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How to attract millennials to your workplace

11 Aug


LaDonna Lewis, product manager at Sage Payroll HCM shares how to attract millennials to your workplace.

By 2020, Millennials will make up 50 percent of the workforce as baby boomers continue to retire. In any competitive industry, Millennials aren’t going to find your company attractive if you do not have a good talent recruitment process in place.

Here are five key elements to consider when marketing your place of employment to Millennials.

•    Have a good brand Identity. Millennials are searching for employers who are known as being trusted advisors in their industry. Reputation is everything. If your company does not have good branding, Millennials will look the other way. When considering your brand image, your business must be able to facilitate knowledge about vision, values, and employer value proposition.

•    Make your recruiting process mobile friendly. Our recent global study on Millennials shows that 41 percent of this generation believe that technology will make the concept of “your desk” defunct and that, in the future, everyone will work through a mobile platform. How does this affect your workplace? Is your business ready for the boom of mobile use by 2020?

•    Have a social media presence. Whether you have a large or small workforce, it’s important to have a social media presence and an external facing career portal. Most of recruiting today is done through social media. A 2016 survey conducted by SHRM reported that 84 percent of organizations are using social media to find the right candidates. When most people think of social media, they refer directly to the marketing department. It’s essential that HR professionals also have the training and skill set of the latest social media tools to attract the right candidates. When interviewing candidates or potential business partners, the first thing I do is search their social media channels to see how they represent themselves online. If you are going to be an employer of the future, your human resources department should have the tools in place to automate.

•    Create a great environment for your employees. With the power of social media good news travels quickly, and bad news travels faster. For an organization with a limited talent pool, one bad employee experience can destroy a company. Businesses looking to attract Millennials should make sure their workplace is one where employees can have a good work-life balance, thrive in their careers, and learn from one another.

•    Have a good onboarding process in place and remain innovative. Seventy-seven percent of employees who have a formal onboarding process meet their performance goals. In today’s world, onboarding Millennials is different from the orientation process you implemented five years ago. For the Millennial generation, the onboarding experience should begin before the first day and continue past the one-year anniversary mark. Millennials are asking for ongoing peer mentoring from organizations. This generation is always digitally connected, and it is critical you meet them where they are and connect with them at all times. You have to facilitate knowledge to employees electronically through an online solution that gives them access to your company’s resources and events. One of the biggest HR challenges is that employers spend capital on bringing employees in but forget to continue the process afterward. It’s important that your workplace continues to thrive and remain innovative as technology evolves.

Millennials are the future of the workplace, and it’s important for businesses today to understand what this generation wants and needs. Learn more about Millennials by downloading our recent research report on the generation.

How payroll can you help you find superstar performers in the workplace

21 Jul

Benoit Gruber, VP, global product marketing at Sage, shares with us how payroll can help you find and keep your star performers.

FindingSuperstarEmployeesFinding your star performers

Modern HR and payroll technology can help you manage colleague performance and development. With workforce analytics, you can now find your star performers and keep hold of them.

Depending on your industry, the cost of your workforce is likely to be between 30-50% of your total overheads.

Through payroll data you can collect information about salary, absence, overtime, training costs, and return on investment. Cross-reference this data with qualitative information you have about colleagues—how they are viewed in terms of your performance culture by their peers, superiors, and teams—to develop a complete understanding of who your high achievers are.

Create a breeding ground for talent
Trend analysis allows HR to understand the working conditions that allow new stand-out talent to bloom.

For example, if a certain department has a low turnover rate and consistently good appraisals, then using data to find out why will help you recreate the department’s environment across the entire business.

Technology can also provide tools that help you decide which colleagues could benefit from training—it provides valuable insight to inform decisions that a paper-based system could not do.

Turn your star performers into mentors who can help other colleagues who find the business more challenging and need inspiration.

Often the star performers expect support for self-directed training—HR is in an ideal position to help create innovative programs and bring in new training platforms.

Keeping your star performers happy

Top-performing colleagues seek higher pay and greater opportunities. According to a U.S. survey by Gallup, 32% of people cited a lack of promotional opportunities as a reason for changing jobs, ahead of 22% who claimed pay and benefits caused them to seek a new position.* It’s important to identify the stand-out colleagues who are helping to drive the company forward, and do what you can to retain them.

Start by looking at payroll and performance data to make sure that your star performers are getting the remuneration they deserve for driving your business forward. This could mean better pay or bonuses or simply positive feedback showing that you appreciate the extra hours they are putting in.

