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Internal Recruiting: 2 Overlooked Tools

Thu, 08/15/2019 - 02:57

Many times, when we’re thinking about recruiting, the first thing that comes to mind is hiring someone from the outside. And that’s okay, but we need to make sure that we’re not overlooking the fantastic talent that’s already working in the company.

Job posting and job bidding are two common recruitment programs that organizations need to fully utilize. If you haven’t done a recent assessment of these programs, maybe now is the time.

Job posting is when the organization tells employees about a job opening. Employees then have a chance to apply. Some organizations will post the position internally and externally at the same time. However, in some companies, employees are given a chance to apply prior to advertising the position externally. This can be viewed as a plus to employees because they don’t compete with recruiting external talent for positions (think: employee engagement).

Job bidding is when employees express an interest in an opening before the opening happens. Some companies might have a formal process for this. I’ve often seen it happen on an informal basis. For example, a sales coordinator says that they would like to be considered for a sales manager position. Or a payroll clerk says they would like to apply for the next HR coordinator opening.

In both of these programs – job bidding and job posting – employees have the ability to express their interest in positions early in the recruiting process. If HR isn’t promoting these programs to employees, they should be. On some level, it could be easier to backfill the old job than the new opening. Not to mention that employees seeing coworkers take on new roles could mean a boost for employee engagement and morale.

In reviewing your organization’s current job posting and job bidding programs, here are two things to consider:

Get hiring managers involved in the review. Buy-in is so important. This is a perfect opportunity to talk with hiring managers about considering internal candidates. It’s also a good time to talk with managers about being open and honest regarding employee performance. Managers should let employees know when their performance is not at a level that would allow them to be considered for other opportunities. And managers should not pass along their poorly performing employees to another department.

Think about eligibility. Many of these types of programs say that the employee needs to have worked for the company for a certain amount of time. I’m not sure if that’s necessary. You know your business, ask the question, “Does tenure really make a difference?” Is it possible that the organization is losing great talent just because they have to complete an eligibility requirement? This could be something to discuss . . . because, if employees can’t get that promotion or transfer, does the company run the risk of the employee leaving all together?

I don’t know that programs like job bidding and job posting need radical overhauls, but they do need to work well. Employees want to know that they have a future with the company and programs like these send that message.

P.S. I’m delighted to be partnering with HackerEarth on an upcoming webinar about 5 Recruiting Strategies for Hiring the Best Tech Talent. It’s on Thursday, August 22, 2019 at 10a Pacific / 1p Eastern. And if you can’t make it, sign up anyway and listen to the recording. Hope to see you there!

The post Internal Recruiting: 2 Overlooked Tools appeared first on hr bartender.

Categories: Blogs

Recruiting Biases: 10 Common Types

Tue, 08/13/2019 - 02:57

 (Editor’s Note: Today’s article is brought to you by our friends at Criteria Corp, a leading provider of pre-employment testing services. If you want to learn more about how pre-employment testing can benefit your recruiting strategy, check out Criteria Corp’s “Definitive Guide to Pre-Employment Testing”. I found this to be a comprehensive guide that I keep on the corner of my desk all the time. Enjoy the article!) 

One of the most common recruiting metrics is time-to-fill. It’s basically the number of days it takes to fill a position from the time the opening occurs (i.e. the requisition is opened) to the time the candidate accepts the job offer. According to the last Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Talent Acquisition Benchmarking Report, the average time-to-fill is 36 days. On the surface, you might say, “That’s not too bad.”

However, in the article “12 Recruiting Statistics that Will Change the Way You Hire”, the average length of the job interview process is 24 days (23.8 to be exact). If we use both of these numbers, this means the rest of the entire recruiting process is 12 days. Twelve days to plan, source, select, background check, etc. Maybe it’s me but that doesn’t seem like a very long time.

Especially when it comes to selection.

If the company spends two-thirds of their time interviewing candidates, it seems like they should dedicate a comparable amount of time to making the right decision. Not necessarily equal, but comparable given how long it takes to interview. Because getting the selection part of the hiring process wrong can be costly.

Turnover is expensive

I don’t have to tell anyone the negative impact that turnover has on the organization. Depending on the report you’re looking at, the cost of a bad hire can range from 1-3 times annual salary, depending on the position. And that doesn’t even take into account employee morale and engagement, knowledge management, etc.

My concern is, if organizations try to accelerate the selection process, they could be opening themselves up to adding bias, which is defined as adding a prejudice in favor or against someone or something that’s considered to be unfair. It’s possible we do this unconsciously. Or maybe we’re deliberate about it.

I’m reminded of a seminar from Dr. David Rock I heard a couple of years ago where he talked about not all biases are bad. And of course, if all of the biases we brought into a situation were positive, then there would be nothing to worry about and we wouldn’t be having this conversation. But often bias is negative. If we want to use our biases the right way then we need to take the time needed to be aware of them. Here are ten common forms of bias and examples of how we might see each in a recruiting situation:

  1. Contrast effect occurs when an interviewer compares candidates to each other rather than evaluating to the organization’s performance standard. As in, “Jose is a better candidate than Leonard.” It’s important during the selection process for the recruiting team to use valid and reliable information to make their hiring decision.
  2. First-impression errors take place when an interviewer bases their entire view of a candidate on their first impression. I’ve often seen this based on the candidate’s attire. “Cecil came to the interview in jeans, he’s obviously not serious about this job.” Or tattoos. “Did you see that tattoo Cecil had on his arm? He’s not the right fit for our organization.”
  3. The Halo effect occurs when a recruiter or hiring manager allows one positive qualification or trait to take precedence over everything. This causes the interviewer to unduly favor the candidate. “For example, “Joe has a lot of enthusiasm, so naturally, he would be the most qualified for the job.”
  4. The Horn effect is the exact opposite of the Halo effect. In this situation, one negative trait or qualification takes precedence and leads to unfair prejudice towards the candidate. For example, “Joe seemed nervous during the interview. I’m not going to be able to handle the pressure of working here.”
  5. Inconsistent questioning happens when an interviewer doesn’t use a standard list of questions for each interview and cannot compare candidates to the same performance measure. Behavioral interviews are one way to bring consistency to the process. It’s important to note that even though candidates are being asked the same questions, it’s not to compare them to each other. See #1.
  6. Negative emphasis takes place when an interviewer makes assumptions about a candidate based on a small amount of negative information that is shared. An example would be if a candidate shares that they “failed” at something or made a “mistake”. Then all of a sudden, they’re no longer qualified.
  7. Nonverbal bias occurs when an interviewer is influenced by body language. You know this one. The room is cold, an employee folds their arms and now the interviewer thinks that they’re no longer interested. Sometimes it also happens when candidates are nervous and fail to make good eye contact during the interview.
  8. The Similar-to-Me Error occurs when the interviewer rates the candidate based on characteristics that the evaluator sees in themselves. The logic being – if I think I’m good at my job, then someone who is like me will also be good at their job. That makes someone the perfect candidate. The challenge with this thought process is that organizations need diversity to innovate and grow.
  9. Stereotyping happens when an interviewer assumes that a candidate has specific traits because they are a member of a group. True story: I recently attended a conference where someone stood up and said that he didn’t understand “why women were so emotional”. There was an audible gasp in the room. Enough said.
  10. So far, we’ve been talking about interviewer biases. This last one is for those job seekers out there. Cultural Noise occurs when candidates answer questions based on what they think will get them the job rather than what they actually believe or would do. This is exactly why every piece of advice to job seekers is “Don’t fake it!”
Heighten your awareness of recruiting biases

I get it, recruiting is tough right now. But the last thing that organizations want to do is spend a lot of resources finding and interviewing candidates only to select the wrong person. Part of selecting the right candidate is taking our biases out of the process. The way we do that is by maintaining our awareness that biases exist.

Organizations can make sure that human resources and hiring managers stay aware of bias by using this type of information during interview skills training. You can bookmark articles like this one and others on unconscious bias as reminders. Finally, we can make sure to take the proper time (and ask all the right questions) during the selection process. That benefits everyone.

If you want to learn more about removing bias from the candidate selection process, join me and the Criteria Corp team on Tuesday, August 27, 2019 at 10a Pacific / 1p Eastern for a webinar on “How to Move Your Hiring from Culture Fit to Culture Add”. We’re going to specifically talk about the similar-to-me error and how it can negatively impact your selection process.

The post Recruiting Biases: 10 Common Types appeared first on hr bartender.

Categories: Blogs

LinkedIn Reactions Expand Professional Communication

Sun, 08/11/2019 - 02:57

As a human resources professional, one of the things I’m constantly reminding managers about is the need to personalize communication. Especially when it comes to recognition or acknowledgements. Simply saying, “Good Job!” to everyone isn’t sufficient. I’m not saying that you have to strike the phrase “Good Job!” from your vocabulary, but we need to be more expressive.

