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Why Skilling Investments Directly Correlate to an Organization’s Bottom Line

Sponsored by: Cornerstone

Learning is the most important thing we do at work. 

I know that’s a bold statement. I’m sure you’re already trying to think of things you do at work that are more important than learning. But the truth is that learning is the foundation of how we grow and perform. 

Think about the learning opportunities at your organization. Are there company-sponsored places you can go to learn? Or do you simply rely on Google and YouTube? 

The reality is that many organizations rely on employees to find their own learning and development opportunities. So, what’s the problem with this? 

The problem is that this lack of prioritization for development opportunities at work won’t get us through the current talent and skilling shortages many industries are facing or help us grow into the future of work. 

These aren’t problems that will go away on their own, either. In fact, the current skilling and talent shortages are keeping business leaders up at night. According to a recently published Cornerstone People Research Lab survey, 48% of all employers placed skills and talent shortages within their top three concerns over the next three years. 

This urgency from business leaders is further evidenced in PwC’s Annual Global CEO Survey, where 74% of CEOs reported being concerned about the availability of key skills. 

Cornerstone’s survey also found that while ‘laggard’ and ‘average’ organizations show a consistent employer-employee confidence gap in skills development, high-performance organizations are ahead of the game. 

Let’s explore how high-performance organizations approach skills development and why it works.  

High-Performance Organizations as a Model for Success

High-performance organizations put their money where their mouth is. For example, when asked when they would prioritize skills investments for their company, 72% of respondents reported that prioritization was expected to occur within the next year or had already begun. Meanwhile, 68% of lagging organizations plan to invest in skills development within three to five years. 

According to our research, high-performance organizations aren’t just investing in one or two learning and skill development areas either. Nearly all high-performance organizations are prioritizing learning and development technology, learning content, formal education or university learning, mentoring and coaching programs, and on-the-job skills training.  

Meanwhile, only 34% of lagging organizations prioritize formal education, and 52% invest in mentoring and coaching programs. There’s more than a 30-point gap between high-performance organizations and laggards. 

High-performance organizations are also increasingly adopting an internal talent marketplace mindset. They are using skills data and skills development programs to promote internal mobility. Ninety-seven percent of high-performance organizations agreed that the role of talent development is to improve employee growth. Employees also agree – 82% of employees at high-performance organizations reported feeling that their company had insight into the gaps between current skills and those needed in the future. 

Developing internal talent is the number one way high-performance organizations plan to fill skills gaps. Meanwhile, lagging organizations plan to hire externally to fill those gaps over the next three years. 

Up-Leveling Your Skilling Strategy 

So, where do you start in up-leveling your skilling strategy? 

First, take inventory of the skills currently available in your organization. Then, predict what skills are most important to the future success of your organization. Once you understand what skills gaps exist, you can chart a plan to help close them. 

To do this, AI-based skills assessment and pathing technology can help identify those gaps between existing and future skills and make intelligent job and career recommendations based on skills.  

Once you connect skills development to career growth, employees can more easily chart their desired career path by seeing an integrated view of the skills needed and how it translates to internal mobility. 

This kind of growth investment isn’t just good for your people – it’s good for business. According to a 2021 Gallup survey in partnership with Amazon, skills training is one of the top perks younger workers look for in a new job. Further, 61% of respondents also said that upskilling opportunities are important for staying at their job.  Seventy-one percent agreed that job training and development increased their job satisfaction. More satisfaction leads to better retention. Better retention means better success and outcomes for a business.

The takeaway is simple. When organizations adopt an internal skills marketplace and an internal-first hiring mindset, employees stay engaged and happy, and your business increases its chances of successfully navigating the future.

New HR Processes to Meet Workforce Expectations

The Great Resignation was a very real and present concern for HR professionals in 2021. In December alone, 4.3 million workers left their jobs. As the labor pool shrunk and companies faced skill shortages, there was a palpable power shift among employees. Workers knew they were in demand and could ask for more: more flexibility, more money, and more perks. Average hourly earnings have increased 4.8% year over year as a result.

Companies were already faced with competition for talent before the pandemic. This threw HR professionals in even more of a tailspin when they had to find new ways to meet these workforce expectations while developing work-from-anywhere policies practically overnight.

Although the labor force participation rate shows signs of bouncing back in the coming years — in fact, employment is estimated to increase from 153.5 million to 165.4 million by 2030 — HR must come up with innovative ways to attract and retain talented employees if they want to keep up. That means changing their HR processes to meet workforce expectations.

Meeting Workforce Expectations With New HR Processes

With a tight talent pool, HR professionals have to get creative, embrace new technologies, and find fresh ways of attracting and retaining talented employees. To do this, HR teams should stay open-minded to more progressive employment arrangements. This could include using contract, contingent, and gig work. In some instances, they should even consider employing robots, automating HR processes, and reskilling employees. 

As workers’ expectations change regarding work flexibility and other norms, the onus is on HR leaders to update the following HR processes:

1. Productivity Measurement

Gone are the days when measuring employee productivity meant simply looking at an employee’s time card or hours worked. In a work-from-anywhere environment, managers must shift their mindset to managing employees based on results rather than on time spent sitting at a desk.

It’s up to HR to teach managers how to measure and monitor employee productivity without physically seeing them in their chairs. To accomplish this, HR must clearly define job descriptions. Additionally, managers must communicate expectations. Most importantly, HR should encourage managers to let employees have the autonomy they need to do their jobs while still providing coaching on timelines, issues, and opportunities.

2. Pay Practices

Employees want not only the flexibility to work remotely, but also more flexibility as to when they work. Although 70% of executives want to return to the workplace, only 40% of workers do. Organizations that have embraced a remote environment to meet workforce expectations are now faced with the “work from anywhere” problem. Sure, it’s wonderful that employees can live anywhere in the country — or even the world. But, most HR teams are not set up for payroll, benefits, compliance, or taxes everywhere to support this. This can be a major roadblock when it comes to attracting and retaining talented employees.

In addition, HR leaders have to get ahead of questions from employees about cost-of-living adjustments for cities with higher costs of living. What is your philosophy and compensation structure? Does it allow you to attract talent across all markets nationwide? For example, consider tech companies based in San Jose, which is a tech industry hotspot. Should employees get paid more because that’s a high-cost-of-living area? Or not because they have the option to move? These questions can get quite philosophical and are up to your HR team and other company leaders to decide.

3. Onboarding Solutions

For new employees, the “computer setup” checkbox for onboarding has evolved over the years. Just a few decades ago, someone from IT came to connect the new employee’s system and set up their email at their desk. Now, it’s a UPS package delivery. Then, a two-hour phone call where IT instructs the employee on how to set up and configure settings for their workgroup. The employee needs to learn the ins and outs of how to use the collaboration tools and where to find the information needed for the job.

In addition, new employees might never even meet their HR representative in person to complete paperwork. These situations open up a need for remote onboarding tools. Tools that offer e-signature capabilities and advanced cybersecurity to prevent private information from being breached. They also require a solution for remote I-9s. (Current USCIS guidelines still require a person to provide HR with original ID documents to show proof of eligibility to work in the U.S.) Above all, you should determine how to integrate current tech tools with these new tools to make onboarding remote workers smoother for all involved.

4. Career Growth Opportunities for Employees

Even before the pandemic hit, employees looked for development and growth opportunities in their roles — particularly Millennials, who are known to leave jobs that lack such opportunities. HR can encourage employees to stay with the company longer by offering new forms of recognition and benefits, like upskilling.

Now, more than ever, employees want to know what competencies they need to learn to grow in the organization. They also want to know how these skills will benefit them in their future careers. To meet this need, work with managers to understand the competencies required for each role. Outline a clear path from one position to the next on the hierarchy.

Workforce Expectations for the Future

Meeting changing workforce expectations to mitigate the labor shortage requires updated HR processes that follow new trends in HR practices. Although this HR transformation process can seem overwhelming, the benefits will pay dividends in attracting and retaining talented employees — and securing your company’s future growth.

     

Boost Your Talent Attraction Strategy

There are several job vacancies advertised each day. The question is how many of them manage to attract prospective candidates. Many recruiters struggle to locate and hire qualified candidates. The job market is full of talent, but wrong moves can cost you the right candidate.

Below are some helpful recruitment strategies for attracting the best talent.

Boost by Adding Clarity

In most cases, the job seekers are looking for clarity in the job posting. Clarity around company history, job profile, pay scale, and career opportunities. The savvy recruiters give job seekers a clear picture of what to expect. Communicating job necessities clearly and how someone will benefit from them is important. There are several ways of crafting job posts that can stand out. Note the company culture mentioning how the employees can enjoy the work-life balance while being in the company and the different perks they are entitled to. 

You may be wondering if outsourcing your recruitment is the right move for you. It can give both parties involved in this process an opportunity to do what they do best, and help provide more time for focusing on tasks that really matter, like hiring new employees. You can also take help from PEO services for recruitment. 

Boost with Campus Recruitment

Colleges are full of dynamic and young talent that will show a great deal of enthusiasm in their work. Partner with colleges and universities to get in touch with their placement cells. Campus recruitment is a terrific way of finding students and new graduates. other ways to get in front of students and graduates:

  • Campus newsletters
  • Seminars and workshops to showcase company and career opportunities
  • Invite students to take a tour of your organization
  • Sponsor student cultural events and festivals
  • Provide internship programs

Boost by Adding Flexibility

Employees are often looking for organizations where the pressures of work will not affect their personal lives. A modern-day organization offers many benefits to its employees including a better work-life balance. Provide some extra perks such as a remote or hybrid work model, extra company holidays, or an open office environment.

