Talent Circles

Friday, June 28, 2013

The lean approach to talent acquisition: Waste elimination (Part 1)

By Marylene Delbourg-Delphis

In a landmark book Talent on Demand: Managing Talent in an Age of Uncertainty, Peter Cappelli was applying lean supply chain management concepts to people in order to enable companies to build adaptability within their staffing strategy. Since then, several books from Lean Human Resources: Redesigning HR Processes for a Culture of Continuous Improvement by Cheryl Jekiel to more recently, Lean HR, Introducing Process Excellence to Your Practice, by Dwayne Lay have advocated lean approaches.

Sometimes, however, exporting concepts from a vertical to another can be disconcerting to the non-specialist, which can explain why the very notion of "lean" has been somewhat mocked. Yet, it's not necessary to know everything about lean to leverage some of its valuable principles. For me, one of the most important notions of talent acquisition is waste elimination, i.e. "any activity that does not result in moving the process closer to the final output or adding value to the final output." This (identifying and eliminating “muda” or wastefulness) is one of the 3 central concepts of Lean management (along with identifying and streamlining “mura” – unevenness – and “muri” – excessiveness.

In the talent acquisition process, the drop-out rate of candidates who come to your website is astounding. Sometimes, this rate can reach up to 90% of the candidates that you have been able to attract via your job posts or your social media efforts. They come to your website but either do not find the information they are looking for or are reluctant to fill the myriad of forms that you request to ever be considered by the company.

Clean up your process and welcome candidates at the various touch-points with your company (career site, job boards, public social networks, etc…)!

Make sure that you move from a process designed for the candidate to respond to a job requisition or job requirement, to a process where your company can be responsive to an inquiry or expression of interest from the candidate. In other words, allow candidates to join your talent network. It's easy and this will save you a considerable amount of money.

This involves a subtle shift in approach – from a one-sided, non-collaborative one to an engagement approach where you attract talent, build an active online community and then send them to the ATS when they are qualified.

The biggest benefit of this lean approach to talent acquisition is that it provides an optimal candidate experience. With the proliferation of social media, employers can take advantage of the social tools available today to build out this optimized recruiting workflow: an engagement platform, i.e. an employer-branded space where candidates and recruiters can meet and interact — and where constituencies can operate comfortably each on their own terms. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Diversity Management in the Workplace

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

If a candidate applying is a buying decision, than a newbie employee’s first day is their wedding day as they say “I do.” This critical moment is important in the retention and engagement of that employee. Even so, newbie employees often seek greener pastures when other job offers come through. New employees, tenured employees and experienced employees play the employment dating field throughout their time with you.

Diversity management can no longer be ignored in the workplace. It’s no longer just about the numbers and having the right mix, but it’s about how an organization or company treats its people authentically down to the core values. There are hundreds of reasons why having a diverse workplace is good for a company.

A diverse workforce drives economy growth. According to a 2012 Mckinsey & Company survey women went from holding 37% to 47% over the past 40 years. At the same time our economy saw a record growth over multiple industries. Most economists believe that increase in diversity is a direct result to economy growth over the years.

Increased creativeness and innovative workforce. The one thing your company doesn’t want is a workforce made up of same personality types. 85% of companies in a recent study by Forbes stated that they “agreed or strongly agreed that diversity is crucial to fostering innovation in the workplace.” Having a workforce that is diverse won’t open help put your company on top, but will help separate yourself from the competition.

Diversity is a key aspect of entrepreneurialism. The greatest companies are built from those with an entrepreneurial mindset. Startups are formed through the minds of entrepreneurs taking ideas or products and helping them come to reality. In the corporate world, entrepreneurs strengthen your product development team and help lead your company into a world of innovation. According to the U.S. Census diversity is a main catalyst in small businesses. 22.1% of U.S. businesses are owned by people of color, 28.8% are women, and the Latina-owned businesses are the fastest growing segment. Hiring these people will not only help your company, but take it to the next level.

If your company is struggling to promote and maintain a diverse workforce, TalentCircles has the answer to you problem. Within the TalentCircles platform recruiters are able to create specific “circles” and pursue a proactive Diversity and Inclusion strategy effortlessly. To be a leader in the industry it’s imperative to attract and address segments of the population that’ll help your workplace evolve and company grow.

