Category: Customer Stories

How do you handle peak hiring?

September 30th, 2015
Guest blog spot by Outside-In® Team Member Alex Patton

Last quarter, an average of 221,000 jobs were added per month, which means many companies experienced and are experiencing increased hiring. After a recession and many years of slow or stable growth, companies with or without HR teams have been able to handle the steady hiring. But now, for companies that are experiencing fast-growth, those same teams are entering unknown territory. Some don’t have the time to add more recruiting to their plate. Others don’t have their recruiting process ironed out and the increased hiring shines a spotlight on those gaps. And, many aren’t sure whether to hire new recruiters to their staff because they aren’t sure when the peak hiring period will come to an end. No matter what the recruiting challenge is, companies are left to wonder, “How do we handle peak hiring?”hiring peaks

If you’re thinking, “this is too much for us to handle, let’s outsource” — then you may consider an RPO solution to meet the needs of a new office, new product, or quick growth. While Recruitment Process Outsourcing can be quite effective, it’s not the best solution to jump into when you need quick results and expect it to take all your pain away immediately. Getting the internal support and dedication to fully engage with your RPO partner is important and takes time, and it also takes longer to implement this type of outsourced solution.

The good news is, if you are experiencing a spike (whether you expected it or not) you are not alone. There were five million hires in July, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, adding to more than 10 million in the previous two months. So, how are companies handling all that hiring? The contract recruiter model is well-designed for peak hiring. An on-demand recruiter with experience in your recruiting niche, is used to coming into an unknown environment and is able to get up to speed quickly. Additionally, at CBI Group, our contract recruiters have their own technology “tool-kit” to utilize and are backed by our Outside-In® team and therefore able to rely on our recruiting and research teams. As an alternative to a complete outsourcing model like RPO, on-demand recruiters can be project-based support that fully integrates into your team and culture.

The inevitable peaks and valleys of hiring can create an unbalanced workforce. A specialized recruiter can provide unmatched flexibility and expertise for just about any situation, including hiring spikes. With varying levels of experience, industry expertise and cost, strategic approaches to talent acquisition partnerships can help shape your business immediately and down the road.

Want to discuss your hiring strategy for peak hiring?
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Job Market Trends: Plentiful vs Hard to Get

September 23rd, 2015

Something unique is happening in the job market and no one is paying a bit of attention. While most of us were squeezing in one more summer vacation or doing back to school shopping, employees left their jobs in what appears to be record numbers! Allow me to explain.

The US economy is into to its sixth year of job recovery. Relative to the labor market there has been a slow but steady environment of job creation with an average of 211,000 jobs created per month in 2015 while the unemployment rate has dropped .4 percentage points during that time. In August, while a little below average, 173,000 jobs were created, prompting unemployment to drop from 5.3% to 5.1%. All of this has happened right in front of us, with very little impact on the mindsets of employees and hiring managers.

A lack of awareness of the recent turnover makes sense on a base level. We have had very little, if any, wage pressures or inflation. There has been no real pain for employers. Sure, we hear the market talking about some skills sets that are in short supply. That STEM jobs never really felt the recession. But, job postings that used to produce a slate of candidates, well, no longer produce quality candidates. In fact, in July the US set an all time record going back to the year 2000 for the number of jobs posted. Yet hiring was about the same, yet consistent number? Why?

What is the shift? Voluntary Turnover. Every Monday morning we are getting calls and messages pointing out the obvious. Employees are leaving for greener pastures. And, more than likely, they were not even looking for work. They either got a call from a friend, someone sent them a job posting, or perhaps they got a call from a recruiter. At 5.1% there are fewer being laid off, fewer who are unemployed. There are simply less active job seekers available now than there have been since 2007 (pre-recession). And the pressures of this environment are now starting to show during planning sessions with talent acquisition professionals. For most, business is good, earnings are up. Revenues hanging in there. Now we have talent gaps, shortages and resignations? What next?

But Burkhard, where is your hard data? This is just conjecture and first-hand marketplace experience. Trust me, we are looking for others that are studying this. And we are working on plans to launch our own survey very soon. But here is my proof.

The Conference Board just updated Jobs Survey Results — a survey they have done for 20+ years. September is the first time since late 2007 that the proportion of respondents “who are finding jobs plentiful equals that for those who are finding jobs hard to get. The last two times the ‘plentifuls’ first exceeded the ‘hard-to-gets’ after an economic slowdown were 1996 and 2005.” In both of those period jobs, unemployment, and frankly a good economy followed. (Source: Bloomberg, Wells Fargo Investment Institute)

So mark my words: what we see is real. If the economy holds up we are entering a new era in employment. Get ready for turnover. Be prepared for job postings to produce less. Get conditioned to recruitment and talent being critical business issues that hold back your business. Employees have had choices. They and their employers simply did not know it. Demand is so strong that the jobs are coming to them!

