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retain employees

4 Ways to Avoid the Dreaded High-Turnover Rate

The cost of employee turnover is outrageously high. When a company loses a salaried employee, it can cost anywhere from six to nine months’ worth of the departed employee’s salary to hire a replacement. This means that if an employee is being paid $40,000 a year, the cost of everything from recruiting to training expenses will be around $20,000 to $30,000. In addition to costing your company a fortune, it can discourage talented employees from joining your organization. High turnover is one of the major red flags job seekers look for when considering a new employment opportunity.

Here are four ways companies can step up their game and hold on to the talented employees they worked hard to acquire:

  1. Get Rid of Top-Down Management

Everything in the business world is evolving and the concept of management is not immune. Many of the old rules and practices no longer apply, and the lack of a modern workplace philosophy is forcing skilled workers to leave their current company and take their talent elsewhere. The top-down approach to leadership and ruling with an iron fist is no longer a popular way to run a business.

In today’s workplace, the term “collaborative leadership” is commonly cited as a strong approach to employee management. This concept emphasizes leading by example and focusing on both corporate and individual benefit. For instance, Jacob Morgan, author of The Future Of Work, explained in a Forbes article how AMP Bank in Sydney, Australia makes it a point to sit down with each employee to explain how new technologies and strategies can benefit both parties.

It’s important to realize the vital role management plays in the development of a company. Gallup estimates that managers account for 70 percent of the variance in employee engagement scores across business units. Great leadership is a crucial factor in retaining employees; it goes back to the famous saying that “people don’t leave jobs, they leave managers.”

  1. Learn What Millennials Want

By 2020, it’s estimated that nearly half of the workforce in the United States will be comprised of millennials. Therefore, it is crucial to determine what these younger employees want out of a company. Ask yourself the following questions:

Millennials are looking for more than just a job with a steady paycheck, they want careers in which they are engaged with their company’s goals, and can develop their professional skills. A 2014 survey conducted by the Harvard Business Review and The Energy Project found that employees are most engaged when these four core needs are being met:

  • Value – Being cared for by their supervisor
  • Purpose – Finding significance in their work
  • Focus – Prioritizing
  • Renewal – Ability to take needed breaks

Regardless of the age of the employee, there is nothing worse than being stuck at a job that isn’t motivating. Fostering employee engagement can be difficult. However, emphasizing honesty and transparency for both company and employee alike can be integral in obtaining uninhibited employee feedback to gauge the direction of your workforce and what motivates them.

  1. Promote a Culture of Innovation

Everyone wants to be involved in a cutting-edge organization. Companies that want to remain ahead of their competitors must do their best to promote this mindset both internally and externally. For starters, when you’re advertising a job opening, take a step back and examine what your company is doing differently than similar organizations. Once you have a firm answer, drive this idea home and showcase what your business is collectively bringing to the big picture compared to your competitors.

Based on your business, this can be a daunting task. But, regardless of what product or service you provide, there is always room for innovation. Take Michelin for example. Tires might not seem like an innovative product but the science behind how rubber interacts with the road is complex. To promote a company-wide innovative mindset, Michelin sponsors cross-functional hackathons and internal incubators where employees are free to take risks and come up with new ideas for the good of the company.

Making sure that innovation is a strong aspect of your culture can play an enormous role in keeping employees engaged and motivated.

  1. Recognize and Reward Employees

While this one might seem obvious, it is still accurate: everyone likes to know their hard work is being noticed. Great employees are hard to find, and even harder to keep. So when you notice colleagues going above and beyond the call of duty, it’s important to provide plenty of recognition and rewards to encourage repetition. Recognition is essential to employee engagement and The Corporate Leadership Council shared in a recent report that highly engaged employees are 87 percent less likely to leave the organization.

Events like company-sponsored happy hours or weekend getaways celebrating a strong quarter can go a long way in demonstrating to employees how much their work means to an organization. Going beyond these types of “job well done” gestures, making sure top performing employees are appropriately compensated is the most important factor in employee retention.

To address this, you can try setting up recognition and rewards programs that encourages daily praises and constant appreciation. Or consider implementing programs within the workplace that are transparent when it comes to pay raising goals, such as merit-based pay structures. Just be sure to set goals at a level in which employees will need to put their best foot forward, while remaining reasonably attainable.

Talented workers tend to know their worth. If you are not paying them appropriately, they will have no problem finding an organization that will.

