Category Archives: Talent Acquisition

Boomerangs Are Coming Back! (See what I did there?)

data point tuesday_500It used to be that being a “job hopper” was a bad thing. Employers wouldn’t touch someone who moved around a lot. And employees almost never wanted to go back to a former employer. They had good reasons for leaving. Today, however, most understand that boomerangs are a fact of life. But what if someone who left your organization in good standing applies for a job and wants to return today? Will you hold his/her decision to leave against them? Or will you think that their pathway to productivity will be shorter because they already know the culture and the ropes?

Workforce Institute LogoThose are among the questions that were asked in a recent survey by the Workforce Institute at Kronos Inc. and WorkplaceTrends.com. More than 1,800 HR professionals, people managers and employees were surveyed and the results show a shift in attitude regarding the desirability of rehiring former employees.

Some of the highlights from the survey results include:

  • Organizations and workers alike are coming around on rehiring former employees.
  • Boomerangs are creating increased – and unexpected – competition for job seekers as the hiring market continues to improve.
  • Familiarity, easier training, and knowledge of the former employer are benefits for boomerangs and organizations – yet some concerns still linger.
  • HR says it has a strategy for maintaining relationships with former employees, but workers and managers disagree.

The first three findings are pretty predictable, I think. But the fourth shows some interesting opportunities for HR to communicate more strategically to their important stakeholders.

The study showed that while organizations appear to more open to hiring boomerangs, 80% of employees report that former employers do not have a strategy in place to encourage them to return. Additionally, 64% believe that there doesn’t appear to be a strategy for maintaining a relationship once they depart. And, finally, nearly half of managers say their organization has no alumni relationship strategy.

Contrast these findings with HR’s report that they use multiple strategies for keeping in touch with former high-performing employees – like email newsletters (45%), recruiters (30%), and alumni groups (27%). A focus on cultivating alumni groups appear to be more common than managers or employees believe, with Facebook as the most favored social platform (42%). Email (39%) and LinkedIn (33%) are also frequently used alumni relationship platform hosts.

HR clearly has an opportunity to engage both the people managers and high performing employees in their organizations around the topic of keeping former employees tethered to the organization through alumni relationship building.

Joyce Maroney, Director of The Workforce Institute at Kronos believes this:

“With this boomerang trend on the rise, it’s more important than ever for organizations to create a culture that engages employees – even long after they’ve gone – and organizations should consider how the boomerang employee factor should affect their off-boarding and alumni communications strategies for top performers.”

Joyce is right. In the increasingly tough talent supply/demand landscape, employers can’t afford to overlook any part of the talent pool when seeking new employees. Boomerangs have a lot going for them and they should be kept top of mind by managers and talent acquisition professionals alike.

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Filed under Boomerangs, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Joyce Maroney, Kronos, Talent Acquisition, Workforce Institute

CEOs Get It. Do HR Leaders?

data point tuesday_500Here’s another survey analysis and report that should be required reading for all HR professionals: pwc’s 18th Annual Global CEO Survey. The survey looks at how business leaders are finding new ways to compete in “an era of unprecedented digital change.” I know, it sounds like another consulting firm’s move to make the complicated even more complicated and gin up their sales. But I didn’t find this analysis to be that. Instead, I found it useful to put context around some of our biggest challenges and opportunities. 1,322 CEOs in 77 countries were interviewed: 125 in Central and Eastern Europe; 459 in Asia Pacific, 94 in the Middle East and Africa; 330 in Western Europe; 167 in Latin America and 147 in North America. This was truly a global survey.

The survey findings are grouped into 5 themes:

  • Growth
  • Competition
  • Technology
  • Partnering
  • Diversity

The first four themes are fairly predictable – and they all have some impact on talent strategies and HR functions – but the fifth, Diversity, might be a surprise to you. Think about it. More than 1,300 CEOs around the world were interviewed for this survey. Would you have predicted that Diversity was among the 5 most critical themes to emerge? You might have hoped for it, but would you have predicted it?

This survey analysis report is a roadmap for HR to anticipate what’s coming in terms of focus and strategy from the CEO. The report is not long. You could read it in an hour. And come away with some critical new business perspectives that will make your HR strategies and plans align with the real world – as your CEO sees it – and support your business’s growth plans.

