A Preview of SHRM 2019 with SHRM Chief Knowledge Officer Alexander Alonso

Who’s ready for SHRM 2019? I know I am. I can never turn down a trip to Las Vegas, but more importantly — nerd alert! — I can never turn down the chance to connect with HR professionals and dive head-first into the amazing, progressive conversations so many are having about our industry.

This week we’re previewing SHRM 2019 with SHRM Chief Knowledge Officer Alexander Alonso. He gives us the inside scoop on the conference and helps break down the future of HR.

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

What You Can’t Miss at SHRM 2019

I asked Alonso about what he’s looking forward to at SHRM, and his enthusiasm was infectious. First, he highlighted the conference’s new Changemaker Series, which will feature HR leaders from cutting-edge brands, including Zappos and Universal Music Group.

We also took a lot at the speakers he’s excited about. While we all have speakers we need to seek for our continuing education credits and areas of interest, Alonso emphasizes that we should also take the time to brave the big rooms for the big names. Here are a few of the speakers whose insights he says he’s especially excited about:

Also, don’t forget to check out Alsonso’s talk on pettiness in the workplace!

Pondering the Core Challenges Facing HR

Of course, we all know that SHRM is much more than its annual conference. As an industry leader in credentialing, SHRM is constantly doing research, and it’s especially concerned with the barriers and challenges that HR faces in this time of institutional transition.

Alonso says SHRM has identified three core challenges for HR. The first two are how to manage and customize the employment experience for a multigenerational workforce, and how organizations approach their workforce. Alonso sums the latter up with a question: “How do I strike the right blend between my regular workforce and my regular staffing and talent shortages, as well as a contingent workforce?”

The third challenge is the rise of technology and how that relates to organizations’ business models. Alonso says organizations must begin to plan for the advent of AI and machine learning, while also accommodating the needs of employees.

Addressing the Big SHRM Controversy

At the end of our conversation, Alonso and I addressed the elephant in the room: SHRM’s relationship with the current presidential administration.

It’s a relationship that has generated its fair share of controversy, one that Alonso acknowledges and understands. But he says SHRM feels a responsibility to make itself part of the conversation surrounding work. “If SHRM is to elevate the practice of human resources — and if SHRM is really to serve the work, the worker, and the workplace … I think it’s important for us to be part of the dialogue on workplace issues,” he says. He also notes that SHRM has a relationship with the other branches of government and often submits amicus briefs for court cases.

Alonso says it’s a misconception that SHRM has aligned itself with the Trump administration. “We’ve done quite a bit of work with both parties over the years,” including the Obama administration, he says. “My sense of it, quite honestly, is it’s just us being a part of the important workplace-issues dialogue.”

Resources Mentioned in This Episode

What to Do at SHRM 2019

In just a couple of weeks I’m headed to Vegas! And not just to gamble and lounge by the pool — although I’m very good at that. If it’s June in Las Vegas, it means SHRM Annual, the world’s biggest HR conference. I’m on the #SHRM19 blogger team, and I’ll be documenting my experience on Twitter and Instagram.

I’ve been to SHRM many times over the years, and I know just how overwhelming it can be. The agenda is about a mile long, with information-packed sessions starting as early as 7:15 a.m. If you do SHRM right, the days are long and busy.

In my experience, SHRM Annual doesn’t have to be overwhelming. It’s all about planning, being open to new ideas and new people, and making time for some fun!

This year, I’m especially focused on attending sessions that explore Gen Z and how the next generation of workers will change the way we work.

Here’s the shortlist of events, sessions and booths I recommend flagging on your agenda.

Sunday, June 23

  • Opening keynote: A Conversation with Martha Stewart, 2:35 p.m. in LVCC Halls N3-N4.
  • Following Stewart’s keynote, visit Reward Gateway at booth 1626 to meet a surprise special guest. There will be photo ops, sweet treats and more ingredients for improving employee engagement.

Monday, June 24

Tuesday June 25

Wednesday, June 26


If you’ll be at SHRM, let us know your can’t-miss sessions! Tweet us @TalentCulture.

WorkTrends Recap: 7 Keys to Effective Recruiting #SHRM17

Most HR specialists agree they want to get better at talent acquisition. In a 2016 SHRM survey of more than 2,300 HR professionals, respondents said recruitment was their top business/HR challenge, ahead of compliance, employee training and compensation/benefits. Finding the time to implement these leading strategies is the bigger challenge.

This week on #WorkTrends host Meghan M. Biro and #SHRM17 Blogger, welcomed special guest, Tony Lee, Vice President of Editorial for the Society for Human Resource Management and a recognized authority on recruitment trends. They discussed a variety of important aspects related to effective recruiting. Tony also gave the TalentCulture community a sneak peek of #SHRM17, happening in New Orleans on June 18 – 21.

Here are a few key points Tony shared:

  • It’s one thing to gather HR metrics. But you need analytics to gain useful insights
  • Analytics can tell the story of your employee recruitment program.
  • Recruiters: Be transparent with salaries. Post salaries with your job postings
  • Retention is highest in environments where employees are happy to come to work every day.

Did you miss #WorkTrends this week? You can listen to the #WorkTrends podcast on our BlogTalk Radio channel here: 

Here are a few of our favorite tweets from our #WorkTrends community. You can see highlights of the entire conversation from our Storify here.

Didn’t make it to this week’s #WorkTrends? 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; or pop into our LinkedIn group to interact with other members; or check out our Google+ page. 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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Seven Keys to Effective Recruiting

Creating a world-class talent acquisition effort that incorporates cool recruiting ideas may seem unrealistic for many HR departments. After all, the pressure to fill the ever-larger pile of open reqs leaves little time for experimentation. And at smaller firms, where recruiting duties often fall to an HR generalist who has to interview candidates in between many other daily duties, attracting good new hires is good enough, which leaves the absolute best hires working someplace else.

Yet, even if you hire just one new candidate a month, you can leverage many of the same effective strategies as the leading companies in talent acquisition, say the folks who lead them. You simply need to learn about the latest trends, and then strive to incorporate some or all of those efforts into your daily hiring routine.

Most HR specialists agree they want to get better at talent acquisition. In a 2016 SHRM survey of more than 2,300 HR professionals, respondents said recruitment was their top business/HR challenge, ahead of compliance, employee training and compensation/benefits. Finding the time to implement these leading strategies is the bigger challenge. To that end, here are summaries of the seven most meaningful steps to creating a more effective talent acquisition effort, according to a range of leading voices in the field. Many don’t require a major investment of time or money, and instead can be incorporated into the recruiting practices you’re using already.

  • Brand your company as a great place to work. If you don’t tell your story, others will do it for you. Having an attractive career web site was a prerequisite 10 years ago. Now, it’s a basic requirement to manage your brand and, once in place, allows you to focus on what makes you special to potential candidates in your marketing materials, across social media and in person. For example, post written and video testimonials on your web site from current employers explaining why they enjoy their jobs, to create an image among prospective hires of what it’s like to work for your company.
  • Maximize employee referrals. Referrals are still the primary source of new hires. In fact, 96% of all companies with 10,000 employees or more say it’s their No. 1 source of new hires, while that percentage falls to a still high 80% for companies with less than 100 employees, according to a 2016 SHRM Benchmarking survey.

“So why are most incentive payments so low?,” asks Tom Darrow, SHRM-SCP, founder of Talent Connections, an Atlanta-based executive search firm and chair of the SHRM Foundation Board of Directors.  “It’s widely known that employee referrals are the best source for candidates, yet many companies offer pitiful ‘bonuses’ of $500 or $1,000 to their employees, while offering search firms a $20,000+ fee for the same position.” He suggests incentivizing staff to serve as recruiters and encourage them to tap into their networks to help fill open positions.

  • Pay at least as much as your competitors for talent and be transparent about what you offer. Make absolutely sure that your total compensation package is competitive and, if one or more aspects are lagging, tell candidates why. Then work with your senior management team to improve your offerings.

“Create a competitive compensation package that reflects your culture, then put the dollars in front of candidates at the start and you’ll likely have to negotiate less,” says Steve Browne, SHRM-SCP, executive director of human resources at LaRosa’s Inc., a Cincinnati-based restaurant group. “It’s a brass tacks approach, but be sure to supplement the dollar discussion with the other workplace benefits you offer, including flexibility, autonomy, the work space and more,” says Browne, who is a director-at-large on the SHRM Board of Directors. Darrow adds that by highlighting what makes your offer most attractive, you can help deflect attention from what doesn’t.

  • Consider hiring more part-time contributors, and embrace their flexibility. If the full-time talent you seek is too difficult to find or costly to hire, then fill each open position with multiple part-time employees who have embraced the “gig” economy and are willing to share the workload. And don’t punish them if they decide to try something else.

“The biggest shift for us culturally is that we tell each new employee that we’ll enjoy you while you’re here, and that we want to make the time you’re with us be great,” says Browne. “So if you decide to become an Uber driver, congrats! We enjoyed having you while we were here.”

  • Build strong talent networks. Learn to develop relationships with potential new hires long before relevant job openings are posted. One approach is to create “communities of engagement” online through social media where candidates can learn about your company and see how current employees have an opportunity to make a difference.

“Too often I see companies aren’t hiring the best of the best; they’re hiring the best of who they stumble on based on their poor sourcing strategies,” says Darrow. He advocates using social media and networking to build a deep pipeline of potential candidates who you may not have jobs for today, but who you can tap into when appropriate openings emerge down the road.

  • Learn and implement predictive analytics. The role of HR metrics has grown dramatically. While you may not need to hire a full-time data analyst, you (or your vendors) should have the ability to measure the effectiveness of all aspects of your recruiting efforts.

“Employers have to be able to assess the probable yield of a recruitment ad in a certain location, among a certain demographic or at one salary point vs. another, and then instantaneously measure the results and make changes to that ad placement and content on the fly,” says Peter Weddle, CEO of, the association for talent acquisition solutions in Stamford, Conn. By managing your recruitment marketing efforts this closely using analytics, you’ll optimize the results and lower your cost per hire, he adds.

  • Simplify job applications. Poor completion rates for online applications results in the loss of top talent, poor word-of-mouth from candidates frustrated with the process and wasted spending associated with abandonment in cost-per-click recruiting models.

