 percent of employees said they want to own their work-related records and take them along as they transition jobs. For many Millennials and members of Generation Z, having a transferable digital identity is crucial as they continue to develop and advance in the workforce.

Rather than taking a job and staying with a company for a decade or two, today’s employees continue to jump from organization to organization every few years. Many – especially those with technical skills in high demand – stick around even less, taking on freelance and gig roles for a short period. Due to the disrupted job market created by the pandemic and the burgeoning skills economy, remote freelance and gig work has seen a tremendous spike that will continue to rise in 2021.

The design inherent with The Internet of Careers gives individuals the ability to verify their employment history and skills gained. The user then shares this career ecosystem of credential issuers and inspectors as and when needed. Giving employees ownership of their own digital identity allows them to carry this with them throughout their careers. Further, by decentralizing data location, users can oversee where their data is stored. They’ll also know who has access to their data, for how long. And they’ll also know where and how their data is used.

A New Normal for Organizations and Employees

The future of work calls for future-ready employees eager to gain new skills and engage with ongoing learning. Having a clear record of ambition and achievement will give individuals a leg up when seeking to advance their careers. And when selecting individuals for new projects, promotions, and positions? Leaders will actively seek employees who can show verifiable evidence of reskilling and upskilling.

The Internet of Careers will make the future of the workforce a reality. Even more important, it will impact organizations and employees for years to come.

remote hiring

Photo: Vlada Parkovich

4 Proven Ways to Improve Recruiting and Remote Hiring

To say COVID-19 has changed the recruiting and remote hiring would be an understatement. For a start, it’s likely you’re relying more heavily on the expertise of the rest of your HR team, your recruiter, or business leaders while navigating the interview and remote onboarding process. To help you improve the remote hiring process, we’ve put together our top four tips for interviewing virtually, including how to answer some tough questions from candidates.

1. Decide on the Remote Hiring Process 

Before you do anything else, decide on the steps involved in the remote hiring process. Make sure everyone understands the types of interviews and stages the candidates will have to go through. This also allows an opportunity to offer candidates an outline of what to expect. This will be an unfamiliar situation for most, so planning and preparation are key. For example: The free version of Zoom limits meetings to 40 minutes. So, ensure everyone understands the rigid time frame.

If you’re using an agency to help you? Be sure to allow for scheduled follow-up calls with the agency. This will help to keep the process you’ve decided on to move more efficiently.

2. Produce an Information Pack for Candidates 

A great employer branding tool, an information pack can be prepared by and sent to the candidates before the interview/s. The pack can include: 

  • Background information about the company
  • What they should expect from each stage of the interview process 
  • What you’re looking for in an ideal candidate 
  • The technology and login details required (for example: Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, etc.)
  • Point of contact details throughout the interview process 

Sending this information to the candidate will help them have a great candidate experience. It will also allay some of their anxiety while enabling them to prepare to the best of their ability.

3. Encourage Managers to Use a Scorecard

A job interview in person is hard enough. Throw in video technology, and the degree of difficulty increases. When it comes to video interviews, keep your job as simple as possible. That way, you can focus more on making a fair assessment of each candidate. One way to do this: Produce a scorecard unique to the position the candidates are interviewing for. By isolating the top skills or qualities and giving them each a score out of 5, 10 or 20 (depending on the weighting of each), it allows you to quantify where a candidate sits. The scorecard can also help eliminate unconscious biases. After all, managers will only score in relation to the candidates’ demonstrated skills.

4. Prepare for Tough Questions from Candidates 

During the remote hiring process, chances are there will be questions you and the hiring manager may not know how to answer. So prepare ahead of time for some of the most common candidate questions. Below are a few of these questions with tips on how to prepare for them. 

What’s the workplace culture like? 

As the majority of candidates going through the remote interview process won’t have been to your offices, you should explain what it’s like for a newcomer. Things to mention include virtual social activities, daily/weekly catch-ups and the technology you use to keep your staff connected. 

Once hired, what should I expect from the onboarding process? 