I’ll share just two graphics that I found interesting. The first shows the range of risks that CEOs are beginning to be concerned about:

pwc CEO Survey June 30 2015CEOs were asked how concerned they were about a list of potential economic, policy, social and business threats to their organization’s growth prospects. You can see the list above. Do you see that the threat of not having access to necessary skills is a greater threat then cyber security? Than the speed of technological change? Than Geopolitical uncertainty? Do you see that of the list they could choose from, CEOs chose the threat of not having access to necessary skills as the second most concerning threat to their organization’s growth processes?

That seems big to me. So, are your talent acquisition, development and retention strategies and programs developing fast enough to address this concern?

The second chart I will share shows just how all-pervasive and consistent the lack of talent concern is for CEOs:

pwc CEO Survey 2 June 30 2015The question posed to these CEOs was “what one capability do you think will be most critical for tomorrow’s CEO’s to cultivate?” The choices were:

  • Innovation
  • Leadership
  • Strategic Thinking
  • Customer Focus
  • Collaboration
  • Digital Astuteness
  • Personal Qualities (e.g. honesty, integrity)
  • Adaptability
  • Knowledge and Skills
  • Talent Acquisition and Management

It wasn’t surprising to me that out of that list of 10 critical future CEO capabilities that Strategic Thinking would be first on the list of necessary capabilities. And it’s first by a mile. But look at what is in second place: Talent Acquisition and Management! I’ll bet you wouldn’t have predicted that.

This suggests to me that CEOs see lack of skills as such a big concern that they are going to involved personally with reducing that threat. Are you ready for your CEO to be actively involved in setting and executing your talent acquisition and development strategy? I’m not thinking that their involvement would be a bad thing. Quite the contrary. But I’m not sure the average HR department is ready to add their CEO to the team.

In my mind, these two graphs, and the subtext of the survey report, show that talent is becoming one of the most critical competitive advantages for business growth worldwide. And CEOs know it. The lack of talent/skills is clearly being evaluated by CEOs all over the world – in every sector and in every size of business – as their Achilles Heel. So CEOs get it. The big question is, does HR get it?

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Filed under CEOs pwc, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Diversity, HR, Strategy, Talent Acquisition, Talent development

Where Do Candidates Come From?

data point tuesday_500 There is a robust conversation in the talent arena about “candidate experience” led largely by Gerry Crispin and Elaine Orler, founders of the Talent Board and the Candidate Experience Awards (#CandE). There are lots of opinions about whether ensuring that candidates for hire have a high quality experience is meaningful. Some think the juice isn’t worth the squeeze. But I think most believe treating candidates like consumers is smart business. Two new vendor publications discuss aspects of candidate experience:

  1. Creating a 21st Century Application Process from RolePoint, and
  2. Beyond Employees: Employee Referral Programs Redefined from Smashfly

Both reports were published within the last month and contain analysis of current data. The Rolepoint whitepaper was written by global recruiting legend Bill Boorman. It highlights Intuit’s approach to embracing a social approach to the apply process, with a particular focus on making the application process streamlined and device agnostic “with equal attention paid to user experience and interface on both desktop and mobile.” Bill is a legend for a reason and his approach to this topic in the whitepaper is compelling. The Smashfly presentation provides insight into the employee/candidate referral landscape with some interesting data:

  • 77% of organizations currently have a formal referral program

  • 32% of new hires come from referrals on average, and rate highest in quality among sources of hire

  • 57% of organizations limit their referral program to employees only

  • 43% extend their program beyond employees to include alumni, contractors, customers, vendors and/or partners

  • Analysis shows those that reach beyond employees get 28% more hires from referrals and 8% better quality candidates

This survey data is interesting, and I key in on the 4th bullet. Extending referrals into other stakeholder groups makes a great deal of sense – and correlates to higher quality candidates. Take a look below: Smashfly May 19 2015 If you’re in the 23% of employers without a candidate referral program, this might be a wake up and smell the coffee moment. If you’re in the 57% of organizations limiting referrals to employees only, this might be a pedal to the metal moment. Either way, whether you’re recruiting programmers, developers, customer service agents, nurses, marketers, HR professionals or executives, approaching your trusted partners – including employees – for referrals makes good, logical sense. And treating potential candidates like consumers, that is, making it as easy for them to press the “apply” button as it is to press the “buy” button seems like a tenant from Econ 101. Check out these reports from Rolepoint and Smashfly.

