Keeping Staff When Your Employee Benefits Don’t Cut It

Attracting good employees as a small- or medium-sized business can be tricky. To get around it you hire inexperienced graduates and train them yourself, only to seem them walk off to a larger company with shinier benefit packages as soon as you give the qualifications they need to get in. It seems to be the way things are: you train fresh talent, and then bigger, wealthier companies with life insurance, an incredible insurance plan, and more paid vacation than you can afford poach them. The costs of training new employees and the constant hemorrhaging of your best employees drives down the quality of your work and prevents you from becoming a major player. So what can you do to hold on to those people so that you can grow your business?

Screen Your Hires

Big businesses can offer better pay and better benefits than your business. They offer stability and great wages to people who are trying to maximize their income, but they also tend to be rigid and very unadaptable. As a smaller business you should focus on hiring people who are unlikely to fit well into a large, slow-moving organization. Ask interviewees about their future plans, and take in those who are well qualified but also planning on pursuing further education, gathering new skills, taking care of children, or possibly even moving.

Be The Most Convenient Option

Offering work to these individuals makes you a convenient option for skilled workers who might otherwise be forced out of the job market. Accommodate them by offering flexible work hours and telecommuting options, in conjunction with a steady paycheck. This creates a favorable work-life balance for employees and makes it easy for them to stay on board while also putting them in a position where they would have to give up a lot of freedom if they wanted to work at a more established business.

Maintain Good Morale With Great Leaders

Running any team of professionals is tricky, and doing it with employees who have flexible schedules, or who work from home, is even more difficult. This puts an incredible strain on your leadership team, who will have to work very hard to keep their respective teams cohesive and on the same page. There are a lot of important characteristics that go into an excellent manager, and it’s especially important to screen potential leaders for their communication skills, their ability to motivate people, and their ability to inspire good cooperation and coordination between employees.

Work To Keep Individual Employees

Every employee has different needs, and when someone is looking for greener pastures it’s important to know why, and what you could do about it. Have an answer ready for what your employees can do to earn raises or promotions, offer training to develop employees professionally, and deal with interpersonal conflicts in the office. Never try to bully an employee into staying, and always be the one to offer solutions to a potentially departing employee rather than getting defensive.

Small- and medium-sized organizations have an uphill battle to retain skilled employees, but it is a battle that can be won. By carefully screening potential new hires, offering flexibility, maintaining good leadership, and determining why individual employees are leaving, you might be able to hold onto employees a little longer. Chances are they might leave down the line, but the company will have at least recovered the money spent to hire and train the individual.

About the Author: Samantha Stauf works in the marketing department of a start-up. She recently became a regular contributor at Ms Career Girl and Social Media Today.

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Why Tell Authentic Stories In The Workplace?

Content marketing, content creation and the likes are some of 2015’s early buzzwords: Create content to connect with customers, employees, and potential future employees and everything will be great.

And while content is important, it’s not about sharing content. It’s about sharing meaningful stories.

I like to joke that my 7-year-old doesn’t come up to me and says “Daddy, please read me some content.” Of course, she says, “Daddy, please read me a story.”

People – that includes families and companies – connect around a shared story. This is also sometimes called a shared narrative.

It has been documented that stories stimulate different parts of the brain more than a 51-point PowerPoint slide does, for example. Stories make us feel something. Stories make us remember.

Interestingly, narratives inside organizations already exist and have existed for a long time. People have told stories by sharing their experiences, their purposes (or lack thereof) and by dreaming about a goal for the future.

We connect around our positive and forward-looking stories, and when not handled correctly, teams can be driven apart by our negative stories and experiences.

In addition to verbal storytelling, some stories from the workplace are now being shared on social media networks and sometimes on blogs. From time to time, people get in trouble for saying something negative about their workplace. Whether it’s true or not is not relevant. It was negative!

Some companies are starting to understand the importance of sharing authentic stories and are allowing their employees to be brand advocates.Trappe

The Gazette in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for example, published internal stories publicly on its “Our Voice” site in 2014. That’s a good start, but there are many more stories that can be shared all around.

I spoke at the Workplace (R)evolution event in 2014 and I asked audience members to turn to their neighbor and share a meaningful story with them. I asked them where I could find those stories published. Just one person raised his hand. None of The Gazette employees’ stories had been published in the “Our Voice” section either.

So, it takes time for organizations to adapt. To get there it’s a shift in mindset. It’s OK to share our authentic stories and to allow employees to share their successes. But isn’t that boasting? It’s certainly a fine line. You could encourage employees to share each other’s success stories. Now it’s recognition!

But it has to be authentic and true. Allowing employees to share blogs about their experiences, but asking them to get those experiences approved by four vice presidents has the potential for inauthenticity and is close to a traditional marketing approach.

But, what if employees can’t be responsible with what they share, you might ask? What if they just want to trash the company? This doesn’t sound like a storytelling problem to me? That sounds like a staffing problem. Why are these people associated with the organization in the first place? Or maybe there’s an underlying morale problem in the company.

There are some steps – simple ones, in theory – to get authentic storytelling started in your organization. Stories happen every day, but they won’t be shared until:

  • Top leaders explicitly endorse the initiative.
  • Top leaders and other leaders share their own stories publicly.
  • People who take initiative and share stories are publicly recommended for this.
  • People are given time to share authentic stories.

You might wonder:  Why would your organization invest in this? Isn’t this just the latest buzzword? Yes and no. It is a bit of a buzzword, but people relate to each other through stories.

The stories you share and that are being shared already will have an impact on recruiting, retaining talented employees and will ultimately even help with customer acquisition.

Note: Christoph Trappe will be the guest on the January 28th TalentCulture #TChat Show, which will run from 7-8 pm ET (4-5 pm PT).

About the Author: Christoph Trappe is a U.S.-based digital branding strategist. He writes about story development, distribution and audience engagement at The Authentic Storytelling Project.

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HR Technology’s Winning Formula: A Tool, Not A Crutch

It sometimes seems that those in the HR world often find themselves in a world of extremes when it comes to technology. Or we may think of extremes as the choice we must make. But the reality is somewhere in the middle, finding ways to exploit the power of technology and analytics with the human side we can never lose sight of. For everyone worried that HR technology may drastically reduce the need for HR professionals, there is another side that often sees tech on its own as the cure all for all our challenges.

What The “Human-Only” Side Misses

By not giving technology its due and proper stature, those who stand firm in the belief that the obstacles or potential pitfalls of technology outweigh the potential benefits miss out on enhancing the human element they purport to embrace. In addition, this can lead to HR remaining bogged down in trying to justify its existence, or at least its high value, time and time again. This results in a self-perpetuating ongoing battle that detracts from HR’s ultimate mission, which includes attracting, nurturing and developing real people – the humans who are the heart of an organization.

Integrated into an organization properly, HR technology should and does enhance human relationships and the value of employees, from talent acquisition to onboarding and on through to retention, succession management and learning and development. Technology can bring insight and clarity to organizational challenges, such as early employee departure, for example.

The cost of poor retention, when fully itemized, often exceeds 50% of first-year compensation and can easily exceed 100% of compensation for critical managers and professionals ( With talent analytics data providing insight into why employees leave, the value is clearly there. Implemented properly, technology can also enhance engagement, another key component of HR. With the cost of poor employee engagement so high, the benefits of technology to greatly enhance engagement, not detract from it, are clear.

Technology On Its Own Misses The Mark

On the flip side, an overreliance on technology can be detrimental. For example, as your talent acquisition activities move toward the hiring of a candidate, the human side becomes more important. Without the human element and more interaction at the later stage of the recruitment stage, key information will be missed. Similarly, technology can provide huge pieces of important information to highlight possible opportunities, such as who are the best fits for your succession planning, or risks, such as which employees are most in jeopardy of leaving the organization. Risks and rewards are all on display and available for maximizing potential and minimizing soft and hard costs, all through a seamless blend of technology and human elements.

The Right Mix Makes A Winning Formula

While not a black-and-white issue, the value of technology to an organization’s HR function is clear and demonstrable. Winning businesses and organizations around the globe have exploited technology to their advantage. A 2014 Harvard Business Review research report found that organizations that invest in workforce analytics to drive talent decisions and development see significantly better business results than those that do not. The key is not relying completely on technology nor completely ignoring it. A proper mix of these two critical components of talent management can help an organization succeed and outperform others in its class.

HR technology as a tool, not a crutch, is a winning strategy.

About the Author: Joe Abusamra is Vice President, Product Marketing at NGA.NET. Joe writes about talent management at

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10 Surprisingly Easy Ways to Retain Your Employees

Hands down, the most important investment you could possibly have in your company is your employees. Are you investing a large percentage in hiring the right employees? Do you have a winning team? If so, employee retention should be your top priority. Here are 10 surprisingly easy ways to achieve it.