Over to You

Retaining high performing employees in the current business climate is very challenging, and with the many detrimental costs of employee turnover, your company’s bottom line could be adversely affected. If your turnover rate is higher than you would like, it might be time to take a close look at day-to-day operations and find the root cause as to why people are so willing to leave your organization. Sometimes, it is a simple fix. Other times, a complete organizational reinvention is needed to ensure the external perception of your organization matches the internal. At the end of the day, a company that focuses on engaging their employees, whether through strong leadership, culture, recognition, or rewards is on the right track to reducing turnover.

To learn more about employee turnover, check out the blog post How to Spot Who’s Going to Quit Next.

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About the Author
Lori Wagoner is a market research consultant. She advises small businesses on new ways to find local and national business. She’s an avid blogger and writes for sites such as Small Business Can, Tweak Your Biz and Customer Think. You can catch her on Twitter @loridwagoner.

 

Employee Engagement and Performance

Why Recognition Is Essential to Employee Engagement

When I entered the workforce in 1997, I wanted to find an employer that would offer me a long and fruitful career; a goal I shared with the Baby Boomer generation before me.

While this has been the experience of my wife, who has enjoyed 17+ years of employment with the company that recruited her out of college, I’ve worked for six companies in the almost 20 years since I graduated. One of the biggest things I’ve noticed? The social contract between employer and employee has changed.

Currently, the tenure of a knowledge worker is less than three years at a single company, and with the steady emergence of the “gig-economy,” I fully expect that number to continue decreasing over the next 10 years.

The rising cost of recruiting and retention accentuates the need, now more than ever before, for employers to do all they can to attract and retain high-performing individuals.

Tap into discretionary effort for maximum performance

I’ve had the good fortune of managing teams for the past 10 years. In that time, I’ve learned a great deal about how to get the most out of people.

To me, the goal of any good leader should be achieving maximum performance by tapping into the discretionary effort of their team members. By discretionary effort, I mean the level of effort people could give if they wanted; above and beyond the call of duty.

I always tell potential candidates that by hiring them, I’m purchasing 40 hours of their time per week, but my underlying intent is to tap into any discretionary effort they’re willing to exert by aligning their objectives to the success of their team, and the greater organization. To accomplish this, a clear understanding of the link between an employee’s efforts and business success is key.

Recognition for improved employee engagement

Employee recognition should be a tool that all leaders have at their disposal to elicit maximum effort from the individuals that value it (keeping in mind that not everyone does). Almost 70% of workers say they’d work harder if they felt their efforts were better appreciated.

Often, when employees feel valued, engaged, and emotionally committed to their work, they’re willing to go the extra mile for their company. The Corporate Leadership Council studied the engagement level of 50,000 employees around the world to determine its impact on both employee performance and retention. Two of the many important findings from this report were:

  • Engaged companies grow profits as much as 3X faster than their competitors.
  • Highly engaged employees are 87 percent less likely to leave the organization.

In the past, employee recognition was sporadic, often focused on tenure instead of performance. Sometimes it happened in public forums where leaders celebrated an individual’s accomplishments in a top-down fashion. Most of the time, recognition was given at the individual level in private conversations or correspondence (such as a performance review), likely not often enough to have a meaningful impact on employee engagement.

With the advent of the digital workplace, recognition can and should be given with more visibility and frequency; the end goal being a workforce made up of engaged employees.

Creating an engaging digital experience

Having tools that promote engagement and recognition is becoming essential to HR and IT initiatives in the evolving digital workplace. According to Aon Hewitt’s 2017 “Trends in Global Employee Engagement,” study, Rewards and Recognition ranked as the strongest engagement opportunity this year. But you need to find the right technology partner to help you provide an experience that your employees love to use in order for it to pay dividends.

I speak with companies daily that are faced with the challenge of replicating their “brick and mortar” culture in a digital environment. With their workforce spread out across offices, geographies, and time zones, they need to provide an employee experience that allows individuals to meaningfully connect to the company and their colleagues.

While many tools exist, those that focus on interoperability are the ones that are having the most impact. With the overwhelming quantity of tools and applications that exist inside an organization today, it’s critical to offer an integrated experience that plays to the strengths of each individual solution, resulting in a more efficient use of the entire technology portfolio.

To learn more about the impact employee recognition can have on engagement and performance, check out Achievers’ “Ultimate Guide to Employee Recognition”.