I am not sure business is prepared for what’s to come. Expect Monday morning surprises “Hey boss, do you have a minute?” Your talent strategy will stop producing they way it did. Your turnover could and should spike, regardless of your focus on talent, culture and employee engagement. Whatever your talent weakness has been, it will be exploited!

Got data? Lets talk! We have many, many relationships that are seeing this ‘plentiful vs. hard to get’ trend.

When do company values go wrong?

September 16th, 2015

We are in an era where workers are looking for reasons to why a business exists beyond making money. A time when it’s commonplace to discuss the greater purpose of a business and the values that are important to both the leaders and employees of a company. The values of a company are the personality of the place. The behaviors that the founder(s) and leaders want from all employees in their absence. These behaviors act as an ongoing compass that provides employees direction when they are on their own or faced with an opportunity or crisis in the business. When the business purpose is not clear, it is almost assumed that the purpose is to make money. But today there are so many other reasons for the business to exist; to do good for social causes, to be active in the community and to exist for greater good!

So, in the modern business world we celebrate values. Google is famous for the value or corporate motto “Don’t be evil”, which really encourages all employees to think morally about the impact of their decisions on the people who use their service. And as the legends suggest, software engineers often pound the table when a suggested change will do evil.

Despite businesses as large as Google or Zappos having values and a greater purpose than just making money, I am asked frequently about the implications of having corporate values. What happens when the company values are misinterpreted by employees, or even customers for their personal gain? “Don’t be evil” is regularly misquoted as “Don’t do evil.” Big deal? Not so sure.

One of our values that is often misquoted at Outside-In® Companies is being Front Door. Picture a house with three doors; a front door, side door and back door. Now imagine how communication flows in any good size group. Inevitably issues and opportunities arise. Conversations need to happen. Not everyone likes, knows how or knows when they need to have the hard conversations that represent being Front Door. So being direct is front door, being indirect is side door, and water cooler chatter or gossip is back door.


Now imagine that an employee misinterprets the Front Door value as their right to say anything they want directly, regardless of tone or its impact. For instance, screaming expletives and justifying the behavior by saying, “I am just being Front Door” is an abuse of the value’s intent. And undermines the goal, which is to get in front of small problems before they fester into larger ones. Front Door is not a right to be mean or to lack other professional attributes when you go about your business. When this happens, it can mean one of two things. The employee has a misunderstanding of the meaning of the value OR that employee is misusing the value with intent of personal gain, and therefore is not a culture fit.

To elevate this another level, what happens when a leader appears to behave in a way that defies the values? When leaders run a company in defiance of its values, only bad things happen and a decline is inevitable. For example, when a leader continues to promote an employee that habitually defies the company values, a ripple effect of decline is inevitable. The key word for leaders to note is “appears.” A leader may be acting within the definition of the value(s)’s intent, but the appearance of defiance can have a ripple effect as well. In this case, the onus is on the employee to be Front Door with the leader to say “you are not living X value.” This gives the leader a chance to explain the missing perspective and prevent a decline. Having company values feels good, but living values and holding teammates accountable is the mark of a true values-based organization.

I am collecting stories where values have gone bad or have been misinterpreted or misquoted for the purpose of personal gain. Please send them to me at Icanhelpyou (at) thecbigroup (dot) com or share them in a comment below.

Outside-In® Chronicles: Lead from the Heart

September 9th, 2015

Outside-In® Chronicles: Originally published in September 2009, this was the first blog posted on the Outside-In® Guy Blog. How did he react after revisiting his writing from six years ago? “I want people to know that I believe in this and fail at it too. But I get back to it. This is the hardest part of being a leader for me.  I want to protect and shoulder the burden, but we can’t. We must share because others can help!”

Living “from the heart” is Leading from the heart

Lead with heart.I was taught to live life from the heart. To lead from it. To sell from it. Parent from the heart. You get the point. So much about business life mimics the rest of life. Insert _____ from the heart in all aspects of your life. It requires honesty, directness in communication and perhaps most importantly, some humility. It requires you to give it away and take risks. So much about sales and leadership today is anything but “from the heart” behavior. Leaders today are operating more efficiently because they must do so to survive.

The opportunity is to include employees further in the business. They can take it. They want the truth. Anything short of the truth creates doubt and issues in clarity when it is needed most. I have made mistakes with this as a leader. Not to hide something. But because I thought they deserved a break from the pain of the recession. I let up a little. I softened the bad news. I told them it was under control — and it was not. I got real and they engaged.

