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Better Data Quality, Better HR Results

13 Apr

Improving HR Data Quality Is Easier Than You ThinkIn this acronym-rich industry of ours there’s still one acronym that I hold above all others because its truth is undeniable: GIGO. For those of you who might not remember this one, it stands for “garbage in,  garbage out” – and it describes what we all know too-well: the poorer the quality of the data in our HR application, the less value we’re going to get out of that application.

GIGO has been with us practically since the dawn of the computer software age; and yet, in our excitement over new products, new gadgets, and (most of all) new catch-phrases, GIGO has to a great degree been pushed off to the side. Organizations have been too-accustomed (and too forgiving) in accepting “bad data” in their software applications, and when the economy falters and organizations downsize their staff, the incremental increase in bad data is simply accepted as the cost of doing business with fewer people to do it.

Don’t you believe it.

Chalking up the increase in bad data to a reduction in staffing is an all-too convenient excuse, and – if anything – staff downsizing should bring the subject of bad data to the forefront of a business and make addressing it a corporate imperative.

But here’s the thing – most HR organizations think of data quality in terms of data entry; making sure that required fields aren’t left blank, making sure that validated fields have valid responses, and seeing to it that date fields contain date values, numeric fields contain numeric values, and so on. Now all of these things do help to improve the quality of data, but they far from all you can do to improve data quality.

Consider the following: 

  • Making sure that phone numbers have the correct number of digits
  • Making sure that email addresses include the ‘@’ symbol
  • Making sure that “follow-up” or “service” dates are no more than ‘x’ days out
  • Making sure an employee’s vacation time does not go negative
  • Making sure that pay raises do not exceed ‘x’ percent (and that a person’s salary is commensurate with their position)
  • Making sure that the personnel data in your HR application is in agreement with the personnel data in your other business applications, such as accounting or sales systems

The above is just a small example of the types of “data integrity” conditions that you can watch for in your HR system; generally speaking, these conditions resolve themselves into the following:

  • Checking for missing data (e.g., no cell phone number)
  • Checking for incorrectly-formatted data (phone numbers, SSNs, email addresses, etc.)
  • Checking for conditionally-missing data (e.g., if field ‘a’ = ‘x’, then field ‘b’ must have a value)
  • Checking for conditionally-invalid data (e.g., if field ‘a’ = ‘x’, field ‘b’ cannot have values ‘y’ or ‘z’)
  • Confirming that date, time, & numeric values fall within acceptable ranges (e.g., a “next scheduled maintenance” date cannot be more than ‘x’ days in the future, or “vacation available” cannot go negative)
  • Performing cross-application data validation (e.g., an employee in the HR system should have the same email address as in that employee in your ERP system)

As mentioned earlier, most HR organizations’ attempts at improving data quality usually begin and end with only the first item above – making sure that HR required fields are not left blank.

So – do yourself, your HR staff, and your employees a favor; the next time you go into your HR application and you see something that makes you want to say “How did that happen?” – don’t just chalk it up as the price of doing business. Implement an HR data-quality system that automatically checks for (and responds to) that “bad data” the moment it appears.

After all, everyone makes mistakes; it’s having to live with them that we can do without.


Introducing Sage Source

20 Feb

Sage Source - Improve Your Work Life SuccessFor almost a year now I have been talking about Return on Employee Investment because I believe every organization should look at their decisions with this idea in mind. Employees are the single most important asset of a company and numerous studies have shown that customer satisfaction is directly related to employee satisfaction. 

For small businesses, hiring and retaining the best employees are some of the most difficult tasks because of competition for the best talent. Larger organizations have an advantage because they can use their size to offer employees a plethora of benefits and access to technology at a reduced cost.

Today, I am extremely excited because a new idea is being introduced into the market to help solve this problem and aid in the competition for the best talent. I’m proud to announce that we’re launching a forward-thinking new cloud services platform named Sage Source

Sage Source is an easy to use employer and employee portal that allows employers to offer services to their employees that they only dreamed of and all with minimal administration.  It also provides value in savings to small and mid-sized companies by giving them access to business related services at enterprise savings levels. The initial release provides immediate value to companies in several areas and the savings and value will continue to grow as we continue to add more business and employee services to the platform. 