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About the Author
Chris Myers Igloo
Chris Myers is VP Partnerships & Alliances for Igloo Software, a leading provider of digital workplace solutions that help companies build inspiring digital destinations for a more productive and engaged workforce. Chris owns overall partner strategy for Igloo and is responsible for three programs – Technology Alliances, Channel Partners and Developers. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

 

 

boomerang employees

3 benefits of boomerang employees

“Boomerang” employees are workers who leave an organization and then come back a few months (or even years) later. Depending on their reasons for leaving and what they’ve been doing in the meantime, these returning employees can bring major benefits to your company. Here are three big benefits to re-hiring employees, and a few cautionary notes:

  1. Improved morale

Talented employees are constantly being recruited and headhunted by your competitors, and it can be painful to watch these workers jump ship for a more tempting situation. When they return, it sends the validating message that your organization is actually the best thing going right now. According to Winston Binch, chief digital officer and partner at Deutsch LA, “Our boomerangs prove to us all that we’re on to something, that what we’re doing is noteworthy, and it’s worth sticking around for.”

  1. Cost savings

It requires fewer resources to source, recruit, and onboard a former employee than someone who’s entirely unfamiliar with your company. You may not even need to use a recruiter, and a boomerang employee can save you time and money by being ready to hit the ground running.

  1. Fresh skills and energy

If your employee left their position with your company in order to pursue a passion, gain new skills, or try their hand at building a startup, they will have grown and changed during their absence. When they return, they are likely to bring fresh talent, knowledge, and networking contacts to your company.

Warning signs

While hiring boomerang employees is usually a net plus, it’s important to be aware of potential pitfalls in this practice. If an employee left due to personality conflicts, and the problems stopped as soon as they were gone, it’s not worth taking a chance on reintroducing a source of disruption. Likewise, if the employee was not performing exceptionally well at the time of departure, they need to have a clear explanation regarding what factors interfered with their previous performance, and why things are different this time.

As companies recognize the benefits that boomerang employees bring with them, these returning workers are being welcomed back in far greater numbers than they once were. Seventy-six percent of HR professionals note that they have become more open to re-hiring previous employees than they used to be, while 56 percent say they now give high priority to former employees who left in good standing, according to a Kronos survey. Judicious rehiring of good workers is increasingly recognized as a way to bring fresh energy and value to your organization.

recruiting great recruiters

5 tips for recruiting great recruiters

Recruiters are key business personnel, because the quality of your entire organization depends on their ability to find and attract the best possible candidates. Competition for top recruiters is intense, but here are five tips on how to find a recruiter that will put you ahead of your competition:

Use an executive recruiting organization

If your company is large enough to need a specialized recruiter, it’s large enough to consider the option of hiring an outside recruiting organization. Investing in third-party expertise can have far-reaching benefits for the future of your company, since a top-notch HR hire will then go on to fill your ranks with equally excellent employees. If you decide to take this option, look for an executive search consultant or team that specifically outlines their background in sourcing HR talent.

Screen for key characteristics

When you publicize your company’s need for a new recruiter, you’ll encounter an assortment of candidate profiles. If you keep in mind the primary qualities of your ideal recruiter, you can build your selection process to screen for those specific qualities. According to Concordia University, the primary characteristics that you should look for in a recruiter are: organizational ability, ethics, communication skills, problem-solving acumen, leadership talent, and experience in the field.

Post the job in HR trade publications

To find professionals in any field, you go to the specialized online forums where they network with each other. Human resources professionals are consummate networkers, and a focused HR job board on their favorite trade publication is likely to be the first place they’ll look for new opportunities. Two examples are HR Jobs at the Society for Human Resource Management and the Career Center at Workforce HR Jobs.

Take a team approach to hiring

Whether you’re adding to an already-existing HR department or hiring your first dedicated recruiter, the decision is too important to rest solely on one person’s opinion. It’s a good idea to interview potential HR candidates at least twice, and invite other managers to sit in on at least one of the interviews.

Present an updated view of HR’s function

The function of the recruiter within a company is currently undergoing a radical shift. In order to attract the top HR talent, you have to demonstrate your understanding of the new role that human resources leaders play in today’s organizations. Recruiting and hiring is no longer merely an administrative role; instead, HR professionals are key members in the company’s management team, helping build core strategy for the future.

Finding and attracting good recruiters requires a significant investment of resources, but this investment is one that will return abundant benefits in social and financial realms.

