How To Succeed At Real-Time Talent Alignment

Everyone talks about employee turnover, but does anyone know the real size of the problem? According to a very comprehensive survey from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), nearly 50 percent of hires at a senior level from outside an organization leave within 18 months. That’s a spectacular failure rate, and one no organization can really afford to sustain, over and over again. Guess what? This still seems to be the case today. And employee engagement rates are still not where they should be globally.

So why do so many organizations and leaders look for talent outside, rather than promoting from within?  A good friend and a former “placed candidate of mine” (when I worked in the agency recruiting world) worked for a software technology leader – no names but it’s a public company with a three-letter ticker symbol. He applied for a promotion and was told the role would go to an outsider because, as the manager said, the company valued ‘fresh blood’. Advancing at this company is difficult for certain. And the company culture, which is touted as an open meritocracy, has suffered – my friend left after three years, because he felt career advancement would be impossible.

If this organization had been thinking about talent alignment, not simply ‘fresh blood’, they’d have recognized how much talent they had on staff already. Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Claudio Fernández-Aráoz maintains companies need to do ‘talent-spotting’ which focuses on finding high-potential people, rather than looking for a candidate who meets the specific requirements of a job description. Approaching hiring – and retention – this way builds a talent pool of potential, rather than a list of skills. Skills, after all, can be acquired; potential is something else entirely.

Fernández-Aráoz indentified key characteristics of a candidate with potential:

  1. Motivation– I talk about this a lot; he describes it as a “fierce commitment to excel in the pursuit of unselfish goals”, which is a description that’s hard to argue with. He also identifies:
  2. Curiosity– another favorite of mine;
  3. Insight– Ditto – and a key component of Emotional Intelligence;
  4. Engagement– a big theme for many of us lately, and
  5. Determination– no one can succeed without the determination to be successful. (Read the excellent article to get the full story.)

So how can you identify potential early in such a way as to foster a culture of potential, one in which you can align talent with opportunity in real-time?

Ideally, your recruiting process should be linked to leadership, culture and the on-boarding process. How you bring a new employee on board will determine whether or not you keep them for more than 18 months.

I wrote about this four years ago, giving examples of two candidates who had very different on-boarding experiences. Since then, the woman in my example, who had a very distant and automated on-boarding (think video and conference calls without any meaningful follow-up after this point) has left that company.  The supposed tight culture of the company, which was headquartered in a different city, never made it to the satellite office. Frequent trips didn’t help either – once an outsider always an outsider. In the end, although the company kept talking about how it wanted to see the employee stay because she had so much potential, they did nothing to help bridge the geographical gap. She was told she would be more successful if she had certain skills. The woman herself, who proposed several new services the company could offer to clients and prospects, has taken her ideas (and potential) to another company where they’ve been implemented – in less than three months.

Identifying employee potential is difficult; leading a company that rewards potential rather than status quo is even more difficult. My guidelines to success are pretty simple:

Get to know your employees. Don’t just assume the resume tells the whole story, especially when it comes to unrecognized potential. Ask questions, observe them in a number of different work settings and evaluate their relationships within the organization. See where they step up, how well they work in teams, and get a sense for their understanding of where you want to take the company.

Be prepared to make changes fast. You may think you’ve hired exactly the right person and find out in three months that they lack the spark of potential. Do what you can to move this employee to a new role, or invest in organizational development to help the employee thrive. IF nothing can be done, find a graceful exit.

Don’t hire a resume, hire a human. A list of accomplishments and skills is great, but you need a person who fits the culture, who understands the strategic direction of the company, and who is motivated to be part of your success (see the list above).

Hire ahead of need. This gives you the runway to find people with potential rather than a list of skills. If you have the resources, plan ahead so you have the time to spot people with potential – both within the organization, and without.

Real-time talent alignment is something innovative leaders do in the now. It’s part of their daily lives. Always be on the lookout for potential; always be on the lookout for people who could offer the organization more in a different role; always strive to keep people by aligning their potential with the company’s needs. It’s not easy, but whoever said it was easy to be a good leader? This is a common challenge for organizations of all shapes and size and industries. We have amazing HR Technology tools now – let’s continue to use these. People first. Technology second. No time like the present.

A version of this was first posted on Forbes.

The 6 Dated HR Technologies Your Company Needs to Replace

Just like professionals from other industries, human resource professionals are dependent on technology. However, the pace of advancement means some technologies become outdated very quickly.

It might just be time to replace these six HR technologies with something a little more modern.

  1. Licensed Human Resources Management Systems

According to a survey from Cedar-Crestone, more than 40 percent of companies are either in the process of replacing or planning to replace their traditional human resources management systems. Furthermore, approximately one-quarter of respondents confessed they’d likely completely do away with old licensed systems and replace them with something more up-to-date.

Cloud-based systems are becoming very popular, and some analysts say there are no brand leaders that dominate the tech space for HR management systems. It’s just a case of researching the options available and seeing which ones are most suitable.

  1. Static Computerized Training

Many employees tolerate having to spend long hours in front of computer terminals to complete mandated training. However, HR experts are realizing this is no longer the most practical way to help employees learn, especially in the retail industry.

The retail world is increasingly turning toward what’s known as a mobile associate communication platform. The iPad is popularly used, along with dedicated apps that don’t just train store associates by sending them pertinent information, but allows them to access better support during customer interactions. This technology lets users instantly check stockroom numbers and show video content that demonstrates different styles, uses and colors.

  1. Bulky, Obsolete Training Manuals

Many companies have thick training manuals that come from head offices and only get updated once a year, or even less often. These have become impractical because information may change rapidly, and sometimes the manuals are so poorly organized that workers cannot find the information they need.

Delivering important information in an audio-based format may be what’s next. Audio files can also be much easier for employees to digest. Additionally, employers can reference industry podcasts and audiobooks from sites like SoundCloud or Audible. As a bonus, podcasts and audiobooks can even improve your employees’ commutes.

  1. Lengthy Employee Feedback Surveys

For generations, HR representatives have used various methods to figure out how employees are feeling. Paper-based surveys have already largely been replaced by computerized versions, but still, employees often feel frustrated because the surveys are so long.

A Japanese app called Niko Niko is much more streamlined, and it only requires employees to describe their moods through a single emoticon, plus up to 140 text characters. With the information gathered, HR representatives can see if poor morale is restricted to random people across departments, or if the majority of individuals who are fulfilling a certain type of work are feeling low, fed up or otherwise discouraged. If necessary, HR representatives can gauge the data and quickly take action as needed. Because employees give feedback each day through Niko Niko, there’s only a very small chance of morale problems going unnoticed.

  1. Corporate Wellness Programs Characterized by Pedometers and Spreadsheet Software

Although improved employee wellness is an aim of many HR professionals, even the most motivated among them struggle to make that dedication translate to the employees. Encouraging physical activity is only half the battle. Over the years, corporate wellness program participants were frequently given pedometers and told to enter their activity levels on spreadsheets. Certain brands of pedometers are notorious for miscalculating true activity because they confuse other types of movement with walking. Furthermore, having to enter data on spreadsheets might feel like a trying task, plus could lead to dishonesty.

Fitness trackers, such as the Fitbit, are replacing older technologies for keeping tabs on employee activity. Data can get transferred automatically to computers so employees don’t have to waste time filling out paperwork and won’t be able to make up numbers.

  1. Inflexible, Uniform Onboarding Processes

Some HR team leaders are already depending on apps to facilitate the onboarding process. However, despite that step in the right direction, they often forget every newly hired person is different. Therefore, using the same onboarding process with everyone – regardless of the technology – may not be very effective.

Facebook is taking a much different approach with the people who’ve been recruited for its engineering team. All new engineers go through a six-week, highly interactive boot camp where they dive right into the code and even get a chance to fix bugs. At the end of that onboarding experience, the engineers get to choose where to focus their efforts instead of being assigned to a team by HR.

These are not the only outdated tech practices HR professionals need to re-evaluate. However, they represent some things that may be hindering employees and employers from offering the best skills or company resources.

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7 Hottest Trends In HR Technology

Technology has been dominating the HR and Talent Management space for the past decade – with more “real serious widespread adoption” happening in the past year. Has its application plateaued? Is HR finally taking a more active role in driving user adoption? Are there more exciting developments on the way that help to recruit, retain and engage your talent? Where do things stand and where are they going? These are definitely exciting times.

Here’s My Take On The Top 7 Trends in HR Technology:

1) There Will Be A Move From Quantity To Quality. We’ve been deluged with technological advances, and many Leaders and HR departments have embraced some, or if very innovative, many of them. Only to later find out (after spending money and resources) that some are a terrible match for their organizations. I see much more selectivity in the year ahead. Instead of asking, “Is this amazing technology?”, the question will become, “Is this technology a good match for us?”

2) The Number Of So-Called Breakthrough HR Technologies Will Diminish.We’re now in the second decade of the computer revolution, which has indeed changed the way we live and work. But even something as epic as the computer reaches its limits. What we’re seeing now is a welcome emphasis on refinements of the core technologies. Beware of vendors who try and dazzle you with hype, or are selling wildly complicated products. Look for smart (and often simple) technologies that are user-friendly and deliver targeted results.

3) It’s All About Implementation. Smart people are shutting out all the clutter and asking themselves: “Is this technology going to be easy to implement and will be my employees actually adopt?” Ignore all the bells and whistles, the shiny toys and pretty graphics. In the end it’s about usage, smart data and building stronger teams. Will this product be worth the effort and expense? Deconstruct the technology down its core deliverables. The rest is just a waste of time.

4) Analytics Is The Special Sauce. Software analytics, single stack software and any tool that enables relevant data to be collected and shared between departments with ease and consistency is basically good. It allows everyone to be on the same page, speaking the same language. It’s a fantastic leadership and HR tool. We can see what’s happening – the good, the weird, the amazing and the stuff that makes us ask better questions — across the organization and respond quickly. We are now seeking numbers to back up what we say. We have the tools – let’s use them.

5) Social Media And Continuous Learning Continues To Grow In Significance. Social media is one area that has lived up to its hype. It’s an amazing talent management, branding and employee engagement tool. For example – by creating a 3-dimensional profile of an applicant (Google the person’s name-Wink), talent simply leaps out. Peoples quirks, interesting detours, offbeat skills all come to life as we learn more about people’s personalities and “real lives”. As do certain negatives like rigid ideology, or a tendency to be snarky or combative. Within an organization, social media, social learning and big data are an unparalleled communication and cohesion tool if understood and utilized correctly.