It’s also worth bearing in mind what your competitors offer in terms of salary, working hours, vacation time, and benefits—you need to be at the very least matching and ideally exceeding them.

You should also have a way of identifying what your star performers value most. There is no point in investing in costly initiatives or training programs if your colleagues aren’t going to benefit from them. Give them the opportunity to shape their own careers and determine how they are rewarded.

Left alone, star performers will see opportunities with competitors. Your payroll data gives you the chance to build a complete view of the talent in your business—what creates, motivates, and retains the star performers, wherever they are in your organization. It’s important to take notice of what payroll data tells you, because once a star performer has handed in his or her notice, it’s already too late.

Find out how Return on Employee Investment can help you find rockstar employees by tuning into our latest webcast.

Benoit Gruber

VP, global product marketing at Sage

* Gallup, Inc. January 2015

Gen Z Tech Habits: Different from Millennials, Gen Z’s Habits May Surprise HR

2 May

Business manI admit it; I’m getting old.

But I didn’t realize just how old until a recent software conference where I had a speaking session on the subject of intra-company communications. Among my topics of conversation were:

            • What information needs to be communicated
            • Whom it needs to be communicated to
            • How it needs to be communicated

It was during my introduction – as I mentioned the third item in this list and gave the briefest of teasers – that I let following words escape:

“ …and although email is the most common corporate communications method, we’ll discuss how other methods need to be a part of your communications initiatives…”

And from the back of the room, barely discernable, came a brief snort, followed by this from a twenty-something:

email… c’mon out of the 90’s, guy…”

And I realized he was right.

That’s not to say that email has no place in communicating with millennials today, but whereas I still think of email as my primary means of receiving corporate communications, email might rank third or even fourth on many millennials’ list of “preferred communications methods”.

And so, when it comes to delivering critical HR information to today’s employees – whether it’s about changing benefits, drug test results, expiring certifications, or renewing visas, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that text message is now how millennials typically prefer to receive this information. Email might be their second choice for delivery method – but corporate communications via social network or even via personalized webpage are both growing realities today.

But it’s more than just the devices that millennials are using. It’s also their whole approach to what information they want sent their way.

You see, older folks like me are still enamored with the reality that we can get so much information, so easily, and so quickly. Unlike us, millennials grew up with this reality; “getting everything” – such as daily absenteeism reports, training course news, or COBRA updates – is their norm. And they’re rebelling against it. “I already get way too much email” is a commonly-heard complaint and today’s HR organizations need to focus less on providing content and more on personalizing content and on exception content. “Tell me only what I need to know” is the millennials’ refrain.

Lastly, millennials are forcing HR departments to recognize a greater sense of self-empowerment among their employees. Historically, HR has focused on “top-down communications” – that is, communicating with managers so they can then communicate with their employees.

Although some HR issues have to be channeled through managers, many don’t. Communicating directly with employees shortens the process, speeds the result, and empowers staff. So take a look at your HR communications and do your organization a favor – deliver only what’s needed, send it in the form most likely to be read, and don’t interject a layer of management just because it’s always been done that way. As millennials have shown us, habits are made to be broken.

Don Farber is a guest blogger for the Employer Solutions Blog and the Vice President of Sales (and co-founder) of Vineyardsoft Corporation. Visit his website at

Social Media Recruiting: Use of social media for talent acquisition, recruitment and screening

1 Apr

Social media is growing as a recruiting platform for hiring managers and recruiters. It helps recruiters and human resource specialists determine who has a large professional network using websites such as LinkedIn, Google Plus or Twitter. It also helps human resource professionals by gauging  if the individual is a fit for the company. For example, if a potential job candidate posts photos on social media that can be deemed irresponsible or does not uphold an active account, these factors may reduce the candidate's chances of being hired. On a positive note, a candidate that features friendly photos and active social media accounts will be received more positively by a recruiter.

How can human resource specialists use social media to acquire talent and make the recruitment process simpler? Social websites can be used in the following ways for HR professionals:

1. General recruiting
Websites such as LinkedIn and Twitter are growing more popular as job-posting mediums among recruiters and HR specialists. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, 77 percent of respondent companies use social networking websites to recruit for specific career opportunities. In part with using websites such as Indeed, Monster or the company website, head hunters must post the jobs on social media using equal employment opportunity legalities or an affirmative action tagline. Furthermore, the postings must be retained like any other hiring description as required by law.

