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3 Ways Recruiting Technology Improves Candidate Experience

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

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

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

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

The 3 Core Benefits of Recruiting Technology

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

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

1. Technology fosters humanity

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

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

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

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

2. Technology increases efficiency

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

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

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

3. Technology helps meet candidates where they are

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

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

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

Candidate Experience: The Real Benefactor of Recruiting Technology

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

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

 

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4 Tips for Conducting Better Online Job Interviews

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

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

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

Leverage Position-specific Tech Platforms

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

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

Expand Your Interviewing Steps

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

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

Look for specific gaps in your current process:

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

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

Develop and Deploy Pre-hiring Tests

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

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

Revisit Your Employer Brand

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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How Small Companies Can Be Recruiting Contenders During COVID

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

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

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

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

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

Try New Technology

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

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

Showcase Local

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

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

Go Where New Talent Goes

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

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

Becoming Recruiting Contenders: Expand Your Thinking

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

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

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

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

Remote Human Resources Strategies for 2021 (And Beyond)

2020 was a year of job losses and significant changes for human resources and hiring teams. While the pandemic will eventually come to an end, many of the changes we’ve seen will stick around — perhaps permanently. So maybe it is time to take a look at your remote human resources strategies?

One of the biggest changes was the swift and complete adoption of remote work. Many businesses that had been resistant to this growing trend faced no choice starting last March. This mandatory, multi-month pilot program has been eye-opening in many positive ways.

Because of this, we can expect remote work — and remote HR — to be a long-term shift. What are some strategies you can use to excel? Here are some ideas.

Excel at Remote Hiring

The first step is to become comfortable with the technology needed for remote hiring. This includes fine-tuning automated resume review software so that you get the applicants you really want. You can also take advantage of pre-interview questionnaires and email references to qualify your candidates further.

When you’re ready for an interview, it’s time for video! Because you can see the candidate and read their body language, video-based interviews are better than telephone options. This technology, which enables you to see how the candidate prepares and reacts in a higher-pressure situation, can help you ensure a better cultural fit along with hiring for the right skills.

As you incorporate video interviews in your hiring process, find ways to keep the process streamlined and give personal attention to top candidates to win them away from competitors. For example, keep the interview short, impactful, and positive.

Embrace the Positive Impact of Remote Work

Many companies have determined that remote work is more cost-effective and sustainable than they imagined. There are fewer late employees, more flexibility, and increased employee satisfaction.

There are also cost-savings for companies. Maintaining fewer desks can mean smaller office spaces and less overhead. Remote work can also lead to increased productivity and a focus on results over time-in-office.

Most of all, remote work allows for increased diversity. People who have health issues and struggle to commute to work daily no longer feel excluded from the talent pool. The fact that people are working from home means they can create the accommodations they need to be successful and overall have a better work environment.

Focus on Employee Engagement

One of the biggest challenges of remote work is keeping employees engaged. While many people enjoy not having to drive to work, others miss the camaraderie of being in an office. Regardless of which side of this fence your employees stand, HR and management must figure out how to actively engage staff.

Start by encouraging each manager to find out what their teams actually want and need. Too often, team-building goes wrong because managers base the effort on someone else’s idea about what matters. In every instance, the team should guide the engagement process.

Leaders should also meet regularly with individual employees. These one-on-one meetings often help minimize any concerns about being forgotten or overlooked for promotions.

There are also virtual team building games you can leverage if they are a fit for your teams and company culture. Many people enjoy the break provided by a virtual scavenger hunt or digital board game – or any chance to do something fun. Do you and your employees a favor, though: Make sure the activities chosen don’t come across as corny or forced.

Support Career Development

As your dispersed team continues to function off-site, be sure to emphasize career training and development to your employees.

The remote work era an excellent opportunity to take advantage of technology and computer-based training. Because companies can tailor these efforts to each individual’s pace and preferences, many companies were already using these methods before the pandemic. Many more companies now offer employees online access to personal and professional growth opportunities such as learning programs provided by LinkedIn or SkillSoft.

Of course, leaders need to be aware of — and support — their individual team members’ career goals. When people believe their career goals are understood and supported, they are far more likely to be engaged and productive.

Balance In-Office and Remote Teams

Many companies are already managing a combination of in-office and remote workers. One way to make sure this works well is to treat everyone – regardless of their work location – fairly. For example, decision-makers shouldn’t prefer in-office workers for promotions or projects. Similarly, remote employees shouldn’t be the only people given flexibility.

Your leadership team must decide how they will recognize and reward the efforts of all team members. And the leaders themselves must serve as advocates for those people doing good work from home.

Of course, companies can adapt recognition and rewards programs to serve blended workforces well. Moving toward a focus on results rather than time-at-desk, for example, can be a great way to make promotions and raises equitable. When you balance your teams, you give everyone an equal opportunity to excel.

Remote Human Resources: Are You Ready for 2021?

Many leaders and companies continue to struggle with the adjustment to a remote work or blended environment – so you are not alone. One at a time, leverage these remote human resources strategies — and make your adjustment to a long-term remote-based or blended workforce better for your company, and better for your employees.

Here’s to a successful 2021 — and beyond!

 

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How the Remote Work Era Impacts Your 2021 DEI Efforts

How will the remote work era impact your 2021 DEI efforts? How will you keep the promises made around diversity, equity, and inclusion?

Before remote work became so prevalent, it was possible to keep real-world events and conversations out of the workplace. Now that’s not only impossible; it’s also increasingly inadvisable. Events in your employees’ personal lives undoubtedly affect the workplace—not only on a personal performance level, but also on a company culture level. Add in ongoing issues of racial inequality and police brutality and the expectation is clear…

Companies must increase DEI efforts in 2021.

Whether employees are having discussions about racism or simply the challenges of living through the pandemic, personal conversations happen – and will continue to happen with increasing frequency. To make sure companies handle these conversations in a productive, positive manner, it’s essential to consider developing a DEI strategy alongside their corporate strategy. The inevitable result is culture-improving programs that promote and champion the business benefits and value of a diverse workforce.

The time is now to tangibly make good on the promises companies have made over the years to increase their focus on DEI.

Here are some actions I expect companies will begin to take in 2021 to fulfill these promises.

Revamp Hiring Practices

One of the first places companies will analyze to improve DEI in their workforce is their talent pool. But merely wanting to hire more diverse team members doesn’t mean you’ll receive diverse applicants.

To increase the diversity of their talent pools, companies will revisit their hiring practices. Providing training programs and resources for hiring teams and reviewing job descriptions to remove non-inclusive terminology and unnecessary requirements is a start. So is expanding from a primarily referral-based recruitment pipeline to a pipeline full of diverse recruiting events and job boards across the country. These are examples of the steps companies will take to be more accessible and welcoming to a diverse array of candidates.

