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How to Prevent Employee Turnover With Predictive Analytics

On average, 24% of employees research new job opportunities annually, with 46.6 million Americans quitting their jobs in 2022 alone. Employee turnover is one of the largest expenses organizations face. Estimates show replacing an employee costs an average of six to nine months of their annual salary — which can total in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the role.

Reducing that churn saves your organization significantly on advertising costs, assessing talent pools, interviewing, recruiting, and training new hires. It also lowers indirect costs related to disruptions in internal work, your supply chain, and employee relationships fostered both inside and outside of the company.

If you understand why people leave, predict when attrition will occur, and enact preventive measures to reduce churn, you’ll cut down on hiring and acquisition costs, as well as provide other benefits to your organization. With predictive analytics, you can help HR do just that.

Understand why people leave

People leave roles for reasons that often overlap across organizations and industries. While the chance of attrition alters per risk factor depending on salary, industry, and time at the role, there are many well-known factors that push employees to look for new jobs.

For example, an ADP Research whitepaper shows turnover across all employment sits at 5% each month, ranging from about 3% to over 24% depending on the job sector and company.

Salary, opportunities for growth or promotion, commute time, experience as part of total experience/tenure, total turnover rate, and overtime work were all listed as major factors in whether an employee stayed or left.

ADP identified over 40 drivers of voluntary turnover and mapped those to a risk model for attrition, which they then applied to two different companies. As a result, ADP found different driving factors in each organization, although aspects like dissatisfaction with management, pay, and commute were almost always near the top.

How predictive analytics digs into turnover

Most HR professionals have access to data streams that can help build predictive modeling for employee turnover. To create those models, you must first ensure your data is as accurate and clean as possible. You can start with existing models made by third-party companies, then tweak and adjust them to focus on what matters in your organization:

Collect honest employee data

Regularly survey employees about their satisfaction with their job, pay, commute, amount of overtime required, and opportunities for growth. Then, pair that with data from 360-degree feedback for an honest impression of your workforce.

Although they consume time and assets, those information sources validate your data and assumptions. They’re especially important for gauging aspects like how people feel about management and commute time, which are difficult to quantify. Unless those factors impact performance, organizations rarely take note of them.

Group people strategically

Categorizing individuals based on behavior, preferences, and motivations can improve the accuracy of your models. For example, one group may value higher pay and reduced commute time while another might be highly satisfied with their current salary package because it includes daycare for their children.

Group people according to their priorities to filter out those who rated specific elements as low priorities so you don’t throw off the models.

Perform real-world testing

It’s important to track and maintain data feeds over time to validate them. In the ADP study referenced above, the company followed employees considered to be at high risk of leaving their positions and found close to 50% of them did leave. In comparison, less than 10% of people listed as low risk left their organizations. Feeding that data into your models increases their precision and gives you a better understanding of your risk levels. 

If you know why people leave, you can predict when they’re likely to or are at risk of doing so based on what causes those factors to arise. However, variations occur regularly, even inside of specific teams, so grouping by behavior rather than by organization or team is important for the accuracy of the model.

Introduce remediation and preventive measures

The best prevention for employee turnover is to reduce the factors that contribute to voluntary churn. With so many factors affecting retention, you may not be able to cater to all of them. However you can use data to pinpoint the top three greatest risk factors affecting your employees and focus on those.

For example, if a large portion of your personnel spends a long time commuting, offering flex work and more work-from-home options could solve the problem. If pay stagnation is an issue, consider reassessing compensation models. Or, if teams experience friction with leaders and managers, you should delve into why and tackle the root cause.

A higher churn rate frequently points to issues with company policy and culture, but if you observe high turnover among specific teams or departments, it’s often connected to management and workload. Predictive analytics (combined with individual assessments) can forecast flight risk based on specific factors and help you retain people by resolving the issues causing friction.

Conclusion

Predictive analytics is only as effective as the data you give it. Most organizations that implement this approach start out with industry-standardized models, then alter them to suit their needs. However, it’s crucial that you keep data up to date, clean of incomplete or incorrect data, and validate it through feedback, direct contact with employees, and monitoring.

These methods uncover why and how likely employees are to leave your company using their own words, rather than numbers alone. Maintaining that human element is important to lower your turnover rate, so, in addition to targeting specific factors that push people to leave, review your company culture regularly to ensure it fosters a healthy work environment. If you create a space that encourages productivity without sacrificing employee well-being, your personnel will see little reason to hunt for a new job.


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How to Implement Skills-Based Hiring and Compensation

Company’s today face increasing challenges when hiring and retaining employees. Job roles change quickly, with one study from LinkedIn showing skill sets for jobs have changed globally by an average of 25% since 2015. That fluctuation is attributed to the implementation of new technology, automation, and new roles — and it’s only expected to accelerate. Hiring people for specific competencies requires investing (often significantly) in re-training them to meet the requirements for your role.

One solution to this obstacle is skills-based hiring, which prioritizes recruitment based on skills and competencies. This approach broadens talent pools, allows you to draw from more industries, and ensures the people you bring on have the skill sets to succeed in their roles. Companies have taken note of these benefits and are embracing the alternative method, with 40% of hires made on LinkedIn alone relying on skills data.

Adopting the approach first entails understanding what skills you need for a given role. In that regard, your organization needs comprehensive and validated skills and competency frameworks to define each position’s requirements and how to evaluate it against academic achievements.

What is skills-based hiring?

Skills-based hiring uses proven skills and competencies rather than academic achievements to make hiring decisions. Organizations employ work assignments, tests, and interviews to determine how capable an individual is of performing the job.

The shift away from academic achievements enables you to broaden talent pools by looking at different industries and roles. It also opens up horizontal pathways for employees within your organization. Even the U.S. Department of Labor promotes it as a way to make hiring more inclusive for the 70 million U.S. workers who acquired skills outside of formal education.

You essentially search for candidates based on what they can do, not what level of education they’ve completed. That can include soft skills or competencies, hard skills, and on-the-job experience without academic accomplishments (for example, people who received workplace training rather than a university education).

Testing for these normally involves:

  • Implementing skills tests and assessments in the hiring process
  • Employing work assignments (where relevant) to assess competency
  • Using behavioral interviewing and testing to check for soft skills
  • Allowing longer trial periods so people can adjust to new roles

Map skills across roles (and your organization)

To hire for skills and competencies, you have to create skills matrices or frameworks for each role you wish to fill. In most cases, organizations complete this in a single large project, often in conjunction with an outside bureau that can bring in industry benchmarks and template frameworks as well as a neutral perspective on how your organization works.

Normally, you start with a framework and then use interviewing, role assessment, and individual job tasks to highlight skills (both hard and soft) needed for the role. Most organizations focus on competencies required at an organizational, team, and role level.

Prioritize hard and soft skills

Every role has unique requirements, and there’s usually no one skill set that leads to success in a position. Differentiation can open up multiple paths to success in the same role, but often, certain skills are must-haves for specific roles.

Prioritizing skills and competencies (soft skills) is critical to hiring because it helps you find people who still need training but are otherwise competent in their role. You can categorize candidates’ capabilities into four tiers:

Tier One: Skills that are required to perform the role and can’t be easily trained in a reasonable timeline (e.g., time management for a project manager, communication for a SCRUM master)

Tier Two: Skills that are required to perform the role but can be easily trained within a reasonable time frame (e.g., a new coding language for a development role where the engineer already knows several languages, a new ERP for a supply chain manager with several years of experience) 

Tier Three: Skills that contribute to success in the role and aren’t easily trained (e.g., time management, stress management, emotional intelligence, work ethic)

Tier Four: Skills that can contribute to a role and are easily trained (e.g., specific tool competency, work methodology such as Agile or SCRUM, specific hard skills that contribute to understanding rather than completing work, such as basic coding for a UX designer). 

Success differs for each position, so you’ll need to prioritize the appropriate skills and soft skills. For example, you might find it’s better to hire based on soft skills for people-facing roles like customer service and facilitating while focusing on hard skills for technical roles.

