Tag: Human resources
As I was reading a recent issue of Time Magazine, I stumbled across a feature article entitled “The Art of Being Mindful” and it immediately piqued my interest. The focus of the piece was an exploration of a fairly recent movement centered on learning to shift focus back to the present moment, a remedy for the fractured attention spans and constant multi-tasking that has become not only prevalent, but normal and even expected in our fast-paced, technologically driven society. Though this idea is certainly nothing new, it seems in a world where there are increasingly more distractions and demands for our attention as a result of devices that allow us to be connected around the clock, more and more people are realizing the benefit of focusing on being mindful.
In fact, enough people have begun to see the benefits of mindfulness that there is now a growing industry surrounding it. The article talked about “Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction” (MBSR) classes that people regularly pay hundreds of dollars to attend to learn mindfulness techniques. In 2007, Americans reportedly spent $4 million annually on mindfulness related alternative medicine, a figure that will be updated later this year. And there is even an Institute for Mindful Leadership, a Wisdom 2.0 annual conference for tech leaders in Silicon Valley, and numerous mindfulness and meditation apps available for our smart phones.
This fascinates me. As I already mentioned, the idea of being mindful is certainly nothing new. I recently began practicing yoga, and one of the key elements of the practice is focus on being present in the moment, most often by paying particular attention to your breath. Yoga and meditation have been around for centuries, long before MBSR classes began to be offered. What interests me most is the idea that more and more people are realizing there is a need to bring more awareness to being in the moment; that too many of us are multi-tasking to the point of complete distraction.
As HR professionals regularly interacting with other people and/or dealing with various people related issues, it would seem to be common sense that we would always be mindful in those interactions. But are we?
How often can you honestly say you are totally and completely in the moment in your interactions with others? Are you really listening, or do you find your mind wandering to the next task on your to-do list, or the next meeting on your calendar? When you have an employee or one of your team members in your office, do you focus on the conversation, or are you multi-taking by reading or answering emails? Are you likely to take a phone call if it rings in the midst of that conversation, or will you let it go to voicemail and center your attention on the person in front of you?
Mindfulness in interactions with others is important for all leaders, but in HR, when we’re often dealing with emotionally charged situations, it’s even more critical. If you can honestly say that you are 100% mindful in all of your interactions, great – keep up the good work! However, if you are like many of us (myself included) and tend to find your mind wandering and your attention everywhere but where it should be, I challenge you to consciously focus on keeping yourself more in the moment. Bring just a little more mindfulness to the work you do each day. It may just make you not only a better leaders and HR pro, but by truly giving undivided attention to the person in front of you, may actually help strengthen your relationships with those around you as well.
About the Author: Jennifer Payne, SPHR has 15 years of HR experience in employee relations, talent acquisition, and learning & development, and currently works in talent management 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.
When it comes to attracting and hiring top employees, there are several things you can do to help employ the best and the brightest. On the other hand, there are other things you may do, without even realizing it, that will drive your best employees away. In my experience, here are the seven fastest ways to lose employees – and how to turn those negatives into positives for your business. These are tips that Human Resources should share with every manager, and make sure they are practicing within the company.
#1 Unreachable Expectations
The first way to lose an employee fast is to set unrealistic expectations. This does not mean managers should lower their standards. What it does mean is that they should be in tune with the business and what it takes to succeed.
Instead of setting goals and deadlines that cannot be met, managers should come up with realistic goals for employees. This doesn’t mean they should be easy; goals and expectations should involve hard work. The difference is the expectations should be attainable for those who work hard for the good of the company.
#2 Constantly Criticize
Another thing that managers do to drive employees away quickly is to constantly criticize them throughout the workday. It is difficult for a person to do any job well if they feel that everything they are doing is wrong.
Instead of criticizing every wrong move, managers should acknowledge employees for what they are doing right. You can help them by teaching them how to turn a negative comment into a positive one. Constantly reinforcing this within the company will help others learn to manage this philosophy in a daily work environment.
#3 Managing the Micromanager
By the same token, some managers may find it is easy to be critical when they are constantly looking over their employee’s shoulders. It is difficult enough to do your job without the added burden of having a manager within reach, second-guessing every move you make.
Instead of micromanaging employees, managers should learn to give their employees some room to work and occasionally make mistakes. As long as the mistakes are not career or business ending, this will help them learn the right way to do business in the future.
#4 Pass the Blame
Part of being a good manager is sometimes accepting the blame when things do go wrong. It is not possible for a manager to control everything, and mistakes will happen. It is what happens next which will chart the course for the company’s future.