After successful remote work experiments in 2020, I expect we’ll see many companies expand the number of remote roles available, enabling them to drastically expand their talent pool. Of course, the organizational culture will also need to evolve in order to retain a more diverse workforce.

Actively Provide Ongoing DEI Resources 

Instead of having one-off discussions on diversity, equity, and inclusion in response to separate incidences, workplaces will begin making DEI discussions a part of their regular culture. For some, this will mean creating support and learning groups that provide safe spaces to talk about issues. The support methods might include facilitated discussions, anti-racist books, podcasts, articles, videos, and other materials.

Companies will also begin to create dedicated DEI teams to lead the strategy and implementation of all DEI initiatives. These dedicated teams will focus on diversity training, affinity groups, recruitment, promotion, external partnerships, supplier diversity, and more.

Deliberately Become Anti-racist Organizations

Even with a diverse workforce, a company can still have a racist culture. To prevent this, companies must create and enforce actionable anti-racist policies and practices. To show this is a high priority, a temporary shift in focus away from short-term revenue goals may be necessary.

From required training and programs addressing implicit bias, microaggressions, and more to dedicated employee taskforces, this step will require strategic engagement from leadership to get it right – and enact change from the top-down. Companies should also consider implementing Crossroad Ministry’s diversity training. This program provides detailed steps to help your company move from a monocultural organization to an anti-racist, multicultural organization.

Address DEI in their Products and Services

No workplace can be anti-racist if it doesn’t also extend its DEI efforts to the products and services it provides. Companies truly committed to undertaking DEI strategy will thoroughly assess how they plan and craft their products and services. Along the way, they must note DEI-related gaps and oversights that could help their offerings appeal to their target markets.

I’m Chief Inclusion Officer of an education technology company that serves more than 10 million students and educators. In my role, this aspect of inclusion is especially important to me. One of my primary duties is to ensure our products foster an inclusive and supportive learning environment for students of all races and backgrounds. While it’s an ongoing process, I’m proud to say we’re making a difference in students’ lives. We’re also helping our educator partners create an equitable learning experience for all of their students.

2020 brought about many challenges – and we’re all happy it’s over. But it also helped usher in some positive changes. I expect 2021 will begin to see those transformations more fully realized in the area of DEI. And I look forward to seeing the long-lasting changes companies implement as they become more inclusive, equitable workplaces.

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Executive Onboarding During the Pandemic: Both Pitfall and Opportunity

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

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

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

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

Executive Onboarding: A Challenge Even in “Normal” Times

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

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

Developing Relationships in a Virtual World

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

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

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

Develop a Comprehensive Communication Plan

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

Plan for Spontaneous Connection

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

Schedule Virtual Happy Hours

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

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

How Will You Improve Executive Onboarding?

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

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

 

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One More Look Back: #WorkTrends Top 5 Podcasts of 2020

While 2020 was a rough year for many people and businesses, there were opportunities for growth. Sometimes, all we had to do was listen… to the top 5 #WorkTrends podcasts of 2020, for example.

For many years, #WorkTrends has served as a place of learning within the world of work. 2020 was no exception, as we featured many of the top minds — and many of the best companies and products — that serve the talent community.

As you look ahead to 2021, we invite you to listen to the #WorkTrends conversations that resonated most during 2020…

5) Leading Through Uncertainty

The moment we all started realizing just how impactful the COVID-19 pandemic would be, Doug Butler of Reward Gateway joined host Meghan M. Biro to discuss how leaders can bring teams together and keep them working collaboratively — even when working remotely. In our fifth-most-popular podcast of 2020, you’ll hear solid advice that’s just as applicable today as it was in June when we recorded this episode, starting with how to encourage open, honest, clear communication.

4) The Human Impact of Data Literacy

The next most popular episode of 2020 featured Jordan Morrow, then Global Head of Data Literacy at Qlik. Jordan offered tremendous insight into why we’re not using data the way we could — or should. In this episode, Jordan shared the findings of a Qlik/Accenture report on the human impact of data literacy — and why globally we miss countless opportunities because we don’t better train our employees to use data.

3) The Empathy Gap

In the third most downloaded podcast of last year, Dr. Gleb Tsipursky, the CEO of Disaster Avoidance Experts, joined Meghan to discuss potential workplace disasters. Dr. Tsipursky is a noted consultant, cognitive neuroscientist, and expert on behavioral economics. And during his appearance on #WorkTrends, he noted that the workplace suffers from an epidemic of disengagement. Specifically, he points to one glaring disaster within company culture: a lack of empathy. Listen in!

2) The Myth of Employee Engagement

In our second-most popular post of 2020, Mark S. Babbitt, CEO of WorqIQ joined us to talk about why our approach to employee engagement has been all wrong and still is off-base today. In this episode, Mark noted that our view of this critical workplace topic hasn’t helped us move the needle one bit — engagement levels remain the same as they were in the 1990s. More importantly, he and Meghan talked about how to overcome the impasse.

1) Assessing Digital Skills for Hiring Now

Our top post of 2020 features Sean O’Brien, Senior VP of Education at SAS, who joined us to discuss how remote work — the most dramatic shift in the workplace for 2020 — has moved from a luxury to a necessity for everyday survival. Sean noted that remote working — with its technical, practical, and cultural challenges — also shifted the hiring process further into the digital sphere. Listen to this episode to learn about how digital tools are helping organizations hire effectively in this new environment!

As we look across these #WorkTrends episodes as well as our top five blog posts of 2020, we see clear proof that last year wasn’t all bad. In fact, opportunities for individual and organizational growth exist, even in the strangest of times. We invite you to take a few minutes to enjoy these insightful conversations. And, of course, join us for even more insights in the year ahead. Our goal: to make 2021 the best year yet in the world of work!

As always, thank you for listening to #WorkTrends — and for being an essential part of the TalentCulture community!

 

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[#WorkTrends] Why Recruiters Must Care About Candidate Experience

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

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

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

Our Guest: John Salt, Candidate Experience Evangelist

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

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

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

Improving the Candidate Experience

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

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

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

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

The Business Case for a Better Experience

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

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

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

 

Find John on LinkedIn.

 

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

 

Photo by Wright Studios

Workforce Prediction 2021: Get Ready for the Internet of Careers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Introducing Blockchain to the Workforce

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

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

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

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

Equipping HR Professionals to Succeed

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

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

Increased Ownership Over Our Careers

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

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

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

A New Normal for Organizations and Employees

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

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

Photo by Rawpixel

The ‘Why’ and ‘How’ of Building Workforce Diversity

The evidence overwhelmingly supports the business case for workforce diversity. So why are companies still failing to achieve their diversity goals?

