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HR Lessons Learned: Hiring Takeaways from 5 Different Industries

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

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

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

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

1. Technology: Pre-employment Testing

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

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

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

2. Healthcare: Artificial Intelligence

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

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

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

3. Manufacturing: Passive Candidate Search

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

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

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

4. Real Estate: Mentorship

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

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

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

5. Education: Internships

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

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

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

Businesses Can Learn a Lot from Other Industries

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

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

 

Predicting Turnover: The Top 5 Reasons Employees Leave

Employee turnover — whether voluntary or involuntary — is costly and inevitable. But the pain it causes employees and employers can be alleviated by better understanding turnover itself. Why do employees term? What can be done to retain talent? Does turnover look different across various demographics?

To answer those questions, I analyzed a dataset comprised of more than 97,000 survey respondents across a variety of regions and industries. The following results, further discussed in our research report Top 5 Predictors of Employee Turnover, represent perceptions from both non-termed and termed employees, with termed employees having voluntary and involuntary exits.

Top 5 Indicators of Employee Turnover

Based on standard items included in Quantum Workplace’s employee engagement survey, I first analyzed differences in favorable perceptions between termed and non-termed employees. The survey items were measured on a 6-point rating scale, with “favorability” consisting of agree and strongly agree responses. All turnover indicators that saw a 10 percentage-point or greater difference in favorability between termed and non-termed employees are grouped into five distinct themes, described below.

Lower Job Satisfaction

When employees are less satisfied with, interested in, or challenged by their jobs, they’re more likely to turnover.

Unmet Individual Needs

If employees don’t feel like the organization is meeting their individual needs (e.g., health and well-being, work-life balance, personal development), they’re more likely to become a retention risk.

Future Misalignment

Employees who are unsure whether they fit into the organizations future are more likely to turnover.

Poor Team Dynamics

Employees are more likely to leave an organization when they express uncertainty about their team members’ effectiveness and the likeability of their immediate supervisor.

Lower Intentions to Stay

When employees indicate that they’re unsure if they’ll stay with the organization — both in the short term or during tough times — they’re more likely to become a retention risk.

Deep Dive: Perceptions Across Tenure and Organizational Size

Demographics can be grouped in a variety of ways, and in the context of work, I like distinguishing them in three ways – personal (e.g., gender, age), professional (e.g., tenure, department), and organizational (e.g., industry, size). Although the dataset for this research included a variety of demographic variables, two stood out as having interesting stories to tell. The first, tenure, is a professional demographic. Favorability differences between termed and non-termed employees are shown below, broken out across tenure.

Favorability by Tenure

The most fascinating aspect of the above graph is that the gaps between termed and non-termed favorability follow a curvilinear trend. In other words, the gap is smallest for the least and most tenured groups (by 7.6 and 6.9 percentage points, respectively), yet widest for those employees with 6-9 years of tenure (12.6 percentage points). These group-level differences suggest that it doesn’t take as much for new hires or highly tenured employees to term, whereas it takes more uncertain or negative perceptions for moderately tenured employees to term.

The second interesting story emerged from an organizational demographic – organizational size. Favorability differences between termed and non-termed employees are shown below, broken out across size.

Favorability differences between termed and non-termed employees

Again with an emphasis on gaps, the above graph shows that the gaps in favorability between termed and non-termed employees mostly follow a linear trend; the gaps in favorability tend to get smaller as organizational size increases. This suggests that it takes more uncertain or negative perceptions to leave a smaller organization, yet not so much for larger organizations.

The results across both demographics indicate that certain groups of employees require greater degrees of misalignment to term. Smaller organizations may be culturally “stickier” in that it takes a fundamental misfit between employee and culture for an employee to term, whereas that lack of fit isn’t as pressing or important for larger organizations. Likewise, moderately tenured employees may need to pushed (or pulled) harder to term because they’re possibly more invested in the organization’s success than less tenured employees, yet have more room for professional growth and development than more tenured employees.

Next Steps

Understanding employee turnover is crucial for saving financial capital and retaining human capital. Although turnover is complex, a “one size fits all” approach to preventing or responding to employee turnover just doesn’t work. For example, retaining or training talent would likely look different for employees with varying tenure, and even for employees across organizations of varying size. A high-level list of turnover indicators is certainly a good place to start, but different strategies are needed for different industries, different departments, and different groups and teams.

Understanding turnover shouldn’t be part of an HR wish list or filed under the mentality of “oh that’d be nice to have someday,” but engrained as part of an organization’s strategy for success. It is imperative to collect and analyze exit data using reliable tools, a strong methodology, and a commitment to implementing insights gathered from those data.