Several companies have friendly sports events for keeping their employees entertained. It is crucial to have a sense of freedom and rejuvenation in the workplace. Try to get away from the usual working standards.

Leverage Competitions

According to the reports, digital media has gradually become the leading source for finding employment. You can arrange online talent search programs for experts and students to participate in to showcase their skills. For example, Loreal Cosmetics conducts a marketing competition for students called Brandstorm where they are allowed to act as managers throughout the competition. These kinds of competitions allow job seekers to know the organization better and recognize its brand.

Social Media Recruitment

HR teams have to be sufficiently active on social media networks for attracting the best available talent. Develop a reputation and a good connection by using social media. There are specialists available that can guide you in the art of using social media as your mainstream device for promoting yourself as a top recruiter. 

Conclusion

Companies need to flaunt their job requirements in a way that will appear like irresistible opportunities for the top talent.  Think of it as a well-organized marketing campaign. You are selling the brand. If done right, you will find the right talent for your organization quickly and easily.

Ways to Help Veteran Employees Thrive

Sponsored: Orion Talent

I am a staunch advocate of veteran hiring. It is a smart business decision with a positive impact on everything from profitability to innovation to competitiveness. Not only are you hiring men and women with state-of-the-art technical skills and proven leadership skills far beyond that of their civilian peers, but you are also accessing resilient soft skills. Combined, these skills will help shape the future of your company.

While many of you are already on board with hiring veterans, I know retaining veterans is an entirely different animal. In a recent conversation with Meghan Biro, we talked about how many companies don’t transition service members to civilian roles very well. According to SHRM, the average annual employee turnover rate is around 19% making it a formidable hurdle for talent acquisition leaders. When we consider veteran employees, the percentage jumps to nearly 50% leaving their first post-military position within a year.

Much of this turnover can be attributed to a lack of support. Or, an undefined career path, feeling uninspired, or skills misalignment. But this doesn’t have to be the case. Luckily, these issues can all be addressed through a well-planned veteran onboarding and retention plan.

Help Military Veterans Thrive with These Five Strategies

1. Mentorships 

Mentorship is an excellent way to provide your new veteran employees with a connection to another veteran. They can serve as a resource, guide, and advocate in their new role. The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs offers a wealth of information on retaining veterans, including information on setting up a successful mentorship program. 

Listed among the benefits of veteran mentoring are an increase in morale, and productivity. In addition, retention, better adaptation to workplace culture, better career development, and promotion of diversity. These voluntary relationships are also a great way to transfer institutional and cultural knowledge.

Technology powerhouse Siemens has been successfully executing its veteran mentorship program for years. Orion Talent has worked with Siemens to hire nearly 2,500 veterans since 2010, and among their veteran retention best practices is a military peer mentorship program. Mike Brown, Global Head of Talent Acquisition of Siemens, explained their program.  “When other military come in now, they get paired up. And I think that really helps with their transition.” 

2. Employee Resource Groups

Similar to the retention benefits of mentoring veterans, creating Employee Resource Groups or Veteran Affinity Groups also offers increased employee engagement and job satisfaction. The VA calls these voluntary groups a “critical element to retention advocated by study respondents”  in their Veterans Employment Toolkit. ERG programs can also include career development, advocacy, community service, and social activities. Make sure to give your veteran employees the time and space to participate in these groups, especially as they onboard.

An additional benefit of veteran ERGs is that they help build your company’s reputation in a job market where candidates, veteran or civilian, are seeking purpose-driven work. They also increase workplace agility as your org chart is flattened in an ERG. Collaboration and innovation often follow!

3. Career Pathing

When I speak with men and women transitioning into the civilian world, their desire for a clear career path stands out. Their military career progression was clearly laid out, with defined goals and requirements. In civilian terms, you can think of this as career pathing. When you hire a veteran for a Junior Electrical Engineer position, you could lay out a plan with steps and milestones to reach Senior Electrical Engineer and then Project Manager, for example. 

Laying out these career paths pays dividends in terms of engagement and retention. Employers also experience higher performance and productivity rates. This Mercer study shows that 78% of employees would stay with their current employer if they were given a clear career path. 

4. Upskilling

Offering continuous development and ongoing education to your veteran employees is a powerful retention tool.  

Not only are you illustrating your investment in their success by providing these programs but you are reaping the rewards. Aside from increased retention, benefits of upskilling include increased employee satisfaction, less need to hire train new employees, and becoming more competitive in your industry.

“Our experience shows that when veterans receive tailored preparation for future roles, it leads to a better fit, a better transition, and ultimately better retention,” explains Laura Schmiegel, SVP, Strategic Partnerships at Orion Talent. “This helps companies save time and money in employee turnover, and it means they get to keep some of their best talent.”

As Meghan discussed in her recent article on veteran hiring, workforce partnerships can play an important part in upskilling. Strategic workforce partnerships like the Department of Defense Skillbridge program allow you to recruit veterans and gain access to their existing expertise while upskilling and reskilling them at the same time. 

5. DEI Initiatives

The veteran population represents a 43% diverse workforce and should be an integral part of a company’s DEI initiative. As with any other group in your initiative, you will want to consider how to prevent bias towards your veteran employees. Unfortunately, some old biases may linger, and your DEI strategy is the place to nip that in the bud. 

This HR Exchange article by LaKisha Brooks explains, “These judgments are often harmful to diversity initiatives because they limit our ability to see people as individuals with unique talents to contribute. For example, bias against veterans includes assuming they have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Bias can also include mental health problems just because of their military background, assuming they have a particular personality type, such as being rigid or stern…It’s essential to put assumptions aside and ask meaningful questions to learn the truth instead.”

These five veteran retention strategies will help highlight to the veterans at your company that yours is a workplace that sees them for the unique individuals they are with valuable skills worthy of investment. But, you don’t have to take on all five at once. Choose one, and make it amazing! Then move on to the next retention strategy. Your veteran employees will be proud to call your company home.

 

Tips for Jumpstarting Your Talent Acquisition Strategy

Terms like recruitment and talent acquisition are used synonymously, but they aren’t the same. Recruitment is a short-term fix for most “big-picture” employers, whereas talent acquisition is a long-term solution. 

While you may need to fill a vacancy quickly, organizations should focus on long-term planning if they want to improve their culture and work towards a unified vision.

Talent Acquisition Vs Recruitment

Recruitment is about filling vacancies. Talent acquisition is an ongoing strategy that focuses on finding leaders, specialists, and future executives. For HR to run a successful talent acquisition strategy, they need to plan and find candidates well.

There are other subtle differences, Talent acquisition:

  1. Requires a lot of planning
  2. Uses metrics and data to improve the recruitment process
  3. Focuses more on skills and experiences. Recruitment concentrates on the position.

Although employers hope their employees will give 2-weeks notice before quitting, there are plenty of times where that isn’t possible. Of course, an employee suddenly leaving is why employers prefer the recruitment strategy, but planning can make talent acquisition possible.

Should I Be Recruiting or Acquiring?

Not every industry needs a recruitment strategy, but how do you know if your position requires the acquiring method? Generally, the more specialized and high-demand roles should take an acquiring approach, regardless of urgency.

Some would argue that all positions require talent acquisition, and employer review websites like JobSage prove this. For example, a fast-food cashier is still challenging to fill long-term because front-of-house workers handle angry customers. You’ll want to hire talent that fits your corporate culture to reduce turnover rates, even for easy-to-fill positions.

How to Create a Talent Acquisition Strategy

A poor talent acquisition strategy can impact your organization as a whole. To ensure the right talent fills your vacant positions, follow these steps to create your acquisition strategy.

Start With the Right Communication Strategy

High-quality talent wants to work for companies that offer great benefits, an incredible corporate culture, and growth opportunities. Therefore, it’s essential to communicate your total benefits package and differentiators when promoting career opportunities.

Don’t Forget About Competitive Pay

Inflation has hit hard. The recent 7.5% increase has made even the most well-paying jobs insufficient for people with families. That means salary and salary growth potential are more important than job seekers.

If you’re consistently losing out on talent at the last possible second, look at the salary your competitors offer. Be competitive.

Consider Contractors and Employee Referrals 

Employee referrals are one of the best ways to find new talent. Consider implementing an employee rewards program to make it attractive.

Alternatively, you could seek out independent contractors to fill positions. Not only are they less expensive to hire, but they can work remotely and jump into a job at a moment’s notice. 

Remove Bias From the Hiring Process

Diversity in the workplace leads to increased productivity, creativity, cultural awareness, and marketing opportunities. However, unconscious biases can cause us to choose candidates based on their sexual orientation, race, religion, age, religious affiliation, or gender. 

To make your recruitment process more diverse, use Applicant Tracking Systems, non-bias workplace tests, and a more structured interviewing process that focuses on skills.

Keep Past Applicants Engaged

Keeping a passive talent pool will allow you to pick from it when necessary, but you can’t just promise a job at a later date. Instead, you need to stay in contact with your applicants by telling them you’ll contact them should another position become available.

Create a separate email sequence that speaks to your potential hires to let them know what’s happening in your business. 

Offer a Remote or Hybrid Work Environment

A PwC survey found that 72% of workers prefer to work from home at least two days a week, while 32% want to work from home full-time. Since remote employees are more productive than their in-office counterparts, it makes more sense to offer remote employment options.

By removing geographic barriers, you open up your talent pool beyond your physical location. As more businesses switch to the hybrid office, you’ll need to do the same to be competitive.