Diversity has become a higher priority on the corporate agenda. Simultaneously, the business case for workforce diversity is now well evidenced (especially by McKinsey & Company, where analysts have been tracking the performance of more diverse companies for years). And yet, many organizations still struggle with ‘why’ diversity programs fail and the ‘how’ of doing diversity well.

Perhaps outreach programs are successful, but few candidates make it to the final selection stage? Perhaps diverse early career talent is easier to onboard, but fewer diverse candidates progress into senior leadership? In our work, we often find organizations undermine their own efforts. Quite often, through the use of a flawed recruitment and assessment process.

Biased decision making can creep into any stage of the hiring or development process, creating a disadvantage for minority groups. In other cases, inadvertent use of tactics that offer an advantage to those with access to exclusive knowledge or education occurs. These tactics perpetuate a cycle that maintains the status quo and prevents diversity from flourishing.

At Sova, we’ve long championed fairness and equality in recruitment and career progression. As occupational psychologists, one of our main goals in designing assessment is to provide a truly objective view of a candidate. We see it as our role to help companies go beyond the CV to make better, unbiased, and fair decisions about talent.

‘Why’ the Selection Process Goes Wrong

Before we talk about how we can improve diversity through fair selection processes, it’s useful to highlight some of the areas where we see diversity fail. These failures happen even when recruitment and HR teams invest in better diversity through actions such as targeted advertising, tailored marketing materials, and broader outreach programs:

  • The interview process starts with killer questions, such as asking which university the candidate attended, which is unfair when the candidate relies on knowledge or experience that isn’t available to all.
  • Too much emphasis on the CV screen effectively defines people through past achievements rather than their future potential.
  • Reliance on academic achievement, often linked to educational opportunity, makes those from more disadvantaged backgrounds less likely to be considered.
  • A reliance on unstructured interviews has been shown by extensive research to typically be much less predictive than either structured interviews or other more objective assessment measures.
  • Traditional assessments, such as a series of verbal and numerical reasoning tests, act as a hurdle race, potentially excluding otherwise suitable candidates.
  • Poorly designed assessments that lack scientific rigor bring a degree of embedded bias; some rely on exclusive knowledge of lifestyle habits or culture.
  • Assessors at assessment centers who are not well trained in managing unconscious bias impact fair selection; so does the center’s content when it favors particular groups.
  • We often fail to collect the right data; that data must be readily available and frequently reviewed.

‘How’ to Improve Workforce Diversity During Recruitment

Here are five practical changes that improve hiring processes and facilitate fairer decision making:

1. Consider carefully and thoughtfully what “good” looks like for your organization.

The definition of good needs to be through a wide lens and with the scope of diversity in mind. Rather than addressing one aspect, think about what diverse talent means as a whole. Consider how you describe what you look for in a candidate. Ask if your description might be perceived as exclusive when framed without thought to diversity. For example, have a broad range of people provide feedback on a job description and posting.

2. In designing your process, think about which techniques are fairest.

Have an inclusive approach to design. Gather insight into how others interpret your process design. Questions and assessment content need to be objective and not discriminate based on access to specific knowledge exclusive to some. Having input into the design from a diverse group is also essential, so gather different viewpoints on the assessment.

3. Thoroughly monitor the success of your assessment process.

Take the time and care to measure easier to acquire metrics such as gender. Also, gather data over the longer term – for example, who gets promoted. To see the whole picture, keep sight of all the assessments in your process and across all groups. Link to this data routinely and review it in real-time, not only on an annual basis.

4. Use analytics to learn which parts of your journey – or which questions and content – are working fairly and which are not.

Layout the parts of your process shown to be generating unfair responses. Then consider whether to change them or remove them. For example, are certain questions excluding those qualified applicants without a university education? Or are you excluding candidates based on language or numeracy skills not applicable to that specific job?

Once you’ve built the business case for diversity, the next step is to practically put in place a new process that will result in fairer outcomes. Diversity strategy guides the organization, of course. But without practical application at every stage of recruitment, assessment, and development, organizations will struggle to truly make a difference in their workforce diversity.

To learn more about leveling the playing field through fair assessment in hiring and development, you can download Sova’s free white paper: Leveling the Playing Field.

 

This post sponsored by Sova Assessment.

 

Nathan Anderson

How Future Workplaces Will Work Better for People with Disabilities

Today, we feature this post, originally published in February 2019, in recognition of National Disabilities Employment Awareness Month.

According to a major study by Accenture, 29 percent of all people were appropriately employed, compared with 75 percent of those who listed disability. Furthermore, that study made a direct link between a company’s overall profitability and its inclusiveness of people with disabilities. In fact, organizations that stand out for leadership in areas related to disability inclusion performed better in several key financial metrics.

The study directly addresses one of the basic drives in any business: Return on investment. It’s part of a growing body of literature that highlights the importance of a strong focus on inclusivity when it comes to hiring, continuous development, and the makeup of a company’s workforce. The ethics of inclusion programs and a push for more diversity within any organization are clear. But this study makes the case for disability inclusion’s value as a direct driver of profit.

Including people with disabilities in your company culture is not only a moral imperative. For most companies, it is a financial incentive.

Disabilities Accommodations: Bottom Line No Longer King

In business, the bottom line is often king at the expense of other considerations. As such, simply adhering to laws such as the U.K.’s Equality Act by providing reasonable adjustments for staff with disabilities can sometimes be thought of as a hindrance to profits. But these attitudes have changed a lot in recent years. We’re at a stage now across industries where employers aren’t looking to work out how to dodge their responsibilities. Instead, employers are going above and beyond in providing for as many people as possible.

Here are some key considerations when it comes to making sure your place of work is catering to as broad a pool of talent as possible, whether that’s prospective employees or those with disabilities already working within your organization.

Hiring Using Algorithms Is the Future — but Be Careful

HR decision making is increasingly automated, and with the proliferation of readily available data about potential job candidates through public platforms such as LinkedIn, this trend is surely here to stay. The use of algorithms to filter out unsuitable candidates helps cut costs and contributes to a streamlined and efficient recruitment process. AI and machine learning will only further improve this kind of activity as technology continues to develop.

There are, however, limits to the powers of this process. It’s important to understand just how fallible algorithms are. No matter how complex an algorithm gets, existing biases are always embedded within. Therefore, in an ideal world, hard screening decisions should not be made solely by algorithmic processes, at least for the foreseeable future.

Algorithms are Imperfect

Does your organization filters candidate lists using AI-based processes, with human oversight coming at a later stage? Do you routinely get a high volume of applications that limits human participation?

