Posts Tagged: Customer Service


How to Write Job Descriptions That Will Identify the Right Candidate

December 28th, 2016

When responsible for managing staff, one of the most important tasks is hiring new employees or contract talent. Choosing the wrong person can have negative consequences. In turn, if your job description does not accurately describe the job requirements, you may not attract the right person for the job, or high quality talent. So what is important in a job description for today’s best candidates?

Convey Your Company’s Culture

Laptop vector illustration. Flat design. Notebook with text on screen. Working with documents on computer  illustration for writing, coding concept, app icon, logo design. Isolated on white background.

Company culture is very important when it comes to interviewing and recruiting a potential employee. Your want to attract candidates that will be a good fit for the company and will enjoy coming to the office every day. You may think that you have found the perfect candidate based on their education, experience and skills, yet, if this person is not a culture fit, he or she may not be productive or perform to their full potential. Communicate the corporate mission, work-life balance and other important aspects of the company culture in your job description. If you offer remote work opportunities, flexible schedules or an on-site gym, include each on the job description, it can make a difference between competing opportunities.

Make it Interesting

Candidates spend significant time looking at job descriptions and hopefully tailoring their resume to that description. Many candidates will simply move on to the next employment listing if they are reading a boring job description. Make your job listing stand out by being creative. Use a unique font or text color. If you can, add a short video to the job description. The video could talk about the positive aspects of the role along with some perks of the company.  It could also feature employee testimonials talking about why they love working for the company and where the company is headed in the future.

Focus on What Is Most Important

A job description should be short and simple. Do not drive away potential candidates by listing every single desirable qualification. The ideal candidate may not have every skill that on your list. Language that is exclusionary may cause the perfect candidate to not bother applying for the position. So, choose what skills are most important and list them in the job description. Stick to about five or six key qualifications. The same goes with job duties. Do not list every duty associated with the job. It does not provide insight into what tasks are the most important and can drive potential candidates away. Instead, choose five or six of the most important responsibilities for the position.

Do you need help writing job descriptions or identifying talent for hard to fill roles? Give us a call at (877) 746-8450!

5 Trends That Will Redefine Your Recruiting Strategy in the New Year

December 21st, 2016

Out with the old, in with the new—talent acquisition marketing strategy, that is.

2017 is promising to be a very busy year for recruiters, as the job market picks up and recently finalized trade agreements have the global economy in full swing. Despite the job-related optimism, many talent leaders are still struggling with a general lack of resources and an undefined employment brand strategy.

So what can you expect in hiring and recruiting strategy for 2017?

Talent is Key for C-Suite: When it comes to company success, recruiting leaders are key to their organization’s efforts. More than 83 percent of talent acquisition leaders hold talent as their number one resource, and 75 percent of recruiters say that their team is one of the top reasons for company growth and new success.

Sales Funnel Big Data Flat Style Concept. Vector illustration of Big Data Filter. Laptop with Data Analysis.

Focus on Sales, Operations, and Engineering: A majority of recruiters expect to hire more employees in the coming year, and the bulk of that number will be in sales. To stay relevant, recruiters will need to find innovative ways to recruit talent pools in the sales, operations, and engineering industries.

Hiring Source Diversity: Recruiters often say that employee referrals are their biggest source of top quality hires. This makes sense, given that referred employees are quicker to hire, more committed to their jobs, and better performers over the long term. To keep the talent pools full, however, recruiters will still need to maintain their presence with staffing firms, on social networks, and marketing your employee and personal brand across all platforms.

Employer and Employee Branding: Not everyone has an unlimited recruiting budget—and when money is tight, the best course of action is often to spend conservatively. With more than 50 percent of recruiting budgets allocated to recruitment agencies and job boards and just 17 percent slated for technology, it seems recruiters may have some wiggle room when it comes to being a bit adventurous with the budget. Since investing in the employer branding strategy is at the top of 53 percent of recruiter’s wish lists, 2017 might be just the right time for a bit of non-traditional recruitment spending.

Automation and Data: Since hiring demands continue to grow while recruiters struggle with a limited budget and even fewer human resources, automated screening processes and data-driven hiring strategies seem to be the next logical step toward talent acquisition efficiency. Larger companies report that big data is their number one trend for the coming year, touting minimal human bias, higher screening accuracy, and efficient soft skill assessment as distinct advantages in the recruitment process.