That’s why I was excited to hear that LinkedIn introduced a new feature called LinkedIn Reactions. It expands the current “thumbs up” option in LinkedIn to include celebrate, love, insightful, and curious.

While like, celebrate, and love are probably self-explanatory, I think insightful and curious could be conversation starters. According to LinkedIn, insightful allows users to recognize a thought-provoking topic and curious can indicate a desire to learn more.

Because old habits can be hard to break, and I still find myself just “liking” things on LinkedIn, I spoke with Cissy Chen, product manager at LinkedIn, to learn more about Reactions and how to incorporate them in my interactions on the network.

Cissy, can you briefly describe for readers what LinkedIn Reactions is and the rationale behind adding more options than just the “thumbs up”.

[Chen] LinkedIn Reactions is a set of lightweight expressions that give members a more nuanced way to communicate with their network. Our research has shown that thriving communities are fostered when members feel like they belong in a supportive environment where they feel encouraged to express their thoughts and ideas.

Reactions makes it easy for members to visually express their sentiment on a topic in a way that goes beyond a ‘Like’.  One of the things we regularly heard from our members is that they want more expressive ways than a ‘Like’ to respond to the variety of posts they see in their feed. At the same time, members told us that when they post on LinkedIn, they want more ways to feel heard and understand why someone liked what they said.

I’m curious how LinkedIn Reactions works. Can anyone give anyone else a “Reaction”? Or is it only between first-level connections?

[Chen] As a member, I can ‘react’ to any post (i.e. short-form, long-form, recommended posts, etc.) that currently has a social action bar, across feed, search, groups, recent activity, etc, including organic company updates and sponsored content. I can only select one reaction per post from the set of Reactions that LinkedIn shows me by holding down the Like button and sliding my finger/cursor across to the right to select the reaction. 

Can you give us a few examples of how users would share a Reaction with one of their connections?

[Chen] Sure! Most LinkedIn users know how to use the ‘Like’. Here’s how you might use the other Reactions.

  • ‘Celebrate’ could be used to praise an accomplishment or milestone like landing a new job or speaking at an event
  • ‘Love’ would be used to express deep resonance and support, like a conversation about work life balance or the impact of mentorship
  • Insightful can help you recognize a great point or interesting idea
  • Curious lets you show your desire to learn more or react to a thought-provoking topic.

More examples can be found on LinkedIn’s Help Center

For the skeptics out there who might say Reactions is a bit too casual, what would you say to them?

[Chen] We took a thoughtful approach to designing these reactions, centered around understanding which ones would be most valuable to the types of conversations members have on LinkedIn.

This process included looking at what people are already talking about to better understand what feedback they wanted to express and receive. For example, we analyzed the top 1-2 word comments being used and what types of posts people are sharing most. We also conducted global research with LinkedIn members to get feedback on the specific reactions to ensure they were universally understood and helpful.

To learn more about the product principles, research, and design journey, check out this LinkedIn article from our design team.

One last question. How do you see the new LinkedIn Reactions complementing the Endorsements and Recommendations features?

[Chen] Endorsements and Recommendations empower members to show public support, appreciation, and acknowledgement for specific people in their professional network. Endorsements and Recommendations are featured on a member’s profile and are key features in showcasing the member reputation. 

Reactions also empowers members by giving them more ways to quickly and constructively communicate with one another. While Endorsements and Recommendations are fixated on a member’s profile, Reactions is leveraged in the feed and helps jumpstart meaningful conversations for people to participate in.

My thanks to Cissy for sharing her knowledge with us. If you want to stay in touch with what’s happening on LinkedIn, be sure to check out the LinkedIn blog.

LinkedIn continues to be the first name I hear when it comes to a professional online network. That means it’s in our best interest to learn about new features and give them a try. The people who are getting the most benefit are the ones leveraging everything the network has to offer.

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Categories: Blogs

Employees Love to Listen to Music While They Work [POLL RESULTS]

Thu, 08/08/2019 - 03:59

A few weeks ago, I asked you for your thoughts on listening to music while you work. Well, I had no idea how popular and passionate the responses would be! It’s taken me a while to organize the responses, but I think you’ll find them quite interesting (and fun!)

As the title of this post implies, there’s no middle ground here. Respondents say, “Heck yea!” employees should be able to listen to music while they’re working. Enough said.

What was interesting was the follow-up question about what people listen to. The responses fell into three categories: 1) genre or type of music, 2) bands or singers, and finally 3) songs.

There’s Something to the Phrase “Mood Music”

Some individuals responded with the genre or type of music. The most common response by far was “it varies”. Happy songs for happy days. Or maybe happy songs for bad days. Either way, mood impacted music choice.

A lot of people also commented that they listen to music without lyrics – instrumentals, classical, white noise, or “spa-type” music. Several readers said that words could distract them, and I can totally see that.

I was surprised at the number of people who have put together their own work station or mix tape. I have my own stations for “cleaning out the garage” and “treadmill desking” but I might have to try this. Especially with some of the suggestions you offered … which leads to the next point.

There’s a Reason They’re Called Classic

Many of the Individuals who responded with the names of singers or bands offered up the names of music icons (regardless of the genre): Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James, Frank Sinatra, Bruce Springsteen, U2, and Led Zeppelin.

One person mentioned pianist Paul Cardall and said, “his music has the ability to be heard or somehow go mute as the workday necessitates”. I let you decide if you want to check out his music.

And two honorable mentions go to The Greatest Showman soundtrack and Ed Sheeran. Several mentions, although no specific songs…but that’s next.

Here’s Your Workday Playlist

While the songs people shared were all over the map, similar to the chart above about favorite work music, there were a few tunes that showed up multiple times. Here are the top five:

“Taking Care of Business” by Bachman Turner Overdrive

“Under Pressure” by Queen

“Working for the Weekend” by Loverboy

“Can’t Stop the Feeling” by Justin Timberlake

The number one song that people said they listen to at work?

“9 to 5” by Dolly Parton

This was a really fun survey to do and I hope you find the results fun as well. But I did learn a couple of business lessons. First, given how many people responded (more than 200) and the way they responded, music is a low-cost, no-cost perk that employees would love. And, I wonder if music could be built into meetings and trainings as an icebreaker activity. To quote Sean Combs, “Music is the most powerful form of communication in the world. It brings us all together. Even religion separates us, but a hit record unites us across religious beliefs, race, politics.” And maybe music can unite the business as well.

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Categories: Blogs

9 Steps for Optimizing the Employee Experience During Your Next Technology Project

Tue, 08/06/2019 - 02:57

(Editor’s Note: Today’s article is brought to you by our friends at Qualtrics, the leader in experience management. They help organizations listen, understand, and take action on experience data. Mark your calendars for the Qualtrics X4 Summit. The event will be in Salt Lake City on March 10-13, 2020. Enjoy the article!)

In a pulse survey conducted by HRE, producers of the HR Technology Conference, almost one-third (31 percent) of respondents say their HR tech spend will increase in 2019. I realize we’re over halfway through the year, but that’s still a significant number. Because, when organizations purchase a technology solution, they want to know that people are going to use it.

I’ve written before about how employees are looking for a technology experience at work that mirrors what we experience at home. Technology is supposed to make our lives easier – both personally and professionally. From an organizational perspective, the idea is that a spend in new technology is going to improve the employee experience in some way.

At this year’s Qualtrics X4 Summit, I had the chance to hear from A.T. Still University, about how they implemented an experience management (XM) platform that achieved higher levels of user adoption. The key to A.T. Still’s success was planning a strategy that considered the employee experience before, during, and after implementation.

Create Employee Excitement Before Implementation Begins

While the business proposal part of the process is important, let’s consider it a separate conversation from the implementation strategy. What we’re talking about here is getting employees excited about the new technology before they even access it.

I’m reminded of the programs from my cell phone company. They tell me about the upcoming operating system release and innovative features which raises my level of excitement. I mark my calendar when it’s supposed to come out. That’s what looking forward to new software looks like. A.T. Still did the same thing by:

1. Creating a shared vision. In talking about the implementation, they communicated not only the organization’s needs but also the employee’s WIIFM (What’s in it for me?). If organizations want employees to use the software, then those employees need to understand how it benefits them. That doesn’t mean the company can’t also benefit. But employees need a clear and compelling benefit.

2. Identifying and acknowledging resistors to change. We’re not just talking about the Debbie Downers and Negative Nicks. It’s possible that the organization is implementing a new technology with limited resources and not the latest and greatest technology.

3. Developing an internal tribe. New technology isn’t an HR program. Prior to implementation, A.T. Still brought together a diverse group of employees that learned about the new technology beforehand and could have conversations with their peers.

Follow Project Management Best Practices During Implementation

So, now employees are excited to see the new technology in action. Once implementation begins, the focus of the user experience will start to change. It’s about making sure that employees know how to use the technology.

