Posts Tagged: Company Culture


What Millennials Can Bring to Your Talent Pipeline

December 7th, 2016

Talent acquisition comes with a unique set of traits to look for in potential employees. Some of the more obvious ones are dependability, loyalty, and a strong work ethic. With millennials, you might have to look even further at what they can offer. This group of candidates is defined as 18-34 years old, and now make up 75.4 million people. They outnumber the “Baby Boomers” slightly, so they are the largest group in the workforce today.

This is a wide range of possible employees. Many are just entering the workforce right out of high school, while others have completed college, their masters, or have been employed for quite some time. All of them have certain traits that will be beneficial to your talent pool as recruiters who are looking at this prime age of workers in many different fields of employment. So what can this group of candidates bring to your talent pipeline?

Three millennials walking past a dark stairway in Seattle

Ambition: Millennials are a “can do” generation. They like to get things done, contrary to reports of them being lazy or aloof. The Council of Economic Advisers reports that around 61 percent of millennials have attended college, as compared to only 46 percent of Baby Boomers. Their ambitions are high, some due to the fact that they have excessive college debt to pay down. Either way this helps to have an attitude that will allow them to achieve great things in their careers, since they desire success. Plus they know what’s it’s like to work through a down economy, during the years 2007-2009, when the oldest of the generation was just 27-years-old.

Tech expertise: “Digital natives” as this generation could be called, grew up during the beginning of the internet boom. This makes millennial candidates very tech savvy, so working in a high tech workplace and adapting quickly isn’t an issue. It can also be an asset from a work culture standpoint, as candidates can really bring different generations of employees together with technology. Many of them love being team players which fosters a solid work environment, and generally function well in a team setting.

However, one of the biggest challenges with mellennial talent is actually attracting and retaining candidates. Millennials desire different perks and environments than past generation, and companies are tailoring their workforce strategy, respectively. Check out some of our previous blogs to learn what companies are doing to attract and retain highly sought IT talent.

 

 

Why Identifying Hiring Roadblocks is the Answer to Hiring Challenges

November 30th, 2016

Most professional struggles with time management, even the most successful organizations. There are an infinite amount of things to do in any given day, and some challenges are prioritized over another. However, when it comes to hiring, it’s hard to imagine a successful business without a successful workforce plan. If you’re having trouble finding or retaining good talent, start asking some tough questions to avoid wasting time, money, and great employees.

Do you really know what you’re looking for?

In this market where loyalty is low and demands are high, it’s easy to think a lot talent management is outside of your control. But hiring is all about aligning your expectations with the candidate’s outlook. Once completely honest with the current workforce dynamics, you can start to see certain red flags that are not helping the situation. For example, if you’re willing to ignore an IT candidate’s cultural challenged in favor of their talent, then you have to expect it might not work out for the team long-term.

3d worker with hand on roadblock, barricade

Are you thinking long-term?

Hiring managers must take into account both the stress they place on staff when they’re in need of talent, and the potential problems that come from hiring someone who may not be the best candidate simply because the need is so great. Both factors are important, but contradict each other. If its beginning to take entirely too long to identify someone is that is a fit, it could be time to reassess how the hiring process is being executed.

Can you find the talent on your own?

Sometimes managers just don’t have the resources to identify talent, vet their resumes, sit down for multiple interviews and then deliberating over the final decisions. Generally speaking, fatigue will set in somewhere along the way, causing people to skip or half complete one of the steps. Partnering with recruitment firm can make all the difference, but it’s pivotal to find a partner who not only has connections, but can also really understand the role both skill set wise, and culturally. It’s possible to outsource every part of the process, or just bits and pieces, but a recruiting partner can provide great value, and a specialized expertise.

Understanding the Value of Workforce Productivity Metrics

November 23rd, 2016

While there are numerous ways to measure employee performance from a human resources standpoint, there is one metric that is most valued by company executives, particularly CFOs. This metric provides data that generally translates into dollars. It is simple to calculate and can allows comparison to other publicly listed firms in the same industry. It is one of the most effective way to measure both innovation and productivity in employees.