I can honestly say that this is the most exciting thing I have seen to help small businesses engage their employees in a long time. Sage HRMS customers on a current Sage Business Care plan will have immediate access to the new offering and I invite you to learn more now by visiting the Sage Source website.


The Top 5 HR Trends to Watch in 2012

2 Jan

The Top 5 HR Trends to Watch in 2012As we close the books on 2011, many businesses are looking at strategies and tactics for the new year. Given recent waves of market uncertainty, this year poses a unique challenge for decision-makers and C-level executives. While there are numerous financial considerations ranging from healthcare compliance to tepid consumer confidence, human resource managers have been forced to align their practices with the evolving global economy.

With these considerations in mind, here are my five top HR trends to look for in 2012.

1. Succession Planning

With an aging U.S. workforce and an anemic job market, HR teams will need to develop strategies to help mitigate employee turnover and assuage executive departures. A Mercer survey released late last year found roughly one-third of U.S. workers are considering leaving their jobs, with younger workers more likely to quit.

The Mercer study pointed out that workers are feeling less attached to their organizations, both emotionally and psychologically. They don’t necessarily believe that the organization they work for has their interests in mind.

On top of low employee morale, the aging baby boomer generation will present even more challenges to HR managers. For these reasons, succession planning for leadership and high-skills professionals will be extremely important in 2012. Have you thought about how you could quickly replace certain positions at your company?

2. Social Media

While its role within the realm of marketing and customer service has been clear, social media has been more of an enigma to many HR professionals. Problematic workplace issues can arise when employees engage in social media without a formal company policy in place. For example, they may divulge trade secrets, violate confidentiality, or lessen their productivity.

The National Labor Review Board also ruled on a few cases this year regarding the role of social media in the workplace. Generally, the NLRB sided with employees and their freedom to post content without fear of work-related repercussions. However, savvy HR managers will tap the considerable benefits of a workplace social media strategy to engage employees.

3. Human Resources Technology

HR management systems and related technologies help boost efficiency and increase productivity in areas such as payroll compliance, employee scheduling, data management, recruiting, and security.

With a variety of budgetary, hiring, and regulatory constraints looming in 2012, HR managers and executives are apt to be overwhelmed. Demand will rise for HR technologies that help to allay these burdens.

 4. Aligning HR and Corporate Goals for Increased ROEI

In an uncertain business climate like today, HR mangers are consistently being asked to explain the costs and benefits of employee-related programs and benefits, their Return On Employee Investment or ROEI. But this is not readily quantified. Relative to other business units, HR departments cannot point to costs and revenues as a measure of effectiveness. This is a problem for HR managers. One evolving solution is “strategic alignment,” using HR metrics as appropriate. 

In broad terms, strategic alignment means using HR processes to align business units and individual employees with the strategic goals identified by senior management. For example, management needs clear, direct, and constant communication with employees to implement strategies. More specifically, it means that HR managers modify traditional HR processes—recruiting and hiring, employee retention and development, and compensation—to implement the strategies developed by senior management.

Human resource departments that align their goals with their organization’s goals will accomplish more and increase their productivity in 2012.

5. Healthcare Reform

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will continue to be implemented in 2012, and it will impose new compliance burdens each year until 2018. While the law is likely to remain mostly intact, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to make a monumental ruling on its constitutionality this summer.

Either way, HR managers will likely need to collaborate with other departments to address healthcare compliance standards. A recent Towers Watson survey found 38 percent of finance executives believe strategy development will be more of a shared role, compared to 24 percent among HR leaders.

Companies are only beginning to address the complex decisions triggered by healthcare, says Towers Watson. But these decisions will have a direct impact on the broader set of employee rewards.

So there you have it, my five key human resources trends to watch in 2012. I’d love to know what you think. Comment below or let me know on Twitter by replying to @SageHRMS!


Invest In Your Employees and Better Your Business

18 May

Minimize Your Turnover Rate With These TipsI’m back with our regular feature about the Return on Employee Investment (ROEI).  Throughout the series I’ll speak directly to what ROEI is, how organizations can maximize it and how they can calculate it. 

While some turn-over is unavoidable and to some extent even desirable, turnover among your top performers is largely avoidable. And it is certainly worth the investment. People don’t necessarily tell the whole truth in exit interviews about why they are leaving. Managers should, of course, know in advance who is leaving and why.