A.T. Still reminded us that self-efficacy is important. If I think that I can learn the new technology, I’ll keep trying. If I think that the new technology will help me achieve my goals, I’ll stay motivated. The implementation team should help users connect with the new technology through:

4. Building for sustainability. What I mean by this is that the organization’s new technology can’t simply be the “shiny new thing” around the office. The implementation team will want to find out how people are using the software, if there’s a strong user adoption rate, or if they might have to rebrand their messaging where appropriate.

5. Closing employee experience gaps. Each of us has a different level of technology savviness. New users will have obstacles to overcome. Experienced users will be anxious to know when new (and complex) features are coming. Everyone will need a little bit of training and patience.

6. Inspiring and not mandating. A.T. Still emphasized the use of their new technology by using it in high profile organizational activities. They also made sure that they held people accountable rather than just increasing the number of automated reminders that users receive.

Never Forget the Value of a Good Post-Implementation Debrief

I was thrilled to hear A.T. Still University emphasize their post-implementation strategy. It’s so easy for organizations to say, “Whew! Everyone – or almost everyone – is using the system, we’re done.” The truth is the real work has just begun.

Sometimes the big challenge with a technology implementation is keeping high engagement rate among employees. Here are three ways to keep the momentum going:

7. Celebrate successes. A.T. Still talked about making celebrations unique, themed, and ongoing. I love this. How many times do we say that for rewards and recognition to matter it needs to be specific and well-timed? That applies to group celebrations as well.

8. Keep long-term support. At the beginning of this article, I mentioned the business proposal. This is where the implementation team needs to work on maintaining senior management support. It also means the organization must make an on-going investment in the tribe or technology subject matter experts. This could involve going to a user conference or webinars, etc. to stay current with the technology.

9. Collect feedback (and use it to take action!) Speaking of subject matter experts, the implementation team should seek regular feedback – both formal and informal – from employees. This information can be used to plan upgrades and future projects.

I loved hearing A.T. Still’s implementation story. It reminded me that, while technology implementations can be challenging, they don’t have to be dreaded. And the implementation plan they shared with us is exactly the kind of list I would bookmark for future review.

P.S. If your organization is even thinking about how to use technology to improve employee experiences, check out this Qualtrics webcast on “Employee Experience Breakthroughs – The HR Technology Shift”. It’s not exactly the same as the A.T. Still story, but it connects technology and the employee experience from another perspective. The two will give you plenty of creative inspiration for your next project.

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Categories: Blogs

What to Ask Before You Begin Parental Leave – Ask #HR Bartender

Sun, 08/04/2019 - 02:57

The United States ranks last among developed countries when it comes to paid parental leave, according to a new study from UNICEF. While the U.S. does have the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the law offers unpaid leave and it’s not exclusive for parental leave. FMLA also includes medical leave.

So, when a soon-to-be parent is getting ready to go on leave, how should they prepare? What questions should they ask? What do they need to know? I think that’s what today’s reader note is getting at.

Hi. I’m a sales professional for an HCM company currently on maternity leave. I’m wondering if I can get some information on where to start with a scenario involving my job opportunity and my leave of absence.

I understand that sometimes employees are faced with emergency leaves and they don’t get to ask all of the questions that they want to or should. That being said, when you know that you’re going on a leave of absence, it’s important to do some research.

Unum recently conducted a study among 500 new parents who had or adopted a child in the previous five years. Key findings of their study include that paid leave is the most desired benefit (no surprise) and that almost half of employees did not meet with their manager or HR to discuss their leave benefits (surprise!). To help us learn more about parental leaves, I spoke with Mandy Stogner, health and wellbeing consultant at Colonial Life/ Unum, a leading provider of worksite benefits.

Mandy, let’s put legislation like the FMLA to the side, which has some specific (minimum) requirements in terms of requesting leave. That being said, I’m not sure it makes sense for employees to wait until the last minute to inform their employers about their intent to take parental leave. What are your thoughts on the best time to start making inquiries about a leave of absence?   

[Stogner] Welcoming a new family member is an exciting time and cause for celebration but not everyone is comfortable sharing the news with their manager early in the leave planning process.

Putting legislation to the side, my thoughts on the timing would be as soon as the employee is comfortable sharing the news and is prepared to talk about the leave plans. Being able to discuss leave and return to work plans early will help the expecting parent set expectations and have peace of mind while they are out on leave. 

In my experience, employees have two types of questions when they go out on leave. The first type are benefits related. What are the top handful of questions that an employee should ask about their benefits when they are getting ready to go on leave? 

[Stogner] There are many unique scenarios and questions an employee may have when preparing for parental leave. These are the most common questions an employee may want to know before going out on leave:

  1. Am I eligible for paid parental leave, state paid leaves, short-term disability , and/or paid time off (PTO)? Are there any other benefits available to me before or after parental leave (lactation support, adoption assistance, childcare reimbursements, etc.)?  How do I file for these benefits?
  2. Are any of my other benefits (401k/pension, PTO accruals, bonus structures, etc.) affected by my leave? How do these entitlements and benefits affect my pay (i.e. What percentage of my pay do I receive? Do I have to use PTO?)
  3. Am I responsible for paying my own insurance premium? What actions do I need to take to add my new baby to my coverage?
  4. How long will my job be protected?
  5. What are the available options for return to work (part time return to work, telecommute, flexible hours)? 

I’m glad you mentioned job protections. I find the second type of questions employees ask are about their job. So, what are the questions that employees should ask their boss about the job? On some level, I could see the employee benefits questions being directed to HR and the job questions being directed to their boss. 

[Stogner] Once an employee is comfortable with sharing, it may be helpful to schedule some time after the initial notification to set expectations and discuss in more detail the leave and return to work plans. Having a solid transition to leave and return from leave plan will help make the leave experience for the employee and the manager much smoother.

Here are some things to consider when developing a transition to leave plan:

  • Make a list of activities, reports, tasks that you are responsible for.
  • Outline the processes of activities others are not familiar with.
  • Discuss the status and timelines of projects the you are currently working on.
  • Work with your manager to develop a plan to shift this work leading up to the employee’s leave.

And here are some questions to ask regarding returning to work plan:

  • What will my return to work look like? Discuss logistics like day of week you will start back, start time each day, and the potential for flexible work arrangements (i.e. flexible hours, gradual return to work, telecommuting). 
  • How do I schedule time for lactation breaks? Where are the designated lactation spaces? How do I access them?
  • Is there a group of working moms/dads within the organization that can give me helpful tips to make the transition back to work easier?

Speaking of dads, I’ve titled this post parental leave for a reason. I want to include maternity, but also dads taking leave, adoptions, etc. Are there any questions that would be different if I were taking time off as a father or for an adoption? 

[Stogner] It is very important for anyone taking a leave to welcome a family member to understand your benefits and leave options. New dads and adoptive parents should ask the same benefit questions and have similar preparing for leave and return to work conversations previously mentioned. It is also important for companies and the dads themselves to avoid the stigma of taking leave. There is a lot of research around the benefits of dads taking parental leave. Interestingly, showing a correlation between leave time for Dads and an increase in the health and wealth for moms.

So, let’s say the employee asked all the right questions and they’re on leave. Let’s fast forward. You’ve mentioned earlier return to work plans. What types of questions should an employee ask when they’re ready to return to work? 

[Stogner] In a perfect world, the return to work details would be part of the employee’s thoughtful leave and return to work planning prior to going out on leave. If not, understanding these five things will be helpful:

  • Return to work date and schedule,
  • Potential flexible return to work arrangements,
  • Accountabilities upon return,
  • How work will be transitioned back to the employee and
  • Where to find helpful resources

Here are a few articles that readers might find helpful:

Bringing up Baby

Key Challenges for New Parents

State of Parental Leave for New Dads

A huge thanks to Mandy for sharing her expertise with us. If you want to stay in touch with Unum and learn more about the latest in employee benefits, be sure to check out their WorkLife blog. (P.S. I’m a contributor to the blog.)

It’s time for organizations to make sure employees are informed prior to starting parental leave. Mr. Bartender and I never had children, but I have to think the experience is both exciting and wonderful and a little scary at the same time. There’s no reason to make the employee’s job and benefits the scary part. All it takes is some preparation and open communication.

Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby after speaking at the Flora Icelandic HR Management Conference in Reykjavik, Iceland

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Categories: Blogs

Note to Managers: Just Ask

Fri, 08/02/2019 - 02:57

I’ve been having a series of small breakthroughs in my home office. This might sound weird, but I work with three computer monitors. Yep, three. I worked with two for the longest time then someone suggested that I try three. I thought, “I don’t know. That seems pretty extravagant.” And it is. But I found myself in a place where I could get a couple of reasonably priced monitors, so I decided to give it a try.