Implement training and development

According to the LinkedIn Future of Skills study, skills mapped to roles will continue to change at the same rate as that of the last five years. This means that, unless you invest in training and cultivating new competencies in existing employees, their skill sets will quickly lose relevance. That’s especially true as you adopt new technology, change business direction, and remove legacy software and processes from your organization. Options for professional development include:

  • On-demand development – Online skills training can help employees learn new technologies and simple skills that don’t require hands-on practice. They also allow you to assess existing skills through tests and then recommend training to remedy any identified gaps.  
  • Coaching and mentoring – Coaching and mentoring allows you to teach skills that people in your organization possess to others. This strengthens team cohesion, removes single points of failure for technical roles and skills, and disperses more niche knowledge such as understanding specific company processes throughout the organization.  
  • Workshops and live training – Workshops and live training are great for teaching new skills. For these, you bring in an outside expert to give hands-on demonstrations and deliver training within a set time period. This option is normally expensive but may be necessary when introducing new technologies or work methods.  

Integrating personal development, using data to predict potential skills gaps, and actively remediating those issues will ensure your existing personnel stays relevant and capable for their roles.

Reward employees for developing relevant skills

Skills-based compensation is a large part of skills-based hiring and involves you actively rewarding people who develop themselves. That often looks like tying salary to skills that contribute to the role, the team, or the organization as a whole. To determine a skill’s worth, you need robust skills and competency frameworks in place that include prioritization and valuation.

For example, if people who take emotional intelligence workshops add (documented) value to your organization by improving collaboration and productivity, you should reward them for it.

Conclusion

Once you understand how skills contribute to roles, teams, and your organization, you can hire based on those abilities, regardless of academics or past experience. Often, that’ll require implementing some form of training and professional development as part of job roles, not only to ensure new hires catch up but also that existing employees can keep up.

Successful skills-based hiring relies on establishing and maintaining skills matrices mapped to roles to identify fitting candidates. By clearly defining your needs for each position, you’ll improve both your hiring and people management processes, which yield greater benefits for your business in the long term.


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7 Tactics To Prevent Burnout in Your Employees

Employee stress is at an all-time high. Unlike previous generations that could easily decompress once they left work, employees today have to be available constantly and are often asked to learn an ever-changing set of skills, as well as frequently adapt to new technology. That combined with other work stressors from leadership, high workloads, commutes, and colleagues creates an environment where many feel strained. As a result, 52% of all employees on average experience burnout at some point in their career. 

Burnout and job stress cost businesses over $300 billion in lost productivity annually and increase other expenses in indirect ways. For example, people are significantly more likely to seek new employment after experiencing burnout. That increases both churn rate and hiring costs for your company. 

Preventing burnout is the best way to ensure your employees stay healthy, happy, and engaged with their work. That requires you to invest in quality leadership, foster open communication, and create policies that give people the flexibility they need to live well

1) Develop strong leadership 

Leadership (especially direct supervisors) is the most important contributor to both burnout and how well employees return to work after a stressful episode. Good leadership delegates work, communicates clearly, manages interpersonal relationships, and oversees team health in ways that prevent burnout. Meanwhile, poor leaders are either unable to do so or make things worse. 

To build a thriving work environment, leaders need the tools, training, and freedom to manage operations and personnel properly. It can be difficult to identify those gaps in your organization, but if you implement 360-degree feedback, you can assess if and where employees encounter difficulties with leadership. 

In addition, using assessments to check for competencies in emotional intelligence, communication, team management, and leadership abilities can help you find and remediate skills gaps in your upper-level personnel. 

2) Implement healthy communication policies 

Unless employees have separate work phones and devices, it’s important to create communication policies that prevent them from being “always on the clock.” If your employees go home and still have to answer work emails and respond to requests for last-minute assignments, they aren’t getting the rest they need. Lack of down time is a surefire way to induce stress in employees and encourage burnout. 

Good policies define where, when, and how communication can happen. Those guidelines prevent managers and colleagues from talking about work or requesting work during a person’s off hours. Of course, you’ll need to include exceptions for emergencies, but in general, robust communication policies limit stress by reducing the need for someone to give up their free time to answer work communications. 

3) Offer flex work and time off 

Flexible work and time-off systems allow employees to work when it fits their schedules. Aim to accommodate various circumstances, whether it’s kids and family obligations, hobbies, secondary education initiatives, or even preferences for work rhythm. 

For example, offering flex work can allow someone who’s constantly stressed about commuting to stay home two days a week and then come in after rush hour and leave late. The employee still logs the same number of work hours but is likely to be much more productive because they’ve removed the stress of commuting. In fact, one survey by Gartner showed only 80% of employees offered flex work believed they saw an increase in productivity thanks to it. 

4) Refine your company culture 

Company culture plays a large role in burnout and stress. If you have a high-pressure environment, people will be stressed. Last-minute assignments and people constantly putting out fires is the opposite of a healthy work culture; it should encourage the proactive prevention of these issues. Many workplaces pride themselves on having a fast-paced environment, but this often leads to missed deadlines and more frequent emergencies, which aggravates your team’s stress. 

Burnout can also stem from other things related to company culture. For example, new hires not fitting in or people working late, not taking time off, and being 100% “on” at work all of the time leads to exhaustion. 

Changing company culture can be a lot of work. But, if people consistently experience burnout despite changes in management, managerial styles, or even teams, culture is likely the culprit, so you’ll need to dedicate effort to it. This investment will pay off in the long run for both your company and your employees. 

5) Invest in employee growth and coaching 

When people stay in the same role without change or opportunities for growth, they become bored. Those feelings of stagnation can cause burnout just as easily as stress and work overload. Investing in professional development allows your employees to find opportunities for growth and change so they stay engaged and interested in work. 

It also prevents people from becoming overwhelmed and stressed as technology and skill sets evolve. When someone’s role changes, they receive new software, or experience some other shift, they should receive coaching, training, and the option to move into a different role if their current one no longer suits them. 

That investment not only lets you close skills gaps but also shows employees you’re invested in them, which increases engagement. 

6) Create channels for employee feedback 

Provide two-way channels for employees to leave feedback and to show their voices are heard and implemented. That means management must open time in their schedules so their teams can talk to them (in private) when they have concerns. It should also incorporate formal feedback tools like 360-degree feedback, where teams can score each other, themselves, and their management. 

However, it’s not enough simply to collect feedback — you have to act on it as well. Sometimes that’ll entail investigating complaints and issues to see if they affect multiple people. In other cases, it’ll mean implementing changes, such as asking leaders to take training courses, altering how teams work, or providing employees with the time management and communication tools and processes they need to manage their work well. 

7) Lead by example 

Leaders must exemplify healthy self-care practices, clear communication, effective inter-team collaboration, and strong time management. That starts with simple things like taking vacation days and ensuring others do the same, not answering phone calls or emails during off-work hours, and providing open feedback. These actions then expand to building a culture where people are encouraged to learn and grow, ask for help if they’re struggling, and take on only the workload they can handle. If leadership fails to practice what they preach, no one else will

Conclusion 

The best way to prevent employee burnout is to build an engaging and positive workplace. When your company culture encourages a healthy work-life balance, open communication, and fair policies, people will feel more comfortable and less stressed. 

Regularly review incidents like failed deadlines or overworking to assess workloads, stress levels, and how deadlines are set; this will foster a culture of good time management and work delegation to reduce stress. Often, you can maximize these assessments by crafting better communication standards, reducing meetings, or splitting work if you find teams are taking on too much. This kind of proactive approach will greatly benefit employee mental health because it creates a great place to work, and when your workers are healthy and focused, everyone will thrive. 


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The importance of compassionate leadership and how to foster it

If you tune into most office-themed television shows or settle in to watch a film based on a workplace, the leadership is often portrayed the same way. The C-suite is filled with tyrants, be it the bossy CEO or the ballpoint pen-busting finance manager. The bottom line is the bottom line, and deadlines and quotas must be met at all costs.

It makes for easy screenwriting, of course, because almost everyone can relate to a bad boss. The boss who wouldn’t give you time off. The boss who chewed you out in front of the whole team. The boss who instilled fear among employees; the one everyone was afraid to sit down in a meeting with.

While this type of leadership certainly does exist, many organizations are moving in a different direction as part of their corporate commitment to improving culture and diversifying their teams.

Enter, compassionate leadership. Though this term seems buzzwordy or even trendy, make no mistake: compassionate leadership is one of the smartest commitments today’s companies can make to improve employee satisfaction, increase productivity, and reduce voluntary turnover all while supporting innovation and growing the business.

What is compassionate leadership?

Compassionate leadership has a lot of definitions. Most importantly, it recognizes that every individual member of a team is not only an important individual but also an integral part of the organization as a whole.

If you consider compassion by definition, it is the quality of having positive intentions and genuine concern for others. By its very nature, compassionate leadership is about bringing out the best in individuals to allow them to meet their potential and grow.