What is it?

This highly valued metric is revenue per employee (RPE). To calculate your company’s RPE, simply divide the total revenue of the company by the total number of employees. This calculation focuses on the value of the output of the workforce. Its relevancy is due to one of the largest expenses for most companies; salary and benefits of their employees.

Rear view of the business lady who is looking for the new business ideas. Blue growing arrow as a concept of successful business. Business icons are drawn on the concrete wall.

Why is it so effective?

It is an effective tool for measuring a workforce because companies are looking for the highest revenue per employee that they can get. Higher RPE translates to higher productivity levels and more effective use of the company’s available resources. By comparing RPE numbers over the years, businesses can also effectively evaluate their human resources team. Additionally, it can be a tool to assess how your company is doing compared to other similar companies. The top companies in any industry generally produce a higher revenue per employee number.

How can you increase your RPE?

Industry leaders tend to have the best RPEs. How do they do it? A lot depends on the industry, considering there is no one-size-fits-all solution to increasing RPE in the workforce. However, one rising trend throughout different industries is employee engagement. Employees that are engaged in their work are 38% more likely to have above average workplace productivity, per Workplace Research Foundation. This typically translates into higher service and customer satisfaction, increased sales and profit, and higher shareholder returns.

Another way to increase RPE is continued effort to hire highly skilled and qualified candidates. It has always been a challenge for HR departments to sort through piles of resumes and applications in search of the right candidate. However, many have found hiring solutions by utilizing a professional recruitment partner. Recruitment partners provide resources and training to help companies identify and hire highly skilled executives and employees that will help, not hinder, the company’s RPE.

Although there are numerous metrics that provide human resources departments with valuable information about workforce productivity, the one that could be considered most valued outside the HR department is revenue per employee. When it comes to workforce productivity, how well does your company measure up?

Do You Really Know Who Would be Best for Your Team?

September 28th, 2016

When there are open positions to fill, you have the chance to add team members who can enhance your current status quo and take your company to the next level.  On the other hand, if you hire the wrong people, you could be facing an epic fail that will be costly on budget, as poor hiring decisions typically result in expensive turnover costs.

flat vector design of employees or executives in meeting. this vector also represents company meetings discussions and opinions employee interaction & engagement

So, how do you combat the potential pitfalls and find people who will be perfect for your team?  Many decision-makers are far removed from the day-to-day tasks of the people under them.  Ironically, these same leaders are often the people tasked with choosing which candidates to hire.  When you take a step back, and look at the bigger picture, this system is set up for failure.  If you want to hire folks who will truly fit well with your existing team, you need to go directly to the source, and seek input from the people who will be working next to the new colleague.  Remove yourself from your role as a leader, and become a learner, the results can be astonishing!

 

Gathering Employee Feedback Boosts Engagement

When you seek assistance from your existing staff, employees will appreciate the fact that you trust them enough to want their feedback.  This simple act shows that you trust your team and want what’s best for them — two key elements to boosting existing employee engagement.  If you don’t want to be stuck filling more positions in the near future, it’s vital to learn how to build and retain employee engagement at every opportunity.

Integrating the Input of Existing Employees

Before you even begin calling candidates into your conference rooms, consult with your team members.  Begin by bringing everyone in as a group.  This will allow people to bounce ideas off each other as suggestions are made.  Make note of the following characteristics:

  • What do they do everyday?
  • What traits make the existing team work well together?
  • What are the downsides to the work they do?  (Although this isn’t a pretty question, the honesty can help open discussion for further improvement in the future, and it can help you identify candidates who can withstand the downfalls in the meantime.)
  • What can your team or company do to improve?

Each of these questions will likely lead to longer discussions from which you can derive plenty of information that you can take back to leadership regarding both the addition of your new team members, as well as changes that should be considered for your existing employees.

Invite Your Employees to the Interviews

Rather than relying on your instinct, bring a team member or two to the interviews.  They will likely think of questions you may not have even considered, and when it’s time to choose the right candidate, you’ll be able to gather a more well-rounded general consensus.

