Tag: Human resources

How the War for Top Performers Can Be Won by Redefining Success: Capacity and the Definition of Talent

Posted on April 19th, by Rita Trehan in Business and Workplace. No Comments

Talent. The War for Talent. Those two terms are the headlines that strike fear into the hearts of companies and create top-line action items for HR groups across the globe. The major fear for us all is what skills will be needed to ensure corporate longevity and success, and how will you get to them before anyone else does? Well, let’s also add to that the ability to attract and retain them. It’s a large problem to solve, that’s for sure. But I’m not entirely sure that it’s an external job. I think it starts with searching internally first, and that means a long, hard look at your leadership and competency models.

 

This is not to say that more traditional competency and leadership models are failures. Quite the contrary: these frameworks have succeeded in providing the qualities/attributes previous leaders and employees required for daily operational and long-term success. Built upon the success profiles of the past along with proven business acumen, these models have sparked development programs, helped forge career paths, laid the baseline for promotions and compensation rates, and crafted the means through which staffing is performed. The issue isn’t that they’ve never been successful; it’s that they may not be what’s needed moving forward.

 

We live in a global business world that is filled with daily disruptors, things that come flying at the business before anyone could conceivably see them coming. Technology advances every day, the customer is closer and more vocal than ever, cloud-based services are revolutionizing the way the workplace runs as well as how products are delivered, and it seems our entire lives can be run from our phones. Virtual technology is coming faster than we think, and with artificial intelligence and robotics working its way from the factory floor to self-driving cars and home-based products such as Amazon’s Alexa, the ebb and flow of product delivery and customer contact is getting faster than the speed of imagination. Does your leadership model work in the same way? Maybe it’s time to take a look.

 

When you review a traditional leadership model, you’ll notice they all have one great similarity: all competencies apply to all leaders, irrespective of their role, division or market. The premise has always been that a central set of leadership behaviors, traits, and competencies must be applicable across all leaders, that everyone must be held to the same standard, and that in order for the company to be successful everyone in management must march in the same direction in the same way. Before maybe five years ago, that worked. But in today’s rapidly-changing world of business, I’d argue that it’s a static, antiquated approach that might get you smashed against the windshield of oncoming change. It’s coming fast, so you must be adept and adaptable, which means rewarding a new set of leadership principles.

 

Let’s also explore the new prevalent population of the world, the Millennials, and how they affect more traditional role descriptions and success models. This generation isn’t driven by the same cash and prestige rewards as were Boomers and Generation X. They thrive on social causes, they desire to make more global impact, they demand work/life balance, and they require constant feedback. They’re also the most swiftly-adaptable generation in history, they solve problems more efficiently, process data more quickly, and can utilize technology better that their predecessors.  We must consider how we look at where these skills fit into the world of work, how to attract and retain their ranks, and how to measure success against present and future corporate needs.

 

All these points direct us to one overarching point: we must change our leadership and competency models. Question is, how do we do it? I have some thoughts.

 

First, I don’t believe we should scrap the entire thing. I think it starts with understanding which baseline aspects of leadership must be required based on your corporate vision, mission, and values; you have to start with performance aspects that point to corporate DNA. What does it take to achieve your corporate goals and move your company forward? What does that look like? Those are your baseline leadership aspects. Describe them and attribute them to everyone.

 

Next, look at your overall goals against market data and understand what it would take to achieve success in each individual role. Adaptability, social change, market expansion, innovation, customer acquisition and satisfaction, the ability to do whatever it takes to ensure customer and market success (also described as leadership brand) — all these things describe what it takes to be a leader. Then you must differentiate at different levels and within different divisions. Growing businesses require leaders with strong entrepreneurial skills. Manufacturing business may measure excellence by production floor innovation and cost savings. Goods-based services might reward the expansion of the business through contract labor. Internal efficiency in companies with large amounts of data such as banks and law firms might be a tremendous measure of success. Every company may financially reward the ability to positively impact the local community or to reduce the impact on the planet. These skills are leadership based, and can (and should) work their way into competency models all the way down to the lowest level of the organization. Once these differences are implemented, you have leadership and competency models that have a similar baseline for success, but reward for individual roles and performance. That is the way to progress to a brighter, more profitable future, and it is the way to win the global talent war in any market in which you play. The same truism applies to the different skills needed to manage a turn-around or a merger.

 

The difference with this approach is the models remain dynamic. Outside the baseline core, as the needs of the company change, the attributes of the model continue to shift with it, continually updated and reflective of where the business is in its life cycle. It is where corporate capacity lives, breathes and grows, and it is where the game of business is won.

 

 

 


The Interview – Part 1: Remember When?

Posted on February 24th, by Jacqueline Clay in Business and Workplace, The Funny Side of HR. 3 comments

Welcome to another edition of

The Funny Side of HR from the Desk of a Woman of a Certain Age

 

It is nothing short of amazing how the business of human resources has changed overall during the last 25 years.  And…certainly, if we look back at the job search and interview process 30+ years ago, there is less and less recognition of the art as we know it today.  (Remember, I am a woman of a certain age, so I can discuss this aspect quite thoroughly).  Both the job search and interview process has changed for the HR professional as well as for the candidate.

 

As I mentioned in my introductory piece last month, HR has its hand in a myriad of responsibilities and understanding the job search process from the candidate’s perspective is a key element in the attainment of the ideal candidate.  Given the amount of time it takes to conduct a candidate search, however, many organizations utilize agencies to expedite the process.

 

Today, I am going to do a backstory and take a look at the job search and interview process through the eyes and actions of a candidate seeking a job in years gone by.  This is almost cathartic for me since I have had many experiences job searching.  I will use the pronoun “you” to refer to all of us because we all have been in the job search marketplace at one time or another.

 

So…..walk down memory lane with me…

[Picture a blurred dreamy screen…Yes, I am also budding film producer!]

