Tag Archives: Candidate Experience

Employees First

I came across this fascinating white paper from SilkRoad the other day. The Big Shift Puts Employees First:  HR Transforms from Processes and Transactions to Employee Experiences, is the 2017 contribution to their annual State of Talent reports. This shines a light on how the HR tech conversation has switched from tech to employees. The paper opens with this:  ”More than ever, today’s CEOs recognize the tremendous competitive advantage in a workforce that’s highly motivated, excited and tightly connected to business goals. Building a powerful workforce strategy remains front and center for HR teams.”

White papers are, by their nature, primarily marketing documents. The data are collected and analyzed in a way that put a positive light on the vendor/purveyor who commissions the study and report. There appear to be robust data behind this analysis with the use of results from 8 surveys (including one from an analyst firm), fielded throughout 2016, from1,335 respondents in HR leadership positions, It’s a vendor white paper, to be sure, but one of the more interesting I’ve seen.

The topics covered in the report include the following:

  • State of Talent Strategy

  • State of Talent Technology

  • State of the Employee Experience

  • State of Talent Acquisition and the Candidate Experience

  • State of Onboarding and the New Hire Experience

  • State of Talent Development and the Employee Experience

  • State of Analytics and Technology

  • State of HR

  • Top Five Talent Trends

Don’t let this long and timely list deter you from downloading the report:  it’s a compact 30 pages full of graphics and survey data. You can read this in under 30 minutes – and you’ll be smarter for it. These are critical topics for HR leaders and professionals in all industries – all over the world.

Introducing the first chapter, The State of Talent Strategy, 4 disruptors are identified that set the stage for the interesting data and discussions that follow:

Disruptor #1:  Dissatisfaction with HR Technology

Disruptor #2:  Continuing pressure to improve business outcomes

Disruptor #3:  Changing workforce, multiple generations

Disruptor #4:  Differentiation to attract talent

And then the following chart really kicks things off:

These data points then lead the fascinating analysis and discussions that follow. Even keeping in mind that this is a marketing document, it’s extremely well done and brings to light some important (and maybe surprising) shifts in focus and strategy that leaders (not just HR leaders) are contemplating.

You may not agree with all of the conclusions. And you may not have budgets to move forward in all – or many – of these areas. But the findings are fascinating and worthy of further exploration. Download the report here and have at it.

 

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Filed under Big Data and HR, Brandon Hall Group, Candidate Experience, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Employee Engagement, Employee Experience, HR Analytics, HR Data, HR Tech, HR Technology, HR Trends, HRM Technology, SilkRoad, Workplace Strategies

What The Heck Is Candidate Experience?

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Well, it’s that time of year. All kinds of new research reports are being published – the kinds of reports that we collect and never seem to have enough time to read. We’ve all got them on our hard drives. But here’s one you’ll download and read. Multiple times. The information is that useful!

Of course, I’m talking about the Candidate Experience 2016 report. It’s here! Talent Board, the non-profit organization behind the data collection, research, and report, has stepped up to the plate again. As background, Talent Board, was founded by Gerry Crispin, Elaine Orler, and Ed Newman, in 2010 to “recognize the candidate experience offered by companies throughout the entire recruitment cycle and to forever change the manner in which job candidates are treated.” Starting first with the North America market, it has since grown to include the United Kingdom, EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa), as well as the Asia Pacific region. I’ll share information from the North America market, but know that there are layers of data and analysis that are truly global in their reach.

For 2016, data were collected from 183,000 candidates who applied to more than 240 organizations who wanted to know what their candidates thought about their experience as employment candidates.

Broken down into three major sections – Attract, Recruit, and Hire – the data collected are fascinating. Within these three sections are subsections that cover the complete candidate experience:  Employer Branding, Recruitment Marketing and Sourcing in the Attract section; Apply, Screen and Disposition, and Interview and Select in the Recruit section; and Offer, Onboarding and New Hire in the Hire section. Within each of these subsections the data and analysis (and case studies), are all organized with the following structure:

  • What It Is
  • What Candidates Want
  • What Employers Are Doing
  • Key Recommendations: What CandE Award Winners Do Better

This structure makes reading the analysis and report easy. Although 114 pages long, it’s easy to work through the material because of its organization. You won’t probably read this in one sitting, but its structure makes it easy to come back and continue reading.

Case studies include organizations like Capital One, CH2M, Delta Airlines, GE, Informatica, and several others. This is good stuff, folks. It shows how leading organizations are thinking about and executing on their need for talent in new and highly impactful ways. Charts abound and they are easy to read and understand, and easy to translate into new approaches and actions in your organization.

