Category: Customer Stories


CBI Way: The Talent Pipeline Situation

April 22nd, 2015

By Outside-In® Team Member Alex Patton

ID-100248873When planning the direction of your company, one of the most important aspects must be the talent supporting the business. Proactively thinking about the talent that will help drive your business can be a difference-making strategy to be a step ahead of the competition. In turn, building long-term relationships with quality candidates for future hiring, or talent pipelining, can be a critical investment as the job market continues to improve, with another 126,000 new jobs added in March, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Previously, we’ve talked about the challenge with the growing number of passive candidates – 75% of all candidates, according to LinkedIn’s 2015 Global Recruitment Trends survey, which increases the difficulty of quickly identifying and hiring top talent. Constructing a strong pipeline of candidates in specific industries is a great way to be ahead of the game while also increasing the potential for quality referrals, by spreading the word of hiring inside your business. Instead of reacting to a new requisition by sourcing, screening, and interviewing; having a pipeline of talent knocks out at least the first step of the process, also reducing the time-to-fill.

Additionally, maintaining the passive pipeline by keeping the talent engaged and aware of company openings and happenings can help build your brand, keeping your business on the top of candidate’s minds if their situation should change. While it may be time consuming initially, building your pipelines will become a regular strategy to meet your talent acquisition needs and pay dividends as a long-term strategy.

Stay tuned for the next CBI Way Blog to learn ways to best build your talent pipeline in the new age of social recruiting.

Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net.

 

Blank Sheet of Paper: Customers Do Not Want a Sales Pitch!

April 15th, 2015

Blank Sheet of Paper is the attitude we take towards how we interact with customers. Are we open or close minded in our thinking and in our words with customers? Do we think constantly about how to do more for our customer? What would make their experience Nth Degree? Blank Sheet of Paper is also about how we organize the way we chose to conduct our business! For example, are you easy to do business with? Are you and your team accessible? What does that look like? For us, it’s about answering the phone in three rings and limiting voice mail. Or allowing service folks to spend as much time as needed with customers and with no maximum time goal on the phones.

BlankSheetofPaperNow, go ahead and take out of a piece of paper from a notebook or copy paper. There is nothing on it, right? It is a blank sheet of paper! Having a Blank Sheet of Paper value is a really important element to how the Outside-In® Companies go to the marketplace. Blank does not mean we lack ideas and creativity, it simply means that our process of selling and serving our customer starts without jumping to quick assumptions or borrowed ideas from our past experiences. We try hard to listen and acknowledge each new prospect by answering questions and addressing specific needs.

There are stories of legend from service companies where the “solution” presentation to Nabisco happened to have the Kraft logo on one of the slides. Imagine saying you listen well, have a great consulting or selling process, bragging about your custom work and having a multimillion dollar customer see a competitor’s name on their slide deck! Was it copy and pasted? Was it a joke or bad editing? Regardless, legend has it that this happened to a global consulting company on pitch day. And yes, they lost the deal! That won’t happen here. There is nothing wrong with leveraging your expertise and experiences—it’s simply how you chose to do it! Don’t get me wrong, we have many different talent services. Some have a relatively short buying cycle, while others take hundreds of hours to build them out properly. The key? Demonstrate authenticity and build relationships. Have a clear system to get the answers and information you need to solve customer problems. This is our OI-Q. Battle and time tested, this is our method of effectively and efficiently learning what we need to in order to do our best work!

We know that to truly solve a customer’s problems, we need to demonstrate that we have earned the right, invested the time, followed the right approach and process and then brought our talents, experiences, and expertise to bear on the problems!

Customers want to buy, not be sold to. Think about when you walk into a retail establishment. When someone asks you if you need help do you ever say yes? Even when you are there to buy? Most of us say no. None of us like to be followed around and asked stupid questions.  Even when we are there to make a purchase. Approaching a customer is everything!

So how do you help a customer buy? Build relationships not just on the golf course or at business lunches. The world has little time for lunch for the sake of lunch. Relationship building takes place when you’re asking questions about the customer and their talent challenges and opportunities. Listen, ask questions, do the work, observe, volunteer. All of these ways demonstrate that what you know will make more sense. Yes, what your expertise is all about will be more believable because you invested the times in your customers business. That is the key to Blank Sheet of Paper—showing what you know comes out through your ability to deftly and skillfully take your customer through the buying process. A process that helps you earn the right, establish credibility, demonstrate knowledge, and ultimately identify the issues and challenges that you identify to your way to solve the problem!