Leadership, of course, is the act of leading others and in business, this often refers to creating and supporting strategy, establishing and reaching goals or milestones, and guiding a team of individual contributors.

While leadership is often used as a blanket term to describe the senior group within an organization, leadership is less about seniority and more about social influence. This means that any employee within an organization can have leadership potential and be a leader, regardless of title.

When you take the two elements and combine them, compassionate leadership is about leading with good intentions and with people’s best interests at heart.

Compassionate leadership isn’t all kumbaya and friendship bracelets, though.

While compassionate leadership certainly doesn’t adhere to rigidity and fear-based leading, it’s also not so soft that it loses its boundaries. The same basic pillars and expectations in business remain in a compassionate leadership equation, but the handling of issues or the communication of those pillars and expectations is conducted in a manner that puts people first and seeks to build trust and confidence.

What are the pillars of compassionate leadership in business?

Depending on the source, you can find any number of pillars of compassionate leadership. Some sources claim that compassionate leadership is three pillars whilst others focus on four or as many as seven. Well-respected scholar and the Dalai Lama’s longtime English translator, Thupten Jinpa, says there are three core pillars to compassionate leadership.

Cognitive Understanding

You must be able to conceptually understand the problems, situations, and decisions being made or faced by employees to be an effective leader.

Cognitive understanding is a learning theory that focuses on thought. In leadership, cognitive understanding refers to a deep consideration of the facts as presented by employees, peers, or the business itself.

Employees and peers want to know that you “get” the challenges they’re facing and that you know and have considered all of the facts. Without a solid cognitive understanding of what’s what, you’ll be unable to connect with your employees or peers on projects and problems.

Emotional Understanding

This may be the most critical element in compassionate leadership. The people you lead and work with need to know that you feel what they feel and understand them on an emotional level. Beyond simply understanding that they feel stressed out or excited about projects, it is important to have empathy.

Connecting with employees and colleagues at an emotional level allows you to build relationships, to commiserate, or to celebrate more authentically.

Motivational Connection

A leader who doesn’t motivate or inspire is a poor leader. According to Jinpa, motivational connection refers to a team’s need to believe that their leader has their back and genuinely wants them to succeed. This includes considering and prioritizing the individual’s personal and professional development as well as the growth and learning of the team as a whole.

The idea here is that when teams believe they are supported by their leader, they’re motivated to reach goals.

What traits should I look for when recruiting or hiring leadership?

When hiring or recruiting for leadership positions, considering your organization’s commitment to compassionate leadership is important. Traditionally, leadership roles were filled by authoritative individuals who focused more on the job at hand than the people doing those jobs.

As the world changes and employees demand more collaborative and compassionate work environments, the need to hire leaders who exemplify the characteristics of compassionate leadership has never been more clear.

When hiring for compassionate leadership, look for an individual who:

Holds self-awareness and self-compassion

LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner said, “be a spectator to your own thoughts”. A compassionate leader is one who is aware of his or her own strengths and weaknesses and willingly invites feedback on them. They are also keenly aware of how they are perceived by others and take care to present themselves intentionally. This self-awareness is important.

Compassionate leaders also have compassion for themselves. According to Kristen Neff, one of the leading researchers on the subject of compassion, there are three core elements to self-compassion. These are:

  • Self-kindness
  • Common humanity
  • Mindfulness

Can put themselves into the shoes of others

Empathy is an important element of compassionate leadership. When leaders are able to empathize with employees, putting themselves in their shoes, they can better understand the impact of their own actions and behaviors on the team to alleviate issues and work towards solutions.

Compassionate leaders know the best way to get the best results from team members if they understand what drives their individual team members to achieve, rather than ruling with fear or even incentivizing financially.

Compassionate leaders are also able to understand, appreciate, and support unique and personal barriers that their teams are facing, to help them overcome defeatist thoughts.

Sees themselves as “the conductor of the orchestra”

Compassionate leaders do not lead with a “my way or the highway” attitude. In fact, compassionate leaders are more likely to see themselves as a facilitator of success – not the person who wrote the rulebook on getting there.

Compassionate leaders know that different people do things in different ways and support individuality, innovation, and creativity. Sherrie Campbell says, “When leaders operate as if they know everything, they harden themselves to new ideas by stubbornly assuming they have nothing more to learn to be effective in their role.”

Helps employees along the way

A key element in compassionate leadership is the offering of advice to help team members improve or overcome a challenge, even when it’s advice they don’t necessarily want to hear or that is difficult for the leader to deliver. For a compassionate leader, identifying the feedback that needs to be provided is only one piece of the puzzle. It’s important to deliver this feedback in a way that is constructive and impactful to help the recipient understand the changes they need to make in order to improve and be successful.

Additional traits to watch for include:

  • assertive (not aggressive)
  • collaborative
  • decisive
  • creative
  • communicative
  • innovative

Can compassion be taught/fostered/grown?

Although compassion may be seen as a quality of personality, the truth is it can be strengthened in anyone. It starts with an individual’s self-compassion. This means treating yourself the way you would your friend and practicing kindness to self, first.

Often, when an individual is able to practice compassion towards one’s self, it’s easier to spread that compassion to others. According to the Harvard Business Review, leaders who practice self-compassion also have:

  • higher levels of emotional intelligence
  • greater resilience
  • growth mindset (as opposed to a fixed mindset)
  • integrity
  • compassion for others

Compassion is a trainable skill, one that can be “exercised” like a muscle according to Dr. Richard J. Davidson of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Investigating Healthy Minds. Dr. Davidson’s research has demonstrated that “… compassion is a trainable skill and that practice can actually alter the way our brains perceive suffering and increase our actions to relieve that suffering.”

Benefits of compassionate leadership

The workplace is changing. The traditional leadership model is out and employees and job seekers are looking for more collaborative, supportive cultures that allow them to do meaningful work.

One of the greatest benefits tied to implementing compassionate leadership in your organization is improving corporate culture and eradicating fear-based leadership that hinders creativity and innovation.

Builds resilience

American baseballer Eddie Murray said “You win as a team, you lose as a team, you also do so many things together.”

Not every project will be a success. This is a fact of both business and life. In compassionate leadership, failed projects are not seen as “failures” but rather learning opportunities. With Murray’s wisdom in mind, your organization can adopt this type of approach to help build both individual and team resilience in the face of adversity in business.

Collective compassion, from the top down, facilitates psychological strengthening that allows teams and individuals to quickly bounce back from failure or weather difficult times.

Fosters a team-spirit

We can again turn to Murray’s wise words. When compassionate leadership is in play, compassion is shared across teams. Because compassion builds trust, mutual connections, and reciprocation, compassionate leadership fosters a spirit of “all for one and one for all” within the workplace.

Boosts engagement

Generally speaking, employee engagement is a hot topic for many employers and is seen as a strategic business objective. According to Gallup data, low engagement at work can be caused by several factors including a lack of recognition, poor company communication, and not being aligned with the mission of the company.

One of the main principles of compassionate leadership is recognition and acknowledgement of individual and team achievements; a simple action that can increase employee engagement and boost satisfaction as well.

Contributes to lower levels of staff turnover

Want to see fewer resignation letters? Compassionate leadership can reduce company turnover by creating a more compassionate and welcoming workplace environment for all.

It also removes barriers, creates confidence in place of fear and compassionate leadership cultivates a work environment where employees feel a greater sense of commitment to their organization.

How to implement compassionate leadership in your organization

Having compassionate people is a good start, but implementing compassionate leadership is a conscious effort on the part of an organization. The good news is it’s not rocket science! To implement compassionate leadership in your organization, you must commit to actively seeking to inject compassion and empathy into the work each day.

Here are a few ways to get started today:

Focus on acknowledging team’s and individual’s achievements

When teams or individuals reach or surpass milestones, it is important to acknowledge and celebrate those achievements. This can even include “extracurricular” achievements or important personal milestones, like marriages, finishing an MBA, or completing a marathon.

Ask for feedback

Feedback should be a two-way street in any organization. Conduct surveys across your organization to gather feedback from employees. These “engagement surveys” can help gauge whether or not your team believes that compassionate leadership is at play and help you uncover gaps or weaknesses to focus on.

Commit to transparency

Being transparent in the workplace means sharing information freely to benefit the organization and its people. This can mean sharing company information with the whole team from the top down, or it can involve individual teammates sharing information and feedback.

Put the human back in your day-to-day processes and HR functions

It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day, becoming so focused on metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) that you lose sight of the most important part of your business: your people.

Simple gestures, like thanking people, help bring a human connection back to the office and can have enormous impacts.

