Welcome Everyone To Job Fair

“Dreams flow across the heartland
Feeding on the fires
Dreams transport desires
Drive you when you’re down
Dreams transport the ones who need to get out of town…”

—Neil Peart


Or the ones who need to get out of jail.

“Welcome to Job Fair everyone!”

The auditorium filled with clapping and laughter, every seat taken by women of all shapes and sizes, from all ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, but most of them simply wore gray and orange jumpsuits.

Women in various outfits ranging from office professional to “street” professional lined the stage. A Dress for Success representative proceeded to review each outfit, not hesitating to ridicule all but two of the women.

One woman, dressed like a cutesy sailor girl, and another like a call girl, were called out.

“Ladies, companies don’t hire whores or children, they hire adults.”

The crowd whooped it up, and the two women not ridiculed were selected for the next round of Job Fair.

On stage, an executive from Phillip Morris then interviewed the two well-dressed women. Yes, the cigarette company. One of the women was much more prepped than the other, much more professional in her demeanor, much more thoughtful in her interview answers. The other, not so much.

“The winner is, Tasha Jefferson!” announced the Phillip Morris executive.

A few minutes later, Tasha stopped the assistant warden and asked her about getting the actual job she had just “won” in the Job Fair contest. The assistant warden proceeded to tell her nobody wins a job in prison.

Tasha was crestfallen.

“Okay,” the assistant warden conceded, “you’ll get ten dollars added to your personal account.”

Tasha smiled. “That’s something,” she said.

But none of this was real, at least, not quite. It was a scene from a Netflix show based on one women’s experience in prison called Orange Is the New Black. (Funny they called it “Job Fair” as in an official, proper name, not “the job fair.”)

It struck me as I watched this particular episode that, with the dismal employee engagement numbers and voluntary attrition rates as they are, especially for hires during their first year of employment, many of us feel as if we’re in prison, chaffing against the repetition, straining against the faith,” trapped with not even continuous development “conjugal” visits to temper the daily grind.

Peers and colleagues help, of course, but most are just as trapped as you are, some even in solitary. But mercy me, many of us are on stage everyday at Job Fair trying to be seen, to be heard, to be considered for other internal opportunities should they make themselves apparent as well as being an apparent fit.

Apparently not, although maybe there’s a little extra added to our paychecks, because indeed we are somewhat valued. That’s why it should be no surprise why companies struggle to retain top talent from the moment the ink is dry on the new hire paperwork (hopefully that’s online paperwork, you know?).

The good news?

Listening to talent leaders like Tracey Arnish, SVP of Talent at SAP, talk about how they foster development from the recruiting front end for all new employees, and how they empower career paths and opportunities right from the first-day get-go, a refreshing one-size-fits-one approach.

And how they themselves have experienced longevity in the organization because they had the opportunity to work up and across the business (think like a lattice), gaining valuable insight for where they ultimately ended up at this point. Not everyone will end up on the leadership path, but everyone should end up on a development one that continually maximizes their value for both individual and collective.

Which is why we should always:

  • Welcome. This may include assigning buddies and peer-to-peer networks seamlessly before day one even starts, so the new employees feel welcome and have support, regardless of role, classification or location (in the office or remote). Incremental and attainable individual and group goals can also be set up with their first 3-6 months to ensure complete workplace and cultural immersion as well as shortening their initial time to contribution.
  • Everyone to Job Fair. Once onboarded, networked and contributing, every single person — full-time to part-time to temp to contingent — is a perpetual candidate and a growth opportunity for the company at large. In turn, providing a continuous mobility experience to your workforce that includes the flexibility to dial up and down their level of contribution, while ensuring they’re career paths are personalized growth opportunities, are the keys to retaining knowledge and your competitive edge.

Companies invest a lot in their talent up front and to lose them quickly because of little to no nurturing empowers their competitors. Why look outside first when you already have a highly competitive and trained internal talent community and referral network?

Nobody wants to work in a prison. Let the Job Fair rehabilitation begin.