Perhaps the simplest graphs that create the case for attending to the candidate experience are these:

cande-report-2016

They create the critical business case for investing in the experience of your employment candidates – just as you would invest in the experience of your employees or customers. Pretty simple stuff. Simple, and hard to execute. The beauty of this report – and the attending webinars, awards, and activities – is that the data and analysis show clearly what strategies are working and what the impact of those strategies are in an increasingly critical market demographic:  your potential employees.

If you aren’t familiar with “candidate experience,” read this report. If you are familiar with “candidate experience,” get involved. The resources provided through Talent Board are extensive. Attending to the experience of your candidates could make the difference in your talent acquisition strategies and plans. And your ability to deliver the foundation for your organization’s growth:  the right people with the right skills at the right time.

 

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Filed under Candidate Experience, CareerXroads, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Demographics, Ed Newman, Elaine Orler, Employer Branding, Gerry Crispin, HR Analytics, HR Data, HR Trends, Selection, Talent Acquisition

Do You Know What Your Candidates Are Thinking? (And I don’t mean Bernie and Donald!)

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It’s here! The 2015 Talent Board North American Candidate Experience Research Report was published a couple of weeks ago. And if you have any interest at all in the relationship between the experience your employment candidates in the application process and your ability to actually hire the right talent, this report is a gold mine! Written by Madeline Laureno and Kevin W. Grossman, it’s a great read and full of useful data points.

As far as research reports go, it’s well laid out, the graphics are strong, and the data are Cand Exp 2015 3incredibly useful. The table of contents breaks out the data into 3 overarching categories:

  • Attract
  • Recruit
  • Hire

And then within each of those three categories, each has the following sections:

  • What Candidates Want
  • What Employers Are Doing
  • A Candidate Experience Case Study
  • Key Recommendations: What CandE Awards Winners Do Better

This is a very useful structure that makes the research actionable. Case studies from CandE Awards winners include Capital One, AT&T, Cumming, Hydro Québec, Comcast, and Sonos. Each of them is full of detail about what they actually do. These are among the most useful case studies I’ve seen in a long time.

The top 10 key takeaways from the 2015 North American CandE Research Report are:

  1. Most employers are not making a first impression with candidates.

  2. Candidates are becoming more sophisticated.

  3. Job boards are not dead.

  4. Mobile apply is still lagging.

  5. Communication with candidates is very weak.

  6. Employers do not offer enough opportunities for candidates to showcase skills, knowledge and experience.

  7. Employers are letting more candidates through the funnel.

  8. Employers are making interviewing more efficient.

  9. Employers are automating the onboarding stages.

  10. Onboarding is still a missed opportunity for the candidate experience.

Here’s a great example of the ease of getting to the useful data from the Attract/What Employers Are Doing section. It opens with this observation, “Employers often have little insight into what the candidates want and what they find valuable.” And follow it up with this chart:

Cand Exp 2015 2

This is pretty interesting and helpful information for organizations who are ready to step up to the challenge of being better and more effective talent attractors. There are a number of these kinds of aha! data points in the report that will not only get you thinking. They’ll get you acting.

The Talent Board is the brain child of Elaine Orler, Ed Newman and, of course, Gerry Crispin. With these three big brains behind the action, it’s no wonder this is such valuable information. I encourage you to download the report here. I’m guessing you’ll make more than one change to your talent acquisition processes as a result.

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Filed under Big Data and HR, CandE Awards, Candidate Experience, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Ed Newman, Elaine Orler, Employee Referrals, Gerry Crispin, HR Analytics, HR Data, Human Resources, The Talent Board, Uncategorized

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

Candidates First, Employees Second and Customers Third?

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The candidate experience is a growing priority. Between 2013 and 2014, organizations increased their amount of focus on building strong relationships with candidates by more than five times. But the Aberdeen Group opines in their recent report, “Why the Candidate Experience Needs to be a Priority ASAP,” organizations still need to up their ante. No matter the industry, a candidate’s application experience should be a top priority simply because their perceptions of the process (whether they get the job or not) can have a serious impact on an organization’s brand, customers, and success. In this hyper-connected age of social media, it can take only one voice to significantly damage a big brand…

The importance of the candidate experience is not lost on Best-in-Class organizations. These companies are 30% more likely to invest in new technologies such as social, mobile and video to make recruiting engaging for candidates, in comparison with all other organizations (60% vs. 46%).

Game Changing TechIt’s also more likely that Best-in-Class organizations (compared with all other organizations) will focus on the development of a talent community to reach candidates and improve the candidate experience. Talent Communities, groups of active potential candidates that can regularly engage with the organization through technology (online portals, email, mobile etc.) are one of the fastest growing areas of talent acquisition. Aberdeen reports that 40% of organizations (respondents from a recent talent acquisition survey) plan to increase their investment in talent communities over the next twelve months.