  1. Develop an employee retention strategy
    Don’t leave this to the last minute, or go into it unprepared. You’ll be flying blind. The best way to approach this is with your eyes open, with a plan. Narrow down all the variables when it comes to your company and specifically what your employees need to thrive. Keeping all of these factors in mind will better help you figure out how to approach the situation.
  2. Keep things in perspective
    It’s easy to give in to the mindset that new technology is what will benefit your business most, but what good is that technology without valuable players who really know what they are doing? Having top-notch people on your team is key. Did you know that according to recent studies you can spend up to 21 percent of an employee’s annual salary replacing him or her? The morale of one or two unhappy employees can affect the morale and work performance of the entire company.
  3. Be a good listener
    It’s important to be receptive to your employees. Communicate with them about their needs, and foster an open dialogue about their careers, their objectives, and what is going on with the company. A successful business is fueled by communication, and ignoring your employees could cost you your company.
  4. Value your employees
    Since a company is as good as the sum of its parts, understand how important it is to invest in your company through finding the best people for your team. Once you have them, you have to put emphasis on the importance of cultivating this relationship. Unhappy, dissatisfied employees leads to a high turnover rate, which is bad news for your company. Value them, and they will value you and your company.
  5. Give credit where it is due
    Make sure to pay attention to outstanding work performance and dedication, as well as rewarding it accordingly. This leads to a healthy work ethic and professional relationship with your employees. When they are rewarded for their outstanding performance, they will feel valued. Happy employees equals a productive company.
  6. Foster a good work environment
    There’s nothing worse than dreading going into work because of an imbalanced environment. This can be aggravated by excess stress, pressure, as well as improper distribution of work and resources. Who says work can’t be fun, productive and rewarding? Foster a positive, driven, happy environment, and it will go a long way for your business.
  7. Stop micromanaging!
    Micromanaging should never happen in a successful company. You picked the members of your team for a reason. Communicate rationally and effectively about what you expect for your employees, and make clear, realistic deadlines. When your expectations and goals make sense and are communicated effectively, all you need to do is trust your employees to carry out the work that is expected of them. If you feel the need to micromanage, you have the wrong people working for you.
  8. Differentiate
    Figure out what is most important at work, and strive for the bottom line, while treating your employees well. They deserve the utmost level of respect, as you deserve respect from them. Stop focusing on all the little details and shift your perspective instead toward the bigger picture. When you take control of your company in a graceful, inclusive way, it positively impacts everyone’s work performance.
  9. Treat all your employees fairly, but not all equally
    Many companies make the mistake of treating everyone exactly the same. This is a misconception. The best businesses recognize the strengths and weaknesses of each individual employee, as well as which employees have better work performance. Endeavor to reward your top players primarily, and notice how this positively affects your company.
  10. Get data on your employees
    Even if it is a pain, it is essential to conduct employee surveys. Make sure they follow these guidelines:
  • Anonymity so your employees can feel confident in being completely honest
  • Responding so your team sees that not only do you care what they have to say, but you will endeavor to foster a better work environment by improving, based on their opinions
  • Feedback sharing so your employees will have the utmost sense of open, healthy communication as a company
  • Schedule surveys so you can regularly conduct them. Notice how things change over time. It’s important to be committed to this.

The bottom line is simple: invest in your employees and you invest in your business. When you endeavor to communicate, encourage, inspire and help their careers grow you work to create the best company possible and stay on your “A” game.

About the Author: Ava Collins is an online marketing associate with Hicks Professional Group as well as the IT staffing company’s HR manager.

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Creating Company Culture Irresistible To Millennials

How do you create an atmosphere that keeps top performers at your organization? How do you keep your competitors from plucking your best talent? How do you minimize top performers leaving for opportunities elsewhere?

Gone is the “you should be grateful to work here” paradigm. It has been replaced by Millennials with, “Why should I work (or keep working) for you?” Leadership expert John C. Maxwell says, “Your ability as a leader to find, develop, and retain the best people is the single greatest factor in determining your success.”

The key to retaining young top talent is to cultivate a company culture that is hard to leave. Company culture starts with the leader. By leveraging these three guiding principles you can create a workplace irresistible to Millennials.

1) Connect With Your Team

More than ever before, it’s acceptable to be yourself in the workplace. These days, letting your hair down won’t undermine your authority but rather will boost the connection with your teams. The erosion of many of today’s workplace formalities has caused a rise in more and more people bringing their authentic selves to work.

Because they place a high value on transparency, Millennials respond well to authentic leaders. They won’t want to leave a culture where diversity is celebrated, one-of-a-kind experiences are shared, strengths are valued, voices given, and stories are shared.

At the end of the day, people leave people not companies. Invest the time and energy to create personal connections with your team.

Related Read: 30 Retention Tactics To Passionately Engage Millennials At Work

2) Coach For Development

The No. 1 reason Millennials leave an organization is due to lack of career opportunities. In my experience, it’s not because these opportunities didn’t exist within the company, but rather because the leaders didn’t communicate those opportunities. They were too busy bossing their talent that they forgot to coach their talent.

Leaders will receive more valuable feedback at all levels of the organization if they value each person in the organization regardless of their position or generation. D. Michael Abrashoff, former captain of the Navy destroyer USS Benfold, says it best: “Every leader needs big ears and zero tolerance for stereotypes.” If you’ve taken the time to create a personal relationship with your talent, you’ll know what uniquely matters to them and will be able to coach them beyond their perceived potential.

Boss less. Coach more.

3) Strive For What Matters

It’s easy for someone to quit a job, but it’s much more difficult for them to quit a cause …especially Millennials. They are suckers for significance. They long for meaningful work.

Lean into their quest for good by casting the vision of the net impact your organization is having in the world. And remember, vision leaks, so be sure to cast vision as often as possible and find creative ways to keep the vision front and center and top of mind.

Creating a culture dedicated to fostering authentic personal relationships, developing talent, and focusing on a cause will result in Millennial loyalty.

Retain on.

Question: What other workplace elements have you seen that attract young talent?

About the Author: Ryan Jenkins is an internationally recognized Millennial keynote speaker and author. Ryan runs a blog and podcast at where he inspires audiences with practical next generation leadership,communication, branding, and productivity advice.

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What Millennials Really Want from Employers

There are a lot of rumors going around that suggest millennials are notoriously hard to attract and even harder to keep. The post ’80s digital generation is more concerned with free time than work, demanding flexi-hours and remote working, they want to take longer holidays, they want better perks and bigger benefits, and so on. But is this really true, or is it all hot air?

What Do Millennials Really Want?

No one knows what millennials want better than the millennials themselves. While employers are taking stabs in the dark, wildly updating their Facebook feeds with photos of creativity in the workplace and bean bags in the office, PwC decided to just ask a group of millennials what they really want from their employers.

At the top of the list of what makes an employer attractive was opportunities for career progression, which 52% of the millennials cited as the most desirable quality. Shortly after, 44% valued competitive wages and financial incentives, while 35% felt that good training and development programs were essential.

These three criteria seem to me to be something that employers themselves would also desire for their companies. Being progressive, paying a fair wage, being in a position to give nice Christmas bonuses, and ensuring staff are working at their optimum levels of productivity thanks to training and development programs, should be what every boss wants for his team.

How to Retain Millennials

For a company that realizes the value of its employees, attracting millennials isn’t so difficult. Retaining millennials, however, is another story. By 2020, millennials will make up 50% of the workforce but unlike the generations before them they aren’t adverse to job hopping.

As many as 70% of millennials leave their first job within two years, and nearly six in 10 younger workers (57%) say that it’s unlikely that they will stay with their current employers for the remainder of their working life. Comparatively, 62% of Gen X say it’s likely they will never leave their current employer and 84% of boomers plan to stick by their current employer until retirement. The difference is drastic, but is this all down to the millennials?

Many critics of millennials are saying that the degradation of company loyalty is a crying shame and label it as a “generational” thing. A generational “thing” is certainly a part of it, but it’s not quite that simple. Let’s not forget that the job landscape is changing too. Staff turnovers are high in general, work contracts are increasingly temporary and/or short term, and our workforce is now more mobile than ever before.

If employers want to retain their millennials, they need to be loyal to them. Temporary contracts don’t inspire loyalty, and if anything they create a workforce that spends its time on tenterhooks, worried about short-notice job loss, rather than focused on the job at hand. Today’s mobility and willingness to commute also means workers aren’t restricted by their locale. If they can find a better job opportunity elsewhere, you can be sure that they’ll take it.

Value Your Whole Team

A company that realizes the value of its team is what really makes an attractive employer for millennials, baby boomers and Gen X-ers alike. Employers who can put themselves in the position of each of their employees and treat them as they would want to be treated already know the secret of attracting and retaining millennials.

About the Author: Ron Stewart has worked in the recruitment industry for 30 years, having owned companies in the IT, construction and medical sectors. He runs the Jobs4Group, and is CEO of Jobs4Medical.

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The Link Between Technology And Retention

We do all we can to influence retention, or at least, we think we do. We measure engagement, we carry out exit interviews, we even have performance management programs. But in today’s technology-led world, are we missing a trick in the workplace? Is our talent leaving us because the competition is using better technology in-house? Is our talent leaving in frustration at our inability to keep up with the times?

Quite possibly.

The Link Between Home and the Workplace

Talk to anyone in IT at the moment, and BYOD is more than just an acronym, it’s enough to keep them awake at night. Bring Your Own Device is a nightmare in itself, for which any number of solutions are available (headache tablets, perhaps).

However, its growth reflects a growing frustration with workplace technology. Why is half the company using personal iPads for 20 minutes before they work on their laptops?

Because the laptops take 20 minutes to start up. iPads take 20 milliseconds.

That’s the situation I’ve encountered in two organizations recently. Technology brought in from home was being used for work purposes, because the work technology was either dated or overly restrictive.

As an employer, you have to face up to the fact that technology has become infinitely more simple than it ever used to be. It’s quicker and more adaptive, and yet workplace technology has hardly kept pace.

If you’re the kid in the playground with dad’s chunky old Nokia from the late ’90s, then nobody’s going to talk to you. Therefore, there’s a business case for investing in better technology — and that business case includes employee retention.

Helping Your People Succeed

Everyone wants to succeed. Earning money meets one of Maslow’s needs, but the satisfaction of succeeding at work is one of the key elements that keeps our talent in place.

If we’re failing our own talent with outdated technology, we’re failing the business, and we’re losing our talent.

As an example, four years ago, I visited the headquarters of one of the UK’s largest banks. The company was unable to use most cloud-based solutions of the time due to their inability to upgrade from Internet Explorer 6. Most of the employees had already accepted that they were never going to move beyond IE6 (which was unsupported), and there was a general feeling of having “given up” on the technology that was meant to support them.