And if you think working with two monitors is awesome…three is better. Way better. Anyway a few weeks ago, both of my external monitors stopped working and I couldn’t figure out how to fix them. Then finally in a moment of frustration, Mr. Bartender and I looked up the user manual online, hit three buttons and voila! the monitors started working.

The next day, I read an article about some privacy issue with Zoom that instructed me to immediately delete the ap. After doing some research to determine that was the right thing to do, I went to double check my webcam permissions and noticed an option for audio permissions. The reason I’m mentioning this up is because I’ve been looking for this little box for months! I’ve been trying to find a way to use my headset with my iMac and it’s been so frustrating. Boom! Done.

When I saw today’s Time Well Spent from our friends at Kronos, it was an immediate reminder for me that sometimes the answers to our biggest frustrations are right in front of us. And to get the answers we need, sometimes all we have to do is take the time to ask.

Technology can do the asking for us. In this Time Well Spent, managers are looking for an employee to pick up an open shift. Wouldn’t it be great if the company’s scheduling software automatically asked employees who were qualified and eligible to cover the open shift if they want it? Because that technology exists.

Employees can handle things on their own. Even if your organization doesn’t have technology that automatically reached out to other employees, wouldn’t it be awesome if the open shift was automatically posted in a place where any employee could see it and sign up if they want the extra shift? Because you know, that technology also exists.

Managers can use technology to distribute mass messages. Managers don’t have to sit in their offices calling lists of employees to find someone to fill an open shift. They could use platforms like Workplace by Facebook or the company intranet to let employees know there’s an open shift. The technology already exists.

Sometimes organizations take the long way instead of letting technology help them, just like my examples above where I spent a lot of time trying to find something that was right in front of me.

If you don’t know the answer, just ask. If you’re looking for a better way, just ask. If you want to see if the process can happen faster, just ask. You get the point. We don’t have to search for our answers in a sea of noise (or in a haystack).

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Categories: Blogs

4 Practical Tips for Effective Business Communication

Tue, 07/30/2019 - 02:57

One of the skills every professional needs to possess is the ability to effectively communicate. We communicate with companies, clients, vendors, our bosses, co-workers, and employees. We simply cannot let our ability to communicate become something that we skate through our career and hope it all works out. The opportunity for misunderstandings is too great.

At last year’s WordCamp Orlando, Nathan Ingram, led a session on effective business communication. He is the creator of ADVANCE Coaching and works primarily with WordPress web developers to help them becoming more successful in their freelance businesses. I thought his points about business communication were great reminders for everyone.

4 Components of Successful Business Communications

CLARITY: In the business world, reaching agreement doesn’t always mean there’s clarity. Specificity is about clarity. We can get specific by asking questions. One of the best skills we can develop is the ability to ask good questions, which can ultimately help us achieve the clarity we’re looking for.

COMMITTMENTS: According to Ingram, all healthy relationships – including working relationships are based on commitments. It makes sense. We commit to being a part of a team, doing our fair share, delivering a result to a customer, etc.

DOCUMENTATION: It’s time to realize that we can’t rely on our memory. Or our co-worker’s memory. Or our boss’ memory. There’s nothing wrong with taking notes and documenting stuff. Good communication is a balance between expectations and results. Don’t forget technology can help us with this.

INTERACTION: Without regular interaction, people make assumptions. Following-up with others is important, and it doesn’t need to be lengthy. Ingram shared a 3-sentence model for interacting with stakeholders.

  1. Past: Explain what we’ve done.
  2. Present: This is what we’re doing.
  3. Future: This is what we’re going to do next.

Our business communications don’t need to be long or elaborate. They do need to be effective. In fact, some might argue that if we can master the art of simplicity when it comes to our business communications, maybe more people would open our emails and read them.

What are your secrets for effective business communications? Leave us your tips in the comments.

Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby while exploring the streets of Denver, CO

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Categories: Blogs

Is It Okay to Contact a Job Candidate Via Their Work Email – Ask #HR Bartender

Sun, 07/28/2019 - 02:57

In today’s tough recruiting market, organizations are looking for every way possible to find qualified job candidates. Today’s reader note asks a straightforward question about doing that.

Hi Sharlyn! Can I get your advice? Is it inappropriate to email a potential job candidate at the work email address?

Instead of me just offering my opinion in answering this question, I wanted to bring you some differing thoughts. In situations like this, there’s not necessarily one right response. It could come down to what the recruiter is comfortable with or the what the company culture will support. I reached out on a public Facebook group called “Recruiters Online” to see what they thought. The group has more than 15,000 members and offers a lively discussion about what’s happening in talent acquisition.

On the “Hmm, no or maybe not” team

My thought would be to not reach out to a job candidate via their work email unless that’s how they contacted me. And there are completely legitimate reasons for them doing so. Not everyone looking for work is sneaking around behind their boss’ back. For example, maybe the offices are moving, and this employee can’t move to the new location. Here are a few other reasons not to make a work email the initial point of contact:

Jeanne Achille, CEO of The Devon Group and chair of the Women in HR Tech Summit – Use personal. Most corporate networks are monitored.

Mairy Hernandez, HR manager at a robotics automation start-up and career advisor to job seekers – Contacting them via work email can be sensitive to the candidate, especially since it leaves a trail of evidence discoverable by IT, so I would advise against it. Is it really necessary to use their work email? Especially when now you can pretty much reach out to anyone via social media.

Jack Kelly, founder and CEO of – I place people on Wall Street and their emails are monitored by compliance departments to ensure employees aren’t breaking the rules. So, you have to be super careful. If your focus doesn’t have this issue, then go for it. The worst that happens is that they’ll be rude. When that happens, treat it as an objection, overcome it, and pitch the position.

Anna Szymanski Kett, owner of Quality Professional Recruiting – I would never do that. When they contact me using their work email, I ask them for their personal one to continue discussions.

Phidelia Johnson, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, executive human capital management strategist at Redefined HR – I’m against the idea of using work email because it could backfire where the candidate doesn’t get the job and the employer (through IT) finds out about it and the candidate gets terminated. Unfortunately, I have seen this happen.

In the “Sure, why not or yes” camp

Some recruiters will say that the way to find passive candidates is by contacting them using any means necessary. If there’s a concern about email, then make initial contact by phone. The job candidate can tell you they’re not interested and if they are, then they can share a preferred method of contact. Here are some additional viewpoints from recruiters who use the strategy:

Darryl Dioso, managing partner at Resource Management Solutions Group – No problems here. Typically, I get a response that they’re interested and would prefer to continue discussions using their personal email or texts.

Michael Dube, human resources manager at Chubb – If you’re an external recruiter and you’re hesitant at contacting a candidate via work email I’d hate to see your billings for the year. It’s 2019. Recruiting is brazen, and you need to be aggressive in a professional and tactful way. No employee is going to get in trouble if a recruiter solicits them at work. They should be smart enough to email offline.

Kara Rice Heath, managing director of iNNOV8 Talent – I do it and I simply say ‘Hey —–, do you have a personal email? I would love to send you some info there instead.’ Works like a charm.

Jason Metz, talent sourcer for Mosaic, a non-profit faith-based organization doing healthcare services for people with intellectual disabilities – Work it the right way, go in with the idea that you are connecting not going in with the idea you are hiring. Another way is to use it as an attention getter to point towards a LI message or other contact. Work what you can to get the right folks. I’ve gotten a ton of response from work emails.

Robin Quale, talent acquisition consultant at Queue Talent – Yes. But always tactfully, don’t go blasting the job description at them in the email.

A huge thank you to the individuals who responded and shared their thoughts. As you can see, the responses are pretty evenly split between “yes” and “no”. But there is one central theme in everyone’s reply: remember the candidate experience. As a recruiter, your initial contact with a candidate is a part of it. Create a good first impression and maybe that job candidate will give you their personal email or answer a work email.

Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby while exploring the streets of Fort Lauderdale, FL

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Categories: Blogs

Building Trust Is a Process, Not an Activity

Thu, 07/25/2019 - 02:57

(Editor’s Note: Today’s article is brought to you by our friends at Kronos, a leading provider of workforce management and human capital management cloud solutions. Want to create a more trusting work environment? Check out Kronos CEO Aron Ain’s book “Work Inspired: How to Build an Organization Where Everyone Loves to Work”. Enjoy the article!) 

Ropes courses are outdoor team building activities where participants are exposed to physical activities as a way to problem-solve (How am I going to do this?), communicate (I need some help doing this!), and bond (Thank you for helping me do this.) Many years ago, going to a ropes teambuilding course was all the rage.

One of the most common activities in a ropes course was the trust fall. It was when a participant simply fell backward trusting that their colleagues would catch them. I couldn’t help but laugh when I saw this Time Well Spent from our friends at Kronos. It also reminded me that trust isn’t created with a single activity, building and maintaining trust is a process that happens over time.