About 60 percent of all job seekers quit in the middle of filling out online job applications because of the form’s length or complexity, according to CareerBuilder. Conversely, companies can increase the rate at which candidates will complete an application by more than 300 percent by reducing the length of the application process to five minutes or less, reports Appcast, an online recruitment service. “You have to make applying simple, fast and mobile friendly, or you won’t attract the best candidates,” says Darrow.

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Why Annual Social Media Policy Reviews Are Necessary

With new social media platforms cropping up all the time, workplace social media rules must go beyond simply discouraging employees from putting off deadlines to play with Snapchat filters. In fact, your corporate social media policy could probably use some updating right now, and on at least an annual basis moving forward to reflect industry changes. That is—if you even have one! Only 51 percent of people said their employers have social media guidelines, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey.

No matter the size of your company, ask yourself this: When was the last time you reviewed your company’s social media policy? And if you don’t have a policy in place, what’s holding you back?

Developing a social media policy and keeping it up to date will ensure that your employees are aware of what they can and cannot do, help your company avoid violating any rules, and ultimately, serve to cover the company’s you-know-what.

Here’s a closer look at why you’ll want to make an up-to-date social media policy a priority so you:

Avoid legal scandals. All you have to do is recall Chipotle’s gaffe from 2015, in which it lost a lawsuit for firing an employee who posted negative items on social media. However, the court found Chipotle’s social media policy actually violated federal labor laws. Ouch!

Your takeaway: Work with your legal team to update your policy, so it jives with legal changes coming out of the Federal Trade Commission and the National Labor Relations Board. Your old policy needs to reflect the current legal standards. For instance, the FTC has clear guidelines regarding disclosures and endorsements, so check that out to see how it affects your social media marketing.

Protect company secrets. As the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) explains, a social media policy may actually help safeguard sensitive data from potential hackers and online scams, especially in a BYOD environment. Employees should also know what proprietary information about the company must never be shared—another aspect that needs to be regularly updated as the business grows.

Your takeaway: Protect your company’s information by identifying what is considered confidential, such as marketing tactics, non-public financials, future product launches, and other “for internal use only” communications. Check out GM’s Social Media Policy to see how they spell it out for their workers.

Make it clear what type of social media activity is and isn’t allowed. While it might be obvious that posting illicit, offensive, or insensitive material on a company-branded social media page is a no-no, it still happens. For the people running social for your company, what checks and balances are in place to avoid a public relations disaster? Are the rules different for each platform? Beyond that, though, there is a lot of gray area regarding if and how employees will be held accountable for what they post on their personal pages—and who will monitor that.

Your takeaway: As I’ve written before, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and be as specific as possible in your social media document. And if you needed another reason why it’s so important to continually update and periodically review your policy as new platforms come into play, this is it.

Ideally, effective social media policies should be fluid and responsive to the fast-paced digital world. But at the very least, taking the time to perform a yearly review can save your employees a lot of confusion, and help your company avoid potential pitfalls.

A version of this was first posted on

Preview: 7 Keys to Effective Recruiting #WorkTrends #SHRM17

Most HR and business pros agree they want to get better at talent acquisition. In a 2016 SHRM survey of more than 2,300 HR professionals, respondents said recruitment was their top business/HR challenge, ahead of compliance, employee training and compensation/benefits. Finding the time to implement these leading strategies is the bigger challenge.

Join TalentCulture #WorkTrends host Meghan M. Biro and her special guest, Tony Lee, Vice President of Editorial for the Society for Human Resource Management on Wednesday, June 7 at 1pm EDT when they discuss this timely topic.

7 Keys to Effective Recruiting

7 Keys To Effective Recruitment adJoin Tony and Meghan on our LIVE online podcast Wednesday, June 7 — 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: How does employer branding create a better brand persona? #WorkTrends (Tweet this question) 

Q2: How can developing talent networks streamline hiring? #WorkTrends (Tweet this question)

Q3: In what ways can the gig economy impact recruiting? #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, our TalentCulture World of Work Community LinkedIn group, and our TalentCulture G+ community. Share your questions, ideas and opinions with our awesome community.

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10 Quick Tips for Conflict Management

Like most Conflict Management is not my favorite subject. Nor am I an expert as I have an unresolved conflict currently brewing that I need to heed my own advice on. However, in human resources you often have to be a mediator of conflict between coworkers and manager/employee disagreements. Other times you simply have to provide advice to other managers who need to help their employees deal with conflict. Finally, conflict almost always shows up in the board room regardless of how well we try to avoid it.

So unless you are the king of conflict denial or the queen of pushing conflict under the rug, you may have a desire to fix your conflict situation at the earliest possible time. If not, you should. Life is too short to live with conflict. If you don’t have a desire to resolve, then get ready for the big explosion that is bound to happen sooner or later. You can be sure someone will get hurt post explosion because things are almost always said that is not meant the way it comes out or is taken.

Some studies say we are about 75 percent responsible for how others treat us. If the emotion is negative then most likely some of that responsibility is in your reaction to the situation. If you are a person who tends to allow others to treat you in a way that causes inward or outward conflict, it may be time to put them in three place and make them think twice about doing it again. Of course I don’t mean to do this in a negative way because what does that do? It feeds the fire and causes more conflict. So here is a quick list of suggestions I recommend based on my own experience, education, and practice resolving conflict.

  1. Use Your Words – you cannot resolve anything without expressing how it makes you feel. The key word here is you as in “I”. Choose words that will express but not shame or blame the other person.
  1. Seek First to Understand Then to Be Understood – this is one of the best Steven Covey habits for exceptional people. If you are always trying to be right and never care to understand the other person(s) point of view resolution is not in your cards.
  1. Understand Differences in Perception – just because you see a situation one way doesn’t mean others will see it the same as you. Everyone comes from a life of difference and that may be something you are not aware of.
  1. Remember It’s About Impact Not Intent – take responsibility when someone shares that you may have offended them. You may not intend to hurt them but consider the impact of what you are saying.
  1. Maintain Your Credibility and Respect – this is especially important when your conflict is in the workplace but it can affect family member relationships for years to come as well when reactions go over the line.
  1. What, What and Why? Feedback Framing – this was a tip from a past boss that has always stuck with me and I even use in disciplinary action documentation at times. Explain WHAT happened then go directly in to WHAT could or should have happened in the future (don’t focus on past) and WHY this new suggestion is a better response.
  1. Restate What You Have Heard – say “What I hear you saying is…” to help the other person understand how you may be perceiving what you said as well as helping you further dive into #2 above. It’s a clarification technique that slows you down from reacting negatively to something that may not have been intended.
  1. Gain an Understanding of Emotional Intelligence – the higher your EQ is the better able you will be in managing conflict. The skills can be learned if you know what they are and how to work on them. Some are above but there are more. Free EQ tests are available on the internet.
  1. Practice, Practice, Practice – whether or not you need to practice any of the tips above or something you learn by taking your EQ test, practice it every chance you get. Set reminders on your phone if you must but keep the ideas on the forefront so you learn to make them a habit when the unexpected happens.
  1. Know When to Give Yourself a Time Out – there are times that you heart starts to race or your blood pressure rises and you can physically feel the signs that you are about to blow due to conflict. This is the time to walk away and let the other person know you need some time. The time is healthy for both sides of the conflict to help give perspective and determine a plan for resolution.

Even if these suggestion are just reminders of what you already know, I hope it’s a good refresher and can help maintain a relationship that may be on the verge of being broken. Remember, life is too short to carry conflict for long. Take responsibility now and move forward. I have lost several loved ones (mom, dad, and brother to name a few) in my life recently who I wish I had hugged one more time than I had fought with them. Don’t have regrets and make a difference in your life and others.

photo credit: Where It All Began via photopin (license)

#WorkTrends Recap: #SHRM16 Preview: Professional Development & Relationship-Building

In the world of Human Resources, professional development, networking and relationship-building are not just nice-to-have; they are must-haves. Luckily, conference attendance is a solid way to maintain these important connections. With the workforce and workplace changing rapidly, regular conference attendance informs attendees about the latest trends and best practices, which are vital for career growth.

Attending the right conferences also affords busy HR professionals an opportunity to accumulate educational credits to maintain their certifications. From learning to network to sharing what life is like on the “front lines,” being around other HR professionals is invaluable.

This week, Elissa O’Brien, Vice President of SHRM Membership, and Alex Alonso, Senior Vice President of Knowledge Development of SHRM joined the #WorkTrends show to discuss the importance of networking, relationship-building and professional development in HR.

Here are a few key points Elissa and Alex shared:

  • Impactful networking starts with the question: ‘what can I do for you?’
  • HR thrives on professional development – without it we wouldn’t grow
  • Conferences are a great way to expand your network

You can listen to the #WorkTrends podcast on our BlogTalk Radio channel here.

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

Didn’t make it to today’s #WorkTrends show? Don’t worry, you can tune in and participate in the chat with us every Wednesday from 1-2pm ET (10-11am PT). Next Wednesday, June 22, special guest host Tim McDonald will be joined by Brian Fanzo, millennial speaker and change evangelist to discuss the explosion of live video online.

The TalentCulture #WorkTrends conversation continues every day across several social media channels. Stay up-to-date by following the #WorkTrends Twitter stream; pop into our LinkedIn group to interact with other members; or check out our Google+ community. 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.

Photo Credit: Andrew Bohuslavizki via Compfight cc

#WorkTrends #SHRM16 Preview: Professional Development & Relationship-Building

In the world of Human Resources, professional development, networking and relationship-building are not just nice-to-have; they are must-haves. Luckily, conference attendance is a solid way to maintain these important connections. With the workforce and workplace changing rapidly, regular conference attendance informs attendees about the latest trends and best practices, which are vital for career growth.

Attending the right conferences also affords busy HR professionals an opportunity to accumulate educational credits to maintain their certifications. From learning to network to sharing what life is like on the “front lines,” being around other HR professionals is invaluable.

Next week, Elissa O’Brien, Vice President of SHRM Membership, and Alex Alonso, Senior Vice President of Knowledge Development of SHRM will join the #WorkTrends show to discuss the importance of networking and relationship-building.