Do you need help with your 2017 recruiting strategy? Give us a call at (877) 746-8450!

Why Retention is Crucial to Your Recruiting Strategy in 2017

December 14th, 2016

With a job market that’s on the upswing and employers looking to hire more workers in 2017, it seems recruiters have a busy year ahead. For at least the next few years, one of the most important elements in your talent acquisition and recruitment toolkit will be talent retention. The reason? Basic supply and demand.

Data retention protection icon in flat style isolated on white background. Security symbol

Starting in 2007, companies were forced to deal with the recession and the related fallout from a struggling economy. Employers had to make some tough decisions regarding eliminating employee benefits to cut costs—often cutting back on employees as well. The recession left employers holding all the cards while employees struggled with fewer perks, nonexistent benefits, and heavier workloads. With employees feeling privileged to simply have any job at all, the idea of employee retention as a recruiting strategy was not even on an employer’s radar.

As we approach 2017, the tides have shifted. To avoid a massive skills shortage, recruiters and employers alike have to start thinking of ways to keep top-notch employees in the positions they worked so hard to fill.

With increased demand for talent, companies have started revisiting their perks, compensation, and benefits offerings. Along with developing more attractive compensation plans, employers are shifting their focus toward talent retention in an effort to avoid suffering a skills and labor shortage in the foreseeable future.

A Renewed Focus on the Long Term

Along with an improving economy comes a new set of challenges for recruiters and employers. Companies that can’t hold on to their employees will suffer market-based shifts in the availability of top-quality talent every time the job market fluctuates—making consistency and productivity nearly impossible to attain.

To maintain growth in a thriving economy, companies should focus on the following hiring and talent elements:

Retention of Quality Candidates:The talent pipeline is a talent acquisition team’s greatest asset. From the moment a viable candidate visits a recruiter or signs on to a career page, maintaining that connection is vital to retention efforts.

Holding onto Key Employees: This should go without saying, as quality employees are the backbone of every organization.  A high volume of potential candidates simply can’t replace the tenure and experience of a seasoned employee. At the same time, high-potential leaders are the most sought after during times of high demand, and turnover in these situations is somewhat inevitable. This is an area where retention strategy can make a huge difference in whether you keep a valuable potential leader or are faced with starting over from scratch.

Retaining Lead Personnel: When an organization has trouble retaining its top personnel, company morale suffers and overall productivity takes a nosedive. An innovative retention strategy is essential for companies who want to avoid losing top leaders to the competition.

Do you need help attracting and retaining key talent? Give us a call at (877) 746-8450!

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.

 

 

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?

Try this Inexpensive Way to Improve Service

October 21st, 2015

In every office and warehouse in all corners of the globe, there are responders (responsive employees) and late responders (unresponsive employees). As you read this you probably patted yourself on the back or nodded your head, “yeah I one of the responsive ones.” Next, you thought of that person on your team or in another department that never seems to, well, respond to anything or anyone. How do they keep their job anyway, you wonder.

We all know late responders, we all have stories about them. YouTube “bad service” and watch customers answer the phones in retails stores because no employees would do it. Try calling the government on a service hot line. I don’t mean to pick on the obvious, however, I just called my state government and was told “your call is very important to us, there are currently 97 callers in front of you and we will answer your call in 1 hour and 24 minutes, please go to the website…” I had to wait. I eventually talked to a responder, but wow, their overall service is much more about being a late responder! So what are the responsive and non-responsive behaviors?

Non-responsive Behavior

  • Ignoring emails and any repeated attempts to engage — (After many attempts to combat this behavior, others may even make excuses for late responders [they are busy, they have a hard job], but these are excuses for non-responsive behavior.)
  • Letting calls go to voicemail because you can — I am not talking about general opinions about phones and texts here. I am talking about flat out avoidance of work.
  • Cancelling meetings
  • Not listening — (Late responders do all of the talking.)
  • “Quitting and staying” — I don’t have enough help or I have issues at home, they say. Whatever it is, late responders can’t help you, no matter what kind of customer you are. Have you been to an overwhelmed, fast food restaurant lately?
  • Complacency — Late responders have no reason to try too hard. Perhaps they are comfortable, or hiding from you. Regardless there is no internal reason to respond any faster than they feel like.