If yes, it’s important to be aware of the fact that your algorithms are imperfect. This should naturally lead to a culture of continuous auditing, modification and improvement to your selection processes. By enlisting a member of HR staff to evaluate a random sample of applications, spot checks can be carried out on decisions made by your preferred algorithm. Do those spot checks. Then see if there’s a difference in results. When doing this, it’s important to heavily focus on potential biases on both sides — machine and human.

The ‘Reasonable’ in ‘Reasonable Adjustments’

The U.K.’s Equality Act 2010 sets out legal protections against discrimination in the workplace. It describes the “reasonable adjustments” that must be made to facilitate employees who may face obstacles in the organization. The definition of “reasonable” here is key, as well as ambiguous. And it’s this ambiguity and businesses’ attitudes toward it that are crucial.

A lot depends on how big the business is. Larger organizations will find it easier to afford the resources to make expensive adjustments for staff members.  Smaller organizations, of course, need not go bankrupt to make accommodations. For example, buying land to create closer parking spaces for employees unable to walk long distances is not a requirement.

Seek Out Partners

However, companies must understand the provisions available from the government. They should also seek to work with local schemes and charities. Primarily, this means engaging with the U.K.’s Access to Work program. Through this, staff can gain grants for equipment, aids, adaptations or support worker assistance. The program can also provide additional assistance to employees in getting to and from work.

Instead of seeing this exercise as a means to tick a box, the best employers will have HR practitioners who have a deep knowledge of and working experience with the Access to Work scheme, and will know how to present a compelling case for their staff who require or would flourish with adaptations that can be sourced through these means.

Examples of Disabilities-Friendly Practices

When it comes to welcoming a diverse workforce, there are a number of practical points most organizations can focus on. Regular feedback from employees, pulse surveys and engendering an open and honest environment can help decide where focus belongs. The state of your staff as a whole is a factor in deciding which to actually implement.

  • Make physical adaptations and remove physical barriers.
  • Provide training and information in accessible formats.
  • Offer specialist training.
  • Invite inclusion-focused guest speakers at in-work functions or meetings.
  • Encourage flexible working patterns and remote working where possible.

For profiling your staff so your organization can be proactive in determining which adaptations are required and implemented, consider using a digital tool like Clear Talents. Actively seeking out case studies in related fields is also excellent practice.

In addition, the Business Disability Forum is an excellent resource for this type of activity and can signpost important initiatives.

Make the workplace work better with people with disabilities. Starting today.

William Daigneault

5 Post-COVID Global Work Trends in HR and Hiring

Working from home. Schooling from home. Social distancing. New workplace norms. New consumerism rules. Mask mandates. It’s difficult to identify one aspect of personal life or society left untouched by the novel coronavirus pandemic. Not surprisingly, the global workforce — including hiring after COVID-19 — will also look different for the foreseeable future. Here are five global work trends that will most affect human resources professionals.

1. Some Previously On-Site Employees Will Work Remotely Forever

Working from home was already a widely accepted option before COVID-19 happened, but some employers still decided not to offer the possibility. Once remote work became the safest arrangement for many companies during the pandemic, some decision-makers realized that people stay productive at home, and many get even more done.

Netflix, Microsoft, Shopify and Fujitsu are among the companies where people will be working remotely for the long term. Some businesses provide it as a permanent possibility. Gartner’s April 2020 survey found that 74% of leaders would move at least 5% of their workforces to a remote working model for good post-COVID-19.

2. Companies Will Invest More in Reskilling Employees

Even before the pandemic affected the world, advanced technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) necessitated that some employees learn new skills soon to stay competitive. Analysts say it’s even more vital now that employers double down on their educational efforts related to reskilling. If they do, they’ll be better prepared for the technological changes on the horizon, plus be more resilient during future significant disruptions.

This trend may slow, but not stop, hiring after COVID-19. Some reskilling efforts will teach workers new roles adjacent to their original ones. One example from a company operating in West Africa during the Ebola crisis was that truck drivers learned to operate excavators. However, reskilling also involves getting acquainted with digital activities. Doctors may need to become more comfortable with using tools to conduct remote visits, for instance.

3. Efforts to Hire International Workers May Need Longer Timelines

Companies that want to hire international workers have several options. One commonly selected choice due to convenience is to work with an employer of record. That entity handles all payroll, taxes and benefits necessities. That approach could mean a company could hire a top-choice candidate in a matter of days. However, hiring after COVID-19 could become more complex due to new rules and delays associated with aspects like visa processing.

For example, authorities in Ireland ruled that medical-related employment permits took precedence during the pandemic. They warned that applicants for all other types should expect delays — even if they previously submitted their documentation before the decision occurred. The United States disallowed people to arrive on certain permissions through at least the end of 2020. These changes mean employers must show more patience when hiring global workers.

4. Employers Will Stop Requiring Such Rigid Schedules

One of the most anticipated global work trends: Besides the additional flexibility that comes with working remotely instead of on-site, employees can likely expect more opportunities to participate in four-day workweeks. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern recently joined people backing shorter workweeks for numerous reasons. She believes the switch would promote domestic tourism in her country.

Others supporting the idea point out that it would help people have a better work-life balance. When Microsoft workers in Japan participated in a four-day workweek trial, their productivity increased by 40%, and employees earned the same amount. COVID-19 has made managers think about work differently. That means many will feel more open to the idea of breaking schedule norms.

5. Creative Motivation of Remote Employees

Helping remote employees feel like part of the team and upbeat despite possibly working in total solitude meant employers had to show appreciation differently. While an on-site worker might have their promotion celebrated with a cake in the break room, remote employees might receive something in the mail and relish in their achievement alone. Showing gratitude now requires more creativity due to so many people working from home.

One company had a virtual wine and cheese tasting where participants had supplies sent to their homes. Another tried a summer-picnic-in-a-box concept after canceling its annual in-person event due to COVID-19. All employees received mailed goodies, including a blanket, water bottle, snacks and sunscreen. This trend could have long-lasting effects, especially as managers realize they can give appreciation in more ways than they previously thought.

Global Work Trends: Post COVID-19 Will Be Different

Our ongoing global health threat has forced us all to become more agile; more open to doing things differently while abiding by new norms to stay safe. And these five global work trends show how the novel coronavirus may have forever reshaped how companies hire employees. They also demonstrate how we’ll need to create appealing work arrangements for those we hire.

Perhaps there is, however, and upside. After all, moving forward it is highly likely people worldwide will enjoy improved, less restrictive workplace opportunities. If so, those outcomes would arguably be some of the few positives associated with the pandemic.

 

Adrien Olichon

[#WorkTrends] The Inspiring Power of AI-Driven Collaboration

How can AI-driven collaboration help extend our company culture to the remote workplace?