Professional Development, Networking & Relationship-Building in HR

#WorkTrends Logo Design

Tune in to our LIVE online podcast Wednesday, June 15 — 1 pm ET / 10 am PT

Join TalentCulture #WorkTrends Host Meghan M. Biro and guests Elissa O’Brien and Alex Alonso as they discuss professional development practices.

#WorkTrends on Twitter — Wednesday, June 15 — 1:30 pm ET / 10:30 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. What are the keys to impactful networking? #WorkTrends (Tweet the question)

Q2. Why is ongoing professional development so important in HR? #WorkTrends (Tweet the question)

Q3. What are some other benefits of attending conferences? #WorkTrends (Tweet the question)

Don’t want to wait until next Wednesday to join the conversation? You don’t have to. We invite you to check out the #WorkTrends Twitter feed, our TalentCulture World of Work Community, LinkedIn group, and in our TalentCulture G+ community. Feel free to drop by anytime and share your questions, ideas and opinions. See you there!

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That’s Recruiting Legitimacy With Perpetual Balance

“Apollo was astonished
Dionysus thought me mad
But they heard my story further
And they wondered, and were sad
Looking down from Olympus
On a world of doubt and fear
Its surface splintered
Into sorry Hemispheres…”

Rush, Cygnus X-1, Book II: Hemispheres

It’s like getting hit on via an online dating site, professionally speaking, of course. A recruiter digs your LinkedIn profile, he sends you a LinkedIn InMail, which is followed by LinkedIn connection request.

Kevin, I have an exciting opportunity with a new technology provider. I think you’re possibly a good fit, so let me know a good time to talk.

And so I did. Why not? Doesn’t hurt to look, right? Have a quick get-to-know-you date?

Being gainfully and happily employed doesn’t stop you from wanting to be wanted. Any one of us can go from passive to active very quickly, pitting our hearts and minds against one another. But, opportunity abounds and there’s nothing wrong with a little window-shopping, especially when they reach out to you. This is what recruiters do, what talent acquisition teams do, modern day matchmaking between job seekers with jobs and helping transforming millions of lives hopefully for the better.

He settled in and pitched me. The conversation was short because of my location respective to the opportunities he had in mind, but his economized sales pitch impressed me.

Had there been a timely fit, the recruiter would’ve been involved throughout the screening process all the way through onboarding and then at that point HR would’ve taken over.

And if he was as good as he came across, he would’ve already searched my network shortly thereafter, or had one of his sourcing team do it. Maybe he found someone in, maybe not, but marketing and sales are his winged steeds of antiquity; his background was extensive sales and M&A. It looked to me as if he’d fallen into recruiting, like many before him and many after, and his job is to put the proverbial butts in the seats.

But recruiting has always been the job that predated human resources by thousands of years and was actually the origin of HR.

Years ago my friend and recruiting colleague, Raghav Singh, wrote a two excellent articles for ERE (Electronic Recruiting Exchange) about the History of Recruiting, Part I and Part II. He wrote about a decree signed by Julius Caesar in 55 B.C., promising a reward of 300 sestertii to any soldier who brought another to join the Roman army. This is the first known example of an employee-referral program. And, it’s a generous one at that: The amount represented a third of a soldier’s annual pay. It reflected how serious the Romans were about finding soldiers. They had the first known recruiters and faced many of the same challenges we have today.

Indeed we do. Raghav went on throughout history and discussed talent shortages in the Middle Ages and the problems with finding qualified workers gave rise to the first employment laws that set wages and restricted mobility, which was aimed to reduce competition for talent and keep the working class in its place.

Ah, so that’s where the gods of the talent wars bifurcated…

Again, recruiting has mostly been the accidental career choice. Professionals from varied backgrounds but with a unifying theme of marketing, sales and investigative technical savvy are the ones who’ve fallen into being recruiters and sourcers.

However, unlike HR, formal education is still lacking for recruiters and sourcers. It’s largely ignored and dismissed by academia, and yet there’s a growing need for comprehensive corporate recruitment training programs. Gerry Crispin, a life-long student of staffing and co-founder of CareerXroads and Talent Board’s Candidate Experience Awards, has been an advocate for decades that recruiting move from occupation to profession, calling for a national recruiting organization. In fact, Gerry goes as far as to postulate recruiting is really the point of HR and the true predictor of successful business outcomes directly related to company performance.

Shally Steckeral, another pioneer in talent sourcing and recruiting and founder of the Sourcing Institute Foundation, told us on the TalentCulture #TChat Show that recruiting is and should be a legitimate career choice, but that it’s too fragmented and hasn’t coalesced into a unified and organized professional association. That there’s not really a formal training program with certification for recruiting, and there’s no unified standards – think American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

Today there are organizations like Shally’s Sourcing Institute Foundation that provide education programs and sourcing and recruiting certifications, but there are still too many smaller local professional organizations (like the highly successful recruitDC) and not a unified national or global organization.

In 1999, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) acquired the Employment Management Association (EMA), at the time the only broad-based national recruiting association. The organization was over 40 years old at the time, but had struggled with membership. A decade later the last vestiges of the EMA were absorbed into the SHRM talent management machine.

HR didn’t kill recruiting, but it did relegate to front-end tactical work driven solely by economic indicators and cyclical hiring needs. HR also organized more quickly as a collective entity and has survived ever since because it’s well defined and grew organically. It was needed it for very specific regulatory and compliance reasons (OFCCP and EEO), to protect us and our business from our very messy selves.

If Shally had his way, he’d define recruiting as finding, attracting, engaging, assessing and onboarding talent for available work within an organization. I agree – it’s a globally accepted definition these days both in the practitioner and the solutions provider communities.

I’d go even farther and postulate that we’re all perpetual candidates who are either being constantly re-recruited into their current organizations (engagement and opportunity) or recruited out of them (attrition and opportunity). The point beyond onboarding must include the continuous warming of current employees, marketing to them and reminding them all the time with growth opportunities why they’re here and the mutual benefits therein, and that means a recruiting mindset. Talent acquisition then becomes talent development and they’re forever bound together programmatically. The core principles of recruiting become the valid and reliable underpinnings of all talent management.

That’s recruiting legitimacy with perpetual balance and ultimately the true predictor of successful business outcomes. I believe it’s time to reorganize the bottom line.

“They sat a while in silence
Then they turned at last to me
‘We will call you Cygnus
The god of Balance you shall be…’”

Opportunity Cost Be Damned

More CowbellTwo middle-aged men walk into an elevator. The taller and heavier of the two points to the other’s t-shirt. It’s an Saturday Night Live t-shirt with a silkscreen silhouette of Will Ferrell in the “More Cowbell” sketch.

“Very nice,” he says. “Classic.”

The other guy, the one with a mostly white goatee beard wearing the Rush baseball cap, gives him a thumbs up.

“I know. One of the best.”

“Yes, it’s my favorite.”

“Where did you get it?”

“At the SNL store at 30 Rockefeller Center. I’m on vacation with my family.”

“Excellent. That’s a great buy. Can never have enough cowbell.”

The guy in the SNL t-shirt shrugs and says, “You’re right, but not really a good deal. It was thirty bucks out the door, but it’s a must have and we were there. Plus, if I had ordered it online and added in shipping costs, it might’ve been a wash, or maybe I would’ve saved. Who knows.”

The bigger guy winks then smiles and says, “Maybe, but that’s the price we pay for the opportunity cost, right?”

“You are correct,” I say. I was energized that this kind stranger gave me a economics reference with a lighthearted wink and a smile.

Opportunity cost, a core concept of economics that ensures we use limited resources wisely and choose accordingly, although there will always be a cost (not always monetary either) associated with not choosing the other choices other than the first one we choose, like a missed opportunity we’ll never know we missed.

Got that?

Like choosing a career path for the first time, or choosing a new job from a few offers (if you’re sought-after folk), or choosing the people you want to work for your business (if you’re in the people-choosing profession). Any way you slice it there’s an opportunity cost associated with these choices, one that you may never fully comprehend because there’s no way to get to the “what if’s” in the real world.

You can imagine and project based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data, salary data, population demographics, and other types of workplace market data readily available today. I mean, I could’ve been a civil engineer or an architect.

But that doesn’t matter now, and it doesn’t matter for any of us once we’ve progressed beyond choosing the career or the person to fill that career – at least, not until we choose again.

According to the latest Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement research report, the choice rewards are up slightly and the opportunity cost down, with 86 percent of U.S. employees reporting overall satisfaction with their current job, an improvement of five percentage points since 2013. In fact, this percentage matches the highest level of satisfaction over the last 10 years, which was in 2009, and between 2009 and 2013 the levels of job satisfaction had gradually declined.

Plus, according to the same SHRM research, the top five contributors to employee job satisfaction in 2015 included:

  1. Respectful treatment of all employees at all levels
  2. Trust between employees and senior management
  3. Benefits, overall
  4. Compensation/pay, overall
  5. Job security

Now, 26 percent of these respondents were Millennials, the soon to be if not already majority of the workforce. My mothership PeopleFluent is actually on a mission to capture new insights from these kids today and our Millennial research will close on July 17 (Millennials can take the survey here). In the meantime, we’ve uncovered some a few things that I think are worth sharing, a couple of which align with the above SHRM research:

  • 75% say they’d leave their current job for better pay (isn’t that most of us?)
  • Nearly 80% are more engaged when they have mentorship programs at work (respectful treatment and trust are born from these)
  • More than 26% expect their next role is with an entirely new employer (ah, more opportunity costs)

We look forward to uncovering more and you can register now for the full independent research report to be published in September.

We all know what happens to employer brands when the current employees aren’t satisfied and engaged – there’s a poison that seeps into the people pools and taints them for miles and miles.

But when they are satisfied and engaged, they will evangelize your company culture in an authentic, transparent way, something we discussed on the TalentCulture #TChat Show with Stacy Donovan Zapar, an 18-year recruiting veteran for Fortune 500 tech companies and Founder of Tenfold, a boutique recruiting consultancy and training firm.

We agreed that, although we all long for flexibility and fun, work is actually really hard at times, and it will be stressful and mind-numbing and soul-sucking, regardless if its full-time or contract work. But if those individuals and organizations who employ have an “satisfying” employer brand and offer fulfilling work experiences, it helps those who are seeking to choose a potentially better career path and a more rewarding job. And it helps those HR and recruiting professionals choose those who are seeking, rounding out that magical economic equation of supply and demand.