Outside-In® Chronicles: Game of Jobs – Talent is Coming

April 8th, 2015

The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently posted that total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 126,000 in March, and the unemployment rate remained at 5.5 percent. With Game of Thrones Season 5 premiering this coming Sunday, and the staffing numbers on a continuous rise, we decided to bring this blog back from the vault to illustrate that the War on Talent is still alive and well and the battle for quality talent is increasing every day!

Game of Jobs – Talent is Coming

Originally published on April 23rd, 2014

If you look at the numbers in TV and talent of late, it’s clear to see that a lot more people are watching Game of Thrones (#1 download this week of all TV!) Who can blame them? It’s like General Hospital in the middle ages with enough family, fighting, war, and drunkenness to satisfy everyone.

GoT-LogoAnother key insight is that there is a new, more modern war for King’s Landing brewing. This is apparent in the US talent numbers, too. It’s just going to take a little longer for all of us to really notice. Job creation is way up for four straight months, bubbling up in the 40,000 range consistently. The 121,000 announced large reductions in force for the first quarter of 2014 are a 19-year low! And private employment is up, up, and up.Temporary staffing, services, hospitality, technical roles, IT, you name it.

However, no one is talking about it. Unemployment has remained flat. There is an interesting thing about public perception. All perceptions take time to change. I propose that it takes a good six months for the general public to change a perspective. Perhaps you’re always late for work. Everyone in the office knows it. Now suppose you work to change that perspective. And you come in diligently on time or even early! But I bet few will notice. You will still be known as the character that arrives late—for a long, long time. Over time perceptions change. People take notice. Others comment. Someone might even make a joke or compliment you for your efforts. Eventually being late is nothing more than a memory.

In the war for talent our economy has putted along for so long, far from roaring and not quite stopped cold like a Stark at a Red Wedding. Our common understanding is of recession and slower business times. Businesses are doing just OK. Big Companies are hoarding cash for the next growth opportunity. Yes, the stock market is doing well but that is for rich people, right? Or that is my retirement. That does not make my day-to-day life easier or put more money in my pocket. This common view has impacted careers and work systems. Today’s hiring managers have had so many choices from which to hire people, that they still believe it. That perhaps they can always hire slowly. They can always hire who they want. Even offer them salaries or whatever they might want.

Todays Game of Jobs is shifting right before our eyes. Fifteen years ago pundits predicted a talent war around right now. This was a long-term view based on the supply and demand of talent. That there simply were not enough or the right kind of workers available. That this would be a great time to be employed and that this is going to happen. Every day we talk to employers who have an aging workforce; a workforce of allied health workers or of pipefitters and tradespeople that simply cannot be replaced fast enough.

So if you think power changes hands fast with recent Game of Thrones episodes. Well, some day soon the workers will have control and families like the Lannisters will no longer have the advantage as the employer!

Image courtesy of hbo.com.

Job Opening for a Risk Taking Specialist

April 1st, 2015

At Outside-In® Companies we know that taking risks is a cultural privilege that we cherish. However, we don’t always live this value perfectly. In fact, we are working hard as a company to live this value more fully. The only way to do that? Do some culture work and get clear on what we want to see more of around here. Risk taking not only enables our productivity, but it also helps us provide our customers with the best experience possible.

Here is where you come in. The Outside-In® Companies are growing and we need talent. However, we need the right talent that fits our core values.

We are Risk Takers. We are willing to step out of our comfort zone. We use our collective intelligence to solve problems, weigh outcomes, and take calculated risks.

Here are a few examples of what we mean by daily risk taking:

  • RiskTakersThe office is out of paperclips, hand soap, or coffee and you’re not willing to do something about it. “Getting office supplies is not in my job description.” At Outside-In® Companies, we don’t shove that stuff off to someone else either. We make a quick decision and move on to the important stuff!
  • “I need to talk to my supervisor.” First off, we don’t use that title in a flat environment. More importantly, by waiting to speak to your leader you’re simply giving away your equality and authority. Figure out how to own a project! Taking risks also means owning your work and assuming responsibility.
  • “This sounds like I can do anything I want around there—sign me up!” Well, that is not true either. Making an uninformed decision is not how we roll. Gathering information, working with the team, and moving quickly is how we make bigger business decisions. We need people that know how to be on teams, are willing to work out disagreements, and are willing to respect different points of view.

Our business is the balance between innovation and creativity with our ability to organize in order to get work done. In order to do that we count on each associate to utilize their first-hand experiences and observations to see the business as it really is: something that needs daily attention and improvement. That is what Outside-In® is all about.

