Archive | April, 2013

3 Tips for Recruiting in the Job Market of Today

29 Apr

Today’s job market is almost unrecognizable compared to what it was just a few years ago. The Great Recession came and went and took with it millions of jobs and left the labor market in dire straits.

Fast forward to 2013. On the back of a sustained economic recovery and steady job creation, businesses are engaging in more recruiting and hiring initiatives to spur growth and shore up human capital lost in the throes of the economic collapse.

However, despite the much improved business conditions and labor market, firms are still often perplexed and frustrated when recruiting for jobs. The number-one gripe many have with the current state of recruiting? Talent scarcity.

In a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management, 66 percent of HR respondents said recruiting was challenging for them, up from the 52 percent who said the same in 2011. The talent gap was the prime culprit behind the difficulty: 48 percent said recruiting was hard because applicants did not have the right skills, while 40 percent cited a lack of job experience.

However, in trying recruiting times, the answer to the vexing talent management question is not simply throwing money at the problem, a tactic some companies might resort to.

A study conducted by consulting firm Mercer found 60 percent of organizations polled in the report said they have increased their investments in talent, yet only 24 percent believe their plans are effective and helping the company meet long-term human capital needs.

Suffice it to say, businesses in the United States have the positions that need filling but cannot find qualified enough applicants to hire. Yet that doesn’t mean such employees aren’t out there somewhere. Recruiting is not only more challenging for firms at present, but also competitive; considering the essentiality of workforce talent management, firms need to develop a solid recruiting strategy. Now that might be easier said than done, but here are three tips to help you on your way to solidifying a superior recruiting program in today’s job market:

Leave No Stone Unturned
Recruiting isn’t so much a science as it is an experience. There’s no one measure or equation that indicates this candidate is the best for the job or this other one shouldn’t be considered.

That’s why it’s important that recruiters don’t get lazy when vetting and analyzing job applicants. Shutting the book on an applicant based on a resumé or job history before he or she even gets a chance to interview—and perhaps demonstrate personality characteristics the business values or make a particular skill known that was not documented on his CV—is a losing strategy for everyone.

Salary history won’t convey what intangibles a candidate possesses, nor will a lousy attitude make up for exemplary resumé credentials. Talent in today’s job market is diverse, spread out, and often hiding in the places recruiters would least expect it.

Use Social Media
Social media isn’t solely used for posting cat pictures and live-tweeting a high school prom. As social media matures, so too does its application to business processes, especially recruiting. The research done on candidates has transitioned into the socialsphere, and platforms like Facebook and Twitter have proved to be valuable tools for recruiters.

It’s not just the big two in the social arena that recruiters are using. Increasingly, professional social networking sites like LinkedIn have become a recruiter’s best friend.

Indeed, LinkedIn recently relaunched an offering that caters to social media-savvy recruiters, reinforcing the sentiment that technology—like HR software—is providing recruiters with modern solutions for modern recruiting problems.

Clearly Communicate With a Target
Recruiting is a two-way street, and the interactions between the recruiter and the recruited are crucial elements of the entire process. The object of recruiting people is persuading them, and without an incentive or sufficient information, those being recruited are unlikely to derive much value from the situation.

That’s why it’s important for recruiters to communicate what they are looking for in an individual, what skills they prize, what the job will require—not just in terms of duties and obligations, but time commitment and other personal considerations—and what a candidate can expect if he is hired.

It’s also becoming increasingly more important in today’s world of recruiting that the process isn’t so cut and dry, rigid, and uberprofessional with little room for maneuvering or honest communication. The recruiting itself needs to be done in an environment that encourages gainful interaction and conversation that helps each side understand the other better.

How Much Do Bad Hires Cost You

24 Apr

There’s a lot of attention to detail and careful planning that go into hiring decision making. And for good reason: Businesses aren’t just on the lookout to land a job applicant who satisfies requirements and interviews well. All that meticulous preparation is also undertaken to ensure employers don’t corner themselves into a bad hire.

As much as a good employee can play a part in helping the business achieve growth and better numbers, so too does a bad hire have the capacity to throw operations off track, put a drain on company resources, and create a swirling black hole of unproductivity that hampers talent management.