Give everyone a chance to have their voice and opinion heard

Compassionate leadership is collaborative by nature, meaning that every person has an opportunity to share their thoughts and contribute to projects in a meaningful way.

This goes back to the traits to look for in compassionate leadership – someone who sees him or herself as a conductor of an orchestra, not the soloist. By opening the floor to anyone to share their thoughts and ideas, you acknowledge the contributions of every team member and create opportunities for more collaboration, more innovation, and more growth.

Receive people unconditionally, withhold judgment, and welcome diversity of self-expression

You could hardly call an organization that isn’t committed to diversity a compassionate one. In fact, many experts believe that you cannot have compassionate leadership without diversity and inclusion.

By receiving people unconditionally and committing to a diverse, inclusive, and equitable work environment, you will help breed compassion well beyond your leadership team.

Prioritize company culture

Company culture is important to employees and it should be a priority for the organization as a whole. By prioritizing company culture and creating a healthy team environment, you’ll boost employee engagement and satisfaction.

Wrapping up – Fostering compassionate leadership is an investment with plenty of ROI

When combined with wisdom and business acumen, compassion in leadership can be transformative to an organization’s workplace culture and its bottom line. By implementing and committing to compassionate leadership in your organization, you show employees that their satisfaction is a priority to you.


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How employer branding can boost recruitment success

One of the biggest challenges for employers is attracting top talent and differentiating themselves from the competition. When job seekers begin hunting for new roles, they might search for things like “best companies in XYZ city” or “top companies in the XYZ industry.” Why? Because reputation is everything.

What is employer branding?

Employer branding is a communication strategy focused on a company’s current and potential employees. It pulls together elements of branding and communication to emphasize the value of belonging to a company, with the ultimate goal of attracting and retaining talent.

This strategy allows you to control and positively direct the dialogue about your company. Simply put, employer branding is how you market your company to job seekers, and what employees say about your organization as a place of work.

The importance of employer branding

Employer branding is a powerful way to differentiate your company from others. It shows prospective hires what sets an employer apart and why they should work there instead of somewhere else.

Strong employer branding has many benefits, which are highlighted below.

1) Attract and retain top talent

A great employer brand makes your existing employees proud to be a part of the organization. Likewise, being a part of a company with a great reputation is important to job seekers. Companies need to be mindful of how they showcase their culture and foster a positive environment. Job seekers look at social media profiles, employee reviews on sites like Glassdoor, and culture recognition awards to piece together an image of a company and how it treats employees.

2) Create ambassadors within your organization

Employee reviews are a powerful recruitment tool. When your employees share positive feedback about your organization on social media or platforms like Indeed, it gives your recruitment efforts a significant boost.

You can turn employees into brand ambassadors by asking them to share information with their networks. This can include company news, their day-to-day experiences, awards, and more.

3) Demonstrate your culture and diversity

Being a desirable place to work for the largest skew of candidates means your applicants should feel that you are a safe and welcoming workplace regardless of social background or ethnicity. Showcasing employees from different walks of life helps a wider array of candidates to picture themselves working with your brand.

4) Boost employee engagement and satisfaction

Organizations who commit to an employee-centric brand intentionally engage their employees to prioritize team satisfaction and productivity. When teams are contented, they’re less likely to turnover, which improves your retention rates and, in turn, helps boost recruitment.

Key benefits of harnessing employer branding

The advantages of investing in employer branding as a talent strategy include better recruitment, cost savings, and improved company performance, to name a few. An employer branding program is meant to strengthen your internal and external reputation and make your company more attractive to candidates. Further, it should boost your retention rates. But that’s not all.

“Market” your workplace to job seekers

A strong employer brand makes it much easier to recruit candidates because it harnesses a marketing message to attract job seekers to your company. Employer branding works much like your product and service branding to make you stand out from the competition and lead potential employees along the applicant journey.

Improve culture

When you attract and hire the right talent, it helps foster a positive work environment and a healthier corporate culture. The reverse is also true. When you promote your culture accurately, it’s much easier to attract and hire the right people. With a strong and genuine employer brand, your company’s culture and reputation will shine through and draw in top talent who are aligned with your mission, vision, and values.

Growth of reputation

A strong employer brand will help you cultivate a glowing reputation among the business community, your employees, and potential candidates. You can support this flourishment by writing blogs, hiring for diversity, showcasing your company story and celebrating your team through rich media, and focusing on fostering a positive culture for all.

Decrease cost/less time to hire

Hiring is costly. In fact, it’s among the most expensive aspects of running a business. However, according to LinkedIn, a proactive employer branding strategy can reduce a company’s cost per hire by 50%, yield more qualified applicants, and even reduce turnover by as much as 28%.

Reduce turnover

A great reputation can carry through the recruitment process and into the employee life cycle. As mentioned in the previous point, refining your employer brand can reduce turnover by more than a quarter. How? Because when you invest time and energy into your employer brand, you also invest in improving your employees’ work life, which makes for happier teams and, in turn, reduces the likelihood of voluntary turnover.

What is the employer value proposition?

Most companies have defined their product or service’s value proposition, but not all have considered the employer value proposition, or EVP. The EVP “is your company’s core benefits that make up your wider employer brand.” Similar to how your product’s value proposition is a promise to your customers that your product will do X, Y, or Z, the EVP is a promise to your employees and recruits that your workplace will provide them with things like a positive and diverse culture, engaging work, and opportunities for growth and advancement.

Once you define your employer brand, your EVP should come naturally. A robust EVP can sharpen both the identity and culture of your company. It strengthens the employer brand and hones your recruitment process.

How to improve your employer branding

Given the importance of employer branding in today’s market, you should consider refining your own. While it can be established, built, and honed, your employer branding should constantly adjust and improve as your company evolves..

If you don’t have a defined and purposeful employer brand, don’t panic. Start by thinking about your company’s personnel goals. Then, be aspirational. How do you want your current employees to describe your company as an employer?

Even if you haven’t actively built your employer brand to date, you still have one (albeit unrefined). To make it work for you, you need to follow a few steps, outlined below.

1) Establish a brand identity

You’ve invested significant time, energy, and money into creating superior branding for your company’s products or services. Now, focus that effort on the largest service you provide: employment. Just as your customers could choose another brand for their needs, so can employees and job seekers.

Establishing a brand identity digs into who you are as an employer so you can showcase that identity in all of your HR content. This includes the type of language you use in job advertisements, how you present your work to potential candidates, and how you engage with your employees. Your employer brand can also tie into your industry or the type of products and services you provide.

2) Ask your team for feedback

For the most accurate representation of what it’s like to work for your brand, tap into the people who know the experience best: your current employees. Ask your team for feedback, like what you do well as an employer and where you stand to improve.

You might not always like what you hear, and that’s okay. What’s important here is to listen attentively so you take that feedback to heart and make noticeable changes. Your employees can be your greatest advocates or loudest detractors, so it’s important to build your employer brand with them in mind.

3) Create a visual identity and stick to it

One of the key pillars of a brand is consistency, and your employer branding is no different. A visual identity refers to the imagery and/or graphics you incorporate to differentiate your employer brand from others. This can include colors, the use of illustrations or photographs, shapes, typography, and even animations.

Your visual identity helps job applicants and employees recognize your content quickly and reinforces your employer brand. For example, if your brand is heavily focused on your fun and inclusive company culture, you might implement graphics showcasing your diverse workforce along with bright colors and shapes that evoke feelings of happiness.

Once you’ve established your employer branding’s look and feel, stick to it. That consistency will reinforce your brand and make your content easy to spot in the sea of competitor content.

4) Review your mission, vision, values, and goals

Your mission, vision, values, and goals should not only align with your employer branding, but also inform your branding strategy and the activities you participate in during recruitment. Before you can strengthen your employer brand, it’s important you review your current and future priorities to make sure they fit your company, then use those to build your brand.

Your current and potential employees want to work for a company that has values similar to their own. By reviewing and highlighting your mission, vision, values, and goals in your employer branding, you’ll attract candidates who share your ideology to your talent pool.

5) Leverage social media

Social media is an incredible way to reach new audiences, both for promoting products and services and to support your recruitment efforts. Engage potential candidates with content that exemplifies your workplace culture and employer brand — like when a new hire announces they’ve joined your team. Also, take the time to respond to comments mindfully to further humanize your brand.