You should apply for a job with Outside-In® Companies if you:

  • Like to innovate and make daily improvements within your job, department, or company.
  • Are willing to problem solve.
  • Honestly believe in an environment that rewards and does not punish small risks.
  • Can gather the right teammates together to tackle large problems. Big problems and opportunities bog down fast moving Gazelle companies when not addressed in the right way.

*This is all true by the way! If you like our culture and are a risk taker, we have great positions and careers to explore with you. Check out our openings here.

If you’d like to learn more about the influence of company culture on business and talent acquisition, please join us at our next Outside-In® Talent Seminar on May 21st. Brad McCarty, Head Coach of the Men’s Soccer Team at Messiah College, will be presenting Creating a Culture of Excellence. Learn more about the seminar & register here.

CBI Way: Tackling a Talent Community

March 25th, 2015

By Outside-In® Team Member Alex Patton

ID-100248481Identifying talent has become more of a prolonged process recently as candidates continue to have more options and opportunities. As of January, the national time to fill averaged just over 25 days, according to the DICE Vacancy Duration Measure. The CBI Way blog has been examining trends in sourcing with over 5 million job openings nationally. And, creating a talent community can be a great way to make identifying candidates more efficient and cut down on time to fill for future openings.

A talent community relies on engagement and inclusion of professionals, usually in a specific industry. Another method of social recruiting, talent communities can create a collection of candidates with a common interest to tap for future opportunities and help drive referrals. Two keys to building a great community are communication and great content to keep the community active and engaged.

Developing a personalized place where professionals can interact with different types of individuals, all holding the same interest is where the “community” aspect comes into play. Active talent, passive talent, hiring managers, and industry experts have a place to share content, discuss new trends, or even offer advice on best practices to land a new job. At first, you’ll be driving the content, but eventually, others will be asking questions, sharing trends, and helping to grow the community. Although you may not seek candidates currently, having that pool of engaged and interacting professionals can help reduce your time to fill.

Growing and promoting the talent community efficiently is imperative. The more the merrier. While it won’t happen quickly, as the community grows, so does the capability to identify the talent that is knowledgeable and most desirable.

What is a Pre-Mortem Exercise?

March 18th, 2015

Have you ever worked in an organization that pulls the whole team together to review how to launch a new product or open a new office? The idea here is to create a “no fear zone” where teams can discuss and share what went well, what did not go well, and what lessons can be applied to future projects. When completed properly, “pre-mortems” can be a great way to promote learning, improve team behaviors, and create greater efficiency.

Imagine this scenario, a CEO calls a meeting with key staff to discuss a failed product launch or a quarter that is 20% off plan. Why would this meeting be called today when the product launch is next week and the quarter doesn’t start for another three weeks? While reading The Obstacle is The Way by Ryan Holiday, I became very overwhelmed by the concept of reviewing what could go wrong before it can go wrong.

ID-100185794A pre-mortem exercise is when you openly talk about every single thing that could go wrong with a project before the process implementation and execution begins. The goal is not be dark or negative, but rather to create an environment that encourages learning and proactive discussion about the downsides of efforts and actions before minor stucks turn into problems. This is exactly why athletes workout and why actors have rehearsal—practice makes perfect! We can never have too many business dress rehearsals or scrimmages.

Each and every business can greatly benefit from understanding contingency planning. When this type of thinking becomes natural and organic, it preconditions your team’s actions to fix what breaks. In other words, if you discussed what could go wrong and one of those potential snags begins to unravel, it might get addressed before it becomes an issue simply because the team anticipated this minor crisis and is fully prepared to handle it with ease.

Try a pre-mortem exercise today—what do you have to lose? Only learning, team building, and efficiency.

Outside-In® Chronicles: Why is Bruce Springsteen Called The Boss?

March 11th, 2015

I recently attended my first Bruce Springsteen concert this past week in Hershey, PA. We talk about leaders only being leaders when they have followers. Well Bruce has followers. After all, he is the Boss, right? I bet you don’t know why he is called the boss. Well, back in the early (glory) days he was the one who had to collect the night’s receipts and be responsible for distributing the money to bandmates. At first, Bruce hated the name because of what boss typically means as a stereotype. I think it’s safe to say at this point he has tacitly accepted his moniker. And after watching him play for three hours and ten minutes with barely a sip of water? There is no doubt in my mind that he is in charge, in control, and on top of every little detail as a master showman can be. He is The Boss today but for very different reasons than way back when!

After watching his performance I can assure you he is a good leader. He has such high energy and regard for people including his bandmates and crew, the fans, and all those that he can help. (Bruce brought seven different fans on stage to jam with him, sing, and to share their cause). Without fear or thought that they might in anyway be there to hurt or harm him or others!