Instead of passing the blame, Human Resources needs to foster an environment where it is acceptable to make mistakes without fear of a person losing their job. This will make it much easier for both managers and employees to accept both success and an occasional mistake.
#5 Expect Long Hours and Overtime Without Compensation
There is no doubt most top employees work hard, and that is what likely keeps a successful business thriving. However, no one should expect to work long hours and put in a lot of overtime without the understanding there will be some type of compensation or job security gained because of it.
Instead of demanding mandatory overtime every week without any extra pay or benefits, build in a structure that compensates employees in some way. If an employee is constantly working difficult extra hours, without an end in sight, it is likely they will soon set their sights on a new place to work.
#6 Fail to Offer Rewards, Incentives or Bonuses
Along with compensation and pay comes the need for some type of system that rewards employees. No one wants to put in a lot of hard work with nothing to show for it. Big or small, rewarding your employees can go a long way.
Instead of avoiding all rewards, incentives and bonuses due to the drain on a company’s finances, Human Resources should lead the charge in finding creative ways to support employees. An occasional treat, a prime parking spot, or even a paid day off can go a long way when it comes to emotionally uplifting employees.
#7 Treat Employees Only as Employees
Finally, managers and executives within a company need to understand that employees should be treated with respect. If workers are acknowledged simply as “employees,” they will not work their hardest for the good of the company and likely be eager to leave.
Instead of creating a division within the company, Human Resources should encourage managers to create a respectful environment. It is important that employees feel valued and that they feel their opinion is respected.
While the economy may still be recovering for many U.S. businesses, employees will not want to stay with any company that does not respect them or value the contribution they make to the business. Ensuring your company understands what drives employees away will help make it easier for you to retain the employees the company values most.
About the Author: Cassy Parker, social media advocate for CreditDonkey (@CreditDonkey on Twitter), a credit card comparison website, has experience helping small business owners thrive. As the content manager for the business section, she keeps a pulse on the challenges small business owners face.
You’re an HR professional and you’ve decided it’s time to change jobs. Maybe it’s something happening within your company causing you to switch, or maybe it’s something inside of you telling you it’s time. Either way, this is one time where things should be easy, right? After all, you’re a professional in Human Resources! Finally, a chance to use all of your knowledge and ‘insider information’ to position yourself competitively and go for what you want.
It’s not so easy.
Expectations are raised in an HR job search. Most of this comes from the pressure you put upon yourself. “I should know what I’m doing.” “My resume and cover letter better be 100% perfect and error-free.” “I interview people all day long, how hard can it be to turn the tables?”
Yet many of us in HR have put our own career development at the bottom of our massive to-do list. Our resume is not only imperfect, it may be completely out of date or merely an exhaustive list of our job duties, rather than a presentation of our accomplishments. We may use LinkedIn to find candidates…that doesn’t mean we’ve put any time or attention into our own profiles. And interviewing? We began to think of all the times we’ve nit-picked and criticized candidates for not being prepared enough, or spouting rehearsed answers that didn’t really answer our questions.
On the other side, expectations of professionalism from potential employers run high as well, and with good reason. If an employer asks for a cover letter and resume in the format they request, you’d better be giving them both – and don’t even think about using a canned cover letter.
Loyalty is another issue many struggle with. When you spend all day touting the benefits of working for your company, and comparing how good your company is to the competitors, it’s hard to imagine going to work for a competitor! Many employees feel loyal to their employer, but it seems especially hard for HR people to imagine leaving for a similar job in the same industry. And how many times have we discarded candidates for being “job-hoppers”? That’s the last thing we want for ourselves. So 3 years turns into 5, and then 7, and finally 10 and before you know it, you can’t imagine leaving, even if you’ve completely stopped growing or learning in your position.
Confidentiality is another challenge HR professionals face in a job search. Many of us have counseled employees against using our employers equipment and/or time to conduct a job search, but let’s face it: many activities related to job searching take place during the day when you are working at your current employer. Sure , you can fill in online applications or do email at home at night, but interviews often work best for employers when they can take place during the day, and suddenly you may find yourself needing to be out of the office on numerous occasions, without wanting to share the reason.
Many of these challenges are related to applying for a posted job, which we know is not the best way to land a new position. Time spent networking and building relationships is the most productive and often leads to your next position in HR. Still, many HR folks let some of these challenges stop them from even contemplating a change.