LinkedIn “People Pages” and other social spotlighting

Pull back the curtain on your workspaces and culture by putting your people in the spotlight.  Social networking sites like Glassdoor, LinkedIn’s “People Pages,” and even your company’s Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook accounts are excellent platforms to give a face to your company name. You can show off your spaces, celebrate your team’s wins (personal and professional), welcome new hires, commemorate milestones like promotions and retirements, and more.

Instagram for culture content

Instagram is a fantastic tool for HR departments seeking to improve or expand their employer brand. Photos and videos are engaging and pop more than plain text. Instagram excels at both, making it the platform to leverage if you want to show off your awesome workplace culture through photo and video content.

Use Instagram to build your employer brand and boost your reputation as an employer of choice by giving sneak peeks into your day-to-day activities and sharing content that promotes your culture and your people.

6) Respond to every job application

We understand you receive dozens of applications, but only have so many hours in the workday to devote to them. However, responding to every job application is an important step in building your employer brand. It reinforces the promise your brand makes to applicants and employees — that you care about people and prioritize them above all else by showing them courtesy and respect through clear communication.

Unsure how you can possibly respond to all of those job-seeking hopefuls? That leads us to our next recommendation…

7) Use an Applicant Tracking System

An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) will not only make your recruiting efforts easier and more effective, but will also help keep your employer brand consistent. It enables HR teams to communicate seamlessly with all applicants by sending pre-written emails that can easily be personalized to thank applicants for applying, invite candidates to interview, or let them down gently.

Best of all, you can customize an ATS to your unique needs and branding for a cohesive look and feel while also building in practicality and efficiency.

Your ATS will also help you keep track of applicants and the actions you and your teams take throughout the recruitment process to ensure no one slips through the cracks.

8) Treat all applications as inbound leads for future opportunities

Not every applicant will be the right choice for a particular job opening, but they might be a good fit for a future vacancy. With this in mind, it’s important to reinforce your employer brand and treat every application as an inbound lead.

Take your applicants on a journey the way you guide inbound leads through their buying process. Invite them to opt in to communications about job opportunities and nurture their interest.

9) Use storytelling in job ads

“Reporting to X, the Y will perform duties including…” Sound familiar? Boring, rote job ads fail to show off your culture or help potential candidates envision themselves working with you. Take a page from the marketing book and incorporate storytelling into your job ads.

Telling your company story gives candidates a sneak peek into who your company is and what working with you entails. Similarly, you can delve into the role, the department, founders, and even your successful candidate to weave a textual tapestry for your company.

Storytelling should be genuine, educational, entertaining, emotional, and motivational to set your brand apart and help you attract top talent.

10) Nail the recruitment process and give candidates a great experience

One of the best ways to establish an impeccable employer brand and improve your reputation is to wow candidates with your recruitment process. Whether or not they’re successful hires, make sure job seekers walk away from your recruitment with nothing but positive things to say. To do this, consider the following:

  • Time is money. Don’t drag out the process unnecessarily
  • Communication is key. Keep your job applicants informed from start to finish.
  • Consider every touchpoint in the recruitment process, from the job ad and application to the interviews, offer and rejection letters through to onboarding documentation. Your employer brand should be evident and consistent throughout as well.
  • Think like the applicant. How would you want to leave this process?
  • Show off your culture from the start. Talk about your company’s culture and perks in your job ads, on your social media profiles, and in interviews, and reinforce these as well as your mission and values during onboarding.

Wrapping up — Use employer branding to become a desired workplace

Employer branding is critical to set yourself apart from competitors in the struggle for elite talent. By improving your business brand and sharing the benefits of working for your company, you can attract larger talent pools and improve your overall hiring and recruitment processes.

Utilize social media, a positive interview process (even for applicants that don’t land a role), and a solid employer brand to leave a strong impression and make your company a desired workplace.

Take control of your recruitment efforts and evaluate whether you’re attracting the right candidates with recruitment assessments. See every candidate’s potential and how they fit in with your company.


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How to incorporate skills tests throughout the employee life cycle

Skills and competency tests are becoming increasingly essential during the hiring process. But for many organizations, they also deliver value through the full employee life cycle. Assessments can help HR determine everything from role placement to skills gaps, while guiding personal and leadership development. In addition, assessments measure the efficacy of skills development, assist with building new teams, and can even aid employee placement as they leave the organization.

The employee life cycle consists of attraction, recruitment, onboarding, retention, career development, and separation. Employee skills tests can add significant value throughout these different stages. Here’s how.

Hire for competencies, not education

HR has moved away from qualification-based hiring over the last few decades and now more commonly relies on a competency-based process. That’s especially true in digital environments, where position-specific skills like niche marketing and tool usage aren’t taught in higher education, but rather are learned on the job.

That requires mapping roles to competencies and skills in the first place, which could mean reassessing your entire organization to identify what specific roles actually do. For example, many people work in what is essentially the same role, but with different names.

Moreover, crafting a competency framework can also be time-consuming and requires you to conduct interviews across the organization to establish people’s responsibilities and what they need to be effective in their positions. Once you know that, you can much more easily employ skills assessments to narrow candidate pools and select the right hire.

Ensure correct role placement

While it’s not a good idea to ask candidates to take too many assessments, you can always ask them to complete further assessments after they’re hired. Those assessments can give you insight into their personality, communication style, and other soft skills that influence team and role placement. For example, DISC assessments are a good choice at this stage, because you can determine if someone fits into existing team structures. You can also see if they communicate well with a team that has an opening, or if you should move them to a different group.

Identify opportunities for career advancement

Implementing assessments as part of annual performance reviews or normal work can help HR stay on top of how individuals develop and grow in the organization. They also let you see where people are working towards growth, the new skills they’re developing, and how the organization is progressing as a whole. At the same time, identifying people who constantly learn new skills, put effort into personal development, and actively pursue leadership skills can help you formulate shortlists for leadership pipelines and career advancement. Because DISC assessments involve creating and managing profiles, you can see long-term progress and how people grow over time.

Of course, this strategy entails you have internal development programs already in place. Those programs don’t have to be about leaving technical positions and moving into management ones though. Instead, horizontal development, movement into more senior technical roles, and transitioning to positions such as technical team lead can motivate employees to work towards career development and personal growth, thus increasing employee retention. Skills assessments also tell you when and why to make those promotions based on how people take advantage of personal development opportunities.

Use development to fill skills gaps

Roles change inside every organization, whether it’s moving from one version of an ERP to another, scrapping legacy tooling, switching to a new language for development, etc. These shifts can result in gaps as certain skills become obsolete or old roles become irrelevant.

Skills assessments can help you assess, track, and remedy those gaps. For example, if a new technology is introduced, you can deliver training for it so everyone is brought up to speed. Afterwards, you can follow up with an assessment to ensure the skills gaps are filled. Or, if technology changed in the past with no support offered, you can check to see if there are skills gaps as a result. That also applies if you’ve recently completed a merger or acquisition and are unsure what the “new” people can do. It’s important  to identify any skills gaps because they contribute to everything from productivity loss to higher turnover to inability to grow the business. Managing, tracking, and remediating them is crucial for an effective workforce.

Help employees move into new roles

Inevitably your organization will have to let people go. It could be due to a merger that results in duplicate teams, having to cut unprofitable branches or directions, downsizing, or outsourcing. Whatever the reason, terminating contracts can cause employee morale to crash. People are significantly more likely to quit and move on if they know you could fire them easily.

Investing in helping employees move into new roles at other companies can increase employee loyalty since they can see your support. Skills assessments ensure you know exactly what to look for, how to pitch your employee to another organization, and where that person will fit best. Most importantly, if you already have the assessments and employee profiles built into your organization, doing so is relatively affordable and you’ll be able to leverage data you already own.

Wrapping up — Use skills tests throughout your employee lifecycle

Understanding your organization’s skill sets and gaps is extremely valuable. By assessing where individual employees excel, where they fail, and what they’ve learned or not learned since the last assessment, you can gain valuable insight for your organization at every stage of the employee lifecycle.


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Stop asking these 7 interview questions (and what to ask instead)

Interviews and insightful interview questions can help you gauge a person’s cultural fit in your organization and whether their experience or expertise reflects what was listed in their resume or CV. However, only if you pose the correct inquiries.

When you ask the right questions during interviews, you gain valuable, relevant information about candidates that helps you make the best hiring decision, like what motivates them, what their values are, and how they work.

The responses to these questions can quickly weed out unsuitable candidates and identify the ones who meet the needs of the specific role and your organization.

Questionable questioning

We’ve all likely been asked a bizarre, irrelevant question in an interview for which we were completely unprepared. Likewise, it’s probable we’ve experienced mundane questions that feel more like filler than filtering.

