Increase Transparency to Improve Long Term Retention
A generation ago, even when job market conditions favored candidates, employers could count on a certain mutual interest in a steady and lasting relationship with their workers. Even if employees could probably find jobs elsewhere, they saw benefit in staying put. They wanted stable employment with a steady paycheck, they wanted vested pensions, and they didn’t want their resumes to mark them as “job hoppers”. But times have changed. These concerns no longer motivate most employees to park themselves in their chairs, and the average job tenure now lasts about two years (and falling).
Employees are constantly on the move, and the concept of mutual loyalty has become a quaint remnant of the past. So what’s a hiring manager to do? Loyalty issues aside, turnover is expensive, and replacing a single employee can sometimes cost more than that person’s annual salary.
According to research, one answer lies in increased transparency. If you’re honest with your employees (and candidates) from the start, they’ll be more likely to trust you, and if they trust you, they’ll stay. Here are two elements of transparency that could use some improvement in most workplaces.
Do you include clear salary data, or at least a range, on your job posts? If you already do this, give yourself high marks. Visible, upfront salary data lets candidates know if it’s worth their effort to apply. But it also sends a positive message: It shows that as a company, you’re open, you have nothing to hide, and you’d rather not engage in defensive manipulation. This is a healthy opening salvo in an employee-employer relationship, and if you can share salary information upfront, you’ll start your dialogue off on the right foot. Skipping this move suggests that you’ll negotiate hard to pay your candidates as little as you can possibly get away with—Not a welcoming sign.
Do you have an entrenched cultural problem that you aren’t exactly proud of? Do you wish you could wave a wand and give your company culture some qualities it doesn’t currently have? All managers do. But when it comes to attracting and retaining candidates, you have two choices: You can hide the problem and lure top candidates into signing on, OR you can describe your culture honestly and let your candidates make their own decisions…while working diligently behind the scenes to fix the issue. Choose the first, and your great new hires will slide out the door as soon as they get their desks packed. Choose the second, and you’ll earn respect for your honesty, which may translate into a longer and healthier relationship with your new employee.
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Why Won’t Your Team Talk to You? They Want Predictability
Following the advice of countless management pros and business mentors (including this blog), you’ve decided to enact a small change to your management style— You’ve decided to open your office door and open your ears, to all comers. You’ve made your office into a welcoming space with a friendly atmosphere and two comfortable chairs in addition to your own. You never close the door unless you’re having a private conversation, and you constantly encourage your teams to initiate talks with you.
So why haven’t they done this? So far, all you hear is crickets, and the line outside your door is non-existent. Your teams don’t even call you on the phone—they prefer to get your attention using texts and email. Even though we haven’t met you personally, we may know why this is happening: Your teams need predictability, and they aren’t getting it from you. At least not yet.
Social Energy and an Unpredictable Boss
If you aren’t sure how your boss will respond to a surprise knock on the door or some unexpected news, you’d probably do what your teams do: stay at your desk and send a message. If you have to gauge your boss’s mood or mindset before you approach, you’re more likely to send a text. If you don’t know whether you’ll be welcomed, validated, rejected, brushed off, or yelled at, why take the risk?
Social energy is a limited commodity for almost everyone, even the most extroverted among us. And if you behave unpredictably, you drain the energy of everyone around you, especially those who report to you and depend on you for their jobs. Keeping your employees on eggshells will keep them away.
How to be Predictable
Unfortunately, just recognizing the value of a predictable demeanor won’t make adopting such a demeanor any easier. Your mood and mindset change throughout the day, and since you’re only human and you have a right to express yourself, pretending to be a robot won’t help anyone. Instead, start by exercising emotional control and equanimity, and when that doesn’t work, be honest with those around you. Use your words to describe your sense of anger or frustration instead of volume, facial expression, or unexpected actions and decisions. Try saying, “That’s upsetting news,” instead of swearing, hyperventilating, or launching into a shoot-from-hip reaction. While you’re at it, hold all of your conversations in confidence unless you have a good reason not to.
When you take a position, stand behind it. And pause for two full seconds and two full breaths in and out before you respond to comments, news, or questions that surprise or upset you. This simple courtesy of a measured reaction can yield big dividends in employee trust.
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Pew Study: Americans Don’t Want to Apply for Jobs Where an Algorithm Determines Who to Hire
According to a recent Pew study, most Americans expect that an increase in automation will have a considerable impact on their lives during the coming decade. But instead of feeling excited about the rise of driverless cars and automated workers, most people feel a sense of concern. Specifically, we’re not wild about the impact that these new automated systems and machines may have on our prospects of earning a living. And we aren’t very jazzed about the idea of a job candidate selection processed based on an algorithm and requiring no human input whatsoever.