Aberdeen’s research finds that besides overcoming the skills gap in today’s talent pool, improving the candidate experience is ranked by businesses, overall, as the most critical talent acquisition issue. How this knowledge is reflected within organizations, however, is a different story. Just 21% of companies in Aberdeen’s report indicated that the candidate experience/building strong relationships with candidates were a top priority for 2014, although this was a significant jump from 2013 where only 4% of organizations reported this.

Besides the perception of an organization, having a great candidate experience process can also mean improved cost-per-hire. Aberdeen’s study found that organizations prioritizing the candidate experience are twice as likely to improve their cost-per-hire and are expected to have a larger budget for talent acquisition efforts in the coming year (compared to organizations who do not prioritize the candidate experience).

 Budget ImpactCandidates expect much of the same things as consumers, for example, in ease of use and clear user-interfaces. In a 2013 study by Aberdeen, 62% of Best-in-Class organizations reported giving candidates visibility into their application status through resources like automated emails and online platforms like candidate career portals (although just 33% of organizations feel they have an engaging career portal). According to another 2013 study from Aberdeen, candidates who start as customers of the companies they apply to are 3.2 times more likely to describe their relationship as an applicant as positive rather than negative.

A good way to think about whether or not your organization is prioritizing the candidate experience may be to ask if candidates are treated with a comparable amount of respect and attention as customers. If they are, it likely means that the candidate experience it something that’s planned ahead for, as an organization would plan for potential customers. Most organizations do not plan ahead when it comes to the candidate experience however, with Aberdeen citing 60% of organizations only recruit talent when there is an opening, instead of having a talent community of active candidates that can be tapped into as needed. Organizations should take heart that creating a focused and engaging candidate experience does not need to be a difficult process. Contemporizing the process with technology (building a talent community and active pipeline) is an important step, but organizations can start also to prioritize the experience by changing the system they have in place now. This could mean catering to the highly connected, tech savvy candidates of today by not only reaching out to them post-application and interview, but also soliciting feedback from them during the application process (helping organizations better understand holes in their candidate experience). Sometimes it’s the simplest aspects of an application process that have the most impact. Respondents of a recent candidate experience survey by Aberdeen reported that the best, candidate friendly companies:

  • Send a thank you note after an application is completed
  • Ensure candidates can effectively exhibit their qualifications
  • Share next steps (whether that’s moving forward or a courteous decline)
  • Allow candidates to provide feedback about the overall experience

The work that Gerry Crispin, Elaine Orler and Ed Newman have done notwithstanding, does your organization really care about “the candidate experience”? Does creating a talent community really matter when you need to fill positions? Will treating job applicants like customers really make a difference in your ability to attract, hire and deploy the talent you need to meet your organizations strategic objectives? The data are beginning to provide clear evidence that, to paraphrase Vineet Nayar, perhaps candidates come first, employees second and customers third….

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Filed under Aberdeen Group, CandE Awards, Candidate Experience, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Workplace Studies

Onboarding: Not Rocket Science

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As HR and other leaders grapple with high turnover rates among the Gen Y cohort (see last week’s post here), all kinds of issues get raised. Is the turnover due to “special” characteristics inherent in Gen Y? Is the turnover due to lack of education and training opportunities? Naivete on the part of Gen Y – the world of work doesn’t match their expectations? Could a lack of thoughtful onboarding play a part?

The Aberdeen Group published Onboarding 2013: A new Look at New Hires last month and author Madeline Laurano provides data that might help organizations become more effective in retaining the youngest of their workforce.

First of all, Aberdeen reports that only 37% of employers have invested in a formal onboarding program for longer than two years. Surveys report that it’s difficult to quantify the ROI on formal onboarding programs so “basic orientation” activities are used in substitution. Socializing new hires into the organization’s culture is popular, but hard to measure. And so, “onboarding programs have fallen short and become little more than a transition from recruitment to employee development.” Interesting.

But attention is starting to be paid and, surprise!, it’s all about productivity. One of the quickest routes to ROI is the improvement of productivity and that’s something organizations can measure. Other drivers for looking at new ways to onboard new hires include improving employee engagement, reducing turnover and improving new hire assimilation.

But, as the graph below shows, there’s lots of opportunity to make onboarding programs more robust, strategic and productive by spending more time.