How to Recruit Employees

In-house or outsource: choosing the right recruiting method for the job

The average time to fill an open position is now close to a month. During that time, the costs of the unfilled position mount up. Being shorthanded can damage the morale of the remaining employees, require paying overtime to complete projects, or prevent the company from meeting deadlines or taking on new work. Companies need to use the most effective methods possible to bring in a replacement worker quickly in order to minimize the time, effort, and expenses associated with the recruiting process and the unfilled position. When you’re thinking about how to recruit employees, you should weigh the pros and of conducting your own candidate search using internal recruiters on your human resources staff or hiring a specialty head-hunting firm. Here’s a look at when you should do it in-house and when you should hand off the effort to a specialist.

Keep recruiting in-house
If you already have a recruiter on your HR staff, you should start the employee search process by working with them. If you’ve filled other positions recently, you probably have a pool of resumes from candidates who weren’t right for those positions but might be ideal for this new opportunity. Reaching out to contacts you already have can save you time in identifying your new hire. Your in-house staff will also be able to identify any current employees who may be looking for a transfer or are ready to step up and assume new responsibility. Using an internal transfer to fill a position shortcuts the onboarding process significantly, and often improves morale for employees who see that career growth is possible.

Outsource recruiting to a specialist
If you’re hiring for a very specialized skill or for a very senior-level position, a headhunter who specializes in that field or in executive recruitment is likely to have more connections and a deeper network of potential candidates than you could contact on your own. Working with an external recruiter is also effective if your own staff is overloaded with other responsibilities. The external team can do the preliminary screening and involve you only when an applicant is a solid potential match. If you’ve been conducting your own search and not finding candidates you like, that’s another time to reach out for assistance and work with a recruiting firm who knows how to recruit employees that are a better fit for your business.

Of course, if you don’t have a recruiter on your HR team, you’ll turn to a recruiting firm to fill open positions. If you plan to do a lot of hiring, you might even consider opening a position for a recruiter as well.

Salary History

Stop asking for candidates’ salary history

There’s a common question during recruitment conversations that all job candidates dread: “What is your current salary?” So many recruiters ask this question that job candidates have grown accustomed to blithely supplying their salary history, believing that it’s a requirement to move forward in the interview process. The issue is that salary history is a very personal, and often misleading, data point for recruiters to gather. Your team shouldn’t be using a candidate’s past pay to assess their qualifications or value.

 
Job recruiters often ask for salary information under the pretext that the company doesn’t want to insult job candidates with a low offer, or that it needs to verify that compensation requirements fit within the organization’s ability to pay. However in many cases, recruiters don’t want to make an offer first in case the applicant would be okay with less. For example, if a candidate is earning $50,000 in their current role, and the department’s budget for the opening is $70,000, the recruiter can attract the candidate with a $60,000 offer and save the company $10,000. Hiring managers may be happy, but the first step to employee engagement does not begin with underpaying your employees.

 
Compensation for new roles should be determined according to what the person’s knowledge, skills, and years of experience are worth in relationship to the job requirements. Salary bands need to be based on what the job and the candidate’s skills are worth in context to the internal compensation policy and the desired level of market competitiveness based on a benchmark, often determined through administration of a salary survey. Does your company want to pay below market, at market, or over market based on a valid job evaluation methodology?

 
The right methodology for salary offers considers factors like job requirements, candidate experience, education requirements, size of the talent pool, competition with other companies, and other elements. The job market has undergone significant shifts in the last decade, and many of today’s jobs defy historical practices. Some people, like talented software developers without formal training and little job experience, are offered remarkably high starting salaries. The business recognizes the actual value of the role and the value of the person’s skills and competencies, and both values have little to do with a person’s prior salary history.

 
The relative worth of a position should be based on its value to the organization and the value in the labor market where recruiting is taking place. A job candidate may currently be underpaid or overpaid, and numerous factors unrelated to their true value may have influenced the current salary rate. If you don’t have an internal employee who can determine proper salary levels for each new role, consider hiring outside consultants that specialize in the science of compensation. If employee engagement and retention are your goals, a candidate’s recruitment experience and compensation package are some of the first touch points that will influence their experience of your organization.

Technical Recruiting

The non-tech-savvy manager’s guide to hiring tech employees

Tech employees are a hot commodity in today’s job market. Your company has to compete with a lot of other popular employers if you want to hire the best web designers, IT professionals, software developers, and app builders. In many cases, the hiring managers tasked with technical recruiting have no background in tech themselves, and so they may find it difficult to identify, interview, and assess tech candidates. If this predicament sounds familiar to you, then you’ll benefit from using a few straightforward techniques to find the best person for your team.