Today information is not to be kept as advantage; it is best shared so the team can utilize it to better the business. Leaders need to admit mistakes, not blame others. During times of uncertainty, leaders revert to hierarchy as a means of maintaining control and making sure there is order. People have jobs to do, they can’t be worried with the strategic challenges of the business. This is a major error in judgement. Outside-In® leaders get others involved. They seek opinion. They learn that control comes from giving it away.

Leading from the heart in an Outside-In® organization requires a change in most leaders’ way of operating. Employees know the difference between the corporate line and real communication. Employees know what is plastic. Guess what? So do prospects. Sales people that try and dump their products on their prospects without involving them in the decision don’t make the sale. Those that look and sound like the stereotypical images of sales people fail. There is only one way to build business and that is by building relationships based on trust and credibility. Where real conversation solves real business problems. I find when I am myself, flawed, direct, open and imperfect in sales that people like it, and you often get real in return!

CBI Way: Thorough Intake Leads to Successful Sourcing Strategy

August 26th, 2015

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

In the last CBI Way blog, we discussed improving sourcing efficiency by cutting out defects and weaknesses throughout the sourcing process. So where can your sourcing strategy go wrong? When do you start wasting your time? Let’s start from the beginning of the process; the intake call with the hiring manager.
Businessman Working Calculator Balance Financial Planning Paperwork Concept

Your intake call should be used to gather as much information as possible about the responsibilities and qualifications required for the role. The more questions you can ask the better. Ask why the job is open, what the target fill date is, and everything in between.

An overview of the position can lead you to more probing and specific questions about the desired candidate profile. Use this time with the hiring manager to fully understand what he or she is really looking for in a great candidate, which can often differ from the formal job description and and listed requirements.

Don’t be afraid to ask for the profile of someone who has been hired previously. The closer you can pin down the ideal profile before you begin sourcing, the better. Not only should you think about sourcing the right candidate during the inquisition, but also find out the best selling points for the position itself. These selling points will be important if you’re targeting passive candidates who need to be engaged or motivated to make a move.

Creating an effective sourcing strategy directly depends on the quality of your intake call with the hiring manager. Don’t take it lightly or breeze through it. Think critically, plan your questions, and reach back out after the intake if you feel something may have been missed. A thorough intake conversation will prime your sourcing strategy for success, and create a strong rapport with your hiring partner.

Quit this One Habit to Improve your Customer’s Experience

August 19th, 2015

There is the idea of “moments of truth” in service. This concept basically represents every time we interact with a customer that we have a moment to impress, do our best, or make the interaction either positive or negative.

In a restaurant, when your hostess or waiter doesn’t bring you your menu for 10 minutes, it is a negative thing – not a good moment of truth. When the waitress finally arrives at your table, s/he explains that s/he had just arrived and all the servers are transitioning shifts and juggling tables. Thanks, I think. This is an excuse. The words offer me no value, and it actually makes me feel even more frustrated. All I wanted was an apology and a chance to order. The comments made nothing better. I really don’t care about why.

Over years of study and real world application, “Burkhard leaders” have learned that making an excuse at any time in service with a customer, peer, boss, vendor or friend never adds value or improves the mistake. An excuse always makes things worse. No one wants to hear you give an excuse. We just want it fixed and done right. The excuse drags out the negative moment and in fact, adds another negative moment of truth. Instead, when you offer me a solution to fix whatever broke, you could win me over forever!

No excuses

Apply this thinking to your own world at work or in your home life. All day long someone makes an excuse on why you did not get a response to the email, why they did not attend your important meeting, or finish the project. Giving any excuse simply makes it worse, right? When your son does not clean up his room or do his assigned chore. Which is worse: the missed work or what he has to say about why it’s not done? Johnny came over and we got distracted. Or, I got my homework done instead. We don’t need all that from a teenager! If he understood “No Excuses”, he would simply go up stairs and clean his room and tell you when it was done. Nothing extra, nothing more. No excuses.

No Excuses is a core value of our companies. No Excuses is about how we act and react in moments of providing service. At the Outside-In® Companies, we try very hard when we make a mistake. Yes, we make them too! Our playbook is to fix what broke. Apologize. But never, ever make an excuse. When we do it well (offering a fix instead of an excuse), there is no drama to discuss, no flames to fan. It is simply matter of fact. Fixed. Done. Over. I like to think this is about running head first into the problem. Get it over with. But for goodness sakes, don’t try and over-explain the why.