Indeed, bad hires can prove to be costly in a number of areas for the business, making it crucial that companies understand what they put at risk when they make a bad hire and what strategies they need to take to prevent the situation from happening.

Pocketbooks Take a Hit
The most commonly cited problem businesses have with a bad hire is the negative effect he or she can have on what matters most: the bottom line. But it goes much deeper than lost wages and wasted recruitment efforts. Talent is what powers the business, and by investing in human capital, firms can improve the prospects. Yet that investment is rendered a holistic loss for the company when it makes a bad hire, costing more than it might know.

An infographic prepared for Resoomay, an online applicant matching service, found that in a scenario in which a midlevel manager making $62,000 a year was fired 2 1/2 years ago, the business would incur bad-hire costs of $840,000 and generate a negative 298 percent return on employee investment.

As evidenced, bad hires not only cost the business in the short term by, in essence, wasting dollars spent on wages, benefits, and recruitment, but they also put the company in a perilous position moving forward because of the rotten investment a bad hire turns out to be—one that can plague the company for years to come and force it into taking action on corrective measures.

But Just What Is a Bad Hire?
Already, it’s been proven that bad hires can negatively impact business finances, but how do firms know when they have such a case on their hands? Telltale signs like disregard for the dress code may work to identify one on the surface, but there are other indicators businesses need to take note of before bad hires sabotage employee engagement strategies.

A recent CareerBuilder survey investigating the costs of a bad hire offered organizations a glimpse of what the term really means. The most commonly cited characteristic of a bad hire was poor quality of work (67 percent), which was followed by not working well with others (60 percent) and having a negative attitude (59 percent). Immediate attendance problems (54 percent) were also a theme found through responses, as were customers’ complaining about an employee and not meeting deadlines (both 44 percent).

Other Employees Negatively Affected
Not only are the harmful effects of bad hires well documented, but so is the damper they can put on officewide productivity. Recent research from recruiting firm Robert Half International found managers dedicate 17 percent of their time to coaching or guiding bad hires, a fruitless endeavor in many cases. The same research found 98 percent of managers thought bad hires sap team morale, with 35 percent responding they do so to a great extent.

So What Can You Do?
As a cautionary tale, the same CareerBuilder survey also detailed the many coinciding factors that businesses often attribute to pushing them into a bad hire including: needing to fill the job quickly (43 percent), insufficient talent intelligence (22 percent), and not following up with references (9 percent).

Oftentimes, these are circumstances that cannot be rectified overnight, or at all, but there are still a number of strategies business can employ to ward off making a bad hire, including:

  • Never lose focus on quality. The key to making a beneficial hire for the entire company is bringing on an applicant who distinguished him or herself from the rest of the pool. Settling for a lower-quality candidate because the position needs to be filled is a recipe for disaster.
  • Look at the intangibles. Applicants can show off their laurels and accolades on their CVs, but when it comes down to brass tacks, qualities and personality traits like work ethic and ambition are more valuable to the company and more present in good hires.
  • Make it a collaborative approach. Hiring managers who operate solo are more likely to miss something that might indicate an applicant would not be a good hire. Involving HR and other departments in the hiring process can help make the hiring process more efficient.

Have you made bad hire before? If so, what do you think it cost your business? Let us know on Twitter by mentioning @SageHRMS in your tweet or by commenting on our Facebook page.

Building a Recruiting Process: A Perfect Blend of Old and New

17 Apr

This guest blog post is courtesy of Mary Anne Osborne, SPHR, and principal of the Osborne Group. Mary Anne is a people-centric HR professional and consultant with over 25 years of HR experience in telecom, finance, manufacturing, healthcare and higher education.  Mary Anne presents monthly on our complimentary Sage Refresh and Recertify Webcast Series that are approved for 1.00 recertification credit hours toward PHR, SPHR and GPHR recertification through the HR Certification Institute.

One of the top concerns among human resources and businesses across the nation is talent management—or lack thereof—within an organization. If your company is struggling to attract and retain talent in the workplace, it may be time to reevaluate the way your human resource team is going about the recruiting process.