Regularly Speak to Students

Your strategy’s unconventional talent acquisition step should include university and college students, especially in fast-moving industries. While students won’t have the experience you’re looking for, they will have new skills and a go-getter attitude.

You can start by sending recruiters to job fairs who can speak to students. Then, consider partnering with specific schools for internships or on-the-job career training to scope out top talent.

Ask for Candidate Feedback

Organizations rarely ask their candidates why they wanted to apply for a position or why they declined an offer. However, you must gather this data to know what kind of candidates you’re attracting and how you can be more competitive.

Make sure the survey is anonymous as not to discourage participation.  You’ll also make your candidates feel like their opinion matters, improving your brand by asking for feedback.

Promote From Within

The best thing about hiring from within is you already know your candidates. Additionally, they already fit in with your company culture and have the skills to move into their new positions. Finally, hiring from within is great for long-term talent retention.

The Future of Recruiting

Remember the olden days when potential candidates applied to a handful of jobs online and waited for a response? Remember in the stone ages when prospective hires mailed out paper copies of resumes and awaited a phone call or a letter? Well, according to an SHRM survey of over 1,500 talent acquisition professionals from 28 countries, COVID-19 accelerated a shift toward digital-first recruiting.

EBI has reported that the average corporate listing receives 100 to 250 resumes. But according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job seekers who received an interview only have a 36.89% chance of receiving an offer. They apply to jobs widely in a ‘spray and pray’ mentality. For recruiters, the challenge is no longer finding applicants but rather finding the right people in this barrage of resumes. And with virtual hiring likely being here to stay, perhaps it’s time recruiting adapted for today’s hiring culture.

Our Guest: Ben Green, Hirect

On the latest #WorkTrends podcast, I spoke with Ben Green, PR Manager for Hirect. With over a decade of experience in journalism, Ben now plays a key role for Hirect. A free, mobile chat-based hiring platform that instantly connects startups, founders, CEOs, and hiring managers with candidates interested in the growing startup sector.

When asked about virtual recruiting in the COVID era and the future of recruiting, Ben suggests that the virtual trend might be here to stay.

“With more remote work and work from home flexibility, they (recruiters) can attract talent from pretty much anywhere and connect with them instantly,” Ben says. “Everything can really be done online, uninterrupted, and I believe it’s the future of work and recruiting moving forward.”

For those with less time and resources to meet every candidate in person, virtual recruiting also makes the job much easier. But with so many different recruiting technologies out there, how can organizations choose the right one for them?

“There’s definitely several factors to consider,” Ben explains. “Tech versus non-tech, seniority, the position, scale, size of your team. All these things will determine what your budget is and what the tool ROI can be as well.”

The Big Benefits of Virtual Recruiting  

There’s a lot of talk about bias right now. How does virtual recruiting help recruiters and hiring managers eliminate this from the hiring process?

“Ideally, the focus should always be primarily on candidates’ skills and experience, but really the true way to eliminate bias is through blind resume screens,” Ben says. “AI can certainly help with reading or grading applicants without taking into consideration a lot of the personal details and information.”

Beyond helping to eliminate bias, Ben feels that integrating technology and AI in recruiting has vast potential. It benefits both recruiters and job seekers, particularly from a filtering, searching, and matching standpoint.

“With the AI matching algorithms that we have at Hirect, the candidate pool can be narrowed down almost instantaneously based on any number of factors,” Ben explains. “For candidates, AI can help them wade through a lot of the irrelevant posts… and find ones that match their specific or unique criteria.”

But Ben is quick to point out that you can’t rely on AI alone to find the right applicants. Making sure you have a really granular job description and an interview process that encompasses certain skills is also key. And these often require a human touch – something Ben believes there will always be a need for.

“There’s really an art to the close,” Ben says. “Trying to relay a founder or a CEO’s passion or vision to really inspire a candidate to join a young business or a startup… That just can’t be replicated through technology.”

I hope you enjoy this #WorkTrends podcast, sponsored by Hirect. In case you missed it, you can listen to the podcast here. You can learn more about the future of recruiting by reaching out to Ben Green on LinkedIn.

Image by Daniil Peshkov

3 Ways Recruiting Technology Improves Candidate Experience

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

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

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

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

The 3 Core Benefits of Recruiting Technology

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

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

1. Technology fosters humanity

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

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

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

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

2. Technology increases efficiency

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

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

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

3. Technology helps meet candidates where they are

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

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

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

Candidate Experience: The Real Benefactor of Recruiting Technology

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Why’ the Selection Process Goes Wrong

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

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

‘How’ to Improve Workforce Diversity During Recruitment

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

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

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

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

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

3. Thoroughly monitor the success of your assessment process.

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

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

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

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

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

 

This post sponsored by Sova Assessment.

 

Photo: Vlada Parkovich

4 Proven Ways to Improve Recruiting and Remote Hiring

To say COVID-19 has changed the recruiting and remote hiring would be an understatement. For a start, it’s likely you’re relying more heavily on the expertise of the rest of your HR team, your recruiter, or business leaders while navigating the interview and remote onboarding process. To help you improve the remote hiring process, we’ve put together our top four tips for interviewing virtually, including how to answer some tough questions from candidates.

1. Decide on the Remote Hiring Process 

Before you do anything else, decide on the steps involved in the remote hiring process. Make sure everyone understands the types of interviews and stages the candidates will have to go through. This also allows an opportunity to offer candidates an outline of what to expect. This will be an unfamiliar situation for most, so planning and preparation are key. For example: The free version of Zoom limits meetings to 40 minutes. So, ensure everyone understands the rigid time frame.

If you’re using an agency to help you? Be sure to allow for scheduled follow-up calls with the agency. This will help to keep the process you’ve decided on to move more efficiently.

2. Produce an Information Pack for Candidates 

A great employer branding tool, an information pack can be prepared by and sent to the candidates before the interview/s. The pack can include: 

  • Background information about the company
  • What they should expect from each stage of the interview process 
  • What you’re looking for in an ideal candidate 
  • The technology and login details required (for example: Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, etc.)
  • Point of contact details throughout the interview process 

Sending this information to the candidate will help them have a great candidate experience. It will also allay some of their anxiety while enabling them to prepare to the best of their ability.

3. Encourage Managers to Use a Scorecard

A job interview in person is hard enough. Throw in video technology, and the degree of difficulty increases. When it comes to video interviews, keep your job as simple as possible. That way, you can focus more on making a fair assessment of each candidate. One way to do this: Produce a scorecard unique to the position the candidates are interviewing for. By isolating the top skills or qualities and giving them each a score out of 5, 10 or 20 (depending on the weighting of each), it allows you to quantify where a candidate sits. The scorecard can also help eliminate unconscious biases. After all, managers will only score in relation to the candidates’ demonstrated skills.

4. Prepare for Tough Questions from Candidates 

During the remote hiring process, chances are there will be questions you and the hiring manager may not know how to answer. So prepare ahead of time for some of the most common candidate questions. Below are a few of these questions with tips on how to prepare for them. 

What’s the workplace culture like? 

As the majority of candidates going through the remote interview process won’t have been to your offices, you should explain what it’s like for a newcomer. Things to mention include virtual social activities, daily/weekly catch-ups and the technology you use to keep your staff connected. 

Once hired, what should I expect from the onboarding process? 

The minute details are not helpful here. Instead, provide a high-level overview of the virtual onboarding process. Mention any hardware that would be sent to the new starter’s home and give an outline of the first week of induction/training sessions. It may also be worth mentioning if your workplace organizes a work buddy for new starters and who would be responsible for leading the onboarding process, whether it’s someone from the HR team or the new starter’s line manager. 

How well is the company working remotely?

This question is a good opportunity to mention any wins or challenges the company has faced. Assure the interviewee a remote onboarding process exists. You can also mention how regularly the company meets online and the other ways everyone keeps in touch – whether by Slack, Zoom, emails or phone calls. 

What has your company learned from the transition to working from home? 

Similar to the above, think about any learning curves the company has faced while working from home, whether they have had to do with systems, communication or staff surveys. A candidate may also want to know if the company now recognizes the value in working from home if this wasn’t already in place.  

What types of measures are you looking at to return to the office safely?

While you’re probably still figuring out the details of the policy that will allow a safe return to the office, you should be able to mention the aspects you’re considering. These could include staggered start times, transport options, an increase in remote working or providing PPE. 

Tell me about your flexible working policies?

The answer to this question is likely something all candidates will want to know. If you aren’t already aware, talk to management to find out the company’s thoughts. In some cases, work practices aren’t affected or will not be reduced. In that case, then simply explain why the company has taken this stance. 

The remote hiring process is new for many of us. Which makes this is a great time to learn new hiring methods. Put these tips to work, and hire the best candidates!

Photo: Pixabay

5 Ways COVID-19 Will Continue to Change HR

Many companies and job titles will go through drastic changes due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The HR sector and the people working in it will undoubtedly experience some of them. Here are five things people can anticipate regarding HR after COVID-19 — as well as during it:

1. Companies Will Show Employee Appreciation Differently

Even while people love working from home, many find it difficult to get through their days without the fist bumps, handshakes and pats on the back that often accompanied their most productive, successful days in offices. These changes mean HR departments may need to find alternative ways to thank employees for their hard work. 

Hani Goldstein is the co-founder and CEO of Snappy Gifts, a company specializing in employee recognition products. She noted, “Working from home can be an isolating and disorienting experience for most of today’s workforce who are used to seeing their peers every day at the office.”

It’s also more challenging for employees to strike that all-important work-life balance. “Hours that were once dedicated to fun activities have been replaced with more work and increased responsibilities,” Goldstein explained. These things mean employers need to show their gratitude differently. Whether that means having team appreciation parties over virtual platforms or sending workers online gift cards, HR representatives must figure out safe, effective ways to express thanks. 

