• Skills training for entry-level employees: Hard and soft skill bootcamps

    March 09, 2018 by

    There is a disconnect between employers and younger employees about the skills which are important in the workplace.

    As far as I can tell, managers have almost always been, on average, older than their employees and those managers have almost always fretted about the lack of skills those employees bring to the workplace, especially younger employees. This isn’t a millennial phenomenon but an age-old generational phenomenon.

    For a while now, I have noodled on why so many employers spend so much time and energy complaining about young adults and their lack of workplace-related skills. These employers want to pay these people entry-level wages, and yet they seem to forget that means that their employees will have entry-level skills. But maybe they don’t need to. Maybe the employees can have better skills before they report to their hiring managers. Continue Reading

  • How your diversity activities can increase retention

    February 22, 2018 by


    Do you know whether your diversity activities results in increased retention? Any organization that is known for churning through its diverse talent will have a hard time recruiting future diversity. Here we get into challenges for HR leaders, including causes of high turnover, the impact cultural sensitivity, specific ideas for retention strategies, and what millennials bring to the table. We spoke with Martin Edmondson, CEO of GradCore, and with Janine Truitt, Chief Innovations Officer at Talent Think Innovations.

    Continue Reading

  • What about the gig economy employers should build into their workforce analysis

    February 14, 2018 by


    HR leaders, as you do a workforce analysis, do you see the gig economy as a threat or an opportunity? I checked in with Mona Tawakali, Vice President of Digital Strategy with KRT Marketing to get insight into this question. Tawakali has not only done extensive research on the trend and the impact of the gig economy, but her team is also continually hearing from employers about how the new world of work is changing their strategies.

    Overall, your organization should see the growing gig economy as an opportunity. Business leaders understand the increasing need for agility, and the gig economy lends itself nicely to being nimble. With people working gigs or projects, it becomes easier to scale up or down more quickly. You can “change your workforce for the skills you need” at the moment, says Tawakali. This is especially beneficial for startups, small businesses and growing companies. The effect of this, she says, is a more efficient economy overall. Continue Reading

  • HR metrics from the stay interview

    January 04, 2018 by


    Ideally, managers check in with their staff frequently, and not just to measure them against expectations but also to open up a dialogue about how each employee feels regarding their standing at the organization. Unfortunately, not all managers see this kind of check-in as a priority, or even their job. Therefore, it is important for Human Resources to formalize the “stay interview” as a necessary addition to your HR metrics. Continue Reading

  • What employers should learn from NECC’s professional development plan for teachers

    December 22, 2017 by


    The New England Center for Children (NECC) invests in their employees’ education and overall professional development as a retention strategy. We spoke with Kait Maloney, Recruiting Specialist at NECC, who shared about their professional development plan for teachers, how it is important to them and how that retains their entry-level talent.

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  • Workplace culture of happiness and leadership: How Whole Foods retains entry-level employees

    November 17, 2017 by


    One of the core values at Whole Foods Market is “team member happiness.” Making team members happy doesn’t happen by accident. Melissa Simpson, Talent Acquisition Manager, spoke with us about how their workplace culture is designed to keep employees engaged and to develop them into leaders.

    Melissa Simpson will be joining other leaders in HR, talent acquisition and university relations at the College Recruiting Bootcamp on December 15. Simpson has deep insight into filling and moving the pipeline from entry-level to leadership, and we look forward to hearing more of her thoughts and questions at the event! To join us and hear what strategies and tactics you might not have considered yet to attract and retain entry-level talent, register for the bootcamp here. Continue Reading

  • Work etiquette for entry-level employees

    October 16, 2017 by


    In my recruiting days, I counseled many college students on the transition from being a student to being a professional. Even if you’ve been employed since graduation, there is plenty to learn about behaving professionally. Work etiquette matters if you want to earn respect of your superiors and colleagues. I spoke with Vicky Oliver, author of “301 Smart Answers to Tough Business Etiquette Questions” and other bestselling career books. She has some top-notch advice for entry-level employees who work in an office environment.

    College makes you feel like you’re in a bubble, and then you leave college and realize you will be judged on your business etiquette.