Win over your customer by quitting the habit of making excuses. No Excuses means no drama. No Excuses means action. No Excuses means taking one on the chin and not feeling like you have to explain yourself away. All we want as customers is what we asked for. Nothing more.

Do your recruiters use the “Recruitment Bulldozer” method?

August 12th, 2015

Outside-In® Chronicles: Originally published with the title Look out for the Recruitment Bulldozer! four years ago this month. Are you a recruiter that bulldozes candidates? Is your company running over candidates to fill jobs? Here’s a suggestion for a more Outside-In® way to recruit. But first, let’s explain what we mean by bulldozing!

Over the years, I have coached many talent acquisition professionals. One of the soundbites that I’m typically heard saying is, “don’t bulldoze!” What do I mean? Recruiters are tasked with presenting our company, knowing what the hiring manager is looking for and understanding technical terms to have knowledgeable discussions with prospects. Once we are prepped for an interview, we get so excited to share what we know, that we tend to pitch the job. This usually sounds something like, “Hi John, I am Chris Burkhard from CBI Group and I am recruiting today for underwater basket weavers.”

The challenge with the job pitch approach is that it doesn’t leave a good next step. If the person is not interested or does not have the right skills, we need to quickly transition to asking for referrals or help with networking. The problem is that with this approach, the majority of recruiters never talk to that person again. We keep plowing ahead for the talent we need for the requisition in front of us. We just keep running callers over to find what we want.Bulldozer Front RetroAfter I say, “Don’t bulldoze” and I have the recruiter’s attention, I suggest a more Outside-In® way to recruit. I certainly did not invent this approach but I have refined it over the years to be more customer centered.

How? Flip the conversation around and focus your conversation on the caller. Find out what matters to the job seeker. What are they trying to accomplish in their career? Focusing on them typically sounds a little different. “John, I help talented underwater basket weavers achieve their next career objective. Could we spend a little time finding out about you and what you might be interested in?” This approach requires a lot of time, energy and curiosity. But isn’t finding out what the person wants helpful to determine if your current opening is a fit right? If not for this req, then perhaps you can be honest and talk in bigger terms — about where your company is going and how the future might involve them.

The focus shifts to building a relationship with the talent. To building potential pipeline. This makes tomorrows’ recruitment easier and this is where good recruiting takes shape. It means you truly know your talent in the marketplace and particular people come to mind when open requisitions fit their career goals and objectives.

It may seem so much easier to take the Bulldozer path. I hear it over and over again, “I do not have the time and I have jobs to fill.” But I think the typical recruiter has it all wrong. None of us should have the time to do it wrong the first time. Recruiting talent and getting to know prospective candidates is what recruiters should and must do to differentiate. No more bulldozing please!

The 2015 Outside-In Summer Reading List

August 5th, 2015

Sometimes I can’t find enough time to read the pile of “must reads” on my night stand. So I am careful to suggest that others add to their guilt (I might be projecting my own guilt!) by having even more book and article suggestions to tack on to their lists.

Books.Pile of book on desk.When I make time to read, however, I am able to set aside the events of the day and the many distractions from people and electronics and something amazing starts to happen. Ideas and thoughts seem to flow in a torrent! I hope you’re able to spark your learning in a similar fashion. Find the time. It reduces stress and allows you to chew on the problems of the day in a new and productive way. And as a CEO or business leader, you don’t have to read all business books to find inspiration. This year, the trend (Fortune & LA Times for example) is for CEOs to read non business books to inspire new ideas.

So whether you’re committing to regular reading or simply looking for something to do on that family camping trip or week at the beach, this August I have a few page turners to consider.

  1. Choose Yourself by James Altucher: James is an avid writer, blogger and many time entrepreneur. Choose Yourself defines today’s workplace realities and offers real world ideas on how to take control of your work and how you will forever define how you earn an income. Thought provoking!
  2. In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette, by Hampton Sides: This one grips you! A few weeks ago, I spent a week ignoring friends and family on the beach in Block Island and read this one. It’s a true story researched for years by Hampton, Outside Magazine and others. This is the greatest historical story you don’t know! Great lessons in leadership, sacrifice, and survival. Imagine trying to get to the North Pole in a wooden ship with no means of communication with the outside world!
  3. Delivering Happiness A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh, CEO In a business world where few have any real meaningful, sustainable business advantage, Delivering Happiness chronicles the dramatic rise of Zappos and how their culture drives everything and defines their success. And it is an entertaining read to boot! Not every success is immediate and over night. Success takes time, risk and perseverance.

I am always scanning for the next must read, I hear the Uncontainable, The Story of the Container Store by Kip Tindell is a must read… Next on the list? What books are on your list? Share away!