What unique challenges did you face when searching for your HR job?
About the Author: For 15+ years, Andrea Ballard, SPHR, has brought a unique, common sense perspective to the business of HR. A former HR Director and Training Manager, she advises companies on how to design/implement flexible work life programs to attract/retain top talent. A certified coach, she helps women create a balance between motherhood & career. She is the owner of Expecting Change, LLC, blogs at Working Mother and is on Twitter as @andreaballard.
I was engaged once. It was 1988 and in between a course of sweetbreads and lamb at the Millcroft Inn in Alton, Ontario, the blue-eyed guy across from me popped the question. I looked at the ring, and I looked at him, and I said, “yes”. In other words, I said (on the inside), “I find you very attractive, I have no idea how this story might end, but yes, I think there are good odds here and I’m game to give it a shot”. After all, we were very young, we had no money, but we had high hopes for the future. We set a date.
During engagement, you buy an expensive dress you’ll never wear again, and you fuss over the strange details of a hopefully once-in-a-lifetime ceremony. You drive your friends and family crazy. Then once the engagement is over and you’ve settled in, you find true happiness.
I’ve thought about this as it relates to the workplace.
Do we need engagement? Or do we need that sense of settling in and happiness?
I think it is the latter.
I’m not sure we are at our best during the engagement. There are reasons why there are TV shows about bridezillas. There is frenzied anticipation and many, many details. There are a lot of things to balance, with time always seeming to be at a premium. Our goal is to have a lovely wedding. We fret at not being able to see much beyond that day. It is when the engagement is over that we have a routine and new goals and a longer-term outlook. We fall more deeply in love with our spouse. That’s happiness.
I fully realize that not everyone on the engagement bandwagon agrees with me. They argue that an engaged employee is not necessarily a happy employee and they argue that a happy employee may be happy because their work isn’t challenging, which doesn’t benefit the business. Ok, fair enough. That said, perhaps I’m being overly technical but the definition of engagement does not include the word motivation (in fact, appointment is a synonym for engagement). Ultimately, motivation is another positive side effect of being settled in to a role where you have confidence. Again, during engagement you are not settled in yet.
So how can you achieve a workplace full of happy people? Try these strategies:
- Find ways to include your employees in long-term planning. So often we set short-term goals in our planning without thinking about how this contributes to the big picture. The more employees can see themselves in your organization 3, 5, 7 years down the road, the more likely they will contribute in ways that will ensure the organization is sustainable.
- Love your organization. Love your employees. I’m talking to you HR. Some of the best organizations out there have amazing programs not only for current employees but also alums. Make it a family atmosphere full of positivity and mutual respect by focusing on programs designed to be supportive of the whole employee, at 24 and 64. The workplace should feel safe and a place to find your centre. This can’t happen in a place where there isn’t an environment of mutual trust.
- Lessen the distractions. People focus best when they aren’t surrounded by a myriad of distractions. They’re happy when the details are set. If that means organizing central pick up for dry cleaning, providing access to a concierge service or being more flexible about work arrangements, go for it.
If you think of your employees after the engagement, the onboarding, all that preliminary stuff, and make the workplace feel like an extension of home, you’re well on your way to achieving workplace happiness.
About the author: Bonni Titgemeyer is the Managing Director of The Employers’ Choice Inc. She has been in human resources for 20+ years and works in the international HR arena. She is the recipient of the 2012 Toronto Star HR Professional of the Year Award. You can connect with Bonni on Twitter as @BonniToronto, often at the hashtag #TEPHR.
In his latest article, Winning the War for Talent 2.0 in Malaysia1, Professor Sattar Bawany of the Centre for Executive Education in Singapore comments:
“Lower your prices and competitors will follow. Go after a lucrative market and someone is there right after you, careful to avoid making your initial mistakes. But replicating a high-quality, highly engaged workforce is nearly impossible. The ability to effectively hire, retain, deploy and engage talent—at all levels—is really the only true competitive advantage an organisation possesses.”
I would hazard a guess that most of you agree with this statement. However, it’s what you do about it that actually makes the critical difference in your life and in the lives of the people you lead.
And so, what do you know?
Whether you’re big business or not, you understand that the workforce of today is not the same as that of yesteryears and that you need to learn how to adapt to that reality and engage with talent in a way that they can appreciate. Therefore, while it is important for you to pay attention to your strategic direction, the globalisation of your services, the need to constantly refine and develop your product and the ever-changing bottom line, you also need to place enough emphasis on the people front. The people you choose to bring in – these are the people who choose to work with you and for you.