6) Real Time Talent Management Matters. Tools that allow continuous monitoring of performance are better for everyone. A formal employee review every six months is fast becoming obsolete. What is far more important is software that enables us to stay on top of things in real time. Problems are nipped in the bud and the good stuff like recognition, gamification and rewards are in place to offer more productive employee relationships that can be nurtured. No more playing catch-up. Real time monitoring gives HR and Leaders more power to do more good and weed out the people who are not a good fit. 

7) Mobile, Mobile, Mobile. There’s a new generation of talent coming up that views desktops as a relic from the past. The world is growing evermore global and mobile and HR has to be, too. To reach the right talent, you need to be mobile-friendly in design and ease of usage. HR should always go where the talent is – and these days it’s on mobile.

It’s going to be an exciting, if at times overwhelming, week, year. I’d love to know what you think of my list. We live in fascinating times for HR and Leadership and the conference is always interesting. Have a blast. Let’s keep learning and innovating together.

A version of this post was first published on

photo credit: Brain Health via photopin (license)

HR Technology: A Revolution For The World Of Work

HR (specifically talent management) is an art and a science. Achieving the right balance between the two should be the goal of every global leader.

HR is an art because, at its heart, it’s about people – in all their messy glory. It’s about hiring the right people, and then inspiring and enabling them to deliver stellar performance.

HR is a science because there are ways to measure talent, skills and compatibility that can take some of the guesswork out of the process and dramatically increase the odds of success.

The science side of this equation is where you find most of the technology juice and action these days. In fact, technology companies are coming up with innovations that knock my socks off (not that I make a habit of wearing socks but you catch my drift).

The core of many of these advances is sophisticated software algorithms that identify talent and match it to an organization’s needs. Suddenly your pool of hires is literally global and social. And most of the costly and time-consuming preliminary screening is taken care of by the software or social application. Hey – maybe it’s even in the cloud. You’re just dealing with the cream of the crop, the best potential people matches for your job openings. This kind of sorting is a HR and leadership dream come true.

Other new technology can help pinpoint team players based on core traits and personality matching. There are some very talented people who don’t play well with others. You may well want them in your company, but not in a team-based, project-based capacity. And natural team players who bring enthusiasm and cooperation to the game are invaluable, even if some of their skill sets may not be world-class. Being able to determine if a candidate is team worthy before you hire can save a lot of talent management heartache, recruiting and leadership training budget later.

There’s new HR technology that allows the application process to be completed on mobile devices or tablets. This is a fantastic tool when you need talent ASAP. And software can find any red flags – such as obnoxious social networking behavior – that may well be a disqualifier. (Hint #1 to everyone — yes, every GENERATION not just millennials– watch what you post anywhere, it’s all accessible for all eternity. Hint #2: drinking too much at happy hour and tweeting is not always a smart career move if hiring managers are testing out your judgment skills)

How about finding talent that isn’t even looking for you? The cherished “passive job seeker”. New software and social platforms can discover the best and brightest, taking the most die hard recruiter, head hunter out of the picture, and allowing HR or your hiring teams to establish an immediate dialogue with a star. This software alone has the ability to change the HR equation. Imagine being able to browse on-line for fabulous talent the way you do real estate or shoes? You might discover someone who ignites your imagination and leads to creating a position just to get this star on board.

The HR technology landscape is ever-evolving. It’s very exciting, but there’s a caveat: in embracing the science, never forget the art. Technology is not infallible. Remember the human dimension. The best HR practitioners and leaders know their organizations and culture brand on a visceral level.Finding talent can be made a lot easier by these fantastic technologies, but finding the“right fit” transcends even technology.

A version of this post was first published on


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5 Truths: Insourced Leaders Promote From Within

Insourced focused leaders should be tuning into ways to recruit and retain talent from within for strong results and increased employee satisfaction.

When my parents started in the world of work, there was an unwritten rule: put in two to five years on the job with a set job description and title before making your next move. Impress people, work 50+ hours a week, learn everything, and become essential to the organization. It was a recipe for success pulled straight out of 50s movies, and it was the way to move up the corporate ladder.

With every promotion, the interval between new titles might have gotten a little longer, but the company offered security and a sense of belonging. People might have been restless, but they knew where they stood. Companies retained talent, for the most part, because talent wanted to stay. There was a gold watch at the end, remember.

The path of career people who came up in the 80s, 90s, and now has been much different. Our perception of ‘meaningful work’ is different. Companies have a different attitude, too – I seldom meet anyone who’s been at the same company for more than five years. Perhaps this is par for the course for technical recruiters, or maybe it’s a sign of something different: companies have pulled the corporate ladder out of reach.

For some of my clients, in fact, there’s a belief that hiring from the outside is preferable to promoting from within – the ‘fresh blood builds a stronger company’ idea. While that trend may be good for recruiters, it isn’t cheery news for workers looking for promotions. I hear from people every day looking for work. Some are unemployed, but more feel trapped in a meaningless job or fear their skills have timed out. Many feel there’s no place to grow in their organizations. At the same time, companies bemoan the lack of employee loyalty and engagement.

HR Technology exists to help leaders solve at least a portion of these talent management issues. Maybe it’s time to make internal (upward) mobility a priority again.

What can leaders do to create a culture of loyalty while making growth and innovation a priority?

Here are five ideas to make the next rung of the corporate ladder easier to reach:

  1. Reinstate employee referral bonuses. A staple of fast-growth startups, referral bonuses give employees an incentive to stay – and to bring their talented friends onboard. It might seem risky or profligate in a time of slow job growth, but your top talent wants to work with other talented people, and their networks may be better than yours.
  1. Create an internal talent scouting network. Many managers fear losing their best people. Recognize managers who push talented employees to the next step in the organization. You might not be able to promote them right now, but they are demonstrating their commitment to the company, so find a way to acknowledge and reward them. Why not a 10 or 20 percent finders’ fee for bosses who nurture great employees?
  1. Cultivate fast-start work groups. You know who your best managers are. Choose the best from each department or business unit – especially in traditionally rapid-turnover areas, e.g. sales – and give them a management task: identifying and fast-tracking talent. Make it an MBO goal.
  1. Invest as much in management training next year as you spent on job ads last year. Fortune 500 companies appear to be headed in this direction but smaller companies may not have the leeway to send star performers to Harvard or Wharton for executive training. So look to other sources for courseware and build your own programs. Start with Harvard – MIT edX online offerings and work up and in.
  1. Institute a management and executive book club. Not all business-themed books are a bore; talk to the manager who’s most effective, or consult with someone from your Board. Find out what they’re reading and distribute copies to your managers. Pop quiz in 15 minutes.

Research shows it takes two years for external hires to perform as well as internal candidates promoted on the job. Ensure your organization has a promote-from-within strategy – every company needs a farm team.

A version of this post was first published on on July 24, 2012

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Recruiters: Here Are Five Reasons You’re Failing on Social Media

You’re probably wondering what kind of results other recruitment businesses and teams are getting on social media. You’re wondering whether your business is missing out—and whether that should be a cause for concern or not. I’d like to lift the lid on this subject and share with you the kinds of results you can expect. Plus, I’ll help you to figure out how you can improve the results you’re getting—because you’re going to want to, once you realize what’s at stake.

The Size of the Prize

We have numerous clients across the world and their goals for being on social media vary enormously. But let’s try to put a marker down, so you can assess the types of results you might see in your business.

A recruiting team that has made driving candidate traffic to their website their absolute priority can expect to attract 1,000 to 2,500 candidates each month with only a modest budget (and for most small recruiting businesses and teams that’s likely to be a massive number of visitors relative to what they already attract). If you’re in a big business and have a bigger budget, the candidate flow can be many times this—and could even become the single biggest source of new candidate traffic to your careers pages.

For those who’ve prioritized getting recruitment client leads into their business, a dozen or more leads a month is perfectly attainable. While those who want to produce authoritative content for their market can expect to see their posts shared several hundred times each month (with some months breaking the 1,000-shares mark).

If any of these results sound like they would move the needle in your business, then perhaps it’s time to start prioritizing getting a handle on the right social media strategy for your business? To put things in context, you’re looking at investing a budget of about $1500 a month to start having a significant impact, i.e. far less than the cost of a new employee. Results don’t happen overnight, but striving for these outcomes within three to six months of starting is certainly realistic.

The good news is that as of today, the majority of all recruiting businesses and teams have yet to really crack their social media strategy. But with more and more figuring out how to get ROI from social media, it’s not going to be much longer until your business is falling behind in a way that’s costing you tangible dollars each and every month.

So if your team has not been getting the results you’d like from social media, here are five reasons to explore that could explain where you’re going wrong.

Reason One: No Personality

The best salespeople are those who naturally make others warm up to them, who can build rapport and who easily prompt their prospects to open up to them. They instinctively know that the harder you try to sell, the less you end up selling. Social media is no different.

Think of a recruiter or a recruitment brand on social media and the odds are you can picture them sharing an endless series of job adverts. They use it as a broadcast channel rather than as an engagement channel.

Let me ask you this: If your company were going to exhibit at a careers fair, which do you think would be more beneficial for your company? One: Handing out 500 flyers to candidates at the event or … Two: Speaking in person to 500 candidates at the event. The second option would win hands down, wouldn’t it?! Well, the same is true on social media. The strongest results are achieved by those recruitment teams that focus on being valuable, helpful, and interacting with people in their market.

(I could easily blame the various job posting software tools out there that encourage you to automatically post your jobs on social media, without question, one of the most misinformed social media tactics a recruitment business can deploy. Maybe a theme for a future blog!)

Reason Two: Poor Targeting and Unclear Objectives

To really get positive business results, you need to be thinking of your social media presence like a sales funnel. What is the end goal of your sales funnel—and to achieve that goal, what audience do you need to be reaching on social media?

An established market leader might choose to use social media to stay front of mind with its existing client and candidate base. Conversely, a newer business might be entirely focused on reaching new clients and candidates. Depending on the nature of your business, you might be looking to reach candidates who can start in a new job next week; or you may be building up relationships for the future. So as a first action point, be sure to define your target audience really clearly and communicate this to your whole team.

Your goal for being on social media also needs to be clear. What action do you want to drive?

  • Potential new clients requesting your latest market report or signing up to a webinar?
  • Past clients or existing clients setting up a time to have a call with you about their hiring needs?
  • Invitations being sparked for you to speak at key industry events and be published in specialist publications?
  • Candidates being encourage to register their resumes with you or being enticed to a Web page where they can view your open vacancies?

To be clear, everyone in your business needs to know the audience you are striving to reach and the end outcome that you want social media to produce. That way, everyone’s efforts are pulling in the same direction and the results of your social media efforts can be clearly monitored.

Reason Three: No Focus on Your Conversion Rates

Try to think of your social media profiles as if they were landing pages on a website. How effectively do they convert initial candidate/client interest and how effectively do they then drive candidates/clients to take the desired course of action? These numbers need to be monitored and then you need to tweak and refine your messaging accordingly until social media has become a lead machine for your recruiting business.

