Talent Circles

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Your Staffing Resource Guide to Seasonal and Mass Hiring

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

This is the time of year working in retail I lived for. September and October were the calm before the storm that is the busy shopping season. Whether you are staffing a new location or hiring for the upcoming busy seasons, there is an art to what is called mass hiring. Being ready for the busiest time of your life if you’re an HR professional in a mass-hiring situation will make or break you not only personally, but professionally. Understanding the stress that goes along with mass hiring can be maintained if you are properly prepared.

Having had my share of new store opening and holiday shopping seasons to fill my stores with helpful, friendly and eager season staff, there is a best practice to recruiting, interviewing and hiring in large numbers that meets your needs. If it’s your first time involved in a mass hiring situation here are a few key points that you should start doing yesterday:

1)   Plan. Using last year’s sales numbers combined with current forecasting projections, determine a headcount you need for each position in order oto meet your goals. Plan for an additional 20% to allow for failed drug tests, background checks and other uncontrollable situations that occur. This is one of the most important stages due to the fact that planning will break or break the entire hiring season.

2)   Get the Word Out. Start early getting the word out to build a pipeline of available candidates. Using a talent community like Talent Circles, you can begin to host informational webinars, share great content and resources to provide resources and reach your intended community. Create a calendar of events, assign tasks and get creative. Instagram recruitment tools like Instajob, to share your openings can be just as effective if not more so than traditional advertising.

3)   Source Talent. As I mentioned, building a pipeline of available candidates is important. Using Talent Circles you can funnel in talent into your network allowing your recruitment team to interact with larger candidate numbers than a traditional in person job fair or open house. Using a talent community will allow you to start funneling candidates earlier then hiring season

4)   Organize your offers. Working in retail, I had a war board for each location to manage offers, openings and onboarding. In person, this can be accomplished with a dry erase board but an organization chart can be developed to manage the number of openings and limit the stress involved in hiring a few hundred positions during the same time period.

5)   Develop a Flow for Onboarding. When it comes to retail mass hiring, timing is everything. Your onboarding flow is crucial in having the right staff at the right time. Prioritize and build a employee orientation and onboarding calendar making sure that training runs smoothly and staff gets when they need at the right time to be successful at your company. Getting stuck in this process can be detrimental as it might detour employees from taking the final step. 

Mass hiring doesn’t have to be a stressful, mixed up, and hot mess of a situation. Take it one step at a time and learn the intricacies of the process. Once you start developing a flow and system the next time you do the easier it’ll get over time. Start with a plan and follow through with each process one step at a time. 

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s is the Chief Blogger & Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @jmillermerrell

Friday, September 26, 2014

5 Priorities for Your 2015 Staffing Planning

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

It’s fall planning season where budgets are being submitted and the next year’s assignment, contracts and roles are being approved. This article will discuss 5 priorities recruiting team should consider as they plan their 2015 staffing plans and begin budgeting.

1) Create candidate pipelines. Using solutions like TalentCircles to create candidate pipelines will increase your chances of hiring high-leveled and engaged talent. Talent networks allow your recruiters and hr professionals the ability to send potential job candidates into one network that’ll allow you to source internally from those who have already displayed interested in your company. Instead of re-inventing the wheel and sourcing from outside pools try sourcing from candidates that have already been vetted and shown interest. You’ll not only get better results, but it’s a chance to really build your employer brand.

2) Focus on candidate targeting. Whether it’s social recruiting, job boards or PPC, your staffing plan should include plans to further engage the most qualified candidate communities wherever they might be. Consider niche boards, time sensitive campaigns and employment branding efforts to grow your talent network of available candidates to select long before you post your job opening. Think like a marketer and understand where your candidate is and how you can engaged and essentially pull them into your talent community for future communications.

3) Productivity. One of the most difficult pieces of the puzzle when it comes to gearing up for your 2015 staffing season is staying productive. You might have new challenges that arise or a higher number of candidates that you’re forecasting. Stay productive by making recruiters utilizing tools and processes that are already in place. If you have a higher forecast then previous years it’s important to learn how to scale these processes and keep things simple and productive.

