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#TChat Recap: Create A Transformative Onboarding Experience For New Hires

Create A Transformative Onboarding Experience For New Hires

There are millions of disengaged workers out there. Working day-to-day in what they feel is a never-ending cycle of the same old routine. But does it have to be this way?

Organizations are now starting to see the “big picture” when it comes to attracting and retaining talent. The process doesn’t just end when employees are hired. To retain employees long-term companies have to build an onboarding process that transforms and innovates the way new employees are engaged and managed.

This week’s guests, Todd Owens, President & COO at TalentWise; & Wendy Matyjevich, SPHR, HR Executive at Entia Ventures & BlackRain Partners, LLC, explain how providing a thoughtful onboarding experience not only keeps new employees around, but it makes them more productive. It builds a culture that can sustain itself.

Todd Owens mentioned:

You keep the candidate in mind during your onboarding process and think big because:

Hiring costs money. Yes, employee turnover is a costly process that ties into how productive and engaged your workforce is, which ultimately, transforms how clients are treated and maintained. It’s vital organizations don’t forget that:

Employees anticipate the same amount of time, attention, and energy from leadership that is expected of them when it comes to how they are treated. It’s a two-way street. If employees don’t receive what they want and demand for, then they may walk and your organization will suffer. Leadership has to remember that:

 

It has to mean so much more, or else employees will feel disengaged and eventually they will walk. Onboarding is about managing new employees and their transition into your community and culture. By providing them guidance and support along the way, leadership will see the results it expects and meet the demands that employees expect. 

Want To See The #TChat Replay? 

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

Thanks again to our guests Todd Owens and Wendy MatyjevichClick here to see the preview and related reading.

#TChat Events: Create A Transformative Onboarding Experience For New Hires

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

Now you know. Click the box to head on over to our channel or listen to Create A Transformative Onboarding Experience For New Hires.

Note To Bloggers: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about trends on leadership?

We welcome your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we may feature it!

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

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

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

Save The Date: Wednesday, June 11!

Next week’s #TChat Topic: The Power of Workforce Culture and Continuous Talent Mobility.

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

#TChat Recap: How To Visualize Real-Time Talent Alignment

How To Visualize Real-Time Talent Alignment 

Managing talent is an art form. It is a delicacy few have mastered, and even fewer, have come to understand. Essentially, managing talent is about managing people, and aligning their goals with your organization’s vision. Employees are a reflection of leadership’s ability to instill and align organizational goals with the goals that employees share. Performance is driven through engagement, communication, and most importantly, transparency of what the organization’s vision is. This week, #TChat’s community was joined by Andre Lavoie, CEO & Co-founder of Clear Company; & Matt Norman, a Dale Carnegie Training franchise president, both whom relayed a vital message about organizational transparency.

They understand and know that managing employees and driving performance is about aligning talent with an organization’s vision through transparency. It starts when:

Leadership has to own the recruitment and onboarding process to begin aligning talent with the organization’s vision. Before you can accomplish this, you must know:

Creating organizational transparency begins when you realize what resources you need to achieve your strategy, then recruiting and the rest can start to fall into place. This matters because:

Here’s the wonderful catch about understanding your talent needs and aligning employees with your company’s vision. It makes your people want to stick around. Employee retention helps drive organizational growth and the vision that fuels it. This is why:

 

If you build a culture that gives employees access to your organization’s vision then your talent grows with you. At the end of the day, it’s not always about the “bottom line,” it’s about your people. An engaged workforce is productive, it’s happy, and it’s most likely to stick around. To achieve organizational transparency leaders have to hold employees accountable and must be able to continuously measure their performance to consistently align talent with your company’s vision in real-time.

Want To See The #TChat Replay? 

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

Thanks again to our guests Andre Lavoie and Matt Norman for teaching us real-time talent alignment. Click here to see the preview and related reading.

#TChat Events: How To Visualize Real-Time Talent Alignment

TChatRadio_logo_020813

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

Now you know. Click the box to head on over to our channel or listen to How To Visualize Real-Time Talent Alignment.

Note To Bloggers: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about trends on leadership?

We welcome your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we may feature it!

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

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

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

Save The Date: Wednesday, June 4!

Next week’s #TChat Show: How To Have A Transformative Onboarding Experience For New Hires with guests Todd Owens.

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

#TChat Recap: Inspire Or Retire Leadership Theorem

Inspire Or Retire Leadership Theorem 

Leadership is one of my favorite topics to write about, mostly because; people are so passionate about this topic. Of course, it also relates to recruiting and retaining your most valued talent. And why wouldn’t people be interested in this? Leaders are at the center of every workplace, or at least they should be. As our good friend and #TChat guest this week, Thomas S. Narofsky, Founder and Chief Inspirational Officer for the Narofsky Consulting Group, pointed out, “Leadership is your business and you don’t get a free ride.” For those of you that understand this, take a brief moment to pat yourself on the back, but that’s not what became very clear tonight. What became clear is that leadership development must come from within first and then extend into every organization.

Simply put, if you want to grow leaders and inspire greatness, you need to create a seasoned leadership pipeline that inspires the next generation of leaders you’ll need for tomorrow. If you want to inspire leadership, then your vets have to be able to show compassion, provide mentorship, and guidance towards the leaders of tomorrow. As a leader, eventually, you must learn to pass the torch. If not in Olympic fashion, you must do it with the desire to focus on people and their development.

Thomas S. Narofsky knows that:

Remember, leaders are the center of your workplace, because ideally, an engaged workforce is what surrounds them because they are people focused. Smart organizations know that growing leaders is more than just seeing their financial investments returned. Truly:  

And that’s what we call a win-win scenario. But the journey doesn’t just end there. The reason we develop leaders is because:

If you fail to communicate why leaders are important, then how do you expect to set the pieces to the puzzle where they belong? Yes, leaders are important. They need to be developed. So you start training future leaders by:

That last sentence sums it all up. You can’t expect your organization to grow and flourish if your leadership lacks the selflessness it needs to put ideas that are in the best interest of everyone ahead of their own, and perhaps, their ego. Remember, leadership needs to be nurtured and grown internally through your current leadership.

Want To See The #TChat Replay? 

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

Thanks again to our guest Thomas Narofsky for teaching us about his inspire or retire leadership theorem. Click here to see the preview and related reading.

#TChat Events: Inspire Or Retire Leadership Theorem

TChatRadio_logo_020813

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

Now you know. Click the box to head on over to our channel or listen to Inspire Or Retire Leadership Theorem.

Note To Bloggers: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about trends on leadership?

We welcome your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we may feature it!

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

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

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

Save The Date: Wednesday, May 28!

Next week’s #TChat Show: How to Visualize Real-Time Talent Alignment with guests Andre Lavoie and Matt Norman.

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

Ditching Your ATS? You’re Not Alone

Having been in the HR tech business for a number of years, I have spoken with countless HR and recruiting experts about their technology moves. As applicant tracking systems have grown in popularity over the last several years, larger companies are looking for new, more effective software and smaller companies are looking to make their first ATS decisions. Regardless of which group you fall into, there are a few things you should consider when shopping around.

Software Advice used the information that they gathered about past clients’ issues with their ATS and their reasons for switching, to create their 2013 ATS BuyerView report. Let’s look at the top three reasons that today’s software buyers are in the market for a new ATS:

1) Need More Robust Software

The applicant tracking software of less than a decade ago won’t have some features that have become pretty standard, and totally necessary in today’s recruiting climate. As other forms of HR and recruiting tech have advanced, each other type has to keep up. For instance, LinkedIn’s “Click to apply with LinkedIn” button has become wildly popular with applicants and recruiters alike, yet this option is not available with some of the older software.

Furthermore, social sharing and the ability to post listings on job boards directly from the secure platform is a relatively new function that only more current software will have. Many companies with free or outdated software are also finding that they need cloud-based software to keep up with the competition.

2. Current System Too Complex

Seeing this at #2 on the list isn’t surprising at all. I actually run into this a lot. A company is sold on a vendor that offers it all…except for user-friendliness, support or training. The most robust, all-inclusive and up-to-date software is going to be useless if no one can, or will use it. Recruitment expert Randall Birkwood said:

“You will find vendors will offer a number of bells and whistles, which may be confusing.  Ultimately, what is most important is whether it is easy to set up, intuitive, and requires minimal maintenance.”

3. Improve Efficiency/Effectiveness

This is sort of a broad category, but I have some solid hunches on what these users were unhappy with, given my experience in the industry.

Searching and Matching

An ATS that easily imports, parses and organizes all of the data you can shoot at it is great, but the user has to be able to access that data effortlessly. Poor search functionality can render an ATS useless.

Internal Candidate Portals and Referral Portals

HR is tired of being the middleman. Internal movement and career development is crucial to engagement and retention. Allow internal candidates to easily view and apply for listings. Additionally, your ATS should have a portal for employees to make referrals. These portals will provide all information that the candidates and referrers need, while decreasing the burden on HR and recruiting resources.

Reporting

Metrics are vital to the continued success of any recruitment team, and they aren’t easy to gather without the right tools. Companies are looking for reporting tools that effortlessly gather information on important metrics like time-to-fill, source of hire and diversity. RecruiterLoop provides more information on important recruiting metrics.

Cloud-based

Many companies quickly realized the burden on their IT team after purchasing their non-cloud-based software. The cloud is where it’s at now. With cloud-based options, your vendor is tasked with maintaining and updating the system, instead of using your own resources.

While there is plenty more to picking out the right software for your company’s unique needs, I think it’s important to hear from software buyers who have already spent the money and found the issues. That way, you don’t have to do it!

It is also important for software buyers to ask questions about updates and upgrades before deciding to make any purchases. These might come with hidden costs, but they might be simple changes that your vendor can make for you. One last piece of advice: Don’t buy until it’s right!

(About the Author: Raj Sheth is the CEO and co-founder of Recruiterbox, an online recruitment software and applicant tracking system designed especially for growing companies. Prior to Recruiterbox, Sheth founded two other web start-ups — a classifieds portal and an ecommerce site. He graduated from Babson College and spent the first three years of his career as a financial analyst with EMC Corporation in Boston.)

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

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

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

Photo Credit: buso23 via bigstock

Ditching Your ATS? You’re Not Alone

Having been in the HR tech business for a number of years, I have spoken with countless HR and recruiting experts about their technology moves. As applicant tracking systems have grown in popularity over the last several years, larger companies are looking for new, more effective software and smaller companies are looking to make their first ATS decisions. Regardless of which group you fall into, there are a few things you should consider when shopping around.

Software Advice used the information that they gathered about past clients’ issues with their ATS and their reasons for switching, to create their 2013 ATS BuyerView report. Let’s look at the top three reasons that today’s software buyers are in the market for a new ATS:

1) Need More Robust Software

The applicant tracking software of less than a decade ago won’t have some features that have become pretty standard, and totally necessary in today’s recruiting climate. As other forms of HR and recruiting tech have advanced, each other type has to keep up. For instance, LinkedIn’s “Click to apply with LinkedIn” button has become wildly popular with applicants and recruiters alike, yet this option is not available with some of the older software.