Using TalentCircles, you can segment your talent network into circles using the point-and-click Circle Manager. This allows you to segment out certain populations like working mothers, veterans, or any segment of the population you’d like. If you want your company to produce record numbers and optimal growth it’s essential that you utilize tools and best practices that facilitates the hiring of a diverse workforce.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @blogging4jobs

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

How to Hire and Recruit for Company Positions & Skills Not Yet Invented

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

Imagine your boss walking in your office in 2004, asking you to hire for a marketing or communications role requiring experience in social media or with big data... You would likely have nodded your head or given a funny stare not really understanding what they meant. Today, anticipating needs is the new reality of the recruitment and hiring industry. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 65% of today’s grade school kids will end up at a job that hasn't been invented yet. The phenomenon is not new. Last year, Megan Casserly put a list of "10 Jobs That Didn't Exist 10 Years Ago" for Forbes. So the question is: how do we hire for skills, positions and jobs that don’t yet exist? Here is a short list of action items:
  • When you hire a candidate for a given position, test the candidate's ability to eventually learn new skills — and check if the candidate is likely to get out of her comfort zone to try new things.
  • Keep informed about all the early trends that may affect your industry over the next five years, as well as critical general trends that may affect behaviors in the workplace.
  • Plan continuous development for existing employees. Give them a chance to attend classes in a College nearby and eventually help them pay for their tuition!
To invest in the future of your company, invest in your people: As China Gorman asks: “Is talentism is the new capitalism.” I know there is some skepticism about this: "Maybe in 5-10 years. When HR is seen as a business function and not an overhead function. And human capital is valued on the balance sheet," China adds.

In all cases, though, a way to be ready for tomorrow is to start now... and before human capital is actually valued on the balance sheet!

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @blogging4jobs

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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Women in Transition: From Caregiver to Breadwinner

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

A record 25% of woman in the workforce are now the breadwinners in American households. These women are re-defining the workforce, work-life balance and leadership roles in business today. As a female in the HR industry, I support this shift not only because I’m a woman and a mother but also because I’ve experienced discrimination first hand while balancing my own views on parenting roles should or shouldn’t be. This shift won’t be an easy one because we have millions of years of evolution and genetics battling against this imperative workplace change.

This statistic has risen nearly six times since the 1960s — at a time when only 4% of women made more than their husbands according to a Pew Study. For decades parenting roles have been defined as the mother staying home with her child and the father going out and basically becoming the sole breadwinner in the family. As the glass ceiling starts cracking women are showing their ability to become the breadwinner for the family as well as reaching the top of major Fortune 500 companies, but at what cost?

According to several psychologists and divorce lawyers who see couples struggling with such changes, many relationships tend to follow the same pattern. First, the wife starts to lose respect for her husband and the chemistry in the relationship disappears. As women continue to push the envelope and become breadwinners for their families they’re seeing that it’s not as easy to balance both work and life because of the pushback they get from society and their counterparts.

As this trend continues and women are making progress in their role in the workplace the caregiver role will start shifting to men. While some feel emasculated in this role, there are a large percentage of men out there who are comfortable in this new mission.

One of the main elements of women becoming the breadwinner in the family is a higher level of education. The wife and husband don’t generally consider one smarter than the other, but men generally tend to prefer doing things with their hands or outdoors, while the women are exceling in the classroom and working at a desk. There is a clear gap in the financial equations between women and men where women are generally more educated which attributes to the sharp increase of women as breadwinners.

We are at a very crucial stage in workplace roles as women assume higher responsibilities including top positions at major companies and men staying home to become the caregiver. In order to completely demolish the glass ceiling it’s important to understand that not only are women becoming a force to be reckoning with in the workplace, but also acceptance is necessary to move forward.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @blogging4jobs

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Friday, June 14, 2013

The Secret Lives of Employees at Your Workplace

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

If a candidate applying is a buying decision, than a newbie employee’s first day is their wedding day as they say “I do.” This critical moment is important in the retention and engagement of that employee. Even so, newbie employees often seek greener pastures when other job offers come through. New employees, tenured employees and experienced employees play the employment dating field throughout their time with you.