You don’t want to miss a single episode of #WorkTrends…  subscribe to the podcast now!

At TalentCulture, we have always been a remote workplace. So lately, I’ve found it really interesting to work with companies that are experiencing this for the first time. It’s been fun, and inspiring, watching them pivot so quickly — and to see them function so well within the digital workspace we already knew so well.

For these and so many others, the many actions and interactions that happen within organizations have shifted to remote. Communication, meetings, feedback, managing, planning — all now happen virtually. It’s been really exciting to see work teams make the transition and thrive, especially in the HR space. In the last few months, I’ve often felt the urge to virtually pat HR teams on the back as they realize they can, in fact, run HR remotely. As they do, they’re not just learning a new way to operate.

They are learning that Artificial Intelligence, or AI, plays a huge role in how they manage, monitor, measure, and lead their efforts.

Our Guest: Guibert Englebienne of Globant

That is why I invited Guibert Englebienne, the Chief Technology Officer & Co-founder of Globant, on this week’s edition of #WorkTrends. I wanted to talk about how AI-driven collaboration enables us to manage our work and engage our people in entirely different ways. And how the best forms of AI enable us to work together efficiently and creatively from anywhere in the world. 

I first asked him what makes today’s workplace so different from past versions. His response quickly left me impressed with Guibert’s passion for his work, and for helping HR teams: “Technology has accelerated the world we live in today. That fast-paced competition has made companies focus on delighting consumers. Now it’s time to delight employees as well.”

“The pandemic forced us to digitally transform the world overnight. Organizations suddenly found themselves in a broadly remote working environment. That creates a lot of challenges,” Guibert added. “It was natural, at some point, to start asking, ‘Is our team okay?’ and maybe even ‘Is it there?’ When we were at the office, we could see each other’s eyes. We could see if someone was okay. And very suddenly, that all went away.”

The Power of AI-Driven Collaboration

As we’ve talked about many times within the TalentCulture community, the human connection isn’t all that went away. We also lost our connection to our company cultures. Guibert agreed, “We knew we needed to continue hiring and growing without the ability to live and breathe our culture. So, we at Globant set out to digitalize our culture.”

As Guibert admitted, this was a real challenge. “Soon, though, using AI-driven collaboration, we realized we had created a social operating system that allowed for a more human organization. One in which we each connect to more people. We get to know them better. And at the same time we create a lot of collective intelligence for the organization, which allows us to be more adaptable.”

A Human-Centered Operating System

Guibert went on to tell us exactly how Globant created this human-centered operating system. He also shared how AI plays a major role in creating a culture that inspires while also helping decide exactly what kind of organizational culture we want to build. The conversation, while it left my head spinning a bit, made me realize just how far we’ve come since the pandemic started and just how far we can still go. You don’t want to miss a minute of this episode of #WorkTrends!

We’re not done talking about AI-Driven collaboration yet, though. Please join us next Wednesday, October 7th at 1:30pm for a special #WorkTrends Twitter chat. During what is sure to be an inspiring conversation, Guibert and the Globant team will help us answer these questions:

Q1: Why do organizations struggle with team collaboration?

Q2: How can AI-driven tools help boost creativity?

Q3: How can leaders use AI-driven tools to boost company culture?

I’ll see you there!

 

Find Guibert Englebienne on Linkedin and Twitter.

 

This podcast was sponsored by Globant.

 

Editor’s note: #WorkTrends podcasts and also our Twitter chats have evolved to better meet your needs! For details, check the new FAQ page. And to see upcoming event topics and guests, check the calendar listing on the #WorkTrends Podcast page.

 

Andrea Piacquadio

[#WorkTrends] Job Description Complexities: The Problems and Solutions

Love it or hate it, the job description is a fact of business life…

The problem with many job descriptions? Too often, they are written to benefit the hiring company and not the person looking for a job. They also lack the essential information a job seeker needs to assess a company’s workplace culture and leadership style. Information such as “a day in the life” is rarely provided, nor is enough information about the position and team or department. Worse yet, many contain hidden bias. Plus, let’s face it, most job descriptions are boring. 

Is that how we want potential employees to perceive our brand? Self-serving? Biased? Boring?

Poorly written job descriptions have a consistently negative impact on our organizations. They filter out good people and a more-diverse set of applicants. At the same time, they increase the risk of applications from unqualified candidates. Even worse, they become a root cause of poor job interviews andworse yetbad hires. 

You don’t want to miss a single episode of #WorkTrends…  subscribe to the podcast now!

But there are practical ways to humanize job descriptions. We can make them more reader-friendly and more focused on the job seeker. As employers, we can be seen as more approachable — more human. 

Our Guest on #WorkTrends: Mark Herschberg

I invited Mark Herschberg — entrepreneur and author of the upcoming book, The Career Toolkit, Essential Skills for Success That No One Taught You to join me on #WorkTrends this week. We talked about how thoughtful companies are improving their job descriptions by writing them betterbetter for the employer brand, and to better attract and engage interested, qualified job talent. 

Right away, Mark let me know I wasn’t alone with my frustration with how job descriptions are written, and how poorly they represent the hiring company: “The biggest problem is that most job descriptions look interchangeable. If you take any two, three, five, six job descriptions from different companies they all read the same,” Mark said. He went on to tell us this templated, generic approach does not serve the job seeker well. He then added: “This gets even more complicated when you start to think about what’s not in a job description — the human elements. “We leave out leadership or communication abilities. We don’t talk about the need to build relationships and have a strong network. Or even how important it is within the culture to have a sense of humor.”

The Job Description and Company Culture

We also talked about an issue near and dear to my heart: Company culture — and how employers can best describe their culture not just in a job description but during onboarding. “Culture is really important, but not the culture most people think of. When HR typically talks about culture, they talk about stated corporate values, things such as putting the customer first. But on a day to day basis, what work culture means to most people is how they interact with others. And that really comes down to communication.” Mark is right. And job descriptions are our first opportunity to communicate with a candidate, so must include that vital information. 

Mark added: “Those water-cooler interactions or hallway conversations may have been a hallmark of your company’s communication before. But in today’s remote work world, they might not be taking place. So a job description should be explicit about how the company functions during normal times and how it functions today during the pandemic.”

Mark and I went on to talk more about how the COVID-19 crisis has impacted hiring and onboarding, how a job description should serve as a sales and marketing tool versus just a hiring tool, and so much more. 

Enjoy the entire podcast. Then go start a discussion within your company about how you can help job descriptions become not just better hiring tools, but better representations of your company culture and brand!

 

Find Mark on LinkedIn and Twitter.

