We’re all too aware that there’s a talent shortage; we know how hard it is to find the right skills and how big of an impact talent has on our organisation. However, when building effective talent pipelines recruiting is only half the equation. Just as important is ensuring comprehensive development of talent; those earmarked for leadership and those displaying high performance and/or high potential.
An article from Harvard Business Review, “Why Top Young Managers Are in a Nonstop Job Hunt” describes a study based on analysis of international databases of over 1,200 young high achievers, and concludes that many are not receiving the career development support they desire: “Dissatisfaction with some employee-development efforts appears to fuel many early exits. We asked young managers what their employers do to help them grow in their jobs and what they’d like their employers to do, and found some large gaps. Workers reported that companies generally satisfy their needs for on-the-job development and that they value these opportunities, which include high-visibility positions and significant increases in responsibility. But they’re not getting much in the way of formal development, such as training, mentoring and coaching – things they also value highly.”
Victor Lipman, writing for Forbes, says development planning makes good business sense:
The four primary components of effective development programmes, according to Oracle, are:
And for your programmes to be truly robust:
As always, if we can be of any assistance, please get in touch.
Just as important as preparing answers to questions you will be asked during your interview is preparing a list of questions to ask the interviewer. Asking the right questions will show you are interested in the company and the role, you are looking to add value, you have done your homework and that you have the right personality for the role. It’s equally important not to ask the wrong questions, however, so let’s have a look at the best and worst questions to ask.
Best Questions to Ask (Remember to ask the same questions of each person you interview with, they will all have something different to offer.)
Worst Questions to Ask
The Worst of All:
I don’t have any questions for you. Whatever you do during an interview, don’t tell the interviewer you don’t have any questions. Every hiring manager expects candidates to have at least one question to ask at the end of the interview.
Remember asking the right questions will tell both you and the interviewer if you are right for the role. Taking a job that is not a good fit for you is a disservice to both yourself and the company, and will ultimately mean that both of you have to start the search all over again.
Good luck and as always, if we can be of any assistance, please get in touch.
Despite knowing that Big Data and Analytics can lead to better decision-making about talent and organisational effectiveness, such as quality of hire and strategic workforce planning, much confusion and uncertainty still exists around the subject. A recent white paper from the Human Capital Institute, in partnership with Oracle, found that companies tend to fall into one of four areas in their big data/analytics evolution, namely:
The survey showed that 35% of companies are at the foundational stage, and 48% at the getting started stage, while only 4% are at the advanced stage. Those organisations that have teams solely dedicated to talent analytics are more likely to be at the integrated or advanced stage.
Let’s qualify what’s meant by both the term Big Data as well as (People/Talent) Analytics as they are not one and the same thing.
Analytics refers to the discovery and communication of meaningful patterns in data, which can be achieved with any data set, ‘big’ or small. As Glen Cathey of Boolean Black Belt – Sourcing/Recruiting puts it: “Using analytics in human resources, such as developing correlations between employee performance, retention, demographic and assessment data to make data-based decisions is certainly a best practice, but making data-based decisions doesn’t have anything to do with ‘big data’ unless the data being analysed meets certain criteria.”
Gartner defines big data as “high-volume, -variety and -velocity information assets that demand cost-effective, innovative forms of information processing for enhanced insight and decision making.
Volume doesn’t really present a problem; we’ve been processing large volumes of data for decades. It’s the variety and velocity that necessitate the use of specialised information processing solutions and more specifically unstructured data that poses the technology challenge. Most interesting of all, however, is that the value of big data isn’t the data! Using technology to crunch big data is great, but the latent power of data lies in the ability to draw actionable insights (aka – analytics).
Access to the skills necessary to analyse data in a way that impacts business performance is one of the challenges many companies experience when trying to become a data-driven company. Peter Turner of Ricoh explains it as follows: “The challenge for HR is that analytical people don’t live in HR. HR people are better at managing ambiguity than analysis. The challenge is to bring in more business-like people who have that approach.” However, having a team of talented data scientists using all the right technology isn’t enough to develop a competitive advantage. According to Glen Cathey, “Domain experts are necessary when building teams to develop big data insights and drive data-based decision making. When it comes to human resources and workforce science, the domain experts are HR professionals, sources, recruiters, and hiring managers – these are the people who should be able to ask the right questions that the data scientists can develop answers/solutions for.