 

It is the 1980’s, back in a time when you could work your way up the corporate ladder and in essence, were expected to do so.  Many of us started somewhere near the bottom and made it to the top or very near the top.  (If only our boss would have left,  we could have made it to the top!)  Anyway, some of us made our way via education, certification, preparation, dedication, determination, innovation, recommendation, motivation and perspiration.  Some others made it by perpetration, falsification, association, relation, expiration, degradation and quite possibly, incantation.  However you made it, the force was with you, so congratulations are in order!

 

In any case, at the beginning, you found yourself in a situation to seek employment.  What kind of job?  Let’s see.  You have some experience and some education in your field of choice.  Most importantly, though you can type and know how to use a word processor, IBM computer.  You can type 60 words a minute.  (Actually you can type 70 words a minute…but unfortunately, only 60 words are correct).   You know how to use the arduous “cut and paste” and “find and replace” options.  You do not get a headache by looking at the word processor screen that has a dark green background with day-glow green print.  You know how to operate a fax machine and use a calculator.  You have the basics locked and sealed!

 

Now…let’s get started.  First things first.  Living in the Northeast and looking for work in New York, no job search could be launched without getting the job seekers bible…The New York Times.  How could you possibly be serious about any job search effort without thoroughly, eye glazingly (not sure glazingly is a word…but it IS the word needed here!)   reading the opportunities listed in the one and only New York Times.   You had to make sure that through hell or high water, you were able to get your copy of the Times.  This was so important that many people left their warm beds in the middle of the night, pajamas under raincoat, on Saturday evening, to make it down to the corner store to get their copy before it sold out.  Some stores would (somehow) just sell the Classifieds section so that you would not have to lug the entire 3 lb. Times when you only needed or wanted that part of the huge paper.   You still paid for it, but a reduced price.

 

Whew!  You got your copy!  Now to the Classifieds Section.  All you see are job advertisements from agencies, agencies and more agencies.  You circle the jobs most in line with your skills and qualifications.  Most of the jobs listed give short, fragmented descriptions, so it is difficult to determine whether you meet the qualifications or not.  You circle them anyway.  Some are listed with contact numbers, but when you call, you are not provided any additional information,  just told to come in.  “We don’t take appointments.  Just come in between 9 and 5 and bring several copies of your resume” was the mantra.

 

Resume!  Ok…you have a few copies printed on nice, expensive paper.  You prefer not to waste providing an agency with a resume printed on expensive paper.  But…alas…you may never get to the company interview if you don’t show a well written, professional resume and providing a copy on expensive looking paper may give you a minor edge.  You check to make sure there are no errors.  If there are, you have to retype the resume from scratch and take it to a printing company to make copies (unless you have a word processor and printer at home).  But…thanks to the resume gods, your resume looks good.

 

Ok….back to preparation.  Now…what to wear.  There are only a few acceptable choices.  A dark skirt suit (navy, black, brown, gray), a white or light colored shirt, low heeled shoes and flesh tone stockings.  Low heeled shoes were key because you never knew how far you would have to walk to get from agency to agency.  Accessories could be a string of pearls, a pin or a bow.  Simple, clean, professional.  We followed the Dress for Success rules to a tee.  One of the old adages routinely applied was, “don’t dress for the job you have (or in this case, going for), dress for the job you want”.

 

Finally, you have to decide the route to take.  (I am only going to speak from the perspective of seeking jobs in New York City and the subway, since that is where my experience is founded).  Most of the agencies were located near the 40th  midtown street location….although there were also numerous agencies in the Wall Street area.  Since you needed to keep your travel expenses to a minimum (in the 80’s, there were no metro ride all day for one low price cards), you made a list of the agencies in the same general vicinity knowing that you would, if lucky, only be able to get to two…maybe three agencies in one day.  Why?  Because you would have to wait…and wait and wait to be interviewed, especially on the Mondays and Tuesdays after the Sunday classifieds were published.  I recall walking into a “just come in” agency and seeing tens and tens of people just waiting.  Once you were called to move from the waiting room into the main room…you thought you were finally going to see someone to discuss the job…but no!  You were led to a room to take endless tests.   Typing, computer, spelling, math, calculator, etc.  Take a test…then wait…take another test…then wait.  Hour after hour.  At long last, some kind soul would call your name and usher you into the kingdom….the place where you would finally be interviewed for the job you circled.  You feel as if you had won the lottery!  It’s my turn!   Off to see the agency rep.

 

The agency representative, let’s call her Ms. Smith (very original, I know).  Ms. Smith scans your resume and reviews the mountain of tests you took earlier.  She asks about your experience and you regurgitate the speech you so diligently prepared.  Ms. Smith tells you about the position, but says that the agency has sent several candidates to the company already and waiting for a call back from them (the company).  Ms. Smith thanks you for coming and says, she will be in touch.  The entire interview took less than 5 good minutes.  Be in touch??  After several hours, you are told, “will be in touch” and given a polite good bye handshake???  At that point, YOU want to reach out and “touch” someone yourself!

 

Ready, set, go….. on to the next agency.  Never discouraged, you trot off to the next agency in your low heeled shoes with your New York Times circled classified section under your arm and your expensive resumes in your briefcase instilled with the confidence that you will eventually find a job.

 

Good Luck!

 

Next month….Interview – Part 2: How technology and social norms have changed the job search and interview  process for the candidate.  

 

About the Author: Jacqueline Clay is a freelance HR business consultant working with small and midsize organizations to assist them in meeting the challenging responsibilities associated with the full realm of HR management.  With  over 20 years leadership experience in all aspects of the HR business, she has helped organizations in a myriad of areas, including  on boarding, labor/employee relations, policy and procedure development, organizational effectiveness, coaching and training.  She holds a BA in Psychology from Fordham University.


Should HR Follow Finance in Innovation? 