#TChat Preview: The Power Of Workforce Culture And Continuous Talent Mobility

The TalentCulture #TChat Show is back live on Wednesday, June 11, 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 how to have a transformative onboarding experience for new hires, and this week we’re talking about the power of unique cultural immersion and continuous talent mobility.

According to 2013 SuccessFactors WFA Benchmarking Data, normal voluntary turnover is 8.9% annually compared with 18.8% voluntary turnover for hires with their first year of employment. That’s more than double.

It’s no wonder companies struggle to retain top talent from the moment the ink is dry on the new hire paperwork. This is why progressive companies are doing everything they can to create fun and engaging onboarding processes and technology platforms that are unique and configurable to the individual, not the same old tired one-size-fits-all approach.

This includes assigning buddies and peer-to-peer networks seamlessly before day one even starts, so the new employees feel welcome and have support, regardless of role, classification or location (in the office or remote). Incremental and attainable individual and group goals can also be set up with their first 3-6 months to ensure complete workplace and cultural immersion as well as shortening their initial time to contribution.

And it doesn’t stop there. Through the onboarding and networking process, every single person from full-time to part-time employees to temp and contingent employees is a perpetual candidate which is a growth opportunity for the company at large. In turn, providing a continuous mobility experience to your workforce that includes the flexibility to dial up and down their level of contribution, while ensuring they’re career paths are personalized growth opportunities, are the keys to retaining knowledge and your competitive edge. Why look outside first when you already have an internal talent community and referral network?

Join #TChat co-creators and hosts Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman as we learn about the power of workforce culture and continuous talent mobility with this week’s guest: Tracey Arnish, Senior Vice President of Talent at SAP.

Related Reading:

Tracey Arnish: Close Skills Gap By Attracting The Best And Brightest Talent Everywhere

John Zappe: Time For Job Offers To Be As Exciting As College Admissions

Meghan M. Biro: How To Succeed At Real-Time Talent Alignment 

Val Matta: New Year, New Hires: How To Up Your Hiring Game In 2014

George Bradt: Want Your New Employees’ Personal Commitment? Take Their Onboarding Seriously

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: The Power of Workforce Culture and Continuous Talent Mobility

TChatRadio_logo_020813 #TChat Radio — Wed, June 11 — 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman talk with our guest Tracey Arnish.

Tune-in LIVE online this Wednesday!

#TChat Twitter Chat — Wed, June 11 — 7pmET / 4pmPT Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and our guests will move to the #TChat Twitter stream, where we’ll continue the discussion with the entire TalentCulture community. Everyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we gather for a dynamic live chat, focused on these related questions:

Q1: What are the short & long-term effects of new hire onboarding? #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Q2: What activities can immerse and engage new employees quickly & effectively? #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Q3: Describe how internal mobility increases talent retention for companies #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Q4: What are recommended practices for promoting talent communities & referral networks? #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Q5: What talent management technologies improve onboarding & internal mobility? #TChat (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!!

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday.

To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

Do you have great content you want to share with us? Become a TalentCulture contributor!
photo credit: Thomas Hawk via photopin cc

Stronger! #TChat Preview #SHRM13 Edition

(Editor’s Note: Are you looking for a full review of this week’s events and resources? Read the #TChat Recap: The Class of 2013 Goes To Work.”)

Hello Chicago: #TChat Is In The House!

Buzz is everywhere in Chicago and on social media channels, as nearly 20,000 human resources professionals descend upon the city for the annual SHRM Conference & Exposition.

And, as Kevin W. Grossman noted in his recent SHRM “save-the-dates” post, he and his TalentCulture co-founder, Meghan M. Biro will be working the aisles, leading live events and posting updates on the  #SHRM13 Twitter backchannel throughout the week.

As promised, below are details of #TChat events that talent-minded professionals don’t want to miss. So join us! Whether you’re live on the floor, or half-a-world away — the lights are always on, and you’re always welcome to contribute to our “world of work” conversation!

Bolder. Better. Stronger.


Visit the SHRM conference community site

These three words capture the aspirations of #SHRM13 organizers. Nice choice. To those of us at TalentCulture, they represent the promise of a workforce that is empowered to redefine organizational culture and performance. It’s a fearless approach to the future. But talent-minded professionals don’t have to go it alone. Instead, we can leverage the power of a broader professional community — sharing ideas and experiences that can move us all forward, faster.

