It's Performance Review Time!

performance review stressIt's that dreaded time again, and no we're not talking about taxes or anything, we're talking about employee performance reviews! Right about now, we start to see employees fidget, maybe up the productivity ante, or simply drag their feet on hitting that performance “submit” button. Generally, there's a negative aura encapsulating the tried and true performance reviews, but why? There seems to be a lack of transference as to why we do performance reviews and the good that can only come through these exercises.

Performance Review Is Communication

For example, an unbiased and effective performance review should open conversation and communication flow between you and your employees. During the quarter, things can get hectic, time is limited, and communication can be disjointed. Performance reviews are designed to tear down those barriers, allowing honest opinions, suggestions, and comments to increase employee engagement. We all want to feel like our time is valued or that our needs our met on both ends of the table, whether you're an employer or employee. This review gives both sides a chance to openly discuss how to improve this mutual gratification in the workplace.

Performance Review Stirs Competitive Nature

Deep down, we all (maybe secretly or further down than others) crave some competition. We want to feel valuable or successful in whatever we do. In the workplace, the same stands true. Constructive criticism and praise is key to keeping that positive, competitive flame burning. We all strive to better ourselves, but how can we do that without feedback and potential criticism? Performance reviews are the perfect way to ignite your employees' natural competitive nature. Not only are you helping to align your employees' performance with your vision, but you're creating this drive to surpass prior performance.

Encourage your managers and employees to see performance reviews as a mutually beneficial process. Employees get a chance to air out frustrations or to ring praise towards the organization, and employers and managers can better align performance and goals, while strengthening the relational infrastructure. It's not meant to put anyone in the “hot seat” or create tension, but performance reviews should motivate and encourage employees while unifying the goals and initiative between managers and their employees. Perhaps they should rename performance reviews to pep talks, but then the stress relief market would probably sue us for their lack of sales. Oh well, until next time, HR community!

Hiring for Fit and Your Company Culture

hiring for fit failureAs we mentioned last week, there's a lot of talk on the "right" way to recruit. As we also said, there's always going to be a debate, because nobody is the same and we all have opinions based on subjectivity. This next controversial hiring tip follows the same beat. What if we hired based on pure skill level and leadership potential? That is to say, what if we threw "hiring for the right fit," right out the window? Now that's an interesting concept.

Hiring for Fit: Wrong Approach?

Laurie Ruettimann has been known for her controversial standings on HR issues. Her latest opinion criticizes hiring for fit. Personally, we here at SourceCast find this quite intriguing. For an organization to continue functioning, can we completely throw out the notion of finding an employee that can fit into a well-greased machine of a company? The concept seems somewhat flawed, doesn't it?

If We're Not Hiring for Fit...

Suffice it to say, we're not sure what we believe. On one hand, no leader was ever born as a mere follower, someone acknowledging and accepting ideas and truths without question. There's something to be said with employing the "thinkers," those who are always thinking about new ideas, ways to critique and strengthen current practices, and those who seem to just shake things up. However, hiring an entire workforce with their own unique mentalities could cause friction, allowing nothing to get done without painful amounts of idea gridlocks. In our minds, there has to be a single direction, a line of focus to a goal. That means hiring people who mesh into the organization's culture (i.e., the CEO's vision) but also hiring those that have their own vision, who can enhance the company's goals or vision and take leadership to get you there.

Instead of hiring for fit, HR, as Ms. Ruettimann says, "[has] an obligation to advocate on behalf of the cranky, grouchy, unlikeable employees who question everything and don't go along with the flow." HR also has the obligation to advocate on behalf of those passionate, obedient, and loveable employees who also act like worker bees, coercing together beautifully to accomplish goals. Our workforces need both these types of employees. This calls for a shout out to the surge of non-discrimination laws: we don't discriminate in hiring practices or towards those who do or don't follow a company's "culture or fit."

Source: TLNT

Recruitment: One Goal, a Million Paths to Get There

recruitment roadmapRecruitment has and will always be a buzzword in HR, but it's also been surrounded with controversy. What controversy, you may ask? Well, throughout our newsfeeds, email subscriptions, and other morning coffee reads, it's always safe to say that we'll see some article on the "5 Best Recruitment Practices" or "Recruiting the Right Way," etc. Clearly, there's controversy as everyone thinks they've struck gold with their latest-and-greatest recruitment breakthrough. People will always talk, and we will always listen…until we tune out due to a lack of statistical or at least "meaningful" evidence. Trust me, we're skeptics too when we read recruitment hot topics, but I think we've hit the recruitment jackpot when we observe the company named Zappos, an Amazon-owned retail business, and their recruitment model. I mean seriously, the jackpot is not proverbial in this sense; HR could be saving their companies a lot of money by infusing their organizations with new recruitment zen.