The minute details are not helpful here. Instead, provide a high-level overview of the virtual onboarding process. Mention any hardware that would be sent to the new starter’s home and give an outline of the first week of induction/training sessions. It may also be worth mentioning if your workplace organizes a work buddy for new starters and who would be responsible for leading the onboarding process, whether it’s someone from the HR team or the new starter’s line manager. 

How well is the company working remotely?

This question is a good opportunity to mention any wins or challenges the company has faced. Assure the interviewee a remote onboarding process exists. You can also mention how regularly the company meets online and the other ways everyone keeps in touch – whether by Slack, Zoom, emails or phone calls. 

What has your company learned from the transition to working from home? 

Similar to the above, think about any learning curves the company has faced while working from home, whether they have had to do with systems, communication or staff surveys. A candidate may also want to know if the company now recognizes the value in working from home if this wasn’t already in place.  

What types of measures are you looking at to return to the office safely?

While you’re probably still figuring out the details of the policy that will allow a safe return to the office, you should be able to mention the aspects you’re considering. These could include staggered start times, transport options, an increase in remote working or providing PPE. 

Tell me about your flexible working policies?

The answer to this question is likely something all candidates will want to know. If you aren’t already aware, talk to management to find out the company’s thoughts. In some cases, work practices aren’t affected or will not be reduced. In that case, then simply explain why the company has taken this stance. 

The remote hiring process is new for many of us. Which makes this is a great time to learn new hiring methods. Put these tips to work, and hire the best candidates!

Virtual Assistants

Photo: Mariya Pampova

#WorkTrends: Hiring Virtual Assistants

Virtual assistants (VA) offer young brands the flexibility to focus on other areas of the business.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss an episode.

From multitasking between meetings and meal prep to the issues of internet and noise levels, many of us are still trying to adjust to this new normal. But we don’t have to do it alone. Big and small companies are hiring helpers to come to the rescue. These virtual assistants (VAs) and freelancers can take on the tasks that give employees a break and keep the business going.  

Nathan Hirsch, co-founder of Outsource School, came to #WorkTrends to talk about this new trend. For entrepreneurs and leaders he’s got one rule of thumb: bring in help before you’re in dire straits early. “When you can’t walk away from your business for a week, a moment — that’s usually a good indication that you need to hire followers” — as he calls VAs.

The same approach applies as with bringing in any outside help: make sure everyone is on the same page and onboard well. Outsource School uses an onboarding process called SICC: Schedule, Issues, Communication and Culture. VAs also receive standard operating procedures for their first week at work and are tasked with not just reading them, but asking questions. A quiz determines whether they need more training or not — and at that point, if the fit isn’t right, each party may decide to part ways. “That’s how you protect your time, protect your investment and build trust,” he noted. 

For managers, Nathan advises “making sure you set those communication channels up front” to get the process aligned — whether that includes emails, Slack, WhatsApp, Viber or all of them. Then coach VAs on which to use when. For VAs, asking for support when needed is critical. And I predict that we’re going to see more VAs coming onboard now and into the future, so this is an option I’d take seriously. 

We covered a lot of ground in this discussion, so I encourage you to have a listen for yourself. Got feedback? Feel free to weigh in on Twitter or on LinkedIn. (And make sure to add the #WorkTrends℠ hashtag so others in the TalentCulture community can follow along.)

Find Nathan Hirsh on Linkedin and Twitter

(Editor’s note: This month, we’re announcing upcoming changes to #WorkTrends podcasts and Twitter chats. To learn about these changes as they unfold, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter.)

Video

Photo: Dylan Ferreira

6 Tips To Improve Your Video Presence

Video is more important than ever for the vast majority of businesses trying to stay open during the pandemic, which you can see just by looking at how well online collaboration platforms have been doing lately. For example, Microsoft Teams grew its daily active users by 70% in a single month, while Google Meet added about 3 million new users daily in April alone. And since the spring, many businesses now conduct town hall meetings, executive presentations, and company updates entirely via video, often using the collaboration platforms mentioned above.

