5 Tips For People-Oriented HR Management

What makes a professional hiring manager? Dealing with budgets, business priorities, and tons of paperwork is essential; but is it what employees need and expect to see from us? After all, human resources are about people, aren’t they?

In 2016, 70.6 percent of HR professionals called “influencing the company culture to have more authentic, people-oriented managers” their top priority. With more than $2 billion plunged into HR technology, the emergence of new, more people-oriented, trends seems clear.

Together with gamification, video hiring, and other HR trends of 2016, this year brings more tech challenges for us to implement in order not to trail far behind. Focused more on people, they help to create a positive company culture and not earn the reputation of the worst HR ever.

So, what can you do for employees?

Manage their performance

2017 is the year when performance reviews will become a regular part of hiring managers life. Performance management apps are team-centric and cloud-based today, which makes it easier for us to keep track on employees.

Performance appraisal software, such as Saba Cloud or Performly, allows workers to understand their role in a company’s success, boost productivity, and unleash their potential. Featherlight helps to manage real-time performance, Weekdone enables to monitor accomplishments, and PerformYard lets you document and performance results.

Most of these applications feature online assessments, allow managing performance by teams, and integrate with other HR tools and employee directories.

Train them

Professional development is a must for employees, and they would thank you for interesting and engaging training programs. Make this training more effective with new solutions in HR tech, such as Workday Learning or Fuse Universal.

They are online platforms focused on video collaboration and other interactive methods of learning, including features for curation and data-driven recommendations. Employees consider such category of learning products efficient, and they are ready to develop new skills with online resources about math, writing, time management, and more. 

Manage their wellness and activity

2017 is the year for the utilization of HR technology solutions for employee wellness, engagement, and recognition. The number of tools to manage activity and work-life balance grows for hiring managers to improve the work environment.

Use solutions from Oracle or Ultimate Software to manage what employees do, how well they take care of their health, and how happy they are. Such tools have built-in analytics engines to view workers wellness and give insights on how to boost their productivity and make them work better.

Encourage communication

Tools for evaluating an employee’s real-time engagement become critical infrastructure for companies, as they help to understand workers needs and consider corresponding changes. Integrate those tools with your performance management system, and you will join the 85 % of executives considering employee engagement a top priority.

Encourage communication by using HR software: Trakstar helps to keep employees informed about employers goals and expectations, and ReviewSnap improves real-time feedback for workers to learn how their performance fit into the objectives of the company.

They are great to encourage mobility and connect staff members. 

Analyze them

The rise of people analytics is among the HR tech trends of 2017. Predicting a staff’s behavior, thoughts, and desires, you will know how to implement all corresponding changes effectively.

Survey software works best here. Graphical reporting features of SmartSurvey or Dub InterViewer allow getting data from employees to analyze their changes and recommend training they need for better performance.

New tools for people analytics include:

  • tools, analyzing e-mails to assess how people’s communication and time management practices differ, encouraging lower-performers to change behavior.
  • tools, monitoring workers’ locations and voice tenor to see when they experience stress and reorganize facilities accordingly.

Don’t forget about talent acquisition

The talent acquisition market is enormous today, so embrace it to hire the right talents for your company. Social media can help you here, but the latest HR tech from Lever, Gild, and SmartRecruiters would not be wise to miss.

They are recruitment management systems, handling everything: sources, analytics, interview management, candidate scores, their onboard relationship management, and more.

So, make the most out of your job performance by using HR technology to find strong candidates, manage them, and help them fulfill potential. Make your hiring strategy more people-oriented, and no one will have the heart to say you are a non-specialist in the profession.

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Teach Your Hiring Manager to Sell

Sometimes good candidates are won or lost in the interview.  I started wondering why good candidates sometimes ran for the hills after an interview.  And then I had my answer- it was a poor experience with a hiring manager.  These days, recruiting is a group effort.  A hiring manager can’t simply opt out of the process anymore and stumble blindly into a meeting only to completely muck it all up.  Candidates today aren’t hungry enough to jump at any old position that comes along.  They now demand transparency and communication.  Candidates today are scouring the internet for information about your company, they’re looking at your team photos on social media, and they’re definitely reading reviews on sites like Glassdoor.  In this time of scrutiny, it’s going to be difficult to compete if your hiring manager isn’t on board with the message.  You’re going to have to teach your hiring manager to sell the company and sell the position.

Ditch the Inquisition and Sell, Hiring Manager, Sell!

In the old days, a hiring manager could largely opt out of the recruiting process.  He or she could come in at the end, meet the top candidates and pick the one they wanted.  Now, they also have to be on brand, on message.  They have to worry about whether a candidate will post the questions they asked in the interview on Glassdoor.  They have to worry if their position will sit empty because they weren’t as forthcoming about the company culture.  Today, the hiring manager has to be involved in the recruiting process as much as the Talent Acquisition team.  So what do you teach them and how?

