(From Forbes) “Want To Get Noticed By Recruiters? Honing These 10 Skills Can Help”

I was recently featured in a Forbes article on recruiting. You can find an excerpt from the article below. For the full article, click here

 

6. Automation

In order to stand out, you need to be ahead of the trends. Experience in and being able to talk intelligently about AI and RPA ( Robotic Process Automation) is important in any field to which you are applying. Ensure that you have some examples of how AI has streamlined a process, created efficiencies and delivered measurable results. Discuss what you were able to achieve by freeing up resources. – Sherrie SuskiTricon American Homes”

Workplace Certifications

We recently embarked on a fact-finding mission around workplace certifications.  I felt strongly that we had done an amazing job internally creating a world class work environment for our employees who are spread out over 10 states and 19 different locations, but few outside of the company were aware of that.  In today’s competitive global job market, being a well-known organization or having a famous consumer brand name is not enough to attract and retain top talent. Organizations need to build an agile and connected workplace, create amazing employee experiences, nurture feedback and dialogue, actively focus on innovation, and embed their businesses into the future.

Types of certifications

Great Place to Work

This is a certification connected to Fortune. The survey is actually conducted by their research partner, Great Place TO work.  The survey is made up of about 60 questions and an additional lengthy questionnaire needs to be completed by Human Resources.  They tell you 4 hours, but we easily spent 5-10X that. Should be fortune- ate (😊) enough to be certified, this opens up the door for you to participate throughout the year in a number of other certifications including:  Top 100 Companies, Best workplaces for Diversity, Best Workplaces for Parents, Small & Medium companies, People’s Companies that Care Best workplaces for Millennials, just to name a few.

Aon Best Employers

The program salutes the achievements made by organizations that create sustainable competitive advantage through their people. Aon Best Employers program looks into the health of your organization from the inside, using the most objective measure possible – your employees’ opinion. Backed by more than 18 years’ worth of data on employee experience, Aon Best Employers program measures and recognizes extraordinary employers. It differentiates on people factors which are the key to success: high employee engagement, profound agility, engaging leadership and maniacal talent focus. Aon looks at 4 key areas:  Engagement, Agility, Engaging Leadership, and Talent Focus. They offer both a ready to use on-line survey, as well as a tailored engagement survey that you can customize.

Glassdoor Best Places to Work

Although considered a necessary evil by many to whom I have spoken, there is no arguing that prospective employees turn to Glassdoor to see what others are saying on the inside.  Glassdoor automatically selects those employers that obtain the highest average number of stars given in the reviews by their own employees.  I am proud to say we are at a 4.6, but 1/10th lower than we needed to be to win a Best Small & Medium Places to Work for 2018.  

Next time we will talk about the reasons why, both internally and externally it makes sense to participate in Work Place certifications.

2019 – The Year of the Millennial

sherrie-suski-millennials2019 is the year that the Millennials, or Generation Y as they are sometimes referred to, will overtake the Baby Boomers.  Their numbers will top 73 million while we see the Baby Boomer population in the US decreases to 72 Million. Those staggering realities have far reaching impacts across consumption trends, housing and employment, just to name a few.  It is less about being classified as the generation who wants to know “what’s in it for me” than about the impact their shear numbers will have on shaping our economy.  

Morgan Stanley recently published their research in the ReShape US Housing brief that outlines the dwindling demand for single family homes purchases and the uptick in the long term rental markets, especially the single family home market, as the Millennial population moves through their lifecycle from the freewheeling singles to the couples with kids, looking for a little more space.  The millennial population has long been thought to diverge from the baby boomers in their lust for purchasing a “permanent” home. This generation seems content with the flexibility that a rental home provides, and while many will start out in apartments, as the generations that preceded them did, most will eventually be in search of a single family home to rent.  The lack of permanency that is dictated by the desire and decision to rent instead of own has implications in the workplace as well. The millennial generation is less likely to expect to stay in a position for a decade or more. In fact, most millennials expect to have 15-20 jobs over the course of their careers and a full 91% of millennials expect to stay in a job less than 3 years.  Part of what drives that ability to move frequently is their decision to rent instead of own their own homes.