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#WorkTrends Recap: Top 5 Predictors of Employee Turnover

Without a doubt, employee turnover is costly mistake and one that most companies can avoid with minimal effort, yet so many brands fail in this area.

This week on the #WorkTrends show, host Meghan M. Biro and her special guest Dan Harris, of Quantum Workplace discussed the intricacies of employee turnover and its long-lasting implications on the employment value proposition.

Dan talked about the difference between dysfunctional and functional employee turnover and how each impacts the organization. It was a lively conversation.

Here are a few other key points that Dan shared with the community:

  • Not all employee turnover is bad for the organization
  • Employees who don’t feel valued by their employers won’t value their work. They will most likely seek value elsewhere.
  • Employee recognition is strongly correlated to employee engagement for a healthy workplace

Did you miss the show? You can listen to the #WorkTrends podcast on our BlogTalk Radio channel here:   http://bit.ly/2neuI8h

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

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

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

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#WorkTrends Preview: Top 5 Predictors of Employee Turnover

During this week’s TalentCulture’s #WorkTrends event, we’re going to be discussing an important topic and one that we touch upon often given its impact on brands, culture, the workplace and workforce.

Employee turnover is costly and one that most companies can avoid with minimal effort, yet so many brands fail in this area.

Join host Meghan M. Biro and her special guest Dan Harris, Ph.D of Quantum Workplace on Wednesday, March 29 at 1pm ET as they discuss the intricacies of employee turnover and its long-lasting implications on the employment value proposition.

Top 5 Predictors of Employee Turnover

#WorkTrends Logo Design

Join Dan and Meghan on our LIVE online podcast Wednesday, Mar 29 — 1 pm ET / 10 am PT.

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

Q1: What are the indicators of employee turnover? #WorkTrends (Tweet this question)

Q2: What causes brands to fail at employee engagement? #WorkTrends (Tweet this question)

Q3: How can employees help leadership create a great culture? #WorkTrends (Tweet this question)

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

Join Our Social Community & Stay Up-to-Date!

Passive-Recruiting

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Best Techniques To Reduce Employee Turnover In 2017

High employee turnover is generally considered bad for any organization. This can lead to low- quality performance and unmet goals in the workplace. As there is no certainty that all company roles will be filled daily, businesses are compelled to hire and train new employees constantly.

A common downside of employee turnover is high costs. It’s more costly to lose workers and hire new ones than retain older employees, according to Chron.com. If your brand has been experiencing high turnover for the past few years, now is the best time to explore smart retention strategies.

How do you keep your workers so you can have a happier, more productive 2017? Check out the methods outlined below.

Be flexible with your employees. When we think of work flexibility, we associate it with working from home. Flexibility at work also happens when top managers allow staff members to bring their work with them as long as they’re connected to the internet – at the cafe or while on a vacation. People feel empowered to produce better results when they’re given the autonomy to work according to the time and environment in which they’re most productive. Flexibility appeals most to the younger generation workforce – millennials.

Engaging your team. Are your staff members enthusiastic at work? Signs of team engagement include but are not limited to a high employee retention rate, creativity among workers, and team participation at after-work activities. Another noticeable indicator of engagement in your company is lesser complaints about workload. When your employees feel that they play a significant role in your company’s growth, you can always expect better service and profit.

Fulfill your workers’ job expectations. One reason why companies experience high employee turnover is that they lead employees away from their initial job description. Employees expect to work according to what they applied for. When they find out that they are made to keep up with responsibilities that are not in line with their strengths and interests, they lose the drive to perform. Being a truthful employer helps build your credibility and creates positive relationships.

Encourage work-life balance. Is your management honoring work-life balance? Work-life balance is more important to employees than what most people make it out to be. Be sure to detect signs of burnout among your staff as early as possible. Check whether a team member is often irritable, less energized, and frequently complains of headache and body malaise. If the answers to these questions are a yes, you need to do something about your management style. Allow your employees to take a day off and de-stress. As much as possible, avoid bombarding them with new projects.

Organize company outings. Company outings are a great investment because they allow your team members to relax and have fun while improving professional relationships. It’s beneficial to have breaks especially if you work in a corporate environment where everybody’s pressured to deliver daily. Let your staff members have drinks together, share snacks, and have a karaoke night. You can even camp at nature settings to battle overwhelm at work. Employee turnover can result from relationship barriers at work. The American Psychological Association states that friendships established in the workplace can lower people’s stress levels and drive them to stay committed.

Prioritize your employees’ health. If you believe that health is wealth, then you understand how important it is to prioritize your workers’ well-being. Not all companies offer health benefits for their employees which may explain why some people leave to seek better opportunities. If your organization cannot afford to pay for your employees’ health maintenance, at least you can schedule weekly fitness classes, or charity runs so everyone can loosen up and get sweaty. Healthy employees are able to maintain an ideal weight and stay happier at work.