Furthermore, social sharing and the ability to post listings on job boards directly from the secure platform is a relatively new function that only more current software will have. Many companies with free or outdated software are also finding that they need cloud-based software to keep up with the competition.

2. Current System Too Complex

Seeing this at #2 on the list isn’t surprising at all. I actually run into this a lot. A company is sold on a vendor that offers it all…except for user-friendliness, support or training. The most robust, all-inclusive and up-to-date software is going to be useless if no one can, or will use it. Recruitment expert Randall Birkwood said:

“You will find vendors will offer a number of bells and whistles, which may be confusing.  Ultimately, what is most important is whether it is easy to set up, intuitive, and requires minimal maintenance.”

3. Improve Efficiency/Effectiveness

This is sort of a broad category, but I have some solid hunches on what these users were unhappy with, given my experience in the industry.

Searching and Matching

An ATS that easily imports, parses and organizes all of the data you can shoot at it is great, but the user has to be able to access that data effortlessly. Poor search functionality can render an ATS useless.

Internal Candidate Portals and Referral Portals

HR is tired of being the middleman. Internal movement and career development is crucial to engagement and retention. Allow internal candidates to easily view and apply for listings. Additionally, your ATS should have a portal for employees to make referrals. These portals will provide all information that the candidates and referrers need, while decreasing the burden on HR and recruiting resources.

Reporting

Metrics are vital to the continued success of any recruitment team, and they aren’t easy to gather without the right tools. Companies are looking for reporting tools that effortlessly gather information on important metrics like time-to-fill, source of hire and diversity. RecruiterLoop provides more information on important recruiting metrics.

Cloud-based

Many companies quickly realized the burden on their IT team after purchasing their non-cloud-based software. The cloud is where it’s at now. With cloud-based options, your vendor is tasked with maintaining and updating the system, instead of using your own resources.

While there is plenty more to picking out the right software for your company’s unique needs, I think it’s important to hear from software buyers who have already spent the money and found the issues. That way, you don’t have to do it!

It is also important for software buyers to ask questions about updates and upgrades before deciding to make any purchases. These might come with hidden costs, but they might be simple changes that your vendor can make for you. One last piece of advice: Don’t buy until it’s right!

(About the Author: Raj Sheth is the CEO and co-founder of Recruiterbox, an online recruitment software and applicant tracking system designed especially for growing companies. Prior to Recruiterbox, Sheth founded two other web start-ups — a classifieds portal and an ecommerce site. He graduated from Babson College and spent the first three years of his career as a financial analyst with EMC Corporation in Boston.)

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

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

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

Photo Credit: buso23 via bigstock

Developing The Next Generation Of Leaders

Good Day! I’ll be the guest host this Wednesday, May 21, on the TalentCulture #TChat – show which includes #TChat Radio and #TChat Twitter Chat – Wednesdays from 6:30-8:00 pm EST. The radio show is from 6:30-7:00 pm EST and the Twitter chat is from 7pm-8pm EST. Before I host I would like to share some information with you about myself.

I am passionate about…

developing emerging, enduring, and experienced leaders and teaching them how to develop themselves using a disciplined and deliberate approach. All leadership begins from inside a person and must be developed and grown as they grow into emerging and enduring leaders. I believe that leadership principles are timeless and apply across all spectrums of life. I believe leadership begins inside of you. Leadership starts with a condition of the heart – the desire and passion to make a difference before it moves to the brain to implement a plan to make a difference. It is an inside-out process and is shaped by your values, character, choices, opportunities, experiences, and your worldview. Leadership is about you, the people you influence, and a belief that you can make a difference and have an impact.

Second, my next passion is for developing the next generation of leaders who will be the leaders in the military, in government, in business and globally. These leaders will lead in a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous or VUCA world and must be prepared for leading in chaos.

What do I mean by a VUCA?

  • Volatile means that the speed, size, scale of change in the world today has a great impact on events around the globe almost instantaneously. An example is the rate and pace of stock market changes and the effect it has on personal and corporate wealth.
  • Uncertainty means that world events are unpredictable and this unpredictability makes it impossible to prepare for unknown world events. An example is the effects of Arab Spring and governmental changes in the last four years.
  • Complexity means that the chaotic nature of the world combined with the volatility and uncertainty of global events creates an environment of confusion and difficulty for today’s leaders.
  • Ambiguity means that there is a lack of clarity or transparency surrounding world events. It is hard to predict what threats are in the world if you do not know the who, what, or why things are happening.

We will need leaders who can meet and adapt to new challenges, build strategic partnerships, build and sustain human capital organizations, and have the courage to act and react to the challenges. In addition to these requirements, we need to continue to develop leaders who are flexible, adaptive and are globally and culturally aware. This next generation of leaders must understand how to build and maintain trust, keep their integrity, and continue to build their credibility by developing their character.

An authentic character is the outward expression of our purpose, values, and beliefs. Your character comprises your beliefs, motives, values, desires, behaviors, and principles that drive and shape your actions as a leader. Character authenticity is living on purpose, keeping true to your values and beliefs, and not compromising them at the altar of Society. Your character is tested in the crucible of life and is forged through adversity.

I believe authentic leaders…

inspire people to greatness. Inspiration is the ability to breathe life into someone or an organization. Inspiration is a positive influence – a positive reinforcement – we give our people. It ignites desire, ignites creativity, and ignites innovation in inspired people. Leadership is not what I do it is who I am. There is no escaping who I am. My leadership is the embodiment of my heart, mind, body, and soul. It is an amalgamation of my life’s purpose, my values, my ethics, my core beliefs, my life philosophy, and my worldview.

One of the topics we are going to discuss on the #TCHAT show is the Inspire or Retire Theorem.

Inspire Or Retire Theorem

The Inspire or Retire Theorem wraps up my F(X) Leadership framework and my theory of you are the key to your leadership. The function of (x) is you.

InspireOrRetireTheorem

 What If The Leaders In Your Organization

•  Knew the organizational vision, goals, values and the impact their leadership had on the success of the organization
•  Knew success as a leader included knowing themselves, their team and the organization
•  Knew a leader must have high moral and ethical values and that character counts
•  Knew leaders are responsible for their actions and their words
•  Knew they needed to continuously develop, grow and reinvent themselves to meet the challenges of the future
•  Understood their role in developing other leaders
•  Understood character, courage, commitment and communication are key components of leadership
•  Understood they are responsible for their leadership development
•  Understood they are the key to their leadership

The Inspire or Retire Theorem answers all the above questions in a mathematical mnemonic that encapsulates my leadership responsibility to the people I lead and the organization I serve. It was designed as a visual representation for me to remember to always Inspire or Retire.

I look forward to sharing time with and discussing your views on leadership, leadership development, and developing the next generation of leaders.

(About the Author:  Thomas S. Narofsky is the Founder and Chief Inspirational Officer for the Narofsky Consulting Group, a leadership development, team effectiveness, and executive coaching consultancy. He the developer of the F(X) Leadership Model, the Inspire or Retire Leadership Theorem, and author of F(X) Leadership Unleashed!, and soon to be released book, You are Unstoppable!.

He also served on the United States Air Force Enlisted Board of Directors which focused on professional development, training concepts and long-range strategies to provide continuous, career-long enlisted deliberate development by integrating education, training and experience to produce a skilled and adaptive work force. He has conducted worldwide professional and leadership development seminars with U.S, Korean, Japanese, Australian, British, Canadian, Belgian and German enlisted forces. His military decorations include Defense Superior Service Medal and the Bronze Star.

Thom is an adjunct professor at Bellevue University in the Arts and Sciences Department. He holds a Master of Arts in Leadership, a Master of Science in Information Technology Management and a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies.)

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

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

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

photo credit: marfis75 via photopin cc

5 Thought Changers To Grow Employee Engagement

Would you rather think differently than others or differently than you’re used to thinking? Chances are good that doing the second will get you the first.

Adapting our thinking to others’ patterns and processes is normal. We work together more smoothly. We agree more quickly. We experience comfort more often. And it may stultify.

Look to the habit of mental exercise outside the routine of crossword puzzles. The exercise changes thinking; the thinking stimulates employee engagement.

Employee-EngagementLook closer. See more.

When you notice something–a cloud, a broken pencil, a discarded Starbucks cup, a phrase–pause to notice more. Make the time to see it more clearly. Allow a moment to view from a different angle. Look for some aspect you’ve never considered, some comparison you’ve never had.

Be quick to metaphor.

Call out your imagination, your poet. Whether you observe something physical or think something abstract, reach for a comparison. That cup of pencils is a yard of silos. The sleek black stapler is an evil beaver. Let your mind work quickly. Don’t slow your thinking down by searching (or waiting) for the “right” metaphor.

Play with What-If

The What-If game generates new ideas by the dozens. The more often you play, the sooner you’ll say “by the scores” and then “by the hundreds.” What-If frees you from reality. What-If allows you to play with the craziest possible ideas. What-If can be played at either of 2 levels: fun and funner. Fun is simply imaging wacky situations: what if we wore shoes on our hands? what if we lived underwater? what if we were paid to stay at home?

Funner is inserting the “to do” between what and if. What would we discover if dolphins talked to us? What can we expand if the merger comes through? What will we change in our training if everyone works remotely?

And what if there are other ways to generate ideas? There are.

Make Changes.

Let’s go back to the visual. When you see something that draws your attention, change it. In your mind change its color. Change its shape. Change its texture. Change its size. You and your mind will play with those changes. How would I fry a 14 pound egg? If the sun were turquoise blue, would we still tan? That playing is really thought-changing.

Then think of how you do things. How can you do them differently? Changing what you see and changing how you do thing can be a step to being highly creative.

Look Fast to Think Faster.

Since change happens faster than ever before, why not rev up your thinking? Especially your thinking differently. This is simply the opposite of slow-motion. Practice looking at and really seeing as many things as you can, one right after the other. The more you do it, the better you’ll get. You’ll get better at seeing the details more quickly. You’ll get better at remembering more of what you see (and think) sequentially. You’ll get better at seeing not-necessarily-normal comparisons and links between different things.

OK, it’s a bit much to take on all 5 of these at once. Pick one; practice more than once; see if it feels comfortable and beneficial. Then move to another of the 5.

BONUS NOTE: These thought changers increase employee engagement. The changers above transfer to real application on the job. That’s employee engagement. Use these with your team. Introduce one at a time or send them the link to this blog post. Contact me if you have any questions or would like any tips.