A high turnover rate is likely due to a combination of reasons. Thus, increasing employee retention also requires a combination of measures. An employee will be motivated to stay at a company when they feel comfortable, well respected, fairly compensated, and (dependent on position and character) see possibilities for growth and personal development. Here are some of the areas an employer can invest in to lower the employee turnover rate:


It is clear that no manager can make informed decisions without proper information. HR or employee analytics can help management y decide where to invest, identify the top performers, determine what employees need to best perform and what they value. Analytics also give provide a consistent way to monitor the results of any measure taken, HR analytics really are the ace up your sleeve.

Modern human resource management systems contain a wealth of information that can give managers and executives the insight needed to make the best possible decisions about the workforce.


A lack of (or poor) communication, both top-down and between teams or peers, causes frustration and misdirected energy. For HR departments, communcation is key and company communication can be greatly enhanced by publishing the company’s values, vision and mission. Provide easy access to the company handbook. Make use of the technology for employee self-service portals and performance appraisal systems and encourage employees to use these available resources. 

Work environment

BusinessWeek cites that a “San Francisco design firm Gensler found that of more than 2,000 workers around the U.S., two-thirds believe they are more efficient when they work closely with their colleagues. But 30% said that their workplace doesn’t promote spontaneous interaction and collaboration—a sentiment that’s leading many companies to rethink the office environment.”

Widespread usage of social media and web 2.0 technologies has proven that these spontaneous interactions and collaboration are no longer limited by physical borders. Employee collaboration and business social networking have already demonstrated value in terms of improved employee performance, creativity, communication and informal learning.

Employee Recognition

Most companies reward employees and recognize a job well done with a combination of compensation and benefits. But there are many more tools in the employee reward arsenal. To compete in the global workforce environment, an effective employee recognition program is a necessity.

Successful recognition programs motivate workers in ways that increase their level of engagement. According to the Human Capital Institute (HCI), “best practices” for applying recognition programs include:

  • Creating a culture of recognition in the workplace that includes both formal and informal methods of recognition.
  • Making sure that employees get rewarded in a way that is valuable to them by providing a wide variety of recognition rewards. Emphasizing higher quality performance, rather than just increased amount of effort.
  • Recognizing employees frequently to maintain consistent engagement.
  • Ensuring that rewards are linked solidly to business objectives and/or desired business cultural values.


Effective training and development programs are excellent instruments to reduce employee turn-over. When employees feel like their careers can develop no further at an organization, it is often time to leave. Good training programs can help your employees learn the skills needed for new projects and challenges, or even a higher position within the company.

Compensation and Benefits

Without an adequate and competitive package of compensation and benefits, it is difficult for any company to hire or retain top talent. The challenge for small-business owners is figuring out how much their competitors pay, and what package of benefits deliver the best retention results. If the main goal is to motivate talent to stay with the company, in other words to create ‘stickiness’, it is important to choose a balanced package of benefits from many available programs:

  • Work/Life balance: Holidays, paid time off, flexible work arrangements
  • Financial security: Retirement plans, pensions, disability insurance, life insurance
  • Health and medical insurances: health insurance, dental, vision flexible spending or health savings accounts, gym memberships
  • Career development/Personal growth: Tuition reimbursement, onsite lectures, computer based training subscriptions
  • Other: Discounted auto, home, or pet insurance, savings clubs for shopping, employee loan programs to purchase computers.

What do you think?  Does that list do a good job summarizing it?  Has your company offered any other benefits to help increase employee retention?

Are You More Than an HR Professional?

6 Apr

Move Human Resources to Strategic PartnerFor the past four years, once or twice a year, I’ve stood before a room of students studying for the HRCI exam in the hopes of earning a PHR or SPHR designation. I’m there to teach the Strategic Management module. All of them walk in as HR Professionals. My goal is to get them to leave with a new attitude. If they want to be strategic, if they really want to impact their organization, they need to demonstrate they are Business Professionals with expertise in HR. It doesn’t sound like much of a change, but I think it’s huge.

In the past, an HR Professional advised and assisted managers in managing human resources. They gathered facts, diagnosed problems, provided solutions and offered assistance on employee-related problems. They provided service to a diverse customer base – employees, managers, executives, vendors, applicants, retirees, etc.  They exercised control or authority by reviewing and measuring employee performance. And they pushed a lot of paper.