4) Creativity. Finding talent is becoming more challenging and competitive than ever. Allow opportunities for team members to pitch and present new and fresh ideas to keep you ahead of your competitors when it comes to finding talent for open positions at your company.  Get out of the mindset of being a corporate drone and look at what smaller companies are doing because they usually have more fresh and unique opportunities, as their budgets are a lot smaller. Keep the creative juices flowing and let go a little when it comes to recruiting.

5) Analytics. It’s more important than ever to directly correlate your recruiting activities directly to the bottom line. First and foremost it’s important to understand the goals of the organization and how the recruiting efforts align with the priorities and growth projections at your company. The HR department has enough problems correlating what they do to the bottom line of your company. Using analytics is a sure way to help track monetary benefits of your hiring practices and retention rates. Once you’re able to prove financial worth from the Human Resources department companies will see the value in HR and start investing more time and energy into the department.

How are you planning for your 2015 planning season?

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s is the Chief Blogger & Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @jmillermerrell

Thursday, September 25, 2014

How to Evolve From Reaction to Interaction

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

HR and recruitment is a department where actions and activities are based on reactions to business situations like forecasting sales changes, turnover, or business or segment restructuring. Believe me, I’ve been there. There is no worse feeling in HR or recruiting when the VP of your division casually makes you aware of a headcount change for the upcoming quarter (beginning next week) that requires adding an additional staff of 745. Add on the unrealistic staffing goal of having those employees hired and on boarded in less than 30 days and it’s easy to see why HR has a bad rap for their reactive business qualities.

There’s nothing more thrilling for some than the rush of adrenaline that is accompanied with reactive recruiting and the onset of unrealistic expectations from a business leader like my VP. It’s fun for a while. You tell yourself that you live for situations like these. Meeting and exceeding unrealistic expectations. You and your team put in the long and countless hours, and pat yourself on the back for a job well down. That is until a distinct pattern begins to develop.

As a recruitment or HR leader, you begin to witness a pattern of these behaviors. Maybe it’s your VP swinging by your office the last week of every quarter setting you into yet again another adrenalin filled fire drill. Your blood pressure spikes. You miss time with your friends and maybe three week’s of your kids soccer game. Members of your team begin to feel deflated, upset and complain. You try to put their thoughts to rest but secretly admit that no amount of attaboys are going to make you enjoy this recruitment tap dance where your shoes set on fire each month, quarter or during the busy season. You and your recruiting team deserve a little sanity.

Recruitment should be a partner working directly with my VP either present annual or quarterly planning meetings. In order to be effective recruitment must move from reactive to interactive recruiting.

Interactive recruiting is:

*A partner. One where hiring managers, business leaders and recruiting teams actually talk with one another. Planning, strategy and conversations must happen in order to be effective.

*Is Involved. In all staffing planning and decisions. If conversations happen where the workforce headcount is being, shifted, added or reduced, recruiting must be involved in this conversations to set realistic expectations and plan accordingly. There is no way I can physically hire 745 people in a week without the right tools, resources and people to do the job.

*Develops a Pipeline. This planning starts with the development of a pipeline and a strategy to source, find and locate 2,235 candidates. Because recruiting has determined that it takes 3 candidates to fill 1 position at your company.

*Uses Forecasting. Similarly to how executives use sales forecasting tools and resources to help create their own long term and short term business projections, staffing and headcounts should follow a similar pattern. Companies should begin discussing current pipeline counts and available candidate pools for new locations especially those in unfamiliar geographic areas where employment patterns are uncertain.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s is the Chief Blogger & Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @jmillermerrell

Thursday, September 18, 2014

What is Workforce Diversity in the Context of Recruiting & Hiring

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

Diversity at your workplace is more than just checking off those government boxes when it comes to your annual Affirmative Action Program or asking candidates to complete their voluntary self-identification questionnaire.

As business leaders and recruiters, we must go beyond the standard view of workplace diversity. It isn’t some ill-funded and obligatory program that your Diversity Director is enthusiastic about. It isn’t just fulfilling your affirmative action plan requirements by advertising your job openings with a women’s or veterans job board or magazine. Diversity is bigger, deeper and farther reaching that a handful of US requirements and laws. It is the future of a successful company.