(About the Author:  As an Employee Engagement and Performance Improvement expert, Tim Wright, has worked with businesses and national associations of all sizes. His company, Wright Results, offers proven strategies and techniques to help businesses increase employee engagement, improve personnel performance and build a strong business culture by focusing on performance management from the C.O.R.E. For more information, visit www.wrightresults.com or connect with Tim here: tim@wrightresults.com)

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

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

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

Photo Credit: Brandon HM Oh via photopin cc

Employee Issues Increase HR Tech Demand [Infographic]

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

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

HR_Tech_Infographic

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

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

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

Road To Reinvention: The 2.0 Of Your Career

“Come, my friends, ‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world.” – Tennyson

For those of us who are not employed, life can quickly become a very unhappy place because being unemployed is a soul crushing experience. The misery and the angst never seems to lift. Not on Saturday morning when we can sleep in a bit, not on Thursday at 3 a.m. when we are restless in our beds and not on Wednesday evening after dinner. When we see the wise old sayings on Facebook or the religious teachings promising that God has a plan for us start to fall short, how do we cope with the madness and the pain in our lives? How do we deal with the effects of a brutal technology that screens our resumes out, the phone calls left unreturned and the interviews that do not pan out? How do we survive when there is so little to show for the endless effort and time we’ve put into the search. Maybe the answer lies, as Shakespeare said, “not in our stars, but in ourselves.” Perhaps the answer lies in reinvention.

I believe that the second act is upon many of us and the 2.0 of our careers and of our lives is calling out. I can’t help believing that a large part of the cure to what ails us is contained in our ability to adapt and be flexible (think willow tree) as opposed to simply doing the same things and being strong (think oak tree.) I believe that our ability to change who we are and what we are is essential to our survival and our ability to lead meaningful and productive lives. Just how to do this is shrouded in mystery but I have some thoughts that just might help. Far from being a complete list, I present a few ideas for the transition as we move from being the people we are to the people we need to become:

Play To Your Strengths.

We all have strengths and weaknesses. Many people spend endless time trying to become strong in the areas in which they are weak. I see that as a bad idea and a waste of time. Take me for example; I am a writer and a speaker and a relationship person. I deal with ideas and concepts and words and trust. Conversely, I am not a math guy. I will never, ever be a math guy. I can try to shore-up that very real weakness until the cows come home but it will simply never happen. Even worse, it is a waste of my talents. Cope with your weakness and learn what you need to get things done as required but play to your strengths. As an example, I can be a biz dev person as opposed to a recruiter. I might be able to be a big-time writer or a public speaker as I have done that before. I will never become an accountant or an actuary and that is all right with me because no one is good at everything.

Move Three Things Forward.

Many of us in the hunt for new jobs and new lives wake up with endless things we want to do and not enough focus on making a difference in any one area. We try to do too much, too fast and in a manner that is too dispersed. According to the great Alan Weiss of Summit Consulting, we are far better off to move three things forward a mile in one day than 100 things forward one inch in a day. My suggestion for tomorrow’s plan is to pick three things that need to be done and write them down tonight. (Two things is fine as well. Four things is not fine.) When you wake up, focus on them all day. Check email when you wake up, at 1:00 and again at 5:00. Shut down your phone. (Believe me, if someone really needs you, they will find you.) Try this and you will feel the real results of being truly productive. For example, if you want to build your online presence, understand that this is a huge and daunting task. My suggestion is to pick one thing on which to work such as your LinkedIn profile and spend the entire day doing just that. The next day, work on something else. Can you see the logic?

Find A Partner Or Two. (Or Three)

I hear from Bill B—— every single day. If not by email then by phone and at least once a week in a face-to-face over lunch. Bill is my good friend and he and I have joined forces to provide leads, support, connections, ideas, and all other things positive to make the misery of the search a bit more palatable, and at times dare I say, a bit more fun. Having two or three partners is a very good thing because the collective effort of people working together is infinitely better than the individual efforts of a soloed existence. The isolating misery of the search does nothing to help our state of mind and there is no medal given out for going the battle alone. I can assure you that Bill ____ has been there for me in a host of ways, and at times, for the occasional 10:00 PM call to express my rage and frustration. Please consider trying this because I really believe it can help in a very big way. Remember, suffering is mandatory but misery is optional. Can you see the value in a partner?

Get A Coach.

I have had more coaches in my life than anyone I know. I have had them for my public speaking life, my writing life, my clarinet playing life, my trying to learn the piano life and at endless junctures in my career. I seldom venture out and do new things unless I get some ideas and counsel from others. Do I always listen? No. Do I always agree? No again, but I get perspective and insight from those individuals who I trust and it helps me to fight my natural inclination to believe that I have all of the answers and am the smartest guy in the world. This is painful at times but necessary if you are in the reinvention business, because regardless of what it is you are trying to accomplish, those who are already doing it can help you big time. For example, you are a CPA who wants to become an Actuary. Find an actuary and get the lay of the land. Tell them what you expect. Tell them your plan and explain where you want to be and how you intend to get there. Then listen really hard to the things with which they might disagree and find out why. You might just learn something and soon afterwards, become the smartest person in the world, just like me.

Help Others.

How sad that number five is the last bullet, but in reality it should be the first. Helping others to get what they need is as old as time. Helping others does not stand so tall in importance because it is a nice thing to do. It stands tall in importance because it is a necessary thing to do. It is a requirement of being human. It is, as Mohamed Ali once said, “The rent you pay for the place you inhabit on this earth.” As a rule, I try to help everyone possible with all that I can do to support them. Is this easy? No but I have gotten far more in return than I have given out and that seems to be a very good deal. Is there the occasional person who never reciprocates? Of course but they are far and few between and in reality, who cares? Zig Ziggler once said, “you can go as far in life as you want to go if you are just willing to help enough people get what they need in life.” This seems like a very good deal to me.

I can assure that the reinvention of you and quite frankly, of me, is not going to be fun or easy anytime soon. It is a day-in and day-out practice of working smart, imagining the possibilities and sharing the journey with others. I struggle to reinvent myself every single day by saying “yes” to the magic that can arise from hard work and hope. Honestly, it really is not too late, to seek a newer world.

Written by: Howard Adamsky

(About the author: A consultant, writer and public speaker, Howard Adamsky, works with organizations to support their efforts to build great companies and coaches others on how to do the same. He has over 20 years’ experience in identifying, developing, and implementing effective solutions for organizations struggling to recruit and retain top talent.

An internationally published author, he has written Hiring and Retaining Top IT Professionals/The Guide for Savvy Hiring Managers and Job Hunters Alike (Osborne McGraw-Hill) and Employment Rage (Norlights Press.) He is a regular contributor to ERE.net. )

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

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

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The Road To Organizational Transparency [Infographic]

The past few weeks, #TChat has been focused on leadership and the best ways to keep an organization running like comfortable clockwork. Whether it be wholehearted, authentic or optimistic leaders, one characteristic #TChatters valued was that of transparency. A majority of employees (60%), however, feel as though they aren’t receiving enough feedback.

Of course, transparency goes beyond the honesty of CEOs and managers. Sometimes it comes right down to goal alignment and communication. Only a small portion of companies (14%) have employees who understand the organization’s strategy, goals, and direction. When a company or organization doesn’t have set in stone guidelines, employees have little direction and, in turn, could lack involvement.

ClearCompany compiled this infographic demonstrating the rocky, but pivotal road to organizational transparency.

OrganizationalTransparencyInfographic

This infographic was originally posted on the ClearCompany blog on April 3, 2014.

photo credit: -Reji via photopin cc

Make Your Meetings More Successful (And Shorter!)

It’s 9:15 a.m. and you’re just getting into the rhythm of your day. The phone rings, and on the other end of the line, one of your colleagues unexpectedly asks you to attend a meeting that starts in 45 minutes. Although you respect your colleague and would like to support her, you had plans for your morning and are getting closer to a few deadlines of your own. How would you respond to the meeting invitation?

  1. Stick to your existing plan and graciously say “no.”
  2. Be a “team player” and let your colleague know that you’ll attend the meeting, but clearly set a boundary that you won’t stay longer than one hour because of your own deadlines.
  3. Ask a few questions about the anticipated goals and importance of the meeting, then evaluate whether your own priorities match and if the specific contributions you could make are likely to impact the outcome of the meeting. Make a committed yes/no decision based on those factors.

If you chose response one or two, you may be an over-collaborator. Response three is the preferred answer because it focuses your decision around two critical factors: your highest priorities and your value-added contributions. To get more done at work, these are the two factors that can help you escape the inertia of unnecessary collaboration and join your efforts with others only when it counts.

Routine collaboration drains time

Of course, collaboration by itself isn’t bad. Problems occur when routine collaborative efforts and unclear mandates produce a toxic sludge known as meeting soup. On a bad day, we may view meetings as the biggest waste of time in our working lives. On a good day, we may look at meetings as the chance to connect with people and discuss important matters. The reality for most of us is that the quality of our meetings falls somewhere in the middle of these two extremes. According to most estimates, managers and employees spend anywhere between 25 and 80 percent of their time in meetings. (Click here to tweet this stat.)

For a full-time employee, this translates to time spent in meetings that ranges from 520 hours to 1,664 hours (or 65-208 full working days). What’s the rationale for all the meetings? It’s the “need” for collaboration.

Selective collaboration boosts performance

To reduce your meeting clutter, make it a priority to collaborate in the right way, at the right time, with the right people. This kind of selective collaboration is about intentional partnering that boosts the chance of success by aligning the required strategic skill or resource with the essential contributors in the simplest way.

Think of selective collaboration as a career move for you, not just a chance to escape the unproductive, routine meetings and conversations that fail to push your goals forward.

Moving away from routine collaboration — even when professional or cultural norms dictate it — can deliver a greater return on your efforts because it aligns with your highest priorities and features your value-added contributions. Getting great work done by delivering clear and consistent contributions is one of the best ways for you to stay at work.

The first step is learning how to choose when, how and who you collaborate with. Yes, you’ll have to learn how to say no. Yes, there may be some short-term negative reactions to this. But your elevated contributions to top priorities should ease those concerns quickly.

Instead of relying on partnerships that are dictated by circumstance and opportunity, you’ll seek out collaboration opportunities that serve a specific purpose.

Sometimes the missing piece is motivation, and that can be found through a partnership with some individual or group who’s driven, focused and inspired. Other times, the missing piece may be technical, strategic or organizational. In these instances, the mix of skills, abilities and access to resources serves as the driver for selective collaboration.

Selective collaboration gives you a tool to accomplish tasks that otherwise wouldn’t be feasible alone. The restraint of choosing high-potential collaboration allows you to avoid wasting time when collaboration itself is a substitute for lack of creativity, vision or accountability.

There’s reciprocity with this as well. When invited to collaborate with others, accept the invitation only when the best mix of skill and contribution can be aligned in an effective way. It’s not about being selective because you “have better things to do”; you choose the moments where your impact can be the greatest.

When in doubt, you can use the following list to confirm the opportunity for selective collaboration. If you can agree with each item, it’s time to schedule a meeting.

  • I have identified a clear learning and performance outcome for this collaborative effort.
  • The outcome will clearly support one of my priorities.
  • I know what I can contribute to make the collaboration a success.
  • I understand what my collaborator(s) can deliver and their contributions make it better than going it alone.

Jesse Sostrin is the author of Beyond the Job Description. He writesspeaks and consults at the intersection of individual and organizational success. Follow him @jessesostrin and visit his site here.