Some of you have more resources at your disposal than others, but there is a lot that you can do to ensure you attract and retain good talent that isn’t contingent on the money you choose to throw at them or the size of your company.
There’s this ongoing debate around how the Gen Y ought to be managed, how they profess loyalty not unto their employer but unto themselves. I feel that at times, some of the emotion behind such debate is a little off center.
Those who are brought up in a different era will undoubtedly look at things in a different vein. Ultimately however, it should not matter if Gen Y want more autonomy, more information flow or more assignments that truly stretch. What matters is that you can’t force others into a box and make them into little mini-me’s. You can’t judge them according to the standards you grew up in. These differences in the workforce are the result of change, change that you have to accept is part and parcel of development, innovation and advancement. Change resulting from being in a different time and place, of the face of the market and of the pervasive influx of technology in your lives and the consequent ripple effects. Your job, as leaders, is to find a way to make things work, to make your organisations relevant and inspiring and to align the goals of your organisation with that of the individuals you seek to bring to it.
So, how do you find, retain and grow good talent?
1.Networking is critical to ensuring you are able to find good talent
You open yourself up to a bigger source of good talent, and one that is not entirely reliant on your efforts alone. Others are on a search similar to you. They will have different experiences, they may get burnt, learn a lesson or two and be willing to share their story. They may have some good experiences and be willing to let you in. But there is a real skill involved in networking effectively. For one, you need to integrate your efforts online and offline. Spread your reach. Secondly, if you want to be noticed and if you want assistance, the best chance you have is when you decide to focus on giving before getting. See how you can be of benefit to your network. Thirdly, developing your network goes beyond simply introducing yourself via social media or asking people to recommend you or give references. It involves real connection, one that is established at a deeper level and which makes it clear to the other party that you are not taking a copy/paste approach to developing relationships. With practice and driven by the value you can create for others, you may be able to reap rewards by establishing and maintaining your network.
2. Employment references are an important part of this process
Yes, there are limitations to the use of references. You are only likely to provide a reference from someone who is willing to provide a glowing report. The chances are high that you can get a friend or colleague to provide such references. Given these factors, you would therefore want to put in place systems that can overcome some of the limitations of the employment reference. For example, you could do a reference check on the person providing the reference : Is he who he says he is? Bottom line, you don’t rely on references exclusively.
3. You need to develop the skills to find the talent who aren’t looking for you
Let’s face it – if they are good at what they do, chances are they are gainfully employed, very much engaged and they are not looking to move. That is not to say that you have no hope of getting them over. Locating these great talent will take time and may not be smooth sailing but anything’s possible. Be careful though : you need to ensure, before you start, that you are able to make a compelling case for them to reconsider their options.
4. Can you identify good talent when you’re face to face with them?
This is both an art and a science. You need to know not just what to assess but how best to do so. As Carol Quinn argued, in The Truth in Interview Part I2,
“Applicants are learning more about getting a job than interviewers are learning about hiring”.
Skills in itself are not an accurate indicator of job performance. And at some stage, you might have come across the skilled applicant, who was able to outsmart the interviewer and present a picture of herself that, in the final analysis, did not match reality. The question therefore is whether, as an interviewer, you are able to ascertain what you need to look for and have the tools to do so.
5. Understand the importance of employer branding
You put all the things you need in place. You build up a picture of who, you as an organisation, are. You reach out on various platforms – website, social media, offline networks – to create and maintain this consistent image. You understand the value in doing this, you nurture this delicately and hope to build on your successes, layering on, significant ideas of who you are, as an organisation, hoping that it matches the impressions created in the marketplace.
6. You remember the team in place
You remember one thing : the talent you already have in place. These are your brand ambassadors and they too have their own network. You don’t lose sight of this fact as you work to ensure that the impressions you create about who you are, needs hold true internally, within the organisation as well. Failing which, disaster may strike.
7. Wherein lies your focus?
Finding good talent is impacted by your focus areas. Sometimes, it may be easy to forget that everyone brings something to the table. We may each have our weaknesses and no doubt, these should be addressed but the strength movement, is one based on sound principle. Marcus Buckingham, author of published bestsellers, ‘First, Break all the Rules‘ and ‘Now, Discover your Strengths’ is right in asserting that it’s far more about harnessing the best of what you bring to the organisation than addressing what is weak within the individual.