Questions such as:
The business case for statistical modelling within HR makes the effort worthwhile:
As always, if we can be of any assistance please get in touch.
It may seem like a no-brainer but giving your employees the tools and support they need to get their jobs done well leads to increased job satisfaction, which in turn leads to increased retention. As self-evident as this may seem, many companies treat employees like cogs in a machine with little or no consideration given to individual job satisfaction and the factors that impact it.
A survey by the HR Council found statistically significant differences in overall job satisfaction as reflected in three indicators of employee retention:
Bear in mind that a lack of employee job satisfaction does not always result in immediate action: a phenomenon known as delayed turnover. In a difficult job market, employees may stay even when unhappy. Although such conditions may not have an immediate effect on a company’s retention, there are pronounced effects:
As economic conditions improve, the line out the door can have a significant impact on a company’s financial health. Paying attention and taking action even when retention seems steady is a necessary part of any employee support strategy.
As TCii Strategic and Management Consultants put it, “All employee support strategies stem from three basic principles:
Increased job satisfaction begins with placing employees in positions that match their skills, abilities and interests. Screening employees based not only on their qualifications, but on their interest level in performing the work, helps in making a successful hire.
Fundamentally important is the attitude stemming from senior and line management: believe in and act on people’s basic desire to excel and they will reward you with high performance. Equally important is a transparent and open environment: give people information about how the company is doing and what it is aiming for as well as how their individual jobs drive this vision forward.
Other employee support strategies include:
As always, if we can assist in any way, please get in touch.
Effective employee onboarding is a process, not an event. Far from it being a low priority after-thought with little business impact, research shows that firms executing it well can expect to nearly double their corporate revenue growth and profit margins compared to firms with only average onboarding. It also reduces the time it takes a new hire to be productive while improving new hire retention, new hire on-the-job performance and even recruiting. To truly wow your new hires and shrink the time it takes for them to reach optimum, start the process before their first day of work.
How a candidate feels about your company begins during the attraction, recruitment and hiring process, so consider all touchpoints as opportunities to ‘sell’ candidates on why a decision to work for you would be a good one. Include ample information about your workplace and your culture in the careers section of your website. That way you are more likely to attract candidates more engaged with your company’s goals and culture and more likely to become highly productive employees.
Once they’ve signed with you, start onboarding before their first day. You’ll give them an awesome impression of your company, and they’ll be excited to start. Here are some examples of ways you could get a headstart:
Fun questionnaire: Have them fill out a questionnaire with fun questions like “What’s your favorite food for lunch?” or “What do you like to do on the weekends?” And then send their answers to their team. Your current team members will have some interesting talking points to bring up when they talk to the new hire.
To add a personal touch and make onboarding even more effective, good companies find out in advance how new hires prefer to learn and be managed. Find out what frustrates them, what motivates them, and why they left their last position. Learn their expectations of training and how they like to receive communication.
If we can assist in any way, please get in touch.
An effective retention programme is essential across all levels of employee for any company, but perhaps even more important is a well thought through retention approach for high performers and future leaders. After all, these rising stars can have enormous impact on business results and finding them is expensive, so it makes sense to keep turnover to a minimum. Despite today’s scary economy, research shows top performers are confident enough to leave their jobs (secure as they are) in their quest to find something new. They are also extremely attractive to your competitors.
From Joseph A. De Feo, Chief Executive, here’s a strategy focused on helping your top performers reach their maximum potential, which is what they value most, thereby keeping them engaged and loyal to your company:
Assess Your Top Performers and Let Them Know They Are on Top. Determine why your top performers are successful. Look beyond the results they’re achieving to the tactics and execution style they use to produce them. Make sure your organisation understands their personalities, values, life plans and work expectations. By knowing your rising managers well, you can make more confident decisions about who will make good leaders and who will be better in other roles. You’ll be able to structure the best development plan for each.