Recruitment Starts with Employee Engagement

According to Zappos, recruitment starts with employee engagement and appreciation. Zappos seemingly puts their employees first, often offering incentives and creating an environment where an employee feels appreciated and excited to work. They focus organically to create this sense of trust and dedication to the company and the brand. With a loyal workforce, Zappos allows potential new hires to chat with current employees, yielding tremendous amounts of applicants after hearing workplace praises from current employees. For years, Zappos has been listed as one of the "Best Companies to Work For," hands down due to the environment they've created by putting people first. In turn, they've ramped up their social presence and have taken to these mediums to turn up the volume of their happy community to 11 for the world to see. And what do you know, people are responding to it.

Recruitment Works Inside Out

This is the kind of environment we should all try to simulate. By focusing internally, you're ultimately assisting your external perception. In turn, recruitment sort of works itself out. Posting on job boards and using recruitment services are great; don't think we're anti-traditional hiring practice. However, the difference between the major and minor leagues of recruitment is your companies' work environment. Would your employees speak highly of your workplace? Could you rely on them to attract applicants? Do you have a strong, lasting relationship with your workforce? If you’re unsure or answer no to any of these questions, maybe it's time to reevaluate your recruitment strategies, starting internally.

Source: Talent Culture

3 Job Site Tips to Secure That New Hire

stressed hireYou know that feeling of frustration and rage you get when you click on a link and it either:

  • Takes you to a site requiring everything but your first born child
  • The site is so convoluted that you feel like a mouse in a cheese maze
  • Modal windows with impersonalized offers pops up every 3 seconds, on the dot
  • You have a question to ask, but only a computer to ask it to and a wait period after that

Well, unfortunately, that’s how recruitment is starting to feel like for those jobseekers out there. Nothing is personal anymore, websites are obliviously hiding their application links, and the recruitment process is absurdly long, especially to millennials. What if, when a jobseeker goes to your website, they:

  • Easily find an application link without having to sort through your content, and undoubtedly losing interesting in your company.
  • Receive a personalized email template thanking them for their interest in your position. All correspondences to any potential candidate should be personal.
  • Are quickly and efficiently taken through the interview, assessment, and typical hiring procedures instead of waiting through a delayed, drawn out process. Technology affords us less time needed for practically everything, so why would hiring be any different? The younger the applicant, the more they expect a speedy return when applying for jobs. In addition, why leave it to chance for your dream applicant to get away just because you weren't fast enough to secure the hire?

These 3 things, as potentially obvious or easy as they seem, can be the differentiators making sure you secure the hire, not your competitor. Don't miss out on your dream hire because of simple, common mistakes. Take an enthusiastic approach to your recruitment strategy, and secure your top talent, today.

Source: SmartRecruiters

4 Tips to Job Descriptions That Attract the Right Talent

As we sip our morning coffee, scouring our multiple newsfeeds, we see things like "5 tips for landing a job" or maybe "3 ways to set apart your resume," all aiding the jobseeker. However, we don’t see as many tips aiding us employers in areas such as successful job listings, maybe. Why is that? We're people too! So, as we skim through the typical jobseeker-focused tweets and posts, here's a post shouting out to us employers!

4 Simple Job Description No-No's

As you read the tips below, you may think to yourself how simple these are, and sit there idly, waiting for that "ah-ha" moment. Truth is, you may not feel that moment with this post. The reason being, these tips sound so simple and things you've heard before, but we're hoping that posing them from a jobseeker's aspect, you may feel more inclined to turn thought into action with these. Today's tips relate to your job descriptions. This is the first thing a jobseeker is going to see: the portrait of a company they cannot see. Therefore, you need to lure them in given a limited amount of time the potential applicant will give the first few lines of your description.

  1. Avoid confusing job titles: As a jobseeker, they most likely know nothing about you, the company, the products, or anything. So, having a non-universal job title does nothing more than read: "This job title is as confusing and complicated as the work you’ll be doing if hired." Not only does it cause applicants to turn away, but things like SEO suffer, because let's face it, Google is as clueless as we are when it sees job titles such as: "Remedy Engineers," (yes, these are real job titles, people).
  2. Eliminate grammatical errors: This ranking high up there on our list of hates, along with spiders and snakes. As a jobseeker, this job description looks completely unprofessional and sloppy, leading to the applicant believing that's the type of environment to be expected in said organization. Remember, both the employer and applicant are being evaluated.
  3. Please nix jargon or industry buzzwords: Please, please don’t eliminate your chances of a great hire because they read the word "thought-leader, go-getter, robust," and the list goes on in the job description. What do these words even mean? To tell you the truth, they have multiple meanings to different people, and probably not the ones you're intending. So, if you can't clearly define a word without background context, it has no business being in front of an applicant's eyes.
  4. No gimmicks: We mean, give them specifics. We can all relate to being let down by a clever marketing ploy using generics. For example, "Big sale" signs that don’t hint at the staggering fine-print or the want ads that say "Hair apprentice," when really you come to find out that you're signing up to apprentice with everything but hair. We've all fallen victim, so to increase application and retention, be very upfront and specific about the duties your new hire is to perform. Plus, this helps strain the worthwhile applicants from the broad, maybe candidates.