The Cost of a Bad Hire
A strong recruiting process is essential to help foster growth and sustainability within a business. Without a strong recruitment process in place, organizations face the consequences of a bad hire. According to a recent CareerBuilder survey, more than 40 percent of employers in the United States have made bad hiring decisions. These bad hires not only waste precious company time, but they can also cause a huge financial loss within the business. In fact, respondents to the CareerBuilder survey reported that they lost an average of $25,000 in 2012 because they selected the wrong candidate for the job.

Too often, organizations pressure the human resource team and hiring managers to find a candidate and get them into the workplace “ASAP!” Instead of trying to fill a vacancy as soon as possible, step back and take a look at the organization’s current recruitment practices.

Twenty-two percent of hiring managers from the survey said they hired a new employee even though they didn’t really get to know them well enough during the interview process. Meanwhile, 9 percent of respondents admitted that they didn’t even check a candidate’s references. Stop the cycle of a bad hire and save your company the trouble of losing time and money by reevaluating your organization’s current recruitment strategy. Here are a few ideas that bring tried-and-true recruiting practices and blend them with new, effective talent management methods to build a soundproof recruitment process that is the perfect combination of old and new methods.

Best of the Oldies
The most successful, business-savvy HR managers know that you don’t fix something that isn’t broken. In that case, these tried and true talent management practices have continued to help companies across the globe recruit the best of the best.

Start from the bottom line: In order to attract the right talent, you need to address what divisions are lacking within the company. What departments are falling behind? Are any of your employees staying late on a continuous basis because they are swamped with a work overload? These are the questions you need to ask yourself if you want to help your business grow. Aimlessly hiring employees won’t help the organization meet or exceed business goals.

Have a succession plan in mind: One of the most common mistakes companies make is that they overlook talent within the workplace. Before you start recruiting to fill a vacant midlevel or high-profile position, scan the office and asses the current workforce. This is an HR solution that can save time and money that is often wasted on trying to recruit outside of the company. Why extend your efforts if you already have the talent right under your nose?

Foster an employer culture that encourages employee engagement: During the interview process, it is likely that you’ll show a few of the final candidates around the workplace to help them gauge whether or not it’s a good fit.

New Recruiting Tactics
As organizations bring in new talent, human resource managers recognize that a return on employee investment has become increasingly difficult to maintain thanks to multiple generations working in one office. As baby boomers retire and Generation Y workers apply for their first jobs, human resources needs to assess what it is that job candidates are looking for in a place to work, what sort of benefits they value, and a way to blend these new ideas with older workplace traditions. Here are a few new practices business organizations are using to help meet the expectations of younger employees while maintaining the peace with loyal, long-term employees who are a few years from retirement.

Office Design: Cubicles and individual office spaces are becoming more obsolete in the workplace but are not completely extinct. Older generations, like the baby boomers, relate a personal office space as a means of recognition and reward for their hard work within a company, while Generation Y workers want an open-concept workspace where they can communicate openly with other coworkers. Consider combining an open floor concept in the middle of the office space to entice new employees and line the perimeter of the workplace with closed office spaces for mid- to senior-level executives and employees who have been with the company for a long period of time.

Make use of technology: Graduates entering the workforce are more technologically savvy than any generation before them. If you want to recruit top talent, your company needs to be stay on top of the latest technology trends and developments. This also means providing tools such as the latest payroll software solutions and employee self-service software. These tools help managers stay on top of employee management so they can better assess what areas of the company need to be improved.

Words to Live By

15 Apr

“I don’t know what I need to know.”

It’s a funny little sentence, but it’s amazing how often I hear it. Especially with the proliferation of business intelligence (BI) software solutions, today’s workers have greater and greater abilities to analyze their data – if only they knew what they were looking for.

Being in the BI business myself, I am often asked questions such as “what are some of the key things that people want to monitor in their HRMS systems?”. Having some standard answers such as “employee absenteeism”, “certifications that are about to expire”, and “changes to an employee’s benefits” are helpful – but only to a certain degree. What an HRMS staffer really wants to ask me is “what are the key things within our particular HR organization that we should be monitoring for?”.

But of course since I don’t know the detailed workings of their HR organization and its underlying processes, that’s a question that never gets asked of me.