Diversity is about diverse experiences, backgrounds, education and life choices. Sometimes that translates into creating a women-in-technology program at your organization and other times it means creating an job training program for professionals with visible and invisible disabilities. Recruiting a diverse workforce has numerous benefits on your corporate success far beyond the legal implications.

Companies who are recruiting a more diverse workforce will see results on not only the bottom-line but the following:

Connection to the customer: Unless your company is extremely niche the biggest benefit to having a diverse workforce is being able to understand your customer. Employees bring different cultures, backgrounds, and skills to the table. When working a diverse customer base it’s important to also be diverse in your workforce so you’re able to connect with customers on several different levels.

Employee innovation: A clear benefit to hiring a more diverse workforce is the innovation that comes along with it. Working with the same people, same ideas, and same thought-process means your company isn’t going to grow. A diverse set of people is essential for company growth and innovation on all levels.

Employee recruitment and retention: A workplace that emphasizes interests and concerns for its employees, as people will make it easier to attract a higher-quality workforce. Companies who tout recruiting a well-rounded workforce will attract smarter individuals from different backgrounds.

Employee motivation: A more diverse workplace means people will be seen and treated with the same respect as everyone else. When there are no special treatments based on whatever diverse trait you posses employees feel better about their workplace and the company they work for. This is one of the best ways to get organic motivation. When employees are happy their productivity and motivation increases.

When a company is known for hiring a diverse workplace whether it be for those who are disabled, veterans, women, or different ethnicities it makes the recruiters job a whole lot easier because they’re not recruiting for a company that has a solid reputation in recruiting practices. Never underestimate diversity hiring and the impact that it can have on all facets of your business.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s is the Chief Blogger & Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @jmillermerrell

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Untapped Talent Pool of Candidates with Disabilities

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

We will first define the word disability and discuss how HR professionals often associate employees with disabilities purely within the context of common employment laws like Americas with Disabilities Act.

Disabled workers in my experience are some of the most productive and with just a small amount of accommodation at companies I have worked at, I was able to make an impact for the employee and my team. Mind you, I worked in the private sector and where requirements where much different. Even so, I saw an immediate return on investment and the impact one individual can truly make on a team.

Whether you are a private company or a government entity, the benefits of hiring and retaining the disabled workforce is far reaching. The talent pool is an eager one. They are engaged and ready to put their skills to work and most importantly learn at your company.

According to ADA.gov, a qualified individual with a disability is:

A qualified individual with a disability is a person who meets legitimate skill, experience, education, or other requirements of an employment position that s/he holds or seeks, and who can perform the essential functions of the position with or without reasonable accommodation. Requiring the ability to perform "essential" functions assures that an individual with a disability will not be considered unqualified simply because of inability to perform marginal or incidental job functions. If the individual is qualified to perform essential job functions except for limitations caused by a disability, the employer must consider whether the individual could perform these functions with a reasonable accommodation. If a written job description has been prepared in advance of advertising or interviewing applicants for a job, this will be considered as evidence, although not conclusive evidence, of the essential functions of the job.
Once you’ve successfully followed the definition of a ‘qualified individual with a disability’ it’s important to understand how to work them into your recruiting strategies to enhance your talent pool with these candidates. In a previous post we described six valuable disability recruiting and hiring resources that’ll help recruiters get a jumpstart on governmental resources that’ll help them hire stronger disabled candidates.

Benefits of hiring candidates with disabilities

Aside from practicing on an enhanced set of ethics and principals there are both branding and business benefits behind hiring those with disabilities.

Disabled workers tend to be more productive: According to a recent article in Salon, Walgreens stated that Americans with disabilities are the best workers that they hire. According to multiple studies conducted at Walgreen’s distribution centers shows that disabled workers are more efficient and loyal then nondisabled workers. Most can’t even tell the difference between who is who when it comes to working with a disabled workforce. The stigma is you’re disabled only if you’re noticeably disabled which isn’t the case for most disabilities.

Disabled workers allow companies several different tax breaks: For businesses that are looking for ways to reduce tax burdens, hiring disabled workers can offer a healthy option of tax benefits. For instance, making your workplace more accessible is a tax break in itself. Businesses are also able to qualify for an opportunity credit, which is widely available to companies that hire workers with special employment needs.