Posted on February 10th, by Rita Trehan in Business and Workplace. 1 Comment

We all know that HR technology threatens to make many in our function obsolete. We’ve heard that HR tasks can be outsourced or that systems can take the place of people. What I don’t believe anyone has pointed out is that Finance weathered this storm beautifully a long time ago, stepping in front of their transaction-based business into the role of core management, disseminating and becoming indispensable as advisors who use the tools to make the business faster and more agile. We’ve never tied these two departments together in their migration from transaction-based to innovation-based. I think it might make for a good read.

 

 

As HR professionals, we’re often threatened by obsolescence. We hear threats of outsourcing, that we’re mere paper pushers, that we can’t keep up with our internal business partners, nor do we speak the language of the business. Many of us seek our own counsel, gathering together to figure out what best practices could lift us into higher esteem with our C-suite, breaking our organizational structure and twisting our business models to appear more productive and current. But there’s a simple solution not many of us may have considered, another division who was much maligned for years until they rose to prominence over the past few years: why don’t we ask our friends in the Finance department?

 

Those of us who’ve been around for a couple of decades or more can remember how maligned our financial partners were: seen as necessary number crunchers who just ran reports, they suffered much the same threats as HR does today: outsourcing, deconstruction of the department, reengineering because they didn’t understand the business. But one look at the transformation of the Finance department of today, and they’re some of the most respected individuals in the business. Why not follow their lead?

 

Before we go further, I understand in many organizations the Finance and HR departments might be at loggerheads. Where Finance sees HR as the defender of decisions that might be better for the workforce than the bottom line and where HR may have issue putting return on investment on their activities for the needs of their Financial partners, I argue that a closer partnership is invaluable, and that we can learn a lot from our math-savvy teammates.

 

We’ve suffered many of the same failed reorganizations, by the way. Massive IT overhauls, shared service centers, process reengineering, etc. But where Finance has evolved is the focus on what the team can offer their clients versus how they offer it.  Back office transaction processing is virtually invisible to the internal client, and the most client-savvy among them are front-facing with their C-suite and management team, offering analysis and decision support. They operate with a clear vision of the activities which create value and drive business outcomes and those that don’t. Finance understands the skills and competencies their staff needs now and in the future in order to build stronger talent capabilities in areas of weakness. They evolve as a service provider. They keep their eye on how their processes and tools can help their clients succeed. They mind the bottom line, and they speak the language of the business.

 

The evolution of the back office of the Finance department is a critical example of what is possible if you maintain a client focus during a transformation. Both Finance and HR have undergone massive technological revolution. The differences between these processes is simple: HR technology brings HR processes to the desktops of the masses, while Finance technology brings the mindset of the masses to financial processes. Their job is to make it easier to enter data and run reports. General ledger information is rarely visible when filling out an expense report. Can we say the same about HR desktop technology? Are benefit, compensation and performance management desktops that fluid? We could learn something.

 

But the most crucial item to come of the evolution of the Finance department is their migration into the C-suite as consummate business partners. They know their businesses, and they’re able to forecast where the business wants to go and what it will take to get them there. They’re quick to suggest process improvements, technological advances, and tough decisions that will lead to the fortitude of the company. They’re one of the first to be pulled into a crucial decision-making meeting. They’re involved in all the major moves of the business because they’re seen as a trusted advisor and a crucial aspect of the business. It’s admirable. It’s also repeatable for the HR side of things.

 

I believe strongly in HR as the business partner that Finance has become. We must evolve and use our tools to solve the problems of our corporate clients. Align with Finance and follow their lead. Where their success has taken them, we only have to follow and surpass.

 

About the Author: Rita Trehan is the Founder and Principal of Rita Trehan, LLC, a change management and leadership advisory firm focused on corporate leadership, emerging technology, and cutting-edge organizational design. As a seasoned top executive that has successfully transformed organizations at the Fortune 200 and beyond, she has extensive experience working with CEOs and top corporate management on process and organizational improvement for maximum profitability. A soon-to-be published author, Rita regularly speaks at industry conferences around the world. You can contact Rita on twitter at @rita_trehan and connect with her via LinkedIn. Rita’s blog can be found at www.ritatrehan.com.


On The Lighter Side of HR? From The Desk of a Woman of a Certain Age

Posted on January 26th, by Jacqueline Clay in Business and Workplace, On My Mind, The Funny Side of HR. 1 Comment

Editor’s Note: Please welcome Jacqueline Clay, our newest contributor, with a new feature for 2016.  Each month, “From the Desk of a Woman of a Certain Age” will take a light-hearted look at HR of yesterday vs. HR of today.  We hope you enjoy it!

 

Hello HR Professionals!

 

We Are Still Here…..
Office Management, Personnel, Human Resources, People Management, Business Partners. We have lasted decade after decade. We are like the watch, “we take a licking but keep on ticking!” Yes, our name changed, but we are still the same folks that interview, hire, fire (aka terminate, layoff or downsize), listen, coach, counsel, advise, train, write policies, procedures, rules, regulations and stand as the target on the firing line when things go “left”. We are the keepers of the flames of objectivity and provide the ethical, moral, “do the right thing” barometers’ that helps to develop, strengthen and maintain the best practices company acumen. We have walked, strolled and skipped hand and hand with our business leaders for many years…sometimes tripping over bad behavior, falling in the hole of subjectivity or stepping over the grate of ethical concern. Sometimes we have had to go “undercover” and operate in covert ways to make sure that our HR badge of honor, trust and credibility did not become tarnished. We start our profession bright eyed and energetic like Mary in the beginning stages of the Mary Tyler Moore Show and later look like the mature Aunt Bea from the Andy Griffith Show if we don’t come to realistic terms about what we can and can not do. (Yes…I said I am a woman of a certain age).

 

Life Literally Abounds In Comedy…
Don’t be dismayed though. Personnel, HR, Business Partner….it is a great opportunity and through my many, many years of HR experience, I have encountered and been a part of a ton of humorous and thought provoking observations. We deal with people and people can be unpredictable and very funny. We handle relationships between prospective employees, current employees and the employer and trust me, often times these relationships can fall unexpectedly into the pit of comedy.