But it should.

Because I can answer it.

Despite the fact that I may never have stepped foot (or even a “virtual foot”) into any one specific HR organization, I can help any HR organization’s staff identify what kinds of critical activities they need to monitor for and respond to. And that’s because I’m able to identify the key words and phrases that get used by an organization’s HR staffers when they’re looking for “what they need to know.”

There are, in fact, eight “types” of critically important HR-related business conditions that reveal themselves in the everyday conversations that you hear around your office. These eight “types” of HR-related business conditions have very specific words that accompany them, and if you train yourself to listen for these words, you’ll have an immediate jump on identifying what it is “you need to know.”

The eight conditions – and the corresponding words you need to listen for – are:

Date-Sensitive Conditions.  You’ll hear words such as “upcoming”, “today”, “tomorrow”, “next week”, “ends”, “expiring”, and “missed”. (E.g., benefit enrollment period ends this Friday)

Approaching Thresholds.  Typically expressed using “nearing”, “more than”, “less than”, “above”, “below”, “close to”, and “over”. (E.g., an employee who is nearing 24 hours of absenteeism this month)

Inactivity.  Almost always is heard using the phrase “has not” or “is not” and indicates something that should have happened but hasn’t. (E.g., a staffer who has not taken any training in the last 12 months)

Exceptions to Normal Business.  You’ll hear the words “over” or “under” as well as the word “too” as in “too many”, “too few”, “too much”, or “too little”. (E.g., an employee who has failed too many drug tests)

“Bad Data” Conditions.  Most commonly identified by the words “missing”, “erroneous”, “invalid”, “duplicate”, or “incomplete”. (E.g., an employee record which is missing their home phone number)

Trend Analysis.  Usually this occurs in phrases such as “compared with”, “is increasing”, “is decreasing”, or “has stopped”. (E.g., monthly overtime hours is increasing)

Inconsistent Data.  Often heard in phrases such as “doesn’t make sense” or “doesn’t go together”, and in the statement “that’s not right”. (E.g., an employee signed-up for two training classes at the same time)

Changes to Sensitive Data.  This condition is often identified by the initial words “We need to know when  someone changes . . . “. (E.g., a change made to an employee’s 401k contributions)

So . . . before you decide to evaluate any reporting, business intelligence, or data monitoring & response solutions, take a few minutes to think back on your daily HR business activities and to the conversations that you’ve had with your HR colleagues and management. Or – just start listening to those conversations a little more carefully and take note of when the above words and phrases appear.

After all, once you identify what HR conditions and activities you need to know about, you can better identify the prospective software solutions that will keep you “in the know”.

If you’re interested in learning about how you can more effectively monitor your HR data, visit the Sage HRMS Alerts and Workflow by Vineyardsoft webpage. While you’re there don’t forget to register for the webcast The Data Driven HR Organization: How to Achieve It and How to Benefit From It.

Is Big Data the New Trend for HR?

12 Apr

Using Big Data for Human Resources RecruitmentAmid the many changes occurring in the HR industry, experts believe managers should focus on the volume of stored data to help with hiring needs and performance management.

According to Forbes contributor Josh Bersin, of Bersin by Deloitte, HR professionals should expect to see the use of big data increase over the next few years to help drive business decisions. HR software system providers are expected to start creating tools to help human resource personnel analyze and segment employee management data, added the source. So how are organizations going to use big data to measure business success rates and employee retention?

HR to Utilize Big Data to Understand Employee Performance
One of the benefits big data has to offer human resource managers is its ability to store, retain, and track employee performance within the workplace. According to Bersin, relying on a gut instinct alone is not enough to base a hiring decision on or choose whether or not an employee should receive a raise.

A statistical analysis conducted by Gartner measured the success of the company’s hiring and employee performance over the first two years for new hires. Gartner relied on educational factors, including good grades and college locations, when deciding whom to hire, reports Bersin. The group believed that these factors were key indicators on which job applicants would be successful within the workplace, but after those two years, the group was proven wrong on the demographic factors they were basing their hiring process on.