Ask your network for help writing your job posting

It may be difficult for you to even compose an effective job posting if you don’t have a command of the necessary language, so you should use your networking skills. Hubspot recommends that non-techie hiring managers make an effort to consult with friends in the tech industry to describe the job. Work with your contacts to determine which programming languages, platforms, software, or specialties your team requires. For instance, do you know the difference between a front-end and a back-end developer? If you don’t, you better get that clarified before you create your job description.

Look for tech talent where they hang out

Find your tech talent in their natural environments. Consider looking around college campuses or “hackathons,” events usually several days long where many people compete or collaborate in computer programming. Talented developers may frequent popular websites such as HackerNews, or if you really want to stretch, you could find them in the parking lot of a big company that’s laying off a lot of workers — one employer found new staff in Yahoo’s parking lot when he brought a free food truck there after Yahoo’s big layoffs.

Present the big picture

Forbes contributor Meghan Biro advises communicating why your company is a great place to work: “Don’t throw around a lot of buzzwords or try to dazzle talent by tossing in references to the latest technologies.” Instead, she urges managers to describe the nature of your workplace culture and the organization’s accomplishments. If you get potential candidates excited about your future goals, they’ll want to be part of those outcomes.

Check out portfolios

Many applicants for tech positions arrive at the interview with a portfolio of finished projects, and these examples can give your entire team a sense of whether the candidate is a good fit. You can also assign a small test project as part of the vetting process; then rely on your in-house experts or outside consultants to judge the quality of the results.

Talent Management Strategy

3 biggest talent management challenges for 2016

The workforce is changing rapidly, and many companies are struggling to update their talent management process to keep pace with new workplace cultures. Companies that can’t keep up with the expectations of today’s employees will see a decline in engagement — and a corresponding decrease in their bottom line.

A 2015 report by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) gives a look into current levels of staff engagement. According to the report, only 39 percent of respondents are “very satisfied” with their job, indicating that there is a lot of work ahead for managers in the upcoming year.

  1. Creating a culture of engagement

Almost three-quarters of respondents to the SHRM survey listed “respectful treatment of all employees at all levels” as the No. 1 driver of engagement. Employees also considered “trust between employees and senior management” to be a critically important engagement factor (64 percent), along with “management’s recognition of employee job performance” (55 percent).

In 2016, successful companies will focus on a talent management strategy that takes these new priorities into consideration. Creating a culture of engagement to increase retention will be management’s primary challenge.

  1. Adjusting the frequency of feedback

Employees have indicated that they are dissatisfied with the traditional yearly review process. Instead, they are interested in real-time feedback, both positive and negative, that is delivered at least once a month.

In our North American Workforce survey, we found that 60 percent of employees reported that they don’t receive any on-the-spot feedback, and 53 percent stated that they don’t feel recognized for their achievements at all. It’s no surprise then that a full 41 percent indicated that they’re unhappy with the frequency of the feedback and recognition they do receive.

These numbers tell us that in 2016, management will be challenged to place greater emphasis on providing employees with frequent, high-quality feedback in an effort to increase levels of engagement.

  1. Attracting top talent

The job market has shifted dramatically over the past five years, going from employer-centric to almost entirely candidate-centric. Attracting top talent will be a significant challenge in 2016, as companies struggle to retain current employees, as well as fill any vacancies quickly.

Forward-thinking organizations are preparing for an applicant desert now by building their talent brand. This approach — ensuring that the company has a reputation in the marketplace as an employer of choice — relies primarily on a comprehensive talent management process that translates well to word-of-mouth referrals, company profiles and employee reviews on job boards.

As the employment market changes, organizations must adjust talent management strategies to meet and exceed employee expectations. Those that fall short find themselves with a disengaged workforce, which quickly cripples their ability to remain competitive.

Company Perks

Which company perks attract the best talent?

Gone are the days of poor working conditions, grueling hours, and no benefits. In recent years, companies have seen the importance of offering quality perks for their employees. This realization has spawned a steadily building competition among companies as they try to out-perk other employers. But with the myriad of options available, from unlimited vacation time, to office dogs, to free lunch, how can you tell if you’re creating a real impact or just spinning your wheels?

