To build a loyal, strong team one needs to put in place a variety of tools. This includes the standard tangible things — good office space, proper tools — as well as the intangible things, those that can make or break a job experience. The good companies have positive intangibles such as working a vision for the future that staff can believe in and feel that you are part of. Receiving a fair and just compensation, including a bonus so when the company does well and they contribute to that success, they are rewarded accordingly. Having a welcoming and attractive workplace where they enjoy coming to work. Having a fair-minded boss who respects the staff, treats them with respect and recognizes their efforts for others to see. Being part of a strong team so that they can rely on one another to be successful. A challenging job where one gets satisfaction from the work that they perform. Being part of a company that they can be proud of, from the service and products they produce to their public image.
When all of that is in place, the company is well-positioned to succeed. But when the head of the enterprise and/or members of its management team look out for their own personal interests and not for the good of the enterprise, problems set in. But what are the signs the warning signs that things are amiss in your organization? Here are some things to look out for:
Does management misrepresent things and falsify facts? Is loyalty a one way street for them? Do they blame others and stir up resentment for their shortcomings and throw others under the bus? Are they trustworthy who set a good moral tone for the enterprise? Do their commitments and obligations change to suit them at the moment? Do the leaders of the organization act on a transactional-basis to get the deal they want at the moment and not recognize the long-term effects to the organization? Do they do away with the checks and balances that any good organization must have? Do they tend to discard long-term relationships with others who have sacrificed for them in the past? Does the sheer dint of their personality, threats, intimidate of others, or their charisma allow them to get away with these practices?
All of the above can act like a poison to an organization. If any of those warning signs point to a person in your organization, you cannot afford delay action. The health of your organization depends on it.
It seems the term “team-building” has become quite ubiquitous. Many companies are just doing it because it’s “trendy” and because it’s what all the cool Silicon Valley start-ups are doing. However, if we get pat this cynicism, there is a lot of utility in team-building activities, especially if they are honest.
Now, we may have gone a bit ahead of ourselves. For those who don’t know, team-building is any communal activity done by a number of employees who work at the same company (or department). Its goal is to increase morale and productivity, and generally create a positive and almost family-like atmosphere at work. While the concept is quite simple, that doesn’t mean you can just enter it willy-nilly. A team-building getaway that’s obviously going through the motions will just demoralize people and make the manager in charge dishonest and unprofessional.
The Benefits of Team-building. The benefits of team-building are manifold. If you do this right, you will see a huge increase in productivity and morale, with good reason. By going through some obstacle or unique experience, your team will become closer, they will have something to share besides work. It will also show them that you, their manager and/or boss, actually care about them. Furthermore, an escape room, or some other kind of mental training exercise, will boost their problem-solving skills and may even increase their creativity.
How To Start. Planning a team-building getaway is not as simple as booking three hours at a local laser tag venue. You need to do this properly, you need to organize around numerous schedules (what’s the point if half your team can’t make it), and you need it to be something that everyone would enjoy.
Choosing the proper Getaway. Now, actually getting a bit more specific here. First, you should think of a venue that can suit your needs. If it’s a smaller group of people, you can get a fancy corporate accommodation. If you want to skimp money on the hotel, you might as well not even go, since your employees will be too annoyed to do even a bit of team-building.
We also suggest you go to a place that has dedicated team-building hosting and team-building retreats. These kinds of places will even do part of the planning process for you. Also, try some remote, secluded areas and avoid touristy and popular resorts. This is supposed to be fun, but it’s not a vacation. Check if the venue offers its own accommodations, or do you need to go to a hotel. What activities do they offer? This can be sports, ice skating, paintball (we know, it’s a team-building cliché, but its super fun), a camping trip, might as well sign up for Tough Mudder – whatever you want.