 

Who Am I?
I am a senior level HR professional and have worked my way up the HR ladder to Director/Chief HR Officer for a myriad of companies in my over 20 year career. I have seen it all and trust me, sometimes I wish I hadn’t! From the 1980’s through the decade of the 2010’s, HR has had to make and made tremendous adjustments to stay viable. With some of these changes, we kicked, screamed and were dragged to the change table. Sometimes we just sat at the table of an executive meeting and thought to ourselves, “they know not what they do”. (I must add this one note… once when I was asked to attend an “Executive Meeting”, I noticed that my chair sat lower than the other executives. My chin was not far from the top of the table. There were no other chairs available. I felt like a little kid at the Thanksgiving table! Were they trying to tell me something? However, at the time, I was just happy to have the always desired “seat” at the Executive Meeting., albeit it low). I digress. More on having a seat at the executive table in a future article. In any case, we HR folks stayed afloat.

 

Going Forward…Please Don’t Shoot The Messenger
Now understand, the upcoming articles, just like this one, will be opinion pieces. I want to make it clear…it is just my opinion…my view. These may not be your experiences…so don’t ask for my SHRM (Society of Human Resources Management) card back! I have lived a very observatory life. I am always looking, seeing, questioning, analyzing the whys and why nots of the full realm of this business. The good, the bad, the ugly, the funny.

This series will be an observatory view comparing some aspects of yesteryear HR to today…with some comedic undertones. Or is it overtones?? I love to laugh and hope you will join me on a trip down memory lane as it pertains to all things HR. I am so thankful that I am old enough to take the trip and young enough to still remember!!!!

See you next month!

Regards……..

An HR Woman of A Certain Age!

 

About the Author: Jacqueline Clay is a freelance HR business consultant working with small and midsize organizations to assist them in meeting the challenging responsibilities associated with the full realm of HR management.  With  over 20 years leadership experience in all aspects of the HR business, she has helped organizations in a myriad of areas, including  on boarding, labor/employee relations, policy and procedure development, organizational effectiveness, coaching and training.  She holds a BA in Psychology from Fordham University.


7 Ways to Use Strategy to Your Advantage as an HR Leader

Posted on December 8th, by JP George in Business and Workplace, Leadership. No Comments

Human resources is an exciting field that offers leaders the ability to optimize their professional potential while inspiring employees to do the same. However, attaining profound success as an HR leader necessitates the consistent use of proven strategies and systems that will generate the ongoing growth and optimized operations you seek. With that idea in mind, you should consider the value of implementing some or all of these growth strategies:

 

  1. Optimize your meetings

It’s no secret that holding regular meetings is the key to ensuring that everyone understands the company’s vision and goals. However, this does not mean that all HR leaders have developed the great habit of optimizing the meetings they hold. Don’t commit this oversight. Developing and implementing strategies that will make your meetings more effective can have a wide range of desirable outcomes, some of which include enhanced daily operations, elimination of miscommunication, and the development of a company culture conducive to open discussion and debate. Luckily, there are hundreds of ways that you can optimize your meetings. Some of them include:

 

  • using PowerPoint presentations
  • holding virtual meetings
  • optimizing engagement by asking questions and requesting feedback
  • scheduling strategically so all employees are present
  • employee appreciation ideas for staff members who have performed exceptionally well

 

  1. Establish a vision

If you’re serious about operating effectively as an HR leader, establishing a vision is a must. The vision is important because it provides you with a simple yet thorough understanding of what you are attempting to accomplish. In many cases, HR leaders find it helpful to develop both a personal vision and a company vision. The personal vision involves you defining what you will do for the company as an individual participant within it. The company vision is much more than deciding on administrative items like who will provide your payroll software or cadences for employee appreciation. The company vision states how you and all of the other employees will work together to generate a specified outcome that promotes the organization’s perpetual expansion.

 

  1. Be more goal-oriented

In addition to establishing a vision, HR leaders who are ready to excel within the workforce must become goal-oriented people. No matter how internally motivated you are, it won’t matter much if you do not develop objectives and then work towards realizing them. Goal-oriented people are more effective in getting work done because they have a clear understanding of what they’re attempting to do and the steps they must take to get there. This is one of the reasons that the development of SMART goals has become so popular amongst career coaches. The acronym SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Sensitive.

 

  1. Prioritize for staff development

A company is only as effective as its individual employees are. Since this is true, HR leaders who want their organizations to succeed must focus on optimizing the personal and professional aptitude of their employees. This objective can be accomplished in numerous ways, such as providing staff members with incentives to operate in excellence and expedience. Holding regular “Employee of the Month” contests is a great way to make this happen. Consistently offering employees opportunities to enroll in ongoing education and training courses is another effective strategy you might employ. Also remember that employee recognition is an integral part of the staff development process because public praise motivates people to consistently operate in excellence.

 

  1. Update technology

HR leaders who are ready to take their companies to a new level of efficacy and excellence should focus on updating their technology. This strategic approach works for numerous reasons, including the fact that it enables your company to maintain a cutting edge image in the eyes of the general public. Finding great technological updates also makes life easier for your employees by enabling them to get more done, in less time, and in a more convenient manner.

 

  1. Take feedback seriously

The most successful HR leaders are so because they are regularly obtaining feedback from trusted counselors, mentors, bosses, and other important individuals in their sphere of influence. Since this is the case, strategize your own success by taking this feedback seriously and learning how to optimize and expedite everything you’re doing for the company. In addition to making the organization more effective, taking feedback seriously improves your efficacy and functions as motivation for employees to operate at a higher level of excellence.