All of this Boss talk got me thinking. Do you like being called boss? I had a favorite administrative assistant who called me jefe, which means boss and I hated it. She insisted she meant it in a different meaning than the stereotype. Jefe meant that I was in charge and that she could count on me.

So I looked up the definition of boss. And guess what I learned?

Boss as a noun seems reasonable enough to me. Someone in charge of a team or organization. Each culture and its value is different in each group however, someone, is always responsible for a team—even in self-directed teams.

So how about Boss as the adjective? Boss means excellent or outstanding. If everyone can be the boss and live up to excellence or be outstanding then let’s all get name tags! An environment of results and outstanding can’t be all bad, right?

ID-10066133Now we are getting into it. Boss as the verb. To dictate. To lord over. To domineer. To push around. To browbeat. To create undue pressure. This is where the stereotype exists!

No one wants to work for a boss. Few people tolerate dictators or lords if they can help it.  No one wants second class treatment when they can be equally important. I’m sure that being pushed around or browbeat isn’t motivating for long. Bossing and managing by fear mongering works for as long as the Boss has power. Which is usually only as long as it takes employees to figure out what to do about it.

So unless you’re Bruce Springsteen, be careful about acting like a boss!

How the Outside-In® Companies Do The Whole Trust Thing

March 4th, 2015

Last week, my company celebrated a Values Holiday around our core value of Trust. Every twenty or so business days we focus our attention on reinforcing one of our twenty values. This is incredibly powerful stuff as “culture work” helps us all be mindful of expected behaviors in our workplace. I jump out of bed every single day because our values are ubiquitous to all the roles we play and all the people we meet.

Trust for me was learned behavior. Not that I was untrustworthy as a young person. I just did not understand that my very character was shaped by my words, thoughts, and actions. I remember being a young college kid just starting to date (the girl who I knew was the one, and I married her!) Kim held my up to high standard and I guess her perspective and opinion really mattered to me so I lived up to it. She simply taught me to be trustworthy by expecting it and as in any important relationship, I did not want to let her down. I think the challenge for all of us is to adopt this approach in more of the relationships in our life, not just the ones that we consider the most important!

So, I decided to do a survey on what constitutes trust in a relationship and I asked my team, “What type of actions and behaviors build trust?” Everyone has had different insights and experiences that shape them, however, all are valuable points of views. I hope you enjoy the trust thoughts as much as I did!

  1. ID-100250128Being reliable.
  2. Being up front with one another.
  3. Honesty.
  4. Constructive criticism.
  5. Do what you say you will do.
  6. When the person follows through, and does what they say they are going to do.
  7. When you do something to assist the other person, without having to be asked, or better yet, when they are not expecting it.
  8. Consistency.
  9. Reliability.
  10. Trust is something earned, not something that is given. Trust is earned over time as people prove that they are people of their word and simply that they are worthy of trust.
  11. Without a doubt, honesty builds a relationship more than anything else. Honesty is an essential building block, and without it you don’t have much, if anything!
  12. Honesty. Consistent, unwavering, believable honesty.
  13. Knowing someone on a personal level and their ability to be direct in communication.
  14. I am really impressed, and inclined to go the extra mile, when someone helps me even though it was not necessary or expected. They just helped me because they were being team-based, or simply generous. That makes me see the person differently and help them at any opportunity. It is more than returning a favor. It is more like I have elevated that person to a new level of respect. It doesn’t even have to be something done for me – it can simply be that I observed a person’s kindness when “no one was looking”. That is big for me.
  15.  Aaaahhhh Trust. Trust is like money yet more valuable. It takes time to build or accumulate, but can be blown in an instant of bad decision. What builds trust? Proving you’re trustworthy not by what you say, but by doing what you said you would do. In order to maintain trust, one must be honest, humble, and genuine.
  16. Being honest and following through while not “over-talking” others. By “over-talking,” I’m referring to talking at a higher level than necessary or for the audience to understand. Always strikes me as dishonest and that they are doing it to hide or shade over something.
  17. For me, the formation of trust occurs over time, and with effort from both sides. I think one of the reasons that our team works so well together is because we’ve developed a deep level of trust of over the past six months. We take the time to genuinely get to know each other, as colleagues and as friends. We build trust both at work and outside of work, even if it’s as simple as a 30 minute lunch where we talk about our families. An important component of building trust is earning it by following through on tasks, or being there to lend a hand without being asked. I trust that my team will support my decisions and be there if I need council. I also trust that they will not take judgement, and instead will help me to learn and grow from the situation.

Trust is a two way street. And my favorite insight from the team? Trust takes much more time to earn than it does to lose it. Gone in a moment as they say.