Let’s take a couple of examples. If we can get 100 candidates from your industry to look at one of your social media profiles, what percentage of them will feel compelled to follow you (effectively signing up to receive your company’s updates on an ongoing basis)? If your bio is all about your company (rather than why candidates should follow you) and your updates are mostly job adverts rather than content that candidates will find informative, your conversion rate is going to be atrocious. The difference between doing this well or doing it poorly is a 45-fold difference in candidate sign-ups. Poor performers will get a less than1 percent conversion rate of candidates choosing to follow them, while high performers could hit a 40 percent conversion rate or more.

Optimizing your conversions doesn’t stop there, though. As a recruiting team there are a variety of messages and options you could put to candidates (or clients) to try to convert them from followers into actual candidates or clients for the business. Those options—and the messaging to convey them—need to be A/B tested to drive up your results. A recruitment business might be surprised to find that e.g., in their industry, candidates are much more receptive to scheduling an evening call than to sending their resume. By continuing to suggest that candidates send a resume, the business only generates a fraction of the candidates that could be generated if all messaging were switched to proposing an evening call. Always be optimizing your conversions and learning from the data what options and messaging really work in your particular niche and location.

Reason Four: An “If We Build It They’ll Come!” Mentality

You can have the very best social media profiles for candidates or clients in your sector. You could have an industry-beating, pulverizing all-comers conversion rate of 50 percent on your social profiles. But 50 percent of nothing is still nothing!

On each social site you have to actively take steps to ensure that more and more of your target audience is drawn to having a look at your profiles. What’s more, you have to make these activities part of your routine—so that each and every week you are producing a flow of new leads to your profiles.

You have to understand each of the social platforms where you have built a presence and figure out the steps that are needed to get your profiles seen on those sites. This requires consistent and informed activity across your social networks. If you aren’t doing this, your audience and your network will simply never grow at the rates needed to become the dominant recruiting brand in your niche.

Reason Five: Forgetting That You’re on Social Media to Spark Conversations

Engaging on social media is absolutely critical. You can build up a huge audience on social media. You can cultivate legions of fans who regularly re-share your updates and help you reach an ever larger share of your total target market. But even then, you’ve yet to extract real business value from social media. You have an asset, but you aren’t using it to its full potential.

If you think back to the beginning of this article, we talked about turning your social media presence into a sales funnel—with a defined outcome that you want that sales funnel to produce. With a large audience you could start to share promotional messages—and some of your audience would act on those promotions. But far more potent is the tactic of engaging with your prospects and only then encouraging them to take the step you want them to take once you’re actually in conversation.

Compare and contrast:

  • A recruitment team who share posts encouraging all their followers to book a call if they’re interested in discussing their career options.
  • A recruitment team who looks at everyone interacting with their posts, assessing who looks like a promising lead for the business and then engaging with those people one on one. Only then, asking each person individually if they’d appreciate the chance to book a call to discuss their career options.

That second approach—being personable and engaging—outperforms the first approach by twice as much. Which is yet another reason that so many recruitment businesses and teams aren’t getting proper results from social media, the temptation to send promotional messages rather than put in the hard graft required for one-on-one interactions is often too great. But if you’re tracking results and experimenting, of course you’ll discover this for yourself and change your tactics accordingly.

Final Observations

These insights I’ve derived from our experiences of working on hundreds of social media accounts for recruiting businesses and teams around the world. If you have been investing in your presence and have been disappointed with the outcome to date, I can guarantee that one of the above is a major contributor to your poor results. You’ll need resources to address these shortcomings, but start to get the results that are possible from social media and it’ll be easy to justify the ongoing investment—of either your time or of some outside help.

Good luck—and if you’ve any experiences of your own that you’d like to share—or would like me to comment on—please feel free to get in touch.

photo credit: The Art of Social Media via photopin (license)

The Rise Of Marketing And Transparency In Recruitment

As we dive into the new year, top of mind for a lot of us are questions of need and want. One of which is the need for marketing and transparency in recruitment.

And, if we could have anything we wanted in terms of HR Tech, what would it be? To better push employee engagement — with some kind of magical Big Brother-like metrics that ping us when employees start to lose interest? To finally relegate those creaky file cabinets in Storeroom B to things of the past, by allowing us agile and responsible access to the Cloud? What about big picture planning, endless processes and admin: can tech just do that so we don’t have to?

Depending on our role in the field, we may want all sorts of shiny toys. A colleague recently described HR as a big funnel, and the widest point is where I think we need HR tech to pay the most attention right now. We need all the tools we can get our hands on to attract the talent. Before a job at Company X is a gleam in anyone’s eye. Well before they are finally filling out the paperwork. And by the way, on paperwork, I’ve got my own dreams about how HR tech solves those 15-minute applications. I think we all do.

Let’s call this the ETF in HR: Edge of the Talent Funnel. Here’s my wish list:

Wider and smarter. As it was aptly pointed out and talked about, during our  #TChat at the HR Tech Conference, there are enormously compelling reasons to not treat potential candidates like people filling out applications, but like consumers. The rise of social and mobile, the shift in demographic cultures and the 24/7 constancy of brand identity and awareness means that we need to market and target talent. A company has to maintain and deepen its brand on all platforms; a workplace has to convey its own culture and make it appealing; and even the hiring process itself has to sell the potential consumer on its ease of use and benefits.

Stickier surface. There’s a lot of talent. According to the B.L.S., there were 5.0 million job hires on the last business day of July 2015. We need to be able to grab the attention of these possible hires far before they’re even considering being candidates. That means we need tech that can seize any and all opportunities to create an initial handshake and get them interested in your company.

User friendly both ways. User interface and experience are not just about talent, they’re also about the HR professionals who utilize them. In our quest to catch the eye of talent, we can’t overlook the need to also appeal to those doing, well, the eye-catching. In the trenches, the HR tech had better deliver without complicating things more, or all that fancy software won’t mean anything.

Unslick. There’s a nice trend towards using video and chats, with nice packages to convey employer identity and run onboarding, and neat ways to conduct interviews and supply FAQ-type info. But let’s not let that be a one-way screen dump, and let’s not forget to bring humans into the equation. No matter the power and scope of the tech we adopt, please let it be appropriately transparent. Real questions should be answered by a real person. A potential staffer in a given unit should be able to confer with top performers about what it’s like. Use video to close the distance without shutting out unscripted conversation. Transparency is authenticity, and tech has to build that into itself.

On an interesting point raised recently regarding the intersection between sales, marketing and HR, I want to add a note of caution. The goal of marketing is always to land a sale, and the goal of shaping a consumer experience via that sale is to always create a loyalty to that brand and product. One key difference: we are more than consumers when it comes to working. We are workers, working together. Ours is a long-term, constant gig. The kind of loyalty we need tech to enable is for more than a product, it’s got to be a commitment to deeply engage with time and energy in a company where we are willing to give our all. It’s a thick and thin loyalty, not a “gee that’s cool” loyalty.

If we don’t remember that, we’re not going to be able to maintain transparency, and we’re not going to be able to retain our best talent.

A version of this post was first published on Forbes on 10/16/15 

Technology as Enabler of 2016 HR Trends: Personalized Learning and Transparency

Recently, I published an article on some of the major disruptions happening in the workplace and the role that technology has played (is playing) in enabling or inspiring innovative HR programs. This article serves as an extension (or “Part Two”) to that piece: Technology: The Enabling Force Awakening HR as a Strategic Partner In 2016. After publishing that post, a healthy conversation ensued on Twitter about whether I was advocating that technology is what will enable HR to become more strategic. While I could see how one might come away with that interpretation, I want to make it clear that I see technology always as an “enabler,” never the answer to a solution or problem.

Let’s take continuous feedback as an example. Continuous feedback is feedback given to an employee by his/her manager (or peers) on their performance on a regular, and frequent basis. This feedback is used to provide continuous coaching and development of employees rather than waiting until the end of the year. Now let’s say a manager has 12 direct reports one can easily imagine that providing real-time, meaningful feedback to each of those reports could become quite difficult and time-consuming without the aid of technology.

The point I was trying to make was that innovations in HR technology have “enabled” these processes to exist that might never have been possible through manual intervention and definitely NOT with the rigid HR systems so many organizations have been saddled with for far too long.

Here are the remaining two concepts/trends in HR I believe HR technology will have a considerable hand in supporting in 2016: personalized learning and development, transparency as the new norm.

Personalized learning and development

Personalization is fast becoming a must-have in today’s workplace. No longer can employers afford to roll out cookie-cutter programs to meet the needs of every generation or type of employee. From creating benefits programs that are flexible providing employees with choices, to career development and learning, personalization is the name of the game.

We’ve all heard about the needs of today’s learners. They want a learning experience that fits their personal needs, learning speed, preferred learning style and, most importantly, their learning pathway – learning personalized for them. But what most people don’t know is that this approach to learning is not new. In fact, noted adult learning theorist, Eduard Lindeman, laid out five key assumptions about adult learners that may sound very familiar to many of us (excerpted from Lindeman’s 1926 book, The Meaning of Education):

  1. Adults are motivated to learn as the experience needs and interests that learning will satisfy
  2. Adults orientation to learning is life centered
  3. Experience is the richest source for adults learning
  4. Adults have a deep need to be self-directing
  5. Individual differences among people increase with age – therefore, provision should be made for differences in style, time, place, and pace of learning.

As adults, we have always craved a different style of learning. In fact, learning theories have existed for quite some time now that classify learning into two approaches: pedagogical and andragogical. Pedagogy is the discipline that study and practice of how best to teach. Andragogy, on the other hand, is the method and practice of teaching adult learners. Andragogy works best in practice when learning is adapted to fit the uniqueness of the learners and the learning situation. Somehow modern day trainers and training departments have either forgotten this or never been made aware that as adults we have a different style of learning that requires different approaches.

Learning has moved beyond the classroom, and experience – one of the three components of the 70:20:10 model – should no longer be seen simply as what occurs within the four walls of the traditional workspace. Learning is social and is the result of interactions with others and also with content. That content may be formally generated by the organization and disseminated to employees; it can be employee generated and shared through peer networks or it may be content that an employee interacts with online and off hours. The point being we are all in a continuous state of learning and traditional learning management systems (at least not yet) are not capable of capturing the multitude of learning experiences that each and every employee encounters on a weekly or even daily basis.

This is where vendors like Degreed have stepped up to the plate. Capitalizing on xAPI, Degreed’s platform can capture meaningful information relating to a wide range of learning experiences and behaviors. This type of technology plays an important part in creating a more personalized learning environment; empowering learners to achieve their goals and creating self-awareness of the micro-learning moments that might otherwise go unnoticed (think meta-cognitive).