“Since the greatest room for each person’s growth is in the areas of his greatest strength, you should focus your training time and money on educating him about his strengths and figuring out ways to build on these strengths rather than on remedially trying to plug his ‘skill gaps.’ You will find that this one shift in emphasis will pay huge dividends. In one fell swoop you will sidestep three potential pitfalls to building a strengths-based organization: the ‘I don’t have the skills and knowledge I need’ problem, the ‘I don’t know what I’m best at’ problem, and the ‘my manager doesn’t know what I’m best at’ problem.”
― Donald O. Clifton, Now, Discover Your Strengths
In the end, you take the best of what you have to offer and make that compelling to the talent you seek to bring in. None of this is rocket science. Talent management frameworks have their place and significance but this is about making real connections, about being human in how you treat people and in seeing the relationship for what it is.
If you can do that, if you can connect authentically with your talent, if you can make them see the vision you have for your organisation, if you can put this across well and see how you can align what you want to achieve, with the growth paths your people are on, that alignment will create a world of wonder, passion and engagement.
1 Appeared in the October 2013 issue of HR Matters Magazine
2 The Truth in Interview Part I
Rowena Morais is the Editor of HR Matters Magazine, a quarterly print publication aimed at Human Resource professionals. She is also the co-founder and Programme Director at Flipside, a business services company with offices in Malaysia and Singapore, providing professional certification training. Here, she provides strategic direction as well as oversight on client training and corporate functional areas. Rowena blogs about developing habits, execution, growth and personal development. She lives in Kuala Lumpur with her husband, two young kids and now, a newborn. Connect with Rowena at email@example.com.
Looking for a life-impacting role for HR? Explore the opportunity you can use to save lives and life styles. I am talking about the life skills and balancing of life decisions of both your employees and their spouses.
My mom’s cousin lost her husband in the last year. In her grief and lack of education, she ignored the opportunity to keep her insurance and other benefits going. She has now had a stroke and may need brain surgery. I don’t want to go into the healthcare debate; I want you to think about the people and the impact a little education and/or policy changes could make.
What if her insurance and benefits could have continued automatically, paid out of her survivor benefits? This could at least have happened for a reasonable “grief” period, when there are so many decisions to make.
Let’s go beyond insurance and jump to life skills discussion. Want to increase family engagement? What about addressing the often ignored factors of estate planning and organizational skills? 85% of households have one spouse solely responsible for bills and paperwork. How can you help employees and their spouses, regardless of which one is the household operator, understand the critical necessity of cross training or at least strong organization of these processes. It can be touchy, but in many cases, it would be very welcome to have tools and discussion facilitated.
This issue is gender and socio-economically diverse. Think about it. Think about your mom, dad, sister, brother, grandparent, spouse. Who is going to be impacted by a tragedy compounded by complexity of new skill requirements, or financial messes that have never been shared?
You can make a difference.
Lois Melbourne, GPHR, is co-founder and former CEO of Aquire Solutions, mom to one terrific young son and wife of co-founder Ross Melbourne. After entering a bit of a sabbatical life phase, she is authoring a series of children’s books about career ambitions. She maintains a strong personal commitment to career education and small business development and is a speaker, author of industry articles, and an occasional blogger and networker. Connect with her on Twitter as @loismelbourne.
The stagnant job market hasn’t made it easy for companies to find top candidates for open positions. In reality, it is actually more difficult. For every open position it seems as though hundreds of applications come pouring in, but the applicant pool is often under-qualified. It’s understandable, many people with substantial skill sets are holding on to the job they have while they wait for the economy to stabilize. So, what can an employer do to up their value proposition and opportunity to recruit great talent? There are many ways to increase your chances as a recruiter. In addition to online searches and job postings, here are few tips that may help you out.
Remember it’s Not a One Way Street
If you have a position that needs to be filled in your company, waiting for the applicant to come to you may end up giving you more of the same, lots of resumes, but not the quality you’re looking for. Consider proactive recruiting. Take the initiative to go out and look for great candidates that will fit your company’s culture. In addition to keyword candidate reviews on web searches like LinkedIn, do some good old-fashioned networking. Ask other professionals you respect if they know of anyone they’ve worked with in the past that could be recommended for your open positions. Get the rest of your hiring team involved, and have them connect with their contacts for any leads on top performers that may benefit your company.