Within that business, I spoke to members of the sales team who were unable to properly manage their pipeline due to old technology not supporting the solutions they had brought in. There are hundreds of ways to use technology to help sales teams (we won’t go into them here), and this is potentially the opportunity for HR to talk technology with sales directors, armed with a bit of knowledge about how an investment in better technology will have an impact on the bottom line in more ways than they had previously thought.

The fear of losing a top salesperson because they feel they aren’t reaching their potential might be enough to secure better technology, and therefore, improve retention.

Improving Communication

“What do you mean you didn’t get the email? Have you checked your junk folder?”

Despite our proliferation of communication methods, we are terrible at communicating. An over-reliance on email systems can lead to frustration at work, with some people flooded with emails and others ignoring them completely.

However, at home (or on mobile), we’re particularly good at communicating. We use social networks and we’ve already segmented our friends into different networks – family on Facebook, colleagues on LinkedIn, people we don’t know on Twitter…

There’s a lot to learn, and this can reduce some of the tension and friction that often arises from poor email communication in a business. Whether it’s instant messaging, social collaboration or simply telling people to turn their emails off for a day (I’ve seen it happen, although I haven’t seen it work), it’s our responsibility to lead this conversation.

People leave businesses for many reasons – we need to dig into those reasons through exit interviews, but we need to pre-empt people’s frustrations and help them improve the way they work. To provide a more satisfying, rewarding environment in which people can prosper, we need to start mirroring the way people use technology at home.

That involves providing better, quicker technology – and yes, we have to work through the security issues that inevitably arise; that’s not impossible.

That involves providing more supporting technology; whether you’re in sales or marketing, you need to give people the tools they need in order to succeed. If you’re not doing it, your competition might be, and it’s a great recruitment tool to say that you’ve adopted the latest technology.

That involves harnessing the latest communication tools in order to help people collaborate better within your business.

And if you can put a dollars and cents figure against a 2% improvement in employee retention, you can weigh it up against the investment in said technologies. And that’s not just a conversation worth having, it’s a conversation worth leading.

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Start Your Retention Strategy On Day One

The first day at a new job is stressful. The pressure to start off on the right foot and make a great first impression can be intense. Right or wrong, on the first day it can feel like there’s a lot on the line, and on top of it all, it is all packed into a busy first-day schedule.

While new employees realize the importance of having a great first day, many companies miss the opportunity to make a great first impression of their own. This isn’t to suggest that effective onboarding ends on the first day. On the contrary, onboarding exercises should continue throughout the first year, and then transition into your long-term employee growth, productivity and retention strategy.

That said, the time from an accepted offer through to the end of a new hire’s first week often misses a valuable element: listening to the new hire. The time is often filled with so much talking at the new employee intsead. Now that you’re outside of the pressures of the hiring process, these first few weeks are a key moment to listen and learn more about the person that is joining your team.

Aside from just being common courtesy, listening to your employees has good business value, too. For example, according to a recent LinkedIn study, some of the most popular reasons employees look for jobs are a desire for greater opportunities for advancement, more challenging work and more learning opportunities. By starting this conversation as early as possible and gaining a deep understanding about the opportunities that are valued by your new hires, you can help protect yourself with a strong retention strategy.

Here’s what else you can gain from your initial onboarding conversations:

Open, Honest Performance Conversations: For many reasons, some of the most awkward conversations in the workplace are during performance reviews. A great way to counter this is by having performance conversations early and often. When an employee sees the value in sharing honestly, these performance conversations will have much greater value. A conversation about performance expectations for the first weeks and months is often a good start.

Visualize Long-Term Plans: Part of a successful long-term employer-employee relationship is putting an employee in a situation that runs parallel to his or her ideal career plan. By knowing where your employees want to go, you can better ensure that their work on your team keeps them on that chosen path.

Identify Employee Motivations: Part of building a high-performance culture is identifying the best ways to reward and acknowledge your talented employees. Discovering what your new hires value and what pushes them early will help you make your rewards more meaningful, and will save you from inefficient trial and error.

Show You Care: One of the leading causes of underperformance and burnout is personal problems. From the first day, you can work to build trust with a new employee that would make them feel comfortable discussing issues ourside of the office that might disrupt their work. Just asking simple questions about an employee’s weekend, summer plans or interests in general – and sharing in turn – can help create this environment, and may also foster loyalty.

Admittedly, these are behaviors that work well beyond day one with a new hire, but the sooner you can get started, the better off you will be.

How do you connect with your new hires after the hiring process is over?

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Could Employee Appreciation Transform Your Hiring Strategies?

Employee retention is an important business consideration because high turnover rates are costly and often detrimental to overall team performance. However, even with the best retention rates, companies usually need to hire new workers once in a while. Whether they’re expanding or filling the holes left by retirees, leaders seek talented candidates who are excellent fits for the open roles. Anyone who’s been involved in the hiring process can attest to the fact that the whole ordeal can be quite a hassle, often with less than optimal results.

So are you stuck with the traditional routine, even if you’ve had lackluster candidate pools in the past? Perhaps not. The old strategies of posting a job description, sifting through piles of usually unpromising resumes, interviewing select candidates and choosing the best of the bunch might not be the only option. That’s what Zappos is banking on: Rather than relying on people to take interest in a job description and come to them, the company is taking advantage of an engaged, passionate workforce to be recruiting partners.

Hiring: The Zappos way 

According to the Boston Globe, Amazon-owned, Las Vegas-based online shoe retailer Zappos has decided to do away with the traditional job postings in favor of a more personal, relationship-based approach. The company created a new career site and is utilizing social media to showcase its culture and opportunities. Interested candidates can chat with current employees to gain an inside perspective on life within the organization.

The company’s HR manager, Michael Bailen, explained in a blog post on that this change reflects the business’s commitment to focus more on people. To do so, he added, Zappos needed to depart from what he considers a “fundamentally broken process” that constitutes most recruiting approaches.

“Recruiting has become a walking contradiction. We care about the candidate experience, but we spend five to seven seconds looking at a resume. We are dedicated to get back to all candidates in an effort to provide great service, but the vast majority of candidates get a rejection email,” he wrote. “I want our recruiters to build long-term, sustainable relationships with people.”

Building on a foundation of company loyalty

In order for such a people-centric approach to work, Zappos had to create a corporate culture that would be attractive to candidates as well as foster company loyalty among employees to be able to have confidence that they’d participate effectively in the recruiting platform. Zappos created such a culture by focusing on employee appreciation and engagement. By offering rewards — most of which were non-monetary — to recognize and inspire employees, Zappos put its people at the forefront of the company.

By motivating workers based on intrinsic, value-driven incentives, rather than superficial cash or prizes, companies can foster the type of organization that draws top talent because it’s known as an excellent place to work. Additionally, employees become ambassadors for the firm, which is often a more effective form of recruitment since current workers are likely to identify friends and acquaintances who will be well-suited to the realities of the job.

About the Author: As Vice President of Client Strategy for TemboStatus, David Bator works with growing companies every day and helps them bridge the gap between assessing employee engagement and addressing it with action.

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It’s Time For A New Job-Skills Training Model

I attended a presentation by Mary Owens at a local financial advisory firm. In her well-presented talk about the return of manufacturing to the U.S., she articulated a number of facts that got me thinking:

  • Manufacturing was returning because North American fuel (read: natural gas) is now becoming cheaper than the combination of diesel and Asian labor.
  • U.S. factories are utilizing the most advanced technologies.
  • And last, we can put millions of people to work.

This is good news, right? I think so. But we still have a major gap in fulfilling the training that these factories need. She described quite succinctly these additional points that I have been thinking a lot about:

  • Many industries are beginning to (re)grow, and they are using new technologies to do it.
  • In many industries, employers can’t find “locked and loaded” employees who have the skills to perform the jobs they need filled.
  • The current higher education and vocational system isn’t serving the employment needs of employers or job seekers.

Mary’s plea, as I understand it, is to invite the wealth community to invest in an educational system to feed these employers’ needs. I like Mary’s pluck. She is not the first to say it or practice it. It makes sense to see the need and fill it.

But … not so fast. Since writing about workplace apprenticeship a few weeks ago, I’ve continued to ruminate about these additional convergent problems:

  1. Trade schools and career colleges, while making a comeback, are not prolific enough to be a relevant source of fulfillment for these factory and other supporting jobs.
  2. Higher education has too many of the wrong students and isn’t coming close to fulfilling its pledge to any students or fulfilling its own historical role.
  3. Job seekers can no longer afford to create the debt that higher education is demanding.
  4. The public can no longer afford to support this Herculean effort in the form of needed government subsidies.
  5. Employers want to shift responsibility away from themselves and blame everything else—from schools to generational birth year, from government to parents.

If business wants “locked and loaded” workers, then where should it get them?

In his post, “How Education Is Failing To Serve Business’ Needs,”  Mark Lukens  discusses this very topic. His analysis of the raging debate about education not serving humanity’s need to think creatively is extremely relevant. To that point, I agree.

Then he says,

“If the education system is to serve the needs of business, then we need to start by asking what those needs are.”

 Ugh. I cringe. Education should not be the bitch of business. Education should be its own system and its own reward. And yes, I agree, it should shift its focus to help us to learn the needed skill of creative thinking; however, I envision a world where we get to learn for a variety of reasons, at a variety of times, and not always for job skills.

This bears the question, “Where do we learn the skills needed for a rewarding job?”

The answer keeps pointing me to employers. If they are the ones with the needs and they want a consistent, customizable result, then it is on their shoulders.