Photo Credit: fmgbain via Compfight cc

#TChat Preview: The Authentic Side Of Leadership

The TalentCulture #TChat Show is back live on Wednesday, March 26, 2014. #TChat Radio starts at 6:30 pm ET (3:30 pm PT) and the convo continues on #TChat Twitter chat from 7-8 pm ET.

Last week we talked about the power of professional prospecting via LinkedIn, and this week we’re going to discuss authentic leadership and why it’s needed more than ever.

Authentic leadership is all about developing yourself in a manner that helps others see the complete you. This includes all your strengths, imperfections and accomplishments. We all crave authenticity and you have to be real in order to be heard.

Join #TChat co-creators and hosts @Meghan M. Biro and @Kevin W. Grossman as we learn more about better leveraging LinkedIn and professional prospecting with this week’s guest: Todd DeWett, PhD, author of The Little Black Book of Leadership and inspirational keynote speaker.

Sneak Peek: The Authentic Side of Leadership

We spoke briefly with Todd DeWett in a G+ Hangout in order to get a better look at his take on authentic leadership:

Related reading:

Meghan M. Biro: Recognize, Reward And Engage Your Multi-Generational Workforce

John Melonakos: Authentic Leadership

Ronald E. Riggio, PhD: What Is Authentic Leadership? Do You Have It?

Daniel Newman: Anatomy Of A Leader: Not Just Skin Deep

Ted Coine: 8 Leadership Lessons From Billionaires

This topic is vital for talent-minded professionals everywhere, so we hope you’ll join the #TChat conversation this week and share your questions, opinions and ideas!

#TChat Events: Is being genuine that important for a leader?

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#TChat Radio — Wed, March 26 — 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman talk with Todd DeWett Tune-in LIVE online this Wednesday!

#TChat Twitter Chat — Wed, March 26 — 7pmET / 4pmPT Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and our guests 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 does authentic leadership mean to you and why? (Tweet this Question!)
Q2: Why does authentic leadership trump authoritarian leadership? (Tweet this Question)
Q3: How do we transform today’s learners into tomorrow’s leaders? (Tweet this Question!)
Q4: What business outcomes does authentic leadership drive? (Tweet this Question!)
Q5: What recent real-life examples of authentic leadership have you seen? (Tweet this Question!)

Throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed, and in our new TalentCulture G+ community. So feel free to drop by anytime and share your questions, ideas and opinions.

See you there!!

Photo courtesy of Big Stock

#TChat Preview: The Power Of Professional Prospecting

The TalentCulture #TChat Show is back live on Wednesday, March 19, 2014. #TChat Radio starts at 6:30 pm ET (3:30 pm PT) and the convo continues on #TChat Twitter chat from 7-8 pm ET.

Last week we talked about creating a “world of work” culture of optimism, and this week we’re going to talk about the power of professional prospecting via LinkedIn.

Since its launch, LinkedIn has been known as a recruiter and job seeker professional networking site, but it’s been extremely under-utilized as a recruitment search and marketing resource.

LinkedIn prospecting takes talent acquisition “lead generation” to whole new levels. Recruiters and HR pros can properly use LinkedIn to continually attract, find and engage with their ideal candidates by leveraging content marketing, influencer relations and so much more.

And you thought it was just getting old and tired.

Join #TChat co-creators and hosts @Meghan M. Biro and @Kevin W. Grossman as we learn more about better leveraging LinkedIn and professional prospecting with this week’s guest: Viveka von Rosen, CEO of Linked Into Business, co-founder of LinkedProspecting, author of LinkedIn Marketing: An Hour a Day, and host of the biggest LinkedIn chat on Twitter.

Sneak Peek: The Power of Professional Prospecting

We spoke briefly with Viveka von Rosen in a G+ Hangout in order to get a better look at how he sees the issue of workplace attitude:

Related reading:

Chris Perry: Top 20 Venues for Thought Leaders

Lynn Dixon: Networking: 5 Ways To Work It Into Your Life

Meghan M. Biro: Networking: The Path To Becoming A Brand Ambassador

Jill Konrath: 5 Ways to Use LinkedIn for Prospecting

Nicholas A. Kosar: How to Use LinkedIn to Promote Your Professional Services

This topic is vital for talent-minded professionals everywhere, so we hope you’ll join the #TChat conversation this week and share your questions, opinions and ideas!

#TChat Events: How Can LinkedIn Best Be Used For Professional Prospecting?

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Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show

#TChat Radio — Wed, March 19 — 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman talk with Viveka von Rosen Tune-in LIVE online this Wednesday!

#TChat Twitter Chat — Wed, March 19 — 7pmET / 4pmPT Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and our guests 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 are the pros & cons of using LinkedIn for recruiting?
Q2: What are the underserved “free” recruiting opportunities in LinkedIn?
Q3: How should content marketing best practices be applied in LinkedIn?
Q4: What ROI can be expected via professional prospecting on LinkedIn?
Q5: What other social/professional sites can be used as a complement to LinkedIn?

Throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed, and in our new TalentCulture G+ community. So feel free to drop by anytime and share your questions, ideas and opinions.

See you there!!

Photo Credit: Jason A. Howie via Compfight cc

#TChat Preview: Creating A Culture Of Optimism

The TalentCulture #TChat Show is back live on Wednesday, March 12, 2014. #TChat Radio starts at 6:30 pm ET (3:30 pm PT) and the convo continues on #TChat Twitter chat from 7-8 pm ET.

Last week, we discussed the need for some disruption in the HR profession and this week we’re looking at the importance of bringing the bright side to your office. While it’s not advised to gloss over the truth, being optimistic could positively affect the overall culture of the workplace. And we all know what happiness can do for productivity.

Join #TChat co-creators and hosts Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman as we learn more about creating an optimistic workplace with this week’s guest: Shawn Murphy, owner and principal consultant at Achieved Strategies.

Sneak Peek — Creating a Culture of Optimism

We spoke briefly with Shawn Murphy in a G+ Hangout in order to get a better look at how he sees the issue of workplace attitude:

Related reading:

Marillyn Hewson: The Importance of Optimism in the Workplace

Shawn Murphy: The Case for Workplace Optimism

Megan M. Biro: How To Make Work Matter

BMO Financial Group: Workplace Optimism on the Rise

Jeff James: Leadership Lessons from Walt Disney

This topic is vital for talent-minded professionals everywhere, so we hope you’ll join the #TChat conversation this week and share your questions, opinions and ideas!

#TChat Events: Why is an Optimistic Culture Important?

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Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show

#TChat Radio — Wed, March 12 — 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman talk with Shawn Murphy Tune-in LIVE online this Wednesday!

#TChat Twitter Chat — Wed, March 12 — 7pmET / 4pmPT Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and our guests 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: How can business leaders create more internal optimism?
Q2: What actions can employees take to create an optimistic culture?
Q3: Who should be responsible for driving workplace optimism and why?
Q4: What ROI can be expected with improving workplace optimism?
Q5: What systems/processes help organizations empower internal optimism?

Throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed, and in our new TalentCulture G+ community. So feel free to drop by anytime and share your questions, ideas and opinions.

See you there!!

photo credit: Jon McGovern via photopin cc

The Jukebox Heroes of HR

“…now he needs to keep rockin’, he just can’t stop. Gotta keep on rockin’, that boy has got to stay on top…and be a juke box hero, got stars in his eyes…” – Foreigner, Jukebox Hero

Be disruptive, right? A rock and roll hero who makes melodic magic and transforms the organization. No, I’m not talking about starting water cooler “bar fights” in the break room, or incessantly interrupting colleagues “on stage” during meetings and conference calls.

Disruptive as in upending the status quo.

The legacy “personnel” status quo of people management paperwork. Yes, we hear the “disrupt” buzzword a lot these days in business, especially in the greater and magical Silicon Valley woods where I live, but it’s been making headway in talent management for years. And that’s a good thing.

However, human resources and creative disruption for the better aren’t considered synonymous, although there’s a lot more going on in the world of work than most of us can every really see.

Take an HR executive I know in the HR software industry. At first glance and everyday meetings, he’s a seemingly very conservative person who prides himself on adhering to company guidelines while playing recruiting and hiring pretty straight. Or at least that’s how it appears…

However, he also loves 1980s metal and plays the electric guitar. He’s also done other product development and management stints in during his HR tenure – he knows HR and talent management software better than anyone I know and most of the engineers who developed them in the first place. He’s also played a major role in sales and revenue forecasting. So he knows his industry, the business and who needs to hired for the business.

Fascinating.

The reason why his subtle disruption is so powerful for his company. Just the fact that he has deeper business knowledge beyond the HR status quo means he can and does make a bigger difference in the development and growth of the entire company.

And it never hurts when you like to rock. Really, it never does.

Which is why the two lessons I learned this week included:

1. Learn some new chords. When I was seven I started learning how to play guitar, and one of the most painful things to do was to toughen up my raw fingertips in learning more chords than C, G and F. HR folks who truly transform themselves, their teams and their companies continuously learn new chords about their company and industry, all the while ensuring the music lessons are open to everyone else as well. Cross-training isn’t new, but the benefits resonant like sweet Marshall amp feedback.

2. Write a rock opera. Now that the incremental changes are in play, the learned chords tagging one another on the business balance (music) sheets, that’s when the monumental changes can occur: that’s where HR helps to write the rock opera that changes the very nature of how it sources and recruits, how it hires and onboard, how it develops and measures human performance – how it makes beautiful music, keeping it atop the business leader charts.

What’s clear is that HR can be creative and broadly focused versus the stereotype of being narrow and siloed, expressing divergent opinions on many facets of the human resources field. I’ve met many inspiring and change-making HR practitioners over the years, some more overtly obvious that others.

This is why the DisruptHR movement is so important today. A series of vibrant inspirational and disruptive talks from practitioners and HR-industry thought leaders about how HR can and should be vibrant, active and intimately raw and real for the better.

Again with the progressive rocking on.

photo credit: MiiiSH via photopin cc

Growth From Within: 7 Ways to Compete on Employee Talent

Does your business compete primarily on product and price?

That kind of old-school strategy may win you customers in the near term. However, competing on price or product is really just a race to the bottom.

Along the way, you’ll miss the broader opportunity — the chance to win a sustainable position of market strength.

Rethinking Business Strategy

Competing on price and product is finite. Eventually, either or both will stop yielding the desired business results. Then what can an organization do to kick-start momentum? There are several choices: 1) Retire the product, and replace it with a new one, or 2) Develop a new pricing strategy.

Either option can breathe new life into sales, right? Sure, but only for a limited time. Price and product can be duplicated or replicated. But there’s a source of competitive advantage that is nearly impossible to duplicate or replicate — and that is your workforce.

The Human Element

Does your organization compete by tapping into your people’s infinite, unique potential — their talents, skills, knowledge, experience, energy and creativity?

Access to any of these is boundless. These inherent strengths can be directed toward developing the next great product your customers need, or that pricing strategy that paves the way to increased market share. For example, think of Southwest and its refusal to charge customers for flying with luggage. Southwest was expected to earn over $200 million from baggage fees. Instead, the airline earned over $1 billion by choosing not to charge.