While company perks are not the primary reason candidates join companies, some benefits weigh heavier in a candidate’s decision process than others. Perks, benefits, and employee incentives also play a role in improving employee retention rates and satisfaction. Unsurprisingly, MetLife’s U.S. Employee Benefit Survey found that “professionals satisfied with their benefits are more than twice as likely to also be satisfied with their work.” For those considering a new position in today’s market, the following company perks are the most compelling:

Paid time off

Paid time off gives your employees a better sense of financial security should an emergency or illness arise. If employees are offered unlimited paid time off, this introduces an element of trust, as management allows employees a high level of control over their workload. When employees feel respected, they often return that respect by managing their work responsibly.

Shared profits

Nothing gives your employees a meaningful sense of ownership like profit-sharing. Regardless of distribution methods, shared profits can transform your employees’ perception of themselves from workhorses or cogs to legitimate members of a team working toward a shared cause.

Frequent breaks

Some companies still cringe at the idea of giving their employees anything more than a quick lunch break during their shift. However, studies have repeatedly shown that working in short bursts can propel productivity, boost employees’ moods, and recharge mental capacities. Now that we’ve learned the traditional 9-5 workday with one break isn’t the most efficient way to work, it’s easier to experiment with different schedules to keep employees fresh and vitalize work flow.

Wellness programs

It goes without saying that a staff of unhealthy employees won’t do much for your productivity — nor will it entice new candidates to hop on board. While you may not have the budget for a luxurious on-site gym, there are plenty of ways to routinely incorporate wellness into your company culture. Some companies have begun offering nutritional counseling and healthy lunch days, or providing more relaxing break rooms so employees can unwind.

As you’re crafting new perks and benefits policies, you should listen carefully to the perks that your job candidates ask about most during interviews. What do they have at their current companies that they really enjoy? What employee incentives have candidates in your area started to expect from employers? Don’t make the mistake of assuming that the most obvious perk is the one most valued by your people.

STEM Careers

5 ways to make your company stand out to STEM candidates

Job candidates with STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) skills are some of today’s most coveted professionals, and it’s a buyer’s market for people with this technical talent. In order to compete with other employers for STEM job candidates, employers need to go the extra mile. Here are 5 things your company can do to attract STEM candidates, from the initial inquiry all the way through to an accepted offer.

Start an apprenticeship program

One way to turn up the flow of STEM job applicants is to establish a presence in high schools and colleges. New apprenticeship programs are appearing across the technology sector, according to the Wall Street Journal. When you position your brand as an advocate for improving STEM education, you develop an early loyalty among tomorrow’s top talent.

Present opportunities for career growth

STEM candidates want to use their skills to have an impact on the world, and they picture themselves on a rising career trajectory. Your company needs to publicize a policy of facilitating professional development, so that you are seen by skilled job candidates as an ally in building their careers. Encouraging personal ownership over the life cycle of a project is an important method of supporting professional growth.

Define job responsibilities clearly

The data analysts at Qubole point out that people skilled in quantitative areas tend to be linear thinkers, and they gravitate towards well-structured responsibilities. Job postings and interviews should be clear about your organization’s vision, your methods of providing a good work environment, and your approach to personal achievement and group collaboration.

Train and promote from within

Don’t overlook your existing human capital — fresh graduates are not necessarily better than the people who are already committed to your organization. Providing advanced training opportunities can build your talent pool for tomorrow’s needs, while also strengthening your employer brand. “A commitment to training is seen by employees as an investment in their worth and a powerful incentive to stay at the company,” according to CIO.

Invest in technology

Keeping your technology at the industry’s leading edge is fundamental to attracting top talent in the STEM fields. Any hint of reluctance to invest in tools and training will discourage STEM specialists right from the beginning. The appearance of staying current extends to using the most effective digital tools for hiring and employee recognition.

You will attract top-tier STEM talent by simply being open about the value that these candidates bring to your company. When you send a clear message that you recognize and nurture your employees, you will build your company’s human capital for the long term.

Job Personality Test

Do personality assessments really help with hiring?

In the interests of efficiency, the hiring process is becoming increasingly automated. Hiring managers and recruiters are continually developing new ways to save time, reduce manual effort, and identify the best possible candidates for each open role. One outcome of this shift is that hiring managers are relying to an ever-greater extent on personality assessment tests. According to The Wall Street Journal, 8 of the 10 most prominent private employers now incorporate pre-hire personality testing in their application process.