For job seekers, interviews can be stressful and make it difficult for them to perform their best. For interviewers, it can be challenging to ensure they’re asking the right questions.

To gain the most insight from your sessions, we’ve listed the questions to abandon — and what to ask instead.

1) Could you walk me through your resume?

This question can be a glaring red flag to candidates that their interviewer didn’t bother to review their resume or is trying to catch them in a lie. Walking through a candidate’s resume and discussing every role they’ve previously filled (which can be a lot if you’re interviewing senior candidates) is a poor use of your interview time.

Instead: I’ve read over your resume, but I’d like to know more about you and how you came to be here today.

Every candidate who applies to your job advertisements is a unique individual with various strengths, weaknesses, and past experiences. You already know what their resume says, but getting to know the talent behind the paper is more important.

This question is a great way to open an interview and dig deeper into a candidate. You can then build it to ask what inspired them to choose their course of study, how they decided to move into their niche, if applicable, and more. Their response can give you a clearer picture of what motivates and inspires them.

2) What is your greatest weakness?

A quick Google search for “how to answer what is your greatest weakness?” yields over 64 million results, which reveals two things:

  1. This question is asked far too often
  2. Many people answer this question dishonestly

Asking candidates to share their greatest weakness is an overused question that can easily be misused during an interview. No candidate will admit to having time management issues or that they struggle to get along with others, which means this question will yield little in the way of useful information.

Instead: Can you tell me about a time when a project you were working on failed or didn’t go to plan and how you handled it?

Even the best laid plans go awry sometimes. Rather than asking your candidate to expose their greatest weakness, ask them to tell you about a time when a project went off the rails and how they reacted.

The answer to this question can reveal a lot about the candidate. If, for example, someone tries to tell you they’ve never had a project go awry, they likely either lack project management skills, haven’t been in a position to manage a project yet, or are simply simply. Most candidates, however, will be able to tell you stories from the trenches that clearly showcase their capabilities.

Look for strategic thinking examples, communications skills, and how your candidate explains the situation, remedies, and outcome. If a candidate can set the scene and walk you through their experience, it’s a good indication they can unify a team of people to work on new projects using those same skills.

3) How would you handle [hypothetical situation]?

Spoiler alert: Almost every candidate groans at a hypothetical situation question.

Double spoiler alert: These questions don’t evoke useful answers.

Hypothetical questions don’t require first-hand experience to provide a good answer, and it’s easy to guess at what the interviewer wants to hear. This means candidates can easily make something up on the fly that makes them look good.

If the hypothetical question is about personality clashes on a team, the interviewee might discuss team building opportunities or personality testing to help team members understand their personality types and how to work best as a group.

In short, hypothetical questioning will receive hypothetical answers.

Instead: Tell me about a time you felt proud about a project you worked on. Or, What have you done in your career to date that makes you most proud?

Ditch the hypothetical question and go straight to one that’ll uncover more about your candidate’s genuine experiences and provide a glimpse into what makes them tick.

Interviews should give candidates the opportunity to discuss their career highlights and the times when they shined the brightest.

Similar to the question about a time when a project went off the rails, asking candidates to recount positive experiences allows you to test their communications skills, hear about their strategic thinking and planning, and more, depending on how responsive they are.

4) Why are you changing jobs?

If you’re expecting a candidate to respond to this one honestly, you’ve got another thing coming!

More often than not, candidates change jobs for one of the following reasons:

  • They want to make more money
  • They don’t like the leadership or management at their current place of employment
  • Their work-life balance isn’t satisfactory
  • The culture at their current company is toxic
  • There’s a lack of or disconnect between honesty/transparency/ethics at their current workplace

When you ask a candidate why they’re changing jobs, you’ll likely hear a well-rehearsed answer about how they feel ready for a change or that they like their current job a lot but want a new and exciting opportunity. What you won’t get is a true indication of how they view your job opportunity in terms of their overall career.

Instead: How do you see this role fitting into your career plans?

Asking your candidate how they fit the role for which they’re interviewing into their future plans will help you determine two things:

  1. How well informed the candidate is about the opportunity, your company, and the duties for which they’d be responsible
  2. What your candidate is seeking in their career

If a candidate has familiarized themselves with the job opportunity and your company, they should have a good sense of how they’ll grow within the role. You can dig deeper by asking them to discuss their career goals and motivations — do they see themselves on a managerial path? — and what drives them.

Carefully listen to their answers. If a candidate is looking to jump into a new industry by joining your company, it’s possible they’ll treat this role as a quick stepping stone to their next big opportunity.

5) Where do you see yourself in X years?

A lot can happen in a relatively short time (e.g., all of 2020). Asking candidates where they see themselves in two, five, or 10 years’ time is like asking a child what they want for Christmas: It’s subject to change, and quickly.

Gone are the days when employees regularly joined companies as junior staff and remained for decades with the same employer. According to the United States Department of Labor, men hold an average of 12.6 jobs and women an average of 12.3 jobs between ages 18 and 54. So, asking your candidates to predict their futures will yield information that’s irrelevant to your organization (i.e., cookie-cutter responses like, “I hope to have grown my skills and experiences and be in a more senior role”).

Instead: What professional milestones do you hope to achieve while working at our company?

Asking candidates about the professional milestones they hope to achieve whilst working for your company is a great way to find out what they really want in their career while also helping you determine how much they really know about the role and what your company does.

6) Why should we hire you?

Asking a candidate why they should be hired is one of the most useless questions you can pose.

Instead: Based on your knowledge of this role, can you think of a past experience or experiences that you believe would help you be successful?

This is a great chance to let candidates expand upon their past experiences and demonstrate their knowledge of your company and the role.

Pay attention to key skills and knowledge they mention and how they relate those to the expected duties and responsibilities of the role. This will give you a good indication of how closely they’ve considered what the role entails and how they would perform in it.

7) What would your last boss or colleagues say about you?

This is another question that almost never receives an honest answer. A candidate can respond however they like to make themselves sound like a great choice, and it forces you to check their references to verify their answer, which prolongs the hiring process unnecessarily.

Instead: If you accept this position, how would you bring yourself up to speed on the job and any tasks or projects we’ve discussed?

A great way to gauge how your potential hire will shape up is to ask them directly. This question reveals how your candidate approaches new situations and projects. It also gives you an estimate of their strategic thinking and how they work as part of a team.

Some important things to look for in their response include:

  • Meeting with other team members
  • Establishing KPIs
  • Setting a timeline
  • Questions they have (if any) about the onboarding process

The most important interview question to ask

The most important question to ask in interviews is, “Do you have any questions for me?”

The questions candidates ask you about the role, the work culture, or the company itself can tell you a lot about how engaged and interested they are in the job opportunity. If your candidate has no questions, that’s a big red flag.

Remember, your candidate is interviewing you as well.


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6 Signs your company needs HR and recruiting help

If you’re reading this article, chances are that you are wondering whether or not your company needs support in human resources (HR) and recruiting. Properly managed people operations are imperative to a company’s success. When teams are well-balanced and company cultures healthy, productivity and revenue take a positive bump, too.

Managing people operations and navigating the many regulations of HR and people operations are both time-consuming and difficult tasks. Hiring new employees, managing payrolls, fielding complaints and ensuring legal compliance at every step are all critical responsibilities for companies with employees.

While small businesses may be able to handle HR and recruiting tasks on their own, especially during the earlier days, growing companies often need to hire internal HR staff members or outsource HR functions by partnering with recruiting and people operations firms. Business owners should be focused on growing their businesses and running day-to-day operations, and while HR certainly remains a part of their level of interest, there are some key signs that it might be time to hire help.

What is HR, anyway?

Human resources, or HR, is the process of overseeing and shaping employee matters. The term “human resources” can describe the work itself or the company’s entire workforce.

HR can also go by other names, such as Culture and People Management, People Management, and so on.

HR professionals carry out the functions associated with overseeing and shaping employee matters. These can include important functions including:

  • Staffing: Recruiting prospective employees and assembling a workforce of employees in various capacities (full-time, part-time, freelance). The administration of benefits is often included in this function.
  • Employee Development: Onboarding and developing employees is an important part of any well-oiled HR machine. Establishing key performance indicators (KPIs), employee milestones, development plans, and even disciplinary guidelines are all a part of this function.
  • Compensation: HR departments typically administer payroll and often play a role in shaping the pay scale and salary ranges offered.
  • Health and safety: In many HR departments, health and safety education are top-of-mind and highly important functions of the role. This includes administering training and ensuring a safe and healthy environment for all employees.
  • Employee and labor relations: When disputes arise, HR teams manage the solutions-finding process. HR can also represent an employer in instances where employees unionize, strike, or otherwise seek changes to working conditions. When employee discipline is required – including termination of employment – HR plays an important role in ensuring that all labor laws are observed.
  • Cost management: HR is a key part of your overall business strategy. This function provides data and analytics to inform issues like succession planning and helps you understand employee burn rate and more.