2. Talent acquisition
Social media is not only beneficial for recruiting, it is also useful for tapping into large communities of talented individuals. For example, many artists use websites such as Facebook and Tumblr to post their creative works for talent specialists to find. According to Time magazine, Facebook has seen the greatest gain in overall recruiter usage over the past five years. Thanks to Tumblr and Facebook algorithms, it is easy to like a page and find similar pages. Since many artists and creative individuals follow each other on social media, this opens up new pools of talent to recruiters looking for creative individuals.

3. Screening
Because of the recent rise in social media recruiting, working professionals today are asked to keep clean websites. Viewing a candidate's social media profile is one of the first steps a recruiter will take when interviewing candidates. For example, a candidate may have a well-produced LinkedIn profile, yet inappropriate photos on their Facebook account. As such, recruiters should use social media to gauge the responsibility and cultural fit of a candidate and human resource management software to ease general processes.

3 common mistakes made in interviews

10 Mar

There are a lot of reasons professionals can lose job opportunities. Maybe the resume didn't match up to the company's needs. Perhaps the work culture didn't quite work with the candidate's expectations. However, the most common reason potential recruits fail to get an offer is because something went wrong with the interview. The mistakes that a person can make when talking to interviewers can vary, but these errors, when committed often, leave them little room for recovery. Here are some critical errors that cost applicants the job that managers should consider in human resource planning:

Talking negatively about the previous employer
A common reason people switch jobs is that they don't like the company they work for. There can be various reasons for that: There's a mismatch in culture, or some grievances developed. It could also just be that the company is a terrible place to work. However, interviewers don't know or care about the company applicant worked for. They only concern themselves with the applicant. If that person starts speaking ill off his or her current employer, it will make the HR team wonder when he or she will do the same for their company.

Failing to do research on the company or job
Some people will apply for any job because they feel a desperate. That's understandable to some degree, due to whatever issues they may have where they currently work. However, that doesn't excuse applicants from at least researching the company and position before the interview, according to RH Accountemps. Practically every company has a website , so candidates should at the bare minimum look through the website and find out more about what they're dealing with. To interviewers, an uninformed recruit is someone who isn't interested in the position and is just looking for work.

Talking too much or too little
Applicants should understand they are at the whims of the interviewer. At the same time, they shouldn't feel like they're under somebody's thumb. This extends to how they converse with the HR team during the interview the process. If candidates talk over the interviewer overall, there's a great risk they'll sound arrogant in comparison to the people that would become their bosses. They should avoid interrupting the person asking questions, as suggested by The Sedona Group Austin. On the other hand, they shouldn't be afraid to speak at length about certain subjects. By limiting their answers to brief sentences, it may indicate to the interviewers that they know little of the subjects on which they're supposed to be experts.

Measuring quality of hire

2 Mar

Every HR manager understands the importance of hiring great employees. For many businesses, it means a higher rate of turnover if employees are unsatisfactory. There are ways for human resource managers to find the best hires and prevent turnover by using quality-of-hire metrics. These metrics are variables that set one employee apart from another. While no single metric can be applied across all industries, different metrics can be applied for various stages of employment. Here are the different ways human resource managers can use quality-of-hire metrics at their companies today.

What to measure
According to the Society for Human Resource Management, hiring for high-quality candidates is fundamentally different than hiring candidates for the lowest cost. However, metrics such as company enthusiasm often cannot be quantified. According to Inc. magazine, many recruiters complain that they can only measure a quality of hire after seeing their work performance for three to six months. This simply isn't the case. Human resource managers and human resource generalists can measure the quality of their hires using six to eight performance objectives. Skills, behaviors and competencies can be measured in these quantifiable forms as well as team spirit and go-getter attitudes.

How to measure it
When measuring these six to eight performance objectives or skills, behaviors and competencies, use a scale of one through five with one being unsatisfactory and five being the most impressive. These six to eight KPIs can be anything from volume of work produced to satisfaction by managers and teammates. Require each employee to score at least a 20 out of 25 to keep employment after checking in during the first month. Over the course of that month, track their trend of growth or work volume by requiring employees to fill volume logs and meet quotas by the end of a week or month. If a customer has not completed their quotas by the end of the month, they could face termination.