So how do employers provide opportunities to appeal to a generation that does not value permanency, stability and the status quo?  The millennials are the first generation to grow up digesting and assimilating mass quantities of information at a time.   Therefore, it’s important to make sure your content captures millennial’s attention and then keeps it. Communicate through multiple touch points, with emails as a last resort.  Use text blasts, contests and social media sites to communicate.

Ensure that both programs and communications are tailored for the individual.  The millennial population is not used to a one size fits all approach. They are used to having campaigns tailored exclusively to them based on past buying or search habits.  Ensure your programs are capable of the same. Jellyvision has a wonderful tool where ALEX, a bot, walks each person through their own health insurance open enrollment based on their unique needs and their answers to questions pondered on their behalf.  Our research has shown not only wide acceptance of these types of tools but that first year participation rates were over 72%.

It is approaches like the above that will both individualize the message and capture the attention of a generation that values an engaging experience over the stability and predictability of the status quo

Candidate Success Models

Predicting a candidate’s success on the job used to be primarily focused on whether they had experience doing the job you were interviewing for and whether you could accurately discern if they had been successful. Little thought was given to behavioral or cognitive attributes or specific job competencies that differentiated one position from the next.  Fortunately, those days are far behind us.

In today’s world we have a vast array of tools to better predict candidate success including assessments, behaviorally based interview techniques, established company core competencies.  While these tools are valuable in terms of prediction capabilities, we also need a model to evaluate whether our predictions are accurate or not and allow us to tweak the models going forward.

Behavioral assessments

There are many behavioral assessment tools on the market today.  Some have been around for decades like the DiSC. Others are newer onto the scene like the Predictive Index.  Some are a quick 10-minute assessment which give a solid overview of the candidate’s personality match to the position and others, like the Hogan are in in-depth 3 hours assessment that enables employers to assess personality in the workplace. Additionally, these assessments measure personality characteristics, characteristics under stress, risk of career derailment, core values, and cognitive style

Cognitive assessments

Cognitive assessments are not necessarily appropriate for every job. While they are not IQ tests, many measure the candidate’s ability to quickly learn information and to adapt to changing circumstances.  The general pre-employment aptitude test that measures problem-solving abilities, learning skills, and critical thinking. The thought being that the quicker a person can get up to speed in a job, the more quickly they can start contributing to the organization.  

Behaviorally based interviews

Structured or behaviorally based interviewing has long been thought to be a better predictor of success on the job than either yes/no types of questions or those that do not require a candidate to tell you what they did or would have done in a specific situation. Behavioral interview questions focus on how you handled various work situations in the past. Your response will reveal your skills, abilities, and personality. The logic behind this interview tactic is that your behavior in the past reflects and predicts how you will behave in the future

Core competencies by position

Not all positions require the same set of competencies to be successful. That is why it is important that interview guides be developed for each position that specifically state and ask you to comment on and rate a candidate’s suitability for the position relative to each core competency.  

Once the candidate has been selected for the position, additional work needs to be set in motion to assess whether they are truly successful on the job.  Success can be measured by your Performance Management systems, your talent or succession planning platform, which measures potential, or a combination of both.  Once data has been collected over time, you will be able to better predict an individual candidates’ likelihood of success in a particular position.