Responsive Behavior

  • Take action and engage
  • Showing respect for and appreciating others
  • Know, build and maintain important relationships in and out of the company
  • Balancing the need to get to the to do list with the needs of others
  • Caring — Sure it helps when you like your company and believe in its cause.
  • Liking what you do — It also helps to have a boss that cares about your aspirations and looks out for you.

If you’re smart, you’re realizing that these responsive behaviors are a personal choice that your employees have to make. A great company focused on service realizes that this is a wonderful way to add value to customers’ and employees’ worlds. And it’s free. So try this inexpensive way to improve customer service and adopt or promote responsive behaviors in your workplace.

  • Being a non-responder or owner of a company full of them is not free. It’s bad for business, and in fact, hurts your paycheck or your income statement.
  • Being a responder is free, a competitive advantage and good for stakeholders.

p.s. If you really are a responder, you can work for me anytime. Send your resume to icanhelpyou [at] thecbigroup.com

The Practical Guide to Implementing the Value of Defined by Three Customers

May 27th, 2015

First things first, we all know there is only one paying customer. For the purposes of our value, specifically the way we think, we define our three customers as employees, paying customers, and vendors.

3Customers-01-150x150Defined by Three Customers is about balanced thinking and decision making for all three customer subsets. This is a compass designed to help guide us—it’s not foolproof nor perfect. However, it’s much more balanced than an equation where no thought or care for one “customer” comes into play.

Are you wondering if/how this is relevant to you? I can prove it to you! Did you ever work for the manager that never let his or her people leave the department or post for other positions? The manager’s needs in their job tend to get in the way of the needs of employees or the employer.

How about the salesperson who seems to never hit their plan because they are telling the marketplace and their prospects that they have a monthly quota to hit? They don’t do it intentionally, mind you. They show it in their actions—they are not balancing prospect needs and wants with their own needs.

How can you live the value Defined by Three Customers?

  1. As an employee taking care of your customer who will eventually take care of you, do things for your customers to add value and they will come back!
  2. Challenge (in a good way) and get to your vendors. You would be surprised what they can do to help if you share where you’re taking your business and what value they can bring to you get there!
  3. Sometimes one “customer” wins and another loses in the short term. We must have a long-term view. We can’t always get the employee the raise nor the feedback they crave. A vendor can’t always give favorable terms on their business. A leader can’t always make a balanced decision—their short budget depends on the quick hit. The key is to stay focused on the doing right things right everyday and we will balance the scales in the long run!
  4. Defined by Three Customers is an equal number of debits and credits in the relationship bank account. Make sure you’re taking care of your stakeholders all of the time!
  5. Think longer term. Think about taking care of all groups. Imagine you will break bread with your three customers on a regular basis. When we think about long-term relationships, we moderate our short-term needs and wants!

CBI Way: Getting Your Pipeline Started

May 20th, 2015

By Outside-In® Team Member Alex Patton

Having the ability to tap your own pipeline of talent when trying to fill open positions can be a game-changer. As discussed in the last CBI Way Blog, talent pipelining is about preparing for future openings, and easily identifying quality candidates quickly, reducing critical metrics such as time to fill. As you can probably predict, creating your pipeline starts with a familiar topic: engaging passive candidates.

CBIWayEngaging passive talent can be an incredibly effective way to encourage your pipeline’s success. First, identifying the profile and skillsets needed for future openings is going to help point you in the right direction for engaging those ideal candidates. For example, perhaps you want to build a pipeline of electrical engineers, knowing of a large project kicking off next year. You might be able to get a decent amount of names from LinkedIn, FaceBook, or old resumes on job boards. But more likely, the most effective source for building your pool of electrical engineers is going to be associations, niche groups, and seminars or events where candidates with the skillset you seek meet, interact, and engage one another. Gathering as much information possible about your pipelined candidates will take in-depth research and cross-referencing, but will pay dividends for the long term approach. Emails, telephone numbers, and social media profiles can all help bridge the gap to engagement.

Identifying the sources to generate passive candidates is an important step. But perhaps just as important is engaging that talent, and building relationships to foster interest and help drive referrals. In the next CBI Way blog, we’ll discuss some common strategies to produce success when attempting to engage your newly built talent pipeline.

Have you heard about our talent pipelining service, talentSOURCE? Learn about the sourcing service and benefits by downloading the talentSOURCE PDF.

Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

What Would Happen if We Stopped Taking Risks?