While these items almost seem too simple, they are all-too common mistakes that we see in job descriptions daily. While this won't solve all of your recruiting conundrums, the right job description can get the right people, at least, in the door. Stay tuned as we uncover more tips to increase applications and to retain the right employees for your business.

Maybe the Problem With HR Has Nothing to Do With HR At All

You're probably familiar with Ram Charan's infamous article It's Time to Split HR and if you're not, you've heard of it. You may have also read one or more of the mounting number of articles declaring what's wrong with HR or that we should ditch HR all together. Guess what, this isn't one of those articles. In general, it seems like HR is adapting to the times just like every other department in every other organization. As the title suggests, we're here to talk about the "problem with HR," so we're going to come out and say it: maybe it's you. Perhaps the problem with HR is really that we choose protecting and maintaining over confidence.

The Problem With HR Isn't Unique

As we've mentioned before, HR is about protecting, whether it's protecting the company against legal and compliance issues, or employees' rights. Therefore, it's easy to default to maintaining the status quo, rather than asserting our views or leading initiatives to improve workplace culture. But this problem, while we're talking about HR isn't unique to HR. No, this can be evident in any department, and most likely is to some degree.

The Problem With HR Is Real

It would be naive to say that because the "problem with HR" isn't unique, we can sweep it under the rug. You probably have plenty else to do, but stop. This is important. As the gatekeepers of compliance and culture, where is it most important to tweak when we see a problem. So, ask yourself, "Am I confident in how and what I do?" Are you a "yes" person? Are you at the beck and call of the C-levels? Is every day just another nose to the grindstone kind of day? Stop. Now breathe. And start saying "no."

The Problem With HR Is Not Saying No

Fixing HR starts with you being confident in who you are in the company, knowing your best contributions, and then taking that and being willing to grow. You will have to say "no" because a potential candidate loved by the hiring manager may harm the culture. You will have to say "no" to initiatives that aren't in the best interest of the company. You will even have to say "no" to the executive's disrespectful swipes at HR *gasp*.

No, this little tip isn't meant to fix everything. However, it will go a long way for both the "problem with HR" as well as your own work life. There's nothing intrinsically broken about HR, however the transition toward a better department begins with you being confident and doing what you do best: look out for the company, no matter how unpopular it may be at the time.

Source: Fistful of Talent

Telecommuting: Your New Old Workplace Benefit?

As we talked about last week, business is becoming increasingly mobile. Employers and employees are considering options to take business on the go, and one such option that is becoming increasingly desirable is telecommuting. In fact, not only is telecommuting just an option, but increasingly viewed as a benefit.

Telecommuting: Benefiting Staples Employees

Recently, Staples undertook their annual telecommuting survey that showed a whopping 71% of telecommuters listed the mobility of their job as a critical benefit. Even 10% of those surveyed would opt for a pay decrease in order to telecommute. As we can see, telecommuting is highly desirable, but how does a company as a whole fare when employees are offsite?

Telecommuting Makes Employees Happy

As an outcome of telecommuting, employers are noticing significant increases in employee demeanor. Employees are often happier, which has led to a statistical increase in productivity. Which, I am not quite sure why this surprises people, the happier- equals -production notion should be a no-brainer. Much of the workforce is spreading themselves thinner than ever, so as employers there needs to be a shift in flexibility. The age old 9-5 routine simply cannot work for everyone. So, how do employers make this a viable option and how do employees approach this topic with management?

Telecommuting: An Extension of BYOD

As an employer, thankfully, the products we touched on last week can have you cleaning out office space in no time as communication and accessibility can take place online. Again, options like Trello and UberConference replicate physical communication when time or circumstance don't allow for any. Another idea that has been sweeping the working world is allowing for BYOD (bring your own device). As it stands, about 4 out 5 employees use their personal devices for work-related tasks, so why not take that to the next level? We think it's safe to say that all of us have used our smartphones or tablets to churn out work emails, scope LinkedIn resumes, or follow the news on Twitter. We as people like the familiar, and if we have to choose between our own preferred devices versus a dull work device, we'd be willing to take a wild guess and assume we would all prefer utilizing our own personal gadgets. Not only are we familiar with these systems, but there's a sense of freedom when we break away from corporate control which also leads to greater creativity and ultimately, productivity. Not to mention, this hard drive follows its owner any and everywhere. While there are some issues such as compatibility and privacy, it's worth looking into in order to catch opulent talent, requiring telecommuting.