In the 21st century, people are celebrated as the cause for success that catapults organizations to the top. So, what does an organization do to shift its focus to compete on employee talent? Here are seven people-centric ways that signal organizational commitment that puts people first.

1) Identify how employees set your company apart

Spend time understanding how your employees’ skills, experiences, strengths can help advance your strategy. Focus on how they differentiate you from competitors. You should be able to answer this question with confidence: “How does our work environment let our employees’ talents thrive and grow?”

2) Invest in true workforce development

Don’t just send employees to compliance training. Involve them in training that elevates their skills and knowledge. At its best, workforce development makes it possible for employees to learn on-the-job skills that are crucial for their growth, and helps them contribute more effectively to your organization’s goals.

3) Adopt a customer-centric strategy

Look to build and deepen relationship with customers by transforming products, services and the customer experience. Align your employees to create solutions in each of these three areas. This work is meaningful: it helps employees see how their work ties to the bigger picture. Plus employees want to “be in” on important work.

4) Align your reward mechanisms

Are your reward programs considered irrelevant or worse? Employees should be recognized in ways that are meaningful to them. Rewards must be appropriate and timely. It’s important to motivate people with a mix of regular quick-wins and long-term incentives.

5) Modernize how and where work gets done

Mobile technology and remote work policies can transform how and where your employees get work done. They want the responsibility and flexibility to choose. It’s time to begin trusting your employees to be accountable for when, where and how they contribute. Mobile is not going away.

6) Reevaluate workload

Is there a healthy tension between employee workload and time to get it done? If expectations don’t support optimal performance, then your environment is likely creating distress. Excessive stress leads to anxiety, as people begin to feel undervalued and question their well-being. That’s the start of a long downward slide to disengagement and attrition.

7) Invest in learning employees strengths

Strengths-based leadership is about understanding the kind of work that energizes employees and leads them to perform at their peak. Just as your business must adjust to external factors, it is essential to reshuffle employee responsibilities on an ongoing basis. The more time employees spend in the zone of peak performance, the more likely you’ll see creative contributions from their efforts — and the more meaning you’ll bring to your organization’s value proposition.

Today’s topsy-turvy marketplace sometimes scares executives into behaving like cash-hoarders. But organizations that compete on employee talent position themselves to outwit, outplay, and outlast their competition.

What ideas would you add to this list? Please add your comments.

(Editor’s Note: This post is republished from SwitchandShift, with permission)

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

Image Credit: Pixabay

Behavior In Business: 8 Human Insights Leaders Should Know

It’s impossible to be in the business world each day and not feel psychology at work. Each of us brings our human nature to a job — regardless of our title, expertise or organizational setting.

Leaders who value the psychological aspects of work life are much more likely to gain trust and inspire top performance from their teams.

These concepts may seem simple, but they can complicate workplace dynamics, and their impact is often measurable. That’s why they deserve attention from anyone who works with and through others to achieve business goals.

Are you thinking today’s leaders already “get it”? If so, this may surprise you…

Leadership Has Evolved? Not So Fast

Recently, the Wall Street Journal published an article, “Now You Know Why Your Boss Is Such An Ape.” It reminds us of how strong and predictable the force of nature can be — especially in a business context. It can be easy to forget that we’re animals — yet we share 99.9% of our genes with apes. In fact, if we compare their behavioral patterns with ours, the similarities are striking.

For example, in both cases, leaders often act cold, or even show disrespect to subordinates in an effort to claim dominance as the “alpha male.” On the other hand, those same leaders are likely to display an incredible amount of respect when interacting with their superiors.

8 Key Behavioral Concepts For Leaders

Psychology offers many more striking insights. Here are 8 that should serve every leader well. It’s not important to remember the terms — but if you remember the concepts, you’ll have a clear advantage in the world of work:

1) Observational Learning

Human learning begins with observation. This is vital for leaders to remember, because employees tend do what you do, not what you say. Those who look up to you will want to model themselves after you. And if your words and actions don’t align, the consequences can harm your organizational culture.

This kind of behavior starts early in humans, as was illustrated in the famous Bobo doll experiment — where children were asked to spend time in a room with an adult. After witnessing the adult display aggressively and verbally abusive behavior toward the doll, children acted in a similar way.

2) Social Contagion

This is the theory of how ideas and emotions spread and go viral. It’s important to recognize this tendancy, especially within a company culture. If a few employees become disengaged, the negativity can spread across the entire company quicker than you might expect.

This concept was illustrated in a University of Michigan study that monitored the spread of eating disorders throughout college campuses. It’s important to look for early signals and work proactively to reverse the impact.

3) Groupthink

Groupthink can be particularly dangerous, so it’s important to remain alert. It’s tricky, because team building activities are beneficial, but too much cohesion can be detrimental.

Groupthink tends to surface when teams take on a mind of their own — usually because members want to avoid conflict within the group. This leads to poor decision making, because groups don’t fully evaluate circumstances, and members are influenced by the rest of the group to comply.

Sometimes groupthink can be an unintended consequence of brainstorming. Rather than creating an atmosphere where multiple participants are inspired to generate a broader spectrum of creative ideas, the brainstorming process itself dampens the creativity of each member.

4) Minimal Group Paradigm

We’ve all seen “cliques” develop in schools and other social environments — that’s essentially minimal group paradigm in action. It’s about arbitrary distinctions between groups (for example, differences in the color of clothing) that lead people to favor one group over another.

Of course, harmful cliques can develop among adults in corporate cultures. However, leaders can avoid this by encouraging team building that reaches across arbitrary boundaries, and supports everyone as part of the same larger group.

5) Social Loafing

Initially I assumed this was about people who lie on the couch while browsing on Facebook — but it’s really much more interesting than that. Over 100 years ago, a study found that people put in 50% less effort when playing tug of war in a team of 8 compared to playing it alone. In other words, we tend to slack off when our efforts can’t be distinguished from the efforts of our teammates.

As important as team building is, autonomy and individuality is an important way to keep people motivated. This sounds counter-intuitive to need for humans to feel they belong to groups. However, there’s a delicate balance between motivating humans as individuals and as team members.

6) Stanford Prison Experiment

This is one my favorite lessons from the realm of psychology. In a Stanford University experiment, participants were assigned roles as prisoners and prison guards in a pseudo prison environment. Guard adapted to their new roles much quicker than expected, and guards became very authoritative and abusive toward prisoners.

This is obviously important for leaders to understand, because job roles clearly have an effect on our perception of ourselves and others. Be careful how you assign titles and responsibilities, and how you manage those expectations within your ranks, over time.

7) Prisoner’s Dilemma

This is another famous psychological experiment that underscores the importance of accountability within teams.

The prisoner’s dilemma is a game where the “rewards” are prison terms. There are 2 prisoners, A and B. If both prisoners betray each other, they each serve a 2 year jail sentence. If prisoner A betrays prisoner B, prisoner A goes free and prisoner B gets 3 years (and vice versa). If they both remain silent, they each serve only 1 year. Of course, it’s in both players’ best interest to stay silent. However, typically, the fear of betrayal leads both to betray each other.

This reminds us that trust and communication is essential for individual and team success — and that the definition of “success” is influenced by self interest.

8) Halo Effect

The halo effect is a popular concept among brand marketers, but it also can apply to perceptions of an employee. In marketing, humans develop positive perceptions of a product when respected sources describe it in positive terms, or when the brand develops strong associations with other attractive brands.

In the workplace, the halo effect involve bias that is either positive or negative. For example, when a leader likes an employee, they may attribute other positive traits to them (e.g. they’re smarter or more committed than others) even if it’s not accurate. This can obviously become a problem, if it affects the leader’s decisions. The best way to avoid this trap is to focus on objective measures of performance.

Obviously, this is just a taste of the behavioral research that can inform workplace leadership. But anyone can learn more — there are tons of great learning resources available online.

How do you see psychology at work in your organization? What has worked for you and what hasn’t? Share your thoughts in the comments area.

JacobShriarAbout the Author: Jacob Shriar is the Growth Manager at Officevibe, an employee engagement platform. He’s passionate about company culture, and he blogs regularly on productivity, employee engagement, and career tips. When he’s not reinventing the world over a glass of scotch, he likes to find new skills to learn. You can also follow him on Twitter.

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

 

Managing Your Career: What Would Richard Branson Do?

Written by James Clear

In 1966, a dyslexic 16-year-old boy dropped out of school. With only a tiny bit of seed money and a friend’s help, he founded a magazine for students. Fueled by advertisements he sold to local businesses, he ran this bootstrapped operation from the crypt of a local church.

Four years later, seeking ways to grow the fledgling magazine, this enterprising young man started selling mail-order records to his student subscriber base. Within a year, record sales were sufficient to help him build his first record store. After two years of selling records, he decided to launch his own record label and studio.

The small recording studio rented space to local artists, including one named Mike Oldfield. This was where Oldfield created his hit song “Tubular Bells,” which became the record label’s first release. The song eventually sold more than 5 million copies.

Over the next decade, the fearless entrepreneur grew his record label by attracting bands like Culture Club, Sex Pistols and The Rolling Stones. Along the way, he continued adding businesses to his portfolio — an airline, railway, mobile phones, on and on. Almost 50 years later, his conglomerate included more than 400 companies.

That young boy who left school behind but kept starting things despite his inexperience and lack of knowledge is now a world-renown billionaire — Sir Richard Branson.

How I Met Sir Richard Branson

When I walked into the Moscow conference room, Branson was sitting in a chair only 10 feet away. A hundred other people surrounded us, but it felt like we were having a private conversation in my living room. He smiled and laughed frequently. His answers seemed unrehearsed and genuine.

At one point, he told the story of how he started Virgin Airlines, a tale that seems to represent his entire approach to business and life. Here’s what he said, as I best recall:

I was in my late 20s, so I had a business, but nobody knew who I was. I was headed to the Virgin Islands and a very pretty girl was waiting for me, so I was, um, determined to get there on time. At the airport, the final flight to the Virgin Islands was cancelled because of maintenance or something. It was the last flight out that night. I thought, “this is ridiculous,” so I went and chartered a private airplane to take me to the Virgin Islands, which I did not have the money to do. Then, I picked up a small blackboard, wrote “Virgin Airlines: $29” on it, and went over to the group of people who had been waiting for the cancelled flight. I sold tickets for the rest of the seats on the plane, used their money to pay for the charter fee, and we all went to the Virgin Islands that night.

Successful People: What Habits Make a Difference?

After speaking with our group, Branson joined a panel of industry experts to discuss the future of business. As everyone around him filled the air with buzzwords and mapped out complex ideas for our future, Branson said things like, “Screw it, just get on and do it,” closely followed by things like, “Why can’t we mine asteroids?”

As I watched the panel, I realized the one person who sounded the most simplistic is the only one who is also a billionaire. So what sets him apart from the rest?

Here’s what I think makes all the difference:

Branson doesn’t merely say things like, “Screw it, just get on and do it.” He actually lives his life that way. He drops out of school and starts a business. He signs the Sex Pistols to his record label when everyone else says they’re too controversial. He charters a plane when he doesn’t have the money.