I believe that it is time for a new model. A model of efficiency and fairness. Let’s take the burden off of higher-learning institutions and the public. Let’s take the financial burden off of the individual as well. Let’s institute a model that allows business to serve itself. The model would allow people with the right behavior profiles to enter into paid apprenticeships to learn the absolute needed skills, aptitudes, and values needed by the employer.

We have hundreds of years of history filled with examples of an apprenticeship model. The last 100-plus years have taken us off track and placed the “burden” elsewhere. I expect that employers are going to rebel against this responsibility. But when they see that it actually MAKES them money through efficiencies rather than turnover costs, possibly the whining will stop.

I envision higher education rebelling because it will see its head count retreat. But it is time to stop the churn of unsuccessful, unhappy, and broke students overfilling our colleges and universities. It is only in the last 50 years that “everyone” went to college. Now “everyone” doesn’t get a result. So let’s stop it.

If we are to get out of our current morass, grab opportunity by the nose, and get back to work, it is time for employers to see themselves as training organizations. Profitable training organizations.

The future of work is dependent upon it.


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Optimize The Onboarding Process With HR Technology

Trending perceptions of how tech will impact HR have a spooky and a bountiful side, a bit like fall’s two major holidays (Halloween and Thanksgiving.) On the spooky side is what I call the Body Snatcher Fear, that HR tech is poised to replace humans completely, turning people management into a faceless enterprise. Then there’s the bounty side: the Cornucopia Fallacy, that HR tech is an infinite cornucopia of ready-made solutions already laid out on the table, just waiting for us to come and eat; buy the latest HR software management system and just let it run, for instance.

I’ve talked about talent acquisition, where organizations need to optimize tech’s power to first attract the largest and best possible pool of potential hires, and then winnow through for ideal candidates and manage the many phases of recruitment. Data and software functions are a fine matchmaker there. But the higher you climb up the recruitment pyramid from candidate to hire, the more human input and dynamic flexibility come into play. Add the necessary social and mobile aspects, and you’d best make sure they’ve got a human (as opposed to spammy) face.

In talent management, the challenges of retention and its impact on ROI are as old as the very act of hiring. It’s estimated that 35 percent of new hires leave their new job within six months.

While there are myriad possible reasons, less than stellar onboarding is clearly a factor. And tech offers new solutions. Done right, onboarding (often driven by software) dovetails your new hire in terms of organizational culture, as well as function. In all aspects, first impressions are key: even the process of setting up a new IT password can have a big impact. In practical terms, onboarding more quickly facilitates function and productivity. In more nuanced ways, it:

If your onboarding process is not truly aligned with your organization’s culture and values, the disconnect can be damaging. A recent study of new science teachers, a strata not traditionally known for poor retention rates, is telling. After a training phase that emphasized innovation and creativity, these new hires marched off to work ready to innovate, and got an organizational cold shower. Their onboarding experience included close work with mentors, who stressed the importance of “fitting in,” and conforming to the status quo. Now teachers had to employ the best practices they had absorbed during training on the sly, and the situation was stressful at the very least. Many opted to find new jobs instead.

Here, tech could have been invaluable at comparing the different agendas of training and workplace culture. Had data been gathered on the true nature of the work environment versus the thrust of the training process, the disconnect would have been immediately apparent — data doesn’t lie. Data is a two-way street, and such findings could also have provided a neutral mode in which to point out a problem of workplace values. Here, a stifling status quo trickled down to the onboarding process. But without the data, the training process was unaware of it. And in turn, the best practices stressed during the training phase could not make it back up to the workplace culture: it took an exodus to reveal the problem — after the fact

On the other hand, there’s Google, of all places, an organization so enormous it’s hard to imagine how it can humanize HR. But the company continues to identify and solve workplace challenges on all levels. One result is a more effective onboarding process that optimizes productivity; another is a much-improved retention rate among women, after serious research drove comprehensive improvements on every level. Way to go, gigantic tech behemoth! Why? Humans.

Tech is a tool. To leverage tech’s potential requires human leadership, human innovation and creativity, and human management. Studies like this from Towers Watson show that, despite shrinking budgets in other areas, spending on HR delivery service and technology is actually rising. The more we understand how it can drive HR in all phases, the better the results are going to be.

To learn more about how to empower your new hires on day one, download TalentWise’s latest whitepaper.

TalentWise, is a technology company that’s transforming the way HR manages job offers, screens, and onboards new hires. TalentWise has built a single, online platform that streamlines the hiring process end-to-end with compliance built-in. To find out more about how your organization can onboard better, check out their blog by clicking here.

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Photo: Disruptivo

One Employee’s Journey Toward Personal and Professional Fulfillment

I love my job.

Sure, I get paid to write blog posts that positively show our company culture and product. But I mean it, I genuinely love working at my company. I am surrounded by people who work with dedication and joy, and I am given just enough challenge to grow personally and professionally.

You may be saying to yourself, “Employee retention is a challenge,” and recruiting and hiring is expensive and time-consuming. How can I create an environment where my employees love the company and their work?”

The answer is simple (and also our company mission): week after week, company leaders create the space for me to become my greatest self.

They do that by regularly asking a handful of questions about my goals and my ideas. They check-in with how I am feeling. They gather information and respond with supportive feedback instead of just making assumptions and perpetuating disconnection.

Replicating that environment in your workplace is easier than you think.

And Justice For No One

I wasn’t always this excited about the company I worked for. Like you, I have had my share of lousy jobs.

While I am currently a content manager, I am also technically a lawyer.

At one time grand visions of a legal career floated in my head. I saw myself in a three-piece suit pacing before the jury. In my reverie, I pause to wipe my brow and then hurl question after question at a witness in my Southern accent (I do not have a Southern accent, but in this dream I am channeling Atticus Finch — so sue me). Light whispers fill the courtroom as I return to my seat and proclaim, “No further questions, your honor.”

In reality I was just performing research for a tyrannical lawyer who was impatient, rude and downright mean. The thought of going to work made me sick to my stomach.

Dream Job Turned Nightmare

I would slip quietly through the front door every morning and tiptoe to my office, praying that my boss was on a call or in court so that I wouldn’t have to talk to him.

I was a hard-worker — offering litigation support for two different law firms and moonlighting as a waiter while finishing my law degree. But In every meeting my boss was holding back rage for even the smallest flaw in performance, perhaps waiting to unleash once I agreed to come on full time.

Have you heard the saying, “People don’t quit their jobs, they quit their bosses?” Well, eventually the stress got to me and I quit.

During my exit interview, I was finally asked about my experience. I said that family law was too emotionally involved for me. My boss didn’t believe me and he kept prodding me for more information. I imagined that countless others had similarly left his employ, too afraid or embarrassed to confront him about how he treated people.

The experience soured my desire to become Atticus Finch. I grabbed my briefcase and my six-figure education debt and walked on.

Communication Breakdown

The meandering river of fate landed me on the shores of the online dating industry. I was trained in direct-response marketing, and felt more supported in my work. But I wasn’t being encouraged to become my best self or align with my zone of genius as a writer.

I wrote email copy that waxed romantic about first kisses, long walks on the beach, and couples rolling around on a blanket in the throes of passion. I wanted our would-be customers to feel hopeful about making connections. I proudly forwarded my work to my marketing director.

“No,” she responded.

“No, what? It’s too long? Not romantic enough?”

“David, you have to make people feel lonely, sad, bad about themselves. From a place of desperation they will sign up for our product.”

That type of communication was such a departure from who I am as a person. I didn’t want to manipulate people so I moved on again.

So long dating site, hello freelance copywriting!

Employee Support = Employee Retention

How exhilarating and scary to hang out a shingle! I trusted my writing skills and knew that clients would emerge from within my network. Pretty soon I had more work than I could handle.

My biggest client was a company that developed team communication and employee feedback software. I had experienced work environments where communication breakdowns caused employee attrition, poor morale, and lack of engagement and productivity. Now I was part of a movement to end all that through an agile software application.

After working as a contractor for only two months, I joined the team for a week-long retreat in Sedona. We all shared vulnerable information about ourselves including our personal goals. I shared how grateful I was to be honing my skills as a writer at my company, 15Five, skills that were feeding into my personal goal of publishing a novel.

Three weeks later, out of the blue, I received this email from our CEO:

David Hassell 15Five Email Support Employees

That was it for me. I knew that my search for a fulfilling job had ended. A month later I was a full-time employee.

I continue to be supported as I write my novel. The company has paid for creative writing classes, and they check-in on my progress often. I have a strong desire to continue working here for as long as I can give my greatest gifts and contribute to the realization of the company mission.

And all it took was one little question.

David Mizne is Content Manager at 15Five, the leading web-based employee feedback and alignment solution that is transforming the way employees and managers communicate. David interviews some of the most brilliant minds in business and reports on topics ranging from entrepreneurship to employee engagement. Follow David on Twitter @davidmizne.

#TChat Preview: Employee Engagement And The Culture Control Panel

The TalentCulture #TChat Show is back live on Wednesday, October 22, 2014, from 7-8 pm ET (4-5 pm PT). The #TChat radio portion runs the first 30 minutes from 7-7:30 pm ET, followed by the #TChat Twitter chat from 7:30-8 pm ET.

Last week we talked about how to use company culture to attract candidates, and this week we’re going to talk about employee engagement and the culture control panel.

Culture is increasingly a legitimate business concern in the world of work, and that means methods for measuring and managing it are more critical than ever before.

The problem is, when businesses scale at any speed, operational concerns often take priority over people concerns. When left unchecked, rapid growth “grooms” disengaged workers and then the problems mount when leaders realize how difficult it is to hire and retain top talent.

And by the way, high-performers can smell a poorly managed culture from a mile away. Add to that the fact that employee tenure continues to shrink and the prospect of building a strong, sustainable culture grows even more grim.