Provide growth opportunities. People are most attracted to jobs they know offer opportunities for personal and professional advancement. Boost your team members’ performance by being a company that values growth. Whether it’s providing a salary raise or promoting a performing individual, you’ll definitely motivate your employees which leads to satisfying business outcomes.

To be successful in running your organization, make sure to put your employees’ welfare first. Never undermine the value of your staff and realize later on that you’ve been wasting resources due to poor management.

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Keep New Hires From Leaving In The First 90 Days

Employee turnover — especially in the first 90 days of a new hire’s tenure — costs organizations thousands of dollars per year.

Think about it: you spend time and resources looking for the right candidate, hire the person you think will succeed, and lose money until that new hire is performing at 100 percent productivity.

This can be especially frustrating in front-line industries like hospitality where, according to results from CompData’s 2014 edition of their annual BenchmarkPro Survey shared by Compensation Force, turnover in 2014 was 27.6 percent.

When you’re losing one in four new hires, all the time and resources you spent go to waste. The worst part? You have to start all over again.

How do you get it right the first time? Here are five reasons you’re losing new employees and how to fix them:

1. Your sourcing strategies are outdated.

If your organization is sourcing most of its candidates from job boards, classified ads, job fairs, and other outdated sources, it’s hurting the chances of finding a quality hire. Unfortunately, emphasizing recruiting and sourcing from these outlets keeps your organization from developing a strong pool of qualified candidates.

The solution: Focus on online sourcing and creating an employee referral program that keeps your talent pipeline full of qualified candidates. Sixty percent of recruiters from Jobvite’s 2014 Social Recruiting Survey cite referrals as the number one way they find the best candidates.

It’s simple. Since your current employees understand your organization better than anyone, they’re the best source for finding quality candidates that will be a good fit.

2. The new hire isn’t actually as skilled as you thought.

Look, we’ve all been there. A candidate with “that special something” talks about how he’s done similar work in the past, is proficient in the systems your organization employs, and has used the skills necessary in other positions. He gets the job, underperforms, and you have to let him go.

The solution: Job simulations. Putting candidates through simulations that measure specific work-related skills and competencies is a reliable way to gauge their skills.

In front-line positions like sales, hospitality, and customer support, job simulations can help your organization measure candidates’ communication skills, along with their ability to multi-task and think on their feet. These skills aren’t always easy to assess during an interview.

3. Your gut tells you who to hire.

Many hiring managers rely on gut feelings and casual observations about a candidate to make important hiring decisions. While sometimes you get lucky, more often than not this method results in hiring candidates who aren’t quite the right fit.

The solution: Take advantage of the data your organization generates and incorporate it into your screening and hiring decisions. Use data analytics to develop hiring models and then continuously test them to ensure they are valid and improving your hiring and retention metrics.

For example, keeping track of which sources produce the best hires or the impact that an onboarding training program has on performance can help you make decisions about how to make new hires the most successful.

4. The candidate isn’t clear about expectations.

Many employees who leave in the first 90 days do so because the position was simply not what they expected. Either the hiring manager inflated the role to make it more exciting, or the candidate was expecting the role to be one thing, and it turned out to be another.

In both situations, the responsibility is on the organization to clearly define things like work hours, responsibilities, and the part the role plays in the organization’s success.

The solution: Review your organization’s job postings and make sure the roles and responsibilities being described match the realities of the position. During the hiring process, it’s a good idea to distribute a “roles and responsibilities” checklist to candidates so they are aware — from the beginning — what the job requires.

5. You’re only hiring for skills, not job fit.

In a recent study of more than 500 CEOs, managing directors, hiring managers, and other decision makers in various industries, Hyper Island found that 78 percent believe personality is the most important aspect of hiring.

Yes, a good candidate will have the skills and abilities necessary to be effective at the job, but if the candidate’s personality doesn’t fit the position — or your organization’s culture — the odds of them leaving in the first 90 days dramatically increase.

The solution: Pre-hire personality assessments. Combined with hiring simulations that measure work skills, job-related personality assessments can help you determine if the candidates you’re interested in have the right personality for the job. More importantly, they can help determine if a candidate will mesh with your organization’s mission, values and culture.

If you’re having issues with turnover in the first 90 days, think about whether or not your organization is making some of these mistakes. Fix only one, and you’ll make your hiring process more efficient. Fix all of them, and you’ll be on your way to lower turnover rates and increased productivity.

How do you measure a candidate’s likelihood to stay in the first 90 days? What strategies does your organization employ to reduce turnover in the first 90 days?

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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 ere.net 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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