Category: Customer Stories


What is Outside-In?

February 4th, 2016

Although Outside-In® is a regular topic in my blog, the definition tends to elude some readers. By definition, Outside-In® is when a business is customer-centered. It is a philosophy, a culture, a way of thinking that impacts the way a business and its employees operate. When you’re Outside-In®, you are always listening to your customers’ needs and wants for opportunities to improve, drive change, or try something new for your customers.

I know many leaders that pride themselves on focusing on the customer exclusively — kudos to them. But how many leaders truly turn outward first, then build a company that does the same? A leader’s focus on the customer does not necessarily translate into every employee. Outside-In® suggests that leaders don’t have to hold the customer’s wants and needs on their shoulders alone. In a world that is moving faster every day, isn’t it better to have everyone in the organization listening and reacting to customers, instead of just one or a few?

Outside-In® companies should and can run like one, big, constant focus group. Imagine a focus group that never ends, where employees get to ask the questions and observe the customers’ behavior. What if these observations were collected and cherished every day and that company decisions and plans were driven based on all the customer insights collected? In an eternal focus group, every employee sees the impact the company has on the customer and when that impact is negative or unproductive, each employee has the opportunity to recognize how the issue could be addressed.

Employee IdeasLast year, Comcast NBCUniversal awarded employee ideas in the company’s internal ‘Shark Tank’ competition, The Idea, which challenged employees (139,000+ globally) to come up with the next big idea to make the company better. Employees responded to challenge, submitting 200 submissions within two hours of the program’s announcement, and nearly 3,000 ideas in the end. All employees’ suggestions “for enhancing the customer experience or driving innovation and new business opportunities.” Maggie Suniewick, a Senior VP for the company and organizer of the competition shared, “We have so many talented and engaged employees with really good ideas — they just haven’t always known how to share them more broadly.” The Idea winner, Nathan Kalish agreed with executives inspiration behind the competition, “We have to look to employees and consumers to identify needs and challenges,” he says. “And if we want to adapt and grow, we need to respond.”

Google is another example of a company that not only rewards employees but also their customers who uncover vulnerabilities in Google’s system. Last year, Google rewarded Kamil Hismatullin who discovered that he could delete any YouTube video file in minutes. Instead of exploiting this information, he reported the code he used to Google, who fixed the issue within a few hours and gave him $5,000 as a thank you. And just this week it was reported how much Google paid the man who bought the Google.com domain back in October 2015. What would Google do if they no longer had Google.com?!

There are lots of companies that practice the Outside-In® behavior of listening to customers to fix problems, make improvements and implement new ideas. And you don’t need to be a big company with a huge bank account like NBCUniversal or Google. Harvard Business Review notes one Japanese company Idemitsu, which gets more than a hundred ideas per employee each year without offering any bonuses. Imagine your company living with a customer-centric mindset 24/7! Wow, think of the money you could save. Or how much your company could make with new ideas?

Why I Hate Headhunters

January 29th, 2016

Let me start with the ironic truth: I am a headhunter. My family has been in the recruitment business since 1971. We are a family of headhunters. And we have helped more than 50,000 people (our customers) with their career and search. Yes, we have helped them find their next role. So I think I have an earned perspective on what I hate about the very field I live and breathe in each day.

I Hate Head HuntersHeadhunters are selfish.
They tell you about how they make money. Or how much they make. Or worse yet, they perpetuate the notion that they are in the headhunting business just to make money. We all want to work with the pompous ass who brags about paying for his cigarette boat with his commision check, right? Headhunters see value in dollar signs, not human success stories – and that makes their actions and goals selfish.

Headhunters sling resumes.
We have all heard the demand from headhunters: Give me your job opening. Pretty please, hand over your hardest job to fill, the one that has been open forever and you have met with 50+ candidates that don’t fit the bill. Yes, that one. Once a headhunter takes the order, they will sling 10 resumes at you that aren’t even in the right job class. All they are doing is clogging up their “client’s” inbox.

Headhunters’ “clients” often don’t know they are clients.
Please just say yes – that you are open to seeing talent. Then, I will call you my client and push talent and resumes your way. There is no partnership here. And, you certainly don’t feel like a client.

Headhunters disappear when you need them most.
Wow, what’s really aggravating? When a hire blows up at the end of your headhunter’s guarantee period. It’s common for a headhunter to guarantee their placement for 60, 90 or some number of days. Headhunters call their customers all of the time. But then they disappear when there is a problem to avoid replacement hires or giving money back.

Headhunters make placements.
They don’t build recruitment solutions. Each placement is a transaction to a headhunter that means a payout. So headhunters build their goals around how much money they want to make, instead of solving their customers problems. Why do you need your next hire? What are your challenges in finding the right person? Headhunters don’t really care so long as they put a butt in a seat.