 

  1. Think outside the box

Although the phrase “think outside the box” is trite, it’s stated over and over again because the methodology is oftentimes effective in helping people generate results, overcome obstacles, and break through barriers. With this idea in mind, make sure that you’re not operating in a conventional, cookie-cutter manner as you lead your staff. Rather, be open to new ways of thinking and acting that are relevant, effective, and fun.

 

If you’re an HR leader who wants your company to be a smashing success, you should know that thinking strategically is a great way to make it happen. Since this is so, be sure to consider using some or all of the strategies outlined in this post. Doing so will likely take your company’s level of excellence and efficacy to a new level!

 

About the Author: A previous guest contributor to Women of HR, JP George grew up in a small town in Washington. After receiving a Master’s degree in Public Relations, she has worked in a variety of positions, from agencies to corporations all across the globe. Experience has made JP an expert in topics relating to leadership, talent management, and organizational business.


The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same – What Matters to Employers in the Hiring Process #EWS2015

Posted on December 1st, by Jennifer Payne in Business and Workplace, Career Advice. 2 comments

Editor’s Note: Women of HR has partnered with Spherion on a series of sponsored posts to bring you highlights and commentary from their 2015 Emerging Workforce Study, which contains a great deal of interesting data and statistics about future trends in the workforce and our workplaces.  This is the fifth in that series.

  

ln the last post in this series, we examined the changing face of the job search from the job seekers perspective, and what we as employers need to know about how and where to find candidates.  This month we’re going to flip that around and look at the hiring process from the employer’s perspective.  Because, as we’ve seen throughout this year’s Emerging Workforce Study, what employers think and what employees/workers/job seekers think don’t always sync up.  And it appears that the topic of the job search and hiring process is no exception.

According to the study, often job seekers believe that their current employment status weighs pretty heavily as potential employers assess their qualifications.  After all, common wisdom suggests that it’s always better to look for a new job while you’re still employed, right?  Gaps in employment on a resume are bad, right?  If you’re not currently working, that suggests that there’s something wrong, correct?

Maybe not so much.

Most employers and HR leaders realize that in today’s world, in the uncertain business climate in which we all operate, sometimes there are factors outside of an employee’s control that contribute to current employment status.  Good people get laid off.  Downsizing happens.  Mergers and acquisitions lead to reductions in force.  Spouses get transferred, often forcing the other to abandon their own employment to follow along to a new city or even new country.  There are plenty of talented potential employees out there who may not be currently employed.  And furthermore, in a climate where we all want the best talent available, we’re more interested in what you can offer, what you can contribute to our company’s goals than what you may or may not be doing right now.

In fact, looking at the 2015 Emerging Workforce Study, here’s what really matter to employers in the hiring process:

  • 33% are influenced by interview performance
  • 33% say cultural fit in the organization
  • 13% say the jobseeker’s resume
  • 9% say personality assessments
  • 8% say current employment status

What Does This Tell the Job Seeker?

First and foremost, the interview matters.  There’s no arguing this.  You could have the most solid resume and credentials, but if you can’t connect with your interviewer or articulate the value you would bring to the organization, you probably won’t get past the interview process.  Basic interviewing skills are still necessary.  So before you walk into one, take some time to prepare, to brush up on possible questions you may be asked, to fully understand how your past experience relates to the position available and how to articulate that.

Secondly, skills and experience will only get you so far.  More and more employers are putting an emphasis on the importance of whether or not someone will fit within their given organization.  On paper you could be a perfect fit, but if in the interview you don’t come across as someone who will gel with the culture of that organization, you may not move on in the process.  Speaking from my own experience, one of my most important roles in the interview process is to assess whether or not the person sitting across the table from me will connect with the manager, team, and overall organization.  Once the minimum qualifications are met, the other technical skills can be trained.  Cultural fit cannot, and the cost of a bad cultural fit goes well beyond the basic costs of onboarding and training, potentially having a negative impact on the productivity of others on the team or damaging morale.  So beyond prepping for questions that may be asked during the interview, job seekers need to do their homework about the organization as a whole.  Use resources like Glassdoor to get a flavor for the organizational culture.  Examine your own networks for contacts within the organization to get an insiders perspective on what it’s like to work there.  Prepare to demonstrate not just the technical qualifications you bring, but how your personality and work style may complement the culture.  All other things being equal, the candidate who demonstrates the best fit will likely be the one to move on in the process.

The face of the job search may be changing for both employers and job seekers, but there are still some things that remain constant, and the interview is still the critical moment that can make or break the process.

 

 

Disclosure: Spherion partnered with bloggers such as me for their Emerging Workforce Study program. As part of this program, I received compensation for my time. They did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about any idea mentioned in these posts. Spherion believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Spherion’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.


Job Hunting Over 50

Posted on November 10th, by Dorothy Douglass in Business and Workplace, Career Advice. 2 comments

I am  54 years old.  I have a tendency to start many of my blog posts with this information.  Why?  To add context to whatever I’m passionate enough about to write at that moment.  I’m also an HR professional and I like to think I am progressive and strategic.  I’m fairly active on social media – though I cannot tell you what a Reddit is, or what Four Square does, I do post on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and I pin a lot on Pinterest.  Likely, if you are a young, hip, tech-savvy reader, you know now why I lead with my age.  I’m most certainly behind the times.

But onward…in my use of social media, I try to be more than just a serial poster, creeper, or tweeter.  I try to connect with my connections, and be a friend or a network ally.  Not too long ago, a Facebook friend posted a melancholy post.  Ok, it was scary.  I don’t see his posts often, but for whatever reason, it came up on my feed.  Kismet, perhaps.  High school and college classmate, not a close get-together-for-lunch friend, but one I have always admired.  I commented, “Are you ok?”

Many others posted and one shared with us that he spoke with this man and he was indeed okay, though troubled by a recent job loss, and challenged to find a new position.  I was compelled to offer to assist – hey, I AM in HR, but perhaps there was something I could share to help this friend move forward.  We connected on LinkedIn, messaged one another and arranged a phone call.