Don’t Forget Your Current Employees
One of the best ways to attract new employees is to have a company full of happy, motivated people who like where they are working. Loyal employees are not only more productive, but are also inclined to recommend other great professionals for open positions. Consider an employee referral program that is more than just the “submit a name of someone you know” process. Have them recommend the person for a specific position and tell you why they think the individual is a great candidate. Although some may think that employees will simply try to get all their “buddies” hired on, usually that’s not the case. Employees who take pride in their company won’t be inclined to suggest the candidacy of someone who would be a bad hire – they wouldn’t want to stake their reputation on someone they can’t get behind.
Consider the Décor
Seems like an odd consideration, but if you want to bring in the best, your first office space impression means a lot in the eyes of the ideal candidate. If that person walks through the doors and sees a dry atmosphere full of white walls, compacted cubicles, and unfriendly faces, they are going to have a hard time envisioning themselves spending 40+ hours working in your office space. When you’re trying to appeal to top job candidates, and also working to keep morale high for your current work family, consider the environment you are asking them to work in. Personalized work spaces where people can express their personalities help to create attachment and belonging, and that translates into satisfied employees. You don’t have to forgo a consistent office décor, just consider providing ways for individuality to emerge.
Know Your Candidates
Great candidates want more than just a high paying salary. They want a company that offers development opportunities, upward mobility, rightful recognition, and a balanced lifestyle. They also want to see passion throughout their potential new workplace, and want that passion to be in line with their professional aspirations. Before you pitch your company to a candidate, find out what they are really seeking from a new employer and what factors would actually be enticing enough to make the switch to your company. Make sure it’s a values match for both of you.
Get Everyone on Board
A disorganized management and/ or hiring team can be a big turn-off to any interested candidates. If a top candidate hears their potential position described one way, and then hears it described differently by another team member, they are going to become concerned about the legitimacy of the position you are offering.
Before you even begin seeking out ideal candidates, meet with your hiring team to make sure everyone knows just exactly what the position is you are trying to fill. Everyone should be on the same page when it comes to explaining the expectations, duties, and potential opportunities related to the open position. That way when a potential top performer inquires about the position, further questions or concerns aren’t created.
Don’t sell your opening short by taking an applicant through the process because they seem “qualified” enough and you have pressure to fill the role. Top performers within a company drive innovation, can motivate current middle-of-the-road employees, and increase profitability. Taking the time to actually seek out and find the ideal candidate for each open position may take extra time and effort, but it is the most important role a recruiter can play. Get the right people on the bus. That’s what builds and sustains stellar companies.
About the Author: Amanda Andrade is the Chief People Officer for Veterans United Home Loans – Fortune magazine’s 21st best medium workplace and one the fastest growing companies in the United States according to INC magazine. Amanda has led human resource organizations in both public and private sectors. She also has a doctorate in Environment and Behavior, focusing on highly profitable, employee-centric work environments. Connect with Amanda on Google+.
I have been in talent acquisition for almost ten years and have chosen to work in corporate recruiting. I often get asked the question, “When you can earn two to three times what you are earning now, why haven’t you gone out on your own and begun working with many companies instead of working within just one?” The answer is pretty simple. For positions within a services organization where talent is what we are selling to our customers, I just don’t believe in the external recruiting model.
With experience in both external staffing agencies and as a corporate recruiter, the corporate recruiting model in conjunction with a proactive in-house recruiting department has proven to impact overall business success positively, specifically in business planning, client acquisition, and building and retaining our company’s talent base.
Talent acquisition is a critical component of overall business planning in a services organization. If your company is exploring a new business venture, offering, or customer pool, it is necessary to determine not only what staff is going to cost in order to serve this niche, but also how readily available they are in your market. A business plan may not seem as strong after considering the staff complement needed to create and ensure continued success if unavailable or extremely overpriced. An internal recruiter can provide this expert, up-to-date perspective from his/her experience within the market and take into account the company’s challenges and opportunity to acquire talent to serve this business plan.
Client acquisition is another area of the business that is heavily influenced by a company’s chosen talent acquisition plan. An in-house recruiter can work with the new business departments to ensure that the company has the right talent in place as soon as the new client is acquired. The talent acquisition process takes nurturing of candidates that should occur far in advance of client on-boarding and working within the company, which gives you foresight that an external recruiter typically does not have.
Due to the often confidential nature of new business development, it is important that the recruiter has a strong relationship with the new business development team and that they have a vested interest in the company. Business development isn’t likely to be shared with an external resource that may be partnering with possible competitors in the same industry, potentially creating a delay in acquiring the talent necessary to make client onboarding successful.