Trust is tied to the organization’s brand. Whether it’s the consumer brand or the employment brand, trust is a part of the brand. People see the brand and say, “I can trust that brand.” Or “I want to trust that brand.” And they start to engage with it. Then people find out if what they initially saw is true (or not) and whether they will continue to engage with the organization.

Every day is about maintaining trust. I wonder what company cultures would be like if they viewed their goal as being simply to build and maintain trust. That doesn’t mean organizations can’t change things or that they will make everyone deliriously happy. It is possible to be disappointed or unhappy with something but trust the source. For example, when a new policy is implemented and while it might not benefit me, I understand that it will benefit most.

Losing trust doesn’t have to be the end. Sometimes trust is broken. It happens among individuals as well as with organizations. Both sides have a decision to make when trust evaporates – will we work to regain trust or not. In some cases, it might make sense to realize that the trusting relationship isn’t going to happen. But in many cases, trust can be repaired. It takes time, honest conversations, and a willingness to apologize and forgive.

In today’s business world, consumers are looking to spend their dollars with organizations they trust. Candidates are looking to work for organizations they trust. Employees want to work with managers they can trust. You get the point. Trust isn’t like a trust fall. It’s not a single activity. Rather it’s a process that takes time to build and even more time to maintain.

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Categories: Blogs

Employee Engagement: Employees Want To Be Recognized For Their Hard Work

Tue, 07/23/2019 - 02:57

(Editor’s Note: Today’s article is brought to you by Bonusly, a fun, personal recognition and rewards program that enriches your company culture and improves employee engagement. They were named one of the 50 Best Places to Work by Outside Magazine. Enjoy the article!)

I’d like to think by now that we all know employee engagement is an organizational challenge, regardless of what your current engagement scores are. Creating and maintaining an engaged workforce is tough. And as human resources professionals, we spend a lot of our time trying to help our organizations figure out how to do it better.

The good news is that we know the solution. The way we get employees more engaged is to make them feel connected to their work. And show them their work has value. Sounds simple, right?

But this is where things get challenging. It’s not as easy as it sounds to create those connections. I can immediately think of three employee activities that provide an opportunity to create connections between employees and their work:

Performance feedback. I think this is one of those reasons that performance management processes are being ditched and revamped. Performance feedback is about more than the annual employee review. It’s also not about discipline. Performance feedback includes those regular conversations with employees. Both the good and the not-so-good ones.

Communication tools. While performance might be discussed during formal 1:1 meetings between managers and employees, these types of meetings are also great ways to share information. In addition, today’s technology tools allow for communication to happen in a variety of ways. We’re no longer stuck with email as our only option. Video and enterprise collaboration platforms can make communication faster and easier.

Appreciation and recognition. Unfortunately, I don’t know that we talk about using this aspect nearly enough as a means of connecting people with their work. I do believe there’s some connection between the work employees do and the things they enjoy and do well. Organizations have an opportunity to create connection by sharing with employees what they excel at.

Connecting Recognition and Employee Engagement

In the Bonusly and report “The State of Employee Engagement in 2019”, 71% of highly engaged organizations recognize employees for a job well done. On the flip side, only 41% of less engaged organizations recognize their employees. The bottom-line? Old school mantras like “No news is good news” isn’t an acceptable form of performance feedback. Employees want to be recognized for their hard work. Eighty-two percent (82%) of employees say that recognition is an important part of their happiness at work, according to a Bonusly joint study with Survey Monkey.

The good news is that the basic principles of recognition haven’t changed. Recognition doesn’t need to be grandiose or expensive. That being said, it does need to be:

  • Authentic. People can tell when they’re being given fake praise or a fake compliment. It’s an empty gesture that does nothing for the giver or receiver.
  • Timely. Telling someone, “Hey! You did something great six months ago.” doesn’t make a person feel good. If the employee’s actions were terrific, let them know right away.
  • Behavior-focused. I don’t have anything against the phrase, “Good job!” but let’s face it, good job doesn’t tell an employee what they did that was good. “Thanks for turning in your report a day early.” does.
  • Addresses the needs of the receiver. Recognition should be delivered in a way that the receiver appreciates. Not everyone responds to public recognition. And some people really want public recognition. Recognize employees in a way they enjoy.

However, even though some of the principles of recognition haven’t changed, there are a few things that have. The biggest change I see is that everyone needs to be involved in the process for effective employee engagement. Managers obviously need to be involved and we’re used to that. Managers also receive training on how to properly deliver feedback and recognition. In many organizations, managers are even given a recognition budget.

This is where we often don’t offer equal training and resources – for employees. Not to take anything away from managers, but employees want to be recognized by their co-workers for a job well done. Chances are employees spend more time with their peers than with their managers.

But remember the four components of good recognition above (i.e. authentic, timely, behavior focused, and meets the receiver’s needs). Organizations can’t simply create those “Caught ya!” programs and expect it to do much to move the needle on engagement. Those types of spot reward programs serve a different purpose in the organization.

5 Ways to Encourage Peer to peer (P2P) Recognition

In a Bonusly survey, respondents were asked about their preferred methods for receiving appreciation and the responses were varied. Employees want words, deeds, and gifts. They want it all. Which means that both managers and employees need to be in a position to effectively deliver them all. Since I’d like to believe that most organizations have some resources set aside for managers to recognize employees, let’s talk about five ways that organizations can encourage peer to peer recognition.

  1. Build a tribe. While it is important to have support at every level of the organization, a great way to encourage peer to peer recognition is by having employees promote it. Companies can put together employee groups to find out what people are thinking about recognition and how they want to be recognized.
  2. Align recognition with existing programs, specifically recruiting. The hiring process is a candidate’s first impression of the company culture. Organizations can use collaborative hiring as a way to build relationships between employees. Current employees become invested in a new hire’s success and they provide recognition along the way.
  3. Examine your technology capabilities. Obviously, all recognition shouldn’t be online, but many human resources technology solutions have the ability to integrate with recognition solutions. Employees are used to giving feedback via their mobile devices. It could be a win for everyone, especially remote workers.
  4. Find ways for managers and employees to partner. To this point, we’ve talked about managers providing recognition and peer to peer recognition. There are types of recognition experiences in which employees and managers might want to work together. The first ones that come to mind are celebrations such as birthdays, graduations, and retirements.
  5. Embrace empowerment. I’m sure there are skeptics out there who might say P2P programs promote “quid pro quo” gift card swaps. Personally, I believe those situations are the exceptions and not the rule. In fact, I chatted with the Bonusly team about this and their research has found quite the opposite – that P2P recognition encourages positive behavior. It’s time to trust our employees to do the right thing.

Organizations want employees to connect with them and their work. The way to do that is by telling them they’re doing a good job. And not just once a year during their annual review. Or once a month in a one-on-one meeting. Granted, those things are important, but employees can feel connected daily through words, deeds, and gifts from managers and co-workers which are delivered in an authentic, timely way, that meet their needs.

If you want to learn more about creating a peer to peer recognition culture, check out Bonusly’s “Guide to Modern Employee Recognition”. This is one eBook you’ll want to share with your management team.

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Categories: Blogs

How to Convince Senior Management that Training Records are Important – Ask #HR Bartender

Sun, 07/21/2019 - 02:57

I must admit that keeping training records is one of those things that I’ve always just done without thinking about why. Well, this HR Bartender reader was challenged to come up with a reason.

Good afternoon, Sharlyn. I’ve had the pleasure of sitting in on a couple of your presentations at recent SHRM Conferences, and I’m a fan of your book, “Manager Onboarding.” I’ve noticed that you answer reader questions and hope that you can assist.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve been asked a few times why the training and development team logs and maintains employee attendance records for customer service training, workshops, leadership training, etc. My usual answers about compliance, liability, consistency, return-on-investment, performance records, etc. don’t seem convincing enough. And, delegating this tracking to departments isn’t consistent with what I’ve learned as training program management best practices.

Is HR tracking training too old school? Is there a better way? Do you have any insights or guide me in the right direction? Thank you for your time.

I’m so glad this reader shared their situation. My initial thought is that their “usual answers” about maintaining training records are spot on. But I wanted to get another perspective, so I reached out to Hawley Kane, head of learning and development at Saba Software. They provide cloud-based talent management solutions, including enterprise learning, performance management, and collaboration solutions.

Hawley, let’s start by discussing training records. What are the top five reasons that organizations track training attendance?