This week’s guest will share five important points of culture that all businesses from startups to blue chips can use to build employee engagement and improve retention — and extra profit — from day one.

Join TalentCulture #TChat Show co-creators and co-hosts Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman learn how to measure culture via engagement with this week’s guest: Josh Levine, Director of Strategy and Founder at Great Monday and Co-Founder of CultureLab.

Sneak Peek:

Related Reading:

Meghan M. Biro: Employee Engagement Is a Leadership Commitment

Natalie Kate Meehan: Transparency In Your Company Culture Is Important. Here’s Why.

Rick Hein: Tips For Measuring And Improving Employee Engagement

Evie Nagy: How A Balanced Workplace Culture Can Support Your Mission

Andre Lavoie: The Two Transformative Influences On Employee Engagement

Gina O’Reilly: Why We Replaced (In)Human Resources With “Employee Experience”

We hope you’ll join the #TChat conversation this week and share your questions, opinions and ideas with our guest and the TalentCulture Community.

#TChat Events: Employee Engagement And The Culture Control Panel

TChatRadio_logo_020813#TChat Radio — Wed, October 22nd — 7 pm ET / 4 pm PT Tune in to the #TChat Radio show with our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman, as they talk with our guest: Josh Levine.

Tune in LIVE online this Wednesday!

#TChat Twitter Chat — Wed, October 22nd — 7:30 pm ET / 4:30 pm PT Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and Josh will move to the #TChat Twitter stream, where we’ll continue the discussion with the entire TalentCulture community. Everyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we gather for a dynamic live chat, focused on these related questions:

Q1: Why is company culture so critical to engagement? #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Q2: How do companies prevent operational priorities from overtaking people priorities? #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Q3: If you had a startup, or ran a large company, what cultural engagement factors would you focus on? #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed, our TalentCulture World of Work Community LinkedIn group, and in our new TalentCulture G+ community. So feel free to drop by anytime and share your questions, ideas and opinions. See you there!!

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Under What Circumstances Would You Let Your LeBron Come Back?

“We could not be happier to welcome LeBron James home. Yesterday LeBron, though his essay, told us he wasn’t going anywhere except Cleveland and that ‘Cleveland is where he always believed he would finish his career.’ These words and commitment put all of us, including LeBron, in the best position to build our franchise the right way and achieve the kind of goals we all know are possible. Expectations will be at the highest levels but no one should expect immediate and automatic success.” – David Griffin, Cavaliers General Manager

LeBron James recently announced his return to his hometown team, the Cleveland Cavaliers. Although the contract is only for 2 years rather than the usual 4, the King  made the decision to leave the Miami Heat, and go back. This star player’s choice to change teams shocked many and has definitely stirred the pot in basketball. But what do you do when your star player wants to “come home?” With 34% of people expecting (or wanting) to work until they are at least 80, it’s not improbable for past team members to return to your office. However, there are a lot of questions to ask your leadership before they return. So, it all boils down to: what will it take to bring them back?

Higher Tech Skills Expectations

LeBron James has the notoriety and the technical skills to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers to enhance the performance of the team. Your team as well is ever evolving and changing, so the employee who was once a key figure in decision-making, may no longer know what’s in the best interest of the organization. Millennials are beginning to enter the office at a surprising rate as more and more graduate. By 2020, Millennials are expected to comprise at least half of the workforce.

So can your (former) employees keep up with the changing tides and the new expectations for tech-savvy employees if they aren’t in the office? If their tech skills haven’t developed in the months or years they’ve been gone, would you want to take the time and energy to train them again when they left the first time? These are questions you need to ask yourself and their potential supervisors before making the hiring decision.

Changing Company Culture

As companies grow, their culture often changes with age. Stagnancy is rare among companies who have hit the growth stage when they have surpassed the start-up phase. In fact, many believe that a change in culture would not only be beneficial to employee growth, but 96% feel that a cultural shift in their organization is needed also. That’s a reason many employees leave and return in a “prodigal son” fashion. They leave in hopes of finding a company culture matching what they feel they need, and ultimately return because they can’t find the culture they want anywhere else.

A Change in Character

Lebron has not only developed as a player, he has grown as a person. His level of professionalism is something the Cavaliers should have left him with. However, such is not the case. With time spent away from a company, employees tend to gain a better perspective of the organization and their place while they were there. Don’t burn bridges with employees who have left.

Then you have the team players, the employees, who would never leave no matter how much the competitors paid them. Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks took a potential loss in professional growth to stay with the team he felt was his first love. He won’t be paid nearly as much and probably won’t see a winning championship game; but Anthony would rather play for the team he loves than get paid to play for any others. Your team, no matter which players you lose, will always have the employees who are completely dedicated to the company goals and their work. Don’t lose sight of them when you see another star performer take the opportunity to jump ship before they are ready to leave their home team.

What Can We Learn from LeBron’s Move?

Uphold a standard of professionalism and don’t publicly speak poorly of exiting talent.

Your current employees take notice, and may just follow suit. There is a possibility they will want to eventually return to your team; they are more apt to make a difference upon their return. It stands to reason, then since they already know the position, it won’t be too hard for them to adapt to the shifts in culture. However, a former employee returning for corporate benefits doesn’t care about the organization’s goals, they simply want to fill the seat during the interim. If they are ready, willing, and prepared to return, assess your organization needs before you rehire them. Everyone wants their star player, but when should they give up their title?

(About the Author: Sean Pomeroy, CEO of Visibility Software, has worked in the Human Resources industry since he graduated from Radford University with a Bachelors in Psychology and a Master of Arts in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. After working in HR as a generalist for a government contracting company, he moved to the HR Technology arena and began assisting companies in the selection and implementation of HR software.)

To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter and G+ conversation anytime. Learn more…

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday. To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

Do you have great content you want to share with us? Become a TalentCulture contributor!

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How To Make People Want To Work For You (Infographic)

Google received over a million applications last year.  For the fifth year running, it was named #1 on Fortune’s list of the Top 100 Companies to Work For.  And for good reason: it’s employees enjoyed 100,000 hours of free massages in 2012, in-office happy hours, all the free gourmet food they could eat, and hundreds of other amazing perks.  As you may have heard––thanks to its incredibly talented and hard-working employees––Google is also one of the most innovative companies in the world today.  It has gained that status by providing its workforce with an ideal environment in which to be creative, productive, and highly motivated.

In contrast, most employers stifle their workers.  Most employees count the minutes until five ‘o’clock when they can go home and forget all about their jobs.  But Google builds harmony between its employees’ lives and jobs.

So while many employers today are scratching their heads wondering why high salaries and prestigious titles aren’t attracting top talent any more, this generation’s brightest minds are seeking careers where they can cultivate their health, creativity, and professional skills simultaneously.  Traditional employment models have lost their luster.  So to learn how your company can adapt, innovate, and inspire the talent you need to succeed in the 21st century; check out this great infographic from Talent Puzzle.

Source:Talent Puzzle

To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter and G+ conversation anytime. Learn more…

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday. To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

Do you have great content you want to share with us? Become a TalentCulture contributor!

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What Truly Motivates People? Is It Money, Or Something Else?

Dan Pink’s book “Drive: the Surprising Truth about What Motivates us” has thrown a major monkey wrench into how we think about motivation. For years it was assumed– and it certainly seems logical to believe– that the best way to motivate desirable behaviors was to offer cash rewards. But it turns out that there is considerable science that refutes that notion; in fact, offering cash rewards, at least in the realm of creative work and problem solving, actually encourages worse results.

This topic has opened up a broader discussion, of what human beings are. At work we are doing fewer and fewer purely mechanical/ repetitive tasks.  “Value” is coming more and more from personal connections and imagination, so the tradition of seeing people in a simplistic mechanical way, in terms of their “skills” or “function,” no longer works. We are standing on the verge of major historical event, an entry into a new era, where the mechanical/industrial ways of viewing people, education, and work are falling apart. We are struggling to find new paradigms to guide our managerial thinking. For decades, we have suppressed our emotions to make ourselves more appealing in an industrial framework by being more uniform and efficient. We now have re-examine that previously suppressed internal dimension, and find ways to engage with it rather than suppress it.

To that end, Mr. Pink offers three things that motivate people.

These are:

  • Purpose
  • Mastery
  • Autonomy

Given the impact and influence that Mr. Pink’s book is having these days, I felt compelled to question his hypothesis. While it is not wrong, there is something missing. To explain, a story:

When I was a teenage bass player (sounds like a 50’s horror movie), I was tremendously motivated to become a professional player, to the point of obsessiveness. I was practicing eight hours every day, stopping each night only when I had reached a point of mental and physical exhaustion.

My motivation?

I certainly did not do this for the money, since I wasn’t getting any, and the pay for professional bass players is not that spectacular, given the work needed to get there. Mr. Pink was right about some elements of my motivation: Yes, I had purpose; yes, I sought mastery; and yes, practicing is a largely autonomous activity. But there was another element that motivated me, far more than money or any of these other factors:

It was a sense of belonging.

I wanted desperately to be a member of something, in this case, an oh so elegant and elite major symphony orchestra . I wanted to have a sense of belonging and connection. And I believe that a sense of belonging, far more than purpose, mastery, or autonomy, is the primary motivator of human beings.

