• How to prevent high turnover

    January 16, 2017 by

     

    Contributing writer Ted Bauer

    Turnover is a concern for businesses. While exact loss numbers around employees departing is hard to track, most CFOs agree that it hits the bottom line. There are obviously intangible issues with turnover, too. The remaining employees (a smaller number) have to share the same (or greater) workload, stressing them out. And certain employees are huge knowledge bases or social connectors. Losing them can strip your business of valuable resources well beyond any cost incurred hiring and training the replacement.

    On top of all this, there is some belief that Millennials change jobs faster than Boomers. (Statistically, though, average U.S. job tenure is about 4.6 years — and in 1983, it was 3.5 years. So Millennials have actually gotten more loyal to companies.)

    How can turnover be prevented, regardless of generation?

    Let’s begin with a little science. Paul Zak is a specialist in researching oxytocin (a chemical in your brain). He gave a popular TED Talk in 2001. Oxytocin is one of the biggest drivers of trust-based relationships in humans, and more oxytocin release — which is tied to much greater happiness and less corporate turnover — tends to come from autonomy over work as opposed to increased compensation.

    There’s Idea No. 1, then: focus less on compensation as a driver of behavior, and more on providing employees with autonomy over what they can do, i.e. do not micro-manage them at every turn.

    The second idea is something called “The Hawthorne Effect.”

    Per Wikipedia, the Hawthorne Effect is “when individuals modify or improve an aspect of their behavior in response to being observed.” This all comes from a place called Hawthorne Works (get it?) in Cicero, Illinois and some experiments done with light bulbs. If you make the room more bright — increase the light bulb, in other words — workers end up being more productive. But if you dim the light bulb again, productivity drops back to normal (or below-normal levels).

    The modern application of the Hawthorne Effect, then, is that if you’re more responsive to worker needs, those workers will be more productive. Care about employees. Listen to them. Engage with them. Be supportive of them.

    Too often, we think we can solve an issue like turnover or low employee morale/engagement with a new software suite. We can solve accounting issues that way, or even business process (BPO) concerns, but engagement and turnover are distinctly people issues. You solve people issues by investing in people, not technology. That’s the big takeaway here.  

    Want more recruiting and retention advice? Stay connected to College Recruiter on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

  • Most desirable jobs survey results are in

    January 11, 2017 by

    The 2016 Most Desirable Jobs survey has some surprising results. The Career Advisory Board (CAB), of which College Recruiter’s founder Steven Rothberg is a member, released the survey recently. Their intention is to advise employers, who increasingly find themselves in steep competition for qualified talent. The results include ideal job characteristics, most appealing work styles and what employees value at work.  Employers will rejoice when they hear that they may not have to throw out their conventional wisdom.

    One key finding that may surprise you: Millennials were more likely to want to work in an office every day than their older colleagues. We spoke with Alexandra Levit, business and workplace consultant and Career Advisory Board member. She gave us her interpretation of the survey results, including what surprised her, trends of the Millennial generation, the gig economy, and more. Watch our interview with Alexandra:

  • It’s hard to be a good manager, but bad management affects the bottom line

    January 09, 2017 by

     

    Contributing writer Ted Bauer

    Here’s a statistic that may blow your hair back a little. Per Gallup, 82 percent of managerial hires end up being the wrong one for the company in question. Why is it so hard to be a good manager, and why do so many companies perpetuate bad management? If this 82% stat is true, but there are still companies making tons of profits each year, does bad management truly affect the bottom line?

    Why is it so hard to be a good manager?

    Laszlo Bock is the VP of People (commonly thought of as Human Resources) at Google. Last year, he gave an interview to UPenn’s Wharton Business School — and within the interview, he hits on a core problem of good management. In his words:

    The reason you get promoted is because you’ve done good work, you’ve hit your goals, you’ve made good decisions. You’re in this job, and of course, you immediately want to make good decisions, hit your goals, move things forward. You forget that when you’re an employee you want your manager helping and giving you advice and then kind of getting out of your way.

