Dear Leaders: Please Revisit Your Corporate Culture

What makes a great leader? Is it the capacity to inspire loyalty, the ability to articulate a vision, emotional intelligence, or persuasiveness? Does a company need a leader whose values are culture-based, or one whose values are aligned with the needs of shareholders and the marketplace?

Maybe it depends, which is why it’s so important for job seekers and future employees to do a bit of digging to ensure the companies they’re interviewing with holds values compatible with their own. Often this boils down to trust. Plain and simple. And yet oh so complex.

Searching out the value structure of a company culture is more important than ever as it relates to recruiting and retaining talent. In my discussions with clients and candidates, I hear often that we are in the middle of a sea change – a generational shift in values. As Millennials make deeper inroads into the workplace, they’re bringing a new set of values, a need for a collaborative culture and a lack of interest in existing workplace structures that is creating tension among workers of other generations. People dance around this a lot, but it needs to be said: things are changing, and fast. Business leaders must be ready to accept that workers’ value systems are in flux, and be prepared to manage through complexity and change.

This topic came up when I was talking with a client about a talent retention challenge he was facing. His office is populated by workers of three generations: Millennials, Gen X, and Boomers. Friction in the office was disrupting productivity, but he couldn’t quite put his finger on the real issue. He runs an analyst firm with a fairly flat management structure. Leaders in this workplace with 20+ years of business experience do most of the strategy and management. These people tend to be Boomers in this culture. They’re used to hierarchical management – in other words, they’re accustomed to giving and taking direction, acting independently but consulting with top management, mentoring a lot (we hope), and collaborating in a formal way. They value independence, loyalty and the free exchange of ideas (we hope).A middle layer of GenXers does most of the day-to-day client management – the tactical work – while learning the ropes of strategic counseling. This group is, not surprisingly, a skeptical but hard-working bunch very focused on upward mobility. They, like the Boomers, are comfortable with limited hierarchy. Skilled client relationship managers, they expect everyone to pitch in and pull their weight. They value self-reliance, don’t always follow the rules, are loyal to themselves, and demand work-life flexibility.

The youngest group, the Millennials, supports the client managers. They prefer to work collaboratively but with people of their peer group. They have no problem questioning authority, love to brainstorm, and don’t always understand why their ideas aren’t implemented. They expect to progress quickly in their careers but aren’t always in agreement with senior management on the path. They value innovation, are loyal within their peer group, value social interaction and see work as a means to an end.

When we mapped out the different value systems of employees, my client began to see the problem: his values, which the company was built around, were accepted by the senior team, questioned by middle management and viewed as out of date by the junior team. The generational misalignment in values had created a culture of distrust. Client work was suffering. What could he do? We came up with an exercise along with HR: employees were asked via a blind survey to list the top five things they liked about working in the company, the five least desirable factors, and encouraged to share their ideas for improving the work culture. After analyzing the responses here’s what my client and I realized was needed:

A shared purpose: Mission, vision, and values – everyone had to understand the value system, the purpose, the mission. Even if everyone viewed with their own unique lens. My client assumed everyone was on the same page; His page. This was not the case. He was surprised by this result but immediately put a blended team together to tackle presenting a single, coherent story together. This was the first step to a more clear employer brand.

Training to ensure skill levels and competency: Necessary to ensure all employees trusted the skill levels of their colleagues.

More, and better, communication: The client thought communication cross-teams was working, and he thought he communicated well, but the different values of the age groups made it obvious this area needed work.

Clear reward system and growth path: The path to upper management had to be articulated, expectations set, and reward systems demystified. And be social. Yes, I mean social media.Yes, I mean HR Technology if it fits.

Acknowledging and celebrating differences: To rebuild trust, the client needed to be clear that he was aware of different styles and willing to honor the diversity of the group.

It wasn’t an overnight fix, of course. A values and culture misalignment happens over time, and requires an investment of time, trust, open communication and shared sense of commitment to repair. As the workplace continues to change, as Boomers retire and GenX and GenY moves up, this scenario may be more common. Leaders need to be prepared to take alternative routes of thinking into account to build and motivate winning teams and values. You will not keep your top talent by sitting on the sidelines and hoping. Taking action matters.

Oh and btw … I am hoping soon we can move way from generational stereotyping but it’s still alive and well in my conversations. Only when I was able to point out to him generational “facts” was he able to really give me a buy-in for these ideas to implement. See the irony here? The truth is we are more similar than we give ourselves credit for. Sometimes it’s as simple as communication. Often this is the missing link. Here’s to hoping.

A version of this was first posted on Forbes.

#TChat Recap: Passive Recruiting With Conversation-Based Content

Passive Recruiting With Conversation-Based Content

The world of recruiting has embraced many new shapes and forms over the years. Now, it’s dedicated by whatever the industry throws at it, which is not entirely a bad thing. Recruiting is more creative and innovative than it has ever been. We’ve learned that social recruiting is not a trend, it’s a recruiting strategy. We’ve also learned that passive candidates require passive recruiting. If you’re a new entrant to the workforce then you may not have come across it yet, but if you’ve been around long enough then you know it’s when recruiters offer you a brief glimpse of a what a new career elsewhere looks like. The trick is providing passive candidates with the kind of content and dialogue that sticks out to them, but also takes the conversation to the next step. Using conservation-based content to jump start the conversation with passive candidates works. According to #TChat’s guest this week: Bryan Chaney, a Global Talent Sourcing and Attraction Strategist and Sourcing Executive at IBM, conversation-based content increases candidate response rates by 54%.