The part when you wink and smile and think opportunity cost be damned.

Live from #SHRM15: The Brilliant HR Profession of Today and Tomorrow

SHRMWe’re very excited to announced that the TalentCulture #TChat Show will be live from the 2015 SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition in Las Vegas, NV on Wednesday, July 1, 2015, from 1-2pm ET (10-11am PT). We’re going to talk about the brilliant HR profession of today and tomorrow.

Get this: The enterprise executive whose traits are most similar to those of the CEO is the CHRO.

Did you get that? The CHRO (42 percent of which are high-performing females), not the CFO, CMO, or CIO. This all according to “counterintuitive” and groundbreaking research based on data from executive recruiting firm Korn Ferry and the work of Dave Ulrich, a University of Michigan professor and a leading consultant on organization and talent issues.

This research also clearly revealed that a CEO’s people skills, strategy, flexibility, energy and empathy (and many other business-centric attributes) closely align to the CHRO.

The HR profession has never looked brighter and HR leaders are now powerful change agents, amplifying talent engagement and driving business outcomes. And according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), HR professionals are feeling more confident about the job security and growth opportunities than ever.

Sneak peaks:

We hope you’ll join the #TChat conversation on July 1, 2015, and share your questions, opinions and ideas with our guests and the TalentCulture Community.

Thank you to all our TalentCulture sponsors and partners: Dice, Jibe, TalentWise, Hootsuite, IBM, CareerBuilder, PeopleFluent, SmartSearch, Predictive Analytics World for Workforce and HRmarketer Insight. Plus, we’re big CandE supporters!

Sneak Peek:

#TChat Events: The Brilliant HR Profession of Today and Tomorrow

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

Join TalentCulture #TChat Show co-founders and co-hosts Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman as we talk about the brilliant HR profession of today and tomorrow at #SHRM15 with this week’s guests: Chanel Jackson, HR Business Partner, Honda of America Mfg., Inc.; Callie Zipple, PHR, HR Rewards Analyst, Zebra Technologies; and Steve Browne, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, Executive Director of HR, LaRosa’s, Inc.


Tune in LIVE online Wednesday, July 1

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

Q1: How confident are HR pros about their job security and growth? #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Q2: What top skills do HR pros need to have a successful career? #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Q3: How can HR help with tech adoption and create a better employee experience? #TChat (Tweet this Question)

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

Subscribe to our podcast on BlogTalkRadio, Stitcher or iTunes:

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The TalentCulture conversation continues daily on Twitter, in our LinkedIn group, and on our Google+ community. Engage with us anytime on our social networks or stay current with trending World of Work topics through our weekly email newsletter. Signing up is just a click away!


Image Credit: Big Stock Images

New Day HR Drives the Next Gen Fire

“Wait a minute. Wait a minute, Doc. Ah…Are you telling me that you built a time machine…out of a DeLorean?”

“The way I see it, if you’re gonna build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some style?”

youre firedOn October 21, 2015, Marty McFly and his girlfriend Jennifer will travel back to the future together to see themselves married with children. They’ll be shocked by their own Gen X aging and adult foibles, and then Jennifer will witness older Marty, still easily set off when challenged, engage in an illegal transaction with a colleague. He gets immediately fired via a video conference call from his boss because of his idiotic action. HR was nowhere to be found in this exchange.

Marty and Jennifer will also see their future children – shallow, nerdy, wimpy and smart-alecky digital natives, flippant Millennials who don’t seem to have a clue or promising future. Actually, these are stereotypes of Millennials before we really had Millennial stereotypes. But the universal “work sucks ‘cause we suck” mantra has unfortunately never gone away, and like the movies, further paradoxical hijinks ensue week after week. However, progressive HR and business leaders are doing their best to combat both these days in the real 2015.

Today’s HR ecosystem and the hiring economy are both highly complex, confusing and competitive. They aren’t the highly advanced and exclusive Tesla battery-powered luxury cars (unlike the DeLoreans of old). No, they’re more like a classic high-performance engine we keep tinkering with, tuning up, swapping out old parts for new, with a lot of sweat and tears, through every boom and bust cycle, especially the latest.

And the complexity is killing us. According to ManpowerGroup’s 10th annual Talent Shortage Survey, 43 percent of U.S. employers say talent shortages are having a negative impact on their ability to meet client needs. The consequences include:

  • Reduced competitiveness and productivity (41 percent)
  • Increased employee turnover (32 percent)
  • Higher compensation costs (32 percent)
  • Reduced employee engagement/morale (32 percent)

And even though according to Gallup Research the percentage of U.S. workers engaged in their jobs rose from an average 31.7% in January 2015 to an average 32.9% in February 2015 (and held steady through April 2015), it’s really only an incremental increase from where it stood in February 2014.

Human resources and the work workplace have got their work cut out for them. According to the latest Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM®) Workplace Forecast (The Top Workplace Trends According to HR Professionals), more than one-half of HR professionals think that retaining and rewarding the best employees (59 percent) and developing the next generation of corporate leaders (52 percent) will be the greatest challenges over the next 10 years.

But how to deal with these challenges? Over the next 10 years HR professionals feel the solutions include providing flexible work arrangements (40 percent) and a culture of trust, open communication and fairness (37 percent). One-quarter said offering a higher total rewards package than competitors and providing career advancement opportunities (26 percent) would be most effective.

And that’s the thing, you know? Industry experts and the media always talk more about what keeps business leaders up at night and less about actionable strategies that enable positive change and help them sleep. Change isn’t easy, especially when being applied to solve business problems, but new HR initiatives are important, organization-shifting moments for a company.

When CHRO’s and their business leader counterparts consider a change for their organization, those who think beyond the ordinary get sustainable business outcomes, this according to TalentCulture #TChat Show guest Mark Stelzner, founder of IA HR, a consulting firm that helps HR leaders transform their complex organizations with confidence.

“Sustainable change also requires empowerment – no one person owns change, we all do,” Mark shared with us all. This was illustrated by his story of Williams-Sonoma hiring a graphic artist to literally illustrate the current process of organization so all the players engaged in the change management could visualize where they were and where they needed to go, making it accessible and adoptable for everyone in the organization.

They ended up drawing three-headed monsters and people pulling their hair out and deconstructing all the business processes into what really worked and what didn’t. The results included everything from greater HR technology adoption to improved employee engagement and other positive outcomes because the changes they made weren’t top-down theoretical; they eventually reflected the day-to-day realities of the organization.

No matter how intimidating it is for HR and business leaders to change in our ever-changing hyper-flux-capacitor economy, something as simple as this example becomes quite a catalyst for transformation for the entire organization and every generation employed.

Laugh if you want, but when Marty McFly traveled back to the future in 1985, Whitney Houston released “Greatest Love of All” that opened, “I believe the children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way….”

Those children today make up over half the workforce – and they are more than empowered. And sometimes the future appears brighter than maybe it actually is, and that’s okay for this aging Gen Xer. I recently interviewed two Millennial HR professionals (Chanel Jackson, HR Business Partner, Honda of America Mfg., Inc., and Callie Zipple, PHR, HR Rewards Analyst, Zebra Technologies) for a special preview of an upcoming live TalentCulture #TChat Show at the SHRM 2015 National Conference & Exposition.

Their refreshing yet guarded optimism still flooded me with enthusiasm for “New Day HR” – to take policy and process risks that will empower the workplace and drive future business outcomes (without compromising the organization legally or opening it up to an audit – none of us can get away from that). They were all about social adoption and flexible workplaces and everything that wiser sages than me have been advocating for over a decade.

“Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.” Actually Doc Brown, we still do, but New Day HR drives the next gen fire of empowerment and that’s a future I look forward to, today.

Special Note: If you’re a Millennial, please take the PeopleFluent Next Generation in the Workforce survey. Your anonymous responses will provide valuable insight for employers as they consider how to hire and develop their next generation of employees. The survey has up to 26 questions and will only take approximately 4 minutes to complete. Upon completion, you will have the opportunity to enter to win one of several randomly drawn prizes, including Beats by Dre headphones. Thank you!

HR Conversions Stick To The Ribs And Souls

By the time she met with me, her discomfort and exhaustion were evident. She was vulnerable and it showed: her tired eyes avoided direct contact and her hoarse voice betrayed her disgust. She slowly slid my paperwork in front of me.

“Mercy me,” I said. She nodded and closed her eyes.

We were all vulnerable that fateful day, our proverbial hearts on our sleeves, each and everyone wondering what we were going to do next, severance packages in hand. Earlier that afternoon, our HR director’s mood had been much more upbeat and empathic when she embarked on processing layoff after layoff, nearly the all the remaining 75 employees. At our height just a few months prior, we were just shy of 200 employees with nothing but blue sky ahead.

“I’m sorry, Kevin,” she said.

“Don’t be. This was my choice,” I said.

“Well, your only alternative is to stay on commission only to try and prevent this ship from sinking.”

I shrugged. “It’s sunk; not an alternative for me. I just feel sorry for those who didn’t have a choice, who have families.”

She feigned a smile. “Yes, I know.”

“Your job sucks.”

“Yes, I know.”

A lifetime and another incarnation later, I heard these words:

“I’m in HR because it’s fun.”

Wait, what?

This time from a VP of Human Resources at a local credit union. One of her staff members, an HR generalist specializing in recruiting, echoed the sentiment. In fact, they positioned their brand and roles so eloquently, they practically had me convinced to finally convert to CHRO-nity and become a real HR pro (which of course could never happen in a million years, me only playing HR on TV and radio to date).

The two HR professionals and I had been on a local career panel together speaking to high school students about their career futures, whatever those may be. We shared our backgrounds, our wisdom and our diverse realities of what the world of work may have in store for them, and how to plan for it all and take ownership of it all, through business busts and booms.

Back to the part about HR being fun. I wanted to tease her about that comment and the fact that HR has never really been viewed as fun from a mainstream world of work perspective. They’re responsible for the not-so-fun compliance enforcement, benefits administration, performance reviews and outplacement work, among other slightly more glamorous employee-related responsibilities.

But I didn’t tease her, because the students immediately lit up and started asking all sorts of career questions about working at the credit union, and about what it’s like to be an HR pro and how to become one.