People Analytics

 

sherrie-suski-analyticsPeople Analytics is about using a data-driven approach to inform your people practices, programs and processes. Analytical techniques, ranging from reporting and metrics to predictive analytics to experimental research can help you uncover new insights, solve people problems and direct your HR actions. People analytics can help you to understand how knowledge of social and data sciences can help you make more informed, objective people decisions. The mindset shift that needs to occur is moving from a reporting of lag measures, like employee turnover, to a reporting on lead measures, like employee engagement or satisfaction and eventually to forecasting to being able to predict turnover down to the individual level

In a recent Deloitte survey on the topic, they found a mature analytics approach is not possible without data accuracy, security and consistency.  Things that many organizations struggle with. Therefore, your first step has to be to define which data you want to use, ensure that the data is as clean as possible and decide how you will capture that data.   The top drivers of people analytics maturity were:

  • Mature organizations are 2x more likely to have a data council responsible for data governance.
  • Mature organizations are 3x more likely to have strong partnerships with business units and corporate functions.
  • Mature organizations are 3x more likely to have an organizational culture of data-driven decision-making.

The problem is not just “having the data” but “knowing how to use it” and understanding how to explain it, visualize it, and put it into action in front of a business leader. HR leaders and their teams are expected to be knowledgeable enough in the use of statistics to be able to understand the data, determine the trends and make well thought out recommendations to improve the business.

Here is a great example of a trend that HR can be on the forefront of and lead the business!

Consciously Created Culture

Often times the task of “creating” the culture falls to the HR team.  The team struggles with not only how to architect the culture, but have a difficult time envisioning what that will look like in the context of their own organizations and what day to day actions to take to reinforce and embrace that culture. Should they focus on defining values, creating wrap around programs or instituting perks?  The answer is, as in many situations, it depends.

Perhaps the first place to start is understanding your external branding.  It is important that your internal branding around culture flow directly from your external branding.  It is difficult to create an internal brand exclusive of a complete understanding of an external brand.  Start here with your marketing team to fully understand what the differentiators are in the market and how they brand the company externally.  

Next, think about what is important to your workforce and the culture you want your employees to talk about when describing your company.

Comparably, is a platform to provide anonymous and comprehensive data on compensation, and insights into work culture. They give employees the knowledge they need to take control of their experience at work, to build awareness about workplace transparency, and to make work better.  Some of the categories they focus on are:

Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and inclusion are important for every organization.  Diverse companies are more innovative. having employees from diverse backgrounds brings different ideas to the table, preventing “groupthink” and promoting innovation. A diverse workforce ensures that some employees will be analytical, while others will have more creative propensities. Diverse approaches to the same problem generate new insights and enhance efficiency. 80 percent of people in a recent Universum https://universumglobal.com/about/ survey (including 85 percent of women) felt it was important that an employer “engages in creating a diverse and inclusive workplace.

Professional Development

Employees today have an expectation of their careers providing not only a paycheck but an opportunity for growth and development as well.  A goal to shoot for “Training is always available, and you have the opportunity to work on projects outside your day to day role and grow your skill set. This is especially highlighted with career progression”.  Companies should shoot for at least 20% of their positions being filled from within as employee promotions. A lofty goal would be 50%.

Work-Life Balance

Flexible schedules, telecommuting and PTO can all contribute to a healthy work life balance.  However, employees need to see that the management team is modeling these behaviors before they are likely comfortable taking advantage of them themselves. Some other ideas include sponsoring events where employees family members are encouraged to join in, offering part time or job share positions.

Perks and Benefits

No conversation on culture would be complete without discussing perks and benefits.  Some of the usual benefits are on the list like company provided health insurance with affordable employee contributions and PTO ( but not unlimited).  Studies routinely show that employees do not like unlimited PTO because very few actually feel like they can use it. Wellness initiatives are another popular perk in 2019.  Most of these platforms provide gamification opportunities for bringing teams and workforces together in fun competition.

The most important aspect of consciously creating a culture is that you create one that is unique to your company and the employees you serve.  

Defensiveness

sherrie-suski-defensivenessDefensiveness is defined as the quality of being anxious to avoid criticism and/or the behavior intended to defend or protect.  Some have even defined it as reacting with a war mentality to a non-war issue. While none of us relishes criticism, it is a necessary part of growth.  To be able to see ourselves as others see us is a gift that allows us to leave old habits behind and adopt new, healthier ways of having relationships with others.  