Improve Their Performance. Align your top performers’ development plans with your company’s strategy, so what they do supports the organisation’s needs as well as their own. Determine the best pace for their development and let them participate in career track planning from the beginning. You can use many different kinds of development techniques, including mentoring, formal and informal training, on-the-job experience, rotation out to suppliers, process improvement team projects, executive education, tuition reimbursement, shadowing, executive coaching, job swaps, stretch assignments and specialised skills training. Don’t make it public about who’s a rising star or you’ll create a culture of winners and losers.
Measure Progress Quarterly – Not Annually. Your high-potential managers should be given quarterly evaluations as many are in jobs that are totally new for them. Continually monitor and measure the results they’ve achieving and take corrective action if necessary to get them back on track. De Feo suggests having them make a presentation about the results they achieved since the previous review, identifying goals reached and those missed. Make the meeting communal, the manager’s advocate participates, and senior leaders provide encouragement and support. Not a word is said about salary, which is negotiated later. Note that salary is only one of the factors that affect retention but disappointment with raises can impact retention rates.
From Harvard Business Review here’s what to avoid:
Assuming That High Potentials Are Highly Engaged. Double your efforts to keep them engaged. Studies show:
Equating Current High Performance with Future Potential. HBR’s research shows that more than 70% of top performers lack critical attributes essential to their success in future leadership roles.
Delegating Down the Management of Top Talent. Responsibility for high potentials’ development must be shared by general managers. When you leave the task of identifying and cultivating tomorrow’s leaders exclusively to line managers, here’s what tends to happen: Candidates are selected solely on the basis of recent performance. They are offered narrow development opportunities that are limited by the business units’ scope of requirements and focus mostly on skills required now rather than tomorrow.
Shielding Rising Stars from Early Derailment. Human resources executives and line managers alike often go to great lengths to ensure that employees with promise are placed in training assignments that provide a bit of a stretch but little real risk of failure. However, this can thwart employees’ development and put the business at greater risk in the long term if emerging talent is never truly developed and tested.
Expecting Star Employees to Share the Pain. Great leaders elect to suffer alongside the rank and file so it might seem that your star employees would embrace that same sense of honor and duty. However, freezing or cutting salaries and performance-based compensation across the board may seem fair, but it erodes the engagement of the stars. The bottom line: An employee’s rewards should be in line with his or her contributions. And if you’re treating everyone equally, you’re not doing enough to support and keep the people who matter most.
Failing to Link Your Stars to Your Corporate Strategy. An organisation that goes ‘radio silent’ with respect to its strategy runs the risk of disengaging its rising stars just when they are needed most.
In conclusion, get to know your rising managers. Let them know they’re valued and that they can achieve all their goals at your company and you’ll create powerful, productive leaders who may be less interested in jumping ship.
If you have any questions or if we can help in any way, please get in touch.
Building an effective employer brand that helps your organisation create a competitive edge in recruitment and retention through demonstrating why you are a great place to work, requires careful thought and a strategic approach. It will communicate your organisational personality, culture and values, and should encompass every touchpoint (with exisitng and potential employees as well as external stakeholders) from attraction and recruitment through to training and development, support, career path development, benefits and incentives, right through to how an empoyee exits your company.
So how do you go about creating one?
Research and Insight. Ask questions (and conduct surveys) to reveal where you are now, what you would like your employer brand to be and how to get there, e.g.:
Gap Analysis. Compare the real company (based on the results of the questions and surveys) with what is desired. Clearly and succinctly define what reasonable steps need to be taken to equalise the actual perception with the desired perception.
Buy-in. It’s crucial that your senior management team as well as your marketing and HR departments all share the same vision for your employer brand and are committed to its execution. Equally important is that all current employees understand and believe in how you articluate your culture, visions, values and employee experience – and that you invest in them first. It’s no use promoting a culture of innovation and employee development if your existing employees experience micro-management and minimal training. An employer brand that lacks credibility is doomed from the outset.