Transparency as the New Norm

We have entered a millennium where workplaces are filled with four generations of workers (or five if you ask Bill Kutik). We live in a global environment where businesses continually have to adjust to keep up with the accelerating pace of change that is fueled by technology. Technology is considered by many to be one of the primary drivers behind the globalization of economies, and its power to accelerate change of all kinds cannot be ignored. Social, mobile, video and self-service capabilities provide opportunities for greater visibility into the behavior of individuals or groups making how work gets done more transparent to the masses.

Goal planning

Openly communicating goals within an organization is a step in the direction of driving efficiencies through information transparency. A benefit of transparent goals and the linkage between them within an organization is to drive collaboration between employees directly, and not exclusively through direct managers. Another potential benefit from this is to drive efficiency through reducing redundant work efforts that might not otherwise be known. With greater transparency, individual performance and contributions to the organization become more evident. Transparent goals are critical for an employee to understand how his or her goals and performance relate to those of other employees. Here are a few vendors making goal transparency possible:

  • iDoneThis – productivity software that allows employees to stop and reflect at the end of each day on what they have accomplished. The next morning, an email digest is distributed showing everyone’s accomplishments from the previous day and employees can share thanks and celebrate the achievements, helping create a culture of openness (transparency) and gratitude.
  • Betterworks – enterprise goal software platform that utilizes OKRs to create and align goals beyond the traditional horizontal approach seen in most MBO and other goal management approaches. Their software facilitates the collaboration of goal creation and goal tracking across the enterprise and encourages open, frequent monitoring and cross-functional alignment of goals.
  • Atiim – (pronounced A-team) – a goal (OKR) and team performance management platform offers a continuous, real-time and closed-loop feedback process to improve alignment and transparency for managers and their teams.

Enterprise social networks (ESNs)

Transparency also means encouraging open communication across the organization, and soliciting feedback from and involving employees (and even customers) in making decisions. Being transparent in communications builds trust ‒ an essential component in building a strong culture. But even more importantly, transparency requires trust. Trust is the foundation for building a strong culture—trust in leadership, trust in teams and trust in individuals.

Being transparent in communications builds trust, which influences both employee support and acceptance of change, and also provides a sense of safety for employees to allow creativity and innovation to be stimulated, accepted and promoted.

Blogs delivered on enterprise social networks (ESNs) are a natural way for leaders to openly communicate with their followers and are a great forum for leaders to share their thinking around business decisions, as well as a means to build trust.

Platforms like Jive, Tibbr and Facebook at Work, whose aim is to create a connected workplace that is more productive, are prime examples of ESNs that can be used to encourage leaders and employees to share ideas, collaborate on projects and create opportunities for greater visibility across the enterprise.

[Clarification, xAPI, is not the primary method by which the Degreed platform captures data. Currently, it is designed explicitly to drive progress and build expertise over time with plans to capture more of the experiences and accomplishments too.]

Additional Resources:

Cross, R., Borgatti, S. P., & Parker, A. (2002). Making invisible work visible: Using social network analysis to support strategic collaboration. California management review, 44(2), 25-46. Chicago

Knowles, M. S., Holton III, E. F., & Swanson, R. A. (2014). The adult learner: The definitive classic in adult education and human resource development. Routledge.

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This is Why Your Hiring Process is Stuck in the Past

The hiring process is in a constant state of change — at least, it should be. The skills-laden job posts and run-of-the-mill interview questions of yesterday might have once succeeded in landing great hires, but that’s just not the case in today’s competitive job market.

To win over today’s best talent, companies need to remain innovative and competitive in how they hire. Unfortunately, too many companies are relying on outdated screening tactics and hiring methods.

To help you determine if your hiring process is stuck in the past, here are four old-fashioned hiring strategies and how to bring them into the 21st century:

  1. Leaving hiring up to one person.

Most organizations have a designated person for recruiting and hiring, but this strategy belongs in the past. Hiring should be a collaborative effort between human resources, leadership, and the department that’s looking to fill a position. After all, two heads (or 20, for that matter) are better than one.   

How to update: Get more people involved in the hiring process, from sourcing to screening to interviewing. LinkedIn’s 2016 Global Recruiting Trends report revealed that 26 percent of the 3,894 talent acquisition decision makers surveyed consider employee referral programs to be a long-lasting trend. So, incentivize employees to refer people they deem a good fit for the job by rewarding referrals that lead to hires.

  1. Screening via phone interviews.

The phone screen has had it’s run, but it’s time to say goodbye. Thanks to modern screening methods, the phone screen has become a less efficient way to get to know job candidates before the in-person interview.

For starters, phone interviews don’t paint an accurate picture of a candidate, as they don’t support a visual connection. Not to mention, it can be time-consuming to sit on the phone with one candidate after another. But, most importantly, phone interviews are difficult to standardize, which presents a big issue when it comes time to compare candidates against each other.

How to update: In place of the traditional phone interview, use one-way video interviews to screen job candidates. The nature of one-way video interviews makes it easy to assess and compare candidates — and in much less time.

What’s more, candidates favor them, with nearly half (47 percent) of candidates surveyed by Software Advice preferring them to other screening formats, such as the phone interview (which only 36 percent prefer).  

  1. Keeping your search local.

There’s no denying the benefits of hiring locally, however sometimes the local talent pool just doesn’t cut it. Considering that 35 percent of employers reported difficulty filling jobs due to a lack of available talent, according to ManpowerGroup’s most recent talent shortage survey, hiring managers need to expand their recruitment reach beyond their own backyards.

How to update: Advancements in technology have made it easier than ever to tap into global talent pools. Social professional networks, for instance, have become the top source for quality hires (43 percent), according to the aforementioned LinkedIn report.

While social media has made it easier to source and connect with long-distance talent, video interview platforms have made it possible for those candidates to take part in the interview process — without having to spend a small fortune on travel expenses.

  1. Communicating through email.

Email will always serve as a powerful communication tool, but is it the best means of communication for reaching the newest generation of job seekers? Another report by Software Advice suggests that texting job candidates is on the rise, with 43 percent of job seekers (under 45 years old) considering recruiters who use text messaging “professional.”

How to update: While initial outreach and acceptance (or rejection) is better suited for email, notifying applicants of new job openings, confirming application receipt or interview times, and other such communications are ideal for text messages. Just be sure those texts are sent at an appropriate time and in a professional manner.  

When it comes to hiring, there’s only one thing that has remained the same throughout the years: find and secure the best person for the job. It’s how you do it that is continuously evolving and improving.

What do you think? What are some other outdated aspects of the hiring process? Share in the comments!

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Technology: The Enabling Force Awakening HR as a Strategic Partner in 2016

So if the 2014 word of the year was “Culture”, I am calling the HR word of the year for 2015 “Disruptive” (although technically it was just announced as “-ism”). With the full impact of the ACA set to take place in 2016, changes to OT rules, more companies making the decision to eliminate yearly performance reviews and the latest announcement from KPMG to ditch engagement surveys, I would say 2015 has been quite a “disruptive” year for HR.

According to the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) the #2 trend that will impact the workplace in 2016 is “Trends in Technology are Changing the Way Work is Done.” Members were asked which workplace trends were likely to emerge or grow in their organizations in 2016*. I wanted to take this time to write about three major disruptions I see happening in the workplace that I think will continue into 2016 that have actually been enabled or inspired by the innovative technology that is either already available to HR or is about to be available and that HR should stand up and take notice of.

1) Real-time insights – Employee feedback and analytics

Giving employees a voice

This first trend relates to real-time insights, but not just insights for the sake of insights, but insights that inspire change. These insights are delivered through an organization’s ability to continuously listen to its employees and give them a voice (employee voice). Enabling employees to provide input into decision-making is one of the top drivers of employee engagement. Employee feedback can continuously monitored and compiled and used to provide an orchestrated staff viewpoint on a range of policy areas within the organization. HR can consider the “employee voice,” giving the workforce a quasi-democratic input into the decision- making process. When employees have opportunities to openly communicate ideas and provide feedback across the organization and leaders solicit feedback from and involve employees making decisions employees feel more connected to their organizations.

HR technology vendors are offering organizations an opportunity to gather real-time feedback that managers and organizations can use to gauge the temperature of their employees before there is a problem. Officevibe, a simple to use tool, can be accessed via a mobile device, and be used to gather feedback, measure engagement in real-time and in their next release will actually recommend content to managers based on the three lowest engagement drivers of their team.

Hyphen, a mobile-only app whose tag-line is “Be heard at work”, offers employees an anonymous means to give feedback. While not quite in the same vein as some of these other vendors (there are no pre-defined questions or scores to tabulate), what Hyphen does offer is employees a chance to be heard, to have a voice, something all of us want and need as humans.

Analytics to drive real competitive advantage

As companies step up their efforts to align human capital resources and expenditures with core business objectives, talent analytics is rapidly becoming more prevalent. Additionally, the ability to collect, process and analyze “big data” is becoming a crucial factor in identifying and managing the challenges of the business. Companies that want to gain a competitive edge increasingly need to use analytics to gain data-driven insights into workforce trends and take action to refine HR programs and strategy. Greater use of technology has created a wonderful opportunity to collect and analyze data—an opportunity that can turn data into a powerful business and decision-making tool, but gathering data is only the starting point. The sheer volume of data that organizations can and do amass is overwhelming. However, it has no value to an organization unless it is transformed into meaningful insights.

This is where solutions like Visier and IBM® Kenexa® Talent Insights, are coming to HR’s rescue. Each solution enables insights that would not otherwise be possible without their innovative approach to delivering a cloud-based approach to analytics that is unique in its own ways. IBM utilizes the cognitive prowess of Watson and automatically surfaces patterns and relationships in the data for the user while Visier utilizes machine learning to continuously evolve its predictions and move HR beyond static dashboards and reporting it’s used to and provide it with analytics that are actionable and insightful.

Oh, and by the way, I predict we will see a lot more on “predictive analytics” in 2016 that goes beyond predicting who is most likely to leave. Which I am sure most of us are saying by now, “so what”!

Continuous feedback

The biggest disruption in HR in 2015 has definitely been to Performance. By now, we have all heard about the Accenture’s and the GE’s of the world and their decision to kill the annual performance review. But how many of us know about Sears or the countless others who did so silently and then replaced their system with something more nimble that allowed managers to begin to provide their employees with continuous, real-time feedback on their performance.

This shift away from a rigid, non-agile approach to performance management takes the surprise out of the performance discussion (emphasis on “discussion”) and creates room for an ongoing dialogue between the manager and the employee. The real challenge before now has been having technology to document and facilitate these discussions and shift the employee-manager relationship to more of an employee-coach relationship. I am even going to go out on a limb here and say that technology may have actually been the catalyst that has allowed so many organizations to jump ship and so “Annual Performance Reviews NO More.”