So yes, I hate headhunters.
The term headhunter is derogatory. But only because people live up to these stereotypes. And people that don’t live in the industry are left to believe that this is what all recruiters are like.

This is not how my company recruits. Quite frankly many good competitors do OK too. But many headhunters, well, they make it a little easier for the Outside-In Companies to make placements. Because we headhunt talent, but we don’t perpetuate the headhunter myth!

Consider scheduling an info session with our Senior Recruitment Consultant and see for yourself how we’re different.

What is the future of hiring?

January 27th, 2016

Hiring Predictions 2016A few weeks ago, I posted How Hiring Has Changed From 20 Years Ago. Lots of folks were curious and asked, What is the future of hiring? While the future is always uncertain, I have never been shy about making a few predictions.  

My 10 Predictions on the Future of Hiring

  1. Candidate Marketing Automation: Job candidates online behaviors will be tracked and monitored for changing career interests and information will automatically be sent to their inbox about your company (content created by your team or provider of course).
  2. Mobile Technology: It will be possible to complete 100% of the hiring process from a smart phone.
  3. What phone?  All video, all recorded… for all steps in the hiring process.
  4. Automated Referral Programs: The employee referral process will be easier and staff will seamlessly find future talent for the company.
  5. Selling Passive Recruits: The hiring process will be a sales process for the passive job seeker.
  6. No More Resumes: Resumes will no longer exist, your electronic business profile will become the standard!
  7. Networks Still Matter: You will still find jobs by who you know and how well you network and maintain relationships.  Those that leverage digital solutions will do the best job of maintaining business relationships.
  8. Hiring Managers: There will still be a need for Hiring Managers who will maintain their role in hiring process by determining technical fit for positions.
  9. Nurture Talent: Functional roles like HR or Talent Acquisition will drive process for acquiring enough or the right talent through marketing processes that attract, nurture and close talent.
  10. Talent Sharing: A transferable hiring clearance status will be developed across companies and institutions giving the person reciprocity to work for many different companies.

What do you think? Anything you would add? Or debate with me? I would love to hear your opinion.

If you’re interested in discussing the future of your hiring with me, I welcome you to schedule a 30 minute consultation with me. Click here to find time on my calendar.

3 Thoughts for RPO in 2016

January 20th, 2016

Guest blog spot by Outside-In® Team Member Alex Patton

RPO 2016Another year has passed, and the labor market has continued to be strong as we kick off 2016. There were 2.7 million jobs added in 2015. And we ended the year steadily with the lowest unemployment since 2008; dropping 0.7% from January to December, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. So what can you expect for RPO providers engaging and recruiting talent in 2016?

Talent Pipelining:  With increased hiring comes increased pressure to find the right talent, and find it quickly. This is especially true with 5.4 million open jobs (BLS). RPO Providers will be focused on talent pipeline services in 2016 to help provide clients talent as fast as possible and helping reduce time to fill.

Technology: Technology, our old friend from our 2015 RPO Thoughts. Yet again, technology is a sticking point for this year’s recruiting trends. With the fast paced nature of RPO engagements, technology can streamline processes, saving each partner time and energy. Look for providers that offer real time reporting. Wouldn’t it be nice to have access to your provider’s activity on your hard-to-fill job on a real-time basis? With today’s technology, you shouldn’t have to wait for the next status update from your RPO partner.

Big Data & Analytics: I’m sure you’ve read or heard the words “big data” when looking at trends or predictions. But it’s here, and it’s been here for longer than you might think, driving growth in some very mainstream industries. Data and analytics experts are highly sought talent. Don’t get left behind by partnering with an RPO provider that lacks experience sourcing and engaging these experts successfully.

Looking for recruiting advice in 2016?

Working on recruitment planning? Making changes to your recruitment process? Schedule an info session to discuss your talent acquisition goals and receive recruitment advice from our team – at no cost to you.
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How to Earn the Right with Outside-In

January 13th, 2016

I have a problem with the way you conduct yourself.

Earn the RightYes, that’s right I do. You have called me repeatedly and asked for my time. I have emails from you, many I might say. I even got the snail mail brochure that is sitting on my desk under a pile of other papers. You have done a terrific job of making you and your firm known to me. However, not in a good way. I am a small business person. Without relationships, customers, even new prospects to talk to, I do not have a company to run. So, I feel uniquely qualified to comment on this subject. I am, what I am going to call an “earning the right expert”. What is earning the right you might say? I hope you ask me that question or better yet read this post before you call and email for the 7th time on Tuesday at 1:30 pm. Yes, I even know when you are going to call me. And I make plans to avoid your call.