    Listen to our conversation by clicking on the video below, or read the major takeaway pieces of advice she has for entry-level employees in the blog post below.

    Continue Reading

  • Work engagement: Millennial expectations of inclusion and concrete tips for managers

    October 09, 2017 by


    To engage at work, an entry-level employee needs a lot of support at first. Managers play a crucial role in work engagement, and it isn’t an easy job. Two talent acquisition experts share their advice here on how to engage new hires, how that relates to inclusion, and what employers can do to retain their talent. In part one of this conversation, we discussed how engagement impacts the bottom line, and how to measure it.

    Watch our discussion here, or read the takeaways in the blog below.


    Janine Truitt is Chief Innovations Offer at Talent Think Innovations, and Alexandra Levit is a workplace consultant and author of the new book “Mom.B.A.: Essential Business Advice from One Generation to the Next.”

    Engaging managers check in with entry-level employees very, very often

    Truitt says that entry-level employees “come in with a set of high expectations. And so for that reason, in the very beginning, accountability to engage them falls more on the employers, specifically a manager, to touch base with them very, very often.” She contrasts today’s entry-level employees’ expectations with those of older workers. They don’t want to do grunt work just to pay their dues “the way we used to when we were kids,” she says. Instead, millennials “want to do meaningful work and make a contribution right away, and so we have to make sure that we are setting reasonable goals that allow them to do that.”

    Managers should meet often with entry-level employeesTo engage entry-level employees, managers must be willing to touch base with them very frequently. As Levit puts it, “no news is bad news. If they don’t hear from their manager a lot, then it means they’re doing a bad job.”

    Employees are also responsible. “The employee is responsible because they decide how they want to show up daily,” says Levit. “That is to say, if you are unhappy with the circumstances, you have options. Speak up and be heard. Allow for, and provide, a solution—or find a new place of work, understanding that it isn’t the right fit for you.” For entry-level employees, the onus is more on the manager, but “as tenure goes on, it becomes more of a shared accountability.”

    “Tour of duty” hires may increase work engagement

    Levit likes the idea of hiring entry-level or young professionals on for a term commitment. For example, each hire might agree to a three year “tour of duty”, to use LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman’s language. During that time, the employee and manager both agree on specific goals that will further their career and the organization. “It’s an understanding that you are going to be accountable during that time. But once that project is done or once the goal is accomplished, you then have to choose again. Do you want to find another project within the organization or do you want to leave?”

    This practice is a new way of looking at this. Levit thinks it’s great for the younger workers who know they won’t stay at an organization for 20 years, like their parents did.

    Engagement and inclusion go hand in hand, but millennials think your inclusion plan is strange.

    Inclusion means that different people can “show up as they are,” says Levit, “and be heard, seen, respected, and valued.” If everyone in the C-suite is invested in a set of values that allow people to be great when they come to work, says Levit, “I’m not sure that a plan is needed.”

    Companies who care about their employees’ well-being, including their lives outside of work hours, “tend to squelch the employee engagement crisis by focusing on the whole of the person.”

    For inclusiveness to positively impact engagement, it has to be about more than just getting a bunch of diverse individuals in a room. Those individuals have to be heard.

    Work engagement for millennials is inclusiveEntry-level employees, adds Levit, find the idea of an inclusion plan very strange. They question its authenticity and wonder why inclusion isn’t just “a regular part of what everybody’s doing.” Resources like affinity groups that many employers see as best practice in inclusion, don’t resonate with millennials. For them, says Levit, inclusion should be a given. You should be able to walk into the lobby of an organization and see all different types of people that have different experiences, expressing different perspectives.

    If your entry-level employees don’t feel they can express their perspectives, and that their opinions are valued, then they will not be happy with their organization, and will disengage. This is something that managers have to adjust to, “especially baby boomers who are more used to having young professionals basically keep their mouth shut until they’re in a position of authority,”

    What’s missing is individualized attention

    Ultimately, says Truitt, “if your goal is to be profitable and be the best in your industry, then you want anybody—whomever they may be—to come into your organization and help you achieve that goal.” She agrees that there is too much emphasis on surface identities because that doesn’t address real inclusion. You shouldn’t spend all your time calculating how many Blacks, how many women, and how many differently-abled hires have you made. That’s the wrong focus, and millennials get that intuitively. They don’t want to be identified by some protected class.