Companies who hire a disabled workforce are able to see numerous benefits from better employment branding, a more productive workplace, and tax relief.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s is the Chief Blogger & Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @jmillermerrell

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Nine Faces of Your Workplace Diversity

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

When it comes to diversity, the EEOC or Equal Opportunity Employment Commission along with our government has an opinion and expectation on who and what is considered diversity.

Those individuals are workers who fall into what we refer to as a protected class as part of the hiring process under Title VII, ADA, GINA and ADEA.
  1. Age (over 40),
  2. Disability
  3. Genetic Information
  4. National Origin
  5. Pregnancy
  6. Race/Color
  7. Religion
  8. Sex
...and when it comes to hiring and recruitment there is a 9th, Veterans.

Government bodies like the EEOC, OFCCP and DOL exist to help organizations stay in compliance with the United States employment laws when effectively recruiting candidates specifically those who are minorities or members of diverse groups or communities. These nine faces of workplace diversity make up the entire ecosystem backing how your workplace operates, but what about those who don’t necessarily fit into one of these groups? For instance, just because someone is white doesn’t mean they’re not Native American which makes them a protected class.

In the next five to ten years everyone in the workplace will be a protected class. In order to create an environment where everyone belongs, no matter what class of people they belong in, companies need to start eradicating workplace stereotypes. The smaller your company is the easier it’ll be to implement a system and grow off the system as your company starts to grow.

In doing so, companies will be able to not only comply with federal regulations, but implementing these measures will strengthen their employer brand.

Assessing the need: It’s important that before you start creating any type of diversity program you assess the specific needs of your company. Most companies know they have diversity issues but cannot pinpoint the exact location of the error of their ways.

Make the business case: Your key leaders are going to want to understand the business case for having a diversity program. Come up with a game plan and tell them how it’s going to affect the bottom line. Letting them know that by creating a diversity program their profits and competitiveness will increase.

Set clear expectations: It’s important to have a clear expectation when introducing a diversity program in your workforce. What do you want to gain? What is the overall goal of the program? How will you measure the progress of the program? How will negative behavior be dealt with?

Behavior that is clearly out of line with the expectations of the program should be addressed immediately. Regardless of items included in a performance document employee patterns of disrespectful behavior should be notated and dealt with. Send a clear message about what this program entails and why it’s important that exclusion should not be practiced at work.

Taking this initial step will allow you to start a conversation with your employees and eventually build your employment brand on a foundation of acceptance and understanding no matter what class someone belongs to.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s is the Chief Blogger & Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @jmillermerrell

Thursday, September 11, 2014

HR Tech & US Law Must Evolve When It Comes to Candidates & the ADA

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

The Americans with Disabilities Act is hands down the biggest and most important piece of employment law legislation that has occurred in the history of employment law. The legislation which was first became law in 1986 continues to be of important as more than 22 million American workers have a disability according to a 2010 study by Kessler Foundation and Harris Interactive.

Twenty-two million eager to work candidates is a talent pool worth considering and yet many employers do not. Seventy-three percent of those surveyed believe their disability is keeping them from working let alone applying or even approaching a recruiting or hiring manager about an opportunity.

The applicant tracking system or ATS was born out of the need for compliance to US employment laws and retention programs that have changed little since they were first developed in the late 1980’s and 1990’s. It was a simpler time when people still applied for job openings in person often at a kiosk or computer located in an office or designed application area at a company. It was a time when 50% of the job seekers weren’t searching and surfing for a job via their mobile phone like we are as of June 2014.

It was a time when candidates applied in person using a paper or electronic application with the likelihood that they would meet a hiring manager or personnel representative to ask question about the job posting and even request an accommodation as part of the hiring process or interview process as outlined by the ADA.

Job seekers requesting a reasonable accommodation must provide advance notice to employers and submit their request either verbally or written. How does a sight-impaired job seeker submit a written or verbal request to a recruiter using a 1985 developed ATS? How do they connect with a recruiter and a hiring manager when the technology is simply a one-way engagement from recruiter to job seeker and not the other way around?