The top three things that had no influence as to whether or not a new employee was successful in the workplace included where the candidate went to school, the grades they received, and the quality of their references, Gartner research revealed, as cited by Bersin. So two of out of the three least important employee performance measurement factors Gartner was basing its hiring process on turned out to be irrelevant when it comes to the success of new hires and their company, he wrote.

Six Resume Factors That Account for Employee Success
According to the data, recruiters and human resource managers should look at factors outside of education alone to determine whether or not the candidate will be successful within an organization. Gartner was able to measure six key factors that highly correlated with the success rate of new hires and their employers.

The majority of talent success was reflective of previous employment opportunities listed on a job seeker’s resumé. With the use of big data, Gartner was able to identify these key factors that would yield a successful hire:

  • A clean, error-free resumé
  • Educational completion of some sort
  • High success rate in sales
  • Record of achievements in previous positions held
  • Ability to take initiative to get work done
  • Time management and multitasking skills

Gartner identified these key factors as big data information that can help aid HR managers and recruiters make the smart decision when hiring, reported Bersin.

Numbers Matter
Businesses are looking for HR managers to take on a stronger business role, reported Resource Nation. CEOs use numbers all the time to analyze business needs, and they expect HR managers to jump on board and communicate by using data instead of gut feelings or qualitative records, added the source.

But before HR managers take on the language barrier, they need to come up with a strategy to make big data work for them; otherwise, they will become swamped with numbers and no solution to analyze the mass amount of information. With big data, HR managers can track employee performance starting at the initial interview and throughout the course of employment, Resource Nation said.

The source recommends HR managers capitalize on the fact that they can create markers within these performance measurement systems based on time or achievements to accurately measure performance. These markers help managers see positive employee skills and identify what areas of the organization are experiencing a skills gap. Employee management software along with big data helps HR pinpoint qualified workers within the business to fill these positions and/or measure job applicants who will aid in business progression.

Company decision makers, team leaders, and business higher-ups are more likely to have a positive reaction to assessment data rather than a gut feeling, added Resource Nation. Numbers continue to help HR managers measure and analyze employee performance to help them make better, smarter hiring decisions during the recruitment process to bring in employees who will contribute to business meeting goals and objectives.

We want to know what you think about using data to analyze and strategize during the recruitment process and to manage employees. Do you believe it’s a better way to read and predict who will be successful in the workplace? Or should HR managers continue to rely on resumés and personal impressions during the interview process? Sound off on how your company is changing its human resource structure to integrate big data as a recruitment strategy in our comments section.

 

Is Company Culture the Secret to Work-Life Balance?

8 Apr

Work-Life Balance Starts With Good Leadership

It’s the employer’s responsibility to set the stage regarding the business stance on work-life balance because the company culture begins with strong leadership, Josh Mendelsohn wrote for The Wall Street Journal. Building a good employer culture takes time and should be a frequent discussion between business leaders and human resource managers. Businesses that do not focus on their return on employee investment are likely to hit a plateau not because of the economy, but because they fail to create a sustainable employer culture, states Mendelsohn.

Before a company starts hiring, the human resource management team and other business leaders should sit down to develop an official plan to enact a formal work-life balance policy. Take the time to discuss the type of return on employee investment programs you as the employer believe will best benefit employees and help them succeed in the workplace.

Creative Work-Life Balance Policies

The first way to find out what sort of benefits would really help employees keep a better work-life balance is to ask them. As the human resource manager, make sure to emphasize that you and the employer are looking for real solutions to consider and help return on employee investment—hopefully workers will see the company is making that effort and try to come up with reasonable solutions, rather than unattainable dreams.

Some common work-life balance programs are now incorporating flexible work arrangements for their employees. The idea behind flexible work arrangements is that this type of work policy allows employees to make their own hours or schedule a compressed work week, which maintains work tasks, added the source. This type of policy gives some freedom to employees to make plans of action on their terms, with the permission or approval of the employer. These “part-time” schedules are alternative options to standard working hours.