When everyone else balks or comes up with rational reasons why the time isn’t right to move forward, Branson gets started. He figures out how to stop procrastinating and he takes the first step forward — even if it seems outlandish.

Start Now — Even If You Don’t Feel Ready

Of course, Branson is an extraordinary example, but we can all learn something from his approach. If I summarize the habits of successful people in just one phrase, it’s this — successful people start before they feel ready.

I can’t think of anyone who embodies that philosophy better than Branson. Even the Virgin empire name was chosen because Branson and his partners were business “virgins” when they launched the company.

Branson has spearheaded so many ventures, charities and expeditions throughout his career — it would have been impossible to prepare fully before launching them all. In fact, he was likely not prepared or qualified for any of them. He’s a perfect example of why the “chosen ones” choose themselves.

The Truth About Getting Started

If you’re working on something important, then you’ll never feel ready. A side effect of pursuing challenging work is that you’re simultaneously pulled by excitement and pushed by uncertainty.

When you begin a new endeavor, you’re bound to feel uncomfortable and perhaps even unqualified. But let me assure you — what you have right now is enough. You can plan, revise and delay all you want, but trust me, what you have now is enough to start. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to start a business, lose weight, write a book or re-energize a career. Who you are, what you have, and what you know right now is good enough to get going.

We all start in the same place — no money, no resources, no contacts, no experience. The difference is that some people choose to start anyway. And only those who start can reach the finish line.

So, what are you waiting for?

james-clear-circle-250(About the Author: James Clear is an entrepreneur who leverages behavior science to help you master your habits, improve your health and do better work. For useful ideas on improving your mental and physical performance, subscribe to his newsletter or download his 45-page guide on Transforming Your Habits. Connect with James on Twitter or Google+ or LinkedIn.)

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

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

Image Credit: Kris Krug Flickr

Tech Recruiting: Skilling Up to Fill the Middle #TChat Recap

(Editor’s Note: Looking for details of this week’s #TChat Events? See the Storify slideshow and resource links at the end of this post. And to learn how you can win this week’s Pebble Smartwatch giveaway, visit Dice.)

I remember when I was choosing the cover art for my book, Tech Job Hunt Handbook. I couldn’t help thinking, “How am I going to fill-in the middle?”

That’s the toughest part. Filling the middle. Developing coherent career guidance for technical professionals – from the job search, to the interview, to the hire.

But I did it. And in the process, I learned so much about how technology touches every facet of our lives, how rapidly the world of work is changing, and how important it is to stay relevant while competing for specialized jobs in areas like cloud computing, big data and mobile application development.

Retooling your skills and re-branding yourself is essential, whether you’re trying to be more effective in your current tech job — or seeking a new professional challenge — or recruiting to fill those specialized technical roles. And of course, retooling can’t be a one-shot deal. It has to be an ongoing process.

Continuous Commitment Counts

As the economy inches back, millions of people are quitting their jobs, confident they can find an attractive career next-step. These professionals are open to competent help. But even with today’s fluid, open-for-business talent pool, “filling the middle” is no easy task.

In a recent hiring survey of recruiters and hiring managers, Dice found that 5 of the 12 most challenging cities for tech recruiting are in the Midwest. Why? They’re “tough recruiting locations based on a combination of supply and demand issues.”

Frontline recruiting reports like that are a call-to-action for anyone located in “the middle,” as well as those on both coasts. Whatever your location, a winning hiring strategy takes marketing savvy, selling skills and “in the know” awareness of the technical positions you’re trying to close.

This week’s #TChat Events with Shravan Goli, President of Dice, and Sara Fleischman, Senior Technical Recruiter at Concur reinforced my conviction that “filling the middle” requires ongoing commitment, at two levels:

1) Keep Skilling Up. In today’s workplace, tech industry recruiters may feel more secure than others. But the pace of innovation is relentless — it challenging us all to stay ahead of the curve. It’s not just about matching job candidates step-for-step. It’s about proving your strength in your  role, and out-pacing other recruiters who are determined to stay “in the know.”

2) Keep Filling Up. As a tech-savvy recruiter, you may have an edge. But tech lingo isn’t the whole package. You add value by staying aware of salary trends and specifics about how your company, city and regional amenities compare. You’ll also build stronger relationships if you’re always up-to-date with practical guidance, tools and recommendations that help candidates assess new opportunities, get noticed by the right people, ace interviews and negotiate successfully.

Over time, recruiters with that kind of commitment build a reputation as resourceful “go to” career advisors. A talent pipeline eventually follows. And that’s what I call filling the middle with the right stuff.

Dice smartwatch giveaway for #TChat participantsShare Your Ideas — Win a Smartwatch!

Thanks to everyone who joined this week’s #TChat Events. We value your ideas. In fact, Dice is so interested in your input that they’re giving away a cool Pebble Smartwatch to a lucky participant!

Entering is easy. Just share your tech recruiting ideas or questions with Dice by Friday, February 7th. Then find out who wins at #TChat on Wednesday February 12th! (See details and enter now.)

#TChat Week-In-Review: How to Find Top Tech Talent

Shravan Goli Sara Fleischman (2)

See the Preview Post now

SAT 1/25:
#TChat Preview:
TalentCulture Community Manager, Tim McDonald, framed the week’s topic in a post featuring two “sneak peek” hangouts with guests, Shravan Goli and Sara Fleischman. See the #TChat Preview now: “Finding Tech Talent to Fuel the Future

SUN 1/26:
Forbes.com Post:
In her weekly Forbes column, TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro, offered guidance based on her personal experience as a tech industry talent strategist. Read “How Leaders Hire Top Tech Talent.

RELATED POSTS:

What Makes Tech Talent Tick?” — by Dr. Nancy Rubin
Tech Pros’ Salaries, Confidence Rise” — January Trend Report by Dice

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Listen to the #TChat Radio replay

WED 1/29:
#TChat Radio: Host Meghan M. Biro talked with Shravan Goli, and Sara Fleischman about what it takes to recruit tech talent in today’s competitive environment. Listen to the #TChat Radio replay now

#TChat Twitter: Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Shravan, and Sara joined the TalentCulture community on the #TChat Twitter stream for a dynamic open conversation, centered on 5 related questions.

See highlights in the Storify slideshow below:

#TChat Insights: Finding Tech Talent to Fuel the Future

[javascript src=”//storify.com/TalentCulture/finding-tech-talent-to-fuel-the-future.js?template=slideshow”]

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Shravan Goli, and Sara Fleischman for sharing your perspectives on tech recruiting tools, techniques and trends. We value your time and your expertise!

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about tech recruiting issues? We welcome your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll pass it along.

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week at #TChat Events, we’ll look at how each of us can be more effective at managing our careers, with one of the nation’s best known career coaches, Maggie Mistal, and one of her clients, Laura Rolands. So save the date, Wednesday, February 5, and prepare to raise your professional game!

Meanwhile, the TalentCulture conversation continues daily on the #TChat Twitter stream, our NEW Google+ community, and elsewhere on social media.

We’ll see you on the stream!

Image Credit: Top Student Challenges

What Makes Tech Talent Tick?

The problem is crystal clear. But the solution is not as obvious.

In today’s digitally driven world, skilled IT professionals are in short supply. It’s tougher than ever for employers to build the tech teams they need for successful innovation. But just how tough is it?

Tech Hiring By The Numbers

According to research by Microsoft, the IT labor shortage is alarming. A 2012 survey on the state of U.S. technical talent estimates that the number of new jobs requiring a bachelor’s degree in computer science grows each year by 122,300 openings.

In a tough economic climate, that kind of healthy job growth seems like good news. But here’s the rest of the story: The average number of computer science graduates each year is only 59,731. That’s less than half of new job demand.

infographic_tech_hiring_v5.0

See infographic at Dice.com

The survey also uncovered discrepancies between what employers think engineers find attractive in a job, and what engineers actually want. For example:

 89% of software engineers said they applied for 2 jobs or less in the 5 years prior to the survey. This relatively low turnover rate helps explain why it’s so difficult to find and engage experienced software engineers. (Although, in 2014, the picture is no longer as stable. According to a recent Dice.com survey, more than 40% of companies say they’ve lost tech staff in the past 6 months, compared to 30% a year ago.)

  64% of recruiters believe that the opportunity to work with interesting technology is the primary reason software engineers are motivated to consider a new job. But engineers disagree. In fact, less than 10% of those surveyed say cutting-edge technology is a key reason to accept a new position.

  Top reasons engineers respond to recruiter outreach:
45% — Position is relevant to their background;
13% — Interest in the company;
10% — Competitive compensation.
(These priorities also seem to be shifting in 2014. According to Dice.com research, 75% of tech workers who changed jobs recently were motivated primarily by higher compensation.)

To learn more about what motivates technology professionals, consider this snapshot from a Dice survey conducted in 2011:

What Tech Professionals Want in Current Job

Motives Matter For Acquisition and Retention

Knowing what matters to technical professionals is vital to the recruitment process. But it’s just as important for successful workforce retention.

Technical Talent Employer Retention strategeis

 

 

Building Tech Teams That Last

What’s the best approach to finding, hiring and retaining a technical team that will help your business scale? Chris Lea outlined a time-tested 3-step path at the 2011 Future of Web Apps Conference:

Step 1: Find Talent

  Determine the skills you need
  Spend time on social media to see who shares advice and insights. Build relationships
  Review email lists and attend tech meetups to locate and connect with attractive candidates
  Maintain a dedicated ‘tech blog,” separate from your company’s primary blog

Step 2: Hire Talent

  Can they do the job?
  Are they the right fit for the company?

Step 3: Keep Talent

  Commit to a trial period, so both parties have a chance to determine the fit
  Make sure people take vacation periodically — preferably away from a computer

Chris Lea’s retention “must haves” are echoed by other tech recruiting experts in 5 Smart Ways to Retain Top Tech Talent:

  The more closely your job requirements match the employee’s skills, goals and values, the more likely employees will want to stay. Hire for fit, and retention will follow.
  Start strong. Retention efforts should begin during onboarding.
  Avoid burnout. Evaluate project workflows and organizational structure. Set clear expectations about duties and develop equitable workloads. Actively encourage work-life balance.
  Regularly assess employee engagement and motivation. Gather insight to guide development paths and workforce strategies.
  Commit to sustainability at a corporate level. The connection between innovation, community and the environment is very important to many technology professionals.

What Works For You?

As the hiring landscape grows increasingly competitive, creative acquisition and retention strategies can give your organization an advantage.

Is your company struggling to hire new tech talent? Are you losing IT employees you want to retain? Have you tried new approaches? What works for you? Share your comments below.

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

Image Credit: Pixabay

Finding Tech Talent to Fuel the Future #TChat Preview

(Editor’s Note: Looking for full highlights and resource links from this week’s #TChat Events? Read the #TChat Recap: “Tech Recruiting: Skilling Up to Fill the Middle.“)

Recently, we’ve seen the rise of the “digital detox” — when individuals temporarily go “off the grid” to reconnect with life apart from technology.