Bryan knows that engaging passive candidates requires:

Getting passive candidates to pick up your call or seriously consider a job offer is tricky. Recruiters need to be real with candidates, and put the attention on what their needs are versus shouting out job offers because it’s part of their job responsibilities. Recruiters need to focus on:

Ultimately, conversation-based content is about initiating a conversation with real people through a real conversation. The great thing about new recruiting techniques is how they spring to life. Creative thinking and technology is usually the guilty party. Recruiters can initiate conversation-based content by understanding that:

The toughest part about this is figuring out how not to let recruiting efforts go in vain. Measuring success is vital to any strategy, and even more vital to recruiting success. Sure, some candidates show obvious enthusiasm and others show little until they receive their job offer. Either way, recruiters need to understand what’s working and what isn’t for them to find success on a consistent level. Recruiters should consider this:

This week’s #TChat discussion on Passive Recruiting With Conversation-Based Content was a simple reminder that recruiting candidates takes skill, and diligence to understand what certain candidates want, and in this case, what passive candidates want out of their careers. So we need to ask the right questions with passive candidates. Their attention and needs are different. We have to remember, if we want them to hear us back then we have to first listen to them. 

Want To See The #TChat Replay?


Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

Thanks again to our guest: Bryan Chaney, a Global Talent Sourcing and Attraction Strategist and Sourcing Executive at IBM. Click here to see the preview and related reading.

#TChat Events: Passive Recruiting With Conversation-Based Content

TChatRadio_logo_020813 #TChat Radio — Are you plugged in to #TChat radio? Did you know you can listen live to ANY of our shows ANY time?

Now you know. Click the box to head on over to our channel or listen to Passive Recruiting With Conversation-Based Content.

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

We welcome your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we may feature it! If you recap #TChat make sure to let us know so we can find you!

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Save The Date: Wednesday, August 13th!

Join us next week, as we talk about The Talent Science of Cultural Change during #TChat Events.

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


#TChat Preview: How Talent-Centric Recruiting Improves Business Outcomes

The TalentCulture #TChat Show is back live on Wednesday, May 14, 2014. #TChat Radio starts at 6:30 pm ET (3:30 pm PT) and the convo continues on #TChat Twitter chat from 7-8 pm ET (4-5 pm PT).

Last week we talked about building resilient workplace cultures, and this week we’re talking about how talent-centric recruiting improves business outcomes.

Progressive organizations today are looking for every possible advantage to attract and retain the best candidates. These organizations are continuously searching for new ways to engage candidates earlier, communicate their compelling employment brand story, and enhance the candidate experience, as well as the recruiter and hiring manager experience.

The 2013 Candidate Experience Awards survey results from nearly 50,000 candidates from over 90 progressive companies show the emerging importance of communicating a company’s culture as a key point of differentiation, as well as decreased emphasis on job benefit details.

The good news is that according to the CandE data, the top marketing content employers make available, and the content candidates consume, includes company values, why do people want to work here and why do they stay, and other related “cultural fit” topics.

Talent acquisition processes and systems that are built around the unique needs of not only candidates, but recruiters and hiring managers as well, are what give those progressive companies a competitive advantage.

Creating a personalized recruiting experience that is talent-centric, fostering consistent employment branding through video, continuous peer-to-peer collaboration and critical analytics are what lead to better business outcomes like faster recruiting, better hires, and improved retention.

Join #TChat co-creators and hosts Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman as we learn more about how talent-centric recruiting improves business outcomes with this week’s powerhouse guest: Elaine Orler, President and Founder of Talent Function.

Sneak Peek: How Talent-Centric Recruiting Improves Business Outcomes

Elaine and Jeff Interview

Watch Now!

We spoke briefly with our guest Elaine Orler, to learn a little about improving business outcomes with talent-centric recruiting. Check out our YouTube Channel for videos with other #TChat guests!

Related Reading

Elaine Orler: Candidate Experience 2013: The Good, The Bad, The Better

Adam Eisenstein: Putting the Candidate First: MHFI wins Candidate Experience Award

Kevin Grossman: How to Improve Your Recruiting Strategy Through Candidate Sourcing Data

Meghan M. Biro: It Takes Talent To Become A Top Recruiter 

Maren Hogan: What They Tell You To Do About Candidate Experience

We hope you’ll join the #TChat conversation this week and share your questions, opinions and ideas with our guests and the TalentCulture Community.

#TChat Events: How Talent-Centric Recruiting Improves Business Outcomes

TChatRadio_logo_020813 #TChat Radio — Wed, May 14 — 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman talk with our guest Elaine Orler!

Tune-in LIVE online this Wednesday!

#TChat Twitter Chat — Wed, May 14 — 7pmET / 4pmPT Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and our guests will move to the #TChat Twitter stream, where we’ll continue the discussion with the entire TalentCulture community. Everyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we gather for a dynamic live chat, focused on these related questions:

Q1: What is the current state of recruiting for candidates, recruiters and hiring managers? (Tweet this Question)

Q2: How can companies improve the overall talent acquisition process? (Tweet this Question)

Q3: What does it mean to be talent-centric versus process-centric? (Tweet this Question)

Q4: What are three key recruiting performance metrics that drive actionable talent analytics? (Tweet this Question)

Q5: How has technology impacted candidate, recruiter and hiring manager engagement experiences? (Tweet this Question)

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

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