    As a manager, your whole mindset shifts. [Y]ou start saying, I gotta make sure everyone delivers. I gotta micromanage. I gotta watch things. It’s not intuitive as a manager to give people more freedom and back off. That’s one of the things we’ve discovered — that you have to limit the power of managers. Then people perform way, way better.

    One of the more popular business books of the past 20 years, Marshall Goldsmith’s What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, refers to this same concept: namely, management isn’t intuitive to most people. Instead of thinking about their new direct reports as people with lives and contexts of their own, many new managers think of employees as productivity targets or KPIs. Limiting the power of managers can actually make organizations more effective, counterintuitive as that might be on face.

    The other issue with bad management is training. Per research, most people receive their first managerial role at age 30. Their first managerial training, though, isn’t until age 42. Not all managerial trainings are created equal — some might potentially regress a manager — but to go over a decade between “becoming a manager” and “getting trained to be a manager” is a significant issue.

    What’s the tie to the bottom line?

    Tony Robbins makes an excellent point about organizations scaling in this interview with Tim Ferriss. The argument is this: at some point, a company is 2-3 people (the founders). Eventually that becomes 5, then 10, then 20, etc. Every time you add a person and another layer, the communication channels become a little bit more frayed. Managing a three-person company vs. a 3,000-person company is hugely different. Companies are often good at scaling production for their products, but scaling the culture and managerial skill sets often gets left behind.

    This has consequences. According to one set of research (admittedly from a small sample size), poor leadership costs companies $144,541.30 per day. That might be the annual salary of someone in a leadership role, and their poor leadership is costing the company that amount each day. Additional research from Northwestern has shown that poor leadership, often in the form of unclear priorities and wasted time, costs organizations $15.5 million per year. By contrast, organizations with very strong management levels often double their profits.

    There are many metrics people use to attempt measuring “bad management,” and one of the most common is turnover. Bad managers obviously contribute to turnover; most research across the past 30 years has indicated people tend to leave their boss, not their actual job or company. Research from Dale Carnegie Institute at the end of 2016 showed that 41 percent of North American workers planned to try for a new job in 2017. The most-cited reason? Bad management at their current job. That’s nearly half the North American work force entering a new year with one foot out the door. Consistent turnover has many negative repercussions for a company’s bottom line, and losing four of every 10 employees in a calendar year is really bad.

    How can we improve managers?

    There are dozens of ideas here, but Bock’s advice above makes some sense: limit their power, or shift their focus from “managing productivity” to “managing the priorities of their people.” There’s research from MIT showing that 67 percent of senior leaders can’t name the priorities of their CEO. Once you get a few levels below that, priority assignment is a large game of telephone. As a result of these unclear goals in the middle management levels, research has shown that 21.4 million managers are contributing no economic value back to their company. That’s 17 percent of the U.S. full-time work force, and close to 42 percent of all people holding managerial titles. They could be made more effective with a shift in how they’re measured and compensated.

    The other improvement could come from increased training around how to work with different styles of people, how to communicate better, how to align company strategy with daily execution, and the like. One of the most common traits of companies who regularly get on the ‘Best Places To Work’ list, such as Google or Mercedes Benz, is an almost religious commitment to training and developing people. It’s hard to expect managers to improve when they’re waiting 12 years between initial promotion and initial training.

    Want more advice related to talent acquisition, retention and other HR challenges? Stay connected to College Recruiter on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

  • Takeaways from College Recruiting Bootcamp

    January 06, 2017 by

    Photo from exaqueo.com

    We asked a few people who attended last month’s College Recruiting Bootcamp about their takeaways. Several weeks after the event, they are still thinking about our conversations regarding relationships, data and metrics, and work culture.

    Cassandra Jennings, University Relationship Manager, FDM Group: The greatest takeaway from the bootcamp experience is that no matter the industry or company, we have a shared need to connect and build campus relationships that are successful and make a difference to the bottom lines at our firms.  Though technology is ever changing, students still need to connect and we need to wade through all of the external noise and help students understand who we are, what we do and how we work in an honest and down-to-earth voice.

    Along with the challenges of messaging, we also need to keep an eye on meaningful metrics to help us communicate the importance of university relations and the positive impact it makes on the business.