Aberdeen Group Onboarding 2013 Fig 3

And it doesn’t have to be rocket science! The kinds of strategies being used to drive stronger onboarding programs include the following:

  • Creating new hire checklists
  • Introducing new hires to the go-to people
  • Providing forms to new hires before day one
  • Ensuring compliance on all new hire forms
  • Creating peer networking opportunities/events

But the real key appears to be creating a bridge from the candidate experience to learning/development and performance management. After offer acceptance, Best-in-Class employers are more than twice as likely than all other organizations “to integrate data from onboarding into performance management, providing key stakeholders with development plans of new hires and to tie the source of a candidate to their performance as an employee.”

Aberdeen Group Onboarding 2013 Fig 11

But still, only 26% of Best-in-Class employers enroll new hires in learning and development programs compared to 11% of all others. Hmmm….

Laurano concludes the report with recommended actions for employers in Best-in-Class, Average and Laggard categories. For the Average and Laggard categories they are not rocket science. For the Best-in-Class category, a little rocket science might be involved.

Laggard Steps to Onboarding Success

  • Establish a clear owner
  • Provide strong visibility
  • Extend the onboarding process

Industry Average Steps on Onboarding Success

  • Align onboarding with learning initiatives
  • Define metrics in advance
  • Invest in onboarding technology

Best-in-Class Steps to Onboarding Success

  • Consider gamification
  • Include cross-boarding
  • Balance tactical and strategic elements

Think about these as you and other leaders in your organization wrestle with the high turnover rate in your Gen Y employees. And take a look at this report.

Aberdeen Group reports are very easily consumed. They’re written in normal English and have an easy to understand structure. Even if you can’t spend real money to make your onboarding program more productive, you can certainly get smarter about what works and make some adjustments based on data to improve your outcomes. That’s the whole point of research, right?

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Filed under Aberdeen Group, Candidate Experience, China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, Gen Y, HR Data, Onboarding, Turnover

Background Screening: Not So Fast

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Well, not so fast, my friend, as Lee Corso likes to say. A new survey results report from EmployeeScreenIQ, Employment Screening Practices & Trends: Not so fast, my friend (Lee Corso)The Era of Heightened Care and Diligence, brings up some important issues and is interesting on several fronts.

First, from a regulatory perspective, it would seem that employers aren’t paying a lot of attention to the relatively new EEOC guidance on criminal background checks that was released in April 2012.  According to the survey, of the almost 70% of respondents who said that their organizations have reviewed the EEOC guidance, only a little more than half of them have not made changes to their screening policies as a result. More interesting, though, is the 32% of respondents who either weren’t familiar with or haven’t reviewed the guidance. Huh.

Second, more than half the respondents report that only 15% or less of job candidates distort their resumes to the extent that they aren’t hired. This is surprising given the perception that distorting resume claims is the best way to be disqualified from employment opportunities. Surprisingly, these survey results may reflect that employers see resume distortion as a minor factor in the screening process. Huh.

EmployeeScreenIQ Resume Distortion Impact

Third, and most interesting to me, is the impact of the legal uncertainty for using social media as a source of background screening information. This uncertainty appears to have scared the you-know-what out of employers. Huh.

Actually, I’m not sure I believe the data here. Or rather, the survey questions may not have been posed to the right people.

EmployeeScreenIQ Social Networking Sites

Really? Only 36% of employers always or sometimes check social networking sites for background information? Huh. Here’s what I think is happening. Those corporate folks responsible for filling out surveys like this – in the recruiting function – know the legal quicksand that is forming around the use of social media for employment screening and are clear that their formal guidelines restrict the use of Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, blogs, etc. in this way. This doesn’t mean that hiring managers aren’t doing it anyway. In fact, I think it’s a fair bet that although many employers are specific in excluding social networking sites for candidate background screening, as reported in this report, hiring managers do it anyway. All. The. Time.

That’s why the next survey question’s answers seem highly suspect to me.

EmployeeScreenIQ Why Not Social

Don’t have time? Right.  Not relevant? Please.

I guarantee that hiring managers make the time because they think checking out “social” behavior is extremely relevant.

This report brings up some great questions for recruiters and hiring managers and shows the need, I think, for greater communication between these two groups. Staying on top of EEOC guidance is, of course, a critical part of HR’s regulatory and risk mitigation obligations. Evaluating the impact of resume distortion is part of the recruiters’ responsibility. And staying current on the evolving legal decisions in the employment/social media space is a critical new high impact area of contribution for the HR and recruiting functions.

One might not think that the arcane world of background screening would present such an interesting opportunity for HR pros. Think again.

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Filed under Background checks, Candidate Experience, China Gorman, Connecting Dots, Data Point Tuesday, EEOC, EmployeeScreenIQ, Employment Screening, HR Credibility, Talent Acquisition