    Join the group to hear more talent acquisition advice


    What’s missing is individualized attention to people. “We can make really good statements all day about Gen-Xers. We can make blanket statements about Gen-Y. Ultimately, however, they’re not true of everybody,” says Truitt. And there’s no checklist for all the possible differences that people bring into your organization. The solution has to be treating everyone as an individual. “When they walk through the door we’re going to treat them as such and treat their needs and their wants and their motivations as such.”

    In Levit’s research with the Career Advisory Board, they have found recently that “it’s a myth that people don’t want to stay with organizations, that they want to jump around from place to place,” says Levit. If they are satisfied and they feel valued, they want to stay. Like any human beings, your entry-level employees like reliability and stability. So if your company demonstrates that you care, they’re going to want to stay there.

    Also read: Touch points during an employee’s tenure that can tell a story of engagement 

    Examples of companies that engage well

    1. Microsoft. Truitt points out how much she loves Microsoft’s tagline. It is Come as you are. Do what you love. This is engagement in a sentence.

    2. Not many, actually. When you look at the numbers that 87% of people are disengaged globally understanding, we see that no one is doing this particularly well, Levit points out.

    3. Netflix is an example, says Truitt, of a company that takes engagement seriously. They don’t want disengaged employees to linger and influence their environment. They have policies that essentially say, “hey, if doesn’t work for you anymore we’ll actually pay you to leave. Rather than have you sit here and be disengaged and drag down the workforce.” With a policy like that, people who stay tacitly opt in to engage. It’s a mental agreement where they decide to stay because they want to be there.

    4. Companies who care. In Truitt’s consulting work, she finds that the companies that achieve high engagement are “the ones that not only care about what they get out of people at work, but how their people are doing outside of work.” They care about their kids, their health and personal hardship.

    [Video]: How GSE succeeds in engaging their entry level employees

    Concrete tips for managers to engage entry-level employees today

    Tip for managers to increase work engagement

    1. Leaders should listen more than they speak. There is nothing worse than a manager who loves to hear themselves speak and believes they are the brightest person in the room.

    2. When there a small to complex issues to sift through encourage your team to offer up ideas either individually or as a collective. Ensure that there is a myriad of ways that team members can contribute their thoughts.

    3. Often times, the employees who are more vociferous by nature get to shine because they are first to speak up and the boldest. Create a safe space for the more introverted employee who may have great ideas, but do better in sharing ideas in a one-on-one environment.

    4. Don’t just ask for feedback, try to incorporate it.

    5. Customize career goals for each individual and map them to the big picture.

    6. Be accessible and talk to employees about what’s going right, not just when something is going wrong.

  • 5 Ways to wow your interviewer and show you’ll be a highly engaged employee

    April 07, 2017 by

    In today’s hyper-competitive business environment, businesses have identified the “secret sauce” for better overall performance. Highly engaged employees. The candidate who lands the job is the one who shows that they will be highly engaged at work.

    Highly engaged employees always give 110%. They volunteer for new and challenging assignments. They’re always looking for ways to improve on past performance and they consider their success and the company’s success to be one in the same.

    “A highly engaged workforce means the difference between a company that outperforms its competitors and one that fails to grow.” – Gallup, The Engaged Workplace 2017

    Employers love highly engaged employees because they have a positive impact on a number of important business metrics. Because they go the extra mile for their customers, they drive up customer satisfaction and NPS scores, known to be accurate leading indicators of strong financial performance. They tend to stay with an organization longer, lowering attrition and recruiting costs and adding value with every day they stay with an organization. Highly engaged employees also communicate and collaborate well, helping to break down silos and increase cooperation between departments. They also project success and confidence into the marketplace, bolstering your employer brand and helping to advertise the quality of your company’s workforce.

    Knowing all this, you can see why employers would seek to hire someone they knew was going to be highly engaged every time, if given the choice.

    So how should you present yourself in an interview to demonstrate that you will be your prospective employers’ next highly engaged employee?