Aside from legislation or case law to update the request for accommodation process, the solution lies in the recruiter and the technology creating software enhancements and a workflow to make it easier for candidates to request accommodation and ask questions. The application process should be a conversation where candidates regardless of their age, sex, ethnicity, veteran status and disability are able to communicate openly with the recruiter and their potentially new employer.

Developing a new way of thinking when it comes to HR Tech will allow employers a better means of dealing with ADA requests and other governmental rules and regulations. Before creating a new HR Technology product it’s important to take a look at how this product can help streamline and keep practitioners in compliance with all laws and regulations. The outdated way of thinking will only serve as a roadblock to practitioners using your product in their workplace. We all know the practitioner is the #1 compliance king or queen and suiting their needs should be your #1 focus.

For the practitioners, how much does compliance when it comes to ADA affect your choice in the HR Technology selection process? For tech companies, how often are you thinking about compliance when it comes to building your product or service?

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s is the Chief Blogger & Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @jmillermerrell

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

5 Myths About Hiring Workers with Disabilities

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

When candidates identify themselves as being disabled its sometimes triggers human emotions and thought processes that simply aren’t true. When it comes to the disabled workforce there are lots of myths out there about the downfalls and obstacles employers have to overcome and jump through to maintain a profitable and smooth workforce. These myths create the wrong impression for new business owners and those who have zero to little experience in disability hiring. Take it from me; it’s not bad as they say it is.

5 myths dispelled about hiring workers with disabilities

Reasonable accommodations are expensive. Companies are required by law according to the Americans with Disabilities Act or ADA to offer employees a reasonable accommodation to their job if they have a disability. The assumption is that these accommodations are expensive but this is not the case. The average cost of a reasonable accommodation to an employer is less than $500.

I don’t have any employees at my company who have a disability. Disabilities can be visible or invisible meaning that they can be seen or not. According to the Department of Labor’s Office of Disability employment policy, 19.1% of the American workforce is disabled as of February 2014.

Persons who are deaf make ideal employees in noisy work environments. Loud noises of a certain vibratory nature can cause further harm to the auditory system. Persons who are deaf should be hired for all jobs that they have the skills and talents to perform. No person with a disability should be prejudged regarding employment opportunities.

Hiring employees with disabilities increases workers compensation insurance rates. Insurance rates are based solely on the relative hazards of the operation and the organization's accident experience, not on whether workers have disabilities.

Under the ADA, an employer cannot fire an employee who has a disability. Employers can fire workers with disabilities under three conditions:
  1. The termination is unrelated to the disability or
  2. The employee does not meet legitimate requirements for the job, such as performance or production standards, with or without a reasonable accommodation or
  3. Because of the employee’s disability, he or she poses a direct threat to health or safety in the workplace.
With these myths now dispelled it’s important that employers learn the benefits of hiring those who are disabled. It’s also important that job seekers don’t classify all disabled workers, as those confined to a wheelchair because there are hundreds of disabilities out there that most aren’t even aware of if the candidate didn’t flat out tell them. Be proactive and start hiring based on merit instead of looking at someone and disqualifying them based on disabilities.

How has your company taken strides to hire more disabled workers in your workplace?

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s is the Chief Blogger & Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @jmillermerrell

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

6 Valuable Disability Recruiting and Hiring Resources

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

Companies have continued to struggle to recruit those with disabilities and are lost when it comes to whom they can reach out to when they are considering hiring someone with a disability. These workers are a talent pool that in my experience are some of the most productive. Putting them to work benefits you as well as them. Providing them a work opportunity at your company can be life changing. Resources exist for employers on hiring those with disabilities beyond the tax breaks. It’s more than just good business. It’s about providing hope, resources and opportunities for all members of your community. .

I’ve come up with the top six disability recruiting and hiring resources that will help jumpstart a business owners quest for knowledge on the topic. With these six resources you’ll be able to obtain information on how to recruit, hire, and retain a workforce of disabled workers.

Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) Employers are able to find out information on how to recruit, hire, and retain employees with disabilities. Job seekers with disabilities are also able to find information to develop their skills and find support they need to get a job. The ODEP puts out guides for employers that help boost their overall recruiting efforts when it comes to disabled candidates.