Concern and Optimism Vary
The ratio of optimism to concern varies slightly based on the specific technology in question and the purpose it’s expected to serve in society. Driverless cars, for example, are receiving a comparatively warm welcome, with 56 percent of respondents ready to embrace the possibilities and 44 percent feeling hesitant. The prospect of an automated caregiver for the elderly are not as rosy, with 59 percent of respondents saying no. And most of us (about 76 percent) would rather not apply for a job if we know that a computer program will be used to evaluate our application instead of a human being (or several).
The reasons cited for this hesitation include a lack of trust in automated decision making, blended with a respect and appreciation for the unique capabilities of trained, experienced humans.
Policy-Making and Automation
How quickly or slowly would you like to see automation ease its way into the workplace? If you’re like most respondents, you’d like to see policies that slow the advance of technology that’s designed to replace human jobs. About 85 percent of Americans who responded to the survey would like to see machines limited to performing jobs that are dangerous or unhealthy for human workers. And about 58 percent say the law should restrict the number of jobs businesses can replace with machines, even if the machines are cheaper than human workers.
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Do you agree? If so, make your voice heard and let us know. Employers are always seeking better, wiser, more efficient and more appealing ways of attracting the top candidates in the marketplace. If using an algorithm to narrow the candidate pool seems like a turnoff and you’d look elsewhere rather than apply to such a company, we’d love to hear about it. Contact the ACCENT Hiring Group to learn more, share your thoughts, and find the support you need to land your next job.
Hiring a Remote Employee for the First Time
Hiring remotely can bring a wide range of benefits to your organization, starting with the obvious: When you extend your pool of candidates beyond those within commuting distance, you can access the best talent in the country, or even the world. You don’t have to choose between the five candidates who meet your criteria and happen to live nearby. You (and your employees) can also sidestep some of the hassles that traveling to the office every day entails.
But remote workers also bring a few challenges. It’s not easy to get to know someone on a personal level if you never see them face to face, and communicating entirely by phone and written message can allow some important details and nuances to fall through the cracks. So when you select your remote employee, make sure you follow these tips and choose a candidate who can handle the challenges of the role.
Schedule at least one video interview.
This can allow you to hear and see your candidate in a real-time conversation, and it can help you better understand the person to whom you may be trusting important aspects of your business. Even one conversation can go a long way.
Ask about the candidate’s history with independent work.
Not all workers—even the most cheerful, skilled, and productive workers—are cut out for independent employment. To work well independently, your candidate will need to have no trouble with social isolation and little oversight. Ask if she’s done this before, and ask how she handles each specific challenge that comes with this type of work environment.
Provide appropriate tests.
You’ll need to pay the candidate for her time if your test process exceeds about 30 minutes, but if you can keep the time investment to a minimum, present your applicant with skills tests, software tests, communication tests, or any other test that might give you an accurate understanding of her readiness for a remote role.
Explain your communication tools.
What platforms do you use to connect with remote employees? Will you be ready to offer these platforms to your candidate and create accounts for her under the company’s purview? Has she used these platforms before and does she understand them already, or will she require training? Make sure that both of you understand how your communication and work delivery process will take place, and make sure both of you are prepared to download, install, purchase, or access the tools that will be necessary to stay in contact.
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For more on how to select and hire an employee who you may never meet in person, contact the team at the ACCENT Hiring Group today and work with a top staffing recruiter in Scottsdale.
The Equifax Data Breach Reinforces an Important Workplace Mindset about Security
According to cybersecurity experts and HR pros across a wide range of industries, the Equifax data breach that occurred early last year contains some critical lessons for employers everywhere. Specifically, one: employee cybersecurity training represents an important aspect of company stability.
The data breach at Equifax could have been prevented by a host of factors, presumably, and the resulting PR fallout could have been mitigated by a stronger and quicker response from the company CEO. But when traced back to its original source, the entire scandal and the exposure of millions of volumes of personal data can be linked to simple human error. And simple human error—while impossible to completely control—can be reduced dramatically with proper training.
Lesson for HR: Train Employees with Cybersecurity in Mind
While IT teams work to keep sensitive data restricted, encrypted, and isolated from other files, company directors should keep their attention focused well beyond the IT landscape. As it happens, data security isn’t just an IT issue. Training and security policies should be a part of daily life for board members, C-suite personnel, and every employee of the company all the way down to the newest entry-level hire. And while every member of the team will play a different role in the organization and will handle data in very different ways, there are three recommendations that should apply across the board:
- Employees should work every day to limit information access only to those who need the information. This simple reminder should be worked into the fabric of the company culture.