    1. Be Prepared!

    Engaged employees go the extra mile and make sure to show up to meetings and assignments prepared, having done their homework and knowing what the situation requires. You can show your potential to perform like this by demonstrating it as an interviewee.

    Research the company’s needs. What are their biggest challenges and opportunities? Who are their top competitors? Visit Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Hoovers, and the company’s website. Read some of the content they have posted in their resources section and on their blog. You should be able to ascertain what their key messages are and then be able to speak their language in the interview.

    Make sure you prepare a few examples of how you have addressed a particular challenge in the past, the solution you came up with, and the results you achieved. Bonus points if you can relate these stories back to the specific challenges you might face in the job you are interviewing for and which your prospective employer is facing.

    2. Be Well

    Health and wellness is one of the most important but often overlooked aspects of employee engagement. To consistently perform at the highest level, both body and mind need to be running like a well-oiled machine. This isn’t rocket science, but you would be surprised how many people, especially those many would consider high-performing are actually doing themselves a disservice by not getting enough sleep, or not making the time for exercise. We all lead busy lives, but it has been proven that getting 7-8 hours of sleep per night and at least 30 minutes of exercise a day makes a huge difference in both daily performance and overall health.

    With that mind, be sure to get a good night’s sleep before your interview and, if possible, try to fit in a good workout as close to the interview as possible. If you can’t do that at least take a brisk walk or do some light calisthenics. It will get your heart pumping, help remove any pre-interview stress and put you in the right frame of mind to be limber in both body and mind. And lastly, don’t forget to eat. Not anything too filling that will end up lowering your energy as you try to digest a huge meal, but make sure have a nutritious breakfast that will help contribute to your mental acuity.

    3. Ask Questions

    Engaged employees are not afraid to ask questions and have the confidence to do so, knowing that a questioning mind is a sign of curiosity, which drives innovation. Critical thinking and an analytical mindset are two extremely important qualities of high performing employees. Today’s employers don’t just want unquestioning automatons, they want employees who will add to their company’s knowledge base and help bolster a culture of innovation.

    As you are preparing for your interview by reviewing the company website, looking into their competition and reviewing recent their media coverage, be sure to write down questions that occur to you. Be prepared when you walk into the interview with 5-10 questions about company strategy, competitive landscape, product or market positioning, etc. Also, don’t forget to ask about the corporate culture and values. If you don’t share that company’s values, even if you do end up getting hired, chances are you are not going to be engaged at work and the marriage isn’t going to last long.

    4. Be Confident and Know Your Strengths

    Highly engaged employees know their areas of strength and how to apply those strengths to helping their company succeed. More and more companies today are moving towards strengths-based development and performance management to ensure that their employees are put in the best position to succeed on a personal level and to help the company succeed.

    With this in mind, go into your interview feeling confident of your strengths and prepared to highlight them through specific examples of how you have used your strengths in the past to contribute to the success of a team or organization that you were a part. We can’t all be good at everything, but we all have unique talents and skills that can add an important element to the mix. If you’re not sure what your strengths are, reflect on past experiences. When did you receive praise and why? When did you feel proud of your work and why?

    5. Be Yourself, Be Passionate

    Highly engaged employees are passionate about what they do. They have connected to their work on a level that allows them to put their whole selves into it and make it more than “just a job”. This goes back to values. If you connect with a company’s values – whether those values emphasize a culture of innovation, of corporate social responsibility, or competitiveness – if you can see yourself in that company’s values, you are going to be happier and more engaged as an employee. So don’t be afraid to be yourself and to show your enthusiasm and passion for whatever it is that reflects those shared values.

    If you follow these five tips, you should have no problem demonstrating you have the potential to be a highly engaged employee, and will nail your next interview. Soon you will be contributing your particular strengths to some lucky organization.