I confess I don’t have many academic studies to support my thesis, but there is a fair amount of empirical data. Let’s consider just a few of the ways that a sense of belonging (including its synonyms, e.g., social status, acceptance, love, family, membership, and so on) motivates us to extreme effort:

There is all the money and effort many people put into “getting accepted” to an exclusive school, and thus belonging to the alumni network for life; there is the eagerness to spend massive amounts of time and money to “get certified,” and thus belong to a exclusive professional group; there are the fans (a word which is short for “fanatics”) of sports teams, who tout their sense of membership with all sorts of badges, uniforms, and rituals, not to mention paying exorbitant ticket prices; and then there is that warm glow of nationalist belonging you get when the jets fly over during the Star Spangled Banner. And do I even need to mention churches? Rotary Clubs? Street gangs? The plot of “Rudy”? Or the holy grail of social belonging, fame? The need to belong, whether to family, team, social group, or nation, drives people to extreme efforts and sacrifice. People sometimes sacrifice life itself to maintain the survival of a group to which they belong.

“Autonomy” as motivation only has meaning in the context of belonging. The only reason you don’t have autonomy is because you gave it up for something more important, i.e., a state of belonging, e.g., employment.

In my own managerial experience in the orchestra world, I found that the need to belong far outweighed any other motivation, money included. I often had difficulty finding musicians who were willing to act as leaders. Even though they were the best in their group, becoming a leader meant losing their sense of being “part of the gang.” The fun of ensemble playing was in being part of the team, not in bossing the team or otherwise being separated from it. I did not pay my leaders more money to motivate them, and I did not pay them more money because they were creating more value. It was to compensate them for their loss of rank-and-file group belonging.

For most people, not to mention wolves and other social species, belonging itself is key to mere survival. And once people become more successful, they don’t seek exclusion or autonomy; instead, the first thing they seek is ever more group social status and connection. They join the country club or the opera society board, or they run for public office.

There is also the flip side to be considered, which is the “de-motivation” caused by the loss of belonging. People who have had issues of disconnection, such as loss of a loved one, divorce, moving to a new town, or getting fired, experience massive ill effects on self confidence, focus, and every other emotion. At times they lose all motivation, period.

When we speak in terms of rewards as motivators, this typically refers to an inanimate reward, such as money or a cookie. When the “reward” is in the form of greater interpersonal connection, say, a pat on the back from an authority figure you truly admire, or the flip side, perhaps a look of disapproval from someone whose respect and acceptance mean everything to you, suddenly rewards and punishments– in the form of belonging or the lack thereof– come back into motivational fashion in a hurry.

One of the biggest reasons people resist change is the fear that it might threaten their tenuous grasp on belonging. The first thing that goes through the average employee’s mind when presented with a new idea is “belonging loss prevention.” They ask themselves, “Will doing this, or not doing this, get me fired, or result in loss of status in my professional pecking order?” All else is secondary. Consideration of one’s sense of belonging — as well as the fear of the loss of it, is therefore possibly THE most compelling motivational factor in managing people.

I am a big fan of Mr. Pink, and I think he is very much on the right track in challenging the common dogmas of industrial-era management philosophy. I just wanted to respectfully submit that as we enter into a more artistic era of management, “belonging,” as a primary emotional element of motivation, needs to be higher on the list.

(About the Author: Justin Locke spent 18 years playing bass in the Boston Pops, and his musical plays are performed all over the world.  As an author, speaker, and coach, he shares a pragmatic artistic approach to personal growth, “people skills,” and managing “top performers.” For more, visit his website at

To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter and G+ conversation anytime. Learn more…

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday. To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

Do you have great content you want to share with us? Become a TalentCulture contributor!


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The Flip Side of Employee Engagement

In a world where Gallup pollsters say 71% of American workers are “disengaged” from their work, “employee engagement” is clearly an issue needing to be addressed.  There have been numerous posts on TalentCulture about employee engagement, and Meghan M. Biro recently published an article about it in Forbes.  Dan Pink’s book “Drive” talks at length about the science of what motivates us. (Oddly enough, it’s not money, at least, money does not motivate the kind of work that really matters these days, like problem-solving and creative/visionary thinking.)

Since more and more of our work falls into “creative” categories, and emotional engagement is key to maximizing creativity and thus productivity, and money doesn’t motivate these tasks, how do we get to a place where employees are more engaged at work?

Instead of starting from zero and looking for fixes, I suggest looking at a workplace where “employee engagement” is already at 100% all of the time: a major symphony orchestra.

I once had the privilege of playing in the Boston Pops, where total “employee engagement” was standard procedure. In that culture, we weren’t concerned so much with “how to get it” as we were with making sure nothing got in the way of it. And the biggest issue was not employEE engagement, but “employER engagement.”

If you have ever wondered why major symphony orchestras take so long to find music directors, it’s not for a lack of applicants for the job. The issue is finding someone who can handle being a manager in a 100% employee engagement environment. This is a lot harder than you might think.

As an orchestral musician, I often observed young wannabe maestros as they were given their shot at the bigtime with a guest conducting stint. It was amazing just how many of them could not do the job. It wasn’t because they lacked musical talent or skill. What was lacking was an ability to accept the massive energy of the “engaged employees.”

You see, for many of these wannabe maestros, whenever the music got too loud or too exciting, amazingly, they just would slow things down, as too much excitement would exceed their need-for-control comfort level. Yes, this certainly sounds crazy; after all, in the music business, emotional excitement is itself the product. But I saw this self-defeating phenomenon happen over and over again. They actually resisted “employee engagement.”

You will see this “emotional fractal” occur in all kinds of situations.  Many people just assume that having things “under control” is equivalent to being productive and doing their job as manager, when in reality it saps energy and sabotages employee engagement. For example, in a recent 60 Minutes program, Sergio Marchionne talked about the previous regime at Chrysler having their executive offices in a far off penthouse suite. In rescuing the company, he moved the executive offices into the same area as the engineers, where they could get access to the CEO without any bureaucratic interference. Again, employee engagement can only occur if there is employer engagement willing to accept it, and not slow it down or prevent it.

You would think that the acceptance of massive employee engagement energy would be an easy and obvious thing to do, but for many people, it isn’t. When someone gets into a serious management role for the first time, it is rare that they have had any real long term gut-level preparation for the job. For example, they may not be used to trusting people on such a grand scale. They may be overly concerned about what their own boss thinks of them. They may be more concerned about loyalty to the past, “following standard procedure,” or “mistake prevention” than they are about overall productivity. They may not be able to handle the social discomfort stemming from their newfound power over former colleagues, or they may unwittingly abuse their power without realizing how it can affect worker attitudes. And perhaps most of all, the ability to graciously accept the gift of people coming to work every day and giving you everything they’ve got is not something we pick up in gym class. It’s a quantum leap in how one looks at the world.

Everyone who steps into a management role is a unique individual with their own set of past trust violations, issues with authority, shame issues about mistakes, confidence here and insecurity there, and inexperience with handling power, not mention just plain old fear and other human foibles. They may not be ready to handle the overwhelming amount of emotional energy that a team of “engaged” workers wants to throw at them. The natural response is always to slow things down.

Addressing these issues at their core emotional level gets into the realm of “touchy feely,” where many managers, especially those who have more technical skills than people skills, feel uncomfortable. But “engagement” is no longer a nice thing to have, it is now essential to your bottom line.  So if your issue is a lack of “employee engagement,” this is probably just an inevitable result of an emotional bottleneck occurring at the management level, and that is where the problem should be solved.

In many learning environments and business cultures, stress, anxiety, and bureaucratic distancing often lead to emotional numbness, so the trust, openness, connection, and personal recognition that so many workers seek from their boss are rare commodities. Leaders who inspire their team by offering these emotional responses (despite all the stress of their role) are generally seen as mystical beings who are “born with it,” but it is a skill that can be cultivated in anyone, given proper training.

(About the Author: Justin Locke spent 18 years playing bass in the Boston Pops, and his musical plays are performed all over the world.  As an author, speaker, and coach, he shares a pragmatic artistic approach to personal growth, “people skills,” and managing “top performers.” For more, visit his website at

To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter and G+ conversation anytime. Learn more…

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday. To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

Do you have great content you want to share with us? Become a TalentCulture contributor!

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Brave New World, Brave Business Leaders Needed

The first quarter of 2014 brought welcome optimism for some of the world’s major economies. On the face of things, it’s great news. However, businesses still face a battle to get back to the levels of pre 2008 performance and growth.

One thing that could be preventing them from doing so is if business leaders aren’t equipped for the brave new business world. Could Generation Y leaders hold the key?

Have Leaders Got This In Their Locker?

Concerns persist that many of today’s leaders lack the skills and knowledge needed to lead businesses in a rapidly-evolving corporate landscape. This is highlighted by the London Business School’s Lynda Gratton in her research.

The Future of Work Research Consortium, led by Gratton, found that half of the executives sampled across the world don’t think that leadership programs are currently equipping leaders with the right skills. This is a worrying trend which must be reversed.

Gratton offers great insight, setting out a clear and bold vision for the future of leadership. She explains the need to develop leaders that are able to leverage new technologies, take risks, build external relationships and champion creativity.

Failure to develop leaders with these skills and traits will stifle innovation and, with it, economic growth.

The Present: Developing Leaders Now

Companies must quickly recognize and respond to the changing business world. They’ll need to adjust talent and leadership development programs accordingly.

The first step is for businesses to identify what skills, behaviors and competencies their leaders need to possess in order to deliver strategies now (and anticipate how this might change in the future). They should measure leaders against a defined set of key skills, behaviors and competencies. Awareness of leaders’ strengths and development needs will then help companies to provide targeted support in areas where they need to shift behavior or change their approach.

Taking these steps will certainly better equip leaders now. However, the real change in leadership approach for business may only come about when the next generation of leaders take the top jobs.

The Future: Generation Y Leaders

Generation Y or ‘Millennials’ as they’re also known will, naturally, be more inclined to embrace and leverage new technologies and to champion innovation.

And, as others have noted, Generation Y workers are more collaborative and flexible in their approach. This makes them better able to build relationships and create strong, engaged teams.