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Filed under Bill Boorman, Candidate Experience, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Elaine Orler, Employee Referrals, Gerry Crispin, Rolepoint, Smashfly, Talent Acquisition

Starbucks’ Ethical Sourcing: Beans AND Talent

data point tuesday_500I read in the newspaper yesterday morning that Starbucks has achieved an incredible milestone for the ethical sourcing of virtually all its coffee – 99%! This means that more than 400 million pounds of coffee served globally meets really tough economic, environmental and social standards for growers from whom they buy their coffee. According to Starbucks’ website, they take a “comprehensive approach to ethical sourcing, using responsible purchasing practices; farmer support; economic, social and environmental standards; industry collaboration and community development programs.” And it’s all verified by third parties like C.A.F.E. (Coffee and Farmer Equity) Practices, Fairtrade and Certification Global Services. There is much to admire in Starbucks’ commitment to and execution in the ethical sourcing of its primary physical ingredient and I believe this achievement connects to what we could call the ethical sourcing of talent.

Starbucks also recently announced that it is making a full four-year college degree available without cost to all of its more than 140,000 full- and part-time partners (employees) through Arizona State University’s online degree program. Let’s see… Ethical sourcing of coffee beans from farmers all over the world and offering full college tuition coverage to tens of thousands of employees. I see a consistency of approach to trustworthy leadership here that is hard to find today anywhere in the world.

There are thousands of organizations all over the world that are serious about their corporate social responsibility commitments. They have programs that are helping to build communities, reduce environmental impact, improve the public health, educate young people – the list goes on and on. But these are programmatic approaches reliant upon individual leader commitments, not essential strands of the warp and woof of the organization’s foundation. As an observer of corporate culture, I find it rare to observe an organization that sees every aspect of the business as part of the whole cloth of social responsibility. Starbucks certainly sets the bar high in this regard. From a talent acquisition perspective, paying full college tuition for 100% of your employees is the most ethical sourcing strategy imaginable. And it makes sense when it’s lined up next to ethically sourcing 99% of its primary ingredient, coffee beans.

Trustworthy leadership is reliable in its consistency, transparency and ethical behavior. Starbucks is a pretty great example of this.

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Filed under China Gorman, Corporate Social Responsibility, Ethical Sourcing, Starbucks, Talent Acquisition

Who Really Cares About Employer Branding?

Data Point TuesdayIn a recent report by Universum, a tactical view of how organizations are attracting talent and combating problems is given with some fresh insight. The report: State of Employer Branding is part one a four-part 2020 Outlook series, based on responses from 2338 interviews conducted in the winter of 2014 in 18 different countries. Respondents represented a variety of industries and job functions with more than 50% working within HR, 16% being the CEO of their respective organization, and 23% working for organizations with more than 1000 employees in the country. Universum’s report starts by posing a necessarily blunt question to its readers, “How long have executives argued over the need to make talent attraction a corporate strategy rather than an HR strategy?” Point taken, talent acquisition remains an ongoing point of struggle for organizations, but is a critical strategy for organizations to remain competitive.

March 10 2015 Talent Acquisition Concerns

As Universum makes clear, we’ve known this for a while, so what are organizations doing to step up to issues relating to talent? Let’s take a look at the meaty details of Universum’s report….

Talent acquisition and retention is a complex equation involving (among other things) talent management and development, employer branding, and analytics to measure effectiveness. Part of the problem with employer branding is where responsibility lies:

  • 60% of CEO’s feel they own employer branding.
  • 58% of HR executives, 63% of talent acquisition executives, and 57% of recruiting executives say HR owns employer branding.
  • 39% of marketing executives point to HR owning the role and 40% to the CEO owning the role.

Why all this variability? Universum underlines repeated studies that have shown CEOs don’t believe HR is up to the task, as well as studies that say HR itself is not confident in their current approach, or do not feel their approach is innovative. Greater stakeholder cooperation is another broadly identified need when it comes to employer branding efforts:

  • 70% of senior executives see a closer need for stakeholder cooperation in the next 5 years.
  • 77% of HR executives see a closer need for stakeholder cooperation.
  • 53% of CEO’s see stakeholder cooperation as a growing need.