 

What are your thoughts about integrating existing employees into the hiring process?  We’d love to hear your opinions!  Join in the conversation by leaving a comment below, or head over to our Outside-In Facebook page!

How to Make Your Business a Talent Magnet

September 21st, 2016

Every company, large and small is challenged when it comeVector business conceptual background in flat style. The hand of businessman holding magnet and attracts happy customers or clients of different age and race to the business.s to attracting, developing, and retaining the best talent. For decades now, “lean” has been the buzz word in manufacturing. The lean business model has spread across industries, including the recruitment of quality talent. Here are a few tips to help you attract and keep the best and brightest, while remaining efficient:

Attract

What if, instead of bearing the cost of recruitment, (fees, travel expenses, etc.) you could have all the top candidates be drawn to you like a magnet? Corporations such as Apple and Google have perfected the art of employer magnetism. But you don’t have to be a tech giant to create a similar attraction.

Businesses need to focus on creating a workplace environment in which people enjoy working, according to Roberta Matusun, author of Talent Magnetism: How to Build a Workplace That Attracts and Keeps the Best. She also points out that, apart from the product or service they offer to consumers, businesses should also brand themselves as an employer.

Create Purpose

A mid-sized California BioPharm company has been able to capture the element of purpose. They boast a job satisfaction rate of 77% of their 18,000 employees. Almost all of them (90%) stated that they feel as though they have a “high job meaning.” Purpose is especially important when you are targeting a younger workforce as Millennial generation; it is said, work for the purpose, not the pay.

How to Create Purpose

Graham Kenny, writing for the Harvard Business Review says purpose, is not a company’s values, mission or vision. Your purpose statement needs to say; “this is what we are doing for our customers.”  To craft an effective purpose statement, it is important to convey the impact your organization has on the lives of the people it serves. Success in this area will inspire your employees to become invested.

Engage, Motivate, Retain

Face it, at times it is simply hard to get out of bed in the morning. Imagine working in an environment where you wouldn’t be missed if you didn’t show up at all. It is imperative that the modern workplace is structured to make employees feel integral to the day-to-day operations. Doing so creates a culture of engagement and a feeling that the success of their organization is dependent on the full participation of each individual, no matter their position. When employees feel motivated, they become more engaged, and that translates directly into improved retention.

By creating a corporate culture in which employees enjoy working, feel they have a purpose, and understand how they connect to the overall “big picture,” you will not only attract the most desirable talent but most importantly, inspire them to stay.

Please Stop Writing about Millennials in the Workplace

June 15th, 2016

Millennials chatterIn five years, a majority of workers will be Millennials. Boomers are retiring or being replaced at a rapid pace of 10-13,000 per day! Everyone talks about how Millennials are going to change work for the rest of us. They have. But the change started long before they came on the scene in large numbers. The only point that matters is that many of us want to work differently. And have been working on it since Millennials were born.

Smart businesses have realized that most of us don’t work for a paycheck. We work for a purpose. Which is why so many of us care about working some place that has a mission!

They say Millennials only care about their growth and new skills. Haven’t we all grown tired of video games and smoothies at work? Food and tchotchkes barely, if ever, really mattered that much compared to how much I liked my job. But, chances to have new experiences? Lead new projects. Learn new technologies. That is what real talent has always wanted.

Nobody can lead like a 5 star general anymore. Command and Control is dead. Communication and ideas must flow freely. And decision making is distributed and pushed out to the front lines, putting decision makers much closer to the customer. This is not new, this is 20 years in the making kind of stuff. Millennials (and the rest of us) want leaders that can coach too and value our whole selves. So please, stop writing and talking about Millennials in the workplace. We get it, there’s a lot of them.

Is “No Silos’ an achievable goal?

February 10th, 2016

Silo Mentality‘ is “an attitude found in some organizations that occurs when several departments or groups do not want to share information or knowledge with other individuals in the same company.” (Investopedia)

The key phrase I’d like to point out in the above definition is “do not want to share.” Why? I’ll get to that, but first let me set up where I am coming from.