Other employer work-life balance policies include the option to work from home or as a “mobile workforce.” This type of program may enable workers to stay home a few days a week instead of commuting to the office every day, which can increase productivity and gives employees more time to get their work done since there is no interference of a commute time. Mobile workforce policies are springing up everywhere as more employers use this as part of their work culture. “Bring your own device” (BYOD) policies, or providing employees with company mobile technologies such as smartphones, tablets, or laptops helps workers stay connected with coworkers, managers, and the business if travel is a big part of the job description.

Managing the Work-Life Balance Policy Risks

Having a work-life policy or program in place comes with a certain amount of risk for any organization. A mobile workforce can make it difficult for human resources to manage and measure employee performance. According to Mendelsohn, employers need to have faith in their workers as new members join the company—building an acceptance and trust is the key to a successful work-life balance program, he wrote.

Human resource management system (HRMS) solutions can help HR personnel stay on top of employee management. These systems are useful tools for state and federal payroll compliance and can help HR managers navigate through the FMLA and ADA regulations in conjunction with the employer work-life balance policies.

 

Twitter is More Beneficial to HR Than You May Think

5 Apr

Social media platforms have become increasingly popular among businesses for hiring purposes. Widely used social networks have also contributed to companies’ revising their privacy policies to include guidelines for professional use of these networking sites in employee handbooks and company rules and guidelines. As human resource managers, businesses, and recruiters continue to utilize virtual recruitment strategies to find talent and maintain a presence online, it may be a good idea to add a Twitter account to the list of sites organizations use to attract new talent and engage employees.

Establishing Twitter as a Business Tool
Businesses are more open to using Facebook and LinkedIn to promote themselves and network with other industry professionals. Meanwhile, most organizations view Twitter as a personal social media platform rather than a professional one. However, Twitter is a great way to find potential job candidates, and company accounts can easily gain followers from employees, who may already be using this site, to help build a strong Twitter presence right away. Twitter helps companies connect with other industry leaders to promote and educate followers about hot topics and news updates and to spread the word about what your particular business or company mission is.

Creating a Twitter Account
It’s actually very simple to create and maintain a Twitter account—first things first, you have to remember that Twitter only allows users to “tweet” messages up to 140 characters in length. Secondly, building a presence on Twitter requires a daily commitment to post, search, and respond to followers. To create your business Twitter account, follow these steps:

1. Go to www.twitter.com
2. Create a username and password
3. Upload a photo that best represents your brand or business
4. Connect!

Yep, four easy steps will get you going on Twitter. At the initial sign up, Twitter allows the creator to import established email and other social contacts directly from your computer. This is a great way to build an immediate contact list with business partners, employees, industry leaders, and company clients.

After the initial account setup, it’s also imperative to create a biography for the organization. The biography should include, but is not limited to, what your business does, what your company wants to talk about, and searchable keywords you want your account to be associated with, advised the source.

What Do @ and # Mean?

To build a following you’ll need to understand what all of the symbols on Twitter mean.

Account names are preceded by the @ sign. Whenever this symbol is used on Twitter followed by a username it’s called a ‘mention’ and the user that is mentioned will be notified. This symbol is used to communicate with other users. A common misunderstanding on Twitter is using the @ sign to begin a tweet. If that happens, the only people that will see that mention are those that are following the sender and the user mentioned. This is why users send tweets that start with ‘.@’, so everyone following the sender will see it.  

The other frequently used symbol users will run into on Twitter is the # sign, also known as a hashtag symbol. Twitter users incorporate the # sign and words, phrases, topics of interests, and so on to discuss their interests, news, and ideas. This is a great search tool for companies to utilize in order to start conversations on Twitter with users who share the same interests as their organization. Tweeting #hashtags also allows others to see what your company is interested in. If they like the same things you do, you can potentially gain a lot of followers.

How Can Twitter Benefit Companies
Aside from marketing your business or brand name, Twitter has many benefits for HR professionals and recruiters. Establishing a company Twitter account is a great way to promote employee engagement. Companies can assign one or two workers to completely manage the account, making them responsible for starting discussions and finding business contacts and potential job candidates. If the account is better managed by HR or another manager, employees can still contribute to business conversations on Twitter to help bring in third-party contacts for the organization.