  • Talent Acquisition must sit hiring managers down and go over the message. Whether a hiring manager knows it or not, every employer has a brand and a message that they want candidates to hear.  This message should be authentic and in line with their talent brand.  Ideally, a strong employer brand is supported by a strong talent brand.  If the two are out of sync, your hiring manager may be driving candidates away.  Teach your hiring managers the official messaging to connect recruiting efforts with a candidate’s experience interviewing. Do they know what differentiates your company from its competitors, what makes them unique in the market?  They should be able to articulate all of this to a candidate as an extension of your employer branding efforts.


  • Teach your hiring managers how to interview.  Frequently, the number one complaint we hear from candidates is that their interview was not good.  Many hiring managers just don’t know how to interview.  Beyond the top 6 questions your team wants to know about, your hiring manager should be able to make the experience great for candidates.  Offer them training in interviewing techniques and teach them how Talent Acquisition is able to get the answers they want without the inquisition. Offer role playing scenarios to hiring managers seeking to apply these tools.  Practice, practice, practice.  With a little training and development, a hiring manager can become a very effective interviewer.
  • Review your company culture with a hiring manager. Many hiring managers are great employees, but they don’t quite know what the company culture is, let alone how to articulate it.  By going over the intricacies of your company culture, you can position your hiring manager as an authority on the company.  This information is critical to the candidate experience and can be the differentiator that causes a candidate to choose your company over a competitor.  Teach your hiring manager how to discuss company culture in a positive and realistic way.  If they’re trying to sell the company, they should be able to do so without faking it or making false claims.  No new employee wants to start a position finding out that the laid back team they thought they were joining is really a high pressure high stress environment.  Give your hiring manager the tools to discuss the company culture with candidates to set them up for success.

The old models for hiring are broken.  Today’s candidates seek transparency, communication, and interaction with team members.  An effective hiring manager can bridge the gap between Talent Acquisition and the company, offering candidates the insight they crave.  Using these techniques, your company can sell the position and acquire the talent it desires.

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Make The Hiring Manager Your Recruiting Partner

With all the focus on sourcing, the candidate experience, mobile access and employer branding, the hiring manager experience can be a low priority within organizations. Why is the hiring manager experience something that warrants attention and cultivating? Simply, the hiring manager plays a pivotal role in the talent acquisition process. The decision to hire usually rests with them, so ensuring they have all the needed information and technology-enabled tools at their disposal is a start in the right direction.

Is It Really Us vs. Them?

This question is a big part of the problem. Until everyone involved in the hiring process realizes all people are key players, there’s going to be an “us vs. them” attitude. Ensuring the hiring manager has access to necessary tools and information creates a consistently efficient process. Technology-enabled communication tools can create an atmosphere for valuable exchanges of dialogue and information that promote proactivity between recruiters and hiring managers, aligning both for greater efficiency.

Prepare On The Front-end

Being prepared ensures that both the hiring manager and candidate have a good experience during the hiring process. This is where good and timely listening skills come into play. Listen to the hiring manager, and step up to get the needed information to begin a strategy. It’s a waste of everyone’s time if information the hiring manager needs is provided after candidates are presented, or worse after candidates have interviewed. Fine tuning the strategy on the front-end is a sound recruiting practice.

Some of the basic questions recruiters should ask the hiring  manager upfront are:

  • Do I have all the information about the job duties and what are the priority skills?
  • Do you have specific qualifying questions you want me to ask?
  • Within what timeframe are you looking to hire?
  • Are there any knock-out questions you want me to ask the candidates?
  • What qualities have you noticed as being essential to the success of this position?
  • What traits did the last person in this role have that made him/her a good cultural fit for the position?
  • Are there any past interviewees you want contacted?
  • Are you open to paying relocation?
  • Do you want the team members to meet the finalists?

Recruiter Expertise

For the recruiter, being the subject-matter expert on the practice of recruiting enables the fundamentals to support his/her success to kick into action. Keep in mind, the hiring manager is an expert in his/her field of work, and understands the team’s culture, as well. A good hiring manager will rely on the knowledgeable advice of the recruiter to help steer the process and keep it running efficiently. Have a plan-of-action in place and make recommendations so you both know how the course of events will progress, and develop a flexible mind-set to revisit the plan-of-action. This can, often times, help keep everything moving forward and help everyone involved to weather hiccups that may occur.

Keep Calm And Carry On

Not all positions are easy to fill; knowing this upfront helps the recruiter plan a solid strategy and reduce stress for everyone. If you’re an inexperienced recruiter, be sure to share your strategy with the hiring manager. They may have prior knowledge with filling the position and can share what has and hasn’t worked in the past. Incorporating keen listening skills and being flexible to accept this advice can create better efficiencies. Consider all courses of action and any direction provided by the hiring manager, then evaluate which are best.

Keep in mind, not all positions can be sourced using the same strategy. Some positions will be high touch and others a matter of using your pipeline to generate leads. Of course the more inclusive the strategy, the better chance recruiters have for sourcing and recruiting highly qualified candidates. Use technology to help with communications and networking, but remember, technology is there to streamline the process and not to eliminate the need for human intervention. Listening well and utilizing technology-enabled communications are basics needed by the talented recruiter.

