Saturday, August 27, 2011

1960's Recruiting in 2011

Remember the 1960’s? Well, there are two generations who don’t.

If you were a candidate, there were three primary ways for you to find a job.

1) Complete an application, drop it off with the Personnel Department, and hope the company called you.
2) Become known as a contributor in your current company and be recruited by a recruiter or someone within another company who knows your impacts.
3) Network with people who could help introduce you to another company – “It’s not what you know. It’s who you know” became a mantra.

If you were the Personnel Department, you ran a newspaper ad and waited for responses, looked at them, decided if they were a potential fit and either interviewed them or filed their resume in a file drawer.

In 2011, many companies have the same process, only today it is automated. The name “Personnel Department” has mostly become obsolete. Today, we have Human Resource Departments that have the responsibility for Talent Acquisition.

How do many of those Human Resource Departments recruit today? They run an automated newspaper ad on one or more Job Boards. “Automated newspaper ad?” CareerBuilder was founded by two newspaper publishing companies.

When candidates reply, what are they required to do in many companies? Complete a six to seven page application prior to any conversation or mutual interest; and hope they receive a reply from the Talent Acquisition team. That process is called “Posting and praying.”

Today instead of filing the resume in a file drawer, it is filed in an applicant tracking system (Thank Goodness! At least that way you may be able to find the resume in the future!).

The applicant tracking systems that promote that process are partially correct. Clerks should be able to run that process. Unfortunately recruitment is not a clerk process. It is a sales process and successful companies treat it as such.

Successful corporate recruiting professionals understand the psychology behind recruitment. They understand that candidates do not like to make big, life changing decisions. They help them make little decisions that lead to the obvious conclusion – offer acceptance and starting.

As our economy slowly improves, companies will begin to open new positions for growth and to replace retiring Baby Boomers. The clerk based recruiting teams will suffer in that environment as their applications dwindle; and they won’t understand why.

Meanwhile the successful corporate recruiting professionals will have the opportunity to choose and recruit the most promising candidates - who will no longer follow the 1960’s processes.

It is time to move recruitment to 2011. Utilize the tools available in the way that attract candidates. Beware of processes that repel candidates.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

What Makes Employees Happy?

Isn’t this the age old question? Ask three hundred executives and human resource directors that question. You will receive three hundred responses.

If you read “Drive The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us” by Daniel Pink, you will see that scientific research demonstrates that people typically fall into two groups – those intrinsically motivated and those extrinsically motivated.

The extrinsically motivated employees are motivated by conditions outside of them – money, benefits, working conditions, etc. According to Daniel Pink’s book, they are transactional by nature – if you do this, then you will receive that.

The intrinsically motivated employees are those employees that we usually describe as self motivated. According to research cited in Daniel Pink’s book, these people are motivated by mastery of their job, autonomy within their job, and a purpose for successfully completing their work.

Whom do you recruit? The best answer probably depends on the nature and culture of your business. My suspicion is that you want both types of people in many businesses. The better question is, “Are your executives/managers skilled enough to identify and manage both types of motivated people effectively?” If not, is your company willing to offer them the training to understand how these types of employees are motivated?

The delightful conundrum that humans offer is that we do not fit into boxes well. Just as you feel that you are successfully recruiting intrinsically motivated people, some employees suddenly begin to act more like transactional employees. Typically that means it may be time to study your compensation structure. It is important to take money off of the table. Don’t give away the company and don’t make work an “if…then” proposition. Possibly what they really need is more autonomy or a better understanding of the purpose of their work? The unhappy employee may not know how to communicate those needs. They know that they need a change and feel that more compensation may help them feel better. The terrible success rate of counter offers demonstrates that usually more compensation is not the answer.

We are back to the important question, “What makes employees happy?” “It depends” is not a helpful response.

Let’s apply the chemistry elements analogy with each response from the 300 executives and human resource directors. Take all of those elements and simmer them down to the base elements. Doesn’t it boil down to these two elements? “Am I making a positive, measurable impact”; and, “Am I having fun?” If both of these elements are present, compensation takes care of itself. The employees will do the work necessary to receive the appropriate compensation.

The challenge for companies is to recognize those base elements and strive to help their employees succeed and have fun. It is not easy. Those who are successful generally are found on the Best Places to Work lists; and financially benefit with an engaged workforce.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

The Offer Acceptance to Job Start Transition

Most recruiters, corporate and third party alike have discovered that a candidate’s acceptance does not automatically translate to their start. Many events may occur to prevent the candidate’s transition to employee, particularly if they need to relocate.

Therefore it is important to stay in contact through the period between their acceptance and their start. It is also good for the hiring manager to communicate their excitement that the candidate is joining their team. Why? Well the candidate is about to be re-sold on their current company with a counter offer. Possibly they need some advice for relocation to the new area. Do you have a dependable real estate agent for community orientation tours? Typically candidates convey any trepidation they have regarding the move to the real estate agent. Professional real estate agents can help you answer objections prior to them becoming too large to handle. The different variables working against the person’s start are too numerous to mention in a short blog or article.

When a recruiter feels the need to pull in the “big guns” (the CEO for instance), they need to be comfortable that person is willing to do so and able to sell the candidate on the advantages of working for the client. I’ve been known to travel two states to save a valuable hire (with my client’s blessing and aid) after the candidate accepted a counter offer. Countering the counter offer requires skill and sensitivity. After all, change is difficult for most people.

How do you handle their start day? Do you welcome them on board with a special welcome? Or do you send them to HR to fill out their paperwork? Remember to differentiate your business as a great place to work immediately. First impressions are lasting.

Remember your company just spent a sizable amount of money to identify this person. If they leave immediately (and over the years, I’ve seen a few go to lunch and never return), you company typically is starting over.

Welcome every new employee as a valued member of the team. The hiring manager should welcome them and review the 3, 6, 9, and 12 month goals with them (those are in your job descriptions, correct?). Then the manager needs to introduce the new team member to their immediate team, followed by introductions to other areas of the company where they interface. Then their immediate team and they go to lunch to begin bonding.

But the paperwork! What about the paperwork? Send it to them ahead of time. Suggest they complete as much as possible prior to starting. Then after lunch they can meet with HR for answers to their benefit questions and other paperwork questions.

Is there value in a formal company orientation? Absolutely! Learning the history of the company, its mission, and how to successfully work within the company are all important. Assuming that most people start on Mondays, and that Mondays are typically tough days for Human Resources, begin orientation on Tuesday. This gives the Hiring Manager and their team a day to bond and show the new employee how to be successful in that new group. Where is the software they need on the company network? Show them and then provide cheat sheets.

The first day is the beginning of your company’s employee retention process – and what a day to begin!