Alignment. Your employer brand should have its roots firmly in your corporate brand as well as your business strategy and goals. An employer brand that does not extend your corporate brand can lead to brand confusion and end up hurting both.
Develop Your Employee Value Proposition (EVP). Often used synonymously, EVP and employer branding are distinct from one another. Your EVP is a summary of what you give your employees for their time and effort over and above a salary and benefits and is the foundation from which you will build your employer brand. It is well worth taking the time to accurately capture an authentic EVP through extensive research amongst your exisiting employees from every department and at every level. It often takes the form of a single statement followed by a series of key messages tailored to your different target audiences.
Proof. Provide evidence for each core message so that your employer brand is rooted in reality – your HR policies, reward structure and culture could all feature here. Test your statements with employees to make sure they resonate.
Creative Execution. Use your EVP and core messaging to arrive at a creative direction that truly represents who you are as an employer (remember to align this with your corporate brand). This will bring your employer brand to life.
Communications Plan. Articulate where and how you will communicate your employer brand. What platforms will you use to communicate it both internally and externally? What mediums? To engage as many people as possible use a mix of words, images and video. Take advantage of all possible platforms: company intranet and internal meetings/communications, company website, blogs, social media, paid media, job boards, microsites and anywhere else suitable talent may congregate. Hiring managers should also be educated on your brand, allowing them to share your story during the recruitment process.
Implement throughout the employee lifecycle (with thanks to Real Staffing). A well-rounded, compelling employer brand will consider all stages of the employee lifecyle:
Monitor and Analyse. Track and analyse all you have implemented to gauge its success. Your employer brand will and should change and develop over time in line with shifting perceptions, along with the shifting needs of your company and its workforce. Test the effectiveness of everything from content to interviewing and onboarding to make sure the story you share connects with your target audiences.
Remember that everyone in the organisation is responsible for your employer brand. Employer brands cannot be forced onto employees; they have to be true and accurate and reflect how your organisation treats its employees. Which means true employee engagement only happens if the brand is embedded into the culture of the organisation, is lived and breathed by everyone and underpinned by a leadership team that leads by example.
As always, if we can assist in any way, please get in touch.
Memorable candidates know that first impressions count and that a lot of thought and preparation go into the crucial first moments of every job interview. Expand your interview prep from the questions you’ll face and answers you’ll give, to include all you’ll do to wow the interviewer before the Q&A even begins, and you’ll make a stellar first impression. Check out these tips for setting yourself up for the most successful interview possible:
Punctuality counts. It should be a given but all too often candidates fail to show up on time. They leave too late, forget to check traffic or fail to research the route. Make sure you’re on time but if something truly unforeseen does happen, make sure you call and let the interviewer know.
Be organised. Have neat copies of your CV, references and portfolio; along with a notepad and pen. Be organised and bring only the essentials: having to dig through an untidy handbag or briefcase screams disorganised and disinterested.
Be nice to front office staff. They may not be the ones interviewing you but many companies will specifically ask front office staff to report back on how candidates behave in reception.
Put your devices away. Nowadays we all tend to pull out our smartphone or tablet when we have to wait for anything. Don’t give into the temptation. Leave all devices switched off and packed away so you aren’t caught off guard when the interviewer arrives.
Make the first move. Extending your hand first for the introductory handshake conveys confidence, and shows you are excited to be there and ready to interview. Wipe your hands with a tissue before you meet the interviewer and rub them together to make sure they are warm to the touch. Cold, clammy hands are not the first impression you want to make.
Practice posture. It’s amazing how much people deduce from posture. Before a single word is spoken it communicates volumes about you. Slouching is instantly associated with negative traits so practice standing and sitting tall, with squared (yet relaxed) shoulders. Walk confidently with measured steps. It really does pay to practice before the interview, as posture tends to be habitual.
While you’re practicing… don’t forget the smile! Nerves may get the better of you so practice a warm, natural smile in front of the mirror beforehand. Smile often enough that you come across as friendly and put the interviewer at ease but not TOO much as this makes you look nervous.