Furthermore, internal recruiters have a much stronger ability to assess fit to-role simply through continuous exposure to the company. They have the benefit of working with all of the various hiring managers 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year. Through this close working environment an in-house recruiter has a much better chance of identifying which types of personalities and working styles will work well with each manager by observing how each hiring manager works with others inside of the organization. Adding one more personality into a team can completely change the functionality and dynamics of that team. When a company has chosen to go down the road of paying a 15% to 25% fee on first year annual salary with an external recruiter, there is most likely a pressing need for the role to be filled, and often hiring managers in a services organization don’t have the time to spend with external recruiters to describe all of the intricacies of the team to them. When working externally to the environment you are recruiting for, it is nearly impossible to know each hiring manager and how he/she operates within the culture and environment. Now, imagine the challenge of finding a solid fit-to-role once you begin hiring for several organizations with several hiring managers; the ability to keep up with changing environments, roles, and personalities becomes nearly impossible.
Undoubtedly, with a limited qualified talent pool available globally, recruiters must actively maintain relationships with qualified talent for future openings. This is another area that an internal recruiter can more effectively serve a services organization: targeted relationship management with potential staff for the company. The internal recruiter has greater knowledge of how the company can be a fit for the candidates and possibly alleviate pain points they may be experiencing in their current situation. It is key to recognize that the value proposition to various qualified candidates may change over time and it is imperative that an internal recruiter keep abreast of changes with candidates’ situations and changes within the company and how the two may be a fit at a later time.
Finally, retention in a services company is imperative with the product of the company being the knowledge that each employee carries. An internal recruiter has more of a vested interest in seeing the recruited candidate succeed and remain committed to the company. Not that the external recruiter doesn’t wish good things for the candidate, but he or she just isn’t there every day reaping the benefits or suffering the repercussions of the hire. Furthermore, the external recruiter reaps benefits in the form of 15% to 25% of the candidate’s first year annual salary, as long as the candidate has the one to three month tenure guaranteed in the contract. From a monetary standpoint, most often internal recruiters are not rewarded on a per hire basis. The paycheck they receive each week is in exchange for them continually serving the company that they are committed to, while external recruiters typically are serving many organizations at a time and are rewarded for each successful placement. If a hire from an external recruiter fails after the tenure guarantee, the recruiter is not responsible for the replacement; whereas, an internal recruiter is required to replace the hire regardless of the time spent in the role. You can see how one system is built to reward long-term employment, while the other rewards even with short-term tenure.
In conclusion, I believe an internal recruiting model versus an external recruiting one better serves a services organization. Internal recruiting more effectively serves the business in the areas of identifying the right talent for the company, targeted relationship management, retention, business planning and client acquisition.
Amanda Papini, Recruiting Director at Response Mine Interactive started her career in recruiting at Medical Staffing Network in 2005, and moved over to a corporate recruiting role at BKV and Response Mine Interactive in 2007, where she built an internal recruiting practice for both companies. Amanda has since staffed over 250 full-time employees within both companies; an average of 50 hires per year. After assisting with RMI and BKV’s growth over the last 5 years, Amanda decided to move over to focus solely on RMI’s talent acquisition and take on a role more dedicated to employee development.
I had the opportunity to attend the HR Technology Conference for the first time last week. It took place at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas from October 7 – 9, and for thousands who are active and influential in the HR technology space, it’s an annual pilgrimage anxiously awaited for the opportunity to see, hear about, discuss, and promote all that is the latest, greatest, and yet to come related to technology solutions for HR professionals. But for the average HR practitioner, this conference may not even be on the radar; until recently, it wasn’t for me. If you are that typical trench HR practitioner like me, you may ask yourself why you should be interested in such a specific, targeted HR conference when there are so many others from which to choose. And until recently, I asked myself the same question. After all, in my day to day job, I don’t really focus on the HR systems side of the business. I don’t oversee payroll or HRIS, I focus more on talent management and learning & development. But you see, that’s where I was misinformed. The HR Technology Conference is not just for “systems” HR folks, it’s for everyone. Or at least for everyone who is interested in keeping up with what’s next for HR and the tools to make themselves and their companies more efficient and competitive.
It only took a quick glance at the agenda to realize that there was so much more to this conference than just talking about systems. It was an opportunity to learn from experts in the field about existing technologies, new technologies, and how these technologies can help you, as an HR practitioner, to do your job more effectively and efficiently. Not everything discussed is right for every company, but it’s certainly worth learning about what other companies are doing and what’s available.