For employers interested in following this trend, an abundance of such tests are readily available. These tests range from classical personality-type assessments such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to a variety of newer evaluation instruments, some of which are geared to specific industries or jobs. Many employers believe these tests can determine how well prospective job candidates will fare in their organization’s work environment, and whether they’ll be a good cultural fit. This information is particularly valuable given that employees who jive well with their company culture tend to have higher levels of engagement.

Despite their popularity, however, job personality tests do not always result in traceable benefits such as reduced churn or improved employee engagement. In fact, such tests may not even speed up the hiring process. Steven Davis, a University of Chicago economist interviewed in The Wall Street Journal article, found that as companies add more layers of pre-hire screening, the average time before a job is filled has expanded to the longest time on record: 26.8 days.

Furthermore, Harvard Business Review (HBR) points out that research has been available since 2002 demonstrating that personality testing doesn’t necessarily correlate with better job performance. Despite this evidence, however, the researchers found that HR professionals continue to place faith in the efficacy of such tests. The writers attribute this to the fact that busy hiring managers don’t have time to read academic research and are likelier to be swayed by their own industry trends.

There are some types of pre-employment testing that do offer measurable benefits, however. The HBR article cites evidence that testing for specific job-related competency is generally valuable, as are cognitive ability (intelligence) tests. While personality tests tend to measure transient states of mind, cognitive and functional tests measure stable traits that don’t undergo as much change, according to the HBR researchers. Such focused tests are also less subject to being “gamed” by savvy test-takers who can perceive the more desirable answers on personality tests and simply fill them out to please the potential employer.

The fact is that as a hiring manager, you have numerous powerful tools at your disposal for effectively screening job candidates, and you may prefer methods that are supported by solid evidence. Behavioral interview questions can be highly revealing of a candidate’s essential personality, as are job-related test assignments. In the end, however, the art of human resource professionals and the hiring manager’s personal insight still are (and will always be) the most effective employee screening tools in existence.

Want more tips for how to screen candidates for cultural fit? Check out our article “6 questions every recruiter should ask to determine cultural fit

Cultural Fit Interview Questions

6 questions every recruiter should ask to determine cultural fit

Savvy hiring managers have shifted their thinking about how to vet prospective candidates: they’ve realized that they have better long-term success when they focus on cultural fit moreso than work history and experience. While many job skills can be taught through on-the-job training, there’s almost nothing a manager or HR person can do to change an employee’s personality, work preferences, and sources of motivation.

Finding a person who is the right match for your company’s culture can be tricky. Check out six cultural interview questions every recruiter should ask to determine whether a job candidate is a fit for your organization.

  1. Describe your ideal work environment and team interactions

Begin by listening to how candidates express their work preferences. Listen carefully for jargon and stilted answers; pre-interview research of your organization may be influencing their answers.

  1. Explain how you interact with colleagues outside of your team, at higher or lower-level positions, or on multi-departmental teams.

When hiring for an open position in a highly collaborative environment, you’ll want to be sure that candidates are comfortable working with nearly any other employee in the organization.

  1. Tell me what your earliest work or volunteer opportunities taught you about career goals and values.

While personalities may be pretty set, how employees approach situations can change over time based upon individual experiences. Knowing what a person has taken away from prior experiences that continues to be impactful as an employee can tell you a lot about how he or she will mesh with your own organization.

  1. What are three things you expect from your work environment in order to be successful in your role?

With this question, you will be trying to gauge several things: level of supervision and collaboration, amount of concrete versus discrete support needs, and how future-thinking tasks like continuing education or development may impact how your candidate expects to work toward success.

  1. What was your best work environment experience? (For entry-level candidates, invite responses related to volunteer experience or school/club experience.)

By describing past environments in which he or she has been successful, a candidate can reveal what circumstances they need to thrive: anything from team structure, to preferred manager style, to office environment. This will give you clear insight into whether the attributes of your organization align with the candidate’s needs.

  1. What was your worst work environment experience and how would you have changed it to be a better experience?

This question may lead to interesting responses. Watch for the difference between complaining about an experience versus lining out problems and suggesting how they may be addressed. This will show you if a potential employee may be willing to work to address any problem areas your company has already identified.

Asking candidates skill-based and behavior-based questions are a great way to understand their capabilities and experience, but cultural interview questions allow you to determine how well an individual will fit in at your organization based on their intrinsic strengths, personality, and preferences. Be sure to integrate these culture questions in each of your interviews if you want to increase the chance of long-term employee engagement and success.