Nail your interview outfit. Dress the part (don’t forget to lay your outfit out the night before): for men a suit and tie, for women an appropriate blouse and skirt, or pants. It goes without saying that everything should be clean, neatly ironed and with no loose threads or un-mended hemlines. Don’t forget to polish your shoes! Pay attention to your personal grooming: neat, clean fingernails and hair, keep make-up subtle and fragrances and jewellery to a minimum. If it’s appropriate, try adding a pop of colour to your outfit to make yourself stand out.
Think in bullet points. This will help you pace yourself, be concise and avoid rambling. Avoid filler words such as ‘like’ and ‘um’. As part of your prep, write out answers to potential questions as bullet points.
Be aware of the time… but don’t rush. Time yourself when you’re practicing for the interview and this skill will become second nature to you.
Show enthusiasm. It’s infectious, and an enthusiastic candidate comes across as someone who wants the job for more than just a paycheck, will work hard and take initiative.
Always follow up. Lack of follow-up is a pet peeve amongst hiring managers so send a memorable email or a handwritten note. Personalise it with something you enjoyed about the interview and express gratitude for their time. Mention that you are available for any follow-up questions.
Going on a job interview can be a stressful experience for even the most seasoned job seeker but if you show a genuine interest in the position, determination to land the job and are genuine during the interview process you’ll let your best attributes shine through.
Good luck and as always, if we can be of any assistance, please get in touch.
Building an effective talent pipeline requires a shift from reactive to proactive recruiting: from recruiting to fill an open position to thinking about who your company will want and should hire in the future. Building one without cracks or blockages requires long-term focus and structured planning. It will take time and effort but the benefits are worth the investment.
Professor Jeffrey Gandz, of Ivey Business Journal, has outlined the architecture of effective talent pipelines as consisting of 4 dimensions:
Incorporating these 4 dimensions will ensure that high-potential people are recruited into your organisation, assessed regularly and given the opportunity to develop and advance. Note that some will reach the level of their potential and plateau, others will decide to drop-out or will be moved out because of their performance or because they block the development of others, hence the importance of continued assessment to ensure a healthy pipeline.
Some will show potential for leadership and they will need to be given broadening experiences, programmes, challenges and opportunities (commonly known as a leadership track – your company should design how this track looks within your organisation). Others will show either limited aptitude or desire for leadership roles but have high-potential for development along specialist lines.
Professor Gandz notes that there will be many errors in making these assessments since assessment of potential is an inexact science at best, an art at worst. So be prepared to recognise and reverse an error. In addition, be aware that you need to allow time for development to take place. As so much development requires experience and reflection on that experience, people need to be challenged with real-work demands and assessed on their responses, you have to recognise potential talent early and manage careers actively.
By implementing these talent pipeline strategies, businesses can improve the scope of their prospective applicants and continue to make smart hiring decisions.
As always, if we can be of any assistance, please get in touch.
Over 1.75 Billion people now have a smartphone (that’s a quarter of the earth’s entire population), and more people have access to the internet on a mobile device than on a desktop computer. As phones have transformed our lives, they’re also transforming the way companies hire and the way applicants apply.
A staggeringly high percentage of job seekers, both active and passive, use their mobile devices during a job search. In fact, a 2014 Glassdoor survey found that 89% of those surveyed use a mobile device during their job search. Employers are not yet ready for this: LinkedIn’s 2013 Global Recruiting Trends Survey found that:
While these figures may have changed a little since 2013, the contrast is nonethless startling and the truth is that if a candidate tries to interact with your company on a mobile device and has a frustrating experience they will simply move on. The reality is clear: if employers don’t want to risk losing candidates they need to get on board with mobile recruiting.
According to Jerome Ternynck, Founder and CEO of SmartRecruiters, employers who have embraced mobile recruiting are focused on two trends:
LinkedIn surveyed their users to find out exactly what they expect to see on a mobile careers site:
Here are the other things you should consider:
As always, if we can be of any assistance please get in touch.