So if you’re relying on video for business a whole lot more than usual, you’re in good company! But as you might have noticed, not everyone is a natural when it comes to using video regularly, especially when it comes to video presentations that aim to teach viewers something new. Some people have a great camera presence that can capture and keep the viewer’s attention from the beginning of the video presentation to the last word. Others need a little — or lots! — of work to engage viewers. If you feel like you fall into the latter category, that’s okay. You can easily improve your on-camera presence by putting the following tips into practice.

 1. Don’t Be Too Scripted

 Many people who aren’t confident in front of the camera assume that writing out a full script to follow will instantly make them better. But it often does the opposite! You definitely don’t want to be reading from a script on camera if you want an impressive video presence. Doing so will make you seem overly rehearsed and even robot-like, which is not appealing to people.

 Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to go completely off the cuff and make up all your talking points on the fly. There’s a middle ground here, and it involves writing a brief outline to follow. This way, you can glance down at your notes to stay on topic, but you’ll still spend most of your time looking at the camera and speaking naturally as you present.

 If you plan to use PowerPoint while you present on video, glancing at your slides can help you stay on topic, too. Just don’t expect to read them word for word. Use them as quick reminders of what to talk about, and then expand on the topic as you speak freely from your heart.

 2. Speak to Your Viewers, Not Your Camera

Another important detail to remember is that your camera lens is not your audience! Your audience is made up of individuals, and you want to make a good impression on them. So have an image in your head of your viewers before you start the video presentation. Picturing a specific person or team that you talk to regularly at work can help.

 If you’re struggling to imagine talking to a specific person, go ahead and actually do it! Record yourself sending a message to one of your employees or clients. You could be wishing them a happy birthday or telling a joke. What’s important is that you record it with the intention of sending it to that person — even if you end up not sending it after all.

Once you’re done, watch the recorded message and take note of how authentic and engaging you are. You probably look like you have passion and energy in front of the camera, and that’s a great step toward having a better presence on video! Just be sure to keep that same energy for every video you make, even if it means pretending that you’re just talking to your favorite client or team of employees every time.

3. Focus on Your Body Language

 Another way to improve your presence in front of the camera is to work on your body language. Just sitting in a chair facing the camera isn’t usually enough to engage viewers during your video presentation. You also need to have good posture while you present your information.

For instance, you should avoid hunching over. Instead, keep your back straight and put your shoulders back. And if you normally keep your hands in your pocket — or just feel awkward, not knowing what to do with them — try using them to your advantage. You can use your hands to communicate with body language while you talk, gesturing to illustrate your points. Let your head sway in a natural way while you talk, and keep your feet firmly on the ground during your video.

Having good posture will help you feel more relaxed and comfortable in front of the camera. But even better, it will give you a more trustworthy, authoritative look to viewers. Speakers who have good posture tend to come across as more charismatic, confident, and worth listening to in general! So work on improving your posture in your daily life in order to look and feel more prepared in front of the camera.

4. Use Feedback to Improve

 As you use these tips to improve your video presence, make sure you take the time to watch yourself on camera. In fact, it’s a good idea to watch your first few videos and take notes on what you think you can improve. Then, as you work on your posture and learn additional ways to improve your video presence, watch your newer videos so you can compare to the old ones. How have you improved, and what can you still work on?

Consider some details in particular. Do you talk too fast due to nerves? Do you notice any nervous tics you didn’t even know you had, such as clearing your throat often, cracking your knuckles, or moving from foot to foot as you stand? Do you use filler words, like “um” and “like,” a lot? If so, take note of these habits and work on stopping them.

You should also get feedback from other people and listen to them. Ask your employees or coworkers to watch some of your best videos and let you know how you can improve. And if you think you’ve already improved, thanks to tips like these, ask your team to compare your old videos to your newer ones to see how much difference there is.

5. Look at Analytics for Your Videos

 Another type of feedback you should use is the data you can see from any analytics programs you use. You should be able to see important metrics, such as how many views you got and how long each viewer watched the video. This will give you an idea of whether you have a good presence on video, or if you need to make some improvements.

 An easy way to track analytics is to use Hive Insights 2.0, which reports aggregated event metrics that matter. They include viewer participation, viewing time, network impact, video quality, and more. You’ll even get ranking lists that show your viewers and locations by size, video experience quality, and other details.