[Kane] Every organization wants to make the most of its learning and development (L&D) investments, but they don’t know what’s working unless they have the data to back it up. Training and development teams should track all learning activities in how they drive performance and business outcomes. Here’s a quick breakdown of the what and why:

  1. Learning completion and adoption rates. Tracking attendance is the simplest metric but it’s still important! Business leaders need to know how many of their employees – and often, specifically who – are taking the available training, including compliance courses, specialized workshops to upskill, and leadership development courses. Now, tracking attendance is a good place to start but organizations need to dig deeper into the data to show the true value of their training programs.
  2. Employee engagement impact. Employee engagement is a key metric that matters to your organization’s leadership because highly engaged employees can boost performance, innovation and productivity while reducing turnover and hiring-related costs. One way you can measure how L&D impacts employee engagement is to track the retention rate of those who participate in voluntary learning programs compared to everyone else. It can give you insights into how valuable employees perceive this voluntary training to be, and whether that correlates to employee retention.
  3. Links to employee performance. I’m going to say this a lot because we all need to hear it more: Employees need to take on learning and training that aligns to the organization’s business objectives. Tracking L&D to make the link between learning and performance is critical in showing the return on investment (ROI) of your learning programs. Are your top performers participating in voluntary L&D activities? Which ones? Are they – and their respective departments – hitting their goals faster and more effectively as a result?
  4. Creating a personalized learning culture for future success. A recent LinkedIn Learning report found that employees prefer to learn at work, at their own pace, and at the point of need. By tracking how, when and why employees participate in learning activities, organizations can glean the data they need to get ahead of the curve and enable a personalized learning experience that gets results.In this age of digital disruption, skills can become obsolete within months. So it’s critical that an organization prepares its workforce for digital transformation.
  5. Guiding employee-driven career development. Tracking training and learning activities shows an employee’s interests and the skill gaps they’re bridging (especially the training they’re doing voluntarily). When HR leaders and managers know an employee’s desired career path and can see the training they’re doing to get from where they are to where they want to be, they can give feedback, coaching, and present opportunities for role changes as they become available.

Now that we know WHY HR departments track training, HOW should they track it? Specifically, can technology help?

[Kane] It goes without saying that you need the right strategy and tools to track employee training so that HR and people leaders can do something meaningful with the results.

Employee L&D isn’t a one-size-fits-all operation; organizations need to create personalized learning experiences to maximize the impact of their training programs. Delivering a personalized learning experience means the HR technology used to deploy and track learning needs to be hyper-connected to performance outcomes as well. This puts an employee in the driver’s seat of their own development experience; an employee’s challenges, career aspirations, learning preferences, and skills all feed into a personalized, continuous learning experience.

An organization’s learning platform needs to connect to the performance side of employee development, which also needs to align to the organization’s business goals. Your HR technology solution needs a robust analytics dashboard that allows HR, managers and executive leaders to review team and company learning metrics so that they can see (in real time) where their people are succeeding and where they – or the organization – need additional support.

A great example of this in action is when the City of Houston committed to getting its 22,000+ employees to link learning and performance, which helped them net a 280 percent return on investment by increasing revenue and decreasing turnover (not to mention boosting engagement and performance in the process!).

(Editor’s Note: The City of Houston is a Saba Software customer.)

I want to get a little granular here. The reader talks about departments tracking training. If the company used a technology solution, can tracking become an organizational responsibility (versus an HR responsibility)?

[Kane] There’s a growing trend to bring analytics to decision-makers across the organization so that leaders at all levels can proactively address learning needs. Learning and training analytics are being tied into larger developmental and business goals, companywide. Leaders are increasingly realizing that learning drives performance, which in turn drives business outcomes. When organizations’ goals are aligned at departmental, team and individual levels, employees have clarity on what results they’re working towards.

Using a technology solution makes tracking training so much easier for both organizations and HR to see what learning programs are working, which ones aren’t, and what that means for individuals, teams, departments, and the organization as a whole. HR needs to present itself as a strategic business partner to the organization and being able to measure, understand, explain and share the impact of learning outcomes is a key part of demonstrating that value. Going a step further and teaching others how to do it themselves? That’s invaluable.

The reader note mentions “training program management best practices.” Is there a best practice that organizations should be aware of (tracking or otherwise)?

[Kane] Oh, yes. If learning leaders only do one thing, they should be linking learning activities to performance outcomes. (I did mention that I’d say this again!) Learning is only as valuable as the outcome it delivers – to employees and to the organization. Make sure that managers are encouraging their direct reports to make time for learning activities and then discuss how that L&D can be applied in their current or aspirational roles during their 1:1 meetings.

Remember, in order for this to be effective, organizations need to have a clear L&D strategy in place. HR and learning leaders need to know what type of content their people need in order to boost performance and bring value to the organization. Keep the lines of communication open between learning leaders and the C-Suite. Delve into the data regularly and ask your people for feedback. You’d be surprised at the number of valuable insights currently going unnoticed.

Last question. What would you say is the “next big thing” when it comes to training administration? 

[Kane] Brandon Hall Group’s research suggests that when it comes to L&D and metrics, simply linking those learning activities to performance outcomes are still a huge obstacle for many organizations. Only 51 percent of companies said they were effective at measuring formal learning – and that number drops significantly when it comes to other forms of learning like informal or experiential. There’s still much work to be done.

That being said, when it comes to the ‘next big thing’ in training administration, organizations are increasingly shifting towards building a Learning Experience (LX) model where content discovery, recommendations, indexing, pathing, and skills mapping, self-published content and usage analytics help them optimize and personalize employees’ learning experiences.

Tracking and data analytics factor heavily into creating a personalized employee learning experience, often powered by Learning Experience Platforms (LXP), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). Check out this recent article by Josh Bersin for more information on the increasing shift towards LX.

Tracking training isn’t a vanity metric. Tracking L&D activities is a foundational element of building a unique employee experience and healthy learning culture that benefits both employees and the business, now and into the future.

I want to extend a huge thanks to Hawley for sharing her knowledge and experience with us. If you want to stay tuned into the latest learning and development trends, be sure to check out the Saba blog. (FYI – I’m one of the guest contributors over there.)

Because of the challenges in recruiting, learning and development is positioned to become a priority. Not that L&D shouldn’t be important all the time, but let’s face it, over the past few years it’s taken a back seat. Being able to show the connection between L&D and organizational outcomes is essential.

Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby after speaking at the Flora Icelandic HR Management Conference in Reykjavik, Iceland

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Categories: Blogs

The Job Candidate Is Interviewing the Company

Fri, 07/19/2019 - 02:57

I like to define an interview as a conversation. The reason, of course, is that conversations typically involve two-way communication. 

It’s very easy for both job candidates and companies to allow an interview to become a one-way street. The company is the one calling the candidate in for a job interview. The interview usually spends more time talking about the company, the job, and the candidate’s qualifications for that job. So, candidates spend the majority of their time talking about how they’re the right person for the job. 

Today’s Time Well Spent from our friends at Kronos is a good reminder that job candidates need to spend time during the interview process making sure their questions are answered. Not just about the job, but the company and its management as well.

Candidates: Come prepared with questionsHaving a handful of questions ready sends the message to a prospective employer that you’re interested in the job. Now, I will admit that some companies do an awesome job of providing information during the interview, to the point that they will answer most of your questions. But that doesn’t mean you can’t ask questions like, “What would current employees say are the top 1-2 benefits of working here?” or “What will be my biggest challenge?”

Companies: Encourage candidates to ask questions! If the job candidate doesn’t have any questions, it’s either because 1) they’ve already made up their mind that the company isn’t a good fit for them or 2) they’re reluctant to ask the question – for whatever the reason. This is a good opportunity for recruiters to say, “I get asked about ABC a lot. Do you have any questions that I can answer?” or “You’re probably wondering about XYZ, let me just upfront the conversation with some additional information.” 

Hiring an employee is a partnership. The organization is selecting someone they believe will perform at a high level. The job candidate is choosing a company that will invest in their success. Interviews are the conversations that help both sides make the best decision. 

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Categories: Blogs

HR Departments Should Have Data Policies

Tue, 07/16/2019 - 02:57

Human resources departments are filled with data. About applicants, candidates, employees, and alumni. This data includes addresses, health information, and social security numbers. HR has assessment data and information from drug/criminal/credit background screening. They have data about vendors – past, current, and future. HR has business intelligence data related to jobs, salaries, benefits, etc. Some of this data is online and some is good old-fashioned paper. 

Over the past few years, organizations have put measures in place to deal with customer data, specifically in terms of how to secure data and what actions should happen if (perish the thought) the data is compromised. 

I believe HR has always taken data seriously. But it’s time for us to take that to the next level. It’s time for HR departments to develop a marketing-like approach toward their own data. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Confidentiality remains important. The words HR and confidentiality are constantly used in the same sentence. And there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, this is our opportunity to use our goal of keeping employee data confidential as the basis for updating our policies and procedures. 

HR needs to assess data risk. Time for organizations to do an internal assessment of their risk where HR-related data is concerned. I’m sure there are plenty of companies that want to say, “That won’t happen to us.” But is that a risk the company wants to take?

There should be a data breach policy. I know none of us want to write this policy. Just like we don’t want to write the hurricane procedures, or the what to do if an executive does something unethical procedures. But we have to. And once the procedure is in place, we can breathe a sigh of relief that we have something. Hopefully, we never have to use it. 