Lit up as in excited. Motivated. Dreaming of their future beyond high school where they could make a difference in their communities and businesses where there families and their friends lived and worked.

Dreaming of work that could be fun, like in HR.

And why not? The human resource profession is involved in every single aspect of a business, every single department and division, and every single applicant, employee, alum, contractor, and vendor – you name it. HR pros are the go-to folk in organizations big and small. They humanize the brand and help workforce communities thrive.

The world of work revolves around people and that’s what makes business buzz with capitalistic reverence. I’m fortunate because, while not a practitioner by trade, I’ve had the opportunity to recruit, hire, train, develop, evaluate, promote (and terminate when necessary) – based on “performance” and the needs of the business.

Not an enviable position by any stretch of the imagination. In a recent Human Resource Executive Online article by Susan R. Meisinger, former president and CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management, she talks about HR’s perception problem, writing:

Simply stated, what human resource managers do on a daily basis is personal to each and every employee. And not every employee likes what we do.

And neither do the other business leaders. That’s the conundrum of converting to HR and CHRO-nity. HR professionals spend a lot of time taking care of the people within their organizations. They drive people performance that propels the business performance and empower the “propellants” these include these nurturing activities – engagement, collaboration, communication, mentoring and learning.

But beyond certification (controversial as it is now), HR pros don’t take enough time to do the same, to network and help one another, when they can and should.

Again this summer I witnessed thousands of HR pros learning, networking and “certifying” together at the 2014 SHRM Conference where we heard American journalist, columnist and author Tom Friedman say these words so matter-of-factly:

“No one cares what you know. They only care about what you do with what you know.”

This is why the benefits of HR conversion are in the communion and the collective commiseration, but so many still fall short on supporting themselves and others with the HR space, which is again, why mentors are so important.

Hey, let’s keep it unstructured as well and go hang out for happy hour, right? Happily we learned on the TalentCulture #TChat hour about the Whine & Dine Human Resources Networking Group, founded in 2003 the Northeastern U.S. on a simple premise – to advance professional and social networking for Human Resources professionals without the burden of membership fees, event fees or excessive rules or requirements and to support the HR community everywhere.

It needn’t be the last supper when your professional peer group gathers to talk shop and knowledge swap. No, as long as we’re all paying for our own food and drink, we’ll see you next week, and the week after that, and the week after that. That’s where the fulfilling HR conversions stick to the ribs and the souls.

Although since I just had knee surgery, someone’s gotta come pick me up.

Anyone? C’mon, I’m feeling vulnerable.

photo credit: greg westfall. via photopin cc

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continuous Commitment Counts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shravan Goli Sara Fleischman (2)

See the Preview Post now

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

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


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


Listen to the #TChat Radio replay

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

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

See highlights in the Storify slideshow below:

#TChat Insights: Finding Tech Talent to Fuel the Future

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Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

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

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

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

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

We’ll see you on the stream!

Image Credit: Top Student Challenges

Best Employers: What Makes Them Work? #TChat Preview

(Editor’s Note: Looking for full highlights and resource links from this week’s #TChat Events? Read the recap: “Workplace Greatness: No Guarantees.“)

We’ve all heard the bad news about the state of today’s workplace. Years of economic recession, business upheaval and intense global competition have taken a toll on organizational culture and employee engagement. Media channels are brimming with stories of employers that miss the mark.

So, where’s the good news?

Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For

Learn more about the 2014 list

Maybe that’s why Fortune Magazine‘s “100 Best Places to Work For” list is so popular. Each year, it shines a light on what really works. We’re reminded that organizational excellence is all around us, and we have a chance to learn from those examples.

Fortunately this week, the TalentCulture community gets a front-row seat in that learning process, as China Gorman joins us at #TChat events!

As many of you know, China is CEO of Great Place to Work Institute — the firm that produces the “Best Companies to Work For” list. The 2014 edition was announced last Thursday, so we’ll be looking at the very latest results. And based on what I’ve seen, this year’s list deserves closer attention.

Sneak Peek: Shifting Priorities

To set the tone for this week’s events, China joined me for a brief “sneak peek” Hangout, where she explained that the 2014 study reveals two new top management priorities:

Last week, she shared other takeaways in a TalentCulture blog post: How Great Companies Attract Top Talent.

What are your thoughts about employers on this year’s “best” list? Do you see evidence that organizational culture is gaining ground as a source of competitive advantage? What role should “best practices” play in improving talent strategies? Join us this week to share your ideas and opinions with the #TChat crowd!

#TChat Events: Lessons From Great Workplaces

#TChat Radio — Wed, Jan 22 — 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT


Tune-in to the #TChat Radio Show

Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman talk with China Gorman about what it takes to create and sustain an extraordinary workplace culture. Tune-in LIVE online this Wednesday!

#TChat Twitter — Wed, Jan 22 7pmET / 4pmPT

Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and China will move to the #TChat Twitter stream, where Dr. Nancy Rubin will moderate a live discussion with the entire TalentCulture community.

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

Q1: How does a company become a “great place to work”?
Q2: What characteristics do fast-growing and great workplaces share?
Q3: How does an employer brand interact with the recruiting process??
Q4: Why is a great workplace more about business strategy than HR?
Q5: How can HR convince leadership that workplace technology is a smart investment?

We look forward to hearing your ideas and opinions, as talent-minded professionals who care about the human side of business.

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

We’ll see you on the stream!

Candidate Experience: Getting It Right #TChat Recap

“I am convinced that nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day you bet on people, not strategies.”
Lawrence Bossidy, Author & Former CEO, Honeywell

If talent is what matters most at the end of the day, why do so many companies struggle to provide a stellar experience for job candidates? And how can we finally fix that?

This is the hot topic the TalentCulture community tackled this week at #TChat events — with guidance from two of the HR community’s most knowledgeable candidate experience experts:

Elaine Orler, President of Talent Function Group and chairman of The Talent Board;
Gerry Crispin, Staffing Strategist and Co-Founder of CareerXroads Colloquium.

(Editor’s Note: See #TChat highlights and resource links at the end of this post.)

Building Brand Advocates One Job Opening At A Time

What is candidate experience, anyway? Of course, it starts long before a potential employee ever arrives for an interview. In fact, some #TChat-ters say it’s smart to think of it as an ongoing brand experience that begins the moment an individual envisions a future with your organization, and continues throughout the recruitment process, and beyond.

Smart employers consider all the touch points in that process, not just the tone and content of a job description. Every interaction helps shape a candidate’s impression — from the way a company website portrays its workforce, and the way it engages with employees on social media, to the pace and flow of ongoing communication with applicants. No detail should be overlooked.

Why do details count? Because, according to our guests (and the 2013 Candidate Experience Survey Results), these factors make a lasting impression on job seekers. And cumulative impressions can determine a brand’s destiny.

Early results from nearly 50,000 former job candidates confirms what common sense tells us. Once candidates develop a perception of an organization, they’ll share their thoughts with others. And that word-of-mouth behavior can have a measurable impact on your business — for better or worse.

Roadmap For Improvement

Early next year, The Talent Board will publish a detailed survey report to help employers make meaningful changes to their candidate experience. But in the meantime, here are some self assessment questions:

• Have you walked a mile in your candidate’s shoes? (And documented that walk?)
• What kind of first impression does your company project?
• Do you acknowledge job seekers when they apply or submit a resume?
• What proportion of inquiries are completely ignored?
• Is information about your company culture available, accurate and complete?
• Are your employees empowered as brand ambassadors?

Inspiration From Candidate-Friendly Companies

How do great employers like Zappos and Microsoft make their candidate experience stand out? They treat everyone with respect and common sense. They also display other “best practice” behaviors.

These actions leave a lasting positive impression – even when candidates aren’t hired. Even when they’ve invested significant time and energy to conduct company research, customize a resume, apply for the position, prepare for and participate in interviews, and follow-up with hiring managers.

Of course, word now travels incredibly fast on social channels. And with organizations like The Talent Board paying close attention, the voice of the candidate is getting louder all the time.

So, if you care about influencing the way your organization is perceived by candidates, consider the resources and highlights from this week’s #TChat conversation, below. Thanks to everyone who contributed opinions and ideas. This is how we can move the meter in a positive direction!

#TChat Week-In-Review: Candidate Experience Survey Insights

Gerry Crispin (2)

Watch the #TChat “sneak peek” video now

SAT 12/7:

#TChat Preview:
TalentCulture Community Manager, Tim McDonald, framed the week’s topic in a post and “sneak peek” hangout video with guest, Gerry Crispin. Read the Preview: “Candidate Experience: Survey Insights.”

SUN 12/8: Post: TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro looked at how employers can improve their hiring process to achieve better business results. Read: “5 Tips For A Winning Candidate Experience.”

MON 12/9:

Related Post: Guest blogger, Matt Charney, recommended a provocative approach to improving the status quo. Read “Compliance: Why It’s The Only Fix For Candidate Experience.

WED 12/4:


Listen to the #TChat Radio replay now

#TChat Radio: Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman spoke with guests Elaine Orler and Gerry Crispin about the early findings from the candidate experience survey. Fascinating stuff. Listen to the radio recording now!

#TChat Twitter: Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin, Elaine and Gerry joined the TalentCulture community on the #TChat Twitter stream, for an open crowdsourcing conversation centered on 5 related questions. See highlights in the Storify slideshow below:

#TChat Insights: Candidate Experience Survey Insights

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Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Elaine Orler and Gerry Crispin for sharing your perspectives on candidate experience trends and implications. We value your time and expertise!

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about how companies can offer a more effective job candidate experience? We welcome your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll pass it along.

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week, #TChat welcomes leadership development expert, Steve Gutzler, to discuss the role that emotional intelligence plays in our job performance and our effectiveness in leading others. Look for more details this weekend.

Meanwhile, the World of Work conversation continues. So join us on the #TChat Twitter stream, our LinkedIn discussion group. or elsewhere on social media. The lights are always on here at TalentCulture, and we look forward to hearing from you.

See you on the stream!

Image Credit: Pixabay

Employee Referral Programs: How To Expand Your Circle

Written by Ziv Eliraz, CEO, Zao

There’s a reason why employee referrals are touted as the #1 hiring source. Each referral is a credible thumbs-up from a trusted member of your organization, confirming that the candidate is qualified for the job and will fit-in with your culture. Plus, when tons of people are responding to your job postings, referrals can be an effective way to separate the good from the bad, while accelerating time-to-hire.