    Josh Danson at AchieversAbout Josh Danson: Josh is Director of Content Marketing at Achievers. An accomplished marketing and communications professional with more than 20 years’ experience in the fields of marketing and PR, Josh graduated from Kenyon College and lives in San Francisco with his wife and 9 year-old daughter. In addition to work and family, he is passionate about music, politics and fly fishing (not necessarily in that order). Twitter: @dansonshoes

  • Millennials, Millennials, Millennials! (Or, How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Next Generation)

    February 08, 2017 by


    For a Gen-X professional like myself, all the recent talk about millennials in the workforce can make you feel a little bit like Jan from the Brady Bunch when it seemed like all she ever heard about was, “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!”. These days, it’s almost impossible to pick up an HR trade publication or even a top-tier business publication and NOT read something about, “Millennials this,” or, “Millennials that.” With all this talk about millennials, if you are not part of the generation that was born between 1980-2000, it’s hard not to feel like the neglected middle child. Except it’s not our metaphorical over-achieving older sibling who’s getting all the attention, it’s our hipper, hungrier, younger relation that’s nipping at our heels, hogging the spotlight and challenging our assumptions.

    But the truth of the matter is, with millennials making up more than 50 percent of the workforce and growing (they surpassed that milestone in 2015, according to Pew), there is no longer any denying the current and ongoing impact they are having on the way businesses operate today. And that’s a good thing. Millennials are precipitating change in many important and significant ways, I would argue for the better.

    As baby boomers continue to retire, companies are facing the challenge of attracting and retaining millennials to replenish their ranks. With this backdrop, understanding the kind of corporate culture millennials desire and the forces that motivate them is key. But when you dig a little deeper, you will find that many of the same forces that motivate millennials also have a broader positive impact on the entire workforce, no matter their generation or demographic.

    Millennials: They aren’t as different as you think

    Despite differences, millennials share more in common with other generationsThere has been a lot of talk about how millennials are different from other generations, but the latest studies show that may not really be the case. The differences between the older and younger generations have more to do with age and life stages than with the different generational experiences they had growing up.

    Millennials share many of the same long-term career goals as older workers. These include making a positive impact on their organization, helping to solve social and environmental problems, and working with diverse people. They also want to work with the best, be passionate, develop expertise and leadership capabilities, and achieve both financial security and work–life balance. In fact, only a few percentage points separate the number of millennials, gen-Xers, and baby boomers who claim these as their top goals.

    That doesn’t mean that companies don’t need to adjust and evolve to attract and retain millennials; it just means that the changes they make will resonate with, and increase employee engagement among, all their employees, not just the youngest. And while there are technology solutions that can help out in this area, technology alone won’t compensate for a corporate culture that doesn’t focus on showing workers true appreciation.

    PONDER THIS: College Recruiter has delivered thousands of email campaigns to millions of students and grads. We typically see an open rate and click-through rate that is twice that of our competitors. Learn how our expertise can drive more candidates to your career site!

    How to stop worrying and embrace the millennial transformation

    If you’re a business looking to boost millennial appeal and improve overall employee engagement, consider making the following changes:

    Emphasize a broader purpose. Create excitement around the company’s mission and purpose by connecting to broader social causes and cultural movements.

    Encourage collaboration. Break down silos and encourage collaboration between diverse teams across your organization. Use team-building activities to help employees get to know each other and build interdepartmental connections.

    Provide frequent feedback. Recognize contributions. Encourage employees to develop their skills and expertise by providing with training opportunities along with frequent feedback. Create a culture that recognizes and rewards achievements.

    Provide opportunity. Look for employees who are ready to take leadership positions and give them the chance to show what they can do. Hire and promote from within rather than bringing in outside experts.

    Reward and recognize. According to the “Happy Millennials” Employee Happiness Survey, 64% of millennials want to be recognized for personal accomplishments, but 39% of them report that their companies don’t offer any rewards or recognition. Show employees you appreciate and value their hard work by recognizing and rewarding their efforts and achievements.

    Getting the most out of millennials and other generations in the workforce requires creating a culture that encourages, supports and rewards success. When companies do this it has a positive ripple effect across the entire organization, regardless of generation. So don’t fear or resent the millennial onslaught. Embrace them and the positive changes they are bringing to a workplace near you.

    Josh Danson, AchieversJosh is Director of Content Marketing at Achievers. An accomplished marketing and communications professional with more than 20 years’ experience in the fields of marketing and PR, Josh graduated from Kenyon College and lives in San Francisco with his wife and 9 year-old daughter. In addition to work and family, he is passionate about music, politics and fly fishing (not necessarily in that order). Twitter: @dansonshoes