    We are a few weeks away from the bootcamp and I’m still thinking about how our company, FDM Group can convey our brand on campus in a meaningful way.  We hired more than 600 students in 2016 and anticipate that our campus recruitment numbers will increase exponentially this year as our business continues to grow in North America. This is an exciting time at our firm and we need students to understand that this is a great opportunity to get valuable work experience and a great place to launch a career with us.  Continue Reading

  • Talent Acquisition in 2017: Q&A with the Experts

    December 28, 2016 by

    In today’s “Q & A with the Experts”, College Recruiter spoke with Ashley White, Human Resources Director for The American Productivity & Quality Center. We asked Ashley about how 2017 might look the same or different regarding their recruitment strategy.

    What does your recruitment strategy look like for 2017?

    Ashley White: For 2017, our employee engagement and retention strategy is based on “manage and measure.” Management for us means managing the employee experience from the very beginning of their employee experience. In my experience, engagement is different for each individual and organizations that “do” engagement effectively create opportunities for their teams to connect with the organization’s mission and each other in different ways (team building, social events, charitable efforts etc). We expect to continue providing all of these in 2017. For example, our managers are expected to budget for and carry out team building events each quarter with their teams. With any strategy, measurement is important to justify expenses, make improvements and chart progress. APQC will utilize an employee satisfaction survey done twice annually to capture this data. The ongoing challenge with surveys is ensuring that you’ve crafted the questions so that you receive valuable feedback that creates actionable results. With that said, we will spend time utilizing best practice research to guide our question selection.

     

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    Ashley White is the Human Resources Director for APQC (The American Productivity & Quality Center). She manages all aspects of human resources including benefits, compensation, recruiting, and strategies. She also leads the APQC operations team that focuses on developing next-generation leaders within the organization. APQC is a non-profit that produces some of the leading benchmarking and best practices research around talent management and other business topics. Connect with Ashley on LinkedIn.

     

    Want to stay on top of other expert advice around college recruitment? Connect with College on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and YouTube.

  • Artificial intelligence can help HR evolve

    December 20, 2016 by

    Contributing writer Ted Bauer

    There is a lot of talk about artificial intelligence  in recruiting. Here’s something most people probably don’t know: artificial intelligence actually debuted at a conference at Dartmouth University in 1956. Yep, 11 years after the end of WW2, AI was already on the scene. At the time, there was a lot of optimism. Some people at the conference believed robots and AI machines would be doing the work of humans by the mid-1970s. Of course, that didn’t happen. Instead, funding dried up and we began a period called “The AI Winter”. That ostensibly lasted into the 2000s, when IBM’s Watson peaked a lot of interest in artificial intelligence again.

    Now we’re at an interesting place. Like PCs in the early 1980s or the Internet in the early 1990s, artificial intelligence is “out there” and people know about it. There’s anxiety around artificial intelligence and what it means for the very nature of the work many of us do. However, I believe it will be a rising tide that will “lift all boats.” Here’s how AI might impact the recruiting industry going forward.

    AI is already here in recruiting

    One example of today’s cutting edge recruiting AI is an application developed by HiringSolved. They call it RAI — pronounced Ray — for “Recruiting Artificial Intelligence.” The project is about six years old and still being perfected. Its execution is similar to a chatbot. You can say something to RAI like, “I need to find 20 project managers in the accounting sector within 50 miles of Boston,” and — much like you might tell Siri to turn on Pandora — it will begin to comb through resources and find you those project managers.

    You could also use clarifying questions, such as “What does Microsoft call product engineers?” Continue Reading

  • College recruitment matters to Diversity & Inclusion: Q&A with the Experts

    December 16, 2016 by

     

    College Recruiter is introducing a new regular blog feature, “Q & A with the Experts”. In this monthly feature we will draw insight from experts in talent acquisition and HR. For today’s post, we spoke with Loreli Wilson, Manager of Diversity and Inclusion Programs at Veterans United Home Loans; Saïd Radhouani, Co-founder at Nextal; and Steven Rothberg, founder and President of College Recruiter. We asked Loreli, Saïd and Steven about the connection between college recruitment, and Diversity and Inclusion.