There are hundreds of activities, and there is no point in us listing all of them out for you. However, there are a couple of common things you could always include. First, have a set (but not too strict) schedule. This will keep things flowing, without you missing out on the fun, and also without driving your guys crazy. Next, hiring an instructor is an effective way if your people (or you) have the butterflies and can’t really relax. An instructor gives a sense of control and stability for people who are uncomfortable doing new things. They may feel safer if, for example, there is a seasoned kayaking teacher out there to bail them out if push comes to shove.
Motivational speakers are a good option, just be warned – they can backfire terribly. You need to know your own team well, as well as getting good references and even a video of the speaker in action. A cringe-inducing speaker will sink morale, and you’ll end up looking like Michael from The Office.
I hope this post alleviated any qualms or anxiety relating to team-building. It’s not as scary or as difficult as it sounds, and if you do it right, you will certainly reap the benefits. Just remember two crucial things: be honest, and know your team. Everything will go smoothly if you’re genuine.
A growing number of companies recognize the benefits of making hiring more inclusive. But it’s essential to be deliberate about strategy throughout the entire process, from attracting quality candidates to enhancing employee engagement. Here are five things hiring managers, diversity officers and executives should consider to develop a diverse talent pipeline.
By hiring diverse people with a wide range of experiences and perspectives, employers are taking a big step toward creating successful, inclusive teams and will see the benefits in the long run.
As Amazon considers proposals from short-listed cities to become the site of its second headquarters, CIOs at companies in these locations cannot afford to put off thinking about talent and evaluating their workforce strategies.
Let’s start with why cities are interested in Amazon HQ2. Amazon expects to invest more than $5 billion in construction and grow HQ2 to include 50,000 high-paying jobs. Construction and ongoing operation could create thousands of additional jobs and billions of dollars in investment.
Amazon is expected to make its decision within a matter of months. The Brookings Institution’s Joseph Parilla believes that access to qualified talent is the single-most important factor Amazon is considering. “Amazon will ultimately make this decision based on where they can get a quality technical workforce at scale,” he said.
Thus, it’s not surprising that all of the finalist cities share the following characteristics:
Yet, with its 50,000 jobs and likely economic impact, HQ2, according to the Parilla, “has potential to reshape U.S. cities” and perhaps the talent strategies of CIOs at major corporations in whichever city “lands the whale.”
Atlanta, for example, is experiencing a surge in high-tech job growth, due to its low cost of doing business, quality of life and local tech-focused research facilities. However, with employment growing (the unemployment rate in Atlanta is 4.9%), it appears the supply of skilled IT workers may have its limits. Georgia employers post a daily average of 5,010 openings for IT-related jobs, according to the Technology Association of Georgia. Companies especially are looking for software developers with expertise in programming languages like SQL, Java, Linus and Python.
Atlanta is not alone. There is a national shortage for these skills. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment of software developers to grow 24% through 2026, faster than average for all occupations. Employment of applications developers is projected to grow 30%, and systems developers, 11%. The reason is an increase in demand for computer software.
“The sheer pace of change, immigration reform and a tight labor market require us to look at the market and talent differently,” said my colleague, Ami Sarnowski, Chief Innovation Officer at Genesis10, a professional technology services firm with a delivery center in Atlanta.
While the finalist cities should be taking a serious look at the possible arrival of how Amazon will impact their talent pools, this also is a moment of reflection for the cities that were not selected. Indeed, some of these cities are investing, creating new programs to build a digital-ready workforce or developing strategies so that their regions will be more competitive in future bids. For example, Cincinnati and Sacramento are looking to invest in workforce development programs that focus on tech talent while Detroit is seeking funding to develop a regional transportation network that will connect outer counties to the cities.
The 238 cities not selected find themselves in a situation that the Brookings Institution’s Parilla describes as, “a kind of look-in-the-mirror moment.”
“If we’re going to compete for the next HQ2 project out there, we know we’re going to have to fundamentally rethink our economy, and that’s what this is all about,” said Rob Dixon, head of the Missouri Department of Economic Development.