It’s all good. So, why not expand that model?

Traditionally, referral programs have been built around an organization’s internal network, with employees identifying likely prospects. However, smart companies understand that their external network is filled with potential sourcing allies — business partners, vendors, professional peers, college connections, even former employees. It just takes a different approach to get them on board.

Four ways to extend your referral program reach:

1) Incorporate Rewards

Relevant rewards can be a powerful incentive. Plus, they work. Research shows that when companies offered rewards to trusted members of their external network, 41% of referral hires came from those non-employees. As a result, referral hires were 69% higher than through employee channels, alone.

Tip:  Make sure the value of the reward is calibrated to the business result. For example, a token gift card or social recognition could be given to acknowledge a hot lead — while cash compensation would be more appropriate when a referral is interviewed or hired.

2) Go Mobile

Consider contractors and other virtual contributors members of your workforce. Although they may not be employees, they can still provide value through referrals. However, because many operate from remote locations, your referral program should be accessible on-the-go — through smartphones, tablets, or other mobile devices. This lets your external network easily refer candidates wherever and whenever the opportunity strikes.

Tip:  Create an employee referral app or a mobile-accessible portal that is tailored specifically for external network members. This helps them feel like they’re part of the program, and makes it convenient to participate.

3) Automate The Process
While your external network can make a significant contribution to your referral pipeline, recommending candidates is an added duty they must perform without immediate reinforcement. Try to make the referral process as quick and easy as possible by automating the process. New technologies can automatically compile jobs, sending relevant reminders to the correct people at the right time, and recommending appropriate next-step actions. Automation not only keeps the referral program continuously active, but also guides your external stakeholders in their role.

Tip:  Rolling “push” communication is a smart idea. For example, you can automatically share job updates every Wednesday at 3 p.m., or whenever your network is most active. That way, your program participants learn when to expect information. Also, it’s wise to personalize message content — sending relevant messages to the right people. This avoids frustration for participants, who would otherwise have to search for information they need.

4) Incorporate Game Dynamics

Gamification uses game-based strategy, learning and mechanics to increase engagement in non-game systems. While it may seem like an uncommon strategy, 70% of the world’s top 2,000 public companies will have integrated gamification into at least one business application by 2014. In this case, it can be a fun way to involve external parties in your referral process, using quick feedback, creating friendly competitive challenges and other methods that keep your participants engaged.

Tip:  A great way to introduce game dynamics is through a leaderboard or a point-based tracking system. Members of your network can see how they’re contributing to the overall referral process, and see how they compare with top performers. This not only creates a sense of friendly rivalry, but also offers ongoing feedback that helps remind participants that their recommendations are not being ignored.

Tap Into Your Full Sourcing Potential

Of course, employee-only referral programs aren’t a bad idea. However, at some point, there is a limit to how many people an individual employee knows directly. While your internal network can provide some excellent referrals, your external network can amp up the quality and diversity of potential hires. Although you may not think of external allies first, they can be a great referral resource because they understand your organization’s culture, they know your business needs, and they often have a vested interest in your success.

What do you think? Do you involve your external network in the employee referral process? What kind of results have you seen?

Ziv Eliraz-001 (About the Author: Ziv Eliraz is Founder and CEO of Zao, social employee referral platform. Connect with Ziv on LinkedIn and Zao on Twitter and Facebook.)

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

Image Credit: Pixabay

HR Generalists: Tricks of the Trade #TChat Recap

Recruiting and hiring.
Compensation and benefits.
Organizational design and development.
Compliance and employee relations.
Training and performance management.
Change management and internal communications.
The list goes on…

In today’s world of work, the areas of expertise that define HR are varied and complex. Yet, most companies are too small to employ a dedicated staff of specialists. It forces the question:

In an era of increasing specialization, how can one person successfully run an entire human resource department?

Of course, this isn’t just an academic exercise. For many HR professionals, nonstop multitasking now seems to be a way of life. Recent research by The Society For Human Resource Management suggests that there’s a widespread need to support small HR shops. According to SHRM, a majority of its 275,000 members represent HR departments of 1-5 people. They know what it means to juggle many demands on a daily basis. But how can they perform effectively?

That’s the issue our talent-minded community tackled this week at #TChat Events, where two  “in-the-trenches” HR veterans led the discussion:

Dave Ryan, SPHR, Director of Human Resources at Mel-O-Cream Donuts, and
Donna Rogers,
SPHR, owner of Rogers HR Consulting, and management instructor at University of Illinois Springfield.

(Note: For details, see the highlights slideshow and resource links at the end of this post.)

Context: How Essential Is HR, Itself?

Recently, a debate has been brewing about the value of HR departments, overall. Bernard Marr questioned the need for an HR function, while Josh Bersin championed its role. Bersin emphasizes the fact that, despite a tremendous need to reskill and transform the HR function, human resources professionals help solve some of today’s most fundamental business problems. Top executives recognize the strategic role that talent plays in organizational success, and HR professionals are best equipped to define, shape and implement those strategies.

But how does that apply to solo HR managers, who may be living in a perpetually reactive zone? Ben Eubanks describes the best one-person HR departments as leaders with entrepreneurial traits:

We don’t pick up the phone and call our corporate HR team. We ARE the corporate HR team.
We are comfortable with research and making judgment calls.
We constantly seek out opportunities for professional development — if you’re not growing you’re dying.

Comments From the TalentCulture Crowd

Because many #TChat-ters understand the challenges that multi-tasking HR generalists face each day, the vast majority of Twitter chat participants sang the praises of one-person shops. In addition, many offered thoughtful advice. For example:

As the #TChat discussion demonstrates, solo managers don’t need to wait for industry events to connect with smart advice. Social tools make it easy to create a network of virtual resources to assist when you need it. Do you have a question about an unfamiliar subject? Tweet it with a relevant hashtag. (Try #TChat!) Post it to a LinkedIn HR discussion group. I guarantee you’ll get responses, faster than you expect.

Social tools also are useful for communication within your organization. Intranets are a great way to enable collaboration and communication at a relatively low cost. Cloud-based tools are available for internal discussions, project management, and reporting. Hiring systems and performance management solutions also offer social integration without steep IT costs. The possibilities are limited only by the time and interest HR managers invest in professional networking and research.

Above All: Aim for Agility

It seems that, of all skills needed for one-person HR superheroes, the most important is agility. Put aside the notion that you can execute perfectly, across-the-board. Prioritize carefully. Then, with the time and budget available to you, apply tools and resources as efficiently as your able, while making it all seem effortless.

Scared? Don’t be. If you’re reading this, you know that a worldwide community of like-minded people is right here to support you. We’ve got your back!

#TChat Week-In-Review: HR Departments of One

Donna Rogers and Dave Ryan

Watch the hangouts in the #TChat Preview

SAT 11/30:

#TChat Preview:
TalentCulture Community Manager, Tim McDonald, framed this week’s topic in a  post featuring #TChat hangout videos with guests Dave Ryan and Donna Rogers. Read: “HR: How to Succeed at Flying Solo.”

SUN 12/1: Post: TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro looked at 7 ways leaders can foster a high-octane social workplace culture. Read: “Top 5 Reasons HR Is On The Move.”

MON 12/2:

Related Post: Guest Donna Rogers shared wisdom from her experiences. Read “Survival Tips for HR Departments of One.

WED 12/4:


Listen to the #TChat Radio recording

#TChat Radio: Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman spoke with guests Dave Ryan and Donna Rogers, about the challenges and rewards of operating as a one-person HR department. Listen to the radio recording now!

#TChat Twitter: Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin, Dave and Donna joined the TalentCulture community on the #TChat Twitter stream, as I moderated an open conversation that centered on 5 related questions. For highlights, see the Storify slideshow below:

#TChat Insights: HR Departments of One

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Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Dave Ryan and Donna Rogers for sharing your perspectives on HR management. We value your time and expertise!

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

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week, #TChat looks at the latest Candidate Experience trends and best practices with guest experts, Elaine Orler and Gerry Crispin! Look for more details this weekend.

Meanwhile, the World of Work conversation continues. So join us on the #TChat Twitter stream,  our LinkedIn discussion group. or elsewhere on social media. The lights are always on here at TalentCulture, and we look forward to hearing from you.

See you on the stream!

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

HR: How to Succeed at Flying Solo #TChat Preview

(Editor’s Note: Are you looking for a full recap of this week’s events and resources? Read the #TChat Recap: “HR Generalists: Tricks of the Trade.“)

“I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.”
–Stephen Covey

Are you an “HR department of one”? If so, you’re not alone.

Statistics suggest that there’s a legion of U.S. small company practitioners who function as all-in-one HR virtuosos.

The Bureau of National Affairs says that the median HR-to-employee ratio remains fairly stable, at 1.1 HR practitioners for every 100 workers. And according to the SBA, more than 98% of firms employ less than 150 employees. No wonder the Society of Human Resources Management  (SHRM) reports that most of its 275,000 members are from departments of 1-5.

Making It Work

With so many solo HR managers in today’s world of work, it’s important to understand how successful practitioners serve their organizations across all specialties. What practices promote effectiveness and efficiency, despite limited bandwidth? How should you prioritize your efforts? That’s the topic we’ll explore this week with two experts who know how to make it work:

Dave Ryan, SPHR, Director of Human Resources at Mel-O-Cream Donuts, and
Donna Rogers,
SPHR, instructor of management at University of Illinois Springfield, and owner of Rogers HR Consulting.

Dave helped set the stage by briefly explaining what it means to wear many HR hats:

And Donna offered her perspective as an experienced HR consultant and teacher:

What’s your advice for HR colleagues who need to do more with less? This is a topic that affects all of us, directly or indirectly. So bring your tips, questions and opinions — and join this week’s #TChat conversation!

#TChat Events: The HR Department of One

#TChat Radio — Wed, Dec 4 — 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT


Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show

Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman talk with Donna Rogers and Dave Ryan about how to ensure that HR remains effective, even in small company environments. Tune-in LIVE online this Wednesday!