Finally, the benefits of having a Twitter account can help recruiters search and connect with high-caliber candidates for job vacancies. These connections may occur by following other industry contacts, employees, and business leaders. Social Hire blogger Marcie Taylor suggests the following recruitment strategies for leveraging twitter as a recruitment tool:

1. Use #hashtags that include keywords associated with job openings
2. Maintain industry connections by actively participating in chat sessions
3. Search for topics you know potential candidates are interested in

It’s also a good idea to tweet pictures of the office, employees (with their permission), and business events to attract job prospects. Most candidates will appreciate and respond to positive employer cultures. Twitter is a marketing opportunity to showcase why your company is a great place to work.

You won’t truly know how beneficial Twitter can be as a social networking and marketing tool until your organization gets plugged in. If your company is seriously thinking about creating and maintaining a Twitter account for business purposes such as engagement and virtual recruitment, it’s best to take the time to explore all of the site’s features.

For more HR and social media news, join the conversation by following @SageHRMS or me, @JoeyBaird, on Twitter!

Creating the Opportunity to Benefit from Employee Engagement

3 Apr

Successful business organizations rely heavily on human capital to keep the business steady and strong. Two powerhouses that have equal power to positively or negatively impact the company’s success include the human resource department and the employees they manage.

Organizations need to develop strategies for a better return on employee investment instead of blaming other factors such as the business strategy or end results of company goals. Although both of these are important to have and understand, it is more important to build and maintain an employer culture that allows for open communication, no matter what level of the company an employer may find himself or herself in. The benefits of employee engagement are what keep the business moving along.

Strengthening the Role of HR
Before an organization can expect the employees to be open, give their opinions, and share new ideas, the company needs to have a good human resource management team in place. Businesses that struggle to execute a good strategy often lack strong personnel in the HR department, stated Business to Community (B2C).

Human resource managers need to have certain leadership skills and training if higher-ups expect to have good communication amidst the workplace. According to Society for Human Resource Management research cited by HR people, there are a total of eight essential ingredients needed to make a good HR leader. These eight characteristics from Monster.com can be summarized in four points:

  • Knowledge: HR needs to know and have a good understanding of how the business organization operates on a day-to-day basis. It’s also important for them to know, acknowledge, and teach employees about the company’s mission and goals as well as help employees understand how their own careers and job objectives relate and contribute to an organization’s goals.
  • HR managers need to have developed critical, analytical, and strategic thinking skills. Brainstorming, the ability to assess and analyze without being biased, and being open to new ideas from others are qualities that make a good human resource leader. Performance management and human resource management software can help HR professionals keep track of skill gaps in the workplace in order to develop solutions to these problems.
  • In addition to listening, HR managers can often be the go-to leaders for the business, especially when it comes to implementing changes in the employer culture and office space. The ability to take on the leadership role at any given time is essential for HR managers, especially if all of the employees are not on board.
  • Honesty, credibility, and retention of ethical behavior in the office are the utmost responsibility of the HR manager. He or she ultimately sets the tone and governs the office rules and policies, which can drive the performance of the entire workplace. Orientations, trainings, and other meetings are HR opportunities to continue to educate and empower workers about ethical work practices and employer standards.

Once this critical role has been filled within a business, then an organization can look to reap the benefits of employee engagement.

Benefits of Employee Engagement
A recent survey from Temkin Group revealed that of the responding 2,400 workers, 57 percent reported that they were moderately or highly engaged in their current workplace. The study showed a 10 percent increase of employee engagement from 2011, added the source.

But what exactly are the benefits or employee engagement for businesses? Two stability factors were reported in the survey as benefiting both the employers and the employees.

The first stability report revealed that workers who acknowledged a relationship between performance and financial advancement were more likely to be highly engaged than those who worked for a business that offered subpar reward systems. Although the current economic state may hinder companies from shelling out big performance raises, they can still find reward systems to help motivate employee engagement. Unique forms of acknowledgement may include additional PTO or an extra few days off of work without pay—either way, employees love the ability to take time off and not get penalized for it. Career advancement, promotions, and additional training or aid to go back to school are other reward systems that businesses are using to keep workers engaged.