Other options
Many other factors can be taken into account when rating the quality-of-hire for a candidate. If scales are an unsatisfactory form of quantifying data at a company, use an equation in a spreadsheet to measure their productivity. It is also possible to use human resources management software to track the quality of your hires. With these tools, every human resource manager will be able to easily measure and keep the most effective talent for an organization.

Tips for the HR department of one

22 Feb

Human resource management system software can give small-business owners the assistance they need to make important decisions, but what do you do when you're a HR department of one? You might have just a small pool of employees to look after, however, how can one individual tackle all of the administrative work along with face-to-face interactions with employees all at the same time? The workload might send many people running for the exits.

Being the sole HR representative for your business means it's up to you to explain yearly benefits packages, file important documents and handle any personnel issues that might arise. While the work might seem overwhelming, it's still doable. With that said, let's take a look at a few tips and tricks to help you get started: 

1. Let your company know the power you hold
There's a lot of administrative work that goes into HR, but that's not all. Let the rest of your business know you also play a strategic and vital role in decision making. As an HR department of one, you can always outsource the more paper-pushing tasks to enterprises that offer payroll software programs. However, you know your business best and you can provide the strategic human resource management it needs. 

2. Make a schedule
It's easier said than done for an HR professional to make a schedule and stick to it. Being the lone HR representative means you have to perform triage most of the time. However, prioritize your time wisely. Set aside an hour or two during the week to work on specific tasks so you're not scrambling to get crucial paperwork completed at the last minute. 

3. Always stay up to date
Since HR includes many legal matters, you must stay current with labor laws. With that said, look for a few good resources you can turn to if you need help in this area. There are a number of resource books, websites and blogs you can use including "The Complete Guide to Human Resources and the Law."

4. Use technology to your advantage
Besides using a third-party service to handle payroll, you can also look for other services or download programs to search and organize job applicants. Also, put social media platforms such as LinkedIn to use to find potential candidates. 

An HR department of one is possible if you prioritize your time and think strategically

How HR can fill the toughest jobs of 2016

2 Feb

In any human resource professional's career, there will be roles that are challenging to supply employees for. However, since recruitment is HR staff's responsibility, these workers need to develop effective strategies to fill these positions. Let's look at some of the most difficult jobs to find people for and how to overcome that struggle:

Marketing managers
Digital advertising is growing in today's business world, and companies need proper leaders to run their campaigns. However, marketing managers can be in short supply since they usually average a six-figure salary from the get-go. Communications-based candidates have highly transferable skills sets though and could be trained, over time, to take on a larger management role. By finding applicants with similar skill sets and providing on-the-job preparation, organizations can educate workers to retain knowledge most pertinent to the job.

Trade workers
Industries like manufacturing are having a tough time locating skilled employees who can fill the number of open positions they have. Instead, they're left to bring uneducated workers on board. While these candidates are paid less money, they may also have less of a work ethic as they're not professionals within the trade. It's crucial for businesses in this industry to make sure their future employees are receiving adequate training in both high school and postsecondary school. Collaborating with these institutions on curriculum and preparatory methods will assist trade organizations locate capable workers.

This role has been a tough position to fill for years. As engineers retire, there aren't enough additional employees to take their jobs or workloads. Past workers had a variety of skills at their discretion, which the new set struggle to obtain, making the role even more difficult for them. In order to hire efficient people for these positions, HR teams should look at candidates who are a few years from entering the job market. While recent college graduates may not be able to fill these roles right away, given two years or so, they could be perfect for the careers and all its necessary skills and responsibilities.

Just like any other year, 2016 will have jobs that are challenging to fill. It's important for HR leaders to think ahead and develop recruitment strategies that will find the best candidates for specific roles. While these tactics may be unorthodox, they can have astounding results.

How to prepare for proposed overtime rules

15 Oct

If enacted as it currently is the new proposed changes to overtime pay by the U.S. Department of Labor will give nearly 5 million Americans extra pay, according to the Pew Research Center. Those millions of employees that could be eligible for overtime pay are working in salaried white-collar jobs where payment for working over eight hours a day isn't an option.

The new regulation could have a great affect on human resource planning and payroll management if it becomes law. Human resources will need to process more paperwork. Also, if a company wants to cut costs, it'll mean human resources and supervisors will need to keep track of how long employees work to ensure staff members don't go over eight hours a day or 40 hours a week. 

A new motion
As it is, the proposal raises the threshold for workers currently exempt from overtime pay. The current baseline, set in 2004, is $455 per week or $23,660 per year for employees who work over 40 hours a week. The new recommendation would allow staff members making $970 per week or $50,440 a year to be eligible for overtime compensation, too.  