April 29th, 2015

Lets start with the obvious, avoiding taking any risk is actually a pretty serious risk all by itself! This requires us to avoid phone calls and interactions with customers and associates. We need to skip team meetings and duck out of the break room, too. The longer we stand still and stay status quo the more likely we are to fall a step behind or even lose altogether—all while our competitors and peers march forward.

The Outside-In® Companies believe in our value of taking risks. We definitely don’t steer around or away from it, but why does it matter for our employees to live this value? Who really cares anyway? In fact, why should any service company encourage risk taking?

ID-100309958First off, risk taking is really about decision making, the lack of perceived authority, task discretion, and reward for doing so. Employees that do not make decisions often do so because their company’s culture discourages it. This is cultivated through the management team and their practices. This is quite often an unexpected negative outcome of a company that lacks a cultural plan to encourage customer centric actions with those that have direct customer contact.

Employees that don’t make decisions have little or no choice but to get the answer for a customer from those that have the power or information. Usually, the power lies in controlling that information and it is intended to be a business control that simply hedges risk. However, in this case, it kills the customer! This can be because of a lack of training and knowledge or a matter of policy and the preferred hierarchical nature of the company.

Close your eyes and remember when this happened to you, a roommate, someone from your household, etc. Is there anything more frustrating than when you’re on the phone with that utility, or in line at the retail store, or airport and the service associate needs a manager? All you needed was to make a return, change a seat, or get your bill in the correct name. The worst part is that the supervisor does not do anything fancy—they just need a stupid code or a key to take care of your return or to move your flight.

A culture that values its customers empowers and encourages risks that take place in the act of serving a customer!

Employees that are not encouraged to notice what their customers are actually saying and then do something about it are not serving the strategic purposes of the business. The front lines see and hear it all. How many times have you heard a clerk or phone representative say that they have told management about a customer opinion so many times but no one listens. Then their voice trails off and their interest and engagement level wanes day by day! If we listen to customers as employees they will tell you why they are angry about a program or policy change, what is never in the store, when service is slow, or when a product has been replaced that should not have been. We can always hear it as employees.

A culture that values risk taking creates an environment where employees have tools and formats to share what they hear and take action! This is customer centric and systematic cultural risk taking. What did you learn from our marketplace today? What did our customers challenge us with? What do they need and want from us? Ask employees for feedback often, give all employees a format to share, reward this flow of insights, then categorize it and teach what to do with it. Most likely your plan of improvement needs tweaking. Employees just need permission to open their eyes and be empowered to see what needs fixing. Empowerment and the confidence to stand up and share what might be the next product or service that enhances your company’s top line strategy are the keys to grow your business.

Risk taking is a cultural tool to encourage customer centric and entrepreneurial behaviors for all of your employees. You have a choice in your organization; you can either treat employees like leased resources, or you can act and create an environment that encourages entrepreneurial behaviors that enhance your customer’s experience with you.

Go sit and listen to your employees, have Outside-In® eyes and ears, and gather the information you need in order to decide how to encourage risk taking that improves the experience for your customer base. Or come visit our office and see it in action!

Outside-In® Companies Announce Partnership with Delaware Association of Rehabilitation Facilities

April 21st, 2015

ID-100249468We are pleased to announce that we have entered into a new partnership with DelARF to benefit all of their members and offer talent management services in recruitment, temporary staffing, and outplacement.

DelARF is a statewide membership association of agencies supporting people with disabilities. Membership is open to organizations that provide direct services, advocacy and/or educational services to Delawareans with disabilities, their families and advocates.

“We know that talent can be a real difference maker in your company. We offer customer-centric talent services that can help you in the course of running your business!” says Outside-In® President, Chris Burkhard.

  • Do you have a need to hire key staff but don’t have the Human Resources staff to handle the recruitment process?
  • Have you considered using a temporary workforce to give you budget flexibility, but don’t know how to get started?
  • Do you experience highs and lows in hiring and need a steadier flexible recruiting stream that you can turn on and off as needed?
  • Is your company experiencing a reduction in force? If so, you need tools at your disposal to help your impacted workforce get redeployed quickly as you do the right thing for the community and for the brand you represent!

As a values-based company founded in Delaware in 2001, the Outside-In® team is committed to providing “Service to the Nth Degree”. If you are interested in learning more about these services, please visit www.outsideincompanies.com or call our Newark office at (877) 746-8450.

Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

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