 

Photo: Dylan Ferreira

6 Tips To Improve Your Video Presence

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

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

 1. Don’t Be Too Scripted

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

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

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

 2. Speak to Your Viewers, Not Your Camera

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

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

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

3. Focus on Your Body Language

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

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

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

4. Use Feedback to Improve

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

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

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

5. Look at Analytics for Your Videos

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

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

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

 6. Remember That Practice Makes Perfect

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

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

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

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

Photo: Ali Yahya

#WorkTrends: Going Gig: Freelancing in HR

Meghan invited both Chris Russell, the founder of HR Lancers, and Jim Stroud, VP of Marketing at Proactive Talent, to talk about the new trend in HR: hiring freelancers and consultants to fill in the gaps. 

COVID-19’s uncertainties are leaving no field untouched, including HR. As Jim said, “if employees hear the whiff of a rumor, or a layoff or have any kind of indication that their job might be in jeopardy or a furlough,” they might venture to freelance as a quick way to gain income and stay afloat. Further, freelancing is on the rise among millennials who are leaving the city. They can make their living at home — now more than ever before, noted Meghan. 

But not everyone’s cut out for the gig, Jim said. It takes self-discipline and the ability to self-structure, particularly now. Schedules may be more flexible, but kids and mounting responsibilities can add up. But the demand is there: Companies are hiring experts to help bridge the gaps, and sourcing out project-based, niched assignments like crafting job descriptions or writing a handbook. For smaller companies, this may be an effective solution. 

And if we see universal healthcare, said Chris, we’ll also see an explosion in freelancers. Meghan concurred: If benefits weren’t tied to employment, a lot more people would go independent. And that’s something companies need to think about, Jim added. Companies could be much more competitive at attracting top freelancers if they offered to cover healthcare expenses for the duration of a gig. And Meghan predicts we’ll see HR shifting along with the rest of the gig economy‚ and it’s going to be interesting to see how that changes our practices. 

Listen to the full conversation and see our questions for the upcoming #WorkTrends Twitter Chat. And don’t forget to subscribe, so you don’t miss an episode.

Twitter Chat Questions

Q1: Why are more organizations hiring freelancers for HR? #WorkTrends
Q2: How is freelancing changing the nature of HR? #WorkTrends
Q3: How can leaders better attract top HR freelancers? #WorkTrends

Find Chris Russell on Linkedin and Twitter

Find Jim Stroud on Linkedin and Twitter

Photo: Ben Stern

#WorkTrends: Incorporating New Hires into Work Cultures

The big question: Can managers effectively integrate new hires into a company work culture when everyone is working from home? The answer is a resounding yes. But how?

To explore this question further, Meghan invited John Baldino to share strategies that can help businesses successfully hire and onboard top talent remotely. John is the president and founder of Humareso, an HR firm that’s helping organizations not only manage their talent, but better onboard new hires into the culture.

John stresses communication as a key component of any culture, but especially important for remote workplaces. Seasoned employees may have the advantage of familiarity, “but that’s not really fair to the new person coming in,” John said. Managers need to take an intentional approach to communication that isn’t just about the nuts and bolts of tasks at hand, as Meghan noted. It’s got to have plenty of room to be human and have real conversations. 

Where are the blind spots? Look at the camera, John said. Too many of us don’t know where to look, and that can make for very awkward meetings. And that’s as true for managers as for anyone. So we all have to make sure we’re comfortable with the tech. And don’t try to make eye contact, because it doesn’t translate on video. You’ll look like you’re not looking at the person you’re talking to. Just making sure the tech is up to date is important as well, and that’s every company’s responsibility. We all have to get more comfortable with the technology and being remote, Meghan said. It’s a steep learning curve, and we’re still on it. 

So much has changed in the process of hiring. Consider the old normal orientation schedules — which played an effective role in portraying a company’s culture. Now we need to deliver that via chat across managers and departments, said John. But you can’t glean the essence of a culture (let alone participate in it) in just a few days of Zoom calls, Meghan said. Build in the time to let it all sink in. And make sure your managers have the resources they need to support new hires, and can provide flexibility to accommodate the new work/life construct.  

Listen to the full conversation and see our questions for the upcoming #WorkTrends Twitter Chat. And don’t forget to subscribe, so you don’t miss an episode.

Twitter Chat Questions

Q1: Why do organizations struggle with onboarding? #WorkTrends
Q2: What strategies help bring new hires into the work culture? #WorkTrends
Q3: How can leaders better shape an onboarding strategy? #WorkTrends

Find John Baldino on Linkedin and Twitter

Photo: LinkedIn Sales Navigator

#WorkTrends Getting Real About ATS

We may be at a tricky point in the economy, but hiring is on many company’s minds — along with what tools can help. So Meghan brought in Doug Coull, founder and CEO of APS, Inc.— the makers of SmartSearch talent acquisition and staffing management software — to talk ATS. They spent this episode of #WorkTrends going over the nuts, the bolts, and the advantages of applicant tracking systems. 

Of course, not every business needs an ATS, Doug noted. But if you employ any kind of sizable workforce — say around 150 or more, you likely need one. What you should look for, however, isn’t a plug and play system, but a system that comes with a partner. Understand your own needs, then look for a counterpart that has a similar outlook — and size and approach that fit your own. Parity helps align the decision-making, he said. As Meghan added, you want an ATS provider whose culture matches your own.

The most apparent hiring and recruiting issues may just be “symptoms of the problem,” Doug explained, but technology can help you find the weak links. And he cautioned against the practice of pitching an ATS to people who aren’t actually involved in the day- to-day of talent acquisition. Don’t just sell it to the director of HR or the director of recruiting, said Meghan. Sell it to those who are going to be actually using it, and know what they need.  

 Listen to the full conversation and see our questions for the upcoming #WorkTrends Twitter Chat. And don’t forget to subscribe, so you don’t miss an episode. 

Twitter Chat Questions

Q1: Why do organizations need an ATS? #WorkTrends
Q2: What strategies can help organizations better choose an ATS? #WorkTrends
Q3: How can companies optimize their technology purchase? #WorkTrends

Find Doug Coull on Linkedin and Twitter

This post is sponsored by SmartSearch.

Photo: ThisisEngineering RAEng

Hiring Tech Talent? Tap this Overlooked Pipeline

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

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

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

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

Alternative Talent Pipelines

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

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

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

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

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

Broader Life Experience

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

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

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

Built-in Tenacity

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

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

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

Industry-Relevant Skills

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

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

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

Photo: Constantinos Panagopoulos

#WorkTrends HR + Marketing: Employer Brand Superteam

Meghan M. Biro brought not one but two guests to the #WorkTrends podcast this week: Diane Adams, Sprinklr’s Chief Culture and Talent Officer, and Grad Conn, Sprinklr’s Chief Experience and Marketing Officer. The topic: what happens when HR and marketing really work together on talent strategies. In this case, the result is nothing short of alchemy. The two will be appearing at the upcoming HR Transform conference, later this year. “Creating a Winning Culture Where People Thrive Personally & Professionally.” The #WorkTrends audience got a taste of things to come.