Three innovative HR technology vendors that are helping to solve this problem are BambooHR, TinyPulse and Zugata. In BambooHR’s solution managers are asked to rate employees on their perceived “value” rather than on a traditional meets, exceeds, far exceeds, etc., rating scale and employees and managers have quarterly light-weight assessments. Their approach to assessing performance seems to be closely aligned with research outlined in this HBR article. TinyPulse Perform (in Beta), is a real-time, mobile-first platform that collects weekly data about work performance that allows managers and employees to align on any size objective. The solution also allows managers to send coaching tips and quickly provides both manager and peer feedback to employees about their performance and for managers to assigned shared goals which promotes more team cohesion and accountability. Zugata is another mobile-first application. It utilizes anonymous feedback from peers. Once a week an employee is asked to answer a simple set of questions about an individual they work with. The anonymous feedback from peers helps the employee recognize how they are doing in the moment so they can make adjustments as necessary rather than wait at the end of the year to find out how they performed – no surprises!

The Whole Employee – Health and Wellness (or Well-Being)

I see organizations moving toward a trend of offering programs because they are the right thing to do AND because they are good for the bottom line and not necessarily being faced with an either-or decision. Technology is making this easier for organizations.

At this year’s HR Technology conference we really saw a broader emphasis on a more holistic view of “wellness.” Our understanding of wellness now extends beyond the traditional physical, mental and emotional to include financial well-being as well. With financial stress being listed as the #1 stressor for U.S. adults including programs in organizations that are uniquely tailored to help employees to take action and gain control of their finances is an essential component of overall employee wellness.

O.C. Tanner’s Welbe product measures an organization’s overall wellbeing, while Limeade, is trying to revolutionize the health and wellness industry by drawing attention to the relationship between health and wellness and employee performance. Virgin Pulse focuses on helping build healthy habits that not only include eating, exercise, and sleep but also relationships with family and co-workers and cognitive and financial wellness.

Lastly, managing the “whole person” means acknowledging that everyone is multi-dimensional and has numerous roles to balance in life—all of which affect job performance. So the “whole employee” concept is also about allowing the employee to bring their “whole” self to work it also means that wellness is not just about offering health screenings and assessments to your employees but also making real cultural changes in the workplace that allow employees to truly shut down when they clock out at the end of the day.

*I actually wrote this piece before seeing the survey from SIOP

Note:Any and all references to vendors in this article are unpaid endorsements.

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Revamping The Status Quo In 2015: 4 Trends In HR Technology

What have we seen as the hot trends in HR technology this year? It’s a rhetorical question: put another way: what aren’t the trends? HR technology in itself, having profoundly changed the game, is the hot trend: it’s heated up our field in ways that allow us to leverage talent on an entirely different level, regardless of the size or scope of an organization and irrespective of the end goals, from short-term to future-casting.

We saw further evidence of just how far we’ve come in October, during the HR Technology Conference and Exposition in Las Vegas. Once we might have all discussed the concept of tech for HR. The conference witnessed the rollout of out new HR tech products by the 60-fold. There is no more etcetera, just a shared understanding in just how critical tech is in terms of pushing the boundaries. HR’s best practices now include a far larger sense of infinite functions. And a key difference now is that we’re not future converts to this brave new world, we’re the creators and the consumers.   

If I had to pick them, here are the top four hottest trends:

Cloud Computing: Expanding Innovation

Shifting information and HR applications to the cloud has changed our perspective in myriad ways, allowing us increased flexibility; far greater innovation and agility; the opportunity to consolidate and better control costs via a focused management system; and more: it’s a practical paradigm shift with an amibitiously border-free frontier. It prompts a far more inclusive sense of intelligence about the world of work.

 Big Data: Enabling Objectivity

We’re using Big Data to attain a new objectivity in terms of talent management, redefining the questions we ask ourselves — and the answers we can create. Tapping into a singular aggregate that can be parsed in endless directions and variations enables us to replace that old-fashioned amorphous hunch with a far more objective, full-spectrum view. It’s the sheer scale that pushes us into that objectivity — and pushes innovations to handle it more precisely, more fluidly.

Predictive Analytics: Pushing The Future

Trending: our graduation from smoke and mirrors to mathematically based future-casting. What keeps the human factor front and center is combining this new objectivity with a very real sense of human behavior and patterns: we can make decisions based on a broad range of predictors; fill gaps before they happen; maintain fluidity in the workplace and productivity as well.

Best Of Breed And Integrated Software: Customizing Tasks Without Losing Options

Whatever the particular merits of best of breed versus integrated software in talent management, I think the debate is a bit too candy shop at this point. Here the trend needs to hew a more intentional course of convergence rather than further separation (software innovators take note). Whether a best of breed spectrum or an integrated application, the key is being able to focus and function. That’s the grand takeaway of this shift: accounting or recruiting, succession planning or training, the tools are about talent; about people, not about numbers.

We can’t assume that just because we’ve now innovated our way into infinity that an agile wisdom is built in. Nor can we assume the bells and whistles are intelligent enough to know our best intentions. And I haven’t even mentioned mobile / social and readiness: whatever we do, it has to live on mobile and social or it’s overlooking a substantial part of the workforce — not to mention how we work these days.

In terms of readiness, when we adopt HR technology may seem to be related to size, it’s easier to consider massive changes on a smaller scale, but that’s a fallacy: actionable insights, pipeline building, whatever, this has to be a shift across the board, and another trend is going to be that we change the very status quo of talent management.

Already, a 2014 survey of some 270 companies by PriceWaterhouseCoopers found that 70 percent of companies surveyed with HR and payroll in the Cloud had less than 5,000 employees — small and medium scale is leading the shift. But 57 percent of larger companies with more than 5,000 employees are already enabling performance management with cloud-based software, and 32 percent of all companies were planning on shifting recruiting strategies to the Cloud by 2016. And companies of extreme size and scale are already leveraging the tech power of serious (and social) recruiting capabilities to source the best and brightest.

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A version of this article was  first posted on Forbes on 8/28/15.

5 Ways Leaders Rock Employee Recognition

I was grocery shopping the other day (Yes, this sometimes happens). A mom with two small kids in tow kept up a constant stream of chatter: “Great job pushing the cart, Stella, you are so smart.” “Good work picking out a pepper, Max, now put it back.” It went on and on – kids do something/anything, mother responds with a positive affirmation, kids do another something, mother reacts. This is so awesome to see in action. I’m in aisle 10 and it continues. There is a giant metaphor unfolding as I seek out my coconut water.


You rock. You’re so special. Nice job putting your toys away. On and on it goes: reflexive praise for doing the right thing and, in many cases, the not-so-right thing. We’re becoming a culture in which people expect to be rewarded for drawing breath and taking up space, which makes the job of an HR pro or business leader tasked with employee retention a difficult one indeed. If many of your employees expect routine and social praise and “badges”, how can you recognize extraordinary achievement? When should recognition and reward be linked?

In many organizations recognition and financial reward are joined at the hip.  An employee does something above and beyond and receives a gift card or a lunch with the boss; a team achieves a goal and is rewarded with a party. These rewards, however, can backfire; they tell the employee that he or she is worth n dollars to the organization for some level of effort. In my opinion this approach misses the point of recognition: people are motivated by more than money. People crave positive feedback, recognition they put in extra effort, acknowledgement of leaders and peers, the glow that comes with knowing an achievement has been seen, appreciated and celebrated. I love this place. But I’m also realistic as I look at ways leaders can recruit and truly nurture current and future talent.

Financial reward is a great thing, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not the equivalent of recognition. Let’s not kid ourselves. It’s a short term solution. Neither is constant praise for average work. Recognition is a key tool in employee retention programs for a reason: people need more than constructive feedback and positive affirmation. They need recognition of extra effort. They need to “feel” it. This will never go away as a basic human need.

An effective approach to employee recognition encompasses these key points:

1) In the moment – as much as possible, be timely. Catch people doing exemplary work and acknowledge their efforts.  Don’t be knee-jerk – showing up for work on time does not count in most cases. Be specific, descriptive and measured.

2) In context – recognition is most effective when it’s given in the context of a larger goal or business-results-focused activity. Random affirmations are much less meaningful than those tied to a business goal. An employee who lands a big contract by putting in the extra effort needs to know you noticed, and understand the employee’s  effort to ensure business success. This matters.

3) Appropriate in volume/scale – think back to the mom in the market. Was the praise she doled out appropriate in scale and volume? Not really. Here again randomness is not your ally. Recognition should match effort and results, or it loses meaning. This is where the complexity lives.

4) Authentic, not automatic – you have to mean it when you give employees recognition. This is my chief worry about automated recognition systems – they remove the human touch so important to effective recognition. Can we find a smart balance? Can we make social HRTech software work?

5) Tied to the employee’s perception of value – people know when they’re valued, and they should have a good idea of their value to the organization. Monetary rewards can skew this notion of value, linking it to cash when it should be linked to appreciation of extra effort and smarts. Money is appropriate much of the time, but it’s not the only – or even the most effective – motivator. Treat employees as valued team members, not as numbers. Most  of the time it’s the best way to really recognize a valued player.

There is HR Technology that’s super sexy and relevant for engagement. I’m overthinking it at the moment. This is typical as we find the most meaningful ways to innovate the future of work. I’m excited about software and social applications for rockstar leaders and workplace culture. It’s all good. Now we seek to connect the most relevant, human and inspiring dots.

I have many thoughts about how we, as a society and a global social leadership community, handle recognition, but I’d like to hear what’s on your mind. Please weigh in and tell me what recognition means to you, and how you’ve successfully recognized your employees and co-workers. Leaders jump in here too. Lead the revolution. You Rock.

Image credit:

photo credit: 5 via photopin (license)

A version of this post was first published on published on Forbes on 1/13/13


5 HR Technologies That Can Boost Your Business’s Bottom Line

HRTechThese days, companies are updating their HR software and technology more often than ever before. That’s partly because new HR tech comes out just as fast as other new tech does — just like with smartphones and computers, new HR software and devices seem to become obsolete as soon as they appear on the market. But that’s not the only reason why companies now update their HR management systems every three to five years instead of every five to seven.

Cloud-based software systems now allow companies to update their HR management systems much more smoothly and easily than in the past, when updating the system meant buying and installing new software. But that kind of updating takes care of itself these days. Now, HR technologies are streamlining workplace processes and making employee attendance tracking and other HR tasks easier than ever.

By simplifying processes and saving time, these technologies can also save businesses money. HR tech like online training modules, cloud HR software, online performance management, electronic onboarding and benefits management, and match-on-card technology can benefit businesses of all sizes.