We talked for a bit and he shared his frustrations with today’s job hunt and job market.  I’m paraphrasing as best as I can (I’m over 50, cut me some slack!), and here are a few of those frustrations:

Online applications.  My friend lamented that looking for a job is just “not like it used to be.” At some point, this displaced salesman could walk in with his resume to a company and talk to someone face-to-face.  Or at least send the resume in the mail and it would be reviewed.

  • “Why must I also upload my resume when I’ve spent lots of time typing in the information on the application?”
  • “Why do companies fail to take down postings after they are filled?”
  • “Why am I always asked for my salary expectations up front and early in the process?”
  • “Why do I never… Hear… Anything?”
  • “Why can’t I call someone to convince them I can do the job?”

All are great questions.  And for any of us in the age 50+ category,  they are reasonable questions.  So here’s how I answered them, with my HR hat on. And there are some follow-up tips for HR folks.

 

Why upload a resume AND complete an application? 

  1. The job application is generally a legal document. Hint: Don’t falsify, glorify, or otherwise embellish information on a job application, online or otherwise.
  2. Generally, an application calls for more information and detail than is supplied on a resume. We ask for employment information including salary, supervisor name and contact info.  Specific dates of employment, and education may not be included on a resume.  Hint: Be detailed when you complete an application.  Fill in all the blanks as best you can.
  3. A resume may be filled with inaccurate, inflated, or even false information.  Hint: Don’t do this.   Google Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson for more information.  Go back to #1 – the app is a legal document.
  4. Why upload one if you are completing the application? It depends on the company, culture, and HR department.  Some companies may not require that the resume be uploaded.

Tip for the HR Pros:  It might be good to communicate information on why an application is necessary on your careers page.  We are recruiting tech-savvy professionals, of all ages.  But not everyone understands why we require application, irrespective of generation.

 

Why do companies not take down postings once the positions are filled?

With my rose-colored glasses on, I would like to think the HR folks are just caught up in the administrative process once the position is filled.

Tip for HR: Be sure your recruiter or HR tech person does take down postings that are filled.  Does your system have an option to automatically send a notification to all applicants when that happens?  If so, turn it on.  Our brand is everything, and if we aren’t staying up-to-date on our own job openings, how can HR be seen as credible internally or externally? Same for your company.

 

Why am I always asked for my salary expectations up front and early in the process?

Likely, a savvy HR professional needs to know if you and the company are in the same salary ballpark.  If you are seeking a job that pays $100,000 in salary, and the position you applied for caps at $45,000, there is no value in taking your time or the company’s to continue the conversation.  Candidates should consider having a clear picture of what they must have in order to change jobs, and what they desire in salary.  Reframe such a question with a discussion phrased something like this, “That’s a great question.  I have a salary in mind, can you tell me what the minimum pay is, and what the midpoint of the pay range is?”  Then continue the conversation.

Tip for HR:  Are you posting salary ranges out there?  Perhaps at least posting a midpoint would be reasonable.  After all, your time is valuable, too. 

 

Why do I never… Hear… Anything?

I hope (rose-colored glasses are on) that you mean after you complete an application.  In today’s world, companies receive many more applications than in years past.  In our company of 400+ employees, all who work within one state, we receive about 4,000 applications per year.  (Frame of reference, in 2001 we received about 200 per year.) Of those 4,000, about 2,000 are considered “complete” and are reviewed by a ‘real’ human.  Our system sends an automatic response to anyone who completes the application 100%.

If you were interviewed, I hope the HR professionals at minimum provided an electronic response if another candidate was selected for the position or if you did not make the next set of interviews.

Tip for HR: Employment brand is everything.  Want to be remembered?  Be sure to send a follow up letter, even if it is a rejection follow up.  And if time allows and a candidate calls, can you/do you/should you give feedback on where they could improve next time? What if you found them to be a great cultural fit, but not right for this position?  Following up with a personal phone call to ask a candidate to keep your company in mind for future opportunities – how cool is that?   Imagine the brand recognition you could have if you can do this in an empathetic, professional manner?

 

Why can’t I call someone to convince them I am right for the job?

Candidate, beware. This may result in your being seen as overly assertive, aggressive, or needy.  Generally speaking, in larger companies, the hiring manager works with HR (rose-colored glasses on here) and between them have experience in hiring and selection.  You may, indeed, be the right candidate, and depending on the job, assertiveness can be a good thing.  Desperation will not be seen as good.  An option:  follow up with a thank you call, email, or handwritten note.  Ask for future consideration and reiterate why you would be a great choice for a role in that company.  Send the HR person a thank you as well.  In today’s world, you will be remembered.

And candidates also be aware that HR may be a credible business partner to the hiring manager.  Trashing HR or following up with “did I intimidate your HR person?”  Or “Did I scare HR?” will not win you any champions the next time you apply.

Job candidates, you must be tech-savvy in this day and age.  At a minimum, you should know how to use a computer and be able to complete an electronic application.  Seek out assistance if you are rusty.  Many libraries and WorkOne offices have classes and folks ready to help.

Apply for many jobs.  The more applications you complete, the higher your chance for being contacted for an interview.  And prepare for your interview  – this is key to moving forward in the hiring process.

Tip for HR: Be open-minded and listen to the candidate.  Be professional and honest with any feedback you provide.  We tend to provide little or no feedback because of the litigious society in which we live.  How can we walk that tightrope best in recruiting?

 

Finally, my HR peeps, remember to show class and character in hiring.  Your brand is important and you are often the first glimpse into your company that an applicant or job candidate has.  Review your systems on occasion and have an outside, objective person complete an application in your system and give you feedback.  Was it hard? Easy? Time-consuming?  Did it ask for same information multiple times?  Did they get an automatic reply?

HR, be open to all ages, all generations – yes, I know we are sensitive to this.  Walk in the job applicant’s shoes. My Facebook friend’s questions are legitimate questions.  If he’s asking them and feeling them, I’m guessing there are many others out there in the same position.