2. Remote Hiring and Recruitment Practices Will Gain Momentum

Some analysts predicted remote methods would change hiring and recruitment methods long before COVID-19 impacted the world. They were right to some extent, especially as HR professionals realized doing things remotely cut out potential hassles like travel arrangements. Remote platforms let companies extend their hiring and recruitment reach instead of only looking for candidates in the immediate area. 

HR after COVID-19 will likely prominently feature remote platforms and approaches. Suppose a human resources professional or recruitment expert can gauge a person’s candidacy for a role via a teleconferencing platform. That method saves time compared to bringing a person into the office. 

Some remote interviews are for work-at-home jobs. However, if a person gets hired for a position at a physical location, companies may require that the new hire tests negative for the novel coronavirus before arriving. 

3. Contracts Will Include COVID-19-Related Specifications More Often

As professionals navigate this new normal and ponder what it means for the future of HR, they should consider how the pandemic might impact their employment contracts. For example, a company might remove a line that guarantees the worker a certain number of hours per week to work, especially if the industry will experience the effects of the pandemic for the foreseeable future. 

One emerging trend — especially seen in the construction sector — concerns the addition of force majeure clauses related to the pandemic in contracts. Those cover the natural and unavoidable disasters preventing a party from fulfilling a contract’s terms. However, it is not sufficient for that entity to claim it was inconvenient to meet the contract’s terms. Courts look at several variables, including whether the conditions made working impossible.

Contracts may also state that workers must report their COVID-19 risk or agree to get screened. Drug screenings are already commonplace, and the same could become true for coronavirus tests. Legal experts and HR representatives are still working out the specifics of contracts in light of the global health crisis. However, people should expect to see some noticeable changes in contractual language soon. 

4. HR Representatives May Need to Reserve More Time for Training

The pandemic forced workplaces to adjust rapidly to new procedures to keep people safe. Cleaning happens more thoroughly and frequently, and many companies reduce or eliminate the time employees spend in close quarters. Customer-facing businesses also must adopt new procedures for keeping guests safe. 

Human resources professionals regularly schedule training sessions. However, they may need to do that more often or for larger workforce segments due to COVID-19. Some businesses invested in robots to help workers or wearable gadgets to ensure that people stay far enough apart while on the job. It could take a while for some workers to adjust to those things, although dedicated training efforts could help. 

If all or most of a workforce shifts to remote working, HR representatives may deem it necessary to plan training sessions that spell out safe practices online and give people tips for staying productive. Many employees now have to work in ways they hadn’t imagined. HR professionals cannot remove all the obstacles, but taking the time to educate the workers about what’s new could relieve the stresses they feel. 

5. Businesses Will Adjust Their Time-Off Policies According to Government Guidance

The need to isolate confirmed or suspected coronavirus cases poses challenges for HR professionals who may already face workplace shortages for other reasons. However, following government guidance on that matter remains crucial. Workplace leaders must also stay abreast of recent changes.

For example, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently updated the guidance about workers caring for themselves at home after symptom onset. The most recent recommendation is that people can come back to work if at least 10 days pass since symptoms began and they stay fever-free for at least 24 hours after their body temperatures initially return to normal without medication. Their non-fever symptoms must also improve. 

The CDC previously set the fever-resolution component of that three-prong test at 72 hours, so the change represents a significant reduction. These specifics mean companies may begin implementing time-off periods that people can use specifically for reasons connected to the virus. Doing that keeps people safer by minimizing the likelihood that they feel tempted to work while feeling unwell. 

The Evolving Future of HR

No one knows the pandemic’s time frame, so it’s impossible to say for sure how things will change. However, the five things mentioned here are solid predictions, especially since some workplaces have already adopted the changes.

Photo: Ricardo Resende

Is Diversity Baked Into Your Hiring Process?

A few years ago, we were asked to help a market leader that was intent on changing its culture to be more creative and innovative. (Sound familiar?) The company was spending a million dollars on messaging and elaborate company meetings to help “get the word out” and create excitement for this new, transformative initiative.

But even as its leaders spoke eloquently about the need for change — even hiring a guru to guide their efforts — few process changes were made, and they were hesitant to reconsider the kind of people they hired. They talked of needing people who were “cultural fits” even as they held meetings in which they touted the need for cultural change and disruption.

Why traditional hiring practices backfire

The company’s hiring practices were similar to those we see in most organizations, perhaps even your own. After candidates were identified, an internal team of “high performers,” along with HR representatives, reviewed the applicants’ résumés to ensure they had the requisite experience. Unfortunately, this meant most applicant experiences were similar. The unintended result? A candidate pool with little experiential diversity.

But it didn’t end there. After “qualified” candidates interviewed with the hiring teams, they were ranked by the group. If any members of the hiring team had a concern about a person, those concerns were noted. Strong objections by a couple of group members, as a practical matter, were enough to give a candidate the boot.

Predictably, the least objectionable candidate — who typically looked, acted, and thought like other members of the group — became the team’s preferred choice.

If we want change, we need to expect challenges

When we asked the hiring team how the hiring process supported a culture of innovation, team members told us that their hiring criteria included experience in helping organizations change.

Pushing back, we asked the team to consider which types of people would contribute different and creative ideas. What employee characteristics would help the organization change? For instance, had they valued people who were:

  • Diverse in race, ethnicity, and background?
  • Rarely satisfied with the status quo?
  • Impatient and not always willing to take “no” for an answer without significant debate?
  • Disruptive, at times disagreeable, and willing to question authority?
  • Not easily managed?
  • At times, slow and hesitant to make decisions based on what was done last year? (Creativity takes time.)
  • Unwilling to go along just to get along?

 Their response neatly framed their hiring challenges:

“Why would we hire someone who is hard to manage, never satisfied, and always questioning what we do? We’re pretty good here, you know. If we hired people who we knew would consistently challenge what we learned yesterday, we’d never get anything done.”

We say we want change, but do we?

Yes, we say we want to change. We say we want creativity. We say we need diversity, but do we honestly believe it?

The truth is, even if we’re committed to recruiting more diverse teams, we’re often painfully unaware of how our hiring processes give preference to people who are more like us. As a result, we often allow the long-term effects of our biases, knowingly or unknowingly, to be hidden in our collective consciousness, in our culture. Over time, groups that cling to such processes tend to become more homogeneous, not less.

Even when we manage to hire authentically diverse teams — composed of different backgrounds, races, genders, ages, perspectives, and beliefs — we expect everyone to come together in a fabled “kumbaya” moment.

True diversity begins with intention

Recruiting a more diverse and successful team begins with intention. The kind of intention that’s required is more than a desire or wish. It’s a conscious, mindful choice based on a belief that diversity is critical to the team’s success. It requires that we create processes that are built for diversity. Our preference for people who look and think and act like us is strong and can only be overcome with a structured commitment to embrace people who often make us uncomfortable.

So, where should we start? Here are a few ideas:

  1. Start early. It’s easier to become diverse before biases have become ingrained in our hiring practices.
  2. Be clear on the type of people you hope to hire. Do they share your values? Are they competent? Good thinkers? Willing to change? Ready to speak truth to power? Confident? Good leaders? Having clarity is a necessary first step to building a successful hiring process.
  3. Recruit blindly. Superficial aspects of a person’s bio often outweigh an applicant’s talent or potential. The fix? Implement a blind submissions process — stripping away names, ages, and gender. Create a process in which people cannot “see” the applicants when initially judging their competence.
  4. Put more diversity, of all types, on your hiring team. The research on this is clear: a diverse hiring team will recruit more diverse members.
  5. Expand your personal and professional networks. Our personal preferences are affected by our experiences. For example, research shows that fathers with daughters are more likely to hire women. Having more experience with an unrepresented group makes their inclusion more likely.
  6. Confront bias when you see it. When we tolerate bias, we teach that it’s acceptable.

Learning to appreciate our differences — and to embrace diversity — is what ultimately fuels an organization’s competitive advantage. Only when people challenge us to think and act differently can we create the remarkable. So, let’s get to it.

Photo: Bethany Legg

Why You Should Recruit Introverts — and How

In this extrovert-biased world of ours, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Many job candidates aren’t making it past the hiring process to get the jobs they’re qualified for. The reality is that if introverts don’t interview in a bubbly, enthusiastic manner, they likely won’t make it to the next round. And if they don’t share their accomplishments with confidence and bravado, they’re likely to be overlooked for positions in which they would thrive. 

The costs to our organizations of this lost talent are staggering to consider. 

Yet, emerging evidence shows that the tide is turning. In a 2019 Workplace Survey of some 240 introverts, a promising 38% of respondents said their organizations demonstrated a willingness to hire and promote introverts. And as general awareness of introversion increases, it may become less of an exclusionary factor. 

Hiring a diverse workforce is just the first step. Companies must also do the work to create places where people of all temperaments feel included and experience a sense of belonging. When introverts can see many different pathways to success and opportunities to thrive, it’s more likely that they’ll stay in an organization and do their best work. 

Consider How Introversion Impacts The Job

In the hiring process, weigh whether personality actually makes a difference for the position. 

Susan Schmitt, group vice president and head of human resources at Applied Materials, says, “The main thing that matters on temperament: Is there any element of this person’s temperament, nature or behavior that will impair them in this particular role or a future role?” 