 So when you look at the feedback you get from Hive Insights 2.0, you can get an overview of how your videos are doing. And since your on-camera presence does affect the performance of your videos, this information will undoubtedly be helpful for you to have!

 6. Remember That Practice Makes Perfect

As with anything, you’re going to need to practice your new on-camera habits before you can perfect them. So instead of reading these tips and then quickly creating a video that you send to everyone right away, make it a point to make some videos just for fun. Think of a topic and an audience, and make a few videos with those details in mind.

Then watch them and take notes of what else you can improve. You might notice your posture is better after just one or two videos, but you could still work on leaving out filler words. Or maybe your speech is great, but you just can’t easily break your bad posture habits and will need more time to improve.

That’s okay. No one becomes an expert on making engaging videos in just a day or two. It will take some time — and lots of practice videos — to improve your video presence. But if you’re making lots of video presentations for your business this year, it’s worth your time to get good at it to ensure your messages really resonate with your viewers.

That’s especially true when you’re trying to reach employees who have been working from home for months and are likely experiencing some video fatigue as they connect through video constantly. Those types of viewers deserve a great presentation — not a lackluster video — that will keep their interest.

Tuition Assistance

Photo: Tumisu

Recruit Top Talent With Tuition Assistance Programs

What do Apple, Disney, Verizon, Google, and Starbucks have in common? They’re all multi-billion dollar companies, and they all offer tuition reimbursement to their employees. And they’re showing that a company benefits by paying fees for their employees’ education. Tuition assistance is a win for both employers and employees.

A Growing Trend in Employee Benefits

Tuition assistance programs are a type of employee benefits in which the employer pays for a predetermined amount of continuing education costs for their employees. Assistance may come in the form of reimbursements for tuition, fees, and books.

Some employers may opt to cover the full cost associated with the education, while others may choose to pay a portion. Some might pay upfront; others per course/semester.

To protect themselves from employees taking advantage of the program and leaving the company, employers take various measures, such as requiring the beneficiaries of the program to remain in the company for a specified time — or be required to reimburse the company for part of the fees paid on their behalf.

The Benefit for Companies

As skilled talent becomes harder to find, many companies are looking to grow from within. As of 2018, 85% of US employers surveyed were offering tuition assistance to some or all employees, according to a study by WorldatWork. Here’s what companies gain:

1. Reduced Tax Burden

Companies with tuition assistance policies for their employees can benefit from tax breaks. That’s because money spent on paying employee education expenses is tax-deductible if it meets the IRS requirements.

Under section 127 of the Internal Revenue Code, an employer can deduct up to $5,250 per year for each employee that qualifies and participates in the employer’s education assistance plan.

With the US government facilitating the implementation and adoption of tuition assistance programs, there is no reason for an organization not to take advantage of this opportunity.   

2. Free Part-time Work (Depending on a Company’s Tuition Assistance Policy)

Besides the tax break, companies can also get free part-time work and increased brand awareness by offering tuition reimbursement.

For example, Finnegan, a Washington-based law firm that specializes in intellectual property law has an attractive reimbursement program that covers 100% of employee’s tuition fees.

To qualify for the program, staffers must work as “student associates” while they attend law school. This program is a win-win for all; the company gets part-time work from the student and the student gets free tuition. What’s not to like, especially if you’re going to a top law school like Harvard on someone else’s dime.

According to BLS, lawyers make $122,960 on average but can expect to pay anywhere from $12,000 to $70,000 for the LLM (Master of Law) program. But with a tuition reimbursement program, like the one for Finnegan, the cost can be reduced to nil.

3. Help Businesses Attract Top Talent

It’s no secret that every company wants to attract, recruit, and retain top talents.

To achieve this, many companies offer attractive benefits and perks. Some will opt for vacation days, others gym membership, and a few will stick to industry-standard salaries.

But when you look at the various generational cohorts in the workplace (Gen X, millennials, and Gen Z), you may come to realize that you’re not giving your employees what they actually want. For instance, millennials comprise a majority of the American workforce.