An Open Heart

Changing defensive behavior stars with being able to listen with an open heart to what is being said.  Assume the person has your best interests in mind and is sharing something that you need to hear. Try and clear you mind so that you are truly listening and not rehearsing your next defensive statement in your mind while they are speaking.

Express Your Feelings

Being able to openly express your feelings is requisite to becoming less defensive.  Letting people know in a calm manner when they have upset you is not being defensive.  Lashing out with an inflammatory statement is. 

Building Trust

Working through conflict builds trust in any relationship.  It assures both partners that they can trust each other; they can be honest and acknowledge that any relationship is a work in progress, not fixed or defined on just one person’s terms or one moment in time.

Toxic Comments

Bottom line: if we don’t learn how to deal with our grievances head on, inevitably we deal with them indirectly, most often in more toxic forms: by teasing or making snide comments, holding grudges, or by growing more indifferent over time. 

Of course, it’s difficult to give and receive healthy criticism if we’re clinging to a defensive attitude. If you feel yourself become defensive, try to see if you can simply acknowledge it, and work through the conflict as honestly and generously as possible.

Self- esteem

Temperament, history, and, most importantly self-esteem can impact how we respond to criticism.  Some people have so much negative self talk occurring in their heads that they feel they just can’t accept any more from someone else.  Realizing that just because someone is criticizing one issue, does not mean you are a bad person overall is key to building better relationships

People who are more prone to defensiveness may perceive an attack in certain situations in which people with resilient and calm temperaments would perceive none. Experiment with viewing the situation from different vantage points.

Overall, defensiveness in life will hold you back from building better relationships and from growing as an individual

On-Brand Behavior

sherrie-suski-officePotential candidates are interested not only in what they may bring to a future employer, but in what that future employer may bring to them.  With the majority of millennials believing its management’s responsibility to offer development opportunities, this demographic is looking for employers that will invest in their future. But they’re not alone; training is a top priority for all workers, particularly those who will need to enhance their skills in light of digital disruption. While many companies have training or Learning and Development programs, not enough have specific training that is meant to drive on- brand behavior.

Programs that address this topic are a win-win.  Effectively communicating a brand requires multiple touchpoints and Learning & Development programs are the perfect opportunity to drive this behavior. Learning and development is the clear internal expression of an organization’s external employer brand. These programs should be representative of and demonstrate the company’s value system.

According to Paul Hagen, senior principal at West Monroe Partners San Francisco, customer facing employees represent the company brand with every interaction they have. Yet, most receive little or no training or development to help them understand the actions and mindset that will have the most positive impact on customers’ perceptions of the brand. Good companies understand the drivers of customer and employee experiences and ensure L&D initiatives include guidance on how employees can help deliver on the promises made by an employer’s branding, he explained; “Great companies take it a step further. They understand that happy employees make happy customers.”

Ultimately, it is about connecting your internal culture to your external brand in a way that is meaningful to both your employees and your customers alike.  It should be the natural progression of doing what is right for your employees and having them understand and do what it right for your customers.

2019 Human Resources Initiatives

sherrie-suski-hr

Ushering in 2019 means pondering what the new year means in terms of HR initiatives.  Which were successfully put to rest last year, which will continue and carry forward and which are perhaps new initiatives this year based on the economic climate.

Top of the list is the tight labor market and lower retention many companies are experiencing.  We experienced the beginning of this challenge last year as companies struggled to find the talent they needed to fill positions to fuel their growth.  Companies will need to consider:

Flexibility in the workplace– More companies are finding ways to attract and retain workers with key skill sets by offering a combination of flexible work schedules.   Late starts, work from home, shorter in the office hours are all opportunities that will attract a different segment of the population than those able to work from 8:00-5:00p or more likely 7:00am-6:00pm.