In many cases, they became known as the people who did the hiring and firing, told people what they could and couldn’t do, and they organized the company picnic. They were perceived as members of the “Department of Sunshine and Rainbows.”

Don’t get me wrong. My Myers-Briggs personality inventory says I’m an “F” off the scale. I make decisions based on feelings. I understand and gravitate towards the people who say I’m a “people person,” so I entered the field of HR. But as an officer of a company, I’ve learned the role of HR has expanded.

Today’s successful HR practitioner must also have a strategic focus, a global, long-term, forward-thinking focus. They help create a culture and build an organization that meets its goals. They help an organization prepare for change; forecast human capital needs, manage talent, and develop systems that support strategic objectives.

Of course they still have operational and administrative duties. HR has a role in the day-to-day tasks that are necessary to run an organization and they have to deal with compliance issues and record keeping.

But, to be strategic, they must understand the perspective of their business partners; finance and accounting, marketing and sales, operations, information technology, and the employees. It’s the only way they will be able to collaborate and identify internal needs and emerging issues. Today’s HR professional must understand the entire business.

Of course, it takes time to understand the business – to step back and think strategically. To regularly meet, formally or informally, with business partners to get to know them and what’s going on in their world. An HR professional bogged down in paperwork and administrative tasks doesn’t have time to be strategic.

It also takes timely data and the ability to analyze the data to spot problems, identify trends and forecast future outcomes. It comes back to time. To be strategic, you can’t be spending time pulling paper out of files or trying to pull data out of different systems and cobble it together manually in a spreadsheet.

Luckily, like the HR profession, HR technology has come a long way too. Modern human resources management systems integrate with other systems for seamless data transfer. Automation and workflow helps tasks flow through a process without significant manual intervention. Dynamic reporting puts up-to-the-minute data at your fingertips without waiting for batch jobs or IT support. Web-based self-service empowers employees and managers by giving them access to appropriate information and let’s them “help themselves” without calling down to HR for assistance with day-to-day tasks.

When you’re considering HR technology, put on your business hat and think about the needs and goals of the organization. What system will help the organization deliver on its mission and achieve its goals? Of course, your expertise ensures it supports the HR function. Remember, now you’re a business professional with expertise in HR – not an HR professional.

The Top 10 Things To Do When an Employee Goes on FMLA

28 Mar

Empty Office When Employee Goes on FMLAWith all the lawsuits related to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, human resources managers need to make sure they do everything by the book when an employee gives notice that they’ll be out for an extended period of time.

The government mandates 12 job-protected weeks during a 12 month period for eligible employees who have recently had a child (through birth or adoption placement), need to care for an immediate family member with a serious health condition, have a serious health condition themselves or have to cover for a family member serving in the military. Eligible employees can also take up to 26 weeks for military caregiver leave during a single 12 month period.

Here are a several things an HR manager can do to stay compliant, protect the company and ensure a smooth transition for employer and employee alike:

1. Recertification: Before an employee goes on intermittent leave, request FMLA recertification. The law allows employers to request medical recertification once every 30 days under certain circumstances.

2. Discuss Vacation Benefits: Either employee or employer can decide whether a worker’s accrued paid vacation or sick days will go towards the 12 weeks of unpaid FMLA leave.

3. Handle IT Logistics: See IT about email access to the employee’s inbox. If the worker maintains outside communications ¾such as handling client accounts¾make sure those emails are forwarded to another employee during the absence.

4. Redistribute Workload: That employee’s work still needs to get done, right? Find the most appropriate way to have others handle that employee’s workload or possibly call a temporary employment service. Temp agencies can find workers to cover a job for a single day or for an extended period.

5. Check In: Employers are allowed to request that a worker on FMLA leave call in to report his or her status. Employees are still required under the law to give adequate notice and comply with a company’s call-in policy.  

6. Stay Compliant: Keep current with the law, and make sure your managers do too. Supervisors need to know the ins and outs of the law, as they will likely be the first line of communication between workers and the executives who oversee leave under FMLA. Employers are required to have an updated FMLA poster prominently displayed somewhere in the office.

7. Protect the Employee’s Privacy: Coworkers will probably notice their cube-mate’s absence, but employers should not disclose any employee medical information.