The Expo Hall was filled with a bigger assortment of HR technology solutions than one could ever imagine if you’ve never been there. Everything from core HR, to time & attendance, to applicant tracking, talent management, learning management, assessment tools, and social recruiting & sourcing solutions. It’s hard to believe that one of those areas doesn’t touch on something that every HR practitioner handles in some aspect of their job. Again, not everything is for everyone, but it’s worth knowing what’s available. You may not need it now, but you never know what you may need in the future.
Attending the NextGen Influencer panel provided valuable insight from several “up and coming” (though they were all already very established in their careers) HR professionals on how they’ve positioned themselves as the next influencers in the HR technology space. Their real life examples and advice of how they got to where they are now would be useful to any HR practitioners looking to give themselves an edge and make be just that much more informed and competitive than the next person.
The Awesome New Technologies for HR session offered the opportunity to listen to several companies discuss some truly cutting edge technologies. Everything from recruiting analytics, to virtual onboarding, to predictive analytics that help you cull through previous candidates already in your ATS to identify those who may be looking again…the abilities these new technologies give us can be almost mind-boggling, yet fascinating to the everyday HR practitioner.
But perhaps the biggest value I received from attending this conference was the opportunity to be around some of the brightest minds in this space. To just listen to them talk. To hear the terminology and trends. Because even though I may not be using any of it in my day to day job now, that doesn’t mean I may not need it down the line, and it doesn’t mean the companies we compete with aren’t using it now. It may be easy to argue that fancy HR tech is just for the “big guys” or for more high tech companies; but then again, there was a time that could have been said about PCs, email, or smart phones. Technology has infiltrated every aspect of our lives, creating efficiencies we couldn’t have previously imagined. Why shouldn’t that be the case in HR as well? And if I’m going to give myself just a little bit of an edge by attending HR Tech and keeping up with those trends, well, I’ll be sure to be back at Mandalay Bay in October 2014!
About the Author: Jennifer Payne, SPHR has 15 years of HR experience in employee relations, talent acquisition, and learning & development, and currently works in talent management 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.
You don’t have to be a woman to be a good human resources manager—but, according to research, you are more likely to be. Women are the ones most likely to bring emotional intelligence to the table, according to a survey of executives, and emotional intelligence is vital to HR. In fact, at least one study has shown that almost 90 percent of leadership success comes from emotional intelligence.
Wondering what exactly emotional intelligence is? Not sure why it matters so much in human resources? Let’s take a look.
What Is Emotional Intelligence?
Think of it this way: In a room full of people, those with emotional intelligence continually pick up social and behavioral cues that others miss. Did that girl really mean what she said about her job, or was she exaggerating? Did that guy want to leave early, or was a conflict brewing with another person? Noticing and then understanding these kinds of situations typically come more naturally to women, although men certainly are perceptive too in varying degrees. Such insights are particularly helpful in HR, where person-to-person dynamics, perceptions, and emotions play such a pivotal role.
How Does Emotional Intelligence Benefit an HR Manager?
In recruiting, hiring, managing, and working with personnel, emotional intelligence is so important that it may actually be the determining factor between a fine HR manager and a great one. As proof of that idea, consider the following benefits that come from emotional intelligence in HR.
An HR manager who understands the ways emotions operate is an HR manager better equipped to respond to an employee’s frustrations and concerns. Nobody wants to talk to an HR manager who belittles or ignores his or her complaints. When upset staff members come to an HR manager, they respond better to the person who shows empathy for what’s bothering them.
Because emotional intelligence means being able to discern the difference between real and fake behaviors, emotionally aware HR managers have a leg up in terms of perceptions. A manager who can tell when an employee is giving lip service is better able to avoid being manipulated or deceived.
Many, if not most, personnel conflicts happen because of misunderstandings. Being able to articulate emotions—both your own and your employees’—is incredibly helpful in working towards better understanding.
The truth is, managers’ and supervisors’ interactions with employees go a long way towards determining whether or not those employees are satisfied with their jobs and willing to stick around. HR professionals who can be both firm and caring build trust with their staff members. A happy staff means reduced turnover, which is good for everyone.
In your experience in human resources, have you seen ways in which emotional intelligence is an asset? What other benefits come to your mind besides the ones outlined above?
About the author: Shanna Mallon is a writer for Straight North, a Chicago Web design firm providing specialized SEO, Web development, and other online marketing services. Follow Straight North on Twitter and Facebook.
Photo credit iStockphoto