Visit their website to learn more about the resources available to companies who are struggling to find qualified candidates with disabilities.

Employer Assistance Referral Network (EARN)
The employer assistance referral network is a program designed and sponsored by ODEP that helps employers find qualified applicants with disabilities. You’re able to contact this agencies by visiting their website.

Internal Revenue Service
Looking for resources on how hiring candidates with disabilities will help your business financially? The Internal Revenue Service has set guidelines that give companies tax breaks and credits for maintaining a certain level of employees who are disabled. For a complete list of breaks visit their website.

Disability Employment 101
This is a resource made available from the U.S. Department of Education that gives employers a comprehensive analysis of hiring employees with disabilities that includes information about how to find qualified workers with disabilities as well as research behind how to integrate individuals with disabilities in the workforce.

Visit their website to download the copious amounts of information they have that helps employers.

State Governors’ Committees on Employment of People with Disabilities
Each state generally has a state governor’s committee who helps employers with specific resources that help them recruit and retain qualified individuals with disabilities. Visit the contact information on the Department of Labor’s website and find out how to contact your state-specific office.

Disability Employment Initiative
Our last piece of information on disability recruiting and hiring resources is the disability employment initiative which aims to improve education, training, and employement opportunities and outcomes for youth and adults who are unemployed, underemployed, and those who are receiving social security disability benefits. This is a joint effort between several different governmental entities. Visit their website and download their fact sheet as well as other official resources.

Make sure to also check out our other posts on TalentCircles that focuses on knowing the rules when it comes to hiring disabled workers and the rules and regulations you must follow to prevent being sued, etc.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s is the Chief Blogger & Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @jmillermerrell

Friday, September 5, 2014

4 Keys to Recruiting The Passive Job Seeker to Join Your Talent Community

It’s simply no longer enough to publish and post your job posting to the masses or to tweet out that single job. Candidates have choices and by publishing a job posting for 30 days during which time you are hiring, you are limiting yourself to a community of active not passive candidates. You are also missing out reaching those passive candidates the remaining 435 days of the year when you don’t have an active job posting. 

Passive candidates are more likely those purple squirrels or productivity unicorns who careful dip their toes into the job search waters extremely careful of the job, company and role they select. They don’t publicly promote their interest in exploring their options. They keep their search extremely private.

These passive purple squirrels are extremely rare and its likely hard for you to identify them by simply viewing a job application, resume or LinkedIn profile alone.  This, in my mind is one of the most attractive reasons to building a talent community versus the old way of spray and pray recruiting.

We build a talent community to not just recruit those purple squirrels, but establish a brand and build a long-term relationship. Regardless of your role at an organization whether its senior leadership, hiring manager, HR or recruiter, turnover should be something you all own and be concerned with. Each of us is involved in one aspect or another of the employee life cycle. They are all intertwined in some capacity.

This talent community is one that is important as the global war for talent is becoming more competitive by the day. Engaging passive talent becomes more important as the competition and noise increases. It’s hard for good candidates to search among the cluttered and overwhelming job market today.

·      Relevant & Engaging Conversations. The focus is on them. Solving a solution to a problem with the future goal of having that purple squirrel apply and interview for a job opening at your company. (Great idea: create an online open house.

·      Relevant & Engaging Content. Great content starts with understand the needs of your target audience. What answers do you have at your disposal to the questions they seek. (Great idea: Offer a Silicon Valley Salary Negotiation Guide.)

·      Trust. A community where job seekers feel like they are getting access to the people, information and resources. Candidates regardless of their skill and experience are treated with respect and are valued. We live in the Yelp economy now. (Great idea: TalentCircles platform allows recruiters to leave extensive notes in the system regardless of which recruiter is engaging the candidate.)

·      Respect. Of a candidate’s time contribution and the potential resoures and information they bring. It can be a simple follow up and thank via email. (Great idea: simple workflow document or inforgraphic that provides the job seeker the hiring process and expectations.)

It’s the little things that really capture the attention of any job seeker but especially those passive purple squirrel ones. By focusing on going the extra mile now, you can really set yourself apart from the competition for your best and most qualified passive candidate and future employee. 