Investments will be critical for cities to sustain growth and attract the next HQ2 project. At the same time, as companies in these cities compete to attract and retain talent, CIOs and their HR colleagues will need to embrace new tactics. These include reskilling workers, leveraging underutilized populations or tapping into overlooked talent pools, such as older workers separated from their executive careers, mothers returning to the workforce, non-computer-science STEM graduates and veterans.
By looking outside the existing supply of trained and certified workers and building capabilities through training, companies in whatever city Amazon selects, or in this case too did not select, will be prepared to shore up their workforce. This is a wakeup call for cities across the U.S.
In today’s market, many companies are struggling to find enough quality applicants. Is this issue caused solely by the employment market or is there something that these organizations can do about it? Employers can’t resign themselves to the fact that they won’t be able to get the perfect fit. They’ll just have to work harder and be more strategic in their hiring efforts. In this blog, we will take a look at a few different ways that companies can better position themselves to recruit top talent.
Develop job description. One of the most common mistakes that can be made during the recruiting process is writing a poor job description. Determining how much information to provide and the requirements associated with the position are two issues that all companies have to figure out. There is a fine line between providing enough details on the job duties so the applicant can get an idea of what the job entails and adding too many that will overwhelm, confuse or simply scare the candidates away. For the requirements there is a similar balancing act, to include enough to get qualified candidates but not too many to cause your labor pool to drain entirely.
The job description, especially when posting it online, should be a marketing tool instead of a technical one. It should be selling the job and opportunity to work at the company. By focusing on the most important job duties, requirements and benefits, you’ll be taking the first step in improving your hiring process and getting the candidates that fit best.
Revamp application. In a survey conducted by Censuswide, 42% of job seekers cited a lengthy application process as the most frustrating part when searching for a job. While job seekers are willing to put in the time to get a job, many are unwilling to go through numerous pages of irrelevant questions when other, less thorough options are available. By redesigning your application process with the candidate in mind, you will be enhancing their experience and improving your chances of getting them on the team.
Showcase brand. In a job seeker’s market, an organization must stand out from the rest to get the attention of candidates. Companies that offer an above-average salary, great benefits and/or a work environment that has effective management and the opportunity for advancement will have a much easier time getting the candidates that they want. Remember, it can be hard to overcome a bad image, so make sure proactive steps are taken, such as asking candidates for feedback, to better control your brand.
Communicate constantly. Another way to improve your company image from the job seeker’s point of view is to be responsive. One of the biggest complaints from candidates is that they submit their application and either never hear anything back or they are put through an extensive hiring process that can take weeks to finish with no guarantee of a job at the end of it. The best workers won’t be available for long, streamlining your hiring process and maintaining constant communication with your applicants gives yourself a chance to get the best.
One of the hardest issues to deal with is a high turnover rate with employees. If you think you are struggling with people who don’t want to work, it may not be because they are lazy but rather not motivated. The internal culture of your office or business space is really important to keep your employees happy and motivated to come to work. Here are various changes you can make in your workplace to create a nice, peaceful space to work.
Provide some essentials. Obviously, you will have the materials on hand to perform job tasks, but there are other essentials that can help create a positive atmosphere. Providing water coolers for offices and warehouses, employing a coffee and tea service to have on hand, and even providing lunches are all ways to say thank you to your staff and minimize tension. All situated in break room it nurtures office relationships and encourages employees to save their money by skipping a coffee run in the morning or leaving for lunch.
Employ natural lighting. Studies show that fluorescent lighting contributes heavily to headaches and tension in the body. Not all spaces can get away without the use of fluorescents but in the rooms that can, encourage the use of natural lighting. The great thing about this is your employees will respond positively and you can save a bit of money on the electric bill.
Nurture workplace wellness. Employees who engage in healthy amounts of exercise and watch how they eat tend to be employees who need to use fewer vacation days. They get sick less often and are more productive than employees who stare at a computer all day long. Workplace wellness programs are a trend that we continue to see grow and grow. Employees who are offered deeply discounted or free gym memberships are likely to use them. Having a quick yoga session in the afternoon can help avoid the 2 pm crash that many people experience. A company softball team, team-building around bowling, running team for a local 5K, and summer activities surrounding hikes are great ways to get your employees moving and build great skills amongst one another.