 

About the Author:  Dorothy Douglass is Vice President of Human Resources & Training at MutualBank, an Indiana-based financial institution.  She began her career with Mutual in 2001 as Human Resources Manager, and is a graduate of Ball State University.  She is proud to have been in Human Resources now for more than 17 years and is continuing to “lean in” and working to influence the “people management” side of her organization.  She is passionate about managing and developing people; and I have yet to be bored in 13+ years in her current job.   She considers herself fairly tech-UN-savvy, though has immersed herself in Facebook and LinkedIn.  She’s still working on the Twitter-sphere & has goals to blog more in 2014.

 


Reimagining HR’s Role As a Key Business Partner Can Lead to Career Advancement

Posted on October 8th, by a Guest Contributor in Personal & Professional Development. 1 Comment

Editor’s Note: The following is the final installment of a three-part series featuring influential women from Paychex. Part I of the series kicked off on Sept. 22 in conjunction with American Business Women’s Day.

 

I’m a big believer that professional development is the basis for achieving success in almost any field, and HR is no exception. It’s important to assess your own strengths and opportunities to determine what competencies you need to master in order to advance to the next step, and then execute an Individual Development Plan (IDP) that is targeted to help you achieve your career goals.

 

Over the course of my career, I’ve made it a constant point of emphasis to be self-aware of my performance in areas that I consider to be key competencies in my current role and the next role that that I aspire to attain. This has enabled me to develop an IDP that leverages my strengths and close my gaps through actions that provide me with valuable exposure opportunities, hands-on experiences and continued learning. My philosophy is to invest in yourself because the ROI is priceless.

 

Business leaders today know that their employees are the driver of business success. While employees are valued, many business leaders rank human capital as a top challenge. This presents a huge opportunity for HR practitioners to add value to their companies and grow as professionals, if they can help their organization reimagine HR’s role as a key business partner. Here are some key competencies that can help you tremendously in achieving that goal:

 

Functional knowledge and expertise. The field of HR is extensive and continues to advance and transform. It’s vitally important to stay abreast of the field so that your knowledge – and practical application of that knowledge – is modern and relevant. Having strong functional knowledge and expertise better equips you to quickly align HR and business strategy.

 

Business acumen. Understanding the big picture and the ability to look out the windshield at what lies ahead are critical. Having strong business acumen will result in the aptitude and knowledge to become a more critical thinker and capable problem solver. Developing business acumen involves being keenly aware of the economic and social issues that are affecting your company, staying close to emerging industry trends, your companies competitors,  and truly understanding the SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) of your organization. When all of these things come together, you’re in a position to diagnose a business problem and offer a strategic solution that will drive business outcomes and your company’s success.

 

Executive disposition.  It’s more than about what you know. It’s also about how you perform in your role as a HR practitioner. You want to be viewed as a leader not only in your profession, but in the organization as a whole. HR practitioners have a really unique opportunity to develop relationships that are both cross-functional and cross-hierarchical. When doing so, it’s important to convey an image that’s consistent with the vision and values of the organization in order to be an effective advocate for the company. You want to exude a demeanor of poise and confidence, especially in times of change, ambiguity, or stress. It will command respect and reassure others within the organization – from front line employees all the way to the C-suite.

 

If you’re a HR practitioner who may not yet have these competencies mastered, don’t fret. Simply make a pledge to your professional development by formalizing your IDP and making it a priority. That commitment will pay huge dividends, both for yourself and your organization.

 

About the Author: Leah Machado is the director of service for HR Services at Paychex, a leading provider of integrated human capital management (HCM) solutions for payroll, human resource, insurance, and benefits outsourcing services. She leads an organization with over 500 HR practitioners who provide HR outsourcing services to 32,000 Paychex HR Services clients with 880,000 worksite employees.  Leah’s career spans over 22 years in the retail, restaurant, and HCM outsourcing industries, and includes HR practitioner and leadership experience.

 

 

 


Four Tips to Help You Excel in Talent Acquisition

Posted on October 1st, by a Guest Contributor in Business and Workplace. No Comments

Editor’s Note: The following is the second installment of a three-part series featuring influential women from Paychex. Part I of the series kicked off on Sept. 22 in conjunction with American Business Women’s Day.

 

Much like many other business functions, the world of talent acquisition is evolving at every stop. Mining for, finding, hiring, and maintaining top talent can be a challenge, but it’s an attainable feat if you play your cards right. Building a track record of effective and meaningful hires will not only contribute significantly to the overall success of your company, it will likely result in your escalation up the talent acquisition ladder.

With that in mind, here are a few tips that I believe can help you to excel in the world of talent acquisition:

  • Know your business inside and out. Make yourself an expert on how your company functions, what you’re selling, and how the company makes its money. Becoming familiar with things like the value prop your sales team is using or future company goals can help with that understanding. With that in mind, don’t ignore the competition. Are you losing talent to competitors? If so, find out what’s driving them elsewhere. It goes without saying, but knowing what sets your company apart from the competition can pay huge dividends.
  • Understand today’s market. Talent acquisition has evolved to become more about marketing than ever before. The ability to fully grasp your company’s image and culture are paramount, as is channeling those sentiments to prospects through a variety of ways that include everything from social media engagement and good old fashioned word of mouth. Some of what we do today could be looked at as re-recruiting current employees. Make them feel good about where they work and understand what makes it such a great place to work. Finally, be creative, relatable, and strategic in everything you do – writing job descriptions, social media posts or replies, and everything in between.
  • Accept that data is your friend. Understanding and applying metrics is an opportunity to shine. If you can wrap your brain around the numbers and use that knowledge as insight into the hiring process, you’re almost guaranteed to save time or money or both. This goes from company-specific data from something like the results of a recent employee engagement survey to drilling down into the habits of prospects in a certain area or age group. For example, if you know recent college graduates are more likely to search for jobs via LinkedIn, targeting of that age group should reflect that fact. If you’re looking to fill a customer service position, you might favor Monster.com over CareerBuilder.com. In addition, data has the ability to reveal how many calls, candidates, and people you need to look at to make a hire. Track those trends and use the information to your advantage.
  • Develop and maintain fruitful partnerships. When it comes to succeeding in talent acquisition, this might be the most important point of all. Establish and nurture partnerships with marketing, hiring managers, TA specialists, and other key players within your company who have the ability to reach and influence prospects. When it comes to marketing, consistent messaging is key. You don’t want to be telling prospects one thing on Facebook and a completely other thing within a formal job description. A solid partnership can ensure that both are on the same page. A good relationship with your company’s hiring managers and TA specialists is of particular importance. At different times and for different reasons, it results in your ability to influence them to look at internal talent, talk to them about the talent that is needed for the future, and identify candidates that will grow and stay in the organization. Maintaining these healthy relationships will help tremendously in forecasting the future and optimizing the talent planning process as a whole.