6 signs your company needs HR and recruitment support

1. You don’t know who is supposed to be managing hiring and people ops

Many small companies spread their HR functions across team members, often headed by the owner of the company or an office manager. In some cases, companies may delegate HR functions to department heads (ex. sales or marketing leaders) as opposed to having a singular person or team responsible for the many tasks and functions that fall under the umbrella of HR.

As a business owner, you probably wish to be involved in the hiring process to some degree. Hiring managers – that is, the individuals to whom a new hire will report – often take the lead on recruitment efforts when their team has a new vacancy within companies where no HR function is present. When this happens, it can easily and quickly become confusing to understand who, precisely, is responsible for what as it relates to hiring and people ops. What’s more, redundancies can occur which then impact the overall productivity and the efficiency of your teams!

It’s worth considering hiring HR and recruiting support when you find yourself trying to figure out exactly who is responsible for these activities. Without a dedicated recruitment point person, you risk:

  • delivering a poor candidate experience
  • missing out on applications because they’re falling through the cracks
  • redundancies in efforts (more than one person contacting the same candidates, listing jobs, etc.)
  • loss of productivity
  • a game of “passing the buck” on recruitment and people ops activities

2. HR duties are seeping into the rest of your team’s time

Human resources duties are time-consuming and often challenging, especially if the person responsible for these duties is not an expert in this field. As such, handling such duties can take your team(s) away from the duties for which they were hired.

Consider the following scenario: Your Marketing Manager is seeking a new digital marketing coordinator to join the team. In order to hire for this position, the manager must:

  • Define the role and its responsibilities, determine a salary range or pay-scale, and create a job advertisement;
  • Post the job advertisement to job boards and promote the vacancy. This can include social media promotion, paying for placements, and more;
  • Screen applicants and determine which applicants to invite to interview. This may also include planning for, administering, and “marking” tests such as personality/fit assessments, or skills-based assignments;
  • Interview job candidates, including determining the questions to ask and then figure which candidate(s) to invite to another interview or offer employment to;
  • Write and send an offer of employment, handle any negotiation, and complete the hiring process;
  • Plan for, execute, and manage the employee onboarding process, including training, obtaining required hardware/software and administration of training, preparation of new hire paperwork (ex. tax forms, insurance paperwork, etc) and more.

If you think that sounds like a full-time job in and of itself, you’re not wrong. But that’s not all.

According to GetHired.com, the average cost associated with a new employee is almost $19,000. This figure includes both the recruitment costs and the hiring process costs… and that’s just the average! This cost is increased exponentially when you consider the productivity loss of having your existing team pulled away from their duties to concentrate on activities associated with hiring.

By partnering with an HR or recruitment service, you can increase the ROI on hiring and reduce the likelihood of lost productivity associated with hiring new team members.

3. You’re having a hard time recruiting top talent

Every company wants to hire the best possible talent, which means that every employer has competition when it comes to attracting candidates. If you’re struggling to attract top talent, it could come down to a number of things.

For starters, recruiting is a time-consuming (and can be an expensive) business. Without a dedicated recruiter or team dedicated to recruitment, it can be challenging devoting time from your busy day-to-day to concentrate on the activities associated with recruiting.

In addition, there’s more that goes into writing job advertisements that attract great candidates. Professional recruiters and HR professionals know what’s required and how to make the most attractive job descriptions, where to post, and even how best to market your company as an employer of choice.

HR pros can also expertly manage the recruitment process from beginning to end, which increases the likelihood that you seal the deal with the candidates who apply for roles with your company. They know what it takes to create next-level candidate experiences from interview to onboarding and increase the likelihood of both signing the top talent and retaining them.

4. You’re experiencing high rates of employee attrition or turnover

In addition to difficulty finding top talent, a common sign that your HR and recruiting needs help is when you’re experiencing difficulty retaining top talent.

Organizations should aim for a 10% attrition rate but according to an SHRM Human Capital Benchmarking Report, most organizations have rates of 12-20%. While it’s true that turnover occurs for a vast number of reasons, if you’re seeing higher than normal levels of turnover, it could be a sign that you need some help.

If your company culture stinks, employees simply won’t want to stick around. Having HR support to address cultural complaints and assist in building a more positive and healthy corporate culture can make a big difference.

Sometimes, cultural issues arise because bad hires have taken place – a problem that can occur because the person or persons responsible for hiring don’t have the expertise required to assess what is and isn’t a good hiring decision.

Speaking of bad hires… sometimes poor fit leads to turnover in and of itself. This can occur when an employee has joined your company only to realize that they’re not well-suited for the role for which they were hired. Sometimes, this happens as a result of inexperienced hiring teams who haven’t adequately or accurately described the role or company culture. Sometimes, it happens regardless.

A poor onboarding experience can also cause high rates of turnover as it gets new employees starting their jobs on the wrong foot, thus staining their view of the company.

While having help with your HR and recruiting won’t magically eliminate these issues, these issues can most definitely be better mitigated with the expertise and experience that HR and recruitment companies bring to the table.

5. Your onboarding process is failing new hires

When small companies are onboarding new employees, it’s probable that each new hire will have relatively easy access to the majority of the existing team. Onboarding sessions can be informally held, with opportunities for new hires to meet with and learn from other team members. In larger or fast-growing companies, however, this becomes far more challenging – especially if many new hires are beginning their work in a short period of time.

One in 10 employees say they’ve left a job because of a poor onboarding experience. Onboarding serves to set your new hires up for success, acclimating them to your company and its culture, and setting the tone for their experience as a part of your business.

When you do not have an onboarding process outlined, these activities are often left to the hiring managers to handle individually. This means that employees may have vastly different experiences in their onboarding, which can create dissent and lead to higher rates of voluntary turnover, poor corporate cultures, and even lost revenue. On the flip side, a good onboarding experience can lead to increased productivity and more positive outcomes.

6. Your company is growing fast

When your company is on a significant growth trajectory, the last thing you want to do is be pulled away from growth activities like building revenue and levelling your marketing up. Plus, have you ever tried to hire a lot of people in a short period of time? It’s a lot of work!

When your company is growing fast – especially when your hiring needs are growing at the same exponential rate – it’s probably time to seek help with your HR and recruiting needs. Here’s why.

Hiring for multiple positions at once is a huge undertaking. From job description creation to setting salary and compensation ranges, posting job advertisements, reviewing applicants, interviewing and negotiating offers, the activities associated with hiring can pile up quickly even when you’re hiring for a single position. Further, if you’re currently asking various managers to handle these activities there’s a significant degree of likelihood that applicants are having disparate experiences as they meet with different managers who choose to handle these activities in their own ways.

By having a dedicated HR team or recruiter handling all of these activities, you can offer a unified and highly personalized experience to each candidate – regardless of what role they’ve applied for.

Wrapping up – Don’t skimp on HR and recruiting

Every company has unique needs when it comes to HR and recruiting. What works for one may not work for another, and what works today may need to be tweaked tomorrow. This is why bringing in external help to support your HR and recruiting needs can make all the difference to your efforts and your overall business success. When you work with an organization such as Profiles Asia Pacific or other HR and recruiting companies, you’ll gain access to a wealth of experience and expertise to create a strategy that’s customized to your unique needs.


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The importance of managerial fit and how to find it

Today’s organizations are increasingly focused on cultural fit. And for most organizations, managerial fit — or the concept of matching management and leadership styles to the team and the work culture — is equally important, as the skills and approach needed to meet a team’s demand for leadership or to complete a task can vary significantly. Often, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach that works best across the entire organization.

Instead, you should rely on skills and competency analyses to determine where and how leadership fits into a particular team or role. That means first understanding the roles and the teams in question. However, taking steps to ensure a good managerial fit can improve business productivity more than many other remediation measures you take because it bottlenecks and detractors in leadership.