In essence, how might their temperament work for or against them in that particular role? Susan gave the example of a new hire that appeared to have low energy during the interview process. “She was somewhat slow in her responses, thoughtful and reflective, which led some interviewers to think she may not be right for the role. But her skills, knowledge, experience and education were super strong, and her capacity for complexity and conceptual capability were outstanding.” The team hired her. 

“This hire became a success story, and she ended up becoming a vice president. Had she been dinged for her low-affect personality in that first interview, think of the lost contributions,” remarked Susan. 

To ensure that people with introverted personality types are included and embraced within your organization, make certain that introversion is a key dimension of diversity within your larger talent management strategy. This would establish that an introverted candidate who didn’t come across as the kind of person an interviewer would “like to have a beer with” wouldn’t get shot down for that reason. After all, not every position requires a candidate to be great at after-work socializing, right? Furthermore, if everyone inside an organization knows the introvert-inclusive criteria for hiring and promotion, then they can build a stronger introvert-friendly culture throughout. 

Through hiring greater numbers of introverts and embracing all personality types in our organizations, we may one day reach a critical mass of introverts who are recognized, respected and heard for their wise and understated input.

How Can You Attract Great Introvert Talent?

Here are some ways to ensure that you cast the widest net and seriously consider introverts in all hiring decisions. 

  1. Give them a sense of what it’s like. How do potential recruits view your company? Ryan Jenkins, Millennial and Gen Z expert, says that companies need to manage their YouTube channels and make sure they offer people the experience of seeing what it is like to work for your company. Introverts, who like to research and spend time in reflection, will be looking to social media channels to figure out if they have a connection to your brand. You may never even see those potential introverted hires if you have a sparse online presence. 
  1. Create an introvert-friendly interview process. Integrate these three strategies: first, prep the room. Avoid blazing lights and noisy areas. Consider chair placement; sitting too close together can be off-putting for introverts who value personal space. If it’s a group interview, seat the candidate at the middle of the table rather than at its head, so the candidate feels less scrutinized and can make eye contact with everyone. 

Next, schedule adequate time. If you schedule yourself too tightly between interviews, you may feel pressured and impatient if the person doesn’t respond quickly enough, especially if you are an extrovert. Introverted candidates are likely to pause before answering questions, and you want to provide them with the time they need to fully express themselves. 

And finally, attend to energy levels. One hiring manager said that she noticed her more introverted candidates were “not the same people at the end of the day. They deflated without a chance for breaks with back-to-back interviews.” To avoid overwhelming the candidate, only put people on the interviewing schedules who are essential to the process. Consider breaking a packed interview schedule into two days. 

  1. Check your bias at the door. If you’re more extroverted, beware of projecting your bias about introverts onto the candidate by wishing they showed more emotion or visible energy. If you’re an introvert, you’re more likely comfortable with a slower pace and pauses, and the possible self-effacing manner of an introverted interviewee. Check yourself for confirmation bias — that is, the tendency to seek answers that support your case and point of view while minimizing other important responses. Diversify your pool of candidates by being open to everyone. 
  1. Employ paraphrasing. Reflecting back what you heard gives candidates a chance to modify or validate what they said. It also offers a needed pause for introverts so they can process what’s being said in a reflective way. Both introverts and extroverts will appreciate the chance to clarify their thoughts and round out their responses.
  1. Use AI tools (with caution). Using artificial intelligence screening is receiving more attention as one solution to reducing the costs of hiring and to promote more diversity. AI can allow you to cast a wider net and includes those with introverted temperaments who might not be considered in the initial screening process. Digital interviews record verbal and nonverbal cues of candidates and analyze them against position criteria. But many experts suggest using a slower approach rather than a full-scale adoption of these tools at this stage, as they can bear unintentional biases. 

To capture introvert talent, think beyond hiring (and promoting) for personality. It starts with checking your own temperament bias and valuing introverts in your talent management process. 

 

Photo: ThisisEngineering RAEng

Hiring Tech Talent? Tap this Overlooked Pipeline

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

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

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

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

Alternative Talent Pipelines

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

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

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

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

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

Broader Life Experience

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

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

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

Built-in Tenacity

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

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

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

Industry-Relevant Skills

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

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

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

#WorkTrends: How to Rethink the Modern Workplace for Gender Equality

New research shows that diversity and inclusion are a top priority for leaders. So why does the needle seem to be moving backward when it comes to gender equality at work?

On this week’s episode of the #WorkTrends podcast we dive into some of the answers with Dorothy Dalton, who is working to shift the conversation about men, women, work and bias.

Based in Belgium, Dalton has been working in talent management and recruitment for many years. She runs her own executive search firm and has founded an organization to help professional women reach their potential. In our conversation she offered important insights into how we can start to transform the modern workplace to make it more equal and inclusive for everyone.

Listen to the full conversation or read the recap below. Subscribe so you never miss an episode.

Make It More Than an HR Issue

Dalton, an expert on gender-neutral and bias-conscious recruitment, says one of the challenges when it comes to diversity in the workplace is that people see it as an HR issue rather than an overall business issue.

“What we need for any cultural transformation to be effective are the three pillars: leadership commitment, systemic change and behavioral change,” she says. “What we’re doing is we’re cherry-picking a bit because no one really likes to change. All of us are quite locked into our old ways of doing things, so it really is part of an overall business transformation, not an HR problem to be solved with a few little training sessions — which is, quite honestly, the way people tend to go about it.”
Don’t Expect Progress to Just Happen
Dalton says that while every generation tends to think they are more understanding than the previous one when it comes to workplace diversity issues, the progress isn’t always so linear.

She says that when her own daughter, an older millennial, entered the workplace, she was horrified to discover that gender and diversity issues hadn’t progressed much. Dalton says we all have certain biases, and those shouldn’t be demonized, but they can’t be ignored either if we want to truly create more equitable workplaces.

“It’s really normal to have opinions and biases, but we have to set up procedures and processes, checks and balances, to make sure that we’re on track to make better business decisions,” she says.

She says research shows that most of us think we don’t have biases and that we behave correctly, but digging deeper reveals we have plenty of biases. “We’re still at a very primal level,” she says.

Take Steps for Change

Dalton offers a number of ways organizations can make an impact right now in their own companies, starting with how they recruit. “Women tend to look for promotional opportunities within their own organizations,” she says. “If they look outside then it tends to be in response to usually external circumstances — either a change in their personal lives or a takeover, a merger, or something’s not working.

“Organizations may have to have gender-neutral adverts. They have to have put the flex opportunities [and] remote working upfront because women are afraid to ask because they feel they’re discriminated because of it — and they are.”

Resources Mentioned in This Episode

Let’s continue the conversation. Join us on Twitter (#WorkTrends) for our weekly chat on Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. Eastern, 10:30 a.m. Pacific, or anywhere in the world you are joining from to discuss this topic and more. On this week’s episode of #WorkTrends we talk to Dorothy Dalton about the work she’s doing to shift the conversation about men, women, work and bias.

Stop Hiring Based on Intuition: 4 Proven Steps to Better Selection

Unstructured interviews are wildly ineffective at predicting future performance. Yet casual conversations, gut instinct and feelings are the ubiquitous means for assessing talent in today’s competitive marketplace, even at the highest levels of the Fortune 500.

In fact, over the past several years as an executive search consultant, only two clients, prior to working with us, had interview processes in place that were deliberately designed to limit natural biases and intuition. Instead, the overwhelming majority leverage the unsophisticated and futile assessment methods of generations past: laissez-faire conversations, brain teasers, work experiences and references.

The reasons for adopting such archaic approaches are multifold. First, most hiring managers and recruitment professionals have never experienced or been taught a better way. Applying a more standardized approach could be seen as minimizing the autonomy of the interviewer. Most of us think we’re great at interviewing, so we don’t see a need for change on that front. And many companies often view rigorous interview methods as antithetical to their friendly and inviting culture — they’re afraid to scare a top candidate away.

Science has the answers to these conundrums. Indeed, the evidence is overwhelming: Other than work samples and cognitive ability (IQ) tests, structured interviews are far and away the best means for predicting the future performance of your candidates.

The challenge, then, is how to begin implementing this proven yet unfamiliar process. The good news is that it’s not as complicated as it might sound. Here are four steps to get you started:

Summarize What Candidates Can Expect

As the candidate enters the room, ensure unplanned small talk is kept to a minimum. Any improvised forays into one’s personal interests can unconsciously lead to biases early on in the process. Instead, warmly introduce yourself, define the role, list the key competencies and explain how the interview questions will be structured. Be sure to let them know how long the interview will last, how many questions you’ll be asking and how you’ll be scoring each candidate. Also, point out that you’ll be taking notes so they don’t get distracted by it after a tough question.

Inform interviewees that the reason for such formality is to ensure every candidate has the same experience. If there are no questions on process, it’s time to begin.

Ask the Same Job-Related Questions in the Same Order

Because you’re hiring for a well-defined role, determine which competencies are the most critical for success. Then, draft seven to 10 thought-provoking, open-ended questions that test for these attributes.

For example, to test for one’s ability to persuade and build unanimity among stakeholders, the interviewers might first ask a broad question: “Tell me about a time you had to use your presentation skills to influence someone’s opinion.” Dive deeper with follow-up questions: “How did you prepare for the presentation?” “What was the desired outcome, and what points did you emphasize to drive home your proposition?” “What was the result?” “What did you learn from that experience, and what could you have done differently?”

To ensure consistency throughout each candidate’s experience, it’s imperative that both the baseline questions and the follow-up questions are preplanned and delivered in the same order.