Diane and Grad Conn talked about the approaches they’re using at Sprinklr to attract engage and retain top talent — which openly draws on the best of marketing and HR in order to build a workplace culture that people can be proud of — and are. They shared marketing strategies that cross over from customer engagement to candidate and employee engagement. Brand messaging takes on a whole new meaning when it has to do with the employer — but when your employees are on board, the benefits extend directly to your customers as well.

Diane talked about how they built a dynamic partnership between HR and marketing, establishing values for Sprinklr that drove stellar employee as well as customer experiences. She said, “We referred to it as The Sprinklr Way —  our foundation for how we live, how we work, and how the values of our employees and our company are then transcended externally to our customers. Happy employees, happy customers.” 

“People sometimes think of marketing as just an external function. But you have to sell to your own employees just as much as you need to sell to customers,” Grad pointed out.  

This was a conversation that hit home: employer brand isn’t just an idea, it needs to be a reality in every organization. In this era when your employer brand is only as good as the outside world’s perception, crafting an authentic and appealing culture is a smart business strategy. As Meghan noted, given today’s focus on crafting great workplace cultures, “it all makes sense.” 

Listen to the full conversation and see our questions for the upcoming #WorkTrends Twitter Chat. And don’t forget to subscribe, so you don’t miss an episode. 

Twitter Chat Questions 

Q1: Why are some employers losing ground at attracting and engaging talent?  #WorkTrends
Q2: What strategies can help organizations create a great workplace culture? #WorkTrends
Q3: How can leaders help their organizations better bring in and keep top talent? #WorkTrends

Find Diane Adams on Linkedin and Twitter
Find Grad Conn on Linkedin and Twitter

This post is sponsored by HR Transform.

Photo: Bek Greenwood

Soft Skills: In Demand in the Corporate Space

With advancements due to automation and globalization, the outlook of employers has changed significantly. To know if a candidate is a right fit for their organization, they gauge their capability not from a degree, but from the attributes that they display — i.e., soft skills. 

According to a survey by Talent Q, 9 in 10 employers look for effective soft skills in the applicants. These abilities are critical in any environment that requires interaction and collaboration. They define the various attributes of personality that help us complete a job successfully, including how intently we listen to others, how empathetic we are towards colleagues, and how we approach a problem.  Among the most important soft skills potential employees should possess:

  • Communication skills — such as the ability to communicate effectively within teams and with clients
  • Interpersonal skills to resolve conflicts without hurting anyone’s feelings
  • Confidence — to be able to effectively present ideas
  • Teamwork and leadership skills— such as the ability to participate and lead within a team
  • Critical thinking and decision-making skills — to make strategic decisions despite uncooperative clients, tough deadlines, or issues within the team 

As well as:

  • Networking skills
  • Cultural Sensitivity
  • Flexibility

Soft Skills in the Age of Automation

In the past, employers hired candidates based on degrees, certifications, and domain-related skills. The competition was tough. With the introduction of automation in almost every industry, the competition has become even tougher: for some of these tasks, we are competing with robots. A McKinsey Global Institute report says that around 375 million jobs will be lost to robots by the year 2030, and two million jobs that require human skills will be created. 

Though automation is only here to make our lives and work easier, businesses are still in dire need of professionals with unique human skills. After all, bots can make transactions, but they can’t make deals. Despite the emerging importance of automation, job positions that require soft skills can only be filled by humans. We still need skilled professionals who use their emotional intelligence to make strategic, profitable decisions. 

Essential for 21st-Century Employers 

A study by Wonderlic found that  93% of employers consider soft skills ‘essential’ or ‘very important’ in their potential employees. Moreover, according to a report by  Burning Glass, more than a quarter of all skills mentioned in the US job postings (for even the most technical job roles) were baseline or soft skills. Further, according to Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends Report, 90% of organizations are undergoing a structural and cultural transformation in order to be more dynamic, connected and team-centric. And employees or candidates who can’t keep up with the changing requirements may not be eligible for growth-oriented, high-paying jobs. 

Can Soft Skills Be Taught?

In a recent trial aimed to find out if soft skills can be taught, soft skills training was offered at 5 factories in Bangalore over a period of 12 months. Researchers found a 250% increase in productivity within 8 months of the trial’s conclusion Employees or job candidates who want to develop their soft skills can work with various soft skills trainers who offer structured training or frequently conduct soft skills training workshops. At the corporate level, some employers are hiring a certified corporate trainer. It’s imperative in either case to ensure that the training addresses the given objectives. And as the demand for soft skills continues to increase, soft skills training is on the rise as a career choice as well: those with a passion and aptitude for training and coaching are finding that opting for a role as a soft skills trainer offers both high pay and a great deal of flexibility.

Today’s organizations need human professionals with uniquely human skills, or they can’t flourish. Employers should be proactive and analyze their organizational and employee needs, conducting soft skills training to fill in the gaps. It’s the best way to keep up in this changing corporate scenario. 

Photo: NeOn Brand

#WorkTrends: Great Expectations: Living Your Employer Brand

This month TalentCulture has been focusing on how people and companies can learn to do better. Nowhere is that more crucial than in the sphere of employer brands. We’re in an era now where companies don’t have full control over their brand: no matter how they present or package it, the outside world may have a wholly different take that outweighs the best intentions. But an employer brand isn’t just an academic exercise, as Meghan M. Biro noted on the latest #WorkTrends — even if that’s how many companies are approaching it now. 

To better clarify the link between employer brands and profitability, Meghan brought in Debra Ruh, a visionary in the field of employer branding. Ruh founded Ruh Global IMPACT, a firm that focuses on branding as well as digital marketing and global disability inclusion strategies (and more). She’s also the mother of an amazing daughter who inspired Debra to focus on the true essence of diversity, and why we need to embrace human potential right now.

We’re talking about intelligence when we haven’t even decided as a human species what that means,” Debra said.  “The human potential is there. We really need to rethink what we mean by that — and stop deciding that certain people don’t belong in the workforce.”  By doing so, she added, companies are shortchanging the power of true diversity — a proven driver of higher levels of innovation and performance. Witness companies like Amazon, Barclays and Atos, who are bringing people with disabilities into their workforce, and programmatically expanding their commitment to inclusion, with strong business results. By so doing, they’re also shifting the perception of what their brand truly stands for. They’re not just talking the talk, they’re walking it.