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s is the Chief Blogger & Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @jmillermerrell  

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Future of Your Business Begins and Ends with Your Human Capital Strategy

Recruitment, development and retention. These are three most important aspects in how business is shaped, developed and executed and it starts with your supply and demand of your most precious business resource, talent and your employee.

Companies often refer to your employee population as human capital. According to Deliotte, the concept of human capital recognizes that not all labor is equal and that the quality of employees can be improved by investing in them. The education, experience and abilities of an employee have an economic value for employers and for the economy as a whole. 
I’ve said before that they (human capital) are your most important and largest business expense. Like any asset in business, investments must be made in order to retain the value and top productivity. If you don’t continually promote and engage with your investment they basically be come devalued (i.e. unengaged) over time becoming more harm then good to your company.

Recruitment, development, and retention are essential for you to grow or at minimum maintain your business. Competition for your human capital is growing at a staggering rate because the labor pool is shrinking while the demand is growing.

Recruitment. The initial touch point that a recruiter has with a potential candidate is in the recruitment phase. With recruitment a candidate is instantly able to gauge how a company conducts themselves and what type of work environment they can expect if they apply and get the job. A recruiter’s job is important because they set the tone for the entire process. 

Development. Once a candidate has become an employee it’s important that the company keeps investing and building up their employee. A company is only as successful as their most important investments, which in this case (and most cases) is the workforce that they employ. Setting up boundaries and mentor programs are easy and cost-effective ways to make sure your employees are constantly being developed and pushed to their full potential. It also helps in the areas of employee engagement and retention.

Retention. One of the greatest challenges a company faces is employee retention. Retention is directly tied to how an employee is developed. If your employees don’t feel like they’re growing within your company it’s likely they’ll move onto another company who takes employee development more seriously. Retention plays into several factors that ultimately come down to your company culture and how much your willing to invest in your company.

Having a strong recruitment strategy is the first step in the mix. Once you’re able to brand yourself accordingly a dominoes effect is set in motion. You hire the best, develop them to be better and invest in their future, which turns into higher retention rates. When companies invest in their employees their business is more successful. 

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s is the Chief Blogger & Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @jmillermerrell  

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Reality of Global Human Capital Demand’s Growth in 2020

As it stands, organizations must begin engaging and establishing relationships with quality candidates now regardless of their location geographically especially when you read how the BLS estimates that the average employee tenure is 4.6 years in 2012 with a single company. Depending on where you have engaged employees within their lifespan of retention within an organization, it is imperative that you begin establishing an employment branding relationship with targeted talent pools and candidates communities.

When looking at the global competition for talent over the next 6-10 years, I was most surprised by some talent surpluses and shortages you might not have considered when building your global recruitment and even employment branding strategy.

·      Canada’s labor surplus of between 700,000 and 1.1 million people in 2020 will become a deficit of up to 2.3 million by 2030. 

·      China’s surplus of 55.2 million to 75.3 million workers in 2020 could reverse sharply, turning into a shortage of up to 24.5 million people by 2030. 

·      Germany will see a shortage of up to 2.4 million workers by 2020 and 10 million by 2030

The data you see above is from the UN’s Divisional Labor Database. Graphically represented below, it definitely provides food for thought as you leadership team discusses human capital topics like business expansion, the virtual workforce and how future competition for labor geographically will increase between now and 2020 or 2030.

Most companies are opting out of expanding to a remote workforce because they have decent enough talent pools available where they’re geographically located, but as you can tell these numbers are going to start shifting in the next five to ten years. It’s important to pay attention to the trends in the employment industry and begin being proactive with the results of these studies. Although these studies don’t show a shortage for US workers, it does show that the workforce will be cut in half.

The global risk for these shortages is estimated to be 10 trillion dollars. While most companies can’t offer long-term solutions right away it’s important to start doing a few things to prepare for them what might ultimately be a downfall in their industry if they’re not prepared for a loss of workers in the next five to ten years.

·      Work on changing policies that allow for telecommuting. Right now there isn’t much of a need (especially in the US) for telecommuting except for the added workplace perk. Start the conversation about working towards a virtual workplace division. There are several perks implementing a system – one of them is being ready for a mass shortage of workers.