#TChat Twitter — Wed, Dec 4 7pmET / 4pmPT

Immediately following the radio show, our discussion moves to the #TChat Twitter stream, where Dr. Nancy Rubin will moderate an open chat with the entire TalentCulture community. Everyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we address these questions:

Q1: What’s the first thing a one-person HR shop should do and why?
Q2: How should an HR pro organize and scale for all talent activities?
Q3: How should HR pros and business owners partner in small companies?
Q4: What other resources should one-person HR shops consider utilizing?
Q5: What technologies help keep one-person HR shops productive?

We look forward to hearing gathering helpful wisdom from the crowd — so bring your best HR management advice, and let’s talk!

Throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed and on our LinkedIn Discussion Group. So please join us share your questions, ideas and opinions.
We’ll see you on the stream!

Survival Tips for HR Departments of One

Written by Donna Rogers, SPHR

My HR career began in corporate training more than 22 years ago. Our department included three trainers and a coordinator. We reported to an HR director with responsibility for multiple functions — payroll, employment, compensation, policies & procedures, and more. It was definitely not an HR department of one.

However, after several years there and at another large corporation, I downsized dramatically into exactly that — an HR department of one. Me, myself, and I. “We” worked for the greater good of two small family-run companies; the first had 130 employees, and several years later I moved to an organization with 150 employees. Both were in the manufacturing sector, although my corporate experience had been in financial services.

Boy, were those positions different from my big-company background! However, my corporate experience helped me bring professionalism and thoughtfully designed programs to those smaller organizations. And not surprisingly, I continued to learn, even as I found ways to implement HR best practices without the luxury of an HR staff.

Are you looking for guidance as a one-person HR department? Here are 4 key lessons from my past:

4 Tips For HR Departments of One

1) Assess The Territory
It’s essential to get to know the management team and staff as deeply and quickly as possible. My first step was to schedule meetings with each division head and anyone else involved in the process of hiring, firing, and performance management. I created an agenda for each meeting, and I focused not just on gathering situational intelligence, but also on sharing my expectations and asking for ideas about how I could help meet organizational goals. These sessions don’t need to be formal; however, they should reveal enough insights for you to prepare a mini HR needs assessment.

2) Create A Roadmap
Your needs assessment can be your guide, as you write a project plan that prioritizes everything you need to accomplish — including ideas gleaned from the management team. Once I had this plan in place, I had the ability to gain management buy-in — and then there was no stopping me from moving forward to reach my goals. Until, of course, reality struck when I discovered just how limited the budget would be.

3) Think Resourcefully
Financial constraints can put a tremendous crimp in your ability to implement effective HR programs. In my second position, I faced a double whammy. We were cash-strapped, and existing vendors were reluctant to extend credit because the company had a D- rating from Dun & Bradstreet and Standard and Poor’s. It was the first time I had to pay COD (cash on delivery) for anything in business. With a lack of financial resources, I tapped into my professional network instead. My industry connections were a huge asset, as I called upon them for advice and suggestions to overcome budget obstacles. And in those days “a call” was literally that – a “phone” call — almost unheard of these days with email, social media, and professional online groups available at our fingertips. However, even now, I believe that a quick call can be the fastest, most effective way to get things done.

4) Make Technology Your Friend
Of course, technology doesn’t stop with telephones. And the most important thing you can do as an HR Department of One is to rely upon technology to help you work more efficiently. Implementing a solid HRIS (Human Resources Information System) can save hours — sometimes days — when generating management reports, tracking compliance, developing HR plans and conducting program analysis. Also, if cost is an issue (or even when it’s not) you can easily leverage social media for multiple purposes. For example, low-cost social survey tools help you instantly gather feedback from employees about job satisfaction. Social channels also offer a wide variety of career-related destinations and communities where you can drive recruitment that positions your organization as a talent acquisition leader.

These days, I’m one of the resources that HR departments of one rely upon for advice and assistance, when they don’t have the time or expertise to perform those services, themselves. I’m here to help fill essential gaps — whether it’s providing an objective opinion about staffing issues, mapping out a new program, or providing regulatory guidance as an alternative to costly attorneys or full-service consulting firms. For example, I’ve worked side-by-side with Dave Ryan to help him accomplish HR goals at Mel-O-Cream Donuts.

It’s rewarding to work in this capacity. Having operated in my clients’ role previously, I understand what they are going through. I can suggest solutions that I know will make their job easier. I can recommend no-cost/low-cost resources. And I can show them a better way to help HR support business objectives. It advances their company’s mission, and at the same time, it advances the practice of HR.

What do you think about the future of HR departments? Are companies likely to rely more heavily on these decentralized models? Is that a smart trend for business? And what does it mean for those of us who are HR professionals? Share your thoughts in the comments area.

DonnaRogers(About the Author: Donna Rogers, SPHR, instructor of management at University of Illinois Springfield, and owner of Rogers HR Consulting. She has a Masters in Human Resources Development from UIUC, a Bachelor’s in Public Relations from ISU. Her firm is an HRCI Pre-Approved Provider and Small Business of the Year award winner. She earned the HR Professional of the Year and Lifetime Achievement Award from CIC-SHRM. She regularly delivers numerous presentations among professional groups, previously taught at Robert Morris College and has guest lectured at Benedictine University. She also serves her HR professional peers as a North Central Region – Membership Advisory Committee Representative, and is the Past Director for the Illinois State Council of SHRM. Connect with Donna on Twitter or LinkedIn.)

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

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

Mobile Hiring Hits The Fast Lane #TChat Recap

Several weeks ago, we started a #TChat discussion about the rapid increase in demand for mobile recruitment. Why?

Meeting Talent On Talent’s Terms

Smartphones and tablets are now essential tools for many of us, and statistics reveal just how prevalent mobility has become. For example, a report by Marketing Land indicates that nearly 40% of Internet use is driven by mobile devices. And Jibe found that, despite perceived obstacles, 86% of job seekers with a smartphone want to use that device in their search.

Recruiting consultant Michael Marlatt says the staggering pace of mobile adoption shouldn’t surprise us, because mobile devices offer a very personal connection. “It’s one of three things we carry. We never leave home without it. It’s the keys, the wallet or purse, and the mobile device.”

Mobile Hiring: Moving Beyond First Impressions

In this landscape, it makes sense for employers to offer mobile-optimized career sites and application management processes. Mobile-friendly recruitment enhances the candidate experience and gives employers a competitive edge in the quest to find top talent.

Recruitment certainly is a logical starting point. However, it’s only the first chapter in a much larger employment story.

What happens after a candidate is selected? In the critical timeframe between recruitment and onboarding, how can organizations leverage mobile tools to streamline hiring steps? And along the way, how can mobile engagement continue to solidify an employer’s relationship with new recruits?

Ignoring those questions can have costly consequences — for both employer brands and employee retention. So this week, our community expanded the recruiting discussion to look at how mobile technology can transform the entire transition from candidate to employee. To guide our conversation, we invited two experts in hiring process innovation:

Todd Owens, President and COO at TalentWise, a next-generation hiring platform provider, and:
Kyle Lagunas, Talent Acquisition Industry Analyst at Brandon Hall Group.

What’s At Stake For Employers?

Why is mobile increasingly vital for the hiring process? As Kyle recently noted, 22% of U.S. turnover occurs within 45 days of employment. If organizations aren’t fast and efficient at bringing new hires up to speed, they’re at risk of adding to those statistics. And with the average cost of turnover at about 20% of an employee’s salary, failure at this stage can have a significant impact on the bottom line.

So, how can HR organizations leverage the immediacy and reach of mobile to make the entire hiring process more efficient and effective? For wisdom from the crowd, check the resource links and highlights from this week’s events, below. Thanks to everyone who contributed ideas and opinions!

#TChat Week-In-Review: Mobile + Hiring = Good Match?

Todd Owens #TChat Preview Video - Mobile Hiring

Watch the #TChat Sneak Peek Video

SAT 11/9:

#TChat Preview:
TalentCulture Community Manager Tim McDonald framed this week’s topic in a post that featured brief “sneak peek” hangout video with one of our guests, Todd Owens. Read the Preview: “Hiring: Moving Forward With Mobile?

SUN 11/10: Post: TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro offered 5 guidelines for business leaders who want to make the most of mobile recruiting and hiring. Read: “Leadership Is Catching a Mobile Recruiting Wave.

MON 11/11 + TUE 11/12:

Related Posts: Two guest bloggers offered related insights:
Read: “Mobile Hiring: A Smarter Way to Seal the Deal.
Read: “HR Flashback: The Way We Worked.

WED 11/13:


Listen to the #TChat Radio show now

#TChat Radio: Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman spoke with guests Todd Owens and Kyle Lagunas about the business benefits of extending mobile recruiting strategies to the entire hiring process. Listen to the radio recording now!

#TChat Twitter: Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and guests joined the entire TalentCulture community on the #TChat Twitter stream, as I moderated an open conversation that centered on 5 related questions. For highlights, see the Storify slideshow below:

#TChat Insights: Mobile Hiring — HR Evolution or Revolution?

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Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to  Todd Owens and Kyle Lagunas for sharing your perspectives on the increasingly vital role of mobile strategies throughout the employment lifecycle. We value your time and expertise.

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

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week we celebrate “community” in a big way — as we look back on 3 years of #TChat at a very special anniversary double header with Hootsuite VP of Talent, Ambrosia Humphrey.

Meanwhile, the World of Work conversation continues. So join us on the #TChat Twitter stream, on our LinkedIn discussion group. or elsewhere on social media. The lights are always on here at TalentCulture, and we look forward to hearing from you.

See you on the stream!

Image Credit: Pixabay

Hiring: Moving Forward With Mobile? #TChat Preview

(Editor’s Note: Looking for a full recap of the week’s highlights and resources? Read the #TChat Recap: “Mobile Hiring Hits The Fast Lane.”)

Several weeks ago at #TChat Events, our community discussed the rapid rise in demand for mobile recruiting.

The statistics are mind-boggling. Already, it’s estimated that 1 billion job-related searches are initiated each month from mobile devices. That kind of volume means organizations everywhere are racing to make their candidate experience more mobile friendly.

Mobile Recruiting Leaps Forward: Can Hiring Keep Pace?

These explosive mobile adoption figures lead us to wonder — what happens after the recruitment phase?