Ask vendors to create and share their policies. This conversation doesn’t just apply to in-house human resource departments. Companies that provide HR products and services also need to think about data security and protocols. It’s time to address these conversations on the front-end. Make it a part of the initial pitch, “We respect your employee’s data. And this is what we’re doing to keep it secure.”

Put a plan in place for missing files. At minimum, organizations should have a procedure in place for missing employee files. I’ll be honest, in my past corporate roles, I don’t remember having a policy in place. But I also didn’t work someplace where we moved around a lot. Today, workplaces are more mobile, which means files are more mobile. This could make the chances of a file – or a piece of data – going missing a bit more likely.  

It’s about more than employee files. Transparency is more than a catchy buzz-phrase. Candidates understand that transparency can help them get the job. Freelancers understand that being transparent can set them apart from the crowd. And vendors understand that transparency can get them the contract. HR departments need to be sensitive to employee data, but also to non-employee data. 

Proactively communicate your policy. Finally, once the company has a plan in place, let people know. From a marketing perspective, the company tells customers how their data is being protected. Talk with your legal counsel about proactively sharing how applicant and employee data is being protected. Is there something the company should tell employees as part of the offboarding process? 

It’s possible that HR can take some of their cues from the marketing and accounting departments when it comes to data policies and security. That’s a good thing. The important part is recognizing that HR data is sensitive and deserves the same type of security provisions that the rest of the company’s data receives. 

Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby at the Qualtrix X4 Summit in Salt Lake City, UT

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Categories: Blogs

Hiring Managers: 3 Strategies to Recruit and Select the Best Talent for Your Team

Sun, 07/14/2019 - 02:57

(Editor’s Note: Today’s article is brought to you by James Cook University (JCU), located in Australia. With over 22,000 students, JCU is a world-class university, ranked in the top 2% of tertiary institutions globally. They offer Master programs in Business Administration with special emphasis on leadership, global studies, and conflict resolution. Enjoy the article!)

In the past, we’ve talked about the things that recruiters and talent acquisition professionals need to do in order to hire the best talent. I want to shift focus today a bit and talk about the role of the hiring manager. It only makes sense because the new employee is going to work on their team. And for that reason, hiring managers need to play an active role in the hiring process. Because selecting the wrong person can be costly. 

According to reports from Career Builder,74% of companies that admit they’ve hired the wrong person have lost an average of $14,900 for each bad hire. In the top two reasons that the candidate wasn’t the right fit, both involve skills. Either the candidate embellished their skills, or they weren’t trainable for the skills they needed to acquire. While performance coaching and upskilling can be an effective way of building new employee capabilities, it’s important for the hiring manager and the candidate to proactively put those plans in place, versus finding out after the offer has been made. 

To avoid expensive recruiting mistakes, hiring managers need to be able to determine which candidates will be the right fit for the role. But it’s not always as easy as it looks. On the surface, the interview process may seem simple. The reality is, recruiting is complicated. Luckily, there are three strategies that hiring managers can use to maximize the hiring process and to get the best outcome for their team.  

#1 – Define the role and performance expectations 

I realize that no one likes to update job descriptions. That being said, a clear and concise description illustrates exactly what the open position requires, including details such as:

  • Required knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs)
  • Previous work experience 
  • Formal educational qualifications 
  • Other job details such as hours, responsibilities, etc.
  • Application details

By making these details clear in the job posting, the candidates being screened and interviewed will know what is required. The idea being that the better that job posting, the more likely you will be interviewing suitably qualified interviewees, and the ill-fitting ones will simply opt-out of applying. An ideal time to review the job description and make any updates is during the recruiting strategy meeting (aka intake interview) with the recruiter.    

Consider that the time spent preparing during the recruiting strategy meeting is an investment in a better interview. Instead of spending valuable interview time talking about details that could have been shared in the job posting, hiring managers can spend time learning more about the candidate and setting expectations. 

A better job description and posting can help the organization and it can also help a candidate come to the interview more prepared. We all know that, if a candidate comes into the interview unprepared, they can get nervous, and we might not learn enough about a candidate’s KSAs. Preparing candidates not only allows the hiring manager to get the most out of the interview, but it sends the message that the company has the type of culture where people are prepared and communicative.  

Finally, don’t forget – the candidate is interviewing the company too! Providing the candidate with a realistic job preview is a great way to enhance the hiring process and facilitate constructive conversations during your interview. These constructive conversations allow performance expectations to be set for the position starting on day one. 

#2 – Spend Time Interviewing and Selecting the Right Candidate  

Every day that a job opening doesn’t get filled is a hardship on the operation. A bigger hardship is settling or not hiring the right person. I’ve seen too many hiring managers rush the selection process to simply “fill the requisition” and end up regretting it. In fact, I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve done it myself when I had to hire employees for the human resources team. 

Interview planning is particularly important, as it gives you the chance to build an experience that will get the candidate excited about the organization. Spend time thinking about the right behavior-based interview questions. By investing in the interview experience, hiring managers can identify the areas they want to focus their conversation and any skills gaps to follow-up on.   

Also, I’m starting to hear more organizations use interviews as an opportunity to show off the company culture. Don’t feel limited to a formal interview in a boardroom. Go and get a coffee to make the interview more casual, which could help the candidate relax and open up more. The hiring manager might enjoy the relaxed setting as well. There’s no rule that you have to rush through interviews. Take your time to carefully assess the right person for the team. 

Once the interviews are completed, it’s equally important to dedicate time to the selection process. This is the person who is going to receive the job offer. Properly evaluate candidates thorough the use of assessments, background screenings, reference checking, etc. It will help you make the best decision. 

#3 – Let the Candidate Spend Time with the Team Before Hiring 

A study from UK recruiting firm Robert Half showed that 87% of leaders found that their most successful hires were a great cultural fit. Let’s be clear, we’re not talking about a similar-to-me bias. New hires need to be able to work successfully in the organization. They need to get along with their co-workers. Hiring managers should spend time during interviews learning about a candidate’s soft skills, like communication, problem-solving, and critical thinking. One way to do that is by creating an interviewing process that allows candidates to meet the team. 

I’ve always been a big fan of collaborative hiring for two reasons. First, it allows the team to buy-into the candidate selection. And if they’re bought in, then they will help the new hire become successful. The second reason is that it starts the relationship building process. On day one, it makes sense for the new hire to know more people than the recruiter and hiring manager. Collaborative hiring adds some faces to the process. So, when a new hire has a question that they might be a bit reluctant to ask HR or their boss, they can reach out to some of the people they met during the interview. 

If you use this approach, it’s important to let the team know that they’re meeting a candidate and give them some guidance on the things they can legally ask about. Hiring managers can decide if they want to create a more formal setting and be a part of the conversation or make it more casual and leave the candidate alone with the team. 

Better Managers Can Hire Better Talent

Remember that old saying about “people don’t leave jobs, they leave managers”? Well, I’m not bringing this up to be mean toward hiring managers. However, there’s some truth in the statement. If a candidate interviews with a manager who is disorganized, rushed, and not a great communicator, then chances are they won’t take the job. Because they’ll think that’s what the manager is like all the time. 

As much as the hiring process is about bringing in a new employee, it also an opportunity to show candidates that the company has a good management and leadership team. Managers can pursue a Master of Business Administration to develop their leadership skills and stay relevant in an increasingly competitive business world. And the good news is this learning can happen online. 

Hiring managers are looking for team members who can deliver results. Candidates want to know that they’re going to work for an organization with a terrific culture and a manager who has the leadership skills to support them. The place where everyone gets to show how good they are is the interview.  

The post Hiring Managers: 3 Strategies to Recruit and Select the Best Talent for Your Team appeared first on hr bartender.

Categories: Blogs

Bookmark This! A Guide for Conducting Effective 1:1 Meetings

Fri, 07/12/2019 - 02:57

Organizations care about performance. Employee performance is what helps the organization achieve its goals. Regardless of your organization’s philosophy about the annual performance review, one-on-one meetings are a valuable tool for managers to coach employees about their performance.

Please note: I didn’t mention the word discipline. Performance coaching conversations should not immediately conjure up images of disciplinary action. Performance coaching is about telling employees what they do well as much as it is about helping employees move past a performance deficiency. And there are plenty of times when employees need to know about an area of their performance that needs improvement which doesn’t involve disciplinary action.

Okay, I’m off my soapbox about coaching and discipline. Thanks for listening. Here are four articles I wrote on the Saba Software blog about one-on-one meetings and their value in creating high performance.

A Manager’s Guide to Successful 1:1 Meetings With Employees  The perfect one-on-one meeting is casual and conversational. It’s also consistent, and that consistency brings trust and preparedness. To help managers prepare for their next one-on-one meeting, bookmark this page and share it around your office. Also, download the employee feedback and coaching templates to use as a conversation guide.