But what do these three words mean for the next wave — those who are graduating from school, and looking at the world of work from a fresh perspective? It’s estimated that by 2025, Gen Y “millennials” will represent more than 75% of the workforce. That’s a huge generational shift. No wonder Meghan Biro says in that it’s smart for leaders to engage tomorrow’s workforce.

Building Bench Strength: It’s A Process

It’s one thing to recognize the importance of connecting with next-generation workers. But that begs another question: What can organizations do to drive engagement? It’s time to share some credible insights. And that’s the focus of our special “Class of 2013” #TChat events this week:

Achievers Promo

Learn more about the #SHRM13 Meetup

MONDAY JUNE 17 — 3:15-4:00pm Central Time (4:15pmET/1:15pmPT)
Margarita Meet-up at Achievers Booth #2455
“Class of 2013” Panel Discussion

Not to be missed. Meghan and Kevin will multi-task — mixing margaritas while moderating a live panel of HR executives! This should be a fun and fascinating discussion. We’ll highlight key results from a recent workplace expectations survey of 10,000+ graduating students, conducted by our partners at Achievers, in association with ConnectEDU.

WEDNESDAY JUNE 19 — 6:00-7:00pm Central Time (7-8pmET/4-5pmPT)
#TChat Twitter — with Moderator, Katie Paterson, Community Manager, Achievers
“Looking Forward: The Graduating Class of 2013

Let’s talk in more depth about why and how the next generation of leaders is influencing change across all HR functions — from recruiting, onboarding and development, to peformance management, recognition and retention. More importantly, what do these changes imply about the future of work, and the nature of employer/employee relationships?

Q1: What digital “social” tools are job seekers using today to leverage their networks and find jobs. Why?

Q2: How do orgs improve onboarding for new grads with little or no work experience? For seasoned veterans?

Q3: If performance drives business, how often should employees be evaluated and why? What about PT and contract?

Q4: Why is it important to recognize the individual in the workplace regardless of age or experience?

Q5: What can HR leaders do to improve retention for hired new grads and all talent ecosystems?

What are your thoughts? Whether you’re onsite or not, we hope you’ll weigh-in with your ideas, questions and opinions.

We’ll see you here in Chicago — and on the stream!

Image Credit: Pixabay

Employer Brands: Big-Company Ideas for The Rest of Us

Recently on a trip to Seattle, I had an opportunity to visit headquarters — one of the many remarkable corporate campuses located in that region. I’d never explored a “corporate campus” before. But I’ve always been extremely eager to get a first-hand experience after reading many articles about the concept. This was my shot.

Needless to say, I was impressed! But it isn’t just the size of this sprawling facility that blew me away. I was also struck by the branding that is present throughout the environment. It made me think about the whole “employer branding” thing.

Branding From the Inside Out

I know HR practitioners struggle to implement a strong public brand that will attract and recruit top-notch external candidates. It’s one of HR’s primary functions in today’s world of work. But what about the internal brand? It’s also vital to retain talent that is already onboard. What are we doing to keep existing employees engaged and loyal to our organizations? Competitive compensation isn’t the only way to stop an employee from walking.

You may not be an enormous company like Amazon, Google, or LinkedIn. You may not have deep pockets for internal branding initiatives. But you certainly can be inspired by the way the “big boys” cultivate their brands, their work environments, and their corporate cultures. What’s more, you can leverage and adapt some of those heavy-hitter concepts to fit your organization’s circumstances.

Four Key Questions

1) What’s the vibe in your workspace? When I think about world-class employer campuses, one of the most notable characteristics is that many workspace options are available. Yes, I said OPTIONS. Their offices are not set up with jail-like cubicle rows, and an occasional office or conference room here or there. They have open spaces, co-working options, lounge areas, and unique personalities. Perhaps you don’t have the space or budget to create luxurious common areas, but there are plenty of ways to create an open environment that seems welcoming and non-restrictive.