Maintain Consistent Interviewers and Clearly Defined Rating Scales

Naturally, no interviewer rates the same way. Despite every attempt to minimize biases, we’re all susceptible to unconscious influences. In order to ensure that each candidate is scored equitably, there should be a consistent set of interviewers. Ideally, there should be no more than four interviews in total, and interviews should be conducted by a well-trained and diverse group of colleagues: a peer, a boss, a subordinate and a cross-functional neutral party.

Interviewers should rate candidate responses using a cohesive scale. For example, at my executive search firm, we use a rating scale of 1 to 5. The ratings represent “awareness,” “basic,” “intermediate,” “advanced” and “expert,” respectively.

But it’s not enough to simply give each level a general label. You should also leverage existing subject-matter experts in that role — or the hiring manager if it’s a new position — to define what specific behaviors should be displayed at each level.

For instance, if you’re assessing the candidate’s ability to empathize with a broad set of stakeholders, you might define “awareness” as “occasionally attempts to create a safe environment for asking questions and sharing outcomes.” A score of 5, or “expert,” on the other hand, might be defined as “considers the needs and emotions of others and the constraints of the circumstances when considering a course of action.”

The key is specificity. The clearer you are in defining ideal behaviors at each level, the less ambiguity and variance the interviewers will face.

Rate Candidates Immediately After Interviews

Many of us can’t remember what we did yesterday. How much more difficult is it to recall a detailed response to an interview question hours after it was given? It’s nearly impossible!

This is why it’s important that interviewers score candidates immediately after they leave the room. In your notes on each question, be sure to include actual examples given by the candidate and why that justified their final score. These notes will be crucial for discussing candidates — and breaking any ties between them.

Finally, each interviewer should give final scores to all candidates, and the candidate with the top scores among the four interviewers should be selected.

That’s it! This simple, structured interviewing approach will revolutionize your ability to predict the future performance of your next hire. Plus, because each candidate feels like he or she is on equal playing ground throughout the assessment process, his or her overall experience with your brand will improve and your Net Promoter Scores will soar.

5 Proven Ways to Make Employees Never Want to Leave

Recruiting the right employees is a time-consuming and important process. Hiring the right people is critical to the organization achieving its goals. But what happens when a new hire shows up for work? How can you make sure your star candidate becomes a happy, dedicated employee who never wants to leave?

I’ve learned five keys to meeting new employees’ expectations and keeping them engaged on the job.

“How Can I Help” Leadership

Command and control is old-school; servant leadership is the new school of management. To improve retention, throw out old dictatorial practices and focus on how leaders help employees achieve their goals. Rather than tell people what to do, the servant leader looks for ways to remove obstacles that prevent people from succeeding.

As an executive servant leader, I dedicated at least 50 percent of my time each week meeting with people to understand how they did their job and what they needed to achieve their goals more effectively. I always took notes and made a point of following up to report on what actions I had taken as a result of their input.

In addition, every month I held “bear pit” sessions where I invited key employees from various functions to come together and “have at me.” They asked bold questions and I answered, unaccompanied by my support staff. To say that these sessions were grueling would be an understatement but I quickly learned how people were feeling in my organization and what was needed to enhance their engagement.

Regular Performance Feedback

Everyone wants to improve, and if employees don’t get constructive performance assessment on a frequent basis, they feel abandoned by the organization. They have no idea what they need to do to improve and as a result feel that no one really cares about helping them do a better job. Employees who don’t get feedback leave for an organization that has employee performance management hardwired into its culture. Show your people that preparing employees for future opportunities is a priority for leadership.

I held each of my direct reports accountable for conducting regular performance reviews with their reports; it was a key element in their performance plan and their annual bonus depended on how well they carried out the task.

Career Development Plans

Every employee needs a specific plan for how they’ll learn new skills and get exposure to new opportunities. Leaders are responsible for making sure every employee has a detailed career plan, including potential lateral moves that could enhance their long-term potential.

One way I measured a leader’s effectiveness: looking at how many of their employees moved around to new positions in the organization in order to expose them to new challenges. The effective leaders made it a priority to proactively move their people around; the mediocre ones never did and as a result had short tenure in my organization.

A Personalized Culture of Engagement

A culture isn’t created by corporate programs. It’s defined by everyday personalized acts of leadership. No two people can be engaged in the same way, hence the problem with a single engagement program that is forced to fit all individuals. Instead, a leader can create a personalized culture based on how they interact with each employee every day.

My calendar was full of one-on-one conversations with individuals in my organization. Those conversations made it fairly easy to understand how I could help them identify more strongly with the goals of the organization.

Fair Compensation

The most obvious way to retain employees is to satisfy their basic needs: pay and benefits. Without those fundamentals, it’s difficult to attract people through the recruitment process and to hold them if they take a position with you. You must be at least comparable to your competitors to play the game.

Standout organizations with incredible retention rates invest heavily to both discover individuals who align with their vision and values and to build a culture that encourages them to stay. The leader who wants to retain loyal employees makes it an everyday priority. Focus on these five practices and not only will your retention rates improve, your peers will look at you as the organization to watch in the field.

#WorkTrends Recap: Servant Leadership in the Modern Workplace

Art Barter, who founded the Servant Leadership Institute and is the CEO of Datron World Communications, began his journey when he wanted to infuse Datron with servant leadership principles but couldn’t find adequate materials. Today, everyone at Datron gets trained on servant leadership principles.

During this #WorkTrends, we discussed the core of servant leadership and how it is all about motives. What Art told us is that Datron’s servant leadership definition is “to inspire and equip those we influence. To inspire people”, Art says, “you have to care about them.” Art pointed out that even power is different in servant leadership because it is shared.

“As CEO, I know I need to serve everyone in the organization, and I imagine inverting the orginational chart to remind myself of that.”

Another great piece of wisdom that Art told us was that the most important thing you can do is give your employees a vehicle to live your organization’s purpose. We discussed the qualities Art looks for in new talent. He said he’s learned not to look for competence first, but for character.

“We spend more time looking at the character of a  leader,” he said. “If a leader comes in talking about themselves rather than the people who will be working for them, that’s a sign.”

We think that makes for a pretty great organization. Thanks, Art, for this perspective on servant leadership.

Here are a few key points Art shared:

  • People are looking for purpose in their lives
  • Confidence level in our businesses and government is historically low, according to Gallup
  • Change doesn’t happen through words; it happens through leadership actions
  • When you turn an organizational chart upside down, the CEO sees all the people he or she has to serve
  • Hire for character first, competence second

Did you miss the show? You can listen to the #WorkTrends podcast on our BlogTalk Radio channel here: http://bit.ly/2C47mK6

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

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

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

#WorkTrends Preview: Servant Leadership in the Modern Workplace

Did you know If you enter “servant leadership” into a search engine and follow the Wikipedia link, the very first line of the definition is sourced from the Servant Leadership Institute, which was founded by this week’s guest, Art Barter.

The definition of Servant Leadership:

Traditional leadership generally involves the exercise of power by one at the ‘top of the pyramid.’ By comparison, the servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible. Servant leadership turns the power pyramid upside down; instead of the people working to serve the leader, the leader exists to serve the people. When leaders shift their mindset and serve first, they unlock purpose and ingenuity in those around them, resulting in higher performance and engaged, fulfilled employees.

That all sounds good, right? As we know, though, changing an organization constrained by traditional leadership isn’t as easy as saying, “let’s do things differently.”

This #WorkTrends chat will give an overview of servant leadership and how it can improve employee retention, engagement, ambassadorship, innovation, and collaboration. It will help us learn to invert the “power leadership” model and enhance individual growth, teamwork, employee involvement and satisfaction.

Join #WorkTrends host Meghan M. Biro and her guest Art Barter, author of many books, including Farmer Able and founder of the Servant Leadership Institute, on Wednesday, December 13, 2017, at 1 pm ET as they discuss great how organizations can pursue servant leadership principles and create productive, collaborative workplaces.

Servant Leadership in the Modern Workplace 

Servant Leadership in the Modern WorkplaceJoin Meghan and Art on our LIVE online podcast Wednesday, December 13, 2017 at 1 pm ET | 10 am PT.

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

Q1: Why is servant leadership so important in the modern workplace? #WorkTrends (Tweet this question

Q2: What behaviors do true servant leaders display in the workplace? #WorkTrends (Tweet this question

Q3: How can proper servant leadership improve workplace culture? #WorkTrends (Tweet this question

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

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Hire a Marketer for Your HR Department

If there’s one trend that is picking up speed in today’s organizations, it’s the realization that keeping departments in separate silos isn’t the most efficient way to do things. Cross-departmental collaboration is helping companies tap into the skill sets of their talent in new and exciting ways. For example, consider how well HR and marketing work together. When you think about the fact that HR handles recruitment and, as part of that, is becoming more focused on managing the employer brand—hiring a marketer to join your HR team makes sense.

According to the Harvard Business Review, 40 percent of CEOs surveyed said they are relying on employer branding to secure their long-term hiring needs. And when it comes to branding, who better than a marketer to step in and take the lead?

Explore some of the reasons why your HR team could use a marketer:

HR is rooted in marketing principles. In a way, the HR department plays an integral role in shaping the company culture, from the way the employer brand is represented during the recruiting process, to the how employees perceive the company. As EmotiveBrand.comexplains, “The authenticity of the employer brand depends on HR and marketing working together to create an employee experience that is true to the brand.”

Marketers know how to nurture relationships online. The nature of marketing is such that marketers tend to be up on the latest technology tools and platforms to help build customer relationships, says Rajveer Gangwar on LinkedIn. Just as marketers use social media to engage customers, such tactics can—and should—be applied to recruitment and retention efforts. Having a marketing-minded HR team member can help you stay on the cutting-edge.