Learning opportunities that span the entire workforce- Succession Planning programs are giving way to Talent Planning programs which encompass the whole organization.  Employee are looking for both lattice and ladder training opportunities. IDP’s (Individualized Development Plans) are becoming popular.  Instead of unleashing a plethora of online and webinar-based training opportunities, organizations are spending the time to develop individual training plans for each employee.  These are likely developed around core competencies that have already been established in the organization.

On-Boarding programs– not to be confused with the 1-3 day orientation programs, on-boarding programs will usually span 3-6 months and focus on quickly getting the new employee up to seed and integrated into the organization effectively.  Research links effective onboarding to reduced turnover and increased retention. In one study, employees were 60% more likely to remain with the organization for more than three years when there is a structured onboarding program.

Holistic Wellness Programs– wellness in no longer associated with simply the absence of disease, but has become a term that we associate with multiple forms of wellness.  Is your workforce physically, emotionally, socially and financially well and what can you do to support their efforts? Employee are looking less for balance between personal and work lives and more for integration.  One should not be exclusive of the other. Employees want time and training devoted to helping them learn how to meditate, eat healthy foods, manage their finances and generally live happy lives which, in turn, yield happy and more productive employees.  

Artificial Intelligence– no discussion would be complete without including AI.  HR technology companies are developing and promoting more and more Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities. Some of the technologies being developed can help HR professionals track and reveal troubling patterns in real-time to address such issues as employee engagement, turnover, and absenteeism (to name a few).  Automating repetitive tasks and improving workforce productivity are two of the top potential outcomes from implementing AI technology.

Each year brings its own set of challenges and opportunities to the HR profession.  This last year of the decade is no exception!

Human Resources Strategy

Once you have assessed your Organizational Culture and understand where you stand, you can move on to HR Strategy in support of that strategy.

The journey toward assessing and implementing your HR strategy may follow the same below five stages.

Functional

Minimal overarching strategies direct the HR team’s efforts. The HR team is largely reactive to the business stakeholders with respect to independent processes (talent acquisition, training, succession, compliance, compensation, etc.) The scope of HR’s roles and structure hold the function back from understanding the business and the employees. Several HR systems may still be manual. The team is focused on the day to day activities without understanding their impact on the organization.

Cross- functional

Strategies regarding critical HR functions (talent acquisition, management development and performance management) are project managed and process-driven, but they are not integrated. There may also be differing degrees of maturity. All functions within HR begin to engage more proactively with the business to ensure alignment, but efforts are not consistent, and change tends to happen slowly.  There are no launch plans and programs introduced, while valuable, may seem disjointed.

Building

Key HR processes start to become integrated as the organization recognizes the need for greater adaptability. Better alignment between the HR strategies and the business strategies is starting to take place. The cascading of organizational goals as a way to guide individual and team objectives and development begins to become pervasive.  Employees start to see the alignment between HR programs from various functions.

Enhancing

HR Programs such as talent acquisition, management development, succession, engagement and incentives are connected to one another in order to heighten the output of the organization. The business strategies are routinely translated into HR strategies, so the HR team remains in-step with the company.  There is a path that HR is capable of walking the organization down. An understanding of how each program introduced flows into and builds upon the one before.

Optimized

Sophisticated and integrated near and long-term HR strategies exist, usually in the 3-year range. Strategic objectives, which are typically cross-organizational, require HR leaders to collaborate cross functionally, creating shared goals and actions. Collectively these behaviors drive successful business outcomes. The strategy is continually reviewed to ensure it is on track with the business and averting unnecessary risk. When necessary, the strategy is rapidly altered based on data-driven inputs to stay on course.  Automation and data based decision making are key at this advanced stage.

Not every organization will achieve the optimized state, but it is, nevertheless, a worthy goal.  HR gains their seat at the table by being able to positively impact the business and align their processes to business outcomes.