But of course, it’s impossible to escape fully anymore. Technology is now deeply embedded in daily life — its pervasiveness reaches far and wide. And not surprisingly, as innovation continues at full speed, competition for skilled technical talent is more fierce than ever.

How can employers stay ahead of that curve? And what should recruiters do to help lead the way in attracting technology rockstars?

That’s the topic we’re tackling at #TChat Events this week, with Shravan Goli, President of Dice, The Career Hub For Tech, and Sara Fleischman, Senior Technical Recruiter at Concur.

Sneak Peeks: Facing Tech Recruiting Challenges

To frame this week’s events, I spoke briefly with both Shravan and Sara about how businesses can recruit effectively in today’s environment. Shravan suggested three success factors in an audio hangout:

And Sara added her perspective as a technology recruiter:

Is your organization feeling the impact of the tech talent shortage? How are you addressing this? What does this trend mean for business innovation, overall? Join us this week to discuss your ideas and opinions with the #TChat crowd.

Publication1Share Your Insights, Win a Smartwatch!

As extra incentive to submit your best ideas, everyone who participates in #TChat Events this week will be eligible to win a cool Pebble Smartwatch from Dice! After the the #TChat Radio Show and #TChat Twitter Dice shared details about how to enter before the Feb 7th deadline. See details now!

#TChat Events: Tech Recruiting In a World of Pervasive Technology

#TChat Radio — Wed, Jan 29 — 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT

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Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show

Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman talk with Shravan Goli and Sara Fleischman about critical tech recruiting issues and trends. Tune-in LIVE online this Wednesday!

#TChat Twitter — Wed, Jan 29 7pmET / 4pmPT

Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and our guests will move to the #TChat Twitter stream, for a live discussion with the entire TalentCulture community.

Everyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we address these 5 related questions:

Q1: How do tech recruiters stay skilled up and “in the know”?
Q2: Why is finding tech talent so difficult?
Q3: How do recruiters tap into high-tech hot spots to find tech talent?
Q4: How do employers create a culture that attracts skilled tech talent?
Q5: What recruiting technologies appeal to high-tech professionals?

We look forward to hearing your ideas and opinions, as talent-minded professionals who care about recruiting issues and trends.

Throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed, and on our LinkedIn Discussion Group. So feel free to drop by anytime and share your questions, ideas and opinions.

We’ll see you on the stream!

More Minds: How Diverse Ideas Drive Innovation

Is it me, or has 2013 been an extraordinary year for stories from the forefront of social business, leadership and organizational culture? For every new book I finish, it seems that 3-4 more find their way to my “must read” list. There never seems to be enough time to take it all in.

Among the books I’ve had time to complete, several have made a lasting impression. One of them is Ekaterina Walter’s Think Like Zuck: Five Business Secrets of Facebook’s Improbably Brilliant CEO. Of course, we all know another book that speaks to Mark Zuckerberg’s success. What more is there to say, right? Wrong.

Diversity of Thought: Rocket Fuel For Business?

Ekaterina looks beneath the surface of Facebook’s founder in an engaging assessment of why his company is so successful. Along the way, she uncovers something that many other leadership books seem to miss — the power of diversity in innovation.

I’m not just talking about demographic diversity. Don’t get me wrong — demographic diversity is absolutely vital to innovation, and organizations still have a long way to go in that regard. But since we know that diversity is strength, it makes sense to expand the classic business understanding of workforce “diversity.” This isn’t a counterpoint to the demographic meaning, but an extension of it. A flourish. An embellishment. In the same way that jazz performers rely upon flourishes to add unique depth and character to their music, diversity has the potential to elevate the business innovation process in unique and valuable ways.

How can leaders put this insight into practice? Here are three factors to consider:

1) Yin Needs Yang

In Think Like Zuck, Walter defines five “musts” for business success: passion, purpose, people, product, partnership. It was her thought-provoking chapters on people and partnerships that made me really sit up and start thinking about diversity, and why it’s vital.

Because of Zuckerberg’s passion and smarts, Facebook did well nearly from the start. But it didn’t go into orbit until Zuckerberg picked Sheryl Sandberg as his COO. Walter writes:

She had a completely different style from his. I think their differences are what make the Zuckerberg-Sandberg duo such an extraordinary team. They complement each other very well. What Mark lacks in experience, Sheryl brings to the table in abundance. When he doesn’t feel like stepping into the limelight, she steps in for him masterfully. The difference in age, as well as gender, contributes various perspectives and capabilities.

“Yeah,” I thought, “that makes a lot of sense. So why don’t more companies get this? Isn’t it obvious?” Nailing the point, Walter quotes Leslie Bradshaw of JESS3 (a social media firm that serves world-class companies like Nike, MTV, Samsung, NASA, Twitter, ESPN and Google):

In our partnership, Jesse Thomas is the yang, and…I have enough yin to balance it out. If you look beyond our personalities, the fact that our genders are different also adds diversity. The perspective I bring as a woman is very different from what he brings as a man, and that helps balance out the way we hire, the way we treat our employees, and the way we approach strategies when we execute for clients.

“Of course!” I shouted. (Luckily, I was alone. HA). Of course diversity allows you to do more — to think more, think differently, think better! It seems self-evident, really. Yet it can be incredibly hard to convince CEOs and managers to hire or involve people who are different from them. People who do things differently, who think differently. It’s a perceived risk. And it’s wrong. “Everyone needs to be talking about this” I insisted. I was pretty fired up — but with good cause, don’t you think?

2) It’s Proven: Two Brains (and Personalities) Are Better Than One

Inspired by Walter’s book, I dove into Hutch Carpenter’s article “Diversity and Innovation: Improve the Person, Improve the Idea.” Pacing back and forth, I searched for past threads that would push my current thought process forward:

A key aspect of the next generation of innovation is the ability to tap a much larger set of minds in pursuit of valuable ideas. The historic method of innovation relied exclusively on a designated few. (“So true!”) Diversity is the key element here. That is, engaging a broad set of different perspectives to generate something better than one could do individually. Cognitive and heuristics diversity — that’s what benefits innovation. People who see things in a different way, and bring a different practice to solving problems.

“Good, good, yes,” I thought, still talking to myself. “Of course — put people together, you get more ideas. Like one plus one, right?”

Not quite. Instead, we need to think one of this kind, plus one of another kind. Carpenter cites a study by Ron Burt of The University of Chicago, finding that “people with more diverse sources of information generated consistently better ideas.”

So. It’s not just about more sources. It’s about more more diverse sources.

3) E Pluribus Unum (Out of Many, One?)

Then I found out something totally cool. Are you ready for this? Group diversity leads to better innovation than a genius inventor working alone (or a group working in isolation) — even when that solo entity gets input from others. Although the “lone inventor” may come up with great innovations (okay, we’re all thinking Alexander Graham Bell) it’s less likely that will happen than with communities of diverse thinkers who freely explore ideas together.

It’s true: Zuckerberg didn’t work alone. And neither did Alexander Graham Bell. Facebook and the telephone may have been visions of “lone inventors,” but those visions became world-changing products only because Zuckerberg and Bell worked well with others who thought differently from them.

As Ekaterina Walter makes abundantly clear, Mark Zuckerberg, along with many others, has created a platform more powerful for letting our voices be heard than anything since the invention of the printing press. It’s the basis for social community on a grand scale.

Social Networks and Innovation: The Bigger Business Picture

Okay, then. So the tools are there to connect our diverse dots. Why not use social networks to create a new world of work? All of us, together, representing a spectrum of talents, personalities, styles, backgrounds, brains, ideas, experience. All of us focused on contributing to a common purpose. A diverse community — an orchestra, of sorts.

We could be riffing together like jazz musicians to create organizational cultures that are more responsive, resilient, energized, engaging and innovative. Diversity playing in unison isn’t only music. It can, in fact, inform the future of work.

What are your thoughts about the power of diverse thinking in the workplace? What’s the best business book you’ve read this year? And what did it teach you?

(Editor’s Note: To discuss World of Work topics like this with others in the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events every Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter conversation anytime. Learn more…)

(Also Note: This post is adapted from Forbes.com, with permission.)

Image Credit: Pixabay

Making Teams Work: Is There a Better Way?

For many of us today, teaming is an integral aspect of professional life. Yet, although we may see value in collaboration, many of us also struggle with various aspects of the team process.

Sometimes, issues arise from our self perceptions. For example, we may have reservations about sharing our opinions publicly, or insecurities about our ability to contribute effectively.

However, concerns also stem from inherent weaknesses in the teaming process, itself. Issues surrounding coordination and motivation tend to reduce a team’s effectiveness. For example, even when participants freely generate many valid ideas, those suggestions may be overlooked or underutilized. It’s no surprise that many of us become cynical about teams when our attempts to add value fail.

Cracking The Collaboration Code

How can we turn this around, so more of us are comfortable bringing ideas to the table, and confident that our efforts will make a difference? One possibility is to rethink the role of brainstorming, so teams focus on identifying and combining worthy ideas to formulate stronger solutions.

I have been involved with a variety of teams over the years. The “personality” of each group was truly unique — influenced by the dynamic of the selected members, the teaming process and the team leader’s experience. Some teams hesitated to cross or effectively challenge the opinions of those with seniority — a common problem. But in many situations, the real challenge wasn’t that individual voices were unheard. Instead, the root issue was that contributors’ ideas weren’t used wisely. In every scenario, as soon as this became apparent, that’s the moment when things went awry.

Often, multiple proposed ideas were worthy of exploration, but we were focused on choosing only one “winning” idea. This “either/or” decision filter is a potentially fatal flaw in the collaboration process. Instead, we should have focused on a different goal.

Insights From Collaborative Leaders

At some point, every team must move from generating ideas to assessing their value. The process used to evaluate those ideas is critical to the team’s overall success. So, how do we effectively address this challenge — the “we-have-numerous-great-ideas-but-what-do-we-do-with-them” issue? Here are several sources of insight:

•  Dr. Ed Catmull, President, Walt Disney Pixar Animation Studios:  In an interview with Harvard Business Review, Dr. Catmull describes how Pixar development teams routinely combine ideas to excel. It’s not necessary for one idea to “win” or “lose.” Instead, numerous viable concepts can be incorporated into a plan, a product or a process. This approach may lead to healthier outcomes. After all, game-changing products and processes often integrate multiple features.

•  Mike Krieger, Co-Founder, Instagram: At Stanford University’s Entrepreneurship Corner, Mike Krieger discusses his perspectives on the value of combining ideas when developing innovative solutions. In Krieger’s opinion, this integrative approach is the driving principle behind the best startup companies. Instagram is compelling evidence.

Three Ways To Achieve Better Results, Together

Of course, this approach may not be appropriate for all teams, or in every circumstance. However, it deserves consideration — especially when teams are struggling. To move the collaboration process forward, consider these three “ideation” guidelines from brainstorming best practices:

•  Share ideas sooner. Move beyond the requirement that an idea must be perfected before you share it. Allow colleagues an opportunity to develop your concept more fully.
•  Cut the cord. Strive to give up emotional ownership of your idea. Stay invested and serve as a guide, but allow the team to invest in it, too, so you can maximize its potential, together.
•  Nurture a different perspective. Stay open to pairing ideas that can produce a novel product or process. Expect the unexpected. Explore diverse combinations. And try not to jump to conclusions too soon.