Though this is an identified need, without changing CEOs’ confidence in HR to solve strategic talent challenges, HR will be hard pressed to effect change in this area.

Universum asked respondents about their employer branding objectives, and how these objectives will change in the next five years.March 10 2015 Employer Branding Objectives

Interestingly, of all the objectives listed, none earns much more than one third of respondents’ votes. The most critical need is “to fulfill our short-term recruitment needs” but is claimed by just 36%. This should lead us to ask why so few executives (and CEOs in even lower numbers) are prioritizing such objectives? Universum offers the following explanations

  • Organizations face a lack of clarity about which objectives matter most
  • There is a perceived lack of ownership for the discipline of employer branding
  • Employer branding is not viewed as a critical priority when organizations face many other pressing challenges

To better understand their commitment, Universum studied how organizations are currently investing in employer branding:

March 10 2015 Employer Branding Budget

Overall, we see that organizations are overwhelmingly focused on external employer branding efforts. KPIs, however, often measure almost inclusively internal factors (presenting another potential issue).

Organizations also face a perceived gap when it comes to the association between consumer and employer brands. Recently there has been a concerted effort to more closely align employer and consumer brands, yet when executives were asked how closely they feel these are aligned, the responses indicated there’s still much work to be done:

  • 19% say their employer and consumer brands are the same
  • 36% say “there is a connection today”
  • 17% say there is no connection at all

When marketers were asked this question though, the answers were remarkably different, with marketers much more likely to report a connection between the employer and consumer brand.

How do organizations more forward with an employer branding and talent strategy when there appears to be little consensus about how to do so? Universum’s report cites from PwC’s global CEO survey, which reports that while 93% of CEOs say they know they need to change their strategy to attract and retain talent, 61% say they have not taken steps to do so yet. The first step towards addressing “the talent gap” may just be to get organizations to accurately recognize areas of misalignment and differing perceptions. Employer branding, as we see from this data, is certainly one of these areas. Organizations must also commit to an investment strategy; as Universum states: “If talent is as important to competitive might as capital, it must be managed and measured with the same disciple applied to financial planning and management.”

This report makes me think we have a massive showdown coming between HR and CEOs. I don’t know about you, but I think I know who’s going to win unless something big happens. And the only thing big I see happening is Marketing swooping in to save the day. HR, if you think you’re hearing footsteps, you probably are!

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Filed under China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Employer Branding, Talent Acquisition, Universum

What are your Sources of Hire?

Data Point Tuesday
A recent report from CareerXroads, “Sources of Hire 2014: Filling the Gaps” by Gerry Crispin and Mark Mehler, aims to continue the conversation about the data collection issues, source of hire trends, and challenges related to the recruiting supply chain. The report looks at 50 large firms (all with well-known brands) that filled 507,425 openings in the U.S. last year. This was the work of ~6000 recruiters and sourcers (80+ openings filled by each).

  • 4% of these companies had fewer than 1,500 full time U.S employees,
  • 8% had between 1,005-5,000 employees
  • 18% between 5,001-10,000 employees
  • 28% between 10,001-25,000 employees
  • 10% between 25,001-50,000 employees
  • 14% between 50,001-100,000 employees
  • 8% between 10,001-200,000 employees
  • 10% had more than 200,000 employees

An initial trend observed was that at 40% of these firms the Talent Acquisition function does not match the full ‘Scope’ of full time hiring. While 62.5% of the surveyed firms’ Talent Acquisition functions agree that they “touch or know about EVERY F/T hire or move,” 8.3% don’t hire for union positions, 18.8% don’t hire hourly workers in their manufacturing facilities, 16.7% don’t hire hourly workers for store level, 14.6% don’t hire for every function (i.e. field sales), 10.4% don’t hire for every location, and 8.3% don’t hire for every division.

Additionally, when asked about employees that are not full time (i.e. contract or contingent workers) firms noted that 1 in 6 employees (or 17.7%, weighted average) were contingent and generally not tracked by talent acquisition or talent management. We’ve seen the hiring and retention of contract workers increasing at many organizations, and while whether this is a positive or negative trend can really only be decided by how a company manages its contingent workers, CareerXroads does pose the question: “Do we even know where purchasing ‘sourced’ these ‘not-employees’? How can employers build strategy without oversight of ALL those who work at the firm?” If you’re at an organization that hires many contingent workers, it’s a good question to ask.