1. Online Training Modules

Online training has made it easier than ever for HR to assign training courses, track completion, and assess results. The newest generation of online training modules harnesses “learning management” technology that can help human resources personnel assign training modules based on job title. This new technology streamlines the completion tracking and assessment processes, too.

Even if it’s a new hire’s first day of work, HR personnel can assign online training modules and managers can adjust training based on the employee’s progress and needs. Learning management software also allows HR to track an employee’s development and progress throughout his or her time with the company.

2. Match-on-Card Technology

matchIf your company is at all concerned with security, match-on-card technology can help. Match-on-card technology ensures employee identity verification through the use of the oldest and most reliable means of identification, the fingerprint. This technology embeds your employee’s fingerprint within the plastic of an employee ID badge so that it can’t be counterfeited, copied, or stolen. This technology is so reliable, it’s already used at the U.S. State Department to verify employee identities.

3. Attendance Tracking Software

It’s the 21st century, and old-fashioned punch cards are a thing of the past. That’s because HR personnel can now track attendance with the help of automated software. This software does a lot more than simply keep track of the time at which an employee punched in and the time at which he or she punched out. It can also use GPS tracking to help you monitor the movements of employees in the field, or mobile applications that can let employees punch in and out remotely. Human resources can also take advantage of features that schedule paid time off and time off approval. It’s never been easier to manage employee scheduling.

4. Electronic Onboarding and Benefits Enrollment

Taking on a new hire can be tedious. It can take an entire day for a new employee to fill out all the paperwork necessary to join the team. But with electronic onboarding, a new hire can fill out all of that burdensome, exhaustive paperwork at home and submit it before coming in to work on the first day, which saves HR time and helps your new employee get to work faster. The system can even flag incomplete or incorrectly filled-out forms, to save even more time. Most systems can spread the data from these forms throughout the company’s systems, for even greater convenience.

Electronic benefits enrollment also simplifies the hiring process. Companies can save money by integrating benefits, payroll, and tax systems, and online enrollment makes it easier and cheaper to keep track of benefits information.

5. Online Performance Management

Juggling company-wide performance management isn’t easy, but with an online performance management system, it’s a lot more manageable. These systems allow HR teams to get a clear picture of what’s happening with performance across the organization, isolate issues by department or employee, and deliver feedback when needed. These systems can also send tasks to employees and managers and schedule meetings. Managing performance throughout the company is less of a burden with performance management systems.

Thanks to the latest in HR technologies, managing personnel is easier than it’s ever been. From the first day a new hire comes on board to the day he or she leaves the company, HR tech makes handling every aspect of management simpler and easier, so your company can do more with fewer resources.

#TChat Preview: Looking Back on Some Favorite Chats

The TalentCulture #TChat Show is back live on Wednesday, December 9, 2015, from 1-2 pm ET (10-11 am PT).

Last week we talked about how social recruiting makes the talent business case, and this week we’re going to share a few of our favorite #TChat shows from 2015!

No, we’re not doing a production of Sound of Music — but since it’s nearing the end of the year and the holidays are upon us, the TalentCulture #TChat Show co-hosts and co-founders Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman, along with their amazing #TChat event manager and show producer Cyndy Trivella, wanted to share some favorite shows from this year.

It wasn’t an easy task; there are just too many great shows to pick from. But, to make it easier, we broke them down into three categories:

  • The favorites that made us think
  • The favorites that made us learn
  • And the favorites that made us laugh

So stroll with us down memory lane with us, all aglow with holiday cheer. It will surely be a #TChat to remember.

#TChat Events: Looking Back on Some Favorite #TChats

TChatRadio_logo_020813#TChat Radio — Wed, Dec 9 — 1 pm ET / 10 am PT

Join TalentCulture #TChat Show co-founders and co-hosts Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman along with their amazing #TChat event manager and show producer Cyndy Trivella, as they share some favorite shows from this year.

Tune in LIVE online Wednesday, Dec 9 — 1 pm ET

#TChat Twitter Chat — Wednesday, December 9 — 1:30 pm ET /10:30 am PT
Immediately following the radio show, the team will move to the #TChat Twitter stream, where we’ll continue the discussion with the entire TalentCulture community. We invite everyone with a Twitter account to participate, as we gather for a dynamic live chat, focused on these related questions:

Q1: What were your favorite #TChat shows that made you think and learn? #TChat  (Tweet this Question)

Q2: What were your favorite #TChat shows that made you laugh? #TChat  (Tweet this Question)

Q3: What topics do you want to see us cover in 2016 and why? #TChat  (Tweet this Question)

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

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Be More Productive with Remote Workers

remote workersAre you seeking a way to enhance productivity in the office? Counter to what you may be considering, it may be beneficial for you to offer employees the opportunity to work remotely.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 24% of American employees are remote workers.  This growing class of employees is also an astounding 71% more productive than their counterparts working in the office.  But before you knock the cubicle walls down and tell everyone to go home, there are some systems and processes your company needs to support its remote workers and encourage productivity.

Encourage Productivity with Remote Workers

Becoming a virtual office can be very scary for employers.  Whether you turn off the lights altogether and tell everyone to work from home or you hire a handful of remote workers, there are many potential mine fields to navigate.  How do you ensure employees continue to do their job?  What if they become too distracted?  But when executed well, a remote work program can encourage employees to balance their lives.  Suddenly, parents are able to see their children more, there’s more time for the gym without a commute.  But how do you set up a system that works?  Try the following suggestions and your remote worker program will flourish:

  • Create a team environment in a wiki or a project tracking program.  It’s important for companies with remote workers to offer the same spirit of support and collaboration that would exist in the office.  It’s also important to make sure everyone is still involved in their projects.  Company wikis or project trackers are great ways for remote workers to catch up, rope people into ongoing projects, and offer insight into what they’re doing.  If this is a new tool for your team, there will be some period of adjustment and getting used to the technology, the new habits of tracking milestones, and communicating with others online.  But it can be very beneficial to your remote workers.  Nobody wants to feel as if they’re adrift in the company or that their only coworker has become the dog.  Encourage your remote workers to participate and collaborate online.  Without micromanagers or time wasters at the water cooler, find out just how much more productive your team can be.
  • Use video conferencing tools.  When your team is geographically dispersed, it can be hard to meet and go over project details.  This is where video conferencing can assist.  Video conferencing utilizes existing technology- a phone connection and video conferencing.  The difference is it allows team members to meet in a secure and branded environment for a fraction of the cost.  Take for example a company based out of Singapore- now they can meet securely and for a fraction of the cost- with their team members in Australia, America, or even Europe.  The possibilities are endless for these kinds of meetings.  Imagine town hall meetings on site where your satellite offices are conferenced in, board meetings, and more.  All of these are possible with video conferencing technology.  Remote workers don’t have to be left out of the loop anymore.  Now, they can be an integral part of the decision-making process.
  • Offer virtual HR assistance.  Many remote workers complain that their biggest gripe is not feeling a part of the team.  Your company can remedy this with a variety of online tools such as onboarding, training, and even reviews.  Remote workers can receive all the benefits that an onsite HR team can offer.  Encourage employees to make use of these tools to stay in the loop and develop professionally.  Working in the cloud has never been so easy and your remote workers will appreciate the opportunity to stay involved.

It’s Time to Think Differently

In the old days, companies had to have brick and mortar locations or they couldn’t survive.  Technology simply hadn’t advanced far enough to allow for workers to spend time at home and still do their job.  But today cloud based applications make it easier than ever.  The opportunities for remote workers keep growing as more companies are discovering how productive employees can be when they’re not in the office.  Whether working from your daughter’s soccer game or in an airport lounge, the barriers to productivity have been erased.  The key is to put a strong program in place to ensure your remote workers are supported and in constant communication.  Find out how productive your team can be with these simple but actionable tips.

Is Your Hiring Process Mobile Friendly?

mobile hiringWe’re living in a world of hyper- connectivity.  These days, everything must be mobile optimized- from websites to online shopping carts and even online job applications.  Yet according to a recent CareerBuilder survey, only 10% of businesses optimized their job applications for mobile.  The failure of the other 90% to optimize their applications for mobile amounted to missing out on roughly 94% of candidates using their mobile phone or smart device. If your hiring process isn’t mobile friendly from beginning to end, your business could be missing out on the most digitally mature candidates.

Creating a Mobile Friendly Hiring Process

Increasingly, more candidates are logging on and searching for jobs from mobile devices.  Many of these candidates continue to log on from mobile devices to communicate with recruiters, answer additional hiring questions, and submit documents.  With this in mind, how do businesses create a mobile friendly hiring process from beginning to end?  Try the following suggestions:

  • Create video job postings.  Video is a very mobile friendly way to attract candidate interest.  Videos are easily viewable on any mobile device and can enhance the hiring process for technologically sophisticated candidates. By filming a video, candidates can easily digest what the position is and how they might see themselves in the role. Video also enhances the candidate experience because it’s more interactive.
  • Optimize career pages. The problem with many career pages is that they aren’t on mobile- friendly platforms nor do they offer mobile friendly options.  It’s time for employers to collaborate with the Marketing team to design custom landing pages that enhance the mobile hiring process, not detract from it. Consider how your team can present the employer brand with engaging and dynamic content. This could be a video job posting, live chat options with brand ambassadors and team photos.
  • Create SMS recruiting content. Employers have an opportunity to enhance candidate communication with little effort on their end.  Consider creating mobile friendly recruiting messages that are brief, but inspire action.  Rather than creating spammy canned emails like those that some recruiters send out on LinkedIn, create tailored messaging that encourages the mobile candidate to view more content or dive further into the experience with a brand ambassador via mobile.  The key is to think creatively but think in terms of brief engaging content.
  • Simplify the application process.  Few businesses’ application processes are mobile friendly.  Couldn’t a company offer a way for candidates to automatically submit their resumes via QR code or LinkedIn?  This would enhance the mobile hiring process instead of automatically linking to an ATS that requires 9 pages of typing and retyping qualifications, references, GPA’s, and contact information. What’s the point of automatically parsing a resume if the hiring process begins as a headache? This can actively deter top candidates instead of attracting them to the job posting.  The answer is to simplify the process as much as possible to make it more attractive and engaging.
  • Offer mobile friendly video interviews. Video interviews can be extremely mobile friendly and enhance the hiring process.  Candidates can log on and record an interview on demand so the recruiter can screen them.  Or candidates progressing through the hiring process can log onto a live video interview via mobile app.  Video interviews are a great way to connect with mobile candidates in a meaningful way. Now both employers and candidates can tell their story via mobile.