Offer counseling for when things get hard. Life happens. Tragedies occur. People break down under pressure. Having a workplace counselor is a fantastic way to take care of your employees. It gives them a safe place to release all that has happened and can learn about coping skills and work through some solutions. When life happens, you could see a lot of missed time, slow productivity, and miss deadlines by the employee. When they have access to counseling, all of that can be minimized and have your employee back to their usual self in no time.
The right management team makes a difference. One of the biggest reasons why people quit a job is because of their immediate supervisor. Management needs to ensure that work is being completed timely and correctly but also need to listen to their employees. Properly trained managers empower their team, encourage effective conversations to overcome hurdles and misunderstandings, and look out for the best for everyone. They never belittle anyone, no matter how frustrated they are. They don’t ignore the employees and their suggestions. They especially never take all the credit for the hard work of the team. If you see that there is high turnover for a specific department, it’s time to take a look at your management team and refocus the attention to ensure that everyone is being supported.
Happy, stable, and peaceful employees are what make a company successful, at all levels! There will be issues and problems but combating those effectively while being mindful of all that your employees do will ensure a happy and healthy work environment.
Beyond offering a much-needed service (and helping dog owners everywhere), the high amount raised gives us a look into not just the future of services like Rover, but also insight into how we in staffing should also be evolving to meet the demands in our industry.
With that in mind, here are 5 takeaways that the staffing industry can learn from Rover.
They excellently pinpointed a problem. Rover identified the two biggest barriers when it came to pet care: trust and affordability. As of March 2017, more than 68% of American households owned a pet, a number that includes about 90 million dogs and 94 million cats. Pets can feel like part of the family, so it’s natural that we want care we can trust.
As we are working to place candidates, and hire new recruiters, we should be constantly thinking about how we can better solve problems for our clients. Rather than approaching it focused only on the placement, being strategic and understanding exactly what the hiring challenge is will help us better identify talent, resulting in more hires.
They used tech to their advantage. Sometimes the idea of using a lot of tech and automation can seem foreign to a recruiter (and sometimes to the staffing industry in general). We get stuck on this idea of a bunch of recruiters in a room, using their same networks and contacts to find jobs and working late nights to track down candidates. Rover used tech to create a 24-hour platform where users could find talent at any time, and eliminated the need for a third-party connection.
Likewise, we have so many new technologies at our disposal, we should be thinking about how we can make these innovations work with us and what we’re trying to accomplish. There are so many ways that we can make our systems work better and more efficiently, you only need to consider the areas where you’re experiencing gaps or slowdowns, and then find the tech to fill those gaps.
They effectively leveraged data. As more users sign up for the platform, Rover is able to better vet sitters and recommend top performers in a specific area by harnessing the power of reviews. Since they only accept 20% of their applicants, many of the sitters on Rover (more than 95%) have perfect ratings. The reviews and reputation that emerges from this enable Rover to harness the data and make sure they are better matching sitters with those looking for sitters. Not only does this build trust, it also makes customers more loyal over time.
Similarly, as staffers, we should also actively be using the data we collect to build our reputations and legitimize our businesses. This will also enable us to be more effective when matching a candidate with an employer.
They relied on user knowledge. Rover is particularly successful because they didn’t have to rely on in-house talent. By adopting a crowdsourced model, Rover was able to effectively tap into the knowledge of its users, and was able to reach more people and widen their existing user networks.
Considering a crowdsourced platform may help us in the staffing industry to reach more candidates by opening our closed networks and allowing those who already know talent to help fill open positions. It’s an innovative model that may make all the difference (especially considering the stats around the productivity and longevity of referred employees).