As old school as some of us are, times they are a-changin', and they're leaving us no choice but to follow the current. The world of HR is constantly changing from virtual recruitment to heightened compliance initiatives. Stay tuned for next week's blog as we continue to keep you up-to-speed on today's HR issues.

Source: HR Morning

More to read: New York Times Forbes

Mobile Workforce: The 6 Most Effective Apps to Mobilize Your Workforce

mobile workforce woman cafeAs it's been not so gently massaged into our brains, mobile workforce strategies are the here-and-now way to brand your business, recruit, and telecommute. However, let's face it, most companies want their employees on-site to better communicate and collaborate to perform their tasks (a la Yahoo). Unfortunately, there's this thing called life that sometimes get in the way and we can't always occupy our usual fluorescently-lit cubicle each day. Instead of taking a personal day, what if there was a way to convince your boss or staff that working from home or remotely was just as effective as making a physical appearance in the office?

A Study on Mobile Workforce Apps

Hootsuite did a comparison of a large list of different mobile apps, and came up with their top 7 favorites. After doing some independent research and taking into account our own bias due to utilizing most of these products in the office, we decided to just hop on the bandwagon instead of trailblazing this topic. Below is the list of 6 top-rated apps for you busy bees out there in desperate need of organizing your mobile workforce, or just your own work life.

Evernote: Evernote is like the chest at the foot of your bed. It can store everything: from notes, to pictures, voice recordings, and practically any digital memorandum can be saved in Evernote, accessed by multiple users or even offline. Using tags and notebooks, everything is searchable and easily for later usage.

Hootsuite: In layman's terms, it simply manages all of your social media networks, allowing you to post (now, or schedule for later) to all your media sites simultaneously on one platform. While this alone may not sound compelling, their capacity to track your social media efforts is surely a deciding factor.

UberConference: In the past, meetings and conferences required physical presence, but UberConference makes that a thing of the past. UberConference uses your phone's contact list as a way to select attendees, and the software emails, calls, or texts the attendees to accept the meeting. Everyone is displayed onscreen, so you get the physical presence, remotely. Need we say more?

Trello: If you're a fan of Scrum and the Agile methodology, you need Trello. With this organizational software, visually show tasks on a digital board; assign team members, deadlines, and priority levels to specific tasks; show progress and communicate with Trello members to perform tasks more efficiently.

Dropbox: All of your files. In the cloud. And you can access them offline via multiple devices. Your hard drive is literally able to go wherever you go.

Brewster: Think of your smartphone's address book where contact information from your social media merges. Instead of banging your head against the wall after you left your client's contact information at work, rely on Brewster. It merges your contacts onto a single platform, pulling information from social media, email, and your personal address book. Finally, you don't need to drag every device and notepad with you when you want to telecommute.

With these helpful mobile apps, telecommuting can slowly lose the negative connotation that it's been plagued with for so long. Finally, we live in an age where the mobile workforce is attainable. Stay tuned for next week where we continue our “mobile-first focus” and discuss recruiting based on your telecommuting policies.

Trust and Berkshire Hathaway: Gullible or Brilliant?

Berkshire Hathaway doesn't have an HR department! How can it possibly function?! Honestly, we don't know. We're not here to speculate on what this mega corporation runs without, but rather what it seems to run on and abundantly: trust. What does this have to do with you, who doesn’t have the helm of a company raking in over 150 billion dollars a year? Maybe, just maybe, it’s the fear of getting burned by trusting the wrong people that’s kneecapping both our hiring and engagement strategies.

Trust and the Hiring Process

We each have our own method, our individual mix of desired characteristics, but how often, as we see in the case of Berkshire Hathaway, do we consciously weigh how much we feel we can trust a candidate? If we do not lay this at the foundation of our hiring process, where does that lead our organizations moving forward? We are hiring people whom we cannot necessarily trust, or at least, people we are not certain we trust. Seems dangerous, doesn’t it?

Trust Engages Employees

While it seems irresponsible to just go around trusting people, the Berkshire Hathaway example suggests that employees not only produce, but engage in the workplace. Studies suggest that the power of trust is rather strong, and honestly, say that you’d rather not be trusted. It’s at least worth the argument that employees, we, will be more loyal and steadfast and productive when we feel trusted. And that trust encourages us to interact and engage more openly. Is trust the silver bullet to retaining that top talent? The curious case of Berkshire Hathaway certainly suggests it might be.

Could it be that the only flaw in our hiring and retaining strategies is our own unwillingness to be burnt by trusting the wrong candidates and employees? Could it be that we don’t need a better strategy to snag that top talent, but a better way to frame our strategy? Likewise, maybe we don’t need a better strategy to retain top talent, but a better way to view that strategy? What do you think? Is Berkshire Hathaway crazy? Are we? Or could trust really be a novel idea once again?

Source: New York Times