- Multifactor authentication should also become part of everyday life in the workplace. When properly maintained, two-factor authentication (like passwords combined with fingerprint or face recognition) can prevent unauthorized data access. Just as important, it can provide a trail that reveals who accessed specific information and when. This can be applied to files as well as restricted areas of the building.
- Administrative passwords should be changed on a regular basis. At first, employees may resent the hassle of needing to change their passwords more often, but in the long run, this simple routine can add an inexpensive and meaningful layer of protection.
Establish training sessions early for new employees so they can quickly become familiar with company policies and processes. And keep in mind that it’s never too late to implement regular security training for existing employees who need a refresher course.
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Meeting 2018 Goals Might Make Business Owners Uncomfortable
2018 is about to begin, and as we approach the starting line, most of us will bring the same optimism, positivity, and clean slates that we always bring…year after year after year. Every time the new year rolls around, business owners and ambitious employees show up with their sleeves rolled, ready to dive in and get things done. We set goals and we embrace fresh starts.
And this approach generally works. Goals are met by the end of the year, more or less, as long as they aren’t too lofty. Companies stay in business, for the most part. Workers stay on track to personal success and the world keeps turning.
But this year, what if you adopt a different strategy? What if you take your established goals and ramp them up by a few notches? Instead of aiming for comfortable levels of modest success and a continuance of the status quo, why not walk right up to the edge of your comfort zone and step over the line? Here are a few things to keep in mind if you’re ready to make yourself temporarily–but genuinely—uncomfortable in the interest of reaching beyond your grasp.
Do more for your employees.
Maybe you’ll bring in slightly higher profits this year or greater returns than you have in the past. So why not push all that money (not some, but all) back toward your employees? Why not increase salaries or hiring to a point that could conceivably imperil your profits? If you truly believe that your employees are your greatest asset, back up that that belief with real dollars. Invest in the engine of your company by investing in your teams.
Take meaningful risks.
Meaningful risks are real risks. And when you take a real risk, you don’t hedge or hold back just in case your plans fail. Real risk means banking on success and diving in head first and eyes open. Promise more to your clients. Promise more to your employees. And then deliver on those promises, come what may.
Attempt something you haven’t done before.
When you find a move or a routine that works for you, you stick with it. And that’s fine, at least for a while. But this year, break out of your routines and attempt something that instills you with a sense of real anxiety. Put something on the line, design a new system that may not be perfect, or extend yourself in a way that you never have before. See what happens! Greater risks and greater rewards go hand in hand for a reason, and no matter what, you’ll end the year with a story to tell.
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For guidance as you look toward 2018 and beyond, turn to the team at the ACCENT Hiring Group and work with the top recruiters in Scottsdale!
Identify Top Performers Part 3: Work Ethic and Motivation
As you sift through resumes and conduct interviews in search of the perfect candidate for your open position, you know that your windows of exposure will be limited, and your view of each candidate will be narrow and conditional. If you must extrapolate a complex long-term future relationship from a one-page resume or a 30-minute interview conversation, you’ll need to take a leap of faith. You’ll also have to recognize signs of potential, spot red flags, trust your instincts, and ask the right questions. So here are a few ways to use the limited tools available to assess one specific aspect of your candidate’s readiness: their motivation and work ethic.
Don’t waste time and breath.
Some traits can be assessed by just asking the candidate flat out for a self-description. For example, is your candidate introverted or extroverted? More of a leader or more of a follower? If they have to choose between quality work and meeting a deadline, which do they choose and why? But assessments of work ethic don’t work this way. There’s no need to ask your candidate “Are you a hard worker?” because first, there are no shared definitions for this term, and second, the answer will always be yes. Skip the empty chit-chat and get straight to numbers, narratives, and measurable metrics.
Ask for stories and numbers.
Ask your candidate about the hours and connectivity required by their previous jobs. In the past, have they worked an average of 20, 40, or 50 hours a week? For whom, on what, and why? Have they ever held a job in which they were required to stay connected and available 10 hours a day? How about 24 hours? Did they enjoy and embrace this routine or not? Recognize that wise, experienced candidates won’t eagerly reach for a 24/7 job if they’ve held one before and didn’t love it (most people don’t). By the same token, experienced candidates won’t grab for an utterly boring job if they’ve held one before and didn’t love it (most people don’t). Honest, experienced candidates will listen to your desired level of commitment and honestly assess its alignment with their own. Take their words at face value.
Which way do they lean?
Is your candidate here because they need a job, or are they here because they value the role of the company in the larger world, stands behind its contributions, cares about its success, respects its customers and its shareholders, and wants to proudly attach their name to yours? If they know nothing about the company at all, that’s not necessarily a deal breaker. But their candidacy should fade next to that of an applicant who clearly respects the company, has done their research, has a personal relationship with your brand, and knows your products inside and out.