I’d argue that this combined skill set and experience gives Generation Y the perfect foundation to be the bold, brave and forward-thinking leaders we need to drive future business success. Time will tell if I’m right.

(About the Author: Ben Egan is an experienced consultant specializing in communications strategies at UK-based HR consultancy and bespoke technology firm. ETS are experts in employee engagement, development and performance appraisal working with major global businesses including PepsiCo, Tesco and RBS.)

To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter and G+ conversation anytime. Learn more…

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday. To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

Do you have great content you want to share with us? Become a TalentCulture contributor!

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5 Ways To Simplify Your Hiring Process

Hiring managers and recruiters often have something to say about the behavior and lack of professionalism of candidates.

But maybe it’s time to look in the mirror. Have you ever considered that your recruiting practices might be wasting people’s time, confusing applicants and driving away top candidates?

Leading organizations focus on all the touch-points with their customers, suppliers and, yes, candidates. You need to start caring more about your candidate’s overall experience and exceeding their expectations. Here’s how:

Offer Clear And Specific Job Descriptions

Deliberately vague-sounding job descriptions irritate candidates. They make it seems like you don’t know what you’re looking for, haven’t spent enough time to profile the job, or that you’ve hastily cut and paste from another job you filled. Poorly written job descriptions give a bad impression.

Great recruiters don’t take shortcuts. (Click here to tweet this thought.) Instead, use specific language. Sit down and write a list of tasks included in the job. Remember to explain what’s in it for them, as well; it’s not all about you. Applicants will self-screen if they don’t like what they see, which will save you time later.

One of worst things you can do is to go through the motions of advertising a job when an internal person has been chosen or the deal is already complete. Job seekers have enough stress without being exposed to ghost openings.

That doesn’t mean there’s never a time and place for an open-ended job posting, but tread carefully.

Make It Easy For Qualified Candidates To Apply

The trend is to require prospective candidates to apply online, usually through a Web portal. That’s great if it works. If this is how you receive applications, however, you should try it yourself, noting exactly how long it takes to upload a resume (and hope it doesn’t crash or hang). Any frustrations you feel will be felt even more by the applicant, and if it takes too long, he will walk away. Ask yourself: Is my application process too tedious?

Also make sure to confirm receipt of applications, as that’s not only polite but also necessary to show you have it on file. The candidate needs to know the application didn’t just fall into a black hole. This is the single most voiced complaint by candidates, so take it seriously.

Speed Up The End-To-End Process

Some hiring cycles take months on end. Look for bottlenecks where you can take time out of the process. Candidates have other opportunities, too, and you don’t want to get to selection time only to find the person you want has a better offer.

Be honest and upfront, letting candidates know about how long it will take from start to finish and how many interviews they’ll likely will have to endure. One way to limit the inconvenience, cut costs and speed up interviews is to use video or Skype, especially for out-of-towners.

Communicate… And Then Communicate Some More

Keep your candidates in the loop every step of the way. You can even call them when you have no real news, as applicants always appreciate knowing where they stand.

Where possible, use the candidate’s preferred method of communication. Don’t call them at work; instead, leave a message or text and ask them to call you back, not forgetting to add your contact details. (It happens.)

After an interview, give some feedback, even if to simply say goodbye. Email is fine, just keep it short and professional and address the candidate by name. No one wants a “Dear Sir or Madam” letter.

What candidates hate most is the dreaded silence. Tell them the next step and make sure you follow through as promised. Do what you say you will do.

Treat The Hiring Process As A Marketing Opportunity

Candidates can be customers and customers can be candidates. Give them open access to you, as it lets them feel like they are in control of the process. The goal is to leave your applicants with a warm feeling of your organization, even if they were ultimately not successful in their application.

Social media provides an open platform and is the first stop for disgruntled or poorly managed candidates. The last thing you want to see is your company being trashed on Twitter or Facebook for failing to meet expectations.

Do your best to give every person who wanders across your job advertisement an easy road. A good test is to ask a colleague — or, even better, your manager — to apply and see how long it takes.

Your hiring process should be simple enough to attract people who are not even looking. That’s when you’ll find the best candidates, which will make both them and you happy.

Originally Posted on Brazen Careerist on April 29, 2014.

(About the Author: Elaine Porteous is a freelance business writer with a specific interest in HR strategy and talent management. She writes for niche trade journals and creates content for corporate websites.)

(Editor’s Note: This post was adapted from Brazen Life, with permission. Brazen Life is a lifestyle and career blog for ambitious young professionals. Hosted by Brazen Careerist, it offers edgy and fun ideas for navigating the changing world of work. Be Brazen!)

To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter and G+ conversation anytime. Learn more…

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday. To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

Do you have great content you want to share with us? Become a TalentCulture contributor!

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Reinforce Employee Empowerment Today

As a business manager or owner of a company, there are many things you can do to reinforce employee empowerment with the self-will to strive for success. This is an important and critical factor in the success of your business as well, because a motivated, empowered work force will obviously perform much better than one in which morale is low and employees harbor feelings of resentment and disillusionment.

The most important aspect of motivating your employees is showing them you value their work, input, and contributions to the business. A simple thank you of acknowledgement often goes a long way in making an employee feel as though he or she matters, and listening to their concerns also shows respect for them and your willingness to make the business better as a whole.

Don’t Make It A Thankless Job—Acknowledge Your Employees

Too many business managers today simply expect their employees to perform their duties, and offer no real incentive or appreciation. Believe it or not, a paycheck just isn’t incentive enough to perform to the best of one’s ability. Employees are not machines, they want to feel appreciated, and they want to be able to express their opinions or concerns and be treated as though their words actually mean something.

If you find that you are having problems motivating your employees, you may want to examine your own actions as a manager or business owner. If you feel that you have been doing everything you can do to motivate your workforce and it just doesn’t seem to be working, you may want to consider hiring speakers to motivate employees in business conferences. Doing so at a company event, such as a picnic or catered dinner is the perfect way to say “thank you” to your employees for their hard work and dedication while, at the same time, capitalizing on the good vibes and encouraging even more empowerment through the use of the speaker.

A Motivated Employee Is A Productive Employee

Communication is ever important in the business world. Being able to communicate your needs and goals clearly to your workforce ensures that employees are well aware of their task requirements, and can proceed with little direction required. Trusting your employees to do their jobs effectively and professionally means you are empowering them, and that will translate to improved motivation and productivity.

If you feel you are somewhat lacking in the communication department, that is nothing to feel ashamed about. Not everyone is an excellent communicator, but you can easily learn the skills needed to become one. In the meantime, if you would like to better motivate your employees but feel you don’t possess strong enough communication skills to do so, you can rely on speakers to motivate employees in business conferences.

In addition to hiring a motivating speaker, you can practice improving other areas of your management skills, including placing value on your employees, involving them in business decisions and inquiring about their input, managing employees more efficiently rather than just throwing work at them and expecting it to be done, and giving feedback on projects as they progress.

All of these actions contribute to cultivating a more effective and happy workforce. If you can manage this, you will quickly find your business will benefit from a workforce that is glad to come to work, rather than one in which morale is low and a feeling of resentment and disenchantment festers. A workforce with low morale means less productivity, more mistakes, and more employee turnover as disgruntled employees look for other employment opportunities elsewhere.

Lastly, do not forget to offer your employees some sort of reward if they’ve performed exceptionally well or completed a big project on time. This can be something as simple as a small gift, or you may elect to take your workforce to a company dinner or other sort of fun outing. Such acts are strong indicators of recognition for employees, and they will certainly appreciate the gesture as much as you appreciate their efforts.


(About the Author: Norah Abraham has been a freelance writer since 2005. She attended the University of Boston and graduated with a Bachelor in English Literature. She loves public speaking and motivates people in her own comic style. She loves gadgets and techie stuffs. In her career, she has written dozens of Press Releases, Articles, and Essays.)

To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter and G+ conversation anytime. Learn more…

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday. To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

Do you have great content you want to share with us? Become a TalentCulture contributor!

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#TChat Recap: #Dice141 and the Candidate Experience

Improving The Candidate Experience

Candidate experience, it can sometimes feel like a moving target to increasingly burdened recruiters and HR Pros, but is it really so far out of our reach?

Last night we discussed how to make candidate experience a “given” for everyone involved and we had an amazing group  with Shravan GoliJohnny Campbell and Steve White! Someone from every sector weighed in on making the candidate experience golden.

We started with the most obvious question of all. What do candidates really want? HOW can we deliver a solid candidate experience without knowing the answer(s) to that question?



#TChatters Agreed That…

    • Tech communities provide a valuable service not just for recruiters but for tech talent as well. (Hint: Don’t spam and neglect to provide value!)
    • It’s not all about recruiting, show your current employees the love too.
    • Candidate feedback formula = timely + respectful + contextual
    • InMails may not be the way to a talented techies heart.
    • Tweets may attract tech talent, but the job description or ad is the real clincher.

 Want To See The #TChat Replay?


Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

Thanks again to guests Shravan Goli, Johnny Campbell and Steve White for showing us the way to true candidate experience.


Click here to see the preview!

Related Reading:

Meghan M. Biro: Your Employer Brand Owns The Candidate Experience

Gerry Crispin: Net Promoter Score and Candidate Experience

Nick Price: Candidate Dispositioning – What does it mean and why does it matter? 

Siofra Pratt: How To Dramatically Increase Your Job Views on Twitter

Christopher Young: Incentivize Recruiters for a More Successful Hiring Process

#TChat Events: A Better Candidate Experience Means A Better ROI


#TChat Radio — Are you plugged in to #TChat radio? Did you know you can listen live to ANY of our shows ANY time?