As mobile usage continues to grow, more candidates will start their job search on mobile devices.  The challenge for employers is to successfully create a mobile hiring process that enhances the candidate experience, not harms it.  We will begin to see more focus in 2016 on mobile recruiting, but employers who advance their mobile hiring process now will  be ahead of the pack.




#TChat Recap: How Hiring Managers Can Reduce The Cost Of Hiring

This week the TalentCulture team discussed how hiring managers can reduce the cost of hiring with Nikos Moraitakis, CEO of Workable, a technology startup reinventing hiring for ambitious companies.

In an increasingly competitive hiring environment, hiring managers must improve their engagement and performance with recruited and candidates alike in order to hire and retain top talent. But all too often, this is far from ideal, and they unfortunately fail to do this effectively.

Listen to the recording and review the Twitter chat highlights below to learn more.

What’s Up Next? #TChat returns Wednesday, Nov 4th: #TChat Radio Kicks Off at 1pm ET / 10am PT — Our radio show runs 30 minutes. Usually, our social community joins us on the Twitters as well.

Next #TChat topic: How to Make Meetings Worth Everyone’s Time – Wednesday, Nov 4th, 2015 — Our halfway point begins with our highly engaging Twitter discussion. We take a social inside look at our weekly topic. Everyone is welcome to share their social insights.

Join Our Social Community & Stay Up-to-Date! The TalentCulture conversation continues daily. See what’s happening right now on the #TChat Twitter stream in our LinkedIn group, and on our Google+ community. Engage with us anytime on our social networks or stay current with trending World of Work topics through our weekly email newsletter. Signing up is just a click away!


Photo credit: Big Stock Images

#TChat Recap: Live From #HRTechConf: Why Recruitment Should Be Transparent Marketing

This week the TalentCulture team discussed why recruitment should be transparent marketing with Susan Vitale, Chief Marketing Officer at iCIMS; Lori Sylvia, Chief Marketing Officer at SmashFly; and Michele Ellner, Director of Marketing at Montage.

Today’s hiring economy is highly complex and competitive and finding top talent is harder than ever. If fact, attracting candidates and retaining current employees is a lot like attracting and retaining customers.

Listen to the recording and review the Twitter chat highlights below to learn more.

What’s Up Next? #TChat returns Wednesday, Oct 28th: #TChat Radio Kicks Off at 1pm ET / 10am PT — Our radio show runs 30 minutes. Usually, our social community joins us on the Twitters as well.

Next #TChat topic: Yes! You Can Reduce The Cost of Hiring – Wednesday, Oct 28th, 2015 — Our halfway point begins with our highly engaging Twitter discussion. We take a social inside look at our weekly topic. Everyone is welcome to share their social insights.

Join Our Social Community & Stay Up-to-Date! The TalentCulture conversation continues daily. See what’s happening right now on the #TChat Twitter stream in our LinkedIn group, and on our Google+ community. Engage with us anytime on our social networks or stay current with trending World of Work topics through our weekly email newsletter. Signing up is just a click away!


Photo credit: Big Stock Images

A Microbiome of HR technology We Are

The microbiome discussion had me riveted. One of multiple 10-minute presentations at the TED@IBM event really inspired me, learning about how microbes interact in symbiotic communities. The research shared by Dr. Robert Prill, a computational biologist at the IBM Almaden Research Center who gave this TED talk, specifically talked about microbes and food and how they can tell us if something is good for us or bad for us. This could have profound implications on keeping food production safe worldwide.

At the break, an analyst friend told me about a few HR technology projects he was advising on. Same solution provider – two new implementations and one remediation due to serious data integrity and security issues.

Remediation? Yikes, I thought. Not that surprising; we’ve been in the HR technology marketplace for many years and solution providers can never be all things to all customers, whether they say they’re a true integrated talent management suite provider or stay focused on a best of breed solution.

And then it hit me – wouldn’t it be amazing if we could have a microbiome of sorts for companies buying HR technology? Or for any hardware and software purchases procurement, finance, operations, IT, marketing and sales, human resources and talent acquisition makes?

My inspiration became a realization that we actually already do – a somewhat symbiotic community of business executives, HR buyers, IT, analysts, influencers, vendors and third-party consultants.

Obviously selecting the right HR technology can be a daunting task, whether it’s a new solution or a replacement system. So many things have to be considered in this complex ecosystem relationship — cloud computing, HR data management, talent analytics, best of breed and integrated HR and talent acquisition and management systems, and more.

In our own microbiome, it’s happiest time of the year for many HR and business executives who are now at the 2015 HR Technology Conference & Exposition (second only to vacations and the holiday season). They are busy evaluating and reevaluating their HR technology ecosystems.

There are three simplified selection steps to consider. These aren’t new and many HR buyers and providers alike have shared them for decades, but they’re always worth sharing again. Plus, nearly every software provider in our space will gladly give you a “make the business case” kit.

First, outline your problem and goals. What are the problems with your overall talent strategy today and what are your goals for tomorrow? Your HR technology investment extends beyond the product itself – it’s also about the collective experiences with your vendor that make up your HR and recruiting processes and the systems that enable them all – user experiences, implementation experience, customer experience, compliance experience, data management experience, system integration experience, and much more.

Second, research your solutions. Now that you’ve documented your primary talent strategy problems and goals, it’s time to find the right solution that will enable you to recruit, hire, develop and retain the very best talent. And this is where you can leverage your HR technology microbiome to make better informed decisions – analyst reports, online research, peer network reviews, third-party consultants. In fact, there’s so much information available today that most buyers are well-armed prior to selecting their short list of solutions.

Third, build the business case. The final step in this process is to create the business case for buying and/or replacing the right HR technology for your organization. This includes:

  • Reviewing your current talent processes, metrics and analytics
  • Outlining the benefits of a new HR technology solution (whatever that is)
  • Listing your top vendor contender or contenders (Technical documentation, features, benefits, services and support, ROI (qualitative and quantitative), etc.)
  • Calculating your costs (Software subscription fees, implementation fees, support fees, maintenance fees, customization and/or configuration fees, data integration and management fees, etc.)
  • Identifying your key stakeholders (CHRO and/or Head of Talent Acquisition Other Senior Executives, IT Department Finance/Procurement, etc.)
  • Creating your final compelling presentation (make that magical business case!)

Most of us in the HR marketplace know there are just too many realities and variables that can muck up the works from RFP to purchase to implementation to maintenance. Vendors over-promise and/or under-deliver, internal teams underestimate resources needed, and internal teams and leadership alike change before total cost of ownership is ever realized. I can’t tell you have many times I’ve heard, “Oh, I came on board right after we purchased and implemented [insert provider name here] – and now it’s a beast.”

These bad metaphorical microbes aside, a microbiome of business processes, people and HR technology we are. We’re more informed than ever when it comes to purchasing and implementing the talent technologies we count on to keep our businesses performing well and staying healthy. And that’s definitely good for us.

Happy Buying!

How to Choose an HR Technology Vendor

Everyone knows that HR technology is critical to a winning talent acquisition strategy, but with the plethora of options available in the marketplace, how do you know what to choose? Where do you even start? What you really need is a technology solution that will help you evolve with the rapidly changing recruitment landscape — not to mention add some time back in your day so you can focus on moving the needle on your recruitment strategy.

Don’t feel overwhelmed with the choices out there — get some honest advice from someone with more than 20 years of experience in the recruitment technology space, both using and purchasing software.

As the president of recruitment software at CareerBuilder, I have worked side by side with startups, Fortune 1000 and global companies alike to develop and implement their talent acquisition strategies during this changing economic environment.

Based on what I have learned over the years, I want to share advice on what you should be looking for when selecting a partner and solution. With that in mind, here are the top three things to keep in mind before selecting an HR technology vendor that’s right for you.

1. Buy for the future. Understand whether the company you’re about to invest in shares your priorities. Mary believes a partner shouldn’t be in it to sell you something — a true partner helps you achieve your goals. Does yours?

2. Invest in a true partnership. A pre-hire platform partner should be willing to connect with your existing software solutions. Does yours?

3. Invest in technology partners who are committed to your success. Mary believes that software is one part technology and three parts people. It’s the people that make the software successful. Do you have the right people?

If you’re attending the HR Tech conference in Las Vegas this month, I would enjoy seeing you. I will be at the CareerBuilder booth #1311, where I’ll be speaking on this topic and will be happy to answer your pressing recruitment questions live.

You can also find additional insights and analysis in this handy recruitment software guide. Download it now to help you select the right technology partner as you’re evaluating various vendors and solutions.

Photo credit: Bigstock


CareerBuilder is a client of TalentCulture and sponsored this post. 

#TChat Recap: Three Steps To Selecting The Right HR Technology

This week the TalentCulture team discussed the three steps to selecting the right HR technology with this week’s guest: Mary Delaney, President, Recruitment Software Solutions at CareerBuilder.

Selecting the right HR technology can be a daunting task, whether it’s a new solution or a replacement system. So many things have to be considered in this complex ecosystem relationship — cloud computing, best of breed and integrated HR and talent acquisition and management systems, and more.

Listen to the recording and review the Twitter chat highlights below to learn more.

What’s Up Next? #TChat returns Wednesday, Oct 21st: #TChat Radio Kicks Off at 1pm ET / 10am PT — Our radio show runs 30 minutes. Usually, our social community joins us on the Twitters as well.

Next #TChat topic: Live from the 2015 #HRTechConf: Why Recruitment Should Be Transparent Marketing – Wednesday, Oct 21st, 2015 — Our halfway point begins with our highly engaging Twitter discussion. We take a social inside look at our weekly topic. Everyone is welcome to share their social insights.

Join Our Social Community & Stay Up-to-Date! The TalentCulture conversation continues daily. See what’s happening right now on the #TChat Twitter stream in our LinkedIn group, and on our Google+ community. Engage with us anytime on our social networks or stay current with trending World of Work topics through our weekly email newsletter. Signing up is just a click away!


Photo credit: Big Stock Images

#TChat Preview: Three Steps to Selecting the Right HR Technology

The TalentCulture #TChat Show is back live on Wednesday, October 14th, 2015, from 1-2 pm ET (10-11 am PT).

Last week we talked about why sourcing referrals can improve retention and this week we’re going to discuss the three steps to selecting the right HR technology with this week’s guest: Mary Delaney, President, Recruitment Software Solutions at CareerBuilder.

Selecting the right HR technology can be a daunting task, whether it’s a new solution or a replacement system. So many things have to be considered in this complex ecosystem relationship — cloud computing, best of breed and integrated HR and talent acquisition and management systems, and more.

Sneak Peek:

#TChat Events: Three Steps to Selecting the Right HR Technology

TChatRadio_logo_020813#TChat Radio — Wed, Oct 14th — 1 pm ET / 10 am PT

Join TalentCulture #TChat Show co-founders and co-hosts Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman as they talk about the three steps to selecting the right HR technology with this week’s guest: Mary Delaney, President, Recruitment Software Solutions at CareerBuilder.