Statistics tells us that employees playing the field can be as high as 80% as they test the waters submitting applications and interviewing for jobs at any time. There’s really not much job monogamy these days, and it’s up to the employers to figure out why. The statistics are even higher when working on entry level and hourly jobs. In retail a newer employee is ready to jump ship at the sign of the smallest increase in pay. In order to understand the reasoning behind job seekers quick departure from a job it’s necessary to understand what impacts their decision to start looking for employment elsewhere.

I have come up with four different reasons that play a crucial role in employee turnover and the lack of job monogamy in the workplace:

Morale: One of the biggest reasons an employee doesn’t want to stay with a current employer is the perceived morale. There are a multitude of reasons why morale in the workplace is low such as leadership not serving as exemplars, no accountability, lack of career planning, and overall cohesion between departments within an office.

Effectiveness of Co-workers: Let’s face it, if you’re the only employee in the organization that comes in day after day and puts in 110% there is lifecycle to how long you can do this without being burnt out. When co-workers don’t show great work ethic it can tear away the foundation of good co-workers. When someone is paid the same as another and one does the majority of the work, it’s frustrating and you’ll end up losing the good employees.

They’re Bored. Most employers don’t see this as a problem, but for the self-motivated and ambitious co-worker that always wants the next big challenge, boredom can be the root cause of them leaving your company. If there is no room for growth or challenges you’ll see all your high-performing workers leave in packs for companies who are more innovative and career-focused.

Poorly Managed: A bad boss can make an employee miserable. Even if your staff is dedicated and loves their job it takes one bad manager to spoil the good employees. Uncomfortable work environments are a main reason employees may consider leaving.

The cost of turnover can be extreme and can sometimes put smaller businesses out of business. Creating a culture of loyalty and understanding issues within the workplace is one of the most effective ways to reduce the amount of turnover in your office and cuts down on those jumping ship for minor reasons. Take a look at the top reasons employees leave and make sure you have a plan in place to fix similar issues within your organization.

The best preemptive approach is that you know them better as candidates, though!

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @blogging4jobs

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Why Job Descriptions Are Not Enough in Hiring

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

The problem: job descriptions are legal (not marketing documents) created for the purposes of protecting not promoting the employer in the role described. Yet, employers must take a marketing and employment branding approach when developing job descriptions, job postings and employment information to attract and engage a candidate that they hope may become an employee.

For the job seeker there really hasn’t been a place where they can go and interact with recruiters in an organization. They used to submit a resume and cover letter based on the job description and then they were placed in a purgatory type environment and would rarely hear back because of the volume of applicants for a given position. However, as HR departments become more like skeleton crews it’s important that they better utilize their time when dealing with potential employees.

Relying on job postings to communicate to a job seeker the benefits of working for your company does not work any longer. The candidate experience is becoming increasingly important in the job seeker lifecycle and companies can’t ignore the fact that good talent comes from delivering a good experience. In order to hire the best candidates, you must focus the process around the job seeker. If developed properly, the candidate experience can be one of the best tools out there to attract and the best candidates.

If you’re company is struggling with finding ways to improve the candidate experience within your organization, here are a few things that you can easily do:

Create a Talent Community: Talent Communities not only benefit the recruiter but also they give the candidate a place to go after submitting an application. After applying for a job, the candidate doesn’t know where their application goes or if a recruiter is even paying attention to them. Talent communities create a sense of belonging. Whether they get the job they initially applied for or not, you’ll keep attracting good candidates.

Engage with the Job Seeker: Engaging with the job seeker doesn’t necessarily have to be through a Talent Community (although strongly encouraged). When an applicant submits a resume, don’t leave them hanging in the black hole of resumes, but take time to respond and give direction if they were selected for the job. This could prove difficult if you received hundreds of resumes, that’s why the best tool for the candidate experience is Talent Circle’s Talent Community platform.

Focus on Employment Branding: Part of the candidate experience ties into how your company is branding itself. When companies are able to highlight the perks and benefits of working for their specific company, as well as its real culture, job seekers will be more interested in working for said company. Use employment branding to elevate your brand to the next level and engage candidates in a positive environment.

If your company is struggling with improving the candidate experience following these few guidelines will help your organization develop a stronger relationship with the job seeker and the overall process. What has your company done to position themselves as an employer of choice?