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For more on how to evaluate your candidate’s willingness to sacrifice time, mental energy, and emotional energy to ensure your company’s success, contact the team of recruiters at the ACCENT Hiring Group.
Identify Top Performers, Part 2: Managing Self and Others
You’re screening and examining your final contenders for an open position, and based on the rounds they’ve made it through so far, you can say this of each applicant: they each hold the requisite education requirements and years of experience, they can handle the technical tasks the job requires, and they haven’t yet revealed any clear red flags. In other words, each of them can handle the core needs of the position. But what about leadership and management abilities? You need a candidate who can show self-direction while also coaching and organizing other people. So how can you review a profile for signs of this ability? Here are few ways to spot the candidates with management potential.
Ask about their ambitions.
Many excellent employees and top performers simply have no interest in managing others. Being a “boss” might be a dream for some, but it’s certainly not a dream for everyone, and it’s not unusual for a brilliant employee to reject the extra level of responsibility that comes with a management role, especially if they entered the field for other reasons. (Some people enjoy healing the sick, making bread, selling products, innovating, or fixing cars, but they don’t enjoy managing other employees and don’t see this as a career goal). So during your interview, just ask if they see this in their future. Take their answer at face value.
To get a sense of your candidate’s philosophical approach to management, present a few scenarios. Keep your hypotheticals simple enough to provide you with meaningful data. For example, ask your candidate how she might deal with a direct report who’s chronically late, or a how she might manage a conflict between an employee and a customer. If she has to choose between doing right by the employee and doing right by the company, how does she make the decision? What questions does she ask and what actions does she take as a result?
Estimate the personality match.
If your employees are extroverted, blunt, cheerful, and loud, will the candidate fit in? Will she speak their language? What if your workplace culture is reserved, quiet, and sincere? Think of your current teams, then assess her ability to adapt to their needs and the unique management challenges they present. Someone who can successfully manage the first group might struggle with the second, and vice versa.
Review the past.
Check her resume for signs of relevant experience, and ask her for stories frawn from her professional past. For example, ask her to describe a time when she just didn’t click with a direct report or a boss. What did she do to solve the problem and what were the results?
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For more on how to spot candidates who can take the lead and steer the team in a productive direction, turn to the staffing experts at the ACCENT Hiring Group.
Identify Top Performers — Part 1: Can they Do the Job?
When you begin your staffing and hiring process, you probably start with start with strategic sourcing, or targeting and posting your ads in places where top candidates are most likely to see them. You probably conduct keyword searches to find online resumes, solicit top students at local universities, or otherwise reach out to the best candidates hoping they’ll submit resumes.
But once you’ve collected these resumes, you’ll need to start screening, sifting interviewing and evaluating interested applicants so you can find the right person for the role, the company, and the team. First things first: Can the applicant in front of you successfully execute the daily requirements of the job? Here are a few positive signs.
They’ve done it before.
Most applicants will claim or list experience that’s pretty similar to what you need…more or less. Of course, nobody in the world has done exactly this job under exactly these circumstances (unless you’re interviewing a former employee), but the level of similarity matters. All “sales” roles are certainly not the same, nor are all marketing, analytical or customer service roles. Huge overlaps may exist between one form of experience and another, but before giving the broad-brush benefit of the doubt (“My tenure as a sales rep will make me a great teacher!” or “I’ll be a great ER nurse because it’s so similar to my role as a restaurant manager!” ) think twice.
They speak the language.
When it comes to empty buzzwords, turn on a fan and clear the fog. But when it comes to meaningful industry jargon, listen closely. If your applicant seems mystified by common acronyms or seems oblivious to recent news and developments in the field, this may suggest trouble. He or she should be able to fluently and informally talk the talk. If she can keep up with your existing team members, and even teach them things they don’t know, that’s great. But if he can’t use the right terms for equipment, processes, platforms, and events, that’s not great at all.
They can pass simple tests.
Present your interviewee with some hypothetical situations and ask how she would respond. Give him a pop quiz and see how he does. Remember that interviews can be nerve-wracking and the responses you get may not fully reflect a nervous applicant’s knowledge, but they’ll provide you with a ballpark.
They anticipate some of the challenges of the job without being told or warned.
Give high marks to candidates who can accurately complete sentences like these: “I imagine you probably deal with (insert common industry-specific hassle)? If so, I’m used to that and I can handle it.” “I expect that in this job I’ll probably be managing issues related to (insert a common challenge of the role). Correct?”
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