They were creative. Above all, what we in the staffing industry can learn from Rover is that coming up with a creative solution to a known issue can make all the difference. Their rapid growth and popularity tells us that consumers are hungry for new innovations that help existing industries function better.
When we approach staffing from a point of creativity, rather than relying on the same processes we’ve always used, I think we’ll see a dramatic difference in the amount of candidates we can successfully place, and will see our industry move confidently forward into the digital age.
I have heard many leaders say from time to time, “It’s never enough; employee expectations are too high; we must be all things to all people.” At times, I must admit I have had similar thoughts cross my mind. But, when you get right down to it, research has found that employees have very few — but nonetheless, critical — expectations from their employer/leaders. Additionally, we all tend to want the same things from our work experience, regardless of position or demographics. We want:
Let’s look at these one by one.
To be kept informed. Let’s face it, no one likes to be kept in the dark, not knowing where they stand, not understanding how their role ties to the overall corporate objective or worse still, never being told why the company is making a change or decision. Communication is clearly a leader’s top priority. I have found over the years and see this in my coaching practice today, that an employees’ ability to cope with change is directly proportional to a leader’s ability to communicate and support employees through the change process. Keeping employees in the loop — even if it’s just to say, “There is no new information at this time” — is fundamental to being a successful leader.
To be involved. It’s been proven repeatedly that asking for input/ideas from employees is a tried-and-true success formula. And yet, so many times we rush to make decisions and overlook this important stage, leaving employees to feel left out of the decision-making process. Not all decisions can be shared, and that is ok, but leaders will benefit from engaging employees in those areas where shared decision making makes sense and where building the decision/solution from the ground up adds tremendous value. The best ideas come from the business owners in the field and the best leaders take time to listen, engage, and ask for input on a regular basis.
To be recognized. Recognition and positive enforcement is highly valued and appreciated by all. Leaders who make a habit of sincere recognition in both formal and informal ways not only help create a positive success culture but also serve their own purposes by turning the recognized employees into role models for others to emulate. Keep in mind that recognition should be available for everyone at every level in the organization. We learned this years ago, when we received feedback that some employees felt that only salespeople were being recognized regularly. We immediately changed this and looked for ways to ensure that everyone had an opportunity for recognition.
To have opportunities to learn and grow. While not all positions have clear upward mobility options, there are always ways to offer individual learning opportunities. Whether it is from job rotation opportunities, job shadowing, online education resources, external courses, in house reading libraries, online knowledge communities, industry association involvement, lunch and learn events, webinars, or just sharing best practices within the organization, there are numerous ways to enhance learning opportunities and something to meet everyone’s talent budget. Sometimes just having the opportunity to hear from and connect with subject-matter experts, tenured employers or senior team members will fill this gap. Taking an interest in creating learning organizations changes the dynamic of the workplace, and the organization feels alive with possibilities.
To any leader looking to improve overall engagement, you don’t have to look any further than committing to deliver on these four basic requirements and you will succeed. None of these need to cost much, and all can be delivered in any business cycle, in any private enterprise, or in any public organization. All of us as leaders can commit to delivering in these four areas.
One last note, when developing your communication narrative, don’t forget to speak to these four key areas to reinforce your commitment to delivering on these fundamentals wants.
For other thoughts on leadership, visit my blog post on LinkedIn.
Investing in company culture has a high return on investment in many ways. Employee retention is higher — people stay longer at their jobs, do better work, and the turnover rate is lower.
It also creates a work environment where people genuinely enjoy coming to work.
So how do you do it?
Start by budgeting money specifically for culture, including hiring or designating a salaried person as your go-to culture manager. In our company, we call this person the “culture whip.”
Culture is so important to us that we doubled down and said, “Culture matters enough to put a focus here. In fact, it matters enough to put personnel dollars here.” Long before I started studying for this book, we decided to have one of our employees take on the role of culture whip and devote 30 to 40 percent of her time to culture.