What are your thoughts about combining ideas to collaborate more effectively? Have you tried this approach? What were the outcomes?

(Editor’s Note: This article is adapted from a LinkedIn Influencer post, with permission.)

(Also Note: To discuss World of Work topics like this with others in the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events every Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at  events; or join our ongoing Twitter conversation anytime. Learn more…)

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

Intrapreneurial Talent: How Do You Find the "X" Factor?

Written by Susan Foley, Managing Partner, Corporate Entrepreneurs & Hans Balmaekers, Founder, SA.AM

Recently, we’ve seen a groundswell of interest in intrapreneurship – the process of developing organizational cultures that unleash entrepreneurial innovation from within.

Although intrapreneurship can be a powerful engine for business innovation and growth, it’s really not about generating ideas — it’s about turning ideas into profitable ventures. Intrapreneurs are the instigators who make that transformation happen.

Where can you find this special breed? We suggest that you start by taking a fresh look at your existing workforce. Even if you don’t recognize these innovators as they roam the halls of your company, we can assure you, they are there — and they’re likely to respond favorably when you offer support. But before you can move forward, you must first identify the right talent.

How can you spot the best bets? You may actually know some contenders. However, if your organization is large, you may not have crossed paths with some of your most promising candidates. They’re not typical high-potential or C-level mavericks — although they do possess traits that distinguish them from the usual corporate soldier. Keep these attributes in mind as you look for the right match with your initiatives…

7 Traits of Successful Intrapreneurs

1) Intrapreneurs tell us that they feel like they don’t fit. Their organizations don’t understand them or appreciate what they do or how they do it. They see the world through a different lens. They’re independent spirits and independent minds. They think, act and make decisions differently. They often find themselves championing the opposite side of issues.

2) Intrapreneurs are a distinct group of individuals. They have a unique combination of competencies that set them apart from more traditional workers. They are self reliant, they like to explore new things, and they’re totally engaged in their heads and hearts. They actively seek out new challenges, effectively manage limited resources and stay focused on getting things done.

3) Intrapreneurs make significant leaps in thinking that are not always linear or fact-based. They’re able to connect the dots. They work with what they’ve got, not what they think they need. They rapidly test and refine ideas, to push them through each stage in a decision process. They make sense of uncertain and complex situations more quickly than most. And they’re resilient — tending to fail and recover quickly.

4) Intrapreneurs think differently. They view situations from a more holistic, “systems” oriented perspective. Many are “whole brain” thinkers who embrace both their analytical and intuitive nature. They’re integrative problem solvers who can consider two totally opposite concepts, and instead of choosing one at the expense of the other, they creatively combine ideas to form a new solution. They balance thinking and action, and they learn from the outcomes of those actions.

5) Intrapreneurs approach decision making differently. They resist diving into data too early. They don’t simplify things too quickly. They linger in complexity because it presents more options. However, they are decisive. They don’t allow caution to paralyze them. They will change direction or even shut down a project when new data suggests a different course of action. They effectively balance short term and long term demands. They’re willing to base decisions on insufficient data, rather than waiting for perfect data to become available.

6) Intrapreneurs have different motivations and aspirations than others. They are not interested in a traditional career path. They are self motivated and good at motivating others. They like to build things. They’re energized by the excitement of creating anything that moves their company forward. They want to work on the big stuff — the bigger and more challenging, the better. They like to start with a clean slate, because it gives them more freedom to be creative. They are highly curious, avid learners, and they constantly ask themselves if there’s something else they need to know. This also means that they’re restless and may easily become bored.

7) Intrapreneurs operate through action. They’re inherently creative. They typically don’t generate ideas — however they recognize the value in others’ ideas, and turn them into viable business options. They find iterative planning useful, because things are continually changing. They embrace the unexpected. They like surprise because it refines their understanding. They take calculated risks — looking at both the upside and downside of a decision. They deal with uncertainty by acting on it, rather than sitting back and waiting to see what happens.

Finding the right kind of talent is essential to developing an intrapreneurial culture. These are just some of the characteristics that successful intrapreneurs display. Of course, every individual is unique, but if you look for these traits, you’ll be well on your way to creating a team with the strength you need to move your organization into the future.

Learn More: “Business In Your Business” Conference

To better understand the relationship between corporate entrepreneurship and innovation, or if you’re looking for ways to implement intrapreneurship in your organization, check out the “Business In Your Business” International Intrapreneurship Conference in Barcelona, Spain, December 12-13, 2013. Experienced intrapreneurs and inspiring experts will share how the process works for them and explain how you can implement it, too. BONUS DISCOUNT: Get 10% off on your attendance fee — enter the code “TalentCulture“ when you register online.

Susan Foley Intrapreneurship-001(Author Profiles: Susan Foley is Founder and Managing Partner at Corporate Entrepreneurs, LLC where she helps companies leverage intrapreneurship strategies that accelerate business growth. An experienced corporate entrepreneur herself, Susan has guided organizations through intrapreneurial endeavors that have generated millions in revenue. She is also a professional speaker and author of the book “Entrepreneurs Inside.” She teaches Corporate Entrepreneurship in the Executive Education program at Babson College, and is a Fellow at the Center for Innovation and Change Leadership at Suffolk University. Connect with Susan on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Hans-Balmaekers-founder-sa.am_-001Hans Balmaekers is the Founder and Director of SA.AM, a resource for young professionals who care about their future, want to make a difference, and want to develop the mindset and skills to become change-makers. Recently, SA.AM launched an online intrapreneurship course to prepare aspiring and new intrapreneurs for success. Connect with Hans on Twitter, or on LinkedIn.)

Image Credit: Marginal Boundaries

Intrapreneurial Talent: How Do You Find the “X” Factor?

Written by Susan Foley, Managing Partner, Corporate Entrepreneurs & Hans Balmaekers, Founder, SA.AM

Recently, we’ve seen a groundswell of interest in intrapreneurship – the process of developing organizational cultures that unleash entrepreneurial innovation from within.

Although intrapreneurship can be a powerful engine for business innovation and growth, it’s really not about generating ideas — it’s about turning ideas into profitable ventures. Intrapreneurs are the instigators who make that transformation happen.

Where can you find this special breed? We suggest that you start by taking a fresh look at your existing workforce. Even if you don’t recognize these innovators as they roam the halls of your company, we can assure you, they are there — and they’re likely to respond favorably when you offer support. But before you can move forward, you must first identify the right talent.

How can you spot the best bets? You may actually know some contenders. However, if your organization is large, you may not have crossed paths with some of your most promising candidates. They’re not typical high-potential or C-level mavericks — although they do possess traits that distinguish them from the usual corporate soldier. Keep these attributes in mind as you look for the right match with your initiatives…

7 Traits of Successful Intrapreneurs

1) Intrapreneurs tell us that they feel like they don’t fit. Their organizations don’t understand them or appreciate what they do or how they do it. They see the world through a different lens. They’re independent spirits and independent minds. They think, act and make decisions differently. They often find themselves championing the opposite side of issues.

2) Intrapreneurs are a distinct group of individuals. They have a unique combination of competencies that set them apart from more traditional workers. They are self reliant, they like to explore new things, and they’re totally engaged in their heads and hearts. They actively seek out new challenges, effectively manage limited resources and stay focused on getting things done.

3) Intrapreneurs make significant leaps in thinking that are not always linear or fact-based. They’re able to connect the dots. They work with what they’ve got, not what they think they need. They rapidly test and refine ideas, to push them through each stage in a decision process. They make sense of uncertain and complex situations more quickly than most. And they’re resilient — tending to fail and recover quickly.

4) Intrapreneurs think differently. They view situations from a more holistic, “systems” oriented perspective. Many are “whole brain” thinkers who embrace both their analytical and intuitive nature. They’re integrative problem solvers who can consider two totally opposite concepts, and instead of choosing one at the expense of the other, they creatively combine ideas to form a new solution. They balance thinking and action, and they learn from the outcomes of those actions.

5) Intrapreneurs approach decision making differently. They resist diving into data too early. They don’t simplify things too quickly. They linger in complexity because it presents more options. However, they are decisive. They don’t allow caution to paralyze them. They will change direction or even shut down a project when new data suggests a different course of action. They effectively balance short term and long term demands. They’re willing to base decisions on insufficient data, rather than waiting for perfect data to become available.

6) Intrapreneurs have different motivations and aspirations than others. They are not interested in a traditional career path. They are self motivated and good at motivating others. They like to build things. They’re energized by the excitement of creating anything that moves their company forward. They want to work on the big stuff — the bigger and more challenging, the better. They like to start with a clean slate, because it gives them more freedom to be creative. They are highly curious, avid learners, and they constantly ask themselves if there’s something else they need to know. This also means that they’re restless and may easily become bored.

7) Intrapreneurs operate through action. They’re inherently creative. They typically don’t generate ideas — however they recognize the value in others’ ideas, and turn them into viable business options. They find iterative planning useful, because things are continually changing. They embrace the unexpected. They like surprise because it refines their understanding. They take calculated risks — looking at both the upside and downside of a decision. They deal with uncertainty by acting on it, rather than sitting back and waiting to see what happens.

Finding the right kind of talent is essential to developing an intrapreneurial culture. These are just some of the characteristics that successful intrapreneurs display. Of course, every individual is unique, but if you look for these traits, you’ll be well on your way to creating a team with the strength you need to move your organization into the future.

Learn More: “Business In Your Business” Conference

To better understand the relationship between corporate entrepreneurship and innovation, or if you’re looking for ways to implement intrapreneurship in your organization, check out the “Business In Your Business” International Intrapreneurship Conference in Barcelona, Spain, December 12-13, 2013. Experienced intrapreneurs and inspiring experts will share how the process works for them and explain how you can implement it, too. BONUS DISCOUNT: Get 10% off on your attendance fee — enter the code “TalentCulture“ when you register online.

Susan Foley Intrapreneurship-001(Author Profiles: Susan Foley is Founder and Managing Partner at Corporate Entrepreneurs, LLC where she helps companies leverage intrapreneurship strategies that accelerate business growth. An experienced corporate entrepreneur herself, Susan has guided organizations through intrapreneurial endeavors that have generated millions in revenue. She is also a professional speaker and author of the book “Entrepreneurs Inside.” She teaches Corporate Entrepreneurship in the Executive Education program at Babson College, and is a Fellow at the Center for Innovation and Change Leadership at Suffolk University. Connect with Susan on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Hans-Balmaekers-founder-sa.am_-001Hans Balmaekers is the Founder and Director of SA.AM, a resource for young professionals who care about their future, want to make a difference, and want to develop the mindset and skills to become change-makers. Recently, SA.AM launched an online intrapreneurship course to prepare aspiring and new intrapreneurs for success. Connect with Hans on Twitter, or on LinkedIn.)

Image Credit: Marginal Boundaries