Tune in LIVE online Wednesday, Oct 14th

#TChat Twitter Chat — Wednesday, October 14th — 1:30 pm ET /10:30 am PT Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin, Joe and Ivan will move to the #TChat Twitter stream, where we’ll continue the discussion with the entire TalentCulture community. Everyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we gather for a dynamic live chat, focused on these related questions:

Q1: What’s trending in HR tech this year and what should HR buyers consider? #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Q2: Before buying or replacing HR technology, what should companies do first? #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Q3: What should HR buyers include in an HR technology business case? #TChat (Tweet this Question)

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

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How Data is Being Used To Boost Recruitment and Retention

Big Data and the intelligent use of Analytics has been one of the top business topics of the last year. For anyone working in human resources or recruiting, ever greater use of data promises a revolution in the way decisions are made. Recruitment and retention of top talent differentiates a company from its competitors. The days of gut decisions and interviewer bias are numbered, to be replaced by evidence-based decision making.

To be clear, leveraging data presents both a challenge and an opportunity. The challenge is to learn the skills – and choose the technologies – needed to analyse the mass of data available within your company. Looking beyond that, we also need to start collecting actionable data that has hitherto not been collected. The opportunity is significant though – to improve outcomes across all areas of HR from recruitment to development to retention.

What Are The Benefits of Using Data In Recruitment?

Have you heard the old adage of “the truth will set you free”? Well for today’s recruiter that could be restated as “the data will set you free”. So many elements of a recruiter’s life are made more frustrating through a lack of data and insights – but all that is about to change.

Have you ever encountered a hiring manager with unrealistic expectations? Or one who’s eager to sell aspects of the role that you fear do not fit with the day-to-day realities of the job or company? The right data can help manage the expectations of hiring managers. Retention data can highlight the elements of your offer where the recruitment team are consistently overselling to candidates.

When it comes to which criteria to include in a job listing to produce the best quality of hire, data can give you the answer. With the right data points you can find out which skills, values and behaviours lead to a hire who is likely to be a success in the organisation and remain in their position long term. Those insights can be derived client by client or department by department. Powerful insights!

Have you ever wondered which of your talent sources are most cost effective? Most companies know the applicant volumes they are getting from each source. Most know the shortlist candidates and even hires that each is producing. But we need more data than this to make informed decisions. Which talent sources bring in our highest achievers? Which talent sources produce hires whose retention rates are the most compelling? If data gave you these insights, you can imagine how your choices of where to invest might be impacted.

How Are Recruiters Using This Data?

To put the uses of big data into context and help you to better comprehend how you might use it, here’s a great case summary from Xerox Corp.  Xerox had estimated the cost of training each of their call centre staff at $5000, yet many were leaving before Xerox could even recoup their training costs.

The business had traditionally assumed that those with call centre experience were more likely to succeed; however, analysis of the data proved otherwise. The data showed that candidates with experience cost more to hire, yet didn’t perform better or last longer than those without experience. The data also showed that those candidates who were active social media users had higher retention rates than other candidates. Another surprising insight was that creative types tended to stay with the company longer than inquisitive types. Analysing big data helped Xerox to cut the attrition rate at their call centres by over 20% – a significant and tangible financial saving, as you can imagine!

So how can you leverage data more effectively? Well one company that is helping recruiters to use data as part of their recruitment process is Talenytics. They’ve developed a clever system that aims to remove pain points in recruitment by first collecting and then analysing the most essential data in the recruiting process. This provides recruiters with the insights needed to make the right hire each time, from a smaller shortlist of candidates and with less time therefore needed to complete the recruitment process.

The Future of Recruitment Lies In Big Data

Research from IBM has shown that 90% of the data in the world today has been created in just the last two years, so Big Data use is expected to accelerate dramatically. In the past the sheer cost and complexity of connecting and analysing so many data points made the use of big data within recruiting impossible. However in the past couple of years we’ve seen a rise in the number of analytical tools available to make the use of such data cost effective.

This new realm of big data analytics affects every area of the recruitment process including:

  • Vacancy marketing
  • Employer branding
  • Filtering of prospective candidates
  • Planning interview questions
  • Talent development
  • Who to retain and promote

With such overarching effects, it’s no surprise that recruiters and employers alike are clamouring to invest in talent analytics software to help meet their talent needs. The future will see recruiters using a 360 holistic approach to finding and assessing talent. One dimensional CVs and applications will be supplemented by social media data, online assessments, departmental profiling and past hiring success and failure data to more accurately assess a candidate’s chances of success.

Further Reading: Big Data and Recruitment

Over the next few years we’re going to see a flurry of cloud based software solutions that look to tackle big data for recruiters. Early adopters are already reaping the rewards but not all companies are equipped for gathering or interpreting data. For those of you who would like to explore things further, below is some further reading that will help.

This article from Staffing Stream includes 5 tips for putting dig data to work for you. I particularly like their tip about using existing tools such as Excel to analyse data and answer questions such as:

  • What is the profile of historically successful employees in this role?
  • Where have we found candidates for these jobs in the past?
  • How long have similar searches taken historically?

Most recruiters will already have data relating to these questions but may not have a simple way of analysing the data – Excel can be a good starting point, or a tool like Talenytics can take this analysis to the next level.

Another article that could be really useful to recruiters introduces a tool called which helps users to easily scrape data from websites. This post includes an easy to follow demo of how recruiters can use the tool as part of their talent sourcing process and also to migrate data from legacy systems to new tools you may wish to deploy.

Concluding Remarks

Hopefully I’ve given you good reason to stop and reflect on how data is going to impact many aspects of what we do today – and given you some ideas of how it’s transforming the ways recruiters will work in years to come. If you’ve any first hand experiences, case studies or tools you can comment on I’d love to hear about these – please do share your insights in the comments section below.

Photo credit: Bigstock

#TChat Preview: Why Sourcing Referrals Can Improve Retention

The TalentCulture #TChat Show is back live on Wednesday, October 7th, 2015, from 1-2 pm ET (10-11 am PT).

Last week we talked about the neuroscience of what keeps leaders up at night with Dr. Nicole Lipkin and this week we’re going to talk about why sourcing referrals can improve retention with Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, President/CEO of Xceptional HR, author, speaker, HR professional, and workplace social media expert; and John Sumser, Principal Analyst at KeyInterval Research and editor at

If an employee is satisfied at work, whose performance is consistent, and of course is rewarded fairly, then he or she is much more likely to suggest referrals. They become a brand advocate!

#TChat Events: Why Sourcing Referrals Can Improve Retention

TChatRadio_logo_020813#TChat Radio — Wed, Oct 7th — 1 pm ET / 10 am PT

Join TalentCulture #TChat Show co-founders and co-hosts Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman as they talk about why sourcing referrals can improve retention with this week’s guests: Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, President/CEO of Xceptional HR, author, speaker, HR professional, and workplace social media expert; and John Sumser, Principal Analyst at KeyInterval Research and editor at



Tune in LIVE online Wednesday, Oct 7th

#TChat Twitter Chat — Wednesday, October 7th — 1:30 pm ET /10:30 am PT Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin, Joe and Ivan will move to the #TChat Twitter stream, where we’ll continue the discussion with the entire TalentCulture community. Everyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we gather for a dynamic live chat, focused on these related questions:

Q1: Why are employee referrals consistently the better talent pool? #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Q2: Employment tenure is only 3-5 years, but why is job hopping still stigmatized? #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Q3: Can a better candidate and new hire experience translate into greater retention? #TChat (Tweet this Question)

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

Subscribe to our podcast on BlogTalkRadio, Stitcher or iTunes:

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Image Credit: Big Stock Images

How To Hire Your Dream Team Using Workforce Science

“Psychometric assessment implementation” –see why we didn’t put that in the title? I hope we haven’t already lost you, because this science isn’t as complicated as it sounds, and it can have some pretty powerful affects on your workforce.

Psychometrics are used to measure things like skills, knowledge, abilities, attitudes, personality traits and educational achievements. Do you remember all of those yearly tests that you took in school, and you didn’t know why you were taking them? Those were crafted with psychometrics as a tool to gauge the progress of your education in an objective and scientific way.

Psychometrics in HR

Not surprisingly, we see many of these psychometricians (yup, that’s a real word) working in the Human Resources field. The knowledge gathered by psychometric testing and surveys can help in the hiring process, team building and even succession planning. These once very subjective matters in human resources, can now be looked at and measured in a much more effective way.

  • Hires once made on a gut feeling, can now be made with solid data.
  • Teams no longer have to be thrown together, but instead thoughtfully crafted with this science.
  • Succession planning is no longer a matter of favoritism or convenience, but rather finding the right person for the position. conducted a study over 1,400 executives, employees and educators, and asked them to name the specific kinds of collaboration problems that plague their workforces. 97% of respondents believe a lack of alignment within a team directly impacts the outcome of a task or project. These are the major issues that psychometric assessment implementation (there’s that term again) can help to alleviate.

Should I Be Using This as a Workforce Science?

Today over 80% of Fortune 500 companies in the US use psychometric testing, and over 75% of the Time “Top 100 Companies in the UK” use it. So the answer is, yes, you should be using this science in your workforce.

There is one small problem; many of the tests out there that claim to use psychometrics, or, are presumed to have been created with psychometrics, have simply been built on a “Buzzfeed” type of test structure. You know those tests, “What Disney Character are You?” or “What 90s Pop Song Would You Be?” Well some of the so-called workforce science testing out there is created with a little more validity than these playful time-wasters.

So You’re Saying I Need a Department of Psychometricians?

No, unless you have a budget that makes Google look like a mom and pop shop, that’s not the way to go. Thanks to decades of study and the wonderment that is the internet, these psychometrics tests are available from real experts, online. Your workforce can take these assessments anywhere, anytime and then the data procured can be used to create the optimal work environment for teams.

What to Look For

Like any software or platform decision, it is always best to look for case studies, customer reviews, and testimonials. You should also always take a demo, tour or trial of the product before signing on the dotted line. If you answered 15 simple questions in a survey that took less than 4 minutes, this isn’t a product that actually works. If it were that easy, you wouldn’t need a provider in the first place. Also look for the assurance that these tests or surveys were in fact created by experts in the psychometrics field; anyone can slap a survey together.

As attraction, retention and engagement are all rising to the top of every employer’s concerns, this workforce science is becoming far more of a necessity. That, coupled with the increasing access to and effectiveness of these tools, has created a solid part of recruiting, team building and career planning. Even for a small business, assembling effective and successful teams is a struggle, but as organizations grow, the thoughtful crafting of these teams falls farther down on the to-do list.