·      Start developing your employer brand. If you haven’t created a strong employer brand (and by strong I’m talking about the Southwest Airlines of the world) it’s important to put a greater focus on employer branding. Shortages aside, this will help you recruit and attract better talent amongst several other benefits.

·      Build a pipeline of eligible workers. Using a talent community, like TalentCircles, companies will be able to have their own reserve of employees who are already invested into their brand and want to work for the company. Use these communities to your advantage when your search has come up empty for candidates.

It’s going to happen. There will be a mass shortage of workers in the coming years and being prepared for it will be smart. I don’t suggest create a “end of the world” strategy, but be smart about how you’re marketing and attracting candidates. Don’t think of it as one job at a time, but more of a continuous relationship. Learn more about global labor supply by viewing the infographic below or clicking this link.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s is the Chief Blogger & Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @jmillermerrell 

Diversity series: Conversation with Joanna Clark of Wells Fargo: From diversity to inclusiveness

First and foremost, congratulations to Joanna Clark of Wells Fargo for joining the prestigious gay and lesbian Center Board! The Center is a shortcut for the San Diego LGBT Community Center, an organization started in 1971 in a closet (literally) when Jess Jessop opened a help line to assist the LGBT community. The "Center" was officially incorporated as a 501c3 in 1973, the year when the American Psychiatric Association declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder.  Today, the Center is the nation’s second oldest (LA being the first) and third largest LGBT Community Center. The Center has made a huge difference in the lives of tens of thousands of people. Its 800 volunteers, its staff (40 full-time employees) and its 20 board members provide more than 50,000 service hours each year to a very diverse community.

Joanna embodies diversity four-fold
The daughter of a Mexican mother, she is a proud woman, a proud Latina, a proud self-identified lesbian, and the proud second mother of her partner's daughter. To top it all, she is a very successful professional. After a 15-year career at AT&T in various roles within its Talent Acquisition organization, she joined Wells Fargo in 2011 where she is currently VP, Recruiting Leader for Community Bank's Western Mountain Region and Shared Services. 

Attending a Diverse Leaders Program
Some companies only pay lip service to diversity. It's clearly not the case of Wells Fargo who nominated Joanna to attend the Diverse Leaders Program very shortly after she joined.  At the time, she wrote a beautiful post on my blog on the reasons why she was selected: "I was not selected as a woman who has been climbing the proverbial ladder in a heavily female recruiting profession led predominantly by men, nor because my mother, who was born in Mexico, immigrated here as a child in search for the American Dream for her family.  I was selected for neither of these reasons although they would both be true.  I was selected instead as a self-identified lesbian and a high potential leader to be given additional training to improve my skills as a manager and leader for the betterment of myself, my team members, my customers and our local communities.  I admit, upon learning about my selection, I could not imagine what my 'gayness' could possibly have to do with my leadership skills, but I intended to find out."

From diversity to inclusion
Joanna found out that the purpose of companies with serious diversity programs is to not to simply be diverse or add diversity as a legal or marketing check box.  It's more specifically to foster a feeling of real inclusiveness in the hearts and minds of the "diverse" people whom you hire. Joanna's experience in this Diverse Leaders Program held in a room full of accomplished bankers, activists, community leaders was a real eye opener for her.  "We had openly talked about how we all felt driven to succeed so no one could say that if we failed it was because of our 'gayness'… Yet in preparing my last word was when I finally found the answer to my question, 'what does my gayness have to do with my leadership style?'  The answer was ultimately 'nothing'…  My 'gayness' was not the point when dealing with who I am as a leader, manager or team member at Wells Fargo.  Instead, what I found was that this program was something entirely different.  Instead it was about inclusion, real inclusion." 

Bottom line
Joanna admits that until then she thought that the word "inclusion" was part of the corporate jargon.  "I had never really never understood it," she says.  "I have always understood why having a mix of different people in a workforce would be good to mirror the communities we worked in but to be truly included, I mean every part of me being included by a company, for the first time, was something I did not expect nor could I anticipate the impact."

Joanna, what advice would you give to recruiters?
"As recruiters we are the foundation builders of diversity for our companies.  We have the ability to impact diversity by building relationships and looking for the best talent with the knowledge that diversity of thought and background builds the strongest team.”