No Silos is one of our Outside-In® values. We like to brag about being one team where politics, title and departments do not create barriers to doing business for us. With multiple brands, teams and functions this value symbolically declares our equality — regardless of title or role — to everyone internally and externally in the business.

Silo MentalityBut I am here to say that we have silos, and probably always will. There are a few sources of silos that are unavoidable. For one, it is only natural for people to imprint strongly or bond with a team, a client, or group of people (when you start in the same orientation class, for example). Folks are always going to find some commonality to silo around. Everyone looks to self identify — where we live, who we know, what we know and of course who we work with or share information with. We tend to discriminate or create silos when we don’t know others. It is easier to not help or not share when you are strangers. So with strong relationship bonds, silos are naturally created.

Another example of unavoidable silos in business are organizational functions. The operations, finance, HR and sales teams (and so on) are by nature separate functions that create silos for a number of reasons: knowledge/expertise, common projects & goals, shared leadership, or even the fact that people sit closer together. Work is organized in such a way that you spend a lot of time together working on similar work, and therefore barriers are created between one functional group and another.

So yes, companies and organizations will always have silos. There will always be groups of friends, project groups, account teams, functional departments and leadership at every company. Let’s go back to the phrase “do not want to share” in the definition of silo mentality. There is one thing that separates a company with silo mentality and one without: it’s the willingness to share information.

If you sense a Silo Mentality at your company, dig deeper into the why. 1. Are people unwilling to share information with other teams? 2. Are there rules from leadership that prevent information sharing? Or 3. Is it the organizational structure that makes it hard (but not impossible) to work across teams and departments?

At Outside-In® Companies, we have experienced a lot of organizational change lately as we get organized for growth and scaling. As we define roles and put infrastructure in place, we are experiencing some of #3. But what I can tell you, is that our issues with silos are not as severe as the stories I hear about from companies that experience #1 and #2. How about needing to fill out an actual form that must be approved by each department head to receive permission to talk to another department? So much for collaboration at the water cooler or getting together for happy hour to create, solve or address business problems, large or small.

Or this recent one. Sales and Account Management teams refused to include the Service team in the customer conversation. These departments misconstrued who owns relationships, and maybe most importantly who is involved with delivering an experience to the customer! Imagine trying to get anything done!

So yes, at the Outside-In® Companies, we do have Silos. But our Silo Mentality is not because we are unwilling to share with our team members or because we have rules in place that prevent cross-team collaboration. In fact, with No Silos as a value, cross-team collaboration is encouraged. The No Silos value is about building relationships because you can. And encourages reaching out across silos — without rules, forms, sign up sheets or leader’s permission. Regardless of a one leader’s behavior, one can always talk to or work with whom they want.

Now, back to the question at hand, “Is ‘No Silos’ an achievable goal?” No Silos is an aspirational value. It’s impossible to have No Silos in a business. But you can reinforce a ‘No Silos Mentality’ and adjust your organizational structure to break down barriers that prevent departments or teams from working well together. The mentality or mindset is achievable, and one we always strive to improve upon.

Does your company have a Silos Mentality? If so, you have a leadership problem. Yup, I said it. Silos exist because leaders allow it, can’t address it, or are rewarded or incentivized to allow them to exist. So dig deeper to find out the why.

Outside-In® Chronicles: Hard In and Easy Out

November 11th, 2015

Outside-In® Chronicles: a throwback post, originally published five years ago in November 2010 While many of the same “people questions” exist, the state of the economy, with the lowest unemployment rate since April 2008 (5.0%), makes the answers or solutions uniquely different. And through all the ups and downs in hiring, our mantra of “hard in, easy out” has remained the same.