8. Watch the Weather and Holidays:  Calculate holidays and snow days while your employee is on leave, as an office shut-down day or national holiday may count toward the worker’s FMLA balance¾depending on whether they take a full week off or only part of it. Leave under FMLA is measured in work weeks, with intermittent or shorter leaves counting as fractions of weeks. Thanksgiving week offers a good example: If an employee on FMLA leave takes off the normally scheduled Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and the office is closed Thursday and Friday, then he or she is docked a full week of his or her FMLA balance. If the employee works the Monday and Tuesday, but takes Wednesday off under FMLA, then only Wednesday is deducted. However, since Thanksgiving week has three days, the day of FMLA leave is one-third of a week, rather than the one-fifth of a normal work-week.

9. Reassess an Employee’s Role: Other workers who are covering for an employee on leave may discover a huge mess in his or her wake, or the employee might refuse to adhere to company policy while away. Either situation can be grounds for termination. Companies can’t fire an employee for taking time under FMLA, but with legitimate reason can fire a worker upon his or her return. 

10. Prepare for Employee’s Return: When it’s time for an employee to return, they are entitled to their old job or an equivalent position with similar hours, expectations and salary. If he or she can no longer perform the old job due to a medical condition, make sure a termination would not violate the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Although this list is far from being comprehensive, it should be of help when trying to untangle some of FMLA’s provisions.  Also, remember that some states have different regulations beyond FMLA so keep current on all of these laws to remain in compliance and consult legal counsel when necessary.

Has anyone in your company requested FMLA leave? What kind of complications popped up?

Measuring HR’s Direct Impact on Business Profitability

21 Mar

Human Resources Metrics Can Measure Business ProfitabilityA company is only as good as its human resources management but sometimes businesses and managers may not see it that way. Thanks to HR metrics however, human resources professionals can show their direct impact on a business and its profitability.

Having metrics in place is like finally using a scale when on a diet. Sure, it looks like you’ve lost weight and all of your efforts seem to be having an effect on your waist line, but there’s no way to be sure of the exact impact without a clear way to measure it. Hop on a scale and your weight loss goes from “I look great” to “I lost 10 pounds!”

Metrics for HR allow businesses to see tangible evidence of where staffing, compensation and benefit policies are working and where there is room for improvement. Areas that are often measured include turnover, open positions, employee engagement, cost per hire, cost per healthcare plan and customer feedback scores.

Human resource planning is essential to a business’s success, and metrics allow companies to have a more accurate way to measure HR success. Before, HR departments were mostly measured on how long it took to fill a vacant position, but today, we have so many more ways to weigh success.

Want to learn more about HR metrics?  Register for our HR R&R: Refresh and Recertify Webcast, Measuring Up – Using Metrics to Meet & Exceed Expectations. This month’s hour long live webcast focuses on providing HR professionals with the tools to effectively communicate with C-level executives.  You’ll learn how to speak the language of business through metrics for staffing, compensation, and benefits to effectively evaluate and improve performance within the HR function.

Fun At Work?

23 Feb

Human Resources Having Fun at Work - Clown Shoes!When is the last time you had fun at work?  

Take a deep breath and think about the last time you had fun at work. I am not talking about the times you find your work enjoyable, rewarding, fulfilling, etc. I am talking about a really good time with a group of people (coworkers, volunteers, constituents) that was full of lots of laughter. Having fun in our lives is necessary. And yes, part of our life is work. Having fun at work is important and has many benefits for both employees and the organization.

There are numerous studies that have been done and books written about how fun in the work place increases productivity, innovation, better decision making, and team work. Those studies also show that organizations that are fun have fewer absences and lower turnover.

I found on a list of six reasons fun can improve work quality and mental health. I think these reasons sum up the importance of why we need to have fun in the workplace.

 1. Fun breaks up boredom and fatigue
2. Fun fulfills human social needs
3. Fun increases creativity and willingness to help
4. Fun fulfills the need for mastery and control
5. Fun improves communication
6. Fun breaks up conflict and tension

Now I know some of you are thinking, “Erin, I just want to come in do my job, go home at the end of the day and receive a paycheck on a regular basis.” I completely understand and I have those days as well. But, think about what your day would be like if there was some fun and you were still getting paid…

  • What if you were happier? Would you treat others differently?
  • Wouldn’t the day pass more quickly?
  • Would the creative juices flow more easily?
  • You may begin to see health benefits: lower stress, lower blood pressure, less anxiety?