As I mentioned, it’s an exciting time to be in talent acquisition. The opportunities to excel exist, and it’s up to you to be mindful and take advantage.

 

About the Author: Jody Stolt is the director of Talent Acquisition at Paychex, a leading provider of payroll, human resource, and benefits outsourcing services for small- to medium-sized businesses. Since joining Paychex four years ago, Jody upgraded the applicant tracking system to Paychex’ own MyStaffingPro™ to streamline processes, enhance the candidate experience, and increase recruiter efficiency in supporting nearly 4,000 hires and 22,000 applicants annually. Jody’s career spans over 25 years in recruiting, workforce planning, and strategic human resources at companies including PAETEC/Windstream Communications, Skillsoft, and ER Associates, a private HR consulting firm.


The Challenge of the Future Workforce #EWS2015

Posted on August 26th, by Jennifer Payne in Business and Workplace. 4 comments

Editor’s Note: Women of HR has partnered with Spherion on a series of sponsored posts to bring you highlights and commentary from their 2015 Emerging Workforce Study, which contains a great deal of interesting data and statistics about future trends in the workforce and our workplaces.  This is the second in that series.  Watch for more over the coming months.

 

Any HR professional who has been around for any amount of time or has paid any attention at all knows that we are dealing with workforces that now span many generations.  There’s no lack of research, presentations, or opinions on the challenges that multi-generational workforces pose to employers.  I work for a retail organization so I see it firsthand; there’s probably no other industry where it’s more common to have multiple generations working under the same roof, side by side.  I don’t believe that generations alone are to blame or are the reason for the differences in workers; I believe even some of the issues that are attributed to generational differences actually cross over.  But no doubt multi-generational workforces do attribute to varying degrees of technological adaptation, disparate expectations regarding how and where work should and could be done, and different viewpoints on the nature of work and the employee/employer relationship.

 

But beyond those generational differences in the approach to work, one of the biggest issues we need to stay on top of as employers is how the different generations in the workforce, and more importantly the changing makeup of generations in the workforce, is going to impact how we recruit, manage, develop, and retain our workforces going forward.

 

Generally, I think most of us understand that, at least according to these statistics from the 2015 Emerging Workforce Study:

  • 70% of employers say that Baby Boomers exiting the workforce will leave a major skills gap within their organizations
  • One-third of employers are concerned about turnover and retention (up from 23% last year)
  • 63% of employers have increased succession planning and efforts to address impeding Boomer retirement
  • 58% are already preparing to attract and recruit Gen Z to stay ahead of future talent needs.

 

That’s the good news; as employers generally we do recognize that there’s an impending issue ahead, and many of us are taking steps to address it.  So what’s the bad news?

 

The bad news is in the generations we’re counting on to step up to fill the gap, namely Gen Y and Gen Z.  You see, the study also cites that Gen Y and Gen Z are the least loyal generations, most likely to leave current employers, and that job satisfaction and engagement among these groups is low.  So these groups we’re focusing our recruiting, development, succession planning, and retention efforts on are quite possibly not as happy, engaged, or loyal as we need them to be to ensure our future success.

 

What’s an HR Leader To Do?

Perhaps we’re never again going to see the long term loyalty and blind devotion to one company that existed in years and generations past.  But that doesn’t mean there aren’t thing we can do as employers to prolong the tenures of our younger employees, incentivizing them to stick around maybe a little longer that they otherwise might have, and ensuring that they are engaged and productive members of the team while they are there.  Here’s a few ideas:

  • It’s not enough to have succession plans in place. Ensure that high potentials KNOW they are high potentials and exactly what they need to do to get to the next level.  Provide the development opportunities to help them get there.
  • Be mindful of your online reputation. This is important to Gen Y and Gen Z.  If you don’t have someone not only monitoring what’s being said about you online, but also proactively engaging with the online community and promoting your employment brand and offering, designate someone to start doing so.  Not only does this help with retention and engagement of current employees, it’ll help with your recruiting efforts as well.
  • Ensure that not only are you communicating a solid employment brand, but that your culture matches what you’re preaching. There’s no surer way to lose new hires than to immerse them in a culture that’s not aligned with what you promised.

 

It’s going to continue to be a battle out there, and those employers who are aware, who are proactive, and who execute what they promise will be the ones to rise to the top.

 

Disclosure: Spherion partnered with bloggers such as me for their Emerging Workforce Study program. As part of this program, I received compensation for my time. They did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about any idea mentioned in these posts. Spherion believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Spherion’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.

 

About the Author: Jennifer Payne, SPHR, SHRM-SCP has over 16 years of HR experience in employee relations, talent acquisition, and learning & development, and currently works in talent acquisition and development in the retail grocery industry.  She is one of the co-founders of Women of HR, and is currently the Editor of the site. You can connect with her on Twitter as @JennyJensHR and on LinkedIn.