Components of a good manager

Nearly everyone is familiar with different management styles like waterfall vs. Agile. Most organizations would never try to put an Agile leader in a waterfall team or vice versa, unless they were shifting the entire team approach. People learn and work in different ways, and the management style needs to accommodate the various strengths and weaknesses. Managerial styles are commonly broken down into four major categories: delegation, coaching, training, and supervising.

Delegation

The leader directly plans and distributes tasks to individuals. The manager is responsible for signing off on all work and ensuring quality. This method is a good fit for task-based teams, such as maintenance development, customer service, pick and pack, etc. This is an authoritarian leadership style.

Coaching

This style maps to democratic leadership styles. In it, the leader helps the team plan, manage, and decide how best to achieve goals or outcomes. They help teams find individual solutions to issues by asking questions, coaching, and offering empowerment, while functioning as an expert in the field when needed. This method is a great fit for teams that work in product development, problem-solving, and engineering.

Training

The team lead is normally an expert in the field and primarily exists to enable the team to work efficiently, usually by directly showing them how. This tapers off in efficacy as the team’s skill level grows. However, if someone provides excellent training, they may be a good fit for managing starter teams, where people are introduced to the organization and its work before moving into their own teams. This maps to “visionary” leadership styles.

Supervising

In this style, the leader oversees the team and steps in when necessary to offer advice and structure. Their role normally revolves around quality and people management. However, it’s unlikely the leader would create or drive new strategies. This method is very common in manufacturing and production, where repetitive work is performed to a consistent standard. It’s also considered an authoritarian leadership style.

Each leadership style assumes different levels of commitment and attentiveness in their approaches. For example, a hands-on leader in a delegation process is likely to micromanage. Similarly, someone in a coaching role who is very diligent might find themselves doing all the work to avoid the longer process of getting someone to perform better through coaching.

Leaders have to balance how engaged they are with their team’s technical ability. The goal should be improving the team, not having one technically skilled person shoulder everything for efficiency.

Matching management styles

Every team is unique and requires its own combination of managerial styles. However, organizations can’t afford to maintain every type of management. So, it’s important to assess where different kinds of leadership best fit into your organization and then choose leaders that meet those qualifications. For example, a democratic leader who uses coaching tactics in a production line setting will often fail as a good manager. There, the job is to ensure teams know what to do, at what pace, and that quality remains consistent. Because there’s nothing new to learn and very little problem-solving, you’d be better off investing in a delegation expert.

Matching management styles to how teams work means understanding how those teams work and why. E.g., maintenance teams are usually slow, require delegation, and benefit from some creativity. Development teams working on new products and achieving outcomes normally benefit from freedom and a leader who can enable them to work together and use creativity.

  • Delegation works best in crisis periods or in cases of rote and repetitive work
  • Coaching and training work best for long-term creative work and performance
  • Supervising works best when teams are good at what they do and only need light guidance

You’ll also want to consider the personality styles of the people in the team. For example, if you have a team full of self-motivated people who continuously invest in personal development, a leader using a delegation management style would kill the team. On the other hand, if you have a team full of people who are accustomed to working in waterfall methodology, a training manager might help them to make the shift to Agile, but a delegation-focused one would maintain the status quo. Choosing good leaders for your teams means understanding the leader and the team.

Best practices

In most cases, the best leaders can leverage more than one style of leadership. That should be true whether they start out with just one style or if they start out being good at several.

Tools like Profiles Managerial Fit can help HR to map out leadership styles to employees – which can identify skills gaps and show you where to invest in training for those leaders. And, working to develop more diverse leadership skills before someone moves into a leadership position and after, will often help.

For example, if your team finishes the project they’re working on and has to move to a new one, your managerial style might have to shift from supervision to coaching or training. The more people can alter how they lead to meet circumstances, the better they’ll be as leaders.

Wrapping up — Managerial fit can make or break the best teams

Leadership is a make-or-break factor for your team. If you pair a bad leader with a great team, the team will decline. If you pair a great leader with a bad team, the team will improve.

Investing in working towards matching managerial styles to teams and to the work being done works to improve how managers work with their teams, so that good leaders don’t end up being bad managers for their specific team.


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The case for an efficient application process

For many employers, getting clients into the recruitment pipeline requires significant attention and energy. But, what happens once candidates apply? Not surprisingly, most candidates drop off during the hiring process. In fact, according ERE Media, 80% of candidates drop off during the application process. That can be problematic for organizations, which often need those extra candidates.

Here, the problem often lies in the application process, employee assessments, and even finding out too late that candidates aren’t good fits for the role. Streamlining the application process, starting with the job description and salary indications, can greatly improve how candidates react to the process and the number of highly qualified candidates that make it through the process.

Common issues with job applications

Non-Qualified Candidates

Poor, outdated, or poorly set up hiring processes always start with job boards, job profiles, skill sets, and required competencies. If your organization doesn’t know exactly what it needs to fill the role (qualifications and competencies, not just education), it’s impossible to sort out candidates who aren’t a good fit. You’ll spend significant money and energy filtering candidates who are applying based on unclear parameters, like the job skills, competencies, or actual requirements not being set correctly. Similarly, offering a salary indication can prevent applicants who might be looking into a better paying or more senior position.

  • Make sure that competency mapping is done and mapped to the job description
  • Ask for skills and requirements that are necessary not just nice-to-have

High Candidate Drop-Off

Most organizations lose roughly 80% of candidates during the application process. That’s after the initial weeding of unqualified candidates has been performed. So, 80% of the candidates you want to consider for your role drop off, usually without ever even telling you. Why is that? Often, it means that the application process is too long or requires too much involvement. That’s important considering many applicants apply to 10+ jobs at once. If they’re looking for a new role, they’re applying to every position that’s interesting. Keeping early investment as light as possible is important.

  • Use light screening and assessment to tailor your candidate pool, not several hours of assignments
  • Use several clear and defined application stages, with each designed to further qualify the candidate. Heavy lifting of projects and assignments can wait until you’re on one of the last few candidates

While you can’t help that some candidates will be hired to other jobs during the application, others will not get along with your recruiters, and others will decide the company culture is not for them, you can work to ensure the actual application process is streamlined and easy to go through.

High Costs

Most organizations spend several thousand dollars on each new recruit. For a mid-level position, that’s often well over $4,000. The Society for Human Resource Management quotes that as $4,129 days and an average of 42 days to fill a position. That’s a long time, considering the lack of a person in a role likely costs you significantly as well. But, it’s difficult to offset without designing more streamlined hiring processes. For example, many organizations are moving back towards opening up recruitment for mid-level positions to internal job boards. Hiring junior workers is faster and easier than hiring intermediate and senior workers.

At the same time, streamlining the hiring process by tailoring it down to what you actually need to know can shorten interview and application times. So, if you need to know a general assessment, general skills, whether the person gets along with a team, and then how they interact with company culture, you could design a simple and cost-effective application process of:

  • Initial phone interview/screening
  • In-person/video interview with team lead and recruitment manager
  • Final selection pool / competency assessment/skills test
  • Trial day working with the team
  • Hire

That short process is significantly faster than the 4+ interview stages that many organizations use today. It also means you don’t ask people to complete work or do anything that requires oversight until they’ve already been screened and interviewed. That reduces the drop-off rate, because you can tell candidates doing the work that they are in the final pool.

Improving Application Processes

Eventually, simplifying your application process benefits recruiters, teams, and the candidates applying. In most cases, that means defining what you need to make a hire, what you have to do to get that data, and then mapping out the easiest way to get to that. In most cases, you need, at minimum:

Of course, the exact requirements here vary depending on what the role is, the seniority of the role, and how important it is. If you’re hiring for upper management, you need a longer and more in-depth hiring process. If you’re hiring for intermediate roles, you can normally stick to a lighter approach, designed to get basic information that is most relevant to making the hire.

Here, you can always start by working with teams to define what they need to know. For example, do you have personality frameworks mapped for building teams? Do teams want someone who can work in specific ways? Is working with a new tool or technology important or can that be trained in with little effort? Making those decisions requires an internal assessment, prioritizing what’s important, and then updating that information on a role-by-role basis. Once you have defined what’s really necessary for making a hire, you can build the full application process around it.

Most importantly, simply customizing the application process and making the candidate feel important as part of the process can help a great deal. That means building assessments around their needs, introducing them to potential future teams as part of the application, and ensuring that the candidate gets to experience your company – rather than the company just getting to experience them. After all, they are deciding whether they want to work for you as well.

In almost every case, a shorter application process saves time and money for the organization. While it does mean that teams have less time to decide if a hire suits their needs, it also means happier candidates and less money spent on the process.


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