     

    What do you think is the importance of college recruitment to diversifying the workplace?

    Saïd Radhouani: Universities are great channels to bring new diverse talents into organizations and promote a diversified workplace. Both local and immigrants students form a big pool of diverse talents. They may differ greatly in terms of language, culture, religion, or color; yet ultimately study toward the same goals. These talents are already diverse and know how to perform in a diversified environment. College recruitment is a big enabler to diversify the workplace.

    Loreli Wilson: Colleges and universities are a great source for smart, passionate, and innovative applicants from marginalized communities. It’s a smart move to align with those institutions to engage students and cultivate our workforce by our own specifications.

     

    What are best practices for recruiting a diversity of college students?

    Saïd Radhouani: If diversity is part of your organization’s priorities, you should empower some individuals to serve as diversity advocates. They can promote and keep diversity goals active during the recruitment process. These advocates should include college recruitment into their plans. A few best practices they can suggest to the recruitment team include: Continue Reading

  • Tweak your application process to be more respectful

    December 14, 2016 by

     

    The same tools that save recruiters time often make the application process feel robotic and cold, at least from the job seeker’s point of view. As you work to woo people into your company, it would be a bad idea to turn them off. You can use time-saving technology and still be respectful and applicant-centric.

    Your employer brand will suffer if you don’t take steps to be respectful.

    Any negativity that a candidate experiences can go viral. Your employer brand doesn’t just depend on the culture you create for current employees. The experience you create for potential employees, including everyone who never gets an interview, is also part of your company brand. Recruiters may groan at having to sift through 500 resumes for a single position, but that’s a gold mine for branding. That resume stack represents a captive audience. Unlike your passive followers on social media who you wish would just click “like” occasionally, those job applicants are eagerly waiting to hear from you.

    Recruitment skills are like sales skills, so recruiters: sell your brand and your company’s experience. Don’t overlook how important your own customer service skills are. Your candidates are your customers.

    Don’t risk losing the top candidates

    When you treat candidates like a herd of cattle, think about who you are losing. Employers large and small consistently place soft skills at the top of their wish list. Those skills include integrity, dependability, communication, and ability to work with others. A candidate with high integrity will drop out of the race quickly if they sense that a recruiter doesn’t regard them as worth more than a few seconds of their time. If you lose integrity from your pool, what do you have left?

    Juli Smith, President of The Smith Consulting Group, agrees that the lack of respect for candidates has consequences. “It can be very devastating to hear nothing.  Even bad news can be taken better than radio silence for days or weeks.” Candidates may have gotten used to being treated insignificantly during the job search, but that doesn’t mean they’ll put up with it for much longer. As companies start to figure out how to treat them better, you don’t want to be the last company standing with a humorless, disrespectful and overly-automated job application process.

    A few little tweaks can make a difference

    Like other great salespeople, good recruiters know how to read people. Let your recruiters bring their own humanness to the process. Don’t stifle their instincts to be respectful by automating every step of the way. If they truly have no time to insert a human touch along the way, then ask the most jovial member of your team to come up with better automated responses to candidates. Compare these two auto-emails:  Continue Reading

  • How employers should deal with helicopter parents

    December 09, 2016 by

    Parental involvement during the job application process is on the rise, as we are all well aware. For older generations, the ways parents get involved may seem shocking, but it does no good to just scoff. Employers should know how to respond to both candidates and parents when they get that phone call from a mom or dad.

    Feedback for candidates

    It is entirely possible that a candidate’s mom or dad is intervening without their child’s knowledge. This might be to the utter embarrassment of the candidate, but it is important for them to be aware. Brandi Britton is District President of  OfficeTeam. She says it’s important to “reinforce that behind-the-scenes parental involvement is totally fine, such as reviewing resumes, conducting mock interviews or offering networking contacts, but direct contact with companies is inappropriate.”

    After you’ve made it clear to candidates that you would rather not deal with their parents, make sure they know you are not going to discount them in the application process. This is important: an applicant’s skills are independent of their parents and you should not punish them for their parents’ behavior.