Now that we know there are benefits to having fun at work, let me provide you with some suggestions on ways to have fun that are low cost. If you don’t like my suggestions, I encourage you to Google “Fun at Work” for more ideas.

  • Create a playground in the office: have a common area where everyone can go to “play”. You can stock the area with puzzles, craft projects, toys such as Lego’s, jacks, playing cards, etc.
  • Have a “Lunch time, Fun time” once a month. Show a comedy movie, allow employees to perform a comedic act, have departments put on a skit. Of course any of these activities need to be done in good taste so not to offend anyone.
  • “Theme Days” – Did you ever have theme days in grade school? At my son’s school they have “Crazy Hat Day”, “Wacky Dress Day”, “Pajama Day”; you get the idea. Pick a day/week/month and have everyone participate in a theme. It can be as simple as “Shorts Day” every Friday if you have a more formal dress code.

I can’t forget the most important part which is to allow yourself and others to have fun in the workplace. Encourage others to step away from their desks and cut loose every now and then.

I encourage you to have fun at work! It will make the place you spend more than one-third of your day more enjoyable.

What ways does your human resources department encourage fun in your workplace?

Ask an Expert: Recruiting and Hiring Tips and Best Practices

9 Feb

Recruiting and Hiring Tips and Best PracticesIn this post, I’ve taken a detour from our path in Guerilla Interviewing.  This week I had the great opportunity to conduct an exciting interview!  Not that all of my other interviews weren’t exciting – this one was unique because I wasn’t interviewing a candidate for a position here at Sage.  Instead, I was learning about an exciting new author – Dan Erling – a Sage customer who is also a fellow HR professional and author of a new book that explores a different take on recruiting and hiring – one that I am excited to learn more about.

Dan is President of Accountants One, a 40 year-old accounting/finance recruiting firm with headquarters in Atlanta and partner of a staffing firm, The Water Organization.  What I found to be almost as compelling as his new book was his Search for the Funniest Accountant stereotype debunker which has grown into a successful annual fundraiser for Junior Achievement.  Additionally, he is a member of Financial Executives International (FEI); Georgia Association of Personnel Services (GAPS); and the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA).  Okay, let’s wrap up the intro and dive right into our interview!

Dan just published his first book, MATCH: A Systematic, Sane Process for Hiring the Right Person Every Time.

Jennifer Millman: What is the biggest obstacle that organizations face when implementing a structured recruiting process for the first time?

Dan Erling:  The biggest obstacle comes down to execution, actually putting in the time that it takes to create, implement, and run a structured process.  As a result of the changing nature of business, HR leaders are pulled a number of different ways throughout the day, week, month, etc. and finding the time to plan and execute is difficult.  Unfortunately, what ends up happening most of the time is that recruiters and HR managers try and save time by circumventing the process but it is dangerous.  Sometimes it can work and you’ll luck into a great hire, but you can’t win the lottery every time.

JM: How can organizations overcome that obstacle (time and execution)?

DE: There is only one way to truly succeed and it’s not exciting, it just comes down to prioritization. Organizations need to move hiring the right people, creating and filling the team with talented individuals, to the top of their priority lists.  The key to being successful in business is being competitive and people are your competitive advantage. Focus on hiring to increase your advantage. 

JM: In many businesses, HR as a function is still looked upon as an administrative job function rather than a strategic function in which HR is respected as a true business partner who is integrated with and involved in the business.  What can HR professionals do to help change the mindset of organizations toward the latter through their hiring practices?

DE: In most functional businesses, the proper respect is given to HR. It is only in non-functional businesses where what you are saying is true. Part of the disrespect comes from the actions that the groups display.  As an example, sometimes HR professionals base hiring decisions solely on compensation and fees.  This isn’t the proper motivation or reason to take action and practices like this surface in the long run.

When human resource’s number one dictate is to save money for their company, this can’t truly be achieved by cutting benefits or incentives, but by making the right hire.  The cost incurred from the hiring the right people far outweighs other savings – that new hire can greatly impact their hiring ROI.