That means for a business to have the people it needs, it may need to fish from the millennials pond. And to attract and retain millennials, you’ll want to give them what motivates them most. And that is, you guessed right: tuition reimbursement.

Don’t take our word for it. In a recent Gallup’s survey on ‘The State of the American Workforce,’ 45% of millennials said they would change their current jobs for one that offers tuition reimbursement. By comparison, 24% of baby boomers and Gen Xers said they won’t change jobs on the basis of tuition reimbursement alone.

4. Helps Employers Reduce Turnover

Offering tuition assistance helps to reduce employee turnover and the associated costs.

And there is no better example to bring this point home than the case of Cigna, which was published by the Lumina Foundation.

From 2012 to 2014, Cigna Corporation invested millions of dollars in tuition assistance through its Education Reimbursement Program (ERP). By the end of 2014, ERP resulted in a staggering 129% increase in ROI as a result of the avoided talent management and recruitment costs.

When a company invests in its employees’ development and success, the employees feel obliged to reciprocate by helping the company grow. In a nutshell, a tuition reimbursement program fosters a sense of loyalty between the employee and the employer.

Wrapping Up

Tuition assistance provides an effective way for employers to nurture their employees’ skills through continuing education programs. 

But as businesses and schools around the world cancel physical meetings in response to COVID-19, in-class learning is emerging as one of the hardest-hit activities. However, businesses can’t afford to put capability building on hold. 

To foster employee development in the midst of COVID-19, employers can encourage their employees to do remote learning by offering tuition reimbursement programs. With remote learning, completions can be done from any location, and what better time than now when employees can’t do their normal jobs?

Introverts

Photo: Bethany Legg

Why You Should Recruit Introverts — and How

In this extrovert-biased world of ours, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Many job candidates aren’t making it past the hiring process to get the jobs they’re qualified for. The reality is that if introverts don’t interview in a bubbly, enthusiastic manner, they likely won’t make it to the next round. And if they don’t share their accomplishments with confidence and bravado, they’re likely to be overlooked for positions in which they would thrive. 

The costs to our organizations of this lost talent are staggering to consider. 

Yet, emerging evidence shows that the tide is turning. In a 2019 Workplace Survey of some 240 introverts, a promising 38% of respondents said their organizations demonstrated a willingness to hire and promote introverts. And as general awareness of introversion increases, it may become less of an exclusionary factor. 

Hiring a diverse workforce is just the first step. Companies must also do the work to create places where people of all temperaments feel included and experience a sense of belonging. When introverts can see many different pathways to success and opportunities to thrive, it’s more likely that they’ll stay in an organization and do their best work. 

Consider How Introversion Impacts The Job

In the hiring process, weigh whether personality actually makes a difference for the position. 

Susan Schmitt, group vice president and head of human resources at Applied Materials, says, “The main thing that matters on temperament: Is there any element of this person’s temperament, nature or behavior that will impair them in this particular role or a future role?” 

In essence, how might their temperament work for or against them in that particular role? Susan gave the example of a new hire that appeared to have low energy during the interview process. “She was somewhat slow in her responses, thoughtful and reflective, which led some interviewers to think she may not be right for the role. But her skills, knowledge, experience and education were super strong, and her capacity for complexity and conceptual capability were outstanding.” The team hired her. 

“This hire became a success story, and she ended up becoming a vice president. Had she been dinged for her low-affect personality in that first interview, think of the lost contributions,” remarked Susan. 

To ensure that people with introverted personality types are included and embraced within your organization, make certain that introversion is a key dimension of diversity within your larger talent management strategy. This would establish that an introverted candidate who didn’t come across as the kind of person an interviewer would “like to have a beer with” wouldn’t get shot down for that reason. After all, not every position requires a candidate to be great at after-work socializing, right? Furthermore, if everyone inside an organization knows the introvert-inclusive criteria for hiring and promotion, then they can build a stronger introvert-friendly culture throughout. 

Through hiring greater numbers of introverts and embracing all personality types in our organizations, we may one day reach a critical mass of introverts who are recognized, respected and heard for their wise and understated input.