An Employee’s Guide to Successful 1:1 Meetings With Your Manager  Many organizations already train and coach managers on how to conduct a one-on-one meeting. Organizations should make the investment and do the same for employees. After all, they’re one-half of the 1:1 meeting and need to take responsibility for their side of the conversation. Employee performance will improve when they’re able to properly prepare and participate in the meeting.

Use 1:1 Meetings for Learning and Watch Your Business Thrive  One-on-one meetings allow the organization to make learning a part of their culture, rather than an event that only happens in the classroom. Bringing a learning component into 1:1 meetings benefits everyone. Managers can discuss performance with employees on a regular basis. Employees become more engaged because the organization cares about their success.

How to Conduct a Learning Session During a 1:1 Meeting  Learning conversations do not have to involve platform skills and a bunch of fancy props. Rather, they simply require teaching managers how to structure and deliver effective 1:1 meetings. This 5-step method is an ideal activity to include in the company’s management development or manager onboarding program.

Effective 1:1 conversations can be a powerful way to increase employee engagement, accelerate employee achievement, and improve overall organizational performance. To create effective one-on-one meetings, organizations need to provide managers and employees training and tools to properly prepare and communicate. I hope you’ll find these tools useful for your teams.

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Categories: Blogs

Human Resources: 6 Unconventional Skills to Develop for Future Professional Success

Tue, 07/09/2019 - 02:57

We spend a lot of time on HR Bartender talking about what organizations need to do in order to be successful: things like candidate experience, employee experience, company culture, etc. One of the prerequisites of developing a world-class organization is having a human resources department that can partner with the business to make it happen. I hate to say it, but a mediocre HR team may or may not have the bandwidth to build a best place to work.

But that doesn’t mean you’re out on your own. I just finished reading the book, The CMO of People: Manage Employees Like Customers with an Immersive Predictable Experience that Drives Productivity and Performance by Peter Navin and David Creelman. This book offers a unique perspective on the HR profession and how to build a Human Resources function that is up for the task of creating that best company the C-Suite is looking for.

You know I’m not going to give away the entire book. You’ll definitely want to pick up a copy for yourself. But one chapter that really spoke to me was on “How to Build an Unconventional HR Team”. Navin and Creelman highlight six skills that human resources professionals should focus on for their professional development.

  1. Collaboration shows a willingness to work with others. Often in HR, we can be accused of being the “department of ‘no’” and this can exclude us from critical business conversations. While it’s true there will be times when we do have to say no to protect the business, there are also times when we can open the HR lab for a little experiment or do an A/B Test to determine the best strategy.
  2. Curiosity demonstrates our ability to learn, explore, and look for creative solutions that all stakeholders can support. I agree with Navin and Creelman that sometimes the word “creative” can conjure up images of artistic ability. It can also be associated with bending the rules (and not in a good way). It’s time to think of curiosity as a positive attribute that is focused on creating a win.
  3. Data and Technology Savvy have to be on the list. You simply cannot be a human resources professional today without having some level of competence in technology and data analysis. You do not need to be a computer programmer, but Human Resources departments without a tech component will be left behind. Employees are looking for modern work experiences that match their personal lives.
  4. Executive Presence is defined by the authors as “having the communication and storytelling skills to sell things to skeptics”. I can totally see this being a necessary skill. We can come up with the best ideas in the world but if no one buys into them, then they’re not going to happen. In addition, we have to keep the buy-in of stakeholders, so projects stay fully supported (and funded!)
  5. Risk-Taking involves recognizing opportunities, being comfortable with managing risk, and having the judgment to shut down something that’s not working. I must say the last part of that sentence about shutting down projects and programs that aren’t working is so critical. Organizations that want to move forward sometimes need to change the past.
  6. Systems Thinking is the ability to see how all of the pieces fit together. Whether that’s within a department or the organization as a whole, HR pros need to understand how the organization works. It’s critical for effective recruitment, onboarding, learning, and planning. It also is a key component of selling ideas to management (#4).

On some level, I could see these skills being highlighted in a company-wide management and leadership skills training program. The company might also want to develop some behavioral based interview questions around these areas to make sure that future hires have a sense of curiosity or proven skills in collaboration.

I can see “The CMO of People” being required reading for human resources pros before going into the department’s annual strategy and budget session. It’s a perfect time to talk about what HR wants to accomplish in the upcoming year and, more importantly, how they’re going to go about achieving it.

Image capture by Sharlyn Lauby somewhere off the coast of Miami, FL

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Categories: Blogs

The News Is Part Of Your Employment Brand

Sun, 07/07/2019 - 02:57

I ran across an interesting article in The Manifest titled, “How Do Employees Act When Faced with Unethical Company Behavior?” The article talks about how candidates want to work for companies with ethics, and will choose not to accept offers of higher pay at companies with a history of unethical behavior. I’m not sure this is a surprise. Or at least it shouldn’t be.

What I did find interesting was that 79 percent of employees will not accept a job with a higher salary from a company that failed to act against employees who were involved in sexual harassment. We know that harassing work cultures inflict damage on a company’s workers and its bottom line. In addition, there are times when employees who report workplace sexual harassment are at risk for social isolation, retaliation, anxiety, and depression. Despite these hardships, most employees feel a need to act against unethical behavior that directly impacts them or coworkers.

In addition, employees will not consider accepting a raise from a company if they find the company selling or using customer data without consent (76 percent), creating environmental problems (72 percent), and paying female and minority employees less than others (71 percent). 

Finally, The Manifest article said that when employees decide whether to accept a raise, they are most likely to tolerate companies that give political donations to candidates they personally dislike (54 percent). Overall, it appeared from the study that employees are more likely to tolerate disagreeable company behaviors that are driven by politics or economics, instead of ones that directly impact coworkers or them.

My takeaway from the article is that the company’s employment brand is influenced by all of these things: harassment in the workplace, employee retaliation, data security, sustainability, equality and yes, even politics. Where do we hear about these topics? Yep, in the news.

What the media says about our organizations matter. If they say the company is a respected employer, people hear that. And when the media reports that unethical behavior was pervasive within the leadership team, they hear that too. Obviously, the way to impact the news about your organization is to do good things for all of the right reasons. Remember the PESO Model (paid, earned, shared, and owned media). This is a clear example of earned media. Organizations need to have an earned media strategy. Because it matters.

This article was enlightening both in terms of the behaviors that employees will (and will not) tolerate as well as the reminder of how the news can impact a company’s brand. Organizations can’t simply assume their own brand messaging is sufficient. Employees are looking for resources like former and current employees AND the media to get confirmation that what a company is saying about themselves is accurate.

Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby while exploring the Wynwood District in Miami, FL

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Categories: Blogs

Organizations and Employees: We Are In This Together

Fri, 07/05/2019 - 02:57

It’s Independence Day weekend here in the United States. On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress declared that the American colonies were united, free, and independent states. I’m sure every country has their own version of our Independence Day, where they celebrate their own unique history. It’s a reminder that even with all of our faults, the success of our country lies with our people.

This Time Well Spent cartoon from our friends at Kronos reminded me that companies celebrate too. They celebrate when the organization was founded. They celebrate when new employees arrive. And they realize that the success of the company is in the talent they surround themselves with.

When one person is missing, the whole team is impacted. We already knew this. The cartoon makes light of the last person in the message calling out sick. And of course, it impacts the entire message. But sometimes we forget that something as small as a person showing up 5-10 minutes late can impact the entire team. Organizations need to make sure employees understand how their actions affect everyone.

Help employees establish priorities. Our lives are filled with competing priorities. It’s important for individuals to understand how to prioritize. Because sometimes the top priority isn’t obvious. If companies are concerned that employees don’t know what the most pressing task is…then tell them. It doesn’t have to be communicated in a condescending way. Just let employees know that the specific task has moved up to priority number one.

Having a backup plan is essential. When high-profile activities happen, organizations should have a backup plan in place. People do get sick. Emergencies happen. It’s worth taking a few moments to think about the challenges that can happen and how they should be handled. It also helps employees immediately pivot in a new direction. If an employee calls in sick (like in the cartoon), then there’s someone else to take their place. Or maybe one person carries two signs.

Companies and employees should work together to make the organization successful. The way that happens is by organizations building a company culture that encourages teamwork and collaboration. For employees, it’s understanding how their role helps the organization, prioritizing their work, and being prepared to change with all of the shifting priorities. Together, organizations and employees can build their own future.

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Categories: Blogs

Independence Day and Being Grateful

Thu, 07/04/2019 - 02:57

Today is Independence Day here in the United States. A time for celebrating our nation’s freedom. I wanted to share with you a picture from earlier this week.

Mr. Bartender and I had the honor of visiting the NASA and witnessing the test launch of the Orion spacecraft. It was a wonderful educational experience about the U.S. space program (and great fun!) 

Thanks for being an HR Bartender reader. We truly appreciate you!

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Categories: Blogs