Organizations who only focus on the bottom line in HR, instead of focusing on the value their function can bring will find difficulty becoming a strategic partner.

JM: ROI is a recurring theme throughout your book.  In a few words, can you explain how we can calculate ROI and start using this metric right now?

DE: There are a number of metrics and calculations that can be used to calculate ROI and it really depends on how your business measures certain things.  A simple and great way to calculate hiring ROI is measure “revenue per employee.”  If you divide the revenue of your company by the number of employees you’ll get the revenue per employee metric.  If you can increase that ratio after you bring in another employee, that hire has brought true value to the organization.

JM: What do you feel is the best way to kick off a Hire Right interview? 

DE: I am a big advocate in the customized approach to hiring, scripted questions that are behavioral in nature.  This is important because after an interview, when comparing candidates, you’re comparing apples to apples.  I have a go-to opening question that allows me to open a conversation, it informs me if a candidate is value driven and if they can follow directions.  I always ask, “Please take 5 minutes to walk me through your career from the time you left college, until now.”

JM: When you are lucky enough to have a strong candidate pool, and you’ve narrowed it down to two strong candidates that would be great for the slot, how do you decide between them?

DE: I love this question, and it’s the very core of MATCH.  When you go through a systematic approach, you proceed through it step by step, and with each consecutive step you increase your odds of hiring the right person.  If at the end, you have two that match, as long as you’ve gone through a process based approach to hiring, you can let your heart decide the right person.  Typically, a hiring manager or recruiter has their emotion influence their decisions too early in the process not focusing on an objective based evaluation.  If you strive to focus on objectivity throughout the process, at the end, when you have two candidates that match, you can then make an emotional decision.

JM: Any dealbreakers for you as an interviewer? What does a candidate have to do or say to fall out of your consideration?

DE: There are a number of actions that are red flags, if someone consistently brings up the topic of compensation or money it is a turnoff.  With the MATCH process, dealbreakers are oftentimes behaviors that fall out of the scope of what we’re looking for in an ideal candidate.  For example, we’re currently working with a call center, so we created a profile that listed ideal behaviors.  With the question, “how much personal time do you spend on the telephone everyday?” we were able to assess if someone fit our profile.  If the candidate spent less than 15 minutes on the phone each day, it was a dealbreaker.

JM: How have advances in human resources technology and recruiting software affected HR functions today?

DE: Human resources software has really allowed hiring managers and recruiters to have easier access to a candidate pool.  Since I started in the business over 13 years ago, hiring a recruiting firm really came down to which firm could provide you with the most valuable pool of candidates.  Now, with the advances in HR software, you can create that database and pool yourself – also, software really allows you to search using a logical process.

JM: From one recruiter to another, thank you for your time and enthusiasm Dan! I hope MATCH is just the beginning of your publishing career.

5 Tips to Save Your Company Money

28 Jan

Human resources management decisions can save your company moneyIt is no secret that in today’s economic times, your company probably tries to save money whenever possible. It makes sense. But when it comes to employee and payroll solutions, there can be a point of diminishing returns when cutting costs leads can do more harm than good and leads to your operation suffering.

Here are five tips for perfecting your employee economics, taken from Entrepreneur Magazine.

1.  Staffing agencies, or professional employer organizations, can save you money on employee benefits. These companies essentially lease your employees back to you.

2. Think about hiring temporary employees when business surges rather than having permanent employees sitting idle during slow business cycles.

3. Interns offer free or low-cost labor in exchange for experience. Local college students look forward to learning the ropes for college credit and can be trained on the job for free and make for a seamless transition as a new hire.

4. Independent contractors can save a company money because employers generally don’t have to withhold or pay any taxes on payments to them. Just be wary that your contractors fit the definition provided by the IRS.

5. When you hire your own sales reps, there can be substantial costs for overheard, salaries, incentives, training costs and fringe benefits. Contracting independent manufacturers’ sales reps that are solely paid on commission is far less expensive.

Some companies have tried pretty creative ways to save money. As a gift for the holidays in 2010, all 12,400 U.S. employees of IKEA received a bicycle. The company hopes to save money in the long term by helping its employees be healthier, meaning less missed work, more productive days and lower insurance costs. 

Do you have any creative ways that your company is trying to save money and at the same time help with human resources management?