How Can You Attract Great Introvert Talent?

Here are some ways to ensure that you cast the widest net and seriously consider introverts in all hiring decisions. 

  1. Give them a sense of what it’s like. How do potential recruits view your company? Ryan Jenkins, Millennial and Gen Z expert, says that companies need to manage their YouTube channels and make sure they offer people the experience of seeing what it is like to work for your company. Introverts, who like to research and spend time in reflection, will be looking to social media channels to figure out if they have a connection to your brand. You may never even see those potential introverted hires if you have a sparse online presence. 
  1. Create an introvert-friendly interview process. Integrate these three strategies: first, prep the room. Avoid blazing lights and noisy areas. Consider chair placement; sitting too close together can be off-putting for introverts who value personal space. If it’s a group interview, seat the candidate at the middle of the table rather than at its head, so the candidate feels less scrutinized and can make eye contact with everyone. 

Next, schedule adequate time. If you schedule yourself too tightly between interviews, you may feel pressured and impatient if the person doesn’t respond quickly enough, especially if you are an extrovert. Introverted candidates are likely to pause before answering questions, and you want to provide them with the time they need to fully express themselves. 

And finally, attend to energy levels. One hiring manager said that she noticed her more introverted candidates were “not the same people at the end of the day. They deflated without a chance for breaks with back-to-back interviews.” To avoid overwhelming the candidate, only put people on the interviewing schedules who are essential to the process. Consider breaking a packed interview schedule into two days. 

  1. Check your bias at the door. If you’re more extroverted, beware of projecting your bias about introverts onto the candidate by wishing they showed more emotion or visible energy. If you’re an introvert, you’re more likely comfortable with a slower pace and pauses, and the possible self-effacing manner of an introverted interviewee. Check yourself for confirmation bias — that is, the tendency to seek answers that support your case and point of view while minimizing other important responses. Diversify your pool of candidates by being open to everyone. 
  1. Employ paraphrasing. Reflecting back what you heard gives candidates a chance to modify or validate what they said. It also offers a needed pause for introverts so they can process what’s being said in a reflective way. Both introverts and extroverts will appreciate the chance to clarify their thoughts and round out their responses.
  1. Use AI tools (with caution). Using artificial intelligence screening is receiving more attention as one solution to reducing the costs of hiring and to promote more diversity. AI can allow you to cast a wider net and includes those with introverted temperaments who might not be considered in the initial screening process. Digital interviews record verbal and nonverbal cues of candidates and analyze them against position criteria. But many experts suggest using a slower approach rather than a full-scale adoption of these tools at this stage, as they can bear unintentional biases. 

To capture introvert talent, think beyond hiring (and promoting) for personality. It starts with checking your own temperament bias and valuing introverts in your talent management process. 

 

Diversity Equity and Inclusion

Photo: Meagan Carsience

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and the Bottom Line

The events of the last few months have brought increased attention to the value that diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) bring to the workplace and to society at large. Increasingly, organizations are engaging in discussions around flexible working, social justice, privilege, equity, and about what this all means for the future of work. 

For those who work in the DEI space, these conversations are not new. The strong connections between workforce diversity, inclusion, and engagement have been documented for years. When organizations build diverse cultures where everyone can succeed and thrive, business results also flourish. 

A recent report from The Conference Board outlines how building a stronger connection between inclusion and engagement initiatives can help human capital leaders improve the employee experience while increasing trust and feelings of belonging. As organizations rely more heavily on team-based models, these links become crucial to driving performance and sparking innovation. 

Yet many organizations still struggle to put DEI into practice. Effective DEI strategies and initiatives often require changes in norms, talent processes, and leadership styles, all of which may encounter resistance. Change is difficult. Hence, this period of turmoil constitutes both an ideal and a challenging time for human capital leaders to take action and strengthen DEI within their organizations.  

It’s the ideal time because DEI is top of mind among leaders. There is strong executive support to create positive change that drives resilience; in many cases business leaders are reaching out to their HR teams for the first time to ask for DEI solutions. It is also a challenging time because these important conversations are happening as leaders juggle multiple considerations around the COVID-19 health and economic crisis, and their business needs — and they often are doing so with fewer resources. 