How to Retain Millennials

July 30th, 2015

Everyone seems to be curious about Millennials.Millennial-Workforce They are, after all taking over the workforce – in the next ten years they will comprise 75% of the global workforce (The Deloitte Millennial Survey). So, employers should take time to get to know millennials and what makes them tick.

One thing we know is that millennials are job hoppers. According to a survey by Pinpoint Market Research, 39% of participants aged 20-29, have already held 4-7 full-time jobs and 83% plan to stay at a single job for just two years, unless promoted. What is it that makes millennials move around so much? What do millennials value? Let’s look a little further into what Pinpoint found in their millennial survey to figure out how to retain millennials.

  1. Offer work/life balance: this seems to be one of the most important things that millennials seek from an employer. 88%, aged 20-29, said they seek a consistent work/life balance and 57% said they will leave a job if they aren’t getting it.
  2. Create opportunities to work from home: part of a work/life balance is the flexibility to work at home. 72% choose companies with work-from-home options.
  3. Don’t assume money is everything: if your retention plan is to throw money on the table when an employee seems unhappy, think again. 47% choose fewer hours over more pay and 60% choose “love of job” over money earned. Perhaps you should look at your workload expectations instead.
  4. Ensure your company is stable: millennials seek employment at stable companies – 88% say company stability is a top priority when considering employers.
  5. Focus on learning opportunities and career development: millennials want to work for an employer that fosters learning and development AND pays for it. 81% want companies to invest in their professional development and 83% want a clear path to promotion and will leave if they don’t get it. Here’s a few more statistics that really emphasize this one:
    • 83% want tuition reimbursement for education sought while employed
    • 78% want learning opportunities in leadership
    • 73% want to attend conferences, networking events and seminars

Based on the findings in this survey, millennials care about work/life balance, flexibility and career development. What will you do to retain millennial workers?

What are the Hot Jobs of Summer 2015?

July 22nd, 2015

Last month we posted Hiring: All Signs Point to Growth, but are you wondering which industry groups top the employment growth charts? And which industries rank the lowest? Staffing Industry Analysts released the Hottest U.S. Job Markets: July 2015 Update earlier this month that answers these very questions.

Of 11 major industry groups, here’s how they ranked according to their composite growth score (CGS factors in the average monthly job growth over the prior 12, 6 and 3 months, as well as the level of acceleration or deceleration in growth observed over each of those periods).

  1. Professional and business services (74)
  2. Education and health services (72)
  3. Trade, transportation, and utilities (67)
  4. Leisure and Hospitality (64)
  5. Construction (62)
  6. Financial activities (47)
  7. Manufacturing (43)
  8. Information (43)
  9. Other Services (41)
  10. Government (37)
  11. Mining and Logging (15)

As you can see, of the 11 major industry groups, ‘professional and business services’ ranked highest in employment growth with a CGS of 74, and Mining and Logging ranked lowest with a CGS of 15. Within these major industry groups, 247 specific industries were ranked individually. Among all of the industries, here are the top 5 industries with the highest employment growth:

  1. Retail – Warehouse clubs and supercenters (78)
  2. Nonresidential electrical contractors (76)
  3. Computer systems design and related services (76)
  4. Management consulting services (76)
  5. Residential specialty trade contractors (74)

The 5 industries with the lowest employment growth were:

  1. Support activities for oil and gas operations (9)
  2. Agricultural, construction, and mining machinery (17)
  3. Oil and gas pipeline construction (19)
  4. Oil and gas extraction (21)
  5. Wholesale – Recyclable materials (21)

It’s also important to understand how many jobs there are in each of these industries. While some industries may have a high growth score, there may not be that many jobs overall in the industry. And then there may be some industries that do not have a very high CGS, but still employ a lot of people. So which industries boast a high CGS AND have a high overall employment number in summer 2015?

Industry  Composite Growth Score   Employment (in thousands) 
Retail – Warehouse Clubs & Supercenters 78 1,425
Hospitals 73 4,864
Computer Systems Design and Related Services 73 1,846
Offices of Physicians 71 2,538
Services for the Elderly and Disabled 70 1,526
Temporary Help Services 66 2,883
Restaurants and Other Eating Places 63 9,993

So what does this tell us? Any of the following would be a good place to look for jobs: healthcare jobs in hospitals, temp jobs at temporary employment agencies like Placers, jobs servicing the elderly and disabled, medical jobs at doctor’s offices, IT Jobs in all industries – and of course retail and restaurant jobs. Each are hot, hot, hot this summer 2015!

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