Hiring is a team effort which requires exemplary communications between all the stakeholders involved. It really does take a village to hire.

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Brave The Flaming Bullseye With Total Talent Acquisition

“It is the fire that lights itself
But it burns with a restless flame
The arrow on a moving target
The archer must be sure of his aim…”

—Neil Peart (writer and musician, “Cut to the Chase”)

He hated driving. And yet, he drove me home from the airport. Nice guy. Personable. Articulate. Cleanly shaved head, just south of my age. Mid-forties I guessed. Great driver actually. Very aware of everything around him. We immediately hit if off as we discussed the ups and downs of the Bay Area highways and byways, the best times to drive and the worst.

“Well, you’re hitting the driving thing head-on,” I announced in a poor attempt at punning.

He laughed nonetheless. “It’s my job for now. I don’t have a choice.”

He leaked a weak smile in the rear-view mirror. Before I could press him further he deflected to me and what I did for a living.

A little while later I again tried to learn more about his professional life, but to no avail. What was obvious to me was that he was one of the more qualified “underemployed,” those who only work part time doing whatever because they can’t find full-time employment. How are companies leveraging this underserved talent pool and candidates like him? And can they?

Cut to 24 hours earlier while I sat with colleagues and an entire recruiting team from one of our recruiting customers talking about how to remain compliant while searching, sourcing and pipelining. If you’re in HR and recruiting, you understand the broad critical complexity of regulations that are in place to protect employers, employees, applicants and candidates.

The senior vice president of talent acquisition led the meeting and at one point he said something quite profound and refreshing, not something I’d heard of late:

“We cannot allow compliance to manage us. We have to be able to search and source our own databases in a timely way without compromising quality…in the spirit of effectiveness and productivity, not necessarily efficiency.”

At the same time the disparity between organizations that achieve high-performance talent acquisition and those that don’t usually boils down to agile processes and transparent branding without completely compromising compliance – all with the right technology that empowers the total talent acquisition package.

Competing for the best people, regardless of role or classification, has again become priority number one with an emphasis on the speed and quality of the hiring process. But it’s definitely a moving target – according to survey data collected by my mothership, PeopleFluent, 73% of the HR and recruiting survey-takers noted that developing a talent pipeline was a struggle.

Plus, if you take into account the latest BLS employment numbers, the true total unemployed include the underemployed, which is nearly double the usual unemployment numbers pumped into the media mainstream.

Mercy me, it’s a confusing hot mess out there. To add to the confusion, Will Thomson, Global Sales Recruiter for Rosetta Stone and the Founder of Bulls Eye Recruiting, told us on the TalentCulture #TChat Show that this year, 2015, will be the best year for recruiting since 1999.

Wait, what? Well, more jobs were created in 2014 than in any other year since 1999. According to a recent New York Times article, employers have hired more than 1 million people since November 1, 2014.

But, companies still struggle with sourcing the right people and job seekers can learn just as much if not more about a prospective employer today than the employers can learn about them. They can shop and screen with the best of them, which is why company culture and transparent relationships will be the primary drivers for successfully recruiting and retaining employees in 2015. The talent acquisition teams that get this will facilitate winning.

The challenge lies in doing away with the old recruiting process model and implementing a modern, total talent acquisition approach to recruiting. In fact, according to Brandon Hall Group’s High-Performance Talent Acquisition Framework, Total Talent Acquisition is a culmination of the process of identifying, engaging, assessing, hiring and onboarding talent in order to successfully grow an organization’s workforce.

According to data from the 2014 Candidate Experience Awards (the CandEs), companies can do this better by setting expectations up front, and having more job-relevant components in the application and seeking feedback from their candidates. Along these lines, it is crucial to provide a detailed description of the application process, which will help candidates understand how to apply, the reasons for asking diversity-based questions, privacy commitments and accommodations for people with disabilities.

Employers can also enhance the candidate experience, and better target qualified candidates, by including video-enabled screening questions and assessments in the application process. Doing so will enable companies to provide a more personalized process, allowing candidates who might not be qualified to self-select out, while moving the best candidates forward. Not only will these efforts help to shorten the application process and keep talent more engaged, but it will also help to target the qualified talent the organization needs to remain competitive.

When equipped with the right total talent acquisition technology solution, companies can provide a more engaging and transparent candidate experience, a more streamlined process for recruiters to sort through candidates and an effective process for hiring managers to make well-informed decisions, which in turn improves the overall speed and quality of hire today and far into the future.

Telling my driver that “drivers” were one of the top 10 hardest roles to fill in 2014 probably wasn’t something that he would’ve wanted to hear. But if we brave the flaming bullseye together – candidates, recruiters, hiring manager – with a total talent acquisition strategy, maybe we can hit the mark more often for everyone including the qualified underemployed.