Earning the right is a core value of the Outside-In® Companies. Admittedly, I think we can do better at this one. Earning the right is what we must do for all of our relationships both internally and externally in our business.

  • Earning the right is about how we build trust.
  • Earning the right is how we make and keep small commitments.
  • Earning the right is how we demonstrate and create value for people.
  • Earning the right is about doing something for others because you have made an effort to find out what is important to them. And once you know that, deciding if your sphere of influence can help them out.
  • Earning the right is the first step to becoming something more in a relationship.

Need an example? Try asking me what my problems are. Or consider investing in me personally. Everyone always has a car to buy, has a kid graduating, a neighbor who needs a vendor or vendor who needs a problem solved. Help me help you. Be authentic. Be Genuine. Invest in me first.

Your calls, emails, and letters will be left where they are until you ask me to share my story. And you actually listen to it. Yes, I probably need what your selling. I might even be actively looking for your product or services right now. I could make your month or your quarterly bonus. But don’t sell me your product or your company. Tell me your story. But ask me about mine. Earn the right first.

ps: By the way earning the right fits in every single relationship situation. This is about slowing down. Doing things right. Don’t be selfish. Or at least fake it a little, please. Folks that don’t practice earning the right sound like whiny teenagers demanding the car keys on a Saturday night! Earn the right in all your relationships.

New Year Leadership Planning Tips

January 6th, 2016

Outside-In® Chronicles: a throwback post, originally published five years ago in January 2010

2016 Leadership PlanningLeaders often ask me about how they can be a better leader tomorrow. What can they do right now to have impact on their business. I find the key is to know how to plan and approach leadership actions creatively. Still not sure what I mean? Leaders do stuff — they are in meetings, they make and take phone calls, they solve problems, etc. As a leader you could spend all day reacting to the world around you. In fact, it never stops coming. All day long the cell phone rings and the inbox fills up. Yet this is not leadership. And it’s certainly not planned, thoughtful leadership. Leadership planning is a way to have a real impact. To be proactive and creative in improving the lives of your employees and the productivity they can achieve.

No matter what industry you are in, you will inevitably have customers, employees, vendors and prospects in your day. The best way to plan? Let’s start by thinking about any employee. What do they need right now? A compliment?  Recognition? A tough talk? Someone to listen? Training? Your job is to eliminate barriers for your employees while holding them accountable, to remind people that they have something to learn, let them know you’re there to help and that you care.

Still not so sure what to do? Think about your customers next. Who can use a proactive call from you. Have you pulled the team together just to talk about a customer when there is not a problem? This is where the real opportunity lies.

  1. Leadership planning is scheduled time.
  2. Leadership planning involves critical thinking.
  3. Leadership planning can be exciting and creative if you know how.
  4. Leadership planning is a basic skill that can change your world. And your employees.

Do this homework assignment on a Sunday night.

  1. Take out a note pad. Right out your top to do’s for the week/Monday.
  2. Analyze the list. How much is recurring or just work to do?
  3. Make a list for an employee or special project.
  4. Think about them. What do they need from you to be more successful?
  5. Make plans.

Remember we all can get better, all of the time. And we will if our leaders can impact us in a meaningful way.

Need help to have real impact or want to share your ideas with others? Would love to hear more from you; we all have something to learn!

How Hiring Has Changed From 20 Years Ago

December 29th, 2015

20 years ago…

A Personnel Manager advertised a job by:

  • Senior Java Developer Vacancy in Newspaper. Job Search Concept.Placing an ad in the paper, usually in Sunday’s job section!
  • Handing out applications to walk-in job seekers.
  • Talking to their network, friends & family.
  • Encouraging referrals through sign up sheets/cards that were on the shelf in the HR office with all of the other forms.
  • Calling a temporary agency for a temp.
  • Reaching out to their favorite search firm or headhunter for more difficult positions.

Job seekers applied by:

  • Walk-in resume submission in the office lobby.
  • Sending resumes by fax machine, postal mail, hand delivery or even a courier!
  • Signing up in person at the local temporary agency.
  • Talking to their network, friends & family.

Employers reviewed talent by:

  • Batching and reviewing resumes — Often times a task to do at night in front of the TV.
  • Searching  for talent on Resumix or other early Applicant tracking systems (as time allowed).
  • Calling applicants, returning calls and screening people over the phone (leaving a lot of messages on home voicemail machines)
  • Keeping track of activity with paper sheets or maybe excel.
  • Interviewing people in person.

In the last 20 years, technology and social media have made significant changes to the way we hire talent. What things do you miss about the old-fashioned way of hiring? What technology and social media are you forever grateful for? Are there any new things that you wish were never invented or introduced?