Employer reputation management will help with talent acquisition. In addition to putting forth a corporate image, it’s important to stay tuned to the conversation. According to a 2016 Glassdoor survey, 69 percent of people said they were likely to apply to a job if the company hiring manages its employer brand actively (e.g., responds to reviews, updates their profile, shares updates on the culture and work environment). Having a marketing person on your HR team can ensure that you are addressing employee reviews and other feedback appropriately and promptly.

A marketer can help maintain a consistent voice across all channels. Chances are, you already have a great team of marketers on staff who work hard to establish branded collateral, so shouldn’t HR benefit from that as well? Dell is just one of many organizations that realized an HR partnership with marketing was a win-win all around. Not only did the pairing allow for a more consistent employer brand identity, but having marketing step in allowed the HR pros to remain focused on the recruiting tasks that they did best.

In-house marketing can help HR improve employee morale. You don’t want to wait until your employees leave your organization before finding out what they really thought of the company. Keeping the lines of communication open and listening to the digital conversations(as marketers do) can provide valuable insight as to what drives and motivates your employees. In turn, you can determine which HR programs are working and if you should implement new ones.

Learn the data and analytics ropes from marketing. Today’s marketers have more data and insights to inform their decisions than ever before, and so does HR—if it can learn how to track and measure performance, that is. Bringing on a marketer to track relevant metrics can help HR improve employee engagement.

From recruitment to employee relations to retention, HR is more complex than ever before. If you have the opportunity to add someone to your HR team, consider someone who can think like a marketer and elevate your employer brand.

Photo Credit: teamgivingsacramento Flickr via Compfight cc

This post was first published on V3Broadsuite.

Seven Terrific Ways a Leader Can Make the Right Choice

How does a leader pick the right person when all candidates appear to be equally qualified?

This is a common question posed to leaders; but it’s one that has no answer.

The question is flawed; it’s based on an incorrect assumption.

No two individuals are “equally qualified”; no two people possess identical capabilities in terms of creating value for the organization.

The question assumes identical academic achievements in the same discipline (never happens); equal experience (never happens), equal skills (never happens) and equal potential (never happens).

If a leader can’t choose because they are unable to see the the differences in individuals, they’re failing in their role. If they do not have the insight necessary to break down common stereotypes in people, they are unlikely to be able to develop amazingly successful teams.

For those leaders who have difficulty seeing the differences in people these are the necessary actions to take.

1. Let yourself go. You are likely to make bad people decisions and rob your organization of growth value. Own up to your deficiency and leave.

2. Ask better questions of the candidates, questions that probe their DNA. If they have a history of Greek dancing ask why it matters and how they would apply the skill to the position they are applying for.

You can’t discover differences if you don’t probe how their skills and experience could be transferred to your organization.

3. Insist that they ask you the top 3 questions on their mind as a candidate. This will not only tell you what they think is important, it will also help in developing an attribute profile on each of them. In addition their questions will provide fuel for follow up questions to expose more what makes them tick.

4. Test their understanding of your company. Ask tough questions on your products and services, main competitors, strategic partnerships and financial performance to see if they have done their homework.

Truly committed candidates will expose themselves.

5. Ask them “If you were to be hit by a bus and killed (heaven forbid) what would you be remembered for?” – one word answer. What THEY think is their redeeming value is critical information to your organization in terms of the recruiting attributes being targeted.

6. Have more than one person engaged in the interview. It could be a peer but it could also be a high potential junior level manager who would gain from the experience of sitting in. Another perspective on the candidate is useful; questions from others produce different insights on individuals.

7. Ask them what they learned from their Grandmother. Grandmothers have life smarts unmatched by most others and represent an amazing source of mentorship.

Discover what your candidates have learned about life that can be traced back to an old soul who has forgotten more about life than most of us will ever know. These insights will be separating factors that will help select the right person for the job and your company.

Recruiting top talent is an incredibly tough job. Don’t make it even more difficult by assuming any two candidates are equally qualified.

Your job as leader is to discover their differences and select the one whose unique attributes exactly match the needs of the organization.

If you don’t see the inequality between candidates, look closer; dig deeper.

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How to Attract, Select, and Hire the Right Candidates – Not Just Warm Bodies

In Culture Hacker, we focus on elevating the employee experience and improving engagement. While everyone seems to focus on improving engagement, we believe in taking a broader perspective – one that takes into consideration that a part of the engagement problem is the inability to select or attract the right people. As thought leader Bob Kelleher says, “Many companies don’t have an engagement issue; they have a hiring issue.” When it comes to hiring, you have to focus more on the right body than just a warm body.

To ensure you get the person who is the best fit for your company, it’s important to start with job fit, but then move quickly to cultural fit. Most skills can be taught, but character cannot be learned! Once a candidate satisfies the basic skills required, you must consider if their personal values are a good fit for your company. An effective way to do this is to implement your company values into the hiring process, and ensure that their behavior will fit the expected behaviors for your culture.

One way to do so is to implement behavioral questions into the interview process. I believe that a person’s previous experiences are a good indicator of their future performance, so probe with questions that begin with, “Tell me about a time,” “What have you done when,” or “Can you give me an example of when you…?”

Another effective interview technique is to consider activity-based interviews, where a task is given to an individual or group to see if the way they approach it is aligned with your values. Considering how someone works collaboratively to solve challenging tasks is a great insight to gain from the interview process. This is also a great way to engage the potential hire and get them excited about what they could be doing. An interesting twist on this concept? Implement gamification into your hiring process for assessment of skills, and to boost your employer branding. In the world of social media sites like Glassdoor or Indeed, an engaging hiring experience could become great marketing for your employer brand – even from candidates that didn’t get the job.

At my consultancy, SGEi, we love to get the team involved in the interview and hiring process by having many members of our staff conduct short interviews with the candidates, focused around one or two questions. When you involve your team members in the hiring decision, they will be more invested in setting up that new hire for success. It also helps to see how potential candidates do after meeting a series of people who are asking them questions in rapid succession. If they are still smiling at the end of the day, this is a great indicator that they will do the same for your customers.

At the end of the day, it’s critical to ensure that the interview process is a great experience for all candidates. Be on time, organized, grateful, and don’t forget to follow up with every person that interview with you. Remember – they might not be your next employees, but they may become your future customers.

It’s also important to keep in mind that the recession is over, and unemployment rates are lower now than they have been in years. The talent that is out there has options, and to find the right person for the job is going to take more than simply posting a job on a website. Tim Sackett, HR expert and writer for Fistful of Talent, posited that traditional talent acquisition is dead, and talent attraction has instead taken root. What are you doing to make your own employer brand attractive to potential candidates? Don’t forget to consider your own employee value proposition – in the knowledge economy today, it can be just as critical as the value you present to your customers.

Listen, I get it. There’s a lot of pressure to get the job done, and to get someone into an open role.  However, for all the things we seem to be doing quicker in business, this is one are that I suggest you slow down and take the time to attract, select, and hire the right person. The success of your team and culture depends on it!

Recommended Resources:

Your Spidey Senses Will Alert You to Recruitment Red Flags – Trust Them
Importance of Employee Value Proposition

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Riminder: Artificial Intelligence and Technology to Find the Right Employee

The field of human resources is evolving quickly. While recruiters previously spent hours perusing thousands of resumes, they are now discovering these tedious parts of their job can be streamlined with sophisticated artificial intelligence (AI) technology.

Enter Riminder, a new recruitment technology for HR that uses deep learning to sift out candidates who are not likely to be a good match. The AI technology analyzes data while learning with each interaction to find candidates most qualified with the required skill set, culture fit, and career pathway that matches the job title and description. The company’s founder and CEO Mouhidine Seiv says the software can help recruiters hire up to 60 percent faster, with 80 percent fewer interviews.

How Riminder Works

At its core, Riminder’s process seems simple: The AI software compares candidates’ resumes against the resumes of current employees at the company, along with other workers with similar job titles. From there, it generates candidate rankings, permitting recruiters to choose from a short list of applicants to contact for an initial interview.

The AI Technology Behind Riminder

The AI algorithms behind Riminder employ Deep Computer Vision and Deep Natural Language Processing methods to extract personal information, experience, education, skills, and interests, along with a candidates’ identifying information (such as email address, phone number, and past employers).

It then generates a computer model of what an ideal candidate would look like, and compares resumes to the ideal model. The unique Neural Network architecture that comprises the AI solution exhibits reasoning capabilities to understand the evidence behind conclusions, so it’s not just matching facts but applying logic to understand the “why” behind the choices.

Riminder shows recruiters the data points that might make a candidate a good fit, including a particular skillset or a certain college degree.  Because Riminder analyzes and compares resumes from all over the world, it can correct for regional discrepancies, helping recruiters consider candidates beyond their own geographic circle to successfully draw from a worldwide talent pool.

The software learns by analyzing job market trends specific to the recruiter’s industry, as well as adjusts assessments based on the recruiter’s feedback so accuracy improves with each interaction.

Advantages for Recruiters and Candidates

Riminder is designed to aid recruiters in the most cumbersome, yet least intuitive aspect of their job. “Talent assessment is very time consuming and ineffective,” explains Seiv. To streamline the process, Riminder uses deep learning technology to analyze millions of career pathways, applicant resumes, and successful employee resumes all in milliseconds.

It also helps candidates refine—or even re-define—their career path by matching people with the best possible job—which may not necessarily be the one for which they applied. In a rapidly changing, increasingly diverse job market, the software helps employees get on the right career path to find a better fit, increase job satisfaction, and improve retention.