What can human capital leaders do to advance DEI, build resilience, and drive positive organizational change? Building on insights from executives across industries and regions who participated in Conference Board research, we recommend the following four steps:

1. Create a common vision around what DEI means for your organization, and why it’s especially important now.

Enhance communication and encourage consistent messaging across the organization. Help leaders and colleagues understand how DEI can improve the work environment and increase resilience during times of change.

Practical tips from DEI leaders:

  • Create organization-wide definitions of DEI that align with the organization’s culture and values.
  • Identify measurable behaviors and clear expectations that help hold people accountable for those behaviors.

2. Encourage collaboration and broader participation in your DEI initiatives.

As recent events increase DEI’s visibility, they also amplify opportunities to engage employees and leaders more broadly across the organization. Now is the time to boost interest among those who typically do not participate in DEI, to create shared accountability, and to help ensure that the burden of driving change doesn’t fall solely on underrepresented groups.

Practical tips from DEI leaders:

  • Provide resources on how people can participate and take action both at work and within their broader communities.
  • Communicate and set clear expectations, which can go a long way toward people feeling supported during times of change. Encourage dialogue over conflict and make it OK to make mistakes; this will help build trust.

3. Invest in inclusive leadership skills development.

Inclusive cultures do not just happen by chance. They require intentionality and willingness to change how we work and interact with our colleagues, as well as identifying the inclusive leadership behaviors to help drive your people strategy. At times, this will require leaders to learn new skills and to “unlearn” how they manage their teams in order for them to fully integrate different perspectives. The good news: these new skills can improve both leadership effectiveness and business results.

Practical tips from DEI leaders: 

  • There are multiple models of inclusive leadership to help identify key behaviors. You don’t have to start from scratch, leverage existing models of inclusive leadership in the field.
  • Work with both formal and informal DEI champions across the organization to outline key inclusive behaviors that are meaningful to you. Some organizations may want to highlight how diversity and inclusion improve decision-making, whereas others may focus on the connection between DEI and innovation. The key is to make inclusion relevant to your business and work.

4. Enhance accountability. 

To drive effective change, holding people accountable for their role in creating a more inclusive culture is key. Accountability helps establish clear expectations about how everyone can participate, including specific behaviors (e.g., team or leadership behaviors) and, for people managers, metrics (e.g., diversity representation, engagement). Without clear accountabilities to help us keep the goals in mind, we’re all bound to go back to our “old ways” of working.

Practical tips from DEI leaders: 

  • Ask for input on your strategy from, and conduct regular follow-ups with, leaders about DEI accountabilities and progress. Having a voice helps increase ownership and buy-in.
  • Engage your human capital analytics team to identify patterns, trends, and examine the impact of your DEI efforts. Assess what is and isn’t working, such as by comparing promotion and attrition rates for employees who participate in a program or activity and those who do not.

This is the time for human capital and business leaders to drive positive organizational change, increase DEI, and create more effective ways of working across differences. Follow these guidelines to capitalize on this moment to improve workplace culture and business results.

Tech Training Programs

Photo: ThisisEngineering RAEng

Hiring Tech Talent? Tap this Overlooked Pipeline

Over the past decade, and even more so in our current economic state, more areas of life have become increasingly digitized. That evolution has certainly affected hiring practices. Applicant training systems, for instance, can collect, sort, and rank thousands of résumés, automatically surfacing top candidates for any given role. Chatbots can engage, source, and screen candidates based on a set of predetermined metrics like skills and education.

But with all of these advancements in recruiting and hiring, one thing has remained relatively stagnant: credential requirements. Most companies still require candidates to have a college degree. But in industries like technology, where the way people learn new skills is rapidly evolving, that requirement is creating a barrier.

Traditional hiring practices simply can’t keep up with the tech industry’s increasing talent needs. Sure, some aspiring tech workers are still taking the conventional education-to-job pathway by obtaining computer science degrees. But fewer than 60,000 computer science graduates enter the market each year, and that’s a tiny talent pool for companies to compete over.