The second stability factor was that engaged employees were more likely to remain loyal to their employers. Retaining talent in the workplace can be extremely difficult if the employer culture is poor. According to the Temkin Group study, highly engaged, motivated workers were six times as likely to help businesses during the recruiting process, cited Now Associations. Happy employees are more likely to recommend a friend or family member to help during the job recruitment process, and businesses like internal referrals.

Employees who responded as being highly engaged also revealed that they are more inclined to work later, build their teams, and speak up about positive and negative work environment factors, added the Now Associations. As we mentioned above, good work ethics often stem from well-managed employees.

Companies that want to expand need to build a solid home base. Before an organization can successfully grow and take on more employees, new locations, and bigger projects, it has to invest the time, money, and effort to strengthen its human capital. The benefits of good employee engagement will then lead to a multitude of business opportunities.

HR Best Practices: How to Effectively Address Employee Complaints

1 Apr

One of the reasons businesses employ a human resource management team is to help organizations stay on top of employee management issues. Although companies do their best to avoid problems in the workplace, conflicts are bound to arise sooner or later between coworkers, which is why managers fear the day when an employee voices concern about an issue. The conversation to follow needs to be handled in the most professional means possible to come up with an effective solution that will take care of the employee complaint. There are several steps managers can use to create an effective HR solution for handling issues and keeping the peace in the workplace.

Handling the Request to Talk
Sometimes, an employee’s request comes at a time when you really don’t have a minute to spare. If this is the case, don’t immediately dismiss him or go into defense mode—it’s your responsibility as the human resource manager to have a positive, open-door policy so employees come to you with problems and concerns rather than letting them fester in the workplace. Show that you take your employee’s request seriously by designating a specific time within the next 24 hours to discuss his concern, Business and Legal Resources advises. This is an effective way to show that the organization as a whole is interested in a good return on employee investment and that you as the human resource manager value the fact that the worker came directly to you to discuss an issue you may not have been aware of.

HR as the Unbiased Party
It can be very easy for a manager to take sides depending on who is issuing the complaint and who the accused party is. Some employees will work any angle to advance their personal agendas and get ahead in the workplace, while other employees are generally interested in looking out for the company’s best interests. Although you may want to pass judgment right away based on your history with the employees involved, it’s important to take an unbiased stance and conduct a thorough investigation regarding the complaint about one of your staff members.

Using the Facts to Employ an Effective HR Solution
Conducting a full investigation is the best employee management strategy you can use to address the issue at hand and ensure good return on employee investment practices in the workplace. Managers can use these steps to come up with an effective HR solution to the issue at hand:

  • Start your investigation by interviewing the employee filing the complaint. You need to ask questions and keep a record of your discussion. This will serve as proof that the complaint didn’t go unanswered and will be a reference point for the workplace investigation.
  • Use employee performance data as a reference tool when applicable. A sufficient employee management software system should be able to record data regarding employee engagement to help get to the heart of the problem.
  • Bring in the alleged offender and present him or her with the data you have acquired to open the floor. It’s important to present the information without immediately accusing the employee or placing blame. Instead of throwing accusations around, start the conversation with an observation followed by an open-ended question. This strategy helps strengthen employee engagement whereas blatantly throwing down the cold, hard facts can cause an employee to shut down, which won’t help the situation at all.
  • Determine whether or not the employee who filed the complaint needs to be brought in so the two parties can engage in a conflict resolution conference. If either party is not open to peer mediation, you may need to take a different route to come up with a resolution.
  • After the conflict has been addressed and a solution has been reached, HR needs to record the exchange. This documentation should include information regarding the origin of the problem, if any employee policy was violated, and what the consequence and/or solution to the issue was.

Following Up
The severity of the complaint, the evidence presented, and the consequence or solution will greatly affect the timeframe of a follow up to the initial investigation conducted by HR. It may be a good idea to conduct a follow-up interview regarding severe policy violations within two weeks—check in with both parties to get additional feedback as to how the employees are doing post investigation and what steps they have taken to make the changes discussed during the report. For a complaint that was concluded to be a misunderstanding or resulted in a first-time offense or warning, human resources should follow up within 30 days. This period allows enough time to pass where both parties can cool off. It may also yield additional information as to whether or not the offender has taken the appropriate steps to change his or her behavior.


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