What’s key, Meghan noted, is understanding all the touchpoints involved in a brand, and who really controls it. The days of grumbling in public and getting a cease and desist are over — in a sense, the brand is now owned by those who perceive it. And its fate has more to do with that, and with the perception of market influencers, than the company itself. But our expectations are higher than ever, both agreed. “We want our brands — especially the brands that we work for — to stand for more,” Debra said. Tune into this great conversation to find out how to shift a brand into a desirable, authentic, diverse culture. And have faith: it’s never too late to course-correct.

Listen to the full conversation and see our questions for the upcoming #WorkTrends Twitter Chat. And don’t forget to subscribe, so you don’t miss an episode. 

Twitter Chat Questions

Q1: Why are some employers failing at becoming an employer of choice?  #WorkTrends
Q2: What strategies can help organizations become an employer of choice? #WorkTrends
Q3: How can leaders help their organizations live their employer brand? #WorkTrends

Find Debra Ruh on Linkedin and Twitter

Photo: Adi Goldstein

#WorkTrends: Why Companies Need to Value a Great Candidate Experience

Ever since the Talent Board started researching candidate experience, at least some employers have been paying more attention to improving the applicant’s journey. Applying to a company can unearth all sorts of issues — including what #WorkTrends guest Kevin W. Grossman calls the “black hole of candidate experience.” 

This was a tete-a-tete between two colleagues that insisted on keeping the conversation looking forward not back. To get out of the morasse of a bad candidate experience, companies are going to need to truly step up and place a higher premium on better CX — and we’re claiming that moniker to stand for all the candidates out there trying to connect with the employer of their dreams. 

Kevin, who’s a longtime TalentCulture Community friend and President and a Board Member of the Talent Board, dug into the Talent Board’s latest research report, including its good news: more candidates are happier about their experience overall and would be willing to increase their relationship with that brand, whether as an employee or a consumer (you can’t think of one without the other). But there was less-than-good news as well, including a vexing rise in the “resentment rate” — with candidates so disgruntled they don’t want anything to do with a brand anymore, whether it means applying to work there or using its products, or both. A big takeaway: in work, as in life, we really do put our money where our mindset is, and vice-versa.

Chief among common hiring infractions these days are the automated, generic, “sorry you’re not right for the position” messages, which are the wrong way to leverage technology, or not providing any responses at all — which Meghan noted was inexcusable for recruiters today. But the two focused on the positives, including brands getting it right, such as recent CandE award winners Walgreens and Kronos, and innovative ways employers are keeping the connection going with candidates. Frequent and well-considered communication, chatbots, feedback — it’s all good, they noted. And when it works, the value for companies goes well beyond a single happy hire.    

Listen to the full conversation and see our questions for the upcoming #WorkTrends Twitter Chat. And don’t forget to subscribe, so you don’t miss an episode..

Twitter Chat Questions

Q1: Why are some employers failing at candidate experience?  #WorkTrends
Q2: What strategies can help organizations create a better candidate experience? #WorkTrends
Q3: How can leaders help their organizations value candidate experience? #WorkTrends

Find Kevin Grossman on Linkedin and Twitter

 

Photo: Thought Catalog

Why Big Tech is Losing Gen Z Hires

Remember when we were all trying to reach the hiring bar set by Amazon, Google, Facebook and other giants? No more. Toxic work cultures, questionable leadership and recent ethics scandals are tarnishing these once golden employers. The New York Times just reported that Gen Z are staying away.

The techlash is real: by some estimates, Facebook’s down at least 40% in acceptance rates for full-time engineering job offers. Amazon’s losing its sway with poachable young stars from companies like Dropbox. Uber’s taken a $100 million hit in terms of lost talent. Google’s lost its credibility as a fair employer. When graduates tell their peers they just accepted a job at one of the big tech firms, they’re often met with awkward silence. 

As Gen Z and new millennials graduate college and search for jobs, they’re looking for meaning, purpose, and values along with that good paycheck — and they’re steering clear of Silicon Valley’s big firms. And this isn’t just about a consumer attitude towards employer brands. It goes deeper. Many are responding to recruiting outreaches with messages of their own, leaving recruiters blindsided. Some students are batting back automated recruiting queries with very specific protest messages.

The spend on recruiting one engineer can be as high as $20,000, according to the Times; the cost of advertising at Stanford University’s computer science job fairs can top $12,000. Whether or not this truly hurts the bottom line remains to be seen in some cases, while it’s already obvious in others. 

But what is clear: smaller firms who do have an ethical compass and fair hiring and employment policies may have a new advantage. An employer brand that’s based on genuine values, a social purpose, and wants to save the planet instead of ruin it – that’s a big factor for this generation. We may start to see companies selling themselves as inherently good: “We don’t have any scandals, we’re not associated with data theft, and we believe in climate change!” could be a highly effective selling point. It’s going to be an interesting year.

 

The Top Eleven Recruiting Tech Tools for 2020

What technologies are truly changing our recruiting capabilities for 2020? I’ve had so many great conversations with innovators in the recruiting and technology space about this. All of us agree we’re entering a new phase of evolution as the world of work gets used to a whole new way of hiring. 

It’s time to get comfortable with these tools. Learning how to best harness tech is also a matter of enabling it to do the heavy lifting — and I think the tools below are going to become the norm sooner rather than later. So happy 2020, and here are my top 11 tools in recruiting technology that are going to continue to change the game. Yes, I couldn’t stop at 10:

 

  1. Super-recruiting. Better strategies that combine technology, analytics and people skills to radically improve the candidate experience and make better hires. 
  2. AI-empowered personalization that lets recruiters reach a talent pool full of potential candidates and address them all as individuals — with preferences and behaviors.
  3. Chatbots with human understanding who can answer sophisticated questions, conduct interviews, and assist with scheduling next-level meetings. 
  4. AI-powered skills assessments that measure for potential and fit as well as existing abilities.
  5. Streamlined, self-service applications that enable applicants to run their own show and auto-populate information across multiple forms if necessary.
  6. Bias filters of applicant-facing materials that have evolved way beyond just recognizing words like “bro” and “quarterback.”
  7. Predictive analytics that reveal gaps and issues before they happen.
  8. Tech-driven interviews (run by chatbot or not) that create a clear digital picture of a potential hire.
  9. Virtual tools like virtual walkthroughs and virtual auditions so applicants can try on the job — and employees can see how they fit (and gather data on each applicant as well).
  10. Built-in security tools that don’t intrude into the application process, but do offer robust protection.
  11. Remote technologies that can bridge time and space so we can truly source applicants all over the world — and make hires regardless of geographic location (when it works to do so).
Photo: Alex Knight