I’ve learned that what we did by hiring someone to oversee our culture is exactly what a whole lot of companies are doing. Our friends at HubSpot have even named their culture person a C-suite executive, chief culture officer.
At our company, the culture whip’s job is similar to a political party’s whip. The job is to “whip” everyone in line with our culture through events, reading, coordinated onboarding, and a growing list of objectives, all designed around the bet that in the end, culture wins.
Just like a political majority or minority whip uses his or her position to “whip” the party into shape, our whip ensures that our company’s values and culture involve everyone and permeate everything we do.
Cultural events don’t have to be expensive, but they usually cost something; therefore, they require a budget. It’s the culture whip’s job to manage the budget. For our company, the budget isn’t huge, but it doesn’t have to be. The culture whip has total autonomy to manage the budget and measure spending throughout the year.
The payoff is huge. Our people are happy and more productive. Employee retention is better, which is a huge payoff in the discussion about the value of culture-focus.
The ROI of putting money into the culture budget to build a great culture that attracts people and makes them want to stay is about much more than a cool workplace. It’s to provide an environment in which everyone enjoys working. When people want to be at work, they stick around. You won’t have to bribe people to work for you or try to convince them the company will be a great success one day. We’ve achieved shorter hiring times, better hires, and higher retention rates because of our intentionality around culture.
And that’s a win for culture and a win for business.
The field of recruiting is steeped in rejection; hiring managers, candidates, even the agency itself will scuttle many opportunities — some within our control, others outside it. Therefore, some assert, in order to be successful, the recruiter needs to develop a protective shell — a suit of armor, if you will.
This shell, it has been observed, may be the result of scar tissue that has built up over many wounds, each scar the result of individual rejections. Over time, the recruiter has seen so much failure and rejection, that the outcome is an individual who simply accepts failure and rejection more painlessly — scar tissue being what it is.
But what if we instead took a different approach? What if instead of bracing ourselves against the inevitable failures, we instead focus on success? How is this accomplished, and how does it provide scar-free relief for the inevitable death by a thousand cuts? Perhaps more importantly, how does it lead to a better result?
Let’s look at an example in sports. In golf, each golfer visualizes success before each swing; watch closely — the golfer takes a practice swing, steps behind the ball and visualizes the flight of the ball before he executes his actual swing. He’s envisioning success.
His head actually moves to follow the imagined trajectory of the successfully struck ball. This envisioned success is predicated on past success and practices. The golfer draws upon this visualization — an imagined successful swing and path of the ball before any action takes place. He considers lie of the ball, wind conditions, distance to the desired location, club selection, geography, pin location, etc.
Every visualization doesn’t end in a perfectly struck ball, but the odds improve if you commit to a belief in that success. For those cases in which visualization is unmet in execution, it’s important for the competitor to quickly understand what went wrong, then forget just as quickly and forgive. If not, that agitation will follow the golfer to his next swing, likely bringing about unwanted influence.
Likewise, if a recruiter looks at an opportunity and visualizes success, that outcome is more likely to occur than if she doesn’t. Just like the golfer, the recruiter has many factors that impact success — rate, availability, skills, experience, geographic considerations, education, etc. All require consideration in advance of execution.
If the recruiter envisions these factors prior to submitting a resume for consideration, the odds of success increase. And again, just like the golfer, not every swing will be successful. For those submissions that fail, it’s important to understand why, but forget quickly before moving on to the next candidate.
The author of Chicken Soup for the Soul, Jack Canfield, was once quoted as saying:
“Build your self-esteem by recalling all the ways you have succeeded, and your brain will be filled with images of you making your achievements happen again and again. Give yourself permission to toot your own horn, and don’t wait for anyone to praise you.”
Golfers do this. Recruiters should too.
Scar tissue provides a numb approach to failure, but also to success. Envision success, and instead of building scar tissue at the prospect of inevitable failure, believe in yourself. Failure will occur — as it always does for those who act, but place the emphasis on success instead of adapting to failure.
It may result in a hire-in-one!