Take my personal challenge and try to answer the question yourself—how often do you live these suggestions in building trust? All of us can do better. What type of person are you when it comes to trust?

In order for trust to be built, you need a drive commitment from both parties. Both must be open to building and maintaining that trust. Formation of trust takes a long time, but can be lost in a matter of moments.

Trust is a regular deposit in a relationship—it must be balanced but always must be nurtured.

CBI Way: Sourcing Beyond the Boards

February 25th, 2015

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

In the last CBI Way blog we discussed a few thoughts about RPO throughout this year, touching on where RPO is headed with about 3 million jobs added in 2014. But as employment changes, and the market gears more towards being driven by the candidate, how can we keep up with sourcing talent as active candidates become more passive?

ID-100310115Be creative. Everyone can formulate a Boolean string and pop it into the search bar of a resume board. As the “war for talent” rages on, try to think about ways to source in a more creative and different way than the competition. Creative sourcing to identify passive candidates is becoming more prevalent, and you don’t want to miss out on the talent it can produce. Instead of the job boards, put energy into navigating social websites like FaceBook, LinkedIn, or Twitter to find those passive candidates who may be open to a new opportunity, but have no desire to have their resume out on the web.

Don’t be afraid to try new things. Even when sourcing its important to try new strategies and explore new methods to find your talent. Besides social networks, dive into some research about associations, organizations, or local chapters of the professionals you seek. This may lead you to member lists, networking events, or a new channel to post the opportunity where it will be seen by a more targeted audience.

Great sourcing is about tapping into the talent which often eludes many recruiters. Taking risks, being creative, and trying new approaches while sourcing will help you develop as a sourcer and identify fresh talent for hard-to-fill jobs.

Sourcing doesn’t always mean just scouring the internet. Creating a community of professional talent is an inventive and productive way to have the pool of candidates at your fingertips. Check in next CBI Way blog to learn about how building a talent community can make sourcing and identifying passive talent more efficient.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Outside-In® Chronicles: Mother Knows Best – Parental Leadership (Dale Carnegie Style)

February 18th, 2015

What can we learn about leadership from watching a parent? Just about everything. Parenting and leading require the same concepts and principles—communication, setting expectations, establishing roles, and setting boundaries. Let’s not forget building relationships and knowing what is important to the other person. In Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People, one decree involves baiting the appropriate hook to suit the fish. In other words, knowing your audience and what they want. This requires you to think and speak in terms of the other person’s interest—in the Outside-In® world, this means being Customer Centric.

1871_001-2A great example of baiting the right hook involves my experiences as a young boy on any typical Saturday morning involving chores. The morning began with the Dale Carnegie approach from my mother, “Chris, remember today is chore day and if you still want to go to your friend’s house you have to clean up your room!” The answer was always, “Sure, Mom.” She would march off to scrub a wall, sweep, vacuum, or do the mounds of laundry that her active family always produced. Me? Well, I would go to the opposite side of the house; constantly moving and dodging parental contact. And then childhood pastimes would get the best of me—Saturday morning cartoons, eating, frankly staring at the ceiling, or even doing homework would be better than chores.

Then the second and even third requests would come, “Chris, why have you NOT started to clean up? You’re not going anywhere today and you’re really close to losing out on the whole weekend.” No longer was Dale Carnegie present in our household. It was “do it or else” time. Which never, ever worked. The more you push and tell me what to do, the less I will listen. (Did I mention I am an entrepreneur?) Try to make it my idea. Ask me. Explain the value of accomplishing the task. Even bribe me to do it. Don’t tell me what to do.

I find leaders start this way in work situations. We start by giving one a gentle push to complete a nagging, maybe slightly-behind project that is more important to us than the ones of whom we are asking. Then we check in and we get more directive, “I want that done by Monday. Are we in agreement?” And we end with the threat, “You know that your vacation day is in jeopardy and you are falling well off of plan. Performance reviews are right around the corner you know…”

water-24420_640So what does the inventive and creative Mom do when progress is behind? She takes the hill like a true Leadership General. She heads for the trash bag under the sink. Nothing moves people (or children) faster than the reach for the trash bag. Not following? Mom would grab the bag and head to our room or wherever our stuff happened to be piled that day. And she would say, “Anything I pick up you will not get back, it’s going to Goodwill.” And then I would come running, perhaps with tears streaming, “NO!” Sometimes it took action, not words to move the task or project to completion!

PS – Don’t try this on teenagers. They are prone to mumble, “Good now I don’t have to do it.” Or, “I have too much stuff anyway.” Any verbal warfare they can think of that gets to you!

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