Questions Hiring Managers Should Ask

Failing grade: Why hiring managers lose out when focusing on GPA

How do you evaluate candidates for a job? Is college grade point average (GPA) an important metric that you integrate in your decision? In an era when analytics have become a key part of almost every business decision, GPA seems like an obvious number to rely on. It’s time to realize, however, that not all metrics are created equal. Many human capital experts agree that GPA has little or no predictive value for the performance of a student in their eventual job. In fact, according to Laszlo Bock, the SVP of People Operations at Google, their hiring managers have stopped this approach: “One of the things we’ve seen from all our data crunching is that GPAs are worthless as a criteria for hiring, and test scores are worthless — no correlation at all except for brand-new college grads, where there’s a slight correlation,” Bock said.

Because college students typically enter their undergraduate studies as teenagers, there are countless reasons why they might have sub-optimal performance in the classroom. At that age, students are only beginning to navigate the world as independent adults. We’re all aware that some of the deepest life lessons are acquired outside the classroom, and often those lessons involve learning from painful mistakes. If those experiences show up as low grades, then GPA will not attest to the true learning that took place.

If you collect this uninformative data, you won’t be able to avoid relying on it; it’s just human nature to be biased in favor of a candidate with a 3.9 GPA over one with a 3.0. A numerical bias of this kind can prevent you from finding the best candidates, or from comparing applicants on the basis of qualities that really make a difference. For example, one key quality that reliably correlates with workplace success is employee engagement. If your new hires are a good cultural fit for your workplace and their personal ambitions are aligned with the values of your company, they’re more likely to be motivated, productive, and successful.

It’s true that hiring managers should consider many factors when vetting a candidate, but be careful not to cloud your judgement by gathering irrelevant information. The questions hiring managers should ask should focus instead on behavioral interview questions that determine a candidate’s thought processes, problem-solving skills, experiences, motivations, and personality. Your understanding of which candidates are a better fit is, in the end, far more relevant than a number on a transcript from long ago.

Hiring Millennials with Graduate Recruitment

4 things you need to understand before hiring a new college grad

These days, many companies are clamoring for college grads; each year brings a fresh pool of talent for you to tap. The great news about graduates is that if they’re intelligent and adaptable, they can work in almost any sector of your business. But what’s the best way to compete against all the other organizations trying to recruit the same candidates?

Keep in mind that new graduate recruitment and hiring millennials requires a different approach than recruiting seasoned professionals.

Demonstrate your company’s mission and meaning

Most college students want to feel like they’re a part of something meaningful and something that has a positive impact on the world. If you want to attract this growth-oriented group, you need to demonstrate how your company makes a difference in your industry, your community, or the world.

If your company offers unique values, culture, or growth opportunities, don’t be afraid to highlight them. Are you performing work that has a big impact on society? Do you have a creative and innovative atmosphere in your workplace? Do you emphasize a collaborative team-based environment? Illustrate why your company is unique and innovative, and you’ll attract innovative young employees.

Understand where grads are coming from

Candidates that have just graduated present a much different recruiting challenge than other candidates. Most of them don’t have experience with the interview process, contract negotiations, and other professional norms.

Understand that recent grads are still a work in progress and that training and guidance are necessary at the start to build on the talents your candidates naturally possess. This will ensure your investment in a recent grad pays off with big dividends down the road.

Use the right recruiting tactics

Millennials have grown up almost entirely in the digital age, which means they are used to constant communication, using digital tools to achieve their goals, and plenty of flexibility. You can showcase your company’s strengths in these areas by using the following tactics:

  • Set up a peer interview to allow a recent grad to connect with other young employees in your organization who can answer their questions.
  • Explain how a grad’s skills will help a company or organization succeed. This will help a millennial candidate gain a clear vision of how they will gel with your company’s culture.
  • Consider offering flexible job hours or the future opportunity for remote work for certain grads that can complete the required tasks on their own schedules.

Retain employees the right way

After you recruit a millennial, it’s important to keep them engaged and satisfied with their job. Providing millennials with regular feedback on their job performance and recognizing them for the work they put in is key. That means routine employee engagement surveys are vital to keeping millennials happy.

It’s also necessary for you to reward millennials that are performing well. Recent grads aren’t the types who will put in years of work to gain seniority, and they will often change companies in pursuit of their ambitions. If you can demonstrate that advancement is based on results, you’ll be in a much better position to retain millennial employees.