Still, many qualified, talented technologists who took different routes to learn their skills are screened out of the hiring process due to companies’ outdated hiring criteria. Employers would do themselves a favor by opening up their minds and candidate criteria to other options.

Alternative Talent Pipelines

On top of producing a low supply of workers for a field with high demand for talent, many traditional colleges and universities are often hamstrung in evolving their curriculums. They just can’t do it fast enough to keep up with the evolving skills employers are looking for. It’s simply not feasible to change course curriculum as quickly as computer programming languages change.

Take JavaScript, for example. It’s become an extremely popular language for web development over the past couple of years. To secure a job in the field, you need to know not only JavaScript, but also frameworks like Angular or React. Yet these frameworks are changing almost every year, putting colleges and universities with inflexible curriculums at a huge disadvantage. It often takes more than a year to get the approvals necessary to change the curriculum.

Other tech training programs, however, like online courses or in-person boot camps, can more quickly pivot their curriculum to match changes in industry trends, equipping students with the right skills to meet employer needs. For this reason, alternative skilling programs can also produce talent much quicker than two- or four-year degree programs.

Alternative skilling programs have the flexibility to accelerate curriculum and churn out qualified programmers in mere months. They give students the basic skills they need to jump into a tech role. Then, employees are expected to learn on the job — a huge advantage to any company looking to shape unique skill sets, especially when 87% of IT executives are struggling to find skilled technology professionals today.

On top of developing relevant skills from a more agile learning environment more quickly, many alternative training graduates possess additional capabilities that can benefit employers. Here are a few:

Broader Life Experience

Graduates from nontraditional backgrounds often bring unmatched life experience into their new careers. Alternative coding students often enter programs with a breadth of different backgrounds — both vocational and educational. In fact, many already have college degrees in nontechnical fields and have enrolled in tech training programs to explore a career change.

Whereas two- or four-year college graduates likely just left home to go to college and then went straight into job searching, nontraditional students have had different life experiences that grant them additional perspectives and soft skills to bring to the table.

For example, a single mother who graduates from a coding boot camp is likely to be an excellent multitasker, as she’s raised her child while coordinating her education on her own. Or a former restaurant manager who joined an alternative training program to explore an interest in tech is likely to have strong leadership and managerial skills that a recent college grad may not possess.

Built-in Tenacity

Graduates from an alternative training program have already proven themselves by finishing the course. Many alternative training programs remove barriers such as high tuition costs. This means that the training becomes accessible to a wider pool of tech-interested people. It also means anyone who joins a program can drop out with fewer financial consequences than they could in a two- or four-year degree program — resulting in individuals who’ve demonstrated immense drive and hard work.

That presents a built-in vetting process. People who successfully complete free or low-cost training programs prove their grit and tenacity — especially considering that many are taking care of children or working full-time on the side. These kinds of traits are important in tech job candidates.

Many of these learners are also career-changers. They left one career to pursue a true interest in technology, which means they’ve demonstrated drive simply by taking the risk to enter a new career field.

Industry-Relevant Skills

Graduates from nontraditional learning pathways are often equipped with specific, industry-relevant skills. Because alternative training programs tend to be more nimble when it comes to curriculum, they can easily adapt to teach the specific skills employers are looking for. Many programs even ask companies what skills they’re in need of — both current and future — to ensure students learn the proper ones.

For example, our organization recently switched the core language taught in our flagship LC101 course, moving from Python to JavaScript after assessing the skills needed by our hiring partners. We’re also able to train a cohort of students specifically for a company experiencing difficulty hiring those hard-to-find skill sets. Given that 33% of companies report problems in finding qualified candidates to fill open tech positions, alternative training programs may be the answer for sourcing talent.

Of course, college graduates with relevant skills should always be a part of the eligible hiring pool. But with the demand for entry-level talent being so much greater than what traditional pathways are producing, it’s time for hiring managers to diversify their recruitment strategies to give other talented technologists a shot. They’re likely to be pleasantly surprised by the talent and promise candidates from a variety of education and experience backgrounds can bring to their businesses.