Leadership is all about the “people side of the business”. It just seems as if the focus and importance of people issues ebbs and flows with the state of our business. For the last two years, most “people” conversations have been exclusively about cutting costs, reducing head count or associated expenses, and/or plans to create efficiencies. Many businesses find themselves in a spot where they are lean and this means that many, many organizations find themselves panicking quietly about people and talent issues. I hear these questions each and every day with more urgency:

Should we hire to add headcount or use temporaries?
I do not have staff to conduct hiring; how do I get started again?
Should I have a long term strategy or simply react now?
How do I make hiring a core competency? What role should my managers and staff play in the process?

I will let you in on a little secret – HR folks of all kinds are now finding jobs at a steady, if not record clip. We cut them fast and hire them back just as fast. Perhaps a little too fast. Over the last twenty years I have operated within an informal mantra, “It should be hard to get into your company as a new hire, yet very easy to leave”. This statement of hard in, easy out is simple to remember yet profound in its significance to your business.

Concept of confusion and right strategy of a businessman

First, let’s address “hard in”. Your employees want to feel proud of how we bring new staff into the business. It is great if your process for hiring is effective and makes it exclusive. It should be difficult to get hired. Truthfully, it should be a process that never, ever stops. How many of you regret that your stopped viewing talent over the recession? Most of us (if we are honest) know it to be true. We need cash and TALENT to win as opportunities continue to emerge!

The “easy out” is just as important. Trust me when I say that the workforce knows they will not work for you for a lifetime. They expect to have seven or so different roles throughout their career. This reality is reinforced every moment with a media frenzy of companies that make business decisions that impact their workforce! The workforce knows business can no longer afford to be loyal. And surprise! They won’t give it to you anyway. There is too much churn and reality in the business world for anyone to be lulled into a false sense of security. No longer do candidates call us and say, “I am just looking for a safe company that I can stay with for many years.” That is no longer the reality for most employees.

My suggestion is to create an honest, open environment around this issue. Your culture must be capable of accepting the fact that you are “leasing” an employee for a period of time. You want their productivity, their creativity, their innovation and they in turn get fair market value in compensation and learning that makes them a more valuable asset to their careers.

Make it hard to get in to your company, yet make it very easy to leave. Do this and you will have the talent you need and the honesty that makes business simple, refreshing and a great story to share.

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.

front-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: Summer Reading List

June 3rd, 2015

ID-100249568Summer reading is a part of the fabric that defines my free time as well as my summer vacation. The challenge is to decide how to recharge and rejuvenate with that precious time off. Do I really want to read an industry publication or study for that upcoming webinar to keep continuing education credits flowing? It’s not that I don’t like my industry or chosen profession, I just need space and time to decompress. The more space I can create or make more time to think, the more likely I am to find new ideas and thoughts that help with my day-to-day work!

However, sometimes it’s hard to get away without our smart phones tethered to our hand 24/7—we all have to find some compromise, right? The very device that lets you order pizza while on vacation or text the teenagers to find out when they will be home is the same piece of technology that pings every time there is a new email and some work issue that either ruins your vacation mood or requires immediate attention!

I once heard the pile of unread business magazines, articles, books, and white papers on your nightstand or work station referred to as the tower of guilt! I, for one, feel good when I take that pile of work and plow through it. Sometimes I read three or four books at the same time in rotation just to change topics for the sake of staying current. However, this is not the approach I like to take for summertime reading.

So if you’re trying too hard to work and want to recharge while coming back with a new perspective on your business, here are my top three must reads:
1. Anything by Gladwell. Malcom not only sees the world differently, but he does the research to back it up. Try The Tipping PointWhat the Dog Saw, or my all time favorite, The Outliers. If you want to think about your business place in a different way, try escaping to the world that Malcom creates!

2.  How to Win Friends and Influence People. So many smart people know something about their field of study or the technical aspects of their profession yet few invest in their relationships.  No books exists that is more time tested for helping you with tools and tips for great human relations skills!

3.  Zen and the Art of Happiness. Everyone gets down in the dumps from time to time. As Dale Carnegie is for great human relationships this book is for realigning your perspective on your daily life. Things happen to us each and everyday, it is what we do next that matters.

If you have a book that recharges and lifts your energy while helping you reflect and improve your business or your leadership persona please let us know!

Outside-In® Book List

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