The New Role of Human Recruiters

“It’s almost impossible to fine-tune criteria to assess people in a very exhaustive way,” says Seiv, pointing out some of the issues with traditional recruitment technology and techniques. That’s why Riminder strives to eliminate human errors that can occur due to recruiter fatigue or human bias.

It’s important to remember, however, that Riminder is a recruitment “assistant.” This HR technology is designed to allow recruiters to focus on the “human” parts of their job. Recruiters and HR directors can spend more time attracting top talent through innovative recruitment strategies, face-to face interviews, and making final decisions based on a small pool of highly qualified candidates that Riminder delivers directly to the recruiter’s desktop or mobile device.

Photo Credit: HaticiSosyal Flickr via Compfight cc

This article was first published on Converge.xyz

What Small Businesses Are Saying About the Recruitment Process

 “People make the ultimate difference” Bill McDermott, CEO SAP

Even the best ideas can fail. Success is never guaranteed. It is dependent upon the talent, drive, and compatibility of human beings. Companies don’t just need bodies – they need people who have the talent and skills to meet the job requirements, and are a good fit for the team. Recruitment, therefore, is high stakes, mission-critical work.

To learn more about how crucial recruitment efforts are managed, particularly in small business, we surveyed 2,341 business professionals responsible for recruitment activities. Of those surveyed, 50% were in HR and 50% were in the lines of business. The survey included professionals in the US, the UK, and France across a range of industries, with an emphasis on retail, hospitality, and healthcare. All participants represented companies with fewer than 500 employees.

Our comprehensive report details specific findings; broadly, we learned the following:

CONSTRAINTS

Multiple, Unrelated Responsibilities

95.2% of those surveyed also had additional job duties including employee training and development, performance management, compensation and benefits, and workforce planning (not to mention line of business responsibilities).

WorkConnect Chart

97.0% performed multiple functions within recruitment – some combination of managing candidate searches, interviewing candidates, tracking applicants, and making hiring decisions. Individuals dedicated solely to recruitment does not appear to be typical in companies of fewer than 500 employees.

WorkConnect Link

In addition to other duties and activities, 58.7% of respondents hired 10 or more people in the previous 12 months, indicating there are multiple candidate searches being managed at any given time.

Number of New Hires

Time pressure to make hires

94.3% indicated that urgency to fill the role was a key factor in the level of difficulty involved in filling an open position. Even in markets where it is common to give two weeks or more notice before leaving a position, time pressure to hire still exists across the three markets. Given the rhythm of business today and employee loyalty dynamics (e.g., job hopping), there is a narrow window between approval to fill an open position and the need to have someone functioning in that position.

Growth and evolution are main triggers

84.4% indicated that a factor prompting new hires was growth and evolution including business growth, expansion, evolving job requirements, and restructured roles. The remainder indicated the trigger was more “functional” in nature (sick or maternity leave, retirement, normal turnover, seasonal workforce, increasing overtime). This indicates a strong strategic nature to hiring activities, increasing the stakes for finding candidates that are a good fit for evolving organizations.

Prompts for New Hires

Lots of manual effort

Use of online job boards or career websites is high (72.7%), as is use of software specifically to support the hiring process (61.4%).

Still, 56.7% use printed documents and 51.7% use spreadsheets to manage hiring activities. This generally means printing resumes, manually marking them up and sorting them according to level of interest, and then using XL to track applicants through the interview process.

94.7% indicated two or more people are involved in the hiring process even though this level of manual effort is not conducive to team collaboration.

Offline Tools for Hiring

EXTERNAL FACTORS

Tight labor pools

It’s a candidate’s market: 96.5% of respondents say quality of available candidates is a factor that influences the difficulty of filling a job, 92.5% say availability of candidates is a factor, and 90.3% say competition for candidates is a factor.

Tight labor pools

 

Inefficient processes

In this environment, where there is time pressure to make hires and it’s challenging to find good candidates, 77.7% of respondents say completing the hiring process in an efficient and time-saving way is a challenge.

Across the hiring process, 78.6% say managing postings on multiple job boards is a challenge, 76.5% indicated that keeping track of applicant status and follow-ups is challenging, and 75.7% say consolidating and organizing feedback from co-workers is a challenge.

Given these dynamics it’s not surprising that people involved with recruiting want the following:

Access to more qualified candidates 92.30%
Easier to manage job posts 84.80%
More lead time for recruitment 84.10%
Easier to collaborate with peers during candidate evaluation 83.60%
More accessible database of previous job descriptions 82.70%
More automation / less paper 80.90%
Better applicant tracking software 80.50%
More budget to promote job posts 77.40%
More staff to support hiring 74.60%

Individuals tasked with recruitment – HR and hiring managers – are craving a better way. They want access to more and better candidates, they want to move away from printing documents and filing them in folders, and they want a better way to collect, aggregate, and store coworker feedback. Ultimately, they want to find ways to move and act more quickly.

People involved in recruitment are operating under some very challenging conditions. There is a tremendous opportunity to make things easier for them by enabling better business processes like hiring triggers, job descriptions, job posting, and collaboration. The hiring process is calling for tools and technology to support the end-to-end lifecycle.

This article was written by Jeff Rosenberg, Co-Founder and Partner at WideOpen, and originally appeared on WorkConnect by SAP.

#WorkTrends Recap: Benefits of Measuring Your Candidate Experience

The truth is simple: your candidate experience can make or break your hiring process and potentially impact your business.

According to the latest Global Talent Board research, 41% of candidates will take their allegiance, product purchases and brand relationships elsewhere because of it. This directly impacts an organization’s bottom line and reputation.

In other words, a good candidate experience is smart marketing for an organization. A negative candidate experience is like a black eye and may cause the right candidate to turn down the job. Because if management doesn’t care about the recruiting process, what else is falling through the cracks?

This week on #WorkTrends, host Meghan M. Biro welcomed Kevin W. Grossman, Talent Board President of Global Programs discussed the research from the latest Talent Board survey.

Each year, companies who participate in the Candidate Experience Awards and Benchmark program send surveys to hundreds of thousands employment candidates to assess the recruitment process. Kevin has studied the survey results first-hand and knows what it takes set a company apart.

Here are a few key points Kevin shared:

  • 64 percent of candidates who have a great experience will increase the relationship
  • Candidates are the customers. We need to use customer survey methods to improve hiring process
  • You need to collect feedback from candidates whether they got the job or not.

Did you miss the show? You can listen to the #WorkTrends podcast on our BlogTalk Radio channel here:  http://bit.ly/2t3sqRa

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

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

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

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A New Study Reveals the Top 3 Barriers to Efficient Recruitment

Recruiting is High Stakes

Individuals charged with hiring employees face big challenges today: time pressure from hiring managers who need positions filled quickly, shrinking and highly competitive labor pools, interview processes that require collaboration among numerous people, lack of tools to facilitate the process. But it’s also a time of great opportunity: many companies are hiring due to growth or expansion and evolving job requirements, and companies know employees are their most important asset and that cultural fit is critical.

To meet the demands in today’s business environment, recruitment efforts need to be nimble, synchronized, and expansive. But a new independent study conducted by WideOpen set to release this month reveals there are key obstacles and common challenges among recruiters and hiring managers that threaten the ability to meet these demands. This global study of 2,341 recruiters and hiring managers in the US, UK, and France representing companies with fewer than 500 employees indicates the following for US respondents (n=841):

Obstacle 1: Candidate’s Market

The primary factor influencing the level of difficulty of filling an open job is related to supply and demand. There simply is a shortage of qualified, available candidates.

Candidate’s Market

Obstacle 2: Managing Job Postings

To reach as many candidates as possible, recruiters typically post their job postings to multiple online job boards. With the ongoing proliferation and fragmentation of job boards and communities, this has become a burdensome, time-consuming task.

Job Posting ChallengeObstacle 3: Candidate Management

Once candidates have been identified, the work of scheduling interviews, tracking applicants, and managing the interview process creates a different layer of obstacles among recruiters and hiring managers.

Candidate Management

A Better Way

Given the understandable and relatable challenges faced by those tasked with hiring new employees, recruiters and hiring managers have specific thoughts on how to facilitate a better set of tools and processes for a smoother process.

* Easier way to manage job posts. 94% of recruiters want greater access to more candidates. Expanding access to candidates means expanding access to various candidate pools, necessitating more job boards, more postings to manage. Already 58% of respondents currently post to four or more online job boards. It’s no surprise, then, that 87% of respondents want it to be easier to manage this flurry of activity.

* Better way to track applicants. With increasing candidates coming into the funnel, recruiters need a better way to manage that volume. Among other requirements, they need to be able to quickly filter those candidates they are interested in pursuing, whether that’s a phone interview or an in-person interview. 84% indicate selecting and categorizing suitable candidates is a challenge; 86% would like better applicant tracking software.

* Better tools to facilitate overall management. While there are myriad quality online job boards, recruiters still use a lot of manual tools to manage and track the overall process: spreadsheets, word processors, printouts, emails are all used by the majority of respondents to track and manage online job posting activity, and to collaborate with colleagues and aggregate their feedback on applicants. 84% of respondents indicate the need for more automation and less paper in the process.

As the stakes for effective recruiting increase and the activities required to manage recruitment efforts multiply, companies need to enable these efforts with automation and modern digital tools. In the age of customer experience where every business is a people business, a company’s most critical asset requires a commensurate degree of attention and support.

Stay tuned for more detailed findings, including those from the UK and France.

This post was written by Jeff Rosenberg, Co-Founder and Partner at WideOpen, and was originally published on WorkConnect by SAP.