Now you know. Click the box to head on over to our channel or listen to A Better Candidate Experience Means A Better ROI

Note To Bloggers: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about trends on candidate experience? We welcome your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we may feature it!

If you recap #TChat make sure to let us know so we can find you!

We Want To See You On TalentCulture! Become A Contributor Now!

Next week at #TChat Events, we’ll be talking about building resilient workplace cultures.

Sign up for the newsletter to get the scoop on next week’s guest, topic and questions!

Save The Date: Wednesday, May 7!

The TalentCulture conversation continues daily on #TChat Twitter, in our LinkedIn group, and on our new Google+ community. So join us anytime on your favorite social channels!

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#TChat Recap: It's All About Gratitude People!

Taking Thanks To The Bank

Employee engagement doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, one of the simplest ways to start engaging your fellow employees is with gratitude, which is just what we discussed last night at the ever busy, and FUN #TChat with Lisa Ryan and Teresa Andreani. How can being grateful actually drive your organization forward?

While those of us who have been on the receiving end of gratitude in business realized how important it is to thank the people who work with and for you, it seemed that just as many #TChat-ers had suffered at the hands of a nitpicky, downright ungrateful boss or coworker. And you guessed it! The work always suffers.



It sounds like a lot of the responsibility lies with leaders but employees have responsibility too.



#TChatters Agreed That…

  • Leaders must show gratitude from the top down.
  • Nothing is less expensive than a smile.
  • Employees can benefit from showing gratitude too.
  • Gratitude is useless when not sincere.
  • Gratitude may just be the first step in becoming a better leader.

 Want To See The #TChat Replay?


Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to guests Lisa Ryan and Teresa Andreani for introducing us to gratitude as a building block for leadership. Click here to see the preview!

Related Reading:

Meghan M. Biro: Create A Vocabulary That Inspires Employee Engagement

Susan Gaier: Three Steps to Improve Employee Engagement

Melissa Dawn: The Best Ways to Reward Employees

Damon M. Banks: A Positive Workplace Culture Is Simply Good Business

#TChat Events: Employee Engagement And Putting Thanks In The Bank


#TChat Radio — Are you plugged in to #TChat radio? Did you know you can listen live to ANY of our shows ANY time?

Now you know. Click the box to head on over to our channel or listen to Employee Engagement and Putting Thanks in the Bank!

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about trends on gratitude and employee engagement? We welcome your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we may feature it!

If you recap #TChat make sure to let us know so we can find you!

We Want To See You On TalentCulture! Become A Contributor NOW! (ummm, click)

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week at #TChat Events, we’ll be talking about how a better candidate experience can create ROI in your organization with Dice! Sign up for the newsletter to get the scoop on next week’s guest, topic and questions!

Save The Date: Wednesday, April 30!

The TalentCulture conversation continues daily on #TChat Twitter, in our LinkedIn group, and on our NEW Google+ community. So join us anytime on your favorite social channels!

photo credit: chris zerbes via photopin cc

Employee Issues Increase HR Tech Demand [Infographic]

The past few #TChat shows have really dug deep into the concept and issues surrounding employee engagement. Every week we’ve asked what employee engagement truly means, and we’ve looked into numerous practices that can increase engagement and retain our talent. However, it’s time to dig a bit deeper into why employees aren’t being fully engaged.

Employee engagement is a complex concept, and many factors contribute to whether employees are disengaged or not. Employee relation issues like social media abuse and bullying are on the rise, and as these employee issues increase so does the need for HR tech like workplace investigation software to tackle these problems efficiently and effectively. HR Acuity compiled this infographic to demonstrate the need for employee relations management technology. Discover employee issues that have concerned organizations, like yours, over the past year and gain a new perspective that will benefit your risk management practices.


(About the Author: Deborah J. Muller is the CEO of HR Acuity, a technology firm specializing in human resources applications like the HR Acuity On Demand family of applications. Muller brings more than 25 years of human resources and investigation experience to both the consulting practice and software development sides of the company.)

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday. To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

Do you have great content you want to share with us? Become a TalentCulture contributor!

#TChat Recap: The Culture Advantage. Quantified.

Building a Cultural Advantage with Tim Kuppler

Culture has long been thought a nice to have by stakeholders and HR pros alike, but how much of a business advantage is it really? Last night, the bright minds and leaders of #TChat worked together with special guest Tim Kuppler to answer THAT very question.

We started at the top…literally asking how leaders knew that cultural change was in order.

@TalentCove said:

A1. When they see their employees only doing the bare minimum and not going the extra mile. #TChat


@marksalke said:

A1: If every action requires someone’s approval, you might need a culture makeover.

Isn’t that the absolute truth?

These #TChatters are preaching to the choir, so how to get the message of real culture change to everyone? In fact, where would one start changing an entire culture?

A2. Monitoring employee engagement on a regular basis will help you discover what works and what doesn’t.  said HerdWisdom, quickly echoed by Clear Company who stated:

A2. Monitoring goals closely and rewarding for the completion of them.

Okay, that makes sense. Goals and engagement are both extremely important, not only from the perspective of changing the culture and really making employees feel heard.

But coming down like a hammer was NOT recommended by our culture warriors:

@lotus-yon said: A3 A punitive environment is detrimental to innovation. Leaders at all levels should empower employees to take risks.

#TChatters Agreed That…

  • Leadership is ultimately responsible for cultural change.
  • Each employee could take responsibility for their own “corner” of culture.
  • Confidence is essential for culture building
  • Failure must be allowed
  • Employees must be allowed to take ownership and lead in some cases

Want to see the #TChat replay?

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Tim Kuppler, co-founder of The Culture Advantage and for taking us on this company culture overview! Click here to see the preview!

Related reading:

Nancy Rubin: Your Corporate Culture: What’s Inside

William Powell: Focus On Your Employees, Key To Workplace Culture Success

Damon M. Banks: A Positive Workplace Culture Is Simply Good Business

#TChat Events: What is the Cultural Advantage?


#TChat Radio — Are you plugged in to #TChat radio? Did you know you can listen live to ANY of our shows ANY time? 

Now you know. Click the box to head on over to our channel or listen to Engagement and Putting Thanks.

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about trends on the workplace talent frontier? We welcome your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we may feature it!

If you recap #TChat make sure to let us know so we can find you!

We want to see you on TalentCulture! Become a contributor NOW! (ummm, click)

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week at #TChat Events, we’ll be talking about building a cultural advantage and how they can help both engagement and workplace happiness. Sign up for the newsletter to get the scoop on next week’s guest, topic and questions!

Save the date: Wednesday, April 23!

The TalentCulture conversation continues daily on #TChat Twitter, in our LinkedIn group, and on our NEW Google+ community. So join us anytime on your favorite social channels!

How Deep Does Engagement Really Go?

A recent Gallup poll found that engaged employees display an unexpectedly strong commitment to their work. Almost two-thirds (63%) of workers whom Gallup classified as engaged in their jobs would not leave their current position if they won $10 million in the lottery. This commitment did not translate as strongly with those workers disengaged counter-parts. Only 42% of disengaged workers, and 20% of actively disengaged workers polled say they would continue to work in their current job.

Beyond the Paycheck

Looking at those numbers, we can safely say that the majority of engaged workers embrace the benefits of having a job they love, beyond the paycheck. Although the number of engaged workers who would stay is impressive, there really isn’t that many engaged workers. So, we’re really left with a slice of a slice of the workforce who would stay.

What can employers offer to make that slice bigger –to increase commitment beyond the paycheck? Companies can get extremely competitive with their compensation practices, but that won’t necessarily translate to commitment, engagement or retention. Pay is merely one piece of the puzzle.

Shared Values

The 2012 Global Workplace study by Towers Watson revealed that 27% of employees who plan to leave in the first year on the job, cite feeling disconnected to the organization. In order to establish shared values, the organization has to make it a priority to establish and communicate those values. Values, culture and mission should be a part of all recruiting initiatives, from branding efforts to the hiring process.

Workplace Relationships

67% of employees say that good workplace relationships are a reason they would stay in their current position. This has a lot to do with the environment, communication and culture that employers should be creating and fostering for their workers.

  • Employers need to put a strong emphasis on cultural fit in the hiring process.
  • Provide a safe social collaboration platform to their workforce.
  • Create an environment free of judgment and full of questions. One that is conducive to learning from one another.


Immediate and varied recognition can impact effort and retention by up to 87%. That’s a pretty drastic increase that comes along with the cheapest and easiest piece of the engagement puzzle. Recognition is so simple, it has proven benefits and it feels good to give and receive; yet leaders are notoriously stingy with their acknowledgements.

Employers at all levels of the organization need to first recognize the benefits of creating a culture of recognition. Simply acknowledging and rewarding workers can have such a dramatic affect on the entire organization. HR pro and founder of Blogging4Jobs, Jessica Miller-Merrell said:

“It Starts at the Top. Any type of culture shift within an organization must have senior leadership support. It’s that simple because without them walking the talk, the change won’t happen. No way no how.”


Soliciting feedback is considered by many employee engagement experts to be the most effective tool in increasing engagement. Employers make some valiant effort and spend some serious dough on improving the things they think are the issues.

Well, how about working on the known issues? They will only be identified through the solicitation of employee feedback on a regular basis. 33% of employees said that a lack of open, honest communication has the most negative impact on employee morale.

Don’t get me wrong, competitive compensation coupled with effective and relevant benefits are vital to keeping great talent in-house, but there’s so much more to creating an engaged, committed workforce. Honestly, compensation is the easy part, and that’s why so many companies aren’t going beyond the paycheck to ensure that their workforce is satisfied and heard.

The idea of winning the lottery is a pretty cool barometer for workplace commitment. Would you stay in your current position if you won $10 million tomorrow? We want to know! Leave a comment –would you stay or would you go?