According to the Pew Research Center, the threshold would rise each year if the government ties it to the Consumer Price Index or wage percentiles so it can keep up with inflation.

Remaining compliant
Companies and their human resource departments should draw up a plan of how to deal with any changes the motion could bring if it becomes law. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, business can prepare now while the Department of Labor reviews the public commentary about the proposed regulations. The department allowed anyone to comment on the proposal via a government website until Sept. 4, 2015, and so far it received nearly 200,000 responses, the SHRM reported.

"For critical positions that often result in overtime pay, employers should consider hiring more full-time, part-time or seasonal employees, or restructuring their workforce to offset a potential expansion of overtime pay," Phyllis Cheng, an attorney with DLA Piper, told the SHRM.

The proposed regulation could cause logistical problems for companies, leading some businesses to slash employee hours or cut back on benefits in order to pay out more in overtime salary. 

To curb this potential problem, employers should pinpoint which employees still fall under the overtime threshold and which ones are closing in on it, Paul DeCamp, an attorney, told the SHRM. A company could raise the salary of a staff member who's current salary is already near the overtime brink. Bumping up the employee's salary would keep him or her above the threshold and ineligible for overtime pay.  

Businesses might need to move workloads around, splitting them up among multiple employees to ensure none work overtime.

The proposal could also have a chilling effect on work-life balances. Employees who take work home with them or on the road could see their hours cut or monitored more closely. 

Noncompete clauses pose issues for human resources

7 Oct

Human resources should be aware and wary of job candidates still under noncompete clauses. According to, hiring someone still under one or not asking during the interview process could cost a company millions. A business could have the best employee management system to aid human resources in their work, but recruiters and HR need to be vigilant when asking job candidates necessary questions.

Costly mistakes
BioSense Webster, a cardiac medical device manufacturer owned by Johnson and Johnson, had to pay $1.2 million after knowingly hiring someone who worked for competitor St. Jude Medical, reported.

When BioSense Webster hired Jose de Castro he was still under a three-year noncompete agreement with St. Jude Medical and he performed similar job duties with his new company. While the judge in the case subsequently threw out St. Jude's lawsuit, the judge ordered BioSense to pay attorney's fees, the cost St. Jude incurred from losing de Castro as well as lost profits.

Noncompetes becoming more commonplace
According the The Washington Post, noncompete agreements are becoming more prevalent in many different work sectors. They're no longer just used to keep executives and developers from jumping ship to another firm and potentially passing on proprietary information, The New York Times reported. Even fast-food chain Jimmy John's made news when it came to light that the company had employees sign two-year noncompete clauses, CNN Money reported. Employees agreed that they would not work at another sandwich store within three miles of one of the chain's restaurants.

"There has been a definite, significant rise in the use of noncompetes, and not only for high tech, not only for high-skilled knowledge positions," Orly Lobel, a professor at the University of San Diego School of Law, told The Times. "They've become pervasive and standard in many service industries."

More noncompete agreements means more lawsuits, The Washington Post noted. And this is why it's important for hiring managers and HR to ask potential employees about any clauses they signed with their former employers, advised.

A company can be sued if they knew their employee was under a noncompete agreement with his or her old employer. Businesses can also be taken to court if their was a reasonable expectation that the person they hired was under an agreement but they failed to ask before hiring him or her, stated.

Lawsuits on the rise
The number of court cases regarding noncompetes are on the rise, The Wall Street Journal reported. The percentage of lawsuits involving the breach rose by 61 percent from 2002 to 2012, according to research law firm Beck Reed Riden LLP did for the newspaper. Most noncompete clause suits are settled out of court, The Journal noted.

Some companies already decline to hiring candidates who are still locked in a clause from their former employers due to possible ligation and court costs. Many just don't want the headaches or worry and because of that it can keep some businesses from growing.

"We're around $8 million in revenue," James Keating, CEO for commercial insurance broker, Keating Group. "I'm confident we would be double our size if we didn't have that to deal with."

With noncompetes and lawsuits both on the rise, it pays for human resources and hiring managers to ask the right questions of candidates in job interviews. It can save a business both time and money by avoiding court or paying someone until the clause the ends. 

Even if human resources doesn't suspect a job candidate is under a noncompete agreement, they should ask anyway to keep their company safe.