Are HR organizations committed to mobile-friendly hiring processes — from the offer letter to onboarding — and beyond? What will it take to connect the mobile workforce dots across the entire employee lifecycle? And how can we get there from here? That’s what we’ll explore this week at #TChat Events, with two talent acquisition experts:

Kyle Lagunas, Talent Acquisition Industry Analyst at Brandon Hall Group and
Todd Owens, President and COO at TalentWise, a next-generation hiring platform provider.

Todd took several minutes to help frame this week’s issues in a “sneak peek” hangout with me:

This is an important issue for talent-minded professionals everywhere. So we hope you’ll join the conversation this week. We look forward to hearing your ideas and opinions!

#TChat Events: Mobile Devices + Hiring = Good Match?


Tune-in to #TChat Radio

#TChat Radio — Wed, Nov 13 — 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT

Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman talk with Todd Owens and Kyle Lagunas about how mobile hiring processes extend the candidate experience and improve HR effectiveness. Tune-in LIVE online this Wednesday!

#TChat Twitter — Wed, Nov 13 7pmET / 4pmPT

Immediately following the radio show, we’ll move this discussion to the #TChat Twitter stream, where Dr. Nancy Rubin will moderate an open chat with the entire TalentCulture community. Everyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we address these questions:

Q1: What exactly is mobile hiring, and how it is being applied today?
Q2: What are the advantages of hiring anywhere, anytime?
Q3: How can mobile hiring showcase an organization’s corporate culture?
Q4: How can companies get all generations to adopt mobile recruiting/hiring?
Q5: Is mobile hiring a revolution, while mobile onboarding is an evolution?

Throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed and on our LinkedIn Discussion Group. So please join us share your questions, ideas and opinions.
We’ll see you on the stream!

Hiring Culture: Creating A Recruitment Ecosystem

Written by David Smooke

Every organization has its own unique “hiring culture,” in addition to its core company culture. Hiring culture deserves just as much attention as company culture, because the two are deeply intertwined. The way an employer acquires talent determines not only who works at the company, but also the very essence of how those people function.

Culture: A Reality Check

Before we look at ways to elevate your hiring culture, let’s first look at how esteemed cross-cultural researcher Geert Hofstede defines culture:

“Culture is the collective programming of the human mind that distinguishes the members of one human group from those of another. Culture in this sense is a system of collectively held values.”

By extension, a strong definition of company culture emerges: “the collective programming of the human mind that distinguishes the members of one company from another.”

So, what attracts people to a particular company (and culture)? And what motivates them to move from one culture to another? Early interactions with a new company bring us face-to-face with that organization’s hiring culture. It’s essential to make those initial experiences as approachable and authentic as possible. How?

Elevate Your Hiring Culture — Focus On 3 Key Factors

1) Alignment With Company Culture

Hiring culture feeds off of company culture, and company culture feeds off of hiring culture. However, your company culture has more inertia. In other words, every day, a mass of employees brings your company culture to life. Each employee is essentially a walking, talking, full-fledged marketing campaign, demonstrating what it means to work at your company. Do those employees know what your business stands for?

Companies such as TOMS and Google are models of how to “own” a company mission that focuses on social good. TOMS employees speak proudly about how every shoe purchase leads to a free pair of shoes for someone in need. This positivity carries over to its culture. Google employees popularized the slogan, “Don’t Be Evil,” as a way of pledging not to abuse the company’s abundance of information.

Every employee at your organization should know what your corporate slogan means, and feel comfortable sharing that concept with others. For example, I’m proud to say that my company stands for Zero Unemployment.

2) Transparent Employer Branding

Adding transparency to your employer branding gives potential hires a better idea of the impact your company is trying to make on the world, and a more accurate impression what it’s like to spend a day in your environment. You want to attract people that want to be there. Therefore, you have nothing to lose by being bold and straightforward. For example, Zappos offers employees $2,000 to quit because, as they say, “We really want everyone to be here because they want to be, and because they believe in the culture.”

To increase the transparency of your employer brand, and attract people who will be passionate about your company, try these tactics:

•  Share authentic pictures of what it is like to work at your company (real pictures of real employees on the job)
•  Counsel employees on why and how they should talk about your company and share your brand message, and;
•  Be awesome. This cannot be faked. When a company’s mission, vision and values are worthy, it shows.

3) Streamlined Hiring Communications

Finally, take a careful look at your hiring process. Where do you see disconnects in communication? How do they affect the speed and quality of talent acquisition? Consider a more collaborative model. For example, with a team of 3 to 4 people (rather than only 1 or 2), the hiring manager draws on more perspectives for a well-informed hiring decision, and you can get your team more invested in each new hire.

No matter how you structure hiring teams, it’s essential to have a system in place that facilitates information exchange across all levels. Hiring managers must have a way to define and update the information they want from interviewers; interviewers need a simple way to capture and share their impression of candidates, and stakeholders need an easy way to review and exchange input, so they can make timely, effective hiring decisions.

Better Hiring Culture = A Better Business

According to HubSpot CEO, Brian Halligan, “If you’ve got a great product, it pulls in customers; if you’ve got a great culture, it pulls in employees.”

But here’s the rub: You can’t have a consistently great product without consistently great employees. And you can’t have great employees without a clear, coherent, compelling hiring culture. Hiring culture determines who you’ll attract as employees. Those choices will shape your company culture, and inevitably, your bottom-line.

Is your hiring culture attracting, closing and retaining the best talent for your company? What do you think it takes to develop and improve a hiring culture? Share your ideas in the comments area.

headshot(Author Profile: David Smooke is Director of Social Media at SmartRecruiters, the hiring platform. In addition to overseeing SmartRecruiters’ online communities, David is the Editor-in-Chief of the SmartRecruiting Blog and co-organizer of monthly Smartup events. He believes remarkable content determines the usage of every news feed.

David lives in San Francisco and enjoys walking the city, reading Dostoyevski, playing basketball, and discussions of the internet’s potential growth. Connect with David on Twitter at @DavidSmooke, and on LinkedIn at

Feature image credit: alborzshawn via Flickr

Recruiters On Twitter: Rise of "Coffee Talk" Learning

Written by Mona Berberich

In college, one of my teachers regularly told me that the room with the coffee maker is the most important place in an office, because it’s where people learn the most. At the time, I thought that this guy was perhaps a lazy coffee addict who was definitely in the wrong job.

However, 10 years later, I realize that he was right. The space near the coffee machine was where people gathered to briefly put work pressures aside and open up in an informal way — sharing what was on their minds, getting advice from peers and even generating new ideas.

The New Coffee Room

Today, there’s a whole new world of coffee rooms out there — it’s called social media. Whenever people tweet, retweet, read, share or like, they are contributing to something bigger — the social learning community. One of the most important platforms for social learning is Twitter, where many business people “gather” to share information and ideas on an ongoing basis. These behaviors are studied by companies like Leadtail, a social analytics platform vendor, which published a detailed Social Insights Report last week, focused on the Twitter activities of HR professionals.

That report deserves attention because the HR community is vital in transforming workplace culture, defining social business policy, and driving workforce development. In short — talent-minded executives, recruiters and training professionals are shaping the future of social learning.

What Is Social Learning?

For those who aren’t familiar with it, think of social learning as a process where people rely on digital tools to connect with one another, and exchange information with a specific purpose in mind — typically to expand their knowledge, to develop their competence, or to collaborate in resolving a common challenge. In contrast to formal classroom training, where an instructor “lectures” to a group, social learning is characterized by a two-way communication flow. Thanks to advances in mobile, web and collaborative technology, most of us can engage in social learning whenever and wherever we want. And Twitter is one of the most powerful engines of social learning — with information flowing on the stream 24x7x365.

Who Helps Recruiters Learn?

At the request of, Leadtail also drilled down within the HR realm to focus on Twitter behavior among recruiters — looking at engagement, reach and sources of influence from March-June 2013. During that time, recruiters shared 55,576 tweets with a total of 835,336 followers. And, as the graphic below reveals, Meghan M Biro, founder and CEO of TalentCulture, is the HR personality that recruiters most often retweeted.


When you recognize that Meghan has attracted almost 56,000 Twitter followers to-date, the reach and importance of her Twitter presence becomes clear. A single tweet immediately can touch 56,000 people. But her impact doesn’t stop there. As the “most retweeted” recruiter resource, her Twitter “multiplier effect” is astonishing. For example, even if only 10% of her followers see and read a tweet, and only 4 followers retweet that item to their followers … and so on … and so on … you get where this is going. Even one tweet has the potential to get attention from thousands of people, over time. (Example below.)

The Leadtail report features several other key metrics — top 25 media content sources, leading brands that attract recruiter attention, and recruiters’ favorite hashtags. Among those hashtags is #TChat – a moniker that many people associate with Meghan M Biro. Anyone can use the #TChat shorthand to “tag” information of interest to talent-minded professionals. It’s also the tag used to drive the TalentCulture community’s weekly interactive Twitter chat events. Bottom line: It’s hard to move around the Twittersphere and not bump into Meghan or TalentCulture in some form!

Social Learning Hot Spot

As these examples show, Twitter is becoming a magnet for social learning — by facilitating informal knowledge exchange, topic-driven chat events, or even backchannel for industry conferences (as recruiters discovered recently when rallying around the #SHRM2013 hashtag). The attraction is easy to understand. It’s a simple, low-cost, immediate way to engage with people — and it’s a natural extension of social recruiting best practices.

Many recruiters are now at the forefront of social learning on Twitter. And as a recent Huffington Post article suggests, people like Meghan M. Biro are leveraging Twitter to engage the HR community in a way that not only positions her as an expert, but also boosts the credibility and visibility other HR professionals, as well.

What’s Your Social Learning Hot Spot?

Are you a recruiter or HR professional? How are you using Twitter or other social tools to expand your expertise? What challenges and opportunities have you experienced? Let me know in the comments below, or share your perspective on the BetterWeekdays website!

Mona Berberich2(Editor’s Note: Mona Berberich is a Digital Marketing Manager at Better Weekdays, a Chicago-based company that has developed a platform to help HR leaders source, screen and develop talent based on job compatibility. She is a researcher and writer covering HR, career growth, talent management and leadership development. Contact Mona on Google+ or LinkedIn or Twitter.)


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