    Being proactive may be the best approach of all. Christy Hopkins of Fit Small Business suggests providing applicants with an FAQ that accompanies your confirmation of their application. Those FAQ may be exactly what a parent may want to know, like pay rate, number of hours, application timeline. If the applicant forwards it to mom or dad, hopefully you have just avoided that awkward phone call.

    Feedback for parents

    Have the same response prepared for every parent. This preparation saves you time and ensures objectivity. Hopkins suggests something along the lines of:  “Thank you so much for emailing/calling me to say hello. I appreciate how invested you are in your child’s success, and I can understand since I am a parent. However, in order to keep things fair for every applicant, I cannot talk about our selection process. Thank you very much for understanding.”

    If you are like many HR professionals, it is annoying to deal with parents. However, as recruitment marketing becomes more strategic, remember that each interaction with any stakeholder presents an opportunity. “Being approached by a job applicant’s parent, or indeed anyone closely connected to the candidate is an opportunity to build your employer brand,” says Kevin Mulcahy, author of The Future Workplace Experience.

    It’s  not your job to teach them a lesson, but Joanie Connell at Flexible Work Solutions includes a scare tactic in her response to parents. She tells them, “We find that applicants whose parents call in are less serious about the job than applicants who contact us directly.” This response is fine as long as you are not actually discounting the candidates’ applications.

    Be fair

    While it may be tempting to take all this into account in your hiring decision, be careful. Presumably most candidates do not have their mom or dad calling you, so beware of introducing an additional measure that only applies to one or two candidates. However, if a candidate reacts badly to your feedback, that may tell you something about how they may behave as an employee.

    This may go without saying, but don’t take parents up on their attempts to influence your decisions. If they contact the hiring manager outside of HR, the manager should know to politely decline, noting the importance of privacy laws.

    Embrace the change!

    Enterprise is a company that embraces the relationship with parents during recruitment. They see that it builds a stronger relationships with candidates. They invite parents to interns’ final projects, and has a Bring your Parent to Work Day.

    Maybe parental involvement doesn’t have to be annoying. Recognize that Millennials’ relationships with their parents are just different than those of Baby Boomers. Not worse or better, but different. You may call it hand holding, but many of the changes that Millennials’ present can be good for all of us. For example, more positive feedback, more work-life balance, and perhaps a mentor are good things for all your employees, not just the twenty somethings.

  • Top Workplace: Bozzuto

    December 07, 2016 by

    Congratulations to Bozzuto for being a “Top Workplace” in 2016! I had the pleasure of speaking with Allison Lane, Director – Corporate Communications & Marketing at Bozzuto, a real estate services organization. She shared how their company makes it a great place to work.

    Above all, Allison says, “we put employees first.” That seems so simple. It means, however, that employees are more important than anything else. It takes empathy and patience, Allison says. It also takes time to listen to your people.

    Bozzuto takes that time, and goes beyond their employees. They make sure that all stakeholders feel connected to the company. That includes job candidates, partners, and the residents of their properties. That level of engagement requires an investment, but when I asked Allison about how they measure ROI, she said they don’t have to. “Investing in our people is just part of our DNA.”

    It sure seems that way. Their founder, Tom Bozzuto , does regular site visits and meets with people in their environment. He believes in “managing by walking around.”

    The company offers Bozzuto Voices, where any employee anywhere can comment, make a suggestion, praise someone else, etc. This sort of transparent communication can help build mutual trust with employees.

    As for engaging Millennials, Allison brushes off the generational differences. Just engage people as individuals, she says. Don’t assume you know something about them because of their age.

    Bozzuto hires for recent grads on an ongoing basis. Openings include construction, real estate development, marketing and accounting. While they recruit for the right skills, they also look for cultural fit. Allison says, “If you’re not nice… you gotta be nice.” Veterans take note: their founder is a military veteran and has set the tone for hiring and including veterans in their staff.

    Allison just about proved their fun work culture while I spoke with her. She interrupted our call to attend to her coworker. They had what sounded to me like very friendly banter and it did, indeed sound like a fun place to work.

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