The 1 Thing You Should Be Doing About Talent

December 16th, 2015

People ask me all the time if there are any shortcuts in recruitment. Are there any quick fixes to deal with today’s changing talent landscape? Normally I would lecture you. I’d explain that your talent strategy is as fundamental as your business strategy or marketing plans. However, there is something you can do right now that will help you and your business immensely in the long run.

The one thing you should be doing about talent is keeping the sofa full. Leaders should practice “keeping the sofa full,” by interviewing talent all of the time. (Read my blog on Keeping the Sofa Full here)

Everyday leaders struggle with proactivity and routines. A business needs a rhythm or way of pulsing and discussing what is most important. Where should we put our focus? Where should we put our time and attention? What matters most? Deciding what is most important is the hardest part.

I’ll say it again, your business should be interviewing talent all of the time. It is really that simple. We don’t sell only when we need a new customer. Proactivity is everything. Keeping the sofa full is about always knowing who your next hire is. But I don’t have any openings right now you may be thinking. You may not now, but you will. We all will. That is the one fact in today’s talent-driven economy. Your business and every business will lose some talent for good and not so good reasons. What you do about it is a choice.

When you keep the sofa full, it will take less time to fill your open positions. If you always keep an eye on talent and meet people, it can shorten the days it takes to fill a recently vacated position. Keeping the sofa full also improves your brand and your productivity. Can you find better talent than you have? Can you top grade or upgrade someone who is failing or has average performance? Keeping the sofa full is a direct way to improve your engagement scores and culture at the same time because it requires you to be giving feedback to staff and to know if they are productive and a culture fit.

I know this seems impossible for your company. You’re fighting today’s fire. Dealing with this week’s crisis or business opportunity. The business has a different plan du jour right now. Time is always the enemy for good ideas like this. Recruiting proactively takes planning, discipline and prioritization to interview all of the time. As a leader it takes time, money and most importantly resources to commit to this. It seems like a soft dollar cost savings to turn hiring all of the way off. But have you ever tried to get any program going again when it was turned off completely? It takes retraining, planning, kick off meetings, etc. to breathe life into something that has not been used in a while.

So take action. What are your three most abundant skill sets? What is the hardest role to fill in your business? Build recruiting for these roles into your daily operations. Take all networking calls. Meet any referrals quickly. In short, interview talent all of the time.

4th Annual Holiday Infographic

December 10th, 2015

Happy Holidays from the Outside-In® Companies!

Take a look at our year in numbers through our 4th Annual Holiday Infographic!

2016 Workforce Trend Predictions to Impress at the Water Cooler

December 2nd, 2015

2016-workforce-trend-predictions-012016 is an election year. One thing is for certain either party’s candidate is going to be inheriting an economic environment that continues that slow but steady identity that has permeated the last few years.  If you need a new job, you’re in luck! The pendulum has shifted and this is now an employee market. Are you ready to acquire more talent for the business? Expect to invest more resources and to find “sourcing” talent as one your biggest challenges. Job board postings are way up. But their effectiveness continues to shift.

  1. GDP will not boom, expect 2.5-2.8%. Why? Demographics do not support the increase in productivity needed to get there even if the economic environment presents itself!
  2. Unemployment will continue to fall, as low as 4.8% but far from 3.9%.
  3. The year of the millennial in the workforce. They will hold 1 in 4 managerial roles and officially become the largest segment of the U.S. workforce.
  4. 2015 set several records in July and October of this year for the “number of jobs posted online”. Expect 2016 to surpass this consistently due to labor shortages.
  5. Did I mention labor shortages? Expect the average days to fill for skilled or technical positions to continue to go up, is some cases well over 90+ days on average!
  6. Baby Boomers are pulling the great disappearing act, retiring at a rate of 10,000 per day right now. They are retiring earlier than any previous generation due to the wealth creation effect of many two household incomes.
  7. The Affordable Care Act is here to stay. Compliance and reporting are no longer future events but business items that require all businesses to comply!
  8. Interest rates are going up. Because they have too. There are many pundits that some adjustment will be good for business too. Households have lowered their debts since the recession and businesses have taken advantage of cheap borrowing costs.
  9. The War for Talent will reach the 6 o’clock news. Yes, it will not be long until you see reporters at job fairs and news anchors lamenting the challenges that companies are having finding the talent they need to run and grow their business.  Yes, the Talent Challenge is happening right now. BUT, no one is really talking about it unless you’re in the talent field.
  10. 2016 is the year that the number of temporary workers in the U.S. stays over 3 MM throughout the year. It could get as high as 3.5 MM (but I doubt it). Current high water marks each month suggest that more than 25,000 temporary jobs are created some months.

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