2) Are you committed to internal recruitment marketing? While riding in one of Amazon’s elevators, I noticed a vibrant poster promoting a department that is recruiting Software Engineers. One side of the poster showed a man sitting at a computer with the saying, “This is what it looks like to work on my team.” The other side showed an imaginative, creative, fun scene surrounding the man at the computer with the saying, “This is what it FEELS like to work on my team.” Below that, removable tags featured contact information for the team manager. I absolutely love that. Amazon is huge, so internal communications like that can make it easy to recruit for internal candidates who wouldn’t otherwise know about your team. Makes sense for a company that large, right? Here’s the kicker — even  in small organizations, employees say that they aren’t aware of other jobs or openings. This can be a huge issue, especially since many employees leave their company because they feel like they have no internal mobility options. That situation might not be true — their perception may simply come from lack of information.

3) Are you too scared to adapt? I understand the phrase, “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” And that phrase is perfectly reasonable. If your company is functioning fine, there is no reason to fix it. But what about offering more options? Compensation isn’t the only thing that can retain your employees. Sometimes other options can be the deciding factor: telecommuting; flex work; tuition reimbursement; on-going training; co-working; employee engagement initiatives, and so on. Your competitors are coming out with really cool options to retain their employees. Don’t let them beat you out because you were too scared to adapt to the changing world of work.

4) Is it a place of hierarchy or community? There most definitely needs to be order within an organization, but top down communication doesn’t really work as well as it did in the past.  Employees want their voices to be heard — they want to make suggestions, they want to contribute, and they want to build relationships. I have worked in an organization where the president and directors are extremely open to two-way communication. They make it very easy to initiate a conversation — even to the point where interns aren’t scared to make suggestions or casually chat with one of the company’s leaders. It has created a strong sense of community — which has helped position the company as a progressive work environment.

Your employer brand isn’t just about convincing external candidates that your organization is a great place to work. It’s also about making sure your current employees love working there — so much so that no other company or job offer seems more attractive.

(To read Ashley’s original post, visit The Social HR Connection blog.)

Of Gutter Slugs, Leaders and Love

“You boys are the gutter slugs; the front line leaders fighting in the trenches with all the guts and no glory. Be proud of that. Hold your heads high; love the game and each other. Each one of you is a leader, so let’s lead this team to victory. I love you guys!”

I remember those words well, one of many inspirational shout-outs my high school offensive line coach used to give us. A big ol’ Grizzly Adams of a man – SMU graduate and parole officer, Coach Sutton instilled in us a sense of belonging, of understanding our critical roles in the greater game.

Even after long, excruciatingly hot practices in the Central Valley of California where I grew up, when it was time to do the after-practice conditioning – and there was always after-practice conditioning – we complied with minimal grumbling and gave 110% no matter how dog-tired we were.

We loved him and the game. Tons.

That’s tons of love for a bunch of teenage Valley football heroes in the early 80’s. But the life lessons he taught us have stayed with me for decades:

  • Each of must learn to lead our self with love.
  • Each of us must learn to lead with others with love.
  • Each of us must learn to lead their teams with love.

Right on, brother. We knew no other way to play.

Segue – Why do we have such a hard time with leadership and love in the workplace? Lisa Earle McLeod from tells us why we don’t and why we should in an article titled Leadership: What Love’s Got To Do With It.

Myth No. 1: Feelings aren’t professional.

They are the embodiment of life and all things in the workplace. “Emotions are at the root of every human endeavor.”

Myth No. 2: Love is too mushy to measure.

Enough with the measuring; the bottom line will grow when we own our behavior. “It’s about taking responsibility for creating the conditions that will bring out the best in others.”

Myth No. 3: Love means no accountability.

Now that’s just a bunch of garbage. Love is the ultimate accountability. “Love is all about mutual accountability. When you love someone, you expect them to give you their very best.”

Lastly, Lisa writes: “The real secret of lasting success is taking a good, long look in the mirror and deciding that your people and your organization deserve a leader who has the courage to stand up and love them.”

Whether on the front lines or the team captains, everyone can be empowered to lead responsibly with love. Know no other way to play.

Image Credit: Stock.xchng