In terms of who is recruiting talent for organizations, recruitment process outsourcing seems to be a popular choice for organizations today. Over 50% of the firms surveyed in CareerXroad’s report stated that they use RPO services in some form:

Chart
Are companies hiring globally? 80% of the firms surveyed report that they do hire globally, though only 41% state that they have access to source of hire information that would allow them to benchmark by country.

The #1 source of hire for organizations, though, is through internal promotion and movement. 41.9% of all openings are filled this way. Of the firms surveyed in 2013, 191,425 openings were filled internally. Interns are another interesting source of hire. Surprisingly, CareerXroads data highlight that organizations aren’t exactly seeing a strong ROI in this area. Only 32% of all interns organizations would want to hire after their internships accept positions. Other hiring trends that are continuing include incorporating sourcing (60.5% of organizations stated that they do have a separate full time sourcing group) and social media. With the rise of social media (and LinkedIn specifically) use of resume databases has declined. When looking at LinkedIn’s impact by sources of hire, it is perceived as a vital sourcing tool:

china2
Like the title of their report, CareerXroads offers some good data here to help “fill the gaps.” Keep this in mind when considering you organization’s approach to talent acquisition, talent management, and sources of hire.

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Filed under CareerXroads, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Hiring, HR, Recruiting, Recruiting Technology, Talent Acquisition

The best recruitment strategy? Being a Great Place to Work®!

Data Point Tuesday
A look at LinkedIn’s recently released “Talent Trends 2014” report provides some interesting data about what’s on the minds of today’s professional workforce. As the study confirms, we live in an age of unprecedented transparency: “More job opportunities are viewable online, and the available context – information on the company, its culture, and the team including the hiring manager – has never been richer.” LinkedIn’s platform itself proves this point, and this ever increasing transparency is certainly changing the landscape of talent acquisition. It asks to us to consider how the talent, people, are approaching and considering new careers. Perhaps one of the biggest changes has been a move towards proactively seeking the best talent for the position. LinkedIn’s 2014 report surveyed over 18,000 fully employed workers in 26 countries, to shed light on professional attitudes towards job seeking, job satisfaction and career evaluation.

The report dives into many areas of the professional workplace’s approach toward careers, one such area being the importance of talent brand to professionals. Globally, professionals agree that the most important factor in considering a new job is whether their prospective company is perceived as a great place to work or not. (And to be clear, LinkedIn’s definition of “great place to work” does not synch up completely with the Great Place to Work Institute’s definition.) When respondents of LinkedIn’s report were asked which of the following was most important if they were to consider a new job, 56% said “the company has a reputation as a great place to work”, while 20% said “the company has a reputation for great products and services”, 17% said “the company has a reputation for great people”, and 7% said “the company has a reputation for being prestigious.” When looking at countries where talent brand/being a great place to work is most (100%) and least (0%) important, the global average was 56%, with high outliers being Denmark at 62%, Brazil at 61%, and the U.S. at 60%. Low outliers included Japan at 39%, Turkey at 35%, and China at 33%.

Talent brand, which LinkedIn equates with being a great place to work, is clearly important to today’s labor pool when planning a career or a job change. This line of thought underscores why it’s more necessary than ever to communicate and share a corporate mission and values. People want their work to have meaning to them, to be “more than just a job.” They want to trust their leaders and have a sense of camaraderie or family with their co-workers. The majority of people surveyed in LinkedIn’s report (85% of active job seekers ad 90% of passive job seekers) responded that they are passionate about the work they do. Additionally, 85% of active and 91% of passive job seekers stated that they are constantly learning and growing at work, and 84% of active and passive job seekers reported that they are comfortable promoting themselves and their ideas at work.

Linkedin Talent Profile

The clear results of this data are that professionals today care deeply about their work, and want the companies they work for to support this passion. Being a great place to work is a strong factor in their search for new jobs and careers – and besides being a critical selection criteria, being a great place to work is an essential foundation for success in today’s talent acquisition and retention challenges.

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Filed under China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Great Place to Work, Great Place to Work Institute, Hiring, HR, Recruiting, Talent Acquisition