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @blogging4jobs

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Monday, June 10, 2013

The New Rules of Recruiting, a book by Zachary Misko and Todd Wheatland

By Marylene Delbourg-Delphis

I just finished reading Zachary Misko's and Todd Wheatland's The new rules of recruiting. It's a short, valuable and effective book. Its purpose is to advise recruiters to catch up with the new world of recruiting, urgent them to "rethink how they work each day — and take new responsibilities outside their comfort zone ... and ride the crest of the rising wave."

If you want to ride the crest of rising wave, you have to ask yourself a few simple questions:

1— Do you primarily rely on resumes to evaluate candidates? If so, look further! While it's true that some careers may still rely on the traditional resume, resumes are only part of the story: "For better or worse, everyone’s personal and professional self is documented through their online content and behavior." Will you really hire someone who claims he/she's passionate about design if the candidate's accomplishments are nowhere in sight on the Internet?

2—Do you have what it takes to attract the fast-evolving breed of knowledge workers? Stop looking for the one-dimensional candidate that will fit a one-dimensional job and be a mere cog in your corporate machine. Talented people look for projects and employers that help them grow and expand their skills. So look for them where they are and address them the way they want to be addressed: "First and foremost, the knowledge workers— the top talent everyone really wants— will increasingly be found through social media and other online engagement techniques."  

3— Has your company developed the vision and corporate culture capable of attracting millennials? We are not talking of crazy kids, but of the generation that will soon be in control of your workplace (40% of the U.S. workforce by 2020, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, far outnumbering any other generation). "A recruiter— once a gatekeeper between a job candidate and a particular job— must adapt to a world where information is much more freely available." End result: if you want to attract the always connected and BYOD generation, forget your fax machine and the "seasoned" employees you identified through traditional methods.

4—How ready are to explain to your organization what it really means for recruiting that things come to us through technology? We do not need to leave our home to find a soul mate or buy a car. "Employees have largely embraced digital recruitment for many of the same reasons people have flocked to online real estate, auto listings and dating— it’s easier."  The brick and mortar mentality wants people to come to their store. Internet marketing means proactively getting in front of them. If they don't see you, they can't be interested in joining your company.

5—Are you wary about social media? You had better not to be and, instead, keep in mind, that "social networking is a natural behavior. It wasn’t invented— it has just been channeled into ever more specific and measurable spaces. Now, recruiters and HR people must flex their own social networks to find candidates, but also understand more about how people connect and interact with each other online."

Ultimately, the "new rules of recruiting" are all about living with our time. They  are:

1— About building a positive candidate experience. While you may see your immediate task as filling positions, your real mission is to build authentic relationships with "passive" candidates at all times, and offer every candidate a positive experience. Misko and Wheatland like to quote their colleague at Kelly-OCG, Jillyan French-Vitet in this very good chapter: “From the moment the first connection is made, be it a click on a job site, an email or a telephone call, the candidate experience begins. So, as we begin to see each ‘click’, ‘email’ or ‘call’ as part of a deliverable, targeted experience, we can begin to make it worthwhile for both parties. Instead of a cost that nets often only a single filled vacancy, it becomes an investment and a measurable way to build talent networks for the future.”

2— Leveraging the power of social media. "Social platforms are like relationship engines, allowing you to meet and communicate with a network many times larger than what could be accessed using traditional means." Social platforms enable you to scale your Rolodex, or cast a much larger net. Again, don't wait people to come to you. Proactively go to them and engage them into your network.

3— Telling a good story that you believe in and to which candidates can relate. Key to your brand is what you say and what people can share. Online content marketing is now a mainstream genre that has reached all demographic segments. Produce a lot of content: it's cost-effective; it drives traffic to your site and sculpts the sentiment of potential candidates. In short, successful companies are effective publishers. Recruiters must become part of the process, even more than marketers, because in the end, recruiters must walk it like they talk it in order to attract top talent.

A very good book written by real practitioners who believe in what they write.

Friday, June 7, 2013

5 Overlooked Perks of Working in Retail

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

With a 17% growth projection over the next decade, retail jobs are one of the most overlooked career paths in the United States. Working in retail has been given a negative connotation over the years and is usually tied to the phrase “dead end job.” Those who are in retail shouldn’t worry about the stigma behind working in retail because there are a lot of overlooked perks that don’t come with any other job. As a former HR Director in retail myself, I have come up with a few of the most overlooked perks that should make you consider a job in this industry.

Flexible hours. Are you one of those people who just hate the 9-5 schedule? If you are then retail might be the place for you. With one of the most flexible work schedules, usually available 24/7, retail offers almost any type of schedule for any type of worker. Rather you’re looking for a second job and need to work weird hours or you’ll wanting the flexibility to work at anytime during the day, retail is the way to go.

Discounts. Who doesn’t love discounts? The nation’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart offers a 10% discount to all employees. You might not think 10% is a big deal, but it’s usually big enough to cover tax and save you a lot of money over time. Whether you’re working at Wal-Mart or your favorite fashion outlet, discounts are one of the best-kept secrets for each employee wanting to score some good deals on their favorite items.

Plenty of jobs. When the economy fails retail jobs are still in demand. If you have ever been searching online for your next job you most likely came across several posts in the retail industry. Even if companies stop hiring full time employees they are usually always hiring for part time positions. Unfortunately they require fewer benefits, but some companies are working harder to get benefits for even part time employees. If you want a full time position they might be harder to find in a slow economy, but retail jobs will always be around.

Casual work environment. If you’re not one of those who love to dress up everyday retail is your ideal place to work. Another example with Wal-Mart is their completely lax dress code that is popping up all over the place. It used to be where employees worked in the iconic vests and now they’re simply wearing a t-shirt to resemble the retail giant’s color, blue.

Advancement. Not many people associate retail jobs with job advancement, but the fact is that the majority of retail stores promote from within. The retail sector has a larger percentage of career advancement because there are so many areas where advancement is needed. Working in retail can sometimes lead to an employee reaching a middle management job within a year of working or an actual manager job within five years depending on their work ethic. Those wiling to transfer and relocate are sometimes promoted faster.

One of the perks not discussed in this series is the opportunity to go anywhere. Most retail jobs have locations all over the United States or in specific regions. When moving there’s a good chance you won’t have to start over in your career because you can simply transfer. When you’re wanting to make your next career move think long about these perks, maybe retail is where you belong!

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @blogging4jobs

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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

How to Improve Quality of Hire of Managers Working in Retail

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

One of the most frustrating things for a recruit is going through the entire process of hiring a candidate only to find out that they aren’t a good fit. Usually a good recruiter prevents this from happening, but every now and then someone falls through the cracks. Hiring good managers in retail is important to keep customers happy and the flow of each store constant. When the workflow is interrupted because of scheduling issues, breakdowns in communication, or other various reasons customers tend to get upset and chaos ensues.

In order to prevent these types of mistakes it’s important that recruiters are able to produce top-notch managers through a serious of initiatives in approving quality of hire. Here are some specific ways that recruiters are able to improve quality of hire in the retail industry:

Hire model employees. When you’re decided to make your next manager take a look at each and every one of your employees and pick out the one you consider a model employee. Once you’ve done that build a recruitment process on finding managers similar to your model employee. Creating a standard within the retail industry allows for a recruiter to have a benchmark. It also allows employees who are working towards a position to understand the behaviors and work ethnic needed to go further in the retail industry.

Test various skills. When hiring a manager in retail it might be better suited to test specific skills that you feel are weaker than others after the entire process. The problem with standardized assessment testing is that it’s trying to encompass a broad range of subjects. Most managers have a skill set they’re strong in so don’t waste their time or your money testing them. Instead, figure out areas of weakness and make sure they’re on par with your company.

Refine your hires. Once you’ve made a hire it’s not enough to let them loose on your store. It’s important to constantly refine your managers to mold them into the type of manager you want them to be. After 90 days of being on staff you should audit each of your hires and make necessary improvements based on best practices. In the retail industry it’s important to do this because of the constant day-to-day interaction between a manager and customers.

The cost of making a bad hire can sometimes cripple a retail store, especially if the store is new. Without clear benchmarks and proper testing a recruiters job can be hard and mistakes made. It’s important to understand when hiring a manager the process doesn’t stop once they’re hired. Continual training and development is essential for retaining a strong workforce. With a strong management team with a clear direction your company can grow as big as you want. Follow these steps provided to take a step in the right direction of a successful future.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @blogging4jobs

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